Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why Generation Next Must Be Nurtured

Tonight, I had the privilege of watching a young woman of The Women’s College within The University of Sydney bring the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall to rapturous applause and laughter.

With nothing more than astute insight and articulate delivery, 19 year old Nicola kicked off question time at Anne Summers Conversations with aplomb.

And I wasn’t the only Women’s College Alumna enjoying the spectacle from Row J ; alongside Labor heavyweights, Mr Wayne Swan and Mrs Tanya Plibersiek was Women’s College alumnae: Ros Strong and the first woman on the NSW Supreme Court, Judge Jane Matthews.

With both current and past students scattered around the Concert Hall, we caught up with the ever approachable Judge Matthews over a glass of Chandon prior to the show.

And while the iPhone pics on the Sydney Opera House forecourt failed to capture the elegance of the occasion, Dr Anne Summers and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, had it in bucket loads as they discussed treatment of women in the workplace of High Government, the prevalence of Misogyny and the tactics that worked/ failed in the face of patriarchy.

Politics aside, when you listen to Former Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard in the flesh, it really is very hard not to admire her.

For when it comes to appreciating and recognising strong, capable women and engaging through shared experience (not that I’ve ever been PM, but I have spent most of my career in male-dominated industry), when Julia talks candidly, you can’t but help prick an ear to listen intently.

For while you may not agree with what she says, it’s hard to deny just how rich chocolate caramel she can actually sound and how she can make even the most unsavoury decisions palatable.

Perhaps the true effect of her very distinctive drawl…

19 year old Law student, Nicola was wide-eyed and in a state of absolute delight on meeting Judge Matthews pre-show, however, when she kicked off question time with the PM on live television, this competent young woman did not take a backwards step.

Her instrument of choice? The confidence to ask Australia’s first female Prime Minister what advice she’d give the new Minister for Women: Prime MInister Tony Abbott.

Ms Gillard’s response was just as articulate and witty, a feature – it would appear – of the Anne Summers Conversations.

Can’t wait until the next one!

Look out for further details in Looking Glass

When cyber stalking finds you

I woke up to this today…:When social stalking finds you

and when I checked the backend user/ visitor stats of my blog for over the weekend, I was unnerved to find it had been a repeat search.

The good news for me, is of my weekend visitors, there are only 10 countries on four different continents where my cyber stalker may dwell!

But just in case… there’s now a record.

Use this as a timely reminder to remove ALL personal contact details from any apps you use on mobiles, iPads, iPhones, Samsungs, Macs.

Don’t post a picture of your child in their school uniform or worse still with a certificate in hand.

Be cautious, be clever by remembering that your friends already have all your details.

Get On Your Bike

Today I rode…

I hadn’t been on a motorbike in years, but finding my balance was exactly what I needed and that’s exactly what I found.

Visiting all my favourite places: we rode through beaches, bush and suburban streets, absorbing the sights, the smells and coming out invigorated.

Alive, for the first time in what felt like aeons.

When we are thrown an unpleasant, we have a choice: self pity and drama or quiet reflection and nurturing.

Despite my gung ho approach to life in general, when it comes to life matters, my default is always quiet reflection and nurturing.

I’m tough, but I’m fragile: a by-product of my sex, as well as, my experience.

So with a friend we rode, talked, walked, sweated and laughed.

Pure unadulterated therapy. Not surprisingly, it got me thinking…

Why do we ever let drama into our reality unnecessarily?

He gave his view, I expressed mine. We were the Ying and Yang of men and women discussing life’s greatest puzzle: honest and loving relationships.

The result: The feeling of being nothing short of indestructible.

Free to be, do, feel and love openly.

Which is why we should never underestimate the power of sharing life experiences, joy, hopes and especially our failures.


Reflections: The Truth About Love

Pink’s just toured on the premise.

Women of a certain age are accused of being preoccupied by it.

And quite frankly, I’m crap at being in it!

Actually, that’s not entirely true…I’m just crap at editing, so I’m thinking of introducing a selection committee 🙂

Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
If I’m not first and only, I’m one colour all over… and it’s tiring.

Seeing I’m no endurance runner, I default to my life’s motto:

‘Life’s too short to dwell in ‘unsure’ (read: ‘unhappy’). Life is a joy #EmbraceIt

Not surprisingly, I prefer key learnings.

Are We All We Are?
An old high-school friend rang me the other week to tell me she was six months pregnant. I was estatic for her and her partner: a gorgeous Frenchman who adores her, doesn’t let her get away with anything and in doing so brings out the best in her.

That’s special. That’s something worth nurturing.

So What…?
In some circles, where I have the priveledge to dwell, being yourself is celebrated.

Not a modified construct of one contained within the parameters of products past.

Lucky for me, mine is a reality where thinking deeply is celebrated.

As is being woman: All together or barely coherent.

Still a Rockstar
Being true to who I am, still entitles me to thinking of myself as the Rockstar, capable of wooing audiences, embracing life and moving forward.

Follow your Instincts
The construct that is Love can be many a splendid thing,
yet destroyed by one’s construction of it.

For love does weird and wonderful things to ones ability to believe and act upon instinct.

Framing reality to astutely delete some key factors in order to make ‘life’ palatable = The practice of the unfaithful.

I feel great pain when I see this as a habit in others, I prefer to see someone smiling, in love, as evidenced through the shine in their eyes…

But when it is forced, it’s unpalatable. Sad even.

In life, we have choices:

To live in joy, or live pretending we are in search of it.

I choose JOY … and lots of it!

What do you choose…?

Women of Merit

Last week, Australian media was saturated with discussion of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s new cabinet.

Statistical comparisons with cabinets from New Zealand to Africa to Afghanistan were a plenty.

Discussions centring around how poorly Australia sits from a representation of women in politics, point of view.

While the Iraqi and Afghani comparison’s were a stretch at best.

In Australia, post Federal Election, it was as though the Australian media commentators had only just realised there was a dirth of qualified women in senior positions within the Liberal and National Parties.

Which is strange, because even casual observers wouldn’t have expected anything less, whether it be observing men:women ratios within Government, Automotive, Finance, Education and Sport or any other industry.

Is this appalling? Not in the face of the amount of time dedicated to evolving an informed change about it.

Why? Ours is a patriarchal society. And numerically, men lead.

The business environment sees men progressing to positions of power. Which is possibly more a reflection (outside of social influences) there are more of them to choose from.

And quite frankly, if the best person for the job is a man, then I’m fine with that.

But as Sue Boyce, Liberal Senator for Queensland pointed out on morning television last week, where in the
discourse of representation within cabinet do you hear discussion of ‘Men of Merit’?

What is disappointing is the fact we (Gen Next) make no effort to raise and engage in a sustained and new discussion about a number of things:
– failure of the Major Party Leadership to nurture promising young female party members (aka 1990s)
– how to raise and engage the interest of boys and girls in pursuing studies across the traditionally ‘male’ dominated professions of public service, finance, commerce and engineering.

Women are not escalated to senior positions in the interests of equity, but appointed on occasion.

So how are we intending on evolving it?

Or couldn’t we be bothered…

Thrive or Survive?

If the aim of life is self-development (Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray) then language, behaviour and knowledge are key.

Thoughts = Reality
If you want to live in joy, you have to make the decision to.

Equity for All
If you value equality, you have to practice and promote it.

Conversely, if you label things and people because it makes you feel better, then maybe consider taking a moment to stop, think and listen:

If you think there is nothing disturbing about these schoolyard scenarios, then quite possibly the rest of this post will mean little for you.

If however, you value diversity and the cultural exchange it facilitates, hold tight and consider for a moment:

Developing Society
As animals, we are programmed for survival no matter what the context.

As humans, our context will determine the challenges we will face and ultimately what our lives will look like and subsequently what our overriding motives will be – survive or thrive.

With the acquisition of knowledge, comes social responsibility and the need to do all we can to protect it.

Our freedoms enable us to embrace diversity.

What do you choose?

Man Whores & Emotional Trojans

Man whores follow their urges.

They let whoever is tied financially to them, determine their calendar of events.

And if an EA’s handy – rest assured there is a ready justification for compartmentalising competing priorities by playing the ‘work card’ in keeping all vested and related interests civil.

A friend rang me last night and over a glass of wine (okay, maybe a couple) we unpicked the debacle that can become you when dating a divorced, middle-aged, father.

Keeping in mind, we have known each other for nearly 30 years and having grown up together have very few secrets, she still managed to stun me into silence as she defended her ‘boyfriend’s’ decision to celebrate his upcoming birthday – a party at his place – without her.

As she explained, his former sister-in-law was going to be in attendance and despite the fact his kids had met her, he didn’t want to ‘go there’.

As a mother herself, she totally understood it, although was hurt by the reality of it. As a single woman, I was horrified.

Perhaps, I was too quick to judge, but the idea of being ‘scheduled out’ of official festivities like a dirty little secret, left me nothing short of staggered, if I was to be entirely honest…

Needless to say, my girlfriend and I giggled like we always do at life and then promptly skulled. Repeatedly. All the while wondering out loud, how the hec we ever got to having this conversation!

As someone who had the privilege of growing up as a card carrying member of middle class Australia, since the bubble of ‘marriage is forever, 2.5 kids, a house, dog and two car garage’ was shattered by independent-mindedness, I’m convinced, successful men of a certain stage in life, feel wrapped in the warm embrace of being in relationship with multiple women.

Be it their ex-wives, casual flings, mothers, daughters or work colleagues, when, as and how they determine.

They might play the ‘I’m just a human ATM’ card, but these men are Emotional Trojans.

But first the terminology:

Formerly married men now dating are not ‘boyfriends’.

They are: friends or friends with benefits.

The whole ‘Partner’ thing is an anomaly.

Think about it. They’re bitter and broken (no matter how long it has been since the disintegration) by public failure, unless they are machines.

The harsher the cut, the more mending they’ve got ahead of them. And the last thing they want right now is a life partner!

And if they’ve got daughters… every word you say, well, ‘it’s all so tiring!’… Unless of course you can provide valuable actionable insights that make a difference.

Emotional Trojans go out of their way to make sure you’re feeling special in carefully constructed ‘havens’ of ‘alone time’, free of outside interruptions (ie: texts from ex wives, brothers or children).

They don’t do it to be mean. They do it to feel something.

Their sole purpose stems from their intrinsic search for ‘happy’, a place they remember romantically.

A utopia they’ll never reach until they start with the man in the mirror.

ETs will wine and dine you, introducing other extra curricular activities, if mutually agreeable. But a dedicated space in their world – Forget it!

It’s already an overcrowded space and until they feel truly lonely again, they’re going to stick with what they know – even if it’s not entirely what makes them happy, but provides the prod to reassure them, they’re still alive and kicking.

ETs want to phone home, but they can’t.

They don’t know where that is now and starting a fresh is daunting.

It is also at this time when they are at their most vulnerable… and you can’t protect them.

Look closely and you’ll see their past resurfaces, offering all kinds of promises that even sound palatable, even tempting due to the promised ‘ease’ of it.

If they’re intent on pursuing that path, the fall of the Emotional Trojan to the street smart liaisons past – proponents of the ‘I’ll trick him into what I want’ (what the ET fears most will happen) is ON THE CARDS…

Fast forward. Repeat Cycle.

If it’s your desire to ‘snag’ an eligible ET and the lifestyle he’ll afford you, then at some stage you might consider the only ones you’re really punishing are the next generation.

He deserves whatever he signs up for, but his kids don’t deserve the dramas.

If you’re smart, that’s your cue. You’ll exit gracefully and concentrate on ensuring you’re in peace and standing strong.

Emotional Trojans are no dummies. They’ll engage in the conversations and say all the right things, but they don’t let you too close.

They’ll talk to you about their situation, if you’re really interested in listening. They’ll adopt your advice even somewhat guiltily, but they won’t have a clue what’s happening in your world, beyond the snippets you may divulge in the two standard questions they ask you (about work and your day) whenever you’re together.

The challenge is not to get drawn in by it. By that I mean, don’t cast yourself at the centre of his dilemmas.

If he’d prefer to stay up watching football until the wee hours of the morning, it’s probably a clearer indication of his mental ability and time management capability.

Or if he texts you to say he’s heading out to the country for the night after a lunch with colleagues, it’s probably fair to say, he’s just not interested:

Move on, unless you’re comfortable being a slab of meat served at his dining pleasure.

Middle-aged Man Whores are not interested in progressing forward. Why would they?

They’d have to take some responsibility for their past behaviour and if you’re a woman who has managed to reach your late 30s/ early 40s without being hurled down an aisle, it’s a given you’re not stupid.

Let’s face it, even the butt-ugly dole-bludgers have no problem finding a fella.

And when you find yourself being told you’re imagining things… follow your gut, not his deception. While it may have been a winner for him with the ex, he’s obviously forgotten it had an expiration.

Find joy in YOURSELF and YOUR reality: you’re not fiscally tied to him.

You don’t rely on him for anything and you don’t need to bide your time because of little people.

When all is said and done, Man Whores and Emotional Trojans, despite their flaws, are fabulous people… just as long as you’re not dating them! 😀

A lot of the men I know, fit securely (or in part) into this category, but this is the joy of western democracy and the power of free thinking.

It’s up to women to decide for themselves whether they’re happy to settle for the inherent sacrifices required of being ‘friends with benefits’ to Man Whores and ETs, or whether they have the confidence to acknowledge they deserve a little less drama and something intrinsically rewarding.

A decision reached over time and life experience.

Wasn’t it Einstein that claimed time was just an illusion and that whatever you want in the future already exists…

Motivation enough I’d say, for always using the present tense when speaking of your desires around friendships.

It’s Crass, It’s Controversial and Nothing Short of Brilliant

Don’t like it? Turn it off.

Interested in the topic, but offended by the tone and colourful language? Deal with it.

Domineering is one way to describe the epidemic of women wanting it all.

Which makes me ponder… have we inadvertedly abused the good work of those before us?

By wanting our cake and eating it as well, have we distorted irreversibly the groundbreaking work of 1970s feminists?

Physiologically, men and women are fundamentally different. What us women might categorise as apathetic, disinterest and just plain stupid, our masculine counterparts might define as considered, irrelevant, or something best filed in the past.

Modern man has a new role to play. One that sees him standing up and fighting back. For not only himself, but what is fair in the name of equality.

That’s not to say, us women would welcome the pitching of a 1950s perfect woman being anchored to the home. It does however, encourage a practical articulation of the partnership as it evolves.

A descriptor that does not impeed by designating him a breadwinner, mother’s aid and primary carer for all in fear of fiscal decimation if deemed he has ‘screwed up’.

I suspect this view is neither popular nor widely accepted. I’m fine with that.

I fully anticipate I’ll be pilloried for my thinking, but I can not help ponder, that both sides of the debate and their motivators are worthy of our quiet contemplation and rigorous debate.

A debate claimed by some to be essential. Why?

For no other reason than what Bill Burr discusses. His delivery is crass, his presentation controversial. While the elements he raises for discussion, represent an articulate summary of the differences between process and practice of the sexes, that is nothing short of brilliant.