Formula for the Perfect Fling Part 1: The Really Hot Dress and The Rodeo

Here’s my daydream at the moment: I meet someone, somewhere, hopefully on a dance floor. We don’t have to dance together (don’t want to move too fast, shit), but near each other is good enough for now. He’s gotta be a good dancer. He buys me a drink, which I drink whilst we engage each other in uproarious fits of laughter and flirtation. He offers to walk/bus/train/tram home with me and we make out on my doorstep.

“Are you going to invite me inside?” he’ll say.

“One day, but I’m going to invite you to a picnic tomorrow,” I’ll say.

“How about I come inside AND come on a picnic,” he’ll persist.

“Cool! Except let’s picnic first, then maybe we go for a leisurely stroll in a park, then maybe we go to the theatre, then maybe you come inside,” I’ll suggest.

“Unless it’s a really good stroll,” I add as an afterthought, “or you pack a really good picnic.”

As you can tell from my daydream, in 2013 I’m not really into flings, which is a shame because I’ve finally figured out the Formula to the Perfect Fling. No, in 2013 I don’t want to sleep with anyone unless they actually want to be with me. Casual sex is not even going to be my second preference, gone is the 2012 mentality of ‘Oh well if I can’t get the real deal might as well get laid.’ Why not? I always invest, then get disappointed. I’m a lame gender stereotype who does Want Something More. I always tell myself I’m not going to start daydreaming about potential awesome dates, I try not to flail over every sign of affection, giggle at every single text or email and I try not to read too much into things. Yet I always end up as a daydreaming, flailing giggler who is ultimately dissatisfied with what I haven’t got, rather than enjoying whatever it is I have got.

The only two times a casual fling has ever worked have been at a rodeo with an out-of-towner and when I was in a foreign country with a 20 day visa. You know it’s gotta end = you invest in the moments you have, rather than in moments you hope could maybe happen one day.

So now that I’m not going to use it anymore, the Secret Formula is this: only ever have flings with people who you can never see again. I mean, there’s gotta be no way humanly physically possible that you’ll ever be more than 1% likely to EVER see them.

I’m excited to tell this story, because if my life was a movie, this scene has my favourite line, it includes the greatest thing that anyone has ever said to me without clothes on. For a moment in time, I was someone’s everything, their entire world, but we’ll get to that. I was living in Alice Springs and was at my third rodeo, this time at Harts Range, several hundred k’s towards the Queensland border. It’s BYO drinks and fellas can only enter the bush dance on the Saturday night without a tie, even if it’s a swag strap*.

Kids dressed in well worn RM Williams shirts and Wrangler Jeans leant on the rails like pros, probably bemused at us city folk dressed up in our checked shirts and straw ‘cowboy’ hats. We’re dressing up as their real life.

They can’t mind too much, after all we’re paying our entry fees, buying their hot chips and paying to enter the lizard race.*  My mate, let’s call him Henry, even pays $80, signs a bit of paper and enters the ring on a real buckin’ bull. I can’t remember how long he lasted but the winners were doing about 3 seconds on some really pissed off bulls and horses. The less adventurous of us enter the Donkey Race. You have to scoff a can of baked beans, knock back a shot of tequila, mount and ride a donkey the length of the ring whilst keeping a Mexican hat on your head.

I was sitting admiring the bravery of the rodeo clowns and the skill of the riders who have to herd the angry animals out of the ring and rescue the rodeo riders once they’ve fallen off when Henry comes by. “I heard there was a lack of good single men in Alice, so I brought one up from Adelaide,” he says, introducing me to a totally babin’ dude with almost 50’s coiffed black hair, a bit of the old 5 o’clock shadow going on and rocking the same fitted checked shirt with tight black jeans and boots that all the city peeps are wearing. We exchange a few pleasantries but I don’t see him again until the bush dance that night.

To be continued…

*A lizard race is one of the novelty events. A box of skinks (small lizards) are dropped into a 3m rope circle on the dirt in the middle of the rodeo ring. You place bets on which lizard will get to the rope first. From memory all the skinks have names and are caught and ‘trained’ by farm kids. Other novelty events include swag rolling, sheep painting and fence building.

*A swag is a mattress you roll up in a bit of canvas with a strap made out of seatbeltish material.

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