it's a jill rant

I have a lot of opinions, and I provide a new one every Thursday evening. Don't worry, even my Mum says to ignore me.

This V-Day, Give the Gift of Demanding Gifts

images

Around this time every year some dumb meme that goes around that’s all “sure, your girlfriend says she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, but if you don’t get her something SHE WILL CUT OFF YOUR BALLS WHILE YOU SLEEP.”

My husband thinks this meme is hilarious, despite the fact that every year I literally thank him for not getting me anything for Valentine’s Day, because I hate it and it sucks.

So I CUT OFF HIS BALLS IN HIS SLEEP.

Just kidding – I like to keep that one up my sleeve to curb future bad behaviour. Also, it’s true that over my time as a human being, I have met an inordinate amount of women (including my past self) who seem to think they can just expect their partners to read their minds regarding how they expect to celebrate special occasions. These partners, they feel, should automatically know what they are thinking and feeling, even when what they are thinking and feeling is the precise opposite of what is coming out of their mouths.

They don’t think they should have to spell out what they expect from the special someone in their lives, because a) they have watched too many romantic comedies, and thus feel that all men should be able to read their minds in the way a 45-year old female writer can; and b) they feel that sharing their expectations honestly will make them appear ‘crazy’.

Instead, they end up drunk texting their friends sentences like: “I shouldn’t have to tell him that my birthday celebration needed to involve skywriting, he should just know,” which is not exactly the definition of non-insanity, at least as I understand it.

Now fellow women-folk, before you begin listing the myriad and offensive things men do to us, let me just say that I know. I get it. The men who date us are 98% minor scumbags and 2% token bi guys with amazing hair who end up married to hot gay dudes who wear a lot of fake tan. It may not be backed up by Census data, but you and I both know it to be true.*

But, let’s be real, we are none of us A+ sanity central all the time. Certainly, I am not. If my husband gets a Snapchat after midnight from a woman, I become immediately and completely convinced it is of some girl’s tits; even if the message has also been sent to me, and even though all the times I have given in to my lesser judgement and opened one of his Snapchats, it has been a lame joke about shared alcoholism. As a recovering cool girl, I fight the good fight daily to steer myself away from that tired lady-trope of “it’s fine” before I end up on that bumpy road of un-fine thinly veiled frustration that usually ends in at least minimal random crying and maximum man-regret and confusion.

The fact is that we have all been socialised to think we can’t ask for stuff, and that men should be perfect knights in shining armour who can instead predict what we want every second of every day. Somehow, we figured out that men are at best occasionally dumb dumbs and at worst the straight up worst; but we haven’t made the leap to, “oh, well guess I’d better spell shit out for you then.”

And guess who ends up crying and sending insane texts? Umm, that would be us, ladies. Your man is sleeping soundly, dreaming of Snapchat boobs.**

Frankly, this inclination we all have is ridiculous, because men are basically never afraid to ask for anything they need ever. If your man was only attracted to girls wearing inflatable T-Rex outfits, he would have brought one along for you to wear on your first date.

So, this year I propose a movement. There is no march, and you don’t have to think up a pun about Donald Trump. You just gave to tell your partner, straight up, exactly and everything you want for Valentine’s Day.

Yes. Everything. Even the things that they “should just know.”

If you, like me, genuinely do feel no real joy about V-Day and the only thing you want is to inwardly mock others for their slave-like devotion to capitalism, then by all means say nothing and receive nothing. But don’t think that makes you any better than anyone else, because it doesn’t. You have your own crazy, babe. We all of us do.

Better to be the girl who approaches her partner a few days beforehand, takes his or her hand, looks into his or her eyes and says  “babe, if you don’t get me a card and a single red rose and then take a cute picture of us and post it on your Insta while pretending like you did it of your own accord, I will leave you for that guy who’s always posting inappropriate comments on my half-naked selfies.”

After that, please feel free to fist pump the air like that greasy-haired rapey kid in the Breakfast Club.

Then, you wait.

And if your partner doesn’t follow through, feel free to CUT OFF HIS BALLS IN HIS SLEEP.

*If you are someone who dates women then the general premise still applies, although you may have to do some pronoun shifting. I assume that y’all are pretty much experts at digesting media by ignorant straight people by this point, so I doubt you’ll have much trouble.

**And then maybe getting yelled at by you briefly. But then back to sleeping.

Advertisements

It’s Another Christian Women Thing, Obviously

screen-shot_-2014-12-24-at_-2-16-01-pm_-900x600

I’ve thought a lot about whether to write this post, because I thought maybe I was being a poor sport or a wet blanket. Then I realised that I needed to see it on the internet, and that no one else was going to write it, and that being a poor sport and/or wet blanket has never stopped me before. There is not a single roller coaster on the Gold Coast I haven’t refused to go on.

Two things happened to make me decide that this was a thing I should write. The first happened after I wrote a post about how Christian guys are often not shy about dating around, and often favour the same kind of girl when they do choose to settle down.

I’ll openly admit that I was potentially, in writing that post, using my creative powers for evil not good – which is on me. Several people asked me if the post, or parts of the post, were about them, and I felt bad that they were uncomfortable. Some of them were incredibly wrong, and some of them were right. It didn’t diminish my deep affection for any of them.

I write about the foibles of Christian culture because even through Christians are utterly ridiculous, I love them. I love us. I love that we can’t make cordial and that our unstated dress code for weddings is floral dresses. I love that we still celebrate every Christmas with a bad play featuring children wearing tea towels on their heads. I love that, on the whole, our men are good and kind and don’t sleep with 14 women at the same time like I see other blokes doing.

But I also write about them because sometimes, they do dumb stuff, and it’s often dumb stuff that the people at the top of the line don’t notice.

Not because they aren’t kind or compassionate, but because they are old white dudes.

I know, I know, I am engaging in identity politics, I am a left-wing succubus riding the coattails of those blazing a path to freedom. Blah blah.

I am also right.

Because when I posted my article online I got lots of positive comments from women who has observed this trend, and a couple of negative ones from people who hadn’t.

Funnily enough, they were dudes of the caucasian variety.

Now, please don’t misread me. I am not sad that someone said something mean about something I wrote. At work, I write articles that go on the online version of The Daily Telegraph,  a well known cess-pool of dysfunctional jerk trolls*. If someone doesn’t like something I write on my own time, that’s honestly fine. Writing is subjective, and hey, I did it for free.

In fact, when I read the first “bad review” I was overjoyed. It was my first mean comment for my blog, and it was so nice! I was overwhelmed with love for the Christian community – even our internet trolls were friendly. We must be doing alright.

The second comment was this:

(What exactly is she accusing this guy (guys?) of?) Basically rape. And everything else. Oh, and being white too. Then again, it’s late so I may have missed the humour.

At first read, I was again delighted. If written on a story I wrote at work, this would be the nicest thing I had read all day. I would probably tread myself to a sneaky browse through the Jezabel home page to celebrate.

Then I was like….wait. Did this guy just accuse me of casually throwing around rape accusations?

Because, ummm, no, I did not do that. I would never accuse anyone of rape, unless a guy literally raped me or someone I knew and trusted was like “that guy literally raped me.”

I wouldn’t do that because women take rape accusations very seriously. We take rape accusations very seriously because we worry about being raped and assaulted all the time, because it could very easily happen. I went for a walk today when it was twilight out – I could have been raped. I drove home alone at night – could have been raped then too. I am sitting alone in a room right now – someone could bust in and rape me.

And if someone did rape me, I would want to be believed very badly. So would your wife. Or your mum.

But, let’s be real, this guy is not really talking about rape.

What this guy is saying when he brings up rape is not just “I don’t get what you’re saying,” it’s, “I’m going to discredit you and your point by evoking rape, which is a concern only to women like yourself. I can joke about rape accusations, because the chances that I’ll ever have to make one are slim to none. Bringing up rape brings up the fact that men are more powerful than you and don’t have to listen to your concerns or try and understand them.”

Now, whether he intended to say all that is up for discussion. Perhaps he has never been on the internet before, and lives safely in a hilarious bubble of manly good times where rape jokes are just a hearty, old-fashioned lol. Perhaps I have been incredibly rude to some poor guy who was just really tired and didn’t appreciate my sex jokes.

Either way, let’s move on, because despite being accused of making false accusations of rape by a man listed as studying at one of the city’s largest theological colleges**, his comment was not the tipping point for what is becoming an incredibly lengthy and rambling post. My dad was.

My dad is a wonderful man, but is not a believer. He goes to church once a year on Christmas eve.

Before his trip this year, we were discussing something to do with church, and he told me the best joke I have ever heard, which doubles as a tragic indictment on our churches and everything they value.

A few years ago, he said, he was having a drink with a friend who was a minister. My dad, a man who has three daughters and endless respect for women in general, asked his friend (genuinely) why there were no female ministers in some churches.

His friend, God love him, is reported to have said the following:

“Oh, a woman could never be a minister! Women just aren’t good enough at relating to men…I can be here with you, having a drink in the pub and talking, but a woman could never relate to a man in that way.”

Dear reader, I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in my adult life. Except at this Vine, which is unrelated but speaks volumes about the kind of person I am.****

Because firstly, women can go to pubs and also can talk to men – we are not allergic to alcohol or to chest hair.

And secondly, because I have known, throughout my time in the church, some ministers who were so horrible at speaking to and understanding women it is literally beyond me that they have lived this long in the adult world. I’ve had ministers who made women so mad they considered leaving a church, ministers who left multiple women in tears after a standard question time, ministers who were straight up scared of talking to anyone with a vagina, and on and on and on. How do they buy an ice cream? How do they go to the bank? How are they all married?

Now, personally, I feel it’s biblically proper that we don’t have senior female ministers in our churches – though perhaps you take a different view. That’s cool, we’re still friends. But however you feel, women make up more than 50% of the average church. And, outside of paid ministry staff, I would argue they shoulder the lion’s share of the work in the average church.

And even outsiders see that.

They see the Christian women in their lives cooking pot luck dinners while the single guys buy drinks. They see them singing with the band and leading bible studies and helping at play group and giving up time at work to teach scripture.

They see the way Christian men talk about Christian women, who are their daughters, wives and friends.

And they remember.

This story happened years ago, according to my dad. I have been trying, all this time, to make a good impression for Christ, and unbenownst to me some dumb dumb stuffed it up with a sexist comment while I still thought Green Day were the height of musical talent.

Some would say I shouldn’t bring non-Christians into this debate at all, that this is Very Serious Bible Stuff, and non-Christians shouldn’t get an opinion on whether or not powerful men’s refusal to hear women’s voices is dumb. I would respectfully disagree.

If we’re eager for outsiders to see and know Christians, we have to be ok with outsiders seeing and knowing whole Christians. Not only the parts of our culture that we love and value but the parts that are kind of gross and unappealing and which maybe we’re not trying to fix as hard as we should.

We have to be ok with outsiders knowing, for example, that this man felt that men should be ministers because relating to men was somehow a far more important job requirement than relating to women – the larger and more active half of his church.

And I know – I know – that some men will instantly bristle at my singling them out at all, and at my pointing out how much power they have in our churches. But the truth is that like it or not, they have a lot. Whether they’re a minister, a worship*** leader, in charge of bible study groups, or just mates with someone in charge, they’re the ones leading the decisions about not just biblical direction, but social and cultural directions too.

And it’s time they started taking their ability to relate to women seriously.

I would love to see more than the current tiny proportion of Christian leaders actively seeking out women’s voices on big and important issues that aren’t whether or not we should serve cake or a pavlova at the Christmas barbeque*****. And by women’s voices, I don’t just mean married women’s voices, and I especially don’t just mean their wives’ voices.

Yes, sure, you blokes might still experience pangs of nostalgia for the old days when the ladies had to put up and shut up – but guys, I hate to tell you, those days are gone. The world has moved on. Let us help you through it, it’s important.

Outsiders see how our churches are treating women. All of us, including the ladies, need to have an answer for why women have the roles they do, and both outside and inside those roles, men need to treat women’s concerns, relationships, ministries and voices seriously.

Because ironically, if we don’t, Christian men won’t even be able to relate to men anymore.

*You do not want to hear the comments levelled at me when I said Tim Minchin’s house was art deco. Needless to say, readers did not feel it was art deco according to their exacting standards.

**A lame person

***Yes I clicked his profile I am a sad person with no life obviously

****Ugh, it’s singing, just call it singing

*****Also an important question because any woman would see at once that pavlova would require plates, while cake could be procured for less money and presented on serviettes

Fast Food Journalism Sucks and You Can Help Get Rid of it

14482099_111246986010889_790008446110924800_n

Image from Instagram’s sewmanycomments.

Yesterday I had a meeting with my boss.

My boss, if you were wondering, is a nationwide editor at one of Australia’s biggest media companies. We were there to talk about my performance.

Or rather, she was there to talk about my performance. I was hoping to have a nice big whinge.

Last year, a few months after I moved from a job I liked to take a new one at this, one of the country’s biggest papers, I was told we had a new deal. A deal with a big, exciting, existing website. We would all be expected to provide content for that website. To be exact, 15 pieces of content a week.

Each.

Yesterday, my boss told me my 15 extra pieces of content were not up to par. Not the quality she was expecting from an experienced writer.

“Not good enough.”

Not good enough.

It’s a comment journalists across the world have heard this year. Not from their bosses (though I’d wager I’m not the only one in that boat) but from seemingly every person with an internet connection.

Why are we still writing about Kim Kardashian? Where did our investigative content go? Why were so soft on Donald Trump? Also, did we know we handed Donald Trump the presidency? And also, while we were doing all that reporting about America, where was the focus on Australian politics?

Our reporting was too right wing, and also too left wing. It did not support Australian values, or it supported the wrong ones. There were too many thinkpieces, and also not the thinkpieces that I, personally, wanted to read. We damn media outlets keep expecting people to get their news from social media, but also, why was there no link on Twitter to that story about my kid’s school.

All of this talk was going on on social media, and on the blogs of a million and one “business influencers” or topless women who write poetry, and all of whom probably make more money than I do.

And I want to say one thing to all of these people, and to my boss, and to the internet at large.

We’re trying.

All of us. Really. Even those of us who have given up are trying.

Journalism is not a career you choose because you do not want to try.

First of all, we are trying to meet our deadlines, always the deadlines with us. And we are trying to meet them with less support than we have ever had before.

Sure, in the old days, a reporter might conceivably file three stories a day. In the old days, a journalist would be assigned those stories by his or her editor, then speak to the relevant people, then write the story in a little flippy notebook* and then call someone in the office.

A person in the office would type the story for them, another person might handle any relevant production** , someone else would sub the story, someone else or that same person would place it on a page and do the coverlines***, a photographer would handle the photos and any relevant artwork, and the editor would double check it and have a generalised grouse about the many things he considered wrong with it, and with life in general.

The ad reps would operate completely independently, then count their money and use it to throw elaborate Wolf Of Wall Street-style pool parties (which I assume they still do.)

The reporter would go and have a drink with one of his contacts while wearing a fedora (the timescape on this example has jumped around a lot but whatever I am too busy enjoying fake memories of these much happier times.)

Now, I do most of that.

Ok, not the pool parties. Or the fedora.

But yes. Literally ALL of those things “someone else” used to do are done by me. And I had to find that story in the first place, and pitch it my editor, and maybe he was at a meeting and didn’t get back to my email, and then did get back to it and wanted the story to already be finished, obviously, because he has a deadline.

We’re all about those deadlines.

No, I don’t do all of that stuff on every story I write, but enough so that I can say, with every slice of my journalistic integrity intact, that all of those things are part of my job description during a regular week.

In addition, I fight with the ad reps, who make more money than me but never, ever enough so that they will leave me the hell alone. I also fight with IT, because no journalist ever has been able to adequately explain to a programmer how to make a computer program that does anything close to helping us do our jobs. Seriously, nerds, one of you Silicon Valley types could make some very delicious money if you’re not busy designing the Uber of donuts, or whatever.

On top of that, I do all the boring things that every person who works in an office does, like beating up the photocopier and sitting in meetings and going to a co-worker’s birthday lunch and trying, trying, trying to get out of there somewhere at least in the vague realm of 5pm so I can have some semblance of a life away from my prehistoric Windows-based computer.

So, on top of all this crap, and writing a bunch of other stuff that this website does not want, I’m expected to write them 15 stories a week.

Like duh, they are terrible.

Obviously. I am not a superhuman – and additionally, I am not able to snap my fingers and make “the news” happen. If I could, I would be writing a story called “Local Whinger Wins Lotto” right about now. Sometimes, “the news” that this certain website is looking for happens and sometimes it does not. It normally does not happen 15 times a week.

But look, complaining aside, this is all very serious.

Oh, not for me, my boss has probably forgotten all about me by now. She was very understanding and probably now has 25 other reporters to go and meet up with.

This is all very serious because the media is a thing that needs to be taken seriously.

Not because those of us in the media are all obsessed with ourselves – although obviously we are, please see this whole article as evidence – but because our entire government is based on the media being a thing that is taken seriously.

Yet somehow, it is also still a business. It needs to make money.

The government can’t fund it, because that might affect what we report on.

So, we’ve relied on people to fund it.

You see, Gen Z, people used to buy this pile of dead trees called a…oh, you’ve seen them in the old movies you ironically watch? Excellent, excellent. Because people used to buy the paper and it used to pay journalists to write the paper. But people don’t do that anymore. Now people expect to read their news for free on the internet.

And then companies used to pay the paper to advertise in the paper, but now companies all advertise on podcasts and coffee cups and the Instagram accounts of various hot young “influencers” who will probably be my boss someday and run a seminar for me on how to attract an audience to my content.***

So, if people don’t pay us and advertisers don’t pay us, what does?

The usual. Dodgy corporate hyjinks.

Deals and schmoozing and boozing and also gambling, lots of gambling, all the news companies loooove investing in that glorious gambling.

All of which is amazing fodder for higher ups to go “we can’t afford more journalists. We gave all our money to the Department of Gambling. You need to get more out of your people. Also, they need to take a 15% pay cut, even though their current wage is $45,000 a year and thus unliveable anywhere in a major city.”

And then, we have to write 15 stories a week.

And all of them are crap.

You know what you don’t have time to write when you have to write 15 stories a week? A real slamming, stat-filled takedown of Donald Trump.

Or housing affordability.

Or the wage gap.

Or literally anything worth anything.

So instead, you write a story about a b-list celebrity who fell over at a club and flashed her vag and you post it, hoping nobody will notice and…

Oh, wait a sec.

Stop press, if  you will.

Everyone fucking loves it.

Because it turns out, nobody wants to read that other bullshit anyway.

They want to complain that it’s not there. But let me tell you, the stats are in, and they do not want to click on it.

So your boss tells you to write more articles about vag.

And more people like them, so you write a few more.

And repeat. Until death.

Quantity up, quality down. That same old equation despised by businessmen everywhere.

So, let’s all take a moment to wallow in the depression that is capitalism, shall we? Then we’ll talk solutions.

….

Another moment, I know I need it.

….

Ahhhhh.

Ok….ok. We’re good now I think.

And yes, as promised, I have answers for you.

OBVIOUSLY, because after old white dudes have mucked it all up, it’s always us ugly brown-haired chicks who have to come in and bloody fix it. Standard freaking life.

Jokes, normally it would be a racial and sexual minority it’s just that my profession hasn’t learned how to cope with either of those things yet.

But can we fix it? Yes we can.

1/ Go and pay someone your legit money for journalism

No, amateur porn does not count as journalism – it doesn’t matter if it’s politically themed****. Your mate’s sad Patreon for their restaurant blog is also a no-go. Choose a major paper in your state or city and subscribe to it. Go on. I believe in you. It’s no more than you’d normally waste on porn, or beers as you slag off your mate’s terrible restaurant blog*****. Most papers have discounted their web subscription-style programs so heavily, and will throw in so many free extras, you might even make money.

2/ Read or listen to some real reporting about a real thing

Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up vag slips completely – I already made you give up porn and you need something good in your life. But while you’re on the internet, go to the home page of that paper you just subscribed too and read an article that makes you do a little inner yawn. You know what I mean – that stuff you pretend you read but probably really don’t – like politics, finance or world news******. Actually, you don’t even have to read it – just open it and leave it there a while as you stalk your ex on Facebook or pay that huge electricity bill you’re blaming on your housemate.

That way, the paper will let a journalist keep writing about that stuff, instead of re-assigning them to full time coverage of Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat.

3/ Cut journalists some friggin’ slack

Let me tell you a secret about journalists.

We earn like, no money.

Like ridiculously little money. $45,000 a year was my pay at my first job, and it really has not risen very far since then, which is terrifying.

We cannot afford anything else, and thus, the only thing we have is our integrity – which we now compromise every day for the chance to, maybe one day a week, write a story we think really matters.

I’m saying this to prove that we must be trying. We must think this is important. There is literally no other reason to do it.

So yeah, look, if you have to say shitty things, I get it. People who are trying hard can still be bad at their jobs – and the media does have to do better, we know.

But if a journalist does great reporting, celebrate it, like and share it, show the big wigs at the top that this is the kind of content you want to see.

And please, for the love of God, stop calling every hack with a blog a journalist. Because only certain hacks with a blog are journalists and dammit, I am proud to be one of them.

*THESE ARE REAL and we still use them! Isn’t that funny? Before I got told to buy one when I was at uni I always assumed it was a movie trope, like women wearing makeup to go to bed.

**Production are magical people whose basic job description is “get the thing made.” They liase with the right people or do back end stuff to post things online or lay out the pages of a paper and generally do things the people whose names are on stuff do not want to do and we love them. Mostly. Except when they get mad. Which is most of the time, we are not organised people.

***I’m hoping there will also be a section on looking hot while staring wistfully out a window, which I am yet to really nail.

****Do they have politically themed porn? Does anyone even pay for porn anyway? I tried to be funny and relevant but I am way out of my depth here you guys. Halp.

***** Which I would probably also like to mock- can you invite me sometime?

******While we’re on world news – if you want the papers to cover it, you need to actually READ THE DAMN STUFF not just re-post that viral Instagram post that goes around every time there’s a terror attack in a Western nation, and some poor speller tries to put the media on blast for not covering a similar attack in the third world.

Yes, it is undoubtedly appalling that people are racist and terrible, but the media is only  a mirror of what you want to read – and you, let’s face it, are probably racist and terrible, like the rest of us. As I was taught at university:  1 Australian death = 10 English or American deaths = 100 European deaths = 1,000 deaths anywhere else. I nearly cried the day I heard that, because humans literally suck so hard, but it’s true that stories about world news are shoved at the back of the paper for a reason – people don’t read them.

Sex Ed in Schools Needs to Go Both Ways

saved_by_the_bell_zach_and_kelly_536

What up reader (I’m assuming there’s just the one of you),

Today I found an old rant I wrote something like two years ago about the Safe Schools program. At the time, I figured, “this controversy is not sticking around, it will surely be gone within the week. No point publishing this thing.” Oh, fool I was. In fact, the DT published a think piece about it literally yesterday. So I figured, what does the internet need? More people loudly giving their opinion. So here is mine.

In other news, I am considering changing the title of this blog to The Christian Complaints Corner, because that is realistically what it is now.

So get in your time machine, head back to 2015, and here we go:

A few weeks ago, the saints of Summer Hill Anglican Church were pissed – and they weren’t alone. Christians at every corner of the Australian internet threw up their collective arms. And not in bizarre rapture at the latest Hillsong lyric.

Some hateful group who didn’t understand us had complained to the education minister, and he’d removed three of our most sacred texts from the approved list of books that could be used as part of school scripture.

Such fundamentally important titles as You by Michael Jensen (son of one of the JENSEN BROTHERS NO LESS) and A Sneaking Suspicion by John Dickson (he was on TV! He’s an institution! HE WAS IN A BAND!) were banned from being taught in school scripture due to their absolutely, profoundly ridiculous ideas about sex (according to Hateful Group).

The other book was by a lady called Dr Patricia Weeratonge, who I won’t make fun of because she’s a kickass older gal who loves to talk frankly to boring conservative ladies about sex and sexual pleasure. She is literally my hero in every sense of the word. #bosschristianladies

Now, in case you slept through the whole Jonas Brothers promise ring fiasco*, you know that Christians believe that you shouldn’t have sex before you get married. I’d like to add a personal clarification that Christians believe this equally for both genders.

These three books all said as much. Hateful Group (TM) said as much. They made sweeping generalisations and took sections out of context. The books we banned with an upset flourish.

Eventually, following a lot of letter writing and harumphing, the first two books were re-instated. The third one was never even on the curriculum to begin with – I guess everyone just wanted to read it because Patricia is SUCH A BOSS.

In case you’ve slept through the last five or so years of same sex marriage debate, you’ll know that in addition to being anti-fun before marriage, lots of Christians further believe that they only marriage appropriate for Christian believers is a heterosexual one. A further subset of Christians believe that because they believe it, the rest of the country should believe it to.

This subset set up a group called the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), and they’ve finally annoyed me enough that I’m getting around to writing about them. The ACL have (wait for it) set out to ban some literature being taught in schools because it contradicts their views about sex.

I should say that, as far as I can find, the ACL haven’t publicly commented on the book banning scandal – it’s possible that they’ve never even heard about it. But the timing is just too good.

I say this to indicate that I did try to give the ACL the benefit of the doubt. It seemed pretty unlikely that the Safe Schools lobby was showing actual gay porn, which is how ACL made the whole thing sound, but hey – it’s always worth checking. Wouldn’t want to miss the scoop where kids got shown gay porn.

So I went on to the Safe Schools website and read the information packs they’ve put together for queer teenagers and their friends.

And they’re great.

Seriously. They’re really good.

Sure, the packs are called OMG, but I doubt that’s the ACL’s main issue. I doubt that but, honestly, I don’t know what the ACL’s main issue actually is. The brochure for friends of queer kids, for example, defines a bunch of words like ‘lesbian’ and ‘pansexual’ which I found very helpful and non-judgemental and sort of want to pass around to some of my more conservative friends all like “Here. Educate yourself.”

There’s a lot of personal stories from friends of queer kids, some facts and figures, and some real talk about what to do if your mate has a crush on you. I thought, ok, but maybe the one for queer kids is like FULL ON.

It wasn’t.

It was pretty much the same. Tom Tilley wrote a thing and it was adorable. There were numbers in the back where queer kids could call and get help.

The end.**

But hey. I love Jesus. I follow his ideas about sex. Why do I care?

Honestly, I think the Safe Schools Program said it best in their own literature:

“In your school, youth group, church, sports team, and even home life, chances are someone is attracted to people of the same sex.”

It’s true whether the ACL like it or not.

I’m not saying that the ACL shouldn’t voice its opinions on things it doesn’t like – we live in a democracy. But there’s just plain no need to oppose literature designed to teach kids not to bully people who are same sex attracted.

Further, there’s no need to try and keep Christian kids in the dark about the fact that people have varying sexual and gender identities – they will find that out as they grow up. Maybe someone they know and love is gay, or maybe they themselves are gay. It happens.

When the time comes, they should be equipped with the secular knowledge to discuss these facts appropriately, coupled with an overflow of Christian love to treat that person compassionately. To do otherwise would be illogical. I don’t stop talking to my friends every time they sleep with someone of the opposite gender.

We need to stop being afraid of what accepting difference might do to our kids and start figuring out how to accept difference without accepting sin.

Otherwise, we’re just going to continue to be someone else’s Hateful Group (TM).

*I still don’t understand why Christian teenagers need or want promise rings. If you are a teenager who’s decided not to have sex, you remember. Trust me. You know.

**I’ve just had a look, and it’s true that since I wrote this Safe Schools has put out a bunch of new material. I looked through most of it and would summarise it as follows: lots of LGBT kids get bullied at school, so lets try and be nice to people by letting people wear what they want to the formal and not being a dick to the transgender kid.

For the Literal Love of God, Just Pick (Some)one

6866502621_8ee4c14350_b

We meet again.

Yes, yes, we’ve met before. You just don’t remember, because the instant you realised I was married your eyes glazed over and you went to join another conversation and every time you heard me talk from then on, you only heard that wamp wamp wamp noise all the adults make in Charlie Brown.

But don’t worry, I know you.

Oh I know you.

Your name is Josh, John, Adam, Matt, Lachlan, Chris, David, James and Tim. Also Andrew. And actually also Josh again.*

That’s a lot of names, yes, because you are legion.

You, the church man slut.

Yes, yes, I know, you (probably) don’t sleep with anyone. Good for you, keeping it in your pants thanks to your basic reading comprehension skills. Huzzah! I know, it’s so much harder for you because you’re a man, and if you mess up it was definitely the woman’s fault. I’m so proud of your superhuman-like self control! You are basically Jesus himself. Please, tell me more about your “super unique” interpretation of one of Paul’s letters, because I’m just a woman and honestly I’m not even sure I can read on my own.

Yes, I admit it, I have used your one weakness, the overzealous compliment, to lure you back after that “I’m married” thing. Now, would you like me to set you up with my friend? She’s tall-ish with hair that’s in between brown and blonde and she looooooves that thing that you are super into. I can’t quite remember whether it was cycling, Converse and guitars, Japanese culture in a way that’s actually not racist for some reason, or just straight up white boy sport (cricket, one of the footballs) but she loves. That. Shit.

Oh sorry, did I swear? It’s because I’m married so I’m sinful and damaged goods and stuff, you get it.

If my husband cheats on me in some tragic way I’ll let you know though, because I know you guys eat that stuff up and you’ll be way interested. Don’t worry I’ll make sure I use my grief constructively to lose a bunch of weight and memorise some basic white girl verses like in Matthew or something. Nothing too hard, I know you’re not into smart chicks. Like who is we are the worst, hahaha. See I get it.

I get it because I know you. You were at my beach mission, in my uni small group, in my bible study. I’ve played soccer with you, been to your house for dinner, handed out flyers with you, we caught the bus together. I gave you a ride that time, and that other time. I gave you rides all the time. You bought me a coffee to say thanks.

You were my friend.

Or, you know, haha, I THOUGHT you were my friend. I was such a good back-up plan! I had the right hair, and I laughed at your jokes and sure, I had a few too many opinions but I was suuuuuch a good second choice because I never complained and I liked the same bands you did, and I had such low self esteem that I never expected anything stupid, like that you could make a move on me – hahaha, how ridiculous! To get with a curvy brunette when you still have a chance with a skinny blonde!

All of this, of course, was years ago, before I shacked up with some other dude. I think I have the same personality, but you know the truth – I am boring now! I am soooo boring. Married people are all boring.

You, you are the cool one, still single, prowling around, flirting with and chasing and dating progressively younger and younger girls, and then breaking up with them for really Christian-sounding reasons like “she just didn’t deal well with my leadership” or “I just didn’t see her as my wife” or “I didn’t want to lead her on” even though you already had, and like, most of her friends besides.

Don’t get me wrong, all of the above are legitimate reasons to break up with someone. I too, have broken up with people when I was still shy of 23, ie. The correct age for a woman.

But seriously, bro, you ain’t fooling anyone except that one group of super sympathetic middle-aged ladies who say they think you’re a nice boy but secretly think you’re real hot.

What you mean is:

“I met someone hotter. She’s like, so much hotter.”

DON’T STOP READING. Remember, my friend? The tall-ish slender one? The sun-bleached brown hair? The light natural tan with a scattering of freckles? The arms that look like a yoga instructor’s? I didn’t mention those? Did I mention she has good tits? Like, not too big, eww, but like, she doesn’t need to resort to nasty, Satan-approved female magics, like a push-up bra. AND I DIDN’T EVEN TELL YOU ABOUT HER PERSONALITY YET.

Guess. What.

She doesn’t have one.

I know!!!

Do you want to meet her? I thought you would. See? See how I get it.

I get it so much that I MADE HER UP, OBVIOUSLY.

Don’t worry though. Yeah, yeah calm down! I know, you want to make sure you get to have sex one day. I mean, get to serve the Lord as a husband and father. And you will. These women exist and for some reason, they date y’all.  I’ve seen them in the wedding photos of your kind. Your hot, bland princess will come.

Unless…and look, I hesitate to even bring this up. But you know. Just in case. I…actually haven’t seen you on a date in a while. And maybe…well…

Might you be…the other kind of church man slut?

You know, the uh…unsuccessful kind?

Maybe you’re a little long in the tooth, or you’ve got like, stacks of arm hair, or you’re a bit of a chubbo, or you’re balding, you just have a bad case of date rapist face*** or maybe you’re, you know…

Not white.

It’s ok. Just let it all out. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Dating is so hard on Christian men, it’s just literally so unfair. Look. Don’t worry too much. The BP (bland princess) will sometimes stoop to one of your kind. And if she won’t, you have options. Many options!

  • The future mum – Usually curvy and slightly shorter than the BP, the FM wears clothes exclusively from one inexpensive chain store, because she “doesn’t care much about fashion.” She is definitely a teacher or nurse, if she has a degree at all. She is stoked at the prospect of a half carat engagement ring. She can’t wait to bear your spawn.
  • The bible college husband hunter – I know, I know, she’s going to bible college, and that makes your little heart hurt because she might know a thing that you don’t know. But don’t worry, she’s gone there baaaaaasically with the sole intention of bagging a dude, so chances are she might not even have learned that much. Approach with caution in case she’s legit considering a Christly career, and could thus outshine you and make you feel like a little boy instead of the big, strong man that you are. Also, she’ll likely never get a job so good luck to y’all paying her enormous HECs debt.
  • The Asian bland princess – Because Christian dudes are racist too.****

Seriously, I would probably marry any one of these women, and no, I don’t need a lecture about why I can’t actually do that. Also, before you complain, please consider how many options single women your age have, which is as many as the number of times I have seen one of your kind called out on your behaviour. ie, zero.

Oh, and you. Their other option is you.

HAHAHAHA! Date a woman your own age! Do ya get it? Do you see what I did there?

See, I’m cool. I get it. I understand you. I’m just like all the older white dudes on church leadership.

Also, you’re probably my growth group leader or on parish council, so I don’t even have a choice but to tolerate you and watch you swan around, breaking hearts and acting holier than thou.

So don’t you worry about what any of us think, slugger. You get out there and find your bland princess. You hold her up high on your Instagram, until you meet her younger hotter friend and dump her on her ass, sad, confused and now too old to get with anyone else.

You make some bitches cry.

God says you’re better than us!

We deserve it!

*I randomly picked all these names. Sorry blokes with these names!**

**Or did I seriously all Christian dudes have the same 10-12 names.

***You know, that face some guys have where they look creepy all the time no matter what. Like resting bitch face but more terrifying. These dudes could be drinking chocolate milk rescuing a baby bird and you would be like, is that bird ok? Also, is he going to crazy murder me?

****For anyone playing along at home, don’t worry, I do not consider myself too good to be a stereotype. I am a small part Christian cool girl and three-quarters loud genderless bore.

  • Christian cool girl: The Christian cool girl wears indie-inspired clothing and actually knows her bible pretty well. She makes sex jokes with the boys and argues the value of 5 v 4.5 point Calvanism, but she still lets blokes treat her basically however they want. Her job is in something creative, like communications or design. She may have a tattoo. She loves cats and has a 50/50 shot at dying alone, depending on whether or not she can bag a Christian indie bro or Laid back God-fearing tradie. I’m not writing definitions for those though I need to sleep at some point.
  • Loud genderless bore: The loud genderless bore is sometimes an evolution of the Christian cool girl. She wears quirky clothing but unlike the Christian cool girl it does not flatter her and she does not look cute. She has loud opinions on everything and is an embarrassment to those around her. She has some kind of Christian-girl inappropriate job, like doctor or high-flying executive. She might be into some form of particularly punishing exercise.

My Boobs are No Longer in Fashion and I Could Not Be More Excited

 

bra7

A few weeks back I was watching the first episode of Luke Cage, in which Luke Cage totally bangs some super hot lady.

The super hot lady, obviously, take off all her clothes right away, while Luke Cage remains almost entirely dressed, because that is how sex happens when you are on TV*.

The second this unfortunate woman slipped off her bodycon dress, I let out of a little squeal of surprise and pain. Not because she was having sex with Luke Cage, he is a bit of a babe.

“What?” said Nick.

“Her boobs!” I said. “Look at them! Her poor boobs!”

The unfortunate mammaries were crammed into a push up bra so improbable I was surprised this woman was even able to remain upright. She must have been praying for the moment she got to be topless in front of tens of thousands of people just so she could get them out of that thing.

The assumption among society for seemingly forever has been that you either have big boobs or you’re willing to shell out for an expensive torture device to get them.

Enter Vogue, itself a torture device, which had a decisive word for everyone’s boobs last week.

They are out.

Dunzo. No more boobs. Nobody likes them anymore (except Luke Cage). Put down the expensive magic bras and invest instead in a buttoned up shirt with a pussy bow.

Now, this is unfortunate for me, because my boobs are usually classified as “pretty big” or “pretty enormous,” depending on whether the speaker buys sports bras from Target or those heavy duty triple clip ones you can’t get at Cotton On Body.

And it freaking sucks.

I literally always appear three sizes bigger than I really am. Normal office attire makes me look like I’m in a porno about sexy librarians. Clothing often fits everywhere else except over my chest, meaning a huge chunk of my wardrobe is made up of dresses and shirts that share more structural design with a camping tent than anything you’d find in a fashion mag. Despite this level of effort and self-sacrifice, old ladies at church often glare at my chest, as though I grew my boobs specifically to track them down and seduce their husbands.**

You know that creak an old stair makes when someone in a horror movie steps on it? The noise that signals to everyone that shit is about to go down?

That’s the noise my bra makes when I walk. Or shift in my seat, or you know, move. At all.

I have been literally given the fashion advice “Kim Kardashian is curvy, look at what she wears.”

That is horrifying. No human being should have to go through that.

My back hurts, my neck hurts, my wallet hurts from spending $120 a pop on a bra. And while looking for that bra my brain hurts because apparently a significant amount of women STILL want to buy a push-up bra even though they are an E-cup. WHO ARE THESE MONSTERS AND WHY DO THEY HATE THEMSELVES?

And every six months or so I have to sit through some hot skinny bitches with pouts on their perfect faces telling me “I just don’t understand, I’d love to have such great boobs.”

I’ve even had to sit through conversations in which acquaintances and co-workers told me they were about to shell out tens of thousands of their hard earned dollars so some fake doctor could cut their chest open, whack in some plastic, stitch it all up again and then pray to the God of malpractice lawsuits that nothing leaked or became infected.

WHY WHY WHY.

Big boobs are not great. My boobs are not great. You know the definition of a body part that is great? A body part that is great is functional and does not cause pain to its owner and does not require hundreds of dollars in upkeep each year.

You know whose boobs are great, skinny bitches? Your boobs are great.

I know, because during that one summer when all I ate was plain toast and nectarines, I too had normal-sized boobs. *Cue misty eyes*.

But you know which part of my body hurt then? NO PARTS. And do you know where I bought my bras? TARGET. GLORIOUS TARGET. And they were actually pretty and had cute shit like polka dots on them instead of being all weird and creaky and tan and misshapen.

Yes, some boys may like big boobs, but LITERALLY WHO CARES what some boys like. Some boys like Jeremy Clarkson. Some boys’ favourite book is The Da Vinci Code. Some boys think pineapple belongs on pizza. Some boys voted for Donald Trump.

Some boys are not a good judge of things. There is no accounting for the taste of some boys.

So please, bring on this new era of small-titted greatness. I welcome our new overlords of the A-cup. This is – and I feel like I should put a trigger warning on this phrase given the amount of times it has been co-opted by old men with right wing political views – perhaps fashion’s first great victory for common sense.****

Besides, as some drunk guy once told me at a party once, more than a handful is a waste.

*Seriously, if Game of Thrones was the only sex education you had ever had, you would 100% think sex happened like:

1/ Woman takes off literally all her clothing and stands full frontal, facing the dude, which he stares at her like she’s a piece of clothing he wants and he’s deciding whether or not it’s too expensive

2/ The guy gives a long, impassioned monologue about his feelings, which are usually about something completely unrelated and gross, like his dead mother or the girl he’d rather be banging or his unquenchable thirst for the blood of the Lannisters

3/ The guy runs at her like he’s going for a tackle in a game of rugby

** I’m not, I just wanted to get an Oreo from the snack table.

***Since the bushy eyebrows comeback of 2014, of course. Long may our lord Cara Delavigne reign.

A Ball of Shame in the Pit of My Stomach

800px-mr_donald_trump_new_hampshire_town_hall_on_august_19th_2015_at_pinkerton_academy_in_derry_nh_by_michael_vadon_07

The second year me and my husband were married, we went round to his family’s house after Christmas lunch with my folks.

We went out to the back porch, and I stood shocked, awkward, as one of his brother’s mates sat on a plastic chair, cleaning a gun.

I live in Australia, so the times I have seen a gun at all are few and far between – which is wonderful, and one of the reasons I like living here. But because of this I was a bit afraid.

But it doesn’t excuse what I did next. I stood there while this man – who I won’t name, though he deserves it – rattled off hateful slander of all sorts. Everyone was a target – Asians, muslims, aboriginal people – though he had more colourful names for all of them. There were a few hateful remarks about gay people and some jokes about hitting women thrown in for good measure.

I stood there and I did nothing.

I didn’t stop him. I didn’t fight back. I didn’t say any of the 100 perfectly logical rebuttals I thought in my head.

I let him talk, because I didn’t want the people around me to hate me, and because he had a gun.

And because occasionally – only very, very occasionally – I agreed with him.

It does make me annoyed to think that a very, very* small percentage of immigrants choose to have more children so they can get more welfare. I am frustrated that housing is so expensive, in small part because of Asian investment. I do worry about terrorism in this country, which is not always connected with Islamic Australians, but has been in the past and might be in the future.

And I am so, so ashamed.

It burns and drops through my chest and belly. The admission of these things I think can barely leave me, but I’m starting to think it’s important that it does.

I complained about this man’s words to everyone I knew but I didn’t mention this very, very, very small, shameful part of me. I hid it from everyone. I hide it from myself. And sometimes that’s a terrible thing, because in the darkness of our own hearts things can turn twisted and strong and make us do awful, secret things.

They don’t always. But they can. And they have in America.

Americans have bottled up their prejudice, too ashamed to show its face to the people around them. They have told the media, polling agencies, their friends, the internet that they would never vote for this horrible man Donald Trump, this monster who puts down and belittles those who don’t have his systematically entrenched power – his maleness, his whiteness, his $14 million loan from daddy.

They lied.

They did vote for him. They voted for him in unprecedented numbers.

They did it quietly. They did it in secret. They thought nobody would know. But now we all know.

We know they’d take a leader who rapes women, who wants to build a wall to keep out immigrants, who opposes marriage equality, to maintain something they don’t feel they even have.

It can’t just be the loud men with guns who solely brought him. It must be some of the people who stood, saying nothing; people who didn’t fight back, because some deep part of them saw this as sense.

Some poor sad part of them thought of the tiny wrongs done against them, wanted the best of the land to themselves, didn’t want to share.

What they thought they did in secret they now can’t hide from the light.

And I’m sorry.

I’m sorry to all the people who weren’t born with my white skin or my middle class parents, my safe home in safe country.

But I’m sorry also because I know this will happen again.

It will happen again and again and again, until privileged people give up our shields and fences. The places we hide our shameful feeling that we might lose something, some power we won’t even admit we have, some quiet, unfelt rule of “better than”, our #notallmen and our #alllivesmatter. It will happen again and again until we try and collectively face up to the army of angry, disenfranchised people we have created and the big orange monster we have sent to try and fight them.

Until we face down a man with a gun and say “you are wrong. That is wrong. You do not speak for me. I will try to be better” we will never move.

We must face down those who aren’t like us, but we must also face down those who are. Perhaps a bad joke was a slip of the tongue – but surely a polite correction is better than polite silence.

We must say “I am sorry!” not because we are good, we are none of us good, but we need to be better.

Perhaps we will be pelted and pelted and pelted with anger –from both sides, from all sides. But it’s time we took it. We need to show those parts to the world.

And they need to be beaten out.

I would never, ever have voted for Trump. But people with these same parts did.

Take them away.

I’m sorry.

I’m so, so sorry.

It’s Your Party, Hump a Bin if You Want to

article-3893582-39f36a7b00000578-244_964x419

This amazing photo collage is by the Daily Mail, and from what I can tell, includes images from Getty Images and AAP. Please don’t sue me I’m poor and this is too great to not use.

I’m going to start out with a confession.

I have no love for drunk stories.

Your drunk stories are like doing heroin or trying to psycho-analyse your dreams. Perhaps enjoyable if you are you. Straight up illogical to everyone else.

I know this will come as a shock. I have sat through them. I have squealed in all the right places. But I hate them. They are dumb.*

But, while I would honestly rather talk about my tax return, I endure the drunk stories of my friends and coworkers with grace. Like me, they have a right as semi-functioning adults to blow off steam anyway they choose – whether it be at home re-watching old sitcoms with a wine (like me), out grinding at the cliz-ub (do people still call it that? Did they ever?) or enjoying that last bastion of moneyed boganism, the races.

The races is a place where Australians go to ruin their lives. Everyone gets dressed up, and then they have a drink and then they put money on a horse and then they have too many drinks and then they waste all their money on a horse and then they wake up on a lawn strewn with garbage covered in their own vomit.

Personally I freaking hate the races, as my idea of a good time doesn’t include control underwear, losing money or horse violence. But if you are on older bogan with skin like an old leather bag or a slightly overweight young person who likes the way you look in a bow tie/fascinator, and you wish to make the sacred pilgrimage to our nation’s second best city for the Melbourne Cup and act like a total clown, great.

But woe betide you if you expect to escape sexism while you’re there.

Old mate News Corp (where I ahem, totally work, these are solely my own opinions, etc etc) published a piece today entitled ‘Ladies, You are an Utter Disgrace‘ (thank you, thank you, but really, it was a team effort.) It warns us gals that we’re very welcome to attend the cup’s festivities, but God help us if we expect to join  in.

“Where is your sense of dignity?” 100-year old etiquette lecturer, I mean, columnist Anne Usher berates, “How could you consider it appropriate in any way, to behave as some of you did? Your classless antics don’t just reflect poorly on you. They impact every single Australian woman — and how we are perceived in the eyes of the world.”

Hold up. Firstly, pretty sure she stole most of this from the speech my year three teacher gave after someone put glue on an annoying blonde kid’s seat and none of us would own up. Which, fair enough, it was pretty moving.

Secondly, it seems by “the way we are seen in the eyes of the world” she means one American wrote a piece about how ‘those Aoss-ies done look stupid’. These are a people who are seriously considering Donald Trump to RUN THEIR DAMN COUNTRY. I don’t even need to make a joke about The Donald, because he is his own punchline. So I think I speak for all Australian women when I say we don’t give a cheap polyester hair piece what those morons think.

Thirdly and most importantly, why the hell do we need to have a sense of dignity in the first place? Women have rarely been given one before.

But Usher wants to change all that. She says that instead of swigging from bottles and flashing vag at random passers by, we should emulate Jennifer Hawkins (what is her job?) or Kate Waterhouse (what is her job?) and Julie Bishop (JBish has two jobs. One is being awesome at politics and the other is refusing to define herself as a feminist and thus crushing female dreams across the nation.)

These women are classy. Their hair is shiny and they did their makeup just like Instagram said. And then they stood around and smiled at everyone and made polite small talk and if an old creepy man “accidentally” ran his fingers along their butt, they just tittered and figured it was all in the spirit of the thing. They didn’t try to (gasp) make any jokes or (shock) eat any canapes or (what) grab any man butt. They are good girls dammit.

Boys will be boys. Ladies, please perfectly curl your hair and then get out of the way.

At least, that’s how Hutton would have it.

“Sure,” she says “there’s just as many images to be found of boozed up blokes skylarking — but aren’t we as women better than that?”

Answer: No. And why the hell should we be?

How many times does it need to be said? Women are people just like men.

We’re expected to work like men, earn like men, take criticism like men – and then go home and spend the weekend in our matching Peter Alexander nightie and robe sets doing embroidery?

If we come to the party, we are there as accessories, not people.

Smells like horse shit to me.

Personally, I long ago got tired of standing on the sidelines trying to look as hot as Jennifer Hawkins (spoiler alert, this will never happen). She looks bored as hell anyway. So when I do get off the couch and head out to whichever local watering hole my cool friends tell me is worth it, I will not be getting blind-vomit-drunk or hooking up with a rando, because frankly that is not what I want to do. But I will sing karaoke and get in screaming fights about politics and sometimes throw my shoes at people.

So, while I may not really want to be there while you throw up in a gift bag or pretend to give a blow job to a can of pringles, I will defend your right to do so as long as I can type.

Grab life by the bin handles and hump it.

Just don’t tell me about it afterwards.

 

*If any of you other boring people were wondering, faking interest in a drunk story is extremely easy. All you do is take what you want to say and stop approximately a third of the way though, like:

You keyed that bitches car? That’s so awesome(ly irresponsible do you know how much a custom paint fix costs)

You went home with him and the sex was bad?! Babe no way (could you expect anything else drunk men are terrible at sex they can barely even find the ground good luck to them with anything smaller)

You spent $300? You’re crazy (when it comes to managing your money please let me get you a high interest saving account)

The New Medium

clothing

Today I went to the shops, which is always a fraught exercise for me. Usually, the only reason I go to the shops is to buy food, and never to buy clothing, because clothing is my least favourite thing. As a result, my “look” is Manic Pixie Dream girl meets extra from Oliver, but that’s a story for another day.

I’m willing to put aside my general shopping-inspired anger for now because I managed to find not one but FOUR items of clothing on this, happiest of days. That’s four items that I liked AND which fit over my weird, lumpy body. The sizes on these items were as follows:

8, 14, S, S

I read them and stood agape at my good fortune. Somehow, between trying on a fitted denim shirt and a puffy-red ’50’s style skirt I had lost THREE CLOTHING SIZES. It takes me a long time to take clothes on and off due because, as previously implied, I am crap at all things sartorial – but even allowing for my next-level dumbassery, the difference in time was maybe ten minutes.

I imagined myself heading a Michelle Bridges-style step-based program. What a star I’d be! Oh, the poorly worded Facebook ads I would write! Oh, the babies I would have with muscled up, tattooed reality stars! Just three easy steps! Step in to change room, put on item. Muck around checking your phone, put on next item. Step out! Ta da!

Except actually I didn’t think that. Like I’m an idiot but I’m not an idiot. Instead, I stopped to marvel once again at women’s clothing sizes – the mess, the madness.

I was raised to believe that numbers were sort of a rigid system. That each one had a fixed value, and that that’s why they were useful. Within the realm of women’s clothing this is not the case. A number is a vague suggestion, a side eye at a concept that may or may not contain any bearing on reality.

Look, I understand. Sometimes, people have much bigger boobs than they have stomachs or they have much bigger shoulders than they have thighs. I do not have these problems. I dress for one region and one region alone – my hips. I’ve been told all my life that they’ll be great when I decide to push out a kid, but they’re also the reason I can only buy high-waisted jeans, so screw that. If the great decider that is my hips can wear both an 8 and a 14, you’ve got trouble my friend. Right here in a suburban Westfield.

For one thing, how annoying that I had to try on so many sizes – because ugh. For another, how annoying if I wore a size 14 as standard and you’d cut the damn thing two sizes too small. I don’t know why clothing stores continue to pretend that only people below size 16 wear clothes, but I do know that if I’d found the perfect occasion dress and couldn’t buy it because the sizes didn’t go up high enough, I would probably wear whatever was lying around in my pajama draw to my cousin’s wedding in protest. Like, my cousin is pretty understanding, but damn.

But, as angry as the ranty plus-sized ally inside me was, something annoyed me more. It offended me most. That snarky little S, staring at me from its black and white plastic-ed throne. Taunting me with its falseness.

Now, let me assure you – I am the most aggressively medium-sized person you will ever see. If you look up medium in some dictionaries you will see a picture of me, smiling, alongside the world’s other great indicator of medium-ness – the McDonald’s medium sized soft drink.

So don’t go running around trying to tell me that I am a small! I know I am not a small. I reject small (for me, other girls are small for real and they are great). I have spent hours at the shopping centre eating food and avoiding fixing my wardrobe, training for this moment so I can confidently pick up the size marked M! I don’t need your snarky, leery vanity sizes judging me. I am a medium, dammit, and I require no pandering. What if I lose my t-shirt during an impromptu group skinny dip? Like, I’ve never done that, but why rule it out? Nobody is going to bring it over to me while I’m wet and shivering and trying to cover my enormous hips! They’ll be like “don’t bother, that chick is totally a medium.”

In fact, I am literally so medium that you could just create a whole new system of women’s sizing with me as the epicentre – the sun, if you will. I will be your ultimate medium, and all the smalls and the XXLs and the people who have to shop in the kid’s section can revolve around me. Sure, it might be a bit weird, but it literally cannot be any worse than the system we have now. It just cannot.

Clothing industry, you already cause me untold suffering. You boast an aggressively medium human rights record, which I can’t talk about without hearing “I’m sure that’s not true” and “goddamn Jill, shut up.” You punish me by ensuring I can never keep up with your revolving draw of new fashions, which taunt me from windows as I shuffle past to Mad Mex. You do us all a disservice by continuing to sell items in that horrible mustard yellow that’s back in this year. Nobody looks good in that crap, guys.

So please. However you do it, do me this one solid. One size. One dream. Medium.

You Should Break Up With Your Christian Girlfriend

Normal people of the world! Have you noticed that your boyfriend or girlfriend:

1/ Regularly attends church and, worse, bible study

2/ Invites you to lots of camps with catchy acronym names

3/ Wears a crucifix a suspicious amount of the time

4/ Cannot, like just CANNOT make a decent cup of cordial

5/ Has straight up told you “I’m super into Jesus and feel weird for dating you”

If so, you might be dating a Christian – and not the cultural kind, the weird kind.

Christians can sometimes be pretty great, so even though I’m being a jerk and joking about it, you might actually love one of these enormous freaks. Take heart though, because I am here to help with my very understanding, sympathetic advice:

Dump the bitch.

Yes, yes, you heard me correctly. Let me make my case, as one of their bible-reading, floral wearing own.

They don’t think you’re good enough for them

Even if your Christian boyfriend or girlfriend is doing all the right things, saying all the right things and has your nan’s number on speed dial, they’re probably also nursing a secret crush on the sexy guitar player from the church band who’s memorised the entire book of Matthew.

I’m not saying they’re not in love with you – you’re probably great and they probably are. But as they look around, they’re noticing who else is available because they know that, eventually, they’re not going to end up with you.

You’re their date to formal. Their crutch. Their second choice. Their dirty little secret. And when you’re not there, it’s pretty likely they’re on the hunt for something shinier, newer and more into Jesus. Because even though you’re great, they probably don’t see a long term future with you. They don’t want to deal with a lifetime of questions from their parents, their minister, their Christian mates. They’re happy to hang out for now, but don’t look long term. They’re not.

They have stupid opinions

I’m generalising, but the majority of Christians think that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to be married. Some think men should take on a leadership role in marriage. Many think that abortion should be illegal. Some eschew contraception altogether, or don’t drink. Many genuinely enjoy the music of Coldplay.

In other words, they’re potentially coming in to this relationship with a whole bunch of different expectations about any future you might have together.

Even if you and your long term love could envision a future together in which you could compromise on what to tell any future children you might have, could you decide together whether to terminate one of those children – and could you convince your partner to do it so they thought it would anger the almighty, all-powerful God of the universe?

Obviously, all couples disagree. All navigate a few minefields. But do you want to sign up for eight or nine big ones right out of the gate?

I wouldn’t. I hate Coldplay.

I know you’re not getting any

Ha ha!

But seriously, you’re not, are you?

Your BF or GF may not be the kind to rock a purity ring, but chances are they’re saving sex for marriage. They may have made some vague suggestions about when they’ll let you take off their pristine white lace panties, but the chances of them following through are somewhat low.

Unless…

I’M WRONG and you are treating your bad self to some guilt-ridden, awkward missionary or a lacklustre blow job with your supposedly chaste guy or gal pal. In which case, good for you…I guess? Chances are they feel empty and guilty afterwards, and let you know with passive aggressive slut-shaming or outright tears and guilt mongering. I’m um, so happy for you that sounds….super fun.

Seriously though, by sexing up your Christian boyfriend or girlfriend, you’re just making yourself a tortured story they’ll have to relay over and over in marriage counselling with their virgin fiancé. By not sexing them up, you’re…well, you’re probably getting pretty frustrated.

They’re not going to marry you

Christians are really into marrying other Christians. That way, they can write #blessed on all their couple selfies so they feel like they’re not being selfish fools posting one every five and a half minutes.
Seriously though, as a rule of thumb hardcore Christians marry other hardcore Christians – and so they should. Do you want to yawn your way through church every week and teach your kids about a glorified zombie? Probs not.

A girl in my circle of friends dated a Christian guy for years, and as her friend but not-good-enough-to-say-something friend, it tortured my soul.

I watched as she gave up more and more for the relationship, and one day, as I drove a mutual mate home and we discussed it, I couldn’t hold it in anymore.

“Even if he’s told her he loves her and he will,” I raged “he’s never going to marry her. Ever. One way or another, she’s going to get dumped.”

She got dumped.

Apparently she “sort of wished he’d realised it sooner.”

I haven’t spoken to this man in years. But I’d contend he did realise it. All along. When he asked her out, when he met her family, when he told her he lover her, when he kissed her and hugged her and comforted her, he knew this was not the woman he was going to make his wife.

He might have fooled his brain but his stomach, his gut, knew.

Hate him yet?

They’re not treating you right

Let’s level – you’re probably a great person. And as someone who’s into Jesus, I’d really like you to join our team and see you rock around town in a bunch of primary coloured hoodies with bible verses on the back.

It’s highly likely so would your boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s one reason they might be dating you. But even if you were actually really keen to get into Jesus in the same way they are, this person still may not be for you. Because they are being a dick.

They might have many other great qualities, but they’re not treating you the way they deserve to be treated. They’re giving into feelings for you when they know there’ll be no sex, you’ll have no long term future, and there’s probably fundamental flaws in your compatibility.

Best of all, they probably resent you for all of the above.

I know, because I dated a non-Christian for four solid years. I didn’t think he was good enough for me, we had wildly conflicting opinions on nearly every major topic, he wasn’t getting any (and what he was getting was guilt-ridden and later became this sob story) and I knew I wasn’t going to marry him. Even as I looked him in the eye and spun tales about some day that I would.

I wasn’t treating him right.

Three days after we broke up, he made out with one of my better friends. Which means that not only was I being a selfish bitch of a human being, I made him into one too.

And Christians – because I know, honestly, you’re probably the ones who are mainly reading this at this point – do you really want that to be how someone you care about remembers the gospel that you proclaim? A thing that parted them from you, a person who treated them badly but they loved nonetheless?

You might think you’re too young for it to matter, or that you’re special and I don’t understand. And 15-year old me shouts with you that it doesn’t matter and I’m being uncool.

Don’t be 15-year old me. That chick was the worst.

End it. I’ll buy the icecream.