Girl Problems 2

The title of this made me laugh. It sounds like a very boring, formulaic, straight-to-TV tweenie film from the early 90s.

It’s time for my eagerly anticipated (thank you two people) new installment of my series on female-related problems. This time: HAIR.

You’ve got too much. You don’t have enough. You want it long, You want it short. Then you want it long again. You want it a different colour. You get roots. You never should have dyed it. You’ve got split ends. It looks like someone has accidentally microwaved it and scrubbed it with a brillo pad. It’s the colour of boiled potatoes that have been cooked for two weeks solid. You get a hair cut. You get manipulated into spending £50 on products ‘specifically designed for your hair type’. You break up with your boyfriend. Time for a new hair cut! “That’ll show him I’m over him, and also a much newer, more attractive and all-round better person!” Your hairdresser is thinking: fierce bob. You’re thinking “What if I get mistaken for a man?”* You’ve got mousses and waxes, pomades and serums, sprays and oils, mists and cremes. And that is just for the hair on your head.

The way your hair is does say a lot about you. Absolutely. But with a guy, really all it has to say is: I get it cut. I’m neat. I’m clean. It costs £7.50 every six weeks. If you’re a man and this does not apply to you, say for example you have it long, or get it coloured. That says something different to me. Like, you’re not my type.

I’d like to take a minute, though, while we are talking about men and hair to mention that I know they do go bald. And I think this must be quite a hard thing to come to terms with. When I first met my husband, he had a full head of sandy-blonde hair. “He looks like Prince William!” I used to think. Now he really does. Because they have about the same amount of hair. His crown looks like a really shiny place where only five reclusive hairs grow, steadfastly remaining in the area, despite the fact everyone has left. Like some kind of extremely localised follicular apocalypse.

All of my life has basically been spent either: growing out a fringe, craving a fringe when I see the one picture of me where it actually looks nice, then absolutely hating my new fringe. Then the whole stupid cycle begins all over again, as if to remind me: “You are thick. You never learn. And you have a stupid fringe. Haha.”

The single "good fringe" photo

The single “good fringe” photo

Part of my problem is that I fucking love going to the hairdresser. Making the appointment, looking forward to it, and (now I have a child) enjoying three beautiful hours where I don’t have to pretend that I’m Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, or the big bad wolf, or Rapunzel’s Mummy, or pick little bits of dried-up playdo off the sole of tiny little Peppa Pig slippers.

Someone takes my jacket! And makes me a cup of tea! And looks at me in the mirror and asks me what I’d like! Then I get to sit and talk nonsense, read shitey magazines about how some lassie from TOWIE has lost 3 stone eating only green and purple foods. Then they wash my hair! And dry it! And tell me I look awesome! And then they say “You must be going out tonight now!” And I say “No… I’m just going to stay in and catch up on my washing…” But at least I’ll look amazing doing it! *Swishes head around, in the style of Jet from Gladiators*

Another problem is: bobbles and kirbies. Like, WHERE THE FUCK DO THEY ALL ACTUALLY GO? Because I’ve never found them. I must have owned millions of these things. I have visions of people living in houses I used to prising up a floorboard and just finding it stuffed full of brown kirkbies and black bobbles. CCTV would reveal I’d been putting them there myself while I was sleeping. Chilling.

Hair also gets everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. It clumps up behind doors and in corners, covers all black clothing, and generally just floats in the ether. And also: Plugholes. It has to be the worst job in the world to dislodge what looks like half a head of hair from the shower plughole. It’s like a slimy, smelly, dry-boking scene from The Ring, especially if you have dark hair. I imagine for men, living with a woman with long hair must be a little bit like having a high maintenance pet that constantly moults. Strands of hair, bottles of product, and piles of kirbies mark out our territory. I remember feeling different about a boyfriend when I found one of his ex’s (blonde) kirby grips at his house. You’re not over her! She’s still here, like a wiry ghost! She watches us while we sleep! Also, you prefer blondes. I’m leaving! Don’t call! And all that perfectly normal, not-overreacting-at-all stuff.

All of this stuff basically comes down to one thing. I always think: I’d be happy if I had X or Y. Or “I would have enjoyed that night out if I’d had the red dress on.” Or “Once I’ve got that I will not need to buy anything else.” Or “This haircut will define me. It will crystallise who I am as a person. Everyone will know with a single glance.”

But this is nonsense. I get no self-fulfillment really from how I look, or from waiting for a new dress to arrive or from getting my nails done or getting a new colour. I feel good when I look good. But there is something missing. And I am not going to find it by getting stuff and things or through beauty services.

Although it is marginally less problematic than a drink problem, I grant you.

*This has happened to me.



Girl Problems part 1

I like to moan. Don’t you? So tonight I’m going to have a whinge about some things that I feel are specific to my gender. I hope you read this and go, “yeah! Me too! Totally.” Not out loud though. Or out loud. I mean if you want. I’m not going to start dictating those kinds of things.

This will be a series, as I’m worried people might drift into a coma halfway through.


Girls love shopping. “LIVE TO SHOP!” is emblazoned across various jute bags I’ve seen doing the rounds at local shopping centres. But I’ve actually never met a woman who truly loves shopping. The only shopping experiences I genuinely enjoy are ones where I don’t need anything and I don’t buy anything. So that sort of defeats the purpose of going shopping. I invariably leave the shopping experience feeling one of or a mixture of : guilt, anger, extreme fatigue, frustration, generally low or like I have the body of a freak. I have walked out of Topshop wondering if I’m secretly part-alien.

If you are a man, as far as I can tell, you are either a small, medium or large. That’s it. And if it’s a bit big, it doesn’t matter. If it’s a bit tight, then people will generally not complain, especially if you’ve got something they’d quite like to see underneath.

But if you’re a woman, one is not simply ‘a’ dress size. The question, “what size are you?” will probably be met with a warning look, but once you stress it is for research purposes, you will probably find that there will be several follow-up questions. “In which shop?” “Summer or winter clothes?” “Are we talking tops? Or trousers? Jeans are something else altogether.”

Shopping for the right jeans, my friends, takes not only extreme strength of character, but also a lot of energy, and acceptance that this may not happen in your lifetime. This may well be an endeavour that will still not be fulfilled on your death bed. “I wish,” you will gasp, ” that I never bought all those jeans that were slightly too big in the waist, knowing I would never ‘just wear a belt’.” Seriously; these will probably be my last words. I’m betting that the average woman will spend thousands on jeans that they buy in the hope they will suddenly, out of the blue (pun?), fit properly. I suspect these jeans are bought in desperation, perhaps tinged with hope, or resignation.

I go into the changing room at River Island or whatever with about 8 pairs of jeans, all in different styles, and different sizes. The 18-year old changing room assistant counts out my selection with quizzical skepticism. I look at her, daring her to say something. She backs down. “Let me know if you want any different sizes!” She chirrups, and skips away. I swish the curtain closed, take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and steel myself for the coming tsunami of emotion.

Pair number one I’ve tried on before, and hated. But you never know, and they look so nice on the hanger. I poke my toe in, and then can’t get them over my ankle. I retreat, knowing it’s not worth it.

Pair number two slide on like a dream. Tiny, baby butterflies begin fluttering about jubilantly in my lower abdomen. Could this be it? The moment I’ve been waiting for? I pull them up round my hips, and… there’s six inches of material round the waist but they are skin-tight on my calves. I immediately remove them. They’re a size bigger than a normally buy anyway, so there’s no danger I would have bought them. Even typing this makes me feel sad about myself.

Pair number three are a boyfriend style, which I don’t like the look of, and they’re a funny colour. I put them on. They look like straight-legged jeans on me, but still two inches of gappage at the back. I pull them off, nearly ready to poke my own eyes out.

Problems with subsequent pairs: too short, too long, can’t get my arse/calves/thighs in, I look like somebody’s granny (I don’t even know why I picked up the bootcut ones), too high waisted, or they are pube-revealing, don’t like the colour, they are ripped at the knee (not a fan), they go on OK, and would be fine as long as I don’t walk, sit down, or bend over. The list is, to be frank, fucking endless.

I’m hot, I’m sweaty. No clothes are made for me. I’ve been out of the house for three hours and all I’ve bought is a lamp and spent £40 in Lush. I just want some jeans that don’t expose my arse or make me look like I have the knees of a rugby player.

I exit the changing rooms, defeated. “Were they any good for you?” enquires the assistant, looking doubtful.

I momentarily glower at her, but then remember it isn’t her fault. “No, none of them fit!”

She looks surprised. Maybe it is just me?

Then I spend £45 on a handbag I don’t want or need.

Sound familiar?

Being Introverted

When I was about 8 years old, I was on holiday with my family. I can’t remember where, and they will likely none of them remember this. We were having dinner and there was a guy making balloon animals and stuff for the kids. I watched pretty happily from afar. Then I went to the toilet. When I came back, the guy came over and just put a wee balloon poodle down in front of me. It was so cute, and had a wee pom-pom on the end of its tail. My mum and dad, knowing that I never would have gone up, even with company, paid the guy to make one and come over and hand it to me. I was so embarrassed that I burst into tears. I think my parents must have thought, “What the hell are we supposed to do with this kid?!”

I think this illustrates my introversion pretty well. And it’s not the same thing as being shy. I quite like parties. People who know me well will laugh and guffaw when I say I’m introverted. I like telling stories and making people laugh; I don’t even mind being the centre of attention, for a while. It’s just that I find it wholly exhausting.

There are also major drawbacks to being an introvert. After a few hours in someone’s company I will just stop talking. I will want to be on my own. I’ve been known to retire to bed or have a bath just so I can stop talking or stop being in a conversation. It’s not because I don’t like the person or because I’m bored. I just need to recharge.

I also find interviews hard . I’m not very good at talking about myself extensively. Or at ‘selling myself’. All I can think is, “you sound like a total twat. Shut up. No one cares.” My other nightmare: “Let’s go round the circle and each say something interesting about ourselves!” Argh. I don’t care who once shaved their head for charity or if your son once sat beside Gordon Brown on the train. Inevitably, these ‘interesting’ things are so dull they make everyone sound like a boring bastard. It was definitely an extrovert that came up with that idea.

I think this is partly the reason why I find my job so exhausting. As a teacher, I’m always talking to folk. Then when I come home I like to be mute for a good hour or so.

I know I sound really boring but I can be really vibrant and funny. Just in sets, like a bizarre real-life comedian. They say the best entertainers are virtually reclusive in real life. Lessons 1-3 at school are amazing. Lesson 4-6 I’m like: “everyone read so I can stare at this wall.”

Anyway, I’ll do a list of introvert-y things. I like lists.

1. The two best things about going out are: getting ready, on my own, with loud music and loads of time. And coming home.

2. I think it’s because I’m tall, and I stride about or because I’m slightly paranoid, or possibly a mixture of both things. But I feel like a lot of people stare at me. I said this to a friend once and she said, “It’s probably because they hate your outfit.” At first I was offended and then it made me laugh.

3. Sometimes I need to be on my own so much I get chest pains. Maybe I should see a doctor about this….

4. I like to think. I consider it an activity.

5. I find busy places hellish. Humans in large numbers, all involved in the same pursuit, are not very pleasant or considerate.

6. I’m not good with friendly strangers. I always think they’re up to something. This makes me come across as a total d-bag.

Having read this, I don’t think I sound like a very nice person.

But being an introvert, I’m not bothered. Go away please.


If I were a Disney Princess

Part of the amazingness of having a 3 year old daughter is the excuse to buy every Disney film ever made. I absolutely love it.

I love the old school ones, I love the new ones. I just love it all.

I took Phoebe to see the new Cinderella and googled “Is it OK to take a three year old to see Cinderella” as I was a bit worried it wouldn’t hold her attention. It was the first ever live-action film I had taken her to. What I wasn’t prepared for was the furious backlash of mothers determined to keep their daughters away from ‘things like that’. “I hate the Princess thing. I don’t want her thinking she’s got to sit about waiting for a man to rescue her.” Er… OK.

I reckon I’m a modern feminist. I live by the Caitlin Moran rule: I have a vagina (tick), and I care what happens to it (tick). I have a degree and a career. I make my own money. But does that mean, on my low days, when I’m on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor or dusting picture frames, that I can’t fantasize that a tall, blue-eyed prince with a strong jaw, sporting an impressive bulge from his tighty-whiteys will burst through the front door and shout, “In the name of all that is good, release that beautiful woman from her domestic drudgery!” No, I don’t believe it does.

And following that rule, does that mean I shouldn’t let her see, as she grows up, programs about religious extremism, for fear that she will start bombing shopping centres? Or should I not let her be friends with a child with same-sex parents, in case she comes home with a buzzcut, wearing dungarees?

Oh please. She is who she is.

Anyway, it got me thinking about what I would have done if I were in any of the unusual situations that many Disney Princesses find themselves in.

1. Beauty and the Beast

This is easy.

At this very moment, I would be trapped in an unhappy marriage to Gaston. I’d have 8 sons, and I’d be able to pluck a pheasant like a pro. All the girls would have been jealous of me once, but now they just feel sorry for me, because I’ve got a massive gunt. Gaston has aaaallll the affairs, but I don’t mind because it lessons that chance of a ninth pregnancy, and gives me more time to feed the chickens.

2.The Little Mermaid

I would have stayed a mermaid, because Triton is far more impressive a man than Prince Eric. I’m sure he would have found another bird with a nice voice. And possibly legs.

3. Snow White

I would have jumped on the back of the Prince’s horse the second he started singing to me by the well. Nae messin’.

4. Cinderella

My ability to have courage and be kind would have faded about nine minutes in. I’d be rotting in a jail cell for a triple homicide.

This has been a bit rambly. I never would have thought that at age 30, I’d still be daydreaming about wearing a massive sparkly blue dress, but there you have it. I’m sure I can’t be alone on this one. Give me pink, give me princesses, give me noble steeds, give me corsets and animal sidekicks. Not forgetting a bit of tighty-whitey action.

Can’t. Stop. Looking.

Boob money is legal tender y’all

Those of you that have boobs and wear a bra, listen up and listen good.

If you are not using the inside of your bra as a supplementary pocket, you are missing a trick.

The first time I ever did this, phoebe was a few weeks old. I was at a cash point, wrangling an infant whilst trying to withdraw cash. I had no pockets and my handbag was inaccessible due to shitness of design. Or possible overfill by me.* Anyway, I stuffed my card and cash into the left hand cup of my bra and voilla! Extra storage was born.

Now I keep allsorts in there. Not the liquorice variety (although…) It’s mainly keys, cash, cards and bits of paper. Although my front airbags have deflated somewhat since small child appeared, there isn’t enough room for the weekly shop.

I don’t deny that this crafty idea is without it’s drawbacks. At work, I asked a kid to go and get something out of my room. “won’t it be locked, Mrs Parker?” he chirruped. Why yes, meladdo, you are quite correct. Unfortunately for me, my room key was snuggled up against my left breast. After a sneaky removal, I handed it over triumphantly.

“It’s all hot!” exclaimed Jimmy.
“Er, yes… It was in my… pocket?” I replied uncertainly.

Anyway, I saw a picture on social media of a sign put up in a shop, stating that staff reserved the right to refuse sock and boob money, given the recent increase in temperature, often referred to as ‘summer’. Trust me, shop-sign-boob-sweat-haters, the cash you’re handling has seen worse than my left breast. And by that I mean the inside of a drug dealer’s rectum…. Probably.

*most likely.

Signs I’m getting older/turning into my mother

In this day and age, 30 is pretty youthful. I’ve still got my whole life ahead of me. Right? Right. So as I approach the big 3-0, you can imagine my horror as I slowly realise I am actually getting older. Familiar utterings keep falling out of my mouth. Where have I heard this before, I wonder? Oh yes. In the back of my Mum’s Volvo in 1994.

I have opinions on washing detergent. It used to be I would but the second cheapest one- the same approach I use when purchasing wine. Now, though, I could have a whole conversation with you about powder versus liquid (don’t even get me started on liquitabs), what to use with whites our colours, how much I detest Bold 2 in 1… Bored yet?

I drive down the street and see young whippersnappers out painting the town red and say, “ooohhh, aren’t they cold? It must be 2 degrees!” You know, the kind of thing you used to properly roll your eyes at.

I get seen by GPs who appear to be younger than me. This can’t be happening. “what age are you, like 26?!” “Er, yes…” *awkward*

When I go out, I usually say, as my tuppence worth, “I don’t mind where we go, as long as I can get a seat. And the music isn’t so loud we can’t talk. And it’s not too busy…”

Shoes. I walk past shoe shops that have on display the brownest, thickest-soled, orthopaedic shoes ever, and instead of boking inwardly as I once would have, I slow down, and think “they look comfy! Good for work!”

It’s getting lighter now. Spring is in sight. My first thought? “ooohh, it’ll be good to hang washing out again!”

I’m a proper net curtain twitcher. “what do you think is going on at number 32?” If the police turn up in my street, I cancel all my plans. I’m not missing this!

Kids at school tell me. “You text like an old person.” “my granny takes those pills.” “I was born in 2001.” For god’s sake.

Other signs of my own mortality keep showing up. Pizza gives me indigestion. I creak a bit in the mornings. I use eye cream. At least I don’t have any grey hair-yet.

Some things about me

Just a random post about random things that rub me up the wrong way, or enliven my spirit with joyfulness. Or anything in between.

1. I hate talking on the phone. I find it boring and I’d rather be doing something else. If you phone me, you must consider yourself very lucky if I answer. Rather illustrative of this is the time when Ronald rang me during a class. So unusual is such an occurrence I thought I’d better listen to the voicemail he left. “I’ve been in a car accident, but I’m ok.” Och, I’ll see him in a few hours, no point in phoning.” Lol?

2. I detest Jeremy Clarkson. I hate his voice, his hair, his crappy, staged programme about cars that no one normal can afford, his stonewash Jeans and cord jacket combo, his reactive, inflammatory comments on current events… Just everything. The sight of him on my telly makes me want to tear my eyeballs from my head and stick them in my ears.

3. I love animals. All animals. I even rescue wayward worms and snails. I never kill any animals, ever. I ran over a rabbit once and I welled up every time I thought about it for Weeks.

4. I think watching sport is boring. Honestly, it’s totally lost on me. I come from a pretty sporty family and I’m the only one that would rather watch grass grow than have to sit through a rugby match. 

5. I think toilet humour is really funny. The word “jobby” is hilarious. It always raises a smile.

6. I’m a secret slob. I can visit the gym twice in a period of 48 hours and not shower in between. I would rather do a quick face, pits and bits and do a full makeup than bother with a bath. Seriously. I’m a bit like stradlater from catcher.

7. I’m a teacher, and although it’s got it’s downsides, I recognise the major perks- holidays, during holidays there is not work building up, emails waiting etc.

8. I really want to be an outside person. But my desire to be warm and dry vastly outweighs my desire to hear a lesser spotted birdywirdy’s mating call at sunrise. Sorry.

9. I only like to watch films I’ve seem already. Which is somewhat limiting, I’ll admit.

10. I love cleaning toilets. And bathrooms in general. Am I alone here?

11. I don’t like travelling. Not any part of it- the packing, the airport, the flying, the unknown… And as for actual ‘travelling’- “yah, I’m touring round south America for a year.” Fear! I’ll just stay here, thanks, with my metaphorical blanket of familiarity.

12. I can’t understand how some of the funniest and cleverest people I know are women, and yet most female comics are shite. Is this because clever and funny women don’t seek the limelight? Or because they’re doing better things? Or because in this world, the unfortunate truth is that the cream does not float to the top as it should…?

13. I buy stupid amounts of lotions and potions in the hope that one day I’ll wake up looking like a seventeen year old Russian supermodel. I know this is ridiculous. I can’t help it.

14. I eat really healthily until about 5 when I’m so ravenous I eat about 800 calories in ten minutes. I wish I knew how to change this.

15. I spend about hmmm, 50%, of my time wishing I was different. But I think that might be quite normal.