Beyond the picket fence

not quite as it seems…



Attached to the cosmetic drip

Lipstick is really magical. It holds more than a waxy bit of colour – it holds the promise of a brilliant smile, a brilliant day, both literally and figuratively.’

Roberta Gately, Lipstick in Afghanistan

As the presenter called my name, I inhaled a long, deep breath, attempting to exhale the taunts that I could now expect from my siblings. Unbeknownst to my family and with the urging of peers, I had entered the Bayside Beauty Pageant. I sauntered across the stage, a barely thirteen-year-old endeavoring to hide her terror by emulating the poise of a princess: Diana to be exact. Wearing a shiny fuchsia grin plastered from ear-to-ear and a smudge of coral shimmer on my cheeks, I twirled before I joined the other contestants to wait for the winner’s presentation.

When my name was announced in the final three, it seemed that my participation in the pageant would no longer remain a secret. With that sash and tiara, I had just learned of the social advantage that beauty could offer, and how makeup could only increase my position. Continue reading “Attached to the cosmetic drip”

Culinary Catastrophe

When asked by my Japanese hosts what I liked to eat, being an ignorant and over-confident twenty-year-old, I replied: Everything. At home in Australia, perhaps the most avant-garde dish I would face after answering as such, would be tripe, trotters or tongue, but I was seated in a small eatery in Tokyo, and I was the only gaigin among its local customers. Continue reading “Culinary Catastrophe”

High Five!

A colleague recently suggested that you are a reflection of the five people that you spend the most time with. My first thought was to be alarmed and run. Continue reading “High Five!”

There is an I in Team!


“And your major assessment will be a group assignment.” My tutor announced. I looked around in horror, this was the first tutorial for the semester and she was asking us to choose a group. Now if I was twenty this would be easy, I would be hanging at the back of the room, feasting on Facebook, oblivious that there was an assignment. Fast forward twenty years and there I was in the front row with my hand up.

My group was formed by geography, basically who sat where. Seated in the front row, were we the outliers of the class? Continue reading “There is an I in Team!”

Not such a dummy

2tmanYesterday a friend and I caught up for a well overdue lunch. She’s been divorced from her husband for a few years and it’s always fun listening to her recount some amusing tales of trial and tribulation on the dating scene. Licking fresh wounds, from yet another soured relationship, she confessed that she has been sharing her bed with a new companion. Continue reading “Not such a dummy”

Of groups, games and shame


I am standing in a borrowed sports uniform and tatty Dunlop Volleys on the white line of the harshly lit gymnasium. The two jocks of the grade were asked to captain and choose a team for dodgeball. For a fifteen-year-old girl who was known at the time to be athletically inept* – largely due to my absences during sport – this was a moment filled with fear and dread. For the un-athletic amongst us this would be a test of our strength of character. Continue reading “Of groups, games and shame”

‘She paraded me in panties’



‘Let me show you where it you can find it…’ my fellow student pulled my computer towards her and tapped the words ‘happy ending’ into my search engine.

The drop-down menu from my previous searches popped up, it included some rather embarrassing websites. Continue reading “‘She paraded me in panties’”

Brace Face

‘Can I talk to you about something?’ my mother-in-law’s voice dropped to a raspy whisper, ‘It’s quite personal.’ She beckoned me to her side.

‘Sure,’ I said, thinking that this could be our breakthrough, our chance to finally connect. What was she was about disclose about herself?

‘Have you ever considered fixing your teeth?’ Continue reading “Brace Face”

Surrendering the Spanx

Even Beyonce needs a little support
Sometimes even Beyoncé needs a little support

I am jumping on the bandwagon and joining millions with their resolutions to cleanse themselves. Although the purging will not be last night’s chocolates and champagne; rather, the box of support-wear hidden in my wardrobe allowing me to wear the purchases I made in a size too small. I am ready to be free from the middle-ages torture of corsetry (aka Spanx) and be comfortable in my clothing. Continue reading “Surrendering the Spanx”

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