Sonia Hadj Said
Young girls tell stories of their affairs with eligible-not-so-bachelors.
Opposites attract. The fire wants to taste the water, while the earth yearns for a glimpse of the pure sky. Which simply means it’s nature that makes us go after something different from ourselves. The idea of dipping into strange waters is exciting, but can also create a real tsunami. Because in the end, opposites cannot exist together.
Nikola, looking for stability in an unstable man:
Nikola hands me the beer and secretly takes a shot herself. Her arms are covered with colourful tattoos and she has that confident look. She reminds me of the Coyote Ugly owner. And yet, as she starts telling the story, her confidence slowly fades away.
She met him at a different pub. He was the manager, training her for a supervisor position. He was well built and strict with his staff, always dressed in a black suit. Nikola was impressed by his attitude and that Alpha Male appearance. She didn’t want to start anything and that’s no surprise.
It started in the little room where he was teaching her the basics. After that he would drive her home at night. Then there was the kiss, and the confession: he had a girlfriend. They had just bought a house. He was trapped. He didn’t know why the house, why the girlfriend stopped caring about her looks, why she was waiting up for him every night.
Nikola takes another shot. It’s been six months and she’s still furious. Why? I ask.
Because she used to be a strong person. The men in her life came and went as she pleased. This one gave her a false hope of security. She fell in love with him, she admits. She didn’t mean to.
he needed a change, but actually he didn’t want to change anything
‘My life is a mess,’ she says. ‘I work in a bar, I can’t pay my rent and I don’t have a single certain thing in my life.’
He liked her wildness. The fact he couldn’t know where she was, what she was doing. The fact that she was her own master.
It took her too much time to realize he wasn’t going to leave his girlfriend. He needed a change, but actually he didn’t want to change anything.
Nikola stopped taking the calls and decided to be professional at work. He turned vicious, unable to accept that she wasn’t willing to be that kind of girl. Suddenly, that strong man seemed weak. Rejection didn’t look good on him. He threatened to fire her if she wasn’t nicer.
‘They want the taste of our crazy lives,’ she said bitterly. ‘It’s a lost circle. We want some stability, but really we’re more stable than they are in the dead relationships and traps they set for themselves.’
Magda, this is no Bridget Jones:
Magda settles on a bench next to me and asks if I’ve seen the new Bridget Jones trailer.
She is a short, sweet girl who came to London to do a bachelor in dance studies. ‘Naive’ and ‘crazy’ are the first adjectives that come to mind.
She got a job in the restaurant of a law firm as the evening hours allowed her to work on her degree without sacrificing anything. She was swept off her feet by the lifestyle in London, the beauty of it, and the temporary nature of her job. To her, it was elegant, just like in all the movies she saw. People treated her well, and going there was a pleasure. There were paintings and photographs everywhere. Suits all around, the accent she loved, the life she didn’t realize she wanted.
She wasn’t looking for love because she didn’t need it. Her life was crazy already, in a good way. And then one young lawyer caught her attention by noticing her more than others. She felt the difference. It wasn’t just about her university and wishing her luck. It was the way he looked at her while she wore that silly uniform. It was his look, the smile, the tone of his voice.
he wanted me as a lover, I wanted him as love
After the annual Spring Ball where they kissed and he admitted to having a girlfriend, of course, she didn’t let it go. After all, Mr Darcy was a complicated creature. He was reserved and he needed a push to go after what he really wanted. She engaged in a game that was lost before she had even started.
But Mr Darcy only seemed confused late at nights, when he claimed his life was boring. ‘Excite me’, he would ask from her. That wasn’t something a person who is lost says. It’s something you hear when you’re not being treated seriously.
He made her feel small and not deserving of anything more. Then he made her feel upset for letting it amount to that.
‘He wanted me as a lover, I wanted him as love. He didn’t respect me while I tried hard to seem more respectable.’
Magda shakes her head as if she only realizes now she was the one who hurt herself. She invented the image of her perfect man when he never existed. ‘I don’t know what made you think I’m a nice guy’, he said to her.
Last time she received yet another message, she deleted it.
‘I’m not a sex toy, I’m not his entertainment. I’m not there to excite him, I have enough on my plate. But he wouldn’t understand. They never do.’
She smiles briefly and lowers her voice.
‘He still contacts me sometimes. Because I have something he envied. The freedom. I’m not going to give it to him.’
Banner image: Kazuhiro Hori