In my eyes, the whole dating game is a bit like doing the Hokey Pokey. Ultimately, you just want to meet someone who makes you think ‘That’s what it’s all about!’ (whoa, the Hokey Pokeyyy, whoa, the Hokey Pokeyyy…). But until that point, you go through the motions of the dating dance. At times it’s good fun, even exhilarating; at times it’s exhausting. And at other times you’d rather lop off a limb that participate in any more rounds of this bizarre social ritual.
Obviously how you perceive a date or a romantic gesture depends on whether you like the person. If someone you like remembers your favourite song (which you mentioned in passing 6 months earlier) it’s sweet. If someone you don’t like tries to serenade you with this song, it’s creepy. The adorable/deplorable line is pretty much subjective.
That said, there are certain things you can do to set a date up for success:
Usually when I wake up on my birthday I feel exactly the same as the day before. Not any older, not any wiser. This year was a little different; my raging hangover was a stark reminder that I’m definitely getting on. Apparently, gone are the days when a morning Gatorade solves all ills.
My college had a Heaven and Hell Bop on the Friday evening, so when the clock struck midnight I turned into a 24 year old tequila-shotting pumpkin in a Hieronymus Bosch-meets-geriatric ward scene (equal parts people in devil horns/macabre face-paint/neon wifebeaters and those in white gowns/cupid diapers/cotton ball cloud costumes). Yikes.
In my first ever sharehouse (a quaint 3 bedroom terrace with a curtained-off dining room serving as the 4th bedroom), one of my housemates was a certified Hoarder. She boasted a collection of 500(!) moth-eaten t-shirts, and within weeks her scores of half-empty sauce bottles, plastic bowling sets, Christmas g-strings and spent tealights consumed every inch of communal space. One of my major bugbears (besides her refusal to dispose of vegetables even when they passed the point of decomposition) was that she never hoarded anything useful. We were forever short on toilet paper; never on liquifying cabbages.
Two nights ago a group of postgrads were invited to dinner at the college President’s lodgings. There, I was exposed to the opposite end of the hoarding spectrum. Basically, a shitload of incredibly rare, valuable treasures.
They say that age is just a number. And it is. Just a number. A number that’s directly representative of how much time you’ve spent on the Earth and suggestive of how much time you’ll have before you cark it.
In a few days’ time I will be 24. This is a scary age for me because I haven’t yet produced a hilarious off-Broadway hit that lands me in an Office-esque writer’s room (Mindy Kaling at 24), made a Sundance-acclaimed mockumentary romcom playing a fictionalised version of myself alongside Michael Cera (Charlyne Yi at 24), or shot to international stardom and pissed off a Grazia editor by wearing a giant bow on my head at a Dior Couture show (Tavi Gevinson at 13)…so of course it’s time to stress.
That said, with each passing year there is an accumulated wisdom that assures me that my almost-quarter-century hasn’t been wasted. Some of the Rules of Life that I’ve discovered so far:
No getting around it; I’m a lowbrow girl. I read the New Yorker, but only the Humour section (and I rarely get the cartoons). I eat charcuterie, but only for the bacon-y flavour and those baby pickles (mm, tangy!). When someone mentions Raphael, Michelangelo or Leonardo, I’m more inclined to think teenage mutant ninja turtle than Renaissance artist. And my favourite Sydney bookstore is Kinokuniya…because they put all fiction in the ‘Literature’ section. This is intellectual vanity sizing at its best; I can troll for books about vapid college students working as au pairs in Paris or Manolo-ed divorcees having torrid gin-fuelled affairs alongside the Murakami and García Márquez.
The best (back-handed) compliment I’ve ever heard is, ‘Your V8 engine of a mind runs on very low grade fuel’.
Like wearing Santa sweaters at Christmastime, pastel gingham at Easter and an adult diaper and quiver on Valentine’s Day, I think that birthdays are an opportunity to dress thematically. This year I will probably dress as a human piñata; violently colourful and stuffed with candy.
This MSGM striped raffia flared dress would be perfect. Also, so versatile! I can’t think of a single themed party that you couldn’t wear this to. Superheroes and villains? Throw on some heavy-duty dishwashing gloves and go as Aquaman. Around the world? Sit on a wicker patio chair all night and be a hot air balloon. Circus? Curly wig, red nose – instant clown. Under the sea? Gormless expression and separation anxiety – instant clownfish. Black & white? An attention seeker.
As if it wasn’t cool enough, this dress has pockets! Finding pockets on a cocktail dress is like finding $20 you didn’t know you had, in your pocket. Which would be possible, with this dress.
Cue Natasha Bedingfield: I got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine. I’ve got a love and I know that it’s all mine…
How do you mourn something that never really was?
Most people have been to Heartbreak Hovel; that awful, desolate space where it’s all you can do to curl up in foetal position and rock slowly in the bath emitting ghoulish wails of despair. It feels like your heart’s been pulped in a French press and a sumo wrestler is using your lungs as a butt cushion. You feel justified in taking a few days off work (what are personal days for if not hangovers and heartbreak?) and your friends drop everything to coddle you back to life with tea and hair-stroking.
But what if it’s not a relationship that has come to a devastating end? What if it’s just a minor flirtation and the hope of something more? A person you went out with a few times rebuffing you in a gentle way, or becoming so flaky that you decide to call it?