Susie takes us back to the 70’s and the University of Arizona in Tuscon where she met her prince charming. With Miss Priss out of the picture, Susie’s sketch of Adnan drew them closer together. I enjoyed reading this love story because it evokes memories of my parents and the 70’s love songs they used to always sing to/with us. I still remember them and personal favorites are: “You Are My Shining Star” by the Manhattans, “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations, “The Closer I Get To You” by Roberta Flack and “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye. I could go on and on but I’m going to stop here so you can start reading how Susie met “Prince” Adnan. Enjoy! T
How I Met My Prince
By Susie Of Arabia
September 9, 2008
It was the fall of 1977 as I skipped down the stairs into the basement of the Student Union. The semester had just begun and I was one of thousands of students at the busy beehive of higher education called the University of Arizona in Tucson. Already in my mid-20s, I was making a career change from law enforcement to journalism. While taking a full course load, I had also landed a part-time job right there on campus to help pay for my living expenses – working in the games room, where many students killed time in between classes to meet friends, release tension, socialize, and have some fun. My job there entailed overseeing about 50 pool tables, several dozen pin ball machines, and other games that students could rent out. It was really convenient and easy for me to attend classes and then just walk over to another building right there on campus for my four hour shift working in the Student Union several days a week. Not knowing many people there either, the job gave me a way of meeting new students and making friends.
The afternoon shifts were usually extremely busy. On those days, the time would pass by very quickly, and sometimes it was such a madhouse, I could hardly wait to get out of there. The evening shifts were usually much slower and quieter, giving me a chance to do my homework if I was lucky. Many of the students who came into the games room were foreign students, and I couldn’t help but notice that a large percentage of them were young Middle Eastern men. They had wierd and wonderful sounding names that I had never heard before and some of them had thick accents that were very difficult for me to understand. Many of them were short in stature with small scrawny frames and dressed in tidy polyester dress shirts and pants. Definitely not my type. I always went for guys with solid frames who were at least as tall as me and weighed more than me. However, coming from a small town on the Mexican border and with no previous exposure to Arab men at all, I was intrigued. I found most of them polite, some of them funny, and a few of them even attractive. But ALL of them seemed to smoke cigarettes, which was a real turn-off for me.
Adnan had just arrived in the United States to continue with his studies, working on his Masters Degree in English as a Second Language and Linguistics. The very first time I laid eyes on him down in the games room, the attraction I felt was overwhelmingly strong and immediate. He was wearing bell-bottom jeans (so IN at the time!) and a long sleeved woven cotton shirt with his sleeves rolled up. The top two buttons were undone so that a tiny crop of his manly dark chest hair peeked out. Adnan had absolutely the biggest afro you ever saw and a full black beard. His eyes were dark brown and sultry, yet danced with a mischievious twinkle. At almost six feet tall and with strong broad shoulders, Adnan seemed older and more mature than the other Arab students I had seen. He looked mysterious, very masculine, strikingly different, and extremely intriguing. The effect he had on me was surprising. I felt flustered and practically weak at the knees just at the sight of him.
Adnan came into the games room almost daily to play pool. I discovered what his name was because whenever anyone wanted to rent a pool table, he had to leave his ID at the check-out counter where I worked. Even Adnan’s name sounded exotic and exciting to me. I was definitely interested, and I felt strongly that I wanted to get to know this tall-dark-and-handsome mysterious stranger.
There was just one little tiny itsy bitsy teensy weensy insignificant problem. Every single time he came in to play pool, Adnan was accompanied by an attractive petite blond, whom I secretly named Miss Priss. Was she his girlfriend? She had an adorable perfect figure (like I always wanted but would never have) and cascading golden curls that tumbled down her back. I would watch them together on the sly. She always appeared bored. They never touched each other or flirted or really even smiled at each other. I decided that I hated her and her perfect little body and her flowing blond tresses. She never ever spoke to me. Adnan did speak to me, but always in a very business like manner, and he never made any small talk with me. He never really seemed to notice me because Miss Priss was always around.
One night several weeks into the term while I was working the evening shift, Adnan came in to play pool. Lo and behold, THIS time Miss Priss was nowhere in sight! THIS time he was there to play pool with another guy. So, I decided to seize the opportunity – Carpe Diem! This was my big chance to try to make an impression, to make this oblivious guy who made my heart flutter notice me. As I handed them the rack of colorful pool balls, I assigned the two young Arab men to the pool table closest to me, just a few short yards away from the large counter where I worked. Lucky for me, it was a very slow night in the games room. Miraculously Adnan and I occasionally made eye contact and exchanged a couple of brief smiles while he played. But what could I do to really make him notice me, to make myself stand out? Trying to be charming or cute was out of the question – when he was around, he made me feel tongue-tied. So as Adnan and his friend played pool, I hatched a plan. I decided to draw a sketch of Adnan. So I got out a piece of blank paper and a pencil and began drawing him.
When Adnan and his buddy finished playing pool, they approached the desk to return the rack of balls and pay. I presented Adnan with the sketch I had made of him, saying simply, “I made this for you.” It had actually turned out to be a pretty good likeness of him – although admittedly, he was fairly easy to draw since the sketch consisted mostly of his big curly afro and beard!
Adnan’s eyes flashed at the sketch and then to me and then back to the sketch, at first a little confused, and then with the realization of what I had done. Flattered and humbled by the attention I obviously had shown him, he was visibly taken aback and duly impressed. And for the first time in all those weeks, I felt that he actually looked at me. He saw ME, not just the girl who worked in the gamesroom. I still remember the exact words he spoke as he thanked me for the sketch: “This will be framed!” Without missing a beat, he then asked if I played pool, and we made a date to meet at the Student Union to play the following afternoon. My heart was pounding wildly and I felt like I had just hit a home run, but I contained myself and acted cool until he and his friend left. Mission accomplished – I had gotten that tall-dark-and-handsome stranger to notice me!
I was so anxious about our date, I must have changed outfits a dozen times before I settled on a pair of cream colored jeans and a purple sweater. I applied minimal fresh faced make-up, tossed my hair, and I was out the door, arriving promptly on time for our first date. But to my surprise, Hassan, the friend he had played pool with the night before, also showed up. However, it was okay because it actually helped ease the tension I was feeling and made me more relaxed and not so nervous. We laughed and talked while we played pool, and I discovered that Adnan had a great sense of humor, one of the most important qualities I look for in a man. I learned my first Arabic words that day, “Darba helwa!” which means “Good shot!” I found Adnan to be very likable and easy to be around. My nervousness at the thought of being near him quickly vanished. He was smart and witty, and I thought he was very handsome, of course. He was the whole package. And I was smitten.
The following week after I drew his picture was my 26th birthday. Adnan invited me to his tiny efficiency apartment for a birthday party. I had no idea what to expect. Again I became nervous about what to wear and I fussed about styling my hair. I decided to wear a fairly simple brown faux suede sleeveless dress with narrow cream colored lace and brown satin ribbon adorning the fitted bodice and straps. My shoulder length blonde hair was flowing loosely, with soft gentle curls framing my face. I kept my makeup to a minimum, and in the end, I was quite happy with my appearance that night.
I arrived at the appointed time and as I knocked on the door, the butterflies in my stomach were fluttering like mad. I had the feeling that this night would be a very special one, and I wasn’t disappointed. He opened the door and welcomed me warmly with a big hug, a huge smile on his face and those twinkling chocolate brown eyes. He was wearing a neatly pressed red and white striped cotton shirt with a crisp white collar and the sleeves rolled up and brown dress pants. He looked amazingly handsome and sexy. I melted.
The birthday party turned out to be a party for just the two of us, although he had arranged for his friend Hassan to come over and act as the photographer and take pictures for a while. His stereo lightly played typical 70s music, like the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Kool and the Gang, Barry White, and Irene Cara. The small but tidy space was decorated with a few streamers and balloons and lit candles were set about the room for mood lighting. Spicy incense was sweetly burning. The table was adorned with a cheerful tablecloth and offered an assortment of goodies like cashews, chips, pretzels, veggies with dip, other munchies and delectable chocolate truffles. Plus a birthday cake and ice cream – all that, just for the two of us!
I was undeniably blown away and swept off my feet. I felt so comfortable around him. He was charming, intelligent, handsome, and fun to be with. Never in my life had anyone gone out of his way like that to impress me as he had done. He had thought of everything, attended to every little detail in planning the perfect evening. Throughout the night, we talked, danced, nibbled, laughed, and played backgammon. And the icing on the cake was that I discovered what a fabulously amazing kisser he was that night. It was a magical and enchanting evening … like a fairy tale. I didn’t want it to end. That very night, I fell in love with Adnan, although I didn’t let him know for a while.
And that was the beginning of what was to be our twelve-year long courtship. Yes, you heard it right! Twelve long years before we finally tied the knot! True to his word, Adnan framed the drawing I had made of him and we still have it to this day – it is part of our history together, what initially brought us together in the first place.
Oh! And remember that gorgeous blond, Miss Priss, who used to come into the games room with Adnan to play pool? Adnan told me that they were just friends, that she was actually the girlfriend of another friend of his. He was apparently just keeping Miss Priss company and babysitting/watching over her for his buddy while he was in class. I don’t know how true that story was, but I just let the matter drop since the Miss Priss no longer came around anymore once I entered Adnan’s life. And that was enough for me!
Over the years when people have learned that my significant other is from Saudi Arabia, often the very first question I will inevitably be asked has been if he is a prince. My answer has always been a resounding, “Yes! He is a Prince … Among Men!” Adnan is MY prince, and I feel like a very lucky woman, indeed.