(Not) Tinder Date Part 2: First Date

Hello there, Reader.

Firstly: Excuses as to why this is three days late…. By now, you should be used to my excuses, since they take up a fair amount of space in these posts. Whether I’m attempting to assuage a morally corrupt action performed or a malicious statement made, or to paint me as the heroine and my date as the villain (tbh, though, this is like always actually true, so you should totally take my word for it), or to justify why no post has been written despite the fact that it’s been nine days – whatever the situation is, I’ve got an excuse for it. In all seriousness, I was a bit intimidated, because I pumped this story with so much build-up, that it became rather intimidating to continue after my cliffhanger-y ending. Plus, this saga is huuuge. Like it takes major energy to reach back into my memory and pen it right.  If you haven’t all recognised that I just tried to manipulate you into pitying me, in order to exonerate me from this gross injustice of no Wednesday-post, then take a moment to close your eyes and do so now.

There, didn’t that feel good?

Great. Now that we’re done with all the bull (maybe not all..let’s say some of it), let’s continue:

While I’m not going to bore you with additional happenings in my life, may it simply be said that it’s been a fraction chaotic recently, and I didn’t get my act together, and, also, sometimes I stare at the keyboard while I write (That’s correct, I wish I could type while looking totally 100% at the screen, and with more than just my index fingers, but alas this is not one of my skills), and my typo-rich words just aren’t flowing the way I want them to flow. But now they are! Feast your eyes:

Welcome to part two of what sounds like the beginning of a great love-story/average rom-com. In case you’ve forgotten the events of last week’s ramblings/ didn’t read it, I’m giving you two options:

Option one: Here’s the link to Part One: (Not) Tinder Date Part 1: The Party

Option two: A summary:

In the words of Adrian Monk (anyone used to watch that show?),

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

Three characters: Elliot*, Mark*, moi,

  • Elliot: elusive Tinder boy; hadn’t met up with him yet despite talking for weeks; he didn’t show at the party; I sent him various drunk WhatsApps from said party, despite the fact that last week I explicitly denied having done this. Well congratulations Reader, the truth is out.

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[GIF courtesy of this site.]

Unless you’re familiar with Wicked, my all-time favourite musical, you won’t understand this meme^ as much well as I’d like. But oh well.

  • Mark: Sexy partygoer; I bumped into him while tripping; put my number on his phone; kissed him. To my utter amazement, he messaged me this the next day:

‘Hey Jaime. It was really fun meeting you last night 😉 If you were serious about getting together, I’d like to take you out. Let me know – Mark’

  • Moi:

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

While Mark’s correspondence had made me pretty pleased with myself, I wasn’t totally smitten yet. In fact, I had my suspicions. After all, the first time I’d spoken to him the night before was when he’d been trying to lie about his age, and sure that’s not something to take seriously at all, especially at a party, but I’d got this feeling about him – something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and he’d given off this air of potential f***ery. So I was wary.

We made a date for the next week, and flirted here and there on WhatsApp. I kept it to a minimum though, because a repeat of my Elliot situation was NOT something I wanted to encourage.

Speaking of Elliot, the more I spoke to mark (and respected his initiative, since he’d messaged me with intention and asked me out straight away), the less time I gave to the former. I was sick of Elliot’s games and of his pretending to want to see me without making actual plans. I deleted the chat, responded every once in a while and did with those feels what you’re supposed to do with them when you suspect a f***boy is at play:

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

——

The gloriously rainy day on which I was to go for dinner with Mark coincided with the day that my mom returned to Cape Town after being away for a few weeks, so, after much Jewish-mother guilting, I postponed with Mark so I could stay in and have a quiet night in with the familia. In all honesty, I kinda didn’t feel like getting out of my pajamas anyway, so thanks mom ❤

Mark expressed more disappointment than I thought he would, and I got the feeling that he suspected I was trying to get out of meeting with him. This was far from the case! So two days later, he and I finally grabbed lunch together and had our first date. And it was pretty lovely.

He was funny, and charming, and kissed me on the cheek on arrival, and our conversation flowed so naturally! Not once did I worry about the silence needing to be filled, because there wasn’t any, and if it was heading that way, we took turns saving it. And sure, I probably enjoyed it even more because of how gorgeous he was and because of my pride regarding the fact that we’d met serendipitously. When I look back, I’m shocked that I didn’t wave down passers-by and shout, ‘GUESS WHAT? I MET HIM IN REAL-LIFE AND WE’RE ON A DATE! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?’

The one thing that was slightly off (and which I only recognise now as odd) was that, after he excused him to go to the bathroom at one point, he then bumped into someone he knew on his way back to the table, and proceeded to spend 15 minutes (Yup, that long) conversing with this person. And like it was two or three tables behind us – I could hear parts of their conversation and everything.  I mean surely if you’re on a date and you happen to stumble into a friend, you say hi and everything, but like then you go back to the person you’re with as opposed to ditching for a quarter of an hour? I was so taken with his impressive facial hair however, that I wasn’t even bothered.

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Relax, I’m just playing

[Image courtesy of this site.]

While we were still there he proposed beer-pong the next week, and since I’d never played before, and this was the stuff of date dreams (am I being ironic or do I actually think that? You’ll never really know, will you?), and since I was already considering deleting Tinder, I accepted his offer.

Our date didn’t last too long because I had a shift to get to, so he hugged me goodbye (Brownie points: great hugger!), and that was that. My first successful date since Oscar, and this time it wouldn’t even have to be a one-time thing. Mark and I started talking a little bit every day before our next date (which was to take place the following week). He was hilarious and cheeky, and although Elliot (Tinder-boy) was still talking to me at this stage, it wasn’t the same as before for me: he was a timewaster, and who wanted one of those? Also, just by the way, in case you’re thinking, ‘How come you didn’t just ask Elliot out yourself?’ Well I did. A couple of weeks after we’d started talking I’d said something like,

‘We’ve been messaging for a while; want to actually meet up?’

He replied in the affirmative; when I was free?

I gave him an evening.

He agreed, but depending on work.

A few hours before our date he sent me a message saying that a meeting/seminar was running over time, so we’d have to raincheck.

I’m not afraid to ask first. But this guy clearly didn’t want to see me badly enough, because if he did, it would have happened already.

Enough of that – Elliot gets his own post soon!

So, Mark and I were talking every day, and I was starting to feel more and more things for him. One night, I was out with my friend Julia and some of her friends from this really cool/super intensive self-defence/Krav Maga class she does (she’s way impressive, and I’m jealous of her high fitness levels; sup JD). Mark kept messaging me, and between forkfuls of feta (Julia abhors feta, so I kept stealing hers), I sent my replies. We were speaking pretty regularly, and he’d just been joking that he was sure I’d prefer one of the Krav Maga instructors, and that I’d surely stop replying to him in favour of one of them, when a message I sent got a single tick. I gathered this sudden change meant he’d turned his phone off, and (besides for being vaguely disappointed in his sudden leave) thought nothing more of it.

Since it was First Thursday (if you’re not familiar with this term, read this if you want, or don’t; I’m just trying to be nice. Stop hating), it ended up being a pretty late and really fun night, so I was too busy to check whether my message had been delivered, read, or replied to. The next morning, however, my message STILL had only one tick! And just like that, my mind went into overdrive. Had he blocked me? Had my banter turned annoying? Was he over it, and couldn’t face telling me directly?

Later that day though, and to my relief, I got a friend request on Facebook, and yup, it was from Mark. I exhaled. Still only one tick on WhatsApp though. Well, whatever the reason, he clearly didn’t want to sever contact entirely. So that was a good sign. Also, I no longer have Mark on Facebook, so in case the Reader and I are Facebook friends, and you have a hunch about who he is, and wanted to confirm by combing through my friends list, let me save you the trouble :p

Also, I’m totally gonna have to make a part 3 for this story…I forgot how long it was. Yay, more suspense!

Anyway, I accepted his friend request – a day later, because I didn’t want to appear desperate. I feel like all this disclosure makes me look really pathetic sometimes, but

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

Then I waited for him to message me. But he didn’t. So the day after accepting him, I gave in and sent something first. The good news, Reader, is that (since this took place on Facebook) I HAVE SCREENSHOTS. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to say that :’)

We messaged a loooot, so I’m certainly not sending you all 64 screenshots that make up the entire conversation, but you’ll get the important bits.

I had a lot of questions, and I’m sure you do too. Why hadn’t my message gone through? Did Mark still want to see me? Was deleting Tinder still on the cards? Is Pluto a recognised planet or not? Instead of telling you, let me show you. I’m the blue, and he’s the grey:

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Now everything made sense! My poor, future-boyfriend had been mugged!

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

Here’s one or two more screenshots because why not:

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Above, we’re alluding to beer-pong. Also, Bob’s Burgers  –  he recommended I watch  it (I’d never seen an episode), because I do this over-dramatic , deliberate hair-flick during conversation sometimes, and apparently Tina does one similar?

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

Because Tina from Bob’s Burgers is who you want to be associated with by the guy you’re flirting with.

Last one I’ll show is this one, because irony:

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At this point I was REALLY starting to like him, and couldn’t wait for our date. A second date! First one of those since getting Tinder. And this wasn’t even with a Tinder boy B) (<- that’s supposed to be a cool-sunglasses-wearing-face just by the way).

The closer that it got to Thursday (my second date with Mark), I started getting a little nervous. In all honesty, first dates (in all their – often – horrendous, bizarre and cringeworthy splendour) were easy. You go in, you sit across from this stranger and make small talk, and then one of you decides (immediately, later, or by virtue of the fact that you haven’t received a post-date message) that, contrary to Tinder, you two are not in fact a match. And sure, sometimes it stings a little, and your ego might get a bit bruised, but it’s easy – you give yourself the credit for trying. That way, you’re not at fault, you’re getting out there and doing all the right things, but you’re just not compatible with whoever it was that you went out with.

But when two people like each other enough to go on a second date? That’s scary. Way scarier than sitting through an hour and a half of awkward (or sometimes outrageous) chatter. Because then it starts to get real, and it has the possibility to lead somewhere. And what’s more terrifying than something actually going the way you long for it to go?  Obviously, I was really excited too – Mark and I had been flirting hard, and so far I liked him a lot. But it’s worth noting this was the most out of my comfort zone I’d felt since starting my mid-2016 dating spree. Probably because this was my first non-first-date; it was a second.

The afternoon of le big day was spent working at the bookstore, but mostly showing my colleague pictures of Mark. She made an observation that matched mine,

‘He looks like a bit of a party-boy. I don’t know if I would have put you guys together. He’s still really cute though.’

The Wordsworth Books branch where I work is frequented mostly by senior citizens who buy puzzle books, or soduku books, or who want a risqué thriller for their book clubs. So, when a young, good-looking guy walks in, you notice – it’s a rare occasion.  Half an hour before closing time when the shop was totally dead, I stood staring at the till monitor, half-wishing time would fly forward so I could see Mark, and half-wishing that it would stop altogether, so I could just go home after my shift, and watch Friends reruns. Caught in my reverie, I didn’t notice the suited guy walk into the store until my co-worker nudged me, and shifted her head toward him with an impressed look on her face. We’re subtle that way. I looked at him, and saw him see me from the corner of his eye. As soon as he’d registered my presence he turned away, and walked briskly to the back of the shop – to the classics section. A jolt ran through me, as his identity dawned on me. I didn’t doubt myself for a millisecond. This next sentence sounds like a line from a romance novel, but it happened, so deal with it: My breath caught in my throat, and my heart started beating seriously fast. I could barely hold the pen that I grabbed in order to write a note to Cara (a practice that our staff-members often use when we want to moan about difficult customers). With shaking fingers I wrote,

‘I KNOW HIM. THAT’S ELLIOT. FROM TINDER!!!!’

Cara gasped. Unlike me, she still had the power of speech.

‘OMG. And he just so happens to be here???’

I shook my head, and managed to make voice work,

‘He knows I work here. He must have come on purpose.’

Cara looked excited, ‘Go talk to him!’

My head moved vigorously from side to side. ‘I can’t.’

My colleague didn’t say anything for a few moments. Then, she picked up her empty coffee cup, handed it to me, and, with a victorious expression on her face, requested, a little bit louder than was strictly necessary,

‘Jaime, please go put my mug in the sink. Thanks so much!’

She knew I’d have to pass the area where Elliot was now browsing.

I shook my head at her, while starting to laugh.

Our store isn’t large. It took me maybe 15-20 steps to get to the door of the back office – right across from where Elliot was standing.

He turned at the sound of my approaching footsteps.

‘Elliot?’

He smiled at me, and we hugged. Not a weird hug, a lovely one. ‘Hey Jaime. I was wondering if you had any books on how to speak to pretty girls you meet on Tinder?’

No doubt he’d rehearsed this terrible line, which of course made me love it even more.

I laughed. Remember, I hadn’t met him in real-life before, despite having spoken for weeks. He was even more adorable in person. And so charming in his shyness.

I was still shocked. ‘What are you doing here?’

He reached into his suit pocket. ‘I thought I’d come by to meet you, and to bring you this.’ He pulled out a Mint Topdeck, which is – of course –  my favourite chocolate, and put it in my hands.

So stunned was I, that I hugged him again.

‘Whaaat? Thank you much; that’s so kind of you. I can’t believe you came all the way here to do that! It’s so, so sweet.’

By this point I was totally giddy, and if you’d mentioned Mark to me, I probably wouldn’t have known who you were talking about.

‘Well, I thought it was about time I met you in person, so I decided to come introduce myself after work.’

‘I’m so glad you did.’

We grinned at each other. He ran his hand through his hair self-consciously.

‘Well, I’d better go. I’ll talk to you soon.’

We hugged for the third time in three minutes.

‘Thanks again. It was lovely to finally meet you.’

And just like that he was gone. I floated back to the counter and sank down onto the floor behind it.

Cara was asking a ton of questions,

‘Oh my God! What just happened? Can we take a second to talk about what the hell just happened.’

I knew exactly what had just happened: Elliot had re-entered the game. And I had a date with Mark in less than an hour.

[End part two]

*Names have been changed, because this way  you can’t ask for their side of the story :p

**Press follow if you want to read part 3 as soon as it’s out 🙂

(Not) Tinder Date Part 1: The Party

This post isn’t about a Tinder-boy. However, it’s still about a boy (not in the Hugh Grant movie kind of way though), and it makes for a pretty great story if I do say so myself. It should be noted that all my escapades (both Tinder and otherwise) from this period in 2016 history intermingle quite a bit; dates with Sid*, Matt*, this f***boi, and the next few posts after this took place within a small time-frame, and there’s much overlap. So, I might be mentioning multiple names within any one date-post. I’ll try to be as clear as I can though. Also, I know I usually get side-tracked by a million other things, but this story is lengthy and waaaay more interesting than last week’s dinosaur erotica thing, which was (more than anything else) a passive-aggressive rant aimed at my supervisor, so let’s get right to it, shall we?

Without further ado: The story of Mark*.

Mark’s a good-looking guy. He kind of resembles Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer from Parks and Rec in that rugged, sexy teddy bear kind of way.

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Babe. [Image courtesy of this site]
Surprisingly, I met him in real-life settings, which is pretty rare in this decade, and which, of course, after just a few days, inspired this line of logic in my head:

‘Well, there you have it! I finally met a great guy organically and not over a screen. (Last time that happened, things did not end well. Or the time before that actually. Or the time before that, now that you mention it. Anyway, onward) I knew I’d never find my soul-mate on some repulsive dating app – the one for me would be met serendipitously! All I had to do was venture out into the people world, and there you have it: Love at first glass of punch. Gosh, isn’t life so fantastical? What am I going to write about on my blog now? Pretty short-lived quest I had, huh?’

^ However, that whole little spiel proved premature and, as Dwight Kurt Schrute would say:

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[Image courtesy of this site]

But I feel like I’m being a bit jumpy. Let’s go back to the beginning. Since I need to do that, this may have to take up two different posts. Time will tell.

Around this time, I’d started talking to this other guy on Tinder (Not Mark – Mark wasn’t from Tinder, remember?). Let’s call Tinder-boy Elliot*. Elliot is getting his own post within the next few weeks, but he’s relevant for Mark’s story. Originally, when I’d matched with Elliot, I took no notice of him. I didn’t find him that attractive, his bio was eh, and he didn’t message me post-match. Fast forward like a month. One day Elliot got in touch, and he seemed pretty wonderful. And so it began. Back and forth messaging all the time. Soon we moved onto WhatsApp. Soon, it began feeling like an Al situation – like we’d never move from WhatsApp into real-life. It made me uneasy, but I continued.

Ughhh I’m talking too much about Elliot. Ok, I’ll deal with Elliot in the future. All you need to know is that one day while Elliot and I were talking, he’d asked me what I was doing that night, and then told me he’d be going to a particular party. Funnily enough (but not that funnily, because this city is the size of a Lego set),

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Pictured above: Cape Town [Image courtesy of this site].
I was supposed to attend the same party, but I had decided against it, because I wasn’t in that sort of mood, and there were a few people going who I’d have preferred not to see, and also I’d decided it would be a good night to stay in and catch up on some series-watching. When I conveyed this information to Ellliot (except instead of telling him I wasn’t feeling sociable, I just said I had other plans, because God forbid a love interest should know that sometimes you just can’t people), he didn’t try too much to twist my arm. He just said something like,

‘Ahh too bad.’

That, as you’ll learn in another post, was one of the problems with Elliot. He’d come across as all regretful when I didn’t fall neatly into his plans, but he wouldn’t put in the effort to make arrangements that suited both of us. But more on this in the future. By this time, I was starting to like WhatsApp-Elliot – a dangerous endeavour. We’d been talking for a couple of weeks despite my rules (get reacquainted with them over here: Tinder Date #4: Worst to Date Part 1) about not getting to know someone virtually. Even though I was perfectly aware of what was going on, I kept replying. He was so cute. And seemed so sweet, and shy, and bookish. And he liked Regina Spektor! Regina Spektor, guys!!! Despite these brownie points he’d earned with me, when I said goodbye on WhatsApp that morning, I was still resolute about not going to the party. So much so, in fact, that I hadn’t bothered checking whether any of my friends were planning on it.

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(more or less) [Image courtesy of this site]
Donna* and I caught up over coffee after my shift at the store. In this post, I need to change my friends’ names too, because they make other factors identifiable, which makes people identifiable, so everyone’s getting pseudonyms. While filling Donna in on my Tinder messes (which you’ve read about on this here blog), I mentioned Elliot and the party.

‘Don’t you feel like going out tonight though, James? This thing sounds like it could be so much fun, and I really wanna dance.’ (Just in case there’s confusion, I’m James here)

I contemplated.

‘But there are people going, who I know, and don’t want to see.’

‘Just think about it’, she instructed.

I spent the entire afternoon trying to decide if I should go to this party or not. And sure, it sounds like I’m making this into a really big deal, but for reasons that I can’t go into here (since these reasons would expose the wheres, whats, whos, hows, whys, and all other details of this escapade), it actually kinda was a big deal. So,

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[Very bad-quality gif courtesy of this site]

Eventually, after so much deliberation that I was making myself dizzy, I called my other friend Tina, who I was pretty sure was attending. It was soon discovered that she, like me, couldn’t make up her mind about whether or not to go.

‘If you go, Donna and I will too.’

Now let me just say that Tina and I are not what you’d call spontaneous. We like to plan things in advance. We like to know what’s happening, and we like to have time to prepare for social interaction, because it can be seriously draining. Fun, but draining. I hope I’m not coming across as too much of a weirdo right now. Anyway, at around 20:00, Tina and I challenged our anxious personalities and made the super wild decision to go to a party that same night. Are we cray or are we cray? Donna was in as well, and then I asked Emma too who, to my delight, was also in a spur-of-the-moment kind of mood. We were all very proud of our whimsy, and congratulated ourselves on our ‘living in the moment’ thing we had going on – was this what the esoteric section in the book store meant by ‘mindfulness’? Many a selfie was taken to honour our once-in-a-life-time display of caprice, and then, after downing a substantial amount of wine, we left.

After a semi eventful Uber ride, during which Tina and I felt the need to seek advice from the driver about our current romantic predicaments (Paul was a great listener, but he didn’t really teach me a profound lesson about love, or tell me that if I only stopped being too afraid to let people in, I’d meet just the right person, which, according to most rom-coms, is exactly the kind of knowledge a taxi driver is supposed to impart to his or her clients), and getting lost (somehow ending up at a random house and ringing the doorbell like three times, and potentially waking up an innocent househould in the process), we finally ended up where we were supposed to be. By this time it was close to 23:00.

My first mission was to find and meet Elliot (remember, that’s the Tinder guy). The second was to avoid certain, people, or (if avoidance became impossible) to exude an air of neutrality and sophistication. While I don’t remember tooooo much from this night, it ended up being really fun, and I got to catch up with friends and acquaintances I hadn’t seen in ages. Plus, I managed to complete mission number two: avoid everybody who needed avoiding. Mainly because they didn’t pitch. But that’s not what’s relevant here. What is relevant, however, is that I couldn’t find Elliot anywhere. Let’s fast forward a little: an hour or so later, the four of us had dispersed, and I’d been talking to some people in a different part of the place we were at, while surreptitiously attempting to seek out Elliot. But he just wasn’t there. Eventually, I messaged him. Something very similar to:

‘Hey! I ended up at [detail] after all. Are you here?’

He replied saying that he wished I’d told him earlier, since he hadn’t felt like going in the end. I was beyond disappointed. Honestly. The nerve. To say he was going somewhere, and then to change his mind without consulting a girl he’d never met who wouldn’t even be attending the party herself. For shame.

While skulking about trying to find  Emma, Donna, and Tina in order to share the latest developments, I came across two guys I didn’t know. Can’t remember how we started talking, but they asked me to guess how old they were. I estimated 24 or 25. They insisted on being 29. Let me tell you right now : definitely not 29, but whatever. While I didn’t believe them, I was also feeling the effects of my punch, and everything they were saying was apparently hilarious, since I remember laughing incessantly during majority of that ‘conversation’, so I didn’t argue too much about whether or not they were about to turn 30. That interaction didn’t stand out as particularly interesting at the time, and while both were attractive, I continued on my quest to find the friends with whom I’d arrived. Elliot the no-show was still plaguing me, and the possibility that maybe he’d never planned on coming to this party in the first place was beginning to dance around my mind. I resisted the urge to send him more messages.

By 01:00, things were starting to die down, and Donna, Emma, and Tina were ready to leave. But I was just starting to flirt with a guy I’d thought was hot since first year psych, so I wasn’t keen to bounce at all (Just in case you wanted to make a meet-cute out of that, he didn’t seem very interested. I guess the fact that I called him by his name before we got introduced had something to do with it. Oh well). It was as my friends eventually managed to get me to walk out with them, when the most movie-like thing that’s ever happened to me happened. While walking down the front step, I tripped a little bit (Not a bad trip that ends in an embarrassing fall; just a slight trip that you recover from quickly..I have these multiple times a day)…and stumbled right into a guy who was standing talking to someone else. He caught me before it could develop into a worse kind of trip.

‘I’m so sorry!’, I laughed (It was good punch).

‘Careful there.’

I looked at who I’d bumped into. It was the better looking of the two ‘I’m 29 years old’ guys, and my God did he have nice eyes. And such a cheeky smile.

‘Really, I’m sorry,’ I continued, ‘I’m super klutzky.’ He was still holding me.

‘I’m Mark.’

‘I’m Jaime.’

Then, I did something very un-Jaime-like. Probably the most un-Jaime-like and punch-induced thing I’ve ever done. I took his phone out of his hand, added my number to his contacts (Or at least I thought that’s what I was doing, until he took it back, and asked me to repeat myself, since I’d just been ‘pressing random buttons’). Then, I kissed him quickly on the lips, and told him to ‘be in touch’, before being dragged by Donna into the waiting Uber. How badass am I?

My friends thought me less smooth than I did, and, by the time I got home, and my inhibitions had returned in all their cautious splendour, I agreed with them. While I was proud of my audacity, and (moreso) of my friends’ and my victorious night of spontaneity, I was relieved that I’d never be seeing Mark again. Because, one thing was for sure, he certainly wouldn’t be contacting me after how ridiculous I’d been. Hell, he probably hadn’t even saved my number.

Fancy my surprise then, when, while trying to banish a lingering headache at my twin friends’ birthday brunch the next day, I received the following WhatsApp message from an unknown number:

‘Hey Jaime. It was really fun meeting you last night 😉 If you were serious about getting together, I’d like to take you out. Let me know – Mark’

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Jaime you dog. [Image courtesy of this site]
[End Part 1]

*Names have been changed, because –  in case you haven’t noticed by now – I change names.

**To find out what happens with Mark (Trust, you want to know), be sure to read next week’s post. Or just press subscribe at the top of the page.

Tinder Date #6: Decaf & Dinosaur Erotica

It’s been a very long time…About 6 months actually. I published my last proper post on the 31st of August, and now it’s already March. What can I say – time flies when you’re doing nothing every day but staring at your laptop and trying to finish your thesis. But anyway, enough of that. It was submitted at the end of January, and I needed some time away from Microsoft Word before continuing with this blog. Now I’m ready to start writing again. The last thing I want to do before diving into the actual content of today’s post is to say something like,

‘Yay, we survived the horror year :D.’

Kay, now I’m done about 2016, promise. Even though I totally milked the universal hatred that everyone (and I) had for the year, I’m making a conscious effort to treat 2017 as positively as I treated 2015 and all the years before that. But since there’s now a bit of a backlog with regard to 2016 stories, I’m going to have to occasionally resort to pointing out how awful last year truly was. I’ll try not to be gratuitous.

So, there’s my context, now let’s talk about Matt*. Oh wait! One more thing! Long story short: in December my phone got stolen from the bookstore and I lost 90% of my screenshots from Tinder and 100% of my WhatsApp conversations. So there aren’t going to be as many visual proofs as there used to be – you’ll have to trust me. Right, let’s go:

The last date I wrote about was with Sid. If you don’t remember Sid, he was the guy who had a thing against ‘aggressive feminists’ and who wasn’t sure about meeting me when he found out I was taller than him. Refresh your memory here: Tinder Date #5: Burgers and Backwardness.

My date with Matt took place just a few days after the one with Sid, on campus. The story of Matt and I isn’t a very long one. It’s neither beautiful nor tragic, and it’s unlikely to make you ship the two of us; in fact, when I started this post, it took me around half an hour to remember his real name. I never really understood Matt, or what he thought of me. He’s one of those guys who seemed funnier over Tinder/WhatsApp than in real life, and who, if we’re being very real here, is kind of boring. What was funny about Matt was that I found out on my date with him (if you can call coffee on Jammie steps at 13:00 on a Thursday a date) that he and Sid were the same age and went to the same school (mine). Which is of course typical. But anyway, let’s continue.

Matt’s photos were gorgeous, and his opening line was in response to my bio. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the dislikes listed in my Tinder bio is ‘the patriarchy’. So I appreciated Matt’s opening line to me,

‘What’s the patriarchy?’

Because what’s more appealing than (possibly) feigning ignorance of one of the most deeply ingrained social-evils in the world, amirite?

But yeah, if we’re being real here, this line was really attractive to me; I was intrigued.

I wish I could remember what my reply was, but I have absolutely no idea. I’d like to think it was witty like, ‘No idea – was hoping you’d know.’

But it was probably something generic like,

‘Good one.(You are joking, right?) (Please tell me you’re joking..).’

Now I’m really annoyed that I can’t remember…because I recall being exceedingly proud of my response at the time. DAMN THE MAN WHO STOLE MY CELLPHONE AT WORK, AND DAMN ME FOR NOT BACKING UP MY SCREENSHOTS.

Anyway, whatever I said, I knew I had to be on my toes with this one, because he didn’t seem super into it, and he was reaaally nice to look at. I wanted this date, and I knew I’d have to work for it.

[EDIT: days later: I remember what I said!!!!

He said, ‘What’s the patriarchy?’

I said, ‘Something that a computer science boy would know nothing about’ or something like that. I still think my reply was better than that…but it was pretty close to this ^. Also, the only reason I knew he did computer science is because it was written in his bio.]

Straight after he eventually asked for my number (after like four days), he unmatched me on Tinder, and it took him another few days to ask me to meet up. What I do remember is that, when he learnt I was sitting in the library reading The Tempest and King Lear for a class during one of our chats, my new name became ‘geek’. Of course, I thought this was really sexy. Ironic though, because he was doing a degree (not telling you if it was an undergrad, honours, masters or PhD for anonymity reasons) relating to computer science. Just saying. Although, yay computer science – not making any comment here. I mean, pot calling the kettle black much, but like not saying anything. Computers are great. I, in fact, am using one at this exact moment in time to type this post. Evidence of my respect for the computer, and the computer scientist obviously. Going to stop now.

Also, in 2015, when I did a creative writing seminar as part of third year English Lit, our class was cautioned against using superfluous adjectives and adverbs in our writing. More and more, I’m realising that I do both. So this is just a note to say that I’m sorry if you don’t enjoy superfluous adjectives and adverbs – I don’t really care though. So:

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[Image courtesy of this site]

While we’re on this topic, my thesis supervisor told me that my grammar was ‘unstable’ (Bitch please, I’m the most stable [laughs nervously]). Additionally, he said that I use dashes way too often, and that I probably do this as a way to mask my lack of understanding regarding the general rules of English grammar. He then added, ‘But I don’t know, because this goes on in your head and not mine.’ That’s what he said. At the time I didn’t say anything back, mostly because I was trying not to cry until I left his office and I feared the tears would escape if I tried to talk, and also because he would be marking my paper, so I needed to remain obsequious and grateful.  While I really am thankful to my new supervisor for stepping in at the last moment (my original one moved to Australia very suddenly, and I was reassigned the new one ten days before the submission date), I would also like to say (by using this spineless platform, on a post that he will never read) that I use dashes because I love them – they’re the most beautiful punctuation marks in all the land.

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

(Yes I am petty and juvenile, and no I will not stop.)

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. Matt and I hardly spoke before our ‘date.’ The pattern kind of went like this:

Matt: something witty

Me: something else witty

*silence for two days*

And so it went on.

Eventually, when we did meet one sunny day on campus, I found him to be less witty, less pretty and generally unexciting. Also, his voice was unappealing to me. Which I realise is a very mean thing to say. But it’s true. It had this kind of jagged and dry quality and I can’t describe it, but it ruined things.

Upon seeing that I was holding a bunch of Shakespeare plays, he affectionately (or so I like to think) reiterated that I was a geek. Again, not sure this made me worthy of such an envied title, but I certainly wasn’t going to argue. It made me feel like every girl wants to feel:

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[Image courtesy of this site]

Generally, it went pretty well. I did have a really awkward moment though when we were buying coffee. You know those terrifying experiences when you’re waiting in line for something, and you’re next, and the person in front of you is done ordering etc, but the person behind the till looks kinda busy, so you think that she/he is just finishing up, and that stepping forward and ordering would be really rude and would disturb what she/he is doing, but then you’re caught in this terrible situation, because you don’t want to hold up the people who are behind you in the line, and be hated eternally, but you also don’t want to impose on the cashier, and you have this panicky internal battle going on inside, and you’re like WHAT DO I DO, and so you end up doing nothing, and just standing frozen like Hermione’s stupefied you, but you’re also trying to seem normal on this bloody Tinder date, with this guy who studies motherboards and stuff (I don’t know if you study motherboards in computer science – I don’t even know what a motherboard is. Sorry if I insulted your field for the second time today. If I have, then contact me and maybe we can go for a coffee, and I can worry about when to place my order, and we’ll have a great time, and make puns about java, and we’ll end up becoming unlikely friends, and then I’ll have someone who can fix my laptop for me free of charge if it starts acting up, and maybe you can teach me how to code, so I can build my own blog site/domain instead of using WordPress as a host, and you’ll make a speech at my wedding, and it will be so good).

Right. So that happened and then it got worse. I thought Matt was offering to pay for my coffee, because of this weird gesture thing he did.

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[Image courtesy of: this site.]

But, of course, he was just ordering a muffin.

Nice, Jaime.

Being the great reader of non-verbal signs that I am, I then started saying,

‘Oh that’s so kind, but no than-’

And he was like, ‘Haha oh no I was just buying a muffin.’

Which caused me to get even MORE flustered and anxious and awkward, so I had this weird exchange with the cashier – where I wasn’t sure if I’d actually ordered or not, and then after a painful ‘Have I/haven’t I?’ thing, he kind of looked at me in a funny way, and I said something like,

‘Sorry haha – I’m so awkward.’

And then he looked at me in an even funnier way, like it had just been confirmed that I am in fact a freak of nature, and that’s when I inwardly told myself that I’d already destroyed any potential chance we’d had at this early stage in the game.

Turns out I hadn’t though, and I’d just created this huge disaster in my mind when, in reality, it really wasn’t that bad. After the coffee fiasco, I managed fairly good banter and no more humiliation.

We sat on Jammie steps for a while, bad coffee in hand. I remember our conversation being decent, but not fantastic, and I found myself, as I have on many a Tinder date, responsible for ensuring that we didn’t lapse into awkward silences.

Our most notable bits of conversation included his showing me photos of some paintings he’d done in high school – I remember that one resembled either an avocado or the vulva, depending on how you looked at it. I didn’t ask the artist’s intention, lest my interpretation make him feel less accomplished as an artist. The second topic, more risqué than a juvenile painting of (possible) genitalia, was about dinosaur-human erotica. Dinosaur erotica comprises (you guessed it) sex between humans and dinosaurs, and it’s the worst (and best) thing ever. So it’s like Mills and Boon, but instead of romance scenes between people, it’s sex before the dinosaur kills/eats the human. It gets way too much though. Like, don’t read it; after lines like ‘the reptilian licking made her quiver with pleasure’, it suddenly gets a lot less tame and a lot more vomit-inducing. Like not even because of the bestiality thing, but because of the violence. Not that I’ve read any myself. Obviously.  Anyway, I don’t know how we started talking about this, but I think I brought it up. He’d heard of it though, so I figured he must be at least somewhat of a fellow weirdo. Then, after maybe an hour and a half, he had a class, and I had an Elizabethan play to read, and we politely said goodbye. Nothing noteworthy; we didn’t mention meeting again, and I don’t think I wanted to.

In summary of our interaction:

From the moment we’d started talking right through to the end of our date, I couldn’t really grasp him as a human being. Just didn’t get him. I think he’s definitely eccentric; bit of an oddball; an enigma. He liked my humour, I could tell, and our coffee-date was pleasant, but there wasn’t any crazy chemistry, which was disappointing, because I thought there would be.

The next day he sent me a link to some dinosaur erotica book covers (What can I say? This sub-genre clearly puts people in the mood, and stimulates post-date interaction). The titles are so ridiculous that you’d think they’re memes. But they’re not. Just legit dinosaur erotica.

…Very badly want to post a link to some, but they’re too awful. Go read the titles yourselves. They’re horrific :’)

I didn’t really know what to say in reply, especially because Matt had a history of not engaging in consistent WhatsApp communication, so I responded with something really smart, like, ‘hahaaha wooooow’, and just like that, our passionate but short-lived love affair was over, just like the reigning of the dinosaurs.

[Also, no joke, I reaaally want to write dinosaur erotica now, but like a softer and less gruesome kind. It’s on my official list of life goals: by the time I’m 30 I want to have authored at least one short story/novella/novel about a relationship between a plucky heroine and a tyrannosaurus rex. So, someone remind me to do that please. These are exactly the sorts of life goals one should establish in one’s early twenties, don’t you think? ‘Obtain a proper job; get a place of your own; meet (and sustain a healthy relationship with) the love of your life; write dinosaur erotica. Yup. My priorities are so great.]

*Names have been changed, because I don’t want him to feel weird about his ambiguous painting.

**Click ‘follow’ at the top of the page.

*** I want feedback, and I want to know what people want/don’t want to read. Like, are my pieces too long?  Too many memes? Too off-topic? Repetitive? Since my thesis, I’ve learnt how to take honest criticism without crying on the spot. So comment/email/get in touch with me: jaime.lilleen@gmail.com

Excuses, Apologies etc

Hi Readers… if any of you are left.

I know I was supposed to continue to write from the 27th of October after my thesis was completed. However, what would a good story be without a plot twist, right?

So, my thesis got extended till the end of January 2017, and as sad as it is, I don’t have the time right now to commit to my blog. So, if anyone is reading this, I humbly apologise for being MIA. It’s never been more difficult to articulate myself in an (albeit 15 000 word) essay…it’s tough. Mark my words though, as soon as this godforsaken paper has finally been completed, I’ll be back in full force whether you like it or not – going on and on about how I can’t eat anything without somehow getting foodstuffs caught in my hair, and whining about how some tool has unmatched me on Tinder.

So, for now,  ruminate on the +- 8 fails (maybe more) that I have to share in about two months time. They’ll make for some humorous reading – promise.

A sneak-peak into future posts include awful and cringey stories such as: my first kiss which took place onstage with a gay guy, a date that tried to force me to down more alcohol than I’ve ever ingested in my life, a grey-suited Tinder boy who introduced himself by bringing me my favourite chocolate at work, and a hilarious presenter who suddenly ghosted me after sharing tales about his divorce with a table.

Happy December, Readers. May 2016 speedily reach its end – we all deserve a break from its sadistic tendencies. Also, watch The 2016 song. It helps.

Yours in un-irony and 2016 hating

xxxx

 

Thesis-ing

This makes me almost as tearful as I was in the first few minutes of Up (Lies – very few things can cause me to cry as much as I did in that stupid montage with that stupid love story and that stupid Adventure book, and I’m going to stop now, because my tears are about to start dripping onto the keyboard). But, anyway, I have to take a break from my beloved blog to work on my thesis, which is due on the 27th of October (I think). But don’t worry (which you’re totally doing), because in a few weeks:

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[Image courtesy of this site]
In the mean time, rest assured that everything I said in last week’s post has proved false, and obviously I had no idea what I was talking about, and those four and a half dates I went on clearly meant nothing to anyone except me, and last Saturday night I lay in bed and ate carbs, and that’s not a euphemism (Nobody thought it was, Jaime). Which means that I have eight posts’ worth of dating fails to write about – and just in time for the Cape Town end of year exam period, which means that I’ll happily nominate myself to be your number one procrastination enabler in a few weeks. Which is probably not a very nice thing to do, because I might be responsible for people’s misusing their time, which could potentially be morally questionable from my side, but then again, so is the number of times that I’ve used the word ‘which’ in the last paragraph. So.

Am I being a bad person, by telling people to read my blog instead of studying? Is this how drug dealers feel? Is this how Mrs Norbury felt?

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[Image courtesy of this site]

Regardless of the answer, I don’t really care. See you in a month and a half.

Yours in un-irony

xxx

A Casual Offer

Hello there, Reader! So a spot of bad news…. Ok, I’m just going to come out with it: It really pains me to have to type this, but I just haven’t had the time to write up a proper post/date/experience this week. You wouldn’t believe it, but I’ve actually  come to understand the word ‘priorities’ (the meaning of which has, up until this point in time, always alluded me). And, as a consequence, have been semi-productive with regard to reading/research for le thesis. And while I’m hoping to be able to continue to write regularly for the next eight weeks leading up to the due date for said dissertation/long essay/whatever you want to call it, this might not be possible…especially since my average post is around 4000 words, and I’ve never been good at summarising.

Also, if we’re being real here, I’m just not going to be able to go on enough dates to last me till the end of October – it’s that time of the year where nobody even has time to see their friends – which is obviously a higher priority than meeting up with potential creeps or f***boys.

Yet another reason why I may only be able to return fully to this venture in eight weeks’ time is because (dare I say it?) things are maybe going kind of well-ish. Meaning that recently I’ve gone on four and a half lovely dates (I’ll be able to explain this one day) with three guys/men/dude-bros (not at the same time). And before you scream ‘typo’, I’m going to assure you that no error was made. Are you as shocked as I am about my referring to not only one but several Tinder dates as ‘lovely’?  Because I’m dumbstruck. Except I’m not, because I’m writing about it.

But, hey, all they are (for now) are good dates – let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As one of my closest friends, Julia, cautioned me (in a soothing, mantra-like fashion in response to my over-excited voice-note after my favourite of these dates), ‘Remember, Jaime. We’re not excited, we’re content .’

CONTENT MY ASS, JULIA.

Jokes, love you xxxx dOn’t chAngE foR tHe worLd mY bAbE xxXxxXx

Sorry.

Anyway, while Julia is 150% right (I can totally do maths), and while I’m not sure if I’ll end up seeing all (or any of these) three matches again, I’m still in contact with them, so I don’t feel it fair to write about what transpired. Remember, I have a rule that I’m only allowed to document dates/general experiences when that particular  person is no longer an option for me. I hate this rule right now, because I have suuuuch good stories, but alas, I don’t want to go messing things up, so silent shall I remain. Indeed, sometimes I need to remind myself that writing material isn’t all I care about.

But despair not, my good Reader!

For, today, I’m pretty much supplying a verbatim conversation that took place in early July between some sexually frustrated Tinder user and me. Its like 0.05% scandalous, and revolves around an invitation to have casual sex, which I suppose is an interesting prospect about which to read (maybe?).

So, without further delay, context:

It was winter vac, and I’d just persuaded one of my  friends to get Tinder after telling her how…um…interesting the experience could be. At this point, the only people I’d told about my blog were a few of my friends and also my brother (the latter serves as a humour/cringe editor of sorts). After this particular friend read my posts, and I’d assured her that the app really wasn’t that bad (lies. But not really; I’m joking; it’s not totally horrendous. I mean, most of the time it is, but sometimes it’s not, but also, why am I telling you this – you know these things). Now that she’d downloaded it too, we were sitting in my room, scrolling through matches and generally having a social but also anti-social hang-out.

This is when I matched with the most annoying creature in the history of annoying creatures. Let’s name him Troy* – mostly because Troy Bolton from High School Musical is hella irritating (so is Zac Efron. Sorry not sorry), and so was this guy.

 

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‘What do you mean I’m responsible for the regression of the entire human race?’ [Image courtesy of this site]

I suppose I could have unmatched Troy at any given point, but if I’m honest, I was bored,  and he was entertaining in that ‘What-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you?’ kind of way.

Even after my friend left a couple of hours later, Troy and my conversation continued…well into the night in fact. Eventually, he unmatched me the next morning, when I’d apparently gone too far, and wounded his fragile ego/masculinity irreparably by expressing, (for, like, the fifth time) in no uncertain terms, that he and I weren’t going to meet up for sex. Apparently this was a very difficult concept to grasp.

Also, I feel weird doing this, but I feel like I should probably say, before you read these screenshots, that they get a little explicit/sexual so, like, do with that information what you will, I suppose. Just don’t read them if you’re, like, a ten year old or anywhere close to that age…please. Go look at a picture book, or watch cartoons or something. Or, I guess, go play on your Ipad, since I’ve met a fair number of ten year olds who actually have those. Better yet, leave the house and walk around outside or something. Climb a tree, if we still have those things? I don’t know. Just don’t read this, please. I don’t want to be responsible for your premature sexual awakening. I don’t need that extra guilt right now. Not that these screenshots are even that bad at all, but still. So, like, PG16 I guess? Or maybe PG13? Ughh whatever; I tried.

Right, so I don’t really have much more to say. He’s the blue; I’m the grey; have fun. The only time that I’ve blocked out information is when it risks revealing anything at all about Troy or what he does. Also, there are a few repeats every now and then, so sorry about that.

Commence:

1

2

3

4

5

 Brief intervention. Okay, so I know that Tinder isn’t exactly the most organic meet-cute ever, but there are TONS of people who don’t use it for casual sex. I was sooo mad at this point, because he tried to twist the situation to make it look as though I was encroaching on some kind of ‘sacred ground’ reserved for only propositions/one night stands, when, really, he was the one encroaching on the way in which have chosen to use this app.

Troy is an example of a little f***boy on whom my bio strategy did not work. Read more about that in last week’s post: Ghosts of Tinder Matches Past. If Troy had read my bio (and had been real with himself), he’d know that casual sex wasn’t what I was after. 

Although  I don’t explicitly say what I want or don’t want on my Tinder bio, one can pick it up through more subtle clues in the short description I write about myself. This is why, in the +-three months for which I’ve had Tinder, Troy has been the first match to want casual sex as opposed to a date. This means that I’m (pretty much) attracting what I want – and I credit this to my bio.

Anyway, back to Troy:

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 At this point, I’m omitting a few screenshots-worth of the conversation, because they were riddled with  too much identity-revealing information. Basically, what you miss is Troy telling me that I ‘have a problem separating the physical and the emotional’  (because this is a BIG problem, Reader), and that ‘just because there won’t be any emotions, doesn’t mean I’ll be a dick. X’

I resume here:

7

8

 

The green highlights that, after three hours without a response, he still didn’t let it go.

9

10

 

11

Also, the only reason that I continued to play to his ego and remain so polite is because I wanted to see how long it would take for him to drop it. It was obvious that, if I pushed him with appropriately rude responses, he’d unmatch me straight away – and I couldn’t let that happen without getting screenshots first.

12

13

Can we just. Also, this sex talk. Just not doing it for me, Troy. Honestly.

GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME.

Do you see what I did? ^

Anyway:

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15

16

 This last bit of exchange took place the next morning. I actually couldn’t believe it.

 

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I wasn’t surprised that not even two minutes after I sent that last message, Troy had already unmatched me.

The problem with Troy, and with people like him, is that he continued to disregard the fact that the word ‘no’ had been used. The offer had been refused. Many, many times. So, while this may seem like an innocuous, ridiculous conversation, especially because it was purely virtual (ergo, there was never a risk of consent being abused), it’s also alarming. I just hope that, in person, Troy would have been more understanding of the word ‘no’. I’m not willing to bet that he would have been though.

In fact, I was in the process of finding a particular video to send him, before he unmatched me. I’m talking about Tea Consent. It’s pretty well-known; I’m sure you’ve heard about/seen it, but, if you haven’t, give it a watch. It’s important. Especially for people like Troy – it explains consent by using tea as a metaphor for having sex.

So, that’s Troy and the other side of Tinder. Not for me. But, it should be noted that the problem isn’t that he offered me casual sex – no problem there, if that’s what both parties want. The problem was his refusing to listen to my refusal.

Anyway, onto other matters: besides for the lovely dates I mentioned earlier, I do have a few failed ones that I still need to document, so I hope to deliver those on the upcoming Wednesdays after this (if I can master those time-management skills they kept going on about in primary school).

*Names have been changed, because I don’t feel like dealing with a lawsuit.

**Press ‘follow’ at the top of the page 😉

Ghosts of Tinder Matches Past

Past Tinder matches can come back to haunt you. Sometimes semi-literally. Every now and then in pairs. Take Monday, for example, when I was casually sitting in a particular building on campus – rapidly talking to myself and trying to appease the wave of panic that had threatened to overwhelm me, after I suddenly realised that my thesis is due in less than ten weeks (Speaking of, I might need to take a hiatus from this blog in the next few weeks – just to ensure that I do actually get that degree I’ve been ‘working’ towards since February).

Anyway, I was sitting there literally trying to stop myself from hyperventilating regarding the 15 000 words due at the end of October, when who do I see, but Rob*! Oh, and Percy*! (Not together, but within seconds of each other).

You remember Rob – my first ever Tinder date who I’d met years before, and subsequently decided was my soulmate when we matched on Tinder? (Lol no). Refresh your memory about him over here: Tinder Date #1: ‘It’s not a date; it’s an interview’. And Percy…well I’d like to think that nobody will ever forget Percy and all that transpired on that interesting date, but if, for some reason you can’t remember, because you’re focusing on things other than *my* life (shame on you), take a look at Tinder Date #4: Worst to Date Part 1 and Tinder Date #4: Worst to Date Part 2

Honestly, I feel like campus is fast becoming one giant rock full of people I’m trying to avoid. Which is why I’ve started putting earphones in, and donning sunglasses every time I move from one building to another (even though I have no music on my phone, so I’m actually listening to nothing but my own harried thoughts).

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

DID YOU SEE THE PUN??? ‘HARRIED THOUGHTS’, AND THEN THE HARRY POTTER MEME???? 😀

Ughh I keep getting side-tracked. Anyway, Rob was walking towards me, and obviously I didn’t want to see him (because the cold, hard rejection still stings just a little), so I immediately stared downwards at the unrealistic to-do-list on my lap, which said things like, ‘Write 6000 words in one day.’ Yup, I’ve got achievable goals. And my life is totally together. This latter observation can be illustrated in this recently unearthed photo of me at the age of two. Not much has changed at all, because that’s pretty much where I’m at right now. I even wear the same style of shoes.

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As I was saying, I don’t know whether Rob saw me or not, but it’s safe to say that (mercifully), if he did, he had as much desire to interact with me as I did with him (i.e. no desire at all). Once I was sure he’d gone past me, and it was safe to shift my gaze from the terrifying deadlines I’d written for myself, I looked up. And made immediate eye contact with Percy who was buying coffee.

F***.

Jolt of panic.

Luckily he’d looked away as soon as I’d looked up – we’d both decided to do the mature thing, and pretend we hadn’t seen each other. Then again, he was all the way on the opposite side of the building anyway. It wasn’t like he was standing right in front of me. So, as one of my most bestest friends (who I’ve known since my actual first day of birth just by the way, and who is more a sister than a friend if we’re being real here), Laurie, says, ‘No harm, no foul.’

Percy waited for his coffee, looked anywhere but at me (by this point I was shamelessly studying him – mostly because it was a good distraction from my thesis woes), and got the hell out of there as soon as it arrived. Clearly, I just have that kind of effect on people. The kind that makes them want to semi-run out of university buildings holding hot coffee. Totally claiming that as a superpower.

Even after he’d left I sat there in semi-awe. Seriously? Both of the two worst dates at almost exactly the same time? Where was all this bad karma coming from? What did I do? Then I laughed to myself: this was a pretty arbitrary time to start asking about bad karma – surely I should have wondered about this when I was actually out on the dates?

Then I started thinking about how all I was doing by going on these meet-ups was accumulating people to avoid/potentially hate me if they ever read this blog, and then I freaked out a little, because (and this is fast becoming my mantra) Cape Town is the size of a pinhead, and I’m going to continue to bump into these people at the most inopportune moments, because that’s just what happens in this city. All the time.

But it’s chill. I’ll continue – I’ll go on these dates, and experience the weird and the creepy and the rejection and the awful, all in the hopes that I find what I’m looking for: a non-murderer, non-sexist, semi-normal human being (who likes me back). I’ll just carry on being the pseudo-martyr I was born to be (More like the pseudo-martyr as which I just labelled myself, as a result of high self-absorption levels and a potential Messiah-complex).

While I have a good four date-posts ready to be shared with the small population of the public that reads this, I’m going to use this specific piece to go back exactly a year – August 2015, because, as much I’m being kind-of literally haunted by Tinder dates from this year (case in point what was just described above), I’m still psychologically haunted by Tinder matches from last year.

I don’t know if you remember Reader, but in my first post (find it here: Why (not) Tinder?), I briefly alluded to the fact that I had Tinder for seven days last year, before I deleted it in a fit of rage and heartache, and vowed never to download it again. Well. Look how that turned out. You’re almost definitely asking yourself, ‘Well, that sounds dramatic. What happened that was bad enough to make Jaime delete Tinder in a fit of rage and heartache, and vow never to download it again?’

Reader, you always know just what to ask.

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[Image courtesy of: this site.]

And, luckily for you, I know just what to answer.

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‘I can show you.’ [Image courtesy of this site.]
I don’t know why I’m adding so many Harry Potter references today, but they seem to be working (in my mind at least), so yolo swag I guess.

**

Right, so. It’s August 2015. And if you think I’m a naïve, romantic and idealistic person now (in 2016), then just wait till you hear about 2015 me. She just had no idea. At all.

I was trying to get over this crush I had who wasn’t interested (not that I’d ever asked him), and was feeling bleak, because (as usual) I’d got prematurely invested in something that wasn’t there. One or two of my friends had Tinder, and while I’d always looked down on it (oh, the delicious irony), I needed something to take my mind off things. So, one Sunday night, after much back-and-forth dialogue in my head, decided to take the plunge. How bad could it be, right? So I did it. I downloaded the app.

I’m not sure if, back then, bios weren’t a thing, but I certainly didn’t have one, and I didn’t screen potential matches based on their bios as I often do now. That was the problem, you see. The thing with Tinder is that you have to be very careful about how you match with people. I, as you might have expected, have adopted some strategies to attract the kinds of boys/guys/men/dude-bros that I want (As if that’s worked so far).

Firstly, use your bio as a means to discourage the riff-raff from matching with you. What I mean by this is to write something honest or quirky about yourself to which only certain people would respond positively. Take my bio for instance. I’m not going to type the whole thing out (not that it’s long at all actually), but I’ve listed five likes and three dislikes. The last of my dislikes is written simply as ‘the patriarchy’.

This is helpful, because anyone who dislikes feminism or feminists or the concept of gender equality or anything like that will hopefully be immediately repulsed by this, and will not swipe right. That’s the hope anyway, because those are the types of people I want to repel.

Secondly, when reading others’ bios, make wise choices. Nowadays, I swipe right mostly on the basis that they have a couple of mutual friends (of whom I at least semi-approve), they study/work somewhere that I’ve heard of, and that their bio generally appeals to me in terms of how they describe themselves, what I perceive they want etc.

This may sound like I’m putting in way too much effort before I swipe right, but I learnt my lesson in 2015, when I used to match with people based on the whole looks thing. It doesn’t work.

Want some examples? I took some screenshots at the time for my own personal enjoyment, so feast your eyes, Reader:

In this one, he’s the grey and I’m the green.

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Then there’s this one. For some context, you should know that I’d asked how he was, and he was now stating that he was really cold. He’s the grey, and I’m the green.

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Not pretty, are they?

As bad as these conversations were, however, they’re not what caused me delete Tinder. No. the reason I swore off this app was because of a specific boy. Let’s call him Al*. Sometimes I wish I could explain my process of choosing matches’ names for these posts. You’d love them. But anonymity and defamation of character and blah blah blah. So, as Fat Amy says,

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

On my very first evening of Tinder I matched with Al. I liked him. He was good-looking, had gone to my university, was a few years older than me and, as a matter of fact, had attended my high school (although I’d never heard of him till Tinder).

We exchanged numbers that same evening, and he soon became my number one match priority (I talk about this ‘concept’ [lol] in last week’s post: Tinder Date #5: Burgers and Backwardness). We’d send each other essays of messages a few times a day, and exchange the randomest of pictures – like the coffee machine in his office, or the view of campus I had while I waited outside before a tut.

Now, I need to remind you that this is before I had my WhatsApp rules (read about them here: Tinder Date #4: Worst to Date Part 1). You remember them – the rules that I have about not getting to ‘know’ someone over WhatsApp because it’s not real, and is dangerous for your emotions. Those ones. Back then I had no such understanding. I have to admit though that, even after Al, I didn’t learn my lesson, and I got hurt from what I’ll call a WhatsApp relationship again. Indeed, it was only more recently that I developed my no-WhatsApp-for-extended-periods-of-time-without-face-to-face-getting-to-know-each-other rule. I’d like to hope that, from previous experience, I’ll be wise enough not to break it. But you’ll hear in a post that will be out in a few weeks that I kind of already have, and I’m angry with myself for doing it. But more on that in the future.

So Al and I spoke much of the day every day, and we’d agreed to grab a drink the next Saturday night – six days after we began talking. I deleted our WhatsApp conversation waaay back, and by the time I’d re-downloaded Tinder this year he’d unmatched me, so I have little-to-no evidence for you – you’ll just have to rely on my memory.

I was so excited about Al – you see, I thought that this kind of consistent ‘speaking’ meant that we’d go on to be a couple. It was only logical. He’d say things like, ‘I’m going to delete Tinder now; are you going to as well?’ He’d also allude to the future and say things like, ‘Yeah, we’ll have loads of movie nights’, and other such things which made me think that he’d go on to be my boyfriend. The fact is that, very often (and if Al didn’t drum this into my head, then 2016 did), talk is cheap.

This is part of why I write about Tinder so much – to remind myself that this kind of ‘logic’ that you would expect to follow such ‘conversations’ doesn’t apply here; the whole concept of Tinder is in itself ridiculous. I feel like if you’re going to use this app you absolutely cannot take it too seriously, or you’ll get hurt. You have to laugh – at the app, at what dating has become, at matches, at yourself. It’s a coping mechanism, really, and an important one at that. So I laugh. Mostly at myself. And most of the time it works.

Back to August 2015: On the Saturday morning of our date I was both nervous and excited. What would I wear? But after only a couple of hours of being awake and anxious, Al messaged me to cancel.

He had too much work, he said. They’d overloaded him for the weekend, he said. We’d have to postpone, he said. He was sorry, he said. Al didn’t reschedule, but I never doubted for a second that he’d told me the truth. He had no reason to lie – we’d been talking all day for almost an entire week. Shame, he must be really swamped, and overworked and, oh, how evil the commerce industry is!

Sure, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to see him that night, but no matter – we’d meet (and date and fall in love) eventually. When I told my friend about how down I was feeling, she immediately declared that I would still have a date that night – with her! We went to see Woman in Gold at the Labia, which is this fantastic old-fashioned cinema in Cape Town that’s always nearly bankrupt and at the risk of closing down, and you can get these amazing vodka slushies there (the lime ones – holy hell), and it’s one of my favourite places even though I don’t go very often. Both of us happened to be wearing black, and I felt super arty, and it was a lovely night, and she was such great company, and got me out of my funk the way only friends can, and all was right in the world.

But then Al didn’t message me the next day.

Or the next.

Or the next.

Or the next.

Or the next.

Or the next.

I was distraught. What had I done wrong? Because, at this point in my life, I was still blaming myself for things that weren’t my fault in the slightest. I started rereading our messages, and checking if I’d been aloof, cold, or hurtful. I hadn’t. And then I asked myself something which I still, to this day, find myself asking about so many guys who walk in and out of my life:

Why would he say that if he didn’t mean it?

And I still can’t give you an answer. I still don’t know.

A week later, I couldn’t handle it anymore – I had to message him. I convinced myself that he’d thought my last response cold (it hadn’t been), and that he just wanted me to assure him that I was still interested. I forced myself to believe this.

So I said,

‘Hey, Al. How are you?’

And in a few hours he replied with his usual essay, and I can’t remember what he said, but it was something about his being sorry – he’d being busy, and working and whatever. And he asked me a ton of questions, and I felt better – we were back on track. But then he disappeared again, and didn’t respond at all.

Now, I should probably mention something here….throw a little spanner in the works. Because, this is me we’re talking about, and I can’t help but have various dramas occurring at once. That would be much too predictable, and rather boring.

So you know on Tinder it’s rare that you’re talking to one person? Especially for someone who’s just downloaded the app and you’re still under the (very false) impression that there’s a vast number of people from whom you can choose? Well, I was talking to other people at the same time as Al. Of course I was. I mean, not in the same way that I was talking to Al – they were more for fun/practice, and I didn’t have them on WhatsApp. In fact, there was only one person who I was specially chasing, and who I would have chosen over Al.

In true Jaime-fashion, this one person happened to be Al’s best friend.

May I quote Gob as I have done on previous posts:

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

Now, I had no idea that this guy – we’ll name him Hank* – was Al’s bestest bro. How the hell was I supposed to know? I mean, what are the chances? But again, Cape Town – the beauty of a truly incestuous city, where nobody can escape anybody, and everybody knows everybody’s business. So much love!

I’d matched with Hank on the same night as Al, and had thought him gorgeous. Funnily enough, Hank actually featured in Al’s Tinder profile picture. I just hadn’t been observant enough to notice.

Hank was never interested though – from the outset. I’d said hi. I’d asked the questions. I was putting in all the effort – looking back on it, I honestly can’t believe how I dealt with Tinder. I mean, is this amateur-hour or what? Like, I’m chuckling as I type this. Shame. Poor 2015 Jaime – I warned you that she was clueless.

At some point, Al asked me who my best friend/s was/were. I gave him three names. As Cape Town would have it, he’d actually made out with one of them in a club a couple of years previously. He hadn’t told me this – my friend had. So, when I gave him my friends’ names, I included surnames, so he’d know that I knew what had transpired. I then asked him who his best friend was. ‘His name is Hank’, said Al. ‘We’re really close.’ It was only later that I realised this had been Al’s way of saying to me, ‘I know you’re talking to my best friend. I see you. What are you going to do about it?’

So, we were kind of equal. Al had made out with one of my best friends (years before he and I began talking), and I was maybe sort of flirting with his best friend (but I didn’t know this yet). I would never had done that had I been aware of who Hank was obviously.

Then, a few days later, one of my other best friends, Jonathan, after examining my favourite Tinder matches said to me, ‘Jaime. Hank is in Al’s profile picture.’

‘Oh please,’ I replied. ‘That’s not the same person. You’re just trying to freak me out.’

‘Look at the hairline, Jaime. Hairlines don’t lie.’

I examined the hairline.

For f*** sake.

I’m a bit hazy on the chronology from here on out, but Hank and I had made a tentative date for the next week, which ended up not happening, for the simple reason that he cared 0%, and for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to acknowledge. Like, he literally gave zero f***s, which, again, is making me laugh aloud as I type this.

And while it obviously sucks (from Al’s perspective) to find out that the girl you’re talking to on Tinder is trying to flirt with your best friend (who she doesn’t know is your best friend), there was no need to feel as guilty as I did when I found out – because Al was talking to plenty of other people too. He was talking to so many different people, that the same day I’d rekindled our conversation, he went cold on me again.

And before you think that Al went dead on me because of the whole Hank thing, it’s not. When I (read my friend, Jonathan) worked it out, I stopped talking to Hank (not that he noticed :p), and continued with Al. Indeed, I was so upset about Al’s lack of replying that (the day after I tried to restart our communication – exactly a week after I’d first downloaded the app) I deleted Tinder. I didn’t want to get entangled in these kinds of messes, and I didn’t enjoy all the weirdness and the perviness to which I’d been exposed. And I was really upset about Al.

That was the end of Tinder for me – I’d barely lasted a week –  but not the end of Al.

Every now and then, Al would get in touch over WhatsApp. Every few days, he’d send me a lovely message, and I’d get super happy and excited, and I’d convince myself that we were still going to meet up, and that he was just very busy. But, really, Al was just being a good, clever, boy/man and keeping his options open.

My friends told me to stop replying – he couldn’t just decide when he felt like talking to me. But I didn’t want to – I’d developed a massive crush on this boy who I hadn’t even met. How could I just throw all this away – our chat history was enormous! But again, dear Reader, at the risk of sounding preachy, never judge the strength (or mere existence) of a relationship on the length or content of your chat history. It doesn’t count. Base it on actual time spent together.

This on and off thing lasted weeks – three and a half to be exact. And then one day, on the 20th of August, he stopped replying altogether.

It might sound ridiculous, but I cried for days after this. I’d built up real expectations about where this would lead, and I couldn’t understand why they weren’t being met. I’d got Tinder in an effort to start feeling better about an unrequited crush, but, ironically, it had only made matters worse – now I was crying about another one.

After a while (maybe a month at the absolute most) I couldn’t give a damn about Al, and I still don’t. With good reason – there’d been nothing between us in the first place. Just some words over WhatsApp.

And while Al soon left my mind, the terrible impression that Tinder had made on me did not. It was a horrible app – based entirely on looks. And false people used it for false premises and made false promises and nothing good could come of it. While I don’t think of Tinder quite as harshly as I did then, I still think it’s pretty terrible. But not terrible enough that I don’t use it for potential meet-cutes and also writing material.

Before I end off for today, I must declare how I got the last laugh with Al. Four months after he’d ghosted me on WhatsApp (and after I found out he’d been dating another girl from Tinder), I heard from him.  Below, the green message is the one I’d sent him in August (which he’d ignored). His message in December is below that, in white. The only reason I have this screenshot, is because I sent it to a friend at the time.

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I was incredulous. I’d never expected to hear from him again. But now I had. And he’d had the audacity to think he could just continue where we’d left off. I was most angry at the fact that he clearly thought my self-respect would be low enough that I’d welcome him back with open arm emojis. Later, after some Facebook stalking, I came to understand that he’d just ended things with the girl he’d chosen over me, so now it was my turn. Kind of like what had happened with Sid* in Tinder Date #5: Burgers and Backwardness.

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

In December 2015, the time that Al messaged me, I was actually seeing someone else – remember, I only downloaded Tinder for the second time in May this year (2016). So, even if I had been interested (which I wasn’t), I wasn’t available. It gave me immense pleasure to do what Al had done to me a few months previously, and to blue-tick the hell out of that message. And to this day I haven’t replied. As I said earlier, I deleted the entire chat. He did add me on Facebook in June this year though, which I found strange. Shem.

So, ghosts of Tinder matches past. They exist – trust me, I’ve seen them.

*Names have been changed, because I’ve spoken about a lot of people who probably don’t like me very much.

**Click ‘follow’ at the top of the page, darling Reader ❤