Ladies, before you raise your COVID-19 self-isolated unplucked eyebrows at me, hear me out okay. I’m no Linkey whore. I, like many others detest the unwanted attention received on LinkedIn, but sometimes, you just connect with a stranger that you thought you’d have nothing in common with..
<Rewind to October 2017>
My long hours in the office had taken over my life. The problem was that I absolutely loved what I did. I’d spent the preceding four years specialising in law relating to Modern Slavery. My clients, survivors of human trafficking, were like my family; I was fiercely protective of them and so justified every additional hour spent in the office. My dating life was non-existent, and my social life had begun to suffer.
I earned myself a well-deserved solo break and was soon travelling to Qatar. Amidst the chaos, my phone buzzed. A LinkedIn connection request, nothing out of the ordinary. I had a quick peek at the requester’s profile – White male barrister, meh, another hoity toity barrister I thought. Fine, I accepted the request. He pinged through the usual polite “thanks for connecting” message, and I sent my usual yawn-induced “pleasure to connect” response.
His profile photo.. well, it was the sort you would expect from a posh barrister. Taken from afar, it seemed as though an Indian grandad had pat his head far too many times and flattened his hair. He was smartly dressed, with a half-assed smile and he’d probably used a Sepia filter to give his photo the old-school feel, you know, like a posh boy. Not that I was actively looking for a man, but he really wasn’t my type.
Having grown up in East London predominantly around Asian and Black people, culturally, for many years, I could never ‘fit in’ with the White folks. I didn’t drink, the clubbing scene at university was my worst nightmare, I followed a halal diet (yes, get that bloody pork away from me!), and if you spoke to me about the theatre I’d probably stab myself in the eye. Finding the cultural balance between the East and West took its sweet time, and it’s only in the last few years that I have felt that I truly am comfortable with both. I mean, I still don’t get the obsession with wine and cheese.. but I’ll let that one slide..
Now it’s not that White guys aren’t my type, I mean just look at Bradley Cooper. That man is sex on legs! Religious differences aside, I think the issue is that I’m too Asian for White guys. When I’m mad I swear in Punjabi, sometimes even in my sleep. Will a White guy be willing to learn every rude word in Punjabi, so he knows what I’m saying when I’m mad at him? Will he really get the culture, and be okay with it? Will he tolerate my obsession with Bollywood movies? Does he really want to spend his weekends with me watching ‘90s Bollywood flicks whilst I repeat every damn dialogue because I’ve already watched the movie 264 times?! Yeah, I thought not.
Well, this is what happened next.
Scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, I saw a post from this guy, Harry. It was related to his area of work, ‘what would you do in X scenario’ – one of the options was to ‘call your dad’ – that is exactly what I would do, so I gave his post a little like and thought nothing more of it.
Not long after, I received message from Harry. A thank you for liking his post, followed by a very thoughtful message that showed he had taken the time to read my profile. He asked about my work, its challenges, and acknowledged how hard it must be. He was neither perverted, nor hoity toity. He was that weird thing that we don’t see enough of these days…. A gentleman. There was something weird about this creature, he just brightened up my day.
So when he mentioned that very same day that he would be travelling to London soon and asked whether I’d like to meet for a drink, I didn’t think “knob head” and ignore him. Instead, I told him that I didn’t really drink alcohol, but in any event, I was flying out to Qatar, and maybe we could meet for a coffee on my return. I wasn’t sure if I meant it, I was being polite, but if he remembered to message in a few weeks, I probably would.
A few days later, I had a message from Harry asking if I’d arrived safely. I spent the rest of my holiday in regular contact with him. Harry wasn’t exactly Mr Funny. I mean, I wasn’t sure if he could even read a joke on the back of a penguin bar with conviction, but he was really charming. The doughnut also didn’t realise that I received LinkedIn alerts every time he clicked on my profile – and that was frequent! But I didn’t mind. Posh boy was clearly technologically challenged, and that in itself was a little endearing…
To be continued..
The Accidental Lawyer