Tag Archives | social commentary

Deal Breakers in Love

AN acquaintance recently discovered her long-time partner had gone back to smoking and she left him. For many people, that would seem extreme, given seven good years together. But for her it was part of an unspoken system in relationships that I have dubbed EDB: emotional deal breakers.

As with business contracts, it’s the non-negotiable clause. We all nurse a secret rule or set of rules that if broken are not forgivable, and breaking them is considered a breach of verbal or non-verbal contract. Continue Reading →


Sexual amnesia

When it comes to kinky sex, why do we always think we’ve invented the wheel?

AMONG my peers there was much sadness over the recent death of Sylvia Kristel, star of the 1974 erotic film Emmanuelle — a film we grew up with, and which became so popular that it made soft-core erotic cinema fashionable. The film received widespread prominence in the US when Columbia Pictures agreed to distribute it after noting that its audiences in French cinemas consisted mostly of women, which meant the movie could not be regarded as ‘‘mere pornography’’. Continue Reading →



Why are Australians so scared to smile?

ABOUT two weeks ago, a woman walking towards me gave me a big grin. I felt immediately self-conscious because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Were my pants on inside out, was my hair standing up in a strange way? I wondered if maybe I knew her.

As I walked closer she nodded. I stopped and asked: ‘‘I’m sorry, do I know you?’’ She shook her head. ‘‘No, I just thought the colour of your hair looked beautiful in this light.’’

I was taken aback by her friendliness and the nice compliment. And it occurred to me afterwards that having a stranger smile at us in this country is so unusual that we feel thrown. Which contrasts profoundly to life in America. Continue Reading →


The mighty pen

The power of the pen can be great when the unfairness of the world is too much to bear.

“Please missus, please pen,” cries a little boy amidst a throng of children all begging for pens and school books. But I’ve just run out.

I’m in the heart of Africa, in a village in Tanzania. Like many villages it’s wracked by poverty; no running water, no electricity. Malaria is rife. Though many children are now being educated, far too many lack the basics for school such as pens and note paper.

I’ve gone and bought a box of pens to give the kids. It cost me the equivalent of two dollars to buy 50 pens. And yet most parents can’t afford even this. I stand throwing pens into the crowd of anxious faces and clawing hands as my partner snaps photos. Later we will look at the photos in the safety of our hotel room and be shocked by the desperation.

Continue Reading →


Holiday Clues not Blues

Three things you’ll really want to know about this holiday period like how to save your relationship.

Hi readers,

I’m back! Here are the three column blogs I wrote during the break on how to avoid holiday blues.

31s December
How to avoid becoming an +++hole. this time of year

It’s that time of year where we all like to make New Year resolutions and atone for crimes big and small we’ve committed during the year. Well, at least I do. It’s a ritual I do each year instead of driving around to bad parties, caught in traffic and feeling unsatisfied. I sit down with those closest to me and write a list of all the things of significance that happened during the year; all the things I’m grateful for; and all the things I want to change. Continue Reading →


Depression at Work

Depression at work is becoming an epidemic around the world.

IT’s interesting that while people who haven’t got jobs or have been recently laid off tend to despair, actually having a job doesn’t ensure happiness.

A global study reported in The Wall Street Journal claims that almost a quarter of the global workforce is depressed. Apparently, 92 per cent of people surveyed linked the state of their mental health to job performance and only 12 per cent claimed to be optimistic on the work front. The respondents came from a variety of industries, but mainly in the financial and professional areas.

Continue Reading →


Sex surrogacy

We should respect those who help with sexual problems not condemn them.

I’VE known several sex surrogates and have admired them all, which is why I was so surprised recently to hear that a Melbourne sex therapist had called them glorified prostitutes and called for an end to the practice.

Surrogates are women or men who get paid to provide what crooner Marvin Gaye pined for — ‘‘sexual healing’’. The practice is sex therapy with a touch more, as advocated by sexuality pioneers Masters and Johnson in the 1960s. It’s used in conjunction with traditional therapies to provide help for erectile dysfunctions such as impotence and premature ejaculation, intimacy issues and marriage problems.

Sex surrogacy has a reported 95 per cent success rate in Australia, according to a study presented to the World Congress on Sexual Health in 2007. Continue Reading →


How to deal with suffering

It’s hard to stomach world suffering

IT’S been a horrible few weeks in the world, and a hard time for sensitive people. The daily news has been so distressing and appalling that if I were not a journalist, I wouldn’t turn on or read the news.

As it is, I can’t read the papers over breakfast, or watch television news over dinner, as what I see often makes my stomach turn and I can’t digest my food.

Last week there were two or three stories that had me feeling ill and powerless, but I soldiered on, feeling dreadful: children hit by cars, abused, murdered, starving; the massacring of animals; revelations of torture. But something snapped one morning after one particular story: I was in the bathroom putting on make-up, then I was suddenly crouched on the floor, crying. My partner tried to comfort me but I said this to him, and I am saying it now.

Continue Reading →



There’s been a lot of admissions of lying in the paper these past week. Is it ever OK to lie?

Olympic swimmer Kenrick Monk, recently broke down crying and admitted he invented a story about being hit by a P-plate driver as he rode his bike to training. Monk, who is 23, faced the media to confess to having made up the elaborate hit-and-run story to hide the fact he hurt himself when he fell from his skateboard.

‘‘I didn’t know what to do. I panicked, I freaked,’’ he said, tearfully explaining that he couldn’t tell the truth because he’d fallen off ‘‘something that a 10-year- old can ride’’. With the Olympic trials coming up in March, he had been too embarrassed to admit he suffered two broken bones in his elbow from such a stupid and irresponsible accident.

‘‘I lied,’’ say the spate of cheating men and women caught with their pants down each week. ‘‘I lied because I was scared, fearful, depressed, anxious, I had a sore tooth, a gammy foot. I lied to save you from having hurt feelings. I lied because it was in my best interests, wasn’t it, and if I didn’t you would have been angry at me. I lied and I will lie again. Everyone does it all the time, so why not me?’’ Continue Reading →


Noisy Neighbours

I’d like suggestions on what we can do to help insensitive people desist from their selfishness?

I WAS woken last weekend by a screeching drill across the road. Fair enough if you want to do a bit of home reno but not on a Sunday morning at 7.30.

Due to acoustics, given the height and proximity of terraced houses in our street, even the quietest noise reverberates. A conversation across the road is audible, so it can be presumed the fellow understood the implications of pouring such an unsavoury cacophony into the street. I guess when you gotta drill, you gotta drill. Continue Reading →