When you get to a certain age, specific conversations start to repeat themselves with alarming frequency.
Hanging out with people, the talk often leads to questions about love and relationships.
And the questions are usually centred around one thing, “what is your type?”
My response is always the same. Always a safe answer that cannot be used against me later.
I say, I don’t have a type, because it is safe and because it is mostly true.
Then they ask a follow-up question like, “Does she have to speak English?”
But they are not asking “does she have to speak good English?” which is a question about how particular you are about grammar.
Instead they are legitimately asking what if the two of you cannot understand each other because you have different languages.
What type of life do they think I have where I’ll be sitting at a bar and a woman who doesn’t speak English will slide into the stool next to me and say, “Je t’adore.”
These people have been watching too many romantic films.
Or maybe they are thinking of it in a village sense, where I’ll be walking on a dusty path between mud huts and I will see her through the palm fronds that line the community well.
I will watch as she pulls the bucket up from the well, hand over hand, the length of rope piling up at her feet.
She will fill her basin, bend over and pick up it up, lifting it and balancing on her head.
Some of the water will spill, splashing on her shoulders, trickling down the front of her wrapper.
She will walk on the path towards me, glancing at me through smoky eyelashes.
I will lick my lips and untangle my tongue enough to mumble “yaya aiki” as she passes.
So I reply
Okay. She doesn’t have to speak English. Happy?
The questioners will now ramp it up with something like,
“Does she have to have hands?”
Are you serious? Hands?
I’ll ask for clarification
She won’t have hands at all? Or can she have like …. lobster pincers?
And they will say, very seriously, “No hands at all.”
Well, if she doesn’t have hands or speak English, how will she do the sign language for ‘I wuv you’ in the final romantic scene of the shitty movie playing in your head?
Alright, no hands.
Hands are optional for me.
Just give me a person with a torso that makes guttural noises and I’ll be fine.