I have a weird recurring nightmare about my worst date.
I would walk into the restaurant clutching my handbag on one hand and my coat on the other. I would probably call my date to pinpoint the exact location he would be seated. Hopefully next to a window. The warm orange walls and hushed banter would be a welcome thing from the hooting and shouting of cars and hawkers. The tasteful artwork would distract me for a moment as I reminisced about the chances I did not take in art school. Tottering to the table with the date I would appreciate the comfortable seats. Not those dainty glass looking chairs that cannot support an African derrière(too much wedding shows). My date would be seated with his back to me giving me a chance to appreciate his shoulders and manly profile. I would sit across from him catching a whiff of his musky cologne and I would be glad I had come.
Glancing at the clock I would probably say something like
“Traffic wasn’t bad today”. He would grant his reply and I would try with utmost difficulty to stop my eyes from rolling to the back of my skull.
I should have just commented on the weather, probably said something clever like
“It’s a cook house out there today.” But that wouldn’t be a good idea since Mr. No face would have his shirt buttoned to the throat with his tie secured tightly around it like a hangman’s noose.
I would proceed to hang my jacket on the back of my seat enough time to roll my eyes to kingdom come then I would turn back to face the date ready for the ordeal to begin.
At this particular moment, I probably would be 35 years old and the pastor in my church would have seen it prudent to set me up with brother Jeremiah. That would be the guys name. Can you imagine a Ruth and a Jeremiah? What would we do steal Naboths land? But he is the pastors choice so I would sit-down dreaming of quenching my thirst with a tall glass of something cold. The first thing staring at me from the menu camel milk. I would flip to another page to be met by the dream drink of the century. A minty pineade. I start having a vision of the drink. Tall sweaty glass stirred to perfection with lots of crushed ice. My parched throat would constrict thinking of it.
Mr. No face would look at me and without batting an eyelash would say,
“I have already ordered.”
I would try to quell the words “Good for you” but I probably would be tired from wherever I was coming from and the hot sun. Then I would think of the drink and would add a smile instead.
“I have ordered for both of us”, he would add impatiently.
Shock. Alarm. Breath.
“Oh ok!” I Smile then I put the menu down and await the order.
After about thirty minutes the food would arrive. Yes, there would be no tall drink first. In front of me will be placed Spaghetti Bolognese with the reddest sauce you have ever seen. The waiter will then place a spoon next to me and order, “EAT!” And the guy would start to laugh hysterically his face coming slowly to focus.
In Real life, my dates are not so scary. They are weird but never scary.
Take for example this particular one I went to last year. Don’t judge me for what I am about to say. Ok! you can judge me a little.
I usually don’t like dates. Too many hours spent getting ready only to be disappointed. Usually, it is the conversation that is as dull as dishwater. Other times it is just because it is exhausting to put up a front. Let me rephrase that. I love the prospect of potentially free food (depends on how manly the date wants to show himself to be) I just don’t like the expectations that come with it.
So, on this hot September afternoon, I am standing at archives waiting for said guy. Dates that starts at Archives are never successful dates unless of course, you finish with a boat ride in Uhuru park. On this day, hades had a crack and the heat spewed on earth. The sort of day you would rather go swimming even though the only thing you may be able to do is jump from the deep end over and over again. And no it is not because of some suicidal thoughts. Probably because its practicing for bungee jumping that is somewhere on the bucket list. But you said you will be here. And the scouts motto says always honor your promises. Of course, Yours truly is totally being fried, burned to crisp thanks to an abundance of melanin.
I was early, he wasn’t late.
We zigzag to the eatery in the heart of Nairobi city. I finally realised why women should always choose the restaurant but I just want to get out of the sun and his ancestors. Claustrophobia is kicking in. The nearest window is a gazillion light years away, blocked by this mammoth of a man and his brood. I start to breathe heavy but I cannot say that I need the window. I need to see outside my mind screams or to smell the polluted Nairobi air. I need bloody air!
The waitress takes one look at me and says They do have a place upstairs if we would like to go there. I immediately shuffle to my feet and rush to the stairs. Thank God there are windows and lots of space. There is something off about the place, though. Something I can’t put my hands on. A different waitress comes to the table.
Menu is out, I grab mine for common courtesy (see this are the things I was talking about?) then just say
“I will have fries.”
A friend of mine once told me if you are in a place where you don’t’ know what to order just go with fries.
“Fries are the only sure bet when you go to a not so uhm good place. Order dried not those masala things.”
According to her masala is usually left over fries. Those half plates you see people carrying to the kitchen? Yes, those ones. They are just dropped into a big pot and stirred with tomatoes and chilli and voila!
As the waitress turns to leave my eyes are drawn to the posterior. Lawd! The woman has nothing but a loin cloth. I look around. There are different beauties scattered around the place. All in a certain form of undress, because there is absolutely no way they are dressed. I am talking women with asses from her to Timbuktu man. Covered with pieces of Ankara looking loin clothes as they swarmed every section I look around and I am probably the only girl in the world/ room; a really overdressed girl in a vest and a pair of blue jeans.
Can I just say it was the hardest date that guy has ever had? I have never been so invested in eye contact as I was that day. My irises hurt just thinking about it.