This story has been embargoed for 6 months at the request of the protagonist, and names have been changed. It is another true story from my tragicomic rom-com life. The scene is a fashionable pizza restaurant. A voluptuous woman sits at the bench in the window watching the street life. I enter, and ask if the seats near her are taken. She says she is being joined by one person and there is plenty of room for me. I sit. We chat for a minute about pizza and chinotto.
Her companion arrives; a tall slim well dressed man. They’re not smiling. We’ll call her Sophia and him Mario. He sits and they start talking. I diplomatically turn away, read the menu and order. I’m watching them. They don’t kiss or touch. They obviously know each other but this is not a happy occasion. They’re probably not lovers. Is he gay? Surely he would have kissed a friend hello. The subtlest frisson between Sophia and I suggested to me that she’s not gay. Business partners? Family? It’s impossible to tell.
Sophia is gorgeous. Red-brown wavy shoulder length hair, bright blue eyes, wide mouth, soft looking pale skin. When she leans forward for a moment the fall of her elegant grey top reveals a hint of lace bra beneath. Sophia introduces Mario and I. We chat for a minute and they ask what I’ve ordered. They can’t decide on what to eat and, seemingly, on other things.
My pizza arrives and I eat. Then their food arrives. We get to talking about social life in Fitzroy and I mention I write a blog about it. When it’s time for me to leave, I hand my card to Sophia and say diplomatically that it was nice to meet her and here is my card with my blog address on it – please have a look if you’re interested.
It’s detached and business-like, but I know I’m flirting with her. I’m sure she knows. I’m not sure whether he notices, or cares. I say goodbye to both of them and leave. Within a week, Sophia emails me and we plan a date. When the date comes we initially enjoy the conversation and amuse each other with stories of our complicated personal lives.
I learn that what I witnessed was a break-up date. I tried to chat up a woman at the precise moment she was ending another relationship. Another first for me. How ridiculous.
Later she pulls out a cigarette and lights it. The spell is broken. I’ve not kissed a smoker since 1994 and plan never to again. The mood evaporates. We diplomatically part and don’t contact each other again.
Meeting people in the real world is haphazard and disappointing more often than not. At least with online dating you can eliminate such fundamental incompatibilities without the effort and frustration of a pointless introduction.
Soon after I meet someone new and my life changes again…