Sex and Relationships

The Single Girl: Apparently people double date

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Double date. Do people double date? Prior to last Wednesday I sincerely believed double dates were solely a narrative device used in early noughties sitcoms. 

And yet, on Sunday night, much to my surprise, I found myself on a date with another couple who were also on a date. This, according to every sitcom I watched in my teens satisfied all the criteria of the aforementioned Double Date. I was double dating.

Loyal readers, both of whom I’m sure devoured my last instalment, know that my dear friend Clem, with a view to taking my mind off David, had prescribed a date with her current squeeze’s roommate.

Given Clem’s, ahem, rap sheet when it comes to setting me up on dates I demanded a thorough pre-date appraisal and, on paper, he was certainly an enticing prospect: 33, fabulously tall, a lawyer working in-house for a wealth management company, a full head of hair, and even a decorated semi-pro footy career to boot. 

I met Clem straight from the office for a post-work pinot in one of the city’s less detestable post-work pubs (there are a very many, very detestable ones).

She quickly assured me of my date Stephen’s suitability, before her current fella, the thick-necked and frankly beetly Gerard arrived, his singular and indecently animated eyebrow wiggling non-stop throughout our second drink.

We decamped to the restaurant where Stephen was to join us, which he did eventually, in a mood so unimpeachably foul that it heavily suggested he considered this date something like a fraternal solid he was doing for his bro.

His bro whom, despite his wiggly monobrow, was quickly growing on me. 

Clem’s taste in men has traditionally centred on a particular brand of militantly unreconstructed brutes usually found lurking in Chapel Street’s less auspicious nightspots. People who consider life a battle to fuck over as many people as humanly possible.

Gerard was a notable change of pace: Thick and unfashionable, his haircut, probably a family heirloom, might well have been passed down from his grandfather, though his clothes had a togetherness that suggested he had delegated their buying to a female family member.

These of course are all material follies; the man is what matters. And the man was absolutely hilarious, a witty, warm-spirited, politics and movie tragic. He was tremendous fun and clearly embarrassed by his friend’s behaviour. 

So much so that when Stephen skulked out for a cigarette (I mean pls, are we 14?) Gerard followed and Clem, facing their direction, relayed the sight of Gerard giving Stephen in Clem’s words, “a fair bake”.

I’d love to say he returned to the table a transformed character, but that took a couple more courses and a couple more bottles, but eventually we got there.

It turned out sulky Stephen was actually a bit lovely. He and Gerard knew each other from working in politics together during uni, on opposite sides of the spectrum.

Oddly, it warmed my cockles to find out Gerard was a Liberal; I’m not a Liberal, but I congratulated myself on befriending one. If only all Australian could be like me, I thought, ridiculously.

Though this revelation intrigued me, Stephen was Labor-supporting lawyer working for a wealth management company? That’s not a stock character I recognised — but was he still Labor?

“To the bone. Left anyway. Maybe not Labor, you’ll appreciate the distinction I’m sure,” he said.

I did appreciate the distinction, though I pressed. Labor supporters don’t tend to work for wealth management funds I suggested.

“Ah, we’re more on the investment side than that tax efficiency type stuff,” he said.

Now tax efficiency isn’t usually the kind of phrase that gets my engine running, but low and behold it was perceptibly purring.

An hour later, as Stephen and I split the dregs of the last of our wine perched at the restaurant’s bar, I noticed a text from Clem informing me that she and Gerard had gone home — she’d sent it an hour ago. 

There was no goodnight kiss — which struck me as somehow classy of both of us. But a second date was agreed to before the first had ended. A good sign. Surely.

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TMGR's girl on the front lines of love. The Single Girl is an indie-obsessed, wine aficionado buff drinker, with a penchant for vinyl and French novels. She finds her goldfish Evelyn's indifference upsetting so she's sharing her dating stories here instead.