I think I went on a date the other day.
As I’m sure you know, if you’ve ever had any interaction with the opposite sex (though hey, what are gay/lesbian people – mind readers? Let’s amend that. If you’ve had any romantic interaction ever), this isn’t an exact science.
There’s no way of knowing for sure. But I do have a very serious suspicion I was being wooed. Let’s look at the evidence:
- He is straight
- We met at a fancy venue, full of low lighting, soft talking and ambience
- He was wearing a button-up shirt (in Cape Town this is particularly impressive)
- He is straight
- All my friends think it was a date
- He paid for our overpriced drinks
- A follow up was planned
- Did I mention that he’s straight? (I can’t emphasise this enough. Cape Town is known as South Africa’s Pink Capital because so many gay and lesbian people live here. Now I am open to people of any sexuality, colour or religion, but the sheer volume of gay men living here cuts down my dating odds considerably.)
Good friend Rachel, after I told her about the experience and asked for her was-it-a-date wisdom, immediately and excitedly asked; “Did he kiss you?” I gave her a baleful stare and dryly replied, “I think that would have given it away.” I know I’m not the brightest crayon in the box, but jeesh I’m not an idiot.
Another reason I think it was a date is because he’s good with numbers. Any one of several metaphors will suffice here: like moth to a flame, bees to honey, or Dutch supporters to orange face paint; people that are good with numbers are drawn to me: actuarial scientists, mathematicians, accountants and engineers.
I think it’s a curiosity thing. It’s the only logical explanation, really. There are no unexplored lands left, but there are BA students and the linguistically skilled. The only time I encounter numbers is when I get the bill: I find it a confusing labyrinth of stress and digits. And it’s not a woman thing – lots of women are good at Maths! It’s a Sam thing. My brothers were given all the number genes, but alas, I was numerically short changed. My little brother Angus does complicated sums in his head all the time, and sure, his job will one day pay him a massive salary; but I know to use a full stop instead of a smiley face. Who’s the real winner now, hey?
Anyway. Considering I was out for drinks with a straight man in Cape Town, I guess I should have looked better than I did. I was woefully under-dressed because of my new infatuation with flat shoes. I have three pairs – cute black takkies (which, with all the World Cup gees, I have walked all over Cape Town with), black slip ons (all the better to wear skirts with, my dear) and a pair of striped canvas takkies (described by my Joburg friend Lisa as both “very Cape Town” and “very nautical”). My point is though, that little black takkies, regardless of how adorable they are, are not is-it-a-date shoes. To meet friends with, yes. But for a first date? Well… not really.
This wardrobe calamity could easily have been avoided if I’d known whether it was a date or not. If people gave clear signals instead of hints, said things outright instead of alluding to them – well, would the dating world be better? Or would it be kind of mediocrely boring? The card game UNO (you win by yelling UNO! as you put your last card down) wouldn’t be much fun if everyone started with one card. It’s the process of getting to that one card; the anxiety, excitement, stress, and glee as cards collect and disappear, as you compete with other people to be the first there, that makes the game worth playing. But on the other hand, Uno has a clear set of rules; and losing an Uno game doesn’t end in a broken heart.
I feel compelled to conclude that it’s better the way it is; that the uncertainty makes it exciting. But I also think that people make dating more complicated than it needs to be.
There’s a Greek myth (I’m hazy on the details) that man was originally made with two heads, four arms, and four legs; but man was too powerful and the gods were threatened by this strength. So the gods tore man apart, condemning him to spend the rest of his life looking for his other half.
Sure, that sounds romantic, but don’t forget that this was how the dating game was born.
Maybe I should just get involved in a lesbian love triangle. It would certainly make for a far more interesting blog entry.