By Ryan Perdio

It would have been funny if it weren’t so ludicrous.

Derek and I met up for lunch at a quaint little cafe located in one of Melbourne’s busier laneways. He was already seated at a table outside when I got there, watching people go about their day.

I was relieved to see that there wasn’t a rose waiting for me.

Derek was dressed nicely in a crisp black shirt and mocha pinstriped pants. He came straight from work, but his outfit implied a bit of extra effort. I did the same, turning up in a nice pair of jeans and a fitted shirt that was red.

It was Valentine’s Day after all.

A right-swipe introduced me to Derek. Tinder, a mobile dating application, lets users browse profiles of other users who are also keen on meeting similar-minded individuals; swiping left on their photo moves you to the next profile, swiping right connects you together. He sent the first message and two weeks later, we were seated opposite one another.

When the wait staff came around, we ordered our meals: a salmon salad for me and the chicken version for Derek. When asked what we wanted for drinks, I was fine with tap water. But Derek insisted that the moment must be celebrated. I ended up with a glass of wine and he a tall glass of Bloody Mary, filled with ice.

Derek enjoyed talking and conversed endlessly, if somewhat nervously. I couldn’t get a word in. He talked about his travels, his jaunts to Asian countries and his plans for future trips. He spoke about his family residence in the country and the nearby wineries.
When the meals arrived, the plates were a little too large for our tiny table. I noticed but Derek didn’t. He seemed so wrapped up in his tales and continued talking between bites. I was conscious of how close to the edge his tall Bloody Mary was. He must have noticed that I seemed pre-occupied because he then decided to lean in to make sure I could hear him properly over the noise of the lunchtime crowd.

Big mistake.

As soon as he pressed on it, the table rocked and his glass wobbled wildly. Time slowed and everything seemed to stop as his trembling drink eventually lost the fight against physics and gravity. The entire colourful concoction along with the excessive ice ending up on his lap! The other diners witnessed the incident; the wait staff ran over to help clean up. Derek couldn’t believe what had happened and simply sat there aghast with his arms raised in the air. He looked mortified. I tried to make light of the whole situation by telling him that at least then we’ve truly broken the ice.

He shot me a look that could’ve melted all the frozen liquid that were all over his clothes, stood up and left. I don’t think he saw the funny side to it at all.

And that is how I ended up receiving a copy of his dry-cleaning bill on Tinder.

(For comments or feedback, email rperdio@rocketmail.com)


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