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Monday, 28 June 2010


A real man is a woman's best friend.

He will never stand her up and never let her down. He will reassure her when she feels insecure and comfort her after a bad day.

He will inspire her to do things she never thought she could do; to live without fear and forget regret. He will enable her to express her deepest emotions and give in to her most intimate desires. He will make sure she always feels as though she's the most beautiful woman in the room and will enable her to be the most confident, sexy, seductive, and invincible.

No wait... sorry... I'm thinking of wine. Never mind.

Friday, 25 June 2010


When you have to visit a public toilet, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place. Once it's your turn, you check for feet under the cubicle doors. Every cubicle is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the cubicle. You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter, the wait has been so long you are about to wet your pants.

The dispenser for the modern 'seat covers' (invented by someone's Mum, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your bag on the door hook, if there was one, so you carefully, but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mum would turn over in her grave if you put it on the floor) with your pants and assume "The Stance".

In this position, your aging, toneless, thigh muscles begin to shake. You'd love to sit down, but having not taken time to wipe the seat or to lay toilet paper on it, you hold "The Stance".

To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser.

In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, "Dear, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have known there was no toilet paper." Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your bag (the bag around your neck, that now you have to hold up trying not to strangle yourself at the same time). That would have to do, so you crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It's still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes your door open because the latch doesn't work.
The door hits your bag, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest and you and your bag topple backward against the tank of the toilet.

"Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, while losing your footing altogether and sliding down directly onto the toilet seat. It is wet of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late.

Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because you never laid down toilet paper - not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try.

You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because you're certain her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, 'You just don't know what kind of diseases you could get.

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl and spraying a fine mist of water that covers your bum and runs down your legs and into your shoes.

The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force and you grab onto the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At this point, you give up. You're soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a sweet wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.
You can't figure out how to operate the taps with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting.

You are no longer able to smile politely to them. A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. (Where was that when you needed it?)

You yank the paper from your shoe, plonk it in the woman's hand and tell her warmly, "Here, you just might need this".

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and left the men's toilet. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long. And why is your bag hanging around your neck?"

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with any public toilets. It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers that other commonly asked question about why women go to the toilets in pairs. It's so the other girl can hold the door, hang onto your bag and hand you Kleenex under the door.

Sunday, 6 June 2010


I'm losing my mind. But that's ok. Because everything I need to know is on the internet.

Here's how I know. Take last Saturday. I woke up, I stripped the bed in readiness to wash the sheets.

I took the sheets to the laundry and on my way back, I saw the Saturday papers on the front driveway. It always delights me that someone has a good heart and a robust spirit to rise at midnight, wrap newspapers in clingfilm and drive around my suburb chucking them out a car window.

I'll get back to the laundry load, I think, just after I read the front page.

Walking back pick up the papers, I see that no one bothered to collect yesterday's mail. I open the letterbox and see the Ikea catalogue. I walk over to the outdoor setting and sit down to make plans for the Swedish-inspired minimalist lifestyle I aspire to.

As I open the catalogue, another letter falls out. It's from the gas company. I open it up, and notice that it is marked 'overdue'. Oh shit.

I get up from the outdoor table and head straight upstairs to the computer to log onto the internet to pay the gas bill. But when the internet starts up, it takes me straight to a news site and I start reading how three to four drinks a day can ruin your eyesight.

I panic and google optometrists in an attempt to make a booking for Monday to have my eyes checked. I wanted to write their number down and when looking for a pen, I noticed that there were two wine glasses on a book shelf in the hallway. How on earth did they end up on the book shelf, and not in the dishwasher?

I tried to remember what happened last night and then it struck me. I had been taking them to the kitchen, but had realised my bladder was doing an herculean effort to not burst its dam. So I dumped the glasses on the nearest flat surface and went to pee and then forgot about them.

Being a Virgo, I knew unequivocally they could not remain there and scooped them up and raced to the dishwasher. Which was clean, but full. So I started to unpack it.

Holding my favourite tea cup in my hand, I realised I hadn't made a cup of tea yet, so filled the kettle with fresh water and turned it on.

While waiting for it to boil, I looked out over the deck and noticed that the plants needed some water. I grabbed the watering can and began soaking the plants, admiring the blooming gardenias I had in matching tubs.

What a great idea, I suddenly thought - to cut a few and put them in shallow dishes around the house so the wonderful aroma that is characteristically gardenia would fill my home.

Back inside, I started looking for a pair of scissors when my cat swirls around my feet. Dear little thing, I think, patting her absently. She is probably looking for some food. I get her dry food from the top of the fridge, pick up her bowl, and notice it's still a bit dirty from her dinner the night before.

I head to the sink to give it a quick rinse when I notice steam rising out of the kettle and my longing for a cup of tea overtakes my desire to feed poor kitty cat.

I'm in the pantry getting out a tea bag when I notice the honey jar is sitting in a sticky puddle. I wet the dishcloth to clean up the mess before the ants do. Oh well, while I'm here, I may as well do a bit of tidying and rearranging of food items.

It is then that I discover a box of tea light candles that I hadn't been able to find. Oh goodie! I can replenish the candles I keep on the dining room table. I walk to the dining room and find the remote control sitting forlornly on its walnut table top.

Not even bothering to wonder how it got there, I pick it up and take it to the living room to return it to its rightful place. Mmm, may as well see what's on TV while I'm here, don't you think?

Foxtel is playing Bridget Jones's Diary. Even though I own the DVD for both BJD one and two plus the books, I sit down to watch our favourite single gal (it used to be Carrie Bradshaw but she up and married Big!) run the gauntlet.

Halfway through I remember that a single gal-pal of mine went out with her new bloke last night and give her a call to see how it went. We chat for a while and agree to meet up for a quick lunch to dissect details and analyse the text message he sent her this morning (it read: Hi baby, had a great time last night, looking forward to seeing you again x).

Did he call her baby because he couldn't remember her name? Or was he simply being affectionate? Did he only want to see her again because she didn't sleep with him or is he really into her? Is a single kiss enough or should he have put two or three?

Home from lunch, I think a nice lie down for an hour is on the cards.

I walk into my bedroom and stare blankly at a bare mattress.

Where the hell are my sheets???

And then it all comes back to me: the sheets are sitting in a messy pile on the floor next to the washing machine. I have a gas bill that is overdue and still unpaid. My cat is hungry. The Ikea catalogue is still outside on the table. The dishwasher needs to be unpacked.

And I have officially lost my mind.

Whatever makes me tick obviously needs winding. Sure, I can soar like an eagle, but I have a lot of trouble with the landing.

And I still haven't had a cup of tea.

Thursday, 3 June 2010


Anyone who reckons that kids say the darndest things hasn't had a conversation with my father.

You know that saying "dad jokes"? Those irritating, repetitive comments made by fathers globally that are marked by two distinct features. They are not funny and they become less funny the more they are repeated.

Here's an example. You give dad a bottle of wine for Christmas and he shakes it saying, "I know, I know! It's a book!"

He looks at the roast that mum has just pulled out of the oven, casts a glance at the kids, picks the serving plate up and says, "I'm not sure what you lot are eating for dinner, but here's mine."

My dad is one of those dads. He indisputably believes he is funny. He has this repertoire of jokes which he has been repeating with appalling regularity.

Take Christmas Day lunch. My mother painstakingly bakes this plum pudding then goes about shoving all manner of imperial coinage into its centre. The task being that as we eat, we chorus over who scored a shilling and who got a sixpence. (Go figure.)

Not so for dad. He's eating away, aware that nobody is paying him the slightest bit of notice, when he starts this phoney coughing routine. After a few good snorts and the satisfaction of having grabbed everyone's attention, he makes a big production of pulling money from his mouth - except it's a $20 note not a 20 pence coin that he's carefully hidden in his hand.

He brought new meaning to Norman Lindsay's "The Magic Pudding". The wrong meaning.

It is interesting to note that as higher denominations were introduced by the government, so dad introduced them to us at the Christmas table. When the $100 note hit mainstream currency, we knew we only had to wait till Christmas to see it

We've also been through Bankcard, Mastercard, Visa, Platinum Amex, Diners, Medicare, Qantas Club, Fly Buys and more recently, the Seniors Card, all apparently excavated from dad's pudding. Along the way was a DJs card, Myer card, Harvey Norman card - exactly how many credit cards does my father have?

Every time we go over a speed bump in the car he hollers "oh, there go my false teeth". Every time we drive past a cemetery he comments "people are dying to get in there".

Once we were driving down a street like quite normal people when he pulled up suddenly. "What's the matter dad?" I foolishly asked. "There's an ant crossing."

Dads are biological necessities but social accidents. They're always getting excited about something. When I moved into my first flat (yes, it was a flat, not a townhouse, not an apartment, not a unit - but I was poor) I did the right thing and had mum and dad over for dinner.

Excited or what! He rang me every morning for a week to tell me that he was bringing my favourite bottle of bubbles (tragically, at the age of 19 it was Asti Riccadonna, don't hate me). He rang every afternoon for a week to tell me mum was making a lasagne to bring (tragically, at the age of 19, I couldn't cook and mum had to supply the food, don't hate me).

It's only dinner dad, I would placate, not an audience with Oprah.

Dads are also very good at being protective of their daughters. Sons don't bother them so much.

At the tender age of 16, my brother did not come home for two nights following a win in his soccer grand final. Now, this is 1979 in the Pre-Mobile Phone Era. Was dad worried?

But when I went to my school dances, dad would unashamedly walk into the hall 15 minutes before finishing time and come looking for me. Once, I was doing something naughty like having a fag in the loo or pashing a boy under a table, and heard my dad's voice over the speaker, "Bronwyn, this is your father, come home with me now please."

I would rather have been at work and heard Osama bin Laden's voice on the PA system saying, "This is your building security manager speaking."

Dads have patience. In the swimming pool, my father would stand astride about two metres from the pool edge for seemingly hours, so his three children in military order could dive in and swim between his legs.

I tried it once with my daughter when she was about six. I grew bored by the third dive even though I was holding my wine, and had to get her father to relieve me. Of course, as he was a dad, he was fittingly capable of remaining in that position all afternoon or until our young princess grew weary - whichever came first.

In my defence, I brought him a beer and the cricket score.

They also have a touch of Captain Obvious. One time dad rang me when I was in my doctor's waiting room. After telling him where I was he replied "so are you waiting to see the doctor?" Or when I hand him a cup of tea he says "is that for me?"

"No dad, it's for the guy next door. He sells vacuum cleaners for a living, listens to AM and is completely hairless but I'm attracted to him.

"Of course it's bloody well for you! "

Save the earth. Not only is it the only planet with chocolate, it's the only planet with dads.

Love you dad xxx