Saturday, April 30, 2011

Maybe I just need a change, maybe I just need a new cologne

It's a very weird feeling when the woman you have paid to mess about with your Good China stops her work to compliment you on the scent of your cocoa butter moisturiser.

HER: Did you use coconut shower wash or something?
ME: Uh... what?
HER: Did you use coconut shower wash?
ME: Oh, um... uh yeah cocoa butter moisturiser maybe?
HER: Ahh, it smells nice.
ME: Um... (thinking: please God let me out of here)

At the time I was so busy gritting my teeth against the pain - and, just to be clear, the woman I'm talking about here is a bikini waxer, not a high class hooker - that I couldn't really come up with what felt like an appropriate response. Obviously it was a simple enough compliment, mindless chatter even, but it felt weird, like a doctor stopping mid-pap smear to say you have lovely eyes.

It also felt weird because I couldn't remember the last time someone had complimented the way I smelt, or the last time I had complimented anyone else on the way THEY smelt.

By coincidence, shortly afterwards I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a bit who smelt, I don't know how else to say it, amazing. I have no idea what it was that made him smell that way but it smelt like freshly cut grass mixed with a little bit of sweat and... it was a delight. This friend is a cute enough guy but this scent, whatever it was, made him seem suddenly sort of hot. Needless to say I didn't tell him any of this because it would have been, you know ten types of weird.

Which brings me to my point: why do so few men seem to wear cologne or aftershave anymore? I have to have coffees or lunches with a lot of random men as a result of my job and most of the time I don't notice the way they smell until - blammo - I sit down to someone who smells great. I'm not talking bathed in scent but just sort of... faintly delicious in a subtle way that means you only get a whiff of it every now and again. Most of these guys I meet through work are the opposite of what I find attractive in a boy/man but the smell thing - and maybe partly the fact that you know they've gone through the ritual of aftershave or cologne instead of just rolling out of bed and spraying on deoderant - is super appealing.

You'd be hard pressed to find a girl who doesn't own a perfume or two or, at the very least, a scented moisturiser to be dutifully slapped on, but so few boys I know even bother. No doubt if they realised how much ussy-pay they're missing out on as a result all this would change.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some men

Generally speaking man-bashing really gives me the shits. You know what I mean by man-bashing: women (because it's nearly always women) who take an All Men Are Liars/Bastards/Rapists/Generally Pathetic kind of approach, blackening an entire sex because they had a couple of dickhead boyfriends or their father walked out on them when they were a kid.

Most women have probably encountered a few women who see nothing strange or rude about indulging in this kind of ranting and it's always super uncomfortable and - above all - excruciatingly dull. The weirdest thing is hearing these women talk about men as though they were an entirely different race, as opposed to just being, um, people. (Needless to say it goes the other way: cynical men who think all women are psychos/hysterics/gold-diggers are just as boring and stupid as their female counterparts.)

So I feel a trifle guilty for reprinting this corker from Dorothy Parker, which is not exactly PRO-men, and yet I can't resist. For all that I love boys/men and hold individual boys/men responsible for some of the best things that have happened to me in my life, lately it seems hard to argue that I have spent much of that life waiting around for some damn man.
(Dorothy Parker)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Book shop.
(Lady, make your mind up, and wait your life away.)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Crap game.
(He said he’d come at moonrise, and here’s another day!)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
(Wait about, and hang about, and that’s the way it goes.)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
(Heaven never send me another one of those!)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Golf course.
(Read a book, and sew a seam, and slumber if you can.)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
(All your life you wait around for some damn man!)
Of course sometimes the waiting turns out to be the best part. But it never bloody seems so at the time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I want to be alone (at the movies)

Going to the movies by myself is one of the things I really love to do.

It hasn't always been this way. The first time I went to the movies alone was only a couple of years ago. I can't even remember what film I saw. I do remember feeling incredibly self-conscious and convinced that everyone was staring at me, wondering why I hadn't brought along a friend or a boyfriend. I kept remembering a story my sister had told me about when she went to the movies by herself and this group came up to her, asked if she was saving the seat next to her for someone else and she had to respond that, no, actually she wasn't waiting for anyone.

For anyone who doesn't make a habit if going to movies solo it's hard to explain why it feels so nice. I like seeing movies with other people too, it's just that there's something super-indulgent about doing it alone, particularly because it's often at slightly odd hours of the day: like a Sunday afternoon as opposed to a Saturday night or in the middle of a working day - one of my favourite pastimes when I have a day off from work. There's something good, too, about feeling completely autonomous, that makes it more enjoyable. If I think a movie's shit I can walk out. I don't have to worry about whether the person I'm with is enjoying the movie and laughing in the same places I am. I don't have to discuss the movie or offer an opinion after it's over. I can just enjoy it (or not), think about it (or not) and then get on with my day or night.

With all that in mind it occured to me yesterday while I sat in one of the cinema as Luna Leederville watching Barney's Version, that there is a right and a wrong way to go to a movie alone.

1. Don't get there too early. Nothing will make you feel more self-conscious than sitting by yourself in a cinema for 15 minutes before the film starts, especially as the cinema starts to fill up around you with couples and groups of friends. You will be convinced everyone is staring at you and depending on how weird and uncomfortable you look, you may be right.

2. Don't get there too late. I arrived late for a solo screening of Let Me In, a remaked of Let the Right One In. It had been a sudden decision to go (I was in Leederville, it started to rain) and so by the time I entered the cinema the credits had already started. Unfortunately the credits were really really dark and I couldn't see A THING. I had to feel my way to a chair only to realise as the room gradually lightened that I was sitting... almost on top of of the cinema's only other (male) occupant, who presumably thought I was some kind of weird sexual predator.

3. Look nice. I always check out other people who are at the movies by themselves, whether I'm there solo or not. Rightly or not I have a tendency to group them automatically into two classes: people who enjoy seeing movies by themselves and people who have no choice but to see movies by themselves. Generally speaking the former look respectable, well-adjusted and don't have weird stains on their pants. They also look like they might have taken a shower in the last week or so.

4. Don't see Barney's Version. Seriously. Scott Speedman is insanely hot and charming, Paul Giametti is good and Dustin Hoffman is excellent but the last movie I saw with this much forced mawkishness was Forrest Gump. And I really didn't care much for Forrest Gump.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One of my favourite (long) quotes from one of my favourite (longish) books ahead of a long, long weekend

"There are blonde and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blonde as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk.

"There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very, very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you found about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial.

"There is the soft and willing alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne.

"There is the small perky blonde who is a little pale and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review.

"There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading the Wasteland or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provencal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindesmith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them.

"And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap d’Antibes, and Alfa Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absentmindedness of an elderly duke saying good night to his butler."

(Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Token Smokin' Hottie: Sufjan Stevens

It's tough to like religious people. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be a shit about it and I know that sounds really stupid and bigoted but it's true: I look down on religious people the same way I look down on people who are racist, rude or don't understand the difference between "your" and "you're". I just think it's so... silly. And, yes, there are exceptions like Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene - both heroes to me - but they are the exception that makes the rule, not proof that believing in a ficticious character is a wise lifestyle choice. I have religious or semi-religious friends and family but I still view faith as a black mark against someone's character - something to be endured because I like them enough to overlook this flaw.

As with many, many things, however, this theory becomes a little... shall we say elastic when it comes to boys I fancy. Much like the way I have overlooked some pretty terrible things in the past purely in order to get into someone's pants ("Your dream is to one day hunt wolves in the wild? Mine too, I'm totally into that" - wish I was kidding).

Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, for instance, is near the top of a list tentatively titled Boys I Would Shag In A HeartBeat Without A Second Thought For the Consequences. It's not so strange because Stuart is cute as a button and I love his music. And yet be believes in God! And sometimes sings about it! Ew.

Which brings us to Sufjan Stveens, who also... appears to believe in God and sings about it! Kind of a lot! Fortunately Sufjan is also blessed with the kind of bone structure that makes me want to tear down walls, the kind of skin you could lick endlessly, an undeniably special voice and the sort of skinny-boy frame against which I have no defences.

I'm not saying I would embrace the faith if Sufjan asked me to run away and be his bride. What I AM saying is that I would happily hole up with him in a hotel and either let him try to convert me or suck it up and pretend to share his beliefs if it got me what I wanted. Which is, of course, him. It's like telling someone you love them in the hope that they might have sex with you. Real classy like.

"Of course, Sufjan," I'd say as I tore the buttons right off his shirt, "I definitely understand where you're coming from. I too feel that there just has to be something out there greater than us."

"Really?" he'd ask, struggling with the weird clasp of my pants. "You're not just saying that."

"I mean it, Suffy" I'd say - assuming he'd let me call him Suffy, which maybe he wouldn't - "I have been touched by the Holy Spirit. And now by you."

Monday, April 18, 2011


Recently I had cause to ask a good friend for advice about a problem in my life that had been troubling me.

I laid it all out for him pretty honestly and asked for his advice about how I should handle the situation. I was hoping for something like, well, whatever the opposite of tough love is. I wanted him to pat me on the head and say something like "don't worry so much", "nobody's perfect" or "it'll all work out, you silly sausage."

Instead he surprised me. His response, distinctly unsugarcoated went something like this: "Don't be so fucking greedy." He might not have said the "fucking" part but I think it was definitely implied.

I'd never thought of myself as greedy before. It sounds like such an unappealing way to describe anyone, suggesting a lack of self control that made me think of an obese middle-aged woman stuffing buns into her gob, one after the other after the other after the other while new rolls of fat form on her thighs and drip down the sides of her body. And yet the more I thought about it the more I realised that greedy is exactly how I would - or should - describe myself. Like a typical bloody Generation Y-er I want everything and I want it all the time. Immediately. I want to be able to write books and yet I also want the money that comes from a day job of writing stuff I'm not, let's be honest, exactly passionate about. I want to look good in a slutty dress but I also want to eat those hot chips and have that second glass of wine. I want all the lovely security and fun that comes from my delightful long term relationship but I also lust after random boys on the street like some sex-crazed teenager.

My friend's advice, to stop being so greedy, should have made me feel like shit, probably. But instead it cheered me up. Thinking about it I can see that I've always bordered on greedy when it comes to food and alcohol, for instance. But because I don't want to be fat or become an alcoholic I fight against my impulse to gorge on both and there's something weirdly comforting about the potential for applying this same moderation to the rest of my life. If I can't have it all (say the chips and the wine) then I need to decide what I want more (uh, do you need to ask?).

It's pretty pedestrian as far as epiphanies go but, meh, it cheered me up. For some bizarre reason it also made me think of a lovely Woody Allen quote, whose origins I forget.

"Can we actually 'know' the universe? My God, it's hard enough finding your way around Chinatown."

P.S: I found this picture just by typing "greed" into google search but in hindsight how fucking creepy does this kid look? Jesus Christ, imagine having THAT claw its way out of your womb?!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Precious snowflakes

I don't often link to other blogs or columns because, you know, you already know what you like but Sam de Brito has written a cracker for the Sydney Morning Herald this week. I'm a big fan of SDB who would be, I think, a shitload of fun to get drunk with. He writes:
Ever thought you're just a little different to the people around you? Maybe just a touch smarter, a tad more "enlightened"; you're sensitive and creative and surely feel and think things other people don't. Well, I reckon it's a delusion, a myth - and this widely-held fantasy of "I'm different" is a smoking crack in the earth that routinely swallows human empathy.
You can read the rest here.

I love fashion because...

... stories like this one, Top Five Red Riding Hood Capes and Dresses, can actually exist. The best part about this story is the "Top Five" bit like Oh My Fucking God there are just so many awesome red riding hood capes out there you're completely spoilt for choice and desperately need a fashion editor to guide you through this sartorial nightmare. Also I totally want one. Sorry.

The Pros and Cons of Living in Perth

PRO: Living in a city that is so small you can randomnly run into a good chum while sitting at a kebab shop in Leederville on a Thursday night.

CON: Living in a city so useless that said kebab shop doesn't even seem embarassed to say the chip fryer's broken and so you can't have any chips. Boo.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday... fun?

Because it's Friday and time for an existential crisis here is a brilliant scene from one of my favourite movies, Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters. To give it some context the character Mickey (played by Allen) has recently found out he doesn't have cancer, having thought for awhile that he might. At first he's ecstatic but then later he decides he wants to kill himself because he's decided that life is meaningless. He explains it thusly...
Mickey: No, I'm not dying now, but you know, when I ran out of the hospital I was thrilled because they told me I'm going to be all right. I'm running down the street and it hits me: All right, so I'm not going to go today, but eventually I'm going to be in that position.
Gail: You're just realising this now?
Mickey: No I don't realise it now. I know it all the time but I manage to stick it in the back of my mind because it's a very horrible thing to think about.
Gail: Yeah. What?
Mickey: Can I tell you something? Can I tell you a secret?
Gail: Yes please.
Mickey: A week ago, I bought a rifle.
Gail: No.
Mickey: I went into a store. I bought a rifle. I was gonna... You know, if they told me that I had a tumor, I was going to kill myself. The only thing that mighta stopped me, might've is my parents would be devastated. I would, I would had to shoot them, also, first. And then, I have an aunt and uncle, I would have... you know it would have been a bloodbath.
Gail: Tch, well, you know, eventually it is going to happen to all of us.
Mickey: Yes, but doesn't that ruin everything for you? That makes everything... you know it takes the pleasure out of everything. I mean, you're gonna die, I'm gonna die, the audience is gonna die, the network's gonna - the sponsor. Everything!
Gail: I know, I know, and your hampster.
Mickey: Yes!
For what it's worth he doesn't kill himself. Which is partly why this film is not only one of my favourites films ever but one of the most reassuring films of all time. Forget about reading philsophy or self-help books: for my money Woody Allen does it better.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Faultless logic

Token Smokin' Hottie: Jon Hamm

If you're a regular Mad Men viewer you might recall that Jon Hamm usually spends his time looking like this:

Yum. Lately, however, with Mad Men on a break and not coming back until 2012 Jon has been spending his time looking like this:

I WANT to say he's still a hot piece of arse but... no. Just no. I mean I'd still go there, obviously, but I might consider dimming the lights. And having a few drinks. During.

The moral of the story? Men of the world: how you groom yourself and dress yourself does effect the amount of pussy you can expect to acquire. Please take this onboard.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This is either brilliant or very depressing

So here's a fun fact. Today I learnt how to tell which of my many FASCINATING blog posts over the years have been the most viewed. The winner? This one! Apparently I'm not the only one with a big fat crush.

Sweet Valley High

When I was a youngster my sister was really into the Sweet Valley High series of books. I wanted to read them - the covers alone looked AMAZING - but my Mum said they were too old for me and forced me to read the totally ball-bag spin off, Sweet Valley Twins instead. Lame.

Actually, all that happened was that I snuck the SVH books out of my sister's room and read them in my bedroom, starting with the brilliantly awesome Double Love. Because, yes, I loved a pretty wild and crazy life. In hindsight, I really don't know what Mum was so worried about: Sweet Valley is the lamest, whitest, most genital-free town EVER. Seriously, Elizabeth the 'good twin' is held up to be some kind of perfect perfection despite the fact that she dresses like a grandmother, can't open her mouth without patronising someone and has a weirdly sexless relationship with her beige (probably gay) boyfriend Todd. Admittedly Jessica is... kind of a sociopath, actually, but at least the books acknowledge that she's a selfish tramp, even if she usually manages to come good by the end of most of the books.

Anyway, to celebrate(?) the release of Sweet Valley High Confidential (a book that picks up where the original series left off OMFG), I feel obliged to point you to The Dairi Burger, which has re-read all the SVH books and recapped them for your viewing pleasure.

It's pretty fucking funny. For example, from Deceptions:
Scene 2: Enid Rollins’ pathetic fucking non-Spanish tiled house.

ENID ROLLINS: (answering the phone): Hello?

EW: Enid, omg! What am I going to do? This is SUCH a disaster!

ER: Ok, I’ve cleared my schedule. I’ve canceled visiting my dying grandmother to talk to you.

EW: Oh my gaaaawd! Nicholas is like totally in love with me! And he’s so rich and good-looking! But I am supposed to be in love with my good-looking boyfriend Todd! Two guys are in love with me! Life is SO HARD!

ER: Wow, that IS a huge problem. I mean, forget that I have a drunk father, I once almost killed a kid, and I was born with frizzy brown hair, how can you stand to be you! [puts a gun to her head]

Almost makes me want to track them down for the joy of re-reading them myself. Almost.