“By the way, your sushi sucked,” I slurred to the handsome chef as he painstakingly assembled a spicy tuna roll. I was three martinis deep at this point, and batting my eyes so furiously at my prey that I’m sure he thought I’d lost a contact.
The fact that this offensive line actually worked should have been a red flag. But his easy smile, dewy skin and broad muscular frame amounted to precisely the kind of vacation this New Yorker needed while in Park City, Utah, on a break from the hardworking (and harder partying) men that populate the Big Apple.
New York girls are particularly vulnerable to the charms of, for lack of a better term, vacation sex. Manhattan has its share of eligible men, but in a city where a hotter girl is literally just around the corner, getting their attention can be a challenge (yes, there are plenty of fish in any big city’s proverbial sea, but we have Brazilian models swimming in ours). I think that’s why out-of-town New York girls seek refuge in the arms of rural Romeos.
The trouble with vacation sex lies in making sure to actually, well, vacate. Because as any woman who’s actually pursued a relationship with a scuba instructor/boat skipper/safari guide knows, things look different in the harsh city lights. You may have a massive crush on him when he’s in his element, but invite him to dinner at Le Cirque, and all of a sudden he’s hiding his killer quads in acid wash jeans, or taking off his sexy cowboy hat to reveal male pattern baldness. A vacation fling, ideally, should expire along with your ski pass.
Which brings me back to the spicy tuna I’d hooked. Over the course of a weekend, I fell in lust. In addition to slinging sushi, I learned, he was also a farmer, which inspired a vivid fantasy montage in which he and I engaged in hours of literal and figurative hay-rolling. He may have been a divorced Mormon who had never left the state or gone to college, but none of that mattered in the world of my imagination. As he was recounting a story about branding cattle, I worked a “Yeah, baby–brand me right there!” scene into my ever-expanding farm fetish script.
I’m sure that some women are able to meet guys while on vacation, indulge in a fleeting fantasy, and leave it at that. Others, like me, just can’t help themselves (you fall into this category if you know how it feels to have sex with a snowboard digging into your back). And it’s easier than you think to take it too far–combine one too many rom-coms with rock-hard mountaineer abs, and voilà! You’re toting a guy who says “ain’t” and wears bolo ties through the urban jungle. (Think Crocodile Dundee, only in this case, cowboy boots don’t read “fuck me” so much as “mug me.”)
I was sensible enough to know that Crocodile Sushi wouldn’t last two seconds were he to visit me in Manhattan, but that didn’t stop me from getting on a plane to see him a month later. Suddenly, the guitar permanently slung across his chest (with which he performed songs for me in public, despite explicit lyrics and interruptions like, “Sorry babe, haven’t finished that verse yet. … What rhymes with sexy?”) was not so irresistible. Neither were his stories about fixing fences. The few weeks I’d spent back in New York had snapped me back to reality, reminding me that I love the city, that I need a partner who challenges me and that nothing makes me more uncomfortable than being sung to. (Faking the heartfelt enjoyment of a hideous serenade is harder than faking an orgasm.)
Look, I know that these guys are just as misguided as women are in expecting lasting love from a far-flung fling. But having watched every single movie with the sexy-country-boy-meets-no-nonsense-city-girl plot line, I’m convinced that the only ticket you should buy when it comes to the real-life scenario is sold on Fandango, not Expedia. Differences can be overcome and distances can be bridged, but nine times out of ten, the allure of vacation sex will fade even faster than your tan–or temporary henna tattoo. Next time, I’ll order my sushi from Haru.