July 2011


He was born with it 14 years ago. He’s looking forward to joining form 1 now. Every day of his life, he goes to the hospital to get drugs, but with childlike innocence, has never thought to ask, what are they for? He sits down with the counsellor and they start discussing what AIDS is. The boy is engaging and bright. He answers all the questions right. Then the counsellor says, have you ever thought you might have it? I? but it is passed on through sex and I have never been sexually active…                                                                                   – Silence –

A boy of 16.

A woman with a 17 year old son.

Tradition dictates that she must be inherited.

The husband died of AIDS.

The woman has been on ARVs for years.

The boy does not know of his impending death.

Debilitating fear

Holds us back

Many a-ways

We get hurt

And

Fearfully hold

On

To Pain

Resulting in loss

Of

Hopeful new beginnings

That may only

Be held

Once

The fist of fear

Has been

Unclenched

No wonder

It’s said

‘You cannot shake hands

with

a clenched fist’

Shake a hand.

I’ve been out of circulation for a while, so any date I go on now may be considered a first date.  I do remember though that people’s idea of a date is based on what we see on TV ~ you know those white people going out on the movies we watch ~ the only true dates involve eating, drinking coffee, having ice-cream and going to the movies.  There was also swimming and the rave.

Now call me old fashioned, but I definitely have different views about what constitutes a good date, especially a first one.  A first date is the gateway to a relationship. On that first face-to-face encounter, you get to form an impression about this person that may hold your interest or totally repel you depending on how things go.

Think about having your first date at a night club. . . It’s dark, noisy and the general environment is not necessarily suited to conversation, unless of course you are only interested in finding out about the dance and drink skills of your potential partner.

Move on to a swimming pool . . . do I really want to be mostly naked with someone I barely know the very first time we go out together? Need I say more?

The movie first date , without anything before e.g. a meal [please remember we are all broke seeing as movies are a luxury and therefore pretty expensive for the average young dater, so having lunch before the movie is highly unlikely] is not a good idea because you’ll be talking only about the movie once  that is done.

The whole; sitting at a coffee house and making polite conversation; is so overdone it feels surreal. Then again think about it, this is your first date. You’re probably nervous and uptight, which makes you clumsy. So there you are, talking and gesticulating and you knock over your drink . . .  or you’re a sloppy eater and as you put some salad none too carefully in your mouth, the dressing dribbles over your chin and puts your date off their food.  Worse yet you go on talking a mile a minute and the food in your mouth escapes as a projectile landing smartly on your date . . . oh horror!  Then to top it off, you eat like a pig!

On your first date you want to make a good impression and place your best foot forward so that when the flaws are revealed, your date has good memories to balance things out.  You also want to get to know something of the soul and personality of your date.  You can only do this if your set out to go outside of your comfort zone and enter a realm which stimulates conversation and provokes debate. The logic being that when you are both on unfamiliar neutral territory, you tend to be a lot more natural. The conversation can be less superficial as well.

Say you go on a date to the Museum, a bowling alley, an amusement park or the animal orphanage for that matter. Any of these will promote conversation allowing the daters to converse about something other than themselves, and they’ll have the opportunity to see assess the intellectual disposition of their partner.

If you’re both too shy to go some place quiet, why not try an amusement park?  Just think, lots ls rides and distracting activities to break the ice such that you’re able to share laughter and some conversation – good clean fun J.

Anyhow you look at it, first dates are tricky business.  You want just the right intimacy, just the right amount of time (over-long dates are a no-no, keep it short and sweet) together resulting in an unforgettably positive first impression that’s just right.  So if a dude’s idea of a first date is to take you to a club just so he can get you drunk and dancing intimately – please put humongous question marks and say yes or no depending on what you are interested in.  Don’t get me wrong, you two parties may both be interested in the same thing – a one night stand – so if that’s it for you, then go for it.

If you really like this person and want to explore this interest you feel and go about it deliberately, then put the brakes on and go the soulful route [that’s the more scenic route] and it’ll add oomph! when you both agree to take another step, a second date. The anticipation will build up, the something to look forward to will also seem more exciting and you’re off to a great start.

Do things that keep you both interesting and interested to and in one another. Keep it surprising and an experience shared that is uniquely yours’. Let both of you think wow, I’d never have experienced this quite this way without the company of my date. To that end I think you need to invest time in researching and getting the two of you to explore new experiences that you can re-live.  This isn’t just for dating couples but for friends as well.

Have a memorable first date!