GFC is coming up roses for us non-material girls
Is the GFC turning out to be as good for you as it is for me?
Save for any poor souls who invested with a bloke named Bernie or used to turn up for work at Macquarie every day, the GFC is a gift horse we are looking plum in the mouth.
For one thing, the GFC, with one elegant swoop, does away with the pretense of sociability or politeness or even basic hygiene.
The GFC has undone years, decades, of social mores and replaced it with a brave new world, one where we now have the perfect cover to embrace that indolent, indulgent, trackpants-clad life we have always yearned for.
The GFC has released us from the bonds of so-callled ‘affluenza’ and makes staying at home and watching Monarch of the Glen and eating Kraft Singles a valid and acceptable lifestyle choice, one that in previous years would have wrought mass derision and a potential intervention from concerned friends.
The GFC means we can be lazy and not go out, we can be cheap, we can sleep-in, we don’t have to pretend to like absinthe or fork out to go to some music festival simply because all our friends are going to (where you know you’ll spend the day in the mud listening to the unharmonized electronic twanging of a gaggle of Brooklyn scenesters who are being strangled by black denim and besieged by their own hair).
The GFC can explain away everything from why you’re wearing your sunglasses inside and sucking on soluble panadeine in your 9am meeting (a GFC rendered malady courtesy of the nine gin-and-tonics you drank out of a chipped toothbrush to cheer up a newly retrenched banker pal), to why you’re planning on spending your Saturday night at home re-watching Weekend at Bernie’s and swigging cleanskin chardonnay from the bottle.
Broken up with that boy? The GFC. And from your coterie of sometime pals and taxi drivers and whomever you drunkenly recount your romantic woes in overly physically intimate details you’ll get a nod, a smile, a knowing tilt of the head. It’s the stress, stupid.
In these newly parsimonious times, when frugality is the new grey and thrift is the plat du jour, it’s perfectly acceptable, nay laudably financially prudent, to say no to going out to dinner with ‘friends’ that you somehow managed to acquire courtesy of the fact you once had a university degree or fence or marriage certificate in common.
And if you do venture forth, order the cheapest bottle of wine, the shame and embarrassment of picking vin ordinaire from the bottom of the list replaced with a resolute “chin up soldier” from a newly understanding sommellier who invested all his tips in Mac bank shares.
The GFC releases us from the bonds, and occasionally downright ridiculous, whims of fashion. It’s fine to look a bit dated, a bit crumpled, a bit 2007. Want to go out tonight wearing your favourite frock circa 1999? Don that asymmetrical wonder with pride and strut darling, recessionista is the look.
The people who are going to come out best of this economic whirly gig are those of us who never got around to investing our spare change in darling banking stocks rather than spending it on cheap drugs and expensive jeans; who never got around to finding an Art Deco apartment so they could spend countless hours carefully distressing floorboards and inhaling the intoxicating cocktail of varnish fumes and the heady whiff of home ownership; those of us who never angled to work for some corporate conglomerate who offered their staff bonuses for managing to turn up to work most days and not bankrupt a minor Asian economy with one misplaced decimal point or even those of us who didn’t (despite several very careless episodes) somehow managed to get sprogged up in the intervening years.
The single, professionally-mediocre, apathetic urban-dweller will be the ultimate winner in the GFC. Our favourite shoes are cheaper, restaurants are so busy wetting themselves over a lack of customers they’re practically paying us to go there and drink their Sangiovese and sample their wagyu carpaccio, and no longer at parties will we feel upstaged because our humble salaries cower, whimpering in the shadow of those earned by some six figure, Asahi-skulling banker who we aren’t sure whether we viciously despise for the fact he bloods himself from the carcass of free-market capitalism, or are desperately turned on by the way he says ‘cumulative preference shares’.
And the GFC makes for great entertainment, the ultimate spectator sport, blood and all. We now thrive on cheerily recounting to our friends tales of other peoples’ professional woe. Retrenchments, the more gruesome and sudden the better, have become standard dinner-table fare. Sauvignon blanc and a good sacking or two are now the perfect Saturday night pairing as we revel in schadenfreude on a global scale. We’re loving see the boys and girls who made more in one bonus cheque than we would in several years of vaguely honest work get summarily shown the door with less respect and politeness than that afforded to Villawood detainees.
But embracing the GFC isn’t about dooming yourself to never ending rounds of charades come Saturday night or learning about the joys of making your own yoghurt.
It’s about getting off the never-ending roundabout of perfecting, building, adding, buying.
We’ve had a decade of people telling us we should be improving our houses, our bodies, our sex lives, our culinary repertoire, our children and our knowledge of Spanish wines.
Courtesy of the GFC the pressures to spend, beautify, build, try, taste, go have been felled by the forces by global economics. The GFC means it’s OK to be happy with what you have.
The GFC validates the lack of ambition or verve or gross professional rapaciousness with which you were meant to clawing your way up the professional ladder for the last decade. Under cover of the GFC, its fine to like cottage pie again and not be obsessively thinking about how you could re-do the kitchen in rustic Umbrian chic. It’s time to do those things you have been yearning to for years, save that you were too busy shopping for a better wireless router or backpacking around Cambodia or trying to understand a David Lynch movie.
Bring on the flanellette pyjamas and the jaffles I say - it’s the GFC.
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