I locked the car and looked at my reflection in the window.
“Oh well this is as good as I get.” I thought. Not too bad for an old chook.
Joe had said that personality was more important than looks. I hope he had meant it. I could feel my heart pumping in my chest and wondered if you could see the pulse in my neck beating. I hated that. It made me want to vomit when I saw it in others.
Joe, on paper (well on screen) was perfect. Witty, quick to come up with a jovial retort. A good writer. Liked to keep fit. Liked travelling. The photo of him sitting at a table, not unpleasant. After a few days of chatting back and forth, I agreed to meet him, my first attempt at online dating.
As I walked towards the cafe, I was regretting my decision to make my online avatar’s name Ruby Red Shoes which necessitated the the wearing of red CFM shoes. At 11:30PM on a Friday night with a few wines under the belt, it had seemed like a splendid name. Now, in the cold hard light of day, it was just a tad undignified. As I scanned the cafe from the distance I couldn’t see an Adonis. No choirs of angels singing. No nicely matured George Clooney clone drinking Nespresso.
From 200 metres away, I saw a man dressed in black jeans and a black T-shirt with a camera. (The agreed identifying sign). It was clear he was taking photos of me. At 100 metres I could see he was slim and that his black hair and beard was peppered with grey. Not bad – I could get used to that. At 50 metres, it became apparent that he had no bum. Worse – he had a hyena bum. Sloping forward and disappearing into the skinny black jeans.
Could I turn around and walk away now?
We stood there awkward for a moment.
“You must be Joe?” I blurted, holding out my hand in a pre-emptive strike to avoid the kiss. No way was I going to offer my cheek for the perfunctory peck!
Not for a hyena bum!
It turns out he had done this many times. He was very candid. His polished responses to my online introductions a cut and paste from his many other attempts, not especially crafted for me.
He had been married, that was OK. So had I
He had adult children, That was OK so did I.
He had a hyena bum and that was the deal breaker .
We had coffee, talked about his camera and photography. We had a few laughs but as soon as we stood up to go for a stroll along the waterfront I was reminded of the hyena bum. As an older woman, I no longer cut the dashing figure I once did, so perhaps my shallowness was self-defeating and vain. He was probably thinking “Ewww! Look at her chicken neck!” I didn’t care. Alone – yes, desperate – no!
I had not prearranged a rescue call so needed to extract myself independently. He beat me to it.
“I have to get going – I am working nights.” he said at a lull in the conversation and after an exaggerated look at his watch.
“Thank god!” I thought. “I gotta go too” I said and again I rued the wearing of the red shoes which slowed my departure.
Back in my car tapping my forehead on the steering wheel, I realised I had not asked him to delete the photos. I grabbed my phone and logged into the dating site and pushed the “Close my account” button. Once was enough, my first attempt at online dating would be my last. I’d hang up the red shoes for a while longer. I wasn’t ready for the dating jungle if it was infested with hyena bums!