To avoid a defamation case, I’m going to call this one ‘Michael.’
I met Michael on Tinder, I think. His bio was great – talked about how he wasn’t going to send dick pics. Oh how low the bar is set! He liked football (I used to like football, could probably get back into it), and he was a bit cute with his South American heritage and rueful-looking smile. We hit it off straight away.
The chat was great – he said all the right things. We liked the same things, wanted the same things. He was understanding of my situation and even praised single mothers. Even though he was ‘only 27’ I had a good feeling about this one.
Our first date took us to the Kangaroo Point cliffs. He wanted to sit on the other side, on the actual cliff-top, but Sensible Sally here said no way. So we shared some cider, which was slightly warm but I didn’t complain, and chatted. He talked about his crazy family and how he’d recently taken up running. He talked a lot, actually. I think he was nervous.
He doesn’t have a relationship with his father and a strained one with his sister, but is a total mummy’s boy. I wasn’t sure any of that was a good sign. I’m big on family – mine is very loving and supportive and will roast you endlessly. I can’t imagine not having a loud and large Christmas, as much as it may grate on me on the actual day.
He actually asked if he could kiss me. Bless his cotton socks! What a gentleman. I said yes. It was spectacular. We headed to a place in Paddington for some takeaway gnocchi (this date’s gettin’ better and better!) and returned to my place to watch a movie (the parentals were away don’t panic I’m not weird). We snuggled on the couch which was really lovely, and watched a stand-up comedian on Netflix.
We meet for lunch on work days because he was finding it difficult adjusting to not being able to see me at the drop of a hat or every weekend. Like you would with normal girls who aren’t single parents who also live with their parents. It’s possible that this was fairly understandable, but I immediately get on the defensive saying that I’m either worth it or not. It’s my sore point, can you tell? I can’t help how things are and I certainly do not take any criticism for it. I say that if things continue going well, eventually he can come over whenever he wants and enjoy the pure joy that is my home and my family.
He also criticises my lack of exercise because he doesn’t understand that being a single parent who works part time doesn’t leave much room for exercise. But that also chasing after a four year-old means you’re actually pretty active. Buuuut that also I couldn’t care less about donning lycra at this point in my life. Don’t get me wrong, healthy living or balanced living is important to me. I just don’t feel a gym membership is a requirement for ‘balance’. It’s moments like these where I sense an undercurrent of misogyny or something not quite right, and try to remind myself ‘he’s only 27’.
At one point we argue because I hadn’t contacted him in a 24-hour period. OH THE HUMANITY. I am accused of not really being ready for a relationship and “not in this 100%”. Jesus effing Christ, I think. I tell him to calm down and respect the busy nature of my life, and that also – he could have contacted me at any point in that 24 hours and didn’t have to wait for me to get the conversation going. I hear an alarm in the distance..
For the second date he invites me over to his place so he can cook me dinner. Another red flag is that he lives with randoms, including a pregnant teenage girl, in a house in a less-than-undesirable suburb. It’s ok, don’t judge I say. At least he’s not at home! (lol) I knock and a girl tells me his room is the one down the hall with the tie on it (is the tie a sign not to come in.. you know.. like the sock on the handle?) Anyway, he’s watching football but the game is almost over. I climb up onto his unmade bed beside him and try not to make it obvious that I’m trying not to touch anything.
So dinner is Mexican. I watch him attempt to chop up onion (it’s chunky), then he fries the mince and adds in the flavour sachet. He zaps all of the Old El Paso stand ‘n’ stuff thingys in the microwave. They don’t cook evenly though because he didn’t separate them from each other first. Don’t judge – he’s young, and what he’s doing is really nice. Have some more wine.
There was some cheese involved and some tomato because I said yes when asked if I wanted it (he didn’t have any so he seemed annoyed at having to chop it up just for ME). The meal is so completely average but I eat it politely. He’s so sweet cooking me dinner!!
I then watched him do the “washing up” which he insisted he do, not me (ok that’s a tick – I fucking hate doing it). But he basically rinsed things and gingerly used one of those cleaning brushes with the detergent in the handle, which was empty. So essentially not really cleaning anything at all. I tried not to gag knowing I’d just eaten food that touched those things. He then stacked it all on top of existing “clean” dishes, so none of it was going to dry properly. Another mild gag. He’s 27.. he’s 27..
We went back to his room where he insisted I just had to watch The World’s Greatest Showman movie. Which if you’ve seen it, I really didn’t have to see it did I? It’s fucking terrible. He suggested we get ice cream from the servo for dessert. Good call! What a roller-coaster this night is. As we’re driving he says ‘don’t judge me, but whenever I eat ice cream I have to drink milk at the same time.’
Me: ‘Ok.. why?’
Him: ‘I just do.’
So I get a magnum ice cream from the freezer but he opts for quite a large tub of Ben and Jerry’s and a large carton of milk. I get uneasy about this milk/ice cream combo thing.
We head back to his place and what follows is one of the most off-putting scenes I’ve ever witnessed. Propped up in his bed, he proceeds to eat the ENTIRE tub of ice cream, peppered with large swigs of the milk. The sound alone is horrific. Hence the title of this post. I now understand his new-found ‘love’ of running. He’s high-risk for fatty.
Whilst this post is PG, some action did follow but needless to say with the smell of dairy in the air, it was not good.
The following morning I wake up early because his vertical blinds are falling apart so light floods in. In the light of day I can see the shabby backyard and I hear the neighbour’s chickens. I can’t fall back asleep. He farts and I am instantly furious. Sunday is my only day to myself and where I get to sleep in, and here I am in the bowels of Brisbane’s westside with this goddamn milk-guzzling, farting, recently fat Numpty. He whispers that he’s going to the gym and will be back soon.
No wonder you’re going to the gym – to curb your ice cream/milk habit you fat fuck. I am not a morning person. I also have a potty mouth in case you weren’t sure.
This rubs salt into my wounds. This is the guy who “struggles” with not seeing me enough or at any time he wants to, yet he leaves me on the one day we can actually spend together to go to the gym? Right. Yeah, nah.
I wait until he gets back where he proceeds to hush me because I am laughing too loud at Brooklyn Nine Nine, which I have been watching on my phone to fill the time. More salt. He walks in violently whisking eggs and says he’s making me breakfast – scrambled eggs – isn’t he dreamy!? Well first of all you’re ruining it with that technique you moron – everyone knows you scramble in the pan, bro (I did not say this out loud). He says he’s never made them before. I frown on the inside. Being twenty-seven is no longer an excuse for things, it’s a downright turn-off.
Naturally the eggs are awful: served with chunks of under-cooked onion on heavily buttered bread. I cannot wait to get myself out of here so I quickly thank him “for everything!” and head home.
In my opinion, Michael treats women how he ‘thinks’ they should be treated, but it does not come naturally to him because he’s never seen it in action. This is definitely not the case for all children of separated parents (I should fucking hope not), but to me it seems like he has to try hard to fit the mould. I’m sure one day he will get there – his intentions were good and he was sweet enough. But at my age and after everything I’ve been through, I won’t settle. I won’t keep pushing a triangle into a circle hoping it will eventually fit and feel right, because I know now that it won’t.
When he texts me later I am with Hardy so I tell him I’ll call him later. ‘Why call?’ he says. ‘Just say what you want to say.’ Yeah righto, mate. He’s obviously picked up on my vibes.
‘I don’t think we should see each other any more – I don’t feel we are a good match.’
‘Ok. That’s your choice,’ he writes back.
It sure is buddy.
And then I go for a run.
Thanks to Michael for encouraging me to live a more balanced lifestyle and for introducing me to one of the best shows I’ve ever watched – Brooklyn Nine Nine. Everyone comes into our life for a reason, right?
Image from Ben and Jerry’s.