Clearly, there are young women in this country in dire need of advice from a wizened crone who has been around the block once or twice.
That would be me, occasionally known as Auntie Blatch.
Exhibit A is Michele McPherson, the 22-year-old former escort whose fiancé, former Stephen Harper adviser Bruce Carson, is now under investigation by the Mounties amid allegations he was lobbying for a water company, to which Ms. McPherson has ties, trying to sell filtration systems to native reserves.
Ms. McPherson said this week she has been “deeply hurt” by the storm of publicity and suspicions and allegations.
“I cannot even begin to express how emotionally hurt I am with this as there are no words to explain how I feel,” she said, with all the ferocious articulate power of her generation, in a press statement this week.
Exhibit B is the Quebec office assistant/porn actress, now sitting at home on paid leave after a student at the high school where she works recognized her as the star of Serial Abusers 2 and proceeded to first ask for her autograph and then pass along a link to her flick to his pals.
The site almost crashed, it was so deluged with traffic, most of it likely boys at the school with a sudden and urgent need to visit the office.
The young woman is now said to be “very shaken” by the publicity, and afraid for her school board job. Her Facebook site lists “pornography and secretarial work” as her dual interests, which suggests she has narrowed her career choice, whatever its final form, to the dull and repetitious. But why, her defenders cry, should she be forced to choose?
Indeed. Almost every week there’s another heartrending story like this, a young woman who poses for an ill-advised picture or 10 and finds them splashed on the web; a young woman stunned by the cruelty of those who doubt the veracity of her love for a grandfatherly lover three times her age; a young woman whose colourful past comes back to bite her in her comely rear as she attempts to remake herself, whether as a public relations consultant, actress, model or reality show contestant.
That’s why Auntie Blatch is here with some timely helpful hints for young women. Auntie Blatch only wants to help.
Back in the day, there was an old saw that basically held, and I am rephrasing it here because The Globe and Mail is a family newspaper, that if you sucked one Popsicle, you would forever be known as a Popsicle-sucker. It is a harsh eternal truth for young women.
Young men can tear through boxes and boxes of Popsicles and all but bathe in the stuff and never be similarly labelled; not so, girls.
Now, this is no reason to avoid Popsicles – I’d be the last to urge that – but women who can imagine for themselves a career outside, say of the Serial Abusers series, should confine their indulgence to windowless, camera-less rooms, and subject all who enter them to full body searches.
A young woman cannot sleep her way to the top, only the middle.
As the middle is usually peopled by middle-aged men, with middling influence and crabby and watchful middle-aged wives, this is hardly a worthy destination.
Best to date, sleep with, or have as fiancés and boyfriends, only those you actually adore, not those you imagine may be of some use down the road, else, as one of my girlfriends used to say, you end up in a situation where the dating you’re getting ain’t worth the dating you’re getting. (I had to paraphrase that too. At family newspapers, potash and politics are pretty much the only subjects one can write honestly, not to mention endlessly, about.)
Should a young woman nonetheless make such an ill-advised bargain with a middle-aged man – her attractiveness in exchange for his middling power – she should keep her end of the deal.
For the record, since there seems to be some real confusion here, his role is usually to buy or give her things she can’t afford or get on her own, even if that is only access to other men with middling influence, a Gatineau walkup or some mediocre dinners. Hers is to shut up about it all, for all time, and recognize the arrangement for what it is.
Finally, it is better to be smart than hot, and no, this is not advice on picking out a boyfriend, but advice for young women themselves.
It is not that I have been particularly blessed with either looks or brains, but even I know that smart lasts, hot doesn’t. Aspiring to be hot is like aspiring to being famous, a sure sign of stunted ambition.
P.S. Best line of the week, courtesy of a student in a visiting law professor’s class in Toronto, about the purported controversy over Ontario Appeal Court Judge David Watt’s writing style, the subject of my last Saturday column.
The professor summed up the grievous allegations against the judge like this: “Justice Watt stands accused of writing in plain English.”