Well, it was awkward to say the least.
I walked in, ordered a large peppermint tea and chose a small table in the centre of the cafe. As I waited, I noticed a guy in an orange parka behind me. I assumed he was a student by the way he was dressed: t-shirt, toque and a big, wooly scarf. After all, working in a government office requires some level of formality, right?
Apparently not. That was him.
We were supposed to have met up at 5.30. But he didn’t approach me until 6.00 even though I was the only hijabi in this small cafe. Actually, I was the only brown girl in the place.
And here’s the punch line: why didn’t he approach me? Because he wasn’t sure if it was me! Ha ha ha...as if! S
So he was sitting there texting his cousin, asking her what I would be wearing and seeking her advice on what to do next. And yes, he disclosed all this, after the introductions had been made. I remember thinking that this was odd, and perhaps showed a lack of confidence. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt, afterall, maybe he was just super nervous.
"No worries, of course it's awkward," I said, as I gave him a reassuring smile.
"Yeah, it is."
We talked about the weather, family and our childhoods.
I asked about his life goals. He rambled on for quite a bit about he wanted to pursue a Master’s or PhD, but hasn’t got the time for it right now, and it would have to be an online programme, and that it’s really difficult and it's really too much work. Almost as if he was trying to justify his lack of action in this regard. To me? Or to himself? Anyways, we talked about my programme and career ambitions, and I asked him where he saw himself in 10-15 years. He just shrugged, and noted that he hated his current job and at best, it was "okay".
It's one of those things I always ask about: dreams and ambitions, or as some people call them "Life Goals". I think they say a lot about a person and give both parties an idea of whether a future together is feasible. But everytime I asked him something related to this, Zayd simply avoided the topic. And this is definetly a red flag for me. I know that he has some dreams (like the Master's and PhD), but the ambition, the focus and the self-confidence are truly lacking.
I don’t think I could deal with someone like that. I’m passionate about my dreams and I work hard to get to where I want to be. In fact, so are the majority of the people I know. I mean, you can’t just let life pass you by like that...passively living. Which is exactly what he seems to be doing. He’s not sure what he wants out of life, switching jobs every so often because “it gets boring” and not really having goals for anything else. It's almost as if he's already hit his mid-life crisis.
Some of his questions were a bit strange, to tell you the truth. He asked about how many prospects I had seen and how long I had been searching. He asked about what the other guys had asked and how long our conversations had been. He made a comment about how odd it was that I wasn’t married yet, because you know, "in our community, everyone get married young, especially the girls". Now that I'm writing this up, it almost seems like I was being interviewed for a documentary on "The Marriage Quest: A Muslimah's Journey". And although my friends and siblings were offended that he had asked such intrusive questions ("You should've told him off!" and "I would've left right then and there!"), I was just very intrigued. I'm a Type Four, with a heavy Type Five wing, so I know that it's just the curious observer part of my personality that was being entertained then.
At one point during the conversation, I laughed at something and he defensively asked, “What’s so funny?” as if I had been laughing at him.
Fifteen minutes into the conversation he remarked that his train was coming and that we had another fifteen minutes to talk, “not that I’m rushing you or anything”.
Okay, cool. I already knew by this point that the chemistry was seriously lacking. [BTW, how much value do you guys place on this? I know some people who believe that chemistry only develops after the nikah, whereas others believe that it's this spark right from the first meeting.]
There’s this one question that I ask myself when I’m considering a new prospect. It’s something that usually makes things very clear cut for me, and gives me direction, wherever that road may take me.
“Is this someone that I can respect and look up to as a role model?”
Zayd, he’s not.
And if he’s not, then that means that he’s definitely not The One.
Nonetheless, I'm still glad I had the opportuinity to meet him. Because with every new prospect and rishta experience, I learn more about myself and who I really am. And I've come walking out of this one, with fresh new insights.