Warning: Toilet Humour (or How I Learnt To P** Again)

I read once that a guy was so constipated that he took a hot shower, bent over and tried to spoon himself out. It was a success and that spoon is supposedly still in circulation today. A true hero’s journey.

Why do I mention this?

Because I too once thought the idea of removing a shit with a spoon was beneath me, that is until five days after having my son, I found myself hunkered over a hospital toilet, toothbrush in hand, contemplating a similar fate.

Here’s the thing. No one tells you that your first shit after having a baby is going to quite possibly be a worse pain than actually birthing said baby. No one says you become so consumed by the painful and never ending reluctant evacuation that you can barely focus on your new child, let alone name them. No one tells you that the downside of being pumped so full of painkillers is the cementing of your intestinal tract, much like that of a heroin addict.

And absolutely no one tells you that you might end up squatted over a toilet, crying, staring at sign warning against ‘anal strain’ and considering, just considering…

‘JK – are you there?’ I shouted out through the slightly ajar toilet door, into my hospital suite.

‘Yeah, babe. Any movement at the station?’ he asked kindly.

Yep, this is what our relationship had now come to. With the intimacy of childbirth a distant memory, our joint focus had turned to whether or not I would ever be able to provide a stool sample again.

‘No’ I whimpered. ‘The trains still delayed.’

‘Oh, babe. Sorry.’

Pause.

‘Is there anything I can do to help?’

Pause. I looked at my toothbrush.

Dare I ask?

Could I ask?

Should I ask?

I mean he had just seen a human ripped out my intestinal lining (did I mention I failed biology in high school?) and that had, I was in no doubt, brought us closer together, so I mean surely a request to bend me over and scoop poo out of me would only bring even more intimacy and meaning to our relationship?

Or…

Well…

There was always the possibility that it would destroy our relationship.

But here’s the thing – for a fleeting moment, as I saw my strained reflection in the mirror (yep, great place to put a mirror btw) I thought that it might be actually worth ruining my marriage for. I mean I could always meet someone else…

‘Lou, everything alright in there?’

He’d picked up on my silence. My contemplation.

‘Um…is there a spoon out there?’

‘Um…I don’t think so. Why? Do you want me to ask the nurse for one?’

‘Um…’

‘Lou?’

Pause.

‘Are you going to ask me to scoop you out?’

Silence.

We had reached this point. If I said yes, that could be the end of us. If he said no it could be the end of us. 

I took a deep breath, ready to give me answer –

BANG!

The door flew open.

‘And how are we going today?! Still no movement at the station I see!’

A nurse beamed down at me.

‘Nup’ I replied. A sudden wave of relief washing over me.

‘Best we get you some laxatives.’

Laxatives!

‘To help move things along. Can’t have you doing all the hard work on ya own.’

Fuck! That was right! Laxatives! Other drugs! How had I not thought of that?

‘That would be great’ I said, beaming like an idiot, as JK cried tears of joy in the other room.

‘No worries, I’ll go grab some right now.’

She paused. Turned back.

‘What’s with the toothbrush?’

THE END.

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Being fat in the ’90s.

1476484_10151783278006039_1435343232_nI was fat.

See this photo.

In this photo what you see here is me, sitting, being fat.

I was probably being funny too, cause that’s what fat girls do best, funny.

You can’t see it, but I reckon everyone in the room was laughing at something I’d just said.

Somebody probably peed his or her pants.

So back to the photo and me being fat in it.

I know I was fat because at the time this was taken I was constantly being picked on for my weight whether it be by ‘friends’ in the playground, or ‘friends’ of my parents commenting on my ‘full figure’ or my grandmother who would purposely buy my clothes too small for me and than make me wear them in front of her. Boys called me names.

One of my more humiliating moments I recall was when my grandmother returned from Spain with a bra for me. It was a 12AA. I was a 10DD. It didn’t fit. In my head now I know it didn’t fit because I wasn’t a boy, but at the time with very little around me to compare my figure to, I assumed that it didn’t fit because I was fat. And my grandmother didn’t correct me. My mother, I think burnt the bra. It didn’t matter how much my mother told me that I was OK how I was, I didn’t hear her. She was also wise enough to let me know there was nothing wrong with being fat either, lots of people were but that didn’t matter, all I heard was fat and now at 34 years old, I still hear it and the worst part is I view it as negative. When it comes to fat shaming myself, I’m my own worse bully. When this photo was taken I was 156cm tall. For those that know me, I had a very minor growth spurt after that (a whole 4 centimetres…small victories). And I was roughly a size 4-6 if not smaller. I weighed about 40 kilos.

It did not help that I didn’t look like all the other girls at my school. They were all so tall, like beanpoles, like all the girls in Australian magazines and soap operas. Thin, blonde, worthy. I had a tiny waist, boobs coming in and hips. Some adults often described me as ‘womanly’ or ‘sexy.’ I was 13.

And so it began. The great disconnect with my appearance. It’s been over 20 years since that photo was taken and I still struggle to see what everyone else sees. I hide behind mainly baggy clothes; I’ve been on a diet since I can remember. I get sick to my stomach if I break 1200 calories in a day. I exercise constantly. I honestly think that when I look in the mirror, that if I could just lose a bit more weight I’d be able to wear clothes that draped. I’m an idiot. I’ve got curves like a Kardashian minus the personal tailor. There will be no draping in my lifetime unless I make friends with flesh-eating bacteria…but hey you can only cross your fingers for so long…

The narrative of my chubbiness has informed so much of my creative work that I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was imperative to my identity. I write from the perspective of the outsider looking in, the best friend character, the strong personality driven girl, the underdog, the alien. I’ve done pretty well out of it, whether it’s the truth or not. Here’s the thing, it shouldn’t matter whether I’m chubby. I might not be. I might be. I really have no gauge anymore. I know I can wear children’s pyjamas but I’m not sure that means anything.

The thing is when I saw that photo the other night I got upset. I wanted to go back and tell my 13 year-old self to not listen to all the fat shaming and than maybe the next 20 years would be different. Social engagements would not be so crippling at times, I wouldn’t always think somewhere in the back of my head that my relationships didn’t work out because of my appearance, I would write populist chick-lit fiction that opened with lines like ‘the clacking of $700 heels only served to heighten her enviable calf muscles and say to the world that she was ready for anything’ as opposed to ‘she masturbated quietly to a poster of Zach Efron as her boyfriend sat in the study on the phone to his new girlfriend.’ But telling my 13 year old self that if anything I was actually almost underweight at the time that photo was taken wouldn’t have been enough, after all it wasn’t myself that thought I was fat, it was everyone else saying it, making excuses for saying it and shaming me into thinking it was the truth, a truth I’ve lived by ever since. It takes up a lot of my time thinking I should like myself better, sorry correction – it wastes a lot of time. My time. No one else’s, mine. I’ve decided next year I’m going to have a body shaming detox and take up sword fighting or podcasting, I don’t know, I could do anything. All I know is, it’s got to be more productive than what I’ve been doing.

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Matt Day Homewrecker aka Australia’s very own Angelina Jolie

Last night I was woken by an anxious friend calling me from overseas concerned that her boyfriend was on the verge of cheating on her.

‘It’s horrible, like I know he’s not right now cause he’s making me a smoothie but when he asked if I wanted avocado I just thought of my god that’s her vagina and him making me the smoothie well that’s just him metaphorically f**king her.’

‘With the avocado?’

‘No, she is the avocado. Don’t you see?’

‘He’s not going to cheat on you with an avocado, there’s not enough room’ I mumbled as I rolled onto my side and was greeted with my flashing clock and the reminder it was 3am – clearly finest advice given hour.

‘It’s my own fault you know, I hired her for this campaign and she’s his ‘free walk around the park.’ Oh my god, I’m Jennifer Aniston. I can literally feel the pity of others dripping off me.’

‘Not that this is important, but you do know it’s free to walk around a park?’

‘Not in LA Lou.’

‘Since when?’

‘9/11 Lou.’

My pillow fell on my face but to my shock and horror I was still able to breathe…f**k I can’t even muffle myself properly at this hour…

‘So what she’s his ‘if I could cheat on you it would be with her’?! Everyone knows they’re just the thing of fiction, something couples do to add meaning to a relationship.’

‘You so know this is how it started with Brad and Angelina.’

‘You don’t know that.’

‘Him and Jen were just kicking back at their house in Malibu and Jen’s all like she’d so go Captain Picard – ‘

‘-Captain Picard, from Star Trek?’

‘- yes Lou, he’s very commanding and anyway I thought you liked bald?’

‘I’ve done bald, but it never set a precedent.’

‘That’s a shame; I think you and the Captain would work well together.’

‘He’s not real’

‘Those things from your past you’ve called relationships aren’t what we’d call real either but let’s not split hairs, I was talking about Jen and Brad.’

‘Yes, back to those close friends of ours.’

‘Don’t get sarky.’

‘I’m tired.’

‘And so am I Lou, from this constant fight to keep my man.’

My pillow smelled nice, I could feel my oxygen levels running low…

‘Fine, continue.’

‘Well they were just hanging and she’s like her night on the town would be Captain Picard and Brad laughs and knocks back some carb-free popcorn and Jen tickles him until he admits he’d so go Lara Croft from Tomb Raider and then they both laugh cause they know they’ll never cheat on each other cause their cheats are fictional characters and then Jen’s like ‘hey Brad, we just got this script, it’s called Mr & Mrs Smith I’m thinking of producing it post Friends and then BOOM he’s suddenly adopting Asians.’

I hung up, still alive.

Now a few years back when I was living in London I’d had this same conversation with my then boyfriend who at every turn made it very clear he was never out to impress me.

‘Any page 3 girl’ he said. ‘You know just for something different.’

‘Different how?’ I asked

‘You know naked with boobs.’

‘Oh as opposed to myself?’

‘Well I can see you naked any time I want so it doesn’t count.’

‘I can guarantee you from this point on you will not be able to see me naked anytime you want.’

‘You going all frigid or something?’

‘Yes, that’s it. I’m going all frigid or something.’

The conversation had been prompted when my ‘night off’ guy had moved into the same street as us, Matt Day, previously of A Country Practice…ok, so it had been a long time between long term relationships and I hadn’t gotten around to updating my list. It happens to the best of us.

‘You have to change your guy’ my boyfriend stated.

‘Why?’

‘Cause he now lives next door.’

‘And?’

‘You’re more inclined to have sex with him if the he’s next door. It’s a presented opportunity now.’

‘I don’t want to have sex with him.’

‘It doesn’t matter if you do or you don’t.’

‘I think you’ll find it does both legally and human rights wise’

He closed his copy of the Mirror, Sandra from Cheshire’s breasts saw the light of day no more…

‘No. You see if we’re together forever then he’s your only way out, whereas I get page 3 ladies and Julie Sawahla but only from her Press Gang days, you’ve should’ve given yourself more options.’

‘So you’re saying I either sleep with Matt Day, cause that’s bound to happen at some point when he walks past our flat with his baby and wife, or never sleep with anyone but you ever again?’

‘Yes. It’s really a concept that doesn’t involve that much thought Lou.’

‘There’s a lot things in this room at the moment that don’t require much thought…’

We’re not together anymore. 15 years on (yes, it was that long ago I made him my ‘get out of jail free card’) and Matt Day is still a hottie, but as my relationship ended and I matured with age I was very aware of the severe limitations I’d placed on myself with only one option, now I have more, starting with Ron Weasley and ending with Shaun Micallef (yeah, I just haven’t made my career more awkward). That is why there is now a chair on my front porch, just in case they move in down the street.

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A girls guide to having an origami (well a rough estimate)

For years my relationship with my self-esteem has been fraught with friction, none of it helped by my self-esteems amazing ability to fuck off when I quite obviously need it the most.  Such famous incidences include:

1.    The time that in the middle of sex a guy told me he fancied someone else and without the guidance of ‘self-esteem’ I thought what the hell ‘let’s finish what we started, I mean he had to like me to get this far.’

2.    The time I set my boyfriend up with my friend because she was blonde because as he told me ‘come on Lou, you know this isn’t going to work out, like I don’t even like you much, well not as much as I like your friend – come on help a fella out.’ And with my self-esteem nowhere in sight I did.

3.    The time I closed my eyes and let an old boyfriend of mine pretend I was a man, my self-esteem more then likely watched from a gallery seat.

4.    The time I got back together with an ex based on this conversation ‘so I was in San Fran trying to tap… well, let’s just call them someone, and… let’s just say their tits weren’t real and then I thought ‘you know what… Lou’s tits are real’ and so then I thought about it some more and thought ‘yeah, I quite like Lou’s tits’, so deep down in my subconscious that meant that some part of me was attracted to you, and is probably still attracted to you – so what do you say we give it another shot? – and I did.

Now I’m not sure what when my self-esteem decided to leave me, but if I had to guestimate I’d say it was around the time I needed to get my first bra. I was about 14 and after my mothers comments of ‘I can see your crumpets’ and ‘someone’s been invited to party at bolder mountain!’ I agreed to go and get fitted for a bra. As my mum grabbed the car keys and rounded up my father and younger brother for another Sanz family adventure I excused myself to the bathroom only to discover that to coincide with ‘Lou gets her first bra’ I also had been visited for the first time by ‘Aunt Flo’.

Now. I’m not sure how most of you purchase your feminine hygiene products, but on that day my mother decided we should stop into ‘Campbell’s Cash’n’Carry’ to stock up; but she didn’t come in with me, couldn’t find a car park – no she sent my dad and I in together and just before we stepped inside the building she wound the window down and shouted ‘get super  – I’ve run out of mattress protectors.’

The department store wasn’t much better, as mum had ordered my brother to walk behind me on ‘spot patrol’. A lovely woman named Irene approached us to help out – I think she saw the large jumper tied around my waste as a sign that perhaps this was the first time out of the house without my polio support unit. She offered my mother one of those bras that does up at the front – my mother was not impressed ‘gotta make the boys or girls work for their crumpet – hey Lou? Hey? Hi five!’ I watched in horror as my mother and Irene shared skin.

Finally I convinced my mum that the dignity of a changing room was much needed, especially after that cute Xavier boy walked past me as my mother fitted a bra on the outside of my Sportsgirl t-shirt and just as he was in ear shot spoke the irretrievable words ‘and smells like someone’s going need deodorant too – this is a big day for you Lou – if you’re lucky it’ll be boys next.’ Following that remark I knew I was going to be lucky to be fingered by a cousin in later years.

Now it’s rather hard to hang yourself in a department store change room, but fuck I gave it a right go and if you look at the little stool they give you to rest your clothes on as your jumping off point then you’re well on your way to success, that is until your little brother crawls under the door but only enough to see you putting a bra around your neck and screams out ‘mum, dad! Lou’s doing that thing that Michael Hutchinson did to have an origami!’.

Suddenly the door burst open, my father hurtling towards me before I could jump off the stool and my mother sternly standing in front me taking the scene in – me in my undies and a bra around my neck, my brother still lying on the floor and all she could think to do was offer up more advice ‘now is not the time to start a life of self pleasure Lou – first things first let’s get you some supportive underwear and then what you do behind the privacy of closed doors is up to you.’ She then turned to my brother ‘now who wants milkshakes?’ and then to my father ‘I think your daughter might like your opinion on the whole front or back clasp debate Michael.’

I didn’t think it could get much worse but as the years went on my self-esteem became more of absence in my life rather than an active participant – such as last Friday night when I ended up at Billboard nightclub.

I could end this story on that above line alone but then I wouldn’t get to the bit where inside the nightclub and with my friend telling me I looked like a mother searching for her wayward daughter and almost being overwhelmed by the amount of pussy that one can glance based entirely on the knowledge that Friday nights at Billboard appear to be underwear free nights, I had a man approach me – ‘a man of the one eyebrow, I sweat a lot and probably chaff variety’- and what happened next was entirely my self-esteems fault – rather than think I was too good for him, what went through my mind was this ‘that guy looked around this nightclub spotted me and thought I can tap that – oh my god he thought I was achievable; I have become achievable for men who fit the profile of a sex offender – fuck me, does this mean I’ve finally decided on a type?

My friends laughed at me, pointing out that maybe tonight I could find if sex-offenders spooned after that act and so I escaped off into the bathroom hoping to just take a moment to find my confidence in the bottom of my handbag when I walked in on two girls helping each other adjust their g-strings and in the middle of a conversation entitled ‘if you don’t get Brazilian waxes you shouldn’t be allowed to have sex.’

It was then I realised I couldn’t hate my self-esteem – because unlike those two girls in that bathroom that night, well at least I knew what self-esteem was (well that’s what I told myself as I removed the toilet paper from the bottom of my shoe that both girls were kind enough to point out – they could probably tell I was one of those girls now banned from sex according to their new rules) – Score one for Lou! Hi-five….anyone?…anyone?…anyone at all….

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You’re a bad girl Lou, bad girl…now pick up your shoe and go!

Exiting the David Jones food court use to be one of my greatest thrills (understand, I spend most of my day typing words into an inanimate object that fails to engage me in any sort of conversation and no, it’s a not a boy – BAM!) and it was upon making this exit that I ran into a guy called Gareth (yep, let’s call him that cause it’s his real name :))

He was a guy I’d met through friends about 18 months back when I relocated to Melbourne. We got on, he was cute, had brown hair and made me laugh and so we agreed to go and have a drink together. Nothing too formal, just a casual get to know you better inner city drink.

 

But as luck would have it I needed to fly to Sydney that weekend, so we rescheduled – he then had a sudden deadline, we rescheduled. He rang me for that drink; I was going to London for a week but would call when I got back. I did, but he was relocating to New York indefinitely. It was just one of those things…and yet, now here he was standing before me in his cords and tussled hair, maybe it was fate, him catching me just as I was in the middle of gorging on DJ’s fresh baked cookies.

 

‘Hello’ I smiled as we enviably crossed paths.

‘Oh hi’ he smiled back.

‘You’re back!’ I proclaimed.

‘I’m back’ he too proclaimed!

‘Wow’ I surmised.

‘You look great’ he observed.

‘So do you’ I offered back.

‘What have you been up to?’ he enquired.

‘Oh you know the usual…deadlines and stuff.’ I surrended.

‘Yep, don’t I know it’ he casually laughed back.

‘Yeah’ I nodded.

 

And then silence befell us both.

 

‘So maybe we should catch up for that drink?’ I coyishly asked.

 

Pause.

 

‘I don’t think so.’ He said.

 

(Note to self: this is why you don’t ask people out Lou, you see what happens! Sure, you might be a sure thing Lou, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is – BAD GIRL! BAD GIRL!)

 

‘Oh ok then…’ the words stumbled out of my mouth, as some random biscuit crumbs escaped down my cleavage; a once sexy calling card now functioning as a tragic catchment area.

 

As I started to schlep away my shoe decided to fall off (don’t look back Lou, keep walking, you don’t need that shoe, you’re a one shoe kinda gal, just keep walking…you’re almost out of site…) and then came a tap on my shoulder.

 

It was Gareth – I means how many times did I have to run into that guy today!!!!!!!!!

 

‘You? What do you want?’

‘I wanted to ask you a question?’ he asserted.

‘Yeah, sure whatever…’ I mumbled back.

‘Why would you want to have a drink with a guy that obviously can’t stand the site of?’

‘What?’

‘Well you kept cancelling, and I’m not great with hints but I get there…eventually.’

‘So did you! You cancelled all the time!’

‘I had things come up – you told me you understood Lou.’

‘I had things come up too.’

‘Writing a blog is not a ‘thing’.

‘Yeah, well writing for the…. what it is you wrote for?’

‘The New Yorker Louise.’

‘Yeah, well writing for the New Yorker is not a thing either.’

‘I’ll think you find it is Lou’

“I know you are, but what am I?’

‘What?’

‘Nothing – Belle Jour made money from her blog.’

‘The prostitute?’

‘Yeah, but she was high end.’

‘You’re not high end are you Lou, you have stumpy legs.’

‘Don’t you think I know that!’?

 

I turned to walk away…’Hey not so fast lady, you didn’t answer my question.’

‘I liked you – I wanted that drink and now I’m back in Melbourne, I can’t say much more than that.’ I spat out, now wishing I’d picked up my other shoe.

‘And you’re committed to Melbourne now?’

‘Yes’ I replied

 

Now as soon as I said that word I should’ve frozen time, stepped out and gone and got a tattoo in my forehead that read: ‘everything I say from this point in will sound desperate.’

 

‘I was only asking you out for a drink’ – translated as ‘I’d drink petrol to be with you.’

‘So, are you seeing anyone right now?’ – translated as  ‘I’m fertile, there’s an alley round back, lets go make babies – HI FIVE!’

‘I’m staying with my parents’ – translated as ‘It’s a been a while….’

 

So you can imagine it came as quite a shock to young Gareth after he leaned in and whispered in my ear ‘Ok, I’ll give you another chance’  -that my response might be ‘thanks, but no thanks.’

 

‘I knew it!’ he exclaimed! ‘You never liked me and you know how I know? You never even tried to track me down on Facebook!’

‘What? – I didn’t even know your surname!’

‘LIAR!’

‘What is your trauma?’

‘Oh I know all about you Ms Sanz – your comedy, your lesbian group for comics, you’re little blog…and yet you know nothing about me.’

‘Oh believe me Gareth I’m learning a lot right now.’

‘I kept waiting for your friendship request, but nothing…day after day, month after month…’

‘You’re kidding me…you could’ve requested me you know, Facebook is a two way street.’

‘You’d like that wouldn’t you Lou, some guy crawling to you. Back to you.’

‘Back to me? We were never together.’

‘Well that’s news to me Lou.’

 

(Note to self: buy that house in the country and begin a life of solitude, buy a pug, call him Ned – he will be the only companion you never need.)

 

‘Listen Gareth I was only suggesting we have a drink to be polite, I’m actually seeing someone right now…sure it’s new and every – ‘

‘LIAR!!!! LOU! LIAR!’

 

‘Ok, I’m going to go…’

 

‘What you fail to realise Lou is I read your blogs, your little stories. I know the truth.’

 

I walked away, his voice fading into the distance…so you read my blogs to you Gareth? Well I hoped you enjoyed this one!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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