What You See is Seldom What You Get!

 Ephrem Endale  Contributer

 “It’s going a memorable Saturday!” That’s what comes to the guy’s mind first thing in the morning, Oh yes, he has been waiting for ‘the day!’ In fact, even memorable would be an understatement, so to say. Two years after becoming ‘friends’ on Facebook and after all those nice words which made every day appear like it was what they call Valentine’s Day it would have been strange if his testosterone levels don’t jump the scales! That’s what the Facebook thing is supposed to be about, making friends, isn’t it! One would have thought it was a Facebook chance meeting sort of thing! It wasn’t! The guy saw pictures of her posted by one online friend of his and it was ‘online love at first sight!’ (Well I see no reason why we can’t use the ‘first sight’ thing here too!) He fishes out her address and his ‘friend request’ is accepted. And messages start flying in both directions progressing from “It’s nice to be friends with you;” to “I have been thinking about you the whole night;” to “I can’t wait until we meet in person!”

Of course t it might not be as easy as it might sound. Tired if all the self-styled Casanova guys overloading her inbox with ‘love’ messages Romeo would have envied she might not have appetite remaining for another one of them. So, at first her responses could have scared away an entire American football team with all those guys with bulldozer physiques. (In fact, pardon my ignorance, but I think that’s all those guys do, ram each other down like bulldozers! Whoever invented that gam must have been a very angry man!)

So after almost two years the guy’s Facebook heartthrob is going to sit for a cup of coffee with him. Now, if that isn’t memorable what could be? That’s why he has done everything within his meager means to make himself some local Brad Pitt look alike. Having arrived at the meeting café a full forty five minutes early he can’t stop wondering, like he always does, how come there were so many pretty young ladies around these days. Well his date, of whom by now he has begun thinking as his real girlfriend is of course one of them, as he has no reason to question what he has been seeing on Facebook. (Hey, young man, about your thinking of her as your real girlfriend, would you kind enough to take it easy! It’s nice that you’ve made her portrait your screensaver. But all portraits ‘aren’t created equal!’)

Then a young girl who shows all the signs of spending an entire morning trying to look the smartest sweet thing in town approaches his table. At first he doesn’t even take notice. Why should he?” He is waiting for his Helen of Troy and the one inching closer to his table is anything but Helen of troy! After all, his isn’t a blind date or something sounding equally foolish!

“Am I late?” she asks with the wildest smile even Julia Roberts couldn’t have managed. What! How could he know if she’s late or whatever! What’s wrong with people these days anyway? And what’s more she is blocking your view.


“The taxi we were in had a flat tire on the way and we had to wait until they changed another one.”

There must be something wrong here. This young lady is mistaking him for someone else.

“Sorry I don’t know what you’re saying. I’m afraid you’re talking to the wrong person.”

“Aren’t you….?” Oh no! Oh God no. This can’t be happening to me! Where did all that ‘beauty’ he has been enjoying online for a full two years! Reality catching him with a devastating uppercut he tries to gather some of his senses. “Oh.er…I thought you were another person.” He couldn’t have answered if anyone asked him how he got all that courage to actually stand up given all the nerves and more conspiring against him. “I’m happy to meet you.” And then follow her sweet smiles, his bitter frowns, the half-hearted hugs and all those cheek-to-cheek sort of things. Somehow by the time they both sit down he was already contemplating how he could just run, and run like he never did.

“Oh, Photoshop! Oh cursed Photoshop! How could you people do this to me!” The problem is, not only online, but in reality too most of us take things at face value and when truth comes calling we end up feeling that the most henious crime has been committed against us.

Look, come to think about it something lose to this happened a couple of years back. The fellow was coming all the way from across the Atlantic and she was a local young lady. In their case without even meeting in person they ‘decided’ that they were meant for each other. He, like many of our compatriots in that part of the world, has for some time been contemplating of taking his life’s mate from his home country. In fact, there were times when all those young men from across the ocean made the trip back home for one and only one thing; To tie the knot and sweep away their Juliet to the far corners of the globe. yes, they made competition back home really tough!

So as I was telling you this guy travels all those miles to meet with this local young soul. Once they meet in person the story goes into twists and turns. Earlier in his messages and regular phone exchanges with her he painted himself as a God fearing person who never gets on the nerves of anyone. He even told her he was the most loved and respected Habesha in town. She didn’t have the slightest reason to doubt his words.

Once here just to know each other better he takes out to night spots. If he thought he’d impress her, he indeed did; but in all the wrong ways. That was when she was able to witness the true character of the fellow. He turned out to be an out bum! The few times they went out he drank so heavily she had the worst nights of her life. He wasn’t only drunk; he practically turned into some monster picking fights with almost everyone. Luckily for her, she managed to cool the other side down or else the guy would have been an ICU material, and even been locked up.

Unlike many who would have reasoned, “I know what I’ll do once I touch down in DC,” she decided to seal things once and for all. She gives her family some excuse of a best friend being very sick and she had to go to a town in southern Addis. She didn’t turn off her cellphone; she ‘forgot’ to take it with her. She made a close friend of hers phone him and tell him their plans were off! They say the guy ended up a possible case study in rage and being sold, as they say, down the river.

Incidentally, there are many stories of Facebook couplings which start as the dream ‘love’ stories and end up in the most evil of betrayals and even some spiraling into furious court battles. These days it doesn’t seem very wise to take things at face value because in the end there might not be much face left to display!

“You know what is wrong with this guy?”

“No. what’s wrong with him?”

“He’s wearing someone’s face!” Ha!

The February 13/2022

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