So I’m walking home and it’s cold, like freezing cold. It’s midnight on a Wednesday night and Melbourne city is nothing like New York city, it’s asleep. Like fast asleep, like it was tucked up hours ago with a hot cup of tea and a good book.
I’m walking up Bourke street toward Parliament house hoping to find a cab, I’ve missed my last tram home and I feel like my hands have turned to blocks of ice. I’m having an internal monologue a whingeing to myself. Why didn’t I drive, there are parks everywhere, because I wanted to have a glass of wine, because he was going to pay for my glass of wine. But he didn’t pay for my glass of wine, so I paid and now I have to pay for a cab, I should have driven, but if I had and I hadn’t had a glass of wine it would’ve been even worse. Way, way worse.
I am walking away from the date from hell. Actually, more like the most boring date, not even from hell, just from the planet of mediocrity and impossible expectations.
I’m trying to think of where I went wrong, I’m in a cab finally on my way home, my taxi is an asshat. He starts talking about how lucky I am that he’s put the heater on and not charged me extra. I’ve decided to tune out, I didn’t know you could charge extra for heating, I’ll have to ask around. I start going through the date in excruciating detail in my mind. Excruciating because it was messed up from the beginning.
His name was Jordan, his got some Mauritius in him I think he said, so his tan was much better than mine but I can hardly hold that against him. He picked the place and time, I loved how organised he was, I had met him out on the weekend at a bar, he bought me a drink and I paid him back by giving him my number. He asked for it though, just to be clear, I don’t hand out my details jerk who buys me a g&t.
By the time tonight rolled around I was a bit fuzzy on what he looked like, girls at work asked and of course I said he was amazingly good-looking and how excited I was to see him again. But if I’m honest I couldn’t remember his face at all. I was actually very nervous about recognising him. I rushed home from work, reread the message just to clarify he hadn’t mentioned dinner, scoffed down leftover stir-fry, (avoiding the chicken because I’m terrible with cling wrap and terrified of salmonella) and legged it to the tram stop.
I missed my tram. I sat at the stop for fifteen minutes debating whether or not to tell him I would be late, I could walk in ultra cool and not even mention it, like waiting for me was just part of the package. But I get these sickening anxious stomach pains when I’m late, stressed about what to say, how they’ll take it, whether they’ll hate me, how I’d feel if someone made me wait 25 minutes. I finally decided to text him from the tram apologising profusely for my lateness and lying saying I’d be there in five minutes where is was more like fifteen.
The bar, Tuscan Bar on Bourke street is a tiny doorway, hardly recognisable from the street, this instantly gave him some credit for picking a hidey hole of a place. The stairs opened into a mahogany room with an enormous glossy bar and red velvet curtains lining the walls. It was a romantic place, very romantic. The only other people in there were the vest wearing Italian guys behind the bar and couples at every rickety table and hidden booth. But sitting directly in front of me were three guys, at three tables in three equally well tailored suits. I was stumped. I had no idea which one he was. In the dim lighting they all looked tan, they all had their phones out on the table and they were all looking at me as I walked in. I attempted to smile in their general direction and all three smiled back, none of them giving me any form of recognition. Eventually after what felt like five minutes but was actually really thirty seconds, one of them waved.
He wasn’t unattractive, but he wasn’t that handsome either. He stood up as I walked over so that was a tick, but after an awkward hug and sort of fumbled kiss on the cheek moment, we went on a downhill slide at alarming rates.
He worked in finance for the government, something about lending money to the banks and multi billion dollar companies who were in trouble. I was dying to ask him to put everything into layman’s terms for someone like myself who isn’t fiscally minded at all. How could a multi billion dollar company have no money? They had billions of dollars? Right? I sipped a delicious white wine and smiled and ooooed and aaaahed in the right places, but I swear to god for the first 25 minutes he didn’t ask me a single question. After the first hour I felt like I could be a financial adviser, and a pretty good one at that. After two hours of stunted conversation, a lot of awkward pauses and four pints of peroni (some kind of expensive ass hole beer) on his behalf and one wine of mine I was ready to call it a night. But every stupid excuse I threw at him he had a better retort. I’ve got work tomorrow, so did he. I’ll miss the last tram, public transport was dangerous at night and I should get a cab anyway. I need eight hours of sleep, he could function on four and he worked for the government, emphasis on government, belittling my job and making his sound pompous and superior. After another two hours three more beers in giant awkward glasses and a coffee for me I was at the end of my tether. I was over him and his weird shoulder shaking giggle at his own jokes. I stood up told him I really had to go and started walking out. He was severely tipsy, red faced and still giggling like a little boy as he chased after me.
So far I knew that he made more money than me, how much his suit cost, how much his apartment was worth, why I was sweet for caring about my job even though it wasn’t a career, that I should drink more expensive wine, that studying literature was a dead art and the written word was dead, how nice I smelt and how lucky we both were he decided to pick me that nigh at the bar.
Look reading this back I really am seeing the whole “why the fuck didn’t you leave earlier you fucking nut case, he’s mental & you stayed so you’re also mental”. In the moment I swear it’s harder to recognise when someone is such a moron.
Out the front of the bar I attempted to have a no contact goodbye, these kinds of goodbyes are near impossible in the stupid cheek kissing culture we now have. Just walking away is actually, no joke, really hard to do.
At first I managed to get a few steps in the opposite direction with a little discreet wave and a friendly, I never want to see your effing face again, goodnight going on. He soon closed the gap and hugged me. Okay a hug I could deal with, I gave him what I thought would be a quick hug goodnight, but in the break away with his arms still around me he pulled in for a kiss. I literally lent back, I pulled back to the left, to no avail, he came at me again, I pulled to the right and his face just kept coming. Eventually I relented.
He got me.
And now I’m sitting in the cab with a cramp in my neck, cold and pissed off and wondering where I went wrong.
Okay, Okay, I know when I went wrong.
I am fully aware this Jordan guy is an awkward prick that I will not see again. He’s just sent me one of those weird, “it was so great to meet you”, text messages. I can actually taste peroni in my mouth and the memory grosses me out. My cabbie is still making racist slurs but I’m not really listening, trying to interrupt him for directions seems pointless so I’m letting him take the long way around.
No more Peroni. No more racist cab drivers. No more Jordan.
I’m calling my chiropractor first thing.