My first internet date …. when I was still wide eyed and filled with hope ….

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So the guy’s name was and probably is still Leonard.  I am going to skip pseudonyms here.

I was happily sitting  chatting on dating sites. I thought I could keep this cyber chatting going for almost forever.  I know me.  My social phobia and my fear of meeting new people, will keep me glued to a keyboard and a screen, happily hiding there.

After a few drinks (when all good decisions are made) – I drink alone. It’s  not quite the 12 step programme, but it is less than 12 steps from my computer to my bed, so it is sort of the same thing.

I decided GO ON A DATE!  And then I had this internal monologue.  I often do it out loud so I am not sure how internal it is, and I convince myself that I need to “grow a pair” and just go out with people.

These people.  Just go.  Pick 10. Even if randomly, and go on 10 dates.

If after 10 dates it is still as much as a cluster fk as I anticipate it will be, then I will say fuck it all, eat chocolate until I am as wide as I am tall, and stop brushing my teeth.  And get cats.

That people is my plan.

I ask Leonard out.  Remember this is my first step out into this rather strange space.  I have not been able to set up my “rules” my “codes” that I stick to when meeting strange people in strange locations.

We book a time, Saturday 16h00 – my thoughts are I can be out of there whilst the sun is still up.

I make the mistake of letting him select the place.  Never made that mistake again.

He selected The Fat Cactus in Mowbray.  Should have been my first clue.  I was giddy with the excitement of it all, and forgave a lot of details that right now would not pass the muster.

I got myself ready for this date, like I was going to meet Leonard and we were going to run away and live together on his private estate, forever and ever and ever.

Yep, that is the way I was pitching this in my head.

I had not been on a date in more than 20 years.  Unless you count the time the plumber came over.  And I do.

I was channeling Cinderella and Snow White. It was all going to be magical.  Little woodland animals would come along and clean my house after I danced around with them in a clearing in the woods to music by Mr Bolton himself.

I arrive at the venue.  Early.

I want to make sure I have all exits mapped out.  I want to check out the toilet, see if I can fit through the toilet window if push comes to shove.  Shove being the operative word.

I am sitting at the “restaurant” and I got a sense of being 22 and drinking too much tecquila – it’s that kind of place, where you are singing “Come on Eileen” at about 11pm with people you don’t know, but whose sweaty armpits you are sort of leaning in to.  The decor leaned towards a grungy homeless shelter than say a place one magically meets their prince.

Again, I am trying not to be too judgey.  Be cool.

The table top was particularly sticky. Once I found a position where my arms were comfortable they just sort of stuck there.  Adhered there.  I kept it looking casual.  {I am not 100% sure what the sticky was, but I decided not to look at it too closely …..}

I am thinking about all the preening and stupid things girls do when getting ready for a date, and then this guy walks in.

He is the exact opposite of what a girl does to get ready for a date.

I cannot confirm, or deny, but he looked like he had been in that set of clothes since this morning,.  And at some point had had a relaxing deep afternoon sleep in those clothes on his gomma gomma couch.

Was woken up with a fright, no time for grooming, donned a white hat —- a fedora I think — I can’t make this shit up people, and appeared there before me.  Visions of stallions and being swept off my feet leaked away quietly.

It turned out he was my date.

Lucky. Lucky me.

I unglued my arms and said hello.  Now already any expectations have flown out the window.  Not up to the sky in wonder, but straight into the tarmac making that thunk-thunk sound like an injured pigeon does as it tries to tarmac dive after being in the sun too long.

I have long started regretting I got a full body wax for this, and the new underwear is starting to creep.

Anyway he introduced himself, Leonard, and I said hi and then he started to talk.  About himself mostly.  He did ask me a question, and as I tried to answer, he sort of cut me off and answered it.  For me.

I felt it was going so well we were finishing each other’s sentences.

By that I mean, I just ordered Millers and thought I would focus on drinking them.  I would let him speak. He seemed to have a lot to say.  Nothing really interesting, but with enough Millers things that are loud can turn int a quiet drone. I have done the field work, trust me on this.

Almost the first thing he said was that he did not carry credit cards – he only paid in cash.  I got a strange “Big Brother Conspiracy” going on —– but as said I did not have much time to ask questions —- or answer any.

He told me he owned his own home and car — which of course countered my initial sense that he was tres cool and homeless.  But I left it.  I thought that is sort of odd in this day and age, but hey white old folks be crazy, so I will just decided to go with the flow.

I knew that this date was not going well.  It wasn’t to the point where I felt I needed to throw a candle at the alcohol stand to form a fire ball so I could escape in the chaos that ensued.  I realised that at least I had a back up plan because the only thing going down here, was my expectations and hope of this ending soon.

As he talked he name dropped.

The problem with name dropping is if the person sitting across from you is not suitably impressed then stop fucking name dropping.  Name dropping is not cool if you have to keep explaining who the name is.

To the person drinking Millers sitting across from you.

I stopped opening my mouth to explain I did not know who so-and-so was, and realised I was not really going to get a word in, so I shrugged and ordered another Millers.

I looked around for something to read and found a menu.  I quickly jumped in with “I am starving – I am going to order something” and he then agreed and continue to tell me things about the menu.  It appeared he was a regular here.

Efficient and friendly server arrived, we ordered, and again I sat and drank my beer.

I was alarming sober.  I had fallen into that comfort level where I no longer cared. I started looking around and found things that amused me.

Food arrived.  It was really good.  Great mexican food – really enjoyed it.

He ate his. I think he ate what I didn’t eat. Or something else equally as endearing.

I thought okay, I have gone about as far as I was with this one.  I think I ordered another beer – and asked him if he wanted anything else, he said no.

I said great, I am going to call for the bill, which I did.

Leonard started to tell me that he gets 10% discount at this particular establishment.

If you have known me for 13 minutes you will know telling me you get a discount for anything is akin to making my vagina dry up, shrivel and catch the first taxi home.

I looked at him in my most convincing “listen here mate” look I could muster and said “it is fine really…”

And he kept saying it. 10% discount.

I was now wondering if we had moved into a sort of autism territory.  I kept staying IT IS FINE but slower and louder, because well, it was fine. The quicker I can get the fuck out of here, the quicker I can get home, phone my friend Judith and drink wine.

That was my short to medium term plan at this point.

Then he goes “I don’t have any cash on me……..”

I offered him what I though was a withering look, it might have just being “DUDE YOU ARE FUCKING SHITTING ME RIGHT NOW …..”

I did actually glance around waiting for Ashton Kutcher to appear and scream “PUNKED…”  He didn’t.

I am not sure how many seconds had passed  he said “I will run across the road and draw some money”

I looked at him and said “YOU ARE NOT FUCKING RUNNING ACROSS THE ROAD. TO DRAW MONEY.  JESUS.  I WILL GET IT.  I MEAN SERIOUSLY …….”

{key note:  the issue is not that I am paying.  I am fine with that.  Fine.  It is the fact that he announced he had no credit cards, then announced he had no money —– surely anyone in their sort of half right mind comes to a date with some money, or a cow to barter, or maybe some beans to barter for a cow …….. something dumbass….}

I was thinking that inside my head but it slipped out and I said it aloud.

I took control of my voice, stood up went to the bathroom, had a bit of a laugh and thought, well you know 9 more dates cannot be worse/stranger/more disappointing than this…. right?

I got back to the table.

He was still talking.  The server returned with the credit card machine.  He kept muttering about his 10% discount.  I wondered if I hit him against the side of the head with the credit care machine it would stop his bleating.

I know your frontal lobe controls conversation so it might need to be a full frontal head butt with an iron.

I paid the bill, said thank you and stood up.

My aim here was to leave, fast.  Avoid any contact.  ANY.

He insisted he walk me to my car.  Yeah, not.  I pointed to my car and said it was fine, it was right there, it was broad daylight and I would be fine.

He invited me back to his car.  I was a little unclear of where this was going.  I have not dated in 20 odd years, lots of things could have changed.

I agreed, only because I thought if I walked him to his car, that means I could leave him AT HIS car, walk to my car ALONE and be able to snigger uncontrollably the entire way.

I get to his car —- and this is a true story —- he takes out a brochure and starts to sell me something.  Not something interesting like a vibrator that gets 200 km to the litre, but cleaning products.

I shit you not.

I just stood there.  I took a deep breath. Smiled as politely as I was able, said thank and good-bye.

I walked back to my car – a little bit unsteadily.  It was not the beer, I was wearing heels that made me walk like a new born Kudu calf.

I called my friend Judith and told her to get her raggedy little arse over to mine as I seriously just needed someone to talk to.

She came over and we laughed, and then screamed with laughter and drank too much wine.

The next morning I checked my phone — I am that person who puts their phone down and then does not look at it for 15 hours.

There were a list of messages from Leonard.

They started off with “thanks, it was lovely to meet you” to “lets do it again” to “do you dance?” and then moved on to the more uncomfortable ones “why aren’t you answering my messages” and “okay, okay fine….”  There weren’t hundreds, but there were say 11 or so – but they got decidedly more needy as they went on.

How on earth could this guy think or feel that what he had just experienced would be considered a good date?

That I would want to repeat.  Maybe he was just following up on his cleaning product order and see if I was going to order 25 litres of Handy Andy or VIM.

I realise I am niave and a tad low on street smart, but for fuck sake, dude ………. dude!!  Even I know when a bomb is a bomb.

Needless to say I wished Leonard well, and said we would not be seeing each other again.

He did ask again if “we could go dancing … as friends”

Bless.  So that was my first time.  Done and dusted.  No more dating virgin here.  I owned that!

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11 Comments

  1. This was too funny!!

    Reply
  2. I’m 31, and have been (unfortunately) online dating for several years, and can promise you – it ain’t you. It’s them.

    I went on an online date with a lawyer who showed up in sweatpants. SO insulted.

    (I swear I am not trying to promote my blog, but I think if you check out the category “dating misadventures” you’ll be relieved/depressed that online dating sucks across all ages and continents. And planets. Universal online dating stickiness.

    Reply
  3. I have laughed all the way through this post and I’m still laughing. This sounds a lot like my own online dating attempts. I am copy pasting this link to all my friends. Still laughing here.

    Reply
  4. I’m also really glad to see you blogging again. I’ve always loved your stories and the way you interpret and relay the world. Hope you’re going to write about the rest of those dates and holding thumbs it gets better at some point…

    Reply
  5. Bruce MacLeod

     /  May 22, 2015

    Ha Ha Ha well done you! First date and you survived. Hopefully many more better ones which isn’t very hard after the ‘Leonard’ experience. The best line has to be ‘If you have known me for 13 minutes you will know telling me you get a discount for anything is akin to making my vagina dry up, shrivel and catch the first taxi home.’ You crack me up Sis! x

    Reply
  6. This is totally hilarious but I am sorry you had to endure it. It makes the best story though.

    Reply
  7. Christa

     /  May 21, 2015

    I LOVE your blog. That’s all. x

    Reply
  8. Cathy

     /  May 21, 2015

    Dear Celeste, I’m so happy you are blogging again! I found your blog via a Santa shoe box article and read every post, like a book. You make me laugh and I remember The Fat Cactus from 20 years ago. Thanks for this x

    Reply
  9. Sorry Celeste but I’m laughing my carefully applied mascara down my cheeks. Can I be so very cheeky to say that I cannot wait for the next nine? Cleaning products nogal. OMW.

    Reply
  10. The Blessed Barrenness

     /  May 21, 2015

    Oh… Em… Gee..
    That is quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve read in ages and I’m sorry I’m laughing at/with you.
    But Celeste if I met a guy on a blind date and he came in wearing a white fedora, I’d get up and leave before we could even be introduced!

    Reply

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