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January 13, 2020

Searching for more than just another summer romance

This is Kate Richards’ first time dating in Adelaide and she’s not entirely sure what the deal is here.

  • Pictured: Dinner for one at Himeji

 It always seems like a good idea – re-joining Bumble/Hinge/Tinder. I can’t count how many times I’ve done it, lured back every time by the cheap thrill of instant gratification. Sometimes I can go months without the urge to swipe and other times, only weeks. At times I’ve been pursuing a relationship; at others I’ve purely been looking for sex. Ultimately it just feels good having strangers on the internet telling you you’re hot. 

During this particular lapse in judgment (if you’ve never had the pleasure, these apps can be an absolute cesspit), re-entering the dating pool was spurred on by moving to a new city. I moved into my parents’ Semaphore doer-upper about five months ago, after some travel. We’re from New Zealand and I’ve never lived in Adelaide before. So half the urge to swipe was brought on by my desire to make friends, and the other half was about finding someone to go 50/50 on an inner-city apartment with. (Just joking. Kind of.)

But it would be cool to meet someone I could think about long-term things with. 

Not ’cause I feel I need to settle down or anything, but there are obvious benefits to having a partner. Ideally they’d be someone really good looking, who takes eating seriously, wants to watch all the shows I want to watch, thinks I’m hilarious, and always brings me coffee and pastries in bed when I’m hungover. I don’t want kids of my own, but I wouldn’t mind having shared custody of a medium-sized, wiry-haired dog. And of course there’s the financial advantage of two incomes – I’m pretty far from that inner-city apartment deposit by myself. 

So I got back online and back to swiping and messaging and dating and losing the will to live. I’ve signed off the apps again because it’s a lot of effort to match, message, prune, organise and meet a person, only to find out the dude who looked so promising online – bookish specs, tiny beanie and orthopedic trainers – actually has nothing in common with you. 

I thought writing about it might be a good place to reconcile all the wasted time/energy. It wasn’t. But I hope you find it entertaining.


It took weeks for us to actually meet up after a lot of schedule shuffling, so I was semi excited/invested in the date with Dave from the get-go. Given the immediate halt in correspondence after we did manage to connect IRL, David and I are in agreement that we’re just not that into each other. 

Literally none of the information I can remember from the date relates to David as a person. It’s just stuff we talked about to fill time. The date spot didn’t help. Heads up – never go to Ryo’s Ramen on Gouger. It’s god-awful.



Unpopular opinion: Ying Chow’s food is pretty average. Why the hype? Green beans – ace. Shallot pancakes – good; but it’s hard to fuck up a shallot pancake. Everything else we ate was criminally average. What am I missing? 

Putting aside the mediocre food and punishing lighting, I would highly recommend ‘Yingers’ (as you call it) as a first-date location. Especially if your date is a sometimes-winemaker, meaning you can take advantage of the restaurant’s bargain corkage fee while hoeing into some of his cellar selection. 

Hugo was clearly out to impress with bottles of vintage riesling and pinot noir. We sank both bots on top of the two pre-date G&Ts I’d smashed at home. So yes, you could say I was drunk. Not sure if he noticed.

Sadly, the overly sweet E Shand eggplant wasn’t the biggest disappointment of the evening. That prize goes to this dude’s dress sense, which I’d call boy-band chic. Do you remember those black trench coats Hallensteins sold circa 2003? He had one of those on. Our conversation regarding style went something like this:

Hugo – “You look really nice.”
Me – “Thanks. You don’t look like you really tried *insert awkward laugh here* did you?”
Hugo – “Ha! No, not really.” 

Hugo was nice. In a kind of awkward middle-aged teachery way. And I appreciated he didn’t get weird when he came back from the toilet to find I’d let a homeless guy called Michael sit down with us at the pub after dinner. 

Did I like the guy? I didn’t like his several requests for me to kiss him in exchange for various things (a walk to the train station, a beer), but he was a decent enough person outside of that. I also didn’t like that he texted my workmate – a mutual friend – several times after we met up, trying to discuss me. But we had some good wine-chat and he laughed at all my jokes.



Disclaimer: I’d met Paul prior to matching with him on Bumble. He came into my work for dinner with someone else. I pegged him as cool, and so I was stoked to see it hadn’t worked out with her.

Paul’s somewhat of a local expert on ramen, so I let him choose the venue for our first date. He picked his “third-favourite” Adelaide spot, Himeji, the only place that was open on my awkward hospo nights off. For the record: solid food. 

We had the kind of date that, while perfectly nice, isn’t very interesting to read about: good chat, yum food, but no steamy car sex.

A solid 7.5/10

I wouldn’t say my Adelaide dating experience has been a success so far. I hung out with Paul a few times after we initially met up, and it was cool until three dates in when he hit me with the classic, “So what is this?” line. It’s a theme I’ve noticed come up a bit during spates of online dating – an uncomfortable overfamiliarity people develop with you. 

You’ll be messaging for a few weeks, go for dinner or drinks a couple of times and all of a sudden people want to slap a label on things. Like, we actually don’t even know each other, even if it feels a bit like we do. Don’t get me wrong; I’m guilty of it too, and seeing it reflected back was cringey enough to turn me off Paul, and kind of turn me off myself, too. 

I’m still messaging Paul, and he’s taken the hint and cooled it, but that little misstep has tainted things for me: too soon, too intense, too eager.  Maybe I’m just meant to be single? But that house! Knowing me, I’ll have my bathers on and be back in the stagnant dating pool sometime soon.


*We changed their names, hey




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