Dan Schaumann

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Awkward dates

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May 12th, 2013 Posted 8:07 pm

From the nervousness of the high school prom to the friend-of-a-friend setup; from the cute girl you share a glance with at the bar to the mystery of online romance, dating is something most of us go through with varying degrees of success. It has the ability to induce such a wide range of emotions and outcomes: butterflies, connection, flirtation and lustful embrace, all the way through to boredom, disparity, false advertising and just plain awkwardness. I think we can all agree that some dating experiences are made up of the sweet ingredients you can’t get enough of, whereas others seem to throw the odd sprinkle of pepper into the mixture. It sure is an interesting time to be single and on the market!

I’ve had some brilliant dates over the years but I’ve also had some shockers. I’ve been reminiscing on the latter recently and I came to the realisation that even though a date may not go quite as planned, they’re actually the ones that leave me with the greatest sense of amusement later on down the track. So I decided to share my top three memorable dating scenarios where it’s all gone horribly wrong (for the record, I’m no longer in touch with any of these people and no names will be mentioned).

I may not have felt so good about the outcome at the time, but I look back on them all now with a tonne of fondness and I actually hope there are many more wacky encounters like these to come 🙂


#3: The Theatre

Brisbane, circa 2005-2006

I was surprised and gladdened when my housemate at the time handed me her cute friend’s number – apparently she was interested in hearing from me. I’d met her once or twice before, she was a few years older than me, yet very attractive with a sense of innocence about her which made me smile. After exchanging numbers & a few texts, we organised to spend our first evening together strolling around the South Bank parklands. While we were dining on fish & chips by the river overlooking the beautiful Brisbane CBD, our conversation led me to discover she had never before been to see live stand-up comedy or a theatrical performance.

*LIGHT BULB MOMENT* – the perfect opportunity to plan our second date!

We set aside the following Friday night after work to go out for dinner and a show. I opted for theatre in case the comedy came across as being too risque – she didn’t seem the type who would appreciate provocative humour so early on in the proceedings (if things went well, I figured we could tackle stand-up on our third or fourth date). I checked the local gig guide during the week and found an interesting ad for a play by a local production company that was to be held at one of the small theatres in the city. I don’t remember exactly what it was called, but it was a modern interpretation of a Greek tragedy and I recall its title began with an O. I was sure I’d win brownie points for being cultured and so I booked some tickets.

We arrived in good time and entered the dark theatre about 15 minutes before the commencement of the show, where we made small talk over a glass of wine. The ambience was a little too cold and intimidating for my liking and I admitted to being unsure about exactly what I’d booked us in to see. The set was minimal with an eerie blue lighting state that enveloped the stage and spilled into the auditorium. The house lights dimmed and a lone figure walked out from the wings, reciting a monologue of epic proportions. The show had begun…

Long story short, we sat through nearly three hours of a barely comprehensible antiquated script that openly dealt with subjects such as incest, murder, suicide, adultery, violence, illness and death (plus a little more murder and suicide thrown in for good measure).

We went for dinner after the show but it was awkward – her first theatrical experience had pretty well caught her off guard. Needless to say she declined my proposition for a third date and I don’t think I ever saw her again after that!


#2: The Art Exhibition

Sydney, 2013

I’m a bit of an old hand at making new friends online but I realised I’d never before met anyone via an actual dating website, so I wanted to change that. I wasn’t having much luck until this particular lass got in touch with me, my interest in travel and acoustic guitar having piqued her interest. We exchanged emails for a few weeks and eventually arranged to meet for the first time one sunny Sunday morning at Circular Quay.

The idea was to walk around the Museum of Contemporary Art to soak in some culture for an hour or so, and if things went well to possibly grab a coffee or a light meal afterwards. I arrived at Circular Quay a little earlier and noticed a sign detailing an art exhibition not too far away called 13 Rooms, at one of the Walsh Bay wharves.

*LIGHT BULB MOMENT* – let’s go there instead of the MCA!

Initially it turned out to be a great idea. We made our way slowly through the laneways of The Rocks, underneath the ever-impressive Harbour Bridge and through to the historic maritime construction that is Walsh Bay. We entered the exhibition and were quite fascinated by the 13 small rooms within the massive warehouse-like space, each comprising of a piece that incorporated both visual & performance art. In one of the rooms was a lay-down solarium, in which a foreign man was tanning himself whilst listening to a ‘learn to speak English’ CD through headphones and repeating the words out loud. Another room contained a real-life revolving door: 20 or so performance artists all with linked arms endlessly rotating around this room as if they were personally simulating the entrance to an office building.

It kinda got weird when we entered the room with a stark naked woman hanging on the wall in crucifix position, slowly and achingly moving her arms up and down from a 1:50 position on a clock to a 3:40 position. It was quite a confronting artwork and I could sense my new friend was a bit perturbed.

And if that wasn’t weird enough, a few rooms later we were witness to another completely nude woman, this time exploring her body from top to bottom with a small hand mirror.

Seriously… who takes a girl out to see gratuitous live nudity the first time they meet? I couldn’t have picked a more awkward exhibition to attend.

We had a coffee and a quick stroll around Walsh Bay before she abruptly left to finish off some study. Never heard from her again.


#1: The Hospital

London, 2008

I was living in London at the time, and after about six weeks of pleasant communication with a female online penpal we decided it was about time we should meet. I had Monday off work the following week which turned out perfectly because she also had the day off uni, so we arranged to head out for brunch at a small cafe in Croydon in London’s south.

I found her field of study to be particularly intriguing: she was aiming to become a cytogeneticist. She’d briefly explained the profession to me in an email but I was looking forward to catching up over a coffee and chatting to her about cytogenetics in greater detail, amongst other things. She had also recently done some modelling for a photographer friend who was putting together a portfolio. One of the resulting shots she sent to me was simply stunning.

I texted her the day before we were due to meet to confirm the time & location. An hour passed… then two… three… eventually six hours and I’d still heard nothing back. I guessed she’d gotten cold feet and didn’t want to meet any more 🙁 She finally sent her response just as I was getting ready for bed, and I was shocked to hear she’d been admitted to hospital with kidney pains. She wasn’t able to make our brunch and wanted to know if we could reschedule to another day.

*LIGHT BULB MOMENT* – why don’t I go to the hospital in the morning and pay her a visit? How memorable would that be for a first date!

The next day I stepped into the gynaecology unit of the Carshalton hospital, complete with box of chocolates in hand and sudden sense of wonderment at what I’d gotten myself into. The nurse at the front desk directed me to her ward but she obviously assumed I knew who I was looking for. I had to peep around the curtains of every bed until the moment of recognition. There she was – the poor girl completely drugged up, slurring her words and barely able to move.

It must have been the morphine messing around with her mind, but one of the first things she told me was how she once repeatedly punched her fist through the wall and broke her knuckles because she caught her (ex) fiancé in bed with another man. It was such a surreal situation that I don’t remember much more of what we chatted about, and I eventually left a few hours later after she had to have a catheter inserted.

She was discharged a few days later and we emailed a few more times but unfortunately never got around to meeting again. To this day it remains the most awkwardly memorable dating experience I’ve ever had and probably ever will have.


So how about you?

Have you ever had a crazy/surreal/unbelievable experience while you were on a date?

Leave a note in the comments section below if you have – I’d love to hear about it!


UPDATE: I’ve since written about three more awkward dates at Awkward dates (part 2)

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This entry was posted on Sunday, May 12th, 2013 at 8:07 pm and is filed under Blog, Dating. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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