6 // The official first date

“What are you doing tonight?” The last real man asked one Saturday morning.

“Nothing, why?” I said half  asleep.

“Well, I have this engagement party tonight. Do you want to come with me?”

Like a spring I sat up in bed and just looked at him. “What, seriously, an engagement party?” I said, looking at him in disbelief.

“Yeah. I’ve talked to my mate and he said it’s fine for you to come.”

You’ve talked to your mate? It’s fine for me to come? The words echoing inside my spinning head. Talk about pre-organising! How long had he been contemplating this little invitation I wondered.

I accepted the surprise invite and found myself unexpectedly excited. It wasn’t the fact that he wanted to spend the entire weekend together, but that he was comfortable enough with me and the relationship to introduce me to his friends. I felt like I was being invited into his inner circle and that he was happy to show me off. With the exception of meeting the family, this, I thought, was a big step forward.

After confirming plans for the night he left and said he’d be back around 4pm. My head was still spinning, this guy had everything planned to perfection.

My heart was pounding with excitement as I rummaged through the wardrobe to find an appropriate dress. I’d managed to keep a man in my life for six weeks and one who really appeared to want me as much as I wanted them. I had to make a good impression and win the tick of approval with everyone I’d meet.

He arrived back at my house, beers in hand and ready for a night out.

“You look nice,” he said as I opened the door.

“You don’t look so bad yourself,” I quipped. He’d scrubbed up very well indeed!

We headed out and my first assignment was to meet his best friend. We arrived, introductions were made and then the awkwardness of the situation kicked in. It was clear to see that the last real man didn’t introduce many, if any, dates to his best mate. He was pleasant to me, as was his girlfriend, but I didn’t feel that immediate “click” you get with some people. All things aside, I liked this couple and I tried my best to interact with them and get to know them. After a couple of drinks and some chit-chat we were off to the engagement party. There was good banter between us all in the car and I finally felt like I was now holding my own.

Upon arrival, we were greeted at the door by the groom-to-be, and I was introduced. “I’ve heard a lot about you; nice to meet you. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of you.”God I hope so I thought. Although right now, I’m not exactly sure what I am. I haven’t actually been introduced with the title of girlfriend. Early days I thought.

The night progressed with more introductions, drinks, food, speeches, dancing and flowing conversation.

Now as many girls will attest, some men aren’t exactly liberal with telling a girl how they truly feel, and certainly not in the early stages of a relationship. However, when you bring beer into the equation feelings soon start to flow.

There was one point during the night that I caught the last real man just looking at me. Naturally thinking he’d over indulged on the truth serum, I laughed and said, “What are you looking at?”

“You,” he said. “I’m struggling to find anything I don’t like about you.” The words poured out with such sincerity and emotion, it was like it was just him and me in the room. I moved closer to him and echoed his words. “I’m struggling to find anything I don’t like about you either,” and followed up with a lingering kiss.

It was at this point that a very drunken friend appeared and flung his arm around the last real man. “All right mate, how long’s this been official then?” he said. Looking a little shell-shocked, the last real man replied, “well, now I guess.” “You’ve done well there mate,” he quipped as the last real man answered back with a cheeky grin.

By this stage the night had started to slow down and we were all ready to head home. From the moment I jumped in the car the last real man held my hand so tight like he never wanted to let it go. To this day, that night is still vivid and sticks in my mind. It was a night that I didn’t want to end because the last real man was such a perfect date.

5 // Mr. fix it

Four weeks in and things were rolling along at a steady pace with the last real man. Regular text, calls and all weekend dates were happening. The relationship, and our friendship, appeared to be flourishing.

This guy operated to a routine in everyday life, you could just about set your watch by him. His response time to a text message or call was faster than the speed of light. Unless he was flat out at work, rarely did I have to wait any longer than 20 minuets for a reply.

If I didn’t see him on a Friday night, and if we hadn’t planned anything for the weekend, you could guarantee a text or call by 10:30AM Saturday morning to make plans. I’ve never known a man so dedicated or consistent. He never once canceled on me and he made me feel like I was a priority in his life.

One Saturday afternoon he came over after a swim at his local pool. After about 15 minuets he asked me, “Do I smell like chlorine to you?”

I sniffed his arm. “A little bit, but nothing over-powering,” I replied

“Do you mind if I have a shower?”

“Sure, go for it,” I said.

10 minuets later he came bounding out of the bathroom.

“Your water pressure isn’t very good,” he said.

“What do you mean? My water pressure is fine,” I responded.

He walked over to the kitchen sink and opened the taps fully and noted the pressure difference.

“Must be the shower head; I’ll take a look,” he said.

He disappears outside to his work ute and returned with a few tools. After a few moments of clanging and banging the shower head was off, cleaned and put back together. This was actually quite a turn on, this guy was my own personal Mr. Fix it! What a win! What a keeper!

“It’s not great, but it’ll do. I’ll get you a new one,” he said.

Two days later I received a call at work.

“I’m at the hardware store getting you a shower head. What style do you want?” he asked.

“Umm, I don’t know, what do they have?” I said.

All of a sudden the screen of my phone fills up with shower heads.

“I’ve just sent you a photo. Pick the one you want and I’ll put it in on Saturday,”

I picked out the one I wanted and said i’d call him after work.

As promised, my new shower head was promptly put in on the Saturday. The last real man was certainly going above and beyond for the new woman in his life.

4 // That one guy

There’s always that one guy who turns your world upside down. The one you think: I’ll never find anyone like you again. Little did I know the last real man would be that guy.

I was working in the golf industry when I met the last real man. He was a pure bloke and a breath of fresh air. On our first date he took me to play mini golf. I’ve never experienced nerves like I had the day we met.

My head was full of what ifs. What if he didn’t like me, what if he isn’t attracted to me, what if I’m not attracted to him, what if he finds me boring. The list was endless and my brain was working overtime, again.

I arrived at the golf center and he was waiting for me at the front door. He greeted me like an old friend, a kiss on the cheek and a happy hello. I was so uptight. I felt like the vibe I was giving off wasn’t sitting well with him. I just couldn’t relax. We played 18 holes and that was it, day over. I walked back to the car disappointed, not at him, he was great, but at myself. I thought I’d completely screwed up the first really good date I’d had in a long time. When I got home I sent him a text to thank him for the day. I received no response. Was I surprised? No, it was exactly what I expected.

What I didn’t expect was a response the following morning. It was a Sunday and after various texts back a forth he invited me to meet him for lunch and a movie. I was so excited to get a second chance. I made sure I didn’t stuff this one up!

I arrived a little early and had a short walk to the restaurant from the car. From a distance I could see him waiting for me – his tardiness was impeccable! I stopped and just watched him for a moment. I was really attracted to him, more than I ever expected. He was beautiful.

We lunched, chatted, saw a movie and parted ways. Throughout the following week he hounded me to add him to Facebook, which I eventually did, and the following Friday I asked him over for dinner. That night, the conversation was had about what exactly he was looking for. He said he really don’t know and that he’d never had a relationship that lasted more than two months. Maybe this should have been my first red flag.

The following week I messaged him to see if he wanted to hang out. He didn’t. He wasn’t sure if we were right for each other. My heart sank. The first guy I’d really, really, liked in over a decade didn’t like me back. So, I left it.

Two weeks later it was grand final weekend. I had a pretty big day drinking and questions started to be asked about this great guy I’d met online and what happened to him. I explained he didn’t want to see me and that I’d just left it. I was quizzed further about how much I liked him and told to have another crack and see what happens.

On the Monday I sent him a text to see if he wanted to see a movie on the Friday. Naturally, I didn’t expect a reply. I was shocked when I had a response, plus a yes, within about seven minuets. By the end of the conversation, he’d picked the movie and bought the tickets.

We met for dinner and saw the movie. We walked back to the car and he kissed me, and I’m not talking just a peck on the cheek! I was so confused. I said to him, “you didn’t want me, you bailed.” He just looked at me. “Do you want to see me again?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. Fair to say, he never bailed again.

3 // The tall man with a small dog

When you find yourself suddenly single, normal everyday routine tasks unexpectedly become a challenge. For me, grocery shopping was one of these. 

Food brings people together and cooking for those I love brings me great joy, so i’m sure you can understand why going to the supermarket suddenly became a massive chore. No longer did I have anyone to cook for and keeping myself nourished wasn’t high on my list of priorities. I was more concerned with trying to avoid falling into the depths of depression.

You can imagine my surprise when one evening I inadvertently found myself being picked up at the local supermarket. It was the average post-work food run. The mind set: get in and out as quick as possible. Strolling down the aisles, in hope of finding dinner inspiration, I stopped abruptly when the bargain hunter in me spotted something on special. Within a fraction of a second I felt a crippling pain around my Achilles. Some fool had careered into me with their trolley. “Oh gosh, I’m so incredibly sorry, I wasn’t looking up.” Glaring at me horrified was a skinny man of about six-foot-tall, bald head and wearing a professional sports kit. This guy was an athlete!

Through (awkward) small talk he convinced me to meet him for a coffee to apologise. I was so shocked by everything I found myself saying yes, and before I knew it I was handing over my phone number. What was I doing! This isn’t me. This isn’t how I roll. And since when is the supermarket a hive for singles? Once again, my brain had a freak out.

About a week later we met up for a coffee. From the moment I clocked him a second time I knew I wouldn’t be seeing him after today.

Now, I love animals. I own a Labrador, cats and I ride horses on weekends. I consider myself fully equipped to deal with any four legged creatures. What I was not prepared for was a very tall man to show up with an incredibly small dog. When I say small, by comparison, my cat is actually bigger. He owned a Chihuahua! There was part of me that just wanted to break into laughter. One Labrador paw to the head and death would be imminent for something like that. I couldn’t deal with this. I also couldn’t deal with the fact that he treated it like a baby. Throughout the course of our conversation I learned he had significant baggage that did not have a simple solution or an end in sight. I politely thanked him for meeting me but made it clear that I wouldn’t be seeing him again.

So, it was back to the last real man.



2 // Where do I even begin

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

They lied.

After going through what can only be described as the closest thing to a divorce, feeling strong I was not. The thought of having to start again close to my mid thirties was nerve-racking. Where did I even begin?

How does one date in the 21st century?

Where do single, strait, eligible men circulate these days?

Do bars work?

Tinder, Bumble. When did mobile phones become a weapon in the dating game?

I remember online dating, is that still a thing nowadays?

My brain felt like it was about to explode. These were all the questions I had whirling around in my head, and they were moving faster than Phar Lap!

I felt battered and broken, I had no self confidence and the thought of dating and physically trying to put myself out there terrified me. So, I became the cowardly lion and took what felt like the safe and easy option – online dating.

From the safety of my own home, I created a profile that was simple and honest. It wasn’t long before I realised profiles were not something that men took the time to read, particularly the specifics.

Quickly, I became bewildered. No where in my profile did it say I was searching for a man 25 years my senior, overweight, a regular smoker and had three kids. Nevertheless, this was the type of man I was attracting. Then there were the fake accounts, which any switched-on and cautious woman can pick a mile away.

I patiently waited to see if some sort of prince charming would find his way to me. 10 months went by with hardly a bite, then one evening my phone flashed with a kiss notification. The user’s alias was Last Real Man. I had a chuckle and thought, probably not mate, but let’s have a look at you.

I read the profile, which was full of spelling errors, but to my surprise I found myself attracted to this guy. Our interests matched and on paper we appeared to be seeking the same things in life. He was a tradesman and not the professional business man I usually had to deal with. I actually found him refreshing and exciting. English isn’t everyone’s strong point, so I wasn’t going to hold him to ransom over a few typos.

Oh my god, I think I’m actually going to accept this one! And like that, I found myself back in the dating game.


1 // The old cliché

How did it come to this? Well, it was the old cliché. Boy meets girl, they fall in love and end up on the road to happy ever after.

I was 22, and this was my first serious relationship.

Before this I’d spent six years messing around with guys,  then suddenly Mr. X dropped into my life and before I knew it I found myself content and happy to settle. We dated for four years before we bought a little house to call our own, a place we knew was home from the moment we opened the front door. It was a place we’d planned to grow a life together.

Then, something happened. He started working interstate during the week and before I knew it the man I was so deeply in love with betrayed me. While I was back home keeping the fires burning, he was getting his end away with hotel reception staff and any office worker he could pick up in his lunch hour. There were numerous indiscretions and I had absolutely no idea.

For almost two years this went on without my knowledge. I don’t even know how I figured it all out. When I confronted him his response was: “It’s not that I don’t love you, I do, it’s just that you’re not here with me.” No shit Sherlock, that’s because our home and my work is in another state! It’s not rocket science, moron. I was shattered.

Once trust goes, love quickly follows. I went on with life all for the sake of keeping up appearances, but things between us were never the same again. I lived in hope that i’d be able to forgive him but I was fooling myself. I lived a double life for six years, until one day he announced, quite unexpectedly, that he was leaving. After 14 years together, I was no longer what he wanted. Just like that, he walked out the door and I never saw or heard from him again. I know I should have left six years earlier, but I wasn’t going to lose everything i’d worked so hard for, particularly not my  home. He’d walked into this relationship with nothing: no car, no money, no full-time job. I set him up with everything from writing his job applications to funding a car and putting a roof over his head. I felt used just so he could get ahead.

While the relief of his departure was overwhelming, the thought of a future on my own scared the hell out of me.