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.
At 28 years of age, I had successfully set up my very first date.
Now, I’m not cool in even the most generous interpretation of the word, so while that was the point at which other people would have wondered if sex was on the table, that thought didn’t even cross my mind. When he suggested I come to his house to have a few drinks and watch some TV, I thought, “Yes! Amazing! Someone else who hates going out on Saturday night!” When he suggested I come at 9pm, I thought, “Yes! Amazing! now I have time to drink wine in the shower before I leave!”
So that’s how I found myself, at 9pm on a Saturday night, having very average intercourse with a dude who had charmed me by being polite enough to not mention my vagina. And yes – intercourse is the most appropriate word I can think of in this circumstance.
Things started off fine. There was chatting and drinks. I knew immediately that it wasn’t a love-connection, but I was determined to commit to the whole experience. (I’m a writer! I must live life! etc etc etc.) I somehow turned the conversation to feminism, which he very politely endured, considering he was probably confused as to why I wasn’t rubbing my nipple on his ball sack yet.
Then (and in hindsight, I understand that this is the point I probably should have realised he was really, really hoping for sex), he stood up, cracked a joke about ‘pants-free Saturdays’, and proceeded to take off his jeans. He then sat back down on the couch and kept chatting, like it was totally normal that he was now wearing only underpants.
I didn’t quite know how to respond, to be honest.
“I’m not taking my pants off,” I blurted out.
“That’s fine,” he said, before continuing on with his very valid point about sexism in the workplace.
Somehow, I still didn’t realise that he was hoping for sex. I didn’t even pick up on it when he suggested watching a movie in his bedroom. “I love watching movies in my bedroom!” I thought. “Dating is fun!”
So there we were, sitting on his bed, watching TV. I felt a little strange about the no-pants situation, but who was I to dictate how he dressed in his own home? I figured I must just be one of those people who is so adept at putting others at ease, he just felt like he could relax around me. “Well done, Rosie,” I thought. “You are so fucking personable.”
But then, just as I was giving myself a mental pat on the back for being so incredible at getting along with strangers, nipple guy took things up a notch.
Without taking his eyes off the TV, my date took his left hand, and started massaging his balls. And just like when he had taken his pants off earlier, he just sat there, eyes ahead, like it was the most normal thing in the world to be watching TV with a stranger while fiddling with one’s sack.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was when it finally dawned on me:
“Ohhhhh,” my brain realised. “I’m here for sex. This is a sex thing.”
I figured at that moment I had two choices. I could say thanks but no thanks, and graciously make my exit. Or, I could commit to what this whole Tinder experience had to offer and, well, go with it.
I went with option number two. And as soon as I realised that getting half naked was not just an odd lifestyle quirk of his, things moved pretty quickly. Before I knew it, we were kissing. I had intentionally not shaved my legs as a kind of ‘shameful hair chastity belt’, but once I realised I was about to get laid, my care-factor in that department dropped dramatically. He would just have to deal.
It soon became apparent though, that Nipple guy didn’t want to get laid so much as he wanted a head job. He kept contorting his body in a way that meant his dick was constantly in my face (a cruel irony, considering I had just days earlier written about my distaste for such activities – right here if you want to have a read). He was like a phallic acrobat.
Now, I have no problem speaking up when I don’t want to do something in the bedroom, but I’m of the opinion that if you can do it with a little delicacy, that’s far less awkward for everyone involved. So every time he would try and coax my head in that direction, I would half-heartedly stay there for five seconds before making my way back up.
But then I would blink, and there’d be a dick in my face again. He was so quick. And we continued playing that weird grown-up version of cat and mouse for about 10 minutes, until it reached a bizarre kind of sexual stalemate:
He pushed my head down. I moved my head back up. He pushed my head down. I moved my head back up. We kissed for a bit, and he tried to push my head down again. I moved my head back up. Then he actually got up on his knees and put his dick in my face. So then I got up on my knees and started kissing his face again. And just when I was thinking I had won this drunken strategy game of sexual etiquette, he actually STOOD UP ON THE BED and put his dick in my face.
So this is Tinder, I thought, as I sat in an unfamiliar room and wondered how much higher this thing could go. Playing Jenga with my face and a penis.
Somehow, I eventually managed to kibosh the head job idea without ruining the mood (ie forcefully pulling him down from his ridiculous standing-on-mattress position), and after that I was pretty much ready for it all to be over.
I wasn’t enjoying myself, but I also wasn’t not enjoying myself. It was all just a bit… meh. I would’ve been having a lot more fun at home watching Seinfeld reruns, let’s put it that way.
Eventually, we were done (well, he was). And it was perfect timing, since I was getting some serious motion sickness from all the vodka.
I went to the bathroom to get myself together, and also to try and come up with a good excuse for why I would need to leave immediately. I didn’t quite know the etiquette involved. Was he expecting me to stay? How can I leave this place and never come back without seeming rude? I was still trying to figure out what to say when I came out of the bathroom, only to see him fully dressed, holding his wallet.
“Um, I’m really sorry but, I sort of have to go,” he said.
He had to ‘go’. From his own house.
“It’s my friend, he’s going through a really bad break-up, and he really wants me to come over.”
I couldn’t believe I was the one getting shafted, when I had just been about to do the shafting.
“Dude, I was about to leave anyway,” I said, picking up my stuff with an air of dignity not quite befitting of someone wearing her underwear backwards.
We gave each other an awkward kiss on the cheek, and I left (after which there’s no doubt in my mind he got straight back into bed). I was so pissed that he had been the one to ask me to leave first, that I was determined to be the one to delete him off Tinder first. And as I was sitting in the cab, I realised that it had been almost 24 hours exactly since I had signed up to what I now understood was essentially an online sex service. Perfect timing.
I deleted my account. Then I asked the taxi driver to pull over so I could spew.
And that, my friends, was my very first date.
Want more of Rosie? Try there: