Breakfast Menu

Once upon a time, not too long ago, but long enough to feel sentimental about, I cooked up to three meals a day for Donna.

We lived off Anzac Parade, on Lenthall Street in Kensington. Just the two of us.

In the summer, she had a job at the Hyatt Regency which was then located on top of the hill at Kings Cross, where the famous Coke neon sign was. As she was the only one in the house with a job, I had the housekeeping duties. I shopped for groceries, thinking up dishes as I pushed the trolley down the supermarket aisles.

Breakfast: Tuna on English muffins with asparagus and swiss cheese.

6 English muffins
1 can tuna
1 can asparagus spears
1 doz slices, swiss (or nearest) cheese
black pepper

I'd wake up an hour before she did, at 6am, and quietly go to the kitchen to prepare the breakfast that would ensure she was in love with me the rest of the day.

The sun was already up and peering through the living room windows. It used to get so bright in the mornings that you'd get a sunburn if you didn't cover yourself with the blanket properly. I'd sing softly to myself as I took the muffins out of the bag and put them on the chopping board where I cut them in horizontal halves. Two muffins. The other four went back into the bag, later to be devoured by myself in a less delicate fashion.

Opening a can of tuna takes some effort, especially when you don't want to spill the oil onto the kitchen counter. A lot of kitchen towels are employed. It's best you open the can till you've left 5' of the 360' hanging as a hinge. You then use a fork to pry it open, dig out the contents into a bowl. And this is where the art begins.

With the fork, I'd massage the tuna into a paste, not too fine, not too coarse, blending freshly ground black pepper at intervals.

By now, Donna would have woken and would be heading to the bathroom. I could then turn on either the tv or the radio. This day, I turned on the radio, because the cricket hadn't started on the tv. Triple M 104.9FM. Coffee or tea? Tea, she says. I'd put the kettle on, take two mugs, two Lady Grey tea bags out and put them in the mugs.

Same deal with the can of asparagus. Drain the water and set the spears on a plate, and cut them to size so they can fit on top of the muffins without drooping over the sides too much.

Placing the four muffin halves on the board, I'd spoon the tuna evenly on them, then place the muffins into the toaster oven, already pre-heated for a minute. It takes a minute for it to be slightly toasted. I'd take out the halves and arrange the asparagus spears on top of the tuna, and place one slice of cheese on top of each tuna muffin. Back into the oven they went. This time, I had to watch as the cheese melted, wrapped itself over the asparagus and tuna, browned slightly and drooped over the sides and not a moment longer.

With tongs, the tuna, asparagus and swiss cheese open muffins were ready to be served, two halves on each plate, with a slice of tomato on the side for good measure.

Juice? Orange, please. Tea was ready by then too.

We'd sit, eat, and I didn't have to wait for her to tell me she enjoyed the breakfast. You are making me fat, she'd say. Then don't eat, I'd say. We don't say much else. I'd ask her what time she finished that day and whether she'd like dinner.


OK. I'll go to Coles again later.

Men wish they were from Mars

Names have been changed to protect the foolish

I wish Ryan and I were in the same city. That way, I can track every woman he falls in love with, and see for myself how he gets himself into such strife, and nip the next crush in the bud before it becomes the next crash. I can also distract him with beers, touch rugby, kayaking, bookshops, DVDs, coffee, broadband internet access, suppers and driving around aimlessly. That would mean that same city would have to be Singapore, no less.

I can eavesdrop on his occasional conversations he has with the objects of his affections on his mobile phone, and glean from them the type of women they are, what they want from him and whether they are open to the idea of dating him or whether they just want to be good friends with him.

Because all women want a good friend or six.

And a good male friend is worth six female ones.

A good male friend gives a woman the perspective from a male point of view. It empowers her with the working knowledge of a man's mind.

Or so she thinks.

That good male friend would fall in love with her at some point, the consequence of which may be one of three: lasting friendship, lasting relationship or lasting animosity.

That good male friend's judgment on matters brought to his attention by the woman remains clouded by a) lust, b) resentment, or c) disinterest.

Still, she thinks him valuable, because she is unsure of herself. She likes him to ratify her own decisions, which she has made way before she asks him for his opinion. It just gives her decision (mostly to do with men) the weight she thinks it requires.

And, she also likes the attention, and the little tinge of excitement that comes with the possibility of that male friend actually liking her romantically. She milks it for all it is worth. By saying she misses him. By saying how valuable his advice is. By saying "if I wasn't in love with him, I might be in love with you".

He responds, thrilled at the very words. Stupidly. I miss you too. And no matter how painful it is, says but you're in love with him and not me.

Woman 1, Male Friend 0.

Ryan, I reckon, has scored many own goals this way. My job, were we in the same city, would be to make sure he doesn't do it too often. Yes, it is a given that we Male Friends are on the losing side. A bit like Arsenal playing Klang Valley United. My job is to help Ryan minimize damage, and maintain dignity.

Why is a man like Ryan so susceptible to strife as this?

Because not all men qualify as Male Friends.

If a man were out and out straight to the point, he disqualifies himself. The woman knows this man cannot be her Male Friend.

1) The Male Friend knows no absolutes.
2) The Male Friend knows not himself.
3) The Male Friend is kind.
4) The Male Friend is giving.
5) The Male Friend is considerate.
6) Most important of all, the Male Friend listens.

Article 1 of the Male Friend Creed requires the Male Friend to be always open to suggestion, and it is no surprise that many Male Friends are not obstinate people.

Article 2 is a pre-requisite that not many realise. The woman likes a Male Friend that asks her for her opinion about himself. She thinks it demonstrates trust, but sub-consciously, she knows she's got him eating out of her hands.

Article 7, which is unwritten, is the article in the creed which is not often talked about, and I risk life and limb revealing it here. It states (and I am paraphrasing) that the Male Friend may be from time to time, called upon to deliver services, possibly of a carnal nature, which he would normally prefer to be in the context of a loving relationship, and not complain.

Most Male Friends don't complain about Article 7. And if they did protest, they score an own goal again.

As you can now imagine, a man like Ryan would be very much sought after as a Male Friend. He embodies and upholds the Creed like few other. And I won't even talk about Article 7.

Notice that nothing in the Creed speaks of honesty. A Male Friend can be all of the above without being honest, for that is not a pre-requisite. Because why?

Because the woman likes a bit of veil play. A Male Friend presenting himself to be platonic and at the same time masking badly his romantic intentions turns a woman on as much as a hot-blooded straight out passionate encounter. It gives her confidence. In fact, it empowers her whereas the latter may subjugate her.

So how would I help Ryan maintain dignity? How could I possibly, you may well ask?

I don't know for sure. But we Male Friends do stand a chance of survival in this mad, bad world. If only we didn't fall in love so.