How to Turn a One-Night Stand into a “Thing”
I lean in to plant a dry and anxious kiss on his lips, only to get a turned cheek. In return, he gives me a hard matey pat on the back as I open up the driver’s seat to the car. My skimpy, far-too-tight leather skirt makes an awkward squeak on the seat as I hop in. I open my mouth to say a quick goodbye, but he shuts the door with a bang and walks back to work.
After experiencing yet another family event consumed with questions of “Got a partner, Gen?” I figured it was time I gave up the one-night stands and tried my luck with the dating scene. Who would have thought I’d be more comfortable in my red stripper heels, doing my usual Sunday stride-of-pride?
I pitched my desire to enter the dating scene to a group of mates. Between long throaty drags of their Winnie Blues, they counselled me to start by having a “thing” with someone. This meant that I was to get frisky with a guy, wait until at least the third date to fuck, send him text messages only after 1am and sext cheeky nipple shots at least twice a week. Only then might I progress to Exclusive But Not Officially Dating, and possibly bf and gf – if I was to hold on long enough to survive the final torch ceremony, that is.
Following this advice, I went on a few dates with a towering, broad, builder named John.* On the first date, there was some thigh-on-thigh action under the table and a cheeky knee rub, all the while gazing into each other’s drunk eyes. Pushing my arms together in an attempt to increase the size of my cleavage, I slurped down the final droplets of my wine and leaned in for a ravaging pash. It was a good 15 minutes straight of suctioned lips before we released. I wiped my dripping mouth with the back of my hand, flicked the saliva onto my neighbour’s collared shirt, and readied myself for the grand finale.
“Well this has been fun. We should do it again sometime.”
Yes! I had done it! I had made it through my first date without tearing off my knickers and throwing them sky-high.
So over the next two weeks, we went on two more follow-up dates, and by the third, we sealed the deal. It seemed to me that we had reached the “thing” stage. We were texting daily, booty calling after midnight and hanging out with each other’s mates.
But, because of my very limited experience on the dating scene, I wasn’t sure how to progress to the next level. The single life was easy. I knew where I stood. Now I was so confused. I felt like an old biddy who’d lost her marbles and continued to ask the same question over again until you spiked her warm glass of milk with Valium. The uncertainty made me feel sick. I just needed to know what we were.
I decided sending a text would be the most mature way to ask.
“Yo, so are we together or nah?”
The read message burned into my phone screen. I checked Facebook: he had been online in the last half an hour and was definitely not lying in a ditch in the middle of Whoop Whoop. Shit. I knew it was too early to ask that question. I lay awake the whole night. Still no reply, which was very unlike him. He’s probably fled the country, I thought, leaving with just a wallet and passport. I needed to make a plan, and fast.
The next day was a scorcher. I drove madly down the highway to the best gourmet bakery in Queensland. Clutching a steaming red-wine steak pie in my sweaty hand, I headed to his work site. He’d mentioned a few times that he was working on the biggest house on Chevron Island. How hard could that be to find?
Pulling onto the little isle, I soon discover that every second lot is under construction, and all are imposing mansions of five stories with a million builders on each. It looked like I would have to start at the first.
I stepped out of the car into the sizzling heat. Yanking down my skimpy leather skirt in between click-clacks of my saucy kitten heels, I heard cat-calls from all around the street. Builders leaned over scaffolding, licking their sunburnt lips, to catch a better view of the action. By the time I had approached the construction manager, I looked like a tired stripper who’d been working around the clock. I asked him if a bloke called John worked on the site, and whether I could speak with him.
John did work on the site and was actually on smoko. The construction manager proceeded to yell out John’s name. It echoed through the house. Every builder came down and arranged himself around me, as if finding a seat at the cinema. John appeared from behind a plastic sheet, and the utter surprise on his face made my stomach drop, nearly to the point of prolapse. I realised then that this was one of the most ridiculous ideas I have had. But it was too late now. I had an eager audience waiting for a show.
John and I walked towards my car, making dry small talk, until we made it out of earshot. His tough workmen shoes banged the bitumen with each step, initiating my drum roll. I tried my hardest to give him sexy eyes while we talked, but the sweat rolling down my face caused me to blink incessantly, creating more of a twitching effect. The drum roll came to a halt.
As if holding out Excalibur, I triumphantly handed John the red-wine steak pie. The sun beamed down on its flaking lid; the ripples of puff-pastry were golden brown with little cracks showing the creamy brown nectar beneath. This is the moment that John should have shoved his head deep into the pie, covering half his face in the red-wine sauce, then victoriously thrown me over his shoulder and carried me to a nearby bush so I could lick the succulent filling from every inch of him. The builders would applaud and the stage curtain fall.
But this was not to be. Instead, John’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. He began to stutter, trying to find the appropriate words. All that came out was a mumbled, “Thank you.” He slowly took the pie and uncertainly swapped it from hand to hand, as if holding a newborn child for the first time. I desperately tried to make eye contact, but his remained fixed on the gutter. After what felt like an hour, I raised my arms to give him a hug as he put out his hand to shake. We briefly embraced, and he walked back to work.
A kilometre down the road I pulled over. My whole body was trembling uncontrollably. I lit a rollie and took long, shaky drags. Memories of the two of us together flooded my mind. The night we got drunk and screamed ‘The Ring of Fire’ on top of bar tables; him piggy-backing me into the surf, laughing and choking as the waves smashed against our faces; and late-night conversations, breathing nose to nose on the same pillow. I dug my fingernails into my palms and held back the tears.
Taking a deep breath, I checked my phone to find I had three new messages on Tinder. I smiled to myself and replied to all of them with the same winking emoji. With the radio turned up to full blast and the windows down, I sang and smoked the whole way home.