I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve never had a “boyfriend”. Like a real boyfriend. One that takes you out to a nice restaurant or the movies, buys you flowers and chocolates, visits you at home, calls you every night/morning, tells his family and friends about you…that kind of boyfriend. The concept always eluded me.
I was always “seeing” someone i.e. casual chatting to the person for a few days, weeks or months or until facets of our incompatibility manifested and it became apparent that he was most certainly not “the one”. I’ve also been on many dates, where I usually meet someone I deem to be interesting and we attempt to get to know one another over coffee or a meal. Most of these first dates usually tend to be the last ones too and it’s become surprisingly easy to tell if we would be compatible or not in the first 10 minutes of meeting.
I look at my date as a business transaction. I contemplate those traits I want from a life partner i.e. sincerity, honesty, confidence etc. and then try to consolidate what I’m looking for in a man compared to what the date is offering. I weigh the pros and cons, and the results will either lead to a second meeting or be adios for good. Now I’m not picky in the typical sense, my main criteria being that he should at least be Decent, but certain factors are advantageous. Like an honest man who’s not trying to impress me. Someone who’s sincere in who he is, and is not trying to be someone else. Someone who’s confident but not arrogant. Someone who doesn’t have to make me feel inferior so that he looks good. I look at all types of things…internal and external.
I’ve had some really good dates in the past but they didn’t pan out, either because we were in different stages of our lives, wanting different things or because we didn’t value the same things. I’ve also had some horrendous dates, where I cringed the entire time and couldn’t wait to go home. Those kinds of dates that leave me wishing I was a lesbian or a eunuch. They make me question the very nature of dating and what purpose it supposedly serves.
I met Ismail* after I graduated and began working full time at a firm not far away from the University. We had a mutual friend and we soon became friends as well…we hit it off from the beginning. He was still a student, two years younger than me, so I didn’t have any romantic inclination and expectations from our friendship because I never went for younger guys. He had a lot of free time in between his classes and we would spend hours talking and laughing after I was done at work or during my lunch hour. He was very easy going, had a great sense of humour and his laid-back approach to life appealed to me. So it didn’t surprise me when he suggested that we go to a movie one evening, and I complied under the impression that our other friends would meet us there.
We arrived and fifteen minutes into playing the waiting game, he informed me that they weren’t coming and suggested that we get our tickets before the movie began. At this point, I kinda realised that I was tricked into this date with him, but went along with it anyway. So we stood in the lengthy queue and I paid for myself because as a student, he didn’t have enough money for the both of us. I also ended up buying the popcorn – all of which I didn’t mind, because I knew that he couldn’t afford it. It was on our way home, when he took my hand that I freaked out. A few days later I explained to him that while I really enjoyed his company, it would not be fair to lead him on because we both wanted different things and I was ready for a serious relationship that was heading somewhere, while he was not. The entire scenario was not really horrendous, just awkward, even after he conned me into a date.
I should have known that Shuaib* was a freak when he called me 17 times on the first day we met. Actually, we hadn’t even met in person, just on the phone when another mutual friend decided to introduce us. He asked me if he could take me out for coffee so I said yes, assuming he meant on the weekend. He pitched up at my house the very next day after driving for 2 hours to get there, in the middle of the week. What was even worse, was that he pitched up with 4 of his friends and they all had to meet my family, while he bragged about his brand new black BMW 325i and told me that I was so privileged to be the first girl allowed in his car. I was hesitant at first, but considered the fact that he drove so far to meet me and eventually agreed to talk some more over coffee. I squeezed in at the back of the car, with 3 of his friends and off we all went for coffee and cake, while he chatted away about his various homes, his Ferrari, his Lexus, his dad’s mansion, his Rolex, his Versace shirt…you name it. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled at all and I couldn’t wait to get out of there and I conveniently “lost” his number and changed mine.
It was the night of my birthday, and Naeem* wanted to take me out to celebrate. I had never been out with him before and he decided that we should go to Spur because he craved for some good steak. I acquiesced, because I didn’t really mind where we went. We were seated in the restaurant and the waitress brought the menu’s but he had already decided that we should have one of those Spur Steak Fillet’s (I can’t remember the name of the dish) with a variety of sauces. I went along with everything, because I didn’t mind, steak is steak, I was starving and as long as it was Halaal, I didn’t really care.
So imagine my surprise when the waitress hands me a huge piece of raw steak, a heated tile and a few spices/sauces.
Naeem had ordered one of those meals, where the tile is heated long enough to retain heat so that you have the pleasure of cooking your own steak with various spices, just the way you like it. Even though I was starving and not really looking forward to still cooking my meal, I didn’t mind because I’m up for anything and it was even fun. I was laughing, chatting and cooking away while he grew irritated and grim. Apparently his tile was not heated enough, so his steak was not adequately cooked and he asked the waiter for another heated tile. She brought it in no time, and we resumed chatting while I spiced up my steak and braised it on the other side and he resumed basting his steak on the hot tile. In the ten minutes that conversation lapsed, my steak was ready for consumption while his other tile grew cold. His cutlet was still half raw and he demanded that they take it to the kitchen and cook it for him. I decided to wait for him because I didn’t want to eat alone but he insisted that I begin and he became more agitated. I offered him a few of my chips which he took grudgingly and began to eat very slowly.
Twenty minutes later, the waitress brings him a brand new prime piece of steak. He was furious because it was not the original piece of steak that he was trying to cook and he demanded to see the manager. I tried to laugh it off and told him to relax, that he was ruining everything by being so uptight. The restaurant was packed to the brim, so quite understandably, we would have had to wait a few minutes for the manager to come, but waiting just made him angrier. He complained to the manager, and they eventually brought him his original steak, cooked to perfection. Almost 2 hours had lapsed since we arrived, I had already eaten all my food but I was still in a good mood.
After he had eaten and it was time to leave, he paid but refused to tip the waitress. So I took out a few coins from my purse to tip her and he got angry with me. He told me that their service was shite and that she didn’t deserve a tip.
It was at this point that I lost it. My cool, light-hearted composure gave way and I gave him a piece of my mind. I told him that he was being childish and that even though things didn’t work out the way he wanted them to, she still deserved her tip because she earned it by trying to meet his endless demands. I was so angry with him for ruining what could have been a perfectly good evening by whining like a kid that I demanded he take me home and refused to go out with him again.
I think that it was Yasin's* cousin who initially suggested that we catch a movie in Rosebank one late summer’s evening. He suggested it because he knew that Yasin was a spineless bastard that would never ask a girl out for a chat, even though we were attracted to each other at the time. I could tell that Yasin was a little apprehensive about going out so late on a week night but he soon warmed up to the idea and they came to pick me up around 7pm. I wasn’t working at the time, so I didn’t mind and with his cousin as a chaperone, we were soon on the road to Rosebank. An hour later, we stood in front of the movies, trying to decide what to watch. I suggested we go and see “Jumper” with Hayden Christensen and since there wasn’t anything more enticing, they decided to go with my suggestion. I offered to pay for my ticket, knowing that Rosebank’s tickets are overpriced but Yasin refused my money, saying he’ll take care of it. He then went to the Usher who was standing outside, offered him a bribe with what was equivalent to the price of one ticket, and he let me go in for free. So in essence, he didn’t even pay for my ticket. I felt scandalous and despite their protests, I bought the popcorn and coke that the three of us were to share for the evening. After the movie, he told me that it was shite and that he would have preferred watching one of the other movies, as if accusing me of making a bad decision that ruined his evening. I afforded him his opinion because he was entitled, but I thought he was a bit rude and knew right then, that it wasn’t meant to be.
I honestly can’t even remember how or where I met Farhaad*. All I can remember is that he was very enthusiastic, about everything and nothing in particular. He took me to some Moroccan restaurant and after chatting for a bit he seemed distracted, like he wasn’t interested in what I was saying and he was barely paying attention. He ate his food in 2 minutes, literally, and told me to hurry up because he wanted to go for a walk. His behaviour was odd, and I prolonged my meal until he got up to pay for it, signaling that I was done. We then took a walk around the block and he suggested that we go to the park, in the pitch dark of night. My alarm bells were ringing at this stage and I refused…he begged me; literally got on his knees…he really really wanted to go to the park. I briefly ran through my years at karate, refreshing my memory and planned my escape. I wasn’t in the mood to be murdered or raped that night and I headed straight back into the restaurant and called a friend. Thankfully, I never saw him again.
I have to get new friends who can introduce me to new people. Or maybe I really should try speed dating.
*Names changed to protect identities