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Monthly Archives: June 2010

The more things change…

The more they change (actually it’s the more they stay the same but that doesn’t exactly fit so I’ll have to change the cliche). Anyway I’ve been roundly beaten in the Great Cosmetic Enhancements Debate by my sweetipie, who can get very Oxford-debating-team-crossed-with-Winston-Churchill at times (and very attractive the whole Commander in Chief thing is, though a little scary at times).

Summed up, his argument goes like this.  A hundred years ago people wore whalebone corsets.  Now they don’t.  Fifty years ago people clung to black and white tvs.  Ditto.  So NOW the people who can afford it get their wrinkles ironed out and their boobs pumped up.  In another fifty years that’ll be a big yawn too.  Seems pretty unanswerable to me.  Still I kind of liked my black and white tv (which we had when I was a kid – I watched War and Peace on it and it was great!).  At one level youth is kind of boring.  I used to be boring when I was young, actually – now slightly less (not much).

On a completely different subject, how many of us would like to give Kevin a big group hug and cuddle?  When he was having a cry the other day after having been made redundant from the Prime Ministership, I really wanted to put my arms around him and say ‘never mind’ and shield him from the nasty world.  So did his wife and kids, to judge by the pats and back rubs.

On the other hand I think Julia will do a better job.  But Ive been wrong before (just about all the time actually) so guess I’ll probably be wrong about this too.

AND – I may be offered a VR. Not because I’m useless (even though I actually haven’t done any work for years) but because they want to get rid of people and I put my hand up.  Hoping hoping hoping…all the things I could do if I only had TIME! and now, just maybe, I will!!!

what is wrong with botox?

My sweetipie is worried about his wrinkles.  For the record he doesn’t have many wrinkles, just some lines around his mouth and on his forehead, and that’s about it really.  It’s pretty annoying really (to me), he should have more! but to him, they’re a scary sign of ageing to someone who should remain forever young. Anyway I told him I didn’t want to get into an arms race with him about wrinkle treatments – he has Botox, so I have to have Botox, so he has injections, so then I do, then he has dermabrasion, then I do..until we both look like one of those weird Hollywood granmas who are 90 going on 26.  ANd he says, what’s wrong with Botox, people complained about doing up your teeth fifty years ago, and now EVERYONE has their teeth done (at least they go the the dentist and have cleaning and root canals and crowns and so on).  And EVERYONE wears sunscreen – twenty years ago it would have been sissy.

So, well what IS wrong with Botox?  I don’t really want to have any of that.  For a start, it’s really expensive, so you can choose between either, having a life (movies, dinner, theatre, or maybe just food and clothes) or looking ‘young’.  And then, it sometimes goes wrong, so you end up looking like you’ve got in a bitch fight down at the local bogan club.  And THEN, if it goes RIGHT, you might end up looking like Nicole Kidman.  She’s quite good looking, but more than a bit plastic.  The girl at the place where I go to have my moustache taken off (yeah, so!) has all the offerings of the beauty clinic – I guess she’s in her late thirties or maybe forties but her face is strangely plumped out – it’s like when every wrinkle gets filled, and filled again, you end up with slightly too much face, it’s not like it can be sanded back or something.  And then, there’s the sagging.  You get to your forties and I guess your face starts going south a bit, and there’s nothing fillers can do about it – except backfill.

It’s a bit like trying to fix the Great Wall of China.  You notice some bricks are coming loose on one bit so you fix it up, but a hundred miles down the wall, another bit’s just crumbled off so you rush down there and..Or no, more like facelifting your house.  You buy a new couch and then the coffee table looks crappy by comparison – so you buy a new coffee table only to notice the worn carpet…so you re-carpet but then the old curtains look all wrong…  Anyway I dye my hair, every eight weeks or so, and that’s about it.

But suppose you could keep yourself looking about 25 until you’re ninety? If you could, would you? Say you just popped a pill, or spliced a gene, or something pretty harmless with no side effects.  Personally I don’t so far dislike my lines and all that kind of thing, not really.  But then maybe that’s because ageing has hit me pretty mildly so far, eg I don’t yet have a turkey neck or a collapsed chin or great big bags under my eyes.  Perhaps it’s about the integrity of ‘signals’.  For instance, if you’re angry or sad or whatever, you mostly want to FEEL those things – if you could immunise yourself against feelings, you wouldn’t, because they’re a signal that something needs attention.  You need to change something, or blow your top, release adrenalin, cry, whatever.  Also you need to SHOW those feelings – because if you didn’t, other people wouldn’t have any clues to how you were feeling, and then they couldn’t react appropriately (get the hell out of there, give you a hug, tell you to get a grip, whatever).  So if you’re ageing, you need to show that you’re ageing, otherwise you and other people won’t be able to react to those signals – this is an eighty year old,l so don’t shove them down the stairs, give the seat on the bus, remember they still like Bing Crosby.  Even if you can fix your face, all your emotions and intellectual capacity and physical capacity and attitudes and experience and knowledge are those of a person of whatever age you are, and you and other people need to take account of that.  Otherwise, there’s a disconnect, similar to the carpet-curtains problem but deeper.  N’est pas?

Sinning and how it’s not (much) fun..

Last night an ‘old flame’ (well sort of, more of an old flicker really) came round to discuss business (writing business that is, yes really) and got carried away reclining by my very nice wood fire.  He started off with the hands (always a good start, I’m sure many guys have found – at least so I’ve noticed) then progressed onto the hair, and by slow stages, got to the kiss, the grope, and the indecent suggestion (pretty indecent, since my daughter was downstairs playing her Ipod at the time).

So anyway, attached as I am, I let this all happen, in fact I participated in the kiss, did a little reluctant stroking of my own (mostly of the ‘ok here’s a pat now settle down, good boy!’ type if only he’d known), and took a rain check on the suggestion (he can renew it when he brings round more wood for my fire, or not, as the case may be).  He started talking about sex, how he thought me and sweetipie (not that he calls him that) made a good looking couple and would probably look great having sex, how he once watched another couple having sex and then had it off with his girlfriend in the same room, how amazing it was, and so on and so forth.  As usual, I said, whatever turns you on – and felt awfully straight, since I don’t really go for this sort of thing.

I’m SO boring – I just like candle light, lots of soft words and kissing and so forth, and then some very straightforward sex, preferably on a bed, in one of the top five positions.  With just one guy, no girls, and no observers (I make an exception for snogging in clubs and on beaches though).  And now I’m getting old, I like it with someone I love.  Which doesn’t describe the Lord (yes apparently he really is a Lord, at least so he says, though unfortunately without castle, mansion, etc).  I think I’d be quite happy NOT to have sex with Mr Experimental, actually.  It’s just that refusing seems to be beyond me.  I don’t know why. I”m sure I could do it if I tried.  I’d just really rather he didn’t ask, or just stuck to hand stroking.

I also did something else wicked (more wicked than the groping, actually).  I confided in the Lord that sweetipie, while being a lovely man, sometimes gives the impression of being a bit fake.  Ok so he’s REAL nice, underneath the fake nice – but it’s odd, and takes a bit of getting used to.  I think I was trying to temper the Lord’s admiration for my sweetipie, because he keeps telling me what an impression he (sweetipie) made on him.  He makes an impression on just about everyone.  It’s mildly annoying – maybe it wouldn’t be if it was matched by the same number of sweetipie’s friends who were lost in admiration of moi.

Anyway I know I did the wrong thing, because sweetipie is not to be discussed with third parties, especially third parties who have their hands down your pants.  HE doesn’t care if I’m faithful – so that’s an excuse of a kind – I think it’s more that I’m doing something I don’t entirely want to do – and yet I must want to do it a bit, otherwise I guess I wouldn’t.  Would I?

what makes you happy?

What makes anyone happy? Is it all much the same? Enough food, shelter, and good relationships? Myself, I’d summarise it as ‘being loved and having someone to love’.  Although, you could have all that, and yet be unhappy – say if the two of you were in prison, or dying, or, of course, if the person you loved wasn’t the same person who loved you.  But requited love would be the main thing – not necessarily the adult kind, could be the love between me and my kids, or me and my mother, or friends, or siblings.  Seems the more of it one has, the happier one is.  Which I guess is why sweetipie is not very happy.  He loves and is loved, but not by many people.  Just by me and maybe his younger daughter, when you come down to it, and even she’s on the fence.  So that doesn’t make for a very safe emotional situation.  No wonder he’s edgy and anxious.

Is it the same for everyone? Do even violent thugs and drug dealers and psychopaths and warlords want to be happy in the same way? I guess some people would find happiness in violence and power – but that’s surely dysfunctional, for humans.  And yet, I read somewhere that most bosses are psychopaths, so it can’t be that unusual.  Maybe the leader of the clan was usually a psychopath, in caveman days.  Or would that be called happiness? or some other rush, more like taking a drug or drinking a lot or running a marathon or scoring a goal.

Or have I got this the wrong way around? Is it ‘feelings people find pleasant and seek out’ that define happiness?  So that if people got pleasure from pain, pain would make them ‘happy’.  But of course people don’t usually find pleasure in ‘pain’, so happiness is defined by the norm, and dysfunction by the norm.

So going back to Buddha, maybe all he meant by ultimate ‘good’ (better, best) was a state of affairs which most people would find pleasant.  So to paraphrase Buddha (though how you can paraphrase a guy when you’ve never read anything he’s written is another story) – it’s ‘better’ to perform ‘good’ acts because that creates more ‘good’ in the world, ie a ‘gooder’ world, ie, one which most people will enjoy living in more.  And if someone performs enough good acts, and trains themselves to view the world with compassion but without desire, they will get to a point where they are completely ‘happy’ – defined as, experiencing ongoing (if somewhat ineffable) pleasure.  So THAT’s why you’d want to be ‘enlightened’.

Ah ha! And I thought it was the world’s worst advertisement for heaven ‘work hard, be good and one day you won’t feel a thing!’.

hey we're all just animals..

Buddha says, apparently – and I agree, so he must be onto something – that there is no right and wrong, things just ‘are’. 

So, like, you’re a fish.  A shark.  You see a baby dolphin enjoying itself in the water, its mother is looking at the underwater equivalent of the sunset, so you bite its head off. Anything wrong with that? No, it’s a shark.  But say you’re a monkey.  There’s a rival tribe of monkeys in the next door part of the jungle, and they’ve got better banana trees than you, so you start a war, kill most of them, rape the remaining females, and move onto their patch.  Wrong? Not really, you’re a monkey, you don’t know any better.  That’s what monkeys do.  And lions, and ants, and bees, and snakes, and just about everything alive down to and including viruses.  Why do they do it?  Because at some point in their evolution, it was useful to do that.  You got violent, you ended up with the bananas and the spare females, you reproduced, the other lot didn’t.  You took over the pride, you killed the previous king’s kids, your lot got to grow up, his lot didn’t. 

On the other hand, if cruelty and violence can be useful, so can sweetness and light.  If you’re a monkey, or a lion, and you go round being mean to everyone, someone in your own group is going to get sick of you and bite your head off.  It helps to be cooperative.  To cooperate, you have to have an idea of what the other guy might want, how he might feel.  It helps when you’re hunting, too, because if you know what, say, deer like – drinking, green grass, sex in the mating season – you can catch them more easily.

Which brings me to the point of this small essay, which is, how are people any different? We’re all, to a greater or lesser degree, empathetic, cooperative, sociable, violent, cruel, spiteful – and all these characteristics are built in to come in useful under some conditions or other.  It might not be very useful to be a psychopathic rapist in your average western democracy, but it probably really helps you along in the Congo.  So why is ‘kindness’ a virtue and ‘cruelty’ a vice? Because we LIVE in the aforesaid average western democracy and in our social structure and conditions, generally, cruelty makes the social order break down rather than encouraging us all to work together in a jolly team.

And since humans are a social animal and are designed to get along with each other in groups, most of the time, we have an inbuilt dislike of team-splitting acts.  The other reason that we hate them is because we’re empathetic.  Humans, more than dogs probably or even the saintly dolphins, can imagine what it’s like to be the other – even if the other is a rat, literally.  So things that WE wouldn’t like, we can imagine THEM not liking – and that leads to a natural revulsion in many humans to inflicting pain.  With notable exceptions in people who work in abattoirs, policepersons, and some heavy metal bands.

Anyway so in a nutshell, right and wrong come down to two principles, usefulness, and empathy.  Given that, why the hell am I so concerned about the ‘wickedness’ in the world (especially after reading Robert Fisk) – after all it’s only natural – and why should it matter, cosmically speaking, if I do ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.  Buddha says it does.  But why? Sure, right actions might lead to a ‘righter’ world or get you closer to enlightenment – but why should you want a ‘better’ world, or to be enlightened.  Why not be a real meanie and enjoy torturing kittens, if that’s what you’re into – nobody would say anything against it if you were a hyena (at least, I guess I wouldn’t, given the foregoing, though I do like kittens and not so much hyenas).

better at being buddha

I’ve been feeling annoyed lately and while this is probably justified, I’m trying to remind myself, the answer is to sublimate. Or something like that.  The thing is, these various things annoy me – the mention of (any) of my sweetie’s lovers, a recent idea he had that (now he has two weeks off from work) he could take most of it off to go up north without me (in face of MY suggestion that, oh goodie, we might be able to spend more time with one another), and, what else, oh yes, no sex last night or this morning.  I”m sure there were other things but this was enough to put me off balance in the relationship.  On the other hand the poor guy has been very nice, as usual, and has bought me a rather expensive housewarming present, so shouldn’t really feel grim.  It’s partly compounded by the feeling that much of the verbal honey being lashed out on me is not real (how can it be, when it’s said with an over enthusiastic grin and lots of hyperbole).  Anyway not being real is ‘real’ for him, so no use bringing it up.  I just have to accept that this is how he projects himself.  And a lot of other things I also have to accept.  I’ve been reminding myself that these things would be nothing to the Buddha, who only feels (I suppose, without having looked into it) a sort of ineffable benificence.  Not that Im a Buddhist but hey, if you work hard at it, apparently it’s quite blissful, so might as well give it a try.  So the thing is to let one’s fists uncurl, one’s claws retract, take a deep breath, think of balloons and sky and clouds and things like that which float away and don’t really concern one.  And let one of those things be sweetipie.  I can still love him.  Only perhaps in the same way you might love someone who’s really sweet, but dead or something, so there’s no point in getting your knickers in a twist about them, no point in, for instance, getting possessive.  Say, someone in a book.  Let go of sweetipie, let go of concerns about possessions like curtains and heaters (which bother me a lot at the moment because I don’t have enough of them), let go of evil thoughts about irrelevant others (like that Chinese girl), let go of all these little things over which I’m trying to exercise some control when of course I have very little (I can’t after all make her die of something and just as well), just live in this world and be happy.

Anyway if I remind myself regularly it may become a habit.

Oh I do love my boyfriend’s ex!

All fired up to write something on my blog but then I forgot what I was going to say!

Oh yes. Well the thing is, why do I want my boyfriend’s ex-lover to die in agony – or at the very least roll around screaming in pain? Most of the time I don’t even think about her, but it so happens he mentioned her the other day, reluctantly, because he happened to meet her (and her partner, he put in) at the shops, and they very kindly gave him and his daughter a lift home.  So at the mere mention of her name – which I wasn’t allowed to know before in case I got stalking impulses, but I do know now, because it slipped out – my hackles rise, whatever they are, and I remember how very angry I was when I found out about HER – and these violent thoughts start crowding in!

How I’d very much like her to develop a disease, preferably disfiguring and painful – or get run over, or have really bad stomach pains, preferably daily…and why? I’m a peacable person, I hate to see anyone in pain, I can’t even understand – generally – how anyone can bring themselves to inflict pain on another person.  I have no comprehension of cruelty, except perhaps to cockroaches and even that makes me uncomfortable.  So would I really be that easy if my wish DID come true and I did see The Chinese Girl writhing in front of me? Maybe not.

The Incumbent would say it’s just female jealousy, and get very disapproving.  I don’t think it is just jealousy.  I used to hate my old boss – a SHE – in the same way – I guess it’s partly a personal dislike thing and partly a feeling of having been injured by the person and of wanting your own back. After all, He Who Can’t Keep his Dick to Himself had two other lovers that I know of while we were dating, and I don’t really mind either of them, personally – one I even quite like, I think. But THIS woman, I loathe deeply. I think it’s because we met once, eyed each other off, and she was a tad cheeky, and I felt I was being deliberately deceived. And of course she was pretty stunning, which makes it all much worse, frankly.  Anyway if her name isn’t mentioned for a while, I more or less forget about her.

When I think about it, if even gentle me is prepared to see certain people squashed flat by bulldozers without a qualm, maybe that’s a clue to this problem I’ve been working on in my head for ages – which is, why are people prepared to do really horrible things to other people without caring about their suffering? For instance, in the early twentieth century, Turks went and massacred all these Armenians – men, women, kids, granmas, babies, the lot – and you can still apparently find river beds in Turkey that are full of bones.  When you read about it, you wonder, how could they do it? How could you tear a baby from a mother and crack its head open on a tree? But maybe the Turks felt the same way about that Armenian mother and baby as I feel about The Chinese Girl, or about cockroaches.  Maybe it’s just about who you’re prepared to include in your brotherhood of man (and other animals) and who’s on the outer – slobbery aliens, cockroaches, slugs, Jews, Armenians, and finally, The Chinese Girl.

Mind you I bet lots of Western women hate Chinese (and other Asian) women, just because Western men are so keen on them.  Even the Incumbent says (with a glint in his eye – he’s kind of trying to provoke me) how delightful it (probably) is to have a woman with no expectations who exists only to serve and service you and is slim and cute and has a really small fanny.  Put like that it sounds terrible – but the competition for Western men would be African guys, who are svelte and gorgeous and have enormous..potential.  Lucky for Aussie guys that there aren’t so many Africans competing on Australian soil at the moment, otherwise you probably wouldn’t see a lot of women’s behinds for dust as they stampeded to earmark one.