I hate dating. I mean it's fun but ultimately, there's always this undertone of "Will this go anywhere?" I don't like that feeling. But since I'm in Cape Town, I'm a journalist (like Carrie from Sex and the City ) and I'm twenty-two, I feel like this is the time to date. Before I get married, pop out kids and spend my life cooking, cleaning and picking up socks.
The first date, let's call him Sfanele, I met while I was changing out of my heels and into slops outside my office building. Sfanele said, "Can I help you take that off?"
Great start. I should definitely keep swapping shoes.
It turned out he worked around the corner from me so we have drinks every week after work. He's lovely. He fills my glass for me, is fabulous company and has a sense of humour. Sfanele took me to my now-favourite hang out spot in Cape Town, a Cuban restaurant called Buena Vista. In fact, Sfanele is so lovely that I want to keep him as a friend. Because, as I discovered, once you've dated, you can't be friends.
A week later, I was walking along the beach near my house when I met Matthew.
Matthew is wonderful. Tall, caramel complexion and completely my type. Matthew and I go out a lot. Well, tonight would be the seventh time. We had a wonderful evening in Camps Bay overlooking the beach, hung out in two gay clubs and are touring the trendiest places in Cape Town. Last week, he bought me flowers. I wonder what he'll do for Valentine's Day... I think the loveliest moments being with Matthew are when we're just driving around the city listening to music.
After I got my hair done, Matthew (who, incidentally, lives around the corner from me) said, "You look really beautiful." He got the tone of voice just right. I felt beautiful. Then we had lunch at The Peninsula.
Alas, after a month, Matthew is starting to wonder why I still haven't kissed him. By my calculations, this is the point when the complications arise. Because from here onwards, we will be discussing this issue every single time I see him. The problem is as wonderful as Matthew is, I want butterflies. Yes, I am one of those romantic idiots who believe in feeling giddy and head-over-heels love. Pity. Matthew may have to go now.
Then there's my latest date, Nelisa. Nelisa is cute. I met him after church when I was reading a book at an overpriced restaurant in The Waterfront overlooking Table Mountain. He was one of the waiters and left his number on my bill. So I smsed and we had drinks last night. He's funny and sweet and can barely make eye contact with me. I like that.
Then the bill came.
I took out my wallet and asked, "How much do I owe?"
He was supposed to say, "Don't worry, I'll take care of it." Right? Because if I wanted to pay for myself, I wouldn't be on a date. You don't invite someone on a first date and then expect them to pay. Maybe the second date, but not the first.
He says, "I'll pay R50." So I paid for myself. Is it too much to ask to be queen for one night?
I grew up with a dad who bought us Magnums after school, opened the car door and gave us his jersey when we were cold. I still wear his jerseys. When I was a teenager, Dad said, "A pastor once told me to spoil my daughters, so that when you meet a man, you can say, 'My dad treated me better than this.'"
Well, Dad, your grand plan worked. I have standards. High ones. I hope you're happy. I am.
What are your date non-negotiables? Does he have to pay? Open your door? Not do any of those things? And... how's a modern day guy to know?