I always knew the conventional way of dating was to approach a girl and chat her up. If you were impressive, you won her heart. Then came the internet with online dating, which has revolutionalised the dating game.
This, according to me, was never the African way of playing the dating game or wooing potential suitors. In some communities betrothed children at an early age, while in others, marriages were arranged, with village belles striving to impress the best youth warrior in the land.
I recall when growing up, my elder sisters cajoled me into professing love for a girl called Joan. But surely, what genuinity was there in the love professions of a 5-year-old me?
Today, Ugandan newspapers often have varied sections that go by various names to link up love seekers with possible suitors. The sections often go by the names of "Lonely Hearts," or "Meeting Point," depending on the newspaper.
Reading through some of these sections in Ugandan media, I have figured out that they are filled up with seeminlgy harmless fortune-seekers especially young men and often beatiful girls. One common characteristic is that the young men often search for elderly lovers.
It is common to find an advert that reads, "20-year-old Johnny seeks a 45-year-old woman for a relationship. I will give her sex and she will yearn for more." While a 19-year-old nubile girl would apply for, "A sugar-day (old man in Ugandan speak) to spend cash on me."
There is a conception in Uganda that foreigners, especially Europeans and Americans are wealthy, with bank accounts laden with dollars and euros. So, other applicants will seek for "European ladies to love." while the girls insist on "White men only." If you are African, do not bother to apply." And often, a number of them are looking for someone to sponsor their studies.
Others elaborately lay down the qualities of potential suitors which include phrasings such as; "He must have money and willing to spend it; must be tall, light-skinned, smart, must own a car with a well-paying job."
But if truth be told, what is the probability that a girl will chance on such a man, who is not already married or engaged? In our Ugandan economy, how many such men with cars and well-paying jobs could there be?