“Wait a second,” were his last words before he quickly ran back to stop the cute Latina that had just passed us walking in the opposite direction.
I’ve heard those words before. In fact, it was probably the 20th time he told me that since we left the hostel.
I was left standing alone in the middle of a busy Bogotá street.
Five minutes later, I turn around and see him walking back.
“So?” I asked, even though I knew the outcome.
“Facebook contact info,” he said while grinning ear to ear.
“Good job,” I acted like his motivational coach, but we both knew he didn’t need any motivation.
Even though I’ve been in the game for a while now and have hung out with some fearless men with tight game, it was the first time I’ve seen someone be so brazen during daytime, and without alcohol, too.
In the preceding sixty minutes I’ve seen him come up to more strangers than some of my friends back home have approached in their lives.
I’ve been warned, though. When we headed out to Bogota’s Zona T neighborhood, he mentioned that he “likes to chat with women.” I figured it was his way of declaring his heterosexuality so I brushed it aside.
What I didn’t know at the time was that “liking to chat with women” meant approaching every single cute girl in his path.
Now I knew.
It was my first time in Colombia. I still remembered feeling nervous as I boarded the flight from Mexico City, where I spent several months living with a nice girl, to Bogotá, the alleged kidnapping capital of the world.
The Mexican girl was nice, but within a couple of months I quickly felt like a caged animal and needed to break free. Colombia seemed like the perfect getaway.
It was raining and cloudy when I woke up, so not feeling like going out, I grabbed a history book from my backpack and retreated to a quiet corner.
I’ve had enough of Bogotá and had already booked a flight to the coastal and sunny city of Cartagena.
Suddenly I heard a familiar New York accent behind me: “Hey, do you know where I can grab a bite around here?”
As much as I loved meeting new people and experiencing new cultures, one of the greatest rewards is meeting someone from back home.
“Sure,” I replied. “Let’s go for a walk.”
And that’s how I met Anthony.
Anthony, 26, was an African-American guy and a New Yorker through and through. While he wasn’t an imposing figure — he was skinny and only 5’7” — he made it up with the balls of steel, never hesitating to go for what he wanted.
Not even five minutes passed since we were on the street, when he had already stopped and began talking to a cute Latina on the bench.
Minutes later he rejoins me with her Facebook contact info and her phone number.
I knew this would be an interesting day.
Soon he approached women at bus stops, coffee shops and stores: the cute student on the street; the 30s shop assistant in the eyewear store; the older girl waiting at a bus stop; even the MILF surrounded by a group of friends.
He was like a kid in the candy store, fearlessly going for anything and anyone he found attractive. Didn’t matter if she was alone or with friends. If he found her attractive, soon he’d be talking to her.
Approach anxiety wasn’t in his dictionary.
“Hey, how do you say ‘married’ in Spanish?”
His entire Spanish vocabulary consisted of two or maybe three words.
“’Casada,’ but to ask if a woman is married would be: ‘Estás casada?’” I was more than happy to provide my translation services in exchange for witnessing this man in action.
He paused while glancing at a hot mid 30s woman with huge boobs who was resting on the bench during her lunch break.
Fighting any hesitation, he suddenly jolted into action and came up to her. The Latina, appearing surprised, quickly warmed up to him. After few seconds of chatting, he sat next to her. He started to entertain her, but she kept showing him the ring on her finger.
Damn, this won’t work.
Several minutes later he smiled, said good-bye and rejoined the base.
“She was married, but I almost got her number.” He said with a devilishly coy smile.
In the past few hours, he’d collected more numbers than I’ve collected over several weekends of going out in dark and smoked filled rooms all while punishing my liver.
Finally feeling tired, we sat down and grabbed some coffee at the outdoor cafe.
“I work for a major airline, so I get to travel often for low prices. The problem is that these trips come with very short notices, few days max. The trips are also pretty short, few days at the most. Thus I cannot really build anything meaningful with the girl,” he began explaining.
“Getting favorable results such as a number or email gives me motivation to come back to a place. Once I have a girl’s Facebook info or an email, I begin ‘preheating the oven’ with the girl while I’m in the States. Later on I come back and hopefully seal the deal,” he continued.
“I did well in Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic, even hooking up with a hot car rental employee there.”
“Around twenty contacts,” he scanned through his contacts looking for new ones. “Not bad, but I’ve had better days,” he continued. “Most of them will never reply. It’s all a numbers game.” At the end of the day he would have approached at least thirty women.
He was in Colombia for only two nights with a flight back tomorrow morning. I had one more night after that.
When he left, I was back at my hostel but I couldn’t help remembering perhaps one of the most memorable days on this whole journey.
I’ve probably met hundreds of fellow travelers throughout my years roaming around Latin American and Europe. Unfortunately very few of those were memorable in some way or another. Most never ventured off the beaten path and, as a result, ever pushed through their comfort zones. There’s only so many times you can take pictures of that old cathedral or dirty monument.
That’s why I liked Anthony. He was different. He made no excuses. He always went for what he wanted. Those reasons alone made him different than 95% of the “men” out there. And when he wasn’t approaching cute women, he’d tell me some amazing stories from his journeys.
We kept in touch on Facebook after he left. He kept traveling and always had a couple of interesting stories upon his return, which almost always involved women.
One day he told me that he would be going back to Colombia to seal the deal with one of the girls. We called this specific girl the “garbage can girl” because he approached her while she was standing near a garbage can in a mall for a long time.
I was optimistic but realistic at the same time. The first thing I thought was what if he flies out to see her and she stands him up? Stories like these were commonplace.
But this was no average guy. This was Anthony, the approach machine. This was Anthony, the modern renegade.
And Anthony wouldn’t be one of those guys weeping after an opportunity fell apart. He would be back on the streets creating more and more opportunities from an endless sea of targets.