GENDER TALK: Take charge of that date, woman!

Sunday December 23 2018


By Jackson Biko

Some men struggle to close. They start beautifully, like a soccer match. They have clean and precise passes.

They handle the ball well, maintaining great possession.

They make the opponents run and they think on their feet. They play like this, with panache, their hearts on the ball and sometimes they even inch closer to the goal and even get into the ‘D’ area [sic]... but then they never score.

They seem not to want to close the deal.

Here is how it goes: A woman is introduced to a guy because apparently it’s hard to meet eligible men in this city so introductions work. He’s single and happens to have a decent enough job.

They meet for the first date to ascertain that they are both compatible. He doesn’t look crazy, to mean he doesn’t lick the butter knife. He’s a bit quiet though, which is okay because her last date talked about his appendicitis the whole evening.

At the end of the evening he says he had a great time. “Let’s do something again next week.” He sees her off in a taxi and even calls to find out if she got home okay. So because she’s a modern go-getting woman, she proceeds to wait for him to call to set up the next date.

Only, he doesn’t. It’s almost like they never had a decent enough first date. Maybe he wasn’t impressed by her, she thinks. Maybe he got arrested, maybe he’s in hospital with two broken hands and he can’t text. She should find out, she thinks. She asks her friends whether she should text him first but they are horrified, “Noo, he will think you are desperate!”

He calls towards the end of the week. He doesn’t explain the silence. They meet up again, this time for tea. He’s reserved but curious and sometimes funny. She thinks, OK, he’s not too bad, I can date this one. They part.

Silence. Days pass. She ignores her girlfriends and texts him something that doesn’t sound needy or stalkerish: They chat a bit. He doesn’t mention that he wants to meet up when they hang up.

Four days later he asks, “Can we have lunch?” So they have lunch at a place where the waitresses know his name. She asks him in that roundabout way women fish for information, if he is looking to date or perhaps maybe he just wants to join a monastery.

He is not averse to dating, he says. Which doesn’t exactly mean he wants to date, as her girlfriends point out. Arrgh, so frustrating, this man.

He is silent for two days. She messages him and suggests a play, which they watch. He’s the kind of guy who loves plays. Three days pass, silence. One day she suggests they go to her church. He doesn’t fall asleep in church, which is a good thing. After church he doesn’t say anything in the parking lot, so she suggests lunch perhaps? He says great!

They part. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. She asks, “Are you okay? So quiet!” He says, “I was thinking about you, how are you?” They talk a while. He doesn’t mention them meeting. It goes on like this for a month and a half and she’s frustrated.

He never tries to flirt with her like most men would. Or look at her lingeringly, like she’s a croissant just off the microwave. Or try to kiss her.

Or throw her those suggestive jokes. At first she liked it, she thought he was a gentleman. Now, she isn’t sure. She thinks he’s odd. “Does he like me?” she asks her friends, the Two Wise Women. “He seems to like you, but maybe he just doesn’t take initiative. Some men want to be egged along,” they say.

The Two Wise Women are right. Some chaps don’t know how to escalate things. They don’t know when to press the button to take this lift to the next floor. So they will stand in that lift until you – the woman – push the button to the next floor.

Which means you have to make peace with taking charge, of being the one who decides what is done when and how.