Date and location of meeting: Sydney, December 2015
Decided to branch out and try Hinge as a break from my usual Tinder. I matched with the American Expat in late November, and we chatted a little before setting up a date for the following week.
American Expat suggested a hipster bar in Surry Hills to meet at on a Tuesday evening. The onslaught of online dates I plagued myself with in November and December this year means that I have actually learnt to manage my time more effectively and showed up for my date 10 minutes early.
While waiting, I sat at the bar, bought myself a drink and thought about how sick I am of dating (nevertheless I’m not going to stop). American Expat was a bit later than 10 minutes (about 15 minutes) I was deep in pondering about how this was going to be my last date for awhile (lied to myself again) when I heard a deep American voice behind me exclaim my name. I turned around and found that my date was almost head to head with me even though I was sitting down.
I may not have greeted him as enthusiastically as I should have, because the smile fell from his face, and he sat down next to me at the bar. One of the first things he asked me was if I was feeling nervous or stressed, to which I said that you spike a woman’s cortisol levels when you approach her from behind (I am quoting a YouTube video that I watched on body language). American Expat looked bewildered at this, and I took the cue to steer the conversation in a different direction.
American Expat was 10 years older than me, from Pennsylvania originally but lived in New York for a number of years, and had been living in Sydney for 8 years, working as a change consultant. He’d also done extensive travel, and was passionate about music- he played in a band on weekends that got hired for gigs like weddings, and venues. We got along well, and conversation flowed comfortably and naturally. After having two drinks at the bar, American Expat picked up the bill and we proceeded to his friend’s bar around the corner.
We talked about our travels, expat life, and our online dating experience. At some point in the evening, the conversation somehow drifted to how many men I met per week. At this point I had had a few drinks in me, and bluntly stated that I met 4 or 5. In hindsight, I was tipsy and had been stating the number I met that week, not every week, but I didn’t elaborate on this to American Expat, who looked alarmed. That day, I had also had a pap smear and HIV test (chill, it’s a routine check) as well as checked for every STI under the sun because I was so worried about having unprotected sex with Venture Investor the week before, that I went out to get tested straight away (luckily everything came back clear). American Expat saw the little circular band-aid in the crook of my elbow and asked what it was from. Me, suffering from a perpetual case of foot in my mouth, said that I’d had a HIV test that day. American Expat looked even more alarmed at this but then said “I guess your dates must be going well.”
When leaving the bar that night, AE was saying goodbye to his friend that owned the bar, and his friend asked him what he was doing these days. AE responded that he played in a band, and that he “took beautiful women to dinner”, which was very nice of him to say even with all the HIV testing talk.
We had dinner after drinks. During this time, AE asked if I had a date tomorrow. Because I still hadn’t learned from the previous situation, I said yes. AE touched the bandaid on the crook of my arm and said “better not tell him about this.” After dinner, we walked to the station together and he rode it for one stop with me. When he got off he thanked me for the evening and told me to text him when I got home.
We continued texting for another week or so, and the next week he invited me to have dinner at his apartment, cooked by him, followed by a jazz show.
AE lived in Redfern, close to the station, so on a Saturday evening, I made my way there by myself. He had a giant, beautiful apartment, and he gave me two kinds of cheeses, baba ghanouj, and another kind of Lebanese dip to nibble on while he was cooking the main course. I am a foodie, so AE knew the way to my heart. After we’d eaten and chatted a little, we went to the jazz show and spent an hour or two there before I decided to head home. AE walked me to the station and said goodbye there. He didn’t make a move but asked me to send him pictures of my upcoming trip and said that we should catch up to talk about our overseas adventures once both of us got back.