After my bestie Jackie and her dad, Henry, finish "tea" (British speak for dinner), I throw my toothbrush in a bag, mount my bike, and wave toodle-oo as I peddle away from the campground. Henry watches me confused, "Bloody hell? Where she off to?" I can't hear Jackie's explanation but it's probably not "to fuck a stranger from Tinder!"
I'm a grown-ass woman in her 40s here on family vacation with my fellow hoebag in crime , Jackie. Henry is her dad, not mine, so I can do what I want here. Of course I don't want this 81-year-old sweet British chap to worry about me getting murdered (though maybe I should be concerned about that). And I'd rather him not find out about my slutty ways. But I also don't give a fooooork anymore. I'm a later bloomer who escaped the lily white hellhole of purity culture—otherwise known as The South—long ago. The opinions of Boomers no longer affect me or my elderhoe lifestyle.
Within three hours of arriving at this family campsite on the French Riviera, which is across the water from the billionaire hotspot, Saint Tropez, I'm already about to get laid. Thanks to Tinder Plus (best 20 bucks I ever spent!) and four hours in the backseat of Henry's car getting here, I had plenty of time to ruthlessly vet tonight's date.
When I pull up to our romantic meeting spot (a supermarket parking lot) a French Fabio-looking fella is straddling his scooter in a button up exposing almost as much as no shirt at all would. I lock up my bike, do the bissou thing on each cheek, throw on his extra helmet and ride off into the hills like a dumb European cliche. When a wild javelina pig darts in front of his headlights—I wrap my hands even tighter around his stomach. With my cheek on his back and the hair spilling out of his helmet slapping my face senselessly, I feel so goddamn alive.
At his apartment, he pours some wine and rolls a big ole phatty. I haven't drank in 17 years, which French people shame me for relentlessly—but not Fabio. He's happy as we Netflix and chill and laugh for hours like ridiculous stoners over a Syrah for him and water for the lady. Eventually, he unties his man bun and spends what feels like an hour caressing every inch of the goosebumps on my body before heading downtown (despite the fact Aunt Flo is also in town). God I love French men and their consistent dedication to my pleasure. He asks me to stick my finger up his butt later on, which I do. Butt stuff doesn't bother me so long as he takes care of that area and pleases me on the front end.
The next morning I bike home in the same clothes I left in. To avoid any questions from Henry, I stop by the campground mini-mart, which sells everything from goggles and beach towels to foie gras and fresh croissants, then head back to camp with a baguette under my arm like a true Frenchie. "Look what I brought home from my morning walk!" I'm all prepared to say. I don't even have to though. Everyone's gone.
I find Jackie at the beach and we cackle over last night's adventure. She and I love to hoe around together back in Lyon, but on this family vacation, she's tapping out. Her focus is on relaxing, doing yoga, reading books, and getting in quality time with dad. She tells me about seeing an Elvis impersonator at the campground bar last night with Henry which I'm so bummed to have missed. "Oh and just to keep our stories straight," she says, "You were 'writing an article at an internet cafe' last night." Henry is so old, he says "texticate" instead of text and calls my iPhone "the tele" because he doesn't understand why phones have videos. This technology-based lie worked just fine I'm sure.
After a day of sunbathing I eat "tea" again with the fam and listen to old man stories in a Manchester accent so thick Jackie has to translate for me. At 9 p.m. she crawls into her sleeping bag.
By 10:30 p.m. my hot nerd date pulls up to the campground gate and I hop in his car. I ain't scared. He's so twink-ishly skinny, I could break him in half with my thighs. This time I'm smart enough to pack a bathing suit and sundress so I can come home tomorrow looking like I've been at the beach all morning instead of fucking a stranger in the hills. On our way to his place, I get so car sick he has to pull over so I can puke on the side of the road. He said he lived in the hills but not an hour away on windy ass roads. Instead of hooking up when we get to his place, we watch Netflix while he caresses my arm because I'm still nauseous (vomit breath is not a great aphrodisiac either). We do hook up in the morning despite me not being in the mood because a small part of me still thinks I owe men a prize for being decent human beings—damn you internalized patriarchy! We grab some coffee and croissants, check out some famous perfume museum I don't care about, and buy the French version of Dramamine then head to the car. He snaps the most Instagramable photo ever of me in front of pink umbrellas, which I use as my leading Tinder profile pic moving forward.
That afternoon I've got another Tinder date (I know), only this one would include a friend for Jackie and a goddamn yacht! It is St Tropez after all. Jackie gets all dolled up in lipstick and her cutest summer dress. I'm still a bit of a tomboy who doesn't even own heels, so I wet my hair in the sink, throw on an H&M dress I got on clearance, and head off with Jackie on our bikes. When a brand new black Mercedes pulls up at our meeting spot (another parking lot) and the tinted window rolls down—a late 20s hottie (who is most definitely borrowing daddy's car) asks if I'm Melanie. After telling us he's gonna go park—he drives off and never comes back.
Jackie and I have a good laugh over it. "Mel-nuy, you've gotta dress like a proper bitch for St Tropez!." She's right. Maybe I shouldn't have worn a dress with stains from this morning's coffee all over it. Whatevs. I've got an inbox full of younger men begging me to hang out with them. If there's one thing France has taught me, it's that women in their 40s are sexy as hell. In L.A., I thought I was unfuckable after 30. I love this place!
Hours later I'm on the beach with literally the hottest man I've ever matched with (we're only at three now—the one who ditched me doesn't count!) and he's actually funny. And nice! We talk for hours, swim for a bit, and laugh at YouTube videos from the US (he finds American culture to be both hilarious and terrifying). Because it's France, he has to leave to go have dinner with his family, so we make a plan to meet later that night. Before I head off for another all-night adventure, Jackie puts a pillow under my sleeping bag. "So Henry won't ask me where you are. He's starting to wonder why the hell you're at an internet cafe past midnight every day."
YouTube Guy is just so much fun. We laugh and make out and listen to music on a beach blanket he's brought. We make out while fireworks over Saint Tropez reflect on the water in front of us. He gets me off multiple times and hardly seems to care about his own pleasure. It's such a delightful change to be with men who focus on foreplay instead of using my birth canal as their surrogate right hand.
I get dropped off just after sunrise by the campground gate (these security people must have questions!). Armed with a bikini top and baguette alibi, I head home, prepared for an interrogation. Luckily Henry is sleeping off a hangover.
A crack in my vetting system the next night lands me back up in those fucking hills, car sick again, listening to a "bobo" (French for hipster) explain feminism to me.
The following night I hook up with a dude in his car (we're at five now in case you lost count), but when this becomes unnecessarily challenging (French cars are tiny!), we move to the beach. It's wild . As much as I like a little spicy change-up, he kills the mood entirely by bringing up his dying mom. If this dude hadn't gotten me off so many times I would have charged him for all that free therapy. Exhausted, I plan to take the next night off from Tinder.
Then I match with Model Guy.
Yes. A fucking model. I can't believe it either. And a hot, smart, funny one too! He's so thoughtful he brings not only four blankets, wine, and cut fruit, but Perrier for the non-drinking weirdo who moved to a country known for wine. After an amazing few hours, he has to go. New to Tinder, he was kinda scared to meet up late at night with a stranger, so he'd told a friend to call for help if he wasn't home by 1 a.m. Lest I leave this man thinking I'm a reckless hoe, I lie, "Oh yeah me too. Jackie will be worried sick if I'm not back by 2."
The Model would have been the perfect ending to a Tinder bender vacation, but I get a text from French Fabio. "You free tonight?"
We meet at our usual parking lot but go inside instead this time. He grabs sushi, two smoothies, and a motorcycle helmet because apparently, he'd forgotten the spare. When it comes time to pay he informs me of his master plan to steal the helmet by pretending it's his. "If they catch me, I'll say I forgot. I look like a stoner who'd forget, no?" Well, shocker, they caught him trying to walk away with an $80 helmet. They let him go with zero consequence.
Like old times, we smoke weed, watch Netflix and dine on cheap grocery store sushi that would surely offend any French woman. Unfortunately, he's a lazy lover this time around and even tries to make me feel like a burden—the way men who are afraid you might actually want to date them do. Don't flatter yourself, Fabio.
When I get home the next morning in my swimsuit, baguette tucked into my elbow, Henry asks me about my new "boyfriend." I look at Jackie for help. "It's ok, Mel-nuy. I told him all about your date last night with the guy you met at the internet cafe." I pretend to feel momentarily betrayed, then admit all bashful-like, "Yeah, he was sweet. A real gentleman." Henry says it's a shame I was out there "hunting the crumpet" (whatever the hell that means) because I missed Elvis last night.
Damnit! Missing French Elvis is the only regret I have from this bonkers week of hookup adventures (other than bobo guy) but at least this Fabio enguy doesn't count because it's a repeat.
You'd think I'd stop this Tinder tear with Fabio but no. I can't end my most epic Tinder bender ever on that note. So on my last night on the French Riviera, I ride my bike all the way around the bay to St Tropez, where Eurotrash with tiny dogs strut around in the most ridiculous outfits ever and gawk at the actual rich people on display like zoo animals, partying on their parked yachts.
Guy # 7 (a.k.a. Paddle Board Guy) and I screw on a cement floor in the rental shop he works at, surrounded by gear still sandy from his shift. I know this doesn't sound the least bit romantic but it kinda was. He's just the sweetest guy (seven is lucky after-all!), has actual muscles, and wants nothing more than to caress me until his fingers fall off.
And he gets a second chance to do just that! Because a month after I leave St Tropez, he passes through Lyon and stays with me the whole weekend. A few weeks later that model comes through town too! It's fabulous.
The day after Model Guy leaves, I go on my first date with a guy so special I don't give him a pseudo name. It's just Anthony. Less than a year later we get hitched. I know. Me . Married lol. But I have a new bestie to dude around and sleep with, a new dad of my own (my French father-in-law) and a partner who loves the shit out of me and accepts me for the elderhoe I truly am.
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