By ALEISHA MCCORMACK
Why are you an only child? Were you lonely? Do you have some sort of congenital illness? Are you the consequence of a one-child policy? Are you Chinese?
Ah, the questions. The never-ending questions.
I don’t mind answering them, it the stereotypes that really bore me.
Spoilt. Lonely. Anti-social. Pu-lease.
That look that people give you when you say you are sans sibling, like they’ve just remembered where they left their keys in 1997. Annoyance and relief that they’ve ‘figured you out’. It all makes sense! They’re maladjusted. Phew.
I have a friend who has created a fictional brother who is ‘overseas studying*’ to avoid the stigma of being an only. Extreme? Yes but it works.
(*He’s studying biochemical engineering and he will be away for a LONG time)
I didn’t often long for brothers and sisters, I longed for the life everyone thought I was leading. Over-attentive parents, rooms overflowing with toys, a happy little family unit. We moved a lot. I went to 16 schools by the time I was 11… I made friends quickly and lost them ever quicker. I learned to adapt.
I had an eventful childhood (great for stand up comedy) but it was no picnic. Would a brother or sister altered my path? In fashion and music… perhaps.
I didn’t have a sister to tell me that my green velveteen turn up hat (girlfriend style) with a flower in the middle was awful or to get hand me down clothes from.
Dad was always like, “What do you need MORE clothes for? You just got that tartan dress.”
To which I’d reply, “Dad that was a school uniform…and I’m growing. Nothing fits me, I look like the Hulk.”
I didn’t have a brother to teach me what music was cool…my musical influences were all from my Dad. At blue light discos I asked for Fleetwood Mac, Chris Rea and Sade… Smooth Operator.
Even the midlife crisis DJ, thought I was a loser.
In high school I picked boyfriends for their families. Normal, no divorced, house full of kids families fascinated me.
It was like visiting Family Ties.
I couldn’t get enough of it. Sneaky, door open pashing sessions with the boyfriend was just currency… for a ticket into family Dreamworld.
I’d watch the brothers fight over the TV remote… something I’ve never had to do…