Saturday, November 03, 2007

"I like F***ING!"

Traveling with a vivacious, blonde companion is an eye-opening glimpse at male behavior. There is nowhere we go that some man does not attach himself to us and eventually get around to the topic on his mind.

So far, on this trip there have been the French men at the Hotel Tahat -- the only place with a public bar in Tamanrasset --who wanted Hawley to join them in the salon. I think they might have been white slavers.

And there was the guy in Sarajevo who strolled along beside her as we were walking home one night. He told her all about how he always did favors for Irishmen because he owed his life to the kindness of the IRA. What? "Oh, that lunatic," Hawley now simply dismisses him.

None of the men this trip, however, were so bold as the Finnish guy in a rumpled suit who came up to her as she was ordering goulash in a cafe at the Vienna airport. Our plane was late and we were killing time. She brought him back to our table. I hate it when she picks up strays. This one was Heikki -- although we later nicknamed him Hanky as in hanky-panky. He told us we looked like powerful American women and wondered if we were in the CIA. He showed us photos of his wife and children. He told us how happily married he was, that he'd found the secret to a happy marriage and I was thinking this might actually be a normal conversation when he suddenly announced in a voice that rang out over the cafe and into the terminal: "I LIKE F***ING."

The powerful American women could do nothing but laugh.

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