I'm Miss M. Here are some of my Online Dating tips, backed up by my sometimes hilarious, and often disconcerting stories…
No really. I feel better. Probably because I’m sitting next to you. Those were the words Mr Mate said to me on our second date. Oh yeah. I was so in!
Mr Mate was totally digging me. And he didn’t need to prove it by trying to get in my pants. Although I kind of wished he did. But never fear. Date number three was near. And I was just about ready to cheer. (Okay I’m not a poet. I tried. It’s not happening.)
Poor Mr Mate was still suffering from an ouchies brain. But no migraine was strong enough to keep us apart. He called a few days after our movie night to book me in for dinner. His only request was that we go somewhere low-key because he was feeling crapola. I wanted to be helpful so I came up with an idea on the spot and suggested the Indian restaurant I’ve been frequenting with my family for the last fifteen years. It’s the best – great food with a warm and friendly vibe. No doof doof music or hipsters in sight. He was up for it, but as soon as I hung up the phone I was struck by a pang of dread. Why on Earth did I suggest a place where the owner knows my parents?! So many things could go wrong:
a.) The owner could tell my dad I was on a date. Then dad would most likely kill said date.
b.) The owner could tell dad about my flirty date behaviour. Then dad would most likely kill me.
c.) The owner could tell mum I was on a date with an Indian dude. Then mum would most likely send out wedding invitations.
d.) All of the above. Which would result in a wedding and two funerals. No one would even see a film about that combo.
Oh the possibilities were endless. But I ultimately had to calm my farm and believe everything would be fine. I’ve only ever taken my closest peeps to this restaurant, so if I was ready to go with Mr Mate he was clearly on the road to being a keeper. Unless dad killed him. Deep breath in, and out…
Actually, for the first time, my date anxiety didn’t last for a crippling period of time. Once I’d accepted we were going to a place where my parents could be at the next table, I felt strangely calm. There were no pre-date jitters. No fear of how I looked. No need for a pep-talk from my girls. I know these sound like good signs. But a part of me couldn’t help but wonder why all the terror-esque emotions were missing. Did I not like him enough? Was it too easy? Were we just friends?
Shut up brain!
Clearly nothing was wrong with my Mr Mate situation. And the fact I was free of nerves simply meant I felt comfortable with him. And that’s a good thing.
I arrived at the restaurant. And what do you know – Mr Mate got there at exactly the same time. We were so connected it was ridiculous. We walked in together (obviously) and were greeted at the door by the owner. He was enthusiastic as ever and gushed about how much I’d grown up. It was kind of overkill considering I was at his restaurant like a month ago. I took it in my stride, but then two waiters joined our posse and asked how my writing was going. But get this – I don’t think I ever told them I was a writer?! Creep out. It was like I’d dragged Mr Mate to a family function full of freaky uncles.
I looked to him to see how he was handling the experience and he showed no signs of wanting to escape. He just smiled, shook everyone’s hand, and introduced himself. Perfect. Until the owner kept hold of his hand and looked him up and down for a good 10 seconds. Oh dear God. There’s nothing like a firm Indian stare to scare the shit out of you. But once again, Mr Mate found the positives and said he appreciated the friendly service. Good on him.
The rest of the dinner went as expected – lots of chat, stacks of laughter and all the korma our bellies could handle. It was so cruisey it was like we were besties. And yes, I had a few ‘friend zone’ warning bells going off but I chose to ignore them because I was having fun… Until Mr Mate unexpectedly took our friendship to a whole new level.
He told me he had to get some brain scans done to find the cause of his migraines. He was scared and didn’t want to go alone. So he asked whether I’d be willing to take him.
I was on holidays from work at the time so I was available. But something felt a bit weird about it. I really liked him, but I didn’t know him THAT well. I mean we’d been to see one movie, and shared 1.5 dinners. Was a brain scan really the next step? Hmm. I could tell he was super uncomfortable asking me. And I wanted to help him. So I silenced the voice in my head that screamed:
DON’T DO IT!
And said yes. He was stoked. He knew it was a lot to ask, but was certain I’d make the terrible experience more enjoyable. I get that a lot.
I was pleased with my decision. This meant I was a good person and not selfish like everyone thinks only children are. Take that suckers! But then that friend-zone fear started creeping back in. Was he attracted to me, or were we just buddies? If you were trying to court someone would you really ask them to take you to the doctor? Also, the date was coming to an end and he’d made zero attempts to show me physical affection. No hand-holds. Not even a grope under the table. But that could’ve been because the owner had a firm (and threatening) eye on us the whole time.
I was uncertain about the whole thing, but then I reminded myself – the best romances are always slow-burns. It’s all about the build up. The stolen glances. The treasured touches. The shared medical visits. Okay, maybe not that. But all my long-term relationships (there’s only been one but shut up what’s it to ya?!) started with friendship first. Maybe that’s the way it’s meant to work if you’re in it for the long haul. Hang out, get to know each other, and let destiny do the rest…
As this monologue continued inside my head, Mr Mate kept talking. I was listening to most of it and then he said something really got my attention:
So, I’ve taken myself off the dating site.
He went on to explain he did it because he’d already met me – so why keep looking?
In an age where the next hook-up is a mere swipe away, that was so damn romantic.
The dinner ended and he walked me to my car. The energy was so charged between us that I promised myself I’d kiss him goodbye. I wanted it to happen. He wanted it to happen. So I was gonna go for it. Goodbye, stupid insecurities!
Once we reached my car he hugged me. And as we pulled apart I went in for a giant smooch. But for some reason, Mr Mate stepped back and casually headed for his car. WTF?! Did he not realise what I was trying to do? Did he think I’d accidentally slipped forward into his face? Or did he think I was so disgusting that he ran away? Hello again, stupid insecurities.
No, no, no! I couldn’t do this to myself again.
He was so sure about me that he’d taken himself off the online market. That was huge. So I decided that I’d get over my bullshit and show him the same respect. When I got home, I logged into my account to shut it down. But suddenly something held me back. Could it be that I’d been so worried about how Mr Mate felt about me, that’d I’d failed to realise my feelings weren’t at orgasm levels yet?
I knew I was into him. But something made me want to keep my options open. Maybe I needed physical lovin’ from him. Something more than words.
As I mulled it over, I scrolled through my inbox and saw an old message. It was from a dude who’d written to me the day I was about to go on my first date with Mr Mate. I remember describing him to you as “out of control gorgeous”. Still I didn’t write back to him then because I wanted to focus on one man at a time (pfft, amateur).
I went through his profile to remind myself how pretty and cool he was. I felt dirty looking at him straight after a date with Mr Mate. But for some reason I had a strong urge to contact him… just to see if he was still out there somewhere.
A girl’s got to keep her options open after all…