x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

You never know what might come of a chance meeting

Hollywood-style "happy endings" do occur in real life romances, but not to everybody

Ihate "chick flicks". I roll my eyes at sappy moments in a film or book. But for many who watch or read those stories, the "proposal" scene - where the hero professes his love - is the most important part, even though it was obvious all along that they would end up together, despite all the bickering and plot twists.

Real life is different. Dating can be brutal. When I sit with friends, there is a lot of disappointment and heart-break. You are constantly reminded that your life is not complete unless your marital status changes from single to married.

But then sometimes you hear a real-life story that fits into the old theory that "love strikes when you least expect it".

For Samira, a visitor to Abu Dhabi, it all started with her getting lost. She was wandering the streets looking for the apartment of a friend of a friend. It was a hot day and nobody she stopped to ask recognised the name of the building.

As she was getting desperate, she asked a man who had just parked his car. Dressed in a suit and looking "fit and handsome", he was a childhood friend she hadn't seen for over 10 years.

Samira become extremely self-conscious and tried to wipe off the sweat and make-up that had melted on her face. "It was like a scene from a movie," she recalls.

After a few minutes of small talk, he walked with her and helped her find the right address. By then Samira had lost all interest in seeing this "friend of a friend".

The man went up the lift with her to make sure she made it to the flat safely. "I think I just met my future husband," Samira told the person who answered the door.

Sure enough, this month the two are getting married. Of course they love to tell the story of how they met.

Being a cynic, I didn't believe that their chance meeting would lead to anything, but I was wrong. I find it interesting that these two went on a quasi-date once a long time ago, but didn't click. If anything, they clashed. "He was so arrogant," she recalled. And he remembers that she was "too controlling".

Now he is the "sweetest" and she's "the most laid back", they say about each other.

So sometimes, obviously, reconnecting with someone from your past can could end up with real love.

That sense of familiarity helps, and you are a different person at each different stage of your life. It's all about meeting the right person at the right time.

Just before her chance meeting, Samira was complaining about how everywhere one goes, one is reminded of their marital status.

"The world is obsessed. Why does even the manicurist ask if you are single or married, and adjust behaviour accordingly," asked another single friend, agreeing with Samira.

If you have been going to the same place for a while, whatever it may be, trust me, they start giving you the "awww" pity eyes if you are still single after many years.

Some of us just say, "yeah, I got married" just to avoid the hassle of explaining why we have not, and the "tips" on how to help ourselves.

Nothing is more annoying than your landlord asking each year, as you renew your lease, if you've "tied the knot".

"You are not getting any younger," he waves his finger at me, trying I guess to be fatherly.

I tell him I am reminded of this daily by my blood parents, all my relatives, friends and colleagues and random strangers. Even the acupuncture therapist pokes me about how "marriage will help reduce some of the pressures of life".

Somehow, there is this perception that changing your marital status will be the solution to all your problems. But whenever I throw this theory at my married friends, I am almost attacked with the bags of issues and sacks of challenges that marriage and children bring.

I think the best lesson out of all this is to always try to look presentable, because you never know who you could bump into while walking down the street.

 

Rghazal@thenational.ae

On Twitter: @arabianmau