Saturday, November 28, 2009

On Dating and Men

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the modern in need of some serious lessons in subtly.

In the past few years I've had quite a few interesting dates and relationships that have made me question whether modern man's overuse of hair products is beginning to change the chemical composition in their brain for the worst. Example: Irish Boy.

Recently, whilst at a friend's send off, I met Irish Boy. He was tall, handsome with a straight roman nose and tousled sandy brown hair and gorgeous blue-green eyes. He really was rather cute, not to mention the sexy little Irish accent and adorable Irish humour. So when he asked for my number, I (against a nagging suspicion) gave it to him.

Upon further musing on why I gave my number in the first place I can only say that I had been in a very long drought. Very long. Suffice it to say that friends were considering opening up a charity fund. Yup, that long. And this drought scrambled my natural instincts enough that I actually gave Irish Boy a chance in Hell.

So we set up a date for Friday the week after we met.

I did my usual round of after-work drinks in the CBD, chillaxing over a few bottles of wine with some friends before heading off to meet him at the pre-designated bar, about a ten minute drive from the CBD. I left one bar for the other with many a good-luck wishes. Could the drought finally be over?

The bar we were meeting in was packed with the usual after work crowd - not so different from the place I had just left. Suited men with happy-it's-the-end-of-the-week smiles and gorgeous women in convertible office-to-evening dresses, chugging beers or sipping fine wines. The smell of weekend was in the air.

I paused in the doorway, scanned the crowd. No sign of Irish Boy. I made my way to the bar and leaned over to look at the menu. Within moments a bartender was there, leaning close and smiling.

"How are ya?"

I gave a crooked smile in return, "Good, you?" It's always better to be polite.

"I'd be better if I could be on that side with you," he gave me a toothy grin.

And then again, sometimes abrupt works too. "Can I just grabbed a Malibu and coke?"

I scanned my phone. Seeing no texts I decided to send a quick one to Irish Boy to let him know I was there.

Now, bars can be uncomfortable places for women standing on their own at the best of times . Put a rowdy after work crowd into one, and it becomes an embarrassing nightmare.

7.10pm. I text my friend setting her up for the "emergency get me out of this date" call.

7.15pm I text her again letting her know he's now 15 minutes late and Miss Punctuality is unimpressed.

7.17pm A text from Irish boy simply saying: Running late, will be there soon.

7.20pm I get a text from my friend telling me I should leave if he's not there in 5 minutes.

7.30pm I'm leaving when...

I see him cutting his way through the crowd with an apologetic look on his face.

"I'm so sorry, work caught me up, I thought you would have left by now."

If my smile was a little sharp and my comment a little cutting in reply, I could hardly be blamed. I let him kiss my cheek and murmured back, "Well, ladies are allowed to be fashionably late."

His sheepish look was hardly appeasing. "Did you want to have a drink here now? I can call the restaurant and put the reservation back. We're supposed to be there, well now."

By then it was almost 7.30pm, I was starving. "Let's just go for dinner."

Already, it was Strike One.

He opened the door (Good boy! My hopes started to rise again...) but then he pointed to the restaurant across the road and the hope came tumbling down.

"I've made a reservation just there."

Strike Two.

An Indian restaurant. Now, sweethearts, a word of warning. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, in this day and age, there are chances that it isn't a duck. Do not take an Asian-looking person to an Asian restaurant, and do not take a dark-skinned person to an Indian restaurant. Especially when said person speaks with an Anglo-American-Australian accent. Assuming really does make an ass out of you.

Biting my tongue I allowed him to lead me over. Once we were seated, in the awkward pre-silence of a first date, I leisurely scanned the menu, determined to let him think of the first topic. Maybe I shouldn't have, because he broke into another long apology about being late in the galloping rant of someone who is very uncomfortable with the situation.

I know I shouldn't have been, but I was amused - and may have let him carry on for a few minutes longer than necessary.

"That's fine," I cut in with a quick smile when he opened his mouth for another excuse. "What are you going to have?"

The rest of the meal, I have to say was surprisingly good. I nibbled on some chicken and we talked about travelling, what with me having just returned from Ireland a few months before, we had enough to talk about.

"The only thing I missed when I was in Ireland and the UK was coffee, I could have killed for a good cup of coffee," I said.

"Oh, so what's your favourite type of coffee?" he leaned in. I glanced at the hand on mine, raising an eyebrow internally. It was definitely not a hand-on-hand moment, so why the f*ck was he touching me?

"I usually get a skinny vanilla latte," I answered, still pondering the hand.

"Oh, well, I'll have to remember that for tomorrow morning."

Say what?

Strike 3.

Now if that wasn't bad enough, the comments deteriorated from there to: 1) How much his family would like me. 2) Some comment about marriage and wedding rings (pro-the above in the near future) 3) Children.

From watching countless films (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) you would think that these are classic female faux-pas...yet here he was making them with me.

On the up side, he did pay for dinner. On the down side as soon as we got out of the restaurant it was all paws on deck. PDA extravaganza. Teeth, tongue and drool. And another three offers to go back to his place despite the "Keep it in your pants" comment and the repeated attempts at a 30 cm rule enforcement.

Am I being difficult? Should I have to put up with the bad kissing, the cheesy lines, the all-hands and dry-humping on the first date? What happened to seduction? I'm not asking for romance, not at all - but sweetheart, don't treat me like a sure thing...because that's one thing I'm not.

Is there a genetic mutation or societal change happening that I'm not aware of? Are women becoming men and men taking on the stereotypical role of women? Clingy, needy, commitment-hogs?

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Origins, The Beginning...and, er, The End?

You might be wondering, "Who the f*** is Sisyphus and what the does she have to do with anything?"

First of all, Sisyphus is a "he", but then with a name like SIS-i-fus, it is an acceptable misunderstanding. Second, Sisyphus is rather a smart-aleck if you ever did meet one. But you won't because he's currently pushing a massive rock up a very large hill...only to have it roll down the hill once he gets to the top, so he has to start over.

A pointless exercise, but hey, that's the curse he's stuck with thanks to the Olympian gods. Tying Death up in the Underworld was apparently not the smartest thing Sisyphus had ever done. Well...I actually thought it was pretty ingenious...until Death got out.

This blog-idea (and title) all started when I began reading some articles on existentialism this week whilst researching another article that I am writing (which, surprisingly, I get paid to do). Whilst wading through my research, I stumbled across Albert Camus who wrote several existential works including - you guessed it - The Myth of Sisyphus, where he uses the analogy of Sisyphus to depict the futility of our existence.
Now, doesn't the grind of that stone up that hill sound familiar? Monday to Friday, nine-to-five...doesn't it just bait you, raise the angst, make you want to put down arms and yell "WHY??" Well, yes, I admit it, there is a poignant emptiness to Sisyphus's life, a meaninglessness, that struck a cord in my existentialist heart. But Camus does encourage perseverance despite the absurdity. What other choice is there?

It is after all in our nature to fight for life, to question our existence on Earth. Why are we hear, why for such a short time, who are we really? Are we defined by our actions or do our actions define us? An existentialist would debate that our existence precedes our essence (our values, belief, morals). In other words, we determine the meaning of our own life.

The basic beliefs are that every human has free will and the ability to shape their lives. But then, wouldn't everybody shape their lives to a better, higher place? Not necessarily monetarily, but for mere well-being?

Some of the most successful people are not successful because of mere luck. If all it took was a horse shoe to be Bill Gates I think there would be a lot more billionaires rolling around.

The question is are we ready for that sort of responsibility?

Well, it's Friday right now, so ask me again on Monday.

Oh, and as a finale on the First Post: I assure you that it has never been in my nature to be all doom and gloom (okay, I lie, I sometimes get neurotic tendencies like everyone else - momentary lapses of judgement), so you can definitely expect NOT to have a "the world is such a rotten place" rant in this blog. Unless I'm in a really pissy mood. Then I will bark like, you can figure it out.