Patchouli – by Heath John Ramsay

I was particularly nervous about my date with Jeremy as in the short time I’d known him I’d already assessed that he was a much better vegan than I was.

Jeremy was spiritual, political and evolved and seemed to glisten whenever I saw him. He’d been a vegan since the age of fourteen and had participated in fortnightly colonic irrigation treatments since his twenty-first birthday. Suffice it to say, and Jeremy often would, his body was officially free of rotting meat.

I was new to being vegan and remained very private about the fact that my choice was entirely based on an inebriated, late-night Google search as to how Anne Hathaway had dropped twelve kilos to play Fantine in Les Miserable.

I was desperate to lose weight for my upcoming audition for ‘Married at First Sight’ and had zero interest in gradual, safe weight loss. Adopting a plant-based diet with ‘negative gearing’ seemed the very best place to start. Inspired by Anne’s commitment and gritty determination (to win an Oscar), I began to eat one small bowl of oats a day, covered with boiling water and accompanied with no more than four cups of stinging nettle tea. Three days in, feeling constantly weak and plagued by chronic diarrhoea, I knew I’d found a program that would deliver results.

With my hot date less than four hours away, I began my ascension from nervous to excited, bolstered as I was from an afternoon of napping (fainting) and ruminating on reflections and insights from sessions with my former life coach, Barry Pam. I’d also started mixing Absolut Vodka with my nettle tea, initiating my ‘pre-emptive strike’ protocol where alcohol followed by an appropriately timed Xanax chaser would dissolve the granite walls of my cool exterior, thus revealing a far more gregarious and indiscriminate ‘party guy’ who’d grown quite fond of impromptu, unsolicited performances of the Beach Boys classic hit Kokomo, a song I over appreciate for its heady mix of tropical pop eroticism

I poured my first Stinger at 3:00 and grabbed my Just Do It Journal to channel the inimitable wisdom of Barry Pam, who I hoped would serve as a spiritual guide for tonight’s proceedings. Upon flicking open the cover I was immediately teleported back to our first session and could literally smell the distinct blend of black coffee and mild sedatives on his breath. I carefully selected several pertinent Barry quotes and wrote them on my wall in permanent marker:

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail

Don’t expect success, prepare for it

People who want to appear clever rely on memory. People who want to get things done make lists

and my personal favourite:

Take the t out of can’t and you can

Barry and I had maintained a special bond until I revealed just enough of my private inner self to frighten him off. Heaven forbid I divulge my secret affliction, a uniquely violent type of vertigo wherein I honestly feel compelled (and then have to resist) pushing people in front of trains. Wow, Barry, how very empathetic of you, perhaps you shouldn’t work so hard on establishing trust if you’re not willing to navigate the rewards.

Shoving my feelings of mild contempt for Barry into my hurt locker, I began my research into the presentational elements of the night ahead. This involved trawling through a series of dubious websites until I happened upon the aptly titled Gay Vegan Hippie Tumblr. What a revelation! I was so excited by my discovery I instantly rewarded myself with a double stinger. Laptop in hand, I opened my desktop folder

VISION BOARD and commenced the rather titillating task of drag-and-dropping images of scantily clad, dreadlocked, nubile men, admirable for their ability to realise the perfect balance between grimy and clean. As a seemingly endless glut of hippie smut populated my folder, I continually fought the urge to gently masturbate.

Vision board complete, it was time for one more stinger and a much-needed foray into Barry Pam’s Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow—Vision Board Embodiment Technique. This was a wildly energetic and frenzied up-tempo meditation which required the participant to dance fully naked whilst honouring and anointing themselves in the mirror as they ‘made space’ for their new identity. I set my vision board folder to slideshow and immediately disrobed. As the sounds of tropical pop eroticism swelled to fill the room, I became dizzy with the promise of enlightenment, or perhaps it was due to malnutrition. I grabbed my triple vodka stinger and attempted to time my sips with the flick of a new image, audibly digesting my new self with loud gulps.

‘BARRY, YOU’RE A DISLOYAL GENIUS’ I exclaimed as I rubbed organic extra-virgin coconut oil over my entire body. I was now on an almost natural high (leaving aside my imbibing half a bottle of vodka) and was feeling unreservedly ready to create my list.

# Hair—tousled and knotted, spritzed with a mist of olive oil cooking spray, to be twisted and played with in accordance to the varying intensity of our conversation

# Face—fresh, clean, powdered (not noticeably, just enough to cover my coconut slick) winsome facial expressions to be favoured: contemplative, bemused, intolerant, dangerous, kind

# Outfit—Rainbow Cyclone Tie-Dye Baja Hoodie, Grateful Dead—Steal Your Face Cargo Pants

# NO UNDERWEAR OR SHOES

# Jewellery—Oil Diffuser Locket Necklace, Imagine Stretch Bracelet, Jingle Bell Anklet Bracelet, In The Mood Ring, ideally with colour settling on ‘aroused’

# Scent—A patchouli, sandalwood combo—hints of musk—homemade bicarb soda paste deodorant applied liberally to armpits

Smugly over satisfied with what was arguably one of the world’s best lists, I ceremoniously adorned my shiny self with the regalia of the new me. Standing before the mirror, I made one minor inspired adjustment (I rubbed some activated charcoal into my knuckles to promote an earthier look) before finishing the bottle of Absolut …

Dear Reader, I think by this point we’ve established a climate wherein my being completely candid is not only appropriate but rather endearing and utterly compelling, perhaps the tipping point was when I shared my struggle to not masturbate whilst leering at Gay Vegan Hippie Tumblr. Regardless of said tipping point, I feel completely safe to share with you just how attractive I found the glorious reflection of myself contained within my decorative acrylic mirror. Upon first glance I quickly yelled out ‘HOT DAMN’ followed by ‘CRIKEY’ and then ‘BAM’. I involuntarily slipped my hand beneath the elastic waistband of my Grateful Dead Steal Your Face Cargo Pants, to give my penis a congratulatory tug. If the combination of my exquisite appearance and the antics of those displayed on Gay Vegan Hippie Tumblr were anything to go by, a certain someone was set to be involved in what the new me would like to term ‘a sacred sacral chakra shakeout’.

After a considerable amount of time swimming in the dazzling display of my reflection, it was only the sound of my ‘time for Xanax’ alarm that was able to break through my reverie. I briefly considered cancelling my date altogether to allow for a much deeper personal adulation session, but the thought occurred to me that sexual gratification was often best experienced with at least one other person. With that in mind, I quickly popped a Xanax and daubed a small amount of patchouli directly onto my pubis, a level of commitment I’m sure Anne Hathaway would champion.

I swiftly grabbed a final prop, my Peace Fringe Leather Shoulder Bag and made for the door. Galvanised by the slight burning pain of having applied an undiluted essential oil to my crotch, I remembered another quote from Barry; ‘If it hurts it’s helping’.

In a state of sheer bliss, I sashayed towards the train station and certain victory.

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Heath John Ramsay, actor, sub-average singer, private dancer, pop culture glutton, former colourist at Elevation Hair & Beauty and Enrolments Advisor at The Phoenix Institute (raided by the Federal Police in March 2016) can now add ‘writer’ to his short list of accomplishments.

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