When I started dating after my divorce, I made every mistake in the book. (Literally. All my mistakes are now in my book.) I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t qualify people. I didn’t ask the right questions. I didn’t know who to meet, and who to decline.
The good news is that I learned all the tricks through trial and error, and I can pass on my wisdom to others.
And the better news is that I’m now extremely fun at parties. I have enough bad dating stories to keep my friends entertained for hours.
There was David, one of the first men I dated, who turned out to be unemployed, depressed, and living with his mother. I offered to pay for the coffee, even though David had asked me out, because he just looked so broken and sad.
“Thank you so much,” he said. “I have no money at the moment.”
It wasn’t an auspicious start.
There was Geoff, the man who taught me the importance of photos. We were set up by my friend Alice, who lives interstate, and who’d done business with Geoff over the phone.
The Mamamia Out Loud team deep dive on one night stand etiquette. Post continues after audio.
I didn’t know what Geoff looked like, so I was thrilled when he turned out to be an extremely handsome man in a suit. And then I was crushed when I realised I’d approached the wrong man, and that Geoff was the dude in the corner. He was wearing shorts and a tank top, a tattoo of an owl was emblazoned on his neck, and a long, narrow beard sprouted improbably from the centre of his chin.
“I have something for you,” Geoff told me, and pointed to his groin. For one panicked moment, I thought he was referring to his penis. But no, it was a small flower, tucked firmly into the waistband of his shorts.
“Take it,” he said.
“I’m not reaching into your pants!”
“Take it!” he insisted.
I did not take the flower. And I never trusted Alice again.
Then there was Richard, a long-time acquaintance, who called after his separation and invited me to tea. Richard was older, and a professional, and on the school board, so I felt comfortable going to his home.
We sat on the couch and chatted about our kids, and then suddenly, Richard pulled off his shirt and lunged at me. I had been there for all of fifteen minutes.
“No way!” I cried. “I barely know you! I’m not here to have sex!”
“Who said anything about sex?” Richard murmured, leering me lasciviously. “You’ve been a very bad girl. I think you need punishing.”