I want to start things off by saying that I’m recently single for the first time in many, many, many (you get the drift) years. The online dating world is new to me, but I’m learning to embrace it… or at least I’m trying to. I’ve got a profile, with some appropriately seductive and sassy pics, and a little bio. Friends tell me my bio is too bolshy, but hey, I’m not here to fuck around! When I say I’m turned on by critical theory, have plans to overthrow patriarchy AND dismantle all colonial systems of oppression, you’re either on board, or you jog on, bro.
I’ve been somewhat rebellious since the break-up and have decided that I don’t need a relationship—what with the kids, uni courses, and well… life. Instead, this 40-(something)-year-old Aboriginal woman has opted to engage in A LOT of consensual, no strings attached, sex. To be an absolute slut and do whatever I want. There shouldn’t be any shame in that, right? Are we that conditioned into believing someone of a certain age can’t be sleeping around? Well, I’m here to break down those barriers and tell you that YOU CAN.
Something I hadn’t realised initially is that one of the only ways to get any sort of action nowadays is through online dating sites. It’s like entering an entirely different realm though. To the middle-aged folk out there who are contemplating as to whether they should set up a profile on one, just know that it’s a fucking minefield… and here’s why. What you see is a teensy insight into my personal experience of online dating and some of the (interesting) things I’ve encountered along the way:
- First of all, there’s excellent NSA* sex… but at what cost? While he buttons his shirt (he’s a chef), I lay on the bed with my phone. He says, ‘babe, could you just go onto your Facebook and give my restaurant a review?’ I’m thinking, ‘bro, it ain’t your restaurant I just slept with.’ However, because I fold easier than a cheap shirt, I open the app and begin to type with words he feeds to me.
- If you’re wanting to ease into things, invite someone over for Netflix, pizza and chill—just make sure the person wants the same thing too. He arrives in a suit (no, he wasn’t a businessman, but a construction worker)—awkward! I then go to order the pizza, but this guy decides he wants Chinese instead. Sure, why not. He’s the guest, after all. But, then he says ‘could you actually cook the steamed rice? I think it’s a rip off to pay for it.’ Ahhhhh… thank you, next.
- Some want to be more romantic than others… and that’s sweet, right? At times, yes. But other times, WRONG! This fella comes around to mine with a gift. I open it to discover a book called Calm the fuck down. I stand there, speechless. Where does he get off? I mean, picture it with me now—a white man telling a middle-aged Aboriginal woman to calm down… stereotype much?! He says, ‘you need this. You seem to be angry about so much.’ Well, of
courseI am, dickhead. Your mob stole our land, our children, and our languages. You raped our women and locked up our men and kids. Wouldn’t you be bloody angry too?
- Coffee shops can be nice, especially if you’re meeting someone for the first time and haven’t been able to ascertain their personality yet. Boy meets me at a café near uni. We sit, and I pay for the coffee (ok, I guess that’s allowed). While we’re in the middle of our conversation, I notice how he keeps pushing his keys towards me. I’m like, what’s he doing? Can’t he keep his personal belongings to his side of the table? I look down and figure it all out. Ahhhh, he’s showing off his flashy key ring. It’s a Porsche logo. He sees me looking and wiggles his eyebrows in a suggestive manner. ‘Shall we go for a drive?’ he asks. I smile before responding. ‘No, thanks. I’m not impressed by your car.
WayI see it, flashy things like that are the trappings of capitalism.’ We didn’t see each other after that—or even the bottom of our coffee cups, for that matter.
- Lastly, there’s excellent NSA sex. I realise that I’ve already mentioned this, but it deserves another mention, dammit. Before I continue though, I just wanted to let you know that respect is fundamental in any sort of relationship. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quick
fix,or a long-term partnership. Now, on with the story. We collapse onto the bed after we finish. I’m panting (you know, the post-hard-sex surrender), and he looks across at me. He says, ‘babe, I just want to say… you’re white.’ I pause for a moment. ‘Huh?’ I breathe. ‘Look, babe. You’re whiter than me.’ He grabs my arm and compares it to his. ‘What… what are you saying?’ I stammer, wondering if the orgasm popped an aneurysm in his brain. ‘You said you were Aboriginal. What are you though… 1/16th?’ I hoist myself up from the mattress and set a steely gaze. I’m feellike a tiger ready to pounce. Like the fragile white man he is, he senses danger. ‘Woah. Hold up, babe. It’s alright. I like you half-castegirls. I prefer ‘em white.’ All that goes through my head at that point is a line muttered by Bette Midler in The Rose, ‘pack your bags… I’m gonna find me a real man, a good man, a true man, a man to love me.’ But, he doesn’t deserve a classic movie line. Instead, I summon the strength of all the women before me. Their blood runs thick through mine. I say, ‘get the fuck out of my bedroom!’ He then has the audacity to respond with, ‘babe, what?’ There’s no stopping me now. ‘I said, Captain Colonisation, get your skinny, white ass out of my bed and take your racist eugenics out of my face.’ He continues. ‘But, baby. I’m saying you’re actually pretty for an Aboriginal.’ And there it was…
Will I ever learn that mediocre white men aren’t worth my time and energy? Only time will tell, I guess. To all the middle-aged folk out there, use this as a way to learn from my mistakes. Respect yourself online. You deserve to be treated with dignity, and if someone doesn’t
*An acronym commonly used on dating sites to indicate the user would prefer to engage in ‘no strings attached’ sex.
Words by Le-An Morgan
Artwork by Sarah Burton
This piece was originally published in Edition 30.