I went out to dinner with some friends and a friend of theirs, whom we shall call Ahmet. Ahmet was not his name, but he was Turkish and he did have an MBA from the University of Texas and he did work with my friend, Skip, trading bonds.
The evening was delightful, all the more so because Ahmet thought everything I said was brilliant and hilarious* and if there is anything more intoxicating than a man laughing at your jokes, I don't know what it is. Maybe it's if he tells you you are beautiful, but mine is not a face that could launch a thousand ships, so I have learned to rely on charm and wit instead.
Although I wouldn't mind being told I was beautiful. Primo thinks I am lovely, but he would, because he loves me. Being told I am beautiful by someone who does not know me would be even better, although in the end, I care about what Primo thinks more than what anyone else thinks. Mostly. Not that I am seeking external validation or anything.
Back to Ahmet. The purpose of the dinner was to celebrate Ahmet's quitting his job so he could return to Turkey to visit his family and think about What He Was Going To Do Next, including the possibility of working on Wall Street, although why someone would choose to live in New York City when he could be in Austin, Texas, or Almost** Anywhere, Texas, I do not know. No offense, New Yorkers. New York is a fabulous place to visit and I had a wonderful time, but for everyday life, give me laid-back Texas with space, Mexican food, BBQ, easy living, low rents, and no state income tax.
He liked me. He asked me out. We went. We hit it off. He was very smart and very funny, the two most important qualities in a man as far as I am concerned. Primo is smart and sometimes funny and always handsome, so that's even better. He was nice enough looking, but I remember his wit the most.
Then he stopped working. He got bored. He would call me four or five times a day. I did not have TIME TO GOOF OFF at work. (This was before the internet and before I learned to combine goofing off and working.) I had WORK TO DO.
Plus I had never intended anything serious because hello, when I met him I knew he was leaving town in a month so hey, let's just have a little fun.
I might have maybe considered something more except 1) he was Muslim and those inter-faith marriages? Not so easy.
And 2) he told me he had married his (American) college girlfriend just for a green card. She was complicit. She knew what was going on. Married him without ever telling her family. They stayed married long enough for him to get residency or whatever he needed, then they divorced.
I don't like cheaters.
Yes, most of us cheat to some degree. We make color copies of our Christmas letter on the printer at work and justify it to ourselves by thinking of all the weekends we have spent at trade shows, the lunch hours we have spent at our desks resolving crisis problems and the evenings we have spent in airports on business travel, but there is venial cheating and there is cardinal cheating. Immigration cheating is definitely cardinal cheating.
I finally had to tell him that no, the relationship was not going anywhere. I hate doing that. I hate having to state it explicitly, but it's far kinder in the long run to tell someone where he stands than to leave him with hope that will never be fulfilled.
OK, I wasn't completely explicit. I told him that because of our religious differences, there was no future. I could not see myself marrying a non-Christian.
He kept calling.
I wouldn't take his calls.
He wrote me a letter telling me he would convert.
I lost all respect for him. I would never convert. Never. I especially would not do it for someone I had known less than a month. Had he so little integrity? Or was I that hot?
Or was he at risk for being deported again?
I don't know. But I never answered his letter. It didn't deserve a response.
* I once changed doctors simply because my doctor never laughed at my jokes. When I explained the change to my roommate, Rebecca, Rebecca said that maybe I just wasn't funny. I refused to consider that as a possibility.
** Maybe not Bledsoe.