Will I Die in Ios?

Below is another excerpt from the book I am currently working on...  

For the record, I am the first person to declare that I’m a hypochondriac. My Mother, an oncology nurse will be the next person to confirm this. There have been numerous moments in my life where I have truly and utterly believed that I am dying due to an unknown illness. I’ve lay in bed (in the midst of death) questioning how this can be it for me. Wasn’t there more? Don’t I deserve a few more decades? Don’t I? Don’t I? But, it wasn’t until my second day in Ios that I convinced myself I was a hundred per cent on my way out. And no, I was not just dying from any old cause – I was dying from a severe hangover.

I awoke early in the morning in his bedroom. It was 7am – how long did I sleep for? When did I go to sleep? Rick was still curled up in bed, looking far less attractive from the night before. I quietly found my clothes, slipped on my shoes and snuck out. As I made my way out of the hostel vicinity I realised I had no idea where I was. I didn’t have my phone on me (not that I even knew how to work Google maps) or my wallet. A minor headache was brewing, but I realised that at this time my cause of death would be from being lost in a Greek forest.

  An hour later and I was still lost in bum fuck nowhere. There had been minor human interaction which partially nullified the possibility of dying alone in a Greek woodland – so that was comforting. However, the headache that had been developing was now in full force. Not only that, it was now being matched by a gurgly stomach and a general feeling of faintness. That’s it – the next person I see I will ask where the fuck I am.

Unfortunately, that didn’t occur for another 45 minutes when the sun had fully risen and was beaming down on me. 

  “Whe am I?” the words could hardly come out as I shuffled over to a stick thin blonde woman. She wore purple sandals and a backpack – the way she looked at me was how I felt yesterday with the other girls: fresh looking at the drunken plebs.

  “Sorry?” It was an American accent.

  “Where… are we?” I was puffing, I could hardly breathe. My brain was screaming HELP ME!

  “Well, we’re in Ios of course!”

 For fucks sake.

  “I… am aware…” I was hanging on by a thread, “but where?”

  “Oh!!! Sorry sweetie! I was a little confused by your question to begin with. We are… hang on… wait, where are we?” She was looking around, basically spinning in circles which did nothing but made me dizzy. She then did the smartest thing she had done in the past five minutes and pull out her phone, “okay, okay. The main strip is only 400 metres away. Head straight, then at the first right – turn there. That’ll get you on the main street.”

  “Thank you,” I said. My body now heaving over and mouth dry.

  “You’re very welcome, sweetie. God Bless!” She turned on her feet and went on her jolly way, disappearing into the glary sun.

25 minutes later, two wrong turns (her directions weren’t exactly accurate to be perfectly honest) I arrived outside mine and El’s room. Sweat was dripping down my face, my knees were weak and my breath was out of whack. I was dying.

  I tried with the little energy I had to bash on the door and wake El up. But nothing. After ten minutes of patting the door and whispering “El”, she finally came and let me in. Bed! Dear, dear bed! I walked straight to it and collapsed without exchanging any words with El.

                                                            ***

I awoke to complete blackness. Great, now I’d lost the ability of sight. I couldn’t hear any other person in the room, that’s when I checked the time and saw it was 3pm. I still felt weak and exhausted aka still convinced I was checking out of planet earth. I opened our bedroom door to see what was going on outside. It was warm, there was a nice breeze, it was a perfect day for a swim. I suppose I had to treat myself one final time. So, I slowly put my cossie on and went upstairs to the hostel exit to make my way slowly down to the beach for my last ever swim.

  “Eh! Eh!” I turn around and a small woman was chasing me.

  “Yes?”

  “Your friend – they at beach. They say me to say you that you meet.”

  “Just down at this beach?” I asked. I wasn’t intending on getting a quad bike anywhere - I’d walk.

  “Yes. Here I drive.”

Before I knew it, I was riding upfront in a white van speeding around the bends, almost falling entirely off the seat.

  “You no look good. You look bad,” the woman turned to me. How could I tell that she probably wouldn’t see me again? And that her driving was indeed making everything worse. I couldn’t say that to someone who was doing me a favour.

  “I’m fine”, I forced a smile.

We pulled up and from a distance I could see the five girls lying together on banana chairs. Realising I’d forgotten any form of footwear, the sand burnt the soles of my feet as I hopped along the beach to where they were.

  “Here she is!” Annie laughed as I greeted them, “we were wondering if you were alive!”

I shrugged – she had no idea. “I honestly think I might be dying,” I said, speaking a little softer than usual (for effect).

  “Oh shut up!” El piped up from her banana chair, “you’re just hungover! Get over yourself, babe!”

^^^ El to a tee.

I sat down on the extra banana chair (“you owe me 5 euros for the chair” – El) and closed my eyes, listening to the hum of the girls chatting. Five minutes in and a good looking waiter came up and offered me a drink. I shook my head. He didn’t know that he was talking to a near corpse (me) and the cause of death was from what he was holding in his hands – no, he wouldn’t understand.

  “Okay, well I am going for a swim,” I said to the others as I walked down to the ocean.

  “You haven’t even told us about last night!” Lunchy shouted as I walked away.

I dived into the ocean and swam and splashed around. Maybe I wasn’t dying? As I floated in the crystal sea, my hangover/cause of death dwindled and my appetite appeared. That’s another my nurse Mum tells me when I claim to her I am dying – “if you were dying you’d have no appetite and be gaunt little thing. You’re fine.” I went back up to the banana chair hanging out for the waiter to return for a second time so I could order food. Finally, on his arrival we all looked at the menu – the girls ordering a mixture of beer, chips, or ice blocks. But, never been one to go with crowd and naturally as one would when they are sitting on the beach in a bikini – I ordered a giant bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese with extra parmesan and scoffed it all up, dropping bits of mince on down my top.

Three hours later we returned to the hostel. Everyone began getting ready for another big night out. Me? What did I do, you ask? I did it all again, of course (besides, I was celebrating the fact that I hadn’t died!) 

Yacht Week: Day One.

Below is another small excerpt from the book I am currently working on which tells the tale of a 20-something year old girl overseas.

 

Mood: Foul.
  I was hungover, hungry and tired. Any negative emotion you can think of; I was feeling it. (Yes, I know, incredibly self-indulgent for someone privileged enough to be in the middle of Croatia surrounded by the sparkling Mediterranean Sea). A few months back, when I was delivering medicine to Retirement Villages that smelt like broccoli, it was this picture perfect image that I was longing for. Yet, what hadn’t been part of the picture were the hundreds of tandoori skinned Australian Ken and Barbie dolls covered in Southern Cross tattoos, shouting “AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE! OI! OI! OI!”[1] Straight away, I knew this was going to be a real problem. 

***

“Go over there to sign in!” a fair haired, tanned, extremely attractive Hitler Youth-esq boy shouted, pointing to a crowd that huddled around another good looking Aryan who carried a clipboard and ordered people around in a very German-like fashion. I looked over at El, her arms awkwardly swinging side to side. Me? I had my arms folded so tight over my chest and a look that said ‘approach at your own risk.’ We were imitating the insecure 15 year old girls we once were, and during Yacht Week there would be PLENTY of throwback 2007 moments. This was just the first.

  “Name?” the second, hot German asked.

  “Burke”, I said.

  He flicked the papers over and continued to scroll his finger down the page, his face breaking into confusion. Yes, I dreamed. They’ve stuffed up our booking and now I am not registered. I’ve spent $2000 that I’ll never get back which amounts to about 100 hours of free work… but that’s fine. Just get me the fuck out of here.

  “My name’s not there?” I asked, a little too excitedly.

  “Oh yes… I see.” 

Eugh. Maybe not.

  He looked at me and smiled, “go over to Boat 22 and get ready for THE BEST WEEK OF YOUR LIFE.”

Over at Boat 22 were four guys ranging from 21 to 35. And yep, in case you were wondering, they were all from Australia. These were our bunk buddies for the week.

  “Ohhh, we DO have some CHICKS!” one of the older guys yelled as El and I walked the plank, “I was beginning to think we were on a LAD’S TOUR!”

  “Hello, I’m Victoria.” I said, rather stand-offishly. Back away, I thought; I haven’t decided what I think of you and your people yet. I scanned their bodies to see if I could spot those five little stars.[2]

  “How ya going? I’m Antony.” Clearly, not getting the ‘don’t ask, don’t speak, don’t come near me’ hint he continued, “the bloody skipper hasn’t arrived and I’m keen to get the party started!!!”

  “Where is he?” El asked. The first words I’d heard her say in approximately two hours.

  “Apparently on a flight back from Munich,” one of the younger guys named Elliot said, his lips pursed like a cat’s arsehole.[3]    

  “Munich? Munich in… in Germany?” I asked.

 “Yes, love” one of the other older guys sniggered, “Munich’s in Germany.  I’m Kurt by the way.”

Right, so Kurt’s the smart-arse of the group, I thought. 

I sighed and took a seat down next to El and we waited.

  And waited.

As the other yachts sailed away into the sunset, music (albeit, horrific) blasting, bottles tinkling, laugher erupting, already starting the best week of their lives, we continued to wait.

Hours passed and we waited some more. And some more, until we were the only boat left on the dock.

Clearly, I was not yearning to get onto the boat and start the week, but I was also getting incredibly bored sitting on the dock with random dudes who I’d already decided I hated.

Finally, the skipper arrived.

  A tall, gangly guy with big lips and an awkward limp came shuffling towards us. He had three big duffle bags hanging off his arms and a cigarette drooping from his mouth.

“I am Luca – your skipper!”

Myself, El and the four guys just stood there and stared or in my case, glared.

  But this would be Boat 22 bonding moment #1: Fuck you, skipper. You’re five hours late. You were in a different bloody country an hour ago. An apology would be nice.

The boat was tiny, smaller than I’d imagined. The photographer had done a good job at lying. As someone who suffers from claustrophobia, anxiety and sea sickness, this week was becoming more hell like.

“We’ve already baggsed this room”, Pursed Lips Elliot said, pointing to the one that was slightly larger and a little more spacious. Baggsed? What was this? Year 8 camp?

“You guys are over there” he gestured to a room that was the shape of a triangle in the corner of the boat. Once El and I walked in there and dumped our bags we were literally stuck in the room with nowhere to move. Breathing was even occupying space. I could feel my face heating up and my hands becoming clammy. Deep breaths I told myself. In and out, in and out.

This was going to be a long week.

This was my vibe. Every moment of every day while on Yacht Week. 

This was my vibe. Every moment of every day while on Yacht Week. 

 

***

 

[1] Southern Cross Tattoos are highly popular in Australia. They represent what some would describe as, “Aussie Pride”. However, those that sport them are a particular type of breed. They’re usually the ones who you see shouting AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE! OI! OI! OI! While they scull their beer. I’m sorry if you are currently sporting one and I have majorly generalised, I guess I am just going off my knowledge. Apologies, if I have caused offence.

[2] The Southern Cross Tattoo.

[3] After the tenth time of seeing Elliot pull this face, El and I came to the conclusion that this was simply his face and he couldn’t help it, so maybe it was best if we quit giggling about it. Very juvenile I know, but grim days were ahead and so, the only joy we got was unfortunately, at the expense of this South Australian sod.

PCOS

I was 17 years old. A fragile, timid, young girl. The wind howled and rain poured as I dragged myself off the stone, cold floor. 

Jks.

I was 17. It was the fifth day in the row where I had to go to see the school nurse. To be honest, I kind of loved having to leave class or skip assembly. Plus, the look on my classmates’ faces as I was walking out was always priceless. It was a combination of concern, jealousy and excitement as this caused for a sero gossip sesh at lunchtime: "Can you believe it? Victoria left second period AGAIN to go to the Nurse. She’s sooooo preggas omg.” 

Mean Girls, Bustle.com

But as time went on, the pain got worse and the rush of leaving class dwindled. Ladies, most of you will feel me – Period Pains. Never has alliteration been so cruel.

Fellas: Imagine someone getting your insides; squeezing and churning them around and around. Well gentlemen, I am pretty sure that would feel the exact same as those monthly cramps we women endure time and time again. Sounds nice, right?

Back at school, I’d trudge over to the Nurse; my face white, my body heaved over, asking the Gods why I was being punished in this way. Why me? What did I do in a past life? Have mercy!

GifBloom

“Victoria, again with the period pains?” the nurse would say, barely looking up from the computer.

A mere nod was all I could manage. Before I knew it, I was back at home lying on the couch - wallowing amongst hot water bottles, fairly certain that death was looming.

Now, as someone whose mother is a nurse you have to be literally dying in my house to get any sort of medical attention.

“Have a glass of water” is usually her remedy for anything. Flu? Have a glass of water? Stomach bug? Have a glass of water? AIDS? Have a glass of water.

But after the tenth time of leaving school in a row from a measly period she knew something was up. And so, the tests began.

I was off to the Doctors – ultrasound here, injections there and then, three months later, it was verdict day.

VERDICT: “Victoria, darling. You’ve been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.”

Okay, so some of you may be thinking what the fuck is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (also known as it’s cute little acronym, PCOS) and hey, I was once like you too.  

According to, Healthline.com (seems reliable enough) PCOS is: 

“Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS[1], is a condition in which a woman's levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can cause problems with a women's menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance.”

 

How fun does that sound!!!!!

So what’s it like living with PCOS? 

Is that what you’re asking me through the screen?

Well, to be honest, it varies.

Some days I don’t even notice it. I don’t even care. I take my medication (which thankfully has reduced the amount of pain I suffered in the original days) and get on with it.

But some days it sucks and will get me down. I’ll find hair in funny places. I’ll have exercised and eaten well and have gained a kilo or two. There will be days (in my case, pretty much all the time) where I’ll want white bread and pasta and chocolate and lollies and chips and coke and everythingthatisbadintheworld and can’t have it. Simply because I have PCOS. (Although there have been a few days[2] where I’ve thought, bugger it – I’m eating what I want today).

GIVE ME!!!!

GIVE ME!!!!

But, it’s also taught me a lot; I know – what a cliché. But it has. With PCOS, it takes perseverance (and a fuck load of discipline). But with those two, women have the ultimate power to reverse the situation they’ve been put in.

In a nutshell, with PCOS it’s all about giving your body some loving. So, if you’re part of the PCOS Sisterhood, I salute you, because I know that this road is really tough.

Now, get outside; have a walk, do a downward dog and eat something nourishing.

Because, as they say in L’Oréal you my friend, are worth it.

QuickMeme

 

[1] See, the acronym is a thing.

[2] Lots of days.

Sources: http://www.healthline.com/health/polycystic-ovary-disease

Leaving the nest... and returning.

About 6 months ago, I moved back in with my folks. As a (then) 23 year old woman who had been out of home for a total of two years, I felt this was a step in the wrong direction.

I don’t need to move back, do I?

I am working full time and writing a book and having a life and managing my PCOS and living on $5 a week but I am totes fine! I have my shit together! I get up every morning and go to work even not hungover.

This. Is. Living.

Relatable.com

Okay, so there was that time I had to ask my friend to pay for my grocery shop, or when I was late for rent (for the third week in a row), or considering getting a second job, or surviving off canned food or realising that it had been weeks since I worked on my book or that my PCOS was flaring up.  No. I guess I was not totes fine. In fact, I was far, far from totes fine.

One Sunday evening, I was over at my family home having dinner. This usually involved me shovelling as much free, high nutritionally valued food into my mouth in a hope that it might sustain me for a least 48 hours while my family looked on, startled at this possessed, famished (although, looks can be deceiving) creature.

“Slow down!” my Mum said.

I looked at her.

She looked at me like only a mother could. Through my eyes and into my soul.

I stared back.

She stared harder.

And then, my tears came gushing down my face like Niagara Falls.

“Uh… uh… I c-c-c-can’t do it… uhhh… uhhh” (NOTE: the “uhh” noise is a combination of my sobs and hyperventilation).

Me ^^^^^

Me ^^^^^

And then my Mother, my darling Mother said it: “I think you should move back home.”

.
..

No, ne, nay, nein, non, nada.

Not happening.

For me, moving back home wasn’t an option.

No, moving back home is failing. Moving back home is safe. Moving back home means I am away from my friends. Moving back home is moving backwards.

***

Fast-forward three weeks. It’s a Saturday morning. I’ve stumbled home from my friend’s party up the road an hour ago. This was my last morning in my home, before moving back with the parentals and officially losing all facets of a life.

I went over to my window and inhaled the inner city fumes, listened deeply to the junkies’ conversations outside and watched the sea of cars drive by.

How I will desperately miss all of this.

Amidst the  moment between myself and my home, there was a knock at the door.

The removalists had arrived.

“Ay mate! You’re up with the sparrow-fart! We’re gonna move ya stuff for ya.”

I nodded.

I watched my bedroom, as the men removed my belongings. And as they did, it was like they were removing my memories with it - the boys, the parties, the laughs, the tears, the wild nights and the quiet intimate ones - till it was like it and I never existed.

Bye home. Bye life…

When I arrived at my parents, I paused for a moment at the front door and took that terrifying step backwards.

Hibernating back in my childhood room, I would lie in bed scrolling through Instagram or watching Snapchat stories (damn you Social Media!) and see my friends out and about. Would I be at that pub now? Or eating cheap dumplings too? Maybe I would have featured in that Snapchat story that everyone is laughing about? 

So, I’m home now and will not be bringing home any lovers to party with. Instead, it is just me here, subjected to my brother’s long, boring stories filled with the personal pronoun, coping with my Mum’s menopausal breakdowns and occasional (but not occasional enough) sightings of my Dad’s saggy arse. Oh, and the five year old next door is learning the trumpet!

But, I do have extra clothes in my wardrobe and am eating decent food and paying cheaper board and working on my book and beating my PCOS.  

So, will I be here forever?

Hells no. And I know my parents would be hoping the same thing. But for now, it’s fine and it isn’t a failure or a step in the wrong direction. To quote my least favourite line in the world “it is what it is”.

 

Tinderella and the shoe that wouldn't fit.

As a 23, almost 24 year old straight girl hailing from Inner Sydney, I can comfortably say that yes, I’ve dabbled in the dating world. The random in a nightclub, (attempted) the long distance thing, the friend, the housemate, the booty call. You name it, I’ve probably tried it and did it with my head held high. #lived 

^^^ Livin' gal.

^^^ Livin' gal.

However, then came the influx of the ol’ Gen Y dating applications: Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Thrinder - the list goes on and on. 

My outgoing and experimental side felt conflicted by this new world of online dating. Was I prepared to get involved? 

My veteran Tinder friends would ask, "what's the big deal!?" To which I'd respond, "“I’m old fashioneddddd!” 

But then, things changed.

Amidst my share house living, I began feeling slightly outnumbered on the couple front. I’d hear my roommates having sex, laughing, cuddling and squealing with their respective partners and the feeling of being very, very alone became very, very real. 

So, in my bitter, twisted and somewhat delusional state I did the unthinkable. I downloaded Tinder.  And today, ladies and gentlemen; I would like to share my findings.  

 

AREA OF STUDY

GENDER: Male. (Although, based on what I saw I am very close to switching sides). 

AGE: 23 years to 33 years. 

LOCATION: Sydney. Within my 10km radius. 

1. The Free Spirit 

Tinder Profile
Picture/s must include one or more of the following: 

  • A downward dog; tree pose; legs behind ears etc. Basically, something that makes you want to say “nama-fucking-stae” and take a big loud OM. 
  • A festival photo - think along the lines of Rainbow Serpent or somewhere in the depths of the Brazilian forest. Double points if they’re balancing a fire wand. 
  • Close up face shot: rainbow painted spots on their tanned, slightly freckled face. 
  • Jesus-esq features*. You know what I mean, right? The beard, the long hair etc.

*I once got in this heated discussion with a girl over whether it is PC or not to say if Jesus was hot. Coz, I kinda think Jesus was a real spunk.

Something like this... #doof

Something like this... #doof

Catchphrase/s

  • ‘Ey man, how’s life treating ya?”
  • “Have you ever experienced a passionate night of soul freeing and kundalini entwining love making?” 

In the flesh

Think a light denim baggy jean or a purple harem pant, a linen shirt and wet hair.

My experience

I lost my Tinder virginity to an English man who fit the above description. His name was Michael* and he had just spent the last six months at a no talkies retreat in India.  Prior to the retreat he had been growing mushrooms ;) in Amsterdam. Prior to that, he'd been living with Mongolian monks. Now, he’d landed in Sydney and was living out of a backpack at a friend of a friend's house.

We met during my lunch break, a rather odd time for someone experimenting with Tinder for the first time. I ordered an extra strong coffee. He ordered a weak herbal tea. First issue at hand, if you ask me. 

During our conversation on “How Yoga Can Enrich Our Lives and Why” I noticed a car pull up and wind down the tinted window. 

There, witnessing me lose my (Tinder) virginity was my aunty. #woglife 

She shouted from the car, “VIC? HELLO! What are you doing? Aren’t you at work?  Does your boss know where you are? Where’s your father? And your mother? Have you seen your grandparents? I was just there…

 PAUSE

“...and who do we have here?” 

"Oh, just a friend! Friend meet aunty!" I said, very quickly. Thanks to the car honking behind her, she drove off. Phew! Just avoided what could have been v. awkward scenario, I thought.  

But how wrong and naive I was. 

Twenty minutes later another aunty walked past, this time by foot and virtually repeated the above conversation: 

"VIC! HELLO! What are you doing? Aren’t you at work?  Does your boss know where you are? Where’s your father? And your mother? Have you seen your grandparents? I was just there… oh and who is this?" 

Yah.

Two aunties. 

Two times.

Not once, twice.

#Woglife. 

#Woglife. 

Result: 

Doomed. Too much family. 

*Names have been changed.

2. The Stoner

Tinder Profile
Picture/s must include one or more of the following: 

  • Some form of headwear. 
  • Fish eye camera shot.

Also, important to note that their profile will mention that Tinder Type #2 are 420 friendly. Refer to catchphrase below.

Catchphrase/s

Are you 420 friendly? 

FYI

FYI

In the flesh

  • A baggy, olive/mustard pair of ‘slacks’ (the only suitable word).
  • A grey hoodie with a some sort of crusty substance flaking off the front. 
  • Some form of headwear namely beanie or cap as per their profile picture.

My experience

When: A mid-week, post work date. 

Me: A highly strung individual. 

Him: Stoner/stoned/chilled.

Result

Us = no. Dear God, no. 

Probably his exact thought process... ^^^

Probably his exact thought process... ^^^

3. The “I’m WAY too busy for regular dating”

Tinder Profile

Well, this is a little tricky as the guy I dated has either unmatched, deleted me or has removed Tinder and therefore the entirety of dating from his life. On the flip side, perhaps he has found his Tinderella and is living happily ever after (nawwwww!). 

Maybs (but let's be real, probs not). 

Maybs (but let's be real, probs not). 

 

Catchphrase/s

They're too busy to text. 

In the flesh

  • A brisk, sightly nervous stride.
  • A denim jean.
  • A flashy watch.

My experience

Again, an experience I don’t think I’ll forget quickly. Let's called Tinder Type #3 Craig. Why Craig? I don’t know, maybe because I really dislike the name Craig and I throughly disliked this guy. Anyway, I digress. Craig was a lawyer who could only squeeze me on X day at X time for X minutes because he was part of the X jurisdiction and had the X trial for the X crime but he cant say too much otherwise X will get angry at X and the X press will find out and bla, bla, bla… fuck! Look at the time. Why didn’t you tell me it was so late? Must go, bye.

^^^^^^^Literally how my evening went. 

Me by the end of the date ^^^^ 

Me by the end of the date ^^^^ 

Result:  

I think you know, young grasshopper.

4. The Filthy Sexter

Tinder Profile
Picture/s must include one or more of the following: 

  • An ab shot.
  • Incredibly low cut jeans revealing very, very hairless skin. (Please refer here to find out more on my thoughts on pubic hair).
  • Emojis: eggplant. 
Lovely. Who said chivalry was dead?

Lovely. Who said chivalry was dead?

Catchphrase/s

  • “If I were a watermelon, would you spit or swallow my seed?”
  • “DTF?”
  • “Are you a haunted house? Because I’d cry if I came inside of you.”
  • OR, my all time fave: “I want to work you like a new washing machine. Take you home. Turn you on… and put a load in you.”

That’s all today, folks.

Yep.

Yep.

In the flesh

Just follow your nose and smell the arrogance. You’ll know. If that fails, smell the cologne.

My experience

Initially, I aimed and (somewhat) succeeded avoiding Tinder Type #4. Thinking I had outsmarted all the creeps in Sydney, I started to tell colleagues at after work drinks the horrifying stories I’d heard (please refer to catchphrases) and the excruciating experiences I’d had (scroll up and/or down). 

A married colleague of mine bellowed across the table, “ohhhh my GOD! Show me Tinder! I want to try! Do I swipe right or left? LET ME LIVE THROUGH YOU!”. She grabbed my phone and started swiping away, "yes! Ewwww. Oh my god, he’s so cute. Nope. YUCK!” - you get the picture. 

Approximately 90 minutes (and 100 shots of vodka) later I’m at a new pub sitting face to face with essentially, my married colleague’s Tinder date. 

“Yah, so I’ve just moved into a new share house in Darlinghurst. It’s really loose. I woke up the other night to an orgy in the room next door, was pretty dope,” the Sexter had started sex talk 15 minutes into the date. 

He continued to talk at me for the following hour, telling me all the sex positions he'd tried, the weirdest place he'd had sex and the strangest people who he'd slept with. It was this type of banter that led me to bail from the pub quick smart. 

1 hour later: 

SexterCreep: Cum over.

12 hours later: 

SexterCreep: I have a headache. 

Me: Same.

SexterCreep: You know what fixes ANY form of tension pain?

Me: What?

SexterCreep: An orgasm.

Me: No reply.

SexterCreep: What are you doing? I’m just lying in bed… naked.

Me: At the beach with friends.

SexterCreep: What beach you at? Yeah, I’m just naked in bed. 

Me: Clovelly. And wait, ARE YOU NAKED IN BED?

SexterCreep: You know there is a direct bus from Clovelly straight to my house.

Result

SO MUCH NO. So very much no. Although, I did run into him at a party about a month after this event where he repeatedly told me how I was SO rude for not replying to his messages. I mean… seriously??? The irony is palpable. 

 

5. The Love Buff

Tinder Profile

Tinder Type #5’s are deceiving. More so than the rest. They come in all shapes, colours and sizes and you only know that they fall into this category after at least two dates. I apologise in advance that I can not tell you what to look out for. Forgive me.

Catchphrase/s

  • Here is my number!
  • Add me on Facebook.
  • Did you add me because nothing has come up? 

In the flesh

As per the above profile, these types are far too ambiguous. My “Love Buff” could only be described as a skater. Wherever he went, he went on four wheels. 

My experience

Eugh, I’m even drained at the thought of telling you this story.  These darling sod’s are the ones who are basically gearing up for the wedding the minute you match. Now, look I’m sure we can all be culprits of this. I know I can. 

But this, was like nothing I’d ever experienced or heard of before. 

Let's call Tinder Type #5, Jack. 

How to describe Jack in 5 words? Hmm… Clingy, helpless, sad, nice, grim. 

I dated Jack for roughly five weeks until I realised that it was just too much. After the first date he stayed the night (fine, no dramas, 21st century livin’). He then stayed over the night after that. And the night after that… Till the point it had been SIX NIGHTS OF SHARING MY BED.

SIX.

NIGHTS.

Dear God, WHY?

Dear God, WHY?

 

Finally, after enough prods, pushes and passing, passive comments, Jacky boy understood that it was time to reacquaint himself with his own bed. Which he kindly did. I put him on a bus, waved him off with a hanky (jokes) and took some deep breaths.

36 hours later and it's 3am. I have to get up for work in four hours. I hear the garage door slam shut and… 

He’s back.

And what almost seemed like habit, he put his skateboard in the corner of my room and hopped into bed - his breath oozing a concoction of rum, beer, ciggies and coca cola.

“Do you reckon we should move in together?” he said, while spooning and slightly suffocating me.

I almost choked on my mouthguard. 

“You’re kidding right?” I mumbled, hoping that I was having some sort of bad dream.

Well, ladies and gentlemen. 

He was not.

And so, it was sayonara Jacky boy.

Result

Too much for this gal to handle. Abort.

My inner thoughts. 

My inner thoughts. 

6. The Foreigner

Tinder Profile
Picture/s must include one or more of the following: 

  • A gorgeous glowing tan. 
  • A fedora. 
  • A shark tooth necklaced.
  • A group shot. 
  • Emoji: their national flag. 

Catchphrase/s

  • Hi! Hello! Hey!
  • Thanks for getting in touch!
  • I’m new to Sydney! I need friend!

Unfortunately, I’m sad to say that I have not had any dates with Tinder Type #6… maybe this will the shoe that does fit? 

Stay tuned! 

Mmmm, maybe a handsome Spaniard like Enrique...?

Mmmm, maybe a handsome Spaniard like Enrique...?

Welcome to Istanbul, Motherfuckers

This is a teeny, weeny excerpt from a piece of writing about being a 20-something girl out in the world.

Someone had once described Istanbul to me as 'freaking hectic!' and I suppose that’s fairly accurate.

After 15 hours of travel; Uber, plane, bus and bus again, El and I finally arrived in this 'freaking hectic' town. The minute we stepped off the bus we were hit with the thick humidity and the smells of the Middle East – garlic, chilli, lamb grilling on the spit, flavoured sheesha, bread drowned in olive oil. Yum, I thought.

I’d always envisioned myself to be the quintessential backpacker. Exactly like the ones you see when you type 'backpacker' into Google Images. A large back pack, perhaps with a yoga mat tied at the bottom (in case the urgency for a downward dog arose); paisley printed harem pants and rubber, mustard coloured sandals. I would take it to the extreme and be a die-hard backpacker. I’d be covered in henna tattoos, Lonely Planet would be my bible and I would almost certainly have one singular dreadlock poking out from behind my ear.   
“Hello, Istanbul,” I said, heaving my bag onto my back which was slightly heavier than I remembered. "Let’s go!” 
“Okay,  to get to the hostel we have to walk for a couple of kilometres,” El said, her finger scrolling down the iPad. (I did initially object to the iPad as it did not follow the above description of ‘backpacker’ but as El regularly reminded me that without her and the iPad I would be dead in a ditch somewhere in an unknown ghetto in Europe. So… I chose to let it go). 

Attempting, failing and what seems to be a bald patch

Attempting, failing and what seems to be a bald patch

Istikilal Street is a cultural hybrid wrapped up in one, long stretch of road. Everywhere you turned there was something new and different to admire; buskers strumming guitars at street corners, beggars pleading for money while sitting outside Zara (oh, the irony!), vendors roasting chestnuts and peeling pomegranates on the side of the footpath, men playing backgammon while the women huddled around in small groups sipping tea from the prettiest glasses etched in gold.

Unfortunately, my cultural appreciation could only be extended so far as, “El... my back is KILLING me!”

“Take your bag off your back you loser and wheel it like I am!” But no, I would suffer for the sake of my image. I was a backpacker and this is what we did.

El and I were a stark contrast to the beautiful Kim Kardashian-esq Turkish women who swanned around us - their luscious, glossy blow dried locks with booties snuggled in designer jeans. (Yes, I am aware that the Kardashians' are not actually Turkish, but I am hoping you get the image I'm trying to conjure up).  

It was safe to say, I was not coping with the weight on my back. Sweat was dripping down my neck, temple, pooling in my upper lip. Every time I’d adjust my pack by hunching up my shoulders and tugging at the straps, my damp t-shirt would stretch and pull down exposing my hideous, grandma, flesh coloured bra to all of Istanbul. I was also experiencing the excruciating agony of a wedgie. My pants were riding so high up my arse that I was giving myself a haemorrhoid.

El was having her own struggle even being Miss Sensible and wheeling her bag behind her. She was bathed in perspiration and her hair was stuck to her red face which gave her a comb-over, Kel Knight style.

But, the men went crazy. They would shout and catcall as we walked by. Unfortunately, it was clear that the whistling was not for me.  No, the harsh and brutal reality was I could have easily been a sister, a cousin or any relative of some kind. Thanks to my Middle Eastern heritage I was of no interest to Turkish men. However, for Eloise, a blonde, Anglo-Saxon girl she was the ultimate pin up (even when she was rocking a comb-over). “AYYYY Shakira! That you SHAKIRA? SHAKIRA! Give us a smile, eh?” They’d point.

Oh well, I thought. I don’t need Turkish men that look like my uncles because I'd fallen head over heels for a man whose babies I would eventually carry, thus being ugly in Turkey was fine by me.

Hullo.

Hullo.

Finally, after what felt like I'd endured a hideous gym challenge a.k.a carrying bricks in my bag while walking kilometres uphill, The Biggest Loser style we arrived at our oasis; our home for the next few nights. Chill Out Hostel.

Stoned backpackers sat around, drinking beer or tea, playing cards, sharing stories, Skyping friends or family. Harem pants were a plenty (in fact, two girls were wearing the exact same pair as mine) and I did spot the odd dreadlock. 

A good looking guy with a dark beard and Trotsky-esq round glasses sat behind a computer. He reminded me of a hip Sydney barista that would specialise in making soy goats milk, extra strong, extra hot, half honey lattes.

“Hi girls and I welcome you to Chill Out Hostel, Istanbul. I am your Manager!”

We were tired, sweaty and starving and not interested in meet and greets.

El, who had basically nominated herself as Team Captain began discussing the logistics and prices of the rooms. I was too busy picking my harem pants out of my arse.

“Okay… I see here… You girls on level ten", he explained, "room B. Shared dorm. Six people." 

El was nodding, she knew what was going on.

“Okay, so level ten. Cool. Where’s the lift?” I chimed in.

The whole room went silent. People stopped mid-sentence. Others reading or writing in diaries paused and peered over. Beers were spilled on tables and call me paranoid but I swear I heard chuckles from the Irish folk in the corner.  Had I said something wrong?

“Lift?  LIFT?” The manager who would be the hip Sydney barista said, trying to contain his laugh that would explode any moment. “Ha! You say... you say you want lift? No. No lift here. Only stair. Welcome to Istanbul, motherfuckers!” 

How's the flora on your majora, seniora?

Okay, so an obsession of mine is pubes.  Yes, that’s right. Those frizzy, springy little curls that cover our nether regions consume possibly 45% of my mind everyday (55% is what I want to eat).  Day and night, night and day these thoughts go round and round in my head. 

You know when you’re little and you can’t get to sleep and your mum or dad suggest counting sheep? Well, these days, I count pubes; people I’ve met, imaginary people, famous people; black, blonde, red – all the colours of the rainbow. Do I need therapy? Or perhaps a merkin covered stress ball?

Recently, I stumbled upon a blog I wrote when I was a mere, wide eyed and bushy-tailed (mind the pun) 19 year old. Scrolling down to find the first post, I was hardly surprised, it read: “To Have Hair or Be Bare?”

This made me sit back and reflect on my own pube/pube-less encounters I’ve had over the years. Has my opinion changed? Have I learnt anything? If so, what? 

So, let’s travel down the rabbit hole and visit the pube-o-sphere.

Petra Collins

 

***

Everyone knows that entering the world of sex and bodily fluid sharing is generally pretty darn awkward for the most of us. I was no exception in this case. As an insecure teen embarking on her first sexual experience I wanted to normalise it as much as I could and I felt this could be only achieved by conforming to society’s expectation of no hair (not even a damn ingrown). So, I shaved and shaved until I clogged the shower drain and my parents had to ring a plumber. (DISCLAIMER: Pubes or no pubes, it was still awkward AF with flying limbs, lots of grunts and stomach rolls). 

But, I was not alone. Many of my girlfriends found themselves in predicaments where they were not ‘groomed’ as such for the night and would either hold their breath and go with it or head home; horny, sad and questioning life. 

This was around the time I wrote my first ever piece “To Have Hair or Be Bare” which tells the story of my friend and I as young, innocent souls attending a (rather dull) house party because some girl’s parents were away. My friend, let’s call her Amy for the purpose of this exercise had been having “good banter” with a hot American guy who was known for his womanising antics. Personally, I found him excruciatingly annoying – but hey, that’s just me. 

 She had decided then and there that she was going to sleep with him, however, there was just one thing holding her back. Her very own vagina. Well, the outer hair that covered it. So, as the go-getter she always has been, she took matters into her own hands and I quote directly from the blog, “rummaging through cupboards and shelves, we came across a razor… but this was the stainless steel, heavy duty, father’s razor. Off my friend went, shaving and shaving, till there was near to nothing left.”

I then went on to ask the question “when did this happen?????” 

I tossed up some ideas, “did one guy wake up one day and decided that he didn’t like vaginal hair     and spread the word to his mates who follow him around like a fucking lapdog and thus, their opinion rapidly changed too?? OR did a guy sleep with a girl without a bush and thought “so, this is what they do now?” and then the phenomenon erupted? I will ask this one more time, WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN????” – Cap locks; clearly, I was pissed off.

Frida Kahlo

 

Okay, so a few years on and what’s happened in the pube-o-sphere?

  1. I had a boyfriend for five seconds who responded to my “isn’t my snail trail cute?” with “can you… kinda not? And maybe you know, keep it trim down there.” Safe to say the relationship only lasted five seconds due to “irreconcilable differences.” 
  2. I’ve had boys tell me they only like girls who rock an “aeroplane strip”. I had to politely remind them that if they were to be so specific about what vagina’s they will and will not enter, that it is best they get the actual term right: landing strip.
  3. As backpackers my friend and I found ourselves in a screaming match with a guy who likened girls who have pubic hairs just like girls who are lazy and don’t got to the gym. (He was from Australia, of course and I spent the rest of the time in the hostel death staring him). 
  4. Just earlier, when I texted my mate saying “Pubes – in five words or less” he responded with “rich bush can be hip.” – Translate that as you feel fit.

When I’ve asked female friends their thoughts on ridding themselves of any hair I usually have a combination of “I feel like I have to” – so I suppose that aspect hasn’t changed, and this makes me sad. Others say they like the idea of feeling “fresh” and “clean” (a colleague of mine actually said that she loves the feeling of being like a dolphin – soft and smooth). According to my mother, feeling fresh and clean is something I wouldn’t know about, so perhaps I am not the best person to comment.

However, generally the answer I get amongst both sexes is “pfft, whatever, who cares?” And maybe that’s all it is? Dolphin or rich bush – you choose, who cares?

So, a few years on am I any wiser? Nope. I’m just slightly hairier and give far less fucks (and started googling where to find Merkin covered stress balls). 

 

Prue Stent, 2015