I love you, just not what you’re into.

Since we nearly broke up a few months into our relationship after I told my Lord of The Rings loving boyfriend (JK) that ‘I didn’t care for fantasy’ I’ve made a concerted effort to champion his interests while remaining detached and uninvolved. Like he’s really into historic drama TV shows – Vikings and Hell on Wheels type stuff. Sometimes he even insists we watch them together so I try and make a game of it, guessing how far into an episode I’ll see a woman’s breast, or her rape or perhaps her sale to a wealthy landowner.

He’s also really into reading books about dogs, which is cool, if that’s your sort of thing but he thinks I should read them as well so I can get a better understanding of our staffy. But I’m not sure how much reading is going to solve the issue that our dog, who is so in love with JK, will one day kill me in my sleep, proceed to make a Lou suit out of my skin and resume her rightful place on the pillow beside him.

Anyone in a relationship will admit it’s hard to like all the things your partner does, well unless you’re these guys…







…and while it’s great to share interests and be introduced to new ones, there comes a time, let’s say past 30 where you just think ‘fuck it’. I mean most of us spend our 20s pretending to like things we don’t in order to get laid or not die alone, so why, as I head into my late 30s should I continue the charade? After all, don’t all of us die alone?

This leads me to where my preamble has been heading – gardening. Yep, gardening.  My boyfriend is really into gardening. He loves it. He’d be a gnome if he could be, complete with short man syndrome and pointy little hat, but alas he is 6’1 and refuses to wear a waistcoat, even though I think it would be totally cute, but whatevs.

Myself, I’m not into gardening.  Never have been and at 36 unless I’m struck by a bolt of lightening and wake up from a coma as a totally different person I never will.  Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good garden as much as the next person, some of my best friends garden but I’m more of an applauder than a performer when it comes to a good mulch or a well watered vegie patch. I love that in my yard I have a slew of burgeoning red cabbages, spring onions I can always count on, sprigs of thyme perfect for soup and even a passionfruit tree. I love that there are pots of flowers all over my house, mainly all gifts I’ve received over the years from JK, and only alive due to his efforts, though my ongoing disinterest in their welfare has made it touch and go on occasion.

But what I love most of all – I’m not responsible for any of it.

And so it was, that on Melbourne Cup Day, I found myself dressed in flannel and a 80s vintage jumpsuit, reading instructions on the side of a bag of fertiliser that assured me it would not burn my eyes, playing gardening assistant to JK, or apprentice as he liked to say. We were planting tomatoes because that’s what you do on Melbourne Cup Day, that and kill horses for sport.

He had requested my company. Said it would be fun. It would be my job to hand him things, fill buckets with things and control the afternoons music selection. One of those things I did with great abandon, the other two, I did somewhat half assed. To be fair he had offered me a way out earlier in the day, suggesting he fix up the hammock so I could read but I was tired of being cast of the bad witch from Wicked in our relationship, so I insisted on helping. My ego thwarting me once more.

We gardened for what seemed like days, no months. Winters came and went, summers were cruel, the springs a welcome break from the intense labor that came with handing JK a watering can at varying intervals and clipping off bits of twine to secure the vegetation. It was exhausting, soul destroying. I think I lost a piece of myself that day…

I was about to give up, walk away, perhaps get lost on the way back to civilisation and Foxtel on Demand and starve to death in our driveway when JK suddenly turned around, smiled, running a well calloused hand through his beard. ‘Thanks for today’ he said ‘I know you don’t like gardening, but I really like getting to spend time with you. It’s been nice.’

With such crippling accusations levelled at my feet I realised he was right. I do not like gardening, that day being no exception, but there is something I like more – spending time with JK, watching him do something he enjoys, so I smiled back in a way that communicated ‘I love spending time with you too, but no, we’re not watching The Hobbit after this.’
There’s only so few compromises I was willing to make that day.

22 isn’t too young if they have arm hair. Fact.

‘Is 22 still too young?’ I asked as I watched the object of my distraction lie naked say for a few well-placed bubbles, in a bathtub on my local Hoyts cinema screen.

My friend heaved her fist back into her popcorn for one/ for both of us to share.

‘Yes, she said, in this case it is.’ She took a sip of hers/ mine diet coke. ‘We’ve known him since we was like 13 years old.’

‘But surely if there’s grass on the wicket it’s kosher to play cricket?’

I glanced at the now ex-Harry Potter actor on the screen, dressed in nothing but a samurai sword and a belt, the subject of our discussion.

‘That’s a bit anti-Semitic Lou’

‘It’s a saying, it means good.’

‘Ok, but here’s a hypothetical, if say there isn’t grass on the wicket then my guess is it isn’t kosher to play cricket, right?’

‘I guess’

‘So in that case it’s anti-Semitic because it’s a negative.’

‘It’s just a word, there’s no anti-Semitic sentiment involved at all.’

‘Ok, let’s say I believe you, the other glaring problem is you don’t play cricket, nor do you understand it.’

‘I’m a full MCC member. If anything that gives me carte blanche to wax lyrical about young Hollywood youths who have come of age.’

‘No, no it doesn’t. You treat your MCC membership like that Bikram yoga course you never took.’

‘I took it.’

‘Once Lou, once.’

‘It was full of women that didn’t need to wear supportive underwear even when they bent over.’

‘If you stopped blaming gravity you too could live without a bra. It’s all about will power and you know, if it you had less skin.’

‘So? It’s my membership; I can do whatever I want with it, even if that means never using it.’

‘If I was your membership I’d despise you. Year in, year out leading it on, paying for it so it’s always at your beck and call, getting it’s hopes up every time there’s an Ashes series or a Grand Final but never following through on your promise of attending, so it sits there in the stairwell staring at the phone, a single tear rolling down it’s cheek, masturbating to your forgotten touch, praying that things could be different but knowing deep down inside that you’re never going to change, that you’re never going to change.’

‘We’re not talking about the cricket anymore are we?’

‘Don’t Lou, don’t. It’s hard enough I have a Jewish friend and enjoy the cricket because I’m a big supporter of diversity but I’m afraid if we keep talking you’ll offend me with some remark about nuns and flying and you know how I feel about the church Lou and nuns because I wanted to be a nun once so let’s just watch the movie.’

As instructed I turned my attentions back to the movie now with a slight feeling of guilt wafting over me, either that or it was the smell emanating from the gentleman sitting on the other side of me struggling to hold a conversation on the phone with someone I figured was his wife because he kept telling her the store had run out of control top panty hose in her size and he was in line like a West German matriarch waiting for a bread ration to find them for her and would be home soon – in the middle of a crowded picture theatre. Bless him, maybe we should’ve all pissed off and given him some privacy, after all no one likes to have people eavesdrop on them, especially at the movies.

This wasn’t the first time my interest in someone younger than me had been shot down in a flame of ‘you’re over 30 now; you’re beginning to look more sex pest and less elegant aging beauty.’

In my defence it’s not predatory, it’s not like their age has ever ended in ‘teen’, it’s just that I general date more ‘Magnum PI’ types, you know the sort that could harvest a coconut plantation thanks to the ecosystem that exists in their chest hair’ and less ‘I think it’s a guy, could be a girl, but I’m pretty sure he’s a guy, he’s just very pretty for a guy, maybe if I’m lucky I could teach him how to drive, or maybe his parents will let me take him to Luna Park for the day, or maybe I can pick him up from the airport when he gets back from schoolies week.’

I’ve gone younger only on two occasions; and only once without knowing. The unknowingly bit on the side was a camping fling and he seemed wise beyond his years, well we didn’t’ talk much and he smelt of absinth but I knew he could drive and he was taller than me; everything pointed to him being over 30.

‘He’s 26’ our mutual friend told me when she discovered the extent of our association.

Spitting my luke warm tea all over my Gado Gado I proclaimed ‘But he has arm hair!’

‘That doesn’t mean he’s legal.’

‘It would help’ I couldn’t help but scoff.

‘You’re being an idiot, he’s hot, and you’ve got a really big tent. It’s like fates colliding.’

She was right. He was hot and no one had ever complained about my big tent – there’s always been plenty of room for everyone.

My only other Harold and Maude moment came in my mid twenties, in Sydney when my staple wardrobe consisted of vintage mini dresses held together with staples, fish net stockings and cowboy boots held together with gaffer tape care of my film school. It sounds hot. It wasn’t. Think about how you might dress to attend an

‘I’ve never had an orgasm party’ and you’d be bang on the money.

His name was By, 21 years old. He told me my legs were like a stair way to heaven. It was a nice thought, but if anything my legs were more a rope ladder to Wobby’s World, complete with disused helicopter and that look of 100s of disappointed children realised they weren’t at Disneyland.

Our affair was brief; it had to be that way. He had much to do like move to London to live in a squat and pursue an acting career only to develop a predilection for c**k, an addiction to crack cocaine, and chronic STD that would eventually land him in prison – who was I to derail his dream?

As the film credits rolled I realised maybe my friend was right, that 22 was still too young.

‘I think I’m just going to look and not touch.’

‘Great. You know who does that Lou, men in parks that stand in bushes watching women jog by and wear pants with elasticised waists.’

‘So you wanna see the new Harry Potter next week?’

‘Do I have to put you on the sex offender’s registry?’

‘Not yet’ I smiled. ‘Not just yet. I’m on 31, it’s not creepy yet’