Ah, msn chat. Back in the early 2000s, msn had chat rooms, and these chat rooms were set up in a way that you could talk to people who lived in the same city as you. There were a few different chat rooms for each city, and I got into the habit of visiting them with the hope of making new friends. I was new to the internet and never thought I’d use it to talk to people I didn’t know (I know, how naive was I???).
I somehow ended up talking to an Ibo guy, Chinonzo, who lived in my city. As he talked about where he was going to school and what he was doing, something strange happened: it turned out that earlier that week…it might have even been that very day, I had talked to him on the phone at work! You see, I was working part time at the Office of Research Services while completing my studies at the University and he had called the office, angry that his money (he was a grad student) hadn’t yet come through and he had rent to pay! What he was telling me was too similar for him not to be the same guy that I had talked to on the phone, so I asked him if his name was Chinonzo Lastname and he freaked out: he went silent for about two minutes, then asked who I was and how I knew his name. I don’t blame him: I would have been freaked out to hear some random person in a chat window call me by my first and last name! How did I remember his name? Well it’s not every day you run across a Nigerian name and remembering names is one of my strengths.
So anyway, we talked. He asked me some details about me, most pertaining to how I looked physically, and I told him. It didn’t impress him a bit (I wasn’t surprised; as a fat girl, I am used to guys putting me in the ‘friend category’) and we soon fell into a friendly relationship, chatting online a few times over the next few weeks. One time he had to go, and he asked if I wanted to talk to his friend that was visiting him over the Christmas holidays.
And that is how I met Obi.
Obi was a bit taken aback by me: in our first conversation I asked him if he was rich and told him that I was a gold digger and could only talk to wealthy guys. I’m not sure why I said this but back in the early days of chatting with strangers, I was a joker and didn’t take the whole thing very seriously. Chatting was a way to ease the boredom and connect with people in a fun way. As we talked some more, I think he realized that I was just joking. We added each other to our msn accounts (he had been talking on his friend’s msn) and began a friendship of our own.
New Year’s eve rolled around and I had plans to go out and celebrate with my best friend and her new boyfriend (who she married four years later!): we went out for dinner and then to a club. Chinonzo called me to ask what I was doing. He was going to be downtown and wanted to know if he and Obi could come and meet me. I told him where I was going and he said that he wasn’t going to pay the ridiculously hiked up prices to come to a club he might not even like and I could understand that. I said he should call me when he was downtown and outside the club, and I would come by and say hi to them. When the time came, my friend wanted to know if I wanted her and her boyfriend to come with me outside but I said no, I’d be fine.
I came out, met them, gave Chinonzo a hug, shook hands with Obi, smiled, wished them both a Happy New Year and went back in.
I must have done something right because Obi called the next day and asked if I wanted to go on a date!
I was nervous: it was my first date with someone who had seen me before asking me out. In retrospect it was dark so who knows what he actually saw. Anyways, since he wasn’t from around here, it was up to me to pick a place and I picked a bar that had just opened and was good for sitting down and talking. We met and walked to the bar together, and had some conversation that I barely remember. I remember he complimented the way I dressed and he liked my bracelet. The guy was tall and fit (he played basketball for his school) and we eventually played some air hockey. It was what I imagine typical first dates are like.
We talked quite a few times after the first date, and he left to return to where he lived a few days later. We hadn’t talked about pursuing a relationship so I was hopeful but realistic about the fact that that might be all there was to it.
To be continued…come back next Friday to hear the rest!