Not so many decades ago, the modern Australian bathroom consisted of a bath, with shower overhead – or, for the very fortunate, a separate shower - a hand basin, with a small cupboard above, with mirror front. This cupboard held the family’s toiletry needs. In the cupboard (usually called ‘the bathroom cabinet’) could be found, (for the man of the house) a bottle of hair ‘tonic’, a mug with shaving brush, shaving soap and razor and a black comb. The needs of the lady of the house were met with a lipstick, a pink comb and possibly some Ponds face cream. There was a roll of cotton wool, a small bottle of mercurochrome and a small pack of Bandaids.
If the kids had returned it to its place in the little cupboard, there would also be a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush for each family member. There may have been a new cake of soap or perhaps a nail file and scissors, but little else.
But that family of days-gone-by was still ahead of the families in developing countries whose only method of bathing was via a bucket of water or a nearby river.
Not much has changed for those folks.
However, the NEW modern day Australian bathroom is a far cry from that of yesteryear. And it’s not only the look of the bathroom; all objects, equipment and toiletry potions have increased a thousandfold.
Even children now often have their own bathroom, separate from that of the parents - with their own toiletry item supply. There are body washes, shampoos, hair conditioners, body scrubs, pimple lotion (for the teenager), deodorant spray (and roll-on) and moisturisers of several types.
There are hairdryers, hair curlers, hair straighteners, brushes for different hair styles, hair gel, hair mousse, hair wax and all manner of ‘styling products’. In fact, so much stuff that the word ‘product’ (for kids, at least) seems to have morphed into a word that describes something that you put on your hair.
And to accommodate all of this, the bathroom cabinet has expanded to be a couple of large cupboards (behind the now HUGE bathroom mirror) as well as several drawers beneath the ‘vanity’ basin, along with yet another set of shelved cupboards.
All of this stuff seems to be totally necessary.
Meanwhile some people in other lands manage to keep clean with a bucket of water and a piece of soap.
It’s a strange world!
All this impassioned talk about “same sex marriage”. You’d think it was a matter of life and death. Why so much talk? Why so much passion? Surely there are other matters affecting the entire universe that should easily take precedence over the fact that some people feel that two men may marry or two women may marry, as against the usual man and woman combination.
Who gives a toss?
Let’s think about global warming and the horrendous consequence of climate change that is already affecting us all. Let’s look at war and its evil effect on entire populations. Can we talk about the billions upon billions of dollars that ‘advanced’ (?) countries are spending on sophisticated & destructive weaponry, while citizens of those same countries are condemned to suffering though lack of medical attention or even the ability to have a roof over their heads. Can we think about those matters with the same fury that many people are talking dramatically about the ‘need’ to allow same sex marriage?
Marriage (as we know it – or as we have come to know it) did not originate in the church. Nor will it apparently end being connected to the church.
Marriage - of some sort or other - began many centuries ago, for practical purposes; it may have been to make a strong gathering of men and women in a clan, it may have been to create evenly paired groups for procreation and to enable the ‘hunter and gatherer’ way of life to flourish. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the church was officially involved, when the Roman Catholic Church made a law about it.
As for Romantic Love – that came about in the Middle Ages. Before that marriage was made between families, between children, even between people and ‘spirits’, for practical and mythical reasons.
To explore these facts you only have to do a Google search of the origin of marriage to find a plethora of interesting and weird information on the subject.
So, back to my original topic: What is this fuss concerning the subject of same sex marriage all about? What ever makes it worthy of such earth shattering commentary?
Marriage lately seems to be mostly about The Wedding. There are precious few meaningful religious marriage ceremonies performed nowadays. No longer are there rushed and secretive marital partnering in out-of-the-way churches or registry offices when an unwed couple finds itself/themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy. Nowadays, the bride is often proudly displaying her ‘baby bump’ as she walks down the (nonexistent) aisle. Or the couple have their children as attendants. Or even (as in a wedding I witnessed) the announcement of a pregnancy was made at the wedding reception.
So if there are no longer the sweetly shy and innocent young brides and grooms (?) being married (as was supposedly the case over the past few centuries) and the church no longer features in many marriages - and most couples have been living together for years before they marry, what is marriage for?
Is there any other purpose of marriage other than a reason to throw a big party and be the centre of attention for a day - and spend enormous amounts of money to show off?
This is what marriage (as in a wedding) seems to be now.
Why, oh why are gay and lesbian people so ardently wishing to be part of this charade?
The latest statistics (for Australia) show that 32 % of marriages end in divorce, which makes one ask the question, will there have to be a new divorce law written to cater for the divorces of same sex partners, because surely the rate would be similar?
Another awkward fact is that “roughly one in three lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) couples experience domestic violence” according to an article in the SMH last month; with similar reports from other sources.
So, I ask again – what is all the passionate pleading for “same sex marriage“ leading to?
I simply do not understand why it is so important to so many people – around the world!
It’s just not even worth discussing in my view.
If two people wish to live together, well, that should be up to them. The church is no longer the influential decider. The government of the day – in whatever country – should just hand the ‘living together’ situation over to the people involved. There are plenty of safety and legal measures that can take care of partnership agreements, so let’s make it a legal agreement - between whoever - and start putting serious debate and discussions on to MORE IMPORTANT MATTERS.
Can I, at least speak out on this annoying topic?
Let the world get serious about matters that matter!
Hey, What about some sort of equality about sharing wealth?
Sorry for raving on for over 800 words on a subject that I think does not even need discussing. (Sigh).
Words change and we wonder why and when…
It may be a trivial matter but it can also be interesting.
For instance: When did castor sugar become caster sugar?
To try and discover the answer to such minor mysteries, I undertook some Google research. The following answers came from various sources and I am being naughty and not disclosing them. (Makes for boring reading!)
Research says: ‘Both are right. The spelling castor sugar used to be the prevailing one, but caster sugar seems to be more usual now perhaps because it is used by some sugar manufacturers on their packaging’.
So, castor sugar became caster sugar because some sugar manufacturer’s bag-maker perhaps couldn’t spell castor? Perhaps?
When did mandarine become mandarin?
Research says: ‘Both are correct if you are talking about a Chinese official,(a mandarin) enjoying a juicy citrus fruit, a mandarine. They are just in season in Australia now and they are always delicious.
So, in this case, I am not wrong when I refer to this delicious little fruit as ‘mandarine’. Good.
And, by the way, talking of fruit: Whatever happened to ‘Johnny’ apples – ie, Jonathan apples? and ‘snow’ apples- the ones that were white as snow inside.
Anyone know? It’s all ‘Pink Ladies’ and ‘Fujis’ now. Where did they emerge from?
Next: I thought the plural of roof was rooves, but it seems that I am either very old-fashioned or simply very OLD.
Research says: ‘Roofs is the plural of roof in all varieties of English. Rooves is an old secondary form, and it still appears occasionally by analogy with other irregular plurals such as hooves, but it is not common enough to be considered standard.
Yes, had nearly forgotten about hoofs and hooves.
And I thought it was originally ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ No?
Apparently Tolkien has something to do with it:
Research says: ‘The original editor of The Hobbit "corrected" Tolkien's plural dwarves to dwarfs, as did the editor of the Puffin paperback edition of The Hobbit. According to Tolkien, the "real 'historical'" plural of dwarf is dwarrows or dwerrows’.
I am sure there are lots of other mysterious word changes, but one last thing:
The little @ symbol:
When I was a child, we had arithmetic calculations such as:
‘How much would 3 lb… (Yes, it was still pounds in Australia when I was small).
so, ‘How much would 3 lb of apples @ 14d cost?’ (Yes, the sign for pence was for some treason stated as a ‘d’…go figure. Likewise the sign for pound was ‘lb’…ditto.
That little sign [@] was well known to us kids of many years ago, but it seems as if the modern generation think THEY invented it to enable them to use the internet.
Here are some interesting facts:
The @ is called an "atmark". Its use in internet addresses has led to the symbol known as arroba in Brazil, which is also an old measure of 15 kilos.
It is also known as a chiocciola (snail) in Italy.
In Finland it's known as a mouse's tail.
And, in Hungary, the @ symbol is called "kukatsz", which means little worm.
But the Norwegians call the @ "kroellalfa", meaning curled ‘a’.
Whatever it is called, it was not created for email addresses or for anything to do with the Internet. It has been around for centuries.
According to the Smithsonian Institute: ‘The first documented use [of @] was in 1536, in a letter by Francesco Lapi, a Florentine merchant, who used @ to denote units of wine called amphorae, which were shipped in large clay jars'.
I guess the little sign just woke up from a longish rest when emails came along.
What would we do without our little @ ?
By the way, for anyone who has been reading my previous blogs, I have to say that the wound on my finger after surgery is healing and it is no longer as painful - or awkward - to type, so maybe there will be further blogs after all. x
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.