Growing up in our house, there was a hard and fast rule. Well there were a few, really.
Tomato sauce needed to be decanted into a jug before being placed on the table. All family members must eat together at the table. You could never say “gunna” or “wanna” and the word HATE was banned.
We were to say “detest immensely” or something like that.
And under no circumstance was your boyfriend allowed to sleep over in the same room as you. No circumstances, unless you were engaged.
“Not in my house.” Mum would say. And we all accepted it.
It resulted in my older sister getting engaged at 21 and this, in turn, lifted the ban for us younger siblings.
But there were rules, and with kids becoming sexually active at a younger age these days, I just dread to think how I might handle this situation when it arises in my house.
I am lucky I do not have to think about it just yet.
Your house, your rules, right?
So thought New Zealander and guesthouse proprietor Karen Ruskin, when a lesbian couple came a knocking at her door, there to take up their booking made previously over the internet.
Mrs Ruskin said that when the couple arrived they were told the lodge’s policy was for same-sex couples to be put into a room with two king-single beds. She argued that it might damage the morals and sanctity of her home.
Which actually makes me want to ask Mrs Ruskin what her policy was with regards to being a homophobic bigot.
I think that Mrs Ruskin needs to change professions. Opening up your own home as a guesthouse does not give you the right do decide who is moral. Or does it?
It is one of those arguments that can be played out on a never-ending loop, with no conclusions being reached.
Mum had rules, but circumstance made her shift the goal posts a bit.
Karen and Michael Ruskin’s stance on homosexuality is very clear. It is not to happen under their roof. More often than not, this type of intolerance is based on the fear of the unknown. Living a life with blinkers on will do that to a person.
Says Mrs Ruskin: “Everyone knows what homosexual activity is. It’s quite clear if two guys rent one bed you know what’s going to happen. We have to protect our other guests.”
Dear lord, Karen! Protect them from what? What goes on in your place? Are there no doors on any of your guest rooms? But your bigoted views are actually protected by the fact that it is… you house, your rules.
That doesn’t make it right. It is discrimination in its purest form.
The “dangerous” couple Paula Knight and Jane Collison are engaged (so would be free to share a bed at my Mum’s place anytime), but as Ms. Collison pointed out in an article at the Sydney Morning Herald, “It is a closed bedroom. I’m not allowed to cuddle my partner in a shared bed, but if I walked in there with a random guy I picked up off the street she would let me in.”
A solid closing argument if ever I have heard one, especially as a complaint has been lodged with the Human Rights Commission regarding this discrimination as it is illegal to discriminate against someone in the provision of goods and services because of their sexual orientation.
But the outcome is unclear as the Ruskin’s run a guesthouse, and not a hotel. There is a difference.
Paula posted her review on Trip Advisor:
“Wow what a mistake, as these hospo people are totally out of touch with the real world and we felt totally discriminated against and that we should just slink off into the guterings (sic) & side streets to seek somewhere – more suitable for our situation.”
Stomach churning stuff.
In my house, I rule the roost and enforce my ideals and morals on my kids. They include no lies, no talking back, no wearing nail polish to school. There should be random acts of kindness every day, treat others like you wish to be treated and eye rolling should be kept to a minimum.
Never, ever take the last chocolate biscuit.
And most importantly, ask me all the questions you want, because I don’t ever want you to be fearful of the unknown, no matter what.
What are the rules at your place? Parents of teenagers, I am all ears!
MORE STORIES BY MRS WOOG
*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.” You can follow me on Twitter: @Woogsworld.