A déjà vu lay report from the Baltic Sea on an overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki last week. I had a very similar experience in 2014 on a ferry going the other way from St Petersburg to Helsinki which I explained in this video and wrote up in my book Below The Belt.
They say history doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes. There are many similarities to the 2014 story but last week’s lay was faster and with more green lights. There was more luck than skill involved this time but it was still an exciting midway point to the van journey from the UK to the Russian border.
I’d spent a few days driving through Sweden and a night in Stockholm before the ferry to Helsinki the next day. As I sat in the van in the port waiting to board the ferry I watched the foot passengers embarking ahead of the vehicles. I remember wondering if any hot single girls would be amongst them. So far on the drive north I’d avoided doing any approaches as all my daygame this year has been (and will be) in Russia.
After driving onto the ferry and finding my tiny one-person cabin deep inside the ship I was tempted to just crash out and have a long sleep ready for Helsinki the next day. I got a message from a friend and wing back in London telling me to try and get a notch as that ferry was known for being a bit of a ‘booze cruise’ between Sweden and Finland.
With the anchor raised and the boat weaving its way through the many small islands before the open waters of the Baltic Sea I headed out on deck to shoot some video for the vlog series. Even though it was early April it was still cold and bracing. Most other passengers were warm inside, huddled in the bar and kicking off their all nighters.
The only other photographer on deck was a lone girl who looked colder than me, visibly shivering but enjoying the sunset and taking photos on a retro polaroid camera.
She looked Asian, cute, petite and quirky with hipster fashion and eskimo-type boots. My opener was crappy. No compliment or witty preface, just a lame question:
“Excuse me….are you Japanese? Your boots are very unusual”
She told me that she was from Hong Kong but that she had roots in Europe, which is why her English was perfect. She had finished university last summer, saved up money to travel and had just started her solo vacation around Europe for two months.
So far so easy. She said she’d studied English Literature but didn’t like the classics, only postmodern literature with a feminist slant. Oh dear.
I teased her about the hipster fashion thing, saying she should get a job as a reporter on Vice documentaries. I gave her the nickname Harry Potter because she seemed bookish and had said she had similar glasses.
The setting sun and the cold wind gave us a good reason to get off deck and into the nearby ship’s bar. She followed my lead straightforwardly and was happy for me to pick the beers and seats for us.
Over two Belhaven Scottish stouts we chatted across a table and the green lights continued. She’d just turned 22 and this was her first solo trip abroad. She’d landed in Stockholm and had spontaneously booked a ferry ticket that morning to see Helsinki. She was the first one of us to touch, reaching out for my hand and asking about my tattoos. Things were looking good.
Even though she’d seemed nerdy and reserved at the start her true self started coming through in real Secret Society style. She said she was also the ‘black sheep’ of her conservative family and was taking this trip as an act of rebellion.
She’d chosen Scandinavia as her first stop on the trip as she’d read it was the most liberal. More green lights. I asked if she also had tattoos and to my surprise she pulled down her t-shirt to show a shoulder tattoo of the Twin Peaks logo from the cult classic TV drama. Bingo.
The green lights just kept on coming, like a slot machine spitting out dollars. She touched my boots and said she liked them. She told me about all the British things she was into – The Smiths, Arctic Monkeys, and even Stephen Fry.
I showed her photos of my van conversion and the trip so far. She had doggy dinner bowl eyes and said her favourite book was “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac. Seemed like a home run!
As we finished our first beer I asked her why she was single and she explained that she wasn’t – there was a boyfriend of three years back in Hong Kong. He was ten years older and her first boyfriend (she’d gone to an all girls school so didn’t meet guys until university).
Rather than sulking I used the technique of amplifying, asking her when she was going to move in with him, get married and get matching tattoos with him. This had the desired effect of her putting him down. She said she didn’t like the idea of heavy commitment long term and that she had no plans for babies or marriage.
I used the feminist slant in my favour, telling her how liberal Scandinavian girls were and that it was cool to live a life of independence and freedom. I spiked by saying how “sex was like coffee” in Sweden and nobody judged One Night Stands. She lapped it up and agreed with everything. God bless feminism.
By now we’d been sitting in the same place for almost an hour so it was time to bounce to keep the momentum going. I suggested a walk to the other end of the ship where there was a tacky cabaret bar and a kitsch evening show we could laugh at.
As we strolled through the boat I made fun of her short size and playfully pushed her into oncoming passengers, saying that they couldn’t see her.
At the cabaret bar we sat down next to each other and ordered two more beers. It was time to ramp up the physical escalation as the cheesy performers covered in sequins pranced around singing show tunes.
I ran the usual physical gambits: comparing hand sizes, a mock palm reading, lingering touches on her knee and shoulders, the Floppy Test to see how ready to bounce again she was, plus tracing out future tattoo ideas on her legs and back.
I mixed it up with with more verbal escalation, talking closely into her ear with my arm around her as the show music was so loud. She told me her first crush was the Jonas Brothers when she was young, then various indie band singers. Her favourite movies were Blade Runner and Fight Club (could this get any better?) and that she had an addiction to watching documentaries about serial killers. “I get a rush off the danger from the safety of my bed” she confessed. Time to bounce!
I suggested we go out on the deck to check if we could see any stars so we downed our beers and left the tacky cabaret bar behind. Outside it was pitch black as we were now on the open Baltic Sea but too many clouds to see stars. I stood behind her in classic Titanic pose and she gripped my arms around her. Time for the final bounce below deck.
“Let’s go and watch some documentaries on my laptop…” I said as we descended the stairs towards the lower deck and the cabins. With no hesitation she agreed.
All hail the Scandinavian daygame gods for delivering me a Yes Girl. Into the cabin, small bedside light on, shoes off, on the bed listening to my van playlist and then lying next to each other to watch a mountaineering film as we made out. Her hand on my dick, my hand under her top.
As I went to put my hand down her jeans she stopped me. Was the boyfriend back in Hong Kong going to scupper things at the last moment?
“It’s my period” she said apologetically. “There’s a lot of blood…”
Exactly what had happened on the ferry in 2014. Bloody periods!
“Don’t worry, it’s natural, I don’t mind, we’ll put a towel down” I said as I reached into the bathroom to get one. And with that her jeans came off, condom went on and we made sweet sweet love to the sounds of John Mayer on the laptop. As you can see on the top photo the towel didn’t exactly mop up all the blood.
After the deed was done she went back to her cabin to sleep and the next day she hitched a ride in my mobile passion wagon from the ferry to downtown Helsinki. We spent a crisp cold sunny day exploring the city and then that night she slept in the van parked with a glorious harbour view, which you’ll see on a future episode of the Black Sheep Bandit.
Sometimes that’s all there is to it: a lame opener, a couple of beers between two single travellers, a bit of leading and plausible deniability, then wham bam thank you ma’am on a night ferry crossing the Baltic Sea.