John immediately cares for Andrea. She has the most amazing smile, is elegant, has a unique face, she’s not slavic and not really western either, like if you mix the best features of German women with the best features of Russian women, and is fiercely intelligent. She also smells like the first warm day of Spring, appreciates gentlemanly behavior, isn’t self-obsessed, has a prestigious, well-payed job as a lawyer for a big, international firm, but doesn’t let you feel that, she shows unusual initiative, has strong moral convictions, without being religious, is an only child.

She has a tiny waist, and delicate breasts, just the size John likes. Although she complains she has thin, straw hair, and envies John for his uncommonly thick hair – the only physical feature she seems to appreciate about him – it suits her. And it’s long. John likes long hair. She has shapely legs. And she’s hard to get. She makes him want to make an effort. Even if she would be single, he wouldn’t have it easy. Normally she wouldn’t even want to meet him, because she knows he’s married. She wants to hang out as long as John doesn’t see it as dating.

So he writes her love letters in Dutch, which he composes very carefully, so they say things about her that are true, and that show he really listens to what she says. He incorporates the many details she tells him about herself. He also draws up lists with intimate questions for her, which she answers. A nice bonus effect is that it’s an excellent way to teach a woman a new language. What other text would make a person want to know the exact meaning of every single word on the page?

When they meet they enjoy food together and read the letters. John knows full well that he’s not getting anywhere with this, at least not sexually, but somehow he can’t help it doesn’t want to play any games with her. He just genuinely likes her, doesn’t try to impress her, and tells her the truth every time she asks a question.

He does suffer, so much beauty and he can’t do anything, the only comfort is that she enjoys his letters and that there’s stuff in there that theoretically, should shock a woman who’s in a relationship. When they hit a part where he goes into great detail about how attractive her body is, and he warns her that perhaps she shouldn’t read on, she says:

‘You really think you could still shock me after everything you’ve written about me?’

He has this nagging feeling to want more from her, a hunger that’s never stilled, and grows more painful the longer he spends time with her.

They get a pet together. A wolf. Not a real wolf of course. But they pretend he’s real.

Sharing an imaginary pet is about the most obvious symbol of their intimacy.

She does add to John’s complexes about his height (174 cm) by saying that 185 cm is ideal for her.

There’s a clear connection between them, that John finds hard to describe. There’s an intellectual component, they discuss quite a few topics most people don’t really care about, and he enjoys making her happy. Perhaps they share a secret feeling of superiority. Only children are often led into the hidden world of adults far sooner than other people and it gives them the life long feeling of somehow being a step ahead of everyone else. Just a feeling, of course.

At one points she smsses John: ‘You are so good to me.’

A message John treasures.

When Andrea finally moves to the Netherlands, and their contact is reduced to an email now and then, she leaves quite a vacuum.

A vacuum that will prove very tricky to fill. It’s hard to find a woman that physically attractive who’s not caught up in the self-obsessed selfie culture.

In many ways Andrea is like Z.

The only difference?

Andrea, by being only partially available, gives John the impulse to somehow rise above himself and find more and more ways to make Andrea happy, whereas Z is loyal and committed to him, and John makes the mistake of taking Z for granted. John realizes it’s a silly pattern. He’s addicted to wooing high class women. But when he gets them, he needs the risk, the painful longing, the tests, the challenge, the masochist crusade of trying to conquer an almost unattainable woman. The weird thing is that John, if victorious, forgets his victory the next day or so, and manages to find an other exceptional woman to repeat the pattern with. John’s advantage? The women he goes after are often intimidating in the eyes of other men. Men don’t like to be with women, no matter how beautiful, who are more intelligent and more succesful than they are, but John doesn’t care about that, the more intelligent and the more succesful the better.

It’s a good thing John has never set foot in a casino, and that only perfectly sculpted women trigger his gambling nature.