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Every so often you meet someone in life who you instantly click with, someone who within minutes just gets you. Sometimes that person is a friend of a friend you meet at a party and sometimes it’s the Indian taxi driver who takes you home after Arj Barker’s show.
“…and that’s why I’ll never shave or wax my pubes,” I said concluding my ten minute rant on the social stigma surrounding female pubic hair.
“You are very passionate about this. It is good.” Rushin nodded.
It was midnight and we’d been sitting in his cab outside my house talking for nearly two hours. Like myself, Rushin was candid and open about everything. He showed me Indian porn and talked about his childhood in India. I showed him my unshaven legs and talked about how I was never going to get laid.
“Why do you say this?” he frowned.
“Well, I don’t have a boyfriend and I hate one night stands so…”
Rushin nodded. “Casual sex is not for everyone.”
“It’s not even that. It’s just…the sex is always bad and—”
“Always bad?”
“Well, yeah. The guy only ever cares about getting himself off so it’s like two seconds of him fumbling with the clit and then like twenty minutes of jack hammery poundage. It’s depressing. Wait, why do you look so shocked?”
Rushin shook his head. “That is not sex,” he said sadly.
“I know, its vagina-aided masturbation. That’s why I don’t do it anymore. Plus, then there’s the whole morning after scene which I hate.”
“I am not understanding. Why do you hate the morning?”
“Are you serious? The whole averted eyes, small talk, ‘There’s the door’? It’s awkward!”
“Why is it like this? If I have a one night stand I make the girl breakfast, we have conversation and when she is ready I take her home. There is no awkward.”
“Okay, wow! I don’t know if that’s an Indian thing or a me hooking up with shit dudes thing but that has not been my experience. Like ever. If a guy made me breakfast I would totally have a one night stand with him no matter how bad the sex was.”
“Zo, when you have the sex like this—the bad sex—what do you say to these men?”
“Um…” A hot wave of shame passed over me. “Nothing,” I mumbled.
“But why?” he cried. “You must tell them! You must say ‘Excuse me, who is going to make me cum? Your dad? I am not a sex worker. You are not paying me. Why must I not get any pleasure out of this?’ You must say this to them.”
“I know. Trust me if I ever have sex again, which I won’t, I’ll say something.”
Rushin rolled his eyes. “You will have sex again. You are very beautiful.”
“Thank you. That’s very sweet of you to say but I don’t know how valid that is when you’re the only one who seems to think so.”
“I do not believe you. You are very beautiful. You have the nice eyes—”
“Really?” I pulled back surprised. “But my eyes aren’t green.”
He frowned. “Why eyes must be green to be beautiful? Who says this?”
“I don’t know, I just—”
“No, you have very nice eyes and your hair, it is like Hell Berry. Do you know Hell Berry?”
“Halle Berry?” I smiled. “Yes, I do.”
“It is very sexy hair. And you have the tan—”
“What?” I snorted. “Dude, I am white.” I shoved a pasty arm in his face.
He shook his head. “No, you are not white like the superwhites. You have the tan. It makes sexual appeal very high. And you have the nigga lips.”
“WHAAAAT?” I roared. “Rushin, you can’t use that word! Some people find that offensive!”
“Why?” He shrugged. “I am brown. My best friend is Pakistani. I am not racist. What I say instead? African lips?”
“Yes, you can say that.” I laughed.
“Okay, you have the African lips and I would like very much to kiss them.”
“Oh!” I jerked my head down. “Okay, um…wow! That was really forward.”
“You do not like forward?”
“No, I do it’s just…you caught me off guard and now I’m like really…just feeling a bit…” I looked frantically around. “Can we open a window?”
“I am sorry. I have made you uncomfortable. I just think you are very beautiful.”
“That’d be the moon lighting,” I said staring out into the night sky. “It’s kinda dark in here.”
“No.” He shook his head. “I can see you clearly.”
“Okay, well,” I spluttered. “I’m not really good at this. Normally, I have to be drunk to do this sort of thing. And also we’re in a taxi—”
“I understand. You do not want to kiss me.”
“No, I do!” (I did. He was cute.) “It’s just…I’m feeling a bit hysterical and if you kiss me I’m going to laugh in your mouth so…”
“You won’t.” He leaned forward. “Just relax.”
“Actually I will laugh in your mouth. Wait, what are you doing? Why are you leaning forward? I’m going to laugh in your mouth. Don’t—”
Ignoring my protests, Rushin brought his face to mine and in a manner not unlike a starved Labrador, proceeded to eat my mouth. I’d like to say I didn’t write him off as a whole person based on his inability to kiss but I did. Turned off and grossed out, I hightailed it out of the cab with not so much as a goodbye. I’m an awful person, I know. Of course in retrospect I regret this. I should have taken Rushin’s number when he offered it. It’s so hard finding a taxi cab on a Saturday night.

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The plan to seduce Arj Barker was simple; approach the comedian after his show, comment on how great it was and then in a manner deemed offhand, slip him my number and suggest we get a drink together. It would’ve been foolproof were I not the one carrying it out. See, I’m awkward. And by awkward I mean, I am that person who drinks shots through straws, who eats apples during movies, who brings a bottle of sauce to a restaurant, who drops the bristled end of a toilet brush into the toilet, who waves someone over before realising I don’t know them, who tries to get into the wrong car while the occupants are inside, who looks up gay anime porn on my dad’s computer and forgets to clear the history, who accidentally presses the close door button on someone running to make the lift, who gets her arm stuck in a bunk bed at camp and has to be sawed out, who misinterprets the theme of a fancy dress party and rocks up to a house full of Michael Jacksons as the dude from Clockwork Orange and who—as you all know—invites a guy I’ve known less than two weeks to get tested for STDs together. There should never have been a plan. There should’ve been a conversation, one between me and my brain with the latter alerting me to the foolishness of my idea, something along the lines of:
Brain: Hey, Zo.
Zo: Hey, Brain. What’s up?
Brain: I understand you’re thinking of giving Arj Barker your number this Sunday?
Zo: Yes, that’s right.
Brain: I just wondered if you’d taken into account your inability to talk to males or to act cool in a setting outside of your own mind.
Zo: Wow, no I hadn’t. I probably shouldn’t go through with it then. Thanks for that, Brain!
Brain: No worries, babe.
This did not happen and so after the show I bought a DVD from the merchandise stand (to join the line of fans meeting Arj you had to buy merch) and took my place at the back of the queue where, removed from the reality of what I was about to do, I imagined Arj and I spending the night together in the five star hotel he was inevitably posted up in. Six people from the front though and I started to panic. I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I told myself. But it was too late; I’d already bought the merch. With four fans now ahead of me, I pulled out the tiny strip of paper from my back pocket. On it I’d neatly inscribed my name, number and the line: Would love to get a smoothie with you! which was meant to be funny and idiosyncratic but now, standing in the line, read only as the markings of someone who had been homeschooled. Oh, why had I tried to be funny TO A COMEDIAN? I thought. What is wrong with me??? I watched as Arj and a woman shared a laugh as he signed her DVD. A few minutes later she walked off and the next person stepped up. “Hey, how’s it going? Thanks for coming to my show,” Arj smiled. I was now third in line. FUCK! I wanted to throw up and lie down. Maybe I should practice what I’m going to say,I thought suddenly. No, it’ll sound too rehearsed then. Just be natural, said Brain. I don’t know why she hates me. I’ve never once given her grief for her inability to retain simple, important information like what the states of Australia are and yet every day the bitch tries to sabotage me. “Yeah, will do!” Arj said waving goodbye to the guy ahead. The two people in front stepped up. They were a couple, I realised, making me next in line. I’m out! said Brain, throwing up the deuces. Whatever, bitch. I got this! said the adrenaline coursing through my veins. And just like that I was ready. I could do it. I would be cool and confident and sexy like an ethnic Julia Roberts. I would talk to Arj and give him my number like it ain’t no thang. Who was that woman? Arj would be left thinking. I must get to know her immediately! The couple were nodding and smiling at something Arj was saying. I say ‘something’ because I couldn’t actually hear anything over the buzzing that had filled my head. Now the couple were talking. OH MY GOD, COME ON! I thought angrily. You’ve had your poster signed; move the fuck on! Eventually, after a bit more talking, they did and just like that it was my turn. I stepped up to the table.
“Hey, how’s it going?” Arj smiled. “Thanks for comin—”
“Listen,” I said leaning forward, adopting a dark, conspiratorial tone. “I don’t want you scribbling all over my DVD.”
Arj’s eyes flew open.
“I just want to shake your hand,” I continued.
“Uh…” Arj frowned. “Okay?”
I grabbed the hand he offered tentatively and squeezed it hard. I squeezed it hard while staring at him with wide, unblinking eyes as if to say “Do you feel that, Arj? Do you feel that piece of paper I’m pressing into your palm? That’s my number, Arj. That’s my number.” A flash of recognition passed over his face. “Oh!” he exclaimed and then I dropped his hand and ran. I ran out of the building and onto the street and up three city blocks and into an arcade where I promptly burst into tears. I’d messed up. Instead of being cool and casual I’d been awkward and creepy like a villain with Asperger’s. Arj would never call. After a few more minutes I got into a taxi and went home.

It’s Friday night and I’m sitting at home in my jocks eating cashews. Don’t laugh because the thing about sitting at home in your jocks eating cashews is that it doesn’t require the presence of friends which is great for people like me who don’t seem to have any. Seriously, the only people who’ve texted me today are Simon (who’s in London) and my mum (“Where’s your brother?”). I wish I had a best friend and not one that lives in London (Simon) or one that has a life (Chad). I want someone to fail life with; someone who I wouldn’t have to call in moments like these because they’d already be here, rummaging through the cupboards screaming “I FOUND ALMONDS!” I want a Turk to my J.D, a Troy to my Abed, an Abbi to my Ilana. I want Marium.

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I have a new crush. As this entry’s title denotes, his name is Ice-Cream Boy and he works at the new ice-cream parlour near my work. My friend, Freya and I went there last night after dinner.
“Could I please have one scoop of your coconut ice-cream?” I asked the guy behind the counter.
“Sure,” he smiled. “By the way you have really cool hair.”
“Oh, thanks,” I said. Hmm, should I get one scoop or two?
“Where did you get it done?”
No, don’t be a pig. You just had two burritos. “Oh, I do my own hair.”
“Really? Wow, I can’t believe you do that yourself. It’s very cool.”
“Thanks. How much do I owe you?”
“He is really cute!” Freya whispered as we made our way to a table.
“Yeah, but he’s gay.”
“What? How do you know that?”
“I don’t, it’s just…” I frowned. “Isn’t it obvious?”
“No. How is it obvious?”
“Well, if I have to resort to crude stereotypes because just knowing he is isn’t enough then I’d point out that he is really pretty. He looks like a Colombian Ezra Miller.”
“I don’t know who that is.”
“The actor? You know in We Need To Talk About Kevin and Perks of Being a Wallflower?”
“Okay, yes.”
“Also, he was very interested in my hair. Too interested. A straight guy wouldn’t ask where I get my hair done.”
Freya shook her head. “Not true and he was just making conversation. I don’t think he’s gay.”
“Really?” I looked at him again. Maybe my friends were right. Maybe I do think everyone is gay. “He’s really hot,” I noted. “But he looks so young.”
“Yeah I thought so too but then his voice—”
“I know! It’s so deep! He sounds like Tyler the Creator.”
Freya nodded. “You should get his number.”
“What? No!” I laughed.
“Why not?”
“I’d rather just stalk him from afar.” That’s pretty much the end of this story. Sorry.

FW 2012

So last week I attended the program launch of the MQFF with the hilarious Adam. Now ya’ll know there ain’t no party like an S Club party but this one was pretty damn close! Situated on the 28th floor of the Crown Metropol, amidst suited up film directors and producers, Adam and I were treated to an endless supply of free alcohol and finger food which, to a ghetto simpleton like me who owns three pairs of shoes and thinks serviettes are fancy, was some serious P.Diddy shit! Of course, in a room full of lesbians, I fell head over heels for a guy. Smart, funny and handsome; he was a gay Seth Cohen and when he started talking feminist theory I had to ask a waiter to bring me a mop.
“He’s gay,” Adam reiterated when I told him in hushed tones of my crush on Seth.
“I know but I feel like we’re connecting on a level that’s beyond gender. I’m going to tell him I like him.”
“Don’t,” Adam laughed shaking his head.
But I had to because, you know, yolo and also having had three hours sleep the previous night I was pretty much drunk. When the others were deep in a conversation about sugar daddies, I pulled Seth outside and under the full moon, bared my soul.
“Eww, no!” he cried reeling back. “Sorry, I don’t do girls.”
I sighed. “It’s always the gay guys you like that don’t like you back.”
“So true,” he nodded.
Anyway, that was all last week. This week Adam and I had the MQFF induction night for volunteers. Having both volunteered before we were able to tune out and spend the session perving on the crowd. Adam’s crush, dubbed Leather Jacket, is a Xavier Dolan-esque male whose pretty boy looks could mean he’s an asshole or in a relationship. Hopefully it’s neither. Originally I had my eye on an Ellen Degeneres lookalike but then a friend told me she’s in an open relationship and I’m too selfish and insecure for that shit so when the festival starts in two weeks I’m going to try find the volunteer that supposedly looks like Natalie Portman circa V for Vendetta. I’ll keep you posted.

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Ideally, my boyfriend would be vegan. I just want to skip all that “So what exactly do you eat?” and go straight to gorging ourselves on Mr Nice Guy cupcakes. I simply don’t have the energy or patience to educate a person on veganism. It’s with this attitude I know I could never be a teacher. “What’s that Annie? You don’t know how to read? I’m sorry, how old are you again? Nearly five? I’m sorry, you’re going to have to take your Dora the Explorer pencil case and get the fuck out of my classroom. Aint nobody got time for your dumb ass. Come back once you’ve got an education.” The thing is, there are seemingly two types of vegans in this country, the hippy vegan and the hipster vegan, and neither gets me wet. I see a dude in a cafe wearing skinny jeans and a cardigan and I can’t help but assume sex with him would be as about as vanilla as the soy chai latte he’s sipping. Lots of eye gazing and hair-stroking and “Is this ok?” Which is nice, I guess, but sometimes you want a man to throw you down on the bed, slap your ass, pull your hair and give you a right seeing to. I just can’t picture a guy in Thai fisherman pants doing that. Not saying he can’t, just that they’re not my type. So if you know any cute vego boys that aren’t big on chakras or irony, give them my email. He must love burritos and drama because that’s pretty much all I bring to the table.

PEAR

New neighbours moved in over the weekend which I’m really bummed out about. I really liked the old neighbours. I mean, we never spoke or anything but they were cool. They let me walk around naked. Ok, maybe ‘cool’ is too strong a word. They never called the cops. And technically I was never actually fully naked because I always had at least my undies on and if not my undies, then a blanket so it’s really not that big a deal. What is a big deal is me finally accepting my body after twenty-odd years of dieting and self-loathing. I know, right? Hi-fives all round! Because rejecting the Western notion of beauty is HARD ya’ll and it doesn’t help when you dudes buy into that shit. This one guy, we’ll call him Shane since that’s his name, took me to a bar where he proceeded to then check out every girl that walked past. Now, this was just after my break-up when my self-esteem was at a level you couldn’t limbo under so instead of leaving the pig there, I asked him what his favourite part of the woman’s body was SINCE THAT’S WHAT HE WAS STARING AT. Big ass/small tits, big ass/small tits, big ass/small tits, I intoned silently. “Legs,” he replied. At that point I was hoping he just meant like if a girl has two of them but then he said: “Long, tanned smooth legs” as my short, pasty unshaven legs swung from the barstool chair. Then there was Adrian, also his real name. (I’m just shaming them and naming them, tonight!) We went for drinks. Again, he made no attempt to hide his wandering eye. (How do I find these guys!?) “What kind of girls do you go for?” I asked as he ogled the brunette in front of us. Coloured dykey chicks, Coloured dykey chicks, Coloured dykey chicks I prayed he’d say. “European girls with long hair and big breasts,” was his answer. I had to laugh. Proust said classically beautiful women should be left to men without imagination. I couldn’t agree more. It’s taken me nearly two decades to finally see the beauty in my own body so you better BELIEVE I’m going to be hanging up the clothes naked. Fingers crossed my new neighbours are European.

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I’m sitting on the couch in my undies with a blanket draped around me. I’m about to make myself some baked beans on toast (the extent of my cooking abilities) and re-watch the last episode of Girls. Tonight Claire and I are going to a screening of Planeat at the Transitions Film Festival. I’m super excited because there’s going to be free vegan ice-cream and also the founder of one of my fav eateries Lentil As Anything is going to be there giving a talk beforehand. Then tomorrow night my friend Adam and I are attending the program launch for the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. No idea what this entails but I’m looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the rest of my week is not as exciting. I should probably make time to go to the sex clinic. I still haven’t been. Normally, I love going there because it’s the only time I feel like a responsible adult. But this time I’m worried that I’m going to get the same nurse from last time and she’s going to recognise me and be like “I see you’ve had unprotected sex again. I guess one pregnancy scare wasn’t enough for you, hey? Just for the record, are you an educated woman of twenty-four or a total fucking moron?” Obviously she’d be saying this with her eyes because I don’t think they can say this stuff out loud. Although, I wouldn’t put it past her to cross the line. Last time I was there she started asking me probing questions about my family—What’s your mum’s name? Where’s your dad from?—once she’d established that we were of the same obscure nationality. Anyway, I don’t want her thinking I’m just some wanton slut. Because I’m also really funny. HAHAHAHA! I’m here all week, folks! I just got a text from Quentin: “I’m all good in case you were wondering.” Uh, what is he talking about? Is he upset that I haven’t asked him how he’s been? That is so passive aggressive. No, wait. He’s referring to him getting tested last week. Whatever, pal. I stopped ‘wondering’ when you rejected my invite to hang out and then never contacted me again. Oh I know. I shouldn’t have suggested the sex clinic who does that I’m crazy bla bla bla yawn BUT he could’ve been like “No to the sex clinic, but how about we (insert socially accepted alternate idea) instead?” And he didn’t. So message deleted.

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Yesterday my brother and I went to an Etta James tribute concert. After the show, which was FUCKING AMAZING (I love you Vika Bull!), we decided to grab a burrito. We got to the restaurant and guess who was manning the registers? Yes, the title of this entry! Now I don’t know whether it was being jazzed from the concert or the fact that I was wearing The Dress (or as everyone else calls it ‘the dyke dress’) but I was feeling strong and confident and unusually empowered, how I imagine Beyonce feels every day. Without a second thought, I strolled up to the counter and with a huge grin, looked him square in the eyes and said: “Hey, could I please get the mini veggie burrito with no cheese, brown rice and the whole wheat tortilla?”
“Yes, any drinks with that?”
“Yeah, could I please grab an orange juice?”
“Certainly. And was that eat-in or take-away?”
I looked at him closely. Did he want me to eat-in or did he want me to take-away? I couldn’t tell.
“Take-away, please.”
Normally this is where our exchange ends but just as I turned to leave the counter he said: “You guys seeing a movie tonight?”
My heart soared. “No, we just came back from a tribute show. Do you know the artist Etta James?”
He shook his head. “No, I don’t.”
My heart fell. Nope, not my soulmate.
“Was that at Spiegeltent?” he asked.
“No, that’s random. And I love Spiegeltent!”
“Yeah, it’s good,” he smiled. “I saw—do you know Edith Piaf?”
“Uh, yes.” He likes Edith Piaf? Maybe there is hope for him!
“Yeah, I saw her tribute show there. It was really good.”
At that moment I realised there were people behind me waiting to order and this kinda threw me off. Instantly, like a homeschooled Cinderella at midnight, I reverted into the socially-awkward dork that I am and walked off. No, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realise it was busy. I better let you go”. I just walked off. Anyway he gave my brother free corn chips and made a comment about loving my dad (we’re all regulars here). What do you think? Should I read into this? Is he trying to get in with my family so he can get into my heart? I guess only time will tell…

weeknd

Every now and then, when the occasion calls for it, I like to throw myself a little pity party. Establishing the theme is very important because it determines the type of music I’ll play. For instance if I want to cry over my ex, I’ll play Damien Rice or James Blake or any of the mixtapes he made me. If I want to cry over my lost youth ages 2 to 7, then I’ll play Randy Crawford or Colour Me Badd and if its ages 8 and over, then its a compilation of trashy 90’s pop songs. In the case of Friday night, after having just been rejected by Quentin, the theme was Nobody Loves Me (a personal fav) which meant only one artist. The Weeknd. This immediately gets me in the appropriate depressed mood because it reminds me of Curtis, my gay fuck buddy from last year. He would play The Weeknd every time we had sex. It was our thing. “We” ended partly because I fell for him, partly because I went to Europe and partly because he gave me Chlamydia. A few weeks ago I bumped into Curtis at a club. It was the first time I’d seen him in close to six months. I was so excited. He really was such a nice guy. “I’ll come find you later,” he told me, his hand resting on the small of my back. “You owe me a dance.” Of course he never did come find me. Which, as signs from the universe go, was pretty confusing. I mean why have me bump into him after so long if it’s not so that we should pick up where we left off? Anyway, at this point in the night my brain will usually do a mental scan of all the guys that could’ve been. Leo, Miguel, Graham, Dean, Black Koffee, Columbian backpacker, that hot guy who looked at me that one time. Really though this is merely an attempt to delay thinking about Smoke-a-Blunt Sam. I hate Smoke-a-Blunt Sam. I hate him because fuck, I really liked him. And that’s all I’m going to say about that piece of shit, no good OH MY GOD HE JUST SENT ME A MESSAGE ON SKYPE OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD MY HEART IS RACING I HAVE NOT SPOKEN TO SMOKE-A-BLUNT SAM IN 3 MONTHS OH MY GOD I FEEL LIKE I’M GOING TO THROW UP SERIOUSLY WHAT ARE THE CHANCES WHAT ARE THE FUCKING CHANCES THIS IS SO OBVIOUSLY A SIGN FROM THE UNIVERSE I’M TOO SCARED TO SEE WHAT HE WROTE Okay, he wrote “Hey, what’s up” with a cheeky face next to it. My heart is still racing. I may be having a heart attack. I THOUGHT THIS GUY WAS FUCKING DEAD! What should I do? I mean this dude took a huge ass dump on my heart. Several times. And I allowed it because I was addicted to him and all his drama. Seriously, you think I’m crazy? This dude has more issues than Vogue which I guess was partly why I liked him. We were two souls (albeit fucked up) who should never have been together. Like Romeo and Juliet. It took me sooo long to grow the backbone and self-respect to end it. So long.

Me: Hey :) How’s it going?

I sent that three hours ago and he hasn’t replied. You’re probably thinking ‘Shit, bitch! It’s only been a few hours. Maybe he’s doing something.’ Except this is Smoke-a-Blunt Sam who a) doesn’t do anything except get high in his mother’s garage and b) does stupid shit like take two hours to reply to my text if I took an hour to reply to his, or deliberately ignore my call if I’d accidentally missed his. I’m so stupid. He just wanted to know that if he hits me up, I’ll respond. I feel like such an idiot and I’m pissed off because this is not where this entry was supposed to go. Oh and did I tell you that Quentin never texted me? Yeah, so we’re done. I owe my brother $5. He said it wouldn’t last more than 3 weeks. I just…I’d like to live in a world where guys text girls back straight away and there’s no bullshit and people are honest with each other and there are no games and no EFTPOS minimum and people don’t talk during movies and avocado isn’t so expensive and periods don’t exist and chewies actually make your breath fresh and every poo is a clean poo and video stores still exist and friends don’t grow apart and animals are free and all bodies of text is justified and you know, world peace. Is this not a good place to live? Alternatively, I’d like to live in an Old El Paso ad, where it’s all tacos and burritos and impromptu fiestas and cute, prophet-like Mexican kids delivering solutions to food-related problems. If I didn’t believe in science, this is what my afterlife would look like.

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