when i came here, i had no intentions of dating anyone from here… and that’s pretty much still true now. i mean, i am going home in about 4 weeks. plus, there are some major cultural differences that i can’t expect any man here to understand unless he’s been in the US, which is never the case. but i came pretty darn close to a bit of romance this last weekend. i figure, why not share…
ricardo is a friend from salsa. you may be wondering how a guy from benin got the name ricardo… well, because his father, who he has never met, is italian. this means ricardo is beautiful. half italian, quarter cameroonian, quarter beninois… tall, dark (though light by african standards) and handsome. he’s a male model. no, seriously, he is… as are most of the guys at salsa. it’s a very strange sub-culture at the salsa club. nothing like zoolander, though.
anyway, i guess ricardo and i have been admiring each other from a distance for a while… and only discovered this mutual admiration over the weekend. but, whoa, that doesn’t mean i want to date him, right? well, to be honest, i had to think about it. i mean, would it be soooo bad to have a fling the last few weeks i’m here? expats do that kind of thing all the time, isn’t it just part of the experience? but now… this is people we’re talking about. not play things. so, i geared myself up sunday for a little heart to heart with my favorite mulatto. somehow everything fell into place. we got away from the crowd, sat down for a little chat, shared a bit about our lives and families… and at the end of the conversation, ricardo turned to me and said (in french), “lauren, i don’t usually find white women to be attractive. i don’t even like mulatto women. but the first time i saw you, i liked you. i didn’t know you, so i distanced myself from you and watched how you interacted with others. i liked what i saw and i want to know you better. but after learning more about you and your work as a missionary, i want you to know that i respect you and will let us rest as friends. i will not try to be anything more with you.” my mouth just about hit the floor. here i’d been so afraid of how to have the, “i like you, but…” talk in french… and i didn’t have to say a word! ricardo understood it all.
so while i’ll admit i’m slightly sad that i gave up the opportunity for a little local romance, i’m also relieved to be spared the drama of a fling, knowing full well that there are better things (hopefully a man) awaiting me. thank you God.
Lauren, this is a good story, but I think you left out two important details. What about the shared experience of apple juice? And, uh…isn’t Ricardo only 21? A bit young for you, n’est-ce pas?
look at you, rhett! leaving your first comment!! how many times did you proof read it? yes, i found out he’s a bit young… which is why i served him juice. lol.
How fortunate (providential?) for you! It all fell into place, and you enjoyed a little excitement in the process. My Benin “romance” didn’t turn out so well. Then again, it would appear that your judgment in such matters far exceeds mine. I’m glad you shared your story.