In some ways, living as an expat is still basically the stuff of one of those claustrophobic novels about stupid British people in colonial Kenya or whatever, or, like, The Sheltering Sky only maybe less trippy and with more bureaucracy.
We spent a few years as a kid living in a tiny, largely Western, university community in Morocco, and take it from us: The variety and particular intensity of personal and professional intrigues a few dozen people can cook up if you just take them someplace where most of them don't speak any of the local languages and pay them all like 150 times what a local police officer makes, is truly breathtaking.
Nikki* is a Westerner living in an Arab country with a small expat community — we won't say which one — where the dating pool is vanishingly small. When Paul*, a "smart, fairly good-looking Ph.D candidate" who happened to be from her home country contacted her via OKCupid, she figured, hey, why not, right? Before they met, Nikki's friends, including her friend Emily*, cautioned her against having sex with him too soon. Nikki says, "As archaic as the notion that one shouldn't spread her legs too soon is, it seemed like the right path to take with this one." At their first date, Paul showed Nikki pictures of his kids, and when it became clear she wasn't going to sleep with him that day, he asked if she'd set him up with a "nymphomaniacal flight attendant or nurse." He gave her a gift certificate for Chili's before he left.
They continued emailing, and met again. (Yeah — in Nikki's words: "Single men with functioning brains are few and far between.") Eventually, a blow job transpired. ("I was feeling horny and generous," writes Nikki. "What can I say, I was just in the mood for a little fun.") Paul kept on mentioning that he preferred to be with women who were less educated than he is himself — remember, Paul may one day have a Ph.D! — and making comments about women he would like to fuck/had fucked in the past. Also, he seemed to have some kind of hang-up about Nikki's relationship-advice-providing friend Emily. (Paul has never met Emily.) Nikki sent him an email asking if Paul had the same three-day weekend that she had. She also said, "don't worry about Emily. I'm not and I actually know her." Then, she received this Crap:
Feelings will be hurt — yours. You'd caught the first hot jet of my ropey elixir. It will intoxicate you, it will drive you mad. I've seen it before. What I have is for stewardesses, nurses and Central European models who give it up on the first date, the second if they have moral or religious pretensions. You'd had your day, despite failing to qualify.
I discern a certain tone in your writing with regard to Emily. I'm not certain that I like it.
* All names changed, to protect the guilty and/or innocent