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…

She’s one crazy broad

It was a late night. I was at a bar. It was crowded. It was full of familiar faces; yes it was the sort of place where everyone knew your name. I didn’t care though. I was drunk. A drunkard. A lush is what we might have called me that night in that bar, back in the day.

There was a time I knew her by sight, now I knew her by name. The girl who’d been going round town saying things about me to people, telling them things she had no place to be telling them. Things about me and a boy of no particular consequence, but hey, like I said I was too drunk to care right?

I know that some people would say looking back on the night, that Lou she sure was a crazy broad, where did she get the matches from? But could anyone have stopped me? I doubt it. I was a stubborn filly with money to spend and a reputation to burn.

Earlier that night…

They’d run out of paper towels in the bathroom again. I’d not told Larry the barkeep 2 days earlier that if he wanted to keep the ladies happy all he need do is keep them in a fresh supply of paper towels, but I knew he had other things on his mind. His wife was fiddling Con who owned the local Wash’n’Wear. Everyone knew, Christ his wife knew he knew, but he got a discount on linen, so if he forgot the occasional paper towel, I could forgive him.

The last cubicle door swung open, and out she stepped, that bit of sass I told you bout earlier. Normally I wouldn’t have noticed a gal like her, all plain, dressed up and no one to share it with, but tonight was different, but not right then it wasn’t, because at this point in the story we were just two ladies looking for somewhere to dry our hands.

I settled on my skirt as the right kinda dry place and quickly touched up my lipstick. I could tell she was watching me, watching my lips, wanting to know what it was like to kiss him, feel him. She hadn’t done that yet, but I knew it was her intent, for she was a lady brimming with intention and not of the good variety, no sir, not at all.

‘Why hello there’ she said smirking her flat mouth. ‘Hey’ I responded. We were not friends; I cared not for how she was, if her parents were in good health, if she were to be married in the spring. Her welfare was of no concern to me, but she persisted in making idle chit chat. I had to oblige, I was an accommodating kinda girl. Yeah, some people around town called me too accommodating, but the nights were often cold and long and sometimes I wanted it just like them. It was never about the candy and the chance to ride in a proper motor car, like the ones I’d seen in movie star magazines, it was always bout the being with, accommodating that need.

‘We saw you come in, you here alone again Lou?’ I popped the lipstick back in my purse and savoured the taste of the whiskey sour I’d left at the bar. ‘We?’ I grimaced at the thought. ‘Well, yes me and Tobias’. Ah yes, Tobias, the boy of no particular consequence, the town roundabout. We’d had a short lived tryst, sure it was fun while it lasted, but things went bad fast like a girl in a flammable nightie standing too close to an electric heater on Christmas Eve. It was times like this I missed my sister. I thought about her every night in juvie. Mum and dad thought she was too young to be taken from this earth, but that girl had been a ticking time bomb and she’d seen me on that rainy night, by the freeway with the shovel. She was a wrong time, wrong place girl but she was gone now and I was still standing in the bathroom with another wrong time, wrong place girl – the only difference was she didn’t know it yet.

‘Tobias asked me to grab him a beer on the way back, but I have no idea what he drinks – you’d know, wouldn’t you’. Sure I could’ve told her he’d drink a bum’s urine for the kick, but I wasn’t that kinda girl. ‘He’ll drink whatever you get him, he ain’t that particular’. The last word hung in the air like a kid who’d got in over his head and was now hanging by a noose from a tree in a downtown park where someone was yet to discover his body. His name was Patrick and we’d dated once, but that was long time ago and there was nothing more to be said about that.

‘Thanks’ she replied curtly and held open the door for me as we departed the bathroom. The bar was still buzzing and a quick look around the room confirmed that Tobias was probably out back smoking a smoke. I knew him, she didn’t, but let her find out was my motto. At least it wasn’t me being seduced with the promise of cheap wine and polite conversation anymore. It was her bed now and she could lie in it like my mother use to say, before she’d sit me down in front of the Lord and decide my punishment was another 14 days in my urine soaked bed clothes, cos Jesus was a tough man, a tough teacher and he didn’t appreciate urinator’s and so I’d learn, have to learn the lesson that Jesus was trying to teach me. She’d have to learn a lesson too, Jesus wanted it that way.

She asked me for a light. I obliged her. My whiskey sour still sat there. Lonely, but enjoying the ambience of the evening. My baby was too warm to drink now, its harsh amber liquid wouldn’t burn me like I liked, and the way I needed it, like finger nails deep in my back the moment before the skin tears.

I watched as she lit her cigarette and asked Larry for a couple of pots of draught, the cheap stuff. He wouldn’t know the difference. He was probably already onto the stash of moonshine he kept in a small flask hidden in his boot. She’d never know though. He never took his boots off. Never ever.

I picked up my whiskey one last time and smiled as Tobias walked back in and glanced my way, still looking at me like I was poisoned chalace interrupting his rather predictable evening, again. The whiskey poured itself over her, that girl, the one who had said those things about me. The one who had told them all about the time she seen me at the bus stop with that transient, sure it was all rumour but one day they’d find this body and then they’d come after me and that wasn’t going to happen to this dame, not again.

The match lit first strike. Mama woulda been proud.

Some say I rushed my first marriage…

My first marriage ended in disaster, but in hindsight I do suppose it was doomed from the start. I had to be tied up ‘bitch style’ to a tree by my peers and my husband was sticky taped to the playground slide. Our peers said our vows on our behalf. I think I cried throughout the entire ceremony, and I was still crying when my Grade 2 teacher found me still tied to the tree 3 hours later and remarked that no one liked an unhappy bride…I still plot her death to this very day…..

Sure, Andrew and I tried to make it work, but it was a volatile relationship from day one. I was abusive towards him; he barely paid me any attention, instead preferring to stick his finger up his nose, in his belly button and eventually his anus. Four days after our vows had been imposed upon us our marriage was annulled, after I tracked down the marriage ‘ringleader’ and threatened to scream rape in the tuckshop if he didn’t put a stop to this charade.

Friends would remark years later that I rushed into my second marriage; after all I was barely ten when I found myself seduced by the old institution once again. His name was Michael. We came highly recommended to each other by our best friend. Never mind that the idea of masturbating with shards of glass was more appealing then sharing oxygen with him – it was all set to go ahead and there was nothing I could do.

The ceremony was simple enough – under the swing set with a group of our closest friends. I did not cry this time; I had taken to drinking instead. It was my only release; for again I had a husband that paid me absolutely no attention. I knew he’d only married me to get closer to my best friend. I saw the sympathetic looks people gave me; I knew what they were saying – but really, who wanted to go into double-digits single? It was just not the done thing back in my day…

The police report said I purposely threw myself off the monkey bar set – to be honest, I don’t really remember the details. It was a Tuesday, I’d had a bit too much lemonade…I climbed to the top and then stood 6 feet high over the world and finally felt something, for the first time in ages – really felt something. I vaguely remember the other children daring my to jump, and maybe I did jump – but what I do know is that I hit that tanbark hard and survived with a broken nose and two black eyes and two days later my husband left me to pursue other activities – he wanted to spend more time with his horses.

The girl doesn’t eat potato.

My dad was making dinner the other night when suddenly he stopped mid chop, ‘are you eating potatoes these days? It’s just your mother and I were discussing earlier that I might make a nice potato based side tonight, but if you’re not eating potato’s then there isn’t much point’.

Curiously I replied yes to the potato question, hesitating only to pick up the TV Guide.

‘It’s just your mother said that you might not be eating potato, so I was just making sure.’ ‘I don’t think I’ve ever given up potato before dad. It’s really not a problem.’ But he’d seized all chopping now and moved closer to the couch as my mother emerged from the decking, glass of wine in hand, binoculars in the other. ‘No, what I said Michael….’ I watched as my mother sat herself on the chaise lounge, helping herself to a handful of wasabi peas ‘…was that Louise shouldn’t eat potato.’

I reminded myself that track suits pants have elastic waistbands because it’s part of their design and that I was wearing them because I planned on going for a nice brisk walk later on and not because there was no other option now that my girth couldn’t possibly support a zipper or button pant like garment. I was certain an eating disorder lay dormant in me and that maybe this conversation was the catalyst for its release. At 28 and with my self esteem back on track it seemed only right it should rear its ugly head now. I could do with the drama.

‘Now does that include sweet potato?’ my father enquired as he rummaged through this secret potato sack he kept hidden away under the sink. A few months earlier my mother had requested that all carbs be not seen in the house, and that is how I explained the cereal packets in the bathroom cupboard to visitors. No one ever seemed surprised by this after seeing my mother attempt to eat vegemite on toast blind folded – ‘if you’re body can’t see it, then it can’t really be food’. My argument about fat blind people was not welcomed.

‘You know what darling, I’m not sure if it does include sweet potato. I’d have to look it up on the Weight Watcher’s site.’ As my mother pulled out her Blackberry I dreamed of a time when I didn’t live with my parents, but as tears welled in my eyes I thought best not think about what might’ve been.

‘Ok, according to them, she can have half a steamed normal potato or one full steamed sweet potato. I guess it just comes down to how hungry she is. How hungry are you?’ Her eyes burnt into my elasticised waist.

‘Really, I’m not that hungry.’

‘Oh here we go. We’re not having a go at you Louise, so don’t get all victim on us. It’s just that we as your parents are interested in knowing what you put in your mouth.’

It would only fall on deaf ears explaining to my mother and father that at 28 years of age neither of them had any control over what I put in my mouth. It was a brutal truth that an ex boyfriend of mine had learnt the hard way and sometimes I found myself wondering how he explained that scar to all the other girls since me. I’m almost certain all of his encounters since that fateful Christmas night opened with the line ‘sorry bout that’.

‘I think we should have beans as a side this evening, until we work out where we stand as a family on potatoes’, my father proclaimed as he poured himself another glass of wine. ‘Only if you use the fresh olive oil to drizzle them with, otherwise they taste to green’ my mother lamented.

I decided not to self harm that day. I’d save it for a special occasion, or maybe I’d save it for Mother’s Day. I’m still undecided.

 

 

He didn’t touch me, I left my pants on.

I suffered what the doctor called a ‘drug overdose’ the other day. My first ever! (Well I refuse to count my slight addiction to Sudafed in 97′ that had me thinking I looked like a supermodel, whereas in actual fact my mother preferred to use the term ‘crack addict’ – nor am I going to include the time I discovered the untold pleasure of mixing a nice Sauv Blanc and Panedeine Forte on a hot summers day listening to Joss Stone…. lets just say I was discovered thinking I was a guest on Parkinson discussing my ill fate romance with Steve Coogan…).. No, this time my foray into the numbing world of drug abuse was not my doing. It was all the fault of my father and his special ‘sleeping tablets’ and that coupled with my inability to read instructions led me down a very dark path that resulted in me standing in my knickers saying ‘no -that chairs mine! Mine I tell you!’ My father had been well intended; after all it was me that was insistent I catch a bus back to Sydney. It was me that thought it would be ‘good material’ but I’ll save the bus story for later – it’ll be in my new book entitled ‘THINGS I SHOULD NEVER HAVE EVER DONE’- there will be a sections called ‘Men’, ‘Transport’ and ‘Flatmates’. (Oh…feel the subtext). Dad gave me 3 tablets of something called ‘Still Knock’ – he said it was a mild sedative that would help me sleep, take the edge off life. He demonstrated himself with the aid of a neat scotch some Vallum and then the final touch – Still Knock, a Beatles album and a cold shower. I know I should’ve said no, but there was so much romance involved with the idea of travelling the highway, fucked up, kicking back. Maybe finally I would find a Sid to my Nancy. Let’s just say it didn’t exactly play out that way. About an hour out of Melbourne the bus driver put on Match Point and to escape the pain of it all I knocked back a sleeping tablet, blew up my neck cushion, undid my fly and prepared to doze off…after about 30 minutes I started to get concerned – I felt nothing, if anything I now found myself engaged in conversation with the woman seated next to me and started to prioritise important dates in my new diary – maybe sleeping tablets were the new speed? Only one way to find out I thought and grabbing my hip flask and I downed another sleeping tablet, turned to the girl next to me and I’m ashamed to say – I think I uttered the phrase ‘So little lady you from round these parts?’ Four hours later and I was still wide awake and trying to avoid the advances of a small Italian man who was sure I was famous and on the run – finally I turned to him and admitted that yes, I was Angelina Jolie and I just needed some space from Brad – it was all so suffocating this new relationship and no one seemed to understand that. Small Italian man said he’d understand, he’d understand so much that he was willing to share his lap blanket with me – to this day I still don’t know why I declined such an offer. As the sun came up and I was still wide-awake I decided that maybe I’d gotten it all wrong – I was meant to take all 3 tablets! God now it made sense! So down went the 3rd and last tablet as we pulled into Central Station and from that point on everything is a bit of a blur… I know I got in a taxi and suddenly felt very ill and directed him straight to the doctors, thinking I’d finally come down the dreaded Christmas flu – it really hadn’t occurred to me that alcohol combined with 3 sleeping tablets on a bus in the middle of nowhere was to blame…no, it took a doctor in a white coat to explain to me that I had taken 2 too many tablets and then he proceeded to ask if I was a happy person – of course I’m not I remarked, I’m a tired person…a really, really tired person. Finally making it home I decided that a cold shower would help. I thought about it long and hard but couldn’t quite will myself to the shower so I settled for a moist towellette on the couch and then I think I passed out. I woke up intermittently throughout the day, especially when my boss rang concerned about a text message I’d apparently sent him that read like so ‘C23t ma…work..no fe 3l nbad…help mexxx!!!!’ – ok, so loosely that translated into I don’t think I’ll be coming into work I think I’ve been shot with a tranquiliser gun!’ When I woke up a little later to the sounds of Tyra Banks show, lying in nothing but my knickers and a singlet top but I still had my Cons tightly on my feet I knew something wasn’t quite right. I’d even made myself a sandwich but had no recollection of any of it and now I standing at the front door knickers only and telling my next door neighbour that I was fine to bring the chairs he’d borrowed inside on my own – I just needed to sober up first and maybe put some clothes on. He offered to come inside and help me find my clothes but as was the case with the small Italian man I had to say no…and then I think I passed out again. I woke up to find myself fully dressed, chairs stacked neatly inside and a note that read ‘Don’t worry, I didn’t touch you’….ahhh, refreshing. Making myself some coffee I decided to do some work, but got bored of that, put my pyjamas on and convinced myself a good nights sleep was all I needed. Just as I dosed off and began to dream of being on Parkinson again my mother rang to let me know that I should drink fluids and that if I found myself passing out again to call her. I told her she was being unreasonable, we fought and fed up with the stress of the day I grabbed some Panadeine Forte, a nice chilled glass of wine, my David Duchovny biography and took myself to a place full of wonder and excitement for tonight I was going to dream myself to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Eddie Maguire was finally going to notice me, really notice me…