h2>Dating : The Date I Stalked For a Year
As anyone who has been on Tinder or the like can attest, the first thing you look for in a potential match is a kind heart and a dazzling intellect. But sometimes you’d settle for a perfect pair of finely-chiselled cheekbones.
Not only did Joshua have those, but the face between them was equally attractive. I was hooked on Joshua’s face for a full year, and the mysteries that lurked behind it. Mysteries, because he rarely responded to my messages.
Joshua’s profile said he was a film composer, and that was the line I took to approach him. I had a film, I said, that needed composing. When Joshua’s replies weren’t forthcoming, I would message him for funsies. About every six months or so, I repeated the routine: go out and have a few drinks, come home and scroll through my online dating messages half-heartedly… and write to Joshua.
He practised yoga!
He had a picture with some kind of Indian instrument!
He owned a community vegetarian restaurant!
An actual film composer!
Joshua was perfect for me. He just didn’t know it.
And then — one day, he popped up in a photo on Facebook with my friend Mary. I blinked several times, not quite believing it. Yet those cheekbones were unmistakable, so sharp you could have grated cheese on them. There couldn’t possibly be two pairs like it in the whole wide world.
Joshua was real. He was a real-life, breathing, existing-on-Facebook, meeting-my-friends human being who just didn’t want to talk to me.
It turned out Mary had met Joshua by chance through a friend of a friend, and they’d all gone out that one night when the photo was taken. She wasn’t quite as enraptured with his cheekbones as I was but said he seemed like a nice enough fella. She hadn’t met him again.
So, some months went by, and I may or may not have sent a message to Joshua because who was really keeping track at this point?
Mary was getting married in her husband’s hometown a few hours away — and I drove up there for the weekend with a friend. The wedding was held at a beautiful cliff top park overlooking the windswept ocean.
As the couple made their vows, I glanced across at Mary’s friend Victoria standing a few metres away on the grass. I was thinking about how stunning Victoria always looked, when she took a small step backwards. Standing beside her was Joshua. Existing-in-real-life, attending-weddings-like-a-regular-person-but-with-better-cheekbones Joshua.
I gasped and looked away. When the wedding was over, Victoria came over to greet us. As she chatted, Joshua came to stand beside me. “I’m Joshua,” he said. I managed to stop myself from saying “I know,” instead nodding hello. I then made resolute small talk with a friend on the other side without so much as glancing in Joshua’s direction.
The reception was held at a rustic old barn, nicely renovated into a fancy old barn. Somehow, throughout dinner, Joshua’s and my visits to the bathroom coincided on two separate occasions and we made awkward eye contact. Several wines later into the evening, I went to ask the band if they could do a request. “Sure, what’s the song?” they asked.
Sadly, they didn’t know the lyrics to Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre. I started to sing it for them and they managed to cobble together a backing rhythm. The lead singer pulled me up to the mic and I completed the song from start to finish, including the second verse whose lyrics I only had scant knowledge of, all the while waving my arms in the air. What I lacked in harmony, I made up for with enthusiasm.
As I swanned through an adoring crowd — just kidding, as I made my way down from the stage, to a smattering of half-hearted applause from the captive audience, Joshua approached me.
“I KNOW where I know you from,” he said with the smirk of a man who knows he knows what he knows. His cheekbones were glowing in the moonlight.
“MTV?” I said, hopefully.
But he did know. “You’re the girl who keeps messaging me online,” he said.
“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that,” I said sheepishly.
“I really don’t check it that often,” he most likely lied.
The strange thing was, he didn’t seem to care. We spent a hot minute tearing up the dancefloor as I taught him the Charleston. Then we went outside and sat on a bench in the rain, until he realised he should be looking for the stunning Victoria so off he went to do that. A shuttle bus arrived to take my friend and I back to our hotel, and we got on it before he returned. That was that — or so I thought.
The next day, everyone was headed to the beach for an informal celebration. My friend and I were so late that Victoria and Joshua had already left to catch their flight. I asked the bride how it had happened that Joshua was at the wedding.
“Oh yes, I forgot you knew him!” she said. “Victoria asked if she could bring a friend so we said yes.”
“Are they dating?” I inquired in a very casual way, but no one seemed to have a concrete answer to that question.
On the long drive home, I checked my dating app inbox. There was a message from Joshua — saying he was sorry he didn’t get to see me at the beach and could we have lunch next week? Curiouser and curiouser.
We got lunch. At this point, Joshua knew precisely two things about me — that I was the kind of person who would stalk a stranger online for a year, and also who would drunkenly sing a nineties pop classic on a stage at a wedding — so I’m not sure why he was expecting anything different. Maybe he just really liked dancing the Charleston.
And I knew precisely two things about Joshua: that he was a film composer and that he managed a community vegetarian restaurant.
Neither of these things turned out to be quite strictly true.
He had never actually composed a film although often thought about it, and he was a volunteer waiter at the restaurant which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not quite the same thing. His cheekbones were still lovely, though.
Joshua was a biostatician, our lunch ended after half an hour, and I never found out whether he was actually dating Victoria. I deleted the app.