Things Single People Want You to Stop Saying to Them

Standard

I’m single. I’ve been single for over two years now, following nearly 9 years of steady not-singleness.

I enjoy my life. I am having more fun now than I’ve ever had. I’m satisfied with how things are but I’m still open to possibilities and change. I don’t feel like I need a relationship, but I’d be open to one with the right person. So people gotta stop hitting me up with questions and statements like these…

(Note: Not a fan of sarcasm? Stop reading.)

1. How come you’re still single?

Ummm… I’m not sure. I’m fundamentally unloveable, I guess. That and I have really ugly feet. Seriously, how am I meant to answer that? The implication is, of course, that I should be in a relationship. Well, let me get right on that by steadily dating the next guy I meet for eight and a half years, all the while reminding myself that my complete lack of joy is ‘normal’ and that ‘this is what people do.’ Cause that worked out so well the first time.

2. You’re so lucky. You can sleep with whoever you want!

Ok, firstly it’s whomever I want. And secondly, OMG WHO TOLD YOU?! You’ve stumbled across the biggest secret of the universe. Yes, simply by being single I have inherited a magic power that enables me to bed all of the handsome and otherwise desirable men who cross my path. One bat of the eyes and they succumb to my will. My only problem is deciding which male model to go home with. “A single woman who wants to sleep with me?” they all think. “Well, there’s just no way of knowing if I’ll ever find one of those again! Better go home with this one just in case.” This is why I’ve slept with so many successful businessmen-slash-humanitarians who look like Hugh Jackman, play cello and spend every other weekend in a log cabin that they built themselves with their strong yet tender hands, and have never hooked up with a chubby, chinos-wearing hobbit in a bunk bed.

3. I wish I was single.

BREAK UP. Problem solved. Oh, what was that? You don’t really want to be single because you love your partner and they love you, it’s just sometimes you wish that your life had fewer responsibilities and more freedom and you want to have your cake and eat it too? Well fuck you. I wish I was shorter. But I don’t really want to stop standing out in crowds and being able to reach stuff on the highest shelf in the pantry without a step-ladder, I just want my pants to fit better. We all got our wishes.

4. Have you tried online dating?

What even is that? I’ve been living in an Amish community for the past ten years and had no idea that people were now using social media as well as specifically designed websites to communicate with one another for the purposes of dating! What a revolution. It must be so easy to find your lifelong love these days – he’s only one click away! That is, if you don’t mind sifting through thousands of boring, stupid or inappropriate messages and requests from guys who pose with their cars and take shirtless bathroom selfies (the mirror kind, where you can see their phone) for their profile pics only to convince yourself that it’s not a compromise to date a guy who wears sneakers with jeans even though he is a lot heavier than he appeared in his picture, and that the relationship that he has with his mother is super normal and you’re so glad she’s joining you at the drive-in cinema tonight and no, of course you don’t mind sitting in the back because mother needs the lumbar support of the passenger seat for her bad back. *sigh* Yes. I’ve tried online dating.

5. Are you putting yourself out there?

What the hell does this mean? Do I go out to places where other single people will be? Yes. (It’s called “the world.” I live there.) Do I brush my teeth before I go out to these places? Usually. Am I ‘approachable’? …Huh? Lost me there. Am I a horse now? Are the men afraid that if they come towards me from the wrong angle or make a sudden move I’ll get skittish and kick them? I’m a girl in a bar wearing makeup and smiling who’s not standing with a guy. Pretty sure that makes me ‘approachable’.

6. Don’t worry. You’ll meet someone.

Oh, good! I’m so glad you said that. For a moment there I thought I’d never meet anyone! You’ve obviously worked out that the main cause of worry in my life is the fact that I am single, and that I am super obsessed with the idea of meeting someone, because, lets face it, no one who is single could actually be happy in themselves or feel like a complete person. You’ve taken a real weight off my shoulders. I no longer have any reason to feel worried. You are the best.

7. Maybe you’re too picky.

Yes, you’re right. An unintelligent, slovenly uggo like me should really start casting my net a little bit wider if I’ll have any hope of finding a man who will be willing to love me despite my many and obvious flaws. I absolutely should stop valuing myself and ignoring any obvious absence of chemistry or common ground in favour of just getting me a gosh-dang boyfriend already. From now on it’s rooster time, boys: any-cock’ll-do.

8. It will happen when you least expect it.

So will the backhander you’re eventually going to force me to give you. Hope you’re not too attached to your teeth.

Over

Standard

Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that the posts have dried up a little of late and have contained very little in the way of dating exploits. This is because for the last six months I have been wholeheartedly devoted to a crush I developed on a friend of a friend. Let’s call him Mark. It’s not his real name. I’ve changed it to protect his privacy, which when you think about it is a kind of weird thing to do because anyone that reads this who knows both of us will know exactly who I am talking about. Anyway, we’ll call this the tale of my fruitless crush on Mark. (Sorry for the spoiler. But no, it doesn’t end well.)

Things began harmlessly enough when after a friend’s celebration drinks Mark and I engaged in a night of heavy-duty dance floor pashing, which developed into some lightweight grinding and a mutual admission that we were gagging to go through with the deed, had either of us been sober enough to carry it out. We exchanged numbers, he texted that night and again the next day, and I proceeded to plan our wedding in the spring of next year and worked out how to break the news to mum and dad that I’d fallen for a ginger. Well, maybe not. But you get the idea – I was falling hard and fast, and as the girls from Geordie Shore would say, there was definite ‘fanny flutter.’

We went on a date two weeks later, a stroll around the museum followed by a walk through the park and an afternoon drink in a beer garden. I was more nervous and more awkward than I have ever been on a date. More convinced than ever that I liked him, I was frustrated by the fact that he was so impossible to read. Blessed with a string of awkward social conditions, Mark’s on-date cues were not like those of other guys. I had no idea if he was interested in me beyond the initial attraction we’d felt that first night. I spent the walk back to my car shedding actual tears of frustration, genuinely unsure whether the date had been a total success or a complete failure.

In the meantime Mark’s fledgling career as a full-time entertainer (nothing suss, I just don’t want to put his actual job title on here because then even more people will know exactly who I’m talking about) began to take off. He was busy with gigs every night and filming for various projects during the day. He had been booked on a tour around parts of Australia that would take the better part of a month and would be heading overseas to perform for another month after that. Our second date was supposed to take place a few days before his tour left but he sent me a text a few hours beforehand saying he had too much work to do, and asking to reschedule. Taking this as a sign that he was not really as interested or as invested as I was, I pulled the pin by replying with a text that said we might be better off leaving things as friends. He was very apologetic but confirmed that he was really too busy to catch up before leaving but that we should stay in touch.

About a month later he was still on my mind as I meticulously groomed and dressed myself to attend a mutual friend’s party. I’d kept in touch with some light banter and Facebook stalking and was secretly hoping he would be there. I feel it’s important to inform you here that somehow in the midst of this crush I reverted to the sensibilities and emotional vulnerability of a high school girl, which might help you to understand some of my behaviour and thought processes outlined below.

Mark walked in late, after a gig, by which time I had gotten completely drunk in an effort to overcome the fact that I only knew two people at the party and was mingling with people I had seen on TV but trying to pretend I wasn’t giddy over meeting. He made a beeline for me as soon as he arrived and stuck to me like glue. Before I knew it, he was leading me upstairs to make out on his friend’s bed until – shamefully – we were politely asked to cut it out and come back downstairs. I was stoked that he was still interested. He confessed that he’d been stalking me on Facebook too (romantic, I thought) and had missed me while he’d been gone. But I was determined not to return to that unknown quagmire of middle ground with him, especially after rolling around on a bed upstairs at a party. I needed some form of assurance. I wanted us to be “seeing each other,” not just friends who liked each other and got drunk and made out at parties. His perception of things was slightly (completely) different – he was about to go overseas for the first time, he wasn’t sure what was going to happen, couldn’t we just have fun? No. No, we couldn’t – because I actually liked him and it would make me feel used. As I got up to walk away I fell for the oldest trick in the book: I like you too. I want to be with you.

Ecstatic, I continued to mingle at the party, convinced that we had reached a mutual agreement, that we were now officially “seeing each other.” As I excitedly relayed this news to my friend Luce, she gently grasped my arm and looked at me with earnest and sorrow. “Amelia. He just tried to kiss me in the other room. I’m so sorry.”

What. The. Fuck. I know I said I felt like I was back in high school, but come on! I wish I could say I laughed it off, shook myself free of those feelings and spent the rest of the party with my dignity intact. I really, really wish I could. Of course, instead I cried. A lot. I was literally so black-out drunk that I don’t remember much of what happened after that point. I was inconsolable. I remember crying in the bathroom, in the kitchen, outside in the alley beside the house (at which point Mark approached in an attempt to either console me or apologise and I screamed at him to ‘fuck off and never touch me again’) in the back garden, in the taxi, in my room. I woke up the next day feeling hurt, humiliated and hungover. My eye sockets were so swollen and puffy they resembled testicles, but at least I was saved by the grace of the memory-loss that accompanies such an extreme level of drunkenness. Until I checked my phone.

It was mortifying.

I had sent him no less than four texts since the shit hit the fan, at which point he had apparently taken my advice to ‘fuck off’ and left the party. They were garbled, juvenile and excruciatingly embarrassing. I immediately deleted my message history and sent a quick text asking him to do the same thing, then I crawled into a hole and died. Later that day he texted back with an apology for getting so out of it and asking if I pulled up ok. Part of me was relieved that he was pretending none of it happened. Part of me was outraged that he wasn’t attempting to explain himself. I was rational enough to figure that there were probably huge chunks of information missing from his memory as well, and I made a decision that I would talk to him when I’d had a few days for everything to settle.

After running the entire scenario past two of my wisest girlfriends and deciding that the best and healthiest option for all concerned was to try and pretend the whole night had never happened, I rang him the following weekend. He admitted that he couldn’t remember much and agreed that it was best to forget the whole thing. He suggested we catch up before his overseas flight which was in a few days time, but I wasn’t ready yet. I told him we’d grab a coffee when he got back.

While he was gone, my hurt disappeared and my feelings returned. I followed his updates on FB and smiled when I saw his face on TV. I went on a few dates with guys I met online but my heart wasn’t in it. I still liked him  a lot. I decided to bite the bullet when he returned and called him to organise a date. Nothing too serious, just an afternoon coffee. I left feeling really positive. It was so nice to see him, we had plenty to talk about, nothing was awkward. I took his flirty banter and the light kiss he planted on my lips as we parted ways as indications that he was still interested. I felt like finally, we were on the same page. I was determined not to get ahead of myself this time but I was excited to be in that particular moment of uncertainty where you feel the possibility of something developing. It was a really nice feeling.

It lasted a bit over two weeks. I attended his birthday drinks last night, excited to see him. I’d carefully chosen the perfect token-and-meaningless-but-secretly-the-result-of-very-careful-planning gift complete with last minute gift-wrapping made from a page out of a Good Guys catalogue. He kissed me on the lips, gave approving looks and complimented my haircut. He seemed to enjoy the gift. He gave me all of three minutes of his time, then proceeded to avoid eye contact with me for the rest of the night.

Luce (ever the bearer of bad news – poor thing!) soon informed me that she’d just been speaking to one of Mark’s colleagues who’d informed her that he had been reveling in his newly found fame, regularly hooking up with a different girl after each gig whilst keeping others (myself included) on the back burner. Obviously this was not the outcome to the evening I was hoping for. I was disappointed; in him, in the way things had turned out, in myself for overlooking the obvious earlier indications that there were serious flaws in his character. I was upset that I’d wasted six months waiting for something that was never going to happen and frustrated that I’d invested so much in someone so undeserving.

Now here’s my problem – how do I get over someone I’ve never actually been under? I feel betrayed even though I haven’t been. I feel like I need closure but I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much I actually liked (or, more accurately, like – it’s hard to switch that shit off) him.

I made a start last night by leaving without bothering to say goodbye. Oh, and before we left Luce reclaimed the book I’d given him as a birthday gift. Let’s call it a spoil of war.

The Holy Trinity

Standard

All he has to do is make me laugh, be honest and be nice to me. That’s all I need. Seriously, that’s it. It’s the Holy Trinity of man-qualities. The only White Knight I am interested in is the peppermint chocolate kind (which is, in my opinion, a completely under-rated confectionery and deserves to be in far greater circulation than it currently is. Convenience Store Owners- don’t be putting them on the bottom shelf of the candy rack where they go unnoticed and gather dust while your customers reach for Mars Bars like gormless sheep; get those bad boys a prime position so that the masses can be exposed to their chewy, minty goodness!).

I want many things in a man – eyes that sparkle when he laughs and grow intense when he talks about his passions; enough stubble to graze the back of my neck when spooning but not enough to shred my chin like a piece of wet tissue during a heavy make-out sesh; the ability to spend hours debating whether broccoli deserves to be king of the vegetables because he would look better in a crown than an onion would; a love of great food and wine; an adventurous spirit and willingness to try all manner of new bedroom routines and apparatus– but the three things mentioned above are the only things I actually need. Why do they seem to be mutually exclusive?

I realised early in my current caper through single-town that an awesome face and an awesome personality seem to eliminate one another in men. (See graph below for clarification.)

Face Vs Personality

But there seems to be a deeper problem. I can live without a chiseled jaw, great hair and the easy smile of a handsome college quarterback – in the battle of looks vs. personality I am always willing to forgo the gorgeous in favour of the grouse. The problem is that I haven’t yet met a dude who ticks all three boxes in the personality package.

COMBO #1: Honest + Nice

I have been out with quite a few of these guys. They complement you on what you’re wearing, offer to pay for dinner, and don’t steal your wallet when you pass out from boredom into your bowl of mushroom risotto. You know exactly where you stand with these guys at the end of the night because they have texted you to thank you for a lovely evening and to make sure you got home safely. When you respond jokingly with “Dean who?” they send back something like “Dean from tonight, we went on a date. I am the Engineer, remember? We had dinner like an hour ago?” UGH. These are well-meaning, lovely, thoughtful, boring men, who will probably make some houseplants very happy one day.

COMBO #2: Funny + Honest

The Funny + Honest combo is also commonly known as an arsehole. This guy has a smart arsed comment about everything and tells you exactly what he thinks. The problem is that what he thinks is that he’s not really looking for long term right now and just wants to keep things casual – you’re cool with that, right? You’re not cool with that, but you sleep with him anyway because he’s charming and you tell yourself that deep down he has to be nice and he will show that side to you eventually. He won’t. Because he is an arsehole.

COMBO #3: Funny + Nice

This combo is the most frustrating of all. You have a great rapport and get along really well, there’s chemistry and they say and do things that make you smile when you think about them. Commonly referred to by the women they are dating as “one of the good ones,” they instantly gain trust and build a deep attraction through the use of their light wit and genuine interest in conversation. The issue with this guy is that he is too nice to be straight with you so you never know where you stand, and you end up investing far more than you would have if he’d have simply said ‘No, sorry,’ to a second date.

I keep leaving sacrifice after sacrifice at the Altar of Single Women (figuratively of course; I am not killing goats and leaving their carcasses on a pedestal in front of a life-sized cut out of Ryan Gosling, which is what I imagine a real Altar of Single Women would be like)  only to find that the Holy Trinity still eludes me. When you think about it, this “Holy Trinity” is really only a collection of the basic qualities necessary to succeed at being a human being. So why is it so difficult to find?

It’s not a rhetorical question. I actually don’t know the answer. If you do, please help.

Peckish

Standard

I’ve been single for almost a year now. I go out. I dance. I drink. I go home, sometimes alone, sometimes with company. I online date. I text dudes. I try to figure out where things are going. I break things off before they get awkward or serious. I check my phone six times a day waiting to see if he’s texted me yet. I juggle several prospects at once with varying levels of interest. I tease, test and ignore. I get let down occasionally and let others down gently. I run from the over-invested and chase the disinterested.

I don’t really know what I’m looking for, but I am looking. I’ve begun to try to overcome any misgivings about the men I date, ignoring  sexual incompatibility and such serious character flaws as selfishness, arrogance and diffidence in the hopes of finding some kind of ongoing companionship.

I wouldn’t say that I’m hungry for more, but I’m definitely a little peckish. I don’t want to rush into anything serious, but I do want someone to be nice to me, to want to spend time with me on occasion, to think I’m pretty even when I’m in my pyjamas, to spend the night every now and then, to take me out to dinner and let me pay for half, to catch up for Friday night drinks with my friends. I don’t want to meet parents, spend every night together, stop hanging out with my friends, have automatic plans for every Saturday night or go grocery shopping together. I just want to date.

I’m wondering if any mid-twenty-to-early-thirty-something men actually want to date. All I’ve found so far are those who want too much and those who want too little, and like some kind of Goldilocks I seem to jump from one to the other without finding anything that seems “just right.” Something casual without the vulgarity of having “no strings attached,” as though actually spending time with a person you’re having sex with is some kind of huge hassle.

I’m not looking for Mr Right, or Mr Just-For-One-Night. Surely there’s something in between. I’m determined to find it.

Four Things Men Should Know

Standard

Boys, take note. Here are four essential truths about single women that you must heed, should you want to successfully date one.

1. WE LIKE MAKING PLANS

As a general rule, women like to have an idea of how they will be spending their time. As multi-tasking creatures, we will often make tentative plans in our mental calendar while going about our daily business. We like knowing what’s coming up ahead and generally behave more methodically and less instinctively than our male counterparts. If you are interested in seeing a girl, you need to give her the heads up early in the week so she can pencil you in (so that you can, er, pencil her in). We also like to look forward to things – half the fun is in the anticipation. Take that away and you’re drastically reducing your chances of under-the-blouse action.

2. DON’T BE A STRANGER

We (women) like to communicate with other human beings on a regular basis. Maybe you’ve made plans for next Sunday and you figure there’s no point in texting between now and then – you’d be surprised at how receptive she’ll be at a little unexpected midweek text. It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking, just a simple “Hey, how’s your week going?” will let her know that you are thinking of her. Women get bored and frustrated when you wait too long to contact them. Play it too cool or wait too long and she will lose interest. Guaranteed.

3. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

Women are intuitive and analytical by nature. We focus on body language, tone and context a lot more than men do; in fact, your lady-friend is less likely to take stock in the actual words you say than she is to focus on the way you say it. This can be a stumbling block for men who tend to do things in the moment because it feels good/right/comfortable. You told her you’re not sure you can commit to anything exclusive right now, but then you spent the night cuddling her in her sleep and kissing the curve of her neck. For her, it’s a sign of your desire for a deeper level of intimacy than your words suggest. For you, it’s probably just that sometimes it feels really nice to snuggle into a woman’s body (we’re soft and warm and curved and beautiful – who wouldn’t want to get in on that action?). I’m not saying you have to treat a woman like a drive-thru car wash, but it pays to be aware that obvious signs of intimacy (stroking, deep and sustained eye contact during sex, spooning, staying the night, sharing secrets), whether intended or not, will definitely be registered by your lady.

4. JUST BE HONEST

There seems to be a general perception out there in the dating world that women can’t handle the truth. You’d be surprised – most of us actually appreciate honesty, even if the outcome of a conversation is not what we envisaged it being. And we’re not too fragile to cop it on the chin either; the female ego is a hardy and resilient thing. So if you’re not interested, just tell her, rather than ignoring her, sending mono-syllabic responses to her texts or cancelling time and time again. We also like it when you’re up front about what you actually want. If you know that you just want a friends-with-benefits type situation, let her know; that way she won’t waste her time trying to figure out where things are headed. If you want to keep seeing each other casually and be free to go out and meet other people, make sure she knows that so she can be out getting her sexy freak on as regularly as you are – it’s only fair!

While these four ideas may not apply to every woman in the entire world, my discussions with my single-and-dating female peers have led me to believe that they are at least somewhat universal. Chances are that every instance in which you stopped dating a woman because she came across as needy, controlling or just plain old bat-shit crazy could have been avioded by following these mantras. Look, it may not be gospel, but at the very least it gives you fellas a slightly better chance of relating to – if not completely understanding – your current or future squeeze.

How to Text Like a Dude: A Man-ual for Social Intercourse

Standard

If you want to have a shot in the game, you need to know the rules. Here’s the inside scoop, straight from the horse’s penis. (Er…mouth.)

RULE 1: LET HIM MAKE THE FIRST MOVE

When you think about it, this actually makes life much easier. If he likes you enough, he’ll text. And if he doesn’t, no amount of flirtation, charm, wit or sexual suggestion on your part is going to change that. Forcing him into responding will only cause you to spiral into depression as you dissect his blunt, disinterested or generally lethargic responses.

RULE 2: TREAT ‘EM MEAN, KEEP ‘EM KEEN

We already know about this one, but it’s the hardest to put into practice. You like him, you think about him, you can’t wait to see him, you’d slap your own granny to spend time with him….but under no circumstances can you let him know this! Imagine you get two texts from two different guys – one that you like, and one that you’re not really interested in. Your instincts are to send something fairly aloof to the guy you don’t like and something far warmer to the one you do, when in actual fact you should send pretty much the same thing to both of them. Playing it cool gives the impression that you’ve got other offers, that perhaps you’ve got a bit more going for you than he first thought. Just make sure you stop short of being cunty or your aloofness will come across as disinterest.

RULE 3: DON’T BE TOO AVAILABLE

There are two parts to this rule. The first is to never try to organise a date too far in advance. Don’t text on a Tuesday and ask if he’s free Saturday night – chances are he hasn’t planned his whole weekend yet, and if by some chance he has then you’re setting yourself up for a disappointing answer. The second part of this rule is to avoid providing alternatives. If he asks you out for a drink on Saturday but it turns out that’s the night of your big tap dancing recital, don’t tell him you’re free Friday night, Sunday, and most of next week. Simply let him know that you’d like to catch up, however you’re busy on Saturday. Let him find a time that works for you. Giving him options is just going to inflate his ego and make him think that his life is more interesting than yours so you’re lucky to be hanging out with him at all.

RULE 4: MAKE IT BRIEF

Keep all texts to a 100 character limit. If he asks how your day was, he’s actually not looking for a response in essay-form. A simple “good thanks,” will suffice.

RULE 5: CUT THE CUTE STUFF

Emoticons. X’s and O’s. Nicknames like ‘babe,’ ‘hun’ etc. And god I hope it goes without saying: baby talk. There will be plenty of time for that shit down the track in the relationship phase. For now, it’s all about efficiency. Say what you need to say, being honest, but not too open. Just like a transsexual stripper, you should leave a little something under wraps to make things more interesting down the track.

RULE 6: KEEP IT SIMPLE

Men are not overly complicated creatures. They don’t typically make use of tone, subtext and subtle innuendo. Chances are that what he said is what he meant. Stop reading over his texts looking for insight into the way his mind works – all you’re going to do is convince yourself that he’s been dropping a constant stream of hints that he’s madly in love with you and then drive yourself crazy trying to work out why he hasn’t asked how to spell your name for the tattoo on his shoulder. There is no subtext. “Cool, I’ll let you know” is not code for “Damn girl, you’re an incredible woman and I want to make the sweet, sweet love all over your sexy body, but only because I totally respect and understand you as a person.” Let it go. And if you can’t detach, delete the texts.

Well there you have it ladies…take it or leave it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to see a horse about a penis. Er, a man about a penis. A penis about a horse. Oh fuck it, you know what I mean!

The Point of No Return

Standard

Meet Dan: Skilful texter. Better-than-average conversationalist. Interested in me.

We met online, and when I met him face to face he was a fair bit larger than his pictures had suggested, but I was determined to be the type of person who puts the aforementioned three attributes above anything as shallow as physical appearance or body shape.

Date three was due to happen over the weekend, but we had conflicting schedules. The first date had been spent getting acquainted over drinks in the mid-evening hours of a weeknight, where the verbal chemistry built over two weeks of texting did not disappoint. The second, after discovering our mutual appreciation of fine culinary experiences (I believe I used the word “foodgasm”), was dinner in a trendy Japanese restaurant. After the tattooed waitress delivered the bill he walked me to my car where he pulled me in for a goodnight kiss. It was decent – medium pressure, slightly open mouth, soft lips, no tongue – on paper, everything a second date kiss should be. But there was no flutter in my lady-business. Not even a tingle.

Ordinarily, by this stage I would have stopped fighting my obvious lack of physical attraction and moved on to new pastures. But Dan was a specific breed of man: a master of the text. He adeptly balanced humour, intelligence and playful teasing in every message. He was really quite charming, and I was beguiled by the mischievous nature of our banter.

There was another reason I hesitated in calling things off, a social experiment of sorts. My personal experience, coupled with anecdotal evidence garnered from close friends, has led me to the generalisation that men with more typically attractive faces and physically ‘perfect’ bodies often make unsatisfying lovers. I wondered if the opposite would be true – whether Dan, more-than-solidly built with a beard that most likely disguised a weak or double chin, would be attentive, selfless and gifted where men more beautiful than he were not.

So date three was set – a late night rendezvous at my house for “wine and a movie.” The true intentions of the evening were thinly veiled and did not elude him, however when he arrived by taxi from his dinner on the other side of the city I did pour him a glass of wine and sit through an hour of Iron Man before a move was made. The first moves were promising. My six glasses of wine (four of them consumed before he arrived) had made me fairly amorous, and he was a good kisser. After around fifteen minutes of making out, when things had begun to drift into dry-humping territory, I suggested we move things to the bedroom.

Things began to go awry when I made a fatal mistake when deciding on the lighting levels. Ordinarily my bedside lamp with its 20 watt bulb is my lighting of choice for such events. Candlelight, though flattering, is too intimate, and I find complete darkness makes things more awkward somehow, what with all the fumbling and the odd accidental headbutt or kneeing. However, as I removed one article of clothing after another while Dan remained fully clothed, I became acutely aware of the discrepancy between our confidence levels. Alas, this was not the only problem. It seemed my theory regarding the sexual prowess of the chunky man was to be disproved in a most convincing way.

After having my breasts squeezed and twisted in a manner reminiscent of an over-excited and inexperienced teenager, I was treated to five minutes of being probed, sucked, prodded and furiously rubbed before I put a stop to it for fear of having part of my vagina chafed off. By this stage I held little hope for a positive outcome, but thought that it might just be possible if I took the reins with a firm hand. So I proceeded to remove his pants.

I was immediately struck by two things. The first was that his pork sword, standing in the shadow of his hefty torso, was really little more than a dagger. And the second was that there was a smell. A violent odour of urine and scrotum-sweat punched me in the nostrils, stinging my eyes and provoking the gag reflex I had spent much of my adult life learning to suppress. With my face at ball-level I was in full olfactory assault. I glanced up to see expectant eyes gauging the distance between my mouth and the offensive smelling love-baton and I realised I was at the point of no return.

I put it in my mouth. My tongue recoiled in horror, desperately pressing my soft palate in search of escape. My eyes watered. I’m sure it was no more than 90 seconds, but it felt like an hour. My every muscle was focused on resisting the urge to throw up. I resurfaced like a dolphin leaping from the water, furiously licking and kissing his bearded neck and cheek, trying to scrape the sensory memory from my tongue.

The rest of our uglies were bumped swiftly and without fanfare. I was in shock. There had been nothing at all in Dan’s otherwise impeccable personal hygiene to suggest that such a sinus-piercing odour was lurking below. Clearly unaware of his repulsive affliction and otherwise underwhelming performance, he lay blissfully motionless. After thoroughly rinsing my mouth and washing my face, I became fearful that he would assume he was welcome to spend the night, and began picking up his clothes and piling them on the bed in a gesture of helpfulness as I returned from the ensuite.

This was evidently too subtle, as he pulled at my arm to come back to bed and began to roll over into a comfortable sleeping position. I coughed pointedly and asked what he was doing in the morning. Nothing much. What about you? Oh, I told him, I had heaps to do on Saturday so I should probably get some sleep. Ok, so we should go to sleep then. Umm, I said, I kind of have this thing about guys staying over…

As we waited awkwardly in the lounge room for his taxi, both aware that the level of regard for one another had become undoubtedly one-sided, I tried to remind myself that there were two guilty parties here. Sure, I was perhaps a little callous and detached following our no-pants-dance, but after all, I had  just been blind sided by the stench of rotting manhood and what I can only assume was a pungent remainder of some asparagus consumed 4-6 hours earlier.

So, what have we learned? Ladies, if you plan on heading south of the border, make sure it doesn’t smell like a Mexican sewer first. And if it does…vamonos!

Men With Hats

Standard

When a man wears a hat on a first date, especially a blind date, the female mind immediately becomes suspicious. What could he have under there? Is he bald? Has he recently gotten plugs and are they at that gross bleedy stage that looks like someone shaved bits off a possum and glued the rest of the possum on their scalp? Is he a ranga? Whatever the answer, it can’t be good. Wearing a hat is like carrying a backpack when you’re over 40 – it tells the world you’ve got something to hide but you’re not even concerned enough about it to do it in a clever way.

Seated across a table in a cosy bar from a man in a hat, the female mind begins to ponder what other eccentricities this individual may be hiding. Does he collect insects? Is he a sock-sniffer? Then things really start to unravel. I bet he over-pronounces words like “croissant” and describes himself as an “enigmatic loner with the soul of a poet.” Even when the conversation flows effortlessly and a bond is forged over a shared disdain for dub-step, it lurks like an ever-present shadow beast. She cannot shake the voice that whispers in her ear, “He’s wearing a hat. He’s wearing a hat. It’s night-time and he’s wearing a hat. It’s night-time and he’s wearing a hat inside.” Try as she might to ignore it, the voice remains, becoming more and more persistent.

She asks about his work, but can no longer focus on his words, her eyes drawn ever upwards to the grey cloth cap perched atop his skull like a roosting pigeon. She smiles and nods distractedly, mumbling an agreement to some unheard question, unable to concentrate on anything but the hat, now convinced that it is mocking her with its jaunty angle. Her mind begins to race, picturing the dozens of other hats that fill this man’s closet. Fedoras. Knitted beanies. Trucker caps. Oh god, what if he owns a beret? She forces herself to continue with polite conversation, all the while tormented with imaginings of various head coverings, trying to prevent the inevitable descent into bandanna territory.

Conversation dwindles, the glasses are drained and the date draws to a close. As they step outside into the frigid night air he draws up the hood of his jumper over his cap. Now she’s completely baffled. Does this guy have some kind of medical condition that requires him to keep his head at a balmy 28 degrees at all times? He leans in to kiss her cheek goodbye, the coarse tweed on the peak of his cap grazing the side of her brow. Inside she shudders a little.

Attention Men With Hats: it’s a deal breaker.

First Date

Standard

Tonight I went on my first first date. Some of you might be surprised by the fact that a magnificent specimen of womanhood such as myself managed to get to the age of 27 without embarking on a single first date. (If you’re wondering, yes, I have kissed boys and yes, I have been touched under the clothes before. Several times, in fact.) The things that made this unbelievable and highly improbable fact possible were as follows: All of my high school “relationships” were of two distinct breeds – the frigid, non-contact variety that existed before I had my first pash at the end of Year 10 (late bloomer), and the awkward aftermath of drunken hook-ups that occurred after that, when the hungry she-beast had been stirred within me. Then, of course, as the old broken record goes, I was in a serious long-term relationship from the age of 18 to 26 as a result of deciding to make out with one of my housemates. And so, here I am, 27 and home from my very first first date.

The Selection Process

It was with some trepidation that I actually finally selected a suitor from my online dating site and agreed to go for coffee, after having cast aside the vast majority of men who had expressed any interest for a multitude of reasons – too old, too beardy, too young, too bung-eyed, too bad at spelling, too serious, too immature, to dumb to crop ex-girlfriend out of profile picture et cetera. I settled on my choice for the following three reasons:

1. His height, which according to his profile was 6’3″. I am 181cm tall. This makes me taller than the average height for an Australian male, and while I’m not at all bothered by my height, I cannot help but feel that some men are bothered by it. It makes things awkward. As I am already awkward, I decided my first first date should be with someone taller than me.

2. His age. At 31, I figured he was more likely to pick up the bill (of course, I would kindly offer and be gallantly declined) and I thought I would appear to him, as a younger woman, charming, youthful and fun.

3. His spelling, grammar and punctuation. I could not bring myself to go on a date with someone who has not mastered the use of capital letters.

The Preparation

As the afternoon ticked by and evening approached I felt a sense of dread. Although I knew that it was only coffee, and coffee never leads to sex, no matter what George Costanza would have us believe, I still felt like I had an enormous amount of grooming to do before I would feel like I was presenting the best possible version of myself. This made me feel overwhelmed, so I had a little nap. When my alarm went off at 6pm, I began performing in one of those idiotic half-asleep pageants where you’ve somehow managed to convince yourself that it is a whole 12 hours later than it actually is and begin getting ready for work before realising that it’s night-time and you’re a complete tit. I remained in a confused, groggy state until I was forced to turn off the hot water in the shower in order to shock some life back into me.

After the shaving, plucking, blow-drying and straightening there was scarce-little time to try on everything in my wardrobe, reject it and toss it onto the bed in an increasing state of panic and ill-temper. Eventually I settled on a slightly quirky, retro and feminine look and, after a final last-minute lipstick decision and shoe-change I was running only 15 minutes behind schedule. (Of course, I know that men do not notice things like shoes, or earrings, or whether the outfit in question calls for a pale pink or rosy shade of lip gloss. But I was hoping my attention to detail would present a complete package that had some kind of undefinable wow-factor.) And so, I made my way to the cafe where my date would no doubt be waiting.

The Greeting

As I drove to meet my date, I wondered what appropriate first date greeting etiquette entailed. A handshake? A hug? A kiss on the cheek? As I have mentioned several times before, I am what I like to call ‘awkward’ at times. I am not naturally a cheek-peck person and I always have an anxious moment when someone leans in, wondering if they are going for a hug or a kiss, not wanting to do the wrong thing. I once kissed my ex-boss on the earlobe because I realised too late that she was going for the cheek-peck, and I’d already overshot the mark. As you can imagine, that was incredibly awkward.

I decided that I would confidently and breezily go in for a peck, like this was my millionth first date and I was oh-so comfortable with the whole thing. But when I got to the cafe I realised I had another problem. I had only seen one photo of my date, and I wasn’t sure if the guy standing out the front was him or not. Luckily, he was engrossed in his smart phone (thank you, technology gods!) and I managed to sneak past him and immediately sent a text asking where he was sitting as I was inside and couldn’t see him. Turns out the phone guy was my date, but when he approached I hesitated on the cheek-peck and he went for the hug, then I changed my mind and went for the peck. It wasn’t great.

The Date

The date itself was surprisingly easy. I talked, he talked, I pretended to listen while adding up the pros and cons about his attributes and characteristics and deciding whether I wanted to see him naked. I presume he did some similar pondering of his own. I asked him about his work, he asked me about my family, we compared tastes in music and movies, we shared anecdotes about our friends – it wasn’t ground breaking, but it was simple and painless. I couldn’t believe I had been so resistant to dating during high school. It turns out it’s a piece of piss. Talk, listen, talk more, smile, laugh etc. All fairly natural patterns of human behaviour. And I didn’t snort-laugh, or do an accidental chair-fart, or spill coffee on myself, or any of the other hundred things I imagined going wrong according to my recent comedy-of-errors type existence. It was just a pleasant evening with a nice guy.

The Conclusion

Of course, a date that begins awkwardly is bound to end awkwardly too. We did the cheque-dance as anticipated, which I graciously let him win, and he offered to walk me to my car. During the walk, as my mouth babbled something about Bruce Willis playing harmonica, my mind poured over the possible end points to our evening. Would there be a kiss? I was certainly not going to initiate anything. Surely a kiss would be a bit presumptuous after a very civilised coffee date in a brightly lit cafe. But, how else does one say goodbye and end a date? We were at my car. We stood grinning at each other like fools, saying things like “well, this was fun…” and “yeah, we should catch up again.” Then it ended with the same awkward hug-cheek-peck-hug thing that it began with. My signature move.

As far as first first dates go, I’m assuming I did ok. While I kind of had the faintest feeling that if all my future dates were like this I’d never have sex again, I also quite liked the thought of another human person taking enough interest in me to bother spending time talking about things like why I gave up learning piano and why Step Brothers is a better Will Ferrell movie than Anchorman.

So that was my first first date. For the sake of this blog, I kind of wish it had gone terribly – but for the sake of my future dating confidence, I’m glad it didn’t. I think it would be hard to put myself back out there if, like my friend Billie’s first date, he had taken me to the park to throw apples at ducks, taken a tab of acid and stolen my bike, then turned up at my house 6 hours later asking if I wanted to go ice skating. Ok, so that didn’t really happen – but you get my point.