20 years of purple prose

WARNING: this is not the saucy post I promised, it just looks like it. My TMI story still hasn’t been published at Kidspot so I’m stalling.

I’ve spent much of my career writing about sex. At Cosmopolitan magazine I wrote guides to condoms and vibrators (you would not BELIEVE how fast the samples disappeared when I left them out as freebies on a desk one night).

At CLEO I ran stories about how to Blow Like A Pro … And was responsible for a whole section of the magazine being pulped because I printed an ill-advised story that included a penis ruler (that measured Asian penises at the lower end of the scale).

You’d think working at a parenting website would mean I would have moved on to more demure topics, but no.

Earlier this week, my eldest daughter confronted me with the most scandalised look on her face, demanding to know why there was a notebook on the dining table with this list written on it …


Erm, now I will admit it looks pretty suss, but I swear it was just a checklist for a story I’m writing about conception myths.

I’d made the list so I’d remember what pictures to find when it was time to illustrate it.

It was quite amusing to type “missionary position” into the picture agency search engine and get these results …




The talk gets a little out-there in the office too sometimes … Yesterday it was all about the scientific way to measure a flaccid penis. Apparently the researchers stretch them out …

(I’m not sure how vigorously they do the stretching. Google probably has the answer.)

Which lead to me regaling everyone with my Singapore CLEO pulping anecdote.

Gawd help me in a conservative workplace.


8 thoughts on “20 years of purple prose

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  1. I just read the reader story on Kidspot about “that family with issues”. I so wanted to reply and tell the author that she is not alone. There are many of us in similar situations. People don’t want to know about ugly situations and the perpetrator is often charming to others. And others enable his abuse in many ways. It’s a lonely hard road and the fear never leaves you. Sometimes there are others there. It’s just how to find them as they don’t come forward about it unless the right circumstances occur. I found 2 after being in tears over another cruel act against the children.
    Sorry to hijack your blog off topic

    1. Thank you so much Amy, I passed your message on to the writer and she was so touched that you’d taken the time to reach out to her – she’s doing it very tough at the moment.

  2. It’s so funny that I read Cleo articles and it was YOU writing them! I probably read “How to blow like a pro” actually! My husband’s late father was the editor of the Australasian Post and he used to write an article each week about his son, “Brick for Brains”. I read it every week in my late teens because it was funny never realising that one day I would marry “Brick for Brains”! Fate is very strange really.

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