"Will You Sell Your Wife Sir"

When one travels enough, you are likely to see just about everything at one time or another. Over the years I have traveled more times than I can easily remember. In a one month period, some years ago I actually went from Dorval Airport in Montreal to Europe no less than six times. Even when you are traveling first class, which I call "Fat Class" because of the bigger seats, to fly to Europe six times in a month can lose some of the pleasure in frequency. One thing you can be sure of when you travel is the fact that you are almost certain to meet with some very unusual situations.

Sabena 747

As a rather large traveler, I always went first class because it is only in first class that I can find a seat that is large enough to be comfortable. If I flew to Europe in economy, I would likely get gangrene of the behind before I arrived, certain to take some of he pleasure out of the experience. Today however, even many of the first class seats are being made smaller much to the chagrin of the people who pay the big bucks for them.

One strange occurrence that I often recall with a snicker or two happened on a Sabena 747 en route from London England to Cairo Egypt. One of the better advantages of traveling in first class is the fact that that you can run into some very interesting people from business executives to Government Leaders or movie stars to royalty and I have met them all.
Cockpit
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We had boarded the aircraft and were well settled in before other passengers began to come on board. As passengers passed through on their way to economy they cast casual glances at us as we were in much larger and more comfortable seats. They could not know that I was not rich enough to travel like this but was on assignment for the airline and the deal was that I travel first class as part of my arrangement.

At the time, I was still with my first wife, which you will see is a vital part of the story. Just as the door was about to be closed we heard a commotion on the loading ramp. A stream of Arab ladies came pouring onto the plane being ushered along by what appeared to be servants. To my surprise, they all went right on through to economy. In all, there were ten ladies dressed in traditional Arab garb and two, very well dressed Arab gentlemen obviously serving as escorts and guards.
Reclining Woman
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Following the ladies, two even better dressed and very distinguished looking Arab gentlemen boarded the aircraft and took their seats in the first class cabin. The door was closed and the plane pushed away from the ramp in preperation for take off.

We had been in the air for about an hour, had a number of liquid refreshments and were just finishing the traditional filet mignon. One of the interesting Arab gentlemen tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could speak to me, privately.

I moved over to sit beside him and we both lit a cigarette, it was allowed in those days and we began to chat. I asked if any of the ladies who had passed through to economy earlier were related to him. He replied that indeed, they all were his wives. They had just been to London on a shopping trip and were now headed home through Cairo. We talked about the cultural differences, a subject of great interest to me then he turned to me with a very serious look on his face and asked me a question that really took me by surprise.

" I wanted to ask you sir" he said " if you would consider selling your wife." Now, I had been around the world several times but never before had anyone laid that one on me. Of course, I thought he was just making a joke but something in the look in his eye suggested that indeed he was serious.

My wife at the time who had heard the conversation across the aisle cast a glance at both of us that could kill, then she looked right at me and said " Don't even think about it." Of course I replied that it would be out of the question although in my mind I was wondering just what kind of deal he might be willing to make. He said that he would be prepared to make a most generous offer.
Cabin View
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I explained that in our culture, such an action would be considered impossible because unlike the rules in his country, when we married, it did not give us ownership of our spouse. He did not seem to be ready to take no for an answer having taken such a great shine to my wife who by now was becoming more than just a little irritated at the whole comedy taking place. For her, it had ceased to be funny although I must admit I was getting a great chuckle out of the whole thing.

During the trip, he broached the subject on several occasions but I continued to decline. Finally he gave up the unusual request and settled into conversation with his own travel companion with an occasional glance from time to time at my wife who glared back at him.
Jet in sky
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Some years later when I found myself sitting in a lawyer's office working out the details of a divorce, I thought of that Arab gentleman and found myself wishing that I had taken his phone number. At this point in my life with divorce facing me I might have been prepared not only to accept his offer but even to give him a good discount that may just have sealed her fate. Then again hindsight is an opportunity lost. Every once in awhile I find myself wondering how much I might have gotten for her.

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