It is a late summer evening six years ago. I am still young, free and single. I am standing at the checkout of my local Albert Heijn super market. The young and attractive Dutch girl in front of me beeps the ingredients of my pasta dinner over her scanner. I decide to show off a little and talk to her in Dutch.
“Mag ik een tasje?” I ask.
With a smile she reaches under the counter and gives me the requested bag. The rest of our little flirtation continues in Dutch as she asks the usual questions; do I have a bonus card, would I like to pay with cash, would I require a receipt. I reply to all her questions with my perfect Dutch vocabulary. Slowly our brief little moment comes to pass. I am about to leave but then…
“I have to ask. Are you English?” she suddenly asks.
The poor girl. She is obviously powerless against my irresistible English charm. I turn back to her with a smile. There is still a long line of people waiting to be served but all she must be able to think about is the terrible feeling of knowing she let me walk out of her life without getting my phone number. Maybe my dinner for one was about to become a dinner for two.
“Yes I am.” I reply with my best ‘I’m British so I’m as smooth as James Bond’ smile.
“Rightttttt. You’re accent is horrible. You should never talk Dutch again.” And without another word she starts serving the next customer.
My ‘smooth as James Bond’ smile suddenly becomes an ‘awkward as Hugh Grant’ stammer. After a few stunned seconds I decide to leave… quickly.