Dealing with "El Zorro" I had an opportunity to practise another valuable skill: choosing what "battles" to fight and which ones to let go by the wayside.
One evening we were talking about Van Gogh, (Don Diego paints as a hobby and has had his work exhibited.) I mentioned that I had gone to an exhibition of Van Gogh's letters and how I had been touched by a letter he wrote to his sister. He immediately butts in: "Van Gogh didn't have a sister! He had a brother, Theo, but no sisters. I've read two of his biographies and there was no mention of him having any sisters". Whereas ordinarily this had the potential of turning into one of those "yes, he did" "no, he didn't" obnoxious sort of argument, I thought to myself: let's go about this another way. I say: "Van Gogh DID have a sister, I'm not going to argue about it. Look it up"
The next day he gets his phone out and starts typing. With a triumphant smile he says: "well, I'm typing it and it's not coming up right away." Then his face changes completely as he says, while sinking deeper into his seat: "Oh, Van Gogh did have a sister..."
Sometime later, he asks me what I do for work. I say: "I don't work." He says:"I don't agree with that" I was very tempted to bluntly say: "do you think I care what someone I met only yesterday thinks of what I do?" but instead I reply: "Why do you say that? What is your basis for thinking that?" He replies: "I think women should bring money home every month" I say: "But I do, I make interest from managing money" "No, that doesn't count" he retorts. "By all means, you're entitled to your opinion" I say with a unflinching smile and a tone that says "I am not at all bothered by your opinion" and I stop there. It is obvious that this is a gripe about his ex-wife and he's not interested in learning about my circumstances or reasons for not working, and that he just wants an excuse to have a rant. Which I did not give him ;)
One evening after we get to the villa, he says he's going to jump in the pool before we go out for dinner. I was not, because by then the sun had gone in and my hair takes forever to dry and I didn't want to go for dinner with wet hair. I say as much and then he says: "oh, I get it, you women don't want us men to see you in a bikini because of complexes and all that" ( he includes my friend in this even though she's already said she's going to jump in the pool too- her hair dries in minutes). Both my friend and I look at him and say: "what kind of women do you hang out with? we're not like that at all." And I didn't feel like I had to go in the pool to re-inforce my point. I remembered that in the book The Gift Of Fear it mentioned how men sometimes use such statements as a form of manipulation. So I didn't fall for it. In the book it calls it "typecasting", it says: "a man labels a woman in some slightly critical way, hoping she'll feel compelled to prove his opinion is not accurate." "Not that it matters what some stranger thinks anyway, but the typecaster doesn't even believe what he says is true. He just believes that it will work."
While we're driving to dinner we start discussing books. He tells us a bit about the book he's currently reading and then he says ( in a way designed to impress us): when I finish this one I'm going to read a self-help book called "Your Erroneous Zones", have you heard about it?
"Yeah", we say at unison, "we read it 20 years ago."
The next day, we were walking about in the town, and we see a Kiehl's shop. He looks at us all serious and says: "This shop makes bespoke perfume". I know for a fact that Kiehl's don't do perfume -at least in Europe they don't, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong - but by this point, I wasn't going to spend any energy in correcting him ;)