4.1 I could never date a guy who…

A guy who thinks baked beans on toast makes an acceptable brunch. No Melbourne-freaking-way. Brunch requires pancetta and egg poaching, and a guy who doesn’t get this will probably take on everything else in life with lackluster imagination. Think I’m being ridiculous? You can tell a lot about a guy by what he wants to eat, and by that I mean.. umm nevermind.

A guy who can’t iron a shirt, change a light bulb, put together a table – you know what I mean. It’s cute the first frowny half smile he gives when he’s running late for work and looking at the iron board like it’s a giant-sized tampon. But the effect wears off after a few mornings of sidelining hair washing for his wrinkles of lazy cotton.

A guy who wears a salmon pink polo shirt to the pub and thinks the ladies will love it. It’s not ‘salmon’ buddy – It’s a shade of Barbie pink left out of the fridge that’s gone bad. Stop it Ken, your T-shirt-with-matching-convertible choice is drunk, go home.

A guy who freaks out and won’t deal with you when you’re sick. Whether you’re a snot fest, a Bali belly or that 28-day punch in the ovaries. You need someone who’s going to take the good with the bad and realise when he’s coming down with the man flu he’ll get the same chicken soup and Vicks vapour rubs in return.

A guy who’s obsessed with his body and what he’s putting in it. If he needs it cooked in organic butter with grain-fed baby lamb and broccoli grown in his fairy godmother’s garden with pesticide-free unicorn dust, then he can get it himself. Ease up on the heath nut spread and eat some preservatives and red colouring – you might be a lot more fun.

A guy who’s not into his family at all. We’re all allowed to have a personality clash with a sibling or crazy cousin. But if he’s dissing his Dad and calling kids ‘little shits’ – unless they’ve stomped on his foot and run away – then he might need some mummy issues therapy before starting anything with me.

A guy who doesn’t eat salami or pasta. Get out of my kitchen and don’t let the pasta maker hit you on the way out. If you can’t roll gnocchi off a fork and take the heat of spicy salami on a stick, then you’re not going to understand my passion and crazy for fettuccine and deli bacon goods. I suggest you date a girl who comes in the colour beige.

A guy who won’t sing karaoke, or drink wine out of a bottle on the street – whaaat? – or do 14 Jager shots and dance on a podium at Spice Market. You want a guy who’s not scared to act like an idiot and not be worried what everyone thinks. If he’s not going to let his perfectly coiffed hair down every Friday night then he’s only going to be embarrassed by Beyonce-singing me.

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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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3.1 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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2.6 Be careful – friends, they’re everywhere.

My Dad always told me, “You’ll never make as good friends as you did when you were in high school.” Well, I beg to differ Dad. At high school I was the weird, Triple j loving, dying my hair black, can everyone leave me alone please, what-everyone-was-before-emo teen who wasn’t exactly rolling high in the friend stakes.

I grew up in the country and moved to the big smoke – cough, Perth – at 17 and I had to make new friends. It was a make or break-wine-bottles-on-your-own type thing and I ended up at a male-dominated tertiary college with the strangest smattering of dudes and dudey-type girls who wore corduroy pants for friends. Never mind that, country kids work with what they’ve got.

Then came the Melbourne shift – paging Teknoscape (our all important Perth dance music discussion forum) and any other drum and bass brave soul who’d made the move from Perth. Luckily through those drunk chats at Heat nightclub I’d found at least one girlfriend to do tequila shots with and lose in Brown Alley. (No really, there is a Brown Alley in this city – no innuendos there.) Then came a break-up in a city where I knew no one and it was my colleagues who stepped up. Well, I forced them to be my friendlings and listen to my West Coast whinging: “Where the hell do I buy Redken in this city? And what is the point of hook turns besides a t-bone car crash? And we call them lacky bands and placky bags and it’s polony not devon! You Melbourne morons.” Just kidding muffin-top-Melbourne, and I love your fluoro green tram handles.

So I’d made a nice little niche of friends in Melbourne and what did I do? I threw them all out the tram window to live to a city I’d never been to. Go Team London. I lived with, worked with, shared copious Tim tam tears with and patted drunk hair with some of my now closest and most amazing friends in that miserable, grey excuse for such a fantastic city.

Sarah and poor Gordon were all too familiar with me still in last night’s dress and sms-ing them while screaming down the three flights of London sharehouse stairs to tell them about my night and boys and desire for greasy bacon. I would never have bumped into these guys twice living in Aus but living under our same fox-intruding, fake-rat-hiding, bottles-of-wine-consuming, Hutch roof, these friendships were made to last. (Yes, the housemate in the loft was really called Hutch)

I have friends, and I’m on the outskirts of girls who have known their friends since high school, and sometimes I am zapped with a teenie bit of jealousy when I see their matching necklaces and them being bridesmaid after bridesmaid at all their weddings and wonder… What would that really be like? I’ve never had the option and telling me that my only friends have to be the ones from high school is like telling me I can only have the iPhone3 for the rest of my life. No.

I love the friends I’ve met and made since leaving high school – the array of backgrounds, the crazy, and the countries they come from and the fact we get along better than a Facebook and a stalk makes me glad I didn’t take Dad’s words to be final. But to those I met in my Beeverloop-shirt-wearing days, I love that we can catch up 17 years on and pretend that vomiting in your backyard after the school ball never happened.

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