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Monday
Jan072013

Online dating ... should I stay or should I go?  

I just opened up my eHam profile to do a bit of cyber stalking on someone I know.  It seems my profile is still active and there are 294 men waiting to meet me. 

Hooley dooley, I’m a popular girl!

Two years ago I was bored, sick of being single and over meeting the same bunch of 27 year old media wankers, so I took the plunge and threw myself into online dating.  My friend Bubba had been nagging me for ages to sign up.  “Lots of people meet online, you should do that.  It’s great.  You’ll meet wonderful men and you can pick and choose who you want.  Go on, do it.  What are you waiting for?  Online dating is awesome!”

All this from a woman who had been happily married for two years to the most amazing man ever.  Bubba hadn’t been single for years, and when she was, men would ask her out all the time.   Easy.  Married people love to tell you how to meet someone.  Because, sure, they are out doing it every night of the week.  How hard can it be?

Really hard.  Soul destroying.  Depressing.  Self esteem lowering.  Horrible.

Dating is worst than a root canal with no anaesthetic if you’re not in the zone.    However it’s also totally awesome if you are in the right space, up for some fun and don’t put yourself – or anyone else - under pressure. Go out, meet some people, have a few drinks, swap numbers.  Who knows what might happen?    

At the time of Bubba’s online persuasion, I was feeling good and ready for a new challenge.  I try to not sit around complaining about stuff if I can help it.  I’ll whinge a bit and let it go if it can’t be fixed – or I'll do something, usually tackling it head on.  This is exactly how I approached online dating.  Take No Prisoners (unless they like to be tied up) may have been my mantra.  Or perhaps it was Take What You Can Get.

At first, I was cautious and contemplative.  I would read every ‘match’ that was sent to me, thinking about the man’s responses.  I’d imagine what he’d be like in real person.   Would he have a deep voice?   I’d look intensely at his profile picture.  He’s smiling - this one has nice eyes – I wonder what all those tattoos on his face mean?  Why do you think this one with no teeth doesn’t want to have children?  Oh, this caravan holiday fan is 62?  That’s fine, perhaps he’s young at heart.  Or he can be a bestie for my Dad.  Retired farmhand loves fishing and cups of tea, does he?  I’m sure we have other things in common.  I painstakingly went through each and every man that was sent to my inbox and seriously considered if he would be my next partner.

Even the man with one arm got a look in.  

Hey, his profile was really really funny.

I met some nice men and went out with a few.  I learnt that I was a ‘great date’.   This is as simple as dressing nicely, smiling and laughing, not getting too drunk, not talking with food in my mouth, asking lots of questions (about him) and not being 108kgs if I said I weighed 60kgs.   Apparently the majority of women online don’t understand this.   I was a catch.

I’m still in contact with some of these guys as they were great to hang out with, we’re just not meant to be in a relationship.   Coffee Boy was my first date and we have dinner twice a year.  Marathon Man and I chat on Twitter and swap running stories.   Sauce Boy flew from Canberra to take me to dinner on Valentine’s Day and we keep in touch via Facebook.   I met some really great guys. 

I also met a few, um, interesting men.   50/50 Boy who never paid for a date – only ever his half.  He’d been on about 208 dates so not surprised.  Iron Man, a policeman who had the body of Adonis but sounded like a jockey – on helium.   Bakery Boy who was lovely and chatty then told me he ‘couldn’t wait til he died so he could meet our Lord and Saviour and be in Heaven forever, away from all the sinners and demons in our world.’   Hey, I love God too Bakery Boy, but you need to relax a bit.  Text messages like that are a bit scary. 

It was a roller coaster of emotions.  

Some nights, I’d have a great time, laughing and chatting, really enjoying their company.  We’d talk for hours about anything and everything.  I’d feel connected to the other person and think, maybe this will be a good thing for a while.   Then suddenly, he’d start taking photos of the front of my house and sending me computer generated paintings (of me) and I’d not be feeling so good about our four week ‘relationship’.

So tonight, when Adventure Boy and I started chatting I felt two familiar emotions. Excitement. And Fear.

Can I really do this again?   Do I want to put myself out there with the likelihood of rejection?   Do I have enough self esteem to pick myself up when I meet someone great and they’re not into me?  How will I feel when I need to have the ‘You’re a great guy, but I’m just not feeling anything more than friendship” conversation?   It’s horrible having to tell someone you’re not into them.  It feels bad and I hate myself for it.  But that’s what you do when you date online.  Some people call it a process of elimination.  No, these shoes don’t fit, let’s see what else you have in the shop I can try on for size.  I can bring them back if I get bored or she gets annoying, right? 

Online dating is hard.  It takes up time and energy.  You have to be strong and not let it ruin your confidence.  But it can also be fun and rewarding and teach you things you never knew about the human race.

Like how funny men with only one arm can really be.   And that no one looks good in a computer generated painting.  Not even me – and I’m a GREAT date.   

Sunday
Jan062013

When I grow up I want to be a diva

Imagine this.  You rock up for work, sit at your desk for five minutes, reply to one email, then get up and to get a coffee.  Your PA sits at your desk and writes your board report.   You come back to your office, reply to two emails and take a phone call.  Then you get up and go to the toilet.  While you are gone, three of your staff have a meeting (without you) and make some important decisions.  You return to your desk, pretend to do some filing, check your voicemail messages, then pack up and go home.

This is what the Mariah Carey concert was like for me.

Let me start by saying, I’m not bagging out Mariah’s show.  I had a great time.  There was amazing singing, dancing by hot men in cool outfits, a fancy light show and lots of beautiful scenery on a big screen.  There was even a glitter cannon.   Mariah was entertaining and chatty, engaging with the crowd whenever she could.  She told a stack of jokes and played up to the ‘crazy’ she’s often known for.   It was a fun night.  She sang lots of her hits and a few special songs for her fans.  They loved it.   We all had a great time. 

My question is this: if you pay to see an artist, do you expect that they will be on stage to entertain you the whole time, or is it okay if they fill part of (or lots of) the show with other people and stuff?

Mariah sang lots of my favourite songs.  This made me happy because I love to lip sync and seat dance at concerts (perfect if no one around you is standing up).   But Mariah’s show involved her singing blocks of two or three songs, then disappearing while someone else on the stage kept us entertained.   I don’t want to lip sync to anyone else, only Mariah. 

At one point, I was belting out Emotions with her (including the high pitched bit only dogs can hear), doing the upward Praise the Lord type hand movements and having a great time.   Ready for the next big pop song or ballad, I was a little disappointed when she left the stage for a costume change and a back up singer rolled out a Michael Jackson track.  I love MJ as much as the next person, but I paid good money to see Mariah. 

Okay, Super Girl got us free tickets but that’s not the point.

Sure, she came back about 8 minutes later in a lovely new sparkly dress, but my Mariah Mojo was gone.

This didn’t just happen once, it happened at least three times. 

Mariah’s voice is amazing.  She’s a funny woman and was cracking jokes about having to do something yourself when no one would hand her a water bottle.  She laughed when she was standing in the dark on stage because the production guy forgot to turn on the spot light.  She joking chastised her photographer for taking too long to bring her a can of VB as a prop saying, “I know you’re busy doing two jobs at once, but we’re on a time limit here, honey.”

In between playing her hits, she did little sing songs about weird stuff like wanting to go on a holiday to Fiji but not having time because she had to “tour Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and wherever else I have to go next”.   It was funny and random and very Mariah.

So you can see why I’m disappointed that I got so much action from her crew, when really all I wanted for Christmas was Mariah.

J-Lo was similar with a big, sexy and slick production filled with videos in between her amazing singing and dancing.  Again, I had a great time, but do I want a multi media extravaganza with lots of breaks or a band belting out their songs for the audience?   

Kelly Clarkson is a low fuss, sing ‘em loud and proud type entertainer and I love seeing her in concert.  She stands in front of thousands of people in a t-shirt and denim skirt and sings her little heart out, punctuating songs with stories of why she wrote those lyrics (someone broke her heart, she got angry and this is why he’s an asshole.  Sure, Kelly I can relate to that.)  The simplicity of her gigs is refreshing.   I didn’t even mind when she took her shoes off at the start of the show and sang in bare feet. Raw.  Real.  (Skinny Bitch was a bit grossed out but she doesn’t like eating with her hands either so that’s no surprise).

Which is better?   A polished, multi platform show akin to Cirque Du Soleil production values or a person you love – full of emotion, in the flesh, singing live like there’s no tomorrow?

Maybe there’s room for both.  Either way, I know that next time Mariah comes town, I’m going to apply for a job in the venue canteen.  There’s a good chance I'll get to lip sync We Belong Together on stage during one of her costume changes.  

 

** Awesome Mariah concert photo stolen from Super Girl 

Wednesday
Jan022013

Miss Pronunciation

I just made myself a quinoa, avocado and prawn salady thing.   I found the recipe a few days ago, and because I’m trying to kick off the new year with good habits, I decided to make it for dinner.   Healthy, fresh food.  Yum.

Massive food anti climax.

It was fine.  Quite tasty, but didn’t blow my mind like I was hoping.   Never mind.  At least I can say I’ve eaten Keen-waarrh.

When I was telling one of my staff (Nat) what I was cooking for dinner, I accidentally called it Keen-woy.    She laughed her ass off.   A bit of a career limiting move on her behalf, but sure, I can take a joke.   I corrected my terrible pronunciation and made a mental note on how to say it next time I’m at a dinner party with gourmet types.  Or to impress the hottie at the local hipster café.

My friend Natty Nat loves to correct people who pronounce words the wrong way.  She does it all the time.  Most times it’s okay and you’re thankful that she is so helpful.  Sometimes, it makes me feel bad – small – dumb.  I know that’s not why she does it.  She corrects you so you don’t embarrass yourself in front of other people next time.  Her school teacher manner comes from good not evil.

I make verbal faux pas all the time.  My mouth acts faster than my brain, so words come out before I’ve had the chance to work out what they are and how to say them.  Most times I laugh it off and move on.   In the grand scheme of things, if I accidentally say pleth-oor-ra instead of pleth-a-ra, is anyone going to die?   There are a plethora of more important things to get upset about. 

One of my favourite, yet confusing mispronunciation moments happened in the USA.   Natty Nat and I were on a road trip through the deep South, driving from Atlanta to Texas.   It was an amazing trip – we met some fantastic locals – saw parts of the US they never show you in the tourism ads and ate our weight in burgers and catfish.  Fun times.

After a particularly long day of driving, we were chilling out in front of the TV (with catfish burgers in hand) and a news report showed severe flooding in Arkansas.  “Will we drive through that?” I asked innocently.  “Where is Ar-kan-sasss?”

Natty Nat laughed her ass off.  (Do you see the theme here?)  “Arkan-SAW!  Arkan-SAW!” she yelled gloriously at me.  “It’s Arkan-SAW you moron.  Baahhahahaha.”

I’ve never wanted to bitch slap someone in the face with a catfish more in my life.   Sorry I didn’t get the chance to read an encyclopedia or study Google maps before we got on the plane, Ms Einstein.  I realised I’d never actually seen the word Arkansas written anywhere before, but I’d heard it hundreds of times.   Simple mistake?  Sure.  Now I say it like that all the time, just for fun.  Especially when Natty Nat's around.  

I think my pronunciation issues may be genetic.  My Mum struggles with Brie cheese, preferring to call it Bry.  I try hard not to correct her.  I know how demeaning that can be.  Besides it’s kind of cute, like she’s learning French.   

Then again, perhaps I should adopt Natty Nat’s attitude and save my Mum from embarrassing herself in front of more academic types.  You never know when you’re going to be at a dinner party with Shakespeare, sharing cheese and crackers.   Not that he spoke French either.

In fact, it’s the French that get most of us into trouble.  I’ve been out with a stack of friends who order a nick-oyse salad.  Seriously, it’s just a bowl of green beans and potatoes – what’s that got to do with Nicoise anyway?   Then there’s the Mexicans with their confusing Farj-eetars (Oh a silent H you say?) and Jala-peenows (Hot with a capital H you say?).  Thank God, they made the words Margarita and Tequila easy to say (and drink) so they roll off your tongue.   Unless of course, you have nine too many, then I can speak fluent Spanish, even in Arkansas. Hola!  

 

 

Tuesday
Jan012013

Ten things I should do more of this year


 

 

It’s 1 January.  A new year.  Time to start thinking about goals for 2013.
Every year I write a list of 10 things I want to achieve.  I usually hit about six of them, which I’m happy with. They’ve ranged from running marathons (tick, tick) to starting this blog (tick).  They’re usually goals that take me a bit of time to achieve but if I get there, I’m as happy as a chocolate addict in a Lindt store.
 
I’ve written that list (not ready to share yet) but I also started thinking about ten things I should do more of this year.  Stuff I do now and again but not regularly.  Every day little things to make my life easier.  Better.  A little less stressful.  Not New Years Resolutions, just little game changers.  Here’s what I’m thinking … 
 
1. Cook.  
I’m a bit of a throw things together or reheat something in the microwave sort of girl.  It’s a time thing, but also I’m not a natural cook.  You’ll never see me on Master Chef.  Or even Ready, Steady, Cook.  When I do take the time to cook something healthy and tasty, I feel great.  I may even throw a dinner party or two.  Okay, let’s not get carried away. 
2. Floss.
 
3. Call my Mum.  
I phone my Mum once a week to let her know I’m alive, catch up on family news (oh, Nanna made crumbed chops?) and give her updates on what’s been happening in my world.  She reads it all on Facebook, but it’s nice to chat and explain some of my friend’s inappropriate comments.  I love my Mum and I only recently realised how much it means to her to have me call – just to know I’m okay.  And happy.
 
4. Leave work on time.  
I love my job so I don’t mind working long hours, but sometimes you just need to log off, leave it behind and go and have a life.  I need to do that more often.  It makes me a better person.
5. Declutter.  
It’s true, I collect stuff.  Not like those weirdos on World’s Worst Hoarders with 8 years of old newspapers, but yes, I have more stuff than I need.  When I do get time to declutter and throw shit out, it sets me free.  I need to do that more often.  Or you may just see me on TV one day.
6. Drink green tea.
7. Stop bringing home Who magazines I will never read.  
I threw out 18 Who magazines today.  Three were from 2010.  See point 5 re clutter and TV stardom.
 
8. Ask for what I want.  
I’m been blessed in that whatever I need the Universe usually provides.  Sometimes, however, you have to ask for what you want.  At work.  From friends.  In relationships.  Time for me to put my hand up.
 
9. Stop making assumptions.  
Making up imaginary scenarios in my head about why someone (usually a boy) hasn’t texted, called or asked me out is a waste of time.  No more of this stupid girly behavior, please.
 
10. Read.  
Actual books.  Not just Facebook and Twitter feeds. 
If I can do just a few of these things I’m hoping my life will be a little less stressful and I’ll feel a little bit more ‘together’.  If not, hey, I’m doing the best  I can each day.  Plus, there’s always my other Top Ten list … Climb a Mountain, anyone?
Monday
Dec312012

NYE?  CBF!

It’s New Years Eve.   2012 will be over soon.   I should be going out to celebrate another amazing year, right?

I’m a big believer in celebrating all the awesome events and things in your life – especially birthdays and Christmas, but with New Years Eve, I’m just bleugh.  I can’t be bothered.

Is that bad?

The majority of my friends have headed off interstate or overseas – the rest of them are planning quiet nights.  Some are even doing nothing.

Doing nothing on New Years Eve?  Whoah.  

I thought about that too – it’s been a big year and I’ve not had a quiet night in ages, so I was bang up for staying home, watching a movie, maybe calling an equally lame friend -  just hanging out.   Maybe even open a bottle of champagne to toast 2013. 

Tragic.

Drinking by yourself is sad.  Wrong. Especially on New Years Eve.  Unless you’re Tom Hanks in Castaway. 

I don’t want a massive party night, but I don’t want to sit home alone and feel sorry for myself either.  Happy New Year Nigel No Friends.

So I’m dragging my ass out for a casual dinner with Super Girl.  We haven’t booked anywhere so we could end up at Hungry Jacks (not the worst place in the world, I do love their veggie burgers) or a dodgy kebab shop.   We’re just doing it at the start of the night, not the end.

Then we’re off to see an art house movie.   You can tell it’s art house as it was really easy to buy tickets for tonight (hello sold out Les Miserables) and they let your drink alcohol all the way through it.  They even sell fancy fair trade dark chocolate at the candy bar.  No choc tops here.

The movie will end around 11.15pm so we’ll have 45 minutes to wander the streets and check out all the bored people who are either drunk and waiting for a random pash, or sober and counting down til Midnight so they can go home.   I’m somewhere between the two.

I hope your New Years Eve is a little more thrilling than mine and that 2012 has been a great year for you.  Mine was pretty amazing – but I’m excited about 2013 too.  I may just kick it off with a random pash. 

Or some of that fancy dark chocolate.