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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Calling all urban, sexy, mysterious soldiers. I need you, my kid is starting school.

I'm already crying writing this post and we are only one sentence in.

Not a good sign but we'll press on like the urban, sexy, mysterious soldiers we are. (Look, I'm trying to be brave so I thought the image of me being an urban, sexy, mysterious solider might do the trick.)

We're deep in the bowels of school holidays at the moment. Normally I pray for the end of school holidays as a sugar dependant child may pray for cake, but not these ones folks.

I never want them to end.

I want them to stretch out in front of me for months if not years! These school holidays are very special as they are my last with my wonderful daughter Odette.

You see Odette is leaving me.

Nay, abandoning me to selfishly start primary school AND MUMMY ISN'T COPING WELL AT ALL.

(God the tears are overwhelming me now, mascara has just gone up my nostrils - it's getting dramatic up in here.)

I've already been through this once with my eldest daughter Marchella who is heading into grade 5 this year. When Chella started school I was hosting Breakfast radio in Perth so I was just glad she had somewhere to go while I was a work thus alleviating some of the crushing guilt I had being a working Mother. Her first day at School was a happy one for me, this is not the case with Odie's first day.

I have been at home with Odie full time since she was 2 - I decided I wanted to do that as I missed so much of Chella's early childhood working. So after I quit the radio Odie and I became each others' side-kicks. I think this is why I'm not coping well with the prospect of her heading to school; I just can't imagine my days without her.

The highlight of my day is seeing what Odette will dress herself in, she has developed quite a unique style     and is fearless when it comes to fashion.

Everyday at about 8am Odette will announce to the house:

"I'm getting dressed, NO-ONE can come in until I say."

This morning we were treated to pink, wet-look Lycra leggins, a tule leopard print skirt, sequinned cardigan, pink vans and a blue t-shirt with ruffles around the neck. There will always be several necklaces  and COPIOUS amounts of perfume she has stolen from me and hid in a secret location in her room. Her eye shadow is sometimes on her eyes and her lipstick is usually in the vicinity of her lips. She is nothing short of SPECTACULAR.

Now all I'll see each day is a checked school dress and sensible shoes. Humph.

I am worried sick. I am worried they won't get her. I am worried her lovely, creative, loopy spirit will be crushed. I'm just worried about EVERYTHING now that I won't be there to protect her ALL THE TIME and indulge her unique view of the world.

My eldest is savvy, smart, independent and sensible. I could send her out to live on her own now if need be. Odette is, well she's a little too much like me I guess and that is a HUGE concern.

Don't worry I know I am being irrational and dramatic. I know it's all probably going to be fine. I know this will upset me more than it will her. I DON'T CARE! It gives me a stomach ache every time I think about it.

There is a poem by Victor Buno called "I trust you treat her well."  I remember vividly hearing Tracy Bartram do her own version for when her son started school and so I thought I'd do my own as well.

Dear World,

Today I bequeath to you a little girl with green eyes in a checkered school dress she'll have altered to make it more "Barbie."

I can also guarantee she's done something fabulous with the standard issue school cardie.

Her laughter is loud and a little maniacal she will ONLY ride HER glittery bicycle.

I hope you treat her well.

I'm afraid someone will tell her it's "Frog" not "Froggett" and correct "Huggle" to "cuddle" can you stop that from happening?

Her Mother is mental and a little bit musical so she when she sings her answers make can you make sure there's clapping?

She likes raw pasta and will only drink water from this one manky plastic purple cup.

I'll level with you now.

Alls I'm saying is,

World, don't f$*k it up!

I hope you treat her well....

Your friend Em.

Yes I know, I've already called Leonard Cohen to suggest a collaboration on his next book of poems...

Badly written poems aside I decided to do a little research on how to prepare myself for Odette's first day of School... I looked and I looked.. There was plenty of "how to prepare the child" crap but nothing on how I CAN COPE WITH THIS IMPENDING SEPARATION. Can someone alert Kaz Cooke to this?! I need her to write a book in 2 weeks as there is jack shit all out there for the "anxious, hysterical Mother."

I thought maybe I could have a crack at writing a guide to the first day of school for Mums.

Em's guide to your child's first day at school.

1. Get up early, find a nice private place and have your first cry before everyone else is up. This is the big one. You can snot it up, heave and lay in the foetal position without anyone knowing.

2. Make sure you look amazing. Pick a fabulous outfit, do your make-up and ensure everything is WATERPROOF. I mean get that synchronised swimmer shit, the stuff that wouldn't move during a hurricane.

3. Once at School immediately try to win over the teacher. If he/she likes you best then he/she may play favourites with your child.

4. Don't get caught with the hip flask in your bag.

5. Find a nice bush where you can spend the day watching if need be.

6. After the school have you removed, hide around the corner crying some more. Don't worry your face has the synchronised simmer war paint on no one will know.

7. Home time! Rush over to your child, hold on for dear life and break it to them you are considering home schooling.

8. You're welcome.

I know you know that is EXACTLY how my first day is going to play out, I'm just trying to get some of you to behave as badly as I am going to so I'm not the only one..

I still have two weeks left so hopefully by then I will have gained some perspective....

If your baby is starting school this year, I'm with you sisters and brothers - let's do this thing together.

Em x

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Women aren't funny?

I feel extremely overwhelmed starting this piece of writing. I fear red hot lasers may shoot from my fingertips and melt my precious Macbook. I fear I may not cover all points intelligently and succinctly enough. I want to write it so well, I want you to all read this and have it ignite a fire within and perhaps change a few minds but I fear it may all turn into a steaming pile of ranty poo.

I will open proceedings with the following statement: I love comedy. I am a comedy nerd. I hang out with comedians. I work with comedians Im a "gag hag" if you will. 

I especially love female comedians. 

Let me reel off some of my favourite gals:

Sarah Silverman
Tina Fey
Dawn French
Jennifer Saunders
Amy Poehler
Joan Rivers
Kathy Griffin
Kristen Wiig
Margaret Cho
Ellen Degeneres
Rosanne Barr 
Amy Sedaris
Judith Lucy
Kitty Flannigan
Felicity Ward
Cal Wilson
Fiona O'Loughlin
Denise Scott

I know I will have missed some brilliant ladies, there are so many. These were just the ones off the top of my school holiday addled head. 

So we've established I feel overwhelmed at what I am about to tackle and that I love comedians of the female persuasion.

Deep breath Em.. 

When I hear a man say "I don't find women funny" or "Women can't be funny"  I am filled a red hot rage that burns like the heat of 1000 suns in the depths of hell. Shamefully enough, on the odd occasion, I have also heard a woman say "I just don't think women can be funny."

Last night on twitter I found myself ranting Kanye style after a male colleague stated there were no funny females IN THE WORLD. Big call. Some might say the call of a man who has deep seeded psychological issues related to a mummy complex he developed as a child - but I digress.

What followed were mostly tweets of disgust from my followers at his statement but what also cropped up was some of my male followers saying that all female comics talk about is menstruation, men and mothering. 

I'm not kidding.

Ben Henry
@EmRusciano there is more to comedy than periods, children and issues with men.

When I read things like this I wonder how Ben and others like him manage to put their pants on in the morning. Is this a common held belief? If you are a man reading this, look deep into your heart. Do you think women can be funny? DO YOU?! 

I wonder how extensive Ben's research is on the topic of female stand-ups? I wonder how many he has seen live? I also wonder when Ben was ordained King of Comedy. Because surely only the preordained king comedy could be allowed to write off AN ENTIRE GENDER and their comedic ability. It must be something about vaginas huh? Perhaps all the funny just fell out of us? I'm getting ranty now, let us get back on track.. 

In 2007 Christopher Hitchens wrote an article for Vanity Fare with the delightful title:

I have reason to believe this article may have been a piss-take, however for the purposes of attacking someone to prove my point... Let us press on!

I think my favourite part was when Chris said that ladies don't need to bother being funny as they have boobs and stuff to attract men so why bother with words.. Ok, so he didn't EXACTLY say that he said:

"Women have no need to appeal to men in this way-if you catch my drift."

Oh yes Chris, we caught your drift. I'd like to see your drift inserted in a place no drift should be inserted. Sadly Christopher passed away last year but I stand by my drift insertion request.

Among other things Christopher insinuated that women only use comedy to attract men. Of course! It all makes perfect sense. I know I only perform in the hope of impressing and trapping a man, that's definitely why Ellen Degeneres does it right? 

Just when you think he can't get any better, Christopher rips out this gem:

"MOST female comedians are hefty, dykey or Jewish." 

I know, what an enlightened man he was.

I'm not even going to bother with that one. 

Surely I don't need to. 

It's no secret that comedy is a male dominated scene. It's a burley, scary, tough world and in my experience you have to play by the boys rules because there are just so many of them. Men outnumber women on the comedy circuit a bazillion to 5 or something like that. 

Comedy is for the brave which is ironic as a lot of comedians are a tower of insecurity needing laughter to bolster their fragile egos. (Same applies to performers, I include myself here.)

I think a lot of women are capable of delivering excellent stand-up but they lack the encouragement and confidence to actually do so. I have also observed that audiences are more tolerant of a man bombing on stage than a woman. I think women are expected to kill it and deliver every time otherwise they are deemed "un-funny" forever.

Last year comedian/writer/actor/producer/queen of awesomeness Tina Fey penned an excellent memoir called "Bossypants." 

Of working with the Saturday night live writers she wrote:

"Only in comedy does an obedient white girl from the suburbs count as diversity."  

Interestingly enough Tina has a much more zen approach than I do to people who say women aren't funny:

“When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism … ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this person in between me and what I want to do?’ If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.”
Good advice T (I like to pretend we are friends and that I call her T.)
Are women funny? Some are, not all.
Are men funny? Some are, not all.

I guess what I am ultimately trying to say is: let us judge what is and isn't funny by what happens on stage not by what happens in our pants.. 

Wait. I can do better.

Let us not get hung up on the gender of a comedian. Funny is funny whether it has a bulge in it's pants or in it's top.

Just don't say anything wanky like: "women can't be funny" It's beneath you. It's not true and you should probably get something done about your small penis. 


Monday, January 9, 2012

Single? Want that to change? THE DOCTOR IS IN! I mean me, I'm the doctor..

My two closest girl friends are single.

It's a God damn jungle out there my friends and if you're a single person reading this then you know what I mean. Ammiright or AMMIRIGHT! (We've all just high-fived via cyber space that's why your palm is suddenly throbbing.)

I am married. Being married is challenging. Too be honest, I'm not sure which of the two states is tougher.

I am going to talk about a few things from the perspective of a single woman because that's what I hear about day in/ day out from my two best girl friends. I am often the person they turn to for advice when things inevitably go wrong with a fella. I'm not sure sure why; it may have something to do with the fact I have tricked one into staying with me for eleven years but even then, I get that wrong so often I worry about the validity of my advice.

Also, I encourage you to take the following words from my brain with a massive grain of salt. I am a well know lunatic and get a lot of shit wrong, I don't think I have THE answer but I do have something for you to have a crack at.

I believe men aren't really ready to settle down until they are 30, of course there are going to be exceptions to this rule and I avoid making sweeping statement where possible but; on the whole, I stand by this opinion.

While I have my big arse broom out. I think women, given the right bloke are ready to nest and procreate by 22.

Why is this important, it's not really I just feel ladies in their 20's trying to hook up and settle with men in their 20's are up against it from the start.

Firstly, I wish to point out my love for the male species. This is not a male bashing piece. I. LOVE. MEN.

My closest friends are male, a couple straight and ten gay so let us establish from the outset : if you've got balls- I'm a a fan.

Of course, not all women want or need a man. Rah, rah women's lib and all that. My two do, so we'll be attacking things from their perspective if that's ok with you.

Both girls are hot.

Both are successful.

Both are good eggs. No bullshit. No bitching. If I were a bloke, I would lock both of them down ASAP.

Both want a longterm meaningful relationship.


I can walk into a bar or cub and spot the guys my two girls will target. They travel in packs of 4, wear expensive watches have huge biceps and are uber tanned. There is usually a lot of high-fiving going and it would be remiss of me not to mention the teeth, they always have SPECTACULAR teeth.

We all know these guys.

I wish to stop here and dwell on this type of bloke if you don't mind. I have a couple mates who play professional sport and fit the above description perfectly. I love these boys like brothers, they are good guys who are committed to their sport. They are kind, funny and loyal.

However, until they are finished with their sport or click over 30 I would't let my dog date them. I hear how they talk about women and see how they treat them and it'a pretty shocking. AGAIN this does not apply to all professional sportsmen or hot meat axes in general, of course there are exceptions to the rule but I am dealing in stereotypes here so let's push on.

Back to the bar.

Here is how things usually play out.

Friend  targets a bloke.

Eye contact is made.

Smart arse comments exchanged.

Drinks purchased.

Much talking at the bar, laughing, witty banter.



Cheeky pash.

Home. ( I have banned them both from taking randoms home on first meeting so they usually don't.)

Facebook stalking commences, photos analysed, friendship requested.

Facebook friendship accepted. Flirting commences via direct messages they miraculously end up at the same place the next Friday night.

Def con 1 pashing occurs.

Home for the sex.

Text messages exchanged during the week, drunk texts on the Thursday night, late night booty call.

Friend HINTS maybe they should do something in the daytime.

Bloke ignores this.

Things fizzle out.

Friend left wondering what the fuck went wrong.

This plays out over various time periods with sex being withheld for weeks or hours with the same result.

After grilling a few of my single, straight male friends I have been able to gather that the fear of commitment comes from the fear of missing out. Missing out on boozy nights with the boys, missing out on the next hot woman who walks in the room and not having the freedom to try and pick her up. Missing out on doing whatever the fuck they want which could involve sitting nude on the couch playing x-box for 8 hours straight.

So how do I combine my knowledge of both sides? How can I bring them all together so we end up with meaningful connections that don't result in boys feeling suffocated and girls crying alone in bed wondering what went wrong? Baring in mind there is multi-million dollar industry devoted to this very topic with eleventy millions books/tapes/dvds and seminars available.

Well, I have given it deep thought. It's not an original solution but it worked for me and I have had the girls try it recently and they are having good results.

Here it is.

When confronted with a potential romantic situation choose wisely and don't RESIST it or ASSIST it just let it happen.

No game playing, no dating rules, no deep analysis- just let it be. Expectation usually leads to disappointment.

Also, and this is the IMPORTANT PART: SAY what YOU MEAN and MEAN what YOU SAY. Then there can be no confusion, about anything.

That's it.

Choose wisely.
Let "it" happen naturally.
Be honest.
Expect nothing.

Before you come up with ten reasons why this won't work. Try it. Just try it.

Go into every new romantic situation with this intent. It puts you back in control, you will have the hand, you will hold the power of grey skull.

So, your homework for this week is to try this course of action. Then I wish for you all to report back.

Go forth my brave solders.

E xx