Wanna Swap?

Dear Australia,

I know you have a weird aversion to Halloween – it’s kind of the way I feel about capers (peas gone wrong). But just hear me out! I would be willing to swap out any of the following days in exchange for Halloween…

Australia Day

Okay, before you go calling me “un-Australian” (thanks, John Howard), keep in mind that Australia Day is actually a day of mourning in the Aboriginal community. Do we really want to dance on the graves of the original inhabitants of this country? Haven’t they been through enough? While we used to celebrate all things good about Australia, these days, Australia Day has become little more than an excuse to get drunk, put on a beer singlet, and behave in a way that’s racist and aggressive. In other words, it’s just an average Wednesday night for some people.

Stay classy, Australia.
Stay classy, Australia.

New Year’s Eve

Has anyone ever had a New Year’s Eve that’s better than ANY other night of the year? I mean, seriously? While I’ve definitely had some fun New Year’s, there’s always so much pressure involved, and it never quite lives up to the hype. On January 2, people will already be asking what you’ve got planned for NEXT New Year’s Eve. “You’d better get moving!” they’ll say. “There’s only 363 days to go!” Also, I’ve had some especially shitty New Year’s. One year, we had to euthanise our cat at 6pm on NYE. Last year, I sat in a doctors surgery waiting room, sick with strep throat. My immune system didn’t care that it was New Year’s Eve…

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State of Origin

I’m not afraid to say that I know very little about sports and even less about the State of Origin. My cousins in Brisbane get into it, but maybe that’s because Queensland wins every year… I don’t even know which team is which. One year, I tried to force myself into caring, and then three quarters through the game, discovered I’d been cheering for the wrong team. I just gave up and flicked the channel over to a repeat of Friends instead.

No idea.
No idea.

Melbourne Cup

Or as I like to call it, “The Hunger Games For Horses”. Every year, a horse seems to die in this cruel and unnecessary “race that stops the nation”, all so people can wear fancy hats, drink champagne and gamble away their hard-earned money, before stumbling home barefoot with their high heels in their hands. Think about that the next time you buy a glue stick…

Nothing screams
Nothing screams “fun” like dead horses and rolling around in garbage.

I hope you take my opinions onboard, and I look forward to celebrating Halloween with you in the very near future.

Yours Sincerely,

Demeter

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Boo Hoo

I cannot begin to explain just how much I love Halloween. But I’m going to try anyway… The only way I could love Halloween any more is if Jake Gyllenhaal delivered it to me personally, on horseback, wrapped in a bow, on a white sand beach in Hawaii, while James Corden played show tunes on the ukulele nearby.

For YEARS I have been trying to make Halloween happen in Australia, only to be told repeatedly, “Stop trying to make Halloween happen. It’s not going to happen.” (By the way, I’m pretty sure you just stole that from Mean Girls, everyone.)

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As a kid, I used to beg my parents to take me trick or treating, and they used to tell me tales about people who would put razor blades in apples. Bitch, if I’m door knocking for food, I want the good stuff – throw a Kit Kat or 12 into my bag! Apples… pfft. “And anyway, we don’t do Halloween here,” my mum would add, just to really drive the point home. You mean, we don’t do fun??

"How do you like THEM apples?!"
“How do you like THEM apples?!”

In high school, it was a series of stop-starts. I think I went to a grand total of three Halloween parties, and they were some of the happiest moments of my young life… Whether I was dressed up as a devil, a dead girl or a Pink Lady, I had found my calling.

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But then it all stopped. Now whenever I try to get my friends excited about Halloween, suggesting we do something, ANYTHING to celebrate it, I’m usually met with a lackluster response: “It’s an American holiday. Newsflash, Demeter: We’re not in America.” Newsflash, you uncultured bore: It originated in the UK. (Shout out to my Halloween hating friends.)

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Realising I was alone in my love of all things kooky and spooky, last year, I took it upon myself to dress up as Karl Lagerfeld, and recruited my reluctant cat to act as his beloved Choupette. While the neighbourhood kids had no idea who I was supposed to be (by the way, kids, a white sheet does not a costume make), the real-life Choupette started following me on Instagram. So before you start laying on the pity, thinking, “Ohh. Poor girl. Alone with her spiteful cat on Halloween,” ask yourself this – does Karl Lagerfeld’s cat follow YOU on Instagram? Didn’t think so.

I really outdid myself.
I really outdid myself.

While it warms my cold, dead heart to know Halloween is FINALLY starting to take off here, we still have a long way to go before we’re setting up pumpkin patches and holding parades in the street like they do in America. Last year, when I told Marta, a friend at work, that I wanted to go to a pumpkin patch, her response was blunt: “Why? It’s literally just pumpkins and hay. I’ll bring in some hay and shit and throw it all over the floor in here. You can pretend you’re at a pumpkin patch.” I sighed. “It’s not the same,” I said.

Shatter my dreams too while you're at it.
Shatter my dreams too while you’re at it.

So you can imagine how excited I was when my friends, Paru and Loki announced they were throwing a Halloween party this year. Finally! As soon as I got my invite, I fired off a message to Paru, telling her this was quite possibly the best thing that had happened to me all year.

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In summary, stop trampling on my dreams, Australia! Halloween is going to happen! I will make it happen. Just watch me.

Just Friends?

Can guys and girls ever just be friends? I used to think so, but I’m not so sure anymore…

I have this friend – let’s call him Juan Pablo. He used to be one of my best friends. We’d talk all the time and see each other almost every week, and despite popular belief, we never dated.

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Friends would tell me he had feelings for me, but I always knew this wasn’t true – after all, I knew him better than anyone. (Even if he did though, can you blame him? I’m awesome.)

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Everything was great until Juan Pablo asked me to a function. I didn’t think anything of it. We’d been to functions together before and it was always fine – no big deal.

At the end of the night though, lines were blurred, and when I refused to hook up with him, he called me a “tease”. Huh? I was seething, and after taking a couple of days to process what had happened, ranted at him for 20 minutes about respect. (Yes, I timed it.)

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Even though he apologised, it hurt our friendship. We didn’t really talk or see each other for years.

Juan Pablo’s moved on now, but he still gets weird if I’m seeing anyone or whenever a guy shows any interest, which makes me wonder if our friendship would survive if I was in a serious relationship… Would there be room for two guys in my life? Or would I have to join some weird polygamist cult?

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I’ve seen enough rom-coms to know how it’s supposed to end. After a series of clumsy mishaps, we both wake up one day and realise we’re in love. The stars align and we live happily each other… Except what if that doesn’t happen? No one ever made a movie with the plotline: boy meets girl, boy becomes best friends with girl, boy and girl marry other people but are still platonic best friends. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t make for a very exciting story. Or maybe it’s because guys and girls can never just be friends…

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“Woman, no straight guy is ever just best friends with a girl!” my friend, Loki once told me, astounded by my stupidity. “They’ll always want more.” Well. This was news to me.

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Maybe Hollywood got it right for once. The only male/female best friends I can think of who didn’t eventually end up together is Harry Potter and Hermione Granger – and they had magic on their side. Even then, things got weird for a while (slow dancing in a tent, anyone?). JK Rowling later admitted Harry should have married Hermione, and said it was one of her biggest regrets about the series. Way to back me up, JK!

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While I would love to think guys and girls could just be friends, experience has taught me that eventually things will get messy and complicated. Feelings will inevitably come into play and friendships will be ruined.

Well, That’s Awkward…

Everyone has awkward moments – it’s just a fact of life. But I seem to have more than my fair share. True story. Just ask any one of my friends. Whenever some crazy shit happens to me (as it often does), my friend Lea will just say, “Trust you. Something like that could only ever happen to you.”

I’m not sure why it happens or which one of the gods I’ve angered – it just… does. It’s one of the great mysteries in life (along with Donald Trump’s hair). My life would make a great sitcom in which the lead character never quite manages to get her shit together, no matter how hard she tries…

There's no shortage of face-palm moments in my life.
There’s no shortage of face-palms in my life.

There was that time I needed to reverse park on a night out and couldn’t quite do it. (Seriously, you may as well just ask me to recite Russian poetry.) With a car full of drunk friends, I did the only thing I could think of – rolled down my window and asked a random guy walking past if he knew how to reverse park. “Me?” he replied, nervously looking around. No, buddy – you’re not on Punk’d. This is happening. “Yeah…” he continued, wary. “Great! Do you mind parking my car?” I asked. Before anyone knew what was happening, I’d jumped out of the car and practically pushed this guy into the driver’s seat, while all my friends shot me looks that said, “Are you serious?!” (Apparently they weren’t that drunk.)

Ashton couldn't make this shit up.
Ashton couldn’t make this shit up.

But while I may have brought that awkward situation upon myself, there have been plenty of other times where things have been beyond my control… Here are four examples, and trust me, it was not easy narrowing them down. It’s a good thing I don’t embarrass easily…

Falling Over Myself

I was out shopping with my mum one day in high school. Somehow, I slipped on the floor of the store we were in and managed to land on bended knee with my arms straight up in the air like a majestic dancer. It was magical. One of my biggest regrets in life is that no one managed to get it on video. Impressed with my ninja landing technique, and realising it was too good an opportunity to pass up, I proudly proclaimed, “TA-DAAA!” My embarrassed mother was not so impressed. “What are you doing?” she asked me. “Get up!”

My fall was much more graceful.
My fall was much more graceful.

Party On

This was back in my uni days… I was going to my friend, Nathan’s house party. I’d never been to his house before, and when I pulled up in his street, it was really dark. To make matters worse, there were two houses, side by side, both having parties. Unable to see any street numbers, I took a guess and walked up to the first house. I rang the doorbell. No answer. I knocked on the door. Still no answer. Music was blaring inside, so I assumed they couldn’t hear me, and tried opening the door. It was unlocked. “Hello?” I called out, as I stepped inside. I looked around. There was no one downstairs, so I walked upstairs to find a group of strangers all sitting around a table, eating dinner. They all went silent and stared at me in shock. “Uh… Hi. Does Nathan live here?” I asked. “No,” came the response. “Okay. Have a nice dinner. Sorry to interrupt!” I called, as I ran back down the stairs, red-faced. I could hear them laughing hysterically behind me. Someone even called out, “Hey, crazy girl! Come back!” Needless to say, I did not go back.

Can you use this line on yourself?
Can you use this line on yourself?

Hitchin’ a Ride

I’d just started working in magazines, and had just been assigned my very first interview. I had to go out to Double Bay, a suburb in Sydney, to interview a world champion beat boxer at an apartment. It was my first time going out alone, and I really didn’t want to screw it up. Sitting in the back of the taxi, I nervously read over my questions and double checked to make sure my tape recorder had batteries. “Okay, this is it,” said the taxi driver. I paid him, said thanks and jumped out. I checked the number of the address I had and proceeded to walk up the stairs to the apartment. I knocked on the door and a young woman answered. “Hi. I’m here to interview Joel,” I said. She looked confused. “What address do you have?” she asked. I showed her the sheet of paper. “That’s about 10 minutes away by car,” she continued. “Did you drive here?” I told her I’d taken a taxi. “You’ll never get another taxi out here,” she told me. “I’ll drive you.” She ran back inside to grab her car keys while every lesson I’d ever learned about taking rides from strangers flew out the window. We headed back out to the street, and she climbed up into an army jeep. “Jump in,” she said. Thankfully, she wasn’t a serial killer – just a very kind lady. Let’s face it though, it could have gone either way…

This was my ride.
This was my ride.

Love Thy Neighbour

This was in Brisbane a couple of years ago. We’d flown up for my aunt and uncle’s surprise 50th birthday party. I was talking to my sister, Patrice, when I spotted my aunt and uncle’s old neighbour. He was a few years younger than me, and now he was all grown up. “Wow! I haven’t seen him in years!” I said to Patrice. “I’m going to go say hello.” He looked over in my direction, so I smiled and waved, and proceeded to walk towards him. Halfway through my walk, it occurred to me that the confused look on his face meant he had no idea who the hell I was. I quickly glanced back at Patrice, who frantically shook her head and shot me a look that basically said, “Abort! Abort!” It was too late though. I realised I was past the point of no return, and so I continued to walk over to him, a smile planted firmly on my face. When I finally reached him, I said, “Hi! Remember me?” He looked at me like I was a crazy person, and continued to grip the sides of his seat. Then, and I don’t know why – maybe it’s because I have a need to hug and kiss every person I meet – I proceeded to CLIMB on top of him for a hug and a kiss, while his girlfriend looked on, ready to kill me. Satisfied with my assault, I climbed back off him. He look terrified, and I said, “Okay. Good to see you,” before walking back towards Patrice, mortified with myself. “You’re an idiot!” Patrice told me.

Like this, but worse.
Like this, but worse.

Giving Up the Gun

When President Obama took to the podium recently to address the latest school shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, I saw a man who was both devastated and defeated. And who can blame him? I don’t need to spout statistics for you to know that America has too many mass shootings to continue to infuriatingly turn a blind eye to the problem – gun control.

The face of a man who's over it.
The face of a man who’s over it.

Let me ask, when was the last time an armed civilian stormed into a school and took control of a shooting – or ANY mass shooting for that matter? Didn’t think so. I’d hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re not Bruce Willis, America! Let the police do their job SAFELY. By allowing everyone and anyone to be armed, you’re only endangering yourselves and your community.

Nope.
Nope.

Do you really think because you own a gun, your child will be any safer when you drop them off at school? Every parent expects their child to come home, but if your kid is a student in America, there is a very real possibility they won’t.

One student at Umpqua Community College was speaking to the media about how he’s been caught up in TWO school shootings. He’s also served in the armed forces in the Middle East, and he said he felt safer in a war zone than he does in America right now. That says it all really.

Just say no.

I know a lot of pro-gun advocates argue that teachers should be armed too. Perfect. So if a teacher is driven to breaking point (as will sometimes happen), he or she can just open fire on their classroom. Or maybe a student will find the gun and do it first…

Another common argument is the good ol’ “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Guns sure do help though…

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I feel like Americans have become desensitised to the gun problem. A few years ago, my sister and I were in New Orleans. It was only a few days after the Aurora cinema shooting, and we were walking down the street when we spotted a man and his daughter, each carrying a rifle in each hand. While our instincts led us to cower behind a bin, we couldn’t help but notice everyone else going about their business like it was the most natural thing in the world – mothers pushing prams, ladies casually talking. Personally, I feel safer WITHOUT guns.

Last I heard, the American Civil War was over – why do you still need guns? And don’t tell me it’s for “protection”. You wouldn’t need protection if guns weren’t legal. It’s a vicious cycle!

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In 1996, there was a gun massacre at Port Arthur in Tasmania. Thirty-five people were killed. Shortly after this, the Australian government banned guns. While our track record with gun violence in Australia isn’t perfect, we haven’t had another mass shooting to this extent since, and any shooting is a rare occurrence. Our animals may kill you, but rest assured, a bullet won’t.

At the moment, it is harder to get an abortion in America than it is to obtain a gun. No matter what your views are on abortion, you can’t deny the ridiculousness of this situation.

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I know some Americans will defend their “right to bear arms” to the death, and that’s fine – everyone is entitled to their opinion, this is only mine. But just remember, the next time someone dies at the hands of a shooter, their victim could easily have been one of your loved ones – or even you.

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Tall Tales

One thing I’ve noticed about celebrities is they lie. Seriously, you can’t trust them, especially about things like their height. I don’t know if the stage lights shrink them down or if it’s a prerequisite that you must be this short to ride the Hollywood rollercoaster, but generally speaking, celebrities are always much smaller than they claim to be. I often feel like Godzilla standing next to them.

For example, Sandra Bullock’s official height is listed as 5’7″ (170cm), which is the same height as me. But I’ve stood next to her on the red carpet, and she was my height with heels on (I was in flats). I’m sure Sandra is a lovely lady, but 5’7″ my ass! Realistically, she would be around 5’4″ (163cm).

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I’ve even heard reports of set designers deliberately making sets smaller so leading men can appear more imposing onscreen. Apparently this is something they used to do in John Wayne films a lot, despite it being reported he was 6’4″ (193cm). Not buying it, John.

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One of the only celebrities I’ve ever encountered who is the height they claim to be is Cara Delevingne. Her official height is listed as 5’8″ (173cm), and she was a few inches taller than me with heels on, so I’ll give her a pass.

Another one is Jake Gyllenhaal, who claims to be 5’11” (180cm). I’ve stood behind Jake, and while resisting the urge to lick the back of his neck, I noticed he was only a few inches taller than me. He was recently measured by Conan O’Brien on TV, who also proved this to be true.

So, using Cara and Jake as benchmarks, I’m going to debunk celebrity heights once and for all (you’re welcome)…

UPDATE: My sister just asked me, “Are you seriously using Jake Gyllenhaal as a measuring stick?” Yes. Yes, I am.”

Reese Witherspoon

Claims to be: 5’1″ (151cm)

Closer to: 5’1″ (151cm)

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Okay, so far we’re off to a great start… Stay with me here!

Kendall Jenner

Claims to be: 5’10” (178cm)

Closer to: 5’11” (180cm)

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This is weird… Maybe she had a growth spurt.

Anne Hathaway

Claims to be: 5’8″ (173cm)

Closer to: 5’7″ (170cm)

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Every inch counts, people!

Rachel McAdams

Claims to be: 5’4″ (163cm)

Closer to: 5’2″ (157cm)

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Aha! I knew it!

Pharrell

Claims to be: 5’9″ (175cm)

Closer to: 5’7″ (170cm)

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How dare you.

Beyonce & Jay Z

Claim to be: Beyonce – 5’7″ (170cm), Jay Z – 6’2″ (188cm)

Closer to: Beyonce – 5’6″ (168cm), Jay Z – 6’1″ (185cm)

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I know it’s only an inch, but don’t we deserve to know the truth?!

Harry Styles

Claims to be: 6’0″ (183cm)

Closer to: 5’10” (178cm)

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I am outraged!

Rihanna

Claims to be: 5’8″ (173cm)

Closer to: 5’8″ (173cm)

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Seems legit.

Kate Moss

Claims to be: 5’7″ (170cm)

Closer to: 5’6″ (168cm)

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This is why I have trust issues.

Natalie Portman

Claims to be: 5’3″ (160cm)

Closer to: 5’1″ (155cm)

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LIAR!

Kim Kardashian

Claims to be: 5’3″ (160cm)

Closer to: 5’0″ (152cm)

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You’d need a microscope to see her.

Taylor Swift

Claims to be: 5’10” (178cm)

Closer to: 5’9″ (175cm)

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What next, Taylor? Dating for publicity?!

Selena Gomez

Claims to be: 5’5″ (165cm)

Closer to: 5’3″ (160cm)

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Maybe she lied to make Justin Bieber feel taller…

Ryan Gosling

Claims to be: 6’0″ (183cm)

Closer to: 6’0″ (183cm)

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Yeah, okay, I’ll give it to him… Goddammit, even his height is perfect!