TWENTY-TWO countries. 81 days. 75 blind dates. 294 meals

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TWENTY-TWO countries. 81 days. 75 blind dates. 294 meals

Post by Banano » ... 7077498036

Bambi Smyth, Australian traveller, goes on 75 dates around the world

TWENTY-TWO countries. 81 days. 75 blind dates. 294 meals.
Recently single Aussie traveller Bambi Smyth wasn’t having much luck with the local lads, so she decided to expand her dating horizon by looking for love overseas.
And we’re exhausted just thinking about her epic dating spree!
Smyth, a 55-year-old writer from Melbourne, spent time with an Italian prince, Spanish gigolo, Russian billionaire and a priest at the Vatican. The daring dater, who has detailed her adventures in her new book Men on the Menu and even compares men to food, spills the beans to
Tell us about your journey. How did you meet these 75 men?
After a broken relationship and midlife crisis, I decided that rather wondering where I was going in life, I wanted to combine my three greatest passions: travel, food, and men! I never had much luck with Australian men, so I thought I’d try further afield.
Half of the dates were prearranged through friends, friends of friends, business associates and tourist bureaus. The other half I met hanging around bars, by asking the concierge in hotels if they knew anyone suitable, and some of my dates even introduced me to people they knew in other countries. The men were aged between 21-61.
What sort of professions did they have?
They were from all walks of life. There were several waiters, a film director, farmer, TV presenter, paediatric cardiac surgeon, tour guide, copywriter, headhunter, students, nightclub owner, artist, rock musicians, teacher, bankers, lawyers, gigolo and an Italian prince.

Where did you go for dates?
Mostly out to dinner. There were some lunch and coffee dates. A drink at the bar. Some men cooked for me in their own homes. I offered to pay for every meal but sometimes they were kind enough to shout me. Which I gratefully accepted, and in return they’ll all get a free copy of the book and hopefully their 15 minutes of fame.
Where were your favourite ones?
In the company of the heart-stoppingly gorgeous Stefano, I discovered the seduction, intrigue, and dolce vita of Italy. In the company of Alberto in Cuba I discovered the passion, colour, and resilience of the locals. Olivier in France taught me how to French kiss (properly), and dining in his houseboat on the Seine in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, proved why Paris is regarded as one of the most romantic cities in the world. In magnificent Budapest, Attila reminded me that men could actually be rather lovely. In the Netherlands Harry took me to a 300-year-old restaurant in the country, where I discovered not just beautiful landscapes, but also a beautiful soul. And Russia — well — hanging out in Moscow with a multi-multi-millionaire (who owned his own bank), I felt like I was taking part in a James Bond adventure.
Ultimately, even if I wasn’t going to fall in love with a date, I was learning a lot about his culture, and to me that’s fascinating.

What was it like to date a prince? That must have been a highlight!
The prince was the brother of a woman I know in Naples. His name was Pasquale, and we ate pizza together.
When dining with a prince one becomes extremely selfconscious of one’s table manners — do I eat pizza with my hands, or with a knife and fork (it seems that it’s the latter)? Am I holding the wine glass at the correct part of the stem? Do I add salt to my food before tasting it?
Still, once you get past the formalities, and are over being so impressed dining with a prince that you’ve quite lost your appetite anyway, it’s all rather — well — normal. You chat, you eat, you drink, you laugh, you actually find out that you have stuff in common, despite the fact that he lives in a big palazzo in the countryside and has peacocks in his garden. And yes, you even flirt a little.
Tell us about the gigolo from Monaco!
When I first clapped eyes on Jorge in the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, I was suspicious. He had beautifully tailored clothes, an expensive watch, pampered skin and perfect teeth. He chatted me up and before long he was doing the whole olive-sharing and chin-tickling thing, before asking me “how many stars does your ‘otel ‘aveâ€￾?
He then suggested I come back to his hotel to look at some portrait shots he’d had taken of himself recently. Still, as sleazy as it all was, I was in Monaco to check out the local men, so I was happy to go along with it. Well, not the hotel room bit, but we had dinner together, in what seemed to be the most expensive restaurant on the planet.
By the time I realised what Jorge was up to — cadging a free meal — he’d ordered an expensive bottle of wine and an eye fillet steak, coming in at much the same price as a small cruiser. I ordered a tiny bowl of asparagus soup, paid the waiter my rather generous half when Jorge was in the bathroom, and skedaddled.
Still, it could have been worse. He could have ordered the Krug (champagne).

And you dated a priest!
Yes, a young seminarian who wasn’t quite a priest. I chatted to him for half and hour and asked lots of very personal questions. He was delightful. The Vatican doesn’t have a national dish as such, but I compared him with an angel-hair pasta dish, cooked with virgin olive oil!
What about your date with the sixth most eligible man in Scotland?
Yes, Lorne. He was piper who went on tour with Madonna for six months in her 2004 Reinvention World Tour.
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