Written by Soad Hosny
About 5 years ago, I laid down in bed with laptop and thought “Ok, this time, it’s for real and I’m ready.” I set up my dating profile on ArabLounge WITH A PICTURE… dating apps weren’t a thing at that time. After scrolling through the list of possible suitors, which included my cousins and my brothers’ friends, I realized, my face and name are publicly identified – UH OH. But I was so ready to meet someone and explore this serious part of life that I dismissed the cowardly shame and disbelief my family would experience if they knew I was on a dating site.
The hunt was on. I set parameters in my search results where this ideal handsome guy would live within a 15 mile radius, be under the age of 35, preferably from an Arab country that spoke the same Arabic as I do, highly educated, and so on. As the weeks progressed, the criteria started to change as all the profiles in my results were all imageless. The new target was that I would find this guy within a 50 mile radius, under the age of 45, ANY Arab country and a high school graduate will do. Needless to say, lots of bald, older men continuously messaged me along with the international brothers. I felt I had to be an equal opportunity lender and explore all options. I would message with them, but never insisted on meeting. This one guy kept coming up in my search results. A handsome 35 year old guy from Morocco who lived less than 15 miles away. After a month of continuously visiting his profile, I finally had the courage to message him.
After speaking on the phone with him, we exchanged Facebook names and spoke a bit more. I learned he was a realtor/ broker, has been in the area for more than 10 years, and barely had time on his hands. After about a week, we finally met. “He is HAWT” was what went through my mind! It was a nice first date. When I got home, I had a message in my ArabLounge inbox from someone totally out of the guidelines I had set. In the days after, we exchanged Facebook names and messaged via ArabLounge, Facebook, and texts. I really liked this far away stranger. We would be perfect together. He fit the criteria I had set with my initial search, but why did he live so far away? Was I ready to move? Lots of uncertainty flooded my mind.
“I’ve kinda got the Midas touch. Whenever a girl and I break up, she immediately gets married.”
I met with my girlfriends on a Saturday night and we sat around talking and laughing as usual. I presented them with my dilemma of the local guy and the far away stranger. They comforted me in telling me I would know what feels right when I spoke with THE ONE. I made up my mind that I didn’t want to leave my family. I got back in touch with the faraway stranger and apologized that we couldn’t proceed, as I was speaking to another local guy. He was extremely polite and respectful and said, if there was “naseeb,” our paths will cross.
Thereafter, the “getting to know” stage ended shortly after a few dates with the local guy. He was NOT the type of guy I would see myself with in the future. He didn’t share the same focus on family and moral values. The douchiness was so evident. And just like that, we were done! It was mutually decided that we weren’t truly interested in one another, as we simply stopped speaking and texting. I know – so adult-like. He called me a month later telling me, “You know, I’ve kinda got the Midas touch. Whenever a girl and I break up, she immediately gets married.” I laughed it off and asked him to not contact me.
Months passed and the obsessive search on ArabLounge continued. I would search on there for hours at a time. Things eventually aligned and I messaged the faraway stranger on Facebook. He informed me that he would be traveling for the next month and offered to stop by. Of course, I agreed! Naseeb was knocking on our doors.
The time finally arrived for us to meet. I had it all planned out. Plan B was in place with my friends, who were down the street from where him and I were meeting. If things didn’t go a certain way, he was leaving the following morning anyway. We were messaging for what felt like a year, as I waited by the baggage claim. We finally made a formal face to face introduction. “Soad? Wow, you are much prettier in person than in pictures,” confessed the faraway stranger. “I know, I get that a lot,” I responded immediately, with my guard up. We had a MAGNIFICENT day! There was this easiness to him and it felt good to finally meet a guy like this. I offered to drop him off at the airport on Sunday morning. We decided to eat at a nearby restaurant prior to ending this beautiful encounter. A large group of Turkish older folks sat by the window near us. From that group, one old man kept hitting on me. Faraway stranger was humored by it. Older men have a thing for me. Anyway, as we were ready to leave, the older Turkish gentleman approached our table, patted faraway stranger on the back, and told him, “Don’t let her go. She’s a keeper.” We smiled, as he didn’t know we’ve known each other for less than 24 hours. We got to the airport and bid our farewells. He simply hugged me and abruptly took off. That was a cumbersome goodbye for such an amazing day together, I thought. He was away for a month, but we stayed in touch the entire time. I convinced myself it was alright and it’s “naseeb” that allowed us to meet.
Three months later, he met my family and we were engaged that summer. We’ve been married for a little over three years and have a gorgeous son. We’re continuing to live our happily ever after.