I thought I was feeling less stressed than, say early October, when I was a tightly wound ball of neuroses.
Turns out my ball is still quite tight.
I popped into the vegan cafe at the end of the road to buy cupcakes. It’s a cafe that’s popular with a slew of celebrities, Melrose hipsters and yummy mummys (although today the demographic seemed more ‘depressed teacher’ than anything else).
The food on offer looked, as ever, delicious, the prices, as ever, extortionate and the staff were, well, zen squared. I don’t know why I noticed it today over any other day.
The woman who served me was in her late thirties, with fair but lightly lined skin, a sweeping blonde up-do, and a soft pinky lipstick that was probably called ‘Peachgasm’.
Her smile was warm, her demeanour calm, and her blue eyes twinkled. She greeted me with a cheery hello but try as I might, I could not engage on the same level. Too stressed? Distracted? Tired?
I barked my order and as I did, I realised that I hadn’t had any real eye contact with her, and must have seemed incredibly rude. That’s not really me.
In a flash, I told myself to look up and smile. Which I did.
I told her how delicious everything looked (trying to make up for being such a grouch), and she talked me through one of the specials. She sort of floated over to the cash register. I paid and she handed me my gluten-free goodies in a paper bag.
Then she said goodbye with a light and fluffy tone, and I left hurridly, envious of her sunny disposition.
Now, while I’m prepared to accept that she might be on Prozac or something, I also realise as we creep towards the end of the year, that I MUST fight my way out of this neurotic state.
It’s killing me.
When you sit in a state of stress, it becomes the norm. But it isn’t. Snatching teeny tiny pockets of slightly less stressful time is not enough for a productive and healthy existance.
I wonder if the life I’m living is totally wrong for me? Or am I just being a whiny-middle class baby? (One who dreams of living in the countryside and making artisan cheeses, because that’s not stressful, right?)
Or am I asking too many questions?
No idea. A side effect of stress is that you forget how to make decisions. (Or how to ask the right questions?)
Whatever, zen vegan lady had a big effect on my psyche.
And the cupcakes, on my thighs.
…instead of putting on your slippers to go to the bathroom, you put on your knee high boots.
Apropos absolutely nothing, I noticed this afternoon how much alike Chloe Moretz, from Hugo, and Dame Celia Johnson, from Brief Encounter, look.
I told a story in my blog a few months ago about two guys I saw sitting together at a table in Starbucks.
They were both in their mid to late thirties, wearing their hipster jeans, comic book/cartoon/slogan t-shirts, and sporting sneakers and scruffy hair. They were also both playing video games; sharing a table but both engrossed in killing prostitutes/gangsters/aliens.
They were two men who hadn’t grown up. It was all fist pumps, ‘Duuuude’ and Muppet nods to each other over table as they wasted a perfectly good afternoon bonding like they were back in fifth grade.
I stared at them for far too long, my mind whirring. “Why don’t boys want to be men any more?”
I’m not saying all men are like this, or that you can’t have an afternoon off to hang with your friends but it’s this breed of man who is making it all but impossible for a certain generation of women to have families.
This picture on the right is of Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson from the spectacular 1945 movie, Brief Encounter.
Amazingly, Trevor is only 32-years-old in this photograph but he looks like a real man.
No wonder Mad Men is so popular.
The reason I bring this up again is because this week I’ve heard worrisome tales from three girlfriends focused on the childish behaviour recently displayed by their menfolk. (Two of whom are fathers.)
It clearly helped them to talk about it, so I would like you to share you tales of boy/man woes.
Get it off your heaving bosom and tell me stories of past and present partners, who either cannot, or will not grow up.
Did they book a golfing holiday to Ibiza just after you had a baby?
Did they break up with you via text?
Were they more concerned with making friends on Twitter than making sure you were ok?
That kind of thing. Let’s hear it.
In the meantime, I’m off to swoon over a very charming Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter again. *sighs*
This article, ‘Why Marriage Is A Declining Option for Modern Women‘, about missing the marriage boat, originally appeared in The Atlantic, and appeared in an abridged form in the UK’s Observer newspaper today.
Written by Kate Bolick, it’s trumpeted as a ‘profound insight’, and has garnered an incredible amount of (mostly scathing) responses from their readership.
But anyone who hangs around here will recognise many of her themes.
Miss Bolick is textbook spinny.
A late thirty-something who ditched a decent bloke because she thought she could do better (didn’t want to compromise), put her career ahead of everything else and is now staring into the abyss of spinsterhood, panicked that she may never marry or have children.
What amazes me is how this kind of article can still be considered interesting enough to publish – not once but twice.
Surely we’ve moved on the from the realization that society has changed?
This is the reality for women everywhere.
So shouldn’t we be taking the debate further?
What happens 20, 40, 60 years down the line when marriage is obsolete and the traditional family unit has been kicked into touch?
It seems as if we are fast forwarding to a world populated by spinsters and men who never grow up.
I’ve said it here before, women will end up living together to survive. We will need the companionship and financial support of room-mates.
Interestingly, the article talks about a Dutch single-sex living collective, and having ‘a room of one’s own’.
Yes, yes, yes all very well but single people, while independent, also need a pack of both men and women to run with.
Women have to find an answer to this conundrum. Throw away that 1973 issue of Cosmo and make new rules.
Stats show that women may be earning more but the current recession will put back any real hopes for absolute equality, so although it can be argued that women are better off than ever, we still have a long way to go.
And while we angst over this 3rd wave of feminism – the 2nd wave died when Ginger Spice hung up her platform shoes – what we really need to do is inform Ms Bolick and her ilk that ‘play the cards that life deals you’ is the new ‘having it all’.
And to the even younger generation – the real third wavers – such as my god-daughter who is about to turn 19, we need to be very clear about what we teach them: if you want a family, start now. Work later.
Because your youth is the only currency you have when it comes to finding the father of your children.
Everything else can be fixed. But not that.
Today I did something amazing.
*Pauses for dramatic effect*
I did exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.
Top that world!
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