Editor’s Note: This story is brought to you by Jordan Nadler (@Nadleresque), the wunderkind behind French Medicine. Today, Jordan loses her douchebag storytelling virginity, proving, once and for all, that she has a true calling in life. Enjoy.
Fact: Going surfing with a French male model is a TERRIBLE idea if you are aggressively bad at surfing and haven’t mastered the “sexy drown.”
Once Upon A Time I was sleeping with a male model I met on Tinder this summer because I sporadically pepper my life with unfortunate decisions. His profession would be completely irrelevant if it wasn’t for the fact that his face was everywhere when we met. After the clusterfuck that was our last week together, I couldn’t even walk into a pharmacy to buy a tube of toothpaste without seeing his squinty-eyed mug selling moderately luxurious shaving cream. It was like God’s way of physicalizing the fact that my questionable choices in men do, in fact, haunt me.
We met at a bar in January for our first date, hung out for a few hours, had non-remarkable conversation, kissed and called it a night. Then we both started dating other people. Then we both stopped dating other people. Then we started sleeping together. Like in Shakespeare.
Fast-forward six weeks:
It was the beginning of July when he invited me to come up to his native Bretagne, in the north of France, for five days. Though he had never been much of a conversationalist, in Paris we had always managed to find common ground – and if not, we found the bed. In fact, we had just spent the better part of a week together during France’s worst heat wave in ten years. Besides the moments we were both at work, or the afternoon we spent literally inside the Trocadero fountain, most of that week we were half-naked in my apartment, eating popsicles and trying not to melt into the furniture.
To make a very long story short, this wasn’t an emotional set-up. However, we had been spending a decent amount of time together and it was fun for what it was. Yet the moment we stepped off the train in Bretagne, the biggest and most bizarre transformation of a human being I have ever witnessed took place. Let me reinstate – he had asked me to come with him. And then he proceeded to spend the next few days completely ignoring me, or dropping me off with his friends as though I was his child, while he went off to do construction projects for his neighbors. We had spent six weeks shacking up together in Paris and everything was fine, but the second we got off that train, Jekyll turned into Hyde.
On the third day, boy-model, in the midst of his silent treatment, decided to go surfing. He kind of asked me if I wanted to go, kind of told me we were going. I lost my ability to have opinions during those five days because I was in a sort of prolonged state of shock that someone could be so strange and rude and fucking quiet…
I only had a bikini with me. I also had on a full face of make up, but that wasn’t going to stop me. We drove to the beach and walked to the surf area, where he – as per the theme of the trip – immediately disappeared. So I – as per the theme of the trip – stood around awkwardly, smiling at people while remotely hoping he had not taken off in his car, never to return again.
20 minutes later, he showed up with a wetsuit he had found for me. Apparently, I’m a size 14-year-old-girl. Whatever. I am a WOMAN. A small-boned woman. But I do have to say, it was form fitting and I enjoyed getting into it. The word “svelte” comes to mind.
He had changed into his own personal wetsuit. His friend had given him a massive board meant for two people, also known as a “traineeeng boawd” in French. Because I needed to be trained. Because this was my first time, ever, on a surfboard. So, with that in mind, you would think some training might be useful. You would think that we would start by practicing on the beach, where he would give me some basic guidelines. You might even think he would seek out small waves first and not head directly for the giant waves where all the professional surfers, and voluntary surfers, await to be drowned by God/eaten by a shark. It would have been fantastic if he’d even shown me how to stand up on the board before being in the middle of the fucking ocean, as what looked like the mentally unstable child of the wave that killed Tia Leoni in Deep Impact set it sights on us all.
But no. He gave me a very quick briefing in the water, and then the first giant wave began to ominously form in background. He started yelling “Paddle! Paddle! Paddle!” so I started paddling for my life. I am a land-dwelling creature, so my immediate instinct upon seeing a ten-foot wall of water rushing towards me was to remember my affinity towards oxygen and disengage. But not if you’re a surfer! No, no. Surfers are too cool for oxygen.
So this massive wave approached and we paddled towards it, turned around and were suddenly propelling forward at the speed of light. I was holding on for dear life because I am not a porpoise and am not used to this sensation. He suddenly screamed, “Stand!” to which I responded, “Are you kidding me????” to which he screamed again, “Stand!” so I stood… for 0.5 seconds before getting just fucking. pummeled. Just absolutely violated by the blue part of our planet.
After what felt like 45 minutes underwater, I reached the surface again and looked around for him. He was there on the board, 20 feet away, smiling but looking slightly annoyed that I had messed up that wave for him. I clambered back onto the board, pretending to be emotionally and physically intact. He looked like he was posing for a goddamn Brooks Brothers Summer ad. His hair was angularly swept across his forehead while the sun glistened down on his perfect, tan, stupid face. I, on the other hand, had mascara cascading down my cheeks, my nose was ice cold and bright red, my hair was stuck to my forehead and I was semi-hyperventilating. It was like the movie posters for Magic Mike and The Ring had been super-imposed onto each other.
“Ça va?” he asked, disappointed with my existence. “Oui,” I said, equally disappointed with my existence. Then we floated for a while as he and a fellow surfer yelled stuff to each other in French, before he casually told me that if I saw any sharks I should just pull my legs up.
A few minutes later, another huge wave attacked us and again I was ripped off the board and forced to perform an involuntary underwater gymnastics routine. This time, however, after fighting my way back to the surface, I opened my eyes just in time to see the ridge of a second, bigger wave crashing down. It was like in a movie when a bully punches the main character in the face and all you see is the fist and then black. Basically, the wave screamed “O’Doyle Rules!” and then dragged me underwater for a riptide swirly. I opened my mouth to gasp for air when a third one came down on me, and that was it. I was in a washing machine, and I couldn’t breathe
By the time I finally reached the surface I had swallowed so much water that my throat and ears felt as though they were on fire. 50 feet away from me, boy-model is chilling, hanging out on the board, just looking at me. The board was attached to his leg, so he had never been separated from the thing that helps one not drown. His face did not register one single ounce of emotion or genuine concern over my well-being. I used what was left of my energy to float back to him and half-climb back onto the board.
He looked at me and squinted.
“That… was really… scary,” I managed to utter.
He sighed. “These are nothing. Tiny.”
“You said you’ve taught children how to surf! When you taught them, how did you do it?” I asked, incredulously.
He sighed again. It’s tough being an asshole.
“Just like this,” he said.
(Unrelated: If anyone in Bretagne is aware of any missing children, shoot me an email, I might be able to point you in the right direction.)
20 minutes and five angry waves later, I decided to go back to shore on my own. He continued surfing by himself for another hour. When he finally graced me with his presence, he drove us to a neighbor’s house where he left me in the living room with two strangers and a baby. He then proceeded to fix their water heater for the rest of the afternoon.
Later that night we went to a party, and he – for consistency’s sake – disappeared, while all his best friends (who are all absolutely wonderful people) apologized on his behalf and told me stories about the other women he has been so strangely terrible to. (Homeboy is 34, by the way.) The consensus in this small town in Bretagne is that he is a great friend and handyman, but there is something wrong with him when it comes to women. He should probably include that in his Tinder profile.
Needless to say, I stopped talking to him. He called me a few times the following week, which was more of an effort than he had made the entire time I was with him in Bretagne, but it quickly fizzled away. And thankfully, so did his face from my pharmacy.