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Dessert and Double Headers

I do believe there’s something freeing about telling someone your secrets knowing that you won’t see them again.

Loni James
Loni James
6 min read
Dessert and Double Headers
A sweet old man sitting by the border crossing in between the North and South sides of Nicosia.

A Date in Every Country: A Series
Date #5 - Part 1
Location: Nicosia, Cyprus
Nationality: Cypriot
Activity: Walk through old town, cafe, dinner drinks
Time: 4 hours
Will see again? Already did...look for part 2
Connected via: tinder

Today marks 2 months on the road. 5 countries. 5 men have taken me on dates, several of whom I saw a few times. Cyprus started off rough with me being stood up. No fun at all. My stubborn self would not let Cypriot men get the best of me and I swiped like a woman on a mission, committed to getting a date in before I left the island. In my fervor, I might have been chatting up too many people - you know how it is. So many chats start but many do not actually turn into dates. I was hedging my bets and seeing who was free last minute and with so many chats started I accidentally scheduled a double header. For those readers not familiar with that term - it’s when you schedule 2 dates on the same day. When life hands you lemons…

So here I am, having been stood up a few days ago to now having a coffee/walk date with Date #5 at 6:45 and I’m supposed to meet up with the next guy at 9pm. Whoops. Date #5 picks me up at the corner as I didn’t tell him where I was staying (safety first). As this date was scheduled literally within 3 hours of arriving in town, I had zero expectations for activities and we agreed to walk around the city and grab a coffee.

After a quick hello, I could immediately sense something heavy was going on. I asked if he was ok and he proceeded to tell me that he had a rough day and said he would explain for 5 min then we wouldn’t talk about it again. What followed was him opening up regarding his divorce and custody issues which he had meetings about that day. I’m convinced that my face somehow communicates that I’m good at keeping secrets because this is not the first time that strangers have shared intimate details of their lives within minutes of meeting me.

I do believe there’s something freeing about telling someone your secrets knowing that you won’t see them again.

I wonder if this date is going to turn into another therapy session but he is quick to remind me that he’s done talking about it after 5 minutes. The tone for the evening was honesty and it led to some intriguing and albeit juicy conversation. Before we set off on our walk, I quickly texted the second guy asking if I should eat before we met up at 9pm. I’m juggling here and I can’t say I’m good at it or have any idea what I’m doing.

Ledras Street in Old Town

We headed to the old town to explore and I must say it was quite charming. The old walled city was filled with pedestrian-only streets lined with cafes that begged me to sit a while and people watch. While we walked I couldn’t help but scope out places to have my morning coffee the next day. (Pieto proved my favorite during my stay.) We walked to the pedestrian border crossing on Ledras street and just around the corner he introduced me to some local foods paired with Cypriot coffee at YiaYia Victoria. (If you go, get the pistachio cream!) I must confess that I thought these were considered desserts but have since been informed that they are often breakfast foods. How very lucky the Cypriots are to enjoy these incredible treats first thing in the morning!

Our delicious stop at YiaYia Victoria included Bougatsa with cream and an Ekmek Kadaif.

A tiny history lesson for those that are unaware, Cyprus is divided into 2 parts. The Republic of Cyprus is the south end and very Greek in its origins. Turkey invaded the northern part of the island in 1974 and created the Turkish Northern Republic of Cyprus. This “country” is not acknowledged by anyone other than Turkey. The city of Nicosia is split down the middle with a border crossing complete with UN buffer zone and barbed wire. I did walk across this more than once during my time there and it was a very easy crossing. If you end up there, definitely be sure to explore the north side if you can but do your research first.

Over coffee, I learned about his experiences on Tinder and he was quite honest in laying out his typical strategy for seducing women. He, like many others, used Tinder after the divorce to distract himself as well as try new things. I tell you ladies, these conversations are MOST enlightening and he shared both good and bad experiences and explained why he had stopped his spree after some bad hookups. I cannot judge the man for this as I personally have used Tinder as a distraction as have many others. The stories here seem to be mirror images of the stories back home regarding dating. The conversation is quite varied covering Cyprus history, bad dates and why I need to stay longer in Nicosia. I had been planning to leave the next day but hadn’t booked my flight.

With all the flirting and talk of seduction, I let him know that was not my end goal for the evening nor for my traveling/dating adventures. He was respectful in his response announcing that he would be kissing me later but that was it. He was quite charming and we found ourselves holding hands as we strolled the cobblestone streets. As the date progressed I could definitely see why he’s been successful with women lol. He was gracious in answering my intimate questions and was very easy to talk to. I realized time was flying quickly and I was double booked! He popped into a shop to grab something and I quickly check my phone to see that guy #2 has invited me over for dinner and offered to cook! I politely declined - going over to some strange man’s house is not something I generally choose to do on a first date or while traveling. He does not reply when I say I prefer to meet elsewhere and at this point I have no idea if we are still planning to meet up so I carry on with my current date.

It’s after sunset so Date #5 invites me to grab dinner and at this point I haven’t heard from the second guy so I’m going with it. We wander to this cute little restaurant that has live music and we snag a spot at this tiny table for 2. I sneak off to the bathroom to wash up and check my phone. Despite no response to my last message, I texted the second guy again to let him know that we needed to reschedule. I didn’t want to keep checking my phone but I wanted to make sure he wasn’t still expecting to meet up. I head back and see that Date #5 has ordered for us including some ouzo. The music is playing and the scene is utterly charming with a lively mix of tourists and locals enjoying the evening. Despite the joyous surroundings, I notice he’s getting quieter and I sense some discomfort. He confesses that he has a terrible headache and the medicine he got at the shop isn’t working. Food is arriving but he is looking more miserable by the moment. I’ve suffered with migraines in the past so I know how awful they can be and we quickly ask for the food to go so we can leave. He graciously picks up the tab and we head out. The walk back is much quieter and he makes sure that I promise to text him if I stay longer. He kept his word and I got quite the goodnight kiss when he dropped me off. That along with my new desire to spend more time exploring this charming city have me deciding to stay another night or two.

Teaser: The next morning I texted him a thank you and let him know I decided to stay a bit. He was quick to ask me out again so we made plans for that very night. That date ended on a spicier note but I’ll save that for part 2.

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Loni James

As I collect and record these stories, I hope they make you laugh, curse and dream of far off places. May they inspire you to cross oceans and meet plenty of interesting people along the way.