Growing up, my parents always emphasized carrying something when going to visit someone. It could be something simple like bread and milk as long as you don’t go empty-handed. Somehow, I ended up thinking that it was one of those teachings that every child gets. That was until I invited Simon to my house, and he showed me wonders.
My friend Sasha loved inviting me to her casual gatherings. I didn’t enjoy going to them but occasionally I would go just to get out of the house. Also, being an adult who didn’t like thinking about what to eat every day, I would always take the opportunity to satisfy my stomach. Sasha loved inviting different people every time, however, there was always one constant person. At first, I didn’t recognize Simon until Sasha mentioned that it was his birthday during one of the gatherings.
I have seen many fine men, but Simon broke the scale. His facial appearance was breathtaking, especially his hazel eyes. To top it off he was dressed in a very casual but appealing way and his cologne just filled up the air. As he spoke, I just stood staring at him visualizing how adorable our children would look.
A short while later, Simon approached me and struck up a conversation. It was very casual, but I enjoyed every minute of it. By the time we parted ways, we had both saved each other’s contacts. During the next few gatherings, we spent time talking and getting to know each other.
The more I interacted with him the more confidence I gained. With time I realized that he wasn’t making moves, so I decided to make one and invite him to my place for lunch. He was a bit hesitant at first but after a little persuasion, he agreed. Our meetup was on a Saturday, and I couldn’t help but be excited the whole week.
I was so eager to spend time with him in my own safe space and was crossing my fingers that it would spark something more. On Saturday morning, I woke up early to clean and cook. I ended up cooking a variety of meals which took me five hours. However, I didn’t mind because I liked Simon.
The minute I finished setting up the table, I heard a knock on the door and quickly rushed to open it. All my excitement faded away when I found Simon standing on my doorstep holding only his phone. No shopping, no bag of fruits nor a bottle of wine.
“Maybe he is going to order some drinks,” I thought to myself while trying not to look disappointed.
He came in and started a conversation like everything was normal. I showed him to the table, and we sat down to eat. Once we were done, I opened the whiskey I had bought and poured some into his glass. I remembered that during our conversations he mentioned that he liked Jameson Black Barrel and that’s exactly what I bought.
We moved to the living room area; this was the moment I had been anticipating but given his actions, my mood was off. Every time he checked his phone, I thought that he was going to order more drinks, but he didn’t. A short while later, I came up with an excuse to get him to leave since I was tired and disappointed.
He picked up his phone and wallet that had fallen on the sofa. Again, I anticipated that he would give me some cash to make up for the lack of drinks or shopping. But he just checked his wallet, put it in his pocket and left. That evening as I was cleaning up, he texted me. I thought of replying but my interest in him had already faded so I left him on read.
Living in Nairobi for almost all my life I knew that once someone ghosted you then you go back to being strangers. However, this wasn’t the case for Simon. The following weekend he called me on Saturday night.
“Hey? Did I do something wrong?” He asked.
“Hey, I didn’t like how you showed up to my place empty handed so I lost interest,” I replied.
“Excuse me?” He asked.
“I cooked for you for hours and you ended up coming to my place with nothing and that just felt off to me. I felt like I was feeding you and I can’t feed a man,” I responded.
“What? You should have told me. I didn’t know that you wanted shopping or drinks. You are making it seem like I used you,” He said.
“At your age, you should know that it is wrong to show up to someone’s house empty-handed. I shouldn’t have to tell you that. I did feel used because you came, ate and left. You didn’t even bother to give me some money before leaving,” I said.
“I didn’t know it was something you expected. You are the one that invited me, remember? I didn’t ask to come,” He replied.
“I felt so unappreciated, especially after going out of my way to cook and buy your favourite drink. The moment you showed up without anything I just felt turned off,” I said.
“You are so complicated. How much did you spend so that I can send it to you?” He asked.
“This isn’t about the money. I can afford to buy food and drinks. The fact that you didn’t feel the need to come with anything is the issue. I didn’t feel your masculinity at that moment, and it is hard for me to overlook that I’m sorry,” I replied.
“You had this unspoken expectation and you just assumed that I would know about it?” He said bluntly.
“Let’s just end this conversation here,” I replied.
We both hung up the call and I decided to go to bed to avoid lashing out at him on text. Knowing that he was a part of Sasha’s social group, I decided to avoid her gatherings for a while. This went well for a while until she invited me for her birthday, and I felt bad about saying no.
Luckily, Simon didn’t show up but that little did I know that our story would end up being the topic of discussion. I decided to join a few of her friends who I had seen around a couple of times. They didn’t mention my name but judging by the conversation I could tell that they were referring to me indirectly.
“I just feel like having expectations and not voicing them before a date is petty,” One of her friends said.
“Right? Plus, I think when you invite someone to your place, you are the one who should cater for all costs. There should be no condition and if you can’t cater for something let the other person know,” someone replied.
“Yes exactly, ghosting someone just because they didn’t bring anything to your house and you are the one who invited them is a serious overreaction,” Another one said.
I could feel my anger rising but didn’t want to end up causing a scene. Sasha would never forgive me, and it wasn’t worth it. I stood up and went to sit at an empty table. As I watched Sasha moving around and interacting with people I thought about my actions. Sure, the money part might have been a bit extreme, but I didn’t see anything else wrong with what I told him.
It was not my place to teach him about courtesy and it seemed like he didn’t even see any issue with what he had done. This for me was another red flag. I was raised around men who never failed to bring food or groceries when visiting anyone. So, entertaining a man who was okay with me buying, cooking and serving and who did not know that it is good to visit with something turned me off. After Sasha’s birthday, I stopped attending the gatherings and I didn’t see Simon again, which was such a relief for me.
This story was inspired by a thread shared on Twitter which had so many reactions with some people agreeing with the lady and others saying that you shouldn’t expect a visitor to come with something. It seems that this is also a cultural thing with it happening more in some communities. So is it ok to visit your potential partner empty-handed? Let us know in the comments.
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