Monday, 31 October 2011

If Sundays aren't best, am I a bad mother?

Every other Sunday the Panther of News  prowels off to lead his editorial pack in their search for fresh prey. This means that I am alone in the Palace of Bundance with the Boys.

Now you'd have thought that this was something of a treat. My lads all to myself.

However, lately these days of domesticity have been anything but heavenly. I've tried quite hard to work out just what causes me to end up exhausted, bewildered and positively twanging with tension.

Sometimes it's because I have work to do - deadlines leap out from under a heap of laundry and take me by surprise. This week, for example, I was attempting to catch up after Boy Three's hand, foot and mouth virus played havoc.

Within minutes I realised the futility of this ambition and pared the to-do list back to the essentials. I considered including "pick the same things up many times" just to give me a sense of achievement.

So off we set to the supermarket. Least said about the escaping toddler and his constantly talking brothers the best. Or the alarm being triggered by someone going the wrong way through a barrier.

At least we did manage a contented trip to the park... until an ice cream van was heard in the distance. I understand that not taking no for an answer is a good thing in some circumstances, but not when it's nearly lunchtime and I said so. Besides any operation that involves moving the toddler anywhere is complicated by his insistance on playing catch me catch me. Also every single puddle, even those in the middle of the road simply must be jumped in.

Finally, we were home and he was asleep. Time to spray paint large cardboard boxes for Halloween costumes, like you do. So far so harmonious until the boys couldn't agree on how to divvy up the seasonal craft stuff, thus beginning the low grade bickering that starts to sound like a knife scraping a plate.

Speaking of noise, once little Houdini got up in something of a grump the only thing that cheered him was a few boisterous rounds of the Boys' favourite game. It's called scream at the top of your lungs for as long as you can.

Perhaps it's the proximity of All Hallow's Eve but everyone seemed a bit annoying. The brink of teen boy has come over all pedantic about, well, everything. The toddler wants to do everything his way. And middle boy thinks he knows best. All of these things happen symultaneously. Oh and no one will do anything I say first, second, or even third, time of asking. Fourth time lucky.
Oh, and there is much stickiness, everywhere.

So what can I do to make the next solo Sunday a but more fun or at least end the day not feeling quite so defeated.

PS I know single parents are stuck with this all the time, I remember. My hat, as ever, is off to you.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Lightning McQueen in trouble, let's send Fireman Sam to the rescue

You'd think that by the time you get to your third child you'd have some idea about that oxymoron that is toddler logic.

But this weekend I got caught out again.

There we were Boy Three and I in Matalan on a Sunday morning. We really know how to let it hang out at the weekend. Oh yes.

We were looking for a new basin for the kitchen sink following a frying pan and Panther incident.

So there we were dithering between the red basin that might match the kettle and the purple one that was a far prettier colour. Boy Three had been fairly happy giving his view on the shop stock. Possibly not the most reliable judge as everything in Matalan was declared "beautiful".

And as he'd been a good chap I thought I'd get him a treat. So when his eye was caught by a Cars drinking cup complete with curly straw and Lightning Mcqueen ,snow globe style in the base, I said: "Of course you can."

"Oh goodie," he sighed and clutched the cup to his chest all the way home.

As soon as we got through the door he thrust it at me and said: "Ope it."

So I did. And filled it with juice.

"No. Ope it."

"But I did."

"Noooo. Do it."

"Look. I just did."

"No. Rescue Lightning Queen."

Ah. He wanted the red car to be liberated from his watery prison. For two long days he demanded and I explained.

Then the cup vanished. "Where is your new cup?"

"In the washing machine."

And so it was. And it didn't end up there once. No. I removed it from the washing machine - stood upright in the drum with the door shut on it - three times.

Toddler logic - don't you just love it?

Monday, 24 October 2011

My portfolio career: at last I have a 'what do you do?' answer

What do you do for a living? Erm, well, it depends...

Since I decided to work for myself about four and a half years ago, the answer to that question has been increasingly vague.

I usually say "freelance journalist" because that's what I first struck out doing, but there's much more to it these days.

This year alone I've been paid for blogging for myself, writing a column, blogging for others (ghost blogging?), writing an annual report and some newsletters, doing social media, writing advertorials, writing features, sub-editing, revising finished pages, web production and writing press releases. I have written a book and been booked to talk to post-grad journalism students, both of which I expect to get paid for.

Even the most polite eyes will glaze over before I get the whole story explained.

"I work from home," isn't even accurate and, if it were, it doesn't mean very much. Does it conjure images of some kind of craft enterprise on the kitchen table or, even, the kind of work Belle Du Jour used to do when she wasn't in the lab. (Not of course that there's anything wrong with either of these employment choices, they're just not mine.)

And as for WAHM, it's even worse. More dyslexic George Michael fan than what I want to be known for.

I hardly ever tire of repeating the line: "Career? Ha. Always more of a verb than a noun to me."  Hilarious.

But now, I am delighted to announce that I have a portfolio career. I am a portfolio careerist. It means that the ragbag of things I do for a living have been neatly packaged and made to sound deliberate and grown-up.

I'm told there are loads of us now, it's a growing area. It's an ideal choice for those too easily bored or flighty to stick at one thing. Or, perhaps, those of us for whom spending the greater part of the daylight hours in one place of employment, simply doesn't work.

So, I'm off to climb the portfolio career ladder, if I can find it. Anyone coming with me?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Telephone sales people your calling is leaving me cold

Hot rage about cold callers

I should start with a disclaimer: I once had a job selling over the phone. While I was a student I had to persuade people to get the Press and Journal delivered and as a reward they would get a free pen or clock. Not the toughest sell, but I still wasn't very good at it.

Anyhow, my experiences in phoning people in places like Boat of Garten and trying to make myself understood have left me sympathetic to those who dial for a living. Since those days in Aberdeen I have had a rule that I won't be rude to someone who is just trying to do their job, after all I know what it feels like to be hung up on and sworn at. 

However, lately I have begun to reconsider my rule. 

I joined the Telephone Preference Service  to reduce the number of times I would have to politely let someone down, but it isn't working at the moment. 

I know that working from home means you're more likely to be in to answer the phone, but I'm getting at least three calls every day. If I recognise the echoy pause that precedes those from faraway call centres I hang up before someone speaks, so they don't really count. 

Let's look at today's offering for example. 

The first was from a company conducting a survey and wanting to know who my gas and electricity supplier is and how much we pay. This rankles because it's none of their business. 

I find that callers seem to ask increasingly personal questions without batting the proverbial "is it your house?", "are you married?", "how much do you earn?", and so on. 

When I explained to the electricity survey lady that I didn't want sales calls and I would rather like to know what the survey was for and who commissioned it before I answered the questions, she said she didn't know. I'm still waiting for her supervisor to call me back. 

The next was from a company who reminded me that my Dyson needed a service. Does it? I know it needs emptied, but I don't think a vacuum cleaner requires such things. Happy day - their engineers are in the area and can for £17.50 strip my Dyson back to its motor and rebuild it as if it was new. Hmmm. I tell the lady "thanks, but no thanks", she sounds bewildered. 

Later Dyson inform me that they never call like this and that it's a scam. Working on the basis that one in three homes has a Dyson, callers entice owners into having a cut-price service that turns out to be nothing of the sort. 

Then I get a call from a charity. It's a charity I registered with 20 years ago because I'd be happy to be a bone marrow donor. First, I'm interested because I think that perhaps, after all this time, someone needs my marrow. They don't. I am alerted to a fund-raising call by the words: "First let me thank you for your support."

Hmm. The caller begins the lengthy process of gaining my trust and reminding me about all the wonderful things the organisation does. 

I think charity calls are probably the worst - it's much, much harder to say no to a charity, especially one that you demonstrably support. Yet, these calls - the bone marrow people aren't alone, they're all at it - come from large call centres staffed by people working on commission. Getting your donation is a job to them. 

It's not that I don't like giving to charity, I do as much as I can afford already. So when someone comes on my phone to mess with my conscience, I'm either going to end up feeling wretched and guilty for saying now or feeling skint and manipulated for saying yes. 

So, having got that off my chest, where does it leave me? I'm still not planning to be rude to callers or even hang up. But I really, really would like to know how to stop this menace. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

If you go down to the woods today, don't forget your tea...

It's often hard to know what to give children to drink... clearly they should be having water, but, all day, every day, it just doesn't cut it. It's just rather boring. 

Fizzy drinks are full of sugar or the much nastier pretend sugar. And some of them have caffeine in them - and if you don't believe that's a bad thing for a child, you should meet Boy Two after he's had a glass of coke. 

Fruit juice is acidic and full of fructose, smoothies are too filling and heaven knows what's in diluting juice. Yes, yes, I know some of it is lovely and very efficacious, but not all. 

The point is there's something different for them to try - Children's teas specially blended for young palates by Jenier World of Teas. There are three flavours Fairy Princess, Rocket Blast and Teddy Bear's Choice.

Lovely Anita, the genius behind Jenier, said: "If your children want to join in when you drink tea, but they are not keen on the acquired taste of richer, spicier and more aromatic varieties, there are particular blends that are just perfect for them.
Children's teas tend to be a bit fruitier because that makes them slightly sweeter and more appealing to a younger palette.

"Moreover, children's teas also help you to give your kids the vitamins and antioxidants they need to make sure they grow up healthy and happy. They are energising and refreshing and naturally caffeine free which makes them perfect for younger drinkers."

And if that doesn't inspire you, try this:

Disclosure: Anita gave me some tea for the Boys to try.

Was news about the kids and dog poo a dirty lie?

Hard to believe it was October in northern Britain as the sun glinted off the water. But it was and the Panther of News romped with the young princes from the Palace of Bundance on the banks of Kielder Water this weekend.

And what a splendid place it is for Britain's largest man-made body of water. There are loads of wholesome things to do - super play areas, nature activities, art, scenery and a lovely path that snakes 26 miles around the reservoir.

It's clean and welcome. Even the spotless swimming pool has around ten CCTV cameras trained on it just to be on the safe side.

We ate at the pub/cafe/restaurant a couple of times - happy, tasty and apparently tolerant of our children's idiosyncratic approach to table manners.

Then on Sunday afternoon we popped in for ice cream and sat outside enjoying the last few rays of, possibly, the year.

While the Panther and I did some serious damage to a large portion of sticky toffee pudding, the cubs played a noisy game of leap about, make some noise and jump on the tables.

Then one of the bar/wait people, lets call him Quentin, came out and said: "Your bairn has stood in dog poo. In fact, they are all jumping in poo..."

"I don't think so," I protested, but he had whisked himself away back inside.

There hadn't been any poo at all. Mud yes, poo no. it's a dog-free pub garden and, in any case, it's not the kind of place a dog crass enough to defecate willy nilly would even consider hanging about.

So what was it all about? Was Quentin a fantasist with a thing about faeces? Couldn't he tell the difference between filth and clean muck? Or could he not bring himself to say "get your unruly brats and their muddy feet off our garden furniture"?

Dunno. But we left, sniffing our not poo-covered kids in a bewildered fashion while I considered what had just happened.

Was it a very clever, non-confrontational way to get rid of us or sneaky, manipulative and a bit weird? I can't decide.

This post is an entry into the Tots100 Best Western School Holiday competition

Friday, 14 October 2011

The truth about PMT

In our co-ed world there are certain things that we aren't supposed to admit to. These include the fact that pregnancy reduces your ability to think and that women like a good fart too (only we'd rather poke our eyes with leftover pizza crusts than indulge in public).

There's something else too - PMT is real. It makes us crabby, humourless and short-tempered, such that our nearest, dearest and, actually, anyone else even relatively close had better watch out. 

What it doesn't do is make us insane, irrational or somehow lacking a sandwich in our lunchbox.

Oh yes. The monotonous beeping noise from the metal detector toy the toddler isn't playing with but won't allow to be turned off is irritating. Picking up towels and turning off lights after people is annoying. Being yelled at from another room does my head in. Being asked five times to do the same thing that I'm already doing drives me nuts (only metaphorically) and being expected to magically divine the location of things is a little trying. But none of that will vanish next week.

It's just that today my normally, ahem, boundless patience is a little depleted. So the rage is nearby, probably lurking under another dropped toy.
My hormones do something to my ears - I can't stand the bloody noise and I just want everyone, including you James Naughtie, Fireman Sam and the entire cast of Lemonade Mouth to shut the f**k up. Now, please. This makes me possibly a little grumpy but certainly not out of my mind.

Mother Nature must have had a reason for doing this to us. She usually does. Can't imagine what though unless it's her way of preparing us for the menopause. You see, PMT gets worse as you get older so by the time a hot flush hits, you may well be very glad to see the back of menses and all that goes with it. 

Or it could be her way of saying you need to get out more. In younger, less predictable days, life was so all over the place and up and down, there was nothing much fixed to measure mood against. These days it's the same old dirty clothes, overflowing in box and emergency in Pontypandy. 

Whatever. The thing is just because PMT makes reactions a little, perhaps, more intense than they were last week and will be next week, we are actually still the same people. So any man who even thinks "oh hell, she's batshit bonkers this week cos the painters are due in" - and we know you do - best think again. We are simply the same woman, only slightly enthusiastic about some things - like yelling.

Don't say: "Oooh, are you due on? I'd best keep out the way."

Do say (probably from a safe distance): "What can I do help you and make you feel better?"

In my case, since you ask, I'd like a gin (yes I know it's 9am), a large bar of Green & Black's Maya Gold and to be left alone with my new copy of Myslexia.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Was #braeheadfail an issue of perceptions?

Unrelated picture of my child eating ice cream
Braehead fail

Unless you have been hiding under the only rock that doesn't have wi-fi you will have seen something of the story about what happened when a parent took pictures of a child in a Scottish shopping centre.

The furious parent posted the sorry tale on Facebook and all it took was one damp Sunday afternoon to go viral. 

I have started to be just as alarmed by the phenomena of the virtual viral as I am of the real one. Neither seem to be entirely logical nor is there much of a cure. 

As far as I can see when something "goes viral" it is spread - like an infection - from one person who doesn't know the whole story to the next. It's so easy to click a story onward and outward with a quick "goodness, that's terrible, now what's for tea?". 

You don't really know the whole story, the other side of the story or even if it's a true story. Remember the Gay Girl In Damascus

In this case what happened in Braehead, actually happened as it was told, but I do think that perhaps a little distortion by assumption was going on. 

Let me explain. I read the Facebook post and got to this bit: 

"Walking down the shopping mall a man approached me from behind as I was carrying my daughter in my arms. He came from behind me, cutting in front of me and told me to stop. That was quite a shock as I am wary of people with crew cuts and white shirts suddenly appearing in front of me, but then realised he was a security guard.

"He then said I had been spotted taking photos in the shopping centre which was 'illegal' and not allowed and then asked me to delete any photos I had taken. I explained I had taken 2 photos of my daughter eating ice cream and that she was the only person in the photo so didn't see any problem. i also said that I wasn't that willing to delete the photo's and there seemed little point as I had actually uploaded them to facebook.

"He then said i would have to stay right where I was while he called the police, which seemed as little extreme. My daughter was crying by this stage, but I said that was fine I would wait and began to comfort my daughter who was saying she didn't like the man and wanted to go. After about 5 minutes two police officers arrived."

OK, so far so shocking. In my mind's eye there is a mother with a little girl - small enough to carry - who is sobbing. I know the shopping centre with it's harsh lighting and marble floors. I can see it in my head. 

Right, then the story goes on to tell of bewildered parent, distressed child and illogial and authoritarian people in uniform. 

But then I discovered that it wasn't a mum but a dad. I had made the wrong assumption. In the early stages of this story being passed on Twitter and Facebook, I wasn't alone. 

So now we're clear who the story is about, go back and read that bit again, only it's a dad with a daughter. Does it make a difference? 

What about in the subsequent sections?

"The older police officer was actually quite intimidating in his nature. He said that there had been a complaint about me taking photos and that there were clear signs in Braehead shopping centre saying that no photographs were allowed. I tried to explain that I hadn't seen any clearly displayed signs and that I had taken 2 photos of my daughter.
"As i was trying to explain he said I was interrupting him and that I should remain quiet until he had finished speaking to me. Not wanting to distress my daughter further, and to allow him to finish I let him continue. At one stage i was reassuring my daughter that everything was okay, only to be told I wasn't listening by the officer.

"Once he had finished, i then started to explain again my situation, only for the officer to start speaking again. Apparently different rules of respect apply when someone other than a police officer is speaking. I explained that that far from being aggressive when the security guard came over, the way he approached me was threatening and intimidating.
"I was told that was my word against his. Although this didn't seem to be the case when the security guard alleged that I was threatening when I had a 4 year old in my arms and waited patiently for the police to arrive."
How different is the movie in your mind when it's a dad to when it's a mum?
Clearly what happened to this dad was shocking and the idea of it being illegal to take pictures of your own kids is a nonsense. The shopping centre, after a text-book example of how not to handle a PR crisis, has come good, apologised and changed the rule. 
What I'm fascinated by is whether the furore would have happened if the gender of the parent was obvious from the off. Rightly or wrongly, I suspect not. 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Why football in our street is a balls up

Why football in our street is a balls up and Christmas on Bonfire Night

It's pouring down but my son is out playing football with his friends. He loves it, he sometimes even forgets to come for lunch and, eventually, turns up shivering and exhausted.

This weekend the kids organised themselves into a tournament with goalposts set up in the street between the Ford and the Skoda.

The few cars that passed had to pause while the kids shifted their game to the pavement.

So far so commonplace, but on the other side of the pavement is a glorious patch of flat public grass where no one plays.

It's not because there is a fence our wall keeping children of the grass, nor does it belong to someone else. No. it's because there's a sign at the far end saying "NO BALL GAMES".

I'm really not sure what authority the notice is backed by, it doesn't say. The ones about dog poo helpfully tell you which bylaw dictates the collecting of faeces.

But I do know that any infringement of this is vigorously greeted by the grumpy chap who lives at the corner. I do understand that he might not want hoards of ballchasing children hurtling through his immaculate garden, but I'm sure that could be avoided.

Much as it cheers my heart to see the local children playing together, I am bewildered by the non sense of the vacant grass unplayed upon.

Now before you suggest that I find someone in the council to ask about it, let me tell you about their latest slice of genius.

Renfrewshire Council are switching the Christmas lights on in early November - November 5 to be exact. They have decided to combine the festive with the bonfire night municipal jollities as a cost-cutting endeavour.

So I'm imagining Santa on the bonfire as fireworks crash in time to jingle bells and tinsel on the toffee apples.

Is it me...

Friday, 7 October 2011

Noises to make a mother's heart sink...

There I was sitting on the loo. When I heard it and my heart sank.

I had sneaked away from the fray children to use the furthest away facility, the one in the the en suite.

Of course I hadn't shut the door, it's the en suite.

So when I heard small but heavy foot steps advancing to the cry of "mummy where are yooou?" my heart sank.

Messy toddler talks to a Dalek
A boy discusses important matters with his Dalek
It occurred to me that there are a great many sounds that make a parent's heart sink.

These include:
  • A shout followed by breath-holding silence. it will need attention.

  • The burpy bark that precedes a vomit. Get there fast an you might avert carpet annihilation
  • Any very loud smashy kind of clatter. Especially if it comes before a stunned silence.
  • Brothers clamouring loudly over the top of each other. Apparently actually knocking heads together is frowned on.
  • The almost nonchalant "no" that heralds a howling tantrum. 
  • "Mum, I can't find my.... " when you know it's there.
  • A pasticky crunch underfoot, it will always be a loved and essential thing not a Mcdonald's toy.
  • The phone ringing off as no one bothers to answer it.
  • The phone being answered and it's a work contact being told "mums in the toilet". 
  • But, the most alarming of all, total silence when you know there are children within ear shout. They are bound to be up to no good.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Melanie Reid's appeal for The Spinal Injuries Association

Everywhere you turn there is another cause demanding you open your purse. there are impoverished children, killer diseases needing researched, animals in danger and even writer's sheds appealing to be saved.

And as the crunch threatens to turn into a depression I have less and less money to spare on charity that begins outside the home. I'm inclined, therefore, to limit calls on your generosity.

So all I'm going to do is draw your attention to a three-minute Radio 4 broadcast I heard on the easy home from work today.

Times writer Melanie Reid of Spinal Column fame was talking about how The Spinal Injuries Association helps the victims of crippling injury in the first desperate weeks.

Not that long ago, Melanie was like so many of us - a busy working mother dashing about taking mobility for granted. Then 18 months ago she feel off her horse and in an instant became quadriplegic.

I don't really know Melanie on more than a nodding basis, but I have worked with her husband Dave for years. When our shifts have coincided, we've chatted - with no self pity on his part, I might add - about the seismic changes that have rocked their lives. They are rebuilding their future and getting used to very different circumstances. As she said: "It wasn't what he signed up for."

I wish them luck and ask you to listen to what Melanie had to say.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Chest hair: to baldly go... or not

Sean Connery defies description

Tom Jones is not unusual... or at least he wasn't

Selleck looks splendid

Starsky's chest great

George Michael's hair raising days were yet to come
Should men remove the hair from their chests? Arguably what happens inside a chap's shirt is entirely his own business. Except that today I've decided to make it my business. 

Why? Because when I posted a message about a special offer at The Beauty Store in Glasgow, Lady Blahblahs posted that her London waxing lady gets most of her business from removing the fur from men's chests (and other parts most likely, but chests were specified). She said: "Apparently young blokes don't have hairy chests any more."

How strange. Does that mean, then, that there's a generation of women who think that bald and shiny chests are nice... or even normal? 

When boys turn into men, among the various things that break or drop, they start to grow hair other than on their heads. So they get faces that need shaved and pit and chest hair that doesn't.

I quite like my man to look, erm, manly. And The Panther of News rises to that challenge admirably. It's how it's supposed to be, man fancies woman because she looks womanly and vice versa. Even when man fancies man and woman fancies woman, I'm fairly sure it's because they look like sexually mature adults not oddly overgrown children. 

In the prime of a fellow's life he should have chest hair. Ladies, tell me I'm not alone in enjoying stroking, twiddling and generally playing with my man's chest hair. Obviously not when we're on the train or during parents' night, but, privately in our lair, then yes, I like it. 

Clearly there comes a point when hair management becomes something of an uphill struggle, but that isn't a gender issue. It sprouts extraneously from chin, ear and brow at the same time as removing itself from crown. I suspect it's one of Mother Nature's little jokes - Follicle Roulette.

Before then though, fine chest foliage is a splendid thing. I feel very sorry for the generation of youngsters who won't know the pleasure of a torso suitably covered. Don't they look at proper men and thing "mmmmm"? 

So, this is a call to arms. Men lay down your razors and cancel your waxing appointments. Get hairy. Please.

PS In the course of research for this post one blogger revealed details of a traumatic encounter with a bloke with chest stubble. And another said her hirsute fellow won't start to defuzz because it would be the "Forth Rail Bridge of hair removal".

Weird Slime Laboratory review

A Weird Slime Laboratory has made its way into this house. The blurb on the front says things like “make slimy snot”, “make your own real lookin’ guts” and “make slippery slugs”.
Hmm. In my opinion there is no shortage of slimy snot or other loathsome and goopy stuff here already.
However, it also says it “explores the COOL science of hydrated crystals, cross-linked polymers and ion diffusion and gels” so it must be educational. Although I always thought hydrated crystals were dissolved. And now I’m off to google the other stuff.
Boy One, who is 12 and too cool for education dressed up as fun, turned up his nose. But Boy Two – nine and with a penchant for slime – pounced on it.
We opened the box and, while I was slightly disappointed by the sparse look of the contents, he was delighted and grabbed the safety goggles and gloves.
Later after a slime-fest, he said: “I made tadpoles, tadpole’s eggs, slugs and worms. I also made fake blood and farting goo.
“It was messy, but in a good way. I’ll be using it again.”
He did say: “It’s confusing if you don’t read the manual properly. I had to measure things carefully.”
Not such a bad thing as far as I’m concerned.
So, we declare the Weird Slime Laboratory a hit in this house (crowd go wild).
PS I know there’s probably something significant to say about the fact something slimy and messy is marketed to boys rather than girls, but, frankly, I can’t be bothered today.
Disclosure: we were sent a sample kit for review.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The paradox of being ladylike

Transatlantic Blonde's Feminist Friday prompt is myth busting.

In the spirit of taking a theme and largely ignoring it, I'd like to explore the contradiction of our ideals of femininity.

So what's feminine? How do you become lady-like? 

Possibly the best medium to explain this is, obviously, musical theatre. The orchestra strikes up and the heroine (think Eliza Doolittle meets Sandy from the first half of Grease and Calamity Jane) is receiving some advice from her mother/teacher/gay best friend.

If you want to get a man, be a lady,
If you want to run the show, be a lady,
if you want to be on top, be a lady,

How do I do that then?

(Stage directions suggest the cast dash around turning her into a lady in the manner of the birds in the Disney version of Cinderella)

Well... you will never smell, never swear, never sweat.
You must keep your knees together, eyes wide open, sit up straight.
Never fart, never grunt, never burp.
Don't spit, don't scratch and cut your food into teeny, tiny, titchy little pieces.
In the loo-oo-oo, look at you. Your poo won't niff.. hell, it won't even splash.

Gee, that sounds hard.

Girlfriend, it's not supposed to be easy, if it was we could rule the world as well.

Don't pick your nose, don't sniff and if you gotta blow, do it dainty.

Don't shout, don't get cross, and never nag. Never moan, don't complain. And remember no one likes a bossy boots.

Always smile, say hello, how'dyoudo and it's my pleasure. Pinkies out again.

Your shoes will match your bag. Your clothes are always clean, always nice, always right. There won't be a ladder in your tights or gravy down your bosom.

Speaking of your bosom: it's time to tame those babies. They mustn't bounce or spill. And keep your raspberries in the shade.

Say no to tattoos, cover your ambition. Keep your salary less than his and never wear a frown. Banish VPL or you'll look like hell.

Getting up, going out. Always look your best. Hide your feelings and your bra strap.  Or you'll only have yourself to blame. Banish frizz and smudges, they're not welcome here. No stray hairs. No zits. And be smooth. Everywhere.

Don't stride, that's not nice. A real lady takes tiny tootsy steps - tippy, tapping up the road.

That's it then? Is that all I have to do?

Ha ha ha. Good grief no, my dear. There's all the stuff you'll need to know.
Can you cook? Can you clean? Can you care and do the admin?
Can you buy the perfect gift? Soothe a fevered brow?
Can you find things? And repair stuff? Write an elegant letter?
How's your flower arranging? Your dinner party planning?

Phew, need a nap. Don't yawn or snore or drool.
What do you mean that all sounds a bit hard, you fool?

If it was easy the men would do it too-oo-oo.

(Cast bows to rapturous applause)

Probably the reason this show didn't get made is that in act two the heroine has got hacked off with all the bullshit of trying to be lady-like, grown her pubic hair back, found a gun and shot the rest of the cast in a very satisfying bloodbath (the mess from which, of course, she has cleaned up).

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