Here in Zanzibar, it is not uncommon for me to hear:
“are you married?”
“Got a man back home? If you do, I’ll be your man here”
“I love you!”
“I like girls like you”
every time I leave my house. I promise that I’m not making this up. There’s always an awkward stare, an unwanted lip lick or a blatant grab of my behind. I’m not saying this to feed my own self confidence. Goodness knows I’m already confident enough on my own.
But the point of this post is to talk about my friends Jon and Erik. Jon and Erik are both males and I consider them to be pretty good friends here in Zanzi. I realized the other day why I actually like them. It isn’t because they’re awesome conversationalists. It isn’t because they’ve got the world’s most interesting stories to tell. It isn’t because I’m sexually attracted to them. It is because they’ve never come on to me.
Jon- Did in fact like a friend of mine but after she left, has continued to talk to me and text me just to say hi. We’ve danced together at parties and clubs with just a simple kiss on the cheek for farewells. He’s asked me if I had a boyfriend because he thought the idea of a *double date* would be fun.
Erik- met him on the beach playing cards and drinking way too much rum. He’s called me to tell me that he’ll be in town and he’d like to hang out since then. He gives wonderful hugs and doesn’t expect anything else. He’s a funny guy who gets a good portion of his living off of tourists that roam the beach looking for something to blow their money on. I’ve protected him from getting arrested by telling the police that we’d been friends for years. We like each other. In a completely platonic way.
Now I come from a background in the United States where my body type isn’t considered desirable. I’m a bigger girl. Granted, I’ve never been short of at least a suitor or two, I’ve never had the onslaught of men chasing me like I do here in Zanzibar. It’s not something I’m used to, nor is it something that I particularly like. So I just want to send out a thank you. Thank you to all of my platonic friends. Thank you to guys who maybe do want to be a little more than friends but don’t yell it out because you think you’re entitled to it. I appreciate it.