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Date Night

Ever been on a date when you can’t wait for your friend’s fake emergency call? I have been on a few of those; and admittedly I did have an instance when it was my date who got the emergency call before I did. Lets talk about this encounter I had years back.

I had matched with someone through an online platform and after some initial messages, we agreed to meet at a popular wine bar in a lively neighbourhood of Amsterdam on a Friday evening. He too was from India, Bombay; moved away to study and was now based in Amsterdam since couple of years, working with a start up. We had good common ground to talk about. It would be the first time I go for a date with a fellow Indian outside of the country, I was looking forward to it.

We arrived on time and recognized each other instantly; always a positive sign. After settling down at our table, we broke the ice quite easily by joking about Delhi stereotypes and how Bombay is (not) better - classic. He inquired about my background, education, family setup - not surprising. University rankings are a big deal in India, high correlation of where one ends up after. And even just light info on family can reveal alot about one's standing - after interviewing me for a few minutes on my degrees, he seemed suitably impressed.

Once reasonably satisfied with each of our "background checks"; I pivoted the conversation; asked him about his experiences and how he had been liking Amsterdam. He seemed to be most proud of his travel adventures and parties, name dropping a few exclusive clubs he had ‘gotten super drunk at’, I nodded along, quite oblivious 🙈 . His interests outside of work and socializing included going to the gym. No judgement from me on that - academic and professional excellence was the sole of purpose of life for us millennials in India; to nurture a hobby would purely be a nice to have, if one was left with time and energy. Our conversation continued easily; we exchanged fav restaurants, heartily bitched about the weather, pretended to be sorry about still not being well-versed with the local language. The date seemed to be going pretty okay!

It happened just then. He all of a sudden lost track of the conversation, and fell silent; as he'd just noticed, “oh. what’s going on with her fingers? And the other arm?” . Not looking at me directly, he instead followed my hand movements, probably wondering if it was something he'd missed seeing on my online profile. He was distracted, trying to process it all at once.

I get it. That must have been unexpected, and on hindsight it could qualify as pertinent information to share upfront; it was a date after all. But does a prosthesis really define someone though? There's so much more to a person than that! Anyway, giving the benefit of doubt and some time to gather himself, I continued talking, filling in for his silence. Minutes passed, I started to contemplate about what to do or say next, but it didn't matter - he had somehow sent a telepathic signal to his friend to expedite that fake emergency call and rushed out before I could say another word, let alone finish my drink. The end, in less than 45 minutes, must have been some kind of record.

Don’t feel too bad, this was an extreme one; there have been nicer ones thereafter! 😊 One of the 'delights' of online platforms is access to the sheer number of people, allowing you to test, learn, and edit. And so I tested; different approaches, added humour to my bio, chose pictures carefully, all to understand what works well and would be appreciated by people. Short summary:

  1. Have no mention of the fact 🤐 : neither on my profile nor in any initial messages. This has higher chance of flight risk; no one likes to be caught unaware... especially in the digital era.

  2. Subtle pictures in my profile 🦾: this has medium risk, may or may not be noticed.

  3. Own it, address it soon enough in the conversation 👑: this lowers the flight risk. People prefer to be in the know and gives them a chance to ask questions before saying yes. I don't necessarily lead with it but do bring it up shortly after some initial conversation.

I have no formula cracked yet btw, else I'd be a multi-millionaire 😅, but owning it and showing up with self-confidence is best suited. Don't get me wrong, I have heard some wild stuff in this process; making for some hilarious stories to be shared only when there's some mild inebriation involved; talking about it with friends really helps. The latest season of a Netflix show sex education has one of the characters in a wheelchair, and he is totally normal and dateable (as he should be). The whole point of the show being to educate, is a great example of how media material like this makes a difference and leaves an impact on the audience, somewhere even at a subconscious level.

My main takeaway from all this: be it physical, mental, political, financial, or whatever, every person has a thing. It's natural. The thing doesn't have to be focus point or the defining factor; I've realized the bigger I make of it in my mind, the bigger it starts to feel to the world around me. It's really upto us to create the narrative we want for ourselves, we're actually in charge here. Lets own it ♥️

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As always: fun, inspirational and educational. Thank you for sharing your stories and your positive mindset 💛


Jan 03
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So true, all of us have a ‘thing’. But having navigated life with it only makes us stronger.

More power to you!


Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Such a lovely approach to life. Kudos.


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