1.7 Calm down it’s coffee not commitment.

I ran into a long term ex at the gym we were like “Coffee yeah?!”. Set a time and a place then I received an abrupt “Sorry, can’t do – the girlfriend’s not happy about it. Hope you understand.” And to be completely flipping-heck-it’s-only-coffee-honest – No, I did not. So, coffee with the ex: Yay or nay? Seems to be a topic people have pretty strong feelings about once I started asking around and voicing my mocha-latte-annoyance out loud.

Now I’m not meaning any kind of ex – not that one night that turned into three or the boy at school who pulled your pigtails or called you crater face (It was a measles scar meany). I mean an ex of the long term variety – someone you’ve done the hard slog with; some tears, fights and period pain and you’ve taught each other a few things along the leave-him-alone-he’s-in-his-man-cave way.

So clearly – I don’t have a problem with it. When I was twenty sure, I put on a brave face at my current squeeze meeting the ex for afternoon tea. I was secretly a little worried but wouldn’t dare have ordered him around with “No! you can’t see her.” That’s like asking the weather in Melbourne to stay fine with a light breeze – it will schizophrenically change on you and rain down broken GHD’s from above.

I’m the sort of person who really doesn’t like to be told who they can and can’t see – it’s a direct violation of trust that person has for me and I find it abhorrently controlling. If someone told me to not see a particular person – you can bet your Instagram-Fourquare-Where’s-my-iPhone-mobile app I’ll accidently bump into them on Collins street and have time for lunchtime sushi. You think I’m sneaky, sneaky? Well it’s pretty basic psychology isn’t it – “I had surgery for a wrist ganglion once. Oh, do NOT Google image search that…”

Any woman who screams and stomps their crazy-girlfriend-high-heels at their boy saying ‘Hi’ to an ex may have some deeper emotional issues, being it; trust, control or their need to have things their stiletto-heeled own way. You can’t control your partner. The quicker you learn that and the more freedom you give – the more trust you will gain.

If you’ve had a partner for a few years – chances are you know their family, pets, neighbours and drug dealers. You were closely knitted into their life. So when you break up – yes, you lose all that – but you don’t stop caring or wondering about those people you spent years not listening to and nodding at parties, waving to and swimming in their pool or expanding their nose candy client list. So I like to email, message or communicate in some way or another with long term ex’s every now and then to check in with how the family, nutjobs and those jail sentences are going.

It’s nice to stay in contact and it’s normal and nice to care. I’m not saying update your ex on every IKEA purchase and pre-honeymoon Asia injection in your butt. But that there is nothing wrong with a catch up on the little things and little people you would have shared in your time together. And also to see you’re both happy and OK. If you’ve invested that much time in someone at one point in your life then surely they’re worth that cup of overpriced Melbourne coffee?

(9911)

0.7 But doesn’t he have a girlfriend? Yeah and… ?

Kelly grabbed his friend and shouted over the deafening Rhianna: “Does he have a girlfriend? My friend’s been stuffed around enough!” The friend stammered, “Yeah… Yeah he does.” As he bolted from the Covent Garden stables.

Kelly dragged me away from the guy who’d been lavishing his-undivided-pimms-attention on me all night and explained: he’s got a girlfriend. Hrumpf, says me. Alas, numbers had been exchanged and the guy continued to chase via SMS, the following morning conversation went something like:

Him: ”Want to catch up for a drink?”
Me: “Don’t you have a girlfriend?”
Him: ”Yeah… so. You want to catch up for a drink?”.

No response from me, yet this went on for six-ish weeks. He really loved that brick wall of no communication. I aptly named him “Crazy Nutcase with GF” on my phone and screen-grabbed his hilarity for Facebook friends to see. I’d never had a guy be so blatantly cool about sporting a girlfriend and wanting to date. And this was England! Preposterous!

Not saying this is a problem reserved for Englishmen – I’ve had similar experiences here but thank goodness for Facebook and the smallness of Melbourne I’ve managed to suss out a few before being sucked in. Tip for you all: Find the guy on Facebook and look up his siblings. Chances are his brother or sister is a bit more lax with their privacy settings (70’s children are so cute) – you’ll find a family event / gathering type photo and see if your future beau has an arm around his other half. This works 90% of the time. (I’ve never met an only child cheater – they already have everything they want, right?) Though this tip won’t work if their brother has a stupid name on Facebook like ‘Beardo McBeardy Manfacehead’. True story.

I suppose I can’t get on my high horse – when I was younger I hung out with guys I liked who had girlfriends, in the hope they’d find me so charming they’d promptly dump their girlfriends and be with me. Surprise, surprise, it never happened. I wouldn’t partake in such aimless activities now. Ahh maturity, it’s wonderful thing.

So, why do guys do this? To show they’ve still ‘got it’. To prove they can bag any chick, never mind the gorgeous one they’ve got at home. They’re merely making a point – with a nice little boost for a Friday night. Or is it because they’re still on the look out… for something better? I asked this question at work (in London) and was met with a landslide of ‘What’s wrong with the guy doing that!?’ I ate my humble pie, shut up and Powerpointed the rest of the day away. Thank you to the attached guys in the office who emailed me post-discussion to wholeheartedly agree it’s a disgusting thing for a man to do and was I free for a drink later? Kidding. I’m really giving English guys a bad rap here aren’t I? (They really did email to show their support).

So what if you are the better thing that came along? I’d prefer he quietly dump his girlfriend and chase after me. But then honestly, if I knew he was dumping his girlfriend for me, how long till he dumps fabulous me for the Lorenza 2.0 upgrade? I know I’m sounding very contradictory here. Dump your girlfriend for me. No, don’t dump your girlfriend for me. Gosh, just be single if you want to date me damn-it! It’s not that hard.

I wish all the singles out there the best of luck in finding a-non-lying, non-attached-gem. Dating is a tough, tough world and it helps when you’ve got a girlfriend who will make sure that flirty, hot guy is single, no matter how loud she has to shout over Rhianna.

(904)

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.

(1084)