I realized I had not told you the whole, mortifying story of how I came to even date the Moroccan millionaire. I have been too embarrassed, but hey - I'm a stranger to most of you and the rest of you have seen me in my underwear when we shared a bathroom in college. How much worse can it get?
I was in Morocco visiting Henry and Norah, my Peace Corps friends who met at the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Group that Norah, Leigh and I started in Springfield specifically as a way to meet men. It worked for Norah - she met Henry at an RPCV party. They decided they wanted to work abroad and ended up in Morocco, where Norah was the business manager for the Peace Corps there.
I had broken up with J.T., my boyfriend of several years. Once again, I was convinced of my imminent spinsterhood,* a long life of cats and Saturday nights doing nothing but listening to Prairie Home Companion.**
Henry and Norah had mentioned this guy, Gomez, a few times. "He's sophisticated and educated and rich," they told me. "He owns the hotel where we stayed for our first month here."
Henry mused, "We can't figure out how that place makes money. We were almost always the only ones there for breakfast."***
"We should introduce you," they said.
They did. We went to the hotel he owned one morning to meet the driver who was going to take us to Fez or someplace. Gomez was in the lobby. He made his way to us almost immediately. I had wet hair and no makeup, but I was dressed in that typical American slut way with a skirt that covered only my knees and 3/4 length sleeves. I was obviously asking for it.
We chatted. Then Henry and I left.
An hour into the ride, the driver's phone rang. The driver handed the phone to Henry, who spoke for a few seconds and then handed the phone to me. It was Gomez. Would I like to have supper that evening?
I liked that. No messing around, no worries. He asked me out. I didn't have to wonder if it was a date or not or what was going on. He wanted to have supper with me.
I met him at the hotel and much to my surprise, he took me to his house. In his Jaguar. Which was pretty nice. I am a Toyota girl myself, so I was impressed with a nice car.
Oh yes. Despite my intellectual snobness, I am as attracted by glitter as much as the next girl. Or maybe more.
Why not a restaurant? I asked.
Oh, I have a chef at home and it's so much nicer! I have to eat out all the time for my job and I get so tired of it. Seemed somewhat reasonable, but I should have insisted on a restaurant.
He had a gorgeous house that he (said he) had designed himself. The kitchen, however, was in the basement and horrible. I guess if you don't do the cooking yourself, you don't care what the kitchen is like.
He insisted on giving me a full tour, including his bedroom, which made me a bit uncomfortable. Honestly, if I had been a bull, by now the matador would have been dead. But me, I forged ahead, saying to myself, "Red flag? What red flag?" And I rationalized that it couldn't be that bad because his nine year old son was at home and had a friend there for a sleepover. What kind of funny stuff could someone do with a couple of little kids in the house?
We ate. Well, I ate. He had some salad. That's it. But he drank.
Then we sat by the pool and had more wine. We=he had more wine. Then he moved over next to me and asked me to kiss him. Nope, I said. I don't know you well enough.
Oh please please please. You are so beautiful! So intelligent! When I saw you this morning, I thought I had to have you.
I know you are all rolling your eyes and gagging at this, but here is the part that you don't know:
He was saying it all in French.
You have not been seduced until you have been seduced in French.
OK fine. One kiss.
You know that saying give a man a kiss he'll grab a boob?
All's I can say is it's a good thing I worked out with weights three times a week because I had to fight him off. I mean, really really fight him off. I was angry. Threatened to tell his mother. Told him to take me home.
You'd think that would be the end of it, wouldn't you?
But no I was even more dumb.
He started kissing me again when we were at the car. If you haven't been kissed for several months, it can feel really nice. Then he wanted me to take care of him, if you know what I mean. I told him he could go without and honestly, just take me home, but he put my hands where he wanted them to be. By now, I just wanted it to be over with and get away, so I - um - helped.
Yes. I am mortified. Mortified.
He dropped me off, asking if he could see me again.
No way, I answered. See? I finally got some sense.
Please! You are so wonderful blah blah blah.
To my everlasting shame, I agreed, but set the condition that we would have to be in a public place the entire time. I was an eediot. ****
Norah asked how it went. I told her everything. "I would never go out with him again," she shrugged.
She was right. I shouldn't have.
I'll tell you more tomorrow.
* I was 42 and never married. People would ask, "Why haven't you ever married?" and I never knew how to answer. All I heard was, "What's wrong with you that nobody has wanted to marry you?" I would say defensively that I had been proposed to. Now I realize - I hope - that what they were really saying was, "How is it that someone as fabulous as you are has not been snatched up?"
** This was before Garrison Keillor got so nasty and political on the show.
*** We figured out later that it probably didn't make money. Gomez had converted his mother's childhood home (a six-storey mansion) into a boutique hotel. I suspect it was his hobby and not a profitable business. He was really just a trust fund brat in another language.
**** Although really, is any experience like this ever a waste for a writer?
***** Please don't lose all respect for me.