(Not) Tinder Date Part 3: Second Date

Over a year ago I started using this blog to write about my Tinder dates. 2016 was a difficult year for me, and I was in a totally different space to the one I’m in now. That’s part of the reason that nothing has been published on this platform for the last few months – it no longer feels relevant. To convert these thoughts to written pieces means that I have to reach back to another part of my life and try to connect with a past version of myself. It’s a bit like reading a diary from your early teenage years; alienating, hilarious and more than a little cringe-worthy. Who was this person?

Despite this, and despite the possibility that those who read these posts might be getting bored with what might now feel tired and repetitive as subject-matter, I want to see this writing venture through. It’s been a cathartic endeavour to pen (or type) these stories, and to hear just how similar many people’s experiences of 21st century dating actually are.

Once  the stories of Mark* and Elliot* are finally concluded (following my unexplained hiatus), only two more Tinder dates remain  – and then my spree comes to an end. I still have loooaaads of posts surrounding  other things, experiences and people about which I want to write. Some are about romance, and others diverge entirely from this topic. I’m excited to expand.

I suppose I felt the need to explain where I’m going with this blog, and to situate this seemingly out-of-the-blue post. Some readers might be relieved that the date stories are drawing to a close. In the past, when describing Tinder dates as gaining life experience, regardless of whether or not the date/s work/s out, I’ve been met with the phrase, ‘Gaining life experience from Tinder: what a life that must be.’ And many people share that outlook.

Tinder is often considered dirty, seedy and for the desperate. Regardless of the app’s becoming more commonly accepted over the years, many still believe (and have expressed to me both overtly and more subtly) that it’s for the promiscuous, and that Tinder is for people who want casual sex right here, right now. I remember having a conversation earlier this year with someone who said,

‘No offence, but I could never go on Tinder. I’m not one of those girls.’ What girls was she talking about? The culture of slut shaming is often ingrained in the ideas of those who frown upon the Tinder experience. Here, the patriarchy rears its ugly head (as it tends to do in so many places).

The way in which women are shamed for expressing a desire for casual sex/sexual activity is bad enough, but the fact that many are afraid/put off by the connotations with which they might be associated if they do join this app are worse. Speaking from personal experience, I can confirm that sure, a lot of Tinder users are after casual relations. And that’s totally okay. Period. But there are also those who are looking for lasting relationships. I know a handful of long-term couples who met through this app and are still going strong years later. The majority of matches don’t end in this way, but some do.

What I’m trying to say is, eschew Tinder because you’re convinced that you won’t find what you’re looking for. (Although, I’m evidence that there are people who use it for dating as well). Don’t eschew Tinder because you’re afraid you’ll be labelled a ‘slut’. You can make of Tinder whatever you want. Let’s stop punishing women for having a sex drive and for boldly (or shyly! Or in any other type of adverb way) wanting to have sex or to express sexuality. Then Tinder (regardless of whether using the app labels you as sexually promiscuous or not) wouldn’t be such a taboo topic for so many women. Men who  use Tinder for hook-up purposes aren’t shamed. And they shouldn’t be. Neither should women users. Let’s stop referring to ‘those’ types of girls, shall we?

I went off on a long tangent there, but I felt it necessary.

So, some might be disappointed to find that my dating blog posts prevail. But until I conclude the final piece in my Tinder saga, they shall continue in all their intermittent splendour.

A long time ago in probably March I wrote parts 1 and 2 of the story of Mark and Elliot. So now it’s time to finish it. Or some of it, at least.

If you want a refresher, here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2. But, if not, here’s a summary:

Elliot and I had been talking on Tinder for weeks, but we still hadn’t met up. I went to a party at which he was supposed to be. He didn’t show, but I met Mark instead. I ended up giving him my number after tripping and knocking into him. Much to my surprise, he messaged me the next day. We went on a mostly lovely date and made plans for another. Less than two hours before my second date with Mark, Elliot suddenly appeared at my bookstore to bring me my favourite chocolate (It’s since changed by the way). This was the first time I met Elliot in the flesh. And suddenly all I wanted was to get dinner with him after my shift, instead of trekking out in the cold to meet Mark. (End summary)

But, of course, I didn’t. And that turned out to be a colossal waste of time, because, as one might have guessed, Mark is a pretty deplorable human being, although we share(d) some mutual friends. Either he’s good at concealing how terrible he is, or it’s time to start questioning judgements…. You can decide for yourself from this subjective description of the evening. It was decided that we’d get pizza and then enter a beer pong tournament since I’d never played it and always wanted to. He was a pro at this sport. I named our two-person team Alcoholics A-noun-ymous, because we’d both studied English at some point and also because why waste the opportunity for a smug pun?

Inwardly, I’d fostered the hope that beer pong would be one of my greatest (previously unknown) talents, and that I’d impress both Mark and the general public with my ability to throw a spherical piece of plastic into a container full of fermented grain. Alas, I have the hand-eye coordination skills of a new-born, which explains why I was picked last or second to last in every PE class as a child. In fact, one time in grade four when I managed to hit the ball four times during a game of rounders (my previous record for the duration of primary school had been zero), one boy exclaimed earnestly,

‘Jaime hitting the ball four times? There’s a higher chance of me coming home to find a hippo in my bath.’ Indeed, this is possibly the most favourable review of my athletic prowess that you’d find.

But I digress.

So, as one might expect, instead of being approached by some form of sports person (An agent? A scout? A captain?) and told that I would  bring glory to South Africa in the beer pong event at the Olympics (Not a thing, right?), I didn’t sink one ping pong ball. I still don’t really understand whether the drinking of the beer is a punishment when you miss a shot, or whether it’s a reward for when the globular object lands in the cup, but I guess that depends on whether you like beer.

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[GIF courtesy of this site.]
I mean a sip or two or is quite nice and a third is tolerable, but after that it becomes altogether insufferable, at least to me.

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[Image courtesy of this site.]

This might have something to do with its colour resembling caramel or the fact that I’m expecting it to taste sweet like my imagined perception of butterbeer, so I guess I’m blaming JK Rowling for the fact that I don’t like beer.

ANYWAY. After we lost embarrassingly badly, and were left with this huuuuge thing of beer which Mark was able to gulp down in a matter of seconds (very impressive), we spent some more time getting to know each other. So far though, the date had been going really well. The conversation was fluent and free of awkwardness, and I was tipsy and having fun. I decided I liked him. Now here’s the thing about Mark. He was good-looking in a rugged kind of way, and might be viewed as a sweet teddy-bear type…except I just didn’t quite buy it. Generally, I’m pretty sceptical and I don’t trust people easily – even more so if we’re talking about men. If I were a dictator, my justice system would probably run according to a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ belief, and on the OCEAN personality test, I score pretty highly on neuroticism. Just being real.

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[GIF courtesy of this site.]
So when he started telling me random things about himself, like how he sings in front of the mirror, and then kind of let his face light up like he had just realised something big and said, ‘I’ve never told anyone that before’, I kind of felt like he was just trying to score brownie points. Like it wasn’t that personal a thing to tell someone. We all do that. As the evening progressed (as well as his bullsh**), I realised I was right.

The reader probably won’t remember this, but in Part 2 of this story, Mark was mugged and his phone was stolen, so we’d been communicating over Facebook ever since. On this date, however, he told me the full story of this ‘mugging’ and let me tell you it’s not as harrowing as he made it sound. Apparently he’d had a drunk night out the week before and, at around 1:00am he got talking to this random guy while walking about. The two bonded over a conversation that seemed ineffably profound, as most conversations seem when you’re inebriated, and they hugged. Later, Mark realised that his phone was no longer in his back pocket. That’s his mugging story….

It gets worse though. Mark told me that he knew it wasn’t really as hectic of a story as he’d spread on social media, but if he told his mom the truth she’d never send him the money for a new phone. Yup. So, by this point I’ve got ‘liar’ ringing in my head, along with alarm bells going, ‘this guy is NOT genuine. GET OUT.’ But the fact is that this was someone I’d met not through Tinder and it felt so ‘90s spontaneous. Plus, this was our SECOND date, and he was funny and gorgeous and not creepy. So I decided that this was just my neuroticism/defence mechanisms coming out to play, and that I’d re-evaluate at a later stage.

But then it got worse. By this time, I’d had enough to drink –  a cocktail or two and some of that awful beer and some white wine. I was happy to be done with alcohol for the night. I have a very low tolerance for drinking; it hits me pretty quickly. More than that though, I can’t drink a lot in one sitting – I don’t mean it doesn’t stay down; I mean I can’t actually ingest it. Mark on the other hand drank more during the course of that night than I’ve ever seen anyone drink ever, and it didn’t seem to have much of an impact. In fact, one of the things he said to me that evening was,

‘If this is going to work then you should know straight up that I drink a lot. Like a lot.’

That’s chill. What wasn’t so chill was that he started trying to force me to drink more than I wanted/could handle. First these were gentle suggestions made every now and then. Later he started trying to bargain with me,

‘Just drink this much and I’ll have the rest.’ Or,

‘I’m getting more booze; just have one. I’m getting you another. It’s just one.’

By this time, we’d caught a cab from the beer pong/dinner place to another location about fifteen minutes away. That night the place was packed and I ended up running into just about everyone I knew. This turned out to be both a blessing and a curse, and I wish I could go into why, because it’s kind of hilarious but alas it breaks anonymity things.

Let’s just say though that after enduring some awkward eye contact and making some excruciating and/or pleasant small-talk with some people, I was glad to see Mark as he emerged from the bar. He looked at me without saying anything and I knew he going to kiss me. I still hadn’t made my mind up about him, and at this point I was still very attracted to him, so I gladly went with it.

Let me just tell you right now that he was the sloppiest kisser I’d ever encountered. I don’t know if it was because of the booze or if that was simply his style, but it felt like he was sucking my face off, Kraken style. After what felt like hours, but which was really about twenty seconds, I pulled away.

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*Prepare for cheese* [Image courtesy of this site].
‘Wow,’ he said, now vaguely resembling Pennywise with my lipstick all over the bottom half of his face,

‘I’ve been wanting to do that all night.’

His desire for me to drink increased substantially from then on (it hadn’t been that frequent up till then) and majority of our conversation was now his attempt at persuading me to drink. My Reponses ranged from,

‘No thanks, I’ve had enough,’ to

‘I’m starting to feel sick,’ to

‘I’ve broken my rule and mixed, so I really don’t want more,’ to

‘You should have more, but I don’t want,’ to

‘Drinking more is just going to make me tired.’

But he was as persistent as a misogynist is when debating with feminists on an offensive Facebook post. You don’t get more obstinate than that.  I was starting to get seriously uncomfortable, and when he told me that he lived just a short way away, so if I drank more and got tired, I could stay over, I knew that I wouldn’t be putting a toe into his flat. If he wouldn’t take no for an answer over the act of drinking, I certainly didn’t want to find out if he was as pushy in other departments. Still, I tried to ignore the sinking feeling that he was bad news, and our hours-long date continued.

Luckily, and by total chance, one of my best friends happened to be there that night. She’d just returned from travelling so I hadn’t seen her in about a month, and I’d never been so thankful for her presence. She happened to know Mark too from a class and, days later, she expressed her relief that his and my short-lived dalliance was done.  Mark, my friend (We’ll call her Mae*), Mae’s boyfriend, some of their friends and I caught up for a while. Then, when Mark bumped into a group of his own friends or acquaintances or fellow bullsh**ters, I enjoyed a brief respite away from him. But then Mark came to find me and I found myself next to him at the bar, another glass of wine in my hand, that I knew he’d eventually have to finish for me.

Mae proved an exceptional friend to me that night in various ways. I can’t go into all of them, but let’s just say she helped me kill two birds with one stone. Anyway, Mae was walking by the bar at the same moment that Mark was, once again, trying to coerce me into drinking. I took a few laboured sips, but I could do no more. Since I’d started feeling uneasy around Mark, I’d been stone-cold sober. And no matter how much more I drank (although I could never manage more than a few sips) it had no effect on me. Earlier on I’d told Mae about how pushy he’d been with alcohol, and when she saw him trying to convince me again she walked straight up to him and said firmly,

‘Hey. She said no. She doesn’t want any more to drink.’

He smirked at her and threw some kind of tepid insult her way. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I know that it was so lacking in bite and credibility that it couldn’t even cause offence. It had to do with getting assignments done on time, or something like that. Stinging stuff which the two of us threw back at him easily.

Soon after, Mae and co left. I remained with Mark and he kissed me again. This time I pulled away almost immediately. He handed me the glass of wine that I hadn’t touched, but this time my refusal was final:

‘I’m not going to have anymore, Mark. I already told you. I’m pretty tired; I think I’m gonna head home.’

Again, he presented me with the offer of staying over at his place, but the words had barely entered the atmosphere when I refused. The strange thing was (Or not that strange I guess because if a misogynist knows one thing it’s not to trust other men) he walked me to my Uber and instructed the driver to make sure I got home safely. Suddenly it was his job to ‘protect’ me from other men when he’d been exercising objectionable behaviour over the last few hours? No, buddy.

The last image I have of Mark was his wiping my lipstick from his mouth and heading back inside. I remember having no doubt that he’d end up with another girl that night and, what’s even clearer, is that I really didn’t mind.

The few minutes I spent getting into my pyjamas and brushing my teeth proved enough time to decide that the best thing to do under the circumstances was to end things over Facebook messenger. He was still without a phone so I couldn’t call him, and there was no way I would be subjecting myself to another face to face exchange. So the next afternoon, I sent him a message. Since I was going the cowardly route I decided not to be too cutting; I felt really guilty even though he was the one in the wrong. Looking back now, I’m disappointed in myself for not calling him out on his behaviour. It would have been the braver and right thing to do.

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He never replied, but then again why would he have. My thoughts returned to Elliot and, as I sat attempting an English assignment,  pondering over his shy but endearing demeanour while devouring the entire chocolate slab he’d brought me in mere minutes,  I couldn’t help hoping I’d get a certain WhatsApp notification sooner rather than later.

*Names have been changed

** Subscribe – I post too infrequently for the notifications to be deemed spam.

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Little Somethings

When you’re approaching your mid-twenties (and hell, even before then), every Tom, Dick and mother’s semi-acquaintance has the habit of asking you (every time they see you, incessantly, as if everything has changed since the last time they inquired 6 days ago) what you’re doing with your life. There are different ways of posing this question. It might be as simple as,

‘So what are you doing?’ Another one is through an assumption,

‘So you’re working/studying?’ But the worst is by far,

‘So what’s next?’ Bloody hell, Bert, your guess is as good as mine. It seems to me that the generation above mine is obsessed with the answers to these anxiety-provoking questions. The fact is that I don’t know exactly where I’m going yet, and while I can’t speak for anyone else, I think that’s a reality that a lot of young people experience. Some are lucky enough to know exactly what they want to do from the get-go, but I’m still dabbling. And I’m starting to learn that that’s okay.

A couple of months ago I was at family friends for dinner, and there was a thirteen-year-old who started yapping away (something I would never have dared to do at that age) to my brother and me (seeing as the three of us were the youngest there). He fired rapid questions at me about what I’ve studied, what I’m going to do with my life, and why I say I’m on a ‘gap year’ if I’m not spending it travelling.

In between justifying my life choices to a young boy who hasn’t even started algebra (Do they start algebra younger these days? Do they still call it algebra? Has maths been abolished yet?), and assuring him that yes, PowerPoint did in fact exist when I was at school, I realised that I totally cared about how this little schmuck judged what I’ve achieved so far. Just like I care when Tom, Dick and my mother’s semi-acquaintances do.

The thing is though is that I’ve adored this year so far. I think it’s been my favourite ever, and some people might think it a total waste of time: I’ve spent it painting, drawing, writing (not enough on this blog though), baking, and getting back into singing and acting – which I haven’t had time for in years! The jobs I have right now aren’t grand, impressive or enough for me to live off. I earn R25.00 per hour at my beloved little bookstore, tutor some high schoolers, scribe for exams, and every now and then I write content for a not-so-excellent fee. Sometimes I’m paid in ‘exposure.’

So when people ask me what I’m doing, I admit that a part of me feels inadequate – because I’m afraid it won’t live up to what I ‘should’ be doing…whatever that is. But I’m learning that it’s so important, if you have the opportunity (and yes, it’s a privileged position, no doubt), and if it’s something you want to do, to take the time to get to know yourself and to recognise that doing little ‘somethings’ by no means equal nothing.

We live in a highly competitive world, and we’re constantly comparing ourselves to everyone else. I know that very often, at least to me, it seems that ‘school, tertiary education, immediate successful career’ is the ‘right’ thing to do. But that’s not always true. So, with this in mind, I started writing this little piece as a way for me to recognise the fantastic value in doing what you love – even if it’s only viable for a short while.

That being said, everyone experiences things differently. This is by no means a dig at those who are already working full-time in x field. On the contrary, that’s great. All I’m saying is that I think we need to be more accepting of those of us who might look as though we’re wandering off course – there isn’t a fixed route, and it’s by no means an indication that we’re doomed for failure.

This isn’t a ‘do what you love and everything will be great yadda yadda’ post. It would be a lie to say that money doesn’t matter. I know that I’d LOVE to be completely financially independent right now. And not only independent, but successful. Nobody wants to struggle with cash-dollar and I certainly don’t want to have to rely on anyone else in that way. But when these thoughts start to feel too much, I remember the other thing that every Tom, Dick and mother’s semi-acquaintance tend to say to me:                                                ‘Twenty-three. You’re so, so young.’ And we are. So why not enjoy it?

Ps. Don’t think I’ve forgotten my Tinder stories  –  they’re on my to do list!

(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