Podcast Episode 1: How can we do better at online dating? With Ali from Bad Dates of Melbourne

In this very first podcast episode, I’m sitting down with Ali from the wildly popular Facebook group Bad Dates of Melbourne, to find out how we could be doing online dating better. I’m hoping that not only will I get few pointers to lift my Tinder game, that you might too.

About the Host Georgie Wolf is an independent escort from Melbourne, Australia. She’s also a writer, educator and total online dating addict.

About our Guest Alita Brydon is a dating journalist, meme and creator of the cult Facebook Page, Bad Dates of Melbourne. Her hobbies include chicken nuggets and the couch.

Episode Transcript

This is the Art of the Hook Up, your straightforward guide to successful sex life. I’m Georgie Wolf, an Aussie escort and total hookup enthusiast. Welcome to Episode One. This episode is all about how to do better when it comes to getting it on online. Where are we going wrong? Ali from Bad Dates of Melbourne is here to help us all lift our game.

Before we get started, just a reminder that this podcast is adults only. And with that said, let’s get into it.

Georgie: Hi, this is Georgie here. I’m a writer, online dating champion and independent escort from Melbourne, Australia. My mission is to talk honestly about all the stuff you need to know to have a great hookup. And by that I mean finding the people that are right for you. Negotiating amazing six and walking away feeling good about yourself. In this very first podcast episode, I’m sitting down with Ali from the wildly popular Facebook group bed dates of Melbourne to find out how we could be doing online dating better. I’m hoping that not only will I get a few pointers to lift my Tinder game that you might too.

AliHi. I love that – ‘wildly popular.’ Feeling very special hearing that, ‘wildly popular.’

GeorgieI’ve been name-dropping you like a bitch. Everywhere.

AliI love it. 

Georgie: So maybe not everyone has heard of you. Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what Bad Dates of Melbourne is all about.

Ali: So I am a Melbourne local and what I do is collect bad date stories from around Melbourne real life, bad dating stories. And I post the best of the best on my Facebook page, Bade Dates of Melbourne, and further around Australia. I post to Bad Dates of Australia as well. So I’m collecting bad date stories from all over Australia. And I’ll tell you what, they are cringe worthy. They are shocking. They are hilarious. And believe it or not, there’s a lot of poo involved as well. So it’s quite funny stuff. I cringe every day, checking out the Facebook feed.

GeorgieAnd how long has Bad Dates of Melbourne been around for?

AliI think it’s been around for about sixteen months or so. So it started off slow and you know, collecting the stories. It was difficult and I was digging around and hustling with the stories sharing my own now and, you know, I reckon now I get about twenty a day so. It’s become really popular. You know, it’s um, it’s such a joy to work on Bad Dates of Melbourne and every day I am shocked and amazed as to what happens in our town.

GeorgieAnd now you have Bad Dates of Australia, which means that you can help not only Melbournians work out what they’re doing wrong with their bad dates, but also all of Australia generally. So I feel like you’ve got a really good handle on you know, a general population perhaps. Do you feel like you becoming a bit of a dating disaster expert?

Ali: Oh, absolutely. And I think the reason I am a dating disaster expert is because I have lived these dating disasters myself. I call myself a dating expert, but I’m not a dating expert on the sidelines. I am deep down in Tinder. I’ve had bad days. I am living the trauma.

Georgie: The final frontier.

AliAbsolutely. On Tinder and Bumble, I’m on OKCupid, you name it. I’ve given it a go.

GeorgieDude. We’re like kindred spirits. I’m on all that shit. I’ve done Hinge. I’ve done…you know, I’ve done The Circle the Inner Circle. Yes, I want to be special or something. Never quite worked out what that was. I saw all the same people on there as I saw on Tinder. But that’s okay. So can I ask you like, is there a particular type of person or particular gender that contacts you more? Is there a pattern to the people that want to tell you about their bad dates?

AliYeah, absolutely. Lately, I’d probably say 70% of the submissions come from heterosexual women. I also get some lesbians and some straight men as well. But you know, mostly straight women. And I’ve had people asked me before, does that mean that women are the ones that the bad things are happening to? And to be honest, I can’t tell you that, because maybe they contacted me more because I’m a woman. Maybe women are just more communicative about their bad dates? 

GeorgieMaybe they’re more interested in talking about them, rather than just shoving them under the rug?

AliThat is absolutely right. So, you know, I do think that bad dates, it’s happeningto absolutely everybody, it’s an epidemic. 

GeorgieI would totally agree. And from talking to all my different friends of all genders, it’s really opened my eyes to the fact that we’re all fucking up. It’s not just guys that are fucking up, or just straight people that are fucking up. It’s actually literally everyone. And what I’m interested to know is whether there are things that all of us are consistently fucking up that maybe we could be doing a little bit better. Do you feel like any particular issues have popped up a lot for you over the time you’ve been running this?

AliThere is one very consistent issue. And I’d love to tell you, it’s something saucy, something juicy, something interesting, but it’s incredibly boring. Yeah, showing up on time know, a lot of people just will literally rock up twenty minutes late, no apologies and expect this to be okay. And you know, it really is showing disrespect to somebody else’s time. And it’s just not a great way to get started on the right foot. So you know, being on time to your dates, you know, be early, put an extra 15 minutes in the schedule and get there in time and show that respect to that person. 

GeorgieThe thing is, right, there’s that whole saying that when you meet someone, they generally take about 30 seconds to decide whether they like you or not. And if that 30 seconds happens while they’re sitting in a bar waiting for you because you’re late. And by the time you’ve already arrived, they’ve decided they hate you. And you’re done. And I get this with clients. So as part of my sex work, the impression a client makes when they first meet you is everything. And if a client’s twenty minutes late, but the time they turn up on pissed off, and the rest of that session is going to go badly. And I can’t help mentioning that the same would go for regular dates. If you’re angry at the person by the time they arrive. You’re not starting off on the best foot.

AliI love that you mentioned that, Georgie, because I actually mentioned to a date once that it only takes thirty seconds for me to tell whether I was interested in someone. Now that was a huge mistake. Because I met him we sat down at dinner, we got talking and about forty-five seconds into the date. He looked at me and he said, so Ali, it’s been thirty seconds, what are you thinking about me? Do you like me? Are we going to go on a second date? And what do you think? And I sat there I thought this is the most uncomfortable moment of my life…

GeorgieSo my hunch is that you immediately said no, I don’t like you. Because anyone that asks that that fast… maybe it’s not someone that’s going to be good dinner companion.

AliLook, he was a lovely person with very poor social skills. So I told him, Look, you know, you’re a lovely guy. I’m not really feeling it. So if you’d like to let’s continue the dinner and have a nice night together. But I don’t see this going anywhere. And he thought about it for a moment. And he said, Yeah, you know what, we’re already here. together. Let’s see how it goes. And we had a pleasant night together. And did I see him ever again? No, but he’s a nice person, I wish the best for him.

GeorgieAnd that’s the thing, right? I think if you’re going to ask something like that really straight off and really early on, you need to be prepared to hear no, I’m not really interested in you. And then you need to be prepared to sort of deal with that. And maybe just continue on and have a nice dinner anyway. If you think you’re going to be completely shredded. When someone says no, I’ve decided you not my type, maybe hold off until asking a little bit further down the track and you feeling like you know someone a little bit better, right? Absolutely.

AliLike honesty is great. I’m all about the honesty. But sometimes, you know, keep the question to yourself just for a little bit longer. Try and feel it out. Yeah,

GeorgieRight. Fifty percent asking, and then also sitting there and feeling into this. And sometimes I don’t even need to ask. Sometimes I meet someone, and then I see their face for a little bit. And my face falls a little bit. And then I know then we know how it’s going, right?

AliOh, I know that feeling. I’m very familiar with that feeling.

GeorgieI actually had a guy I went on a date and within the first 10 minutes of us sitting down to have a drink. He told me that he suspected he might be asexual. And that is the thing, right? People do identify as asexual which is like when they they’re not really interested in sex, or they might be interested in intimacy or touch that sort of thing, just not actually getting it on. I thought it was odd that he hadn’t mentioned that he was a sexual before we met. And then about two weeks later, he sent me a message saying he just met this awesome girlfriend who was getting into kinky stuff. And could I give him some pointers. And at that point that I realized that perhaps he wasn’t asexual perhaps he just been really struggling to find a way to say ‘I’m not into you.’ And that was the first thing that came to mind. But honestly, I think I’d prefer ‘I’m just not that into you’ than something so creative, it’s really easy to disprove when you then ask for sex advice from the person you were on a date with?

Ali: You know what, generally I’d say asexual people not looking for sex advice. So it is a bit of a red flag.

GeorgieIt was interesting. Yeah. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with being asexual and going on a date, right? Or even telling your partner while you’re on a date. I just, I just had a hunch that wasn’t what what he meant to say what he meant to say was, ‘Look, you’re really not my type, like really not’. So you’ve answered my question about what’s the one thing you see people doing wrong? And I was actually hanging out for something horrifying. So you’ve actually given us something that’s super solvable. Fucking turn up on time.

AliWell, you know, there are several crazy things that seem to be happening. And you know, you will laugh at me it is gross. But there is a lot of wetting the bed and there is a lot of pooing in the bed. I am not making this up. I get stories probably a couple of times a week of someone messaging me saying you wouldn’t believe this. The most incredible thing happened. The date I was with has wet the bed. Oh, boy. Yeah, I’ve heard it before.

GeorgieIs it like a drug-related thing?

AliNot necessarily. But a lot of the time. Yes. A lot of the time. You know, it’s it’s amazing. Like there is all this …and yes, wetting the bed. Yes, all that bad stuff. But there is a lot happening in the dating world that we don’t talk about openly. And I find that quite frustrating because there are things that we need to be educated on that we just aren’t talking about. And probably my biggest one would be something like, you know, chlamydia, for example, I talk to people about chlamydia-

GeorgieWe all need to talk about chlamydia.

AliAbsolutely. I talk about it regularly. And the reality is people take risks with sex and take shortcuts because they aren’t aware of how common it is because we don’t talk about it.

GeorgieBut you’re aware of how common it is. Because people write in and tell you they got chlamydia from their bad dates. 

AliAbsolutely. So I hear a lot of bad stories. And the final sentence would be, ‘…and soon after, I found that I had chlamydia.’ Now a lot of people take shortcuts, but they just don’t understand how frequently it happens in our communities. And I feel if we talk about it, we know how common it is and we make safe sex choices, then we’re aware.

GeorgieThe thing is stuff like chlamydia, the person that gave it to you might not even know they have it because often it’s invisible, you don’t have any symptoms. So it’s not even like I went at a bad date with this person. And they were a terrible person. And then they also gave me chlamydia, because they’re awful. Often, you get chlamydia from someone that’s otherwise super nice person. But that hasn’t been checking out the safer sex or going and getting checkups. But then, maybe you should also be having better safe sex and going and getting checkups. Also, like everyone is responsible for making sure the safer sex happens, right? It’s not just about the chick or the guy or, you know, whatever.

AliI think that people assume that you get STDs for one-night stands, but it’s you know, it’s happening in relationships, it’s happening in all sorts of scenarios. So you need to be really aware of it.

GeorgieYou know what I really enjoyed reading on your Facebook page the other day, you had this really amazing post about the ‘poke around’, which is when when you’re getting down with someone, and then this sort of poking around down there with their junk, you’re going ‘Oh, is he going to try and stick it in without a condom?’ And he’s thinking, ‘Oh, am I going to get to stick it in without a condom?’ And you’re both waiting to see if someone says something…

AliIt’s a test. 

GeorgieIt’s a test. And we’re feeling a bit awkward and people aren’t quite sure how to say. And this is how sort of dodgy slightly unsafe or very unsafe sex happens because nobody can speak up. That seems like it’s too late. And so you just go with it. Right?

AliAbsolutely. And I think you know, in these scenarios, people don’t go in saying, I’m going to have sex without a condom tonight. It’s like the poke-around scenario where you know, things have heated up, maybe you’ve had a few drinks, and-

GeorgieWhen you’re horny, and you bend the rules a little-

AliYou bend the rules a little. ‘He hasn’t said anything, so I’m just going to go with it.’ You know, that is when these things happen. And unfortunately, STDs don’t discriminate, you know, it can happen to anyone.

GeorgieYeah, you can’t make any judgments based on where someone’s coming from, or what their sexual history is, all that stuff. I did it heaps when I was younger. When I used to pick up a lot, I found that the poke around was a thing and also things like guys saying, ‘Oh, no, I can’t get I can’t get hard if I have a condom on.’ Or ‘If I have a condom on, sorry, I can’t get it up.’ Yeah, and then I go, ‘Okay, so I have to choose between not getting laid at all, or putting up with unsafe sex.’ And then I often might end up going for the unsafe option. But the thing I found was the next day, I just felt like shit. And it’s usually meant that I remembered the whole thing as a really bad incident. Obviously, none of those guys would ever get a second date because I felt so bad about doing something that I wasn’t comfortable with. So I guess I learned. And then becoming an escort, we are so strict about safer sex, you know, someone will go anywhere near that area, and I’ll be like, ‘So, are you going to put something on that? And it’s just like super forthright, but I understand for most people, it’s really hard. So it sounds like that’s a big proportion of your stories – both STI-related incidents, and also unplanned pregnancies, aka Tinder surprise…

AliOh, yes, there are definitely unplanned pregnancies going on. And look, sometimes people are unhappy about them. And sometimes people are happy about them. You know, it depends on the person. The baby can be a joy, but you know, it’s nice to want the baby…to plan it is what I mean. So yeah, that does happen a lot.

GeorgieThis escalated quite quickly actually. I hadn’t anticipated talking about sexual health. I thought it was all going to be, you know, don’t stab your your steak with your fork over dinner. Is there anything a bit more…sort of trivial stuff that just pisses everyone off?

AliThere are funny little things that pop up here and there. So there was one recently that popped up. People seem to be having a huge debate about whether you should agree to dinner on a first date. Have you heard about this? So, a lot of people are saying you should never ever ever agree to dinner on the first date. 

GeorgieThat’s my M.O.

AliYeah, because you can’t escape it. Whereas if you just have a drink, it’s not too bad. Now it doesn’t sound like too much of an issue, right? But the reality is, a lot of people are asking their Tinder dates out to dinner. And one quarter of the people do not actually want to do dinner tonight. Yeah, so you’re potentially alienating the person you’re speaking to by asking them for dinner.

GeorgieThis is tricky, right? Because when we ask someone out, we want to sound decisive. So it’s like, ‘Hey, how about that awesome place? You know, you said you’re really into fried chicken…’

Ali: Of course. I love fried chicken

Georgie: ‘You said you’re really into fried chicken. So let’s go to that cool fried chicken place just around the corner from me.’ We think we’re really great for supplying the solution and asking and being really specific. But actually, sometimes it’s nice to actually ask like, hey, I’d love to meet up, but what did you have in mind? Like, what works for you for first date? And my favorite question is actually, ‘What’s is your perfect hook up date look like?’ So if I’m going out specifically with the intent that we’re going to get it on, I’ll go ‘Hey, so what’s your dream hook up date? Like, where do you meet? Like, how does it go for you? What does it look like?’ And that’s not just like, where do we meet? But also, you know, how long is it? And what do we talk about during the date to work out if we want to get it on? And then if it progresses, well, then what do you like to get up to? And then we have a bit of a talk about that stuff.

AliAnd isn’t it so great when people ask you questions. I love being asked questions, and when someone gives a shit about my opinion. Oh, my God. Absolutely. I love it. I mean, it’s such a basic dating behavior, but so many people get it wrong. And we all love talking about ourselves, obviously. I mean, we all do. But it’s nice to be asked questions. That’s really nice.

GeorgieSometimes I feel like we’re expected to have all the answers too, like, we’re supposed to just automatically know what the right thing is to do. And like when it’s the right time to ask someone out. Where we’re supposed to invite them to. And we’re supposed to just guess how to act based on our magical intuition or something. But that never works. Because everyone likes different stuff. And when you try to guess you fuck it up half the time, even if half the time you get it right. And someone goes, ‘Wow, how did you know that I loved you know fried chicken, you must be psychic. We’re soul mates.’ The other 50% of the time people go, ‘What the fuck where you thinking? Why didn’t you just ask me, and I could have told you?’ Yeah, we don’t seem to do that. We like to be magical and magically have all the answers.

AliWell, we know we we tend to think that romance is this super magical thing. You know, this is a theory. But you know, it really is about finding someone who you connect with and can talk to and you know, you have the same values with so I do love the idea of candy-coated romance. But you know, at the end of the day, I think it’s values and communication is what really makes a relationship.

GeorgieSo I’m sort of interested, after listening to everyone’s stories about the stuff that’s gone wrong, has it changed the way that you approach your dates?

AliProbably the biggest thing that has changed with my dating lifestyles from starting Bad Dates of Melbourne is I don’t go on nearly as many. And that is simply because Bad Dates of Melbourne is an enormous time sink. Yeah, and an enormous task to undertake, reading twenty stories day responding to people. And on top of that, working as a dating journalist as well, it’s very time consuming. So I don’t go on as many dates as I would like to. I probably would say it’s made me much more aware of red flags. And it’s made me much more confident in my ability to walk away from red flags, because I see many, many stories. And the person ignores red flags over and over and over and they stay. And eventually, it doesn’t work out. So well. Now, I think to myself, when I see a red flag, I have the confidence to walk, because I know how the stories-

GeorgieThis is one of the things I like about reading the stories, because you get to look at that. You get to sort of analyze and go ‘Okay, what are all the things that went wrong there.’ And then everyone else in the comments is saying, ‘Yeah, I would have walked at point x when they said x’, that’s really good to just rehearse that in your mind. So that when it does actually happen to you, you know that it’s okay to get away. And also you pick it coming because you’ve sort of practiced looking out for that stuff…or I guess it could also make you super hyper vigilant for for bed signs. ‘Yeah, this this person looks like someone that’s going to shit the bed.’

AliThat is that is true. That is true. I think my attitude to dating since I’ve been doing Bad Dates of Melbourne, it’s become more, I suppose. pragmatic and illogical, if that makes sense. I probably am a little bit less romantic than what I used to be. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. And I think at the end of the day, if I do find a partner, it will be a better quality partner and a better fit. In fact, that makes sense. Because I’m looking at it from a perspective that is slightly, you know, how will I get on with this person? Do we fit together? What are our values, as opposed to getting caught up in romance, which, you know, I spent all of my twenties doing that.

GeorgieWell, I spent most of my twenties just shagging the living daylights out of anyone that came near me. but our twenties are for experimenting, right?

AliAbsolutely. Absolutely.

GeorgieIt sounds like you’re sort of getting bit more analytic. And again, going over these stories over and over and seeing the things that happened. Being able to sort of analyze those social situations is actually really useful skill.

AliAbsolutely, super useful. I think probably more than anything. Running Bad Dates of Melbourne has given me so much confidence, not just in my dating life, but all of my life. Because first of all, it’s a project that’s been successful. And I love that feeling. I’ve made so many friends, I’ve met so many people. I’ve heard so many stories. And essentially, I feel like I have this amazing insight and knowledge and bird’s eye view of the entire dating culture in Melbourne. And it is unbelievable. I love it. I have heard so many stories. I know so many secrets. I know so many things. It just it blows my mind. And I love it. It’s so much insight, 

Georgie: The knowledge you’re holding in your head, I just want to unpack it. I want the list of the top fifty things that could the cause the date to go wrong, but give me number two. So we’ve got maybe number one and number two, I think we worked out pooping the bed is definitely in there. What’s what’s the next most common thing that people will complain about on bed dates?

Ali: I’d probably say it’s a forgotten wallet scenario..it’s very common. When you go on a date someone will order a lot of food, a lot of drink. And at the end of the day, it’s like, ‘I’ve forgotten my wallet.’

GeorgieWho forgets their wallet?!

Ali‘Who knew, forgotten my wallet.’ So it’s a standard caper in the dating world that someone forgets their wallet. It’s men and women. It’s it’s everybody who forgets their wallet.

GeorgieI wonder if there’s a whole subculture, people grafting off of people on dating websites. ‘Oh, I’m really hungry. Oh, the budget’s not looking great this week, I’m just going to go on a date with someone and conveniently forget my wallet.’ 

AliWell, I had a date submitted to me by a man who took a woman to coffee club, actually. They order their food, they were eating their food. And as they were talking, she told him that she had gone out to dinner every dinner or lunch every day that week for free. And that’s what she was doing on online dating apps just getting free food. That was very uncomfortable for him because they were talking quite openly, but as the bill came, he was like, ‘Am I expected to pay?’ But yeah, there are people that do that. To be honest, I do think it’s a minority. It’s small.

Georgie: It really shits me though. Because like anything else, when people go out and act like assholes, it it ruins it for everyone else. So all you need is for that to happen to you once or twice. Even if it’s a tiny percentage of the people you go on dates with, then suddenly, every time you meet someone you’re wondering whether you’re going to be taken advantage of and this goes for everything – for being stood up, having to pay for people’s meals, having people insult you. Every time something bad happens, we’re less likely to try again. And it’s so it’s really it’s not benefiting anyone at all.

AliAbsolutely. And that’s what I love about bad dates of Melbourne. You get to see and understand just how frequent disappointment is. And it’s not you. It’s everybody. everyone’s done anything wrong, you are perfectly fine. It happens to everybody this disappointment. It’s completely normal. So just get back on the horse and keep going.

GeorgieI think we intellectually understand that we have to meet a lot of people before we meet the right people. But emotionally we still somehow expect that we’re going to magically just meet the right people straight off the bat. And then when we don’t we feel like it’s our fault.

AliOh, absolutely.

GeorgieSo that is very validating.

AliThat’s what we’re brought up to believe. Like when when I was growing up, you know, I thought Disney movies was the rule – I would meet some handsome hunk of spunk and we would fall in love on the first date. And then I would be married when I was twenty-four and pop out a couple of babies…

GeorgieYeah, and you’d have amazing sex even if it was your first time.

AliOh, no sex and Disney movies, Georgie. Come on.

Georgie: Oh, yeah, sorry. It’s been a while since I watched Disney. So I don’t know where I got my idea of how sex and romance happened. It wasn’t Disney because all I was doing shagging people. But it’s still the same idea. It was like if I’m, if I’m good at sex, and if I’m a worthy person, everyone I meet I’m gonna have great sex with, everyone’s gonna like me, all that stuff. And soon as that didn’t happen, I felt like there was something wrong with me. So it’s really good to hear when things don’t go well for other people. Because when I hear other people talk about it, I think ‘Yeah, no, you didn’t deserve that.’ Or ‘Yeah, I can see why that happened, that it had nothing to do with you, and you’re not a bad person.’ Whereas, I don’t always give myself the same benefit of the doubt. We’re much harsher on ourselves than we are on others.

Ali: Absolutely, and the stories on bad sites of Melbourne, they are extremely relatable. And you know, it helps the site grow because people get in the comments, and they tag their mates and they go, this is you. This is me, this is us. And that’s how you know. The viral morality works, so to speak.

GeorgieAnd there’s a reason it’s relatable, right? Because we’ve all been in really similar situations – except the poop, I haven’t been in a poop situation yet. Fingers crossed, that does not happen. So like this might be a little bit of a personal question. And feel free to opt out if you want. But I wanted to ask, is there anything that you used to do that you stopped doing after seeing that it was a problem for people and your stories? Like, is there anything that people have talked about where you’ve gone ‘Oh, yeah, I used to do that, I’d better not ever do that, again.’ Has it changed the way that you do dating?

AliIt’s made me significantly more open minded. Because I hear stories from you know, all perspectives. And I don’t judge anything, I don’t judge anyone. I don’t think that there are good people and bad people. I just think that they are people of all sorts of shades. There’s no judgment when you write to me, I’m just here to listen. And yeah, I honestly think that Bad Dates of Melbourne has made me a more patient person, which I know sounds cheesy, but it genuinely has. The people who submit stories to me are doing me such an enormous favor and the community such an enormous favor by being so open about such personal issues. So I really appreciate when they write to me. The whole project and the whole Facebook page…it’s full of generous people. So I really like that.

GeorgieAnd once you realize that everyone is out there doing their best but often fucking it up. It’s much easier to relax. Lately, once we hear all those stories that people have a hard time and also that we’re all out there just doing the wrong thing occasionally – that anyone can screw up even if it’s in a big way or a small way – it’s sort of lets us off the hook. A bit. Not to be assholes, but just to go, ‘Yeah, we’ve all had awkward situations,’ right? Like we can all relate to that stuff.

AliAbsolutely. I think at the end of the day, people are, not always, but theyr’e generally good, well-meaning people. So running Bad Dates of Melbourne has given me more faith in the human race, which is probably the opposite of what you would think. It’s made me less negative. It’s made me much more open minded. And I love that.

GeorgieYeah, it definitely doesn’t seem to have taken a dark turn, which it easily could, because sometimes bad stuff happens. But it seems like most of the stuff you share is the things that that we do without meaning to or that we do because we struggle with this stuff. And not so much because we’re setting out to do anything awful to someone, but just because, you know, we’re all like clueless in a way.

AliAbsolutely, absolutely. And we all are clueless when it comes to online dating because it changes so rapidly. It’s all dictated by technology, we are at the whim of an app. I love life at the whim of an app. You know, they moment Tinder introduces new technology, like, for example, the super like, you know, it brings people together, pulls people apart, it’s exceptional, and it’s all pushed by technology. So even compared to five years ago, two years ago, things are incredibly different.

GeorgieAnd the culture changes really fast too. I remember a time about three or four or five years ago where it wasn’t stupidly uncool to post that picture of yourself with the drugged Tiger that you got taken in Thailand, you know. I haven’t done it. But lots of kids would be posting pictures of themselves with drugged animals from third world countries thinking it was cool. And now we’ve evolved. We know that that’s really not on. And there’s a whole whole host of examples around that stuff, stuff that we thought was cool to put up on Tinder back in the day. And now we’ve evolved past that. But it changes really fast. 

AliOh, absolutely. Absolutely.

GeorgieI also coach escort clients in how to see escorts. And I have a really strong suspicion that the places where escort clients screw up when they go to see sex workers is probably similar to the way that regular people screw up when they go out to get laid. And I’m just trying to think of the classic number one example.

AliWhat about turning up on time? I know we’ve already talked about it, but the turning up on time is totally a big one.

GeorgieWell, the problem is…good sex is like flying a plane, right? How well you get into the air depends on your takeoff. If you’re wobbly take off, then once you’re up there, it’s not going to be great, right? And your takeoff is your basic stuff like turning up on time, making a good impression in the first thirty seconds. Like having conversation with someone and making a connection. So by the time you’re actually getting, like sexy with someone, you’ve got all that groundwork to base everything off. If you don’t do all that work first, I find once you get to the sexy stuff, it’s all a bit wobbly and weird. And I kind of feel like maybe regular dates are the same. Like you need to have that drink. You need to turn up on time be polite and just present like a sort of regular functioning human being for a little while so people feel safe enough to actually start to get to know each other.

AliAbsolutely. I think the reality is, a dating scenario is a scenario in which people feel extremely nervous. I feel very nervous. And it’s probably the same with the escort situation as well. People are very nervous. super nervous.


AliSo you know, they’re probably not on their best game, to be honest.

GeorgieThey’re really not. And people do weird things when they get anxious, right? Yeah, it’s a real problem. Have you ever like I know there are lots of stories on Bad Dates of Melbourne about people making really awkward exits and freakouts…do you have a favorite story of a freakout situation?

AliA freakout situation? Oh, I don’t know

GeorgieAn anxious date situation. I’m putting you on the spot now!

AliReally good question. I don’t think I can. Can you think of an anxious one?

GeorgieActually, I have been on a couple of dates where people have sort of like, bailed and I think there was a story that you actually published on bed dates of Melbourne where this really good looking guy turned up to the restaurant, put his beautiful Cashmere jumper down on the dining table, said ‘Oh, I’ve just got to go move my car’ and they never came back. And I don’t know what happened. But I’m assuming that was an epic freakout.

AliThat possibly was an epic freakout. Now, it’s funny, you mentioned that story, because I was submitted a second story on a very similar nature. 

GeorgieYou’re kidding.

AliNot from this gentleman, but a woman who went on a date. So she met a guy, he convinced her to go to his house, she turns up, and his brother and his girlfriend are there. So he says, Why don’t we go out to lunch with my brother and his girlfriend? And she thought, this is a first date? Why would I want to meet all of the family? She goes, whatever, okay, so they go out to lunch, they go to this restaurant, they’re eating the food. She’s feeling incredibly uncomfortable. She’s like, I did not sign up for this family date.

GeorgieThis is too much.

Ali: She goes, ‘Oh, I’ve just realized a part in a one hour spot. I’m gonna go move the car.’ So she picks up a handbag, goes to move the car, gets in the car and just keeps driving. Goes iff, goes shopping, has a great night. Never sees him again.

Georgie: Wow. I’m always a fan of being direct and honest. But it’s hard enough to say, ‘Sorry, this isn’t working out’ to one person. And I will do it. And I will leave. But having to say, ‘Sorry, this isn’t working’ in front of the entire family…and then the poor guys sitting there and then when when that person has put you in that situation by not thinking through what might be appropriate anyway…Yeah, like I can uncderstand why might be the right thing to do. And I guess this is another good point of maybe something to avoid, when we were talking about, you know, not going ahead and choosing a restaurant or assuming what your day wants to do. Making these assumptions about what social situations they might be comfortable in or not comfortable. I’m a rabid introvert, I’m not very good with people. I’m fine with just two people talking. Three people are a little bit stressful. If it’s a room full of people, I’m going to freak out. So I would never turn up to a first date that was a, you know, a party or a barbecue, for example. But I’ve read stories on your page of people doing just that.

AliYes, I’ve actually got one up my sleeve of a guy who was invited to a family pool party on a first date. So he shows up and there’s the girl’s entire family. Surprise, surprise, right.

GeorgieSo that’s not only being confronted with the family, but also huge social group of people you don’t know at the same time, I would have turned around and walked straight out. You’re going to wonder what’s crossing people’s minds at that point. And it’s not even that they’re party people. That’s the problem. It’s just that lack of consideration for what other people might actually be comfortable with. And it’s like such a deal breaker.

Ali: Absolutely. And I think from the other perspective, it’s an enthusiasm that they’ve met this person. ‘I really like this person,’ they want to introduce this person to everybody. They want to put their foot on the accelerator in terms of a relationship. We’re going zero to one hundred. And we are going straight into the family pool party meet and greet. And the thing is I, I understand where they’re coming from in their enthusiasm. They mean well, but it’s not okay.

Georgie: This is overcomitting. And this is a thing you know, forced escalation, right? And things like saying ‘I love you’ on the first date, which also happens, right? This overcommitting over enthusiasm. It’s usually it’s usually more like blurting something out in the first date, like, I want you to my girlfriend, or let’s get married, right? Not usually, let’s meet the whole family. But that clearly happens happens.

AliIt happens reasonably frequently.


AliProbably I get one of those maybe every two weeks or so.

GeorgieOh, my God. And what would you consider other forms of like, you know, stuff, one shouldn’t blurt out our first date.

AliThings someone shouldn’t blurt out on a first date? Well, you know what, I don’t think it’s up to me to make that call. Because it really depends on the two people. I mean, I could tell you something like, ‘I love you.’ But I’m sure there are people who have met who they think is ‘the one’ on the first date. And that seems really natural. And you know, both parties would enjoy it.

GeorgieSo if you’re saying it ironically, because someone just bought you a bucket of fried chicken, for example.

AliFried chicken is delicious, so totally acceptable. Totally. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, but you know, respect is so important. So always, always be respectful. And always think, you know, how’s the other person going to interpret this? Am I moving too fast? Is it appropriate? All of those things as well.

GeorgieSo it sort of feels to me like, a lot of the stuff we’ve talked about is around, instead of trying trying to just sort of bang on ahead and assume what someone wants, actually taking the time to think about what they might want, and then to ask them what they might want. I think that seems to be where most people fall down. It’s when we just assume that we fuck up. It’s not that we wanted to invite them to our party or the we wanted to shout ‘I love you.’ It’s that we didn’t stop to consider the other person. And maybe they’d love that shit. But we need to stop and think about it. 

Ali: Absolutely. Look, if I met the right guy and he invited me to a family pool party on the first date…if I for some reason thought he was the right guy, bring on that family pool party! I’ll get my bikini. Yeah. But most of the time, it’s not going to be okay. So it’s really about you know, judging the person seeing what they want and all that.

Georgie: And the only way you know for sure is by actually asking.

Ali: Absolutely.

Georgie: Which is why we come to back to that, ‘Hey, what is your perfect first date look like? Like, how would you like to hang out?’ How long would you like it to be? What sort of expectations do you have around this stuff?’ And then once you both know you’re on the same page, not only are you not going to fuck it up, but also you’ve got a really good understanding of each other that maybe you didn’t before you started. 

AliAbsolutely. Yeah.

GeorgieYeah, that’s awesome. Cool, like good, good learnings and not just funny stories.

Ali: No, no, there’s so much learning from Bad Dates of Melbourne. And I think, honestly, I think if you’re dating in Melbourne, I’d co check it out. Because you will learn so much about the culture here. It’s amazing.

GeorgieHave you heard from anyone that said that Bad Dates of Melbourne has helped them like have better dates?

AliAll the time, all the time, I’ve had relationships form as a result of the page. I’ve had people go on dates, I’ve had people fall in love, get married. On one notable occasion there have been happy marriages. Yeah, it’s unbelievable, it’s unbelievable. And it shocks me how impactful a Facebook page can be on people, it actually shocks me. And I get, for lack of a better better word, fan mail every day. It still shocks me that these stories are so impactful on people and I love it.

GeorgieI suspect you’re not only doing great service by sharing stories people can relate to, but also giving people a chance to really tune into what goes on during dates and sort of have a think about how their own stuff fits into that. And be analytical about it. Like we said before and think about it, how could I maybe do things differently? Or have I ever done this stuff? Like, how can I avoid that stuff? The more we think about that in relation to ourselves, then the better we do, so thank you so much for making the dating world a better place. And I speak for me personally, next time I get on Tinder, I know that you’ve you’re out there doing your best to help my partners do better.

AliHilarious. I love it. You know what it is? It’s the sense of community on the Facebook page. So when you are dating, you can feel very alone, especially when your family and friends are shacking up, they’re getting the white picket fence, they’re having children, settling down.

GeorgieAnd if you’re just going around shagging people, and all your friends are in relationships, which is often my situation. I’m not interested in relationship, I’m just want to bang people, but you can feel really isolated. Because I’m not getting those stories out of my mates because they’re all partnered up.

AliAbsolutely. And think of what the media says about single people. Like single people are constantly searching for a partner, single people are unfulfilled. There’s something missing. They’re working towards a partner, and that’s where the movie ends, right? The movie ends when you get married and you find the partner..

GeorgieKill me now.

Ali…but that’s not real life and we need to embrace single life because single life is flippin amazing.

GeorgieFucking high five, high five. Yes. Ali, thank you so much for coming on. I feel like we’ve got some really good stuff today. I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom. And I really appreciate what you’re doing for Melbourne and for Australia now as well. Just helping us learn more about dating and how to do it all without fucking it up too badly. Thank you.

AliIt’s absolutely my pleasure. I hope that you’ve had fun chatting. I love it. Thank you so much.

Thanks for listening. I hope it’s been as good for you as it’s been for us! As with all my encounters, I love hearing feedback.  You can find me online at artofthehookup.com, and that’s also the place to go to learn more about my book project. Please share this podcast with anyone that you think would benefit from hearing this stuff. Spread the word as well as the love and let’s make the world a better place.


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