“I feel for the grown-up women who walked this week’s red carpets.”

Is there anyone in the universe who enjoys going to their other half’s work functions?

The office gossip is even less interesting than your own, the in-jokes sail over your head, you have to feign interest in something you likely know nothing about and the boss is a terrifying doofus.

But it could be worse. You could be going to your partner’s end-of-year work bash and it could be full of women who look like this:

arrives at the 2015 Brownlow Medal at Crown Palladium on September 28, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.
Brit Nichols with her partner, Chris Mayne of the Fremantle Dockers.

That is the overwhelmingly young and gorgeous Brit Rose Nichols, an accomplished professional model and the partner of Chris Mayne, who plays AFL for the Fremantle Dockers.

And that, my friends, is a dress that you CAN’T WEAR SPANX WITH.

Here’s another incredible dress that wasn’t made for anyone who needs Shapewear:

The 2015 Brownlow Medal Awards.
Jessie Habermann, partner of Marc Murphy.

The red carpets of the two big football awards’ nights, the AFL’s Brownlow Medal and the NRL’s Dally M Awards dinner were held in Sydney and Melbourne last night, and the red carpet was not what you would call diverse.

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If the photo galleries on all media outlets are to be believed (Mamamia’s included), footballers of both codes like exactly the same kind of woman – young, thin, preferably blonde, absolutely drop-dead good-looking, and right at home in a cut-out J’Aton.

That’s a type, and both codes seem to share it.

gorgeous-women-of-brownlow-women-jpg
Stunning “WAGs” Jenny Sandilands, Samantha Briant, Lauren Pavlich, Sally Mundy and Brit Nicholas.

There is nothing wrong with that. Young, attractive men at the peak of their powers are going to want to date other attractive young people. And everyone looks their best at the office party.

But as anyone who has ever had more than a passing acquaintance with the real-life world of WAGs will tell you, that’s not the end of the story.

There are WAGs who are over 30 – shock, horror – who have children – noooooooo – and busy jobs.

There are WAGs who would rather eat a box of hair(pieces) than bare their midriff to a pack of paps.

WAGS, perhaps, like Barbara Smith, wife of Maroons legend Cameron Smith, who last night at the Dally Ms wore what many of us might wear on a night out with their husband – a pair of nice pants, some pretty heels and a lacey top.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Cameron Smith and Barbara Smith arrive at the 2015 Dally M Awards at Star City on September 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
Cameron and Barbara Smith.

Getting trussied up for a big night out gets more complicated as you get older. When that theme party invitation thuds into your inbox, you are no longer pumped about the 15 ways you can pull off Tight And Bright. You are, instead, desperately thinking of where else you need to be.

If you have recently had a baby, your invitation anxiety might involve working out which one of the four different sized clothes currently hanging in your wardrobe might include something, anything, that passes for Formal, and will hold in your breasts.

And when the wardrobe options are uninspiring, the idea of shopping – standing under fluoro lights as an 18-year-old sales assistant tells you you look awesome in something two sizes too small -sounds as attractive as a bikini wax (which your outfit will DEFINITELY not require).

Tina Fey, talking about what has to go on under her dress at any awards ceremony pretty much nailed it right here (post continues after gallery):

So, hats off to the grown-up WAGs on the red carpets last night.

Because imagine knowing that every inch of your outfit will be dissected and inspected on this one night of the year when your presence is officially acknowledged. Imagine seeing yourself from every single angle in the coverage the next day, looking, possibly, a little different than you did in your hotel mirror, sucking in your stomach.

Imagine knowing that  you’ll be doing well to make it out of the house without one of the toddlers vomiting on your shoes, but once you’re there you’ll be swallowed up by a sea of models and lifestyle bloggers whose business it is to look incredible in photographs whereas your business might be actual, you know, business.

These nights feel like events where women are reduced to the ultimate ornaments, shiny, pretty things to dangle from their men, and all of the attention naturally goes to the sparkliest of all.

But really, these nights are about being there for your partner as they are being recognised for greatness. Performance at an elite level doesn’t come without sacrifice, and not all of that sacrifice is made by the star.

So on the nights when the showiest always wins, I salute the women who didn’t want to stand on that carpet, whose carefully chosen outfit whispered “Look over there“, whose toes were pinching in their shoes and whose Spanx were cutting them in half.

Because that’s true support. Of a few different kinds.

Do you hate going to your other half’s work functions?

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