There isn’t much that makes me feel how I am, or how far I have come than looking back at the person I was in school. I was always an outspoken person, but the thought of actually liking a boy or *shudder* ‘have to tell him something’ was never something I considered. After finding out that I am actually desirable to boys in my class, through two boys sending me chits that said “I like you” *eye roll*, I was considered rather forward. But the thought of being in a relationship with either of them was just outright scary.
After the summer, when we came back to class eight, I had started talking to one of them over the phone. We would walk back from school to the Nerul station (barely a 500m walk) and spend a few minutes talking everyday, hiding from the sight of our batch-mates and school teachers. Our conversations continued on phone, and we had popularly become one of the first class couples.
Along with a lot of denial, there were also hesitant “dates” with other almost-couple friends to the nearby mall where we would sit awkwardly in the food court blushing into our food and drinks. All of this slightly empowering romance ended gradually after about 6 months when the profession of love was met with a ‘Thank you’.
I have since then refused to call this my first relationship, preferring to give my next boyfriend the honour.
I look back at those days and wonder how the tiniest of gestures that carried so much weight then, we now find silly. Those were the times when a kiss was considered risque.
This was so so so long ago – when the word *dating* wasn’t even a part of our vocabulary. In the late 90s / early 2000s, the words ‘boyfriend’ & ‘girlfriend’ were used but not ‘dating’.
This is how it happened. In 1998, when I was in Junior College (Class 11), a friend gave me some guy’s number … someone she knew. I think he got her number from another friend of hers. This was when there were no mobile phones, just landlines. We (or was it just me?) called this guy and I can’t remember what I said about how I got his number but we started talking on the phone.
We used to talk for long hours, and turns out we had some friends in common. This went on for a few months. Internet proliferation was low, email ids were new, personal computers were not so common etc., so we were unable to send pictures or video chat, and hence hadn’t seen each other.
One day we decided to meet. And, of course, I cannot remember whose bleddy idea it was to meet. His or mine! What I do remember that we met in the monsoon. And we had decided to meet at this restaurant that was a 10 mins walk from my house. To have ice cream. We both had butterflies in the tummy, and our friends were waiting to hear from us about each other. I remember the table we sat at – the first table on the right near the entrance. I remember him smiling a lot. I think I had a vanilla ice cream and he, a strawberry ice cream.
The only thing is I didn’t know it was A DATE. Nor did he. I realized it was a date (as I know it today) only after 10 effing years of going on it.
(We continued meeting each other, hanging out, etc. for a couple of years. I kept waiting for him to ask me out – as in to be his ‘girlfriend’. And he never did. As he told me several years later, he used to like me a lot too but didn’t ask me out as he thought I was too good for him. :-S)
Back in high school and through college, I barely dated. Heck, I don’t even remember going out much. Now when I look back, I wonder what I did during those years especially when my close friends were having a whale of a time with their boy friend(s). I was / still am the kind who gets along with guys easily and so the thin line between girl-friend and girlfriend was never there (at least not for me).
Hmmm. My first date in its true sense was in 2003. Was set up by a friend, she gave me this guy’s phone number and that was it. Very hesitantly I sent him a text and wham, we started chatting and decided to meet for dinner one evening.
He was older, came from a whole different world than what I was used to but was so much fun to chat with. We would go to and fro on email about our fav food joints in the city.. The evening of our ‘date’, he picked me up near my office. We went for a long drive to the Valmiki Nagar-seaward Beach. On the way we grabbed a pizza from Giorgio(don’t think the place exists anymore) along with few beers as well.
We sat in his car, yapped away for hours about everything and anything, drank ate and yapped some love. There was this amazing comfort … before we knew it, was nearly midnight. He dropped me home, and well, we kept meeting almost every week for about 6 months. There was no chemistry, but we just connected and continued meeting, going on long drives (longest was all the way to Vivanta by Taj-Fisherman’s cove)
Am still in touch with him, we meet once in awhile (he moved out of Chennai, does visit cos his folks are here). He makes sure to wish me on my birthday (says it is easy to remember since his mom’s bday is on same day) … Sweet memories indeed. :-))
I tried and tried and tried to remember my first date pre-tinder, and kept coming up blank. Like I’ve said before, I didn’t really date in my teens or my early-mid twenties, so the first ever date would have to be my date with this lovely older man who is still a great friend of mine.
The Scene: An LGBTQIA event in a bar in Bangalore. As an owner of a second hand DSLR with nowhere to practice, I had offered to take photos of the event. I was roaming all around the room, climbing on ledges and squatting in the pit, trying to get photos of the performers on a dimly lit stage. This extremely attractive man with a salt and pepper beard walked up to me and started chatting me up. I was oblivious of his interest, focusing with rather tunnel-visioned intent on my camera.
I was also shy, and not used to talking to strangers.
He asked for my email, and said he wanted to see the photos. And told me he’d like to get dinner with me sometime. I was so shocked, I laughed in his face, but I gave him my number and email anyway.
After a week of flirting via text (MY FIRST TIME FLIRTING, YOU GUYS), we had a really intimate and sweet dinner at Cafe Max. I had two glasses of wine, he drank water. We shared a salad, I got some pasta, and he, stroganoff. I forced him to share some cake with me. We got there at 8, and spent 3 hours there, till the waiter hovered over our table with the bill.
Every time I visit Bangalore, I make it a point to look him up and take him out for a meal. Because he introduced me to the idea of romance. And because even if unavailable for love, he himself is lovely.