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.

(1223)

3.7 The 10 nastiest things men have said to me.

1. “You’re only pretty when you smile.”
Doesn’t everyone look better when they smile? So many people walk around looking like they’ve smelt something bad, but do I tell them their face looks like that? No. So, smile – because right now someone thinks you’re ugly.

2. “You’re Italian, so you must be hairy.” 
Yeah and I’ve got a salami in my handbag too. No really I do. That’s as silly as saying. “Oh you’re a dude – you must think about beer and sex all day”. Hmmm. Anyway I’m not – please refer to point 5 below.

3. “You don’t have thin legs… You’ve got sturdy legs.” 
True, I’m no Elle Macpherson-elevator-legs but girls take this stuff to chubby-legs heart. Well except when I wore that mini skirt last week and those short shorts today. I’ll be getting my leg guns out as long as I can, thank you, because I heard there’s a cut-off age for bum shorts once you’ve had a baby – said Britney Spears never.

4. “Your eyes are really big. Actually they’re too big.” 
Well sorry I won the Anne Hathaway genetics lottery Mr Perfect – having big eyes isn’t really a bad quality to have. I can see things like douche bags a mile away and bat my lashes out of tram tickets, so shoo! Go find a smaller owl-eyed girl to play with. (I’ve also had, “You’ve got eyes like a cow” multiple times, but this one’s easily fixed with a “Mooo”.)

5. “Your hair’s a bit thin on top – you’d better watch that.” 
I’ve graced this tendril topic before on my blog. Yes, I have thin hair, and yes, I dye my hair dark so my scalp looks a little Edward Scissorhands. But chances are you’ll be receding sooner than you can say “40th birthday party” so give this little haired Lorenza a rest.

6. “You’re much prettier in photos” 
This fella’s second language being English I tried to help him out with, “Do you mean that I’m photogenic?” But apparently no, he was adamant it was photos I looked better in than real life. Well Photoshop me! I’ll take that as a compliment, only people’s names that end in “Victoria’s Secret” have that on their CV.

7. “She’s only here for today, so make no emotional investment in her.” 
Nothing to do with dating this time, it was a freelance placement in an office full of muscle-laden men. It didn’t stop there. When I asked where the bathroom was, they told me I could pee in the bushes. Ahh male dominated offices – not for faint-bladdered.

8. “You look well European, you can’t be Australian.” (Cockney accent necessary). 
Ahh the British. Yes, we’re all blonde-haired, blue-eyed Lara Bingles down here love! Even with the brown hair I still get to ride a Kangaroo to school, so nerr.

9. “I’m attracted to you and I want to have sex with you but I don’t want you as a girlfriend.” 
I’m sure the look on my face at this point was only one thing: Confusion. I mean how could anyone not want me as a girlfriend? I’m awesome! Jokes aside, if only every guy was this forthright and honest I would have saved an awful lot of tight dresses and time.

10. “Your nose looks a lot bigger when you part your hair in the middle.”
Just kidding, no man said that! My Mum said it when I was 17 and I’ve had a side fringe ever since.

(4788)

3.1 NKOTB – New Kid (Girlfriend) On The Block.

Step 1: We can have lots of fun. Step 2: There’s so much we can do. Step 3: It’s just you and me. Yeah, but it’s not. There’s lots of friends you see and I’m the new kid on the block, well the new girlfriend on the block and usually I’d be fine with this – but the last time I had to seriously enter into a group of friends as a new girlfriend I was 23, winding down off raving, the drum and bass scene and making new best friends forever every Saturday night in the nightclub line. A little different to a well established group of friends I’ve been suddenly inserted into and in reality have replaced someone else (the ex).

So I feel a bit like an animal at the zoo – everyone staring, lots of eyes on me, I’m sure they’d take a photo with their iPhone if they could. It’s terrifying and emotionally tiring and I feel more like a piece of meat being tenderised than an endangered, obscure bird like a Kakapo (that’s an ugly parrot for those of you who don’t know).

I know, I know, brighten up Lorenza and where’s all that confidence gone? These people should like you no matter what. Well I’m hoping for that too. But it’s hard having to be “on” all the time, being fun!, having a good hair day with not-my-house’s-shower head, makeup sliding off from the travel version moisturiser that fit into my Sydney overnight bag, sounding hilarious and like you’ve got the smarts and still trying to be the best version of yourself in front of your new boyfriend and all these inquisitive will-she-fit-in-with-us friends.

Now don’t be silly, I can handle plenty of friends at the same time at a loud bar no worries! Nod your head and laugh even if you can’t hear what they’re saying. Do the sprinkler and smile as that’s crossing off four requirements at once. But I’m talking dinner, when there’s just you and them and lots of conversation space to fill with no nightclub toilet to run to, apply makeup and hide.

It’s a little bit like an interview; Elbows off table? Am I drinking too much wine? (Hang on that doesn’t happen in my interviews.) Am I asking the right questions? Am I talking about myself too much? They want to get to know me though right? Eeep shouldn’t have used that Sex And The City reference? Should I not touch my boyfriend? Are they comparing me to his ex? Do they still talk to the ex? Oh crap these ones are besties with the ex and what is their one-line definition they’ll be broadcasting back to the HR department and rest of the friends about me before my hangover’s gone in the morning? (It’s better to not to think about it.)

As we all know if your friends don’t like your partner well life can be a bit hellish – or they’ll make it hellish OR they’ll just pretend they like them till you break up then tell you how much they didn’t really like them. Making you feel like an even crapper person on top of your break-up. Thanks friends. Don’t worry you can always get them back by getting back with the ex and watching the awkwardness with some popcorn a few weeks later.

For all these close knit friends I’m sure it’s just as awkward for them too – they suddenly have to get used to someone new in their group and we know by age 30+ that’s not happening very often. You’ve got your lovely group of friends you do everything with and you’re not used to or liking all this disruption and small talk with the face of a new friend to the group. Don’t dare any of you (who haven’t lived in a new city the last three years) argue with me on this. When was the last time you made a new friend hmm? I’m not sorry to say this – Melbourne and Sydney – you know you’re a cliquey little bunch.

So the only other real-life equivalent I can think of for this is a new job. We all know how much it sucks when you’re the new kid at work – everyone’s all smiles and Stanley staples while we’re having no idea who’s the office sleaze or psycho and you’ve to grin and bull-nose-clip-bear-it till you’ve been there long enough to figure it all out.

So I guess there’s only solution really. Time. Step 5: Don’t you know that the time has arrived. UH! Only time will make them used to the New Kid (Girlfriend) On The Block.

(7660)

1.9 Excuse me Ma’am you‘re only allowed five pieces of emotional baggage.

When you’ve been single as long as someone like me, you begin to collect an EasyJet size amount of emotional baggage. It’s the high heels and snow jackets poking out the sides and refusing to squeeze in that become excuses and reasons for relationships ending before they’ve even begun or making these men and often myself lost in the transit of love.

1. First off – guys that are smaller than me. I can’t cope. I went out with a guy exactly height, I’m pretty sure I developed an eating disorder, an affliction to heels and hunched back within minutes. As I was staring at our legs on the couch watching tele one afternoon I realized my calves were in fact longer than his and I felt like an oversized-oaf-woman and this would have to end.

2. Most people think I’m weird. Correction – a lot of men think I’m weird – especially the ones I date. I don’t want to tell you just how many men have said to me on the first, third or fifth date “You’re weird” because I know that most of you know that I’m not. There’s a hundred other words out there to describe me and I don’t want to be with someone who thinks I’m odd.

3. After the third date you never hear from them again. I thought this stuff only happened in movies and books or to other people, not me. I watched guys smile, laugh and perfect their game right into my ‘This guy’s perfect!’ stupid heart, to then drop off the face of the Northern hemisphere earth. I think I’m a pretty good judge of Disney character but apparently I’m more of a stupid Snow White eating poisoned apples than I thought.

4. What are we exactly: Are we dating? Are we exclusive? Are we boyfriend, girlfriend? How am I supposed to introduce you at a party? It’s enough to make me want to bury my head in a pillow and wake up single again or arrange married. I’ve changed my Facebook relationship status to only change it back two weeks later when we broke up. It’s confusing, it’s nerve racking, no-one wants to jump in first and you’d better hope you’re synchronised swimming on these thoughts or one of you is going to look like a speedo wearing idiot.

5. I’m terrified of ever living with a boyfriend again. I’ve tried and tested this Martha Stewart business and entered with sharing couches and finances aplomb. It quickly turned into a cleaning and monetary debt of squabbles and separate beds and I had to ask myself “Seriously is this it?!” Martha Stewart, my baked bottom. It became a burnt batch of cookies that blackened my heart and baking tray forever.

So cross check those worry doors for taking off, watch the love safety jacket demonstration and don’t worry about it all too much. As they tell me when you meet the right one you won’t need that oxygen mask that drops down from above.

(1016)

1.6 Don’t hook up with the housemate – ever.

“Ohh a girl!” He said gleefully and clapped his hands in an over enthusiastic but kind of cute way. I’d moved into a massive share-house in London with six what-the-hell-was-I-thinking… men. Thank goodness a lovely German girl moved in a week later because I wasn’t sure how much testosterone and Top Gear I could take.

Living with guys is great, they’re less emotional than girls, you can grunt hello or totally ignore them after work – they won’t even notice or bitch about you. They’re easy to please and straight down the line “Take out the bin, I’ll iron your shirt – DEAL?”

I was fresh out of a breakup and I’d say clingy to a degree – I was desperate for a close friendship again and had just left anyone who knew me with a wine shred of evidence in the southern hemisphere of this cruel hearted world. Sorry, backing out of heartbreak mode now.

So I befriended one of the boys in the house – the one that had Sherlock Holmesly worked out I was indeed a girl due to the smell of ‘clean’ coming from my room. And it was great; we got drunk, we ate brunch, I had someone to email at work (because all of Melbourne was asleep shhhh). We shared a sarcastic sense of humour and a love of drunk and Friday night pizza.

Then one night, he made a pass at me, I slapped him away – the hand, not the face – I’m a gin-drinking lady thank you. And that’s when is all the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn’t put our London share-house back together again.

The balance of friendship in the house had been destroyed. I’d love to have just swept it under the bed-bug-rug. And we did. Ooohh for all of about two weeks but things just weren’t the same – it was suddenly different, it was snappy, it was terse and don’t stand-so-close-to-me-when-I’m-cooking awkward. It culminated into a huge fight one night when I returned home, few wines to the wobbly, loudly declaring I hated London for the umpteenth-tower-bridge-time he got soberly door slamming involved. I don’t know how it escalated that quickly I was still trying to see whose food in the fridge I could drunkenly eat without anyone noticing.

Then it got worse, far internet-nastily worse. He cut me off cable – it was a bursting into tears bandwidth of an affair. I hated he’d cut me off from my Skype, my parents and my only window to home. My favourite part of all this was shouting “YOU’RE NOT GOD OF THE INTERNET” from the top of my stairs. IP’s were unblocked – apologies were made and two weeks later he didn’t even tell me – he just… moved out.

With guys and girls there’s always going to be some tension living together but far worse when you get too close. I see how a lot of this was my fault – being in that needy, new city, vulnerable broken heart time I should have gone out and found girlfriends instead, but when you’re craving that male company, nothing else will suffice.

So live with six men, live with your best friend, but by mushy-peas-please, keep that safe distance apart.

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