There is this facebook photo which is good fodder for amusement. The picture has a statement which says “there should be a relationship status for I don’t even know what’s going on”. The first time I saw this after my friend had tagged me I was thoroughly amused. To be honest it is a bitter-sweet kind of amusement because I totally identify with it. I’ve been in a similar situation before. Why bring this up? Well it’s because I remember a time when I was seeing this guy and after we stopped seeing each + many more months after, he said he didn’t want to say we were seeing each other because I hadn’t officially agreed to date him though he had asked already (God bless him because not everyone asks these days, they expect you will do the math). This is how it ended though, we met up, had a meal together and when he was walking me to the matatu/bus (I forget) he asked me “Is it ok, if we see other people”? It was kind of shocking because the date we had the week before was exciting and there was so much hope for the future especially on his part. I also thought” hey, I’m afraid to get my feet in but this looks hopeful I can do this”. It was the proverbial “ready, steady, go before you leap through the air to the other side. Except in my case I didn’t know the other side was planning to move before I leapt. How things go from we’re engaged to be engaged to let’s see other people in one week is testament to clearly “I didn’t know what was going on”. Fast forward to happier times and I remember one of the cool things about that period of time when he was pursuing me was the exchange of emails between us.
It’s common knowledge that personal letters by post are in their death bed and it is a terrible shame. I however have had the rare treat of receiving letters in the mail from someone in the last two years but that’s a story for a book another day. You would think that email would naturally replace the letter but has it really? We are so caught up in this instant results web (pun intended) that the idea of waiting a few days to receive a reply is exasperating to say the least. The sad thing is, apparently the more we use all this smart devices the more dumb we are becoming. Are we going to stop using these devices? I can hear a resounding, “Of course not”! And that is perfectly fine. The advent of smart phones cannot be said to have completely diminished the human’s mental capacity. I mean the people who come up with these things are still creative right? Now as for the consumers I cannot really say but I trust that wherever we are we are creating in some way or other.
I know I seem to have lost the plot as far as email is concerned but let me try to get it back. What I am advocating for is bring email into the relating process especially for those of you who are creative. Like I said when I was having the thing with the guy (since I didn’t know what was going on might as well be ambiguous), I loved the emails. At the time I was doing French class during the university holidays and internet access wasn’t that much of a breeze. I couldn’t afford to go to the cyber every day, therefore those days when I did go and there was an email from said guy oh the excitement! My temperature would literally rise up a notch and the contents of those emails could not have passed for steamy (I promise). What would get me even more excited was the process of replying. For me writing back was a challenge to be interesting, witty and even a little coy. It was so much fun. I think it was a bit of a treat for the reader too. I could go on and on about it but that would kill the mystery of finding out for yourself. There is nothing quite like putting your thoughts into words and going the extra mile and putting feelings into words is amazing. Now add witticisms, intelligent jokes and charm and it is a recipe for grinning from ear to ear. Who doesn’t want to grin from ear to ear at the office sometime during the day? It is the tea masala on an otherwise dull cup of chai. Like I said I don’t expect people to go back to mail by post but I think email meets us half way between modernity and the golden age of the love letter. The thing to do with email is to add a brief waiting period in between emails. If you receive a romantic email at lunch time please do not feel the pressure to get the reply in by end of day. Leave it until the next day or two but at the same time don’t wait light years. Of course for two people in the same time zone it’s kind of silly to write about things you can easily talk about when you meet physically. So I suggest keep it interesting, bring out your most charming self and enjoy. If unfortunately things don’t work between you and your significant other, you will have a keep-sake in your inbox to put a smile on your face on a day you want to take a trip down nostalgia lane. If things do get really bad, you can hit the delete button. So hey, woo by email and feel free to share any e-woo stories.
I was having a conversation with a friend who is a bit older than me and is a pastor and he was telling me that if you think you cannot date yourself then you’re not that dateable (for lack of a better word). Then he asked me “would you date yourself?” then he quickly added “don’t answer that; just think about it”. Though he didn’t want to hear my answer and I’m pretty sure I said it anyway; the answer was yes! I have often been accused of blowing my own trumpet, so do not mind my saying I am pretty awesome! I would date me in a heartbeat! Funny story though I am still single ha ha ha! A little while back I was having a conversation with a friend and I was saying I was going through a period of dryness. This also translates to a dry spell but I avoid using the phrase because it can mean a whole of things in different contexts. So what I meant by period of dryness is that I hadn’t had a date in a bit of a while (read months-I know right, don’t ask). In the course of the conversation I mentioned a book I had read called “The Thrill of the Chaste” by Dawn Eden. I had to mention the title because it has been so long since I have seen so witty a title. I think this book title still takes the cake though “Humble Pie” an autobiography on Gordon Ramsey’s life comes close. Sadly I did not buy Humble Pie but I digress. The Thrill of the Chaste is about; as the author puts it a sexual revolution of a different kind. The gist of it is: everyone is doing it (sex) so go against the current and don’t do it. At some point the author was talking to single women about putting themselves out there. In a sentence she was saying, “Get out of the house!” She said “if you’re reading this book at home get out of the house and read this book at a coffee shop”. She also advised taking a laptop to a coffee shop and surfing the internet, going to a play alone among other things. The interesting thing is this wasn’t new to me. I have gone to a coffee shop alone and surfed the internet. I have had nice lunches all by myself but what is it that was different about what she wrote? I think for me it was finally! someone who endorses spending time alone.
See when I was in university I would tell my friends that I loved to go out to coffee or lunch to nice restaurants alone and I was sadly called weird most of the time. For most people having meals alone is inconceivable. I know people who say they would go hungry if they did not have company for lunch. I used to find that so amusing but maybe it’s because food always had a special place in my heart. I would pick food over loneliness any day. Anyway as much as I found it amusing that some people cannot enjoy meals alone I cannot say being called weird for eating alone did not affect me. With time I found that I would be out for a meal and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much because loneliness would creep in and I would wish I had company especially male company I must admit. Thank goodness I realized I am the kind of person who sometimes needs her space (maybe a lot of the time but I love company still, I really do). I realize I have been this way for the longest time. I have been a reader of lifestyle columns for ages and I remember reading about the independent woman who could do lots of things for herself. Now I know calling myself an independent women is walking on slippery ground because the term has been demonized in all sorts of ways and sometimes with good reason; but I have to say when Destiny’s Child coined the phrase I was sold. A little later probably in high school I told myself that life offers no guarantees that people will always be there for you constantly so learning to be alone would be a good skill to learn. From then on I relished the thought of having coffees and lunches on mi own.
Like I said spending time alone is not new to me but then something about the book made it take a whole new meaning. It started a new phenomenon I’m calling the “me date”. The essence of it is since I think I am so awesome who better to date me than me? Sounds a bit quirky right? Last I checked quirky is charming and that’s exactly what I’m going forJ. It occurred to me that most of the times I had been out with myself I did not think of it as a date with myself and we all know perception is everything. Now with a little more perspective I could not wait for the next time I would go for coffee alone. So I planned it and you should have seen me trying to figure the best day of the week to go. My planner is a witness with dates marked out and cancelled. I figured out the date then I had to pick an outfit. Then I organized how I would make sure my hair was done so I would look really dapper. That morning it wasn’t ordinary soap it was shower gel. To top it off a good book to read landed in my hands just days to the date. I admit I secretly (not so secret anymore) hoped the book would be a good hook for conversation with an interesting guy (tongue in cheek) but I tell you that’s not all I hoped for. It really is true what they say, anticipation is half the fun. Thinking and doing the same things I would if I was going on a proper date created such a buzz of excitement that I counted every day until the date. Then I had the date and it was just tea and a brownie but I savoured every bite of that brownie as it melted in my mouth. I also devoured the book and I smiled and winced even chuckled in equal measure depending on the ebb and flow of emotion the book required of me. I have to say it felt good to be me that evening. When I got home I said to myself “that was nice”. Now as I write this, hours later I have to say “it was epic”. The last famous words, “we should do this again sometime”, come to mind.
It has been said that being alone need not be lonely. I now know this to be true. It is so important to appreciate your own company and to treat yourself well while you’re at it because then you realize you are a gem. When you realize you are a gem then you will be able to say,” I would rather be alone than stand rubbish treatment from someone else”. Please don’t be the character in the Evanescence song whose title I cannot recall who sang “anything is better than to be alone”. I think those are the most heart-breakingly desperate words ever and anyone who even remotely thinks that may not have much future left or whatever’s left may be bleak at best. So do you want to feel good to be you? Put on a different thinking cap, dress up, get out of the house and enjoy yourself (like really enjoy, yourself).