Considering Age When Dating?

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Silhouette of lovers
Photo by Fariz Hermawan from Pexels

The women in my life have often told me to date older guys. Apparently because boys mature ‘slower than girls’. Because of that I have often wanted to test that theory…….

Age 12 – Grade 7 leavers’ dinner!

The first official event that I get to go with the boy I really like (we are the same age). I dress to impress, well I mean wearing a poofy silver dress at this age is impressive. And I get him a cheap perfume bottle for 5 bucks. Before we start dancing I shyly hand him the gift which he gladly accepts and gives me a quick hug. Black-Eyed Peas’ I had the time of my life starts playing at full blast inviting all of us to come and start dancing. “By the way” he says shouting in my ear “how much did the gift cost?”

“Five Dollars!,” I shout back before my best friend drags me away from him so her and I along with our group of friends can dance the night away as we make lasting memories of Primary School. Three days later as I am clearing my desk, my leavers dinner date comes holding five cans of Coca-Cola which he is really struggling to hold. “There you go my leavers’ gift from me to you.”

“Thank you” I say as I feel a slight blush coming to my face. “But why 5 cans?”

“Because you bought me perfume for 5 bucks so I am only returning the favour.” 

I am slightly surprised by the answer and as I watch him walk away feeling like he owns the world I slightly wonder if he had gotten me a dozen cans of Coca-Cola if I had gotten him a gift worth 12 bucks. Despite this I take comfort in the fact that he is childish therefore unaware of what a sweet gift could be…… 

Age 16 – My first official date

My first official date was with a guy 2 years older than me. I am excited as it is the first time dad has allowed me to roam around in the big city of Harare by myself. My boyfriend (at the time) has promised to take me on a date I will never forget and boy do I intend not to!! I am wearing fashionable skinny jeans and a T-shirt. I made the effort to straighten my hair this morning. I have applied only Vaseline on my small plumb lips. I am waiting by Joina City checking the clock. He is one hour late but I am going to be patient, “patience pays” I say to myself.

Finally he arrives sweating but smiling. “Hesi cutie…. Wakachena” (you look nice) and I start blushing. “Let’s grab a quick bite to eat” and in my mind I picture him taking me to a nice fancy restaurant as we are directly facing one but he makes me walk all the way downtown to ‘AMAI Peter’s place’ where he buys two stale pies and cool drinks. He wolfs down his food as the loud boisterous music plays and I shyly nibble the dry pie in between sips of the drink.

He finishes off my food, wipes his mouth and then smiles at me. I smile back; I do not know what else to do at this point. “Let’s go to the movies cutie!” with that he firmly grabs my hand and does not loosen his grip. As we pass through the smelly bus terminal I hear nothing but the hwindies (bus conductors) yodelling, ululating and chanting “blaz makapenga!”, “chimoko danger!” 

I am humiliated but as for him? Well he is smiling like a little boy who has been given his favourite lollipop to suck. I am too afraid to tell him how uncomfortable this has made me feel considering that I am from a small town (Masvingo to be exact). As we walk past what seems to be endless buildings we finally come to a halt. It’s a run-down building that looks like it could collapse at any moment. As I look at the exterior I tell myself, “This cannot be the movie house I mean the nice looking movie house is right across the road ” (LITERALLY) he interrupts my thoughts ” Cutie tasvika, ladies first” I get in masking my emotions but the inner me is telling me to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.

The interior is very dingy. With dull lights, some dirty, most broken and there is the stench of unwashed carpets. As I look at the boards advertising movies that are showing, I can clearly see that they have seen better days. We walk over to the kiosk that sells boiled eggs instead of popcorn and mineral water in the place of Slurpee’s. There is a girl, or a lady, or a woman, (I can’t depict the difference), who is noisily chewing her bubble-gum. My date buys five boiled eggs and pays for a movie that I have seen before. We are directed to our cinema which is technically not a cinema. Just a big bed sheet pinned on a white wall.

The movie starts playing and I am hit with the strong smell of boiled eggs. Everest is peeling one which he gobbles in his mouth. He sees me eyeing him then he hands me the plastic. I suppose he mistakens my disgust for shyness as he says “Ko nei usirikudya? Unoda kuti ndikumenyere here?” (Why are you not eating, should I peel for you?) I shake my head and he just shrugs and happily eats on my behalf. When he finishes he starts stroking my hand and I know exactly what he wants to do. I have seen it in the movies a bunch of times. He starts leaning closer and closer and my oxygen is surrounded with nothing but egg. “You drive me crazy” he says and I am hit with nausea.

Before he goes for the kill I abruptly stand up and promise him that I will be right back. I find myself going to the kiosk and asking the lady where I can get to the nearest taxis. As I rush for the exit I am asking myself whether the men that were available in my mom’s time did not teach the current boys how to be gentlemen. I am debating whether him being 2 years older than me is still considered too young by society standards. As I get in the taxi, leaving him behind I chuckle to myself thinking that he was right about the date being one I am never going to forget!!! 

Age 21 – Age is just a number

Okay so this guy is not 1 or 2 years older than me but a whopping 10 years older!! My mother always tells me that the older the guy the better. Which is why today I am going on a date with this boy, no man, no Bachelor? I am dressed to kill, eyebrows on fleek, hair flowy and the clothes I got on got me looking like a snack. He has come to get me in his nice car. “Hi” I say as I take a seat and he winks at me. “Let’s go” he says.

We are chatting, me basically complaining about how late he is (2 hours 5 minutes late!!!) and that I still have curfew. During the light banter the car comes to a sudden halt. I look at him obviously confused, then he says “tank is empty, I have to call re-enforcements” I nod in understanding; these are the times we live in after all. He does say something though that sticks to me throughout the day “every time my car gets empty something always happens”  I chuckle at such a ridiculous belief, but it is  the way he confidently says it that makes me actually do reconsider it.

After we get the car fuelled up I suddenly notice how overtly excited he is. Where he is usually calm he is fidgeting, and he is listening to a song I am not acutely aware of. “Do you know this song?” he asks and I shake my head “Kasi at your church you are not allowed to watch TV or listen to music?” I feel a pang arising in my chest but I quickly push it down to my stomach. I was looking forward to this date after all. Get to know him and actually talk. Understand how it is like to be associated with a person a decade older than me.

We arrive to where we are supposed to eat but the shop is closed. You know how it is covid rules regulations. However he confidently parks his car, and gets out. I join him “It’s closed,” I say and he looks at me like I am silly. Then he does the most outrageous thing ever. He starts banging with his fists as loud as he can.  “OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!” he yells possibly screaming. I am so flabbergasted and do nothing but watch him in awe. Suddenly the door opens and the security guard steps out looking just as shocked as I am. Perhaps he sees the look on my date’s face for he steps aside and lets us in. It is in that moment I instantly realize that my date is high.

There are about 70 customers in the shop. They are staring at us or him or me. He is shouting about being a customer and having rights. I pat him on the shoulder trying to calm him down. He shakes me off instantly and shrieks, “DO NOT TOUCH ME, YOU ARE MAKING ME HORNY!!!” the gasps I hear all around in the shop make me very much aware that they are not my own. I just want to be swallowed in the ground. Finally it is our turn to order and the lady apologetically states that she is out of change. He begins to shout at her and I quickly intervene before the exchange can get uglier than it already is. With that he stomps out of the shop and the waitress says “Your husband is so rude.” 

I don’t bother to correct her mistake. I am simply horrified at the prospect of him becoming my husband after such an appalling behaviour. I feel a hand on my shoulder. It is an elderly lady who is sympathetically looking at me. “Here is some change for you.” I feel so guilty but accept it nevertheless. As I go in his car where he is impatiently waiting for me

 I know one thing… No two things for sure…this is the last time I am going to see him again and that age is just a number!!!

Thelma is an aspiring writer who wants to be the change she wants for the world.