There was something I heard recently that I found slightly disturbing. It was on one of these reality television programmes where people are relentlessly manipulated into argumentative caricatures.
A young woman, about nineteen I'd guess, described her ambition in life. She wanted to be a "wag".
Now, I may be missing a point somewhere along the line, but it's hardly a real ambition, is it? I'm not saying it's not hard work - there's the travel, the shopping, the forcing yourself to look good because the slapperazzi will be after you for that candid shot of you relaxing with your bikini half-off on your yacht. As a wag, you do help the media career of your husband or boyfriend (hob?), and help bring in the money and the lucrative advertising deals. Plus there's the added bonus of getting to shag a fit sportsman, so it's really not necessarily a bad thing to be.
But as an ambition, it really, really sucks. It presupposes that you're going to meet a world-class sportsman, they're going to fall in love with you, and that either you'll be prepared to move with him wherever his sporting career takes him, or that he'll be prepared to base his career moves on how handy his club is for Selfridges.
As an aside, you can't buy fridges there. I know, I asked.
However, this young woman wasn't completely daft. She knows that the media, bless them, have a love/hate relationship with wags. On the one hand, beautiful and brave ("Stunnah Shaqualla stands by husband through broken fingernail trauma"), and on the other hand vacuous and pointless ("Stupid Shaq Sucks at Six times Six"). So, she had a backup career planned.
"Maybe get a small career, like a newspaper column."
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Where to start, eh? The idea of any career being "small", the idea that the inarticulate teenager could write a newspaper column, the fact that there's no actual thought of any training in there, the whole idea that this is something that could be an easy thing to do - as easy as snapping up a footballer. Oh. Dear.
The thing is, this is exactly what my Great Grandmother, Winifred Hambleton-Jones chained herself to a donkey at Margate for in one of the lesser-known suffragette protests. She never had a newspaper column or let a premiership footballer cover up his secret homosexuality by using her as a smokescreen, but then she never had the chance, did she? That's what she was fighting for - the right of women to their own lives, to make their own decisions, no matter how stupid those decisions might seem. So hurrah! for our teenage friend with her fantastic career plans. Because let's face it, I'm almost forty and I've still got no idea what I want to do.
You win this week's award for the most blog redesigns in one day ;)
Posted by DM
August 20, 2007 10:14 PM
I'd like a 'small' career being independently wealthy. Sadly, it isn't happening so I carry on working for a living refurbishing time rotors for the second-hand TARDIS market that's sprung up these days.(*)
I'm actually glad that it's not just me that has this issue - makes me feel more normal.
Well, both her career choices beat the number one hereabouts, which is simply to get knocked up and live off benefit ever after.
I think you're just getting on a bit Alan. (Oh, and forget all that "life begins at forty" stuff.) Forty sucks. Now sixty is really living. I might almost get a newspaper column.