Going on a Cuban Date…

***Note to the Reader: This post was written by my dear friend, Nina DiFrancisco, pictured below.  It’s the final installment in a three-part series she wrote about her experiences in Cuba ~ in particular, about her experience meeting a beautiful, Cuban we like to call, “Grey Shirt.”  He was her salsa instructor, and this post takes up where we left off last time ~ they’re about to meet for a Cuban date in front of Havana landmark, Hotel Inglaterra.  Read on…

Salsa Lessons Author, Nina DiFrancisco

This is my friend Nina, & this is her story…

Nervous for a Cuban Date…

I don’t want to be late.  Exhausted from the trip & a major lack of sleep, I pull myself together.  I’m meeting my salsa instructor, Kevin, for an afternoon Cuban date ~ & I’m sure as shit not going to be late!!  Cubans, as a rule, are ON TIME.

I leave an hour before our agreed-upon meeting time in Old Town Havana. It’s 12:45PM. We’re supposed to meet at 1PM. Men pass by….Que Linda!  Beautiful!  Que Rico!  Nervous as hell, I keep looking for this beauty. An older man comes up & stands next to me.  No English, just Spanish.  He smiles.  I smile. Then, he pulls out a camera & asks for a photo. What in the world?  Where is the actual man I’m waiting for?!  I entertain “photo guy,” & smile for the camera. He puts his arm around me as I look up &….ahhhhh, there he is.  Walking confidently towards me with a smile.  “Grey Shirt” is near.

The old man & Kevin exchange some Spanish.  They laugh & he pulls me in for a kiss, then grabs my hand & we’re off.  Confused as to where we’re going, I purposely let him lead.  He’s taking me to a bar he goes to often.  “It’s a bit of a dive,” he says.  He could literally take me out back to a dumpster & I probably wouldn’t care.  We walk in ~ everyone knows him.  High fives slapped.  Rapid Spanish.  I have no clue what they’re saying ~ it’s spoken so fast.  I just smile & shake hands.  It reminds me of “Cheers.”  Everyone knows him.  He leads me to the bar & we sit close.

Going on a Cuban Date, Girl Who Travels the World

He takes me to a dive bar that is dark & smoky, from years of cigar smoke. At home, I’d be underwhelmed. Here, with him, I love it.

Going on a Cuban Date…

We order dos cervezas; he asks about our trip.  Between salsa dancing, visiting the beach, clubs, restaurants, walking miles daily through Havana, all while discovering Cuban culture ~ there is much to discuss.  I ask him about the Cuban government & daily life.  His English is so clear.  I listen to his answers.  While all this time I’ve been lusting over this beautiful man, I’m now learning more about him.  He is articulate & intelligent.  His sense of humor comes & goes ~ but it turns out, he’s a bit of jokester.  I like him more & more.  We talk about politics in America.  Cuban politics.  His multiple jobs & way of life in Cuba.  So different from my world, & so intriguing…perhaps because it is so different.

I find myself thinking ~ how could a Cuban & an American make it work if they fell in love?  With all the obstacles, from visas to passports to government control, to the new politics occurring within America ~ not to mention, the miles apart…would it even be possible for a Cuban & an American to fall in love & make it work?

“How could a Cuban and American ever make it work if they fell in love?”

The beer comes & he shows me how they “cheers.”  Tap the top of the bottle for health.  Bottom of the bottle for wealth.  And finally, touch & rub the glasses together for some good, sweet love-making.  I’m pleased & actually giggle.  When was the last time I giggled? I wonder.  Its been awhile.  I love this new way to “cheers, & plan to use it in the future.

For a few moments, we’re silent.  Staring into each other’s eyes.  He leans in for a kiss.  Soft & tender.  I lean closer into him.  My legs are between his while we sit on the bar stools.  I taste beer & his mint gum. We smile & stare for awhile.

What are you thinking?” he asks.  How do I explain all the emotions & thoughts rushing through me?  How do you put this response…these emotions, into words?  I tell him I’m having “multiple thoughts.”  I see he’s frustrated, wanting more.  I tell him I’m enjoying my time in Cuba, & with him.  He tells me how beautiful I am.  He’s very serious, & says that isn’t a compliment ~ that it’s the truth.  Confused, I ask him to expand.  He states that a compliment’s purpose is for people to feel good.  He says that telling me I’m beautiful is not so that I can feel good ~ it’s simply a fact.  I’ve never heard it explained this way before & find it striking.  Everything about him is striking to me.  His beauty, his character, his intelligence & openness .  He has adventure within him.  A confident air that commands attention.

I catch myself sweating.  I feel it dripping down my back.  Oh great, here we go again.  Why am I so nervous?!  I don’t want him to see me sweat, so I excuse myself.  In the ladies room, I stare in the mirror, trying to cool down.  I repeat to myself, He’s just a man like all the others.  No reason to get bent out of shape, Nina.  Relax, have fun.  Tranquilo ~ as the Cubans say.  I let a few minutes go by & start to cool off.

Back out, & another beer is ordered.  He watches me drink it.  I like him watching me, his eyes intent.  Probing.  Curious as to what he’s thinking, I ask him his own question.  His response has so much conviction.  “You. How you would feel. What you are like.”  Turned on immediately, I tell him to go on.  He leans in & we kiss.  Not caring about the bartender staring, or the customers around us, we’re completely embraced in the moment.  His hands are so strong as they wrap around my neck.  His skin so soft as I caress his shoulder.  We pull away & then lean back into each other.  Kiss softly on & off.  I find myself biting my lip, wanting more.  His eyes squint with curiosity & lust.  We can’t keep our hands off each other.  We both want more.  More time.  More Kisses.  More.

His hands are so strong as they wrap around my neck. We pull away & then lean back into each other. His eyes squint with curiosity & lust. We can’t keep our hands off each other. We both want more. More time. More Kisses.  More.

Entranced by his aura, I ask him to speak Spanish to me.  He pulls me in, moving my hair just so.  Whispering his love language in my ear, inside…I collapse.  Not translating a word he’s saying, I close my eyes, turn off my mind, & just listen to the cadence in his voice.  The way his tongue rolls with certain words.  His warm breath on my ear.  I pull his hand to my mouth & start kissing it.  His thumb directly on my lips ~ I bite it softly.  He stops talking; I open my eyes.  We have an audience.  The bartender’s eyes bulge while our neighbors’ are wide-eyed, staring.  We are the main characters in this movie.  I don’t care, & turn to him again, pulling in for a kiss.

Going on a Cuban Date, Girl Who Travels the World, Salsa in Cuba, Kissing in Cars

In this moment, I am not myself. I am unrecognizable, a different woman, here in Cuba.

This Cuban Date is Getting Hotter….

We feel fire. Tension. Pull.

Do you like control?”

I pull back & look at him inquisitively, wondering where this is coming from.  I smile & ask why.  “I remember the comments your friends made while we were dancing about letting me lead.  They joked about you finally letting it happen.”  Caught red-handed ~ he’s calling me out.  “I do like control. I lead a company, I’m an entrepreneur. I control my world & most everything in it.  If I see something I want, I go for it.”

Do you want me?” he asks.

A woman would be crazy not to want this man. “Of course I do.  My actions are showing you I do.” “How much control would you want with me?” he asks.  “Depends on the situation.”  That is the only response I can give him.

“If you were with me, & we were together, you can have 10% control, & the rest ~ I lead.”  If any other man had said this to me, I would’ve laughed in his pretty little face & walked away.  But he’s so smooth.  So sure of himself.  He gives me a trusting kind of feeling…& I tell him that would be perfectly fine.  I even halfway believe it myself.  Just like that, the conversation has turned from culture to sex.

When in Cuba

“What would you like to do to me?” I start off strong.  We stare intently as I watch his wheels turn.  “I’d be your lover.  I would lick you starting from your toes (kisses my lips), all the way up your legs (kiss), then lick your back (my imagination goes into overdrive), between your thighs (his strong hands caress me there)…”  I say, “Tell me more.”  He obliges.  “We’d spend hours together. Sweaty.”  Details stop, but my mind hasn’t.  We kiss again.  Our breathing is deeper, our touches stronger.  He takes his hand & pulls my hair softly but sternly, leaning me back so that my lips raise to touch his with more strength.  All I want is to be with him in this dream.

Going on a Cuban Date, Girl Who Travels the World

All I want is to be with him in this Cuban dream.


Can This Ever Work?

We pull away.  “How do we see each other again?” I ask.

Explanation of the documentation process.  Boring, boring, boring.  Nothing can ruin this moment for me.  Imagining life without feeling this emotion & passion is not an option for me right now.  I can’t let this go.  Some people live their whole lives & never find passion like this.  He tells me he’s going to Europe for work & wants me to join him.  I ask him if he’s serious ~ or if this is all just talk.  He replies that he is.  I tell him that, if he’s serious ~ I’m all in.  I’ve been saying that since I got to Cuba, & it’s more true now than ever.

He asks me why I was so shy the first day we met.  I try to explain, I wasn’t shy; it’s more that I’m just not used to intimacy.  American men aren’t naturally so intimate & sensual from the get-go.  They don’t challenge you with stares into your soul, nor do they admire you so quickly.  I’ve had some good relationships ~ but not great.  The fire I felt from this man in one hour was more than I’ve felt in in ten years.  Intimacy can be a bitch, & yet so beautiful, once you stop fighting it.

American men aren’t naturally so intimate & sensual from the get-go.  They don’t challenge you with stares into your soul.  The fire I felt from this man in one hour was more than I’ve felt in in ten years. Intimacy can be a bitch, & yet so beautiful once you stop fighting it.

If I didn’t have to work, I’d be with you all night.”  I want to say “Screw work ~ let’s do this!” but resist.  Understanding how hard it is for Cubans to make money, I’d never ask for him to skip work for me. The beers rush through me, & I know we’ll be saying goodbye soon.  How do I keep this going ~ does he feel the same way I do?  His actions show he does… but how can you really tell?

He pays the tab & we leave. Holding hands, we walk back up to Hotel Inglaterra.  My beautifully vibrant friend stands out from the crowd as she dances down the middle of the sidewalk in her teal dress.  Cuba has brought out something in all of us.  Excited to see each other, she pulls out her phone ~ there is a beautiful yellow vintage car, & we all want pictures in front of it.  It urges me to get one with “Grey Shirt.”  Memories made & captured on film.

Going on a Cuban Date, Cuba Playlist, Cuba Girl's Trip, Girl Who Travels the World

In the arms of a Cuban man…

He tells me if he gets off work early, he will call our hotel. Since there is no way of communication in Cuba for Americans, this is our only option. He kisses me goodbye, & just like that, he is gone.

Conclusion of this Cuban Date…

Many people spend their lives never feeling the depth of passions we were born to feel.  This Cuban man came into my world & changed my perspective, reminding me of certain things that may be missing in my life.  Passion.  Connection.  Authenticity.  Intelligence.  Humor.  Full-on lust & desire for another human being.  The feelings I felt in a few days are what I’ve wanted to feel my entire life.  A fire has been ignited in me.  The dice are rolling.  Anticipation to see my Cuban date again is a wonderful thing,  but that may only happen in another lifetime.

But not on my watch.  Rules are about to be broken, because desire is about to win…

Nina lives in Portland, Oregon & runs an event management company with her father, which keeps her busy flying all over the country! In her spare time, she travels every chance she gets, & will be writing future GWTW blog posts ~ so stay tuned for more from this witty, hilarious gal!