The Singlehood Series: He Asked Me Out On A Date But We Ended Up At A Business Forum

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Have you ever gone on a date just to get it out of the way, knowing fully well that the chances of a future with the guy are almost nil? Well I have. Or maybe I’m just using this as an excuse because things went sour. I don’t know. But what I do know for sure is that I should have stayed home that day. It would’ve saved me a lot of time and embarrassment.

Let’s call this guy Pity and yes, if it isn’t too obvious, this is personification.

Pity had been trying to get me to go on a date with him for a while, but my mind was fixated on someone else who I later learnt was making advances at someone else. Cue Otile Brown’s “Alivyonipenda” when he said Saa zingine anayekupenda humpendi. Unapenda mwingine anayependa mwingine hata asiyempendanga.  (Sometimes the person who likes you isn’t the one you like. You like someone else who likes someone else who doesn’t like them). But that’s a story for another day.

I was on my way back home on a Friday night when I got a text from Pity reminding me that we had a date the following day. I remembered just how much I was looking forward to spending my Saturday in solitude. My social battery was running extremely low especially after spending my Friday with a bunch of friends. But at the same time, I was exhausted from this back and forth we had been having for months. I contemplated on what excuse to give this time and soon realized that it would sound mean if I cancelled once more. Then again, I’m not one to mess with karma. So I chose to tell him that I would be there.

He said he wanted to take me out for cocktails at Dusit D2. He would pick me up the following day at around 2 pm from home. I agreed even though I wasn’t really up for it. He also said that he was picking his dad from the airport at around 7 pm so he would have to leave by 6.30 pm. This could’ve been my chance to say we should postpone because I wouldn’t want him to be late to pick his father, but the thought crossed my mind the next day when I was thinking about the whole ordeal. My consolation, however, was that I would get to dress up and look good, and hey, who wouldn’t want to be taken out to Dusit D2?

Next morning I woke up extremely exhausted and still sceptical about the date. Some part of me was praying to get a text message from him that we weren’t meeting anymore. He didn’t communicate all morning so I assumed something had come up. I should have called to find out what the problem was, and maybe that would have been the normal thing to do, but I went with the flow and extended my nap.

At around 3 pm he called asking if I was ready. He said he had been delayed but was now on his way and would pick me up by 4 pm. At this point I still had my pajamas on and hadn’t even showered. Knowing how long it takes me to get ready, I tried to explain to him reasons why it wouldn’t work. First, I needed a good one and a half hours and there would be no point in getting to the destination and then rushing things seeing as he had to pick his dad up. However, he seemed so determined that I ran out of reasons to call the whole thing off.

I quickly got ready. I tried my best not to overdress. Black jeans and a white halter neck top with lace on the upper bodice. I wore minimalist earrings and held my hair cutely at the back. I also had something to eat because he said cocktails, so I assumed it was just that. But little did I know that he meant a different type of cocktails. Within an hour I was ready.

He picked me up and we drove to a petrol station first and then to Dusit D2 on 14 Riverside Drive. The conversation was so dry that I wondered what we would talk about during the date. It was then that I realized exactly why things could never work out with him. He had no personality and that is one of my biggest pet peeves about guys.

We drove down to the entrance of the hotel and on further inquiry the watchman notified us that the restaurant we were going to was in a different building right next to the gate. We took about ten minutes before finding our exact destination: A building next to Dusit but still within the compound. He opened the door for me and we went up an elevator to the third floor.

When we walked in to the room, I was so sure we were in the wrong place and I had started turning back to leave. There were a bunch of people seated watching a power-point presentation guided by three presenters. I really thought we were lost, but he ushered me in as though he knew exactly what he was doing. The problem was, I was dressed so casually and everyone around me was in formal wear. As soon as we got in everyone’s attention turned to our direction and the speakers had to pause because of all the distraction.

We walked to the back of the room and he offered me a seat. I knew, by this time that I wouldn’t last here too long. What angered me most was when I realized that he knew all along that the date was in fact a business forum. He was dressed for the occasion and even went ahead to say hi to a few of the people in the audience.

He offered me a drink from the restaurant at the corner. I cared to ask “what drink?”

He replied “the cocktails. The ones we came for.” He went over to the bar and came back with two drinks in his hand.

“The restaurant isn’t serving alcoholic drinks so we have to settle for these virgin cocktails,” he whispered in my ear. To be honest, my facial expressions sort of betrayed my attempts to hide my real feelings of disgust.

I didn’t hear anything that the presenters talked about. I know it was something to do with a viable investment opportunity but the context within which this information had found me was not conducive. I couldn’t help but think about the sweet sleep that I could have enjoyed this sunny Saturday afternoon.

Thirty minutes later I called my Uber and notified Pity that I was leaving. He asked me what other plans I had in a way to guilt-trip me into staying. He even dared to say that we were supposed to spend time together, but I wondered just how much time we really had together in this forum. He said that if I left he wouldn’t have the chance to see me again in a while because of school.

However, I wasn’t going to fall for his guilt trips anymore. The weird thing is I wasn’t angry at him. I really just wanted to leave. Maybe some part of me didn’t expect much from him, and with reason.

My Uber came and I walked out of the room still attracting attention. He followed me closely behind. He started inquiring further where exactly I was going and I said home.

I didn’t want to go home straight after because I knew there’d be a million questions surrounding what had happened from my family, and I wasn’t willing to answer them. So I went to a friend’s house and spent the rest of my afternoon there. I told her the whole experience and all she could do was laugh at me. I couldn’t help but think that Pity would never talk to me again, but then again that was not within my control anymore.

The next morning, now Sunday, I woke up to an M-pesa message. Pity had sent me money. When I asked he said it was for what I had spent for my Uber back home. I tried to tell him that he didn’t have to but he insisted that it was the least he could do. “I know yesterday was not what you expected and I didn’t leave up to your expectations, but I promise to do better next time. How’s next week?”

This time I decided not to mince my words. There was no point going out with him just to satisfy his ego when I knew for certain that I was barely interested. I left him a kind message, thanking him for everything but politely declining his request.

I swore to listen to my gut and instincts more. It would have saved me a lot.

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The singlehood series is a collection of real-life stories and opinions from different people. It looks at the current world of dating in Kenya and experiences that people have gone through. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of