One Traveling Man’s Weak-Dollar Dating Survival Kit

Speaker's Corner: With superior dentistry and monolingual charm, you too can pick up women overseas. Rolf Potts gets all Maxim magazine.

New Orleans

Why it’s a good city for meeting women: What happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans.

Forget Las Vegas and its well-funded promotional campaigns—New Orleans has been a refuge from Puritanism and the epicenter of North American party travel for a good three centuries. Hurricane Katrina and the devastating flood that ensued slowed things down in 2005, but didn’t come close to breaking the festive spirit of New Orleans. FEMA and local officials might have dithered at the worst possible moment, but you can still do your small part for the rebirth of the local economy by buying women drinks (and getting that favor returned) in the French Quarter.

Cultural catch-phrase to keep in mind: Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Admittedly, this Cajun chestnut (which means “let the good times roll”) will get you about as far with the local girls as wearing “Miami Vice” pastels in South Florida. But the local lovelies have been through a lot in recent years, and aren’t as likely to be impressed by your plastic beads and Bourbon Street hurricanes anyhow. In New Orleans, your best chance at romance lies with the women who’ve arrived from points beyond to let their good times roll in the French Quarter. Sure there are better restaurants Uptown and better nightlife in the Faubourg Marigny, but the Quarter is where the tourist damsels venture to indulge in the kind of fun they’d never try at home (and this could include you).

Tip to remember: The girls flashing you down on Bourbon Street aren’t worth your time.

Your “Girls Gone Wild” DVD has been gathering dust since 2003, so why waste your time toddling after teases on Bourbon Street? To meet women who know what they want (and whose vocabulary goes beyond “woo-hoo!”), take your party inside any bar or restaurant that doesn’t serve Jell-O shots, find a table full of dressed-to-kill tourist babes, make eye contact and work your charm from there. The courtyard at Pat O’Brien’s is good for this most any day of the week, though, depending on the night, it can be worth your time to venture off Bourbon to classier places, like Muriel’s on Jackson Square. To try your luck with local girls in the Quarter, go to Molly’s on Decatur—though if you don’t have easily identifiable hipster affectations (fashionably unfashionable clothes, sleeve-length tattoos, etc.) you won’t get very far there.


Why it’s still a good city for meeting women: Many of the out-of-your-league women are actually in your league.

If you’re looking to successfully romance a full-lipped, slim-waisted 28-year-old bombshell who speaks five languages and has a Ph.D. in economics, try Seoul. The curious availability of these brainy Korean stunners is the result of a Confucian passion for education, combined with an old-school patriarchal youth-fixation among Korean men. Thus, while the local guys are out chasing after hand-giggling, cellphone-chattering 22-year-old dingbats, all of the elegant beauties above age 26 (damaged goods, by local standards) are yours for the wooing.

Cultural catch-phrase to keep in mind: Booking.

Back in the 1990s, this cryptic Korean-English hybrid slang-word (which can mean anything from “meeting” to “hooking-up” with someone of the opposite sex) came to symbolize the incipient sexual revolution afoot on an Asian peninsula where marriages were once arranged by family members and co-education was a rarity. By the early 2000s “booking clubs” (expensive nightclubs where waiters introduced tables of women to tables of men) were all the rage in Seoul. At an applied level, booking need not take place at a formal nightclub—just keep in mind that the concept has long since been embraced by the savvy women of Seoul. To try out your urban booking skills, give Itaewon a miss (unless you’re a G.I. and it happens to be 1978) and hit the popular nightlife districts in Hongdae and Apkujong.

Tip to remember: Wear your metrosexual uniform, and take an active interest in her.

Korean society is more formal and status-conscious than the West, so leave your old “Bud Bowl” T-shirt and flip-flops at home. If your wardrobe doesn’t already contain a “metrosexual” ensemble (i.e. nightclub-ready clothing that insinuates you do occasionally give a crap about your appearance), brandish your credit card and replicate any given outfit from a recent issue of GQ. The point of this metrosexual gear is simply to prove, on first impression, that you aren’t a chintzy slob. Once you have her respect and attention, use a time-honored American charm-technique that has yet to fully catch on in the patriarchal confines of Korea: compliment her intelligence, encourage her to talk about herself, and listen (a combination far more effective than any tricky seduction strategy or pickup line).

All tongue-in-cheek generalizations aside, taking an active interest in women’s individuality will go far anyplace in the world—something to keep in mind while we wait for the dollar to rally and once again make life easy for American men.

While we’re waiting for that to happen, of course, it certainly can’t hurt to keep up with the dentist appointments.

8 Comments for One Traveling Man’s Weak-Dollar Dating Survival Kit

Jeff Daniels 02.13.09 | 3:31 PM ET

Fantastic article!

Always something great from World Hum

pam 02.16.09 | 11:23 AM ET

Awesome. A guide to collecting women like souvenirs.  With the conclusion that paying attention to women as humans will work great until the dollar is strong enough to go back to just buying them again.

While we’re throwing around cliches, I’m okay with being labeled a humorless feminist on this one.


Aaron 02.17.09 | 11:28 AM ET

Pam, youre being a humorless feminist.

I do like Potts writing. its quality

Karen 02.19.09 | 5:59 PM ET

Pam, I too was somewhat uncomfortable with the angle of this article at first, but I think it was meant slightly tongue-in-cheek. And Rolf does mention on a couple of occasions how he appreciates a brain alongside physical beauty. And he had the guts to admit that meeting (and getting busy with) exotic foreigners is one of the big perks of travel. For men AND women. (What woman isn’t going to keep her eyes open for a sultry hunk while in Israel or Argentina or Iceland). Anyway, you can always rely on Rolf to infuse a little testosterone into his writing.

Lindsey 02.23.09 | 4:53 PM ET

Guys dont change. Be it over seas or across the way. You must embrace the one track mind ladies and go with.

Besides, if guys were as complicated as women wed all be in serious trouble.

This article was written at least with tact. Just imagine the guy to guy conversations about this same topic.

Rolf 02.25.09 | 4:40 PM ET

Thanks for the comments, everyone.  Karen makes a good observation—this is at heart a tongue-in-cheek riff on how cross-cultural travel can make you more attractive to the opposite sex (and how specific cultural knowledge can enhance your newly found attractiveness).  Women enjoy the same perks when they travel, and no doubt one could write a female equivalent about Rome or Havana or wherever it is American women romance men who would be out of their league back home. 

Travel writer Tim Cahill has good-naturedly noted how romance is a common reason why people of both genders enjoy traveling, yet folks get bent out of shape when men try to write about it.  Entire literary anthologies are given over to women’s cross-cultural travel-romances, Cahill notes, while men attempting to write on the same theme get painted as exploiters. 

My essay is a humorous attempt to show how romance can be a travel-motivator for men, too.  Strip away the satire and hyperbole, and it isn’t an essay about tricking helpless women into sleeping with you (or “collecting women like souvenirs”): It’s about how mindful travel can make you smart and savvy enough to be attractive to attractive, smart, savvy women.

Karen 02.25.09 | 5:39 PM ET

I think the reason that some women take offense at men’s writings about “foreign affairs” is because more often than not they seem interested in sexual conquests, whereas women tend to be looking for romance and relationships. Think about Kohnstamm and Thompson, who spend pages and pages droning on about their shallow flings with hot flight attendants or Brazilian hookers or Thai bar girls or whatever.

Polly-Vous Francais 03.09.09 | 5:39 AM ET

Fun article. 

I do think, though, that French people actually find American accents “charming.”  A Frenchman at a dinner party in Paris told me I shouldn’t try to speak French without an accent—“a leetle American accent, c’est plus sexy,” he said. 

And go ahead and be beefy-American, yes.  But boorish?  Non.  Forget Foucault, but charm and good manners (help with her coat, hold doors open, etc.) are still the way to go.

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