Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens series: Part III

Words by Bronte Coates

Published on November 30, 2011


November is all about favourites, and so here are a few of our very own favourite things. The following piece of memoir is from Bronte and it’s all about a special family tradition.


Growing up in a household of six children with all of us crammed together, my sister playing Alanis Morissette down in the garage, my younger brother sleeping in the walk-in wardrobe, my older brother eating food from the plate in front of me, I’ve grown up with a very relaxed understanding of personal boundaries. This is evident to anyone who’s ever lived with me, dated me, befriended me, talked to me, or is a shop assistant in any store I’ve ever browsed.

I suspect my relaxed approach made life particularly painful for my brothers during our upbringing. The two unfortunate enough to be away from home at the time I was twelve received some exciting news in an email.

Just imagine for a moment you’re one of my brothers. You like to watch sport and have barbeques. Steak is probably your favourite meal, through ribs come a close second. Having already suffered through yearly showings of Jane Austen mini-series, you’ve moved to college. Your mother doesn’t walk around naked at college. You don’t have to pretend to care about your sister’s friends fighting with each other at college. At college, you might even start to feel relaxed. Hah, you think, haha! I’ve escaped. And then you open an email from your baby sister.

Dear beloved brother, you read. How are you? Are you enjoying college? Everyone is good at home. I’m been very busy training for my upcoming cross-country race. Yesterday we did hill sprints. Also, guess what else? Today, I got my first period and became a woman.

One brother rang my mother and demanded she take away my Internet privileges. The other replied and said, please don’t tell me when it happens again.

I’d like to say I took this advice and that I’ve never again spoken to my brothers about my monthly cycle, or any other such information. But ignoring advice from my brothers is a long-standing family tradition. And I’m pretty traditional. In fact, just the other day I shared with them some details about my hair-removal routine. To be fair I thought they might be interested anyway because two women wax each leg at the same time and it’s kind of like a race. I mean, I know they like sport. The winner gets to do my underarms.

Usually, it’s Michelle who brings home the gold. Just in case you’re interested.

Over the years, my brothers have advised me to learn how to touch type and be an accountant, to not pierce my nose or get a tattoo, and to please stop walking around the streets with bare feet as I’ll never get a boyfriend if I have gross cracked heels. Having ignored all this advice to date I can’t understand why my brothers are still so determined to comment on my life. Most of their advice is related to a.) my unsuitable career path and b.) my appearance. When I recently cut my hair short, one brother said, why didn’t you just tell me you had a girlfriend? I said I don’t have a girlfriend and he said, well no wonder if you still have those gross cracked feet, and no, please don’t show me that horrible wart on your heel. Not again. I thought we talked about this?

Ah, traditions.