Monday, April 30, 2012

Chatting up, going down

So further to this rant the other day I can do no better than point you towards a much better read at The Sabotage Times, "5 Ways To Approach Women Without Coming Across Like A Perv", which comes via Lindsay.

Look, I don't want to give you the impression, with all these posts, that I'm constantly being badgered by men everywhere I go and oh Lord it's just so exhausting and if only I weren't so devastatingly beautiful maybe life would be easier because that... does not happen. But I also think some men just don't realise that there's a big difference between being trying your hand in an appropriate setting (this = good. We like this!) and unrolling that same behaviour in inappropriate setting (this = bad. We don't like this!). For example, Random Street Dude, I'm not being an uptight bitch for keeping my eyes on the ground when you say somethng to me as I walk past at night en route to the pub or the taxi line: I'm trying not to engage with you, as a random, stronger-than-me stranger, because I'm scared there is, on some level, a chance you might rape and murder me.

But why am I still talking? TST says it better than I can:
"If a man were to smile at me across a crowded bar, start a conversation and/or offer me a drink, I’d think “how charming!” If that same man were to try and start the same conversation by tapping me on the shoulder as we walked along a quiet road I’d be rummaging for my rape alarm. Being chatted up is lovely when you’re expecting it, but when you feel like you’ve been ambushed it’s not flattering, it’s frightening."
Yes. This.

Again I feel a bit odd writing about this here because my blog readership, such as it is, consists mostly of friends and family, plus a few of Lindsay's readers she has bullied into coming here occassionally (keep it up, L, you're doing God's Work) and the lovely boys/men in my life are, you know, IN my life because they're Already Good People.

Still I've posted it for two reasons: one, in case someone who really could benefit from the advice stumbles across this blog. And two: because the article itself is pretty amusing and entertaining. To that end, I'll finish this Rant #2 with the bit that made me laugh out loud (or LOL, as the kids were only too recently saying):
"I know that everyone from 50 Cent to JLS has sung about the interesting stuff that goes down at “the club” but as far as I know, Fiddy didn’t say “she hit the floor, she’s looking fly / so normal assault laws don’t apply.”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Actual magazines sitting on the waiting room table of the waxer who looks after my Good China

1. Box Magazine.
2. Oyster Magazine.

I mean, she HAS to be taking the piss, no?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012


... according to Blogspot these are (in order of importance) the most common search terms that bring people to this blog. I... don't really know how to feel about that exept to observe that I really can't imagine what someone who googles the phrase "concave chest before and after" is looking for but I'm fairly sure this blog isn't it.

charlie fink
ryan gosling
riccardo scamarcio
michael c hall hair transplant
alexander skarsgÄrd height
black and white movies
concave chest before after
crush on prince zuko
fink band

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Look away

I have to start this post by saying I'm a massive hypocrite on a number of levels. I did, after all, once write about - and not entirely in jest - how depressing it was to walk past a construction site or a road crew when you're dressed up to the nines and get... absolutely no reaction. If pushed I would further have to confess that I also routinely ogle random boys that I find attractive - I try to do it discretely but very likely I fail. And finally I thoroughly enjoy those (sadly rare) times I catch someone I fancy kinda checking me out (a flirty little smile with a skinny hipster type on the street really is enough to lift my mood for the day). So there's that.

That much said: it can be really really exhausting being a girl sometimes and I think a lot of guys don't realise or understand sometimes how it feels to have men LOOK at you wherever you go. This is on my mind because yesterday, for boring reasons, I had to (unexpectedly) walk a fair distance. On this walk I passed a bunch of guys doing some work in someone's front garden, another bunch of fluro vest-wearing workers fixing a footpath and a couple of tables of guys having coffee outside coffee shops. The more I walked the more hyper-aware I became of the fact these various bunches of guys were looking at me. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. It wasn't so much that they were ogling, per se, not staring, exactly but just... taking me in.

I don't for a moment believe this has anything to do with the way I look or the way I was dressed (pretty boring work clothes). As far as these guys were concerned I was just a pair of tits out and about and so they looked and didn't even try to pretend they weren't looking (in the interest of perpetuating stereotypes I will mention that the guys drinking coffee were a lot more classy about it than the vest-wearing guys or the gardening boys). I felt weirdly like a bit of public property and soon enough I had my gaze fixed on the footpath, my sunglasses on and my earphone stuffed into my ears.

It was the middle of the day and there were other people around so I had no reason to feel unsafe but by the end of the walk I felt distinctly uneasy without really knowing why.

I feel a bit unfair writing this because I really love boys (or men or whatever you want to call them) and the vast majority of my male friends are lovely and respectful and not even remotely sleazy or intimidating. Maybe I was just having a bad day and being oversensitive. Still, the whole thing reminded me of a very good series of articles from Sydney Morning Herald columnist Sam de Brito from a few years ago. De Brito, not the most feminine looking guy in the world, spent a few days dressed as a woman and wrote about it. Obviously his experience differed from the average woman's but some of his comments really struck home, including that sense of being watched.
"As I click-clacked toward the women's, a group of young guys in loud dress shirts sized me up and I steadfastly refused to look at any of them.

"After doing that a dozen more times on the weekend, it dawned on me why so many women don't meet men's gazes on the street. It's safer not to engage. You hope they'll just ignore you.

"I thought also about the instant judgements I'd seen in people's eyes as I walked through the city. It forced me to recall my own judgements and for some reason my mind wandered to young women and all the times I'd been less than discrete perving.

"I thought of the looks of confusion on the faces of playful, childish females when they realised there was no going back, that those budding breasts they were sporting were dragging them into a new world, like it or not.

"I don't think men ever experience that shock of sexualisation like young girls do but it must be both terrifying and empowering, when childhood is stripped away and you're suddenly seen as an object for sex.

"The more I thought about it, the more disturbed I became by my own ingrained lusts, by the countless times I'd seen women as little more than holes and lumps to squeeze or poke, lick or leer at."
What came across really nicely in these articles was how quickly Sam (as "Samantha") got worn down by these male stares. He starts out full of excitement about the experiment and winds up tired and too intimidated to go to some of the more aggressively male places he'd planned to. That's a more extreme version of how I wound up feeling at the end of the stupid walk: tired, weirded out and surprisingly angry. When some random dude with a beard straightened up from his work to seriously stare at me for a good 20 seconds I wanted to tell him to Fuck Off and leave me alone: I just wanted to get home.

I wish I had a snappy conclusion or a real point to make but I really don't, except to observe that I'll never walk the particular route I did yesterday again if I can help it and if I do I'll put on a burlap sack before I start.

Okay. Phew. Rant over. Sorry about that, especially to any male readers/friends who think I'm having a crack at them. Next post: some jokes!

Monday, April 23, 2012

First World Problem #54

My beautiful new green backseam stockings can only be worn with exactly one pair of shoes I own. This makes me think I may need to buy more shoes.

Questions for the douchebags who stole my car last night:

1. Why would you steal MY car? I mean, sure, the three-door Toyota Yaris IS kind of a sweet ride but it's easily the least cool car on the street or at least bottom three. My neighbour drives an Alpha Romeo for Christ's sake. Take hers!

2. Did you notice the flat tyre before you stole the car? I hope you cried like a bitch when you finally noticed that.

3. Was it the pile of X-Men comics on the back seat that convinced you to steal my car? Because I'd hate to think comic book nerds are stealing cars these days - that would be a real downer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

For no particular reason: some of my favourite songs about love or unrequited love or crappy end-of-love that I really wish I had somehow written

Belle and Sebastian, Too Much Love
One of the few songs on this list that actually makes me happy.

The Smiths, Please please please let me get what I want
It was a choice between this and I Want the One I Can't Have and it's Driving Me Mad but this is so cute, so short and so perfect it won out. Please, you know, it was in Pretty in Pink - John Hughes endorsed.

Nick Drake, Day is Done
I don't think this song is supposed to be about love at all but, for me, it captures perfectly that exhausted "I just don't want to give a fuck anymore" feeling.

Camera Obscura, Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken
Okay so this one also make me happy. Maybe I do actually like happy songs almost as much as maudlin ones. Maybe.

Nick Cave, I Let Love In
What can I say: was there ever an angrier song about love? Well, um, almost certainly but this is right up there.

Honourable mentions go to Joanna Newsom's sublime Does Not Suffice (thanks Mike), Noah and the Whale's Five Years Time and Teddy Thompson's insanely beautiful cover of Leonard Cohen's Tonight Will Be Fine. For some reason almost none of the videos I found for these songs would work and then those that worked wouldn't embed and... you know, it's getting on a bit and I'm tired and can't be bothered. But they're awesome - look 'em up slackers.

Favourite new things

1. The MacBook Air on which I am writing this.
2. The art deco martini glasses I purchased yesterday, even though I really don't even slightly drink martinis. I drank orange juice out of one this morning and I swear it tasted better.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How to get yourself frocked up and out of the house when you really just want to stay on the couch.

1. Turn on music. Ideally as loudly as possible. Nick Cave's "Thirsty Dog" is doing my wonders right now because I'm in sort of an angry mood and it's just a great angry song, even though he spends the whole time apologising. "(I'm sorry about all your friends/I hope they'll speak to me again/I said before I'll pay for all the damages/I'm sorry it's just rotten luck/I'm sorry I've forgotten how to fuck/It's just that I think my heart/ and soul are kind of famished" may be among my all time favourite Cave lyrics).

2. Find wine. Look you don't even have to drink it but a glass of wine in your hand cannot NOT cheer you up. That's not me, that's science speaking.

3. Dress up. UP I say. The shitter you feel the better you should look. Which is why I hope and plan to look pretty fucking good tonight.

4. Get off the couch. Sorry, that should probably have been the first step actually.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This list of the worst things in the world...

... is frighteningly accurate. Or maybe I just feel like that because I have a hangnail and it hurts like a motherfucker.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Someday you'll find a man, a good man, and you'll love him, and marry him, and live and die for him. And I'll be hanged if I stand by and watch."

This article on love lessons learned from fictional men made me happy and sad: happy because it's amusing and rang true. Sad because one of the examples being talked about is the character of Laurie from Little Women: one of the few literary (and indeed film - a young Christian Bale did his BEST WORK on this film, I tells you and if I'm honest I think I actually prefer the film to the book, I'm sorry) hotties that I mooned over as a younger me and still moon over today. When Jo... well, look, I don't want to ruin it if you haven't read or seen it but Jesus Christ Jo makes me angry with some of her Life Choices. That's all I'm saying. I probably really shouldn't care after all these years. Wait, "probably?" Anyway, read the article, it's super cute.

Web of Lies

It started with a simple lie at the hairdresser where I was having my hair done for a wedding. Technically, yes, it was my "wedding" (read: wedding PARTY) but I had no desire to discuss this fact with my hairdresser and have to endure an hour of chit-chat about whether I was excited/nervous/having second thoughts. So when she asked me why I was having my hair done I said, semi-truthfully, that I was attending "a wedding".

So far, so okay. The problems started when she pressed for details. What kind of wedding was it? What was my dress like? Was it a close friend getting married? She seemed so interested in this wedding I half suspected that she knew the truth and wanted me to crack. I did not crack. Instead I told the (mostly) truth, cunningly vagueing up my answers. For example:

Her: So is it a big wedding, do you know?

Me: Oh, I, uh, think there's going to be about 110... more than 100 people... something like that.

Her: Are you in the wedding party?

Me: Uh... no?

Anyway, the hairdresser finished her job and I left semi-satisfied (the hair was not "Rachel the android from Bladerunner does formal" as I'd hoped but at least it was A Whole Lot of Look). I'd got away with my lie and that should have been the end of the story.

Until I got to said wedding PARTY and a friend revealed the following facts:

1. She had been to the same hairdressing salon as myself.
2. She had seen the same hairdresser.
3. She had told the hairdresser she was attending a wedding and provided sufficient detail that the hairdresser put two and two together.
4. Her response, when the hairdresser mentioned by name, was to immediately exclaim: "She's the BRIDE."

This is the true story of why I can now never go back to a very nice hair salon which happens to be very close to my house and therefore extremely convenient. This makes me sad.

Things I Love #23

When you're feeling a bit dopey or down in the dumps and into your inbox lands an email from one of a handful of people capable of cheering you up. That's nice.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How you know you're getting screwed buying nuts expensive moisturiser:

Woman 1: So you don't need to use much at all. Just one pump and this bottle should last eight months.

Me: Oh yes wow that is impressive.

Woman 2 (walking up): That stuff's great.

Me: Uh Huh.

Woman 2: You only need a couple of pumps and it'll last you three months.

Me: Ah.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I don't what it is but...

... sometimes even after a perfectly delightful four day weekend I want nothing more than a glass of wine, a bowl of pistachios and to feel a little sad listening to Joanna Newsom on the stereo. (A belated thanks to MG for pointing me towards this song which is so so lovely).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Perth: where everybody knows your name

There are a lot of things not to like about my home city. It can be boring. It can be dull. The career opportunities in my field are limited. That much said, it is a wonderful thing to nip down the road on a school night for a quick wine with a chum and immediately run into several more lovely more chums sitting at the bar. That's really awfully nice.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't hate me 'cos I'm beautiful

So far as I can remember (and who am I kidding, how would I forget?) the one and only time a total stranger has randomly tried to pick me up was on a London street when, en route to work in this morning, some random dude heading the other way stopped and said in a nice plummy accent: "Excuse me but do you fancy a drink after work?" I didn't really know how to respond. I'm pretty sure he wanted to chop me up into little pieces and store me in his freezer, maybe eat me over the winter.

I recount this story not to brag about how devastatingly attractive I am to would-be murderers around the globe (although...) but to point you towards this blog post from the incomparable Lindsay, writing about a story in the Daily Fail which is... I don't even know how to describe it without resorting to a block quote:
“Throughout my adult life, I’ve regularly had bottles of bubbly or wine sent to my restaurant table by men I don’t know. Once, a well-dressed chap bought my train ticket when I was standing behind him in the queue, while there was another occasion when a charming gentleman paid my fare as I stepped out of a cab in Paris.

"Another time, as I was walking through London’s Portobello Road market, I was tapped on the shoulder and presented with a beautiful bunch of flowers. Even bar tenders frequently shoo my credit card away when I try to settle my bill."
To quote Arrested Development... her?

Anyway it's brilliant/awful but it's also the first thing that made me laugh all day today and you can read it in all its, um, glory here.

It deepens like a coastal shelf

One of the increasingly big, increasingly headache-inducing problems in my life is the problem of children. I don't want them, have never wanted them and can see only one advantage having kids: to prevent future boredom and loneliness. Hmm. My partner, on the other hand, does want kids, is great with kids and will generally probably be miserable if he can't have them. This, clearly, is a conundrum and one that, as I tiptoe up towards 30, has a time limit. The assumption I have made is that if one of us doesn't change our mind in the next five years or so we'll presumably break up. Yeah, it's not really much of a plan.

Anyway, I didn't start this blog to talk about my personal life but to point out this rather interesting article in The New Yorker looking at ethical issues around having kids.

There's plenty of interest in here, not least of which is this bit:
"Finally, lots of people offer the notion that parenthood will make them happy. Here the evidence is, sadly, against them. Research shows that people who have children are no more satisfied with their lives than people who don’t. If anything, the balance tips the other way: parents are less happy. In an instantly famous study, published in Science in 2004, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman asked nine hundred working women to assess their experiences during the preceding day. The women rated the time they’d spent taking care of their kids as less enjoyable than the time spent shopping, eating, exercising, watching TV, preparing food, and talking on the phone. One of the few activities these women found less enjoyable than caring for their children was doing housework, which is to say cleaning up after them."

But the part I found most interesting was the part that - to my surprise - more or less summed up my main inner argument against having kids, the reason I keep coming back to regardless of how many times I try and tell myself "maybe I'll feel differently when...". To say, this (and apologies for the length of the quote):
"David Benatar, a professor at the University of Cape Town, also turns to philosophy to determine the ideal family size. He gives away his answer in the title of his book, Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence... Benatar’s case rests on a critical but, in his view, unappreciated asymmetry. Consider two couples, the A’s and the B’s. The A’s are young, healthy, and rich. If they had children, they could give them the best of everything—schools, clothes, electronic gaming devices. Even so, we would not say that the A’s have a moral obligation to reproduce. The B’s are just as young and rich. But both have a genetic disease, and, were they to have a child together, that child would suffer terribly. We would say, using Benatar’s logic, that the B’s have an ethical obligation not to procreate.

"The case of the A’s and the B’s shows that we regard pleasure and pain differently. Pleasure missed out on by the nonexistent doesn’t count as a harm. Yet suffering avoided counts as a good, even when the recipient is a nonexistent one. And what holds for the A’s and the B’s is basically true for everyone. Even the best of all possible lives consists of a mixture of pleasure and pain. Had the pleasure been forgone—that is, had the life never been created—no one would have been the worse for it. But the world is worse off because of the suffering brought needlessly into it.

“One of the implications of my argument is that a life filled with good and containing only the most minute quantity of bad—a life of utter bliss adulterated only by the pain of a single pin-prick—is worse than no life at all,” Benatar writes.

"He acknowledges that many readers will have difficulty accepting such a “deeply unsettling claim.” They will say that they consider their own existence to be a blessing, and that the same goes for their children’s. But they’re only kidding themselves. And no wonder. Everyone alive today is descended from a long line of people who did reproduce themselves. Evolution thus favors a kind of genetically encoded Pollyannaism. “Those with reproduction-enhancing beliefs are more likely to breed and pass on whatever attributes incline one to such beliefs,” Benatar notes."

It goes on and on and the whole thing is well worth a read if you have any interest in the subject. Of course the New Yorker article is fairly long and involved. If you're feeling a bit lazy and/or short of time you could do worse than consult Philip Larkin on the subject:

This Be the Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

I mean I think he had a point too.

Dear Lady at the gym...

... if you need to bring two - TWO! - plastic containers full of cosmetics to the gym every morning, you are wearing too much make-up and you need to re-evaluate your life choices.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

This is probably just for the journos...

... but it made me laugh. A few months ago I met a just-starting-out journo and we got to talking. When I asked her where she wanted to work she said she wanted to work at my paper or at the ABC. When I asked her what she thought of some recent changes to the paper she said she didn't actually READ the paper most of the time. At the time I bit down on my tongue and said calmly: "You should read the paper". Now I wish I could have just sent her this instead. Thanks McPhee for the heads up.

To the two dudes who pushed in front of me at the bar on Friday night,

So maybe you'd argue you didn't "push in front of me" but Come ON, when the person beside you at a bar was there first courtesy dictates that when the bar wench asks you what you want you gesture politely to the other person and say "s/he was here first".

So number one: fuck you. I hate people who do this.

Number two: don't you know what this kind of behaviour says to the world about what kind of person you are? Not only that you're rude and inconsiderate, although you are, but that you're greedy (really, you can't bear to wait the 2 minutes it would take for me to get a glass of wine?), impatient and have no self control.

Number three: if you're going to push in front of someone at a bar please don't try and MAKE CONVERSATION with them after you do it. That's just stupid.