Samantha, Tiffany, and Miranda, were just a few of the aliases we used. We were in our early twenties but my best friend and I had already had been manipulated and lied to by so many men that we were sure honourable men no longer existed, only players. We decided to beat them, we had to play the game.
Travelling outside of our home city, we took to using fake accents and creating careers and stories to captivate our male audience. American men were easy targets for the French accent and one time we even created our own version of the French language altogether.
It happened one summer when we were visiting Ocean City, Maryland. It was so excruciatingly hot and humid during our visit that we almost killed each other at our campsite. We had feigned helplessness in order to have two young men put up our tents for us while we sat back having drinks and telling them how good they looked putting those tents up. We weren’t really lying The tent we had in 1987 involved steel poles and heavy material. If we had put it up, we would have looked like Lucille Ball and Ethel.
We barely slept that first sticky night so we reluctantly used our credit cards to pay for an expensive hotel and air conditioning. Once we found ourselves looking and behaving like humans again, we headed to a night club.
My cover for the evening was to be the French-speaking “Tatiana” from Montreal. My friend would use the alias “Miranda” and she would be from Toronto. We decided to make her my bilingual translator. We found the perfect spot to stand, where we could see the dance floor and were close to the bar yet far enough away from the tables so others could not hear us when we spoke English to each other. We were scoping out the room and – oh, my god – there seemed to be an unusual number of extremely tall and muscular guys. Did I mention my weakness for football players?
We had a few guys come over but they didn’t stick around long once they realized I couldn’t speak English. But then two young men sidled up who felt my language barrier would be to their advantage. They were about 22 and of average stature, the runts of the litter that night. I’ll call them Mike and Randy. They would ask ridiculous questions and Miranda would pretend to translate them:
“At what age do they teach French girls how to French kiss?”
“Are french fries her favourite food?”
“Has she ever slept with an American before?”
Miranda “translated” these idiot questions using fabricated words and I responded with my own garble, throwing in the occasional “n’est pas … bien” and anything else I could remember from the Grade 9 French I failed. Their conversation skills were sorely lacking and after 15 minutes they had not offered to buy us a drink, so Miranda gave up and headed to the bar to get us something.
As I stood there alone with them, they openly discussed their intentions of bringing me back to their hotel and how they were going to show this French girl how much better American men were in bed compared to nice Canadian boys (which was ironic since I had yet to meet a nice one myself). They were also pretty sure that having sex with a French woman was equivalent to being with a porn star.
I truly think I missed my calling as an actor because hiding the fact I fully understood everything they were saying took enormous restraint. I resolved to make them look like idiots somehow. I smiled at Mike and he asked me if I wanted to dance. I cocked my head like a puppy and shrugged my shoulders. He started to sway his hips and move his bent elbows back and forth in a pumping motion.
I looked at him quizzically, pretending to still not understand what he wanted. So he wriggled more awkwardly then he had before and threw his neck into the mix. I wasn’t sure if he was imitating a chicken or had fire ants in his pants. But it suddenly became entertaining. Then he started yelling, in case somehow I would be able to understand English if he was louder, “Do you want to dance?”
Common sense was also not one of his qualities. I stood there quietly, smiled and said, “No compris.”
He was not about to give up. So he moved faster in a jerking motion, spilling his beer and then twirled himself around and threw down his right arm as he spun back in front of me. Fred Astaire would have been appalled. Then Mike pointed to me, then to himself, then to the dance floor. He did this pointing and dancing pattern at least three times. Then Randy decided to help and started swaying awkwardly and spilled his beer on a waitress as she walked by. I noticed more and more people were staring and laughing. Miranda headed back with our drinks smiling the entire time.
The DJ stopped the music and addressed Mike and Randy over the microphone. “Hey guys, do you want to take your moves onto the dance floor. The waitresses don’t want you having your spasms by the bar.”
Two large bouncers showed up and told them it was time to leave. I didn’t hide my victory smile as I used the universal sign for “good-bye boys” and waved to them as they were escorted out.
Miranda placed a drink in my hand and I explained what happened. We enjoyed a good laugh, and as we turned around, we were shocked to see two good-looking men towering over us. One had dark hair and resembled Superman. He handed me a drink and said, “This is to thank you.”
I took the drink but did not answer and quietly mumbled, “Merci.”
Superman smiled at me and raised his left eyebrow. “I know you can speak English. My friend and I have been standing back here watching the two of you all night. We’ve never been so entertained and laughed so hard at a night club before. Thank you.”
I looked at Miranda and using English, I thanked him for the drinks. I even asked him if he wanted to dance but he chuckled hard. “Absolutely not! My best moves are on the football field.”
Oh, Bloody Hell! I thought. Well, maybe this one will be different.
Janine Vincent lives in Burlington, Ontario, with her husband, son and two dogs. Her passion for writing has been with her from childhood. With a visual imagination and life experience, she strives to create stories and characters you will either love, hate or perhaps just empathize with. Brian Henry’s workshops and classes have ignited a love of short stories.
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