There are two types of blogger: those who have written a post about an unsuccessful date; and those who are about to. And I’m about to move seamlessly from the first category to the second. But here there will be a difference. I won’t be lambasting the idiosyncracies and foibles of the co-respondents involved in the disastrous dates that I’ve had. No, I’ll be giving the other point of view. That’s right, the viewpoint of the bad date. It’s an area that appears to be largely unexplored.
Google “Date From Hell.” Then stand back. 141,000 hits. That's a lot of bad date experiences. There’s even a http://www.datefromhell.com/ website that has an ever-expanding archive.
But what about equivalence? In order for you to have a bad date, someone had to be a bad date. So unless there’re just a few people providing all of the bad date experiences bloggers and others put out there, somebody's not fessing up. Is it really possible that there are all of these people out there who have had shitty dates without ever actually being a shitty date? Just who makes up the talent pool of date-wreckers if no-one’s actually ever been one?
It’s an interesting question. Like the one posed by Andre Previn in a witty Punch article around 1970. Then, there was muzak everywhere. Everyone hated it, especially musicians. But musicians must have played on it, otherwise it wouldn’t exist. So who was trading licks in some cheap studio to lay down elevator music and not admitting to it? Somebody must have been.
I think I might be labouring a very poorly-researched point here so…
This three-part series will go through the leadup to and description of two highly contrasting dates from my dimmest, darkest past. It’s not going to be pretty. You can turn back now if you want. I won’t mind. Really.
I’d broken up with a girlfriend just a couple of months previously. Technically, she’d broken up with me. I suppose there’s a small difference. It had progressed to the on-again-off-again stage and would do so for another four months or so. I didn’t mind either way. She did.
But towards Christmas time I was due to play in a social cricket match. It was organized by a mate’s brother and he’d brought along a workmate, Susan and her best friend, Lynette. The best friend was unattached. And on the lookout. My mate’s brother had put it to me thus: “She’s pretty nice and my workmate tells me she hasn’t had a root for ages.”
Lynette turned out to be very attractive. Tall, shapely, long brown hair and two features in particular that always work for me: naturally arched eyebrows; and one eyetooth pointing slightly forward. Either of those do wonders for me. Okay, so far so good.
We were introduced and I made intermittent small talk with Lynette. She did seem very nice. But my housemate was also having a nice old chin wag with her. I think he fancied Lynette too. I was starting to think she reciprocated. They were getting along like a house on fire and I was pretty pissed off. My housemate was quite successful with women in his own right. He didn’t need to be fixed up with anyone. He could find his own way. Me, I was fucking useless. A set up was always welcome. I never knocked back a setup. I couldn’t afford to.
I was padded up ready to go in to bat and lit a cigarette. A wicket fell. “Keep that cigarette burning for me, will you please?” I said to Lynette. “I might not be very long.” She thought that was funny. Now, I wanted to bat well and impress her. I faced up to a medium-pace bowler who pitched his first delivery to me on a good length just outside off stump. The ball started to cut in towards the stumps. It turned out to be his only delivery to me. I waved the bat at it and forgot all about moving my feet.
That terrible skittling sound from behind told me I was out bowled first ball. So I got back in time to finish smoking the cigarette that Lynette was holding for me. I said thanks as I took it from her. She had the giggles, so I grinned sheepishly and joined in. Well, at least I’d made some kind of impact.
There was a party about a week later where we chatted. My housemate couldn’t make it to that party. Probably because I didn’t tell him about it.
The next day, my mate’s brother rang and told me, “Listen, this Lynette thinks you’re very nice and Susan is suggesting you ring her and ask her out. Play your cards right, or at the very least refrain from doing anything stupid and …. um, look just ring her.”
I waited a couple of days and then called to ask if she wanted to go out for dinner one night and suggested The Sea-Going Vegetable, a restaurant in Brunswick St Fitzroy. She did. So we picked a convenient night, the night of the first day of my holidays and I told her I’d pick her up at seven.
The die was cast.