Modern dating is a melting pot of experiences that can leave you breathless in awe and wonder, or totally disillusioned to the point of *swearing off potential partners for good. Many a time when I’ve told others my dating stories, they’ve suggested that I write a book. While my experiences have certainly been interesting enough, I think I’ll leave writing a book for a more substantial topic (if that ever happens). However, I’d be the first to admit that my post-divorce dating escapades have, on occasion, been the stuff of legends.
I am not a fussy dater. I just want to meet someone who has good character, and his own teeth and hair. Ok, so maybe I’m a tad fussy, but once you’ve been in an ill-fitting relationship, the last thing you want to do is get yourself right back into another one. I am not afraid to meet new people. In fact, I quite enjoy it, so this has led me to experiment with meeting many different kinds of people. Also, of course, to silence the naysayers. When you’re single, it seems everyone and their mother has an opinion when it comes to what you should be doing, or who you should be ‘giving a chance’. I am here to tell you that I’ve seen it all. Well, it certainly feels that way. There was the guy with the teeth, the guy who wouldn’t stop talking and the guy who’d gained at least 50 kilo’s since his profile pictures were taken, and that’s a gracious estimation. Now, I know that I’m far from perfect, but there were one or two pearlers that can go down in the dating hall of fame.
One such person was a guy by the name of **Gary. Many, many years ago, I attended an event at another church. The people were pleasant, and I connected with a few of them on LinkedIn. Years went by, and I didn’t give it another thought. Then, in January last year, I logged on to LinkedIn to update my profile, as I’d been quite slack about it (I’ve since improved substantially). I noticed a message in my inbox, one that had been there for six months. LinkedIn is a business platform, so when I saw the message, which simply read “How are you?”, I was intrigued. I assumed he’d messaged me to discuss doing business, as LINKEDIN IS A BUSINESS PLATFORM. Alas, it was not so. Instead, he sent me his number. Being the sleuth that I am, I gathered that his intentions were not to do business. At least not of the professional variety. I tried to recall what I thought of him when I ‘d first met him. I had a vague recollection of small hands, but I wasn’t sure if they were his, or if I’d remembered incorrectly. I wasn’t crazy about the way he approached me, but we started talking nonetheless. It was a Friday. I had dinner plans with a friend later that evening. I should have seen the red flag flapping in the wind when our friend Gary said he was ‘really into me’. How, I thought, could that be possible? Especially since we hadn’t seen each other in years. I ignored my gut feeling (lesson number 5078 in the purpose of gut feelings) and continued chatting with him. He asked if we could go for a drink. I said yes because I was curious. There’s a reason my mentor says curiosity is a bad thing. Instead of accepting the date I suggested, our friend Gary insisted on meeting that same afternoon. I agreed and asked my friend to meet me at the restaurant a little later so that we could go to dinner from there. There was no way I was cancelling my dinner plans for some stranger who was being insistent, but I thought it best to meet him and get it over with. I mentioned that my friend would meet me there, and he had no problem with it. He was just dying to meet me.
When I walked into the restaurant, he got up to greet me. I realised that he was indeed quite a bit shorter than me. Nevertheless, we ordered a drink and started chatting. After exchanging pleasantries, Gary told me that he was in a good space in his life, and he was ready for a serious relationship. He said he’d dealt with all his issues, and he was ready to move forward with someone. Having been on a few dates over the years, I know that there’s always more to what people tell you, so I asked him a few questions. Because, even though he said he was ready, that wasn’t the feeling I was getting. He was too eager to convince me. People who are ready are just ready, they don’t go around convincing others of their readiness.
After a little bit more prodding, he said he’d left his job to go work for a woman he’d fallen in love with. He’d also moved in with her, so, when she’d kicked him out to go back to her husband, his life was in a shambles. He took great care to emphasise that, though she’d broken his heart, he had healed from the trauma and had moved on. I thought it was unfortunate, but these things happen, right?
Well…thankfully I had the good sense to ask him when she left him. From the way he explained it, I assumed it had been a couple of years, at least, so you can imagine my shock when he said she kicked him out in December. Just a reminder that this date took place in January. I said: “This December, as in a couple of weeks ago?”. I have one of those faces that can’t hide the truth, no matter how hard it tries. It tries though, shame. He could tell I wasn’t impressed.
As things stood, he was in training to sell insurance of some kind. They don’t pay you while you’re in training, so he was technically jobless. He was sleeping on a friend’s couch, so he was technically ‘between places’. Here was this adult man, who, due to a series of appalling decisions on his part, did not have his shit together. At all. Yet he wanted to get into a serious relationship. The irony of the situation blew my mind. I tried my best to be polite, because I always try to be a good date, even when I know I will never see the guy again. And I knew I would never see this guy again.
Shortly after these revelations, my friend showed up for our dinner appointment. I was so relieved to see her. We made small talk for a little while and said our goodbyes to Gary. Later that evening I received a message from Gary on LinkedIn. They’d robbed him and stolen his phone at the Gautrain station, he said.
The next day, Gary messaged me to let me know that he was back online and that he’d sorted out a temporary phone. I was not in a position to chat with him. I told him that, and he said that I’d judged him because of his situation. He blocked me on chat, but not before delivering the most epic line in all my dating history, one that I still use in jest often.
He said: “Whatever, Marinda, you’re a time waster”.
And there you have it. Marinda is a time waster.
*murder. **name changed to protect the author.
Until next time,