About half way through our second round, a young Czech man approached us. He was dressed in mostly black and he had long thin hair and a large spike stud through his Labret piercing. Don't get the wrong impression. I'm not inviting you to judge this man (we'll call him Boris, since the name he gave us was fake, anyway), but I want you to have his picture in your mind when I tell what transpired.
Boris gets all our attention (bringing us from laughing and chatting to complete silence) and asks us if anyone can tie a tie. Around his neck hangs a loose black tie with white mice on it. His question puzzles us for a moment, but eventually I offer up that Ian probably can. Boris accepts my half-hearted answer and turns to face Ian. And Ian, being Ian, stands and begins to tie his tie. He fails the first few times because it's backwards. As Ian fails Boris taunts him with drunken, "Dude, come on."
He finally gets the know right and the small end is too long in the back. So, he goes in for one last try. It's then that Boris says to me, "I may be a little drunk, I've been drinking Absinthe."
"It'll have that affect," the table agrees.
To Ian, Boris says, "I may be drunk, but you are gay." He emphasizes the word as if it feels funny in his mouth. Ian corrects him and laughs politely.
"Well, this is the third country in which I've been called gay," he tells us as he sits back down. We laugh.
"No, seriously," Boris insists. "Are you sure you are not gay?"
"I'm sure. Are you gay?" Ian is trying to figure out where this conversation is leading. Jane attempts to direct his attention my way ("That's his wife").
"Actually, I'm bi," he says, echoing Ian and ignoring Jane.
None of us have any idea what is happening. So, we compliment his tie and comment on his Labret piercing. You could eat the air by the bowl full it was so awkward. Boris asks us the normal questions (why are you in Prague, where are you from, etc.) stopping every minute or so to assert that Ian "is gay."
"I'm sorry, man, but I'm not."
"Don't be sorry you're not my type."
This statement is met with an "ooohhh" from our group. Dissatisfied with his answer from Ian, he turns to Jane who is seated next to him on the bench.
"I'll ask you, are you sure he is not gay?"
"I'm sure, that's his wife right there."
Boris looks at me quizzically. He tries to describe what it is about Ian that leads him to his conclusion. It seems to come down to his dress and mannerisms.
"But he's an American, bright clothes and hand gestures are normal for American men," Lexie tells him.
"But, you see, I've been to America, and you're gay," Boris retorts. He doesn't bother much to look at the rest of us when we speak, but instead rests his gaze on Ian.
"Where did you go in America?" we ask him.
"Florida," he answers.
"Well, that makes sense then," I laugh.
"Where he's from in America is very far from Florida," Lexie says. "Women like bright clothing and gestures there. America is as big as several countries; you realize the Czech Republic could basically fit in one of the states, right?"
"You need to get some new clothes," Boris tells Ian.
"You don't like his clothes?" I ask him. "I like his clothes."
"You are his wife?"
"Okay, you need to get him better clothes," Boris informs me.
"I guess I need a Czech approved wardrobe," Ian tells the table.
"Well, we're an American couple, so I just let Ian choose his own clothes," I say. This is met with a Really? face from Boris.
"I don't know what to tell you," I tell him.
Boris wanders off temporarily. Jane and Ian leave to get another round.
When they return, so does Boris. Between moments of questioning Ian's sexuality he asks us (in a bit of a driving manner) "Why Prague?" We try to answer, but he's had more to drink and is unsatisfied by any of our answers. He mumbles through a short speech about the intellect and education of the Czech people versus Americans. His drunken state leaves him both easily irritated and ignored and though he made a few more short visits, we were eventually rid of him altogether when his group left the garden around ten.
Welcome to Central Europe! It didn't take us long to collect this amusing anecdote and I'm sure we're in for more.
I have quite a few photos from the last few days that I'll put up for you guys tomorrow or Tuesday. Tomorrow is our first day of class. Wish us luck!