The First Year Experience: Baggage

This week Lucy Montague Moffatt puts down her books for some lighter entertainment and discovers the benefits of complete  honestyIn-between the furious bouts of intense study I was definitely doing, I happened upon a new TV programme called Baggage. At first I was appalled by this cheesy, fake smiling, models-wearing-airhostess-costumes monstrosity that was seeping out of the screen like fake lava from child’s ‘Make a Volcano’ set. Who decided this was allowed to be on the TV? Who is responsible?Of course, this didn’t stop me watching because if I am anything, I am a hypocrite. In fact, I watched harder. I slipped off the couch perched on top of a pillow and scooted myself closer to the TV, open mouthed in wonder at how this could actually be happening, in real life. I know they call it reality television but it is always this genre of TV show that tends to be the most unbelievable.The premise for this programme is as simple as the target audience. Gok Wan (he’s all “Darling, darling!” and you’re all “Awh, he’s not as annoying as I thought”) presents a man to you who is as dashing as he is muscley but somehow also still single; it’s a fact that Gok must change immediately. So cue him bringing on three girls who all want to win the holiday with Mr. Dreamboat. Obviously they have fallen in love with the guy just from what the producers have told them and their fire to win is not fuelled by the chance of a free holiday, but their desire to time to spend with this stranger who is nice to look at.This may all sound like a typical dating show so far. There’s a man, there are leggy women wearing too much jewellery and there’s the chance to run around in a bikini with a strange man. However, this show is called Baggage, and that is where this show makes Take Me Out look like Downton Abbey. The three prospective dates drag on stage with them a suitcase each. Inside these suitcases is written a piece of baggage that the girl has. These ‘baggages’ ranged in this episode from ‘I wee everywhere’ to ‘I am a member of a sugardaddy website’. And it was at that moment I realised Baggage is the most important TV show to ever have hit our screens.You see, ideologically speaking, everyone does walk around with all the secrets they don’t want people to know hidden inside a handy, Ryanair-friendly wheely bag. What Gok Wan is telling the viewers is that it is okay to open up that suitcase and tell everyone what you have been hiding inside. Gok, of course, does this in between controlling his own baggage carousel. Yes, there really is a carousel and the contests get a shock when people who are also their baggage, appear on the rotating machine to tell Mr. Dreamboat secrets about the girl. The drama!This approach to life would be incredibly useful for dating. If you had the opportunity at the start of the date to ‘air your dirty laundry’ maybe everyone would save a lot of time seeing people they really aren’t suitable for. For instance, if a guy you are about to embark on a first date with opened his suitcase and revealed: “I don’t think women are equal to men” [an example of a guy’s actual baggage on this genius show] or if I opened my pink, shiny four wheeler to reveal: “The guy I really liked just moved to Canada so I might suddenly run away there with no warning,” then all either of us would have to say is: “I can’t handle your baggage.” We could shake hands and leave it at that, without any of this “What are your hobbies?” or “How do you feel about the decline of the bee population?” nonsense.Society may be on its way to being desensitised about a lot of things but pure, uncensored honesty in everyday life still shocks people like a slap in the face. In a lecture recently, a girl went to leave half way through. Just as she was racing up the stairs, sure she has made her escape, the lecturer looked up and bellowed at her: “Are you in the wrong theatre?”She turned around timidly to face her fate, 200 excited eyes resting upon her. “No,” she gulped, going red. “Why are you leaving then?” the lecturer asked, getting angrier now. “Because… because I haven’t had breakfast” and with that she scurried for the doors of safely with her full bag on her back, like Sam carrying Frodo towards Mordor (this event may have been over dramatised for effect i.e comparisons with Lord of the Rings).Of course I thought she was a fool for not saying something about vomiting. If in doubt always go for the vomiting excuse. However, I have to applaud her amazing honesty. If I was the type of person who knew anything about class reps then I would want her to be whatever that is. She stood in front of our class and opened her suitcase wide, and that must be commended.Imagine if, during the introductory lectures, our lecturers placed their suitcase on their desk in front of us and opened it up, announced “This year I got divorced”, closed it again and then continued with their instructions of what to expect. Not only would it humanise them for us but it would also help us respect them on another level, especially if their baggage was “I am a member of a sugardaddy website”. If a lecturer told us that, I would make sure to never miss their class, even if it was on at 9am on Monday morning.After watching the dating show to end all other dating shows, I now know how the world should work. We need to wander around our lives, wearing enough make up to suffocate a small rodent in, dragging a suitcase full of our worst traits with us. Gok Wan must dance around our rolling bags shouting “Darling!” and calling his “lovely air hostesses” to follow him. We need to thrust open our suitcases when instructed and tell the world what lies hidden inside our very soul. And maybe every so often, out of habit, Gok will strip us naked in a crowded shopping centre and scream through a speakerphone: “She may be an alcoholic but don’t her thighs look fab!”Hm, on second thoughts, maybe not.Read: The First Year Experience: Runaway Student