4.4 Stranger danger – and the time I got into a taxi with a cowboy and a chicken.

“But I just paid $20 to get in here – I don’t want to leave yet!” I was waving my glass of tequila-glad-I-don’t-drink-those-anymore-sunrise as I whinged at my friend Michelle. Ok, so maybe we really had been there two hours already but the night was just beginning, my tequila sunrise was just setting and guys were falling for drunk girls like shooting stars. Fine, that’s an odd exaggeration. But you know when everyone wants to go home and you don’t? That’s called “being Lorenza”.

“Ok,” Michelle finally agreed, and then waved towards the smoking area. “But I’m going to get one of my guy friends out there to keep an eye on you.”

I spoke to my smoking-man chaperone, danced like I really didn’t know anyone there – that being the truth – and told loads of people I was a dolphin trainer or lawyer because really when you’re out, wearing black and drunk you’re never going to see these people again.

A few hours later I walked out and stared at Golden Arches opposite and thought mRmm-nom-yes. Upon my exit I realised my taxi dilemma, with all the other drunk cheeseburgers out there, this was going to be harder than I thought.

Two guys were standing near me – dress-up party, clearly. One looked like something of a cowboy with tassels and pointy leather shoes and the other I don’t know whether he was a chicken or a cow. He certainly wasn’t vegetarian looking as he pointed at my shoes and asked “Can I try those on?” “Of course you can!” I responded as he tottered back and forth in them whilst ToyStory Woody and I chatted and decided we were all going in the same direction so why not share a cab.

Now 32-year-old me who have scolded 27-year-old me for getting in a cab with complete-costumed-strangers. But if you’ve lived in inner city Melbourne you know you have to lie and tell cab drivers you’re heading to the airport or Maroondarough (I made that place up) if you want a cab any time past nothing good-happens-after- 2-o’clock. And well I realllllly didn’t want to walk home alone, because that’s unsafe and these guys seemed like way more fun.

Four cheeseburgers and five minutes of drunk bonding later, I’d decided to keep partying on at theirs. Yup. WHAT? Never mind sharing a cab. Look, there was some Diet Coke deliberation and a cab driver asking me silly things like “You’re not worried they’re gong to chop you up into little pieces? CHOP! CHOP!” I guess I’ve trusted my drunken intuition for a Long-Island-iced-tea time by now and haven’t ended up a bloody mary just yet.

The house was HUGE. There were more people to play with (housemates not fellow abductees) and they even made up a sofa bed for me in the lounge. We drank more vodka, cooked McCains chips in the oven (oh the delicate details I remember) and played Pictionary or poker or was it PacMan? Till dawn.

I arrived home the next afternoon roughly 15 hours since I’d last seen Michelle. Calling … “Sorry! My phone died and I just got home.”
“Right” she said and muffled her annoyance “Well, make sure you call your Dad.”

Me: “WHY?” Suddenly very worried she’d called my parents in distress.
“Because it’s Fathers Day!” she said, and hung up.

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4.3 Ten things you don’t know about me.

1. I like to iron. No like I realllllly like to iron. Preferably with a phone to my ear and a glass of wine elbow distance away. I don’t know how people could possibly hate such a laborious yet fulfilling task. Nothing enters that wardrobe with a wrinkle on my watch. Watch the settings for polyester versus pinot though – I’ve had a few disasters with that.

2. I’m an insanely jealous person. That triples when it comes to boyfriends and girls with really long hair. “Why is she commenting on his Instagram and putting kisses (xx’s) on his pics? Hrumpf!” All the way to, “Why is that girl’s hair SO long?! Is she fertilizing it with double-tap likes?” I hear this jealous rage comes with the star-sign territory of Leo but I call that lion shit. Girls with long hair were put on this planet to even out the psycho jealousy I have for my boyfriend.

3. I have 57 dresses. Ladies, trousers are for men. Dresses make life more fun. You can eat a huge meal in a dress, you can twirl around in a dress and you can scream as the wind blows your full pleated skirt around your ears. If you look fat in jeans then don’t wear them. If a tree falls in a forest and no-one sees it then… Get my dressy drift?

4. I used to only be able to write when I was drunk. It was the only time I felt confident enough to story tell and it poured out to the brim. Then I’d hit send and fill everyone’s inbox with intoxicated Lorenza. Each morning was like that chest clutching awakening of what-guy-did-I-make-out-with-last-night regret. Except there it was, hungover in bold, just salivating to be clicked.

5. I like running. A lot. I like to think I’m chasing the guys in front of me when I run. Seriously you should try it. Unless you’re a guy – then I suggest chasing women, although they run pretty slow. And hanging behind them to check out their butts is a bit weird but I see it happening a lot. So… Just do it.

6. I don’t know how many men I’ve dated. I’d say it’s on the hundreds. Hey, I said DATED. I don’t think I’m the type who could date the same person all my life. That would be like being told I could only eat chocolate ice cream for the rest of my life and that would mean missing out on mouth-orgasm-worthy salted caramel for all of eternity. Salty sweet tears of please no.

7. I vomited on a tram at 7pm wearing corporate work attire. Did someone say open bar and the age-of-binge-drinking? I’ll never forget the worried look on people’s faces trying to help me as I rushed out and coloured the Crown Casino pavement cheap shiraz red. The jacket came up just fine for when I sold it on Ebay. Wash everything you buy second hand, kids. And with some bleach.

8. Nearly every day I think about my long-term ex-boyfriends. Well maybe not January 1st when I was moaning on the couch and could only stomach 7/11 Slurpees all day. Priorities, people. Anyway it’s not like I consciously think about them, it’s just when they run past me on the Tan, or I contemplate living with a boy again and feel complete house cleaning fear.

9. I used to have a cat and it died. So now when people make jokes about me being a crazy cat lady – I just tell them that. I’d suggest any single female in their 30s to 40s do this as well. Tell people your cat died – not that you killed a cat. I once killed a cat but that’s a totally different story.

10. When I fall in love. I fall hard. I don’t know anyone else who becomes as obsessed, infatuated and in love as I do. I don’t know how I wipe up the emotional mess every time it doesn’t work out and get so excited about the next round of heartbreak to come. If only I looked after my heart the same way I looked after my iPhone. It would have less cracks and a protective covering to hold the pieces of my heart as it smashes to the pavement. Better to have been loved, unloved and dumped again than live in fear of being alone.

11. I like lists and happy endings and I’m really, really bad at maths.

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4.2 Boyfriend material is the new black.

“Yeah but he’s not boyfriend material” I’ve heard myself say countless times over the cotton twill wilderness of the last few single years. What does make up this elusive, oh so sexy and shiny boyfriend material? Or for the other half of the population out there – shiny Barbie, busted, blonde – cough – sorry getting carried away – girlfriend material?

For me when looking for the ultimate boyfriend-fabric it’s the fairly obvious things; They need a job, (a good job) you know something that would hold up so I didn’t have to breast feed on lunch break. Sorry TMI? I’m not on the baby-thought-train just yet – but a girl’s got to think of these things. So he’d need that job, a driver’s license, some nice non-weed smoking friends and well, HECK, he’d just have to treat me right. As I get older this is a fairly black and white world for me. Oh he didn’t text back or cancelled our date with a shit-town excuse like he had to go to the gym? Equals = Shit bloke. Move on, plank and find another. Any guy who’s a student (sorry guys) or living at the parents – no matter how entrepreneurial the-next-Facebooking he thinks he is, is going in the non-fabricated boyfriend basket for me.

I’ve heard from guy friends it’s an immediate decision upon that first up, down, sentence out the mouth look. She’s ‘girlfriend material.’  Or she’s the ‘lycra with long, bendy legs’ material instead. To put it nicely that leggy one is never meeting the parents so-to-spandex-speak. This slightly annoys me because I can clearly remember every guy that has seen me as ‘girlfriend’ material because they’ve very obviously treated me that way or in a slightly stalkerish, cutesey bought me roses to brunch type way. Then there’s alllll the rest. And sure I got sucked in. ‘Oh he’s texting me at 10pm because he must have had a busy day.’ Re-read: that girl he likes more than you fell through so now he’s texting you.

And as we get older I’ve heard myself say things like “Take that photo down off Facebook! It’s not wife material”. As hot and leggy as it was – I’m sick of being the party girl and would prefer a social media persona of ‘She’s a keeper slash she looks responsible and nice enough to raise our kids’. Nevermind she can sink two bottles of red at home on a quiet Saturday night. We just leave that off the demure photo caption below.

Most of us have an idea of ‘boy/ girlfriend material’ even though we won’t say it out loud. It’s in our unwritten rules, it’s in our silent bullet point boyfriend lists, it’s stealing a superficial glance at those brown shoes and thinking ‘Oh honey no.’ Before we decide on that piece of material we may have to wear for the rest of our lives.

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4.1 I could never date a guy who…

A guy who thinks baked beans on toast makes an acceptable brunch. No Melbourne-freaking-way. Brunch requires pancetta and egg poaching, and a guy who doesn’t get this will probably take on everything else in life with lackluster imagination. Think I’m being ridiculous? You can tell a lot about a guy by what he wants to eat, and by that I mean.. umm nevermind.

A guy who can’t iron a shirt, change a light bulb, put together a table – you know what I mean. It’s cute the first frowny half smile he gives when he’s running late for work and looking at the iron board like it’s a giant-sized tampon. But the effect wears off after a few mornings of sidelining hair washing for his wrinkles of lazy cotton.

A guy who wears a salmon pink polo shirt to the pub and thinks the ladies will love it. It’s not ‘salmon’ buddy – It’s a shade of Barbie pink left out of the fridge that’s gone bad. Stop it Ken, your T-shirt-with-matching-convertible choice is drunk, go home.

A guy who freaks out and won’t deal with you when you’re sick. Whether you’re a snot fest, a Bali belly or that 28-day punch in the ovaries. You need someone who’s going to take the good with the bad and realise when he’s coming down with the man flu he’ll get the same chicken soup and Vicks vapour rubs in return.

A guy who’s obsessed with his body and what he’s putting in it. If he needs it cooked in organic butter with grain-fed baby lamb and broccoli grown in his fairy godmother’s garden with pesticide-free unicorn dust, then he can get it himself. Ease up on the heath nut spread and eat some preservatives and red colouring – you might be a lot more fun.

A guy who’s not into his family at all. We’re all allowed to have a personality clash with a sibling or crazy cousin. But if he’s dissing his Dad and calling kids ‘little shits’ – unless they’ve stomped on his foot and run away – then he might need some mummy issues therapy before starting anything with me.

A guy who doesn’t eat salami or pasta. Get out of my kitchen and don’t let the pasta maker hit you on the way out. If you can’t roll gnocchi off a fork and take the heat of spicy salami on a stick, then you’re not going to understand my passion and crazy for fettuccine and deli bacon goods. I suggest you date a girl who comes in the colour beige.

A guy who won’t sing karaoke, or drink wine out of a bottle on the street – whaaat? – or do 14 Jager shots and dance on a podium at Spice Market. You want a guy who’s not scared to act like an idiot and not be worried what everyone thinks. If he’s not going to let his perfectly coiffed hair down every Friday night then he’s only going to be embarrassed by Beyonce-singing me.

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4.0 Birthdays and breakups.

“Oh is it your birthday?” The excitable receptionist asked me before looking up and seeing my tear sodden, puffy red face. “No it’s not…” I half wailed and half sobbed at her. Highly doubt she’ll be asking that again before checking the tear-o-meter for someone collecting flowers from her reception desk.

She stared at me with her hands mid air clearly forgetting whatever she was doing – while I opened the card with a teensie bit of hope they were from him. Alas it was my friend Georgia (thank you Georgia) the flowers were so pink, girly, huge and beautiful it made me wail even more.

I carried the flowers back to the lift to head to level 4 and thought ‘Oh great now I have to face people at work asking who they’re from’. I sobbed that 4 seconds of lift ride, pulled my shit together best I could, hugged the humongous bunch of flowers to my chest and walked back in.

Break up’s really suck.*

I should really write a thank you note to everyone on my floor that day who had to endure my frequent sobbing, teary ranting and frequent trips to the toilet to wipe the long gone makeup from my face. A thank you to the ladies who hugged me – who for the most part I didn’t even know. I guess when you see a crying girl at work you think – Ohh breakup or a death. They’re not that much different though are they?

Since I’ve been living back in Melbourne (a year now) I’ve felt like trying to reconnect with all my friends has left me feeling a bit ‘patchy’. Let me explain – It’s like I’ve got friends all over the place and sometimes the ones I reallllllllly want to talk to are asleep in London or in important work meetings 5 minutes down the road.

I guess the loveliest thing to come from this break up is I realised I’ve got the most amazing, supportive network of friends that I hadn’t quite come full circle on and appreciated since being back home. There’s nothing patchy about them at all.

So thank you. You’re all amazing. From Chicago to Acton, from Bourke Street to Mt Lawley – a break up really shows you the friends from the trees. That totally made sense.

My housemates gave me red wine and reassurance and really let me wail and babble at them for hours. Thanks housemates. No-one could wish for more babaghanoush and giving from guys like you.

Breakups really do suck. But I’ve re-discovered my friends again to those who will listen and bitch with you at 2AM, to buying you the biggest packet of corn chips to go with red wine you’ve ever seen. To filling you with long blacks till the tears tame to a trickle, to giving you hugs like you want from your parents but they live too far away. To sending you messages once they figured out your cryptic Instagram hash-tags to telling you what you really need to hear more than anything is that ‘everything is going to be ok’.

 

*All things must have a happy ending though – we’re not broken up anymore.

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