The OJ Observer

Mediterranean faces

Ridiculously attractive through I am, even I have a hard time understanding how in the world I get hit on everywhere I go, including places like the gas station and grocery store. Some days, like yesterday, I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse.

I went grocery shopping after work last night to pick up some ingredients for sugar cookies. I planned to bake some as a surprise for a friend who is a new mom. While picking out what flavor of Greek yogurt I want to eat for breakfast every morning next week, I felt someone watching me. I glanced behind me and saw a man in a white dress shirt and black slacks observing me from his position near the orange juice.

I moved on to the milk section of the store and, when I turned around to put my selected carton in my grocery cart, I bumped into someone. “Excuse me,” I said, looking up. It was the OJ Observer. I smiled politely and continued on my way.

After picking out my chosen brand of butter, I saw the man start to approach me. I figured he must be the store manager or something, so I prepared to tell him that yes, I was finding everything that I needed (it’s true; their chocolate banana yogurt is stupendous). Instead, when he opened his mouth, the words that came out were, “Are you Middle Eastern?”

I get that a lot. I’m actually almost full-blooded German, but when I was in Italy, all the locals thought I was Italian. In Greece, everyone came up to me and started speaking Greek, thinking that I was the translator for my group of fellow Americans. I swear, it’s the nose. I’ve got a honker of a nose.

Based on his accent and dark features, the OJ Observer was clearly Middle Eastern himself, so I wasn’t surprised when he told me, “I’m Lebanese. You look like you are from my country.” He then proceeded to ask if we could “be friends.” Friends… riiiight.

I tilted my head to the side and said coyly, “Could I ask you a personal question? What religion would you consider yourself?”

Instead of answering, he smiled and asked me, “What religion do you consider yourself?” Hm, smarter than I gave him credit for.

After I told him that I was a Christian, he told me, “My parents are Muslim, but I am an atheist.”

I explained that we could be friends, but I only date fellow Christians. His tone instantly changed from sweet and obliging to aggressive and angry. “You don’t even know me. Why would you already decide not to date me, just because I am an atheist?!”

I gently told him that everything I do in this life, I try to do to bring God glory. “I will love God more than I love my husband, and I believe that even my marriage is intended to equip me to better serve God than I could in singleness, so it’s important that my husband shares that vision.”

The OJ Observer looked curious and thoughtful. “You seem very passionate about your faith. I would like to hear more about this God you serve.”

I’m doubtful that he really wants to hear more about Jesus, but I agreed to meet him at a public, well-lit coffee shop next week to talk about “this God [I] serve.” An opportunity to share my faith came up, so I’m taking it. But I’m also asking my parents for a DNA test this Christmas.

Authentically Aurora

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