Getting back on that (speed dating) horse

Dear Readers,

There’s so much to tell you.

That story I was so excited about a few months ago is indeed over. There’s part of me that thinks it’s just over for now and not forever and once the seasons change it might bloom again in spring. There are other parts of me that don’t believe that, or don’t want to wait anyway. Either way I’m back. Back in the dating scene. Back on the onlines. Back much more excitingly, writing to y’all! I’ve genuinely missed you. Processing things by writing them down with a pen and paper is one thing, mining them for something of value to share with others is another. I hope these months have been kind to you and thank you for your gentle patient support.

I have some more audio stories to share soon. Meantime, here are two stories I wrote on trams tonight.

With very fond regards,

-DD

I have mascara on, my hair down and the girls out. I’ve got a keepcup full of green tea in one hand and my phone with a ticket to speed dating in the other. I bought the ticket before I realised how many words I should instead be writing for my final uni assignment due next week. I’m wearing that dress from sportsgirl that I only seem to ever wear to shit like this, paired with these sensible teaching boots from Target via Savers because I know there’s standing up mingling time at these things and if I can’t be studying, I can at least be comfortable. It ain’t my first time at the rodeo. It would appear, Dear Readers, that I am indeed back.

There is nothing to differentiate this speed dating from others. I guess it’s 12 six minute dates instead of however many three minute dates like last time. There’s also a distinct lack of free cheap champagne so I order a tomato juice cos it’s cheap and I have a cold and I guess it’s a point of difference in this market.

My strategy is to bugger the small talk and go for “What makes you laugh/angry/relax/excited?” It mostly avoids discussion about work and weekends but this is the comfort zone for some peeps so I happily hang out there momentarily.

“The thing is,” I later say to a newbie, “by this stage of the night everyone’s already had the same conversations at least ten times. There was the initial excitement at the start but then the nervous energy wears off after the half time mingle and finger food sesh. So the trick is to ask an interesting question that people haven’t heard before.” He nods and smiles and compliments my dimples and tells me I’m not like the others he has met then asks about my hobbies. “Reading books, baking, talking to friends on the phone, walking in parks. But what really pisses you off, eh?” And so on.

A busker chick is wailing a mournful artsy jazz version of ‘Toxic’ near my tramstop afterwards as I munch on my Woolies dinner to compensate for the “substantial fingerfood”. As I should have anticipated, speed dating in the city was full of city people. I can say such things now that I’m a Melbournian of 18 months. Y’know, stereotype people by their suburb of residence or workplace or socialisation. Men mainly in suits and too tight muscle shirts tried to ask me about my day and my work and my weekend. To keep an open mind is an active choice. To remind yourself to be hopeful that most interactions can be salvaged into something. If not the spark then a decent yarn, if not that then something learnt about a profession, a culture, an observation, opinion- mining whatever snippets a stranger decides to reveal for some kind of value. If not a connection then a laugh or a lesson and if neither of those then for the time before that 6 minute bell rings to pass with dreary decency.

“It’s better than swiping on an app” he says and I politely agree even though I’d rather be casually scrolling intermittently whilst watching trash tv in my PJs with my housemates or taking a study break, switching from one screen to another. I wouldn’t have swiped you, is what I don’t say. I bet you are unsmiling in your photos which are all close ups from the same angle. I bet your ‘profile’ is a collection of emojis relating to sports you play or watch and food and drink you like and flags of countries you’ve travelled to. These things would have told me that you perhaps don’t want to ask or answer big questions or try to tie down big ideas into words or spend time in the same way I do or value the same things or strive towards the same virtues.

How can you reveal or uncover such things in six minutes or six photos and a few lines of words or emojis? It can’t be done. The level of written communication and interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence detective work is too extreme. Little snippets are the only clues we have. So is it discernment or patience that is required? Or both?

In conclusion: it wasn’t that bad I mean I felt proactive and like I was “actively working towards a goal” whilst also “not caring too much.” This love thing, it’s something I want to give and receive in a romantic way sure. This dating thing, it’s something that I do in a hobby kind of way, not investing too much too soon but slowly chipping away at it and doing something each week.

Look, there was one bloke with twinkly eyes, a cute smile and a pleasant vocal timbre and another who knew how to yarn. If they ticked me too I’ll get an email by 7pm tomorrow.

Bumble tells me 27 fellas think I’m a bit of alright. They won’t tell me who unless I pay or swipe for an undetermined amount of time. Tinder has presented a few vaguely promising options. Will keep youse in the loop. This was a bit rambly but please be patient, I’m just getting back on the horse.

It’s good to be back.

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11 thoughts on “Getting back on that (speed dating) horse

  1. πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ I am so glad to see you! I’m sorry things didn’t work out with the bloke… but for selfish reasons I am excited to read your stories again. Welcome back!

    • Honestly it’s not that bad- I do like hearing people’s stories in the flesh much more than I do on the tinder app! Heading out tonight for speed dating with a different company in a closer suburb. Will report back!

      • It was great! Low lighting, right age category, well organised. It’s not really a group setting except at the start and in the interval- and I usually either go to the bathroom or strike up convos with the other women. There’s usually someone who has come on their own too & pretty standard “isn’t this weird, have you done it before, what’s the best question you’ve been asked on a date” kinda convo. The other night I took my mate’s single brother as a platonic wingman which was good. I dunno, it ain’t for everyone but I had some good yarns and meet some babes & you can suss out ‘the spark’ and conversational chops much quicker than online!

  2. Mate. It’s Hayley (Moth). I’ve just arrived at Arthouse Hostel in Tasmania and have so much organising to do. This is entertaining/ relaxing/ relatable/ inspiring all at the same time. The organising can wait. I’m gonna spend some time on here with you!

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