Category Archives: Family

Sexting….so so naughty

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I awoke to a glorious Sunday morning with Sydney sun streaming through my window. My pet pooch was stretched out in the sun. My Sunday begins perfectly.
Then a ‘ping’ on my phone. So I sleepily reach over with barely one eye open, and to my shock and discomfort, I have received my first sextext.
A friend, details to come, had sent me a picture of his naked body, all but covering his privates with one hand. The text accompanying the picture read “Do you want me to remove my hand ?”
Goodness me, was I quickly wide awake. Never had I had a sex text pic.
Now, this fellow, let’s call him Randy, has been communicating with me, on and off, for over a year. We’ve had coffee once, and met up for a drink once. I recall a goodnight kiss….but that was 7 months ago. Recently, about 3 weeks ago, we started communicating, purely by text, and maybe one or two text a week. Saying that it would be fun to catch up again, working the logistics, and some regular non-plussed banter. I think a week has transpired since our last communique….until this morning.
So, I tried to think lightly of it… I was deciding if I should goad him to remove the hand, as requested? Or should I feign shock and discomfort, or should I tease him.
As I’m trying to work out what to do, I realise that he’s sent the iMessage as a group message!!!!! I was now gobsmacked…. What a hussy!!!

Oh my goodness, what on earth has this world come to? That men are “hooking” up with several women at any given time seems quite common place…. But that should be discreetly done, non? And more importantly sharing their wares to several of us, just because he’s too lazy to send individual texts.
Then I thought that he may be useless on his phone and made a right old mess sending this to two women, and now needs to back peddle as fast as possible.

Unfortunately for him, I’m a tech nerd, and realised quick smart that he’d made the mistake and have told him that due to his lack of humility, I wouldn’t be communicating again.

To think, he’s 50 and behaving this way. What on earth are our teens doing? I feel the next article may write itself.

I don’t think I’m a prude. But I do think that if you’re going to take photos to send out, they better be cropped (all distinguishing marks deleted) and sent if you’re proud of the image.

(The photo accompanying this article is not the picture I received… I lack the gall of Randy…. Sorry ladies).

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Hey! Are you talking to me?

on the phone marilyn

So, earlier today, I was chatting on the phone with one of my dear friends Sarah H-W. Sarah and I were engrossed in interesting and poignant topics, the likes of which women get drawn to when they should be busy doing something else, but can’t resist stealing some time to get some “girlfriend chatter” into the day. This can be as simple as a ten minute catch up, to swap advice and stories and make practical plans for forthcoming events, or it can develop into an altogether lengthier conversation, that requires a cup of tea, planting yourself in your favourite chair, and solving all life’s mysteries…

Mid-way through our conversation together, Sarah and I found ourselves addressing a nasty habit that we would (naturally) never do to another. It starts off innocently enough, of course. You’re on the phone with a friend, or anyone for that matter, and you’re both entirely focused and engaged in conversation……or so you think. Then all of a sudden, you can hear through your earpiece the click clack of a keyboard being used. Sarah and I agree…. this is very very rude. How can it not be rude? It sends a clear message that the other person is multitasking, and not giving you the undivided attention expected when making phone calls.

Where things got more complicated however, was our discussion around what might be the appropriate way to deal with this situation. Should you call them on it immediately by saying “hello, I can hear you typing…”?! Or would this seem a strange admonishment to one who thinks it perfectly acceptable to type and speak at the same time. Are these sorts of people  a different species, or have they simply not yet read “etqt-modern etiquette” to realise that others might disagree with their behaviour?

It got us thinking, then: just what type of multi-tasking is acceptable?

We came up with a very short list: when kids are involved, it’s important to keep children’s safety as a top priority, but that does not include allowing your child to interrupt you during a phone conversation just to tell you they want you to make them a sandwich.

Perhaps also acceptable is to proffer a caveat before starting a conversation: as a chef, I’m often baking when my phone rings. I may be putting cakes in the oven, or watching chocolate temper… If I see that a friend is calling, then I’m happy to chat, but will preface the conversation that I might be a tad distracted due to the cooking.

But what about the phone call from the car phone? I still haven’t decided if it’s rude, or just practical, to take, or make, calls from my car phone. It does offer a bit of “quiet time” when my day can be so filled with other distractions at work or at home. But on the other hand, it also sends a message that because I couldn’t fit you into busy day, so I’m just cramming you in whilst I’ve got nothing better to do. Rarely do I have long phone calls with friends when I’m driving, but I am definitely a culprit in calling my parents to work out family logistics, and absolutely use car phone to make most of my life’s appointments, including hair salons and doctors visits.

So, how do these differ from the phone call when you absolutely know that the person is doing something completely distracting… Is the message they are sending you that they don’t care enough about you to show the right etiquette? Or are they just believing that the modern world is full of multi-taskers like them and that there is nothing impolite, inconsiderate or discourteous about such behaviour? Or maybe, they actually believe that you can’t actually hear them typing anyway?

As with so many etiquette conundrums, it seems, there is no absolute consensus of opinion around multitasking. However, after some research (and discounting the obvious solution – to buy a silent keyboard  which merely makes the culprit more clever but no less devoid of etiquette!) I discovered the following “Do’s and Don’ts” from Good Phone Etiquette in the Home Office

When the telephone is your business lifeline, good phone manners count.

By Laureen Miles Brunelli, About.com Guide

  • Don’t read texts, email or instant messages while talking on the phone. If necessary close these programs or turn off your monitor, so you aren’t tempted to read.
  • Don’t type while on the phone. Your caller may be able to hear you typing.
  • Don’t multitask excessively when talking on the phone. This would include surfing the web while talking. You may be able to do some simple tasks that don’t involve reading or writing, but it’s better not to.
  • Do try to keep the caller on the subject at hand. Your attention is more likely to wander when your caller goes off on a tangent. Tactfully guide the subject back and/orend the call professionally.
  • Don’t allow others to interrupt you while you are on the phone. Other members of the household should know your ground rules regarding interruptions. Put the caller on hold briefly (and only one time) until you can give him or her your full attention.
  • Do ask to speak to the caller at a later time, setting a time for when you or the caller will phone again.

Today’s article is co-written by Sarah H-W and Ursula Z.

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All’s fair in love… except when you’re fighting!

fight fair

 

My boyfriend and I had our first fight. It doesn’t really matter what it was about, though, my happy readers, you will support me when I say that I was right, and he was very, very wrong. But this doesn’t actually matter for the sake of this article… what’s important is fighting fair, and with, of course, the right etiquette.

Romantic arguments are different to regular arguments with friends, colleagues and/or family. Romantic arguments tend to be loaded with expectations, and more precisely, not meeting expectations of each other and what we want, and need, in the most significant person in our lives. The person we want to trust with our deepest and darkest secrets and fears, and know that they will not use this knowledge to hurt us… but along the way there can be arguments that are much less weighty, and yet, can trigger painful emotions to surface, and depending on how you deal with that pain, it can, and often does, cause you to overreact and possibly lead to the break down of the relationship.

When people fight fair, then they can take emotion out, and realise that the cause of the argument rarely is the core of the problem.

Arguments, in themselves, are negative energy. That energy is triggered by many things, like fatigue, anxiety, being overwhelmed, dissatisfaction, loss, etc. The one thing they have in common, is that they are unhappy emotions, ie, not joyful. So, if your partner then behaves in a way that exacerbates your already weakened state, then it can only make things worse.

I’m sure you can think of many times your partner has said or done something that you thought was funny. But if you’re in a negative state, then you rarely find the humour in it.

So, how to fight fair in love? Well, the best thing to do is to try, yes, try, to present your argument as a discussion, not an assault. Present how the behaviour hurt you. It’s often that men, as is the case with my boyfriend, have no clue that they are being hurtful. I don’t really know how that happens, but I’ve heard it from so many of my girlfriends reporting that their partners are oblivious to their behaviour, that now I just consider it plausible.

Also, do try to take the emotion out of it. It’s difficult sometimes, yes, most of the time, but given that they are oblivious, then being rational and explaining the triggers and the effects tend to be enough. Going on and on about it normally makes them become cranky. So now they’re in the negative state.

It does seem that men only want to be told these things once… going over the same thing tends to make them deaf (another confirmation from my girlfriends), though, weirdly, it’s precisely because men continue to behave the same way that we actually do need to repeat ourselves… but therein lies the answer… they are deaf. Oh, dear.

Humour aside, Psych 101 clearly states that the only time to communicate so that you are really being heard is outside of an argument…. during quiet and relaxed moments.

So, etqt declares that the only real way to fight fair, is when you’re not fighting at all. So, what’s the point.

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“He loves me… He loves me not.”

he loves me he loves me not

I love flowers. And receiving them even more. They are a simple way of making the recipient feel special, whether for a special occasion or just because you can.

You will never offend anyone by sending flowers.

I recently celebrated a birthday. My daughter raced to the florist in the morning, and brought home a bunch of magnificent white lilies. I don’t care how many people say that they expect receiving them, it still makes you feel happy.

Today, Valentine’s Day, is collectively the one day where flowers outdo any other festive gift. It surpasses even the chocolate of Easter.

So, I thought it just apt to write about flowers, and what type of flower suits what type of occasion.

Roses, red roses in particular, are the flower of love. Though all roses denote love, the red rose symbolises romantic love.

Yellow roses are to be sent to friends or co-workers. Pink roses are more about a secret love. White roses are for an innocent love, for family or family occasions, or even for funerals.

I discovered that carnations are for young love, though I’d say that it’s far less common nowadays than in the eighties, when carnations were at the height of their popularity.

Daisies are for loyal love and ideal for Mother’s Day. And giving your daughter lilies seems to denote purity and sweetness. And chrysanthemums are for the bonding of friendship, though probably not ideal for romantic loves.

In the British Debrett’s Guide for the Modern Gentleman, 2009, reprinted 2012:

Flowers are the perfect impromptu present, but follow these basic guidelines to ensure that you get it right;

MIXED BOUQUETS can look cheap if they aren’t of a decent size and well-styled. Instead, buy just one type of bloom, or go for just one colour.

GREENERY is also important – it’s there to bulk up the bouquet and complement the flowers.

DON’T PANIC and just pick the first blooms you recognise. Consider her tastes and style. Classic or contemporary? Minimalist or vintage? Talk to the florist. Explain the style you’re after and the occasion.

BE PREPARED to spend – you can never economise on flowers.

BUY HER FLOWERS on her birthday, on Valentine’s Day on your anniversary and on no particular occasion.

USE THE CARD that accompanies the bouquet to its full potential. For example, include details of a surprise date: “See you in the bar of the ABC Hotel at 7pm”; tell her something you find hard to say: “Thank you for being there for me’; state the obvious: “I love you”/

NEVER ORDER cheap arrangements online; never buy bunches from the supermarket or the garage; never buy carnations or chrysanthemums (the kiss of death); never send flowers as an apology without some verbal backup.

If you want to offer flowers to the host of a dinner or party, it’s best to have the florist deliver them earlier in the day of the event, so that the host has time to arrange them, so as not to be distracted when her guests are arriving. As to the arrangement, it is ideal to ask the florist what is appropriate. They will arrange something either by colour and/or by what is available for that season. Of course your budget also is a big factor, but these days to send a lovely bouquet of flowers, you would be spending about $100 (Australia dollars, or USD). It’s very easy to spend more than this. You can check if the florist has pre-prepared arrangements, as they will tend to be a easier for the florist to pack, rather than arrange on site, and may have a reduced price by the end of the work day.

Online sites for flowers are also becoming very popular and easy to use, and terrific for ordering flowers as gifts for long-distance or international deliveries.

Or going to the local flower markets is always fun, and something of a novelty if you get up early to see the action.

I once picked lavender in a field and was heady from the scents and had to mind all the bees swarming around the pollen. It was lovely to make my own lavender pouches for my dresser drawers.

If my partner came over with a bunch of flowers he picked himself, either from the flower market, or even just as he was walking home by the side of the road, I would be tickled pink… or red. But really, any colour would be wonderful.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the romantics at ETQT.

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The excess of excess

the excess

It’s happened all over the planet, and it’s happening to a woman I know.

Her world of excess, and the lack of modesty about her excess, is getting her more publicity than she probably desires.

It seems that the Eighties and Nineties (that’s the 1980’s and 1990’s) were years of overt wealth and excess. We, if you were establishing your careers during that time, enjoyed a world with less social and economic consciousness, and rarely any environmental conscience. Just watch the movie Wall Street to get a taste of the extreme perversion of wealth.

Curiously, this woman I know would have been a toddler during those times, so it’s been interesting to watch her plough head first over all the current concepts and practices of social, economic and environmental awareness. She has made a career of publicising and promoting brands and products that are expendable. Luxuries to some, definitely not a necessity. She attends, or appears to host, many of the most sought after social events in Sydney, and even Melbourne. Her reach extends to London too.

I’m wondering why then do people, a few people, live without humility?

Her baby, now, at 18 months old, has her own blog, written by her mum. It paints a very decadent picture. Dressed in the most stylish and expensive clothes, traveling in private jets. It is odd to think that any mum would want to depict her daughter as so tasteless and indulgent. I have raised my children spoiling them as much as I could, but I can’t imagine proclaiming the details on their behalf. Especially when they don’t yet have their own voice. What’s to come of this little baby when she becomes a young lady with her own sense of self, and looks back at the portrayal her mother has given the world.

Is it not enough that this woman spends most of her waking hours basking in the whirlwind world of press events, launches, red carpet moments and rubbing shoulders with local and international stars? Is it not enough too that her husband is currently getting himself lots of press over his alleged insider trading and could face time in prison.

I’ve always thought that talent should be indulged. If fame or notoriety follow, then it will either be embraced or shunned by the individual. Fame has become a product on its own, as with the likes of Paris Hilton and the Kardashian’s. It humours me, and entertains me (especially at the hair salon where I tend to read most of my trashy magazines). But to pursue recognition for a baby. It feels ugly to me. I feel that this baby is unjustly exposed.

I do think of women who have not had the success or fame in their lives they yearned, who push their children to succeed in artistic talents. That somehow seems understandable, not terrific, but understandable. But why would a woman who already has such a following?

I think that this little baby is going to have an interesting journey.

I’ve yet to find any past or present etiquette that encourages any such behaviour. So, speak only for yourself, not for others. Especially not for those who have yet to form their own opinion.

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Breastfeeding in public

breastfeeding

This week, Sydney has been hit by a wave of controversy over breastfeeding in public. One television presenter on a morning show, David Koch (Kochie) has been dealing with the backlash of a comment he made last week on national television about a woman who was asked to leave a public swimming pool as she was breastfeeding her baby. He stated that women who breastfeed in public should be discreet and with class.

Unfortunately, many women were outraged by his comment, and found him to be discriminatory and sexist.

In an article today, he wrote, “The venom associated with my comments on breastfeeding has been extraordinary. From being called a buffoon with discriminatory views by the Fairfax Media critic Michael Idato, to being accused of hating kids, being jealous of babies and having a boob fetish.”
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/i-have-an-opinion–always-have-and-always-will-20130121-2d39n.html#ixzz2IgWxivkG

He declares that his wife, and mother of their 4 children, breastfed and did so with discretion. He also states that his two daughters breastfed their children.

It made me wonder what really is the right etiquette for breastfeeding in public?

Some women agree that discretion is necessary. That, though they want to breast feed their children, they will cover up when feeding, or move to a quieter and more discreet location. Some women think that they should be free to feed their children where they want, when they want.

I think that the latter argument shows little regard for others. Many people have cultural or religious stipulations about discretion. It may seem outwardly senseless to those women who want, or need, to breastfeed their children in public, but quite vulgar and disrespectful to others.

I recall when my son was born and I had family members over all the time. I had little desire to offend my parents by baring my breasts, so moved to private location. Etiquette really is about showing respect and consideration for those around you.

If you’re in the exclusive company of women with babies and toddlers, in a baby group or play group, then it would seem logical to feed children as you like. It’s all about the appropriate and courteous behaviour.

There are no laws that say that etiquette is obligatory. It’s just a question of choice.

I suppose that if men can stand side by side in urinals, and many new modern establishments have unisex toilets, then maybe the day will come when we can walk the planet unencumbered by the clothes on our back. The Amazonian’s have done so for centuries. But civilisation requires civility, and that includes modesty and privacy about baring their breasts.

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The gift of giving

gifting

As we lead up to the days before Christmas, I have been asked to write about the art of giving gifts.

How many times have you received a gift and wondered, “why did I get that?”

I do believe that the giving of a well thought out gift is nearly impossible these days. People have access to everything, all the time. So, how do you determine if we’re all just jaded and spoilt, or if we can shift our perception and return to the source of giving?

It really is the thought that matters.

I recall when I was about 10 years old, my father gave my mother an iron for her birthday. I thought he was being very practical and thoughtful as he had noticed that mum’s iron was on the verge of dying. As you can imagine, mum did not find the gift pleasing at all. She actually threw the boxed iron at my father and declared him a heathen.

To this day, I don’t understand how a practical gift, or a sentimental gift, is deemed more or less appropriate? I may be a little odd, but I actually enjoy ironing. When my father asked me last year what I wanted for Christmas, I actually asked him for the latest, fancy steam iron. Go figure!

A girlfriend asked me recently if I thought it was acceptable to offer a child a charitable gift; a goat for an impoverished third world village, for example. I actually thought that it was a fantastic gift for children who “have everything”. Not only does it make the giver feel good, it should be a warming gift to the child, who can now also consider himself benevolent, but, at it’s very core, it is giving the gift of  life to the villagers. Obviously, it does show that the gift giver isn’t so close to the child, as it isn’t such a personal item. But nonetheless, they are generous and thoughtful enough to give a gift at all.

Another gift that has made me think is when my daughter was given a bunch of shares after her birth. I thought it very generous a gift, but every year receive statements telling how much money/shares she has. It has grown somewhat, and that’s fantastic, but it did always seem quite impersonal. Until recently, when the giver asked me how those shares were doing. After sharing the update, she was happy to admit that she originally gave those shares to my daughter so that when she was 18 or older, she could use that money to buy herself a car or maybe choose to use the funds as the deposit for something even more important. All of a sudden I thought this a terrific gesture. Well thought out and less practical than thoughtful.

I don’t know how personal or appropriate gifts are these days, so I thought I’d do the research. I’m about to offer one of my best friends a face cream that I’ve enjoyed because it minimises my wrinkles. Is this a no-no?

Well, after extensive checking, it seems that logic and thoughtfulness are the right way to choose gifts. The closer you are to the person, ie, your best friend or family, then the gift should be of a more personal and thoughtful nature. The further away you are from that person, the more generic can be the gift.

I’ve always thought that homemade gifts were more about the giver wanting to show her talents in basket weaving, than about the giving. But then, I have been known to knit a scarf or two and then pass them to friends for a lovely winter gift.

As to re-gifting. It appears that most reputable sources declare that re-gifting is a big no-no. I can’t think of anything more silly. How is it rude to give a lovely gift to someone that you’re never going to use yourself. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if my friends forwarded one of my gifts.

Giving makes you feel good. Receiving a gift makes you feel good. Does it really matter what it is as long as you feel good?

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