Side Note: If you haven’t read part one than I suggest clicking this link.
It was in this moment, I thought not everyone was blessed with cool, calm and collected nerves and often found themselves having a quiet panic attack in the back of a moving car. With the thought of how far my first proper adult date at the tender age of eighteen had felt like and how I was going to combust at the seams from nerves, I continued staring out the window. All the while, wondering if the stop sign was an omen to how the date would eventually turn out.
Giving myself a silent pep talk of 2017 would be the year that I would step out, take on new adventures while getting back into the swing of dating as a twenty something year old woman. After silently applauding myself for my courage and determination to go through with this, although my gut was churning away in the background, I made myself respond to the message.
Currently stuck in traffic. Could be potentially late.
While Usher’s ‘U Got It Bad’ played softly on the radio in the background, I inhaled sharply at the message that had been sent back in confirmation. When the detour took me past the lightly grey and white washed buildings before it eventually gave way to the stunning views of Circular Quay, my attention was roughly pulled away to the pearly golden doors of the most glitziest five star hotel in Sydney came into focus and view. I gathered my courage alongside my bag and with a quick check to make sure my lipstick was fine, I exited the vehicle.
Having pulled a Carrie Bradshaw moment by spinning on the spot to watch the rear tail lights of my white car disappear into the busy city streets, I straightened my black and white polka dotted dress before bracing myself for the onslaught on what could potentially happen on a blind date. As I walked towards the golden doors, two stern feminine voices told me to “pull back your shoulders, straighten your spine, walk from the hips like a proper lady and don’t forget to smile” and just like that, I entered the Sofitel Hotel.
I walked past concierge with a sense of purpose while trying to not visibly flinch at how expensive it smelt, I found a place to wait. It would be while shifting from my left to right foot for the 20th time in 30 minutes while penning a rather short and to the point message that would inform my incredibly late date that said date was now cancelled and I wanted no further contact with him; that I felt someone come to a stop before me. Almost expecting to see my date before me with an apologetic look on his face, I glanced up from underneath my eyelashes and saw it was concierge.
While not so subtly glancing over my dress and shoes and I, his pressed uniform and spit polished leather shoes, the concierge politely inquired as to why I was standing in his foyer. “Excuse me, but are you meeting someone here?” he asked, once again looking at my dress with a slightly raised eyebrow. “Staff member…. Guest?”
As my brain registered what the man from concierge had really inquired about while leaving it purposely unsaid, I felt the frustration I had been feeling melt away into a slow, simmering anger. After curbing my tongue and mentally telling myself to not punch the man in the face for the police in Sydney weren’t friendly, I painted a smile on my lips and replied, “Oh I’m sorry. The gentleman, who is a guest, appears to be running late”.
It was only then he asked if there was something he could do such as point me in the direction of a seat, maybe a drink at the bar or something to eat. Much to my discomfort, horror and anger, I politely declining the offers as the thought of alcohol or food made me ill and his final parting words were, “Be safe.”
Clearly thought I was a hooker.
After returning to our stations and statuses, I went back to writing my message and when glancing up for the final time as my finger hovered over the send button, I caught a glimpse of said date walking towards the gliding glass doors. It was in this moment, my eyes swept up from the white and black shopping bag that confirmed he had been at David Jones and not waiting for me, casually at the bar off the foyer to the impending height of Goliath approaching me.
Trying to not visibly shrink at the image of a 6’7 giant standing before me and the not-so-hidden curious looks that we were receiving, the voices of women dear to me and those around the world who held high expectations of how a man should dress for a first date, flooded my brain. While vainly trying to push these voices alongside the voice that was screaming at what he was wearing to the back of my mind, I felt my gaze flicker and my left eyelid start ticking.
As the image of a man dressed casually in pressed pants, buttoned down collared shirt and closed in shoes disappeared before my eyes, I craned my neck backwards and took in the image of a somewhat ironed white tee-shirt. It was the graphic printed artwork that got my attention and not necessarily in the correct way before my inner seamstress noted that it was a little too tight for a first date before my gaze dropped below his khaki coloured knee length shorts and landed on the Aussie staple of footwear.
Even as my gaze landed back on his and my brain began the incredibly slow process of understanding that he was apologising for being half an hour late and would I care to come up to his hotel room so he could stash his purchases; the automatic response of “NO!” was out before I could contemplate either anything. As I watched him walk away, I knew in that very second after a mere few sentences and awkward kiss on the cheek, he had reached his second strike and one more, the date would end.
While picturing myself doing a dash and run, he returned to the scene of the crime and we both set off on the context of looking for a cup of coffee and a place to sit, so we could stare out over Circular Quay. What I didn’t have in mind was being informed that we would be having lunch at a restaurant that did overlook the wonderful views of Circular Quay. However when inquiring about coffee, it didn’t house any form of coffee or my sanity in a bottle, vodka, but instead housed a wide range of beer and more beer.
Having placed our orders with a spunky looking waiter and me silently trying to come to terms with the fact this restaurant didn’t stock Corona, we began the usual 20/20 questions of ‘where do you live on the Sunshine Coast, what do you do for a job and do you have any other passions besides holding a legitimate gun for a job and fining people for nudity?’
Over the next thirty minutes while throwing back my beer like it was a glass of water, I was introduced to the concept of Racist Cop’s best friend, Jimmy*. Both Jimmy and Racist Cop had grown up in Rural Country, Queensland before meeting one another in high school while playing basketball and when old enough, moved in together as housemates while living in Brisbane.
Racist Cop weaved the story as to how he flew to Sydney every New Years Eve for Jimmy had relocated to Manly, Sydney after being given a job promotion. With his girlfriend, Jenny* in tow and it was the very moment, I found myself choking on my beer. As I thumped and pounded my chest with a closed fist to dislodge the remaining brew, I learnt about how their bromance was alive and how real it felt between them even to this day after 20 years. All while silently being told what a complete bitch Jenny was for ruining it all by popping onto the scene.
By allowing for Racist Cop’s slightly un-masculine voice to fade away into the background of my mind while nodding my head in the correct moments as if I were actually listening; it was in this moment as I watched in silence that I couldn’t help but wonder if he is a straight gay man or is a gay straight man?
As I thought that question to myself while declining another beer, I decided I didn’t want to particularly know as to whether or not he was a straight gay man or a gay straight man in case I found myself with a gun being pointed at my head or a taser burn located somewhere between my ribs. For Racist Cop had his own set of rules when it came to being a policeman (some of which I question if its legal). It would be only after he paused to inhale another chug of his second beer, I began answering his original question of “tell me more about yourself.”
It was while speaking of my own tales and adventures that I noticed Racist Cop’s attention no longer resided on my face but rather was staring out the window, at the ground. As I stopped what I was saying mid sentence to peer over my shoulder and seeing nothing but a rather large Cruiser parked in the harbour, I raised a brow at him in a silent question and I was told, “mailboxes are coming.”
Having grown up with an Uncle who works for Australia Post as a manager for the last 15 or so years, there was a part of me that was expecting to see a mail man with a postie bike, puttering around collecting various mail and parcels. Instead, I watched as two women of Islamic faith walked past the restaurant in their traditional clothing and listened in horror as a racist, xenophobic, white supremacist sat there and proudly stated that everyone who comes to Australia should learn how to speak English, dress like an Australian and if they didn’t comply, they should either be forced to do it or shipped off to their “stupid country”.
As I looked down at these women who were cloaked in a beautiful emerald and burnt copper cloak with matching head scarf, that made me want to rush out and ask them where they got their outfits from for they were simply stunning; I felt a mixture of different emotions. Emotions that ranged from immense sadness that they can’t wear something of their faith without being judged and were found lacking to complete and utter anger at how someone in the public eye was so disgusting and immoral.
Not mention, proudly displayed the fact he was a supreme racist on a first date.
When placing my cloth napkin that had been residing in my lap, back onto the table, I looked at this man under a magnifying glass. After finding that these women were not found lacking or were equally judging someone else for their colour of skin or fashion choices, I knew and felt like these women deserved to be heard. Even more so from a white woman at that, who believes in equality and rights for anyone and asks questions about Islam and other cultures.
So, I threw out the rule book on ‘what not to say on a first date’ without a backwards thought and gave him my thoughts on why Islamic women are allowed to dress the way they do. As he tried to state they lived in Australia and should comply with our law, I referred to their choice of dressing because it prevents other men (who are not of marriage or blood) to be not tempted by their looks and it powers them as women. Lastly, why we as an Australian society, should not find them lacking or a threat for not every Muslim or person of Islamic faith is considered a terrorist of any kind or nature.
Pushing back my chair from the table that perched over the once beautiful scenery of Circular Quay and grabbing my hand bag for Racist Cop had struck a ‘8 years minimum with no good behaviour parole’ plea deal and just like that, I left him standing there without so much as the hint of another date after he paid for lunch.
That evening after having escaped via train back to the Western Suburbs of Sydney while sitting next to a beautifully clothed Muslim man, I thought about the horror of a date I had left. While secretly smiling to the knowledge that my passion for wanting to know different cultures and beliefs kicked arse and how I effectively showed the World’s Most Racist Gay Straight Cop, how he could be taken down by a short 5 foot 6 woman in a black and polka dotted dress.
Who is not a prostitute.
Until next time,