Good evening nut bars,
How good is the term ‘nut bar’. I saw someone use it to describe their child on an Instastory a few weeks ago and I’ve been racking my brain ever since, trying to figure out if it’s a term I remember from my childhood or if it’s a Mandela Effect offcut. What I do know is that the same period was a wellspring for free-range bangers, all of which you can listen to in my comprehensive playlist, Froomy Fridays.
‘Almost Here (Duet with Brian McFadden) (With Brian McFadden)’ by Delta Goodrem takes the cake for me, followed closely by ‘I Don’t Do Surprises’ by Axel Whitehead. Pure, unadulterated, Bondi Rescue-adjacent nostalgia. Sometimes I feel like Delta’s true power and influence is underestimated, particularly post-The Voice. This woman survived Hodgkin's Lymphoma the same year she dropped Innocent Eyes for Pete’s sake! That’s the second highest-selling Australian album of all time. She deserves legend status, even if just for ‘Born To Try’. I’ll be a Delta truther for life.
Did somebody say…
Menulog TANGENT ALERT!
Tonight I want to detail a recent, semi-disturbing Google Search experience. I will also be hard-launching a new ‘do. The two sound disparate, but they are cosmically connected – like Delta and The Pou.
Let’s get to it.
I don’t really believe in ‘guilty pleasures’ but if there’s one thing in life that needs to be categorically included as one, it’s Googling your own name. I’m a repeat offender, with little hope for parole. I usually get on the googs after I’ve hit my social media city limits. Once I’ve sifted through TikTok and Instagram comments, my Facebook ‘memories’ and the ‘Somebody Viewed Your Profile’ notifications on LinkedIn, I get on the proper gear and go Googling.
I get a real thrill when I do this. If someone caught me, I’d definitely try and fob it off as an exercise in digital hygiene. “I’m simply checking how the bigwigs see me,” I’d tell them. And I’d tell myself, “68,200 results cannot hurt me.” But given I feel like I’m having a blood sugar emergency as I type ‘f, r, o…’ proves it goes deeper than a routine check-up.
For the first few years of sharing my work publicly, the Google search results were immaculate. Every month I’d punch in ‘froomes’ and get giddy as the results piled up. There were articles I’d written that I was proud of, glossy interviews and professional-but-also-chill-and-cool headshots. But the top result was always ‘Dr Paul Froomes’ – a bum doctor operating in Melbourne, of little relation (though he is the literal spitting image of my Mum – there must be something there and it’s not just because I like butt stuff) (non-sexual).
I made it my mission to overtake him. It took me seven years but the feeling of surpassing him was akin to passing an enormous stool, the kind that’d make a gastroenterologist proud.
Then, on January 17th, 2023 (thank you Google History), just as I was putting my dinner (leftover ravioli) in the microwave, a friend messaged me asking for a link to a newsletter I’d written about sandwiches. I put the pasta down and grabbed my phone, plugging ‘froomes’ into the Chrome search bar as a shortcut. My heart sank when I noticed a new result. Now, the suggested searches accompanying ‘froomes’ included ‘froomes wikipedia’ (we’ll know I’ve made it when that eventuates), ‘froomes age’ (I’m 24 hehe), ‘froomes flume’ (we are not dating, nor related), ‘froomes dad’ (he’s not the broadcaster Steve Price – I’m a car salesman nepobaby, not a media one) and, to my semi-disbelief…
‘froomes weight gain’.
Baaaaaabe. I felt my tummy drop and my appetite up and go in an instant. Pasta is my favourite leftover but at that moment the gullet was uninterested, turned off. It was the ick.
It sounds so dramatic, but it was a derealisation moment for me. I had that uncanny sensation that nothing was real, or that I was living in a really bad dream. “Not Me, Not I” belted Delta, in some far-off place. Throughout my recovery, there have been lots of moments like this one, but most of them have been private. Failing to fit into my favourite pants, noticing new rolls of fat on my back in a changing room mirror and feeling my armpits dampen more quickly when I do the Bondi to Bronte are all personal moments I’ve been able to acclimatise to in my own time.
The confronting thing is not my weight. There is no denying I have gained a considerable amount in contrast to the body I was trading my freedom for. I’ve reconciled that in therapy, in the mirror, and in myself. And I actually fuck with what I see. The confronting bit is the idea that everyone else has noticed it, and is taking proactive steps to investigate the matter.
I get it. We all do it. When somebody’s appearance changes, it’s natural to notice and – if you’re shameless – ask questions. A select few people have commented on my body in real life. Some instances stick out to me, like when a body-neutral advocate pointed out my “huge” boobs in a room full of people, or the random father of three from middle America who commented on a video of me rollerblading to All Summer Long by Kid Rock, saying “damn she got thicc”. When I read that, I laughed. But when I lay in bed mulling over responses (none that I sent because I’m trying to collect Karma Points in This Life) a hot tear fell down my cheek.
I can handle malicious comments because I see them as a projection of that person’s thought process, and I’m grateful that I don’t think that way anymore. But when Google aggregates the most commonly searched terms, it hits differently.
It’s in these moments that I doubt myself and my choices more broadly. I vividly remember the voice in my head that would’ve been destroyed by this search result twelve months ago. It bleeds into doubt about other parts of my life, like worrying that I’m “lazy”, not caring about work, or possibly jeopardising my opportunities by using my free time to see my friends and not farm content. But it’s in these same moments that I remember a pledge I made to myself when I couldn’t see a way out of my eating disorder. I prayed to someone, telling them that I would trade my body, my work and all the perks they afforded me just to feel ‘enjoyment’. I used to do a similar thing when I’d get migraines as a child – when I was crying, vomiting and couldn’t see, I would make pledges to myself, like “I promise I will eat more vegetables if that means I will never feel this again”.
Both sensations were desperate, but the former has acted as a northern star for me. It’s a visceral memory, and whenever I feel shame about my body or lifestyle, I remember my pledge. I feel so proud of myself for following it, and I’m so grateful because what I wished for came true.
“Letting go” is kind of like an ego death, in the coolest way. This delivers me to my next point.
I subscribe to another Substack called The Unpublishable. It’s a weekly beauty newsletter that, according to New York Magazine, “examines the beauty industry’s tight grasp on consumers and popular culture, from evolving beauty standards to the deft marketing tactics used to sell people more products.” It’s nuanced but conversational and critical but curious. Nuanceville!
The other day they published a post titled The Negotiation of Beauty – this idea that physical beauty isn’t a static image of perfection but rather a set of parameters we all work within. Like, if you have ‘crooked’ teeth, you can ‘offset’ it by being skinny. Or, if you are a size that sits outside the ‘beauty standard’, you can negate it by having flawless skin.
I’d never thought of this concept but I really connect with it. Mine is having blonde hair and clear skin. It’s aligned with the “she’s out of shape but has a pretty face” trope – it’s about ‘getting away with’ falling ‘outside’ the very Western, very Bondi size ideal. (I used an outrageous amount of inverted commas there because my proximity to the beauty ideal is subjective.)
I first fucked with my hair in Year 7. I befriended a girl who typified the ‘mature for her age with a tongue piercing but also literally thirteen’ archetype. Her Mum was a hairdresser, and in an effort to be cool I asked her to cut me a mullet and side fringe, bleach my hair and dye it dark red. It was kind of like a hybrid of emo and Zyzz-core.
the chokehold this man had on stereosonic and beyond was, and remains, unmatched
It was at that moment that I first sat in the universal experience of telling a hairdresser you “love it” through welling tears and gritted teeth.
The next two years were spent rebuilding and slowly getting highlights to irradicate the red (sponsored by my Mum, so you know it was bad). By the time I was in Year 9, I was an approximation of ‘bronde’. Shortly after, I experienced my first mutual crush. Heavs. It could have been my blossoming boozies (lol) but I conflated the attention with having blonde hair.
I haven’t had brown hair since. That’s almost fifteen years’ worth of bleach, with no reprieve. Whether consciously or not, I’ve used peroxide as a self-esteem-bolstering tool. When my regrowth is popping, people will ask if I’d ever go back to brown and I guffaw. “Not in this lifetime.”
Six months ago, my hair clapped back and said “no more”. My routine bleach resulted in an extreme break-off moment. My whole crown snapped off, Lisa Simpson-style. It was so bad that my hairdresser offered to bankroll the next six months of growing and dying, and as anyone who has had their hair cooked before will tell you, this level of accountability is unheard of.
Last month, disaster struck yet again. After months of cutting, growing, and wearing unfortunate wigs (that month of CADA where I was wearing wigs worries me) the inevitable happened and Lisa reappeared. Or maybe Bart this time, that cheeky fuck! I know I can no longer go on like this, given I do not reside in Springfield.
I considered shaving it again – I get the urge every 18 months and usually honour it.
Yesterday, the urge was immense. I texted my besties and all three told me to do it. Then I texted my Dad, for fun. He is notorious for absolutely hating short hair. He is a short hair picketer, so much so that I’m surprised he hasn’t ambushed any local hairdressers. Years ago, when we were eighteen, my best friend and award-winning podcaster and writer, Madison came to my house with a shaved head, and he literally said, “you were so pretty before”. We still agree it was one of his all-time moments. Naturally, he panicked at my message, telling me I should grow it out like Mercedes Bins for the “soft look”. Again, so good.
i’m unable to provide context
It sounds ridiculous, but as someone who is prone to letting their physicality define their self-worth, this was truly a risk. To me, blonde hair wasn’t just an essential ingredient in my ordained recipe for being hot. It was also an integral selling point for me as a media personality. It was my Paula Yates, Jessica Rowe, Kerri-Anne Kennerly edge. Blonde hair was my dream.
Now I had a choice. Would I continue killing my hair – along with the vision of the almighty creator – or would I do the unimaginable?
I decided to do it. I was ready to become a brown hair bitch. To me, doing this is way more punk than shaving my hair. If gaining weight was the cake, dying my hair poo brown was the cherry on top.
It’s a box dye, mind you – and the vision, for now, is to let it be brown while it repairs, and grows. But I feel liberated, no less.
was i instrumental in the decision?
Thanks munchkins for getting to the bottom. I love writing about this stuff.
I’ll see you next time.
Great read, thanks for being so open. Love the brown hair too 🧡
You are just sensational, you sweet sweet thing 💗 x