People are always nervous when going on their first date. Too much alcohol is consumed and conversations are exchanged in the most self-conscious way. A Don Juan would begin a question while already thinking three moves ahead and expecting the flow of conversation to fall into the slot.
Because my marketing profession demands hefty attention, my personal life relies heavily on dating apps like Tinder. Although I carefully swipe the profiles and even make a quick SWOT analysis in my head, I often came home alone after the first date, then the second date, then third until my dates lose interest.
The most difficult time to ask someone out on the first date is the final week of the month—when the cash is running out and payday is still just on the horizon. Most of the time the lavish atmosphere and pricey cocktails with decent description help me become less self-conscious. But when you can’t afford that privilege, it’s easier to reuse the stash of pre-prepared conversation topics for text messaging and wait until payday arrives.
Except when the guy is tantalizingly hot. I quickly go back to my mental SWOT analysis and rewrite it whole.
Still, there are a number of dates to hit before I invite someone into my bed. Kyle is a tourist-as-a-foreign-language teacher from Cape Town with an unfinished degree in sound engineering. Just when I started to notice the weaknesses from dating this guy, I discovered that we share a love for the same musicians and bands; musician who produce sounds Kyle and I consider better than the power of any drugs in the world (strengths and opportunities). That’s enough for me to overlook the cliché looking scenario (threats) of going on a date with a particularly hot English teacher.
We lost ourselves deep in conversation, completely lost track of time. We finished a bottle of Pinot Noir just as the last call for alcohol was announced and the last song was played. The song Cheap Thrills with Sia blathering about how you don’t need money to have fun was playing. Then we got an idea.
I didn’t explain my rule to Kyle, but the plan to walk around, exploring the neighborhood in the dark seemed like a great idea. When we found a secluded telephone booth, Kyle led me into the booth. We tried our best not to disturb the homeless guy who was sleeping nearby and we started making out.
The second date was at the cinema, because Kyle said he was broke and we’re ten days away from the payday. I used some movie vouchers to redeem for two tickets for “Snowden”; Kyle has no idea who Edward Snowden is. It was quite a huge setback for me (back to my mental SWOT board: weaknesses) because I am aggressively attracted to smart people (double weaknesses).
The option for splitting the bill and free movie vouchers were out. I was contemplating whether it was a good idea to be the one to pay for the bill or should he pay me back when the money arrived in his savings.
“I would love to grab a drink with you again but I’m broke as fuck. Can I just go to your place and watch movie.”
It worked. But after that it was a series of birthday parties or catching up with colleagues or friends visiting from Africa. Our evening conversations slowly faded because Kyle was in the Yoga Class he just signed up for and forgot to reply.
As payday arrived. We were no longer communicating. I am back to swiping Tinder again, looking for someone with good bf/gf material (my Tinder is mixed genders) and have made a mental note to use the “payday excuse” as one of my dating best practices.
Conversation becomes an endless chess game from real life to text messages. I read an online science article stating that there are more possible chess games than atoms in the universe, I believe, there are more possible Tinder matches than the possible chess games and how my romantic life would unfold.
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