16 Dates with a Gold Digger

You know how some people have such profound effect on your life that you associate certain things with them forever? Yeah, that was the case with this girl and Vasant Kunj. I’d forever associate Vasant Kunj with her. She calls herself Archie, her parents call her Achu, she’s Archana on the dotted line, but for me, she’ll forever be “the Gold-digger of Vasant Kunj”. See how I copied Vladimir Nabokov’s prose style? Yeah, this one deserves Lolita-level luscious language. (Also killing it with the alliteration. Ha ha.)

Before I dive into the story, let me introduce myself. I stand at about five feet nine, have a very sharp nose and a lean body. I grew up in an orthodox Jaat family till about the age of twelve after which my father moved to Delhi and got me admitted into a convent school. Halleluiah for that! So understandably, I am a confused soul, sophisticated in some aspects and earthy in others. I usually speak in a faux British accent, slipping into Haryanvi when using Hindi words. And did I tell you I have a fancy name? Oliver. How you doin’? ;-)

 Like so many guys I know, I signed up on Tinder with high hopes, hopes which died quickly in the first two days. After college ended, meeting new people was a drag. Most women I knew were disillusioned with/immune to my charms, so I turned to online dating hoping to find someone new. I really wanted to meet someone I could be with, long term. I know, sounds sappy for a guy on Tinder. But I was na├»ve.

On day 5 of swiping, I came across her profile. “Archie”.  She described herself like this: A little salty, a little sweet, I am Monaco personified. Quintessential water baby. Unapologetically out of shape. I swing both ways.” And the five pictures of her each had a different hairstyle, different hair colour, and varying degrees of cleavage showing. She had a unique profile and I have always had a thing for women who’re different. So I used my ‘Super Like’ of the day on her. Half an hour later, I had my first match.

I knew I had to make an impression. So I texted her that I’d let her ask me three questions that I’ll answer honestly and if she liked my answers, we could continue talking. Otherwise, we could stop right there, no hard feelings. She asked me some basic questions, couple of them related to what I’d mentioned in my profile and one about my view on politics. I guess she liked my answers, because she continued the conversation.

We had a long texting session that evening. I asked her about the “swing both ways” part in her profile. She said, “I’ve been with women too. But I prefer men.” She was really cool and confident. And I liked that about her. We talked about a plethora of subjects, including, love, chemistry, food, real estate and the environment. She was a genuinely interesting person. She volunteered for non-profit causes, developed sites for a living and loved frozen yoghurt. We had very few things in common and I liked that about her. We decided to meet at DLF Promenade, which was “very close” to her apartment, that weekend. It had gone so smoothly that I didn’t even swipe on any more profiles after that.

Weekend arrived and I met Archana. She was amazing, carefree, well read and great at conversations. We were supposed to meet at Smokehouse Deli for lunch but she came late and the place had closed the lunch menu. So we grabbed a bite at Chilli’s. She was a little plump with substantial bosoms. And she had a low cut top, covered with a see through shrug. Even at a posh mall like that, people were staring at her, but she didn’t care. So neither did I. A couple of hours passed by very quickly after which she said she had to go, because her cousins were coming over for dinner. We parted with an awkward side hug. She said she had a great time and would like to meet again “soon”. 

I couldn’t wait to text her back and I texted her even before I reached home that evening. My text read: “Can’t believe the first date we had. Hope you liked me half as much as I liked you.” She promptly texted back: “Not sure if I can quantify how much I liked you, but I really did. Can you meet me for dinner tomorrow?” We met at the Pavillion, ITC Maurya. She’d said she liked the kulfi they served there and I wanted to seem rich and spontaneous. Another great date pursued. After dinner, I dropped her home. When we reached her building in Vasant Kunj, I let the cab go, a clever ploy to test the waters.

We stood at the gate of her building, talking. After a while, she said, “It’s getting late. You should go now. Tomorrow’s Monday.” She could see the disappointed expression on my face. She held my hand and said, “Oliver, I really like you and that’s why we met twice within two days. But I want to take things slow. That’s why I am not asking you to come up to my place. I hope you’ll respect that.” What could I say? I acted like I was okay with it and left. On the way back, I realized that I was kinda rushing things and texted her a mild apology. 

She didn’t text back for a couple of weeks. After that, she texted saying she had gotten busy. She was having some problems at work which was stressing her out and her heart wasn’t at the right place. I could relate, because I too had a bad boss some years ago. After this, she and I would talk very infrequently. One day, got a text from her saying she quit her job. I expressed concern but she insisted that she was fine. 

I let a few days pass, before I brought up the topic of a next date. She said she’d love to meet, but she was broke since she didn’t have a job. I told her she didn’t need to worry about it, I just wanted to meet her. She suggested we meet for breakfast at the American Diner at IHC. It was a really nice place, very posh crowd. We had a blast with eggs, bacon and watermelon juice. The meal set me back a couple of thousand bucks, just like the earlier meals had done. But her company was utterly delightful and I didn’t mind.

She was between jobs and I had taken a few days off from work. We met every day in a row for six days straight. We went to the nicest of places, had the best food and crazy experiences. She loved the art and culture the city had to offer and introduced me to some really cool places, which even though I lived in Delhi, didn’t know existed. We dined at Sorrento’s, Lavaash, Fabrica, Indian Accent, Baluchi, etc. We went bowling, watched movies at PVR Director’s Cut, did parasailing in Sohna and watched plays at Kingdom of Dreams. 

I was living off my credit cards in a state of euphoria over having found such an amazing person. But I had a rude awakening when the credit card bills started coming in. I had blew away a major part of my savings in the last week alone. I realized dating was expensive. But I really liked her and wanted to give her the best experience. I wanted her to associate me with luxury. We had been on eight dates by now and each one had been better than the other. I told myself that this wasn’t the time to be miserly.

Date no. 9 happened on a weekday. I was at office when she’d texted around lunch time. She wasn’t feeling well and wished to have soup. I offered to get some delivered to her. She was reluctant to impose on me like that but I insisted. I got a whole meal sent to her address. She sent me a picture of the food but didn’t share one of her when I asked to. I got a little upset and sent her an angry emoji. She asked me to meet her. I made up some excuse at work and rushed to meet her. We went out to Starbucks and had an expensive coffee and sandwich. We took a walk to her place after that. By the time we reached her building, I had to pee.

I asked her if I could use her washroom. She said, “My place is on the fourth floor and there’s no lift. You’ll pee by the time we reach up there. Catch an auto and go to the mall nearby.” I did that and felt utterly rejected on my way to the mall. I texted her later that evening: “You know I really had to pee, it wasn’t a ploy to go up to your apartment. And I am a gentleman by the way, not like I’d pounce on you if I find you alone. You should know that by now.”

“Hey, I didn’t think anything like that”, she texted back, followed by a whole paragraph about how she was nervous to let any guy in, after her last break up where the guy had turned violent. I empathised and decided not to push her on that topic. On the next date, we were roaming around at DLF Emporio Mall, (a really high end shopping destination, for those of who don’t know) and she started swooning over these pair of boots at Canali. They were really pretty, so I asked her to try them on. She did and they fit perfectly. She said she’d buy them once she got her first paycheck at her new job, but she was afraid they might sell out by then. So, I offered to buy them for her and she could return me the money when she got her first pay. She hesitated a little, but agreed. The boots cost a whopping 12 grands. 

I hadn’t expected them to be so expensive and I started panicking a little. I had to pay the credit card companies and my reserve stock pile of cash was quickly depleting. But I didn’t say anything. The next few dates were pretty dull. We went to expensive places as usual but our conversations had started becoming monotonous. Maybe because I had started resenting her a little. And the relationship wasn’t moving ahead. Fourteen dates down and we hadn’t even kissed yet. Even by Indian standards, that was really sluggish development.

On the sixteenth date, we ran into a bunch of her friends and against her wishes, I asked them to join us for dinner. She introduced me to them as a “friend”, which caught me by surprise. I realized she didn’t want them to know I was a date, which I found very strange, since neither of us were kids or had any reason to be embarrassed about dating. All through the date, she kept cosying up to one of her friends, Karan, a rich guy, judging from his car and clothes, even though Karan’s girlfriend, who was also there was getting visibly upset by it. 

When the night came to an end, Karan drove Archana home and they left me outside the club, on the cold night. I called a cab and went home. When I reached home, I noticed that she was posting videos in her Instagram story, videos of her with the friends at her place, drinking and partying. I was deeply hurt by the fact that she hadn’t even invited to join them. And I had paid for the freaking drinks at the club. I sent a passive aggressive thumbs up on her story and stopped texting her after that. And she never texted back too.

A couple of months later, I texted her, asking if she could return the 12 grands I paid for her boots. She didn’t reply back. Moments later, she disappeared from Instagram. She had blocked me on all social media, including Whatsapp. That’s when I realized that I had been played. Up until this point, I was chalking it all up to her being a little “complicated” but I realized it had always been so simple. She was a “gold digger”. A term that I thought I’d never use for an actual person. 

My friends and I refer to Archana as “the Gold Digger of Vasant Kunj” now and she serves as a cautionary tale for all my friends’ friends. I uninstalled Tinder soon after, only to reinstall it again a few months later, when I finally got fed up of it and deleted my account. You hear such horror stories about men and the atrocities they commit towards women, but most of the stories about women and their cold and unethical misdeeds are swept under the rug. That’s why I decided to finally put this story to paper. 

(Note: This is based on an actual incident that happened to a friend of a friend. Names have been changed, of course.)


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