Book extract: There’s no fading out gracefully with Kathy Lette

Day 26: The outspoken and hilarious Kathy Lette has done it again. The author of Puberty Blues has written 11 best-sellers in her characteristic witty voice. In HRT (Husband Replacement Therapy) she hits a nerve with 50-something women everywhere as her lead character celebrates turning 50 in a unique way. See below for an extract from HRT (Husband Replacement Therapy) as part of our month of book reading inspiration from Australian authors.

HRT (Husband Replacement Therapy) by Kathy Lette.
HRT (Husband Replacement Therapy) by Kathy Lette.

Extract from HRT (Husband Replacement Therapy) by Kathy Lette:

The doctor’s receptionist, one of those radiantly healthy, flashing-white-teeth types, handed me a clipboard with a registration form to be filled in. I leant on the high counter and dutifully ticked the box for F not M, and then one for my religion. Oh, how I wished I could tick a box for a female god. For starters, a female deity wouldn’t have done such a rushed job. Forget seven days. She’d have planned for seven months, so that more thought could be given to bull ants, flies, crocodiles, wasps, sharks, megalomaniacal world leaders with orange hair, cold-callers, earthquakes, tidal waves, bushfires, famines, pain during childbirth, appendicitis and religious extremism. Cancer and serial killers would also have been deleted at first draft stage. A born multitasker, a female god would also have done something about the annoying lost-sock mystery that tormented me on a weekly basis – although, maybe they’d just seen married couples in action and no longer wanted to be paired?

Besides the wisdom of Sock-rates, a female god would ensure women would never again be condescended to by car mechanics, exploited by tradesmen, paid less than male colleagues, overlooked for promotion, groped on crowded buses or trains, or told in a court of law that they were ‘asking for it’. Eve would no longer be shouldered with the blame for the whole eviction from Eden, either. That duplicitous snake would be put on trial for entrapment.

When I reached the relationship status question on the form, I paused. What was I now – married or single? A female god would also ensure plagues of locusts and rats were visited upon all misogynists, from bearded types who don’t allow women to show their faces, divorce their husbands, drive or play sport, to unfaithful husbands, oh, and himbos who lost their erections at the first sight of female pubic hair.

A female god would also reprogram women’s brains to stop obsessing about unfaithful husbands and himbos who lost their erections at the first sight of pubic hair. The obsession with waxing would also wane.

The medical form had now progressed to questions about age and weight. Hmm. With a female god, cake would have no calories and cocktails would be a detoxing health drink. Botox, collagen and face lifts would also become totally passé, because a feminine deity would make sure that men found older women irresistibly attractive. Men would just learn to read between our lines. And there’d be news for Newton, too – a new law of gravity would ensure that women’s bits only sagged upwards.

Tracksuit pants with elasticated waistbands would be the height of fashion. Female footwear would be flat all day and then turn into a fetching yet comfortable stiletto at night. Men would go to training schools to learn to put down the toilet seat and feign interest when women are shopping or gossiping. Cooking classes for blokes would also be compulsory – a true recipe for success. After all, the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach. That is not aiming too high.

Men would also be able to stop and ask directions without feeling they were being castrated. It dawned on me that it was more than likely that Superman is only constantly flying about in his pants because he’s lost, but too embarrassed to ask anyone where the bloody hell he is.

A female god would also insist on not just sex education but also relationship education in schools so that toy boys like Wayve, raised on porn, understood that a woman is not just something to lie down on while having sex. Nor would they reject a sexual partner just because of a couple of incy, wincy baby stretch marks.

I then filled out the section listing the number of children I had and whether the births had been C-section or vaginal. Now, if god were female, either blokes would give birth or the womb would become an attractive handbag arrangement, like a kangaroo pouch but designed by Prada or Pucci – the Kangarucci. The next category on my form was profession – which was another tricky question of late. ‘Working mother’, I wrote, thinking that another top priority for a female god would be to help underappreciated, exhausted working mums who are always running late. I thought back to when my kids were small. I was often so tired I’d put the kids under the sink and the lethal household substances within reach. To ease stress, a female god would install pink lanes next to bus lanes, reserved for mothers, to ensure they got to the school gate on time. Oh, and maternity leave would extend to a decade.

I handed back my patient questionnaire to the receptionist, then tentatively lowered my buttocks onto the edge of a plastic bucket chair.

HRT (Husband Replacement Therapy) by Kathy Lette is available at all good book stores.


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