Monday 23 July 2012

Clothes make the Man, but frailty thy name is Woman

Mark Twain is attributed with “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” We judge a lot about people by the way they dress and their ‘style’. We can often tell where people live by the way they dress, the stories of modern day tribes are true. With that information at first glance, we often then throw in a great deal of judgement for good measure.
We have some friends from university days who live literally 5km away in the next suburb, but the growing gulf between us is widening daily. We are definitely inner city, a very eclectic mix of people of all different races and backgrounds and all different styles of dress. Our friends down the road are fast becoming very conservative, middle class suburbanites. The force of keeping up with the Jones’s is strong in this one.
One day at lunch, I mentioned our recent trip to Melbourne on Tiger and the wife exclaimed “Tiger? I don’t know how you can fly with them. The people!!” at which point she screwed up her face. I had to point out that we were those “people” – people with three children that still wanted to have weekends away interstate, but needed the cheapest airfares possible for the ONE HOUR flight. I’m not sure which carrier they fly with, as I’ve not noticed a ‘better class’ of passenger on any plane, economy here and economy there are very much the same. I was a little taken aback at the snobbish attitude, but more so by the fact she didn’t actually think there was anything wrong with expressing it.
We ventured off to the Roller Derby together, which I adore not just for the sport but the subculture and anything goes attire of both the skaters and the audience. In my mind very cool – but the first thing the husband said was “There are a lot of weird people here” and they left soon after.  We all laughed as it was basically our neighbourhood, relocated to another venue. The gulf, I realised then, was quite a chasm. Five kilometres requiring a mental passport.
The very wonderful M. T. Anderson wrote in his giggle inducing children’s book, Whales on Stilts,  “Lily looked at her two friends. She felt proud to be with them – especially Jasper because he wasn’t afraid to dress stupidly in public. Lily never wanted to have the kind of friends who refused to eat fries in a sparkly brown jumpsuit.” I always saw myself as a kind of Lily, as I love those who dress against the norm, follow my own style and think of myself as easy going but I had a wake up call coming and learnt that my tribe is equally judgmental.
I went to look at a private school, and was one of three women not wearing the unspoken uniform of chinos and a crisp white shirt at the Open Day. I smirked to myself at how ridiculous they all looked, rolled my eyes when one of the students said to his friend as I walked in “You can tell she lives around here” and basically felt far superior to these pathetic sheep. The only people that spoke to me were the other two colourful dressers…we automatically ruled all those other women out. Was it fair? No. Was it snobbish and judgmental? Definitely. Was it something Lily would be proud of? I think not.
We are quick to judge those different from ourselves, and yet we don’t get to know them before we judge, we take one look and assess. More importantly, the snobbish, superficial judgement runs both ways. We spend a lot of time teaching our children values and ideals that we don’t follow ourselves. We travel the globe to open ourselves to new ideas and cultures, but we don’t open our mind to the tribe down the street. If I really want to be like Lily, I have to see beyond the sparkly brown jumpsuit, I need to remember that it’s only what’s on the outside…As Alexander Theroux said “Hypocrisy is the essence of snobbery, but all snobbery is about the problem of belonging".

Thursday 12 July 2012


There is a quote by Ursula K. Le Guin that has set me thinking. “I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.” 

This week I’ve been taking great delight in watching the deep, rich imaginative play of my three year old. Yesterday she tied up her toy ‘Wild Thing’ so that he couldn’t eat Curious George. She’s taken to running a bustling cafe for invisible guests and for some reason is always carrying a pistol of sorts (water or spud gun) in her Hello Kitty purse. Occasionally I catch my seven year old in a conversation with someone from his secretive inner life…but my eldest is now firmly grounded in the real world. What causes this change? Where does that vivid imagination go?

For most adults, this imaginative life is crushed out of us with each added responsibility, unless of course, they are lucky enough to make a living in the arts. Why do we banish it? We use negative expressions for those that display this aspect, even in older children – head in the clouds, living in fairyland, he’s a daydreamer and so on. How does something so delightful suddenly become an unwanted behaviour? We only seem to celebrate it if there’s a school mark that makes it okay.

We adults make token seasonal gestures with our children – Santa, the Tooth fairy and the Easter bunny but we have some sort of expiration date on these mythical figures, and we’re quick to dispel them once the child reaches a certain age.

A few years ago I decided I didn’t laugh enough, and went on a manic pursuit of comedians, to get that ‘sore cheeks from grinning’, belly aching laughter that doesn’t seem to come naturally anymore. A year later I decided I didn’t have enough fun – we had lots of enjoyable afternoons and evenings but not that endorphin releasing joy. So off we went to theme parks, water slides and obstacle courses…Now I’ve decided I want that happiness my three year old displays when submerged in her imagination. But how do I do this? I’m at a total loss.

I want the world to have magic to revel in and I want a way to disguise the dull routine of daily life, somehow dressing it up with an instantaneous dinner in Paris or a lavishness that isn’t really there. I want to be able to go back down the rabbit hole and explore the wonders but it seems a little more difficult as those doors are all shut and I no longer have the key.

I guess with age, I’m more like the tied up Wild Thing than the curious little monkey – if truth be told, I’m the tired old woman who just sees a mess of toys and string to be tidied up. Sadly, I guess that could be the new definition of an eggplant.

Do you ever miss the magic and imagination that is crushed out in adulthood?

Linking this old post for #TellUsAbout.Imagination. It was the 6th post I ever wrote but it's still true....

Monday 9 July 2012

More Things I don’t get cos I’m old….

By Lydia C Lee

Not saying they’re bad, but as I’ve aged, there are more things in the world I simply don’t understand…here’s the next 25…

  1. Why are my twitter followers porno people when I don't write anything dirty and I'm female (tho I'm        grateful for any followers - thanks!)
  2. The parents of the people on the Jersey Shore - especially the skanky one night stand people. Not judgement on one night stands per say, but do you really want the world to see it and for it to be with the Situation?
  3. Swimming in fountains. It's not la dolce vita, it's drunk people's wee...
  4. Why my 8 yr old keeps wearing his school shorts even tho it's the holidays?
  5. That people would be more excited by Delta than by Bruce Willis?
  6. That a sex tape promotes your career, and you aren’t a porn star.
  7. That women still bang on about how they had their children, like they deserve a prize (or it’s a topic of interest to anyone but themselves, and their child is 5) – Now that makes me old AND unpopular.
  8. Why you don’t delete every sex tape you’ve made the minute you become famous – the very second you sign your first contract. And then definitely refuse to make more. 
  9. Why do male celebrities never have their sex tapes leaked?
  10. Why isn’t M T Anderson more famous than E L James?
  11. Baby showers – a party for a person who hasn’t arrived yet.
  12. Orange tans and trout pouts. Do they really think they look better than they did before? Do they look better than they did before??????
  13. Why does Beck Weathers laser eye reversal over rules all my friends success stories. I know I would look better without glasses but at the mere mention of laser eye surgery, I just think of Beck up the mountain, crawling around with no sight…it goes horribly wrong, people!
  14. Waiting in a queue for three and a half hours to get your photo taken with, well anyone - or for anything really...
  15. Twitter – still no closer to working that one out.
  16. How is Playing it Straight a show? Who would sign up to be on that? Seems an offensive recipe for humiliation to me.
  17. Why do Zombie movies work, generally speaking, and Vampire movies get schlocky?
  18. How are all these mummybloggers getting new blogs out daily during the holidays? I can’t get to the computer, let alone think of anything interesting to write??!! (that’s not cos I’m old, I don’t want to admit what that’s a reflection of – denial, denial)
  19. Why it never seems to grow tired for siblings to annoy each other on purpose. Sure as hell has grown old for me!!!
  20. Spending $80 on a scented candle. It's a candle. Tho probably soon to be cheaper than electricity...
  21. Married couples that say I love you publically on FB.
  22. Infact most FB behaviour is bizarre (including my own).
  23. If it’s meant to be social media, why are all these companies and advertising and social media consultants taking it over – not that social really…
  24. When did mornings become so difficult? I know I used to spring out of bed a long time ago - now I stumble to coffee matter what time I get up.
  25. Twitter – have I mentioned lately that I still don’t get twitter? And I don’t know what DM means and I can’t use #....

Monday 2 July 2012

Things I Don’t Get Cos I’m Old…

By Lydia C. Lee

When I was younger I was on board with pretty much everything – now I look around and there seems to be more and more things that I don’t understand. I’m not necessarily saying they’re bad things, I just don’t get why you’d bother with the effort involved given the pay off. Or I just don’t get that you’d think it looks good or that you’d be interested. I put this down to the fact that I must have hit that age, when I no longer ‘get’ the young people…(you young people and your loud music!). I never thought I’d be that old person, but evidently, I am. So here is the first 25 of a never ending list of things I don’t get because I’m old….

1. The Sims – watching pretend people watch TV
2. Early Teen girls wearing the same dresses (when in 4 years this will be a major social fail)
3. Twilight – ‘nuff said.
4. Midriff tops on people who should know better
5. Cut offs where the pockets hang below the end of the shorts
6. Jeans worn below the butt…Boxers aren’t meant to be seen people! Pull your pants up. It looks    stupid. That includes you, Kanye.
7. Twitter.
8. Masterchef/Idol/AGT/The Voice and all of the rest of them
9. People that don’t respond to private messages on Facebook – if it’s not on public display, they aren’t interested.
10. Couples that dress the same.
11. Families that all wear white, like they’re in a Ralph Lauren ad
12. Nits – what’s the point? What part of the life cycle are they? Does anyone eat them?
13. Face Piercings – not because I think they look bad, I just think they look like they’d hurt. And I get a little nervous with the eyebrow one if the person’s using chopsticks…
14. People that can read Harry Potter over and over – finish book 8 and go back to book 1 straight away.
15. Women who join bookclubs but don't actually want to talk about books (or even read the books).
16. Why is it Zed in MIB and Pulp Fiction, not Zee?
17. People ‘liking’ bad comments on Facebook. Are you even reading that something terrible has just happened to me? Or do you hate me?
18. Paying  $1000 for a plain white tshirt from a French designer fashion house – with no logos.
19. Paying $110 denim skirts for 12 year olds from a designer,  that look like they have marginally more material that a belt.
20. Talking to your phone to ask it a question. Is it really that hard?????
21. The need to pile soft toys on the back window of your car. Is that for your rear view or the people behind you? Or does it hide your stash?
22. The need to change who you are in every event of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic games…
23. How much mess a kid can make in one day – and why? WHY?!
24. That you can be born in 1983 and have a real job.
25. Twitter. I know I’ve said that but having spent a week on it, I’m none the wiser.

I wrote this a year ago, so I can say my view on Twitter has improved, and I get it a lot more than I did. Does that mean I'm getting younger??  Do you have things you don't 'get' due to advanced aged related issues?

Linking up with others at The Lounge.