The full New-Age treatment

As any single woman in this town could well sympathise, I’ve been in a bit of a poo. When I look around these days, at the assorted clots, weeds and Chris Martin-style wimps decorating bar stools; steadfastedly averting their eyes from any female; persevering with the inner-city trilby craze that suits only 0.00001 of the male population; bagging out their exes as ‘psychos’, it becomes apparent that…


It’s enough to make any red-blooded woman feel glum. And I can only quote Angry of Mayfair when he shrilled: “it’s enough to drive a man to women!!” I’ve been working on the idea of moving overseas (anywhere but here) for fear of dying a Miss Havisham-style old bag, covered in cobwebs and sitting amidst the crumbs of an uneaten wedding feast. Pah.

I even started a tally – when walking around I counted how many blokes acknowledged me when I walked past (nod, eye contact, leer), and from what era. The post-50s won hands-down. Any younger than that? Would sidle past hurriedly as though I’m about to spray them with mace and whack them with the spinsterly handbag.

I never planned on being an old maid, you know. When I was little I had an idea I’d be living with some lavishly bearded man by now, in a house full of books and artworks, which we would vacate often to have madcap adventures. Our friends would be worldly and dramatic, our cuisine spicy and I’d have an obese tabby that would sit on my shoulders all day and give me kisses. Thinking about it now, that fantasy would be ably illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Oh I’ve had plenty of madcap adventures – on my own. I’ve bought plenty of books and some artworks. My friends are worldly and often dramatic. My cooking can be very tangy, and when my housemate is too stoned to think about shaving there’s quite a beard there. But the only thing that sits on my shoulders with any regularity is dandruff. Not quite it, eh?

Not wanting to get into a downward spiral, I employed the services of Merryl, a wonderful lass who performed the exorcism on my house after the Landmark housemate left behind the chill wind of the crazy. Merryl calls herself a ‘Holistic Kinesiologist’, a profession I knew nothing about.

It turns out it’s a kind of alternative therapy that involves movement, muscle testing and fecking with the energy and chakras of your body. Look up chakras, I haven’t a hope of explaining it properly. Anyway – I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but made the big trek over to St Kilda for my appointment.

Merryl is not what you’d imagine, for someone in her industry. She has a lovely warm speaking voice, is completely normal and sincere (not a hint of flakiness) and looks a bit like my Aunty Gay, who was a cracker. She’s also a superb tarot card reader, an astrologer, an expert in flower essences and doesn’t mind casting the odd spell. She brings all these together in a kind of new-age mélange, and would you believe, once you get into it (and I was determined to enjoy myself, after hours on the tram) it is rather good!

We started with a Q&A, which apart from asking the usual qus about contact numbers, was also concerned with family, sibling order, leisure time, whether I danced or not and sweet or savoury. I filled her in. She felt it fortuitous indeed that I was coming into see her with a full moon in Gemini, which has not happened in 19 years. I then had to explain why I was there – which I managed to keep to a minimum of teeth-gnashing – citing the assorted clots, weeds, wets (above) with whom I am forced to mingle hem hem.

We then moved onto a quick reading of my astrological chart, and probably the best tarot reading I’ve ever had. We discovered that I had been focusing on knights and other interesting and creative narcissists, when I should be focusing on a king (I pulled out a centaur chappie with a crown, clutching a scroll). I got that ‘hanged man’ a lot, which means that whatever I’m doing is not working, and that whoever I’m looking for is ‘not quite ready yet’. Wait a little bit longer? I am good at that. I have only waited 33 years, I am mucho patient.

Merryl is one of these people with a knack for bringing out parts of your subconscious without actually prying or asking any personal questions. It was like visiting a counsellor without the necessity of picking over your bad past experiences, and only dwelled on what to do about my own cumbersome personality in the future.

We then moved onto the Kinesiology table, where she tested my muscle reactions, and how much energy was coming out of the various parts of my body with assorted taps, clicks and highly amusing gestures. My solar plexus area, it turns out, is a bit dim. This is the chakra that reflects self-image, self worth, how you appear to other people and so on. She immediately picked up that I hold back myself an awful lot, and have trouble accepting a compliment.

Oh god. The latter is quite true. One of my BBI mates was administering one the other day, while I puffed and sighed, fidgeted then changed the subject. As I was growing up I felt that if someone was interested in my mass of foul, peculiar traits, then there was probably something wrong with them. The age-old story. My platonic friends know I’m an oddity – and don’t mind in the slightest – but the gents are still in the dark.

And bits of me pop out from time to time on this blog (hard – when your family reads it), and sometimes in conversation with close friends, but my lifelong crusade to convince people that I’m just as normal as anyone, and not to alarm strangers with freakish observations and unladylike behaviour is clearly not working, as my mid-riff pointed out.

Did she not know what horrors lurk within? If I were to give full rein to all the many quirks and peculiarities that occur to me throughout the day, I’d come across as a raving nutbag. This inner buffoon doesn’t gel with the specky 7-year-old who took to heart the Dorothy Parker quoted at her by her own mother: “men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” And I didn’t go to a school where raving nutbaggery was encouraged; we were all ‘ladies’. As we are all taught very early on, women do not speak or laugh loudly, they do not voice their opinions too stridently in mixed company, they do not flail limbs unnecessarily, and most importantly, Women. Are. Not. Funny.

Merryl then asked me to image a big funnel coming out of my solar plexus and out of my throat (I’m an extremely literal person and had dreamt up a big Victorian era-type contraption coming out of my stomach with gears and steam and powered by Dodos), which I had to breathe through vigorously while she declaimed to the universe that I had arrived – all the while clanging tuning forks and shouting. The tuning forks were comically large and multicoloured.

Is she not a dream?

We then visualised a situation in which I was particularly ‘me’ (involving a jungle in Borneo, a beach, and a skinny dip) I told her about my sad little eye contact game, and she firmly did an anti-invisibility spell. Finally, she finished up with some old-style 1950s advice, about how to work a room, keeping your body language open at all times and things like ‘smile at people…but a little later’, which tickled me no end.

I was about to lumber to my feet (with jaw and stomach oddly unclenched) when I was pinned firmly to the bed, as my energy was still ‘going out all over the place’. After a tense moment I was cleared for takeoff, with a promise of an appointment next month.

When I shared my shameful new-age therapy experience with friends, I was not greeted with howls of scorn, as expected. I have converted something like four people with my tales, who are all going to make the trek over to St Kilda as well. I have to work hard at my visualisations (easy) and elaborate on them in a healthy, functional way (hard). I have many plans next year to bridge the gaps between my rich inner life and reality. And I’ve resolved not to liken any men to Chris Martin, Ben Lee, Diver Dan or other flaccid individuals, to keep an open mind and a sharp eye out.

A-Zee, as always, had the final word on this matter with her simple, inexpensive solution: “You know what the secret is mate?” she said, in her American accent. “When I walk down the street, I put this look on my face like I’ve just eaten a canary. Gets ‘em every time.”