From the creators of the Shameless podcast, Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald offer a hilarious and honest insight into life as a 20-something in their new book, The Space Between.
Am I lazy? I’m actually not sure if that’s the word for it. Am I enveloped by the crumbling decay of my own life? Sure. This shit is ugly and it’s annoying and I often find myself muttering ‘Where the f*ck does all that hair come from?’ whenever the sunlight hits the interior floor of my car.
It’s f*cked. I know. You would seriously think I was bald.
I will never be the woman who goes to the dentist every six months, or who uses a bookmark (in my staunch anti-bookmark defence, folding down pages is efficient and practical and something I give you permission to do with this book).
I will never be that person with the label-maker or the perfectly fluffed up couch cushions that you see in Bec Judd’s Instagram photos.
I could count on one hand the number of times I have made my bed since 2011. One, reader. One measly time. And it was only to catfish my boyfriend into thinking I’m the kind of person who has her shit together enough to make her bed in the morning. It worked, because here he is four years later, finding miscellaneous possessions in our sheets late at night, ruing the day he hit on that blonde girl at a bogan pub on Christmas Eve. Hahahaha. Sucker.
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I know other women are similarly afflicted. I see them most weeknights, wandering the aisles of Coles with stunned expressions that indicate, yes, they managed to forget their environmentally friendly green bags for the seventy-second time this year.
I see them rocking up to work with a foundation–bronzer cocktail on their neckline because they did their make-up before putting on their tight cream turtleneck top – again.
I see them when I look at Zara, who refuses to register her Myki card for automatic top-ups despite regularly promising to do so, resulting in last-minute dashes to the nearest 7-Eleven and us missing our tram every Monday.
I see them in my sister Evelyn, who had her car crashed into by a taxi driver and yet never got it repaired because she just forgot to, leaving her car with a huge dent in the back and one lucky Melbourne cabbie with a renewed appreciation for procrastinating millennials.
Of course, for every Michelle, Zara and Evelyn – let’s call them Micharalyns – there’s a woman who’s probably spent the entirety of this piece gagging.
She’s the Bec Judd of little life stuff. She never has regrowth or chipped nails. She has a handwritten diary in her bag at all times. Her tampons and bobby pins are always within arm’s reach, no matter where she is or what she’s doing. She owns one of those hand-held vacuum thingies AND she actually uses it.
When she reaches down the side of her couch, there’s not a dust-coated crumb to be found. You could lick the floor under her ottoman, her place is that clean.
She gets her rings cleaned. And once they’re cleaned? She stores them in a jewellery organiser. I have three jewellery organisers. I use zero of them.
Instead, locating a matching pair of earrings every morning is an obstacle course designed to derail my day before it’s even begun. Is the matching earring on the floor? Is it irretrievably intertwined with a necklace? Is it swimming in a puddle of micellar water? This rescue process consumes about three minutes of my life every morning. That’s 1095 minutes, or 18.25 hours, every f*cking year.
Telling the two kinds of women apart is easy: you just get them to do the fridge test.
Now I say ‘test’ because it adds a level of formality and legit-ness to this exercise. But, really, whether you’re a Micharalyn or a Bec boils down to how you answer one single question.
The fridge test
Question 1 of 1:
What is in your vegetable crisper right now?
1. Nothing whatsoever.
2. Something foreign that does not belong there (i.e. bacon, beer, a vague brown liquid of some description).
3. One floppy carrot and half a bag of semi-liquefied spinach leaves.
4. Edible vegetables only.
1. Apologies, you are a Micharalyn.
2. Apologies, you are a Micharalyn.
3. Oh dear. You are the epitome of a Micharalyn. We might even be best friends. Now let’s walk our sad carrots to the nearest compost bin together while Zara pops into 7-Eleven to top up her Myki.
4. You are a Bec. You’ve always been a Bec. Your children will be Becs. Their children will be Becs, and they’ll take pity on my grandchildren when they see their hoverboards have broken down because they missed the advised service dates by twenty-two months.
I regularly promise myself that I’m going to become a Bec. Oh, how I long to be a magical manicured lady like Bec.
Every January I proclaim this is the year that I Get My Shit Together, and I become convinced that it’s going to happen.
By April, the sheen wears off and I realise I haven’t entered a single thing into my handwritten diary since an arrogant men’s tennis player was scaring ball kids at the Australian Open.
By July, I’ve convinced myself that driving a shitbox around the streets of Melbourne doesn’t make me disorganised, it makes me down-to-earth.
By October, my tolerance for anything vaguely related to life admin is lower than my tolerance for people who say The Bachelor is better than Love Island (cut those people straight out of your life – they can offer you nothing of substance and frankly, you’d be better off without their pungent mediocrity).
I have a theory that Becs have more hours in the day than mere muggles like me. That, or they don’t waste copious hours every week watching episodes of Love Island and promptly scrolling through Twitter to see what other Micharalyns thought of Amy’s outburst over Simon’s cheating history. (If the latter is true, the fancy nails and perfectly styled cushions probably aren’t worth it, anyway. Sorry.)
Marie Kondo’s ‘Does it spark joy?’ movement didn’t fix me. My mother’s disappointment couldn’t fix me. The jabby hunger pangs that strike whenever I open my fridge to find nothing but an abandoned root vegetable haven’t fixed me.
And, so, here I am. A Micharalyn, loud and proud, chaotic and grotty. Waving the stain-laden flag of women everywhere who haven’t picked up an iron in two weeks. I see you, ladies. Thank Rihanna and all that is godly that we hit our twenties in this era, not the 1950s.
The Space Between (Penguin, RRP $32.99) is a new book by Shameless podcast hosts Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald.