Dating is always a risk in my own city. I was born and raised here and on a half hour walk I say goodbye to at least ten people. But I really don’t want to be seen with this clacking lump of sweat.
The moment he pulls a lock from the pocket on the back of his shirt, I quickly shout: “Change of plans! We’re going to my house. Yeah, a little crazy maybe, because we don’t know each other yet, but I don’t want you to get cold here along the water. While you freshen up, I’ll arrange a pizza. I live here five minutes away. Come on! ”
Funny how I take the lead much faster during a date. When I was just single, I let the man in charge take the lead and sometimes found myself in a tent with only steak and satay on the map, a house full of roommates or in the Ikea parking lot, because he ‘logistics thought it was the best. ”Bizarre afterwards, because if someone thinks it is too much trouble to drive to The Hague on date one, how much do you want to invest in a relationship later?
When I get home I give him a towel and a washcloth and point in the direction of the bathroom. While I order the pizza, I hear the shower splashing. Would he really…? I make a video of the door that – luckily – is locked and share it in the group app. And such an emoji with scared eyes.
After ten minutes he steps out triumphantly. In my bathrobe.
“Well, ‘pretend you’re home’, I don’t have to say to you,” I reply, somewhat irritated. “What about your clothes?”
“They hang on your shower door for a while,” says Paul Monter. I can secretly appreciate this kind of bravura.
Two pizzas, six rosés and a few surprisingly funny stories later, I think it’s time to go. So for Paul. Another reason why you should always meet somewhere. I have been yawning for half an hour and have deliberately not refilled his glass. Normally I usually say “shower here or shower at home,” after a game of sweaty, but that kite doesn’t work today.
“Say …” I begin. Immediately Paul jumps up and rushes to the bathroom. He comes out in full uniform and I can’t resist checking the contours of the fun package in the middle front. Just as right as his voting behavior, it seems.
“You want me to go, don’t you?” Paul smiles. Such a farewell is always an inconvenient moment. Do you give a hug? A kiss? Or just a cowardly swing? Suddenly I hear myself talking very quickly and Paul is fiddling with his bicycle key.
“Well, ciao ciao!” he yells, patting me on the shoulder. Huh?
When I wake up the next morning, I have twenty unread messages. Half is from Julie and Carola, the other half from open ends. None of Paul’s.
I just want to start the group bell, but Carola is ahead of me. “And? Did you have milk for breakfast?” she fishes.
“No, no, he cycled home last night. This is not getting married, you know.” I make a short report and in the meantime I hear a few mirrors from Carola.
“Say Carool?” I check. “Do you have anything to confess?”
After years of dating (one of which even became a marriage), Pam, Julie and Carola suddenly become single again. Not ideal, but secretly also a wonderful adventure for people over thirty who once had a house-tree-animal and now try their freedom together. Between city trips, dance nights and dinner evenings, they learn about life, love and each other.