I Broke Every Rule And Fell In Love
By Suzannah Weiss
Fuck those voices in your head.
Can I bite you?”
I’m in Ibiza’s Amnesia nightclub and the guy next to me is hot. Like, really hot. And all I want to do is bite him.
Yes. I sink my teeth into his shoulder.
“What’s your name?”
“Lukas.* What’s yours?”
“Suzy! Where are you from?
“The U.S. You’re sexy.”
“You’re sexy too.”
A short older man who’s been telling me I have a “sonrisa del arco iris” (a rainbow smile) puts his arms around me and starts rocking me back and forth. I politely wiggle out and return to feast on the German’s arms. Those arms.
“Don’t leave without me, promise?” I ask.
“And don’t do anything unless you’re 100% sure I want it, okay? You seem nice, I just have to say that because bad things have happened before.” (What? Consent is hot, people.)
Back at his Playa d’en Bossa vacation rental, he introduces me to his friend Alex.* They tell me about their IT consulting firm and flip through my articles on Alex’s phone. I bite Alex’s finger. Lukas diagnoses me with “kieferkicks.”
He brings a condom to his room, but doesn’t open it. I keep spotting it out of the corner of my eye, but he just fingers me, eats me out, and repeats. I decide I am okay with this.
In the morning, I thank Alex for sleeping on the couch and ask Lukas for his Facebook. He doesn’t have one, but he enters my number into WhatsApp, misspelling it “Sussi.” I delete it and type “Suzannah.”
If I hadn’t made that revision, he never, ever would have found me; my number failed because I’d forgotten to type “001” before it. But one beach party, three cocktails, and two make-outs with two different guys later, I got an email in my inbox. He’d been so keen to find me again that he’d Googled “writers in New York” named “Suzannah” and finally gotten my address from LinkedIn.
“Maybe we keep in contact via mail for now. Have a nice evening! Cheers, Lukas,” the email reads.
“Why is he still talking to me?” I wonder. “Is this what Germans do after all their hookups?”
I know I’m not “supposed” to be too eager or try to make one-night stands into something more, but the time on my five-day vacation was running out, so I thought to myself, fuck it.
“My friend is leaving tomorrow, so maybe we can meet up,” I reply. He says he’ll write me in the morning. And he does! “Good morning.” We’re now heading towards the beach and Bora Bora. We’ll probably stay there until 8 or 9 pm. Show up if you like.”
I know I’m not ‘supposed’ to be too eager. But I thought to myself, ‘fuck it.’
There’s no way I’ll find him with “the beach” as my guidance, I think. But after a few minutes of wandering, I spot him waving to me from the outdoor dance floor; he’s all alone and wearing a bright green, plastic party hat. My eyes widen as I run to hug him. What are the chances? I wonder.
We lie down on the sand to talk. He tells me he’s a robot designed to take over Europe then self-destruct. I tell him I’m an alien. He invites me back to the apartment he and his coworkers have been renting, where his boss makes me pasta and teaches me to say “asshole full of shit” in German.
We return to Amnesia — together this time — where a gay guy puts an adhesive gem between my eyes and some British girls point and laugh at me for holding a gin and tonic with my teeth. Little do they know that I’ve done it to stop myself from biting people again.
We get back to my hotel room around 7 a.m. and ravish each other until I collapse on top of him. And when I lift my head to take in his face, I swear I see love in his eyes.
Fuck, I think. I feel it too. How is this even possible?
My eyes well up. I have to catch a ferry to Mallorca in four hours to connect to the U.S.
“I don’t want to say goodbye.”
“We don’t have to . . . yet.”
I ditch the ferry and buy a quicker, later flight. We stroll down the sidewalk hand in hand and buy gelato, licking from each other’s cones, wiping the drips off each other’s noses. As we stroll through his apartment door, I tell his co-workers, “I live here now.”
When it’s time to go, I cry. I hug him. I hug his friends, hug his boss, and hug him again. I kiss him as I stare into his eyes, watching their corners crinkle upward every time I smile and fall again as the tears slide down my face.
“Can she come work with us?” he asks his boss. “She can write about IT!”
He stops me on every block on the walk toward the cab, holding up traffic to kiss me once more, twice more, three times more, and again after I get in.
“It’s okay, we’ll see us again.”
“No, we won’t.”
I dance through tears at Pascha in Mallorca that night. “Make an excuse to go to Germany and tell him you happen to be there,” my friend suggests.
I duck out to write Lukas another email, picturing his head on the pillow where it feels like mine belongs.
“I’ve been thinking about you every minute since I left. I hope that when you get this, you can feel my arms around you and my lips on yours because that is exactly where I am mentally.”
“It’s the same for me,” he replies. “I’m not that good in showing my real emotions like you did as you left, but I’m very sad that we won’t see us for some time now.”
On my flight back to the U.S., I stare at the ceiling blinking, hoping the people on either side of me can’t tell why. How do I even have this much fluid in my face?
This was a vacation fling, I tell myself over and over again. You’ll get over it in no time. Besides, you can’t just go to Germany. That gives him all the power. You barely know each other. It’s way too soon to do something that drastic.
Then, I have a radical thought. Actually, you sorta can just go to Germany. You can kind of go anywhere. You work remotely. You have no kids. No pets. This doesn’t have to be so bad. I’m the one turning this into torture.
And suddenly I realize the only thing stopping me is my own mind and bullshit social conventions.
On that very flight from Mallorca to the U.S., I write two emails that will change my life. One is to my parents, explaining that I’m going to leave New York and backpack around Europe while working remotely, which I’d wanted to do forever, but been too scared to.
The next is to Lukas, declaring that I refuse to let our relationship remain a vacation romance; I invite him to come see me in New York.
The next day, I throw out the form I was about to fill out to renew my lease. Now that I know what else is out there, I can’t settle for what I know.
I still have two months left on the lease but Lukas writes me with “good news”: He’s got another week off work to spend with me.
The Friday night that he arrives, we sit on the side of a fountain digging plastic forks into cheesecake from Grand Central Market and talking about Fibonacci sequences. On Sunday afternoon, he lifts me onto his shoulders in the sea by Coney Island. As I work Monday and Tuesday, he surprises me with coffee; he adds two brown sugars, just the way I like it.
Over cocktails on a porch in Williamsburg, I tell him I want an octopus tattoo because octopi symbolized aggressive femininity in Victorian French literature. He writes our names on the Brooklyn Bridge, but I have to redo it because he spells mine “Sussi” again. He says “cheers to you and your career” as we toast on a Meatpacking District rooftop and puts my shirt back on me after I drunkenly float topless in the club’s jacuzzi.
The next morning, we sit on a rock in Central Park to say goodbye.
“Remember that night in Amnesia, when I said I could handle your weirdness, and you said you could handle mine too?” he asks. I do. “If that’s true, visit me in Germany.”
“Can I stay with you while I’m there?”
“Of course. I will always have room for you.”
I lean toward his ear and my arms are shaking. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
A month and a half later, I step off a plane and into his arms and think, “This is the first day of the rest of my life.” On my 26th birthday the next day, I speak my first full German sentence — “Dortmunder bier ist gut” — as we drink in the park, which I can’t believe is legal, and make out on the jungle gym. After we get back from a cocktail bar in the city center, he presents me with a bracelet reading “love,” a stuffed octopus, a pair of plastic teeth, and a card that says “bite me.”
I never do make it out of Dortmund. I’d only planned this European tour, I realize, so it won’t feel like we’ve moved in together after just two months. But given that he traveled 4,000 miles for our second date, all those rules about how a relationship’s supposed to work have already gone out the window. And I no longer feel a need to travel because I have all the thrill and adventure I need in his little studio apartment.
Every night for two months, when he comes home from work, I jump up and down, we grab hands and jump together, then he makes us a big salad or two bowls of gnocchi or fish filets.
When I ask him when he knew he loved me, he recounts that same moment in the hotel room after our second night in Amnesia.
When I greet Alex again over curryworst in his childhood friend’s “garten,” I bite his finger.
I fly back in November, since my friends and family are still in New York and I have some work to do in the U.S. But I hug every one of Lukas’s friends and family members goodbye before flying back to the U.S. I also barely cry. This time, I know I’ll see all of them again.
And I will. My return flight to Germany leaves in January, and so does his — because he’s spending the holidays at my parents’ house in New York.
We don’t have plans to live together permanently just yet, but that hasn’t stopped us from fantasizing about getting a cat named Knuffelberen (“huggy bear” in German) and watching many instructional videos preparing us to walk it on a leash.
Over the three years before we’d met, I’d been juggling countless dating apps, singles events, and bad dates in hopes of finding a relationship in New York. But as it turned out, “a pill in Ibiza,” as the song goes, was what the doctor ordered. It appears there’s no rhyme or reason to this stuff.
But there is one change I can identify that helped me find love faster in two days than I had in years: I didn’t follow the rules. Every step along the way, I did something that went against the dating advice I’d received throughout my life — and that many women receive throughout theirs.
I told a stranger he was sexy and I wanted to go home with him and gave him a run-down on consent. I asked for his contact info after what was “supposed” to be a one-night stand. I welcomed a near-stranger from another country into my apartment. I told him I loved him less than a month after meeting. I left home for a city I knew nothing about for someone I was newly dating and lived with him for two months straight.
I didn’t worry about giving him too much power or being too easy or impulsive or vulnerable or getting rejected or getting too attached. I couldn’t get myself to care about any of these things. It all seemed trivial.
You can do absurd things for love. For yourself.
So, I can’t offer much advice other than, fuck those voices in your head that start sentences with “you can’t just.” Because I’m living proof you can just. You can do absurd things for love. For yourself. If I’d been opposed to doing anything absurd, I would’ve let him get away.
Not that I’d recommend using “Can I bite you?” as a pickup line. But I’m pretty damn fortunate that worked out so well for me.
Names have been changed.