Top Ten Smugprints: A Gallery of Hypocrisy

There’s a butt-load of daily nonsense all over the media about global warming, environmental tips, greenhouse gases, and my personal favourite: ‘carbon footprint’. Ptui! What a revoltingly smug phrase! Let me pause a minute to slough with powdered glass and gargle with bleach.

And that den of smugheads down at Fairfax is the absolute worst. Every column about the ‘green revolution’ comes with a hefty serve of middle-class posturing about shopping bags, eco-tourism and faux-angst about why they buy disposable nappies. Like we care! So you bought a hybrid car to cart your giant family to Belgrave and back again 1000 times a week – it’s still a car, fucko! It seems that a big part of feeling ‘green’ is trumpeting your every decision to the masses.

Alas I am not immune. I too am smug.

“Yo, lady,” I hear you say. “You work in advertising, spend all winter with a heater surgically grafted to your bottom and once competed in a mooncake-eating competition and came third, you filthy consumerist pig.” But there are some things I am particularly self-righteous about, until this day kept under my (recycled) hat. Despite my love of fur items, large steaks and dislike of hippies, I sometimes feel as green as the closing scenes of the Wizard of Oz. So here you have it, my Top Ten Smugprints:

1. Water usage
I am the QUEEN of the short shower. I RULE THE STALL. Let it go on the record that I do a thorough job and smell like ambrosia and roses, hem hem.

An old housemate sometimes used the washing machine four times a week! Occasionally she’d wash only one pair of jeans and some socks. Can you imagine the smugness emanating off me, like haze off a freshly-tarred road. I also water my few (drought-resistant) plants with a watering can, let the water from my eggies and hot water bottle cool to put on same, and don’t own a dishwasher. Never have, and probably never will. Kudos to me.

2. Still renting
And by the looks of my bank account, this is how it will be for a long time. Rather than bitching about house prices till my hair goes grey, I’d rather not think about it. I really like where I rent – it’s old and full of spiders, but it suits me just fine.

Aussies seem to forget that not every person on this ever-expanding planet can own a house. Houses take up space. They cost lots of money. They use up a fantastic amount of resources to build and maintain. And most people think there’s a list of things they ‘must’ fill it with, like central heating, air conditioning, plasma screen tellies, home cinemas and that yukky flatpack furniture that takes a week to put together.

We also forget that in densely-populated places like Europe, everyone rents. They do nothing over there but scoff cheese and garlic, down jugs of Sangria and dance all night (in my wishful imagination). You don’t hear them complaining about why they can’t own the 3-beddy of their dreams with a pool and an aircon as big as a ute.

Hey, if you have the cash and the means, then why not buy into the overpriced property market? But if you don’t, then get a hobby. House ownership really is a privilege, not a right.

3. Diva Cup
You can’t actually boast about this until you’ve tried it for yourself, which discounts my male readers, all 2 of them. And when you’ve experienced the life-changing glory, when you’re no longer shackled to the whims of your menstrual flow do you realise what a part of the conspiracy you have been!

The insane amount of resources wasted on pads and tampons is INCROYABLE. Cotton is one of the biggest water-guzzling crops in the world, which in our drought-ridden country is just sheer negligence. Admittedly, a large part of the conspiracy is keeping women reliant on a (luxury taxed) product that must be bought every month rather than reused for 10 years. But if you have the option then there’s no bloody excuse, pardon the pun.

And I haven’t even mentioned girls dying from TSS, or how the Diva doesn’t stench up your day because menstrual blood doesn’t actually smell, or how you don’t have to always be within coo-ee of a loo ‘just in case’ or being caught short when you’re out and having to urgently hunt down a tampon without the gents being any the wiser…well that is neither here nor there.

(male reader/s resume your reading here)

4. Single Income No Kids (am I a SINK?)
Ooooh I can hear the hiss of ire from my breeder-readers. What would I know about kids? I don’t even have one!! In fact, what would I know about anything, according to Caroline Overington?

Hey, it’s not like anyone’s made any offers to make any mini-Boo’s lately. So there’s no question of me populating the world with small, aggro hirsute people wearing tiny winkle-pickers. But I believe I can be smug about this one.

Bringing up kids isn’t what it used to be. Like houses, there seems to be an ever-increasing list of things you ‘have’ to buy. Plastic toys! Clothes! Special non-allergenic food! Special car seats! Special prams specifically designed to take up all the space in any given area, and run down shirty single people! And then more plastic toys! So much stuff. It’s astonishing how anyone even survived past the age of five in the olden days.

All I know is that, as well as the plentiful toys I had, I was also happy as a clam playing with with joddas-joddas (a Tic-Tac box full of torn paper) and lempse-lempse (a leather comb case). Arrr, them were the days. And is there anything wrong with me? I think not.

5. Scavenging
I am a world-class op-shopper and hard rubbish scrounger. I can scent a bargain from 20 mothballed paces and would elbow your granny in the eye to grab the last booberella top off the rack. I have four Sydney Road favourites I go to regularly, and hang out for hard rubbish time the same some kids do for chocolatey goodness at Easter.

You’ll be surprised to hear that I don’t make a point of doing this for environmental reasons. I absolutely bloody love it. Scrounging is like the world’s biggest lucky dip – better than the Bertie Beetle and Sticks & Pops showbags put together.

Some people think this is ‘embarrassing’ and ‘disgusting’. They would much rather chuck out a busted chair than buy a nail and repair it. They would rather stab out their own eyes with blunt biros than wear something a dead person might have worn. But with products being made cheaper and more disposable, people don’t feel the need to hang onto well-made stuff any more. And that is ultimately everyone’s loss.

6. Buy local
I make no secret of the fact I love living in the ‘Wick. Clearly ‘light industrial’ is my spiritual zoning. And I believe that (with the exception of good Asian food) you can buy just about anything in the world in this suburb.

Can I emphasise the wondrous Greek deli in my IGA. The tinned Italian goodness at the Mediterranean Wholesalers. The $2 meat pizzas from Tabets. The quality op-shops, like Don Bosco and the Salvos. The foppish service and excellent coffee at Ray. And of course my magical coat. There’s even two heavenly new bookshops, The Book Grocer and Brunswick Bound.

There is no need to cross town in a pollution-belching car. So why would I go anywhere else?

7. Home made beauty products
But I am beauteous enough already, I hear you cry. Oh, but there is always room for improvement upon this perfection. And with my ridiculous hair, it’s tempting to spend hundreds of dollars on poisonous products to tame the beast. But the answer is sitting right next to my stove – olive oil!

I am a big believer in olive oil. It fixes my hair, my rough patches and even stops the doors squeaking. I sometimes cook with it, too. So for the benefit of anyone looking for a leave-in conditioner, I publish for the first time, my olive oil fix:

½ cup olive oil
Splash of vitamin E oil
Slosh of ti-tree oil

Pour all of this into a small bowl and mix briskly. Massage into your scalp and rub the oil all the way down your hair. Wrap your head in gladwrap and endure hoots and mockery. Twenty minutes later, wash it out by shampooing twice. This will make you look like that chick emerging suggestively from the foam in Botticelli’s Venus, and also cure your dandruff.

8. Shopping bags
Don’t you reckon those green bags are the new environmental menace? “No thanks,” say some smugheads at the cashier. “No plastics for me. I’ll just hand over this massive unbiodegradable collection of bags because I’m as green as Kermit’s hankie.” Everyone’s got about 600 of those things. Come Armageddon, all that will be left is the cockroaches, skittering around inside a teetering palace made of Coles green bags.

It seems a bit silly to me. All I take is my grotty black backpack, the cloth bag I bought in Canada and I’m laughing smugly all the way to the shops.

9. Public transport
I am INSUFFERABLE about this one, it is my Everest of Smug. I am a public transport NUTTER. I have many unfashionable ideas about how all transport in cities should be horse-related, with horse couriers, gigs, phaetons, cobblestones, leather-padded coaches and exciting trysts in same. But that would be far too romantic and progressive for Howard’s Australia.

Someone tell me why, if you live in the inner city, anyone owns a car? What is wrong with the old PT, and the odd taxi? OK, I have discussed many times on this blogge how Connex should be destroyed. But what’s the option? Just take a minute to think about the resources that go into the car industry – the design, the mining, the materials, the shipping, the marketing and awful ads, the roads, the speed cameras, and that shitful show on SBS about blokes test-driving cars that everyone seems to love?

Don’t you think, if you have the means, and a conscience, you should consider other options? There’s actually some good things about public transport. The private time spent reading or dreaming, the chance to see a bit of your city at a slower pace, the opportunity to stretch your legs a bit and of course eavesdropping on priceless Gen Y conversations.

10. Capitalism on the rampage – just stuff
As you can see, with my not-so-subtle arguments, it all comes back to stuff. If it’s not cars, it’s houses. If it’s not houses it’s clothes. If it’s not clothes, it’s toys or music or books or pre-packaged organic food or magazines or boxed sets of Captain Picard’s finest moments (of which there are many, you will agree). It never, ever ends.

You know those people who always cry poor: “wait ‘till next payday, and we’ll do it!” they say. “Can you shout me a train ticket and I’ll pay ya back!” “You spent how much on books?” And they’re on these insane salaries. There’s only one answer to this question: they’re all buying stuff. What exactly for?

Although I do have some stuff, it’s not my life’s ambition to acquire more of it. Books can always be borrowed or bought second-hand, likewise clothes, music and DVDs. I’d rather travel overseas than have things. I’d rather sit on the sunny front porch of my rental house with a cup of tea than spend all my spare time renovating a shitty flat in Reservoir. And I’d much rather enjoy what I have, than envy other people’s stuff.

I am smug, hear me roar. Another meme, so soon? Is anyone else leaving their smugprints on the earth?

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11 thoughts on “Top Ten Smugprints: A Gallery of Hypocrisy

  1. I am also totally leaving my smugprints on the world, as follows:1. the water use – I save precious drops in buckets and water garden, etc. Including the tub in the sink when rinsing the coffee pot/tea pot, and the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” philosophy regarding the toilette.2. I love being a property owner. Did I mention our renovations using recycled materials and the possibility of having solar cells on the roof? Can’t do that if you’re renting!3. I see your Diva cup and raise you a hand-sewn pad, from SCRAPS!4. Totally agree with you about the kid-stuff. They drive those freakily enormous prams like they drive their 4-wheel drives, with scant regard for pedestrians.5. I love the hard rubbish collection. My PU#2, Hugo and I had great fun pulling enough tiles for our new bathroom out of a skip the other day. A bonding moment.6. Buy local is all very well and good, but I don’t believe the tinned Italian goodness at your local deli is actually tinned in your ‘light industrial’ zone. If they are imported from Italy, that’s using up more resources than you driving to the other side of town… I have been known to harrangue the people in my organic grocers about their imported from America supposedly environmentally friendly cleaning products. What’s wrong with bicarb, I asks you?7. I dig the home-made beauty products. 8. I also mostly use the sturdy black backpack for my Vic market soujourns. But I do have a few dozen “Your rights at work” orange bags that all of our letterboxing materials came with during the last election (if anyone needs one, send a stamped self-addressed envelope, etc)9. Yes to the public transport. Can I add that my PU#2, H & I have all taken to hitting the back of 4-wheel drives that try to run us over at pedestrian crossings? It pisses them right off. And Connex suck – but the alternative is worse.10. Yes. Except DVDs can be exceptionally good value entertainment if you watch them lots. I am currently watching my Buffy DVDs for about the 300th time, so I think I get good use out of them! But yes to random crap stuff.

  2. I’m very similar. I used to scour the curbs during ‘bring out your dead’ week but now I’m more likely to be putting stuff out there as, like you, I can’t stand this obsession with Stuff. I want less thank you very much! The only stuff I have too much of is books and I even threw some of them in the bin a couple of weeks back (not just to be rid of more Stuff but to keep the bin from blowing away on a stormy rubbish-collection eve – my rubbish-footprint is little and light you see).Thanks for the beauty tips, I shall give that a go. And I’d never heard of the Diva Cup. Is it really that good? Do they sell it here? It seems rather sensible (although, when checking the website I was rather unimpressed to discover they consider my vaginal muscles to be a bit, er, less than exceptional, being all of 33 and all and thereby needing the larger size. [I HAVE HAD NO COMPLAINTS thank you very much!!!!] *harrumph* Didn’t really inspire to me to encourage such insults by giving them money… )

  3. Eleanor, the Diva Cup really is that good. It has revolutionised my life! Plus you can keep it in for heaps longer than a tampon – good for the lazy. You have to order it online from Canada.Boo is very smug too about having bought the size for the vaginally petite but being 35 i opted for safety considerations over smug. Even if it did make me feel like I must be hung like a bucket.

  4. BBBJ,smug (smg) KEY ADJECTIVE: smug·ger , smug·gest Exhibiting or feeling great or offensive satisfaction with oneself or with one’s situation; self-righteously complacent: “the smug look of a toad breakfasting on fat marsh flies” (William Pearson). Boo the Dumpster Diver. Who wuddah thought? So am I. In fact the gorgeous, sold oak – I think it’s oak, anyway it’s solid in mt living room was salvaged by the dumpster where we used to live. I had to cajole some neighbourhood kids to drag it home for me. Also both my video cabinets. I love thrift stores. I picked that up from Dad. At first Simon was hesitant, but I’ve created a monster. You should hear him bragging about his Italian shoes that he paid hundreds for. Of course, he avoids my eyes.Water conservation. Take cold showers. I guarantee you’ll conserve water.I have never owned a car. I have never had the necessity for even getting a driver’s licence.Homemade hair care. When there were three of us with waist to knee length hair, I made all our haircare products. Olive oil is the absolute basic for everything. Makes nice skin, too, if you don’t ming smelling like a salad.Diva Cup – Not around when I still had all my parts. I did try a menstrual cup once, though. Once. What a mess! BTW, I also checked out the website. Sounds supercool.My home is overflowing with STUFF. I hate STUFF. My husband is a pacrat who is unable to throw away anything. We still have those size 9 1/2 high heels he bought me. I don’t wear heels and my shoe size is 6 1/2. During my first marriage and when I lived alone, we had yearly get-rid-of-it cleaning out. Not used in a year? With a few exceptions: books, heirlooms,mostly, out it went. Given away, not trashed. Recycled.We are joint-buying the house. Waaaaahhhhh!!! I need my garden…That’s kind of the ultimate buying local, eh?Shopping bags. My bad. I reuse them as garbage bags, though. That way when they fill up the land-fill they’re full.Kids. I agree that people who don’t want ’em, shouldn’t have ’em. It is possible to live a happy, completely fulfilled life without procreating, And they are an ungodly amount of work and heartbreak. But I loved being a mother and would have had as many as possible. I know, world population and all that. But I am entitled to my one vice. Yes, indeed, I am!And there it is! Not neatly packaged, but complete, ala Mai, with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry.

  5. i knew it!! this is part of your cunning plan to mate with george clonney. when his smug collides with your smug there is an eruption of smug. puff, aaah. mk

  6. Bek: property shmoperty. All I do is pick up the phone and my estate agent takes care of the rest! Smug! Your giant period pants beat rad pads, but the Diva beats your period pants I’m afraid. Once you try it you’ll see!It is good to hear you are haranguing all and sundry, I’d be worried if you weren’t! The ‘Wick beats it all – more hippies my side than yours!EB: me and my ‘hung like a bucket’ sister can scent a potential Diva user from 50 paces. Go on, go on. Get one and report back. You know you want to! I have converted at least 5 satisfied people thus far!Mai: Dumpster diver! Loving it! I’m also enjoying you cajoling the youngsters into moving your desired possessions too. I am also enjoying the images of a houshold with ‘waist to knee-length hair’. Whipped cream, nuts and a cherry – delightfully smug!MK: Oho! You have foiled my cunning plan. So cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel etc etc. Clooney and I will have dozens of tiny little smugs, all of them ridiculously good looking.

  7. that’s the most satisfying post i’ve read in my blog-trawls this week. i too am sick of the caroline springs/overingtons of this world. *debunks to cosmopolitan europe*

  8. I have children. We don’t buy em nuttin’. But seriously, they have toys, mostly from other people and not as many as a lot of kids. But even so, they’re such a waste. My oldest daughter makes her hands talk to each other. And what happened to Sunday night baths? Everyone baths their children every night these days, big baths you can do laps in if you’re three years old, and if you don’t do that and Other Mothers find out they treat you like pondscum. We have one small bath which they share. We’re about to move to a house with tank water and will be bringing back the Sunday bath, with them climbing into the shower with us in the interim should needs allow (but I am sure we wash them too much). I am a short shower queen too (must admit I find long showers kind of boring – what do people do in there?). I also don’t shower every day…gasp! We do have a GIANT pram though. Ours is even bigger than most but it does go on the back of a bicycle. And we can put all our groceries in it and save on plastic bags. ANd you can ram into people who annoy you and really hurt them and then blink absently when they turn round to pick a fight because you’ve got babies and no one’s gonna bash you if you’ve got babies. You’re all just jealous because you want a giant battering pram.

  9. Welcome Penni! Thankyou for sharing the secret about the monster prams – I KNEW IT ALL ALONG.Ah Mai, you are a treasure. I heed thy call, although you may be disappointed!

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