Part of the Hopeless Romantic articles
It seems that Facebook has noted that I’m ready to start dating again. It might be the sort of posts I’ve been making recently, or it might be its almighty algorithm looking at the other websites I visit like any good and dutiful Big Brother style spyware. Who knows? My first indication was when two fake Facebook profiles added me as friends. Considering that both profiles had the same spam message as their first and only post, I didn’t have to investigate far to see that the profiles were fake (both had also only been active for less than an hour). Success rate: 0 for the scammers. So Facebook is trying a new approach – they have provided me a link to a “Suggested Article” about places to go on your first date!
I have yet to secure a first date with anyone, but you can never be too prepared. So I jump in to see what the internet suggests – always a good way to start any endeavor, especially one as important as the rest of your life.
If you’re playing along at home, the article is located here: Brisbane’s Least Awkward Spots For A First Date
The article comes from Concrete Playground, which sounds a terribly pretentious nickname for a city. “Oh Brisbane, it’s just my concrete playground”, they explain as they waive their moppish hair over their eyes for the thousandth time that night. The article is written by a fine, upstanding reporter. How do I know this? When I click on the link to her bio, the website crashes. It seems my trouble with women extends to bios of reporters too.
I’m expecting this list to be very pretentious. Why? Well, first of all, the list is gleefully promoted by American Express. You know, the credit card that charges extra fees, that is, if you can find anywhere that accepts it? How are they still in business by limiting the amount of places that accept this card? Secondly, the main picture is of beautiful young people sitting in a classy establishment. Now, I may not be the most bogan person who ever lived, but the place in the picture looks so classy that it reminds me of the Homer Simpson quote “For once maybe someone will call me ‘sir’ without adding ‘you’re making a scene’”. Using Simpsons quotes to punctuate my points is how I know I’m not classy enough for this joint.
When I first started internet dating 10 years ago and was 40kg lighter, I had a few standard first date ideas.
Coffee shop. Meet up, have a coffee, but you don’t feel like you need to stick around forever if either party wants out.
Dinner at a pub. Have a drink, have some reasonably priced food. Heck, if you want to be fancy, have dinner at one of those open air bars in Queen Street Mall! Unfortunately, now all of these just play sports on their massive TV’s.
- Putt Putt golf. It’s hilarious and wacky and shows how hilarious and wacky I am. Okay, maybe I do need help with picking first date spots.
That’s if you did manage to arrange a first date. Usually, both parties would be in the Valley with friends, and you’d text each other, and meet up for drinks and dancing! You’d more than likely be out in the Valley on a Saturday night, so the chances were high that you’d be in similar regions at 10pm.
Now I’m in my 30’s, I feel that dinner at a pub/restaurant is the only thing I have left. I buy a nice shirt (one without stains on it, ie specially bought), put on the only pair of jeans that fits properly, and try to ignore the abject horror in her eyes as she realises I really do look this big, it wasn’t just the camera adding 10 pounds.
I’m not actually going to mention the names of the locations from the article. Like most of the articles in the Hopeless Romantic series, this is just a light-hearted ribbing of modern dating.
Suggestion 1: Deli meat platter central
The first suggested place serves mainly share plates of cheese and deli meats, dips, olives, that sort of thing. According to the article, the share boards come from three different regions – Spanish, Italian, and cheese. Nothing says first date like sitting there with greasy fingers. This is an issue for me because whenever I eat with my hands, I lick my fingers after every bite and then I can still feel the oil and grease on my fingers until I go and wash my hands. So either she’ll be looking at me trying to devour my own fingers, or I’ll constantly be going to the bathroom to wash my hands. Neither sounds like a great first impression. Whatever happened to cutlery?
Suggestion 2: Ooh la la
The second option is the location the main image is from. You know, the one I made fun of at the top of the article? Other than that, I can’t find too much wrong with the wording, so let’s continue.
Suggestion 3: Spicy Spanish
Option three is a straight Spanish tapas plate, so we’re back with sharing food. Remember the days when you would each order a separate dish, and then you’d know the date was going well when you’d be eating off each others plates? Those days are gone. When you say “this is really good, you should try it” and she says “okay” and then reaches over to the share plate and tries it, you still don’t know if she actually likes you. At least when you had your own plates, it was a precursor to kissing. “Well, if she’s okay with eating off my plate, which is probably covered in my germs right now considering how I eat, then we’re a little closer to her accepting that kissing may be on the table”. No, not kissing on the table. None of my dates have ever gone that well. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever kissed on a first date. Bloody hell, I am so old fashioned.
Your intrepid writer (of the actual article, not of this fluff) suggests trying the paellas. Now, I’ve had two experiences with paella: Nando’s does an amazing chicken paella (I could eat a large one all by myself for lunch, which would explain how I ended up looking like I do), and every seafood paella I’ve ever tried (apparently the traditional way paella should be prepared) has tasted cloyingly like seafood. I’m not a huge seafood person, and when I am, it’s usually fried. Me gagging on seafood taste is not a good idea.
Suggestion 4: Breakfast?
The description of the fourth place starts off by saying “You’ve been to dive bars and gastropubs, but they’re not always first date material”. Au contraire, Concrete Playground, franchise pubs are safe havens of drinks and food I know and understand without being too flash. They’re big, public places in case either partner turns out to be a raving nutter loony type.
The article suggests you could have a breakfast first date. Sorry, who is getting up looking for love early weekend morning (that hasn’t been up all the night before, probably drinking alone)? I refuse to have a date before midday. It gives me time to sleep in, then wake up, consider getting up, nap, wake up again, actually get up and make myself presentable. I know, I’m a catch. Even midday is pushing it a bit if you want me to be civil and witty.
Suggestion 5: Now you’re talking my language
The fifth place is described as offering “a two-for-one first date experience”. Naturally I’m interested, but only because I believe this means that when you tell them you’re on a first date, you get two meals for the price of one, right? Nope, it’s a clever way of saying they have a bar for a casual drink but also offer food if you want to sit down and eat. Pish posh, I’m out. Besides, everyone knows the best place to have Japanese in Brisbane is at Wagamama (where I had my 30th birthday family dinner).
Suggestion 6: Aussie Aussie Aussie
The sixth place is across from the Suncorp Stadium, so good luck finding a park, and the picture appears to show a drink with a piece of salmon or toast skewered and floating in it.
Okay, we’re in the home stretch, two places left to go. Surely we’ll find a winner.
Suggestion 7: Sushi?
Location 7 is another Japanese influenced location, albeit this time in Paddington – again, good luck finding a park, and if there’s a game on, your car will be towed. They serve sushi, which may be one of the worst options for a first date. Worst case scenario, you’ll eat something that doesn’t agree with you and be rushing to the loo. Best case scenario, the date will go well and you’ll be left with fish sushi breath.
Suggestion 8: Simples
The last venue, the article tries to assure us, is a simple, lovely little laneway place. They do drop in that the location has 20 pages of drinks like it ain’t no thang. You know that awkward part of the date where you’re flipping through the menu trying to decide what to order? Okay, imagine that’s the drink menu, and the menu is so long the awkwardness can go on the entire date. If you both manage to order a drink, you should just get married there and then.
So what do you think? Have I been too harsh on any of these places? Have you had a first date there yourself? Should I give one of them a try? Will you date me?
Oh, and they finish up the article with a link to a website which tells you dining locations where your Amex card is accepted. Good, I love a card so exclusive you have to look up a website to make sure you can use it.