This story stays true to its title, and also, is based on true experience.
Just a tiny bit of disclaimer, I’m not grossed out with sex, or masturbation. Getting horny is a natural thing, and so is sex and touching yourself. And also, another disclaimer, if you’re a strictly conventional religious person who despises self-gratification, I might just have pissed you off with what I said.
It was in my first year in the university, and we were all broke as fuck, so my roommates and I decided to eat dinner in this famous fast-food chain. It was college and we were starving so we wanted something cheap and fast. But because we’re one-day millionaires (and young and careless) and are all new to this partially-independent life in a new city, we impulsively decided to go out and find some desserts since we weren’t really great at saving money. We are in an Asian country by the way, and the city we lived in were filled with restaurants and cafes here and there, especially in the Central Business District that caters to the growing number of tourists that come in the place.
There were four of us, and we split into two groups as we attempted to choose between a cafe and a dessert booth nearby. Me and my homegirl were trying to weigh things like the price, our tastes, and cravings, when we realized that we were talking to nobody else but ourselves. Apparently when we looked back, our other roommates stopped walking a few steps behind us and were talking to a foreigner, who looked only a few years younger than my grandfather.
And because we are stereotypically very hospitable to people who are alien to our dear country, the two of us approached them and asked what is up. The old man, who introduced himself as a French photographer living in New York, said he was having trouble trying to contact his girlfriend, whom he said is a model living in the city. And just like our impulse to buy ourselves some dessert, we instinctively tried to help him out by asking a few things, like if he changed his number, or was he on roaming, or when was the last time they contacted each other, and so on.
As I look back at it now, I must’ve slapped all of mine and my roommates’ faces because of utter naivety. We were fucking underage back then, and we initially thought that it was safe to help out a stranger because we were in a public place, and he that wouldn’t do anything harmless to us in a public place, right? Right??
You know those times when you’re about to sleep and then all of a sudden, you remember all these stupid decisions you’ve made in your entire existence and just want to go back and give yourself a high-five, in the face? This is one of those times, except that I’m not about to sleep (and this memory will never allow me to sleep).
As we started helping the old man out, it was becoming very obvious how nerve-wracked he was in the situation he was in: He can’t contact his girlfriend, and if he isn’t able to meet her, his reservation for the hotel nearby will expire soon and he’ll need to find someplace else to spend his days in the country he was totally alien to. Of course the whole story made us feel terrible, and especially because we were young and trusting at the time, we were vulnerable to such emphatic moments. Little did we know that that same vulnerability will also cause us the trouble of witnessing an old, anxious French guy jacking off in front of us, and what a sight it is! (sarcasm).
As what I said earlier, I’m not against self-gratification, and we are open-minded to such things especially because we’re in the university. But what the heck. When the old man started stroking something down his oversized polo shirt, I’ve suspected something really odd about it. At first, I thought he was just playing with a belt that’s too long to be properly wrapped around his waist, but I was wrong. I was so wrong (LOL).
Yes, he was jacking off, with his clothes on.
And to top that, it wasn’t only me who suspected it. My other roommate also did, while the other two were still innocently asking questions and are unaware of what shenanigan was happening. The old man saw that the two of us who noticed were getting uncomfortable because we started distancing ourselves away from our tiny circle, he addressed us directly in his defense, and said that it was normal for them in their country to touch themselves when they’re nervous.
But man, you’re not in your country.
You’re in an Asian country, in a public place with a Catholic Cathedral a few blocks away, in an entirely different culture from yours, in front of four underaged people.
I’d suspect that if he did that with the other locals in that place, he would’ve been slapped in the face real hard by that time. The four of us on the other hand, although we were all unbelievably naïve at that time, we still tried to calmly handle the situation we’re in.
He then asked our age, and he was surprise that our age bracket was 17 to 18. That was when I got suspicious with his backstory (You know, this is what you get when you’re too lax on giving people the benefit of the fucking doubt). The two of us who suspected everything gave out a perfect excuse that we have a strict curfew to follow (which in reality, we don’t have) and that we needed to go. He insisted us to stay for a few minutes, and we did so in so much awkwardness. We signaled the two of our unaware roommates and caught them up on what was happening and fortunately, they got the message right away.
When the old man allowed us to go, I exhaled deeply like I’ve been holding my breath the entire time we’ve been with this old French guy. Though I do respect their country and their culture, because context is always important to take note of in life, but I really hoped he considered ours as well. It might be normal to their country because they’re relatively more liberated compared to ours, but jacking off in public isn’t taken in the same context here, and is considered downright inappropriate. Perhaps he was too nervous to think straight at that time, but we really didn’t know what happened to him the moment we left.
You guessed it right if you thought that after that, we didn’t had any appetite for dessert anymore.
We all learned a lesson or two. Well for one, I did learn to not be too lax on giving people the benefit of the doubt, and two, skip the dessert and save yourself some money. At the end of the day, this just became one of the “Hey, remember when…” moments my roommates and I laugh about over beer and chips.
P.S. ‘Till now, since I have no French friends, I haven’t confirmed if French people do touch themselves when they’re nervous. Do they really do it, even in public? I’m honestly curious, because if it isn’t true, then that experience can take another level of being the most scarring and embarrassing moment in both mine and my roommates lives.