If you’re a pick up artist, you can pick up the bill right?

I was thinking earlier about that book The Game.

Y’know, the Neil Strauss pick up artist book? When I was 20 and lonely, that book hit hard for me. I was stuck in a weird place. On one hand, I loved this idea of being attractive and enticing to women. I craved the knowledge of how to be so, so charming that they’d want to sleep with me. I read these accounts of men sleeping around, dating up and connecting with a range of women. It sounded so exciting and scandalous. I didn’t like the methods. They felt dehumanising, turning intimacy into a numbers game. There was something odd and cult-like about the way they’d live in what start-up folks these days would call “incubators”. The idea of having a routine felt awful and mercenary. If clicking with someone was turned into finding the right thing to say to unlock a puzzle, what was the point? I’ve always been attracted to people the more I learn about them, and if reciprocal engagement was based on me running social tricks that others had made up, then it wouldn’t really be me they were interested in, would it?

There’s a concept in a lot of artistic endeavours of finding your voice. In stand up it’s working out how to be true to the unique standpoint you have. To do the type of comedy that both gets laughs and makes you laugh. In clowning people find their archetype, work out their status and how to play with it. Writers often find their calling and style. I think what I’ve discovered lately is that I’m starting to find my voice in life. There are so many better writers. I’m not being self-effacing. I know how to put words together okay, but I’d never say that writing is my forte. I’m not the funniest person, and I don’t really know that I have the soul of a comedian. I’m okay looking, but there are more handsome men out there. I have a solid moral compass, and also I see others doing kind things without thinking that I’d love to have as a natural reaction. I don’t always own a room. I make mistakes. Hell, it’s insane I’m not better than I am at Magic considering the amount of time I’ve spent playing over the past almost two decades. That said, I’m finally at the point where I’m comfortable with myself, and leaning in.

Recently I’ve been going on dates and getting closer to people a lot more often. I don’t use pick up lines or try to get people into bed. I’m just me. I joke around and treat people with kindness. I have a weird sense of humour, and I don’t sell out my values to try and impress people. I’d rather just date someone else. I know that money doesn’t impress me, and I’m not drawn to those who think it’s important. I’m very happy being vulnerable and letting people vent. I enjoy spending time hearing about others’ problems, learning about their lives. The people who I tend to be drawn to are quite different, and sync with varied parts of my personality. I know that I’m a human cartoon character, and that this is unlikely to change with time. I’m becoming the person I both admired and didn’t know existed when I was a kid.

If I think back to all that The Game kind of stuff now, I realise I have the kind of life that I sought from that lifestyle, but it’s one that makes sense for me. I don’t pressure anyone into sexual encounters, and instead operate on a Fuck Yes or No philosophy. If they’re actively looking to connect intimately, then fuck yeah we will. If not, zero harm. If they never want to, who cares? We’ll just spend time together hanging out. If they do, then that’s great. If I’ve shared intimacy with someone previously, I have no expectations that they’ll want to each time, or even again. Sexual play has become the icing on the cake of making deep friendships where sometimes we want to kiss. I’m certainly not standoffish or emotionally distant, but I let my partners dictate how physically affectionate they want to be.

I think it’s important to regard your trajectory. To see who you’ve become, and where it could lead. To sit in your identity and analyse it. None of us are truly immutable, and we all have the potential for happiness.

Except, well, pick up artists can go fuck themselves. I’m sure they’ve got a routine for it.

If your date solely eats red meat, get the fuck out of there

A friend of mine works as a dating coach. Jumping on the 2009-2019 trend, they started a post wondering what dating advice people had learned in that time.

I’ve got nothing else to write about today, so why not this?

I feel like in 2009 I’d barely started dating. At that time I’d been in one relationship, and it was kind of disappointing for all involved. I think we liked each other, but we certainly weren’t deeply in love. We were drawn to the idea of being in a relationship. We had fun together, but sparks had trouble getting off the runway. I’ve always been a weird dude, but I was far more of an off-putting kind of weird than the innocuous and endearing kind of weird I am now. I didn’t draw women in. Not to mention, I reeked of desperation. It wasn’t a good look. Or smell. Now it might sound that I’ve taken to being unnecessarily rough on my past self. The truth is, I had so much to learn, and that’s taken the better part of a decade. I feel like I’m still learning. So what lessons have I learned?

Firstly, it’s okay to not have great dates. I’m not talking the kind of shitty stuff that happens to women constantly, where they feel threatened or unsafe. I’m talking about dates that feel meh all over. You just don’t get the butterflies, or getting conversation rolling feels Sisyphean. Maybe you have an okay time, but neither of you are excited. That’s not a bad thing, it’s part of the process. Average dates help you learn what you do and don’t want in a partner. After an average date, can you pinpoint what it was that put you off? Or things that you did like, but less than the things that you didn’t? That stuff all helps you to get a picture of your desires, and ways they manifest. Then you can start looking for those aspects in others.

Kind of a corollary to that, not all dates will be winners. That’s kinda the point, and it’s entirely okay. Personally I find an unremarkable date to be a gift. The sooner you know you’re not into someone, the quicker you can both go your separate ways and seek people who light you up. I’d much rather have an average date that results in knowing where I stand, than someone appealing in many ways who also carries a load of red flags. Mixed signals are tricky to parse (and unfortunately are also part of the whole deal), they can really mess with your head. Finding people who really click with you is hard, and we all want instant gratification. Sorry, dating isn’t that easy. Even if you’re ravishingly attractive, you still need to wade through a lot of bullshit.

Next, get used to not taking rejection personally. I know it seems like the most personal thing in the world, but I can assure you it’s more about that person than it is about you. We can’t expect that others will be drawn to us just because we’re drawn to them. We all have a complex network of desires, and some things are quite specific. If you’re not hitting the marks for someone, would you want the kind of relationship that resulted from it? A constant imbalance where you wondered how long you could hold onto that person, irrespective of what they sought? It’d be worse than you think. I’ll put it this way. Say you just don’t like flaky pastry. There’s just something about the texture and buttery nature that feels weird in your mouth. If someone offered you a high end croissant, would you expect to like it? Maybe it’d be okay for you, but it wouldn’t hit the spot like a great cookie or doughnut for you. That wouldn’t mean the person who made that croissant was bad at making croissants, they just weren’t your thing. Everyone has a flavour, and everyone has different tastes. It’s unfair to expect them to always align. I know rejection seems like it’s gonna tear you into shreds, but most of the time people don’t like being mean. Rejection is more innocuous than you’d think. Often, this is how rejection plays out:

You: Hey, you have a really endearing smile. Would you like to grab a drink?
Them: Oh sorry, I’m really busy at the moment (unless they follow up with a legit attempt to propose an alternate time, this is a gentle let down nine times out of ten).
You: No worries, have a lovely day.

For all the notion of waiting for the right time, it’s not usually about the right time, it’s about whether or not there’s interest. If there isn’t, that’s not something you can force or manipulate. In fact, that’s a great lesson too. When it comes for dating, don’t manipulate. Just don’t. Anything fake won’t last, or be truly satisfying.

Be yourself. It’s common advice, but so often it comes off as cheesy. It’s doesn’t have to be. I tend to think of it more as not wasting your time trying to be things you’re not. Don’t try and delude someone into thinking you’re different than you are. What’s your goal? Entrapment? Are you trying to make them fall for someone who doesn’t exist, then hoping they’ll love you so much that when you turn out to be someone else, it’s too late for them to escape? Fuck that noise. Be authentic. Don’t post photos in your profiles that look wildly different from your everyday. Don’t wear clothes that make you feel uncomfortable. Don’t say things you don’t believe because you think they make you sound cool. Don’t agree with sentiments you oppose just because they’re coming from someone you’re attracted to. Let’s go back to the first point. It’s okay if things don’t work out, and the sooner you know, the sooner you can stop wasting each other’s time.

Most importantly, be compassionate. Everyone’s having a hard time, be gentle when you can. Learn to communicate your feelings in a mature fashion. Own what you feel, use “I” statements and don’t try to push blame on others. If you want a relationship to succeed, then work together on it. If you’re making earnest attempts to understand one another, and consider each other’s feelings, then you’ll be able to deal with difficult situations without breaking every time. If you’re not, then maybe it’s a sign that the compatibility simply isn’t there, and you’d both be better with others.

I’ve certainly learned a lot more than that, but I don’t have time to write another book tonight. Plus Jordan Peterson ruined white dudes writing advice books for everyone.

Unless your show is called Lovesick, that is

Okay. Just one day left of shift, and I can be as sick as I want.

It’s coming. I’ve got the phlegm-y throat. My energy is drained. I’m sweating in bed and sleeping tons more. Despite the previous sentence, I’m not taking this lying down. I’ve been doing salt water gargles. I’m mainlining fluids and peeing heaps. I’ve been bringing bone broth to work. I’m drinking tea like a fancy lady. I’ve tried to be considerate to my body, because I have to. There’s so much freedom that comes with being an independent contractor, and I love it. Almost everything about it is an improvement. The only thing that’s lacking is sick pay. I don’t get sick days. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. No middle ground. Worse, my job is directly contingent on my voice. So no karaoke or screaming into the void anymore. If I’m coughing, if my throat is raw, it all affects my ability to do my job. I like my job. I like doing a good job at my job, and if I can’t, it sucks.

But I only work four day shifts. If I can hold on for one more day, I’m in the clear. I can be as sick as I want. I can lie in bed with popsicles and finally finish the second half of Toni Erdmann. I could even watch the 2015 film Happy Hour, in its five hour long glory. I can sup on bone broth, and hack up all the phlegm my body seeks to offload. I can break down into primordial goop and reform into a functional human at the end of my four day break. I can scatter my brain to the aether, play among the stars, and align every single one of my chakras, then crash down to earth. I’ll still have a day or so left to recover. Four days off at a time is unreal. One more day.

For today though, I’m a working boy. I did four episodes of this dating show last night. The Blind Date reboot. It was hosted (well, voice over-ed) by Nikki Glaser, who I like. The show? Well it was kinda standard reality TV dating fare. The thing I liked, is that they gave their participants all the rope to hang themselves that they needed. Some of these dates were insanely cringeworthy, with some truly odd matches. It was interesting seeing how much the subjects leaned into the date, trying to give content for the show. I wonder if half the kisses, for instance, would’ve happened if not for the televised element. The most cringeworthy part, however, was the endless parade of graphics, animated thought bubbles and tag lines they posted over the dates. Someone would say something, then an animated thought bubble [sounds like something a virgin would say] or whatever would pop up. Meh. It did help me make interesting descriptions, and challenged me to think of how to convey them to a partially sighted audience. So that aspect made the show fun to do.

Being on a dating show is 100% on my bucket list. I’d love to take part. I mean, I like dating. It’s fun to get to know someone on a deeper element. It’s even more fun when you’re actively engaging in neat activities. Whether that’s getting drinks, going bowling, doing paintball or what have you. Placing people in scenarios that’re outside their norm and seeing how they adapt helps you gauge them better. I almost had a chance once or twice. The first time, I applied for Beauty and the Geek Australia. I got shortlisted, but the audition was on a date where my friend and I had booked a holiday. I wasn’t gonna leave my friend in the lurch, so I opted out. The second time, my girlfriend and I were in London. She went to a drag show, and I hung out in a nearby bar to drink and mess around on my phone. I sat alone, and a woman approached me. She said she was in casting for a dating show, and wondered if I was interested. I said that I absolutely was, but I was poly/partnered and that turned out to be a no-go. Alas. Will lightning strike again? Will I get my chance? I think what I’m saying is, if you have a dating show and need a male contestant, call me.

Just let me recover from my plague first.

Let’s all raise a leg to our potential new pissant

I think if we all agreed to call Mike Pence “Mike Pants” he would hate it.

Look, it’s not a good insult. I don’t even know if it’s an insult. It’s barely even a mocking moniker, but it has a certain amount of consonance (not assonance) and he’s a big ass. He’s exactly the kind of small person who would get hardcore tilted by such a small thing. I don’t know if I’ve heard a better mantra than live your life so as to make Mike Pence angry and if I have, it hasn’t come from my lips. Will Mike Pence be on the chopping block with the rest of Trump’s Pyrite Pissants? Or if the impeachment carries through, will he be left president? While a clean sweep is obviously the answer (and the sheer amount of corruption should undermine the administration enough that their whole cabal gets the axe) that would involve having good faith in the American political system. I don’t like wasting my energy. At the same time, in the event that Pence is left holding the saggy bag, I think it’s worth all of us pre-emptively shitting on that piece of trash.

Mike Pants it is.

I watched Blues Brothers for the first time last night. It was great. I’ve had a lukewarm interest in watching it for a while. I just didn’t know what it was about. I knew it was an offshoot from some SNL skit. I knew it had something to do with music. I knew they wore suits. That was about it. I was watching it cuddling with a friend on the couch, and I had this dilemma. We’d hung out all day and she was tired. About ten minutes in she was like “I’m getting tired and might fall asleep soon.”. Cue instant hypnic jerks and zero to snoozeville in six seconds. I was tired and borderline falling asleep. I knew I wanted to go home to sleep, but I also didn’t want to wake her up when she’d just fallen asleep. So I struggled with staying awake. I needed a glass of water. I kind of wanted to get my phone and keep it near. I kept trying to gently shake her to not frighten her awake, but she was a deep sleeper. So I kept stopping, and letting her sleep. Then I’d be like okay, I’m gonna get up and tend to my needs, but I was also watching the movie and a scene would happen that kept me glued. My arms and legs began to cramp. I was torn between these needs, the undesired effect of waking her, but also missing things. Eventually I realised that I really did not want to fall asleep, because scene after scene chained together that I was gripped by, and I was just enthusiastically watching the movie. For all intents and purposes we were watching a movie together, but in reality I’d come over to her house to watch a film alone. It’s fine, I liked the film.

The thing that really gripped me about Blues Brothers, aside from the amazing musical cameos (James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha fucking Franklin), was the insane amount of destruction in it. There were so many car chases, and the amount of cars that ended up dogpiled was staggering. Like, one of the first chases was through a mall. The brothers crashing into shop after shop, then police cars chasing the duo veered into store fronts themselves. In one 10-15 minute car chase there were possibly 4-6 massive piles of police vehicles with extensive wreckage. This film was made in 1980, and there’s no doubt that it used solely physical effects. I wonder how much it cost, plus how much time and expertise went into it. Just the crashes, not even the film. Watch the film though, it’s a fun film.

Heh, Mike Piss.

Never be That Guy™. You always know when you’re being That Guy™, and you need to stop it. Just stop it, Guy

I don’t often write about polyamory. I have my reasons.

Firstly, when I initially heard of polyamory, it was from people who found it difficult not to talk about polyamory. They found ways to shoehorn it into almost any conversation, and I found it more than a little grating. I don’t want to be That Guy™. Secondly, I know that in a mainstream sense, poly is still a relatively new idea. Some people find it intimidating, challenging or even uncomfortable to think about. I get it. I often did when I first heard about it. Rest assured that I don’t follow these bullshit Gold Star Poly mantras of thinking that it’s the be all and end all. I firmly don’t believe that poly is for everyone. I think that people navigating their relationships in a variety of different ways is healthy, and if a system works for you, that’s a personal thing. I also don’t believe in prescriptivist shit. If there’s some combination of systems that’s your sweet spot, I’m glad you’ve found it. Today though, I want to talk about poly, because it’s given me the best dating advice that I wish I truly understood much earlier.

Be genuine.

It sounds simple, it’s not. I know that when I started dating, I had this internal scarcity model dictating my actions. It felt like having sex, being in a relationship, these were things I was missing out on, and I desperately wanted to enjoy them. The efforts I went to were staggering. I’d constantly think about my interactions, and how I wanted to present myself. I’d focus on whether or not a situation was potentially romantic, and if I saw an inkling of it, I’d lean in. I wouldn’t lie in the pursuit of having sex, but I’d definitely lessen aspects of myself in order to agree with people more. To try and put our compatibility on a pedestal. I’d worry about what I said, and whether this would make people like me less. I’d fret about what to wear on dates, the implications of my clothing choices and what they said about me. I’d be swept away on a wave of anxiety if I thought I’d messed up. In my mind, the risk of losing out on something that could be more was a tragedy. People who were interested in me were a rarity, and if I missed out, chances were that an opportunity wouldn’t come around again any time soon.

There’s a lot that was very wrong about the above. It’s not like I didn’t care about these people, but I definitely objectified them. I turned them into a goal I pursued. Of course I wanted to spend time with them, get to know them and grow closer, but also I was very much driven by a fear of being perpetually alone. Also at a base level I was diminishing myself, trashing my self-confidence. The underlying idea was that I was not worth affection, and thus I needed to trick and scheme my way into someone thinking I was. Gross all over.

I no longer operate on a scarcity model. I’m older, more relaxed, and confident [a reminder that we stan the Oxford comma here, when it makes sense -Ed]. Poly has enabled a lot of this change in behaviour. I know that I have someone to come home to. I’m in a stable, loving relationship and I’ve stopped seeing my value in whether or not I’m dateable. I know I’m dateable. I’ve been dating someone for over five years. Being in this relationship has assured me time and time again that all of my little oddities and eccentricities are features, not bugs. I’m a lovable dude to the right people. However, I’m not gonna find the people who like my specific strangeness if I act like someone else.

It’s entirely changed the way I navigate potential romantic connections. I don’t try to appear more appealing by changing myself. I’m okay having disagreements, because I don’t try to force things down a romantic path. If we’re not compatible, that’s okay. There’ll probably be other people who we will be compatible with. I’m done with spending time around people simply because I’m attracted to them, and hoping that I’ll fall for their personalities. I don’t prioritise sex these days, because being able to have connections where I’m able to be my genuine self means that sex is a bonus. The real goal is increasing the amount of time I get to spend having great conversations and doing neat activities with people. I don’t try to date anymore. I just have adult friendships. Sometimes those friendships become intimate, and that’s the cherry on top. I let these connections be what they are. There are a number of people with whom I’ve shared kisses. Some of these may end up resulting in sexual connections, some may not. I don’t mind. Getting to know someone you admire, hearing about their lives, and seeing what the world looks like through their eyes is a real reward. If sex is going to happen, it’s gonna happen when you’re both ready, comfortable and enthusiastic to do it. Why rush that timeline? If you’re both being your most genuine selves, and you’re each attracted to those genuine aspects, it’s probably more likely that things will get intimate. Far and away, I’ve found these connections so much more rewarding than any I had when I was dating out of fear.

So no, it’s not poly advice, but I doubt I’d have learned it if I wasn’t poly.

If we’d mixed in tobacco, I could’ve called it a spliffy day

What a swell day.

My girlfriend had a swell day yesterday. Positively spiffy. We were locked in for lunch with her mother at 1pm. I wanted to get in and do my writing. Put it out of my mind for the rest of the day, y’know? She wanted to have sex, and she won. I don’t mean this in a braggy way. We’ve been in a relationship for over five years. I’m sure it’s a well known phenomena that in long term relationships, you’re usually not having as much sex as you’d both like. Both of us get busy, or aren’t in the mood, or get bogged down by mental health stuff. Of course it doesn’t mean we don’t want to, it just gets harder to prioritise. Of course it’s important, to keep up that kind of intimacy within a relationship. Keep those good chemicals flowing. I can only imagine what having kids does to a sex life. But we did it, we did each other, and it was honestly a fucking great way to start the day.

Then we went out for lunch with her mum. Don’t worry, I showered first. It was nice. Her mum is doing keto at the moment, so we went to a keto friendly place. The food was basic, but tasty. The Simple Kitchen. It’s the kind of place I would’ve loved when I did keto for a few months. All the ingredients are displayed openly, and they have concessions for different dietary restrictions. They do a variety of coffees like mushroom coffee and buttered coffee. It kinda sucks, because the pilot coffee they stock there is decent, but the coffees they made were middling to meh. Go for the tasty, filling food. Go elsewhere for coffee. We don’t catch up with my girlfriend’s mum all that often, but she’s a warm, kind woman. It was neat, actually. She’s started making changes in her life, discovering things. She recently went on a trip, and realised just how much that new town resonated with her. It felt like home, immediately, and she’s considering moving there. She has an RV, so it’s entirely possible for her. Imagine that, you’re retired and your children have gone off elsewhere. You decide to upturn your dietary habits, you consider moving somewhere else. Breaking established patterns at that age takes a lot. It’s fucking cool to see. We had a nice lunch, did a quick walk around Roncy (to find better coffee, truth be told) then went home. She’d knitted us a cute little pumpkin, which also kind of looks like a plump orange. It’s perfect, ’cause we can use it all year round.

As an aside, our coffee machine has been iffy lately. It’s been using half the water, and we have to turn it on again. I figured it was slowly shitting itself, and I was kind of okay with that. I didn’t pay for it, who cares, right? Then I thought wait a minute, that’s totally not sustainable, and why am I treating something nice as disposable? That’s why we got into this whole mess in the first place. I looked the error up, and it turned out it just needed to be descaled. I read the instructions and it was simple. but then I couldn’t find white vinegar and got discouraged. Again, in my head I left it to rot. Then my girlfriend pointed out that we did have vinegar, and it wasn’t as much of a process as I thought it was. It was easy enough to do, it just took time.

So we had a quiet afternoon. She chilled out on her phone, I played Magic, did a load of washing, ran the coffee machine about five times to descale/clean, and then we were ready for our evening. We were gonna get stoned, have snacks and watch Between Two Ferns. A while back I picked up a packet of gluten free brownie mix for a special night. We went to the supermarket to load up on snacks. We got some chips, gummy worms and soft jubes, and ice cream. We got those brownies in the oven, lit up, and sat down with snacks and a film. Part way through we finished baking the brownies, I drew a big peen on half, then we split the toppings between sprinkles and sea salt. It was a wonderful night. We got to snuggle and pig out, and the movie was absurd amounts of fun.

More days like these, please.

Did I just have a date within a date with that corn dog?

I went on a date the other night. It was lovely.

It’d been a while, not sure why. I haven’t been doing much to seek out intimate encounters outside my anchor partner. Or maybe it’s just that everyone I’d been growing close to had been poly, are interested, but are also in relationships that are currently closed. Which has been fine. Emotional intimacy has always been far more important to me than physical. In those instances, it’s just been nice to have new friends. This person, however, is poly. So we got to have an actual date. It’s something that’s been in the works for ages. We’ve hung out at parties, but never one on one. She has a weird schedule. I now have a weird schedule, and for the first time ever, our free time coincided. I asked if she wanted to grab a food, or a drink, or overthrow the bourgeoisie, or do amateur parkour, or get stoned and watch a dumb movie, or go to Tilt. She said Tilt, the local arcade bar, sounded great.

I vowed to do wreck my face doing amateur parkour on my own damn time.

I think we were both there for about half an hour before I noticed her. Not because she wasn’t worth noticing, but because she was wearing all black and playing a game in the corner. Somehow, in a room full of garish fluorescent lights, she’d discovered camouflage. She played D&D with the barman, so I got to meet him too, and he was really friendly. Their DM used to DM our games of Call of Cthulhu, and was by far the best DM I’ve had for any game ever. We all gushed about how great he was. Then she and I grabbed beer and a seat. We chatted. We chatted for a long time, actually. Seeing as we’d never hung out one on one before, it was the perfect time to get to know each other better. I mean, it’s kind of the point of a date.

More importantly, the fact that we were sitting meant I had the perfect excuse [you didn’t need an excuse -Ed] to order a corn dog. As an aside, I love corn dogs. They’re a favoured treat of mine. I’m not wild about fried food, but back home when we got fish and chips, you ordered a “hot dog” and got given what North Americans call a corn dog: A battered hot dog on a stick. It’s one of my exceptions to my ambivalence about fried food, likely because of nostalgia. I’d never tried Tilt’s corn dogs, but I can now confirm they’re fucking fantastic. The batter is made in house. It’s pretty thin, but with some nice crispy flourishes. Also, they’re huge. I’m used to corn dogs on popsicle sticks. These ones come on skewers. You know the type that people use for BBQ kebabs? Picture a hot dog on that, except the only available bit of stick to hold is 1-2cm long. That’s a lot of dog. It was meaty and sumptuous, and a truly fantastic snack with beer. Have I now written a longer love letter to this corn dog than I have to this date? Maybe, but that corn dog and I shared something that no date and I ever will. R.I.P.

Anyway, it was fun to chat. She’s funny, and we’ve got a lot of geeky interests in common. A theme of adulthood that I’ve noticed, is I’m not actually aware of what most of my friends do to pay rent. I hang out with them because I like their company, but their jobs have never defined who they are to me. So I got to hear what she does for work and what she likes about those things. I got to learn how growing up was for her, familial connections and perspectives. She had been to the nigh legendary Florida theme park: Gatorland. I’d heard tales. She told me more.

After a while, I chimed in that while I was having an excellent time hanging out, I also wanted to play some vidya games. We played an isometric D&D style crawler called Gate of Doom. It was super button mashy, but nostalgic and silly. The magic system was quite unusual. All four characters had the same spellbook and system, but you had to wait until your magic bar filled up. The spellbook would flick periodically between spells, and whatever was active was the one you had access to. I kept turning into a walking flower, which was kinda neat. I had some kind of stun pollen with a radius effect. We beat the game, and my hand damn near cramped up. We played some Puzzle Bobble, and evened up at 5 wins. We chatted some more, and it was last call.

I think one of the more important things I learned from the date, is that I’ve finally reached a certain level of confidence. It always used to be that I was too afraid to make a move, and that nothing would happen until my date was like “dude, are you actually interested? Do you want to have sex or not?” Then I’d be all “oh, of course. That’d be great”. It largely came from feelings of inadequacy and not knowing how to navigate those spaces with utmost consent. These days, a better knowledge of consent has informed massive change. I’ve realised that I can just ask, and in ways that leave things very open for the other person to say no. A lot of the time these things happen organically, and I think societally people have assumed that organic was the only option, anything else was clunky and took you out of the moment. I haven’t found that. I’m getting better at reading signs, but still like to clarify. There was a point where we were sitting close to each other. I think her hand was resting on my arm, mine resting on her leg. I realised and said “I just want to check, do you like this kind of touch”. She said yes, definitely. Simple and clean. I knew she was interested, she had every opportunity to be like hmm, maybe not at the moment or actually, maybe no and that would’ve been fine. Instead, I actively knew we were on a wavelength, that she was interested and the waters weren’t muddied. Consent is the fucking best, and anyone who thinks it ruins the moment maybe hasn’t learned how to ask in a non-intrusive manner.

Since things were winding down at the bar, we were both still awake and having a good time, I asked if she wanted to keep hanging out. She invited me over, and we spent a bunch more time together at her place. I left some time after 6.30am, and since she lives with one of my friends, I got to give my friend a good morning hug when she got up to go to work. Since I live maybe 5 minutes walk from her, I got to go right home and to bed.

Is it time to bring back I Have My Dates?