relationships

relationship status update.

facebook-relationship1

So, there’s something which has been on my mind for a few months that I’ve been wanting to share with you all.

In all honesty, I’m not really sure where to start. It began so many years ago and I was entirely unaware of it growing that when it fully blossomed it took me completely by surprise. What began out as mild disgust has since developed into a passionate pledge of sorts.

I never thought I would be this person, but here I am, ready to make it known to the world.

Here goes nothing. Inhale, Alex. Inhale. Exhale.  (more…)

versus head versus heart.

 

Three little words.

Three little words with the maddening power to make my rib cage expand to bursting point.

Three little words that have been ricocheting between my thoughts for days. But now the days have melted into weeks and, to my horror, months.

These words have been haunting me for months; they’ve been with me as I’ve stood waiting for the lights, climbed the escalator and strolled the grocery aisles. They have invaded my existence.

I don’t know.

(more…)

a step into the unknown.

Scene from “Duck Soup” (1933).

Confessional: despite the fact that I blog about my love life, I actually have very little relationship experience.

Yeah, ironic, I know. Or perhaps that’s doesn’t come as a surprise at all… (Hmm. Let’s not dwell on that, ok?) Also, please do not use my blog as relationship advice. That would be a very bad idea.

(more…)

sliding doors.

The fleeting seconds in which je vous ai vu


Image: Sukanit Photography

Descending from the harsh morning air, my cheeks are hit by the warmth brought forward by the masses scuttling around in this tiled maze.

My power walk from home catches up with me as I join the queue, over-heating in this trench coat. Ugh. For the love of peanuts, I just had a shower!

I look ahead in the meander of bodies and I see a familiar figure near the front of the line.

It’s you.

(more…)

double dip.

A post that has nothing to do with hummus (and a lot to do with men).

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Would you give him another shot? (Yes, obviously.) #dishy

What’s your stance on double dipping? Do you see it as the ultimate social faux-pas that is on par picking one’s nose or do you really not give a damn?

Well, for those of you who are interested, I just Googled “does double dipping really spread germs” and the Mythbusters came up with the answer. And their answer is basically “no”. And if the Mythbusters say it’s true, then it’s gospel.

Alex! You said this wasn’t going to have anything to do with hummus! You said this post was going to be about men!

Well remembered, you clever little cracker. Apologies for getting sidetracked.

It had been a considerable amount of time since I had contemplated the conundrum that is double dipping in great depth, but I found myself doing just that at the start of this year.

It all began with liking a photo on Facebook. The start of every great modern love story. 

It wasn’t just any photo – it was a photo posted by a business. And perhaps I happen to know one of the business’ co-founders. And perhaps I briefly dated this co-founder guy and perhaps we agreed that we liked each other and perhaps we didn’t continue seeing each other because the timing was crap. Perhaps.

And so one day I happened to like this photo of his – simply because it was a great photo (and, for once in my life, not as a ploy an excuse to re-initiate communication with him). However, he took it as an invitation to re-kindle things between us.

Well, that sounded arrogant. How on earth did you know that, Alex?  Well, after months and months of not talking to each other there was suddenly quite a bit of communication between us. All initiated by him. All with the suggestion of seeing each other. Oh, and he started liking my status updates on a regular basis.

I was unsure how to respond. It was like having to choose between salted caramel and chocolate fudge ice cream. i.e a tough choice. See, on the one hand, there was some potential that something could develop between us given our previously-established mutual attraction. I already knew that he was a really lovely, talented, interesting guy. Why the hell wouldn’t I go there?

Well, the other half of my brain quite eloquently reminded me that it hadn’t worked out between us the first time round. Yes, the timing wasn’t great – but you can always find an excuse. The reality was that there was a reason why things between us hadn’t progressed (including, but not limited to, some sub-optimal communication skillz), so why would it be realistic to think that things would be any different the second time round?

This was how I came to ponder a non-consumable version of double dipping. That being, is it ever a good idea to give a guy whom you’ve already been romantically involved with another shot? Is it ever ok to “double dip” when it comes to men?

This was what traversed my brain for a solid day (or three).

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I spent this time talking to myself. A lot. Certainly my most endearing quality. For those of you who are new to the gang you can click here or here or here or there to find out what I’m talking about. Basically, I over-think everything and this occasion was no exception.

Spoiler alert: After a fair bit of internal debating I consciously decided to not pursue anything with this guy – which, I have to say, I was so very proud of myself for doing.

Why? Because I realised that, despite the fact that he was and is rather wonderful, I wasn’t actually attracted to him in the way that I had previously been. So, I responded to his messages, but I didn’t actively fuel the conversation. I saw him once briefly in a social setting, but I didn’t take him up on his offer to retrace our romantic steps. Basically, I totally wanted to give myself a handful of brownie points.

The deep irony is that since making this decision, this guy has started seeing someone else (which I found out about courtesy of social media – but of course!) Upon making this discovery, my first instinct was to Facebook stalk the hell out of this new girl… ok, and Insta and LinkedIn stalk her too. Who is SHE? Wow – she is SO pretty. They’re on a weekend away? Man, it must be pretty serious.

I felt torn between being really happy for him (ohmygosh she looks like a gorgeous human who is supremely well-suited to you. Therefore, you should definitely marry her!)* and feeling an odd pang in my chest which manifested itself in the form of a slightly furrowed brow.

Huh? You were the one who said no to him, you idiot! Yes, I know. I know, ok?! But that didn’t stop me from feeling just slightly jealous. Firstly, she is, objectively, a babe. But more so, she is seeing a guy who is pretty great… whom I liked at a stage… and who liked me. Which, in a weird way, makes her my replacement of sorts. Not really, but kinda. Good god – get over yourself, woman!

Feeling these wisps of sadness and envy was quite bizarre considering I’m actually really happy that this now gives me permission, in my mind, to be friends with him (and like his photos) without worrying that he may read anything into it. I knew in my head that choosing to not date him again was definitely the right decision for me – and I hope it was the best thing for him too – but my heart was still half a step behind…

Perhaps it was just my way of processing the loss, of sorts, for what could’ve been.
Perhaps I should just have both the salted caramel and chocolate fudge ice cream, after all…
Yes, I think that’s a good idea.

On that note, Happy Easter, chickens.

Alex x

* I would love to tell you that this thought didn’t actually cross my mind, but lying has never been one of my strengths. Sigh. I’m a work-in-progress, ok?!

#socialmediafails: part two

Facebook “friends” and friends on Facebook.

ImageI think Ed and I could be friends.

Sometimes the strangest things happen on buses. Whether that be entire wardrobe changes, the disintegration of relationships played out in front of 60 relative strangers or procreation*, Sydney’s public transport certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to… colourful moments.

I had another one of those moments recently – except everyone remained fully clothed and no one shouted at their relatives. Yeah, a little less sexy and scandalous.

I was on my way to uni (truly groundbreaking stuff). As I walked up the back of the bus I spotted a girl whom I’m Facebook friends with sitting just in front of the seat I had my sights on.

Insert the part where we may eye-contact and say hi to each other and briefly catch up.  Insert the part where we don’t make eye-contact and don’t say hi to each other – even though we are now sitting 40cm away from each other.

Sorry. Let’s pause and recap. My “friend” is sitting in the seat in front of me and I am not going to say hi to her. Huh?

Just quietly, WHY THE HELL ARE WE EVEN FACEBOOK FRIENDS?!

Calm down, Alex. 

See, you could be deceived into thinking that we are actually friends. I mean, I know what she is studying, whom our mutual friends are, whom her family members are, whom her boyfriend is, what her boyfriend’s job is, her favourite authors and her pet’s name – all courtesy of our Facebook “friendship”. Well, except for the fact that we’re “friends” who have barely ever had a conversation with each other. But conversation is so passé, darling.

I’m still unsure whether I didn’t say hi because of the social conformity and norms which dictate that we don’t speak to people in certain settings or because the word “friend” has been diluted and no longer carries the value it once had. Either way, I have no idea how this girl and I even became to be Facebook friends in the first place.

****
Since then I ended up hanging out with another vague “friend” of sorts. Yep, another one. She’s a lovely person, but we’ve spent very little time together over the ten years that we’ve known each other. Anyway, we’ve kept abreast of what’s happening in each others’ lives by reading one another’s blogs, Insta-stalking travel photos and having the odd two minute catch up whenever we bump into each other, which counts for something. Right?

Ahhh. Hmm. Perhaps not, Alex.

See, spending some time with her the other week allowed us to go past the superficial “how-are-you-what-are-you-up-to-at-the-moment-oh-that’s-nice-bye!” And it was a pleasure to have done so, because I learnt so much more about her and her life that I could have ever done by Facebook-stalking her. We talked about the future, family dynamics, AFL-honed muscles and unexpectedly enchanting cities.I think social media only allows us glimpses into each others lives, and we orchestrate the glimpses we let others see – myself very much included.

I was reminded of this when I was catching up with a friend over coffee. (An actual friend this time.) Look, it was nice, but I was acutely aware of the fact that the main way in which we’ve kept abreast of each others’ lives recently has been by liking one another’s Instagram photos, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates. We’ve been friends for years, but honestly, I think that our social media friendship has been a contributing factor to the deterioration of our (actual) relationship. We ask each other about things which we’ve seen the other post about – no longer bothering to feign surprise after waiting for them to bring it up themselves.

It makes catching up somewhat redundant, doesn’t it?

So, with that in mind, I’m trying my best to not write various status updates about my life at the moment. Yes, I think that the Likes would be well into the double digits and gosh, I’d feel sooo totes loved and #blessed. But who am I kidding? My Facebook friends are all nice people, but I’m only close friends with a solid 4% of them and I want to share my news with this 4% in person because they are the people who really matter to me. They’ll be genuinely happy for me because they’ll understand the significance of the things I’m sharing with them.

I guess that’s why I didn’t say hi to that girl on the bus. She’s just a “friend” and not a friend. And those speech marks, small as they are, seem to make a difference.

Alex x

 

* I wish I could say that I hadn’t witnessed that last one in particular, but I kid you not – I did. #stillmildlytraumatised

lessons in lingering.

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The moments are melting away and I am trying to catch them between my fingers. But they slip into oblivion because my hands are like two colanders – great for draining pasta, not so great for trying to stop the passing of time.

And it’s passing, and my attempts to hold these seconds and minutes are futile.

So, I turn back to you and inhale, knowing that all I can do is relish this while it is still here.

And we are still here, and the surreal sparkle between us is still here, too; the only welcomed third wheel I’ve ever known.

My hand is upon your chest, simultaneously growing accustomed to the rhythmic rise and fall, whilst reminding myself that this will not last. Why is there so little middle ground?

It’s somewhat like a fine wine: as soon as it is opened it begins to deteriorate. You cannot save it – all you can do is drink and enjoy it before oxidisation reduces it to a stale red liquid.

But what is better? To leave the wine there on the shelf – forever looking forward to it, forever longing to taste it – but never opening it? Or uncorking the wine and, for one short night, enjoying its taste, body and warmth – a truly remarkable vintage – but never tasting it again?

Tasting is the better option, I guess. But then there is the undeniable pain of knowing that you’ll never taste the same vintage again, for that year only yielded one bottle of wine.

I lift the glass to my lips and savour the intoxicating flavour on my tongue – willing it to linger a little longer.

Breathe, Alex. Breathe and enjoy it.

The minutes are passing.

Cymbals clash and roar, tearing through the silence beside us, but we remain unmoved.

 ****

“Off limits”.

Of course I understand it in theory when distance allows me to be rational. But theory and practice are two very different things…

They are the person whom you are under no circumstances allowed to be romantically involved with.

The teacher with the sardonic smile, the tutor with olive skin and more sass than Beyonce, the boss whom you find inexplicably attractive, your best friend’s ex, your brother’s ex, your best friend’s brother, your sister’s boyfriend’s brother, your best friend’s boyfriend’s ex, your best friend’s mum.

All off limits. There are principles and limits. Society says there is right and wrong and that this? This is simply impermissible.

It’s unfair. It is decidedly unfair. Why can’t this last? Why can’t you stay? Why won’t they let us?

Because there are principles to uphold.

But what if there is something there – something with the potential to become something real and brilliant?

There are principles and there is the collateral. What about all of the people who would get hurt in the process? How about all of the relationships you’d damage? Are they worth it? You know it is selfish to say “yes” when doing so will upset someone else.

But what about my own happiness? What if saying “no” means missing out on something rather wonderful?

Damn principles.

****

Then reality comes hurtling in like a car roaring up to the front door.

And before I know it, this is over.

There are niceties to fill in the final seconds.

And then we turn back to our mundane days.

****

I can remember the contours of your face,  but your scent has become blurred in my mind. I can only recall that I liked it – and that it wasn’t Lynx.

I can’t remember your voice. I didn’t have time to burn it into my memory.

And I’m still unsure whether I would have preferred to have ever uncorked that wine or not.

Either way, we made our choice and now we’ve finished the bottle.

And I’ll never taste it again.

 

Alex x

 

it’s a date.

Is it really?

Image

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 

#socialmediafails: part one

Realising that I’ve let social media warp simple things like saying “please” and “thank you”.

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I’m going to take what I think is a fairly safe bet and guess that you, my darling reader, are pretty good with that whole social media thing. Right? And thus, I’m going to assume that you know a fair bit about social media and its continual impact upon communication and so many other related spheres of our 21st century lives. Blah blah blah. For the love of peanuts, tell me something new!

Well, despite having read plenty of articles on the subject and having spent many hours doing utterly arduous first-hand research in the field, there have still been times when I’ve been surprised by just how much social media had affected my relationships.

An example?

Well, I can think back to a time during the age of social media when I went out of my way to make my friend’s day. Good lord, I busted a gut. I spent quite a bit of cash. Hours were spent planning it. There were tears just getting my arse there. And I’m glad to say that I think I made her pretty happy.

And do you know what I wanted (and expected) in return? A social media shout out. Yes, that’s right: I wanted her to thank me publicly by posting a photo, tweeting or writing an update about what I’d done – which is f-ed up on so many levels that it is giving me mild brain damage. How the hell did I get to the stage where I not only wanted, yet also expected social media glorification in return for what I’ve done? How did it get to the stage where this would be my first response if a friend had done the same for me?

One source of influence which pops to mind are the handful of fashion bloggers I follow on Instagram. Perhaps you follow some too? If so, you’ll notice that when they are gifted another gorgeous skincare collection/bunch of flowers/handbag they make sure to post beautiful images of said gift whilst ensuring to tag the gift-giver, thus directing their followers to the company’s activities, as a way of thanking them.

A particular example of someone who does this on a regular basis is Margaret Zhang: a chick who goes to the same uni and me… and, whom at the ripe old age of 20, also happens to be a prominent fashion blogger (the type that gets to attend New York and London fashion weeks). And yes, I do sometimes feel like a bit of an underachiever when I see what she’s just posted. 

An aside in regards to Miss Zhang: in some ways I find it funny that I enjoy her work so much, seeing as my taste is so very different to hers – but I always enjoy seeing how she pairs really interesting pieces and I guess observing someone else’s style develop from a distance has a beauty of its own… In addition to this, I love the way she writes – it’s always a beautiful combination of irreverence, substance, depth and a sort of lyricism.

Ok. Margaret tangent over. We were talking about social media shout outs.

Here are some photos she has posted over the past couple of weeks:

Image  ImageImage  Image

You’re smart enough to figure out which Insta and description correspond with each other:
A belated Valentine’s Day shout out to her bf. #cupcakes.
A shout out to Tommy Hilfiger for her pre-show flowers and trench coat. #asyoudo
A shout out to her friend who sent her roses.
A shout out to the hotel booking site (and subsequent hotel) used during her stay in London. #LFW

Firstly, how come I don’t get showered with flowers and cupcakes and trench coats?? Hmm?? Answers, people!

Secondly, perhaps seeing posts like these from various sources multiple times a week could help explain my shockingly entitled mindset. See, I’ve allowed this to become my normal…

But the thing is that for Margaret, this is part of her work as a fashion blogger as every time she gives a company or brand a shout out it’s generating them the positive publicity they desire. What’s more, my guess is that some of these brands pay her to post these shout outs as part of their PR strategy and if not, it’s her way of her reimbursing them for their free products.

Except, Alex, you are not a fashion blogger who is being showered in free shoes. Although I obviously wouldn’t complain if that was the case. Duh. No, instead I am me. The thank yous I give and receive are not driving a potential 124,000+ people to my website with a single post.

Fashion blogging aside, most importantly I’ve realised that in this process I lost all perspective. Rather than making my friend’s day, what I was doing for her became an opportunity for me to look good in the eyes of others. If I remember correctly, that’s the opposite of what gift-giving is about – it should be about the other person and not myself and what I can gain from it.

What’s more, now that I’ve thought more about this particular instance, it has become increasingly clear to me that, it was I who should’ve been thanking her, not her thanking me.

So, to my lovely friend, it may be belated, but I hope you had a great day. Thank you for letting me share it with you and, in doing so, for making my day. Thank you for making my soul blossom.

Alex x

the dictionary according to Alex.

My friend eliminated one word from my vocabulary and it changed my love life. Completely.

Raspberry-MochatiniI can’t exactly remember what that cocktail looked like. All I know is that it tasted good.

This post comes typed to you from Downtown Vancouver to the sound of my favourite ear-gasm: London Grammar.

I recently spent quite a bit of time one-on-one with a close friend  (and by ‘quite a bit of time’ I’m referring to the ‘together 24/7′ variety). It was a bit more than we’re used to, but it was great – especially as we didn’t end up at each others’ throats. Always a bonus. 

Anyway. During our time together she laughed and noted that I use quite a lot of bizarre expressions on a regular basis. Of course she already knew this about me, but she commented that she hadn’t realised quite how often I used these Alex-isms.

Yes, it’s true. I use lots of weird phrases. Regularly. ‘All the time’ kind of regularly.

Let’s see. We have:
“Ready spaghetti!”
“Cool beans”
“Cool bananas” (feeling the food vibe yet?)
“Amigo” (or “amiga” depending on the person’s gender)
“For the love of peanuts”
“Honey bee” (for my darling canine, anyone under the age of seven or a close girlfriend)
“Boom!”
“Fandango”
“Shebang”
“Negatory, ghost rider”
“Roger that”
“Non-sober”
“B!#chcake”
“Zing!”
“Dingus”

I’m fairly oblivious as to how often I use these words. Put it this way: apparently I wasn’t paying much attention in primary school and I subsequently left some gaping holes in my vocabulary where some more eloquent phrases should reside. Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

Now, a few months ago I was sipping on a cocktail with my good friend. In fact, he had kindly let me have his cocktail and he took mine cos mine was kinda gross and his tasted like chocolate, but he liked my weird one. Whatever! I was unpacking my most recent quandaries (gentleman-related quandaries, obviously) to him. Suddenly, mid-conversation he turned to look at me and said, “Alex. Can I give you my unsolicited advice?”
“Of course”, I nodded eagerly. I’ll take any good advice I can get my grubby mitts on.
“Firstly, for the love of god, never use the word ‘singledom’ ever again,” he gasped. “You’re not… you’re… your being single is not who you are,” he reasoned. He paused, exhaling with exasperation. “Secondly, that guy?… Meh,” he said as he gave me the biggest, most non-committal, truly ambivalent shrug I’ve ever witnessed.
“Huh?”
“Put it this way: if he’s not being emotionally honest now, how can you ever expect him to be emotionally honest with you in the future?”
(He’s got a good brain upon his shoulders, this one.)

And you know what? He had been far more insightful in those few minutes that I had been in a long, long while. I couldn’t see that I was letting my relationship status govern how I saw everything else in my life and how I saw myself. And hearing that from him did, in fact, change my perspective. For if I was indeed defining myself by my (long-term) lack of a long-term romantic relationship, then who was I without this identifier? ‘Hi! I’m Alex and I specialise in singledom’ had to become, ‘Hi! I’m Alex’. And that had to become enough.

What my friend reminded me in those few words was that I am a whole entity just as I am, rather than a four fifths hoping and waiting to be made whole.

Oh, and what he said about that emotionally dishonest guy? Hit the nail on the head there, too. Yep. Twice within two minutes.

So, since then I have been quite conscious as to the words which tumble out of my mouth. Specifically, I’ve been correcting myself as I get out of my subconscious habit of using the word ‘singledom’. Initially, it was a little hard (and it was surprising when I realised just how often I was using the S word), but now it’s fine.

Anyway. I’ve added a new word to my jargon to fill the void which ‘singledom’ left: “Babetown” – a word reserved for the description of the most physically delectable of the human species and a word which I’m using with fervour.

Mmmm. Babetown. Mmm chocolate cocktails.

Alex x