My second Tinder date happens exactly a week after the first.
After last week’s success, I’ve begun to accept the premise of online dating.
You’re matched with a stranger online, you exchange a few texts. You meet in person.
The letters on a screen become a person sitting in front of you.
I’m still not entirely comfortable with the idea, so I’m a bit nervous as I sit in the restaurant waiting for her. I can handle it, though.
I’m five minutes early; when she arrives, seven minutes later, she scuttles in like a frightened crab, sticks out her hand, shakes mine quickly, then dashes immediately to the bathroom. She moves so quickly that I can barely tell what she looks like.
I sit back down at the table and think: “what the fuck have I gotten myself into?”
She returns, eventually. She is a vegetarian, so I order a meat-free meal as well. The conversation is fine — uninspiring but far from uncomfortable. She is petite and bubbly, and her attempts to get me to speak Hindi fail. Her pasta tastes much better than mine, but she only eats half her dinner.
She says that she’s originally from Delhi, and prefers living there, because the roads are better and drivers don’t honk their horns as pervasively as they do here. After we finish eating, I excuse myself to go the restroom. On the way, I slip my card into the waiter’s hand, informing him that I’ll be paying the bill.
I return to our table, and when the cheque arrives, she’s offended that I’ve already paid. “I don’t like boys paying for me,” she says. I think about letting her pay, but my inner gentleman/ego/deep-seated misogyny doesn’t allow it.
Later, over two Coronas at a nearby bar (she pays), we both loosen up a bit. She asks me about the craziest thing I’ve ever done while intoxicated. I tell her. My story is good, I think. Her drunken story, unfortunately, lacks both a central conflict and a satisfying conclusion.
She drops me home, negotiated the tiny lanes near my house with a careful confidence. She’s cute, but I don’t think she’s “the one.”
By Kunal Bambawale
Photography: Karan Khosla