web counter The Madness of MokcikNab: 19, Acland Street, St Kilda
The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
19, Acland Street, St Kilda

A well-known diplomat-editor, in one of our infrequent conversations, once referred to a woman's nether regions as "God's Little Acre". How interesting, to equate sex with real estate. I do that, too; but the other way round. I lust after houses the way lewd men long for centrefolds.

This is a fact : Martha Stewart framed her magazine, Martha Stewart Living, as pornography for women. Her strategy was to feature impossibly alluring rooms, gardens, craft and cuisine; and make it seem as though it was just within reach. Martha Stewart can make gingham curtains out of say, tarpaulin kapchai covers, and hey so can you-- you, the overworked, underappreciated mother-wife-worker hyphenate. Of course that's an absolute lie. Martha Stewart is, after all, a convict. Yet, women everywhere would pay money to buy Martha Stewart Living or other magazines of the same ilk, for precisely the same reason middle aged men buy Penthouse or Hustler : the fantasy of owning something you could never have.

For the hyphenate mum, the immaculate living room, the manicured rose garden or the perfect little girls in home-made bonnets and old pillowcases recycled into sundresses, are the stuff of dreams, and only dreams. (I do not exaggerate : one edition of Martha Stewart Living did actually teach readers turn lace pillowcases into shifts) Back in the real world, my living room is a hodgepotch of chocolate milk spills, uncommisioned art-work, sprawling kids, cigarette ash, one obstinate cat, and one remote-control wielding husband who also functions in other ways. Lily Pond Lane? Maybe The Ditch is more like it.

If ogling beautiful homes is the same as eye-balling nude women, then I am a pervert, unrepentant and depraved. I have a million of these "home and living" magazines stacked under my nightstand, stashed away in two (gingham covered - I am guilty) ottomans, or water-damaged and rotting on top of a cistern, with a million ideas just waiting, waiting for enough funds, to come into fruition. Recently, like any self-respecting porno enthusiast, I have taken to searching for kicks on the world wide web. And tadaa! I have found the real-estate equivalent of Web Melayu Boleh. (Kids, please don't go googling Web Melayu Boleh. Trust me, it's just a boring site promoting erm, positive self-image and confidence)

You know how some guys, no matter that he is Melayu totok and owning of a black behind, would still hanker after leggy, shapely blondes, thinking that he is deserving of a Maria Sharapova? I am just like that. Income bracket and citizenship notwithstanding, I fancy age old double storey terraces, set on a tree-lined street, preferably in (where else) a Melbourne eastern suburb. I could never afford a double storey terrace in Prahran or Toorak or Glen Iris because they cost more than a million ringgit, and I have no business living in Australia; but if you're with me, this is just berangan, remember?

Terraces are not particularly large but they're elegant, with fine, aristocratic features; and there's always more to a terrace than meets the eye. To stretch the metaphor, a 19th century terrace is more like Laetitia Casta, and less like Jordan.

Over the weekend, I found a website with thousands of Melbourne homes for sale; and although not all of them were blonde terraces, I still had plenty to salivate over. Some of these fine specimens were houses Saiffuddin and I have actually admired, when we were there. We have stood on its kerb, and like a man with prurient interests in another man's wife, we have wondered what secret comforts the abode held within its realm. On this website, everything is laid bare, all the hitherto hidden beauty now revealed before my eyes. Best of all, the site includes what I would call the full-frontal of property : the floor-plan. Nothing is left to the imagination, and the imagination runs wild. I scrutinize the layout and fantasise about flowers, furniture, family, falling into place. I imagine what breakfast or bathing would be like, what my gaze would fall upon as I lay in bed, where I would hang my art. And I do this furtively, just like a porno junkie would.

Oh I know, I already have a double storey terrace. But I'm bored with her, and we don't get along. She doesn't take care of herself and is putting on weight. She doesn't have the right proportions and is unyieldingly Malaysian. As I close my eyes at night, in the dark I dream of a terrace in Acland Street, a bright, breezy house with all the trimmings. If I have her, I swear I'd stop looking.

*These pictures are actually of 19, Acland Street. The house will be auctioned on Saturday, 26 February with a reserve price of AUD 950 K


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