Defend Truth


Between the lies and the ghosting (and the hungover non-architect), I had to tell the dating pool to take a hike


What does a smart, young, attractive, single woman do during a pandemic? She downloads a bunch of dating apps and is nicer than usual to men who speak to her. I’ve been single for almost two years and my love life has been shambolic – because if they’re not lying about being single, they’re ghosting me.

In July 2021 I went on to Bumble (side note: someone I trust told me that Bumble is where you find half-decent people).

One of my more memorable dates was the time I matched with an engineer. Before we get into that date, I’d just like to clarify that I am a Gemini, which means that I’m funny and smart; this guy did not appreciate my sense of humour.

He initially messaged me to say that he was at the restaurant; I responded with “I’m five minutes away” (which was true). By the time I got there, he had left the restaurant. He eventually came back without an explanation, and I casually said: “You hate me” (for those who don’t know, this means: “Why would you say you’re here and not be here and not effectively communicate that you live next door and went back to do whatever you were doing?”)

He did not appreciate it.

Reader: this man hated me, he was curt and irritable throughout. I had decided that I was going to pay my portion of the bill and never speak to him again. But guess what? This man, who was clearly not romantically interested in me, asked me to come over to his place to do ’shrooms. I politely declined because why are you inviting me over to your place after you were rude to me?

Needless to say, this was the shortest date I’ve ever had.

Based on that and a few other dead-end dates, I thought: “Perhaps I should try meeting a man the old-fashioned way.” Sure enough, a few months later I met a man while I was out with a friend.

Context: this man is 29 (I am 27, by the way), an architect and single. We arrange to meet and spend some time together a week later. This man, let’s call him Thuso, does what Cape Town people like to do: he insists that we go hiking as a first date. Okay. I’m not the fittest person but I was getting into working out and hiking, so I was keen.

“Let’s meet at 10.30 at my place then we can walk to the hiking trail,” he says. Admittedly, I was excited, I hadn’t been on a hike in a while. However, fortunately (or unfortunately) it started raining when I was on my way to his place.

When I got there, he was waiting outside, looking like sh*t.

I ask what’s wrong and he tells me he is hungover and may still be slightly drunk. I ask why he didn’t reschedule; he tells me that he still wanted to spend time with me. Reader, I want you to know that I was not impressed by this but I have Pinterest boards to manifest so I want to see where this will end up. At this point, we’re standing outside. I ask: “Can we not go inside and re-strategise and figure out if we’re waiting for this rain to stop or going somewhere else for breakfast?”

He says: “Sure, come inside but please bear in mind that I live with my landlord and we’ve recently had some issues and there’s some tension between us at the moment.”

My first thought was, “oh, one of them is probably messier than the other”, or some other common flatmate drama.

We walk into the lounge. His landlord, who looks like he is in his mid- to late thirties, steps into the room wearing just a T-shirt and underwear. Mr Landlord is visibly unimpressed. He looks at Thuso and awkwardly says: “Thuso, I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to have a guest here since we still have tension that we haven’t sorted out.”

Thuso and I are obviously stunned. Thuso says: “Aw, why do you have to bring that up now?” Mr Landlord is undeterred: “I think it’s inappropriate that you have a guest here when you haven’t paid rent in two months and I’ve asked you to move out.”

The room is tense. I am gobsmacked. I am in the middle of this when all I wanted to do was go on a hike. Eventually, I break the ice: “Okay, I’m getting an Uber now.”

Thuso walks me out and insists on going home with me. To be fair, a sensible person would have said no, but then again a sensible person wouldn’t have a mildly interesting story to tell.

This man, who is an alleged architect, comes home with me. In the Uber I find out he is not a qualified architect; he just spent seven years doing a three-year architecture degree and is struggling to find work at an architectural firm. In the meantime, he is a graphic designer and sells alcohol.

As you would expect, when we get to my place, the day goes from bad to worse. He shares way too much information about himself that you wouldn’t tell anyone on a first date. At some point he tells me he sees himself dating me and eventually having babies with me – this was after he’d repeatedly said that he was not in a good place to date.

The entire time I keep thinking: “This man is saying these things so he can have a place to sleep tonight”; there was clearly no chemistry between us. He tells me weird stories that involve him having to get muthi as a teenager, how he is flying out to Mpumalanga for work (remember he also hasn’t paid rent in two months) and his trust issues with women.

A few hours later, I tell him he has to leave. He assumes it’s a debate. I make it clear that it isn’t. He grudgingly agrees to leave.

This was a terrible day, considering that I just wanted to hike.

All this is to say that if you’re wondering what the dating pool is like for a smart, young, attractive, single woman like me, know that it’s a sewer. Through the ghosting, bad and good dates, I’ve learnt not to take it personally. People are going through their own things and how they treat me isn’t a reflection of my worth. But for now, I’m off dating apps and focusing on my Pinterest boards. DM168

Karabo Mafolo is a Daily Maverick reporter.

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.


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