I want to write a letter to the women on the edges. The mothers who allowed me to drink in their garages, their daughters who held back my hair as I vomited.
I want to write an ode to the bogan chick.
If you grew up on the edges, which include Hamilton, West Auckland, Rotorua, and Tokoroa, you’ll know the bogan chick.
Mosgiel? Sure. Wanaka? No.
The edges are not those places where the action is happening – the edges are those places with a comfortable view. If you grew up on the edges you’ll be well-versed in the action, but you’re fully aware you don’t belong to it.
Perhaps you know the bogan chick by another name. Perhaps you know her as a Westie, a GB, a GC, the missus. Her nails are done. Her hair is growing out. She’s drunk enough Cody’s for one lifetime, thanks. She pulls the fingers at dudes in cars. She calls her best friends’ mothers mum.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a bogan as ‘an unfashionable, uncouth, or unsophisticated person,’ but the bogan chick doesn’t see her ‘lack of sophistication’ as a bad thing. She doesn’t see it as a lack. She sees it as a rejection.
She rejects pretension. She curates her own culture. And the things she does love, she loves with intensity. These may or may not include black jeans, miniskirts, manicures, and tattoos. It certainly includes her friends.
She also loves herself, though she wouldn’t put it in those words. She prefers to say she takes no bullshit. They mean the same.
At house parties, she’s the girl who steps in when you give her the help look. She’s the girl who befriends you in the bathroom, tells you you’re hot, sticks by your side. She doesn’t budge when the creep you’re avoiding calls her a cock-block. Instead, she stares him down. Instead, she says try me.
In town, she’s the girl who walks with you at 4am, heels in one hand, pie in the other. She’ll walk with you for hours, find you a female cab driver.
In 2013, when the Roast Busters exploded, she developed in her chest an indignant rage. An unrelenting fury. It remains, even now.
She knows those boys. She might not know those boys, but she knows those boys. She’s been to enough parties.
As a mother, she’s a swearer. Asshole and bastard stream from her lips like smoke. She’s not shy about using the C-word either, but reserves it for those people who deserve it. Those people include her manager at work, politicians on the wrong side, and boys who make her daughter uncomfortable.
In 2013, when everything happened, she squeezed her daughter’s hand, but it was her son she admonished: touch a girl funny and it won’t be your father you’ll have to worry about it.
I want to write a letter to the women relegated to Kiwi caricature. These women, these girls, they’re hairdressers, administrators, teachers, and students. Some grow up to be the head of the PTA, some grow up to go to Parliament. They live in my neighbourhood. They also live in my heart.Support Villainesse