Sunday, October 4, 2009

A cafe rendevous: my internet dating adventure continues

Slightly Nutty recently got back into the internet dating saddle and wrote in this blog about a prospective meeting with an unattached Gentleman. I promised to provide a ‘date update’, so here goes!

The Gentleman and I arranged to meet in a café in the inner eastern suburb of Camberwell last Saturday morning. His choice of café was inspired: it was quiet, with upmarket but soothing décor, a fire in a closed grate that emanated a silent warmth, next to an intimate, cushioned conversation nook. A delicate morning sun outside. Blessedly no upbeat, irritatingly superfluous music to batter the ears.

Even the timing was good; he entered seconds after I’d sat down, and put out his hand for me to shake. All four people in the establishment stared and must have realised immediately that it was some kind of pre-arranged and probably internet-inspired first date, which I jokingly told him off for, but really, who cared?

Another good sign: he ordered peppermint tea. That’s exactly what I’d been planning to order and I’d been determined not to mention my food intolerances, initially at least. Such relief not to have to explain why I was not scrabbling for a coffee hit.

The Serepax was working beautifully. I’d taken it the night before, planning to capitalise on the double advantage of a good night’s sleep and the anxiety reduction that, for me, continues well into the next day. (I’m an extremely strategic user of benzos and may write a blog entry about this in future.)

I knew the Gentleman had a South African accent and, as it’s not my favourite accent, I was (at the risk of sounding racist) worried that I’d find it too strong. But it was a soft version that sounded almost English.

So what actually happened? How did we get on?

The Gentleman and I are very different – he’s a ‘financially secure’ executive who devours books on world politics and economics, I’m a delicate would-be writer struggling to carve out a living as a part time editor/copywriter. But there were commonalities. I love solving the problems of the world, as he does, and we wrangled with that for quite a while before going into detail about the kinds of films we both liked and why we liked them.

He sat opposite me with his half-smile, a sureness and strength there that I liked. He had solid, meaty shoulders I could imagine cupping my hands on. A goodness of heart, and no anxious desire to impress. Perhaps he is too strong for me but maybe I can throw some conversational punches at him that he won’t be fazed by.

Throughout the chat, in my benzo-induced calm, I struggled with feelings of disappointment: acknowledging them, and wondering what they meant. He was clearly not my soulmate: there was no perfect click, no pure and joyful meeting of minds. I had not found the ultimate home of my soul and my heart, the place at which I could finally rest my head, metaphorically speaking.

I’m embarrassed to read that last paragraph. My last post suggested that because I’d met the Gentleman on a dodgy site, my expectations were going to be lower and I would not be disappointed if we did not find ourselves so dizzily in love that locating the second date at a registry office would be an inevitability.

Bullshit. I brought to the meeting all my deepest desires, and every single girlish hope and fantasy I’d ever harboured.

But here’s the thing: they were tempered with the realism I’ve painfully acquired. I’ve come to a point in my life when I am prepared to compromise to a greater degree than ever before, but only if my intuition – my gut feeling – wills it. I can finally let myself follow that flow in matters of the heart, but I’m also intellectually able to recognise the reality of what’s out there for me now, what someone at my stage of life, and in my work situation and state of mind, can reasonably expect. If I can bring these two things together, intuition and a realistic outlook, it may be possible for me to strike a balance between my youthful dreams and the reality of some kind of relationship, even if that relationship does not live up to society’s current ideal, and cannot fulfil every single need I harbour.

But that’s all still just a possibility. The Gentleman and I will probably have a second meeting. And that’s as far as things have got at this juncture.

One step at a time.


  1. Dear Catherine

    At least your date sounds like he could string a few sentences together - unlike a few of my own. So what is in store: friends, weekend lovers or the gradual fading away when our standards are not met? And why not have a delicious distraction for your own pleasure?

    Yours sincerely

  2. Dear Kim,

    He certainly was a bit of a talker - but I can see that someone with little to say would be quite difficult for the opposite reason!

    I'm hoping there could be something of the 'delicious distraction' in what happens next. Weekend lovers sounds fun too, and if a friendship developed (with or without something more) that would be a bonus!


  3. Hello Catherine,

    I have been away for a length of time, and have just begun to catch up on your blog.

    I admire your courage in persuing internet dating, and, as I have found my best friend/soul mate via a less conventional (re: accidental) internet meeting, I wish you every success in finding a friend/lover/partner via the internet.

    Be brave enough to love yourself, Catherine, for if one does not love oneself, one can not expect someone else to love us.


  4. Hi Gaye,

    Good to hear from you. I've been enjoying reading about your camping trip, which sounded great, and I loved the pics!

    Thanks for the wishes re the dating. It's hard putting myself on the line every time I meet someone new. I know I'll be okay if I just keep listening to myself, and yes, try to love myself -- again, that is hard for me sometimes!