Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Pumpkin Incident

Halloween, as everyone knows, is an excuse for girls to dress like sluts and not get called sluts. It's a wonderful thing. I typed "as everyone knows" but this is, perhaps, inaccurate. It would have been more accurate to say "as everyone finds out one day". For me that day was about 15 years ago at a Halloween party when I was on the cusp of my teenage years.

The Halloween party was being thrown by a neighbourhood friend of mine who was a year or two older than me and much, much more mature. I, for instance, did not then know that Halloween was an excuse to doll myself up in something black, skin-tight and as revealing as was logistically possible.

Hence my decision to dress up as a pumpkin.

The costume was a simple: I stuffed a lurid oversized orange t-shirt with an old bed sheet, cinched it in at the waist with a belt and poked my scrawny pre-pubsecent legs into a pair of green leggings. A green ice-cream container, jammed onto my head, completed the winning ensemble. Sadly no photos of the event survive to this day but I looked, I can only presume, like an obese 8-year-old with jaundice. My Mum said I looked great.

I realised I had made a mistake only when I arrived at the party to discover two things:

1. There were boys at this party.
2. Almost every single other girl at the party was dressed as a slutty witch.

This was not like any of the parties I had attended to date, where parents oversaw wholesome party games involving balloons, everyone was included and the worst that could happen was a bad red creaming soda spill. Here, girls giggled together in groups, ignoring plates of sausage rolls, flicking their hair and flashing glances towards the groups of boys who frankly looked as bemused as I did.

These girls were not like the girls I knew: their hair was shiny and styled, their barely blossoming boobs pointed skyward with the aid of push-up bras and their red lips and black eyes revealed that they, unlike I, had known the touch of a make-up brush. To me, waddling across the room in my pumpkin finery, they appeared not like girls at all but minature women.

Needless to say they terrified me.

Even so I did not actually flee the scene until someone decided that a game of Spin The Bottle was just what the balmy spring evening called for. In vain I looked for a parental figure to intervene and suggest a rousing game of Pass the Parcel, or perhaps just a round of cold showers, instead. But my friends parents simply smiled indulgently and disappeared to another part of house, upping the volume on Hey, Hey It's Saturday to drown out the sound of teenage hormones zinging through the air. Silently I fumed at their idea of responsible parenting, thinking to myself that if one or all of their daughters wound up impregnated by a douchebag called "Stevo" by their 16th birthday they would have nobody to blame but themselves.

Then - and only then - did I flee.

Which all goes to explain what happened this weekend when I donned a short black dress, threw on some slap and plaited my hair to attend a Halloween party. What the hell was I supposed to be exactly? I was calling it 'Slutty Wednesday Adams'.

Naturally my costume was put to absolute shame by many of the others, particularly the brave fellow who dresed as a triffid from John Wyndham's charming novel, Day of the Triffids. Unsurprisingly, however, I blended in perfectly well among the gaggle of other women. Lo here a sexy spy (short Stella McCartney-for-Target black dress, big blonde hair, legs up to her armpits), yonder there a Saucy Catwoman (skin-tight leggings, come-fuck-me boots and a token pair of cat ears).

And, hey, it only took me 15-odd years to learn that lesson.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Token Smokin' Hottie: Riccardo Scamarcio

I KNOW that Italian men cannot possibly be as universally hot as the world of cinema would have me believe.

And yet if they all looked like Riccardo Scamarcio I'd be on a plane right now.

The problem with Scamarcio is that he doesn't look like he's all that in a still photo: he's one of those token smokin' hotties who really has to be seen on the screen to be appreciated. I came up against him in the film Loose Cannons* last night. It was a pretty so-so film made less endurable by the fact that I was sitting with the world's most annoying people on either side of me (on the left: two shrieking nutbars, on the right: the world's loudest and most disgusting popcorn eater ever. Plus there was a guy behind me who kept scratching himself for a good 5 minutes at a time. Weird. ).

And yet, although the film was not that great and in spite of the fact that it also featured the sublime Giorgio Marchesi I could not take my eyes off Scamarcio. He has - to steal an expression from my friend Nick - gravitas. In spades. It's not just the way he moves, although there is something there: it's his face. He has one of those faces you feel you could just look at for hours and hours. Not everyone has a face like that: James Franco, who is one of the most attractive people I can think of, does not. Benicio Del Toro, who isn't conventionally all that great, does. Orlando Bloom - again in theory very pretty - doesn't. Marlon Brandon did.

Scamarcio also, bizarely, has the ability to look about 16-years-old at one moment and 35 in the next. That might sound like an insult but given that he is 31 in real life I mean it as a compliment. There were moments in the film when he was romping around in bathers that I thought 'how YOUNG is this kid?' and then other moments when he was squinting into the sun, all linen shirt and pressed trousers, when I thought I'd got him wrong entirely.

Either way, I'm glad he's not 16 because a)that would make me feel a bit weird writing this because fancying a teenager seems a bit wring; and b)he's not at risk of growing out of his teenage beauty into a pudgy, bloaty 20-something. Stay gold Scamarcio, stay gold...

* As an off-topic aside I would like to express my frustration at the fact that this uneven Italian movie (starts well but goes nowhere fast) rates higher than two of my favourite films: Ladyhawke and Fletch, according to the Internet Movie Database. This is pro-European snobbery of the worst kind.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Paint it Black: Worst 5 moments experienced while painting my apartment this week

1. Trying to distinguish between 18 different shades of off-white with names like "eggshell", "ocean caps" and "chilled breeze". Lengthy exposure to those little paint cards is more paranoia-inducing than a tray of hash muffins: you start thinking am I crazy or are they all just kinda fucking off-white?

2. Accidentally painting over the light switch. Yeah doesn't seem like a big deal now but at the time I think I may actually have wept.

3. The fifth trip to Bunnings and the knowing stares from the guys in the paint department. Oh those knowing stares...

4. Getting a massage on the second day of painting and hearing the masseuse say "um, you have a lot of paint on you" in much the same tone you or I might use to inform someone "I think you have leprosy - your left hand just fell off in my soup".

5. The fumes. People, I can't emphasise this enough: when you start to giggle at nothing in particular and you're halfway up a ladder, having painted for 5 hours straight, you are already high as a kite from the fumes. Crack a window, open a door: do not breathe in.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breathe Deeply

One of the best bits of relationship advice I ever got was from my dear and wise friend Lindsay. If you're going to do something a bit messed up, she said, then cover your tracks.

The beauty of this piece of advice - which sounds utterly obvious but really isn't always - is that it can be applied to a great number of situations. If, for instance (and obviously I'm talking PURELY hypothetically here) you are going to have a fucking BREAKDOWN about the growing suspicion that your girlfriend's enthusiasm for the relationship might be waning, it is a good idea to have said breakdown in the privacy of your own bedroom instead of, say, on the university campus in front of a whole bunch of curious people very pointedly Not Staring At The Car Crash But Actually Very Obviously Staring At the Car Crash.

Similarly, if you're going to read your sister's diary you should remember where you got the diary from in the first place and replace it, not casually leave it open on the desk to the part where your sister was (over)analysing the two minute conversation she had with Beautiful James by the stairs and wondering whether what he meant by "see you in History" was something closer to "the combination of your glasses, braces and orthodics enchants me - take me now, by the D-block lockers".

Which brings me to my friend. Let's call him... Wooster.

Before I go on, a brief disclaimer. Wooster would like it to be known that he is NOT a habitual sniffer of womens dirty underwear. Nevertheless, the facts are these:

1. Wooster did retrieve a pair of his girlfriend's dirty knickers from her laundry basket.
2. He did sniff them.
3. He did leave the knickers on the bed.
4. He was caught.
5. He is now in trouble with his girlfriend.

Leaving aside your views on knicker huffing (for the record I think it ranks fairly tamely on a spectrum of kink that includes pegging and scat) what's important to recognise is that Wooster ran into his current troubles because he forgot The Lindsay Principle: if you're going to do something a bit messed up then cover your tracks.

Here's how it could have played out.

1. Wooster did retrieve a pair of his girlfriend's knickers from her laundry basket.
2. He did sniff them.
3. He did not leave the knickers on the bed.
4. His girlfriend never needed to trouble her pretty little head about it.
5. Wooster did get to have sex with his girlfriend again.

But accidents happen. I should know: I once dyed my dear friend Ali's hair ginger. So sometimes 'covering your tracks' doesn't cut it. You did something a bit messed up and now you need to deal with it.

Or do you? Have you met my friend denial?

I met denial back in primary school when, for reasons that still remain slightly unclear to me, I at some point decided that to turn up at school IN MY PAJAMAS AND DRESSING GOWN was not a terrible idea. It's not quite as bad as it sounds: our school was having its annual musical and my Mum was driving to school to pick up my sister, who had been doing backstage work... or something. Anyway, I went along for the ride and only decided to get out of the car on a whim... for some reason. Obviously I immediately ran into a huge number of my classmates who, strangely enough, did not spontaneously forget this fact by the following day. Never overburdened by popularity I was unwilling to make the jump to fully fledged social outcast. And so I lied. Or rather I denied. It went something like this.

CLASSMATE: Why were you at school in your dressing gown?

ME: (Casually eating an apple as though to demonstrate just how ludicrous such a suggestion is) I wasn't.

CLASSMATE: But I saw you.

ME: (Chewing ponderously) No you didn't.

CLASSMATE: Yeah I did. So did other people.

ME: (Now starting to run out of apple) No they didn't.

CLASSMATE: We all did.

ME: I think not.

I wasn't entirely successful. (Marlon Brando I was not - I was more like... Tom Brando). But as a strategy the idea that you could simply deny something, just will it out of existence, was very appealing and I never forgot it (just as I assume certain classmates never forgot the sight of me in my Noel Coward dressing gown and pajama pants racing across the carpark, the over-long cord of my dressing gown trailing behind me to give the impression I was enjoying a spot of nighttime kite flying).

With this in mind, let's take another quick look back at how Wooster might have fared had he failed on The Lindsay Principle but remembered to deny, deny, deny.

1. Wooster did retrieve a pair of his girlfriend's knickers from her laundry basket.
2. He did sniff them.
3. He did leave the knickers on the bed.
4. He was caught.
5. The following scene ensued.

GIRLFRIEND: Wooster, uh why is there a pair of knickers on my bed?

WOOSTER: (Also eating an apple in the misguided belief that it makes him appear nonchalant) I don't know.

GIRLFRIEND: I put them in the laundry this morning.

WOOSTER: (Smacking his lips) Oh really?

GIRLFRIEND: Yes really. Did you take them out?


GIRLFRIEND: So how did they get on the bed?

WOOSTER: (Chewing a bit faster) I don't know.

GIRLFRIEND: Well, if I didn't do it then who else do you think took them out of the laundry and put them on the bed? On your side of the bed? Any thoughts?

WOOSTER: (Taking increasingly big bites of the apple) Nope.

GIRLFRIEND: I know it was you!

WOOSTER: (Mouth full of apple) Fjkdfkjdfkljf


WOOSTER (Mouth really very very full of apple): dfskjsdflkjdsf


WOOSTER: (Barely intelligible among all the apple) I'm... choking.

Because this is the second great piece of relationship advice everyone should know: that when you paint yourself into a corner and there is absolutely no other way out, having tried but failed to deploy The Lindsay Principle and a generous serve of denial, it is perfectly acceptable to fake a near death experience, provided that you at no point allow an ambulance to be called. We're calling this The Wooster Principle and I hope for all of your sakes, dear readers, that you never need to use it.

POSTSCRIPT: My charming boyfriend would like me to point out to those who know us that "Wooster" is not him. I do so gladly, though I may say he is welcome to sniff my knickers if he cares to. I also add that, although this story is real, Wooster is not his real name, though it would be a good one.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy drinking: 8 Perth Pubs in 3 hours

Let me say first, that this binge is For Work*. The fact that I'm blogging about it is just for fun and possibly to pass onto my doctor when my liver ultimately explodes.

11.37am: Waiting for my pick-up, thinking that 11.37am seems like a very early time to start drinking. This realisation is, I think, a good thing, because it clearly proves I am not an alcoholic.

1.50pm: Bartender at MUST bar in Beaufort Street is impossibly dreamy. Looks like some sort of Spanish prince, speaks like an English public school boy. Also knows what he is talking about. Feel like a prick for leaving half my wine but important to conserve stamina.

1.55pm: Despite efforts to preserve stamina am feeling distinctly squiffy. Wish had eaten more than chocolate croissant today.

2.14pm: Hotel Northbridge still most depressing pub in Perth. Good to know. Oh and sorry to nice dude with a ponytail at Briabane. The wine was delicious - I was just in a hurry.

2.50pm: Asking bartenders for alcohol content in wine = a new low. There is simply no good explanation for doing so. Honeyuckle accented win at the Merchant on Beaufort Street FTW.

3.30pm: Blerg! Good bread at The Suite, I must say. Guy behind the bar super suspicious about what we are doing here though. Like the look of Lindsay's prosecco but my... whatever is quite delicious.

3.40pm: Chocolate brownie!

5.29pm: Drinking in the afternoon is awesome and all but the evening booze blues is the worst.

8pm: Snoozed in car for half hour, make small talk at book launch, half asleep on the couch already. Result.

* Actually for someone else's work but it's practically the same thing.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Death of a friendship: Overheard in the David Jones change room

GIRL 1: Do you want to try on this red dress?

GIRL 2: Which one?

GIRL 1: The shortish red one.

GIRL 2: I don't think it'll fit. What size is it?

GIRL 1: 8

GIRL 2: I can't fit into a size 8.

GIRL 1: Oh. Really?

GIRL 2: Did you try it on?

GIRL 1: Yeah. It was too big.