While I was in New Zealand, I decided to try out Tinder. I was in a new country, open to new experiences and I was also curious. I’d like to tell you that I went on a bunch of dates and I am now a casual dater.
The truth? I went on one date. And it was kind of a disaster.
The guy was from Nepal, came to New Zealand on a student visa and he is now working as an IT professional. He seemed nice when I was texting with him. I matched with him when I was first in Wellington, the capital and second largest city in New Zealand. I continued texting with him on and off and decided to meet up during my second visit to Wellington.
Ideally, I wanted to meet up with him on an afternoon for a cup of coffee but he said he was using his weekends to study for an exam for his job and weeknights would work better for him. We decided to meet up for dinner and it gave me an excuse to ditch my travel clothes for an evening and dress up a little bit.
He was standing outside of the restaurant and I greeted him with a hello and a hug. The immediate attraction wasn’t there for me but was I wasn’t looking for anything in particular out of this experience. In fact, this whole experience wasn’t about him at all. It was about me and trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone.
I wasn’t searching for love. I wasn’t looking for a one night stand. I wasn’t looking for Mr. Prince Charming or a Justin Timberlake look-a-like (but, God, that would have been nice). Despite my quick judgments, I agreed to meet up with him and it was too late to back out. We walked into the the restaurant and requested a table for two. The waiter lit the candle that was sitting in the middle of the table and I already felt really, REALLY awkward.
“Have you been you here before?” I asked as I eyed the menu.
“No,” He smiled.
“Do you have a favorite restaurant in the city?”
The conversation was a bit awkward as I tried to get the ball rolling. His voice was a bit squeaky during the start of our conversation, which indicated that he was nervous. Understandable. My nerves, however, disappeared. I found myself doing most of the talking.
I didn’t feel like I had much in common with him during our conversation. But I could tell by the goofy grin on his face that he didn’t care if we had anything in common.
At the end of dinner, we stood up and waited in line to pay for dinner. In New Zealand the bill isn’t brought to your table. You have to go to the counter to pay. It was an awkward moment and I was kicking myself for not insisting on a simple coffee date. I wasn’t exactly sure if he was going to pay and since I wasn’t interested in him, I wasn’t sure if it was right to let him pay. And I certainly didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of the cashier when we reached up to the counter. It was awkward and I felt awkward. Before I could stop myself, I turned to him and said that I’d pay for dinner. I’m not exactly sure why I offered. Maybe the situation was just too much for me to handle and I couldn’t wait until we reached the counter to wait to see what happened. Maybe I wanted to test him and see how he’d react. Maybe I was just being stupid.
“No,” He said. “We’ll split.”
I was a bit stunned in his counteroffer and a new set of emotions took over the awkward feeling. Of course, I was happy to pay for my own dinner. I didn’t go out with him to get a free meal. But if he’d at least offered, it would have been a nice gesture.
After dinner, my date suggested that we walk over to the the harbor. I hesitated a bit but agreed. He insisted on holding my leftovers for me.
The night was a bit chilly and I kept my hands inside of the pockets of my coat. I spotted mountainous landscapes surrounded by speckled lights from the harbor; it was beautiful. I was perfectly placed in this romantic setting by the water with a guy that I wasn’t interested in and all I could do was hope that he didn’t try to kiss me with my leftovers in his hands.
“Are you cold?” He asked
“Uh, no,” I lied. “I’m from Chicago. I’m used to cold.”
“Do you like Wellington?” He asked.
“Yeah, I do.”
He asked me twice if we could have a seat. I told him I’d rather walk. However, he kept insisting because why not add more awkwardness to the evening?
“Show me pictures from your South Island trip,” He said.
I reluctantly took out my phone and scrolled through my camera roll. Every time there was a selfie (and there were many) he’d point and say, “Who’s that pretty girl?”
I wasn’t exactly sure how to get out of this situation. Should I just be a bitch and say that I didn’t like him and run? Should I say that I was tired and I should probably get going? Was I being too nice?
“Are you on Facebook?”
“Can I add you?”
NO. NO. NO.
“Uh, sure.” I took his phone and added myself. Then he waited for me to accept him but I told him I’d do it later since I had no WiFi. Thankfully he lived in a suburb and his train was leaving in 20 minutes. He asked if he should take a later train and I told him that since he had work the next morning, he should probably go. I hugged him good night. As he aimed to kiss my check, he missed and kissed my eardrum instead. I convinced him that he didn’t need to walk me home and I went on my way.
I knew after that evening that I didn’t want to see him again. But he wanted to see me again.
While I was under the impression that it was a casual date, he seemed like he wanted something serious – perhaps a girlfriend or a potential wife. However, I didn’t realize this until after the date when he was consistent with his text messages and already had pet names for me ( i.e. darling).
He read more into the date than casual and his expectations were higher than mine. I tried to be polite and told him that we had different goals in life and a relationship wouldn’t be likely. He didn’t seem to understand, so I just figured if I ignored the text messages, he’d eventually get the hint. He didn’t get the hint and his obsessive behavior wasn’t making things any better.
And then it happened. He sent a text message commenting on my boobs. His comment – my boobs were the perfect size.
I wanted to ignore it. I SHOULD have ignored it. But the text message was just staring at me and it was all just too easy. I had a few options. A) ignore him, B) get angry, or C) mess with him. Guess which option I choose?
“If you paid for dinner, I would’ve let you seen them.” I sent the text message. In that moment, it was funny. And I was obviously joking.
However, he took it seriously and the text messages continued. I just ignored messages and couldn’t figure out how to block him as there was something off in my settings. But after a full day of nonstop texting (I’m not even joking from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.), I had to be ruthless and blunt and tell him that I wasn’t interested in him. Then he called me selfish and said that I use my boobs to get free dinners.
I think all he really wanted was someone to spend his life with, which is understandable. Still he didn’t seem to understand the concept of dating or that one date didn’t mean that we were together. It’s nice to have someone in your life and share experiences with – I’m no stranger to this feeling. However, I know it doesn’t happen over night or after one date. And because this guy and I grew up in two different worlds – one Western and one non-Western – both of us went into this date with two completely different attitudes.
I figured out how to block him and continued my travels.
Sometime sugar coating things won’t be as obvious as you hope it will be. Sometimes you have to be direct – even if it comes off as rude – to get the message across.