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Posts from by Lach Ryan

Blackframes is the writing of Lach Ryan


Seven Underrated Reasons to Stay Married

Lach Ryan

People talk about marriage being an administrative formality.

I say what’s wrong with that?

As my Dad never used to say “Fight admin with admin”. In a world where paperwork threatens to destroy us all, a life admin partner or Husband/Wife is what we all need.

As someone who's now a dozen years deep into what is my first, and hopefully only, marriage here ’s a few reasons why I want things to stay that way:

1. For when the toilet paper runs out

Is there greater a reminder of our mortality and vulnerability than being stuck upon the porcelain throne sans a roll of tree flakes? Luckily for those betrothed, we can simply order a new one via our spouse like an Uber Eats of bathroom supplies. An urgent shout or a revealing text and the TP is soon creeping through the discreetly cracked-open toilet door, delivering a double length of devotion.

2. For inspecting/removing things on your back

Alone, you’d never know what it is.
It could be a mole, an ingrown hair, a kernel of popcorn embedded from Gold Class the night before. Perhaps it's a spider bite, or a spider egg sac buried under the skin or an early form melanoma. Maybe it is the repressed memory of your PE teacher doing star jumps in loose fitting speedos at the swim carnival, reforming as a cyst. Or is it that unwanted thatch of hair you can’t quite shave/wax yourself? Whatever the case, unless you have been hitting those vinyasa flow classes hard, you’ll need your better half to deal with anything on your back half.

3. For the social excuses

I don’t know how I got out of anything before I was married. How do single people do it? There is nothing you can’t get out of with a spousal-commitment based lie. The “I’m sorry I can’t. My wife/husband has a thing,” line works every time. The ‘thing’ can be interchangeable and is best left up to the imagination of the excuse-receiver, but could include - a prior engagement, appointment with the Governor General, chronic or terminal illness, food allergy, cat allergy, foot fetish, preference for manmade fibres, violent tendency towards players of golf or an extra finger. This will get you out of everything from Sunday BBQs with work colleagues to jury duty and school canteen duty.

4. For the junk food enabler

We all have our vices, but how many of us have enablers supporting them in their vices? A addiction shared is an addiction halved. It’s pretty much guaranteed that somewhere around the third wedding anniversary, you should both have a full blown sugar addiction to feed each night, underpinned by bare foot drives to the local 7-11 to score your hit. There's a twisted comfort sharing in being junk food junkies and knowing Type 2 Diabetes won’t be so bad if it’s the two of you together.

5. For the benefit couple branding

Nicknames have a classic appeal and a longevity. It doesn't matter how what sort of man you may have become, some part of you will always be that nine year old in the schoolyard known as “Pastie Nut”. Then there is the next level of cool; the couple nickname. This can't be achieved alone. I look to those in my own circles, Benama (Ben and Amanda) , Hamily (Hamish and Emily) and the short, but not insignificant, Toe (Tim and Zoe). Two of those three couples are staying together not for the kid (or the Groodles in Toe's case) but for the status of the moniker.

6. For outsourcing the purchasing of socks, underwear and milk

This is something you don't need to ever have to do again post your wedding night. The above are all basic life necessities and you’ll find it hard to go more than a few days without fresh versions of them. Just don’t ever buy them for yourself again. That’s what your legal life partner is for. Only problem is, you’ll be responsible for purchasing theirs. Quick tips for beginners - when it comes to underwear cuts, do unto others. If you won’t wear a Brazilian Cheeky Cut, you cant expect others too as well. Also nobody outside the Tasmanian Logging Industry wears Holeproof Explorers.

7. For severance pay on departure

Should you win the ultimate game of life - outliving your significant other, you are in for a sweet reward. You should be getting a nice little pay out! Hopefully the emphasis will be on the ‘nice’ rather than the ‘little’. It all depends on how late the stage of life you are in and how their career rat race was run. Either way, it’s better than a participation trophy. They are good too. In fact, my wife and I have both agreed to have a large one made up and awarded to the survivor at the funeral of the first of us to pass. Too often in life we overlook the real achievements, so it’s good to mark those moments.

So sit and reflect on the above before you call in the divorce lawyers. I’ll agree that a housemate or well-trained dog or monkey would take care of most of the them, but there’s something great in sharing life with another human and the romantic formality of marriage.

An open letter of love to coffee

Lach Ryan

Dear Coffee,

Let me recount the ways in which I love thee.

Ours is a passionate relationship. I remember the first time you lured me away from my first love of hot chocolate. It was a lazy, sunny afternoon and all it took was a knowing wink from a Barista to introduce me to your kiss via a mocha and the beginnings of a passionate affair were planted all over my post-teen moustache.

Soon the tingle of your touch was being desired more and more. I longed for the jolt that arose within me when we met. As my passions for you grew, I found myself spending more time and more money in your presence.

Before I knew it, I had turned my life upside down for you. My career, weekends, cash flow and concentration were all directed at your rich caramel complexion. I even upgraded my underwear which is a decision I still don't quite understand.

Secure in your arms, we travelled the world together. We danced hand to lip across the cafes of Melbourne, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, US and Canada. You introduced me to exotic flavours from Timor, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala and beyond...

You never flinched when I made efforts to spice up our love life. Bringing in the Aeropress or the Cold Drip, playing with the grind and experimenting with different profiles.

I always swore I wouldn't end up with you, but here we are, some 15 years later. I once thought we would get married, but in this backwards country, love between man and beverage still isn't validated. Maybe after they legalise polygamy and objectphilia we have our space.

I fear that things have dulled. I notice myself considering new temptations. I confess on lonely, cold nights to flirting with herbal teas and I even found myself googling Kombucha to find out exactly what the heck it is (turns out it is old seaweed, mashed seagull all fermented in old teabags).

Why is this? Have we become set in our ways? We never really stray from the same couple of order positions... strong flat whites , the occasional magic on special occasions and public holidays. Maybe we should look to change things up? I hear nitro cold brew is exciting. But then they said the same thing about carrot leg jeans and that just ended up looking like my thighs were pregnant.

Maybe it is social media's obsession with you? It seems you are always first. But what if you are suddenly second?

In my old age, others will beckon me. Tea, Soylent, probiotics and wild seal milk (it will be a least my fund manager thinks so). 

But they are not for me.

I will still chase the hard edge of your cup on my lip and the following feeling in my stomach that is a mixture of love and the natural laxative effect of your presence.

An Open Letter to 2017

Lach Ryan

Dear 2017,

I noticed this week Taylor Swift celebrated your performance in her personal life. The girl gives you a simple shout-out and the whole internet responds like Kim Jong-un simultaneously finding out that this week's doughnuts have run-out and that flat-tops haven't been cool since '91.

Granted, on a global level, this hasn't been the greatest year for humanity. Trump took office, global terror events become a monthly occurrence, news continually broke of abuse and inequality, North Korea hit puberty and Tom Cruise continued to release films.

That is just a year, is it not? Which recent year hasn't had its share of scandal, despair, fear and horrible computer music released to help humans dance like monkeys for imaginary ego-bananas? I am sure that even during the war and depression years at least a handful of people were sitting down with a whisky or cup of tea on December 31st and looking back thinking "Yeah. Not bad!" 

So once again Tay-Tay proves that the haters are going to hate, hate, hate as the rest of us look towards 2018 and shake off the year that has been.

I am at peace with you 2017.

We didn't quite scale the heights that the list in my notes app on my phone had hoped for. But we didn't do too bad either. Sure - I didn't finish the feature script, enter Tropfest, commit to fortnightly date nights or start the cold brew business, but you and work and life admin. 

I will always remember you for our ten year wedding anniversary trip to the Four H's (Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An and Hong Kong). I will also remember you as the year I got adult about our financial situation dotting the I's of investments and crossing the T for total and permanent disability insurance (among others). You were the year a reputable University let me teach and decent web publication found my written words coherent and interesting enough to publish them a bunch of times. I managed to ride a Gran Fondo and I even tried stand up paddleboarding. Sure I didn't quite nail the weekly new recipe but I did start reading 'Infinite Jest'. If I have finished it by 2027 I will be doing well.

You have been an OK year but I acknowledge that many others elsewhere haven't seen you that way. Theirs isn't the middle class, western white world that I inhabit. I don't know why I get to live this reality and others don't. I don't know why something like a Taylor Swift has to exist in the world either. I don't know if 2017 will end up being a relatively quiet, peaceful and prosperous year compared to the ones ahead. I do know that tomorrow we say our goodbyes. Your cousin will be along to take over and all I can do is make the best of what they have to offer. Anything else would be a rude waste.

Farewell 2017. Maybe in some distant future, a primary school will dig you up in the form of a time capsule and I'll be there looking over your corpse with nostalgia.

Until then,