I’ve spent the last fortnight going on a series of first dates. I’m too old-fashioned and fussy to go the classified way, so I choose to rely only on word-of mouth references. It’s amazing how many leads one’s social circle can throw up. If you’re prepared to overcome your inhibitions and tom-tom your personal needs on a public platform, postings on Facebook and Twitter can yield especially rich rewards. I put my natural reserve on, umm, reserve, and did just that, and found myself bombarded with responses and references.
My friends and I trawled through the list and ticked the most promising entries. My friends—god bless them—set up the appointments, and I began meeting the candidates.
As can be expected, each encounter was fraught with anticipation and excitement. I would get up each morning, wondering if I was going to meet ‘the one’ that day, and if we would end up together, living happily ever after. I would fantasize about love-at-first-sight situations, and imagine how the story would play through.
I prayed that there wouldn’t be deal breakers like bad odour or a creepy family. I don’t want to sound superficial but I have to admit that appearance and address counted—in a big way. It’s not that I want drop-dead gorgeous looks, but I do want features with character. Also, however terrible it sounds, I’m averse to dark candidates.
Still, I knew first impressions could be deceiving, so I tried to spend as much time as possible with each candidate, trying to understand the complete package. On the top of my must-have list were character and independence. Dog-friendliness was not mandatory but definitely a good-to-have.
Most of the time, I came away disappointed. But there were a few meetings that went swimmingly well. When the very first glance took my breath away. When I felt comfortable from the word go. When even the family members were welcoming and warm. I left these meetings with a warm glow, promising to be back soon. And I would; that was only right.
This isn’t my first time on the prowl. My commitment-phobic nature turns me into a seeking susan every few years. It’s not that I’ve never been happy anywhere; on the contrary, at the beginning, I’m almost giddy with love and satisfaction. I love setting up home, spending lazy mornings in bed, late-night snuggling on the sofa, having long chats in the living room by the heater in winter; watching the rain from the verandah. But two-three years down the line, things begin to pall. Some seemingly-perfect candidates simply become boring and grey with the passage of time, others turn out to be too high-maintenance for my peace of mind—and pocket. In a few cases, family members emerge out of the woodwork making (what I consider) unreasonable—and unacceptable—demands. Whatever the reason, I realise it’s time to move on.
I’m not upset. I like change and the novelty of starting afresh. The knowledge that nothing lasts forever actually stimulates me.
This time though, the hunt hasn’t been an exciting one. Maybe the supply pool has got stagnant. Maybe I’ve become too impatient to expend much energy on looking. Or maybe I’ve just got too old for the game. After all, it’s just a house I’m hunting for. Wherever I lay my hat, I can make my home.