Everyone warned me about Indian men.
To which I responded with my trademark eyeroll, “I got this.” I’ve long perfected my Beast Mode and it’s worked flawlessly, thankyouverymuch. I envisioned implementing it in India like this:
- Indian man approaches me for any reason whatsoever? Ignore ignore ignore.
- Indian man stares at me? I’ll glare right back.
- Indian man tries to grope me? I’ll slap-a-bitch.
Admittedly, I had a rough start to my time in India. I was new to the game and not quite sure how to play it yet. As a result, my Beast Mode may have faltered a bit the first few days, which led to my bewildering encounters with Beto and Fabio*. First up is the story of Beto, who I met on my second day in Delhi.
Beto in Delhi
The first encounter
On my first day in Delhi, as you may recall, I stumbled into the tourist office a hot mess and let them figure out my first 2 weeks in India.
The following day, I returned to that same tourist office to pick up my tickets and itinerary. The agent I’d been working with was out, so I sat with another agent who I recognized from the day before – let’s call him Beto. My tickets weren’t quite ready, so I moseyd on over to Starbucks to see if I could use the wifi. Beto said he’d ask to take a quick break from work and join me there for a bit. I didn’t really think much of it – after all, he was my travel agent. Maybe he’d tell me about things to do in Delhi?
HAHAHA. Think again, Lindsay.
Beto joins me at my table, I make some coffee-related comment to break the ice, and then he goes: “I like you. What do you think of me?”
Uhhhhhhh… what? What is that supposed to mean? How do I even answer that? I’ve only known the guy for 5 minutes! Not really understanding, I reply: “But you don’t even know me, so how can you say you like me?!”
The rest of our conversation went something like this:
B – “I like your smile. You’re always laughing – so happy.”[insert ridiculous response (staggered by laughter) from me here]
B – “You have beautiful eyes. Can I look at them?”[insert awkward 10 seconds of direct eye contact here]
B – “I like you. Do you like me?”
Me – “I don’t know you!”
B – “I want to know you. What do you think of me?”
Me – “Uh… you’re nice?”
Then Beto holds his hand out flat and asks if he can have mine. What is this? Does he want to shake hands? Read my palm? I awkwardly place my hand on top of his and wait to find out.
Our hands remained parallel to the table, unmoving. Then he drops the bomb: “I want to meet you in Udaipur. Is that ok?”
Say what?!????? Is he for serious right now? I laughed it off and said something non-committal. After that, he went back to work and I went off to see the Lotus Temple.
Later that day
I returned to the tourist office a few hours later. No sign of Beto, so the head honcho walked me through my itinerary and handed over my tickets and vouchers for the next two weeks of travel. At the end of his spiel, Beto drops by and walks me to his desk. I’ve got about 15 minutes to kill before the cab arrives to take me to the train station.
Beto tells me again that he wants to meet me in Udaipur**. “It is a very romantic city”, he insists. OH BOY.
“But isn’t that far for you?” I protest.
“No, I’ll fly”. Crap. Now what do I say?
“Well… if you come, you can stay in your own hotel room,” I assert. “And you have to promise to be respectful”. I’m not sure what’s on his agenda, but I had to lay out the ground rules upfront. I’m not about to play the part of American Princess in whatever fairytale he’s conjured up in his head.
But Lindsay! Why not just say no in the first place and be rid of this creepster? – you may be wondering.
Ok, I admit it – Beto was very attractive. When I first saw him, I wasn’t sure if he was Indian because he doesn’t look it (he has lighter skin and nice hair). But he is. And I hardly knew anything about him, but I was kind of intrigued. I was torn between my good sense (saying NO to any and all Indian men, no matter what) and my hankering for adventure. Imagine the opportunity for adventure here!
As I was about to stand up and leave to get in the cab, Beto asks for a hug. I thought well alright, I can handle a hug – it’s better than that weird hand thing we did earlier. We hug, and then I start to let go – and suddenly his tongue is in my mouth. I’m making out with a travel agent in the tourist office. I have absolutely no idea how we went from 0 to 60. I don’t know what’s going on. India has turned my world upside down and I’ve decided to roll with it.
* Clearly fake names, used to protect the “innocent”.
** Beto never met me in Udaipur. I’m pretty ok with this.