From the "Kissing All The Frogs" Series
Shaadi finally decided to do it. She signed up with the Iranian dating site, submitted her photograph, and answered the questions. She thought to herself, “I’ll be 100% honest in answering the questions. I don’t want any complications as a result of withheld information or half truths.” She wrote down her real age, her real weight, and answered all the questions fully and truthfully.
Among the people she heard from, there was a man who seemed like a good choice. He was her age, had been married and divorced, didn’t have any kids and didn’t want any, and his picture showed him to be good looking, with a full head of hair, dressed in a nice suite. She and Hamid started chatting and corresponding online. He said he was an accountant, living 20 minutes away from her. She liked him enough to agree to exchange phone numbers. His voice sounded warm and nice and he had a good laughter, nice to the ear. One of the first questions he asked her was “So, how old is the picture you put on the site?” Perplexed, Shaadi replied “Two months old. How come?” And Hamid replied: “Well, you know, a lot of the women send photographs five years old!” Shaadi laughed and said: “Ha Ha, you’re lucky because I’m not that good with this online dating business, yet, so I have answered all the questions truthfully and I didn’t even think to send a younger picture of myself!”
They decided to get together at “The Tea Room,” a nice café which served a ceremonious tea. This was Shaadi’s suggestion, because she wanted them to meet in a decent place with some ambience, somewhere they could talk for a little while. They met outside the café. Shaadi who had spent time and care to get ready for the meeting was a little puzzled. The man on the sidewalk was shorter than he had stated on his biographical data. Not that it mattered terribly, but it was a little surprising, that’s all. His hairline didn’t look anything like his photograph, either! Not only he had a lot less hair than in the picture, his hair was visibly grey. His face also looked a little older than in the picture! Wait a minute! He was older than his picture, by about… five years! This was a little disappointing!
They went to the Café only to realize it was closed! Darn it! They were right next to a restaurant with a full bar. She asked him if they should go there, instead. He said, “No. I want to go to a coffee shop.” So they looked around, and across the street was a coffee shop. She asked him if he wanted to go there. He said O.K. When they arrived, he asked the barrister for directions to the bathroom, whereupon he was informed that the café’s bathroom was broken and inaccessible, without any alternatives offered. Shaadi told him “Why don’t you go across the street to that bar? I know they have a clean bathroom.” He thanked her and left. Shaadi looked around and noticed that the small café did not have waiting service, so she walked to the barrister and asked for a cup of tea and a bottle of water. Picking up her tea and water, she picked a table in a corner. The table was situated against a wall, covered with a mirror. She sat with her back against the mirror. She sat there for about 10 minutes, sipping her tea, before Hamid came back. He helped himself to a glass of tap water from the supplies table of the café and sat down.
Shaadi and Hamid started talking a little uncomfortably at first, but growing more comfortable within a few minutes. Shaadi found it strange that Hamid kept looking at himself in the mirror behind her. It was as though she wasn’t sitting there, the way he kept posing and frowning at his image in the mirror, as if he was by himself facing a mirror in his bathroom or something. To break the ice, Shaadi mentioned the recent election results. Hamid started his reply by saying: “Well, I never vote, you see. It makes no difference for whom we vote. All the world decisions are made by a committee of some 200+ individuals…” Shaadi said: “And who are those 200+? Corporate leaders? Politicians?” Hamid said: “Oh, it’s a lot more complicated than that! They are a secret society which only lets select new members to join…”
It was 8:30. They had been sitting at that corner table for almost 3.5 hours, with Hamid still talking about his conspiracy theory and his 200+ member world ruling committee, hardly letting her get in a word, while looking at himself and making serious and dramatic faces in the mirror. Tired, hungry, and angry, she decided 3.5 hours had been enough. Turning on her cell phone again, she informed Hamid she had to call her sister and go to visit her. They parted, saying “Catch you later.”
She never wrote and never returned his phone calls.
* Names, places, and other identifying attributes of this series' characters are made-up and a work of fiction. The relationship and the dilemma at the heart of each story is true and that's all that is true.
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