A taxing 12 hours train journey from Bratislava took me to Belgrade. Taxi to the hostel cost me just 800 Serbian Dinars which was around 7 euros. The plan is to stay in hostel for two days then to move in to Airbnb for the rest of the trip to save some money and to get the logistics right. The hostel was situated at a road perpendicular to Skadarija street. The most elegant street in Belgrade. Beautifully decorated restaurants, happy tourists and local enjoying their day out with their family. I reached my hostel at night,took a shower and dined at one of those classy restaurants nearby. I slept with day game eagerness for the next day.
I went out in the morning walked around Knez Mihailova all the way towards Kalamegdan Fortress. I had a what I call “ New dog in town feeling(NDITF)”. Its a kind of approach anxiety where the player knows that he does not belong to the environment and is trying to get used to it. New people, new streets and new language could all increase AA. To get rid of it,I decided to do one warm set. I spotted a girl walking along Knez Mihailova with a happy grin drawn all over her face. I opened her using the very same reason. She replied in a friendly warm manner. She was tourist from France. I switched to French and we managed to connect easily. She was leaving the next day, I got her number. She said she will be waiting for my message. It was a pretty quick set and my guts told me she will flack(which she did). However, I was glad to have taken the first step in Belgrade and it ended in a NB close.
I munched in some pizza on my way back to my hostel. I took a nap and continued reading the new novel I bought, “ The Great Gatsby”. I took a shower after that, and went out for day gaming late evening. The weasel crept back in my head, I still had NDITF, but decided to fight it. I did a small warm up. What came after that were 4 brutal blowouts. They won’t even stop for me. They just pass by me once I utter “ Excuse me, I hope you speak English”. I was a bit devastated but kept going and finally managed to get one set done. The girl was in rush but I managed to talk with her for a few minutes. The set did not go anywhere and I did not NB close her.
I decided to get something to eat and walked back up to Skardrija street to try a new restaurant. I ordered something which I vaguely remember and just after that a girl sitting at a corner table asked me if I asked the guy for the wifi password. I said no, I ordered food. I started talking and I sensed an unbaked cake in the making. I decided to start baking it. I switched table. Sitting in front of her, the conversation flowed smoothly. I was now having my 4th instant date ever. Her name was Ana, a Dutch-Swiss girl visiting Belgrade just for 3 days. She was sitting sipping beer while I ate my piece of chicken breast with salad. She nicked the my French fries. I took that as a symbol of comfort. We talked , I did some of my routine stories and jokes which works most of the time.
She was also the first girl who asked me to smile when I say something funny. I said if you smile too much it means you are crazy. She said it also means you are stupid. She was older than me. I didn’t care. My inner game was still solid there. After couple of instant date, I was feeling comfortable. My hostel was just at the corner, she is not leaving immediately, comfort and rapport were already built after one hour. After finishing my dish, I suggested us to go to a bar just couple of meters down the street. She compiled. In the bar, we were sitting in a U shaped couch. There I sat close to her, my leg touching hers. I heard“Why are you sitting so close”, with a slight smile from her.
I moved away. We kept talking for a while about the painting on the wall. I decided to move the subject of the conversation. There was a drink called “Sex with the bartender”. I suggested it to her. She said she would. I said the lady will lick you all over(we had two bartenders, an old lady and a guy). She replied, “ I meant the guy”. Despite her playfulness I sensed something wrong. She was playing with her drink and thinking about something deeply. Then the shit came out.
“I was harassed when I was in Sri Lanka. You touching me reminds me of that. If a white guy touches me I won’t feel that way.”
Sometimes the egg falls hard and breaks even Newton would not be able to explain the force that came with it. I did not have a proper answer to this. I was indifferent and made a poker face. She was still acting nervous. I saw signs of sexual interest but a subtle hesitation. I escalated nevertheless,sweeping her hair with my finger; She smiled coyly. We then decided to leave. I paid the bill. She wanted to see my hostel. We walked towards the hostel holding hands. Her grip was tight. I lead her towards the door. At the reception she checked whether there was any room available for the next day. I walked her back, got her number and went for the kiss. She resisted playfully and walked off. I was confused, amazed and at the same time curious.
I took a beer from the hostel fridge and went up to my room. Awkward moments I thought. I replayed the scene in my mind. I had hidden racism from a girl. She followed me all the way in the interaction. Despite the racism she came all the way to my hostel holding my hand. In the end, I was alone in my room with a can of dark beer. I realized that my end game was horrible. I lost my frame once she expressed her feeling outs. This was a well educated girl living in Western Europe. She said a white guy touching her will be okay, just because she was harassed by a dark skin guy before. It was like saying that everybody born poor will end up dying poor, that every dark guy is a bad guy. It hit hard on my inner game. After some good improvements in Lithuania and Slovakia, I was left with a slight meltdown. The timing could not have been better, it was my first day in Belgrade.
I woke up the next day, still with a slight sting in my brain from yesterdays incident. I messaged the girl in the afternoon. She flacked. My self believe took a deeper fall. I knew at that moment that I should have seized the opportunity. Pushing the set as far as you can. I did not approach that day. I was trying to digest the racism I felt. I heard people saying that looks does not matter. But in pick up it does. Your origin does. My self believe was shattered. Reality was showed to me………
[To be continued]