Fainting fancies



I’m embarrassed, amused certainly, but most definitely embarrassed. You see, I apparently have the delicate sensibilities of a Victorian lady, and am prone to fainting. Yes, fainting, as in swooning like a corseted ancestor. Bah humbug! 

A few days ago, I was happily commuting to work when I saw an interesting entry on Letters of Note describing the surgery endured by Lucy Thurston, a missionary on Hawaii in 1855 who underwent a mastectomy without anaesthetic. For some reason, I ignored the warning that preceded the article advising the squeamish to go no further, despite the fact that I get faint every time I have to give blood. I convinced myself that I would be able to read her rather descriptive letter, because you know, it’s not like there were pictures or anything. It turns out that I’m really not that tough at all. 

Unfortunately the bus was crowded, and due to the heavy rain, incredibly stuffy, and as I started to feel ill while reading about blood spurting into the surgeon’s face, I turned my phone off and thought increasingly desperately of ringing the bell and jumping off so that I wouldn’t be sick on my poor unsuspecting fellow passengers. 

…and then I heard an alarmed voice in my ear asking me if I was alright, and I found myself lying on the girl sitting beside me. 

That’s right, I’d fainted from reading an article.*hangs head in shame*

And unlike our Victorian ancestors, modern society doesn’t know what to do with a fainting lady. There were no smelling salts applied to my delicate nostrils, no handsome gentleman to loosen my clothing, no maidservant to mopping my perspiring brow. Instead I slumped in my seat with my mouth hanging open, moaning faintly while the bus driver made everyone disembark in the pouring rain and called an ambulance. 

In the space of an hour, I went from reading about painful medical procedures to enduring them, as the paramedics gave me finger-prick blood sugar tests and the ER nurses inserted a cannula into my hand and took vials of blood. 

ImageDon’t believe the nurse when she tells you that a cannula will save you from further pain when they want to take blood from you later, those things hurt like the dickens. 

Not only was I hooked up to ECG machines and blood pressure monitors, nobody seemed to believe me that is was a straight forward faint. Apparently modern human doesn’t faint without good reason and “I was reading a gory article” just doesn’t cut it as far as explanations go. 

Though completely mortified that a few simple sentences robbed me of my consciousness and reduced me to a whimpering jelly, I felt warmed by the kindness of strangers who waited for the ambulance with me and held my hand while I tried not to further humiliate myself by vomiting in public, and while I shed a self-pitying tear or two (there’s nothing like having to scroll through your phone contacts to find a friend to help you, to remind yourself that you live alone in a city). 

In future, I shall avoid anything that remotely horrifies me, at least while I’m on public transport. I’m thinking of expanding my faint triggers to include mentions of ‘ankles’ and ‘unwed mothers’ just to fully embrace my Victorian sensibilities. 

I shall be advertising for a lady’s maid to carry my hartshorn and fan.

Yours etc

Lady F





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The moustache-less and desperate..


I’m confused. Two years ago I wrote a brief and somewhat flippant blog post that happened to mention fake moustaches. To this day, I get hundreds of search hits from people searching for “fake moustaches.” Who are these legions of folk, hunting desperately for fake moustaches? Do you they seek to hide naked top lips from social ridicule? Are they spies in search of suitable disguise? Is there a new Freemason rite involving false facial hair? Should I view the luxuriant facial bristles of my friends and acquaintances with suspicion? 

Perhaps false moustachios could be the next dotcom boom.

Yours in bare face solidarity


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Esther Jenkins’ Heart

…Esther Jenkins liked to tell lies. All kinds of lies; small white lies, sly half-truths, cheerful daydreams, and enormous technicolour monstrosities of invention. It didn’t matter to Esther whether she was inventing social commitments in order to decline an invitation to dinner, or describing her (imaginary) eldest daughter’s ballet recital to the butcher. What mattered, was the glorious swoop she felt in her stomach when she told a lie so convincingly that she almost believed it herself. That slight tingle she’d get at the nape of her neck when people responded to her lies, as they listened and commiserated, laughed and believed.

However, though Esther lied to strangers, the postman, the lady next door, her oldest friends, her closest relatives, she never lied to her heart. Her heart would ask her, after every lie she told, Esther Jenkins are you true to me? And she would reply yes dear heart, I would tell you no lies, I speak only truth between us and her heart would rest easy, until the next time. 

And then one day, Esther told a lie of such magnitude that the sunshine was briefly dimmed and nearby, a small mountain trembled and the local townsfolk shaded their eyes and muttered to each other that they must have imagined it, because the solidity of that mountain was a byword for steadiness and predictability. 

Esther Jenkins lied to her heart.

She told her heart that she was happy, when she was not. And her heart was not the greengrocer nor her second cousin Jenny, and it knew that it was a lie before the words were even fully formed. It paused when Esther finished speaking and simply asked Esther Jenkins are you true to me? And Esther, while staring up at the sun wondering why it did not seem as bright as usual, replied absently yes dear heart, I would tell you no lies, I speak only truth between us. And though she waited for a reply, her heart did not speak again…


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Bukowski said it best

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
don’t swim in the same slough.
invent yourself and then reinvent yourself
stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
change your tone and shape so often that they can
categorize you.

reinvigorate yourself and
accept what is
but only on the terms that you have invented
and reinvented.

be self-taught.

and reinvent your life because you must;
it is your life and
its history
and the present
belong only to

Charles Bukowski

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Black Thoughts Live Here

Being relatively low on cash means no regular access to the Internet at home in lieu of things like having a roof over our heads, being able to eat healthy and nutritious food, buying train tickets to and from work, etc. This in turn means that I post less, although I did get a wagging finger about not posting more from a kind-of-secret-admirer on a recent trip to Sydney, so I’m back to blogging when I can through my mobile phone. Desperate times do call for desperate measures! I’m also back on facebook, but instantly remembering why I chose to go off in the first place. Anyway, Australia Day (often referred to by ATSI Australians as Survival Day or Invasion Day) happened yesterday and boy was it a sh*t fight! Here are some of my reflections:

In the lead up to Invasion Day there was quite a bit of…

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Commun(al gawking)ity

A few nights ago, Frankly, I was lying on the couch late at night watching Jersey Shor..I mean,  a highly intellectual SBS documentary, when I heard the unmistakeable sound of a car careering out of control, desperately attempting to brake and, finally the crump of impact as it hit a concrete fence.

Being incredibly nos..errm..concerned about the welfare of those involved…I donned trackies and made my outside to investigate and guess what? I’d never seen that many of my neighbours, not just together in one place at one time, but ever.

As the driver of the car had apparently recovered enough to rapidly depart the scene scattering debris as he went, the gathering of neighbours was left to stand about clad in various degrees of pyjamadom decrying his idiocy, poking about in the wreckage of the fence, telling near-miss anecdotes and generally revelling in the novelty of finally meeting those we share snippets of our lives with through apartment walls.

In a town of 9-5 public servants, the most interaction I have with my neighbours is nodding hello as we all rush for our cars or buses in the morning and when we all come home at the same time. I couldn’t tell you who I share walls with, I wouldn’t even be able to identify them by sight, let alone names.

As it turns out, we were all, sadly, watching that “terribly intellectual SBS documentary”, we’ve all seen the white Toyota drive at incredible speeds down our narrow street and we’re all nos…concerned citizens. (Also, Tim from 38 has both a Southern Cross tattoo AND a tribal armband tattoo. Shame, Tim, shame.)

It seems that a car crash can apparently knock down the metaphorical fences between neighbours too.

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I am Woman (you’d hear me roar, but that would be unfeminine right?)

Hey Frankly,

Apparently our lady ancestors struggled to ensure that we have the opportunity to do anything we like, but for some reason too many of us choose to believe that there are still things that are ‘unfeminine.’ More irritatingly, the things we most often judge as ‘unfeminine’ are those things that represent strength and physical competence.

You’d think that with our modern day obsession with sleek, well exercised bodies we would have accepted that women are physically competent and yet we continue to place limits on the ways in which we can acceptably demonstrate our physicality.

It’s acceptable to play ball sports but if we’re invited to play backyard cricket in mixed company we all too often act as if we’re too frail to bowl a ball or swing a bat and instead giggle and squeal. Seriously ladies, get in there and hit that ball out of the field and if you can’t, at least give it a red hot go instead of pretending that only boys have the strength and co-ordination to play.

If it’s acceptable to attend a ‘self defence’ class, why would you think that learning a martial art is unfeminine? Learning to fight off attackers is both acceptable and encouraged but learning physical discipline, control and strength AND how to handle possible physical confrontation is unfeminine? How does that make any sense?

There are so many more examples, but I’m feeling depressed enough as it is. Ladies, I ask two things: Don’t limit yourselves – you are capable of anything; and don’t police other women’s behaviour – don’t, just don’t.

Later Frankly, I’m off to do some pushups.

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