Eurydice and the dark

I have written and deleted this post many times. I have second guessed it and wondered if it can cause harm where I only mean good. I want to say how sad I am that Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered. But my sadness won’t change what happened. I want to say I am angry that I have to take the behaviour of a select few into account when I move about the world. But again, my anger changes nothing. Tonight, vigils are being held in her honour. A young life ended too goddamn soon.

I know why she resonates so strongly with me. She looks a little like I did at her age (I’m 20 in the pic above). A little bit goth, an impish grin and a quirky stance and  the feeling that she was just  starting to make her stamp on the world. She is also a comedian like me, she walked alone at night like me, and she had people who loved her too. But even that feels wrong somehow.

I didn’t know her. I don’t get an automatic right to claim a sisterhood from the little I know of her, but that is one of the many indecencies of what happened to her. The way she died, and the wide brushstrokes of who we strangers understand her to be by the little we know of her life have simplified a complex and unique creature. They have reduced her whole existence to ‘a brutal end to a short life’, and that is outrageously unfair. She may have made a name for herself as a comic, and that’s how I would know what she sounded like when she laughed. Or she may have decided that game wasn’t for her and been a brilliant mum, or a travel writer, or a graphic artist, or a street sweeper, or whatever else she wanted to be, and you and I would never have known her name. But her life would have been her own. As it should be.

She should have been able to walk through that park and to her home. She did nothing wrong. She did not contribute to her death. And yet, we who have done the same thing a thousand times are now more cautious. We are counselling ourselves and each other to stay out of the dark, and away from the unknown. We are trading numbers and schedules and lighting each other’s way. And it’s beautiful, and sad, and enraging.

Whenever a woman meets the violence of a man and the world cries out, I hear the same reaction. “Not all men”. “Don’t brand me with his action”. My gut reaction is anger at their need to make this about them, and rage that they want to silence the warrior in the women who cry out. But I know nothing can come of meeting defensiveness with rage, so I am trying to understand the impulse. I identify powerfully with a woman I never met because I could have been her. Do those men hear an accusation in the fact that some women will subconsciously size up a strange man if we walk past him on the street as to whether he could harm us, and we will put distance between us if we can? Is it that you see yourself as a good man who would never harm a woman and you resent that we will always be a little wary of you? Fair enough. But don’t be frustrated with women for that view. Be pissed off at the men who can’t be civil. Get angry at the animals who have taught women to fear you.

The answer to all this crime and pain and blame and grief isn’t on this page. It certainly isn’t my place to tell you how to feel or who to be. I just hope more of us make it home through the dark.

Am I your #metoo?

I wonder how many people have asked themselves that question. I have. I know many of my male friends have. Have I ever made someone feel undervalued, disrespected, uncomfortable or unsafe by my words or actions? Given that I’ve been doing stand up for twenty years, I’m six foot tall, I was often pretty forward with my intentions when I was single, and I’m well known for having a very sharp tongue – it seems unlikely I haven’t overstepped at some point. But I am a woman. I’m not saying for a moment that men can’t be victims of sexual assault or harassment, or women perpetrators. But assault/ harassment is rarely about sex. It’s about power. I can’t physically overpower you. Your virtue is safe in my feminine hands. But my recommendation or condemnation does carry some weight in some circles, and I teach young students to whom I owe a duty of care. So the power dynamic is still a consideration, and my behaviour still up for scrutiny.

I was introducing a male headliner recently and referred to his good looks and sexy accent before he took the stage.  It fed into some old material I have about his country, was material I know works and is the right length to settle the crowd after a break without taking focus or time from the headliner. So it was the obvious choice. He took the flirtatious nature of the piece with good humour, acknowledged it for comic effect and got on with his job of being hilarious (which he was). I can’t imagine he thought any more about it. But, if our genders were reversed, it would have been a much riskier proposition. If a male MC commented on how sexually attractive the lady headliner was, and chose her beauty as her leading characteristic before bringing her on stage, it’s much more risky in many ways. The risks include offending her, losing the crowd, looking like a misogynist, actually being a misogynist and absolutely not being a misogynist while looking like one.

As an MC, I try to give the audience a heads up as to who they’ll be meeting next. It’s like being guided up to someone at a party “ok, you’re about to meet Marcy – she’s the blonde over by the dips. She’s brilliant, married to Bob over there and thinks she’s the Samantha of the group..”. On stage, it’s usually something to give you an idea of what might resonate with the punters “next up is Marcy. She’s a local girl / all the way from.., she’s whip smart so you’ll struggle on table 12, she’s fresh back from entertaining the troops, she’s quirky, she’s a ranga..”. Now that I think about it, I will much more often mention physical appearance if the comic is male. It’s an easy shorthand. It’s a compliment. It’s one of the only things I know about them if I’ve just met them. And it doesn’t undercut them in the way it does when it’s said about a woman. “You may have seen this handsome guy on The Project, he’s a Melbourne boy...” is much less likely to hit the wrong note than “this lady is gorgeous, she’s fiesty, she’s from the breaky team, please welcome..“. Most of the women I work with on stage are beautiful. Some of them disarmingly so. But I wouldn’t open with that because it isn’t the most important thing about them. It may make them uncomfortable for that reason, or they don’t think they are beautiful, or they have had to work hard to prove they are more than just their looks. Comedically, its also dangerous because I find women are more insecure than men. Men don’t mind their partner watching a handsome, funny man on stage. But women are more likely to feel threatened by their man watching an articulate beauty do comedy. And you don’t want  to risk half the crowd eyeing you suspiciously when you need them to warm to you.

These are all generalisations, of course. There are exceptions to every statement I’ve made above. #metoo is not a simple movement. It’s not just about calling out people who misuse their power or harm others. It’s about allowing the voices of those disempowered to be heard. It’s about changing the landscape so that we behave better toward each other and understand the impact of our actions. Most of the people in my life who have power over me are men. A man books me for most of my work. A man controls the entertainment on board the ships. I have never for a single moment felt unsafe in their company. I have been respected, supported, complimented, teased and treated as an equal. We work in entertainment – there is alcohol, and late nights and dirty jokes and deep conversations and good natured ribbing and hugs and the trust has to go both ways for all of that to be safe – I have to trust them, and they trust that I would be speak if I didn’t like something.


Comedy is a more visible example than many other industries in terms of displaying gender inequality because our careers are conducted in public, but I think the same behaviours are mirrored in offices, kitchens and environments around the world. I’ve heard people complain that #metoo is the thought police – “I can’t even give a woman a compliment anymore….How can I flirt without being arrested...”. I can’t tell you the thoughts I’ve had about people I’ve worked with. I may want to fuck you. Or fucking kill you. I can think whatever the hell I like. I just can’t act on it. And, for the record, I like being complimented on my looks. I don’t think much of them most of the time, so the thought of someone assuming I don’t have to be talented because I’m beautiful tickles me. And I don’t like the thought that we can’t flirt with each other any more. But we don’t have to be assholes about it. We can find the level we’re comfortable at and that will take time each and every time. Every communication is a risk. Calculate it.

An open apology for my husband and his behaviour..

There are people in the world who speak the truth from their keyboard. Too highly evolved to approach a person to whom they would like to express a strong opinion, they remain gracefully anonymous and elegantly situated in the powerful light of their screens. I am blessed to have received a missive from one such creature, and not a moment too soon. It concerns my despicable husband and his equally morally lacklustre colleague and her family. I can’t do it justice by summary, so here it is in its glory:

Hey Stav, saw you at Easts Leagues Club tonight. Honestly, I think you and your party were rude, inconsiderate of others and downright obnoxious how you seemed to enjoy grandstanding your collective egos. No one was impressed one bit by the bold and undisciplined kids at your table squealing and screeching at your lame attention seeking behaviour. Who do you think you are? I can tell you people around you considered you a first class wanker! From

Now, I was as shocked to receive this on my website comments as you no doubt are to read it, especially if you’ve met Stav. Who would be brave enough to call out someone as obnoxious as my husband and risk the wrath of his colossal ego? Dancat would. I immediately grilled Stav on what the hell he thought he was doing, and these are the main points:

  • At around 7pm on a Monday night, he, his on air partner in crime Abby, her miscreant husband Scott and their two small children (at the ages of three and five where they should be seen and not heard, in my opinion), and our four year old daughter dined. The restaurant does have a kids menu and other children were in the area at the time, but this is no excuse for children to make noise, and certainly not for them to respond positively to attempts to engage them or cause them to laugh. Why were they not simply positioned at the table with books or tablets and asked to remain silent? I don’t know, Dancat. I’m at a loss to explain it myself.


  • The children did indeed make noise. This is incontrovertible. I myself have been in their company when Abby and Scott have allowed, nay encouraged, them to make sounds of mirth, and I must say I have even witnessed them have to be told more than once to do something. At their advanced ages, these boys should know better. “Bold” boys under the age of six? Sickening. And I can only wring my hands in horror at what kind of human our daughter will be after being raised as a hellcat.


  • Stav is a first class wanker. I often think it when he swans out of our family home at 4am every weekday morning for the thirteenth year. He’s almost completely unbearable in the way he raises our daughter to be curious and joyful and respectful. And his refusal, no, negligence, in failing to discipline other people’s children? Well. Don’t get me started. And obnoxious! You don’t know the half of it, Dancat. I’ve stood at his side for 17 years, seen him grow from a young man to the man he is today, and I literally can’t count the amount of times he’s failed to listen to me, or treated anyone in our lives disrespectfully. I literally can’t count those times.

So thank you, Dancat. You were so right that you would get the approval and validation you so richly deserve for your bravery and honesty in reaching out to the wife of the man in question. I haven’t always been a mother, and I wish I had your courage in reaching out anonymously via the web to those families that interrupted my child free dining.

I have also reached out to Easts via their facebook page and asked whether children are welcome in the dining area. Apparently, they are.  Children? In a club which purports in its advertising to appeal to families? Disgusting.

Yours in awe


My entitled child..

I hope my daughter grows up entitled. I don’t mean the kind of entitled that comes with money. I mean the kind where she believes she can be whoever she wants to be. She can love whoever she wishes, she can look the way she wishes to, and she can fly her freak flag high, if that’s what she chooses. I’m married to a man. That man is her father. But we talk about how sometimes mummas love other mummas. And daddies can dig each other too. One of her best mates at daycare loves wearing tutus and princess dresses, and he looks supercute while he does.


She wants to marry her best girlfriend, and that’s cool too. So is being Elsa and turning the world to ice while she finds her prince. She met a little girl at the park the other day and was fascinated by her colour. I was nervous she might inadvertently say something wrong, but all she wanted to know was whether the girl had to wear sunscreen. Rors was jealous that her darker skin meant she might not burn so easy. Children aren’t born racist. That’s entirely learned.

My generation were mostly raised by parents who were raised in a time when being white and straight wasn’t only the best way to be, it was the law. Tolerating gay people was a choice, and not necessarily a popular one. Actually being one took tremendous courage and an acceptance that some people just wouldn’t ‘get’ you. That they would think you were Godless. Or immoral. Or sick. Or unfortunate. Or all of the above. And having a friend ‘of colour’ was kind of you.

But it isn’t fair to apply what the world is like today to what they were raised with and judge them accordingly. The earliest law decriminalising sodomy in Australia was in 1975. The act of love between two men could land you in jail. It was illegal. So it must be wrong, right? My view – that love is love and I don’t see how its anyone else’s business at all about who consenting adults choose to be intimate with, is only recently ok in the eyes of the law, popular culture and average citizens of the world. So I don’t think older people who are racist or homophobic are bad. They are wrong, but it is very difficult to rewire your brain after so many years of training.

I keep seeing people on the same side argue over the details. What is a feminist? Does that blogger go too far? Is it ok to say ‘gay marriage’ when you mean ‘same sex marriage’? Is it ok to dislike a person while supporting their opinion? Or love a racist? I don’t think the answers are black and white. But maybe that’s ok.

My opinion on your opinion. You may not like it…

Your opinion is probably right and no doubt well researched, comes from a deep well of experience and is just bursting out of you full of passion and certainty. Or it is wrong, borne out of ignorance and fear or sourced from the writings of people as misguided as yourself. Either way, it is needy for the ears and eyes of strangers, for the sage nods of recognition and the digital thumbs up that pass for agreement these days.

Here’s the thing. Whether you’re en pointe and bang on and pitching perfectly, or dangerously wrong and flailing about like Trump at a hastily called press conference, do feel free to stop adding your sanctimonious judgement to your opinion.

You check out your opinion in the mirror. It looks good on you. It hugs in all the right places. In the light you’re standing in, it makes you look a little taller, and accentuates all your best assets. But I tried it on after you left, and you said it looked great as you left, but it made me feel small. It didn’t take my history into account and I felt uncomfortable at how constricting it was around my throat. It just didn’t fit me, but it was so right on you.

Look, maybe I’m banging on with too many neat turns of phrase here. I just feel like there are too many instructions disguised as musings in the world. There are a thousand ways to be a good person, a good mum, a good boss, a good runner, a good human, a good Australian, a good TV star, a good dad, and good divorcee, a good consumer, a good Christian, a good gender equality advocate, a good whatever the hell you’re trying to be. It’s confusing these days. All the easy labels and definitions are gone. All the boundaries are shifting and we’re all trying to figure out how to be happy (or at least not miserable) and not be an arsehole. At least, those are my main goals. Again, they may not be yours, and there I go telling you what should be toppermost of your poppermost.

It’s the difference between ‘this is my experience of raising a child’ and ‘all good parents do XYZ’, between ‘If I was an athlete, I wouldn’t choose to use my beauty to promote my sport’ and ‘that man/woman is not empowered because they’re in a tight outfit’. It’s ‘I got through my anxiety by doing the following’ and ‘you’re weak if you choose medication/ meditation/whatever..’.

Don’t get me wrong. Please have an opinion. And please put it in front of me, particularly if it’s different to mine. Please disagree with me and show me facts I didn’t know, or may have misinterpreted. Please tell me what is going on in your head, what you’ve discovered, or are figuring out, and why you think you might be on track or lost in the dark. There’s one women’s site I’m thinking of as I write that does this so much it makes my teeth ache. It will tell the story of an event in the lives of some humans and break down how right, wrong, significant or trivial those experiences are and why that is so. Is it the way writing is heading? Is it important to draw a conclusion, a moral imperative, before you sign off? Maybe it is. Maybe I’m wrong…