The Time I Almost Had a Ménage à Trois In France

This post was contributed by Austin Dalley. 


It was a late September evening. The air was bright with the scent of Mediterranean evergreens wafting through the slats of my shutters, and as the sun drove below the waves, the lights in the city of Nice flickered on one by one just like the stars in the deepening sky.

And boy was I in the mood. That kind of mood.

For some backstory; I had landed in Nice to stay there until I found a longer term arrangement in the south of France. I had a short time in the city so I had to work fast; my days comprised of me getting coffee at 8 or 9, writing in a notebook for a few hours, a cheap lunch at noon (I thank the gods for pain bagnat), then every other waking hour after that lying in my Airbnb on my laptop making as many digital connections and sending as many applications as my fingers could humanly type. My bank account wouldn’t allow me to just hop Airbnb’s endlessly, so with the exception of a day or so to explore the city and acquaint myself, I begrudgingly kept myself on lockdown despite the flawless weather and endless sea breezes floating through my window. And that included not seeing any local young men until I achieved my goal of getting my sh!t slightly more together.

But for better or worse, I always underestimate my natural drive, and a few days in I knew I had to break free and meet with someone. So on that clear, idyllic night, I opened that little black and gold icon and started to search. I know, I know, I resorted to using a hook up app instead of actually going out and meeting someone at a bar or club. I’m disappointed too. But the fact of the matter is, I’m naturally shy and breaking out of my shell is something I’m still working on. Every time I’ve gone to a bar by myself, I end up getting a drink, making eye contact with someone cute across the way, not saying a word because I get nervous, then finishing my drink and leaving. Suave, I know. So I resort to apps, because their efficiency is frankly hard to beat.

After a few minutes I found my guy for the night: dirty blond, 5’10”, green eyes, and less than a mile away. We messaged to get a little acquainted, and eventually he told me to meet him in la ville vieux, the old city of Nice. I thought it a bit odd because I didn’t think the old city was as far as his profile noted he was, but it still was a quick walk from where I was staying, so I thought nothing of it. Minutes later the night air was tousling my hair as I made my way from the new city to the old one, every step bathed in the gold of the street lights and smelling ever so lightly of the salt from the sea.

Once I hit the old city I found my way to a café I had been to before, and casually stood outside to connect to their wifi (they were closed and I needed a connection, don’t judge me). I messaged that I was in le centre ville. His response? “Parfait, je vais apprendre l’adresse de l’autre mec et te dit bientôt.”

Which, for you french beginners, “Perfect, I’m going to learn the address of the other dude and tell you soon.” I let out an audible putain.

We hadn’t discussed another dude. I casually inquired, to which he replied that he wasn’t able to host, so he found another guy to host and we’d just have a threesome. “C’est bien, non?” Now, I have nothing against threesomes conceptually. Many people participate in them regularly and I’m sure they really enjoy them. But personally I never had enough of a desire to initiate one, and at that moment I definitely hadn’t mentally prepared for one to begin in less than 10 minutes. But despite my initial hesitance, I decided not to back out. I had gotten dressed, I was already out, and I mean life is for the experiences, right? He sent me the address and I made my way through the twisting 17th century streets toward this new sexual adventure.

Guy number three was lazily leaning out his window as I arrived. Opening his building door I saw this mystery guy closely for the first time; he certainly wasn’t bad looking, but he wasn’t as cute as my dirty blond. “Il a une grosse bite” he had assured me when he sent me the address. Climbing a stairway that smelled of ancient plaster and opening a well worn door, we entered a stunning refurbished apartment. Hardwood floors, tasteful modern art, reclaimed vintage furniture, windows that overlooked one of the main streets of la ville vieux. But my original boy was nowhere to be seen. I tried breaking the ice by talking about the apartment, which promptly backfired as my French was still rusty and his English was even worse.

Five minutes passed, then ten.

Dirty blond still hadn’t shown up, and he wasn’t answering either of our messages. By this point the awkward in the air was as thick as this guy’s cologne. Son of a b!tch I thought as I leaned in to kiss him, because at that point, there was nothing left to do.

We messed around for a while, never getting too intense as we were both subconsciously waiting for our third. Eventually we took a break so neither of us would finish before he got there. After a bit of pillow talk, I felt my eyes getting heavier…

I woke up about an hour later. With monsieur grosse bite asleep, I took this as my chance to just ditch this mess. Dirty blond never came, and he was the one I had wanted to see in the first place. I crawled around the floor to search for my clothes, not bothering to lace my boots. After a couple minutes I had found everything…except my phone. Where would I even have put it other than my pocket? I stepped around the apartment trying so hard to be graceful, only to stumble on one of my loose shoelaces and slam my shin into a coffee table. On that coffee table was my phone. A sign from the gods, or something. But the challenges weren’t over yet.

As I finally went to leave, I ran into the greatest puzzle of all Americans in France: the door. A twisting knob? Never. Back into the apartment I searched for some kind of key, password, magic button, anything. Hanging on a coat rack I saw a necklace with an antique looking key. What are the odds I thought, grabbing it and sticking it into the keyhole. With a little coaxing, the door opened; whether that was actually the key or just a hiptser necklace that I forced to work, I’m still not really sure. But I was finally free. I hit the stairs and was out into the night once again, homeward bound.

The next morning, I went to the app. It said dirty blond was now over 100 miles away. Intrigued, I sent him a message. “So…last night?” Barely a minute later, he responded “Hey, sorry, my phone died so I went home because I had to leave the city today and wanted to sleep.” A thousand possible comebacks flipped through my head, but I decided to keep things polite. “C’est pas grave.”

Within the next couple of days I landed an au pair gig in Marseille. As I finished packing my things and prepared to haul my things down the stairs, I got a message. Dirty blond. “Je suis en Nice encore. Tu es dispo?” I cracked a smile. “Peut être. Juste si on peut avoir un ménage à trois.”


Meet Austin: a 24 year old from California that, after yearning to live and work in Europe for most of my life, finally made the leap and, you know, shut up and went. Keep up with his writing and adventures on IG. 

Follow us