because: always be nice to the wardrobe lady

The most valuable life skill I have ever Iearnt, is to always ALWAYS be nice to the wardrobe lady. I discovered this very early on in my lucrative television career as I dusted off a bolero jacket that had been purchased at an op-shop, while everyone else was wearing jewel-encrusted tailored couture. I should have been nicer to the wardrobe lady and I definitely shouldn’t have always been the first into the green room whenever there was catering.

When I moved into my highly-publicised theater career, I found it very alarming how some of the performers would treat the behind the scenes staff. I mean, we all hear of divas and their sometimes ridiculous demands for slivered almonds and a dressing room full of puppies, but it wasn’t until I was faced with it daily that I truly knew how bad it could be. During one of my contracts, I made a point to thank the wardrobe lady mid show for taking in my electric blue hot pants a bit, as they were no longer baggy around the waist. I wanted to make sure she knew I was thankful and I had plenty of time for her even though I was half a verse away from going on stage. She looked me up and down and said with a concerned yet amused smirk:
‘I didn’t…’

I made sure I was extra nice to her from then on, especially on the days we had weigh ins (this is when I also discovered you can get the wardrobe lady to record your weight a few pounds lighter if you present some kind of baked goods on arrival).
But, besides the obvious reason of good manners, I would always be nice to the wardrobe lady because at the end of the day when you have forgotten to pre-set your knickers stage left and you’ve got a quick change she is the only person who is going to run back to the dressing room to help you. Not your partner, not the stage tech, not even your best friend who you’ve told about all the times you have been embarrassingly caught out in public not wearing any knickers. It’s the wardrobe lady who will help you out and make sure your knickers are exactly where they need to be, pre-set or otherwise.

Obviously not every workplace has a wardrobe lady but there will be someone working in your company who will have a role that is similar – a job that is basically people demanding their time and energy, because they see themselves as the priority. At my current workplace the wardrobe lady is replaced with the IT guy.

Now, I have always freely admitted that I am not very good at Excel, and I like to blame my year 8 computer lab teacher for not giving me all the spreadsheet skills that I should have acquired by age 13. But really it’s my own fault for not listening and also for being too stingy to buy the Microsoft software when I bought my MacBook. *If you can go to the Apple Store and leave without being up sold a phone cover, a Kate Spade wireless mouse or an African sponsor child, well done!
So that one time I had been entering data into a spreadsheet for over a week and not saving it, I knew my countless hours of mindless banter with the IT guy would finally come in handy.

The following tips on always being nice to the wardrobe lady were utilised in the process of: ‘Project data entry recovery 2015’:

1 Find out who they are. If you don’t know who the one person that will help you in a work emergency is, the first time you need them, they are not going to help you. You have a small window of time when you start working at a company where it’s OK not to know a person’s name or job title. I would say 4-6 weeks. After this, you’ll have to Google troubleshooting unsaved Excel spreadsheet on your mobile using our own data. Outrageous!
2 Say hello every time you see them. Every single time. I actually don’t think this is a tip, and surely there are others people like me who think this is just a common courtesy. I find there are a lot of idiots who have no idea that by simply greeting someone they are less likely to think you are a self-important narcissist and they probably won’t screw up their face and slump in their chair whenever they hear your name. And don’t ever tell them you are the number one priority, let them make that decision, otherwise you’ll go straight to the bottom of their list.
3 Unprovoked gesture. I’m not suggesting that you go as far as asking them to be in your bridal party or inviting them over for Netflix and chill with you and your cat, but sometimes take their side when they’re having a whinge about something or someone. Or just “accidentally” order another coffee from the good coffee shop with the fancy syringe donuts and gift it to them. Just a simple kind, unprovoked gesture.

Hopefully ensuring that your work environment caters to your unnecessary demands is not the only reason to be nice to those you work with and, like me, often learning the hard way is the preferred option. Otherwise you may also discover that all the mindless banter and being nice to the wardrobe lady was pointless because it turns out with Excel, or any word processing software, if you don’t save it… it just doesn’t save.

My most famous musical theater role – a pantiless Stenographer (… who can’t sing)

because: balls 

I’m not good with balls. I’m not good at throwing balls, I’m not good at catching them or keeping them a safe distance from my face. I think it’s a lack of hand-eye coordination, fear of failure and inexperience.

When I was 12, I volunteered to fill in for my brother’s cricket team as a LOL and it was almost the worst day of my life. It’s so boring just standing out on an oval covered in zinc and dread, waiting for a cricket ball to come in your direction. Then once it does you’re so deep in a daydream about sticking your head in the freezer and licking the ice cream straight from the punnet that you miss the chance to make a wicket and you’ve prolonged your shithouse afternoon yet another 20 minutes. Since then, I have had a go at tennis but nobody will play more than one set with me without informing me that they are suddenly busy, working and or sick for the rest of the day. And I was never invited back to play netball, when I decided to take it up a few years ago, due to my lack of understanding of the rules! … I simply asked the umpire to please clarify the term ’travelling’… 🙄

Last week my entire fam bam jumped on a plane and headed west side to attended my cousin Adam’s wedding. This is my mum’s side of the family, so we all love our food and stick to the firm rule of swearing only when quoting or enhancing the comedic value of a story. Oh, and you can barrack for whatever AFL team you like. I wouldn’t exactly say this was a whirlwind romance as Adam had been dating this girl for 10 years before he proposed, so like the rest of the guests we were pretty happy to see them finally tie the knot… also she is half Italian so there was bound to be some good catering involved. The bride was late but not too late and as she walked down the aisle I noticed that her bridal bouquet was quite large. Sizeable enough to catch even with my lack of ball skills, I turned to my other cousin’s wife and said: ‘I can’t wait to catch that later!’

After a discussed game plan involving moves akin to a rugby line-out, a quick stretch and couple of practices in the car park I walked into the reception quietly confident. I remembered catching the bouquet at my friend’s wedding a few years earlier after another girl, who was also keen to participate in the lottery of next to marry, stumbled slightly and lost her footing. I took my opportunity and slid into to take the catch while aggressively shouting something to the effect of: ‘MINE!’. I recall seeing the mother of the bride watching on with a look of, equal parts, fear and pride in her eyes.

Once the ceremony is done the bridal party knick off to get photos and everyone else gets stuck into the bar tab and the canapés. I wait patiently through all the traditional proceedings: cutting of the cake, large Italian antipasto buffet, first dance, father daughter dance, scrotum race, garter removal, Italian version of the Zorba, then finally the speeches. As always they were very entertaining and there was no swearing or sledging of Fremantle FC. The bride said a lot of nice things about her parents and her new husband and everyone listened intently. Some people shed a tear and others head to the bar while the line is minimal…

I may have been one of those people who went to the bar. Only because I was under the impression my wine allergy wouldn’t follow me to Perth and it was Adam’s shout. Then just as the bride is wrapping up her speech she thanks her mother again for the guidance, support and all the help in planning the wedding… and that she will also be gifting her the bridal bouquet. Among the refilling of wine glasses and sniffling I can be heard audibly, equal parts shocked and disappointed:


I received confirmation from the bride that there was nothing else being thrown in lieu of the bouquet.

I refill my wine glass and pretend to catch a bunch of flowers being used as a table arrangement.

I remain confident that my ball skills will not continue to contribute to my marital status

because: halloween

‘I know you now, Abbey… You’ll do anything for a Lol!’ – Billy

I have never won a raffle. I have never been on a catamaran without getting drunk and up until this year I had never celebrated Halloween.

Now, I don’t think it is an unreasonable aspiration to want to win Halloween. And by win Halloween, I mean not just being the best dressed at the party or getting more than 11 likes on Instagram, I mean win the whole thing. Like when you fall over on stage and ‘win the show’ or discover that Kimye are really Mormons and ‘win the internet’. All I really want is to achieve is to be that person, to be that image, that is the first to pop up when you Google: “Best Halloween costume ideas”. I just want to win that…

At work I am the self-appointed boss of the footy tipping. And since gaining this position I have insisted on everyone calling me Ross-Boss… Well, three people call me Ross-Boss, but those who do, will find I’m much more efficient at replying to stationary requests and far more willing to suggest Halloween costume ideas.The following conversation takes place with my work colleague three days before Halloween.

‘What are you coming to Halloween as Neville?’

‘I don’t know.’

Awkward silence while we both look at the ceiling and search for ideas. After a moment I wave my hand and head out the door.

‘I’ll email you some ideas’

So I Google: “Best Halloween costume ideas” (obviously on my lunch break and or after work hours…) and I scroll through a lot of terrible ones. Mainly a lot of couples‘ costumes, gum ball machines (righto?!) and apparently two people coming dressed as a pair of tits is a thing.

Then I see this:


I email the picture to Neville immediately. He replies a day and a half later refusing my idea and asking for another. I continue to plead my case explaining the advantages of having a picture of him dressed as the life depiction of ‘Netflix and chill’ on his Tinder account. He doesn’t see the positives so I offer him one more suggestion that will also be advantageous to his social life.

‘Come dressed as Danny Zuko!’

He claims he’s far too conservative to come dressed as Danny Zuko.


Apparently Neville has never seen Grease (the movie or the live musical television adaption starring Julianne Hough). It’s at this point I realise I’m going to have give him a suggestion he is willing to accept. So I offer the scariest yet most conservative character I can think of.

‘Come dressed as an accountant?’

I sense that I have been less than successful in convincing Neville to come as anything I have suggested but I hold out hope that he has rehearsed at least the first verse of: ‘You’re the one that I want’

… Neville turns up to the party clothed in a white sheet. A ghost. He’s come dressed as a ghost.

It took far less convincing to get Billy to come dressed as the monster/scary sci-fi thing from Stranger Things. I wanted to come dressed as Barb obviously because she is everyone’s favourite and I knew that the possibility of winning Halloween would be much greater if I had a counterpart to compliment me. I found Billy a costume online after I pretended to look extensively for a Kill Bill yellow onesie that wasn’t coming from West Africa and would take at least 8 months to ship. He wasn’t that impressed with the idea of being covered in Vaseline for added effect and I even said we could give that a miss but 2 hours before we have to leave for the party he’s texting me to find out where he can buy slime.

‘We must win Halloween at any cost!’ – Billy

Keep you eyes peeled for this pic next year while Goggling: “Best Halloween costume ideas”

because: birthday

I’ve never really been one to enjoy any kind of art and crafts activity but like most other kids who grew up in the 90s, I did really enjoy watching Art Attack. Neil always made it look so easy even if you did need the help of a fire truck to launch balloons filled with paint to achieve the desired outcome. It has also been recently brought to my attention that perhaps I liked hearing the host’s British accent more than learning how to make a paper mache dinosaur out of a balloon, 15 different shades of green paint and toilet rolls.
As a kid, every year before my birthday I would make a paper chain out of coloured paper and then each day cut off one off the chains until it was finally cake day. I even took it on school camp with me once and sticky taped it to the bus window.
Then one year my Mum had this great idea to recreate one of the Art Attack ideas and handmade a birthday invitation using one of those huge square permanent markers (this was before Sharpies were cool) and a custom cut piece of 750 gsm cardboard! I think it was for maybe my 8th birthday and I was inviting just one friend to my house for a sleep over. I discreetly came to school one day with a bright red giant cardboard invitation that was, I’m not even joking, bigger than me. I remember walking into school awkwardly carrying the invitation and not being able to see where I was going and then on presenting the invitation to my friend in front of the rest of the class, realising that maybe this wasn’t the best ‘arts and crafts’ idea. I should have just stuck to the paper chain! I wasn’t inviting anyone else to my sleep over I had probably just created this horrible jealousy between my peers and also how was my friend going to get the giant red cardboard birthday invitation home? On her bike?! But more importantly everyone knew that this was hardly an original idea because everyone had seen that episode of Art Attack during the September school holidays! Sigh.
I turned 31 last Tuesday and like most of my birthdays I really try to stretch it out and make the celebration last at least a week. I started on Saturday with drinks at the pub but luckily I had Facebook to help me out with the invitation and there were no paper chains to count down the sleeps until cake day. I did however have all my favourite things: wine, cheeseburgers and a trip to the theatre… I really wish I could highlight some kind of poetic symmetry between Kinky Boots the musical, birthdays and arts and crafts but nothing is coming to me.
I’ve spent the past two years being 30, mainly because I was nervous about turning 30 so I started telling people I was 30 when I turned 29. Just so I could ease myself into it. But I’m more than happy to finally be 31. The main changes I’ve noticed are that I really cannot be out past midnight – it’s almost like I might turn into a pumpkin if I do. Sometimes I put my phone on aeroplane mode before I got to bed so I don’t get woken up by a text or a call from some inconsiderate person who doesn’t check the international time difference (Christopher Page). And, I can bake scones now. I’ll probably never be the kind of person that sends out handmade invitations but I am definitely adding to my skill set and am hoping by next year I might even be the kind of person that can cook a roast or be able to fill out a loan application without calling my Dad for help.
Recipe for a top birthday
*Start celebrating 4 days early
*Wake up on cake day to birthday wishes email from Parkhound App and aunty
*Consume coffee with bacon and egg roll
*Receive Kinky Boots tickets from boyfriend
*Receive chocolate caramel popcorn cupcake from girls at work
*Consume another coffee and chocolate covered fruit muffin that is pretending to be healthy
*Go to post office and on the way back to work get a cheeseburger (…it’s 11am)
*Confess to work colleague about consuming cheeseburger
*Reluctantly open gift picked up from post office at workplace – breathe sigh of relief when it’s two bags of Twizzlers and an unflattering picture of sender
*Have lunch with a friend, her shout so get the good Bento Box
*Consume Pesto Pasta… on the tram
*Open bottle of bubbles and have for dinner, leave half a glass for boyfriend (I don’t care if I’m allergic, it’s my birthday!)
*Get Uber Black to theatre – because: we’re fancy
*Consume 2 more glasses of bubbles (still don’t care about being allergic)
*Scream on the inside when 6ft 8″ male kicks his face and does back flip into splits
*Consume 2 kinds of Japanese salad, lamb ribs and Gyoza
*Roll eyes at restaurant’s $40 eftpos minimum policy (nod to boyfriend as he goes to the ATM and says: ‘$40 minimum?! Put that in your blog’)

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