Sunday, November 4

Some Enchanted Evening

A couple of months ago, a friend moved in with us. Partly for her enriched experience of living in Europe for a few months, but mostly for her saving-my-rear-end by fullfilling the need for a full time babysitter as I began my new job, Elise has been an absolute godsend to our home.We have loved every minute of having her here.

She is a gracious and gorgeous young woman--not quite 20 years old.

These are things I have known about her forever. These are also the things displayed with crystal clarity as the two of us took a weekend trip to Brussels last month.

Most of the time I don't notice the tremendous age gap between us and when I hang with her I am caught up in believing that I too am a mere 20-something year old. Then of course I look in a mirror and wonder why in the world this old woman is staring back at me. But that of course is a lament for a different post. We are talking about Elise here, and I intend to stick to the point.

A weekend in Brussels. Perfect weather; perfect food; perfect company. The two of us schlepped from point to tourist point, enjoying the sights, the shopping and the eating. So much delicious eating!

On Saturday evening as we boarded the underground train there were a couple of men who literally were craning their necks backward to get a better look at Elise as we rode the escalator downward and they rode up. I laughed out loud and said, "You are totally getting checked out here!" She laughed too and demured with an "I know" response.

We set off to see the Atomium at night with it's sparkly lights shining and then took the return trip back into the city toward our hotel.

That's when the oogling fun really began.

On that train were several men (okay, three) who literally couldn't take their eyes off of my traveling companion. They noticed her. We noticed them. They smiled. We laughed. Then one of them got up the courage to approach her. Now, I must mention without sounding too snotty or rude that this man was not what one would consider a "catch". Not by a long shot. He was not tall, dark and handsome but rather a bit on the short side, bald and a slightly funny looking. But he had his eye on Elise (who is tall, blonde and exceptionally beautiful). It took a few minutes of charades and broken speech to determine that between us--in spite of 5 languages--we had very little vocabulary in common. We settled on English as the best option and he struggled through a few questions in order to establish his message.

"This your daughter?" He asked me.

"Yes." I told him. (The truth is I could be her mama. I am old enough and she is young enough and there was really no way to explain the actual relationship. Plus, I can say "yes" in French, so I felt I was doing my part in the multi-lingual exchange)

"Oh, your daughter. Beautiful!"

"Yes, thank you. I think so too"

"Yes, beautiful your daughter. She is my heart."

At this point Elise is getting more than a little creeped out, but she's too sweet to say "ick" and run away, and besides that, where are we going to run? We are on an underground train after all.

The stilted conversation continued for several more stops as this guy declared his undying love for my daughter, and his buddies got up the courage to make a few comments of their own. It was hilariously uncomfortable and I think Elise and I both were tremendously relieved when the train reached our platform. We stepped off.

But so did her suitor.

He just wanted to have a picture taken with her, and he pantomimed what he needed as he handed me his phone and walked toward Elise putting his arm around her waist.

What could I do? (I am nice too, you know) so I said "okay" and got ready to take the photo of them together. At which point he leaned in and kissed her on the cheek!

So somewhere in this great wide world there is a picture of my beautiful nanny and her Portuguese/French loverboy in the Brussels underground. That she looks ready to vomit in the photo could not possibly have dissuaded this man from believing that he had found his true love that night.

And Elise? Couldn't get to the hotel to wash that cheek fast enough.


This is my first run at Soap Opera Sunday, conceived and launched by the incredible Brillig and her lovely friend Kate. Today's links are being hosted by Thalia's Child and you can read more stories of love, drama and romance by clicking over there.


  1. Some fake mama you are! Letting your beautiful not-quite-daughter be mauled on film.

    I sure hope her mother doesn't know about this.

  2. LOL LOL LOL I had something similar happen once. Maybe I'll retell the story after my fictional piece. :D

  3. Poor girl! I gotta wonder about guys like that, where do they come from?

    And welcome to SOS!

  4. Obviously your no-yet-teenage DD has not yet reached the point where the Mommy Monster has woken up. Otherwise your reaction would have been to throw the camera at his head, cursing him in any and all languages you knew, taking your "daughter" firmly in tow and stalking off quickly while shooting evil-eye glances over your shoulder and continuing to mumble audibly. Just fast forward 5 years to a similar outing with DD and see if the picture doesn't turn out quite differently!

  5. P.S. Glad you could finally make it to SOS!!

  6. Hey! I never claimed to be a GOOD fake Mama at all. I was just as blown away by his laciviousness as she was and what could I do really? (FA's suggestions aside, that is just not my personality) And more to the point, what kind of fun story would she have to take home and/or post on facebook without my complicity in the exchange?

  7. secret & nell-
    Welcome here! So glad to have you stop by.

  8. Poor girl! I hope she can laugh about it now, though.

  9. TC-
    Welcome to you!
    We laughed about it then as well.

  10. My experience "abroad" has all been the years I lived in Aspen, CO, where the world comes to you. When I was moderately "old" (mid-forties) and moderately over-weight ('nuf said), I was shopping in Aspen one evening, and on my way up the stairs, my rear-end was pinched by a ten year old (an age estimate) Italian boy--as startled as I was, I looked past this smiling young fellow, only to see he and his father exchange "well done" nodding approval.

    Men--world-wide--men, where do they come up with these things and feel they're giving you a compliment. (Of course, I was old enough, and chubby enough, and a mother of two boys who would NEVER have dreamt of doing such a thing--that I actually had to smile too!)

    Now I'm smiling from your story--and can just imagine the scrunched look of the "trying to be nice even though horrified" look of Elise. Thanks for sharing.

  11. WB-
    Well done indeed! That is hilarious and I would grin too if a young man grabbed my derriere. Or a younng woman for that matter. Okay, I'd take an old man, an old woman or anyone, let's be honest here!
    Anyone? Anyone?

  12. Lucky girl that you were around. Now she has just enough of an experience to make an interesting story...

    Welcome to SOS!

  13. Okay, Jenn, if this story weren't fantastic enough, I literally snorted a hearty guffaw over your reply to WB's comment. HAHAHAHAHA. I'm here for you darling. If only my arm were long enough, I'd be pinching away.

    Now I want to come and hang out with you and Elise in Brussels. Or, you know, wherever. Oh! Oh! Then you could be grandma and I'd be mom and Elise could be daughter. Wait, that's not really flattering to any of us, is it? Hmmmm, I'll work on it. Hahahaha. Seriously, though. When is my blog going to make me enough money to pay you a visit?

    I should set up a "donate to Anne's Voyage To Holland Fund" box on my blog. I might get two or three cents a week...

  14. Uhhhh, I mean BRILLIG'S Voyage To Holland Fund. Not Anne's. Who's Anne anyway? ;-)

  15. (Oh, and since I've already left two comments, why don't I leave a third?)

    I love that you finally played SOS with us. And since you were the second to volunteer to guest-host, how would you like to guest-host SOS for our second week? (That would be next week...) Let me know if you're willing and available. And no, this is NOT just my way of forcing you to continue playing along soapily. I promise... sorta.

  16. LOL What a great story!! I am embarrassed to say that while we were in Germany last we were out being tourists and their was this very striking girl - she had a shirt on that said something like "you know I'm hot" so my husband told me to take her picture. I sneakily took my camera and took her picture while she was posing for her friend. THEN my husband walks over to her and says "can I take my picture with you" Oh yes - I couldn't believe it. They had a similar language problem as she was an asian tourist and he only speaks English. I took the picture - which he emailed to his friend at work - apparantly it's some running gag that a few of them have going on. At least he didn't lean over and kiss her.

  17. First I have to say that your post made me want to be back in Brussels immediately. Chocolate. French fries. Beer. Ahhhhh. . ..

    Anyhoo, remind not to let Ironflower come be your nanny!I could totally see it and it made me laugh, though.

  18. brilly-girl-
    I would be thrilled, nay, HONORED to host all the soapy goodness next week. Bring it on!

  19. mnm-
    HA! Oh, my that has me snorting just a little. How completely rich is that? Love it. Thanks for sharing your embarrassment!

    I promise to influence all my nanny's for shameless good. Meaning, I will use and abuse them just to get a blog story out of them! hehe.

  20. I don't know whether to laugh or feel exceptionally sorry for her!!

    Oh, I remember those days when guys used to stare . . .

    Now they stare because I have crusted kid snot on my shirt. Oh well.

  21. Having heard the story first hand from Elise I can add two things. #1 I would send Elise anywhere anytime with Jenn. She is spot on when it comes to reading people, as all of you know.
    Fourier, I certainly wouldn't call Jenn a "mommy monster", but you can bet if anyone tried to hurt someone she cares about the fur would fly.
    #2 Even though Elise is beautiful and very kind, I have no doubt if she felt more than just creeped out, those not so desirable men would have gotten the message. Language barrier and all!
    Jenn, you failed to mention the next suitor "old fisherman guy".
    Anyway I feel my fangs starting to show, must be left overs from Halloween.

  22. Ha ha ha! I'm with Soccer Mom in Denial on this!

  23. Nanny's Mom-
    Thanks for coming to my rescue and aid on this. I see you reacted the same as me to a couple of the comments here. I was never conplicit in a terrible, terrifying experience for her. We laughed and laughed throughout that night and have been laughing about it ever since.
    You are right though, I stopped cold there and didn't talk about the rest of the oogling men over beautiful ELise. There are just far too many!!
    And you are alos right, the two of us have claws and fangs, if necessary.

    see the above.

    Just laugh baby! Just laugh.

    It's all about the story, yes?

  24. oooh that's creepy. I don't think I would have engaged into a conversation at all, let alone taking a picture. I am not so conversational with druling men ;). Yikes, they give me the creeps. Hence my lack of SOS stories some weeks.

  25. Oh my goodness... Poor Elise, but she may have made his world forever!

    I'm also glad you both had that time together.

  26. Jenn,

    you mention on Jen in MI's blog that you don't have my e-mail....check my facebook profile if you need it. I don't like to type it anywhere in public, but you can find it over there :).


  27. What a great story! Poor Elise, but lucky us. Perhaps it was a good idea to give up the picture, otherwise, who knows how far the little man would have gone? Followed you to the hotel? Thrown rocks at your window and recited poetry? Yes, it was best to appease him and send him off.

  28. Hi Jenn,
    Still living life on the edge i see,if it 's not cheese sellers then it lithuanian rockers, now it is short baldy men....

    Cheers Mark

  29. Lithuanian rockers? I thought they were Croatian rappers? Whatever, you do run into the most...ahem..."interesting" people on your travels.

  30. gb-
    Thanks for the tip on finding you via email. Prepare to be inundated. :)

    Thanks for the sweet sentiment. We had a grand time together!

    Yeah, I really know how to pick 'em.

    Indeed it was Serbian rappers and boy do I ever!

    hehe. My point exactly.

  31. What a mom! Glad he didn't follow you all over the city. . .I mean her. :)

  32. Ewwwwww...that is creepy! Poor thing. It's just so hard to be so beautiful...

  33. LOL. So funny ! He's probably showing this picture to eveyone, telling them all about the new love of his life.