I am wearing my blue dress and my red lipstick. I’m navigating Prahran’s streets in my one pair of high heels. In my reflection in a shop window I see my hair actually bouncing as I strut. It’s impossible not to strut in this blue dress.
When Nokia Maps fails me, I turn to the nearest friendly looking bystander, who happens to be a babin’ wavy black haired son of a gun. After confessing he can’t help, he says with a thick Italian accent, “Ahh bella, if you don’t find this bar, come and have a drink with me here, yeah?” Yeah! This night is off to a truly excellent start, and I haven’t even GOT to speed dating yet!
When I finally ascend the stairs to Mofo’s, I’m instantly impressed by the ambient lighting and attempted Arabian Nights décor. I like a good theme. I find the daggiest looking girl (always friendly) and we trade bad date stories and game plans for the 19 men we’re about to date. A tall bald man joins the conversation by revealing he’s a serial speed dater, this is his sixth time. “Last time I came I met my wife! Then she died so I’ve come back.” We starting making apologetic noises when he says “Just kidding! I never had a wife!” Silence follows and it’s bleeding obvious why even after meeting 95 women this guy is still single and back for more.
I write my name on a sticky label, am handed a score card, a pen and the number 19, explained the rules (don’t ask to look at the men’s score cards) then sent to the harem themed room, where my number is written on a small table near a cushion covered bed/couch thing.
The first man monologues for the entire four and a half of our allotted minutes together. A whistle blows and he moves on. Getting the second guy to talk is like drawing blood out of a stone and I’m glad when the whistle blows. The third guy plays his big draw card straight up: he works in events, so getting tickets to the Logies should be easy with him. When the whistle blows he doesn’t seem to want to leave, so I stand up and shake his hand to give him some visual cues. The fourth guy has just sold his farm and moved to Melbourne. I complain about the weather here in the city as opposed to the country, but he loves that ‘… it’s Lotto weather here, you just never know what you’re gunna get!’ After the eighth guy a bell rings and we’re herded into another room for our first ‘break.’
I hang out near the meager snack table, chowing down several felafels and bits of bread and dip. After another 6 dates the bell rings and this time we get one complimentary (although we’ve paid $48 already) glass of wine (not champagne).
After 15 dates I’m regretting writing my real name on my name tag. I normally don’t mind, but I end up having the same conversation about the pronunciation and heritage of my name 15 times. So I tell the 16th guy I don’t want to talk about my name, or what I do for work, or any of the same crap we’ve been spouting all night.
We proceed to have the greatest 4.5 minute date of the evening. We avoid all the cliché questions. As a result I know absolutely nothing about him, but he is confident, charismatic and hilarious and I tick ‘Date’ on my score card in the box next to Number 16.
After the speed dating event officially finishes a bunch of girls are fawning over Number 16. He’s clearly got a lot of ticks tonight. I leave with the gaggle of girls and Number 16 to a Japanese food place. It’s basically like The Bachelor, without the roses. After grabbing a bite, a few girls dwindle away and the rest of us head to a bar around the corner. After a drink, some more girls dwindle away until there’s me, three other girls and Number 16. We’re seated next to each other on a low couch. He offers to buy me a drink and when I say I want water, he drinks water too. That gets another tick from me. This song, which I happen to think is one of the most seductive songs ever, starts to play:
Two girls dwindle away (am I using dwindle correctly? Such a great word) and the other remaining girl offers to drive Number 16 and I to the nearest train station.
I’m pretty sure we are flirting, but I can’t be sure. So as we stroll to the platform I ask him, “Are we flirting right now? Is that what’s happening here?” Ye says yes and takes my hand. I giggle like the stupid giddy schoolgirl I seem to have turned into. “Did you put more lipstick on?” he asks. “Yeah, in the car. Why?” I reply. “I didn’t want to get it all over my face,” he manages to say without sounding like the complete arrogant douche that it sounds like. I wipe off my lipstick on the back of my hand and it’s on like Donkey Kong! Well, it’s on like something more romantic than Donkey Kong. Whatever, ladies and gentlemen IT IS ON! We’re pashing on the platform. It’s the platform of passion.
A train comes.
We get on it and keep making out. At various points during the making out I realize I’m making out and giggle. How great is making out?
We get to the city and walk through it holding hands. I look up at the tall buildings all lit up and feel like one of those country girls who move to the big city to follow their dreams in those lame dance movies that I love.
Holding hands. City lights. It’s all pretty bloody nice.
Before I get on my tram home we kiss again. We don’t bother exchanging numbers because my tram is coming and the speed dating people will pass our details on. On the tram my whole face is doing little grins. I get off at my stop and walk home, still smiling to myself, wanting to high five the universe.
To be continued…