4.6 The love story of Ed, Ted and Miss Italy.

This is a love story. Well, kind of a love story. Ok it’s not really a love story at all but it’s one of my favourite stories. It takes place in Western Australia in the 1970s, and it’s about two Aussie lads, Ed and Ted, and a young lady who was running for the title of the Miss Italy Quest.

Ed was dating the almost future Miss Italy. Well this was in Bunbury, not the real Italy. Ed hadn’t even left Australia yet. And this was long before they had bikinis and talent shows and any of that. I’m pretty sure this competition was based on looks and personality, and oh wow, this Miss Italy had stacks of that.

Miss Italy and her parents were holding a fundraiser-slash-BBQ at their house for her being in the competition, and Miss Italy had planned to be in Perth that day to fulfil some of her country’s duties, before returning back to Bunbury for the BBQ.

This was way before all the fancy freeways to “down south” and it took a good three hours to get from A to B (Perth to Bunbury). Having already made it to Perth, Miss Italy had a problem – her ride home had fallen through. A few phone calls later and a family friend’s son, Ted, jumped at the offer to spend three hours in a car with the almost future Miss Italy. (Despite the fact they were dating, Ed didn’t go and pick her up because he was in Bunbury and that trip would have taken six hours – for those of you terrible at maths.)

Miss Italy had met Ted before and wasn’t very happy about him driving her – he’d been a little over-friendly in the past and seemed to be treating this car favour as some sort of date. But she had no choice – she couldn’t miss her very own fundraiser. Now, due to the lack of phones and Whatsapp back then, Ed knew none of the above. All he knew was that the lovely girl he was dating turned up in a car with some other guy from Perth. Uh huh. After a quick heated explanation all was well, but Ed still wasn’t very happy about this intrusive Mr Ted.

The Italian BBQ was in full swing by the time Ed found Ted sitting at a table in the backyard (sans concrete – this one actually had grass) under the carefully constructed Italian hanging grape vines (as every Italian backyard must have). “This wine’s shit!” Ted loudly and rudely declared as he necked a tumbler of Guido’s (Yes, Miss Italy’s dad was seriously called Guido) lovingly potent, homemade red wine. “It’s like grape juice!”

“Oh yeah, it’s practically grape juice,” Ed agreed, while pouring Ted another glass and one for himself. Ed had drunk this stuff before and he knew it was certainly no grape juice, but there was no need for Ted to know that. So Ed took a seat next to Ted and they chatted a bit. A few minutes in and Ed knew he didn’t like this guy. He’d started throwing around distasteful comments about Miss Italy, the love of Ed’s life. But Ed just smiled, clenched his tumbler instead of his fist and continued to cheers and chug away the red with Ted. He couldn’t make a scene, after all.

Unbeknownst to Ted, however, while he chortled and threw his head back chugging more and more of the potent red, Ed was pouring every second one of his tumblers down the table leg. Ted was having such a grand time declaring his utter nonsense he didn’t notice a thing. A few hours later Ed poured yet another glass of strong red for Ted and made his excuse to leave and mingle.

It wasn’t long before a now very drunk Ted stood up and stumbled a bit, and then stumbled some more, and then there was an almighty crash as he fell onto the table, up-ending the wine, the glasses and absolutely everything the little red-and-white checkered table cloth could carry. (kidding, like they’d have a red and white checked tablecloth sheesh).

Ed came rushing to Ted’s aid along with everyone else. “Oh Ted! Ted! Oh geez are you ok?! What happened?!” Ted wasn’t making much sense, so with a bruised ego and head they carried him inside and put him into bed.

Poor old Ted. He ended up having to stay the night he was in such a state and had to re-live all those red wine memories once again with the family the next morning – including Miss Italy and a slightly smug Ed. That was the last they ever saw of Mr Ted.

Miss Italy and Ed, on the other hand, soon after got married and had three children. Their third was a daughter – me.

 

Photos of Mum in the Miss Italy Quest with her parents and my Dad – nawww.

Miss_Italy   Miss_Italy3Miss_Italy4   Miss_Italy2

 

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4.5 Eleven life lessons by Lorenza.

1. Don’t go out with guys who make you feel like crap or tell you you’re fat or won’t give you cuddles. Every girl deserves a guy who really wants to hold her hand, gets excited when he sees her, and when she’s PMS-ing off her tree and looking a little bloated he still squeezes her love handles like he’s found pockets of gold.

2. If you have really bad period pain and you’re finding everything a bit of a struggle, just tell people: “I’ve got my period.” (Or, “pyramid” as I prefer. Confuses the heck out of people who think your Mum told you the wrong word for it or that you suddenly have a lisp.) It gets very tiring pretending you have food poisoning while people ask you 6 zillion questions about what meat and condiments you’ve eaten for the last eight hours.

3. Eat good food. I mean healthy, wholesome, olive-oil-dripping-down-your-face good food. You don’t have to be thermo-mixing carbo, quinoa or cocoa to enjoy eating well. But put down the burger – it looks nothing like the picture – unless it’s 2am and you’ve got your burger-beer-goggles on. Put down the doughnuts – Krispy Kreme glazed really aren’t anything to write home to Perth about. (Oh poor Perthies I’m sure you’ll get one soon.) Put down the protein, lactose-heavy, milk-is-for-cows slimming-milkshakes and instead eat avocados, sourdough drenched in olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, barbequed lamb cutlets nom nom nom and all those juicy mangoes and summer fruit peaches in season right now. You’ll feel and look a lot better for it.

4. If you really want to spend an utter assload on money on something, be it travelling the world, a Mulberry hand bag, fourteen iPads or that perfect smile (teeth) you’ve always wanted – then Benjamin-flipping-Franklin do it. Or plenty-of-yellow-pineapples do it (for the Aussies). We’re only here for a good 80 years, and guys – well, you’re here even less. So go on that trip, splurge on that leather, make yourself sick with excitement and racked with guilt paying off that debt for the next few years. Least you’ll look fabulous and no-one can see your dirty debt. Except your bank manager and you don’t eat brunch with him darling.

5. Learn how to sew a fallen-off button, fix a fallen-down hem (without a stapler), iron a shirt (properly), and check your oil and water without having to call your dad or road side assist. You’ll look more professional for work, impress the guy or girl you’re dating and save a bucket load on blown up engines. Ladies I’m looking at you.

6. Don’t drink Redbull before you go to the gym, you won’t know whether to throw up or punch someone. On the topic of Redbull, don’t get drunk on vodka and that nonsense – you won’t sleep properly for days and it’s a dirty, dirty hangover, far dirtier than dexies (which are for kids with ADD, not brain-working-just-fine you, OK?).

7. If you’ve got a broken heart, ride it out. Don’t start something new to fill the void. Cry all the tears, write all your hate mail (then put it in the freezer or a drawer), because you’ll find it months later when you’re making vodka martinis and realise just how far you’ve come. Also delete their number out of your phone, write it down and throw it behind a full bookshelf. It will take a bottle of dessert wine and determination to get it back down and believe me you won’t. Note: top of bookshelf should have more wine.

8. Thank people. Out loud, with a note, with a silly card even if it’s months later or publicly at a wedding, awards night, online drum and bass forum <cough> even if you think they hate your guts. People appreciate it. And it makes them feel a bit warm and fuzzy for giving you a couch to sleep on, a boost in confidence or pushing you down the right path even if you hated them at the time for doing it and told them so.

9. Apologise. Yes apologise. If only I knew this when I was 16 and jokingly called a girl fat – instead of saying sorry I hid from her the rest of my school days and thought staying out of sight was the only way out. If only someone had taught me to waddle up and say “I’m sorry”. They’re a hard bunch of two words to get out – but will bring a lot of relief and happiness. Wait, that sounded like an advert for Metamucil. Eww.

10. Get a hobby, and no I don’t mean being someone’s girlfriend. Find something you like doing, whether that’s collecting chip packets, counting trains or growing your own tomatoes. Think you’re no good at something? No-one was born being able to write or sew. Learn something, practice something and you’ll realise you can enjoy a lot more than spreadsheets, Facebook and emails all day.

11. Take drugs – they won’t kill you like your parents said. Maybe not heroin though. I hear that shit’s addictive.

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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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