Over

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Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that the posts have dried up a little of late and have contained very little in the way of dating exploits. This is because for the last six months I have been wholeheartedly devoted to a crush I developed on a friend of a friend. Let’s call him Mark. It’s not his real name. I’ve changed it to protect his privacy, which when you think about it is a kind of weird thing to do because anyone that reads this who knows both of us will know exactly who I am talking about. Anyway, we’ll call this the tale of my fruitless crush on Mark. (Sorry for the spoiler. But no, it doesn’t end well.)

Things began harmlessly enough when after a friend’s celebration drinks Mark and I engaged in a night of heavy-duty dance floor pashing, which developed into some lightweight grinding and a mutual admission that we were gagging to go through with the deed, had either of us been sober enough to carry it out. We exchanged numbers, he texted that night and again the next day, and I proceeded to plan our wedding in the spring of next year and worked out how to break the news to mum and dad that I’d fallen for a ginger. Well, maybe not. But you get the idea – I was falling hard and fast, and as the girls from Geordie Shore would say, there was definite ‘fanny flutter.’

We went on a date two weeks later, a stroll around the museum followed by a walk through the park and an afternoon drink in a beer garden. I was more nervous and more awkward than I have ever been on a date. More convinced than ever that I liked him, I was frustrated by the fact that he was so impossible to read. Blessed with a string of awkward social conditions, Mark’s on-date cues were not like those of other guys. I had no idea if he was interested in me beyond the initial attraction we’d felt that first night. I spent the walk back to my car shedding actual tears of frustration, genuinely unsure whether the date had been a total success or a complete failure.

In the meantime Mark’s fledgling career as a full-time entertainer (nothing suss, I just don’t want to put his actual job title on here because then even more people will know exactly who I’m talking about) began to take off. He was busy with gigs every night and filming for various projects during the day. He had been booked on a tour around parts of Australia that would take the better part of a month and would be heading overseas to perform for another month after that. Our second date was supposed to take place a few days before his tour left but he sent me a text a few hours beforehand saying he had too much work to do, and asking to reschedule. Taking this as a sign that he was not really as interested or as invested as I was, I pulled the pin by replying with a text that said we might be better off leaving things as friends. He was very apologetic but confirmed that he was really too busy to catch up before leaving but that we should stay in touch.

About a month later he was still on my mind as I meticulously groomed and dressed myself to attend a mutual friend’s party. I’d kept in touch with some light banter and Facebook stalking and was secretly hoping he would be there. I feel it’s important to inform you here that somehow in the midst of this crush I reverted to the sensibilities and emotional vulnerability of a high school girl, which might help you to understand some of my behaviour and thought processes outlined below.

Mark walked in late, after a gig, by which time I had gotten completely drunk in an effort to overcome the fact that I only knew two people at the party and was mingling with people I had seen on TV but trying to pretend I wasn’t giddy over meeting. He made a beeline for me as soon as he arrived and stuck to me like glue. Before I knew it, he was leading me upstairs to make out on his friend’s bed until – shamefully – we were politely asked to cut it out and come back downstairs. I was stoked that he was still interested. He confessed that he’d been stalking me on Facebook too (romantic, I thought) and had missed me while he’d been gone. But I was determined not to return to that unknown quagmire of middle ground with him, especially after rolling around on a bed upstairs at a party. I needed some form of assurance. I wanted us to be “seeing each other,” not just friends who liked each other and got drunk and made out at parties. His perception of things was slightly (completely) different – he was about to go overseas for the first time, he wasn’t sure what was going to happen, couldn’t we just have fun? No. No, we couldn’t – because I actually liked him and it would make me feel used. As I got up to walk away I fell for the oldest trick in the book: I like you too. I want to be with you.

Ecstatic, I continued to mingle at the party, convinced that we had reached a mutual agreement, that we were now officially “seeing each other.” As I excitedly relayed this news to my friend Luce, she gently grasped my arm and looked at me with earnest and sorrow. “Amelia. He just tried to kiss me in the other room. I’m so sorry.”

What. The. Fuck. I know I said I felt like I was back in high school, but come on! I wish I could say I laughed it off, shook myself free of those feelings and spent the rest of the party with my dignity intact. I really, really wish I could. Of course, instead I cried. A lot. I was literally so black-out drunk that I don’t remember much of what happened after that point. I was inconsolable. I remember crying in the bathroom, in the kitchen, outside in the alley beside the house (at which point Mark approached in an attempt to either console me or apologise and I screamed at him to ‘fuck off and never touch me again’) in the back garden, in the taxi, in my room. I woke up the next day feeling hurt, humiliated and hungover. My eye sockets were so swollen and puffy they resembled testicles, but at least I was saved by the grace of the memory-loss that accompanies such an extreme level of drunkenness. Until I checked my phone.

It was mortifying.

I had sent him no less than four texts since the shit hit the fan, at which point he had apparently taken my advice to ‘fuck off’ and left the party. They were garbled, juvenile and excruciatingly embarrassing. I immediately deleted my message history and sent a quick text asking him to do the same thing, then I crawled into a hole and died. Later that day he texted back with an apology for getting so out of it and asking if I pulled up ok. Part of me was relieved that he was pretending none of it happened. Part of me was outraged that he wasn’t attempting to explain himself. I was rational enough to figure that there were probably huge chunks of information missing from his memory as well, and I made a decision that I would talk to him when I’d had a few days for everything to settle.

After running the entire scenario past two of my wisest girlfriends and deciding that the best and healthiest option for all concerned was to try and pretend the whole night had never happened, I rang him the following weekend. He admitted that he couldn’t remember much and agreed that it was best to forget the whole thing. He suggested we catch up before his overseas flight which was in a few days time, but I wasn’t ready yet. I told him we’d grab a coffee when he got back.

While he was gone, my hurt disappeared and my feelings returned. I followed his updates on FB and smiled when I saw his face on TV. I went on a few dates with guys I met online but my heart wasn’t in it. I still liked him  a lot. I decided to bite the bullet when he returned and called him to organise a date. Nothing too serious, just an afternoon coffee. I left feeling really positive. It was so nice to see him, we had plenty to talk about, nothing was awkward. I took his flirty banter and the light kiss he planted on my lips as we parted ways as indications that he was still interested. I felt like finally, we were on the same page. I was determined not to get ahead of myself this time but I was excited to be in that particular moment of uncertainty where you feel the possibility of something developing. It was a really nice feeling.

It lasted a bit over two weeks. I attended his birthday drinks last night, excited to see him. I’d carefully chosen the perfect token-and-meaningless-but-secretly-the-result-of-very-careful-planning gift complete with last minute gift-wrapping made from a page out of a Good Guys catalogue. He kissed me on the lips, gave approving looks and complimented my haircut. He seemed to enjoy the gift. He gave me all of three minutes of his time, then proceeded to avoid eye contact with me for the rest of the night.

Luce (ever the bearer of bad news – poor thing!) soon informed me that she’d just been speaking to one of Mark’s colleagues who’d informed her that he had been reveling in his newly found fame, regularly hooking up with a different girl after each gig whilst keeping others (myself included) on the back burner. Obviously this was not the outcome to the evening I was hoping for. I was disappointed; in him, in the way things had turned out, in myself for overlooking the obvious earlier indications that there were serious flaws in his character. I was upset that I’d wasted six months waiting for something that was never going to happen and frustrated that I’d invested so much in someone so undeserving.

Now here’s my problem – how do I get over someone I’ve never actually been under? I feel betrayed even though I haven’t been. I feel like I need closure but I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much I actually liked (or, more accurately, like – it’s hard to switch that shit off) him.

I made a start last night by leaving without bothering to say goodbye. Oh, and before we left Luce reclaimed the book I’d given him as a birthday gift. Let’s call it a spoil of war.

Life As I Know It

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My life, in hindsight, is hilarious. Right from birth I have been involved in all manner of ridiculous hijinks, beginning with the erroneous entry by a clerk at the registrar’s office of my gender as “male” on my birth certificate. This simple mistake did not seem particularly funny when I stumbled across it as a sensitive and moody 16-year-old whilst gathering all of the necessary documents the night before I went for my Learner’s Permit.

On the floor of my parent’s study next to the open filing cabinet, I stared down at my lap, frantically searching my mind’s archives for the detailed drawings of female anatomy we’d been shown in Year 7 Health, which I had instinctively filed away as potentially life-saving information. Mentally tracing the images, I ascertained that all of the visible bits that define one as a female were indeed intact. But my brain had already started on an alarming course of inquiry with the rampant speed of a runaway train: Why do I have that weird pain in my groin when I push on my belly button? Is it connected to where my testicles used to be?  Is that why I’m so tall? Is that why I don’t have boobs yet? Oh God, is that why I hate wearing skirts and dresses and always do hilarious impressions of dudes around my friends? And that weird scar just under my stomach, that’s got to be from something. Although it could be a stretch mark. No, it’s a scar. I didn’t even get my period until last year; maybe the lady hormones they’ve been secretly giving me hadn’t kicked in properly yet. That also explains the lack of boobs.What if I had both parts when I was born and they decided to make me a girl but they weren’t legally allowed to write female on the birth certificate because I still had a penis at that stage? OH GOD, WHAT IF IT GROWS BACK?!!!

As you can imagine, this train of thought lead me to a very distressing state. By the time I confronted my mother with the evidence of my hermaphroditism a mere five minutes after finding it, I was completely convinced that she had given birth to a little girl-boy combo. I burst into tears.

“Who else knows?” I whimpered, holding out the record of my freakdom.

Baffled though not surprised by my tears (like many teenagers, I was prone to melodramatic states of distress) she took the paper from my limp hand and shook her head slightly in total bewilderment. “What, darling?”

“That.” I pointed mournfully at the offending words. Gender: Male. 

My mother stared at the page with fixed eyes. She mouthed the words. I watched her eyes flicker and scan as she read the entire document from start to end several times, trying to process what she was looking at. Then the penny dropped and I watched her eyes widen in surprise.

Wanting reassurance that her reaction was due to the newness of the information and not due to her years of careful subterfuge being brought to a sudden end, I began to ask. “Am…am I…?”

She began to smirk, trying desperately to hide her amusement at what was, in hindsight, a completely ridiculous situation. “It’s a mistake, you silly girl. I’ll call them in the morning and have it fixed. Go and show your father, he’s the one that entered your birth record.”

Instantly my fear dissipated and was quickly replaced by indignance and rage. “IT’S NOT FUNNY! I have to show this tomorrow to get my licence. People are going to think I’m a freak! You guys are the worst parents ever! How do you not even notice that your only daughter’s birth certificate says ‘male’? WHY DON’T I JUST GROW A PENIS AND THEN YOU’LL BOTH BE HAPPY.”

Yep. That’s how it went down. By the time I saw my friends on Monday it was kind of funny. By the time I had to use my new, anatomically-correct birth certificate to prove my identity when enrolling at university it was really funny. And by the time I started a new job and was sitting around in the staff room with my colleagues, looking for a way to break the ice, it was hilarious. (NB I have since discovered that while it is indeed an extremely amusing anecdote, it is not appropriate fodder for first date material. Needless to say, that one didn’t ever call me again. Lesson learned.)

My life is full of these sorts of ridiculous, there’s-no-way-that-actually-happened-to-you misadventures. In Year 12 I macked on hardcore with a totally hot dude who I assumed was 18 but turned out to be in my cousin’s Year 9 class (yep) at St Patrick’s. My nickname for remainder of year: Polanski. (We’d studied Macbeth the previous year and unfortunately this occurred before Demi Moore and the Desperate Housewives made the idea of cougars seem acceptable.) At the time this whole situation was completely mortifying. I now appreciate the humour in it. Last year I returned from my brother’s wedding to discover an extremely agitated bird in my kitchen due to my dip-shit housemates leaving the back door wide open. During my efforts to remove it, I stubbed my foot so badly that I fractured my little toe. It also managed to shit on me twice mid-flight, once in the eye as I was looking up and trying to herd it out with a broom at the time. Five years ago my dad tried to have an affair with my best friend by turning up at her house while in the city for a business trip and attempting to woo her with the presentation of thoughtful gifts and a totally gross ‘American Beauty’ style prepared speech about the beautiful woman she’d blossomed into. (For the record, he’s no Kevin Spacey either.) 18 months ago I had a wart burnt off my leg, the pain of which resulting in my optic nerve shutting down which caused me to faint dramatically, exposing my underwear to a room full of people and receiving a whiplash injury to my neck for which I was required to wear a foam collar. Last year I was caught in a traffic jam with the window down when a really cute guy in the car next to me started to chat me up; my panicked reaction was to stare straight ahead and inch my car forward until he was no longer in my peripheral vision. A few months after breaking up with my ex I ran into him in the waiting room of my doctor’s practice where I’d just received a new Implanon birth control implant and an STI test due to all the newly-single intercourse I’d been enjoying. One time as I was driving home from work I gave my nose a really good pick, only to look up and see one of my colleagues grinning at me in the rear-view mirror. Last year at a wildlife sanctuary I was bitten on the foot by a penguin. (Okay, so the last one isn’t true, but you’re getting an idea.)

There are several ways to react to this kind of life, one that seems to be built on one ludicrous incident after another. I could lament my ill luck at having a dubious confirmation of my gender, terrible ability to accurately judge other people’s ages, shitty housemates, a sleazy dad, an embarrassing physical overreaction to pain, no flirting ability and a lack of grace in any number of social situations. Or, I could simply shake it off, laugh and embrace these awkward and absurd experiences as being the very things that make up life as I know it.

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.

Gardening

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Being newly single, there are many things which I have had to learn on the fly. For instance, guys do not typically like it when you fart in front of them, or tease them about the size of their penis. I have also had to adjust my usual beauty routine (just add soap) to include some much-needed lady gardening. I am, of course, referring to my pubic hair, but I prefer to talk of it in horticultural terms. It seems more delicate.

I mentioned the state of my front lawn to Zoe, my BFFL of 15 years. She mentioned that hers could also do with some serious weeding and a bit of mowing and suggested I book us in for back to back appointments so I would have some moral support. Apparently when a seriously overgrown yard is cultivated for the first time there can be some tears involved – and not just the kind Jamie Durie squeezes out for the camera on whatever stupid show he’s hosting this week.

My first error was made in the booking. Being a complete novice to this landscaping caper, I wasn’t sure which of the many available options I actually wanted, and there were so many businesses offering what seemed to be relatively comparable service. I settled on Jim’s Mowing – they seemed to offer good all-round service for an affordable price. However, when Zoe emerged from her appointment she muttered to me, “You’ve booked the wrong thing. You don’t want that!” Confused, I told my gardener that I had apparently mistakenly booked the wrong service, and she informed me that what I had asked for was a total ‘ground zero’ situation, in which all vegetation in the vicinity would be removed. I told her that while I had no attachment to the weeds that were growing wildly in my front yard, I was still keen on keeping the nature strip, as I felt the place would look a little bare without it.

It was remarkably quick. And while it was a bit painful, I felt like this was a good way to reinvent my little patch of real estate, giving it much more ‘street-appeal.’ I eagerly inspected the finished job. And my heart leapt into my mouth. There, where my lush and overgrown front yard used to stand, was nothing but a nature strip, which was fine… except that it was crooked, giving my whole block of land a slanted and misshapen appearance. And that it wasn’t really even a nature strip, more of a planter box – not even big enough to park the bins on. Awkwardly, I made my way to the payment desk and informed the gardener of her error. Upon consultation, it seemed that there was only one solution. Ground Zero.

When I later inspected the job in greater detail I noticed another problem. In addition to the unsightly bumps that had appeared in the exposed soil in my front yard, which I had been told should disappear within 48 hours, there was an even bigger issue at hand. The bareness of my front garden, while certainly tidy, had made the weeds out the back seem very obvious indeed. There was nothing for it – I needed to see a landscaper.

Determined not to repeat my earlier experience, I forked out the extra money for a top landscaping company rather than the Jim’s Mowing variety that I had previously used. I explained my predicament to the landscape architect who agreed that the ‘ground zero’ situation in the front garden called for the same in the back yard to present my block of land in the most appealing way possible. She also commented on the shoddy job that Jim’s Mowing had done in the front and tidied up a few patches of couch grass that had been missed.

I was very impressed with my new landscaper’s attention to detail and left feeling better about the whole thing, and I must say that the place has never looked so tidy. It certainly has made things much easier for entertaining – no mowing required.

I will say, though, that the weeds are already sprouting at an alarming rate. Well, I won’t be calling Jim, that’s for sure.

The PDA Issue

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I hate PDA (Public Displays of Affection). It makes me cringe. I hate when people sit on, stroke, nuzzle, smooch, grind up against and tickle each other in front of other people. To me it is the ultimate in selfish coupledom behaviour. It says to the world, “I love my partner so much that even the laws of common decency and respect must bow to the power of our lust. You, over there, watch me love my partner. WATCH ME!”

My lesbian housemates do not agree. They love PDA. They play-fight, tickle, kiss, caress, cuddle and rub up against each other like two Spider Monkeys in spring on a regular basis. They giggle, burble and suck face audibly with the bedroom door open. I suppose some people might respond to this by saying, “Oh, that’s sweet. They obviously care for each other a great deal and feel the need to show each other in a tactile way.” My response is a little more along the lines of: “Oh, that’s filthy. They obviously don’t even care that I’m in the room and probably fondle each other under a blanket on the couch while I’m in the kitchen making dinner.”

Some of you are probably thinking that my aversion to PDA is underpinned by bitterness or jealousy at other people’s happiness. This is not the case. In every relationship I have been in, I have refused to commit PDA. Don’t get me wrong – behind closed doors anything goes. I’m not some affection nazi who only will only have sex through a sterilized sheet with a hole cut in it. I just resolutely believe that a couple’s business should be conducted in private.

Here’s the issue. I currently face two choices – either speak up against the dry-humping that occurs on my couch while I focus intently on the TV screen, trying to watch “Four Weddings,” or work on suppressing my gag-reflex and say nothing. Although I can think of other situations in which a restrained gag-reflex would be very useful indeed (um, like sword swallowing, or, er…hotdog eating contests?) I know what has to be done. The only real question is which approach to take.

Should I be super polite? Excuse me, I was wondering if you would mind wrestling each other’s tongues from your mouths in your own room with the door shut. Thank you ever so much. Or just play it cool? Yo, girls, maybe take it to the bedroom? Would it be less awkward if I made a joke? Come on you guys, there are ladies present! Or should I tell them that I had a near-death experience in which I was nearly smothered by an obese couple making out at a party who sank down into the bean bag I was already sitting in and ever since have had a paralysing fear of people kissing, touching or otherwise showing affection in public?

It’s a tricky one. I’ve decided to go with my gut. And by that, I mean wait until the next time they start pashing in front of me and let my pile of upheaved carrot stew, chamomile tea and stomach bile do the talking for me.