Date #5 was with a guy who’d written to me ages ago on OKC, at my other avatar. He’s young–26–and grew up in Brooklyn, therefore interesting me immediately. We chatted on OKC for a while and then moved to whatsapp but I just found it very hard to talk to him. He was very…monotonous? That’s not the right word, but there was something very unresponsive about him. So I got tired of trying to talk and said sorry, I’m out.
When I set up this profile however, he wrote to me again and said I’m giving it another shot. Will you go out with me? What the heck, I thought, and said yes. Once again the texting began, and it was as I remembered it, very deliberate, no fizz, no sense of spontaneity. I nearly cancelled on him again. But then I said no, come on. Do it.
The day rolled around and I was delayed and then we went to my BELOVED 4S Punjabi only to find it had shut down (cue floods of tears). We then wandered around GK2 M block market looking for a place to go, my stomach slowly digesting itself from hunger. Suddenly, I spotted a big orange sign with Camino written on it. There, I said. We’re going there. And we did.
It’s on the 4th floor (sigh, aren’t they all?) but it had a lift. IT also had funny stuff written on the walls on either side of the lift (see photo?). The lower level was dingy and loud and thumpy, but they have a really nice upper floor with big french doors and a nice terrace, so I got daylight AND ac, which made me very happy.
We sat down, he ordered a beer. In all our conversations this had been a big theme with him–I hope there’s beer; I just want beer; I don’t care about the food, they have great deals on beer–which I thought was a bit alcoholic of him, but then I realised that the poor chap doesn’t get to go out much, or drink beer very often, so since he was going out he wanted to capitalize on it. I got myself–of course–a martini. Appletini to be precise and it was YUM. The food was nice too–I got a burger and we got some bravas for starters. The place was empty so the staff was dancing attendance on us.
The drinks came and then we finally began to talk. It turned out that he isn’t unresponsive; he’s just laconic, which doesn’t translate well to texting, unlike me, who’s hyper regardless heh. I apologised for having forgotten everything we’d talked about earlier and asked all those preliminary questions again. We swapped silly stories–he had a good one about calling Houston on work and saying, ‘Listen I need this Monday my time, I’m in India’, only to have the guy respond, ‘That’s ok; I’m in Noida.’ I told him why I’m doing this project, and I also told him that I’m writing about it. He, of course, asked to read, and so I sent him the link.
He told me about his family, the crazy things he did in engineering college, how much he missed New York. There was something we bonded over! I asked him why he was on OKC, and he gave me an answer I did not expect: he said he was looking for love (of course not in those words). Then of course we launched into a discussion of what kinds of relationships work and what are realistic expectations, with me, hopefully not being too patronising, trying to explain that your partner cannot be your everything. No matter how much you love each other, they cannot be the only person you vent to, lean on, find joy with etc. Damn this modern nonsense we’re fed about relationships!
Then he asked me something: ‘Why is it so offensive to look at a girl who is attractive on the street?’ Yes, feminism 101, but the thing is, it’s not like I don’t objectify men, or lecch and so on, but it’s what it stands for for women. It took me a while to get him past the ‘But I’m not going to do anything!’ barrier, but I think he finally came around to understanding that for the women, 1. They don’t know you, so they don’t know you’re not going to do anything, and 2. Most men in India think they are allowed to do anything.
I sat there expounding more theories–like how I deal with people I love who hurt me, as people will always do. And he kept asking me questions about my theories. And so it went, until it was time for me to go. The bill came and I lifted my hand to look at it, but he glared and me and smacked it with his finger so I couldn’t see. Like a dedazo. So I smiled and thanked him, and we parted ways (after I stopped to photograph the lift), with plans to meet again.
I’m glad I went out with him after all, because it brought home to me the fact that my gut is often right, but also many people are at their best in person, and I can’t really buy into their textual personas so completely. This is, after all, the second time this has happened in five dates!