Post-lockdown dating diaries: ‘I’m more seasoned in casual sex than dating’
Hannah Kingston reports on the joys (and trials) of post-break-up, post-lockdown dating in Australia.
One night stands. A delicious concept in my opinion. They’re a mini-croissant. A quick snack that doesn’t involve the commitment of feeling too full. You have intimacy with no strings and when things go well, you get to orgasm, without having to get emotionally involved. I have always been a huge fan of a one-nighter. I love sex, so sue me. The excitement of eyes locking across a crowded bar, the flirty banter, the gin and tonics, maybe shots, the “my place or yours”, the hand holding in the taxi home, the exchange of information that won’t matter to either of you in twelve hours, the actual sex itself and the uninhibited pillow talk the next morning.
My confession this month is that I’m more seasoned in casual sex than dating. In fact, I don’t really date, all of my previous relationships have been born out of club chemistry. Is that out of the ordinary? Am I a loose woman? I’m happy that no one can respond to my monologues sometimes.
There are no expectations with a quick tryst, you quench your thirst and move on with your life, unphased as to whether or not you’ll get a post-date validation text. Worst case scenario? The sex is bad, or the sleep after the sex is bad, or both are bad and you set your alarm for 5 am, make an excuse and evacuate the dance floor. Side-bar: I’m not speaking theoretically, I once set my alarm for 5 am, claimed I had work (on a Sunday) and ran from the crime scene with gusto.
Island fever is a concept that has always interested me, probably because I come from a small town that sits on a relatively small island. I often wonder if older couples today would have made it so far if they had a catalogue of people on their phone they could swipe yes and no to. Would they still marry who they’re with now if they had the anonymity of a bigger place with more people to choose from?
I don’t watch Love Island but I have some hot takes on why people who would never usually hook up, end up hooking up, besides the monetary pull.
The contestants are on a secluded island with few distractions and even fewer options for mates. The train doors are closing and they want to get home first. It mirrors societal pressure to get a person, get a gaff, get married and get pregnant. In my experience, one of the first questions people ask you when they’re getting to know you is, “Do you have a boyfriend?”.
Society wants us to be coupled and as women, it’s a badge of success to not be alone. Someone chose you, and you chose them. You are a successful person! You have a higher chance of being able to afford a mortgage, rejoice! I think island fever intensifies societal pressure to not be alone. I think island fever begets the desire for validation in all the wrong places.
To the plot.
The tale I’m about to tell reminds me of the Gaeltacht in 2008. Fourteen and my self worth relies on whether people fancy me or not. Standard teenage stuff.
Friends and I land on Cape Clear with three weeks stretching ahead of us, as Gaeilge. Obviously scouting the talent on arrival off the ferry is the main priority. First impressions and we’re all pretty disappointed with the talent but by day two, we’re all pretty in love. It’s the island fever, I’m telling you.
Fast forward twelve years later and I have clearly not grown up. Friends and I land on Fraser Island, off the coast of Queensland for a two-night camping trip. I should be excited about waterfalls and melted marshmallows but I’m scouting the talent from the moment my foot lands on the white sand.
Fast forward six hours and I have a litre of goon (box wine) in my belly, no phone coverage and Lizzo level confidence. I’m bored, and I’m horny. I’m seeking validation in all the wrong places.
While everyone is dancing around the campfire, I’m wondering how I can get my bit without getting bitten by a dingo. I make eye contact with *John and decide that it’s a good life decision to sidle on over and put the graft in.
The only difference to the standard one night stand is there’s no taxi, in fact, there’s no bed because we’re sleeping in tents. If we’re being thorough, the personal hygiene isn’t really there either because the showers are a tad grim and prior to drinking the somehow dry and fruity vinegar wine, I forfeited the idea of cleanliness. I stink.
Drunken flirtation ensues. “My tent or yours?” I giggle.
We decide on his, given the fact that I can’t imagine myself getting into the moment while I’m mere inches from my friends in the tent next door.
It’s not a practical situation, I’m wearing seventy layers of clothes and I smell like a bin. I repeatedly say that I never smell this bad throughout the experience. How sexy.
The sex is not good, the sleep is better. Better until I wake up in the nip to the sound of people making breakfast. What seemed like a good idea last night is now closing in on me like the Sunday fear on steroids.
In a run of the mill one night stand, you call an Uber and dash from their door to yours. I must do the post-coital walk back to my tent in front of 30 people. I hurriedly throw on my clothes, grab my sleeping bag and pop my head out of the little hole in the tent. Everyone’s there, there isn’t going to be a time when they’re not. I need to make a break for it.
I run/crawl back to my tent. On arrival, my friend loudly says “Why weren’t you in your tent last night?”, I see people looking in my direction. I dive into my tent and cover my face with my hands. Spiritually I’m back in the Gaeltacht again and I have another twenty-four hours to get through before we can cut our losses and move forward, with our lives and up the East Coast of Australia.
To make matters worse I can’t remember his name, and we have definitely gone past the point of introductions. I have regressed. I can’t look him in the eye. I feel like everyone is looking at him and then looking at me mischievously. I need to get off the island, right now, I think to myself as I frantically brush my teeth in the portaloo showers.
“What’s his name?” I whisper to my friend Kate on the way to Whitehaven beach. “*John! Jaysis how much wine did you have last night?” She whispers back.
Remember when I touched on the exchange of information that won’t matter in twelve hours? Well, sometimes the information does matter in twelve hours.
“So what’s on your agenda for the next few weeks?” is my attempt at small talk with one of *Johns’s friends.
“We’re travelling up North, making our way up to Cairns.”
“How lovely!” I say in a high pitched voice.
The information matters. It matters when you will continuously bump into them for the foreseeable future. Narrator: Hannah and *John had the exact same travel itinerary for the next 8 weeks. 3,396 kilometres of bumping into each other to be exact.
I have a weird phobia. If I meet someone I know in a supermarket, even if I really like that someone, I just want to abandon the trolley and leave. You have your big enthusiastic chat in the fruit and veg section, but then you continue to see them in the bakery, dairy, meat and cereal aisles. You spend your whole shopping experience saying hello and goodbye or even worse pretending not to see each other. By the time you reach the frozen aisle, you just want to abandon cart and run.
My phobia has come to life, except in this instance, I had sex in the fruit and veg section, but I can’t abandon my trolley. I am stuck in this imaginary Supervalu situation for the next 56 days and I’m struggling to own it.
When oh when will I come to you guys with good news? Stay tuned.