The Cat Man

Date and location of meeting: December, Sydney 2016

I matched with Cat Man sometime at the end of last year. He was living in Papua New Guinea and using Tinder Passport for an upcoming trip to Sydney. We exchanged messages back and forth for a little bit before adding each other on Facebook.

He arrived in Sydney in early December, and we met up two days before I flew out to Burma. I waited for him at Central station, and although I had been the one who had been late, he ended up later than me. He was only a little bit taller than me, and had his hair gelled up in a strange way. He had a Kiwi accent to boot, and was dressed in a t-shirt and shorts. I could tell from the get-go that this wasn’t going to be great.

We walked up the street chatting and making small talk, while feeling that the lack of chemistry was palpable. We had chosen a cafe before meeting up, but neither us had had the foresight to check the cafe’s opening hours, and once we got there, had the unpleasant surprise of finding that it was closed.

I said to Cat Man that I really didn’t mind eating anywhere else, at any of the other cafes I had suggested. We were also in Surry Hills, the hot spot for brunch places in Sydney, so there would have been at least 15 other places within walking distance. Cat Man seemed extremely upset that the cafe he had wanted to go was closed (much more than a man should be), and spent a lot of time hmm-ing and ahh-ing over the prospective cafes I suggested that were just across the street. He was so indecisive that we crossed the street back and forth a few times, so he could compare the menus of the two cafes. This did not go down well. I like my men decisive. I was cursing myself for my poor choice, when he finally picked and we sat down to eat.

We were making idle small talk, when the topic of animals came up, and Cat Man mentioned that he loved cats. He said he had three back home. Yes, you read that right. Three cats. When a date says they have three cats, (no matter what sex they are) RUN. I didn’t take my own advice. I imagine my eyes glazed over and I cursed myself again for not somehow gauging this earlier. I managed to survive the meal, and after that Cat Man picked up the bill. I was pleased that he had done this, and so I gave him some Tokyo Banana that I said I had brought for him. He looked visibly pleased at this, and said he’d brought something for me.

It was a bag of Papua New Guinea coffee beans. Not going to lie, I love little gifts, and I thought to myself, well even if there’s no attraction, maybe we can be friends. So we strolled to Surry Hills library after that, and I helped him print out some tickets for a concert, and we then strolled to Darling Harbour and sat in the sun and chatted. We parted amicably, and I said that we should catch up next time he passes through Sydney.

Fast forward to February 2016, and I saw Cat Man’s status on Facebook. I commented asking if he wanted to hang (as friends) and he said he was flying out the next day, but invited me to karaoke that evening with his friends. When he said ‘friends’ I assumed it would be a mix of males and females. That night, when I showed up, I found Cat Man in the karaoke room with three other women. The women were all Japanese, and made a fuss over me. One started screaming in excitement when she saw me, and said that she had “heard so much about me” and began saying to the other Japanese girls (while I was in front of her) that I had a food blog, etc. Even for Japanese people, this is kind of weird.

I sat next to Cat Man and we started chatting about our recent travels, and I asked Cat Man how he knew the girls. An odd look came over his face then, and he deflected the question by saying “they’re all room mates”, waving his hand vaguely in the direction of the women. Later on, Excited Japanese Woman came over and sat on the other side of Cat Man, and I realised that it was his new girlfriend. I had seen him change his relationship status on Facebook a few weeks earlier, but I never thought he would invite me to karaoke with his new girlfriend and her friends. It would have made for a super awkward situation if I actually liked him, but as such, it was just weird.

This is what people on Tinder are really like.

We all managed to have a good time though, and we left saying we’d all catch up again soon.

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