The Island of the Dead

I’d say at this point in my quest to monogamy, I’m at a Gandalf has just died stage. It’s all looking a little bleak and Mordor is still a long way away. Through this uphill battle the things that helped the most were copious amounts of alcohol, extreme exercise and good friends. I too had a Samwise.

Being from the country I already knew how to drink well or not drink well if you look at it that way, but I’m a glass half full type of person. Each weekend through High School we’d all go over to the friends house whose parents let us bring alcohol. Or bought the alcohol for us, that was the jackpot. We would play skull and spin with UDL’s and Red Bears (to this day the smell of an apple UDL brings up a PTSD style flashback and I almost vomit). The next day our parents would ask why we smell like alcohol and why one of the girls is vomiting in the guest bathroom. We’d confidently answer with our preplanned response, “The boys filled up water pistols with vodka” and “We got food poisoning because the sausages were raw.” At the time we thought we were so clever and rebellious, now as a 26-year-old I can clearly see that our parents 100% knew we were full of utter shit. My point, Alcohol: Check!

I became a psycho running person whilst dating one particular person. I went for 3 runs in 4 hours whilst I pretended I wasn’t waiting for him to write back. Eventually exercise became one of the things that made me feel better. Once, I did the Bay Walk and the Coogee- to-Bondi walk in the same day. That is 17km of avoidance. If I kept walking, everything would be fine. I’m convinced that’s why those walks are so busy, it’s just a bunch of people waiting for someone to text them back. Years later my crazy running progressed so much even if it was torrential rain, I’d still go running. I compare these runs to that of Andy Dufresne crawling out of the river of shit in The Shawshank Redemption. We grow older but we don’t really grow up. Deep down we are still children hoping that everyone likes us. We’ll go running instead of allowing ourselves to actually just acknowledge that we are feeling a little vulnerable.

And finally, the trio of support is complete with your tight pack of lady friends and your Wife.Every girl has a Wife. A Christina to your Meredith. A Grey to your Yang. Your person. Your drunk dancing partner. And other Grey’s Anatomy references. Shonda just gets me. She destroys me, but she gets me. It was only a couple of years into a relationship that I realised I had a Wife. We would email each other all day at work, call each other in our lunch break and then see each other after work. We had to switch to emailing from our personal email addresses instead of our work ones because the fear of the IT department finding out about our pathetic personal lives was just all too frightening.

Being a mate-wife is a certain level of commitment; very similar to being in a relationship because you know everything about each other and you want to know everything about each other. My Wife and I know so much about each other and love each other so much that we have often said we could never travel together to the U.S, Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, Brazil, England and Wales, France, New Zealand, Uruguay, Luxembourg, Scotland, Ireland because we would get drunk and actually get married. Please enjoy my very subtle reference as to how behind Australia is. (Legalise gay marriage you homophobic wankers!)

A Wife is the person who calls you on the way home from a date with a dude, having a minor freak out that she’s hit the age bracket of dating divorced dudes and she’s wondering when that happened. You’d respond with:

“Want to compete for whose life is more washed up? I couldn’t bang last night because I have my period and couldn’t be arsed giving him a blowjob so we had so much dry sex I carpet burnt his penis. Who has dry sex these days, am I 16?”

And she’d say:
“Right?!?! Am I 40?? Want to meet at Bitton for coffee so we can stare at all the beautiful French men?”
And you’d say:
“Yes, yes I do.”

Things like that, for a hypothetical/real example.A Wife knows every single intimate detail of your dating life. The type of friend where it’s never off-limits to call at 1am after a break up. You may as well just rock up at her house because you already know she’d say absolutely come over and i’ll feed you red wine as you cry in my shower. But most importantly, your Wife is the person you show your jerk side to. The type of jerk where all your positive thoughts and all your bright sides have just fucked off for the afternoon. Together you scream at Facebook as another one of your fucking friends announces that they have bought a god-damn house with a photo of them standing next to a fucking sold sign. #blessed #lyfgoals. You know you should be happy for them but you can’t because you’re feeling like a jerk. A jerk who this week forked out $285 for Sydney rent and the idea of ever owning a house is looking just as likely as finding the person who will buy it with you. And so help me god if I see a sonogram or a picture of someone’s hand with a ring on it #heasked #isaidyes.¹ (See footnote) Life is hard. You know, that type of jerk mood. Its dark.

I was in a major jerk dark zone one time and my Wife and I decided as a little pick me up, we would imitate the climax face and pleasure noises of guys we’d banged. And you know what, it really helped. I laughed so hard I cried. She laughed so hard her laugh became silent. Great friends let you say out loud all the horrible things you want to say but have kept hidden in the dark for fear of sounding like a dick. I can’t tell you how many sentences I have started off with ‘Ok, I’m going to be a terrible person but……’ and my Wife will finish off my thought by saying, “OMG I was thinking that but didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to be a terrible person.”

A Wife is your life coach through the emotionally emotionless cynical phases of life. One particular pep talk my Wife gave me over wine and stuffing our faces with cheese pondering why no one loved us was her theory/coping mechanism on the relationship fizzle out. A wonderful concept called, ‘The Island of the Dead’. She went on to say, “Why spend all this time and energy wondering what you did wrong, why the relationship failed or why they haven’t called. They haven’t called, because they died. They are dead. They are banished to The Island of the Dead.”

I’m going to talk a lot in metaphors from here, prepare yourself.

Between the two of us we had put quite a few occupants on The Island, we felt like we were being too harsh and murderous. So we created stages before they got to The Island to give them a chance at redemption. You’ll notice I like steps and stages. This is to help me define and make sense of behaviours. Also the idea of organising things and making lists is like porn to me.

Lalalalalala Stage

The happy lovely stage where everything is fine. This Island is like Fiji with $1 massages from the happy townspeople and you have beautiful glowing shiny sex skin.
Fizzle bullshit begins.

Lost at Sea Stage

Lost at sea means there is a chance they could come back into your life. It is real turmoil. You heard of a boat sighting but unfortunately it was just the coast guard or a cruise liner of drunk retirees.

Translation: You text them. Your phone goes off and it’s your Mum/Wife/work/Telstra as they are the only people who text you. Eventually they have been lost at sea for so long you must admit there is no possible way they could have survived. Translation: They haven’t contacted you for 5 days and you know for your own sanity that you should let it go.

Whilst they are lost at sea you may progress to unfollowing them on Facebook so you don’t stalk their every movement but deleting them is just way too real at the moment. Sometimes we must put people on a fishing trip on a choppy day so they become lost at sea and therefore go to The Island. This is to save you from future hurt and the crazy lady stalker bitch zone. Because if they are dead, you cannot contact them.

Death Stage

Once it is decided they are lost at sea and you admit to yourself that their boat has horrifically smashed against some unfortunate rocks and lightning has devastatingly electrocuted their body in the ocean and they have passed on to The Island. So sad. You may sign their death certificate and have a funeral in their honour.

Translation: You delete their number so you never booze fueled text them again.

If you are not ready to accept their fatal mishap at sea you can put their number in your pirate mates phone, delete it from your own so you are unable to text. But it is still available to you should you need to stare at it in the future and contemplate texting them another day. For a hypothetical/ 100% real example.

Zombie Stage

You’ve gotten drunk at their wake and started moving on with your life. THEN THEY TEXT YOU. It is important to remember that they are still dead. You may text a dead person or see a dead person but you must never bang a dead person. Because they are dead. They died for a reason. Do not go back.

Resolution Stage

Once they are dead or if they have become a zombie and you’ve killed them again Dawn of the Dead style, then they become a nickname on your Island roll call. We used nicknames to help detach ourselves from the dead; it’s all part of the grieving process. Sometimes it’s too hard to bring up their name and you attach all the memories and good times to that name. Therefore each fallen solider must transition from their real name to being referred to only by their nickname.

Nicknames we have created include:
Jerk Face
Army Boy
Eco Man
The thing that doesn’t exist guy
Dr Nick Big Dick
Mr Lacita
Camera Cunt Face
Creepy Dancer Guy
One Sixty Seven
Hipster Boy
Work Jerk
Creepy 22 Year Old
My Future Husband
Your Future Husband
The Pilot
Sweaty Guy
Frisbee Dude
My future husband who doesn’t know he is my future husband
Dude when I didn’t know I was on a date guy
Mr Accountant
Semi-dead Husband
Salsa Boy
Zombie Boy
The Viking
Tinder Boy* This is a sub-category.

Some nicknames were more inventive than others. Some created as a result of rants, wine and tears, some by profession, some by street number and others were just geographically accurate. My personal favourites were the ones created to define their jerk behaviour. These nicknames then became adjectives to describe how futures dates went. Our conversations went like this:

A: How was your night?
B: It was ok, I think he might be a Camera Cunt Face though.
A: Oh really? Are you sure he’s not an Army Guy but you have your shipping container full of baggage eyes on?
B: I don’t know. Although I do feel like I’ve condensed to a ute of baggage now. Like it’s small enough that I can carry it around, it’s not so big I’m paying rent for its storage.
A: Oh that’s good! Do you have feelings?
B: I don’t know. I can’t tell if it’s feeling feelings or just physical feelings
A: Well does it feel different to your Past Future Husband or is your mind actually over in Brazil?

My rambly point to all this is, in order to survive the quest through Middle Earth, you must have true Hobbit friends. When you find them, hold onto to them closely. You know them when they come into your life. They are the ones you have breakfast and brunch with, then lunch and second lunch. The ones that tell you you’re crazy when you need to be told you’re crazy. They know when you say, “I’m fine” that you are 700% not fine and full of total shit. They are the ones that want you to bail on them to see a guy and will never make you feel guilty about it, because they really want you and your vagina to be happy. When you do start dating someone they’ll say, “I have a bunsen burner in my heart for you.” The friends that you have dance parties with, to Bernard Fanning music at 2 in the afternoon for no reason. The type of friends that it actually moves you tears imagining them not being in your life. It doesn’t matter where they go or where they travel to, you will travel to wherever that random country is just to have a wine with them. And that my friends, is true fucking love.

¹To all my friends who are adult enough to have houses and/or babies and/or married and/or engaged. I am so so happy for you and you know I love you. Just like you were happy for me when I taught my cat to hug me or the first time I ordered a glass of wine based off taste instead price. You know, my life goals.