I had been in Australia for a total of 45 days when I first met Mr Right.
I had moved to the other side of the world after deciding my life was going absolutely nowhere in England, UK (I don’t do things in half measures you see).I was making the same mistakes over and over again. I wasn’t happy with myself and an adventure was just what I needed – I will save the story of how I came to Oz for another blog.
My sister was the only person I knew in the continent, she had moved here a few years earlier. After growing tired of being a third wheel to her and her partner and from being single (2 years and counting)I decided to try Tinder.
I had used online dating previously in the UK and I had met some, sorry one decent guy who I was still friendly with. If anything it was a good way to meet people. Who knows maybe I was destined to be with an Aussie! I’d always liked men with accents, BBQ’s, sunshine and beaches all of which are available in excessive amounts in Australia! Also drinking alcohol from 10am is accepted and encouraged. It was meant to be!
So to get cracking with my profile, I decided to get some fresh new pictures. I applied makeup, back combed the shit out of my hair and attempted a couple of selfies. I looked like an awkward drag queen. This wasn’t going to work. I deleted Tinder, washed my make up off and threw a massive strop due to the fact I was going to be alone forever!
After about half an hour of being ridiculously dramatic, I began searching through my finest Facebook profile pictures. Luckily I had been to Melbourne with the girls the week before and there were some good photos of me adorned with false eyelashes and a cheeky, albeit slightly drunk smile! I once again downloaded Tinder and set up my profile with the aforementioned pictures and a witty paragraph detailing what I was about. I added that I wasn’t interested in men whose profile included photos of them shirtless or men who wore jewellery. There are a lot of those, the shirtless ones I mean and they are all posing with dogs or holding giant fish. At least, they are in Australia.
Anyways, there were a few swipes to the right and even more swipes to the left. A couple of conversations started but quickly came to a halt. I figured out that after a match, three messages were all it took before sex was brought to the table. I didn’t want to sit at that table, the chairs were uncomfortable and I didn’t particularly desire what was on the menu. This resulted in accusations of being a lesbian or boring. Yes, narcissistic man who’s name I can’t remember, because I don’t want to engage in this horrid exchange of sexual enthusiasm with you, a complete stranger – I must be gay! After all you are so utterly charming and not at all full of shit! How does – go fornicate with yourself grab you?
After about a week I grew bored. I remember discussing the nightmare that was Tinder one Sunday afternoon over drinks with some of the girls I had met through my sister (now they’re my friends too, YEY!). We agreed that no good can become of Tinder and I decided to delete it. The drinks were plentiful that day and it turns out I forgot.
I awoke the next morning, mouth as dry as Ghandi’s flip flop and a head heavier than the moon. FML! After checking my phone I realised I had a match with a guy. His profile showed that he owned shirts, no dogs or fish could be seen and he looked as genuine as you can in a photo. He had also messaged me “Hi Ashleigh, how are you today?”. In my fragile state, I didn’t see any harm in replying “Hi there, I could lie and tell you I am fine but I dying of a hangover”. He replied “Oh my god so am i! How bad are you on a scale of 1-10?”. I stated that I was easy sitting at an 8 and he said he was about the same. And so it continued. We became hangover buddies, indulging in each other’s company so as to distract ourselves from dehydrated hell.
Turns out he was from England also (about 100 miles west of me) and had been in Oz about 18 months. We messaged on through the week and in a bid to get to know each other better we had been taking part in the either/or game. Cowboy or Indian? Wine or beer? The Joker or Bain? You get the jist!
I was enjoying speaking to him and I looked forward to his messages, checking my phone more than I care to admit. We had exchanged numbers and began speaking via What’s app. One day I received a voice message from him; it was a rendition of Michael Bubles “Haven’t met you yet” but cleverly ending with the question “or have I?” Cheesy, yes! BUT that took balls. I was giddy; he had an accent and a lovely voice. This brought up the question of whether he was going to ask me out; he had mentioned showing me around but hadn’t really asked me out as such.
Eventually it happened (after I gave clear indication that he should) and we arranged a date for the Sunday night, he wanted to take me for dinner. I was really looking forward to it along with stressing out about silly things like whether I should offer to pay half, whether I would allow a goodnight kiss, whether he would even try to kiss me and so on and so forth. My normal mental behaviour!
On the Friday he asked what my plans were for the weekend other than going out with him. I said that I had no plans and it would probably be a quiet one. He turned up the dial on my crazy, when he asked me out for a drink that very evening. I of course panicked and overreacted; I had already told him I had no plans that night. I couldn’t very well say that I did have now and if I said no to this then that might mean that Sunday wouldn’t go ahead either. I had read somewhere that you should never accept a last minute proposal. I was mentally scrolling through all of the standard dating advice I’d ever read or heard, all of it conflicting! What a good lot that did! And what on god’s green earth would I wear? I was pacing the lounge, trying to call my sister for advice. She NEVER answers her calls; I was almost hyperventilating when she finally called me back. “Just go, it’ll be fun!” she encouraged. “I’ll be back around 5 so we can pick you out something to wear”.
I accepted the invitation as if I hadn’t almost had a meltdown and he gave me the options of bars we could go to by giving me a brief description. I went for cool and trendy which resulted in a wine bar and bistro called Gerties boasting smooth jazz and a range of international wines and beers.
My sister was not back for 5, I was dressed with my head in my hands when she arrived. I was considering sending a text to say I had changed my mind but I didn’t want to do something as cowardly as that just because I was a nervous wreck and imagining all kinds of things going wrong that would never happen in even my worst nightmares!
He had offered to pick me up from home; I figured this was safe as it was my sister’s boyfriend place. He was running late due to traffic so he text to say so, I replied with “I will be deducting points for you not being here on time”. Two minutes later he text to say he had arrived.
Even though my legs were like lead, I walked with more confidence than I felt to the awaiting car. Not even sure that it was the right car. As I got closer I saw there was no one in the driver’s seat. I WAS walking towards the wrong car! I faltered not sure of what to do next, that was when I noticed someone standing by the passenger side. I walked around the back of the car; they had not seen me coming. I figured if it wasn’t him I could keep walking and then walk around the block hopefully finding the correct car the next time round. It was him. I took in his relaxed stance; he was dressed in a suit and looked good. Twinkling blue eyes met mine followed by a shy smile. He said “Hello, how are you?” and opened the car door for me. I admit, I was impressed….TO BE CONTINUED