The corporate world hasn’t always been my cup of tea. I loved my career but the work environment always seemed hostile. I was always the new girl so everyone looked at me like a threat. Additionally, I put in effort into my appearance which made many of my female co-workers slightly jealous.
This made me move from one job to another barely lasting a full year in one place. Until I landed a job at a prestigious events company where all the women were attractive and secure in themselves. The receptionist was a gorgeous bombshell with a matching personality. As a matter of fact, she became my very first friend at the office. For once, I didn’t get dirty looks when I walked past a group of women. I was happy with my new job.
Within a month, I was part of the women’s chama and they invited me for girl’s nights every now and then. I even got to host my first ever girls’ night. Slowly, they’d let me in on the office gossip and who likes who. They kept mentioning Ralph, one of the marketers, and every girl seemed to melt at the mention of his name.
“Have you seen those tight t-shirts he’s seen rocking lately?” one of them said.
“Girl, have I seen them? I fantasize about them every night.” The girls laughed in unison.
Maybe I was still new but I really didn’t see what the fuss about Ralph was. Sure, he was what I describe as an eligible bachelor; well-spoken, very good-looking, charming and a good dresser. He could walk into a room and you’d immediately feel his presence. But the way the girls swooned over him was hilarious.
It was work, as usual, the following week. Things were starting to catch up and I had a pitch meeting with the director and head of marketing. What do you know? Ralph was there as well. This was about to be my first real interaction with him. The only other time I spoke to him was once when I bumped into him at the food court. It was a fairly big organization and I’m a bit of a snob.
The girls weren’t exaggerating. He was even hotter up close. I noticed every detail on his face. That jawline, his full lips even the tiny dimples at the corner of his mouth as he spoke. The man was truly an eligible bachelor.
Surprisingly, I kept my cool all through and didn’t stutter a single word. In fact, I was more confident than usual. The meeting was over in an hour and I was back at my desk when he walked in minutes later.
“Great pitch.” He said walking past me to the boss’ office.
“Ah… Thank you.” I fumbled then bit my inner lip sort of like a reflex to remind me to keep my cool.
After a few minutes, he was back. “So, do you like coffee, tea, wine, juice?”
“All of them,” I answered unknowingly without looking away from my computer screen.
“Okay. You can have all of them.”
I was still confused so I gave him a blank stare.
“I’m asking you out.” He finally said.
“Oh. I…I… I’m not sure.” I fumbled again.
“Come on. It’s just a welcoming drink. Plus, you’ve been a good addition to the marketing team. This is my way of saying welcome and keep up the good work.”
I couldn’t refuse the invite at this point. So, I simply said yes and he gave me a time.
“Tomorrow. After work.”
Like a swarm of bees attracted by the scent of fresh flowers, the girls followed him behind as others came to my desk to see what his visit was all about. I purposely left out the part where he invited me out after work.
The next day came and I couldn’t have been more nervous. First, I had to hide that I was going out with Ralph the whole day with prying eyes all over me. Second, I was going out with Ralph. He texted me throughout the day to get acquainted so we wouldn’t have awkward moments later on.
“Why are you so giggly today?” one of the girls asked as we took our lunch break.
“Just excited about the pitch.”
“Oh, yea. BTW someone told me Ralph was there. How did you not mention this?”
“It must have slipped my mind. I was really tired yesterday. Just got home and crashed.”
They all gave each other a suspicious look.
I took a bite of biriyani oblivious that that was my cue to spill some boardroom tea.
“Babe.” Mercy, the receptionist alerted me.
“Oh… It was amazing. That Ralph guy. Hot stuff.”
“I told you. Don’t fall for him though. He’s already taken.”
I didn’t know if they meant that he had a real girlfriend or an office girlfriend. Either way, I had no intention of having an office relationship. I was well aware of how messy things end up.
Since he was out of the office, he offered to pick me up at a different location then we could drive together to the restaurant which I agreed. Outside of work, Ralph was such an amazing person. He shared how he struggled to make friends with most of the girls at the office since they all had a thing for him. And that it was nice to finally meet someone who wasn’t obsessed with him.
Finally, he let me know that he was interested in me. This would have been the best news I had heard in a long time seeing that my love life was a mess. However, I was a part of the girl squad which rarely happened. I wasn’t about to mess it up for something that I wasn’t sure would even last. So, I used the age-old excuse.
“I have a boyfriend.”
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***The Singlehood Series formerly Single Lady In Nairobi is a collection of real-life stories and opinions from different women. It looks at the current world of dating in Kenya and the experiences that ladies have gone through. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Potentash.com.