Thank god that’s over. The Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation and prompts otherwise sensible women to wear poultry on their head, is but a memory.

Gambling is a vice I have somehow managed to bypass. Once a year, however, it’s downright un-Australian not to waste money on a tiny man in clown pyjamas riding a horse named after some rich wanker’s receptionist.

Now this is just the sort of pointless activity I normally embrace. Horseracing, though, leaves me cold and frankly I resent the hoo-ha surrounding the event. Did you notice that every incidental conversation you had on Tuesday was based around this three-minute cultural vacuum? Did it occur to you that, while it’s great to get part of the afternoon off work, the only person who walked away from the office pool with any money was that bitch in the sales department?

Happens every year.

I’m not sure which part of the Melbourne Cup phenomenon I hate most. For starters, there’s the enforced merriment. What if I don’t want to be a good sport? Call me churlish, but the phrase Go, you beauty! will never pass my lips.

Then there’s the fashion. This year, the compulsory international presence came in the adorably non-threatening form of Queer Eye‘s Carson Kressley. From what I could see on news reports, Carson swanned through the marquees delivering pseudo-royal waves and avoiding physical contact.

Was he there to give makeovers? Did he look around Flemington, realise the enormity of the task, then retreat into a corner with his piccolo of bad champagne? Why organisers flew this tacky queen halfway around the world is beyond me, but then I saw what people were wearing and I realised we need all the help we can get.

Random feathers were a key look this year. Like alopecia-stricken chickens, women all over the country popped on their pluck-me hats and fuck-me shoes so they could bond, have a flutter and get shit-faced. Noice.

So who won? Well, for once it wasn’t one of the many horses owned by the distractingly taut Gai Waterhouse -“ the face that stops a nation -“ but Gai needn’t worry. As they say, there’s always next year.

Chilling, isn’t it?

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