20th July 2011 - 5 mins read
A fair evening to you all, dearest readers.
I’ve been getting some criticism lately that I’m coming off as too hostile towards men (even though I haven’t gotten started yet - honest!). Now, I need to make something clear - that’s not my intention. I’ve mentioned before that I know of some really great guys and equally know of some horrible women. I’m very well aware that I cannot paint a general picture that one gender is absolutely this, that or the other. My mere intention here is to point out that SOME of the things that happen between men and women in the realm of dating, marriage and “finding love” are unacceptable. And it just so happens that these unacceptable situations tend to happen over and over again with my friends and I. Coincidence? Maybe. Surrounding ourselves with bad seeds? Probably. But it doesn’t change the fact that these things happen and that we, or any other girls for that matter, could go through it at any time. So that, and this virtual support group, is all I’m intending to do here. Got it? We’re cool? Good.
I know, I know, enough with the random babble. You’re all here for some juice! Well, you’re in luck because I’ve got lots of fruit. It’s story time ladies and gents (do we really have any gentlemen reading this? If yes, come forward oh brave ones!) – I’m going to start you all off with something light just to ease in the heart attacks and raised blood pressure levels you are all bound to experience in reading this blog.
They say old is gold. In fact, there are some items that get richer, higher in value and more luxurious with time. Some people will even pay hundreds of thousands of their riches for aged goods. Well, it’s not always true. Not when it comes to men at least. I like to think that ten to fifteen years is a good buffer between you and your man. Any more than that is a little bit too much. There are exceptions of course, but this is not one of them. Trust me.
A few months ago, I went to an airline’s office to make a change to my ticket. As I was sitting there minding my own business, a really, really, really, really, really, (repeat x 50) really old man walks into the office to make a change to his ticket as well. He approaches me to inquire about getting a queue number and I kindly direct him to the ticketing machine. After long arguments back and forth with the airline staff, I finally finish making the changes I need and gather my things to get up and leave. I notice that the old man who had entered a few minutes after me was also done and was standing outside the airline office. As I began walking outside, I noticed the man was just standing on the street with his suitcase on the ground next to him - just waiting. He didn’t seem to be waiting for someone to pick him up, nor was he trying to hail a cab. He was just…. standing. It seemed as if he was waiting for the airplane to come pick him up from the road where he stood. It was slightly strange to me but I didn’t bother myself with it (remember, I like to mind my own business). I had to walk past the man to reach my car so being the courteous, well-raised and brilliantly mannered young lady that I am, I greeted him with a simple “al salam aleikum,” which translates to “may peace be upon you” and is the common greeting amongst Muslims and Arabs alike. The man expectedly responded with a “wa alaikum al salam” (may peace be upon you too) and struck up a conversation with me. Usually, I would treat such an encounter with a light heart and respect for the man the same way I would respect my great, great, great, great, great (repeat x 50) great grandfather. But I knew better. Oh, how I knew better.
Here I stood with this man who was at least 85 years of age (and a century or two more) knowing exactly what was happening. As I stared at his wrinkled face that had developed its own, new shape, I knew very well that this man was flirting with me. I knew he was hitting on me and in my head, I was already planning my exit strategy. After having been through oh so many of these types of situations, simply running away was too much a cliche of an exit strategy. I was capable of better than that and I intended on doing better than that. So here I am standing on the street in mid-afternoon and this artifact simply a few centimeters away from me is chatting me up and asking me what flight I was boarding on (he already knew we were going to the same country because he sat just a chair away from me earlier). I lied. He asked me where I was staying at the destination we were traveling to. I lied. He asked me what I do in the current country we were in. I lied. At this point, I know you’re probably thinking, “Why not just walk away?” But trust me, despite how many of these situations I’ve been in, it’s never easy to just walk away. When you’re in the moment, you sort of panic in a way that I can’t really explain. If you’ve been through it, then you know what I’m talking about.
As we both stood there and the milliseconds turned into seconds and the seconds turned into minutes, and the grandfather of all grandfathers continued asking me meaningless questions and saying things like, “Oh, I’m really sad we’re not on the same flight,” I stood there waiting for the inevitable. And sure enough, he dropped the ultimate bomb: “Can I please have your number?” And…. there it is. The dreaded question I was waiting for and knew I could not escape. Now, simply saying no could end in a whirlpool of endless back and forth. After being asked for my number inappropriately for what must’ve been the millionth time in my very young life, I’ve learned a couple of tricks. It was just a matter of choosing which one I wanted to utilize this time. Luckily, he had asked for my number in our destination, not our current country. I looked back at the man and said, “Sorry, I don’t have a number there yet.” So of course, just as I knew he would, he said: “Well, can I give you my number and you call me when you get a number?” Knowing that I couldn’t decline, I accepted and pretended to punch his number in my phone. I didn’t. I just tapped away stupidly on my phone. As expected, he followed up with, “Can you give me a miss call?” Since I was lying anyway, I topped it off with, “I would but I don’t have credit to call right now.” At this point, I declared it was time for my exit. I had given him enough security to believe that I would call and could now run for my life. Plus, I figured this old fart couldn’t outrun me to save his own life. But since running wasn’t classy, I decided a fast-paced walk would appear normal to a young woman of my age in comparison to his rotting existence. And to make it just a little bit more fun for me, I decided I would leave right in the middle of his conversation. So, as he said to me, for the last time ever in his life (as I expected that at any given moment now he would drop dead), “But you’ll call me right - please make sure you do call me,” I said, “Will do,” as I turned around and sped away while he continued his incoherent mumble in the background.
I got into my car, called up my best friend, and screamed the entire story at the top of my lungs as we both laughed, while actually crying, at the same time. And just like that as I sat yelling to her, “WHY?!?!?!?!? WHYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT ON EARTH!? WHY!” I felt better.
And I don’t know about all of you, but what happened to me that day my friends, is what I truly call 3aib.
Kisses and hugs,