I learn he's here on a work/study visa set to expire in the fall of next year. "Ah, so you need to get married," I observe. He shrugs and smiles, "Everybody say this to me." I tell him it's unfortunately the easiest way to secure his status, given that he's unable to physically spawn children and the chances of a proper work sponsorship unless he was say a rock star, the new Tesla or some kind of Olympian are quite slim.
He agrees, I ask him if he would marry just for that. "No, not just for that, " he shakes his head emphatically, "Yes, to stay but also because I need married." At 26? I'm unable to help myself on to the next question.
Somehow, I begin to relax as we find we have more in common than I expected. He recounts his experiences on his move here, how he's never been to the rest of Europe and how he wishes his sister would follow him. Serbian men it seems, deify their mothers and sisters. There is still something of the old world in him, as he explains he actually grew up in a small village but studied in Novi Sad which ironically stood against Belgrade during the Kosovo war but got bombed anyway. I don't touch on that for fear it's a passion killer. He was also likely oblivious to most of it having been 14 at the time.
Not originally being from the US, we bond over the experience of what being between countries does to your identity, that inexplicable feeling of having a foot in each world. The trying to move forward but always getting torn and twisted back by memories, sentiment, history, people and naturally, the "you" you left behind.
Unexpectedly, he starts a rant on honesty and the truth, which let's face it, is something I've been secretly mulling over the entire evening. "The matching sites, the people they are all the liars," he taps the table with a finger to make his point. "I cannot lie, I have hard time. And the women I work with, ah-da-da-da," which I suppose is tsk-ing in Serbian, "they are all nice to you in the face but second behind, they say all the bad things.".
Oh, he's on to something alright. I give him a wry smile, "That's why when people here ask you how you are, you have to remember they really DON'T want to know, it's just an expression." "Da!," he concurs and warming up leans forward even more conspiratorially, "You know, I listen to them one day, two days, then third day I cannot stand anymore and I tell the truth. They ask me why am I asshole, I say Da, I am asshole, but I am asshole telling the truth."
My nerves unfortunately begin to play up again as I notice myself getting more and more drawn to him. Because nowadays honest assholes are my kind of assholes. The Sewer Ex, Mr. Multiple Lives in Two Countries himself put me on Sear and it's all I can do to convince myself that surreptitiously administering truth serum to dates is not "normal etiquette". I sit there rapidly processing everything as I feel my skin begin to hum. Nope, NO. Too young, too cute, too old world which I'm a sucker for, too lacking in residency status. Besides, what of the safety of Virginlandia, the motherland of my chastity which rose from the ashes of my formerly Broken Vagina?? The state of my slowly healing plumbing. I simply cannot have him breach it's depths.
I look at him, calmly sip my drink and decide to switch topics thinking surely he'd become less appealing based on this line of questioning. "So," I tilt my head sweetly to sway him, "you said you're an electrical engineer in Serbia? But you work construction right now?"
"Da, I have degree in electric but right now is bad time in US, I need batter job because I like more to find out how the things work, no? Pull them apart and put back together. I fix things so it flow. Is playing with electricity, like make the current dance." he explains.
He is finishing up the bill at this point, looks up at me from signing and with a huge smile answers, "Oh, I am the Magic Plumber."
Fuq, fuq, fuqity fuck. I gather up my things and tell him it's time to call it an evening.