Life's a confusing cocktail.
Just when you think you have fooled everyone into believing that you are cruising down the adult super highway, the past grabs the steering wheel like a drunk driver and suddenly you're bouncing around on a track someplace you sort of remember.
Strangely, it feels like home.
A few weeks ago I was reminded of my calling: I was born to be an Aunt. Not just any Aunt, an Agony Aunt.
It all came back to me when my silly, but spookily accurate, warning that KISS wouldn't make it to our end of the road, came to pass (yes, I'm still dining out on this story). A workmate was so impressed he called me Nostradamus Richo, which was very flattering, but way off beam. It's got more to do with Jim Beam, according to various so-called "friends" who suggest my vibe is Drunk Aunt, rather than Agony Aunt.
OK, so I admit I had trouble predicting how Titantic would end, but I can offer some pretty useful advice.
However, I give advice only when asked. I'm not Presumptuous Aunt, even though I did advise a disgruntled reader of my last column to check his comprehension, spelling and the massive picture of my face accompanying the yarn, before calling me a fruity term used to denote part of the male reproductive system.
Look, I'm the first to admit that life's confounding. It's hard enough remembering to put on underwear without the extra hassle of interacting with other confused humans, animals, electronic devices and random greenery each day (and night).
So, after one or two cocktails a few years back, I decided to launch a stellar career as an Agony Aunt. This was my pitch: "I specialise in unravelling the mysteries of modern romance and etiquette. I have a flair also for magically removing creative blocks concerning home decor, fashion and garden ornamentation. If you are a Befuddled Betty or Confused Crispin, send me a little note (aka email) because two beautifully coiffed heads are better than one. I've mixed myself a Fluffy Duck, I'm in the zone, so fire away."
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, not many people wrote to my website at the start. So I got a few mates to send me their conundrums.
Here's a sample of my sage advice:
I am a newly single man in the city and I am about to set up an apartment in the CBD. I'm not really up to dating at the moment but I'd like a place that I wouldn't be embarrassed to present to any future date. Any tips for this bachelor, who is severely challenged in the interior flair department? KC
I could overwhelm you with tips, but you might get scared and move back with your parents. So I'll start with the basics.
The most important piece is a good lounge. Since you are a bit delicate at the moment, it will be your comfort zone while watching Top Gun for the 200th time. So it will need to be cushy. Think about style and colour. When the ladies come a-visiting, they will be less than turned on by some weird couch colour combo that belongs in a teen's rumpus room. Think about red (passion), deep blue (spiritual, and it might match your eyes?) or gun metal grey (safe standby for a manly man about town).
Think about fabric. Think velvet.
I'd also suggest a fancy sideboard. Here you stash the liquor (for before, during, or after said lady visits, depending on your state of mind and the date's success). It is also good for displaying keepsakes from your travels - both real and imagined. It will gently suggest "KC's exotic, and a bit hard to pin down. Mmmm, challenging". Note: A 'Greetings from Gosford' oven mitt is not going to cut it. Let your lady friend know you have ventured well beyond Woy Woy.
Another tip: remote controls and Sexy Girls With Sexy V8s mags are not great decorations. Neither is a gun rack. Your decor might impress your mates, but if the lady of the moment spots them she'll instantly replay in her head all those high-school dates that - let's face it - usually ended in disappointment, embarrassment and a wretched walk home. Start with these baby-step decorating tips and you'll be standing on your own in no time.
General housekeeping tips: make sure the seat's down (and clean) and invest in new bed sheets, the other ones will reek of loneliness. Think Law of Attraction. Love, Deb
I have a problem with my colleagues taking my lunch from the office fridge. They swipe only the good stuff (sushi/spring rolls/stir fry) and leave other morsels like devon sandwiches. It might sound like a first world problem, but I am sick of eating chips from the vending machine. It is also getting expensive. Have you any tips for securing my lunch? Starvin' Marvin
The office fridge is a reflection of office life. It's a Petri dish of disappointment. Unfortunately, the classic office is often a boring environment, so the first place the uninspired seek solace is the fridge.
I'd say the route to your office fridge is a high-traffic area.
Actually, you have solved your own conundrum by mentioning devon. This luncheon meat reached the height of popularity in the '70s, but is now treated - quite rightly - with deep suspicion. So, wrap your lunch in devon. Make sure to cover your real lunch in cling wrap so that the mystery flavour of the small good doesn't transfer to your nori roll. Regarding a stir-fry, I'd pack it in an opaque container and clearly label it "frozen crab sticks in aspic: Jan. 2000". No one in their right mind would touch turn-of-the-century seafood. Then again, seafood extender will probably outlast us all.
I hope I have given you a few ideas. It's a jungle out there, so always hide your bananas. Love, Deb
But this was my favourite 'Confused Crispin' (aka Errol):
I'm considering my drinks selection for Christmas. I'm tired of champagne and want to mix it up a bit. Suggestions? Errol
As a wise woman with a pompous accent once said: "When one is tired of champagne, one is tired of life". Maybe it's time you entered the hall of mirrors Errol?
I think you'd agree my advice is worthy of Oprah. Maybe my work here is not done?
My past is my present.
It's all getting confusing.
Drunk Aunty needs a drink.
- Deborah Richards writes for the Newcastle Herald. Contact the writer: email@example.com
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