Many years ago, when I first moved to London, I became extremely ill and didn’t know why. I panicked and feared the worst. When the doctor finally told me that I would be able to live a totally normal life, I burst into tears and screamed – “What kind of a nutter does want a totally normal life? That sounds awful.”
Since that day, I have done everything possible to deliberately not have a normal life. However, my recent decision to start dating a desert tribesman, who is a senior military commanding officer in the Omani army, was perhaps a bit too far and not one of my brightest ideas. But I’m sucker for big brown eyes and the whole time we were dating I thought to myself – “bloody hell, this will make one hell of a blog post if it all goes tits up.” Which it obviously did.
The following conversation happened in the moonlit evening out in the desert. The stars were super bright and once again, he was feeding me some horrible Omani traditional dessert, honey, jelly, grey thingy and I was pretending to enjoy it while secretly gagging and trying to swallow it (insert sexual pun …. here). I was trying to explain Ireland’s recent Gay Marriage referendum, which would extend the right of marriage to gay people in our country. How on earth this came up in a conversation is not really something I think about. Most times we met, it really was just me constantly talking about everything and anything.
Me – Yeah. It’s a super important day. I’m actually a bit nervous.
Adil – Why?
Me – Well, if you think about it, my whole future kinda depends on the result. I think people are going to vote ‘yes.’ But, still, it’s an historic day.
Adil – Oh, OK. ………………. Good
At this point, I can see I’ve totally lost him and he’s not paying any attention to what I’m saying. So naturally, I continue talking.
Me – Yeah. It means that gay people will be treated equally and we can have all the same rights.
Adil – Like marriage?
Me – Exactly.
Adil – And when you know?
Me – When will you know…..
Adil – Sorry, when will you know?
Me – Probably tomorrow. The vote is today.
Adil – It only takes a day… really?
Me – Yeah.
Adil – How they have time to ask everyone the same question. Your country is very small?
I pull a packet of cigarettes from my pocket and he looks at me as if I’ve shot him in the eyeball with a potato gun.
Me – What?
Adil – There are not much people or a lot?
Me – It’s a referendum.
Adil – Yes.
Me – Do you know what that means?
Adil – No.
Me – Oh. Well it’s like when you …
Adil – Yes. I know referendum.
Me – Right.
Awkward silence filled with confused facial expressions.
Me – … So, it’s that.
Adil – What?
Me – It’s a referendum. Everyone decides… like an election…..
Adil – Ah, OK. You should try this, (shoves another piece of the piss jelly thing into my mouth).
Me – Yumm. Lovely. Did you make this?
Adil – My mother did. She sent me here with a container of it.
I would stab my mother with a rusty spoon if she made me eat this shite.
Me – Oh, that’s so sweet. But no more for me. I think you are trying to make me fat.
Adil – Is everyone in England very skinny?
Me – I’m not from England. I’m from Ireland.
Adil – Oh, sorry. The U.K.
Me – Ireland is not the U.K. It’s a republic.
Adil – It is the U.K.
Me – Eh, it’s not. Don’t worry lots of people get that confused.
Adil – Are you sure?
Me – I am from there, so yes, pretty sure. Are you sure you are not from Iran?
Adil – Ah, OK. Sorry.
Me – It’s OK. I don’t get offended. The world is a big place.
We both stare up at the sky. It’s a little bit romantic except for the taste of burnt sugary arse in my mouth.
Me – You know, I still haven’t seen a camel yet.
Adil – Really. I have a lot of camels. You can have one.
Me – Haha. Awesome. My Dad would love if I came home with a camel. It might scare the chickens though. How many do you have?
Adil – It’s bad to say. Because when you say the number, some of them might die.
Me – I see. Perfect logic… as usual. But they are really expensive, aren’t they?
Adil – Yes. They are a lot of expensive.
Me – So, if people in my country vote ‘yes’ to gay marriage we can get married and open a camel zoo in Ireland.
Adil – Eh…… maybe …
He looks absolutely terrified at this idea. I thought Adil didn’t understand my sense of humor but slowly I am realizing he doesn’t understand anyone’s sense of humor. This could be a massive problem in the future as I am 90% sense of humor. Sometimes I’m just a big walking, nose picking, joke… so this is probably not made in heaven. Still though, he is very pretty, and at least, I can show my next boyfriend pictures of my hot Omani ex, which will make them think I’m amazing.
Me – I’m kidding.
Adil – I want to travel to your country someday.
Me – Sure. You can meet my family. They are actually completely insane, but very nice.
Adil – Smoking is bad for you Shane. I don’t want you to die of cancer.
Me – No. That would indeed be bad. I didn’t realize they were bad. It’s actually the first time, I’ve ever heard that.
Adil – Is everyone in Ireland funny like you?
Me – Yes.
Adil – Really?
Me – Yes. Ireland is like the funniest place ever. It’s not utopia but …
Adil – A what?
Me – Like a perfect place. But people are very funny.
Adil – I would like to visit someday your apartment in Barcelona. I hear it’s very beautiful.
For a while, I’ve been panicking that if Adil ever actually came to Barcelona, he would have supermodels walking up to him. I don’t think he realizes that I ‘m quite average and he could do a lot better. (Looks wise) It suddenly dawned on me that having him visit could be a bad idea.
Me – You should. But it rains a lot.
Adil- That’s OK. I like rain. We never get enough rain here.
Me – And people are extremely racist.
Adil – What? Really…
Me – Yeah, they think all Arabs are terrorists. It’s true. You might have to pretend to be French or something. Shouldn’t be a problem…
Adil – Oh, my God. Are you messing with me again or it’s true?
Me – It’s true.
Adil – Oh, my God. That’s awful.
Mission Accomplished. Hot sexy Omani man is not, repeat not going to visit Barcelona.
Me – But you can come to my farm in Ireland. Rural Ireland is famous for being really open minded and loving foreigners.
Adil – Great. But we don’t marry, because for me, it’s strange.
Me – OK. We don’t have to get married. But at least we have the option, if we want to start a family, haha.
Adil – The vote is for this?
Me – Well, it will make it possible and easier in the future. It’s not for families but that is a possible effect.
Adil – You can decide if two men can have children.
Me – Well, yes.
Adil looks absolutely horrified. It’s actually amusing.
Me – Adil, the vote isn’t really for the right of two men to raise children. But that doesn’t mean we are voting for two men to biologically make a child. That isn’t really possible. You still need a man and a woman for that.
Adil – Yes. OK. I see. I understand.
This clearly shows that he has no idea what the hell I’m on about.
Adil – More dessert?
Me – Sure. Why not?