The trouble with cooties*

Isn’t it funny how the minute you stop looking for something it pops up in the most unexpected way at a most unexpected time? After years of being bitter and single, I finally had gotten to the point where I thought You know what? I’m a cool gal and I am perfectly happy on my own!

Then I met him.

As he is Dutch and was living in the Netherlands, our main method of contact was Skype. Before our first session, I was so nervous. Even though I’d practically spilled my guts out to this guy via e-mail, the idea of actually talking to him was positively nerve-wracking.

Our initial meeting had been so brief and I couldn’t even remember what he looked like let alone what he sounded like. His written English was almost flawless, but what if he had an accent or couldn’t speak it well? Neither of us had webcams, so we couldn’t rely on gestures or body language to help us in a bind.

During our last email exchange before the Skype date, I confessed to him my feelings of anxiety.

“Don’t be nervous,” he replied. “I don’t bite.”

He was right, there was no reason for me to feel this way. He already knew everything about me and I just had this feeling about him that I’d never had about anyone else before. So I wrote back “Well, I do bite. But don’t worry, I don’t have rabies. Just cooties!”

The next day at the appointed time, I signed on and waited for his call. My heart was pounding with nerves and excitement. Not wanting to seem too desperate, I let it ring three times before picking up.

How silly I’d been to be so nervous! The conversation just flowed. He was so funny and easy to talk to and I just loved the sound of his voice.

About four hours into our conversation, he got really quiet. My heart stopped. It was just going too perfectly – of course something was going to go wrong. After what felt like forever, he finally spoke.

“Uh, Tiffany?” he began, “yesterday in your email, you said you had cooties…”

My heart started beating again. Nothing bad, he was just going to tease me about the cooties! I laughed. “Of course I do! All girls have cooties.”

More silence.

“Isn’t that…” he hestitated. “Isn’t that when you have little bugs living in your hair?”

Good thing I was able to convince him that cooties were not, in fact, hair lice. Otherwise, he might not have married me!

*Cooties was a huge thing growing up in the US. It was mainly girls who had it, of course. It’s a totally unscientific term used to mean any kind of imaginary disease which can be caught through contact (with the opposite sex, for example).

Tiffany is an American who moved to the Netherlands for love in December 2008. She lives in Utrecht with her husband and their dog. She chronicles her adventures on her blog Clogs and Tulips: An American in Holland.

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4 Comments

  • Well, now I learnt what cooties are too. We don’t have them in the UK :) Can’t believe I had it wrong all this time. But now I think of it, my definition came from watching the film Grease, so it’s not surprising really.

    Thanks for the story Tiffany! I’m glad things are going well for you in the Netherlands.

  • Thanks for the comment Liz! We learn something new everyday, huh? I completely forgot that they talk about cooties in Grease (great film!). Thanks for your kind words :)

  • Lovely story! I had no idea what “cooties” were, either! So funny how he thought you were talking of hair lice! :D

  • I’m still confused about what cooties mean? hihi but your story is lovely!