Sunday, 23 November 2014

At 50 .... 50 Things I Don't Understand

I thought with age would come wisdom, but with a whole half century staring me square in the face I admit there are still some things I'll never understand, however many years I live ...

50 Things I Don't Understand

.....At 50 

1: Shower gel.

2: How the wine is always gone.

3: Trigonometry.

Please sir,
 can I have some hair straighteners
4: Why curly haired girls want straight hair and straight haired girls want curls.

5: The purpose of thongs.

6: How to do the Hokey Cokey without falling over one's own feet.

7: The correct spacing when writing down mobile phone numbers.

8: The popularity of Kim Kardashian's bottom.

9: How slugs mate. And why they would want to.

10: Why fast food is never quick enough.

11: Why most people who wear sportswear do it for leisure.

12: How eggs work.

13: The Daily Mail.

14: Where dust goes when you've dusted it.

15: People who don't appreciate Tom Jones.

16: Chewing gum.

17: Why Ian Gillan doesn't have a knighthood....

18: ...or David Beckham.

19: How to make the perfect meringue.

20: Why anyone would EVER need a wine stopper.

21: Mrs Brown's Boys.

22: Local government planning regulations.

23: Litter louts

24: Bad losers

25: Religious Fanatics.

26: Fanatics.

27: Religion.

28: Miley Cyrus.

29: Where Ben Elton went.

30: How to cast on knitting.

31: What the spleen does.

32: How to drive.

33: What you're supposed to do with all the teeth when you're the Tooth Fairy .

34: Why people would trust a politician.

35: Why my life isn't like a musical.

36: The correct oven temperature for Yorkshire Pudding.

37: Non alcoholic alcohol.

38: Men.

39: Fake tan.

40: Where all the single socks go.

41: Why sliced bread is previously the best thing, always.

42: The inner workings of the flushable toilet.

43: How Paul McCartney's hair colourist gets away with it.

44: Jazz.

45: Couscous.

46: The Pentatonic scale.

48:  Eyelash curlers.

49: Why anyone would voluntarily wear a paisley patterned anything.


50: Life. Mostly.


Friday, 21 November 2014

The F Word ...

In less than a week's time I will be 50 years old..... 50 ..... years..... old! 

That's a total of 18, 262 days or 438,291 hours or 26,298,000 minutes that I've spent on the planet..... only a third of which made some kind of sense at the time.

I am not, to be perfectly frank, entirely prepared to be an actual, whole, 50 years old. Even though I've known it's been coming since ... well... since I was 49. 

I did write, in a futile attempt at some level of acceptance, a bucket list of things to do before the big day as well as a list of things not to do. And I absolutely achieved everything I set out to do on one of those lists.....though I did have to reinstall iTunes. Obvs.

But otherwise, I'm in denial: the mulishly stubborn, kicking and screaming and quite a lot of sulking kind of denial that involves regularly drowning myself in a vat of gin and sticking one's fingers in one's ears and going LA LA LA when anyone says the F word. Any F word at all, just to be on the safe side.

Still, unless I discover the secret of eternal youth or a time machine within the next few days, which is unlikely admittedly, I will be fifty years old, like it or not.


I suspect I'm not going to be very good at it.....

Monday, 17 November 2014

How Not to Date Women and How

Last week I wrote about the inane Dapper Laughs and his sordid approach to dating advice. This week, a petition to ban the Swiss-born American and self-acclaimed pick up artist, Julien Blanc from hosting his dating advice seminars in the UK has topped over 150,000 signatures. So far.

Like Dapper Laughs but without the excuse of being a created character, Julien Blanc calls himself "an international leader in dating advice"and can charge up to £2,000 for a "seduction class" where he "advises" grabbing women by the throat, isolating them from their friends, killing their pets, making threats, harassment and abuse as part of a winning seduction technique.

Julien Blanc recently posted this infographic, designed to help women recognise they are being abused, on his Twitter feed, relabelling it #Howtomakeherstay.

He is, if you'll forgive me, a misogynist, sexist fuckwit of a git. And he's pedalling his dubious, tainted and distasteful advice not just at the club-going 'lads' culture that Dapper Laughs enthralled, but at grown men who can afford to pay up to £2,000 to attend one of his sessions but should know a hell of a lot better....

But perhaps they don't.

Perhaps there are some actual men who are cast so adrift from both common sense and social interaction with the opposite sex, they truly believe dropping a couple of grand on a class that promises to give them the ability to effortlessly pick up women via emotional manipulation, threats, harassment, and abuse is a good life choice.

And if there are any men like that out there, can I just tell you: It's not.

Here's a little advice from the other side of the fence. You know, the one you are so desperately trying to get your leg-over.

Women, whatever their age, hair colour, cup, waist and shoe size, much prefer not to be threatened, abused or emotionally manipulated at any time, for any reason at all, and certainly not to make you look like the Big Man with all your mates.

Women are infinitely more likely to have a sexual relationship with someone who treats them with kindness and respect and at a time when they feel safe and unthreatened. Though some may insist on love as well.

Women are not a different species: you do not have to tame them, ensnare them or keep them in a cage.

Women are allowed to say no.

And that'll be two thousand pounds. Thank you.

*rolls all the eyes at all the men*

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Penguins: The Dangers .... or What John Lewis Won't Tell You ....

I am the mother of a boy who is, like the boy in the John Lewis Christmas ad, similarly in love with his penguin.

The penguin that I bought him (at half price in WH Smith's, since you're asking) for the Christmas when he was just 20 months old.....

The Boy loved that penguin from the very first.

He named the penguin, with all the finesse of a one-year-old unable to pronounce the word penguin, Pen Pen and from that day everywhere that The Boy went, Pen Pen was sure to go as well ... regardless of Pen Pen's sizeable bulk and obvious penguiness.

The Boy loved Pen Pen so very much that the next Christmas, Santa *cough* in his wisdom thought it would be a really cute idea to present The Boy and Pen Pen with another penguin.

So, duly, on Christmas morning, in a gaily penguin-paper wrapped parcel, addressed jointly to Pen Pen and The Boy, there lay another, slightly smaller, penguin.

And perhaps it should have ended there, just like in the John Lewis ad, with Pen Pen and his new companion Pen waddling off into the sunset and The Boy, still just two and with a walk just as waddling as a penguin's, beside them both.


But the way of the penguin is a slippery slope and not always figuratively....

Needless to say, each and every successive Christmas (for which I still blame Santa *cough*) and sometimes for birthdays (which I can't *sighs*), The Boy has welcomed a new penguin to the fold until eventually, finally, for his last birthday, his eighth, he got an actual, real-live penguin.....

Not the actual, real live penguin..
Or at least we adopted an Adelie penguin through the World Wildlife Fund. We did get yet another furry penguin addition to the family for doing so though, for which space had to be found in an already over-penguined bed.

And now another Christmas approaches. The Boy, nearly nine, the proud owner of a myriad different penguins and one real one isn't really going to expect another penguin, is he? Is he?

Er, yes. Apparently.

And this one better not only be real, it should move in.

So thank you John Lewis. Well played.

*rolls eyes*

*Googles Penguins at Home*

Penguin family members who could be bothered to turn up for the photo shoot
 *rolls eyes*
*looks behind sofa*

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Gallery .... Yellow

I'm joining in with The Gallery this week and the theme is Yellow ...

One of the first colours ever made was yellow. Made from clay, the yellow ochre pigment was used in prehistoric cave art and a horse painted with the yellow pigment was drawn in the caves of Lascaux in the Dordogne, When it was discovered in 1940, it was estimated to be over 17,300 years old.

The sun has been setting the sky alight with all shades of yellow flames every sunset for even longer.

These are my Yellows ....

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Not Laughing

I was a teenager in the 70s when it wasn't uncommon for young women to be treated as little more than meat in a world that seemed almost exclusively catering for men. But even as builders hung off the scaffolding shouting "Show us your tits" to anything vaguely female and male drivers slowed for a good leer as they passed the girl's cross country team sweating their way back up the hill to school, women were breaking out of their moulds and becoming economically, socially and educationally free of history's traditional constraints.

The 70s wasn't a perfect time to grow up in by any means, but at least at the time it felt like chauvinism and misogyny were modern day dinosaurs on the verge of extinction.Which makes it all the worse that my daughters are still having to battle those dinosaurs today.

The latest manifestation comes in the shape of Dapper Laughs, an 'Internet Personality' whose real name is Daniel O'Reilly. He found his questionable fame on the video-sharing website Vine making six second videos and currently has his own TV show on ITV2 called "Dapper Laughs: On The Pull." 

He has a range of distasteful catchphrases that he deploys on his show and social media: #sheknows, #moist, #propernaughty. He has also recorded songs with edifying titles like 'Take It To the Base' and 'Proper Moist.'

Daniel O'Reilly aka Dapper Laughs
In the show he takes teenage boys, invariably describing themselves as "players," out on the town and teaches them how to "pull a bird" generally with little regard for the intended "birds" opinion on the matter at all.

His methodology perpetuates the myth that unless a girl has a boyfriend she is fair game for any interested male. That a woman can't simply say: "No thanks, I'm not interested" and be left alone. It's an attitude that TeenTwin2 has to deal with every weekend in the nightclub where she has a part-time job to finance her way through university: 

"I work in a nightclub. I'm 18, female and I put an effort into my appearance when I go to work, it's expected by the club and I like to feel good. I don't do it, believe it or not, for male attention. On the way from the staffroom to the bar, I hear "She knows"  or someone telling his friend: "She'd get it." And then someone will ask what time I'm working until and offer to give me a "seeing to" as they see me home. I get touched, pinched, grabbed and groped until I am safely behind the bar.

Or not. You see, some men seem to think they're allowed to walk behind the bar and grab my bottom or squeeze my breasts. As I stand at the till ringing their drinks through, they take 'selfies' with me, they take pictures of me, they film me. I ask for money for their drinks, they ask: 'Can I pay for it with kisses?' 'Does your number come with it?' 'How much does it cost to get you as well, sweetheart?' and more of the same.

I hand their change back, they grab my hand and pull it to their mouth or some put their hands behind my head and pull my cheek towards them and, countless times, I've had to turn and pull myself away to avoid a sloppy, drunken kiss straight on my lips.

They stand at the bar asking for my name, my number, my Facebook, my Snapchat and a 'No' just isn't sufficient. Inevitably they ask if I have a boyfriend and so now I lie automatically just to get them to leave me alone though more often than not, they will ask if he's there and if  I answer no, they still think I'm fair game.

Earlier this year I was punched in the stomach so hard he left a bruise by a man literally twice the size of me because I politely turned down his offer of a kiss. Lots of times I've left work at 3.30am to find a boy waiting outside for me after he's been standing at my bar all night and I'm stood in the dark trying to find an excuse to make him leave. I shouldn't feel unsafe leaving my place of work, no female should, but I do."

We both think Dapper Laughs has to bear some of the responsibility for what she and a lot of young women have to put up with on a daily basis these days. He neither invented misogyny or sexism but he is giving it a new legitimacy with a modern generation. Teenagers and young men today are using his catchphrases, copying his banter and buying into his 'beliefs,' all of which have nothing to do with having respect for women and much to do with everything that was wrong with the 70s.

ITV2 has to bear some of the responsibility too for giving Dapper Laughs a legitimacy as an entertainer and comedian when everything he does and everything he says is simply not funny, At all.

Something has to change and one of the first steps in the right direction is to remove Dapper Laughs: On the Pull from the television and luckily there's a petition asking for that very thing, you can sign it here Cancel Dapper Laughs: On the Pull

Silent Sunday ...


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