The guy who jetted in

By admin
20 September 2013

After another bad date, our dating blogger started chatting to a guy who was willing to fly to Cape Town to meet her. But why is she drenched in sweat?

Francois. I meet him on Friday because he’d said he would write love letters to me. It’s that simple. I’m not interested in money, I’m not interested in looks, I’m just looking for my soul mate. Mr Romance. Mr Mad About Me. Mr Write Me Love Letters Because He Wants To.

He’s already seated when I arrive. Yes, I’m not after a handsome man, but gorgeous has never been a problem. When he smiles, his whole face lights up and I melt.

“You don’t look like your photograph at all,” I blurt out. What I actually meant to say was that he’s even better looking than in his picture.

He raises his eyebrows – so high they practically brush the ceiling. “That’s not a particularly intelligent thing to say,” he observes coolly. “Of course I’m not going look like my photo. It’s, after all, just a visual representation. I would’ve expected more from a writer.”

In my mind I tear up all his bloody love letters.

I’m plunged further and further into hell as the evening proceeds.

First, he entertains me with anecdotes about his days as a first-team rugby player ... 30 years ago. I can feel my brain – especially that part that processes boring facts – switch off. The creative side works overtime on plans to get away fast. I have my story just about worked out when he orders pizza.

Then he’s off regaling me about his army days. Of course he was in the Parabats (the parachute brigade)Of course. My mind conjures up bats – I see tiny little bats with even tinier little parachutes floating in the air. If every man who claims to have been in the Parabats really was there, it must’ve been a massive division. That’s all I have to say.

Mercifully, the pizzas arrive in the middle of the parachute brigade tales and I can take a few bites before I produce my excuse: I have a blog deadline I’ve forgotten about and have to leave immediately so I can write it.

“Oh, okay,” he says. “I must say it’s difficult to get a sense of you. Your eyes are unfathomable. Almost glazed over ...”

They’re glazed over from boredom, I want to say, but decide to keep quiet so I can get away as quickly as possible.

Needless to say, my whole weekend was a disaster. I have doubts about men, I doubt that I’ll ever find love.

Then I stumble on a new dating site. Here everyone is more or less the same age – and they don’t seem to be bats from hell or the type going around in tiny parachutes.

I post my profile photo.

He contacts me out of the blue on Monday evening. “I’m mad about your eyes. I can’t stop looking at your photographs.”

His profile name is B. His photograph is very small. It doesn’t give away much. My fingers fly over the keyboard as I type and click to make his picture bigger. In the photo he’s standing on a cliff and I have butterflies in my stomach. Oh no, an outdoors person – exactly what I don’t need.

He’s Afrikaans. He’s divorced. He has two children. He’s a few years older than I am.

Suddenly he’s online. I freak out. It was almost as if he could see I was looking at him. I’m sitting in bed with my laptop on my knees and I quickly pull the sheets up high to my chin. You never know.

“You fascinate me,” he writes.

And the conversation starts.

I’ve been thinking a lot about soul mates. It’s quite surprising how many men say they’re looking for one. A few decades ago, when I was single, men would get that strangled look if you as much as uttered the word. These days they do it with ease. Then again, it could be a ploy to generate interest in themselves.

B says he’s looking for a soul mate, a woman who could join him at his house at the sea. He’ll even buy the house … just like that.

“I’ll bathe you under the stars and carry you to a giant bed …” My heart stops. Then it starts beating again. Now the beat is a waltz.

As usual, my heart imagines she’s Cinderella at the ball and that her Prince Charming has turned up. Stop waltzing, your silly fool, I scold my heart. You start dancing, only for the man to step on your toes. And then you come crying to me afterwards.

Our conversation continues all day. He’s looking for love. Someone who cares. Someone to share his life with. He thinks I’m different. Original. Unique. Perfect for him, even.

I immediately start looking for flaws. I can’t find anything wrong with him personally. He sounds sincere. Good heart. He sends me a poem. Achingly beautiful. I rush back to his profile. There has to be something wrong somewhere …

Then I find it. It shows he’s “wealthy” in the category about his status. Ah-ha. What sort of guy reveals his financial status? Only one to whom it means a lot. It so happened that in my previous relationship money and wealth started mattering too much. Rich men just don’t do anything for me.

“Do you drive a fancy car?” I ask.

He immediately picks up that I’m annoyed. “I’ll sell it.”

“Haha,” I snort. “So what kind of car is it?”

“Well, now I’m too scared to tell you what I’m driving. But I’ll trade the car in, I promise.”

“Get yourself the same car as mine – a Hyundai 110.”

“Okay – it will all be part of the process of getting poorer,” he replies.

For a moment I’m confused. “What are you talking about?”

“I’ll go to the dating site now and make myself poorer. I’ll write under my profile that I’m poor. See? There I’m instantly poor!”

It’s hilarious, but …

Much later a logistical problem arises. He’s in Durban for business. For a week. One of his businesses is based there. Again I jerk my heart away from the dance floor and push her into a chair. Rich men – like my previous husband – are men who work hard. They don’t have time for you.

I go to bed with a heavy heart. Tuesday my phone rings.

“I’m at the airport.”

“I don’t believe you!”

He immediately sends me a picture from the airport (picture above). My heart rushes to the dance floor. Starts to hip-hop.

“I flew down to see you. I have to know.”

“Know what?” I ask.

“I don’t know. But I must know. How you feel.”

I feel only anxiety two hours later when I’m sitting, waiting in the restaurant. It’s unpleasant. Never-racking. A man leaves his business, flies all the way to check if I’m the “right one”. I feel the pressure mounting. Pressure – and perspiration.

At first I ignore it. I’m never one to sweat much – or smell sweaty. But suddenly the perspiration that I feel also seems to smell. Even the garlic on the pizzas on the table next door start reacting.

Why now?

Through the large window of Primi Piatti I see him approaching. I can’t miss him, because he’s driving a Hyundai 110. He actually hired a car precisely like mine. I sweat in terror.

When he walks in I get up and want to hug him, but then I remember the sweatiness. I clench my arms tightly to my sides. He gives me a bunch of lavender flowers. Exactly the same blooms he sent me a photograph of the previous day. I wish I could rub them under my embarrassing armpits so the sweating would stop. I can’t concentrate at all. Not at all.

He has the most beautiful eyes. I can’t stop looking at them. And the nicest jacket.

Our eyes meet. And I know ... he is not the one. I don’t know why I think that, but I do. Why don’t I feel the same excitement as I had over the past two days? Why do I feel so tense, as if everything is at stake – or nothing. I try to relax. I try, but all I can think about is that he must be quite cross he’s flown all the way for nothing.

The rest of the afternoon we talk – and at least I’ve stopped sweating. We talk about all sorts of things. About our children. But little about love. And nothing about soul mates.

Then it’s time for him to fly back. I feel like crying. Actually I’m lying. But still I am crying. Why didn’t I feel a spark? Where was Cupid? Where?

Next time I’ll at least be better prepared – with deodorant.

Erla-Mari Diedericks is the author of the book Sin, Sushi & Survival and her latest novel, Still Standing, is now available in shops countrywide as well as at kalahari.com. (make kalahari clickable)

Read Erla’s previous blogs:

Finding love online

Ready to date a younger man

Party all night long

Dealing with divorce tales

The lady is a vamp

Good pictures and bad pictures

To try online dating yourself, go to YOU’s online dating site, Looking4You   

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