Once upon a time a Launceston surgeon, who I won’t name, told me I “looked alright” when I “made an effort”.
We were at the annual Care for Africa Ball and I had spent a chilly Saturday covering a large public protest staged to try and save an array of services under threat at his hospital.
I was cold and tired and made an extra effort with makeup, hair and a black velvet halter neck gown which disguised the bone-numbing exhaustion.
I felt like a hippy/urban Cinderella. I even shaved under my arms! I was so happy with how I looked, that I sent a picture of myself to mum.
Mum loved the picture.
She loved it so much that she had herself photoshopped into the scene.
My mum is Celtic in her appearance. She is all dazzling blue eyes and porcelain white complexion.
She looked like Elizabeth Taylor and is still very beautiful.
I’m more a dodgy shade of brown and certainly no Elizabeth Taylor.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I had the photographer make you a few shades whiter,” she said.
A few shades whiter?
Yep. I’m a fully-fledged white sista now, at least in my mum’s living room.
Each time I visit, there we are, side by side on the wall.
We look like we’re having a great evening together, and that’s a really nice thing.
Although I did get a little naughty (just) once…”am I adopted, Mum?”
At that time, my neighbour Maudie and I were convinced of my Koori or Greek origins.
Ten years have passed, and on Thursday I was at a meeting with two younger women when I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror.
My hair was doing its own weird Greek thing, with bits hanging down in places they were meant to be up and frizzy stuff happening off to one side.
I looked like an over-coiffed poodle with sleep apnoea.
My eyes looked like I’d done copious amounts of drugs, or just needed a good night’s rest, ie, without mosquitoes nibbling at my eyelids and biting their way up and down the entire right side of my body. (How bad are this year’s mozzies?)
After the meeting, I decided to stay authentic rather than tidy myself.
By the end of the day I was doing the ‘full’ authentic Greek, hair out of control and eyes dark, black circled and “expressive”.
Once home I stayed authentic and found some upbeat Greek pop music on Spotify … Konstantinos Argiros, 31, one of triplets from Athens.
You can find him at ‘Theatro’ any Friday or Saturday night.
I was looking for anything to wake me up and get me cooking and Kon got me to the fridge.
Dinner would be leftover, reheated spanakopita with accompanying salad.
By this time, I was feeling very authentic and didn’t give an Orthodox nun’s habit about my hair or lapsed mascara.
I cooked and all was cool in a hot-summer-night, Greek, kind of way.
That was, until I mistook brandied cherries for olives.
Even with my glasses on, the dark things in the jar looked like black olives.
I’d forgotten about the cherries I’d preserved in brandy last summer, that were sitting right at the back of the fridge.
Cucumber, feta cheese, tomato went into a bowl with iceberg lettuce and brandied cherries.
On another matter.
I wasn’t aware, being ball-challenged, but apparently women have been playing spectator-worthy AFL for almost 100 years.
Shame on the men who held us back and bravo to the women who are playing an authentic game.