I hadn't noticed its affect on me until my second encounter. And I was convinced of its desirability by my third. That foreign charm: a quality one inevitably possess just for having grown up in another country other than that which one is currently in. That includes, but is not solely based upon, the possession of a foreign accent and/or language.
There's a belief that we all, at one point or another, seek something "new" or "different." Perhaps that is why American women are attracted to men with British accents. Why there is an increasing density of interracial relationships. Maybe one desires to dabble in a different culture from that which he/she was raised in.
Having witnessed several interracial marriages fail due to the differences in cultural upbringings, I pondered upon my own attractions to the foreign and came up with the following conclusion: an entanglement with one of a foreign culture involves a rather blank, unknowingly future, but a vibrant present. For starters, most of the foreign men I will and have met are students, thus it is likely they'll return home. As a prospecting abroad student myself, there is an initial lack of commitment to anyone I hope to meet in a foreign country. If my never-ending search for what I call pure happiness never ends in a committed marriage, being charmed by the vibrant personalities found in a city as large and diverse as the one I currently reside in is nothing I can complain about.
The third and most recent encounter is with one known as "mi italiano." It started as one of those pedestrian passerby that catches your attention and never to be seen again. Until you do, in a room full of students planning to study abroad the same time as you do. And after hearing his accent and learning of his architecture major from that round of awkward classroom introductions, you notice him on a daily basis (almost). Then the sight becomes so sacred, that a word is never spoken.
The second and most short-lived is with one known as "the date in Paris." It starts with an invitation to his birthday dinner, though you've never met him before, for the sole reason that a mutual friend knows how much you enjoy the restaurant. It ends when he leaves the country to go back home, the next day (or two). Except it didn't. And through a string of Facebook messages, you've got yourself a date planned months in advance in a country you've never been to. It was food that had us meet but a German charm that made things sweet as I had to explain things like "eel." And while sharing all of my favorite plates, with an innocent smile, he insulted and complimented the way I dressed. Without knowing whether to give thanks or scorn, the charm had me laugh and smile. As it would with everything he would acknowledge there after. From the insulting "hipster" remark to the shy goodbye to his surprising presence in my morning and the timid confessions that led to talks of meeting again in Paris. Though its been long since we last spoke, on occasion I guiltily remember that night and hope I'll witness that smile again despite the silence. As a short night enjoyed by pure happiness, I often think of it as one of the best that semester.
The idea of it.
The first and most complex is with one known as...well, there are so many words to call him by. Asshole is one found out of temperament. But before things were complicating, they were quite simple. He had an accent that could serenade a woman with Spanish lullabies. A smile as sweet as you thought his heart to be. And though nothing between us was romantic, I thought highly of him as a good friend, the best I had at the time. The one who grew up in a troubled ethnic home whom I wasn't afraid to share similar issues with. The one I told most secrets to because I didn't feel judged. And how it came to this point all started with the way he treated me, with much respect, something I've only ever experienced from one American. I distinctly remember how he withheld from smoking one night and ended up asking if I minded that he finally do so. After laughing I questioned why he felt the need to ask. "Didn't want to smell like cigarettes around you all night." I suppose the complication of it all was the consequences of previously having fallen for his best friend, the one respectful American. Though those series of unfortunate events happened not too long ago, I constantly reminisce about the happiness his foreign charm brought me as if I never saw him again.
There isn't much else to say, but if I had to, I'd confess: people are best sharing happiness with when they come into your life, and then leave it soon after. This is number sixteen.