It’s 9.55am on a Tuesday. I clomp down the stairs unshowered and bleary eyed into the kitchen. “I’m going on a date,” I tell my housemate, who squeals with supportive enthusiasm. “I slept in and now I’m woozy and don’t feel like my best self,” I moan. “This is perfect,” she replies, “your expectations are lowered, now you can just be pleasantly surprised.” I grunt and send my date one of the old ‘I’m running 5 mins behind sorry’ texts as I am wont to do. ‘All good,’ he shoots back, ‘I’m at the nursery buying some plants.’
Yes, Dear Readers, I was about to go on the most inner northern suburbs hipster date of all time. A walk along the creek, let’s call it Berri Creek, starting at that infamous environmental education park/nursery/community garden/café that we’ll just call BERES. I’d met this bloke on Tinder. We had some interesting things to say and when I told him it was his turn to ask questions now, he told me he had heaps and suggested a phone conversation. I’d never spoken to a potential date before the date before. I was nervous. What if the timbre of his voice was a total boner killer? How are you supposed to suss out a spark aurally? I guess you just suss out the conversational chaps enough to reassure you both that it won’t be a dud date? It was my last week polishing off assignments at uni so I took a study break and sat in a patch of sun in a nearby park. We spoke for a good half hour about books and philosophy and Tinder and why we’re on it and his voice did not annoy me. Ticketyboo.
My ideal first date is a walk in a (very public) park. You don’t have to make heaps of eye contact if you’re not feeling it, you can leave at any time, there’s plenty of stimulating stuff around to talk about, trees are inherently relaxing to be around and if it’s going great you can sit on a bench and make all the eye contact your little heart desires.
My bike feels a little unsafe to ride since it broke during my final teaching placement (luckily I was on my way home from placement not the way there) and still sounds like a small aircraft taking off. So I drove the ridiculously short distance there and the usual traffic and lack of nearby parking reminded me why I love riding and sent me into even more of a groggy morning fluster. I anticipated he’d probably not wear the right clothes for a stroll through this blustering winter wind and that we’d end up getting a coffee instead, but I grabbed my beanie outta the car just in case. I took a few deep breaths, attempting to muster the stamina and patience for another inevitably dull date with a boring drongo when I’d much rather be at the definitely bonza 10am gym class with the ever enthusiastic three Margarets (aged 60, 74 and 81 respectively).
I hunted through the natives and herbs at the nursery and on the other side of the veggies I spied a man on his own looking at his phone. Bingo! Jeans, woollen jumper, scarf, puffy jacket, sunnies, 5 o’clock shadow. You little ripper! Standing before me was not only another follower of Practical Fashion (#pracfash4lyf) but a very handsome one at that. It had been a while since I’d met someone on a date who I was immediately physically attracted to.
We walked alongside the creek. We talked about our careers. There was nervous energy zapping through the air all over the place. From both of us. We relaxed a little and warmed to each other and laughed and just said things that came into our heads and out of our mouths. We hugged briefly and somewhat awkwardly under a bridge. At one point he said “Sorry, I feel like I’m not myself. Whenever I’m around someone I’m attracted to, I just turn into a complete muppet.” “I didn’t go to the gym this morning,” I said, “so I’m not my best self either.” “You mean it gets better than this?” he replied, which was cheesy but I didn’t mind. I didn’t mind when he put his arm around my shoulders either. “This is nice,” he said, “even if it’s just this, if this is all that happens and if we never see each other again.” I mumbled, “Well you’re really lowering my expectations there.” He asked me what I meant.
“Well you know,” I said, “sometimes you meet someone and you find them attractive and you turn into a bit of a muppet too and you are kind of too scared to look at their face for too long because you just want to kiss it? And then they put their arm around your shoulder and you’re kind of wondering where the ideal place and time is to pash but maybe there’s no ideal and it should just happen?”
We kept wandering around arm in arm, mumbling cute and awkward shit until we stopped walking and kissed quickly and chastely, our lips meeting for only a moment before we started off walking again. We had arrived back at the community garden at this point, an hour later. There were people around so we wandered until we found somewhere slightly more private. A small corrugated iron shed. A bike shed. We walked behind it. We pashed. WE PASHED BEHIND THE BLOODY BIKE SHED. Like teenagers who’d been eyeing each other off all school term! Like a 32 and a 39 year old who’d just met an hour ago and were kinda tripping out on the fact that they were pashing behind a bike shed on a Tuesday morning!
His hands on my hips.
His lips on my neck.
Our puffer jackets squelching together sounding like someone rolling over in a sleeping bag.
Our fingers fumbling to get under each others’ singlets but not venturing past the smalls of our backs.
He held my hand as he walked back to the car.
We made plans to go for another stroll a few days later.
I smiled the whole way home.
And for most of the afternoon.
Part 2 of this story is TOTALLY in the pipeline! Meantime if you’re keen to read more dating stories, check out my mate from Adelaide’s blog ‘‘Unleashing the Cougar’ which is much more regularly updated, super insightful and brilliantly written. There are a few other blogs I’ll be sharing over the weeks to both assuage my guilt at irregular posting and to highlight some of the wonderful women who I’ve felt such solidarity with online.
I’ve been thinking more and more making this blog private and getting rid of the linked Facebook page, just so I can be even more anonymous and write even more freely without self-censoring. So if you’d like to make sure you never miss a post please do consider subscribing by email – there should be a button around here somewhere on this page! You’ll only ever receive posts by me – no spam or nuthin.
I hope this finds you all well and please enjoy this photograph I took of the Franklin River in the always delightfully wild Tasmania, which is definitely much nicer than Berri Creek in the very suburban inner-north of Melbourne.
Fondest of Regards,