Zimbabwean = nationality # 8
There’s a local Indian take-away within walking distance from campus called, ‘Kara Nichas’, affectionately known as ‘Karas’ or ‘Nichas’ depending which circle you roll with. You can tell the economic situation has really hit hard, as a meal has gone from R4.50 to R6.50 in the 5 years that I have been a student at this university, adding serious strain to student finances.
As we get to the front of the queue, the confession, ‘I don’t really eat Indian food’ comes, but I’m assured he’s ‘a team player’ and orders hot chips. Good form.
On the walk down to where we were meeting, I had the chance to think about how absurd this whole date scenario actually is, but also, what I was learning about meeting random strangers.
A few, averagely-wise insights which may help you when preparing to meet an unknown:
– False confidence carries you a long way. Deciding beforehand that you’re going to be brave is pivotal. It’s certainly not a feeling but a decision. Just a caution that there’s a difference between arrogant, in-your-face and confident.
– It’s helpful to have a few pre-planned questions. The usual, just to get the conversation going, as well as one or two more adventurous ones, to gain insight to keep the conversation going. Asking questions is good as people are usually happy and comfortable to talk about themselves.
– At the same time, it’s necessary to have a few fall-back stories which you’re ready to whip out when they use the above tactic on you. Make sure that they present you as an interesting and sane character. Also make sure that you don’t fall back on the same story every time you see a particular person. This’ll only portray the image that you’ve only had one exciting event in your life. Conversation is give and take.
– A fair portion of people you meet in life you’ll never meet again. So if you mess up the first impression, it’s unlikely to be a tragedy that’ll haunt you forever. If you do end up becoming friends with the person, it’ll just become a great story to recount over a drink a few years down the line. Take comfort. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll earn yourself an embarrassing nickname, which sticks forever.
Just a little more truth to be acknowledged in Ivan’s last date – his ‘graceful’ walk through the game reserve which you can read about here if you haven’t already. While he owns up to his clumsy footing, he fails to mention that she managed the outing in pretty, little pumps.