Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Why I hate Wimbledon

Largely, I hate the players. I can't help it, I've always had a strong sense of of moral fairness, and inherent dislike of privilege, which dooms me to not get on well with Wimbledon. Say what you like about footballers (and I do, bunch of egotistical, over-paid, would-be rapists), at least a fair number of them just started playing at school and went from there. Tennis players are literally bred for purpose. I haven't heard of any of them gestating in a lab yet, but we can't be far off. Look at Murray - he's the product of his mother's junior tennis player factory. Was reading about another female player the other day, who'd been playing since she was three - normal children do not just pick up a tennis racket and start playing of their own accord at age three. The children who do that, and end up playing professionally at Wimbledon 10-12 years later are the ones who have wealthy, upper-middle class, incredibly pushy parents who decided that little Cedric or Cedrina was going to make them even richer than they already were when they were still just a dollar sign in their father's eye. For my tastes, if someone is going to get very, very rich for doing comparatively little, they should at least have not come from an extremely privileged background to start with.

Plus, Wimbledon brings out the worst in the press. I know this is not the players faults' but I'm taking it out on them anyway. Every year the same thing - the more attractive female players (although that's a suspiciously high number of them, again, bred for purpose) are on the cover of FHM in their scanties - not that they wear much more on court - promoting the idea that no matter how intelligent or talented you are, it's still your body that's your most important asset. Actually, that is their fault.

What's not their fault, but is equally, if not more abhorrent is the tabloids publishing endless photos of female players that just "happen" to have been taken when they were jumping and their skirts have blown up. The film crews continually zoom in on the blondes in low cut dresses in the crowd shots.

All of which leads to the tiresome debate the blows up every year around the Williams sisters, in which people will mutter about them "dominating" women's tennis, whilst making it quite clear that their actual problem is that they have deemed them insufficiently attractive (and for a large portion of that, read insufficiently white) to be on tv. Completely forgetting that fact that sport is still nominally supposed to be about athletic prowess, not how many swimwear advertisements you can book. GAH.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Manic Street Preachers aren't male prostitutes, but of they *were*...

To amuse myself at work today I was playing "if the Manics were male prostitutes, what type of male prostitutes would they be"? I have no idea how or why I came up with that, but this is what I decided:

Nicky - Upmarket, Belle de Jour type "escort"; would demand champagne and silk negligees in expensive hotel rooms (he would be wearing the negligee).

James - Classic "tart with a heart", would work in a brothel, offering a sympathetic ear to his socially inept clients, one of whom would eventually sweep him off his feet and marry him, a la Pretty Woman.

Richey - Down by the docks confusing the sailors; would later tell the press he was conducting an experiment into the unstoppable depravity of male sexuality.

Sean - Skulking around the red light district in dead of night, he would lure unsuspecting johns down dark alleyways then whip out a knife and rob them.

Tell me I'm wrong on any of these!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The laziest example of blogging ever...

Hanna's answers would imply that she stole this from me...but I don't remember doing it, so I'm stealing it from her...

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
The taps.

2. What colour is your favorite hoodie?
I own but one hoodie, and it is grey. I prefer to call it a hooded sweatshirt.

3. How are you feeling RIGHT now?
Irritated. Television and hair-related concerns dominate.

4. Whats the closest thing to you that's red?
My nails. I love doing shows/shoots, because it's the only time I get to wear nail polish, being as how whenever I try to apply it myself I end up painting my knuckles. I have shiny, shiny pillarbox red nails today and I love them.

5. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?
I really cannot remember *any* dreams I've had recently at all, which is annoying. A few years ago I dreamt I was locked in physical combat with a 30 foot Barbie doll.

6. What are you craving right now?
A cup of tea. I may go fetch one momentarily.

7. Are you emotional?
I'm tempted to reply "If the day came when I felt a natural emotion, I'd get such a shock I'd probably jump in the ocean", but I find myself mired in misery increasingly and alarmingly frequently, so that's probably not strictly true.

8. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
I may have done, I don't recall. I generally have better things to do with my time. Like fill in questionnaires on Facebook.

9. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
Lick it, I'm not a monster.

10. Do you like your hair?
I have a troubled relationship with my hair. It changes far too often for me to make any definitive decisions on how fond I am of it (see status update).

11. Do you like yourself?
I can't comment on the whole concept of self-hood, too vast. There are aspects of myself I truly, genuinely despise, too many to list; the rest I tolerate. I'm not sure there are any I actually like. except my nails. They're pretty.

12. What are you listening to right now?
The voice track of a documentary about the Yorkshire Ripper. Specifically I am only listening, because my Channel 5 reception amounts to black and white fuzz accompanied by a disembodied voice. I essentially have Channel 5 radio.

13. Would you go sky diving?
I had the option on Topdeck. I ran very far and very fast in the opposite direction of the sign-up sheet. I petted huskies and had a snowball fight instead; I think I made the right choice.

14. Have you ever met a celebrity?
The Manics, Nightmare of You (I don't care if you haven't heard of them) Greg from Delays, Wayne from Boy Cried Wolf (nicest man EVER), The Rakes (sort of, I was in their video and stood at the back and listened while other people spoke to them between takes, as I was far too scared. Jamie laughed at my joke though :D), Dirty Pretty Things, Didz Hammond (also lovely. And moustachioed) probably lots of other band people I can't remember, Chris de Burgh (involuntarily), Alan Rusbridger (editor of the Guardian. He's AWESOME).

15. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?
I am a Manics fan. There are many sparkly things in the room I am in. One of them being my face. I wore glitter a week ago and every time I wash, it just moves the glitter to a different part of my face.

16. How many countries have you visited?
Not nearly enough, in too concentrated an area. Off the top of my head: France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Vatican City (yes, it counts), Ireland. Furthest afield: America; Nebraska, to be precise.

17. Have you made a prank phone call?
Not exactly prank, but I have rung, not spoken, and hung up. It's childish but it makes me feel happy to mildly annoy those who cross me.

18. Ever been on a train?
I'm actually dumbfounded by this question. Of *course* I've been on a train. No one is going to say no to this question, surely, as foetuses can't type.

19. Do you have a cell-phone?
I have a mobile phone and a dislike of American English.

20. Do you use chap stick?
I use Carmex lip balm. It smells of wax and burns in a good way.

21. Do you own a gun?
No. I own a grenade though.

22. Can you use chop sticks?
I wouldn't starve, but it doesn't look particularly graceful.

23. Who are you going to be with tonight?
Me, myself and I. It'll be like a very small party, except with tears and recriminations instead of streamers.

24. Are you too forgiving?
Yes and no. I forgive people without arguing nine times out of ten as I don't like confrontation, but I continue to hold grudges of varying viciousness for years afterwards.

25. Ever been in love?
"And you can tell I have never really loved/You can tell by the way I sleep all day"

26. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow?
Echoing Hanna's sentiments, I refuse to rank my friends in order of preference, but I do categorise them into easy to manage groups, these being Manics fans, noSWeaters, Topdeckers, Femis, Models and Assorted Others (don't feel bad, Assorted Others, I love you all the same).

27. Ever have cream puffs?
I've had Jacobs Lemon Puffs. Oh damn, now I want some. But they're £2.50 a pack. Must. Resist.

28. Last time you cried?
I actually don't remember. It's like with alcohol, you build up a tolerance if you do it enough.

29. What was the last question you asked?
"Who do I see about being paid?" It's vulgar to talk about money, but I don't give my time for free.

30. Favorite time of the year?
January 1st. Every year, without fail, on January 1st I am filled with a bright-eyed optimism about how brilliant this year is going to be, even though every year, without fail, I realise by February that absolutely nothing is going to change and it's going to be as rubbish as every year that preceded it. And people call me a pessimist.

31. Do you have any tattoos?
No, one planned once I'm across the Channel.

32. Are you sarcastic?
Are you taking the piss?

33. Ever walked into a wall?
Yes. My first haircut for Sassoon involved me not being able to see out of one eye for the best part of a year, and it takes a while for your depth perception to adjust itself.

34. Favorite colour?
Gold, purple, leopardprint, glitter.

35. Have you ever slapped someone?
Not that I recall, though I've had worse done to me.

36. Is your hair curly?
No, Boo.

37. What was the last CD you bought?
Errrrrrrrrrm, Everybody Was In The French Resistance...Now!, Fixin' The Charts, I think. I've grown lazy of late and taken to downloading things, because I am a product of the nineties and need instant gratification.

38. Do looks matter?
If they didn't, I like to think I wouldn't be single. Oh no, wait, I have an abhorrent personality. Pass.

39. Could you ever forgive a cheater?
I did once, it did not end well. I have now instituted a "Cheat and you will be dead before you hit the ground" rule.

40. Do you like your life right now?
Does the Fail like immigrants?

41. Can you handle the truth?
no. For the love of Cod, LIE TO ME.

42. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?
Ha, it's closer to 30. I don't believe in love at first sight, but I believe in, and frequently engage in hate, or at least extreme dislike on sight.

43. How often do you talk on the phone?
Excluding at work, probably once every other day. My friends all fear their telephones. Do you all sleep with an axe under your pillow in case your mobile tries to strangle you during the night?

44. What are you wearing?
Jeggings (yes, you will have to prise them from my cold, dead legs), a grey vest, black braces. I'm really into braces at the moment. I got them from a vintage shop in Covent Garden years ago. I didn't wear them for ages because they remind me of an ex I'd rather forget, but fuck it, I look better in them than he ever did.

45. What's your favourite animal?

46. Where was your default picture taken at?
A pub on Upper Street, at Robin's birthday drinks.

47. Can you hula hoop?
A little.

48. Do you have a job?
Being sexy is a full-time occupation. Boo-yah. I also find time to shuffle papers for the government, alongside being paid for and in hair cuts, and occasionally allowing people to take pictures of me in return for money.

49. Have you ever crawled through a window?
Yes, it was quite high, I don;t recall how I even reached.

50. Turns-offs?
I'm a namist. I could never love a man named Andy.

51. Do you think the opposite sex finds you attractive?
Well not the whole of it, but I'm like catnip to the other 50s, apparently. Old man nip, if you will.

52. What is best about the opposite sex?
Balls. I like balls. So much fun to play with. I also like foreskins, they're like jumpers for genitals.

53. What is worst about the opposite sex?
Their inability to acknowledge my existence.

54. Do you believe you should be in love to have sex?
I used to. Then I realised I didn't want to die a virgin. And that sex is fun, occasionally.

55. How would you like to die?
I'd like to take slimming pills until I starved to death, it would be quick, and ironic. I'm fairly sure I could pass it off as modern art.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

4 stone 7lb

Ok, so I'm not quite that thin, but clothes shopping today I realised again that my body is truly repulsive. I came home without a single item, having tried on innumerate size 8s (optimistic) and whatever size 6s I could scavenge (not any smaller than the 8s, if you ask me). The only thing that came close to fitting were a pair of size 4 - from the petite section, no less, so they'd never have been long enough - faux leather trousers and I couldn't get them past my foot. They probably would have fit; I have worn both rubber (which the insides of these trousers confusingly seemed to be made of) and fake leather for shoots before, and it usually takes a lot of talcum powder and two people to get it on and off. However, I had neither of these things to hand in the changing rooms and I was aware of the possibility that struggling to get them on alone I would inadvertently stagger into the wall and knock myself out, only to be discovered prone on the floor with my trousers round my ankles by the 16-year-old shop boy and I was loathe to still have to pay for them after being cut out of them, so I decided not to pursue the idea.

It's not that being thin alone makes you disgusting, obviously, but even I accept that having a 24 inch waist and a 37 inch inner leg is not a winning combination. At best I look gangly and awkward, at worst I look like a famine victim.

This was highlighted most succinctly when trying on shorts. I have never had a pair of shorts that fit. I have the same problem with them that I do with skirts (which I also very rarely ever wear): they're too big on the waist so they drop down to my bony hips, which hold them up, but also stick out a good couple of inches from my body - giving my abdomen the appearance of being not flat but inverse - so there is an inch of air between the waistband and my actual flesh. This makes me look EXACTLY like an anorexic. Also, I usually like my legs in short dresses, but poking out of the legs of a pair of shorts which are supposed to be fitted on the thigh and clearly aren't, they look scrawny and insufficient to support my meagre body weight.

I didn't fare any better with tops. A cute, short-sleeved cardigan with flamboyant shoulder detail from H&M was MASSIVE and barely reached my navel, exposing the inverse stomach again. I should have known it was a bad sign when I pulled it on over my head without undoing any of the buttons. Two short sleeved jumpers in Primark swamped me and made me look vaguely mannish, despite one being decorated with candy-coloured hearts and the other being crochet with flirty sheer panels.

It was when I saw myself in a dress that I really despaired though. A clingy, thin white vest with slender straps for the body, paired with a full skirt made me look like a particularly stylish concentration camp resident. My collarbone fully on display doesn't usually bother me, but the vest was low enough to show off a significant number of ribs too, and the xylophone look is SO last season. My shoulders are far too wide for me to ever look good in slim straps, much more like a malnourished man in drag, and the thin cotton clung to my barely-existent curves, emphasising just how small they actually are. I didn't actually understand the point of that top. I don't often wear a bra because I don't need to, but you *couldn't* wear a bra with that, the straps were too narrow and the back too low; but without one, everything was visible. It's supposed to be a sign of age to be unimpressed by current fashions, but are exposed nipples ever really a good look? Even strippers wear tassels!

On top of that, I hate my arms. They're way too long and way too thin, and thinnest just below the shoulder, which is another tell-tale sign of anorexia, I'm told. Maybe I AM anorexic and just don't realise? How do anorexics commonly feel about chicken nuggets? I'm very partial to chicken nuggets lately.

Anyway, the full skirt was an unwelcome contrast to the extent to which my withered frame was highlighted by the torso, and too long; people think I'm slutty because I wear such short dresses all the time, but in truth it's a combination of the fact that anything above the knee is incredibly short when you're 5'11 in a world where the average is 5'4, and anything even remotely longish again makes me look like a man in drag. Lots of things make you look like a man in drag when you're very tall, it's quite difficult to navigate.

I tried on a pair of "skinny" jeans but my heart wasn't in it by then. They were a size 8 and I pulled them on without undoing them. That gave me a flashback to my childhood; I genuinely did not know until I was about 16 that it was normal to have to undo trousers before putting them on. I always thought the buttons and zips were decorative. These pulled across my hips, which at 30.5 inches are actually disproportionately wide for my frame (in another life, I could have been a pear shape) but gaped at the back; the too-short length meant they were so tight midway down I couldn't bend my knees to walk, whilst they simultaneously flapped sadly above my ankles like broken sails on ship against the rocks.

And so I went home with nothing but a new handbag, which was a very necessary purchase after yesterday an errant carton of yoghurt coated it and all my possessions within in a thick layer of delicious sticky goo, and then the zip broke within about an hour (I say handbag, in truth it's huge, I like to think it would make the Daily Mail suspicious of me as it is quite possibly big enough to stow a small illegal immigrant in).

I haven't cried yet, but I might do next time someone, particularly one of my friends who had really ought to know better but never seem to, tells me how "jealous" they are of my ability to eat what I want whilst maintaining a skeletal visage, or how they'd "kill" to have my figure. Really? You'd kill for this? For the privilege of not owning a single item of clothing that isn't either too big or too short and usually both? For the honour of trying on armfuls of clothing and not finding anything that doesn't make you look revolting while shop assistants titter on, casting aspersions about your physical and mental health? For having at least one person per month openly ask you if you eat? Shut up, seriously, you don't know what you're talking about.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Women Beware Women

Recently, my attention was drawn to a review of the new Sex and the City movie by critic Lindy West. To say I was disgusted would be an understatement. Lindy pulls off a rather special feat here - this may be the first ever time I've read a review condemning a film for alleged sexism by use of outright and appalling misogyny. I won't be reviewing the actual film as I've not seen it and I don't have any strong feelings either way on the franchise but I was so angered by the review, I thought I'd review that instead. Or at least offer a little constructive criticism, free of charge. Original review reprinted below, my comments in red.

We've been thinking it for two long years. All of us. Gnawing our cheeks at night, clutching at sweaty sheets, our faces hollow and gray, our once-bright eyes dimmed by the pain of too many questions. Sometimes we cry out, en masse, to a faceless god and a cold, indifferent universe that holds its secrets close. What... rasps the death rattle of our collective sanity. What is the lubrication level of Samantha Jones's 52-year-old vagina?Has the change of life dulled its sparkle? Do its aged and withered depths finally chafe from the endless pounding, pounding, pounding—cruel phallic penance demanded by the emotionally barren sexual compulsive from which it hangs? If I do not receive an update on the deep, gray caverns of Jones, I shall surely die! Where to start? I suppose Lindy thinks older women should be seen and not heard? And heaven forbid they should be heard talking about the menopause, the effects of which some women can actually find very upsetting, and whom might benefit from hearing other women talk unashamedly about her experiences. Even worse that they might *gasp* STILL HAVE SEX. FYI Lindy, being a woman and actively pursuing a sex life does not make you an "emotionally barren sexual compulsive". But hey, why let that get in the way of demonising women who are in control of their bodies? Here's my handy tip: read He's A Stud, She's A Slut by Jessica Valenti. I think you'll find it a revelation. And another FYI, 52 is not exactly ancient, so you might want to re-think "aged and withered", ffs.

Please don't die. The answer is... fine. Samantha's vagina is doing fine. She rubs yams on it, okay? She takes 48 vagina vitamins a day. It accepts unlimited male penises with the greatest of ease. Now let us never speak of it again. Vagina vitamins! More sexual shaming! Someone call for the doctor, my sides appear to have split.

Sex and the City 2 makes Phyllis Schlafly look like Andrea Dworkin. Or that super-masculine version of Cynthia Nixon that Cynthia Nixon dates. Or, like, Ralph Nader (wait, bad example—Schlafly totally does look like Ralph Nader in a granny wig).SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled cunt like it's my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. It is 146 minutes long, which means that I entered the theater in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white mustache. This is an entirely inappropriate length for what is essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls. But I digress. Let us start with the "plot." Lindy sounds like she's about to come out as a feminist here, but that can't be right, as no feminist would belittle rape and the experiences of rape survivors by likening a film to being "raped" with a shoe. Most feminists don't go in for casual homophobia either, but that hasn't put Lindy off her "gay men playing with Barbie dolls" analogy. Cos gay men are all effeminate, geddit?!

Carrie Bradshaw: At the end of the first SATC movie (2008)—after eleventy decades of chasing his emotionally abusive jowls through the streets of Manhattan—Carrie finally marries Mr. Big, the man of her shallow, self-obsessed dreams. It has now been two years since their nuptials. Carrie already hates it. She hates that he sits on the couch. She hates that he eats noodles out of a take-out box. She hates that he wants to spend quality time with her in their incredibly expensive and gaudy apartment. She hates that he bought her an enormous television. When Big suggests that they spend a couple of days a week in separate apartments (they own TWO apartments, because life is hard!), Carrie screeches, "Is this because I'm a bitch wife who nags you?" Congratulations. You have answered your own question.

Miranda Redhairlawyerface: Miranda is a lawyer who has red hair. She also has a child. As a working woman, Miranda is forced to miss every single one of her child's incessant science fairs (as though children know anything of science!). Also, her lawyer boss is a cartoon dick. Miranda quits her job, and everyone is much happier. This is because women should not work. It is terrible for the children. Lindy would have a point, if it were not for the fact that I have been reliably informed the character get's another job soon after.

Charlotte Goldsteinjewyjewsomethingsomethingblatt: Life for Charlotte is unbelievably difficult. As a wealthy stay-at-home mom with two children and a live-in, full-time nanny, she sometimes has to bake cupcakes! Also, one time her little child got finger paint on a piece of vintage cloth. Therefore, Charlotte cannot stop crying. "How do the women without help do it?" Charlotte (crying) asks Miranda. "I have no fucking idea," Miranda replies. Then they toast their disgusting glasses of pink syrup. To "them." To the "women without help." "If I wasn't rich, I'd definitely just kill myself right away with a knife!" says everyone in this movie without having to actually say it. Clink! It's exactly this sort of crap that prevents women from being honest about finding motherhood difficult, creating more and more pressure on modern mums to live up to some unattainable ideal of perfect parenthood.

Samantha Jones: I told you we are never to speak of this.

In order to escape their various imaginary problems, our intrepid foursome traipses off to dark, exotic Abu Dhabi ("I've always been fascinated by the Middle East—desert moons, Scheherazade, magic carpets!"). When they arrive, Carrie, because she is a professional writer, announces, "Oh, Toto—I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!" Each woman is immediately assigned an extra from Disney's Aladdin to spoon-feed her warm cinnamon milk in their $22,000-per-night hotel suite. Things seem to be going great. But very quickly, the SATC brain trust notices that it's not all swarthy man-slaves and flying carpets in Abu Dhabi! In fact, Abu Dhabi is crawling with Muslim women—and not one of them is dressed like a super-liberated diamond-encrusted fucking clown!!! Oppression! OPPRESSION!!! Sex and the City doesn't strike me as the best vessel with which to approach the subject of female subjugation in the middle East, I'll grant you, but they're possibly due some credit for highlighting it to a wider audience. I'd have to watch. Lindy presumably sees no problem with women the veil, which is her prerogative, it divides feminists, but it's a legitimate area for debate.

This will not stand. Samantha, being the prostitute sexual revolutionary that she is, rages against the machine by publicly grabbing the engorged penis of a man she dubs "Lawrence of My-Labia." When the locals complain (having repeatedly asked Samantha to cover her nipples and mons pubis in the way of local custom), Samantha removes most of her clothes in the middle of the spice bazaar, throws condoms in the faces of the angry and bewildered crowd, and screams, "I AM A WOMAN! I HAVE SEX!" Thus, traditional Middle Eastern sexual mores are upended and sexism is stoned to death in the town square. Wow, so we're really going to call women who deign to enjoy sex whores now? Oh no wait, I see, she's crossed it out, how post-modern and ironic! That totally stops it being incredibly offensive, repressive, backwards and one of the patriarchy's favourite insults.

At sexism's funeral (which takes place in a mysterious, incense-shrouded chamber of international sisterhood), the women of Abu Dhabi remove their black robes and veils to reveal—this is not a joke—the same hideous, disposable, criminally expensive shreds of cloth and feathers that hang from Carrie et al.'s emaciated goblin shoulders. Muslim women: Under those craaaaaaay-zy robes, they're just as vapid and obsessed with physical beauty and meaningless material concerns as us! Feminism! Fuck yeah! All women, united? Lindy would clearly never stand for that. Was the personal comment about Sarah Jessica Parker's physical appearance totally necessary? Again, I don't think Lindy fully understands feminism; it generally tends to involve refuting beauty myths rather than perpetuating them. And you know, not calling women ugly.

If this is what modern womanhood means, then just fucking veil me and sew up all my holes. Good night. Don't fucking tempt me.