Living in the wild, wild West (sort of)

Posted on August 1, 2010

As discussed in the past, my Saturday nights tend to revolve around obscure shows on SBS, The Bill (I don’t think you can be an Australian parent without watching this show at some point) and a bottle of red wine. Every once in a while, however, I am dragged from my comfort zone (aka The Sofa) and made to, gulp, Go Out.

It needs to be pointed out that Going Out in Fibrotown is not like Going Out in The Big Smoke. For starters, there are fewer places to go. In some ways, this is a good thing. I have long felt that most of the problems (and I use the term loosely) that we suffer today come from the simple fact of having way too many choices.

A takeaway in our old house, for example, was fraught with difficulty – would we have Thai? Vietnamese? Indonesian? Turkish pide? Mexican? African? And if we did have Thai, from which of the 35 Thai restaurants in the district would we order? By the time we’d worked all that out, The Bill was over and it was time for bed.

In Fibrotown, that’s all much simpler.

What is not simpler, however, is Going Out. Because there are fewer places to go and you’re likely to see similar (aka The Same) people at any event that you attend, party organisers have to be much more diligent in order to tempt you (or maybe it’s just me) away from the sofa. Everything we go to here has a theme or a dress code. You can’t simply turn up in jeans. Your dress must be Fancy.

Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly (I know, you’re shocked). When friends invite us over to dinner we generally don’t need to drag out the nun’s habit and the clown suit. But big events tend to require effort. Lots and lots of effort.

On Saturday night, the preschool fundraiser required us to dress not only ourselves, but our table. Right down to the cutlery. I spent a week searching for ‘vintage, fancy silverware’ to suit our theme (more on that in a minute), only to discover a box of it sitting in my linen cupboard. Note to self: the decluttering is not working.

It was all my own fault. I’d set the theme. ‘Cowboy,’ I announced cheerfully, thinking of warm flannel shirts and comfortable shoes. ‘Terrific,’ said my friend C, ‘we’ll do Old West Saloon glamour.’

And so it was that I left the house on Saturday night ready for Wild West Whoredom, wearing several layers of corsetry, petticoats and fake roses, with a large velvet table cloth, fancy silverware, gilt-edged plates and a cowboy (The Builder, very dapper in a mean, outlaw way he was too) under my arm. It’s not exactly travelling light.

In the end, despite my whinging about the work, it was an enormous amount of fun. People I see every day at the school pick-up were transformed for the night. Which, at the end of the day, is the point of it all. You get to see each other in a new light and strike up conversations with people with whom you’re usually only on nodding terms. Even if it’s only to ask how they manage The Pride of Erin in their gumboots.

Quite how they’ll view me next time they see me is another question. Once ‘Miss Behavin’ is let out of the closet, in her brand-new second-hand cowboy boots, she’s very hard to stuff back in.


  1. Joy Sharpe

    i heard the band was pretty good too !

  2. allison tait

    Hmmm. I knew I shouldn’t have allowed Anonymous comments on here. Now I’ll have to buy up every copy!

  3. Anonymous

    I thought that was you in the pic taken by Nora(weekend phot). I was having a look at them on Sunday as I was working in the office and found myself peering at a corseted bordello saloon chick. Appearing in the South Coast Register soon!

  4. MultipleMum

    Yee har! Sounds like a great night was had by the whorebag and her cowboy 🙂

  5. Stacia

    And I bet your sassy cowgirl get-up “roped in” lots of money for the school, too. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) =>

  6. Tricia Rose

    There’s nothing like a wild weekend to make a vegemite sandwich and glass of milk on your tod seem like glorious indulgence, come Monday! Guess it’s the contrast…

  7. Mama Mogantosh

    HI there- it’s your newest follower and fellow South Coast city-expat (and magazine writer!) . Love your stuff so far and look forward to more. x

  8. In Real Life

    Sounds like lots of fun!

  9. Little Ted Canvas

    Sounds like heaps of fun! I always enjoy a bit of a dress up (must be where my boys get it from). Always nice to get out & let your hair down too, getting to know the kinder & school mums a little better & hope they don’t think any less of us on Monday…

  10. allison tait

    @brismod – I had myself pegged in the buckskin category too, don’t you worry. Just goes to show…

  11. brismod

    Such a fabulous idea. And I had you pegged for Calamity Jane…who’d have thought corsetry?

  12. allison tait

    @Deer Baby – The Bill is the same the world over. Is soothing Saturday night parental television. Plus I love a bit of Smiffy.

    As for pics, no can do. Given that the whole of Fibrotown is now looking at me sideways, I can’t have the blogosphere doing the same. You’d never view me in quite the same way (plus I can’t quite bring myself to go there).

    The velvet tablecloth was actually courtesy of the local op shop, would you believe. A discarded red velvet quilt cover. Discarded! Who’d have thought?

  13. Deer Baby

    This made me laugh so much. Would love to see pics! Was it a bit like Deadwood? Have you seen that? Or more Annie Get Your Gun?

    I have some friends who live in a little village. The last time I visited they had some fancy dress costumes hanging up on the back of the spare bedroom door we were sleeping in. Didn’t like to say anything because…well, you know. But it was for a school fundraiser thing just like yours. The whole village gets involved and they love it.

    Need clarification on The Bill. Over here it’s a long running cop show. Not sure it would be up your street…..Hardly The Wire.

  14. Alison @ Coffee Kids Chaos

    Yes I was just about to say the same thing…photo required! I’m left wondering how you fashioned the velvet table cloth (I didn’t even know there were velvet table cloths!) into a piece of clothing!

  15. Anj (@anjwrites)

    Now see, this is precisely the type of post that needs photographic evidence… Bet you looked grand! 🙂

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