Books I Read and Liked and You Will Probably Like Too

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS!

A quick guide to some great fiction you should probably read. If you want to. I’m not forcing you or anything, do what you want. But you probably should.

You know when you’re overseas and the times that you would usually fill up with coffee dates and studying and meals with your family and walking to the train station are strangely empty? Or you’re not overseas, but you’re at a loss for what to do? Or you’re feeling lonely? Or happy? Or ecstatic?

Regardless of the situation, reading a good book is the best solution. Even if there isn’t a problem. Because if they’re clever, the authors will have edited out all the boring bits, or turned them into beautiful prose that makes you think about peeling carrots in a whole new way. Reading a good book completely changes your outlook on… everything. It transports you to a world where you can get inside the head of anyone. Books are the great equaliser. No matter how empathetic you are or how many films you watch, no other medium can make you feel so connected to someone else. While I’m reading a story, I feel like I can truly understand the person who wrote it. Or I can understand the version of themselves that they are writing in all their characters. And I don’t mind that my schedule is as free as a house elf with a sock. In fact, I’m rather pleased by the prospect.

So without further ado, here are my top five favourite books that I’ve read while on exchange, accompanied by little blurbs and faux-artsy pictures that I took on my phone:

 

Dept. Of Speculation – Jenny Offill

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

“Are you still emailing or calling her?”

“No,” he says.

“Are you still sending her music?”

“No,” he says slowly. “I’m not sending her music.”

“What? What are you sending her?”

“Just one video,” he says.

“Of what?”

“Of guinea pigs eating a watermelon.”

 What Kant said: What causes laughter is the sudden transformation of a tense expectation into nothing.

 What the Girl said: Hey, I really like you.

 

What is it and why is it good?

This is a book about a woman who is also a mother and a wife, and her marriage is falling apart. It’s unlike any other book I’ve ever read. As the author wrote, it’s meant to be devoured in one sitting. It’s about as thick as the radius of my thumb. It’s put together in chapters, I suppose. But each chapter is comprised of paragraphs, many of which are only one or two lines long. The author gets into the brain of this character that thought she was going to be an ‘art monster’: a serious career person in a fancy cultural world in the pages of Vanity Fair. As it turns out, she’s now a wife in a bedbug-ridden suburban house with a colic baby that she loves more than anything. She teaches English at university and tells her students to use less description: show, don’t tell! Her husband begins to dislike her. And in the midst of all this, Offill manages to squeeze in sentences that make you astounded that anyone can live life being that damn perceptive, that can turn the psyche of another human being into words on a page that you and I can read.

 

Side Effects – Woody Allen

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

Needleman was not an easily understood man. His reticence was mistaken for coldness, but he was capable of great compassion, and after witnessing a particularly horrible mine disaster once, he could not finish a second helping of waffles.

 

What is it and why is it good?

Yes, I know he’s getting a lot of bad press recently because he maybe did something terrible. If he did do it, I am in no way condoning it. That is fucking awful. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Mr. Allen is a comic genius – at least when it comes to things that aren’t his own life. This book is a collection of short comic stories, and they are just hilarious. They’re all pretty short and contain a plethora of eccentric and idiosyncratic characters with which Mr. Allen has a lot of fun commentating. Think people who wear their dead father’s shoes, but only on one foot and while in the bath, and then you’ve got the vibe of this great compilation. Read it on the bus and people will stare at you as you sporadically guffaw.

 

The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

The poorer girls who work part-time in fast-food and clothing chain stores are able to effect something of a moral victory over the girls who receive an allowance from their parents and don’t have to work for cash. When the less wealthy girls visit the white and shining houses of the rich they always come armed with a strong sense of entitlement, opening the fridge and changing the channel and taking long delicious showers in the morning, always with a guiltless and even pious sense of righting some dreadful inequality in the world.

 

What is it and why is it good?

I know Eleanor Catton is now being touted as the literary world’s newest darling because of her 2013 Man Booker winner, The Luminaries. I’ve read that, and I agree that it is very good. But you know what I think is better? Her first novel, The Rehearsal. From the first page, I was hooked. The reviews all describe this book as clever, and it definitely is. Catton utilizes the good old non-linear time structure, and she keeps switching up the perspectives that the book is written from. So we’re constantly on our toes trying to work out when this chapter is written in relation to that bit we just read. But this book is a lot more than smart literary devices. It is about a saxophone teacher and the schoolgirls that come in and divulge their lives to her every week. It is about a drama student and his first year student-devised play. It’s about sex and desire and growing up. And most of all, it’s about truth and reality, and how there is definitely a difference. Catton completely gets all the different types of teenage girls, and she places them accordingly – the awkward ones, the golden ones, the unremarkable ones. With an honesty that cuts through all pretension, Catton reveals all the thoughts that no one wants anyone else to know.

 

How We Are Hungry – Dave Eggers

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

Notes For A Story Of A Man Who Will Not Die Alone

 

Around 8,000 words.

Quick-moving. Simple language. No descriptions of rooms or funishings.

The man is in his seventies. He’s spry, lucid.

Possible names: Anson. Or Basil. Or Greg,

He doesn’t want to die alone.

 

More than that, he wants to die surrounded by as many people as possible. The story is about if and how he might achieve this.

 

Derek: Do you want to limit the receiving line to people you know?

Basil: No, no. Anyone.

Derek: So complete strangers should be able to come up and say hello, goodbye?

Basil: Yes.

Derek: But people are strange. Many people are strange. Aren’t you afraid that there’d be some strange person out there?

Basil: At a thing like this? It’ll be self-selecting, don’t you think? People are strange, but more than that, they’re good. They’re good first, then strange.

Derek: I guess. But there’ll be Goth types, I bet. And evangelicals.

 

What is it and why is it good?

This is another compilation of short stories. And although they couldn’t be defined as ‘comic’, there are certainly moments of intense humour. The author is Dave Eggers, who some of you might know of in his role as the founder of McSweeney’s Publishing (you know, the legends that bring you McSweeney’s Internet Tendency?) Eggers puts his characters together as a builder erects a house. With each abstracted, descriptive sentence, he adds another layer to the random name that he has written down. Eggers slowly evolves the idea of a character into a fully-fledged person with each tacked-on bit of information that he sees fit to provide us with. No word is wasted. No flowery descriptions or unnecessary anecdotes. We are introduced to strained relationships, sad realizations and pithy, limp affairs in coastal hotel rooms. We finish the book with a man who finally understands – God is the sun. And this makes perfect sense to us.

 

Ancient Light – John Banville

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A Few Lines That Exemplify the Book as a Whole:

It occurs to me that of all the women I have known in my life I know Lydia the least. Can it be the case? Can I have lived all these years with an enigma?—an enigma of my own making? Cass’s death conferred, I think, a false weight, a false seriousness upon us and our life together. The task I suppose was no more and no less than that of continuing to mourn her, without stint or complaint, as fiercely as we had in the first days after she was gone. To do otherwise, to weaken, to lay down the burden for the merest moment, would be to lose her with a finality that would have seemed more final than death itself.

 

What is it and why is it good?

First of all, John Banville in general is the best. For some reason in my head I always classify him as the younger, Irish counterpart to Julian Barnes, even though I have no idea if Barnes actually influenced Banville at all. It’s just that both their stories all seem to avoid closure so that they can make some comment about the trickiness of history and truth in narrative. Anyway, that’s a bit of a side note; sorry. Ancient Light is a brilliant novel. It’s about an aging man who is looking back on his life, particularly to his affair as a young boy with his best friend’s mother. There’s more to the plot than that, but that’s the gist. As with all Banville’s work, the plot is not really what is most important. Instead, it is his ability to manipulate language into a thing of beauty, and compress into a few paragraphs a revelation that would take most of us several decades to even begin to formulate. He ruminates on the difficulties faced by the storyteller – how what we might imagine has happened is rarely the truth – and how this re-imagined truth is generally what informs our present character. More than this, Banville elegantly and poignantly shows us how relationships define us in ways that we mostly cannot know.

 

All of these books are highly recommended, guys. They are legitimately excellent, and not just in a “Oh it was a hellavaread!” kind of way. I’ve even been so discerning as to eliminate my beloved ­Hush, Hush­­ fallen angel, teen-fiction series from this list, that’s how much I care about it’s literary integrity. But if you can’t be bothered reading stuff with words of more than three syllables, definitely go for anything by Becca Fitzpatrick. She captures the angsty world of fallen angels with aplomb, and all her books come with muscly dudes and hot chicks pictured on the cover. Thumbs up!

An Underage Australian’s Guide to Getting Drunk in Austin

Hey guys!

Sorry I haven’t posted in ages, but you don’t care that much and I’ve been too busy discovering Santa Cruz’s rad fauna. Basically life as an exchange student in Santa Cruz is comprised of drinking tequila in your bedroom because most people are under 21, and then going to the meadow to meet high randoms and shoot laser beams amongst the redwood trees. Seriously, laser beams are awesome, everyone should get on it. Then the next day you wake up around 5pm, realize that you’ve missed all your classes, and you do the whole thing all over again – except for my flat mate Irish Shane, who is the pinnacle of studiousness and general goodness. So Shane’s parents, if you are reading this, Shane remains uncorrupted: he’s still the polite, IT genius legend you raised. Can we all just pause for a second and celebrate Shane? K thanks.

What a legend he is
What a legend he is

But now that the gf has arrived, we are currently in Austin, Texas, because YOLO. Usually you ask someone in America if they have travelled much and they will proudly list off a whole bunch of different cities – all in their home state. For Australians, as we well know, if you want to experience anything very different, you have to get on a plane. And unless your idea of a multicultural adventure is Auckland, chances are you’ll be on that big bird for several hours at the least. So the three and a half hour plane trip from San Francisco to Austin isn’t really a big deal. It takes longer to get from Sydney to Perth.

Austin: the land of new friends who buy you drinks @Shangri La Bar
Austin: the land of new friends who buy you drinks @Shangri La Bar

Now we are here, Iz and I are doing things a bit differently than we did in Santa Cruz – except for the sleeping during the day thing. That’s still working well for us. Luckily for Iz, she’s twenty-one. Unluckily for me, I am not. So, here is the first rule for being an underage Australian drinker in Austin:

Make sure to get a foreign 21 year old’s ID that looks a bit like you.

It’s not enough to get the ID of your 21-year-old American doppelgänger. Bouncers are accustomed to seeing these all the time, and they will easily pick out the fact that the person in the photo isn’t you. As once happened to me in Wholefoods while trying to buy artesian beer (I know, I’m a wanker – but it was Wholefoods! What was I supposed to get? They don’t have anything un-artesian), the sales assistant said, while peering at my ID, “This isn’t you.” To which I responded, “Um, yes it is?” And then he said, “No, it definitely isn’t.” To which I replied, “Good point,” and quickly got the hell out of there.

"I'm defs over 21"
“I’m defs over 21”

The key is to get a foreign ID, because this confuses American bouncers. You can see the bewilderment spread across their faces as they try to work out where the date is. In all this befuddlement, they forget to look at the actual photo. Bingo, you’re in. My British ID belongs to my cousin, so shout-out to her for looking vaguely like me, and for allowing me to explore my English accent talents when talking to bouncers.

Now that you know the key to actually getting into bars when you shouldn’t legally be there, the next step is to know the cool places to drink. A fake ID means nothing if you end up downing beers in a sports bar with mid-westerners. In Austin, you have two main choices. In other words,

Do you want to get drunk with a) povo students like you, or b) people who pretend to be povo students but are really interior designers wearing threadbare Phillip Lim 3.1?

If your answer is a), you want to go to ‘Dirty 6th’. This is a street jam-packed with grimy clubs, bars and pubs, and hawkers standing at every entrance yelling, “Get your $3 jaeger shots! $2 Irish car bombs!” One dude screamed this at Iz and me, to which we responded, “We might come back later!” He jovially replied, “That’s what my Papa said to me when he left our family one night when I was a kid, and he still hasn’t come back!” Ah, pathos.

Dirty 6th is located in the heart of downtown, and is basically where all the students from nearby University of Texas go, and where tourists from interstate come to experience ‘city life’. Not to mention the backpackers. So many backpackers.

Our new mates! @Pete's Piano Bar
Our new mates! @Pete’s Piano Bar

Our favourite on this strip is probably Pete’s Piano Bar. Yes, it’s a $5 cover, but it is a feckload of fun. Walk in, and you’ve got tables of out-of-towners getting their Austin live music fix. You’ve also got two smooth-as piano players and crooners belting out pop covers and schmoozing the crowd with their sweet tunes. Additionally, you’ve got a hot waitress walking around selling $4 jello shots in syringes, and a bar full of cheap drinks, and bartenders who will take selfies of themselves instead of you when you ask them to take a happy snap of you and your mates. Iz and I came here on our first night and befriended some awesome women from Dallas who were celebrating one of their 40th birthdays. We became fast friends and bonded over tequila shots, jello shots, and every other shot. I woke up the next morning with a lovely email from one of them entitled, “We will be in Sydney in two years!” I guess I’ll be having houseguests…

Oh and I should mention that once you are drunk and after food, you should definitely walk east along the street until you find Gourdough’s, the amazing doughnut truck catering to people so inebriated they have forfeited all calorie qualms and just want stuff that tastes really freaking good. Iz and I are big fans of the ‘Fat Elvis’: a massive doughnut covered in peanut butter glaze, topped with caramelized banana and crispy bacon.

If you answered b), you’ll want to head to ‘East Sixth’. This area keeps winning all the sarcastic awards for ‘most quickly gentrified area in Austin’, but whatever. We still think it’s awesome, and the plethora of fabulous bars and delicious food trucks means that it will remain awesome for some time yet. Some winners in our eyes include

Cheer Up Charlie’s

Cheer Up, Patio!
Cheer Up, Patio!

This place is known for being ‘LGBT friendly’, so Iz and I were super stoked that we would have instant mates! But apart from this title, it’s also just a very rad bar, with patios out back and front, yummy drinks (including the amaze-balls hot apple cider with rum) and live bands and drag queen acts on Saturdays (and maybe other days: I have no idea, I was just there on a Saturday). When we were there, this incredible singer/rapper Katy B was performing, and she had everyone twerking and yelling and generally looking ridiculous. Charlie’s definitely cheered us up.

Shangri-La

Mehooo $4 each: vodka and something else but mostly vodka
Mehooo $4 each: vodka and something else but mostly vodka

To be honest, I don’t really remember that much of this place, apart from the fact that it was full of super-friendly people that bought us drinks, and wound up in our iPhone camera albums the next morning. However, I think one of the reasons I remember it so fondly is that it rocked in comparison to Yellow Jacket Social Club, the bar we had hit up just previously. This place is touted as being a ‘hipster haven’, so we assumed it would have a pretty liberal-minded clientele. But Iz was talking to some people who were being really friendly while I was in the bathroom, and then when I came back and she introduced me as her gf, they literally just walked away without saying another word. Literally. Just. Walked. Away. I would expect this in Tennessee maybe, but not in Austin. So thumbs down, Yellow Jacket, thumbs down. Another notable mention goes to The Liberty, whose drinks are delish, but whose food truck in the backyard, East Side King, served up the best pork buns I’ve ever tasted. (Obviously, I really like pork).

Brooklyn Lager and Liberty... and Pork Buns from the East Side Kings food truck in the back
Brooklyn Lager and Liberty… and Pork Buns from the East Side King food truck in the back

Now you’re drunk, you should hit up the food trucks just near Cheer Up Charlie’s. The al pastor (pork) taco at the taco truck was like actually the best thing I’d ever consumed, and the candy-covered bacon dipped in chocolate and salt from the fried food truck next to it, Fried and True, was heart attack heaven. Well done, Austin.

Finally, a special mention goes to Qui.

The first of my rabbit seven ways was a soup thingo that came in a CUP THAT LOOKED LIKE A RABBIT
The first of my rabbit seven ways was a soup thingo that came in a CUP THAT LOOKED LIKE A RABBIT

Also on East 6th, it is apparently the ‘hottest restaurant in Austin’ or some such hyperbole. But Iz and I went there for our one year anniversary dinner for a fancy, fancy night, and boy did it deliver. Some hits included rabbit seven ways, the crispy chicken skin cabbage salad and the (OMG SO GOOD TRUST ME) cheddar cheese ice cream with crispy waffles, goat milk cajeta, peanut praline, aged cheddar ice cream. Service was excellent, wine was delicious. And afterwards some cheeky cocktails at the East Side Showroom.

I could go on and on about all the other food and drinks we’ve consumed here, but suffice to say, this town is amazing. Young Australians, just remember to get your fake ID and practice your poker face, and you too can soon be losing your wallet while climbing a fence and yodeling into your hostel at 4am with the best of them. Good luck!

 

 

How To: Travel Alone And Not Be A Creep

I know, I know. I haven’t blogged in ages. And I’m not going to do one of those “I’m so sorry guys, I haven’t posted! I know I’ve let my readers down, it won’t happen again!” things, because I know you guys don’t care that much. You’re happy to read over this while doing shots. And that’s fine with me. As Tash said in her first (and only!) guest post for Why Don’t You, ambivalence is cool. Keep it up, everyone. Or don’t. Whatever.

Anyway, the reason I have not been posting is because I have been swept up in the delight that is being a solo tourist in the city of New York. I’m here for three weeks before I begin a University exchange for six months in Santa Cruz.

Before I came here, I thought travelling alone to be the most romantic concept ever. I would sit in cafes reading my book whilst handsome strangers questioned me about my clearly fascinating life and ideas. I would peruse cute little flea markets and make friends with everyone I talked to. I would never, ever be lonely. Unless of course it suited the song I was listening to (here’s looking at you, “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” by LCD Soundsystem). The thing is, travelling alone in a foreign city isn’t actually like this. Weirdly, native New Yorkers don’t just jump at the chance of being friends with that random chick they see sitting at the coffee shop. The people likely to talk to you at bars are not poets and bankers with hearts. They are sleazes. Or they are the bartender, asking if you would like the bill or your fifth margarita. At least that’s been my experience. Please don’t comment if it hasn’t been yours, it will just make me depressed. This is for those of us who don’t look like Miranda Kerr.

All this being said, my time in NY has been amazing. I’ve met great people and seen amazing things and drunk just plain weird things. But this has not happened through the laissez faire methods I had first envisaged. So here is a list identifying the fool-proof ways to make friends and discover the awesome stuff in whatever city you happen to be flying solo in.

  1. Stay Somewhere That People Have to Talk to You
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my caravan!

This can be a hostel, or a b and b or a shared room. Just make sure you avoid hotels, because they are the most depressing places ever if you are travelling alone and not a ridiculously gregarious person (a la Bill Murray if he hadn’t come across Scarlett Johannson in Lost In Translation). I’ve been staying in a caravan within this awesome artist’s commune place in Brooklyn. I know it sounds wanky, but it’s actually great for meeting people who do interesting things. They’re all artists and carpenters and ‘video artists’ and shit like that. Suspend your cynicism, because they’re all actually really cool. If you loiter around the communal kitchen area long enough, you’re bound to crack up a conversation with someone you think is funny and who will come to lunch with you (success!) In fact, the place I’m staying at ends up in a party most nights. If you’re in NY this Saturday, we’re having another portrait party as part of this art project that a few guys here are doing. They’re making a music video using antique tin-type photography and having a series of parties to celebrate. PM me for the address/ more info. I found my accommodation through air b and b. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a website through which you can rent out rooms in people’s apartments and houses (and communes!) I highly recommend it and it’s usually way cheaper than hotels.

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My Tin-Type Portrait!

 2. Hang Around Bookstores

Bookstores are great! I mean, if you’re not interested in books, clearly don’t hang around in bookstores. But if you are, then this a sure place to meet people with similar interests to you. Don’t go some generic bookstore. Pick a really arty one with a weird 80s theme or something so you can pretend to share a passion with the person standing next to you. I’m such a weirdo that I was just wandering around Chelsea and I heard this cool looking old guy say to his friend that he was walking to a particular bookstore nearby, so I literally followed him there. A bit dodgy on my part? Yes. But did it end up in me meeting these really cool Aussie blokes and one American and having a rad night drinking cocktails from dive bars and going to funny art exhibition openings? Yes. Seriously, book stores. They are the new Friendster.

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one of the artworks at the gallery we ended up at.
it’s so true.
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it’s a garden of plastic cameras!
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so true you can’t even see ‘thru’ it

3. Be Enigmatic at Markets

Markets are wonderful because people only see you for a second and then you disappear from sight amongst a throng of hip people. So, according to their naïve worldview, you might be a mysterious novelist from a foreign land walking through the market on your way to write a book about eggs! I went to Williamsburg Flea Market on my lonesome, ate a falafel roll and started reading my book (Zadie Smith’s ‘On Beauty’ – really good by the way) and then as it turned out the guy next to me was reading the exact same book. So then we got talking and he took me to a poetry reading that night. Too easy! Thanks Zadie, I owe you one.

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Williamsburg Flea Markets

4. Look at Paintings for A Long Time In Art Galleries

Because if you look at paintings for a short time, the dark stranger in the corner will assume you are a shallow tourist. If you stare at them for more than five minutes each, he/she will know that you are both interested and interesting. Then he/she will ask you what you think of the metaphorical composition of the cross-hatching, and you will respond that although you see its relevance within the circumference of fifteenth century Spanish fundamentalist sculpture, it doesn’t resonate with you as much as the simple zip painting on the floor above. This way he/she will note that your intelligence is tempered by self-aware modesty and the two of you will share a knowing laugh. By the way, this didn’t happen to me. But it might happen to you!

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it’s a penis chair… insightful?

5. Get A Positive Tattoo

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This way people will know that you are deep and tortured enough to get a tattoo, but not so depressed that you don’t want to talk to them. I got a tattoo in Williamsburg the other day and it reads ‘all will be well’ in my own handwriting. I actually did get it because it is something that my Dad always says to me when I am feeling catatonic/depressed/generally sad and it always gives me a light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to, but strangers don’t know that! They think I am just a fun-loving chick with an optimistic attitude to life! This is great, because even if I’m in a bad mood or my dress has tucked itself into my undies, they assume that I’ll get through it with a smile on my face! And then they will invite me to a rad warehouse party in Bushwick!

6. Drink

Need I say more? You’ll never be alone for long. And if you are, at least you’ll be having a good time.

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alone in a cafe

OR

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around a campfire w some random Germans (luv u conrad!)

Legs Be Open About It: #vaginasoit

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I just published a piece for yeahnah.tv about the now infamous #vaginasoit scandal. It’s about censorship, female genitalia and general Western prudery.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Eighteen vulva mug shots, all lined up in neat little boxes. Like a Rubik’s cube that you can’t rearrange because it’s on the cover of Sydney Uni’s student newspaper, Honi Soit and therefore 2D. The vulvas are staring at you, lips open, pouting, pissed off because they can see your obvious dismay. You are shocked. And this shocks you. So why is it that a few photographs of female genitalia, completely unadorned and decontextualized, cause so much furor both in the psyche of the community and in the judgment of the law?”

Check out the full article here.

Lezbehonest: Hate Mail Sucks

When I started blogging, I knew that some bitchy comments and snarky retorts would follow. Not everyone agrees with what I write, and sometimes I do switch to hyperbolic mode because it elicits a stronger reaction. I don’t write timidly using noncommittal verbs. Most of the time my posts are satirical and self-depricating. Sadly, the internet doesn’t seem to get satire, so sometimes I put a little disclaimer at the bottom to alleviate the amount of anonymous phantoms commenting things like “u is a dumb bitch”. Or this baby, on my (obviously satirical) piece about the Eastern suburbs:

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It still doesn’t really work that well. But regardless, I was prepared for the collective rage of the internet. I get that typing h8 at randoms in CAPS LOCKS is cheaper than a therapy session. I’m fine with people misinterpreting what I’m saying and calling me a damn Liberal supporter as soon as I criticise a Labour policy. For the record though, I am pretty left wing in terms of politics. I don’t apologise. This is a blog, not a news website.  That being said, I don’t rule out any party because I like to look at both sides of every issue. I try to employ this thing called objectivity. E.g. I don’t generally support the Liberal Party but I’d be cool with Malcolm Turnbull as PM because I think he’s a damn good politician with fair ideas and just motives. And most of the time my posts are light hearted and have a dig at everyone, not just the people I fundamentally disagree with. So when I got slammed with this comment, I thought it was pretty funny (albeit misguided, because I agree with most of what ‘so…’ is saying):

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So no, its not the comments about my content that really bug me. People can say what they think and be rude and crude, like this guy here:
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What bugs me is when people decide that it is okay to start harassing my very character, my body and the groups that I am involved with (luv u Law Revue!) completely decontextualised from my blog because I am as they call it “a dyke”. Because you know what?

Gay hate is NEVER funny, never clever and never socially acceptable, even on your mate’s Facebook wall.

I recently became aware of this charming comment feed. Take a look:

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Not only is this incredibly cruel on a personal level (i.e. I know I’m no model but it’s still not very nice to be called “horrific” on the internet), but it completely insults and dehumanises the entire gay community. So I thought I would clarify some things for Mr. M:

1. Women do not ‘turn’ gay because no men will have them
Lesbianism is a way of being, completely unconnected to whether some dude thinks you are hot or not. In fact, it has nothing to do with men. See if your obviously inflated ego can handle that, Mr. M. Most women are gay because they like sleeping with other women, and they connect more with women on an emotional level. I say ‘most’ because I’m not going to rule out the possibility that at least one or two women have turned gay since encountering your disgusting and homophobic personality, Mr. M.

2. Lesbians can have babies
You cleverly point out that there I am holding a baby in my profile picture. This seems incongruous to you because “I can’t even have them”. Pointing out the obvious here, Mr. M, it is I who has the uterus, not you. Lesbian couples can easily have children. It is true that we require sperm from a male donor. But you sir require a willing woman in which to plant your seed, which I highly doubt you’ll find if you are as unthinking to all women as you have been to me. I think it is time you get off your homophobic horse and realise that gay parents care for their children just as much as straight parents. And if you are worried about lesbian parenting resulting in a whole lot of mini-lesbians, rest assured that homosexuality is not genetic. The same percentage of children with gay parents will turn out to be gay as those with straight parents. Check out this website if you decide you want to try out that ‘objectivity’ thing I was talking about earlier.

And finally,

3. You Sir are a homophobic dickhead

Regards,

mad.ass

Stuff Eastern Suburbs People Like

I was re-watching Looking For Alibrandi the other day (a great film about the struggles of wealth, ethnicity and teen suicide set to a tear-inducing soundtrack of U2 and Australian rock). Once again, I was struck by the protagonist Josie’s perceptive and cynical asides. And those of her slutty friend Sera. And despite being a dramatized version of reality, I felt that Sera pretty much got this right:

“Listen, the poor marry the poor, the wogs marry the wogs, the westies marry the westies and the north shore marry the north shore. And sometimes they marry and crossbreed with the eastern suburbs”.

 

Except for the bit about people from the eastern suburbs deigning to intermarry with those of the North Shore variety. This is highly uncommon simply because eastern suburbites share a very specific collection of idiosyncrasies, incompatible with the population of any other postcode. Perhaps a Vaucluse chick might date a Hunters Hill guy for a while, but only if he’s caught the school bus across to Scots all his life thus allowing his thorough indoctrination into the ways of the East. However, osmosis can only go so far. She’ll probably break up with him soon so she can free herself up for the banker’s son who lives down the street from her. After all, their parents play tennis together.

For your voyeuristic benefit, my m8 Mads and I have compiled a list of stuff eastern suburbs people like. This way you can spot them if you ever see them past the CBD and you can redirect them home. Feel free to hit up the comments if you think of anything we’ve missed.

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Who are these people?

Pretending to like Indie Musicians
This is a classic. Being from the eastern suburbs requires a careful balance of letting people know you are rich by the clothes you wear and the gym you go to, but also of keeping in touch with what is ‘rad’ and ‘trendy’ among the real impoverished hipsters. This way you can pay ridiculous amounts for clothes that make you look like an artistic type living off the busking earnings of your folk band, with the comfortable knowledge that they come from Tuchuzy and have never been infected by the grime of an inner-west share house. Along the same lines, you go to Splendour because it is the done thing, not because you like or know the musicians. While there you say things like “I love Chet Faker, they are so good” and “It’s so cute that that Mumford guy started a band with his sons”.

Faux-Generously Bringing Good Wine to Friend’s Houses For Dinner When It’s Actually From Your Parent’s Wine Cellar
Why go to a bottle shop when you’ve got access to the best of every grape in your very own house?

fashion-girl-glasses-pizza-rumi-Favim
Taking Selfies Eating Boyfriend’s Food
Clearly, girls from the Eastern suburbs do not eat. If they ate, they couldn’t wear Bec and Bridge body-con dresses with the aplomb that they do today. What would a night at The Bucket List be were it not full to the brim with balayage-locked heiresses donning midriff tops and drinking vodka sodas? Luckily though, canny eastern suburbs chicks have come to the realization that they can make other girls more jealous by pretending that they eat crap and still have the body of a pre-pubescent. So comes the ‘boyfriend’s food selfie’, whereby skinny girls who have ordered the side salad take a photo of themselves biting a slice of their male counterpart’s pizza and then post it on Instagram with the caption ‘OMG, so full #carbloading #screwdiets’. Eating disorder successfully hidden: mission accomplished.

The Bondi to Bronte Walk
On a Sunday morning after brunch at Bill’s. Fluoro Lulu Lemon sports tops and Skins are a must.

Boat People
I don’t mean to say that Eastern suburbs people all have a fondness for refugees who will now be shipped off to live in a tent in PNG where they will likely be sexually assaulted and will then have no recourse to justice because PNG is a developing country with a corrupt legal system (check out this for more reasons why Krudd’s policy sucks). No, what I mean is that eastern suburbs people love people who own boats, yachts, cruisers and fun sea equipment. It’s a common practice to choose friends based on the boat-ownership status of their parents. As an unnamed friend of mine commented this morning, “I really feel I’ve failed in making friends because none of my friends have boats… I need friends with boats”. Were wiser words ever spoken?

A low-Qauy Sweet 16!! #familyfun! #nothingfancy!
A low-Qauy Sweet 16!!
#familyfun! #nothingfancy!

 
Low-Quay Family Dinners
It’s not enough to suggest the local Chinese place for dinner with the rents. Clearly. A conversation you are more likely to hear in Bellevue Hill is this:
“Yeah of course you should come, it’s just our weekly family dinner, friends can come, not a big deal”.
“Awesome, where should I meet you?”
“Icebergs”.

Hating on Kevin Rudd With No Political Knowledge
Clearly eastern suburbs people don’t read the paper, because who has time for that when Elle looks so shiny and new? However, they also know that it’s good to show some political indignation from time to time, to make out that their private school education garnered them some interest in the exercise of their sovereignty. So from time to time they will randomly mutter things like “Bloody Rudd” and “NSW State Politics is such a joke”.

Being Prudish
It’s one thing to watch steamy art-house cinema. It’s another to actually perform the deeds shown on screen in real life. One eastern suburbs friend retorted, in response to an accusation that she was averse to the kinky side of life, “I can be, you know…” (She was so unkinky that she couldn’t muster up the kinkiness to say the word ‘kinky’).

Not Understanding the Gonski Reforms so getting your Dad to Invite Mr Gonski Over For Dinner
Because they are golf buddies at Royal Sydney. The same principle follows in all other walks of life. Got a medicine assignment that’s proving a brain-twister? Ask your Mum. Because she’s the head of Brain Surgery at Prince of Wales.

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Bassike
For basics. Starting at $295 for an oversized t-shirt.

Things that are Bespoke, Organic and Hand-crafted
Think monogrammed luggage, eggs from Sean Moran’s mini-farm and smoked Tasmanian duck with a side of Hunter Valley celeriac puree and lime vinaigrette sourced from ‘our neighbour’s’ vegie co-op in Surry Hills.
 

Stevia
Like sugar, but without sugar.

Disclaimer: This is satire. Please keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to send hate mail.

One Night Stands: What The Morning After Says About Her

One night stands, we’ve all had them. (Except you, Sydney Uni Pentocostalists with the green shirts – no one doubts your chastity for a second!) The rest of us head to the Cross meat market on a Friday night to pick up our young hussy, and we head home for a night of drunken frivolity. Or maybe not the rest of us. Maybe just most of us. Perhaps hanging out with Jordan McVeigh and Matthew Cranley these past holidays has warped my view of the world. Matthew informed me this morning that one of his most memorable one night stand anecdotes is when he caught the chick he’d just rooted trying to do a runner, and upon further inquiry she revealed that she had “pissed the bed”. Charming. Regardless, one night stands are pretty omnipresent these days.

Contrary to traditional belief, it is not what the girl does before or during coitus that allows you to delve into the depths of her soul. It’s the morning after. In these shameful hours of sunlight (or darkness, depending how early your conquest scarpers off from your share house), the true character and motives of your almost-anonymous luvah are revealed. Here are a few types of babe and what her morning after tactics suggests about her and the probable longevity of your relationship.

The Girl Who Just Won’t Leave

Just because she acted like a chick with loose morals last night, doesn't mean she won't want a stable relationship in the morning
Just because she acted like a chick with loose morals last night, doesn’t mean she won’t want a stable relationship in the morning

Everyone’s bound to experience this at least once in his or her life. This girl was really cool last night, totally chill, told you that she just wanted a casual thing. You guys sipped mojitos and she let you feel her bum on the barstool. The sex was pretty good, if a bit fumbly. But now, the morning after, she Just. Won’t. Go. Whether this is because she is actually homeless, or because she is trying to force you into being in a relationship with her by literally always staying by your side, this one is a crazy. You hint that you have work and that your roommate hates strangers but she does not take the bait. Finally, you tell her to just wait outside for a sec while you get your car keys to drive her to the train station. And then you lock her out. Possible stalker successfully eliminated. (Thanks Cranley for the real life inspiration – you are a fountain of ONS wisdom).

The Girl Who Makes You Breakfast

When I say she'll make breakfast, she might just bring you wine. Wine is better.
When I say she’ll make breakfast, she might just bring you wine. Wine is better.

This one is in for the long haul. Not as desperate as the former, but she’s still interested in being your wifey, and she’s letting you know damn well that she’s good at domestic chores. Phew, no awkward gender role switching, just patriarchy at its finest. She brings you pancakes in bed to let you know that she’s not the brazen floozy she made herself out to be last night, and even though you know perfectly well that you love the single life, you ask her on a date because your Mum’s in another city and your washing hasn’t been done since you moved in here. And look, I know you’re happy with your bachelorhood atm, but best to keep this lady on the backburner fellas, as she’ll be damn useful once you’ve turned thirty five and realise you’re completely alone. Oh wait, no she won’t. Because it will have dawned on her what a pig you are and she will have become a lesbian.

The Girl Who Sneaks Out In The Middle Of The Night

#dreamgurl
#dreamgurl

You wake up and your dream girl is gone. This is because you are not her dream man. She slept with you because other viable male options were limited last night and you bought her the most drinks. She was disappointed with your attempts at giving her love bites as they really hurt and if she wanted to be bitten by a wannabe vampire she’d go to a fetishist. She didn’t leave because there was an emergency, like she apologetically texted to you (if she even bothered to make semi-conciliatory contact after the event). She left because you weren’t that good in bed and you only talked to her about your dreams to emulate your Dad’s business success and that’s why he paid for you to get into Commerce/Law. Unless you become a different person, chances of a relationship are none to none. But on the bright side, you’ll probably find someone in Commerce/Law who is as boring and arrogant as you. Good luck!