When I am sometimes tired of meeting people, it is because I feel being interviewed by many of them. If you and me ever meet, please tell me stories about yourself instead of going through my CV as if I had applied to be your husband. I haven’t, I won’t, and I really only wanted to drink a hot chocolate and have a cake together.
“Where are you from?”
“Europe.” Lucky Africans who can get away with such a general answer and aren’t quizzed with the follow-up question “which country?”, either because people believe Africa is a country or because they wouldn’t know the difference between Gambia and Gabon anyway. Maybe I should just say “Transwallonistan” from now on.
“What do you do?”
“I travel around the world. I read. I think. I write.”
“What a weirdo,” I can see in more than half the girls’ eyes, but on the way from brain to mouth it translates into “don’t you work?”
As innocently surprised as I can possibly sound, I reply “oh, of course I have to work, too.”
Next comes the unrelenting question to which all preceding ones were just a warm-up: “And what do you work?”
Ok, if you insist on defining me by what I do in order to pay rent instead of what I do to make me happy, to pursue my dreams and to express my personality, although I had graciously offered you several chances to avoid going down that road, I might as well deliver the blow you have been asking for. “I am a lawyer, translator, writer, journalist and philosopher. I am thinking of studying economics, history, sociology or geography next.”
A blank stare. Maybe she is calculating if five professions mean that I earn five times as much as all the other guys with one job.
“And you?” I ask, not because I am interested, but to finish teaching the lesson.
“I work in sales.”
After one year in South America, I already know what the next question will be. “And do you have children?”
“Nooo!” I exclaim as if this was the craziest question I ever heard. It certainly is the most annoying one, but I have gotten used to everyone asking. Not only on dates or among friends. Also from taxi drivers during a 5-minute journey, bakers while selling a bread, train conductors while punching your ticket, and when you go to the barber again after six weeks, he asks “and, do you have children by now?”
Because of my emphatic response, the girl has stopped eating and drinking. She pushes her chair back by 20 cm. In Latin America, not wanting children is worse than sexually molesting children (which is totally accepted behavior, at least among Catholic priests). Feeling the need to explain my response, I apodictically say “that would be the end of freedom”.
“Oh, you are a fish!”
As weird as this statement is, I show no reaction, which makes her slightly uncertain about the proper faunatic classification. “Or a brontosauraus,” she adds meekly. (Maybe she said sagittosaurus, I don’t remember.)
Me, in earnest: “I am an atheist.”
Now you see if someone has a sense of humor. No, I don’t mean myself, that is beyond any doubt. I mean the reaction.
This girl tries to explain (ergo: no humor). “It has nothing to do with religion. I am asking about your zodiac sign.”
“I am such an atheist, I even refuse to have a zodiac sign.”
She, exasperated: “But everyone has a zodiac sign.”
Me, philosophically: “I don’t think I do. I don’t believe in this – ehm – stuff, so it doesn’t apply to me.” I could explain that people are individuals, that not everyone born in the same month shares the same characteristics, that moons, stars and spaceships don’t have any impact on who will be a good boyfriend and that in any case it’s silly to make such decisions based on whether you were born 10 minutes before midnight on July 22nd (cancer) or 10 minutes after midnight (leo). This doesn’t even take into account that there are different time zones, so if the person from the previous example is born in the Sakha Republic, the zodiac sign depends on whether the delivering mother is taken to the hospital in Deputatsky, in Verkhoyansk or in Srednekolymsk. What if the birth process starts before midnight but stretches into the next day? Or begins in one time zone and ends in another one? Or while crossing a time zone border with the ambulance going in such a way that you travel back in time? Does daylight saving apply? It shouldn’t, right? Because why would it affect the moon?
“So you see, honey, this whole zodiac business is bullshit.” No, I don’t say that. After all, she works in sales, not in science.
“When is your birthday?” she asks, trying to sound nonchalant. Some of the saddest moments in human interaction are when a less gifted person thinks they are more intelligent while talking to an intelligent person.
“Ah, gemini. I knew it!” No, you didn’t. But it won’t stop you from babbling more bullshit.
“It is very typical for gemini to want freedom and independence. They are afraid of commitment, but once they find the person whom they love…” bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.
Me, interrupting her after two and a half minutes: “When did I say my birthday was?”
“Oh, I am sorry. I got that wrong. It’s actually on January 15th.”
It is very rare that women want to meet me for a second time.
- More romantic stories.
- In case you are still wondering, this story explains why I never get a second date.
- This story was also published by Medium.
- I am happy that you are enjoying yourselves at my expense of having to go through boring dates. If you want more of that, I would be happy if you support my blog, allowing me to invite more people to a cup of hot chocolate.
Brilliant. Thank you.
That’s my life.
I had a good laugh reading this.. sad that personal interactions with strangers is superficial. Didn’t used to always be this way.
The interest in the other person’s socio-economic status was always there. Even in ancient fairy tales, girls prefer princes over bus drivers.
I think that this largely explains the gender pay gap.
But you may be right that things have gotten even more superficial because now we have hundreds of girls/boys on Tinder and OKupid whom we can meet if the current date doesn’t work out. On the other hand, maybe this means that people won’t settle for someone they are not completely happy with. (Although, realistically, they will probably settle but keep looking.)
Reblogged this on Still Another Writer's Blog.
You should say “sorry, my birthday is January 15. June 4 is my kid’s birthday.”
I found it very funny, with a very interesting logic. It contains a fine expression of the plain truth.
Wow, you really missed the point of why you do what you do! You are so condescending and more judgemental than a fanatic Religious Christian. Your are now sounding like Trump and I take offense you calling South Americans are ok with child molesting. Wow! What a narrow minded person you seem. The whole idea of traveling, is to understand other cultures and this should make you a better person. It does not seem to be working for you dude. You have so much anger and so much to learn. So what if she believes in Zodiac signs. What works for her may not work for you. Just be kind and respectful. But, you are right about one thing in reverse “Some of the saddest moments in human interaction are when a less gifted person thinks they are more intelligent while talking to an intelligent person”. Dude, you were not very intelligent approaching this situation.
Zodiac signs don’t work. Nowhere. It’s bogus.
This has nothing to do with South America or with traveling. I make equal fun of zodiacs in Greenland, Somalia and Vietnam.
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Every time I pop in to have a look at your post, you always make me laugh… Thank goodness you are still here sharing your life experience. :) You are more 15 January than 4 June. Only people born in January has that acerbic humour in them. :)
It’s good that I meet people from time to time who give me ideas for such funny stories. It has become the primary reason to go on dates. (Besides learning Spanish.)
Good text :)..In my country, a woman who does not have a children is ”one big nothing”… and that’s me :D
:D But you have freedom and independence, and that’s worth a lot! Also, I think that 7 billion people really are more than enough.
I agree :)…best wishes from Montenegro
Love it: “I am such an atheist, I even refuse to have a zodiac sign.”
I guess I am a radical atheist.
🤣 I have told people that my zodiac is “the cheese-wheel.” In response, it was once concluded that I must be Buddhist, which seemed like a positive surprise. Speaking from personal experience, 6 weeks may be enough time to acquire a few half-siblings, if your father is a quasi “national fertilizer.” So,inquiry about children may be a matter of perspective. In middle aged USA, “classification” into ‘potential’ or ‘loser’ takes place by inquiry of your credit history and perhaps bill of health before meeting up for coffee. Discovering is no longer something you take part of, but rather reminiscent of court processes. 🙄 Here, young women can’t seem to stop justifying themselves to men that wonder if they ever even asked a question. By all means, keep swimming!
On one of my visits to a temple, when a local woman found out I have no children, she yelped and turned me towards her god and asked me to start praying. I said no, she said she’ll pray for me.
No wonder they don’t want to meet you for the second time.
Yes, I can’t really blame them.
I had a lot of fun with this reading, I really loved it and remembered how stupid people can be when they think differently and want to define you by what they consider correct or normal. I loved it.
Thank you very much, Ma’am!
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