LAST LOOK

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Friday Tv - JANE FRASER

THERE’S a lot of talk about how stressed the young peo­ple of this gen­er­a­tion are, and our first in­stinct is to find a cure for what­ever it is that is re­spon­si­ble for them sup­pos­edly liv­ing on the edge of an emo­tional abyss.

I think one of their prob­lems is the lack of ba­sic skills, such as gram­mar and know­ing what is writ­ten in the Bi­ble. It’s dif­fi­cult to find a young­ster who knows who Job was or why Lot’s wife turned into a pil­lar of salt. There’s been con­ster­na­tion lately in the high ech­e­lons of the church that in a re­cent sur­vey among the Y gen­er­a­tion, so many young Aus­tralians be­lieve they’ve had other lives and have more to come. I have a sus­pi­cion that’s be­cause they don’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween rein­car­na­tion and res­ur­rec­tion.

When you’ve calmed down a bit and thought back to your own youth — school­days melt­ing seam­lessly into your work­ing and then mar­ried- with- chil­dren days — you re­alise that anx­i­ety is just an­other fact of life, es­pe­cially if you’re a wo­man.

Men, by and large, are judged by what they do, or what they have done, or how they have changed the world for the bet­ter, whereas a wo­man, no mat­ter her achieve­ments, is still ex­pected to raise chil­dren who do not re­sort to un­to­ward body pierc­ing, please her hus­band by main­tain­ing a state of con­stant equi­lib­rium de­spite the fact he has not yet mas­tered the art of switch­ing on the mi­crowave, pro­duce a meal at the drop of a hat and — with­out over- egging the pud­ding — have neatly waxed eye­brows. It also helps if you are a tall, thin, fake blonde.

I have a friend who I’ve known for more than 40 years and I’ve never seen her with a hair out of place, a hem kept up with sticky tape, crumbs in her knife drawer, chipped fin­ger­nail pol­ish. She’d never run out of loo pa­per three min­utes be­fore eight din­ner guests were due, she runs a suc­cess­ful busi­ness, trav­els the world with great aplomb and is end­lessly nice to men. She’s com­ing out here later this month for a few weeks and I’m rather hop­ing some of her elan will rub off on me, al­though it may be far too late for im­prove­ment. I was prob­a­bly born to be di­shev­elled.

This friend in­tro­duced me to fa­mous dec­o­ra­tor David Hicks, whose fa­ther- in- law was viceroy of In­dia; Hicks named his daugh­ter In­dia and I couldn’t help think­ing what a good thing it was that Mount­bat­ten wasn’t viceroy of Afghanistan.

Hicks made me feel anx­ious; he took a very deep breath and I could sense him giv­ing me the once- over and not be­ing im­pressed by what he saw. I think I may have been go­ing through a phase of think­ing shoes were ir­rel­e­vant, or per­haps I was wear­ing a man’s suit, tie and shoes to suck up to the sis­ter­hood who had found me lack­ing in sol­i­dar­ity. In what now seems to have been an­other life, I was es­pe­cially silly.

fraserj@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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