6 reasons why Christmas really is MAGIC. And one reason it’s sometimes confusing.

magic-christmas1

(As seen in December 2011 DarwinLife Magazine – EXTENDED REMIX)

Background: A few weeks prior to this going to print, Kim Kardashian announced her divorce after 70 whatever days. ..

You know those days when you wake up, and your hair already looks good, you find twenty dollars in your jeans pocket; you’ve lost three kilos overnight, and then you tongue-pash Leo DiCaprio while Ryan Reynolds waits his turn before proposing marriage? Well to me, waking up on Christmas morning is more magical than that. Except for the Ryan/Leo bit, because that’s not magic when you’re a blonde model-turned-actress. That’s a couple of months ago.

I don’t understand people who hate Christmas. What’s not to love about a holiday that includes over-indulging in eating, drinking and sleeping?  Yes I just filled my bowl for the third time with Brandy custard trifle, and then chased it with a giant bucket of fudge and 4 glasses of sparkling something-or-other. Yes there’s a chance I’ll be sick later but tomorrow’s a holiday. ANOTHER ONE!

And without sounding too materialistic; don’t forget presents. Because Christmas without presents is like Kate Moss without makeup. Or Shane Warne without Liz.

The magic of Christmas doesn’t end there. Here’s my list of Christmassy magic, all starting with S because S is the symbol for $ and Christmas isn’t cheap. Also, like everyone I recently pondered the stupidity that is Kim Kardashian, and thought about Kristmas at their house. They’ll have Kris Kringle, and eat kookies and kandy. And they’ll give each other their own kardashian kollection krap.

Kardashian

Sparkle: I love that Christmas is so shiny. The streets, the shops, and also when I’m outside in 99% humidity, my face! Everywhere you turn there’s sparkle and shine. Bells ringing and trees blinging. But please!  If I must listen to Jingle Bells, I’ll listen to the Frank Sinatra version. Not the Earrings-Hanging-Off-Your-Ears version.

Santa: I hope someone is paying Santa the big bucks, particularly given the awkward and potentially litigious practice of having children sit on his lap to ask for presents.  Santa is the master magician. The words, “I’ll tell Santa” can strike fear into even the baddest little brat. And the look on kid’s faces on Christmas morning is beyond magic. If you could harness the excitement from every 3-6 year old after Santa’s visit, the world’s energy crisis would be over.

SANTA

Come to think of it, Coke should pay him. They invented him!

Seafood: No explanation required. Unless you’re one of those freaks that doesn’t eat seafood in which case you don’t deserve Christmas!

Spreading cheer: I LOVE giving presents. Openly. Anonymously. Shopping for them. Wrapping them. All of it. For some reason, it makes me feel like I’M a magician. Like I’m George Clooney’s manhood bringing outcries of pleasure to every exploding star in every galaxy.

GIFTS

Sugar: Everyone has their own ‘dessert’ tradition, and I think that’s what makes Christmas so amazing. Any occasion that makes us and supermarkets focus so much attention on chocolate and custard and pie and fudge and cookies and pudding and ice-cream and lollies has GOT to be magic. Although, as made aware to me by authors of the awesome blog: Spend Less Nourish More; Forrero Rochers lost their magic in 2003. Enough with the merchandising like it’s ‘special.’ Stick it on the shelf with Kit Kats. Ta.

Siesta: This is mandatory on Christmas day because of two words: Food coma.

food-coma

 

And now for something equally magical but quite confusing….

Singing: Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE singing. Especially when I know the harmony and can sing like I’m one third of Destiny’s Child. Frankly? I’m surprised my career as an International Popstar is taking so long. Christmas Carols reserve a special place in my voice box.  Singing them is what I call Christmas Cheer. But when you stop and consider the words – well sometimes it’s confusing. And non-carolly type Christmas songs are WORSE!

So this first: Apparently (read it on internet so must be true), in the times of Yore or Good King Wenceslas when the words to a song were considered in bad taste (ie anything by L’il Kim) rather than sing tawdry verse in question, singers would replace dirty verse with: ‘fa la la la la’. Which makes me wonder about Deck The Halls. Because ‘Dawn we now our gay apparel??’ Nope. Don’t want to know.

Meanwhile, some other words / phrases that confuse me: Feast of Steven? Not familiar with it, although it sounds wonderful. Manger? Only ever heard the word in 2 songs. Ever. Actually, the alternative would be ‘Away in a food trough.’ It makes me think that the birth of Jesus has been highly romanticised and the nitty gritty details of that first Christmas night have been kept a secret. Who cut the umbilical cord? Did they save the placenta? And my biggest question of all…. SILENT NIGHT?  I mean this was pre-epidural times. And I can say with certainty they were not Scientologists. Whoever wrote Silent Night has never been in labour.

nativity by Julie Vivas

From the book ‘The Nativity’ illustrated by Julie Vivas. This is probably how Mary actually looked: Exhausted and like she’s still 4 months pregnant.

 

Another completely random song, “Do you hear what I hear.” In this song the wind is talking to a baby sheep. Maybe the sheep was Dinging and Donging Merrily on High.

Finally, I can’t fail to mention quite possibly the worst song ever written by man. And that’s saying a lot because most people reserve that title for Achy Breaky Heart. But Jingle Bell Rock can go and die in a chestnut-roasting fire. Any song that asks me to “mix and a-mingle to a jinglin’ beat” ceases to deserve a place in my Yuletide vernacular.

Jingle Bell Rock from the movie Mean Girls. I hope it goes without saying that I am equally uncomfortable with Sexy teenage dancers.

Jingle Bell Rock from the movie Mean Girls. I hope it goes without saying that I am equally uncomfortable with Sexy teenage dancers.

So anyway, to anyone that maintains they hate this time of year: Stop sulking. Submit to the magic and savour the season.

Syclone Sindy says.

The Hunger Games

I’m supposed to be on a diet at the moment, so I’ve been eating mostly steamed confusion and rage.

I’ve been hungry. Which is good when you’re playing the hunger games. Except – so hungry I just ate a whole box of Jatz crackers. Not quite as bad as a whole bag of lollies or a whole block of chocolate; a feat that I have accomplished before, but still gluttonish all the same. My Jatz moment was proof that I have not yet mastered the game of going hungry.

I’m just not at one with that starving feeling. Especially when it’s self imposed.  My stomach tells my brain, “Pfft! Whatevs, you’re the boss, you’ve been awesome all day – just eat it.”  And then my brain goes “Ooookkaaay!” And then I go into a carb-induced high and forget to stop eating.

And now this! Jatz guilt. Why do we do this to ourselves? Because Summer is coming and everyone knows what that means. BUSHFIRE SEASON, and also bikini season. THEY ARE BOTH MURDEROUS!

And if you want to avoid DYING OF REMORSE in the swimsuit fitting rooms because you don’t look like this:

Because when I sit like this, twisting my ribs sideways… It is a sight to behold!

…then you’ll have to DIE every time you feel like a piece of chocolate chunk cheesecake. Or a salted caramel macaroon. Or wedge of gorgonzola dolce with spiced pear paste. Or chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake bars. And WHEN DID PEOPLE USE SO MANY ADJECTIVES FOR FOOD.

And so we start the hunger games. There are no set rules. We make our own rules according to our own previous successes or failures at losing weight. Some play by skipping breakfast or lunch. Some eat all meals but tiny bird-like portions. Some replace meals. Some skip carbs. Some refrain from sugars. Others from meat and dairy.  Some sadly, forget it’s a game and do get very sick. **

Think I’m being ridiculous? Irresponsible even – for suggesting that I won’t enjoy Summer unless I’m a socially acceptable size 8-10? I’m not. This is the world we live in and the generation in which we live. We – the women who are subjected to the judgement of all who pass us by when our cottage cheese knees are showing.

Like it or not, our generation are the dieters, the binge eaters, and the ‘must always watch what we’re putting in’ generation. Blame it on magazines, the media, the fluctuations and constant body makeovers of the Kardashian sisters, or just Victoria Beckham. Either way, we’ve all been grabbing our stomachs to see how much flesh we can get a hold of since we were teenagers, and at that point we vow to lose those extra kilos “in time for Summer.” We start playing the hunger games.

It’s a game I started playing a week ago, and today I betrayed myself…. seduced by a salty cracker. And then, the entire box of salty crackers. I feel so dirty. I’m such a snack-food slapper.

If you have never played the hunger games, lucky you! You probably have testicles. Or – you’re on the verge of womanhood and this is a new and exciting game you’ve been dying to play since you were 11.  So, like I said – you make the rules – but here are some suggestions that will help you WIN.

1. Check your measurements: We’re the measured sex, measured by waistlines and scales and flat stomachs, and by how many meals we have to skip to be a size 6-8. We’re judged by our ability to go hungry, and then celebrated in large measures. If you don’t measure up – keep on measuring.

3. Supplements: These help to suppress appetite and prevent actual eating. Choose from pills, shakes, or powders. These sometimes have a double effect, because according to advertising, if we have success with these products and lose centimetres, we’ll never lower our eyebrows again.

4. Count: If you’re good at math, you will excel at the hunger games. Otherwise there’s an App you can download that does it for you.  (When is Apple changing its name to Bacon? ‘Oh no, I just dropped my Bacon iPhone. It’s totally fried now.’)

The app can tell you: There are 100 calories in a piece of bread. You burn 100 calories running 1 kilometer. ONE! For fun, you can work that out as a decimal. Because losing weight is SIMPLE! It’s just MATHS.

Counting will also help you with portion sizes. Today you may enjoy 3 litres of water, 250gm of cooked brown rice, 2 cups of cooked spinach, 5-7 almonds, 1 nanogram of camembert and I piece of paper you drew a chocolate fudge brownie ice-cream sundae on.

5. Exercise: A seasoned player will tell you that exercise helps you win The Hunger Games. It burns centimeters and melts fat. Running is apparently superior because fresh air? Once when I lived in Melbourne I ran a 15 km ‘mini’ marathon. The morning after, I woke up and my body filed for divorce.

You should probably know however, the alternative to fresh air is sweaty camel toe and techno pop.

6. Food: If you absolutely MUST eat, here are the guidelines. Do you know what quinoa is? Take a good look at it because you and that quinoa are going to really get to know each other. Boil some quinoa, add lemon zest because butter and salt are the devil. You may wish to add some raw, tasteless greens and other bland tasting barley-lentil nightmares.

Do not assume a vegetable is safe. I once ordered something called, “Winter vegetables roasted in duck fat.” Pumpkin never tasted so sublime. Food to avoid? Anything that makes your panties drop. Say goodbye to the euphoria of prawns in garlic butter arriving at the table sizzling hot. Deprivation is the key. Order a hot water and lemon you big fattie!

7. Pretend to be Foreign: Asians eat rice from two little wooden sticks and fish for themselves. Italians have 16 espressos all day before they eat one bowl of pasta. The French smoke 38 cigarettes, drink champagne and then eat a mouthful of baguette. Indians walk everywhere and eat curry, or as I like to call it – laxatives. In South America they eat well, but when you spend that mucht time jiggling your booty in a sequined g-string, you burn it off. These are ridiculous stereotypes but we eat like lunatics and drink liquid carbs.

8. Don’t listen to celebrities or Jenny Craig. This one is important because both celebrities and Jenny Craig tell lies. Lies such as: “Oh I just eat what I want… I have good genetics, I eat in moderation but have a sweet tooth, I love my curves..” And this one, “Before Jenny, I never thought I’d eat cheesecakes again.” Jenny Craig is the dark lord of diets. She is an insane, mystical being convincing us that cheesecake is ok. In fact, anyone that goes on TV or in magazines sprucing their before and after techniques should be made to show us thier lipo scars.

Now, if you were paying attention, you’ll notice in my list of guidelines, there was no number 2.  That’s because when you starve yourself – number 2’s are hard to come by. Please keep your constipated face at home.

That’s about it. Good luck. Let the games begin. May the forks NOT be with you.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The Hunger Games is prohibited for players that have just been dumped.  To those of you with a broken heart…. Ladies – this is your time to shine. To hell with calories. You better have some of that new Philadelphia Cadbury’s chocolate frosting on hand in your fridge for this kind of occasion. You’re entitled to down whatever your sad little heart desires because you’re going to wear tracky-dacks and cry your mascara off anyway. Eat on darl’.

Interestingly, statistics show in a survey I just made up, that those playing The Hunger Games are more miserable than those who just got dumped.

** This blog is supposed to be silly, hence the idea that going without food is a game, not a way of life! I would NEVER endorse starving oneself – and would urge anyone reading this with an eating disorder to seek help and stop wasting your time and emotions on food. Being a particular size does not make you happy. Sharing happiness makes you happy and I can tell you now, starving yourself is only making people around you severely worried and unhappy. So chin up – go buy yourself a Happy Meal.

Marrying ‘the one’

 

(As seen in April 2011 edition of DarwinLife Magazine  NB: This is actually the original version of my column before I changed it  – due to our TV sponsors.)

So there I was lounging on my lounge. Quite gracefully actually, considering the humidity and my penchant for sitting like a brickie. . .  Just eating a TimTam, trying to be all witty on Facebook, and all but ignoring the television.  Then I heard it…

John Travolta’s sexy voice singing that infectious tune…. “I got chiiiills…” I looked up hoping to see John in skin tight black doing pelvic thrusts. Instead I saw a bunch of over-groomed farmers and city girls in wedding dresses with cowboy hats and boots line-dancing; followed by Natalie Gruzlewski asking:  This time will every farmer find the one they want?

 

It was a promo for The Farmer Wants A Wife, and it got me all ba-jiggity with excitement. Then it made me wonder: Does any man really want a wife so much that he’d go on national telly, in what is an awkward attempt to hook-up?

Isn’t it true that the farmer just wants to make out with 3 girls in one week?

Whatever those bachelor-types who go on TV to find ‘the one’ are after: the truth is I relate. Watching women get all worked up about a guy… I get that. I’d get totally psycho obsessive when I was into somebody – especially if there were a bunch of other bitches after him. When the girls are with their farmer, you can practically smell the desperation wafting out of your flat-screen.  I inhale and nod knowingly… I wore that fragrance for years!

But women who use the word ‘fairytale’ whilst up to their knees in pig poo? Well, that just freaks me out.  Whatever the farmers are looking for, there’s no doubt that the city girls are looking for a husband. Not just a husband; but ‘the one!’

And this is why everyone loves The Little Mermaid. Prince William will be married this month, and nobody is overly excited or surprised about that. But when a 16 year old half-sushi redhead finds true love with a Prince as intelligent as his hairy, drooling dog… It’s ‘fate!’ Likewise, when a cattle farmer applies on-line with the nine network for a reality dating show falls for a 22 year old receptionist from the big smoke. And we love that word ‘fate’ as much as ‘destiny. ’

Walt Disney has some explaining to do because his movies are where we first learn about ‘finding the one’ and ‘happily ever after.’

Even Will and Kate’s pending nupitals which fit the formula of a real life fairy tale (Royal Prince falls for a common girl and whisks her away to his castle) was not ‘fate.’ If it was, it wouldn’t have taken 8 years, including one breakup. That’s the stuff of best friends and life-long partners….not FATE.

Disney’s fairy tales usually end with ‘true love’s kiss,’ which OF COURSE equates to happily ever after!  It makes little girls everywhere think that a pash guarantees a life-long commitment. Now there’s a scary thought. And what if he’s a bad kisser? My guess is that Aladdin had tabouleh breath. Actually, Aladdin is a thief! He cares more about his monkey than finding a shirt that covers his chest and he can’t support you because he gives all his bread away.  But Jasmine still wants to marry him. Because most girls eventually want to get married.

Sorry, did I say married?  I mean the expensive ceremony before the elaborate party where you dress like a meringue and slow dance to Van Morrison. 

I started out wanting to marry Greg Brady. In high school I fantasized about marrying George Michael because not only did my new-found maturity allow me to love stubble, he was the first man to tell me he wanted my sex. At university I felt that marriage was close at hand, and realised I had better start saving if I was going to have my ‘dream’ wedding worthy of a real-life Contessa including a live performance by Elton John.  By the time I entered the workforce and had had my heart destroyed repeatedly, I decided happiness was a dance floor with my name on it.

But despite the bitter years, and the ‘I’m so hot right now who needs a husband?’ years; the concept of marriage as the ultimate never eluded me. I had the dress, the flutist, the DJ who played We Are Family, the freshly shucked oysters, the ridiculously large cake, and… I even got to chuck my flowers at a bunch of women’s faces.

Did I marry the one I want? Of course not! I WANT Ryan Reynolds: sexiest man of the year.  And I secretly still want George Michael.  Wouldn’t mind having a crack at John Travolta either…

But I fell in love with and married my best friend. A champion who makes me laugh, challenges my intellect (which I HATE but LOVE also), knows how to make a good omelette, worships the quick sand I walk on and from time to time… I even get a magic carpet ride.

Which answers Natalie’s question. No. The farmers won’t find ‘the one they want,’ unless Jessica Alba is a contestant. But they might find love, friendship, some action, and a farm-hand to boot.

10 Things I Hate About…

I wish I was writing about a brilliant film based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of The Shrew” that starred a yet to be discovered Heath Ledger. It’s not. Because I loved that movie and I loved Heath Ledger. But to write about the movie, I would have to watch it again. I can’t do that anymore because the DVD got scratched and ten minutes into the movie the screen pixilates and eventually freezes. And I HATE it when that happens.!

This is a post about things I hate. People… stuff.

Things that happen on a daily basis, like pet hates. Except why are they called ‘pet’ hates?  Because last time I had a pet, I very much loved it and fed it daily in the hope that it would flourish and continue to bring me joy.

There is nothing I hate that I want to flourish. Nothing I hate that brings me joy. There is nothing I love that I also hate. Except Kyle Sandilands. And feeding hungry babies outside daylight hours. Love the baby. Hate waking up. Love it when he smiles. Hate is when he cries. Love buying him cute outfits. Hate changing his crap-filled nappy. You get the drift….

Perhaps I should’ve bought a doll. Obviously not one of those baby alive dolls that cry and poop. One that’s made of plastic whose eyes are permanently open and mouth is permanently closed.

Anyway so I’ve been using that word HATE quite frequently lately.  Ahhh yeah I know. Whatever! Strong word and all that…

But how else would you describe waiting in line at the post office to buy an express post envelope, with 2 children on board: one crying and the other pulling everything in sight off the shelf, while the guy in front of you has a mysteriously large pile of papers. I’m guessing he hasn’t heard of Bpay.  Why did you get behind him Cindy? Why are there not more people serving? I hate the post office. I hate that man. I hate that I can’t buy express post envelopes and stamps elsewhere.

I’m not a hateful person. Not normally. But lately it seems that my Cranky Pants are the outfit du jour and I really can’t be bothered taking them off because then I’d have to wash them and I’m not really keeping up with household duties at the moment.

Anyway, in order to vent, I thought I’d let you know some of my pet hates. Ten of them. Ten things I hate.

Maybe in a day or two, I can come back and tell you all some things I love (which I have done before here and here) or maybe even just things I’m super grateful for. Because there are plenty of those too.

1. Southern Cross Tattoos – Hands up. How many Japanese people reading this have a big red circle tattooed somewhere on their body? What’s that? Nobody? Right. Because that would make you a dick head. Misguided patriotism in my opinion. While I’m here, I’ll add that I hate it when you see people wearing the Aussie flag as a cape, and also – wouldn’t say hate, but really not fond of the Aussie flag either. Like Jerry Seinfeld once said; Britain at night time – you have the Australian flag.

2. Automated voice systems – I don’t think I’m alone in hating this one… You know when you ring some government department or phone or electricity company and you get that monotonous pre-recorded woman who eventually says to you:  “I’m not understanding what you’re saying. Please repeat your answer.” They obviously haven’t programmed the F bomb into their system, or she WOULD understand VERY MUCH what I was saying and go and get a human being for me to speak to.

3. Victoria Secret Models – Obviously I want ALL of them to contract a disease that makes them get cellulite, but more specifically the ones who are back on the catwalk a week after giving birth making the rest of us feel like big chunks of lard. I won’t mention names but Heidi, Miranda and Giselle – I hate you. Because it’s simply wrong that you make that type of declaration to the world. I know what you’re thinking as your hips are sashaying the crap out of each other on the catwalk…. “If I can – you can!” Pfft. Piss off and eat a Snickers Bar. Because I just did and it was delicious!

4. Collingwood Football Club  – I can’t really justify this one. Except to say I once worked for Craig Kelly and some days it felt like I had Collingwood shoved down my throat. Other than that, I think I just like the idea of agreeing with 90% of Australia on a single issue – which is that Collingwood SUCKS.

5. Geckos – I realise most people think they’re cute. And they are when you’re on a tropical holiday at some delicious 5 star luxury spa resort, and one just happens to be on the wall of the restaurant that overlooks turquoise waters. But I live with them. Well I try not to actually…But where I live they’re everywhere. So? Well once in the middle of a yoga class, when I was flat on my back doing some breathing technique that was suppose to take me to a higher place, there were 2 geckos fighting and barking at each other on the ceiling, right above me.   They ended up falling off the ceiling, onto my leg, whereupon landing, they slithered off in a frenzy. (Cue phobia here) And guess what? I WAS on a tropical holiday at a delicious 5 star luxury spa resort. Not cute.

So I now long for a world where all the walls are insecticided and the invading gecko army dies a tragic death and little girls are free to play in gardens under the shady palm trees without the repercussions of tiny slimy reptile alien grossness.

6. Fruit you can’t trust – I’ve been burned too many times man. Can we get some consistency here? I mean I love fruit, it mostly tastes nice, but sometimes fruit lets me down with being too ripe, too sweet, too sour, not ripe enough or bruised.  Fruit… you are delicious – but it is hard to tell whether you are going to be bad or not. You hide behind your skin – that’s right, I’m talking to you oranges, apples, bananas, avocados and watermelon.   Why can’t you be more like strawberries? They don’t try and deceive me. When they’re bad they show it. Time to get the message fruit. Because I hate that I can’t see your inside.

7. Traffic Light OCD – I’m referring to those people that constantly press the button to cross the road at the lights. Just the once will do. I understand that sometimes when you approach an intersection, and there are already several people waiting to cross, you can’t know for sure if any of those people have already pressed the button. I mean they probably did. But what if they didn’t. So to be sure, you press the button yourself. (Because who know HOW long you’ll be waiting if you nobody presses it!) Of course in this instance, the button gets pressed more than once. But people who go up and press it like 57 times are ridiculous right? Oh. Actually I do this sometimes myself when I’m in a hurry, but for some reason when other people do it I want to break their fingers off.

8. Sunglasses inside – You wanker! Anyway I’m of the opinion that if you have something of exquisite beauty, you don’t hide it, or cover it up purely to protect it from being damaged. This is the reason I rarely wear sunglasses … Especially not inside. So when I see you sporting shades indoors I presume you are blind, have been king hit, or have abnormally ugly eyes.  I’m not against sunnies altogether, but I must make an honourable mention to Alex Perry. Not because he wears them, because he doesn’t. But the fact that he’s decided his signature look is to have his sunglasses perched on his head like some kind of hair accessory.  Except that he has no hair so how does that work?

9. The Tea-towell Whip – There is nothing in all of modern life quite as annoying as this. The holler; the involuntary clutching of the buttocks; the mini jump forward; the pain; the pathetic attempt at revenge; the act of mercy on behalf of the bully where he tries to show you how to do it; the free shot at his arse he subsequently offers; the failure to make anything like a decent connection…The sad fact is, all it takes is a rolled-up tea-towel and a quick snap of the wrist. Maybe what I really hate is that I am useless at it. Did I mention I have brothers?

10. Washing – I sometimes wonder how much I spend on stain removers for clothes. The fabulous world of stain removal is relatively new to me.  Pumpkin, banana, vomit and poo never used to be an issue. But when you have kids you discover there are a kazillion substances that stain. I miss the days of chucking the entire load into the tub with a scoop of powder and walking away.  And while we’re discussing the washing: Tissue in pocket that goes into the machine… TRAUMA! He who sins had better be wearing sunscreen because he is going to HELL!

Breaking up: Have the damn couch, but the friends are MINE!

Breaking up after a serious or long term relationship is always mucky. Whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee – it’s a crappy time, and no surprise that you feel like you’re up to your arse in MUCK.

Putting aside the ‘sad muck’ or the emotions of grievance, heartache and loss… (that is if you are actually feeling any of those emotions; as it seems there are plenty of breakups where one party is delighted and relieved to be outa’ there)… there is oh SO MUCH more MUCK that has to be dealt with.

There’s the money muck. Shared finances, shared property and other investments, who bought what, who had what BEFORE they entered the relationship… it’s all just a small portion of the muck. Thankfully there are third parties that can be hired to help you get through this muck. Like accountants and lawyers and underworld crime figures from Carlton, Victoria.

And actually now that I think about it… there are third parties that can help you through the sad muck as well. Like councillors and therapists and 1 litre bottles of Tanqueray 10 Gin… or in my case: slow jams by George Michael and Nutella.

But when it comes to separating the nitty gritty of your LIVES TOGETHER: the YEARS you spent as a couple, making and building friendships and pass times together…. There’s no legislation. There’s no third party. There are no set rules. And THAT is the biggest piece of mongrel-coated-muck you will encounter during the break-up period.

I went out with a guy for about 6 years. We were never married but it was assumed that we would be – by his family and all of ‘our’ friends. When I broke up with him the first time, I didn’t expect to lose my entire life. I didn’t know it meant I couldn’t go to our favourite restaurants anymore because that was his stomping ground – his territory. He was a regular there before he met me, and so I had to stay away.

I also found that I missed his family. They had become a second family to me but I felt that if my ex was to take me seriously, I had to avoid ‘hanging’ with the fam’ on weekends. Even if he wasn’t going to be there. Just wrong.

And then… there were the friends. Now this is where it gets really tricky. Obviously his family are his family. I couldn’t make a claim to them no matter how much I loved being around them. But many of the friends were OURS. So how do you know which friends you’re allowed access to, and which ones you should avoid out of respect. And if you’re a friend of a couple that have broken up (which I have also been), how do you know if it’s disloyal or unfair for you to be catching up.

The online Jerry Seinfeld dictionary (of which there are a few, and which I find to be bursting with useful terms), clearly states that Break-up By Association is what happens when a man and woman break up, and the man’s friends no longer associate with the woman. It’s a common phenom, but one that so many ‘friends’ keep getting wrong.

I’ve thought a lot about this over the last couple of days, and have broken it down to what I think is the ONLY fair and legitimate conclusion. Unfortunately, in most instances IT IS about PICKING SIDES. But that’s life.

You can’t vote for labour AND liberal at election time. You can’t have Optus AND Telstra as your network provider. You can’t work for Ford AND secretly drive a Holden. And if you do then you have no loyalty and you’ve probably backstabbed your way through life.

Anyone who thinks alternatively to my very thought out and well balanced point of view, can go suck it. Because karma’s a bitch, and if you’re not sucking it now, you will be later.

My theory concludes that there are 2 types of friends. Both types have a unique set of rules when it comes to remaining friends with your ex-partner after break ups.

Type 1: The long time (life-long) friends.

If you have had a friend since school, or uni, or your first job – and you’ve been friends with that person throughout various flings/lovers/relationships, then that friend is YOURS! No matter how much your partner loved them, or they loved him/her… too stinking bad! The fact is: they were your friend BEFORE you entered the relationship, and they SHOULD be your friend afterwards.

And yes, this means that your friend should likewise respect the fact that although they loved your partner, they should probably stop calling him/her to catch up for dinner.

You don’t see Brad Pitt and Courtney Cox chatting on the red carpet do you? And actually now that I think of it, you probably won’t see images like this one anymore either. You know why?

Because there are no catch ups with exes of long time friends. If you are the friend then obviously seeing them out and having a friendly chat for ten minutes is fine. I do also think there’s a brief cool off period following the break up where you are at liberty to sympathise/discuss with them the break up and express your deepest sadness that they are over. But the cool off period is brief.

Don’t go making long term plans. Inviting them to your house for a BBQ or away with you on holidays or to your birthday party is just plain RUDE! To you – I say your loyalty should remain to your lifelong friend. PICK A SIDE, not you’re a-hole.

There ARE exceptions to this rule. Just say your lifelong friend turns out to be a paedophile and goes to jail. Obviously his partner would be devastated, as would you. Being on their side is not only acceptable, but suggested.

Same goes for if your lifelong BFF was cheating on her partner… with your husband, or an entire NRL football team. Check yourself for herpes and say goodbye to that BFF forever.

Ie. When one person in the relationship has been a turd, as the friend you are completely justified to be friends with the non-turdy party – even if you’ve known them less time.

There’s also another exception which applies when you and your ex are still being friends and hanging out or sleeping together…without officially being together. I would also like to say “Hello stupid??” however everyone has their own unique way of breaking up, and in this instance, if you are the life-long friend, then remaining in contact with both parties is ok, since they are remaining in contact themselves.

Example 1: My husband has a lifelong friend who is a mate from school. He and his girlfriend had been together for 9 YEARS. I met this friend while he and his girlfriend were together. After 2 years of knowing them as a couple they broke up. His choice. She was heartbroken.

As a fellow female and former president of the “I’m A Lonely Loser Who Can’t Keep A Boyfriend Club,” I wanted so much to be there for her entirely. Despite the fact that he was going out to clubs, meeting new girls, moving on… he was also still seeing her as ‘friends’ on a regular basis and chatting almost daily. So when it came to deciding if we should invite BOTH of them to OUR wedding, we said yes. She was still very much part of our ‘social circle’ because her ex (my husband’s friend) kept her there.

Example 2: My previously mentioned ex boyfriend had made a friend just one month before meeting me. Over the course of our 6 year relationship, they became BEST mates. They travelled together, saw each other every weekend, and went to each other’s family gigs. The thing is, while they were bonding, so was I. His mate became like a brother to me.

After breaking up the first time, I will admit to calling him a few times. Mainly to see how my ex was going. After the second break up he moved to London to live and maybe on his birthday, I’d send him an email. Following the FINAL breakup, I discovered he and I were both going to be in the same town for New Year’s. We agreed to catch up. It was all a bit strange. The common denominator (my ex) was so far out of the picture that we found there wasn’t much to discuss.

Then my ex called him from Rome to wish him a Happy New Year. Awkward. THEN my ex put his fiancée on the phone to which his friend said, “Hello beautiful!” It was like a punch in the gut. That used to be me he would greet like that. Wow, did I feel like an intruder! Twenty minutes late I was in a cab on my way to anywhere else.

I realised it was wrong for me to want to catch up with my ex’s best mate. It was HIS mate, his friend, even though we’d known each other roughly the same amount of time. Since that night I have never seen him or spoken to him again. As it should be.

Type 2: The new friends.

This one is tricky. What about if the friend is someone you’ve met and befriended only since being a couple? As the new friend, in this instance it’s harder to choose sides because there were no loyalties or bonds of friendship prior to meeting the couple. As with lifelong friends, there are sometimes factors (like the turd factor) that help you decide. Other times I think it’s ok to stay in touch with both parties, but over time you will probably find yourself seeing more of or getting long better with only one of them.

Example. My husband and I met a couple who were engaged to be married. We caught up on a fairly regular basis and because of my work at the time; I found that I was also dealing with them separately for different events they were organising. We were invited to their wedding.

The day we were supposed to go to their place for a BBQ, we got a text from the female party telling us that the male party had come home at 6am and admitted he’d been cheating on her. He told her such things as “I can’t help it – I’m like the Ben Cousins of this town.”

That was 2 years ago, and while professionally, I was still required to speak to and be pleasant with both of them… Guess who my husband and I are still friends with, and guess who we think is an idiot?

So I think that should cover most break-up scenarios. Please comment and let me know if you are a friend of a recently split couple, and are still not sure who of the 2 friends you should avoid having dinner with this weekend. Not only will I direct your loyalty to where it should be, I think your scenario may add substantial research and evidence to my thesis on this very MUCKY and un-legislated aspect of breaking up.

And finally, if you are reading this from your iPhone while you have your feet up in Queensland for the week, or worse – you’re reading it from your ex-husbands best man’s computer while he and his family are away –because you’re house sitting for them… because you failed to understand simple break up protocol by continuing to stay in touch, and his mate failed to follow protocol because he’s a scum sucking jackass?

Well may you all live fatly ever after. And here is some more information for you, your ex-husband’s best mate, and his wife: The day will come when I WILL BE BURNING THAT TREE TO A CRISP AND SETTING THE ASHES FREE…. towards Kho Phangan in the gulf of the Thailand river – with all the floating dead pigs and cows and ferrel third world diseases.