Tag Archives: feminism

There’s a party up there all the time

1. A few months ago I had a falling-out with my only proper ‘ring them up and go for a pint’ friend in the local area. This was very much for the best, believe me, but since then, for a combination of reasons, I haven’t been going out in town at all. I socialise virtually never, and I take a weird pride in the fact that this degree of self-inflicted solitude would very likely cause mental health problems in a normal person. It’s interesting to know this about myself. If I wasn’t so insistent on being able to walk to the shops, I could be one of those forest rangers whose whole job is to spend six months sitting at the top of a tower looking for fires. Or a biologist at a research station in Antarctica with only penguins to talk to. Or JD Salinger.

2. I do still go on the odd date, of course, mostly for comic relief. My last date involved a heated argument about whether institutionalised sexism exists. Basically this dude thought that women experience no overall disadvantages at a social level, and that any suffering endured by women due to pervasive unrealistic beauty standards is our own fault because a) it’s mostly women writing for fashion magazines and b) it’s up to every individual woman to just rise above and ignore this stuff. Nothing I said even made a dent (why wouldn’t he know better than me about the lived experience of women, right?). In retrospect I’m not sure why I didn’t just get up and leave, but I have this stupid residual built-in female desire (which I’ve obviously just made up in my silly little head) not to be perceived as hysterical and overreacting. I wonder whether he tells black people that racism doesn’t exist. Anyway. There will not be a second date, but maybe I’ll send him a singing telegram from Germaine Greer. Or a PUNCHING telegram! Do those exist? If not it will be necessary to invent them.

I actually did make it to a second date with one guy who was funny and cute and smart and nice and who had great taste in music, but he turned out to be the worst kisser in the whole wide world. (It’s true! I found him later in the Guinness Book of World Records.) It was so bad that it triggered my fight-or-flight reflex like AUUGHHH WHAT ARE YOU DOING GET OFF ME. Damn shame. I might keep that one as a friend, though, since I’ve got a vacancy in the friend department and a very empty social schedule.

3. I may have officially given up on my French pen pal. Writing to her really was helping to improve my French, but she was just so, so awful. After Brexit she sent me a horrible schlocky pop song that she said expressed how she felt (sad, apparently!). She never pointed out any of my French errors, even though I asked her to and that was like the whole point of writing to a French person. She never responded to anything I said about myself or my life. Most of her messages seemed to consist of copied and pasted Wikipedia articles about France or Alsace (where she lives) or places she’d been on holiday. She never, not even once, NOT EVEN ONE TIME, made anything resembling a joke. That’s always the final nail in the coffin for me: we may have different views on religion or politics or life in general, or you may believe in chemtrails or think the moon landing never happened or that 50 Shades of Grey is a good book, but I will nevertheless attempt to carry on a polite conversation with you; but if you don’t make even the slightest attempt to take the piss? That’s it. I cannot relate. Go bother someone else, you weirdo.

4. Here are a couple of sample yearbook covers I did at work. I had fun making these.

Yearbook cover - neon sign

Yearbook cover - motel sign

Hit me with your flashbulb eyes

1. As I’m running out of true crime podcasts to listen to, I’ve subscribed to a couple of public-domain audiobooks. It turns out that when it comes to audiobooks, you get what you pay for. Awkward narration can really ruin a good book. I started listening to a recording of Oliver Twist read by an Irish guy who mystifyingly gave the characters Brummie accents instead of Cockney accents. Like…maybe he didn’t realise? Maybe he thought he was doing a Cockney accent? But a Brummie accent is very specific and hard to do. Inexplicable.

2. Here’s something I’m tired of reading on dating sites: “I’m tall enough for you to wear your heels.” News flash: women are allowed to be taller than men! My choice of footwear is not going to be affected by the worry that I am going to intimidate you or whatever!

Volkswagen even made an advert based on the whole “Uh oh! She’s taller than him! WAH-WAHHH!” bit. Remember this?

Ugh. I’ve developed my own personal version of the Bechdel test where I mentally swap the roles of the men and women in a given scenario. The more ridiculous the result, the bigger the fail.

3. True crime all the time! I’ve been watching a lot of Homicide Hunter. It is brilliant and has all the awkward reenactments you could ever wish for. Every episode starts the same way: first, the body is discovered (“April 4th, 1989. It’s a quiet morning in Colorado Springs, and Bob Jones is walking his dog in a scenic local park. Little does he know he’s about to make a gruesome discovery.” YESSSS). Then, every time, they say something like, “Meanwhile, across town, Lieutenant Joe Kenda is [catching up on paperwork/practicing at the firing range/giving a course on identification/attending an autopsy/at the zoo/having a wank/trying on ladies’ underwear/whatever] when the phone rings.” OK, this is like thirty years ago. There is no way you remember exactly what you were doing when you got called out to every single murder case you ever worked on, and even if you did, we really don’t need this information. Let’s just assume that Lieutenant Joe Kenda was somehow informed about the presence of a dead body and subsequently attended the scene.

4. Dear colleague: here’s the thing. I’m sorry you have allergies all day every single day. That must be no fun for you. But if you’re in an office in close proximity to other human beings, could you maybe leave the room before blowing your nose, rather than messily and wetly snonking into a Kleenex every five minutes while you’re sitting two feet from me? I’m worried my face is going to freeze like this…

…or that I’m going to damage my hearing by constantly turning my headphones wayyyyy up to drown that shit out*. Gross. GROSS.

*Incidentally, should you find yourself in a similar situation, I’ve found that Arcade Fire provides a nice solid wall of sound that covers up background noise very effectively.

Boy, nothing is good enough for me, is it? No wonder I’m single. How about I talk about something I liked for a change?

5. I was in Islington the other day and passed a sign for an estate agents’ called Hotblack Desatio. I assumed that the company was founded by someone who (like all rational human beings) really really loved Hitchhiker’s Guide, but it turns out that the estate agents’ came first and Douglas Adams stole the name (it is an undeniably cool name). I feel like I stumbled across a little piece of history there. This happens to me much more often in England than it ever did in Canada, funnily enough. (I stumbled across Abbey Road when I was living in Kilburn. I’d had no idea I was living like a mile away from it.)

A special nugget of fiercely burning hate

1. Oh, America! I’ve just caught wind of this ‘birthers’ nonsense. I mean, I’d heard ages ago that some folks were questioning whether Obama was really born in America and I thought, “Wow, those people sure are grasping at straws and wasting everybody’s time” and figured it would blow over pretty quickly because, you know, a) who cares and b) WHATEVER, right? Dude seems pretty American to me. And now I hear that not only has it not blown over, but it’s become such a huge deal that there’s an official name for it? Really? Really, America? No, seriously – REALLY??? Do the birthers and the creationists hang out together at big ‘let’s all be retarded’ parties? Would this whole stupid issue have arisen if Obama was 100% white with an immigrant parent from, say, Ireland or France? Somehow I think not. How is this a legitimate argument about anything at all? Can’t these people disagree with someone’s politics without going into Ad Hominem Terminator mode? Christ almighty. America is a deeply strange place. (Er, no offense to the vast numbers of Americans who are NOT completely mental, of course. All the same, I’m relieved I don’t live there because I’d spend all my time screeching and tearing at my hair.)

2. Last night I tried to vote in this whole referendum thingy, but I wasn’t allowed to because I moved into my flat relatively recently and the property isn’t registered. To be honest it was a bit of a relief, as I don’t feel clever enough to make an informed decision about the voting system (not that that will stop 98% of the voting public, of course). Anyway, the helpful chap at the polling station offered to give me a registration form so that I can vote next time there’s any voting to be done. Super! He fetched the form, and then explained it to me in great and totally unnecessary detail. “OK, you just put your name here,” [pointing at section of form marked ‘Name’] “then put your address here,” [pointing at section of form marked ‘Address’] “and, um, the details of your previous addresses here,” [pointing at section of the form marked ‘Previous addresses’] “and your signature here,” [pointing at section of the form marked ‘Signature’] “and the date here,” [you get the idea] “and, uh, just return it to this address at the bottom here, it’s the Council offices, you can post it, or, it’s just in Huntingdon, if you’re ever in the area you could just drop it off, or….you could also do it on the internet…” I was beginning to wonder when would be an appropriate point to interrupt and say, “So I just FILL IN THE FORM, then.” Is this something the majority of people have difficulty with? If someone can’t figure out how to write their name in a box marked ‘Name’, should they really be allowed to vote? I’m just saying.

3. I recently got a FREE GIFT from the chemists’ (I love how they always specify that it’s a FREE gift, unlike all those other gifts that you have to pay for), made up of various mini-samples of ‘beautifying’ snake oils. I have a special nugget of fiercely burning hate in my heart reserved for the so-called beauty industry, BUT I also have very little money, so I’m using the tiny tubes of face goo as moisturiser. They all have amusing ‘YOU ARE UGLY LET US HELP YOU’ product names, like ‘Age Re-Perfect Intense’ (oh no my age is not perfect or wait it was perfect but now it is not but you will intensely re-perfect it? Does this have something to do with prime numbers?), and my personal favourite, ‘Time Resisting Day Cream’. Holy cow – time resisting?!? That’s amazing! So if I put too much on will I experience temporal irregularities and become trapped in a bubble in the space-time continuum for all eternity??? Or will my face just end up a bit greasy? Oh OK it’s the second one.