Fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun...
August 19, 2005 8:27 PM   Subscribe

Booty call etiquette: I'm flying to Hawaii for two weeks to meet a guy. So now what? (inside text maybe NSFW)

I'm a somewhat inexperienced woman, going to meet a man I've been corresponding with for two months. He lives in Maui right now. We met online through springstreet. We anticipate being at the very least good friends, with the distinct possibility of something more.

Bare facts: Both have reviewed sexual history/exposure to mutual satisfaction and been tested as appropriate. I have reviewed his (extensive) online presence and am satisfied to his sanity and the improbability that he is a serial killer/rapist. Will be staying (on the spare bed) in his rented house with three other roommates (two are dating each other). He has his own room and bathroom. The kitchen is shared.

I'll be bringing all the usual vacation stuff (sunscreen, sunglasses, swimsuit, etc.), plus condoms and the like.

So my questions:

1) Is there anything that is not immediately obvious that I should toss into my suitcase? I have a strong preference to avoid checking any luggage, so carry-on appropriate items are okay; things that have to be checked, not so good. (So, you know, no handguns, okay?)

2) Have any of you done/been in a similar situation? Did it turn out well or...not so well? Do you have any recommendations or guidance to offer this sexually inexperienced questioner? Any kind of guidance is welcome, regarding both social and sexual situations.

3) Is there anything I absolutely should avoid doing/bringing?

4) What about the housemates? Yes, common courtesy and cordiality rules, but I've always found the concept of housemates kind of weird, so are there some huge no-nos about housemates?

5) Is bringing any nature of gift appropriate or overkill? I'm running up against the polite bringing something to your host vs. ...well...maybe shagging him. What to do?

6) Anything I should make a real effort to see/do while there? He lives in Makawao.

Not helpful: warnings about the dire foolishness of this endeavor. I have a mother for that, thanks.

Should anyone respond anonymously I can be reached at my username at gmail.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total)

How long do you plan to stay?
posted by wryly at 8:43 PM on August 19, 2005

Don't worry; people are just people, even if you meet them on the internet.

Try to do some windsurfing at Paia. It's dead easy and lots of fun.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:45 PM on August 19, 2005

Best answer: I was in a long-distance relationship for two years, and one thing we noticed was the amount of time it takes to get physical again after a period apart. We'd lived together for quite a while, but even so we were still incredibly awkward with each other for at least the first few hours together again, and realistically for the first day or so.

It's difficult to explain, but no amount of mental intimacy correlates to a physical intimacy. Friends in LDRs say similar things. Since we experienced that and were a long-established couple, it's definitely worth you being prepared to be extremely awkward around each other for the first day or two -- moreso than you would be if you just met as strangers. If this does happen, don't take it as an immediate sign of incompatibility or lack of chemistry ... give it time!
posted by bonaldi at 8:47 PM on August 19, 2005 [2 favorites]


have a plan b.


i've met some very cool folks on the internet, but it's not difficult to misrepresent yourself. i've met people who weren't serial killers but who i definitely did not want to spend my time with. Make sure you've got another place you can crash at if things don't go well for the extent of your stay. of course, usually if things click really well on the internet, they'll work out, after a period of weirdness. if you haven't talked to him on the phone yet (and I'm assuming you have, but you know, if you haven't) you should do so before leaving (because it's easy to affect a persona when you're writing or chatting online, but a little more difficult to do so when you're talking to someone live.) There may be issues with attraction, but if you're both ok with just being buddies then that shouldn't be a big deal.

Otherwise, Hawaii is awesome, and if things work out, well hey! rad.
posted by fishfucker at 8:53 PM on August 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

after re-reading your question, i should mention that the above advice comes from having been in a similar situation which i won't elaborate on because it is possibly one of the most embarassing moments of my life. just make sure you have an out if you need it, ok?
posted by fishfucker at 8:55 PM on August 19, 2005

Best answer: Is there anything that is not immediately obvious that I should toss into my suitcase?

I'm not sure if these things would be obvious or not, but if it were me, I would bring emergency contact numbers, a cell phone, and enough money (in whatever form) for a cab and a plane ticket. I'm not saying I think he's a serial killer, but if things should get weird, you might want to be able to call someone and/or make a quick exit. It's always good to have a backup plan.

(on preview, pretty much what FF said :)
posted by geeky at 8:55 PM on August 19, 2005

wryly: Two weeks.

geeky and ff: I'm planning to have a substantial (>$200) amount of cash on me, plus at least $1000 free on my credit card and several hundred more available in the bank and accessible once I find an ATM. Will be bringing my cell and emergency numbers, including local cab companies and hotels/motels. We have spoken extensively on the phone and do click very well, but I recognize and have planned for the possibility that it will not go well.
posted by fuzzbean at 9:06 PM on August 19, 2005

it might be nice to book a hotel room for your first night - either to use with him to escape the housemates or to use without him if he has some weird only-in-person twitchy thing you didn't pick up on over the phone...
posted by judith at 9:13 PM on August 19, 2005

I can't stress what geeky & FF said enough: make sure you have alternate accomodations and enough money to take care of yourself independent of him, if needed. Additionally, let some one know exactly where you are and have them call you intermittently to make sure you're okay. And let him know that someone will be checking up on you (just in case).
When I was young, I was heavily involved in local BBSes (before chat rooms and metafilter-type websites existed). I met tons of people online, many after conversing for several months on the phone. It's not that people necessarily misrepresent themselves -- what I found was that without visual cues and body language, that I often misinterpreted/misunderstood people and had expectations that weren't always fair. What bonaldi said is spot-on: you can often connect amazingly with someone mentally, but it's doesn't always translate into a relationship.
Hawaii is very casual and no formal clothes are needed (just a sundress if you're going somewhere nice). Definitely bring lots of sunscreen!
Just be careful, have fun and don't allow yourself to be pressured into doing things you're uncomfortable with..
posted by j at 9:14 PM on August 19, 2005

I did the same thing once, visiting a pen friend in Maracaibo. She had a life going on before I arrived and I took several days being quiet and paying attention. Be prepared to spend some quality time solo, as a good guest it pays to be entertaining but you also have to contribute to the household (wash dishes) and avoid being a drag on the existing process. Even with those kinds of constraints it is very easy to have a good time because you will be in a completely foreign environment while being able to more or less speak the language. This isn't a life interview, it's an adventure and will undoubtedly bring up memorable and memorably embarrassing moments. Cherish them all.
posted by ptm at 9:21 PM on August 19, 2005

For what it's worth, I'd like to underscore the "Plan B" advice given by fishfucker et al.

Also, and I'm sorry if this is terribly obvious: pay attention to your intuition. I can remember too many times when I've thought... "I knew I should have...."

I'm not even referring of inklings of disaster. When I'm in a special or otherwise not-normal situation, sometimes I get the idea that my little hunches might not be relevant. If you find that happening to you, think again! (Kind of what j said, but on an even more subtle level)

Good luck. It sounds like you're well prepared to make it a positive experience... even if he doesn't turn out to be your idea of sexy.
posted by wryly at 9:27 PM on August 19, 2005

" i should mention that the above advice comes from having been in a similar situation which i won't elaborate on because it is possibly one of the most embarassing moments of my life"

Look, I didn't want to sleep with you, OK? My hand just happened to touch your hand and Christ can we just fucking drop it already?

But yeah, plan B is definitely a good thing. Being stuck on a Hawaiian island is everyone's idea of a good time until it actually happens, to which I can attest through personal anecdotal experience, and no it wasn't with fishfucker.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:36 PM on August 19, 2005

Best answer: I flew from Canada to Australia in 199... 6 I think it was, or 1997. To meet a girl I'd met on IRC. To stay for a month.

She was wonderful, yes. I am wonderful, certainly. However, it's something to be face-to-face with... well, lets say that both of us knew that we, ourselves, were not going to uproot our lives and move to another continent/country. However, I guess I never thought about that prior: what do you expect to get out of this? I should have asked myself.

About halfway thru the trip I changed. I shut down, closed off, and became sort of irritable. She, or course, assumed I was dissatisfied with her when in reality nothing could be furhter from the truth. Had she lived here in Toronto or I there, prior to meeting, I have zero doubts we would have had a terrific, lengthy relationship. However, that wasn't the case.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it's a good thing to know in advance what to expect. I don't mean of him or you but the two of you. Are you looking for a relationship? A two week fling? A long distance relationship? What? Knowing this in advance will, I suspect, help. That doesn't mean you have to stick to it but at least give it a good amount of thought.
posted by dobbs at 9:49 PM on August 19, 2005

Can't add enough about the "plan b." Sounds like you won't need it. Great! Have it anyway. Sounds like you will. That's not only for the dire circumstances, but also for the boring mutual fizzing-out sorts of things that happen from time to time.

I'd try not to annoy the flatmates with excessive PDA-type behavior if it comes to that. Sounds like there might be great camping opportunities if that's your thing.

1. If you're visiting male flatmates, do you leave the seat up or down?

2. and no it wasn't with fishfucker
Duh, mr_crash_davis doesn't sound like a fish!

posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:01 PM on August 19, 2005

On the subject of the housemates. More caution is better than less caution. In order not to embarrass myself, I'll confine the comment to saying only that not thinking about someone's housemates has led me down the slobbering drunken path into at least five excruciating/barely clothed/face-off/shouting match/awkward running from the room situations.

That's not to say that you're not five million times the paragon of self-control I ever was. It's just so painful to have to deal with making a negative impression on someone's roommates. You're into the guy, not his buddies.
posted by rebirtha at 10:29 PM on August 19, 2005

Just for your own sake: take along low expectations and a sense of humour.

And dobbs gave excellent advice, above.
posted by dreamsign at 10:36 PM on August 19, 2005

Another vote for the Plan B backup suggestion. Even after weeks of mind-blowing phone sex and deep intellectual conversations, I was once left totally cold and even somewhat repulsed by someone once they were sitting across from me in my room. On the other hand, it could turn out really great. An open mind and a sense of humor are required in either case (and all cases in between).
posted by matildaben at 10:44 PM on August 19, 2005

I can't speak to any of your other questions, but the one time I went to Maui, I took one of those bike-down-the-volcano tours, and I loved it. Also, I haven't done it, but everyone else I know who's been to Maui says you should take the road to Hana if you can.
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:40 PM on August 19, 2005

1. If you're visiting male flatmates, do you leave the seat up or down?

We really don't care. If you must do something, then take the non-discriminatory, more-sanitary, Miss Manners-approved step of leaving the lid down.

posted by grouse at 1:02 AM on August 20, 2005

Makawao is a hippie-New Age colony with a heavy dose of tourist kitsch. Follow j's advice and bring very very casual clothes, especially for the daytime. Lots of Hawaii is made of red volcanic mud that can permanently stain your clothing. If you're staying further up the mountain from Makawao, you might want to bring a long-sleeve shirt, since it can get cold at night.

Most people expect you to take off your shoes before you go into their house. Do it automatically when you arrive and you'll win points. Bring (or buy once you're there) a pair of flip-flops, which everyone there wears because you can take them off and put them on in an instant.

Do the road to Hana with enough time to stop off and hike into the little valleys on the side. Hike the Haleakala crater (but go early or late in the day or you'll roast in the high-altitude sun). Skip the rest of the tourist stuff and get the people there to show you how they live.
posted by fuzz at 4:20 AM on August 20, 2005

In response to Question 2:

Last year, I had a very similar experience. I met someone from the west coast (I live in the east coast) online, we hit it off swimmingly, and we decided to meet. Oddly enough, the sparks flew even more in person. After a few days together, we were both dumbfounded as for what to do about it. We both had jobs that neither of us were willing to ditch, having only really(in person) known one another for a few days. The distance, and the manner in which we met, threw off the natural trajectory of our relationship. I can't imagine I would have been entertaining these "so where is this going" kind of thoughts after only 3 dates if he had lived in my city. Anyway, my advice is to be prepared not so much for what to do if you don't like him, but if you do!
posted by dagnyduquette at 5:27 AM on August 20, 2005

1) You shouldn't take anywhere near that much cash on you. Not only is pretty much every traveller a target for thieves, but just losing your purse/luggage will completely ruin your stay. (At least if you've got the money in an account you can have it wired to you and buy what ever else you lose.) I travel with $100 on me, and I keep my plastic in two different places so that if I lose either my luggage or my wallet I've still got something to fall back on.

There will be plenty of ATMs there for you to withdraw money when you need it.

2) Make your return ticket the kind that has no fixed date. (They are available.) Failing that, make it refundable (so that you can, in effect, exchange it for some other flight). This way you can leave early if things are going sour (or stay later if things are going great (no need to be pessimistic)).
posted by oddman at 6:21 AM on August 20, 2005

As others have said, bring a Plan B and bring your sense of humor. Don't try too hard to make the occasion more than it is, just go and have a good time, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. If he turns out to be a nightmare, hey, at least you're in Hawaii, right? How bad can that be?

Back in the day, before the invention of the internets, I did the same thing in order to meet someone I had only known on the telephone. I guess it worked out pretty well.... I'm still married to her.
posted by spilon at 8:42 AM on August 20, 2005

Be very friendly with the roommates. They can make your two weeks utterly miserable if they want, even if you and the fellow you're meeting hit it off wonderfully. If you have a few hours where you're hanging around the house, clean up the kitchen or the bathroom - the roommates will love you.
posted by cmonkey at 8:45 AM on August 20, 2005

If $200 is a "substantial amount of cash" for you, I suggest you carry less cash. Don't take more cash than you can afford to lose.

Be prepared to move to a hotel.

As for dobb's cautionary, be aware that living in a wholly new environment can be stressful. When it's time to go home, it's time to go home.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on August 20, 2005

Yes, find a ticket with easily changable dates. It may work with him - great! you can stay longer - and it may not, in which case $200 as a "substantial amount of cash" won't even begin to cover change fees or a one-way ticket home. Call the motels and see if they're actually even available, or bring a tent. If your ticket dates are not negotiable, $1500 isn't a ton of money to tide you over in Maui for two weeks. We're not your mother here; many of us have actually been in this situation and have seen it come out both ends of the possibilities. There are cheap rooms and palapas near Paia; if you're stuck, go over there and ask some of the surfers or windsurfers if they can direct you to a cheap room deal.

Things to do: bike down the volcano, eat fresh fish tacos at Milagros on the corner of the street across from Paia, go to I/O for a great meal on the beach, learn to surf during the day while he's at work. Also, if you're into scuba diving, try to get to the cathedral dive across the water on Lanai. It's unforgettable but difficult due to the water conditions, but any of the local dives will be worth it.
posted by fionab at 2:18 PM on August 20, 2005

You might want to schedule your visit with plenty of things to do. That way if things are awkward for a little bit at least you have something to talk about (the movie you saw, the museum you visited, etc.) If things go well and you have a great connection then you can ditch the museum or movie.

-the wife
posted by sacre_bleu at 4:44 PM on August 20, 2005

Maybe your Red Dwarf tapes, in case it's rainy?

(Or am I off on "fun, fun, fun ..."?)
posted by Alt F4 at 5:06 PM on August 20, 2005

Best answer: I've done similar things and they've mostly turned out well. On rare occasions I've had people come visit that, for one reason or another, I didn't click with. The Plan B question really has two parts: are we going to be intimate or not? if not, am I going to even continue staying here or not? It may be that you don't click and you still like each other a lot. It may also be that for one of you, not clicking is really really bad. In any case, everyone else has already said that. In an general sense, I concur that hooking up with someone you mostly only know from online can be weird [good weird and bad weird] so keep in mind that your inexperience may not play as much of a part as just this whole new way of relating to this guy. Give it time, see how you feel, think about what you want.

If you're staying in a house with flatmates, bringing something that is halfway between sleepwear and actually getting dressed is good to have in case you actually do spend a lot of time deshabille and you want to get up and get a cup of coffee -- robe, pj's, whatever -- which can help with being in public spaces if you don't want to get totally dressed. Bring a house gift, something small maybe something local to your area [wine, food, something small that says thanks]. You might want to also bring something special for the fella you are seeing, or something for the two of you [massage oil, bath gunk, candles, edible underwear, whatever]. If you don't need them, you don't need them.

Ask him about his flatmates but also pick up on cues they leave in case your friend isn't totally clear on things maybe he should be clear on. Generally keeping your stuff in the bathroom very tidy and separate, not hogging the bathroom and not leaving too much of a mess [relative to existing mess levels]. If you make food there, offer to cook. Bring back movies, general pleasantries. If they use common spaces a lot, have some time when you're not there. If there's another couple, chances are that one other couple won't be too odd. If you were one chick coming into a flat of dudes, that might be different.
posted by jessamyn at 7:09 PM on August 20, 2005

In line with plan B, youth hostels - they must have them in Hawaii - can make a cheaper-than-a-hotel emergency option so printing and taking a list would be a good plan, I think. The dead tree will forgive you if it's unnecessary.

And can I add this on behalf of all your fellow travelers?

I have a strong preference to avoid checking any luggage

Please don't be that person muscling that huge obnoxious suitcase with your entire 2 weeks worth of clothing down the ever-shrinking aisle before using every ounce of your strength to put it in the overhead compartment, possibly cliping that other person's head in the process. I've had a number of women ask me to help them lift cases into the overhead (which I myself had trouble lifting) and the amount of restraint it took not to ask "Why would you have a CARRYon that you cannot LIFT much less CARRY?" was almost more than my soul could muster.

Okay, I did ask once. But only once.

Check your bags! Keep those handlers employed, it's good for the economy! Embrace the freedom of being able to walk comfortably! You'll arrive without pain in your shoulders and lower back and you'll be able to use the toilet without having to stress over everything you own being stolen.
posted by phearlez at 12:21 PM on August 22, 2005

I have no idea how to search for this but the flip side of this situation was asked about here a month or two back. You may want to track it down and give it a read.
posted by Mitheral at 7:48 PM on August 22, 2005

Thanks to everyone who responded--great advice and suggestions. I *do* have my Plan B lined up with hopes that it won't be needed, but all the practical suggestions, anecdotes, and stuff to do have been enormously helpful.

I'm still checking in on the thread, so further suggestions are welcome and will be read.

ikkyu2: We are definitely going windsurfing at least once or twice...never tried it before, should be fun.

Alt F4: Right on, mate.

phearlez: I'm bringing a small and utterly manageable duffel bag that I can lift and maneuver myself. But my fellow travelers thank you for the tip. :)

I leave tomorrow morning! Thanks to all!
posted by fuzzbean at 7:01 AM on August 23, 2005

« Older Following a link to revealed another...   |   Bad Spelling: Why? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.