Dibs

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As an eldest child of only two, and the eldest grandchild, I have never been very good at sharing. I still remember being seriously chastised at the age of five for consuming a good four-fifths of a huge pink iced donut I was supposed to split with my brother before he even got so much as a crumb. I came into this world with a sense of entitlement that I have maintained through my entire life; be it my insistence as a small child that my brother and I be referred to as “Amelia and Joe,” with my name always the former, or my absolute rage when anyone drives slightly too slowly for me to be able to slip behind them in the left lane without braking.

This sense of entitlement extends to my social outings, where I immediately assume the “shotgun” position in the car regardless of who is driving, take the prime seat at a restaurant table with my back to the wall and take the first petit four when dessert is delivered to ensure I don’t get stuck with the boring cakey-looking one. Selfish? Perhaps. But in my mind these acts of, let’s say ‘assertion,’ are perfectly justifiable. My height prevents me from sitting comfortably in most back seats. I have a higher-than-average bum crack and prefer to seat myself in a position less likely to result in overexposure from my ill-fitting jeans. As a glutard I need to be sure that the deliciousness of any desserts I consume far outweighs the unpleasant and inevitable gastric consequences.

I also have a habit of calling “dibs” as a way of laying claim to whatever it is I feel that I am entitled to; be it the exclusive rights to exchange flirtatious eye contact and body language with an attractive man sitting on the other side of the bar, first use of the microwave during the mad lunch rush in the office or claiming the character of “Rachael” when my friends are discussing which member of the cast of “Friends” best suits them. (In reality I am far more of a “Ross;” however, I strongly feel that if anyone is going to be cast as the “sexy” one in the group it should be me.)

Often this same feeling of entitlement manifests as indignation at the behaviour of others;

In the public gardens: How dare those children run through the park, shrieking with laughter. CAN’T THEY SEE I AM READING A BOOK HERE?!!

 Listening to the radio: You said you’d play the new Mumford and Sons song after 8 o’clock. It’s 8:09, who the hell is running this joint?

At the checkout: Stop making small-talk and smiling at everyone and bag those groceries, bitch! I’ve got 10 minutes to get home before the Biggest Loser starts!

At the gym: Your breath stinks. You are puffing stinky breath all over the place and it’s throwing off my pace. GO AND USE A TREADMILL FURTHER AWAY FROM ME!

At home: You used the last clean saucepan, and now I have to wash my dishes from last night before I even get to start cooking my dinner. Thanks a lot.

At a concert: I don’t care if you can’t see past me because you’re short. Get here earlier or get a proper set of legs, you stumpy excuse for a human being!

In a bar: What, I’m supposed to wait in line like a chump without so much as an offer to buy me a drink? So this push-up bra means NOTHING to you people?!!

At the movies: Oh, great, I get to hear this guy next to me chewing popcorn through the whole movie while this other jerk in front of me keeps angling his head to the side like an idiot. Just sit still and put your stupid large head on its normal axis. I came here to watch a movie, not be distracted by some idiot’s weird head movements.

The feeling of entitlement also extends to situations where I have not been included in a joke or prank. There have been times where my friends or colleague’s secretive murmurs and satisfied smirks (the kind that only come with the gratification of being involved in an “in” joke) have sent me into internal fits of rage where I go rampantly smashing all the crockery and porcelain figurines in my mind-hutch with the figurative cricket-bat of fury until all that’s left are sad little imaginary fragments of china elephants and delicately painted tea-cups and a white-hot sense of wrath.

I can’t be sure where this prerogative came from or why it sends me into such uncontrolled eruptions of temper. All I know is that if you take the last Tim Tam, steal my corner position on the couch when I get up to pee or forget to buy milk on the day that I need to borrow some to make pancakes: you’re in for it.

The Laws of Attraction

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I have a problem attracting men. Shocking, I know, but it’s true. I get dressed up in something with moderate-but-not-overly-slutty-leg-and-boob-revealing action, strap a pair of heels on, slightly curl my hair, apply just the right amount of makeup and spend the entire night not talking to any boys. I know that the problem can’t be that I’m not attractive (insert shampoo-commercial hair flick here) – not that I have any tickets on myself, but I am not even getting approached by uggos. Ain’t even no uni-browed, snaggle-toothed, hobble-footed sweater wearers getting all up on this. Nada. Zip. I’m getting nothing.

There are several theories I have developed that may explain my not showing up on anyone’s wang radar, explored in detail below.

THEORY #1: TOO TALL
This is something I’ve suspected for a while. The idea that tall women are glamorous, gazelle-like creatures from an Amazonian planet is a total crock. Dudes like little chicks. I’m way too stubborn to wear flats when I go out (let’s face it, a pair of heels is about the best accessory a girl’s rear view can find), so I quite often tower above most guys at around 6’3”. While I’m sure there are some dudes out there who’d be down with climbing me like a tree, I think the general consensus is that small = hot, tall = not. And while respectively my size 12-14 frame may be the same as a 5’6” girl rocking a size 8-10, I’m pretty sure when men are looking at an ass they’re not really thinking about the bigger – notwithstanding completely proportionate – picture.

THEORY #2: CRAZY EYES
A male friend was kind enough to critique my ‘come hither’ look for me the other night. In his words: “Terrifying.” My face tends to freeze into really awkward expressions during moments of extreme self-consciousness. This explains my wide-eyed, serial-killer stare in the majority of photos ever taken of me. Evidently, the same thing happens when I try to attract the attention of men in bars. Despite my friend’s efforts at constructive criticism and my attempts to workshop his suggestions – “try smiling,” “don’t stare so hard,” “maybe look away a few times, it’s really intense” – the result was always the same. I’ve got the crazy eyes. I’m like a python hypnotising a rabbit, bitch. Deal with it.

THEORY #3: NEVER THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF DRUNK
I’m the kind of girl who stays stone cold sober until she’s five drinks in, then spends the rest of the night dancing on the table and puking on the floor. I find it hard to hit that happy medium of drunkenness where I’m relaxed, comfortable and smile readily without getting distracted by shiny objects and trying to convince bouncers to let me wear their jackets and do their jobs.  (Yes, that’s happened more than once.) I feel that this presents something of a lack of opportunity for would-be suitors to approach. It’s a small window, and after two more drinks I’ll be attempting to climb out of it to get onto the roof.

THEORY #4: ALL THE GOOD ONES ARE BARTENDERS AND ALL THE BARTENDERS ARE TAKEN (OR FABULOUS)
I recently spent a good three hours exchanging flirtatious banter with a cheeky bartender, only to have him drop the ‘gay’ bomb just moments before I planned on slipping him my number. I must be one heck of a delightful fag hag or a sucker for excellent customer service, ‘cos I could have sworn that it was on like Donkey Kong. (Monkey style. With barrels. I don’t even know what that means.) This is not the first time I’ve glanced around a bar only to identify the bartender as the only attractive prospect. And despite the fact that every other woman in the bar is probably thinking the same thing, there is enough vanity in my drunken mind to believe that I’ll be the one girl whose quick wit and cheeky smile (crazy eyes aside) will burn an indelible impression on his heart. Or his crotch. I’ll take either.

THEORY #5: NEED A BIGGER WOLFPACK
I frequently head out with just one of my single friends. The two of us are incorrigible (in the very best way) and we always have an excellent time, but we never get approached by men when it’s just the two of us out together. Maybe it’s because men prefer to hunt women that travel in packs, wait for one to slip a little too close to the edge of the herd and then slink in for the kill. The presence of just two women presents a definite doubles situation in which an interested party would need to employ some serious wing-manning, an art that seems to have fallen by the wayside of late.

All of these theories are plausible; in fact, it’s possible that all five theories are working against me in some kind of major universal vag-blocking scenario. Whatever the reason, all I know is there’s never a lot of sausage on offer at the snack-wagon whenever I head out. Le sigh.

Mirror Mirror

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Every day I spend what probably equates to a good thirty minutes wondering what other people think about my appearance. Possibly even double that. On a “fat” day, quadruple it. Every time I pass my own reflection, I wonder if others are seeing what I’m seeing.

I was raised in a household of excessive compliments from one parent and continual derogatory verbal abuse from the other. This makes for an interesting dichotomy of self-esteem in the adult me, wherein one half of my brain insists that I must be in the 85th percentile of attractive people in the world while the other half points at my gunt and laughs cruelly. (For those unfamiliar with the term “gunt,” it is an amalgam of the words “gut” and “cunt” and refers to the protrusion of a woman’s lower stomach over the pubic mound. Too much information? This is reality, bro.  Deal with it.) This contradiction of thoughts makes for a curious experience any time I face the mirror, particularly if dressing for some kind of social event. An internal dialogue takes place in which the overly-confident, self-validating side – to whom I have given the voice and mannerisms of a ghetto-fabulous black woman named V’alondria – engages in battle with the bitter, self-deprecating side, who I have aptly named Assface.

Below is an example of some typical internal discourse between Valondriah and Assface.

V’ALONDRIA: Girl, you lookin’ fiiiiiiiiiine! You gon’ be steppin’ out tonight! You got that shiny new hairdo, got yo booty on display…girl you gon’ get plenty!

ASSFACE: There’s a huge pimple on your chin and I can see your back fat squishing every time you move your arms.

V’ALONDRIA: Oh, helllllllllllll no! Girl, don’t listen to him! He all nasty cos he got an ass for a face. You lookin’ real good in those tight jeans- damn, you got curves till next week!

ASSFACE: Your butt looks weird in those jeans. It’s all flat and soggy looking. Oh, and remember that thing your face does where one eye looks way bigger than the other and you get that serial killer vibe? It’s doing it now.

V’ALONDRIA: Boy, you trippin’! Girl, you better check yo temperature, cos you hotter than hell!

ASSFACE: Your cleavage looks like a fat woman’s armpit.

V’ALONDRIA: Boy, you about to get a slap! Ho, you puttin’ the fab in fabulous tonight. Go and get some. Mr Nasty over here is just tryin’ to put you down cos you so damn fine it makes his junk hurt.

ASSFACE: Don’t worry; I’m sure lots of guys find double chins sexy – especially when they’re combined with pasty skin, chubby cheeks and oversized dimples. God, your face is like a loaf of wet bread.

V’ALONDRIA: Girl, let me tell you, you got it goin’ on. Now go out and get some!

ASSFACE: Oh, by the way: you look like a transvestite in those boots.

And on it goes. After closer analysis it seems unlikely that anyone is thinking what I am thinking, unless their brains are similarly possessed by the extreme opinions of two diametrically opposed characters locked in a perpetual dual over my self-esteem. Fairly unlikely.

But not impossible.

Busted

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It is pretty fair to say that as I have matured (well, gotten older if not matured), it has become easier to deal with awkward social situations. The older I get, the less I care about what others think of me. However, there is still one social faux-pas that fills my chest with a flash of hot anxiety and drops my stomach to my knees; one particular type of incident that can turn my face redder than a baboon’s frenulum by even recalling its occurrence: being busted.

Maybe it’s a result of my upbringing by my very wholesome mother and the childhood influence of my slightly unctuous Christian grandparents – or perhaps simply the idea of having knowingly committed some kind of wrong – but whatever it is, the most shameful experiences of my life have involved getting busted in some way.

In Year 7, as a product of a tiny country primary school with a student population of around 25, I struggled to adjust to the social pressures and cultural shock at my 1000+ student high school. One day, in an attempt to appear “badass” in front of my peers, I orchestrated a jailbreak during maths class. Three of my friends agreed to provide a distraction while I vaulted awkwardly out of the open window into the garden bed below. There was no real strategy here; the plan didn’t actually extend beyond leaving the classroom. As my toe touched down on tan bark I was filled with a mixture of freedom and fear, and as adrenaline surged through my body I turned triumphantly to leg it across the oval when I was confronted with the two Year 7 coordinators strolling back from the office, staring at me with a mixture of bemusement and disapproval. I immediately considered my options – I could still leg it, although there was every chance that the fearsome and heavy-set Mrs Horner would clothesline me on my way past. I briefly considered scrambling back through the open window before the upsetting realisation that it was too high off the ground. So, with a reddening face and a leaden stomach, I waited to face the music.

That moment, and many like it, still haunt me in my adulthood. I often feel the hot sting of embarrassment and shame pricking my cheeks in remembrance of my past transgressions. The time my best friend caught me making out with a Year 9 student at a party when I was in Year 12. The day I wagged school to hang out at the local shopping centre with a bunch of delinquents and came face to face with my Dad outside Coles. The moment my ex opened the door of our walk-in pantry to find me shamefully stuffing my face with my housemate’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, straight from the box. The time when I was caught sitting at a colleague’s desk in the midst of a very caricatured portrayal of her many idiosyncrasies and stuttered out a brief and thoroughly unconvincing explanation before trailing off and staring at my feet.

Unfortunately, the frequency with which I find myself busted seems to have increased with age. A sensible person would look at this pattern and come to the conclusion that a reduction in the instances of irreputable behaviour a person engages in would in turn reduce the number of bustings that same person experiences. That’s what a sensible person would do. Instead, I have spent countless hours developing a list of potential escape routes, excuses and evasive manouevers to reduce the impact of future bustings. I have shared a few of these cover-ups below for those who are similarly inclined to be caught with their hand in the cookie jar (so to speak).

THE BUST: Ushering an “overnight guest” out the front door.

THE COVER-UP: Thank them for installing a new water-saving shower head in your bathroom and suggest that in future they make house visits at a more orthadox time of day.

THE BUST: Putting a product back on the wrong shelf in the supermarket.

THE COVER-UP: Look indignant and shout “Wait! THIS ISN’T ORGANIC PESTO!!” before storming off in outrage.

THE BUST: Someone walks into the room that you (with the assumption that you were entirely alone and would not be disturbed) have just farted in.

THE COVER-UP: Sniff the air inquisitively, moving towards the wall nearest the point of emanation before turning and saying “Dude, I swear there is a dead mouse back here. I can smell it again.”

THE BUST: Making an obscene or otherwise unflattering gesture – such as the double-handed air-wank or the pump-and-spank – behind someone’s back.

THE COVER-UP: Swivel those hips and shout “Hey, Macarena!” They will be so disoriented by your out-dated and unexpected 90’s novelty fad dance reference that they’ll probably have to sit down for a while.

THE BUST: Sneakily checking your armpits for BO.

THE COVER-UP: Launch into a series of neck and arm stretches or a full-length calisthenics routine.

THE BUST: Weird stuff in your internet browser history.

THE COVER-UP: Blame your brother/housemate/nephew/best friend. Include the phrase ‘God, he is such a weird pervert! I’ve never even heard of felching…’ for maximum effect.

THE BUST: Copping a perve at a male friend’s tightly sculpted abs/ass/chest/insert body part here (….ahem).

THE COVER-UP: “Dude, there’s a weird stain on your shirt/pants/naked upper torso. No, wait, it’s a shadow.”

**NB These cover-ups are not guaranteed to be 100% effective. For maximum protection against the after-effects of bustage, I recommend that you also practice making prolonged intense and accusatory eye contact with your appropriator. When used efficiently, it will cause the discoverer to back away in silent confusion and doubt whether they actually saw you doing anything in the first place.

Milestones and Moths

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In the twelve months that I’ve been single I’ve simultaneously achieved a great deal and very little. I’ve had my share of dicks, both literal and figurative (more of the latter than the former), fallen in ‘like’ twice (and once more in ‘like-like’), learned that pride does indeed come before a fall,  discovered that I like myself naked, challenged myself with some brave new experiences, shed 16 kilos, discovered the catharsis in publically celebrating one’s greatest humiliations, discovered more surprising truths about myself than I expected to, booked my first overseas trip, reinvented myself as an individual, cared less about what others think of me, put myself first every now and then, and learned from my (many) mistakes.

Somehow I expected this single-versary to feel like more of a milestone. Having forgotten what it was like to be single, I imagined myself emerging from my lethargic, pudgy, larvae-like domesticated state as a suddenly glorious butterfly, care-free and glittering on vibrant, newly formed wings. Instead I feel more like a moth. I do still flutter about the place on new wings, albeit somewhat clumsily; however, I’m less likely to land regally on a crocus stamen like some delicate goddess, and more likely to blunder along gracelessly, thrashing my ungainly body awkwardly at any objects that lie in my way before dropping, exhausted, on some gritty window sill.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with a moth-like existence; I still get to spread my wings and flit about, I bear a robust strength that the butterfly does not have and possess  a subtle, intricate beauty which is admired by those who look closely enough to see it. Sure, my helter-skelter approach to life does mean I crash-land every now and then, but these little brown wings don’t bruise easily and, gosh darn it, I will eventually get to where I’m meant to be. Which, obviously, is in the vicinity of the nearest 40-watt bulb.

Either that or you’ll find me dead behind the TV one day in a pile of dust…but hey, I’m an optimist.

Murtaughing

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murtaughing

[mer-tar-ing]

verb; murtaugh; murtaughed.

1.  the actions of a person who is getting to old for this shit :  I just found some of last night’s vomit in my favourite hand-crotcheted bag. I really need to stop murtaughing.

adjective; murtaughed

1.  the state of exhaustion, resentment and regret that follows a period of one participating in shit that one is getting too old for :  I won’t be making it to work today, I’m totally murtaughed.

 from Murtaugh; noun; cantankerous veteran cop on the verge of retirement; partner of Riggs in the classic 1987 action film ‘Lethal Weapon.’

Lately I have discovered a profound affinity with Roger Murtaugh. I am, it would seem, getting too old for this shit. It’s not that I don’t still enjoy the back-to-back drinking sessions, social chain-smoking and serial episodes of drunken lust that most people work out of their systems in their early twenties; it’s more a case of how painful the recovery is becoming. And while I do still quite enjoy a late night sojourn for the purchase of several small bottle of spirits which are then smuggled into a dive bar and consumed without concealment in the ladies’ bathroom, it seems that I have reached an age where the ensuing 48 hours of punishment far outweighs the crime.

Outlined below are some things that I have done in the last 12 months that exemplify the kind of shit that I am getting too old for. Please note that none of these examples have been doctored or exaggerated in any way. (Sadly, they did not need to be.)

Drinking a ‘Bus Cocktail’ (every kind of alcohol found in my house served shaken, not stirred in a plastic drink bottle) on the way in to the city: Getting too old for this shit.

Uttering the question “Where did you throw my underpants?”: Getting too old for this shit.

Waking up early, commencing a morning of rigorous exercise then consuming a hearty breakfast before realising I am still very, very drunk: Getting too old for this shit.

Waking up at 6am propped into a sitting position in my bed with an uneaten kebab resting on my boobs while an episode of 30 Rock blares from my TV: Getting too old for this shit.

Eating aforementioned kebab and sleeping until 3pm: Getting too old for this shit.

Sending texts that end in an ellipsis and a winky face: Getting too old for this shit.

Pushing my way onto the dance floor of a seedy King St bar full of under 20’s on a Tuesday night and blindly pashing a stranger: Getting too old for this shit.

Sprinting with my housemate to catch the last bus home because we had to go to Maccas first even though we already ate a whole pizza earlier that night: Getting too old for this shit.

Performing a Salt ‘n’ Pepa song at karaoke: Getting too old for this shit.

Glancing over in the morning and wondering if he said his name was ‘Ben,’ or ‘Tim’: Getting too old for this shit.

Having a conversation with myself while sitting on the toilet, falling asleep, waking up and wondering why there are pins and needles in my feet: Getting too old for this shit.

Telling a stranger in the bathroom that the guy she is crying over is a total sweaty dick hole and she can do waaaaaay better cos he’s a sweaty dick hole: Getting too old for this shit.

Crying in the street because it’s too far to walk: Getting too old for this shit.

Skipping gleefully into McDonalds at 6am after a 3 hour stint in emergency, brandishing my hospital wristband and asking if I get anything for free before ordering 10 hash browns and offering one to the girl behind the counter: Getting too old for this shit.

Hijacking a busker in Swanston St and forcing him to play the chords to a song I wrote, then forgetting the lyrics: Getting too old for this shit.

Being told by the smug spokesdude of a group of bearded hipsters that they “don’t talk to wine drinkers”: Getting too old for this shit.

Well…I’m sure you see my point. it. As my 28th birthday looms a mere month away it seems it really is time to let go of my youth. Turns out I just can’t pull of shame, humiliation and regret like I used to – particularly with my colouring.

50 Lashes

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The title of this post may have misled you into thinking that it contains some ‘50 Shades’-esque, bondage-related eroticism. Oh, would that that were the case. (Sighs and shakes head sadly.)

In order for you to completely appreciate the distress elicited by experience I am about to share, you must first know this unflattering truth about me: I am vain. I am obsessed with my own eyes. They are an ever-changing shade of green and are the single feature about which I receive the most compliments, and to this end I can easily spend a careful hour at my bathroom mirror before a night out or a special occasion, carefully enhancing my peepers with all manner of shadows, highlighters, liners and false lashes. I don’t apply the same extensive degree of effort or time in my weekday before-work beauty ritual, but I still try to leave the house each day bright-eyed and mascaraed.

Our story begins on an ordinary Tuesday when I found myself with an extra five minutes to spare before dashing off to work. Rather than reaching straight for my mascara, I instead picked up the metal eyelash curler that had served me well since its purchase from a Japanese $2 Shop. Having curled and coated my right lashes I clamped the curved metal plates over my left eyelid, turning as I held the contraption shut to glance at the clock. As I turned back to the mirror, my forefinger fumbled its grip on the steel loop of the handle, causing the gadget to spring forward before striking me, hard, in the eyeball.

As I clutched my left eye and cursed loudly, wondering if I had been hit hard enough to cause any bruising, I noticed something odd. Something that caused a slow, cold panic to rise from my stomach and spread through my chest. Attached to the curved steel rim of the discarded curler on my dressing table was a perfect arc of eyelashes.

I stared in horror, gaping open-mouthed at the curler for a full ten seconds before raising my gaze to the reflection before me. One eye stared proudly back from within its intensely blackened frame; the other peered at me insipidly, the lid now reddened, inflamed, puffy.

And BALD.

I cried. Watery tears dribbled pitifully from my injured eye, stinging the freshly damaged follicles that had moments ago held the now lifeless hairs that still lay in a beautiful half-circle, clinging to the rim of my curler which I had knocked to the floor in my shock. I was suddenly possessed with an urge to save them, but my sigh of desperation as I bent my face close to the floor sent them scattered through my carpet, undetectable and utterly unrecoverable. I rose, defeated, to greet my disproportionate reflection once again, and as I watched my lashless eyelid puff up until it resembled that of some kind of pink foetus, I began to laugh.

I laughed at the trauma I felt over something so completely superficial while I continued to squeeze out tears of self-pity and embarrassment. I spent a good fifteen minutes in this laugh-cry cycle, deliberating on whether to hide my misfortune beneath a pair of false lashes or to leave my freshly plucked lid on full display and revel in the hilarious calamity that had befallen me that morning. I chose the latter.

It has been some months now since that fateful Tuesday morning, and although there has been a dramatic regrowth I am sad to say my left lid has not yet had its once lush covering wholly restored.

My beauty regime, however, is now a curler-free zone.

Peckish

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I’ve been single for almost a year now. I go out. I dance. I drink. I go home, sometimes alone, sometimes with company. I online date. I text dudes. I try to figure out where things are going. I break things off before they get awkward or serious. I check my phone six times a day waiting to see if he’s texted me yet. I juggle several prospects at once with varying levels of interest. I tease, test and ignore. I get let down occasionally and let others down gently. I run from the over-invested and chase the disinterested.

I don’t really know what I’m looking for, but I am looking. I’ve begun to try to overcome any misgivings about the men I date, ignoring  sexual incompatibility and such serious character flaws as selfishness, arrogance and diffidence in the hopes of finding some kind of ongoing companionship.

I wouldn’t say that I’m hungry for more, but I’m definitely a little peckish. I don’t want to rush into anything serious, but I do want someone to be nice to me, to want to spend time with me on occasion, to think I’m pretty even when I’m in my pyjamas, to spend the night every now and then, to take me out to dinner and let me pay for half, to catch up for Friday night drinks with my friends. I don’t want to meet parents, spend every night together, stop hanging out with my friends, have automatic plans for every Saturday night or go grocery shopping together. I just want to date.

I’m wondering if any mid-twenty-to-early-thirty-something men actually want to date. All I’ve found so far are those who want too much and those who want too little, and like some kind of Goldilocks I seem to jump from one to the other without finding anything that seems “just right.” Something casual without the vulgarity of having “no strings attached,” as though actually spending time with a person you’re having sex with is some kind of huge hassle.

I’m not looking for Mr Right, or Mr Just-For-One-Night. Surely there’s something in between. I’m determined to find it.

Pyramid

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Unshaven legs. Hairy underarms. Gross granny-panties with broken elastic and holes in them. Torn stockings. Black nail polish smeared on your upper thigh from where you tried to repair the torn stockings and prevent them from running. A black, highly-visible-from-the-right-angle chin hair that you keep forgetting to pluck. Giant (yes, giant) pimple on your bottom that just refuses to die. Unmade bed strewn with unpaid bills, dirty clothes and cosmetic paraphernalia from your rush to get ready. A black, highly-visible-from-the-right-angle nipple hair that you also keep forgetting to pluck. Hacking cough that is really hard to stop and sends your upper body into uncoordinated spasms. Used tissues on the bedside table. Gross breath from the Thai food you ate earlier. A weird rash on your left forearm that only appeared about an hour ago and is getting really itchy….

Things that will not prevent a man from having sex with you. (For those playing at home.)

Veal

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Finding oneself extraordinarily drunk in a well-known, seedy Melbourne bar at 2am seated opposite a group of much younger men can only lead to one thing: a sudden appetite for veal.

At 27, I hadn’t really considered myself old enough to seek out an affair with a lusty toy-boy, Desperate Housewives style. After a night of various highs and lows, Lucile and I found ourselves at Pony with a jug of cider. Seated at the edge of a long couch with a view to most of the male prospects in the room, things were looking dim. But there they were, at the other end of the long suede couch: young, fit, full of energy and obviously excited by the thought of chatting up older women. Lucile pointed them out first. I laughed and called them “teenagers,” which prompted Lucile to lean over and ask one of them his age. 21. She turned back to me, grinning, eyebrows raised triumphantly. “See? They’re not teenagers!” I glanced around once more for a reason not to, and then slid down to their end of the couch.

It was like being any female person walking into an IT server room. We felt like queens. They asked more things about us than they said about themselves. They thought our very ordinary jobs were “awesome,” and carefully guessed our ages as “mid-twenties.” They emptied the change from their pockets to buy us drinks.

After the initial group conversation I began sizing up our new-found dude-possy, like a cowboy sizing up a group of new steers, deciding which one he’s gonna hog-tie and brand. There was the Show-Off, who seemed incapable of going for more than a minute without interrupting a conversation to make a smart-arsed comment and couldn’t sit still; the Attached-but-Unattached, who said he had a girlfriend but was making no real effort to remove himself from a potentially relationship-threatening situation; the Runt, who sat silent and wide-eyed with his tail between his legs; and the fourth one who I couldn’t quite put a label on. Flirtatious without being crude or arrogant. A little nervous, but in an endearing way rather than a this-guy-is-going-to-wee-himself way. Cheeky sense of humour. Ready grin with a hint of a dimple on one side. Large, intense eyes. He leaned in and said something about wanting to get better at guitar, then stayed close to my face, drinking me in with those dark grey saucers, and murmured “your eyes are so pretty…”

His name was Joel, he lived in the outer eastern suburbs, and I didn’t feel the need to ask anything more about him. He was an excellent kisser- soft, sensual, just the right amount of tongue and no excess saliva- and had certainly lost all traces of his earlier nerves. Every now and then he would press his mouth to my ear to make yet another promise of what the night had in store for me. After about 40 minutes of kissing, grinding and generally grossing out the patrons sitting behind us (but who cares, it was Pony) we jumped in a cab headed to my place.

As he got out of the taxi and rolled a cigarette I noticed his nerves had returned. We chatted for a bit on my front door step before I led him through the house to my room. As we began kissing again I assured him that we didn’t have to do ‘everything’ if he didn’t feel comfortable. He stared at me like I’d just told him that my bed was made of cheese, then flashed that half-dimpled grin as his confidence came rushing back.

The guy was a natural. Every touch, kiss, caress and movement was exactly what I wanted it to be. It was as though he could read my mind. After a few hours of intense foreplay and so much incredible kissing I was afraid he was actually grating my chin with his stubble, we came to an impasse: no condoms. As was evidenced by my untidy room, my unmade bed and my ungroomed south-o’-the-border, I was not expecting company and had not thought to detour via the 7 Eleven for the necessary protective measures. When I asked why he didn’t have his own provisions he gave me another grin and simply shrugged, ‘Well I didn’t know someone was going to take me home…’

We spent hours in limbo, dozing flittingly between bouts of intense fervour, tangled in each other’s limbs for most of the night. As the daylight began to spill under my curtains, in the brief euphoria that comes an hour or two before the onset of a horrific hangover, I could take it no more. Action was required. Peeking first out the window at the empty car port to confirm that my housemate had left for work, I crept down the hallway wearing a shirt and no pants, a la Donald Duck. I paused at the threshold of his open bedroom door, momentarily weighted by the line I was about to cross. I knew it was wrong. I glanced back down the hall to my now light-filled bedroom, mentally tracing over the hours of teasing and foreplay that had led to this moment. And with my legs (and other parts of my lower body) trembling, I tiptoed through my housemate’s strewn belongings and nimbly plucked two condoms from his open bedside drawer.

It was worth it. After almost 5 hours of foreplay we knew exactly when to move, when to stop, our exhausted bodies suddenly revived and renewed before collapsing in a stupor of pleasure. After a tangled powernap and a brief but enjoyable Round Two, he left in the haze of hangover onset. Wanting nothing more than to lie motionless in my bed for hours, I was presented with my next problem: I needed to replace that which I had taken before my housemate returned.

My first hurdle was the intense throbbing pain in my head and churning in my stomach that had all but paralysed my body and addled my brain. The second problem I faced was the absence of my car, which had spent the night at the station after we caught the train to the city. With no idea of my housemate’s ETA there was nothing for it – I was walking to the shops.

After a brief shower, during which I clutched my stomach and sobbed loudly to no one that the water was punching my brain through the top of my head and I wanted to sleep or maybe die, I dressed myself and headed out into the harsh light of day. My sunglasses, on the passenger seat of my car, were in no position to be of assistance, so I squinted into the overcast glare and icy headwind through bleary, miserable eyes and began forcing my legs to walk the 1.2km to the supermarket. Passing a church on the way as worshippers filtered out with an air of peace and satisfaction, I momentarily considered repenting and just calling it quits. The thought of actually having to admit my crime in my state of wretchedness was too much to bear, so I trudged on. My next round of punishment was in the purchase itself – an assortment of tacky colours, textures and flavours with names like “Raspberry Ripple” and “Bangin’ Banana” in order to replace the two purloined items with their identical kin.

My return journey was worse than the initial one, despite the procurement of some hot chips and a Coke. I shuffled miserably down my street with dead eyes, slowly chewing chips with an open mouth, a lone box of assorted coloured and flavoured condoms swinging mockingly in a plastic shopping bag that dangled from the crook of my elbow while my hand stuffed chips towards my face like an imbecile posting letters. The punishment fit the crime. My disgrace, self-pity and repugnance in this moment was equal in power to the hedonistic pleasure that had led to my transgression.

As I lay immobile on the couch later that day, determined to keep the chips on their descent through my digestive tract where they seemed to have found a foothold with which to climb back up, I received a text:

So tired. Can hardly move. Totally worth it x

He was right.