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The Perils Of Man-dating?

By Mike Hytner on October 23, 2012 in Other

Photo: Monkey Business Images

I thought my dating days were over when I met my wife over eight years ago. Not so. Having moved all the way over from the UK with the Aussie missus, courting has once again become an unwanted ritual to contend with. Fortunately, though, it’s a bit different now: with my mates left back at home and male companionship in short supply I’ve been forced to go on the look-out, not for a clandestine mistress, but rather some new bloke friends.

Working from home hasn’t helped me in my quest, but playing a team sport, drinking in the local boozer and get-togethers with the wife’s friends have so far all provided opportunities to unearth prospective new mates. Even the playground where my son hangs out has proved to be a fertile pulling ground, and I’ve already been picked up several times next to the climbing frame (by consenting adults).

But perhaps the most effective weapon in my armoury has been my wife who, contrary to social norms and modern-day conventions, has taken it upon herself to become what can only be described as my pimp. The love of my life apparently has no compunction in touting my wears to any man she deems worthy of my friendship. Constantly on the lookout for prospective mates, she regularly returns home with tales of blokes she has met who I could maybe start a meaningful relationship with.

She meets them through work, at parties, in the cafe or in bars, vetting the poor sods for suitability before, if they’re lucky enough to meet her expectations, taking the next step and attempting to arrange some kind of weird hook-up. Thankfully, it doesn’t get to this stage too often, possibly because of her high standards, but more probably due to my refusal to accept the need for such desperate measures – and my horror that it might all have to come to this.

But I admit it has happened. And what transpired a couple of months ago should serve as a cautionary tale to those who find themselves in a similar position.

Having got the number of a bloke at a party – a nice enough chap, in the same professional field and with a few interests in common – we arranged to have a beer together in a popular beachside pub. All good to that point, yet while this was nothing more than a drink with a bloke who may or may not become a friend, some familiar and not exactly pleasant emotions not felt for years resurfaced prior to meeting up. Butterflies in the stomach? Check. Sweaty palms? Check. Fear of rejection? Check. What on earth was going on?

I should have known it wasn’t going to work out. In such a pressure-cooker atmosphere, nerves and expectations got the better of me and conversation soon stalled. Not even the beers helped avert some uncomfortable silences and with a pang of horrified recognition, I remembered what it was like to be on a date. It had barely turned 9:30pm before we decided to call it a night, me citing an early start in the morning, he work to do. I haven’t heard from him since.

Still, as the mantra of many failed daters goes, there are plenty more fish in the sea. And anyway, I wasn’t too bothered – he said he was about to move to the Inner West and I don’t think either of us felt we could sustain a long-distance relationship.

These days I try not to force the issue and instead rely on things happening a little more organically. Well, it wouldn’t be any other way in the Eastern Suburbs, would it?