Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Get Rid of a Creep

Originally posted on

As a certain frog once said, it ain’t easy being green. Well, I don’t know anything about that, but sometimes, it ain’t easy being attractive to weirdos. I’ve got that unapproachable face which means most normal men steer clear of (too much of a challenge). Hence the weirdos. But they’re not fussy. They have no type.
I saw a tweet from a certain Cerys Kenneally when she was trying to get rid of a creep who kept popping up on Facebook – ‘Hey darlin’. Which in turn, inspired me to write a guide of how to get rid of total creeps. On facebook, in bars, in the supermarket. Anywhere. I mean, does it have to be so obvious? Why can’t people just come up to you and start a conversation, make you laugh, instead of ‘Alright darling, you’ve got a cracking pair.’ What kind of man thinks a girl would hear that and think ‘He sounds like a great guy, I must snog his face off/suck his toes/etc?’
(I once got ‘hit on’ in a Halloween shop. He said, “So do you uh, have like, MySpace?” [it was 2008 and he was an American hipster]. I said, “yeah.” “What’s your username?” “Erm, I can’t remember.” [Lesson 1: Don’t reveal any point of contact] “Do you have a like, uh, boyfriend?” “No. Erm, I mean, yes.” [Lesson 2: Stick to your story]. The rest of the purchase was completed in uncomfortable silence. I had a lot to learn about shunning men)
Most of these are man-specific, not because I think all men are creepy weirdos. I know you’re better than that, unspecified male reader. I’m drawing from personal experiences. And my friends’ experiences. And films.*
*Not all of these are proven to work in real life
PROBLEM: There’s that one guy who will start up a conversation EVERY time you go online on facebook, which almost certainly means he never shuts your window and sits there waiting for you to come online. You are polite but attempt to convey that you are not his ‘darling’, ‘hun’ or ‘babe’.
SOLUTION: Put him in his own ‘friend’ group (or with the other weirdos). Never go online to that group. Some may say it’s harsh, but it’s less embarrassing for everyone.
PROBLEM: You’re at a club, or a pub, or whatever, waiting for the bar, your mate…You don’t have any mate armour. You are approached by an over-enthusiastic Labrador, I mean teenage boy, and they’re not really taking your hint that you just aren’t interested.
SOLUTION:. Keep looking over their shoulder, and finally, wave and walk past them like you saw somebody you know. Just keep on walking. Don’t look back. It works best in a crowded bar (this one’s courtesy of my mate Sid).
PROBLEM. You’re trying to speak to your mates or have a fag or work out when you’re least likely to get merked for asking the DJ to play Skrillex. You’re approached by a ‘lad’, or a pack of them (what’s the collective noun for a group of ‘lads’? Answers on the back of a postcard). You can’t be arsed to listen to their ‘shanter’ (shit banter) and even worse, them actually talking about how great their ‘banter’ is.
SOLUTION: Pretend to be from another country and that you can’t understand them. If you know other languages, bonus. If you know weird languages, double bonus. Talk in a strong accent and shrug a lot. They might find it interesting for a couple of minutes, but soon they’ll get bored and find another unwitting girl to hassle.
PROBLEM: You were having a conversation with an ok-looking bloke. It was going really well, until you started to get a bit bored because he’s been talking about something you have no interest in for twenty minutes.
SOLUTION: Geek out even further than he’s done already. Get really specific. Jump on any chance you can to interrupt and spiel about your specialist subject in painstaking detail. He will either be confused or pissed off you interrupted him with your shit story. Either way, you win.
PROBLEM: A guy comes up to you and starts asking you inane questions.
SOLUTION: (My friend Alex does this, because she’s really good at debating. If you’re not, avoid). Question him on important topical issues. Ask them what they think and WHY. Tell them they’re wrong. Tell them again. They’ll eventually decide it’s not worth it and retreat.
Here are some quick solutions that can be used in most situations:
Have a hot male friend you can wheel out to pretend to be your boyfriend, or just generally look hot and intimidating to other men.
Call them the wrong name all night. Even, nay, ESPECIALLY if they correct you.
Pretend you’ve lost something and start looking at the floor. If this backfires and they try to help you, say you’re looking for something that’d make them socially uncomfortable, like pile cream or tampons.
If all else fails, hide. If you hide for long enough, they will probably go away.
It can happen anywhere. In the library, on a train, at church. Probably.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Potential Social Minefields of Visiting your Hometown

I’m going to visit my hometown soon. It’s great to see my family and friends, all in one handy place, as that’s the only time I come home really, for a reunion or celebration of some kind. It’s a handy meeting place. What I’ve found, as time goes on, is that the bits in between lovely home-cooked meals and casual drinks are potential minefields.

If you come from somewhere like Manchester or London, it’s probably a lot more difficult to encounter these problems, unless you’re Pete Doherty. And even then, I mean, they would be the least of his problems. But I come from lovely rural Shropshire. Where the towns are small and the locals are referred to as ‘monners’, often speak a bit like farmers and spend their leisure time outside the local chicken shop opposite the local Wetherspoons, because their fake ID didn’t work on the bouncers. If I were to go into Wetherspoons, I would encounter at least five people I know, whatever time of day.

On a Saturday night, say, this would be multiplied by several times. Christmas Eve is the height of its social calendar; with sexy Santas from five years below me in school (I thought they were 11! They’re not allowed to be here) and ten-person deep queues at said Wetherspoons. It’s inevitable that I bump into old friends, nay, acquaintances, from school or ‘people I met in town’. This usually ensues in five minutes of uncomfortable chat over the not-too-distant rumble of hundreds of people getting ‘para’ as it’s commonly known there. We don’t really have anything in common in school so the chat is quickly brought to an end. ‘Right, I’d better get back to my mates. You going to [local nightclub]? Cool. We’ll have a big catch up there, yeah?’

I avoid them like the plague for the rest of the night.

Another excruciating moment is seeing people I haven’t interacted with since 2004, when I left secondary school. There’s the eye-contact and then the hastily looking away. SO WHY THE FUCK DID YOU ADD ME ON FACEBOOK AND SOMETIMES LIKE MY STATUS? Total mixed signals from that tosser who used to throw paper aeroplanes at unwitting girls in biology.

Even worse is the supermarket. I’m going around the supermarket to ‘supervise’ what brand of gin my mother will buy and I bump into someone I recognise but can’t remember quite how I know. We have to do the whole, ‘GREAT TO SEE YOU! How are things?’ thing whilst going through our mental rolodexes and coming up with shit all idea as to how we know this person. We have to go through the facade of being interested in what the other person is up to and finally, one of us makes a feeble excuse about defrosting chicken and we go our separate ways. Five minutes later, in the cheese aisle, shock horror, it’s whats-is-name again. Luckily at this point, we can get away with a ‘fancy seeing you here again’ nod, and be on our way. It happens again a third time. SHIT. I have to pretend to be engrossed in the different brands of Roquefort and wait for a safe amount of time and wait til they’ve passed. If, God forbid, it happens a fourth time, for Christ’s sake, cut your losses and run to the checkout. It’s just not worth it.

Finally, seeing people around in non-specific places. At the bus stop (I PRAY we’re not getting the same bus). I can hold a conversation for a couple of minutes whilst we wait for the bus, but if we both get on the same one, what the hell is the correct etiquette? Are you supposed to sit next to them and have yet another uncomfortable exchange, or appear a little rude and sit at least six seats away from them, and both secretly breathe a sigh of relief? And what about a perfectly nice conversation you have with someone that you actually quite like, but you say goodbye to them and then end up walking the same way? One minute, you were laughing and joking like the old days, but after you say goodbye, it’s suddenly completely different. God, all that easy chat has been replaced with the memory of the strained attempts at normality.

When I go back to unfriendly, anonymous London, I’m often grateful for the fact that I don’t know anyone in nightclubs, supermarkets and that there are more than five buses a day and several different routes for getting home. Because if you want to avoid anyone, it’s way easier.

Technology Junkie

Originally posted on

Do you ever wish you could be like those idiots on films who just throw their phone into the sea? I do. Then I’ll come out in a cold sweat and hold my phone close for the next few minutes, just to make sure it doesn’t drown.

I am dependent on technology. Not only that, there perpetual stream of information that I am fed. The massive increase in people owning smartphones, iPads and laptops means that if you’re not careful, you can pretty much never switch off. If you’re not getting information, you’re probably thinking about it. Here’s a walk-through of my typical day:

Alarm on phone goes off. I don’t have an alarm clock or digital watch so if my phone breaks I’m pretty much screwed. I check my emails. There are about 6 from discount deal websites every day. I don’t unsubscribe just in case something interesting comes up. Even if it did, I’d probably never buy the deal. There are currently 105 unread emails in my inbox which are of no importance which I can’t be bothered to delete.

I get on the tube, with earphones firmly jammed in my ear. God forbid I have to hear people or anything. If I’ve forgotten to get a paper, I’ll probably text a few people or check Twitter  feeds or read some emails. Anything to avoid looking at anyone else.

I get to work. I’ll scroll through hundreds of tweets and a load of news links on Twitter/Facebook and see if there’s anything interesting I can talk about on the work Twitter. I’ll get pissed off with the Times paywall because I can’t see how much of a tool Giles Coren is being, forgetting that people used to actually buy newspapers if they wanted to read a story.

I’ll arrange to meet a mate and probably have a conversation with them over BBM or text or whatsapp or email or carrier pigeon debating the finer points of which one has the best happy hour. If I’ve not been there before, I’ll navigate my way there with my phone, even if it’s just round the corner. I might write a pithy tweet about where I am, or if something funny’s just happened. Or if  I’ve just seen a celebrity, because yes, it might make a funnier anecdote in more than 140 characters if I actually tell the story to a colleague or friend a few days later, but I want the world to know NOW because I can’t wait that long.

I might get a bit tipsy and text a few people, probably something I might not text when I’m sober, and possibly something embarrassing, but that’s ok, because the excuse ‘drunk texting’ is pretty much like a sicknote excusing you from games because you’ve got ‘women’s troubles.’ No questions asked.

I’ll go home, and watch something I’m not really watching on my laptop because apparently I can’t go to sleep without filling my mind with more stuff (probably something mindless that will not really enrich my mind or life at all, but it filled the silence whilst I was eating that kebab [which I probably Instagrammed]). I’ll check Facebook one last time (because all the important stuff happens at 2 in the morning) and set my alarm. Then I’ll put my head on the pillow and think about the next piece of new technology, that will probably download emails into my dreams and everything that I am subscribed to will finally be able to haunt me as I sleep.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Originally posted on BeatReview.

In my 24 years I have had little experience of babies until recently (my cousin had a baby last year and I’ve seen him a record number of times since he’s been born). Most of the interaction with family babies happened when I was too young to remember, or care, about small squidgy things that wailed and shat (that was it as far as I could discern. Of course, I didn’t consciously form the word ‘shat’. It was ‘poo’ then. Tee hee).

It’s a weird thing, other people’s babies. What I have managed to discern is that something weird must have happened to me in the last year because I quite like them now. The only logical conclusion is that I’m growing up. Not enough to want one of my own yet – I haven’t quite reached that level of maturity. But other people’s are ok, for a while. There are all sorts of rules, though, aren’t there?

You have to coo a certain amount to gain the trust of the parents (and because it’s like a freaking LAW that you must coo over someone else’s baby. However much it looks like a screwed-up prawn (except yours. Yours is beautiful). Then you have to exercise ALL restraint from saying ‘Can I have a go?’ before said parent is ready to relinquish said baby. They have to offer, unless you know them really well. Even then it’s a struggle sometimes. Then there’s the queue you have to join. Family events are a nightmare. There’s at least twenty people who got there before you and they’ve put the legwork in – asking about the birth, and whether little Petunia has the latest Baby Gap babygro in pink or yellow (‘you got the matching bib too? She soo pulls it off’).

So the moment finally comes and you have the baby. But there are so many dilemmas. Are you allowed to stand up? Is it acceptable to ask if you’re allowed to stand up at twenty four? Should you sit down just in case you drop it? Are you supporting its head enough? HOW THE FUCK DO YOU HOLD THIS THING?!

Then you’re holding this small, red, living human and it’s great. You’ve got the hang of holding it and you even managed to subside its wails. But it could do a multitude of things. And these are things that will guarantee baby going back to doting mummy or daddy. 1) It might start crying (even when you, feeling foolish, jiggle it around and sling it over your shoulder). 2) It might be sick on me. CHRIST It’s a bit of spit with some extra bits but it’s still sick GET IT OFF ME NOW. 3) It starts wriggling. Ok, I get it, you hate me already. Go back to someone better. I’m going to sulk in the corner. 4) Or worse, a pungent smell fills your nostrils and the nappy swells. That’s a definite red card.

But there’s nothing quite like holding a baby. Some weird hormone in us just makes us talk in weird voices, smell their heads and want to squeeze them.

That’s until the next person decides you’ve finishes your turn and hovers round you like a bad smell with their arms outstretched.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...