How I Met Your Father: The Stand You Up Guy

What a girl looks like when stood up

Kids, dating is a lot like playing the lottery – you don’t know what the next ticket might bring. Pots of cash or a total dud, it’s a total gamble.

As I discovered over the course of the 28 dates journey, more often than not, you’ll get a lot of duds – men who are utterly boring, totally chauvinistic or those who just don’t bother to show up at all.

And while smarting from my latest no-show date, who conveniently developed the flu two hours before our date, I pondered the genesis of this flaky male specimen:

Meet the Stand You Up Guy.

This is the one who generally messages you via the online dating site like a lovesick puppy, constantly wanting to know how you are, what you are doing, promising you the moon and the stars in romance and begging to meet you in person. Which you eventually agree to but he fails to show up for.

Over the past 18 months since my challenge started, I had quite a few of these Stand You Up Guys…

June 2014 …

There was Sporty Carter, who taught soccer to school learners, loved fast cars, enjoyed snuggling while watching romantic movies and was keen to get out of his comfort zone by dating a classy girl like me, he said.

Sounded great to me, since I was trying to get away from the tortured artist type I usually fall for, and we agreed to meet at Alexander Bar one winter evening. As I was dressing for this date an hour before our meeting time, Sporty Carter texted me to say he couldn’t make it because it was raining – which at the time it wasn’t!

Disappointed but not too mad, I agreed to reschedule the date to the following Saturday at Primi Piatti at the V&A Waterfront.

Now, Kids, Primi Piatti is one of my favourite restaurant chains, and I particularly love the V&A branch for its views and friendly waiters. I often dine there on my own during my me time but even I wasn’t prepared to sit there alone, during a busy rugby match day.

Which is what Sporty Carter, the ass, made me do for 40 minutes, without so much as a text or call to say he’d be late. When I eventually gave in to the urge to ask him where he was, I got a “Sorry, I got caught up at work. Can’t make it.”

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Are you freaking kidding me?!!! I’d given this jerk a second chance and he was standing me up AGAIN?!!!  Oh hell no!

To put it mildly, Sporty Carter was told to lose my number and jump off a bridge. When he kept texting me for months thereafter, I blocked him and you’d think I’d have learnt my lesson with losers like him until…

February 2015…

Eminem Wannabe was a Business Intelligence specialist with a dream of becoming a famous rapper someday. He was back in the dating game after his girlfriend of six years had left him for the guy she was cheating on him with.

 He enjoyed comedy as much as I did and we bonded over our shared favourite novel, The Night Circus. Brainy, cultured and a reader with a sense of humour – hell, I felt like I’d won the online dating jackpot!

Our first date at the Cavendish Square Primi Piatti (I told you, I have a thing for this chain!) in late January went really, really well. I hadn’t laughed that much in ages and he was easy to talk to.

So naturally, when he’d asked to see me again, I was keen to. Date number 2 was to be pizza and drinks in Long Street.

The only snag was, it was the same evening as a farewell party for one of my friends. I texted Eminem Wannabe to say I was excited about the date but I’d have to leave early to make the party and he was welcome to join me if he wanted. I stressed that he didn’t have to, because I knew meeting the friends could be stressful so no pressure.

The dude surprised me by saying of course he’d love to join me, a party sounded awesome and he was looking forward to meeting everyone. Right…

Fast forward to three hours before the date, after he’d confirmed the day before that we were definitely doing pizza and the party, and  he sends me this text:

“Sorry to drop you like this but I can’t make tonight. Enjoy the party with your friends.”

Wait, WTF just happened?! Did he really just cancel on me three hours before because he was freaked out about meeting my friends, which I’d told him explicitly he didn’t have to?! Gimme a f***ing break!

Three months went by before I heard from him again, asking how I was. When I told him to put himself out to pasture and die a slow horrible death, he seemed offended that I didn’t want to have some “fun” with him.

To quote the great Meatloaf:

i-would-do-anything-for-love-but-i-won-t-do-that

I respect myself way too much to be someone’s time filler and you guys deserved a father who was reliable, respectable and worthy of being your Dad.

As it turns out, the jerk face got back together with his cheating ex… F*** it, next!

 

How I Met Your Father – The Mother City Version Part 2

Kids, in May 2015, I kicked my dating game up a gear and booked a couple of dates in one week while simultaneously chatting to a variety of eligible bachelors online…which was not without some humorous challenges.

After Rodeo Star had let me down oh-so-gently and I had adopted my F*** IT! Next! attitude, I was all set to meet Brainy and Bored at Alexander Bar. Image courtesy of Huffington Post

While waiting for him to arrive, and trying to remember who exactly he was (don’t judge me – when you’ve been chatting to 4 to 8 guys at once, their likes, dislikes and occupations all tend to blur into one!), I prayed to all of the gods, old and new, that this date would not be as bad as my first dating site meet-up at Alexander Bar had been…

Flashback to December 2014

Bokkie’s profile had him painted as a distinguished, well-traveled older gentleman from the Northern Suburbs, with a love for children (he had a son), adventure and romancing the girl of his dreams.

Sure he was 44, and though I had vowed not to date anyone over the age of 40 thanks to a previous bad mature man dating experience,  I thought why the heck not try a silver fox once more? What harm could it do, right?

A lot, actually, as it turned out. Bokkie was the very personification of every bad older guy date montage you see in all romantic comedies, where the girl is looking for The One. I’m talking balding hair, pot-belly, greying chest hair peeking out from the three open buttons on a flannel shirt, complete with a big gold chain around his neck.

And just when I thought to myself: “Dude, looks aren’t everything –quit judging him and just enjoy his company! Bokkie reveals his true self. Meet Mr Sexist Ass who thinks he knows everything because he traveled in the 90 and cannot understand why the youth waste their time on social media (hello, did he even read my profile –it’s what I do for a living!).

He prattled on for 15 minutes about  how crazy and desperate the women on the dating site are; how he is disgusted with the fact that I am agnostic because you cannot be on the fence about religion and ordered my drinks for me because what do women know about alcohol. Kill. Me. Now.

Needless to say that date ended quickly and I never heard from him again which suited me just fine.  Just thinking about it gives me shudders!

Back to 2015

After a false start where neither one of us knew that the other was there, Brainy but Bored and I hit it off..

Conversation flowed easily as we bonded over shared interests like Game of Thrones (yay!), being raised in non-traditional homes; comic books, mutual acquaintances; travel and how much we love food. The fact that he was picking food off my plate didn’t even annoy me as it would normally, which is always a good sign.

Brainy but Bored was funny, a gentleman, honest about the fact he’d be immigrating in six months so wasn’t looking to settle down and interesting. Sure, this time I wasn’t the one who felt an “instinctual convergence” but I really enjoyed this date and because of my previous bad experiences, it reminded me of the Annie the Musical number… “The sun will come out tomorrow!”

There was hope, Kids, that this insane dating challenge would actually work. Your dad could be the next date, number 28 or someone I’d meet randomly but he was out there. I just had to believe in the next sunny date 😉

How I Met Your Father – The Mother City Version Part 1

Kids, in the autumn of 2015, I restarted my 28 Dates mission with renewed vigor, mostly to keep your Nan’s misguided enthusiasm for finding your father in check.

I kid you not – she was SO eager to see you guys being created , if I just happened to be in the vicinity of an eligible bachelor , I’d get a sideways glance, small smirk and “Who were you just chatting to?” from her …even if the guy in question was my recovering alcoholic, balding , single dad neighbour.

So, armed with a resolve to at the very least find you a dad with a great head of hair, I cleaned up my online dating site profile. Change my profile pic from the washed out rock star cosplay pic of 2008 to one of me rocking a little black dress at an awards evening? Check! Answer a few more asinine questions about the meaning of life, my stance on warfare, daily chores and love versus a good time? Check! Set my willingness to meet potential matches to keen? Check! Check! Check!

And so the wait began…

Within a few hours, I’d had not one, but three very promising candidates:

Surfer Small-town Boy was a tall, blonde and athletic type, moving to Cape Town within a week from, well, duh, a small town, keen to meet the lady he’d settle down with in the big city. Was this lady me, and would I be open to meeting him?

Brainy but Bored Guy was a seemingly cocky know-it-all who not only co-owns a renewable energy firm but studies cognitive brain therapy when he isn’t wooing his various international girlfriends with Star Wars short movie clips. Yes, the site had listed us as less than suitable matches but how about we discuss it over drinks?

Mother City Rodeo Star was a Texas immigrant with a passion for theatre, travel and giving back to Africa’s children and wanted to us to meet up and chat about our shared interests, if I was open to it?

Since Surfer Boy would still be unavailable to meet for at least a week, I agreed to see the other two first and set our meeting place at my favourite local bar and theatre, Alexander Upstairs – a place which is feeling more and more like home and so that I’d have the home ground advantage. Besides, they make one of the best Cosmopolitans in town – anything to calm my raging nerves!

As I waited for Rodeo Star to arrive on the Monday evening, I flashbacked to the night this crazy 28 Dates mission began …

November 2013

My birthday dinner at Primi Piatti V&A Waterfront with a group of my closest friends, where the drinks and declarations of love were flowing and we were celebrating the passing of a rather difficult year (I’d lost both your great-grandma and my first love, to a stomach ulcer and other men, respectively).

I was bemoaning the fact that that I hadn’t had any real love interests that year, as I had for so many before them when my friends, which included two of your godparents, decided enough was enough – something drastic had to be done! I would not go another year without being kissed (and other stuff not suitable for your young ears), if they had anything to do with it.

And so my 28 Dates mission was born – I was challenged to have 28 dates before my next birthday or until I’d completed all of them, whether by online dating, blind dates set up by the group, speed dating or meet-cutes (meeting guys the usual way). I could date the same person more than once, and it would be counted as one of the 28, but I wasn’t allowed to bail on any of them. Nothing to wear? Someone would come over with suitable sexy date outfits. Feeling fluish or tired? Someone would bring me a Med-Lemon or Red Bull. I would not and could not be allowed to find any excuse to fall back into my dateless rut.

Back to 2015:

Rodeo Star arrived at the bar, looking all ruggedly Southern boy sexy, with beguiling blue eyes, a beard that did not scream hipster and a big bear hug for me. Hello there, Cowboy!

Over the course of the evening, we chatted amicably about theatre, travels, family, work and I thought things were going well. Sure, we didn’t like the same movies or series, but couples don’t have to like all of the same things, right? Opposites attract and all that.

Ok, so there might have been a drawn out silence here and there, but gods, he was beautiful to look at and maybe he was quiet because he was as nervous as I was, right?

The sticky part of the evening came when he just couldn’t understand why I needed to leave to go to a mass Games of Thrones viewing and how he hates the show. Now, Kids, this wasn’t a deal breaker, but you know how much I love cosplay, and for this series in particular – you’ve seen the photos of your other godmother and I dressed as Khaleesi and Arya. I didn’t just love the show, I freaking lived it!

As we got the check (which we split, by the way – he may be Southern but apparently likes to go Dutch), I asked Rodeo Star what he was thinking of since he was especially quiet and after a while, he responded with: “I’m thinking about how much I hate Game of Thrones, actually. It’s such a silly show.” Cue the alarm bells going off in my head, thinking I’d finally messed things up for good.

Two days passed in which I fretted about why he wasn’t calling me but also hopeful that he would. After all, things had gone well until the unfortunate GOT comment. So why wasn’t he calling?!

The Wednesday morning, while I was finalizing the date with Brainy but Bored, I finally received a message from Rodeo Star and the cruelest thing about this dating mission happened – I began to have hope.

See, the thing is, when a date goes bad, you already know it won’t work out and you can move on from there. But having the guy you like finally email you after two days ignites the spark of hopefulness you try to ignore – your heart becomes buoyant, you can’t control the huge smile that streaks across your face at seeing his name in your mailbox or your imagination that runs away with images of second, third and fourth dates, introductions to the friends and family etc.

Too scared to open the email but too excited not to, I left it unopened for an hour, swinging on the pendulum between wishing he was asking me on a second date to despairing that he wouldn’t.

Finally, I pulled on my big girl panties and read the damn email – much to my regret:

“Thanks again for the evening on Monday – I hope you managed Game of Thrones, in spite of the power cut. Without putting much thought in it, as much as I enjoyed the conversation, I didn’t experience much chemistry. I’m looking for something with a little more of an instinctual convergence. I suspect we will run into each other often,seeing as we’re both into the theatre scene, and it will be nice to see you. Best, Rodeo Star”

What the f***?! What the heck does “instinctual convergence” even mean? And who the heck even says things like that?!!!

Guys who believe in love at first sight still exist? Are you kidding me?! Well now, colour me surprised!

I won’t lie, Kids, my ego was bruised and my heart ever so slightly crushed. My friends encouraged me to try to talk Rodeo Star into giving me a second chance with a second date… but surely that seemed a bit desperate,right?

I deliberated all through lunch and a Aero chocolate bar or three before deciding that screw it, if he didn’t want to get all up in my weirdly, awesome, GOT-loving business, I wasn’t going to beg him to and let him off the hook in my response. Life is too short to wonder why people don’t like you.

And as your godfather always says: “F** it… NEXT!”

To be continued …

How I Met Your Father: New Year’s Eve in the Mother City

Kids, there is a lot of expectation that New Year’s Eve is meant to be a mind-blowing,life changing experience, spent in the midst of thousands of gyrating individuals somewhere ridiculously expensive and easily forgotten.

Here’s what I know for sure: I rang in 2015 on the rooftop of what is arguably the most gorgeous apartment I’ve ever seen, surrounded by some of the most loving, inspiring and amazing souls I’m lucky enough to call my friends.

Stick to that formula, my loves, and you’re guaranteed to have the most EPIC year ever xxx

My misadventures as a single creative writer in the Mother City

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