What not to wear on a first date

Once you reach your 40s, there are things that you think that you will never need to go through again.  O-week boozing at the start of each new university year, the 90s spiral perm and the MC hammer pant  (although regrettably that bad boy stormed back into the fashion arena recently)

hammer pants

Another conundrum that you thought you might never deal with again was the first date fashion quandary.

First date preparation last time I was seriously single involved some Aapri facial scrub, a crimper, a spray of Impulse and out the door, with the echo of my mother asking if I needed a cardigan (she wasn’t there, but that echo had hung around since I was an 18 year old)

Dressing for a first date today should be simple, but just like the 80s, there are some classic outfits to avoid (and at least this time we know).  As always, we can take guidance from celebrity-dom when it comes to fashion faux-pas that you MUST AVOID ON A FIRST DATE.

Anything that suggests you are pregnant, have been pregnant or want to be pregnant.

cate

Whilst something with a relaxed waistline is perfect for Aunty Lynn’s birthday party at the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, the first date is not the place to cause your new love interest to ponder what exactly is going on with your waistline.  Its unlikely that you would be foolish enough to try to pull off Cate Blanchett’s structural statement on a first date but let me warn you that in men’s eyes the babydoll dress is equally culpable in that IT DOES YOU NO FAVOURS.

Pregnant Kim Kardashian, wearing a nude baby doll dress, arrives at the Trump Soho Hotel in New York City

 Don’t over-theme

I think we’ve all been out on one of those nights where there’s a pivotal moment during the evening where you make a choice between quietly heading  home with your dignity intact or flinging your head back at the bar for another Tequila shot.  That same moment exists as the decision point in between throwing a little accent into your outfit for a lark, and OVER-THEMING.

A leopard print scarf or a pair of statement fringed boots? Yes.  Doing a head to toe theme?

dont' over theme

No.

overly themed

One hundred times no.

 Beware of textures

 There’s a sensuality in texture, whether it is luxurious pile under bare feet or the silky smoothness of a 4-figure Egyptian cotton threadcount pillow against a flushed cheek.

What you don’t want is an outfit with so much texture that complete strangers are compelled to come up and stroke you.  This is unnerving for both yourself and your date.

kylie rug

Equally key is the fact that every layer of animal-like hair adds 5kg to your frame, and instantly ups your BMI if your date is once of those statistically minded folk.

 Wedges

I’m crying my eyes out over my coveted Stuart Weitzman wedges as I write this, but apparently, and most inexplicably, men don’t like wedges.  If push comes to shove, I’ll remain Single in my Stuart W’s and never feel compromised, but I do feel compelled to pass this onto you.

In your mind you have the utopian combination of a stiletto but with comfort, whimsy with  wearability, but APPARENTLY the first word that comes into his mind?

Equine.

wedges hooves

I don’t want to stifle your fashion style and there is something to be said for fashion as a trigger for conversation on a first date, so feel free to take my observations with a grain of salt.  But if nothing else, there is a universal rule that I IMPLORE YOU to observe, that I guarantee will never lead you astray.

ALWAYS. WEAR. PANTS. 

always wear pants

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Bad, bad, bad, bad choices

Regrets? I’ve had a few.

Poor choices…. too many to list here (although no doubt they’ll serve as blog fodder as time goes on)

Having deliberately sidestepped the State of origin rugby match last night on the basis that it’s a game I never want to understand between two Australian states that I don’t care for, I missed something.  And it struck me that there may be a woman waking up today to find that her new online dating beau might be one of those bad choices.  That is, if he was this guy.

origin streaker

If you’ve been in a cave (or outside Australia)  in the last 24 hours, meet Wati Holmwood – a streaker who cavorted onto the field interrupting a pivotal moment in the game.  Not to say that Wati isn’t in a long term relationship with a woman who has grown accustomed to his little larks and who is, as we speak, scrapbooking the print media coverage for the benefit of the grandkiddies.   But if it so happened that he was your partner in crime (an oft-used online dating cliché) and you were in a budding new relationship, you’d be asking yourself some questions right now.

Surprisingly, the obvious questions that would spring to mind for most  “what was he thinking / how can I delete my profile and exit this mad online dating world”   Whereas I found myself asking ‘Why did he wear sneakers?’  Clearly he was not concerned about being able to follow his sport (banned from all future rugby matches), nor his professional reputation (try rocking up to a board meeting / work site with any swagger once everyone has seen you naked) or his financial status ($5,500 fine).  Was he worried about the impact on his niggling plantar fasciitis if he completed the nudie run by trotting barefoot?

Which prompted me to ponder some other momentous bad choices that have been a fine source of entertainment over the years.

Hugh Grant –  Divine Brown

Hugh Grant enters the wikipedia section on personal life with a rom-com-esque tale of meeting Elizabeth Hurley whilst filming a satisfyingly exotic Spanish production.  Cue an  ensuing trail of aesthetically pleasing red carpet appearances.  He accompanied Liz when she wore what is now voted the greatest red carpet dress of all time, and then inexplicably took a tremendous tumble.  From this:

liz-hurley-pin-dre_1007014f

To this

divine and hugh

in something that was regarded judicially as a lewd act and resulted eventually in an ‘amicable and mutual’ decision to split with Liz.  To see where she ended up, click here

Tiger Woods – Various

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger  – a smile that melted a thousand sponsors hearts, the first billion-dollar-earning sportsman, reeking of home-grown, down-south purity and god-fearing athletic awesomeness.

(I’m going to need to impose a limit here, else he could eclipse everyone else in this post)

He gets a unique section on wikipedia called ‘infidelity scandal and fallout’

He embarked on happy family all-American dream.  Let’s list it shall we?

  • Swedish model wife
  • Wedding in Barbados
  • $40m estate in Florida
  • Two beautiful, genetically blessed kiddies (assuming the looks from their mother and the golf prowess from their father and not the reverse)

tiger and elin

Inexplicably, he wandered off into the abyss of some allegedly 120+ mistresses beginning with this

joslyn james

And sampling these…

tiger woods collage

With the result that a perfectly good Cadillac SUV and golden couple marriage were trashed.

His new chick Lindsay Vonn  declares ‘she will never marry him’. Go figure.

Charlie Sheen – Itemise

He began in a fairly stellar fashion – a breakup with fiancée Kelly Preston triggered by the fact he shot her in the arm. (with a gun, not a hypodermic)

Debate ensues about who ended up worse off – he was single, she married John Travolta.

He recuperated with a procession of ‘adult film actresses’ followed by a stint as a frequent flyer with Madam Heidi Fleiss.

Then, two and half men, a million dollars an episode.   Let’s list what a million bucks an episode can buy you:

  • A divorce from Denise Richards, mother of his two children amid allegations of drug abuse and threats of violence
  • A marriage to Brooke Mueller, some twins
  • Dual, live in ‘goddesses’ one a pornographic model and the other a more mainstream model and graphic designer. Some amicable parting at respectable intervals.
  • A little stabilisation with adult film actress Georgia Jones.   Looks fairly joyous…charlie-sheen-georgia-jones

Late breaking news – Charlie in the last four hours became a grandfather resulting from the offspring of the daughter of his amusingly-named high-school sweetheart Paula Profit.

So if you are waking up this morning, from a little regrettable Thursday evening entrée to the weekend, a bit of drunk texting, surveying a facebook blow-by-blow lowdown on how your evening went….bear in mind..

IT COULD BE WORSE

origin streaker

Wake me up when the world returns to normality

I’m sitting perfectly still on the couch, arms braced, unwilling to move my pupils more than two millimetres either way.  Not since the day after the night of the 17 tequila shots have I been so certain that any sudden move would shatter the universe around me into a million pieces.

I half expect the four horseman of the apocalypse to be standing on my balcony, quietly wheezing breath redolent of new-testament hay, horse-nostrils anxiously steaming up the glass.

I’m wondering if I’ve done one too many Bikram classes and have slid into a Gwyneth Paltrow life of Sliding Doors.  (the fact that there is a box of Favourites chocolates  in my hand rather than a cucumber, basil and lime juice would suggest not, but nothing is certain in this shaky new universe)

gwyneth juice

Nothing about the world makes any sense anymore.

For something EVEN MORE INCOMPREHSIBLE than my bestie giving up champagne, me growing a maternal gene or a Kardashian stepping out of the limelight has occurred.

 George Clooney has been dumped.

Someone voluntarily kicked this one to the curb.

George 1

Wha-hey?

I’ve burned up the google machine looking for an explanation on what Stacy Keibler was thinking in sending George back to the dating pool to the  point where my laptop is in ashes on the lounge room floor.

I even asked Siri.

“why did she dump George Clooney?”

siri

Even Siri can’t get her head around it and needs to have a little lie down.

I’m unwilling to accept the ho-hum old chestnuts around the difficulty of long distance relationships and the likely disconnect presented by George’s avowed bachelor and child-free status.

Given none of my electronic devices are prepared to elaborate on her rationale for ditching THIS

george 3

I’ve done my own research and come up with the following

 She hates the man cave

Lord knows this can be a dealbreaker.  I’ve observed through friends how their partners can retreat to whatever form their man-cave takes and progressively disconnect from the relationship.

Sure, George’s man cave takes the form of a villa on Lake Como with 25 rooms, is worth about 40m, with a pool, lake views and a very effective anti-stalker system (trust me, I know this having driven past there whilst on holiday in the region.    Maybe 25 times. Whatever.)

BG_George_Clooney-House_Lake_Como

And yes, it’s a LONG way removed from a 3m x 3m stainless steel shed with the fridge that’s no longer good enough for the kitchen and a view of the clothesline.

stainless steel shed

But that doesn’t mean she’s happy about him hanging out there with his buddies, knocking the top off a cold one and rabbiting on about the footy.

There’s that awkwardness about his bestie

Speaking of buddies, the long-term bromance between Brad Pitt and George Clooney has been well documented.  Two individuals, so genetically blessed, that when they hang out the embarrassment of physical talent sucks the universe dry such that every other male looks like a cast member of the Big Bang Theory by comparison.  A pairing that has lasted longer than George’s last three relationships combined.

george clooney  - brad pitt

Stace had the misfortune of putting this quote out there early on, and no doubt has suffered a touch of the awkwards / the daggers of Angelina since day one.  That stuff can just get really, really old.

stacey quote

She’s having that mid 30s ‘is this all there is’, meh phase

Been there, done that, have the half-started naturopathy degree, meditation mat and self-help book collection to prove it.  The mid 30s are tough.  Look closely at Ms Keibler’s life and you see it playing out in her career journey.  From kickin lady wrestler

stacey wrestler

……to a reality TV show that touts itself  as “featuring aspiring food entrepreneurs pitching their food-product inventions to a panel of industry experts, with the ultimate victor receiving a nationwide launch in a major grocery-store chain”

stacey supermarket

Chick is trying to find herself.

 Pesky political incompatibility

Nothing can kill a vibe like being on the opposite ends of a political spectrum.  George practically has Darfur as a middle name, has been awarded a peace award from the Nobel Peace prize laureates in Rome, is a UN messenger of peace and is an open supporter of Barak Obama.

Stacy has been ALMOST as prolific in expressing her political views, tweeting this during the 2012 Presidential election:

I #voted. Have you?

_________________________

Poor George.  Presumably he’s dealing with this the same way that many of us have, downing a glass of something alcoholic while brushing up his online dating profile, in a desperate attempt to boost his self esteem and search for someone to spend his next (based on the Clooney law of averages) two years with.

If there’s any fairness in my now-wonky universe, I’ll be able to let go of my vice-grip on the couch and see a wink in my email from Taurus52, sometime resident of Laglio Italy.

More likely that the horsemen will crash through the door and run off with my box of Favourites.

Love me, love my cat

Perusing online dating profiles over early morning coffee (code for procrastinating terribly about heading into the office) it struck me that THE ONLINE DATING INDUSTRY HAS IT ALL WRONG.

Depending on the online dating site you choose, there are plenty of criteria designed to help you cull at will find your true perfect match. Age, location, height, and important things such as children. But they are missing a fundamental little clicky box.

cat blog pic 1 final

Sounds innocuous enough but potentially every bit as difficult to manoeuvre in a relationship as distance, an only child who has been treated like a princess, or a non-mutual penchant for death metal music.

But they don’t make you spell it out.

There could be any number of reasons for this but the one that I particularly favour given my general leaning to any kind of conspiracy theory is this:

Online dating sites are secretly controlled by a single god-like architect who bans this selection criteria on ALL sites.  This is so that cat-lovers and non-cat-lovers will mistakenly unite, spend time realizing they have a fundamental incompatibility, break up, then return to online dating. Sounds counter-productive to the intent of creating success stories, but with 37 million cat-owning households in the US alone, AWESOME for transaction volume and return member stats.

graph

Of course there is criteria about children. Everyone understands that it’s important to be aligned on the matter of children – current and intended. There are blogs, self-help books, studies, counsellors and terribly earnest literature on how to prepare yourself to be a step-parent, particularly if you have no children of your own. The Brady Bunch gave us education by stealth from the time we were old enough to watch TV. My learnings from that? Keep the gender demographic completely equal and get a fabulous housekeeper.

brady bunch

But onto cats.  Not to say that cat people and non-cat people can’t make it work. But going into a relationship without an understanding of these creatures is about as sensible as venturing outside the space station without a spacesuit. Its going to be cold, inhospitable and a universe that you don’t understand. So here’s the spacesuit for the non cat people, based on the instructions that I provide to anyone who is going to occupy my household for any period of time.

One – the cat will never distinguish between you and any other stranger.

You may think because of our special relationship that the cat will simply love you as I do, given a little time. No. That would be a dog.

Even my dearest lifelong friends have failed to grasp this and more than once have called for help from upstairs after being barricaded by the cat in the spare room.

Two – the cat owns the house and you are just a barely-tolerated intruder.

As am I. The difference is that I already understand this and will adhere to rules about giving way in intersections of hallway/doorways in order to minimize blood loss and ankle scarring.

If you are on the stairs, please understand that she will either run at you or weave between your legs with the aim of making you fall to your death. Its not personal.

Three – the cat owns you.

Over a cat lifetime she has developed a range of strategies to demonstrate that she is in charge. She will stand at the cat bowl and give you one of either a zombie death stare or the air of a starving refugee in order to have you feed her. She will then sniff and walk away without eating just to show you she was only doing it to prove a point.

She will bleat at the back door to be let out, wait till you sit down and then command you to get up and let her back in. Despite how often you do this, point one still applies.

Four – there will be some personality quirks

In the case of my feline you will need to accept the following:

  • Don’t laugh at her when she so deliberately walks AROUND the shag rug in the lounge room. When the rug was first acquired she walked on it with over-long toenails, had a Velcro-like experience and was emotionally scarred. She has never recovered.
  • She has night terrors, presumably post-traumatic-stress-response from a prior life (or the rug experience) that are only soothed by my calling out to her, and occasionally warranting me walking in to check on her in the night. If you ever think that it might earn you brownie points to be the one who gets up to check on her, wear slippers; a further quirk is a bit of a hairball-control issue and its an immutable law that there will be a hairy clump of vomit if you do patrol barefoot. Note: no matter how many patrols you do, point one still applies.
  • She likes the Home Hardware ads with the two cartoon dogs. I know that she is secretly sneering at them. Don’t change the channel if this ad is on.
  • There will be a stare-off/war over the fact that she needs to sit on your Sunday newspaper while you are trying to read it over breakfast.  Grow up.  There are enough sections in the Sunday paper for all of us, she’ll let you know which are hers.

cat

If you can grasp these points you are well on your way to some level of compatibility with a cat owner. Share the knowledge around a bit and collectively we can kick that dating site design-guru to the kerb and get the cat criteria on the online dating websites – preferably with a link to my as-yet-only-conceptual, awesome, yet freakishly inexpensive e-book.

final cat