Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Valentine

Jeff and I have never celebrated Valentine's Day. Growing up, my parents owned a florist shop, so Valentine's Day was always a very stressful time. When I got my drivers license, I had to load up my bucket-o'-bolts VN commodore with flower arrangements and deliver them. When our first Valentine's Day was approaching, we had the discussion about our expectations regarding gifts. This is always a tricky moment when you first start dating! When you think, how much should I spend? What if I get him something and he doesn't get me anything? What if I just get him chocolates and he goes all out and gets me a nice piece of jewellery? Being the blunt person I am, I probably just came out and asked, "Are you getting me anything for Valentine's Day?" Knowing Jeff, I'm guessing his response was blase (this conversation happened three years ago, so the facts are hazy) and I most likely said, "Let's not bother, then!" Birthdays and Christmas are another thing entirely - I spend a lot and expect a lot in return. I've had to train Jeff to play along.

I was inspired by Callie Thorpe's story over at her blog, where she did a "Valentine's Day" post about how she met her partner, Dan. I enjoyed reading the honesty there and decided to write a similar post.

I guess I should start by saying that Jeff and I are not a conventional couple. 

I'm taller than him and I'm a fatter than him. He's Asian and I'm white Australian. But somehow we just work. At times I have been a little apprehensive about how we look together as a couple, in public. Most people are pretty cool and just look casually on when they see us, or don't give two hoots (yay people!). But occasionally we do notice others who point us out to their partners (I've literally heard a girl say to her boyfriend, "Look at that couple!") or look us up and down with curiosity. Elderly Asian people tend to stare a bit longer than your average Joe, which Jeff finds hilarious ("Aiyah! Why you marry white girl? So disappoint!" he says, putting on a thick Chinese accent). I once asked Jeff if these experiences ever bothered him and his reply was, "Not really". I don't know if that means it does bother him now and again, but I can tell you that he will always initiate holding hands in public, as soon as we get out of the car. This small act floods me with peace. Sometimes it also pisses me off, because he's shorter than me ("Jeff, you're dragging me down. No - not metaphorically! I mean you are LITERALLY dragging me down!").

I met Jeff on an online dating website called Oasis. A friend from work pressured me to put myself online and go on some proper dates ("You can't snog randoms at clubs forever, Sophie"). I joined up to Oasis and loved it. I used to spend hours with my housemates pouring over dating profiles, laughing until tears ran down our cheeks, declining winks from men whose music tastes specified, "Whatever's on the radio" (a big no-no for a music nerd like me). Seriously though - if you're single and have thought about online dating but never had the courage - DO IT. It's worth it for the entertainment value alone. Do it with a friend over some wine and have a laugh. Sifting through the idiots is half the fun. 

What I love about Oasis is the ability to do these advanced searches. For example, you can search for someone who is 5'11, speaks Egyptian and likes The Arctic Monkeys. I found Jeff on one of those searches. I was really drawn to his profile because he made fun of the common wording that most other male users favoured, such as "I like nights out, but also nights on the couch with a DVD....I'm easy going....blah blah....I work out....I am a [insert secure job title here]...pubs over clubs..." etc etc. I wish I could recite word-for-word what he wrote, but my point is, he made me laugh. He told me later that he found my profile interesting too (although he can't specify what was interesting about it). We started to chat online over the next few weeks. It was purely "surface", friendly chatting. I was still reading other profiles and making contact with other possible matches, to be honest. At times I felt Jeff was just passing time when he was chatting with me, which he admitted was true, as he was overseas in Hong Kong for an interview for three weeks at the time. 

One Friday night, when Jeff was back in Adelaide, we were chatting online and Jeff's plans with some mates fell through. He made a spontaneous decision to ask me out for coffee. I agreed and we signed off. An hour later I was meeting him at Krypton Discs on Jetty Road, Glenelg. I had arranged to meet there because I knew whoever got there first could kill time by perusing CDs, rather than waiting around awkwardly. I found him towards the back of the store. He was wearing a leather jacket with spikes on the shoulders. I decided I would hug him to break the ice. I went in for a hug and realised I was going to poke my eye on one of the spikes so I pulled back, so our first moment of meeting was this awkward limbo-hug that didn't happen. 

All the cafes were shut for the night so we went to pub for a drink instead. The night was going really well, with no lulls in the conversation. I asked him where he likes to go in town when he goes out. His answer was a club called Swish which plays 90s music on a Friday night. I had always wanted to go there but never had, so Jeff said, "What about now?" 

I agreed.

He drove us into town in his Daihatsu handivan. One of the smallest cars I'd ever seen. 

When I got in, I saw that he had attached a toilet roll holder to the passenger door. There was a roll of toilet paper on it. "When you gotta go, you gotta go," he said. 

I think that was the moment I fell in love with him. 

The trouble was, his behaviour toward me was still platonic. I had no idea if he only liked me as a friend or was interested in something more. 

I was definitely interested. 

While finding a park, we were pulled over by a policewoman on a horse for a breatho. Because the car was so small, all we could see was the horse from its knees down, and the policewoman's boot. Her hand appeared at the open window with the breathalizer and Jeff blew into it. Her hand disappeared again and we heard her call out, "All clear! Have a good night!"

We went to Swish, where we danced to Teenage Dirtbag, Mmmbop and S Club Party, and I drank three Vodka Smirnoffs because I knew I'd need courage to find out if he liked me. After dancing for a few hours, we left and walked down Hindley Street to one of my favourite clubs - Supermild. On the walk down there, we held hands.

At the club, we sat on a sofa together and for the first time, silence fell between us. I finally asked him, "What are you thinking?" 

He replied, "You could just kiss me."

I don't think I need to describe what happened over the next few hours. 

He dropped me home at 5am and rang me the next day. He invited me over to his house to watch Disney movies and order pizza. The day after that, he visited me at my unit. I couldn't get rid of him.

A few weeks later, Jeff had to go back to Hong Kong for a week for a second round of interviews. He brought me back a rice cooker as a joke, and a copy of Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus, on a genuine 90s single CD. We've barely had a day apart since. That was July 2011

Our strength as a couple is that no topic or issue is off limits - we communicate everything. Our thoughts, doubts and frustrations are always out on the table and we deal with problems almost as soon as they arise. Secondly, we laugh together constantly. 

I never pictured myself with someone like Jeff. When you're a teenager or young adult and you try to picture the person you will end up with, often you have a vague idea of what person would "suit" you - and you think not only in terms of personality, but also in a physical sense. As woman, you might picture someone who is taller than you, or earns more money than you do, or has never been married before, or is a wine connoisseur. As a teenager, I was heavily involved in a church and I remember being instructed to write a list of all the qualities we wanted in a man. I had a lot of fun writing that list and I understand that the leaders just wanted us to "aim high" and not settle. But I do think there's danger in establishing a "type" at such a young age - to have an idea in your head of who you're going to end up with. Life doesn't always work that way and you never know who you might find yourself attracted to. 

In the show My Mad Fat Diary, when Rae tells Finn that he's out of her league, he says to her, "You don't tell me who I can and can't fancy, alright? That is mine. That belongs to me, no one else, no one. Not even you.” I love that. I wish I could tell every teenager that. Who and what you're attracted to will change over and over again throughout your lifetime. It's such a personal thing; it belongs to you.

I don't believe in "the one" - I think there are thousands of people out there you could be happy with, and have successful relationships with. 

But I'm glad I found Jeff first.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My New Gabifresh Bikini

Another year, another collaboration. Working with Swimsuits For All, Gabifresh has designed a number of bikinis and one-pieces, and the online plus-size community is drooling. Including me!

It was the Sea Reef bikini that really caught my eye, though. Admittedly I love all of the designs, but I went with my instincts and pre-ordered it. 

Since I'm a pear shape, I ordered a smaller top and larger bottoms. They both fit perfectly! Now I just have to find the right occasion to wear it. Mind you, wearing it around the house was pretty nice too.

I have to say, I'm always impressed with the quality and customer service of Swimsuits For All. I highly recommend ordering from them if you've been sitting on the fence. I also find their products reasonably priced, and there's always some great sales happening. By the way - I bought this swimsuit myself and they didn't pay me to say that! ;)

Thanks for reading! x

Modish Maracas

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Aussie Curves: Date Night

Jeff and I haven't gone out on a "date" in a while because we've been making more of an effort to eat in. It sounds boring, but we're totally obsessed with Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals right now. A lot more thought and effort has been going into our grocery shopping and buying our vegetables from farmers markets. We are really enjoying cooking together and trying new things. 

But I know my boyfriend, and if I was out to impress, this is something I'd wear. He waited outside for me with the camera, and when I appeared, ready for him to photograph this outfit, his first reaction was, "Rowr!" He loves well structured pieces. I feel more myself in flowing bohemian-type styles, but I still keep outfits like this around to impress the fella.

shoes: new look via asos || top: city chic || skirt: junarose via asos curve

I first saw this City Chic spliced corset crop on SpijkerKat's Instagram. I thought it looked amazingly sexy on her, and I thought it was a bit different to the usual City Chic stuff. The skirt is also a bit unusual, but I'm enjoying mixing it up a bit. Gabifresh is wearing a white version here, with a matching white top. It's positively breathtaking. Fashion goals right there.

Thank you for reading! x

Modish Maracas


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Aussie Curves: Festival #2

I'm not sure I've actually been to a festival since my last Aussie Curves Festival post! I'd much rather see one band I love and have a big night out rather than be in the festival atmosphere. Having said that, I love the fashion of festivals. There's something about the cute little boots, boho summer dresses and flower headbands that has me swooning. It's all so whimsical. My favourite festival in Adelaide is Laneway, for sure. Maybe one day I'll give that one a whirl again.

Even though I didn't wear this outfit to a festival, I can say, in all honesty, that this is pretty close to what I'd look like at one. Except I'd wear my hair down with a daisy-chain headband and turn the hippie notch up a bit.

DRESS asos curve || DENIM VEST river island via asos || PEARL HAIR BAND asos

Thank you for reading! x