The Artist in Residence

Dear Purple Frockers,

I may have been silent, but I’ve been hatching some big news… literally.  I have a little Artist in Residence (also known as The Little Dot), who despite only measuring 7cm has caused a lot of havoc and amazing changes over the last three months. Just like its mother, the Little Dot is an overachiever and totally kicked butt on all of the terrifying tests that one has to face at the 13 week mark, especially being of “advanced maternal age”. Ugh. 

All things going well, the Little Dot will arrive late July / early August, and I’m just so thrilled. There may not be any dating stories for a while, but it came to the point that the baby had to happen now, and the Late Dude can turn up later on, without the pressure of being a single woman of a certain age who wants a child.  I’m open to Baby no 2 if the Late Dude gets himself into gear and appears in time.

 Much love from the Purple Frock and the Little Dot.

Little Dot

 

 

The Gatekeeper

A few months ago, a Rare and Welcome Event occurred.  The secret witches’ network was activated, and word reached a close friend’s ear that an Eligible Bachelor was in need of a wife and kids. Pronto.  By all accounts, he was quite the catch. Tall, handsome, works out, well-educated, into the arts, wonderful with children, desperately wants a family, and all round lovely guy. Why wasn’t he already snaffled? He’s an upper limb surgeon (ie locked away from society studying for years and years), works long hours, and reluctant to date women within his work circle. I got it, and wasn’t bothered by his background nor the long hours.  It all sounded promising, apart from potential dinner time arguments about whether or not to operate for carpal tunnel syndrome and similar use-related injuries. My line of work in rehabilitation is strongly on the NO side in case you hadn’t guessed.

The catch?  The sister-in-law, who was advocating on behalf of her husband’s brother, wanted to meet me. I wasn’t terribly keen. After being on many a blind first date I wasn’t phased by one more, let alone a potentially good one. So reluctantly, I had to go through the gatekeeper to get to the guy.

Now the Gatekeeper was actually an elegant, incredible lady, who arrived with her gorgeous half-Malaysian daughter. Her purpose in meeting me was two-fold. She wanted to share her story of meeting her now husband at 40, and having two beautiful kids naturally by 43, giving me hope that I could have a similar story to tell one day. The second reason was to tell me face to face that while her brother-in-law thought I sounded very interesting, attractive, blah di blah, he didn’t want to meet me because he wanted children, and I was 40.

Ouch.  Double ouchy ouch. 

I was still easing into the 4 instead of 3 in front of my age, and this was the first time that I had been dismissed (to my face anyway) because of my supposed inability to have children at my age. It was a huge wake up call. While part of me was pretty annoyed that this was from a guy in his mid-40s (try donating your jizz now cowboy, you are over the line as well!), it was also very upsetting. If supposedly decent guys who really want a family write me off without even a meeting, then that doesn’t bode well for the future as my numbers keep getting higher.

The Elegant Gatekeeper and I have kept in touch, and in line with her kind nature, she has offered me her baby car seat and a stack of other miscellaneous baby bits should that day of need arrives. If that day comes, I would like the Dismissive Doctor to see the baby photos. Good luck trying to date 20 somethings dude. Grrrr. 

gatekeeper

Cityswoon Review: Part 2

Welcome to my  Christmas goodwill deed for the year folks. A number of people have read my not-so-positive review of my first Cityswoon night out, and I only feel it’s fair to report that I had a much better time on second attempt. Warning though, the bad nights out are the most entertaining stories, so this entry may be a bit dull!

Venue: Cityswoon – YES to Lychee Lounge in West End. It’s a place I’d actually go (compare to a dive across the road from Central Station) and having the place to ourselves was a bit of a coup. It’s a lovely place to hang, and I felt very comfortable there. My kinda place. 

Snacks: Thank you for moving away from the sausage rolls and miscellaneous deep fried snacks. Definitely classier than last time.

Phones:  It’s not bad to receive a message and photo of the next date (shows up those who try to get away with the 5 year old photo) but the “games” are pretty lame. They only serve to break the ice with unanimous agreement that they were lame.  Minor detail though. I still find the phones on distracting though, as it means other text messages and phone calls are coming in apart from the “next date” text.

The talent:  I really enjoyed the company of just about all the dates. No traumatised recent divorcees, all normal, decent, interesting dudes. I matched with about 7 of the guys, including my pick of the night, and had a really cool night out with him that week. Unfortunately, I read in their profiles the next day that most of them didn’t want children, which leads to…

Matching: Here’s the thing. I still don’t buy that these nights are particularly matched. I had dates with all but one there, and a couple (older than the age range) bragged about the last minute 50% off call to drag in more guys. Better than too many girls, but I don’t think you can claim then that the dates are carefully matched. Here’s one more important detail: a 39 year old woman who wants a family isn’t going to pursue a 45 year old guy who has had his kids, and has strongly decided not to have anymore.  I get that a woman in her late 30s who wants kids is a scary concept, but there’s just no point dating someone who just isn’t interested in family, or who “might reconsider for the right girl”. Well, I’d rather have a child by myself than with the wrong guy.  To be fair, the Cityswoon adventure nights moving around from bar to bar do attract bigger numbers, so I would assume the matching would be better on those evenings.

The verdict: A short face-to-face date is always so much better than a protracted hiding-behind-email chatfest, and Cityswoon is a good way of meeting a bunch of singletons in a cruisy environment. Huge improvement since it started, and if other nights are similar to this one, I’d recommend. Thanks for a fun night out Cityswoon!

 

The Lychee Lounge - The West End - Brisbane - Photo02

 

 

IVF Round Two: Here we go!

Life has been pretty quiet on the dating front in the last couple of months.  I discovered the hard way that dating while doing an IVF cycle is weird… keeping an eye on the clock to “just pop out to the bathroom” with an icepack surreptitiously in the handbag and stab yourself with two needles in a gross public bathroom just didn’t do it for me.   It’s strange though that choosing donor sperm and being “on cycle” seemed to be a total quality date magnet, two excellent dates in four days!  But no matter how many mantras of “I’m beautiful just the way I am” one repeats, it sucks feeling like a fat bloated non-drinking blob on a date. Nope.

So I’ve been keeping a low profile in preparing for Round Two. This has included weekly acupuncture for 3 months, a swathe of supplements, 3 week hard-core detox with horrible pills and potions, starting weights sessions for the first time in my life, discovering  (and addressing) a weird gene mutation which has completely changed my energy levels, and ditching Dr Negative for a lovely Dr. Funny. And guess what, Dr. Negative, all my levels are normal, I’m not anywhere near peri menopause, and my FSH went down to an optimal level. F*** you. I felt like this puppy below, in between bouncing off the ceiling. I hadn’t felt so awesome in years.

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I went into this cycle optimistic, but guarded. I know now that anything can happen, and while I felt I could expect a better result, I knew from experience there were no guarantees. Dr Funny started me on a mega dose from the beginning and threw in a hipster drug from the US which is all the rage. Literally. The first obstacle was trying to manage the new set of vials, small and large needles, drawing in and drawing out… I stabbed my finger on the first attempt and  bled over some pristine white hotel sheets in Cairns. The next day I spilled it all the floor, before conceding no shame and having my Dr Flatmate demonstrate how to do the f***ing thing. Over sharing, but desperate times, especially as seeing the  LARGE needle in the nurse’s demonstration caused complete amnesia.  

Having got through that minor bump, the symptoms were pretty horrendous this round. Migraines and nausea so bad that I had to leave work early a couple of times. Again, IVF attracted some interesting guys, but RSVP hasn’t added in the “You sound interesting, but can we wait until I’ve finished my IVF cycle?” kiss option. I ended up dodging much social contact to mooch around at home with a heat pack, guzzling water and Panadol, crying at the drop of a hat. Combined with the odd spat of online therapy, including a hormone-induced teary decision that my breakfast bowls were ugly and I simply couldn’t eat of them any more. This is from someone who never buys kitchen stuff. WTF?  Add in Trump’s victory, and the Zen vanished into something like this below. 

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So far though, things are going better than Round One. The cycle only went two days late to Day 16, versus Day 20 last time (ugh) and eight of my ten egg haul have decided they want to be embryos so far. While this doesn’t compare to a friend’s recent 58 egg heist (thanks to polycystic ovaries and a keen sense of drama), the numbers are much better this time. The waiting game begins, with a new set of horrible drugs which warn of very common symptoms including “cramping, severe depression, low sense of self worth, insomnia, weight gain, bloating, extreme fatigue, nausea” etc etc, accompanied by a flippant line that maybe none of it will happen. Here’s hoping.

Please send a thought for my little monsters on their road to Day 5 blossoming. There’s no way I want to go through this again, I’m done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IVF Round One: The Debrief

 In my last post I shared some of what I have learned through the process of going through IVF, in this one I’d like to share my personal experience over the last few weeks. 

One has no idea what to expect doing IVF, and in hindsight, the only thing that can be expected is that it is a wild and unpredictable ride. From the outset, things seemed reasonably positive. My AMH score was good for my age (crusty old egg reserve), I was on the right side of 40, and Dr A Squared was confident that we could expect to retrieve 8-12 eggs, 15 would be exceptional.  All the symptoms seemed to indicate that things were happening: after a week I couldn’t fit into most of my clothes (great), I had pretty bad cramping, and huge mood swings alternating consistently between tears and anger at nothing at all. 

The first scan knocked the wind out of my sails. Only 2 follicles had developed, that is, one more than would normal, and follicles are no guarantee of eggs. I had the choice of cancelling the cycle altogether, or continuing knowing that there may be a large amount of money spent, and zero eggs collected.  To add to the shock, the idea of 8-12 eggs was replaced by Dr A Squared’s declaration that these were probably my last 2 eggs ever. The fact that I had been on the pill for 20 years confirmed that any last eggs left had been preserved.  If  we were to continue, there was no point freezing them as eggs in wait for Mr Late, embryos were the only possibility. We were never going to get a better result, this was it. The end of the road had arrived. Wow. 

While his bedside manner had a lot to be desired, there was no way of sugar coating this turn of events. I reached out to a friend who had been through IVF numerous times, finally giving birth to a gorgeous baby boy at the age of 47. She reassured me that many women don’t respond well the first time, particularly after being on the pill and not ovulating for 20 years. She herself had had varying results over her cycles, and that it was a process of adjusting the dose, changing the drugs (and the doctor) to finally yield the result. My hope raised again, soon to be squashed by  Dr A Squared, who argued that neither a change of dose, nor a change of drug would help. Nevertheless, he doubled the dose for the remainder of the cycle. I also added in acupuncture, supplements, and simple yet sensible measures such as increasing water and protein intake, and keeping a heat pack on my abdomen to encourage blood to the area when possible. To my own surprise, I found a donor I was happy to use (my age, background in education and the arts, serious linguist and guitar player, looked like my cousins which was kinda weird, but otherwise would totally date him). It felt like the right choice, and one that I would be comfortable talking about with a potential child. 

The next scan revealed 4-5 follicles (YEAH!) of perfect size, ready to be collected. It was hard not to feel excited, particularly when no less than SIX eggs were picked up during the procedure. Take that Dr “Last Two Eggs”!!

But, with IVF, there’s always a but… and an until….after egg pickup, the eggs have to go through the challenge of being fertilised. My harvest dropped from 6 to 4 very good embryos. The finger crossing then continued as the embryos go on a perilous journey into transforming into a viable blastocyst, ideally by Day 5. As Day 5 drew closer, my nerves increased: my 4 “very good embryos” were now 2, maybe 3, and struggling. There was no phone call on Day 6, and after playing phone tag on Day 7 with the Dr refusing to leave a message, I knew something was up. Only one, “average” embryo had made it far enough along to be frozen; I read between the lines that its C-grading probably means that it might not survive the defrost. 

It’s hard not to be attached to the outcome, not to cling to hope, not to be devastated, not to have regret and indulge in “if only” and “what if”.  While I can (and have) made many amazing things happen in my life, I have no control over this particular process.  I have to face the sober realisation that the odds are very low, and that my body is not what it used to be. Turning 40 is not “just a number”, or “the new 30″. For  women at least, it really is 40.  Adding into this roller coaster of emotions is that of course it’s Day 1 by the time I found out this news, so emotionally I’m all over the shop. Again. The only thing that has kept me going is the close-knit group of friends who have been in touch, offering support, and following the updates. A simple text checking in means so much when you’re going through this. 

So what’s next? After a few months of giving my body a break (fancy ovarian cancer anyone?) I’m going to give it another try, on double the meds, plus acupuncture and other supplements. I’m going to clear more of my schedule, get more rest, and cut down on caffeine which can apparently interfere with the egg quality (God no cups of tea as well as no alcohol during this emotional drug-induced avalanche?).  Despite Dr A Squared’s belief that there’s no point having an FSH test to determine hormone levels, as I’m old and my eggs are old, I’m going to do it anyway. If I am in perimenopause (insomnia, poor memory and disruption to cycles are symptoms on that list) and my FSH levels are super high, then I know this is all probably useless, and can adjust my expectations and plans accordingly.

I have no regrets, and am actually am glad to have opened up this can of worms before my 40th. If my fertility is really over, I need to know that, take the time to grieve, then widen my search of a potential partner beyond those who want a family. In fact, I would need to rule out men who want a(nother) child, as painful as that may be. 

When you see me, please don’t feel that you need to avoid the subject. I’ll have my brave face and waterproof mascara on. The bruises on my abdomen may have nearly healed, but I’m still pretty broken. This is what IVF can and, for most women,  will do to you. 

Darien-Lake-Amusement-Park-roler-coaster

 

 

 

Eggs: frozen? Brain: scrambled. Hard won facts about IVF.

Yep, you guessed it… The Purple Frock may have been silent for a little while, but the latest tale is a doozy. With blind 40 quickly approaching,  it became clear that Mr Lovely hadn’t received the memo to show up for my 40th on his white horse. Or however he’s meant to catch my attention. Being the proactive lass that I am, it was time to jump into action and to investigate what IVF was all about. Fark. 

Step one was to have a blood test (AMH) to investigate the my sad old crusty egg reserve. As a chronic over-achiever, I was shocked to discover my result was in the lowest category. Excuse me, but I don’t FAIL tests! which brought me (nervously) to meet a fertility specialist. The omens seemed good – both his Christian name and (identical) surname were the same as my father’s, and Dr A Squared’s practice was a few metres away from my naturopath’s. Perfect for running down the hall for a bear-hug from one of the loveliest human beings I know if it all became too much. After an excruciatingly awkward conversation about my current relationship and dating status (nil, zilch, big fat nothing, gar nichts etc) I was assured that my low numbers were actually good for my age. The unexpected flood of tears prompted me to sit with a whole range of uncomfortable issues which I had been pushing aside, and to come to some surprising self-realisations and decisions.

Since that time, so many things have happened that Purple Frock pre August would never have thought possible. I’ve injected myself up to 4 times a day, carrying cold packs around to keep the meds chilled, jabbed myself in crusty airport bathrooms, the back of a school hall (no small children were traumatised, fear not) and in red-lit anti-injecting restaurant bathrooms (so inconsiderate. Geez).  I asked a good friend to be a donor-daddy, which was a weirdly normal conversation, as far as those near-sober chats can roll. As I write tonight, the end of this fertility cycle is nigh. Thank God.  I’ve stabbed myself with the mother of all needles to prompt ovulation after having suppressed it with another needle every evening for the last ten days, and the egg “harvest” is booked. 

On the whole, I’ve felt like a small, disposable cog in a huge income generating machine, with results guaranteed to be in inverse proportion to the money involved. The information that I needed has been difficult to find, and Dr A Squared’s 10-15 minute appointments were often contradictory.  The first question I was asked in the compulsory counselling session was nothing about me or my potential parenting ability, but whether I was allergic to egg yolk, which can be used in solutions to freeze sperm.  I’ve said and written the word “sperm” a hilarious number of times in the last month.

What follows is what I wish I knew before beginning all of this… or maybe it’s better I didn’t:

 – Eggs are pretty crap to freeze. Even after injecting yourself with horrible drugs, spending bucketloads of money, and becoming a bloated, impossible basket case, only a depressing number of the eggs collected are viable. Some are immature (how can you get to be 40 years old and still immature?!!) Eggs neither freeze particularly well, nor like defrosting. Only around 65% of eggs collected are able to be fertilised, of those only 70% progress to day 3. Then, 60-70% of the survivors power on to reach blastocyst, or potential survival. There are no stats around how well embryos survive in storage or not, and how that deterioration compares to the natural rate of crumbling into useless. 

- To make matters worse, eggs are actually 6 months older than your birth date, as they develop in utero. I thought I was ahead of the game on the “right” side of 40, but it seems my eggs are already 40.5 years old. There goes that idea. 

- In contrast, sperm freezes well, as do embryos. As a single Purple Frock, “Who’s your Daddy?” takes on a whole new meaning. Donor Sperm. Holy moly. What are the odds that as soon as you freeze your eggies with some random Mr Lovely gets jealous and suddenly makes his grand (and late) entrance? I’ll get back to that soon.  But what if he shows up when I’m 45, and I’ve missed my chance to have a child?  

- For those under 30, i.e. the smart age to have children, natural conception rate is around 20% for each cycle. If you missed the fun and cheap way to get pregnant,  there are a few options.  IUI (turkey baste) may at first glance look cheaper than IVF, but at 10% success rate, many women take 6 or more cycles to become pregnant, and this requires 6 lots of BYO sperm ampoules, which are not cheap. Meanwhile, one’s eggs are getting older with each cycle…

- For women under 38, IVF has a success rate of around 40%. The process is much more invasive (remember, self-injecting, emotional, bloated basket case) and also damn expensive. Women of my vintage can expect around 20% success rate with an IVF embryo transfer. Which is pretty shit, all things considered. 

- The success rate of successful embryo transfer plummets from ages 39-41, at which point the graph just dwindles away to near zero as the 40s loom larger. Germaine Greer quoted Robert Lord Winston in her book The Whole Woman that “By the age of forty-two at least 50 per cent of women are biologically sterile”. Woah. There are no stats for the success of pregnancies from frozen eggs mixed with sperm, and doctors will not offer to share these graphs unless you ask for them.

- Other disturbing facts from The Whole Woman include that more than half of IVF births are C-sections, and that women over 40 have a 50% chance of miscarrying their IVF baby. Rates of ectopic pregnancy, breech, multiple birth, still birth, pre-term delivery and low birth weight are much higher than natural conception. Around 20% of patients don’t finish the egg harvesting cycle, due in part to ovulation outside clinic hours. I’m not sure why the others don’t complete.

- For those sisters using Puregon for the first time, be warned that there IS excess in each vial, designed for clutzes like me who spill and drop shit. Don’t freak out that you’ve given yourself the wrong dose and f***ed up the whole cycle, as I spent one morning fretting about until Dr Google reassured me I was not alone. In Australia, these meds are heavily subsidised, but UK women will choose to torture themselves with extra injections to squeeze every last drop from those vile vials to save cash. By the way, while you may be totally stressed and spend 30 minutes doing the first injection, by day 3 you’ll have it down to less than a minute and be completely unfazed. 

- Although one might think that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of donor sperm to choose from, there aren’t. Nope. Queensland has the highest “pool” around in Australia, with around 20 potentials. Yep, 20. The NT and also WA have waiting lists.  If it’s important for your child to vaguely look like you, this means further culling to those of the same ethnicity. Australian donors are few and far between, and cost around $400 for each ampoule. US donors are more plentiful, and cost around $1250 due to the low AUD and stringent medical tests. Donors on the Queensland list can “service” up to 10 families, while US donors can provide for up to 60 families worldwide. Ewwwww!  Do even roosters impregnate that many chickens? That’s a whole lot of half-siblings. 

- If you’re still reading and not completely grossed out, the majority of the US donors are 20 year old, grid-iron playing, broke college students, who get paid to have some quality time with a dirty mag and freely share their high-count-jizz with women all over the world. If you’re lucky, you may see a cute baby pic, but rarely an adult photo of your donor-daddy. Detailed descriptions of whether his ears are attached or not abound, along with at which age the elder sibling incurred penicillin injury.  But what is genetic, what is due to environment? An extroverted character? Kindness? A gift for maths?  A passion for country music? Apart from trying to grapple with the idea of the father of your future children being a pimply teenager, where do you start with this major life decision?

- All those warnings about how an IVF cycle will take over your life and turn you into a weeping, cussing mess with a sailor’s mouth are absolutely true. Don’t think you’ll escape, it will happen to you. Roller-coaster ride will take on a whole new meaning. Too late, I discovered a holistic clinic with an acupuncture IVF support program. I limped into my first acupuncture appointment a sobbing psycho with emotions running wild and a painful abdomen, and emerged an hour later with a much calmer and clearer head, a large decision made as to what to do with this current fertility cycle, and interestingly, no discomfort in my abdomen. Whether it’s scientifically proven or not, I don’t care. I felt much better, and will take whatever helps, particularly when alcohol is off the cards and all you want to do is drink copious amounts of wine. Or perhaps scotch.  

- Don’t believe that neat schedule printed out with your egg harvesting on Day 14 and think you can plan your life around it. I thought I was so clever in organising the dates, but ended up sober at my sister’s hen’s party after this current cycle went wildly off course. Denied!!!! You’ll be told to come for appointments with no consideration as to when might suit you, and there’ll probably be a week of being totally at the mercy of when your old eggs are going to finally plump up ready for collection. 

- Once you buy donor sperm, men can sense that you have a back up plan, and you become much more appealing. After months of nothing, I’ve been on two viable dates with really interesting guys in the last week, of course while keeping an eye on the time to sneak off with my ice pack and inject my bruised and swollen abdomen in yet another public bathroom. 

But more on those dates later :)

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Walking backwards from Bourke to Brisbane

After resigning from internet dating, I found myself at the launch of an Art Deco meets Modernists extravaganza, surrounded by creative folk, lots of feathers, and amazing vintage outfits. Mid conversation with some feathered ladies, Ms. Modernist gatecrashed, bubbles in hand, dragging three guys towards us, yelling, “Come on boys, time to meet some girls!” She proceeded to interrogate them as to whether they were married (no), having an affair with the girl they had walked in with (NO!), introduced a fascinating fact about each of us to get the conversation rolling, clicked her heels, and disappeared with a magically refilled glass of bubbles.

I was stunned. What an awesome wingwoman!  The most handsome of the bunch was conveniently closest to me and I took advantage of Ms Modern’s opening. He was a Former Engineer (tick, as much as I love my Dad I can’t cope with dating engineers), passionate about architecture, buff, well presented, eyes you could lose yourself in, and very charming. Within a few minutes we somehow started talking about North Queensland, and discovered that we were of the same vintage, both born in Townsville. Mr. Former Engineer corrected himself. “I only say I’m born in Townsville because no one knows where Ingham is, but I’m from Ingham.” I started laughing. My dad grew up 25k from Ingham; my aunt, uncle and grandmother are still there in cane country.  Purple Frock: “Do you know  Peter and Jane Frock?” Mr Former Engineer shook his head. “I used to work with Brian Frock in Townsville though.” This was just too much. Brian was my uncle, and Mr. Former Engineer had worked with him for five years before escaping engineering for a new start in the Big Smoke. The coincidences kept on rolling – he had just come back from Ingham to celebrate his Nonni’s 90th birthday, I was leaving in two days to visit my Nonni for her 89th birthday. 

The speeches started, and afterwards I was whisked away by the Mr and Ms Modernists for Part Two of the evening, a live Cambodian rock opera performance at the Brisbane Powerhouse (I kid you not). Mr. Former Engineer had other plans (more ticks, leaves the house on a school night, has friends, or possibly hates Cambodian Rock Opera), and we parted with promises to catch up. Meanwhile, the Modernists and I plotted. Mr. Former Engineer was a total catch. A scheme was hatched for a movie night at the Modernist House for us to casually on purpose meet again, with background checks being carried out in the meantime. I stalked him on Facebook, an email notified that he had also stalked me on LinkedIn, and I looked forward to seeing him again.

Shortly afterwards, the Modernists delivered some bad news. Mr. Former Engineer was gay, and had come to Brisbane to put some distance between himself and his conservative Italian Ingham clan. All of our gaydars had completely failed. A beer-drinking, football-loving gay engineer from North Queensland? Seriously!  Looking back however, there were some clues.  Ms Modernist had only asked if he was married or having an affair, not if he was gay. While gay engineers heading towards 40 simply do not exist (confirmed by Dad), he had left engineering. He would never have fit in. As for the rugby league – well, it’s hard to be alive in Townsville and not follow the Cowboys just a little bit. If I was honest with myself, his immaculate presentation and six pack were rare even in a metro type. I was reminded of Bob Katter’s infamous 1989 remark that there were “no homosexuals living in his electorate”, and that he would walk “backwards from Bourke to Brisbane” if any were found. This gay man was safely camouflaged in North Queensland, drinking beer at the footy, pretending he liked talking cars, dogs and sport with the other engineers, and carefully concealing any leads which might give away the game. But they exist.

 

 

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Rewind, recycle

Some fifteen years ago, I dated a guy who was long on dreams, short on action. I think my flatmates in a falling down old Queenslander unearthed him for me on our one communal household computer.  Mr. Dreamer was funny, good company, and learned very early on that even when I’m way too busy, my evenings can suddenly become free if an Indian curry is mentioned. He had plans to learn an instrument, do some renovations, and to quit the job that he hated, yet he couldn’t really get started on any of those projects. Meanwhile, I was seriously scheming how to get myself to the US for a course of study which would transform my life, and later, many others around Australia. After a lowkey start to whatever “we” were, he suddenly rhapsodised one night over how I had motivated him to change forever, how indebted he was to me, what an inspiration I was, how… As he raved, an instant migraine developed as he tried to hand over responsibility for his motivation and life choices to me. I slunk away.

About five years later, I stepped onto a very full bus, and made my way to the last empty seat at the back. Sitting myself down, I had a strange feeling that I knew this cute guy, and that he would strike up a conversation. Embarrassingly, it was Mr. Dreamer. He was still funny, still easy to chat to, still in the same job he despised, still “just about” to start learning that instrument, do the rennos, and to take on all those other dreams. He noticed my Masters thesis draft I had been correcting, concerning an aspect of my US study that I had been madly planning all those years ago, and noted that I’d made Part One of my impossible dream happen. An awkwardness grew as we realised that while he was still “just about to”, I had taken huge steps forward in changing the direction of my life.

Fast forward another ten years. Flicking through Tinder, I came across a kinda cute guy who looked vaguely familiar. I had a strange feeling that I knew this cute guy, and that he would… wait! Deja vu!  On closer inspection, it was definitely Mr. Dreamer a decade on. His profile was very funny, he had graduated from taking girls out to Indian curries to promising home-made Indian feasts, was owner of a gorgeous dog, and a (presumably gorgeous) son. Perhaps having a child prompted a life change?  My hand hovered over the swipe keys as I hesitated in potentially repeating history. In the end, puppy plus curries plus curiosity dragged my finger to swipe right.  It would be too good a story if we met again, I couldn’t resist.

Thank God he was wise enough not to contact me. Sometimes your past comes back to haunt you. And if that past is now single, chances are that he’s on Tinder, and only an accidental right swipe away.

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Behind the nerd.

A hippy counsellor type once told me that the men one attracts is a reflection of what one is projecting. If that is true, I’m still to work this one out.

I emerged somewhat reluctantly from my dating hiatus, and decided to join Tinder, along with everyone else in the single (or not so single) population. There was much left swiping, occasionally cursing the accidental left swipe, and the rare right swipe. Pretty soon I was chatting with a lovely nerd: a science lecturer at UQ, avid reader, podcaster, fit, and funny. He had dated a cellist in his past, loved classical music and the arts, learnt Japanese for fun, and had two cute little redhead boys 50% of the time. One of his opening lines was to ask what I was currently reading. This is a fraught question for two nerds scoping each other out, but we both passed each other’s snobbish reading standards, and soon messages were flying back and forth. Tinder hey, not only one night stands after all. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I was struck down with the female equivalent of man-flu, and had to cancel our first date. I reassured ScienceNerd that I wasn’t brushing him off, and would organise an outing once I was my glamorous self again (or had resumed to health, whichever came first :) After a week of  blobbing on the couch with a box of tissues, alternating with morning and afternoon naps, I was ready to risk my first Tinder real-time date. 

Drama hit pretty soon. ScienceNerd broke the news that while I had been fighting off the Worst Cold Ever, he had meanwhile met someone, and fallen really hard. Whatever. The next part caught me by surprise though. I learned that while he normally waits until the first date to break this news (uh-oh) he wanted to tell me that he was polyamorous. He thought I was really interesting and lovely, and was quite confused because he still did really want to meet me as well. There was room for more than one in his heart.

May I remind you dear readers, this man is a nerd. Not some hot swarthy Argentinian with a sexy accent and charm to burn, we’re talking a super nerdy, glasses-wearing, pasty-skinned type. (Which I can find quite attractive on occasion, incidentally). My sister’s more brutal assessment of his profile photo was that she hoped he was lovely, because he wasn’t much to look at. Was this a post-recent-divorce fantasy on his part? Wishful thinking? Trying his luck? How on earth can someone fit multiple relationships, a full time job, and the solo care of two young children 3-4 days a week? It also occurred to me that he hadn’t revealed the gender of his new love. Would he wait until date no 2 to tell me he was also bi? What would I find out on date no 3??

As I told ScienceNerd, while I consider myself quite open-minded about many issues, I’m an old-fashioned romantic. One at a time please.  Perhaps my hippy counsellor would say that attracting a polyamorist means I’m not ready to return to online dating. May synchronicity do its thing instead!

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A temporary blonde.

Sixxdog76: Searching for my pierced nose Angel.

Studying full time, done my rebound time and looking for a woman to inspire me.
I’d really like to date a surfer because she is comfortable doing her own thing independent of “us”.

I absolutely will never date a blonde. Ever. It’s not personal, it would just be awkward when you can’t get me hard.
I love strong women with goals and drive. I love being surrounded by women who understand there are two in a couple and not somebody’s “other half”. Translation, I don’t do needy.
Be you, be real, I only want to see you. Xx

Sixxdog76: I would absolutely love to chat. I think you could inspire me. P.s., I’ve never even driven a 4WD. I would absolutely love to discuss your PhD, please tell me your story.

Purple Frock (I’ve got enough to do without inspiring your ass, inspire yourself! ) Sorry, I’m a blonde. All the best with your search (translation – your profile completely disgusts me. F*** off out of my inbox).

Sixxdog76: Really? Ok, you too.  (Purple Frock: he swallowed that? I’m clearly not a blonde).

10 min later.

Sixxdog76: Out of curiorsity, what is your doctorate?

Purple Frock:  No reply. Ever. Give up dude.

 

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