I’m all for new experiences in this crazy city and, believe me, I’ve had my fair share, but nothing could prepare for me last night’s dating experience. I met a cute guy at an event in the City a few weeks ago to celebrate the Hindu holiday, Diwali. Neither of us celebrate Diwali as we both adhere to the Abrahamic faith, but pretty soon we bonded over Hindu traditional dancing and our complex ancestry (I get asked every day where I’m from and it’s a long story that spans several continents and religious/ethnic conflicts, but this guy’s story was even longer than mine!).
Fast-forward to last night and we meet again for a date in Heron Tower. The cocktails (skinny rose martinis) and conversation are flowing, he’s saying the right things and putting me at ease. I instigated a cheeky conversation about bad stuff we’d got up to in our past, at which point he tells me he’s done “bad things” and I jokingly reply: “C’mon, nothing can be that bad. It’s not like you killed someone!”
Cue the longest, most awkward silence EVER on a first date. It took a few moments of silence before I realised with a sick, heavy feeling that he wasn’t joking. It turns out that before he moved to the City he was a Special Forces sniper in Iraq and one day, under siege, fired a deadly shot at an Iraqi soldier. The fact that he was under siege should make it justifiable, right? All is fair in love and war, no? Except the Iraq war was never properly justified and this guy wasn’t conscripted into the army, rather he made an active choice to sign up and engage in mortal combat.
He said that, in his defence, he was young and pumped full of diazepam (apparently it relaxes snipers’ muscles and breathing to improve firing accuracy). He said he didn’t have any remorse whatsoever, and has completely blocked it out of his mind. Aside from the occasional nightmare, he insisted it hadn’t affected him at all.
The irony is that yesterday was Remembrance Day, a day to remember the soldiers who liberated Europe from the Nazis and to whom we owe our livelihoods. I wouldn’t exist were it not for their heroic actions, and my mother taught me that my most important possession is my British passport so that if I ever face persecution as my ancestors did and have to escape, I can. I vividly remember as a little girl reading Anne Frank’s diary and not being able to finish it. I knew she was going to die, and I remember crying so hard and being so overwhelmed with grief that I couldn’t carry on reading.
So I have the utmost respect for anyone that risks their life to defend their country and its people. I understand that this guy was just doing his job and protecting his fellow soldier, but by the end of the date I also knew I never wanted to see him again. It didn’t matter how charming, sweet and friendly he was or even whether his actions were justified – he had killed a man. I’m sure there are women out there who would be OK with it, but I’ve never met someone who has killed another human being and I never want to again.
Peace out x