It was love at first sight.
I thought Gean was gorgeous. With dark hair, black eyes and sallow skin, he had just those Middle Eastern looks I have always fancied.
After an awful night at a miserable hen party (I’ll spare you the details) he asked me for my phone number.
We were soon in the bloom of a full –blown relationship despite my guilt of dating a non-Jew. Not Jewish is a slight understatement. Gean was his elected anglicised first name, for ease of getting on in the Western world.
So what was his surname? Mohammed. You can’t get more Muslim than that. And what was his birth name? Mohammed.
I gulped in a rather dramatic fashion when I realised I was dating Mohammed Mohammed but I by-passed the initial shock by sticking strictly to Gean and avoiding any reference to his last name. Soon enough the relationship arrived at that point where I had to tell my parents who I was seeing.
When my mother heard about his religious affiliation her words to me were: “Over my dead body.”
So I told her she would then have to die because I was very much in love with Gean at that stage and I wasn’t giving him up for anything. In fact, I was planning to do the big reveal at my cousin’s wedding in a month’s time.
Surprisingly, our relationship survived this pressure test, but we went on to break-up and make up repeatedly for at least two years.
For some of that time he was on another continent and he would phone me at times that were very disrupting to someone who likes her sleep. My defences were weakened and I would always agree to see him on his next arrival in Johannesburg.
It wouldn’t take long until we were back to our old familiar ways and I fantasised about a serious future with this man.
But during one of these dead-of-night conversations, I learnt that he was more in love with his mother (forgivable) and that he was a cool, calculating liar. And that’s where I drew the line, no matter how sweet the fruit.