First Date

what to wear on a first date.

It’s 6.34pm and I have now been subconsciously deliberating for multiple hours.

I’m not normally like this. Really, I’m not. I swear.

This really shouldn’t be so hard.

Normally there is barely a decision process. Now that effortless intuition feels like a foreign entity.

What’s different tonight? (more…)

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the worst type of first date.

Why coffee dates are terrible plus an inadvertent ode to brunch (and wine).

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It could be love… (Photo taken at Kava Cafe.)

Q: “Hey. Well, if Wednesday night doesn’t suit you we could just go for coffee?”
A: “Hmm. Let me take a moment to think about this… Umm. No. HELL NO!!!!”

I’m sorry to say it, but the thought of going for coffee on a first date makes me feel mildly nauseated. I would go so far as to say that it would be my least favourite first date activity imaginable. Coffee date first dates are The. Worst.

Am I over-reacting? Definitely. But let me explain why, my caffeine loving friend.

Now, those of you who know me In Real Life will probably already be looking a bit confused. Perhaps those of you who don’t know me In Real Life should be looking confused too. See, there are some things you should know about me:

  1. I love coffee (I think it’s in my veins.)
  2. I love cafés.
  3. I love going to new, interesting cafés.
  4. I love spending lots of time in said cafés.
  5. I can’t whistle for sh!t.

So, you’d forgive any gent for thinking, “Great! Let’s go get coffee!”
But to which I’ll be thinking, “No! Please, no!”
(Cue: that confused face I was talking about.)

Here’s the issue with going for coffee on a first date:

1. The intensity!
Not of the coffee, per se, but that there is nothing to hide any awkward, nervous silence with. Picture this: you and I go out for coffee. We meet at a café at 11am. A waiter takes our order at 11.05am and we have our coffees by 11.15am. So far, so good. However! I like to drink my coffee whilst it’s hot – tepid just won’t cut it. Thus, by 11.18am my coffee’s gone and if our coffee date lasts for an average of 1.5 hours then I have… 72 minutes by myself! 72 minutes!! I may be lucky and have a glass of water to occupy me, but there is really nothing to use as a prop or filler for those inevitable first date awkward moments. Look, basically I’m nervous and I want something to (literally) hold on to that isn’t an empty latte glass.

It’s different if it’s not the first date because you already know the other person a bit and there are generally fewer nerves involved seeing as you’ve already been able to ascertain that they are not a serial killer and that they do, indeed, like cheese. All of the essentials. 

2. The blatant lack of alcohol.
I enjoy alcohol (especially if it’s in the form of a whisky sour or glass of cab sav) and coffee dates don’t typically involve alcohol. Here’s why that’s a problem: I can guarantee that our date will be more enjoyable if there is alcohol involved because alcohol makes me happy and calms my first date nerves. (Ok, at least I’ll find it more enjoyable!) And yes, I know that I am sounding like a self-centred alcoholic in the making, but just trust me: on a first date with a girl named Alex beverages of the alcoholic variety are a very wise idea.

3. The lack of originality.
I apologise if I sound like I’m high maintenance, but, seeing as it’s our first date, aren’t we trying to impress each other a little? Well, if so then, quite frankly, a latte isn’t probably the best way to going about doing so. Unless we went on some amazing little cafe scavenger hunt – that would be fun! Except…

4 …I’m only going to drink one coffee.
Therefore, the dilemma is not going to be solved by just ordering another coffee every ten minutes. Whereas, if we were getting (alcoholic) beverages then I wouldn’t have any qualms about ordering another glass of wine… (See: Point 2 and Alex’s Appreciation of Alcohol, 2014).

Thankfully, there is a very simple solution to this conundrum: Food. And not just any food:

Brunch. Brunch is the answer, bunnies.

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I’m pretty sure that no date has ever suffered from the addition of French toast… Just saying.
(Photo taken at the Belaroma Coffee Centre.)

Why? Well, not only do have some time fillers with menu deliberation and chewing, but you also get to devour something which is hopefully delicious. Because frankly, if the date isn’t that great at least you can come away with a happy stomach. Priorities, people. Which is why I would like to suggest that brunch is the answer to our collective quandary. Poached eggs with smoked salmon and avocado on toast to fill those conversation gaps? Hey – why not turn that into conversation itself! You could, for example, discuss whether you’re a classicist (bacon and eggs) or an avant-garde (quinoa porridge) bruncher.

Now, those of you who are rational and measured may be thinking, ”But brunch costs more than just coffee. What if I’m not rolling in it? What if I don’t want to potentially pay for my date too?” Good questions, buddy. This is one of the reasons why brunch is good! Yes, it will cost more than a $3.5* flat white, but brunch is generally quite a bit cheaper than going out for lunch or dinner, with plenty of options between $7.5-15. I’d suggest viewing it, regardless of the date, as an investment in your own happiness.

And when it comes to who pays? Personally, I’m more than happy to pay for myself and I’ll always offer to do so. If any of you darlings encounter someone who assumes that you’re going to pay for them then perhaps you should send them my way and I’ll be happy to inform them that he or she is being a bit of a twat.

And, on that note, I am going to go and indulge my love of wild mushroom bruschetta.

Happy brunching.

Alex x

* All prices in AUD, lovers.

An editorial aside: Please note that this is most definitely a sponsored post because I am a Really Big Deal who is being showered in endorsement opportunities. Duh.

it’s a date.

Is it really?

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Image courtesy of We Heart It.

“One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what?
With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.” 

― Baudelaire. 

I’m trying to decipher this and, well, I’m just not sure. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to help me?

If so, let me recreate the scene for you…

****

We’re friends. Just friends. Vague friends with some mutual friends.

And we decide to go out one night because I owe him a drink. Inconsequential, n’est-ce pas?

My tutorial finishes in the early evening and I bring some extra makeup with me in a vain attempt to freshen up the foundation that’s starting to slip down my cheeks. I have no idea why I ever bought a pinky-burgundy-brown eye-shadow palette. Pink on your eyes, Alex? Good lord.

untitledIs it a coincidence that it’s called “Blushed Wines”?

I get the off the bus and walk the last 200 metres. This is the time for multi-tasking as I reach to unravel my bun whilst crossing the road. I glance a figure I recognise out of the corner of my eye, but I am trying to play it cool so I pretend to not notice. But he notices me and we greet each other in the middle of the road, whilst still striding towards our meeting point.

We cross the road and descend into a bar that is rimmed with impersonal opulence with a dash of Pre-Raphaelite charm on the side. Cocktails. We order cocktails under the dim lighting and we discuss the world. The minute mingle smoothly and I find myself laughing and enjoying this more than I anticipated.

One drink turns into two. Two drinks turns into three. Three drinks turns into dinner.

Our brisk heels tap their way down George Street. Darling George has seen a fair bit of my antics life over the years. We turn down a lifeless alleyway, cos that’s where all the cool bars can be found.

Now we’re drinking wine. We share a bottle at our table for two, because it’s economical and because tomorrow can wait.

I’m too busy enjoying my dinner and the company to notice that we may look like a couple. Anyway, we’re just friends.

****

The following week something is niggling in the back of my mind, but I Can’t. Put. My. Finger. On. It.

So, I keep on mulling.

Mulling. Mull. Mulled wine. Wine. Wine!

A + B = C, right?

Therefore, someone who is a lovely person + great company + intelligent + amusing + rather good looking = unexpected attraction.

Wait. What?!? Are you serious?!

****

Let’s do a quick recap: two friends go out for a drink… which turns into multiple drinks and dinner. They have a good time. And then one of them wonders whether they are attracted to the other. But they’re friends.

Now, as I said, I needed your help. See, I have a conundrum:

Was that a date?

Alex x 

the most random date of my life: a DIY guide.

A blind date of sorts…

blind-date
Perhaps it would’ve gone better if I had worn that paper bag, after all…

Once upon a time, about a year ago, I went on the most random date of my life thus far.

Please note that “most random” does not denote “worst”. Oh, no, munchkins – that one is in a whole league of its own.

Well, it all started with a regular night. I was catching the bus home and as I may or may not have had a beverage or three I had a little snooze on the bus. Yes, I know.  Not a good thing to do. Yes, I know. And then I suddenly realised that it was my stop, so I bounded off the bus. Then I was rummaging in my bag after getting into a taxi when I realised that I. Could. Not. Find. My. Phone.

OHHHHHHMYYYYGODDDDDDD. GAHHHHHH!!! WHERE IS IT?! HOW AM I GOING TO LIVE?!?!?!

Yeah, I played it cool.

However, I did have a fairly good brainwave when I got home: I’ll call my phone! And so I did just that. A twenty-something male answered to a bombardment of “Hi! Do you have my phone?!”

In between my audible exhalations of relief, this kind gent told me his number and address and said that I could pick it up from his place the next day. Thus, he found himself subsequently bombarded by “OMG! Thank you! Thank you! You’re the BEST!!” multiple times. Enthusiasm in the early hours of the morning is the best type of enthusiasm, right? 

Because I am a devious rascal I went off to bed thinking that I could potentially wrangle a date of sorts out of the situation. My plan: asking if I could buy him a drink as a way of thanking him when I went and collected the phone. Genius!

However, as it so happened, he was heading out of town the next afternoon. So, in the morning he found my Dad’s number in my phone, called him and coordinated for my Dad to collect the phone – which he kindly did – because I was still recovering asleep.

My plans were thwarted. Gahhhh. However, I did casually ask my Dad about what the guy had been like and he got a good review… So, seeing as I still had his number written upon our whiteboard I dropped him a line, again thanking him for his help in getting my phone back to me. My precious. We texted back and forth for a bit before I asked him if I could buy him a drink as a way of saying thank you. He happily agreed and he rocked up at mine that Friday night.

SO. Let’s do a quick recap of what’s happened thus far: a guy on a bus at 2am picked up my phone after I left it on my seat. He returned it to me via my Dad. Oh, and also, I’ve never seen this guy in my whole entire life and I know absolutely nothing about him (apart from the fact that he isn’t the phone-stealing type). No biggie. Yeah, I wasn’t stressing at all.

I walk up to the top of my driveway on Friday night and there’s a guy leaning against his car. I’m not really into cars, but it was more of the “I like cars. I am a man. Be impressed by my wheels” variety than the “this is the oldest, cheapest thing I could find” or the “yeah, it’s my parents'” type. Whatevs. I don’t really care about which car people drive.

We say hi, give each other a kiss on the cheek and get into his car. Yep. That’s right. I’m now in a stranger’s car. Isn’t this exactly what I was taught NOT to do?! God, Alex. Anyway. We drive down to a local beach surrounded by bars and restaurants where we have dinner from some pop-up night food markets. All is going pretty well.

ImageLet’s not lie: I was totally wishing for a Matthew Le Nevez doppleganger. Dreams = unfulfilled. (Photo: Tina Smigielski)

We chat and he is a nice guy and a pretty interesting and intelligent person… but within half an hour I think we both know that we’re not attracted to each other (which is ideal on a date, isn’t it?) After eating we decide to go for a walk cos that’s the kind of thing that people do on dates, right? Within the first 100 metres we bump into two of his friends… which was mildly awkward considering the fact that I’m pretty sure that between us four we were thinking:
“Is this actually a date?”
“Who must they think that I am?”
“He didn’t tell me about her…
“This is not what it looks like.”
“Who is she?”
“When is this going to end?” 

Needless to say that I was pretty relieved when we got back to this walk of ours.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I go for a walk on a date, it normally means that it’s a ‘Walk’ aka a romantic stroll with the opportunity purpose of canoodling.* Right? However, this walk was not of the ‘Walk’ variety due to a) the aforementioned lack of attraction and b) that he was power walking and thus, I was power walking too… which was probably due to a).

For those of you who know me in real life you may know that I have a tendency to walk fast as my default – this comes from a youth spent running late and trying to make up for this fact by walking faster. Thankfully, my punctuality has improved, but the fast walking has stuck. Except this guy’s fast walking was taking things to a whole new level.

But this wasn’t any old random fast walk. Oh, no. It was a random fast walk in Brand. New. Heels. If you’re not someone who wears heels this equates to the regular breaking in new shoe pain multiplied by a lot.

http---static.theiconic.com.au-p-windsor-smith-1142-67748-1The shoes in question.

And this wasn’t any old random fast walk in brand new heels. It was a FOUR KILOMETRE fast walk in brand new heels. I kid you not. It really was. (I measured it on Google Maps and everything). Perhaps he was trying to kill time… So, after four kilometres I thought it would be a great time for a drink. Yes, pleaseeeeee!

But then it got even better, because I found out that he didn’t drink. Yes, that’s right: He. Doesn’t. Drink.

Look, I have nothing against people who don’t drink, but it just really isn’t conducive to dating me because a) I enjoy a drink, b) I will be hoping that you enjoy a drink too and c) it makes dating me a heck of a lot easier – just trust me on this.

This was not the revelation I needed, but I still wanted to be able to thank him for his kindness in returning my phone to me, so we ended up at Max Brenner per his request where he ate a chocolate fondant and we bumped into more of his friends (aka Well, This is Slightly Awkward: Round Two).

Afterwards he dropped me home where we sat at the top of my driveway listening to music in the car. It seemed appropriate to just sit in the car for a bit as a way of making up for our mutual lack of attraction or something. It was like we were going through the motions of “this is what we know we’re meant to do on a date”. But instead of locking lips we blared Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ song, “Ceiling Can’t Hold Us”.

As it turned out my date knew every single word, which was quite impressive seeing as it was quite new at the time.

I got out of the car after a while, thanking him and saying goodnight, subconsciously taking the song with me in my head. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would end up loving it… to the extent that to this day I can still sing the entire song start to finish, word for word.

So, I guess there are some small, bizarre perks of going on a date with a complete stranger whom you didn’t really meet on a bus after all – especially if you’re like me and you have a soft spot for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Alex x

* I can’t believe I just used that word.

the bachelorette: alex’s adventures in tinder-land (the epilogue)

“A simple hello could lead to a million things.”
– A quote I found on Pinterest.

Well, hey there. Believe it or not, it’s nearly time to wrap up this Tinder-land Saga fandango. Sorry to be a party pooper, but don’t worry – I’ll still tell you what happened.

So. Hot Muso and I went on a date. Woot! But before I get caught up in that we have the pre-date to discuss:

The Pre-Date: 

As you may or may not know by now, I have a slight tendency to completely freak out in the hour before going on a date. Up until then I’m chilled as, but as soon as there are less than 61 minutes before I see the gent I am going on a date with things get a tad untidy… Clothes get thrown around my room, I frantically scribble eyeliner across my face, a barrage of profanities are used, I invariably end up sprinting to the bus, I sweat like a neanderthal, oh, and I squeal hysterically on the phone to a friend. Yep, you get the idea: it’s not particularly pretty. Frankly, it’s always a bit of a miracle when I arrive at a date in one piece and then act like a relatively normal human being for the following few hours.

Except things were a bit different this time round because my hysteria kicked in not one, but two hours before the date.. and it wasn’t my regular kind of freak out. Oh, no. That’d be too easy. Instead, I became so irrationally nervous that I started having chest pains and mild heart palpitations. That’s right, kids! I was giving myself a baby heart attack! Why do you sound proud of that, you dingus? 

As I decided that arriving at the date alive was preferable I quickly adopted a mantra, “I am calm and collected and I have nothing to worry about”, which I repeated like a religious zealot until I was able to successfully trick myself into believing it was true. You already know that he’s a lovely guy, so you don’t have anything to worry about! Really? Ohh.. Yeah. You know what? I don’t actually have anything to worry about! I can’t believe I have to put up with this chick every single day. 

Once I’d calmed down I only had one more dilemma to solve before arriving at the date: determining how much cleavage was too much cleavage for a first date. Hmm. A dilemma, indeed. I consulted my friend on the issue, but discreetly taking photos of your cleavage whilst on a packed bus is actually less easy than it sounds. In the end I went with my gut (less is more) and my friend agreed. Phew. And by the way, please don’t go scrolling through my camera roll anytime soon.

The Date:

Now onto the actual date: Believe it or not, I actually made it there. In fact, I arrived there on time. Bravo, Alex!

It was a good date. God, Alex. Use some better adjectives. Ok. Sorry. The date was lovely. It felt comfortable and easy and it was filled with (more) great music. He is a muso, after all. We went to a bar in Darlinghurst that has live blues a couple of nights a week, which was great. It was a fun (and strategic) first date idea as the music was always there to fill any awkward gaps in the conversation (not that we had any). Good one, Hot Muso! 

On that note (oh, that was punny, Alex), some of you may remember that a few months ago I realised that I’m pretty crap at conversation on first dates.. mainly because I usually do anything within my power to not talk about myself. Handy, indeed. (You can read more about that debacle here). Anyway! So, I actually talked about myself rather than bombarding Hot Muso with questions! I’m sure I could have done better, but I was still SO damn proud of myself. Yes, that’s right: I was giving myself a mental high-five whilst on the date. Small achievements, amigos. Small achievements.

Rolls eyes, sighs audibly, continues typing.

My only complaint about the date was that I was hungry. I like eating, ok? And I don’t feel that I need to justify that to anyone. Originally the plan was for a (late) dinner and drinks, so I hadn’t eaten that much in preparation for dinner. Logical. It always annoys me when I rock up to a restaurant or cafe and my companion has already eaten, even though we have specifically organised to eat together. So, I didn’t want to be rude by having already eaten. But then we ended up meeting a bit later than planned and we just drank. So I ate sauvignon blanc for entree and main and had an amaretto on the rocks for dessert. It’s not that I don’t enjoy drinking (duh), but I was RAVENOUS by the time I got home.

To those who think that I could’ve easily fixed the situation by saying, “Hey, I think I’m going to get something to eat”, it’s not that simple – especially if you’re the chick.  It would have been awkward because:
a) it then reminds the gent (who organised the date) that he has been a mild dingus in giving your stomach mixed messages. Dinner. No dinner. I don’t mind – just tell me and then stick with it, dammit.
b) you may then end up with one person eating and the other not eating and just watching. My-mouth’s-full-I-can’t-speak-at-the-moment. Tumbleweed.
c) then the awkward ‘who-pays-thing’ gets exacerbated. I’m just as happy to pay for myself as I am for a gent to pay for me, but I wouldn’t want him to think that I expected him to pay for my dinner, especially if he hasn’t eaten, himself.

i.e. COMPLICATED. Thankfully, Jen gets what I’m talking about.

Lord, I love that girl. Anyway. The food thing really wasn’t a big deal. Sorry for getting worked up about it. I fixed it all by hitting the fridge big time when I got home.

Oh, yeah. So I went home. Read between those lines, kids. As the evening was winding up Hot Muso asked me what my plans were. Being the poor 20-something that I am I explained that as there was a smörgåsbord of bus stops nearby I’d catch a bus to Martin Place, then walk to Wynyard and then catch a bus home from there as per usual.

But Hot Muso wasn’t too keen on that idea.

Hot Muso: “It’s ok. What we’ll do is we’ll grab a taxi. I’ll drop you off at Wynyard and then I’ll take the taxi back to Surry Hills.” (which, as we were standing in Surry Hills, was a big unnecessary loop for him)
Alex: *Tries to politely protest, but instead falls over from swooning* Yeah, I need to stop doing that.

So we jumped into a taxi and made the journey to Wynyard. I got out – insert something about lips – and then proceeded to my bus.. whilst hysterially texting my BFF. I’m pretty cool like that. She, on the other hand, is an absolute saint. Sœur de cœur, I am talking about YOU.

The Post-Date:

Hot Muso concluded what was a very enjoyable evening with some more gentlemanly behaviour, messaging me when I got home to verify that I had indeed arrived home safely.

Either I have very low expectations of men or the taxi thing was just further evidence that he is one of the most lovely people I have met in a long while. I don’t think I’ve been on a date with anyone who has made that much of an effort to make sure that I got home safely before. Well, unless you count, “You can just crash at mine!” Men can be so selfless. All of this was made better by the fact that I was wearing heels which I didn’t feel like walking much further in. Yewww! Anyway, I was really very touched by how thoughtful he was. (With this logic I should definitely marry the first guy who pays for my $50 taxi home from the city, shouldn’t I?)

So, what happened next?! Sorry, I got distracted by despicably low criterion in men.

My friends thought that there would probably be a second date and I was definitely hoping there would be one. But life is not a fairytale, my sweet peaches. Hot Muso messaged me the following day and then again the next week. Nothing of significance, just stuff of the “how was your long weekend?” variety. Unfortunately I haven’t heard from him since, which is a shame, seeing as he seemed like such a wonderful guy… (Not that him not asking me on another date means that he isn’t as lovely as I thought he was). Anyway. It’s ok and I’m happy to say that I’m already 98.5% over him (which, for me, is pretty stellar). 


The Verdict:

So, what is my overall verdict in regards to Le Tinder? I’m surprised to say it, but I would actually recommend using Tinder – but only on the proviso that your expectations are low and that you have a clear idea of what you want from it before you embark on your Tinder-land adventure.

Although I am happily single as ever (which probably isn’t that much of a surprise to anyone), venturing into the bizarre contemporary realm that is Tinder was actually a much more enjoyable and fruitful adventure than I thought it would be. In the meantime, I guess it’s back out into the world of Singledom I go.

Perhaps I’ll log back onto Tinder..

Alex x

a little more conversation.

“A little less conversation/ a little more action, please.”
– E. Presley.

Yesterday, whilst lunching with a close friend, it became apparent to me that I have been kidding myself for some time now.

See, I thought that I had the art of conversation down pat. Until yesterday, that is, when this darling friend, very gently and tactfully, showed me that my conversation skills aren’t all that crash hot when I’m getting to know someone new..

For some context: we were discussing a date I recently went on. I commented that I had observed that I kept firing questions at the lovely gent sitting opposite me, to the extent that he said “I’m talking too much about me” and, on reflection, he learnt comparatively little about me over the course of the evening than I did about him. I also remembered that I was doing what I accidentally did in my last job interview:  i.e. making and holding intense eye contact. My friend smiled and said that she remembered that I had absolutely bombarded her with questions when we first met three and a half years ago.. and her tone clearly implied that I had overwhelmed her just a tad.

So, why on earth do I do this?

Well, my friend was kind enough to add that she thinks that this comes from a genuine interest in the other person, but I’m not so convinced. Ok, so I definitely am very interested in finding out about and getting to know the other person. However, I think this habit is also derived from a concerted effort to not talk about myself as I don’t want to come across as self-centred. I’m sure you’ll agree that this blog is sufficiently Alex-centred as it is.

First Date Twilight
Yep. I channel Bella: let the gent talk whilst staring at him like a maniac. Got that down to an art.

I guess the truth is that, strangely enough, I don’t want to talk about myself. That feels very surprising and bizarre to have typed as, up until typing it, I was oblivious to feeling that way. In the context of last week’s date I think I was pretty happy to talk about myself but that this was overridden by my inevitable nervous energy. On the other hand, if I’m getting to know someone purely as a friend I think I worry that they won’t think that I’m very interesting, rather than being nervous. In both types of situations I just prefer to express my interest in the other person by asking them about themselves and avoiding talking about me.

But! As my sibling coincidentally pointed out to me yesterday afternoon, conversation is about balance between the participating parties- something which I feel comes naturally within the context of my established relationships, but which I really neglect when I’m in the process of creating brand new ones. Although my intentions aren’t bad (right??), doing so means that I put up barriers which prevent the other person from getting to know me and, thereby, making it harder for new friendships and relationships to prosper in the first place. Oops.

First Date 02
And this is what I feel like on the inside on a first date. God-willing, my crazy-woman stare doesn’t scare the gent away too much. 

So, am I inadvertently shooting myself in the foot a bit? Or am I kidding myself once again by thinking that I am the only one who does this? (I’m unsure. Your opinions are so very welcome and would, no doubt, be appreciated.)

In the meantime, how on earth should I approach the next conversation of this type? Is it as simple as inverting Elvis’ advice?

Perhaps.

All I can promise you, dear Blogosphere, is that the next time I’m getting to know someone new I will give the other person opportunities to ask me about myself and I will force myself to actually talk a bit about myself if they ask, rather than actively deflect their questions. For the record: I did just twist my mouth into a grimace of sorts whilst typing that.

In light of my aforementioned conversational skills, I don’t think I can really count on seeing that gent again, but hopefully I’ll be a bit better at conversing the next time around..

First Date 03..and then perhaps one day in the distant future I shall actually come across as vaguely normal.. which shall be verified by my consumption of a bright green cocktail.

Alex x