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Rock Bottom and the Web – by Justyna

6 May

Kazek has a CD with Aussie songs on it, sent a couple of years ago to him by my cousins Marcin and Gosia. It is appropriately called Dinky Di. It has some awesome songs on it like the Disgruntled Wombat and the Kookaburra song (a favourite). It also has classics like Click Go the Shears. He puts it on and does wild dancing to it almost daily, usually after breakfast (his other top two CD is the Fun Loving Criminals). I now know I have hit rock bottom in terms of missing Australia, when the other day the CD was blaring, Kazek was dancing and Men at Work came on with their Down Under rendition. I was swaying to it with Julian, my gut clinching tight, tears were pouring down my face. Great big sobs followed. Kazek was a bit puzzled. I tend to be a mad Dinky Di dancer most days. Imagine what happened when I Still Call Australia Home came on next…

What makes this re-immigration bearable is the web. As much as smart phones are responsible for destroying marriages and face-to-face social skills (Michal and I have a ban on using our mobiles and laptops in bed – books are permissible, although Michal claims they are just as anti-social as staring into the screen of your phone), they are life saving for people who cry to Men at Work songs. Thanks to the What’s App application I am totally in the loop with my cousins in Sydney. We actually have a contact group labeled ‘Cousins’ and discuss everything from cooking preferences to sending pictures of what is currently standing on our bookshelves. The other day Nat and Annette sent me a voice message, being total spazmos, making me piss my pants before I even managed to eat my morning toast. Had a warm buzz for the rest of the day. The spontaneity is what makes such communication excellent and as close to real time as possible, albeit minus the facial reactions. Juliette and I, for example, are in constant contact comparing baby stories and experiences and when having a shit day I know I can get her support and a sympathetic ‘ear’ almost immediately, making this whole mothering thing less lonely and weird. I hate being away from my close people who are now also mothers, not being able to see their kids or them not seeing mine. But this constant exchange of even the shortest of sentences, means I have yet not gone mental.

The fact that this form of communication is quick and more importantly free, is an amazing feat when compared to the immigration of my parents who wrote long letters to my babcia and dziadek every couple of weeks, or made phone calls that had cost then something like 8 bucks per minute. No one at either end was ever satisfied. The communication infrequent, lacking detail and never at an appropriate time of the day. Depressing moments that signified only all the more of how far away you were from your loved ones. The web, fortunately, has made me a happier-terribly-missing-home re-immigrant. And has forced Kazek to master the skill of Skyping at the age of two.

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Bottom – by Karen

26 Apr

I am rather prudish when it comes to the scatalogical. I don’t like it when people talk about their bottoms in a functional sense, make jokes about their farts, or discuss their poos and farts at all in front of me. I don’t like it when people fart loudly around me, and no, I don’t appreciate that you’re “not trying to hide it”. As I am married, some extent of fart-joking capacity has had to be acquired over the years, but it doesn’t extend to other people. I will admit that I enjoyed the other night when all the Voice judges were making jokes about Cee-Lo’s farting, but only because it showed up that Carson fellow as quite the stuffed shirt. Which I can’t relate to. *cough*.

I remember a conversation with a friend once in which she asked me why I wasn’t interested in dating a guy we knew. We got along well, had lots in common, but honestly, the main roadblock that came to mind when I investigated my lack of romantic feelings for him was… his enthusiasm for talking about poo. It seemed symbolic of other aspects of his personality – but what? Perhaps too much earthiness and attraction to well… the shit in life.

I once read a Tim Winton book in which he would describe the character’s butt muscles (or sphincter even!?) clenching each time they experienced fear. There was even a bit where he describes this happening to the main character’s young child, something like, “Billie’s bum muscles tightened” (forgive me if that’s not an accurate quote, my Google searches for those terms were about as successful as you might imagine). Anyway, that was it for me and Tim Winton.

Now I could blame my repressed childhood for all this, but I think that would be unfair. I’m quite happy for you to tell me about your sexual experiences. I love a good romp down illicit substance memory lane if you feel like sharing those stories. And even gross tales of poor hygiene or, I don’t know, tick removal procedures, will only endear you to me. But butts… What’s inside them, or threatening to come out… The bottom line is I’d just rather we talked about something else.

Austin Powers. Great movie. But I did NOT enjoy the line about the "turtle head".

Bottom – by Tabitha

26 Apr

Have you seen the TV show Girls, which is supposedly the new Sex And The City? I’ve seen only the first episode, and I guess it’s like Sex And The City in that it has all-female stars and is set in New York and is about female friendships, but apart from that, I think it’s going to be very – VERY – different.

The show has been criticised for its “joyless” sex. But actually, the characters are in their early twenties, they have crappy relationships, they’re not really comfortable with themselves, and so OF COURSE they have terrible sex. It’s awkwardly, hilariously, cringe-inducingly accurate.

This image is taken from a particularly excruciating scene in which Hannah, pictured, is being instructed by her shit-house boyfriend on how to be sexy. Specifically, he says: “Grab your legs. When I get back, I want you to be in the exact same position, but take all the rest of the shit off.” Which is what she’s doing.

When he gets back, with the lube, he then makes a move for “the wrong hole”. Her response is: “Please don’t do that. That feels awful. Thank you.”

To me, the scene is the perfect representation of the reality of what they’re always calling the pornographisation of the sex lives of young folks. There’s this hollow, macho posturing by the guy, this sad willingness on the part of the girl to be artificially posed into a “sexy” position, but the end-result isn’t shiny, bouncing, airbrushed porn-star sex. It’s just crap and awkward and embarrassing.

I worry about the proliferation of pornography. I really do. I worry about the teenage boys out there who have this completely free access to a limitless supply of masturbatory material, and how oppressive that must be. And I worry about the teenage girls who see all these vaginas so unlike their own, or indeed, anyone’s.

I had a really fascinating conversation recently with a woman who writes about the challenges facing young girls today. She told me that girls as young as 13 get Brazilian waxes now. In fact, Brazilian waxes are absolutely the norm among teenage girls in Australia, she said. But this isn’t because they’re any more sexually active than we were. In fact, these girls get Brazilian waxes for years without anyone – other than the beautician – ever seeing their pubic region. It’s just “the done thing”, like shaving your legs, or straightening your hair every day (which somehow became another of the “done things” when I wasn’t paying attention). Doesn’t that just make you want to take the girls of Australia and shake them, and say “What the hell are you doing?”  I’m sure they’d really appreciate that.

I presume it’s a passing fad. In fact, she told me that pornographic trends in vaginas indicate that pubic hair is coming back in fashion. But good God, what next.

All I can say is, after waving their labia in front of beauty therapists for so many years, these girls will surely feel right at home when they get their first pap smear.

Nudity by Beth

24 Apr

BOTTOMS make me think of NUDITY. What’s the nudity factor in your households? I think it has everything to do with the level of nudity that you were raised with as a child. I was raised with a fairly high degree of in-house nudity. No going to a nudist beach for holidays or anything, but we didn’t always close the door when we went to the toilet, and I remember my parents being naked wasn’t a big deal. I mostly didn’t see Dad naked after a certain age, but Mum kept up the nude factor. I must have been more shy with my own nudity, being a teenager and all, but now I’ve BECOME MY PARENTS. Of course! It is inevitable.

Not feeling it is essential to go to the toilet with the door closed is very handy for having a toddler (who wants to sit on your lap as you pee). But that’s the only real benefit I can see to my nudity policy. Everything else is surely just a matter of choice and taste.

My dear ex-flatmate and I (a woman) were both on the same page with a bit of incidental nudity and it made for a very harmonious household.

I like nothing more than staying in my PJs as long as possible, but failing that, if I have to have a shower, I’ll do my daily house-business in the nude if at all possible. Jeff has different ideas about nudity. As in, it’s not how you do the housework/cook dinner. He will tell me I’m nude (when I am nude), as if I may just have forgotten to dress. “Thank you dear”, I say for the 1,000th time, totally not intending to get some clothes on. The other day I was making lunch in the nude and Leo came and told me I wasn’t wearing any clothes. See, you BECOME LIKE YOUR PARENT/S, even when you’re only 2 years old!