Acclaimed Actor, comedian and writer, Kitty Flanagan, lays down some ground rules in her very amusing 488 Rules for Life, inspired by Jordan Peterson’s bestseller 12 Rules for Life. Kitty has taken her brief further – she has 12 rules for the bathroom alone. Her wise thoughts are those with which many of us agree, and include tips for the home, office, celebrations, food, dating, language, lifestyle, parenting, sport, technology and travel. Phone calls while you’re in the toilet are just not on, she says, and please, don’t be rude enough to check your phone while someone is talking to you. Never tell someone who is afraid of public speaking to “just imagine the audience naked” – think about how distracting that could be. And cyclists: Don’t dress as though you’re in the Tour de France…there’s no need to wear gut-hugging tops with multiple pockets…that allow you to strap energy bars to yourself like dynamite. If you’re an office worker, do not impinge on your colleagues’ privacy or ability to work, and try to keep team-bonding exercises to a minimum, and respect other people not wanting “forced fun” (not everyone wants to wear a fascinator at work on Melbourne Cup Day). And for men – don’t call your wife “the boss”. Such men, says Kitty, would overrule their ‘boss’ in a heartbeat if she said something that didn’t suit them. Kitty disapproves of “chipmunking” (pushing food into the side of your mouth so that you can talk), yet admits that she and her family do it because they always need to talk and eat at the same time. Avoid mixed messages she says as she notes how messages might be construed her own mistake in thinking that an “x” from a man was a signal of his interest: So, “don’t send x’s to someone you have no interest in x’ing.” Know the difference between “your” & “you’re”; and don’t call anyone older than yourself: “darling”, “darl”, “babes”, “sweetie” or “hun”. Her tips on wedding speeches are a must – especially for the best man who wants to save himself (and his audience) the embarrassment of a “classic train-wreck wedding speech”. 488 Rules for Life is entertaining and worth dipping into over the sometimes long days of lockdown.
Geri Bryant-Badham is a Canberra-based freelance researcher and journalist.
Geri has substantial experience in advocacy, policy and organising and managing projects, including handling budgets and finances. She has worked in various offices for a small business, a university and in the parliamentary, political, government and non-government sectors.