Parents Know Best. Right?
by Kiki Mara
From the time I started dating in my teenage years, my parents always had strong opinions on which guy I should be dating and what type of guys I should be avoiding like the plague. If you are anything like me, the first order of business was to rebel. Isn’t love supposed to be blind? Blind of education, social status, income - doesn’t love conquer all? Your parents shouldn’t be right, right?
Well, let me tell you my lovely tale and you can be the judge. In my mid-twenties, I moved to Bermuda to pursue my career in the financial industry. It was a dream; living in a tax free haven, pink sand beaches and daily beach volleyball after short workdays. Life was as good as it was going to get.
Soon after arriving on the island, I met this tall, dark and handsome boy (and I do not exaggerate, think, Cristiano Ronaldo hot). He had literally just hopped off the airplane from the Azores. I was in love! A few snags in my fairytale, he did not speak English, barely finished school and could not write his own name. In addition, he thought women were created to cook and clean. But who cares, he was a Cristiano Ronaldo look-alike remember? Our first date consisted of a lot of sign language, alcoholic beverages …and silence. I could hear my parents already.
So based on my parent’s checklist, he was neither of the same education background, income level, occupation. Basically, aside from being a living, breathing, male, he did not score additional points on the list. But I did not care; I was determined to make this work.
I proceeded to learn Portuguese, learn to cook and clean and started dressing the part of a conservative wife. I was hell bent on proving my parents wrong! I even taught him how to spell my name – he got 7 out of the 8 letters. I know that because he gave me a bracelet for Christmas with my “name” engraved on it.
One evening he asks me “what would you like to eat for dinner?” I was thinking a nice baked fish drizzled with olive oil and spices.
Prince Charming intended to deliver. He grabs an empty bottle of Heineken, some string and a hook. Why, I do not know but it is not as if we conversed much. We hop on his moped and start driving off into the beautiful Bermuda horizon. I was a little confused when he kept driving past the grocery store, the place I was accustomed to frequent whenever I fancied fish.
He drove us out by the sea, wrapped the string around the beer bottle attached the hook as he wanted to catch an actual fish for me to eat for dinner. Romantic you say? I think not, I was hungry, confused and miserable. I am still wondering at this point, where was the fishing rod?
This then became a ritual in the relationship. He figured we can save money on groceries by catching our own fish every night.
Some people believe chivalry is dead. In this case, I wanted to nail shut the coffin and kick dirt on top of it so I can run to a real grocery store where my fish has been scaled, clean, chilled and wrapped in nice brown paper.
To add insult to injury, since he could not read, he was unaware of the signs that parrot fish were a protected species on the island. The police tried to arrest him for poaching one day as he was trying to catch our romantic, free dinner.
Some would say we are supposed to eat love when we are hungry. I do not think that encompasses illegally poached fish.
I learned that there is truth to my parent’s legendary sermons after all. When we come from the same background of culture, family and education, there is likelihood we will see the world from the same angle. I learned the hard way that these are the actual building blocks of a true relationship not the Cristiano Ronaldo good looks. Mind you, it is not a perfect formula but it is a darn good start.
I am back in Toronto now, buying fish at St. Lawrence Market, dating boys who speak English and best of all, obeying my parents.
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