Archive | February, 2011

P.S

20 Feb

Whoops and i forgot to tell you the funniest part of the whole haircut saga. It was the night after i got it chopped and i met my (also short haired) friend in a bar…. she took one look at my head and said “oh no, i really think i should grow my hair long again!!”

Fail!

Short Hair Blues

19 Feb

Recently, in spite of my better judgment, i have cut my hair extremely short. As one lovely friend pointed out, it has hit lesbian mother territory, and possibly the point of no return. It’s taken me a little bit of getting used to. For example, i absolutely could not look at myself in the mirror for at least the first week without tears welling up in my eyes.

Dramatic i know, but true. A woman’s hair is very important, and when it’s not flowing down surrounding your face in feminine mystique, it’s a little unnerving! As Jack Donaghy says, “Lemon, everybody knows that your hair is your head suit”

As i was wandering around town, sitting on the metro, doing all those normal things, all i could think about was if everyone was wondering whether i was a lesbian. or, whether people were just looking at me thinking er, what has occurred on top of her head?

But this was just the first week. Okay, first 2 weeks.

It’s been a month now, and i have to say, i am LOVING short hair! It’s true what they say that i may never go back! While it seems that i am missing a certain aspect of femininity, there is a huge element of liberation in the feeling of the icy wind on the back of your neck.

I got all dressed up to go out last night, finally feeling at one with my head, no longer feeling like an angry lesbian with 3 kids, and more like a lovely bohemian artist pixie.

I was standing at the bar ordering drinks with a friend, and a guy standing behind us tried to get our attention. I thought, god, why was i worried all this time, my hair is fine, and it’s still attracting all these dudes anyway, there was never a problem!

Even though we were speaking French, this guy behind us, head reaching about breast level, interrupts, and the conversation goes something like this

Him: “er, er ixcooooooose mi, er, you are zee iiiiiinnglish speaking?”

Me: “Oui”

Him: “Er, er, you arrrre waiting for zee service?

Me: “Oui”

Him: “Okay”

My friend and i looked at each other and rolled our eyes, communicating the the same thought of, “really, this 4 foot high dwarf with a square head is trying to pick us up? Mwhaaahahahaha”

But then i felt another tap on my shoulder –

Him: “Er, iixcuuuse me, ello. Uh, i wanted to say somefing also, i wanted to tell you that you are viiiry oggly”

Me: “Pardon?”

Him: “Oui c’est ca, i find you viiry viiry OGGLY!”

Me: WTF!!

Ouch. It kinda hurt i gotta say, and while i think a little unfounded, i may had temporarily gone back to avoiding mirrors for a couple of days!!

Love.

15 Feb

I have intentionally written a post about love on either side of Valentine’s day. Gotta do something to keep up my pretext of being an emotional jerk, right?
And if you didn’t think i was a jerk? You might in a minute!

But it is on the brain (love, not being a jerk) and once again i’ve far too much time to think. That and i happen to be reading a book about love.

It’s a scary concept, and the thing that scares me the most? The inability to know whether the feelings you have today will still be there next week – or next year – or even in 10 years.

It’s such a leap of faith and it scares the hell out of me.

Clearly i’m not a religious person. Believing in something when there is a proven theory against it just isn’t something i feel capable of. Except in this instance the theory isn’t proven, it just hovers.

(One of those ‘big’ questions – can you get me a whiskey Wonky?)

I’ve been in the position before –  i know what it’s like to have such strong feelings for someone and then one day, just like that, you don’t any more. I know it’s possible. I know it doesn’t have to be, but nevertheless, i know it can.

And so i don’t know how to trust my own feelings.

Competitive Advantage

14 Feb

Something’s been bugging me for a very long time. Well, ever since i’ve been able to speak French. Which lets be honest isn’t actually a very long time.

I have very strong feelings on the matter of cultural identity – that is – of protecting who you are and what makes you different. I feel that it is something i see people losing here.

It’s possible that the tide may be turning, perhaps with a younger, more globally educated generation, however there is a very heavy focus in France, on the idea that one must not only speak English fluently, if to speak at all, but also that one must adopt and ‘accent’ of sorts. The idea being that one does not sound ‘French’ when speaking English.

I don’t know where to begin with how wrong i think this is as a concept. How much harder does learning a language need to be? It’s any wonder people are scared to speak it (when for the most part they speak very well – how many times have you asked the question to get a response of ‘un peu‘ and then you are standing in the shop having a good old chat for an hour) when mastering the language is only half the battle.

I actually thought my housemate’s boyfriend was English for 6 months before realising he was actually French, but had passed 1 month in England when he was 18. I mean come on! Imagine if your sister came back from a month traveling around America and started speaking like she was on the set of Gossip Girl!

I find it just so inherently wrong that the French turn their nose up at the idea of sounding ‘French’. I don’t know whether it is an arrogance born of the fact that another language is not worthy of them using their own accent, or whether it just another horrible side effect of an education system that demands perfection yet never never acknowledges at job well done.

There was an English teacher at the school i worked at previously, who spoke with some sort of weird distorted British, so i made the mistake of asking if she had grown up in Britain – the look of pride on this woman’s face expanded right to the tip of her head and i realised that she had never been, but that it was something she had been cultivating for a very long time. Although of course she told me she had ‘no idea what i was talking about’.

There’s a guy at my current workplace who speaks in a cockney accent that is SO littered with grammatical errors, that it is just completely confusing. And these people are teaching English to the future of France!

The thing is, the French don’t know what they are missing. They have no idea how incredibly charming it is when they speak. I have known women to swoon simply from having been asked directions by a Frenchman in the street (may have been myself, no comment).

I don’t know what the root of the fascination is with deciding on an accent and cultivating it to perfection, but i don’t like it.

I like it even less when the shoe is on the other foot. I am criticised almost daily for my accent not being French enough. I really do understand that the more “French’ i try to sound, the easier it will be to understand me. I get that. But i simply abhor the idea of trying to disguise the fact that i am a foreigner. I am not French!! I am Australian!! And i don’t care who knows! If i speak with a god damn accent it’s because of that!

I don’t seem to have any major problems being understood, unless of course the person i’m talking to has zero interest in understanding me. The novelty of my accent has both baffled (what do you mean you’re not English, what do you mean you’re not American?) and charmed the absolute pants of people, so much so that once on a date with a guy, i could not get a word out of him because every time i said something he just went bright red and kind of giggled and said ‘j’adore votre accent‘ and then giggled some more. God, it was kinda awkward that night in retrospect.

Anyway, my point is, that i feel sad and frustrated when people tell me their pronunciation is terrible when i can understand them perfectly. And i feel sad and frustrated when people tell me i need to work on my accent being more French – when they can understand me perfectly.

We need to retain our sense of who we are, and where we came from, because we all have special quirks and charms. Charms that are going to get lost if we don’t protect them. They are a helpful advantage, not a hinderance. In a world that is getting smaller and smaller, everybody needs to work on their competitive advantage.

Soon we will all be beige AND sound the same.

The True Meaning of Valentine’s Day

13 Feb

Ah, the feast of Saint Valentine, that one day of the year where women everywhere, all over the world, celebrate their freedom and independence in overwrought consumerism.

It’s a day to really sit up and take stock. To make yourself a cocktail, have a lovely meal and be thankful for all those loser boyfriends you could have ended up with, and all those unhealthy relationships you managed to wangle yourself out of.

I like to wander down the aisles of my local card shops and look at all the cards with insistent messages of love,  such as ‘how many women does it take to change a light bulb?’ and then you open up the card and inside it reads ‘just one, it was easy, and because you keep lists, you remembered to buy the bulb when you went to the supermarket’.

Its beauty brings tears to my eyes, truly, as i think about how lucky i am to have me.

While there are certainly no lack of men in my life, and wonderful men at that, there is something so fortunate (and maybe egocentric – does that mean i’m becoming French?) about having only yourself to think about – only yourself to please and only yourself to make you happy. If you spend long enough with yourself, you will eventually even be able to laugh at all your own jokes, even if deep down you know that they are not so funny.

That’s love.

And if it gets cold at night? Well that’s why god invented booty calls.

And hot water bottles.

I’d like to thank the Academy

10 Feb

Enfin! I have won an award!

I’ve trundled though my whole life trying desperately to win some kind of an award – any award, in an attempt to remarkably increase the value of my self worth – and never succeeded.

I couldn’t even manage to lock down the encouragement award in primary school softball – you know the one they gave you when you clearly had no motor skills, but you always looked like you were trying really hard.

I was not a winner, of any variety. A victim of my own mediocrity.

Until now.

Keith from a Taste of Garlic has awarded my blog, THIS BLOG, the blog of the week! Which is great, because, while he does give me a mention every now and then, it’s usually for such things as ‘most ridiculous poo story’, or ‘saddest person in Paris’ but this time my friends, i have ‘tickled his fancy’ and got myself a trophy!! My mum will be so happy.

I hazard a guess that it’s been a while between tickling fancies for me. But now, my hour has arrived. I will say it probably helped that i refered to him as an example of a reader with a filthy mind, it could have gone either way that one, but sometimes you gotta use what you’ve got to get ahead.

But hey, it’s not what you know it’s who you know right?

(*cue exit stage music)

But lastly i’d like to thank the academy…..and God.

Where was my memo?!

8 Feb

Growing up is hard.

Preparing to turn the big 3-0 is hard.

And doing these things when you are living a life so far removed from your family and friends? Well it leaves a lot of time to think about complicated things. (Had initially written ‘hard’ things, but i thought with the filthiness of most of your minds, yours included Keith, it’s best i try and avoid that.)

Questions seem to popping up almost daily at the moment. It’s been a steady incline, but i seem to have hit top gear.

It’s always a shitty feeling when you realise that one (or all!) of those deep seated, life changing questions you’ve been asking yourself (those ones you felt were so deeply individual that nobody else could empathise) turn out to be just one huge cliche!

Where was my memo?!!

Here i am thinking i must sit here in silence, consumed with these ideas and worries about the future, not realising for a second that they are the biggest questions facing everybody at the same age! For gods sake, can’t we get a manual or something, instead of having to feel like one giant self involved idiot when we discover we aren’t the only ones?

On one hand, you do feel relieved that it’s not just you – that there’s a whole world of people out there with the same unanswered questions. But on the other hand it really is a freaking embarrassment when you realise how naive it was to think that you are the only one thinking about whatever it was you were thinking about.

But i’ll tell you the worst part? Working out that in the end, you realise that if everybody has been asking the same questions for generations, there ain’t no freaking answers!!