Mr No-Relationship, Part 1 – Match

Those of you who follow Lucy on Twitter may remember a handful of recent tweets about a man who came to be known as Mr No-Relationship.

This is his story.

Before you get started, you should probably read last week’s post, Lucy Goes To Africa.  It explains how, after deciding she was monumentally fucking fed up with the daily grind of her single life, Lucy accepted an opportunity to go and work in Kenya for three months.  So she packed a suitcase, boarded a plane, and we now find her alone in a strange city, needing to make friends.

One way to achieve this as quickly and efficiently as possible, she decides, is to go on Tinder.  She can use the app not to seek out guys she might fancy, but to find people who might be fun to hang out with, and who can show her round and introduce her to their friends.  And while it might be a bonus if they also happen to be shaggable, Lucy’s not really looking for that sort of thing.  She’s only here for a short time, so it’s best to avoid any drama.

So she rewords her profile to explain that she’s new in town and is looking for friendship, and starts swiping.

And after just a few swipes she matches with Bradley.

Bradley is 36, and from Australia.  In the real world Lucy would absolutely not have swiped right on his profile, principally because it simply says ‘Ask and you shall find out’ which is fucking lazy and guys like that deserve to go straight in the bin.  What’s more, she doesn’t fancy his photos: although he’s slim and fit-looking, he’s not especially handsome, he doesn’t look terribly tall, his skin is pitted and weatherbeaten, and his teeth have a suspicious yellow tinge that strongly suggests he may be a smoker.  What’s more, in two of his photos he’s straddling large motorbikes, which implies he’s probably a bit of a laddish petrolhead.  So all in all, not her type in the slightest, but here in Africa none of this matters because she’s just looking for a friend, and he’s got a friendly smile, so she swipes right to see what will happen.

What happens, of course, is that they match, and shortly afterwards, Brad messages her.

Admittedly, this chat is hardly going to set the world on fire, and his punctuation could use some work, but again Lucy reminds herself that she’s not looking for a life partner, just someone to hang out with.  As long as he’s nice enough to have a drink with, that’s all that matters.  And he’s chatty and responds promptly to messages, plus he’s based in the same area, which is terribly convenient.  So really, what does she have to lose?

They chat for a while about the city, and about the terrible weather (Nairobi is currently enjoying a torrential downpour which has flooded the streets and brought the city to a standstill), and Lucy tells him about her terrifying commute to work on the back of a motorcycle taxi, locally known as a boda boda.  And since Brad seems to be interested and responsive, she hands over her number and suggests they switch to WhatsApp, so she doesn’t have to waste any more time making excruciating typos from trying to write on her phone using just her two fat thumbs.

Moments later, a message lands in her inbox.  No messing about with this one, she thinks.  This is good!

It’s Friday afternoon, and Brad asks her what her plans are for the evening.  Lucy tells him that it will be her first night out since arriving in Nairobi: her colleague Emma is going to a bar in the city centre with some of her friends and has invited Lucy to join them.

In a miraculous coincidence, the bar that Bradley is going to that evening is just across the street from the one Lucy will be in.  If she wasn’t entirely convinced about meeting him before, she really has no choice now.  Fate and convenience positively demand it!

Lucy’s at home, where she’s been ready for half an hour, wearing one of the only two dresses she’s brought with her to Africa (a blue polka-dot t-shirt dress from Boden) and pair of gold sandals.  She’s waiting for a text from Emma to let her know when she’s on her way: Lucy doesn’t want to leave too early and find herself sitting like a total mateless loser in the bar waiting for everyone to show up.  But Emma’s gone silent, and Lucy’s starting to worry that if the rain and the traffic are as bad as she’s heard, she may not be able to get a taxi at all.

So in a moment of bravery brought on by slight anxiety and FOMO, it occurs to her that if Bradley’s workplace is in the same area as her house, and if they are heading in the same direction, it might be sensible for them to share a cab…


This shit just got alarmingly real.  A man of whose existence she was entirely unaware only a few hours ago has just agreed to pick her up from her house and give her a lift into town.  This breaks just about every rule in the book.  She’s never met the guy, she knows almost nothing about him: he may be a weirdo or a psycho or a Trump supporter, and yet she’s about to get into a car with him?!

But somehow, here in Africa, it doesn’t seem to matter.  Maybe it’s that same holiday mentality that makes you ride motorbikes in Thailand without a helmet even when the only thing you’ve ever previously driven is a Ford Fiesta, or that makes you happily tuck into local delicacies from roadside stalls even though it’s highly likely you’ll spend the next two days locked in the bathroom with your insides falling out.  Or maybe it’s just that Lucy feels freer out here, living life, taking risks, carpe-ing the fuck out of the diem.  Whatever it is, she barely gives the issue a moment’s thought.  Instead, she sends him a Google pin of her exact location, and, seconds later, he sends his back.

Lucy rarely ‘lols’ when alone – in fact, she thinks people who use the term ‘lol’ sound like cretins.  But when Bradley’s pin lands in her inbox, she can’t help it: an actual lol escapes before she can control herself.  It turns out his office is just round the corner.  Fate, or the stars, or whatever it is, is taking no chances now: it’s determined that these two should meet, and very soon.

Is she ready?  That’s a question!  Yes, she’s been dressed for over half an hour, but is she ready to take a leap of faith, to put herself into the hands of an unknown man and have her first ever Tinder date in the back of a taxi?

She guesses she’s as ready as she’ll ever be, and it’s too late to back out now.  Anyway, she needs that lift, and practical need trumps anxiety every time.

Lucy’s excited and nervous now.  A date in the back of an Uber is certainly a first!  It feels like a huge risk: in heavy traffic it will probably take a good hour to get into the city centre, which is a fuck of a long time to be stuck in a car with someone if they turn out to be a creep or mind-numbingly dull.  She’ll need something to take away any potential pain…

This is genius, she thinks.  Stopping for beers will definitely help to lubricate the wheels of this spontaneous date.  And the house bottle opener is one of those ones with a corkscrew on the other end, so if Brad does turn out to be a creep (or worse), she will have a handy weapon with which to help him see the error of his ways.

He’s nearly here.   Lucy’s heart is racing as she checks her hair and makeup and puts on a slick of lipstick. She’s more nervous than she’s ever been for a first date before – but also more excited.  Something about all of this has lit her up like the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve: she’s in fucking Africa, she’s only been here a few days, and already life has taken on a new dimension, a new speed.  Adventures happen when you take risks, when you step outside your comfort zone, and here in Africa Lucy feels like she’s already becoming a different person: less anxious, more open-minded, more willing to take chances, less over-thinky (ok, maybe not the last one, that’s probably never gonna change).

Maybe other things are about to change as well.

To find out what happened next, go to Part 2 – Uber.

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15 Comments

  1. DC
    14th July 2018 / 9:21 am

    Talk about cliffhanger…

  2. Lucy
    Author
    14th July 2018 / 11:14 am

    Sorry guys!* You’ll just have to come back next week to find out what happened next…

    *not really 😉

  3. 14th July 2018 / 3:11 pm

    Trump supporter? There is no telling what the media has you believing. Yes I support my President…but all liberals do is call Republicans names instead of respectfully talks about their differences. The liberals are now a party that doesn’t tolerate a different opinion or respect anyone who doesn’t think like they do. Many actors have been black listed in Hollywood all because they vote differently. It’s awful what our media has done to our country. It’s all tabloid news and it divides us.
    I respect your opinion and I hope you will respect mine.
    And yes…you left a cliffhanger. I kept saying to myself..”That’s it? They were just about to meet!”

    • Lucy
      Author
      14th July 2018 / 4:35 pm

      Hey Chadlee, thanks for taking the time to read the blog and comment – and sorry about the cliffhanger! (Though of course I’m not really, gotta keep you guys coming back for more! 🙂
      As for the Trump thing – well I don’t think a dating blog is really the place for a political debate, but let’s just say that I don’t think my dislike of Trump is entirely down to media spin. I’ve seen enough of the evidence with my own eyes: the inherent racism/islamophobia of the Muslim travel ban; the misogyny and entitlement of the ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ statement; the blatant disregard for human lives (and prioritising his own interests) evident in the fact that children are being gunned down in US schools but he defends the NRA… I could go on. Of course I respect your right to an opinion and to vote for Trump if you choose to, but when it comes to dating I’m looking to meet someone whose values and beliefs are in line with my own, and I just don’t think someone who supports Trump or the far right would be right for me, just as I’m sure I would not be right for them.

      • 14th July 2018 / 4:59 pm

        I respect your opinion and thank you for not labelling me. Many things can not be defended and his boasting gets under my skin but all of our leaders have done that.
        Everyone I talk to here feel the media is worsening things by being biased so we don’t watch the news anymore. Instead, I read. A lot including blogs which are entertaining especially with your choice of words. I’m learning modern dating terms I wasn’t aware of before. Enjoy Africa!

  4. Karen
    14th July 2018 / 11:55 pm

    From the perspective of an African in Africa…I’m hoping that the fact that you keep referring to being in Africa rather than in Kenya doesn’t create generalisations about the continent based on experiences in one country…

    • Lucy
      Author
      15th July 2018 / 9:53 pm

      Hi Karen, thanks for your feedback and apologies if any offence was caused. I’ve actually spent quite a lot of time in various bits of Africa: I lived for a while in Ghana and have travelled to Benin, Togo, Burkina, Faso, Mali, Tunisia, Egypt, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and now Kenya. So of course I am well aware that it is a vast continent made up of a huge variety of cultures and countries. My use of the term ‘Africa’ was not intended to give the impression that it’s one country and I apologise if this is the impression you got.
      As you will have noticed, I write dating stories, and the focus on the events of the dates, rather than the locations they take place in. Dating, it would seem, carries universal themes and experiences no matter where you do it. So I avoided using ‘Kenya’ more often because I don’t think the actual location really matters. In the context of Africa/Kenya, what is relevant is that being abroad makes you behave differently: if I’m only going to be there for a few months then there’s no point looking for something serious; likewise when you are in a foreign country you take more risks and behave differently from how you would behave back home.
      So I suppose I am using ‘Africa’ as a shorthand for ‘abroad’. The fact that it’s Kenya, specifically, doesn’t really matter to the story; what matters is just the fact of being abroad, where normal rules don’t apply. Hence why I used Africa rather than always Kenya.
      I hope this clears things up.
      L

      • Karen
        15th July 2018 / 10:33 pm

        No offence taken at all. Just felt that I needed to put it out there because as you might imagine, “we get that a lot.”

        Other than that, I must say I do enjoy your blog and your writing style. And yes, very universal themes. Being around Lucy’s age myself, I can relate to many of her views and experiences. Looking forward to the next instalment !!

  5. Anonymous
    15th July 2018 / 10:51 am

    Just a note to say Africa isn’t a country. The way it’s talked about in Western media and how you talk it about in your blog (“she’s in fucking Africa” “But somehow, here in Africa”) is problematic because it fails to recognise it as a continent made up of 54 countries with different cultures, customs, etc. There’s nothing wrong with going to Kenya and talking about that experience but when you focus on “Africa” (which you mentioned several times more than Kenya) it makes it seem like one homogeneous place. This isn’t​ a problem European countries face. People are much more likely to say “I want to travel to Paris/Rome/Amsterdam” but will say “when I go to Asia” or “I just came back from Africa” lumping vastly different countries together in a way that is really othering for brown and black folk.

    Not trying to attack you at all, just something to be conscious of. I really enjoyed the blog apart from that.

    • Lucy
      Author
      15th July 2018 / 9:54 pm

      Hi, thanks for taking the time to comment – I’m delighted you like the blog! You’re not the first person to have pulled me up on this – and I apologise if any offence was caused. I’ve explained why I wrote it like that in my reply to the comment above, so do take a look and come back to me if you have any further comments or questions.
      Regards
      L

      • Anonymous
        16th July 2018 / 10:00 am

        Hi, thanks for replying! I didn’t notice that comment before posting mine but glad it’s been brought up and addressed.

  6. Nick
    18th July 2018 / 7:19 pm

    They are all very serious on here Lucy aren’t they?

    I would say they probably need to get out more (on a date or two maybe), but that I am sure would risk someones polite ire.

    You are a tease though 😉

    • Lucy
      Author
      21st July 2018 / 9:06 pm

      I’m sorry for being a tease (actually, no I’m not!). Part 2 is up now though, so no more waiting! Until next time, of course… 🙂

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