The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

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The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Instead of advertising this as the love story that makes Pride and Prejudice look as eloquent as an infomercial, they advertise it as something that’s just been made into a movie. Am I justified in putting on my literary snob hat?

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The Problem With Beautiful Women

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How do you make yourself unpopular in Melbourne? Being homophobic. Hating gays is as popular as Tony Abbot or chain coffee shops. I think this is great; homophobia is pathetic. But the situation causes difficulties for me, like what happened today.

Today I saw two girls  holding hands, being cute and coupley and saying the silly things lovers do like “Of course I want to go to your Auntie’s dog’s birthday party!” One of the girls was absolutely stunning. The sort of woman that would make Aphrodite want plastic surgery. I could not stop looking at her. I’m 100% straight, but my god was she beautiful.

Some women are like that. Some women are just so incredibly, jaw droppingly, orgasmically, Penelope-Cruz-covered-in-Marshmallow-y beautiful that you can’t not stare. She was one of those women. The women they put on perfume adverts to mesmerise you into forgetting that you’re buying 10ml of gnat’s piss for $300.

 You just can’t not look and look and look. It’s not in a creepy way; I’m not thinking about getting with her. I am just marvelling at the sheer magic of how such incredible beauty exists in such a frail bunch of carbon atoms. She’s art.

And as I was staring at her, I realised that her girlfriend had seen me staring. Her face darkened. The beautiful girl saw her partner’s face, looked around and scowled at me too. She put her arm over her girlfriend’s shoulders.

Oh crap, I recognised the look; it was the one Melbournians save for homophobes and immigration policy.

How did I explain?! I tried to put the fact that I wasn’t thinking homophobic thoughts, I was only thinking about how much she reminded me of the little dormouse in my illustrated Alice in Wonderland book, into my expression. I think I just looked inbred.

The girls rolled their eyes and moved away.

I sighed. I don’t think I could have done anything about it anyway. What would I say? “Hey sorry for staring at you, I’m staring at you because you’re stunning, not because you’re gay, which isn’t something to stare at, well people might stare, but probably only people from the country, but not here, oh you’re from the country….well, great. Ok, I’ll just go and sit in a corner until you forget I exist.” No. I don’t think so.

Ah well. They’ll just think I’m a narrow minded gay basher and I’ll just feel mildly uncomfortable. The world will move on. But it is the problem of beautiful women; you just can’t not look at them. They absorb your attention.

Boots of Shame: if I had a chance to go back…

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If I could go back and change time

When I was 16, I had an obsession with Alex Drake from Ashes to Ashes. She was just everything I wanted to be smart, sassy, sexy …She got to flirt with Gene Hunt and travel in time. Damn. Cool.

 Now because I was 16, I decided that the best way to become said sassy, scintialting woman would be to buy the cowboy boots she wore. Perhaps they would lend my awkward, acne prone and average person some sparkle. Then my neighbourhood crush, who I had obsessed over for three years, two months and 3 days, would finally notice me.

So I asked for them for my birthday. We were on holiday in England, and my Dad and Mum drove around for hours and hours trying to find boots. Hours of internet trawling, pavement crawling, random stranger harassing, and phone calling later, we found a shop.

The boots were beautiful, they were shiny and studded and would have given a hippo a sexy swagger. My parents bought them for me, and I was so happy that I hugged the box all the way back to New Zealand.

The day came. I was going around to my crush’s house for a swimming party. I wore the boots, and I knew this was it.

As I walked in, he came up to me and said “You wear cowboy boots? They’re so tacky.”

I spent that party in the corner cursing my parents, Alex Drake and my stupid, tacky boots. I put them in the cupboard and never wore them again. Every time my Dad asked why I didn’t wear them I made up some excuse. They made my feet hurt…they were broken…they just didn’t go.

It took some years for me to realise that the guy, his opinions, and his attention weren’t worth it. And that I absolutely loved my boots. By this time I was a bit older, and no matter how hard I squashed my feet in, my boots just didn’t fit any more.

My parents still mention them occasionally, and I still don’t know what to say.

This is what I would do over. If I could go back and tell myself that they are brilliant boots. Not just because they look hot. Not  just because they suit me. But because they are bought by parents who love me enough to drive all over the country for me. And who have never shouted at me for not wearing them.

I’d also tell her don’t just change because  a guy thinks you should. Your own style is powerful and beautiful – because it’s yours. 

We’re not tourists, darling, we’re not like them…

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Today I read a fantastic blog about Jane Austen and reputation. It sparked off a tangent in my head. I started thinking about women whom Austen would describe as being of independent means, with a tolerable mind, but nonetheless victims of the craving for romance and excitement. How would they look today? Like me, really. This is the post they inspired.

We’re Not Tourists, Darling, We’re Not Like Them….

A tourist never identifies with the label ‘tourist.’

In our minds, we’re a local. Well if we’re not quite locals, we’re at least Experienced Travellers. We know the real country. We’re not one of those tourists. Not one of the burned and blubbery masses, drinking imported beer on the beach.

To convince ourselves we hear the real beating heart of the country, we experiment with ways of being local.  I discovered the funniest manifestation of this: the Sri Lankan beach boy/rich white women coupling.

White, pretentious young things like me always want to get with foreign guys when we travel. It makes us feel like we’re really experiencing local culture. Plus it’s exotic! Refreshing! Culturally sensitive!

We probably shouldn’t do it. But we do. And it’s hilarious to watch.

I’m in a beach town at the moment. It’s a place full of white women in ethnic prints, and mandatory French fries with every meal. I like it though. It’s an urban safari where my Sri Lankan friends point out the beach boy phenomenon.

The beach boy is a manifestation of the ‘getting local’ game.

Sri Lankan friends explained its’ a running Lankan joke about foreigners. What happens is that women of independent means, as Austen would say, come on holiday here. To continue ‘getting local’ game, they hook up with beach combing Sri Lankan guys.

The girls think they’re getting with a Real Local…But, as my friend put it real locals don’t live in places that advertise 10 gelato flavours.

The guys get women with cash, libido and interest in them. I can see why they’d do it.

Admittedly this is a jokey stereotype, and I’m sure a number of these couplings are true love. But today I’ve seen three 50 ish spherical white women making out with a gorgeous Sri Lankan twenty somethings.

Some sly voice in my head, that sounds uncannily like my Dad, says she’s there for the exoticism, he’s in it for the Mastercard.

Now I don’t care who hooks up with who. But it’s funny the extremes we white girls go to.

We buy apparently Sri Lankan things, which we show to our non Sri Lankan friends, as proof that we have experienced the real Sri Lanka. (Can I just ask how many actual Lankans you see wearing anklets and elephant print purple harem pants?)

The local guy is the next thing we collect as proof that we’ve done Sri Lanka, man.

And watching myself, and people like me, with  our silly games and exotic fantasies is hilarious. No wonder Sri Lankans are so happy and friendly; they’re laughing at the comedy of White Woman on Exotic Holiday. 

Marmite Mothers

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Marmite Mothers

I’m at that stage when I’m Proving I’m Independent. I hope those superfluous capitals convey how irritating I know the stage is for my family.

But today I realised how un-independent I am; all because of a bag of crumpets. I was standing at the bread bin, proudly ingesting those carbs. (After 5pm! #rebel!) I was busy heaping on the marmite and thinking how independent I was becoming (reheating for myself!) Then I realised that my Mum did exactly the same thing.

And she did it because her mum, my Granny, had done it too.

All of us had leaned against the bench, crossed our arms, chewed noisily, and smacked our lips at the yeasty sting. I was a mash up of all the marmite mothers from before me. I was just a conduit waiting to pass on the sticky blackness.

But the Marmite contained more than 40% of RDI for Vitamin B. It had in it all the things I got from my Mum. Stubbornness.  Determination. A fondness for righteous anger and incomplete sentences. Just as I got them from Mum, Mum had got them from Granny.

Today my Granny is going to be immersed in another blackness with similar powers of division. It is her funeral. But today I realised that you’re not really leaving Granny. You remain in my Mum, and in me.

Today is your funeral Granny. And today I shall eat Marmite crumpets.