I have been living life like I’ve been blessed with the energy of a five-year-old and yet, when it comes to writing, I have been sitting here for the past 20 or so minutes trying to start this post off. For some strange reason, I found myself travelling deep inside of my collector’s box of dating experiences, questionable first dates and discovering the true meaning of ‘it’s both of us’ and as a result, this is where this post of mine originally begins. Let us take a few steps to the right, left as well as a few steps backwards and we have just entered the ever-entertaining world of my 10-year-old self.
Although adulthood appeared like an entertaining prospect within the far distance of my horizon, I often thought of adulthood as party central for those adults who got to experience a shed load amount of never-ending fun while the rest, were busily crunching numbers and trying to survive until the next week when their monetary funds came through.
Clearly, I may or may not have been delusional as to the slightly exceeding level of fun some adults may have been experiencing daily; but I did get to experience my first ever glimpse into what adulthood could bring to your front door step. What I mean by this statement is what had arrived and was delivered to my front door step had the illusion of something manly, dramatic and other times, possessed the strength and dominance of a shit brick house on the back of a Harley Davidson while obtaining the bare minimum of the brain capacity for an infant.
By starting off with the more appealing things of what adulthood could bring, my childhood features heavily upon the benefit of men covered in grey overalls and the sinful sight of their bodies being covered in grease and sweat as they worked away. As an adult, I realise this would be my first inclination that I would be attracted to men in general while having a delicate and slowly burning love for the shape of a woman, who could bake a mean cake and made a delicious cup of tea.
While these grey overalls men worked away on the hulking engine of my Mother’s statesmen, it appeared as they were walking, living and breathing sex symbols that had just escaped from the confining pages of GQ. Having come up to wipe a slightly dirty, sweaty forearm across their forehead that in turn lifted the hem of their shirt up to reveal a well-defined pack of abs, I’d watch as the women in our street mysteriously appeared at the end of their drive ways or corners with a drink in hand and a chair in the other.
Least to say when these women packed their things up after having been called away by their husbands, there were a few “lucky bitch” comments made as my Mother strolled past my Father with a canary grin on her face. However, my fondest memory of the impending adulthood club featured my cousin bringing home someone for my parents to meet and the ever intriguing and never answering introduction of ‘The List’.
Having experienced a moment or two of these myself as an adult, I can vouch my cousin would have been shitting herself from fear and knew that she’d already planned a few versions of a backup plan for escape. In case my Mother and Father wield a knife and fully loaded automatic weapon as a greeting tool. As a result, I can only assume my cousin was nervous at the prospect of what was about to entail for she was about to introduce this person to her Aunt and Uncle.
A rather strange and significant moment but as to how the story unfolds, it goes something along the lines of:
The sound of the television in the background soon gave way to the sound of a hair dryer being blasted away and a toe curling, sharp scream filled the air. Walking into the kitchen and finding my Mother preparing dinner, I grabbed something out of the fridge to munch on before coming to a rest near her elbow. These were the moments I craved as a child because I knew it was simply her and I enclosed in a small space but like other moments prior, the feeling that came with it was short lived when glancing up from what Lois was doing to find my cousin, standing at the of the dining room table.
As if knowing the Golden-Haired Child stood there poised for war, my Mother calmly put the finishing touches to dinner and slid it into the oven before wiping her hands on the tea towel near her side. It would be only after cleaning the last speck that she looked up at my cousin and with the fear of being excused from the kitchen, I settled into the background and watched in silence and fascination as my Mother got a stern telling off.
Before being reminded as to the type of questions that would and should not be dared asked.
While it appeared as if my Mother had heard this before and had grown tired of it being repeated, Lois casually reminded my cousin that she was not the only person within the world to experience this moment because she, herself, had gone through something like this when bringing my Father to my Great-Grandmother’s house for inspection. Before delivering the last blow to the match when telling my cousin that she simply needed to get over it and to “suck it up, princess.”
Having grown tired of my cousin trying to win the p*ssing contest, I calmly walked back into the lounge room and informed my Father that World War III wasn’t going to erupt. Only then did both of us settle back into our chairs and what seemed like a hundred ticking time bombs later, a firm knock seemed to rattle throughout the house.
After my cousin dashed back to her bedroom and telling my Mum to “not interrogate him”, I opened the wooden door and stood there with only a screen door separating us. At the same time as this person on the other side of the door glanced at me and when hearing about this random person arriving at my cousin’s work and asking her out for a date, I had expected to be greeted by the ungodly sight of a pimply seventeen-year-old moron. Instead what greeted me was the image of a bumbling, sharply dressed, foot twitching and slightly awkward grinning man.
As my right eyebrow steadily rose before resting somewhere near what would later be dubbed as ‘Resting Bitch Face’, I realised that I held the power in my hands for the first time. Like any child who has their glorified moment of opportunity, I decided to take it with greedy little hands and bolted without any qualms.
Not only did I deliberately stand there with the screen door locked and firmly planted between us like he had to tell me a reasonable story to be allowed access, but I found myself scanning him from head to toe. All the while glaring at him like he was something on the bottom of my shoe that I couldn’t seem get rid of. As if sensing that this poor schmuck needed rescuing, Lois told me from the kitchen to let this petrified man in and it was only then after glancing him over, I found him lacking a weapon that may have been concealed on his body.
Even though it was tempting to let him sweat it out a bit more, I let out a sigh while unlocking the front door.
However, like any demon child, I had the last laugh for the evening when waiting for him to take the first few steps into our front hallway before screaming on top of my lungs that the Golden-Haired Child’s boyfriend appeared to be shitting himself from fear and he hadn’t ditched her. I knew I’d done my job perfectly when the sound of a neighbour scoffing filled the air alongside a smothered scream from my cousin’s bedroom greeted my ears.
Scarlett: 1 vs. Golden Haired Child: 0.
The score would remain the same for a while until my cousin came over to my parent’s house after having moved out and in with her now boyfriend (the guy managed to stick around for 10+ years). With her afternoon visit came my introduction to the concept of what it was that I wanted and desired in a partner and the “was I sexually attracted to men or women” question being asked.
My 12-year-old self was still very much in love with the idea of playing mini-houses with off cuts from the building site across the road, the thought of boys was absolutely disgusting and I was having to come to terms with what puberty was doing with my body. On that thought, I was more focused on squashing my newly budding breasts, conquering the fear of having a monthly period and now being susceptible to pregnancy at a much later age and now I had to deal with what it was that I wanted to date.
Where did it end?
On a side note: I’m still asking myself this question at twenty something and still haven’t received any form of answers. But am starting to understand that I just may never receive an answer and for once, I am okay with not knowing.
This afternoon while my cousin opted to visit both my Mother and myself, us women sat at my family’s famous pink topped kitchen table with plates of scones with condiments, a freshly creamed sponge cake and a pot of tea. Thus, began the thinking exercise of what had been asked and it would be only after slathering a scone with butter, jam and cream and taking a bite that the answer came to me.
Having polished off a few scones and a slice of cake before settling back with a cup of tea, I was once again asked what it was that I wished to have on my ‘partner wish list’ as a woman. As my cousin welcomed me into the womanhood club even though my confirmation had been the year before, when my period decided to arrive at full gallop; my reply was simple and yet held the passion of a proper woman.
Although I was a lucky child to grow up with the mentioning of fairy tales that heavily entailed how the hero would come riding in on a horse and swept the princess of her feet with an act of a bravery and a mere pressing of the lips; I was also raised with the reality that your prince or shining knight in armour wouldn’t be coming from you if you purely stayed indoors and didn’t venture out past the boundaries.
This realisation of living in a world filled with fiction, I knew my life wouldn’t come that easily. Instead at the tender age of ten and twelve, I had an inclining or that famous Gibbs Gut instinct of mine that told me I would be completing my dream of attending university within my mid-twenties before eventually moving on to having children later in my twenties and early thirties and when it came to finding “Mr. Right”, I’d have one hell of a story to tell.
For instance, there was a part of me that knew I would have to trudge through dirt, sludge, grime and climb barehanded over scaling Rocky Mountains before being able to identify the person who had everything or what I wanted in a future partner, husband and father of my children. This knowledge has allowed me to define what would later become my key concepts on what attributes my future partner should possess and it was literally developed off the back of what and how my Father carries himself.
While my mother would disagree with this statement whole heartedly, there is often a saying that gets passed down with each generation of female and we are told in no circumstance, “every little girl wants to marry a man like her own father.” Guaranteed I don’t wish to marry a spitting image of my Father, who goes by the name of Red because that in my mind, would be a tad bit creepy in more ways than one.
So, as an adult who still holds this list pretty close to her chest like a round of poker cards that are ready to be played at any given moment, I found myself with pen and paper and wrote a list containing all of my Father’s attributes that I found authentic, thrilling, warming and incredibly humble that my future partner should possess.
By identifying what I was looking for regarding personality, what traits were considered to be appropriate and the general sense of what I wanted in a man alongside what would not be welcomed or accepted with a fifty-foot barge pole, I was flipping through my diary and stopped breathing. There amongst my penciled in not-so entertaining social posts, future blog posts to be published and the occasional sick day for my mental breakdowns was the reminder of my last and very official date for this season of dating within the fish pond.
Even though I was contemplating my existence after eagerly diving head first into a tub of ice cream and dealing with the consequences later on, I experienced the typical reaction of seeing a blind date penned in and with my hesitancy, had to resist the urge of cancelling my blind date.
The reason for my hesitation and questionable fear of it being a complete and utter waste of my time was due to my previous dating experiences, as they had been personally listed and identified as being a borderline horror film complete with racist and derogatory remarks on those who weren’t of Anglo-Saxon appearance and English wasn’t the first language of choice. Before ultimately coming to a strategic move of switching tactics such as the power and strength a man would take to ultimately make a woman of “child bearing years” feel guilty for not living up to that reputation of simply being around to create and bear children.
However, in my case, I didn’t feel guilty for wanting to be educated at an advanced and higher level than grade one or grade 12 and refused to apologise for my firm beliefs on being allowed to not be tied to the kitchen sink, bare foot and heavily pregnant for the rest of my life and as a result, was ghosted because I was slightly a little too independent for their taste.
Clearly am not crying myself into a pile of dirty dishes while rubbing my lower back, as my future child swirls around inside of my uterus. Would like to also point out before you get your hopes up high at this being a pregnancy announcement: not pregnant.
Having decided to not go through with cancelling my remaining date after having given this poor guy many opportunities to bail out, I parked my little green car 10 minutes late for said date and quickly legged the five kilometre walk. As I quickly tapped away on my phone an apology text for not only being late as I had to fight a woman in a minivan for my car park and when I couldn’t think anything else bad could happen; I discovered I was in the wrong area and about to sit at a table with a strange man and his children.
Who clearly was not my date at all.
After quickly removing myself from that potentially and near fatal awkward scenario of ‘let’s try to date a single dad who isn’t my date’, I gave my date the final opportunity to bolt while I made my way towards him at the opposite end of where I originally began. Once having located the man who was indeed my real blind and breathing date, I promptly collapsed into my chair with a sigh before profusely apologising for being late.
By the time, I got into my car after having said farewell to my not-so blind date after experiencing my first and only seven-hour date and profusely thanking my security guard escort who had cheerfully walked me to my car late at night, I discovered that I had been correct as a little girl. I realised over the past 10+ years of dating on and off, I had crawled through dirt, sludge and grime that had been littered with hidden twigs, rocks and bear traps before climbing barehanded over scaling Rocky Mountains.
Having been cynical about dating experiences and the repercussions of letting down your walls for a hint of fun as it leads to damage, uncertainty and for the first time in such a long time; I went into a date with no astronomical expectations and enjoyed being dated for the evening by a true gentleman.
Ladies and Gentlemen as I bring this mini-series to an official end, I have a few important words that I wish to share with you and they are: if you find yourself like me, cynical to a T and cannot bare seeing beyond the imagination or the horizon and yet, find yourself being wined and dined by someone who appears and sounds fascinating, doesn’t belittle you in any form or shape and encourages you to define yourself as a person than what the hell are you waiting for?
Go out there and capture that person with anything and everything that makes you unique such as your wit, intelligence, creativity and sheer power to succeed and shine brightly in a rather dull fish bowl. Trust me, in five years’ time when you are walking down or watching him/her walk down that aisle with tears in your eyes and a smile on your face, you’ll be going “dang, Scarlett jacked me up!”
My response is and will always be: Baby, you did all the work yourself but you needed a little confidence boost to go on out there. So, use your titanium balls and go get ‘em.
Much love & until next time,
The woman who is 10 steps closer to Mr. Darcy