I will not sleep with a man who has a cat called Taco–
I will not sleep with a man who has a cat called Taco, I WILL NOT SLEEP with A MAN who HAS A CAT, called TACO!”
At 1:30am last Saturday night, I found myself cutting 4 by 4cm squares made of fleece, in the lobby of one of the nicest hotels in Sydney.
A hotel so nice that behind me sat a Vera Wang boutique, a chandelier, grand piano and a startlingly clear view of the harbour.
Waiting for my phone to charge, my bag-lady activity attracted the wondering eyes of a sparkly-blazer.
The blazer was middle-aged and well-kept, as she came over to sit with me, smiling on her arrival.
The sparkly garment didn’t look at all like it was borrowed from the 80’s, meaning it was probably current designer. Her matching blonded-bob further confirmed this.
The older I get, the more I realise that most women have amazing attention to detail.
I remember when some guy I was dating told me, ” You know we don’t care what you wear, right?” I replied with a look of despondency as a cathedral full of stained glass somewhere all shook and fell apart at their gilded seams.
But the more I thought about it, it did make sense. Maybe women don’t hate the young pretty girl, just because she collects all eyes in the room but maybe because she dresses not for us, but for them.
The ones who don’t see anything but body parts poking out of small squares of fabric.
Perhaps that’s also why rules like, ‘only show boobs or legs but not both’ were invented by women… or maybe it was to brainwash women to value modesty and a lack of sexual agency…
Back to the blazer who was waiting on her taxi. Her elder partner was outside while she waited inside.
I looked up and saw her smiling at me, like I was feeding pigeons by the curb-side. And perhaps I would have returned such a smile gracefully, but let us not forget where we were sitting AND that I was wearing my linen slip dress which cost near to my rent, with gold Marc Jacobs shoes on my feet.
I remember seeing their golden glow from the top of the Ready-to-clear bin at Myer- and when I drifted closer I saw they were just my size, a little banged up on the sides and $5! It was like something out of a fairytale…
My elder adult cousins came to the city for the weekend to have their blow out 50th and they asked me to babysit as they wanted to head out with their friends after.
Friends I didn’t know about, until I turned up to the dinner with a mascara streaked cheek or two to find NOT a humble family of 4, but 24 strangers staring at me, all over the age of 45.
“ Fuck, ” was my soliloquy of the night, as I came in 40 mins late.
The restaurant was lovely, with mood lighting making it feel very 50 Shades of Grey. (The more the night went on, I realised that this vibe was kind of cancelled by the thin stench of stress coming from the kitchen, all very open plan and located right next to our long table. )
Looking behind the head of my cousin, I could see a billion busy hands and perfectionist glares cutting up the meat before the flesh met the blade.
It was the last place I wanted to be, especially as I found myself participating in my first break-up since I was 19. I think I naively forgot how painful break-ups were when you’re the one doing them.
That guilt and constant questioning of was it right, am I sure? It also didn’t help that I had to keep reasoning with him about why it was right which felt terrible; like unpicking and resewing a line of stitching over and over again until the fabric frays and ruins. Or until he felt satisfied and I felt numb.
During these chats, my emotions were so strong that they had a direct line to my tear-ducts which doubled as a set of those fancy sprinklers which work on a schedule. (Probably the kind watering the sparkly blazer’s lawn.)
I walked in, shocked and spray a few kisses about before trying to wipe the surprise off my face. My teary-eyes trying to locate the drinks menu before I’ve even been seated.
When I did, I found I’d been seated across from one of the kids which was fitting as it means one less person to talk to, however, it also placed more pressure on talking to those next to me…
To my right was my cousin’s husband Doug who was the family’s American angel and the only man who wasn’t a dick in our family. And to my right was a 47-year-old bald man, who I hadn’t met before. He introduced himself by asking why I had numbers tapped to the back of my phone.
“Work.” I told him, which is true.
“I’m a prostitute.”
He paused, and then looked at me with suspicious eyes.
“That doesn’t explain the numbers.”
I couldn’t help but break out into a grin as I launched into a wild explanation into how every Friday night, all the gal’s numbers are placed into a bowl and some man comes up and picks one out, like a lucky dip.
“ …. hence why I was late. It was my turn tonight.”
He laughed and placed the drinks menu in front of me. What a good man, I could’t help but think.
He told me we must have met at one of my cousin’s weddings a few years ago.
” I had hair then,” he told me.
“I had braces.”
“So I guess we both lost something,” he said, and then it was my turn to laugh.
Then one of my cousins came over to ask how I was, planting a child on my lap while simultaneously whipping at my cheek with the bottom of her dress.
” Shit.” I told her.
“Have you heard love died?”
” Oh did you and .. ? Oh, I’m so sorry.”
” Yep and I take wine in the form of sympathy.”
She laughs, before leaving the child on my lap. I want to tell her she left something important, with two legs but she’s already evaporated, and the child is busy picking at the Cherry garnish on my cocktail.
As a pleasant surprise, the man next to me turned out not to be the creepy stereotype but is in fact a happily married enigma with two kids around my age, a golden retriever and a wife he doesn’t hate. He also works in the head office of a phone provider and enjoys the colour pink.
“Wild,” I said.
We drank cocktails most of the night, as I told him how love was dead and how second marriages suck noting all the stats, like I myself have been though my parent’s 3 divorces, first-hand.
“Now Loui, my Spoodle is the light of my life.”
To this, he gave me one of his oysters littered in bacon which I lost to the kid on my lap.
Three drinks down and I’m totally gone. We were at the point of the night where we were making jokes about how that last drink was a fancy $25 screw driver but called something random, and how I was one drink away from looking like Claudia- who was the 5-year-old with the two teeth missing in the front and with a phone planted to her ear listening to a video on YouTube.
We start laughing and just from looking at her, she bursted out crying.
” So what are you ordering?” he asked me.
” I think I’ll get the Linguine Prawns, what about you?”
He told me he will get the steak but he doesn’t know which just yet, as there are 8 on the menu.
“What do u mean?” I asked puzzled.
“Well I never know until the pressure comes and the waiter asks me. I like to keep my options open, just like I don’t have one favourite cocktail.”
“Wow.” I looked at him impressed.
“ Keeps things interesting.”
I laughed. “How can u be scared of commitment to one meal when you’ve been married 23 years?”
“Hahaha idk! Luck I guess. I think it’s about meeting the right person and the rest is luck, because who knows where life can take you and if you drift away, ect.”
“ Speaking of, where is your wife tonight?”
“She’s at Rosé-all-day party. It started at 3 and goes until she’s well… until she rolls into a taxi.”
The drunker we became, my married drinking companion never crossed a line and I enjoyed him for that. The vibe just kept on moving and so did I, as I felt myself gently swaying in my seat, like I’m on a boat of my own making.
My phone beeped halfway through the dinner and it’s my new friend Kyle.
We met on flatmates and bonded over our joint love for bucket-hats and being dog parents to ridiculously animals ( he has a giant white cat called Taco).
So we agreed to meet up for some bar trivia, however at that moment we were just bantering, and so my newly single and sightly drunk ears pricked up at the thought of sleeping with him and being able to meet his cat, Taco.
Thus began another mantra of the night,
“I will not sleep with a man, who has a cat named Taco.
I will not sleep with a man for his cat named Taco.
I will not sleep with a man, or his cat named Marco.”
Towards the end of the dinner, I was getting ready to leave and glanced over to the ends of the table. One was relatively quiet most of the night, which was full of females over 40.
One women I was introduced to, I tried to bond with over her Liver dish which I misheard for Kefir.
I then enquired about how long she had been a vegan for and she continued to look at me from a -1 degree lens to a -6. I quietly slunk back into my chair.
The middle part of the table (where I sat) was full of family dressed in matching smiles, and just like primary school, the other end was full of men over 45.
Throughout the night, I couldn’t help but notice this one older guy circling the long table. He was one of my cousin’s friends, the resident bachelor with a smooth mouth to match. My cousin told me he called me ‘hot’ inadvertently, and I looked at him and though- nope.
He would get up to play musical chairs around the table, I’m guessing as a means of keeping entertained- the party’s extrovert that doubled as an asshole.
Whenever he would float around my area I would open up the menu and pretend it had a Sudoku section that I just needed to decipher.
As my babysitting compartrays and I got up to leave, I shook the hand of my table friend.
” Goodbye all,” I said. “And to my friend, enjoy marriage.”
And then I looked to the next guy who was also looking at me, like a game of duck-duck- marriage.
“Idk if you’re married but… enjoy. Or don’t.”
And then the next.
“And you, I have no idea if your marriage but yep…”
I pointed to the bachelor, since now I have the full table’s attention. “You’re definitely not married… “
“What?” He yelled, happy the spotlight was on him.
“Neither are you, you idk and idk about you.”
And with that said, I left.
The men laughed as the ladies I hadn’t met looked at me like I stole their dinner.
It made me think about if I will be them, chomping on some liver when I’m 45 while all the eyes are on the young thing in the slip dress.
Will I hate her too? Or will I let her have her time in the sun, in that stupid Bambi prancing in the wild, 20-something year-old-way?
I hoped I would, but who knows who I will be by then.
All I did know was I fucking hated liver and I wasn’t that fond of men either.
So I took the two bottles of wine ( presents for my cousins ) and two kids, back to the hotel and fell asleep watching Escape to the country.
After a billion squares were cut, my Uber arrived and I slid in the back as it poured.
It was weird, it felt like everything had changed physically in what seemed like a day.
My old flatmates vanished ( thank god ) and new ones were coming.
My new room was a mess but with some serious potential, which was both exciting and scary.
And I found no missed calls from my ex *** exhales deeply *** and I came home with redder hair than usual.
Upon digging for my keys, I spotted that stupid love frog I gave my ex sitting on the bench outside and in a most dramatic and drunken haze, it ran through my head both keeping it and then throwing it out.
Both seemed like terrible guilt-infused ideas, so I did what any person who watched the Titanic would do-
I threw the frog onto the road.
I then proceeded to pick up, said frog’s broken body and put it back where I found it as it had only been one day since my break up and knowing I destroyed two things, was a little too much to bare.
As I crawled into bed, two fury bodies fell asleep next to mine as I drifted off somewhere else, as the rain began to pour.