Modern Love – A Tale of Online Romance From Adrienne S Moody

Modern Love
by Adrienne S Moody

 


There’s a reason we recycle. We no longer have a use for the object and we put it where someone else may. I should have known better when I went another round with Recycle Man, or as my friend and co-worker Marina calls him, the man with the tiny bed. This is due to the story I told her about how at dinner at his place one night, I spied a peak at his bedroom and was very surprised, shocked really, to see this little single bed sitting forlorn in the middle of his large master bedroom. Was it sending women the message that, maybe a little hanky-panky girls, but this bed means no one is staying overnight.

I decided I was going to build a friendship with him and hopefully the romantic feelings would arise from that. Millions have failed before me, but I was undaunted by the advice of friends and romance how-to books. I laid my plans out for him after the third date. I wanted long-term to share dwelling, finances, the good, the bad, but definitely not his siblings who make mine sound positively Walton-ish. Of course I didn’t say this to him, but I was already working out a plan for holidays where one must mingle with each others remaining family members. For Christmas I figured he could have the place Christmas Eve to entertain his family and I would have Christmas day for mine. His sister’s psychosis freaked me out, especially when he warned me to watch myself when I met her and that she was ‘okay’ if she remembered to take her meds. And then the brother who parked his obese body into a chair for the entire duration of the lengthy visit and ordered the host (and hostess) around. ‘After he had me get up for the tenth time to go get him something I finally said, what?  you gotta bus tied to your *ss?’ This wasn’t sounding like something I wanted to deal with, but aware that I was projecting, I filed it under, ‘later.’

When there aren’t any sparks with the person you’re dating, the little things are going to irk you. Recycle Man, or, Tiny Bed Man, has many little ticks and nuances that soon had me gritting my teeth. He was a nervous type of guy. And often he’d rub his eyes and not just a little flick of the wrist, but both hands digging into his eye cavity and vigorously he’d give them a working over. He’d fake yawn too. A lot. He’d open his mouth and his jaw would do little push-ups. He’d do this when I’d be talking to him and I found it incredibly distracting. The first time he did this climbing the Chief, sitting on boulders drinking water and chatting, I asked him if his eyes were hurting him. Maybe it helped him think, I don’t know. It began to ride me.

He likes calling women, ‘young lady,’ regardless of her age. I let it go for a while and then finally asked him to please stop. I told him that it was okay to call a female this if she was under 18 and a relative of his. Sheesh! What if I called him ‘young man?’ He complied and apologized that he never meant it as patronizing. I was appreciative of the fact that I obviously could talk to him about issues that arise and he wouldn’t necessarily take offense.

We all like guys to be gentlemen, don’t we? I thought I did.  TBM takes it to the extreme. At first I really liked him opening my car door for me, but often I would forget when we arrived at our destination and he’d sigh in disappointment when he found me standing by the side of the car waiting for him.   ‘Wait,’ he began to order me while he put the car in park and dashed over to my side of the vehicle to open the door. He needed to walk on the street side. I know where they derives from. Back in the olden days in England (I think) people would stand on their balconies and dump their slop pails onto the street often risking dousing on the pedestrians below. Well, there’s no slop being dumped any longer. There’s really no need. But he’d rush here and there, one side of me and then the other on our walks and I began to wonder- just who he is doing this for?

My take on this is these guys do it more for themselves than the women they are putting on a pedestal. These gestures make them feel more manly. Now, as my roommate pointed out to me, as I lamented all these issues to her, if I was hot for the guy none of it would matter, and she is right.

“You would most likely let your hand be held as he pulled you to your feet, bat your eyelashes and kiss him, Adrienne,” she predicted.

Because he took me out often for dinner, I wanted to reciprocate and had him over for a cannelloni dinner last week. I’m a decent cook and this is a very satisfying and to some, an erotic kind of dish to prepare and to eat. I arrived home after work and mixed all the delicious, delectable ingredients together in a bowl. I’d sauteed the garlic, onion, ham and mushrooms in butter. I added the spinach and ricotta cheese and sat down at the table, and while Pavarotti serenaded, I stuffed the cannelloni shells. I poured Paul Newman’s tomato sauce on top and sprinkled freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I prepared a green salad and cut bakery fresh warm french bread. I lit candles and waited for his arrival.

I could see from my security video that he was carrying flowers and wine. Perfect. Maybe this would heat up the romance. He held the flowers out to me and I embraced him and kissed his lips. I drew back when he pressed forward wanting more. I smiled. I put the flowers in water. I sat across from him and thought of how everything was just so perfect. The food (only the Italians can make such fantastic romantic dishes such as this!) the warm buttery bread, the crisp lettuce and tomato, the candlelight, the soft spa music playing in the background. The only thing missing was my passion. For him.

I asked if he’d go for a long walk with me after dinner and I could tell he was disappointed, as he looked longingly at the couch conveniently placed before the fireplace. But he agreed. We hustled down to the Promenade and I gazed out at the whitecaps as he dashed from one side of me to the other. I felt such a sinking disappointment knowing I couldn’t see him again. He deserved someone who would appreciate all that he is. I kissed him on the cheek and bid him goodbye.

I scraped the plates and placed them into the dishwasher and played a little Etta James as I wiped the table. I logged onto the dating site and as any serial dater worth her weight would do, scrolled the pictures of the men who were online. Suddenly a letter appeared in my inbox.

Hmmm….

This man was originally from Egypt, my favorite place in the world. No, I’ve never been there but it is on my bucket list, one day I will. The pyramids, the culture, fascinate me. He wrote that he’d been reading my profile for a couple of months and had even bookmarked it, but was always too shy to communicate with me. He finally had the courage in this moment and wanted to say hello.

We wrote letters back and forth throughout the evening. He was in London on business but would be returning on February 14, Valentine’s Day. Our letters turned to cooking and food. He loves and cooks Mediterranean style and wrote that he would love to cook for me. He uses olive oil, tomatoes and cilantro. I wrote back that I love cilantro. He responded with: he will call himself cilantro.

Aah, the romance of food.

 

 

So that’s what a serial dater is: one who goes from one relationship to another without a break, without taking the time to resolve any issues from the former failed one. I just don’t see the point, really. It’s not that I think the problem lies with ‘him,’ either. I can sum up the mistakes pretty quickly and I figure there isn’t any point in moping, or ruminating about it, or him. Move on. Tomorrow is another day. The glass is half full. There’s another letter in my inbox. It wasn’t always like this, however. When I was a newbie signing in for the first time, any attention I got, I gushed and blushed and when I dressed for the coffee meet and greet, I practically called my mother to tell her I’d found Mr. Right. My hair had to be just so, the makeup applied with perfection, the outfit would be painstakingly chosen. My heart raced as I drove to the meeting place. I’d nervously rehearse in my mind what I would say as I waited for him. And of course I’d be there half an hour early to claim my space, to calm me.

Now I’ll meet someone new straight after Boot Camp, sweaty and flushed. And writing dating stories on my laptop.

At first, I thought Recycle Man might work out for me as he wanted the same thing as I did. We both wanted to find someone to co-habit with. I talked to him about that, about how I bought this roomy two bedroom, two bathroom condo in preparation for a man moving in. He’d have his own closet, his own bathroom and even the spare bedroom could be utilized if one of us were sick or needed extra sleep. He liked the idea and confided in me that he could sell his place in a year. One year. I figured that was plenty of time for us to get to know each other well. Surely in one year, I’d know if he was a keeper. But, like I mentioned, I didn’t feel any passion, any chemistry for him.

And there was the hockey issue. Where I live, most people, men and women alike, live and breathe hockey. When the playoffs are on, all life goes on hold. Even Palliative Care in the hospitals have a TV in the snack room with sounds like,’HE SHOOTS! HE SCORES!’ interrupting the silence. Minorities like myself suffer. Hockey lasts about eight months now, so it’s not like it’s a brief interlude. No, hockey takes over the lives of most of us here in the North country.

“So you REALLY don’t like hockey?” he asked me many times, with hope spread across his face.

“Not even a little. I HATE hockey. I always have,” I smiled a weak smile.

He’d had an especially bad day two weeks ago and he made a brief call to me after dinner. Brief, because, you guessed it, the game was about to start.

“Well, I’ll be okay. The game is on, so that’s all I really need,” and then he rushed off.

I hung up and sighed deeply. Is that really all he needs? I suspected he told me more than he intended to. I know recycling him back into the bin was the right thing to do.

And now, Egyptian Man. His emails were refreshingly sweet:

I am not shy in the letters and I am not shy in business. But shy with the special lady when it’s first time face to face meeting. Then I am ok. I wish you nice dreams and I kiss your hands.

This was his last letter to me last night. It made me smile. He’s a lot younger than me, something my friends are encouraging me to do. Try someone younger. So, now, am I not only a serial dater, but a cougar as well?

So much can be learned about someone through emails. And I know, I know, lies can be told, he could even be married. He could be a woman living on the other side of the world awaiting a sex change and scouting out opportunity. Yes, anything can be on the internet. I enter each encounter with my eyes wide open. And my heart, too. I asked him for his vitals. He wrote:

I was married once, and I was married from 2000 till 2007. She was Egyptian, but now she lives in Vancouver. After we broke up, I decided to focus on work and nothing else. And I can tell you that I have never been involved in a relationship other than that relationship. What helped me is that my job requires lots of traveling and I am always on the run. But I am planning to minimize my traveling and focus on my own business which I am planning to establish in a few months. So I am totally a free bird now and I am very family orientated and very supportive. I am a one woman man. If I am committed then that is it, I am happy.

He is handsome, with mischievous dark eyes and deep dimples in his cheeks.  His pictures on Facebook show a world unknown and foreign to me. Pictures of Cairo and crowds of people, women wearing dark clothing and their heads covered. I ask him how he feels about our age difference and he wrote:

I don’t feel the years difference. I am looking for a mature lady who can challenge me mentally. I like to be always challenged and I am into intellectual discussions that enrich the conversation and adds to the relationship. If you come to Egypt you will be surprised by the amount of old stuff for sale (yes I call them treasures too) I think you would want to ship a container load of them to Canada.

I found myself checking the price of flights to Cairo.

Recycle who?

 

 

Am I looking for something elusive? Do I purposely choose unsuitable or unavailable men to fill my time and to feel that rush of endorphins that newness and hope bring? I examine these issues. And that’s what I told a friend as I filled her in with the recent news of the severing of one tie and connection with Egyptian Man.

“Oh, let me warn you, he says he’s in London? Yes, right, maybe he’s got a woman in every port, Adrienne.”

“I don’t think that way, Jane. I have never had deception like that and I’m sure it happens but not to me. I go into every connection with my eyes and heart open.”

And I do.

But, yes, this new one is a good ten years younger than me. Okay, twelve. But I don’t think age should be a deal breaker. So far all that’s done is letters written. I know better than to get my hopes up on such a one dimensional meeting. I like his words and how he seems to speak from his heart. He likes about me, things other men don’t even see, or if they do never mention. Like he wrote how he loves that I love my future daughter-in-law like the daughter I never had. He sees my heart and what makes it tick.

I showed his picture to my roommate last night.

“He’s very handsome. I just don’t see you with a guy whose name is Omar.”

Really? I’ve dated the guy next door, a comedian, an accountant, a lawyer, even a cowboy. Why not an Omar? Besides, I told her, going to Egypt is a dream of mine. To me, he is excitement, mystery, like trying an exotic dish. I will continue the correspondence and look forward to when he is back into the country. For now, he is the spice in my ordinary life.

 

There’s such a mixed response to my meeting and becoming attached to a Muslim man. There would have been controversy just over the age difference, but him being Muslim causes more negativity than any gap in years could.

“Honor killings!”

“They treat their women so horribly!”

“I can’t see you covering your head, A…”

“Terrorism!”

I had one moment of alarm when he told me that he was buying land in the suburbs of Cairo close to his mother and that he would build a Villa.

It would be a place that you and I could stay when we visit Egypt. After being there once, A, you won’t want to come back to Canada.

Just that once, I felt a sense of mistrust.

I’ve done a little research of Egypt. I was shocked to see how close it is to Iraq and Iran and places where there fear emanates from. I asked him about the Red Sea.

It is the most beautiful seaside place to go. There are many resorts where people vacation. It is called the Red Sea because of the red coral reef.

My favorite picture shows him standing in an field and there are palm trees in the background. I asked him if that picture was taken in Egypt.

Yes, it is a fishing village called Abu Sultan on the Suez Canal. My family goes there to eat at one of the many restaurants that the wives of the fisherman own.

I looked it up on Google and read a review of one of the hotels there. There are three and this one was rated 2nd out of the three. Not great. Flies and dirty floors. One reviewer wrote that one of them become violently ill and the owners refused to help.

He has said that he is comfortable with spending the rest of his life with me. This and much more. And at first it seems preposterous to even entertain this thought. But, when you consider that he accepted an arranged marriage to a woman he barely knew, it’s not so much so. The electric current is strong between us, just through instant messaging and emails. We spoke once through an audio application that he sent me.

“Do you want to hear my voice?” he asked one evening late.

I agreed, not knowing what to expect. Suddenly this audio application appeared on my screen. A voice mail to accept or decline. Nervously I pressed accept and waited, listening to my heart racing. And then I heard him. He sounded shy. And far away. And real, so real. He said my name. I said hello Omar. Barely more was said and I told him I was going to press ‘end.’ We’ll do this again some other time he said. And then we were back to comfort, the computer screen.

An excerpt from Pat Conroy’s book, Beach Music comes to my mind as this connection builds:

“I do not have any other way of saying it. I think it happens but once and only to the very young when it feels like your skin could ignite at the mere touch of another person. You get to love like that but once.”
— Pat Conroy (Beach Music)

I’ve told my niece Linda about him. She was fearful upon hearing that he is Muslim. I sent her pictures to which she responded, ‘This might work. He’s very good looking.’ She admitted that she expected a picture of someone who resembled Saddam Hussein.

“I wish my parents had an arranged marriage for me,” Linda lamented to me in a conversation recently.

“Really?” I laughed.

“Yeah! I hate looking for a guy right for me. Hate it. I wish my parents had a dowry and found the man and off I would go at the age of 18. But no. Here I am at 35 and fishing on Plenty of Fish. Hey! Do you think you could start stashing away loonies and toonies for a dowry for me?”

I laughed and agreed. I sent her a picture of Omar’s family which includes four brothers. I told her to pick one of them whom she feels attracted to and I’ll ask Omar what kind of dowry he would expect. As much as we joked about this, it made me think of how women like my niece need some help finding the proper mate for them. Linda is like a sheep thrown into the wolves.

And like the little sweet thing that she is, without missing a beat, she jumped to a completely different subject.

“Do you think I should go blonde?”

“Honey, you already are.”

 

 

Every day we correspond. He is traveling from Manchester to Liverpool today and a full day of business meetings. So our talks have been short, but sweet. He’s eight hours ahead of me which makes it tricky to connect. On the weekend we chat for hours. He has this reverence towards me that shocks me. Makes me realize how I’ve lost a certain amount of respect for myself over the years, the years of disappointing relationships. Years of choosing men who have not been good for my spirit, my soul. My workplace is filled with women who are broken marriage casualties. Most of them will not return, only relieved to have escaped intact. I understand completely.

I was getting to that point of living my life with wonderful girlfriends, travel, passions and hobbies, devoid of any love interest.  After returning Tiny Bed Man back to the bin, I was ready to stop dating and write the book. I have enough material to fill a few novels. And then I received the first of many emails from Omar, the Egyptian.

 

The Dance Of Intimacy

A woman lets a man know it’s okay to come closer in many ways. Through IM and emails it is easier to be bold and more direct. For instance, when he wrote to me that he needed to sign out and that he would like to kiss my hands, I wrote back, I would like that. This progressed to him writing that he would like to kiss my neck, my shoulders and my back. Gently and softly.

Knowing that he wants me as a potential partner, clears the table of all other clutter that most relationships entail. Such as: is he dating numerous other women at the same time as me? Does he want long term, or just a friend with benefits? What dark part of his past is he hiding? Is he a secret alcoholic or drug abuser?

And it not only leaves me hopeful, but a little scared.

Me, Scared?

You bet. I have some pretty sturdy walls set up around my heart and there for good reason. I feel them crumbling, slowly, yet surely. And the vulnerability, I’m feeling, without that protection is frightening. The more he reveals his feelings for me, the more I need and want to hear them. I don’t like feeling needy. The hopefulness that has risen about him and me being together, is fragile and I need constant reassurance from him.

At my laptop last night, just site surfing,  a message suddenly came up on the screen from him.

I want you

And I realized that this electricity can be felt right through the computer screen.

I love that picture of you that you sent me – He wrote referring to a photo of me wearing one of my little black dresses.

It is elegant, but plunges slightly in the front and the sleeves are off-shoulder. It is snug fitting, but suits me. It was worn at my nephew’s wedding.

“I debated whether I should send it to you, Omar. It is a little revealing.”

It is suitable for a wedding – he confirmed.

“Women in Egypt do cover up though, don’t they?”

They generally wear scarves over their heads, yes.

Has it only been a couple of weeks since I cyber-met this man? I checked and yes, only a couple of weeks. It seems much longer than that. I entered into this firstly as just a novelty. The age difference (12. okay 14 years!) the cultural differences kept me from taking it seriously. He captured me with his frankness: I bookmarked your pictures and profile for two months. It was only today that I had the courage to write to you — and his freshness: I am very shy with ladies. That first meeting I don’t think I can look into your eyes. After the first time I am sure I will be comfortable then. His promises: I want to make you happy every moment.

He asked me, ‘What can I do to please you?’

I answered, ‘Be my best friend.’

What started as a novelty, appealing to my adventurous and curious nature, has turned to a desirable relationship that is just out of reach at the moment, with him being in London and me in Canada. He is like no one I have ever met before. A wisp of a promise that I do not want to lose.

I opened a Yahoo account at his request, so we could chat on the Instant Messaging. I feel a quickening of my heart when I see that yellow face with a number on top indicating a message from him. He is the only contact that I have on Yahoo, the way I want it. We keep the message box open throughout the day. I sent him two messages yesterday to which he answered with a disappointing short matter-of-fact response.

I panicked.

Like a school girl I read into it all kinds of misdemeanors committed by him. I imagined he’d lost interest. He’s toying with me. He doesn’t mean all that he’s said. He’s like all the rest of the disappointing suitors that I’ve had. Poof! He’s going to go up in smoke and disappear out of my life as quickly as he appeared. I kept checking for another message. I picked up a weathered novel by the two New York women who wrote The Rules. I realized upon skimming the pages that I’ve broken almost all the rules. Yes, I let him know too soon I am very interested. I’ve opened my heart far too soon. I’ve stopped communicating and checking the dating site, breaking a very important rule. Don’t focus on him until he’s committed to you. Keep your dating card full. I just haven’t any interest in anyone else.

But, see how needy I’ve become?

Even a suspicion that he was pulling away, put me into turmoil. Hours later I received a message from him, a message that calmed all my fears. Of course, throughout his day he was immersed in business. I should have known that. My world was right again. I breathed with ease. The smile returned to my face.

Hugs and kisses from me to you from cold Liverpool

I’ve got it bad. I put away the Rule Book.

There aren’t any rules to follow with this one. I am so not in control. And that scares me to death.

 

 

Cyber-Affections

I’ve been told I’m invincible and I guess I am. I have bounced back so many times in my life, that I sometimes amaze myself. I tend to take people at their word. I want to believe in a person’s honesty and just general goodness until they’re proven wrong. Maybe that is my folly. I don’t want to become jaded.

Yes, I was taken back by all of this Egyptian Man’s promises and flattering comments. At first I went into this out of curiosity and my sense of adventure. A lark. But, I found myself getting swept away by his seemingly forthrightness: I am up because I cannot sleep. I keep thinking of you. His elevated values: Just so there are no surprises I want you to know that I will not sleep with anyone unless I am married to her or living common-law. And what I am least proud of falling for, his promises: I will build a villa in Cairo and we will have some place to stay when we go visit.

Tsk, tsk, Adrienne. Were you born yesterday?

The energy has changed in the last couple of days. I excused that cooling off with, he’s super busy wrapping business up in London in preparation to coming back to Canada on the 14 of February. Yes, Valentine’s Day. But, still, I sensed something wasn’t right.

I reviewed all the correspondence that we’ve had and there are volumes of emails and instant messaging that I was able to save. Back and forth… back and forth… like two tennis players in a long rally without any faults. Promises: I will love to bring you coffee in bed every day. I will make you Chai tea at night when you come home. I will massage your shoulders. I will learn to talk about my personal problems with you. Oh yes, and then he told me one evening that he was reading a novel.

Should I tell you what I’m reading? hmmmmm

Only if you are comfortable telling me.

Okay. It’s women are from mars and men are from venus. I am very motivated to read this now that I have you in my life, my future.

I want to be in love and stay in love the rest of my life, omar. I will read it also.

You don’t have to.

I want to. I’m interested. I read it a long time ago.

I am a very easy man to get along with. Maybe more like venus than mars.

Maybe somewhere in between.

In between? Yeah, maybe Earth.

Swept completely away. He reassures and lures me in like an expert:

Do not be afraid of being with a Muslim man. I have lived in Canada long enough to learn to be flexible.

You can do what you want.

I will not push my religion onto you.

I want to make you happy every moment.

I want to live the rest of my life with you.

I feel like I’ve been on a wild ride of a roller-coaster. Elated one moment, images of pyramid hopping with this exotic man and then suddenly crashing down realizing it was only fantasy. I haven’t even met this man yet and here we were talking of a future together. And this neediness and insecurity that I was feeling was not good for me and I knew it. It was my body’s way of telling me this is all wrong. I needed to get off.

I was laying awake at night, not able to sleep, waiting for Omar to write me something, anything. I texted my ex-roommate, Craig. I told him in a few short texts who I was getting cyber-involved with.

Adrienne, these guys all talk big online. I have heard this from many women. All the same story. All the big promises the cars the trips etc etc how could you believe all of his crap when you haven’t even met him?

How could I, indeed?

Admittedly, a part of me refuses to believe this. But, the sensible side, is telling me I’ve been a fool. I’m not going to call his bluff. I’m going to wait him out, let him play his next card.

In the meantime I heard the familiar bleep on my cell. My roommate again with this text:

Knowing what I think of you as a person and woman, if I told you I loved you and cared for you would you get swept away and sleep with me?

 

 

I stared at the text and back to the computer screen, waiting for some kind of communication from Egyptian Man. A deep sigh and then I responded:

I didn’t say I was going to sleep with him, Craig.

I couldn’t fall asleep. I went back and re-read the emails from Omar again. This one was the beginning of when we became more romantic towards each other:

I don’t mind bringing you the coffee everyday. Making you a breakfast and bring it to your bed. Right now I want to make you scrambled eggs with tomato and green pepper with a toasted bread. It would be so nice when I am giving you the plate that I touch your arm accidentally this would make me feel like there is a nice electric current just passed through my arm. I will protect you there is no doubt of that. I want to touch your shoulder and kiss it is what I feel like doing right now.

And this:

The moment I kiss your hands and your head will be one of my happiest moments.

These are lies? For what purpose?

And his intention written so eloquently:

I am so grateful you replied to my first letter and I assure that is not my intention to want what most younger guys want because of so many reasons that i will tell you. First of them is that I respect you and also respect myself and I treat women with respect the same way I want to be treated and you will see that I will always treat you with dignity and respect.

A lie?

Meanwhile, Craig’s texts kept coming:

I think he is full of hot air totally! He says he bookmarked your profile for two months before he had the guts to write to you? hahahahaha!

Truly Adrienne, many men say all the same sorts of things to women online. To me it is so deceitful AND disrespectful.

Egyptian Man’s correspondence was much less frequent the last few days. I was left feeling insecure. What was up with him? Had I said something that caused him to pause? Or, more likely, he’s guilty about something. When I wrote him last week that I was looking forward to seeing him finally, in the ‘real world’ I asked what did he think we ought to do that first meeting? Go for a walk, go for coffee or maybe both?

He didn’t respond.

When I wrote that he must be getting anxious to come home as he only had a few more days til February 14, his expected departure date, there was no response. And why didn’t he say anything to me about keeping a day or two open soon after his arrival home? He wasn’t being honest and that became very apparent to me, especially after Craig’s warning.

He did write one short instant message the night before:

I want you to know that every day when I go to bed I imagine kissing you.

…to which I replied:

I will now imagine your kiss.

I wondered if I sounded like some kind of loose woman compared to the Egyptian women he’d been accustomed to. I worried that what we might think is perfectly fine and decent to say to a man we’re attracted to here in Canada, is rather decadent and warranted a stoning in his country.

My tired mind shifted to my suspicions about his true identity.

Maybe he wasn’t even in London. Maybe he was actually living in London and didn’t live here at all! Or maybe he was going to be there for a lengthy time and he lied to me, knowing if I knew the truth I wouldn’t correspond with him at all. And he’d be right, I would not have. I’d been counting the days until he would be back and I could see him in the flesh.

I barely slept.

I kept waking and checking like an idiot.

No email. No instant message.

Morning came and my eyes felt like there was sandpaper under the lids. A hot shower and a cup of strong coffee later, I perched on my stool with my laptop and there he was.

Good morning Adrienne how are you?
I am in blackpool today and will be back to london tomorrow
Hope you are doing well
Enjoy your coffee

good morning Omar
have a good day
miss you

Hi Adrienne
I miss you too
I keep thinking of you all the day
I am sending you
The biggest hug ever
and a soft kiss on your cheeks

Thank you
;-0

I am still at work
Waiting to meet CFO of one hospital here

Oh!
on your i phone?

I can’t get you out of my head Adrienne

:-0
i miss our chats omar

I can’t get you out of my head
Always thinking of you
Yes on iPhone
I miss our chats too
You made a very good impression on
On me

i feel like i’ve gotten carried away omar
and yet I cannot help it

Me too
I have the same feeling

it’s a good but unsettling feeling

I can’t wait to meet you Adrienne

me too

I hope , really hope that things will work well between both of us
And that we both sincerely feel that we are going to complete each other

yes
well i am into this with an open heart
and mind
some would say foolish

I feel we are compatible
I dont believe it is foolish

Foolish to feel so much intensity for someone whom i’ve never met

I am really hoping me and you will always be together

well i do too omar

I would like so much to be at your side

yes  me too

and I want that we both live together in the future
It would be so nice to have you as my wife

it’s been a long time since i called anyone my husband
it is a nice word

I would like to be your husband
I have lots of love to give you
and I want to please you

i can tell that you do omar

and to make you happy

when do you get back to vancouver?

I will know that next week

no idea then?

No

I have to go now

ok omar

Meeting

have a good day

 

 

That appeared to be my evidence. He lied. He lured me in with false information. If he lied about that, what else has he, or will he, lie about? My roommate was equally devastated when I filled her in with this distressing news.

“You mean I’m not going to have a friend to visit who lives in Cairo in a villa?”

“Apparently not…”

“Oh my God. I just thought of something. Maybe he is trying to hook up with you thinking you have money and he’ll get you to help finance his new business and…”

“No, I doubt that. No.”

“But why would he do it? What’s in it for him?”

“Maybe he just wants some excitement while he’s working over there in Europe. He hooks me. Tells me all the things he thinks I want to hear. Like in two years when his business takes off I won’t have to work anymore. Tells me that he will take me to Cairo this year. That he will love me like no man ever has. All the things a woman wants to hear. And he did it. It worked.”

“Oh sweetie.”

“I’m going to end it.”

“Not the evil email, Adrienne.”

“Not evil. Nice. Just tell him he can write me when he’s back here and we’ll meet then.”

“Don’t do it. Don’t do anything. Wait 24 hours. That’s what they say with emails, especially ones sent in the heat of the moment. Cool off, Adrienne.”

“Okay,” I agreed as she put her arms around me hugging me tightly.

“I know you won’t. You said this before and you went ahead and did it anyway.”

“I’ll try not to.”

Half an hour later I was at work on the computer and finished off the short letter to him.

Dear Omar,

I’ve enjoyed meeting and getting to know you. I feel however, we ought to meet to see how we really feel, so email me when you are back to Vancouver. I don’t think I’m comfortable continuing on with this internet connection. Until then…

Au Revoir!

Adrienne

 

 

I worked with Brenda this morning, a black woman from Nigeria. Such a vibrant woman with her brightly colored clothing and dramatic makeup, voluptuous lips painted bubble-gum pink.

“Egypt is in Africa, Adrienne,” she informed me in a serious tone.

“Yes, I know, Brenda.”

“African men are like this. Do not take it personally. They all do what this man has been doing. They say, I love you, you are in my heart, I want you and they don’t even really know you. They all do that. That’s the way African men are. Don’t blame him for that, Adrienne.”

I smiled at her indulgently and we began our work day. Hours later I was online checking my email and I saw he’d written me, despite my request not to. I laughed out loud and Brenda appeared behind me reading the computer screen.

“Look. He’s responding to a message from earlier today on the instant messaging, like he hasn’t even read the email.”

“He’s pretending he didn’t see it. Smart man. He knows this woman is mad, better step careful around her! Smart man. He’s giving you time to cool off.”

Oh, the feeling of control is sweet. No more insecurities. I was wiping him clean out of my mind like reformatting a hard drive. Later on in the day I visited his Facebook site hoping to find a picture or two that would incriminate him in some terrible way and I wouldn’t feel any loss, as I was beginning to feel. I  examined more closely his photos posted. So many from Egypt. The uprising in Tahrir Square. There he was in a crowd, dressed all in grey and black and the people around him wearing equally dark clothing and women all with their heads covered. Scenes and backdrops so foreign to me, living in a rainforest type of environment where there is so much greenery and water. One shot he is holding a baby goat. A photo of a large open deck truck with at least eight camels standing, their heads held high at the indignity of it. The Sphinx, the Pyramids, wreckage of land, all brown, the sand, the monuments and the people’s drab grey clothing. Where is the color?

What would it be like to be there with him? Would he be speaking Arabic to his family and friends and I would be so isolated. How long would all that desert and sand and culture entertain and intrigue me?

Shift change. I overlapped one hour with Sandeep, a woman recently immigrated here from New Delhi. She wore a diamond in her right nostril and her hair trailed down her back. She too, covers her head, today with just a knitted black cap.

“I have such a headache, Sandeep,” I apologized to her finally after what I considered to be rudely answering her constant questions about my morning.

“Sit. Sit here. I will give you treatment.”

I sat down and closed my eyes. Her hands worked pressure on my forehead and back of my skull. As she gave me the most amazing acupressure massage, my body relaxed and I listened to her as she told me of her working past in India. She was a surgical nurse in her homeland. She would stand for twelve hours straight in the operating theatre, she said. I listened to her as she described the surgeries she assisted and how all this work made her hands so strong. Man hands. When she finished I realized I worked ten minutes past my shift.

I thanked her with a hug and a kiss on her cheek.

Men drive me crazy and women keep me sane.

 

 

I Will Always Love You

I arrived home after work and made myself aromatic butter chicken with nan bread bought from an Indian restaurant down by the seaside. Cooking soothes me. I sat in front of my laptop reading my favorite sites. Suddenly Omar sent me an IM.

Sorry I had to interrupt our conversation this morning, adrienne. I had a meeting to go to. I sleep for two hours. I cannot sleep now.

(I hesitated only a moment and then wrote.)

Hi omar. It is so late for you. You should drink some chai tea it would help you sleep

(He didn’t respond. I melted.)

I cannot do long distance relationship omar. It is too hard on me

I understand I never done this before. It’s hard on me too

i’m sure it is,but to get all our emotions mixed up without having met is foolhardy. Do you think you’ll be there a long while?

We should wait till I arrive there

i think that is wise if its meant to be it will be

I will know by Monday or Tuesday. True

you seem like a lovely man

I will be patient.Thank you

i want to believe in you omar and all that you present yourself to be

I dont want to hurt your feelings at all

i know you don’t

So I will just wait. I am not presenting anything

i mean that in a different way than you think

I don’t like to say false promises

online it is so one dimensional. i didn’t mean it to be insulting at all

I am the type of persons who’d rather show his actions

yes

Not by words but by action

thank you yes

that is what counts. So I will wait till we meet

ok

Ok

let me know then omar

We are on the same page

and i will love to meet with you here

Believe me I didn’t mean to play with your emotions

i know

I was just expressing myself

but all this makes me insecure when you are there and i am here

Why

it’s just words that bring emotion to me. you see?

Why you are feeling insecure

i don’t want to be swept off my feet and feeling romantic feelings which are really sensitive feelings
for someone whom i haven’t met. it’s like wanting something that isn’t there. it’s hard to explain

I am very sincere in my feelings

you’ve made me feel things i haven’t felt for a long time to be honest with you.so i feel best now to wait till we meet

Adrienne

yes

I am very attracted to you. I haven’t felt this in very long time. You are one of the best things that happened to me while here in  UK. I will wait

yes i think we’ve established this mutual attraction

and I understand

i’m glad we talked

I dont want to travel again. I have been in serious talks with my boss about that. I want to settle down in Vancouver

well i think it’s very hard on a person who wants some kind of private life

I have been traveling since 2009

a long time

No private life since 2009. So I might change my job once everything works well between both of us

promise to always be honest with me omar

I am Very honest

ok

I never lie. I really want you and I don’t want to Lose you. Ok I better get back to sleeping

yes

Have a good evening adrienne

have a good sleep omar. goodnight

Bye

 

I thought about him a lot today. I viewed his photos again on Facebook. I gazed at the one I really loved of him in Tahrir Square with his brother and a friend. He’s smiling broadly, his dimples deep and sweet. His eyes dance with light. I couldn’t resist writing a comment:

You have a great smile, omar

I was at work today when I heard that Whitney Houston died today. I’ve always loved her voice. I arrived home, logged into my email and there was a notice that Omar posted a video on my wall. It was Whitney Houston, a video of her singing I Will Always Love You and the lyrics:

If I should stay,
I would only be in your way.
So I’ll go, but I know
I’ll think of you ev’ry step of the way.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.
You, my darling you. Hmm.

Bittersweet memories
that is all I’m taking with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don’t cry.
We both know I’m not what you, you need.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.

(Instrumental solo)

I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you’ve dreamed of.
And I wish to you, joy and happiness.
But above all this, I wish you love.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I, I will always love you.

You, darling, I love you.
Ooh, I’ll always, I’ll always love you.

– sung by Whitney Houston (1992) (written by Dolly Parton,  Jolene (1974) )

So I’m sitting here, at my laptop, as always writing about yet another one passing through my life. I’m so tempted to write back to him. Something. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

Is it over?

The song says it all doesn’t it? And no, I couldn’t leave it alone. I had to know. I had to know why he told me Feb. 14 right at the beginning. He lied. I wrote him an email last night and asked him exactly that. Why did he tell me the date that he did. I said that I would never have corresponded with him had he been truthful and said that he had no idea when he’d be back. In fact from the sounds of it, he’s been in the UK for two years. Maybe he doesn’t live here at all. I can’t let him off the hook with just a sappy song sent to me. Sorry Whitney, all due respect.

I await his response. I know if he doesn’t, I’m going to ‘unfriend’ him on Facebook, block him on the dating site so I don’t keep seeing his face and delete him as a contact on Yahoo. I’ll give him a day or so to respond. I went back online to pacify and distract myself. This is what serial daters do. It eases the discomfort of love gone wrong, to get right back on that horse.

I waited the rest of the day. And then I cyber-disconnected from him. At first I felt released. Gone from my contacts to chat on Yahoo. The dating site I could no longer access past emails. On Facebook I could still enter his page but he could not enter mine. Hours later I could no longer access the video of Whitney that he posted on my wall. He obviously blocked me. We were having a cyber-fight. And typical of me I wanted the last word. I sent an email through the only open port hole left: emailing through Yahoo.

Dear Omar,

I’m trying to get over this, you and me in this strange connection thru the internet. In this moment now I am missing you very much. You are not going to be easy to get over I know that. Other men will pale in comparison. I feel like I’ve been on an emotional roller-coaster the last few weeks. I went back the dating site and re-read all our correspondence. You wrote me in the first few that you were coming back on Feb 14. I went full speed ahead in getting to know you once i ‘thought’ you would be here to meet in the flesh. I also let my emotions get way ahead of myself thinking it was okay to do so because we would meet soon. I felt so deceived when you were avoiding my queries as to what should we do the first day we meet and in general becoming evasive and more distant as this date drew near. And then I find the truth is, you were never coming back on this date. There were tears last night listening to the song and reading the lyrics. I don’t remember the last time i ever cried over a man, Omar. Thing is, i believed everything you have said to me. That felt so nice to believe it all and think here is a man whom i could really love and respect. I had such hopes building to be just toppled now.

I miss you and really think i could have loved you.
~A

I know there isn’t any hope with this one. He won’t write back. What can he say? Chances are, he delved into this out of loneliness, traveling and working to mend his own heart over his broken marriage. Hooking up with someone like me, exchanging loving words, so easy in cyber-land. My picture was on his iPhone, he received emails from me and sent them as he traveled the ‘Tube’ going from one business meeting to another. I was in his pocket, on his laptop in the middle of the night when he could not sleep. I walked around for weeks dizzy with visions of Cairo and this mysterious man with the dark eyes and romantic words.

We filled a need for a very short time.

With very little spirit I logged in once more to the dating site.

Tony From Naples (that’s his moniker) instant messaged me. I sighed and chatted with him for a while. A notice went up that I could call him why not take the next step? I had no energy or desire. I just made small talk with this man only a few years younger than myself and a bus driver for 27 years. I read his profile over a few times as we chatted and I counted over thirty spelling errors in such a short few paragraphs. I smiled at ‘I want to kiss the heart of my partner.’ Sweet. How am I ever going to be satisfied with a normal human being now, after my Egyptian connection?  Who can offer me anything comparable to ‘dreams’ of visiting the Pyramids, sailing the Nile, treasure hunting in the markets of Cairo?

Tony seems like a very nice man, but I begged off after only ten minutes. He left me his email address. This morning I went on the site where I met Omar and discovered how to review all messages from the very start with any contact. I wanted to find the email where Omar told me he was returning this month. Had I just imagined it? So much writing and I am amazed at his ability to flatter and make a woman feel special.

I love when you ask me questions Adrienne
That means you are interested
And I am very glad to answer all if your questions with all honesty

I have been in Canada since 2001
I decided to immigrate with my ex wife as skilled workers looking for better future in Canada
Canada is considered one of the best places to live in the world
Needless to say it was huge decision and I had to really struggle here to be able to make a living and support my family
And I have worked all kinds of odd jobs from factory laborer to custodian to security officer to be able to pay for my education as I was studying for my master program

Yes, sometimes, It made me feel down that is when I turn to the old
Jewish biographies for people who have been through the same when
they first arrived to North America in the beginning of the last century , it used to inspire me a lot and put me back on track

you are very strong lady, and I applaud your efforts to raise a healthy
happy good son
you are blessed to have Stephen

I just sent you two emails
I wish you peaceful sleep
and nice dreams it is 7 am here
I was looking at your pictures over and over

You know Adrienne : I was thinking of you all day today
and you know : I really need you in my life

I need you because I will feel complete with you
Talking with you gives me positive energy and gives me hope

My family would be happy if they see my happy Adrienne      age does not matter

 

And then I found it. It’s right there written by him. I will return February 14.

As I am reading I noticed an email arrived from someone called Smart Katie. What is this? I opened the email and there she is~ a 29 year old beautiful brunette.

I think you are a gorgeous sexy lady. Can we chat? Do you like girls?

Funny. In all my shopping for a mate this is a first for me.

I wrote back no thanks and good luck to you!

She wrote back again with:

I’m really taken with you. Can we at least be friends?

Maybe this is just what it would take to jump start me. Nah. It made me smile though. Serial daters tend not to change teams.

It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m going to buy a dozen red roses. I even thought (don’t laugh) of buying a V Day card for myself and write in it all the things that I love about myself. And I know I’m going to be checking my Yahoo account often for that little happy yellow face notifying me that Omar has written me.

This is Adrienne, a temporary casualty, reporting from the front lines of the world of internet dating.

Click Adrienne’s link for more tales from the world of online dating.

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