Spring appeared to have arrived when I was away. Friday night was balmy in a very no-nonsense spring like fashion which made for an appropriate setting for my dinner date and the rest of the evening.
Dinner was with a woman I’d been catching up with for the last five months with never a completely clear picture as to whether we were just friends catching up or still checking each other out for romantic potential. A month or so ago she’d started seeing someone but the signals towards me were still there and our catch-ups while lessening in frequency still had an undertow of possibility. I wasn’t hung up about it – I enjoyed her company even if I never quite knew what was going on.
So last night I brought it up our mutually uncertain status. I figured being all ambivalent was nice and all but five months of it was surely too much of a good thing especially seeing as she had a steady squeeze.
“So what are we?” I asked.
She considered the question seriously.
“You’re a hot friend,” she said.
I did the translation and nodded with great enthusiasm and appreciation. You’re cute but it’s never going to happen.
Still, I liked the phrase – hot friend. It had an ominously prescient feel to it. I knew then that that phrase “hot friend” would be the central theme of my dating life for at least the rest of this year and the next if not into my late forties. Possibly into my seventies.
After dinner, I went along to a warehouse party in Fitzroy with a couple of other hot friends. I didn’t know there was a theme so wore my usual ragtag jeans, t-shirt and hoody. I entered what was surely the largest indoor gathering of the fashion feral royalty of Melbourne since last summer. As it was a warm night, bare skin, artfully assembled corsets made to look like corsets and clingy materials of all sorts was the uniform of choice for women. Vests, flowing shirts, retro suits and various pirate like confections for the men. Everybody looked unspeakably young, sexy and brimming with the unconscious arrogance of unlived years people in the early twenties have. To add a little salt to the proceedings, the man that my ex had left me for was there too, looking very suave in a white suit.
Fortunately by that time my mood having touched bottom was unsinkable.
More surprisingly, it was shared by another one of my friends and together we sat on the couch at the entranceway unable to venture another step in before we rushed back out for a calming joint.
“I want to slap every one of those gorgeous young things in the face,” she said with the greatly unjust vehemence that only very beautiful women seem to be able to muster.
“And so the mating, rutting season of competition begins,” I intoned in my best the-end-is-nigh voice.
Another couple of friends had followed us out lured by the promise of ganja. They’d just met a month ago, was out of the whole Darwinian jostling for mates and thought I was being needlessly pessimistic and cynical.
I begged to differ.
“You know those David Attenborough nature documentaries? In every one of them there’s always a solitary male who unable to compete gives up on the whole mating season and crawls away to die a lonesome bitter death.”
“C’mon,” they said, “you’re more likely to die of rutting too much.”
I shook my head adamantly.
“I’ve spent all my mojo this winter and all I have to show for it is a collection of hot friends. It’s the boneyard for me.”
Eventually we went back inside. I caught up with a few people, had a drink, danced a little and made a couple of new hot friends. It wasnt that bad a night. At least it was warm.