Amour-cation or Heartbreak Hotel?

photo (35)As we ease into the second half of the summer, I keep hearing about “staycations,” due to the economic situation it even appears that the holiday-addicted French are also taking on this trend. There are so many things going on in Paris (many outlined in my last post), you can’t really blame les Parisiens and expats for staying in the city… but what if there was another, economic and even amorous alternative: the “amour-cation?”

How can we define an amour-cation? I suppose, like any type of trip, there are different categories (some described below), nevertheless, finding “some loving” away from home is either the main goal or sometimes the unexpected result of the trip (romantic getaways with your cheri/e and sex tourism do not fit into this classification). I’ve had varying degrees of amour-cation success in the past, some readers of my book can think of Valentino and Dean while blog readers may recall the Catalan – all entertaining examples if nothing else. There can’t be a more perfect time for amour-cation than the summer and thus the idea of this blog stemmed from various summer holiday “romancing” stories from les fellows filles.

The first came up a few weeks ago while catching up over a glass of wine with fellow fille Maude. I was, of course, very curious to hear if she had any online dating updates and did I ever get a good laugh out of her answer.  Besides getting solicited several times by younger, married men, Maude had been contacted by other actually single men whom might have  seemed promising… on the surface. Alas, these wishful suitors were not even based in Paris, but in the U.S! Though never fear… for them, the distance wasn’t a problem at all, they were prepared to come to Paris, that is on holiday… and to stay for free with Maude! Oh la la! I don’t think they were planning on sleeping on her comfy sofa! They were seeking the package deal: a full fledged BED and breakfast, plus with they probably wanted her to act as their tour guide during the day! We both hmpfed over the audacity of their proposal.

However, when this story came up during a picnic with French gals Orél and Clém, they both thought that this wasn’t such a bad idea at all. Clém was thinking of really trying out online dating after our gut-busting trial run and Orél was debating trying it as well. Low on amour options in Paris, why not have someone come from abroad? Plus, they rationalized it would help them practise their English (free classes!). I wasn’t totally convinced this was the best way for the sort of linguistic workout they claimed they were after, but it did make me see this sort of amour-cation in another, more positive, light.

beach housesThen the subject came up with Rose last week when I was up in London (I suppose I was on an amour-cation of sorts too – not with Rose!). An adventurous traveler, Rose has often resorted Couch Surfing in order to extend her trip budget and save on accommodation. I’ve always been a little wary of C.S., immediately thinking that the male hosts must be hoping that cute girl guests Bed Surf instead of Couch. Rose tried to persuade me of the contrary, apparently she has stayed with mostly complete gentlemen–except this one…

Three years ago she was doing a big trip around Italy. Having never been to the north, she was thrilled to find a Couch Surfing host based on Garda Lake. He seemed like a nice guy; was in his late 30s, recently divorced, liked gardening and, as she would soon find out, other naturalistic pursuits. Arriving at his place, the grand tour finished up with “and here’s my bed, you can sleep here, or there is this other one” (should “recently divorced” not have set off a few alarm bells?). She plopped her backpack down on bed #2.

Knowing she was eager to relax at the lakeside, her friendly host offered to take her to the beach which within walking distance. She quickly got ready and off they went. As the were approaching the lake he declared: “We could go to this first beach, but it’s not so nice.” Eying it up, it was indeed crowded and also a little dirty, so on they continue to beach #2.

They rounded a corner and sure enough, there was the beautiful pristine and empty beach–how perfect! They set down their towels and starting basking up the rays, it was perfect paradise. Rose dosed off a little and when she opened her eyes she immediately noticed that the landscape had populated. To her right was a rather large, swimming-truck-less man and next to him was his top and bottomless overly tanned and wrinkly companion. What a fright! Turning to her left, her eyes widen even further upon spotting the bare behind of her host, at least a more appealing sight than the first! He’d taken her to a nudist beach! Yikes!

photo 4 (3)Then the older women gave her a look of death and mumbling something in Italian Rose could only understand as disapproval of her swimsuit-clad body. Would she have to give into peer pressure? Rose was a little perplexed by this all, nevertheless, was practically stuck  staying with Mr Nudo. He didn’t put any moves on that first night, but after another day at the beach… bed #2 might not have been slept into on night #2, a dinner out at a local Agriturismo “B&B” sealed the deal…

Surprises or expectations met, a little amour-cation can be just what the doctor order for anyone having a long staycation at the Heartbreak Hotel!

Do you have any funny amour-cation stories? post them in the comments or email me!

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