Grind Date No. 2: Antwerpen.
To start off, I want to say that I was trying to come up with a nickname for the guy and nothing really stood out. Is that a bad thing?
I arrived to Antwerp on the 10th of June. On my way there we stopped at other Belgian stations. They all seemed gloomy and desolate. I was not feeling this. But then, I saw the light. Rectangular pillars of light were welcoming the train to its final stop. It was as if we had time travelled into the future the last leg of the trip. I got out and everything was pretty and modern… and then one of the most beautiful train stations I’ve seen (personal opinion, but also, I guess this has been documented). I’d arrived in Antwerpen.
I quickly switched my gaze from the majestic building, to the locals. Most dressed in effortless fashion. I could clearly see why this is one of the fashion capitals of the world. This city was getting better by the second.
I bought some fries with curry ketchup (bad choice), figured out my bearings, and headed to the hostel. Twenty minutes later, I was at my Belgian home. The hostel had “character”. It wasn’t like the rest of Antwerp. Instead, I felt like I was somewhere in the middle east. It was somewhat run down, smokey, cluttered, and ran by a White guy and an Asian lady, both with unbelievably bad teeth, who were playing some card game and smoking a cigarette. They asked me to sit down and wait. I did. A few minutes later, I followed one of them four stories up (sans elevator, of course) to “the penthouse”. They didn’t actually call it “the penthouse”, but it was the top floor, and with significant renovations, the room could become quite nice. It wasn’t much different from the average hostel room: five sets of bunk beds, white sheets, nasty comforters, and even nastier pillows… there wasn’t, however, a locker, which is an issue being as I usually travel with plenty of valuables. I quickly devices a way to lock my bag to the bedframe, laid on the bed, and started planning my evening.
As usual per this trip, I logged on to grindr. I started talking to a few people. Within minutes I sort of had a date. He didn’t live in Antwerp, but he used to. At the moment, he lived about 20 minutes away, but he offered to come pick me up in his car and show me around. We exchanged numbers, and made plans to meet in a couple hours. I went downstairs to kill time and look up other things to do.
He texted me at about 20:30 saying he was close and for me to go outside. He picked me up in a very European hatchback and we drove to old city. We parked his car at some big theatre where he works, and walked around till we came to a bar called “delux”. It was a nice gay bar with an older crowd who immediately fixed their eyes upon me. It was somewhat funny. Me and ‘Antwerpen’ ordered drinks and had a pleasant conversation. He was very open about his sexual escapades… I wasn’t sure if he was hitting on me, gauging my reaction, or just being himself, either way it was fine.
After a couple rounds of drinks we ventured to the next destination, a place called, and forgive my forgetful brain, “hessenhuis”. This place was a bit more divey and the crowd was a bit more stereotypically gay. The music was camp and dancey. Again, I felt looks left and right. We kept talking effortlessly. I wasn’t initially attracted to him, nor was I planning on sleeping with him, but the alcohol was lessening my inhibitions, and enhancing his looks. He was approached by a handful of people, who he then told me he’d either slept with, or wanted to, or denied. I told him about ‘road head’, he told me about ‘prosthetic arm’. It was getting late and he needed to head back, so we walked to his car, and he dropped me off. I gave him a peck. Not sure if he wanted more, not sure if I wanted more, but so it was. I politely texted him thanking him for the night. We kept in touch for the next few days but I never saw him again.
That night, I got home to a mess of a hostel. One of the girls who works there, not the Asian lady with bad teeth, another Asian girl, was thoroughly inebriated, half naked, and threatening to kill herself. I tried helping the guy with the bad teeth talk some sense into her head, but it just kept getting exponentially worse. A group of Dutch kids showed up. They were young and a tad pretentious. They annoyed me. I went to bed. The next morning, same group of Dutch kids woke me up being excessively loud excessively early in the day. I didn’t get much sleep.