Dearest Reader, welcome to you’re weekly dose of anti-hubris known as my dating life. If you’re joining us for the first time I suggest scrolling down to ‘Welcome Back Mr Ridley’ before naming conventions and I became friends.
I feel that to truly understand the wonder that is my dating career (see example image below), I have to take you back to before I was this heavy hitting dating machine*.
The year was 2003, and your humble narrator had not yet kissed a girl, let alone had a serious girlfriend. Unless you count that time in Year 6 where my fellow school captain dated me for the first few weeks of the year so I’d teach her how to set up the hall for assembly, I even made her a Valentine’s Day present (so topical), and when she broke up with me on February 13th, I promptly crossed her name out and wrote another girls name on her card, so if you couldn’t tell already, I had pretty strong game back then too. Anyway, back to the other horrible love story at hand.
Your doughy hero was undoubtedly a shy kid during my first few years of high school, I managed to fit in pretty well with everyone so I was kind of like a chameleon, fitting in with everyone without truly belonging to one particular clique.
That was until Ashleigh came onto the scene. She was so mean that I think I fell in love immediately, and this isn’t sour grapes, in high school Ashleigh was mean to everyone, even her best friends. She was model gorgeous, and tall:
In true High School Mr Ridley fashion I couldn’t bring myself to ask her out, so I would just hang around making an arse out of myself until she noticed me, and notice me she did! Upon her instruction we would conduct a secret affair, no one was to know, it would be our little secret! I know what you’re thinking, “Clearly Mr Ridley saw through that not-so-subtle ruse?” Nope. Our secret love affair was the most fulfilling three months of my 16 year old life. Even though she even made me delete messages we had sent to each other in case we were discovered, and discovered we were; although I’m sure it was similar in style and content to this classic:
After my first kiss and sexual experience, a sad handjob, for all you Cards Against Humanity fans out there, on the same day. It seemed our Spring Fling was coming to an end. It seems that our young Ashleigh was quite the social scientist, and (turn away from your computer if you don’t want to be depressed in 3… 2.. 1.) decided that she would attempt to see if she could ever bring herself to date someone way below her league, and apparently the answer to this burning question was, “no!”
So moral of this story is don’t date tall girls, I mean, girls who want to keep your relationship a secret. Unless it’s for a cool reason, like she’s a spy, and even then I’d probably find that hard to not blog about.
Dearest reader, have you ever found yourself at a fork in the road? Between a rock and a hard place? Found yourself literally teetering on the edge of making a really poor decision?
I found myself in one of these situations a few years ago. I was pretty fresh into the online dating world, a world in which I am pretty well versed in these days, and I had met five or so girls already to a mostly lukewarm reception. However I received a lovely message from a girl named April. April was lovely, we enjoyed wonderful conversations about everything, we had similar tastes, and we seemed like a pretty good fit. So naturally it was about the right time to attempt to ruin it all by meeting face-to-face.
We’d been talking for three weeks by the time we got around to meeting, I had a pretty big assessment due in week two of our chats, and she was busy mid-week, so we elected for a Sunday night dinner as our first date, I was thinking seafood, because as Olive Penderghast will attest:
So I gussy up like a Sim working hard on his political career, jump in my ride* and bounce out the door like any self respecting gentleman would do when he’s off to meet the future love of his life.
I pull up out the front, and hit her with the classic first date text, “Hi, I’m out the front.” I wait two minutes before I get a response inviting me inside as she’s not finished getting ready. I make my approach to the front door and hear someone stamping around inside. Knock knock. The door flings open and my date stands before me, “come in, I’m just finishing getting ready.” I took a step inside and I’m greeted by the largest dog I have ever seen. Think if Beethoven, from those movies you barely remember, became the scariest motherfucker on the block. However, evil Beethoven aside, I was greeted by something significantly smaller which terrified me more; a young blonde child sat in a booster seat in the middle of the lounge room floor. This is not the kind of Kinder Surprise I was familiar with, I was appropriately introduced by my date, “this is me daughter Hope,” who was far too young to understand what was going on, but I said hello regardless. Hope was the quietest child I had ever seen, yet April requested that we settle her down before we left. I’m not a parent, and I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t be equipped to be one yet, however I don’t think leaving a child home alone is ever a good option, so I agreed in the hope that she would have a babysitter or something coming around so we can abscond to our seafood dinner.
April then proceeds to stretch out on the lounge and turn on the TV, which already has Mamma Mia ready to go, with the play button highlighted. “This is Hope’s favorite, she goes to sleep really quickly.” I attempt to sit on the lounge, but foolish me, she won’t allow me to sit on the lounge as, “we will end up having sex if you sit up here with me, sit on the floor.” I’m not one to balk at the mention of sex, however, please lady if you think you can get into these jeans just by sitting on a lounge with me, you’re severely mistaken. I take my place between Evil Beethoven and Hope and prepare for a ten minute sojourn into the world of ABBA.
SOS is correct Pierce. The credits roll, and I am 3 escape strategies deep and I’m starting to fret. My seafood dinner is a distant memory, and I am tired and hungry. Not only did we watch the entirety of Sing-A-Long Mamma Mia, April was singing along to every single word, and saying every line as if this would heighten my enjoyment. It did not. After the entire credits roll, she springs up, flicks her daughter to wake her, bundles her up in a stroller, and says she’s going to the shops.
Perfect! An escape chance, I spring to my feet however she is already out the door with Evil Beethoven. I’m standing there with a toddler in a stroller in front of me, and despite my body telling me no, my mind was telling me yes.
I push the stroller out the door and catch up to her twenty metres down the road. It’s a ten minute walk to the closest service station where she proceeds to buy cigarettes and condoms. It’s at this point I’m wondering to myself if she smokes after sex, murder, or perhaps Smurder? We aren’t even talking, she is just walking her dog, texting and I’m pushing her child beside her. I finally drafted a great escape plan, wait until we get to the front yard, look at my watch and mention how late it is, dastardly, I know.
We get to the front yard, I mention how late it’s getting, and she walks off and leaves me with her child (see turtle above). I quickly follow in order to deposit the child in the lounge room and make a smooth and permanent exit. “I’ve really…”
“Shut the fuck up.” She pushes me towards her bedroom. “My parents just got home, lock the door and I’ll be in soon.” She went the attempted pash and I skillfully avoided it like the ninja I am, and locked the door behind me. The next three minutes are filled with the kind of dread I can only imagine victims in Scream feel as they are on the phone to Ghostface, killer not Killah, as her father is screaming at her for going in their room while they were out. Quiet as a church mouse I find myself finding a small door which leads to a tiny balcony. As my feet find the concrete I hear a pounding on the door. “Get your arse out here, nobody fucks anyone in my house!” I stare down at the drop below me, I’m on the second storey and only brick stands between freedom, or certain death at the hands of a father who produced the woman I had the displeasure of spending too long with one evening.
At that fork in the road I came to a realisation dear reader; online dating is weird and I should start a blog 8 years after this to retell this story. I take one deep breath and:
Writing my first official “I’m hopeless and therefore you should fill my life with internet love” post triggered a whole host of awful romantic stories from my past. Today I will share with you, my dear reader, a tale which begun when my understanding of romance and dating was about as complex as this guy:
Allow me to set the scene for you:
15 year old, yet-to-have-a-girlfriend Mr Ridley (with the exception of year 6, where I ‘dated’ my fellow school captain for 2 weeks at the start of year 6, and she dumped me on the 13th of February, so I decided to cross out her name on her Valentines Day card and give it to another girl, clearly my smoothness was evident from a young age), was daydreaming his way through another exhilarating day of year 10 work, when a young lady (Kristy) approaches. Evidently another strapping young lad in my class had broken her heart, and as one of 7 guys in my year, and certainly the safest option, she decided to entertain me with a bargain. “If we’re both not married by 40, we will get married.”
As you can imagine dear reader, my mind was swirling with questions. A woman wanted to marry me? In 25 years? I won’t have to cross out any more names on Valentines Day cards? Where do I sign up? Hands were shook, and the bond of future marital bliss was forged.
Jump forward 6 years, Mr Ridley is now a cool as a cucumber uni student with a 1980 Mitsubishi Sigma station wagon with cream velour interior, so you can probably tell, I was a rad motherfucker*.
I receive a phone call, which even by 2008 standards was a pretty big deal. It was my friend Kristy from high school, asking me to come over for dinner and catch up. I thought that sounded like a great idea, I hadn’t seen most of my friends from high school since I had graduated and thought it would be nice to catch up with every one again. We settle on a 7pm Saturday start time. I arrive early, as I do to all things, and she greets me all dolled up and walks me to the table. It’s at this point I begin to suspect things may not lead to the kind of group get together that I was expecting, but I’m sure it would be nice to share a meal with Kristy.
I was not two bites into a potato bake when the first and only warning shot was unleashed. “It’s so difficult to meet guys these days.” I believed her, I knew how hard it was to meet women, so surely that was all a barren market, and not me being horrifically unappealing. I gave her a sympathetic pep-talk discussing how great she was, and most guys would be lucky to have her. The next sentence to leave her lips floored me completely, and I’m not one to be shocked easily – “I was thinking we should move our marriage up a few years.” I had forgotten about it to be honest, I was happy to adjust it down a few years, I wasn’t the most confident guy on the block, however the idea of marrying anyone due to not meeting anyone just felt icky to early-20’s Mr Ridley. So what harm could 35 do?
“Oh sure! How many years were you thinking? Down to 35?”
“I’m thinking we move it forward 18 years to June next year.”
My initial reaction was to laugh, a reaction which didn’t go down very well with my new pre-fiance. “I believe you should propose in August this year, and we’ll get married in June next year.” Not only was I going to be marrying her, but I would have my proposal date selected in advance too? How was a man meant to say no? It’s at this point my mind started racing as to where the hell I can escape to and fake my death?
Something important to know about me, dear reader, is that I am very patient, so where most men would have been through a window already, a part of my brain (the part which has lead me here) told me to hear her out. So I had to push on, I decided I’d ask her where we would spend our honeymoon, a question she was well equipped to answer. Apparently we were to spend 2 weeks in lovely New Zealand doing a Lord of the Rings Adventure tour. Now this almost got me over the line, the thought of me in a fantastic blonde wig tracking the Uruk Hai to Isengard. However the Gandalf the Grey-Matter stood firmly against this.
Four hours of my life rolls on, I’m running out of dismissive nods, and finally after all of the endless marriage planning I was left with a single question. “What do you think?” I attempted to let her down gently, which proved significantly harder to do than normal as she seemed to be ignoring every word I said. I gave her a tentative, “I’ll need to think about it, before I commit to anything.” The words themselves seemed to destroy her, and if that didn’t the phone call three days later to suggest that we are clearly going in different directions in life really didn’t go down well, so it’s been a solid 7 years since that lovely evening, and I’ve never had a marriage proposal-proposal occur since, which is a real shame, I think my first round gave me a lot more confidence in having some input into planning our whole lives. In that time I’ve met a couple of women who I’d love to take on a Lord of the Rings Adventure tour, however, none of them have made it even close to the proposal-proposal stage, however my lovely reader, things will always go upward, or downward, from a second storey balcony, as you’ll find out next time.