Broodmares and Englishmen

The trip to Sydney was more serendipitous than I had dared to expect. Above all, it was a time to relax outside of the dull arena of boring Perth, for unlike Perth, Sydney might well be a real city, which exudes a real presence. My impressions are necessarily fleeting, as I only stayed east for four days. What surprised most was an opposite impression to that which I had expected…that Sydney types would automatically look and behave in a more stressed out fashion, due to their big city existence. Rather, it seemed to me, most Sydney types…and no doubt part of this was due to the holiday season timing of my stay…were superlatively self-possessed and relaxed. The underlying agitation that I sense in Perth characters, despite the surface smooth demeanour…the just below the surface troubled waters…were not there. It seems that I have made a mistake attributing a Perthian consciousness to a general “western” condition, rather than as being a product of the fragile and combustible condition of the more modest economy here. Perhaps a sort of rampant nihilism is not archetypically western, then. The looseness of the associations back here, the cut and change of others’ loyalties is probably a survival mechanism, held in common by those who experience constantly changing fortunes. The insubstantiality of the characters here reflected in the looseness of associations is a feature of putting one’s economic interests first in this economic context that offers few if any superior options.

So there I was a Perth nihilist in Sydney…and doubly so, for I had given up the only option, of conservatism, which could have economically saved me here, whilst shriveling my soul. Whilst on sojourn in big “S”, I was delighted to put temporarily aside all thoughts of my unwinnable economic situation back in Perth. In a matter of days, I managed to lose the residues of some accumulated social poisons. One advantage of empty ritual is that it offers a short reprieve from the sadomasochism of every day life…at least for the audience of, for example, a wedding. One does not need to fight or feed the psychic economy, which generates itself by backbiting. One can relax a little, endeavour to unwind.

We did play games which might have been conceded to be strange by aliens who visited from up above. The handbag weigh-in and the competition to collect clothes pegs by penalizing one of your fellow hens, for ignoring an arbitrarily imposed rule-set, were particularly deadly. The boys’ games were no better as they celebrated the last night of cock freedom. I did not manage to guess the entire contents of the bride’s handbag, just by the feel of what was in there, either. I have a feeling that jet lag intervened between my mental state and my overwhelming goals of accuracy, producing from my writing pen such rampant suggestions for bag contents as lumps of granite, an automatic weapon, and electric fuses.

The cock celebration night apparently went quite well, for Mike, with disappointment at the plasticization of sexuality and the absurdity of being back in an Okinawa-like military base setting both raining down upon his head. The sky opened up and stormed dramatically that night he walked back in a solitary fashion from the strip club.

Other highlights of the trip…besides the copious offers of champagne…were insights into the basic obstinacy of the one-time ideologically and culturally inculcated mindset of the white Rhodesian, which permeates the consciousness of those who in my family are not myself, and clouds their thinking, only without appealing to this designated name. Mike saw this superior state of being in the attitudinal posing on buck’s night and I saw it myself in the somehow subtle evocation of a brood mare in reference to my mother, during my father’s speech. (I am not sure whether he was implying that she has the spiritual quantum OR genetic material which he felt he lacked, but somehow he expressed a feeling that her own comparative lack of defects had appeared to have produced a hearty stock.)

Beyond these little facets of the experience, I received further little tokens of intrigue, when both sister and mother, after a while, remarked upon my dress so much as to excuse themselves for not having chosen a dress like the one I had. My mother: “That dress colour just doesn’t suit me. It suits you very well, but that colour does not suit me. I must wear purply pink, instead.” My sister: “I tried on a low-cut dress like that, but it didn’t look good on me. That style looks good on you, though.” The wedding celebration was an ideal time for family and friends to acknowledge those ever so slight, formal differences between us. I conceded the difference they had spotted gracefully. It must have taken quite some time for them to think how this stark difference had come about.


4 thoughts on “Broodmares and Englishmen

  1. It’s funny how commodification sneaks into even the wedding tradition. The “Bucks’ Night” (aka ‘bachelor party in the USA) was an example. All was good…well nearly…the pub crawl pleased me. But the utter “thingness” of the sexual gymnastic stage and the phoniness of the “bar girls” seeming interest in what the assorted bucks had to say, all the while being pushed to buy yet another WAY overpriced drink, made me think of Okinawa and being on liberty with my fellow Marines. “You lonely GI? No worry GI, mo skoshie payday. You buy me drink?”That’s the thing about commodification. Whenever, wherever it raises its plasticized head, I turn off; I turn away; I walk.

  2. Oh dear, I earlier commented on said red dress – but truly not being catty. I really do not feel comfortable in red – but love the color and the look of it. And you looked wonderful.

  3. You don’t think they were trying to find common ground (in a round about kind of way) with you? Since talking about dresses is what some women do – it may have been their way to try to reach out to you? Or not. I don’t know them…just an observation, or question, really?

  4. Yes, yes, exafrica, but if they were trying to find common ground between us then surely a revisitation of the more substantial differences between us, with appropriate attempts at explanations, would be appropriate. For example, “I confess that I have opposed in my mind and my body the development of your intellect and tried to render the importance of your education for you null and void. The reason for this is that the kind of fabric and texture of your intellect doesn’t go with the colour of my skin. It makes it look faded. I consider that a hessian sack is more appropriate attire in which to eat humble pie, and it bothers me that you prefer to revel in your difference.” And “I confess a condition of the mind which revolts against pure colour and strong lines. I could never wear the kind of daring you put on, and that is why I have opposed you with my piety. I am now able to acknowledge and admit this difference between us. You have your style of mind, and I have mine. It’s just that I prefer something more Pollyanna and was determined you would look better in it too.”

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