Feb 11, 2018

movies or dessert?

The Basement Theatre and Sb are running 'Playdates', a matching service, during the Fringe Fest. Contestants answer a few questions, then get matched with someone else to go to a show from 17 February — 4 March. There's three comedies, one dance performance, and 'Fuck Rant'. Not sure how to classify FR, but it's by Nisha Madhan, so it will be good. You can sign up for a friend dates, as well as romantic matching.

The most philosophical question on the sign-up form: what is better, movies or dessert? Here are some of the thoughtful responses from the cast of Playdates...
Movies: They last longer and feel better at the end.

Dessert: because you get to have a conversation!

Dessert. Nothing wrong at all with movies, but I just like eating delicious things. This week I ate a dessert burger (donut/ice cream sandwich) without any regrets (gym tomorrow).

M O V I E S because they are way more interesting to tell your friends about.

Movies feed your soul.

You can match dessert with wine.

Both. Movies at home with a dessert. Fully indulgent. I’d probably go for a classic feelgood flick on DVD at home, and a slice of cheesecake or banoffee pie :) I don’t go to the movies much unless it’s something I reeeallly wanna see on the big screen. Cos I’m too lazy sometimes, and it’s pretty expensive.

Movies. Because Joey doesn’t share food!

Both have merits and are generally best served together, though if pushed I would say movies.

Dessert... because food is life.

Dessert prefer over any other meal

Would you like to meet the people behind these opinions? Sign up, see a show, meet someone new...

Jan 21, 2018

Playdates : a dating event at the Basement theatre

This dating season we’re running ‘Playdates’ at the Basement Theatre. It can be for friend-dating as well as romance. Daters will get set up to go to one of five spectacles at the Basement Fringe season, during February. Getting matched is free, but you gotta pay to see the play. Hopefully some spot prizes for the lucky.

Fill in the form to sign up:

Force Field (A lol and heartfelt story of a man edging closer to his 30s, homesick for a life he’s yet to build.)

MacKenzie’s Daughters (Auckland’s top Improvs are left in charge of the farm. Any-bloody-thing could happen.)

Wigging Out (Ann Xiety & Dee Pression. Two high school frenemies with more beef than a Taylor Swift song.)

Side B (‘Side B’ is four new short works choreographed by Perri Exeter & Joash Fahitua.)

Fuck Rant (A loose AF subconscious rant. Punk live art by Nisha Madhan.)

Jun 26, 2017

a giant can of sperms? my flirtation with sperm donation


I just got off the phone to Yolanda, the recruiter at Fertility Associates. I’m not infertile! I had wondered after an ex didn't get pregnant. Yolanda says I’m in rude health. She was excited.
I’m thinking back to how I got the idea of becoming a sperm donor. I had a crazy week in Autumn. My dad had an operation on his heart. I didn’t know if I’d get to continue with my Masters at art school, as I'd gone over a deadline. In mid-March, my three older siblings had three babies within two weeks. I’ve always been left for dead by my siblings, they're champions of the world. 
I was single, the girl I’d been seeing in Jan had left for London. Fooling around on the internet, I googled 'sperm donation' and found Fertility Associates. I fired off an email, and forgot about it until Yolanda rang to make an appointment, three months later.

Yolanda had shoulder length blonde hair, and glass partitions of the office sparkled. The first part of the appointment was ok, but then I got overwhelmed. This happens to me in doctors' surgeries. I fainted once, after a Doctors appointment with my first girlfriend, Julia. I was inexperienced and Julia and I had somehow broken two condoms in three trysts. As third-year Arts students, we were anxious at the prospect of parenthood. Julia decided that she wanted to go on the Pill. She was so wound-up when she went to see Uni Doctors, that they wouldn't give her a prescription due to high blood pressure. 
We went together to her local GP, a few weeks later. He was describing the risk of blood clots to us (1 in 10,000), and I began to feel it coming on. The appointment ended and we walked out the door. Two steps from the consulting room I crumpled, like a tower being demolished. Two Nurses rushed towards me and asked Julia why I'd been seeing the doctor? Afterwards Julia bought me a Moro bar, and said it was sweet that I'd been so worried about her. 
A few weeks later we were staying over at her parents house and she heard a branch snap in the garden. Julia was terrified; her Dad was a judge and she thought that one of the perps he'd sent to prison might come one night, seeking revenge? To calm her I said, "I'd protect you..." "What would YOU do?!?!", she replied. I now think Julia wanted a perp to attack the house, as long as the newspaper article emphasised her Dad's profession.

I almost fainted when that fast-talking surgeon was explaining how the operation went to my dad, in Autumn. I pretended to read a newspaper on an adjacent gurney, I didn’t want to make him any more worried. 

Back to the appointment. Yolanda was fine — friendly and professional — but she did start racing through the paperwork. And there were some unexpected questions. OMFG, Yolanda asked me to write down my sister's name, or the name of any woman who I wouldn't donate to. Imagine that list!? 1. Paula Bennett.

Yolanda asked if I’d consent to IVF. The words ‘frozen embryo’ that pushed me over the edge. Thinking of a life beginning, so cold. She also talked about donors meeting up with the families, twenty years later. I find this hard to imagine, in that I don’t like imagining it. In my mind it is a suburban BBQ, and I am 51 years-old.

I didn't think it would all affect me so much. What's another wank? "I'm not doing anything else with it." What's going on in my Unconscious? I broke out in a sweat and told Yolanda I felt woozy. She apologised. It’s a curious job, Sperm Wrangler, and afterwards I wished I’d asked her how she’d ended up doing it. Probably because it pays well. Fertility treatment is expensive. Donors can not receive payment for their contribution, to ensure that they're doing it for altruistic reasons.

The interview concluded. “Now for the fun part!” Yolanda said. Bet she says that to all the guys! Yolanda handed me a clear, plastic jar with a pink screw top. It was nice to be encouraged to have a waz, for a change. Have you ever been in a masturbatorium? It's the lovechild of a clinician and a home-maker. An armchair made of wipe-down fabric. Analog porn inside manila folders, labelled 'gay' and 'straight.' The masturbatorium’s window-less, wood-veneered, womb-like. I lay a white towel down on the seat of the armchair. I had to take my sweet time, being a bit freaked out. Ten minutes later I handed my ample sample to Yolanda, across the reception desk, to be tested.

 *    *    *

I mentioned the appointment to my psychologist. She said, "I'm not saying don't do it, but we'd need to talk about it!" The psychologist said that I still might have kids of my own. She could understand donating as a single forty year-old.
On my own I had started thinking about what it would be like to have offspring who you couldn't protect, or guide. There'd be someone else in that role. What if I didn't like the recipient parents? You get to choose who you give yourself to in real life, for a reason.

On the phone call in which Yolanda confirmed my eligibility, she said that there was a severe shortage of donors. I got a slightly pushy feeling. I told her that I couldn't donate. I hadn't grasped the theoretical implications of it until I experienced them in the consulting room. I'd sent a boy, to do a dad's job.

Mar 7, 2017

internet dating support group: maybe more fun than dating?

I dated four people from Tinder in 2015. Someone from Freeman's Bay, someone from west Auckland, someone from the North Shore. Someone from south-east Auckland. I was rinsed. All the breakups were torture, no matter who initiated it. I needed a breather. 

However I was still glancing at dating sites. I'd gotten talking to Samantha, who was keeping a dating diary. She sent it to me — in one month she'd assembled the more bizarre, hilarious and miserable stories. Things between Samantha and Ryan had moved pretty fast, online and over the phone, before he came up from Hamilton. When they met IRL, the chemistry wasn't there for Samantha. Ryan had issues about his body, and had paid thousands for cosmetic surgery. His ringtone was 'the man in the mirror.'

The Internet has made it easier to meet people. But if we met them outside of our social circle we don’t know if they’re what they seem? I thought it might be good for singles to share war stories; to get advice from someone who’s been there, or support from someone in the same boat. I thought it might break down the hetero divide between the sexes? There’s so much truthiness in dating — 'if only' there was a place you could be open and honest. The Internet Dating Support Group was born...

We ran two groups, at a friend’s house in Freeman's Bay. There were eight people at each, a few friends and a few randoms. Everyone was in their late twenties or thirties. A fruit salad of Gays, straights and bi's. Both groups ran for almost three hours. I was nervous before each group, moreso than on a first date. 

We started with pizza, before a presentation by a guest dating expert. Both experts talked about their dating history.  When you’d hang out with Cass, she'd talk almost exclusively about dating. Cass began internet dating during a year in NYC. Like a Kiwi Carrie Bradshaw she started a dating blog, until she realised her family might read it and some of the stories were risqué. Cass had recently met an Australian, who was Tindering in Auckland. She’d just moved to Bondi to be with him, and was back in Auckland for a week.  

Jess had matched on Tinder with a guy who knew that she was a performance artist. He proposed they go on a date and not talk at all. Jess agreed and they met up in Ponsonby. Unsure of what to do when the met up —they hadn’t made a plan, and couldn’t talk about it— Jess took charge and took him on a tour of her ex boyfriends’ houses, which were all near each other. That same guy had suggested their next date could be ‘driving around playing songs off mixtapes they’d made for each other’, but still not talking. But there was no second date for him. 
Another guy asked Jess to recreate the ‘36 Questions’ experiment, in which two strangers ask each other personal questions designed to make them fall in love, on their first date. She ended up dating him.

After the expert’s ten-minute presentation, the floor was open. Conversation flowed, touching on different topics. I admitted that I had 400 matches on Tinder, just because I had never deleted any of them. One of my matches was in the room.  

Anna had had first date plans scuttled five times by the same woman; the last time  her date had said she wanted to go to the gym, instead. Everyone reassured Anna.

Samantha asked why a guy hadn’t called her back, even though he said he would. “He’s just not that into you!”, said Daniel, our charming host.  
Daniel admitted he’d been talking online to a guy in France for eight years, before meeting him. Sacré bleu, when they met up in France, the guy had recently been shot! But the guy still kept the date, what a keeper! Dan highlighted one pitfall of internet dating: "what if you're attracted to the way someone moves through space?"

I talked about how some of my partners hadn’t bothered with condoms. I asked Melissa if I should wear a condom, the first time we were having sex. Melissa just said, “it’s fine.” She later clarified/apologised to me that she wasn’t using contraception, she just figured she just wasn’t fertile at that part of her cycle. Her workmate asked if she was mad, when Melissa told her about this. “And arrogance won’t stop STIs”, said Daniel.  

I talked about how I had been trolled on social media — someone was sending me photos of an ex and her new partner. I asked the group for advice on my Dad’s advice, which was “if you’re not bothered by it, you’re not bothered by it.” This led to a broader discussion on social media and break-ups — 'exterminate! exterminate!' We agreed it might be a good idea to unfollow exes. Jess shared how to get someone to off your Instagram: you block them, and then unblock them.

Samantha didn't talk about a guy had driven the 3hrs from Tauranga to see her, the previous weekend. They were at a party I was at, and in the kitchen he was telling everyone about the meth scene in the Bay of Plenty. After the party he invited himself to stay at her Sam's house, because otherwise he'd have to sleep in his car. Samantha couldn't let him sleep on the couch because her flatmate wouldn't want some random guy sleeping on the couch. So she let him share her bed. The next day Samantha said she couldn't understand why he wanted to have sex with her when there was no chemistry for her. She said his sweat smelt weird.

Samantha said she wouldn't be coming to the second group because she had a date that night. Unfortunately she got stood up.


I thought some group members might fancy each other. But more to the point everyone who went to the group became friends. It’s so easy to like people who are being open and honest. Alas 'being ourselves' might be the last thing we're doing on first dates...  

Why were we all single? Who knows? “Tonight was fun and has (weirdly) reinvigorated my desire to date”, said Anna. 
One of the group members later appeared on the ‘First Dates’ tv show. Chris is bi and was set up with a woman who was bi. Alas Chris’ admission that he was wearing the same trousers that he’d worn to work didn’t match with his date, who’d dressed up.

Dec 13, 2016

Oh man! The company that has been supplying the cereal for my brekkie-in-bed delivery service has accused me of 'getting high on my own supply!' It's true that I don't have many brekkie delivery customers at the moment, and had eaten a casual bowl or two of their delicious 'choco no-grainola.'

Keep brekkie-in-bed delivery real — here's the menu, someone call me!