In his later teens he experienced the complexities of love and hurt as he dated some unreliable and deceptive boyfriends, most of whom were foreigners.
Seeking a reliable stable relationship with a foreigner is always a risky affair for any native LGBT Tunisian since the expat is very likely to leave after a period of time; most are on professional assignments to Tunisia (from Europe) and must return when they are reassigned or become homesick or lose their job.
Returning to the issue of his ‘confinement’ in Tunisia, at his young age Ari feels the ennui of a privileged child who has been given a liberal early education at private schools, who comes from a family devoid of fundamentalist religious attitudes, who has developed an intelligent and wide-ranging open mindedness toward the West and has a worldliness beyond his peers whom he often finds boring and focused on shallow interests.
“I like opera and symphonies as well as pop; some of my peers think I am crazy but I don’t relate completely to this Tunisian culture. Also I want a husband, a monogamous one”, he said with the urgency of a impatient young gay male in the 21st century who is very aware of the bigger world beyond the shores of the Mediterranean.
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In Tunisia gay life has many faces: from secretive post-marital same-sex-not-gay quickies among straight husbands, to ongoing pre-marital youth same-sex-not-gay with friends, to totally gay friendship networks among different age peers, to monogamous boyfriend couples to discrete liaisons from the internet.
All of which fuel an adventurous spirit of discovery and wonder and also ennui with the world around him.Even an enduring lover may come and go, for business or personal reasons, with long periods apart when there are temptations to flirt and play which diminishes commitment–another reason why Ari wants to live in Europe with its high density ‘gay cities’ with supportive friendships and communities.Ari readily admits that he is easily urged to love and passion by his heart: “First by my heart, then my cock then my brain is last,” he said laughing.When he finally told his mother she sent him to a psychiatrist who said he could cure him but only if he really wanted to change. The wide world of LGBT life is available to anyone with a computer.A friend of his whom he had known since the age of 10, when the friend was 12, had seduced Ari into the more intimate world of sexuality with kissing, licking and eventually intercourse, which Ari says he liked from the very start.