I’m 28 years old, and last week I went on my very first date.
It was… I’m not entirely sure what it was. Let’s just say I ended the night slightly confused, but with all my suspicions confirmed. Sort of like a kid who sees Santa leaving a shopping centre in his Toyota Corolla.
It wasn’t my first romantic entanglement by any means. I’ve been in two long-term relationships and had a steady stream of hook-ups and messy one-nighters outside of those. But I’ve never actually done the part that comes between those two extremes.
The two boys I loved were my friends before anything else, and I’m pretty sure I tricked them both into pairing up with me before they realised what was happening. “Oh?” I would say, when they asked about that bikini wax I said I got religiously when we were still friends. “I said that, did I?” Then I’d hike up my sexy flannelette pyjama pants and spend the night farting in my sleep.
So relationships, I’ve done. Hook-ups, I’ve done. But a date? An actual, awkward, ‘we both know what’s going on but we’re not going to say it’ date? Never. Something about that has always felt… off to me. Why admit that you like someone and that you’re hoping they like you back? Why would you ever give anyone that kind of power? WHAT KIND OF SICK MASOCHIST WOULD ENJOY THAT?
Not me. I was perfectly happy to continue with my plan of being alone, waiting for the day a smart, funny man would read something brilliant I had written, fall instantly in love, and ironically wait outside the Mamamia offices with a boom box playing that song from that movie I’m not old enough to remember.
But, then came Tinder. And after a drunken, embarrassingly giggly cliche night with my girlfriends, I promised to sign up for 24 hours. And even though I had ample warning from the moment I started playing, I somehow didn’t realise Tinder was essentially just an online pimp until about hour 23.
In hour one, I was still finding my bearings. I quickly discovered that, in Tinderland, anybody not asking you about the possibility of inserting a range of objects into your vagina instantly seems like a gentleman. That’s how I ended up chatting to someone who enquired about my nipple and its current state of erection. “At least he’s keeping it above the waist,” is actually a thought that went through my brain.
I should have known my standards had dropped dramatically when I actually started enjoying talking to nipple guy. It had only been 45 minutes and Tinder had already broken my brain.
Nipple guy messaged me several times the next morning, and, encouragingly, all of it was civil and nipple-talk free. He asked if I wanted to meet up that night, and with my 24 hour time-limit in mind, I said yes.