One of the great aspects about writing for Project 44 is the fact that we get to virtually interact with a lot of people; an exciting experience. Often times, we chat with Project 44 fans; mainly about the article of the week. So on this day, one of the fans had read a piece that caught her attention and she was telling me that at some point she thought she would never find love and when she was almost giving up, she met a pleasant dude; they have been dating for months and had started talking long-term plans. It got me thinking that actually contrary to popular belief, there are some good guys out there – I am already a convert but I was happy to be preached to – that even in the maze (Project 44 jargon for dating scene), there is some sanity.
So this fan asked me why we have never shared personal experiences on the blog. Well, this is a no-brainer; when you write for an audience that reads every week but remains anonymous, one does not know to what extent to talk/write about oneself. But her question got me thinking that if I were to share a personal experience, what would it be? It made me travel back in time, a journey that instantly got me smiling; and I decided to share it. I have to say that if you are looking for something epic, loaded with potent doses of advice, unfortunately this post does not bear that sort of gravitas but hope you will enjoy reading nevertheless.
I will leave the details of how we met out( how he ended up with my phone number etc) and start with the killer phone call which set the ball rolling. It was the previous week; I was in the car with my brother-in-law and my sister. My phone rang, I answered the call and what I heard left me breathless. “Hi Fridah, this is X.” My heart fibrillated, the kind of irregular beat that can get any cardiologist alarmed. But alas, I was alive, that baritone, that voice, that composure, that polished English; everything had conspired to get me absolutely smitten. When I got off the phone, I asked my bro-in-law to open the car windows; I was perspiring. I had said yes to a date (as if there was even a small possibility that I might say no ;)). So the day arrives, I am running errands with my sister; she is driving and I am sitting next to her looking at myself in the mirror, wondering if I look up to this meet. I ask for anti-shine because I think I need to close up the pores to stop sweating. She gives me lip gloss too, I do some touches here and there and as far as I look, the date is set! But my sister is wondering what has hit me because she has never seen me prepare for a date like this. She has a look that says ‘I am very curious and kind of concerned here’ ;).
I drop off and walk to my date venue. The setting is Blancos restaurant at Yaya. The time is evening and the month is August – let us leave the year out. I arrived early and from where I sat at Blancos, I could see the traffic had started building up. I thought to myself that he was going to be late and I was going to be quite cross – I cannot deal with people who do not keep time. So I sip on my glass of juice and when I have just cooled off, my phone rings. He is calling to say that he is around the corner and that I should not be worried – that baritone again. Jesus! What a refined voice, just the voice got my big toe cold; it kind of gave me what medics call a ‘Babinski sign’ (blush and grin). After a few minutes (he actually did not have to call because he was pulling into the parking lot), he appeared, I was glad I was sitted because I went weak – I swear I have no idea what was happening to me that August. A lot of instincts were awakened; here he was in his full grandeur, walking grandly, looking absolutely smashing – and he knew it. I felt a bit under-dressed but I did not want to look like I had ‘worked on it’ too much. (You know when your job involves jeans and t-shirts and then you appear in the city and have to do heels and the works, it can be a bummer) .
He walks towards me, and breaks into a smile. I melt. I stand up and give him a peck; he pulls my chair for me to sit. I am surprised but I do not show it. This guy is a public figure so this place turned out just perfect because it was not busy; the proprietor of Blancos knows him, they exchange pleasantries and we settle down to talk. All this time I am looking at him, acting completely composed although deep inside, I was like an ice-cube under a Bunsen burner – melting.
So we sat there, sipped juice, chatted away into a cool evening. We ordered dinner and continued chatting the evening away. Nothing specific, general stuff about life. He was a good listener, very good. His public profile had not gotten to his head – he was not self absorbed – and if he was, it did not show. I found this very attractive. But even more attractive was the way he listened and asked questions. We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. As with all things in life, this date had to come to an end. It was time to drive me home and of course I made sure that I introduced him to my siblings. They understood why I was perspiring and why I needed anti-shine – he made quite an impression on them too.
What followed were a series of dates, which catapulted me to into this world of chivalry; where men pull chairs out for their women, take your coat when you arrive at the restaurant, help you when you reach out for your shawl to shield from a cold breeze and even more fascinating, open the car door for you! I mean a guy drives you, pulls up to park, tells you he is on his way to open the car door – this takes patience. I had told you that I was not about to convey some ground breaking news here. The news is that it reminded me that there is a little girl (and little boys too!) in most of us that are looking to be treated as kings and queens; we desire to live life, and enjoy it to the fullness, with its little nice surprises.
Now share your experience, won’t you? And have a great week!