It was a mild, slightly overcast afternoon, when we walked into work at a Sydney golf club on an uneventful Tuesday.
We knew we were working a year six ‘formal’, and remembered these types of functions vividly from the previous year, particularly one where the DJ played “Sexual Healing” more than once, and no one else seemed to be phased by the inappropriateness and irrelevance of such a song to a primary school graduation.
As the students began to arrive, something seemed out of the ordinary. High heels, professionally curled hair, excessive eye shadow, and dresses that would have fit in on a red carpet.
It’s… it’s a year six graduation. We’re not even sure why they exist. Doesn’t everyone graduate from year six? Is it even an achievement? Are we meant to write that on our CV? “Graduated from year six, 2002, majoring in finger painting with a minor in dioramas.”
Listen: Do kids in year six really need a formal? Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo discuss on This Glorious Mess. (Post continues below…)
Anyway, whatever, it’s cute. Or so we thought.
What perplexed us most at first were the handbags. Every single girl had a handbag. Small issue: why? Reasons for having a handbag include:
a) To carry your wallet which holds your cash, cards, ID, vouchers, gym membership, old receipts, perfume samples, foreign coins, business cards, unactivated Boost membership card, etc etc, NONE of which a 12-year-old would need/have. There was a bar tab… your meal is paid for… no one needed any money. You’re 12… you’re drinking orange juice… you don’t have or need an ID. Conclusion: no wallet in handbag.
b) To hold make up/perfume/deodorant/maybe even a toothbrush, in case you end up staying at your boyfriends house and need to freshen up! You went to school today… you’re going to school tomorrow… no boy in your class is looking at you because they’re too busy arguing about getting Coke or Fanta (we don’t sell Fanta) and throwing food at each other. You think they’re “gross” and “feral” anyway. Conclusion: no secret sleepover items in handbag.
c) To hold a phone. At least 80% of that room had an iPhone. They were taking panorama shots of the room. It’s your year six graduation, NO ONE CARES. Sorry, that’s rude. Mum and dad care, but THEY’RE THERE. And they have a camera. Are you going to upload that photo onto Facebook? If so, who do you know who is not in the room? But more importantly, why do you have a phone? And why did you bring it with you? As the year six teacher wisely stated, “you are safe here…you do not need your phones”. If you have your phone out the whole time, you don’t need a handbag. Conclusion: no phone in handbag, phone in hand.
Enough about handbags.
It was now time for the 12 year olds to get in trouble.
The teacher made a 15-minute speech about their bad behaviour because they weren’t dancing properly to that ‘Hey Baby’ song that was NEVER cool. And we both had to leave the room because we couldn’t stop laughing, especially at the point where the teacher said, “of all the year six graduations I have been to, I have never seen behaviour like this. You look so lovely, but your manners are disgraceful,” which we had heard, exactly, the year before.
But our laughter soon turned to sadness.
At one point, we went to the bathroom to get away from it all (sorry, boss) and had angry year six girls knocking at the door yelling “who’s in there?”
It turns out they were looking for their friend who had gone to the bathroom to throw up after dinner.
It seems that when we have children with handbags, high heels and make up, we are giving them not only adult accessories, but also adult problems.
It can be very funny watching a little girl imitate an adult.
One girl, after being told that she must wait until everyone on her table received their meal before she could begin, put her hands over her mouth and squealed “Ah! But it is just so tempting! It looks aaaamazing.” She was just that overwhelmed by her fancy meal.
It… it was chicken nuggets and chips.
Yeah it's tempting. We had some (probably of yours) in the kitchen.
Another girl gasped when her friend (in the white dress) walked in and just kept looking her up and down saying “Oh. My. God. You. Look. STUNNING."
Sometimes it takes someone to imitate us to realise how silly we look. When you see a 12-year-old, stumbling around in heels that don’t fit, with a bag with nothing in it, in a dress that doesn’t sit right, with professionally curled hair, and adorned with stacks of make up, sure we’re having a giggle at them, but really, we’re having a very sad laugh at ourselves.
What the HELL are we doing?
The boys are breaking it down to the macarena because they don’t have to worry about anyone seeing their undies, or leaving their empty handbag unattended, or breaking their ankle in their impractical shoes.
Isn't it funny, that when you're 12, you can't wait to grow up and be a woman.
But when you're a woman, you wish you'd spent longer just being a carefree little girl.
You can listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess, here.
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