Archive for March, 2010

Whatever your opinion on Groovy Young Things, one thing is clear: they generally don’t live around my ‘hood.

Traditionally, our suburb – although less than 10km from the city – is populated by aged persons and young families. It’s just how it is. It’s a bit like Perth: most of the population between the ages of twenty and thirty get the hell out.

But listen, it’s not like I’m totally cut off from the world of Groovy Youngters or anything, okay?

My dear friend Mzzzz E remains a steady link between their world and mine  – for example, it’s thanks to her I know that these days the young people are drinking coca-cola and red wine cocktails known as “Bambas” or “Calimocho”. Which has only confirmed my fears that there is no possible future for the human race in the hands of such people. No future at all.

Oh, and I occasionally cross town to be seated next to and served by GYTs in trendy bars and cafés, where I inevitably end up pulling out that sanitary napkin randomly floating around my handbag instead of my wallet when it comes time to pay.

Anyway, at a recent community picnic near our home, I spied at least three Groovy Young Things standing unabashedly near the Scouts’ Sausage Sizzle stand. It was disconcerting to say the least.

“Look over there,” I hissed to my friends MGK and RR. “Those people are young and attractive. It’s, like, freaking me out.”

In fact, it was freaking me out so much that I just wanted to rush up and order them to return at once to the inner-city tapas-punk-fusion bar they’d ironically crawled out of.

“They really should leave,” I moaned. “They’re making me feel… well, they’re making me feel old.

There, I said it. The vintage floral skirt I’d chosen to wear that day suddenly felt decidedly mumsy. I noticed I had grease marks on my breasts made by the small hands of a preschooler yielding a “piggy in a blanket”. I knew for a fact that there was a bottle of low-joule, low-alcohol champagne chilling in my fridge at home. I was wearing Birkenstock clogs for fuck’s sake.

“Oh, I turned 34 earlier this week,” RR said to me, oh-so-casually. “I’m now officially mid-30s.”

“Oh, my bleeding heart,” was my appalled reaction. Here I was, thinking he was One Of Us and he was pretty much One Of Them. It was galling, to say the least.

Eventually, the Groovy Young Things moved off (to groovier pastures which served Calimochos, no doubt) and I was left to glare at RR and his thirty-four year-old ways.

When I got home, I told my husband about the terrible situation that had befallen us all at the picnic and how those GYTs had stood around totally unaware of what harm they were causing by their very presence. And how RR had then revealed himself to be practically young.

“How dare they!” I said. “How very dare they all!”

My husband then admitted to me that, while his short-term memory might be completely shite, his long-term memory was crystal clear.

“I remember, with absolute clarity, what it felt like to be young,” he said. “And part of that was swearing never – ever! – to become what I am today.”

“But at least you can’t remember what you are today,” I remarked. “You know, short-term memory loss and all.”

And we both laughed and laughed – until we forgot what we were laughing about, that is.

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I am A Girl Who Wears Glasses.

Moreover, I am a girl who wears ‘Personality Substitute Glasses’. All my young life, I was referred to as ‘That Mousy Girl’ or ‘The Walking Wall of Beige’. It comes from having the colouring of a  brown paper bag and never bothering to make cosmetics my friend.

The glasses, therefore, do all the work for me.

My most recent frames even have a bit of ‘bling’ on their arms, as is the fashion these days. When people aren’t bending to my will, I dazzle them with my bling. Or rather, I turn my head to the side and they think “Why is she turning her head to the side?” and they temporarily stop not doing what I want them to do. So, in a way, it works. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I go to sleep at night.

Anyway, glasses have been part of my daily life for about 15 years now so I don’t really think about them much except to occasionally say things like “Girls who wear glasses rock!” (profound, right?) and “Where the fuck *are* my glasses?” (usually in conjunction with a hangover).

I was kind of surprised – and yet pleased – when The Pixie said she wanted to get glasses so that she could look “pretty like mummy”. I said she’d have to have her eyes tested first and so she began to hassle me for an optometrist appointment like other children might hassle their parents for an ice cream or for $2 to put in one of those supermarket rides or to “stop piss-farting about on the computer and take me to school”.

So in the end, I caved in and took her and it turns out she’s long-sighted and needs glasses.

You may as well have told The Pixie she’d won a trillion billion zillion dollars, such was the look on her face when she heard the news. In fact, she was so excited about it she started telling everybody we met that she was getting glasses and started counting down the sleeps til those hot little frames are on her face.

But then one afternoon, I found her crying in the school yard.

“I’m worried that people will laugh at me and call me square eyes!” she sobbed.

I chose to overlook the fact that the term ‘square eyes’ is normally reserved for people who watch too much TV and that glasses wearers are more likely to be called ‘four eyes’ or ‘coke bottle face’ or have people say to them  ‘Nice glasses. Did you make them yourself? or ‘Those frames make your bum look big’.

Instead, I got down to her level, looked her straight in the eye and said “If anybody teases you about wearing glasses, I’ll punch them in the nose.”

Nope, there was none of that ‘sticks and stones’ wisdom for me – not when it came to people being mean to my little girl. Because in that instant, I recalled all the rejection, hurt and loneliness that I myself had gone through in my life in the name of “character building” and how I hadn’t even worn glasses for most of it. And the thought that there might be any extra impediment on the road to happiness, confidence and love for my daughter was more than I could bear.

But then I remembered that it’s a different world for the bespectacled these days. That old adage ‘Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses’ is as outdated as ‘Cider before beer makes you feel queer’ because we all now know you can’t ‘catch The Gay’ from having your drinks in the wrong order. And I went back to my original premise: “Girls who wear glasses rock!” For one thing, they can see properly and that’s got to be a good thing, right?

And so last Saturday, we picked up The Pixie’s new glasses – red frames that she chose herself – and her life as a Girl Who Wears Glasses began.

As she put them on for the first time, her face all lit up with pride and excitement, my heart ached a thousand different ways at once. But my overriding feeling was this:  Those glasses won’t wear The Pixie. She’ll wear them.

And then some.

The Pixie and Master J (right) trip the light fantastic with Mummy and Daddy (left)

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As young girls, my sister Belle and I both had bedroom windows that faced a block of flats.

In one of the flats, there lived a man whose only discernible feature was that he had a beard. We rarely saw him but when we did he was doing extraordinary things like closing his blinds and turning on (or off) his lights.

We called him Beard Man.

He became the centrepiece of many of our girlhood conversations. I think we even devised a dance called “The Beard Man Dance”, which involved us pretending to close blinds and turning on (and off) light switches. Good times.

Anyway, I recently discovered how beards have a way of creeping up on a relationship. One day your husband is cleanly shaven and then, next thing you know, he’s stopped shaving all together and you find yourself married to your very own Beard Man.

I told my husband about the Original Beard Man. Upon hearing my (extremely) amusing anecdote (blinds! light switches!!), I asked him to get up and turned on (and off) our light and then close our venetian blinds.

He refused, claiming tiredness. You see, after some 20 years of dabbling in karate, he’d finally got around to being graded and had earnt himself a Red Belt. He said the moment he was presented it was like that scene in Return of the Jedi when Princess Leia gives Luke and Han their medals.

“Except you’re more like the Wookie,” I said. “Anyway, what is a red belt anyway?”

“It’s like a black belt, except very very angry,” he said.

“It makes me think about those early sanitary protection devices – you know, with the belts,” I said.

At this point, he grew angry (very very angry) and said I wasn’t allowed to mock his red belt in my blog. However, I was permitted to write about his beard.

“Have you blogged about my beard yet?” he asked, somewhat hopefully.

“No!” I replied. “Like I have nothing else in my life to talk about… Shuh!”

But actually, between you and me, I’ve been very busy recently. I’ve been hanging out at Kidspot Social as one of their “Hero Bloggers” all week, blogging every day, mixing it up in the forums, sharing my sage advice with new mothers who (quite frankly) deserve better.

Anyway, it’s come to Friday and I’m all talked out. I have nothing left to say for myself. Except about my husband’s beard.

Please don’t tell him you read about it here, okay?


News of the beard not enough for you? Feel free to read my Kidspot posts:

The Shoe Must Go On
Indoor “Pay” Centres
Heard As Well As Seen
Bed Time Fun For Babysitters
Let Me Explain

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