It’s a Saturday arvo in winter, not far from spring. Its sunny, but not hot. I choose a dress and boots for my coffee meeting. I’m walking there, and heading to do exciting tasks like grocery shopping, afterwards.
I see a guy standing rigidly outside the café I had once again had to select. He looks like he’s about 10 years older than his profile pick. And about 20 years older than me.
Older men are not my thing at all. I’m always attracted to younger men.
Any-hoo I’m trying to find someone near my age through the site, and this guy says he is, I think, 3 years older than me.
Aside from the age, the stand-out feature of this guy is that he looks like a broken man. He exudes it from every part of him. His hairstyle, his fashion era, his stance, he is standing rigid, but even still his shoulders are slouched.
He has never taken care of himself. He looks like a burden. To his mother, his wife, his next wife.
Again, not my thing.
Independent woman walking!
So I walk up to him with a big smile on my face, belying my flight mentality, and say hello.
We introduce ourselves, and shake hands, weakly on his part.
He has a book, in a local bookstore brown bag, in his hand.
We go to a table on the verandah section, reserved for coffee only patrons.
I inquire about the book and he unwraps it, as our coffee order is taken. He says it’s his 13 year old sons birthday the next day and he got the book for him.
Apart from the face that my neice read that book when she was 8. Percy Jackson, Lightening Thief.
His profile didn’t say anything about having children. A flaw of the site. You can say if you have children living with you. If you want/don’t want children, but not if you have children that don’t live with you permanently. There is no category for if you have share-children.
Apparently he has two boys, 13 and 15. Also according to his profile, he is open to having children. That’s lucky for his existing children.
He tells me the roster which he has his children to stay. He tells me he is living in a transition rental. He tells me that he took his kids on a bike ride and they went by a local footy field where an under 18’s team was playing and he thought it would be good for his boys to see, so they parked up and watched, but that they had to leave quickly because some of the players were swearing.
Oh dear, that’s fucking terrible. Those children could never be around me, or my family, unless we were all struck with laryngitis, or had had a mass tonsillectomy! Anyway, I read an article recently that you can trust people that swear a lot to be honest. I like to retrofit a bit of scientific data to a lifelong philosophy.
Ok, trying to recover, I guide the conversation to the kind of work we do. I told him about the fly-in-fly-out work I used to do at a mine.
He says to me: ‘I bet you were popular, at the mine.’
And before I can react.
He reddens and realises what that could mean, and explains that he was just trying to pay me a compliment.
Our coffee arrives.
I plan to scull mine so that it burns my vocal cords out and I can’t swear in the next 15 minutes, which I have capped this date at.
Before I can attempt to recover the conversation he gives me:
‘Well,’ he starts, ‘here’s some things you should know about me: I don’t do champagne, and I don’t do chocolates. So you can’t expect them from me, and I want to say it up front.’
Great start buddy! Fantastic intro to you. You should get that on a t-shirt.
Actually, I can expect whatever I want.
I pause, so affronted by his aggressive, narrow position on an introductory coffee meet-up.
I feel sorry for his ex-wife. Now I can see why she got rid of this one. Fair enough if you don’t like excess, that’s your choice. I don’t understand why you would force it into the conversation this early on – not that this is going anywhere – but, isn’t a first ‘date’ where you pretend you’re nice, and then the real you comes out later? Like a job interview?’
And then it comes to me. Possibly the best rebuttal ever:
‘Well, here’s some things you should know about me. I’m allergic to chocolate, and if I want champagne I buy it myself.’ My smile is clearly disconcerting and incongruent with the message.
‘Ok, so chocolate,’ he says realising what a dick he just was, ‘any other allergies I should know about?’
‘Nope, nothing else you need to know.’ I offer, finishing my coffee and fishing my wallet out.
‘Well, please let me get your coffee.’ He jumps up and hurries to the counter to pay.
Are you sure? Wouldn’t want to take food out of your mouth?
I put my wallet away and get up so that when he is done, we walk out.
At the curb he offers his hand, and briefly looks like he is going to lean in to kiss my cheek. ‘I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see you again’ he states, still shaking my hand.
‘I’ll think about it and get back to you’ I say, retrieving my hand.
Later he messages me through the service: “It was great to meet you. When can we do it again?”
Later still I message him back through the service: “I think we are very different people in very different places.”
And block him.
And hide my profile until the non-refundable subscription runs out.