IN AUSTRALIA, I don’t think I ever went on a proper date. I took girls to the movies, sure. Occasionally I would even splash out on a moderately priced restaurant. The thing with living in your hometown, however, is that you usually have a connection to everyone. You don’t just meet someone entirely random — they always know someone that knows you.
It takes a lot of the mystery out of the equation, and if there is one thing I like it is a mystery. That is why being in London is so appealing: the city is a virtual smorgasbord of options, with eligible bachelorettes from all over the world converging in the same place. I feel somewhat like the fat Austrian kid from Willy Wonka, gorging on the delights before inevitably overreaching and falling face-first into a river of chocolate.
I am still learning this whole dating thing, and so far I am pretty horrible at it. I have classic ‘chasing cars syndrome’ – like a dog chasing a car, I will run after everything I see without any clue of what to do when I eventually catch it. I have had some opportunity to practice my craft since being in London, and it is lucky that everyone is not connected here like they are at home. Because really? It has been woeful.
There appears to be a trend that is rapidly developing in my London dating life: my date getting incredibly drunk. I don’t mean a little bit giggly and tipsy either — plastered, seeing double, stumbling into traffic style drunkenness.
I should be prepared for this by now, yet it always unfolds the same way. Everything is going swimmingly at first, I am in the zone and shooting three-pointers with every witty comment and sly bit of flirtatious banter. The moment inevitably comes though, like a switch flicking over. The moment when I realise that we have crossed a line from alcohol being a social lubricant to a weapon of mass destruction.
The next thing I know, I have a slurring English girl falling asleep on my shoulder on the Tube as I try (usually in vain) to find out which stop is closest to her house so that I can deliver her to her doorstep in one piece. And in the end, there I am: walking through the icy rain, alone, hunting for the last open off-licence.
Dating in London has not really gone to plan so far. As the cliché goes, however, there is always more fish in the sea… and to catch a fish, it is best to cast a wide net.