Technology has finally arrived at my doorstep, and I have opened the door to a new world. For the past fifty-five years, I have remained a dedicated bachelor. My entire attitude towards the other sex was when the right woman came along, I would find her, but that strategy has proven quite elusive in attaining my goal of a partner. So last night I went out on a limb and joined TINDER.

TINDER is a new sensation for young and older people. It is a social network program that provides a lot of benefits for its users. For example, you can eliminate all the small talk that is necessary to form a healthy relationship; It lets you meet people outside your social circle. It boosts your ego by hoping to find a beautiful individual of the opposite sex (or same sex if that way you lean to), and it allows you to go up in your social ladder by trying to go out with a partner that is way, and I mean way out of my league. Finally, it allows me to reduce my chances of texting my old girlfriends if I had had any.

With all these advantages, I decided it was time for Paolo Sergio Tomas O’Connor, yours truly, to venture into the world of TINDER and see what life offers.

Imagine the possibilities, you swipe one way, and you have forsaken that person to the limbo of uncertainty, but you swipe in the right direction, and you might find your genuine love. Is technology just fantastic I ask you?

So it is now Wednesday evening, and I sit in the comfort of my lounge in my favourite underwear with the TV on 7Mate watching “Blokesworld,” and my attention is on my phone as I begin my journey.

After setting up my honest profile, the screen fills up with a cascade of photographs of women of all shapes, sizes, colours and nationalities, goodness I have entered a buffet world of dating. After carefully reading all the instructions on which is the correct way swipe to connect with a person (right) and not to connect with another (left), I start my voyage into the dating world of TINDER.

Thinking of my profile and photograph, I try to see based on the photo and short profile if this candidate or that candidate would be open to a potential meet up with me. Now I am no catch per se, but at fifty-five years of age, I have a decent six-figure salary (low figures by the way), a reasonable, proper shape body and most importantly, I have all my natural hair, so that has to be a plus.

TINDER has to be a numbers game, and I am not that type, so I looked for about thirty minutes and did a lot of swipes left until I saw the picture of a plain-looking woman. There was something in her eyes, and I loved her name “Sandra Bullock,” just like the actress, so I held this photo in my hand, read her profile, and saw that we had several things in common and I posted my first attempt at connecting on TINDER to a total stranger.

She had this dress on with white polka dots on a blue background, so I sent her a message without thinking: “My mother has a dress just like yours,” and send it before I realise what I had typed and knew at that moment that my first shot in TINDER was a blank, for sure.

To my surprise, in precisely twelve minutes I get a response from “Sandra Bullock” saying that was a lovely thing to say with one of those cute yellow face things or whatever they are called attached. My heart jumped. I had a response on my opening try, so my first thought was is wrong with her.

So for the next hour or so we exchange messages about everything and about nothing making each other laugh and having a great time. Since it was early in the piece and while every minute that passes, I got a bit more comfortable I still could not bring myself to ask her out so I ask if I could continue to text her in the next day or so and she said yes without hesitation.

Over the next few weeks, we continue our conversations. Sometimes we would speak late into the evenings, other times we spoke in the middle of the afternoon. Three was no pattern as too when we spoke; We just enjoyed our time together as strange as it was, but somehow, we got to know each other more intimately than either one of us ever thought we would.

The moment of truth arrived on a Thursday evening in November 2001 when I told “Sandra Bullock” I was in Sydney for some work and would love to meet her at the local watering hole of the Westin Hotel in Sydney. My heart beat hard and hard thinking I might have pushed her away from me since it was over five minutes before she replied. She said she would be more than happy to meet up with me but would like to do so on Sunday afternoon if possible, to which I replied not an issue, I would wait for her as long as needed, I thought to myself. “Sandra Bullock” proceeded to tell me that she was eager to meet me but that for the next few days she would be not able to be in contact but to rest assured that at 5 PM on Sunday she would be in the lobby of the Westin Hotel in Sydney waiting for me. So we made it a date, my first date in TINDER after almost eight months of messaging with this one lovely human being. We also exchanged our phone numbers in case of an emergency which we both said would not be the case.

The rest of the week was the slowest week in my life, I mean, how is it possible for the time to even go slower than when you are at work, but it did. I did not help myself by looking at the clock one hundred times a day, so it was all my fault.

The weekend arrived, and all I did on Saturday was to throw clothes on the bed to see what I would wear to meet “Sandra Bullock.” I was like a teenage girl getting ready for the social prom in high school. I mean, how bad did I have it, and I had not met the woman yet. What if it all was a sham? What if she was not a she, but some SOB is playing a sick joke on me, and he and his buddies were sitting in the Westin Hotel lobby waiting for me to laugh me out of the hotel lobby? I needed to stop overthinking. There was no way that this was a hoax. She “spoke” like a lady, she “felt’ like a lady, she had to be a lady I convince myself, but I also had a small shot of bourbon to ease my anxiety.

Sunday morning the day was blossoming, so it felt like a good omen. I tried to maintain composure all day long. I had my breakfast, read the entire Sydney Morning Herald, front to back, including the sports section, of which I am not much of a fan. Prepared a light lunch, showered, and headed to the train station to catch the next train to Wynyard station, the closest to the Westin Hotel in Sydney.

A short walk from the station to the hotel and I arrived at 440 PM, early I thought, which was good. If this is a prank of some kind, I would be able to realise it as I walked around the lobby, but I did not see any suspicious-looking person or group of persons, so maybe everything was in my head. I settled into one chair in the lobby and checked my watch, 455 PM, almost time. I reminded myself that women are known for their lack of punctuality, which they wear as a badge of honour and I should not expect to see her at the agreed upon time.

As time passed, my world shook a bit because 5 PM had arrived and pass and no “Sandra Bullock” at 520 PM my phone rings and a male voice ask; “Is this Paolo?”

Here it comes, the bomb I was expecting, and I am going to be devastated, but I swallow my heart and answer; “Yes, it is, how is this speaking. How did you get my number?”

“This James Haldon Ms. Bullock’s press agent and I am calling you to let you know Miss Bullock is on her way down from her penthouse suite at the hotel and that she apologies for her delay. Her plane landed late in Sydney this morning, and she is running late. She will be down in ten minutes. Please wait in the lobby bar for her, and she will be there shortly. Thank you.” and he hangs up.

What the hell was that? I think to myself as I stare at my phone. Was this for real? No way, it has to be the Candid Camera show in action as I look around quickly for any signs of a camera or cameras, but nothing like a camera appears anywhere. I am stupefied.

Like a zombie, I walk over to the Lobby Bar as the bar is called, sit down, and order a triple bourbon on the rocks with a shot of tequila chaser. If this was a joke, I was going home with the biggest hangover I can get, but before I can have the first taste of the bourbon, Sandra Bullock walks up to me and says: “Hi Paolo, so nice to finally meet you.”

Sandra motions to the server to make it the same and sits next to me and continues her conversation: “Sorry to keep you waiting but my plane was late, and it made me late for all my engagements here, then I had a nap and overslept. I am so sorry to keep you waiting past our appointment time.”

You know how the deer looks like when he or she gets caught by the truck’s headlights, well that exactly how I was. Here I am sitting with Sandra Bullock, and people are noticing her and start asking for autographs and photos. Out of nowhere, a trio of huge guys appear and start shooing them away, and we are left alone again. Still, I am sitting there with my open mouth, unable to speak.

“Now Paolo, please speak, you are not upset with me, are you?”

“No, no,” I said, “you are THE Sandra Bullock, but the picture was someone else I am confused.”

Sandra answer: “I am sorry for that. The photo was of my mother we look a lot alike, and I love that dress of hers and say you may be aware I have been so unlucky finding someone I thought I give TINDER a chance and guess what, I found you, Paolo.”

Our meeting at 540 PM continues into the early evening where we proceeded to the Mosaic Restaurant for an elegant dinner featuring modern Australian cuisine which is creatively prepared with a refined touch and attention to detail and a delight to eat.

As the piano bar started at 10 M, Sandra and I headed back to the bar and continue hat had to be the best evening of my life, the best first date ever in TINDER but I needed to ask her one question and after two Harvey Bristol cream sherries, my voice gather its strength asked: “Sandra, are we for real?”

Her deep eyes looked at me, her red lips moist and inviting moved a bit and she answered: “Only if you will have me.”

I never saw the Presidential Suite at the Westin Sydney and AU$5500 per night even with my salary I would never like it to see it, but I did that wonderful evening that I met Sandra Bullock.

On Monday morning, I went to work straight from the hotel, resigned from my job. I called my real estate agent and said that I could put the apartment in North Sydney up for sale in one week. I also asked him to hire a crew to pack everything up, place all the furniture and apartment stuff in a rental unit for one year because I was leaving the country in a week headed for California to get married.

He asked me to whom I was going to be wed to, and I said; “Sandra Bullock” and he laughs and you know so did I as I hung up the phone and returned to the Westin Hotel, headed to the private lift, and inserted the door key to find one lovely human being waiting for me.

Jose’ Nodar    ©    2019


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