It was about 9pm. “Do you want to go somewhere?” she said as I sipped my remaining drops of red wine. “OK,” I said, naively oblivious. “Where are we going?” My face must have been a picture as she said: “to a telo.” Now, a telo is the Argentine word for a motel, though the journalist work I was doing at the time had taught me that that they weren’t the dirty, run-down ones so often seen in films from the US, but a series of neat and tidy rooms with an artistic touch.
Before we go any further, this isn’t my attempt at Fifty Shades, and I assure you that physical descriptions will be kept to an absolute minimum.
So, despite my surprise, I managed to respond affirmatively, and there we were in the street flagging down a taxi. As we did so, I asked her if she knew of any establishments in particular, and she nodded. When we got in the taxi, she gave the driver precise instructions and we were there in a flash, pulling into the drive. I can’t recall exactly where the motel was, but it didn’t stick out that blatantly, and blended into whatever neighbourhood we were in. Or maybe it was just the dark.
I continued to let her do the talking at reception and she booked us in for a night for the modest sum of 100 Argentine pesos, approximately $25 or £15. We both reached for our monies and split the bill. The lady at reception asked if we needed condoms, which we did, because I’d only expected to go out for a couple of glasses of wine that night. She then asked me what type, which was rather surreal and put me a little on the spot. “Normal ones,” I answered, and she handed a packet through the hole in the glass frame which she was sitting behind. “Room 207,” she said, pointing towards the stairs. So off we went.
I’ll just take a moment to give you a little background information so as there not to be confusion regarding my choice of female companion. On that fabled night in about May 2009, I was at the tender age of 21, baby-faced and finding my feet in the world of adult relations. I happened to be in Buenos Aires for a journalism internship and had a met a German girl, who we’ll call Dana, through a flatmate who had recently moved in. At the time, there were seven males living in our flat and we all got on well with each other, which widened our friendship circles, and a lot of us met up on nights out. The girl in question, blue-eyed with flowing blonde curls, kind of how I’d always imagined Goldilocks from the Three Bears story, had been to the apartment several times and we’d also bumped into each other on nights out. As it goes, we’d kind of hit it off well, and there was definitely a little chemistry in the air.
A chemistry that I was hesitant to tap into because there was another girl, (call her Rosie), who I was really into at the time and I was biding my time for the right moment to reveal my feelings to her. It just so happens that on one particular night out (not the motel night) both girls were out, and we ended up playing various drinking games in a rather large group. I then made a decision. I don’t know if it was during or before the onset of my drunkenness, but I decided to go all out for Rosie.
But fate wasn’t having that, as she drank too much and went home early in a taxi, not even making it to the nightclub.
But the German girl did.
People say that it’s always good to have a plan B and that night I certainly did. Upon arrival at the club in Puerto Madero, a superb establishment I must say, and well worth the 60 pesos entry (the motel costs 100, remember), our group was still large and I spent the first few hours with my housemates before engaging Dana. The look in her eyes told me all I needed to know, as perhaps did mine. Not in the slightest adhering to the clichéd way of conquering the female species, I offered her a drink. She acquiesced and I asked whether she’d accompany me to the bar, the classic move to get away from her friends and obtain some privacy. Of course she agreed. Now, at this point, I tended to believe, and perhaps still do, that the subsequent “make-out” is effectively set in stone, except if you invest time and money in a certain girl in Bristol. Everything went to plan and we went on to see each other on social occasions a few times, not yet making bases.
Talking of bases, and I promise this is the last of the foreplay before fast-forwarding back to the telo, the following day, my journalism had occasioned a reporting job on a baseball game, to which I had previously invited Rosie, incidentally a colleague, and a mutual friend of ours who we might refer to as Charlie, who’d been witness to my exploits with Dana the night before. I mention this in order to squeeze in an excerpt of a conversation which still makes me cringe today:
Rosie: “So embarrassed I went home early last night. How did it go?”
Me: “Great. We all had a good time.”
Charlie: “Yeah, we certainly did, didn’t we, Paul?”
Rosie: “How do you mean?”
Me: “You know, a lot of drinks and the usual banter.”
Charlie: “And you had a particularly good night, didn’t you, Paul?”
Rosie looks at me, intrigued.
Me: “Well. I might have had a few beers too many and danced rather wildly.”
Charlie (still not getting it): “but you had a particularly good time with a particular someone, didn’t you?”
Me (now glaring at him): “Yeah, me and George (one of my flatmates) were being really stupid, I know.”
Charlie: “No, I mean you had a great time with a particular girl.”
If I could have, I’d have strangled him right there and then. I instead changed the subject, not very smoothly, and there was no denying that Rosie knew exactly what had happened. Any embers of anything with her were irreversibly burned out, I thought at the time. I’d soon go on to educate Charlie in the ways of “man faith”.
Anyway, let’s get back to the motel.
Off we went upstairs to our assigned room and I must admit I was quite impressed. The bed was huge, bigger than a double, and the place was impeccably clean and colourful. There was an assortment of drinks and snacks laid out (you pay what you consume when they inspect your room upon leaving). They had an ample-sized amazing power-shower and, if my memory serves me correctly, there was a water fountain next to the bed, merely for decorative purposes, I think, unless you’re more creative than me. There was cable TV on a massive flat-screen monitor and they had those knobbed light switches with which you can dim and brighten the room to your tastes. Everything you need on such occasions, to be fair.
Except some scary dildos padlocked in glass cases amongst other sex toys in the corner. I mean, what would you ring down and say? Please, sir, could you bring me the key so I can unlock the cock?
I promised not to go into the details of this romantic encounter and I won’t. I’ll only go as far as saying it was an enjoyable and novel experience that was repeated in a variety of locations.
The next morning we got dressed and left casually, crossing the road to have croissants and milky coffee for breakfast in a dingy café. We said our goodbyes and departed in our taxis.
I grinned all the way home.