thetillyvanilly

Awkward things.

It’s Just Hair. Get Over It.

Here’s a fun fact for you: If you have any kind of body hair, (not counting your perfectly preened and blow-dried topknot,) you are ugly. That is a verified truth fact right there. Body hair is gross, unnatural and, unless you’re male, you’ll be burned at the stake for showing the slightest shadow of regrowth. Sucks to be a girl, don’t it?

Now, I always thought that what we did with our own bodies was our own business. Boy was I wrong. Demonstrating my point quite nicely is Amanda Palmer, queen of the weirdos and wife of the dream king himself, Neil Gaiman. Now, Miss Palmer took the stage at Glastonbury  and rocked it, (of course!) but the media didn’t see it that way and the tutters of society shook their heads in shame. Why? Because she has, (whisper it) hairy armpits. Burn the witch right? She must be a Satanist or something to engage in an act so occultish as not shaving. Or maybe, you know, maybe she doesn’t wanna shave. Maybe she likes it. Maybe, maybe, maybe. We could go on for days theorising, but you know what I think? It’s none of our business.

I don’t care what hair Amanda chooses to sport or where it grows from. I don’t care what size she is or what her eyebrows look like. She could be a freaking llama in a onesie and a fez for all I care, because she is her own person, (or llama,) and her appearance is her choice. I foolishly thought that Glastonbury was about the music and the mud. If we’re gonna complain, let’s rant about the ludicrous prices and the queue for portaloos. Those are the real issues after all.

So why is hair such a big thing? Why is the merest sighting of a patch of fuzz enough to get our knickers in a twist? Why do people care so damn much about other people’s hair? Why is society all up in my grill about my grooming routine? It’s seen as a given that as soon as stubble rears its pointy heads, we get rid of it. It’s weird not to, right? We are brought up in this world of naked Barbie dolls where everything is perfect and shiny, and if it isn’t, we make it so. Not blonde? Bleach. Not skinny? Diet. Not endowed? Boob job. Not completely hairless? Shave. No-one will like you if you don’t. If you are not the same as everybody else, then you are different and different is bad. Don’t stand out or you will be beaten down.

If you’re a man however, that’s cool, we’re good, carry on sir, have a nice day. Umm… Not fair. Why aren’t men hounded about their beauty regimes? The real question is: Why women? Are we living in the past? Have I just fallen into a time warp and forgotten to don my corset, or is this all a bit screwed up? Ok, so men do get a teensy bit of stick. I’m talking hairy backs and I’m gonna stop you right there. You, man with the hairy back who is reading this right now, you go for your life. I have no problem with your man fur, mostly because it’s none of my business, but also because I’ve had the pleasure of feeling a good back rug and given it the thumbs up. So now you know. I’m not saying let’s get our pitchforks out and catch us some fuzzy men folk; I’m saying let’s be reasonable, let’s be fair and let’s just all calm down.

The hair issue always goes hand in hand with the weight thang and the appearance malarkey. They dance a merry jig, jolly proud of the hatred they’ve created in young (and not so young) ladies. It’s not cool to tell someone that they’re ugly or fat or gross, and it’s less cool to tell someone that they’re worthless because of it. So grow your hair, shave your head, show your thighs, make friends with your cellulite, make a feature of the bump on your nose or the scar on your belly. Do whatever it takes to make you feel like you, and realise the real truth of it all: Beauty is what you think it is, not what the media fixes, crops, photoshops and shoves down your throat. Amanda Palmer is beautiful, and so are you.

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Right Now I am Feeling…

Ok, so here’s my biggest secret right now; (it’s not the most juicy secret I’ve ever had, but at least it’s mine to tell, so the chances of me getting into trouble are a lot lower than usual!) are you ready for it? Dun, dun, duuuuuuun! I’m scared. I know what you’re thinking. Well, I can guess; I don’t profess to be a mind-reader, though that would be pretty sweet. You’re probably thinking ‘That’s it? No secret love child/hidden penis/Jerry Springer style drama?’ Nope, sorry. But for me to tell you, my faceless internet friend, is a mahoosive deal. HUGE. Even admitting it to myself was a battle.

So what am I scared of? Um, everything really. Do you ever get that feeling that you’re doing it all wrong? Like you’ve been given this super shiny gift of life on a golden platter and you’ve cracked it, scuffed it and managed to cover half of it with purple hair dye that Will. Not. Come. Off.  Do you get that? I feel it all the freaking time. It’s like every opportunity I’ve ever had, I’ve managed to accidentally crumple up and toss into the trash, and now it’s soaked with curry that went badly wrong and dotted with gum that someone didn’t put back in the wrapper. Grrr.

Even now I’m using metaphor and humour to cover up my feelings, because it’s hard and that’s what I do. It’s hard to say that you’ve screwed up, and it’s even harder sometimes to know if you actually have or not. What if I get to some distant, seemingly impossible age (I’m thinking 40), and I can look back and pinpoint exactly where I went wrong, exactly when I wandered down the dirt road towards the chainsaw-wielding maniac, or, you know, failure, which is even worse. What if all my self-confident bleatings turn out to be the punch line of a depressing joke? What if…

But hey, what if it all works out in the end? What if all my dreams come true? What if all this worrying causes a face full of wrinkles and a stomach ulcer for no reason at all? I wish I could shut my brain up. I’ve always straddled two sides of the scale – I’m a worst case scenario hypochondriac prone to panic attacks, but I pretty much have the word ‘awesome’ tattooed on my lips and I rock all the outward self-esteem of Sasha Fierce. I am an optimist; a rainy-day-collecting, bunker-building, check-the-tickets-every-five-seconds-in-case-they-spontaneously-combust-because-that-totally-happens-all-the-time optimist.

The truth is that I know nothing about the future until it happens, by which time I’ve forgotten all the ways that I was wrong, because who wants to think about that, right? The world could end tomorrow, I could get hit by a bus today, (Seriously, why is it always a bus and not a limo or a private jet or something?) or I could be given my dream job and told that my eyebrows look AMAZING! (These are the first awesome things that popped into my head, which says a lot. Don’t judge.) I don’t want this to be another article about living in the moment and dancing in the rain and whatnot, ‘cause there are already so many, but I obviously haven’t soaked anything up. So, Whoomp! There it is! Live, love, laugh, dance and whatever your socks off, because worrying only causes wrinkles and stomach ulcers.

I need to remember that success comes from hard work, tenacity and good timing. Being a stress-head will not make me any more likely to achieve my goals. Actually, it’s more likely to screw up my game, because, you know, all that forehead scrunching and complaining takes energy! Also, who wants to employ a drain? So I’m gonna work hard, work harder and Keep. Going. The only way I lose the game is to stop playing. In the words of the amazing Randy Pausch: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”  So there.

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7 Reasons Why GIRLS Needs To Be Back Already

I hate waiting, it’s my least favourite thing after childbirth and death. Luckily I’ve never had to go through two of those things, but this waiting thing is the bane of my life. GIRLS was the one thing that kept me going through the long, (metaphorically) cold nights, (they were chilly at times, but I put a sweater on) and since then, I’ve had to go through the hardship of existence on my own. That’s right. Without my GIRLS-friends I’ve been going through life without guidance on how to steer away from cracksidents, Q-tips and sexits. So this is an open letter to Lena Dunham, begging her to please hurry up or I may die. Seriously. Here’s why.

  • Hannah’s thighs.

Where are all the bootylicious women in TV land? Where are they? I have remote control RSS and I cannot find any. That sucks. At least with GIRLS, I know that Hannah will be barely dressed most of the time, so I can look at her thighs and realise that cellulite is a normal part of life, and, hey, there’s nothing wrong with having a few juicy bits. Hannah is chubby and gorgeous and guess what? She gets a lot of men chasing after her. Waaaaay more than any other character on the show, and, for some reason, that makes me happy.

  • Adam Driver

Is he sexy? I have no idea. Am I intrigued? Hells yeah. I don’t care if he’s a complete psycho, I actually kinda like that. What I do care about are ‘sorry’ signs, being bought ice-cream and a man that runs to my house to save me from myself. Yes, I know I’m not Hannah, but sometimes I am and those are the times when Adam is there, being all psycho-sexy, and right now I miss him.

  • Shoshanna

I love this girl. We are like total BFFS. Truth fact. I don’t care that she smoked crack. If you can make a woman laugh, you can make her do anything and Shosh makes me laugh. Despite being semi-stupid, Shoshanna is the voice of reason on the show. Even when she makes mistakes, she’s adorkable enough for me not to be yelling at the screen. I just let her do her thang, because she’ll get there in the end, bless her.

  • The debate

‘What debate?’ I hear you say. Every debate, that’s what debate. GIRLS got us talking, well, arguing really. Thanks to this show, people were suddenly discussing society’s obsession with size, thighs and the beauty balance of relationships. We talked about mental health and how hard it is to get a job these days. We spoke about how bizarre it is that you stick a group of women in New York and suddenly it’s the new SATC and not an awesome program in its own right. Well I talked about that one, to myself, but seriously, how dumb?

  • Hannah’s writerly struggles

Yes! I am not alone on this one. Even Lena Dunham is struggling, spending more time eating Cool Whip than actually writing. I am NORMAL. Ok, I know that Lena Dunham is actually doing alright, I mean, she’s got a bazillion dollar book deal and her fingers in so many pies that she has none left to hold a pen, but I’m totally not jealous. At all. Just needed to clarify that.

  • After Charlie

Right, so a little bit into the filming of series three, we discovered that Charlie, (Christopher Abbott) has quit. Just like that. So what now? Well that’s a damn good question dear readers, what now indeed. This is a no spoiler zone, so I will just say that at the end of series two, Charlie seemed jolly important to the plot, and I have no idea how Lena can fill in this hole. But, BUT! Michael Zegan, (of Boardwalk Empire) is set to step into his shoes. Is he the new Charlie or a brand new and shiny character? I NEED to know right this instant.

  • Reality TV

This show means so much to me because it’s real. It reflects real life, not my life, but someone’s life, someone’s sad, pathetic, cringeworthy life. GIRLS makes Amanda Bynes look like a life coach, but that’s ok, because don’t we all feel a teensy bit better about ourselves now? I know that I do, and that’s what’s important here.

 

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On Being Fat and Happy

Today I realised something awesome. I can finally look in the mirror and not hate what I see. I don’t see a whale or an ogre or a monster, or anything unlikely to be standing in my bedroom gawping at their reflection. I see myself and I am happy. For a long time I wasn’t happy with the way that I looked. I’d been a normal-sized child, (whatever normal is) up until around the time when I was seven. Then my nan died and I started to comfort eat. You’ve heard this story before, a million times I’m sure, so I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that food was my friend, my friend that I ate. When I ate, I was happy and when I gained weight I was sad, so I ate, blah, blah, blah. You see where this goes.

By the time I’d made it to high school I was huge, and kids being kids, they thought that I was too dumb to notice so they pointed it out. My real name is Natalie and my theme tune, (thanks go to whoever it was that created such a work of art,) was ‘Natalie the fatalie, the big fat Natalie.’ Beautiful. So I carried on eating the only friends I had, and I carried on being reminded that I didn’t fit in, that I was ugly and that no-one would ever want me. I was miserable.

Logic dictates that if you are not happy with something you should fix it, so I did. When I realised that I wasn’t going to wake up with Christina Aguilera’s body, I stopped eating. Being a teenager, I knew that I was indestructible. I didn’t need food, I wanted it, but I wanted skinny more. I reduced my daily intake to 500 kcals and, of course, the pounds fell off. I started getting complimented. ‘You look sooo good!’ meant ‘Wow! Before you were gross, but now you’re actually worth talking to.’So I carried on until I’d lost almost half of my body weight, then I waited to be happy.

It turns out thin doesn’t equal happy. Happy equals happy, which I might have understood earlier had I paid as much attention to my education as I did to the attitudes of my peers. So when I reached my goal and I didn’t feel any better, I decided that maybe I hadn’t lost enough of myself. Unfortunately, once I’d reached my goal, I’d let myself eat, and having let myself taste my old addiction, I was hooked once more. But it was ok, I knew what to do. Instead of starving, I could eat, I would eat, and then I’d get rid of it by purging.

Now I know that you people are not stupid, and I know that I was. This is not only terribly unhealthy, (think gross skin, bad breath and rotten teeth,) but also It Does. Not. Work. I put on weight. A lot of weight. In my quest to get people to like me, to get boys to see me as someone worthy of their affection, to get me to like myself, I had turned myself into a science experiment gone wrong. So I stopped, and I ate and I ate less and I reached a balance. I eventually got to a weight that’s not skinny, but it’s mine.

I realised then that happiness comes from within. At my thinnest I was more miserable than I’d ever been being fat. I was also more unhealthy. When I wasn’t starving my brain out of my body, I had the capacity to be clever, funny and even likeable. It wasn’t the fat that was getting in the way; it was my fear of letting people near my fat. I didn’t want them to see what they saw already, not knowing that not everyone was as judgemental as me.

If you’ve ever watched TV, read a magazine or even walked past a billboard, you will see that everybody has the same problem that I had. Not everyone’s fat, but everyone seems to hate their looks as much as I did. Whether it’s starving yourself for summer, working out until your arms fall off or turning a neon shade of orange, everyone has a problem with their body image. That makes me sad. We are all so self-involved that we barely look at other people, and yet, we’re working on ourselves to impress the people who aren’t even looking at us. No-one cares about your weight as much as you do. Sure, they may look, they may point, they may make snarky remarks, but do you know what’s going on in their minds? They’re judging you to take a moment from judging themselves.

As with most things, the media can take a big slice of blame pie on this one. They Photoshop already unattainable bodies to oblivion and probe us to get bikini ready. They push clothes racks down the runway and cast the fat girl as the funny one. Sex scenes are between perfect people only and as far as boobs are concerned, go big or go home. But there’s been a change lately. Women are taking TV by the horns and pointing the camera at our jiggly bits. Lena Dunham has thrown off her clothes and promised to show her thighs every day until she dies.

I want to be happy, of course, everybody does unless they’re masochistic or insane. I also want to be a role model. I want to show that you can be fat and happy and pretty and smart and likeable. Skinny does not equal anything more than skinny, and fat is just a word. You can be whatever you want to be, regardless of your size, looks, colour, age, gender or sexuality. You are a person, just like me, and you can look in the mirror and not see a monster, but a beautiful human being, worthy of love and life and all the awesomeness that you can throw at it. So take a look and like it, because happiness is much cooler than misery.

 

Image courtesy of: http://theewholeyou.wordpress.com

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I Hate My Best Friend

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My best friend is beautiful; annoyingly, she is unaware of this fact. She is also funny, stupidly cool and some sort of hot Einstein. My best friend is perfect, and I hate her for it. Now, I’m not just saying this to be a good friend, in that backwards way we females have, “You’re so pretty,” “No way, I look like a bird attacked my hair and then went to the toilet on my face. YOU’RE so pretty.” No. I am saying it via the aching green monster that resides in the corners of my mind. If she was your best friend, you’d hate her too.

Her beauty is her worst crime. She is effortlessly gorgeous. The amount of times I’ve said, “What did you do to your hair?” because she has cascading waves a mermaid would shave her head for, or “You look extra pretty today. How? Tell me your secrets.” And she says, SHE SAYS “I haven’t touched my hair/face/wardrobe.” I say burn the witch. This is obviously witchcraft and something simply must be done. I am physically unable to go to sleep without waking up as an ogre, and more Shrek than Princess Fiona. What is the dillio? And the crazy woman is camera shy. As in shy of cameras. With THAT face. ‘Tis witchcraft.

I hear what you’re thinking, supportive people of the internet. She’s pretty eh? She’s had enough given to her on a gilded plate; she must be as thick as a brick wall. Nope. Not even. She is the smartest person I know, like psychic smart. Stephen Hawking? Pfft. You wish you were smart, now THIS girl is smart. The only time I feel superior intellectually is when maths wanders into our lives, stands between us with a blank look on its face and asks to be solved. Then I pick up my gauntlet and I am a hero. But when the maths is gone, I am once again left pondering the subject of chicken of the sea.

So she’s pretty and she’s smart, surely that’s enough? Like, when they were handing out attributes, she must have paid someone off, because This. Isn’t. Fair! But no, it gets worse. She is also a super tomboy; she gets a cape and everything! Ok, she might not have a cape, but she might as well, given the amount of stuff life awards to her. She likes Star Wars and Stargate and lots of star-type things. She can play shooty games and win. She can discuss sports and cars. She can even parallel park. It is a proven fact, (or possibly an unproven theory, depending on how likely you are to sue me,) that men want women that think like men. Basically, the entire male population (maybe,) wants Megan Fox’s character in Transformers. That is my best friend. Ugh.

Because said prodigal vision of awesomeness gets so much attention from men, (think tongues landing with a gross plop on the floor,) you’d think she would be aware of it, right? Right? Nope, nuh-uh, not at ALL. Even with all of her IQ points and magical witch powers, she is completely clueless of the men under her spell, which is good really, given that she’s married. But, to me, that only makes it more unfair. You’re married woman, you can let yourself go, develop the personality of a broom and the conversation skills to match. You can let all the stereotypical witchy features come out now, it’s alright, I know. There there. I have the biggest urge to drag her up by the ring finger and walk her around by it. I’m sure her husband would thank me, as well as all my single ladies; I got your backs.

So I am convinced that she’s a robot; a magical, spell-casting robot or maybe an alien, sent to snare men and take them back to her home planet to be probed; (sorry aliens, if you’re reading this, I’ve pretty much only got pop culture references to go on. If you’re around, we’ll go for a coffee and have a chat about it.) So why am I friends with such an annoyingly wonderful pain in the backside? Why do I put up with my own reflection next to hers and my obsessive newfound adoration of mental arithmetic? Why don’t I just set fire to her or check if she floats? I do it because she’s perfect. In a weird way, everything I hate about her is everything that I love, (apart from the beautiful, she should stop that). And the fact that she doesn’t let any of it go to her (pretty little) head or let my hatred get in the way of our relationship, makes her a pretty damn amazing friend. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that my best friend is perfect and I love her for it. If she was your best friend, you’d love her too.

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12 Different Types of Health Shop Customers

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So I work in the wonderful (read: soul destroying) world of retail, and in my world, people seem to appear over and over in different, oddly-shaped guises. Of course there are the super awesome, make-your-day wonders that frequent my workplace, but there are also the… others. The others are the people that I will talk about today. No names and no lawsuits. Btw, if you are reading this, which you are, you are not on this list. You are on another list, full of awesome things like sloth videos and Christian Slater. Go you! Here we go:

  • Hippies

Actually, I’m not sure if hippy is the right word, but screw it, it’s my blog, so let’s get anarchic up in here! But no, not hippies, more like homeless people with homes. Squatters, yeah, that’ll do. They don’t believe in driving licenses, paying for stuff or laws and would run a red light just ‘cause they think it’s the man trying to bring them down. I mean, who is the man anyway? By actually charging you for your shopping, am I the man? Because I don’t feel like the man. Ps. Stealing is wrong.

  • Middle Class Snobs

I feel bad, because sometimes I come under this heading; when I’m having one of those days where I’m just like ‘Kill all the poor people!’ Well, I’m never that bad, but, you know, I really hate queues, especially when it’s hot, and wish that all the other people in the world would queue somewhere away from me. But yes, snobs. They buy things just ‘cause their broadsheet told them to, they pronounce things wrong because they’ve only seen it written down, (again, guilty!) and they look at me like I’m something icky that shops in a skip. I do not shop in a skip; I am a human being with feelings and a blog, so screw you, people with attic bedrooms. You are now portrayed on the internet in a slightly negative light. Ha.

  • The Coolest People You Will Ever Meet…

Here we have the glimmering light of hope in an otherwise dim world; think Simba in The Lion King when he comes back and Scar’s totally screwed everything up. I’ll admit I’m slightly biased here, but vegans are indeed ‘da bomb’. You’ll know when a vegan has entered the room because you can suddenly smell Nag Champa and awesome, they buy all of your chocolate and meat-free sausages and the world is all rainbows and butterflies. Truth fact. Unless you are a meat-eater, in which case, you will probably only notice that you are low on meat-free sausages, but only moments ago, I can assure you, magic drifted through and left, face full and grinning.

  • …And the worst.

Right, right, ok, now before anyone gets all up in my grill and offers me a fist sandwich that I will have to politely, (but firmly) decline, I am not talking ALL sporty types. I’m talking about the meat head idiots that don’t understand the concepts of clothes, manners or reading. They grunt and wander around with their hands down their pants, (not in the American way) and giggle at the Horny Goat Weed, which is only funny if you’re a pre-pubescent boy. They are pure pond scum, but they spend lots so we let them in. Seriously, where DO they get their money from?! Luckily, they are interspersed by the friendly, muscle-bound folk, for whom we have plenty of time.

  • Fairy Murderers

Don’t even get me started on these people! Ok, do, whatever, it’s your time I’m wasting, not mine. These are the women that wander in and you hate them straight away. Not because they’re pretty and skinny and blonde and practically bloody perfect in every way, but because they have all that and head straight to the weight loss section. What the eff ladies?! I have a theory that if you have something, (tiny waist, epic boobs, etc.) it makes you focus on that bit more with your critical eyes, (as opposed to your normal eyes, which are a lot more forgiving of faults). So in a way I feel sorry for these *cough* insane *cough* women, but in another way I hate them for every fairy that they kill buying their fat binders and appetite suppressants. No, women! Just no.

  • Mad People

Now I know I’m the last person that should be commenting on someone’s mental health, but I want to, so I will. Yay free speech! These are the people that wander in thinking, “Ah! So this is what a shop looks like! I’ve always wondered, but never ventured inside! Now, I know what I need and they’ll definitely have it! Say! That person is not wearing uniform, is blasting rock music from their headphones and has a ‘go away’ glare firmly planted on their face! They must work here!” No, no, and again, NO! They do not work here. That is not our way. Also, in case you were wondering, we don’t sell: Batteries, lunchboxes, forks, syringes or mace. These are all actual requests btw, from actual card-carrying oddities.

  • ‘Experts’

Note the inverted commas. These are the people that should be stuck in the above category, but I’m nice, so I gave them their own. They prowl the shop, waiting for ‘vulnerable’ people to wander in. Now we all know what vulnerable means; don’t we? When they find one, they pounce, and then they will sink in their teeth and give our customers terrible, dangerous advice. “Oh, you have a fungal infection? You should soak your feet in acid for a week before taking a large amount of illegal drugs and wandering into the woods to find yourself.” Or, you know, tea tree oil is always good. Anyone can call themselves a herbalist, even without qualifications, a license or a clean police record. Be careful customers, come to us, we have certificates and will get sued if we kill you.

  • Old People

Specifically, rubbish old people. Now I have made myself a promise that when I am old, I shall be freaking AWESOME! I’m gonna ride a wheelchair like it’s a Harley, dye my hair rainbow colours and swear a fuck ton. Have you ever heard an old lady swear? It’s brilliant. But there are some old people that didn’t have the same dreams and have become grave-waiting leeches. Thankfully, they are super rare, but I can assure you, they do exist. They decide that they don’t know where anything is, even though they shop here EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And always five minutes before closing. Don’t let them tell you they only want one thing. They are evil and they are lying. Lock the door. Go home. Do the same damn thing tomorrow.

  • Men Who Want To See a Male Member of Staff

I know what you’re up to mister. It’s not like I was born yesterday, also I see it on a weekly basis. Don’t be embarrassed, it happens to the best of us, well, apart from me, it doesn’t happen to me, I’m as virile as a bunny, and also, I’m female. Sucks to be you. But seriously, no worries, it happens to a lot of men, and hey, at least you’re getting enough to need to medicate! Woo! Go you! You’re practically a porn star. And they get floppy too, trust me, I know, I saw a Louis Theroux documentary. Just be brave, talk to the girl, she’ll get it up for you again. And no, Horny Goat Weed is not a funny name. Ok, get out.

  • Women of a Certain Age

Ugh. Scratch the getting old and being awesome thing, I’ve changed my mind. I’m gonna stay young forever because there’s no way in hell or on earth, I’m gonna turn into a bitey, red-faced nutcase. No way. I have had a lady describe to me exactly how she wants to murder her husband. Poor bloke. He probably wants to murder her too, the amount she’s griping. Just take some soya and cheer up love. It’s not that bad. Ok, maybe it is, but don’t take it out on me. I didn’t strike you down with the menopause. And also, in case you’d forgotten what it’s like to be in serious bloody pain and bleeding through your lady parts for one week every month, it sucks. So don’t tell me I’m lucky to be young, ‘cause we’re all screwed, but you’re on your way downhill to Noworriesville.

  • People Shopping For Other People

Why?! Just why? Why would you do that? You don’t know what they want. You don’t know what size, what colour, what flavour, what weight, or even which product they actually want, so why don’t you give it up right now and go home? You, man with very specific list, you can stay, we like you, well done, gold star. “She says it’s in a yellow pot.” Right, ok, thanks for that information, that hasn’t helped at all. Have you ever thought that your so-called ‘friend’ is sat at home laughing, as you cause chaos in your yellow-potted wake? Newsflash: Your friend hates you and wants you to feel like poo. That or they just suck at life. Either way go home; you’re not buying anything they actually want today.

  • Lemonade Boy

Ok, he’s not a low note, but I just had to blog about the wonder that is lemonade boy. This boy is amazing and I love him. You don’t know lemonade boy, or maybe you do; maybe he’s an idea that’s in all our hearts, manifested in a magical, citrus form. Maybe lots of things. Ok, background: Lemonade boy was a boy my friend and I met, when he was selling lemonade in Bristol. I have since seen him EVERYWHERE. No joke. Wales and Bath, actually, but completely random places. Lemonade boy likes Neil Gaiman, may or may not be vegan and buys lemonade from my shop. The irony itself has solidified him as my number one potential BFF. But I also may be imagining him, ‘cause I do stuff like that. Do you know lemonade boy? Is he real? Does he exist purely on a diet of lemonade and happiness? Are you lemonade boy? Let me know. Seriously. Let. Me. Know.

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Losing My Star Wars Virginity

Yes. Up until a few weeks ago, I was one of those oddities that you avoid at Dungeons and Dragons and gossip about in-game. But before I had even seen it, Star Wars was a dominating force in my life. I would meet a stranger, brimming with enthusiasm for the newbie that was me, and the subject would come up. Every. Freaking. Time. As soon as they asked who shot first, or if Jar Jar was some sort of racial stereotype, I would avert my eyes, fiddle with my fingers and lower my voice, “I’ve never seen Star Wars.” What had just been a budding friendship was now a warzone built on the fact that I was a cultural leper. “But I know Darth Vader is Luke’s father,” I would offer, but no, it was too late.

Star Wars is a thing, like, obviously it’s a thing, but it’s a super thing. Everyone’s seen it, everyone loves it, and if you haven’t, what is wrong with you? I was an anomaly, a glitch, a weirdo. My parents were accused of child abuse and any boyfriends weren’t man enough to make me watch it. The thing is, I don’t like space; I don’t understand it. In my head, there’s Earth and there’s a magical land of unicorns and dragons and awesomeness like that; space doesn’t exist. Turns out, telling people that makes them think that you’re a special sort of crazy.

Like Lena Dunham, I got to a point where I thought, hey, actually, since the whole world and their evil secret father has seen Star Wars, then that makes me cool and edgy and stuff. Turns out, it doesn’t; it just makes you jolly strange and no-one wants to be your friend because your impression of Yoda sucks, you get Padme confused with Leia, or just refer to all female characters in Star Wars as Natalie Portman. Not cool.

So I did it. It was hard, but I did it and I’m glad. As my friends are über geeks, it made sense that I would watch Episode IV first, it being the first that was made. I’d tried to watch Episode I previously, but had failed due to Jar Jar haters complaining loudly about stuff I didn’t understand. So A New Hope it was. Firstly, the writing. I don’t know if it was cause I was watching it on a crackly VHS (retro right?) or what, but I couldn’t read it, my eyes went funny, and it just wasn’t happening. Luckily, I had informants, so it was all good.

I met R2D2 and suddenly the hype made sense to me. He is awesomeness personified! I don’t care if he screws everything up with his super psyched whistles and bleepy bleeps, which I totally see coming, we were united against the dark side from that moment onwards. And Jawas! Cute, creepy Jawas! I was hooked, having a great time with my R2D2 and my Jawas, then space happened. I don’t know why, I think I’m allergic to planets or black or something, because I just wandered off into unicorn land while stuff was happening, and then more stuff had happened and I had to call on my informants once more to bring me back in the game.

I didn’t like Luke at all, I don’t know why, I just didn’t. Do you ever meet a person and you’re just like ‘Umm… No.’? Well that’s Luke to me; we will never be more than mere acquaintances, on nodding level, but nothing more. Obi Wan is awesome though, we are total bros, don’t you worry about that. So then we learned all of this stuff that I know to be a massive pile of LIES, because Star Wars is so deeply embedded in pop culture that I am aware of its major workings. So no, Obi Kinobi, Darth Vader did NOT kill Luke’s father, go to your room without dessert, because you are telling big, fat porkies. I know you have good intentions and everything, but no.

“Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.” Um, what? I’m so late to the party that everyone’s dead on the floor, but really, what? Have you seen those things shoot? It’s like their helmets are so thick they can’t see; they just fire randomly and cross their fingers. Precise? Pfft. Whatevs.  It was all getting a bit spacey for me at this point, I was losing focus, my peripheral vision was glittering, but then, as if by magic, Harrison Ford appeared and everything was right with the world. I love him. Leia has something wrong with her, even worse than my space allergy, for not jumping into his arms the moment she met him. He is everything you want in a space hunk. Everything. And Chewy! My need for snuggly things was sorted from that moment onwards.

Right, I was ready for this bit, I was totally aware, leaning in, eyes scrunched on guns and… Han shot first. The other guy didn’t even fire. Han was all like ‘Uh, no you don’t Greedo!’ and went for it. I know that they remastered it to make Han look better, but I don’t think it was necessary. Shooting Greedo doesn’t make me like you less Mr Solo, we’re cool, I would have killed him too, no worries, you’ve got space to save, I understand. And then, THEN, the bad guys blow up a planet! That is not cool, not cool at all. You can’t just go around blowing up planets, because everywhere would just be space and then where would we be? Think of the repercussions Mr Vader, you meanie, and don’t do it again.

Then there was rescuing and fighting and death and stuff, and Obi Wan was a bit dead, but not totally, so I didn’t cry. Then more fighting and space and space plane things and blah blah, I don’t know, but we won, yay! And because we did so well, we got medals, medals for everyone, well, apart from Leia and Chewy. What?! I mean, WHAT?! They were awesome, doing their own shooty, fighty stuff, and what thanks did they get? Leia’s planet exploded and Chewbacca seems like he’s in pain all the time. Sucks to be them.

So I did it. I made it through all the space and planets and shooting. I fought through Leia’s attitude problem and my unfounded dislike of Luke, and I feel like I really achieved something. Now I can do an accurate impression of Chewbacca, I have an influence-free idea of who shot first and I am building up my space tolerance. Next up: Episode V! May the force be with you…

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