Our conversation is almost always jokes cracking and laughs cackling. She’s a type of crazy that’s not my type of crazy. And what happens when each our types of crazy collide it’s catastrophic. Not in a meteor headed for earth to destroy mankind kind of way, just a everyone else seems boring and we ignore them and have fun by ourselves kind of way.
This is her story as told by her and narrated by me.
You’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and probably drugs. You’re the millennial woman, a go-getter, tech savvy, modern and all the trappings that come with urbane descriptive words. To the world your career is on the fast track, soon enough you should be scaling its heights. In their eyes you are in line to get a hefty promotion, the kind that comes with a box of Manolo’s, Christian Louboutin’s, diamond wrist watch, bottle of champagne and keys to a German machine and an Idris. Did we talk about the corner office with a view over the city? Yes, even that. People view you in a mixture of awe diluted with jealousy and a tinge of respect.
But the reality is you’re stuck in an 8-5, you’ve never really tasted champagne, you have constant spurts with the boss and the closest you’ve gotten to an Idris is the launch of the Ultra 4K HD Sony Bravia at The Junction. Life.
Ideally you are quite funny. But this does not mean that you cannot carry a conversation on social issues, politics and the world’s economy. You just can do that with a little touch of humor, and boy don’t you get told you are funny. OR maybe it is because you are beautiful, but either way you take it. You also know you have an infectious laugh, it’s not obnoxious and it’s one of those laughs that feel like a silk sheet on a naked body.
But there’s a catch, there’s always a catch, you’re single. Single. No ring, no boyfriend – not even an imaginary one. Not that you don’t meet guys; they are everywhere. Company parties. Wedding dinners. Team buildings. You just don’t find yourself putting yourself out there as much as you should. Sometimes you wish that you did, you know, talk to the finance guys with their polo shirts and new shiny 3 series. The guys that knew cologne was not a body wash. Guys whose playlist shuffled between Frank Sinatra and James Ingram. God knows they showed interest, but in between been a smart ass and wine glasses you totally missed the cues. The subtle glances, the brushing of hands that lingered, you have been more of the person that just lives in the moment. And none of those moments called for dating, or getting to know someone.
So here you are on a Saturday night lying on your couch with a glass of wine in hand. You like reds but today you opted for a white.
“Try it, it’s good, you’ll love the distant sweetness that lingers when it hits the back of your tongue.” Some lady at the office said.
So here you are, waiting for the distant sweetness to hit the back of your tongue and linger. And it does. Turns out, white might not be that bad. You are having one of those Saturdays where your friends are all out with their ‘others’. Date night. Movie night. Let’s not all hang out with the single lady night. Suddenly the wine doesn’t taste so sweet. Could it be that bitterness is finally creeping in? Or is just that the taste of lonely?
Out you take your phone and go through all the names in your contact list. Too many names and that’s when you realize you don’t remember even amassing all those numbers. How would you even start with Dave? That’s the guy that loves art right? Or the guy who got an asthma attack on the Mt Longonot hike? Or was he the cute one that showed pictures of his daughter? So no, not Dave maybe Mark. Mark sounds like he was a fun guy. Actually the fun guy. Wasn’t he the one who bungee jumped first and didn’t even scream? He has a red t-shirt with something funny scribbled across, something that was meant to rub women the wrong way, but you liked it. Or maybe that was Cliff? Screw it.
The show on the T.V is almost over. Some lady with long blonde strands of hair that look like fluid gold just said something. They are on a date with this fine gentleman in a linen shirt. What was the word? You rewind to hear it again, tinder, that’s it. She said tinder. But isn’t that a dating app? People use it? People like her? You thought tinder was for the more desperate type who have nothing to do than sit in the house alone with a glass of wine and watch a Hollywood show about a couple that met on tinder. Wait. Why does that sound so familiar? Ah crap, tinder it is. If for anything you’d rather use the building Wi-Fi to get a date; it’s not like it will interrupt the porn streaming in apartment 12.
So the App Store. That’s where it ought to be right? After all it’s an app and apps live at the app store. You notice the glass is empty, much like prospects for the night, you get up to go fill it up as you let the app download. On your way to the kitchen you wonder if an app store is like any other store. Do they restock? Run out of it? Place orders for bulk supply? Ah, your glass is full again and the ping from your phone means the download is done.
You have LinkedIn. You had no trouble filling in your profile, it actually looks professional but with a casual undertone. It says “I can rock a suit, but, with a bikini underneath it”. So Tinder should not be so hard right? A cute picture here, a snappy quote there and a bio that’s had a few drinks. Yes. That works. Oh, the picture with the cute smile and killer eyes and the little cleavage; that should work. Actually with that there’s no need for the bio. Right? Right? But you put a bio anyway. Save the profile. And wait.
It’s been two days and nothing. No ping on your phone from the app with a request to chat. Not even a low battery notification, that’s how boring your life has become. Or maybe guys at the office found you there and are busy laughing at your profile. Shit. You might need to delete it. What if Henry from HR comes across it? Okay you will delete it but after two more days. Four days should suffice right? It’s the general rule right? Okay so two more days.
That night it pings. Finally! You’re excited you jump off the sofa and run into the kitchen and splash some water on your face before you hold yourself by the collar of the t-shirt.
“Look here, keep calm okay? It’s just a ping. Not a wedding ring.”
You walk back to the seat, composed. You’re taking deep breathes and thinking warm happy thoughts. You slide to unlock the phone, you slide down the notification tray, Gary. Oh my God the name. People named Gary have a good thing going for them, almost all the time. No one ever named Gary in the history of all the people named Gary have been bums. The name even has a ring to it you admit, like introducing your friends to him. You’d lower your voice and let it roll of your tongue like a dirty secret.
“Hey guys, meet Gaaary.”
Okay dammit, get a hold of yourself. What does Gary want?
Cutie? Cutie! What the Eff! A dandelion wafting lazily in the summer breeze landing on an eight year olds dress is cute. What’s cute about sexy eyes and showing cleavage? Bastard. Gary’s a bastard!
Oh my God I’m a bastard too. What’s cute about those hazel eyes? And that close shave that’s left tiny little trails of rugged black fuzz all over his cheeks? And those dimples? Okay, the dimples are cute.
You compose yourself again and a large sip, actually a gulp. Aah, there’s that distant sweetness again. Love.
Gary looks like someone you would love to fall in love with. If the chats are anything to go by, he is charming, funny and witty. He is the male version of you. He also hasn’t asked stupid questions like “What are you wearing…” or “Do you mind sending me a pic…” so he must be good, mature and not know that you’re dying to tell him what you’re wearing. It’s a bit risqué but if he ever asks… What he does ask for is your number, you oblige then you wait. You’re expecting a text, they always send texts, until he calls. Yes, Gary called, and he asked to take you out for lunch. Not dinner, maybe he thought dinner was a bit too forward for a first date. But in his words
“Lately it has been cold.”
“And I need a little sunshine to brighten up my day.”
This is where you giggled.
Gary’s are so romantic.
Lunch was good, in fact it was so good that it spilt over to dinner and a night cap. And you talked about everything and anything. He told you his favorite color was green, you joked that he’d get a lot of that because you’re one jealous girl. He laughed. You laughed. He leaned in. You leaned back. You looked into his eyes and searched for a promise, and those hazel balls of glory made that promise. And so you leaned in.
Tinder romance stories are hardly ever as exciting. They are usually tragic, with bad food at a joint that sells their serviettes and tomato sauce, a guy that can’t pronounce your own name. A name that’s not even that hard. Same guy showing up in shorts, open sandals and a t-shirt with a phrase from a local hit banger and no wallet; also no money. Just M-Pesa which is almost always conveniently down. Bad dates. At least that’s what everyone says, and that’s what you’ve always read. There’s never anything about a Gary.
But when it’s too good to be true…