… row, row, row the boat gently down the stream.

After being totally eye-fucked early Friday evening by the Bradley Cooper-esq looking guy behind the returns counter at the video store I realised that I am living every gay-boys dream. After almost a decade in Jo’burg it had gotten to a point where you couldn’t whip off your Gucci belt and swing it around a restaurant, nightclub or popular Saturday morning café without hitting someone you’d either dated, wanted to date, or just had a one-night stand with. Not only was I in a new postal code but a new meat market as well.

So for the last three weekends since moving out here I have tried to orient myself with all the little out of the way stores that can fulfil my every (budgeted) bespoke craving. I must admit that I have been surprised on more than one occasion by the incredible finds. Kinda like an American who visits a European country and is amazed to discover they speak English too! But for me the language of common understanding is quality, at reasonable prices, and can be customised to my immediate requirements.

Take for example the tea garden-slash-organic food market-slash-gallery just down the road from me. I know the produce on the shelves is fresh because often on my early morning mountain bike rides I see people in the fields picking and ploughing the fields. And until my own organically reared hens start laying eggs I know I can easily fill up a tray on any morning of the week at their farm stall. We’re going to have a run-in someday about the coffee they serve (first mistaken for bitumen) but that is a footpath bridge to cross another day.

Fast forward to Saturday lunchtime I managed to pluck up the courage to ask the Bradley Cooper-esq clerk out for some coffee. Where I come from when a guy asks you out for some coffee it is code for ‘fuck the coffee and just fuck me’ but out here he really thought it meant ‘let’s have some coffee’ and so we did at the quant little Victorian village on the High Street after church on Sunday. Coffee turned into perfectly folded eggs, lightly sautéed mushrooms, grilled Karoo lamb sausages and toasted home-made bread. What followed was pretty text book.

He is 33yrs old, a former stock-broker now small-holding owner sometimes video rental assistant when the owner (brother) is away. A wide circle of friends, he is interested in off-road motor biking, canoeing, and squash and he avoids the gym. He prefers rather to keep his perfectly formed Pecs in perfect shape by doing pull-ups/ push-ups ever morning at the crack of dawn. He finds solace in his own thoughts, in growing his vegetables, and in discovering new ways to challenge himself.

Since my last boyfriend in a paper-perfect relationship ended when he failed to translate to lover the alarm bells started clanging in my head the moment I heard the words ‘… never been in a serious gay relationship. I’m pretty new to all this stuff. I don’t really think that it’s right, somehow.’ But as I tried to look past all that and at the man in front of me I realised that an ever hopeful part of me really wanted him as something more than the friend he’s most likely going to end up being.

Driving back to the cottage an email from a close friend of mine came back into my mind and her words of disorientation reminded me of her own, similar, situation. The paper perfect guy that she was seeing just couldn’t seem to make up his mind about what he wanted. And so back and forth, up and down she yo-yos waiting for her ever loving heart to be consumed by his forever love. First dates and young love seem to be so draining because we put so much into them only to watch them fall apart again.

Later that afternoon, as I watched the sun setting in the company of a double vodka tonic, I got to thinking about the stock market and dating. Are they really that different? If you have a bad stock you could lose your shirt. If you have a bad date you could lose your will to live and if the date is good the stakes get even higher. After weathering all the ups and downs you could one day find yourself with nothing. So, when it comes to finance and dating, I couldn’t help but wonder: why do we keep investing?

I didn’t have any answers that night, or the next, or the night after that. And then trying to escape the midday heat that left the pebbled sidewalk, not unlike a motivational fire walk, I looked up from my menu and saw him: my emotional equivalent of the 1989 stock market crash. Entertaining what I assumed to be a fellow client of the private bank that he works for, my ex-private banker looked every bit the man that I was so in love with for so long. In the very short conversation we promised to do coffee sometime soon.

There is a type of date that you can’t wait to keep and a date that we both know that we’ll never keep. The ex-stock broker was the former and the ex-private banker was the latter. As I walked out of the restaurant I looked up at Exchange Place and made a prediction. The ALSI might be up or down by close of trade this afternoon, but my friendship with the Bradley Cooper-esq guy can only be on the rise. And who knows someday might even pay out some handsome dividends of its own.

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