Wednesday, 10 July 2013

I have seen the future and it is royally terrifying

Well, I suppose we all knew it was coming.

The royal offspring of Kate and William, that is.

I've done a fairly good job of blacking it all out, all the speculation, the 24hr bump watch, the feverish hysteria. First, there was the initial craze - in the weeks following my arrival in this country no less - and I shrieked sighed inwardly. Then when tragedy struck and the media kinda backed off, I exhaled. Only the tasteless tabloids seemed to remain interested and so all I had to do was avert my eyes when lining up to buy my milk at the news agent's and go merrily on my way.

I'm pleased to say it worked, mostly. It was nice while it lasted.

Yesterday I walked in to my local bookstore for an innocent browse, and was met with a full-on, Union Jack bunting festooned display of books commemorating the as-yet unborn royal's arrival. And it hit me; I've had my respite, it's not like this baby will be gestating forever, and when the water damn dam breaks [insert unfortunate mucous plug/labour/flood crisis management analogy here]...well, gods help us all. Yesterday's shopping excursion was just a taster of what is to come people.

There was this....  



...and this...


...and this.
Source

It's not so much the arrival of the little national obsession bundle of joy that bothers me; I continue to have a lot more trouble with healthy pregnant bellies, which remain a mystical property to me, than I do with babies themselves. I like babies; they're cute and cuddly and entertaining, plus they smell good. So the baby can go ahead and arrive and I'm sure I'll ooh and aah over the deluge of photos and be very happy for all involved.

It's more my terror at and disdain for the faint whiff of...what? Accomplishment? Smugness? Superiority even? As though any baby is not so much a new life in it's own right as an achievement on the part of its parents. (I mean of course the public reception here, and not necessarily the attitude of the parents involved, who have my deepest sympathies in this case, considering what they face.)

It's like that Cult of Glowing Parenthood and Righteous Baby-Making that pervades every live, uncomplicated birth, (bunnies&unicorns! everything is always pretty and perfect! we are in control! modern medicine and lots of money! babybooties&joy!) that tends to make we in the ALI community feel somehow defective, as though our very purpose in life should be to run out and procreate but we're just too stupid or selfish to have figured that one out. Seeing as we can't do it with great ease, it must be an indicator of moral value (or lack thereof), indicating that we lead vacuous, shallow lives with no understanding of 'what really matters'. As though life itself ceases to have all meaning if you don't, or can't bow to that 'natural' imperative. (I guess if you're second in line to the throne of one of the most powerful monarchies on earth, that's actually kinda true. God forbid you should end up gay or childless: not good options in the House of Windsor.) Sometimes, in the objectified-bump-obsessed world we now seem to inhabit, I feel like we've been reduced to a 19th century vision of womanhood as synonymous with, no, secondary to our reproductive capacities. *Shakes head in dismay*

And where the royal baby is concerned? Well, take that whole schtick and amplify it by a hundred. Times a million. I know. Yikes, right?

And all the other merchandise. Oh, the merchandise! (Lest we forget that any of this actually has to do with the jubilation over a tiny, healthy new life or proud new parents. No indeed. It's all about the merch people.)

Here I have to stop and say thank you Hadley Freeman, I think I love you. For reminding me that it is not only us barren bitches who might feel suffocated and nauseated by this ad nauseum obsession and it's overt appeals of consume!monarchy!nationalism!royalwomb!blahblahblah...To say nothing of the 'baby-based bullshit' which our society has so fetishized to the detriment of the collective self esteem of childless (by choice or otherwise) women everywhere. I've always loved your writing and, well, now...I just love you. (But look at me writing like I know anything. Perhaps you're one of us. Perhaps you're a barren bitch too, and that's why you feel this bitter distaste for all things royal baby. Can there really be any other explanation? After all, having witnessed up close the Hilary Mantel fiasco, in which her comments on the Duchess as nothing more than a pretty mannequin in the eyes of the media led to us being reminded that she spoke from a place of jealousy as a fat, barren Booker Prize winning old lady, we must now realize that any commentary on one woman by another is always fed by said jealousy, and is basically, well, a cat fight. Because, obviously.)

Anyway, I digress. What I really want to say is that I wish the happy couple a calm and speedy delivery away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi.

And also:

Time to hunker down, brace for impact, turn off the internet and stockpile bottled vodka water, canned peaches, Ben & Jerry's, and every season of (beautifully misanthropic, baby-free) Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development.

Because the mother of all triggers is coming people, and it will be wearing a Royal Nappy.

23 comments:

  1. The whole time I was reading this all I could think about was this amazing song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRzBpFjJS8

    Oh PLEASE tell me you've seen that. I was even going to insert it into my last post but I forgot.

    It must be so hard living there. I have to admit that we aren't quite so obsessed with Kate and baby as I'd imagine they are over there, but I make it a point to avoid trashy mags for that very reason. Avoidance: my favorite coping mechanism!

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    1. Yes, I have seen it before and I love it! I wonder if those two women know their kind of celebrity status in the world of ALI?

      Truly, on the news being announced, I'm thinking of holding an End of the World party just for me and H, hiding under the duvet, all of the above indulgences included...

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  2. "The Royal Nappy"? Really?? Nothing is off limits, I guess.

    It's almost like the obsessed watchers sort of think it's THEIR baby, too. Like how some people won't hesitate to touch the belly of a pregnant woman they don't know. Yes, pregnancy is kind of mysterious and very neat, but that woman is an individual first, not just a walking uterus. So back off.

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    1. But you know what? That's the scary thing in this case: that baby, and that pregnancy ARE considered everyone's, from a political point of view. That's also what makes it extra nauseating. Monarchical institutions are a wierd thing...

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  3. Is it wrong of me to want the royal baby to just be an old man already so we can all move on with our lives? Ugh.

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    1. Totally not wrong of you. I imagine that on arrival, the poor kid will feel like that too.

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  4. We get a lot of coverage of it in the US. I can't even imagine how bad it must be in the UK. I feel for you.

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    1. Yeah. Though I lived in the US when the royal wedding happened and I was amazed by how preoccupied the whole country seemed to be at the time. Moreso than us Canadians, and you're not even in the commonwealth! Like, didn't you guys fight a war of independence to rid yourselves of tyrannical monarchy? And now you've got royals envy? What gives?

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  5. Whenever I see Kate and her baby bump anywhere (tv, magazines) I look away. Sometimes I feel like a bad Canadian but for some reason her pregnancy just gets to me!

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    1. If that makes you a bad Canadian, then what does it make me that I personally think we should scrap the royals and become a republic?

      Whatever, I get why that her pregnancy gets to you! Totally!

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  6. Right there with you, it's just weird and I keep thinking poor baby being born into the madness. It's just too much.

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    1. Much too much. And you're so right: poor babe.

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  7. Ha, ha. You're hilarious! I love this post. This is why I live in my bubble. True story. I don't really ingest media of any kind. My hubby gives me crap for it. Don't read magazines, the news, watch tv unless it is appointment television on my DVR (in which I fast forward commercials). Yes, my bubble is kinda nice. You should try it. LOL

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    1. Thanks Jessah! I hear ya on the bubble; my bubble is so nice and comfy and safe :) We don't own a TV and I try to avoid the types of media that focus on Royal Bump Watch (mostly just the tabloids, really), but I usually read the weekend papers. It's mostly an exercise in tooth-gritting obnoxiousness though, so I'm thinking I should take a page from your book.

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  8. "(bunnies&unicorns! everything is always pretty and perfect! we are in control! modern medicine and lots of money! babybooties&joy!)"

    Hehe, snark. Fuck 'em all.

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    Replies
    1. Well, there's nothing like a good cleansing snark.

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  9. Urg.
    I've been avoiding the media frenzy around her pg like the plague - she got pregnant after me, and is still pregnant now...which is just...tough. Even though she's just some random face, I don't even know her. Urg. Urg, urg.
    I was looking forward to her just delivering the thing, but after that will be the endless documenting of it's poor life...yikes.

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    1. I think it's not so much whose face is attached to the pregnancy as the kind of worship of pregnancy and maternity as the saviour of all modern social malaise which is so hard to stomach, at least for me.

      Is it mean that I had a chuckle when you said 'just delivering the thing'? Okay, so be it.

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  10. oh vom.. seriously?? This royal baby extravaganza makes my head hurt. :(

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    1. Vom indeed. I'm thinking of moving to the Outer Hebrides.

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    2. We're not even safe in Canada. All this constitutional monarchy bullshit makes it totally our business.

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