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Last night I uploaded a new profile picture to Facebook.

Lev019

The Likes I received were incredible/ridiculous/many. Every time I checked my phone, the Likes had increased. I went out to yoga, put my phone on silent, and by the time I came home an hour and a half later, the number had skyrocketed further, still. As I write, I’m on 209 Likes and 23 extremely generous and complimentary comments. That’s a Like Record for me, the most I’ve had on anything I’ve posted over my five plus years on the social media platform.

So, I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is great! People think I’m attractive, people like what I’m wearing, my smile, the composition of the photo, or a combination of all of the above’. It made me feel good, I felt (no pun intended), Liked. I felt more worthy than I had a few hours before, I felt more accepted and somehow, more legitimate, as a valuable, equal member of my peer group, of society, if I can to take it to that extent.

Here’s the problem: I recently had a professional photo shoot at a professional photography studio. I had my hair and make-up done by an ‘artist’, was shot by a professional photographer, and the team used ‘props’ like a fan to blow my hair around, made lighting and furniture adjustments, and positioned me in ways they thought complementary to my figure/features/whatever. Essentially, they directed me into looking ‘good’. The photographer said she had all the knowledge and experience needed to produce the most flattering shots and I was (and still am) grateful for her keeping to her promise.

But, how do I know she succeeded?

Because one of those photographs is the one I made my profile picture less than 24 hours ago. That same one with the most Likes, kind comments and good feelings that have come as a result of the finished product.

Oh, there’s another Like. 210, now.

So, here’s the thing. What does it say about me that this course of events and tiny clicks, minute actions by others, granted, by you, that have led me to feel a significantly increased my self-esteem over a short period of time? How else could I have achieved this sense of okay-ness on my own? Am I so dependent on others that I am unable to pick myself up?

And, perhaps, what does it say about you? Is this a situation you’ve too, been in?

What lesson does it teach me, or us, about our society? About praise, about dependence, about the relationship between looking good and feeling good?

Instant gratification. Social media provides me – and I suspect most of my generation if not everyone active across the various platforms – with comments, Likes, Followers, that give me a sense of achievement. For that second that I’ve got someone else’s attention, I’ve been thought of, considered, mentioned.

Truth is, my presence in your mind probably is only momentary, fleeting if anything was. You’ve no doubt now scrolled down your newsfeed and Liked three other Friends photos, status’ or Shares. But in our fast-moving world, that moment I was present with you is as significant as I can ask for.

But, here’s the thing. Is that person in that picture you Liked actually me? I mean sure, it’s me – the image captures my hair, my face, my favourite clothes, my ring, my posture. But, I’ve been manipulated. Edited. Touched up.

Granted, it wasn’t actually touched up a whole lot. If I had a copy of the original, organic, un-Photoshoped photo, I’d post it here for you to make that judgement yourself. I saw it before editing though, and I’d say they only smoothed out a few blemishes or whatever they deemed to be imperfections on my face or something.

But, what about all these pre-production adjustments? I spent a good 20 minutes getting my hair and make-up perfected before they even considered taking me into the proper studio (for lack of a better word) part of the ‘studio’. Yes, they opted for a fairly natural look (upon request), and they let me bring my own clothes. So, I suppose the final photograph could be considered a fairly realistic representation of who I am. But, what is troubling is knowing that had I uploaded this picture (see below) instead, I’d probably be sitting on a solid, oh, five Likes, if I’m lucky. And they’d most likely be from my nearest and dearest who fit the ‘take me as I am’ brief.

Photo on 18-12-2013 at 3.24 pm

We’re constantly being bombarded by Photoshopped images of celebrities, by messages of the ‘ideal’ body type, skin colour, hairstyle. We’re told, heck, dictated to, what’s ‘hot’, what’s ‘in’, asked ‘who wore it better’, shown so-and-so’s ‘biggest blunder’.

To be honest, it’s all fucked.

And I can only say this because I play into this culture of externally-identified ideals of perfection and sources of assurance. I’m a victim and an offender but it’s perpetual, it’s enthralling, it’s insane.

We, as a society, have an addiction to judgement. We draw conclusions from un-evidenced or unsubstantiated data. We take thing at face value and buy into advertising, media reporting and gossip without stopping to consider our deeper values or attitudes.

Even when just taking that photo above on my computer’s Photo Booth, I took a couple. I wanted to look my best ‘in a bad situation’ (read; day at home, no make-up, dirty hair). Side note: omfg the temptation to edit that picture was enormous.

But, why is this? I’m not saying we don’t have the right to want to feel beautiful, to feel accepted and to want to be happy. Naturally, that’s an inherent aspect of building one’s self-esteem, something no one should be denied. It’s something principally deeper than that.

It’s more about how we source that emotion, and questioning why we value certain ‘sources’ over others.

And, it’s also about how much we rely on social media for quantified assurance and positive reinforcement.

211 Likes.

I don’t want to play the blame game anymore than I have, nor do I believe this culture has come about as a consequence of a single event/person/aspiration. It’s a process, it’s constantly evolving. And no one is immune (J-Law, case in point).

212 Likes.

I’m not anti-make-up, anti-media, or even anti-Photoshop.

But, if I – or you – can’t upload any picture of ourselves in equal self-confidence, and are dependent on external input to confirm or trash our mood and opinion of ourselves, I think there’s at least something to think about.

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Choo-choo-chooing from a distance

Boom gates falling

Pedestrians stop, look, wait and wait some more

School kids clatter about, big bags and books on hand and back

A sea of brown, maroon, some blue and grey

Sports uniforms, blazers, prefects with duties to carry out

Angry teens now without protection from Melbourne’s unpredictable cold

Early arrivals home for those lucky enough to escape the workplace before five

Business suits, black, tall, heels, boots

Amongst the children, gossiping and waiting

Waiting, for their train to come

Kids yelling across the vacant space that separates the platforms

And then the void is filled with mechanics, engineering, a silver tube

4pm

  1. Hygiene and Sanitation in Communal Bathrooms – bathrooms and toilets in particular have the potential to be inherently dirty and disgusting. But walking into a clean, air-freshened toilet cubicle makes the whole experience so much nicer. No one wants to pee when there’s dirt on the floor, blood on the bin lids and others’ remains waiting to greet you, so I’m thankful for cleaning staff and the majority of the population who respects the facilities they use and the cleanliness of those present before and after them. Leave a toilet how you’d like to find it.
  2. Navy Blue – today I wore a navy blue top with navy blue shorts. As a little kid I hated navy because I was constantly dressed in it but I’m happy to say my opinion has changed. I also wore a baby blue backpack. I’m feeling blue, with a positive connotation.
  3. Honesty – it is pretty rare, so it’s nice to know it still exists.
  4. Location – today I woke up at 7:45am to be somewhere by 10am. That’s early for a sleeper like me. But other’s had to get up at 6am to arrive at the same place at the same time. So I’m thankful I live within close proximity to many places I frequent.
  5. Diversity – today, an ABC newsreader was publicly abused on a Sydney bus. But I am in awe of how diverse our population is. Each person is unique and no one can be defined by a single determinant such as race, religion or age. I am thankful that I’ve grown up in a multicultural society and that I have the chance to meet new and interesting people so often.
  6. Graduation – or more distinctly, the phases one passes through and graduates from within their life. I was in the presence of a young man today who is about to graduate into a new phase of life. Stepping into unfamiliar territory is scary, but he has accomplished many things and is now ready to make this transition. It is important to recognise our small graduations, because they may be significant in subtle ways.
  7. Random Acts of Kindness – I opened a lovely packet of Derwent Artist’s colour pencils today. They had been used many times before but the girl next to me had taken the time to organise them according to the colour wheel. I feel less anxious when things are in order and her small action had also made my experience of scanning the pencils more aesthetically pleasing.
  8. People Singing in Their Cars – while driving today, a song came on the radio and I started humming along, as I’ve taken to doing since driving on my own because I’ve always thought people singing in their cars look pretty silly. So while I was humming and singing the words in my head, I looked in my rear vision mirror and instantly recognised the girl in the car behind me was mouthing the words to the song I was listening to. It was a strange feeling, firstly knowing we were listening to the same radio station (which I’ll admit, must happen all the time without us realising) but then I was reading her lips and hearing the words come through to me via my stereo. It made me smile. Furthermore, we were going to the same destination and entered the building one after the other. And it was a song with lyrics and a video clip I love. So keep singing in your car, it’ll make someone else giggle.
  9. Athleticism – not mine, but observing that of others. Watching someone truly run, with power, energy and determination is a great thing.
  10. Getting to the Station Just Before the Train Arrives – I walked onto the platform and the monitor told me the train would be there in two minutes. Best feeling, knowing I’ve timed everything right, from waking up to stepping outside.
  11. Today’s Weather – Melbourne was a beautiful 28 degrees today. I’m generally a Winter Girl, but today had just the right amount of sunshine, a light breeze and no insanely hot periods. Nailed it, Melbourne.
  12. Coincidence – today I met a girl who’d gone to the same school as me, a few years behind, and yet I’ve never seen let alone met her before. Someone recently noted how frustrating it is that in Melbourne (and possibly other cities/countries as well) people are very quick to ask what school you went to. While she saw it as a negative, and I can see her point of view if it leads to judgement or remains the only topic of conversation, I believe it’s an easy way to make connections with new people, find mutual friends and acts as a pathway to discussions of similar interests and knowledge.
  13. Professionals and Education – being in the presence of someone who actively steers a conversation in a meaningful way as a result of their professional training or knowledge is both a testament to their abilities, and a help to those they are guiding. The value of education is often disregarded, particularly in a society where almost everyone receives a minimum of 10 years of mandatory education and so many go on to complete further training. Amongst my peers, I feel learning in its own right is thought as compulsory rather than voluntary or engaging which means it is often seen as having many, often unwanted, strings attached. We should be able to enjoy learning without the pressure of grades or rigorous study schedules, as well as learning to gain qualifications. Hundreds of people go through all levels of education each year and settle with just passing their subjects so they can get their degree and walk. Education is an opportunity, but I feel it isn’t valued as such.
  14. Flexibility – similarly, education amongst other things, should be flexible. Amidst a group of people I was with today, many educational institutions had been flexible in allowing them to miss a day of school or study, allowing the individuals to better themselves and expand their horizons outside of their primary institution. While rules and regulations are necessary to maintain standards and behaviours of living, being about to be flexible is so important. I am still learning to be more open to flexibility myself, but accommodating unexpected situations, people and new ways of thinking is important for our personal growth.
  15. Preparedness – on the flip side, being prepared is very rewarding. I know that if I’m cold, I’ll get shitty. It happens every time and so for me, checking the weather forecast the day before, for instance, is very important. Despite the beautiful weather outside today, I was inside an air conditioned building for the majority of the day. So I’d packed a jumper. When possible, prepare yourself and life get’s easier.

Yesterday, I worked at the Melbourne Big Day Out. Leaving the house before 8am and travelling home in the dark, it most definitely lived up to its name. I worked at a token booth, selling little pieces of paper to attendees at $4 a pop that with a proof of age wristband, entitled them to enter the licensed areas of the premises and purchase extremely expensive beverages to fuel their drunken fun. For one token, you got water. Two gave you a beer or a cider, while spirits cost you three. I was stationed at one of the quieter booths, which enabled me to get to know the other girls I was working with. There were five of us, plus a supervisor. What follows is a singleminded, stereotypical overview of each of those girls. Please take this with a grain of salt. I have no doubt there is so much more to these girls than this piece will contain. But for the sake of some simplified, cliched humour, I will introduce you to each of them as follows. (Inspired by the lists of Thought Catalog).

The Diehard Music Fan

The Diehard was your ultimate festival go-er. She knew who was playing when, on what stage, and could identify each sound that made its way into our booth with it’s creator, performer and their last performance. She’d celebrated new years at Falls and spoke about BDOs of years past. She proclaimed to have “strategically scheduled” her breaks around acts she most wanted to see, and stuck to her guns, refusing to take a break at any other time meaning the rest of us had to work ours out around her musical preferences. She might have had #99problemsbutfailing3Gaintone because she knew the set lists off by heart. Her friends consisted of likeminded Diehards and when they came within hearing distance of our booth, she took it upon herself to scream “OMG SCOTT! SCOTTTTTTTTT! OI, SOMEONE GET THAT RANGA OVER THERE!”. After blasting our ears and those of the customer she was serving out, said Ranga would then stumble over to her counter being like “OMG NO WAY! HOW DID YOU GET THIS GIG!? THAT IS SICKKKKK!”. Note the use of the word ‘gig’ to identify her job as a sales person – a telling sign of a true muso bunch.

The Self-Confessed Bitch

The S-CB was all over this job. Used to bossing people around as a personal trainer and dealing with perving males while dressed in a skimpy outfit during her “promo work”, she made more sales than the rest of us put together. While not working for money, she spends her time working out at the gym, lifting heavy weights five days a week, and following a strict diet, packed full of protein, training for body sculpting comps which she enters every few months. She has two trophies already, and breaks up with anyone unable to handle her strict eating/lifting regime. She’d prepared her meals for the day and packed them in a Cool Bag to ensure her minced Roo (yes, kangaRoo) and greens, and her two eggs were kept fresh and clean. In answer to the question you’re all wondering, yes, it was clear she Did Lift. Interestingly though, she made fun of all the young girls with intense spray tans waddling around before our eyes, while it was clear she too was sporting one herself. Ahh, the beauty of irony, or is it coincidence? Whatever it was, we all learnt a thing or two about attitude and that her father had paid $50,000 a year for her to attend an elite private school which was “totally worth it”. Good to know you’re using that knowledge well, girl.

The One With No Personality

There’s always one.

The Blissfully Ignorant Immigrant

When told the event was scheduled to receive an impressive 50,000 attendees, her eyes lit up and her jaw dropped. From the developing world, via Adelaide, she spoke fondly of the round tokens in bars of her hometown, and her time dressed up in an animal suit while she supported herself through her studies in the nation’s City of Churches. The only problem was though, her speaking fondling never really seemed to stop. She spoke constantly, of anything and everything, and poached customers from the lines of those next to her. “Excuse me! Excuse me!”, she wailed, trying to attract the attention of those dazed and distracted in the lines before us. She couldn’t understand how so many people would choose to get drunk, during the day time, with relatively no productivity or beneficial outcome other than pure drunkeness. I must admit, part of me struggles with this too. But as it was blatantly obvious to all, it was Straya Day, and what true Aussie doesn’t love a beer or two to celebrate their country’s pride? We told her it’s tradition. “Ohh, is it? That’s strange, isn’t it?” Well whether it is or it isn’t, she sure got the message by the end of the night.

The Mum

All crude humour aside, our supervisor was lovely. She truly helped us through stubborn customers, balancing our books and straightening out any potential harassment issues. She brought us together and laughed at our jokes. We found you could gage one’s usual level of drinking by how they responded to a) the prices of the tokens (and thus, drinks) and b) how many they purchased. We giggled at one man who forked out $200 off the bat, without thought, which would get him 25 beers, and noted others who came for just three or four tokens, managing their drinking wisely and responsibly. We learned about her 21 month old daughter, and about her family and lifestyle. We supported her when her one vice ([soy] coffee) was a let down, cold and icky, and she kept us going through sales peaks and lulls.

The day was a success even if Melbourne’s weather wasn’t. I just hope there aren’t hundreds of kids too sick to go back to school this week because they dressed (completely inappropriately) in short shorts and a singlet, for 40 degrees when I’m sure it barely made it to 20. But I guess that’s a sneaky way out of a new school year, so maybe today’s youth are smarter than we all thought?

Working hard, or hardly working?

Working hard, or hardly working?

Today I was in the city with friends and money arose as a topic of conversation. How to make money, how much money things are worth, and what we paid for certain acquisitions. One friend had paid $70 for the t-shirt she was wearing. The other was wearing a shirt that he’d cut to suit his own style, supposedly worth $100 at the time of purchase. Food was bought, myki cards were topped up with money for necessary travel into and out of the city, and we were all (of course) dressed and groomed with clothes and styling products/makeup/at-least-shampoo that had cost someone some dosh somewhere along the line, too.

We talked about haircuts. How much to get your hair dyed at a salon? How much to do it yourself? I used to have bright pink, dip-dyed ends on my long (read: extra spending) hair. I don’t know how much it cost because my mum paid for it, but I know that it was a lot. I also know that I had to pay the same stylist to un-dye it when I changed schools to meet the school’s uniform policy. I’ve also dyed my hair on many occasions at home, or with a friend, for a much smaller price. A packed of hair dye might cost anywhere between $10 and $35, depending on the brand. My friend’s hair was dyed currently, and she’d saved herself some money by cutting it and dyeing it herself. Boys, on the other hand, we were informed, needed their hair cut every four weeks, my other friend told us. So while guys haircuts are usually much cheaper, the cost adds up when you take into account how frequent their trips to the hairdresser are. Or how shitty the hair dye you buy from the supermarket is and need to re-dye it after its faded a week after you last forked out $15.

While we were out, one friend wanted to buy a ring, but it was $20 she didn’t have right now. The other told me his iPhone earphones were ‘only $35’. And that’s when it hit me. On January 1st, the Labor government cut the Newstart Allowance significantly, to an equivalent of just $35 a day. The majority of Newstart recipients are single parents (mostly mothers), meaning that not only does that $35 have to sustain one person for a day, it is likely to need to be stretched to support two, or more persons, children with needs, wants and wishes a parent only dreams to fulfil.

When you think of $35 it might not sound that bad right off the bat. But as soon as you start to consider some of the things mentioned above, it disappears without a trace. Hell, that’s without life’s necessities of health care, educational expenses (such as tutoring), extra curricular activities, hobbies, a gym membership to keep you in decent shape, food, rent and other living costs. How one, let alone multiple people are meant to survive on just $35 a day baffles me completely.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin suggested that she could do it. Acting Greens Leader Adam Bandt will actually go on the dole for a week and see how he fairs with such a measly amount. But the experiment, while interesting, will be rather inconclusive because everyone, including Mr Bandt, knows that once his seven days are up, he’ll be going back to conditions that enable him to work, eat, sleep and thrive as a politician and as an Australian not subject to these conditions.

I doubt anyone would choose to live consistently on $35. The unemployment crisis in Australian is again, set to peak, and as a person without a job, the prospects for gaining one are looking slim. Of course, I am lucky to be fully supported by family, but I cannot imagine this news being sunny for anyone. Especially those receiving the Newstart Allowance who are being told it is just a safety net and are highly encouraged to go back to work. What if there is no work to go back to?

So tonight when you are spending money on dinner, drinks, a movie or even on petrol, spare a thought for those that aren’t so fortunate to own a car, to go out to eat, or who can only afford fast food. Without money for formal or organised exercise, or the motivation to better yourself provided by such environments, many will find themselves travelling down a path of chronic disease and ill health… but that’s another story. And anyway, the government and tax payers have got their back, right? Yeah, right.

Youth unemployment, it’s an issue, right? In fact, unemployment is an issue across the board. Ever since the crash of the Global Financial Crisis, jobs have been harder to find, harder to obtain, and even harder to keep. The government has warned us that less and less young people are making something of their lives after leaving school, with fewer youth engaging in work or study of their own accord.

We should be able to live our lives the way we want. We shouldn’t be under pressure to conform to a society with certain ideals or an ideology that does not fit who we are finding ourselves to be. For some, it takes time. Travel, experience, life. Sure, I’ve gone from high school to university but many friends have taken gap years, started working, or have found themselves occupied with other pursuits. There are healthy ways to spend time and there are unhealthy ways. But giving someone a break after 13 years of education shouldn’t be taboo.

However, for those of us who have decided to balance life, study and work, we should think this trio of events is attainable and likely to be possible. The thing is, employment is hard to come by and I, for one, have been trying to gain employment over the past months without much success.

What has prompted this post though, is a terrible experience I’ve just had. Earlier this evening, I rocked up for a group interview with lingerie store, Bras ‘n Things. I arrived early, as I would for any job interview. I parked my car and found the location. But as the store came into view, I noticed a mass of people – girls – standing around the surrounding stores. I didn’t know what had happened. Had there been an accident? Was one of the nearby stores having a one off sale? Were there celebrities in sight? What the hell was going on?

It was only once I was amongst the crowd that I saw all the girls were holding A4 pieces of paper. And at the head of the piece of paper read ‘Job Application’.

Fuck.

Are you kidding me? There were about 200 girls there. Now, I’m bad at estimations but this is no exaggeration. Girls, probably aged 16-30 (okay, young women), were lined up, on the street, in the heat, and ‘dressed to impress’, as we were told to do. Girls in heels, skirts, some in pants, some in black stockings and jackets, adorned with jewellery, hair in bows and ribbons. It was almost an unbelievable sight. And the thing is, they wanted to interview us. Together. ALL AT ONCE.

It was ridiculous. The scene was like sardines in shades of pink, blue and black, of all shapes and sizes, yet racing for the one prize. But none of the girls are to blame. No one knew this is what we were to expect. I thought I might have been going to an interview with maybe 50 other attendees. Even 50 girls vying for scant positions is a lot. But what is one’s chances in a sea of hundreds?

The stores folding doors were opened and we crammed inside. Packed to the brim, one girl fainted within minutes. It was hot, it was steamy. The smell of fake tan spread instantly. Girls shook their application forms for air as airhead staff began their recruitment speech. ‘Come on, take a lollipop. I went out and bought these especially for you! Come on, your allowed!’ And then, ‘I wish I could give you water too!’ Yeah, I’ll bet you did. It was practically an Occupation Health and Safety hazard just being in that space.

After finding out if anyone knew anything about the company, we were told the ‘perks’ of working for the brand. The ‘possibilities’ and ‘promotions’ that awaited us as (potential) successful applicants. With 209 stores across Australia and New Zealand and a new Kardashian range, who could think of a better place to work?

An hour later, I could think of a better place to work. Anywhere.

They split us up into north, south, east and west as girls made their way to their assigned destinations, all within this tiny store. In the group deemed ‘East’, we started going around saying our names, the position we were applying for, the store(s) we were applying for, and why we wanted to work at Bras ‘n Things. I think six girls were lucky enough to have this opportunity. After that, it was decided there were too many of us (no shit) and we were to make small groups and introduce ourselves to each other. We wasted about 15 minutes doing this and then were given an ensemble to ‘sell’ to one of the staff members. Ten minutes later, a staff member came around. I literally got to say about two sentences. I think I said something about the breathing material, the quality of the product with good stitching and something else that’s already slipped my mind. She didn’t even get my name down. She asked my name – ‘sweetie’ – and when I told her, she just looked at me blankly. I’m sorry, but if you didn’t hear me or didn’t understand, I’d expect you to ask me to repeat it, not just stare at me. So I repeated it without request. But I’m pretty sure that even then, she didn’t even take the time to write it down. Maybe Esther is too hard to spell or something. I get that a lot.

But wow, talk about a lack of respect. I’ve taken the time to come to you stupid group interview which is basically a meat market, and you can’t even give me the time of day to get my name. It’s totally rude and ultimately, disgusting.

Not long after, I, and dozens of others, were shown the door. Sure, I’d like to have progressed to the next ‘stage’ but as stage one consisted of me saying barely 20 words and nothing more, and after the poor treatment I’d received, I was almost glad to be on my way.

And as I said, I was one of many. I’m not taking this as a personal attack but I think we as young people, have a right to receiving greater respect than I was shown tonight. I know you had literally hundreds of other girls there who by your accounts, were in someway more suited to the position (after hardly saying a thing), but that doesn’t give you the right to dismiss others in such a horrible manner.

And to be honest, I think you’ll have lost some customers, Bras ‘n Things. In our little groups we discussed how far we’d come for the interview. Personally, I hadn’t had to travel too far, but others had travelled for a good hour or more to make it, only to be out of there without having the chance to show their personality, their skills or even their name.

And I don’t care if you have the new Kardashian range, I happen to dislike the Kardashians and even if I did like them, their underwear can get stuffed. The distance between the Kardashian girls and the piece of underwear you are buying is so great you may as well send them fan-mail and you’d get closer to the real thing.

So in turn, I’ve lost my respect for the brand, Bras ‘n Things, and for mass recruitment in general. I know not all company’s recruit in this way, and I’m aware of the practicalities involved in recruiting for such big names. But what I experienced tonight should not happen under any circumstances.

No wonder so many youths are unemployed.

Day Three of the Carnival.

Official Flower: Pink Rose

Ladies day. The ‘ultimate style day’. Women are to dress in their ‘most feminine ensemble’. Come one ‘cosmetic bloom, romantic looks and delicate fabrics’, come all. And come they did.

The course was awash with colour. I witnessed a mix of patterns, lace, floral pieces, peplum, maxi, short, fitted, flowing, bold, muted, printed and plain. Today I sat in amongst the general admission public, close to the horses and amidst the crowds. My positioning gave me greater viewing of the people and their apparel. Many women looked stunning. They seemed to have it worked out today. Accessories were paired well with dresses, clutches were matching or made a statement and broad-brimmed hats were common. White dresses stood out with detailed fabrics and soft-hued heels. There was again, a rush of tangerine and fuchsia mostly on the younger crowd.

I was surprised to see some race-goers in hoodies. Some worse fairly plain tops and pants or even jeans, and flat shoes were noted. Men came quite casually, while others wore skinny ties which I felt were a bit tired. I also noticed a trend amongst younger males – wearing their sunglasses on the back of their necks. Please inform me of how this is fashionable, practical or appealing in any way.

I took generally smaller bets from a wider group of patrons. A few punters stood in front of the screens above my tote the entire day. They were the regulars, dressed down and putting out the big bucks on greyhounds as well as horses.

Drinking was more obvious here than in the marquee and I saw more girls in ill-fitting heels struggling to walk with confidence regardless of alcohol’s influence.

Race 6 (The Oaks) was the most popular for punters, with numbers 2 and thirteen being popular horses. I was oblivious to the proceedings of ‘one of the world’s great outdoor fashion events’, Myer’s Fashion on the Field, but am sure it would have had many well-deserving place-getters.

I finished short $13.25. After three days at the track I am yet to have faith in one’s ability to balance their count at the end of the day.

The train ride home was one to remember. Rowdy groups of men sang chants while everyone raised their voice to be heard above the masses. Sardines we were again, as one passenger reminisced about her ride home from Big Day Out. There was a larger presence of young men and women on the train yet an even balance between the genders. As one supervisor told me, ‘We call it blokes day because they come to check out the birds’.

Changing trains in the city, I sat down and listened to a conversation the rest of the way home between two men. I gained insight into the different between a Whopper burger from Hungry Jacks, and one with added cheese, ‘It makes all the difference, it gives it a better flavour. A Whopper needs cheese, man.’ Then I heard that one of the men’s wives was at home with the baby waiting for her hubby to get home so she could go and get a spray tan for Emirates Stakes Day on Saturday. The conversation is here, bland, but the way they spoke, how they verbally treated this man’s wife and her wishes, was far from it. To my ears, the men had been considerate, but by the end of the day were in no place to take over looking after a baby. The main man’s friend made it very clear he was in no way after a wife of his own because ‘they just don’t get it, a man needs his time. I mean we even chucked out a beer!’

I’m not rostered on to work the last day of the Carnival, so today was my last at the track. I’m unsure as to whether I’ll post about Day Four but in conclusion, my races adventure was well worth it for the Spring fever I felt and people watching I indulged in. See you next year, fillies.