Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Dating Fatigue

It’s mid-afternoon in the coffee shop. Double-height ceiling, fans rotating lazily in the lofty gloom. A mezzanine level, ringed with silent customers staring at laptops, papers spread on tables. Highlighter pens, coffee mugs.
Two men lower themselves into director’s chairs around a circular table. One is wearing a pink shirt, open collared, polo-player insignia on the breast. Close-cropped blonde hair, tanned. A heavy, expensive-looking watch hangs slack around his wrist. He turns the chair so that he’s sitting side-on to the table, extends his legs. Well-made leather shoes, crossed at the ankle.
He leans back in his chair, expands to fill it, one arm on each armrest.
The other man is smaller, darker. He faces the table. He has a biro in the breast pocket of his plaid shirt. He leans forward.
‘You still on that dating website, man?’
‘Yeah.’ The blonde man shakes his head. ‘I don’t know, man, I’m getting kinda tired of it.’
‘Oh yeah?’ His friend makes a moue. ‘You’ve met a lot of people on there though, right?’
‘Yeah, but,’ – he shifts his weight, his breath catching – ‘I don’t know.’ He sighs. ‘It’s just hard to get excited about it after a while.’
He takes his sunglasses off his head, polishes them with the corner of his shirt.
‘You don’t want to meet someone any more?’
‘Nah man, it’s not that.’ He looks him in the eye, looks away again. ‘I just want to meet someone, you know, and have, like, an instant connection. I don’t want to have to go on, like, forty dates, to see if there’s chemistry.’
‘Right.’ The other man nods slowly, looking into his coffee mug.
‘And the other thing?’ He leans forward, conspiratorial now. Looks around his shoulder, cranes his neck, scanning the crowd. Turns back. ‘Some of them are pretty crazy, man.’
‘Yeah?’ The other man widens his eyes, makes a face. ‘How so?’
‘Well, they start talking about their problems, and to be honest? I just get irritated.’ A heavy sigh here. He shakes his head as though clearing water out of his ears. ‘The California one? Remember her?’
‘Oh yeah, I remember her. Angela, right? Hey, she was pretty hot, man.’
‘Right. Well, she’s just annoying. She goes on these uneducated rants on Facebook. She texted me five times in a row recently, complaining about how her dad wouldn’t pay for her flight to Houston, because she wants to go to a baby shower, and her mom doesn’t have the money, and her sister is the favourite, and her sister is getting loads of shit from her dad, and it’s not fair.’ He widens his eyes, stares at his friend. Shakes his head slowly.
His friend shakes his head in sympathy. ‘Jeez.’
‘I know, right?’
‘What did you say?’
‘Well, I was like, if you want a plane ticket, get a fucking job.’
The other man laughs. ‘Bet she loved that.’
They both shake their heads in silence.
‘Are you guys still friends on Facebook?’
‘You should delete her, man. She sounds like a pain in the ass.’
‘Oh, she’s a pain in the ass all right. Yeah. Oh,’ – he remembers something, finger in the air – ‘and apparently she’s got a boyfriend now. She puts all over Twitter and Facebook that she’s got a boyfriend. But she’s still contacting me, like, all the time. Like, hey John, how you doin’ tonight? That kind of shit.’
‘So I’m like, if you have a boyfriend, why are you still talking to me?’
‘I hate Facebook, man.’ He blows air out, cheeks expanded. ‘That’s why I’m not on there.’
‘I know, right. It’s horseshit.’
‘You should delete it.’
‘I know.’

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