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Tuesday, 30 October 2012


A night on my own. Doesn’t happen often in the Cook family. With no kids living at home to demand and distract, and with two jobs that operate fairly routinely out of Brisbane, as I said it doesn’t often happen.

So with my husband safely away for the night, it was a great chance to put in some extra time working and then skive off for dinner on my own.

I know a lot of people don’t feel comfortable with the idea of dining alone, whether it’s at Ecco or McDonalds.

I love it. I can order whatever I like and not have to share. I can order a third glass of wine and not get “that look”. And I can choose where I want to go with no arguments. “Ohhh I hate that place,” or “But didn’t we just go there last month?”

Tonight, it was a plate of the finest sashimi and the latest Woman’s Day for company.

And that was where I made my mistake.

Have any of you picked up one of these trashy rags lately? Not only is the writing incredibly dull, it is full of lies. Utter lies. Made up fabrications that would have got me the wooden spoon as a kid if I’d said a quarter of those things.

Here’s what I mean…

Katie Holmes is apparently in love. Apparently. I read the entire article and the bits I managed to stay awake for didn’t contain a verbatim quote from Katie raving on about her new boyfriend. It was, of course, from a source. Sauce more like it.

Zara Phillips is apparently pregnant. Apparently. There’s no picture of Zara holding up her pregnancy stick with the positive sign on show for all to see. There’s no picture of Zara booking her obstetrician’s appointment. There’s not even a sign of a baby in her stomach. She probably had a big lunch you dead beats.

How about one of you lot get your guts out when you’ve chowed down on Mexican and margaritas at midday. Then we can all start rumours that you’re up the duff too.

And apparently Kate is seething with impotent jealousy because Zara beat her to it. We don’t have a picture of Kate and Zara pulling each other’s hair and yelling, “You let go first bitch!” Like they did in Puberty Blues. We don’t have a picture of Kate standing over an empty cradle, delicate tears slipping silently over her heavy black eyeliner. But apparently she’s jealous.

Oh yes, and Meg and Russell are back together. Apparently. We all know now, with the benefit of hindsight, that she is his true love. According to “the source”.  Disregard please the fact that he married Danielle and fathered two kids over nine years. Disregard the fact that his kids might be reading Woman’s Day.

Apparently Meg was on the blower to Russell the minute she heard he was separated. Because of course she had kept his number all these years. And of course he hadn’t changed numbers. Even when she went a bit psycho when they broke up, he would have surely kept the same number even if it meant she was still sending him nasty texts.

Thanks Woman’s Day for dragging up that turn-of-the-century photo of Russ in his flanny and Meg in her daggies, with his fat hairy face smooching her short blonde hair.

Had Meg called him, it would have been on his Twitter page. Surely. And Meg would have recorded the conversation and sent it to Woman’s Day as verification. Of course.

Stop making shit up you lot. It makes for boring reading and it’s embarrassing for you. Because you’re very rarely right. Embarrassing because, if you could add it up, Jennifer Aniston would be the mother of five by now and married a year ago. After her divorce from Vince. Kate would have had two kids. Nicole and Keith would have broken up and got back together at least annually. Like Bec and Lleyton.

And that frightful little turd Justin Beiber would be in jail. For life.

That’s probably the only made-up story I’ve read that I wish was true.

Friday, 26 October 2012


Wouldn't it be great if retail therapy could be claimed on your private health insurance...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


In those halcyon days of Paul Keating’s recession we had to have, I discovered I was pregnant. It was circa November 1990 and my then husband and I were eating tinned beans boiled in veal bones so we could pay our 17% interest rate mortgage. We were so poor we would go to KFC just to lick other people’s fingers. We thought about renewing our vows for the rice. Christmas was coming up and the only thing we could afford to exchange was glances.

So sex was clearly our preferred form of entertainment.

And I got pregnant.

Then, one month before baby’s due date, husband loses his job. Two weeks after baby was born, I was retrenched.

Now back then, maternity leave, paid or otherwise, didn’t exist in my private sector job. Thankfully I had a boss with a progressive wife who insisted he let me use up all my sick leave and annual leave. But that was it. No job guarantee on a return to work. No option of part-time on said return. No support structure, understanding nods or free money in the bank.

Because there was no baby bonus.

My retrenchment payout was about seven weeks pay. I was earning $30,000 a year so you do the math. The husband’s payout was zilch. So we did what we had to do.

He reinvigorated his truck driving licence, conveniently attained during a short stint in the military, and got behind a large wheel of a large truck.

I waited for the caesarean scars to somewhat heal and got a temp receptionist job for – guess who – Kevin Rudd. Go figure… Kevin was an arsehole, the scars weren’t properly healed, my six week old baby was with a day care mum and I wanted to keep my house. And eat.

Had we had the baby bonus, would things have been different? I don’t know. I can’t know. The way I figured it, I had fallen pregnant. The government hadn’t captured me, Matrix style, and forced a foetus into my womb under threat of torture or Barry Manilow on repeat. It was my responsibility so I had to manage it. Not the government. Not the tax payers of Australia. Just me. And a little help from my mum.

Sometimes I daydream about what $5000 would have got me. A fancier pram? A groovier change table? Groceries? Petrol?

But with the baby bonus changes currently underway, is it going to affect Australia’s reproduction? Or will families just go back to what they always did, and just make do or make the best?

Because clearly we can’t be affording to have sex anymore!!