Actually, this is where I paused for a second, and realized, that before I tell you a funny story about one weird American guy I met, I have to tell you this one. Because I remembered that the guy I was originally going to tell you about was not the only weird American I have met. He was not really weird either. It is more like the situation which was weird. But I will let you be the judges of that. Next time.
Also, I am not trying to stereotype here. Net, net, net! I adore Americans. I love those accents.
But I have just realized that these are two little stories, not one.
Once, a long, long time ago- and I have to emphasise this, as I am a respectable married woman- when I was very young and very single, I met this American guy from an NGO in Baku. I had two worlds I used to live in. One was my job, with people who made decent money and liked to party accordingly. And another one was the NGO crowd. They wore baggy t-shirts and strappy sandals and counted socks. The sock counters. That, by the way, is entirely my expression. I created it, and I take a full credit for it, since it is priceless.
My American girlfriend, whom I mentioned before on this blog, was working for one of those NGO’s and I always probed her about what it was that they actually did there. To me, an outsider, it looked like they had a huge number of coloured socks and wooden boxes, hand crafted by the refugees all over the country, which they counted and re-counted and then sold at charity events. That is how I started calling her, and her colleagues the sock counters. The sock counters were my other bunch, the one I hung out with in the time free from the oil company people.
Back to the point though.
Once, on a trip to a little Azeri village I would have never have gone to, if not dragged by the sock counters for a sock counting event of some description, I met a handsome young (American) guy. Everything was very handsome about him, except one thing. He was chewing tobacco.
I was a smoker then, so I told myself, as I watched him in a dimmed summer light, holding a beer can in one hand and an empty Coke bottle in another, that there was not really anything that different between someone who smoked Marlboro lights and someone chewing tobacco. Right?
Well, the coke bottle was not entirely empty. The reason he was holding on to it all night while drinking and chatting to everybody was that he kept spitting the chewed up tobacco inside it.
But. I thought... well, you know. The guy is cute. And a sock-counter, which, I guess, is a nice, noble occupation.
He was not based in Baku, which complicated things and, at first, we spent hours just talking on the phone. He had a beautiful accent. Finally he had a break from the sock counting duties, and came to Baku for a day. He asked me out and everything went really well.
I am not going to bother describing the events one by one. You have been on dates, you know what happens. I liked him. More importantly, I fancied him. And I don’t easily fancy people. But here is the thing. When we finally got very up close and personal, he would not go any further. I had never before had that situation in life, and was not sure what the hell was going on. I mean, what was his problem?
Such was my luck, that when I met someone I fancied, he was...well, restraining himself. Why, I wanted to know? I mean, come on! I had to step over the whole chewingtobaccospittingitintoacokebottle element for you, dude! Surely, you were attracted to me enough to be with me up to that moment. What else did you want to do with me, once alone? Count socks?
It turned out, he was saving himself. He was religious, you see, (I have always had bad experience when it came to religion) and wanted to be able to tell his future wife who he had been with without "feeling embarrassed about it", he said. Hold on a second, I thought. Embarrassed?
What, may I ask, was embarrassing about me? That I was Azeri? That he was not in a serious enough relationship with me? That he was never intending to be in any relationship with me?
I did not wait to find out. Next time he was in town and called me as if nothing happened, I told him I was busy going out on a proper date. And guess what, I really was. With my future husband.