Embarrassment 101: Why you should engage your brain before your mouth

A bald head bobbing in the waves: the man I love, in the sea.

A bald head bobbing in the waves: the man I love, in the sea.

Allow me to set the scene.

It’s 2001: a beautiful, typical, Sydney summer’s day. The sun is blazing, the sky is endlessly blue, the smell of sunscreen is in the air, wafting along on the most gentle balmy breeze that gently caresses your shoulders and butterfly-kisses your face. An ice-cream, having toppled off the cone of some bereft child, melts on the pavement; a casualty of over-enthusiastic licking.

There I am, getting ready for a day at the beach with the man that I’ve been seeing for two months, who I’m madly (secretly) in love with, having already (secretly) marked him as my husband-to-be. Of course I haven’t told him I love him – it has only been two months after all – but I can confess to silently mouthing “I love you” at the back of his perfectly smooth head, willing my words to telepathically enter his brain so he will understand – finally – and say it first.

Anyway. We’re at the beach. The waves are crashing. The sand is glinting. The seagulls are squawking. We have a day of utter smoochy romance, lying on our towels and swimming in the sea. We’re curled into each other, attached like two limpets on a rock,  and all the while I continue with my telepathic onslaught. “I love you,” I say silently. “I love you so much.”

We towel dry and brush off the sand as best we can. Throw on our clothes and head to the Newport Arms for fish and chips. We stand by the fish and chip counter, in an embrace, staring into each other’s very souls.

“Shall we order fish and chips?” I ask.

And this is the moment – the moment at which I could swear he looked into my eyes and said:

“I love you.”

But did he really? Had my ears deceived me? And then the silent, torturous, mental freak out: OH MY GOD! DID THE MAN I LOVE JUST TELL ME HE LOVED ME? I’M NOT SURE IF I HEARD HIM CORRECTLY. WHAT SHOULD I DO? WHAT SHOULD I SAY?

We ordered fish and chips. We carried it down the stairs. I hadn’t responded yet. I couldn’t bear it. And before I had a chance to engage my brain, I asked this question. Blurted is more appropriate. Seven words that rolled off my tongue and fell out of my mouth, before I could stop them.

“Did you just say ‘I love you’?”

Cue long, nausea-inducing, awkward pause.

“Errrm, no,” he said, looking suitably mortified. “I said I’d love to. You know, order fish and chips.”

 

 

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A Jewish Mother’s Lament

Morning loyal followers (er, hi Mum, hi Dad!)

You may have noticed I gave myself a week-long blog-break last week, mostly because I was HYSTERICAL and beside myself after adopting another staffy (now I’m mother to Tiggy and Sherman – so named because he’s built like a tank).

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Sherman and Tiggy, my devil-children.

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Someone else’s embarrassing flashback

It was the early ’90s. I was at a friend’s Batmitzvah and I was sat at a table full of very pleasant girls, one of whom could not get over the outfit another of the guests was wearing.

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What we wore to my wedding…

Dear Reader,

I wanted to tell you the story of my wedding day today – of how my incredibly talented sister Fluffy was our couturier, designing and making my wedding dress and Tutti’s dress, and her bridesmaid dress (and a dress for my superfluous crazy-bridesmaid – who not only insisted on walking first up the aisle because she was worried Fluffy’s Amazonian stature would block her out of the wedding photos, but also decided she wasn’t getting enough attention at the reception – so started breakdancing).

But I have had such a busy week that I don’t have the time. So what I will do, is leave you with a little glimpse into what we wore on this truly fun and fabulous day.

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend! x

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Tutti, wearing a Fluffy design – the fabric is 85% metal.

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Tutti and The Guru

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Me. Looking thoughtful.

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And for once, not making a face at the camera that makes me look completely special.

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With my gorgeous and talented sister, Fluffy

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Tutti, Matty, Me, The Guru, Fluffy.

Except for the top one, all photos by Nadine Saacks

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What Tutti Wore…

… To buy a litre of milk.

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Tutti’s version of chucking on a tracksuit. Except that she chucks on a rainbow and radiates joy.

This is a woman who has the ability to run into her wardrobe, pull out the first three items she sees, chuck them on and come out looking like this. And yet, she isn’t deliberately fabulous, she can’t help it, in the same way that a magpie can’t help collecting shiny objects – or The Guru can’t help eating things he shouldn’t (Hello lolly mix!) – and never hiding the evidence properly.

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You can’t deny the fact that age is no barrier to fabulousness. It’s a choice. Or in Tutti’s case, completely involuntary. She wouldn’t even know how to buy a pair of beige slacks.

This is a woman whose clothes are essentially an extension of her personality. She exudes warmth and fun and fabulousness. She is smile-inducing; the antidote to drearyness. And having survived a Grade-3 breast cancer diagnosis with all the fabulousness she could muster, she is incredibly inspiring to boot.

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This is a woman who does a wonderful impression of a joyous teapot.

I’ll finish today’s post today with this quote by the poet Allen Ginsberg.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”

I think it’s very good advice to live by. Do you agree?

 

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The Goat

The story goes that the day I was born, my paternal grandmother called the labour ward to ask how my dad was feeling.

You see, The Guru, unable to manage his weak constitution, fainted onto the floor into a limp, sodden heap, just as I was emerging into the world.

My mother, the one who had so heroically endured the 14 hour labour, was left to fend for herself as nurses tended to the Guru and his pallid unconsciousness.

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The Guru and The Goat

When I was old enough to talk, The Goat insisted I call her Nanny, since ‘Grandma’ made her feel old. As Tutti became less and less enamoured of The Goat over time, largely in part to being constantly judged by her fierce beady eyes, antagonistic asides and passive aggressive tsks and sighs, ‘Nanny’ became ‘Nanny Goat’. Before long, we were referring to her rather less endearingly, as simply, ‘The Goat’. We still do, though never to her face. The Goat recently celebrated her 95th birthday.

I can thank The Goat for a few things:

1. She inspired in me my love of nature. I am fascinated by it. I love animals, and plants and unusual insects. (Not cockroaches though. They can all go to hell.)

2. She inspired in me my hysterical fear of nature. Bats that swoop and bite with venomous consequences. Rats that nibble your foot off in your sleep. Magpies that peck your eyeballs out. Sharks that try to rip you to shreds the second you dip your toe in the water. Kangaroos that punch you in the face and kick off your head. Trees that kill. At least, that is what I was led to believe, thanks to a book she gave me for my tenth birthday; a book called Australia’s Dangerous Creatures, featuring every Australian Creature you can imagine (ALL of them Dangerous) and the various, violent and gruesome ways they had dismembered, disembowled, beheaded, and devoured innocent people. I’m not sure the nightmares have ever stopped.

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She looks like such a sweet old lady! Little do those pigeons know!

3. She inspired my love of playing piano, and told me wonderful stories about my grandfather, her husband (who tragically died a few months before my parents married) who was a brilliant, self-taught Jazz Pianist. I always try to channel him when I’m indulging my musical side. The Goat once said to me, with a disappointed sigh, “It’s such a shame none of my grandchildren inherited any musical talent.”

5. She taught me the facts of life. Some background: Every year until I was about 16, Tutti, The Guru, Fluffy and I would get up at 3am and drive from Sydney to Brisbane over about 16 hours (listening to an audiotape of J. R. R Tolkein’s The Hobbit all the way). The Goat lived in Brisbane, with my Great Grandmother, in a sprawling, ramshackle tinned-roof house, where we were lulled to sleep at night by the soothing lullaby of a possum being brutally murdered by the carpet snake that lived in the roof.

One particularly hot Queensland day, we all went down to the public pool for a refreshing swim. I was about 11 years old, so I didn’t pay any attention to the man at the pool wearing ‘budgie smugglers’. Except, by The Goat’s reaction, he wasn’t carrying a budgie, it was more like he was packing a Sulfur-crested Cockatoo. The Goat turned to me and, in all seriousness, said, “Just remember darling… Big ones hurt.” I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but ‘big ones hurt’ has since become a Bennett family catchphrase. It can be applied to absolutely anything.

She is an unusual woman, The Goat.

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The laughing Goat. Photography by The Guru

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