Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
How relieved and heartened I was, then, to read the latest issue of Frankie. Inside are profiles of four married couples in their twenties who have their own differing views of marriage, what it means to them and how they define it. Reinforcement that I should continue to view my own choice to get married in my own terms, rather than letting my Stepford fears override, or to pay too much attention to what that societal norm means to anyone else.
I continue to find it pretty amusing that what most of the girls I went to my all-girl Catholic high school with see as the be all and end all of life I still have some sort of embarrassment over. Eeven more than having children, I swear they all define worth as finding a man who will get down on one knee and offer to give you one day of glory in a giant white dress in exchange for a life of Sunday roasts.
I don't want to be validated in their eyes, I don't want them to see me as one of them, I don't want to reinforce their ideas of tradition. Perhaps it is that the feminist in me struggles to watch other women accept the ideas drummed into them about gender stereotypes without really taking the time to decide if they are really comfortable with those roles. Maybe I don't want other people to think that I'm comfortable with more old fashioned ideas of marriage, which I consider as a kind of prison for both men and women.
It's hard to say yes, I'm married... but it's not what you think. My marriage means something that few of the girls I grew up with would connect to. It's also not what my more progressive friends see marriage as, in many aspects. I wonder how you can explain that... or maybe I should just stop being so damn paranoid and get on with living instead of worrying how other people see how I'm living. If only it were that easy to step outside yourself!
Monday, February 18, 2008
Yesterday I managed to get to the NGA and wander around some beautiful artwork. There was plenty of my favourite photographers; Max Dupain and Bill Henson. There were a few works I'd never managed to see in the flesh before, but mostly it was a bunch of stuff that I'm not really that into. Which is fine, because to adapt a line from everyone's favourite movie, Threesome, a gallery is like pizza, even when it's bad it's still pretty good. Only they said sex. Which I disagreed with. But the gallery version seems pretty apt to me.
There's always one work that you really love when you go to a new gallery, and I fell in love with this one. It's a sculpture by Ron Mueck, and is astounding in the flesh. Of course this picture does it little to no justice. The scale is part of what makes it so impressive; it's sort of half as big again compared to a normal scale person. It has this way of looming, but not in an oppressive way, and certainly not intimidating. The most impressive part is the detail to skin, vein, mole, arch of toes, redness of pressure points, folds of tiny delicate skin.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
- I'm married. You're talking to a married person. While complaining about 'all married couples'
- This isn't a tirade about the state of marriage itself, your sibling's relationship in particular or even marriage as it may or may not play a part in your life
- You chose to express your distaste for married people to your married friend...
Am I supposed to politely pretend that I'm not one of the people you're talking about? Further, am I not supposed to be taking the sweeping generalisations you're making personally? This isn't the first time I've come face to face with this issue. I have a few single friends who seem to feel this married vs. unmarried divide acutely. I'm not really too bothered by it, more miffed that I don't remember ever feeling as acerbic about the issue prior to being married or when I was single.
I do really understand people who have an issue with the institution of marriage. Without going into the whole justification though, it was a choice I (we) made, that we wanted to be married. I completely understand people who don't want that, and I support them, whatever their reason. I have plenty of queer friends (no really, some of my best friends are teh homo-sexualisis) and one of my rawest, most horrible moments was being unable to find a celebrant who would leave out the "marriage of a woman and a man to the exclusion of all others" in our wedding ceremony. I cringed when that was said out aloud, and I don't care that it's a legal issue, it's horrible. I also get the idea that some people don't need formal ceremonies to validate their relationships, or that they think the cost/effort/idea just aren't worth it.
What I don't really understand is why my single friends are so comfortable showing such resentment for ALL married people. I didn't realise I was joining the dark side when Tim and I made a personal decision about our relationship. I know I didn't take my marriage certificate as license to start telling all my single friends that they really ought to find a man/woman and settle down, or ask them when they would start having children, or try to set them up on blind dates, or tell them about my wedded bliss.
I get that some people are pushy and offensive with their relationships. A friend of a friend (no really) started referring to her newly-wed husband as "my husband" to everyone at any moment. The friend I know said-person through was telling me how annoying she found it, given she had known the 'husband' for even longer than the couple had known each other... why exactly did he lose his name? Others have not-very-nice stories of not being invited to 'couple' dinners, suddenly never seeing their friends alone again or being subjected to slide nights of weddings, honeymoons and any other 'couple' activities that include multiple shots of smiling couples in range of poses.
But honestly, I just don't see myself as one of those people. Am I blind? Is it just the fact that I have a partner that makes me offensive to these friends? I knew when we got married that plenty of people saw it as a bit naff, or uncool. To be honest, part of me feels like it is a bit naff and uncool. One of my greatest fears is that my choices to marry (and the fact that I want kids) automatically makes me a heathen suburban drone. But I get my own meaning out of my choices, my own reasons are in play. I keep myself sane by believing that if I stay clear of Country Road and all will be fine. It remains to be seen if this is true. What remains true is that I don't even think of my friends as single or coupled. I don't consider if friends are married when I make dinner invitations, or try to catch up with them for a drink, or arrange to see a show. Is that just because I'm the one in a relationship?
And really, what I most want to know, is how am I supposed to behave about it with my single friends? I would never make judgements or assumptions about them based on their relationship status, and I don't insult them by telling them (or anyone else) that they are clearly lonely/desperate/in need of a shag/going to die miserable or any other horrible thing. Some of these friends, however, do feel free to tell me all married people are boring/not their former selves/destined to die in suburbia/the great undead. And that's fine. So how am I supposed to react? Do I let them convince me that my fears about the institution of marriage and what it does to people is a foregone conclusion for me, or do I interpret your having this conversation about horror-married-couples as a positive sign that it doesn't apply to me?
I'm not searching for puff responses here, I'm really wondering about the difference in perception...
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
It's strange to think how much meaning this has for so many people, and bewildering to consider that it hasn't happened already. It was, in my personal opinion, a pretty satisfying apology. There were a few moments of 'did you really have to throw that in there', but other than that, it was actually better than I expected.
The real 'star' of today, though, has to be Brendan Nelson. Seriously, is that man just pure evil? Not only did he continue to rewind previous statements and proclaim that he offered his 'strong' support for the apology (really? I recall those very public interviews where you informed us earlier this month that you could not, in good conscience, support such an apology). Why are the liberals standing, refusing to acknowledge that they could have been possible for this monumental mark in time at any point of their choice? Much the same as their 'support' for the welcome to country, where Nelson said he was glad it had been done and would support it for future parliaments, it made me wonder where the collective Liberal Party brains have gone. Who are they kidding? A welcome to country isn't some kind of new-fangled idea or technology. It's a respectful ceremony which occurs all over the country for many, many public and private events. The Liberals could have had it any stage. They've only been back in session for a few days and already the Coalition are already playing 'great idea, we'll do that too!' I'm sorry, how many years did you have to do it before this lot arrived????
His shining beginning was only bettered by the awful, horrible, offensive drivel that followed. A positive start with the 'support' of the apology, but then an out and out 'no reparations' appeal, followed by a speech about the history of Australia which essentially highlighted that the early days of settlement were 'hard for us all' but we all 'overcame adversity'. I don't remember the part where Indigenous Australia collectively rushed to the shores to greet the fleet begging for saving from this harsh land of theirs. The most offensive thing I heard from his mouth was that the stolen generation don't all want to be apologised to, many were removed for good reason and oh yeah, by the way, they were often in a state of 'existential crisis'. At that, most of the people in the hall where I was listening physically recoiled. Shortly after, almost every person turned their back to the screen and began clapping to drown out the sounds of Nelson's continuing speech. I'm glad to say I was saved from any more offensive words he might have uttered.
Coming down the news wires now are the reports from all over Australia of similar reactions. In Perth, where over 1,000 people gathered at 6.45am to watch on a screen in the city, backs were turned to Nelson and people chanted 'get him off' until the feed was cut. An official spoke to say he regretted that Nelson had 'missed the mark'. In Melbourne, there were cries of 'shame' with backs turned, also. It's a shame to think such a positive moment in our cultural history has already been overshadowed by the has-been political agenda. I hope it's just that feeling as it's fresh and happening, and that really, by the time it hits the history books all we'll have is Rudd's speech. I hope we can all forget the stinging slap of Nelson just when we got some relief from the old guard agenda.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Having given up caffeine (with much regret), I decided to stop ordering skinny milk as I was too embarrassed to ask for both skinny and decaf. The skinny was never in order to avoid any calories, it was just a way to be able to drink more coffees in a day without the milk making me feel sick... but if I tried to explain that, plus my it's-not-that-I-want-to-give-up-caffeine-it's-just-I-have-a-sleeping-disorder routine it would be too hard to order coffee altogether. And no, I can't just stop explaining myself to every underpaid barista in Australia, it's part of my Catholic Guilt Complex, which rears its head every time you have to ask for anything from anyone, even if you're paying for the pleasure.
So here I am, with my preference for decaf and skinny milk making it impossible to order what I really want when I develop a new addiction. Iced coffee. Only yet again, it can't be simple. But this time, I claim it's not my fault. I just want cold coffee. That's it, coffee, ice, milk. Only that doesn't exist. You have to have iced coffee as a dessert. It MUST come with ice-cream and/or cream. Do you know how people look at you when you ask for an iced coffee with no cream or ice-cream? Like you're crazy, that's how. And then they tell you "we don't serve it with ice-cream" or "we don't serve it with cream". Really? Well don't give me your attitude because nowhere on the menu does it tell me what you DO serve it with, and it's always one or the other. Can you just accept my request not to put anything other than coffee, milk and ice?
So now my ideal order is a decaf skinny iced coffee with no cream or ice-cream. Am I mad, or does that sound like the wankiest thing to order? The most I can bring myself to specify is a decaf iced coffee. And you know what? I still get crap for it, and half the time it still comes with real coffee, which keeps me up half the night.