So, a guy asked me out exactly one week after our first meeting. I was not surprised. The record is two hours.

Once upon a time, I would have shaken my head internally in bemusement. I once called a friend to lament – “How can a guy ask me out when he doesn’t know me? I’m a stranger! I could be a witch or serial killer for goodness sake”! It took some time to learn that my definition of relationship was far removed from that of some of my suitors.

As I listened to this particular gentleman explain why we should begin dating, I realised he was looking for “permission” to have sex with me. In his world, when a woman is attracted to a man or considers him good company, the logical next step is to begin a relationship with and subsequently sleep with her. In my world, a woman may be sexually attracted to a man, fully recognise it, yet understand that he is very bad for her and so, decide not to cojoin her life with his.

I think some men may be conditioned to assume women can only be attracted to men they are in love with. This leads to unrealistic expectations. Attraction, love and commitment are three separate tracks. It’s wonderful when they coalesce in one person; quite frustrating when they don’t. I know.

Now back to my suitor. I think he noticed I wasn’t warming up to his proposition and asked why. I struggled to articulate a reason for several seconds and eventually resorted to a Nigerianism – “Sex is not what is doing me right now”.  He replied, “So, what is doing you, exactly”? I countered, “Intense friendship, someone who gets me, blah blah blah”.

C.S Lewis expressed what I was trying to say with two quotations I found on Twitter:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”

These two quotations describe when someone “gets” you, sees the world through the same lens as you do and shares a similar worldview about your most closely held values.

I’m of the school of thought that doesn’t believe opposites attract. In fact, I think opposites eventually disagree and fight.

When I meet a guy, I check to see whether we’re on the same page and understand certain concepts in similar ways. For the avoidance of doubt, here are some concepts that seem straightforward to me but are defined differently by some guys I’ve met:

Dating: An informal hangout with a member of the opposite sex. For instance, a guy meets me and thinks I’m interesting and someone he would like to know. He invites me for a drink, meal or movie and we chat. There is no expectation of intimacy on my part and I have no expectation of a declaration of undying love or exclusivity on his part. If we find we can’t morph the casual friendship into a relationship, we remain friends with no hard feelings.

Relationship: This is an exclusive arrangement between two people. It’s something I’m never open to with a stranger or someone I’ve recently met. I’m a very private person and have a small core group of friends. A man who hasn’t penetrated this core has no business asking me for an exclusive relationship with an accompanying expectation of intimacy. I’m only open to a relationship with someone I’m safe with and trust. Trust takes time.

Celibacy: Celibacy is a reasoned decision to avoid sexual relations for a defined or undefined amount of time. It does not indicate a dislike for sex, a lack of knowledge about sex or unavailability of sex. I remember joking with a close friend that at a certain phase in life, one can finance just about every sexual curiosity there is. If you travel significantly, you’ve also been propositioned locally and internationally. So, if you choose celibacy, it’s not because of a lack of options or exposure. It’s simply a preference for a period of time.

Sapiosexual: This is someone who is intensely attracted to intellect, conversation, wit and verbal jousting. For sapiosexuals, these things are foreplay. This makes them simultaneously very easy to please and difficult to please, depending on if you have the right key. A sapiosexual’s idea of an intense turn-on is a sustained chat or verbal seduction throughout the day which is physically consummated thereafter. They fail to understand quiet lovemaking, as they are titillated by words. Describing what you plan to do to them in intimate detail is an intense rush.

Materialism: From what I understand of this concept, it describes a person whose focus is on money and the things it can buy. I think it is used as an excuse by some men to put women on the defensive and to deflect attention from responsibilities. I find that mature focused men rarely utter the word “materialistic”. They simply look for women of character. I have never met a man and the first thing I’m thinking of is his bank account. My first consideration is the quality of his mind and the depth of his heart.

However, I am realistic. I’ve been told I am somewhat intimidating. A man struggling with fundamental financial realities would be even more intimidated and I would hate to be the cause of another’s discomfort. There’s also a broader consideration – when a man is in his 20s, one speaks of potential. In his 30s and 40s, that potential must have been realised. At the very least, he should be on his 2nd venture, if the first one failed.

I doubt a man can buy my favour with cash. That’s crude. But like every woman, I respond to pampering. I’ve been responsible for most of my life so the thought of being with a man who can take the wheel holds tremendous appeal.

Last Thoughts: Now as an aside, some well meaning gentlemen try to chat with me on social media. Here’s a tip – Social media is a big part of my work. As such, my timelines, feeds and inboxes are a bit hard to keep up with. I will rarely respond to a random “Hi” or “Hello”. A specific question or conversation opener will however catch my attention and more probably elicit a response.

I also do not handle harassment well. I won’t respond to the guy who sends me ten messages in two days. That’s stalking.

This my romantic ideology in a nutshell.