Thoughts?

What do we think of this? In another blog I look at (for men) this image was posted in reference to a partner. I usually hate these sort of criteria but I’m really struggling to think of exclusions to there being just two of those three things. Can you have it all? And are these three things the foundations to relationships? If we girls were making one up about the men in our lives, or women (we are not hetro-normative around here) would it be the same? Or would we have other attributes? And where does fun-ness and funniness come in? Because that’s vitally important, right? Or is that just me?

Life Story

There’s a man who lives in my suburb, he’s multi-millionaire, has had three wives, multiple children and lives in a beautiful house in an amazing location. He’s old now, going blind and is, as far as I know, living alone. No more wives, no more kids, with his health slipping away.

First day back at work I had to wrap up all his Christmas presents. He’d made a list of 25 people and to 23 of them he is giving the same book. What makes it even more curious is that he’s written personal messages inside each of them, no cards, just scrawling black ink on typed cover pages.

In my infinite curiosity, I read the messages and they made me indescribably sad.

Things such as (names changed):

“Dear Margaret, I had hoped we would be spending Xmas together this year…”

“Dear Frank, thank you so much for all you help during the year, you’ve been so kind…”

“Dear Joe, I hope you the house will be finished in time for Xmas, you and Sarah are always welcome at my place, whenever you are able to visit…”

“Dear Harry, I miss you terribly, now that your mother and I have got a divorce I hope that we can reestablish our relationship..”

That last one is the saddest one of all, what a heart laid bare, and how out of place it looked, on the cover page of a book where one usually writes such simple, banal and sentimental messages.

I think of all the people in my life now, when I’m 90 will there only be 25 and will some of them not want to see me? Or is it a representation of money not buying happiness etc? Or is this simply what happens when you get old, that people leave you and then leave you alone?

Take a Dirty Picture

Summer jobs, one of the many bains of student life. Our brains are worth so much and yet we’re forced to work in minimum wage occupations (that is, if we aren’t the chosen ones being schmoosed by various firms with too much money, not enough work and ample supplies of alcohol). Some friends and I discussed how we could make more money over summer until the uninvented invention I create for a niche market takes off, and the subject of being a bartender in a strip club came up. Now don’t go all conservative and shocked on me please. The ads show all these happy looking women with lots of cash, and we all want lots of cash. And what’s really the problem? I really don’t think being a stripper is my thing but bartending in a strip club, that’s just bartending right? So why is there such a shortage of people doing it and why is it such a big deal?

We are so Victorian in our double standards, all the dudes I know (and many of the girls) have frequented an ‘exotic’ joint at one time or another, but to work there is generally looked down on by all of us. How is that you’ll pay the wages but not do the work? Another reason that it’s not a great career prospect for me is that a societally-judged indiscretion like that will follow you for the rest of your life. If we ever become successful, what we do now will one day be brought up again (and sold for millions of dollars). Think Cameron Diaz, Kim K’s video, Paris Hilton’s video and the raft of other celebrities who have sent pictures to partners in the (vain) hopes that they’re for their eyes only.

So, especially to you ladies, before you do anything for the money, the excitement, or because your boyfriend thinks it’s a good idea, remember, that it can and will be documented forever, and the future you could be pretty gutted about that.

P.S. Found this secret one one of my favourite blogs postsecret.com and it’s sadly appropriate:

Rewritten

In response to the last post, one of my dearest friends said that the quote shouldn’t read:

“Dress like woman, speak like a lady, think like a man and work like a dog.”

She thoughtfully suggested that it say: “…think like a boss…” said in the way that people say “bawsss” so as to make it sound bad-ass and powerful in a light-hearted gangsta-referenced way.

She’s right, I shouldn’t get so hung up about what other people say and instead, just write a pithy line that sums up my generation of women, what we want, how we’re going to behave and what we have to do to succeed.

I propose the following:

Dress like today you’ll meet your destiny*, speak like you’re on national television,** think like a boss and work because it actually matters.

* Coco Chanel said, “I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

** Judy Bailey anyone?

So, what do you think? Do you have any suggestions of a zeitgeist for our times? I’d be interested to know.

Dress Like a Woman

As I sweated up the hill on one of my frequent walks I asked myself for the billionth time why I was exercising on a Sunday. It’s the day of rest, God rested, hungover students are resting, the people in the waterfront cafes are resting. This is how the conversation (inside my head) went:

“I’m exercising to keep fit”

“Or are you?”

“What?”

“Let’s face it, you exercise to look baaaaaaaaaabe’in”

“Yes, well, it’s not like I’ll be getting plastic surgery anytime soon”

“But what if it got really cheap?”

“Ugh, it’s so tough being a woman these days”

It’s so tough being a woman these days. And yes I’ve had many a feminist rant before, and it is depressing to think that we females, the majority at law school, the majority at university in New Zealand will take a fraction of the top positions in firms and other businesses. Then there are the other standards, that our bodies must be hair-less but our eyelashes and head hair must be luscious and long. Between bemoaning these facts I was doing some readings and came across this quote, advice to a female lawyer in 1947 in New Zealand:

“Dress like a woman, speak like a lady, think like a man and work like a dog.”

The first, second and fourth of these reign so true. But “think like a man”?! Is that really what it takes? The more I think about it, the more I fear that life hasn’t changed much since 1947.

Father’s Day

I just realised that I missed Father’s Day, well actually, we missed Father’s Day because I always be sure to include my long-suffering brother in any parent-related blame apportionment. We must have been on holiday when it happened and it wasn’t until I saw an old Dick Smith flyer than I realised. Also, it’s not big deal because we never really do anything for Father’s Day, except maybe have schnitzel (and in all likelihood we had that on the day by accident). My Dad never wants anything, he doesn’t like having money spent on him and unlike the usual four-letter words that people hate (cook, wash, iron, tidy) my Dad just hates fuss.

My father is as quiet as I am loud, as neutral as I am extreme and as patient as I am short. We have had many silent dinners, car trips and sessions of watching crime dramas (our personal faves). I am (here goes that magic word) lucky that my Dad lets me take the piss out him regularly and I have been know (at the age of 21) to call him up if I’m awake between 5am and 8am and feel like a chat (I, predictably, do most of the chatting).

A wise womaniser by the name of John Mayer once said,

Fathers be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do

And he, in all his infinite wisdom is right. My French flatmate and I created the psychological condition (that I’m sure is well-documented in far fancier words) of “father issues” whereby so many of the girls we know who are in unhealthy or unstable relationships have poor or non-existent relationships with their dads. Your dad is the first man in your life, the only one is is supposed to love you regardless and the one who will teach you life lessons that you may never learn from anyone else (I firmly believe that mine is still trying to teach me to be quiet, but we’re getting there).

You may have never thought about it, but your old dad will have imprinted on you an impression of the world (and the men in it) that will probably be permanent. Few people get the opportunity to do that.

Passing Bye

This is Seated Nude by Picasso (1909-10, oil on canvas, Tate Modern, London) and I’m sure you’ve just given it a quick glance and are hoping I’ll move onto something else shortly. This is my favourite Picasso (that I’ve seen) and it hangs on a side wall in one of the back rooms of the Tate Modern’s third floor. As I stood in front of it, taking it all in (again) I became suddenly agitated by the people walking bye. So many people just walked straight on past, some gave it a considered look, others a glance and I just wanted to scream at them all “LOOK AT THIS. JUST STOP AND LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK!” But of course you can’t do that in a public art gallery unless you’re one of those performance art installations. Isn’t it amazing how people can just not notice something that to you is so beautiful. There is so much art and inspiration available to us, of course it’s impossible to take it all in, and thank goodness we all don’t think the same, otherwise the world would be a very boring place. But I did find it so hard to believe that people didn’t want to stop and get lost in this painting, as I was.

I suppose that every day we will bypass things that have meaning for other people. That’s a rather spacey thought, isn’t it?

Previous Older Entries