A Perfect Date with a Perfect Stranger
Dating App: None! No technology used. Completely Analogue/ Organic
Location: Cafe, Melbourne, Australia
Day/Time: Saturday, morning
Not His Real Name: Dan
I’d been a bad girl.
My mum’s birthday was the next day and I hadn’t booked anywhere to have a celebratory brunch! Father’s Day was also to fall on her big day. Good luck booking somewhere decent! Good luck trying to placate mum as I imagined standing in line somewhere random for an hour, navigating hordes of families and screaming kids. I was looking down the barrel of a miserable Sunday. A solution needed to be found, stat! I also needed to make sure I looked presentable. My hair was particularly dry, often thrown into a messy knot and if mum saw me with my hair up “one more time..!”
But what to do first? Check out a potential café for birthday brunch or get my hair done?
Until I drove to the end of my street I didn’t know the answer. Instinctively I turned left towards the salon, not realising at the time the incredible case of sliding doors I was about to experience. My usual hairdresser was closed so I headed towards a random outfit who said they could only see me in an hour and a half. Argh. I checked one more alternative but it was a four hour wait – no thanks.
So I had an hour and half to kill.
Melbourne happened to be putting on a rare show of beautiful Spring weather. The sun was out and I decided to sit alfresco at a cafe around the corner that I hadn’t been to in years. Luckily I got the last table for two and sat amongst a crowded courtyard, all of us defrosting, greedily soaking up the delicious warmth of the sun like lazy lizards after a long cold Winter. Shortly after my long black arrived and whilst I was contemplating the direction of my life (seriously I was), I heard someone say,
“Would you mind if I sit here?”
I looked up to see a man in shorts, a plaid, long sleeve shirt, a beanie, sunglasses and a big smile. Whilst I would have said yes to anyone who had asked, he happened to be cute as well. At that moment, I was glad to be sitting on my own, with a chair to spare.
“Of course,” I said, “it’s too nice not to sit in the sun today.”
The next 15 minutes or so was spent in awkward silence, keeping to ourselves across a small round table, gauging the appetite for interaction, nether wanting to appear too eager. Eventually he broke the ice with a funny joke to the waitress about the barista. I laughed, avoiding his gaze but still letting him know that he nailed it. Humour wins again! And masterfully, he had taken charge of the situation without being pushy. My reaction was a nod to engage and we proceeded to spend the rest of the day and evening together. It turned out that Dan was a local, on the way back from the gym when he decided to stop in for breakfast and ask if he could join me. There was an unmistakable connection, the conversation flowed, we made each other laugh, he was smart, successful and there was clearly a mutual attraction. Eventually I had to leave for my hair appointment even though I really wanted to stay. Thankfully he suggested we catch up again once I’d finished and gave me his number to touch base if I was interested.
There’s no discounting the impact an interaction like this can have; I went to the hairdresser feeling excited, self-assured and extra talkative.
Of course I messaged Dan and we returned to the same café. On the way back, hair styled and curled, I was reminded of the European flavour that Melbourne exudes and how much I love this city. The hair stylist I’d just seen was French, the café is Italian and different accents and languages peppered the alfresco dining area. It’s also situated in a gorgeous little tree lined street, which could easily be mistaken for anywhere in Western Europe. Best of all I had the flutter of potential, the thing we’re all looking for as we make our way through the dating maze; the craving for mutual interest, connection and hope. I was happy.
Two more coffees and two red wines later, I was feeling completely comfortable and grateful for the experience. It’s at this point that he said,
“Ok I have to go back home and do a few things.”
“Yeah, sure, no problem.” I said assuredly, even though I felt like a glass of water had just been thrown in my face.
‘Wake up!’ I thought.
Until he said “Did you want to catch up for dinner later?”
Aaaaaaand we’re back.
‘Yeah, sounds good’ I said.
There were no games, clearly we were interested in each other and pretending we weren’t felt like the domain of people we didn’t want to be. We also shared similar interests, seemed to have the same values and just communicated seamlessly. I’d not thought about much else during the day which was a gift, given I did in fact have big issues to consider, in general. What I’d also failed to do was move my car and was slapped with an $88 fine. I guess it was somewhat offset by this wonderful man insisting on paying for all the days’ consumables. A gentleman indeed!
After a couple of hours, a shower and change of clothes later, we met up for drinks and dinner and picked up exactly as we’d left off. The need to keep engaging and be in the presence of one another was mutual and constant. Many laughs, drinks, flirtations and compliments later and having essentially been on three dates in one day, a physical interpretation was inevitable. No, you naughty voyeurs, nothing was consummated… in the official sense, but yes, I did go back to Dan’s place.
As I made my way home later that night, a strange thing happened, I realised that this was an incredible person with whom I’d spent a magical day and night, but that’s all it was. Once again we were on the same page. A random case of sliding doors and a willingness to be open and let new people into our lives brought us together for an experience we both needed and indulged in.
There are certain things in life that mark themselves in memory, pops of reality, distinct things that happen to ground you in a place and time that can’t be forgotten. This experience is without doubt one of those. The ultimate date, divine in its simplicity and removed of pressure or expectation. Thank you for a perfect day you beautiful, kind, perfect stranger. I hope we’re both able to find exactly this in each of our next relationships and that they are ever-lasting.
Mum’s birthday was great by the way, no booking was made but there were no lines either.
A very successful weekend all around.
Do you have an incredible sliding doors dating story? Leave a comment below or contact me and tell me all about it!