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#J2E 4: Salam wa Smiles, 40 yrs, 5’5″


Yes, that’s the Boston Tea Party Boat in the Boston Harbor!

Click Here for the previous episode Or Click Here to start at the beginning of the story

Shy is not one of my personal adjectives. If you get to know me, you will know this. But fear of rejection is a phobia I hide in my heart and it seriously affects my social life. image It prevents me from maintaining friendships with more than three people at any one time. But now, coming at this moment out of a rotten marriage to an agressive, dictatorial and emotionally abusive alchoholic, you might think that shy would be a good way to describe how I was feeling. I was definitely a few quarts low on the self confidence meter, but shy? No, I wasn’t shy. I was totally scared to death.

This felt like my big moment arriving, and I was completely unprepared for it. Every good quality I had hit Refresh to display this!been dreaming about in a husband was suddenly present in front of me, and he was inviting me to send him a message. The ‘Send A Message’ button was right there in front of me, practically begging me to push it. I had returned to my computer, half expecting the miracle ad to no longer be there, but there it was, patiently waiting my return. I sat and stared at the face of the man in the ad. I liked his eyes, they looked like the sharp eyes of a deep thinker. I liked his ad, he obviously put a lot of thought into it. I liked his unpolished English maybe best of all, and his mistakes inspired me to believe him. And finally, I liked his suit, he looked like a very respectable, professional man. I thought we’d look very nice together!

I may be secretly afraid of personal rejection, but in my professional life I’m secretly fearless in the face of a challenge. I just don’t chit chat much on the job, and I’m usually seen as a well-dressed loner who can get the job done right the first time. Especially if it has anything to do with programming a computer.

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IBM 4361 VM/SP Mainframe Dinosaur

My position as a computer engineer on the Operating System Software Team for the IBM mainframe computer in our building was very challenging and enjoyable. I worked quietly at the feet of a roaring dinosaur known to history as IBM 4361 VM/SP whose last dying breaths were offered to the US Navy Payroll System. I was a Federal Employee for the Department of the Navy, working in a Data Automation Center that offered contract computer services to the United States Department of Defense.

But when a position opened up on the Interactive Multimedia Team, my bosses honored my request immediately for the job. A whole new and exciting world opened up for me when I entered that office. My coursework in college had included all the core courses of the Graphic Art curriculum, as I had hoped to land a job as a computer graphic artist. Thankfully, my bosses agreed that I might be good at this new technology. It was awesome! My new team leader was a dreamer of really big dreams and had the uncanny ability to sell our services in really high places. Congress and Hollywood fell in our laps, to the complete delight of our bosses. We were commisioned by Congress to program PCs to make computer training for the DoD with video made in Hollywood, and graphics made by yours truly. This was the Main Menu I created (lol, don’t laugh, it was pretty cool in 1999!):

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Personal Financial Management Training, featuring NFL Star Ronnie Lott

It is an understatement to say that this new job was a dream come true, and things were really looking up in my life at that exact moment in time. It wasn’t too much for me to hope for one more dream to come true. I just needed a strategy to overcome that pesky fear of rejection! I prayed to Allah, thanking Him for putting this opportunity in front of me. And then, for the first time in my life, I faced my fear as a challenge.

I read again the ad of the man I hoped to marry, and I hit the button that said ‘send a message.’

Immediately, (or something like a whopping 14 kbps on a dialup fax modem) I was presented with a form in which I could type my message. At the top of the page, though, was the question: “Reply to this ad with your ad?” This seemed like a wonderful strategy for avoiding direct contact, and thus eased my fear of rejection. So I hit cancel and hit the home page to figure out how to create an ad. My thinking was that he could view my ad, and if he didn’t agree that I was a good match, he didn’t even have to reply. A perfect answer! Even better, I discovered that I could make my ad “Private,” meaning that it would receive no hits from a search. That was perfect, too, because I was not interested in personal rejection on such a public scale. I just wanted one link to provide to this one man – that was more than enough at the moment! When it was finished, my ad looked like this:


EXITE Classifieds & Auctions________________________[Search Ads]
[Email this ad to a friend]________[prev/back to list/next]
Title: Salam wa Smiles, 40 years old, 5′ 5″
Photo: image
Interest: Female Seeking Male
Relationship: Photo Exchange
Body Type: Athletic
Weight: 120 lbs.
Hair color: Brunette
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Religion: Islamic
Employment: Full-Time
Education: College Degree
Marital Status: Single
Has Children? Has children – living at home
Wants Children? Undecided/Open
Smokes? Doesn’t smoke
Drinks? Doesn’t drink
Description: salam wa smiles! This is a private profile, and I will be happy to respond to your email, if you would like to write me… I only did this so I can send you my picture! Salam and more smiles ;^))))) k***_aisha
Contact Info: [Send Message]
Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Post Date: 08-Jun-99
Think a friend might be interested in this ad? Send a copy!
prev/back to list/next

After completing this private ad, I returned to complete my message to Mr. “Answer To My Prayer”. All I hoped for was to be brief, beautiful, and interesting enough to fall instantly head over heels in love with. A positive reply would be really good, too. This is the message as it was sent:

This is a response to your advertisement on Excite Classifieds &  Auctions.
Male Seeking Female: Long-term, 45 y/o, 5 ft. 10 in. Tall, Vancouver, BC, Seeking wife to be love&friend
Hi! I think you must be very brave to try this… But your words mirror my feelings so I’m writing in response to your ad. In fact you might already be writing to someone, if so, I’m very happy for you. If not, and you’d like to introduce yourself to me, I’d like that alot. You might be surprised how much I match your words, but I think it’s important to find out if we can be great friends, hopefully! I’m completely fascinated with Egypt, and even been teaching myself Arabic
– hahaha hard to do alone, want to consider helping me in email? And I’m very serious about learning more about Islam… Want to recommend a good English translation of the Quran? I don’t really have anyone to ask questions to… That’s why your ad seems especially nice to me. Please feel free to write me back at K***_Aisha@hotmail.com, but
please only write me if you are truly divorced, and truly interested in pursuing friendship!
Salam and more smiles
K*** Aisha
Note: To see the sender’s profile, please go to:
*** Thank you for using Excite Classifieds & Auctions!  ***

I hit the Send Button, and let Allah carry it with my prayers and thanks, then ran to hide under my bed covers… sleepless again! I hardly dared to breathe, much less sleep, but to be honest, I felt a big surge on my ‘Self Confidence’ meter!


Click Here to continue to the next Episode

(Originally published on Aisha’s Oasis)


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