1.5 Don’t judge a book by its breakups.

So you’ve started dating someone new and find out the length of their ex relationship. Uh huh. Incoming: discussion with the housemate “What if he goes out with you for that long and decides he doesn’t want to be with you either?”

Whoa! Hold up there housie, if everyone thought like that then no-one would ever date. Think about it – you’d never start a relationship because you’re scared of breaking up. That’s like not swimming in the ocean because you’re too scared of sharks or not drinking tequila because you’re scared you’ll lose your pants!

Dating is like shopping for a relationship – unless you get in there and try on that $800 dress and scare yourself silly, you’re never going to know that feeling of wearing a weeks pay cheque. And if you’re too scared to try that relationship on for size you’ll possibly never know that feeling of falling in love.

I get it though – we’re getting older and terrified of someone ‘wasting our life’. I’ve seen friends break up in their thirties and it’s a fine-lines-appearing-fark-you-mess. And fair play to them – they could’ve spent that time finding a better version of ‘the one’ who isn’t going to falter on that of four-carats-of-finance. This left on the shelf-sort-of-stuff is utterly terrifying for females, unlike men who get out of this whole break up thing with subtle-stubble ease, having that option to date seven years younger without any questions from generation WHY?

We all want to know a bit of the ex’s history, like everyone in Melbourne wants to know what high-school you went to. Sorry guys, different state – put that in your postcode-pipe and smoke it. I don’t want the she-took-the-toaster horror story or how good she was at giving head… massages. But I want to know a few details – if he’s been with a girl twelve years and broke off an engagement then yeah, I’d probably need to know (Holy crap – RUN). Same if he hasn’t had a relationship longer than two weeks I’d probably think playaaaah – and putt right on.

So what if he goes out with me for the same length of time and doesn’t want to be with me either? Well that’s the way the commitment-cookie-crumbles and that’s the risk we take. So get out there, date without fear, keep your tequila pants on and don’t judge a boy by his breakups.

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1.4 Love is a fine wine – and bad dates are just bad dates.

To set the scene we meet at the Middle Park Hotel – the old Gunn Island, I miss the Gunn, pretty sure we were paying for that monogrammed carpet with the sixty-dollar-a-bottle-sav-whaaa-blanc. We grabbed a bottle of upper-middle-class and sat outside. I’d met this one at a bar after a disaster-speed-date-athon. Four bubblies down, my name-badge-whoops-still-on and he’d charmed the hair extensions off me. We exchanged numbers and a few sms’s later had arranged to meet in broad daylight.

Within the first few minutes he answers his phone. He did ask, bless his mild manners, yet I could hear loud and clear what he was saying: “What am I doing Saturday night? Well we’re going for a midnight naked swim aren’t we?… Oh, I’d better go… yeah I’m on a date.” Mmm k. I smile this one off as it’s getting chilly and we move inside, not before he grabs me around the waist and says “Oh you’re realllllllly curvy” while I squirm away like Penelope Pussycat from Pepé Le Pew.

We’re seated now and it’s time for some of the two-glasses-I’ve-skolled-down-conversation but not before I notice his t-shirt is on inside out. No, really I’ve had a good look, it’s not one of those stupid-seams-on-the-outside-design, it’s definitely on inside out – so I blurt it out: “Your T-shirt’s on inside out.” He offers immediately to take it off, right there in the Middle-Park-Posh-Hotel, and turn it round the right way. I should mention this guy was incredibly guns-baby-well-built and later heard from a male friend this is a tactic for men to show off their body. I’m guessing Superman wears his undies on the outside for similar reasons. “Oh what are these doing out here?! Silly me!” It’s like a girl version of short skirt and ‘Can you touch your toes?’

Moving right along, next up he tells me he’s a virgin and waiting for the ‘right one’. Cue ridiculous laughter from me but then claims he can prove it: “I’ve got a huge tattoo of a radiant sun on my back, symbolising warmth, heat and my Buddha non-sex lifestyle and I can show it to your right now!?” Yup, this one was definitely aiming for an off-with-the-shirt-date. I assured him I believed him and didn’t need to see proof (I’d check on Facebook later). And soon as I started to feel mean for laughing he said he was lying about the whole no-sex thing and had dropped acid on the night we’d met. Oh-kay.

He starts talking about his Dad being a boxer (punching people, not the dog) and I start to glaze over a bit till he wakes me back up asking if I thought he was a womanizer. Seriously I’d used all my girly-giggle-cards at this point. And just said with a big loud smile “YES!”.

We’d finished the wine and decide to move onto the Spanish tapas place across the road – how many of you are wondering why I haven’t left yet? Well I’ve got front row tickets to this car-crash and I want to see the airbags explode and jaws of life rip him open before I’m done.

We’re seated and have a female waitress, of course. He starts flirting outrageously with her, of course. He then asks if he can take coffee to a table for her, which he-flipping-does, of course. He asks for her number cough, I mean the restaurants number because he’d love a part time job. And by golly is she loving this! Picture: skanky waitress with her crop top tummie showing, flaking Safeway eyeliner batting along with gyrating her hips suggestively at him.

I’m not really sure what to make of this sudden third-wheel-of-a-date but I get her to go away and get the conversation back up and running and he doesn’t waste a kooky second – next request: Can I ring his manager now. Yes, right now, and pretend to be a future employer looking for a reference and see what his manager has to say about him. I say “Err no.” and he gets quite argumentative and annoyed with me. Thank goodness the food has arrived – ahh potatoes bravas more like Lorenza is bravas!

We get through the meal – some more eye collaboration from him and waitress and he drops me home with:
HIM: “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”
ME: “Oh I won’t call you…” He looks a bit confused.
HIM: “Why did you say that?”
ME: “Because you’re the boy.” I’m already out of the car at this point so I slam the door not wanting to carry on this kindergarten conversation a second longer. If you’re wondering what I meant with my answer though – RULE: the boy is meant to call the girl not the other way round – but I most likely confused the inside-shirt-maybe-pants-next-time hell out of him.

Love may be a fine wine but all I appear to be drinking is Where-did-all-normal-ones-Merlot.

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0.9 You’re pretty and smart – so why don’t you have a boyfriend?

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, why don’t I have a boyfriend…?”

For singles sake, if there was a mirror at IKEA that could tell me why – I’d buy it. I’d buy ten and put them on eBay and make a metric tonne of women happy.

You see, I can’t buy a boyfriend at the supermarket who comes with an understanding of Lorenza humour (odd at the best of times), who can deal with high level Instagram addiction, along with a love-and-fat-hate relationship with salt & vinegar chips and tells me I look beautiful every day. Though gosh, I wish I could.

My polite answer to this question is usually a smile and an “I don’t know…” and sashay away. This happens a lot at weddings so sashaying is a totally acceptable conversation exit. What answer were they looking for? “Oh I’m actually a total fruitcake and I see my restraining orders as a declaration of my love to men rather than a way to jail, don’t you think?” Crazy eyes. Tumbleweed. Run.

For awhile there I had a brilliant excuse with a whole lot of truth to it. I was travelling and before that I was ‘on my way home’ from London so no time for “So when does your visa end?” dating. I was a woman on a mission and no man was getting in my way. I didn’t want some Romeo to trip me up and stuff my five months of European summer. And anyone traveling on your own for that long – take your partner or put them out of their cheating worry now and break up with them. I’ve seen enough Euro cheating thank you.

Usually I get by thinking, well, Megan Gale she’s single (well she was there for a bit) and Jennifer Anniston she’s single (well she was there for a bit too) hang on, this theory is shithouse. Ok, so secondary thinking being, I have plenty of gorgeous girlfriends in the same single-sail-boat with me. They’re prettier, smarter, more successful than me and still can’t find someone to open the door for them. At least we can drown our sorrows together and ask “Where did all the good ones go?” look around at all those wedding bands and nod in agreement, did we leave it too late?

I take my single self home and remind myself the proverb my Nonna (Grandmother) used to say (whom I never met but Mum has positively passed down) “The bread that’s meant for you, no-one else will eat.”* to which my brother loudly rejected with “Well, mine’s not even dough yet”. Pity I don’t eat bread but I’ll cling to the Bakers Delight delusion till my gluten free, seven grain, slice is pulled from the oven.

I hold out hope a good one has broken up, been waiting in the wings, sorting his shit out and will fall from the sky into my red wine lap at the most opportune time and be so blissfully happy he’s also found a lovely available girl and we’ll live happily ever after. Life isn’t a fairytale Lorenza.

Do guys get these questions? Ok maybe a similar variety of “When are you settling down?” and they can laugh it off and say “When George Clooney does, HAha!”. I think it’s more socially acceptable for men to be gallivanting around, sowing their Sail-Croatia-seeds and having a Bavarian flat-out-ball. But women, oh no, if we’re not ‘with someone’ and it’s been a few years now, well we must be cat-lady-flipping-mad.

Some days I do feel a little bit like I’m missing out, whilst slugging away replacing blown light bulbs and watching couples eat brunch and hold hands. And yes that’s nice and all but I’d prefer to be on my own than with someone I’m 65% in-like-with. I need a 95-104% likeability to want to hold hands or share poached eggs, because if that’s not there, aren’t I just wasting my pretty face, smart brained time?

So, I hear you asking what am I trying to say with all of this? I’m dishing out excuses and reasons like I’m on anti-crazy pills and covering it up. Swear I’m Pfizer-not. There’s a bunch of reasons we don’t have boyfriends whether it be timing, chemistry or suitcases of issues we still need to work through.

When it comes to finding a boyfriend it’s hard sometimes, for even the smartest and prettiest of them all.

*I had Nonna’s saying slightly wrong – thanks for the update Mum.

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0.5 The parents set you up and it ended in pash-rape. Awkward.

That’s right: “pash-rape” – forceful kiss usually with one party not up for or expecting it. My parents set me up with a family friend “Oohh they’ve got a son in Melbourne” And I thought why not? Me being morbidly un-married, miserable and sick of meeting meatheads in bars… Mazel tov!

He was good looking, conversation O-K, similar work field and background, a variety of wanky cocktails later and it’s pash-rape time. Whoa, slow down, I hadn’t even given him a hint of touch-on-the-leg-interested. Sure I laughed at his bad jokes, flung my hair around and batted my Loreal lashes – that’s just what girls do. I pushed him away and said “Err no, I don’t want to do this”. Which clearly sounded like to him ‘More please! Insert tongue here’.

More attempted tonsil hockey and I abruptly said it was time for me to go. He then suggested coming home with me because – oh wait for it, “It would be easier to get a cab from my house.” Seriously, who does this guy usually date… Blondes? I got myself on the tram quick smart, sans the pash-maker, found a seat and one stop later was an iPod out, headphones in, please-don’t-stare-at-me mess of tears.

What’s a girl to think? Obviously I was dressed like a slut and asking for it. I sat on the couch streaming tears while my male housemate assured me over and over my dress was fine and so were those 100% black I-can’t-even-see if-you’ve-shaved-your-legs-stockings. Clearly the problem wasn’t what I was wearing.

Side note: we can wear whatever the hell we want without ‘asking for it’. You know when you’re feeling fantastic you want to wear bright clothes and show off your pins – you’ve lunged enough in BodyPump for them, why not?! You’ll expect a few more looks and attention, but that’s why you’ve dressed like that. Give me a hormonal, fat day and it’s muted navy’s and black all the way hoping you’ll fade into the Melbourne-we-don’t-do-colour-here background.

So what was the deal with this guy, has he never had a girl say no? Has he been reading too many self-help-dating-just-go-for-it-mate books? Does he really think it’s O-K to maul a family friends daughter? Last time I checked it’s 2013 not Pride and Prejudice, men don’t have a right to that no matter how friendly your folks are, so back off Mr Surprise Mouth Banger.

The following Sunday was Skype call with the parentals – Uh oh. I told Dad the quick version and finished with not being too happy about it – Dad acknowledged it all with the calm of closing a business deal. I’d hate to think what was actually going through his head. I asked him to not tell Mum – worried she’d call the parents and abuse the beejubus out of them or worse, their son. But a little part of me also wanted her too.

I haven’t been set up by the parents again. Thanks Mum and Dad. Don’t know if they’re too scared after the bad experience or the word’s out: the Doyle daughter doesn’t put out.

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0.3 First date etiquette, so first round’s on me?

Recently I was set up with someone through mutual friends – so yes a date with a sort-of-stranger, blind date, call it what you will. Arrived there, recognised him from the 40DPI grainy photo I’d been shown said “Hi, lovely to meet you” to which he replied much the same followed up with. “Bar’s over there…” And even pointed towards it for geographically retarded me.

I stammered for a bit, stood a few seconds, realised he wasn’t coming with me then made my way over to the bar – which didn’t really need any direction considering it was four metres away.

The bar had a total of seven people scattered throughout and it’s not like he was saving us the most amazing table in the place. When I arrived back with my glass of I-don’t-like-him-already-Shiraz he promptly suggested we sit somewhere else anyway. Yes he’d already bought himself a drink before I’d arrived if some of you aren’t following or thinking he was a Morman – and no, I wasn’t late.

This kind of behaviour to me screams volumes about what sort of person they really are. Ok fine, lets play the nerves card, he was ‘nervous’ so what ? When I’m nervous, I’m not rude to people. When I’m drunk yes – because it’s hilarious. But when I’m nervous the last reaction would be inconsiderate or rude – and if I did I’d very quickly apologise, tell them I’m nervous, how rude of me, gosh I’m not that like ever – you get the idea. You don’t need a smooth recovery – you just need to make things right.

So of course I’m suddenly thinking of every scenario with myself, men and bars – and not just dates, to try and quickly work out if I’m being a Princess over this. Perfect example springs to mind of meeting a guy from my gym at the pub before we went to a gig – I knew none of his friends – yes they might be VB drinking Aussies in London – but I’ve never laid eyes on any of them. Of course he’s sitting in a curved type couch with four friends either side when I arrive – awkward wave from me and he gets the four friends to move out so he can hop out – come over and say “Hey! lets get you a drink” Now I wasn’t gushing with oh-my-god-he-must-like-me, because he didn’t. All I thought was that’s really nice – he must be a good guy.

Then I thought immediately of my brother, who’s more boganic than the rest of us – but if a girl from our group turns up to the table without a drink in her hand – he’s the first to jump up, offer or keep interrupting her chatter and ask “Drink?” till she has one. Unless he’s half cut – then he might just stare at her legs before finding her a drink.

There’s nothing more attractive than a man who can take charge – take a pretty accurate guess that most girls will drink a grape variety of beverage and casually say “Wine..?” as he heads over to the bar without a second thought or worrying glance back.

Which starts off the debate of who’s paying. I’ve got girlfriends who internally boil over with ‘Urgh-tight-ass’ the moment they offer to pay half and the guy says “Oh.. ok”.

I’ve got some different ideas on who should pay depending on the sort of date. If he’s point-blank cornered you like a deer and asked you out on a proper date then yes, he, the hunter, should be paying. If it’s online/ blind date/ set up type thing then it gets all hazy. You’re already both paying for the RSVP membership to meet ‘the one’ so does that mean halves for everything else?

But I’ll also say I’ll jump right in there and wave money or be quite stern about paying if I’m not keen on the guy – Don’t want him ‘expecting’ anything at the end of the night – and trust me yes, some guys really do. It’s like they have an excel spreadsheet for amount of drinks plus dinner equals how many bases plus brunch? Don’t get me started about Excel – I’ve seen my-management-consulting-male-housemates version with “Good in bed?”, “Does she know what a bluebird is?” to “Will she be a good Mum?” Appalled, speechless and a bit “Awww” all at once when I saw that. But I’m getting off topic. Mental note: don’t date management consultants.

So I’m saying guys should help get that first drink, at least GO to the bar with her, be a gentleman – it’s not hard to be decent, even if you don’t think she’s got potential – she’ll think you’re an awesome guy. First rounds and first actions, speak louder than words. Although in my case “Bar’s over there..!” was pretty loud and clear.

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