A new woman’s guide to etiquette
I never really understood the idea of appropriate boundaries. Sure, that’s what all the new-age self-help literature claims as one of the most important strategies for an effective life, but for me they’ve always just felt like these arbitrary thoughts that transmute into self-imposed rules and by then the whole thing is just too boring to bear.
So, anyway, I guess that’s how I ended up on Blendr.
For those who aren’t familiar, Blendr is pitched as the straight version of Grindr, which is like a gay ‘dating’ (hook up) smart phone app. I can’t remember who told me about it, but I remember they said that all the girls on it were desperate and trashy and I nodded agreeably and made a mental note to sign up.
At first I had the usual female experience of any dating site. A lot of bad spellers and an overabundance of 30 plus chronic abbreviations, followed by more cock shots than my brain can safely erase. Much as I’m a fan of the penis, aesthetics are not its strong suit. Somehow, they all seem strangely bulbous.
I had a few forgettable conversations, but it turns out that I’m just not someone who feels comfortable with the idea of a guy “turning up with some pastries” so we can “see what happens.” I have been mainly just on it in the name of social experimentation (girl code for “A lot of guys telling me I’m hot and making me feel good about myself”) and to make fun of the aforementioned cock shots.
Then I got a message from a stand up comic I’d seen about a year ago. I saw his ‘act’ him at a comedy showcase in the lead up to the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival, where all the comics did a short set in the hope that people would like them and buy tickets to their show.
Most of them were pretty funny, and some were really, really funny. Only one was tragically bad. He was wearing weird face-paint that made him look like he couldn’t decide if he wanted to be in a kiss tribute band or the Joker from Tim Burton’s Bat Man. He was incredibly nervous and made a lot of bad sexual references, which as a rule I’m a fan of, but this was just…awkward. He had a joke about being excited that his girlfriend wanted to re-enact a porn scene and then 7 midget’s turning up. It was the sort of performance that made the audience viscerally feel the shame of every human in all of history. Point being, it wasn’t good.
Anyway, he messaged me, and his profile shot was of him in his face paint doing his stand up “comedy.” I mocked him, as only someone in the safety of her home wearing Wednesday underwear could, and told him about my experience of his craft. He, surprisingly, took it well. Asked me what performance I had seen, told me it was a bad day and we proceeded to talk shit for a while.
I think maybe I was drawn in by how well he had taken my criticism and we kept the conversation going for a couple of weeks. I was in the middle of an incredibly stressful money job contract and his invitations to smoke weed and watch south park were a nice vacation from a lot of meetings where I was both out of my mind with boredom and totally out of my depth.
After a few weeks of chatting I agreed to meet him in a pub that was near my house. I turned up early so that I could find a stool with good lighting and drank a cider while I watched the end of a pub quiz.
He turned up a few minutes late and launched immediately into a diatribe about all of the interesting things that he was doing in his life. Writing movies, stand-up comedy and event management were amongst his many career paths. He wasn’t wearing face paint but he was sporting a t-shirt with the Joker on it (only this was the Christopher Nolan/Heath Ledger Joker) and at some point showed me a picture of Eric Cartman from South Park that he kept in his wallet. Ironically, he was funny in person and charming in a weird way.
Anyway, after an hour or so of talking, he told me that he was in an open relationship and asked me if that bothered me. I didn’t see him as boyfriend material so it wasn’t important and a short time later we went back to my place and had sex. Afterwards, I dropped him at his place and he thanked me for a “lovely evening.” I laughed at the absurdity and drove home.
I’m not sure what the moral of that story is. Maybe it’s that boundaries are important and I should think more about them. Or that you can be bad at stand up comedy and in an open relationship and still get laid.
Either way, it was fun.
Anna Alexander is a writer, communicator, and over-sharer who lives in Sydney.