A day at the beach: ‘I was on a quest to get my groove back. He looked like he should be on Home and Away’

Fresh out of a long-term relationship, the kind that had left me feeling flat and sexless, I was on a quest to get my groove back. Heavily influenced by Sex and the City reruns, the plan was less eat, pray, love and more download and swipe.

I met him on a dating app. He was hot in an obvious kind of way: tall, tanned and muscular. He looked like he should be on Home and Away – or maybe an erotic spoof version. His body was covered in tattoos, thick cursive lettering; phrases written in different languages.

When I showed a photo of him to a mate, she laughed and quipped, “He definitely doesn’t drink soy milk.”

Still, on our first date he was calm, laughed at my jokes and made me feel attractive.

For our second date, we agreed to meet at my new local beach in Maroubra. Best known for Bra Boys, bumbags and non-ironic mullets.

When I first moved to the area, I’d spotted someone clutching a surfboard in one hand and a cigarette in the other. It was a sharp contrast from the men within my old home’s dating app radius, who had mostly traded rollies for vanilla-flavoured vapes.

Despite the fact he kept calling our rendezvous a “date”, my date wasn’t wearing a shirt. Only in Maroubra I suppose.

He greeted me with “sup”, and we began plodding along the beach.

After I got over the confrontation of his bare chest, I asked what one of his tattoos meant in English. “Hopefully, ‘We only live one life,’ but who knows, eh?”

A refreshingly honest answer.

The sand was squishy, the waves were big and loud and the teens that usually loitered around the area smashing energy drinks seemed to have gone home for the day.

I couldn’t wait to kiss him.

We’d kissed before, but in the shy way new people kiss each other. Polite, almost.

This night felt charged. It was in the way he touched my arm, the way he concentrated on me as I spoke – I had all his attention. We were both waiting for something to happen.

We sat down together towards the back of the beach, far away from the ocean and near the hiking trails. He threw his hoodie down as a makeshift blanket and I snuggled under his arm. He held me surprisingly tightly but it felt nice. Then he told me he was glad he met me.

I kissed him after he said that, with the kind of fierceness one does when they haven’t really kissed in a while. A light had turned on inside of me. One that had been off for months, maybe even years.

We hunkered down in the sand together. I wanted to touch him everywhere – so I did. I could feel the sand scratching my feet and knees. As things got heavier, he kept checking in with me. “Do you want to stop, babe?” Every time I’d shake my head. Even in the dark, I could almost see his smile.

Afterwards, we lay in the sand and caught our breath. The air suddenly felt colder. I could also feel sand everywhere but even that felt nice – cool and freeing.