New City, No Idea

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Yesterday I found myself doing a bloody hook turn. I’d managed to avoid it since arriving in Melbourne but realised it was either do the hook turn or end up back over the Yarra. Snailing it down Collins Street looking for an alternative, I forced myself to quickly take in how other more adventurous drivers were negotiating this mysterious Melbourne-only traffic phenomenon. In the space of 1.5 minutes, I gathered enough knowledge and courage to phone my friend, plant myself in the left hand lane and scream down the phone at her, “I’M DOING A BLOODY HOOK TURN!!! SHIT SHIT SHIIIIIITTTTT!” I also managed to explain to her that since I was picking her up from Southern Cross Station, it was all her fault.

You’d be excused for thinking that I’d been living under a rock for the entirety of my adult existence.

It seems that I really hate being the new kid. Over the years, when finding myself in a new city, I’ve relied on my dramatic skills to create an air of casual composure. The goal is for others to assume I am well-accustomed to my environment because, god forbid, I might look awkward. Yes, hello. Too late. Apparently everything about me screams awkward. I’m yet to pass effortlessly through a turnstile or a revolving door.

BITCH GYM

So, I’ve joined the kind of gym that inner city living demands. I can walk there (I drive of course). Most members are models – both gay and straight. The women wear their hair in the top knot style that reminds viewers that when released, the hair will flow in barrel curls across one’s shoulders.

The outfits. Can we just talk briefly about active wear?? I’m not going to go down the well worn path of its overuse. But since when is going to exercise an opportunity for bold, bloody fashion statements? I’m half tempted to rock up in a g-string leotard, leg warmers and Reebok high tops – but I’m scared it would actually catch on. Again.

It’s the kind of gym that is frequented by people who name the days of the week by body parts. Leg day. Arm day. I feel like we could skip that and just name them using phrases like Guilt Day, Fat Day, Pre-menstrual Day and I’m Paid in Advance So I May As Well Go Day.

I’ve done Pilates in Singapore for three years now and I used to consider myself a lazy intermediate. This is defined as having full awareness of how Pilates generally works, knowing how to set up the machine, not falling off the machine and finally, by being able to attempt something that is terrifyingly (and accurately) known as the Russian Splits.

But now that I’m in a Melbourne gym with all of these Bellas and Michaelas and Brookes, every ounce of skill and confidence has left me. I can’t seem to set up the machine without asking for help. Nobody smiles at anyone and nobody, absolutely nobody, asks questions. The instructor is miked because of course there are 30 or so reformer machines in the room and she doesn’t want to have to yell. I feel like I missed the part where I’m supposed to be enjoying it. It is truly the most intimidating part of my week. And I think it’s because I’m new. I just hate not knowing how to do stuff. I hate looking clueless. I’m ashamed of my own ignorance.

TRAM TRIALS

Love the tram. It’s right outside my door and has me in the city in ten quick minutes. But every time I board one, I’m phone in hand attempting to work out connections, places, routes and times. I’m basically living app to app here. With all of this going on, I don’t need to be stressing about how to warn the driver I need to get off.

Two weeks ago I was on my way to visit some friends. Two trams. One simple connection. Much fluster. I found myself in a deep and meaningful comparison of Melbourne and Sydney with a concerned looking meth user who seemed to take pity on my lack of composure. Disappointingly though he didn’t seem to think it necessary to stop me from pushing the emergency button instead of pulling the cord to alert the driver of my need to disembark. Fortunately the emergency button did indeed get the driver’s attention and with eyes rolling and much sighing, he let me off the tram.

So it seems I’m destined to be a bit of a dork for a while. I think the phrase someone used the other day was ‘not yet established’. I’m not yet established in my new city. Apart from wearing a lot of black and ankle boots, I’m not sure what else I can do until my establishment is final. Perhaps I’ll grow a beard and wear a leather apron to serve my guests coffee. That seems to be a thing.

 

 

 

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You Are a Sociopath

That’s a big word, isn’t it. Sociopath. Not particularly long, often overused, rolls off the tongue so easily. I’m almost hesitant to use it to describe you, not because it’s inaccurate, but because some part of you will be flattered by the magnitude of its implications. But it is the truth. Whilst you claim to have a conscience, you disregard it. Whilst you feign empathy, you have none.

My first impression was right. You are evil. Self-obsessed. Disgusting. As the truths about your pathological history continue to come to light, a visceral sense of revulsion grows within me. You make me want to vomit. If I could, I would. I am in the process of erasing every part of you from my existence.

I do want to thank you, however. Thank you. Thank you for making hating you so easy. I hate you. But I give it three weeks. Normally soon after a break up, people stop hating and start grieving. I do plan on letting the hate go. But from there on in, I invite ambivalence about you, into my life. I disregard you. You are sub-human. Not even an animal would behave as you have behaved. They haven’t got the organisational skills.

What a sad and pathetic life you live. There is nothing to it. It’s air and lies and perversion. And no amount of war-induced trauma explains it. You are sick to your core and there is no excuse. You do love, though. You so boldly and wholly adore one person. You love one of the few unlovable people on this earth, you.

I could list the things you have done and the lies you have told and the many people you have fucked over below but frankly I have better things to do with my time. Only you can know the completely ridiculous melodrama of your self-indulgent existence. You’d probably even defend it.

When I heard everything, I began to wonder how you got up in the morning and went about your day so calmly knowing that a bomb could implode your life at any second. But then that would take a conscience. That would take acknowledgement that your choices are beyond degenerate.

Everyone I love, hates you. Many people want to physically hurt you. If you come within a mile of me, they will. If you consider replying to this, they will. You don’t get to reply. Your words are worth nothing and you no longer exist in my life.

To my family, friends and other readers: I apologise for my lost humour. It will return soon, I hope. In the meantime, thank you for bearing witness to my words.

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When even your date thinks it’s too soon

Ah, Tinder. How I’ve missed thee. The little rise of excitement when a match notification appears, the glorious guilt free window shopping style swipery, even handing it over to a friend to take charge. I love how excited the marrieds get when they land their first match under my name. They shriek like they’re at the local RSL and have just called Bingo. I love Tinder. I love it all.

 

Except that I hate it.

 

My relationship ended less than a month ago and naturally, now that I’m single again, I figured the best way to recover would be to create a profile of a sexually liberated, carefree, cougar siren on Tinder and relaunch my romantic career.

 

If you know me at all you’d probably not be in the least bit surprised. I’ve never once done things in halves. My onwards and upwards attitude has contributed to some of my poorer life decisions and 0utcomes. Who can forget the time I decided after 3 wines that my widow’s peak was probably best removed? Oh and what about that lunch time I volunteered to be hypnotised at the uni bar? Apparently having a suggestible personality makes one a prime candidate for hypnosis and hilarity. All that enthusiastic character work sent my 1994 bodysuit into a meltdown.

 

So today I went on my first “free-as-a-bird” date. My profile had read as follows:

 

“Basically seeking power rebound. Someone better looking than me, younger than me, and generally out of my league.” I might have added some other bits and pieces to widen the net…

 

Witty, yes? Self-deprecating? Tick.

 

Enter handsome, charming man.

 

I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the company of one of those incredibly self-assured types?  So self-assured that you feel a bit like you might have loo paper hanging from you somewhere unknown while in their presence? That was Mr D. Having survived the initial small-talk section of the date, he got straight down to business.

 

“So what do you want?”

 

“Sorry, what?”

 

“How is your power rebound working out? Are you still committed to that?”

 

So there it was. I’d been called on it. Having told my story (he asked), it became fairly apparent that I might have been all talk. And he gently, kindly, called me out on it. “You’re still way to hurt to be dating anyone. And if you don’t want something casual, you shouldn’t feel like you should.”

 

But here is where it gets disappointing. Despite my current state of dysfunction I really liked this guy. Good looking. Razor sharp intelligence. Curious about me. Disarming level of confidence yet seemingly without arrogance. Sense of humour. But he had responded to my profile because of what I had written. Something casual, easy, non-committal. And now there we were. At crossed purposes.

 

You might think I’d be upset at this. I’m disappointed, yes. But also reflective. As he pointed out, there is no shame in saying what you really want. I already knew I wouldn’t be able to pull off casual with this guy. And probably not with anyone else either. Because I’m not casual about anything I do.

 

And so I’m grateful for this opportunity. This shitty app. This awkward first meeting with a complete stranger. A few things came to light. My heart is still broken and apparently it’s written all over my face. I can’t plug the hole with casual encounters. But I can at least be honest with myself. I don’t do sex without connection anymore. No judgement of anyone else. I just brings me no joy.

 

So how did the date end? With a hug and best wishes and a reflective walk home. But bloody hell…he was smokin hot, ladies and gays.

 

Now…where’s my phone? I think I just heard a ding.

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Funny Scene from an Unfunny Story

 

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Act One: Scene Three

Miss A finds herself reeling after discovering her boyfriend of two years is married and still living with his wife. Joined at home by her parents and brother she attempts to unpack the events that led up to this shocking news. Glancing over at the now depressing Christmas tree, Miss A notices the gift she bought for the arsehole, lying at its base. 

Miss A (to brother): Want to come with me to take that bloody gift back? I spent 500 bucks on a bloody camera and I want the money.

Brother: Sure. Do you have the receipt?

Miss A: Of course not.

Brother: Can you print a bank statement?

Miss A: Yep

Cut to scene at major electronics and music store of the black and yellow kind. Post Christmas sale madness ensues. Bogans, geeks and poor gift selectors fight for space in the sensory overloaded environment. Miss A and Brother queue for 20 minutes. Brother is impatient and protective of his emotionally unstable sister. Miss A finds relief in the mundanity of this small exercise and relaxes into it. Eventually Miss A and her brother make it to the service counter…

Affable Punk: Hey guys! In what way can I assist you today?

Miss A: I’d like to return this camera that I bought for my boyfriend of two years whom it seems was married the entire time.

Affable Punk: Fuck! I HATE these ones! Duuuddddeee…that’s shhhiiiiitttttt…. Are you ok? I mean. You aren’t. But…dude.. Right. Ok. Do you happen to have a receipt? Oh. Bank statements. Yep. Cool. Ok so I’m going to have to get a manager ok? Are you sure you’re ok? I feel like I should offer you a mint or something…

Miss A: Do I need a mint?

Affable Punk: Nahhh…but I just felt like I should, you know, offer you something.

(Affable punk grabs store microphone and makes announcement)

Affable Punk: Can I please have a store manager to the service desk please? (Looks up at Miss A’s pale, shrivelled face)…ASAP please.

Insert lengthy discussion over return with helpful Hipster Manager. No return possible on this day but paperwork arranged and plan in place. Re-enter Affable Punk.

Affable Punk: Ok, guys. So…are you sorted? Cool. Yep. So…I don’t know if this is helpful or not but this morning I woke up and up until now I was having like the shittest day ever. I had some home stuff happening and some relationship stuff happening. I even cried earlier. But now…I really feel like my situation isn’t so bad. Because…you have it so much worse than me.

Miss A: Dude. That is brutal. And unhelpful. For me.

Affable Punk: Yeahhhhh…as I was saying it, I thought that might be true.

 

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The True Truth

The True Truth: An open letter to a coward

 

Two days ago you wrote me a letter entitled, “The Truth”. In it you outlined the process whereby you fictionalised two years of my life and justified the ways in which you chose not to mention that you were indeed still married to your wife and indeed still living together in the home you have shared for many years. You called it The Truth. But I would like to take this opportunity to correct you.

 

Here is “The True Truth”.

 

You are a liar. You chose lying every morning when you woke. Every single morning. Because you are also selfish. You wanted me and you knew I wouldn’t want you if I knew the truth. You’re right. I told you so many times that I loved you. But here it is. I take it back. I didn’t love you. I loved Fake You. He was a really good man. You are not a good man.

 

You let me believe in our future. Do you remember when we planned a wedding together over the phone? I remember. Do you remember that we did that without being engaged? I remember. And now I know why.

 

The truth is that I began to believe that I would have a wonderful life with you. Because we planned it all. Together. You let me believe that we would be living together in a place we had chosen together and that we would travel the world together and we would one day live near the water and be close to my family because you loved them. And all of that was a lie. One week before I moved to Melbourne you decided to finally tell ‘The Truth’. And let us be clear about that. You only did it because there was no way out. If I had moved to Sydney you would have continued the lie.

 

You lied to me. You lied to my friends. You lied to my family. You befriended those closest to me. You used me to create yourself a social life. You took advantage of those I love. You attended my brother’s wedding and took advantage of every generosity and kindness offered.

 

The truth is I defended you to those who doubted your story. There were some who did. Of course all the little pieces of truth are finally falling into my mind like confetti. My name in your phone was a word in another language. Your wife’s calling to discuss your son. Never once meeting a member of your family. Writing these examples, I’m tempted towards shame and embarrassment. But I will not let you have that.

 

As I only loved Fake You, you own not a single memory of this love. Because it was a wonderful, strong, brave love. I loved you with every patient, forgiving, trustful cell in my body. I gave you every part of my soul, my body, my brain and my privacy. But that was Fake You. Real You gets nothing. You can pretend that I loved you. You can pretend that you were “allowed” to be the real you as you have told me. But you weren’t.

 

I am raging against you. You stole from me. You made me complicit in your deception without my knowledge and consent.

 

Thank you for your cowardice. Because any time I am tempted to love Real You, I will remember that I don’t. I can’t. And I have nothing but the worst emotion left for you – pity.

 

You told me so many times that you loved to read my writing and nagged me to write more. Funny, I felt I had nothing to write. I believed myself content. Happy. In love. There was an ‘us’. I was not just a ‘me’. And it was wonderful. But it was a lie.

 

So now I write.

 

And here is the good news:

 

While I pity you, I withhold this pity from myself. With every fibre of my being I will not allow myself to want you back. While you have destroyed the picture of my future I had built, I will build another one which excludes you.

 

I am strong. I am wilful. I am determined. I will come back from this like I come back from every hurdle in my life. Because I have everything that counts; love, support, friendship and truth. I will continue to believe in love because it came from within me and can come from within me again. I am alone in only one sense of the word and as hard as that will be, it will teach me how to love myself enough again. I am not bitter, I am resolute. I am not as broken as I initially believed. All the working parts remain.

 

Hear me now. You have taken nothing from me. Repair yourself if you can. You lying son of a bitch.

 

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I said DILF not GILF!!

The type of man I tend to attract has narrowed somewhat.  There was a time when people my own age, hell, even people YOUNGER than me goddamnit would engage in a little flirting.  Sure, not years younger.  I’m no Demi Moore.

But things have changed.  I’ve changed.  There are parts that need plucking.  Some things need ironing.  There’s a lot of messing around with colouring of various bits.  It costs quite a bit in upkeep. Upkeep that gets prioritised.  Lasering gives way to plucking.  Filing of nails gives way to grabbing a pair of nail scissors.  It’s just a bloody big effort to even walk out the door these days.  And its an effort I’m not always prepared to make.

So it’s little wonder really.  But I’ve noticed a certain ageing of my target audience.  These days there’s no question that any potential suitor is going to have children. That’s a given.  What’s slightly concerning is that their children are potentially adults.  Who have children of their own.  WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Online dating has always produced its fair share of creepy older older man but it seems that lately, these are my people.  Don’t even think about going down the Sean Connery route with me readers.  Sean Connery is the only shaggable grandad I’ve ever seen.  And if it wasn’t for the Scottish accent, let’s face it, fewer of us would have our knickers in a twist over the old bastard.  

Am I ageist?  Probably.  But I just don’t want to have special cuddles with someone who has grandchildren and a pending retirement.  I don’t want to be having dinner at 6pm and settling in for a night on the couch watching Midsomer Murders.  

But I’m trying to be open-minded.  So I’m going to answer the email of the guy who is almost fifty.  Bloody hell.  He seems friendly enough and despite having basically no hair, he has nice eyes and a well-formed skull.  If nothing else, it’ll give me something to tell you about. 

Dating Rule 1:  You need to actually go out with someone to call it dating.

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Race of Snails

Everyone in Singapore is racing everywhere.  As slowly as possible. In slippers and thongs. Without a word.

Everyone is in a hurry to get everywhere on this tiny island.  This mass movement of individuals is hampered by the following:

1.  Singaporeans are the slowest moving people in the world.  They stop everywhere for no reason.  At the bottom of escalators.  They shuffle.  Endlessly.  Even when they are required to break into a panicked run.

2.  Panicked runs happen only under one circumstance.  When the doors of the MRT are beeping and closing.  Under no circumstances do people run here.  It’s unsightly.  There are a few Ang Mos (white folk) jogging around the place but it doesn’t make any sense.  It’s a hundred degrees here most days. And nights.

3.  Everybody decides to move everywhere at exactly the same time.  In every direction.  At exactly 11 am, every day, all hell breaks loose.  Shufflers everywhere leave their condos and HDB flats en masse as if extras in an Exodus remake.  Poker faced and plugged in to every conceivable device, Singaporeans make their way in a coordinated strike on the public transport system.  Anything less efficient, for example, Sydney’s State Rail Authority would crumble in less than two minutes.  People would be screaming and raising almighty hell as they stood in confused and frustrated groups on platforms everywhere.  Not here.  By 3 pm everyone is somewhere they need to be, doing something (very slowly) they need to be doing.  Then at exactly 6:15 pm they shutdown their desktops and start moving everywhere again.  En masse.  On foot, shuffling, silently.

4.  Kiasu. Literally translated: Afraid to lose.  And this is how it works.  Offend noone, defend self.  Every man for himself.  Don’t wait for those exiting passengers, get on or wait for the next train.  Don’t look anyone in the eye because then you might be connected in some personal way to the person you are just about to quietly undermine.

5.  Queue for everything.  Even when queuing makes absolutely no sense.  Queue to return things.  Queue to buy things.  Queue to grab a ticket to be put in an electronic queue.  Queue with people at the bus stop even when 12 different buses go to that bus stop and you will undoubtedly be leaving the queue to simply get on the bus.

It’s a slow system but also extremely effective.  My gait has shortened considerably since my arrival months ago.  Sure I’ve copped a few polite elbows to the lower ribs when I’ve ignorantly cut some shuffler off but it’s always followed up with a nervous smile and a “sorry, sorry, ah.”  It’s 11:26am.  I’ve got to be at the gym at 1pm.  I need to start shuffling in 1 hour 12 minutes.

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