Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I am totally unreasonable. My boyfriend is a saint.

I just asked my boyfriend if he wouldn’t mind ever so much doing the washing up tonight. You, like me, may think this reasonable considering that I do practically all the housework without complaint or praise, do all the cooking bar the odd night (he’s cooked about twice since he moved in), do all the washing, remember to change the bed sheets, and even make him the odd packed lunch.

But you, like me, would be wrong.

You see it was my turn to wash up tonight, and because I asked him to take my turn after 9pm he had by that point set his mind accordingly to that befitting of a non-washing up night. Not only to have to wash up when it is actually my turn, but to do so when he had mentally prepared himself not to have to wash up is Totally Unacceptable. Even I, a completely unreasonable woman, can see that.

After all, I’m at home all day (except the days I’m travelling around the county to go to meetings) so surely it is only right that I do all the housework plus the washing up every other day including those days where I cook. I feel simply terrible. Clearly he is right. Poor lamb.

You see, I work from home. Not in the “housewives should get a salary because it is hard work and clearly not something that everyone without loads of money or a rich husband has to do on top of a full time job” sense of the phrase “working from home”, mind. Rather I work from home in the sense that I am a senior marketing professional with quite a lot of responsibility.I just lack office space.

However, that’s hardly the point. I am at home. I am woman. He leaves the house to work. He is man. Clearly I should do all the housework, every day and be eternally grateful that he doesn’t mind doing the washing up every other day (when really I should be doing it whilst simultaneously practising my pelvic floor exercises). In fact, when he washes up, I should probably suck him off to thank him.

But do I? Do I fuck.

I don’t know how he puts up with it. My boyfriend is a saint.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A hotdog, Megan Fox and an almighty row.

One would think that a trip to paradise would revitalise one. That one would come home smiling, full of tales and more in love than ever.


Don’t get me wrong, our holiday was wonderful. It was paradise. We smiled, laughed, swam, sunbathed and had lots of hot holiday sex. It was awesome. It looked like this:

But something happened on the way home. Suddenly with reality around the corner, the contrast with what should be and what was became almost too much to bear.

It began with my wanting a hotdog (on a totally unrelated note, I cannot use a gerund without thinking of Dakin propositioning Mr Irwin in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys – “my sucking you off is a gerund”). But I digress. I really wanted a hotdog but I couldn’t find one. I don’t think I was too unbearable. I simply seethed quietly to myself. My boyfriend, who clearly had forgotten everything he had ever known about me decided to say, over and over, in what can only be described as a “lady’s” voice “Do you want a hotdog? Aw, are you going to get mad if you can’t find a hotdog?” Well yes, as it happens, I was.

Then I found a hotdog in Kuala Lumpa of all places. It was a stop-over from Singapore. “Can I have ketchup?” I asked the man. He seemed to twitch but I really couldn’t be sure that he had acknowledged my very reasonable request, so I turned to my boyfriend, who by now was even more agitated by me having walked the course of the airport three times in stifling heat carrying three hefty works of female fiction which I’d bought to avoid any further conversation with him on the plane. I asked him “Is he going to give me ketchup?” “I don’t fucking know, ask him.” he tersely whispered. “Perhaps we should just spend the next two hours apart?” I suggested. He declined, and instead directly me to sit quietly and eat my hotdog in peace, while he sneakily tried to document the “hilarity” with his camera.

I think you can see the anger most in my eyes. A smile proves nothing.

And so it continued, with my boyfriend doing everything wrong for the next fourteen hours of travelling.

Things he did wrong included, among other things, choosing the wrong check-in queue behind the really slow people and watching Transformers twice on the plane for the sole reason of drooling loudly over Megan Fox to purposefully annoy me. Then to top it all off he refused to join the mile high club with me, the (albeit tanned) monster.

Finally back home we took comfort from the kittens and the day off to come. Then we went back to work and spent a week in cold war climaxing with a screaming morning row over what time my boyfriend should have left for work, which didn’t solve the problem of him missing the bus, but did make us realise that grumpiness at such a level could not be sustained.

We’re currently on best behaviour, which is working out quite well so far. This is probably because we have decided to embrace our addiction to Dexter and therefore have been watching the series back to back each evening. This severely limits the need for conversation which so far has shown a directly proportional reduction in hatred. So far, so good.

Friday, 9 October 2009

So I went and had a spray tan…

I’m going on holiday to Rawa Island tonight with the boyfriend. This girl lives there. Apparently it is paradise. I believe her.

Sun, lots of sun. I love the sun.

Without a doubt the people there will tanned. I am very pasty. I decided this wouldn’t do. I am vain and I like to be adored. There is not a chance I’m hanging out on a beach filled with supermodel lookalikes in the popular red and white stripped look us Brits Abroad champion.

So I went and had a spray tan. It was weird.

Firstly, there’s the uncertainty when the young blonde girl in white asks you to take off your clothes before stepping onto the apparatus whether she means now or when she has left the room. Like with doctors. It has always puzzled me that it seems outrageously rude to watch someone undress (oh perverted hedonism, Sadé would applaud) but perfectly acceptable to prod them and, as it happens, spray them with a tanning hose (it would be funny if it wasn’t true) when they are in the buff.

So I tentatively tugged at my shirt until she walked out of the room promising to return when I was ready, I.E. naked but for a thong and standing on the apparatus.

It was about that time that I noticed the apparatus was opposite the door she had just walked through in order to return to the bustling salon. The bustling salon in which people sat being beautified in full view of the door and, I concluded, in full view of my pasty white flesh when blondie returned having, of course, to open the door wide enough to walk through it.

I tactically stood with my back to the door somehow, and childishly, concluding that if I
couldn’t see their scorn it would make it slightly less true (I know; I’m self-centred). Standing there, I felt a little like a prisoner of war ready for my water-boarding and wondered if my position, in the circumstances and in such close proximity to the tanning hose, was a tad submissive.

The hose was hard and cold and I felt like I couldn’t breath, especially when she did my face. I giggled and wondered if I should enter the world of S&M.

Over the following eight hours I acquired an interesting colour, the nickname David (Dickenson) and a new dish cloth having stained my linen shirt. It was the only loose black clothing I had and those are the rules. Frankly I would have preferred to ruin my cheap white t-shirt, but ho-hum.

Finally I was allowed to shower to see the results. Brown. Even. Good, I thought. Though, a bit patchy around the frontal knickers area. Lace was possibly an unwise choice, I concluded. I look a bit like I’m still wearing them, except for instead of black they are now fleshy coloured with a hint of tangerine. Nice. Am thinking either lights off or knickers of the peep-hole variety until that fads. Nothing puts me off my stride like not at all contained hysterical laughter and finger pointing at my almost rude bits.

All packed and ready to go. See you in two weeks!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

I am a ball of rage. I may be chemically unbalanced.

I haven’t blogged about periods yet. What kind of neurotic female blogger am I?

Recently having come off the pill I have had a longer gap then usual between periods. That’s fine by me (apart from the fear of god that goes with the waiting). However, what is beginning to dawn on me as the abdominal pains creep in three weeks late is that I am now going to have a “normal” reaction to my “normal” bodily functions, rather than gliding through “withdrawal bleeds” with ease and a smile. My body taunts me. This is a period, darling, it patronises, none of this pill-pretend bollocks for you. Pain, heartache and pure, undiluted anger will envelop you until I am done. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

The reasons I suspect this is going to be the case are:

1. When my boyfriend joked that he washes up more than me (lie) last night I responded by throwing a pan on the floor, shouting “Fuck you then, I’ll fucking do it, I fucking hate you, you fucking dickwad piece of shit” before storming out of the kitchen, slamming the door and sitting down in front of “Pride of Britain” to sob noisily at injured child heroes.

2. When I woke up this morning and got up to do my job (today: write an article) and vacuum the house, I was filled with the most enormous rage that I had to do my job and vacuum, facts compounded by the fact that my boyfriend was asleep. I was furious. Blind furious. I was a barely contained ball of rage and even now I cannot quite think why. I had no objection to my vacuuming or to my writing my article, or to my boyfriend sleeping in on his morning off. It was my usual time to rise. There was no issue. But did that matter? Did it fuck. I slammed the door three times, switched the bedroom lights on and off and then failed to work out how to use the new vacuum without help from a half-asleep, naked, grumpy man. If I am in abject misery then, apparently, so will everyone else be.

3. “60-minute Hour Makeover”, where deserving plebs get their house made-over made me cry yesterday. As did This Morning and the adverts.

4. I am actually scared that I might throw the cat out of the window if it gives me that puppy-eyed “I’m so hungry, Mummy” look one more time.

5. I agreed to pay the NSPCC £5 a month for the rest of my life after reading their heartfelt letter, crying quietly all the time, a bit of snot landing of their Letter of Pain, as it shall now be known.

So, there it is. I’ve had my well-earned rest from the pill, and I can happily conclude that my body still works perfectly destroying my life and that of those around me for four days of each month.

I’m going back on the pill.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Things not to say to your boyfriend part 2

"I'm not proposing or owt, but do you want to marry me?"

Thursday, 1 October 2009

"I might be pregnant"

“I might be pregnant.”
“I know.”

In this conversation there are no winners. While my boyfriend contemplated the benefits of selling a kidney, I tried to convince myself that nine months without wine and menthol cigarettes was something I could cope with. What would happen after that my mind simply wouldn’t accept as a reasonable topic for deliberation.

The process of discovering whether or not you are accidently with child is one mild embarrassment followed by another, concluded with the climatic urinating on one’s own hand.

Firstly there is the running to the bathroom every five minutes to check whether or not you have indeed got your monthly visit from some obscurely named, prim and proper aunt. Looking rather like you have contracted a urinary infection to anyone spending more than 10 minutes in your company, you start to wonder if even late developing teenage girls stare so intently so often at their knickers for a sign; any sign. I swear one on occasion I mistook the stars in my weird staring eyes for my period.

Then there is the agonising self-diagnosis complete with imaginary symptoms. First, do my breasts feel tender, my nipples sensitive? Hold on, oh wise internet forum, let me just give them a squeeze. Nothing? Hold on, let me just squeeze harder…just a bit harder. Yes, definitely some tenderness.

Second, do I feel tired and moody? Am I easily upset? Shit, I thought, I’ve been pregnant for fucking years.

Third, am I lightheaded, do I have backache, and am I peeing more often that usual? More importantly, I should have asked, can any of these symptoms be explained by my lack of sleep, computer-hunched day-long stance or my desire to check for Flo every five minutes?

The results of my self-diagnosis were “inconclusive”.

I moved onto the next stage of humiliation. Judging by the many, many internet forums full of women getting unwanted AFs (Aunt Flos) who are TTC (trying to conceive) and sending each other “baby dust” (seriously), nobody could possibly know that my queuing up to buy a pregnancy test in Morrison’s was anything but a happy and joyous occasion following a sensible “planning a family” meeting with my supportive husband.

However, somehow they all knew the truth. They knew that I didn’t really need toothpaste, grapes and a packet of Pringles. They could tell what hid beneath my baked beans on the conveyer belt. They knew I was another statistic waiting for my turn on Jeremy Kyle. “I take it you want a bag?” the check-out girl sympathetically asked.

And then there is the bit where you pee on a stick. By now, having convinced myself of the inappropriateness of my potential condition, feeling like a naughty teenager, I concentrated too hard on peeing right and splashed my hand, and the results window. Then I’d lost count – did I pee for more than five seconds? Whatever the test says now, I thought, it would almost certainly be wrong. If it said negative, it would be positive, and eight months later I’d give birth to a chain-smoking, drunk in a train station loo.

So to the shops I went to buy another test, unsure of whether I was now being judged more for failing to pee correctly or failing to use contraception.

Starting to care less what the result was so long as I never had to go to Morrison’s again, I retested.

The test was negative.

A sigh of relief was enjoyed by all, for about a minute until the fear crept in: why aren’t I pregnant? What’s wrong with me?

At least this neurosis can be soothed with a full-bodied Shiraz and a long menthol fag. Oh sweet life, welcome back!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Want some porn with that coffee?

I recently took part in a photo-shoot with my clothes mainly off. I do that from time to time.

My photographer sent me the photos on a CD. He did this very quickly and shaved valuable seconds off the process by cutting out unnecessary steps like adding the “B” part of my address and completely omitting my name from the envelope.

Therefore the CD containing pictures where you sometimes could see both my face and my intimate bits in the same shot was delivered to Costa Coffee, which I live above.

I didn’t realise this and presumed the CD was lost in the post, amusing bored postal workers in an office far enough from my flat to only unnerve me very slightly.

On I went with my day-to-day life, drinking Costa Coffee, blissfully unaware of anything amiss.

Until Friday. On Friday the barista gave me an envelope with my medium latte. It was open. “This yours?” he asked innocently. I looked at it, and peeked inside. It contained a CD.

Reality dawned slowly. As I walked towards the door clutching my envelope, I thought “Oh, good, just a Royal Mail mix-up. I’m glad I have my CD.” By the time I sat down outside, I was thinking, “Golly, isn’t it nice that the barista knows I live upstairs having seen me coming and going so often.” It wasn’t until my coffee had cooled down enough to drink it that I thought, “Fuck.”

The barista has seen me naked. He recognised me. He knows what I look like down there.

I’ve recently gone off coffee despite the fact that my boyfriend suggested I save myself and him pounds every week by winking and asking for freebies. Well fair’s fair, he says.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Have you ever faked an orgasm?

Yesterday, I said to my boyfriend: “Have you ever faked an orgasm”. Looking uncomfortable he replied in the affirmative.

Inwardly outraged (because if they start stealing this trick, girls, we're fucked) and outwardly curious, I asked, reasonably, “Have you ever faked one with me?” Admittedly my voice did get suspiciously high towards the end of the sentence.

He replied, almost choking on his own laughter “Hahahahahahahahahaha, yeah, all the time… no, joking!” And then, seeing my face contort into something that doesn’t normally mean 'good', added seriously, “Of course not, darling.”

I don’t believe him. Would you?

Surely the only way I could have believed him is if he had answered as follows:

(dead-pan, no hint of sarcasm, looking both lovingly and lustfully into my eyes): “No, are you mad? I can’t stop myself with you. You’re amazing; the best I’ve ever had. Every time I cast my eyes onto your beautiful body I want to ravish you. It’s all I can do to stop myself ravishing you in Morrison’s sometimes. God I want to ravish you right now.” And then to proceed with the ravishing.

No, no I don’t buy this at all.

Later, when he had ravished me, we looked at each other and simultaneously asked: “Were you faking it?” and then simultaneously replied, hurried and flustered, “No, no that was amazing, brilliant, no, wonderful, absolutely not.”

From now on, sexy time is detective time. Everyone is a suspect.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

This week was a bad week

This week I made a grave error of somewhat overdoing it with my friend, Lauren and her beau. What ensued wasn’t so much a hangover as a week-long dive into depression.

This included all the symptoms of flu exacerbating my weak mental state whilst simultaneously making it possible for me to take two sick days, guilt-free. Which was lucky as I couldn’t leave the flat for three days. It took two for me to dare myself to draw the curtains.
They were dark days, literally.

It was a big night, but it wasn’t that big. As the fog slowly left my brain gradually allowing me to, step-by-step, relearn how to live my daily life (first step: get out of bed, day two: make and eat marmite on toast, end of week: go to the shop wearing large sunglasses and a hat), I realised I was officially run-down.

This is because I don’t look after myself very well. I think my lifestyle is normal because I don’t yet know anyone who does yoga instead of smoking and thinks one glass of wine is a bit naughty.

Not only did I have to contend with chest ache and
Weltschmerz, in my weakened state I became paranoid. So paranoid, in fact, that my boyfriend’s quickened breathing assured me that he was building up to end our relationship. It didn’t occur to me at all that it could be the result of the weird staring way his girlfriend was scrutinising him, centimetres from his face.

Then we went to a psychic fair with his Mother and the Tarot Card lady told me that I was pregnant. Pregnant and on the biggest come-down of my life. Brilliant.

My boyfriend’s Mother’s reaction was also a little disconcerting. Something about me not daring with a look that would scare Eve into putting the goddamn apple down.

But I digress, I don’t believe the lady was very psychic at all, so I am not expecting the pitter-patter of tiny feet.

I was never a believer really. I prefer
Richard Dawkin’s school of thought. But, for a time, I rather liked the idea of lots of lovely assurances about my wonderful life to come. And the fact that if someone else already knows about it then it is obviously set in stone meaning that I can continue idling my way through life.

But I’m not sure I can.

You see, I was so run-down I couldn’t work. I keep spending all my money. I think I’m getting too old for this. I’m not entirely convinced that I haven’t now had all my lucky breaks. My motivation to work hard is low because idleness so far has worked out pretty well. But in two years I will be one month away from 30 and if all I have to show for it is a rented property filled with IKEA furniture and
an evil unwanted career, I don’t think I’ll be able to pat myself on the back with all the gusto one would hope.

I want the happy ending, but I didn’t realise I was going to have to find it or, god forbid, work for it. I sort of expected it to land at my feet.

I can’t complain; a lot has fallen at my feet (or at least gotten close enough to be tempted and gotten drunk enough to fall somewhere near my feet). As a result, I have the man and the kittens (I didn’t get the kittens drunk, just the man, and only the first couple of times. What? Stop judging me).

It’s a good start. But to go with them I currently have a job I dislike, a flat too small for dogs (I don’t have dogs, but the point is happy endings involve houses with gardens and lovely dogs; that’s just a fact), I drink far too much and far too often and I smoke. I also can’t run 10k without dying which I need to do for charity in two weeks.

It’s time for

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Shock and awe: a girls' night in with his Mother

On Friday evening, my boyfriend joined me in the pub around 7.30. “So.” He said, looking nervous, “What were you and my mother talking about last night?”.

“Oh, nothing really, you know, just chatting.” I replied.

It isn’t that I’m lying as such. The “girls’ night in” we’d organised to amuse ourselves while the boys went to watch the football (please excuse the outdated gender roles; we live in Surrey and we don’t know any better) was a merry affair full of “just chatting”. And to suggest that we’d had any deep and meaningfuls would be to imply that we’d stayed on one topic for more than five minutes, which due to the depth of confession (on my part) and shock and awe (mainly from my boyfriend’s mother’s side) was really quite impossible.

The trick is, when clearly shocking your boyfriend’s mother with some not very important details about yourself, like, I don’t know, "I used to be a nude model for an erotica website", for instance, is to quickly change the subject before too many questions can be asked.

Something along the lines of: “Yes, but it was all very arty. Would you like another bottle of wine? What was my boyfriend like when he was five?” would undoubtedly work a treat.

What you shouldn’t do is assume that in order to divert her stern gaze from your terribly crass self is that a topic carrying a sure weight of interest must be thrown onto the table. What I wouldn’t recommend you say, following your confession of something like posing nude for cash, is to silence her line of questioning with a confession along the lines of, for example, “I went to a sex party once. It was quite fun once I got over the initial embarrassment. Modern world and all that; got to try these things, don’t you think?”

Of course, if you do make this grave error, don’t panic. Just stick to the original lesson and move quickly and swiftly on. By this point, you will probably need to quickly drink a lot of white wine in order to still your beating heart and momentarily block out the reality that you have just created for yourself. Once that is done, however, move quickly and swiftly on.

At this stage, it would be best advised to stick to safe topics, like Christmas, The Thorn Birds, and the pros and cons of eBay. Topics to avoid at this stage include:

- Swinging; and how I used to
- Drug-taking and it’s role in my college suspension
- Sex and her son’s “great big manhood”

If, you somehow manage to accidently find yourself talking freely on any of the above topics, it’s time for the Last Resort solution. Take control of the wine and keep her topped up until she slurs some equally dreadful confession. This done, your secrets are safe and so are hers. Tied together forever by the “girls’ night in”.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Google judges me

Taking up writing a blog as a therapeutic out-let for neuroses otherwise left to expand deep within and ultimately cause some kind of tumour or nervous breakdown, is that it adds an unwelcome level of importance to them in my head (not anyone else’s head).

‘Tis true that unlike most secure and normal women, I worry about the kinds of things the people associated with them barely notice occurred. For instance, if I make some off-the-cuff remark about my desire to reproduce, or conversely, my desire to
be free from unnecessary compromise, as I fall asleep that night, I will be haunted by my remarks and taken to conclusions far more significant than there originating remarks could ever have hoped for.

Take the two aforementioned remarks and follow the journey.

I say: “I’d like to have children one day.”

A week later, I end up thinking that I have said: “Please have children with me now; I am desperate.”

I say: “I think it is important for people to be free from unnecessary compromise in relationships.”

I end up thinking I have said: “I am a bitch and we do what I want, when I want, and if you don’t like it, you can go to hell.”

So what happens in between the original remark and my resulting anxiety? I presume that my boyfriend spends the next few hours wallowing in this comment looking for hidden meaning and unwelcome hints. I presume that he thinks I am as mental as I think I am, when actually, I’m quite good at hiding it.

What actually happens is that he takes the comment as it was meant, at face value, and that is that.

So, I am aware of this, and trying to train my brain to accept this knowledge and stop the thought-process from spiralling out of control. This would also stop me from saying, out of nowhere, a week or more later during a conversation about what to have for dinner: “I don’t want children with you now, you know?” or defensively, “I’m not a self-centred bitch, so just stop thinking that right now, ok?” to his poor surprised face. “Ok, er, I know, I just said I’d prefer Chinese…” It’s cruelty to the man-brain is what it is.

The root of the problem lies in my childish belief that I am the centre of the universe and that everyone cares about what I say and stands in unforgiving judgement. And I don’t think that I actually think that, but some part of me must, surely, otherwise why would I care so much about how I am understood by others?

And of course, how I am viewed through the eyes of others is only a matter of perception and will certainly vary from poor subjected observer to poor subjected observer, each creating their own versions of reality. And as my own self-image is just as transitional and subjective, and of course ultimately everything is essentially meaningless and we are born and die alone, what can I take to the bank? Nothing! Argh, won’t this damned existential crisis fly from my over-burdened shoulders? No wonder one can find so much to wrestle with; leaving a good impression just isn’t that straight-forward.

Back to reality, a more rational approach would help me to see that the eyes of others are usually focussed on their own centre stage rather than mine. And, that everyone makes foolish or misunderstood comments so most are forgiving when they are the recipient of said comments. And the rest just don’t care that much about what I say, which is fair enough.

But easier said than done.

So I continue worrying too much about how others view me but bravely carry on my fight to stop worrying about the judgements I presume they damn me with. I might even be making some progress. I’ve only spent about 50% of my time worrying about what my boyfriend’s mother must have thought since I said last weekend, “You’re the sort of woman who’d probably be able to tell a tale or two.” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Horrified stare ensued.

Then, out of nowhere, Google started to judge me. Now, you may think my paranoia is reaching new levels, but alas no! I forwarded my blog through gmail and the ads chosen by that clever little computer to appear alongside the email were for good bacteria and incontinence pads. I am the kind of woman who endorses products that alleviate the symptoms of not being able to poo and peeing in your pants.

If Google, a search engine – not even a proper person, judges me as the type of woman to not be able to cope with basic bodily functions, then how am I suppose to believe that others don’t take my ramblings to be proof that the NHS sectioning department is under strain and not performing to full capacity? Just imagine if I had someone to section me privately?

Thank Christ for lefty parents and impoverished boyfriend.

Mother Hen

Perhaps it was an inevitability of my genetic make-up, or perhaps I need to get out more, but it seems that I am turning into Mother Hen.

Ironically it is almost certainly to do with my career, which enables me to work from home, unchecked and totally free to be Mother.

But, despite my love of kittens and determination to avoid being Bridget, I never saw myself as the Mother Hen type. Idle by nature, and slovenly by choice, I love the word slut when used to describe a woman who leaves the washing up and wears yesterday’s make-up.

I’ve always rather relished in my filth, feeling that my reckless attitude to hygiene and order reflected my freedom from convention and my abandonment of the rules. Admittedly, I do have a habit of reading too much into things.

But lately, I have been talking about myself in the third person to the kittens. Bad enough to do this, but my self is now known as “Mummy”. Worse still, I have introduced the concept of “Daddy. “Mummy’s just making some Chilli for Daddy’s tea.” I actually said to them yesterday, at 11.30am, as I prepared the evening meal, knowing I would be back late from my meeting in London. “Well, we can’t have Daddy going hungry now, can we?” I remarked to the kittens.

So, here I am. I am “Mummy”; a woman who cooks meals for Daddy in advance and stores them in Tupperware.


The danger is, of course, that playing Mother Hen, will backfire. I work from home, so I get to stay in bed later than most, play with kittens all day, and look after the housework and cooking during daylight hours, rather than on My Time. So, naturally I don’t mind doing the lion’s share. In fact, oddly enough, I’ve found myself rather enjoying it. It's probably the same pleasure that we get from playing house in pigtails and velcro-fastened shoes.

Since my boyfriend has moved in he has washed up three times, which is very nice of him. But I have cleaned weekly, done all the washing, cooked every meal bar two, mopped, Hoovered, and dusted. I even made him put his clothes away last week, which were washed and neatly folded on the side. Soon, will he call me “Mummy” too?

Returning to the potential backfire, the danger as I see it is two-fold. Firstly, if I ever work outside the home again (one can hope not, but given that I spend most of my working hours writing blogs, facebook-stalking and playing Mother Hen, who knows?) my boyfriend will be distinctly unprepared to live in an equal house. He probably doesn’t even know that the shine in the bathroom isn’t natural.

Secondly, my role as Mother Hen may come to define me, enveloping and greedily digesting my other roles (sexy minx, slovenly slut, armchair philosopher, drunk). In fact, it is this second manifestation of danger that reared its head for the first time this morning. My boyfriend had got me a present. “I’ve got you a present” He said. He reached into his bag and revealed 100 bin bags. “Tie-handle, heavy duty, just like you said you needed.”

I’m going to get a new Hoover for Christmas, aren’t I? Emmeline would turn in her grave.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Who told her?

Recap: The running theme of this blog is that I’m a Perfectly Normal Woman with credentials. The point of this blog is to allow me to wallow in worry and nurse my neuroses about my relationship as if the bras hadn’t even smouldered a bit.

And all this without shame. Or, at least, with only anonymous shame and my real-world image of myself as an intelligent self-sufficient modern-type firmly in tact, in both my eyes and those of
The Others...

So, imagine my surprise when it turned out that my terrible secret isn’t a secret at all. How dreadful it felt to see my veneer slip before my very own eyes, and my naked self lain out for disapproval.

“Honestly?” Said the woman who bore my boyfriend, then
tricked me into admitting that I didn’t like her art, as my boyfriend and I foolishly encouraged her to say exactly what she thought of me, The Girlfriend.

“Yes, honestly.” What the fuck were we thinking?

“I think that beneath your confident veneer of a Perfectly Normal Woman you are an Insecure Little Girl.”

I’m pretty sure that isn’t good. My boyfriend jumped to my defence, and I to hers. My feeble insistence that I understood and even appreciated her reasoning didn’t bode well for my planned dissection of her statement as soon as I got home. All I missed out was an accompanying cry, “Love me! Validate me! Mummy!”

So, today I took crucial time out from my facebook-stalking habit (I have no idea what my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend was doing today and I feel strangely detached from my own, slightly odd, reality) in order to dwell on possible not-very-well hidden meanings.

I’ve managed to come up with several possible explanations.

1. She hates me.
2. She hates me because she thinks I’m putting on a show but that actually I’m quite pathetic and immature (an analysis, I must admit, shared by ex-boyfriends, but the scorned can’t be trusted).
3. I am pathetic and immature and (worse still) my ex-boyfriends were right.
4. She doesn’t hate me, but she feels sorry for me and my inner little girl. We’ll probably have to have family counselling together.
5. It was a compliment. My vulnerability is endearing and who doesn’t like little girls? All things nice and all that…

Number five, even to me, looks slightly unhinged from the real world.

My boyfriend insists that she simply meant that she’d like to give me a hug. Apparently she has a strong spiritual connection with
my id or something.

Self-loathing level: High.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The waiting game

I hate the waiting game.

My boyfriend has gone out for the afternoon. He’s gone to a play rehearsal because he just got a great part in an Alan Bennett play.

This is wonderful and all well and good. But I feel terrible, because he left on a bad note. Not a real, quantifiable or tangible bad note. No plates were smashed or insults administered. I didn’t cut up his favourite suit, and he didn’t tell me that actually my bum does look big in the purple dress.

Rather, he left on the worst kind of bad note I know. I went out to the shops to buy bacon, and then I cooked poached eggs and bacon on English muffins. He thanked me and kissed me and said goodbye.

Although it sounds like a perfectly normal morning, it wasn’t. You weren’t there. You didn’t feel the tension.

It all began at 8.30am.

During my boyfriend’s first lie-in of the week, I let the kittens in. They walked on his head. Having amused the kittens for three minutes to enable my boyfriend to have his lie-in, I decided that I was sleepy and so closed my eyes for a moment. Kitten number one decided, at that moment, to show his affection for the man of the house and scratched my boyfriend on his back, drawing blood (he has a lot of affection for the man of the house). My boyfriend turned over and growled loudly shouting something about kittens and open windows and throwing technique. He batted his hand towards the kitten. Instinctively and reactively I smacked his arm. “Don’t hit the fucking kittens”. I hissed.

This was a Big Mistake and resulted in much early morning swearing.

I took the kittens out of the bedroom and we went back to sleep. I curled up behind him. He seemed cold. When we awoke, we hardly mentioned The Incident. Had I just treated my boyfriend like a naughty child? Or was it just a natural tap-away, to be immediately forgotten? We “discussed” the kitten’s early entrance. He explained that he needed a lie-in; I explained that they needed love and attention. We both assumed that the other was angry with us. We dealt with it this in the way that our great British Ancestors have done so for centuries: by stiffening our lips, drinking tea and eating poached eggs and bacon on English muffins. In silence.

We had breakfast, he left, and now I’m here, with furrowed brow and nervous tummy. Because until he returns and reassures me with his lovely smile, I shall assume, naturally, that every mouthful of my cooked breakfast was like a smack on the arm.

Assumed damage to relationship: Blown it.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Neurotic neuroses.

Yesterday I had a drink in London with an old friend and then spent three hours wrestling with Southern Rail in an attempt to beat their determined ineptness.

With a bag of half eaten chicken under my arm, a few politely administered home truths at the great unskilled under my belt, and hatred for humankind in my heart, I finally arrived home much later than I planned.

But, home to a boyfriend who offered me a Bombay Sapphire gin on arrival and who then told me to take the bath he had run for me. I opened the bathroom door to find the room covered in candles and the bath full of bubbles.

The man knows his stuff.

So, today the subject of my neuroses is my neuroses. How can I worry when I have it so good? Does this mean I really can’t justify my facebook-stalking habit? What's wrong with me? When did I get so mental? Perhaps I should just hang up my mad hat and accept that I’m pretty lucky.

Chances of falling of the Sane Wagon by tomorrow afternoon: High.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

How to insult your boyfriend's Mother, part one.

Saturday night, playing Trivial Pursuit with my boyfriend’s Mum and Dad, I noticed a beautiful painting on the wall. I was a bit tipsy so I waxed lyrical about its beauty, its texture, and its moving composition.

The conversation, despite all the odds (art being a wonderfully suitable parent topic) did not end well.

Me: "I see you've put that flamenco dancer picture up"
Boyfriend’s Mum: "Yes, I just love it."
Me: "Oh, me too, it's so beautiful, the curve of her leg, the texture of her dress, I want to reach out and touch it. I mean, it's perfect, the colours are so vibrant, but set in onto the dull grey street background. It's striking; she is almost dancing out of the picture."

I go on like this for about twenty minutes, completely failing to answer any Trivial Pursuit questions correctly (but by now am convinced am on much higher level and more likely to impress with art appreciation).

Boyfriend’s Mum: "What do you think of the one over there?" Gestures to a smaller picture on the other wall. I don't like it. Having painted a picture of myself as "art connoisseur" I decide to be honest.

Me: "I don't like it. It's not my bag. It's a bit boring."
Boyfriend’s Mum: "I painted it."

I responded by trying to eat my own face.

Having failed at my attempt to eat my own face, I decided to try and undo my hurtful comments (which I had a horrible feeling might come back to
haunt me).

I couldn't undo it, no matter how hard I tried. "Well obviously, it's great, I just meant I prefer pictures of people, flamenco dancers in particular. I don't like pictures of leaves, but if I did. I'd love that one. That's actually the best picture of leaves I've ever seen. It's just not a flamenco dancer, and that's what matters, to me. You know?"

The rest of the game lasted forever.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Quote of the day

Lauren, best friend and neurotic soul-mate, on my facebook stalking habit:

"Why are you worrying? Because you are concerned it demonstrates potentially psychopathic insecurity on your part?"

Monday, 10 August 2009

A slushy moment in my sea of neuroses

A warm hearted fuzzy feeling sits in my usually neurotic heart tonight. Having opened the fridge to find it devoid of my specially hardened and cooled Twirl, which I'd salivated over dipping in my cup of tea, I asked my boyfriend if he’d seen it.

“I have seen it…” he said looking sideways like suspect cartoon characters are wont to do.

“You bastard.” I calmly replied.

Not so subtly he grabbed his wallet and keys and tried hard to make it look like he might be heading to the fridge whilst actually managing to quickly leave the house.

Five minutes later with an accompanying slam of the door he entered with the conquering and triumphant (and equally unconvincing) statement “It was in the fridge all along!”

Thanking him, I dipped the new Twirl in my tea and happily munched.

“Is it cold enough?” He asked.

“Yes.” Said I. “How so, dearest?”

A proud look crept over his face. “Did a couple of laps around the supermarket with it wrapped in a bag of frozen peas.”

Boyfriend points: Loads.

Friday, 7 August 2009

And then he read my blog...

I think I may have mentioned before that I am supposed to be a Strong Independent Woman. This is a belief shared by everyone who knows me, including my boyfriend.

Ever since a Very Important Relationship, many years ago, I’ve felt the need to project a certain image.
I was the tonic to previous releationships they complained of: undemanding, self-sufficient, pint-drinking and self-assured. I’ve been those things ever since.

Though of course I haven’t and although I’ve now been publically drinking dry white wine for years, I haven’t been confessing the sins only this blog is privy to.

And so my cover is blown.

However, a leap into the unknown it is not. I’ve experimented with exposed vulnerability before. The rational woman in no real hurry to get out tells me that to show this side is risk free. If he’s a good man he will embrace it; he will love me more for it. And sure, I’ve been told in a surprised tone in past lives that I’m more girly, softer, sweeter, than they thought. My brain may be playing tricks on me but I almost remember an accompanying pat on the head.

But, says the loud oafish woman over Miss Sentimentality in the background, this isn’t admitting to being afraid of spiders (which, if it redeems me in any way at all, I’m not), this is admitting to being a worthy candidate for sectioning. This, according to my limited understanding of the human psyche, is not an attractive trait. This might suggest to the unfortunate in question, that I am unstable, deceptive, and all sorts of other typical negative female traits.

But I don’t believe he thinks that. What I believe is that he thinks it’s ok. What I believe is that he will see a more human side to me.

In this lies the real tragedy.

In no-one’s eyes did I ever aspire to be the average human, flawed and following predictable patterns through the ages in line with my socially constructed gender identity and my biologically given sex. That is not to say that I haven’t acknowledged the utterly depressing fact that I am exactly that. But I hoped to keep my secret and remain on the pedestal.

And so I have formed a plan. I may be hanging on to the pedestal with my extended fingernails (result of early mid-life crisis; see previous blog), but I have an idea.

There is such a thing as cultural amnesia (stay with me, this is relevant), where entire cultures can mis-recall huge periods of history in order to enable them to make sense of the present. This can happen particularly following traumatic eras.

My boyfriend has been traumatised, as have I (he has discovered he is dating the personification of a potential psychotic episode and I have had to acknowledge my real self in the real world). Together, we can pretend this never happened. All I need to do is balance out the reality with its opposing fantasy.

Shoulder-pads ready, attitude primed, pint in hand. I’m ready to be the woman they adore; the woman who doesn’t need them.

Mental wellbeing score: 3/10 and rising.

Missing: Rosy-cheeked children

Things are getting serious. We’ve talked about moving. Starting afresh, building a co-existence. This ought to be Brilliant News. Is clearly akin to A Big Step. But it isn’t. It’s bloody terrible, because now I’m face-to-face with my future I realise I haven’t quite planned that far.

I went to the bank to arrange some unemployment insurance yesterday. Frankly, not as exciting as it sounds. However, the conversation with my bank manager startled me slightly as it threw into question some of my fundamental, if slightly naïve, assumptions about life. And it went something like this:

Bank Manager: So, shall we take the policy out until age 65?
Me: What?
Bank Manager: (Slower, and slightly louder). So, shall we take the policy out until age 65?
Me: What?
Bank Manager: (losing patience and wondering if I need a guardian to fill out the forms). So, shall we take the policy out until age 65? Retirement age? Yes? (Looks to check for signs off alcohol consumption in my eyes).
Me: What? No, sorry. I mean, no. I really don’t intend to work until I’m 65.
Bank Manager: (Smirks).
Me: No, I’m sure 35 will be fine.
Bank Manager: What happens when you’re 35?
Me: I’ll probably be living in an idyll with my adorable rosy cheeked children and a Labrador.
(Awkward silence).
Bank Manager: You can always cancel…
Me: (Horrible dark realisations start to surface). Ok, until 65. I’ll probably just cancel though.
Bank Manager: Yes, yes, of course, yes cancel whenever you’re ready.

But I’ll never be bloody ready will I? I have no savings, no property and no plans. My freak-out levels are dangerously high. So are those of my boyfriend who now thinks he is dating a wannabe lady wot lunches rather than an equal partner in crime. I don’t suppose my suggestion that we had “the talk” before agreeing to move away together helped matters. It was around that time I said “"In the old days, women wouldn't even put out without a ring on their finger." Someone should gag me.

Is it possible to create a life where one can stop working at 35 to
run in slow motion on pretty beaches without being a “kept woman”? I’m thinking lottery win, porn, or Big Brother.

Clearly I need to make some mature plans. Set in motion a journey towards the idyll, and as far away from traditional retirement ages as possible. I should create a career plan, start saving up, buy a set of coasters to put a stop to those dastardly coffee stains.

But that isn’t how it works. What do middle aged men do when they realise life is short and they’re wasting their shot at it? They buy a
sports car and wink at teenage girls.

Following this trend I’ve had some nail extensions done, booked a trip to a
paradise island near Bali and started to bid on a campervan for my forthcoming road trip around France where I shall write the best-selling novel that will save me from a life flitting between marketing meetings and trips to Sainsbury’s.

Progress towards life’s goals: None.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Things not to say to your boyfriend, part one.

"In the old days, women wouldn't even put out without a ring on their finger."


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

If only it was as simple as "tick tock"...

My boyfriend and I are young and hip. We’re even having a party with a smoke machine this weekend, which I think pretty much proves the point without need for further explanation.

However, there has been a conversational shift of late. From the drunken debates on whether
Morrissey is a twat or not (not, in case you’re interested) and whether Jordan’s sex tape is ultimate proof that she is dead inside or simply badly shot (dead inside), which I believe have kept the relationship fresh and intellectually challenging, we have taken to discussing kitten shit. All the time.

This is not completely random. We have recently acquired a pair of kittens. But that fact does not detract from the astonishing horror of the incident last night.

Picture the scene: I lay seductively on the bed (admittedly underneath 15-tog duvet so to be fair seductive pose was not as noticeable as it could have been - but it was cold) and he closed the bedroom door. He sat on the bed, he leaned towards me, he kissed my cheek, and then he sat up slowly, as if wanting to take in the woman before him before taking advantage of aforementioned seductive pose. Then he said “Monty just did a really good poo – in the litter tray all by himself.” Queue ten minute compare and contrast discussion on Thomas’ and Monty’s different potty training levels.

My sister asked me whether our acquisition of two cats was a pre-cursor to parenting, or whether I was just settling in for the inevitable crazy-cat-lady section of my life following the inescapable realisation that happy endings are not for the modern woman. Is ok for her to be cynical, she is a single mother.

This got me thinking. Two thoughts in particular have stuck in my mind:

1. Have my boyfriend and I inadvertently become parents and does this mean we will only now talk about the babies kittens to each other and to an ever-decreasing list of friends?
2. Is parenting simply a way to fill a conversational void and avoid sex?

Previously I thought that my neuroses on the issue of parenting were focused; contained neatly into the box marked “tick-tock”. The issue has just become a whole lot more complicated.

You see, if I overcome the “tick-tock” fear (i.e. have children) will I have to live with the awful realisation that our giving in to nature was simply a way to pass the long silent evenings and to save the embarrassment that comes from the four most dreaded words in the bedroom: “I have a headache.”?

Logical conclusion: Counselling (just me).

Sunday, 12 July 2009

And then I sicked on the carpet…

Friday night, family dinner (his not mine). Wine, wine, wine, wine, wine, wine, wine.

A jolly time was had by all. Nobody noticed that I stood on the dog’s tail. And I’m pretty sure his dad took my lecture on parenting exactly as it was intended: as warm encouragement set nicely off by youthful wisdom. I’m certain that only the most paranoid of hosts would have interpreted my helpful points (illustrated with drawings on the nearest napkins and accentuated with “OK, with me so far?”s) as patronising.

Later, I think the calm discussion I instigated on religion and its (lack of) merits went down well. I would hate them to think of me as meek or unable to step up to an intellectual challenge. Although in stepping up literally to make my point from a greater height and with greater volume I did highlight the metaphor of “stepping up” by illustrating that while mentally I was at the finish line, physically I had lost control of my vocal chords and legs.

After my boyfriend helped me up and checked the cat was still breathing, I think I managed to complete my point succinctly and powerfully. I had, it seemed, silenced their arguments with my powerful skills of debate. In a friendly, son’s girlfriend, guest in their house, sort of way. In fact, so speechless were they that I don’t recall much more being said for the rest of the evening, which consisted of five minutes while my boyfriend said a few hushed words to his parents (most likely soothing words about not worrying about losing the debate or something, as we’re all friends here).

And then I sicked on the carpet.

Stage of grief: Denial.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The first night we didn't...

A few days ago, almost exactly one week into living together, we had woken up and not had sex. Then we had stayed in together and not had sex. But, worst of all, we went to bed and Didn’t Have Sex.

It wasn’t because we were too drunk or because we had been having sex all day. It was because we were a couple who go to bed and Don’t Have Sex.

We lay there, in what
Mil Millington calls the Angry X. Bottoms not touching. Our bodies were still but my mind was racing.

Clearly our living together has prematurely aged the relationship, I concluded. I read the columns and so know for a fact that all young happy loving couples have sex fourteen times a day utilising most of the kitchen utensils in the process.

So, naturally, I was concerned.

Not having sex can be caused by illness, but ill we were not. The other options don’t bear thinking about so I decided to spend a large portion of the night thinking about them in what can only be described as Grave Detail.

Ultimately I came up with five possible explanations:

1. He doesn’t fancy me anymore. I will have to take up yoga, sort out my roots and wear Uncomfortable Knickers with no bum, and accessorise with false eye-lashes and a pout.

2. He is bored of our sex life. My enthusiasm for lying down and enjoying it is no longer enough to qualify as enthusiasm at all. I will have to become a porn star and do the reverse cowgirl at least once a week. I’ll probably have to have a threesome with a hooker.

3. The novelty that is me has worn off. Once seen as a trophy in the form of a toned, highly-sexed nymph, I am now a low runner-up to images of Scarlett Johansen while he masturbates in the shower.

4. He is turned off by our domestic bliss. Once happy in the belief that he’d found his match he has now discovered that the woman who washes his underpants and warms up leftovers for him is not the same woman who winked at him and suggested a quickie behind the church.

5. The relationship is doomed and this is the first sign of incompatibility. Soon we will stop holding hands in public and before we know it we’ll be arguing over cushion covers and finally will realise that it is over and I’ll be back to square one, cat hunting.

Not a good list of possibilities, you might have noticed. By the time morning arrived you can imagine my logical train of thought. It was vital that we had sex immediately. Before the hooker started causing trouble with her cushion covers.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

It all started when he moved in...

I'm a perfectly normal woman. I have a normal job and a normal flat. I'm reasonably intelligent and I have the means and the attitude to be a Modern Independent Woman. I was educated at Oxford and I've read The Second Sex. In fact, I've read a lot of the classics. I can discuss existentialism with the best of them. I've been to a buddhist retreat and I'm brilliant at being zen. I can let things go and I know that there isn't any point worrying too much about most things.

However, I have recently discovered that rather than my late twenties bringing on a blanket of calm and a sea of self-acceptance, they are taking my hand and skipping me merrily along to utter madness.

It all started when he moved in.

Suddenly I have found that from a throw-away comment I can create a 3,000-word essay on why the relationship was doomed from the beginning and why we never should have moved in together.

From a text missing vital "x"s I can conclude that I will die alone, surrounded by cats.

From a morning without a cuddle but instead a grizzly "fuck, I fucking hate work, life is shit" (actually a pefectly reasonable statement considering where he works) I will realise that the romance has gone forever and promptly book us into relationship therapy.

Nobody knows this. It is my dark, dirty secret. They think I'm a Modern Independent Woman. They listen to my feminist arguments and they praise me for my career progression. I give them advice on their relationships. I tell them not to worry, people have off days and that no relationship is hollywood-perfect all the time. Except secretly I think mine should be. I should be the exception. I am not and as a result beneath the veneer of my Perfectly Normal Woman facade lies a tangled mess of neuroses.

So I find myself here, therapising the hell out of myself with this blog. If the panic and the terror lie here, I reason, then in my head they cannot.