Awkward dates (part 2)
October 19th, 2014 Posted 8:19 pm
A while ago I wrote a post called Awkward Dates, where I recounted three scenarios from years gone by that could potentially have led to romance but instead ended up, well, a little awkward and unsuccessful.
Not much has changed over the past 17 months of dating so I figured it was about time I posted an update of two more recent experiences, plus a long-forgotten gem from the past. Bear in mind I’ve chosen to only write about people who I no longer have any contact with – believe me, if it wasn’t for that, I’d have enough material to write part 3 as well. Maybe I’ll work on that next year.
If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend you cast your eyes over my original post first before you continue on here to the second instalment of AWKWARD DATES.
#3: The Documentary
Toronto, March 2014
Every now and then I venture over to my good friend on the web, Craigslist, where (usually in a state of boredom and curiosity) I post a classified ad in the personals section to see if any randoms out there might be interested in chatting and/or hanging out. I’ve had varying degrees of success via Craigslist in the past, ranging from abysmal to incredible. On this particular occasion I proposed a date to the cinema to see a documentary – it’s one of my favourite pastimes, so why not bring along some newfound company?
I received four responses; like most Craigslist replies a lot of people are all talk and no action, so it didn’t surprise me that three of them ended up flaking on me. However, one girl was particularly keen on seeing a film called Tim’s Vermeer, a doc about an inventor called Tim Jenison who attempts to re-create a masterpiece by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, despite possessing no artistic abilities himself.
I barely knew a thing about this girl aside from her first name and phone number – she wasn’t at all chatty in her text messages – but we set a date and agreed to meet at the cinema 20 minutes before the film started. I was quite pleased to find she was an attractive Asian girl with a very bright & outgoing personality, perhaps in her early 30’s.
I bought the tickets to the film, which she was very thankful for and promised to return the favour by shouting me a drink somewhere afterwards. We had enough time before it started to find out a little about each other. She moved to Toronto from China when she was young, she lived in the building next door to the cinema, and she worked as a real estate agent (coincidentally, her assigned territory included the very street in Kensington Market that I lived on at the time). She seemed interested in me as well; overall I was fairly pleased at how it was all turning out.
We watched the movie. It ended and the credits began to roll. But instead of casually sauntering downstairs to find a bar to have that drink as promised, she raced out of that cinema as quickly as she damn well could, assuring me we’ll catch up another day. As she sped on ahead of me and out the cinema door, she told me she needed to ‘check on her car’ that was parked on the street. This made little sense to me because why would your car be parked on the street in the middle of the city when you claim to live in the building next door? As quickly as she appeared, she was gone. It sure was an awkward ending to what I’d thought was an otherwise successful outing.
I never heard from her again.
#2: The Sommelier
Toronto, May 2014
This time, instead of posting an ad on Craigslist I replied to an existing one. It was a simple ad that went something along the lines of:
“Hi! I’m 28, new to Toronto and I don’t know many people here. I’d like to make a new friend, maybe we could get a coffee one day? Email me with a photo and tell me a bit about yourself if you’re interested.”
I did just that, and a response came through shortly afterwards. A few afternoons later we met at my favourite cafe in Kensington, the Moonbean.
It struck me straight away that this girl was shy. Like, ridiculously shy. She barely spoke a word the whole time we were together. Our conversation went something like this:
Hi, it’s good to meet you!
Hi. You too.
You have a very European accent. Where are you from?
Oh cool, I don’t think I’ve met anyone from Estonia before. Where exactly in Estonia are you from?
I can’t say I know the capital of Estonia. What’s it called?
Ok, great… *queue a moments silence while I think of a new topic of conversation* …so what do you do for a living?
I am a waitress.
What kind of restaurant do you work at?
Oh, that’d be an interesting job!
Well, I’m originally from Australia and I moved here last year on a 2 year work permit. Toronto is a beautiful city, I don’t regret coming here and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I work downtown in retail and I live just around the corner here in Kensington. I love this area, it’s full of amazing hipster cafes, grocery stores and independent retailers.
So what brought you to Canada?
To visit a relative.
That’s nice of you. Where does your relative live?
You get the idea.
I was exhausted after an hour. Never before have I partaken in such a one-sided conversation. I’m not the biggest talker in the world as it is, but by the end of our coffee I’d told her everything about myself and learnt virtually nothing about her.
Here’s where it took a turn for the worse. Even though I had no intention of ever seeing her again, I did feel sorry for her. Instead of leaving her and going home like I should have done, I invited her to dinner instead.
We went to an Italian restaurant down the road where she made the revelation that she was a sommelier (an expert in wine) who had high hopes of one day becoming a master at her trade. She seemed disappointed when I said I only wanted to drink ginger ale, so I agreed to share a wine of her choice. She was particularly excited about some type of Chardonnay and I foolishly ordered a half-litre for $45.
Finally we finished our meal and the waiter brought over the bill for A HUNDRED AND TEN DOLLARS. She just looked at me as I reached for my wallet.
I never heard from her again.
#1: The Auction
Exeter (UK), October 2008
Those who know me will know I travelled to Lincolnshire, UK in 2008 to meet a girl I’d been chatting to online for quite some time. We didn’t work out in real life so I moved to London instead to start afresh. My first few weeks in town were gloomy as fuck, having just had my heart broken and not having any friends or contacts whatsoever around London.
I resorted to the internet to try and make friends, which I found quite the challenge. And then I chanced upon a post on Gumtree from a young lady in Devon who was offering a date via eBay. That’s right – eBay. The highest bidder scores the date.
Holy cow! In my efforts to try and recall the details of the auction I’ve just come across a news article from the Torquay Hearld Express in September 2008. What the hell, I’ll post the link here: Struggling Tasha’s eBay brainwave. I can’t believe it’s still online. That tells you everything.
So I made a bid. Unfortunately a few days later the auction was taken down because it violated eBay’s terms & conditions – apparently you’re not allowed to sell yourself. Still, I thought ‘why don’t I make an offer to this girl outside of eBay?’
I sent her an email and we agreed on a price in exchange for a few hours of her company in Exeter, around three hours south-west of London. We set a date once the Paypal transaction went through, and on an overcast day in October I caught the train down to the historic city where we met at a cosy British pub and had lunch. From memory, it was a Sunday roast smothered in peas and gravy.
She was a nice girl. I told her of my Australian upbringing and journey overseas that led me to settle in London; she told me of her studies in design and her modelmaking endeavours. It was clear from pretty early on there was no spark but we conversed politely for an hour or two, and I recall afterwards she took me on a brief walking tour of the city before promptly leaving.
Looking back on it six years later, I can’t believe I actually paid a random girl £50 to go out to lunch with her. That was $91 AUD back then! What kind of lunatic would even think that was a good idea? Me, obviously.
We exchanged a few emails in the weeks that followed but eventually we lost contact.
I never heard from her again.
After considering the trend between these three cases I’ve decided I shouldn’t spend so much money on dating going forward. It clearly isn’t worth forfeiting my hard-earned wage on this rubbish. If it’s any consolation though, it does leave me with some interesting stories to tell.
So how about you? Have you had any surreal dating experiences? Let me know in the comments below if you have!
Oh, and if any of you ladies want to take ME out to the movies or to dinner for a change, get in touch 😉
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