Wednesday, 25 March 2020

[ lust in the time of corona ]

It's all about COVID-19 coronavirus at the moment. I'd love to tell you I had something else to talk about, but I'm working from home, watching Netflix and 'watching' memes, so my repertoire is a little light these days.

One curious little nugget that's starting to pop up though is how dating will work, especially online dating. And here, my friends, is where I shine.

Because, let's be serious; we all know I was hoarding before it became a thing, avoiding people before the government mandated it, and dating like a hybrid Bridget Jones and Taylor Swift.

Y'all ready for this?


For starters, THANK THE EVERLOVING GODS FOR SMALL TALK. I know what you're thinking; wtf? That is literally the last thing you want to be doing during this cluster of a situation. But hear me out. 

When you meet someone new, online or otherwise, you basically want them to grab your attention straight up, give you a little mental thrill of pique. In normal situations, you'd put up with all manner of utter tosh first in order to get to the meaty goodness of a chat. The hopes/wishes/dreams part. The who-I-really-am part. The part you actually care about and start paying attention to. 

With the arrival of corona, all that fuckwittery has to go. No longer is how's your day? going to cut it, the standard is going to be better and the stakes higher. Because boy, trust me; you're not the only one she's talking to, and they sure as hell aren't wasting their time on bullshit pleasantries about the weather or what she's wearing. 

You know what else is going to happen more often? Best behaviour. And I have to be honest, I'm suuuch a big fan of best behaviour, but for very conflicting reasons. You see, best behaviour can mean two things. One, you're being the really good version of yourself, as much as possible, and that version is pretty great. So much so that the rest of you, however much you find it wanting, is actually still pretty attractive to others. 

Two, and on the other hand, can also mean you're hiding your a-bit-rubbish side. You know, the one who says rude things, eats with their mouth open, and doesn't shower enough. And this is where things get interesting.

When you're dating someone in person, best behaviour lasts for approximately however long it takes for someone to fall head-over-teakettle for you, at which point, all dem flaws come tumbling out, as it were. 

You start leaving the toilet seat up, or make-up all over the sink. You start drinking milk from the carton or talking trash about his friends. You admit you didn't take SARS or swine-flu seriously, so you can't understand all the fuss around corona. It's hard to stop once it starts; we're all human, and there's only so long we can hide what we really are.

Well, guess what, lovers? Y'all in for a bumpy ride! Because now you have to be on best behaviour day after day after day. For weeks. You gotta keep your game face on and on and on, while the other person decides if they believe your little stage show, or they overpaid for their tickets. 

And now we're all in iso, that means you have to pull out all the stops in cyberspace. But don't think that means you can be complacent, it actually means the opposite; whereas the online lure used to be enough to reel them in hurriedly for the face-to-face, no one wants to get close enough to find out anytime soon, despite not being allowed to anyway. 

Therefore; best behaviour. A degree in artistry will now need to be employed. And you'll either need stamina or to actually be a good person. Because he's not meeting you at a club at 2am anymore sweetheart - he's snuggled up at home on a videocam with a girl who's teaching him to cook ratatouille while singing charmingly off-key in French. 

Pick. Up. Your. Game. 

If you've made it past the initial play, i.e. the first couple of weeks or so - ok, let's be honest, it's closer to a month - then double thumbs-up to you! You've essentially made second base without having to leave the house, spend a fortune, or go anywhere ridiculous - how is this not awesome, right?! 

Again, remember, dating, like everything else is going to get weird and unusual and we have no choice but to get on with it (except this will be funnier of course). So, should you ever want to see third base again, let alone a home run, you've got to remember that this isn't all going to end tomorrow (or even next week), and act accordingly. 

Now is not the time to get half-cut on cheap plonk, whip out your 300-strong POP! Vinyl collection and introduce your date via videochat to each and every one. By character and actor name. 

Now is not the time to stop wearing nice clothes (upper body only obvi) and start treating video-dates like a gym class, where you get in, work up a sweat, and slip out. Best behaviour, remember? 

Now, in fact, is the time to pull out the big guns. Time to start showcasing all your awesome, sexy things (not that yet, get out of the gutter). Special things, things that make you unique and groovy, not weird, creepy things, that make you, well, weird and creepy. Remember the chick who sings and cooks? Think like that; think hidden talents, not hidden habits. 

Being able to name every Rob Thomas song every written: talent. Being able to name every Australian serial killer from 1900 to now: habit. Please don't make me spell this out for you. And if I have to, get off the interwebs. Right now. 

Got a secret flair for card tricks? Yes, my man, crack them out! Able to braid hair like a Disney princess? Yaaas, queen, turn on the videocam, toot sweet! 

This is the part of the 'relationship' where things get juicy (again, not like that). We still get to spend time doing cool stuff, fun stuff, stuff we usually make an effort to do when we're dating someone in the real world. We're just not going to get to do it in person. Not any time soon anyway.

So, you've got to put in the extra effort here, be creative, think outside the box. Make. Shit. Up. In a good way, obviously.

Look, unless you're an idiot, looking to risk your health, your families, and practically anyone else's, we need to make peace with the fact that no one (no one smart, anyway) is getting laid anytime soon. Which isn't all bad really! The last time I had casual sex I ended up in emergency with a roaring UTI, a headache, 3 days off work, and a massive case of irritation. Good times. 

As far as I'm concerned, coronavirus might be the best thing to happen to the dating world since Bumble added a video chat option. So, strap in, brush your hair, fire up the laptop, and start getting creative.

And maybe brush up on those poetry skills. 


Friday, 20 March 2020

[ WFH ]

In the interest of saving you all time, I'll be upfront; my next three articles are coronavirus-related. Given that we'll all two inches and a light sneeze away from solitary isolation as it is, I'm sure this comes as no surprise.

While this is a serious issue - and yes, at least one of the articles is actually serious - I'd like to delve into the lighter side of our situation if I can, or rather the dark humour of it anyway. We've got months of serious ahead of us, and while I know there's also months of material coming my way, as an artist I hope I can contribute in some small way to keeping all our spirits up.

With that in mind, let's have some laughs and try to relax a little if we can. And yes, of course we'll be laughing at my expense. Why else would you be here?


Trying to get ahead of the curve as well as flatten it, as it were, my office decided to implement a whole company work-from-home plan, well ahead of when the government will clearly tell us we have to do this anyway. I helped to implement and action it, and I'm so very proud to say that the team I work for pulled it off with nary a stray hitch.

It's kind of after that that things got a little...hinky, shall we say. For me, obviously. Everyone else seems to be pretty au fait with the concept and the actuality of working from home, whilst yours truly can count on one hand the number of times I've actually done it over my career.

We're not counting the writing. That's just me faffing about, with the vague possibility of getting paid for it, so it can't really be counted as work (yet).

To be honest, I still see the acronym WFH and read it as WTF. Which clearly doesn't help my case as I giggle into my coffee like a teenager while my colleagues blithely advise they'll be 'wfh today'. You'll be what today?? *giggle* *snort* *giggle*. Sometimes you wish you were more grown up, and other days you just deal with the traits you're given...

Anyway. With that in mind, here are some of the initial things I'm learning about this whole work-from-home experience. And it's not the productivity or the getting work done part I seem to be coming to terms with, it's, well, everything else...


Firstly, I'm still waking up at 6am. Which they say is meant to be good, right? Sticking to your routine? The problem with that is that I stumble from the bedroom to the kitchen, then the loungeroom, then back to the bedroom, slightly confused about why I'm not gaining momentum in speed like I usually do, as I need to the energy to get to the train station. Being that I no longer need to do this, my autopilot function has gone a little soft. Now, I just stumble around like a new-born foal for even longer, trying not to walk into things, letting the first sips of caffeine course through my system, until I finally locate my laptop.

Don't even ask me how long it takes for me to actually set it up on a flat surface for working on. That's another ball game entirely.

Then there's my work Mac. Yes, an actual Mac. Fully functioning, with all the bells and whistles. In my house. Wonders shall never cease, I say. However, have decided I must keep the work Mac and my darling, 15-year-old, alien-green, Sony VAIO, fondly nicknamed Ivy, apart. I can't see this ending well, and I can't risk fights breaking out where I lose connectivity altogether.

That being said, I may have the opposite problem; it'll be 9 months later (or would it be 3 for tech...?), a mini tablet will appear, and suddenly I'll be on the AI version of a Maury Povich paternity test.

Also, about that. With having 'work tech' in the house, I'm having to deal with a whole new set weirdness, stuff that I already dealt with years ago when I set up all my home gear and promptly never changed my routine ever.

Now I've got my Mac with an adaptor on it that lets me plug all sorts of little gadgets in, and has a cute little blue light on the side that lets me know it has a power supply running through it. Being that Mac's are made to be left on (someone told me this, still sounds dubious, but ok), the cute little light lets me know I can power up at any moment. Super cute! Super tech! Instant go, hurrah!

Not so cute? That light in the middle of the night. You don't notice it straight away, but roll over at 2am and it's like being in a sci-fi interrogation floodlight. I feel like I'm about to wake up to someone in a spandex jumpsuit asking me to take them to my leader.

I've learned to either power down or just turning the fucking thing to the wall, but it fared messed with my head for a good few nights before I bothered doing something about it. Moving right along.

Dressing for work has taken an interesting turn. I always like to look nice when I leave the house, it's just the level of casual-to-classy that varies. Now that I'm barely leaving the house, there's certainly a slight skew to my apparel. I'm doing pants all the time (zero stars, do not recommend), pretty blouses, and brushing my hair, but that's about it.

Given that I'm not client-facing, I've let my colleagues see my make-up less face on video chats more than is good for them, but given that the lighting in my room is lovely and dim, I've really started to appreciate it; my skin has never looked so good, albeit the whiter-shade-of-pale most people don't usually see. So, you know, checks and balances and all that.

Also. TMI warning; no bra after 3pm. Utter heaven.

I'd love to tell you there's some discipline around my eating and coffee-drinking habits, but we both know it would be a total waste of time, and given that I can barely control myself in the office unless carefully supplied with a packed lunch and snacks in advance, we can hardly expect anything more given I now have 24/7 access to cheese and caffeine at all times.

At least this way I'm supervised, grazing more even regularly (admittedly 50% of the time on comestibles that are small, easily-scoffed, dairy products), and generally only bouncing off my own walls and not into traffic. Small miracles, eh?


Like I said, it's not the actual work I seem to be having issues with. It's the somewhat surreal fact of being in my own home with my 'work persona'; you know, the one I switch on and off as I walk into and out of the office each day. She seems confused by simple things like pants and easy access to cheese (did I mention the cheese? Oh, but the access to cheese). By gliding slowly into the day without spending a portion of it with the cranky masses, playing roulette with public transport. By the delight of watching the 5 o'clock news and eating dinner straight after. 

So to be fair, it's not all doom and gloom, and I'm certainly counting my blessings that I even have the option of working from home - rather than not being able to work at all.

It's just, well, I feel like the chances of further developing a lactose-intolerance and a fading ability to apply mascara may need to be carefully monitored. Creating romance stories based around the love-hate relationship between a Sony and a Mac need to be discouraged, and I'm pretty sure I should keep wearing pants, no matter how reticent I am on the issue.

In the end, all I'll ask is that you all keep me in your thoughts when you stride purposely to your home office, calmly turn on your laptop, and somehow start your day without a banged shin or a Dairylea cheese pod.

I need all the help I can get.