“You should date somebody from Twitter,” my flattie JC told me one night at the pub. This was a couple of years back, when meeting people from t’internet was still something of a novelty and you didn’t tell your mother when you were doing it.
“Don’t be an idiot,” I said and waved my beer dismissively. The truth was I had already considered this and had reasonable-sized crushes on more than a few of my followers. Plus my Twitter network was relatively small, highly interactive and privy to a lot of details regarding my personal life. It’d save a lot of the legwork involved in getting to know somebody on a first date.
“No, seriously,” JC continued, “I bet that if you tweeted on a Saturday night and said you wanted somebody to take you out, you’d have at least 5 offers in the first hour.”
I didn’t know whether he was right or wrong, but the likelihood of me actually doing this was roughly equal to using my beer money to sponsor an African child. I had met enough people online to know that some of them were fun and could become your new BFFs, but others were fun and then later proved to have a very tenuous grip on reality. In the beginning, it’s almost impossible to tell which category the stranger sitting on your couch chopping weed will fall into.
So I put aside the idea of Twitter dating for the meantime, but then after a depressingly dry season, I began to consider it more seriously. I mean, if I was on Twitter and I wasn’t a freak, then surely most of the other people who were on Twitter weren’t freaks either? Maybe I should be more open minded?
Later that week, I was on the bus after 6 or 7 cocktails and recklessly decided to ask out someone from Twitter. I looked through my list of followers and finally settled on a guy who had flirted with me a little in the past.
“Want to grab a beer sometime?” I DMed him.
“Sure!” he replied.
I arranged to meet him for drinks after work the following Wednesday. Then I texted my friend Keira and said, “I just asked out a guy from Twitter.”
Keira wrote back, “Two words: Mister Burns.”
Mister Burns was a philosophy student I had met a couple of years earlier through RSVP.com and, after seeing his reasonably attractive profile picture, agreed to meet in real life for coffee. But when he showed up on the day, he looked a bit like Gollum and was wearing a matching block coloured tracksuit. He smelled vaguely of urine. “I have to go,” I said, not even bothering to formulate an excuse, then climbed straight back into my car and drove away.
I wasn’t so worried about meeting this Twitter guy though. I’d seen a few photos of him and he looked okay. I was confident about the date, but when Wednesday arrived, I found myself feeling nervous. “What if he’s ugly?” I asked the girls at work. “Or what if he’s fat? Oh my god, what have I done?”
Fortunately, he wasn’t fat. In fact, he was pretty cute. We smashed some beers and had great conversations and I thought, yes, this is going so well, snaps for me.
I agreed to meet him for a coffee the following weekend, and I was genuinely looking forward to it. But in the harsh light of day, he was nowhere near as attractive. In fact, he kind of looked a bit like my brother, which was cause for immediate disqualification. It was too late to back out though, so I sat down, ordered a coffee and began mentally scraping together a list of possible excuses to leave early. He seemed nervous in a sober setting and spoke at great length about his cats.
This date was very borderline: bad enough that I knew I wouldn’t see him again, but not quite bad enough to leave after only half an hour. But then he solved my dilemma by shifting the balance.
We were discussing his vegetarianism, and I inquired about his iron levels. “Do you get sick a lot?” I asked. “I went off red meat for a while last year and just seemed to come down with cold after cold.”
“Well it’s different for women,” he said, “As they have a tendency to….you know…”
Here he made a violent flowing gesture with both hands and whispered, “Bleed.”
I picked up my bag and left him with the bill.
After I ignored him for a few days, he messaged me.
Him: “Was that initial drink supposed to be a date or a networking thing?”
Me: “A networking thing. Why do you ask?”
Him: “Oh I’m embarrassed… Not that I had assumed one way or the other, but yeah… Shit, I’m an ass.”
Me: “It’s okay, everybody makes mistakes.”
He unfollowed me on Twitter not long after.
And sometimes it’s better to let your co-workers think you are a victim of domestic abuse, because that is less embarrassing than the skanky, horrible truth.
I did not officially study for my Higher School Certificate, but I obtained a reasonably high UAI because I had written my maths formulae, history dates, English quotes and legal studies cases on clear plastic and stuck them on the back of the toilet door. I then stared intently at them while I crouched on the bathroom floor on early mornings, nursing the worst of my study-leave hangovers. And so, armed with these surprisingly excellent results and the world at my feet, I enrolled in a Business degree with a major in Accounting. If you had asked me why I wanted to be an accountant, I would have said something along the lines of, “I like Maths and I don’t know what else to do.” Indeed, I did enjoy the odd equation, and the approximate 5% of my course that involved Maths was reasonably enjoyable. However, the remainder of my classes and lectures proved to be rather dry, so I decided to make do with the textbooks and my ability to improvise.
This worked well for my first year and my sparkling academic record continued. However, at the beginning of 2006, my interest in the course began to wane. Depressed and directionless, I chose to spend my days drinking gin and watching Dawson’s Creek rather than studying. Miraculously, I passed my third semester, and then during the fourth, I…….failed. I went to my exams and stared at the paper and I didn’t know any of the answers. I couldn’t even make something up, because I had failed to absorb the basic grains of knowledge that I could have then elaborated on to construct some kind of response. So I handed in my blank paper, went home, poured myself a gin and tonic, and watched Dawson’s Creek.
After that semester, I deferred my course for a year, then never went back. And to be honest, the only thing I really regret is my $11k HECS debt.
My mother does not cook. She has fed her family for twenty-five years using a process known as “food assembly.” Food assembly involves cutting and chopping, adding water to various items, and putting things in the oven or microwave. Dinner guests are perfectly aware that 80% of their meal has come pre-prepared and will often turn to my mother in between courses and compliment her. “This is excellent, Lyn. Did you make it? AHAHA OMG HAHA.”
As a result of all this culinary ineptitude, I have no idea how to do basic things such as boil rice or fry fish. If I had my own house, and you came to visit, and I pleasantly asked you, “Can I get you something?” it would be a filthy lie, because I could not get you anything except a glass of wine. I can, however, make an acceptable carrot, walnut & banana cake, because my father is a most excellent baker.
As a kid, Dad spent every afternoon after school at either one of his grandmother’s houses, where they taught him to bake, sew, and stay away from black people. He’s pretty crafty in all areas of the kitchen and he can mend a button before you can say, “Why doesn’t your wife do that for you?” Visiting men often frown at my father as he zips around the kitchen in his apron, stirring frantically and humming to Rick Wakeman. “I’ve got to get these muffins on before my aerobics class starts,” he would explain, and I’d be even just a bit more proud of him than I had been fifteen seconds earlier. Oh yes, my father may have done the cooking, the cleaning, the sewing, the ironing, and the fruity gym classes, but he was just as talented at changing the oil in my car or mowing the lawn. The only task I ever saw him defeated at was attempting to rename a word document on his computer.
Unfortunately, because my father wanted to teach me important things in life, like how to use condoms and mix prescription medications safely and play the Pink Panther theme on piano, he never imparted his domestic knowledge to me. And rather than observing him closely to learn what I could, I simply sat back and enjoyed being waited upon, cooked for and cleaned up after.
So now, between my stints of living at home, I walk the streets of Sydney with tatty clothes and a growling stomach. I can still make that cake though.
This post was brought to you by a nudge from Gavin Heaton.
Three years ago, I sold my Yamaha Pacifica. I was living out of home, studying full-time, working part-time, drinking heavily, and dirt poor. I really needed things like bread and dental work, so I flogged my guitar on eBay for $150.
To be honest, I had no regrets at first, as I had purchased Francine mainly to hold while I struck rockstar poses in front of the mirror in my bedroom. She was also useful for creating extremely loud and distorted noises while my parents attempted to hold bible study lessons in the living room. But apart from that, I didn’t play her often. Sure, she was soft and sleek, but I always seemed to come back to my Maton acoustic because he complimented my voice better.
However, now that I’m getting older and more experimental with my music, I really miss Francine.. She allowed me to do so much more than Mate, and was smaller, thus allowing me to dance more freely while playing.
The worst part is I don’t even know where she is.. I have no idea who bought her, because I made my friend sell her online, not having the guts to do it myself. I simply told her that I needed a “break” and that she was going to spend a little time away from home.. then I collected the cash, had a boozey night out in the cross, and awoke the next morning fully dressed with a splitting headache and a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my thigh.
I’m really worried about Francine. She could be sitting in any old geyser’s garage in Australia, cold, alone and unsatisfied. I’ll bet whoever bought her has put his filthy hands all over her.. By now he’s probably stroked her neck, removed her g-string and touched her entire body. Thank god she’s not acoustic or he might have put all kinds of things in her sound-hole.
I guess I just have to hope that Fran has gone to a better place. Perhaps she’s in a nice house in the country, surrounded by a loving family, romping through fields of daisies under a bright blue sky.. Or maybe she is the pride and joy of some young budding guitarist, the next Nathan Cavaleri, and will rocket him to early stardom..
I will never know for sure. I just hope she’s okay.