Images and feelings that conjure up a classic English gentleman are images that non-English women carry from the movies they have seen: Colin Firth comes to mind, Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, James Bond (but, Sean Connery was Scottish). At first, when I came to London, I didn’t like the English men, I didn’t come to London to find an English gentleman,in the first place. My original intention was to give it a go with this Israeli Comedian I had met a few years ago in San Francisco.Anyway, I never liked English men, except for Colin Firth, with his dark looks, mysterious swagger, and retro side burns.( But what are my chances of meeting Colin Firth. And, besides he’s married to an Italian lady.) To me, I was not that attracted to English men. Too pale I thought. Too blond I thought, too thin lipped for my big full lips I thought, and to me, simply unapproachable to a warm and friendly American girl,too reserved, drinks too much and is closed emotionally. And, my tirade against the English men persisted through my head, like the drills in my neigborhood to restore the Victorian pipes. Do forgive me, but English men have never been my cup of tea. Especially, as long as English men that did befriend me, insisted on having a relationship with their text messages instead of having a relationship with me on some level. I found these little things awfully annoying and such a time waster that my belief that the English man was not for me, (and would never be) had become more engrained in my system and my being for a very long time. And, the idea of having that notion reversed, was for me highly unlikely.
For the sake of curiosity, experimentation and just plain fun, I continued to explore the wanton and exciting possibilities of more exotic cultures. How about Pakistan, India, Japan.And, to no avail, they were all a big blob of disappointment in my dating landscape. The Indian men were bossy and macho. The Pakistani men a bit too blunt, bordering on the tactless,and they all get married by the time their 25 anyway, so that’s not a lot of single available good looking Pakistani men anyway. Israeli men are obnoxious and macho. Japanese men were too quiet and boring, unless, they were drunk and singing at a Karoake bar. Israeli men don’t use deodorant,and think of their dates as a combat zone, and part of their compulsory training for the Israeili army. Oh, and Italian men, charming, but charming to everyone. Who needs that? You can keep your lasagna and your designer suits. Remember, I am an American woman. We aren’t used to the blatant philandering that happens in a lot of European cultures, that is perfectably acceptable and expected with a lot of other women. We aren’t used to cowering to a man’s will and dominion. Of following behind him, like you see in Japanese cultures, even to his day.We aren’t used to men’s armpits smelling like a grapefruit.We aren’t used to stumbling upon your man’s diary, only to find that he is scribbling in dates with other women behind your back in cryptic language, probably in code to hide his tracks( you see my Father was well versed in Sherlock Holmes and taught me to be a petit Sherlock Holmes) when you are on a weekend trip to Oxford. Anyway, I continued to befriend everyone, all cultures with an open mind and heart unjaded and untainted by my previous dating conundrums, disappointments, and mishaps. I continued to date men, even from the English culture. My father was part English, of course, I was not going to reject an English man, just because of my silly prejudices and my previous bad experiences. Of course, I was going to be open to the English culture, I was in the country after all, studying, observing, listening with my soul and every cell in my being to all that England had to offer. But something happened,three quarters of the way through my trip, I met an English gentleman unexpectedly at an Internet café and I fell in love. Or, I became infatuated. He was quintessentially English: schooled at Cambridge, very shy, reserved, proper in public, never cursed, always was extremely apologetic and courteous, very polite, self deprecating, extremely well mannered ( always said please, thank you and I am sorry willingly and without restraintm unlike American men, or even Italian men, they are the worse about apologizing, it’s really detestable), funny , used deodorant, genuinely interested in me and my brain, my life, very considerate, gentle, yet very manly. Our first date, was unforgettable, we had a big lunch at The Orangery,( the big tea palace with long Greek Columns), right next to Kensington Palace, since we had eaten so much we went on a romantic stroll in Hyde Park and held hands. While we were walking and getting to know each other, I discovered I was currently reading his favorite book, Guns Germs and Steel. What a coincidence! And, needless to say, we always had so much to talk about. Our subsequent dates were fun and with lively conversation and romantic intrigue.He was always very charming and I always enjoyed his company. Then, he followed up with another 4 months of long drawn out literary emails and perfectly succinct, yet romantic text messages. I figured he he had another girlfriend,which is just fine, and started dating other people and reading more books, so in case we started dating again, I could have something to talk with him about. But, about 2 months, before I left to go back to the USA, we started seeing each other again. We reignited very quickly the previous spark we had 5 months earlier. And, they say that the English are cold, the English are reserved, not necessarily cold. Their behavior sometimes goes back to Victorian times, where it was considered in poor taste to show emotion in public.
He ended up being not just romantic with his texts, his emails, but his communication style was always very very poetic and eloquent, that he always inspired me when I spoke to him. He was heavenly perfection in speech. And, always said the right thing at the right time,and in some mysterious way he always touched me. I am sorry, but I can’t tell you everything, you’ll have to leave it to your imaginagtion. But, I will tell you he was very affectionate, sensuous, a fabulous kisser, romantic,generous, and the embodiment of finesse. Even holding hands and walking in Hyde Park, he was quintessentially elegant. He blew me away, with all my expectations and notions of an English men. He was an English gentleman and a scholar. And, if I didn’t like English gentleman to begin with, by the end of my trip, I most certainly did. Every woman should date an English Gentleman once in her life, even if it was short lived, to me, it was a magical experience, one I shall never forget as long as I live. More Adventures in Sabrina’s London Diaries