Rules are rules!


Dating blogger Erla-Mari Diedericks has a problem with a potential date’s long list of rules. This does not sound like a match made in heaven…

“We have to follow the dating website’s rules,” Henri says. He’s my next date and he’s a librarian. Henri is apparently a stickler for rules. I detest them.

“What rules?” I ask, sounding a bit miffed.

“Well we have to meet in a public place. That’s what the website recommends. There’s a whole list of do’s and don’ts on the website. Didn’t you read them?”

“No, I didn’t,” I mutter under my breath. I have my own rules and they are:

  1. Never speak to a man who says he’s a widower. Apologies to the genuine widowers out there, but internet scamsters like to tug at all your heartstrings in one go with a late wife and a poor little mite they have to raise on their own.
  2. Never trust a man who quotes from the Bible. It might sound terrible but these men are also often internet fraudsters who try to butter up good people with kind hearts who then send them money.
  3. I also steer clear of men who’re looking for “open-minded” women, because that means they’re looking for something to be handed to them on a platter – or the kind of woman who enjoys dining out on how she enjoys drinking with the guys, and before I forget, guys who upload pictures of themselves holding a beer bottle.
  4. Everyone knows meeting a stranger in a parking area, at a bus stop, in a dark forest, on the roof of a building or on a railway track is just plain dumb. Like any normal singleton you meet the person in a coffee shop or restaurant.

“Let’s meet in the planetarium,” the librarian announces.

What?! I immediately have visions of a quiet, pitch-dark museum and me sitting on my own with a stranger in the auditorium beneath a phony starry sky. No one will hear me scream.

“Why do you want to meet there?” I ask suspiciously.

“Because the website says it must be a public place with lots of people.”

“There aren’t lots of people in an planetarium,” I say.

“Is there a China Town near you?”

“What?” I ask again. “Don’t tell me you want to meet in such a busy place. That’s plain weird!”

“But it’s busy,” he says. “And the website says . . .”

“Yes, yes, I know what the website says,” I say, cutting him short.

“What if we bring along a quiz?” he suggests enthusiastically.

I’m starting to wonder if this date is worth the effort. It feels as if I’m about to go on a date with the Head Boy.

“Is this another suggestion on the website?” I ask.

“No, but it could be fun. We can discuss a topic.”

Oh no, what next.

“What kind of topic?” I ask.

“Oh, we can talk about poetry!”

In the end we agree to meet in a curry house in the middle of the city in the middle of the day. The traffic is murder and all the parking bays are taken. I drive around the block several times and can feel my irritation mounting. I’m beginning to see red.

He’s sitting in the middle of the cavernous restaurant that’s so full you can hardly push your way between the chairs. It’s a takeaway joint. You order, get a ticket and then queue for your food.

When I’m done queuing I sit down at the plastic table and, gripping my plastic knife and fork, I try to cut the lamb curry. I can feel the knife bending. The conversation is much the same – like a plastic knife that bends this way, then that, but never bends in the right direction. We’re definitely not on the same wavelength.

Later I push past the other diners and their kids, into the hubbub of Cape Town’s traffic.

With a sigh of relief I get into the car. I’ve never been keen on men who like to play it safe. I’m much too wild and impulsive.

I hope Henri at least felt safe and secure.

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 She also offers online writing courses. Click here for more information.

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

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