Gawwwd but I’m sick of ‘Hot Boys’.
What I want is a dirty boy. A Heath Leadger look-a-like with longish wavy hair, wearing a sweatband around his wrist and a beat up old guitar on his back covered in half worn off stickers of bands that are way too cool for me to know. He would have an aura of ‘fuck the man’ confidence and tell wickedly hilarious stories about his year traveling the outskirts of India with a pack of mountaineers. I’d fall for his deep eyes across a bonfire, we’d have a hash-fueled love affair and then he would write a song about me.
What happened to the ‘rogue travellers’, the artists and adventurers? How did they all turn into DT wearing, tan attempting, peacock strutting accountants?! Where’s the guy who rocks a six pack from his yoga addiction under a slightly ripped shirt he found in an op shop in Cambodia? Not sitting on the beach in Cannes today, I can assure you, cos I spoke to the only non-clearly-insane man with a six pack there and he was a “Salesman slash Model”. He took five photos of us together because the first four he was concerned his smile showed too much of his teeth.
Another guy Kendyl met had photos of him and a girl on his Facebook wall. The girl was pretty cute so we did the womanhood thing and stalked her as well. She was born in 1995. 1995!!!! 16 years old?!?!? Quite literally, a DECADE younger than me. She probably has no idea who the Care Bears, Captain Planet or Animaniacs are. How can I possibly have anything to say to a guy who managed to hang out with someone with that level of cultural unawareness for an entire day?!
I did actually see a boy like the one I’m describing in the street the other day standing next to a rubbish skip. Travel pack, bandana thingy in his wiry longish hair, tanned, broad, could eat a bear… It seemed a suitably unromantic situation to walk up and say “Oh thank God, you don’t whiten your teeth. And is that a rip in your shirt? What are you doing later? Let’s sit on the beach and pretend we know what philosophy is all about.”, but I’m just too shy.
I’m doing the wrong sort of travel for meeting these types of boys, evidenced by the fact that my “backpack” has wheels and I am carrying no less than 7 pairs of shoes. What I need to do is buy some tie-dyed fisherman pants, learn to smoke without coughing and hitchhike my way through Slovenia in search of a bonfire. Plan.
I catch my face in the mirror after drying off from a cool shower. The old toilet and plastic curtain of the B&B we’re staying at for the night are reflected in the background. I’m brown and fresh. Glowing.
It took the restorers 25 years to bring the Sistine Chapel back to its original colours; bright reds and blues, yellows and greens whereas before was only a smudge of grey. Restoration was a painfully slow process of slightly, slightly rubbing off of the grime built up over the years until the original colours were free. Two perfectly square patches of grime are left in the top back corner of the chapel ceiling for comparison.
I feel a bit like the Sistine Chapel. Layer by layer, not just the last 5 weeks but each day of the last year or so has been a slow, gradual rubbing away of 24 years of expectations, boundaries, perceptions, biases, right and wrong, confusion. A flash of colour is just starting to peek through and I hold onto these moments like gold. What an incredible feeling, sensing your whole self in sync, even if just for a second.
I think the reason it’s so easy to ‘find yourself’ travelling is because you’re surrounded by constant beauty. Hills and castles out the window of a train, sunsets over the ocean, ancient architecture towering over your head. The beauty permeates you like the sun on a warm day. It becomes a part of you, meaning you get to reflect it back to the world.
Just ordered Caitlin Moran’s “How To Be A Woman” book for all the women in my life. Do it. Do it now.
Dear Caitlin Moran,
Even though I’m a skinny bitch who rocks a pair of pump heels right up to the moment my ankle breaks in half, shooting knee to forehead in the middle of Chapel Street, I hope we can still be friends. I’ll confess straight up that I hate Doc Martens. They’re like going for a walk with a pair of bricks strapped to your feet. I do however own a handbag I bought at Kmart for $25. It was a replacement for the last handbag I managed to wear to every occasion (work, uni, nightclub) for the past 3 years. It was orange, weaved and bought for me by my mum when I thought I’d ‘splash out’ and try a colour; utterly horrible. But do you know how difficult it is to find a handbag that expresses all sides of my personality? ‘Individual’ but still chic, classy but slightly bohemian, fashionable but not victimized?! Impossible.
Primarily because I’m trying to fit in while standing out, a conundrum that has, to date, made me a fairly ordinary person in every sphere except my own mind.
But why am I talking about handbags?! I want to talk to you about feminism! I wrote my second blog on it a couple of days before downloading your book and am now incredibly depressed at my own lack of wit and strength. My first blog is only a little bit better. What are your thoughts on Chivalry and Sexism?! Is chivalry sexist? Is the expectation or acceptance of Chivalry an acquiesce to being the ‘losing’ sex or is that imbalance just a physical evolutionary fact to get us all bonking more?
I am keen to know your thoughts but have written this directly after reading only one piece you ever wrote, the book “How To Be A Woman” (my only criticism is that the title lets it down- I genuinely don’t care how someone else thinks I should be a woman and only read the Kindle sample because so many of the reviews said you were funny). I’m sure you’ve already answered it in some form or another. Even possibly in the book which I read so fast I now have hiccups. I’m re-reading it just in case.
The real reason I’m writing is that you echoed, so much more entertainingly and lack-of-bitternessly as I ever could, a few of my own thoughts that I’ve hesitated to say; not just to guys but to girl friends as well. Women around me genuinely have “buy an Oroton handbag” as a life goal and don’t WANT to jump off mountains as a hobby. I’m a revolution waiting to happen! If I could just find where I left my guts…
And this is why it’s good for me to write imaginary letters to authors and pop stars. Because when I try to put into words my excuses for not being as revolutionary as I want to be; aka “Its really ‘scary’, boys will never want to be with me if what goes on in my head were actually in a public forum, I need friends that are also opinionated so I feel ‘safe’ or that I’m genuinely concerned my conservative Dad might keel over from shock if he learns I understand the meaning of the word ‘masturbate'”, all seem a little… twottle. I made up a word. Because I think you will understand what I mean and it feels slightly risqué.
So I have encountered in third person (in a book, as opposed to fourth person which is a mention in a book or article or media item. This is, to date, the only way I’ve encountered, say, Germaine Greer, among a hundred other people with actual opinions), you, Caitlin Moran. A funny, successful, honest feminist. It’s a turning point for me and could possibly turn into a complete 360 in my little go-kart of life just from complete joy. Think Mario Kart, yoshi-style. I’m about to consume nearly everything you’ve ever written and considering the effect of the book, its likely to unleash a writing style and openness I will probably regret in 5 years. Which is the only writing style I want because at least I’m regretting what I DID do, not what I DIDNT.
“I have to sleep. Anywhere. I need a pillow. Something to put my head on. Now.”
I consider the soup I’m eating. Somewhere in the back of my brain a voice says that it being a liquid could be a bad thing but it’s drowned out by the front of the brain screaming that it’s warm. And squishy. Like a pillow. Also, I wouldn’t have to expend the energy of dipping the spoon into the soup and bringing it to my mouth. I could just close my eyes, stick my tongue out, and lap it up. Win, win.
I need to read everything. Posters in the alleyways, signs on train doorways saying ‘Attention: in case of emergency, press this button”, pamphlets discarded underneath the bench I’m sitting on… it’s like my eyes need to draw a mental line through anything representing a sentence before they can rest and just take in the scenery. After a couple of days, reading the Italian language is doing my head in. Most of the ‘general public’ Italian words read just like English but in a heavy Italian accent. “Grande Centrale Stazione” for instance, though clearly simply ‘Grand Central Station,” is said in my head by a 50 year old Italian bolognese chef waving a spoon around the kitchen; “GRRAN-deh sen-TRRA-leh sta-zy-ON-eh!!!!!” The chef says everything and won’t stop waving his spoon at me; “at-TEN-zione!” “twoi-LETtte?” It’s gotten to the point where the chef says my own english sentences for me; “Wherra IZ-za mi FON-na?!!!!!”
It’s not 100% full proof though. “Lavenderia” is NOT, as you would suppose, a shop all about lavender, which is clearly worth risking your life crossing a busy Italian street to see. It’s a laundromat.
On arriving in France I said “Si, Grazi” to the hotel concierge and checkout girl at the local supermarket instead of “Oiu, Merci”. Switching from one language you don’t know to another one you have not the first idea about is hard work. Also, we’ve made an attempt to understand basic words in the local language, such as ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘oh my god where’s the nearest bathroom?’. It’s pointless though. The 10 words I know in Italian (5 of those numbers), every single Italian person knows in English. Peppering complete english sentences with the word ‘cinque’ instead of ‘five’ is not aiding comprehension.
In Nice, France though, I was thrilled to the edges of my pink painted toenails to say “Excuse–moi?” in a full french accent to two girls attempting to push in line for the tram. It just sounds so… catty.
…in public places cost money. It seems a little opportunistic to charge 50c for the relieving of bodily functions. At Toulouse, on a stopover to Barcelona, the toilets didn’t open until 6am. Our train arrived at 5:30am. The last 10 minutes of that half an hour are the longest 10 minutes of my life. I practically threw the money at the operator.
Kendyl keeps getting stuck in bathrooms and I keep getting walked in on in toilets. The latter situation is because my Clair Brain forgets to lock the door in restaurant and train bathrooms. We’re not sure why Kendyl keeps getting stuck… but it’s damn funny to hear the little whimper behind the cubicle door again!
I’m standing by the side of a road, at 8am, not wearing any underwear. We got out of the jacuzzi an hour or so ago, chatting with two of the ten Norwegians renting the mansion overlooking Nice, France until it was time for the bus to arrive.
When we board, I can feel more than a bit of itching from the seat. A seven year old boy in shorts and socks to his calves gets on. Going to school. I haven’t slept since I woke up at 11am yesterday morning. His perfectly combed hair and tiny, polished black school shoes rebuke my lack of underwear, sleep and decorum for the entire bus ride.
Kendyl and I can’t stop giggling.Read More
Guys too seem to like this transaction. I’ve gladly accepted any number of freebies the last three weeks of travel, mostly in the form of food and alcohol on the implicit understanding that it’s because they find me (or the girls I’m with) attractive. The payoff for them is presumably (and excuse the heightness of my stereotyping) a boost to the infamous Male Ego.
Why then does the term ‘baby’ in a text message make me don my Joan of Arc knickerbockers and start ranting about the neanderthalism of masochistic dick swingers?!
I come back from the bathroom in Skala restaurant, Santorini, to a scene straight from “Eat, Pray, Love”. A big corner table directly overlooking the ocean is crowded with characters from all corners of the globe; Biljiana, a blonde and energetic Macedonian sits next to Sheena, a Gold Coast babe with long, black hair and real (expensive!) boobs.
The owner of the restaurant, 60 year old Stavros, has his hand on Kendyl’s back and is attempting to convince her to go to the island of Eos with him to his resort for a couple of days. Despite the promise to return her to us in Mykonos by Sunday, she’s not convinced and laughs him away every few minutes. Our guests this evening are Kamal and Thyme, businessman and actor/producer respectively who live… I can’t remember where. Maybe LA but they’re in Santorini for a cool 6 weeks just ‘hanging out’. Kamal’s from Melbourne and has a place just down the road from my favorite little dancing haunt Boutique. It’s bizarre coming halfway around the world to find so many people from so close to home.
I’m sitting next to our host, George, who has developed a little crush and says ‘Wow!’ while staring at me intensely whenever I turn my head in his direction. He ordered us lobster spaghetti (my first taste of lobster) to go with the array of seafood dishes Stavros’ kitchen keeps bringing to the table. I can barely move I’ve eaten so much and George’s constant offers to feed me lobster on a fork are not helping. To his left are four local Greeks, an older couple and two 30-something women. I don’t understand a word they’re saying but it’s loud and apparently funny. It’s midnight, a nearly full moon is reflecting on the ocean and a warm breeze flickers the candles…
Beauty is worth living for.
Bedtime is now 8am. Dinner is midnight. Brunch is around 5pm before an afternoon siesta. I’m not sure where the hours of 8am – 5pm go, they don’t seem to exist in Europe. I wake up, wander the streets in search of food and when I next look at the clock it’s evening.
Right now though it’s 7am in the morning and I’m soaking wet, standing in a café outside Cavo Paradiso Club in Mykonos. I lost my bra inserts (affectionately known among womankind as ‘chicken fillets’) doing a backflip into the pool in my underwear about an hour ago, but the dress and heels are intact. Every table we visited tonight had a different drink; Moet, vodka & peach, whisky and coke, tequila shots at the bar with the manager and two crazy looking lesbian women. One had wiry red hair sticking straight up from her head and bright sea blue contacts in her eyes. It’s a scary sight at any time of day but particularly harrowing at 3am in the morning surrounded by pulsing blue lights. The manager wants to know if I’d like to come back, live above the club and jump into the pool every night next summer. Tempting.
I’m attempting to order a salad from the menu; SALATA. Italian. I got this. Prosciutto, Formaggio, Tacchino. I read these words loudly as if I know what they’re saying. Sounds like a good salad; ham, cheese and mushrooms. I’m pretty impressed with a place like this having salad and even though I can’t see fresh anything, I order a number 11. The owner moves around the counter, pours some batter onto a hot plate and fills it with ham, turkey and prosciutto before asking if I want it takeaway. Hang on; I’m supposed to be getting a salad. I start reading out the ingredients to him again from the sign before he interrupts and asks why I’m not reading the menu in English right next to the Italian version. Shoot. Apparently SALATA means ‘salty’, which I think is the Greek idea of ‘savoury’ and in this café means Crepes. Drunk Confidence strikes again. I take the crepe with only a slight grumble about the fact that ‘salata’ is clearly ‘salad’ in anybody’s language.
Mykonos is living up to its reputation as a party town, though Santorini is the surprise runner up. We meant to have two days of relaxation and liver cleansing in preparation for Mykonos but George, the Hotel Manager of Armeni Village and a connection of a local Greek friend Demi-(licious!), had other plans. It only took a complimentary bottle of wine to convince us to head into Thari, the main town of Santorini, for some partying with him that night. We were looked after all evening, crashing after sunrise to be woken by a complimentary continental breakfast. We took quad bikes around the island that afternoon, scored some more drinks and a delicious local dessert of chocolate and banana deep fried in a crepe at a beachside cafe and rode home in our bikinis under the setting sun.
Life’s pretty good.Read More
Dear Caitlyn, Isabella, Elise, Giselle and Scarlett,
Today I saw a man wheeling a big flat piece of wood on wheels across a harbor. The wood had someone’s luggage on it and he was using his voice as a horn! Bleeeeeeh, bleh, bleh, bleh, BLLLLLeeeeeeHHHHH, bleh, bleh, bleh! I thought it was something you would all find funny – if ever you need a horn and you don’t have one, you could just use your voice :D. You might need some practice at home first before you do it in public though. It made me want to write to you and tell you a bit about my adventures overseas so you know how much I miss you all.
I started my trip in Venice, which is in Italy. Can you find it on a map somewhere? See if you can draw a line on a map and follow my adventures as I tell you where I’ve been. Venice is a town made completely on water; all the buildings sit directly into the canals.
There are no cars or bikes and people get everywhere by a boat or by walking. They don’t have garbage trucks; they have garbage boats! The most famous boats are called Gondolas and men in funny hats push them around very slowly with a big long pole. Sometimes they even sing!! I got one to have a photo with me.
Venice is famous for masks; The people who used to live in Venice years ago (Venetians) would have big parties where everyone covered their face with a mask so you couldn’tRead More