4.0 Birthdays and breakups.

“Oh is it your birthday?” The excitable receptionist asked me before looking up and seeing my tear sodden, puffy red face. “No it’s not…” I half wailed and half sobbed at her. Highly doubt she’ll be asking that again before checking the tear-o-meter for someone collecting flowers from her reception desk.

She stared at me with her hands mid air clearly forgetting whatever she was doing – while I opened the card with a teensie bit of hope they were from him. Alas it was my friend Georgia (thank you Georgia) the flowers were so pink, girly, huge and beautiful it made me wail even more.

I carried the flowers back to the lift to head to level 4 and thought ‘Oh great now I have to face people at work asking who they’re from’. I sobbed that 4 seconds of lift ride, pulled my shit together best I could, hugged the humongous bunch of flowers to my chest and walked back in.

Break up’s really suck.*

I should really write a thank you note to everyone on my floor that day who had to endure my frequent sobbing, teary ranting and frequent trips to the toilet to wipe the long gone makeup from my face. A thank you to the ladies who hugged me – who for the most part I didn’t even know. I guess when you see a crying girl at work you think – Ohh breakup or a death. They’re not that much different though are they?

Since I’ve been living back in Melbourne (a year now) I’ve felt like trying to reconnect with all my friends has left me feeling a bit ‘patchy’. Let me explain – It’s like I’ve got friends all over the place and sometimes the ones I reallllllllly want to talk to are asleep in London or in important work meetings 5 minutes down the road.

I guess the loveliest thing to come from this break up is I realised I’ve got the most amazing, supportive network of friends that I hadn’t quite come full circle on and appreciated since being back home. There’s nothing patchy about them at all.

So thank you. You’re all amazing. From Chicago to Acton, from Bourke Street to Mt Lawley – a break up really shows you the friends from the trees. That totally made sense.

My housemates gave me red wine and reassurance and really let me wail and babble at them for hours. Thanks housemates. No-one could wish for more babaghanoush and giving from guys like you.

Breakups really do suck. But I’ve re-discovered my friends again to those who will listen and bitch with you at 2AM, to buying you the biggest packet of corn chips to go with red wine you’ve ever seen. To filling you with long blacks till the tears tame to a trickle, to giving you hugs like you want from your parents but they live too far away. To sending you messages once they figured out your cryptic Instagram hash-tags to telling you what you really need to hear more than anything is that ‘everything is going to be ok’.

 

*All things must have a happy ending though – we’re not broken up anymore.

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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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3.0 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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2.5 Date a guy who…

Date a guy who remembers your friend’s names and the things you babble about them that have no significance to him whatsoever. Even if that means three different Lauren’s and two Michelle’s, ohh hang on… maybe that makes things easier.

Date a guy who doesn’t care you have spots on your face that are currently destroying your life and your ability to go out in public or face the checkout girl and says you’re still pretty and doesn’t stare at them like everyone else.

Date a guy who sees you have potential for something and gently suggests you have a go at it without being pushy and boosts your confidence in a non ‘hmm is he just saying this to be nice way?’ And maintains support even if you’re really crap at it.

Date a guy who buys you a new scarf when you’ve lost your favourite one and are still pining for it holes and all calling cab companies asking if they’ve seen it three weeks later and are a little worried how attached you’ve became to something so grey and long.

Date a guy who books you a stupidly expensive flight to see him even though you’ll only see him for seventeen hours and at least six of them you’ll be asleep and you if you had enough cash you’d be doing the exact same thing.

Date a guy who gives you cuddles when you have a disgusting head cold and the molten lava spewing forth from your face is enough to make even your Mum throw tissues at you and calmly go back to watching Days of Our Lives.

Date a guy who comes to the hospital straight after he gets off a flight and asks the reception desk three times till he gets to see you AND brings you salt and vinegar chips.

Date a guy who knows by one look, you want to go, you’ve had enough gin, your friend is boring the beejeebus out of you, or uTorrent is complete and you need to watch Games of Thrones NOW.

Date a guy who can cook. Not just heat up pasta sauce and boil some water cook. I mean he can actually cook really good meals with ingredients you can’t even pronounce the names of. (Stop eating them, you’re getting fat)

Date a guy who doesn’t think you’re weird – even if 94.6% of the other guys you’ve dated have said you’re weird and maybe you are.

Date a guy who doesn’t make fun of your sequined slippers or you love affair for Pantone paraphernalia and won’t poke fun of anything he knows you like anyway because he knows that’s a douchy thing to do.

Date a guy who will be supportive through shitty times for you. Whether that’s unemployment, losing friends or your twenty eight day emotional hide the china mood swings.

Date a guy who’s eager to make future plans with you without getting all weirded out and doesn’t flinch when making plans to book a holiday months in advance.

Date a guy who will talk through a fight like a mature adult and not stomp off to his man cave immediately or fight with low emotional blows that aim to hurt you or win the argument.

Date a guy who Skypes you from Fiji – not to gloat (you hope) but to see your face because he’s tired of his plunge pool, palm trees and pina coladas.

Date a guy who can calm you down, hold your hand and reassure you everything’s going to be fine when you’re utterly flipping out over missing a flight, a leg, or an iPhone.

Date a guy who offers to help when you’re fumbling with jacket, handbag and flailing like the independent woman you are refusing it while you find that ringing phone.

Date a guy who isn’t… imaginary.

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