The dating game

Sunday columnist Peter Leith is 89. He’s seen a lot of the world, a lot of Australia, and a lot of life. In addition to his observations and real short stories, he continues his series titled Vanishing Australia.


You needed to “pick a sort” who lived fairly close by. Not too close in case you broke up, but within easy bicycle range. That way you could ride over, leave your bike there and catch the tram into town together. 

If you were lucky, she would be ready and you didn’t have to spend much time with her mum or dad. They looked at you as if you were a threat to their daughter’s virtue, which you were, or a suitable son-in-law, which you were not. 

After the movie, there was not much to do in town, except make sure you did not miss the last tram home to her place. Once there, depending on how long you’d been “going together” you might have a bit of a snork.

Weather permitting, it was better to snork at the front gate rather than at the front door. If things got a bit willing at the front door, it was difficult to re-assemble clothing if her dad or mum happened to open the door and tell her it was time to “come inside”. 

If you were “going steady” and there was no cricket or footy on, you might take her to the Saturday arvo matinee at the local picture theatre. If you had been “going steady” for a while you might even get seats in the back stalls. 

There, apart from overcoming her resistance, all you had to worry about was the nosey, flaming ushers with their nosey, flaming torches perving on what you two were doing! 

Do you have an idea for Peter’s Vanishing Australia series? Send it to and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

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Written by Peter Leith

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