The stories people tell. In this case, the storyteller was a 25-year-old client service agent at the luxury resort where I am staying. He sat down to chat after I ordered lunch on the beach, to tell me of all the things I should do as a first-time visitor to Barbados: Harrison’s Cave, snorkeling and swimming with turtles, and Bridgetown’s finest fish fry, Oistin.
Looking toward the ocean a father and son cliff dive off Crane Point. He shares a story about how three friends climbed to the cliff to jump and how one friend who was clearly afraid, hesitated. “He jumped into the wind and then tumbled into a wave filled with sand. We found his body, a floater three days later.”
Next, he shares a love story. A regular visitor to the resort, a woman and known multi-millionaire had fallen in love with a male guest. The couple would rendezvous every year at the same time. Except the last time, when the millionaire found the gentleman in bed with another woman. So heartbroken she drowned herself in the pools on the South side of the resort.
Something tells me these are not the stories management is hoping their staff will share with its guests.
Cultural immersion is something of which I have genuine interest, so I ask about Bajan life, where to find local artists and how to experience life on the island as a non-tourist. His eyes lightt up and subconsciously I understand he is thinking this is his chance. Within seconds the conversation turns to questions about why I’m here, the dating life and seemingly innocent inquiries into romance. He waxes poetic about women on the island and his disbelief as to why so many ladies (unclear of nationality, but I infer that he meant Americans) come to the resort alone. He shared the dating culture and lingo of Barbados, and referred to the Bajan sex addiction—fact or fantasy is anyone’s guess—as if that would be a carrot at the end of a stick.
He continues his monologue, casually mentioning his preference for mature women over the ’young Millennials’ on the island so engrossed in their phones and photos. He boasts showing other lady guests a night on the town at The Gap, a nightlife area with live music and dancing. (For the record, The Gap is known as an unsavory location for female tourists to travel alone and as fellow travel blogger JackieJetsOff notes, is rife with street harassment.) With a conspiratorial glance, perhaps encouraged by my silence, he shares how one lady guest had shown a romantic interest and taken him out for dinner. He then casually drops how he can easily maintain a long-distance relationship. He doesn’t even notice when I #smh.
I was enjoying the attention, and did little to deter the flirtation, including sharing my What’s App but even a fool could see where this was going. When he reached out a few hours later I was anything but surprised. And the shirtless profile only confirmed just how young he really was. He could have easily been my son, if I had had children. I have no interest assuming the role of cougar, so when he texted “I just got home, message me when u are ready” as an invitation for dinner, I kindly declined and wished him well.