Some people have manners. Others do not. Some people can read social cues. Others are wildly oblivious. I think of this when I remember that one time I tried speed dating. The night promised a group of tall men (180cm and taller to be precise) aged between 25 and 35. This suited me as I was a) in my twenties and b) a tall girl myself.
It was at a pub on Sydney’s fringe. The girls were all huddled together on one side of the room, the men on the other. Were we back at a primary school dance? Would a brave soul venture across the threshold? Or were we just waiting some Dutch courage and instructions?
Various participants could have used some instructions. Or some kind of manual. That would have avoided the disaster that befell some of my dates. They only lasted ten minutes apiece, but a couple left a lasting impression to say the very least!
We women took our spots at various seats. This was like an adult version of musical chairs except the men were going to be on the move and it was a bell – not the absence of music – that signalled it was time to move on. In hindsight, music would have been preferable, say Blur’s Song 2 if things weren’t going well or an extended version of Stairway to Heaven if you wanted to keep the chatter going.
The night started off without a hitch. I met a pleasant-enough electrician. A nice-but-rather-boring Merchant Banker. The talk was quite friendly and jovial. Until along came Mr Cocky (I now know why Mr Cocky isn’t a character in those Mr Men books… this guy was quite unremarkable!) So rather than keep a respectable, gentlemanly distance across the table as every other bloke had, this charmer decided to sidle up right next to me. I thought, “Oh goody, a space hog,” as he sat virtually on top of me. He was a letch in no uncertain terms.
When he found out I lived with my parents he pushed me to tell him what religion I was. With a cagey, “Raised Catholic” he replied, “You’re a good Catholic school girl, alright!” Oh dear. There isn’t enough holy water in the world to wash this stain out!
The date ended soon enough and then I met Mr Croat. He was a proud Croatian boy with jet black hair, brown eyes and a kind face. We exchanged names and he replied excitedly, “Oh, that’s my mother’s name!” Why on earth he’d think I’d want to be compared to his Mum is beyond me.
He proceeded to tell me he was a “Good Mummy’s boy.” He too lived at home. All this talk of his Mum made me feel like she was there, chaperoning our date. I couldn’t kick the idea that I’d need a permission slip from Mamma Croat for whenever I needed to see Baby Croat. So I left it here.
Speed dating had proven an interesting, if fruitless experience. It did serve as a lesson though, that when you’re dating you really should leave your parents at home. We’re not nine years old (although mentally, it’s questionable) and really, it’s a rather odd look…