What I know about men…*

By Bridgey, 36, engaged.

My father… was a detective, big, tall and handsome with a bushy blond moustache. He wasn’t around lots but I loved it when he was. I adored my Dad as a child even though he was very much the household disciplinarian. I remember him saying infront of me that it didn’t matter where I went, or what I did, I would always be successful. (I was about 10 at the time he said this.) He taught me to ride a bike, came on school camps, cheered me on at the netball courts on freezing Christchurch mornings, and let me occasionally drink wine at the table when I was considered old enough. Dad was pretty tolerant, except for when it involved other males.

My first kiss ….happened a couch watching a Sylvester Stallone movie. The boy who kissed me wore braces which bumped against my teeth and he kept his eyes open. It was not very nice!

The first boy I loved… was the same age as me, 15, and he moved cities about a month after we started going out. It was youthful and very intense; he wrote me poetry and I pined after him the entire summer listening to Stone Temple Pilots and writing him love letters. It ended via a letter. I saw him years later and it was very odd.

In high school… I was one of the girls who usually had a boyfriend. I liked having male attention and hated it when I did not. This changed when I went to university. Maybe I was wired for high school relationships and not proper adult one.

My first adult relationship… was when I was in my early 20s. We went to England together so he could play cricket in the Northern summer. The relationship folded once we got there (he met someone else, whom he was engaged to 6 weeks’ later) and I fled back to New Zealand, humiliated. It was pretty awful, particularly in a town like Christchurch where everyone knew everyone. The best thing to do would have been to get on with things and live happily – but, being me, it took me a long time to make peace with it, which was a shame and a waste.

I moved to Melbourne aged 24… I worked call centre jobs and went to the pub most nights. I liked my drunken, fun life until realising I actually hadn’t kissed a man in years. It got a pretty lonely sometimes. I was never a girl who loved being single – I wanted to meet someone – but I sabotaged myself with poor decisions and poor behaviour.

One of my best friends in the world is P, an Englishman I met in Dublin many years ago. A sarcastic, handsome scouse, we would talk for hours over tea and cigarettes about everything and anything. A true kindred spirit, he offered to marry me when my visa ran out.

My job… was one in an industry dominated by men. It doesn’t make me happy to think of the sexism pointed in my direction, or the downright harassment that happened more than once. I want to think most of the jokes were benign and not intended to be offensive; but that wouldn’t be true.

I was single…for a long time. Ten years to be precise. I had many male friends, and some lovers, some who liked me but it was never quite right. There were distinct periods of bitterness about it. For many years I thought this was my fault – but rationally the answer was there. I just hadn’t met the right person yet.

I met BBF (fiance)… when I was 32, via online dating. Our first meeting was in a Japanese restaurant in Hawthorn. His voice was loud from nerves. He told me he had meant to bring me flowers – but the florist he thought was a florist was in fact a chemist. That’s the first story he told me.

We got engaged in Paris in 2014. Everyone sighs at the romance of it. It was lovely but we both looked at each other from the second floor of the Eiffel tower and said this is such a cliché.

My Dad and I…probably have a better relationship now than we ever have had. I like that we can discuss business and cricket and all sorts of things. I am also tremendously grateful that he and BBF have a good relationship, and when they come to stay I will often come home to them relaxing having a beer together.

BBF…is my rock and my voice of reason and logic. All the bits I don’t have he seems to have. I guess I could say more here, but one of the important parts of intimacy is the things you keep between the two of you.

*stolen from a regular column in the SMH. Hope no-one minds.

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