Tagged: Melbourne

Never Trust a Man Who Gives You Flowers

I have always been told that when you receive flowers from a man for no apparent reason, it’s a sign that he is cheating on you. I don’t exactly agree with this theory, but I do find the whole flower-giving thing fascinating.

I remember being younger and always wanting a nice boy to give me flowers. Not some crummy bunch of roses or, even worse, a single rose, but a pretty, well-planned and thoughtful bunch of flowers, which may or may not feature lilies or something similar.

But the flowers I envisaged and the flowers I actually got back then were vastly different. The lilies were replaced by god-awful weed-like flowers and the beautiful, ribbon-bound box was replaced by clear and white flowery glad-wrap that screamed of having been bought in a hospital foyer or stolen from a cemetery.

As I got a bit older, I completely lost interest in flowers. I never expected them and never really got them, but when I was about 25, I started to notice that they were making a comeback. Gone were the days, however, of flowers bringing joy and happiness.

First, there was the bunch that arrived with the statement ‘I might have an STD…’ (please note that the might turned out to be a definitely did not) and then there were the ones that came shriveled up after being hidden behind the heater in the lounge room for an indeterminate period of time, resulting in me arriving late for work after being ordered to go to the florist to exchange them…

Yep, flowers weren’t so glamorous anymore. They brought disease scares, anger and embarrassing encounters with florists. But I am a girl and don’t we all, deep down, dream of one day receiving flowers from a secret admirer declaring their undying love for us?

What we don’t realise though, is that this is actually the behavior of sociopaths and serial killers… and holiday crashers… yep, holiday crashers!

I mean, if you really think about it, if a person has the ability to interact with people, hold a conversation and enter into a real-life relationship, why wouldn’t they just mosey on over and ask you out? Alas, hindsight is a wonderful thing…

Back in 2009, I was a few months into my current (recently resigned from) job. Part of my role back then was to do presentations to young people about living and working overseas. Me being me, this involved lots of goofiness, many bad jokes and technical disasters.

My main problem with these presentations was that if I told a joke or a story that should get a laugh didn’t, I would just keep on pushing… bad joke after bad joke… higher pitch… faster talking… and it would start getting just plain awkward.

For example, I was once talking about San Francisco and started telling the story about riding a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, taking a wrong turn (can you even take a wrong turn?) and ending up going overland to Sausalito all the while turning right involuntarily because I get balance issues when riding in the wind…

Alas, after being met by dead silence, this story led to the one about getting lost on a ‘quick drive’ before returning the hire car, the one about accidentally offending a group of dutch backpackers after telling one that his friend smelt like cabbage and finally wrapping it up with a declaration that I love San Fran because the hills made me feel like I was in Full House…

Silence.

You know, FULL HOUSE?

Silence.

It must be my lisp, audience does not comprehend… Cue terrible attempt at singing the Full House theme song:

Everywhere you look… everywhere you go (there’s a heart)… There’s a heart, a hand to hold onto.

Silence… crickets chirping… tumble weeds rolling through the room… you get the idea.

To this day I tell myself the crowd were just too young. They clearly didn’t know Mary-Kate and Ashley when they were knee-high to a grasshopper!

But back to my story, I was having one of these HORRIBLE evenings where the crowd was giving me absolutely nothing. No number of cheesy jokes, funny stories or even crowd interaction was saving it and besides one over enthusiastic guy in the second row, whose fake laugh was way too elaborate to be genuine, the audience were having none of it.

So you can imagine my complete shock when a massive bunch of roses turned up at my office two days later with a card that read:

Dear Tennizzle

I saw your presentation the other night and have been thinking about you ever since.  Do you want to go for a drink sometime?

Michelangelo* 0404992883*

My colleagues and I tried to think of who it could be, with one suggesting it was ‘probably that one person who was laughing at your jokes!’ and after some crafty investigation, I had a full name and an email address.

Looking back, I should have read between the lines, seen the unwritten references to kidney stealing and paid attention to the music that started repeating in my head.

But really, the guy had made a pretty big effort and as someone who cannot even remember having asked anyone on a date before, who was I to reject someone without even meeting them?

So, I went on a date with him and despite there being no chemistry whatsoever and him judging me for liking Simon and Garfunkel while saying his favourite type of music was ‘anything they play on Triple J’… I didn’t regret it. I told him I wasn’t interested, we agreed we would be friends, added each other on Facebook and caught up a few more times before he went overseas.

Fast-forward to early 2011 when I was planning a work trip to Canada, followed by a week of Tennizzlle-time in New York City on the way home. I was contacting a few business partners and customers who were over there to catch up, one of whom was this guy. He wasn’t going to be in the cities I was visiting in Canada, but was going to NY with some friends around that time. I sent him my dates and said we’d have a drink if we crossed paths.

A week before I left, he emailed saying he had great news, it turns out we were going to be in NYC at the same time, so we agreed to have a drink. It all seemed so normal…

We met at a bar downtown before dinner and had a quick beer. We had the quick catch up, how’s life, blah blah blah, and then I asked him ‘So, what are you even doing in New York?’

His response: ‘I came to New York to spend the week with you’

Dead silence.

This guy had driven from Montreal to New York to holiday with me… without me knowing.

After a few deep breathes, I talked myself into it. I’m the queen of miscommunication and I probably misunderstood something along the way. I’m sure it’s fine, when he says SPEND the week with me, he doesn’t mean SPEND the week with me. Nervous laugh, nervous laugh…

That was Thursday night.

By Friday, it was clear that he did actually mean spend the entire week with me…. Every single second of it…

‘Oh, you want to go to Forever 21 and try on seventy dresses? I’ll come!’

‘Oh, you want to purchase outfits for your dogs? That sounds like great fun!’

‘Should we plan out all our evenings in advance and buy tickets to everything?’

‘Let’s go to the farmers market and buy some food to cook in the luxury Soho apartment I have rented for us to hang out in’

By Saturday, I had lost my shit. Somewhere between Canal Street and Union Square, after being dragged around by his know-it-all self all afternoon trying to find ‘the best coffee in New York’, I had had enough. I hadn’t spoken to him for at least an hour when I made my escape, yelling something along the lines of ‘Space! Tennizzlle time! Forever 21!’ before throwing myself into the midst of a crowd of fast moving locals and running for my life.

A few months later, I was at work one afternoon and received a text message from a US number.

‘Hey, are you free to catch up?’

Assuming it was someone from our US office, I responded ‘Yeah, sure, but I have no idea who this is!’

‘Oh, sorry, it’s Michelangelo*, I’m in Melbourne but still using my Canadian number’

*Delete*

These days, if I want flowers, I just go buy myself some damn flowers. They’ll always be tasteful, they won’t be on the verge of death, they won’t die overnight and I will be able to sleep soundly in the knowledge that my kidneys will still be attached when I wake up in the morning.

NB – In doing a little Google research for this post, I typed ‘Flowers from a man’ into the search bar. I love the predictions Google comes up with and where they lead you. This time, I got ‘flowers from a man who shot your cousin’… as you do!

Also, if you were thinking about sending me flowers, feel free! I like lilies (just in case you didn’t get that) and I will accept them graciously. Just don’t be expecting me to go on a date with you afterwards!

*names and numbers have been changed, though not very well

Will Write for Food

Last week I quit my job.

Most people who know me saw it coming, but for the many people I know through work, it was completely unexpected. So far, everyone has reacted with ‘Omg, what’s happened?’ and I suspect, knowing my tendency for dramatics, they are assuming that I cracked without warning, slamming the manual lift door while screaming ‘I QUIT!’ and storming off down La Trobe Street.

Alas, it was not so exciting and unlike the time someone put spag bol all over the bin in the midst of a bug infestation or the time I realised someone was stealing the toilet paper (I still have my suspicions, but no proof), there was absolutely no hysterics.

Resigning was a massive relief and although I had a TINY panic attack in between being offered my new job and quitting my current one, it wasn’t long before I was getting excited about taking a huge step off my current career path and throwing caution to the wind.

There’s something liberating about having absolutely no idea what the heck you will be doing a year from now, and, to quote my ever-unreliable Fortune Telling Fairy Cards, I am moving forward fearlessly!

Gone are the days of work-related panic attacks and swatting bugs as I sit at my desk – it’s time for freedom, creativity and full, uninterrupted nights of sleep! Woo hoo!

As mentioned above, I do have a new job lined up, which I am very excited about, but leaving my current role will also allow me to look into new opportunities, to focus on my blog and what I really want to do – to DANCE!

Okay, that was totally a joke, but I have spent a fair chunk of the past few days thinking about the future. Now is the time to work out exactly what I want to do and how to do it… But in typical Tennizzle-style, I have become overwhelmed by the decision.

Ideally I would win lotto and spend the next few years jetting around the world, renovating my house and volunteering my time to the greater good… however accepting that this is not going to happen and that the chances of anyone paying me to hang out with my dogs for a living are just as low, I am going to need a more realistic plan.

I have decided to focus on copywriting, but without it being part of my everyday work.

So far, I have taken the massive steps of purchasing my blog domain (check it out, I’ve dropped the ‘wordpress’ from my site, la di da!) AND getting my own personal domain for the future… I haven’t quite worked out how to set up a website or get it hosted, but I’m on my way! I can feel success in the air!

I’m starting with a bit of blatant self-promotion to people I know professionally and am hoping to start putting a portfolio together in the coming months. As a result, my blog will be growing and although my regular, neurotic posts will continue, I will also be using this page as a means of collating writing until I have a proper website.

In the meantime, if you see someone with a sandwich board reading ‘Will Write for Food’ standing outside Flinders St station next month… please stop by and say hi!

When Good Housemates Go Bad

It may come as a shock to you, given my history of dating psychos, that it is not just in my love life that I encounter total nutters. I also have a tendency to live with them.

The difference, however, between dating crazies and living with crazies, is that it often takes you much longer to realise that your housemates are a little NQR… they always seem so normal, so friendly, when you’re in the honeymoon phase, cooking each other dinner, playing super Nintendo late at night, doing your grocery shopping together…

But then you start to notice things that are a little off… your food is going missing… there’s bags of rubbish magically appearing on the kitchen floor… your facial soap has pubic hairs attached to it… and before you know it, you’re barricading yourself in your room at night and locking away your valuables!

When I look back, sometimes I start to question if it’s me and hell, maybe it is, but to the various crazies, sociopaths and compulsive liars I have lived with, you’ve definitely made life more interesting… and made me swear off ever living with randoms again!

The 38 Year Old Child

When I first moved in with this guy, I had just arrived in London after travelling for six months. He was also an avid traveller and despite our age difference (I was 23) we got along fantastically and had a great time living together.

I mean sure, there were signs… him asking me to lean out of shot when photos were being taken so his girlfriend didn’t know we were on holiday together… telling me how much he liked to have a ‘token Australian’ in his friendship group… refusing to talk to me after I announced I was moving out… and then keeping my bond…

But still, the penny didn’t drop until a week or two later when I realised he’d been leading his girlfriend to believe we were in the midst of a passionate affair and he was so torn between us he couldn’t commit to moving in with her…

The Angry Door Slammer

My very first experience of living with a nutter, I ended up living with this girl, who was a friend of a friend, after all three of her housmates moved out simultaneously and left her alone in a four bedroom house… I was told they’d all gone their separate ways and the house was so well located she’d decided to stay… It turned out they had ditched her and moved around the corner together to get away from her crazy ways. But it was still months before I realised this…

Initially, she just seemed a litte tense and a wee tad highly strung, but slowly the mood swings started getting more erratic. Power sockets were pulled out of walls, every door in the house would be slammed upon her arrival and departure and she screamed the house down when she couldn’t connect to someone else’s internet, but the highlights would have to be the following:

The time she sat her flu-infected self on the couch and proceeded to:
Grab tissue – blow nose – shove tissue down side of couch – repeat
Several weeks later, another housemate who was on lounge cleaning duty pulled up the couch cushions to find at least ten dirty, hardened tissues still stashed in the base.

The time I had a uni friend over and after demanding to know ‘WHO TOUCHED THE REMOTE CONTROL’ she abruptly told my friend (who she was meeting the first time ‘Oh, it was YOU? Well, yeah, in future just DON’T TOUCH IT!’ Awkward silence.

The time another housemate and I were watching Dr Doolittle while discussing our dislike of guinea pigs (nothing against guinea pigs, but if you’ve had one poo in your sleeping bag, you can understand where I’m coming from) and the angry door slammer walked into the room, announcing ‘Oh, guinea pigs! We should get a house guinea pug!’ We laughed and housemate explained that we were just discussing how much we didn’t like them. Angry door slammer lost it, screamed at us and proceeded to slam the doors so hard her plate flew off its perch on the armchair and shattered on the floor.

We never mentioned guinea pigs again.

The Meat-Eating Vegetarian

In the same house as the angry door slammer, I lived with the meat-eating vegetarian. I was vego at the time and had been for a good five or so years, mainly because I didn’t like meat (don’t judge me, this is no longer the case), but meat-eating vegetarian was in the early stages of vegetarianism and I was never quite sure what her motivation was… perhaps she was chasing a vegetarian boy, or thought being vego made her seem more intellectual… maybe she just thought it was cool.

Alas, she was clearly struggling and would often ask me for advice on managing the lifestyle… and then there was confession, which took place every few weeks:

Tenn… I need to tell you something… I accidentally ate chicken yesterday…

Tenn… it’s so hard… there was LAMB… and it was RIGHT in front of me…

Tenn… you just don’t know what it’s like to be hungry ALL the time!

Oh my god woman, just admit that you’re a carnivore and stop wasting my time! I don’t care!!!

The Peeing Dog

I realise this sounds like a yoga pose, and perhaps it is, I wouldn’t know, but the peeing dog was my last housemate experience and quite possibly the reason I now live alone.

Peeing dog arrived when I was living with a couple last year. They were staying in my house while theirs was being built and although my house is pretty small for three people, things were travelling pretty smoothly and then it happened… peeing dog arrived.

Initially it was funny, that peeing dog got excited when he saw me and couldn’t control his bladder, but then peeing dog got bigger and bigger… and so did his bladder… and I was no longer able to avoid him when he came bounding at me, pee spraying everywhere as he knocked me to the ground.

My dogs were freaking out, the house smelt like dog pee and I was living life on the edge. It all came to a head one day when, after a particularly awkward run-in which saw me with dog pee in my hair and needing windscreen wipers on my sunglasses, peeing dog had been locked in the backyard by himself.

I had been at the park and as soon as I came home, peeing dog started attempting to charge through what was once the doggy door (until he ate the ‘door’ part and it became more of a doggy chute), then decided a better option was to attempt to get to be through the closed glass sliding doors to my kitchen.

He jumped, he clawed and he ripped holes in the fly screen, before landing on, and smashing a porcelain dog bowl to pieces.

I hyperventilated, turned my back to him and walked out of the room to the safety of the lounge, where midget dog, ginger dog and I curled up on the couch and ignored the ruckus coming from the backyard. And then…

Crunch… crunch… smash… crunch… smash…

I snuck to the window to find peeing dog EATING the porcelain dog bowl and had a dilemma… although dumb and with bladder problems, peeing dog did not need to die of porcelain consumption. So I edged the door open and reached out, feeling the warm spray of pee running over me as he pounced on me… and I was done, peeing dog had to go!

There’s plenty more… the shit talker… the hussy… the guy who sold all our household items… and right after the publication of She Thinks You’re a Raving Lunatic, the gripping follow up will be titled When Good Housemates Go Bad… written in collaboration with my friend and ex-housemate, who shall remain nameless but who always managed to not leave pubic hair on the soap, never argued over tomatoes and never left naked randoms in the lounge room.

Take Your Team Sports Elsewhere

Team sports – I just do not understand them.

I don’t have a particular hatred for them; I just do not have any urge whatsoever to participate in them. Or, if I’m being completely honest, to watch them either.

Being an Aussie, this seems to be a particularly difficult fact for people to deal with.

Early last year, I was on a first date when out of nowhere the guy turned to me with a confused look and asked:

‘So… what sports to do you play?’

I was stumped. Not just by the fact that this was a point of conversation, but that this was even a question for anyone who no longer had compulsory PE classes!

‘Erm… None?

‘What do you mean none? What sports do you like then?’

‘Erm… None.’

‘Well… what do you DO then?!?’

‘Ummm… normal things, what do YOU do?’

Silence… ‘Good point’

I might add that this conversation occurred with someone whose sporting activities consisted of a weekly Frisbee game and riding his bike to dates… who was he to judge?

The incident, however, made me even more anti-sport and got me thinking about the cause of my total disregard for what is an inbuilt passion for most of the population… and when it comes down to it, I can honestly say it can be attributed to one thing…

NETBALL

Otherwise known as the most pointless sport on the face of the planet and one which I was forced (not even exaggerating, FORCED) to play for years!

Let me take you back for a moment to my childhood when I was attending a small Christian-obsessed primary school in Melbourne’s east.

They had fairly creative interpretations on how Jesus wanted us to live and by the time I had left at the end of grade 6, I was fairly certain of the following facts:

– The Wakefield twins from Sweet Valley Twins were actually the devil incarnate

– My new puppy was never going to make it to heaven because God didn’t have enough room

– Slap bands were evil (I’m not quite sure how, they just were!)

– If I didn’t get praying every night, there was a fairly good chance that I, too, would have lost my place in heaven by the time I started high school

Having said that, I did also learn a few invaluable things during my time there, the most useful of which was that if you have something stuck in your eye, blow your nose like crazy and whatever it is will eventually vanish…

And the least useful of which was that sometimes when you need a band aid and your school has forgotten to order more, it’s okay to just wrap your damaged body part in sticky tape and hope the bleeding stops…

But back to the story – team sports!

For the first few years of primary school, we had mixed sports, where we would all line up and walk down to the park to play rounders, or softball or go running. I was okay with this, I loved getting covered in mud and throwing myself in the line of flying objects.

But then came grade five… and new students… and one over-enthusiastic, netball-loving mother… and it was all over.

Every PE class, all the boys would line up and head to the park for ‘boy-sports’, while we were left to play netball in the schoolyard.

For two long years, they played this cruel joke on us, which involved having us ‘select’ our sports at the beginning of each term. Every term I would rate 1-9 every sport BUT netball, which I refused to acknowledge as a sport, yet every term I would end up Wing Attack (otherwise known as the dullest position in all of sporting history) in the midst of ten or so squealing girls who would cry if the ball hit them.

So I decided to take a stand against this absurd excuse for education! I would change the sporting curriculum and fight for the rights for girls to play whatever sports they chose!

Alas… taking a stand in a school of 100 kids doesn’t really go far and instead of leading our year level on an anti-pivot revolution, I found myself sitting alone in the shade on the only grade 6 mixed sport day, after an incident involving a protest against legionnaires hats and some badly planned chants…

But I was not done! This was just the beginning of my lifelong revolt against team sports…

I let things slide for a few years and actually made the odd effort to get involved. In year seven, I attempted that jumping thing over the stick and even swam in a swimming carnival (I’m not entirely sure this was voluntarily, but I’m taking it anyway!)… Then things started to go a bit haywire once again…

First, I got in trouble for pitching overhand in baseball and then got squashed when a large girl with fuzzy hair and a giant scab on her arm fell backward onto me when I wasn’t paying attention during some kind of marching event… Not long after, I got hit in the head with a volleyball and got reprimanded for kicking a squishy ball INSIDE the sports centre…

It was not going well… but I had not given up all hope… And then it got to year nine and they sent me to camp…

But not just camp, this was an eight-week camp I like to refer to as hell.

I got sick from the fresh air, then when I threw up in my bed the nurse found my chocolate stash in my pillow. I got in trouble for holding a chicken ‘offensively’ and was forced to apologise in French – to the French teacher… Porqoui? JE NE SAIS PAS!

I suspect they saw my disdain, my lack of cooperation and my total disregard for their completely ridiculous teachings… Because when it came to elective day, they told me the only option left for me was team sports…

I’m not joking.

So, first thing that morning, I marched myself straight over to the farmer and talked myself into his class on farm skills. Yep, farm skills… And I spent the WHOLE day with my hand up a cows arse!

But, you know what? That was a million times better than spending it running around after a ball, or swinging a bat, or pivoting

And from then on, I quit team sports. I don’t and won’t play them, and as far as watching them goes… if you promise me LOTS of free beer and cute boys… I’m open to negotiation.

Crazies on a Plane!

Over the past few years, I have travelled a lot… and by a lot, I mean A LOT. I am actually more comfortable with a 14-24 hour international flight these days than a 1.5 hour domestic one. I have no idea why.

Maybe it’s because on a long flight, I know I’m stuck. I can’t see the end of it, so I resign myself to spending a good chunk of time reflecting on life, eating bad food, having conversations with myself and reading trashy magazines… all those little things I don’t get to do in my real life.

Having flown so much, I consider myself something of a plane master. I have the toilets and emergency exits down pat, I know which toilets are busy when and exactly when to bolt there to avoid the post-meal un-pleasantries that can make or break a long-haul flight.

I’m also an expert on the look that says ‘I take no responsibility for the state of that toilet, it was like that before I went in’, the one that says ‘if you only have one meal option left do not ask me what I would like or I will lose my shizz at you’… oh, and let’s not forget ‘touch me one more time and I will make the rest of this flight hell for both of us’… Unfortunately the look that says ‘touch me one more time and I will rip your throat out with my bare hands’ is not plane-appropriate and should be saved for that awkward moment when you see your seat invader/psycho seating companion at the luggage carousel… by then, it’s game-on!

Alas the highlight (or lowlight, depending on where you’re sitting) of any flight is the abundance of weirdos that you encounter.

I don’t think I’ve been particularly unlucky on flights. I once saw a girl who had been wedged in the middle of three seats with an obese man vomiting his guts up on the window seat to her left. The flight was full and no matter how much she begged, there was nowhere for her to move to. Her face is still burnt into my memory and every time I think my seating companion is bad, I think of her and am grateful that the worst of mine only threw food scraps at me while they thought I was asleep…

But while they may not have been THAT bad, there have certainly been some interesting people who I have encountered along the way. So, in honour of them all, I have written the following:

An Ode to the Crazies – An open letter to all the nutters who I have been (un)fortunate enough to encounter along my travels.

Hello there…

You probably don’t remember me, but we spent a significant amount of time together. More time, in fact, than I manage to spend with some of the closest people in my life over a six-month period.

Maybe you thought my short legs and apparent ability to curl up into a compact unit made me the ideal seat buddy. Maybe you were impressed by my lack of luggage in the overhead compartment, leaving ample space for you and your seven bags (I like to be prepared to evacuate with all my belongings in case of an emergency). Maybe you saw my copy of NW tucked into my seat pocket and thought you might be able to have a crack at the crozzle while I was on a toilet break… or maybe, you didn’t notice me at all.

I, however, noticed you and for whatever reason, maybe your twitching, seat invading, insistence to eat your food as if you don’t have hands or your tendency to touch me without reason, the memory of our time together has stayed with me ever since.

Look, I accept that you may have been travelling for the first time. You may have been overwhelmed by the size of the plane or underwhelmed by the size of your seat… I have my suspicions though, that this was not your first foray into international travel. For some of you, like the guy who kept bragging about how this holiday will take him to 10 (yep, TEN!) countries visited (Him: “I’ll bet you can’t possibly have been to any more than that!”… Me: silence… Him: “Are you impressed?” Me: “No, I’m counting… 26… 27… 28”… Awkward silence…), I know this to be a fact.

One thing you learn from travelling regularly is a great concept of both personal space and division. Yep, division. See, there’s four seats and two people (you and me)… Four seats/two people = two seats each.

This allows for the perfect amount of sleeping space for both of us. Let me be clear here, this does not mean three seats for you and one seat for me, so do not lift up all the armrests during take off, (“eet eez fur murr rooomzzz!”) before shoving your legs as far over as they go. If you can’t resist the urge, fine. But then do not kick me when the lack of arm rests means my feet encroach on your second seat. Also, throwing your food rubbish at my head when you suspect I am asleep (“I vaz aiming fur zee tray”) will result in me wishing an eternity of bad karma upon you and all that you love. Good luck with that!

On the topic of personal space, if you have a travel partner and you need to pee, please wake THEM up, not me, when you need to get out of your seat. They have an obligation to move for you, which I do not. On this note, when you or they lose your headset an hour into the flight, do not take this as an opportunity to shove your hands under my tightly wrapped blanket and start prodding around. I WILL make a mental note to slap you once off the plane. Oh, and when I notice ten minutes later that you are actually sitting on the missing headset, I will keep that information to myself as punishment.

Attempting to spot the personal details of your fellow passengers on their documentation does not come across friendly. I’d go more for creepy and bordering on crazy… You may be a US Marshall with a keen eye for detail, but no, my name is not Jane and I am not a lawyer… My name is Tennizzlle, I’m reading Town Planning for Dummies and I’m going to spend the rest of the flight regretting ever responding to your attempt at conversation… But nice try!

If you want to scare your neighbouring passengers away from you, a great trick is to start acting completely deranged as soon as the plane starts moving. Frantic coughing and hyperventilation, coupled with repeated dashes back and forth to the toilet before, during and immediately after take-off will instil fear in everyone around you. Other travellers MIGHT come to the assumption that you are planting an explosive device in the toilet or that you’re on the verge of soiling yourself… either way, I have no intention of giving up my aisle seat for you!

Most importantly, chit chat is discouraged in all circumstances, however if you feel some overwhelming need to speak to me, please keep it to a minimum and learn to recognise the signs of a person trying to finish a conversation with you. Some examples:

– Polite smile and nod while putting on headphones does NOT suggest that I wish to switch iPods so you can play me the top Christian albums of the past year.

– Polite smile and nod followed by ‘I’m just going to sleep, have a nice flight’ does NOT mean I would like to lean on you to go to sleep, but thanks for the offer!

– Polite smile and declining of your offer to spend two of your five days in Australia driving from Sydney to Melbourne to get to know me does NOT mean ‘let’s be friends!’ so please, do not add me on Facebook. In two months, when you send me a private message demanding why I haven’t made the effort to maintain our friendship despite your numerous public comments about my ‘beautiful smile’ and suggestions that I should visit you in the Texas sometime, things are going to get really damn awkward… And trust me, I will not be the one balancing a bruised ego with my semi-psychotic urges to marry a random I met on an airplane.

And finally, the golden rule of air travel… Calm the hell down! The plane may have touched the ground, but if you push, grab at or lean on me in a desperate attempt to get your luggage out of the overhead bin, I will tell immigration that you are carrying large quantities of undeclared fruit and vegetables… I’m Australian, okay? I KNOW the trouble that can cause! Have fun on your three-hour trip through customs!

*If you see me on a flight in the future, I am actually a very friendly person. However if you twitch, hit, yell, grab or add without good reason, stay the hell away from me!

‘Did You Turn the Sandwich Maker Off?’ and Other Wild Accusations

People often ask me stupid questions and accuse me of doing ridiculous things. I have no idea why.

I admit, I have been known to sticky tape my colleagues chairs to their desks in moments of extreme boredom while in the office out of hours… and put Christmas decorations all over someone’s computer screen in April… I might have also stuck a photo of a random person on another colleague’s backpack right before he got on the train home (I thought it’d be nice for him to have some company)… however I absolutely hate practical jokes and have no interest of hiding something that belongs to someone else, jumping out at someone or ruining someone’s food (I’ve had salt in my beer and it is not fun, and yes, I count beer as food, sheesh)!

I’m also incredibly bad at keeping a straight face in funny situations, am always the first to crack when trying to go along with a joke and am a terrible liar.

The other day, I was in the kitchen at work, making my lunch and a colleague came in to check on his sandwich, which he’d left in the sandwich press. He walked up to it, stopped, turned to me suspiciously and said ‘Did you turn the sandwich maker off while my sandwich was cooking?!?’

I started laughing, which I don’t think helped the situation, but denied any involvement. He eyed me suspiciously, switched the press on and watched me as he walked away, hesitant to leave his sandwich unsupervised in the kitchen with me.

This got me thinking about how often these wild accusations are thrown my way and why. The next time I saw him, I asked why I am always the suspect when something happens… his response:  ‘It’s probably because you’re small’… fair enough.

So, to share a few of the highlights with you, these situations have occurred with family, friends, colleagues, boyfriends and randoms. I’m convinced it’s because of my openness and warmth that people feel comfortable saying these things to me… that, or I’m just plain sneaky-looking…

Q: Did you hide my ipod? (Work colleague)

A: Huh? You have an ipod?

Q: Did you hide my wallet? (Work colleague)

A: No. Has it been stolen or did you leave it at home? (turns out he left it at home, although this question was asked at least five more times that day!)

Q: Did you pay for that jug of Sangria? (girl working at a bar)

A: No, I stole a whole jug of sangria without you noticing, you fool (sarcastic). Did you LOSE a jug of sangria?

Q: Did you just suggest that my boyfriend is autistic? (a friend)

A: Ok, maybe… It was a miscommunication. But it was very, very funny.

Q: Did you delete the company’s entire website? (IT guy at work)

A: Erm… nope, can’t say that I did. If I had any urge to delete the whole site, resulting in massive problems for no one but myself, I’d probably suggest I should be committed.

Q: Did you intentionally lock me out of the house? (an ex-boyfriend)

A: No, the door locks itself, you moron. I’ll bet you’re feeling bad about punching the glass door in now, aren’t you?

Q: Did you just put the dog on the barbeque? (my mother)

A: Wtf?

Q: Did you break the front door? (My mother)

A: I TOLD you when I opened it that it was broken and you said it had been like that for months!

Q: Are you arranging for me to meet up with the guy I like when I visit you and not telling me? (A friend)

A: Huh? I am too confused to even try to answer that question.

Q: Did you pick up my friend The Albino?

A: No comment.

Q: Where’s my plate? Did you take it? (Work Colleague)

A: Of course I did, I put it in the fridge. That’s what you get for suggesting I sabotaged your sandwich!

I Would Never Date a Boy Who Wears Flood Pants

In the past, I have had a habit of setting criteria for what kind of guy I would date. My original list was written after escaping my first psycho boyfriend and consisted of about 20 criteria that a potential date had to meet before I would even consider them.

Me being a Stereotypical Nerd.

As a result, I was single for 3 years.

I eventually decided that I was restricting myself with the criteria and got rid of them (no doubt in some dramatic fashion such as lighting a candle and setting them on fire, as you do), but as the years rolled on and I started to encounter more than my fair share of crazy men, I introduced, revised and deleted numerous criteria for who I would and wouldn’t date, always with good reason.

The criteria have, at various times, included (I assure you there is a true story behind every one!): No facial hair – no smoking – must have stable job – must have any job – must be a tradie (followed quickly by) – must not be a tradie – must not hate women – must wear pyjamas to bed – must have siblings – must have good grammar – must be able to differentiate between there, their and they’re – must have a degree – must have a passion – must make more money than me – must make a grand gesture – must be good at fixing things… Needless to say, I’ve gotten a little carried away with it at various times and I’ve occasionally needed a friend to remind me of who I should and should not actually be dating.

For the past few years I have been living an almost criteria-free life and it is actually working out well for me. I enjoy dating, and although I’m still a disaster, I’ve come to appreciate the random experiences and life lessons that it can bring. And really, as long as you still have both your kidneys at the end of the evening, it can’t have been too bad.

Alas, my criteria-free life came crashing down the other day when I realised that there are still some things that are not negotiable, for example – I will not date a boy who wears flood pants.

I was walking through Flinders Street station over the Christmas break when I got stuck behind a guy wearing a pair of beige flood pants. It wasn’t particularly warm and it was most definitely not flooding and the sight totally threw me.

I am definitely not someone who judges men for how they dress, I actually wouldn’t know what is fashionable for the opposite sex if it hit me on the head, however until last week I thought we had been freed from the clutches of such a horrendous clothing item in the late 1990’s.

Now, let me reiterate that I am not talking about rolled up jeans, they are a whole different kettle of fish, but straight leg, chino-looking material man-pants that finish above the ankle.

Being short, I’ve always had a slight fear of this ridiculous excuse for clothing. Flood pants on me are simply pants that don’t need to have 3 metres cut off the bottom of them to fit, but they never look quite right and I don’t condone flood pants on anyone, let alone a potential date.

I did a little Googling on the flood pants phenomenon and was shocked to discover that there are actually two different types of flood pants, short pants and long shorts, according to Urban Dictionary:

1. flood pants
Pants that fall around the ankle. Often called high-waters/ high waters as well. This refers to the fact that you can wear them when there is a flood, or “high waters.”Wow, those flood pants are so cute, but your ankles must get cold during the winter…
2. flood pants
Shorts so baggy, they look like short pants, the kind you would wear if a flood ever came to town. Usually sported by cholos/gangsters/white boys living in the hills.*Yawns and wipes out eye-boogers* Today, I feeel extra cholo. Besides my XXXXXXXXLLL plain white tee, bandanda, and new tatoo of my name placed on the back of my neck, I think I’m going to show off my new flood pants to the homies and hynas.

Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=flood%20pants

So which am I against? If I’m against both, does that equal two new criteria as opposed to one?

Further Googling led to a realisation that flood pants are actually favoured by cyclists as they don’t get caught in their bike pedals and that Hipsters, backpackers, tennis players and even Pirates are also quite fond of them…

Having realised that I might just have unintentionally set criteria eliminating half the male population of Melbourne, I decided to stop. I felt like my criteria-free life was being challenged and I needed to re-assess the situation.

Maybe flood pants have a time and a place in society… I mean, I can’t judge a flood pant-wearing Hipster when I’m still confused as to what exactly a Hipster is, right? And would I really say no to the chance to go on a date with a pirate just because his ankles were showing? Or not accept that I am, in fact, destined to marry Marat Safin just because he might like the odd pair of floods?

I considered changing my criteria to ‘I will never date a boy who wears flood pants without good reason’ but I think this is only going to cause me further confusion. So, I guess I’m staying true to my criteria-free life.

I accept that I may one day date someone who wears flood pants…

Having said that, I may also date a pirate and/or Marat Safin… and just like that, the future is already looking brighter!

Just don’t get me started on Meggings… I would NEVER date someone who wears meggings!