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Sex, Politics and Hotmail – Chapter One

A Tale of Two Women and their Push Up Bras

A stupendously silly novel about a couple of menopausal women trying to get laid and or keep their man and get elected to Parliament.


Chapter 1

“You’ve won the bet!”

Rose and Olivia haven’t seen each other for ten years. Now Rose has found Olivia on Facebook.  What’s changed? And what bet has Olivia won?



So here we are..after all these years

So here we are!  After all these years!  How ARE you? And how’s John? And what is this bet you keep referring to? Do tell!

Ok. The bet. Here goes.

Do you remember when we were sixteen, and your mum had just fucked off with the sound engineer from Blue Hills, and I was onto my fourth stepmother – well, we wrote out a Manifesto, and in it we said we were going to do things differently – you said you were never going to get married, because you were gonna become prime minister and you wouldn’t have time to bother about men – and I said I was going to get married as soon as I could and hang out with the same guy for the rest of my life, like, you know, one of those sweet old couples you see at the bus stop?

And I used to stir you and say shit like “You can’t be prime minister if you’re a LADEE”, cause you always sat like some kind of princess in class with your knees glued together and never swore or anything  – and one day you got jack of it and said “I bet you’ll end up divorced like your mum, because that’s what happens to children of divorce, it’s all about ROLE MODELS!”  And I bet you I wouldn’t – I was so romantic then! – and anyway at the time I was planning to marry that Wayne Sexton, who had long dark hair and dreamy eyelashes and called me a dumb slag.

And we wrote it all down in a Manifesto, cause you said I’d forget for sure and there was ten dollars riding on it and you wanted your money.

Anyway I was cleaning out the spare room the other day and guess what I found? The frigging Manifesto!

I miss you Liv!  Do you still want that ten dollars?

Oh my god though!  You mean you and John have separated?  Rose, I’m so sorry!  When? Why?  And of course I don’t want the ten dollars!  God, I’d forgotten all about that – what silly teenagers we were then!

No wonder you didn’t write back! You’ve probably been going through hell.  Was it a long drawn out process or quite sudden?   Do tell me straight away if you’d rather I didn’t ask about it – or of course if you want to talk about it I’m always here.  Fremantle IS rather a long way from Sydney, I have to admit, but there is always the phone.

Has it been very dreadful? Did he have an affair?  You must be feeling terribly upset!  I’m here for you darling. I’m so sorry we fell out of touch, but you know, I often wondered what had become of you, it’s just that….well it’s a long story but it can be so difficult to keep up with people, these days.

Ps I do remember that Manifesto.  I’d quite forgotten that I was going to be the leader of the free world.  How very sad!  Still, I suppose I’m very lucky, really!

Separated nah, divorced actually and I feel great, I feel like I’ve just been to the doctor and had a wart burned off.

Anyway if anyone’s fucked anyone over it was me did it to him.  I wished the bastard would  have an affair – but nothing doing, no one else wanted him no matter how hard I spruiked the selling points – steady income, fixes taps, leaves the toilet seat down – no bloody takers!  But I feel fantastic!

How about you Liv? How’s life as a squillionaire’s wife?  I heard Steve’s doing very well these days out of the seating business –  there’ll always be bottoms looking for a place to park themselves!  Are you still working for that little art place in Peppermint Grove?  Do you have to, like, hostess luncheons for other rich guys’ wives, organize charity balls, stuff like that?  Or do you just cruise around about stopping off at couturiers and having champagne?

As for me I’m still a wage slave, same as same as.  Mum always told me if I wanted to move up working for the government I shouldn’t wear short skirts and tight jumpers – but I never took any notice and look where it’s got me!  Still a secretary – I mean ‘executive assistant’ after all this time, and the boss isn’t even hot, actually he’s a weirdo but that’s another story.

Anyway, how are you and Stevie boy? And little Vickie?

Oh Rose!  A wart? Really? When you seemed to be so well suited, everybody used to comment on it.  However, everyone deals with grief differently, so one reads, and I expect you are just going through ‘anger’ or perhaps ‘denial’?

Mind you, you never said you weren’t getting along!  Well, strictly speaking, you were always going on about what a pain in the bottom John was –  but I never thought you really meant it.  I thought you were just venting, the way women do – you know, my husband’s terrible, oh my husband’s much worse than yours...  But what went wrong?  Was it sex? It’s usually sex, isn’t it.  Especially with you darling.

Thanks for asking by the way, Victoria is well.  Not so little any more – she turned fifteen a month ago, and in fact she is now about six feet – TOWERS over me!  I’m sure it’s the extended breastfeeding the midwife pressured me into – thanks to hippie motherhood ideas we are now all having to put up with giant teenagers! Of course she’s very glamorous – she’s got Steve’s pouty lips and long black hair and she STILL has those eyelashes you could never believe were real when she was tiny – anyway she now spends most of her time at home lounging about looking vaguely disgruntled.

Ps I wonder if Wayne Sexton is still available?  Perhaps you could look him up?

Wayne Sexton!

Well that’s what made me look you up actually.  So…Wayne. Where do I start?

Sex, Politics & Hotmail: a Tale of Two Women and their Push-up Bras



New Message to: Olivia Harris-Finke on Facebook

You won.

New Message to: Rose O’Brady on Facebook

I beg your pardon?

Rose O’Brady

You mean you don’t remember?

Olivia Harris-Finke

No I’m afraid I don’t. But then I haven’t heard from you for ten years, Rose darling, so I’m probably slightly behind the eight ball.  (What is the eight ball, by the way?)

So what have I won, exactly?

Rose O’Brady

You won the bet.

Hey anyway you were the one who stopped answering my emails.  I thought maybe you moved or something.  But then I looked you up on Facebook last month and everything was just the same, so maybe it wasn’t that after all.

Olivia Harris-Finke

Of course I didn’t stop answering YOUR emails.  It was you who stopped answering mine.  I thought it was because your ISP had cut you off, or something of the sort.

Rose O’Brady


Olivia Harris-Finke

Well you know how you’re always forgetting to pay bills.  I even wrote a letter, and you never answered that either!


Rose O’Brady

Well maybe we both just forgot.  Isn’t that supposed to happen when people get married and have kids?  Who needs friends when you’ve got a nuclear family!

Anyway let’s get off this frigging thing! Email me!

And now for something REALLY scary!

I can’t count the number of articles I’ve read about not wanting to talk to people on public transport.

The classic scenario goes like this. You’re sitting on the plane, getting out your headphones or your newspaper or whatever.  The guy next to you looks across diffidently.

“Headed to Melbourne?”

You say, with a polite but firm smile, “Yep.” And then you clamp on your earphones, glare down at the paper, and pretend to be completely absorbed in it for the rest of the trip.

Or how about this one?  Your car’s being fixed so you have to catch the bus today with the POOR people. There’s the ones who mumble at the bus driver and can’t seem to count out their change, the mentally disabled (or additionally abled?) people who happily grin at absolutely everyone and shout ‘Guess what I’m doing today!’, the drunk men who lurch around complete with their own atmosphere, the old foreign ladies with unlikely-coloured hair who smile at each other and talk in Czech, the pensioners with their free bus tickets, the moody teen who’s just got out of juvenile detention and is discussing the pros and cons of jail with a like-minded friend, the gaggle of girls with panda eyes and muffin tops, and the middle-aged greenie who still believes in public transport…and YOU.

“Have you read Dostoevsky dear?”

“Where are YOU going today?”

“I’m not drunk you know.”

So you carefully pick out a seat where you’re not opposite anyone, and sit on the aisle so no one can sit next to you, at a point equidistant from all other passengers (but, if you have to be closer to one in particular, you obviously pick the greenie, who is at least semi-sane).

I don’t understand! Sure we all have off days, but public transport is a god-given chance to find out about some fellow human being we’ve never met before and will never meet again!

YES!!! A boxed set of the encyclopaedia of humanity, a documentary made for us alone, our very own moving Oprah!  Why DON’T we want to talk to people or be talked to?  Is the prospect of chatting to someone we don’t know, so VERY scary?? (To me, no – I like it. I mean, who ELSE is gonna talk to me)

That said, when the drunk man sicks up, don’t forget to lift your feet.

Seriously! Am I God?

Where does responsibility begin and end?

I’m thinking of a couple of friends of mine.

Friend A. Sleeps around. Women fall for him and he tells them he’s not into long term relationships.  But one in particular lingers on in hope. In between other lovers, Friend A still sees this woman, because he might get ‘lonely’.  Friend A’s dating life is littered with disappointed and bitter ex lovers.  Is that Friend A’s fault? As he says, ‘I was honest – and they CHOSE to be with me.  They’re big girls. They can look after themselves.’

Friend B. Her husband is a man without brains, looks, integrity or any distinguishable charm. But this man is completely dependent on her, although he likes to imagine that he’s not.  According to Friend B, her partner would be lost without her.  Friend B’s life is effectively signed over to this man, because she made a promise. Looking at the situation, I can see that although Friend B hasn’t done too well out of the arrangement, she’s certainly made a big and POSITIVE difference to a lot of people’s lives, by making this choice.

And now, to the case of Friend C. Friend C used to enter relationships on the assumption that, if she didn’t make any promises, she had no real responsibility for the feelings of others – beyond common politeness. If they developed ‘feelings’, that was up to them.  Then Friend C had an epiphany.  She got badly hurt by Friend A, and decided that ‘I didn’t make any promises’ just wasn’t good enough. Friend C then hooked up with a very beautiful man, and after some months found that she just couldn’t ‘love’ him (or, at this point, anyone).  So she set him free (and luckily, he wasn’t ‘in love’ either).  Sometimes when she remembers what a very beautiful and dear man he is, she regrets it, but then, she reminds herself, I have to be very CAREFUL.

So what are the limits of responsibility? I can’t control every ripple my actions might have, I can’t help being a source of hurt to someone, no matter how hard I try.  Sometimes, somebody will like me more than I like them. Sometimes, I have to desert a friend to save my own life.

This is MY LIFE and I don’t get another one, so I’m not going to give up the whole damn thing so that someone ELSE can be happy!  I’m not God and I can’t control human suffering, though in a small way maybe I can influence it.  Come to think of it, looks like God can’t control it either…