Before this mishap, Bridget tried to impress Daniel by quoting Keats. “Season of mist and mellow fruitlesssness...”
Culture Spotlight

What to do if she’s a klepto: a gentleman’s guide to a first romantic holiday

You can’t imagine the prep it took for her to go with you on this break, the least you could do, says Celine Lopez, is be a gentleman about it and know how to hold your drink
Celine Lopez | Dec 06 2018

Ah. The first romanza trip! Things are simply so wonderful at this moment. Everything is shiny and new, like a peso straight from the Bangko Sentral. Every joke is funny. Every confession deep and profound. Every meal is magical and calorie free. Life is perfect, tinted in rose.

The first trip is usually the sign that things are not only going well, but that you’re taking things to the next level. That beautiful middle part where you no longer wonder if he or she is going to call back, but the butterflies tickling your stomach are still there. The cobwebs that you will inevitably find later on still seem distant or seem impossible.

In one of the most famous mini-breaks of cinema: Bridget Jones joins Daniel Cleaver on a weekend trip in Bridget Jones’ Diary.

In this important step in the relationship, girls try to play it cool. What happens behind the curtains, however, is nothing short of an extravaganza. We wax ourselves raw in areas where the sun doesn’t shine, and burn our nails to the quick with gel nail polish. We refresh our lingerie options with lacy but uncomfortable numbers that beg to be anything but worn. We starve ourselves and curate a wardrobe to feed the Gram, showing off our good fortune— #blessed. It all feels like the first time. The first day of a new life. A French kiss with destiny. Limitless in possibilities. The painful past erased and futures guaranteed. Tickets are bought, hair washed and blown. Everything perfumed and pressed. Us and our Rimowa set out to a new beginning.

So, men, your role is to not break the fantasy. At least for the duration of the trip. Here’s a cheat sheet for holidaying with a new partner:  

On a No.2 situation

In between eating, drinking and eating again, nature will make its call at some point. Being in a room together can be a little trying. I think the smartest thing to do is to excuse oneself and pretend to go down to ask the concierge for something. The lobby bathroom will prove to be your new best friend.

Hold on to your unicorn status a little bit longer. If your digestive system is not as open-minded, then turn on every faucet in the bathroom, breathe through your mouth to avoid scary noises, and pack a bottle of cheap lemon room spray (Glade is good, but we’re looking for industrial grade). I know this sounds a little much. I know you should be loved for who you are, but keep that suspension bridge of fantasy swaying just a little bit longer. If all works well, you’ll have a lifetime to live with each other’s atomic bombs. Today is not the day.

When it comes to lulls in conversations.

Crap. This can really happen. When it does, everything you have believed to be magical and illuminated in life goes dim. You both gaze at your phone hoping the minutes get shorter and wait for 5PM for that drink.

I once met a couple in Tulum who decided to go on a two-week holiday after an impulsive evening at an after-hours party. I would see them at breakfast. The guy was overeager and the woman was always just looking away, cringing every time he tried to touch her. I could read these things because I have a PhD on not minding my own business. I started chatting them up and invited them to a party I was going to that night. They were relieved and the next few days were a blast. If you find yourself in an uh-oh situation the first thing you should do is find activities with the word “group” in it. No use wasting a good holiday. Friendzoning shouldn’t be a sad thing.

On getting too wasted

Even in my more intermediate level in honeymooning this always gets me. I’m so excited! I’m so nervous! I want to celebrate! I drink on the plane, I drink at the lobby, I drink stuff from the minibar and by lunch I look like what a mistake personified looks like. Once I sober up and see my eff up, I move to plan B: groveling. A man unhinged can be a frightening sight. My advice is to stick to light beers if you really want to drink. I know it’s such a basic answer, but best foot forward means less alcohol content. Now if you have already gone all Incredible Hulk and pretty much ruined everything, the only thing you can say is sorry. The unisex grovel is all we can do. In this case prevention is everything.

When it comes to the sex schedule

This is probably the most awkward one. The expectations in this area are so high that you can’t help but fail. Sure, the shagging is fresh and fun, but it need not be an exfoliating experience. I think the best thing to do is just to take it easy and focus on more intimate physical acts like hugging, cuddling and kissing. These are actually deeper physical acts especially for a dude. Performance anxiety is never a good look. Don’t freak out if the shagging isn’t an hourly event.

When she’s a klepto

You’ll never say it but you sure think it! You can’t help it. Kleptos and gambling addicts are up there in the normal-looking-but-scary-people list. You’ll never know. You know each other’s favorite song, midnight snack and zodiac sign. However, there will always be this vacant space in your head that will wonder about sticky fingers. I have a friend who went on holiday with a girl and he put his passport behind the TV, his cash inside a sock, and his extra credit card underneath the sink. That’s a tad too much, I know, but he was traumatized by his past. He was dating a woman for a month or two, when he decided to take her along to a business trip in Singapore. When he slowly saw the wad of cash in the vault getting smaller and smaller (Hey, it’s in our culture to bring all our pocket money with us), he started getting the chills. He thought he was going crazy. All he really needed to do was accept that that his date was shady.

It turned out she wasn’t a klepto. When he confronted her, all she said was, “Yeah, so what.” Klepto, golddigger; Tomato, Tomahto. If you need to verify D-list celebrities or “public figures” on Instagram, isn’t that saying something about the distrustful world we’re living in? Don’t be hatin’. Go with your gut.

We’re all strange humans, with quirks and habits. People who love you will always celebrate these, but when you’re with a new paramour, and on your first holiday together—keep the fairytale going and hide your things.