jeudi 25 octobre 2018

Some disparate thoughts.

I just heard the most brilliantly illuminating phrase for the first time: STRAIGHT MEN UNDERSTAND CONSENT WHEN THEY GO TO A GAY BAR.

Fuck, man. That has just blown my mind, Seriously.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, and I almost exclusively associated with gay men, I had a few shit boyfriends who had slightly problematic attitudes towards my social circle.

'I don't mind hanging out with them as long as nobody tries to touch me,' said my most basic bitch boyfriend, who I feel slightly ashamed to have gone out with in retrospect.

As if anybody would have tried. Did I mention he was fucking gross?

This all comes back to the theory that *some* men are automatically frightened of gay men, because they assume gay men will view them in the way that they themselves view women.

Something to think about.

In other news, Halloween is coming up. I am having a little early Halloween party tomorrow night, which I am very excited about. An excuse to dress up, listen to stupid music, eat ridiculous themed snacks, and celebrate how much life has moved on since last Halloween. Full disclosure: last Halloween I was tying myself into knots over a man who couldn't care less, I couldn't sleep at night due to my collapsing rotten kitchen floor, and I had no idea if I would be able to write another book again. So... Thanks, universe. Expect pictures of me and my ludicrously costumed friends on Instagram soon.

I've also just read WHY I'M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Obviously I already like to think I'm on the woke side, but I was still surprised by how much there is to learn. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all.

After that, I read Lily Allen's memoir, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. I've always liked her. I didn't think it was a perfect book, but it was compelling and I liked it and I still like her.

I went to see A Star Is Born. I was expecting to love it. I was expecting a jolly Sunday date afternoon. I was wrong. The less said about this the better, probably, as I know I'm in the minority. Sometimes I'm forced to wonder if the problem is me, quite frankly. Fortunately - and it was a small saving grace - my viewing companion felt the same. Statistically unlikely and all the more pleasing for it...

As a Halloween treat for all, I will also mention here that my cinema date has written a song to commemorate possibly the best death in horror movie history (side note: he should know as we have been watching the Friday the 13th series in its entirety - currently up to Part VII, which is quite the undertaking). It is marvellously funny.

mercredi 17 octobre 2018

Reasons why it's OK to change your mind

  • I used to be a basic feminist who thought Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham were great. I didn't understand what intersectionality meant.
  • I had a teenage boyfriend who used to play 'Under The Bridge' on an acoustic guitar and for that reason alone I thought the Red Hot Chilli Peppers were not awful.
  • Until relatively recently I had terrible taste in men and no boundaries.
  • I was scared to speak up.
  • Therapy helps.
  • I have been to see the Foo Fighters live on more than one occasion.
  • I pretended to like things I didn't so as not to offend people.
  • I found it hard to get through 'The Golden Notebook' the first time I read it because at that time I didn't really understand it.
  • I spent nearly two decades being embarrassed by my former love of Alanis Morissette before I realised that 'Jagged Little Pill' is genuinely a sublime album.
  • I forgive people too easily.
  • I still love PJ Harvey but she peaked for me with 'Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea' (and to a lesser extent 'Uh Huh Her') and her refusal to identify as a feminist is fucking annoying.
  • I didn't like my friend Neil when I first met him.
  • In fact, my first instincts about people are not always to be trusted.
  • I can see now that Vincent Gallo is problematic and my poor taste in men was linked to my low self-worth. But still...
  • I might try watching 'Fleabag' again. I didn't take to it on the first episode and didn't persevere.
  • When I was a tiny child I genuinely thought I was going to marry either Dogtanian or Boy George.
  • The idea of marriage used to fill me with horror.
  • I once thought very short hair might turn me into Winona Ryder.
  • I used to want to take up less space.
  • I was snobby about 'Love Island' until I watched it.
  • Because we're always learning and that's as it should be.

vendredi 12 octobre 2018

I see you.

Most days, I take the train from Brighton to London. I don’t get on at Brighton mainline station, but a small satellite station a stop away. On a good day, it reminds me of the charming Paris suburbs. On a bad day, La Haine.

It’s not a big enough station to have a café. There’s a man with a coffee cart who sets up on the pavement outside on weekday mornings. Sometimes I buy a latte from him. Usually I don’t have the time, or the cash on me, or I forget. So I don’t talk to him that often.

He’s nice. He’s called Gary. His coffee cart is strung with fairy lights and he is usually playing jazz on a little radio.

This morning, I got up early and decided to treat myself.

‘It’s a latte, isn’t it?’ he says.

He recognised me. He remembered. It has made my morning.

We all want to be seen. We all want to be recognised.

In a text exchange with my boyfriend yesterday, I made a slightly lame throwaway joke without even thinking about it.

He replied instantly: ‘Haha. That’s such a you thing to say.

This was also a throwaway comment, but I don’t think any thought-through extravagant compliment could have made me happier. I found myself thinking about it all day, feeling a little surge of joy every time. It made me feel special, and unique.

I say things that are just ‘so me’! Not only that, but another human sees those things that make me ‘so me’ and actually still wants to spend time with me and go to bed with me at night. That’s quite magical, when you really think about it.

When I finished sixth form, they did an awards ceremony with comedy categories. I won the ‘Clairol Award for Most Hair Colours In Two Years’. It had been long and short and in-between; it had been brown, black, red, blonde, purple, blue and for a while I had an undercut with green stripes at the front. I had also had several piercings and a tattoo. I wore band T-shirts and a charity shop fur coat and baggy skater jeans.

I was trying so hard to find my Signature Look. I thought it would give me a purpose. A defined personality, I suppose. Something to hang on to, anyway. A way to be seen and recognised.

I wanted to be a writer and I had no idea how. I wanted a nice boyfriend but I didn’t know how to make somebody like me. I assumed I would have to try quite hard to make someone like me.

My personality was Nirvana and Placebo and PJ Harvey, Sylvia Plath and JD Salinger. Going to G-A-Y every Saturday night with my friend Neil, and Popstarz every Friday with Russell. Piling on eyeliner to hide my hangover in my waitress job on Saturdays, where I gave my friends free hot chocolate.

I would borrow my cool friend Sheryl’s clothes and hope that not only would they make me look like her, but they would also make me be good at art and have a nice boyfriend like hers. I hoarded other people’s things. I was over 30 before I began to just leave my hair alone.

I’m 37 now. I have a fringe. I have good friends. I have seven tattoos. I like stupid puns. I like singing in the kitchen when I’m cooking. I cry easily. I’m neurotic, and when I let myself, I get into a terrible feedback loop of being neurotic about being neurotic. I’m funny and nice.

I got on the train this morning with my latte, with my sunglasses on and my headphones and my Yoga With Adriene T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. And then I spilled my coffee all over myself.