I took the ladies of Parlour Magazine up on their Eat Play Love offer and attended the third annual Food Wine and Rum Festival in Barbados, like I mentioned yesterday (pics included). Think of it like experiencing The Food Network, but in real life and with perfect weather and a tropical beach as the backdrop. I was prepared for tons of sun, sand, food, drinks and lavish delights, but not the major impact this trip would have on my life. I have crossed attending an international food festival off my bucket list. I schmoozed with some of the best chefs in the world.Â I bonded with one of my best friends from college who I hadnâ€™t seen in a while, and got closer to a colleague who I had known from the NYC writers circuit. It was also my first vacation taken as a married woman without the hubby. Â I saw cute boys and got hit on which in some cases wasnâ€™t very fun but in others it was a major ego boost.
Iâ€™m already planning my return to Barbados for the 2013 festivities, so I obviously enjoyed my trip. However, one of my favorite things to do after every trip I take is to go over the highs, lows and lessons learned,Â which brings me to this post. Hillary asked me to write about my interaction with a certain Canadian celebrity chef, who became a Parlour Magazine crush but I decided to also share a negative experience that I had with a local, because thereâ€™s a lesson in that too. Iâ€™m still high off my trip and have so much to share but letâ€™s start with the most standout moments, bad first.
I narrowly escaped being sexually assaulted. Every public Caribbean beach is teeming with hustlers trying to peddle goods and services. Enter Mr. Creepy. He approached me about taking a jet ski ride as soon as I set foot on the beach. Initially, his approach, while aggressive, wasnâ€™t creepy so I reluctantly gave it some thought but I just need a minute to actually set my stuff on a beach chair and think things through. Iâ€™m a daredevil but jet skiing was something I had been avoiding for years. I decided to go through with it because his partner convinced my friend to do it as well. Sensing my hesitation, Mr. Creepy offered to go with me (his partner did the same for my also novice friend), which I thought would be fine.
However, as soon as we took off into the ocean, the incessant flirting began. First he kept saying things about me being â€œgorgeousâ€ and â€œsweet,â€ and I just replied with â€œthank yousâ€ here and there but offered no other responses or conversation unless he asked me a question (small talk). Apparently, what I thought was me being polite meant that I wanted him. After about 20 minutes joy riding around we got to a point on the beach where there was an abandoned hotel and virtually no one on the beach, with the exception of a shack tucked away at the side of the hotel where I saw a handful of local men hanging out. I strained to see them.
He stopped the jet ski and asked if I wanted a real island rum punch. His selling point was that he could get them from his friends on the beach. My friends knew I was with him so, I agreed to having a rum punch. Iâ€™m a lightweight and also very astute, so my plan was to wait until I got back with my friends to sip on mine.
Mr. Creepy let the jet ski coast and told me that I could joy ride around (by this point, I successfully tried my hand at actually driving the thing), or just coast as he headed to shore. I decided to go for a swim. Eventually, I ended up close to the shore (standing at waist length) and he returned a few minutes later with no rum punches. He swam toward me, grabbed my hand, smiled and said, â€œTurn around.â€ Thatâ€™s when the record scratched.
Appalled, I replied, â€œNO,â€ scrunched up stank face included.
â€œWhy not,â€ he asked.
â€œLetâ€™s go,â€ I said and swam back to the jet ski, preparing to leave him or fight if I had too.
â€œYouâ€™re just so sweet,â€ he said swimming close behind me. â€œI want to make you my girlfriend before you leave.â€
â€œIâ€™m married, dude.â€
It was blunt and firm but he still searched for an in, despite my obvious extreme aversion.
Noooo Iâ€™m totally making this up because thatâ€™s what women do when we want to play. Fuck that! Even if I were single I said, â€œNo!â€ got dammit! Â
Iâ€™m irritated just thinking about his sense of entitlement and the fact that Iâ€™m keeping my indignant thoughts to myself out of fear that he might try to retaliate in the middle of the sea.
Am I really doing this too familiar â€œso what your man got to do with meâ€ song and dance with this shady ass stranger trying to negotiate his way into my panties? Yes. But all I did was be nice! So, doesnâ€™t matter. Sigh.
â€œYes. Iâ€™m happily married to a flesh and blood man who is good to me and that I love dearly,â€ I said, trying to sound as even as possible.
Iâ€™m known amongst my friends for sometimes getting belligerent in situations like this but I remained calm, which was hard. I wanted to curse him out, push him off the jet ski and speed off. I played out perfectly in my mind. But in real life, keeping my cool got me back to the beach with my friends safely.
However, the harassment didnâ€™t stop. He tried to get me on the jet ski the next day and had the nerve to tell me that I told him that Iâ€™d go for another ride. Blank motherfucking stare. After I declined, he then declared that he and his partner would take my friends and I to Oistinâ€™s, because it was â€œbest to be shown the island by a native.â€ No thanks.
And of course, he asked again repeatedly whether I was really married or not and then tried to guilt me because â€œI broke his heart.â€ Mmmkay.
Eventually, a miracle occurred. He left me alone for the rest of the trip after two days of stalkeration. Hallelujah.
What kind of arrogant audacity does a man have to possess in order to believe that he could just take me to this abandoned place and tell me to turn around so he could dry hump me or even worse, pull it out?Â There is no answer to that question but Iâ€™m glad Iâ€™m safe. Even with good judgment things could sometimes go awry, so keep that in mind for your next girls trip. Female travelers are seen as prime real estate so have fun but be alert and play it safe.
Check back tomorrow for the high point!