The Austrian

Is it just me or are J’s stories wildly more entertaining (and just plain more wild) than mine?  I’ll be honest that I am definitely more internal-awkward-cautious dater to her jump-head-first-into-situations-while-drinking-a-ton dating style, so I’m not going to try and convince you that any of my stories will ever rival hers in the shenanigans department.  That said, I have had a few encounters that were spontaneous and fun and involved the loss of inhibitions through consumption of alcohol.

This story is about one of those encounters.

Five days after I graduated college, I jetted off for an internship in Eastern Europe.  There was some miscommunication over what exactly the internship involved, and so instead of a full 40 hr work week, me and the other 2 American interns had maaaaybe 8 hours of work a week.  Maybe.  If we wanted to work that much.  My internship was basically me going into 3-4 high school English classrooms a week, answering student questions like “what are the 3 most used swear words in the US? Write them on the chalkboard and describe what each means,” and then going to check out what weird snacks were in the cafeteria.  My personal favorite (due to hilarity, not due to taste) were the chicken flavored Cheetos — they were drumstick-shaped!

While not busy with our vigorous work schedule, we three Americans took in the local culture, made friends with our dorm room suite-mates (note: if you ever thought your dorm room in the US was small or gross or fell short or acceptable living standards, just imagine what our dorm that was built and maintained behind the Iron Curtain looked like.  Yuh, your US dorm was a palace.), and immersed ourselves in common Eastern European pass-times (read: dancing to techno music and drinking SO.MUCH. vodka).  The kids in the dorm would legit make their own vodka by buying menthol candies from the store and boiling them down (or something like that).

Being the Cautious Cathy that I am, I rarely drank more than a shot or two when we were out and about.  My two intern friends would always get thoroughly trashed, and I never thought it was a great idea for all three of us to get blackout drunk in a foreign city where we were relying on strangers to get us home, and where I didn’t even know what # to dial for the equivalent to 911 if we got in trouble.  I know, I’m such a fricken loser.  J would’ve been tossing back those free vodka shots like a champion.

Now one weekend, we all went to visit the city of Krakow.  Shameless plug for Krakow — it’s one of the best cities I’ve ever been to.  Forget about Paris.  While it is cool to see the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame just to say you have, Krakow is charming in a subtle way that Paris, with it’s larger-than-life reputation, just cannot be.

We stayed in a 12-person room in a hostel, and the first night the rain poured and poured.  Amazingly, this hostel had an attached bar, so we decided to have a night inside.  Uncharacteristically, I decided I wasn’t going to care about sobriety.  I felt a sense of safety knowing that my bed was quite literally 3 rooms away from the bar, so no matter how drunk I got, I wasn’t going to get lost/separated from my group/adultnapped (it’s kidnapping but for adults).  It also helped that the bartender was a gorgeous guy named Bentley from Tasmania.  Whose name is Bentley?!  Who is from Tasmania?! I told him I didn’t like to taste my alcohol, and Bentley did a damn fine job of providing suitable options.  The first drink I sucked down tasted like a green apple Jolly Rancher.

I feel it is important to interject for a second and note that every drink I consumed this night was made with a type of Polish vodka that cannot be sold in the US.  Why?  Well, it is flavored with an alcoholic extract banned by the FDA in the 1970s.  Wikipedia says the extract is banned because of it’s “hepatotoxic effects” (a hepatotoxin  is a chemical substance that damages the liver), but I’m convinced what it really does is get lightweight white girls SUPER drunk SUPER fast.  At least that was my experience…

At my current age, I have no filter at any time.  When I was 22, I did.  I had the ability to be a raunchy sarcastic sass-machine, but in new situations and around new people I was a polite Midwestern girl.  However, alcohol completely tore down that polite wall.  So I go back to grab something from the 12-person hostel room, my mind buzzing, my liver being attacked by toxic death chemicals, and in walk these 4 guys.  At this point I have no idea  where they’re from (Austria), how old they are (my age), or anything else.  All I know is one of them is tall and incredibly attractive.  That information processes in seconds, and without missing a beat, I point at him, announce “I find you very attractive!” in an assertive voice that sounds nothing like my own, and walk back to the bar without another word.

Bentley the Trusty Tasmanian is waiting for me there, and makes me a drink with strawberry and banana juice.  It tasted like an alcoholic smoothie!  The Austrians find their way to the bar and we all start chatting, having a great time.  I have no idea how many things I accepted from Bentley (I just know all drinks cost $2-3 in USD, so woohoo!!), but after a while I realize the room is pitching from side to side whenever I move my head.  The hostel provided free bread and jam in the morning, so I go to the kitchen, grab an entire loaf of bread, and head back to the bar taking very deliberate steps so as not to look schwasted.

Back at the bar, while eating carbs to soak up the alcoholic fish bowl that is my stomach, I roll up a little piece of bread and chuck it at one of the Austrians (not the cute one).  He throws one back. After this happens a few times, a hostel employee comes over and snaps at us to stop.  Well geez, I think, sure we shouldn’t be throwing bread, but we only threw like 4 pieces!!!  Then I look at the floor and there is bread littered everywhere.  Easily 50+ little balls.  That’s when it hits me that I am Drunk with a capital D, because I had no recollection of such a prolonged bread siege.

Embarrassed that I’m “that annoying drunk girl,” I slink back to put the rest of the loaf in the kitchen.  Cute Austrian meets me halfway back to the bar and we wind up going to the one private place in the hostel — the individual shower rooms off of the main bathroom.  The front half of the little room is a bench and space to put your dry clothes and the back half is the shower.  Cue hot topless make out session with a 6’4” stranger.  At some point, we hear someone calling our names from the main bathroom, but we giggle and are drunk quiet (read: probably not quiet).  They leave and when they do, they turn off the lights. Now in the dark, cue more hot topless making out in with a 6’4” stranger.

The Austrian kept on whispering about wanting to shower with me, saying he found showering with a woman very sexy, and that he, “wouldn’t even try anything further.”  Drunk B was fully on the shower-with-hot-foreign-boy train, but unfortunately there was one small problem — my uterus was  under construction.  Every woman knows the awkward discomfort of having to decide whether to bring up the dreaded P word or not – and if you do, how is best to do it.  On the one hand, once men reach a certain age/have had a girlfriend of any length of time, it’s usually safe to say they know periods exist and won’t run away scream-barfing in disgust.  So saying ‘hey this thing you know happens to ALL women is currently happening to me right now, so woohoo if you want to continue with sexy time (I’m convinced this is why showers were invented) but also maybe you’d rather not,’ shouldn’t be horrifying, but that doesn’t stop it from sucking.

Nowadays, I’m almost 30…I would feel pretty comfortable owning up to my own uterine shedding schedule (while suggesting yes let’s commence showering), but at 22 I was reluctant to inform a stranger.  My solution was gigging a lot and said things like, “I don’t know…” which led to him asking if I was very religious. HA!

Quite a time later, we exited the shower a few minutes apart so as not to raise suspicions of where we’d been (we were classy drunks!) and hung out a while longer, and nobody was the wiser.

Love, B!

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