Wine

the numbers game: when someone asks for your digits.

That Moment when someone asks for your number.

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Old-school is underrated.

“Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my number
So, call me maybe?”
– C. R. Jepson, 21st Century philosopher.

Oh, 2012. That unassuming little year will always bear the scars of one too many parodies of Miss Jepson’s one-hit wonder. Poor little 2012 – it wasn’t its fault.

Do you remember the video clip? The one with the super ripped guy mowing the lawn and then cleaning his car (see: Stereotypical Masculinity) and then, despite Carly flinging herself all over him, giving his number to one of her (male) band members? Yep, that one.

Well, I have something to say about it: I have never, in all of my 23 years, had anyone write their number down on a piece of paper and hand it to me.

And I feel like I’m missing out on so much. (Has anyone ever received a number on a piece of paper? Am I missing out??)

Inhale, Alex.

I guess I’ve always been someone who has given their number (when asked), rather than asking for someone else’s number or just randomly receiving a number from a stranger…

****

There were stripes and red lips and wine and conversation.

He coordinated his movements so that we would walk the wind-whipped 200 metres to the bus stop together.

We turned to part ways and I guess I knew what was about to happen. And it was exciting, because for the very first time in my life someone was going to ask for my number.

“Hey, Alex,” he said looking up at me from his winter coat. “Umm, could I have your number?”

OMYGOD!! YAY!! EEEEEEEEE!! IT’S HAPPENED, PEOPLE!! IT’S HAPPENED!!

The fact that I wasn’t attracted to him was beside the point. Obviously.

It’s not that he wasn’t lovely… or smart or interesting or quite good looking, but I just didn’t feel drawn to him.

But I didn’t feel like I was in the position to be fussy. Anyway, this was validity that a) someone was attracted to me and b) that my secret weapon – the red lips – worked.

And, look, it’s not like my self-worth was hinging on someone asking me out on a date, but it’s always a nice little ego boost, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, I had to break the news to him after a few dates that I wasn’t actually interested in him. That day had far too many bathroom freak outs and heart palpitations for my liking.

****

We’re fighting against the elements; we know that some very important people in our lives Do Not Approve. Which is a shame considering the fact that our chemistry is through the Richter scale…

We haven’t had The Moment yet. The one where he asks.

And I hold my breath hoping, willing him to do so.

Pretend to be busy doing other stuff, Alex. Where did that beverage of mine get to?

He lingers as his mates drag themselves through the front door. He lingers and I silently exhale.

He takes a step forward.

“Hey,” he smiles. Good god, he’s hot. “Can I have your number?”

YES!!!!!!!!!! Wait! Play it cool, Alex. 

“Umm… Uhh, yeah, ok,” I shrug.

He raises a wry eyebrow as he tries to gauge my sudden nonchalance before I recite the little poem of numbers to him.

Then he leans forward to say goodbye.

In some ways it was a shame that nothing came of it. Perhaps it was all social nicety. Perhaps he never intended to put words into actions. Perhaps the other players intervened (likely). Perhaps he saw it as too much of a risk. And perhaps he didn’t think I was worth that risk.

And that’s ok, because in many ways it was a very good thing that nothing came of it. I wouldn’t want to be with someone who won’t take risks every now and again.

****

Our noses register the distinctive combination of butter and salt. There’s popcorn somewhere at this party! 

We follow the trail to a tall, dark, handsome gent who is holding, eating and sharing the moreish goodness around.

We chat. Very briefly. And then he has to go.

“Hey. Do you want to see each other later on?” he asks.
“Tonight?” (Context: they were continuing on to another venue)
“No, I mean like going out for drinks sometime,” he smiles.
“Oh. Sure. Yes,” I smile in return.

And he tries and fails to coordinate getting drinks together about five times. You would think that after multiple weeks of him doing so that he would figure out that I’m quite busy and that subsequently he will have to put something in my diary more than 72 hours before the actual date.

He’s a slow learner who is keeping his options open. Delete and move on.

****

I always enjoy meeting new people at parties. Tonight is no exception.

There is conversation and there is wine.

Later that night he draws me away. “Hey, Alex. Can I have a moment of your time?” he nervously asks. He leads me inside where he turns to face me.

“Alex, I think I like you and I think we would have lots of interesting conversations together and I was wondering whether I could have your number and whether, if I called you and asked you out to dinner, you would say yes?” he stammers.

I smile and nod and tell him that there is indeed a very high chance that I would say yes.

“Oh! Ok. That’s great. I’ll wait three days to call you and everything.”
“God, I love how excruciating that is,” I jest.

Our chemistry may not be through the Richter scale, but he has the courage to put his words into actions. And there’s certainly something attractive about that…

Alex x

 Also. Fun fact: I’ve updated my About section. Because it’s all about me. Duh.

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.

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?

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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