58) 2012-2013. Barkly Street, Carlton VIC 3053

I left Brunswick after 17 months to do two things I’d never done before: 1) live in Carlton 2) with a boyfriend. Tom. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT. I know. It had only taken nearly ten years.

barkly

Cute as a button, right? A cold, brown, weirdly squished button.

The little house in Carlton was perfect for Tom and me. It had a private courtyard, high ceilings, a huge bay window at the front, and an archway at the entrance FILLED with dicks.

wang manor

I meeeeeeean…

We did not notice this when we inspected the property. It was not weighing on our minds when we filled out the application. Nobody mentioned it to us when we signed the lease and picked up the keys. But on the day we moved in, after we’d already moved our third truckload of furniture into the house, our friend Matt, who was helping us move, looked up and immediately exclaimed “HAHA, COCKS.”

And lo, Wang Manor (name #1) was born.

Here’s the thing: the idea for Christopher Doesn’t Live Here Anymore came to life while I was living at Pottery Court, and there were still only 57 addresses. Back at that early stage I had no idea how I was going to finish it. But then I moved to Buckingham Phallus (name #2), and I realised I had the perfect, traditional happy ending: I’d stopped the sharehousing merry-go-round, and I lived in a little home with my partner. Everything was aces, and that’s how I was going to end it: I was chuffed as fuck and twice as smug.

So why would this blog be advertising sixty houses when clearly this is the happy ending and I’ve lived here in fairytale bliss ever since? Let me answer that question with a question: Is this your FIRST time reading this blog? Of course I moved again. Of course everything went sadly, heartbreakingly tits-up. Of course it did.

Ah, breaking up in the digital age: when even your saddest day gets a filtered Instagram photo at the intersection of “brittle” and “twee”. Millennials, am I right?

All the other sad stories in this blog have had, with the benefit of time, an emotional moat built around them. I can tell them in gloriously morbid detail without so much as a twinge. Not so this story: it hinges on something I still find quite sad. However, I am determined not to fall down a sinkhole of blues-heavy navel-gazing, nor do I want to focus on what led, once again, to me moving house because ughhhhhhh I’m not Nicholas Sparks. So I’m going to tell a happy story from my time at the Bitz-Carlton (name #3).

LUCKILY, my clearest memory is also the best. It’s about an activity we invented called “Rubenising”, borne of a habit we got into during the colder months (which, in the Taj Mahard-on [name #4] was all of them).

The bathroom at 10-inch Downing St (name #5) was small and oddly shaped. As a pair of gentlemen who were medium and oddly shaped, this made drying ourselves upon getting out of the shower a challenge. Perhaps the first solution would have been to shower separately, but shut up: it felt romantic. (Also our hot water system was the size of a Thermos, but mostly the romantic thing.)

Eventually we got into the habit of one person dashing to the bedroom, which required running past the gas heater installed in the the converted fireplace. Eventually one of us had the stroke of genius to just stop at the heater and turn it on. And so began a new ritual.

After we showered, we would race to the heater, and dry ourselves there, letting the heat assist the process. Over time, “vigorously drying ourselves in front of the heater” became “half-heartedly drying ourselves in front of the heater”. This in turn became “standing in front of the heater hardly moving at all” and eventually we gave up the pretence of even attempting to dry ourselves: we would simply lay out our towels on the carpet and lie on top of them, butt naked, and let the heater do our drying and warming for us. We became so reliant on this process we started factoring it into our “getting ready” time when we had to leave the house.

On one occasion Tom used the adjective “Rubenesque” to describe our nude, wet resplendence, which led to the verb “Rubenising”. This, in turn, led to the rule that you weren’t allowed to Rubenise unless you sang “Rubeniser, Rubeniser, Rubeniser” while you did it. Was there a melody to this song? OF COURSE THERE WAS.

I will always be a little bit sad that I had to leave The Hanging Gardens of Grab-a-schlong (name #6); not least of all for the reason I had to leave. But the time I spent there was pure joy from start to (just before the) finish, and I’m choosing to focus on that.

And while I was, for a long time, disappointed that I didn’t have the neat ending for this series of stories that I wanted—so much so that I did, for longer than I’m willing to admit, give up the idea of writing them altogether—I did learn a valuable lesson. Simply: you’re never at the end.

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