A Business Proposal of Marriage

I was working at The Sunday Times in London in the late 60s and went around with a young Cypriot Greek girl called Elena.

It was the first time I had any Cypriot connections and was thrilled when I was invited with her to a Cypriot wedding in Camden Town, the Greek area in London. I recall the guests pinning money onto the bride's wedding gown and people dancing after copious amounts of food had been eaten and then breaking the white plates!  

Not long after I was on the underground going somewhere when an elderly gentleman started to talk to me with a strong foreign accent. He was from Limassol. Cyprus. Excitedly I told him about my friend and the enchanting wedding. One day I said I would go back to Cyprus telling him that I had in fact been there for a day with  the Epotiki lines en route to Haifa a few years earlier in 1966.  

I was surprised when he asked for my name and address. When he saw my Jewish surname thoughts must have come into his opportunist mind. 

Not long after I received a blue aerogramme from him telling me that he had spoken to an elderly David Davide, a Jewish businessman in Limassol, who wanted to meet me in the flesh. He wanted my photo, which he promised to return, and would like to invite me to stay for a week to get to know me (no mention of sending an airline ticket).   

As he was 70 I would be on an allowance of £X a month and in the event of his demise after one year, an extra allowance of £X thousand. I showed the proposal letter to Elena and she said it was a considerable amount and a 'good' offer! 

Obviously the marriage broker I had met would be on a commission. I didn't understand these matchmaking business matters and thought it all a big joke. I put the letter away and kept it for years bringing it out from time to time for a laugh with others. 

I never replied. Never went to Cyprus and today wonder how I would have handled this proposal differently......

Written May 2015, Buyuk Londra Hotel, Istanbul.