Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Big Sweat.

I've just forked out a substantial amount of cash to spend 90 minute periods trapped in a 40 degree room smelling the sweat of other people, while forcing my body into shapes which are often painful and almost always completely unnatural. And it's not the first time I've done it, either. Yes - I am one of those people. The ones that like Bikram yoga.


For anyone who's not familiar with the concept, Bikram is a 90 minute yoga practice, done in a room with temperatures up to 40 degrees and stupidly high humidity. There are 26 postures and a couple of breathing exercises which are less attractive to watch and listen to than Brynne and Geoffery Edelsten having sex. It often leaves you feeling dizzy and/or nauseous, as well as unable to walk properly the next day. So why do it?


I was never encouraged to play sport as a child, and consequently (or so I tell myself) I'm completely useless at almost anything that requires any sort of athletic skill. I'm not good at running and my hand-eye coordination is probably equal to that of a small (armless) child or any creature that lacks opposable thumbs. Instead of playing touch footy on weekends as a kid, I always did dancing. All types, and lots of it. I cry if a ball flies too close to my head, but if you want someone to wear sequins and a glittery hat and totally nail a tap dance to La Bamba, I'm your woman. But being a bit too grown up to spend my weekends choreographing hip hop routines to Bel Biv Devoe's "Gangsta", yet preferring low impact exercise and still having some of my dancer's flexibility in tact, I guess it was inevitable I ended up doing some sort of yoga. (It's probably also down to the fact my Mum's a bit of a hippy. Well, she wears Camper shoes and believes lathering body wash gives you cancer.)


It took me awhile to get into Bikram. In my first class, I fainted. I was out cold, and had to be slapped by the teacher in order to wake up. It took me several goes before I could complete a class without lying on my back and wishing I was dead at least once.


I've dragged a couple of first timers along with me, regaling them with horror stories about the time I passed out, the time I had a fit, the time someone else had a fit, only to have the first timer breeze straight through the class, emerging calmly at the end with just an endearing pink tint to their cheeks. When I finish a class, I look like someone's pushed me into the Yarra, held my head under for several minutes, then tied me from a long piece of rope to the back of their car and circled the Tan a few times.


As well as the aforementioned downsides to the practice, there's the issues which arise thanks to other people in the class. Many of them stink. Some of them accidentally flick sweat onto you. Some make sex noises. Others sound as though they're being stabbed slowly and repeatedly in the stomach. So I often ask: why put myself through it?


First of all, for someone whose five food groups are sugar, dairy, hot chips, cider and King Island Double Brie, it's an incredible way to keep weight off. It also keeps you nice and limber and once you've been going for awhile, you can brag about being able to do the splits in the air. But mostly it's the feeling you get after finishing a class. The feeling of inner peace and the sense of accomplishment is what gets me back there time after time. I imagine it's a bit like coming back from war (you can't tell me battle memories are any worse than the flashbacks to accidentally copping an eyeful of the crotch sweat patch of a Fitzroy hippy).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The 12 Boys of Christmas.

It's that time of year again where we make resolutions we inevitably won't keep: drink less, get skinny, not shag our new housemate etc. So while considering what mine will be, I have decided to pause and reflect on the 2010 resolution I actually achieved. 


In a hungover or very possibly still drunk state early on January 1st, I decided I would date 20 men. Yep, 20 men in 2010. Obviously the primary reason for opting for 20 men was because "20 men in 2010" is catchy. The secondary reason is that I've been so complacent about having a boy in my life, I thought it was time I start taking some action lest I end up barren, drinking gin with breakfast and owning more cats (or snakes) than I do shoes. 


Of course, as the year progressed, I realised it's actually sort of hard to meet 20 guys in 12 months who you'd consider dating, even just as a one off (admittedly, given that I seem to spend most my time outside work on the 109 tram the calibre of men I meet is somewhat questionable. But if you're into junkies who like to let fellow passengers know when they "need a shit" or guys who drink cans of Woodstock and cola at 10am, ladies - that's where it's at.)


Anyway, I decided to count my one off pashes and rendezvous' into my tally and, without realising it, I not only reached my 20 men, but actually surpassed the magic number. So in the theme of Christmas, and in no particular order, I've picked out 12 of the most - and least - memorable for your reading pleasure.


1. The "I'm Just Not That Into You" guy


I started dating this one last year, and broke it off a couple of weeks into 2010. Basically, I was just never that into him. The more he liked me, the less I liked him, and it got to that point many have reached before me where I didn't even want him touching me. I think it was the fourth date that really sealed my feelings. While hanging out at the beach, the boy asked me if I liked surprises. I gave a wary, “um… I don’t know…”, and he looked at me seductively and whispered, “I shaved”. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to bed and his efforts with a razor went unappreciated.

2. The older guy


I've never dated anyone more than three years older or younger than me until this guy, who was 14 years my senior. The age gap didn't really worry me, except that the older guy was clearly not ready to commit, despite having reached the big four-oh. It didn't take me long to come to this realisation, but I stuck around for a couple of months anyway. It was an odd situation. We got along well, were attracted to each other and both used Clinique products. Seemed great to me, but I fear karma may have come to find me, because I believe if he made his own list, I might be referred to as the "I'm Just Not That Into You" girl.


3. The young guy


I'd spent the day at a music festival waiting patiently to hear from the older guy, consuming a vodka Redbull for every minute he didn't contact me. So by the time the older guy finally cancelled, I was a dangerous mix of drunk, hyperactive and rejected. This led me to accept the advances of the first boy to try something on. We kissed for a very short time before I left him with my friend and disappeared into the night (or as most people call it, Swanston street McDonalds), but my friend felt it incumbent to hand over my number. So we exchanged a few texts, I agreed to catch up with him at a later date, and he added me on Facebook. You can imagine my dismay to find he was 22, had a penchant for "checking in" on Facebook places (not only is this one of my top pet hates, but he was usually checking into La Trobe University), and in his photos he looked disturbingly like Kieran Culkin. At the age he immortalised the character of "Fuller" in Home Alone. I left his last text unreturned.


4. The other young guy


I went out on a crazy girl's night a few months ago, and we ended up at Retro Bar. For anyone who's not been there, just picture a high school dance party, except with... actually no, just picture a high school dance party. So my friends and I decided to impart some of our dancefloor wisdom on a couple of young guys from Cairns, including our signature moves, The Coathanger and Chop the Sushi. We then got kicked out (seriously, what's the problem with nine drunk girls kicking off the wall, running at high speed and doing stacks on?) and I somehow found myself in a cab with one of the Cairns guys. In the light of the following morning, it was painfully clear the Cairns guy was several years younger than me, but luckily, he was a winner anyway. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror (uh oh! Panda eyes!) I commented, "that is NOT a pretty face", to which he replied, "I beg to differ." Bless.


5. The boring guy


I met a guy at a gig. It was very late, I was very drunk, and for some reason, I gave him my number, not troubling to save his details in my phone. I then accepted an invitation to have breakfast the next day. I turned up not knowing his name or what he looked like, and was bitterly disappointed. He was nice and he meant well, but he was what my friends and I lovingly refer to as  a "P" (a personality minus). In our one-hour date the only interests he discussed with me were fishing and working in real estate, both in great detail. Given that I've never done either of those things, the conversation was hard work and painfully slow. I'd liken it to recovering from major surgery.


6. The babe


There are a couple of babes that live near me. Massive babes. Such babes, we refer to them as "the babes". Anyway, after weeks of flirting, I hooked up with one of the babes and was pleasantly surprised. But then.. actually, just refer back to my first blog entry ("Oh what an interesting morning..") to find out the fate of the babe.


7. The brother


It almost pains me to write about this one. The brother of one of my best friends came to Melbourne for work for a few weeks. It was one of those situations people with boyfriends always talk about (and I always roll my eyes at): "You'll meet someone when you least expect it." In this case, I opened the door of my flat one night and he was standing there with two longnecks. He was just beautiful. I fell in love with him in about 10 minutes. We hooked up (if you don't believe me, check out the first July issue of Inpress where there's a photo of us pashing on the dancefloor of Purple Sneakers) and then I turned into a mental case. I sobbed hysterically because I saw a photo of his ex girlfriend in Who and then cried again because he didn't write back to a witty text I sent him about plastic chairs. When he left after the six weeks, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, quickly got my personality back and went back to being sane.


8. The friend's ex boyfriend


I'd met this guy briefly a couple of times when he was with a friend of mine. I'd heard stories which made me suspect he was slightly psychotic and obviously he was my friend's ex, so when he started making moves on me I was very wary and tried to ward him off. Eventually he kissed me, and when I stopped him and gave him the old, "we shouldn't be doing this, you went out with my friend" spiel, he became seriously pissed off. He began pacing the room calling my friend a slut, and yelled indignantly, "do you know she's sleeping with *insert mutual friend's name here*?!" Given they'd been broken up for two years, I thought this was an excessive reaction. I managed to escape unharmed.


9. The colleague


The weekend before I started my new job, a guy I was to work with kindly invited me to his party so I could meet a few people before my first day. I took this as an opportunity not only to meet people, but also to make out with someone, only to realise later he was part of the same team I was on and we'd spend a large portion of our working day staring at each other through plate glass (in a much less creepy way than it sounds).


10. The guy I can't remember


My male friends from uni have a tradition they call Manzac Day. As the name suggests, it's boys only and it happens on Anzac Day. They suit up, hit the dawn service, get stupidly drunk and do things like Flaming Manginas before passing out at 7. This year, us girls decided to do Clamzac Day. Gross, but hilarious. So we pooled together our best vodka, schnapps, champagne, fruit juice, energy drink, Berocca capsules and cask wine, filled up a bottle the size of a rainwater tank, and drank it. Quickly. Some of us vomited before leaving the house. Others - myself included - don't actually remember LEAVING the house. So you can imagine my shock when I woke up on a couch (fully clothed), next to a stranger, with a row of canoes hanging over my head. A very handsome boy had for some reason or another decided it'd be fun to break into a boat shed on Sydney's northern beaches and spend the night there, with no covers and no toilet. One $47 cab ride later, I was home pretending the whole thing never happened.


11. The guy dressed like Edward Scissorhands


For my birthday, a friend and I had a combined party at her place. The theme was 90s, and I looked much like the lovechild of DJ Tanner and Andrea Zuckerman, complete with New Kids on the Block t-shirt, high waisted orange jeans and a Fiorelli mini backpack. About halfway through the evening, I threw a completely rational and warranted tantrum because a guy I'd once liked casually placed his arm around the back of a chair my friend was sitting on. So my friend chased me around the party trying to talk to me and wouldn't leave me alone. Again, being totally rational, I decided my only course of action was to start making out with someone so she would let me get on with my night, so I grabbed my friend's Argentinian housemate who happened to be dressed like Edward Scissorhands and kissed him. Unfortunately, my seamless plan wasn't so seamless. My friend stood there until I was done, then dragged me into a corner to bear hug me until I talked and consequently a girl at the party thought the three of us were in a "lesbian love triangle".


12. The married guy


Before you get all judgey, HE'S SEPARATED! I met him through a friend and I remember my first thought being "uh oh". We clicked straight away, and when I ran into him a couple of months later we clicked again and ended up kissing. He called me a few days later to explain he wasn't ready for anything (understandably) but wanted to call to apologise for any standoffishness, telling me I was a nice girl and he didn't want to mess me around. That phone call, though obviously a phone call of termination, was one of the nicest and most respectful conversations I have ever had with a man. He was lovely, considerate and surprisingly honest - and made up for every shitty boy-related situation I have had this year.


So now to decide what my 2011 resolution should be. I've quit smoking, pashed enough boys to last until the next millennium and there's nothing really relevant to my life goals which rhymes with eleven. 


I'll get back to you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things I learnt today.

Today everyone in our office attended a work summit. It was a chance to meet our new group programming director, go through some of the changes that've been happening across the network of late and really reinforce the company values.

Among the issues we covered, here are some of the crucial things we learnt:
  • what our company mascot's bum looks like
  • that our company mascot has a hacking smokers cough
  • war pictures become funny if you superimpose our company mascot into them
  • everyone that works here enjoys using the word "fuck". Loudly.
  • one of our bosses got kicked out of Hungry Jacks last Friday night after the Sydney Christmas party
  • one of our staff members used to travel on what she called a "flash bus" (where she and her friends flashed their boobs at pedestrians)
  • if you yell "show us your tits!" at our CEO she doesn't get offended
  • our national marketing manager is a babe
  • the babe uses the term "fecal accident"
  • our general manager has exceptionally good aim when hurling a choc top long distance
  • NO ONE can eat a choc top in the dark and not walk away without half of it on their clothes
  • Wippa thinks it's funny to pour water on his newsreader's head. It's not.
  • photos of pregnant men shaving, twins in parachute tracksuits and multi coloured poodles really enhance a powerpoint presentation
I have never been more sure of my choice to move to this network.

In the house.

I'm looking for a new housemate, and let's be honest: it's not a fun activity. I'd probably put it near the top of my Top 10 Least Favourite Things To Do list (probably above getting a needle, but certainly below buying Canesten). The whole process has, however, given me cause to pause and reflect on some of my favourite living arrangements and those moments in sharehousing we'd probably rather forget.

My first sharehouse was a huge, gorgeous house which I lived in with three girls at the bargain basement price of $55 a week (thank you, early naughties Bathurst). We had a big backyard, a spa, our own rosemary and some unfortunate plumbing.

One day, on her way to hang out washing, one of my housemates noticed a troubling sight in the pavement out the back. A couple of bricks had been forced out of the ground to make way for everything that had - how should I put this? - passed through us that week. We named the area the "poo hole" and while it was fixed we had to spend a week showering at the gym and/or demonstrating some questionable personal hygiene, learning one of life's invaluable lessons: never, EVER, flush a tampon.

I think it's fair to say that every sharehouser goes through a pest problem, and I've dealt with pretty much all of them. Mice, weavels, cockroaches and bed bugs that left me with welts and spots of blood on my sheets. I would think most of us have had the misfortune to walk in on, or at the very least overhear, a housemate's sexual exploits. And I'd say a pretty big chunk of us have ended up with a bizarre roomie at some point.

Mine was an Irish dude by the name of James. I moved into his flat in Dublin. He seemed like an alright guy: kind of shy, beautiful lilting accent and an uncanny resemblance to Damien Leith. And indeed he was pretty decent and ended up being a bit like a big brother. But he was exceptionally odd, for a few reasons.

First up, he had a secret girlfriend. I didn't find out about her for four months, and in the year that I lived in that place, I never once met her or heard him mention her name. I knew she existed because his friends and my other housemates told me about her and there was a card in his room marking their one-year anniversary (found entirely by accident in the back of his cupboard). Plus, she'd come and stay entire weekends at our place, so I'd see her handbag on the table, and I once heard her have an impressive sounding orgasm, but we never once came face to face.

James used to let me use his laptop and one day when I went to use the net, the browser opened on adultfriendfinder.com. So my other housemates and I did what any polite, respectful housemates would do, and set up our own profile so we could search for and contact him. We found that in spite of having an alleged long term girlfriend, James was up for a bit of "funnnnnnnnnn... :)" as he called it. Which, judging by a few marked mid-week absences, he didn't have trouble finding.

James was also in the habit of sleepwalking after a night on the scotch, which none of my housemates thought I needed to be warned about. So you can imagine my surprise/terror when I awoke to find him standing in my doorway in nothing but a pair of white jocks staring at me in a manner not dissimilar to the kid in the Exorcist, flicking my light switch on and off menacingly. Luckily, James only drank scotch once or twice a week.


One can only hope I end up with someone as special as him this time around.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A tale of two cities

For the last two and a half years, I've been torn between two lovers. One overwhelmingly handsome, familiar and associated with hundreds of happy memories; the other cultured, exciting and almost too trendy for its own good. Their names are Sydney and Melbourne.

When I first started thinking about moving from the harbour city south of the border, I flew down for a long weekend to check it out. While I was here, I started a Sydney vs Melbourne list. Of course, there were the obvious: Sydney scored points for weather, beaches and the fact Jason Dundas lives there, while Melbourne won out when it came to cool cafes and bars, the relaxed pace and the availability of $4 pizzas.

Some of my points were dished out for reasons a bit less obvious but no less important. I deducted a point from Melbourne because "city loop" isn't as catchy as "city circle", handed out five points because a 13-year-old hipster on pills agreed to perform the Melbourne Shuffle for me on the train, and took away the same amount of points after seeing a druggo try to steal someone's iPod before unceremoniously wetting her pants and having to be carried away in the same manner Marissa Cooper famously left the OC.

It took me awhile to settle into the Bourne. I made friends immediately, found a pimping beachside art deco flat in St Kilda and discovered Sunday sessions at the Espy, but it took awhile to feel at home. (Admittedly, this may be because all my perceptions of Melbourne were based on the first three series' of The Secret Life of Us and I had expected I'd immediately become enmeshed in a social circle that included Claudia Karvan and be seduced by a sexy, long haired, pot smoking landscape gardener.) However, with a new place north of the river, a new job which allows me to sleep til 10.30 and a newfound group of seriously awesome and exceptionally good looking friends, I'm officially in love with this city (and though I still ride a bike with gears and refuse to listen to Nick Cave, I think I fit in pretty well).

Then there's Sydney. It's where my family is, as well as the bulk of my best friends, and, despite what Melbournians say - it. is. RAD. It's sunny, it's beautiful and Brynne Edelston's not there.

So after a stellar weekend of ciders in Centennial Park, vodkas with fresh apple juice at Shady Pines, swims at Clovelly and pub-cha at the Annandale, I am in the midst of the mandatory week of inner turmoil I suffer after every visit. Inevitably, by 4pm Friday I'll be back in I Heart Melbourne mode.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Melbourne is small. Nay, tiny.

A few weeks ago, I met a guy at the pub. I'd spent the afternoon generously helping organisers at the Cox Plate dispose of a heap of champagne they wanted to get rid of, and so gave the guy my number without a second thought. We met up a couple of nights later for dinner and a few beers, made out for awhile, had an okay but not amazing time, and neither of us contacted each other again.
A couple of weeks later, I went to a friend's gig. A very handsome, very newly single male friend of hers who I'd always had a bit of a crush on was there. I've already noted in this entry how charitable I am, selflessly consuming flutes full of champagne as to save races bar staff from having to lug full bottles about at the end of the day, and in another act of monumental generosity, I suggested the hot friend just stay at my place rather than waste his hard earned money on a cab to a suburb which was pretty much the same distance as mine from where we were. Like I said - generous.

So on Saturday night, I walked into a party to find both the boys there. Not only at the same party, but actually involved in conversation.

Yep. Turns out they go waaaaay back. Childhood friends. In fact, Bachelor #1 even informed me that Bachelor #2 had stayed at his house the previous night. (I refrained from pointing out that he'd stayed at my house the previous week, though I of course internally noted and appreciated the irony.) I think the high point of the evening was when I later saw them chatting at the bar and looking in my direction, while being served by a guy I had a fling with last June. Not joking.

Sometimes I feel like I'm a character in Offspring. Not in a good way.

Oh, what an interesting morning

So the other morning I discovered first hand the absolute worst place to run into someone you sort of like.

The pool.

Firstly, you're almost certain to be clad in lycra (and not much else). If you're a girl, it's likely to be a fairly high cut number and unforgiving to any bikini line unkemptness, uneven tan lines or unseemly rolls of fat that might have developed over the course of three successive large weekends and the misfortune of living a block from McDonalds. And if you've just finished your laps, you've probably got some extreme red marks from your $12 Target goggles and the muscleback one-piece you're wearing probably does little to flatter your Libby Trickett sized shoulders.

All you can hope for is to be the one who first notices the presence of the other, so as to have the power to retreat without notice, but also the chance to check out the body of said crush and, of course, judge their choice of swimwear.

My first instinct was, obviously, to run far, far away as fast as my bare legs would carry me. But given said crush has the painfully irritating habit of taking up to 48 hours to respond to a text message, and I was about 18 hours into the response period, I decided to use my position of power and approach and confront him over aforementioned lack of text etiquette. Thankfully, I had the foresight to strategically place sunglasses over horrendous goggle marks and casually drape a towel over my hips/love handles.

I won't go into the details of the exchange - there were a few dramatic phrases bandied about, such as referring to "digging oneself into a hole" (him), talk of "wanting to pursue something but not wanting to mess anyone around" (him), referring to oneself as a "dick" (him), and ending with a conclusive response which was essentially a slightly longer winded and more senstive version of "neeeeeext!" (me).

I might have felt sad were it not for noticing his very minimal swimwear had "Speedo" written across the bum in multi coloured font which, through fading, appeared to say "pedo".