HER SAY… HIS SAY…

with Frances Whit­ing and Rory Gib­son.

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Stellar - - Content - Frances.whit­ing@news.com.au

Re­cently I took my daugh­ter and her friend to a Lit­tle Mix (think this gen­er­a­tion’s Spice Girls) con­cert. I found my­self en­joy­ing it far more than I ex­pected to, and I also found my­self smack bang in the mid­dle of some­thing else very un­ex­pected.

Be­cause there, in the mid­dle of a crowd of scream­ing tweens and bouncy pop, I found my­self hav­ing to face fears I didn’t even know I had, brought about by the world we now live in.

Be­cause not so very long ago, a ter­ror­ist at­tacked lit­tle girls just like mine, go­ing to a show just like this one, at an Ari­ana Grande con­cert in Manch­ester.

And that con­cert was some­where in the back of my mind when we went to Lit­tle Mix, and all three of us – lit­tle girls in­cluded – had our hand­bags searched and our bod­ies scanned on the way in.

If you want a pic­ture of the world we now in­habit, it is an eight-year-old girl, in her new denim top and match­ing jeans (yes, we went the dou­ble denim) and her friend with her cat’s-ears head­band, both with their arms held up in the air while a se­cu­rity guard passes a wand over their tiny bod­ies.

I watched, and felt a mix­ture of sad­ness and re­lief – sad­ness we had come to this, and re­lief that se­cu­rity was be­ing taken se­ri­ously.

So we got through, and we found our seats and sat down di­rectly be­hind – in a sea of thou­sands of young girls danc­ing in crop tops and floaty jump­suits – two girls, sit­ting with their heads down, both tex­ting fu­ri­ously, and wear­ing hi­jabs.

And there in that mo­ment, ev­ery emo­tion hit me. Anx­i­ety. Fear. Doubt. Guilt. Worry. Who were they tex­ting? Should I be alarmed? Should I try to see what they were tex­ting? Should I do some­thing? Was I be­ing overly cau­tious or ir­ra­tional? Such is the world we now live in.

I had no clue what to do, and then sud­denly, some­how I did.

I reached over and tapped one of the girls on the shoul­der. She turned around, star­tled. Jumpy. Not know­ing what was com­ing.

“Ex­cuse me,” I said. “Would you mind tak­ing a pic­ture of us?”

She smiled – no, she beamed – took my out­stretched phone and said, “I would love to.”

I gave her the phone and we grinned at each other, and in that mo­ment I saw ex­actly who she was, a teenage girl out to see her favourite band.

When I look at the shots on my phone, I see two very ex­cited lit­tle girls wear­ing dou­ble denim and cat’s ears, and one mid­dle-aged woman wear­ing the ex­pres­sion of some­one who knows that some­how, in this in­stance at least, they have done the right thing.

“IN THAT MO­MENT I SAW EX­ACTLY WHO SHE WAS – A TEENAGER WATCH­ING HER FAVOURITE BAND”

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