Is it me? (Or…when being kind to strangers isn’t the best idea).

I can’t believe I just fell for this. I really want to hear what you would have done, if you were me. Was it me? Here’s what happened…

My family was at the Dreams resort in Puerto Vallarta last week. The second day we were there, I decided to attend a tequila tasting in the afternoon. Since Josh doesn’t drink, I went by myself while he played with the kids in the pool. All good.

The tasting was interesting. I learned a few things and enjoyed the sampling of tequilas. The other folks in the group were jovial, as you could expect from a bunch of tequila tasters on vacation in Mexico. We all cracked jokes and made comments. Someone admired my sandals. I informed a couple of guys that they were getting sunburned. Someone else told me that it was her birthday. It was fun.

tequila tasting

The assortment of tequilas at the tasting

At the end of the tasting, the bartender stuck around to answer questions and impart more information, but I decided that I had had enough, so I left.

However, I forgot my sunglasses, so I zipped back to grab them, and as I walked up to the table, the bartender was pouring another round of tastes for the two sunburned guys. The bottle looked intriguing, and I could tell that the three of them had just spent the past few minutes deep in discussion about its contents. So, when they asked if I wanted to join them, I threw caution to the wind and accepted a glass.

“It’s REALLY strong,” one of the guys said. “Watch out.”

I kind of waved him off. I’m a scotch drinker, and I like a strong drink. I hate it when guys think that I’m a lightweight. “I’m fine,” I assured him. Then I took a big gulp, to prove my point…and SPIT IT OUT immediately because my throat was ON FIRE. I sputtered and gasped for breath, clutching my throat and wheezing.

“Oh my god!” I choked. “Do you have any water!?”

This was the tequila that did me in.

This was the tequila that did me in.

The bartender shook his head, so I literally ran to the nearest café for help. I drank an entire bottle of water in about five seconds, but my throat still felt permanently damaged. I went to find Josh and tell him my tale of woe, but he just laughed at me. “That’s what you get!” he said.

I knew he was right. Feeling a little silly and a lot sorry for myself, I walked back to the café for another bottle of water, thinking that if this didn’t help, I would head up to the room for a couple of Advil. As I rounded the corner, I ran into the sunburned guys from the tasting. They were in the middle of retelling the story to a group of their friends. “And then she said, ‘Do you have any water?’” they yelled. The group burst into wild laughter.

“Hey!” I said. “I’m right here!”

“It was just so funny!” they said. “Your eyes popped out, just like in a cartoon.”

“Ha,” I replied. Then I continued on my way to get water from the café.

However, before I could reach the door, one of the sunburned men appeared. “Can you help me out?” he asked. “I know I’m sunburned. Could you please rub some sunscreen on my back?”

I felt bad for him. He really was burned. I held out my hand for his bottle of Hawaiian Tropic lotion. I did think it was a little weird that he didn’t have a more manly brand, but I just assumed that it was all he could find in the resort shop. I squeezed out a palmful of sunscreen and rubbed it into his back. “Why don’t you just wear a rashguard?” I asked him. “Then you wouldn’t have to worry about this.”

“Um, yeah,” he mumbled. “Thanks.”

A few seconds later, I was done with the sunscreen. The guy quickly walked away. My throat was feeling better, so I abandoned my café plan and decided to walk back to my lounge chair instead. As I rounded the corner again, I saw all of his friends high-fiving him. As I watched, he tossed the bottle of Hawaiian Tropic back on the lounge chair next to his, which clearly belonged to an absent stranger.

Eww! Ugh! Ack! I just got conned into rubbing sunscreen onto a strange man’s back!

What just happened here? What would you have done?


  1. No way! I’d laugh and tell his buddy to help him. I would probably just assume some guys at a tequila tasting in Mexico would be up to mischief. Glad you survived the fire tequila!

    • Points Pixie says

      Mommy Points – I think I was actually in “mom mode!” I was seriously thinking about how I would be so mad at my kids if they didn’t wear sunscreen when they got older. And yes, it did feel like touch and go with the Firewater. 😉

  2. Ick. I think I would’ve made some excuse about having to go to the cafe/get back to my husband/etc. and suggest that one of his friends help him out instead. And then get out of there.

  3. Thanks for selflessly letting yourself be a part of a group having fun. Sure you got conned, but at least someone had fun. I am sure if you needed any help, like if you tipped over and fell, those people would have comes to your help.

  4. I have to be honest here. In hindsight it is really easy to say of course one wouldn’t touch a stranger. But having spent a huge portion of my life as a people pleaser I was often unable to say “no” even when I felt uncomfortable about a situation.

    It’s clear you are a giving person and your first instinct was to be kind and helpful. I understand completely. Unfortunately you intersected with a particularly nasty brand of American bores. Try to drop them from your memories of the trip.

    • Points Pixie says

      Anne – Unfortunately, as one of my good friends always says, I’ve been “cursed with an incredible memory!” Ha ha. So while it comes in handy for storytelling and writing, I can assure you that this image is now seared into my mind forever. But…lesson learned!!

  5. It seems a little hard to believe that you couldn’t have seen this coming. He was with other people that he KNEW. Why wouldn’t he ask one of them to do it? I’m a Mom, too, but I can’t imagine I wouldn’t have seen I was being played. Seems like maybe you were enjoing the attention?

  6. guys are so dumb! I’m with Anne, because I’m a people pleaser I probably would have done it even though I felt uncomfortable. and you are a nice person, so you reacted as a concerned, nice person would. it’s not your fault those guys were jerks!

    although I think the tequila thing makes for a good vacation story (for later. much much later) You pushed you boundaries and tried something new! Good for you.

  7. Robin Lance says

    I would have done the same thing as you with the sunscreen! I may have felt “duped” later, but I still would have done it. I’ve worked in a male dominated industry for years, and I’ve seen guys risk getting terrible sunburns rather than ask a friend (guy) to put sunscreen on their back. I’ve had a line-up of guys (friends and co-workers) waiting for me (the only girls) to put sunscreen on them : )

    Maybe it feels weird to have been the butt of their joke, but I’d rather err on the side of being nice to another human being than refuse to interact with anyone at all!

  8. Ickk! I think I would have said something to effect of “I don’t do backs, sorry, allergic to the brand in your hand”.

    Sounds to me like you were just trying to be helpful and I’m sure the tequila didn’t help your”jerk radar”.

    I have to add, Lynn’s attitude, implying “must be HER fault, she was enjoying the attn” is concerning. Hope she doesn’t have daughters.

    • Points Pixie says

      Rebecca – I like the allergy excuse. Covers so many possible issues. Will use it for my next weird situation!

  9. Just whistle a little “Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine” and be glad you did not act out the song. Caulk it up to lesson learned…

  10. Oh, how awful! They sound like the kind of dumba** Americans that make the rest of us look bad. They exploited your participatory, good-time solidarity for their own lameness, instead of having a good time together. Good for you for keeping it positive even after they showed their dudiness at the tequila table. While you were fully enveloped in vacation mode, they couldn’t even manage to take a break from their own d*****baggery. They may have gotten a hottie like you to momentarily give them the attention *they* wanted (ahem), but you totally win.

  11. Points Pixie says

    pinkisnice – Yeah, I did feel a little dumb, but I agree that they were the ones that did the dumb thing. So Beavis and Butthead (remember that show?)

  12. globetrotter says

    Regardless what. where and how much or little you drink, alcohol will always blur your brain, not fry it, that impairs your ability to make sound decision. Being married and a mom, you clearly failed to behave as a classy lady and model to your kids. Engaging in a flirty conversation may not bother me as much. But when physical touch comes into play, all bets are off. You clearly craved for attention from a crowd of male strangers and wanted to prove to them that you were not a “light weight”!!!. Why not show them your skills, intelligence, knowledge, classy character and conduct, etc.? Males and females are born differently. Males have four sins that I prefer not to see in females (not that I have double standards): drinking, smoking (not just cigarettes), gambling and philandering.

    • Points Pixie says

      globetrotter – Lots going on in your comment! Seems like maybe you skimmed over the part in my post where I mentioned that the sunburned man was by himself (not with or near his friends) when he appealed to me for help. In my opinion, it is the right thing to do to help someone who is in pain (sunburn). It is unfortunate that he didn’t truly WANT the sunscreen.

  13. Thank goodness globetrotter let us know that she doesn’t have double standards. For a second there, I was worried this blog attracted judgey types who miss the point.

  14. Silly Pixie. I can’t believe you were such a dumb-ass to fall for the old “I’m getting a sunburn” trick. And I say that affectionately, of course.

    I don’t agree with Globetrotter, tho. Since when is having a couple of drinks and being friendly considered not classy? I think basic human kindness is the ultimate in classiness. And I am not sure what part of the globe s/he lives, cuz I know plenty of woman who imbibe in all four of those “sins.” Plus a few more G. would be seriously scandalized by. 🙂

  15. Hi,
    You helped another person! If it hadn’t resulted in a joke, you would have felt fine about it. So, let that be enough. If a stranger asked me for help and it was a safe situation, I would do it. It’s the mother in me and payback for the kindness strangers have shown to me.

    • Points Pixie says

      Michelle – You make an excellent point: if I hadn’t known it was a joke, I definitely would have felt like I had done my good deed for the day.

  16. Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone was Tequila buzzed and having fun….unfortunately some of it at your expense. I, too, would have helped out the guy if I thought it was genuine. Without the alcohol, I would most likely have picked up on it. On the bright side, he asking for the back rub made you forget about your burning throat. I can think of a lot worse outcomes than rubbing lotion on a strangers back! Glad you are ok and hope the trip was fun and memorable.

    • Points Pixie says

      Suzy – Thank you! And yes, I love that it made me forget about my burning throat. Ha ha!

      • Hope to meet someday! If you make it to the Fort Lauderdale area in the October – April months or Vancouver, BC May -September, look me up. Or maybe I will make it to one of the seminars. Love how you tell your stories.

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