This post was contributed by Cassy Martinez.
I have a confession: I kinda went on a Tinder bender in Barcelona. Lo siento, mamá. Having just embarked on my first solo trip abroad, I was like a kid in a candy store. Over the course of my week in BCN, my occasional swiping escalated into a full-blown addiction. One night over dinner, I even revamped some of my new hostel homies’ Tinder profiles. That totally counts as charity, right? After spending my days falling in love with Gaudi and searching for the best tapas in town, I would indulge in a Tinder nightcap. I swiped feverishly from my bunk bed at Hostel One Paralelo, determined to match with every smoldering Spaniard I scrolled across. Spoiler alert: Barcelona has a lot of ‘em. This led to kissing a lot of frogs. Or at least meeting them for a drink. The bender began with Romain, a Frenchman living in Barcelona who proactively introduced himself by sliding into my DMs on Instagram. Author’s note: This only works if you’re as sexy as Romain.
We met up for questionably strong margaritas in the dark and windy alleys of The Gothic Quarter, and I was smitten. His unkempt hair, sexy stubble and thick French accent had me so smitten in fact, that I totally missed that he just wasn’t that into me. Three or four margs and some very French kissing later, Romain ended up literally disappearing while we were dancing to Snoop Dogg at Jamboree. The good old fashion grind-and-ditch.
Needless to say, I was shook. But instead of shaking me off Tinder, I doubled down.
It was during a night out at Oveja Negra that I took things up a notch, or twelve. Giulio was a gorgeous Sicilian skateboarder getting his PhD in Philosophy, and I didn’t waste time with pleasantries. Upon reading my demure and tasteful message telling him to “come make out,” he skateboarded over to the bar and the rest is history.
Over the next few days, Giulio and I fell in travel-love. You know the kind. I popped back into my hostel here and there — primarily to shower and re-apply deodorant, but spent most of my time with G. Smell ya later, bunkmates — I was boo’d up, boo’d up.
While I may be a romantic at heart, I’m still a realist. No matter how great Giulio was at making me pasta in bed, the fact of the matter was he lived 6,000 miles away and was, arguably, still in love with his ex …So let’s just say, I was keeping my options open.
Fast-forward to my last night in Barcelona. I envisioned a night filled with a questionable amount of tequila and dancing until the sun came up, but Giulio had other plans. And who could blame him? I was on my Eat-Pray-Love tip, and he had class in the morning. In my defense, Tuesday is a perfectly normal day of the week to dance on a table when you’re in vacay mode. What follows can only be prefaced with “it seemed like a good idea at the time…”
In a case of being the type of gal who likes to have her cake and eat it too, I double-booked my last night in Barca with back-to-back dates. The plan was to meet up with Giulio for one last night of pretending he was my boyfriend, before hitting up the discoteca with a dusted off Tinder match that was down to dance. What could go wrong?!
As the double-date got closer, I grew anxious. A covert plan of this thotty nature required commitment, and I still couldn’t even commit on the shoe I wanted to wear. Sneaker for the walk, or heels for the club?! UGH.
The first half of the evening went off without a hitch. Despite the insane self-sabotage at play, I miraculously found myself really enjoying G and I’s last night together. That was until I f***ed everything up.
The fatal flaw occurred when I asked Giulio how to get to the bar I was meeting Date #2 at. See, I had told him I was going dancing — but fibbed about with who. Being the stand-up skater he is, he insisted on walking me to the bar.
Cue: internal screaming.
As we got closer to our destination, we made several pit-stops for gum, Kleenex, anything that bought me time. Eventually, I accepted the horrific self-induced situation and trudged on. This was gonna be messy.
With my heart in my stomach, we turned the corner and there he was, Date #2. He was waiting for me outside the bar, smoking a cigarette. In those crucial next few seconds, several things transpired:
- I realized Date #2 was shorter than me… Crap.
- I told Giulio Date #2 was a weirdo from my hostel. Yes, I know I’m going to hell.
- I quickly introduced them and dragged Giulio inside, as far away from each other as I could muster.
In that awkward moment, I realized this may be the last time I’d see Giulio. Even though we were “just casual” from the start, there’s something special about a travel romance. I was gonna miss him and his six-pack. With one eye trained on Date #2 standing outside, I kissed G goodbye. But not before telling him to keep his ringer on when he went to bed. You know, just in case.
Once Giulio was out of sight, I collected Date #2 on the sidewalk. Bless his soul, Jean was still smoking his cigarette, a bit bewildered but still very down for the discoteca. He was a Creative Director visiting from Paris, who wanted to see what all the fuss about American women was about.
I towered over him in sneakers and felt zero spark between us, but I had committed. The more Mojitos I sipped, the tinier my urge to go to the bathroom and never come back became. So, at least there was that.
After a couple rounds, we made our way to Macarena Club. Hidden in a nondescript alleyway and behind two sets of soundproof doors, the teeny-tiny discoteca has a capacity of 80 and is home to one of Barcelona’s best dancefloors — I was on cloud 9.
I came down to Earth slightly as Jean repeatedly tried to grind up behind me, with the top of his head just brushing my shoulders. As I did my best to avoid Jean’s persistent Parisian hips, I realized I should’ve done the Macarena alone that night.
When Jean wasn’t chasing me down the dancefloor, he was a pretty nice guy. After consuming as much alcohol as we had, conversation flowed easily and we made fast friends with some other party animals — including a very drunk girl who really wanted to make out with both of us, at once.
The best and worst part about going clubbing in sneakers is your feet never start to hurt. While clubbing in heels usually leads to calling it a night early and taking two Tylenol before bed, partying in shoes designed for you to run marathons in basically means there’s a chance you’re gonna party until the sun comes up. So I did.
Jean and I found ourselves saying goodbye on Las Ramblas at five in the morning. Turns out Jean’s lips were just as persistent as his hips, and he tried his darnest to sneak a kiss goodbye. Sorry Jean, I had another Tinderfella on the brain.
Turns out Giulio kept his ringer on that night.
Meet Cassy: When she’s not checking her Tinder matches, Cassy is the founder and CEO of LadyLab, a community for boss ladies to connect and collaborate. Her greatest travel romances took place in Barcelona, Berlin, and Rome. She prefers traveling solo, so there’s no evidence. Keep up with her on IG!
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