Monday, January 28, 2008

Rich and miserable.

Top of the week to you all. I have a busy day ahead so I'm up early, poppered up on coffee and ready to get grumpy with the computer.
Yesterday I went to Dundrum shopping centre to see Sweeney Todd with The Little Goth Kid, and The Spaniard (the film was gory, entertaining, love Helena) After the film, we three poodled about the centre itself pondering what to have for lunch. We went with sushi.
Now while sitting at the counter and in between gobbling noodles, peas and eating raw bits of fish I was hugely entertained by two ladies sitting beside me. I"m going to call them Portia and Constance.
Portia was about fifty, she was thin to the point of brittle, she had choppy blonde highlighted hair, she wore designer jeans tucked into knee high boots, a dazzling white shirt, a Ralph Lauren Blazer and more gold than her body weight should have been able to support. She had the obligatory welder's mask shades shoved high up in her pompadour.
Constance was younger, the beta female of the pair. She was almost a photo fit of Portia, but less put together, her hair was long and ironed straight, she too wore skinny jeans, and glasses, and a shirt and a blazer, but somehow I could tell she didn't have the effortless style of Portia.
First off the way they ate was hilarious. They would pluck bowls off the belt and then ONLY eat the fish, avoiding like the plague the little beds of rice they came on. They drank about four glasses of wine each in less than half an hour. And then there was the conversation.
In between taking miniscule bites of food and deep gulps of wine, they spoke about the struggles and trials they faced daily. The difficulties of getting their clearly vast broods of children into the right classes, the right school, the right teams, the right colleges, the right everything.
These two women bitched CONSTANTLY about every aspect of their lives. I have never heard two more unhappy women. I cannot adequately describe the deep loathing and contempt that crept into their voices when they spoke of their husbands. I know I only heard a brief snap of their conversation but the hatred was so... visceral. They hated their cleaners, and spoke with fury about how they had to 'show them' how to do their job. They bitched about their friends, discussing gleefully how one had 'really let herself go' and how another was 'losing it' with her kids. They both sounded un-naturally happy at the thoughts that the housing market was stagnant, exclaiming cheerfully that far too many people were convinced they were millionaires just because they owned a house.
Both of them were furious about someone called James and how cruel he was- the bastard. I must have missed that one, I have no idea why he was cruel. But I'm sure it was a humdinger.
It went on and on, furious, cold, angry, hurt, raging, bitter. After a while I had to tune them out, difficult as they were so loud even people across the counter glanced their way occasionally.
When they got ready to go, I stole a look at their shopping bags. Harvey, Massimo, Lacoste. The best money can buy. I felt flash of envy.
I glanced to my right. Gothy was in the middle of telling the Spaniard about how Jared Leto's brother was like the drummer of like 30 Seconds to Mars and how like, Leto had like told the crowd at the gig she'd been at that like, they were all one big family and that like she thought that was hilarious, and a bit like culty of him, and I could tell from the Spaniard's expression that she had no idea who or what the hell a Jared Leto was and if Gothy was telling her she had just joined a cult or not.
But she said nothing and nodded along, catching my amused eye at one moment and grinning.
My momentary envy evaporated, here we were, women, 16, 35, 44, not rich, not skinny, not glamorous, no cleaners, not angry. Okay, we had no high end shopping bags either, but as Gothy hoiked up a chunk of rice with her chop sticks and informed us that Jared Leto was not as hot as he thought he was, all seemed right with the world.
When I dropped The Spaniard and Gothy into town and drove home, I was still thinking about the women. Who the hell knows what goes on behind closed doors? Both Portia and Constance looked -on a superficial level- like they had everything. But clearly the were missing something. Surely you cannot be so nakedly furious and unhappy if your life is fulfilled. I'm being genuinely honest here when I tell you, I have NEVER heard anyone speak with such open hostility about their lives before. Never.
I wondered about them for a while longer. When I got home the Paramour-who had spent the morning chasing a ball around with other grown men- called me from the kitchen, where he was reading about grown men who chase after balls but in a professional capacity.
'Hello.' I said, taking off my coat.
'How was the film?'
'Musical and surprisingly gory.'
'Look what I have.'
He opened the over door and there is was, rhubarb crumble.
'You are a prince among men.' I said.
We many not be rich, but I love him and he loves me and we're happy. I'd take that over all the shopping bags in the world.



Blogger Lou said...

Sounds like one of the Sandymount set. I've got an aunt who is turning into one of those miserable shrews, her kids have to get into the right school, have to hang out with the right set, they have to spend the summer down in Wicklow in the NICE resort (I mean for fecks sake, it's Wicklow) with the security, bleurgh. Me and my mum were talking about it, it's basically like they're in a sorority, these women (or a lot of them) gave up their jobs to become full time mothers and I think they're just terribly unfulfilled. By all means give up your job to raise your kids, but only if you're HAPPY to do it. Spending the rest of your life desperately trying to climb the D4 social ladder is a lifestyle choice that gives me the creeping horrors....

10:18 a.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

How very romantic Miss Cat. Feel sorry for those women, wouldn’t it be awful to get to that stage of your life and still long for contentment. Sometimes I think people like that have so much of everything nothing satisfies them. The worst crime they commit is breeding unappreciative wingers, did you ever stand behind the orange 16 year olds, the Ugg wearing quiff heads in Starbuck, put fucking years on you listening to them.

10:27 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Twenty calls them young ones Good Fellas Wives. Because of the Aber Crombie and FItch track suits and orange make up and big hair.

Lou, sorority, WAP! you totally nailed it. Why anyone would long to be that tense and miserable is beyone me. I mean I get it, having money is nice and everything and I like having some-as Cher once said, 'I"ve been poor, I've been rich- rich is better.' (not that I'm rich, you know what I mean) But what's the point of it social climbing? What does it get you if you're permanently starving/looking over your shoulder/fearing age/and bitter as lemon rind?

10:37 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Good on ya, Missus. That's Dundrum to a T. Too many women of a certain age who went to Mount Anville or one of the 'better' Loretos, married 'right', and consequently can spend their time buying a lifestyle, and bitching. The really worrying thing is that it's self-perpetuating. Their tangerine daughters get excited by Juicy Couture, their sons with the blond highlights get hammered on the weekend. But never fear, they'll be running the country/economy in 20 years time.

10:40 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Probably Conan. Who knew when the Celtic tiger first stretched pretending you live in the OC was what people would aspire to.
It's fascinating place Dundrum, ripe for the people watching.

11:13 a.m.  
Blogger Caro said...

We many not be rich, but I love him and he loves me and we're happy.

Every now and again I get a bit down when I think about the difference between my current (Italian) income and my former (Irish) income and the fact that I'm the only one left of all my friends who doesn't own her own house. Then I remember I have a man diamonds couldn't buy and all's right with the world again.

11:17 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

"We many not be rich, but I love him and he loves me and we're happy" - how very John Lennon of you FMC.
I jest.

11:26 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Don't be down Caro, rejoice in your marital contentment and excellent lifestyle. Your friends are busy feeling cross about how much smaller their kitchen island is than someone down the road (Etheline), and how they should have put in a 'wet room' when they had the chance (my friend who will be getting married 17 months form now).
Also they can't sit outside drinking good coffee for next to nothing for months at a time.

Sheepie, I know, I am that lame AND that fond of rhubarb.

11:31 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I meant to tell you our rhubarb has sprouted this past week.

People will quickly forget that the Dundrum Centre replaced a crazyprices supermarket and a pye factory.

11:35 a.m.  
Anonymous finn said...

i wonder whether portia & constance belong to the sect of people who're happy to be unhappy, the kind of people to whom strife, bitterness and snake-tongued vitriol are safe companions.

maybe they're ultimately content the way they are.

12:57 p.m.  
Blogger Caro said...

Maybe "panic stricken" was a better adjective than "down" - you are absolutely right though.

What the hell is a "wet room"?

1:03 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Conan- tis the season, praise marmalade!

Content being uncontent? I dunno, maybe they were. I don't think so though. They seemed pretty angry to me. Also they clearly don't eat enough rhubarb.

Caro, they're all the rage here now. It's basically a fully tiled room or section of a much larger room with a slight sloping floor and shower head. Rather like old school showers but trendy and with mosaic tiles. They are THE thing now.

1:23 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Wait! Finn, can you do a handstand? I'm willing to bet a bag of Haribo sour jellies you can.

1:27 p.m.  
Blogger The Bad Ambassador said...

Another great post FMC.

I think some people feel obliged to acquire goods which match what they perceive their social standing to be. Unfortunately, people who are this shallow invariably posess an over inflated sense of importance and place themselves under immense pressure to achieve such lifestyle at any cost - for no other reason than to provoke jealousy in others.

Case and point, a friend of ours constantly complains about her credit card bills and a lack of money. Yet in the past year she has badgered hubby into 1 foreign holiday, 2 weekends away and converted their attic. Why? Because its what the other Mammy's down at the school have done, therefore, so should she.

The crazy thing is, they always seem to fight like cats and dogs when they go away - presumably because she feels too obliged to have a fantastic, romantic getaway that she spends too much time worrying about it to actually enjoy herself.

1:52 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

Can you do a handstand yet? (Mind your back, it would be embarrassing explaining how you injured yourself ). I have a wet room, fairly cheap to get in fairness but it is shit, no matter what you do it looks dirty, the cat is convinced it is his own personal litter tray and you have to clean the whole fucking think after a shower. I’d love a island though.

1:55 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

BA, I have friends like that too, they moved from a small cute house into a high end apartment and have fought and fretted ever since. Great place they live in, but man did it cost them in terms of their relationship.

There's nothing wrong with having nice things, but people in this country seem to have lost the run of themselves all together. Between 30,000 grand weddings, top of the range cars and designer clobber, it's wild how much we spend on stuff.
It's not the be all and end all if your car isn't brand new, or you don't have the latest gadget or mobile or whatever. I like goodies as much as the next person, but I'm not going to start crying because someone had gone abroad more this year or Mary from down the road has a deck and a landscaped garden. ( I say this looking out at the mangled meadow we call our garden)
The older I get the less I give a crap about that sort of thing too. Once the bloody cars runs and the house doesn't fall about my ears I don't really see myself losing too much sleep.

(except when it comes to Apple products- oh I am such a filthy hypocrite, a pox upon my Apple weakness)

Nonny, nope, still no, not even close.

2:23 p.m.  
Blogger aquaasho said...

AWWW you jammy git FMC!! Crumble??!! Did he make it himself or buy it from Superquinn? Not that it matters but God if he made it himself......

2:26 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

OH what am I saying, I'd slaughter my mother if I thought someone would give me the keys to one of those houses over in Orwell Gardens.
Swink Lop.

But I'd be happy about having such a house, happy I tell you!

2:27 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Aisling, Superquinn's finest. But he put it in the oven and made custard. Can't say fairer than that.

2:28 p.m.  
Blogger aquaasho said...

Aw that's so romantic. What even makes you think of those two leathery wans when you have such a man.....????

;-) Just kiddin'....

2:36 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

I don't understand women like that. Misery is not a fucking vocation.
Mr. M will be dragging me to the gym soon and while it makes me cranky, I know it's the best thing in the long run.

2:53 p.m.  
Anonymous nonny said...

Running really does feed the nosey little effers nosey-ness, I’d be jogging along looking in people windows thinking things like, gosh thats fabulous or how the fuckin hell did that poor women end up with a minger like him or clearly the woman was on crack when she bought that. It is a terrible invasion of privacy really. But come on now if we are going to be fantasying about dream homes, don’t hold back, think big, think Orwell Park, that big white one.

2:59 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

My former 'best friend in the world' is becoming one of those women. And I am no longer friends with her because I had the audacity to try to make her laugh one day when she was not in the mood for laughter, and she decided therefore that I was cruel and insensitive. Big beautiful house, cute kid, devoted husband and no mortgage (yes, you read that right, no mortgage) and plenty of money in their savings, and all she did for the last six months of our friendship was bitch to me about money, and insult my 'standards' because I don't give a shit about designer clothes, bling, and botox.

When I realized the friendship was dead after my unfortunate attempt at levity, I finally told her she was becoming too competitively materialistic and it frightened me, because I HAD to get the last word in.

Oh well, I'll bump into her in 20 years time, and she'll be complaining that her kid's ungrateful, her husband is a boob, her neighbors have bigger bling and more square footage and newer Volvos, and the woman who does her nails is incompetent so she didn't tip her.

While I'll be having a good laugh with the bartender about nothing whatsoever.

3:24 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

"Orwell Gardens"

George is spinning...

4:14 p.m.  
Anonymous morgor said...

Perhaps they're unhappy because they're little more than high class whores/babymakers.

They obviously married for status and wealth and now that they have it they realise how shallow it is.

4:34 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

That's a real shame, Andraste. Maybe there's that in her though, that will make her sit it up one day and take stock and realise what she's lost. After all she wasn't always like this. I bet she misses you a lot some days.

I reckon these women have just forgotten how to be simple in the world. They've postured so much they cannot relax. They've lost all the child in themselves to some sort of sophisticated adult ideal.

Maybe they've just got nothing to say anymore so they complain to fill the silence.

4:36 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly these women need an affair to keep them occupied. Eating might help too.

These women married for money and found that it's not enough. They don't have enough balls to leave all the same for fear this might cause a constriction in their shopping/holidays/social invites.
Half of their husbands' money still wouldn't be enough.

I have to find a another word to use instead of enough. Enough said.

4:59 p.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

I think there are people that see life as some kind of struggle and this propels them to get wealthy or get the best spouse or to do well in exams. It doesn't intrinsically make them happy, but something within them makes them covet or be aggressive or competitive, etc.

I know students that would kill their own grandmothers to get a PhD and they have no interest in the work, nor do they like what they do in the lab. I don't get it.

I think it is good to remember that happiness is within you and not outside of you anyway.

5:00 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Evening Docky and sam,
Ach Morgo and BBB, we're making too many presumptions now. I don't know anything more about those women other than they seemed cranky and bitchy and miserable the day I was snooping on their conversation, maybe they married for love, maybe their husbands are jerks, maybe their children are monsters, maybe they're bored senseless, maybe they don't have someone to make them rhubarb and custard, who knows.

Andraste, your friend seems perfectly miserable. Where's the joy? Your standards sound perfectly delightful to me and I'd rather go sink a few beers with you any day of the week than listen to someone complain about their nail person ( who has nail people?)

I must go eat, I got lost again out on my run and had to poodle back a long way.
Conan, Temple Road, those houses, holy fuck. I've never seen anything like them, that's my newest favourite road now.

5:47 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

What did the Goth Girl have to say about Jared Leto's show the other night? I read that he only played for 1/2 an hour so she must have been pissed.

8:55 p.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

Happiness has nothing to do with money.
There are lots of people who love to live to complain.
And lots of people whose aim in life it is to be looked up upon as the coolest, hippest, richest person.
I don't know if anybody achieves these superficial goals though, if that is indeed their goal?
There will always be somebody who has MORE. Always. Unless when it comes to money you're Bill Gates or something (and I'm sure there are people a lot happier in life than he is)
I loathe people who live to show off. I have no time for them.
Humbleness ahead of boastfulness.
Personally, I think that if you're truly happy, you will have no need to show off (if you're rich or not) or complain (if you're poor or not).
Not sure if I'm making any point with this, but basically I'm once again agreeing with you, FMC.

9:42 p.m.  
Anonymous laughykate said...

At the end of the day, possessions don't love you back.

9:47 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

She said it was awesome, it was the 8 oclock show that garnered the bad reviews, she went to the midnight gig and they played for 1 hr, 40 mins, so she was most cheered.
Eva, indeed. And LK, the surely do not. From what I can see the more folk have the less appreciative they are.

11:22 p.m.  
Anonymous Babs said...

Living where I live (D4 yah) I see this everyday. It's ridiculous and funny at times and then sometimes it makes me sad because I feel sorry for them. I rent my house, I drive an 11 year old brilliant Mini, I wear clothes from Penneys and people compliment me on them, I buy Tesco Value sometimes, I go to the €2 shop to buy shampoo. I save on a weekly basis. I never have a lot of money. But I am happy. I see them walking around in the Merrion Shopping Centre dripping in "bling" and tiny over priced handbags and iPhones that they don't know how to use and orange skin, kohl eye makeup, painted like dolls, the young ones are worse, with their stupid too big trackie bottoms, Ugg(ly) boots, backcombed hair and the permanent look of disain on their face. Maybe looking moany is the new "in" thing to do. I like to walk in there with no make up, shitty looking out of bed hair (the real kind - not the 'this took me two hours to perfect out of bed hair', my kind is just I can't find my hairbrush), jeans and a t-shirt on with my handbag that I made myself, but the only thing anyone is looking at is my big fat smile. Money can't buy you happiness. You have to find that yourself.

11:32 a.m.  
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