Deborah Ross: Our Woman In Crouch End

'Little makes a woman happier than an expensive bag, except being in a room with someone fatter'

Share
Related Topics

I'm glad that this whole "work-life balance" business is getting proper attention at last. It is an extremely important thing to hang on to. Indeed, just the other week, I lost my work-life balance in Waitrose and had to hold on to a chiller cabinet to steady myself. "Are you OK?" asked another shopper. "Can I get you anything?" I said no thanks, that I'd just lost my work-life balance for a moment, but was already feeling less giddy.

I hate to think what would happen if, say, I lost my work-life balance at the wheel of a car. It doesn't bear thinking about. As it is, a friend of mine lost hers at the top of the stairs one day, tumbled, and ended up in A&E. The doctors were not, apparently, that sympathetic. "If you only stopped fretting about this work-life nonsense," they said, "and just got on with it, muddling through as people have done for generations, you wouldn't have this trouble."

My friend was horrified at being treated like a neurotic ninny with a self-indulgent malady, and is now complaining through the relevant channels. As she says, until the medical profession takes work-life imbalances seriously, there'll be many more horrible accidents such as hers.

I'm not sure where this work-life business actually comes from, but believe it comes wrapped in what is now called the "Science of Happiness", a serious enterprise that has led to books, TV shows, Professors of Happiness and even an academic periodical, the Journal of Happiness Studies.

For all I know, the Journal of Happiness Studies has its offices on the Euston Road, just round the corner from the Journal of Parenting Studies, staffed by those who consider themselves experts but are anything but and should be shot, especially if the greater happiness is a consideration.

I imagine that their editorial meetings go something like this:

"Let's do dummies being bad."

"Oh, come on, they don't really do any harm..."

"Tell you what, we'll do dummies bad this week, dummies good next week, then dummies bad again the following week, just to keep parents on their toes."

"Why wait a week? Let's shift our advice hourly."

"Good idea. Remember when we did it with taking baby into bed with you? We had parents so confused, they were lobbing babies between cot and bed every four minutes!"

I don't know if, in turn, the Journal of Parenting Studies happens to be round the corner from The Neurotic Review, which I'm guessing is staffed by those who, having lobbed babies all night, fret about not being at home enough or not being at work enough.

Anyway, happiness as a science is something I take seriously. I'm even hoping that I'll be awarded a Chair of Happiness at a major university, and that I will not only be allowed to choose the Chair - an Eames lounger would be good - but will also be able to lounge on it whenever I fancy, not just when my work-life balance is disturbed and I need a sit-down.

And if I could lounge while fondling an expensive handbag, that would be perfect happiness. Indeed, little makes a woman happier than fingering an expensive handbag, unless it is finding herself in the same room as someone fatter than her. This is shameful, shallow and disgusting, but such a happy event all the same. In fact, after a lifetime of reading Cosmo and Vogue, and now Heat and Grazia, I would add that, for much of the Western world, the following highly scientific formula covers it when it comes to happiness:

Being Thin + Buying Lots of Stuff = Happiness

Yes, this has been tested on animals but, as sending a very thin mouse into Harvey Nichols with a limitless credit card proved, animals and humans are too different in this instance for the resultant data to be useful. It didn't buy a thing. It didn't even seem interested, even though the scientists kept entreating it, "Go on, treat yourself!".

The mouse, I should add, wasn't harmed in any way, and wasn't forced to try on bikinis. Not in front of a three-way mirror, anyway, as that's cruel (although they did it to rabbits well into the 1970s). As scientists now know, and everyone knew anyway:

Bikini + Three-way Mirror = Complete Abject Misery

Further: Bikini + Three-way Mirror + Cellulite = Strong Suicidal Feelings *

Obviously, as the Science of Happiness is a new discipline, more work is needed, which may or may not be done, depending on the work-life balance: anyone may have to race home at any time to lob a baby about. By the way, if you feel your work-life balance going, breathing into a paper bag helps. This much, at least, is known.

* (Even the rabbits said as much.)

d.ross@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Researcher

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Controller

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Head Porter / Concierge

£16000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The UCAS clearing house call centre in Cheltenham, England  

Ucas should share its data on students from poor backgrounds so we can get a clearer picture of social mobility

Conor Ryan
A study of 16 young women performing light office work showed that they were at risk of being over-chilled by air conditioning in summer  

It's not just air conditioning that's guilty of camouflage sexism

Mollie Goodfellow
Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks