Worlds Best Parent. Ever. Full Stop.

I have to admit I was riding high, thinking I was the best new mum in the world when I went to my second maternal health check. Sure we didn’t have it all figured out, but from where I stood, we were smashing it –  bub was still alive, we were yet to drop him (on a very hard surface) and I’d started vacuuming our carpet at least once a month in anticipation that he might, you know, one day crawl and the last thing I wanted was him choking on the remnants of a truffle flavoured potato crisp from our earlier, decadent child-free days. There was no hiding it, we were nailing this parenting shit.

So you can imagine my surprise when I met Kathleen. My new maternal health nurse, complete with a nifty fanny pack around her waist because she liked to keep everything she needed close to her as she wasn’t a fan ‘of reaching for things.’

As was usual I’d gone to this ‘not mandatory but strongly advised’ appointment with our sex trophies’ co-creator, his father, which doesn’t seem so odd until I point out that it would have been just as useful to bring a potted plant along, given Kathleen chose not to even acknowledge his existence.

‘These appointments aren’t for the father’ she pointed out. ‘There to see how your son is developing both emotionally and physically with you as a mother.’

‘Detrimentally’ I joked. She did not laugh. Kathleen never laughed.

‘The thing is’ I pointed out ‘Kathleen, I can call you Kathleen right? Both JK and I are around all our son all the time. We’ve both taken time off, together, to be with him and I think it’s important to –

‘- it says here you had a c-section’

‘Um, yep – but as I was saying, it’s important we acknowledge the father-’

‘If that’s the case you shouldn’t be sitting like that…with your legs crossed.’

‘Crossed? It’s fine.’ I said ‘my physio said it’s fine.’

‘Oh well, feel free to take someone else’s advice, that’s your choice pet, but I’m saying I don’t think it’ a good idea.’

‘My doctor also said it was ok.’

‘Well if your doctor said it was ok, and they are a doctor and I’m just a -’

‘Nurse?’

‘Huh! Maternal Health Specialist Nurse deary –

‘ – it wasn’t meant to insult you’

‘ – no insult was taken. If you want to believe your doctor that’s your call but if I were you and I’d had a c-section I wouldn’t sit like that, not if I wanted to have another child in the future, just saying.’

I kept my legs crossed in silent protest. Her eyes flaring up, my defiance noted.

‘Are you breastfeeding?’

‘Yes’

Exclusively?

‘No. He’s been combination fed since he was born.’

‘Was there a reason?’

‘He was early. It should all be written there. We did discuss this last time we came in.’

She sighed, rubbing her temple as if the fate of every child rested on her shoulders.

‘Louise, is telling me your child’s health history an inconvenience to you, because please let me know if it is and I’ll take some time now to read up on him?’

I crossed my legs a little further.

She continued.

‘So you bottle feed?’

‘Yep, about once a day. It’s good, it allows JK to be part of  the feeding process and lets me get a little sleep.’

‘Formula?’

Yes.

‘Hmmm,’ she scribbled something down for effect.

‘And what’s the reason for that?’

‘Like I said, I get a little sleep, JK can bond –

‘- well it is your choice. Sleep is very important…’

I couldn’t hold back.

‘But?’

‘It’s just if I was you and I could breastfeed, well the literature says to breastfeed exclusively, but that’s just me, and the literature.’

‘I’m not very literary,’ I said ‘I’ll continue to give him a bottle then.’

And then to my astonishment, she mumbled under her breath ‘You do what you want, don’t mind me. I’m just the maternal health specialist.’

I turned to my pot-plant for support but he was focused on distracting our sex trophy from his mother’s demise.

‘Ok’ Kathleen jumped up.

‘Lets get him undressed and weighed.’

JK stood up, starting to get bub ready, when Kathleen turned to me.

‘I’d like to see the mother get him ready’

‘I’m assuming I’m the mother in this scenario’ I sparked back.

She did not smile.

‘I’ll let you get on with it then.’

The colour drained from my face. JK was the master of getting bub’s t-shirts off quickly without squashing his head. I was not. My strong suit up until this point had been keeping bub alive with my boobs, but even that seemed to hold no sway at this point in time.

Fumbling as I got him undressed, under the vengeful eye of Kathleen I suddenly became concerned that as his jumper stuck around his head, and his little arms flailed about that I might lose custody of him just for being a bad baby un-dresser. I wasn’t smashing this parenting thing. I’d deluded myself. Maybe he was better off being raised by a woman who didn’t cross her legs?

Finally, his little head came free and he smiled as if to say ‘I only lost a little oxygen mum.’

I nodded my thanks back.

‘Turn him over’ barked Kathleen.

‘Now I have to tell you…Baby is dry’ she said.

Finally, I smiled. Something I got right. ‘Yeah, I dried him after his bath this morning. I was pretty thorough -’

‘ – no, I mean his skin is too dry. Do you moisturise?’

‘Um yes, daily.’

‘It should be forty times a day!’ (*slight exaggeration in the retelling but you get the idea…)

‘Ok’

‘And what do you use?’

‘Mineral oil – just like we were told’

‘No! Edible oils only’

And that’s when I cracked it.

‘Really? Because last time we were here- ’

‘ – Yes we!’ JK shouted out. Thanks, babe…

‘We were told there was new research and edible oils could lead to skin conditions when he’s older’

‘Then you were told the wrong information.’

‘By two of your colleagues, the other midwife-’

‘We are not midwives. We are maternal health specialists and we’re here to help you be better parents. You need to listen to me for the sake of your son. You need to know I have his best interests at heart before you continue to have a go at me.’

My hands curled up in anger.

‘Me, have a go at you? You’ve done nothing but make me feel like a barely adequate parent, no, a barely adequate human being since I’ve been here and -’

I stopped. Suddenly Kathleen’s face distorted. Her tongue recoiling back into her face with horror as urine sprayed out at her care of my son’s well aiming and meaning penis.

Squad goals.

And then just like that, any concerns I had about being a bad mum have washed away. He’d done me proud. He’d done every mother and or father being told they’re doing a bad job proud. He was my hero.

And so without finishing the appointment we grabbed our naked, still peeing son and left.

JK making a point to say we would be making a formal complaint against Kathleen because he was concerned she would upset other parents, what with her fanny-pack full of judgement. I watched him go to bat for me, I couldn’t help but smile as urine continued to run down my leg and into my shoe because we’d left the spare nappy at home…that wasn’t important right now. Being righteous parents was.

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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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How Dannii Minogue saved humanity…

I’m really going to stop walking home. Sure I need the exercise but for the sake of my sanity and at the risk of exacerbating my already impotent nature when it comes to relating to the average person, I really think I must stop.

To be honest though, this is not something that has gradually been eating away at me, adding to my state of restless sleep and unsatisfying daily minutiae; it has it’s nexus firmly rooted in an encounter I had on Tuesday, and before you judge me with me with your judging hats (I should know, I own 3 in various colours) this is not an over reaction, well 3 days later it isn’t, but possibly on retrospect it might be seen as a slightly over zealous and ill thought out move on my part.

Her name was Betty. She was, and is one of my on-and-off again friends. The sort that always seem like a good idea at the time, but 20 minutes into a lecture from them on how cork shoes never really got a fair run, not to mention Espadrilles and it’s all Jennifer Aniston’s fault, you can understand why Brad left her for Angelina – you stare at them with all the hatred you can muster and then come to the crushing realisation that being with them only makes you hate yourself more.

But my Betty was worse than that; spending more then an Australia Day lunch with her made me want to do things to myself, bad things to myself. Like the time I actually contemplated going home, foraging around my clutter cupboard for my tennis racket, far from it’s glory days of Under 15 Round Robin matches and immersing it in a bath of rust and lime scales for 24-48 hours, where upon immersion complete I would de-string it, leave it in the rain and then after a couple of whiskeys insert it either orally or otherwise into myself and scraping my insides out.

And yet here I was now, walking in the middle of the city, unaware that she was right behind me – that is until she yanked my iPod ear phones out of my ear, and then in front of everyone I screamed ‘I’m being assaulted’ which was not only humiliating to myself, but a point of great concern to everyone walking past who really quite clearly didn’t give a toss – I felt comforted in the knowledge that had I been being assaulted the most I could hope for was a couple testing out their new iPhone posting yet another urban stereotype on YouTube with the tag line ‘the girl who got over excited when her friend touched her.’

Now, here’s the thing, I’ve only recently surrendered my Sony Discman because after scratching my forth copy of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation and then being informed it is no longer available to purchase in any other format than Mp3 (yes, I felt like chaining myself to a Sanity Christmas display stand as well) I conceded defeat and got an iPod, nothing fancy, you can’t touch the screen, but it’s mine and I’ll be damned if anyone other than myself or a mugger yank it out of my ears…

‘What the hell?’ I spun around only to come face to face with Betty.

‘Hey’ she offered back – no apology, no nothing, as I struggled to pick up my head set and stuff it in my hand bag.

‘That kinda hurt’ I muttered…

‘Hurt – what hurt?’

‘When you pulled my head back via my earphones just now’

‘Did I?’ she stated – it wasn’t a question, she knew what she had done – let the dance begin I thought. Let us dance.

‘I haven’t seen you since Australia Day – you never call, why is it you never call Lou?’

‘I invited you to my birthday’

‘Ahh, yes, Sex and the City was on at the IMAX the next night and I really needed to rest my eyes.’

‘Fair enough.’

‘Yep’

‘And I invited you to my show’.

‘Oh…well Andrew didn’t want to go.’

‘Andrew?

‘I got a new boyfriend, well he really started out a f**k buddy but than I thought come on Betty you’re over 25 and you have to start getting serious about your life, like what if the world ends and you have no one to get on the Arc with, like I’m sure they’ll be a boat for the singles, but really what would God get of saving them, I mean really – how committed are you in saving humanity if you aren’t willing to breed for existence right? And anyway, Andrews doesn’t really like funny girls, which has really kept me in check, I can tell you.’

‘Fair enough’

‘You know Andrew anyway; you went to high school together’

‘Yep.’ – we never spoke, most of our interaction coming to down to him coming up with a scoring system of how many things the boys in class could get down my top without me noticing.

‘So what’s new with you Lou?’

‘Not much.’

‘Still living with your parents?’

‘Yep.’

‘That’s not very good is it? – Not very good for your ‘life’ hey?’

‘I don’t have a ‘life’ so it suits me just fine. I’m actually very busy.’

‘You just said you weren’t doing much.’

‘Well its just stuff, like I have (oh please Lou, don’t stoop this low) – I have a couple of scripts I’m developing.’

‘That’s great Lou, just great. I tend to think screenwriting is like how everyone was in a band in the 90’s won’t you agree?’

‘Not really, I think there’s a lot more to it –‘

‘– I’m just trying to say that isn’t everyone developing a screenplay? Like my autistic cousin Benji could have something development if he was so inclined – surely you agree Lou?’ – Again, not a question, more a statement.

‘I guess if he was motivated that way’

‘Don’t be cruel Lou, for god sake he’s autistic.’

I had nothing to say, she was right, I had been cruel – cruel for thinking that at right that very moment she was talking to me I was thinking that I really wanted to be home self-harming myself live on the web.

‘What you listening to anyway?’ she grabbed at my iPod and examined for evidence of music.

‘Dannii Minogue?’ she quipped, reluctant to give it back to me like a mother who just discovered her toddler was playing with laundry detergent.


‘Yes, Dannii’ – judging hats on!

And she scrolled through my selection I could see her face despair – but that was cool, I was ready for this, and I’d been waiting for this moment all my life.

Her head shot up ‘You’ve got her entire back catalogue Lou.’

‘Yeah, lots of people do.’

‘That’s not true, is it Lou?’

‘As a matter of fact there are a lot of us out there who think Dannii has done a lot more for modern music than anyone is willing to give her credit for.’

I knew it was a bold statement, yes, I also know there wasn’t much to back it up and her ill fated marriage to Julian McMahon and her slight dalliance with being a darling of the Right in 2002 following a poorly interpreted magazine interview about the French fascist president at the time did tear at her credibility – but I wasn’t backing down.

I snatched my iPod back.

‘How soon we forget how important she is culturally to us! – I mean what? Have we all forgotten Secrets! Or how she made every frumpy brunette in Australia actually think they too could be on Young Talent Time! Or how she was nominated for a Gold Logie! And yes, we’d all like to forget ‘This is It’ but you can’t honestly say that Neon Nights did not have some well earned party anthem highlights, and sure she looks a little strange now in the flesh and slightly out of proportion – but she’s the accessible Minogue and for that, and that reason alone I will always go to bat for her and so Betty if you want to make something of this go right ahead, but her music gives me a much needed spring to my step as I walk home and no one is going to take that away from me – no one….especially not the likes of you.’

For a moment she said nothing, nor did the crowd that had gathered for my rousing ‘Pro Dannii’ speech. For a moment I expected a slow clap to start rumbling up through the crowd of 5 or so, I expected Betty to look at me with tears in her eyes and thank me for finally making it ok to like Dannii, something so many of us have been seeking permission for, for years…

…but as the crowd left to go and watch a guy talk to himself on the other side of Bourke St Mall, I was not left with a liberated and admiring Betty but was faced instead with a Betty who know longer knew the person that stood before her.

‘Listen Lou…’

She reached her arm up to my shoulder, but quickly pulled away, as if correcting herself.

‘I – it’s just don’t think we can be friends anymore, well not for now anyway….you seem a little lost and I’ve made a promise to myself to only surround myself with people who have direction and a firm grasp on what is right and wrong, and from what I’ve just witnessed Lou, you can no longer tell the difference. Take care Lou.’

And with that she looked at me one last time, clutching my iPod and started to walk away…but it was ok, I had Dannii and you know what that’s all I needed.

And so, looking back and with the kindness of hindsight it would be wrong of me to stop walking home, sure it reaffirms that my talent lies almost exclusively in alienating people and losing friends (to misquote a book) but more importantly because if no ones actually listening to Dannii does she really exist?

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The delicate art of c**t flashing.

In my lifetime I’ve seen more vagina then frankly I’ve ever needed to see. I have my own you see, and so from where I stand my dance card is full so to speak – I do not need to yours, little miss ‘my boyfriend left me at the races after fingering me near the starters gates, and I think I’ve vomited on my shoes and that’s why I’m sitting with my legs spread and talking on my iPhone and now it’s itchy and so now she starts scratching it…’ – oh for the love of god, this recent popularity in minge flashing has to stop!

Now look, it’s not like I seek vagina out, it just happens to find me – like that kid in school who always picked his nose and ate what he didn’t smear on the seat and farted all day long, who always ended up sitting next to me on the school bus and somehow manages to clean himself without the use of tissues or a hankey, because oh no, my David Jones kids section colleted shorts would just have to do because ‘oh my god Lou, there’s blood in my snot! Blood in my snot! I can’t eat that!’ – and so like I took issue to the nose picking kid who once asked me out after farting his name under his arm, my relationship with vagina is also steeped in friction – namely my relationship with other peoples vaginas.

Not that I’d never had an issue with my own. There was one time when I was five years old when my mother spotted a small ‘lump’ on my groin. After an unsuccessful attempt at getting the fire department to come and check it out, my mother, conceding defeat, drove me to the nearest emergency room, where upon arrival she declared to the triage nurse that it looked like I had ovarian cancer. After a quick glance at my intimate region the nurse debunked my mothers theories on ovarian cancer in favour of a nice warm flannel – to wipe away the hardened yoghurt my mother had mistaken for a lump. As you can imagine my mother was furious, driving home in almost silence until finally I perked up the courage to ask her what was wrong. She took a deep breath and rolled down the window ‘an illness I could’ve handled, but to think they think I have a filthy child, a child who does not wash – well if I wanted that I would’ve married a transient Louise, a transient.’

My complicated relationship with (I think we know what I’m talking bout by now) continued well up to my early teens, when at the age of 13, and not yet cool enough to secure a birthday party invitation without an in from my parents, I found myself relegated to the kitchen of my on-again, off-again best friends, on my own, away from the fun party times. You see, it turned out that I’d worn the same rose coloured dress and sash combination as the birthday girl. I thought we looked different enough though – I mean I had two separate eyebrows – she didn’t see the humour and so it was decided I’d spend the rest of the party out of site. If anyone asked, we told her it was a mutual decision.

Alone with nothing but a chocolate cake to keep me company as I pondered my impending ascent into my thirties teens, I was startled to find my friends sister staring at me from the doorway, quietly staring. She was the older sister, and when I say older I mean of the stepsister, first marriage variety. She was 16, wore 8-ups, watched Press Gang before it was ironic and above all she was the only person around my age that saw a psychiatrist and not because she had an eating disorder – she was an exhibitionist, and given I still got dressed in the privacy of my own room with a towel wrapped around me and away from the mirror – well all of the afore mentioned made her better than me, and as a young girl on the brink of puberty, I was like a moth to a flame (thank you Janet Jackson).

life-is-a-highway
She leaned on the counter and fingered my chocolate cake, smearing it on her white shirt.

‘I’ve got something to show you’ she murmured.

I grabbed my cake – great, dinner and show!

When we got to her room I was struck with awe – Sarah McLachlan and Take That posters everywhere – she obviously didn’t have a BluTak quota like I did – there was barely any wall, and to top it all off she had a Fresh Prince of Bel Air bedspread (years from that very moment she would fashion that bed spread into her high school valedictorian dress, but by that stage with her reputation firmly cemented, going dressed as a bed would be seen as literal, lacking any sort of irony whatsoever).

She went to over to what I only could’ve have imagined at the time was a brand new CD/ Cassette player and slipped in Tom Petty’s Life is a Highway, and began to dance around the room. I stood there. Sure I was a good dancer, but I knew better then to upstage her and then suddenly she took off all her clothes and stood very still in front of me. I didn’t know what to do – I wasn’t the right audience, I hated interpretative dance, yes, even naked interpretative dance, but I couldn’t tell her – ‘that was great’ I stated. She took my hand and started to push it down ‘touch it’ she said, and before I even had time to tell her how funny this situation was because it was the exact same thing I did with her brother the other week – my parents burst in – and lets just say from that moment onwards there were two girls in the neighbourhood who saw therapists and not for eating disorders – as my mum told my Nan over a shared cigarette one day ‘she likes vagina’s which is cool, but I can’t help but think it’s just greedy, I mean she has her own and if she gets curious she’s got her grandma or me to go to – there’s no need to go outside the family- I just don’t want it to get to the stage where’s she getting arrested for peaking through windows.’

And so now even in my twenties I still find myself subjected to the vagina. Take for example last Tuesday. I was minding my own business in a public bathroom when two young ladies of orange persuasion trolloped in. I quickly ascertained with their misuse of hair extensions and polyester that they’d been at the races that day, one had even managed to get her hair caught in her zipper, but she didn’t care, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t hers. I think her name was Nanessa, and her friend who taking centre stage and blocking me from drying my hands was called Chantelle, and Chantelle had a problem – her undies were really uncomfortable – she wasn’t use to wearing full briefs and from the looks of Nanessa telling some third party on her mobile phone –the whole situation was rather distressing.

According to Nanessa though, the solution was simple:

‘Just take em off Chanty’

‘But don’t you think my dress is too short?’

‘Nah, it’s not as short as mine and I’m not wearing any,’

‘F**k off!’

‘Yeah, see, and we’re going dancing, not like anyone can tell’

And with that, Nanessa bent over  – she was right, you couldn’t see her c**t, primarily due being distracted by finally seeing someone who appeared to bleach their anus – it sounds wrong, it looks wrong.

I pushed past to get to the dryer, trying not to stare, desperately trying not to stare.

‘Ok’ exclaimed Chantelle and took her own knickers off and started to shimmy around, like she was on that very dance floor where no one cared if you were wore undies or nor.

‘Arms up’ commanded Nanessa as she pulled out some lip gloss and a cigarette.

Chantelle raised her arms, as Nanessa studied her carefully.

‘Nup, your fine, just don’t stand in front of any lights or the sun’, words from an old pro I thought, but I spoke to late as I turned around in time to come face to face with Chantelle as she came to the realisation she still had her tampon in…

Trying not to cry, I grabbed my handbag and headed for the door when someone tapped me on the shoulder – it was Nanessa.

‘You’ve got something stuck to the bottom of your shoe’

‘I’m fine’ I barked back and looked down to find a condom wrapper stuck to my shoe.

I had never felt so embarrassed and unaware – who was I to judge these girls, they helped me, perhaps vaginas weren’t so bad after all – maybe I just needed to brush up on the etiquette and really learn to stop staring – or maybe they could just wear underpants- for the love of god – and then I slipped on the condom wrapper and fell over, arse over tits.

‘Oh my god!’ Chantelle shouted ‘she wears her undies on the outside of her stockings – that’s disgusting.’ And with that they both stepped over me, sans undies, and left me lying on the floor. They were right, I was disgusting – don’t look at me.

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I wear eyeliner

I wear eyeliner.

 

I make no apologies for that, but when it results in me getting forcibly removed from a stationary train…I start to get a little pissy. 



 

For some reason I often get mistaken for a hair dresser, even the girls that have been doing my nails for the past few months still think that, even though I have corrected them on many an occasion. Comments about how my eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen all day, how I adore their hand massages because as a ‘writer’ my wrists feel constantly strained (and this is not due to being a chronic self pleasure as some might allude to…). I’ve even bought in published articles I’ve written from reputable magazines and asked if I could leave them in the waiting room for their other clients to enjoy (to this day they have denied my constant requests). 



 

One might be wondering at this point what this has to do with another tale of my woe? I’m on my way there. I bought my train ticket at the window (I like to think that somehow this small gesture keeps someone employed – and gives me brownie points in hell). The transaction apparently went smoothly, that is until the ticket man told me how much I reminded him of his wife. She was a bitch and she was also dead. (I’m now a big advocate of ticket machines at train stations). 


 

I ventured to platform 12, as directed, purchased a newspaper, tossed the sports section, and hopped in what I failed to notice was a stationary train. After about 10 minutes of being stared at by a small blonde man who blessed me under his breath every time I tried to avoid eye-contact with him, I got up to find out what was going on and dreaming of the day I’d have my own personal driver, who with the slap of a glove I could fire for such insubordinance…when suddenly I was confronted by a woman who bore a striking resemblance to a brick wall – the kind kids bounce tennis balls against, or as a high school kid you pashed behind. 

Her name was Sarah, though when we were at high school together, she was referred to as ‘the terror’.

 

Rumour had it, that upon graduation she had tried to flee to New Zealand to shack up with some guy she’d met on the Internet. She’d run into strife when, while going through the metal detector she got a little worked up and was aggressively subjected to a cavity searched to make sure she wasn’t carrying a bomb. She would later recall the incident as the only time she’d ever needed help cuming. I was a little scared of her, and to top it all up she was a certified ticket inspector. 


 

‘Well, well – if it isn’t Louie Da Fly’ she rumbled.

‘Barely recognised you for a minute, but then I watched you for a while through that window and then it was just like I knew it was you, cos I had this dream about you once and you were in it and your hair was really short – so that’s how I recognised you cos you looked like that girl in my dream, but she was proper tall and you’re not that tall are you?’



Supposing it was a rhetorical question I chose not to answer. Instead I smiled politely, and tried to get off the train –’Look it’s really nice to see you again Sarah – do you know what’s happening with the trains?’



The storm came suddenly, without warning – ‘What? Aren’t you even going to ask me how I’ve been? What I’ve been up to? Is this what happens when you get famous all of a sudden?’ (So sudden – I was caught completely unawares…)


‘You heard me! Someone told me you’d become one of those celebrity hairdressers, so I Googled you and there you were and I found your blog…ooh, so now you’re published…but I read it, not my cup of tea if I’m honest, but I thought I’d at least be in there somewhere – but it’s like you’ve forgotten me – why? Are you too busy with all your famous friends and their famous people parties? (I’m going to point out at this point that I was running late for a meeting at an employment agency…)


 

Trying to ease the tension, I went for humour ‘I’m more of a stay at home with a DVD type gal.’

‘You’re not funny,’ spat back Sarah.

I hung my head ‘I know.’


A few seconds passed with neither of us saying a word.

‘You wear eyeliner’, she stated. 


‘Yes, yes I do.’


‘I’m rubbish at it. Eyeliner that is.’

The door was only inches away….

‘It’s pretty easy, practice really.’


‘Teach me’ she asked,

‘Um, I really have to go.’ I responded, like a coward. 


‘No, I’ve got a break coming up, we could go to the girls bathroom and –’she was insistent.


My discomfort was growing.
’I really must go Sarah, if you’ll just let me-‘
’-oh now you’re in a hurry – you were sitting on a stationary train a few minutes ago and didn’t seem in a hurry.’ (damn Connex!)

‘Listen Sarah, I’m getting the impression and correct me if I’m wrong – that you think we have some sort of friendship that I’m obligated to rekindle – well my recollection is of a girl who smeared dog faeces on my locker – in short Sarah from what I recall you are no friend of mine!’



She said nothing for a moment. I imaged for a second that she might step back, nod her head and let me get on with my life – I was wrong.


‘Can I see your ticket?’ flipping out her official ID.

‘My ticket?’

‘Is there a problem? – If you can’t produce a ticket madam I’m going to have to escort you off the train.’

Ok – so she wasn’t taking my little outburst as well as I’d hoped. 
 Searching my handbag, I began to panic, when suddenly I spotted the ticket at my feet. 
 As I bent down to pick it up, I felt a clammy hand take my arm and start to forcibly remove me from the train. 


‘I’m sorry, but failure to produce a ticket when asked is an immediate on the spot fine of $180.00’ – I swear she was grinning. 


I looked at the little blonde man with pleading eyes, needing his help, to look within himself – to acknowledge that while he’d been mentally undressing me he’d remember seeing my ticket drop from my bag to the ground. Both myself and Sarah stopped for a moment as he cocked his head, opened his mouth and proclaimed – ‘Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?…Don’t yah!’



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Friends you never wanted to have – example 1

The smell of freshly urinated grass first thing in the morning can’t truly be described by anyone that hasn’t awoken on a bit of lawn, skirt riding up around their waist and the promise that this might be their last day on earth, but believe me I did not set out to finish up this way…

My friend Steve and I weren’t spending enough time together. He was insistent we meet up on the weekend and have a good chin wag, it was comments like that that had led me to push away from Steve, but like a cat trying to get a dead bird out of skirting boards he kept coming back. In hindsight I should never have encouraged my best friend Frannie to sleep with him, but he told me he was dying and I thought I’d do the guy a favour and so I introduced him to Frannie who after a recent pap smear scare was looking to rejoin the human race.

He wasn’t dying, not that he was lying. He’d stepped on a rusty nail earlier that day and had been lakse getting a tetnus injection and had been feeling a bit off all day. Frannie  had her suspicions ‘he didn’t shag like a dying man – he was more like the warm up guy on Wheel of Fortune; he worked on the theory I’d probably seen the show often enough to work it all out myself and he just occasionally yelled out encouraging vowel sounds’.

Frannie’s lack of interest in pursuing anything with Steve led her to give him my number and it turned out that when he wasn’t crying he was kinda alright to hang out with and when I say hang out with I mean a phone call once a year around Christmas generally when I’m about to go into a tunnel and my phone just drops out. So for whatever reason now he wanted a face to face. I agreed to meet him for dinner, drinks and food in a controlled environment with little chance of him bursting into tears or bringing his mother along.

‘I’m not eating chicken anymore’ He told me as the waiter took our order for two medium rare steaks. ‘Nothing off a carcass, it’s just so cruel.’

‘Not to burst your bubble Steve but steak much like the one you just ordered comes off a carcass’.

‘Common misconception Lou, it comes from the rump’

‘Which is part of the skeletal system, the carcass of the animal’

‘Granted its supported by the carcass, but it’s not entirely reliant on it, the rump doesn’t need the carcus to survive’

‘I think you’re thinking of squid’

‘And you Lou are refusing to think full stop’.

The problem was had Steve been an ex of mine, or an off cut of a night of pity then I’d have no trouble treating him with the contempt he deserved, but this was complicated. It was like meeting up with a friends ex-husband to distract him from the restraining order that had been served on him early that week with lots of ‘she told you she needed her space, this isn’t so much about you as it is her new husband that really thinks you can’t let go’ or my personal favourite ‘if you hadn’t slept with her mum there’s a good chance it would never have gotten to this’.

Our food arrived, my second bottle of wine decanted, his mineral water poured and we settled into round two for the night.

‘Why did you and I never hook up Lou. I see a lot of potential in you Lou.’

‘I was gay when I met you’

‘Guess it was just bad timing’

‘Yep’

‘You still gay?’

‘No, just turns out it was something I ate that night’

‘Funny you say that. I’ve met someone’

I nearly fell off my chair.

‘Do they know you’ve met them?’

‘Yes, she’d been on at me for ages to go out with her, it was pretty pathetic but what is it they say ‘give a girl a bone?’

‘You said that to her?’

‘No, I did that to her – gave her a bone…get it?’

I gulped at an empty glass, another drink was in order. I was breaking my latest rule – no drinking around others.

‘But then she got all weird’

‘She’d probably sobered up’

‘No, she doesn’t drink. It’s really very refreshing, you should try it sometime Lou’

‘There are lots of things I should do, but generally I do what I shouldn’t – point and case sitting here with you right now.’

‘Ouch – you’re just drunk’

‘Yes and I’m going to get going in a minute before my brain truly starts to grasp some of the things you’ve said tonight’

‘You’re just like my new girlfriend’

‘No I’m not, for starters I’m not a minor’

‘She’s 40 actually – older then me and you. A proper woman. She’s certified’.

‘They don’t hand out certificates’

‘They should and warning signs, I mean she got upset because I wouldn’t got down on her’.

My steak revisited my throat but I pushed it back down.

‘It’s just not natural Lou, like if I was gay fine, it’s part of the job description but I’m a guy, I mean help me out here Lou’

I slowly picked up my purse.

‘I don’t think we can be friends anymore Steve.’

‘Oh don’t tell me you like that stuff Lou…christ not you too..I’m starting to think it’s all women’.

‘Someone will stab you one day Steve, I’m just giving you a heads up on that’

‘Fine be that way, but I reckon you won’t find one guy who’s ok with doing that to a girl, well maybe a queer’

‘Frannie has chronic herpes Steve – enjoy’

And with that I left, and what I’d failed to realise was quite how drunk I was and at some point I passed out on what I believe was my way home…

….so waking up it took a few moments for my body to figure out where it had landed, where my brain in all it’s learned knowledge had decided I’d best be suited to bring in the new day. That place was my parents front lawn, complete with my father weeding in one corner and much to be horror, my mother languishing on a desk chair and prodding me a stick and yelling at her dog ‘Henry get away from your sister, put your leg down, down…oh honestly I’ve never seen Henry pee on someone so much – he must think you’re his girflfriend’



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She won’t stop wearing eye make-up…whore.

I wear eyeliner. I make no apologies for that, but when it results in me getting forcibly removed from a stationary train…I start to get a little piss

For some reason I often get mistaken for a hair dresser, even the girls that have been doing my nails for the past few months still think that, even though I have corrected them on many an occasion. Comments about how my eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen all day, how I adore their hand massages because as a ‘writer’ my wrists feel constantly strained (and this is not due to being a chronic self pleasurer as some might allude to…). I’ve even bought in published articles I’ve written from reputable magazines and asked if I could leave them in the waiting room for their other clients to enjoy (to this day they have denied my constant requests). One might be wondering at this point what this has to do with another tale of my woe? I’m on my way there. I bought my train ticket at the window (I like to think that somehow this small gesture keeps someone employed – and gives me brownie points in hell). The transaction apparently went smoothly, that is until the ticket man told me how much I reminded him of his wife. She was a bitch and she was also dead. (I’m now a big advocate of ticket machines at train stations). I ventured to platform 12, as directed, purchased a newspaper, tossed the sports section, and hopped in what I failed to notice was a stationary train. After about 10 minutes of being stared at by a small blonde man who blessed me under his breath every time I tried to avoid eye-contact with him, I got up to find out what was going on and dreaming of the day I’d have my own personal driver, who with the slap of a glove I could fire for such insubordinance…when suddenly I was confronted by a woman who bore a striking resemblance to a brick wall – the kind kids bounce tennis balls against, or as a high school kid you pashed behind. Her name was Sarah, though when we were at high school together, she was referred to as ‘the terror’. Rumour had it, that upon graduation she had tried to flee to New Zealand to shack up with some guy she’d met on the Internet. She’d run into strife when, while going through the metal detector she got a little worked up and was aggressively subjected to a cavity searched to make sure she wasn’t carrying a bomb. She would later recall the incident as the only time she’d ever needed help cuming. I was a little scared of her, and to top it all up she was a certified ticket inspector. ‘Well, well – if it isn’t Louie Da Fly’ she rumbled. ‘Barely recognised you for a minute, but then I watched you for a while through that window and then it was just like I knew it was you, cos I had this dream about you once and you were in it and your hair was really short – so that’s how I recognised you cos you looked like that girl in my dream, but she was proper tall and you’re not that tall are you?’ Supposing it was a rhetorical question I chose not to answer. Instead I smiled politely, and tried to get off the train –’Look it’s really nice to see you again Sarah – do you know what’s happening with the trains?’ The storm came suddenly, without warning – ‘What? Aren’t you even going to ask me how I’ve been? What I’ve been up to? Is this what happens when you get famous all of a sudden?’ (So sudden – I was caught completely unawares…) ‘You heard me! Someone told me you’d become one of those celebrity hairdressers, so I Googled you and there you were and I found your blog…ooh, so now you’re published…but I read it, not my cup of tea if I’m honest, but I thought I’d at least be in there somewhere – but it’s like you’ve forgotten me – why? Are you too busy with all your famous friends and their famous people parties? (I’m going to point out at this point that I was running late for a meeting at an employment agency…) Trying to ease the tension, I went for humour ‘I’m more of a stay at home with a DVD type gal.’ ‘You’re not funny,’ spat back Sarah. I hung my head ‘I know.’ A few seconds passed with neither of us saying a word. ‘You wear eyeliner’, she stated. ‘Yes, yes I do.’ ‘I’m rubbish at it. Eyeliner that is.’ The door was only inches away….’It’s pretty easy, practice really.’ ‘Teach me’ she asked, ‘Um, I really have to go.’ I responded, like a coward. ‘No, I’ve got a break coming up, we could go to the girls bathroom and –’she was insistent. My discomfort was growing. ‘I really must go Sarah, if you’ll just let me-‘ ‘-oh now you’re in a hurry – you were sitting on a stationary train a few minutes ago and didn’t seem in a hurry.’ (damn Connex!) ‘Listen Sarah, I’m getting the impression and correct me if I’m wrong – that you think we have some sort of friendship that I’m obligated to rekindle – well my recollection is of a girl who smeared dog faeces on my locker – in short Sarah from what I recall you are no friend of mine!’ She said nothing for a moment. I imaged for a second that she might step back, nod her head and let me get on with my life – I was wrong. ‘Can I see your ticket?’ flipping out her official ID. ‘My ticket?’ ‘Is there a problem. If you can’t produce a ticket madam I’m going to have to escort you off the train.’ Ok – so she wasn’t taking my little outburst as well as I’d hoped. Searching my handbag, I began to panic, when suddenly I spotted the ticket at my feet. As I bent down to pick it up, I felt a clammy hand take my arm and start to forcibly remove me from the train. ‘I’m sorry, but failure to produce a ticket when asked is an immediate on the spot fine of $180.00’ – I swear she was grinning. I looked at the little blonde man with pleading eyes, needing his help, to look within himself – to acknowledge that while he’d been mentally undressing me he’d remember seeing my ticket drop from my bag to the ground. Both myself and Sarah stopped for a moment as he cocked his head, opened his mouth and proclaimed – ‘Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?…Don’t yah!’


 

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