I love reading Danny Katz’s column the ‘Modern Guru’ in the Good Weekend magazine. He’s humour and sarcasm is far superior to any of my blogger wit. But I thought I’d join him in writing a response to last Saturday’s dating question about angry girlfriends, engagements and boys:
Keep your tennis shorts on honey it sounds like love. It’s not a double fault – he’s just a boy.
My brother still calls Mum to ask if my birthday is the 16th or 17th of August every year. Because, a) He can’t remember but actually cares about not looking silly and calling on the wrong day; b) It’s post GFC – pens, memory and iPhones are expensive; and c) He’s a boy.
Remembering dates and getting themselves to female-driven Facebook photo tagging events like engagement parties to them are like cushion covers – not really necessary.
On your annoyance of missing his best mates engagement, I think you’re forgetting how many of the important nights he was there for. Surely his mate’s first alcoholic stomach mishap? Surely his team’s 2003 AFL win, and the very first time he felt fake boobs?
Maybe give him the advantage – after all he does the hard jobs like killing the spiders, emptying the bins and eventually getting down on one knee.
It’s almost match point – you haven’t got long to go now.
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-
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.
“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.
Mayfair – you know – that very expensive blue part of the monopoly board neighboring the pretty Park Lane and ‘GO’ (home) which is where the Community Chest and Chance cards hell Kelly and I should have been going. But no. We were a Friday night of speed dating done and a Covent-drunken-Garden dinner down, when Kelly decided to the fancy blue part of the board we go.
You only end up in that part of town when you’re 14 wines to the red because there’s a fat-flying-foie-gra chance you’d think you could afford it in your single, sober days of sucky life. As you walk past the stacks of red Ferraris you take a moment to pretend you could so have this Sloane Square style of life.
Kelly’s Ferrari owning friends are already in Whiskey Mist – Ya huh. Even the bar names here are fake as plastic houses – no Jack Daniels Spray to be had. My wobbling ankles and slurs of ‘mini cab’ weren’t deterring the massive bouncers for a second. Kelly drops a few names and we’re waved past the glaring hordes of simpletons while I glassy eyed stare back Kelly coat checks and leads us to her champagne-full-of-fancy-friends.
I happily ‘parked’ on a couch with my flailing limbs and unco arms and watch the dancing lights reflecting in the gigantic silver champagne buckets and fobb off the overly friendly cigarette stench of a man next to me. Eventually his nicotine advances became too much and I was forced to fumblingly find Kelly on the dancefloor. The ceiling was low enough for swaying me to hold onto the ceiling beams and close my eyes and enjoy the sweet smell of non nicotine and expensive London sweat and Chandon. Then a man enveloped the small of my back, the back of my head and pulled me into him and gave me the deepest, gentle yet forceful kiss of my not-30-yet life. I pulled back, stared up at this tall, handsome-hands-on crisp white shirted Englishman (I’m guessing here as his teeth looked just fine) and promptly pulled him straight back in.
It was stupidly fun making out in Mayfair with a guy I hadn’t even eye-banged yet his tongue was down my throat, his hands were around my silver Calvin Klein dress tight as a shrunken wool glove, and I just never wanted it to end. He was my new drunken support beam, it was amazing how quickly I started to sober up.
Soon enough we getting quite wall and tongue slamming-ly outrageous enough for Kelly to comment the next day “I’ve never seen people kiss like that except in the movies” or enough Merlot and Mumm in Mayfair as myself and a complete stranger proved that night.
Kelly’s friends at this point were silently screaming and loudly pointing in stupid awe and telling Kelly to make sure I was ok. Kelly quickly spotted and joined my make-out mans friends with the buckets of Verve and investment banking wins but not before taking a tonne of snaps to pull out for our children at dinner parties in 20 years time.
Kelly urged me to get his number as those night club lights turned from dark to hang-on-who-have-been-making-out–with dim. But I argued ‘No’. It was a Whiskey-Mist moment, it was a Mayfair make out, he was just another man on that monopoly board of life.
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”.