I don’t know where they met. Maybe it was at a party – she’s a frequent face at those highbrow shindigs where people talk about their last vacation in Tuscany.
What I do know is that she didn’t like him immediately because he’s 64 and she just turned 40.
When they met, she thought, “Oh no, he’s interesting and all, but he’s a bit on the old side. And anyway, isn’t he married?”
Turns out he wasn’t; he was divorced. His last second born daughter was her age so no, that ship wasn’t going to get to open seas.
She said he had strong hands and a very intelligent and distinguished look. Plus he didn’t have a potbelly.
He was trim and when he wore a suit, he wore it with white shirts and no ties and he smelled great. “He was good to look at,” she said, “but that was it.”
But then their paths crossed again at a mall while she was looking for body scrub. He had gone to have his watch fixed.
He had on sunglasses, she remembers, and when he asked if he could buy her dinner she saw her own reflection in his sunglasses say, “Yes, sure. This week is pretty manic, but we can block a date one weekday evening next week.”
Being a girl, she wondered what she would wear. How short could her dress be? Would this top reveal too much of my cleavage (she’s a busty woman).
What would this open-back dress say about her? Thankfully she didn’t have to worry about what heels to hear because he was tall.
“Sometimes you have to pick shoes that aren’t too high if you are going on a date with a man who is a bit short,” she said.
The evening of the date, he texted. “I’m sending you an Uber. Drop me your pin.” She was shocked. The men she dated didn’t send cabs.
They didn’t care if you used a boat to get to them. So this was new. She said that corny annoying thing that women like to say when they are touched: “Aww!”
He texted again and said, ‘When you are two minutes away, please let me know.’
When she got to the entrance of this swanky hotel in Karen, he was standing at the entrance waiting to open her car door. “I felt like a princess,” she said.
He led her by the small of her back into the air conditioned foyer of the hotel with the high ceilings and winding staircase. Dinner was fabulous; she doesn’t know how many courses it was, she stopped counting at the third.
He was attentive and curious. He let her talk. She loves to talk. And laugh. He let her. He poured her wine and poured her water and laughed at her jokes.
His eye contact was “penetrating”. “He was charming, very, very charming.” He never touched her, so he let her stew in mystery.
He called an Uber at the end of the evening and gave her some money for the ride - “It was 20 times what the Uber cost,” - and opened the door again for her as she tucked herself in the back seat. At home, she sat on the edge of her bed, in her clothes, heady and euphoric. “Nobody has ever treated me like that in my life,” she said. That night she slept thinking about the veins on his manly hands.
His communication became spotty the next day and trickled down to nothing by the end of the week. She wondered what she had done: had someone told him something about her? Didn’t he have a good time? Did she laugh too loudly, too unlady-like, during the date? She spent days agonising over his silence.
When she couldn’t get any answers, guess who she called? Me!? She couldn’t stop talking about him and how fabulous he was. Like he’s some sort of a unicorn. It struck me how odd it seemed, how low the bar is for a man so that opening the car door for a woman and pouring her wine gets her all bent out of shape.
Well, I don’t know why 64-year-old men don’t call after a date but the men I know don’t call if the lady didn’t meet their expectations. And ‘expectations’ doesn’t even mean beauty; it could be many things. It could be the vibe someone sends across the table. It could be something they said that makes someone think, “Uhm, no, there is too much daddy drama here.”
It could be an aggression that someone doesn’t like, or it could just be plain old boring. He just felt, you know what, I’m so bored I should be home watching another political commentator regurgitated garbage on TV. It could be anything, really.
Of course, my friend, being a diva, will not hear of this because she is the type who would say, “Biko, what expectations? Excuse you! I set expectations!”
But maybe he was looking for something else – maybe an apple – and she was groundnuts, and he is allergic to nuts.
You win some, you lose some. Out there, there must be a man who doesn’t open car doors but likes groundnuts. Who knows?