Sunday, May 23, 2010

One night, one invite

Going out alone requires two hours. The first half hour demands the unrequited self-confidence. The ego that Niezche never encountered because its strength mauled any decrepit foe. You ask someone for directions not because you're lost but because you want exert your authority to the common man. You anticipate the walk sign and J-walk because you are so frustrated by the everyday life of Madrid's social scene that waiting a second longer at the cross-walk could mean social suicide. It is this aura that you must exude in order to portray superiority. It is that same superiority that you hope inflicts self-conscious thoughts on others because putting them in that defensive doubt boosts your reputation if solely be comparison. Back to that first half-hour. The reason why this part is so crucial is because it presents first impressions. You may be sitting alone, you may be sitting alone for a while, but fear not my friend because the unprecedented self-doubting will subside if given the necessary sustenance. So you obviously are going to be sitting alone and unlike when you are in your home town, you mustn't look at your phone or sit with closed-off body language. On the other hand, you cannot have staring contests with every other person at the bar, pining for attention, exhibiting your insatiable longing to be received and fit in. Sit with an open stance, and make eye contact with anyone you find intriguing and then once the contact has been made, give it a second and look away. The secret is bartenders. They are basically paid to interact and they are the perfect prey for your predatory need for engagement. All it takes is one person to open up to you and you are in.

Then comes the balancing act of the next hour. You have now landed the bartender's attention or someone else you've engaged by talking about being a foreigner or the last games of the world cup, but you cannot settle. Some may stop at the first friend and call it quits, bathing in the safety net small victories, but it's the battle that must be won. You need to find reasons to leave the group without losing their attention. Bathroom visits are key. You need to be available but not clingy, which is easier said than done considering you are alone in a foreign country, but stay true to the method.

I had to laugh when, for my first night out, I got invited to a barbecue. This is why traveling on your own is amazing. This group of people asked me about my travels and who I was traveling with. Once they found out that I was a lone maverick, quickly thereafter came the invitation. One person is so unassuming, presents no surprises, and limits any variables on clashing personalities or expectations. Everyone has a barbecue with a loser that's invited, so worse comes to worse, you're the loser. I declined the invitation because I did not see this friendship lasting long term, but appreciated the gesture. I went home at around 6 a.m. (one of the firsts to leave) and felt satisfied with my engagements but let down by my closing game. I did get a few contact numbers, but no real connections. It takes one, and having done this before, I know when to sift through the fillers. I will probably send a text to one on Monday, considering she works retail and offered me a whopping 10% off. I'll go, stop by, maybe pick up a t-shirt, give us something in common, establish a connection and bounce. I laugh because the formula works and it works well. Having this be my fourth summer alone in a new city, I'm used to it.

Best part of the day: Moving into my grandmother decorated hostel for the next 1o days and waiting for the arrival of Caitlin Oyler and Indiana Porta.

Worst part of the day: Walking to the hostel, dragging my suitcases through the streets. Nothing tastes worse than tourism.

Advice: Smile, engage, trust in the formula with patience.


  1. Honestly, I definitely don't think I could go out into a new and foreign place all alone like you do and seek out connections. Very awesome, very jealous. Gonna be an amazing summer I'm sure.

  2. you're like mystery (erik von markovik - the pick up artist)... except for picking up friends in foreign places.