It was a cold winters night in Amsterdam just a few weeks ago. She looked at me and smiled. I returned her smile and looked away shyly, not sure what to say or do. The first flakes of white snow started to fall as we walked side by side. I had only just met her 15 minutes before but I already felt like I knew so much about her. She looked into my eyes, told me she would like to see me again and offered me her phone number. With the blizzard of snow falling around us it was all quite magical….
At least it would have been if she had not been older than my mother, had an accent that was hard to understand, far too open and trusting with details about her personal life and making me feel very, very awkward indeed. However she had asked me to help her carry her heavy shopping on and off the tram and I was trying to be polite. She almost forcefully tried to make me memorize her phone number before leaving. I politely made an excuse and quickly left for the train when she tried to get me to take the bus with her.
However this is not the strangest situation of someone trying to pick me up. The strangest was another night in Amsterdam before Christmas. I was waiting for a train home with my flat mate but he had quickly gone to another platform to find a toilet.
“Is dit het spoor voor Haarlem ?” Asked the elderly gentleman who had just approached me.
“Yes it is.” I replied in English.
He looked a little strange with his bushy gray beard, white woolen coat and the set of gold window blinds he was carrying. He was surprised to realize I was English and started chatting to me because he said he liked to practice his language skills.
He was on his way to a friends birthday party. The blinds were a present which he had painted himself. According to his stories he was an artist of some fame. then at one point he took out what looked like a snuff tin, started to tip its contents onto his hand and then licked it off. He asked me if I wanted some but I turned down the strange offer. It was at this point it suddenly dawned on me. This eccentric dutch artist was a gay eccentric dutch artist and he was trying to pick me up.
Finally my flat mate returned and seemed to catch on quicker then I had. I think he enjoyed watching me trying to deal with the embarrassing situation. When the train arrived the eccentric artist got on with us and started to excitedly tell us stories about himself. He became more animated as he did so.
Eventually we parted ways. Some of the stories he told us seemed true, others may have been exaggerations and the rest I’m not sure were true at all. However, some of his stories made it sounded like his life had be hard. This made me feel bad that my first reaction to him (when I realized what was going on) was to panic a little (I don’t think of myself as homophobe). He was eccentric, maybe a little crazy but in the end he was a harmless, friendly old man. However I think it goes with out saying that it remains the strangest story of someone flirting with me.