Hello Leakage, my new friend.

Date night.

  1. Soft candles – check
  2. Billy Joel love-making soundtrack – check
  3. Dog locked out – check
  4. Temperature just right – check
  5. Billy Joel love-making soundtrack destroyed in mysterious house fire – check
  6. Incense…lots of incense…because we can’t quite seem to shake the smell of –

‘Urine’ my partner confirmed. ‘The whole room smells like urine.’

Then he sniffed me.

‘It’s you. You smell like wee.’

‘That’s ok’ I cooed ‘it’s just a little leak, we can push through.’

I burped – ‘wasn’t me’ I giggled ‘it’s the baby. They must be awake.’

And with that, my partner rolled off me.

‘You really smell like wee, it’s quite intense.’

I heaved myself up onto my new, yet-to-be colostrum stained U-Pillow.

‘You’ll need to get changed’ he stated ‘and wash.’

‘What are we talking?’ I asked ‘Flannel wash? Laundry trough dip or are you suggesting full shower?’

He took another sniff.

‘Shower. I’ll be needing the trough to soak your pyjamas.’

Since getting pregnant my body has been full of surprises – finding ingrown hairs under my boobs – where no hair had lived before; something I like to call Circular Vomiting much like circular breathing, except, vomit forms in my stomach, comes out through my nose into my mouth and because I’m driving and can’t pull over, I’m forced to swallow it back into my lungs and nearly die. REPEAT. Then there’s hair that grows across your stomach giving the illusion of a moustached man being trapped inside you. And though there are many others wonderful #miracles I’ve been experiencing none have thwarted me as much as the leakage.

The constant leakage.

I was at Pilates (because I’m one those really fit pregnant woman – see pic) getting my leg extensions on when I felt a warm liquid start running down my grey leggings. It was also at that exact moment I saw the horror in the other members of the class who for some reason were positioned opposite to me, as they too saw the amber liquid trickle down my leg.

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‘Lou’ my instructor quietly said ‘do you want to go get yourself cleaned up?’

I raised my leg in defiance, displaying the full-scale saturation that had engulfed my crutch

‘Nup, I’m good, still got two more sets to go.’

And with that I squeezed, maintaining eye contact with everyone the whole time.

But even I knew as acted out urine soaked vengeance on my Pilates class that I couldn’t go on like this forever. That at some point I would need to concede that I had a bladder problem, albeit a temporary one, but a problem just the same and I needed to face up to it.

Driving home that night I pulled into a pharmacy and found myself standing in front of the incontinence shelf. Based on the amount of incontinence ads I’d seen on midday TV I guess I was expecting more of an entire aisle dedicated to leakage, but alas, I’d make do with just a shelf. Now, at 28 weeks pregnant I needed to decide what sort of leaker I was, a decision, if I was being honest, I wouldn’t have thought I’d needed to make at least until I was 60 years old, at least.

Was I A Sneezer-Leaker?

A Giggle-Leaker?

A Dog Walking-Leaker?

A Making-Just-An-F**kin-Cup-of-Tea Leaker?

Or was I…

A Just-Being-Alive Leaker?

An Everyday Saturator?

A Cold-Drip Urinator?

Answer – I was all of the above. I am all of the above. I’m an All-Day, Every-Day Leaker. Feel my moistness!

Arriving home I told my partner about my latest self-realisation. He hugged me,let me know it was all going to be ok. That this was only temporary and that there was nothing I could do that would turn him away from me. It was a relief to hear.

‘Lou’ JK whispered as he hugged me close.

‘Yes?’ I cooed back.

‘Did you just wee on me?’

‘Yes, yes I did.’

He started to cry.

‘There, there…’I comforted him.

‘It’s nothing a shower won’t fix.’

 

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Dream A Little Dream

I’ve always been a firm believer that if someone, even with all the best of intentions, feels the need to unburden last night’s dream on you over coffee, it’s ok to end the friendship there and then. They’ll understand. If not, in time they will. They will.

But being the massive hypocrite I am, I’m now that friend, the one with the dreams, and I just have to talk about it.

The other night I had a dream where I had to mediate the Weasley Twins from Harry Potter as they navigated a polyamorous relationship they were in while identifying as pansexual and admitting an attraction to each other because they’re turned on by the whole being related thing. This ongoing issue was further complicated by the fact that Jon Snow’s alive head had been left in my care and he just wouldn’t go to sleep, no matter how many times I drove him around the block. He also didn’t like being bounced up and down by the knees. It was a nightmare, a literal nightmare.

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Or how about the dream from last night where, after not falling asleep until 4am, Samuel L Jackson, Devon Sawa and myself found a secret castle just of the Burnley Tunnel Richmond exit, where Holly Valance was being held hostage by a guy I knew in high school whose claim to fame was his calf muscles. In order to free her, Samuel and I had to embark on a 15 year career as exotic dancers in Singapore. We were quite the act, but my biggest concern was how I was going to get back to my parents in time for Sunday dinner. I finally made it home from my erotic oddessy only to be disowned by my family, with my father vowing never to speak with me again because he was forced to throw out the lamb due my tardiness. Oh and for some reason Tom Cruise was there and he was mad at me as well.

Now because I’m not an asshole, before I inflicted these dreams on my partner and friends I turned to the internet, mummy blogs and forums to be exact. WTF? What fresh hell are those things?! It’s like someone took all the judgement in the world and gave it a landing page.

Typing in ‘bad pregnancy dreams’ I was met with mixed responses that ranged from:

  • ‘Oh don’t get me started on crazy pregnancy dreams.I had one the other night where tiny angels appeared to me, looking, I kid you not, like Blue Ivy #beyonceforeva and they whispered into my ear as I slept peacefully, the names Ebony and Archer, which is crazy because my husband and I were thinking of naming our twins those exact names. Crazy right?’
  • ‘Bad dreams are a sign your baby will be born with severe communication problems. To learn more about the dangers of vaccination…’
  • ‘I just ate more carrots before bed and they disappeared, now I just dream of acceptance, oh and Peter Rabbit :)’
    DIE ALREADY – yes, I’m judging them..so what? When in Rome…

Nowhere could I find what I was looking for, a kindred, someone who had also dreamed of going to a Beyonce concert at Rod Laver arena only unable to find a carpark had to move to Ireland, join the IRA and live the rest of their life under a new identity (in that dream, I also had to get reconstructive face surgery without anaesthetic). I also was unable to get a refund on my Beyonce tickets. I woke up crying.

So I was forced to turn to a friend. My non-pregnant, gay male friend, but someone I was certain would have a concerned ear I could bend.

‘…and then mum said they wouldn’t pay to get my ears pierced and Hillary Clinton agreed and said she could do it herself but we needed to go to Greensborough to get the equipment and I didn’t have a valid Myki card on me – ‘

I could barely finish the sentence, as a shaking hand gripped my decaf weak long black, with extra water.

‘ – and there was nowhere to recharge it in Australia, so I never got my ears pierced and Hillary was so angry she wouldn’t let me go to Hungry Jacks with her. And she’d promised. She’d promised!’

My disinterested confidant frowned.

‘Are you telling me about your dreams Lou?’

I gulped. Damn my transparent demeanour.

‘I thought we had an agreement about stuff like that.’ He pushed.

‘I thought that was only boring dreams, not horrifying scenarios involving various pop culture icons that will inevitably come true knowing me.’

‘A dreams still a dream Lou. What if I told you about my dreams, how would you like that?’

I feigned interest in the name of self-preservation.

‘I’d love to know about your dreams. I’ve changed. I’m cool with stuff like that now – puppies, potpourri and vision boards, bring it on I say.’

He knew I was lying, but we’re the sort of friends that would never call each other on stuff like that. True friends.

‘Great. So, I had this dream last week where my dad just turned up at my house and we spent the week just hanging out. I even learned to fish.’

Silence.

‘Crazy right?’

‘Yeah…’

‘Cause dad was only here like last week and we talked about going fishing but we never actually got around to doing it.’

‘Crazy…’

‘Yeah, it’s like my subconscious knew what I hoped we’d done and made it a reality for me. Dreams are amazing.’

‘Dreams are amazing like that.’

Silence.

‘That hurt you a little didn’t it Lou, listening to me talk about my dream?’

I paused, letting out a deep breath/burp-fart.

‘Can I be honest?’

‘Of course Lou’

‘I died a little inside.’

‘Oh’

‘Your dream wasn’t even a dream. It was at best a memory, a distorted memory, but, and I say this with the utmost respect, it was no dream.’

He took the barb well, toying with his gluten free pistachio cupcake, for which he no longer had the appetite.

‘We can’t all dream about the universe being constantly disappointed in us.’

‘Is that what you think my dreams are about?’

‘Absolutely, I mean, take the dream about Hillary Clinton not taking you to Hungry Jacks – ‘

The waiter came over, refilling our water.

‘ – are you sure you have time to talk about this?’

My friend adjusted his glasses.

‘Plenty, now back to Hillary and the fact you’ll never reach her heights of success and your own ongoing inadequacies…’

I couldn’t help but smile, maybe talking to friends about dreams wasn’t so bad after all…

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My mother kept her maiden name and I didn’t lose my sense of identity

 

 

I’ll admit, I have a complicated name. I’m one of those people with two official sets of ID but that’s not the worst of it – my mother you see, kept her maiden name and so I also have a double barrelled surname, but not a hyphenated surname, because my mother argued, even back in the 70’s, that her and my father were two separate people, with two separate names. The government however did not agree, and made my mother make her maiden name one of my middle names.

So for the first few years of my life I was Louise Marguerite Woodruff Sanz. My mother however stood by her maiden name, never becoming a Mrs Sanz and sure as hell never answering it to it. In primary school I remember her refusing to answer my friends when they would refer  to her as Mrs Sanz. As far as she was concerned it wasn’t her name. She preferred everyone to call her by her first name, which believe it or not, even my teachers preferred than having to address her as Ms Woodruff  – her actual legal name. It was that look of discomfort I recall the most. That educated, regular people would prefer to call my mother Mrs Potato than by her maiden name. It was the sort of thing 1970s German dissidents did, not middle class mothers from Brighton.

Contrary to the popular rhetoric I even hear bandied around today, I didn’t grow up as a rudderless child, without a sense of place or identity because my mother didn’t share the same name as my father, I actually did ok, more than ok really. To be honest  I was more affected by the knowledge that when my father immigrated to Australia, he was made to change his name from Miguel to Michael, because Australian’s couldn’t pronounce Miguel. My father was forced to change his name because apparently the Australian tongue struggles with the letter ‘G’. Tell that to all the Gerry’s, Gerald’s and Greg’s you know.

I was always insanely proud that mother had her own name (she was also a vegetarian – I didn’t know Mexican food came with meat options until an ill-fated trip to a Taco Bill in the late 90s). She explained her choice to keep her maiden name as ‘easier’. It was on her driver’s license, all her legal documents, to change it would be too much of a hassle. And then what if my father and her got divorced, more paperwork, but most importantly, it was her name. She’d had it for 25 years when she met my dad and it wasn’t something she was willing to part with it.

As I got older, I got more emboldened to move my mother’s name out of the ‘middle name’ abyss it had been relegated to and put it into everyday life. At 12 I was signing my homework off as Louise Marguerite Dymphna Woodruff Sanz, much to the horror of my teachers, who constantly felt the need to raise this in every parent teacher meeting – again more concerned by the incorporation of my mother’s maiden name, than the latest addition – my Confirmation name – Dymphna, Patron Saint of Incest Victims and the Mentally Ill.

By the time I was a teenager and had started writing soppy teen memoirs for other teenagers to act out on stage, my mothers name was now part of my surname, even though, legally it was still my middle name, that is until the law changed and no longer did it need to be hyphenated.It was free. I was free. My brother and sister never really seemed fussed, they liked being Sanz’s. It didn’t bother them, which only made it cooler, cause it now meant in my family I was the only Woodruff Sanz, that, along with my teen moustache set me apart from everyone else in the world.

Things however got complicated when I was granted a Spanish Passport. My name was changed to Luisa Margarita Sanz Woodruff. You see in Spain, the mother’s maiden name comes after the ‘family’ name. Given I had a Spanish Passport before an Australian one, it was now my only official form of ID, aside from Double Dare Champion Card from 1993 and so when I got my driver’s license I went in with my spanish passport and to this day, 16 years later, that is still the name on my driver’s license.

As I writer nothing gave me a stronger sense of satisfaction than to play with all my names as I signed off a ‘Written by’ credit. There was L W Sanz, L Woodruff Sanz, Louise Brandis, Mrs Jonathan Brandis, Louise W Sanz, LMW Sanz, Louise M Woodruff Sanz, LMD Woodruff Sanz. The possibilities were endless but then I started doing stand-up and introducing Louise Woodruff Sanz proved troublesome.

If I’d thought the pronunciation of ‘G’ was hard for people try W’s and S’s and Z’s. After a while, to make things ‘easier’ I shortened it to Lou Woodruff Sanz. It was still too hard for MC’s who were often distracted by mic stands, warm beer and the glamour of stage life. So I went with Louise Sanz. Nup, still too complicated. And so it was with heavy heart it went to Lou Sanz. Like a vegas headliner and just ambiguous enough so as not to reveal my gender before coming out on stage. It was inevitable then that confusion began. People were now getting frustrated, concerned even betrayed. Was the writer Louise Woodruff Sanz the same as emerging comedian Lou Sanz? Was this a Jeckyll and Hyde kind of thing? Was she transitioning? What the fuck was going on!? Who did she think she was!? And even though I was following a long line of people with stage names, mine was not because I didn’t like my name, it was because I wanted to make things easier on everyone else. After all that struggling I went back to Sanz because it made things ‘easy.’

But of course legally, I’m a Woodruff Sanz, so now I have alias’s. I have files that say ‘Lou Sanz, legally known as Louise Woodruff Sanz, also known as Luisa Sanz Woodruff.’ It can sometimes make getting things like credit a little complicated as nothing sounds dodgier than listing all the names your account could be under. Everyone just wants me to make it easier on them, change my name so that don’t have to press the space-bar more than they’d like .

A friend of mine though pointed out that when I get married, things will get easier, because well, you know, if you decide to have kids it’s important they know what family they belong to. That we all share the same name, so it’s only natural that if I chose to have kids with my partner we’ll have to have the same name.

‘You’re right’ I said, ‘but I worry about all the paperwork my husband will have to go through. He’d be better off keeping his own name. It’s easier.’

‘You’d make him change his name?’ she asked, not amused by my killer come back.

‘If your main concern is my hypothetical families unity and sense of identity, then it shouldn’t matter whose name we use.’

She was stumped…I knew why, when there are articles on the internet titled ‘How to let people know you’re keeping your maiden name’, I often forget how very far we’ve actually come since the days my mother decided to go against convention.

I was making things awkward…and I’m probably always going to. It’s ‘easier’ for me.

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Australia, the land where wog brown isn’t real brown.

 

I read an article in The Age recently, because yes, the newsagency had sold out of Grazia – BAM! No, I was really reading The Age and no it wasn’t something I’d already read a week earlier on the Guardian Newspaper website and then was re-reading syndicated as ‘our’ news in ‘our’ newspaper, no this was proper Australian news, an entire article devoted to the ‘perish the thought’ idea that Australian women are more likely to list their ‘absolutely cannot live without beauty treatment’ as spray tanning over leg waxing, like I said my brain is actually perishing at the thought. I mean imagine the site of it, furry tangerine coloured women wondering around, freely and clearly without a thought for prioritisation. Personally, as a person of ethnic extraction I celebrate this coming together of colour and leg hair. Viva la revolution!

Earlier this year I was asked by UN Women (calm down, the Melbourne branch) to go into high schools and talk to you young women  and inspire them, well I was there to talk at them, a presenter from Getaway was there to inspire them. At the end of the session a young Greek girl raised her hand to ask a question and when it became clear this wasn’t a question about Getaway it was directed at me. It was a question asking why girls like myself weren’t ever seen on Australian TV, well not in things that weren’t Fat Pizza, well look not on any other channel other than SBS and to be fair, SBS 2. I jokingly remarked that years ago when I was first starting out in television in Australia an exec at one of our ‘ethnic orientated television stations’ actually told me I wasn’t ethnic enough for them, a sentiment re-iterated to me again earlier this year by the same station. I hadn’t conceded defeat though I told the young girl, cause well given my tanned olive skin I was hoping to score an audition for Home & Away. As the polite laughter died down another girl raised her hand ‘but wog olive skin isn’t the same as real olive skin is it?’  And then she motioned to the spray tanned glossed veneer of the presenter from Getaway ‘I mean that’s real olive skin nowadays isn’t it?’ And before I could object every girl in the room nodded in agreement.

It’s not the first time I’d been told the colour of my skin wasn’t what people considered ‘real olive’ nowadays. When I was in my 20’s I moved to the UK where lovers of the fake tan, muffin tops and chubby Page 4 blonde lived in harmony together. Given I didn’t have a muffin top or a desire to get my ‘knockers’ out for a lads mag I thought I was safe from this orange goo seeping into my life, but my Gordie housemates had something else in mind. Every Saturday morning after a night on ‘the pull’ my housemates would waft into the kitchen smelling of skin varnish and draped in sarongs to stave off streaking. A bottle of turps was always kept within grabbing distance in case of any furniture smudging. For the most part they left me alone, after all I didn’t even dye my hair, some people were such as myself were clearly beyond help, well that was until one day when I was ambushed while watching a re-run of Big Brother Up Late, my only witness Russel Brand talking to me from the TV as my arms were held down and  I was slathered in fake-tan because and I quote ‘we just really wanted to see if it would work on your skin’.

Of course amongst all those that don’t think my skin can actually be called olive and tanned these days because it doesn’t come with instructions to prevent streaking there are some purists like Tom, a guy I’d worked with at a music festival a couple of years back. We ran into each other again at a friend’s BBQ in the chilly winter Melbourne months when he saddled up next me and asked if I’d like a sip of his white wine and yes it was a euphemism. When I told him I was allergic to semen the conversation moved on…

‘You should keep that tan Lou, it suits you, how’d you get it?’ He hovered close enough so that I knew his body was covered in a combination of Lynx and skin.

‘It’s natural, I have olive skin.’ I replied navigating the hummus that only seemed attainable if my hand were to brush his against his person. I decided against using any dip with my bread.

‘You know Lou I’ve never touched olive skin before.’

The air vomited around us both…

‘It’s the same as any other skin.’

‘I doubt it Lou, here touch mine.’

He held out his arm…

‘Or if you’d prefer’ he began to mime unzipping his trousers as I turned away and silently began to cry – I really wanted that hummus, this bread was nothing without it.

‘Can I touch your skin?’ he asked.

‘No.’

‘If I bought you a drink maybe you’d let me touch it then?’

‘ Can we please stop talking about touching skin?’ I watched as the last of the hummus was devoured by someone who didn’t have to push past Tom’s penis to get it.

‘You’re a feisty girl aren’t you Lou…I like feisty girls, feisty Spanish girls, maybe you and I can get together one night and make paella together.’

‘I’d prefer it if you just fucked off.’ To be honest he was bearing the brunt of my frustration over my lack of hummus.

‘Ok Lou, no need to be a cunt about it. It’s all good. Anyway, if I’m honest I prefer dark skinned blonde girls; at least they care enough to pay for their tan.’

A few weeks after that encounter I was on a tram when a young woman approached me interested in where I went to get my skin done. I didn’t bother even explaining it was my natural tan, all I said was ‘make sure you ask your spray tanner for the colour that existed before orange became the new olive.’

THE END.

 

 

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I’m not a slut but I do like to walk.

‘Hey slut!’ my girlfriend yelled at me as I greeted her for a coffee.

‘I’m reclaiming the word’ she informed me as I sat down opposite her in my denim-on-denim ensemble.

‘Yeah, I gathered as much’ I bemoaned partially because I knew where this conversation was headed and in no small part because the cafe she’d insisted on meeting at didn’t do soy milk.

 

‘It’s fine’ she said ‘I don’t know why it’s such an issue for you. Just get skim milk. Same, same Lou.’

This is why I needed a boyfriend, not for any other reason than to avoid these type of catch-ups. I imagined friends of old calling me up wanting to meet for a dairy laden latte and I’d be all ‘oh I’m sorry, I’d love to but I have a boyfriend and he has a penis I need to attend to…yeah, I know, it is a shame, but what you gonna do?’

‘You’re a slut Lou! I’m a slut Lou! We’re all sluts! Isn’t that great?!’

I looked at my tea delivered with nothing but a lemon wedge to mask its tea-like flavour.

‘I’m not a slut.’ I said as I eyed a woman leaving the Vegie Bar with a take-away coffee which I was certain was a soy coffee, probably a flat white by the looks of it; after all, we had the same shoes.

‘But of course you are’ my friend interjecting my hypothesis.

‘You’re a woman and you have sex, ipso facto you’re a slut Lou.’ I watched as she slammed her fork into her crumbling tower of cheesecake and I enjoyed the last bits of my lemon wedge.

‘The fact we have sex didn’t make us sluts, an ingrained misogyny in the lexicon did.’

My biscotto wasn’t hitting the spot but then again biscotti never did and yet each time I was still surprised by my little realisation.

‘No Lou you’re using traditional definitions. It doesn’t just have to be a woman who has multiple sexual partners at any one time Lou; it can also be applied to woman who just has sex in the winter in lieu of escalating electricity bills such as-‘

‘-so help me god do not even finish that sentence.’ I commanded, discreetly rubbing my new hot water bottle I’d only bought hours earlier in my bag; the only rubber in anyone’s life certain to stave off winter madness and combat escalating electricity bills.

Annoyed and scratching at her Henna tattoo from a hens night past she turned on me ‘I just don’t see what you’re problem is. Everyone’s talking about it! Come on Lou, Slut Walk – it’s what this is all about!’

‘You want the truth as unpopular as it maybe I just don’t believe in the word slut. There shouldn’t be such a word. It’s always been a bad word with bad connotations. You can’t reclaim a word created to be negative. I’ll concede that perhaps you can rehabilitate it – ‘

‘-Amy Winehouse was rehabilitated.’

‘Yeah, and it’s worked to startling affect hasn’t it?’

‘-What about cunt? That was reclaimed and it’s the same as sluts.’

‘What? That in a lot of ‘sluts’ have cunts?’

‘That’s a very simplified way of looking at things Lou but yes mostsluts’ do own a cunt but also that the word was reclaimed.’

‘If you want to get in a tit for tat about the word cunt – ‘

‘Ha! You said tit!’ squeeling like a school girl.

‘I also said tat but where’s its credit…’ I mumbled as waitress quietly put the bill down on our table.

‘Did you enjoy your lemon?’ she asked

‘Yes, yes I did. Thank you very much.’ She smiled as she took the lemon wedge and empty tea cup away.

‘Well someone’s got a cunt and that someone definitely likes a girl who enjoys a good lemon wedge…’ my friend languished back in her chair.

‘Shut it’ I said as I hunted around in my hand bag for my strawberry lipgloss.

‘I reckon you could slut it up with her good time.’

‘You’re using it as a verb now?’

‘When in Rome…’

‘That in no way applies to this discussion. We are not in a situation that warrants a deflection to the hedonistic times of ancient Rome.’

‘We are in Brunswick St…’

Neither of us said anything. Not a week earlier I’d been somewhat hedonistic just off Brunswick St…my friend didn’t need any more wins.

‘What I was getting at is that cunt is a word imbued with positive connotations until it was reappropriated for another means. A negative, oppressive means, but over time and with limited success I might add it’s started to live in a more positive light in the lexicon.’

‘So it’s kinda like the Rob Lowe of words?’

‘No, a woman’s vagina is nothing like Rob Lowe.’

‘But he was a good guy and then he shagged and filmed an underage girl and then bam! He’s on the West Wing!’

‘Ok the likelyhood of ever seeing a cunt on television over Rob Lowe…’

‘You’re missing my point Lou. I’ m just saying that women should be allowed to be sluts!’

‘How about women just being allowed to be women? You know to dress how they like as a woman, say what they like as a woman, live like they want as a woman and not be concerned with the ever present threat of being sexually assaulted or shamed? I’m just saying that seems like a better use of our energy as opposed to rebranding a word already fraught with problems.’

‘That wouldn’t fit on a t-shirt Lou.’

‘What?’

‘Your feminist rhetoric needs to fit on a t-shirt.’

Sadly she was right…

‘So for the walk what will your t-shirt read?’

‘Oh I’m not wearing a t-shirt, I’m just going to write slut across my breasts.’

‘Ok, fair enough. I guess I’ll just walk next to you.’

 

SlutWalk is happening on Saturday 28th May at 1pm, State Library and contrary to popular belief I believe it’s about how women should have the freedom to wear, say and live as they please without the threat of sexual violence and shaming. It is not about reclaiming the word; it is about taking away its meaning so that arseholes can’t use it to hurt us ever again.

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My Phone and the art of self-sabotage

My closest friends, lovers, people on trams, anyone who brushes up against me using one  whilst ordering a coffee in an already cramped Brunswick coffee shop on a Friday morning letting me and everyone else know that he’s ‘…already got bread, you just need to get those tomatoes, but not the ones from Coles cause they’re imported from El Salvador, oh and yeah, I can’t believe I made it through a whole gram either last night, crazy’….or at least has heard/ read my manifesto on  my almost pathological disdain of iPhone’s. I’ve made no attempts to hide this, but I have admitted that if I get lost in the desert and die, the result of not having a GPS tracking device or ‘Don’t die in the desert app’, then yes, I would have learnt my lesson.

 

The thing is, I’m not against iPhone’s as such – they do seem incredibly convenient but I fear they’re making us, well specifically – my friends socially retarded. Over Christmas and having barely seen anyone for a month I got together with 2 of my friends, now proud iPhone users, I mean they couldn’t have been prouder had they birthed the damn things, eaten the placenta it came in and named it after their father’s father. As you can imagine, much like sitting opposite new parents/ the newly engaged/ new home owners, it was a riveting catch up.

 

‘No, I had no idea there was an app that  added up the accumulative effect of sodium on potato chips after the rain fall – yes, you are right, you have a responsibility to Twitter that right now.’

 

‘Someone pointed out there is no difference between a latte and a flat white????!!!!! – yeah, that’s a defo re-tweet’.

 

‘Stephen Fry’s following you…sure, I’d ask, like I’m sure he’d do your open mic room, can’t see why not.’

 

I left after 30 minutes, explaining I was bleeding internally from a broken heart – I felt like a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, who for the last 20 years only knew the feel of her own palm pressed against herself – but they didn’t need to know that, no one did.

 

The problem is of course, because I refuse to be upgraded to an iPhone, I am the less than pleased owner of a plastic phone that would retail at say around the price of a skinless frankfurter sausage and a plastic McDonald’s sundae spoon. As of yesterday, before getting on stage to do a show I dropped it for the 16th time in a month and I fear, much like dropping a baby on it’s head after one too many Tia Maria’s, it has affected it’s already stunted performance.

 

It has the battery capacity of a car who has had it’s motor, battery and leather interior stripped and exists on bricks just off a highway near Dandenong. It also likes to store numbers and names that have no correlation to each other, other than the fact that every time I’m dating someone it magically makes it possible for me to send illicit text messages to my father/ their father/ or someone I already have a restraining order against – pretty much everyone except the intended recipient. And then last night it surprised me by sending all 5 messages I wrote last night to the one person – there really is only so many times you can wish someone well on their opening night without it beginning to appear token and inconsiderate, oh and yes, I’ll admit I had a few too many beers, but I’m smart enough to know that’s not something you text to someone you still hope finds you sexy – no, that message was intended for a mate in Sydney who was bemoaning I never let loose – well I let loose and then went home and ate cornflakes – happy now?!
 
But my phones greatest feature by far is that it currently decides what ‘sent’ messages it will keep or not keep and it does this I imagine by feeling my pulse as I text a message, noting that perhaps my heart beats at a faster rate, thus perhaps making it an important message and then once I send it, deleting it, revelling in the now compounded stress that will engulf me for a few hours as I try and figure out who got that message and whether or not just because I sent it to the wrong person, well that doesn’t mean I have to follow through on my promise of doing something with the word ‘lather’ in it to them – or do I? Is a text as good a verbal agreement no matter who the intended recipient is?

 

A few weeks ago my phone did this to great affect. In a playful mood I sent my current manfriend a message, one of the ‘choose your own adventure’ kinds. It was such a good suggestion that I assumed it would get a response of at least ‘I’ll see what’s in the vegie keeper’ within the next couple of hours. However, after about 6 hours and with me now sitting having coffee with a friend I told her about the message and the lack of interest I’d received after sending it. As I scrolled threw my phone to show it to her, hoping she wouldn’t slide off her chair after reading it, an almost expected side affect – I realised it wasn’t in my sent folder – a message sent to my mother earlier that day about and 7.30 Report was there, but not this message.

 

I now only had one option – I’d face this head on – I texted him again to see if he got the message, given I was concerned I’d sent it to someone else and as any one knows who chases someone up with ‘did you get my last message???? It went really well – the fact is that  that simple text escalated to a series of phone calls ending in ‘are you checking up on me? I was asleep…’’ (him) to ‘you’re a f**k wit’ (me)    -showing just how much my phone hated me. I couldn’t help but thing this was the universes (or at least Apple’s) way of forcing my into getting an iPhone. But my phone underestimated my resolve, perhaps it’s only weakness – yes, I’d rather sabotage a burgeoning romance than get an iPhone – I’d rather enjoy the touch of my own hand, than that of my new man and after all, he has two iPhone’s…he’s on shakey ground anyway.

 

And then came opening night of comedy festival. Tired and sleepy after 2 back-to-back shows and staggering out of a cab after midnight on a Wednesday I didn’t notice my phone drop out of my bag. I just managed to make it to bed, decide not to put my sheets on properly, or take my eye make-up with a conviniently located make-up removal wipe by my bed (because I’m a bigger fan of washing pillow cases) and watched episodes of Red Dwarf until my wired brain caught up with my tired eyes and the whole time I didn’t notice my missing phone.

 

In the morning though I noticed it was gone. I cursed myself, realising I’d have to buy a doppelganger that day – cause yes, I’d buy the same phone – I come from a family that buys the same dog after one dies – old habits die hard. However, just as I was leaving the house, I noticed out of the corner of my eye my phone, perched tauntingly on top of my letter box – surely it should be dead right now, or at least stolen – but really, even I had to admit the likely hood of someone stealing a prepaid plastic phone who’s ‘send picture’ feature is an old pixilated drawing of a birthday cake, probably wouldn’t fetch much on the open market.

 

But hey, how much harm could my phone has done, left out in the cold late at night? …let me tell you – it can call a man I’m not seeing at 3.30am, a man next listed next to the guy I am seeing  and give this other guy the idea that I was calling him at 3.30 in the morning for, well you figure it out….mind you I’m not sure how hot the sound of someone parking, or the bins being picked up really can be, but hey different stokes rule the world.

 

At the conclusion of this story I have now decided to buy an iPhone…that’s really where I was going with this.

 

and oh, if you want to se a show:

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2010/season/shows/lou-sanz-please-don-t-use-my-flannel-for-that-a-memoir

 

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I don’t think we can be Facebook friends anymore…

Confiding in me over a hot chocolate in a small tucked away café a few days ago, my friend Agnes had barely touched her earl grey tea with a dash of cream and honey when she pouted and declared

‘I hate myself Lou, I just hate myself.’

I didn’t say anything, I knew there was more to come, there always was.

‘I just don’t understand why you can’t just be born the way you want to end up?’

‘You are asking an awful lot from the universe’ I surmised as I eyed off a marshmallow that wasn’t mine, but had been left on a nearby table.

‘No Lou, I don’t think I am. We put all this money into obesity research, diabetes this and diabetes that and don’t even get me started on early stage genetic predisposition testing and yet if we could just be born thin and beautiful, not necessarily smart but cluey, I could make do with cluey, well then you know what Lou?’

‘What’ …surely if it was just left there it was really MY marshmallow….

‘There’d be no war or famine.’

‘And how do you reckon that?’

‘Because it’s simple – they’d be born full.’

She squeezed more lemon into her tea and winced at the taste, which led me to this point – can you divorce your friends? Or at least if anything ask for a trial separation?

I thought this as I watched her straighten out her skirt, looking around, frustrated with the world, unaware of her complete lack of depth – why couldn’t I be completely unaware of her lack of depth too?

‘I think maybe darl, you just need to learn to accept yourself – you know a little self acceptance can go a long way.’ I remarked

…it’s my marshmallow, all mine and boy did it taste good…

‘Lou, I’m not giving up sex.’

‘Acceptance is not the same as abstinence Agnes,’

‘Don’t get tricky Lou.’

‘I wasn’t being tricky; I was going more for clarification really.’

Suddenly her nose screwed up.

‘Did you just eat that manky marshmallow off someone else’s table?’

‘I think manky is too liberal a use of such a negative word.’

‘You just ate garbage Lou.’

‘Are abandoned children garbage Agnes?’

‘Wards of the state are not marshmallows’ are they Lou.’…more a statement than a question really…

I picked a loose hair out of my teeth; she was right, it probably had been garbage, but her judgment wasn’t my punishment for little did she know that later that night in the privacy of my own home I would stand naked in front a mirror and ask myself ‘would you touch yourself?’ and my answer would be yes and thus eating garbage made me edgy and that was hot.

‘I just wish I could be more like you Lou’ she let out a long breath as she checked her iPhone for the time.

‘Grass is always greener on the other side my friend.’

‘You’re short; one might even describe you as homely and unkempt – almost like that character in House.’

‘What character in House?’

‘Oh you know, the eccentric aunt who collects newspapers and rides the trains, rather than just being normal and going on a diet.’

‘It’s called Housekeeping and it’s a book and I think you’ve missed the entire point of the story – it’s about Housekeeping in the spiritual sense, in the face of great loss.’

‘My point exactly – if we were born the way we wanted than she wouldn’t have become a hobo.’

‘You do realize you’re whole argument is derailed if say she wanted to be born a hobo.’

‘You honestly think she’d pick being born Kate Moss over being born homeless?’

‘No, you’re right Agnes, why find your own path and sense of identity when you can just claim someone else’s – cloning is much underrated.’

‘Don’t do that.’

‘Do what?’

‘That.’ – I really felt like a biscuit, but maybe that was too much. I found myself lamenting an incident earlier that day when I’d dropped and stepped on my biscuit – there was no saving it at the time I thought, but looking back now, I knew the truth, I hadn’t even tried.

‘Listen Lou, I hoped it wouldn’t come to this.’

‘Come to what?’

‘I need a time out – from this, from you.’

…what was going on…this wasn’t meant to end this way, we had plans together, great plans, the Kinki Gerlinki garage sale was only a week away…

‘I don’t think I’ve got room for you in my life, I’ve already got a stereotypical over achieving, blatantly sarcastic, bordering on compensating for an amazing amount of insecurity – brunette taking up too much room.’

‘Who? Who’s that?’ I demanded to know.

‘a little tabloid princess I like to call Katie Holmes.’

‘But you don’t even know her and please prey tell when if ever has displayed irreverent wit?

‘Just because I don’t know her personally Lou, doesn’t mean that we haven’t connected.’

‘She’s a celebrity, if this is the Matrix than she’s not even real.’

‘But she understands me Lou and quite frankly you don’t; in fact half the time I just feel like you’re taking the piss.’

‘No, that’s not true, entirely.’

‘See, you can’t even not do it now, even while we’re in the middle of breaking up – do I mean that little to you?’

‘I don’t know what you want from me.’

She paused.

‘Maybe the problem is I don’t know either.’

I held back my already restrained emotions on the matter.

‘Hey Lou, don’t get upset, we can still be Facebook friends.’

‘Really?’ – it wasn’t the end of us.

‘Restricted access of course.’ And with that she stabbed me in the ovaries.

‘What’s the point?’ I spat back.

She got up to leave.

‘Can I ask why?’

I did desperate well.

She turned and for a moment I thought she might sit back down and tell me this was all a dream, or a test, something other than blatant abandonment.

‘Listen Lou – oh how do I explain this… ?’

I saw her eyes search for words.

‘…you know that marshmallow you ate, the abandoned one?’

‘Yes.’

‘Well you’re like my marshmallow, on the floor, hair all over you, and sure if I wiped you down or hosed you off I might for a moment get that sweet sensation only a marshmallow can give me as it touches my lips, but than the guilt would set in, the self hate, that yearning for something more in my life – do you understand?’

‘I’m not a marshmallow.’

She took a long breath.

‘You’re not my marshmallow Lou.’

And with that she left…and for me it was time to go home and stand in front of the mirror – I was going to treat myself tonight.

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Even if you looked like a man I wouldn’t touch you like that…

Leaving a friends birthday party with a close friend of mine, a rather cute man confronted me, a gay man but still cute in a way I could appreciate. He asked me if I could light his fire, we giggled, I battered my eyelids, my friend rolled her eyes, lit his cigarette and proclaimed ‘oh for fuck’s sake Lou, he sucks cock!’


Fair point.

I waited in the cold, looking for a cab as my friend finished her ciggie, making idle chit chat with my newfound man friend when he asked how long my friend and I had been dating. I laughed, warming my hands in my pockets.’ We don’t date.’

‘But you’re both gay right? I inhaled deeply, adjusting my scarf.

‘No.’

‘Oh wow, I’m sorry, I just assumed because you were leaving together…’ he trailed off.

Correct me if I’m wrong but last time I checked the phrase ‘leaving together’ did not always mean ‘I’m leaving now to go get finger banged by my same sex travelling companion.’

I was just about to say something when my friend piped in, rather enthusiastically ‘but it would be awesome if we were both gay, because we’d be great together’.

My awkward silence said it all.

‘What? You don’t think we’d great together?

‘Let’s not get into that here’.

Cute boy put out his ciggie and looked to be heading back inside, ‘sorry guys, I didn’t mean to cause an argument’.

‘It’s fine really; she’s just had a little too much to drink – let’s just get in a cab and go. I’m tired.’

‘No, I don’t get it.’ I could see she was getting more upset ‘we’re great mates, your dog likes me, your dad even made chicken soup for me…’

A crowd had begun to draw ‘look, you’re making a scene, shut up.’

‘I’m not going to be silence on this. I’m a great girl’

‘Yes, you are. I’m not debating that, it’s just..don’t make me do this…’

‘Say it, go on, you know you want to’

‘You’re not my type. There I said it. Happy?’

The crowd drew breath, as my friend lit another cigarette.

‘What? You have a type now – I’ve seen the guys you’ve hooked up with lately – seriously you have a type? That’s just bullshit!’

Finally a cab pulled up and I pushed my reluctant friend into the backseat. We both fell silent.

‘I don’t get you Lou. Don’t you want something comfortable, something predictable?’

‘No’ I whispered under my breath. ‘I want more.’

We drove off into the cold wet night and I couldn’t help but be reminded of an incident much like this one….

It was 2002. A bunch of us had gathered at my house for a dinner party. A few bottles of wine in, a game of Yatzee and chocolate cake the conversation began to become more intimate. Each of us revealing some of our most personal desires. My friend Sophie stood up. It was her turn. ‘If Louise was a man I’d date her, we’re great together.’

I remembered that dry feeling on the back of my throat, the way I looked away as she waited for me to reciprocate, the humiliation in her eyes as I helped myself to another piece of cake wishing this moment away.

It was no surprise she’d fancy me as a guy. I knew I’d be her type. Olive skin, dark hair, dark eyes, arty and a good cook and yes, by my own admission we often finished each others sentences, but as she stood at the end of the table, begging me to answer with her silence I knew in my heart she could never be my type if she was a guy.

Sure, I could lie and we’d gone with our lives, occasionally joking to friends about how like a married couple we were, but I’d know in my heart it was wrong. I couldn’t live a lie and she couldn’t ask me.

I needn’t have said anything, we could’ve got on with the evening as planned but I felt compelled to make things right.

‘Hey, enough of this. Sophie I think we’ve run out of wine sweetie, why don’t you make yourself useful’. I could see the tears in her eyes as I tossed her the car keys.

Yes, I knew what I was doing. It was a rainy night, sure she’d been drinking…but I digress…

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