Saturday, 28 January 2017.
I’m a guest at Jasmine’s place for the celebration of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rooster. “Also known as the Year of the Cock,” she comments, making us, the mixed crowd that is mingling in her living room, giggle mischievously.
Jasmine (32), is a Chinese expatriate with a PhD, and I find her quite cute, funny and smart.
Single, she tells me she’s never even had a boyfriend, but is currently looking for her husband-to-be/one-true-love, all in one package.
While he doesn’t come her way, she occupies her life with hard work, loads of international friends, dance courses and culinary explorations.
I, on the other hand, have already enjoyed the bliss and all the sorrows of a longish-lived marriage to my teenage sweetheart. From the age of seventeen, when we started dating, until the Year of the Monkey, when I turned 39 and we cut our monkey business short.
Twenty-two years with the same man. Gosh! Is it selfish of me to want more while some of my friends haven’t had it at all, yet?
Truth be told, I’m feeling afraid. Disturbingly petrified at the thought of ending up alone.
I’ve been feeling so lonely.
Helping myself at the buffet table, what a relief to bump into Tony, a handsome friend I’ve made in Kamppi through the MeetUp app, just as I have Jasmine.
“Long time no see, Tony…!”
“Oh, hi Anna! How are you doing?” he responds in his cool, typical Finnish manner.
We’re glad to have found an acquaintance to keep company at the party. Sitting side by side, we small-talk. Blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah.
“Oh, Anna, btw, my knee is much better now, so I’m going back to the dating game,” Tony updates me.
More about that knee in a future chapter. As well as my thoughts on Jasmine not having had a bf yet at her age! What are these two thinking??
“How have your dates been, Annita?”
“Hmm, that’s good!” I comment. “I’m glad for your, uh, knee…” — then answering his question — “Oh, me? Ah, you know me and all my dating ventures… The last one was the worst ever! Yuk!”
“Really, how so?”
I’ve been very, very sad lately, but not feeling like ruining the evening, I evoke a light, superficial mood to converse in.
“OK, this guy online has some good profile photos. Climbing, walking on a wire… So I figure, Hmm. He sure is the confident type! And not bad looking, either.”
I’m recollecting the details. A German living in England, he claims he’s looking for people to go jogging with…
“His third pic is priceless…” — storytelling fires me up — “He’s naked. In the snow! Running in a competition with nothing but a small red Xmas gift box tied with a golden bow around his private parts and a Santa hat on his head.”
Sports? That’s innocent enough, right?
“Haha!” — we laugh at the image — “Impulsively, I send him a message.”
Hi. Happy 2017, runner!
And if you ever visit Helsinki, maybe we could go jogging together?
Hey Anna, Happy New Year! I’m here in Helsinki on business.
An active online dater himself, Tony’s into my story now. In fact, every time our group of friends meets, the subject will resurface as surely as the Finnish morning sun.
“Cool, Annita. Jogging on a date could potentially turn out to be an interesting first?”
“Exactly!” — pleased he gets my point — “However… I’m just being friendly with the guy…”
Alas, I know my heart’s simply not ready to meet anyone new. What’s going on with Christian?? I miss him like hell. I feel devastated, lost and alone. Yet, I can’t tell Tony that. Dignity at all costs! Just hide it, Anna.
Like most Latin Americans, I’m waving with my hands now, blabbing excitedly — “OK, listen to this, Friday evening comes and unfortunately, it’s way too easy to spot my date: it’s freezing outside, yet the guy is wearing…” — drum rolls — “…Shorts, a bright orange running jacket, and best of all, a flashlight on his forehead!”
“Huh? For a date?!” Tony and I are rolling in the aisles.
“So there I am, looking at my date and feeling, Oh no! Here we go again. Another bad first impression for my nice collection. Seriously, a flashlight guy?!”
“Skit!!” — I swear in Swedish — “Haha. But, in the spirit of not judging a child by its dirty face and runny nose, let me give this champ a chance…
“Then, the guy opens his mouth and his English sounds so natively American. Bollocks!”
“But Anna, you speak American English!”
“Yeah, but I love men who speak British English!” — Classy, sexy, dreamy — “And I’m expecting a cute German accent! But OK, OK, whatever. Off we go.
“We’re jogging, and from the start I’m fighting to keep up with the long-legged marathon runner, so breathing hard, I go, ‘Please-could-you-do-most-of-the-talking-as-I-can’t-run-this-fast-and-chat-at-the-same-time-puff-puff?’”
“And then?” Tony wants to cross the finishing line of my account.
“Yes, he agrees to do all the talking.”
“No!! Unfortunately! ‘Cause the only topic my date talks about is Donald Trump. Can you believe it? Run, trump, trump, jog, trump, trump, stomp, trump, trump, trump, trump.
“He doesn’t ask me one single question about my life. He shares nothing about his. All I get is 4k of frumpy trumping!” — I protest.
Tony laughs hard.
“And since I’m struggling to match his pace, panting like a pug, I can’t really try to change the subject — mentally reprimanding myself for not being in the habit of training harder.
“What a relief to be approaching the end of the track. Phew, we’re finally there. And I’m exhausted and bored.”
“So you dump him and drag yourself back home??” — Tony is curious.
“Not quite yet. The moment we stop running, the American leans down and quickly steals a kiss, to my astonishment. ‘Now let’s go up to my hotel room, shall we?’ he says confidently.”
“Really? I envy the guy’s flirting skills!” — Tony seems to be enjoying the story— “He thought Trump talk would have turned you on?! Hahaha. What a loser. Haha…”
“Hey, cut him some slack, will you? Our jogging took place on Trump’s inauguration day, after all.” — We’re nodding empathically now (and I hate calling anyone a loser!)…
“Oh, that explains it. But, Anna, you’re so naive! The guy has a pic of his gift-wrapped cock and you can’t guess what his gift to you is meant to be?”
“No!! Forgive me!😁”
I laugh to refrain from crying.
“Btw, was he for or against Trump?”
“He was against him,” I answer, noticing a girl sitting close by staring at me with a very amused expression.
“Sorry, but I can’t help but eavesdrop on your story. It is hilarious!” she says.
We introduce ourselves and feeling a little self-conscious, I add, “Nah. Most of my dates have been nice. Some people out there are quite OK………
“I did meet my boyfriend on Tinder last year after all, remember, Tony?” — not able or willing to refer to him as my ex yet.
No, no, no!
“What about you, Niina? Are you single and on the lookout?”
“Yeah, do you also go online dating?” Tony takes part in my inquiry.
“Yes. Yeah.” — Niina says dismissively — “But, do tell me, how did you react when the guy kissed you and invited you up to his room after the political foreplay?”
“I told him to go………… trump himself, of course!” — not exactly in those words.
As many of my other friends have before, Tony pushes an idea, “Hey, Anna, you have to write a book about all your funny online dates. A separate chapter for every one! You’ve just gotta.”
“Yes!” — Niina encourages me, too — “And hey, if you do, let me know. I’d want to read that!”
“No, seriously,” they keep at it, “That would the perfect project for your Year of the Cock…”
Haha. Cocky stories?
So, OK… here am I.
Let’s do this!
Will my dear reader kindly help me rewind this story to Xmas of 2015, when this specific tale begins?
A little over a year ago… A time for sorrowful endings… and mercifully, also for hopeful new beginnings.
Please keep your fingers crossed, and without any further ado, permit to introduce you to the real Anna. Not this silly, temporarily poker-faced lost case, but the real me. And maybe, just maybe you’ll see.
© 2017 rf
Obs. Day 405 since moving out.