But, today is not a story of either husband. Instead, my ramble is about the man who would not be my husband. He was the first—and last—man that the Mama and the Daddy dared try to match me with. Yes, I know. So old country. At least, they did not attempt to do an arranged marriage for me.
I was in my late 20s, an old age to still be unmarried, according to the old ways. I lived alone in San Francisco, over 100 miles from the parents, which were two other no-no's for young women.
The man in question had a name that some women would think romantic. I thought it was just sappy. Other women would've described him as very dreamy. I saw him as looking superficially slick. One who would have nothing to do with me in the old country, unless I happened to be rich. Yes, he was a young man from the old country. To protect the sappy, superficially slick man, I shall use a fictitious name to talk about him. Let's see. Hmmm, I shall call him Jacques Ash. (No, the parents did not immigrate from France.)
I first met Jacques Ash when I visited the parents on the Thanksgiving weekend. The Daddy was butchering a pig in the back yard, and Jacques Ash was there helping him. "Hello. Glad to meet you." That was the extent of our conversation.
A few weeks later, the parents, the brother and his wife, and Jacques Ash came up to San Francisco for a birthday party that a friend was giving me. Let's just say, I was very surprised. About Jacques Ash, that is. I also figured out what was going on. Gotta love the parents.
Because the brother wanted to wander around the science museum in Golden Gate Park, we all wandered with him. Jacques Ash walked beside me, but we barely spoke. I pretty much ignored him. He could work for my hand, if he really wanted it. He had already wooed the parents by painting the outside of their house for free.
At my birthday party, Jacques Ash sat silently. He didn't talk to my friends, unless they spoke to him. Then, it was time to go home. The parents decided to ride back to my apartment in the brother's car. I have to say the parents were so damn cute together. As, I started the car, Jacques Ash suddenly spoke. "Where is Sheila from? How long has she been married? What kind of work does she do? How long have you known her?"
Jacques Ash wanted to know everything about the friend who threw the party for me. What a Jacques Ash!
A few days later, Jacques Ash called me up for a date. Are you fucking kidding me? I didn't say that. But, I did say something like this, "No, thank you. You can go find someone else for a green card."
"What?" I could tell he was taken aback.
"I know you're only interested in me so you can marry me and get a green card."
"I am not," he protested.
"Oh, yes, you are. We have nothing in common. You didn't even try to talk to me. You thought because I'm not pretty I would just accept you. Ha! The joke is on you."
"Your parents want us to get together," Jacques Ash said, quite forcefully. "I painted their house for you."
"My parents know I do what I want to do. Be with someone I want to be with. So, go find someone else for a green card." Then I did a classic Mama, and slammed the phone receiver down.
A couple hours later, the Daddy called.
"Jacques Ash is going to call you," Daddy said. To warn me, I liked to think; but, most like the man cried to the Daddy and asked him to smooth things over with me.
"He already called," I said, and then I told the Daddy everything I said to him.
The Daddy laughed. When he could talk again, he said, "Just be nice."
"He's the one that's not nice."
Daddy chuckled. "Be good," he said, and hung up the phone.
I still like to think that the parents (with their newly painted house) were proud of me for turning down a so-called dreamy looking man with a romantic name. I may have been single, old, and living on my own, but far from desperate for love or marriage.
Happy Valentine's Day, dear gentle readers.