I’ve been away from my beloved Blighty for about a month now. I’m staying in the very trendy St Kilda part of Melbourne, with my good friend, let’s call her Edith. She’s been taking me for fun drinks, delicious meals and regaling me about ‘bird season’, which is essentially a time in Australia when a nesting bird will aggressively attack anyone going near it’s nest, usually directly in the eyes. So if the snakes, spiders and STD’s weren’t enough to fear the outside world for, it’s also time to grab some goggles.
For a single lady about town, I have to confess I haven’t yet been my fair share of ‘about’ (wink wink) and that surely has to change. Now I know Australian tinder was pretty arse(hole) heavy, but I’ve had an offer of a tour guide from a friend of Edith’s boyfriend, who we met for the aforementioned fun drinks. This is a real person – so, let’s call him… Barney. He has a nice haircut, the ability to chat about normal, polite things and most importantly he has clothes on from the waist down.
Barney contacts me on Facebook (or as I’m now tempted to start calling it, ‘the place where bold and aggressive sexual advances are merely flippant telegrams’) and he says that above Melbourne there are some lovely hills with waterfalls and he’d be happy to show me. Pickup is tomorrow, at 10.30am. ‘Wow, how efficient Barney’ I remark. He follows this up with the schedule softener ‘well doesn’t have to be 10.30, just let me know whenever you’re ready’
That night I’m running the meeting over and over in my head. What if we sit there in the car like divorcees in a dentist’s waiting room? He seemed nice the other night but I was beyond shitfaced and Charles Manson would have come across as a thoroughly nice bloke. What if he’s planning to drown me in a waterfall and leave my lifeless ravaged corpse to bloat in the Australian swamps. Maybe I should take a shank? Maybe I should stop listening to so many murder podcasts?
Anyway, I man up and tell myself I’m being ridiculous. I’m casually smearing on some slap in no rush at all, when at 10.31 my phone pings.
Barney: You ready?
Me: (With wet hair) Uhhh… I’ll be about another twenty minutes I think?
Barney: I’ll go sit in my car on the street, let me know when you’re outside.
Well. My brain just backfires, completely implodes with pressure and fear. It may as well be Leather Face waiting outside in that Nissan rolling his eyes at his watch. My sweaty, shaking hands stabbed out a reply something along the lines of ‘idontwanttojustgoawaybye’ and I shoved my phone under a sofa cushion for the rest of the day.
Maybe I’m not really ready to get back on the horse just yet?