Since this is a letter, this is where I’m supposed to ask how you’re doing. But I can’t figure out how to without sounding either too common, or too cheesy… so let’s just skip this part please…

Today I want to talk about us. I know it’s strange, coming from a guy, as girls are usually the ones who want to have these types of conversations. But I was thinking, because we just sort of met, it would be a good idea to set things straight from the beginning…

Today I’d like to ask you one question: can we be friends? Yes, friends.
I mean, can we not think about dating yet? I know nobody mentioned anything about dating, but I’m a guy and you’re a girl, we’re both single, and romance is that one topic that keeps skipping around in our minds whether we like it or not…
You see, so far, I like you and everything; but since I’m looking for a serious, long-term relationship, I’d like to get to know you first.
And it’s not like liking you is an exceptional thing right? I mean, you are attractive and likeable, and I am a human being: falling in and out of like with people and things is what we humans do everyday. It’s no big deal really. Not big enough to set a solid base for a relationship, I mean…
See that Facebook photo? I just liked it…

There are many things I like about you, starting with your looks, but also the way you carry yourself. There are things that I would like to do to you… but wait! That’s not where I want to take this! Please excuse me.
You seem to be an interesting person. I see myself enjoying spending some time with you. So how about we go for a date or something? A friendly date. A simple rendezvous between two friends, just like when you would go out with any of your other friends. We can talk about our lives… you know get to know each other a little bit better…

But you know that when people see us they will assume we’re dating and ready to marry right? Damn, these days I can’t even compliment a girl without people (or her actually) thinking I’m trying to vibe her. I don’t know if it’s because everybody seems to be getting married these days that people assume I’m looking for a wife to follow the trend. I mean, it would be nice to find someone I can spend the rest of my life with, but it’s not like I’ll die if I don’t! You get me?
To be honest, I’m a bit apprehensive of the whole institution of marriage, or at least the way it seems to work around here. It’s like getting married is some sort of formality, a logical step after school and work. “Rongora! Har’ikindi usigaje?! Akazi urafise, amafaranga urafise, ikindi usigaje ni igiki?! Abakobwa baruzuye!” Erm, but how can choosing a person to spend the rest of my whole life with and align my life’s plans and aspirations to hers be such a simple decision to make? Everybody makes it sound so easy! Or are these the people who expect wives to align their lives to their husbands’?

If that’s how it’s supposed to work I can tell you that I don’t generally get along with people (not just women) who have no ambition in life. I don’t get along well with people who don’t have minds and lives of their own. I mean, if you’re my wife and your life if my life, what else do we talk about after we’re done discussing politics, gossip, and I’m not in the mood to talk about my life? You must have something you want to achieve at some point in your life… A job? A dream? Ambitionless people are quite boring…
But hey, there’s worse: people who don’t have an opinion! There’s this girl I went on a few dates with some time ago who would agree with everything I said. Everything! When I noticed that something was fishy about her, I would say dumb and contradictory shit (excuse my French), just to test her reaction… but nada. She still agreed! Strange character I tell you…

Now that I think about it, aren’t these the girls who volte-face on you after you’ve said, “I do”? Those girls who live double lives, waiting to find a man to put a ring on it, before they release the kracken once married? Or those girls who think that wearing the white dress will magically transform them from the wenches that they are into ladies #WeSeeYou!
That said, there is also the phenomena of women who think they can change their men. Haha, I laugh. I mean, we meet as adults, you weren’t there when I was going through the influences, circumstances, and decisions that turned me into the person I am, and you think you can change me… something even my mother has failed to do? And then when I put on the behaviour you expect until the day I get you into my house and be finally free to be my real self, you’d start calling men dogs and cheats right? But you made me a cheat!
Besides, why would you even want to change me when I’ve accepted you for who you are?

Anyway, where was I?
Yes, getting to know each other first…

…I think it’s important, if we are to be anything more than friends.
And I think it’s less awkward than the usual dating games where the guy has to impress and the girl keeps him guessing. I was never good at those… partially because I never liked the feeling of going through an interview (more like a police investigation). It makes the relationship feel so unbalanced. I mean, the girl has to show that she’s worth it too, no? Who wants to be with a girl who never asks how your day went, or is incapable of paying a compliment? Erega guys are humans too! We appreciate some care! (Like why do you think we’re attached to our mothers?).
Take us out, buy us a drink, surprise us with a gift!… Tell us we’re looking good! Miss us!… Show us we mean something to you! Even as a friend! Friends buy each other drinks, no? Well, my friends do…

But don’t lead us on hey! And this part is tricky since nice and genuine girls are so rare these days it’s hard not to fall in love when you find one. I realise it applies the other way around too…
I know there’s a difference between being nice and leading someone on, although I can’t exactly tell you how. Maybe this is something we can discuss about on our date?

What I’m sure of is, as friends, it’s easier to talk about these things when they happen. If you allow me to be comfortable enough around you with all my insecurities, I shouldn’t be afraid to tell you if I start having feelings for you that aren’t exactly friendshipish… You shouldn’t either! And if I care enough, I should be able to understand if you don’t want to get into anything romantic with me… I think… Well, I may be heartbroken for a while, but I should survive…

Ariko, let us be friends first…
Let’s see if you like my jokes, and if I like yours. Let’s see if we’ll still have stuff to talk about after we’ve told each other everything. Let’s have nothing to talk about; let’s get bored…
Let’s see if you can handle my mood swings, and if you still want to talk to me after we argue about something…
Let’s go out. Let’s take selfies…
Show me how you dance. Roll your eyes when I try to twerk… I’ll laugh at you when you try to sing…
Make me mad by taking food from my plate…
Meet my friends, and my family; show me yours…
Let’s talk about work. Give me professional advice; show me your drafts… make use of my connections…
Laugh at my misadventures, my heartbreaks… let’s give each other relationship advise… let’s laugh about awkward dates we go on with other people, and let’s make up codes to talk about them when they’re around…
Make fun of me when I trip and fall over, of my empty promises to start exercising and get fit… give me fashion advice…
Allow me to laugh at the resolutions you can never keep, and to be honest about your weight (although I still think you’re beautiful!)… Let’s be mean to each other sometimes… But let’s encourage each other too…
Give me a hug when I’m feeling down… lay your head on my shoulder when you’re feeling tired… borrow my sweater when you’re feeling cold…
Let’s talk about life; let’s talk about space… let’s talk about the weather if we have to… let’s talk about our fears, our doubts, our hopes, our dreams…
Let’s pray together…

You know, let’s just be real. No mind games! Let’s not calculate, let it be natural…
And maybe, just maybe, we can think of forever together…

If it doesn’t work, at least we’ll both have a new good friend 😉

Sincerely,

A man who wants to be your friend first…