January 2017. A Thursday. Sydney traffic is a nightmare on the best of days. So, when it came time for me to treat myself yet again to a long weekend away (to where else but Melbourne), I took no chances in being caught in the turtle race from one side of the city to the other. By leaving work a couple of hours earlier, I strategically gave myself ample amount of time to ditch my car on an unmetered suburban street and call an Uber to drop me off at the door of the domestic airport #valetbaby *cough* Stingy! *cough* Yes, yes, I too see this as somewhat pinching the penny, Just a tad. However, I would much rather spend the $170 I would have spent on airport parking on Pinot Noir and Nespresso Martinis. So, who’s laughing now? Cheers!
Thanks to Bill, and his super neat Audi kitted out with mints and bottled mineral water, I arrive at the check-in counter in record time. Five stars for Uber driver Bill. Five stars for me. Luggage drop off. Done. Security check. Done. Work emails. Done. As a result of my superb time management skills and penny-pinching abilities, I’ve been given an emergency exit row. Thank you very much, I’ll take it! And now we wait.
I sit in the waiting lounge and it too is superb. I love people watching. Who doesn’t? People are fascinating creatures. I take enjoyment in watching them line up before the flight has even been called, only to have to wait for everyone to board before the aircraft can actually become airborne. I scan oversized luggage and anticipate the reaction from the owners of this luggage when they are told their clothes will not be joining them inside the cabin today. Oh, and it’ll cost an extra $87 to have it transferred to their chosen destination. I inspect the boarding lounge for any potential male talent and pray to the travel gods to please seat Mr Hottie next to me, just this once, pretty please. And then the flight is called. Sydney to Melbourne. Here I come. Dressed in a wrap-around silk top, high-waisted denim Levi’s and heels, I’m ready to go from plane to bar in a fly, hop, skip and a jump.
Flying. Shmiling. It’s been seven years since I returned my sterling silver wings broach and hideous orange jacket. My early twenties were spent in the skies, meeting and greeting many Mr Hotties and being the deliverer of bad luggage news for many budget airline passengers. As a result of those four years of being abused and worked to the bone, I now dread flying, even when I am given the luxury of emergency exit rows. So fancy, darling.
I make my way down the aisle and as I approach my row, I reach up to place my belongings in the overhead locker. There’s not a lot of room because I’ve opted to board last. So, that’s why people line up early. And now I cannot seem to find any room for my handbag. Don’t worry, I’ve got this. Been here, done that, many times. I immediately put on my Flight Attendant hat and I start to rearrange the luggage like it’s totally okay for me to be fondling other people’s personal belongings. Just move that here. Slide that there. Push that in here.
In the midst of my organising, I look down to see… my breasts. Holy shit, my boobs are out. Yes, my boobs are out. Partly covered by a navy Sass & Bide lacy number, I’ve been rearranging luggage while putting on a strip show. I wondered why no one was questioning my fondling. My top has untied itself. My boobs are out. My hands are under a random person’s luggage. And my boobs are out. I look down to my right. Two young men are staring right at me, at my boobs. I look at them. They look down. I look down. They look at me. I cannot release my hands from the random leopard print beauty bag quick enough to re-tie my silk apparel. Mayday. Mayday. Yes, from the tarmac. Mayday.
I get my
shit shirt together and turn my attention back to the two young men who have surely got their value for money on their ticket to Melbourne. “Excuse me?” I grab their attention again, this time with my perky personality. “Excuse me? I’m sorry. I just need to get past you there. I’m seated at the window.” I’m seated at their window. Mayday. Stepping over their stretched-out legs in the advantageous leg room section of the aircraft, I take my seat. I’m clothed. Boobs are concealed. Let’s go.
The real Flight Attendant finally gets to work. “Has everyone placed their luggage in the overhead locker?” she asks us. So, it turns out Flight Attendant, Mandie, wasn’t adhering to her boarding duties, that being, scanning passengers for suspicious behaviour, boobs out would definitely be considered suspicious, Mandie, and monitoring luggage allocation, you just stare out the window, you’re all good, Mands, I’ve got this. Mandie looks in my direction. “Gosh, I can’t wait to get home. I’m so tired. What are you guys up to?” I’m certain I look like a deer in headlights. After a moment of silence, I reply, “Ahhh, flying to Melbourne?” Mandie seems surprised, “Oh, cool.” Is this real life?
“So, you’re seated at an over-wing exit today. Have you been seated in an emergency row before?” Mandie asks, ducking her head awkwardly under the overhead lockers. I pipe up. “Yeah, I use to work for you guys. Years ago now. I know the drill. Vaguely. Probably just enough to save myself and the two gentlemen to my left, so we’re all good.” The two men laugh, just enough to make things slightly less awkward. Mandie now looks like a deer in headlights. “Oh, well, I’ll have to brief you then. We need to save as many people as possible.” It’s a joke, Mandie. Brief away.
Post-briefing, Mandie disappears and I’m left to untangle my headphones without her peculiar presence. “Excuse me?” The bearded guy on the aisle seat looks over in my direction. “Yes?” I reply. “Are you Simone from Married At First Sight who married that guy who was totally wrong for you?” What the…? “Yes, I am”, I reply. He seems thrilled with my response. “My wife is a huge fan. Her name is Simone, too. She reads your blog and I’ve read your blog. She follows you on Instagram. Can I get a selfie?” In the midst of his bold confession, I’ve come to realise the man to my left is in fact a ‘Mr Hottie’.
Dressed in reading glasses and a cap, Row 27 Seat E has some serious Clarke Kent-turn-Superman potential. Prior to leaving the tarmac, the three of us are on a first name basis. We take off and it’s not long before Mr Married Guy aka Ben*, Mr Hottie aka Kent* and I are deep in conversation about the ins and outs of reality TV over a glass of red. Not an avid watcher of reality TV, Kent has no idea about the show I was on nor this dating blog his friend is questioning me about.
We land in Melbourne. Within an hour and a half, I learn that Kent is a single thirty-something-year-old accountant, living alone in Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. He enjoys his work and has been single for six months. Kent is an avid surfer and golfer who loves the beach, surf and sun. He’s got the tan to prove it. There’s no other way to put this – we get along like a house on fire. I’m almost certain that every other passenger has it out for us as we are clearly those annoying, loud, tipsy passengers that will: Just. Not. Shut. Up. Even Ben interrupts to declare, “I feel like I’m third wheeling.” #sorrynotsorry
Melbourne. As we wait for a break in the disembarkation madness, Mandie joins in on our conversation. “So, are the three of you in Melbourne for a particular reason?” I reply, “Yeah, the tennis.” Kent replies, “Yeah, same.” Mandie is thrilled with our answer. “Oh, I love the tennis! It’s going to be so hot. I hope you packed comfortable clothes.” I reply, “Yeah, I’m totally organised. Got my fleuro sweat bands, my visa and pleated tennis skirt. I’m all good.” Mandie questions, “Really?!” I reply, “No, not really Mandie.” She says, “Oh, because I was going to say, you don’t have to wear tennis clothes to the tennis.” It’s a joke, Mandie.
Upon reaching the baggage carousel, Kent turns to me. “So, I’m thinking I should take your number. Just in case you get lost in Melbourne this weekend.” Smooth. I like. I put my digits into his phone, exit the terminal, giving Ben his requested selfie before going our separate ways. I jump in my Uber. Wine bound. Being a passenger isn’t that bad after all. Two minutes later. Phone chimes. Kent. “Nice meeting you. Hope you get to your accommodation safe!” Well played. I like.
Friday night. “After work drinks”. Such a hard day working the shopping strip of Melbourne, I’m desperate for a wine. I meet with a few of the MAFS alumni and their friends for champers. So fancy, darling. We drink. And drink. And drink some more. Kent has texted me throughout the day, questioning my whereabouts. He’s at the tennis. I’m at Garden State. 11PM. Who shows up?
Well, well, well. Clarke Kent is Superman. What did I tell you? He is Mr Hottie. He is… divine. I know, it’s like my favourite word. But, for those of my friends who have seen a photo of Kent, they’ve all responded with, “Oh, he is very good looking.” I’m filled to the brim with champers and Superman has come to rescue me. Or drink with me. Whatever. He’s here, dressed in a blue button-up and he looks dashing. Dashing and divine. He’s been drinking with Federer all evening. He’s as happy as… Federer. We talk about everything and anything. Nothing is off limits. I like this. No need to sugar coat anything. No need to read between the lines. It’s clear – he wants to settle down, get married and have a family. He’s thirty-three. He’s ready. No bullshit. I like.
Saturday. Very early hours of the morning. My feet are killing me and I’m pretty sure I have pash-rash. So fancy, darling. Yes. Kent and I are just like highschool kids at an underage disco, mackin’ on, on the dancefloor. Come 4AM, I’m calling it. I need sleep. We walk through the city and we end up in Federation Square. It’s just me and Superman and Melbourne’s cool breeze. We say goodnight with another mack on session and go our separate ways. Yes, he may be divine but it’ll take more than twenty-four hours, some good dance moves and a tanned six-pack to convince me to share a bed with you. Bloody morals. It’s clear as the day about to dawn on us – we get along. We have fun. What more do I need?
Saturday. Mid-morning. Phone chimes. Kent. “How’s the head today? Feeling okay?” We text back and forth throughout the day. He has planned a golf day. I have planned a day of socialising. Our texts go back and forth, hours in between. My head hits the pillow at 3AM, with no response to my last text sent at 10PM.
Sunday. 10AM. Phone chimes. Kent. “I’m back in Sydney! You’re off to the tennis today?” Wow. He’s Superman alright! “Yep. I’m here now, just waiting on a friend with the tickets! Didn’t realise you were leaving so early!” He replies, “Yep. Well, enjoy.” Weird reply. But, okay. Enjoy I will.
Wednesday. 9PM. Phone chimes. Kent. “So, I’m watching Married At First Sight. God, this show is so bad. How’s your week been?” A few texts back and forth, we agree to catch up that coming weekend “for sure”, according to him. I have a wedding booked for Saturday in Manly and he is free any time bar Saturday. Easy done.
Sunday. 11AM. I text Kent. “Hi, how has your weekend been? What are you up to today?” Five hours later. Phone chimes. Kent. “Hey, I’ve been at the beach all day. So hot! Love it! Just came home to get some food and heading back down.” I reply, “Just working on that tan, hey?” Phone chimes. Kent. “Haha. Yep.” It’s a hot day. He’s at the beach. I let him be, with the sun and the surf. The weekend is over.
Thursday. 9PM. Phone chimes. Kent. “Hey, how’s your week been? Are you around the beaches this weekend?” I reply (not immediately! Gees Louise!) “I am actually. I’m around Sunday late afternoon. If you want to see me, let me know.” He replies, “Sunday sounds great.”
Sunday. 1PM. Phone chimes. Kent. “Hey, how’s your weekend? I’ve been at the beach all day. Are you free to meet this afternoon?” I reply, “Sure, I’m just at the beach myself so perhaps later this evening?” Me already being at the beach sounds like the ideal time and place in Kent’s books. I assume this is so he can see me, work on his tan at the same time and show off his abs of steel. Perfect date for him. Multiple birds. One stone. For me, not so much. It’s not ideal. I’m not tanned. I was planning on instant fake tanning the shit out of my skin prior to seeing him. He has yet to learn my hair is naturally curly not silky and wavy. I’d take this confession to the grave if I could. I’m wearing a mismatched bikini and I’m still getting over the carb-drinking binge from Melbourne two weeks prior. But, I will agree because well, why not? And this may be the only time our schedules align for quite some time.
We spend three hours together. Three sober hours. The conversation is fine, it flows. Well, to be honest, it isn’t as riveting as our drunken conversations two weeks prior, but it’s fine. If anything, Kent makes it clear that his short-term plan is to get a girlfriend, live together, get married, start a family, but until then, his focus is work and travel. Pretty standard. However, he also makes it clear that he isn’t quite ready to give up the drunken weekends and international surfing trips with “the boys”. Kent openly shares that the reason why he and his last live-in girlfriend of eighteen months didn’t last the distance was because “she didn’t keep enough things for herself”. Now, this is where my dating expertise comes in handy and my alarm bells ring at almost a deafening volume.
Of course, I could certainly be jumping to all sorts of conclusions here, but here’s how I understood what Kent was saying, because, you see, I’ve been here before. I’ve dated these types of guys before. Why can’t these girls stay independent in a relationship? they ask themselves. And then… bam! They kick you to the kerb. You see, that’s where you’re wrong, Clarke Kent. There’s a difference between a woman being independent and a woman who is asking, expecting, and wanting to spend quality time with you, even if you do live together. I can clearly remember asking my ex-boyfriend of two years to go out to dinner on a weekend night with me, only to have him reply, “Why? We live together. I see you every day.” Barmp-barmp. Wrong answer, dickhead. I kicked him to the kerb. Eventually.
Kent’s admission was followed up with the question, “What do you think of that?” I politely answered, “Yeah, it’s important to keep your independence. I get that”, when I really should have said, “If I wanted to be “independent” – spend all my weekends with my girlfriends and wait at home for you to return from yet another once in a lifetime surfing holiday – I’d stay single and be at the beach by myself right now.” But I felt that would have been interpreted as, ‘Ah, she crazy! Crazy I tell ya!’ And I didn’t want Superman to think I was crazy. You know?
We end the date… date? I don’t think it was a date. I feel like it was casual catch up. He gives me a kiss on the cheek and says, “Good to see you. Have a nice week.” He couldn’t have gotten out of there quick enough. And he loves the beach! Mayday. Yes – from the beach. Mayday.
Two days later. I text Kent. “Happy Birthday! It’s raining on your parade! Nevertheless, I hope you have a great day! X” Phone chimes. Kent. “Thank you!”
Three and a half weeks later. Today. I never heard from Kent again.
Elvis Superman has left the building.
Was it my mismatched bikini? Or my Melbourne wine-food baby? Was it my lack of tan? Or the unexpected Curly Temple-like wig? Was it my face without makeup? Or my inability to handle the waves with grace? Was is my unconvincing response of, “Yeah, it’s important to keep your independence”? Or was it simply that holidays and alcohol combined make everything seem so much better than what it actually is and I wasn’t as he remembered? Who knows.
I’m not surprised by his unexplained departure. Nor am I disappointed or disheartened by this organic connection by fate, instantly lit, only to be put out within a few short weeks, without really having the opportunity to get the fire started. The sad truth is… Is sad the right word? Yes. It is. The ‘sad truth’ is, I’ve become all too accustomed to men telling me, “You’re so nice, you’re so funny, you’re so cool, you’re so much fun…” only to have them leave the building, taking the hidden exit, never to be seen or heard from ever again before anything really begins. Completely unexplained. Completely unexpected. Yet, completely the norm.I’m sure many of you can relate. Am I right? And no, I never texted him. Rule #1: If he doesn’t call, he’s not into you. Simple.
With no word from Clarke Kent for almost a month now, and with absolutely no desire to find out if it was my pasty skin tone, my carb-baby, or merely my ‘mediocre’ personality that turned him off touching me forevermore, I’m well and truly onto the next.
Speaking of “the next”, his name is Aiden*. We have a date scheduled for this weekend. Third date in ten days in fact. I know! It’s a PB! Here’s hoping he doesn’t take the hidden exit.