Date: hate or fate?

DATING. Where on earth did that word originate? The very word conjures marking a “*” on a day, and living through the week just to make it to that day. Just don’t dare tell anyone you planned your outfit precisely 5 seconds after making The Date.

 It’s hilarious to me. Males and females are both perfectly happy to pretend that meeting up with someone for the first, angst-ridden, awkward time is not a big deal. And if it is in fact one big casual party for you, methinks you’ve been doing this a tad too long, amigo.

“Yeah sure, coffee at 6-ish sounds fab!” we casually retort. “No probs! I am here all day if you want to pop by”… Oh, it’s all so nonchalant, isn’t it? As if.

Perhaps because it can all go so, so very wrong. The Australian colloquial term “died in the arse” comes to mind.

I think about some previous experiences of my own, and that of friends. Some that, quite frankly, defy description. But I will try.

One of my nearest and dearest besties set up a date online with a man. Let’s call him Hector. He seemed to fit the bill: nerdy, wore his shirts buttoned to the collar, you know… safe. They joked that if at first sight they were disappointed, they’d feign an epileptic fit.

He did.

Another best friend went bowling (bowling?!) on her first date with a poor, unsuspecting man. She thought wearing a skirt was a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, during their date, her Red Tide decided to visit. Unarmed, she fixed up a temporary toilet paper solution (desperate times). It fell out mid-bowl and landed slap-bang on floor, much to their mutual horror. Aghast, she stepped on it.

The darling man, he never said a thing. They dated for years and he never ever brought it up again (he obviously knew what was good for him).

A previous housemate decided after a succession of poor choices in men that she would join an online dating site. I joined her for fun. I must admit it was quite a strange but not entirely unwelcome experience. It’s a totally blank canvas in which you can paint a wildly imaginative picture. The problem is, most men do. I got messages from more than 40 men a day. (No, my profile picture was not some Swimwear Illustrated model. It was just me.) Despite pained lengths from both her and I to choose from a zillion multiple-choice boxes listing our preferences, we were still getting proposals from 75 year old men in Polynesia. It was hysterically entertaining. She had a few dates go belly-up (I was present at all of them, cleverly disguised and was taught all the Emergency Date Flop Signals) until she met The One. Spurred on by her success, I soldiered on.

I came across someone who seemed ‘nice’. Then he called me and I could hear a child in the background- as soon as I heard his son, and what sounded like a chainsaw and their mutual screaming at one another, I hung up. (I should’ve suspected- his profile name was “Madddd”).

Along came another candidate- Matty was funny, attractive, a medical student. He told me all about his Hungarian roots and he even brought me goulash on our first date. That he made. On our 3rd date, I met up with him and some of his friends. I’d told him I was a trained chef. I really wish I hadn’t. (In fact, nowadays I’m very reluctant to tell that to a guy). He thought it was a sterling suggestion for me to go to his house, “here are the keys”, stop by IGA on the way, and “rustle up a few snags for the barbie for when us lads get home to watch the footie”. Of course his mates thought it was genius. I took his keys. But I went to my house.

Then came Vincent. Somewhat of a Perth celebrity (yes, it does happen), he was vivacious, very good-looking, successful, well-travelled and intelligent (sometimes, all this means absolutely zilch). We met at one of Perth’s best restaurants. We had spoken several times on the phone, and spent a few weeks chatting online. So far, so gravy. Dinner arrived, wine flowed, conversation was easy. Until he asked “what is the craziest thing you’ve ever done, sexually?”. Um. Well, I’m an honest, forthcoming, straight-shooting kinda lass. I thought my answer was not outrageous by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe risqué. By his facial expression, I could tell I might as well have told him I was a virgin saving myself for marriage, and chairperson of the “True Love Waits” foundation. Cough. I put my slow roasted pork belly-laden fork down. What was this man about to tell me, I feared. It was worse than I could have imagined. I should have had more to drink. “I once drank a glass full of my own semen to show my girlfriend it wasn’t all that bad”. I don’t remember much, except excusing myself and climbing out of the ladies restrooms and running down the street.

It did get better. Marginally. After all that, I decided to give this online dating fandango one last chance to redeem itself. I met Thorn. He was a psych student, successful musician, spiritual, well-read, and had the driest, most wicked sense of humour. I was quite taken by him, I won’t lie. We dated for a while. I had absolutely no inkling whatsoever that he had a drug problem. We went to the theatre, a very elaborate and fancy affair, and he needed to excuse himself. 2 minutes later, flustered, he stormed back to his seat. No pass-outs during the show. It was absolutely wretched and distressing to see him shake, sweat and semi-convulse next to me, presumably in need of a quick fix. Technically, it wasn’t a first date. But still.

Those are some of the most unforgettable dates. If I think back on the first dates I had in all of my most life-changing relationships, they all have some common denominators: magnetic chemistry, excitement, and a total comfort and ease with one another.

I seriously hope that’s my life’s quota of abysmal dating flops. But who knows. 

Welcome to the House of Fun.

6 Responses to “Date: hate or fate?”

  1. thefinsburyparkdeltics Says:

    What a nightmare story – that will doubtless be used by many as a classic ‘friend of a friend’ urban legend. Someday your path will be clear, but until then, there’s the wonderful Portishead.

  2. Etymology is obviously not the actual issue of your post, but you find your original question answered at http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=date

  3. *laff* ok so the theatre thing was a bit of a fizzer but the egyptian exhibit was a cool as first-date :~)

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