Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why the heart is the stupidest of organs

A month or so ago I quit OkCupid cold turkey and, on the recommendation of a friend, went straight for the Fish (as in, Plenty of). While I haven't been exactly blown away by the prospects, I did manage to sort through the guppies and go out on a handful of dates over the last few weeks. But which ones did I throw back? Just to give you a brief run-down, there was:

--the thirty-seven-year-old traveling bicycle-parts salesman; lives 100 miles away in Richmond, VA, but travels through DC frequently on business. Separated, with kid(s)? Surprisingly good-looking, but mentioned church about three times too many for my taste. 

--the forty-year-old graphic designer. Divorced, no kids. Quirky, extremely high energy. When we met he went in for a hug, lunging in with his upper body while kicking one leg out behind him. (There was full leg extension.) Later he would tell me about a "crazy woman" he went on a date with who told him that he "hugged funny." He concluded this story by saying dismissively, "but she was crazy, though." Yes, you keep telling yourself that, quirky, in denial, weird-hugging guy!

--the thirty-seven-year-old bearded Canadian scientist. Divorced with a four-year-old daughter, who lives in Canada. Cycling fanatic. Quiet, slow-talking and soft-spoken, but we share similar tastes in music and food. Conveniently lives less than a mile from my house; rare indeed considering my less-than-central location. 

--the six foot four, thirty-one-year-old Moroccan with an adorable accent. Speaks: English, French, Arabic. Never married, no kids. Doesn't drink. Muslim. Lives a very inconvenient 25 miles away in VA. Likes: soccer (playing and watching), dancing, smokin' the hookah.

Four men, but only one of them makes my heart go pitter-pat. So which one is it? Which wildly inappropriate bachelor sends my traitor heart all aflutter? Why, none other than the Allah praising, alcohol abstaining, suburb dwelling, Green Card winner himself, of course!

In my defense, the perfect-on-paper Canadian sent me a "let's just be friends" e-mail explaining that he had begun seeing someone else. The fact that my primary emotion upon reading this was annoyance that he had "just friended" me before I could do it to him first should tell you all you need to know about our chemistry together. 

Also, I suppose it could be worse. I could have fallen for the Christian who lives 100 miles away. 

So, the Moroccan. At first I was wary, willingness to swill a beer and an aversion to organized religion being fairly high on my list of priorities. But we met, we went to a museum, we walked, we sat, we talked. We discussed religion and lack thereof, and politics, and family. We spoke in French and English and a weird mix of the two. He's the only guy I've met who will ooh and ahh with me over small dogs, and not just the big ones (he actually used the word "cute"), and he pulled out his phone to show me pictures of his co-worker's new chihuahua puppies. He was physically assertive bordering on aggressive, the way he leaned over me, into me, sat right next to me shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, and had me edging slightly uncomfortably away. I declined an invitation to see a movie with him later that night, needing to go home and regroup, needing space and time to think. We took the Metro two stops together before I got off to transfer. We hugged and said goodbye, and I got up to stand by the doors as the train slowed to a stop. As the doors opened I turned and perhaps too enthusiastically waved goodbye, realizing at the same time how goofy I probably came off, and I cringed inside at my lack of finesse. Such a dork! I scolded myself. Minutes later on the red line, my phone beeped; a text. It was the Moroccan, already. After I waved, apparently the guy sitting by the door turned to him and said, "So sweet!" The fact that this random stranger would say that, and that the Moroccan would pass it along to me, complete with smiley face emoticon, for some reason warmed my heart. 

Once I got home I was ready to dismiss him, but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about him. He texts me just to say hi almost every day. He calls me "jamila," which means beautiful in Arabic, and tells me he misses my pretty eyes. And this is where the white boys can really take a lesson--I love me some nerdy white boys, but flirting isn't usually their forte. 

In short, the Moroccan is sort of awesome I am sure our cultural, religious, geographic, and lifestyle differences will all work themselves out.  


Bwa! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Seriously though, he is really cute. 


  1. This sounds like one of those Eat, Pray, Love movies. It sounds like you're taking this sensibly and I hope your efforts produce a happy lasting relationship, presuming that's what you want.

  2. Yeah. No. Seen the movie. Several times in real life. Almost never works out well, and several new dimensions of disaster and suffering await. There's even a 'google' category for this fantasy:

    "my mohammed is different" and start reading. No not the blatantly racist stuff, but the real stories here. That's the real 'back story' here. They know it, and play up to the part too. So here's hoping you find another nice Canadian. Sorry, I'm a rat bastard like that. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

  3. Need to know. Why the switch from OkCupid to Plenty of Fish?

  4. Hmm, dunno. I guess because I felt like I had exhausted the possibilities there. Just to try something new, I guess.

  5. Hmm. I am married to an Arab, Muslim man. I read all those stories too. When we started dating, 4 years ago, he blew me away because he treated me so much better than any white boy ever had. The Muslim comments pissed me off, especially since he was (is) non practicing and smokes and drinks and none of his female family ever covered their head. We eloped for the green card 3 years ago and once it was official, had a big wedding this past May. Approximately 2 weeks after the wedding he ceased showing me affection in any way and started treating me like his property. I'm trying to make the best of it and he said he's willing to go to counseling to help us meet halfway ( I feel like I jump 3/4 of the way then fall in a 1/4 empty space) but we'll see. Even though I am married and really want to save the marriage, almost daily I wish I never married him.

    I know I can't change your mind, but proceed with caution. I hope you have a great time, learn some things, and move on unattached. And! Go to Mama Ayesh's in Adams Morgan. It's Palestinian, not Morrocan, but so good.

  6. Yeah Chrys, It's the miserable child custody cases I'm most familiar with, and they're typically epic, long lasting, yet durable in their abject misery. Books have been written about such tragedies. But YMMV. And yes, I know to 'outsiders' this will come off as wildly or quasi racist too. Perhaps just playing with them might be enough to satisfy. Who knows? But a common enough tragedy to be well known. Good Luck, 'VJ'

  7. Oh! Chrys! I'm so sorry that you're going through that. I hope that you can work things out. If you can't though, know that it's not YOU. You were simply duped.

    And Rachel? I think I've said this before. While we all like the bad boys, there's something VERY good about marrying the NICE boy. Trust me.

  8. Yay! I'm excited for you...really great. I'm all about nerdy white boys also...but in my younger was all about the exotic boys. Please see where this goes. you owe it to yourself. And besides...if you write him off, imagine how much hate mail you are going to get from men who have nothing better to do than judge you for judging. :) YOu know me. Always here to help! Oh and ... text me! We need to get together.

  9. Yeah, I'm with Dawn. My biggest lesson was that the nerdy best friend I'd always bitched to about other men turned out to be the guy I was looking for. Only took me 4 years to see it. I was going for the excitement, passion...only passion had me in arguments until 9 in the morning and missing deadlines. Blech. Try the nice guy.

    On the other hand, the assholes make these tales so much more epic!

  10. Dawn and Kate--I am not averse to that. (You know that, I think.) It's just that all the nice boys already have their nice girls.

  11. Wow. I know that there are cultural differences, but some of you commenters have a real bad thing about Arabs.

    Many men treat women as property. Women treat women as property. Women treat men as property. It is DEFINITELY NOT just a cultural thing.

    It's called jealousy and pride, and whoever has a lot of it is going to treat anyone as property, and that is across the cultural board.

    Rachel, anyone who is cool at museums is worth seeing again.

  12. "the thirty-seven-year-old bearded Canadian scientist."

    I love this sentence.

  13. Chrys - don't have children - that is where your troubles would really start.