Sunday, 30 October 2016

Trick or treat?

No, I'm not talking about my vagina. I'm talking about Halloween costumes. 

It's probably pretty obvious, but I'm quite the basic bitch when autumn comes knocking. I love it when the leaves start to fall. I love pumpkin spiced lattes. And I fucking love Halloween. 

On the flip side, I hate dressing up. No matter what I do (and I've done it all), I always get it wrong. Painfully wrong. 

I know none of you have asked, and I really doubt you care, but here's a list of all the times I've screwed up my favourite time of year. From repulsive flashing to accidental racism, I've made all of the poor costume choices. 

The Traditional One

These are the outfits you've seen a thousand times. It's the witches, the cats, the zombies, and the werewolves. They're the safe haven for all the Tame Tammies and Predictable Pams. But we're all guilty of it.

When I dressed as a cat, I spent a great chunk of my evening crawling around the floor of Grimsby's smoking areas. Fortunately, and surprisingly, I managed not to catch hand herpes, but I did look like I was ready to please any male who walked past me. Not the strongest of looks, but not the worst. 

Somehow, my look declined even further when I decided it'd be a great idea to make out with some guy dressed as The Hulk. Halloween lesson #1: when you're dressed as a cat, and half your face is covered in green paint, every single person knows who you've been violating. Not subtle. Not subtle at all. 

The Slutty One

If you've got a vagina and minimal self-respect, you'll definitely have maximised the 'Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it' rule. Personally, I think a girl can dress how she wants, whatever time of year it is. I mean, as long as she's dressing in minimal clothing for herself, and not for some vile stranger who's only after another notch on their disease-riddled bedpost.

Anyway, when I was a fresher, I decided it'd be a bloody brilliant idea (see what I did there) to dress up a zombie nurse. I'd just undertaken the 'my boyfriend and I have just broken up' diet, so I thought I should maximise the fact that I was at least a bagger. (For those of you that don't know (hey Grandad), a bagger is someone who has a good body, but their face is below par: the highest of compliments.) 

This was not a bloody brilliant idea. It was fucking terrible. My dress had a zip that went from cleave to clit, which is extremely dangerous for me. For those of you that haven't seen me in the comfort of my own friends, and several vodkas in, I will just take off all of my clothes. Worryingly, my friends have seen more of my body than any of my unfortunate sexual victims. I'm the stripper no one ever wants, or needs. 

As you can guess, I spent most of this Halloween naked. Thankfully, I was in my own house, so I wasn't forcibly removed from anywhere, but I think people did try and confine me to one room. After a lot of visual violation, I got bored, and put on my Newcastle United shirt (I went through a weird football phase), and started thrusting that at everyone. Eventually, after some physical violation, I passed out. Thank God. 

Before passing out, I'd smeared fake blood all over my hands and jumped on my bed like a child off of any Christmas film. This was also a terrible idea: my ceiling looked like it could've doubled up as Carrie's shower basin. Memories of my questionable behaviour may fade, but fake blood doesn't. RIP First Year Deposit.

The Offensive One

In my defence, this was completely unintentional. Originally, I had gone out as a skeleton. To achieve this look, I decorated my face in all of the black eye shadow. 

For anyone who knows me well, knows that I hate wearing a lot of make up because I rub my face ALL THE TIME. Also, when I'm genuinely in the fun zone, I dance extremely aggressively, which means I get disco sweaty very quickly. This does not bode well for make-up. 

You might already know where this is going. 

A few hours into the night, I'd managed to smear my make-up all over my face. Unfortunately, I was also wearing completely normal clothes. So yes, it did look like I'd gone out as a massive racist. Something I didn't realise, because I dislike spending 93.2% of my night in the bathroom, until a stranger confronted me about my choice of costume. Unsurprisingly, my night didn't last much longer. In hindsight, I definitely could've just washed all my make up off. That would've been a much more logical, and significantly less offensive option. 

By the way, like many of my stories, I'm not proud of this. Especially as, in my very first week of living in Manchester, I shared this story with an American woman I'd just met (it was kind of relevant to something, I think / hope), and it turned out to be a painfully awkward icebreaker, obviously. The woman's immediate, and rather candid response was 'I think I'd find this funny if I knew you, but I don't, and I don't think it's something you should be telling me.' 

I'm pretty sure her name was Frostella Twatface or Rudella Knobjocky: something pretty warm and welcoming.

The Cult One

I'm not cool enough for this one: my hair is its natural colour, and for a good while I thought Pulp Fiction was the edgiest film. We all make mistakes, right?

The Team One

Last year, the Rugby World Cup was around the same time as Halloween, and my friend thought it'd be a great idea if we all went as dead, English rugby players. It was a good idea. Kind of.  

Although it wasn't so good when we decided to role-play rugby stuff for strong(ish) photos. There was this one thing we did where these guys lifted me up 'cas men who play rugby like to be lifted (I can only assume they all train to S Club's 'Reach'). Anyway, our uber-artsy photoshoot ended rather uncomfortably for me because one of the females didn't like the way her boyfriend was touching my thigh. 

I don't mean to sound like a bitch, again, but she really needed to chill the fuck out. If I wanted to shag her boyfriend, neither of them would've had a say in the matter. (Yeah, this is a rape joke, and a terrible one at that. And yeah, I know it's not alright for guys to make rape jokes. No, I'm not sorry: I'm only bothered about equality when it comes to pay, and being able to tell dick jokes.)

It also wasn't such a strong costume when I ended up on my own in some terrible club, where no one else was in fancy dress. Instead of looking like a dead rugby player, I looked like I was wearing a school PE kit that I'd simply smeared in blood. Basically, it looked like I was proudly celebrating the murder of a school child. Even for me, that's going way too far.

Turns out there really is safety in numbers. 

The Effortless One

This is either for the people who despise dressing up, or think it's lame and predictable, or for the people that, even though shops make Halloween as subtle as a nuclear explosion, forget it's happening. 

I've only been that person once (again, 'cas I'm a basic bitch who loves all this autumnal shit). 

Back when we were in college, my friend and I forgot it was Halloween, so we panic-picked and went as Bin Bag Monsters. It might not have been the most creative thing, but it was cost effective. 

As well as being cheaper than a withered whore, our effortless outfits also proved to be quite useful when we were both vomming all over ourselves, and each other. 

At that time of my life, I thought I was undateable because I was quite chubby, and there was a reason my MySpace name has been Mullet Man. On reflection, it was probably because I spent most Friday nights being sick in a field in Highworth (a depressing town where almost everyone has some sort of substance abuse to try and make their lives a little more interesting). 

The fact that I spent a huge chunk of my time with my face in wet, cold mud is the reason why I know all those preachers are lying when they tell me God loves me. No one could love that kind of horror show. 

The Culturally Relevant One

Given I'm one of the eldest in my family, it seems rather unfair that I was gifted with the dregs of the gene pool. Despite being a 3am kind of girl, my features have at least blessed me with a lot of conversation starters and self-deprecating jokes.  

I'm not fishing for compliments here; I'm just being a realist. Liars tell me I at least look like a female. Honest people are quite happy to tell me how I look Michael McIntyre, Ozzy Osbourne, and the late, but great, Pete Burns. Seriously, I'm being honest: Burnsy is even my lookalike at work.  

So, even though his extremely recent death might have been terrible news, it did make this year's costume choice obvious. Yes, you've guess it: I dressed up as Pete Burns. I know his body isn't even cold yet, but it did get me all of the social media likes (by all, I mean more than one). 

Writing 'dead or alive' on a badge, and crossing out 'alive', probably wasn't the most sensitive way of handling the costume. I probably should be concerned that I thought it was okay to use such a raw, recent death to my advantage. If I'm honest, what I'm really concerned about it the fact I genuinely looked more attractive as a dead transvestite.*

So there you have it: somehow, every single year, I manage to make a social faux pas. I've kind of already run out of ways of making a dick out of myself, and I'm only 25. I have no idea what I'll do next year. Looks like the only option left is for me to dress up as Hitler. If it's good enough for Prince Harry, it's good enough for me; I am a Princess of Grimsby after all. 

Guess it's a good job I've got an entire year to perfect my goose-step. If I'm going to be an offensive, inappropriate douche, I might as well do it properly. 

*Saying 'oh, but he spent loads of money trying to look like' does not make it any better.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

What's in your bed right now?

If your answer is a person (who doesn't physically repulse you), then you can sod off with your happiness.

This morning, I woke up in a bed of books, questionable stains, electronics, empty food wrappers (that may or may not be over a week old), and definite disgust. I'm not sure if it's the epitome of loneliness, or the epitome of freedom.

Given I'm writing this with an overwhelming sense of shame, it's probably the loneliness thing. Either way, I know it's not something I should be sharing on the internet; I guess it's just another example of how far I'll go to help the fight against social expectations / I sold all my dignity and self-respect for attention years ago. Potato / patato. 

So, am I lonely? 

Well comrades, I can confirm the answer is No. Yes. No. Probably. Okay, definitely maybe. But, probably not. Who the fuck really cares? 

On paper, I most certainly sound really fucking lonely. I'm extremely single. I live in a shared house, with people I met on SpareRoom (thank God none of them are knicker-sniffers, or too passive aggressive / aggressive about my hair forming a revolting bathroom rug). I eat a concerning amount of microwavable meals (my body probably contains more radiation than any Marvel plot). And most of my friends and family live quite far away, which is unequivocally my own fault for moving to Manchester. Seriously, who cares if feminism originated here? It's a right fucking ball-ache to get to from the south.

Anyway, a friend recently asked me if I've ever been in love. At the time, I most definitely answered with something super mature like 'love is for losers' or 'lol wtf bbq mayo; eat shit, dick-brain'. 
Unfortunately, I'm not as emotionally stunted as I like to make out; I have been in love, and I'm currently in love. Sadly, I can't have 'adult sleepovers' with any of my victims because my affection is either unrequited, or it'd be illegal (to clarify, my sisters are the loves of my life - I'm not into bestiality or necrophilia, and I've been CRB checked...multiple times).

It's a depressing state of affairs, but it's of my own doing really. I actively avoid dating. I won't reply to messages. And the idea of going out 'to pull' makes me want to sew up my vagina with a rusty needle and thread consisting of a corpse's pubes. 

It's not that I think I'm 'too good' for anyone, or that I 'deserve better'. In fact, my ego is quite terrible, despite my contradictory, narcissistic Instagram posts, which is probably why I lost my virginity to a guy off of MySpace (retro) after he gave me a compliment that one time. (In fairness to him, he did also buy me a £1 pizza too.)

The truth is, I'm actually a rude, obnoxious bitch because I've learnt that being with someone for an ego boost is like picking a curry for its colour: you're going to end up with korma, every single time. Ultimately, if someone originally likes you for superficial reasons, then it's unlikely they'll like who you fundamentally are. 

(Massive disclaimer: this is just my experience because most people won't still like you when you make sick, dark jokes / take your clothes off in public / do terrible Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions / state your first rejection came from the local sex offender / listen to Cyndi Lauper constantly / take Cluedo too seriously / force your entire fist into your mouth as an ice breaker / genuinely love Chalet Girl / use aggressive war chants as dance moves / anything I do or like.) 

Thankfully, in my wise old age of 25, it's become increasingly apparent to me that I don't want to be with anyone because I need to be with them. Be that emotionally, financially, spiritually, physically, or anythingally. The thought of being in a relationship that’s based on a sense of duty, or comfort, genuinely terrifies me. This stubborn need for independence has even had me helping my dad with his building work (yeah, I totally have the skills to renovate my own house now because I'm totally in a financial position to own my house #lol). 

Fortunately, I'm one of those lucky bastards who grew up with an education, a home, and people who'll love me regardless of my questionable behaviour. This means I have this rare luxury where there's absolutely no need for me to spend time with anyone other than people who make me the best possible version of myself. Why the fuck would I waste this luxury? For cheaper rent? For someone to bring me all of the tea in the morning? For a guaranteed shag? 

No thanks. I've done it before, and I won't do it again. In my opinion, there's nothing lonelier than going to bed with someone who doesn't 'get' you. Yeah, I'm extremely conscious of how petulant and punk rock circa 1999 this sounds, but it's my fucking prerogative as an independent woman, who don't need no man. 

I'm also well aware that we're approaching 'cuffing season', and I want no part of it. Sure, it's nice not to have to spend every single night in crippling isolation, but I'm not very good at the casual thing. In spite of my 'don't fucking look at me / don't touch me' exterior, I'm a whimsical romantic.

It’s infuriating, but I'm currently wasting my best years (concerning that these are my 'best' years given the current physical state of my body) pining over something that's never going to happen. I should be using these years to gain copious notches on my bedpost, and Sunday mornings should be spent wondering how the hell I'm going to get home. 

Don't get me wrong, I've undertaken my fair share of 'strides of prides', especially when I've got on board the train to Seshville (made love for the sesh, obvs). But as much as I love proving just how liberal I am, it always leaves me feeling terribly nostalgic. And I've said it before, and I'll say it again: nostalgia is the real cancer of society. 

Unfortunately, even though I'm obvs still mega liberal (have I mentioned how liberal I am?), I've recently developed this rather old fashioned mindset where I believe in love, and it's such a fucking cock block. It's really difficult to fall in love with someone new, especially when you make absolutely zero effort to do so. Guess it's a good job I enjoy being so painfully alone. 

If anyone wants me, which is unlikely given the theme of this post, I'll be the one crying to Bat for Lashes in the shower, again. 

So, if any of you see Renée Zellweger, tell her there's a new cliché in town, and at least she's modernised her 'my right hand is all I really need' soundtrack. 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Beck's boys and gyrating gurls.

When I moved to Manchester, it was on a complete whim. I had no money, no job, and the only person I knew in the city was my friend who was kind enough to let me stay at hers. (Although I'm not as terrible to live with as people assume, even if I do listen to Shania Twain regularly, and without irony.)

I left Swindon, rather rashly, because there was no real reason for me to stay there anymore, and I had cliche dreams of pursuing a more 'creative' career. So obviously, like anyone else trying to avoid a 'real' job (aka becoming the latest animal to enter the financial farm), I conned someone into hiring me as a bartender.

For those of you that care / are avoiding having to make eye contact with anyone you're currently with, here are some of the things I 'learnt' in my brief bartending career.

There will be sick.

It might be your own, but it probably won't be.

The most graphic sick-cident I ever witnessed happened around 5pm (obviously prime chunder time), and it was a few days before Christmas. The bar was packed with families binging on burgers (fuck you Jamie Oliver; they won't do what you tell them), and there were a few groups of  #ladsladslads trying to make the most out of the festive 'it's always Beck's o'clock'  period.

Without warning, a 'lad' stood up, opened his mouth, and power-washed the bar floor with his own vomit. When he'd finished violating the place, he simply sat down, and carried on eating his burger. He was impressively nonchalant; the epitome of 'no fucks given', and the complete polar opposite to all of the other punters.

In hindsight, I probably should've done something about it, but I definitely took the 'underpaid and under appreciated employee' approach, and tried to act like I hadn't just witnessed social terrorism. Thankfully, my boss actually cared about his job, and he dealt with it for me.

Unfortunately for me, my boss wasn't always there to be my knight in vomit armour, and occasionally I was forced to physically deal with a stranger's tangible regret.  I won't go into graphic details (not that graphic anyway), but there was at least one incident where I had to finger semi-solidified Sambuca into a sinkhole. It was like the most repulsive one-night stand anyone could ever have.

You'll learn that it's okay to tell customers to 'get dead'.

Okay, you might use nicer words (sometimes), but the sentiment will remain the same.

When you work in a bar (especially one in a city centre), you'll come across complete knuckle-fucks all of the time. There'll be guys who think it's okay to grope you when you walk past, there'll be people who talk to you like you're nonce scum (just because they've had to wait a little bit for their Jagerbomb), and there'll be girls that get really aggy when you try and move their gyrating arse out of the way. (News Flash: bartenders only get in the way because they want to do their job. We definitely don't get in the way of your 'Beyonce' moves to try and cop off with 'your' fella, especially when we've just seen him try and finger bang you in the corner.)

Anyway, the point is that you'll meet a lot of douche bags. At first, I'd always make sure I used my P's and Q's, but I quickly learnt it wasn't that effective. Dropping bombs might not be the best way to solve a conflict (soz Johnson), but dropping verbal bombs does seem to shut down a dickhead-drunk (at least temporarily). And if you ever say anything too offensive, you can always run away and hope they're too illiterate to leave an aggressive review on trip advisor (or too drunk to remember it happening, which is much much more likely).

(It also helps to work in a bar where the managers and bouncers genuinely respect you as a person; they'll immediately back you up if they need to.)

You'll hear a Drake song at least 74083928 times over the weekend.

Accept it, and embrace it. Although whenever I hear the intro to 'Hotline Bling', I immediately start pouring shots of tequila, so maybe Pavlov was onto something (soz for slagging you off in all my assignments at Uni, m8).

Games are great.

Let's not beat around the bush - working in a bar can be hella boring. You will need to play games, otherwise self-harm starts to look like a welcome distraction (or you could be a nerd and do something less drastic, like your actual job).

Sometimes, a 'game' might be as simple as filling up a martini glass with crushed ice, and seeing how much of the crushed ice you can eat whilst you keep the glass perpendicular to your mouth, à la hungry hippo.

Other times, you might risk another terrible trip advisor rating by seeing how uncomfortable you can make a customer feel (it might've only been me that volunteered to do this, so it was probably less of a game, and more of another desperate demonstration of my need for attention).

And if your work colleagues (at best) are slightly disgusting, you can always play 'how much money would you need to...?'. Although I did resign temporarily from that game after I ate a cigarette butt for £8.50. In my own defence (look at me mum, finally being all laweyery and that), I did originally ask for a tenner, but I settled for the change the 'challengers' had on them at the time (reason 32425 as to why I'd make a terrible prostitute).

You'll see a lot of first dates. 

I resent other people's happiness, so my favourite first dates were the ones that made spending a day in Fritzl's basement seem like a rather romantic alternative.

My least favourite dates to witness were the ones that had taken the 'let's get blind drunk, so we find each other physically attractive' approach. These dates would inevitably end in the pair performing a terrible sex show, and they'd rarely have the decency to move to the shadows. True romance might be dead, but the art of dry-rubbing is well and truly alive.

For me, this kind of date is worse than watching a painfully public break-up because I find all forms of PDA visually offensive. Even when my friends (all two of them) hold hands with their loved ones, I immediately try and moonwalk out of the situation. Seriously, doesn't anyone else understand that affection is for the weak? #bebitternotbetter

You'll learn how to make a cocktail.

When I say 'you'll learn how to make a cocktail', I mean 'you'll learn how to pretend you know what the hell you're doing when someone asks for a cocktail'.*

Step one: when a customer asks for a drink, do not panic. Remain calm, collected, and confident. It's a good idea to reply with 'one ineffably delicious cocktail coming right up', or something pretentious like that.

Step two: if you can't remember what goes into the cocktail, improvise, and improvise with flair. And by that, I mean tell the customer to take a seat, and that you'll bring the cocktail over to them. If the bar is too busy for that, simply grab whatever alcohol is nearest to you, and make sure you add all of the sugar to counteract the poisonous taste of whatever it is you've just created.

Step three: when you're shaking the cocktail, shake it with finesse. If it's not too loud, say things like 'oooooo baby, can you hear the rhythm of the ice there?'.

Step four: before you pour the cocktail, try it yourself. Even if it tastes like you've just licked a rotten carcass, react as if you've just tasted the nectar of the gods. Your pretence will give the customer confidence in the monstrosity you've created; it means they're less likely to complain.

Step five: pour the cocktail, add an insta-worthy garnish, and serve the cocktail as if you've just finished painting the Sistine Chapel.

Step six: once the customer has got their cocktail, run away. Seriously, go and make out you need to spend some time in the toilet, and hope your boss didn't just witness any of your heinous cocktail crimes.

*Fortunately for the bar, everyone else I worked with actually knew how to do their job properly, and some of them are true connoisseurs of cocktail making.

You'll make friends.

And not 'work' friends, but real, genuine friends. Friends who become your new, incredibly warped, and slightly incestuous, family.

I think you become so close because working in a bar is different to most other jobs; you go through a lot together in a such a short space of time. Being a bartender is probably the modern equivalent of fighting in the trenches. I mean, you're not actually at risk of trench foot, but you will ruin all of your shoes, which I'm guessing is pretty much the same thing.

It might also have something to do with the fact that some of the greatest people work in bars, as long as it's not the kind of pretentious place where people are hired just because they're 'pretty'. In more 'alternative' bars, you tend to find the kind of people you want to be friends, because you know they'll make you more interesting through default.

Even your managers become your friends, so you get to be yourself nearly 100% of the time, and when you have a fair few Gary Glitter based jokes (like I do), that's pretty bloody rare.

So, I might've worked inhumanely long hours, for minimum wage. I might've put on weight. And I might've become a borderline alcoholic (I'm only saying borderline in case my current boss ever reads this). Despite all of this, I had a pretty great time being a terrible bartender. Because, when all is said and done, I got paid to lark about with my friends every single day. Yes, bartending might've taken away my health (not that I've ever been a poster girl for healthy living), but it gave me lots, and lots of lols.

Oh, and I also once served Fizz from Coronation Street, which makes me makes me pretty big time in Manchester.