G’day! You can read Part 1 here if ya like. Enjoy! – DD
4. Dinner with an Orator.
Look. Every human being on earth has their own unique identity. We’re all a complex combination of skills, values, personality traits, genes, education, environment, family, culture, class, gender, upbringing, occupation and hobbies. To reduce anyone, or any group of people to crude stereotypes would be pointless. Surely. But as old Joseph Campbell realised, sometimes patterns form and behaviours repeat and if you look at similar stories some similar archetypal characters emerge. Once you see these characters they start popping up everywhere and are a bloody useful storytelling device.
You’ve now met two Really Nice Guys. Now meet The Orator. AKA The Monologuer or The Non-Stop Talker. Who knows what inspires these mind numbingly boring soliloquies? Is it nerves? Are they so nervous that they feel they’re wholly responsible for filling all the silences? Is anxiety limiting their capacity to think of anything other than their own internal turmoil? Or is it arrogance? Are they that uninterested in anyone else’s anecdotes that the idea of asking a question is out of the question? Or, perhaps conversation is such a multifarious science, such an enigmatic art, that it needs to be learnt or nurtured. What do they think such speeches will achieve? What’s motivating this filibustering?
Whatever the psychology is behind it, the effect is always the same. It positions me as an audience member with three options:
- I can aggressively assert myself into the conversation and turn it back on myself: Oh you’ve recently purchased a clothes dryer? That reminds me of when I recently purchased some waterproofing oil for my Drizabone that I purchased as a burlesque costume! Something I also recently purchased were pots to put in plants inspired by each place I’ve lived!
- I can try and steer the conversation towards something more interesting: Oh you’ve rattled off a list of countries you’ve travelled to? But what did you learn in Bali? Oh you hate your job? But what’s the best thing about it? The perks, huh? What are those? Discounted white goods? WHAT’S WITH THE WHITEGOODS PEOPLE? IS THE SAME DRONGO WHO INSTRUCTED MEN TO ‘NEG’ WOMEN IN THEIR PICKUP LINES NOW ADVOCATING DISCUSSIONS OF WHITEGOODS? IS OWNING A BRAND NEW FRIDGE SOME KIND OF STATUS SYMBOL I MISSED THE MEMO ABOUT? WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM??? If you wanna talk about Dyson vacuum cleaners however…
- I can sit back and let ’em go. Nod and smile and try to sneak glimpses of his watch. Focus on mindfully eating the delicious Malaysian cuisine I’m eating for dinner. Start making a mental list of Christmas presents to bake.
I tried Options 1 and 2 on this date. It went for 53 minutes. It was at an incredibly fluro lit Malaysian restaurant in the city. Neither of us got in touch afterwards.
No pash. No second date.
5. Late night drink with a Wild Card
Did I mention that dates 3, 4 and now 5 all happened on the same day? 3 and 4 were pre-arranged and we met through OkCupid, but Number 5 I only arranged through Happn as I walked to the tram from Number 4. We’d had a little bit of banter online and had exchanged numbers. He has a professor and his profile pictures included him sitting near a campfire. Happn has less search criteria or mathematical algorithms based on lengthy surveys, so all you get is a location, an occupation, a few pictures, a few lines of bio, a list of things you mutually ‘like’ on Facebook and if you have any mutual friends. We mutually liked Scott Ludlam, La Mama Theatre and the ‘I Fucking Love Science’ Facebook group. Bodes well.
It was only 9pm when I finished with Number 4, the second Orator of the week, so I texted this Wild Card bloke who I didn’t know that much about and we arranged to meet in 20 minutes at The Standard in Fitzroy. My old housemate used to love this pub for it’s decent food, ambient lighting and lack of douchebags. The fellas behind the bar are also fairly easy on the eye, despite their painfully hip hairstyles. I’ve never found the ironic mullet or ironic bowl cut attractive. I find city irony rules too hard to follow. Don’t ‘ironically’ love the Backstreet Boys and then hate on me for preferring 5ive.
I digress. I got there first (which made me feel smug af), order a neat Jamos (student budget) and find a table in a corner. He arrives wearing a cap and drinks red wine. We talk about theatre and politics and ourselves. He is well travelled, highly educated and if we had done the OkCupid surveys we’d no doubt have a 90+ match percentage. It’s interesting, but not thrilling. He is very cool, not showing much emotion. This calm confidence is attractive, but not as much as the infectious passion of The Conversationalist earlier that day.
We agree to go and see some shows together.
No pash. No second date.
6. ‘Coffee’ with another Orator
I wrote the other week that I could tell within 3 seconds of meeting a first date if chemistry existed. Just as chemistry can grow over the 59.57 minutes of the date if there’s a connection through conversation, charm, confidence, intellect or wit, so to can the initial promise of chemistry plummet.
I was trying not to judge based on occupation, but sought out dates with a similar level of education. So the morning after my 3 dates in one day, I gave another ‘finance industry’ guy a go. This one was a babe, and as he found me in Mr Tulk he flashed an incredibly babin’ smile. First 3 seconds boded well.
Then he opened his mouth to speak. Then he didn’t close it for the remaining 59.57 minutes of the date. Another Orator. At one point I noticed I hadn’t said anything of substance for a while so I stopped even saying “Yeah” at the end of his sentences to see if the lack of noise from my side of the coffee table would prompt him to ask me a question. I waited 17 minutes. He asked me a question, then looked at his watch as I began to reply.
Afterwards he sent me an “I had a really great time today” message and I replied 12 hours later with a thumbs up emoji. Look I know it’s a limited sample size but so far the data points towards a correlation between the finance industry and Orators. So, sashay away ‘finance industry’ dudes.
No pash. No second date.