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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1.2 That moment you realise… this isn’t going to work.

First date with the Welshman and he belts out “I’m sending my kids to boarding school at age five.” A wide-eyed smile was all I could manage thinking, “Christ! He’s got bad teeth”.

It’s that moment five minutes in, or five years on (in a relationship) when you huge-sigh-of-relief-realise: This isn’t going to work.

A pint and a Piccadilly Circus later I was home and could later play the ‘I’m not ready for a relationship’ card. Because I wasn’t sure how “I’m not sending my un-born children to boarding school” was really going to come off. And boy did he got annoyed with me – he actually wrote back a horrible message, then apologised the following morning asking if I still wanted to hang out and be friends. Yeah… nah.

His other favourite topic was bagging out his family – which, oh look everyone’s got a creepy uncle and a sibling that won’t shut up but, I LOVE my Mum and Dad, I talk to them a lot and I talk about them a lot. There’s nothing better than waking up to one hundred and forty three FB notifications on a Tuesday morning from Mum; “Lorenza that dress is a bit short! And who is that man you’re sitting on?!! He looks lovely!???”

So the Welshman wants to send his kids to boarding school at age five because you guessed it – HE went to boarding school at age five. Well now, that makes complete sense Welshy. When I was five I put water on my pasta because it was too hot to eat – doesn’t mean it was right does it. It was disgusting I tell you. Mum wrote to Readers Digest about that – Thanks Mum.

I can rant all I want about boarding school because I went there (only for a year because I screamed blue murder till I came home). It didn’t give me much more than a bullied, butchered self-esteem and a slight ‘dumb’ complex being compared to smarter siblings. Oh and how to menstruate with four hundred other women at the exact, same, time. Eww, gross.

Though at age twelve as a growing-breasts-overnight-monster it did teach me one valuable lesson. ‘You can last at anything a year’. It helped my first year living overseas. I’d chant “You survived boarding school a year, you can survive London a year!” Fist-pump the air and continue crying over Westminster Bridge. Oh look, London wasn’t that bad, this only went on the first eight months.

Back to Welshy – I know I know! I’m putting the cart before the horse, I don’t even know if this guy has nut allergies and I’m thinking, babies? It’s not about that though! If they’re serious arguments we want to have already, how is that ever going to change? It won’t. And besides I want to fight about who’s emptying the dishwasher, why papaw is spelt wrong on that stupid red tube and what year the word ‘ginormous’ was invented. (How many ladies just checked the Lucas Papaw in their bag?)

For me my ‘five year’ moment, well ‘three year moment’ was a relationship that was arguments and fighting over every aspect of the way we were living. I came to the stark realisation to throw a mortgage or child into that mix would be unfair to the both of us, so sadly the relationship ended. Also he didn’t peel carrots, who doesn’t peel the carrots?!

With the Welshman I knew it wasn’t going to work so I did what anyone with half a brain or heart would do. I ended it. I try to make sure a guy has similar values, morals and ideas about life, before even entertaining the thought of a relationship. Because if you don’t have that in common, then all you’ve got to look forward to is fights, divorce and really bad teeth.

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1.1 Holding out for head over heels.

“You only fall in love once the way we did. It doesn’t happen again. Now we just have to find someone, be with them and get used to them.”

This statement from my first ex-boyfriend has plagued me for years and if he’s reading this now or reading it some time later he’ll most likely say that’s not what he said and I heard it all wrong. Not speaking from experience or anything. And this wasn’t a post breakup emotional let’s say things to hurt each other discussion. This was we’ve-dated-other-people-moved-states-my-cat-died-sorry-to-hear-that four years later catch-up.

So let me get this straight: you only ‘fall in love’ once or maybe never then it’s stop looking for Mr Perfect and find Mr Oh-He-Should-Do – Sorry what?

I did believe him for a few years or so. Because the thing is, I hadn’t felt the same way or the same intoxication for someone again either. Was this really it for life, only having one chance at love? Sounds like some terrible Tom Cruise lamb roast 80’s movie to me. So I stopped believing it that very second. I got my love pom poms out and went back to thinking ridiculous crushes, tweeting birds and all that fairytale godmother business from Cinderella. By ugly step-sister or high towers I was going to hold out for my Prince Charming.

Is it a grown up conclusion that it’s simply ‘too hard’ to find someone to fall head-over-Prada-heels for? Easier to find one that will look good on those protein built arm for functions or one that earns enough to put the kids through private school. How many out there are finding a ‘match for beauty and money’ rather than looking to fall in love? I bet my bottom-shitty-school-dollar a whole damn lot. My love pom poms look sad.

Is first love all it’s cracked up to be? For me, yes. We were at uni, we were inseparable, we did everything together, maybe a little too much of everything. But who cares when you’re that in love. I didn’t really know who I was without him around. Do you want chips with that? I don’t know… does he want chips with that? I was unaware I was becoming less Lorenza every day and so rose-tinted-glasses-happy, I didn’t care. Hard to believe isn’t it? A-loved-up-Lorenza when all you hear these days are tears over men I drunkenly removed on FB because they didn’t text back after three days.

Anyway I did fall hopelessly in love again, maybe a little too hopelessly. I wanted to call up my first love and scream down the telephone “It happened, it happened again, you were wrong!” and do a happy, little, phone dance. But I wasn’t sure A) he wanted to hear it or B) he needed to hear it. So I went with C) and just shouted from the rooftops of Outlook to every contact I had. Alas sadly this story had a heart-wrenching ending too.

But still, I’ll hold hard and fast to this rule. I will always prefer to fall in love and fall hard. To maybe end up so broken hearted there’s not enough Baskin Robbins and vanilla vodka to fill the emptiness inside of me. I’d do that any day than go through life wearing a love-safety-harness and grow old with that someone special I’ve grown ‘used to’.

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0.9 You’re pretty and smart – so why don’t you have a boyfriend?

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, why don’t I have a boyfriend…?”

For singles sake, if there was a mirror at IKEA that could tell me why – I’d buy it. I’d buy ten and put them on eBay and make a metric tonne of women happy.

You see, I can’t buy a boyfriend at the supermarket who comes with an understanding of Lorenza humour (odd at the best of times), who can deal with high level Instagram addiction, along with a love-and-fat-hate relationship with salt & vinegar chips and tells me I look beautiful every day. Though gosh, I wish I could.

My polite answer to this question is usually a smile and an “I don’t know…” and sashay away. This happens a lot at weddings so sashaying is a totally acceptable conversation exit. What answer were they looking for? “Oh I’m actually a total fruitcake and I see my restraining orders as a declaration of my love to men rather than a way to jail, don’t you think?” Crazy eyes. Tumbleweed. Run.

For awhile there I had a brilliant excuse with a whole lot of truth to it. I was travelling and before that I was ‘on my way home’ from London so no time for “So when does your visa end?” dating. I was a woman on a mission and no man was getting in my way. I didn’t want some Romeo to trip me up and stuff my five months of European summer. And anyone traveling on your own for that long – take your partner or put them out of their cheating worry now and break up with them. I’ve seen enough Euro cheating thank you.

Usually I get by thinking, well, Megan Gale she’s single (well she was there for a bit) and Jennifer Anniston she’s single (well she was there for a bit too) hang on, this theory is shithouse. Ok, so secondary thinking being, I have plenty of gorgeous girlfriends in the same single-sail-boat with me. They’re prettier, smarter, more successful than me and still can’t find someone to open the door for them. At least we can drown our sorrows together and ask “Where did all the good ones go?” look around at all those wedding bands and nod in agreement, did we leave it too late?

I take my single self home and remind myself the proverb my Nonna (Grandmother) used to say (whom I never met but Mum has positively passed down) “The bread that’s meant for you, no-one else will eat.”* to which my brother loudly rejected with “Well, mine’s not even dough yet”. Pity I don’t eat bread but I’ll cling to the Bakers Delight delusion till my gluten free, seven grain, slice is pulled from the oven.

I hold out hope a good one has broken up, been waiting in the wings, sorting his shit out and will fall from the sky into my red wine lap at the most opportune time and be so blissfully happy he’s also found a lovely available girl and we’ll live happily ever after. Life isn’t a fairytale Lorenza.

Do guys get these questions? Ok maybe a similar variety of “When are you settling down?” and they can laugh it off and say “When George Clooney does, HAha!”. I think it’s more socially acceptable for men to be gallivanting around, sowing their Sail-Croatia-seeds and having a Bavarian flat-out-ball. But women, oh no, if we’re not ‘with someone’ and it’s been a few years now, well we must be cat-lady-flipping-mad.

Some days I do feel a little bit like I’m missing out, whilst slugging away replacing blown light bulbs and watching couples eat brunch and hold hands. And yes that’s nice and all but I’d prefer to be on my own than with someone I’m 65% in-like-with. I need a 95-104% likeability to want to hold hands or share poached eggs, because if that’s not there, aren’t I just wasting my pretty face, smart brained time?

So, I hear you asking what am I trying to say with all of this? I’m dishing out excuses and reasons like I’m on anti-crazy pills and covering it up. Swear I’m Pfizer-not. There’s a bunch of reasons we don’t have boyfriends whether it be timing, chemistry or suitcases of issues we still need to work through.

When it comes to finding a boyfriend it’s hard sometimes, for even the smartest and prettiest of them all.

*I had Nonna’s saying slightly wrong – thanks for the update Mum.

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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.

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