How to weep

Dear Readers,

Some get sad on their birthdays. Some find Christmas hard, or weddings, or long weekends or Father’s Day. I get vulnerable around Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s just me. That marker, yearly. That day of celebrating something I don’t have. I’m 32. I’ve been single for ten years. I know I need to get ok with the idea that I might be single for another ten years. I know that today is just another day and tomorrow will be infinitely better and that really I have a full life that I love, but sometimes it’s ok to just sit with your sadness a little. 

I’ve written before about ways I’ve spent the day in the past, and ideas for how to spend it in future. Yet yesterday I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor weeping to mournful bush ballads. I didn’t really understand why, but it felt good.

So that’s my only advice if you happen to be finding it hard, today or any day, for any reason really: just stop and weep. You don’t need to get back on the horse every day, and all those other fish in the sea can just keep swimming. Even horse-riding fisherwomen have to get off their horses and put down their rods every now and then.  

With gentle regards,

-DD

 

.

 

 

Sometimes all you need to do

is cry into the washing up.

 

Then get your favourite tumbler

add a dash of your favourite Tasmanian whisky

take it upstairs and put your dressing gown on.

Get out your laptop and load some songs you know will make you cry onto your phone and put it with some headphones into your pocket.

Put a candle and some matches in your other pocket

and with a nice writing notebook and pen in one hand and your whisky in the other

climb out onto the roof.

Grab a pillow to sit on.

 

Put a song on and if tears don’t come you’ll probably think well this is lame it’s late anyway I should just go to bed and it’s cold up here

 

THAT’S OK!

 

You’ve done everything you could!

You’ve created a moment for melancholy!

Trust that it’ll come!

 

Light the candle and leave it and walk over to the edge of the house,

get comfy on that cushion and lean back.

 

Drink some whisky.

 

Look at the moon.

 

Listen to the music.

 

Trust yourself.

 

The tears will come.

 

Let it wash over you.

 

Don’t try and name the feeling or figure out what it is or where it came from or why,

leave those thoughts for later.

 

For now, just trust yourself.

For now, this is what you need-

to weep silently by candlelight with whisky under the moon.

 

 

.

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Shortest Date Ever and the Trashy Singles Party

Dear Readers,

I just went on a date that lasted 29 minutes, narrowly beating that first ever online date with the publican which lasted 34 minutes. A new personal best! Some contextual dot points:

  • I think I gave him my number when I was feeling very “cbf talking online, let’s just date” and hence knew very little about him other than that he had a cute face
  • I find competency really attractive. Seeing someone do the thing they are really good at is totally hot. Conversely, when people are not good at things, it’s a major boner killer (you know what’s coming) (spoiler alert, he’s not good at something and I witnessed it in very spectacular fashion)
  • He was late
  • He said “I’m a bit angry because I overslept and have run out of time to do all the things I need to get done today” when I asked how he was.  
  • He is 42
  • He brought his skateboard

All of those things were totally fine. I am always late so I like being the ‘early one’, being self-aware is a great quality, I’m looking to date older men and I used to crush on skateboarders in high school. 

They were all fine until at the 27 minute mark when he went to pay for my green tea and his coffee and he tripped over his own skateboard. In a super loud way that made everyone look. This was also kind of fine, until he returned and said “I’m getting too old for skateboarding, I keep falling off and grazing my elbows.” 

All the aforementioned dot points then combined to not seem fine anymore. Meantime while he’d been gone I’d turned to the woman next to me who was marking a paper on her own and said “This is potentially the worst or weirdest date I’ve been on. May you never have to online date.” To which she laughed, rolled her eyes and replied “You’re doing so well! I couldn’t help but overhear. That skateboard was really the icing on the cake.” 

The solidarity I feel with other single women is truly a wondrous and uplifting thing. I’ve stumbled across some really great new blogs written by other single women who are dating (who I want to share with y’all soon) and last night I met a truly excellent woman at a trashy singles party and together we made a potentially terrible evening into something pretty wonderful. 

Below is a pretentious slam-style poem I wrote whilst tipsy on the tram home from the aforementioned trashy singles party at 11pm last night, trying to remember moments to tell y’all. Tonight I’m going All Gender Speed Dating in Northcote, which hopefully will be the polar opposite experience. I’m going with friends! For the first time ever I’m going to a singles thing with friends! Already such a vastly different and improved situation! 

Reader, may you never have to online date, and if you do, I hope your bad dates are at least yielding great stories and that you have a receptive and supportive audience for those stories. 

Yours in solidarity,

-DD

_______________________________________________________________________________________

 

feeling v intimidated on the tram there

(last time was all caked on makeup, boobs out, muscle tops, chinos and gelled hair)

(why did i leave all my friends at a nice gig to come south of the river to a trashy singles party? what are my priorities? who even am i rn? whatever it’s happening now)

walk past Messina

(if this turns to shit at least i’ll get ice cream on the way home)

being welcomed by two women in white wings singing girls just wanna have fun and telling me that if i get overwhelmed just come and hang with them outside 

(maybe this will be ok)

the organiser man who turns out to be the most attractive in the venue gives me  a famous face from a famous couple on a slip of paper

this is how i will find my match and get a free shot at the bar

(and a free shot at eternal happiness)

(or at least a bloody date on valentine’s day)

doing a lap of the room asking for my match or just holding up the photograph and pointing to it in my fruitless search for the dr evil to my mini me

sitting down next to Ronda and Jo who have been to these things before but as soon as they entered they made a beeline for the bar and the couches in the back corner without speaking to anyone

there’s no one there they fancy (me either)

“but it’s still early they’re expecting 300” so much hope but so little participation

so many shaved bald heads

nice enough men with friendly enough faces but no babes but what did I expect?

is it because this is chapel street? 

is it the age category?

is this a lame venue and I didn’t get the memo?

are these things always lame and I kinda knew that but I came anyway because a tarot reader once told me it’s good to get outta the house?

 

cute dude is sitting near me but talking to a woman in the red dress so I don’t interrupt

(good on her she’s found someone she looks like she really clicks with) 

motion a long haired dorky looking dude to sit next to me but as soon as he steps closer the magic of ambient lighting wears off and he opens his mouth and speaks

(i’m immediately uninterested) 

 

tight squeeze standing up

low lighting

loud 80’s music

(we are not all of us that old that we wouldn’t appreciate a bit of bass with our synth- some dirty rnb or soul or literally any other genre with our pop)

Red Dress explains the man is her work mate who isn’t single just her wingman 

Red Dress and Ronda and Jo and me we all agree it’s all a very weird situation

Red Dress wants to leave 

let’s do a lap i say sticking my picture of mini me on my forehead with oil and sweat which makes a lot of women smile but most men when I ask them or point to it they just say “you’ve already asked me three times” 

let’s dance i say to my new friend Red Dress

just pretend we’re regular gals having a totally normal night out 

so we do

 

earlier that day we got a text message “what’s up movers and groovers (ugh, I’m 32, I wasn’t alive in the 60’s) a few fun notes about tonight, there’ll be a dance contest at 9.20pm so encourage your drunk mates to join in, and make sure you stand back from the bar once you get your drink to clear space let’s have an awesome night woop”

let’s enter that fucking dance competition says Red Dress we’ve got fifteen minutes to choreograph something

we incorporate the charleston, the horsey, some chest isolations, some interpretive dance and end on the robot we are on fire we are having so much fun there is no way we can lose we’re regular gals having a normal night out

we do our dance and it’s fun but the organiser keeps trying to separate us and tell us it’s a solo competition so when Red Dress has to dance by herself and the organiser asks her what her name is she panics “I don’t want to give you my real name” i tell her to just make it up and thus

janice is born 

janice dances with the gay abandon of someone who didn’t expect to find themselves dancing solo sober in a circle at a singles party in an unknown bar in Windsor but who is just embracing the situation fully and living their best life

 

we don’t win

we don’t care

fuck this shit we say

i divulge my icecream backup plan but janice invites me to come with her and her friend to get tacos

i go with them

the tacos are delicious

janice reckons online dating is thus far inconclusive and unsatisfactory

i reckon those are both good words

we have a good time 

everything is ok in the end

 

i get the tram home 

in bed by 11.50pm

 

winning

 

 

.

Love Hurts (But It’s Not My First Time At The Rodeo)

I love good whisky. A top shelf single malt just makes me feel like I’ve swallowed a campfire. In a really great metaphoric way, it just feels so right. I love it so much that when I drink pretty much anything else, it almost hurts. Look, it’s not that I need it, I just know that something better exists.

Whisky is clearly being used as a bloody metaphor for love here. I’m not lonely or sad without it, yet I yearn for it, because I’ve had little glimpses of what it could taste like. 

When you just stumble across a babin’ stranger in real life, it hurts to then find yourself scrolling and swiping endless gym selfies and best man suits on Sunday night Tinder binges.

When you were once, even for a brief moment, someone’s universe, when you have made love with someone, it hurts to find yourself being anything less.

Now. You’ve had the hurt, let’s end on a high, eh? 

So. It’s midnight and in the moonlight we stand holding hands at a crossroads. Not a metaphor but an actual fork in an actual uncorrugated red dirt road. We’re at the Harts Range Rodeo in the NT, a few hundred or so Ks from the QLD border. I squeeze his hand we pash the pash that all future pashes would be measured against. 

Rewind a few hours.

Kids in well worn RMs and wranglers lean on the rails like pros, bemused at us town folk from Alice Springs in our clean hats and op shop boots. I sit in the stalls next to a babin’ stranger with a black hat and a five o’clock shadow. We exchange pleasantries as we watch the dust kicked up by mighty hooves glow gold in the setting sun but when I return from buying some overpriced hot chips he’s gone.

But this wasn’t my first time at the rodeo – again, not a metaphor, it was my third. That night before the bush dance I swap my jeans for this blue dress and saunter up to the shearing shed.  Some old girls teach me line dancing til I wander out back to where a bush band was playing. In the flickering bin fire light I met the eyes of none other than the man I’d like to call The Stallion if it didn’t sound so bloody pornographic.

I said ‘come here’ with a sideways nod of my head, and he said ‘nah, but I reckon you’re a babe’ with a wink.

I kept alternating between the D floor inside and being outside with him, each time he’d initiate some kind of physical touch with confidence and respect, a hand on resting on my hip here, the small of my back there, touching my elbow to emphasise a point there, nothing major but it was so effortless. After I’d had a good dance I held his hand and asked him if he wanted to leave by raising my eyebrows –  and we wandered down the road.  

At the crossroads we pashed. I whispered (using actual words) ‘your swag or mine’ and he led me along a path between the spinifex to his double swag. (Score! Double swag!) He politely and pragmatically folded my blue dress and put it between the canvas and the foam. 

Now let’s fast forward a bit, but you can imagine why I called him The Stallion and why I occasionally dress like a cowgirl… to where we’re snuggling incredibly close with the canvas pulled up to our necks, tracing each others’ faces with our fingers and giggling softly. Get ready for the greatest piece of pillow talk in my own limited history.

“At one point there” said The Stallion, “I was on my back looking up and all I could see was your naked body in the moonlight and about a billion stars behind you, and all I could think was ‘RIGHT NOW, I AM MAKING LOVE TO THE UNIVERSE.” 

When you’ve been loved like that, farewelling it doesn’t actually hurt – it’s a bloody gift that gives you a taste of what it might be like.

Love hurts when you can see it but you can’t quite hold it.

When you yearn for something you know exists somewhere.

So, if there are any babin’ strangers that wanna bump into me after the show, I’ll be at the bar.

You know what to order.  

.

Dear Readers,

This was a story I wrote to be performed at The Moth on Monday night, hence all the gestures. My name didn’t get pulled outta the hat this week, but it was super fun editing and writing this piece, so I thought I’d share it with y’all anyway and that some of y’all voted for it (thanks for that!). If you’ve never been to a Moth Story Slam, do yourself a favour and get the hell on down- they happen in major cities all over the US, the UK and in Sydney and Melbourne. 10 people tell their true stories in 5 minutes based on a theme. This month was ‘Love Hurts.’ I’ve sent away for the audio so y’all can listen to my story from last month, about a date I haven’t written about here. Exciting times! Audio! Mixed media! 

By way of a mini-update: my dating slate is completely clean. The bloke who stood me up (who features in the audio story you’ll hear soon) cooked me dinner for a third date and I realised we had different senses of humour, different ways of conversing and just weren’t a good match. I thought it might just fizzle out, I thought he might have picked up on my less-than-enthusiastic vibes but today he asked me out to the movies. I just then sent what I hope was a gracious farewell text. Hurting someone also hurts. Man, love eh? What an absolute doozy!

3 dates with one guy is the longest I’d had since old mate six dates. Anyway, all the dates I’m going on now are first dates – including two tomorrow. I’ve also got tickets to a singles party in Prahran (!) and speed dating in Northcote this weekend (!). So there’ll be some new stories soon I promise! Also some very deep ponderings about entirely changing the way I approach the whole dating game. 

Stay tuned, oh Readers Dear!

Kindest of all the Regards,

-DD

 

The Greatest Love Story I’ve Ever Told

Dear Readers,

Last night I went on a date with a man who instigated a game of ‘Guess Which Song This Darren Hanlon Lyric Comes From’ with me over text. The museum was open late so we ate tacos in Carlton Gardens and then bantered under the bones of dinosaurs.

(!)

But that story feels to fresh to tell, it’s still being figured out. But it did prove that cute dorks do exist on Tinder- so to all my Dearest Readers who are also single – it’s just a bloody numbers game. Just keep swiping and having lame online conversations and even lamer real life conversations and every now and then some potentially interesting shit happens. Or maybe it won’t. Who knows. It’s early days and I don’t need to be certain yet. I don’t need to engage in over analysing every single conversation topic, gesture, kissing style etc. What I need is a 2nd date. Which is always exciting!

Look, I know this is teasing, and I’m only a little bit sorry about that, but I’m truly sorry that on top of teasing I’m now asking a favour.

I’m returning to The Moth on Monday night to throw my name in the hat for another chance at telling another story. Last month I spontaneously entered and improvised a story about how I’d been stood up that very night. I’ve got a little bit more time to think about a story this time though. The theme this month is ‘Love Hurts’. I KNOW! THERE COULDN’T BE A MORE APT THEME! I CAN’T DECIDE WHICH STORY TO TELL!

I only have 5 minutes, so I’m keen to edit and rework a story that has appeared here. I’d really bloody appreciate your help deciding which one to work on though! Here’s a bit of a shortlist of stories I think could work well succinctly spoken aloud, but I need some outside eyes/minds/hearts. If you’ve got time to vote for your fave in this poll it’d be super helpful. I’ve included links to them below if you need reminding, and if you’re new – here’s a handy highlights package of the last 5 years! Then you can vote too!

I really hope you’re all having truly excellent weekends. I’m baking my first ever gluten free chocolate cake that appears to actually be rising, whilst sipping some tea made of melaleuca leaves. City living!

Thanks heaps for your help Readers!

With Appreciative Regards,

-DD

The Hit List

  • Austrian Bricklayers in the Pilbara: the first story I ever told on this here blog about electrifying elbow contact, Pilbara desert dune sunsets and a magic bus (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • Terrible Sex in Alice Springs: about another sunset, this time on Anzac Hill, butter chicken cooked from scratch, gold earrings and a motorbike (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • Rodeo Romance at Harts Range Station: the true story behind the first erotic bush poem about a psuedo cowboy, a bushdance, a blue dress and a single swag (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • Intergenerational Double Date: that time I went on a double date with a dude and his mum at the casino in Alice Springs (here)
  • Inner City Speed Dating: begins south of the Yarra and ends up in the newspaper (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • The Spirit of Tasmania: I met a handsome writer at a writers festival and tried to woo him on a boat. (Proper links this time to the meeting Part 1, the love letter Part 2, the interstate adventure Part 3 and the farewell Part 4)
  • Letterbox Liaisons: in which cute letters are exchanged with the cute boy next door (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3)
  • Whisky With A Childhood Crush: in which I bump into my babin’ crush from primary school at a cider farm in Tassie and he introduces me to whisky (there was only 1 Part)

 

THANK YOU THIS IS REALLY REALLY HELPFUL FEEDBACK!

Yearning

It’s 7.55pm on a Wednesday night. In a summer dress and sandals, with my hair swishing on my shoulders, I walk to a date at a bar at the end of my street. Rainbow Lorrikeets screech in the palms above the dog walkers and pram pushers on the nature strip. The terraces glow golden in the twilight and never noticed gardens now appear strange and Suessical – perfectly round topiary trees and bulbous succulents. Even the powerlines are easy on the eye in this light.

Pulling up a stool near the bar, I watch a nearby new couple rush to fill each others pauses, a woman highlights paragraphs, two friends greet and through the window – outside a young man holds a young woman’s hands and teaches her to skate. Elvis and Sinatra croon loudly enough to drown out others’ conversations by not my thoughts. I order a cocktail, pull out my laptop and open a new word document. A fresh page. Tonight, I’m on a date with myself.

This night was originally set aside for a date with a man I’ve been texting for weeks. The mysterious number eleven. He texted yesterday to ask if we could reschedule. Work deadlines. Exhaustion. Etc. Of course we can reschedule. Of course it’s a legitimate reason. It just doesn’t feel great.

Last Saturday I went on a date at 8.30am on a Saturday. We walked his dog around the park laughed a lot and said “Yes! I completely agree!” a lot. We talked about my collection of terrible postcards from regional Australia and his proposed blog comparing Chinese restaurants in small country towns. We lined up a second date. He called the night before and asked to reschedule. Family illness. Unforseen. Etc. Of course we can reschedule. Of course it’s a legitimate reason. It just didn’t feel great.

Last Monday I’d lined up a third date to go to The Moth. We know how that went. Of course there are legitimate reasons. It just didn’t feel great. In the same week The Conversationalist friend-zoned me and I gave up texting the non-responsive Wild Card Carpenter.

Sometimes, this dating game, this search for love, this putting yourself out there in the real world, this opening your heart even a little, this yearning,

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel terrible but it doesn’t feel amazing. It just doesn’t feel great.

 

I met a handsome Frenchman at my local pub in last Subday’s ‘heatwave.’ He was cool, calm and collected and didn’t seem overly interested in me, but the conversation flowed easily enough. I knew I didn’t want to go on a second date with him, but I did want to touch his face. Almost uncontrollable chemical response. A primal kind of desire. A wanting. I was surprised when he texted to invite me over for dinner and a documentary. I asked to clarify if ‘dinner and a doco’ was the classy ‘Netflix and chill’ and if that meant sex. I told him my interest in him was purely physical, but if he wanted a girlfriend to actually watch documentaries with then I probably wasn’t that girl. He said physical was fine. As I walked to his house a few days later I wondered if this was what I actually wanted. Was this the kind of woman I was? Who hooked up with handsome neighbourhood Frenchmen when it pleased them? Or was I someone who maybe should have stayed napping and watching telly with their housemate (who was really now more of a friend)? As I chatted to his housemate in his backyard as he smoked, that little voice of doubt reminded me it was never too late to say, “Hey, I thought this was what I wanted but it turns out it’s not. Thanks, but I’m going home now.” That voice, that instinct, that gut feeling, that wise self, it wasn’t loud, it wasn’t 100% sure, but it was there quietly prodding. It kept nudging softly as I stood in front of the portable fan in his room with it’s peeling red wallpaper and vague smell of pot. It kept nudging as we had a mediocre pash. As I walked home afterwards I didn’t feel ashamed but I didn’t feel proud. I didn’t feel dirty but I didn’t feel sensual. I didn’t feel like high fiving the universe but I didn’t feel like giving it the finger either.

It just didn’t feel great.

The next day I got in a car with two friends and drove five hours into the high country. Out the backseat window as we drove through the semi-agricultural plains then over the truly wild mountains I could see tall trees, ferns and water falling over rocks, then lakes and gnarled snow gums and wildflowers and it was just so beautiful and I couldn’t stop saying “How great is this?! Look at that! It’s just so fucking beautiful!” and I knew that this was the kind of woman I was.

That night as I held hands with strangers and shouted at them gleefully to Dosie Doe and cast off until my cheeks hurt from smiling, I knew that this was the kind of woman I was.

The following morning I tossed sheafs and sawed logs and lost and laughed and clapped and watched. I sat under a tree and ate chips and chatted with my mate about journeys and dreams and joy and growing and families and money and life and love and then napped in the sun. That night when the temperature dropped I drank whisky in a log cabin in front of a roaring open fire as a short white-bearded man played harmonica and I couldn’t believe that this was my real life, it was too good to be true. I sang along quietly to Bob Dylan and John Williamson. That’s the kind of woman I am.

 

This Friday I’m getting out of uni early to fly and then driving two hours up the coast with a woman I’ve been friends with for 20 years. We’re going to a hen’s night for a friend I haven’t seen since high school and have spoken to briefly twice in 13 years. Because if I’m ever your friend, I’m always your friend. That’s the kind of woman I want to be.

Who tries to turn shit things into good things. When her date stands her up – tells stories about it live on stage. When her date reschedules – goes on a date anyway, with herself.

Identity is a fluid thing.

Last month I was on a mission. I had all the dating apps and went on all the dates all at once. Because I throw myself into things. Two days before Christmas I baked glass jars full of treats for my friends and then drove around delivering them then baked Florentines for my cousins and bought special running socks for dad at the Aasics outlet store and a book holder for mum from Ikea and transferred my brother money because that’s what he really wants. This is who I am. This is what I do.

Now uni is back and I’m throwing myself into learning how to teach critical and creative thinking to reluctant teenagers. About the concept of truth and about how to have real conversations in classrooms. I ride my bike to the library and research methods for evaluating arts partnerships in schools.

I’m waking up early and going to the gym and meditating again. I’ve stopped reading Anias Nin and started reading Thomas Moore again. I tend to my pot plants. I experiment with new recipes. I go to gigs.

I still yearn.

It’s different to desire.

It’s different to wanting.

It’s not loneliness.

Yearning. Seeking. Searching.

Knowing something more is out there. Feeling it’s absence.

Last year I learnt that the closer it seems, the keener you feel it and the deeper you mourn it.

Sometimes life is full of other things and the yearning subsides, but never fully disappears.

Even on a Wednesday night with a nice cocktail, ambient lighting and good music

Sometimes it just doesn’t feel great.

 

 

Dear Readers,

If you’re new here, welcome! By now you’ll have realised this blog isn’t all hilarious bad date stories.  Feel free to head over to Facebook and follow along for fun date updates. Thanks for stopping by!

-DD

Good Things About Dating In The City In Summer

If you find yourself stranded at a bar holding a spare ticket to a show because a man has stood you up for a third date, here are some things you should do:

1. Phone a friend who lives nearby and who will gladly take your spare ticket

2. Go in and get a good seat

3. When the friendly woman next to you strikes up a convo, proceed to tell her the story about how you met this guy and you thought that going to a storytelling gig would be a good third date and how you were both excited about it and how unambiguous and definitely confirmed your plans were but how you’re now here temporarily alone.

4. If that friendly woman tells you to share the story with the rest of the audience, take her advice and put your name in the hat.

5. When your friend arrives take courage and solace from her.

6.When your name gets pulled out of the hat, get up and tell your story. Don’t make it about him. Make it about you and your ambitious search for love. Make it about the friendly woman and the kindness of strangers.

You never know, this might just happen:

12 Dates of Christmas (Part 3)

Oh hello there! You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here and soz but there’ll probably be a Part 4 in the next few days. Enjoy! -DD

7. An afternoon drink with a Perfect Match

We had a 96% match on OkCupid. He was a ‘writer’ who liked the theatre and bushwalking. His profile pics included him with a pot plant and in fancy dress. He requested the date be close be to his bike route home from work. On paper – a perfect match. You can read about this bloke here. Spoiler art: he wasn’t a perfect match.

Look, there are a lot of really nice guys in the world and probably a lot of really nice girls who just want really nice guys. I wish them all well. I ain’t one of them. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t wanna date an arsehole! I’m an optimist who believes most people are generally ‘nice’. But if the first thing someone says about you is that you’re ‘really nice’ then you’re probably not one of my friends or family or valued colleagues. They’re all really nice people sure, but that should just be a given – everyone should just be really nice, but then they should some other more interesting shit going on. If anyone comes to my wake and says I was a nice person, please ask them to leave and stop eating all the Jatz and cheese, because clearly we were never close.

 

8. A gig with a Bundle Of Nerves

I think ‘kind’ is a more admirable quality than ‘nice’ and obvs I try to be kind whenever a date tells me he’s super nervous, or that I’m his second ever date and he’s still getting his confidence up with the online dating thing.

It’s a curious balance with Bundles of Nerves – making them feel comfortable without being disingenuous. Trying to ask enough questions to draw out their story, without making them feel interrogated. Leaving enough silences to give them time to respond or ask a question without making it totally awkward. Again, that balance between tact and honesty and integrity and kindness and courage.

Neither of us contacted the other afterwards. No pash. No second date.

 

9. Not really proper dates with Flakes

The next morning, two Flakes text and ask to reschedule our pre-arranged dates, without indicating the other day or time. That afternoon I wait 48 minutes for a date to arrive. I kept receiving vague text messages that he was going to be there soon. I felt like the biggest desperate dill for not leaving, also for having a holiday schedule less full than these blokes who had better things to do. Do I want this more? Does that make me a total loser? In addition to being a Flake, the late arrival turned out to be an Orator, who tried to tell me that because he moved share-houses each year he was a nomad. “A nomad of Melbourne’s northern suburbs you mean?” I clarified, resisting the urge to let him know that I was actually the last person in this city that he should be trying to play the nomad card with because I HAVE LITERALLY MOVED INTERSTATE EVERY THREE YEARS TO A DIFFERENT REMOTE LOCATION YOU BERK. Good grief.

After a string of boring dates and a day of reschedules and late arrivals, I woke up one morning and didn’t get out of bed for ages. My mate reckons that “If you’re the kind of person who likes to believe that the world is a fascinating place and that everyone has a story and is inherently interesting, boring dates would really dampen your faith in humanity.” Yep.

Online dating sure is a numbers game, Readers. For every bland man I meet there’s no doubt some other woman who will find them interesting, who will draw out their story and be coaxed to tell theirs. We’re all just trawling through bland dates, scrolling through profiles on apps, trying different banter online until we all hope we strike gold. We make snap decisions and develop our own criteria to increase our chances of getting lucky. People who are happily in couples get curious, asking “Isn’t it a bit superficial, judging people based on their photos?” No more judgemental than what we all do in bars and cafes and trams and offices and classrooms every day.

In my search for less boring dates I matched with a self-professed ‘psychonaut’ who had a bio that read: “communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.” Turns out all he owns is a feather necklace and a didgeridoo.

I pointed out that he also owned a smartphone, for Tindering purposes. No response. I asked where he learnt to play the didgeridoo. He replied, “In the NT with The Indigenous.” I told him I used to live up north, and again asked where he learnt. No response.

Did I mention he was a white dude with dreadlocks? I made some snap judgements, but I wanted my suspicions of cultural appropriation to be proven wrong. I wanted him to tell me someone in his family taught him to play the instrument that he knew the significance of. Yet I assumed his ‘connection’ with Aboriginal culture went about as deep as one weekend up at Rainbow Serpent festival and a tourist shop in Darwin full of cheap imported imitations.

I made all of these assumptions about him, based on a few photos and a brief online interaction. He probably made assumptions about me based on my photos and brief interaction. A few photos and a few words of text on a screen.

It was enough for me.

 

10. A storytelling show with a Wild Card.

I start to question my strategy of not judging men by their profession. Perhaps the unfortunate stereotype about bankers being boring was unfortunately true. Perhaps education level was also no indicator of conversational competence. I therefore gave my number to a carpenter and convinced him to come to a storytelling show with me that night, instead of going to the Night Markets as he’d planned. You can read about him here.

A carpenter! “Just like Jesus!” said a mate upon finding out he was also aged 33. Just like that German carpenter who instigated this whole blog back in the day. Except he’s nothing like him. And I’m a grown-ass woman now.

These Wild Cards who I didn’t know well, or talk much to online or arranged to meet up with in short time spans were proving to be a winning strategy. Minimal investment = low expectations + high hopes = pleasant surprises. If I’m really looking for someone with whom I can laugh and think and talk shit and talk real with, someone with whom I can feel things and have a connection with – some kind of chemistry, then surely you can’t suss those things out from a few pictures, some text and a bit of online banter. Right?

 

11. Three evenings of online banter with a Wild Card

Wrong. Of all these potential suitors, the one I’m most excited about is one I haven’t met yet. We moved from talking shit (truly natural and easy and hilarious shit) on Bumble to talking by text message pretty quickly. We got philosophical pretty quickly. Then we got steamy pretty quickly. We both went interstate for Christmas family times but had conversations by text message three times last week, each time for between 1.5 to 3 hours.

I’ve never connected with someone in this way before. I don’t know where it’ll go, but I’m so intrigued it’s ridiculous.

I just want to screenshot our sensational dialogue and publish that shit but suffice to say I’ve saved him in my phone as the fire emoji and whenever I see a text from him I feel it in my whole body.

No pash (in real life) (yet). No date (yet).