If you are listening to any of the stories I am telling you, please take away one thing… go to Prague. That city is probably the most majestic place in the world with everything a cheap little wanderlust American could possibly ask for. Every street is as wide as a Toyota Corolla and made of actual cobblestones; the food is usually some kind of delectable, tender meat with a perfectly cooked potato side all covered in gravy and it’s the most food-coma-inducing meal you’ve ever had even though you couldn’t even pronounce the name but it’s fine because everything there is going to be good anyway; there’s the world’s largest castle; a monastery with beer made from monks; a church made of bones; and the city’s currency equates to $0.043 which means everything is cheap as FUCK. Like you would be getting ripped off if you were paying more than $2 for a high quality draft beer. It’s everything you want, need, and get.
When Elisa, Olivia, and I get to Prague on June 22nd, we are surprised by how different yet cliche the culture is. Our train drops us off near the outskirts of the downtown area where there are not as many tourists, but instead, are older fat men in suits, fit younger men also in suits, blonde bombshell moms with big tits wearing colored track suits, dogs basically everywhere (mostly pit bulls or small yappy dogs), and everyone was white. You’d have thought we landed in Russia.
We trudge our heavy-ass backpacks 30 minutes along the downtown outskirts to our AirBnb to meet our host who was, surprise, a tall, white Czech woman with a thick accent that sounded something Russian. She was actually an absolute sweetheart. She showed us her place, gave us a map of the city, gave us restaurant recommendations, and places to avoid. She leaves, we settle in, then go out into the city to meet Shannon who took a different train to Prague and was staying at a hostel in the inner city.
We meet her at Madhouse Hostel. When we walk in and Shannon tells us about a pub crawl the hostel was throwing that night… and we know how the last pub crawl went for me in Amsterdam… BUT we say yes. We grab some dinner, head back to the hostel, and join a crowd of 25 people waiting outside in the alleyway waiting to get fucked. Someone leads us on a short walk to a bowling alley to surprise us with the first stop of the pubcrawl - DRUNK BOWLING. The game is simple: At the beginning of the game, everyone has their own drink. If you bowl a strike, you tell someone to drink their ENTIRE drink. If you bowl a spare, you tell someone to drink half of their drink. If you bowl a gutterball, you buy a round of shots for the team. The goal is to die.
So after 1 game, everyone is shitfaced and we go to our next location, which was just a random bar that played a lot of 90s jams. Shannon, Elisa, and Olivia were having the time of their lives while I spent the night trying figure out why their vodka tonics were like neon blue… I never figured out why. That’s where the night ends though. Basically Shannon gets hit on a lot at that bar, and Olivia, Elisa, and I get tired and eventually just head back to the AirBnb.
The next day we wake up early, get some breakfast at a cute little grocery by our apartment, and head to the city center to meet up with Shannon, who we find with a random Australian man with floppy, curly yellow hair and a dad bod. Apparently, they met last night at the bar and he was staying at the same hostel. We all take a free city walking tour to learn more about Prague’s history, then hike up probably the steepest hill in the world to the Prague Castle which is the largest castle in the world by square footage. It was gorgeous. Nothing really that spectacular, but it felt very much like an episode of Game of Thrones. After the castle, we go to a monastery that brews its own beer - like literally a community of monks that also has a brewery. We drink some blueberry beer which the monastery is known for and the rando Australian was so hype about. It was fine. While at the monastery, I find a cute Italian man on Grindr named Filipe. From his picture, he looks tall, buff, and chisel faced - looks good to me. He tells me he wants to take me on a special date to Petrin Park which is on the same hill as the castle but on the other side of the city. He says, “You can see all of Prague from the top of that park. It’s so magical.” We’ll see.
After the monastery, we walk through the park that Italian man wants to take me to later tonight. The Aussie guy with us talks about how the park is known for being called the “kissing park” because one day out of every year all the people from Prague go to the park and make out with their partners and just kiss random people or something like that. So.. I don’t know how much I believe this story, but now I see why Italian man wants to take me.
We walk down the hill through Petrin park to an island in the middle of the Vltava river which splits the city down the middle. Shannon and Aussie man leave and Olivia, Elisa, and I rent a paddle boat and cruise around the river as the sun sets behind the Prague Castle. That moment is probably in my top 5 favorites of my trip.
After the paddle boat cruise, we part ways and I head over to the Western side of the city to meet Fillipe. I meet up with him at a famous building called The Dancing House by contemporary architect Frank Gehry. The building is supposed to represent Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for their famously smooth technique and effortless connection. It was about 9pm as I was standing under the entrance of the building, and I had a feeling this night was not going to turn out like how I wanted it to.
Fillipe comes around the corner. He looks at me confused, like I wasn’t in the right the place and he was helping out someone lost.
“Michael?” He says with his hand out for shake.
“Oh… yeah, hey! You look different than I pictured… I thought you’d be taller,” I say with an awkward chuckle. Shit. I think that was offensive. Shit. I shouldn’t have said that. But also like… he’s not that cute. Shit… play it cool, Michael. Make this work, he’s Italian.
He was about 5’7”, a boldly angular face, dark disheveled short hair, a pretty large nose, a small build with an average toned shape - the kind of toned where if I took his shirt off it would meet my expectations but not be overly wowed by his body, except he’s got this weird diaphragm bump like he’s always holding breath... hm... well, at least he has a nice ass.
We casually stroll toward Petrin park, which is just back over the river toward the large hill. We talk about our lives, mostly family related. He seems shy… like super timid… in a rapey way. I feel like I want to go already. I want to just stop and say, “No, this is gonna work. Sorry.” But I keep going, giving it a chance. We make our way through zig-zig paths up the big hill in the park… basically, we’re hiking on a first date. At the top of the hill is a rose garden which probably would have looked incredible and romantic if it wasn’t pitch black and almost midnight. Oh look, there’s a rat eating out of a Dorito bag… look at that.
He takes my hand and leads me under wooden arches laced with roses. We stop at the end where there is a railing overlooking all of Prague on the edge of a cliff. The moon is full, dimly adding to the yellow hue of the city’s street lamps that make it glow from atop this hill. Some faint fireworks explode purple, green, and red in the distance. A quiet popping ambience as Fillipe touches my hand, looks at me with his big nose, and kisses my lips. We make out along the railing with Prague and the moon watching us. It gets more and more aggressive with every kiss. He grabs my ass and picks me up, pushing my lower back against the poles, holding my face, biting my lips, both of us leaning over the railing and the cliff and the Prague, and then he stops, pulls back, and looks at me, smiles. Goes back in for seconds. I pull back. Take a deep breath, literally, I just actually take a moment and get some air. I relax into his hold and look up at the stars. I always seem to find Orion.
“We should… go back to your place?” I say smiling at him. He pauses before he speaks a lot.
“Um… I don’t know…”
“We don’t have to! Oh my god, we totally don’t have to. I just really like you and this is fun and I just want it to keep going.” I say, trying to catch myself if I made a wrong move. I don’t even like him that much… I really don’t even care about the sex… hm… there’s Orion again.
“No, no. it’s not that.”
“Ok then what is it?” I ask him.
“I don’t know… It’s just…” He pauses again trying to find the words.
“What? What is it?”
“It’s just… I can’t.” He says.
“Why though? Like if you have something to say, just say it. Do you have an std or something? Are you not into me? Are you afraid to have sex? Like…”
“No no no.. I just…” (sighs).
“Oh my god WHAT IS WRONG.”
“Ok, ok so like… do you know when something feels so right that you think it’s wrong?” He says to me with a crooked smile.
“Um… maybe? I’m not sure I’m following.”
“Like… I like you. And this feels really good but it’s… dangerous.”
“So you don’t want to fuck me because you think I’m… too attractive?” I ask him… I feel like that’s a compliment. Like, I’d be okay with that.
“No, no.. like I don’t want to have sex with you because... I think I like you too much.”
Pause. “Wait… so you don’t want to fuck because you like me too much and don’t want to get attached?”
“Yeah… yeah.” He says… kind of embarrassed.
(Sigh) Jesus, this is ridiculous…”Okay... I guess I understand.” I say. I look up at the stars again looking for something other than Orion to help me figure out what to do next. It always takes me so much longer to find the Big Dipper. Oh, but I think that might be the North Star. I don’t know, but it’s bright enough to be so just fucking take me home.
“But you can sleep with me.” He says.
Oh, well, thank god I have a place to sleep I guess. Whatever… I don’t even know why I am still with him. At this point, I’m so numb to the fuckery of his mental path down why we shouldn’t have sex that a place to sleep this late is good enough for me to keep him around.
We hold hands and walk back through the rose garden, down the hill, and back to his apartment which is near our meeting spot at the Dancing House. He takes me up to his place which is basically you walk into the closet and kitchen all in one (he has a sink and microwave), attached is a bedroom with white sheets and a side table, bathroom attached. We make out as we rip our clothes off slowly making our way to his bed. Once we get to the underwear he stops… again.
“I think I’m a little tired now.” He says, clearly trying to avoid almost sex. I’m honestly over it at this point.
I crawl over his boner and curl up facing the window. His skinny stomach comes behind me pressing into my back, arm on my hip, and we fall asleep. That big ass nose can fucking snore.
The next morning I take a shower and put on my clothes as he watches me. He refuses to take a shower until I leave, probably because he thinks I might steal something. Fucking awkward. I want to get out of here ASAP. I woke up thinking about a cat cafe randomly and find one nearby. I kiss him goodbye, and say it was nice meeting him. It wasn’t.
I get some breakfast at a little cafe down the street. I write in my journal as I eat 2 scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, a bowl of melons and blueberries, and 2 slices of toast with grape jam. This breakfast is probably better than my whole night. After breakfast, I stop into the cat cafe and have a cup of coffee with cookies as I play with the only 4 cats that were there. They were all kind of dicks and didn’t like to be touched, so that was a bust. After a couple hours, I give up trying to be friends with the cats and make my way through Prague with the early morning sun lighting up the buildings and gardens around me. I make it back to my AirBnb to find Elisa and Olivia still sleeping. I crawl in bed with them and shut my eyes. Tomorrow will be better.
About the author...
Michael LaVallee is a Chicago native singer/songwriter and actor. A lover of music and marketing, he is teaching himself to produce his own music to share in the near future. He lives his life embracing every moment and learning from all his surroundings in hopes to inspire living life to the fullest.