My dating life – Lungelo Gcwabaza: “I’ve always found it easier to meet guys online”
We caught up with Lungelo Gcwabaza to talk dating disasters, triumphs, and how to meet new people.
Can you remember your first date with a guy?
I remember my first date very well. It was my first year at university, during our summer holiday in South Africa. I’d decided to venture into the world of online dating - I matched on Tinder with a Norwegian doctor who had just recently relocated to South Africa.
We matched, but didn’t meet immediately. He was 40 and I was 19. We met one summer’s evening at the beach in South Africa. He was really sweet and kind - probably because he was in a foreign city and also looking to start a network, much like I was looking for my first experience with a man.
We had a few drinks, and a walk along the promenade, chatted, and got to know each other a little better. The attraction was there immediately. We continued to date for just over a year.
When you’re dating, how do you typically meet guys?
I’ve always found it easier to meet guys online. The thought of approaching people in person has always been quite daunting for me, albeit I have had a few guys approach me in the gym.
Some apps seem to be better than others in order to meet guys who are actually interested in dating or a relationship of sorts.
What’s your idea of a perfect date?
It will usually involve an activity or experience of sorts. I like being able to share something or trying new things.
Food plays an important part in this - we remember things so much differently when we look at them from the experience of having shared food.
Music! There needs to be an element of music somewhere in the date - you can tell a lot about a person based on the music they listen to, and it’s a great way to connect and talk and learn about past experiences through music.
I’m typically someone who’s always relatively put together, so a date where I can dress down and just be comfortably myself are always much appreciated.
What have been some of your most memorable dates?
I’m very lucky to have had quite a few good dates for all the bad ones I’ve had. The good dates have usually involved an experience, and being able to share uninterrupted space and time with someone.
On one of my dates, we had dinner in London where we got to talk and learn more about each other, then later went to a pub for drinks, then ended up at a silent disco at the top of the Shard - it was an incredible experience. I got to see him in different environments, we could talk, we could share our taste in music, and we could dance.
Another one of the best dates I’ve been on involved a train ride out of the city into Surrey, where we did a vineyard tour and got to spend the afternoon experiencing something that was new to us both, away from the hustle and bustle of London.
Any dating disasters?
Definitely a few! I once went on a date with a guy who was an avid runner - he jokingly suggested that our first date be over a run through Battersea Park. I didn’t think it was a literal run, so I arrived on the date in jeans and he arrived in his full running kit. So I spent my date, sitting on a bench, as he did laps around the park. Every lap he’d pause for a quick chat while he ran on the spot - needless to say, there wasn’t a follow up date.
Are you currently dating?
Yes! I’m happily involved with a man I love, who I actually met online - not once, but four times before we actually decided to go on a date.
We matched twice on one app, and found each other twice on another app, so we had to go on a date - just for the sake of it!
He’s 37, and absolutely incredible. This relationship is unlike any other I’ve been a part of. It’s mature and really supportive and honest. We both have the same outlook in life and love and relationships, which makes things a lot easier for us.
For someone who was just starting to explore dating in the LGBTQ world, what advice or guidance would you give them?
Be clear and resolute in what you want, give yourself time to explore and have fun. Learn more about yourself and the nature of relationship you want - whether it be serious or casual. Understand how you want and expect people to engage with you, and then venture out there and start meeting people.
You’ll probably kiss a lot of frogs, and get a little distracted on your way to the perfect mate, but it’s very possible.
Thankfully, London offers a great variety of men, all different and similar in their own unique ways. It’s important for those that are looking to date to remember that when potential mates meet you with the intention of dating, they aren’t just looking at you at face value, but also the lifestyle they could possibly share with you. So be social, be interesting, be passionate about something, and be willing to share it with people.