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And the worst dates of all time trophy goes to…………………It’s an award you just don’t want to win.. My friend (who for privacy reasons I’ll call Jane West) has been awarded the trophy numerous times now.  No matter how bad our dates are, hers are always worse.  She is one of those lovely women I spoke about yesterday. She has raised a child on her own, worked hard, studied to further her career, bought a shocker of a house and renovated it beautifully.  She is funny, she is smart, she is totally sweet, she is attractive and she is also very single.  Why? I have no idea.

In late 2000 we were part of a large group of people who chatted in MSN Chat rooms.  We made our own community out of there and became close friends.  Many of those people are still some of my closest friends today.  I think most of us went into chat thinking we would find a partner.  I know I did.  I’m sure “Jane” did too.  We met lots of men, dated them, even had long term(ish) relationships with some of them but just never jelled with someone enough to call it forever.

When I first started chatting, I was talking to a guy who I thought was “the one”.. I was naive and new to chat so had no idea that talking doesn’t equate to chemistry in person.  This guy seemed to have everything in common with me (of course he did, when I said something, he agreed.. never an original thought).  We spoke on the phone and he had a lovely voice (I’m a sucker for voices) and I honestly couldn’t wait to meet him.  We’d been communicating for a few months when I finally saw a picture of him.  That in itself should have been a fair indicator that he had something to hide, but I’m not completely superficial so I could handle the fact that when I finally saw his picture it took my breath away..  and not in a swooning kind of way.  I soldiered on regardless, thinking that it just wasn’t a good picture of him.  (Actually it was almost a glamour shot of him.)

I was still all fired up to meet him so headed off on the train on the said day.  I was going to meet him on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne.  (sounds romantic doesn’t it?)  He couldn’t get a park so phoned and said he’d drive up so I walked down the stairs and saw a nice little sports car driving up.  I was totally impressed till I saw the driver.  I thought it wasn’t him.  Turns out it was.. He was nothing like he’d described himself and his picture as I mentioned was a FANTASTIC (possibly photoshopped) shot of him.    I have seen people in World Vision ads who weren’t as skinny as him. (I’m not exaggerating.  He was also much shorter than he said.  I’m not anti skinny or anti short but just be honest.)  He was a nightmare to look at but I chided my shallow self and said to look deeper, so got in the car, heading (I thought) for a cuppa at a cafe.  Nope.. we drove round to a park and sat in the front seat where he took out a round of salami and tomato sandwiches his mother had made for him and kindly offered me half.  I declined.  He couldn’t even look me in the eyes.  He was one of those geeky types who just looked down at the steering wheel and answered anything I said in monosyllabic grunts. I tried.. I honestly did, then sat counting the minutes till it was polite to leave. I couldn’t get on that train home quick enough.. It put me off for a while.

But back to Jane and her worst dates of all time trophy.  She had built up a long term friendship at one stage with a professor from India.  A nice man, she was fascinated by the culture differences.  When he said he was coming to Australia for some work at a university, she agreed to meet him.  He gave her the address of where he was staying and she felt comfortable enough to go there as this had been a long term friendship.  She arrived in the hall of the unit and the smell of curry coming from there was overwhelming.  Unbeknownst to her, he had cooked her a banquet.  Lovely thought.. but she didn’t really want to eat it as the house was filthy and being a chef, she understands the ramifications of salmonella and listeria however she way too polite to say anything, so  sat down to eat what he’d cooked.  Expecting him to join her, she was quite disconcerted when he started playing the bongo drums, serenading her while she ate on her own.  She left as soon as possible and came round to tell me about it.  We laughed till we cried.

Then there was the time she came round to my house on her way to another date.  The fact that his chat nickname was Polyester Steve should have set off alarm bells in her head but she’s a sweet person so was prepared to give it a go.  She sat on the bar stool at the agreed pub and when the door opened, she was so nervous she fell off her barstool and it wasn’t even him walking in.  In fact, he didn’t show up.. He was one of those morons that thinks it’s funny to set up dates with women and never show. Turns out he did it to quite a few women from the chat room till we exposed him.

Who can forget when she met another guy down at the foreshore.  A man the size of Gilbert Grape’s mum got out of the car and proceeded to tell her that they’d go for a coffee after they tossed the pigeons.. Yes he was a homing pigeon guy.. So she dutifully helped him toss his pigeons, sending them on their way  home, had a coffee then got away as quick as possible to tell me all about it.

He had nothing on the great escape saga.  She agreed one night to go out with an old friend.  They had dated years before and had remained friends.  They drove to Melbourne with guys son and son’s girlfriend to a show.  They parked the car in a multi storey car park and walked a long way to the venue.  By this time, Jane was already annoyed as she had high heels on and her feet were killing her.  They got there, the date wandered off, leaving her to sit on her own while he played the social butterfly, ignoring her.  She was over the night very quickly.  Finally, getting him out of there, (he was quite inebriated by this time) they walked the long walk back to the car park.. that was closed.  They hadn’t thought to check the closing time on parking. So they were stuck in a seedy part of Melbourne with their car locked in.   She phoned me to tell me what was happening and to vent and while I was on the phone to her she said she had to go and simply hung up quickly.

Seems the son had found a way into the car park and opened the roller door and broke the car out of it’s prison.  He didn’t have a license and his father was drunk, leaving Jane to drive the getaway car.  This is a woman who can’t take a preplanned sickie without warning her boss that she’s going to as she doesn’t want to leave them stranded.  She is the most honest and decent person you could wish to meet and here she is driving away from the scene of a crime at break neck speed looking over her shoulder expecting to be pulled over and arrested at any time. She phoned me when she got home and I know  I should have been more sympathetic but I couldn’t speak for laughing.  I was gasping for air between guffaws, imagining the look of sheer terror on her face as she was making the getaway.

Another friend of mine tried to compete for the trophy, by dating a guy who was SO romantic that he spread bright red rose petals allover her nice white doona set and her brand new carpet.. He was completely gobsmacked when she started to scream as he crushed the petals into the carpet as he walked on them, leaving bright red stains all over the place.  That relationship didn’t go far either but it still couldn’t compare to the getaway guy, the curry bongo serenade, the polyester bar stool fall or the pigeon tosser.  Jane is the winner…. by a country mile.

We all tried internet dating sites for a while but when you’ve seen 50 profiles of middle aged guys with beer guts in blue singlet tops and jeans that don’t fit them, smiling a toothless grin at the camera, stating wisdoms like “no fat chicks please.. i take care of myself”…..or “I like winning and dinning and long walks along the  beach”  when  he lives inland and has probably not even ever been to  the beach… and the last thing he won was probably a meat raffle at the local pub… seriously,  how difficult can it possibly be to use spell check when you are making a profile. IT’S WINING AND DINING PEOPLES!   I had one guy tell me that (and I quote) ” a missus is a lot of hard work but I guess if you want one you just have to put up with it”.. sigh..

I’m not jaded, honest, I’m not.  I also have lots of friends who met their partners through the internet.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of others, both male and female on there who are slightly weird.  But I guess everyone has a right to find love. However,  when I see how much effort it takes, I pour yourself another wine, get back in my flannies and watch a movie and dream of Colin Firth or Robert Downey Jnr…. Nothing wrong with a fantasy world.. It’s exactly how I like it. I think I’ll let Jane can keep her crown and trophy.  I’ll aspire to winning a Pulitzer Prize instead.

Happy Dating.. Livvy 🙂