Whimsy
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That Time I Went On A “Blind Date”

Early 2011, one of my aunts (not so much aunt, as friend of an aunt but everyone is an aunt) called me to find out how I was doing and what my romantic prospects looked like. At the time, said prospects were zero. I was 22, right smack in the middle of youth service and obsessing with what my future would be. I was neck-deep in applications for Masters programs, scholarships, writing residencies. I had a crush or two and the feeling might’ve been mutual but I was more concerned with becoming an independent adult. To Auntie, however, I simply remarked, “No.”

She’d found someone for me, she said. A relative of her husband. Let’s call him Julius because I can’t remember his name. He was “eligible”, meaning he had a job and she thought we’d be a good fit. She suggested I attend a wedding the following weekend so she could introduce us.

“I can’t come, I have other plans with my Dad.”

Okay, she said. Why didn’t I come over to her house the Friday after that and spend the night. She could arrange some alone time with the relative so we could get to know each other.

I remember wondering if she thought my case so hopeless. I asked her to give the fellow my number. He could call me and then we’d set up a date like normal young people. This whole business of sleeping over and having alone time in her sitting room with a stranger didn’t seem kosher and I wasn’t sure my father would approve.

“Ah, you don’t have to tell him. And besides, Julius isn’t interested in all this small boy/small girl love you people do these days. He’s looking for marriage.”

I pointed out that I was only 22.

“Ehen? When did I get married?”

She was quite insistent on introducing us and so I agreed to meet her later in the week in Lagos Island where she would take me to his office.

On the appointed day, I carried myself from Surulere to Apongbon. We met, my aunt and I, at an eatery and then navigated the serpentine tracks through the market. As we walked, she gave me relationship advice.

“You must be respectful…you can’t trust these small boys these days…it’s important to marry early…I wish someone would set my daughter up like this…if she wasn’t related to Julius…you can do the traditional marriage this August before your Masters and then do the white wedding when you return…he has a good job, he’ll be a good provider…”

Julius worked in a bank. We were  directed to his “office”, a cordoned off cubicle in the far corner of the banking hall. He smiled when he saw us.

How do I describe him? The only word that comes to mind is “old”. Not grey-haired old. No, not that. That might’ve been at least, interesting. He’d have had the distinguished, silver-haired, bespectacled thing going on and if I was one for those kind of fantasies, there might’ve been a chance. But no. This was a middle-aged man. Portly. With the greasy look of a heavy sweater and the shaving bumps of a Bic razor user. He had kind eyes, though. And when Auntie introduced him as “Mr. Julius”, he laughed and said, “No. Just Julius.”

I was still dumbfounded. It sounds cliché but it’s true. I couldn’t believe this was who Auntie was setting me up with. For the second time, I wondered if my case seemed that pitiful, whether my future seemed so dim that this marriage was in a way, an act of mercy, I wondered what part of my life so far had given Auntie this vibe. I was unemployed but I had just finished school anyways.

“How old are you, Julius?”

They both laughed. “I’m 37,” he said.

“I’m 22. Don’t you think I’m too young for you?”

“Ah, no. Age is nothing but a number.”

“But why aren’t you married yet?”

“I haven’t found the right person.”

Auntie, bless her soul, seemed encouraged by this line of conversation. After a few minutes, she left us to continue with her shopping. She reminded me to call her when I got home. I sat in silence after her departure, sipping my Maltina. To be fair, he seemed shy and uncertain. I, however, could not muster the customary coyness of meeting a “potential suitor” for the first time.

“This won’t work, Julius. And I’m sorry if she got your hopes up. I had no idea you were so old.”

He talked for a bit about his hopes and dreams for a family but all I could see was my future as a baby-bearing  machine, serving his favorite dishes “respectfully” and staring out the window every morning as he drove to work. Not a bad life for some but definitely not the life for me.

“It won’t work, abi?” He asked.

“No.” I stood up. “But thanks for the malt. And I hope you find a wife soon.”

“Thank you. Can I get your number?”

I shook my head. I shook his hand. And I stepped out of that banking hall.

A few days later, Auntie calls me that she’s thinking of coming with her husband to discuss the potential nuptials with my Dad. Half of me was tempted to just let her do it, so she could face the blistering fury with which my father would greet the idea.  The sensible part of me dissuaded her. I could tell she felt sorry for me as I hung up. These girls of today. So ungrateful. So full of romantic dreams. Such easy prey for young boys of today...

Have you been set up on a blind date? How did that work out?

 

50 Comments

  1. enajyte says

    Loool. Kai. Aunties and their wahala. Never been set up on a blind date. I’m too ‘stubborn’ so everyone is pretty scared of having me ‘tarnish’ the family name or ‘disgrace’ them.

    I do wonder what it will be like though.

    • Haha! “Tarnish the family name”! 😂 I’m imagining your date calling your aunt afterwards, “You didn’t tell me she was this stubborn. Na so una be?”

  2. Man, I can see my aunties trying to set me up like you. I’m glad you didn’t even entertain the idea.

  3. Odesigo says

    I think my case was different, actually an uncle trying to match me with his age mate who he feels needs a graduate as a wife;in return of a debt he owed. The age difference was horrible-decades apart coupled with the fact it’s coming a relative nobody likes.

  4. Have had a close to blind date…. my cousin just kept going on and on about him I almost went deaf. where she blew it all up was when she told me its her friends elder brother and this her friend is a little old….I just stood up and said no like we were quarreling before.

    http://www.stitchadress.blogspot.com

  5. The part about trad marriage in August killed me lol. Very straight and direct.

  6. Oma says

    My blind date called my aunt and told her everything we discussed plus saying I wasn’t ready to settle she called my mum who in turn called me to ask why I said so and so to Mr blind date.

  7. Oma says

    My blind date called my aunt and told her everything we discussed plus saying I wasn’t ready to settle she called my mum who in turn called me to ask why I said so and so to Mr blind date… marriage would have been for 3 him, my aunt and i

  8. bimb says

    hmmn..all these Aunties….I’ve not heard a blind date really, My dad does not want me to marry my babe so he has contracted my aunt to help get me a wife…My Aunt has sent me the name of a lady..and still expecting more…I’m open to dates though!

  9. Ha! I was 23, a Corp member as well. It was my Church member that came to befriend me little did I know she wanted a wife for her 30- something year old brother.
    He was very short and super timid. His sister did all thr talking and she was talented. Lol!
    What a refreshing post, makes me laugh and remember my own very similar story.

      • Lol! She said something about the ‘Flower age’ which is the early twenties, after which I won’t get suitors anymore and I won’t be attractive. Until another Flower age, in my Early Thirties, except that by then it will be too late cos only divorcees and widowers will approach me.
        Smh. To think I actually believed her, until she revealed her ulterior motive for the advice- which was to get me married to her much older and somewhat mute brother.

  10. jite says

    Cracked me up real good. I think blind dates are just hard but the ‘drive’ to hook you up at 22 is just wrong man. Like at least give me time to ‘fail’ at it then you can help. looollll. love it Ose!

    • Lol! She was so shocked that any girl in her right sense would refuse to be married at 22 to a responsible man. The horror.

  11. Anita says

    It’s 1.52am, and should be asleep but I’m laughing out loud and annoying my husband!!!!😂😂😂
    Which kind wahala be this, Biko nu???
    I’m so glad I was spared this! I’m sorry you had to experience this; not because it’s so bad but more because it’s so pitiful.
    Thankfully, Uncle K came around to “shame” aunty.

    Thank you for sharing this (and it’s good night for me!)

    • Hahaha! Imagine if I made it to 40 unmarried. She would just be like, “Shebi I told you these boys you’re following are up to no good.” Lol. Greet Oga oh. And how’s the little one?

  12. Sonic says

    Does setting you up with the person over WhatsApp count as well? Because I am experiencing one right now – a friend said her friend saw my picture and liked it. So she now told her friend that I am single and she will hook us up.
    So here we are now, chatting almost daily and my God! She is boring! Conversation is so cliche, the usual “how was your night?” and “have you eaten?”
    She is also doing the dutiful ‘good Nigerian girl’ thing where she doesn’t ask you any questions so she doesn’t seem like she is prying too much. Which is to say, she doesn’t even know what I do for a living.
    Meanwhile, her friend is there smiling and feeling accomplished.
    Me? I am enjoying the show like I am not part of it. Hopefully, they will soon get the message.

    • Lol! So that’s where your Facebook post comes from. But you sef, give her a chance na. Maybe she’s shy. Maybe you should try to go on a physical date, see what she’s like in person.
      Think about it. How many times have you engaged in lively, witty convo with someone online and then discovered they were boring in real life? The opposite could also be true 😀

    • omah says

      Lol.. Urs is silly… I Hv been on a blind date, was the lamest thing ever… But not worth a tell

    • omah says

      Lol @Sonic, WTH tho… Thtz a curt girl u hv there AKA wife material😃… Conversations like tht are soo depressing

  13. Wanangwa says

    Hahahaha love this Ose.

    Looks like I may need one to set me up with a lady soon. Lol

  14. Cynthia says

    I’m 22 and pregnant, no suitor in sight and staying with an aunt. Her husband actually set me up on something similar but to make it worse, he never consulted me on the matter. The guy isn’t old tho but certainly not my type of person; he just graduated, stays with his mum here in a village and is a plumber (rolls eyes). I just told him; I don’t intend to marry any Tom, Dick or Harry just because I’m pregnant, and I don’t intend to become a village wife as I already had a business in town before I got pregnant. It wasn’t funny to me atm, but now I can laugh about it.

  15. Kwasu says

    Lol… There is one… (or two or even three) in every family… These ‘aunties’… I wonder… Has this ploy ever ever worked???

  16. nkem says

    Sometimes, blind date works.
    We are family friends but I never knew of his existence until his father talked to my parents about him. At first I didn’t want the friendship to work talk less of a relationship. He was nonchalant about it because his wanted his son married not him. It took us sometime to talk, whatsapp helped. Then the calls became frequent and we saw our pictures on facebook. When I saw him physically after a month of whatsapp calls, he simply told his parents that he had seen his wife. I still thought that he was a joker
    Now it’s over a year and we are glad. We are talking marriage a lot.

  17. Lol. Never been on a blind date, I’ve never even been hooked up and honestly I like it that way. But what’s so funny to me is what I think is the similarity between your dad and mine. If my dad ever found out any aunt of mine did this, there would be civil war lmaoo. What?!! He would probably be way angrier than me. But this was really funny hahaha

      • Haha I just had to come here to respond. Just after “boasting” about the fact that no one has ever linked me up. Well guess whose aunty’s husband has decided to link her up with a “fine bachelor”? Yes, me. Lol. It’s as hilarious as it’s awkward.

  18. Kunle says

    Mine was an attempt by my mother.

    On the phone, she began cheerfully, “Kunle, I want to introduce you to Mrs A’s daughter. She is…”

    I cut her short. “Mom, you do not set me up with a girl!”

    She apologized and I must confess that in retrospect, I found the whole thing funny.

  19. This got me laughing uncontrollably!!!!! And then when I was done, I was confronted with the reality of all those aunties, older friends, and even senior colleagues and pastors who try to lead you down the path of “hooking up” for whatever justification they can find in their head! Glad I discovered your blog!

    • Lol! “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young person is automatically looking for a life mate.” Thanks for stopping by 😀

  20. Anonymous says

    A little while ago my aunties (actual aunties) seemed weirdly determined to get me married off. I’d just finished with school and I was trying to find my footing in life (job/financial independence/deciding which city to settle in).

    My aunts were putting so much pressure on me to get married. If they had even set me up on blind dates with nice men and given me a chance to get to know them, that would’ve been better.

    But no, they were literally “marketing ” me to every eligible bachelor they knew.

    Everytime any man from our village indicates interest in getting married, they’d call my mum and tell her. There wasn’t even talk of dating or anything. They were literally trying to pressure me into a blind marriage.

    (And yes, these things still happen)

    As far as they were concerned, so long as the “family is a good family ” and the man is ready to marry, there’s nothing left to discuss. “What do feelings have to do with it?”

    And for a man to agree to marry a random stranger, you already know he doesn’t really care what she thinks or what her plans are. They’re not looking for an equal partner or a companion through life. These are men who probably just want a wife who will sit at home, cook, bear children, be seen and not heard.

    To be honest I was more than a little irritated that this was what they thought was best for me. That the title of Mrs.Somebody was more important than my goals and happiness.

    The whole thing really pissed me off and I finally had to sit down and have a frank talk with my mother. I told her that getting married to a complete stranger when I don’t have my life together just because it is “time to get married” was not my plan for my life, and that she should call off her sisters.

    She finally did and I have had peace since then lmao.

    Sorry to go on a rant, but the pressure that’s put on young women to get married in our society sometimes really frustrates me. And the emphasis that is put on getting married for the sake of marriage, instead of being more concerned about the compatibility of the people in question is a serious problem.

    Even these aunties are not happy in their marriages, and here they are, pressuring me into making light of a monumental, potentially life-altering decision, just because it is “time to get married”.

    • Yes! Like, just let a young woman be. Many young women bow under the pressure and end up in marriages that are hellish. Same aunties will tell you to “endure” and pray. Is it not better to “endure” singlehood than endure marriage? Smh.

  21. Lololol, the relevance of this story!! I can’t count how many “Julius” encounters i’ve had… aunties need to chill. Great post, awesome writing! You just inspired me to record some of my experiences. 😊😊

  22. Wow, this is so hilarious. Most friends of the family can be so funny. Your parents weren’t bothered and she had to take it up on herself wow. People never cease to amaze me lol. Anyway, I’m glad you took it lightly. Wishing you a splendid week ahead!

    http://www.zinnyfactor.com

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