Needless to say, throughout my life I have had a very unlucky time navigating the dating world. Whether it be a result of my asexuality, of my social awkwardness, or of my lack of experience nothing can prepare me for what may happen or what one may find around a new corner.


Photo courtesy of Time Out Abu Dhabi 

I recently travelled to the United Arab Emirates to visit a dear friend and spend Christmas. I was unwilling to spend another Christmas alone, so I ventured to a foreign desert land. While the trip was filled with going here and there, what struck me most was a complete turnaround in my dating life. I’ve been living in Sweden for 3 years and I’ve been on two dates, so as you can imagine that sounds pretty dismal and only one of them was a positive experience.

What might explain this is unknown to me, but I can do nothing else but surmise that what I offer here, is just not wanted. In three years I manage about twenty or so matches on Tinder, a few of which chat to me. I set foot in the UAE and for shits and giggles I load up Tinder. In the span of a few hours, I’m getting matches left right and centre. After two days of swiping, I garnered about 50 matches, most of which were actually talking to me.  I was confused, surprised, and speechless.

I decided to take it somewhere and meet up with a few people for dinner or to hang out at local spots. In 5 days I managed to fit in 6 dates in two cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I can say with positive reflection that while they were a bit nerve wracking to start for fear of police or similar traps, they were all positive experiences. How could this be? How could my luck change so dramatically and my match rate increase to 95 in the span of a few days?

I reflect on it, and possible explanations come to mind. Is it because I’m foreign? Is it because I’m white? Is it because I’m an amazing person? All are possibilities, but I’m lost as for how or why this can be. How can I have more success in dates in a country so repressed and restricted, while living in a free society of Sweden I am a complete lemon? Thinking about it confuses me and makes me very emotional because of the situational irony.

Here I can marry, have children, and live an authentic life and I can’t find a partner, barely even dates. I go to a place where I can’t get married, can’t have kids, and can’t live an authentic and open life and I get several people really interested in me, even for marriage. It just feels like a huge slap in the face, and leads me to question whether it’s something wrong with me, or something wrong with everybody else.

All I can say is I’m thankful, but now even more confused than before.

This Christmas season I have decided to do something a bit different and out of the ordinary. I haven’t really had many Christmas plans over the last few years. I’ve been living abroad for the better part of the last 6 years, and that can often times be a very lonely feeling.

I haven’t been so successful with my social life since moving to Sweden, and as the days counted down closer to the Christmas holiday, I was left wondering what I should do. Faced with the options of being home alone, I decided that it wasn’t a good idea for me. And so I decided to give.

The only thing, apart from my usual donations during the holiday season, that I could think to donate is my time and my voice. Thus I committed to volunteering to sing for my choir’s Christmas events. This involved an afternoon mass, a midnight mass, and then Christmas Day mass. It was a lot of a singing, and a lot of time. I even had to stay in a hotel from the 24th to the 25th since trains didn’t run with enough time for me to go back and forth to home.

I guess it’s good to provide to others and help others enjoy or celebrate an important event, but I couldn’t help feeling very selfish and lonely during the time. I basically didn’t interact with anyone, did my singing, and then went back to my hotel after a bit of a long walk.

I felt like it was important for me to give, because otherwise I would be doing nothing. But I was faced with a strange situation: first of all I’m not really all that religious and the amount of times I sing in a choir in the last year greatly outweighs the amounts of times that I’ve actually been to a church in my entire life. But what is so striking is when the head priest at the cathedral where I sing, said to me “Weren’t you here all day yesterday too?” and my response was “Yes” she looked at me with a bit of a perplexed look on her face, as if to suggest that I should be somewhere else.

I’m not sure if it was thanks, confusion, or pity but it was certainly something and it made me think. In any event, I’m happy that I did something and being a stranger among strangers is a very strange experience. But thank you to Västerås Domkyrka for allowing me to be apart of its community and to donate my time towards a greater cause.

In summary, it certainly is a theme to my life of late; but the question remains “Where should I be?”

We woke up the next day, basically all hung over and tired, and were off to the town of Miramas to celebrate with father’s side of the family. I was aprehensive, because I figured that things couldn’t go more smoothly than the previous evening, and of course I was right. Angès was late getting up, Cédric was the last in the shower, and thus we were sort of late but not really. After about an hour and a half crammed in the car, we arrived to the gorgeous clearly upper-bourgeosie house, which we only saw the anti-room (for guests). It was awkward with this family as they weren’t very social, and I wasn’t spoken to at all. I basically looked at my food and ate, and it lasted five hours at the table. It was truly, a lovely-food nightmare. Lucky for me I was placed between Thérèse, Cédric (my saviour), and across from Madelaine, the Corsican girlfriend of one of the aunts. She spoke to me, butchy, and wouldn’t stop talking about their voyage to Corsica, and it wasn’t awkward because we were both ned additions to the family, and so it was an easy way to connect.

Alcohol was pouring, sadly, in this family, and Angès resisted having fights with aunts and uncles (more difficult than you can imagine). How did she manage? By basically falling alseep! So this is what we ate, and it was devine, but my God was I bloated and felt like I was going to be sick. People kept telling me that I’m not obliged to eat, but my God people, of course I’m obliged to eat what’s put in front of me, otherwise it’s just plain rude damnit!

Apéritif : Feuilletés, brochette de pruneau au lard
Entrée 1 : Fois gras
Entrée 2 : saumon fumé
Entrée 3 : vol-au-vent
Plat : chapon farci accompagné de fagots de haricots verts, endives à la crème
: salade
: fromage
Desserts : îles flottantes, bûches aux fruits, fruits frais, fruits secs, pompe à l’huile, chocolats, biscuits secs.
Café + digestif.

Just thinking about the food makes my stomach turn. We piled back into the car, after members of the family were slightly drunk, and awkward, and went back to our little village. I fell asleep, and heard some things in my sleep that made me sad, but apparently it was amusing because Angès and Cédric thought my head was going to fall off from swaying so much. Note to self: try not to touch people, ever. The day ended with a little mental breakdown before going to sleep, and picking Chris up the next morning.

Cadolive

The magical day has arrived, the day when everything is happy and all of Europe celebrates (more or less). Although there are many non Christian families in Europe, I even saw some foreign people at the stores. Yes that’s right, on the night where Santa comes, Cédric still needed to do some shopping. I couldn’t help but laugh at him, but we descended into Marseille and to the Fnac (great place), and I was correct (surprise surprise). He was thinking that it would be a mad house, and how stupid he was for leaving everything to the last moment (correct), but there was hardly anyone there. The people were kind and gentle, and we managed to get there and back within the hour.

We found a book, some DVDs, and good-looking people on whom we could focus our attention. Apparently I stare, but not more than French people. My staring seems to linger a little bit more, or is put into little blotches, or glances as I like to call them. Cédric commented on this, and I rebutted that I’m not the only one and that Mediterranean people are more invasive than I. We laughed and went into a natural store where I think I could set up camp and live in. It had those awesome UV lights for people that have season depression, I thought to buy one but then saw that it would put me down about 300€ so I thought I better think of taking a monthly plan in order to make my life more functional.

CadoliveCadolive

After arriving back home and preparing for dinner that Martine was getting ready for her side of the family, I got dressed and prepared to be awkward all night with the family. Here is what we ate, whilst we discussed, laughed, and had a lot of wine and food:

Apéritif : Toasts de saumon fumé + feuilletés
Entrée 1 : Foie gras et oignons confis
Entrée 2 : crevettes flambées au pastis
Plat : filet de bœuf, sauce Madère, accompagné de fonds d’artichauts et petits pois + pommes dauphines.
Fromages :
Desserts : Charlotte aux marrons, bûche au café, fruits frais, fruits secs, pompe à l’huile, chocolats, biscuits secs.
Café + digestif.

Needless to say, after the four or five hours there I was a little bit tired, and drunk. The glass you see above you was filled many times, and even Cédric was making fun of me; totally not fair. Not fair at all. So what, it’s the holidays, and the wine is good? Is that a punishment to have a little? Santa visited the little ones, and I straggled off to bed once we cleaned up a little bit. It was well into the night, and the shame was that we had to get up the next morning to visit the other side the family; holy geepers! Merry Christmas too all!

I’m currently on Christmas Holidays since Friday. I’m in the south of France, département 13, also known as the area of Marseille. I’m spending it with the family of a friend of mine that I visited a few years ago, and since I’m taking copious amounts of photos and I’m being very touristic I may be a bit delayed in posting the magical events that happen to my life.

To summarise at the current time I’d say the following things: It’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s hospitable, it’s mountainous, and I love it! Only a few more days until Christmas! Oh la vie en provence!!