Tuesday, October 28, 2014

So much has happened

I've always hated bloggers who start a post after a short/long hiatus with "so much has happened since I last posted" because it seems like the equivalent level of creativity as starting a story with "once upon a time." Its also pretty fucking self centred. Of course you think a lot has been happening, you wouldn't have a blog where you tell everyone all about everything that happens otherwise. But guess what, so much has happened since I last posted.

I went for a trial at the fancy restaurant in Cottesloe and was fairly uncomfortable. Their coffee game was weak and it didn't really remind me of The Breakfast Club. Just a busy restaurant that doesn't wash their milk jugs. So I also offered my services to the cafe at MANY and was immediately offered a paid weekend long trial. A few hours later the fancy Cottesloe cafe called to offer me the job. I turned them down.

So now I work at MANY. Its pretty chilled. I work on my own which is good because I don't have a neurotic, over controlling boss breathing down my neck telling me to adjust the grind but bad because I don't have anyone to talk to when its quiet (or when its busy) which is almost all the time. But all the customers in MANY are super friendly and I actually enjoy talking to them. Coffee making is way more enjoyable when you don't have to spew out 700 long macs in forty five minutes. There is no drainage system in the cafe so everything is in take away cups and the food menu is minimalist, so there are no dishes. While I am still sick of working in hospitality, I do enjoy making coffee. I enjoy putting on a pretty dress and arranging my face into something nice and making a delicious beverage for someone who can turn around and thank me for it. I love the positive feedback of making something and doing it well, and giving it to someone else so they can enjoy it. I also get to do the instagram for Kate and Abel, so I make a flat white with some kick arse latte art and within a day 50+ strangers like what I have created. That just doesn't happen answering the phones for an engineering company.


Western Salvation is kicking along. I've been spending my spare time pulling bikes apart and covering them in paint, wrapping piles of books in twine and fiddling around with logos on Photoshop. We're opening shop on Saturday so hopefully we'll get it all together by then!


This thing popped up on my facebook feed last week and it keeps crossing my mind. Its called 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose and encourages you to look at your skills and interests from a different angle to work out what you want to do. I find the exercise of "If money didn't matter, what would you do everyday - go and do that!" particularly useless. If money didn't matter, I would sleep in every day, sit in the sun drinking beer and reading David Sedaris books and go out for every meal with friends and my dogs. I would not do anything, ever. I'm pretty sure this is what most people would do if money didn't matter. I find the questions in this article far more relevant and every time I go through IT, Psychology is not the answer to any of the questions. With the results of my uni application just around the corner, this doesn't make me feel super confident about next year. I really think I want to be doing something creative (this is where people suggest I get into Art Therapy - to which I reply - isn't that just like being an art teacher for sad people?) and making/producing something. Maybe this is why I like making coffee. Maybe its just because that's the only thing I can do. Eugh I don't know. (No I don't want to own a cafe).

Oh! My sister is pregnant! She'll be due in early April which is very very soon, really. When I first found out (and before we were allowed to tell anyone else) I sent Steph a congratulatory text and said a phrase I have been waiting for almost two decades to say. I first saw this joke on a poster in my Dad's childhood bedroom at his parent's house. I thought it was daggy, but hilarious and couldn't wait until I could try it out. And so three months ago the situation had arisen. Like Eminem, I only had one shot and I didn't want to miss my chance to blow, (for me, because I only have one sibbling) this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime, yo.

Seventeen years I had been quietly saving that one. Seventeen years I made sure I didn't actually say it in front of Steph. Seventeen years I imagined saying it to her and her finding me witty and amazing and the coolest ever. I say it and she thinks I'm drunk. Perhaps this is to be expected when you plan on telling a joke your seven year old self thought was witty. Its super strange and terrifying and exciting all at once to think that there will be a new member of the family, living and breathing and eventually talking and personality having. I can't begin to imagine how Steph is feeling.

I'm sure there's more to share but I have work in the morning. I don't start til 10 but you know, the second season of Party Down isn't going to re-watch itself.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Why I'm not changing my name when I get married

I had this idea for an article for ages and finally wrote it for Flint a couple of weeks ago. I was uncomfortable about it being published on his website because its quite unlike the other articles and somewhat staunchly feminist, a badge I wear with pride, but when thrown into an arena as the only one openly discussing such issues it can seem a way bigger deal than it is. Anyway, James was super encouraging and said go for it, then changed his mind and said it was too "bloggy" which I agree with. I think he's possibly forgotten about it and I don't really want it on there anyway, and if it did make it up it would probably be heavily edited. I don't think its right for Flint but I still like it as a tight piece of writing. In the name of Emma Watson, and her brilliant yet not super mind blowing UN speech, here is a slice of my opinion on the effects of a patriarchal society.

For the record, I actually hate those stick figure family bumper stickers.

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I have a spectacular name. People have often suggested I pursue a career that results in fame, to put it to good use. Some have also mused that it should belong to a transvestite or a stripper (a classy stripper, Mum, maybe a burlesque dancer) or that I just plain made it up, although I promise them its on my birth certificate. As it stands it has a pretty good ring to it, but when my middle name, Cristel, is thrown in to the mix, it becomes a joke that my Dad still finds funny, twenty five years later. I'm a walking Dad-joke. While working in a bar in London I tried to convince my friends to make a cocktail named after me. It would be served in a champagne coupe, rimmed with sugar and probably embarrassingly pink.

Despite constantly having to spell it for strangers, and people pronouncing it incorrectly more often than not (a teacher once called out “Sean” when taking the role, even though I went to an all girls school) I love my name. Even my ludicrous middle name, with its annoyingly unique spelling. No man will have a surname as cool as “Sugars.” It's part of who I am. This is the first reason that I refuse to change my name when I get married.

In today's Western society where women are no longer the property of their fathers or husbands, and have equal education and economic opportunities, it makes little sense to change our surnames after marriage. While I understand there are some women who don't like their names; perhaps it is particularly difficult to pronounce or has sexual allusions – my grandmother once told me about people called “Sofilia Dicks” and “Miles Long,” - or perhaps they have a paternal family member who has made a life for themselves by dressing road kill in doll's clothes and they'd just rather not be affiliated with them any more. That's fine and I understand that. But why should I assume my husband's identity if I'm happy with my name and not ashamed of any of my aunts' or uncles' professions?

When broaching the subject with Sophie and Lara at a very average CBD bar, Soph stated that it would be ludicrous if someone suggested she change her first name when she got married, which is just as much of her identity, so why should it be any different with a surname. A valid point that surely makes sense to everyone. Yet women are expected to drop their surname without giving it a second thought.

A study in Norway revealed that due to women's increased age at marriage, higher levels of education amongst women, urban residence and economic independence, more and more women are keeping their surnames after marriage. However 90% of American women still accept their husband's name and 50% of men believe it should be legally required. Many argue that the reason is to uphold tradition. Perhaps its because I am a young, educated woman who grew up in a liberal household but using 'tradition' as an excuse seems akin to suggesting a woman is diagnosed with hysteria, in my mind. It just doesn't make sense any more.

Marriage used to be a financial transaction. Families would sell their daughters into another man's family, where she would accept their identity and become a live-in baby maker and kitchen cleaner. And in fact, selling wives from husband to husband was popular through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Girls were married young as life expectancy was lower, so there was little time for education (not that that was allowed for the fairer sex) or making a name for yourself as an independent adult. The name tacked on to the end of your first was merely a signifier of which man-led household you belonged to.

Erin sent me the link to a discussion forum where a soon to be married man exclaimed that his fiance had recently suggested she would like to keep her surname (perhaps as part of a hyphen) once they were married. Before asking fellow forum visitors if he was in the wrong, he stated that had she discussed this earlier the relationship he certainly wouldn't have continued to the point of proposal. What followed were the kind of misogynistic comments you would expect to hear from Abbot and his cabinet ministers. Perhaps one of my favourite, suggested that the man's fiance clearly didn't want to get married that badly if that's the way she thought.

I fail to see how the modern institution of marriage, which is now based on love and no longer on economic stability, would be affected should the woman want to hold on to a symbol of her identity she has made for herself for the last twenty five years or so. Surely that's the part of her that you have fallen in love with and wish to marry in the first place.

In today's modern world of independently successful women like Beyonce, Tina Fey and even Julia Gillard, surely we're not expecting women to submit to the antiquated ideologies of marriage that allowed spousal rape and denied women access to their own finances and property.

I'm not saying that all women should refuse to change names, lest they be accused of being anti-feminist and undoing generations of work by dedicated bra burners. If a woman wants to change her name that is fine, although I would be sceptical of her reasoning. I just think the archaic expectation that women are always the one to drop their names should stop.

Some brides choose to change their surname so their children and their family unit will all have the same name. However this doesn't mean the woman necessarily has to change hers, as it just as easy for the man to take on her family's identity. In fact, some family friends of mine used an online name generator to invent their own when they tied the knot. Meaning that both husband and wife are letting go of their past identities and creating their own family identity separate from (but still linked to) their parents' names. Even I would consider letting go of my fancy stripper title for this equal name changing technique.

A friend of mine, whose mother was the first woman in Queensland to keep her surname after marriage, was telling me about her family's names. Her and her two other siblings have her Dad's surname while her mother has retained her surname and sits atop the family like a protective chicken over looking its coup. Well, I believe that is how she described it to me; you'll have to trust me that it was far more poetic and profound under the influence of several Tuesday evening beers.

While the feminist inside me approves of this drunken bird analogy, I fail to see why names are that important to family. Considering today's families consist of different races and orphans, foster kids, surrogate mothers, guardian grandmothers, test tube babies and the neighbour's cat after they went to Gibraltar on long service leave and never came home - why would a common surname suggest there is any more or less love in the modern mish mash family unit. There can be just as much support and passion between people who all look and sound the same as there can from an adopted, Frankenstein-esque group of adults, children and animals.

And besides, the stick figure family on the back of your minivan is going to look just the same if the mother has kept her name. Maybe one day mine will have a little pink cocktail in her hand.