by Madeline Laughs
When I first met Diana the dutch Girl she was dating one of our friends from the USA. He had flown her over for a visit and they had both come to the East Coast on a tour of the States for her. They stayed with us in our tiny beach cottage for a few days.
After she left I remember thinking that Dutch girls had to be some of the sexiest, most sensual women in the world.
Diana never wore a bra, even when you could clearly see her nipples through the sheer, white teeshirt. Her boyfriend took her out to the beach everyday because he wanted to see her fair skin tan, but mostly all she did was get redder and redder everyday. She had cropped whitish, blond hair and very blue eyes and she liked to sit in our friend’s lap rather than on another chair.
They made out with each other in front of us constantly. It was almost hypnotic when they got going. You almost couldn’t stop looking and you never felt uncomfortable staring at them because they seemed to be so comfortable doing it in front of you. One time our friend was telling us what a great couple they were together and Diana spoke up and said “Yes! We do have great sex!” And she looked into his eyes and they kissed. I looked at my husband and rolled my eyes.
My second encounter was just with Diana. She was flying through a nearby airport and had a layover long enough for us to grab a meal together. During the meal she was very shy and reserved, but she was very glad to see me and we talked about her future plans to move to the USA to be with our friend full time.
They flew through our town together again not long after that. We were in Europe so we left the keys to our place for them so they could stay for free and do some sight seeing on their own.
I flew through Holland on my way home after that and my husband met me there. Lucky for us our friend was there visiting her so we all got to be together in her country. We stayed with them at Diana’s for a short while.
Usually Diana was fun loving and easy going. But at dinner one night she lost her temper and harangued us very loudly. She exited to the ladies room while our friend started apologizing for her tantrum. It appeared she was frustrated with being the only person in the group that spoke Dutch, he told us.
This was just a small crack in her veneer and a tiny window into what was to come.
Then Diana moved to the USA to great fanfare from all of us. The move seemed idyllic and meant to be. They rented a cute apartment and invited us out to visit. Unfortunately, their stay here together didn’t last long. Our friend lost his job.
They moved back to Holland together. They would try to make a life for themselves there.
We mailed goody boxes to each other once a month after they left the USA. There were things like lip salve and candy bars that they couldn’t get in Holland and they found they couldn’t live without them. We would gather these things for them and send them on and in return they would send us things from Holland like licorice and Rooibus teas.
Our last goody box was one we hand delivered.
We had planned all year for an RV trip across Europe with them. It would start in Holland and go up the coast to Denmark for a festival we all wanted to attend. Then we would take our time coming back to Holland and cruise through Denmark and Germany touring castles.
When we arrived in Holland we were over the moon and Diana was pregnant.
Suddenly the RV trip took on another dimension. She wasn’t just pregnant. She was also recovering from a miscarriage that devastated her months earlier. Our friend explained to us that her mental state was fragile.
Fragile? I beg to differ. Her mental state was demanding, unreasonable, rigid, bossy, tyrannical and selfish. I wanted to know what alien had abducted my sweet friend Diana!
Since she couldn’t drink beer or alcohol, she really didn’t want us to drink either. Since her diet had to be special, she wanted us to eat what she ate. Since she was tired, she wanted us to either turn in to sleep when she did, or stay outside of the RV. She didn’t like the people at the festival, so she wouldn’t let our friend socialize with us once we arrived. But the big revelation was…
…that she hated Americans!
Try to imagine the look on my face when that came rolling over her tongue and into the atmosphere that was supposed to be our month long vacation with them. And we were only into Day Four.
She made every plan the three of us came up with into a debate or a battle. She complained about everything and one day she threw a loaf of bread at me and hit me right in the face. Over dinner most nights she recited the news from America and talked about how stupid our government was.
I had to start reciting a mantra whenever she got started on some new tearful tirade and it was “She’s pregnant. It’s hormones.”
She explained to me, very patiently, how ignorant Americans were when it came to managing our lives. We just didn’t get it. We were some of the most fukked up people she knew.
She said that when we first met her she was following the advice of her Queen. The Queen thought there needed to be more career women in the work force, so she encouraged women to finish school and find upwardly mobile careers. So that’s exactly what Diana did.
When her stay in the USA was short lived she decided the best place for her and our friend was back in Holland, because no one cared about them in America. The Queen’s new message then was to start having babies. There weren’t enough babies in Holland. So she was doing her patriotic duty by getting pregnant again and again until she produced a baby for her country. “Do you understand what I’m telling you?” she asked me. She looked at me imploringly as if she were speaking to a child or an imbecile.
I understood that I needed to keep my distance from her. Besides, if Americans were so heinous then why was she sleeping with the enemy every night and carrying his demon seed?
We finally started doing a lot of our sight seeing on our own and leaving our friend behind to deal with her. I felt sorry for him, but what could we do? What could he do? None of us could have foreseen how miserable she would have been. Perhaps she could have made an assessment of her condition and bowed out of the trip? I think in the long run this might have been the smartest thing she could have done, all things considered.
When we arrived back in Holland for the last week of our trip I was amazed that we hadn’t killed her. We had already changed our original plan to spend the last week with them at their home. There was no way we wanted to spend another minute with her after three weeks of a living hell on wheels. So we packed a light bag and took the train to Amsterdam with the promise of seeing them for dinner the night before our flight home.
What a relief that was. We called our friend from our hotel room just to check on him and the sound of his voice was so sad. He was so disappointed that the trip had almost been a complete bust for us and we assured him that we had a good time in spite of his pregnant girlfriend. We asked him to get some rest and to take care of Diana the dutch Girl.
My experience with Diana taught me a lot about communication breakdown and the true meaning of lost in translation. It is very easy to forget when someone’s first language is not English, especially when they speak English even better than you do. What I mistook as friendship all those years was simply tolerance on her part.
She exhibited behavior she felt was acceptable for what was happening at the time. The oversexed kitten was to let us know that she and our friend were a couple. The shy, reserved Diana was the woman making time for her boyfriend’s friend out of courtesy and not because she felt anything akin to friendship for me. The back and forth visits and the exchange of goody boxes wasn’t about being friends with us, but merely something she was doing to make her boyfriend happy. Moving to America was also to make her boyfriend happy. It never seemed to be about what would make her happy.
Until they got back to Holland. Then it became all about what would make her and her Queen happy.
Our friend said he started numbing the pain and loneliness he felt in Holland by partaking in their national pastime on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. His marijuana consumption was off the charts. He wasn’t allowed to smoke in the house because of her attempts to get pregnant, so every hour or so you could find him hanging out of the open bedroom window puffing his head off. He told us it was either get stoned or go crazy. They didn’t have any friends there. Diana kept him isolated from everyone except from her family.
He hated it in Holland.
I never asked him why he didn’t put a stop to the RV trip. I never asked him why he didn’t tell us the truth about what was going on over there with them. I didn’t ask because I knew. He needed us there. Even if it was just for a month. He needed someone to come and for someone to validate that he wasn’t crazy.
And we did that for him.
We sent him an email after we arrived home, but we never heard from him again. I am guessing he never saw the email. That was another thing I always found odd. They shared an email account. The address was diandi@XXXX.com. It meant Di and I.
When does a couple cease to be healthy? Where do they draw the line to remain individuals in a relationship? This story gave me new perspective on the saying prisoner of love.
Sometimes you’re just a prisoner.
Sometimes you’re just the smallest half of Di and I.
- AAIB Flashback – Sailing in Holland (anamericaninamsterdam.wordpress.com)
- The Royal Wedding and memories of July 29,1981 (dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com)
- But the Dutch People Keep Yelling at Me (likeswimming.wordpress.com)
- Twenty Minutes in Holland – Grunberg, Germany (travelpod.com)
- Children’s games: In Holland staat een huis (apostcardaday.blogspot.com)
- 12-Year-Old Dutch Girl Gives Birth on School Trip (foxnews.com)
- Can you provide me with advice for a summer in Holland? (ask.metafilter.com)
- TomTom Sold User Traffic Data to Dutch Government, Which Was Used by Dutch Police (shoppingblog.com)
- Dutch? I’m sorry, could you please speak American? (gritsnish.wordpress.com)