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Code Brown – Dating Edition

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code brown

It’s not even 0900, I’m not done with my first coffee of the day and already I’m exhausted. Not from working a night shift, or any shift for that matter. I’m exhausted from trying to have a social life (hint, I mean dating life) as a nurse. I know I said my next blog would talk about our wonderful grad nurses that hit the floor during a pandemic, but I just need to get this off my chest first!!

I will be the first to admit that I have a few obstacles in my way in terms of dating. I’m a nurse who works shift work, I’m 51, and I have a smart mouth! I’ve been on the apps and met some interesting people and been on some fun dates. But so far, nothing special. No one that’s been 3rd date worthy. Then a couple of weeks ago I met a guy on one of the apps, let’s call him Flog, to protect his identity of course.

Flog and I started chatting, we have lots of things in common including a love of kayaking and the outdoors, so says his profile. We chat for a few days via the app and then we move onto swapping mobile numbers. All is going well, he sends me some pictures of him kayaking at various places, so it looks like the profile info checks out. We had a few phone conversations, he’s funny (very high on my list of must haves) and intelligent (also on my wish list) so when he asked me out on an actual date, I was excited and of course said yes.

Flog suggested an activity in the city, and I thought it sounded like fun. He seemed surprised that I hadn’t been to this venue before, and I reminded him that I had just spent the past 2.5 years in the absolute back of nowhere working as a rural and remote nurse. The venue was booked, and we continued texting over the next few days.

This is where things get a little weird.

Last night Flog decided he wanted to meet for a drink at a different venue first, so suggested a burger restaurant also in the city. I made a joke about once again not being familiar with this venue but would look it up and meet him there. I was not expecting the response I got:

Are you really from Melbourne? Were you really born here? I mean, I know you said you’ve been away, but did it wipe your entire memory? How could you not know where these places are?

Ok, so firstly Flog is obviously going to need to calm down, or he’s going to be on the receiving end of the previously mentioned smart mouth. I start out politely, by reminding him that I’ve only just returned from being away for a long stint doing rural work, and that even when not working rural and remote, nurses are not known for having thriving social lives because of shift work. I threw in a small reminder about you know, the LONGEST LOCKDOWN IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, and finished up with a joke about how he could be my tour guide and reintroduce me to Melbourne.

Flog was not amused. Flog declared via text that I must be, and I am not making this up, “some kind of country bumpkin” if I didn’t know this venue or that restaurant. He doubled down by declaring that “Crown and the arts district” were so very important to him, and he didn’t think he would be compatible with someone who didn’t also share his love for “Crown and the arts district.”

Can we pause for a second so I can remind you of his dating app bio that talked about the kayaking and love of getting out and about camping etc? But Flog clearly has a deep love for, you guessed it, Crown and the arts district.

On a professional note, I’m a little concerned for someone that declares his love for a building and or district out loud with such frequency, but I’ll set that aside for the sake of staying on topic.

It was at this point that I opted out of the date and wished him well in his search for “the one.”

So, in a nutshell that’s where my dating life is at. A guy thought I was some sort of psycho/country bumpkin because my work as a nurse kept me from knowing all the coolest eateries and venues in my hometown.

It got me thinking about all the stereotypes surrounding nurses. How we are portrayed in the media, in movies, etc. (both male and female nurses) and how that sets up either false ideals about the whole ‘sexy nurse’ thing, or how male nurses are somehow not as a manly etc. All the usual stereotypes that we see every day. And then you combine that with the challenges of shift work, and you have the perfect recipe for what I like to call a dating code brown.

How do you guys navigate it? Do you even bother any more, or do you just curl up in bed at night (or morning) with The Office playing on an endless loop to fill the void, while eating hot Cheetos from an industrial sized bag? Just me? Cool.

We’ve all seen the jokes, the internet memes, the haha that’s funny comments about life as a nurse or with a nurse, or dating a nurse etc. But the reason these things exist is because they’re based in truth. We are hardworking, we are tired, we are often just too exhausted to do anything but eat shower and sleep once we get home from work, and then we get up and do it all again tomorrow.

At this point I’m about to declare myself the stereotypical crazy cat lady and be done with the whole sordid mess! Unless someone actually does design this Grumble App. I will be the first subscriber.