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Image / Self / Relationships

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by Hannah Kingston
10th Jul 2021

Getty Images

Hannah Kingston reports on the joys (and trials) of post-break-up, post-lockdown dating in Australia.

I want something to write home about. I want Netflix to turn it into a movie. Spark? I want the whole firework show. Any objective bystander would tell me I’m setting myself up for failure, but I think I just have romantic tendencies that I would like to see actualised. 

Make of it what you will, but when I saw the doctor who tended to me while I was in A&E appear on my dating app, I just couldn’t help myself. 

My brain fizzed. What a story! “*Brian was working in A&E when I admitted myself fully believing that I was having a stroke during the first lockdown. His delicate Scottish accent made me swoon while I lay in the hospital bed, barely coherent with aura. A year later, we reconnected and the rest is history!” 

I mentally revise conversation topics and banned asking questions such as “What is your favourite colour?” and “Would you prefer to freeze or burn to death?” 

I have always had a weakness for a Scottish accent. It’s just so sexy and quaint at the same time. I imagine our lives together, the types of dogs we would have. Would he wear a kilt to our wedding? We would go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every year, regardless of where we decided to set up camp. 

This thought process happened all before he responded to my first attempt at flirtation. 

“Do you work in Alfred hospital?” 

“Yes, why? Lol.” 

Oh my God, we are clearly meant to be. He was definitely my doctor. The doctor, who in gentle tones, told me that I was definitely not having a stroke, but he could put me on the waiting list for an MRI if it helped to ease my mind. He was the same doctor who handed me a panadol while I lay there feeling very sorry for myself in an itchy, backless hospital gown. The very same doctor who likely saw my granny knickers when I forgot the gown was backless and shuffled down the corridor looking for a bathroom. 

The Meet-Cute

We set the date for our date. I tell all of my friends and my mom about the situation in excited tones. I’m surprised I don’t put it on social media. I buy a new jacket for the occasion, in the belief that I should scrub up for the guy who spends his day in scrubs. (Sorry.)

This is the first time in a long time that I have felt truly excited about a date. I mentally revise conversation topics and banned asking questions such as “What is your favourite colour?” and “Would you prefer to freeze or burn to death?” 

I’m not going to say he catfished me but he looks eerily younger in person than he does online and it’s making me feel some sort of way.

When D-day rolls around, anticipation is high. I see him from the back as I check in and approach the bar as coolly as I can, even though my mind enters a spiral of “What could I possibly have in common with this person? This was a stupid idea. He saves lives, I save money to go on mini-breaks, we will have zero to say to each other.” You know, the usual.

He turns around mid-spiral and says hi. He does not have a Scottish accent. I am terribly confused. “I actually don’t think I was your doctor that day. I studied in Edinburgh but I’m from Melbourne. That must be why you thought I’m Scottish.” My stomach drops. 

This guy looks exactly like my doctor, he had all of the same vital stats, but when he speaks? Definitely not my doctor. Maybe I was in such a bad way that I imagined a Scottish accent? None of this makes sense, but I can’t continue to stand there gawping at him, something needs to happen. We get some gin and tonics. “Yeah, I think my doctor was definitely Scottish, but that’s okay, thanks a million for… the great work you do for the community.” 

WHAT AM I SAYING. 

“I studied in Edinburgh for five years, so I could try to put the accent on, if you like.” “Haha, yeah, no, that’s okay.” 

Awkward silence. 

I decide at this moment that I am going to stay for two drinks and then leave because this guy seems very content with letting silences drag out, (my worst nightmare) and if it goes on for too long, I will definitely start whipping out my collection of cringey conversation starters. 

I don’t have a bike but it seems like as good a time as any to invent a world where I get up at 7am on Sundays to exercise.

Furthermore, I’m not going to say he catfished me but he looks eerily younger in person than he does online and it’s making me feel some sort of way. Two drinks promptly turn into six drinks because he’s drinking fast and we’ve somehow entered a rounds situation. 

I’m not having an awful time. He’s pleasant, the conversation is nice, but I need to remember that on drink one I was not into it so I shouldn’t let drink six do any of my decision making. While he is sooo lovely we have nooothing in common, as feared. (Trust your gut before taking the plunge ladies and gentlemen) .

“Better call it now, I’m going cycling tomorrow!” 

I don’t have a bike but it seems like as good a time as any to invent a world where I get up at 7am on Sundays to exercise.

The most awkward kiss of my life ensues. It’s more like a face...press. 

When the date ends, he does that awful thing of wanting to hold a debrief immediately after. “So, I just want to ask now instead of doing the texting thing, do you want to grab a drink next weekend?” I definitely don’t so obviously I say “Yes, definitely, yes, 100%.” I have zero intention of a repeat but how do you say no when someone asks you on the spot like that, mere seconds after you were having a laugh? Painful. 

Then he asks if I want a kiss. I definitely don’t so obviously I say “Yeah, sounds great!” 

The most awkward kiss of my life ensues. It’s more like a face…press. An extended one that feels like days have passed. Once it finishes, I stiffly run/walk across the road like a thirteen-year-old running away at a disco because I simply can’t make eye contact after it. 

Goodbye imagined dogs. Goodbye kilts. I uninstall the apps from my phone in the Uber home, knowing full well that I will have them reinstalled in the next 24 hours.

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