Teaching Your Lover to Drive by Lou Sanz

 

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Over the last few months I’ve been teaching my boyfriend to drive. Life got in his way and he never got around to getting it. I’ve learnt to accept this excuse as an ingrained narrative of how his life has played out thus far. Relationships I’ve learnt, for the most part are a lot about letting things slide. I’m good like that.

The first thing you’ll realise when teaching a lover as opposed to a child to drive is that deep down you still have a need for them to not leave you and to like you, really like you. You also have to make sure their self-esteem is propped up at all times, regardless of your own personal safety and reassure them that everyone nearly runs over a pedestrian from to time.

Also as you’re not a parent to your lover, well hopefully you’re not, you can’t say the following:

‘Sharpen up’

‘You nearly killed someone’

‘You nearly killed that whole school bus’

‘Stop being an idiot’

‘What do you mean you don’t know how to reverse park/ do a 3 point term/ merge…’

‘Get out of my car’

‘Fine! Walk home!’

‘You wanna drive an automatic? And I guess you wanna get your legs waxed after we finish?’

‘This car is worth more than it was to raise you, remember that.’

‘Stop!’

‘For the love of god stop!!!!’

‘Shit we’re going to die’

‘Merge…merge, merge, merge, MERGE!!!!’

‘Have you put your seat bell on?’

‘Hand brake! Hand brake!’

‘Do that again and you’re grounded!’

‘There’s still so much I want to do with my life!’

When you’re teaching a lover to drive it’s all about wanting to say those things and finding other ways to say it.

‘Hey babe, maybe the cars not turning on because you haven’t put the key in the ignition? Must have been a really tough day at work. Here, let me turn the car on for you. Love you.’

‘Hey babe, I know technically you’re in the right and that pedestrian shouldn’t have j-walked but remember regardless that you’re in a car and as such you have to be the more responsible one. Yes, they were definitely in the wrong. Yes,  I reckon they got quite the fright. Yes, you were right and they were wrong. Love you.’

‘Hey babe due to a traffic incident happening right now we’re about 10 seconds away from impending death if you don’t stop right this minute…or whatever makes you comfortable. Love you.’

‘Hey babe there’s a park…there’s one there and there and there and there…that’s ok, we’ll find another…there’s one…and there’s one and another one, and another one…nup you’re right, let’s circle the block and see if we have any luck next time.’

‘You look very handsome today, have you done something with your hair? No? Oh you’re sitting in the drivers seat, that’s what it is. Makes you look all sexy and full of authority. Wanna drop me at work? Sure you’ll have to leave the car there and catch a tram home but I’ve got a real hankering to be your passenger, sexy driving man.’

‘No babe,  I only grab the door like that when we get really close to trucks going 110 on the Hume Hwy because I’m working through my own stuff right now. Love you.’

‘Indicators are cars ways of expressing their feelings and intentions to each other and sometimes even when they don’t feel like talking to each other, they have to.’

‘Hey babe,  you’ve got to understand that sometimes when I tell you do something, it’s not as your girlfriend beating her man down, but as a woman who has over 16 years of driving experience and a responsibility to other people on the roads telling you not to do something. Love you.’

Teaching your partner to drive can either cement your relationship or tear it apart limb by limb, leaving a rotting carcass by the road side with nothing but a smear of blood; your only reminder that once you deeply cared for each other.

At the time of writing this blog we’re still together.

 

2014: I’ll probably fail, again.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve still got a script submission to finish so I’ll be brief. I’ll try to be brief. Look I might fail to be brief and so what? Who gives a fuck about failing?

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I do. We all do.

I failed a lot this year. I even wrote a show about failing. That failed too.

2013 was not one of those years that I’ll look back on and think ‘that’s the year that defined the Sanz legacy.’ It is most likely a year that I will look back on and need reminding that it fell between 2012 and 2014 – ‘Oh that 2013….!’

But of course with failure must come success – they’re like Will and Grace. I had some of that too. I moved in with my boyfriend, properly, not just both of us living out of suitcases in various states of the country and undress! BAM!

I overcame rickets. (I think, I have to book a blood test but I’m feeling less bendy).

I moved house again with my boyfriend (twice in one year without breaking up. Win)

I discovered you can lay-by holidays.

I finally decided to count listening audio books as ‘reading’.

I was published.

I made a film.

None of these things were resolutions. I resolved for none of them to happen in 2013. In fact last New Year’s Eve I decided the only resolution I was going to do something great in 2013. I didn’t specify what. Just something really great.

How I thought an ambiguous mega goal would be more achievable… slow clap Lou, no pressure there.

It turns out that was the hardest resolution I’ve ever had to keep and I failed at it. In fact I failed so badly my social anxiety only seemed to get worse as soon as I decided to really make my mark. My stage fright returned with the vengeance normally only associated with recurring thrush, I drove my partner crazy with sleepness nights (and not the sexy ones). By saying I would do something great I somehow managed to mangle it’s meaning beyond recognition and question my own relevance in the world.

It’s only sitting down tonight and making myself write a list of all the things I did in 2013 that I realise I did do something great. I made stuff. I did stuff. I got frightened. I got excited. I felt disappointment and happiness. I was betrayed. I suffered loneliness and made some great friends. I got through to the other side. I made it to 2014. I get another year and I will no doubt fail and succeed in 2014 as well. It shouldn’t be how will I change’ in 2014, it should be where to from here.

I think that’s what New Years Eve should be about. Not about what you’re going to do differently next time or how much weight you’re going to lose, how many times you’ll go to the gym or about quitting sugar or finally filling out your E-Harmony profile honestly. It’s about what you have done and where you might go from there.

Which leads me to my new resolution. I did write down ‘thigh-gap’ but it seems everyone’s doing it and much like a Big Brother contestant I want to be ‘different and original.’

Looking back on 2013 I realise I need to get stronger. I need to get to a place where people’s opinions don’t affect me as much (we all need to do that). I need to not constantly be getting out of other people’s way in the street and apologising for taking up space in the world.

I would also like to crush a walnut with my bicep.

I’ve also learnt that if I don’t manage to get stronger by 2015 than no doubt I would have accomplished something else, something I didn’t resolve to do….like crush a walnut between my thighs…I don’t know, anything is possible.

Happy New Year.

x

 

 

 

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.

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….

Apparently I’m not a primary colour kinda girl…

 

Not to long ago I went on a date with someone. Things looked promising that is until he asked me what my favourite colour was; when I responded ‘red’ rather then smile with the knowing that comes with sitting opposite me complete with red lipstick and nails, he merely got out a notepad and pen and said ‘you’ll have to pick another one, that’s already taken’.

 

‘Already taken?’ I asked quizzically ‘ are we playing a game?’

‘No, it’s just I like to colour code everyone in my life and red just happens to be taken’ He waited, pen poised for my next suggestion.

‘Ok, well I’ve always quite liked green’ and in an awkward attempt to flirt, as I leaned across the table and traced my red nails over his hand ‘I especially like green on dark haired boys.’

Pulling his hand away to flick through his notepad he let out a gentle sigh ‘nup, sorry – gone’.

I slumped back into my seat and closed my legs. ‘Ok fine, why don’t you tell me what’s available and I’ll be that’.

As he took the last piece of bread in the basket, he chewed silently for a moment and then with his mouth still full remarked ‘well, there’s lilac or mahogany brown’.

Now, I don’t know about any other ladies out there but the idea of being assigned a colour usually relegated to the 1990’s or a Harvey Norman catalogue wasn’t really what I had in mind, surely I was good enough to claim a primary colour? I mean we were on a date, he could’ve just lied, but as was the case with most men I’d been meeting of late, this one had a flare for the truth.

‘I don’t want to be a catalogue colour’ I mumbled, tearing at my drink coaster.

‘I don’t really think you’re in a position to choose Lou – I mean did you honestly think you’d risen to the ranks of being allocated a primary colour?’

I said nothing, as my eyes scoured the restaurant for a bar tender.

He smiled to himself as he shut his notepad ‘oh, you did – you thought you were better then mahogany brown – oh how cute. That’s why I like you Lou you always dream big but end up getting woken right before the end.’

I contemplated emptying the ash tray of beer liquid that had somehow found a home there when he placed his hand over mine.

‘If it makes you feel any better, most of the woman I date get  a little upset about the colour code thing.’

‘Most of the woman?’

Like an impending sex offender he grabbed my hand harder and looked into my eyes.

‘That’s kinda what got this whole colour coded thing started’.

I pulled away and began fingering my pasta.

‘So this whole colour coding thing is a new thing?’

‘Yep, it’s the only way I know to tell all you girls apart’.

Ok – so it’s now at this point that most people ask ‘where the fuck do you meet these guys Lou?’ And it is at this point in my life that I say ‘I choose not to answer that, just leave me alone – life is a journey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

‘Tell us apart!?!’ I yelled – the whole restaurant turned.

‘Hey, lower your voice Lou’

‘Sorry’…I mumbled…

‘That’s ok, apology accepted’ He looked around the restaurant, most people had returned to their meals.

‘Tell us apart?’ I whispered harshly ‘have you ever thought of just looking at our faces, it’s generally how people tell people apart.’

‘Conventionally yes, but when you’re seeing more then one girl at once it can get confusing’

‘you’re seeing someone else?’

‘I’m a player Lou, you know that.’

‘No I didn’t – you failed to mention it between the whole – I’ve never met anyone like you bullshit you were peddling’

‘Ok Lou, now you’re just being petulant’

I drained the last of my wine.

‘So, who is she? This ‘other’ girl?’

‘It wouldn’t be ethical of me to name names’

‘This isn’t a war crimes tribunal’ I spat out.

‘Fine, but if I tell you we’re splitting cheesecake for desert – deal?’

I pondered it a moment – the cheese cake did look good….very good….

‘Deal.’

‘The other girl is the colour red’

I was quiet for a moment. The funny thing is I would of been fine had she been beige or bisque – but red – my colour!

‘That’s funny’ I said ‘Cause you’re about to see red’

And with that I poked him in the eye with my desert fork. No cheesecake for me.

 

 

Can’t shag someone without them noticing…

The last time I fell in lust with someone was entirely inappropriate. He was my flatmate, his name was Nathan and to make matters even more embarrassing he was changing a light bulb at the time. Ok, so maybe this moment had been entirely inevitable upon looking back; we were both enthusiastic members of the ‘We love cheese’ club, making fun of people who wore white denim and we lived together, it was cold, the boiler was constantly breaking and maybe if I’m honest neither of us had been able to sustain a functioning relationship since meeting one another. Looking back some substantial ground work had been laid, but that’s only if I’m being honest with myself and I’m a big fan of denial so lets move on.

We’d just bought a new lampshade (and before you ask, this one was only a little bit gay) and the light bulb broke. No rhyme or explanation, but it was definitely broken and so as Nath reached up, supporting himself on our obnoxious glass coffee table (long story), his t-shirt rode up exposing a hint flat snail trail (this was not a proud moment) and suddenly I knew I had a problem and there was only one solution – now, I’m the first to admit that the better idea would’ve been to have moved out thus saving our beautiful platonic existence but at the time I only ever saw one option, one solution to my problem – there were an awful lot of things in our flat suddenly breaking and falling apart and so my solution was to encourage Nathan to become my local handyman. My theory was that maybe if I over indulged in flat maintenance, then just like chocolate it would lose it’s charm and thus everything would return to normal.

When the front door fell off I blamed ‘the junkies’, when the phone jack was ripped from the wall, I blamed ‘the gay’ – our flatmate David, when the sink collapsed into itself it was ‘global warming’, and there I was every time with a step ladder within arms reach and advice on how best to fix the problem. To say this was a bonding experience would be to lie. We constantly fought as a result of his inadequate handy man ways (I never said he was any good, he came from the school of thought that a well placed staple could solve any problem). There was no way I was going to play the little woman and so instead of reaffirming his masculinity with ‘oh my, you’re so amazing Nathan, the way you unstuck the window in the kitchen, you’re such a strong man’, it was more like ‘oh look at you oil a creaky hinge, oh you must think you’re king shit and I’m such a helpless lady because I know nothing about cupboard lubrication, well sod you!’ – by my own admission I went a little overboard, but I didn’t want him thinking for a moment I was enjoying this or liked him – I’d lose all my power.

As you might imagine our constant bickering made life a little uncomfortable for our other flatmate David, not to mention that it appeared that his whole flat was collapsing around him with little explanation, and so it happened over one to many bottles of Sav Blanc one night, amidst the plaster boards and tools scattered in our lounge room that I confessed my guilty little secret to him, and that if I couldn’t get control of this overwhelming urge to jump my flatmate we’d more then likely be looking at a minor flood taking over our flat. The seriousness of the situation could no longer be ignored and so David agreed to help, all I had to do was leave everything to him.

The next day in the midst of Nathan and I sitting on opposite side of the living room, trying to act that was the normal way to have a conversation, David popped his head in and commented that something in the bathroom needed to be repaired. He winked at me as both Nathan and myself bolted the bathroom. The bathroom was a wreck. The shower curtain was ripped and on the floor, the shower rail had been pulled from the door. I turned to David and seeing the look on his face I knew I’d been set up. ‘I was having sex with Troy this morning and let’s say we really need more grip on that shower rail. When you two finally admit you want to f*(k each others brains out you’ll be singing my praises for pointing this out’ and with that he left. ‘Gee, this is uncomfortable’ remarked Nathan as he reached down and picked up his torn Arsenal towel ‘do you think I can ask him to get me a new one?’. ‘Oh shut up!’ I yelled as I ran out of the bathroom, grabbed the last packet of chocolate biscuits and took to my bedroom. I would not leave my room for 4 days.

There was now no other option; I had to move out. I know it seemed to some like I was avoiding the issue, but now having resorted to using wet wipes to clean myself I didn’t really see any other way out. By day four Nathan came knocking at my door. He suggested we should talk, but I knew that when he said ‘talk’ he really meant he wanted to present me with a series of lectures on the objectification of men and why that can destroy perfectly healthy platonic relationships. I left my room, shirking to the lounge room, defeated. Christ he’d even made me dinner – I didn’t need his sympathy, how dare he condescend me as he ran his hand down my back, underneath my jumper – what was he doing now? Checking for lumps? The humiliation was crippling, why wouldn’t he just come out with it – ‘hey Lou, I just think of you as a mate’…if he’d just stop running his hand up my tracksuited thigh, but then something felt wrong, really wrong – I just couldn’t do this. I stopped. I stood up and made my way over to the book cabinet, took a deep breath and then smashed it into the coffee table. Now I was ready. Awesome.