Ladies, lift your hands if you haven’t thought of how romantic it would be to meet the man of your life on a train, or on a boat. Or, given the globetrotters we all are by now, on a plane. Last year I went on a dating trip called “The love train”, where 100 single men and 100 single women were put on the same train leaving from King’s Cross Station and headed to York, in the hope that some love stories might blossom during the journey. Well, if they did, they blossomed for others (just for a change), so I have kind of abandoned idealising the train. But airplanes, well, they still retain their charme.

Here I am in Stansted, ready to board my flight to Lisbon, already on a holiday mood, and while queueing at the boarding gate I spot this black guy sitting on a chair, reading a book. Two details got my attention:  the fact he is wearing a wool hat, a proper winter hat, despite the fact it’s April, and that when our eyes meet he smiles at me a very broad, very sweet, very genuine (also very white) smile.
On the plane, he’s sitting two rows in front of me, and I occasionally cast some glances at him, to check what he’s drinking, if he’s sleeping, if he goes to the toilet, which could be a good chance to go and start a conversation (ok, don’t ask me now what I would have said, but I’m pretty sure I would have come up with something witty and funny). However, he stays on his seat all flight long and, more importantly, his wool hat stays on his head all flight long. This gets me even more curious… What is he hiding under that hat? Two long blond braids?Very unlikely. Is he hiding a partial Voldemort like that teacher in the first movie of Harry Potter? Possible, but difficult…  
We land in Lisbon, and Portugal welcomes us with about 30 °C. And yet, my black guy with the killer smile is still wearing the wool hat!
While we are both waiting for the luggage, I tell myself that it’s kind of now or never, if I have to at least satisfy my curiosity of what’s hiding under that hat, if not behind that smile.
We pick our luggage and we both head out of the airport at the same time.

“It’s now or never”, repeats my little voice, so I turn to him with a smile and I say: “Hi, sorry but you got me really curious. I can understand the wool hat in London, because it was a bit chilly, but have you noticed that there are like 30 °C here?” Again that big, open smile, and he tells me that he is badly in need of a haircut and didn’t want to show his messy hair. “Oh, come on, don’t make me go home curious, show it at least to me!”, I flirt. (By the way, you are free to use the sentence: “Oh, come on, don’t make me go home curious, show it at least to me!” to obtain other results. Try it, you might be surprised!). I manage to convince him, and while he takes his hat off I’m expecting a cascade of half loose dreadlocks, from his description. Instead, only 3 cm of curly jet black hair make their appearance. And then they say that vanity is woman!

We start chatting. He is Portuguese, living in Southampton, just come to Lisbon to see his family for a week, and his name is Pina. “Like Pina Colada?”, I inquire, and yes, so it seems.
He asks me if I’m there for work or pleasure, I explain that I’m visiting a friend, who will be working during the day, but it’s ok because I have also brought some work with me. In no time, giving me a very good first impression of Portuguese men, he asks for my number so that he can show me around his city when my friend is busy.

The best part of the story is probably my friend’s face when the taxi drops me in front of her house, and I tell her: “I already got a guy’s number and have a date with him”. My holiday couldn’t have started better.

Unfortunately, things become less interesting afterwards. Pina wrote me already that day, checking when I could be free, and we decided to meet up two days later. We got a drink, joined later on by my friend, after I reassured her that it was not a proper date. There didn’t seem to be any sexual tension, and I also felt like I was doing most of the work in making the conversation flow. The guy that so promptly asked for my number two minutes into our conversation at the airport didn’t seem to match with the quite controlled, self-contained, a bit shy guy sitting in that Rua with us.
It was a friendly evening, yes, but didn’t feel anything else. He asked me out again in the following days, but I didn’t feel interested enough to make time to meet him while I had work, a friend to catch up with (and to introduce to the bizarre world of Tinder and to the even more bizarre world of Christian Dating!) and a whole beautiful city to explore.

He is still texting me once in a while, saying that he enjoys talking with me, but I am a bit buffled by what thrill can someone get from a rich exchange like “Hi”, “Ciao”,”How are you? “Good, and you?” “Same here”.
So, well, a bit of a shame: an exotic beauty, an exotic name… but I’m more interested in Pimms & Lemonade.


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