Ahhhh, first dates. Love them, hate them or get blind-drunk just to get yourself through them - there's no denying there's no one-size-fits-all formula.
Whether it's a Tinder match or a blind date that your work wife engineered, The Law Of Rom-Coms would have us believe that the all-important first date is either a heart-exploding, one-way ticket to Marriage Town – or – slapstick comedy level tragic.
But IRL, first dates can be so much more surprising and unexpected than that. Sure, some can still be god awful. And some can be wet-your-pants-funny. But some of the greatest, rom-com-worthy loves actually blossom from the most awkward of first meets. And we have eight epic real life dating stories to prove it…
NB: Some also end in whatever the opposite to rom-com-worthy love is. But they're still bloody great.
My husband Andrew and I had a pretty memorable (read: shitty) first date.
He sat NEXT to me like a creep when it was clearly a two-person-facing table (he’s since explained that it was a tip he’d read in a dating book so forced himself to do it). Once I got over the initial weirdness, it was all going OK. Great, even. Until I caught him checking out my legs, and his recovery was laughable: “Are those shorts Chanel, too? To like, match your wallet?” Awkward much?
Then, as we were getting ready to pay the bill he said, “Oh, I should get it.” I said, “Oh, no, I will,” and he replied, “Oh really? Awesome, I could get used to this!” And just like that, I was paying for our entire meal. Which would have been fine until the moment that really made it the first-date sour cherry on top: as I was waiting for my change – it wasn’t the kind of place that took tips – he said, “Are you kidding me? You’re waiting around to get just a few dollars back?" Uh, dickhead much?
So how is this guy now my husband? Well, I didn’t overlook the fact that the great parts of our date were actually really very good. First dates are always the weirdest, and it’s only after a couple more dates that you truly get to find out that maybe they’re not a dick after all or, hell, they bloody are. Almost a decade on, here we are, laughing at how his level of dickhead peaked on our first date – and never have I seen it make an appearance again.
I was on a Tinder first date once and the guy had taken me to a really nice seafood restaurant. Everything was going well until my main came. I went to drizzle some lemon on my fish but ended up squirting him in the eye! I felt so bad and tried to help but he became so moody! After ten minutes of him eating really fast and not talking he went and got the bill and said bye. Never heard from him again.
Mark and I met the old-fashioned way: At a bar. Knee-deep in tequila shots. We got talking and Mark asked if he could take me out on a date. He went as far as to plan a picnic for the two of us the very next weekend.
However, ~dreamy~ Mark had to go and ruin everything by STANDING ME THE F*CK UP.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I fell asleep for eight hours on a Sunday arvo like any normal man-child would and can’t believe I missed our date,” he said*.
The next day, Mark persisted with the apologies and asked if he could make it up to me. And look, I seriously ummed and ahed; FFS – I’d IRONED MY CLOTHES for this guy and all he did was leave me standing out the front of my house, looking/feeling like fresh-pressed idiot.
Well, call it stupidity (or serendipity) but I ended up giving this guy another shot (not tequila – shudders) and our second-first date was amazing. So was the date after that. And the date(s) after that.
Turns out, this guy was/still is the hummus to my tabouleh – and has been for four years now. Love works in mysterious ways…
*Mark may or may not have said this but, still, he stood me up, so whatevs.
I was on a big night out with some friends when I met a really nice guy at the bar. We chatted and swapped numbers.
The next day he texted me asking me out to dinner, but due to my huge night I had completely forgotten his name. I felt too rude to ask so just text back avoiding any name use.
The day of our date he text saying he put our restaurant reservation under his name (annoyingly without mentioning said name!) but after a week of talking I DEFINITELY couldn't ask what his name was. I decided to arrive five minutes late and try and spot him from afar and walk over. Genius.
When I got to the restaurant I noticed the tables were around the corner from the host's desk. When she asked for a name I said I wasn't sure, and asked if I could go for a look instead. She was really confused and I couldn't blame her. Thankfully my mystery date was there and I walked over to him. He later dropped his name. My lesson: drink less.
I had the most random first date with a friend of a friend. It was a setup and we were just going to go for a drink after work, but he called me half an hour before – I was secretly hoping to cancel, first dates are the worst! – and said his mate worked at a great restaurant nearby and we should go there.
What he didn’t tell me was that his mate needed the restaurant to be full because MasterChef Australia was filming there. It was obviously too late to back out once we’d been seated so our casual drinks date turned into a 3-course dinner on camera.
It was probably the most awkward date I’ve ever been on, especially because the producer came over as we were eating our starters and asked if it was our first date – she then proceeded to ask if he’d take me on a second date on camera! It was mortifying. Thankfully that footage ended up on the cutting room floor – and the second date was our last!
My first date with my now-husband was kinda memorable for all the wrong reasons!
The date itself was actually good – funny, drunken, flirty – but on the way home (separately, I might add) I checked my phone which had been on silent and I had 36 missed calls from him. Keen! I thought I might have miss-judged his laid-back attitude, but then I worried something was wrong when he called again. But before I could even say hello, he said “Did you steal my wallet?” I was like, “What?! No. I did not steal your wallet. Are you serious?!”
But before I could get mad (well, madder) he said “Oh, no. I found it. It was in my other pocket” and hung up! It was so random, but funny the next day when I realised how drunk we both were and he couldn’t believe he’d actually accused me of stealing from him! Suffice to say it made a funny best man speech at our wedding!!
For our first date, my boyfriend told me he was taking me out to a restaurant opening called 'Elegance'. I put on a pair of heels, a fancy dress and spent ages getting ready. He picked me up in a suit and we headed off to our dinner. When we arrived I was shocked to find out the new 'restaurant' was in fact a new car-wash cafe!
After we had a laugh – my boyfriend (a struggling student at the time) explained he had booked after seeing a two-for-one dinner deal on a pamphlet – we decided to go ahead and eat there. It was such a fun/funny night and we went on our second date the next week.
I met my boyfriend on exchange in the US; we were staying in the same dorm. Before we were dating, we used to hang out and I would always tease him about his awful shoes. I think he had had them for over five years - they were falling apart, holes everywhere but they were legitimately the only pair he’d wear. He wasn’t big on shopping and he really didn’t he care about shoes.
Anyway, after a while of hanging out, he asked me out for dinner. He picked me up (walked upstairs and knocked on my dorm door) and was all dressed up for our first date… but I couldn’t help notice the damn shoes!
We were just about to leave and he said he’d left something in his room, so we doubled back and when he opened the door, sitting on a table, propped up on display were a pair of brand new men’s shoes. A friend walked by and said, “Wait…she’s freaking out over a present you bought…for yourself?!” I think that’s the most excited I’ve been over a pair of shoes that weren’t for me. I knew it was a big deal for him to brave a shopping centre! We had a lovely date and have been together since. In that time he’s bought TWO new pairs of shoes so it’s been a successful relationship I think…
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