One of the joys of being an Australian working in an English pub, especially one that isn't on the tourist trail, is I am a bit of a novelty. I say joy, but sometimes it gets tiring. I get asked a lot where I'm from & I have the same conversation with customers three or four times a day.
It's also a conversation starter with guys which can be a good thing. It can also be a bad thing.
Well last week it was a good thing when a guy decided to try his luck chatting me up. I hadn't noticed him to be honest as I was in work mode where all customers are equal. But he had noticed me & despite having no interaction, stayed behind to talk to me while his friends went to their table. I now know it's because he thought I looked "interesting", whatever that means.
So when I turned to help him, he didn't want a drink or anything, just to talk to me. He heard my Australian accent & said he wanted to guess where I was from based on said accent. I don't believe you can do that so to prove it, I let him try. For the record, I am from Brisbane. So the following conversation then took place.
"I think you're from Perth."
"Well then you're from Sydney."
"Look, you can't tell where an Australian is from based on their accent."
"Yes, you can. I mean, I know you're not from Brisbane!"
So even after that cringe-worthy opening, he persisted in talking to me. Turned out we were both from Brisbane - about 15 mins drive apart. He's a vet & we chatted easily. Obviously I had to get back to work soon after & he said it was nice chatting to me & we should "catch up" sometime. I thought nothing more of it.
As his party was leaving, however, he came to the bar to say goodbye.
"It was great to meet you, Samantha."
"Thanks, you too."
"Like I said, we should catch up sometime!"
"So... can I have your number?"
So I turned to grab a bit of paper to write my number on.
When I turned back around, he had his phone out. That's how often I do this, I completely forgot people have phones.
He was a bit shocked but covered with, "Oh! Old school! I like it!"
I scribbled my number down and gave it to him. As he left I realised two things.
1) He probably thinks I gave him a fake number so he couldn't do the creepy "Ring and check" thing. (Guys, don't do that. Ever!)
2) I've not given my UK number out before and what are the chances I gave him the wrong number by accident?
Well 15 hours later he texted me and we arranged to "catch up" tonight - my first available night thanks to working all the time. But what does that even mean, "Catch up"? Catch up on what? Everything that happened since last Wednesday? Or maybe the last 27 years when we hadn't known the other existed? "I was born in 1985, on a warm Spring morning..." What a stupid thing to say. But what he didn't say was the D word - date. At no point did he mention going on "a date". And nobody ever does.
When did the date die out? I don't think I have ever been on a date. I've been on things that looked like dates and very well might have been, but they were never called that. I've also been on things that looked like dates and were not. That's the worst. It's painful and you can feel your heart being ripped out of your chest when you come to the sickening realisation that the person opposite you has absolutely zero interest in you as a member of the opposite sex - and you'd done your hair and carefully chosen an outfit to impress them and still you were rendered a genitalia free Mattel product. That ****ing sucks.
So I never assume anything is a date. This jaded cynicism has served me well so I do not apologise for it at all. Tonight was no exception. I acted as if it might be, but never assumed, lest I be disappointed.
If you've ever wondered what I'm like on "a date", this is it. I'm awkward. I talk about a million things and randomly interject with useless facts. The guy mentioned December 8 tonight. I interrupted to tell him that was the date John Lennon was shot. I don't know why. I just blurted it out. Then I was eating dinner and I dropped my knife. It just plumb fell out of my hand. It clattered off my plate and headed towards the floor. The guy gallantly tried to catch it, but so did I. I got there first, bumping him away, knocking him off balance so he threw lettuce all over himself. So I end up bright red, clutching a greasy fork with lasagne all over me and he ends up looking shocked covered in lettuce. That's what I am like on a date.
But it can't have been too bad because he invited me back to his place to meet his housemates. He lived across the road from the pub. I accepted, happy to meet more people. Plus there was a puppy! Well we all sat in the lounge room talking, listening to music and watching YouTube videos. Then his housemates discovered it was his birthday - I know, right? So one of the girls offered us some berry liqueur she had made. She poured it into six shot glasses. We all said cheers and clinked glasses. I then threw the shot into my mouth... mere milliseconds later, my eyes began to water and I nearly choked. It wasn't a shot. Everyone but me knew this. They'd all sipped delicately. I was stuck with a mouthful of burning alcohol and big juicy berries, unable to chew or swallow from pain and humiliation as everyone laughed their asses off at me. The guy, once he realised what had happened and that I clearly was not coping, gallantly went to get me a glass of water. Everyone else told me I could spit it out, but by then, I'd managed to choke the liquid down. The berries were still there, so I couldn't talk. But I couldn't chew either. It was horrible.
I eventually got it down and once again, found myself bright red and looking decidedly inelegant.
I was having so much fun, I missed the last train home. Here in London, the trains stop at midnight or something stupid like that. The guy offered to let me sleep on the couch, or his bed. We were talking later when he asked me if I understood that he wasn't looking for anything serious. And that this wasn't "a date" because there's so much pressure when you put labels on things. So... yeah. I understood. I had my jaded, cynical guard up anyway, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't wound me. Each time I feel that disappointment, no matter how much of a defence I have put up, my armour is still chinked. And I felt used. Why bother talking to me at all if you don't want "anything serious"? And if you don't have "anything serious", what do you have? He'd told me he was leaving for Australia for a few months already and he moves around a lot doing temp / contract work in his profession. So I had my suspicions. But still...
But as a grand finale to the spectacle that is me, this happened. I called myself a cab. It arrived and I said my goodnights on the back step. I turned to make my graceful exit, leaving with my head held high and dignity in tact - when I slipped on the wet stairs, shrieked, fell on my ass and bounced halfway down the stairs.
Lucky it wasn't a date or I might have been embarrassed.
Miss SAMawdsley xx
- When was the last time you went on "a date"?
- Was it specified as "a date" or not?
- Have you ever been a victim of the "non-date" or "the event that looks like a date but is not, actually a date at all"?