3.8 In the name of the father, the son and the grown up conversations we need to have.

I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there are like me – skipping along in the blissful world of in-love without a flicker of grown up thoughts entering your mind. I mean I’m thirty TWO – No need to worry about babies or any of that business right now. But what if you have some strong beliefs in the way you want your children raised? If you don’t want them smacked? If you don’t want them baptised? If you don’t want them going to a public school? If you’re dating someone and you’re in your thirties and you want children – you should probably have some of these discussions now. Yes now. Not in five years when you realise you live on opposite-parental-polar sides of the world.

But you both like each other so much, so surely you’ll just agree on everything, right? You don’t want to be seven months pregnant, fighting about baptism and public schooling while your undelivered foetus can listen and keep score. By then those conversations might be a little too late. I’m not getting all Gandhi on you – I’m not the wise, well-thought-out one here. I’ve never thought about any of this stuff in my life, likely because I’ve never dated anyone and thought ‘Ooh I’d like to have half your DNA inside me to create something that can’t speak or do the dishes for the first seven years of its life.’

Realising some of these tough questions need to be answered, my first port of head-breaking call is my “nope, not baptised, I’m going to hell and why are you asking?” friends. A temple-tonne of my friends have been raised strict Catholic and I was aghast to hear the straight-down-the-baptism-barrel answers I was getting – clearly these guys had thought about it? Or hated something enough to know they didn’t want it all over again.

I had a Catholic upbringing and I haven’t come out the other ordained end hating on all things churchy and yes, I want my children baptised. But how far am I going to take that? Would I break up with someone over this? It’s a little odd how your brain, head and heart all start to feel a bit twisted about this. I’ve found someone who meets every requirement, ticks every boy box – but if we can’t agree on this, is that it? Should I start only dating men at local churches who won’t have 99% of the things I really want? Do *I* need to compromise a little more and take down my church-o-meter a notch?

If my partner was from a different religion (cripes don’t tell the parents) that had a very different baptism-esque ceremony would I dare let him bathe the child in it? Of course I would. Because isn’t this more about respecting each others’ own faiths, upbringings and finding that middle ground of compromise to raise your children on? I’d like to think so. So I need to get my partner across the line on this one too. “Shiraz wine please and all the kids baptised to go”.

I don’t think this is one conversation to be had and ended. No-one knows how you’re going to feel once you have a little version of your mixed selves sitting there and you need to decide what water and blessings you’re going to douse it with. But I do know I don’t want to be all wishy washy about it now and not stand up for what I want and years on simply hope my partner will want the same. I’m not stupid enough to think someone will forget or change their mind over years of wearing down. You’d have to have Jesus rocks in your head. (Jesus rocks aren’t a thing, I just made that up. I imagine they’d be heavy though and open doors at Easter time.)

So my basic baptismal thoughts for you are: keep on skipping, keep on being in love, but speak about these things and have these uncomfortable conversations now. Make sure you’re on the same psalm, Buddha belly or Bible page before you get those keys cut, open that joint bank account and spend a small fortune down the aisle to say, “I do”.

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3.4 Stop looking and you’ll meet the right one.

“Stop looking for a boyfriend and you’ll meet the right one.” This has been the most bullshit-in-ly, useless statement I’ve ever had paraded out front of me come drunk, high or broken waters. Ok err so maybe not that last one. Stop looking? Righto – Well what counts as looking – Catching a tram? Going to work? Going to bars? Going to the gym? I believe all these places have men in them, at them, gyrating at them, lifting weights and sweating at them. That tram ride was awful I tell you. You’re being a bit ridiculous really, you’re telling me to stay in house, darn a few socks and iron my rock hard heart away?

OK, ok, I’ve got it. I’m not meant to be looking and I’m not meant to be wondering. But you see I find it pretty hard to have a smiley boy look at me, chat to me and not wonder – hmm is he single? Errm doesn’t every single, single girl? Though at this thirty plus age – it’s like trying to find Harry Potter’s magic wand in 50 Shades of Grey, it’s just not poking out. I’m talking about being married here don’t know what you’re thinking about.

So let’s look at when “I haven’t been looking” and all these “right ones” have come. The guys that chatted me up in bars, the guys that asked me out through work, the guys that met me at weddings, parties anything and chased, chased and chased. Most of these guys have been record dating disaster cases. It seems every time I get swept up by a guy who’s gagging for a girl like me I end up with a guy that drives me insane, I eventually have to cut off and then use for blog material. Not really the boyfriend magic you people are on about.

Let’s flip that Lorenza cupid coin and compare with every time I’ve looked interested (Ok stared) at a boy, taken an interest in a boy, waved my arms with a vodka in hand at a boy. I’ve ended up with a quick dispelled no interest waved back or wait for it… a boyfriend. Oh the crazy cat town NO!?! Maybe I’m independent enough, I know who I am, what I’d like in a partner and know what would compliment, suit me, make me happy and go head first barreling towards that. I’m not content sitting pretty and waiting for Mr Prince-Chagrined-Sausage-Charming like you all keep telling me I should.

Maybe I’m a bit different. I can’t speak for the hoards of girls out there that need a boyfriend to feel wanted, that need a boyfriend to go to a party with, that need a boyfriend to make basically any decision about their life. They make me want to shake them and scream – “Please be single for just one day. Be upset and cry. Feel vulnerable – because you’ll end up a much more whole version of yourself for doing it.” But I don’t.

Sorry, got off track having a ‘needy girls shit me’ rant. Back to it. My advice to you single girls – Don’t wait. Don’t sit around and wait. That perfect boy for you… maybe he’s writing columns for Fairfax, maybe he’s on your tram every day, maybe he’s gawking at you at the gym really hoping you’ll trip over that mat.

Don’t wait around for the ugliest boy to ask you to dance – take charge of your man hunt – look for what you like, look for what you think you’d like and look for the boy you can be weird in-front of and he’ll still think you’re a bit weird… but in a cute way.

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3.2 Eighteen and never been kissed.

My first kiss was a guy called Ian – and I’m not sure it was even consensual. I was 18. Gasp! I know, a little old for a first kiss.

It wasn’t from lack of trying – actually cut that – I didn’t try at all! I was scared out of my Hard Yakka emo pants and besides isn’t the boy supposed to kiss the girl? I guess I never got close enough to let someone kiss me because there were a few obstacles along the way. That all-girls boarding school for a start then my parents not letting me go to parties once I was an-actively-alcohol-seeking-teenager then there was that one guy who kissed my cheek when I suddenly turned my head and THEN I got that super short lesbian hair cut straight out of high school – which at least gives me at least another 10 months of un-kissability. So lets blame – timing, head turns and Sinead O’Connor hair styles for 18 and never been kissed.

So back to Ian – I was at a friend’s university campus, the two of us getting drunk on passion pop and screeching at each other like 18-year-olds do when, “LORENZA”S NEVER BEEN KISSED” rang out loud and high-pitched. There was one (I repeat ONE) older guy there – ‘Ian’, I think – who was like 28 or 30, I cant remember, but certainly a decade senior to us with a shaved head (so cool, although now I realise probably because it was receding), tight black jeans and some large silver piercings (ears – calm down). He leapt up from the table and took me in his stride and rammed his tongue in my mouth so fast I didn’t really have time to run. To be honest it was a pretty good first kiss compared to some of the other abhorrent tongues I’ve had slithered in over the years.

Maybe because of this first-time, no-seat-belts-on experience I much prefer the slow, slow anticipation of a kiss – it’s so much more exciting knowing that you’re going to kiss and just waiting on tender-heart-hooks for it to happen. Is he staring at my lips? Is he leaning in?! Is he… No, he’s looking at the beers on tap. Hmmm. I waited four months to kiss my first boyfriend and by then I was about to explode. Well we were only friends, right? Friends who hung out every day and night and spent every other second texting each other. Made it all the more special though – I had a post-pash buzz for days.

Kissing is kind of gross though isn’t it? I wouldn’t let most people touch or taste my food, except a family member or boyfriend. I’m just funny about things like that. But when I think about the boys and men I’ve let touch the inside of my mouth, I’m kind of really yucked out. No you can’t touch my ice-cream, but here’s my mouth, go to tonsil-town. Gross things aside it’s also a lovely, intimate thing to do with someone you really like. And there’s the whole liking them so much thing that you don’t care about sharing germs, colds, garlic breath and finding out really how sharp each other’s teeth are. Wait, am I doing it wrong?

I had this weird patch of kissing (what?) where my tongue would get almost a stitch in it – like when you cross your legs for too long and they feel uncomfortable. I guess it was almost like pins and needles, but imagine that just in the center of your tongue. I should probably see someone about that. But the thing is – it stopped. Probably because I found the right person to kiss. You see I’d built up this theory that my tongue knew someone wasn’t right for me and gave me this stitchy feeling on purpose, like a stop-it-you’re-kissing-a-douche-o-meter. You all think I’m crazy but I’m sticking with my pink, wet instinct on this.

Probably the meanest kissing thing I’ve done (yeah that’s totally a thing) is kiss a guy then give him a score of four out of 10 for one of the worst ranking kisses of my life. Out loud. In the street. Where I’m sure other people heard. I’d call and apologise but he lives in London somewhere and I can’t remember his name, or face, or anything about him really. It’s not called Sauvignon Blank for nothing.

I guess I should really thank Ian for setting the kissing bar so high even if he was taking advantage of a sweet little innocent 18-year-old like me. At least I’ll always have a good first kiss story to tell. So make sure you cherish all those first kisses whether they’re groin-breaking or gross, because you never know which one could be your last. (I mean like before you get married… not die – sheesh!)

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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.

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3.0 The top ten reasons I’ve dumped a guy.

1. He’s clingy – super clingy. He wants to help you hang out the washing and you’re ready to wring dry his neck. He doesn’t have to do everything with you, there’s this wonderful thing called space – learn how to wash and wear it.

3. He wants to start a family, now. Did he mention now? How about right now? Does he care you want to see the Taj Mahal first and you’re not sure about your bottom looking like a large tourist attraction just quite yet? Put the pregnancy brakes on Mr Clucky or she’s sure to fly the coop.

4. He has a career that’s more important than you. Never mind the secretary, he’s more into that brightly lit Blackberry than he’ll ever be of your La Perla lingerie. Save those stockings for a guy who’s going to appreciate it – hit refresh and start the man search over again.

5. He’s bossy, he’s in charge and he thinks compromise is something for getting stains out. It’s his way or the water-level’s-set-to-high-way. He won’t listen to you, he won’t reason with you and he certainly won’t help fold the sheets. I suggest White King bleach for this one – it whitens and brightens and removes stubborn boyfriends.

6. He doesn’t peel the carrots. Seriously, have you tried unpeeled carrots? They taste rotten. It’s like licking an eight-year-old child’s hand with a side of pesticide and a sprinkle of ear wax. If you don’t want to taste what your greengrocer had for breakfast, then peel that layer of scunginess away.

7. Cleanliness – I might be from the country but that doesn’t mean I like dirty fingernails. I know plenty of truck-driver-engineer-come-what-grease-monkeys-may and they scrub up clean after a hard day’s work. All those metro-sexual man ads are true – we like it when you’re clean.

8. He’s terrible with money and/or stingy – and no we’re not talking first-date-buy-me-a-drink stingy. He blows his pay cheque on things for himself then leaves you to foot the grocery and electricity bills. Guys, learn to pull your weight and work your finances – it’s the most unattractive thing to have to baby a man’s debts.

9. He lives in bum-crack-Idaho and expects you to make the trek out to see him. Investment properties are all well and good – but if you choose to live a one-hour-and-16-minute drive out of the city and pay very little rent then expect to be spending that extra cash on coming to the inner city to see your girlfriend. Suburb snobbery? HELL yeahs.

10. Table manners. You don’t need to have done deportment and grooming with Pippa Middleton but you do need to know how to handle a knife and fork. Face near the plate and shoveling is for the Biggest Loser – not my future husband.

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