3.6 A spoon full of smile, half a cup of intrigue and a pound of uncertainty.

I’ve found the perfect recipe to dating. Well maybe it’s not a Women’s Weekly worthy recipe – but it requires scales or cups or varying degrees of anything that can measure equal parts of ‘like’. After years upon years of dating I’ve concluded; a relationship can only blossom (yes I said blossom) when there’s the same amount of like/ lust/ scaredy cattiness tugging on both sides of the does-she/he-like-me-too? whiskers of the cat.

We’ve all been there. You’re absolutely gushing over this new guy/ girl you’ve met – you’ve had a date or a few dates, it’s ramping up, you’re clearing your Saturday for waxing and blow drying when Tuesday’s toddled by, Wednesday’s humped along and now you’ve checked your phone 14 thousand times yet the dribble of flirty fun texts that weren’t really mentioning anything of a meetup but SURELY that’s what he was getting at with all those winky smiley faces right? Have now become nothing. Cold hard iPhone cracks of sweet nothing. You might even send another message… but regret it exactly 14 seconds, minutes, hours and possibly days and years if you’re me later when there’s still no response.

Were you too keen? Did you smell like curry on that last date? Did you put too many suggestive eggplant emoticons in that last text? Should you have not sent the topless selfie? Kidding. Who does that? At least crop your head off for that’s-not-me to the colleagues and lawyers for hooters sake.

Anyway it’s none of that, trust me. Dudes love curry. Simple thing is: You both weren’t feeling, having, parading, gushing or simply equal measuring in the same amount of like.

I’ve dated guys I was ahhing and mmming over. Yet the way-too-soon moment of receiving the “Sitting at the train station thinking of you…” text. I threw him straight in the ‘He likes me too much and I don’t like him that much and now shit’s just weird’ pile. Urgh. Had he left that another few weeks or even to the next date I probably would have swooned. Probably.

You need the cat and mouse. You need the pull and tug (that didn’t sound right) you need the thrill and squealing suspense. You need to stare at your screen and get Samsung butterflies when that text appears – not have four on your screen before you’ve even date-debriefed to the housemates. Because it’s no fun when someone obviously likes you, so early on, is it?

I’ve been there when a housemate gave a girl a bunch of flowers. Second date. With an… “I love you”. Oh gosh it was terrifying, unbelievable cute and oh-so-wrong all at the same time. Thank goodness this was uni days and he will have learned by now if he didn’t already from the cringes and wide eyes from those of us standing around. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on her face. Scared.

I liken this a little to housemate hunting or job interviewing – you’re both checking each out, you don’t want to be too keen but if you like them you’ve got to show enough interest to make them think they want you in their life. Acting all omg-I-love-your-paisley-couch is basically taking your date diamond ring shopping.

It’s such a delicate recipe I can see how so many people get it wrong. Yet I don’t think there’s a perfect way to knead that dough or cookie cutter those biscuits or measure that perfect amount of like someone has for you. You’ve just got to jump in there heart first, hands floured and hope to hell they’ve got that non stick, self raising flour, same level of like to share.

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1.3 Put all your eggs in one basket – but don’t count your Holly’s before they hatch.

If I had a pound for every time my friend Holly told me “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” I’d have twenty three pounds. Which is at least two H&M scarves I could have cried my tears into when my basket turned up empty. That’s cryptic-lady-speak for: I liked a guy way too much and it didn’t work out.

We’ve all looked forward to something or someone once in our life. Whether it’s that date on Friday night – hurry up Tuesday, you’re taking forever! Or you’re brimming with egg-citement over that guy at work you’ve been flirting up a storm with and can’t wait to see if he wants to fertilise your… err lawn.

So I put all my eggs in the one basket: his. I didn’t devote any time or attention to anyone else because I was just way too into him. You’re shaking your clucky head? Hmm, well I know it’s not just me. I have hard-boiled-heart-broken evidence that others do it too, not only love-boat-day-dreaming nutcases like me.

This ‘eggs in baskets’ sounds a lot easier to do in a financial sense, spread your money around. Easy – I can date more than two credit card institutions at once – trust me. But when it comes to dating more than one guy at once, I’m a total guilty wreck. I know it’s a tried and tested rule – date multiple guys so you don’t go cuckoo over one in particular. But that’s impossible for me to separate my yolks like that. I can’t like one guy and date another for the sake of not having too many eggs in the one basket that I really like. I’m clearly a one-basket-kind of girl and if I lose all my eggs in that one basket, well so be it. There’s plenty more hens in the ocean.

I did heed the warning, really I did. But it’s hard to contain your excitement and thoughts when you’re really into someone. I think harder for girls and this is where we get our heads and hearts scrambled, or we totally scare the guy off. Clearly men are better at hiding this, or diverting their attention to egg-white-protein-powder, sports and FHM models.

As Mother-Hen-Holly later pointed out “Sometimes you have to throw them all in the basket and take the risk.” And I’ll add to that; If you don’t ever throw all your eggs in one basket with free-range-reckless-abandon – how will you know what you’re missing out? Could be the best thing of your mother-clucking life.

Edit – image for Holly:

eggsforholly

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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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0.4 It’s not you… it’s me, who’s worried about your love handles and thin hair.

“Your hair’s a bit thin on top… that’s worrying” followed with a grimace from the guy I was currently dating. Next it was a little squeeze around the middle with “We’ll have to work on that” meaning my 3 kilo Europe weight gain. Cheers mate – you’re casually pointing out my physical flaws after what, 2 weeks of dating? My mind was flowing with excuses – well I dye my hair darker than it’s natural colour so it makes my scalp look Snow White-esque because I’m Caucasian and that’s HANG ON!, Why?! am I defending the colour of my freaking scalp to a guy who’s wearing cargo pants.

Girls have enough issues over their bodies with those Target catalogue lingerie clad women (I can’t stand Victoria’s Secret so not giving them a mention. Shit.) staring at us from the junk-mail-yes-please letterbox already. No need to have a guy who you’re trying to look your ultimate best around at all times pointing out your flaws and voicing them out loud like you’re a prized bull for sale. If he’s complaining about the thinness of my hair and love handles now, what’s he going to be like in a year or worse, what if we get married and heaven forbid start a family.

If he’s grumbling about physical things at a size 12, relatively-wrinkle-free-fresh-faced 30 year old me, what on earth is this guy going to be like once I’m pregnant? Or worse, 40?! I don’t think I could take the berating about my lumps and bumps and he’d need a full afternoon to enter my sagging and growing regions into his notes reminders.

To me a guy voicing his thoughts sounds like he’s not sure of himself. “I know where we are on the map.” equates to “I have no flipping idea where we are.” So my interpretation for “I’m not sure if your hair is thick enough.” sounds more like “I’m not sure if I like you enough”.

At the end of the day does it really all come down to physical appearance? Of course you need physical attraction to date someone and I know myself I can’t be with an overweight person who munches buckets of KFC and watches the Biggest Loser whilst I go for a run because a) we’re not going to agree on the weekly shopping list and b) I see future health problems and someone I can’t spoil grandkids with. (No junk food judgement here, I love a drunken dirty bird, KFC binge)

So now that I’m emotionally, follically damaged – (I’m so selling that to Rogaine) I started thinking do I warn the next guy I date that I have thin hair? Because we’ve only met online and my Facebook hair image is clearly a lush-full-of-thick-lies. He might think I’m hair fraudulent or be hairy disappointed. I’m sounding damaged all right.

And anyway I thought guys didn’t care about this stuff – that’s what every girly magazine to date ludicrously declares “Trust us! Guys don’t notice your cellulite, they’re only worrying how great you look under that candlelight” Oh pul-lease. I’m onto you now, they’re really down at the pub discussing cottage cheese thighs and muffin tops with more disgust than teenage girls.

When you’ve been together awhile, I’m talking years – it’s a whole different playing field and you know how far to push each other “Hey fatty, no more S&V chips for you”. You can throw the chip packet in their face or blissfully keep munching. And well, it’s nice to keep each other in check. We all know when one of you starts upping those gym sessions it smells like breakup or there’s a smokin’ new girl at work, and that means FIRE!

I can’t say I’d comment negatively on a guy’s physical appearance once I’m dating them – it’s just not nice. After all – you like them right? and want them to like you, so point out the positives and give the hair follicles a break next time, for both the sexes.

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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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