Good morning, 1NightStand groupies. Today I’m interviewing Leila Hassan Al-Nadir, our Miss January. She’s going to talk about a special date her mother-in-law set her up on.
Ah, it’s that time a year again, where the radio stations bombard you with Christmas music similar to a CIA interrogation, fist fights break out in the electronics departments over smart phones, and people sell their souls for a Furbee. I just love the holidays. There’s something just so special about the chaos. I’m so glad it’s over.
I was in my favorite department store on Black Friday trying to score a great deal on some Iron Fist Zombie Stomper pumps and over-the-knee boots, and encountered a wild horde of geneatrics on scooters. They were like a gang, in their floral dresses, oversized handbags and knee-high stockings. I headed for a seventy percent off table and was flanked. Those cotton tops are tough, and I’ve got the bite marks, er denture marks to prove it. *Lifts arm to show off vicious wound*
Needless to say, Bunny knows when she’d outnumbered and outmaneuvered. I gave them the high ground for now. Grandma scored you a great pair of shoes by the way, and I have to believe they are for you. Thinking what the alternative is, just isn’t right. *snorts* They better not be wearing them to Monday night BINGO. Gah! Sacrilege.
Anyway, back to my lovely guest, Leila.
Leila has had a rough go of things. Her first husband, to whom she was sold into literal slavery, abused her, and then out of the blue, he divorced her, when he swore she’d never be free of him. Now she’s found a man that knows how to treat her, but he’s left her on an island with his mother. Tough luck, Leila.
*snorts* Story of my life, Bunny. I’ve grown used to it...
Can you tell us a little bit about your first marriage?
I’m not sure we can even call it a marriage. I was seventeen when my father brought me from London to his homeland, Abu Dhabi. We went to “visit” a friend of his, and then I found out I was never to leave that house, because the Arabic they’d been speaking in my presence there had in fact been reciting the marriage contract and vows – I had been married off to a man thirty-eight-years older than me, been lumped off as his third wife. He’d expected a virgin to be untainted by any other man’s touch, and thus be more capable of giving him a male heir.
*silence... and a shudder* Things didn’t turn out as he’d planned, because in ten years, he never got what he’d sought from me. Turns out I was barren.... and the regular beatings, the almost nightly visits to my bed that were one step short of rape (though everyone agrees ‘marital rape’ is an oxymoron, right? Too bad they don’t know the realities of such marriage beds...) – none of that got me with child.
In short, I was his prisoner, his toy, his punching bag; whichever way you want to look at it, I belonged to him. Full stop.
But you did get away, and ended up marrying another man in that same world and culture, didn’t you?
*smiles* Not by choice, believe me, because who would set themselves up for a lifetime of abuse? The “honor” of being a married woman is not worth it, trust me. But then, too, I’d thought marriage in the Muslim and/or Arab world was a warped way of spelling out “slavery for women” and turns out I was wrong. I did get married again, because the decision didn’t lie with me – I was simply informed one day that my husband was divorcing me (shocker!) and someone else had lined up to ask for my hand. “Ask” being a debatable word... but this time, I was asked for my consent. I would’ve done anything to get away from the daily abuse of that first marriage, so yes, I agreed to marry Khalid bin Abdallah Al-Nadir. One prison for another – couldn’t be that much different, could it? And turns out Khalid was young, and handsome. If I was setting myself for abuse again, I wouldn’t have a disgusting geriatric pervert forcing his way on me every night. The lesser evil, it would be...
But that’s where I was wrong. From the first moment he laid eyes on me, Khalid has inspired nothing but calm and a feeling of being protected in my whole being. And his touch on our wedding night.... I’d never believed a man could be so gentle, so giving, and so worthy of love....
And then he left....
He did. More like, he knocked me out with something in my drink the next morning. Talk of a nasty piece of sh*t—sorry for that. I do get riled up when I think of what he did.
When I next awoke, I was in a strange bed, in a strange house and country. The older woman at my bedside informed me she was Khalid’s stepmother; he had now entrusted me into her care. I shouldn’t worry, she said, because I was far from Abu Dhabi, on an island called Mauritius, in the southern Indian Ocean, and I was now free....
I didn’t want to be free. I wanted Khalid, and the hope of a new beginning. I mean, how could he write me off from his existence after showing me what life could be like for us? After showing me how magical a relationship between a man and a woman could be?
Carole, his stepmother, said Khalid believed he was acting for the greater good. Bollocks! He took the easy way out, and I ended up being pawned and played once again.
Let’s get to the question on everyone’s mind. Just why did Carole, your mother-in-law, set you up for a 1NightStand? Aren’t you like, married to her son?
Because that family is totally twisted? Khalid left me there on the express condition that she find a husband for me. A man who would, apparently, take care of me like I deserved and give me all the cherishing and freedom I’d been denied for so long. That a*se didn’t know I wanted all that with him – that he should’ve been that man.
But doesn’t she want you two to get back together?
Seems not... You see, the way Muslim/Islamic marriage laws work, a man cannot remarry the woman he’s divorced...unless she’d been married to another man in the meantime and he, too, has divorced her. Khalid married me; which is the first step toward fulfilling that decree. Were he to divorce me, the law would then stand on the side of that pig of my first husband – he could kidnap me and no one would bat an eye, because I was now “legal” again for him. Khalid needed a man already lined up to marry me once he granted me a divorce, so my first husband wouldn’t have a chance to claim me again. That’s why Carole was supposed to find me another man.
And, bless her heart, she thought of going through Madame Evangeline from 1Night Stand to pair me up with this paragon who would agree to step into this crazy game of manipulation.
Thanks to Madame Eve. Turns out Carole signed both me and Khalid up with the agency, and Madame Eve, in her wisdom (or crazy, I don’t know!), paired us up for a one-night-stand date. Both of us went on a blind date that night, and ended up meeting in that secluded villa on the Mauritian north coast.
His first instinct had been to cut and run – I know it. But damn if I’d let him run away from me again without an explanation. Over my dead body!
So why did he drop you off on an island and leave? Wedding night that bad?
LOL. I don’t think I was that bad a shag. I mean, you just have to look at Khalid to know that man is the epitome of control, of repressed strength and power. Nothing unruffled him. But in my arms, he cried out my name, and more than once, during that one night. The goal was to consummate our union – ours could’ve been just a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am encounter, but it didn’t turn out that way.
I still don’t have the answer to that first question... Neither does Carole. And if you ask Khalid, he’ll just tell you that “it’s complicated.” Bollocks, and what a load of gobsh*te! (and in case you’re wondering about all the swearing, I grew up a regular English public school Essex girl. Though I never swore in my father’s home for fear of a beating, I didn’t grow up a prude, either.)
What kind of things are you looking for in a lover?
Passion would be a welcome thing, but mostly, I’m looking for patience, gentleness, a modicum of consideration. Pleasure would be the icing on the cake. J Except for that one night with Khalid, when I found all that and more, I’ve known only forced, non-consenting rapports with another man... I want to be able to say “no” sometimes, and have that man respect my wish.
Okay, time for quickies.
*grin* Yes, I still remember how to smile. Despite everything that happened to me, no one has been able to cull my spirit...
How tall does he have to be to get on the ride?
LOL. At least taller than me by a few inches. But then, too, since I’m a diminutive five-foot-three-inches tall, most men would fit that bill.
Though I have to say, Khalid’s height of six-foot-one is the perfect idea of tall for me. Yes, he’s an a*se, but bloody hell, the man knows how to pleasure a woman
His sexiest feature?
Expressive eyes that show his concern, and that put a woman at ease.
Boxers or briefs?
Boxers. Though he’s gonna lose either very quickly in the heat of the moment. J So what does it really matter, eh? Commando would work just as well.
He really has his own island?
LOL. Not that I know of. But I wouldn’t be surprised. Yes, he is that rich – he paid me a dowry of three million US dollars for our wedding (and yes, Muslim men are expected to pay the wife a dowry when they get married. The money/jewels/assets remain exclusively hers, even if they divorce.)
Does he have brothers?
Unfortunately, no. Just one blood sister, and a slew of half-sisters from his father’s other marriages.
Thanks so much for coming today to sit in my hot seat. I know you’ve had a rough life and I hope your experience will help women and men who are suffering to reach out for help.
Thanks for having me, Bunny. Yes, my life has been hard, but everyone must remember there is hope; there is help, and at any moment, you can find the courage to take your life in hand. No one can do that for you, but you can.
I wanted to mention that though many of my interviews are light-hearted and fun, but there are some things you just can’t laugh about. If you are a man or woman who is being abused, know that you are not alone, and there are people out there with the resources to help.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline in the United States: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. You don’t have to live with abuse. Escape is hard, but with support, it’s possible. Love should never hurt.
ONCE UPON A SECOND CHANCE (A 1NightStand story) – Coming early February 2013
Leila Hassan Al-Nadir spent ten years in a forced, abusive marriage in the United Arab Emirates, before her husband divorced her... and another man stepped into his place to make her his wife. But before she can look at a future with this new man, he abandons her, dropping her off on the island of Mauritius in the care of his stepmother.
Khalid Al-Nadir wants nothing more than to be with Leila, his wife. But he hides a deep, dark secret – his intentions when he made her his weren’t noble. Despite falling in love with her in the end, he knows she will be better off without him.
Leila craves answers; Khalid desires salvation. Fate, in the form of Khalid’s stepmother, intervenes and sets this estranged couple up for a one night stand date with Madame Eve’s agency.
Can Leila and Khalid have a second chance, once they both face the truth that brought them together?
I think we should interview Leila, just to draw the mystery around the book and Khalid's leaving. Her background: 27 years old, born to an Arab father and an Irish mother in London. Her mother passed away when Leila was very young. When Leila was 17, her father sold her (her virginity, mostly!) to a 55-yr-old man in Abu Dhabi. She lives 10 years in that household, raped and beaten by her 'husband', who grows more violent the more time passes and Leila fails to give him a child. Then, all of a sudden, the man divorces her, and she is married off to Khalid. However, Khalid turns out to be a gentle and caring man who cherishes her on their wedding night. Leila thinks she's getting a new beginning with him, hoping for a life devoid of violence... but when she wakes up the next morning, Khalid gives her a glass of water to drink, and she blacks out. When she wakes up, she's alone in a different bed - turns out she is now in Mauritius, in the household of Khalid's stepmother. He has dropped her here, and left.