Date 29

My last Tinder date and the penultimate date in the series! After a short back and forth on Tinder we agreed on dinner in a Japanese restaurant in Brussels. My date is a filipino expat who lives in Brussels because she works for an international company.

She tells me that she almost didn’t show up for this date. On her previous (and first) Tinder date she accepted a drink from her date and later started feeling dizzy. When she went home she passed out in the subway. It is pretty ballsy of her to actually come to this one. Even though I took all the basic precautions to make her feel safe, like meeting in a public place that she chose and not asking for her phone number (but giving mine instead in case of emergency), she is understandably a bit nervous.

Now I can’t be sure that the guy put something in her drink but it seems by far the most likely explanation. She has never passed out like that before. For it to happen spontaneously right after meeting a stranger for drinks seems way too much of a coincidence. She is lucky she is okay.

I am lucky I am a man. I can meet up with twenty-nine women for drinks and dinner and not feel unsafe at any point. I never have to make a risk assessment before I accept a drink or an invite of any kind. It must be weird, having to live like that.

We move the conversation away from this touchy subject and talk about Filipino culture. She seems to have a bit of trouble getting integrated. Living in Brussels without speaking french must be quite alienating. She seems to have a few friends here. It must be hard to get to know people when most people don’t speak your language.

I know fairly little about the Philippines: they are literally on the other side of the globe. Its people take their catholicism pretty seriously, a remnant of the Spanish colonisation, and filipino expats seem to find each other in church. They attend services regularly.

We end up going for drinks in a nearby café. We chat some more about the cultural differences and about meeting new people here. She attends meetups and other social gatherings here in Brussels on occasion but she felt a bit out of place there too because of the age difference and because they met up at a noisy club where she could not understand anyone. I do my best to put her at ease and just have a casual conversation but she remains nervous. My date keeps an eye on her cup of tea at all times. We chat some more and call it a night.

When we say goodnight she starts walking off. I take out my GPS and realise I have to head in that direction too. I decide to take a detour and walk in the other direction so she doesn’t think I am following her. A fitting ending to an interesting date.

Food: Hinodeya, Brussels. Japanese cuisine at a reasonable price. I wanted to try something other than sushi but was not terribly impressed with the food.

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