Content

When I woke up this morning I got dressed to look hot for my first date of 2019, scheduled for 6pm tonight. We planned to meet after work at a literary labelled bar, equidistant between my suburb and the suburb of a man with a cute face I’d met on Hinge. I even used the word equidistant when enquiring about a location. We both agreed it was an excellent word.

It is now 6.51pm and I’m writing this from the local library. Even though there’s no sunset to look at out the window and the fluros are a bit intense (when will environmentally friendly lightbulbs become ambient?) and I’m also not on a date, I am content.

After 8 months off the apps, a few weeks ago I re-downloaded Tinder and also signed up for Hinge, because it appeared more people actually wrote words on their profiles. I also  adopted the ‘phone call first’ policy as suggested by a single mate. In that time I have been once again surprised at the percentage of drongos who match but don’t message back and have once again become fairly instantly bored of ‘banter’. If banter is a conversation stripped of anything personal or vulnerable or real or of any interest then banter can bugger off. I’m not interested in talking about things! I want to know enough about you to suss out if we should spend any further time on each other! I’ve had three phone chats with blokes in the last fortnight:

Phone call 1: I look at my phone. 6 minutes and 43 seconds have passed without me saying more than ‘hi!’ and ‘oh’ and ‘ok’. I then tell him I’m in a cafe writing (which I am) and that now is not a good time (it’s not). I text ten minutes later politely curtailing any further communications, which is amicably received. 16 minutes in total instead of many more organising a date, dressing up for a date, going on a date, staying on the date for a polite length of time, then debriefing about the date afterwards! EFFICIENCY FTW!

Phone call 2: We chat pleasantly for about 10 minutes, during which time he says “No, I’m in no way creative and I’m ok about that. Not even cooking or gardening or anything.” Another polite text and we both move on and I update my profile.

Phone call 3: He texts two hours in advance of our date, to ask if we can meet later. When I decline due to prior dinner and show plans, he calls straight away. We chat for 13 minutes, which is all he has between meetings. He likes his job. He is creative. He dressed up as a hipster’s favourite vegetable once at a costume party. He wants to know what I do when I’m not working. He is nervous talking for the first time without body language to read or a beer to hold but gives it a good crack. When we wrap it up I tell him that I’d like to meet but that the ball is firmly in his court to arrange the next date, he tells me that assertiveness is a very attractive quality.

 

This morning at the gym I recognised a very handsome man I once went on two dates with but was bored with all the talk of a hipsters favourite beverage. Perhaps the hobby talk was nerves. Perhaps verbal communication is not his bloody love language. Perhaps he’s just a bit of bore. Either way I texted to invite him to see a show this weekend.

 

So I am content, Dear Readers.

 

I am content that these phone calls and messages are not big deals. I am content that I will not be overly surprised nor disappointed if Kombucha Guy or Vegetable Dress Up Guy don’t end up with more to their stories. I am content that in my 8 months off the apps I had Ambiguous Hang Outs with 3 handsome and amicable gentlemen that weren’t dates, but also weren’t NOT dates and didn’t lead to anything but also didn’t NOT lead to anything. I am content that in 16 minutes I’m meeting a mate for dinner and a fringe show. I am content that this weekend I’ll spend time with a newish community of local hipster legends then I’ll see a show with old friends and a show with a new work friend, then I’ll go to my philosophical discussion group and I’ll do my washing and my grocery shopping and my cooking. I am content that my work for next year is looking more like this year, only better and a bit harder. I am content that more of my students smile at me when I’m on yard duty these days. I am content that they seem to be genuinely interesting and funny and mostly kind and mostly fair young people, who mostly try and who mostly do what I say these days. I am content that it’s school holidays soon. I am content that I have friends to call in tears and friends to call with questions and friends to just call. I am content that I will go bush soon and that the light is lasting longer these days and that my tulips are blooming. I am content. I am.

 

central park boats in a pond

Boats in Central Park! Not at all related to this story! But a story for another time!

Song for a Sunday

Dear Readers,

This is not the story I wanted to tell today.

Y’know, sometimes I really am a badass lady who dresses up, rocks up solo and dances passionately at an outrageous club on her last night in New York. Sometimes I really do sob on a Sunday night on my loungeroom floor as the Melbourne winter wind rattles the windows. I’m now reporting to you live from the latter situation.

A few Sundays ago I was feeling particularly sad and lonely. That morning I’d been on a fantastic blind date in the new café around the corner from my house with this great bloke, then later that night he’d finally replied to my text by telling me he was interested in friendship. That evening the bloke who I’d been seeing for a few weeks ambiguously (potentially platonically potentially romantically, it was unclear, such is the slow burn strategy) wanted to hang out so we did and I shared a piece of myself and he did not hold it well and I realised I would rather spend time with myself than with this person. So I cried in my room and wrote the below song that turned into a poem.

The next day I had to tell a story at the big Moth Grand Slam for 700 people in a proper fancy theatre and I was telling a story a decade old about how bold and brave I once was at a rodeo and I didn’t know how to tell it with integrity when I was feeling very unlike that younger woman.

Sometimes I am find being single and I am fine with the love that is in my life.

Sometimes it is really hard.

Sometimes it is strange telling cute little dating stories going for the lols when you feel like the sad react button.

So I will share that nightclub story someday. It’s a bloody good one, I swear it’ll be worth the wait! But right now here’s that poem I wrote a few weeks ago, when rejection happened and I felt justifiably a bit down. Nothing specifically occurred today, except I had a hard convo with a new friend and we cried and hugged and now I feel sad and lonely again even though the convo and the feelings now are seemingly unrelated. Maybe you get sad about one thing and all your other sad things just take it as an open invitation. Who knows.

Anyway. I am alright. I just feel things strongly sometimes. So here you go. Here I am. Here are these feelings. Maybe you have felt some too? Maybe not. Either way, thanks for being along for the ride.

x DD

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What do I do with this longing?

Where do I put this desire?

This yearning, sometimes it comes out in tears.

This wanting is not always driven by fears.

 

I can put it in pot plants, into baking trays and postcards,

into words with friends and family who all want for me too

but there is not much to do

or many things to say.

 

This hope after hope after hope it grows weary.

 

This weight is not easy to share

This longing sometimes it weighs heavy

It does not grow less when examined in light

It’s pretty simple,

 

it just

 

exists.

 

There are so many moments of joy, bliss and beauty

yet it still bides its time

until I notice it again.

 

Desirous attachment gets a bad Buddhist rap but surely connections root us in belonging?

Contentment and peace are worthy I’m sure

but doesn’t yearning drive us to act, to move forward?

How do I be still in all of this.

How do I find peace here

when I cannot quell my desire to be there?

 

Tomorrow I will tell a story to more people than I ever have before.

There will be no flowers waiting for me backstage with nicknames and in jokes.

There will be no soup on the stove waiting for me at home afterwards.

I will go home alone.

I will wake up alone.

I will go to the gym or I will hit snooze.

I will go to work and repeat.

 

There will be smiling faces in the crowd of those I love.

We will dine beforehand and hug afterwards.

They have seen me tell stories before.

 

There is love in my life.

 

I do love my own life.

 

I just yearn sometimes.

 

That’s all.

Back to the Drought

Dear Readers,

I’m sitting in a cafe trawling through old stories, trying to find inspiration for a story I could tell tonight at The Moth. This writing on a laptop at a cafe the day of the gig has become a really lovely routine that I look forward to on the first Monday of every month.

The only difference this time is that I’m not in Brunswick, Victoria, Australia. I’m in Brooklyn, NY, USA. YEAAAAAHHHHHH THAT’S RIGHT I’M IN AMERICA BABY!

I have much more to say about that, but right now I thought I’d share this little gem of a snippet into what my life was like 6 years ago. Probably no one else will spin out as much as I have reading this. My life now could not be more drastically different, but I’m still digging up these old desert yarns to retell to city folk, still rummaging through the suitcase full of stories from the past.

Anyway, soz for being so self indulgent but I hope you are all well wherever you find yourselves in this world, whatever chapter you’re currently writing of your hopefully strange and wonderful lives.

Big love from the big apple,

-DD

desertdates

So now I’m back out west, where this week we moved office in 40 degree heat. I’ve experienced 47 degrees in Alice. When I was thinking of moving to Schmoebs someone helpfully sent me a news article that said a few years ago the temperature reached 52 on Christmas day. I remember picking up some new colleagues from the airport who were moving from Tasmania to Schmoebs to work on my project. The temperature gauge on the car said 51 degrees, which I didn’t really believe until we got a flat tyre and had to stand on the bitumen to change it. When we got to the office the air conditioner had broken, so we all just went home.

Yes, it’s back to the meat plus chips menu at the Beachville Tavern or the fluorescent lights of the Darcytown Mess Hall, where you can get all you can eat for…

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Conscious Speed Dating Part 2

Dear Readers,

Quick note to say that this is a two parter. So if ya haven’t already, maybe skip back to read Part 1 first otherwise this will seem even weirder than it already does. Also wanted to let you know that writing from the laundromat is a new and exciting thing for me, which is what I’m doing right now. It feels so inner-city of me. So southern-climate-rainy-winter-no-dryer-small-terrace-not-enough-room-indoors-to-dry-your-sheets of me. So Lisa Mitchell post Australian Idol of me. I hope you experience something that makes you think ‘hey this really typifies where I live and I kinda love it.’

Yours truly,

– DD

coin laundry with washing basket and laptop

 

My first pairing is with someone with whom I am not remotely attracted to, who has beads of sweat tripping down his neck and has terrible breath. I know these things because I have to look into his eyes and breath deeply for 3 minutes. I switch to mouth breathing and wait for the lights flick on and off. Three minutes seem to pass very slowly. We are not off to a good start here Readers.

But wait, what light through yonder window shines? It is the glistening silver hair on the head of a very handsome silver fox, with whom I am matched next! I have to do a move, pull a shape with my body, then in response, he does a move, then we keep going like that until the lights flick on and off. It’s supposed to be us collaboratively making up our own slow dance, and we do laugh a lot, but in an effort to play with proximity there ends up just being lots of hands and feet on the floor so we must look like we’re playing mime twister. The lights flick on and off. We discuss briefly ‘what that exercise was like for you, what did you experience, no random conversations please’. He says he’s been feeling a need to express himself lately, to dance. Turns out he’s no stranger to Five Rhythms – the free dancing thing that I’ve been a bit scared of, anticipating a room full of hippies energetically dancing out their various traumas or connecting with various spiritual forces at play. He is VERY handsome.

Next, I’m matched with the hipster with those dreamy eyes that simultaneously seem to communicate ‘I am listening to you’ and ‘You intrigue me’. One of us has to close our eyes and be led on a journey around the room by our partner who is holding our hand. I volunteer to be led first. I love running these kinds of trust exercises in workshops with kids. It thrills me to do this with a total babe.

Oh Readers.

This blind hand dance was just so wonderful and strange.

With my eyes closed I was led, I was twirled around, I smiled, I ran, I laughed. Holding hands is just so fucking lovely, as is trusting someone else and stepping and spinning into something unknown. When it was my turn to lead him around, I tried to make it as joyful as possible, and experimented with bringing his body closer to mine as we walked and turned. He knew when he was close to me, he would breath deeper or smile, even though he could only feel my hand holding his. I felt like Rose when she goes down to the third class Irish dance on the Titanic: it’s new, it’s weird, it’s playful, it’s hot. Sidenote: whenever I take a car on the Spirit of Tasmania I remember the steamy window scene in Titanic and bemoan the lack of romance in amongst the fluorescent lit Fold Falcons, concrete, caravans and dog kennels.

The lights switch on and off and it’s time to move on. During the next date we have to mirror each other’s hands. The dude has a cute smile but when he opens his mouth during the discussion afterward I can’t help but be immediately turned off by the broad accent. I don’t mind a slow country drawl but this is suburban bogan vocabulary and cadence for sure.

Next date, I have to pretend to be a parrot on a tree and then a tired monkey with the business man. He has a cute face, broad shoulders and such a lovely deep timbre to his voice, a good turn of phrase and he laughs at all my jokes.

Throughout the evening I had two simultaneous thoughts: 1) this is fucking weird and 2) this is fucking awesome.

Over hummus and corn chips afterwards I debrief with some of the gals, most of whom are Conscious Speed Dating first timers. I tell them about an activity I did last time I was here, where we had to stand 5 metres apart and look each other in the eye and the bloke had to maintain eye contact whilst gradually walking closer and closer until he could ‘feel’ that he was too close, or until I signalled with my hands that he was. Once he’d reached that spot, he had to say one word. He was one step away from me when he said “Close.” I had to do the same thing, walking slowly towards him maintaining eye contact. I got close enough that I could feel his breath on my forehead and it took all the restraint I had NOT to pash him right there. The sexual tension in the air was rather thick. Looking him square in the eye, I took a deep breath and said “Now.”

We women congratulated ourselves on getting out of the house and doing brave things, then checked our phones, realised the country had elected another conservative, coal loving government and hurried off to our homes to watch Antony Green get frustrated with his new technology and read articles posted by friends on Facebook that would try to explain how we got to where we are.

 

Look, I know my last story was about how zen I am about being single and how I’m into the slow burn strategy. But I honestly checked my email a good number of times on the Monday that followed, waiting for the email that would tell me if anyone I’d ticked yes to had also ticked yes to me.

On Tuesday morning the email arrived – one match.

Not with the dreamy eyed hipster.

Not with the silver fox.

But with the business man with the deep voice with whom I pretended to be a parrot.

People say ‘oh you must be so brave to go on these dates, to put yourself out there’.

But the brave thing is to find something good in a shit date, a thing to learn, a story to tell, then to hold on to your maybes.

To keep a staunch faith in your daydreams, in your op shop shirt wearing crossword puzzlers.

To keep a staunch curiosity and joy amongst the boredom and disappointment.

To keep a staunch hold of your maybe next times,

Your maybe this times,

Maybe tonights.

Conscious Speed Dating: Part 1

I rarely purchase lingerie. By lingerie I mean fancy undies. By fancy I mean anything that isn’t on special at Kmart when I really came in to buy gym leggings and a pot plant stand.

But when I do purchase lingerie, I’m always thinking ‘maybe’. If it’s that pricey that I’d bother to try it on in the change room, or if I’m just holding it up – I’m thinking ‘maybe someone will see these on me, see me in these, in only these and maybe by then the deal will already be pretty much sealed but maybe this piece of flimsy fabric will be some kind of delicious icing on what I’ve been told is not a bad cake. Maybe at various points in that evening I’ll remember I’m wearing them and smile to myself.’ On more than one occasion I’ve had a particular man in mind when I purchase lingerie – been on a few dates that have been clearly defined as dates, maybe we’ve pashed, or maybe that will happen soon, maybe tonight.

That’s what I’m thinking when I purchase lingerie.

Sometimes it’s what I think about when I shave my legs, or brush my hair, or even when I clean my room.

I also have other much more wholesome thoughts of course – like, when I’m at the op shop and I see nice shirt on the male mannequin and think ‘maybe one day there’ll be someone to buy men’s shirts from the op shop for.’ Or when I’m reading a novel in the sun in the gardens and think ‘maybe one day there’ll be someone sprawled out beside me, asking me questions about inane crossword clues that he knows I’m not super into but that’s his thing and my thing is noticing really well crafted sentences and reading them to him completely out of context to see if their beauty is only contextual.’

These maybes give me joyful hope as I strut along in time to the music on my headphones, hair bouncing on my shoulders, heading in to meet a date, or multiple dates, if I’m going speed dating.

Let me just paint you a picture of how much of a sexpot I was feeling as I drove the 9 minutes up the road to the ‘Conscious Speed Dating’ event I was already 2 minutes late for.

From amongst the piles of debris in my bombsite of a bedroom I fished out an outfit that had previously been peer reviewed and approved by my housemate as effectively accentuating my assets and drawing attention away from the female equivalent of the dad bod. You know the female dad bod. You look at it and think ‘yep, used to be hot in high school and probably in her early twenties, then let herself go a bit around the middle, but still TOTALLY bangable.’ I left on the same undies I’d worn all day – probably the plain black bonds hipsters from DFO where I went to get sensible work shoes. I spent longer than I should shoving bobby pins in my hair so that it would fall just right, then yanked up stockings to cover the dense winter forest I’d been cultivating on my legs. Put some last minute acne cream on the corker that had been cultivating in the centre of my forehead and slapped a functionally pointless but shame reducing bandaid over the wart that had begun cultivating on my hand. Considered popping another one over the massive blood blister on my thumb that I’d planted there that morning with a hammer when replacing the rotting wooden gate fence palings that happened to disintegrate in my hand. Decided the blood blister could pass as a mole, and who’d be looking at my hands anyway? I’ve done this before, back when it was called ‘Silent Speed Dating’, so I have a pretty good feeling that Conscious Speed Dating will be all about the eye fucking.

It’s explained to us a mix of low level tantra exercises and low level high school drama improv games. Which is either your worst nightmare or if you’re a high school drama teacher, the best thing ever.

Everyone is sitting on cushions on the cork floor. They’ve got the same scorecards and name tags as regular speed dating, minus the usual awkward milling about at the start drinking the ‘complimentary’ wine that comes with the ticket price. It’s also standard to spend 3-5 minutes with each ‘date’, then rotate around at the sound of a whistle, a cowbell, or in this case, the lights being switched off an on. Standard speed dating banter includes what do you, what do you do for fun and what are your hobbies. Scintillating.

Before we start I scan the room at the maybes, the probably nots and the hopefully sos.

A tall silver fox, a guy who stands out because he’s dressed like a lost business man and a short hipster with dreamy eyes. Maybe I’ll get paired up first with one of them and maybe it’ll be sweet and maybe we’ll both tick yes after each others names and maybe we’ll go on an actual date?

 

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Dear Readers,

Yes, maybe someday some lucky bloke will be greeted with this lovely sight of my carefully curated doorstep pot plants! Maybe we’ll laugh at my penchant for stealing succulent cuttings from suburban streets! Maybe he’ll ask if I purchased the planter from the environmental park and market and nursery thing in our neighbourhood! Which I did! 

I hope you’re having delightful Saturday evenings. Curled up on the couch waiting for the footy to come on TV, or reading a book in bed, or eating something delicious. All of these things are fine Saturday night plans. Myself, I am about to pop on a tram to meet a friend for dinner and a show. An open mic night style thing full of babes, in front of whom I might read a poem. Maybe that one Alice Springs poem I was secretly and publicly v proud of. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll eat ice cream on the way home. 

Anyway, the point of this post script was to inform you that Part 2 is scheduled to arrive in your inboxes tomorrow morning. 

Kind Regards,

-DD

 

 

Interview with Desert Dates on Unleashing the Cougar!

Dearest Readers,

One of you has their own blog! About dating! In Australia! And it’s a bloody good one too! Full of all the things I like to read – an honest voice and a good yarn! After reading each others writing for a few years she’s now gone an interviewed little old me! What a thrill! 

So curl up with a cuppa and settle in for what was a lovely conversation for me to have and what I hope will be lovely for you to read. Click on the green text or the image below. Pretend it’s like reading a transcript of an episode of Oprah, or Parkinson, or On Being, or any interview show you secretly wished you’d end up on as a child writing angry poetry. 

I’m about to spend several hours on a train through the Victorian countryside. By the time I get home I hope to have a few stories up my sleeve to share with you on this here site, one of which I’ve tentatively titled ‘Conscious Speed Dating: Warts and All.’ 

I wish you very happy Saturday mornings Readers Dear, 

Yours truly,

– DD

 

An interview with the blogger Desert Dates about why she writes and the experiences behind the stories she shares.

via Interview with Desert Dates – Ridiculous Relations in Remote Locations — Unleashing the Cougar!

Utes, maths and a rooftop pash

Dear Readers,

I’m sitting in the mezzanine/loft/second level of the North Fitzroy Library. The sun is occasionally poking it’s head through the clouds and through the metal grill outside the window that artfully designed to keep some of it out. Trams and cars and bikes go by below. A girl in high waisted orange corduroy pants and an oversized rainbow striped tshirt is doing her maths homework next to me. An assortment of hipster babes of various genders and ages fill every Scandi/Kmart designed chair, all writing things in notebooks or typing or scrolling. A grey haired man with a tweed peaked cap slowly types something into one of the library computers behind me. I’m sitting here listening to a recording of myself telling a story.

This is an old story for me, but it’s new for you! In 2017 I hardly posted at all. I had just moved to Melbourne from Tassie – which meant moving interstate, moving in with new housemates, stopping full time work and starting my teaching studies. I didn’t make much time for dating, until summer came and December saw me making up for ‘lost time’ by ambitiously dating maybe 14 men in 12 days. That year I did have a brief fling around the middle of the year, around the same time as that ute story from a few years ago reared it’s ugly mug again for round two, and I had a maths test. Serendipitous! I did make time for telling stories live, which is where most of my writing and creative energy went. The creative challenge of having to write to constraints (5 mins, no notes, on theme), to a monthly deadline and for a live audience (the sheer thrill of getting a laugh!) was new and exciting. 

So my Dear Readers, I hope you’ll become Dear Listeners temporarily! For your listening pleasure – please enjoy this story on the theme of ‘Tests’. Don’t worry there’s a pash in there. On the roof! A view of which you can see in the picture! Oh, I kept in the awkward bit at the start where I forgot how the story starts so this recording should feel JUST LIKE YOU’RE REALLY THERE! If you don’t press anything afterwards it should automatically play the other story up there, about that ambitious summer dating spree...

Lemme know what ya reckon, and a very happy Sunday to all of you in this timezone! 

Fond Regards,

-DD