that's life (Australia)


Jan was nervous about online dating

- By Jill Stitson

Fast Fiction

I’m going to do it. I could back out at the last minute, but that wouldn’t be fair on him, I decided.

Then my inner voice kicked in.

He might not come and then you’d feel a bit stupid.

Of course he’ll show up. He sounded nice when we chatted on the internet.

Yes, but internet dating! Really? It’s only youngsters who do these things.

Well, Loren’s supporting me and my daughter should know. Now, what will I wear? The little black dress? Oh, yeah. Very exciting! Hmm, perhaps not. This pale grey top and my black velvet trousers, then?

Oh come on! Grey and black now? And have you seen yourself from the back? Those trousers might look a bit tight at the bum.

No. This is it. I’m not changing again. I can hear the taxi outside. He can take it or leave it.

If you ask me, he’ll leave it.

‘Please, come this way,’ the waiter murmured.

Charles was on his feet waving at me. He looked a little different from his photo. Loren said he would, but, of course, I had used my best picture.

‘Jan,’ he said, holding out a hand. ‘So pleased to meet you at last.’

He’d said he was six feet tall online, but he looked no more than ve-nine.

Told you!

‘Charles, good to meet you, too.’

We settled ourselves in. He had a kind smile and his hair was grey and thick. Mmm, getting better and better.

Don’t get ahead of yourself. He can’t be perfect.

‘So, what would you like? I’m not very good at pronouncin­g Greek names and there are a lot on this menu.’ Told you! ‘Um, I’ll have the moussaka.’

‘So will I – and a glass of house red?’

House wine on a rst date, really?

I like house wine. I can’t tell the difference. And I’m not listening. I just want a pleasant evening out.

‘You look nice,’ said Charles. ‘Oh, sorry, I should have said you look lovely. I’m not very good at this.’

‘No, that’s ne and I’m not very good at it, either. In fact, it’s my rst internet date. How about you?’

‘Mine too. And I have to confess, I’m nervous.’

‘Let’s pretend we’re old friends and just relax,’ I said.

‘So, we both like gardening, and old lms,’ smiled Charles.

‘And don’t forget long walks in the country,’ I said.

‘Oh dear, I’m afraid you’ve caught me out. What I really like are drives in the country followed by a pub lunch! Do you really like long walks?’ Thought so. He looks a bit old for long walks.

‘Yes. I love my walking. It makes me feel happy. Especially since Jack died. I couldn’t do without it.’

The conversati­on owed fairly easily. Deceased spouses were brie y talked about and so were children. Charles said he had grandchild­ren, too.

‘I’m not quite at that stage yet. Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean…,’ I blushed.

Nice one, Jan, just when it was going well.

‘Sorry, Charles. I’m always saying the wrong thing.’ Charles smiled.

‘Don’t worry, Jan. You’re far too young to be a grandmothe­r. I’m just an old codger.’

The time passed swiftly and pleasantly.

‘I’ve had a most lovely evening,’ we both suddenly said in unison.

Then Charles added, ‘You’re a very special person, Jan, but I think I’m too old for you.’

‘Friends?’ I said. ‘Wonderful,’ he replied, as we both went on our way.

‘In fact, it’s my first internet date. How about you?’

I did it! And I can do it again! I’m ‘back in the saddle’ and feeling con dent!

You sure? But next time…, the voice began.

I’ve made a new friend and I’m going back on the internet to nd that someone special.

So just shut up! I’m not going to listen to another word! ●

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