This post has two sources: one, the excellent, sadly abandoned blog of tweep OfManyMen which her dates get special nicknames. Mine gets ‘The Siren’. I recommend you start at her earliest post, and read through. The second source is the post over on Mamamia today about worst dates ever.
The cat wrapped in plastic
If I had to pick my worst dates ever, there are two that come immediately to mind. The runner-up was a simple dating noob error. In 1993, when advised that Four Weddings and a Funeral was all sold out, looked over the shoulder of the counter girl at the list of movies and said, “What’s Bad Boy Bubby like?” Counter person answered, “It’s kinda a comedy” and I responded “Sweet”. My date beamed happily. For anyone out there – incest and cats rolled up in glad wrap do NOT make a great first date.
However, the worst, hands down nightmare evening of my life occurred a few years later. I can’t see exactly how I could have avoided this one and still shake my head at it sometimes. That said, the story is one that can still get me a few beers at the pub.
I’m no Don Juan. (Surely you jest, I hear you say, but please, it’s true). When I worked for IKEA, I was paid monthly. Paid monthly on twenty-eight grand a year. Rent was exactly fifty percent of my after-tax earnings. I had a well-defined routine called good-eat-fortnight-bad-eat-fortnight. Good eat fortnight involved alcohol, restaurants, meat and good times. Bad eat fortnight involved old carrots, a life saving ten-kilo bag of rice and a fuckload of soy sauce.
I worked in the customer service office, which was next to the staff entry. So every day, I flirted with a delicious young lady – let’s call her The Siren – as she started and ended her shifts. We flirted at lunch. We flirted at the pub after work. There was no rush, it was good for the soul.
Then one day she quits. Endless days of sly smiles are coming to an end. I ask her out on a date. She accepts. The problem: It’s bad-fucking-eat-fortnight. The CC is maxed already. I’ve got enough in the bank for smokes and a schooey. In other words – I’m fucked.
So I come clean and admit it. I tell her I’m completely skint. And I suggest a two date action plan. The first date is fish & chips on the beach with a reasonable bottle of wine. Easy. Cheap. Fun. No pressure. The second date, should she choose to follow on, would be during good-eat-fortnight. A nice restaurant, a band or a movie, whatever she likes. She thinks the plan is adorable. I may not be Don Juan, but I can occasionally luck it out.
On the afternoon of the planned first date, she calls me up. She’s got her folk’s car; we can drive to an even nicer beach than the local one. A beach I know is near a famous spot to go ‘parking’. The evening is looking better than ever. The siren song is heady stuff.
She shows up. She has a counter plan. There is a BBQ at her place. Her parent’s place. I express a negative desire to meet her parents. That’s just it, she says, they’ve got tickets to a play in town, they’ll all be gone. There will just be free food, free alcohol and – an empty house.
Sign. Me. Up. I’ll even save twenty for another pack of smokes if I’m lucky.
— Is that singing I hear? Strap me to the mast —
Perhaps my first sense of unease was the drive out there. The Siren drives like a maniac. On the way she tells me a story about how she met Hoous, a guy who works in our warehouse. She was walking down the street, he was driving by. He yells out of the car window “Show us your bra”. She’s impressed by his sweet ride. She shows him her bra. They start talking.
That’s a… nice story, I say.
We arrive at her house. The place is packed. Packed to the rafters. I shuffle uncertainly at the gate. What about the theatre I ask? Probably leaving soon, she says. So I meet her sisters first. They all giggle and be sister like. Going out soon, I ask? Nope, they say. Free grog, mate, are you kidding?
I meet her Dad. Don’t fucking touch my daughter or I’ll smash you he says as he crushes my hand in a handshake followed by a large smile and “Beer?” I accept an ice cold VB.
I meet her Mum. She is super welcoming. She briefly discusses all the mistakes her daughter has made with men and finishes with a winning smile and “At least you’re not a Leb”! I laugh ah-ha-ha nervously. She looks at me oddly then invites me to watch Jeopardy with her on the telly.
Which is how I spent an hour on a Friday night watching game shows and then Nine News with my – a girl who I wouldn’t even suggest was my girlfriend – date’s Mum. The Siren comes and sits next to me, holds my hand and plays footsies. This isn’t quite what I’d planned.
After the news finishes, I suggest we bail. Perhaps we could go somewhere less crowded, say a pub? I know a place, she says. I’ve got to go there anyway to drop off some stuff I borrowed.
So she gets me to pile a shovel and a bag into the boot of her car. I’m so fucking relieved to be getting out of there. The Dad waves me off with an elbow to the ribs and a wink. I’m honestly freaking out. I follow her voice, hypnotised by horror and unable to gain any control of the evening.
We arrive at her mate’s place. We knock on the door and an old bloke answers. She introduces me “This is Idle, we’re on a date but I thought we’d drop off this stuff”. I hold up the shovel and bag as an explanation. Come inside, he says, Tony’s out back.
We go and sit in their living room. Tony is surly at the interruption of the footy. He’s a big bloke too. For all the ‘Tony’s a good bloke” talk on the way over, he looks stupid and very dangerous. I’m not sure when I realised I was sitting in the living room of The Siren’s ex-boyfriend but it was a dry throat moment. She was practically rubbing me in the nose of her dated-for-four-years-broke-up-last-month ex. I could tell he just wanted to punch the shit out of me. It was an awkward ninety minutes. His Dad seemed nice enough and served biscuits.
So by the time we left, it was well late. I was shell-shocked. We drive back to my place. She pulls up, turns off the motor and looks over at me. She looks great. Fantastically inviting even. She’s reaching to unbuckle her seat belt. The spell breaks.
Thanks for the great evening, I say and without even a goodbye peck on the cheek I’m out the car, into the secure – oh so beautiful and secure – lobby of my apartment block. A week or two later she visits work. I’m still unable to process the evening and coward that I am, I can’t even look her in the eye. She seems confused. Two weeks later she’s got a new boyfriend, but in the meantime I’ve had eight beers on the re-telling of my skirmish with a Siren.
Tony and I never become friends. I’ve still never seen Bad Boy Bubby a second time, but remain forever curious – was it really that bad in comparison?