As I always do in moments of argh and meh I returned to tinder, where I ran into #18. He was cute and seemed quite fluent, and had a big consulting job–so of course being the professionalist I am I decided it would be interesting to meet. Okay, okay, we also did have a fairly interesting chat, despite Tinder’s execrable chat function and well both our busy lives. After much wriggling we managed to find a day that worked for both of us and all that remained was picking the place. He lives near CP, which I forgot, but he was in the area so he agreed to pick me up and drop me off, because this was my last semi-free weekend before I left for the US and I was exhausted.
As we were texting away to figure this out I was in a taxi with a beloved consultant friend, who then decided to do a background check because he was bored. Only, no matter what we did, we couldn’t place the guy at the company he said he was working for–he seemed to have left two years ago and moved to something else. )What’s interesting here is how much we got off LinkedIn and Facebook. Heads up people who are trying to obfuscate professional details…) I nearly asked the guy about the discrepancy, but then figured it would be creepy to say I’d been Googling him.
The day of the date arrives, Sunday, and he tells me he’s hungover from crazy partying with friends the previous night. ‘I have a bottle of Red Label in my car; why don’t we just drink that?’ I decline the carobar idea, because hello rules, and tell him no we’ll go out. He turns up at the appointed hour and I race downstairs to meet him. We decided we’d check out this tiny little dive bar in the Vasant Square mall, called Pocket Bar (the theory behind the name being that it’s easy on your pocket) and if we don’t like it revert to 100% Rock. I’d been meh about the date so I’d gotten dressed up as an attempt to get in the mood, but now I’m overdressed.
We enter Pocket Bar and I physically recoil from the volume, the heat and the smell. It isn’t a bad smell, but it’s a smell and it makes its presence felt. The only light is red. There are two guys and a girl, likely from an African country, sitting at one table, and one desi guy sprawled all over the couch behind another one. We are led to a table between those two and sit down. We order drinks and decide we’ll cut after the one drink.
He’s wearing a sweatshirt and jeans, and is cleanshaven with short hair. He smells nice too. He’s easy to talk to; he actually makes an effort and asks me questions about myself, while also replying well. He asks me about my experience on Tinder so far and I tell it’s been quite bad. He agrees, saying he’s met only one other girl, and talked to a couple. He tells me the story of one girl, who he was talking to for a while, who then asked him to come over and hook up. ‘I can’t do it like that,’ he says, ‘and I told her also, come and meet me once. I don’t know if I can have sex with you until we’ve actually met in person!’ I express my agreement and tell him some stories of my own.
I tell him about #6, who was my most depressing Tinder experience on balance, and he is amazed that someone would act like that. It’s funny how everyone is amazed at guys who blow hot and cold and make wild statements, but then they go ahead and do it themselves… But I digress. At this point the guy sprawled over the table next to us calls out to us. Come and join me he’s yelling, and we politely mumble no. ‘Nahin, just come and sit here with me na’ he yells again. I can see my date get fidgety, as desi boys do when in such situations (who can blame them?), and so I take charge. ‘No,’ I shout back. ‘Thank you, but we’re on a date and we don’t want to join you.’ I firmly turn back to my date and ask him a question. He catches on and leans forward to have a very oblivious conversation. ‘We’re leaving soon,’ he mutters to me, and I nod.
Drinks done, we call for the bill and hurry out of there as fast as we can. Laughing at what a crap bar that is, we go back to the car. ‘Now what?’ he asks me. We could go to 100% Rock, but I’m tired and cold and I just want to go home. So I invite him back. I warn him that we only have cheap booze though, no Red Label in my house. ‘Arre, I’m also not that posh,’ he assures me, and I’m thinking hmmm, point in favour of no longer being in big consulting role eh? But about five minutes later, he decided he’d rather go for a drive, because it’s nice weather. ‘Go get the bottle and we’ll go for a drive; I don’t want to be indoors.’ It takes a lot of persuasion but finally I get him to agree to come up to my magic balcony and then we’ll see about a drive.
He comes up and the flatmate and his girlfriend are in the balcony. Oops. Luckily we have another one, so we retire there to talk. He sits close to me and so I lean against him, and I can feel his heart racing against my arm. I’m amused and slightly puzzled. I didn’t think I could make someone that nervous that fast. We sit there and chat, and I finally ask him about the work thing. He tells me he’s working at the other place sort of on loan from the fancy place, and he’s anyway planning to phase it all out to start his own thing. He asks me what I want to do and I tell him my professional worries. ‘Just go and open a restaurant,’ he urges me, and I have to explain that my good tambram salaried mentality can barely wrap itself around freelancing, forget about own business!
It’s getting late now and he hasn’t made a move, though I think he wants to. He just seems really nervous–terrified even. I’m falling asleep, so I give up. ‘Time for bed,’ I tell him, and so we part ways.