Paper and Ink, Series

Paper and Ink: Let’s not try to get to know each other

By Emmeline Bisiikwa, Uganda:

The other day, I met a nice guy; at least I thought he was. We went through the usual motions, talking with an agenda. Of course he was trying to be impressive and I was trying to appear interested.

I don't usually do dates, but he asked if I had been on one before. I said I hadn't and he wondered what kind of guys I had been seeing in the past. He offered to treat me to a date I would never forget. It was my experimental mood that dragged me down that road, I swear!

I don't know anyone that has been on a real date; I mean, besides married couples and serious couples. I know most people prefer to hang out, hook up and Skype. The idea of a date is an awkward one. What guy wants to plan in advance, spend his hard earned money on a meal and fail to impress the girl?

Despite my initial reluctance and inexperience, I decided to enjoy my coming-of-age moment. I had no ssenga or friends to advise me on what to do as I assumed people who had been down that road before me had done. I had always dreamed of a date the way people do about weddings; flowers, the nice dress, pick up limo and guy dressed to kill on charming behavior.

He burst my first bubble when he asked me to meet him at a restaurant downtown. How was I to get my elegantly Chanel dressed self to a place in the center of town in my really high stripper heels without a car? The potholes that littered the road like rubbish in a slum; the swerving boda boda riders that could knock you down at any second; the men carrying loads on their heads and hissing for you to give them way; and the taxi drivers who sped like mad men and kept honking at you. I didn't want to have to change my outfit choice and I had no car. I could not ask one of my many male admirers to drop me there. Call me the modern woman but who did that?

Finally, I decided on using a boda boda. I hoped no one would see me in my expensive knee length sheath dress and that my hair would not be messed up by the wind. I looked at the ground and avoided eye contact with everyone and anyone.

I arrived before him. The décor was cozy and warm with green walls and orange booth seats. I sat in a corner and waited. I hate being alone at restaurants and looking like a damsel in distress so I placed my headsets in my ears and listened to music.

In a time where casual is sexy and caring creepy, I hoped he wouldn't take this to mean I liked him more than he liked me. It was wise to play your cards close to your chest and not fall in love. He showed up 30 minutes late to my dismay. I hate waiting; I mean has he looked at me? I never had to wait with the number of people clambering to fulfill my needs.

He was sloppy in Jeans and T-shirt. He was tall and attractive with a Mohawk haircut. I had been attracted to him because of his obvious good looks but now I felt over dressed and I resented him for not matching up to my expectations. guy that couldn't be bothered to dress up had no appeal for me. This was supposed to be a date, not a Chameleone concert. I struggled to maintain my composure and used the polite smile my mother had taught me to fake, because ladies got to see the better part of the world.

He ordered for me, rice and chicken stew. The food was mouthwatering and I decided I would have liked being at this restaurant under different circumstances. The waiters were attentive and kept coming by to ask if we needed anything else. He talked throughout the dinner, things meant to impress me. Like how he had a new deal, where he liked to hang out, how hot his exes were. I gave up when he got to his Jeep and how much it cost, about halfway through the dinner. No free meal was worth pretending to be nice to a show off all night. I excused myself and left.

He dispelled my notions of a date and chivalry and love. Clearly some men were young boys and women were stuck in the middle ages if we still expected to meet prince charming at a ball where he would chase after us with the glass slipper; that is if the shoe fits anyway.

And so, I return to harmless flirtations on Facebook and twitter, hanging with friends at the mall, gossiping about men and money. The occasional movie indoors that is free of charge and cozy. Anything, for a pressure-free surprise.

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