Sunday, 22 May 2016

I only kiss gay men, and my relatives.

..A surprisingly accurate summary of my love life.

For the past few months, I've had my lips on serious lockdown, and I'm not sure why. It could be because I've ran out of people to kiss, or it could be because I'm actually related to a lot of people in the Greater Manchester area, and I have no idea what they look like. Or, it could be because I've recently discovered that Brandon Flowers lied to us all - it's rarely 'only a kiss'.

Sure, it was different when we were younger. My friends and I would don our awful bodycon skirts and our stupidly high heels, and we’d head out on out-out.  You wouldn’t be allowed drinks on the dance floor, so we’d throw back our 'three for one' drinks like we'd been buried in some sort of desert hole for weeks (when Lady GaGa's Poker Face was playing, you had to dance – those were the rules). But, seeing off that much vodka, in such a short space of time, meant that almost everyone was on the prowl. The dancefloor would be full of hormonal teenagers who were desperate to dry-rub their disco genitals against someone else. If you were single, there's a high chance you spent your night spreading your ethanol-drenched saliva about. If you weren't single, there's still a high chance you spent your night spreading your ethanol-drenched saliva about. We'd kiss each other, we'd kiss strangers, and then we'd kiss each other again. Yeah, it was incestuous, but we didn't really care back then (by ‘we’, I definitely mean ‘I’).

At Uni, it was worse...a lot worse. No one lived with their parents, everyone was legally allowed to drink, and the drinks were cheap. It's why most relationships don't survive Freshers’ Week; you're convinced that having the freedom to kiss multiple strangers every night is better than staying loyal to someone who actually knows your full name. And at that time in your life, it probably is the better option; you're young, and you're not responsible for anyone but yourself…it’s the perfect time to make lots of mistakes (in my opinion, it's much better to go through your ‘being a dick’ stage when it doesn’t affect anyone else).

Since entering the ‘real world’, I’ve realised that I'd often kiss people for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes it’d be because I needed an ego-boost, but most of the time it’d be because I was bored. Occasionally, I’d kiss a total stranger just to persuade the person that I’m actually into that I don’t care about them. I know…ten points to dickindor. But, you know how girls are always told that boys are mean to the girls they fancy? I think I took it as backwards dating advice…I became that mean boy.

Anyway, maybe becoming more self-aware is what ruined casual kissing for me. Or maybe it’s because everyone is older, and everyone cares more now. You might not realise it (I definitely didn’t), but there’s a big chance you’re fucking someone over, somehow.

It might be that the person you're ‘only’ kissing is actually really into you, so you’re giving them false hope that you're into them too, and no one needs to be on that emotional rollercoaster; it always ends with crushing rejection. Sure, they might still have all of their limbs when they get off that ride, but they’ll have to spend a good few weeks scraping their splattered ego off of those rusty, metal railings (and no one enjoys being on either end of that lawsuit).

Even if you're ‘only’ kissing a total stranger, you're probably fucking over your friend who you’ve ditched. Despite the thumbs up they’re giving you, it's rare that someone is actually comfortable dancing on their own, whilst they watch their friend eat someone else's face.

Plus, if I’m brutally honest, nuns probably get more tongue action than me these days because I’m so over drunken kisses with people I don’t know, or care about. It might be a quick-fix for my ego, but all I’m left with is a lipstick-smeared face, an aroma of regret, and another friend request to ignore.

Nowadays, I only go out because I love dancing aggressively with my friends. If I get bored at any point, I’ll just go home and kitchen dance. I’ve got absolutely no interest in listening to bullshit chat-up lines, and I’ve definitely not got any interest in anything that stops me from aggressively dancing. And it’s genuinely really hard to snog someone whilst you’re trying to throw shapes to Stevie Nicks…trust me.

Although this does mean that I’m kind of stuck in some sort of Mexican standoff with myself, because I’ve got no interest in dating either. Honestly, the thought of having to re-download tinder makes me want to sew up my vagina. Even when I have dated, all it’s done is make me think more about the guys I’m actually into. In fact, the only date I truly enjoyed wasn’t even a was just food with a friend. But, because I’m still an embarrassing teenage girl, I’m going to call it a date (even if I’m 99.7% sure he only agreed to it so I’d stop bothering him on snapchat).  

Plus, I still can’t handle rejection. I’d much rather get stuck in a hot festival toilet, on a Sunday evening, than make a move with a guy I actually like. Sometimes, thanks to alcohol, I’ve been stupid enough to admit that I accidentally caught feelings. But, thanks to alcohol, I’ve been as subtle as an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.5. Needless to say, my drunken confessions didn’t shake their world.

So, due to my recent prudishness and my British awkwardness, it’s looking quite likely that I will become one of those cat ladies your parents worn you about. It’s a future that’s particularly worrying for me; cats terrify me (it’s one of the main reasons I’ll never be internet cool).

Secretly, I’m kind of hoping that it’s all just a weird phase, and that I’ll get myself a good snog soon. I’m already beginning to worry that saying ‘I only kiss my nephew’ is making me even more of a social outcast.

But, if it’s not a phase, there’s always the back of my palm, and my Josh Homme phone background.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Who ate all the pies?

A few years ago, it probably would've been me.

For those of you that didn't know me during the Chubgate scandal of 2009, I gained a fair bit of weight, and I gained it real quick. It all began when I was sixteen, and I hustled someone into thinking I was an appropriate choice for a full-time office job. Most of my time was spent staring at a computer screen, answering calls that I didn't really care about, and pretending that I was actually happy with my rash decision to leave college. It was hardly a strenuous job. The only time I needed to do any sort of physical exercise was when I walked to the shop to buy another boredom-relieving snack, or when I was forced to waddle quickly for the bus.

My weight gain escalated massively when I started to hustle bartenders with an ID that clearly wasn't mine. Honestly, I'll never know how they fell for it; the girl in the photo had lovely, dark olive skin, and I still have to buy foundation that's titled 'been dead a few days'.

What's actually really concerning is that I genuinely didn't realise how much weight I'd gained. In hindsight, it probably should've been a sign when I was trying on a dress I'd just bought, and I had to shout at my little sister to stand on my back, just so she'd be at a better angle to forcibly do up the zip (she still couldn’t do up the zip, so I was just left lying on the floor like a sweaty, and partially dressed, beached whale).  It also should've been a sign when my parents felt the need to use exercise as a 'consequence for my actions'. It most definitely should've been a sign when I was directly told by people that they were concerned about how much weight I'd gained. But, in a childish act of defiance, I actually started to eat, and drink, more. Needless to say, I didn't have the last laugh, especially when fitting into clothes from high street stores became a real struggle.

Looking back, I think that was the tipping point for me. When you’re on your own in a changing room, you do not want to get stuck in a dress; it's more intense than watching the first series of the Walking Dead. Sure, I could've blamed high street stores for not catering for larger sizes (which they don’t), but I'm not naturally a ‘larger woman’. I was only larger because I drank too much, and ate too many half-cooked pizzas after drinking too much.

Finally, I realised that if I carried on the way I was, I’d be forced to wear a bedsheet to work. Not in a cute toga way, but in an ‘I can only be carried by a crane’ kind of way.  I knew something had to change. But, ever since I discovered the 'rosebud' code on the Sims, I've been a sucker for a good cheat. So, instead of doing the normal thing of dieting and exercising, I took 'diet' pills for a week, which completely numbed my hunger. Yes, I did lose weight, but I also had to leave work early on the Friday because I was sicker than the girl from the Exorcist.

Worryingly, that didn't bother me; I was too pleased with my rapid weight loss to even consider the damage I was doing to my health. Losing weight became an obsession, and I started to weigh myself almost every day. Watching the numbers decrease on the scales was more satisfying than when I discovered that some guys didn’t actually use the classic ‘machine gun’ tactic.

The more weight I lost, the more obsessed I became. I started refusing to eat carbs, and my diet pretty much consisted solely of omelettes. At one point, I even stopped eating mayonnaise (for me, that's like refusing to shower regularly).

Sure, I lost a lot of weight and, to other people, I looked good, but I still didn’t feel good, and my ridiculously limited diet made me an irrational bitch. Once, when my sister came to visit, she ate the last of the eggs, and I was furious with her; despite there being a full fridge, I was convinced that I couldn't possibly eat anything else, and I definitely let her know about it (I know…such first world problems).

What's even more embarrassing is that sometimes I actually resented both of my younger sisters; they ate pretty much what they wanted, and they both looked like Swedish models. Whereas I thought I looked like Bruce Bogtrotter...on one of his good days.  

It’s pretty scary, but I was probably on the verge of developing an eating disorder. I’m ridiculously lucky that my love for homemade banoffee pie outweighs my need to be skinny.

I know there are healthy ways to lose weight, because I’ve done it. Two years ago, I spent the summer training aggressively; I was convinced you needed to be super fit to run a Tough Mudder (oh yeah, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’ve completed two Tough Mudders…I’m kind of a big deal). Even though it did feel great to be toned, and I absolutely loved that a strong lunge was my preferred mode of transport, I still wasn’t happy. Training took over my life. My evenings consisted of lots of tears and swearing, minimal laughter, and definitely no frolicking (my absolute favourite thing).

Towards the end of the summer, I stopped training, because I remembered how great it is to see your friends regularly, and I’ve not regretted it. Since then, I’ve realised that it’s okay not to have the ‘perfect figure’. I enjoy pizza and rum way too much to be one of Victoria’s Angels anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s important to eat well (most of the time), and to exercise (sometimes). Apart from the fact it massively helps your ego, it’s good to look after your body a little bit. But, I do strongly believe that it’s important not to judge yourself by what you look like. Honestly, it makes you so much happier. Of course, it’s not always easy; we’d all like to look like Daniel Craig when we come out of the sea, but it really is okay to be more of a budget Bond.

At the end of the day, unless you’re making it rain all the way to the bank, you can’t really change your appearance too drastically (even if you can, there’s always a risk you’ll fall into Pete Burns’ footsteps). And surely, isn’t it better to be surrounded by people that love you, rather than by people who only find you visually appealing? We can’t all be Will Smith, or Paul Rudd; there’s a high chance we’ll end up looking pretty haggered one day, and I’m 74% sure that my three friends will still want to hang out with me then.

So go ahead: skip that boxercise class, frolic with your friends, and rock those short shorts.
You've got this.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

A cheeky Nando's, a badly timed flash, and an outrageous ego.

When I was a child, my boyfriend (who was also a child) gave me a bag of peach rings for Valentine’s Day. When I say that he gave them to me, I mean that he handed them to me as if he was dealing smack (they do start young in Grimsby), and then he ran away. It later transpired that his mother forced him to give me the bag of sugary heaven. It was then that I realised how much of an influence some mothers have, and how much of a forced affair Valentine’s Day is.

I know it’s easy for a single girl to say that she hates Valentine’s Day, but I really do. I hate Valentine’s Day when I’m single, and when I’m not single. I may be into organised fun, but Valentine’s Day is too organised, and it’s never as fun as you think it’ll be.

My first, and only, Valentine’s Day that I’ve ever celebrated was with my first boyfriend. I went to visit him at his University, and he took me out for a cheeky Nando's (because we were obviously total lads). Our chicken was too hot, and we spent the entire meal crying. If it was any other night, we probably would’ve laughed at how absurd we must’ve looked to everyone else. But, because it was Valentine’s Day, we both refused to admit that we were having a terrible time, and didn’t even mention the fact that we were both violently sweating.
On our way back to his place, we bumped into a guy from back home. When this guy found out that my boyfriend had taken me to Nando's for Valentine’s Day, he mugged off my boyfriend royally. My boyfriend’s spirit was crushed. Our night ended with me trying to convince my boyfriend that I wasn’t going to dump him just because he didn’t take me to a fancier restaurant. Really, if he knew me at all, he would’ve known that I enjoy any free food. Apart from anything tuna based, because tuna doesn’t come from the sea; tuna actually comes from the fiery pits of hell.
From that night on, I’ve seriously disliked the social pressure that comes with Valentine’s Day, and I’ve not gone out of my way to celebrate it. Sure, I’ll still buy a card and write something less insulting than normal in it (I’m secretly a massive softy), but I hope that I’ll never become someone who expects a huge bouquet of flowers, and a night of forced romance. Although I’ll never say no to breakfast in bed, because breakfast is the best meal of the day, and it’s even better in bed.   

Even though I don’t like the idea of Valentine’s Day, it’s hard to avoid it completely. It’s especially hard when you’re extremely single, and people in happy relationships are flaunting their horrid happiness in front of your bitter face. A friend asked me this week if I’d like a boyfriend now, and it was hard to answer. I truly believe that being in love with someone, who loves you too, must be great. But I think quite often, people (including myself) are with someone because they love the idea of having someone to love, rather than loving the actual person. I’ve made a lot of cock-ups in my past (pun intended), and I think I’m finally beginning to learn from them.
Everyone has a list of qualities that they’re looking for in an ideal partner. When I was younger, I would’ve wanted a guy to have been tall, good-looking, and ‘cool’. Given that I was donning an impressive mullet, and I’ve always been terribly uncool, I was asking for a lot.   

If a guy fit this description, I’d be keen to impress him, and I was easily persuaded into sending a nude. Unsurprisingly, sending nudes to a guy never blossomed into a beautiful relationship. At best, there might have been some heavy petting, and some awful foreplay. I could talk the talk, but I definitely couldn’t handle a handy.
That’s not where the embarrassment ends. One night I’d drank an excessive amount of Lambrini in a field (I’ve always put the class into classy). I was only sixteen, so I obviously had to be home by 11pm. When I got home, I thought it’d be a great idea to send a nude to this guy that had been asking for one. For the record, if a guy I barely knew asked for a nude now, there’s a high chance they’d just get a picture of a Chewbacca (although, when I haven’t shaved, that's actually an accurate nude for me). Back in 2007, I was naïve, and I stupidly thought that if a guy asked for a nude, it must mean that he likes you.

Anyway, back to the Lambrini fuelled photo shoot; due it being 2007, the only way to get a good selfie on your phone was to put it on self-timer and stand on the other side of the room. Due to the excessive amount of Lambrini, I didn’t hear my dad approach my bedroom. He opened the door, just as the flash on the phone went off, and I was naked. So, so naked.
Needless to say, my dad didn’t believe the ‘oh, I just wanted to see what I looked like’ excuse. It might’ve been more believable if I didn’t have a full length mirror in my bedroom, but I did, and my dad wasn’t falling for my lies. Thankfully, he was too embarrassed to question me further, and rapidly left my room. Seriously, the only other time I’ve seen my dad move that quickly was when I was drowning in our local swimming pool.  In that moment, otherwise known as the mortifying flash incident of 2007, I bet he wished that he’d left me struggling in the deep end.  
When I grew up a little bit, I stopped sending nudes to sleazy guys, and I got really into guys with tattoos and beards. Yeah I know, I was more cliché than girls who go wild with Ben and Jerry's and trashy rom-coms (which I also did, and still do).
If you haven’t realised already, I was pretty superficial, and I’d immediately like a guy if they were nice to me. My second boyfriend was bearded, heavily tattooed, and ridiculously into me. On paper, he was exactly my type. In reality, we didn’t really have much in common. During our relationship, I slowly became someone that I didn’t recognise. I stopped seeing my friends. I stopped adventuring, and causing minor havoc. I even stopped reading (I may have grew up in Grimsby, but I can still read ‘scratch and sniff’ books). All of my time was spent with my boyfriend, and I genuinely couldn’t tell you what we did.

Whenever I did see old friends, they knew that I wasn’t happy. It just took me a while to admit that when I said ‘maybe it’ll get better’, I was just trying to convince myself. It wasn’t going to get better, because he wasn’t into me. He was into the version of me that he’d created in his mind.  
Eventually, we broke up, but it was my most recent ex that taught me the most valuable lesson (I use the word ‘recent’ very loosely). When we broke up, I wasn’t devastated because it was over (it was a mutual split), I was devastated because she wasn’t bothered by it, and my ego couldn’t handle it. Eventually, I learnt that you shouldn’t let someone else’s opinion of you impact your own self-worth (unless you are actually a complete tosser). Just because someone isn’t that into you, it doesn’t mean that you’re not attractive, or that you’re a complete bore.
Being single has been great for me. I’ve learnt to be myself, and to be comfortable with who I am. Weirdly, my ego has never been better, which might surprise some (my hair is shitter now, and I’m slightly chubbier than I was a few years ago). It’s great, because I no longer fall for people just because they compliment me. Nor would I stop being myself to simply please someone else.

Nowadays, if I was to become someone’s girlfriend, I’d want to really know them first. I’d want to know that they won’t tell me off too much when I gate-crash the stage at a gig. I want to know that they’ll never tell me that I’m too old to suggest a game of pancake tennis. I definitely don’t want them to put me on a pedestal, because I’d want them to mug me off. I’d want them to argue with me, and to tell me when I’m wrong. Most importantly, I’d want them to aggressively dance with me, and to still love me when they’ve seen how unattractively competitive I get when I play any game, especially Cluedo.
I strongly believe that your boyfriend, or girlfriend, should be your best friend. Except, unlike a best friend, they should want to have adult sleepovers with you…all of the time. There’s a chance that my expectations are too strongly based on Jim and Pam’s relationship from The Office, and that I’m being way too unrealistic. Honestly, I’d much rather be stubbornly delusional than terminally unhappy.

Don’t get me wrong, being single isn’t always great. Sometimes being single can really suck. It sucks when the guy you’ve fallen off for will only ever see you as a friend. It sucks when you can’t bribe someone into bringing you a tea in the morning. It most definitely sucks when you want to frolic, but your friends are too busy with their significant others. Despite these moments, being single will never be worse than being with someone just to prevent loneliness (in my opinion).
By moving to Manchester, I’ve learnt that Pat Benatar was wrong. Love isn’t a battlefield. It’s actually quite easy, even for a social novice like me, to find people to love. It only becomes a battlefield when you’re trying to find someone who wants to have regular adult sleepovers with you, and genuinely loves you too (yeah, I might’ve just written this paragraph to make it clear that I’ve somehow managed to make friends).

To all of my friends in relationships: I am genuinely happy for you, and I hope it works out.
To all of my extremely single friends: stop worrying, and embrace it. If you do ever get lonely, remember that you can always just sit on your hand, until it goes numb, and pretend for a moment that you do actually have a significant other.
Happy Valentine’s Day

Sunday, 17 January 2016

When are you going to grow up and get a real job?

This week, with the overwhelming loss of David Bowie, the world became a slightly less colourful place. Many people admire Bowie for his outrageous talent, and his majestic imagination. But personally, I believe that it's his brazen attitude to life that made him truly admirable. By defying the norm, Bowie became utterly heroic, and totally inspirational to so many people. For me, Bowie is a constant reminder that it can actually be pretty fucking great to go against expectations.

A few years ago, I lived with my boyfriend and worked a standard 9-5 job. My life was comfortable (as long as you ignore the fact that my boyfriend and I were genuinely living in a shed, in the back of his parent's garden). Back in my white-collar days, I had a routine, a fixed income, a pretentious car, and I knew who I'd be sharing a bed with every night. Tragically, I even knew when I should wear underwear that I hadn't owned since I was a teenager (apparently Topshop's 'Girl Boxers' weren't actually a turn on in the MySpace days of 2007, and the same knickers definitely weren't a turn on for my boyfriend five years later). Surprisingly to some, I was also even pretty good at my job.

According to the expectations of modern society, I had everything (apart from a bathroom). In reality, I had merely settled for an easy life, and I certainly wasn't enjoying it, so something had to change. Even Karl Pilkington, who is literally known for moaning, recently said that if you're not happy then you need to something about it.

It's not that I don't believe in donning a suit, and settling's just not what I want right now. One day, I might find myself working regular hours in an office again. I might even go home to a house that I actually own, and I might even end up having legitimate children. But for now, that day seems more unrealistic than Bill Nighy asking me if he can come round for an adult sleepover. Occasionally (very occasionally), I do secretly envy one of my oldest friends, who has happily settled, but that's mainly because her little girl is obscenely gorgeous. If I do ever have children, it's likely that they'll be mistaken as gremlins that managed to escape from the film set back in 1984.

Eventually, after a stream of ridiculous life choices and monumental cock-ups, I realised that I'd only be happy if I braved going against the grain. Finally, I stopped caring about other people's expectations, and I started to pursue a more creative career (which obviously means that I now work in a bar). Despite the fact that having an entire weekend off is now more rare for me than successfully shaving off all of my leg hair (I have a short attention span, and I'm unfortunately hairy), I'm significantly happier than I was a few years ago. 

Of course, when you've left home to try and pursue something different, there is always a risk that you'll fail spectacularly. Failure might mean that you'll end up having to move back home with nothing but great memories, and the challenging experience of trying to con a bunch of new people into being your friend. Saying that it'd suck to go back home, with your tail between your legs, would be an understatement, but you'd be okay eventually. You'd be okay eventually because you'll know that you tried, and there's no reason why you wouldn't be able to try again. Remember, even Bowie once released some absolutely awful material (if you disagree then you should definitely google 'The Laughing Gnome'), but he did eventually go on to blow everyone's mind.

Although I think I'm mainly saying that failing will be okay incase there does comes a day when I'm forced to inform my dad that I have to move back home, and that it'd be real stellar of him if he'd just tell any debt collectors that I've actually emigrated to an obscure mining town in Peru. Even though I don't care about money, you do apparently need to be able to pay your rent regularly. When your main source of income is your wage from a bar, you definitely won't make it rain all the way to the bank. In fact, it probably won't even lightly drizzle on payday.

Regardless of the uncertainty of what will happen (even within the next month), by deciding to give up my white-collar lifestyle, I've become the happiest version of myself. So, next time someone asks me if I'm ever going to 'grow up and get a real job', I'll be able to tell them, rather happily, that they should just piss off.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

What have you done this year, to make you feel proud?

I’m sorry Heather Small, but my list is quite short. Despite not being the winner of a Nobel Prize this year, 2015 has been absolutely outstanding. Although instead of rehashing stories, I thought it would be more insightful to reflect on some of the feedback that I’ve received throughout 2015.

‘You should just never talk’
Unsurprisingly, and rather worryingly, this hasn’t just come from one person. Honestly, I completely agree with them. It’s rare that I go a day without causing myself physical pain due to cringing so much over something I’ve said. I suffer awfully from word vomit, and I seem to be confidentially awkward; it’s not a great combination. Luckily, I don’t have a desk job, so I can literally just walk away whenever I regret opening my mouth. The only silver lining is that I seem to do a lot of extra cardio.

‘Your life is just like Bridget Jones’’
Secretly, I hope that my friend said this to me because he wouldn’t be surprised to hear that I managed to charm Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. In reality, he probably said it because I’m quite hopeless, carrying a little extra weight, and I shamelessly still listen to Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’. Although I’m really hoping that 2016 won’t end with me being locked in a Thai prison.   

‘Why do you laugh so much?’
This is probably one of the hardest questions that’s been posed to me, and I once taught children who ask the most obscure questions (yes, someone thought I was responsible enough to shape the minds of the future generation). My friend was in a terrible mood when he asked me this question, and I can’t help but feel like he meant it as an insult. I can’t remember how I responded, but I would like this opportunity to say ‘fuck you’ (affectionately…obviously). To me, laughter is one of my most favourite things. I love it when people have wonderfully infectious laughs, and I love it when people make me laugh.

‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but you seem like the kind of girl that likes mayonnaise. ‘
If this had come from a stranger in a bar, I might’ve thought that this was a pretty assumptive sexual innuendo. Thankfully, this came from a friend. He was right; I really do like mayonnaise. In fact, it’s probably one of my favourite condiments.
My friend’s assumption may have been based on the fact that I’m clearly not the kind of girl that asks for no dressing with her salad, even though I probably should once in a while. Or it could’ve been because I told him about the time that I got in after a night out, and ate an entire pack of fajitas wraps just with garlic mayonnaise. I still don’t understand why I’m not a healthy lifestyle poster girl yet.

‘You’re quite hard to please. I mean, you just don’t seem to be impressed by much.’
Originally, I struggled to understand why my sister had this opinion of me (I’m ridiculously pleased whenever someone buys me a bag of chocolate raisins). After giving it some thought, I realised that my sister was right; I’m not easy to please. I dislike it when people I hardly know compliment me because it seems shallow, and often leaves me feeling uncomfortable. I don’t massively care for material things, and I definitely don’t care about how much money someone has. I find it awkward, rather than comical, when vloggers pull silly faces during a make-up tutorial. I’m also not a great fan of people ‘getting to know me’ because I find serious conversations about myself quite difficult, and I'd much rather be mocked instead.  
Truthfully, I think I’m just impressed by things that aren’t as apparent. I’m impressed by people who are willing to stand up for themselves, and by people who aren’t desperate to ‘fit in’. I’m impressed by people who take risks, and are willing to try new things. I remember people who make sure that you get home ok, and care about your safety (even if they deny it the next day). I’m impressed by creativity, and by people who want to learn. This summer, I made friends with a guy who embodies a lot of these things. He didn’t care what people thought of him (which is why he could often be found rocking a crop top and dungarees), and he wouldn’t hesitate to include people (even if it sometimes backfired). For these reasons, he impressed me. Plus, it probably helped that he is one of the funniest people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Outrageous, but hilarious.

‘You’re such a fairy elephant.’
This is a family favourite, and I hope it’s said with affection. My family will be the first to admit that I’m clumsy. There are even certain things in the house that I’m not actually allowed to touch. Even when I’m helping with the washing up, my dad will call for back up for the more fragile items.  I’m genuinely surprised that they haven’t shipped me off to charm school yet. I guess there’s always time. If I ever disappear, I’m not visiting Aunt Jean on the coast, I’ve been sent to charm school.

‘You’ll never be cool.’
This might’ve been someone’s opinion, but it’s also a fact. I own too many bumbags, I’m far too partial to dad jokes, and I’m allergic to cheap piercings. I’m just waiting, in vain, for the moment when being uncool becomes ironically cool.  

‘I admire the fact that you wear jeans when you go out. Isn’t it difficult to get guys to like you?’
This did actually come from a good friend. Even though I can’t help but feel like she was trying to drop a hint that I should dress more provocatively, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for her. There was a time, thankfully a long time ago, when I would’ve gone out in outrageously painful heels and revealing dresses. I hated it. I’d feel ridiculously uncomfortable, and I’d often wake up with stubs for feet. Plus, I could never be a fake tan kind of girl because I’m so pale. Fake tan just makes me look like a rogue Oompa Loompa.
Eventually, I discovered that nights are so much more fun when you’re wearing shoes that won’t make you want to cry. It’s also a lot easier to aggressively dad-dance when you’re not concentrating on pulling your dress down, or checking that your nipples are still covered. And, if I’m being honest, I don’t go out with the hope of meeting a guy, so who honestly cares if a strange guy finds my body attractive or not?
‘Your puns are terrible.’
Honestly, this was the most offensive feedback that I received this year. Yes, I even found it more offensive than my first hate mail.

This year has taught me a great deal, and I’ve laughed an awful lot, but I’m looking forward to 2016. I’m hoping (rather optimistically) that there will be 366 days of frolicking, adventures, happiness, and ridiculous new tales to tell.

Happy New Year Everybody.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What did you get in your stocking?

I received nothing. I mean...I was given presents, but my stocking wasn't visited. But that's alright with me, given that Christmas definitely isn't about receiving a sackful (just call me 'Butter', because I'm on an innuendo roll). It genuinely is true what people say; Christmas is simply about spending time with the people that you love.  

Of course, apart from spending time with loved ones, we all know that the festive season is also wonderful because you're actively encouraged to gorge in an extortionate amount of food and alcohol. Seriously, I have become so round during the festive period that I could have rolled back up to Manchester. In fact, that probably would've been better than the sweaty, sardine train that I had to travel on. Nothing says 'the holidays are over' quite like a stranger using your head as a handrail. I'm aware that I'm not a huge asset to the community, but I still believe that I have more to offer than that.

As a child, I found Christmas Eve terribly exciting. To me, it seemed enchanting that you could lure Santa to your house with the promise of a glass of Chery and a mince pie (which is actually how I still try and lure men to my house, rather unsuccessfully). When I grew up, I discovered that Christmas Eve actually gets better. It becomes better because all of your friends will happily don their favourite Christmas jumpers, and drink too many mulled wines with you. This year was no different. Although, instead of mulled wines, there were lots of Jägerbombs and Beer Pong (apparently we were all absolute fresher 'lads' again).

Personally, I think I enjoy Christmas Eve so much because everyone is home. Even my friend, who moved to Australia nearly two years ago, came home for Christmas. Although her newly acquired Australian accent made it quite challenging to take anything she said seriously (sorry about that). Yet there are downsides to Christmas Eve. When you haven't seen friends for a while, they strangely seem to become that uncle, who you’re never actually related to, and they begin to ask questions about your rather stale love life. This line of enquiry might temporarily make me feel quite ill, because I hate emotions, but it wouldn't normally bother me. But there's something about the festive season that makes you more aware that there’s no one in your life who will dance along to A-Ha with you, and then join you in an adult sleepover.

Given that I was fuelled by rum, baileys, and foolish festive spirit, I decided to take action. This was a catastrophic error, and I'm not exaggerating. Christmas may be about spending time with your loved ones, but it's not about sending them a WhatsApp message at 3am on Christmas Eve. It's not as charming as you think it’ll be (mainly because you’re not Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually). Brutally, you're just drunk, and making things quite awkward for yourself. Disappointingly (even though it’s probably for the best), your declaration will not be taken seriously, and you will just be called a silly sod. It turns out that no one will chase you barefoot down a cobbled street just to kiss you. Who knew that life isn't actually like it is in the movies?

As a child, waking up on Christmas Day is magical. When I grew up, I discovered that waking up on Christmas Day is actually rather painful. Normally, it's just a hangover that I have to suffer through. This year, I had to suffer through the shame of admitting that I rather liked someone. As if that wasn't enough, I also had to suffer the judgemental looks from my father when he came downstairs at 7:30am. Apparently, finding your daughter, in her Christmas onesie, fully conked out on the sofa, whilst Alan Partridge's Alpha Papa is blaring out from the telly, does not fill a father with festive pride. His blatant disappointment only increased when he discovered that I'd drunkenly eaten all of the pork pies and sausage rolls, again.

Christmas: I love you. But, unlike Wizzard, I'm ludicrously happy that you only happen once a year.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Sharing isn't always caring.

When I've indulged in far too much food, I can't help but feel personally victimised by Steel Panther's 'Fat Girl'. When I lost my virginity, I thankfully stopped relating to Britney Spears' 'I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.' But in all honesty, I never thought I'd help someone relate to Little Man Tate's 'It seems a little funny, cause her sister kissed the same' lyric. It most certainly wasn't what I was expecting when I went home the other weekend.

Having said that, I hadn’t gone home with the expectation that I'd fall in literal crap. I’m 98% sure that also happened. It turns out that Vans are not the best trainers to wear when you're adventuring in a forest. Their lack of grip will not help you when you're clambering over wet moss, and you will fall into a large pile of extremely questionable matter. No matter how many times your parent tries to convince you that your elbows and knees are simply covered in mouldy tree bark, you can't ignore the distinct smell of feces. I guess shit really does happen.

So, back to the real issue; my sister and I somehow ended our Saturday night by kissing the same guy. My sister and I will often share things, but sharing a guy is definitely a few steps too far.  I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I can't deny that it did happen. It's not like the guy can claim that it was a case of drunken misidentification, given that my sister and I look completely different. My sister looks like she could be one of those Swedish girls that guys talk about, whilst it's not uncommon for people to mistake me for Michael McIntyre. 

On reflection, introducing a game of Minesweep might have been the catalyst. I understand that some people think that consuming beverages, that have been foolishly left unattended, is quite dangerous, pretty stupid, and actually just grim. I personally prefer to believe that initiating a game of Minesweep actually makes me much more like a modern day Robin Hood. Instead of strangers drinking their own potentially drugged drink, I'll save them from that risk by consuming it for them. I guess you could say that I'm just your average Saturday night hero (you probably won't say that, but you could). 

Truthfully, I probably shouldn't have kissed the guy in the first place because I've already more than made out with his brother (it's a small town...kind of). Thankfully, it meant that I wasn't bothered when my sister came over and told me that she'd also kissed this guy . In all fairness to her, she had no idea that I'd already locked lips with him a mere ten minutes ago. Embracing the Christmas spirit of giving, I was more than happy for her to carry on exchanging her DNA with him. Although, for some bizarre reason, they'd only kiss when I turned around. It was like a much more explicit version of peekaboo. 

The three of us ended  up getting a taxi home together, because we live near each other (not because we were about to reenact a disturbing scene from an American teen movie).  When the taxi arrived at mine, I'd just assumed that my sister had followed me out of the car. I definitely did not expect to see the taxi drive off down the road, with my sister still in it. After accepting that she wasn't coming home, I saw the taxi sharply brake. My sister suddenly swung open the taxi door and ran back towards the house, with her Snape-like coat billowing behind her.  It turns out that she'd gone to kiss the guy goodbye, and the taxi driver thought he'd help the guy out by taking my sister back to his. If taxi drivers had slogans, his would definitely involve the word 'ride'. 

Despite the fact that my sister and I shared too much, and that I became too close with nature, I had an excellent time back home. In a bizzare way, it’s comforting to know that not much changes. You’ll still end up in the same shit bar on a Saturday night. The bouncers will still call you trouble as you walk by them. You’ll bump into an old friend, and it’ll be like you’ve never been away; you’ll both still aggressively dad dance, and pull unattractive faces at each other.  Your parents will still greet you in the morning with a smug ‘good afternoon', just to highlight how lazy you are. Your Nan and Grandad will still come over for Sunday dinner, and you’ll still laugh inappropriately at their unintentional innuendos (it happens a lot when your Grandad plays bowls; the word ‘ball’ is said far too often).

It turns out that leaving home really does make going back home pretty great. Hopefully, next time I won't give people another opportunity to use my surname in a punderful way, and my sister and I will go back to only sharing clothes.