Don’t be put off by the title: my common sense is your hardheartedness: your commonsense is my incredulity.
It varies a lot.
When we lived lives of greater social definition, before all that progress speeded up through the last couple of centuries, we could probably agree on common sense.
Now I am not so sure. It is a term I would only share with an intimate. You can never tell how people are going to jump.
So the first award for Woman of the Week goes to Professor Geeta Nargund, at St. George’s Hospital Tooting in London where she is a fertility doctor, for pointing out that the body will only do what it can do and detailing “the costly and largely unnecessary burden on the NHS” of older women wanting IVF.
I saw her on TV and she was calm, kind and clear about the parameters within which she spoke.
And the second Woman of the Week is the Times columnist Libby Purves who wrote “It Takes A Brave Career Woman to Have a Baby” (Times 1.6.2015) – a nicely ironic title under which she sympathised and explained, outlining what she call “a strange transitional time”.
We have been in transition of one kind or another – men, women, children, society, nations, medical science and the weather to name a few – for the last thirty years. Maybe what we used to call “life” is transitionave – movement, change … and we accept less and less of it as it is unless we are under the gun, the real gun, which narrows the choices. And choices have consequences and consequences are not always kind.
That’s life too.
Recently having supper with two women, one I have met once before (tall, droll, tormented and kind) and the other I had never met (dark, innately glamorous, who told me among other things a first person story of hunger – she had come originally from Croatia). During our conversation, the former remarked “Anna, you are positively fatalistic.” I agreed. God knows and He may not let you in on the secret.
I have done programmes with women who couldn’t have children and tried to explain that I feel very lucky but that I believe in what is meant. Apparently that makes me a primitive.
Nothing could underline Professor’s Nargund’s wish to have fertility taught as a concept better that the US reality performer Kim Kardashian (mother of one trying for a second) proclaiming “We have sex 500 times a day – nobody could try harder”. Of course this may be a slight overstatement … but even on the distant shores of the common sense of agony aunts, informed by Those Who Really Did Know, we knew that the pressure to perform didn’t help the couple or the conception.
While common sense and fashion are not words that often appear together, but I laughed at a headline asking how big pants (ie anything bigger than a G string) had come back into use ? Have thongs had their moment? (I know, you’re just gripped) A thong is nearly as spectacularly uncomfortable as a corset – and worse – unless cut and worn with extreme care, they show through clothes in ways that old fashioned loose underwear does not. In the seven veils of modern fashion which, requires just about everything to be revealed including lingerie and bunions, you may not mind showing off your bra straps and your knickers. It’s not for me.
And finally – after babies, bras and belief – completely separately, here is some
A young man of 18 and due to graduate is waiting for his parents who are coming across country on their Harley-Davidson. They are killed by a drunk driver. The policeman first on the scene has to break the news to the graduate to be. “I don’t think I can do the ceremony” said the understandably distressed youngster.
“Oh you will” rejoined the cop. “ Your parents will be looking down and I shall be in their seats.”
He was. And then he waited for the young man at the side of the stage where he had received his diploma and embraced him.
The family pulled together, blessed the boy and thanked his benefactor.
“You are” wrote his half brother” the definition of a great law enforcement officer.”