This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
You can spot a first date a mile away. It’s the nervous fidgeting that gives it away, that and the artificially loud laughter. The conversation is always falling out of sync too, with both people talking over the top of each other and prematurely changing topics, just in case any one topic runs out of juice and leads to silence. And this is why watching people on first dates is fun, in a grueling glad-it’s-not-me kind of way.
But what every seasoned date spectator wants to know is: How’s the date going? Is he talking too much about his ex? Is she glancing too much at her phone? Will they bang? Or will one of them excuse themselves to go jump out the bathroom window?
To find out the definitive answers to these questions, I went and asked. It was awkward as hell, but basically I hung around a Melbourne bar that gets a lot of first date traffic, and I asked a few couples how their dates were going.
Rose, 33, Business Development Manager
Christian, 39, Recruitment
VICE: Hey guys, how’s the date going?
Christian: It’s going alright. The conversation is flowing—there is a bit of banter. That’s just my opinion. I just speak on her behalf. [Laughs]
Rose: This is going well.
How did you two meet?
Christian: Ahh, we met out on the weekend.
In real life?
Rose: In real life. I know, not on an app.
Christian: It can still happen.
Rose: We are the hope.
So what happened? Was there a cute make out session on the dance floor?
Christian: Not a million miles from the truth. Her friend basically shoved her in front of me.
Rose: Is that what happened?
Christian: Yeah it is.
Rose: No it’s not.
Christian: You walked past about three times and each time you gave me the eyes. That’s how I remember it anyway.
Rose: That’s not how I remember it.
How do you remember it?
I don’t know; we just did some talking on the dance floor.
Do you remember what is was about each other that made you want to talk on the dance floor?
Christian: I just remember thinking she was cute.
Rose: There may have been alcohol.
Christian: We talked for a bit, and danced for a bit.
Rose: Oh, you had a good pickup line.
Christian: Shit. What did I say?
Rose: It was good. It was very smooth; I think you should always use that line.
Christian: What was it?
Rose: It was ”you look really familiar; do I know you from somewhere?”
Christian: Oh no, shit, shit. You’re right. I did say that.
Rose: That’s how we met.
Christian: I should use that more often.
Do you two find each other attractive?
I wouldn’t be here otherwise, to be completely honest.
Rose: True, that’s cute.
Christian: You’re supposed to answer.
Rose: Obviously, yes.
Do you think you’re going to have a second date, or maybe even go home together?
Christian: Uhhhhh. What do you think?
Rose: Is that a no?
Christian: No, no, I’ve been answering all the questions first.
Rose: Well, so far I’d say yes.
Simon-Albert, 29, Video Game Designer
Kirsty, 34, UX Researcher
VICE: Hey you guys, how do you think the date’s going so far?
Simon-Albert: Pretty good.
Kirsty: Pretty great, yeah. We’re getting in deep.
Deep is good. How did you two meet?
Simon-Albert: Not Tinder. On another app called Hinge.
Kirsty, do you like Simon’s shoes?
Kirsty: I actually noticed you were wearing New Balance shoes so I was into that.
Simon-Albert: Interesting, interesting.
And Simon, you said this date was going well, but have you been on any bad ones lately?
Yeah recently I met this woman, she was a beautiful 40-something-year old woman and I was really excited, she really looked like a nice person. But she was completely drunk when I arrived. And then I learned less than hour into the date that she’d just got separated that same morning.
Oh my God.
It was more intense than a rebound. And she was extremely into me, but you know, she was terrifying. So I gave her the words, “be strong” and then I dove out the window.
Amy, 33 Works at a Vintage Clothing Store
Gaz, 35, Filmmaker, Editor, and DJ
VICE: How did you two meet?
Hinge? That’s that new app.
Amy: I know. I’ve had it for like two days.
Gaz: Two days? No fucking around.
No fucking around at all. And Gaz, did you have an opening line?
That’s good. Does it work every time?
People think I’m catfishing them as a 40-year old woman. I just think it’s a funny thing my parents used to say. I had a really great adult friend when I was 13. My mom’s best friend was this crazy woman who worked in fashion. She always used to roll in and say “What’s goss?” I remembered it the other day and I thought I’m bringing that back.
Amy: Yes, interesting. That’s very revealing. I had an opening line that I used to use on Tinder. I haven’t used it on Hinge yet. What was it?
It’s so bad, but it worked because it was so bad.
Gaz: Go on.
Amy: Ha, I’m too embarrassed to say.
Gaz: I didn’t get this, so I need to know.
Amy: I haven’t used it because it clearly didn’t work for me. It worked, but then it didn’t work. It was “are you a bank loan? Because you’ve got my interest.”
Gaz: I would have instantly unmatched you.
Do you think you’ve both got much in common?
Yeah, I think so. And especially we dress the same Oh my God. You are.
Amy: Yeah we did. I’m glad he got the memo. Do you two find each other attractive?
Gaz: Yeah! Well, we’re dressed the same.
Amy: It’s like I’m into myself.
Gaz: It’s like looking into a mirror. Do you two think you’re going to go home or have a second date?
One or the other.
Ben, 48, Art Director
Carolyn, 48, Works in HR
VICE: So how’s the date going?
Ben: Yeah, it’s good.
Carolyn: Yeah! Good. The conversation is flowing—we have similar interests.
Ben: We’ve read the same books, and I’ve learned about Japan.
How did you two meet?
Do you have an opening line?
Carolyn: No, not really.
Someone in the couple before said they use “what’s goss?”
What’s goss? Isn’t that really retro?
Ben: If someone said to me “what’s goss?” I’d swipe no. “What’s goss?” is way too deep.
Carolyn: No one’s said “what’s goss” since 1995.
Ben: Because what’s the genuine reply to “what’s goss?” You’re going to go really deep aren’t you? You wouldn’t lead with that, would you? That’s a deep question. I think that’s wrong.
Carolyn: I will never use that but thanks for it.
What was it about each other’s profiles that attracted you to each other?
I liked what you wrote, although some friends of mine were like “show us his photos” and all your photos were of stuff I don’t like. I don’t like motorcycles, and I don’t like cycling. And my friends saw and said “Carolyn, that’s not what you like.”
Ben: My photos are really shitty.
Carolyn: They were just really outdoorsy which I’m not.
Ben: I’ve actually taken the motorcycle picture off.
Why’d you take it off?
A friend said, “Don’t put up any images of you stroking a tiger.” And I said, “I don’t have any photos of me stroking a tiger.” And she said “yeah but you’ve got a motorcycle shot” and I said “yes I do” and she said to take it off. So off it came.
Good move. So you two find each other attractive?
Do you think you’ll go on another date?
Ben: Quite possibly.
Carolyn: Ha sure.
Paul, 25, a Barista
Amy, 25, a Temp
So how did you two meet?
Paul: Tinder. Keeping it OG here.
How’s the date going so far?
Amy: Yeah, pretty good.
Do you like each other’s shoes?
Paul: What are yours? I’ve been meaning to get a pair.
Amy: Yours are converse. Are they high or low?
What was that look? A side eye on the low Converse?
Do you have much in common?
Paul: We haven’t been here for that long.
You’ve been here at least an hour from when I walked in and walked past you both and I thought you were on a date.
Is it that obvious? Do we look that awkward?
I’m asking the questions here. Do you find each other attractive?
[Very, very long pause from Amy, then she nods]
Do you think the date is going to go any further?
Paul: We’ll find out over the next hour or so. I guess we’ll see what happens. [Paul laughs]
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Claire Sullivan on Twitter.