Sex and Relationships
The Single Girl: If you don’t know me by now…
I am The Single Girl, and this is my column. Every week you’ll find another warts and all story from my dating life. Learn more about me here or just carry on reading!
It would be fair to say Clem, my all-time best ever bestie, and one of only two people who know my real identity, wasn’t suuuper impressed with last week’s column.
In which column I confessed, I thought rather touchingly, to spurning the interest of a new colleague owing to my genuine feelings for the newly single, albeit more mature, David.
Arriving home from an impromptu “mid-season” sojourn to Bali, Clem text midweek, midday, a single word: “Downstairs.”
Oh dear I said, aloud, drawing a raised eyebrow from Sue who sits opposite me. Sue is a salty old cow who lives for writing scathing Google reviews of suburban Indian restaurants, and in many ways could be my spirit animal.
Clem, sporting her customary post-holiday tan of an alarmingly ruddy hue, was leaning against the marbled-wall of the elevator vestibule, aggressively thumbing the screen of her iPhone.
“Let me guess, a prima donna creative busting your chops, hey?”
“I’ll bust your chops sunshine, we’re going to Pacos.”
Clem always takes me to Pacos when she’s going to tell me off, because she knows the only thing that can soften her tough love are fish tacos and lunchtime margaritas.
And after two spanner crab tacos and three margaritas, I assented to Clem’s plan to “Get you over that wanker, David.” And it’s important to understand the plan was all I assented to, not the intention.
Stephen, Clem said, was perfect for me: A new art director at her creative agency, he was cute (as evidenced by a quick stalk of his Instagram), tall (indefensible but important), intelligent, cultured and “quirky”.
Now, Clem is loose with her adjectives at the best of times, but when that abomination of a word escaped her lips, it felt oddly pregnant. What exactly does quirky mean? I was about to find out.
Not that I was nervous; it had been a while and I was genuinely and unabashedly excited. I find first dates – and perhaps this is telling – absolutely thrilling.
I am at my absolute best during the first two-hours of a new relationship. It’s a blank canvas and I get to be exactly the person I want to be, before time makes the reality of me inescapable. God, things are getting a tad too existential. My apologies.
I arrived at a suitably moody restaurant in the city – his pick. I always feel like dinner is a serious first date. And. So. It. Proved.
Stephen arrived 35 minutes late, sending only one, bizarrely unapologetic text to warn me. Yo, a while late, be there soonish.
Firstly, “Yo”? I’m not that cool barista you sometimes buy weed from. Secondly, “a while late,”? Is that slang? What kind of slang? Is it just awful English? Thirdly “soonish”? WTF.
Thankfully, a delightful Argentinian waiter kept me entertained until Stephen arrived.
The first thing I noticed, apart from Stephen’s absolutely awful Yeezy trainers, was how much he was sweating.
“Hot out there?” I said, motioning to the wintry figures strafing past the window in coats and scarves. “Hi, sorry yeah, my tram was taking forever, so I ran,” he said sitting down taking out his phone. “Ran? Where from?”
Church Street is a 30 minute tram ride away.
“I’m in training,” he says, looking up from his phone for the first time.
This was a gift and I wasn’t prepared to pass it up: How harsh was I going to go? “To be a real person?” I wish I had.
“Well I’m glad you’re finally getting round to it. If you need to go tonight, let me know and I’ll come wipe your botty if you need me to,” I said.
This piqued his interest. I know because he put his phone down. In retrospect I wish he hadn’t.
He summoned the waiter and then proceeded to order for both of us – at which point I was minded to poison him. Alas, I’d left my arsenic in my clutch.
A tedious 10 minutes of what I’m sure Stephen thought was fiery sparring, but was closer to me just openly insulting him, unfolded before our food arrived.
I was determined not to know what Stephen was training for – it became my date’s mission. Whatever it was, he clearly thought it was something I was going to be impressed by.
Hey lads, you know what impresses girls, it’s not the shit you do or the shit you have, it’s the person you are. I can’t explain to you how many charity marathon runners I’ve been on dates with – and I can assure you, there is zero correlation between doing apparently selfless things, and being a good and interesting person. ZERO.
I’m assuming that Stephen was training for something like this – assuming because amazingly I did somehow manage not to find out.
I did however find out that Stephen was Australia’s preeminent douche. A man so staggeringly full of shit, so devoid of his own opinions, views and tastes that he wasn’t so much a person, as an aggregation of traits that “play well” in the social spheres that he blights with his ongoing presence.
“That can only have been a punishment, and you’re a cruel friend for having sentenced me to it,” I text Clem in the cab home.
Subsequent investigations revealed that Clem has spent all of 45 seconds in Stephen’s company – but had heard good things about him from the other girls around the office.
I forgave her. But if that’s what passes for a decent prospect these days, I, and indeed all of us, are truly fucked.