Friday, April 29, 2005

And in the South it will be mostly...

There seems to be some confusion about the expected weather for Brighton this Bank Holiday weekend. So far it’s definitely going to be hot, warm, sunny, cloudy, misty, murky, hazy, humid, rainy, showery, thundery and anything from 12 degrees to 25. Going by the fact that it is a Bank Holiday one would assume that it will rain heavily and be extremely windy so that any outside plans are a washout, any sort of ‘going out’ hair-do will be ruined and all vaguely spring-suited outfits will be banished to the back of the wardrobe, but I’ve decided to go along with the good old BBC and believe with all my might that it’s gonna be a scorcher… maybe if I keep my fingers and toes crossed all day we’ll be boosting up the Barbie come Sunday…

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Her

How great it is to have a friend who makes you smile and likes sushi, who notices you’ve got a fabulous skirt on and is wearing one too. Someone who makes you laugh and surprises you with words that are so kind they make you want to cry. A friend who doesn’t judge you and agrees with you on all the important things, who understands why you do the stuff you do and knows not to ask until you’re ready to answer. It’s great to have a friend who wants to see you again soon, and you can’t wait…and who’s woken up this morning with red-wine fuzziness and fond memories.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

How to avoid a bad boyfriend - Remember nice boys can be nasty

So she goes as a guest to the wedding with him. She tells him that she likes him but that is all… he says he’s fine with that and they’ll have fun. She picks a beautiful hat with sweeping feathers, selects special lacy tights, a dress that floats between demure and devilish and she even finds that there is more left on the wedding list than the usual corkscrew or cups. They drive there never stopping talking and she wishes he were good looking. The wedding is fabulous and the after-party even better…the booze flows and the band wows, the company is wild and the booze flows some more. Too late she realises she is horribly drunk and she holds her head to stop it spinning. He says he’ll help her to her room and she lets him lead her. The bed is huge, the linen cool and she flops onto it. Moments later his bulk lands besides her. As he tries to kiss her, her brain struggles to make sense of it. As he fumbles with her skirt she tries to push him back. As she feels her tights being ripped away she struggles to free her face from the pillow… Next morning champagne has turned to acid. She sinks down in the shower, the rivulets pour and the hot water runs out before the tears. She adjusts her face before she walks away, but she can still smell him.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ghandi's flip-flop is lurking in my mouth

Hmmnnn, a big curry and a couple of beers is a fabulous idea at 8pm on a Monday night. It’s less fabulous at 6.30am when you wake with a garlic infused bath towel where your tongue should be. It’s even less fabulous when you get into the kitchen and the debris is still there and everything pongs of curry, and when you head into the meeting room, start to warm up and realise you are infusing the room with eau-de-biryani… you know the whole thing was a big mistake.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Keeping schtum

So my friend hates her friend’s boyfriend and thinks she is mad to be marrying him…isn’t that just the worst lose-lose amongst situations? I think she has good reason to disapprove – he is moody and shouts at her, runs frighteningly hot and cold, can’t decide if he actually wants to get married (it’s planned for a months time) and worst of all, makes horrible personal comments about her to his rowdy, leery mates when she’s not around. My friend has dropped hints of course and tried to reason with her but she has refrained from the hard line, sit down and listen, home truths route. The lose-lose is that she causes upset, falls out forever and ends up without a friend… or she spends years feeling guilty and traumatised, knowing that she had the teeniest chance of preventing unhappiness…however, getting involved is never straightforward. A year or so ago, another friend was dating a reasonably nice bloke, who I thought was good for her and I said so. A few months later he got cold feet and finished the relationship, at which point she plotted revenge, screamed and sobbed about what an evil bugger he was and probably got involved in some kind of voodoo. As a top friend I supported her ranting and disapproval, agreed when she raged about what a w**ker he was and generally waged war on his memory. Of course they got back together, and of course she still thinks I hate him. She remembers all the mean things I said about him but forgets that they were spoken in support of her in her hour of need (I still haven’t got my wedding invite). As I said, you can’t win… you just have to hope they realise you’ve got their best interests at heart and that whatever happens you’ll be there to celebrate… or to pick up the pieces. And of course, you also hope that no one is harbouring feelings of intense disapproval about your choice of boyfriend….

Friday, April 22, 2005

Evolution

So we’re in the car, he’s driving and we’re heading to somewhere that admittedly I have been to quite a few times before and the conversation goes like this.

Him: ‘So you’ll let me know when to turn off then, will you?’

Me: ‘Erm, yes, absolutely…it’s either the next one, or the one we’ve just gone past…’

Him: (totally keeping his cool) ‘Don’t feel bad about having a rubbish sense of direction’.. (that was the understatement of the century). ‘ It’s pre-historic man’s fault cos he never let the women out to hunt… they just stayed in the caves all day cooking and having babies so they didn’t need a sense of direction… it’s just a flaw in the evolutionary process. (pause) I’ll turn round here then, shall I?’

Yes, that’s why I love him...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Feedback

So I finally had the important meeting with my ever-so-senior boss. I think I was cool, calm and argued my case for more pay admirably. I was confident, oozed clarity, was firm but not desperate and didn’t allow my voice to rise to a shriek more than once. He finally confirmed that yes, he would see what he could do and he couldn’t foresee any problems. Then he asked if he could give me some ‘feedback’. Hesitantly I agreed (though I generally find feedback sessions to be an excuse for someone more incompetent than you to totally slag you off without the threat of you fighting back). So he said that he thinks I should try not to fiddle with my hair when I’m in a negotiating situation because it makes me look nervous. I froze at this point and was totally stumped for something to say (a very rare situation for me) and the reason? Because everyone knows that you only fiddle with your hair when you are flirting. I may not have mentioned that this guy is mature but not old, slim and fit, tanned, smiley AND an extremely nice and funny person and I’m sure he has read all the ‘How to read body language’ books too. Consequently he probably now thinks that I tried to seduce a pay-rise out of him, especially when I remember that I was wearing a reasonably low cut top at the time. Still, I guess my next pay packet will reveal the truth… and then we’ll see who has the best negotiating technique…

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Goalposts

My friend has always been a bit messy, in fact I would go so far as to say that her last flat was positively unhygienic. She had never got around to buying a hoover for starters and her carpets were encrusted with a thick layer of her hair mingled with her dogs’ hair. She had a lot of trinkets spread around all of which sat on their own mat of dust and if you walked barefoot in her kitchen your feet would be encrusted with old toastcrumbs and alien food items within seconds. If you filled the sink to wash your face, the water would be cloudy from all the built-up toothpaste and soap scum slowly dissolving and there was only enough space in the kettle for one cup of tea because of the thick furry coating of limescale inside. Recently this friend has started dating someone who is even more messy and cleanophobic than she is. It’s incredible how she has now started to grumble about his overflowing wash basket, stocked up sink and mildewed fridge… and it’s made her start cleaning her place. It’s like the scales have lifted from her eyes and in order for her to complain about his mess she feels she has to stop the black pot/kettle thing- literally. I’m glad to say that at the weekend, when I saw a clip of Monica from Friends being even more obsessive about her cleaning schedule than usual, I neither upped my game to compete, or slipped into slummyness as a reaction. If you’re comfortable with how you are (even if you’re a bit weird) then moving the goalposts shouldn’t make you change.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Grudge

As a general rule of thumb I try not to hold a grudge. If someone has done something mean or selfish, I try and dismiss it and forget about it so that it doesn’t gnaw away at me and make me feel mean and selfish back at them. It’s not so much the bad things that people do which tend to stick in my mind and make my jaw clench and my toes curl, but the bad things they say, and more often than not it’s the times that they trample over my feelings obliviously. I’ve decided however that I need to stop obsessing about such insignificant exchanges and put them in perspective so I’ve decided to put a couple of my most memorable and possibly most pernickity grudges to rest so they will lurk no longer.
Grudge 1. After leaving Uni (yes, we’re going back a while with this one) I started up my own business which involved hour upon hour of heavy duty concentration, eyestrain, worry about too much work, worry about too little work, guilt about not spending every waking hour at work etc etc. Three years of this torture later I decided I had to change direction for a while if only to save my sanity. After my first couple of days in a really dull but nightmarish temp job, my friend called me up to moan about how stressed she was at having to go back to teach after her six week holiday and how her part-time job teaching cute little kids was sooooo hard and complex and blah blah blah. In passing I happened to mention that I was a bit worn out to which she sighed piously and replied ‘Welcome to the world of work’… I was really glad to know that she felt my period of self-employment was just a holiday…
Grudge 2. When a historically workshy ex- workmate was demanding sympathy following a vastly extended spell of compassionate leave after her grandmothers death, I took her for coffee and made all the right noises until she said ‘I know you only took one day off when your gran died… (my extremely beloved gran has passed away after a horrible year of illness a month or so previously) …. But I was really close to my gran’…. That didn’t make me feel guilty about not loving my grandma enough to skip work, it just made me want to smack her in the face, grief stricken or not.
Neither of these seem like a particularly big deal in the whole scheme of things, but the simple fact that I remember the words and the smug tones are confirmation enough that they got to me. No more! That’s why I breathed deeply and smiled inwardly when a friends posh sloaney girlfriend said ‘ So you don’t have a gardener then?’ as she saw us slogging in the weeds and the mud at the weekend… I’ve forgotten it already.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Sleepwalking

So he slept in the spare room last night.... No it was nothing like that - we didn't have a fight, he just sleep-walked his way out of the cosy disarray of our bed into the cool alien covers of the spare one. I woke up and worried that he had collapsed in the bathroom in a pool of blood or had been knocked out as he challenged a burgular and then when I spotted him in the spare bed I panicked evn more, thinking that maybe I'd proclaimed undying love for someone who wasn't him in my sleep. When I woke him he had no idea why he was there and he followed me meekly back and went straight to sleep... What was that all about then? I hope he's not going to start wee-ing in my wardrobe next.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Oscar winning performance

So the question was…. ‘If someone were to play you in a film about your life, who would you want it to be?’… Obviously I would hope that my life would be a lot more gripping if this were ever to happen, but I’m finding it a tricky question. I can think of lots of people who I wouldn’t want to be the star… definitely not Meryl Streep (..way too serious and never manages to look even vaguely sexy), not Rene Zellwigger (Hamster cheeks and terribly type-cast) not Catherine Zita (I’ll never be able to take her seriously after that Dawn French impression) and most certainly not Jennifer Anniston as her films are always flops. Ideally Joan Collins from her ‘Alexis’ days would do… feisty, pouty, able to walk on skyscraper heels…fabulous. Unfortunately, judging by some of the recent pictures of her I think she might be past it (have you seen those wrinkly knees?).... Hmmmnn, has anyone got Barbara Windsor’s’ number?….

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Please find my attached CV...

Why oh why do people feel it necessary when applying for jobs, to attach a photograph? Admittedly I can see the benefit if you are applying for a modelling job, or a role as ‘Micheal Jackson look-a-like’ or as ‘3rd oompa loompa from the right’ in a musical, but otherwise what are these people thinking? If you’re extremely good looking and think that your prospective employers could be swayed by the eye candy value, think again… you just look vain and full of yourself. If you think the comedy snap of you with your head stuck through a hole in a busty mermaid on Brighton Pier will make you look fun, then I’m sorry you just look like the kind of pratt every office could do without. If it’s a horribly unflattering photo it will make you look like you have terrible judgement, low self esteem, poor eyesight and the potential to revolt other staff members. If it is blurry and poor quality, or your hair is messy you look unprofessional. If you look serious then psychopathic tendencies are assumed, if you’re smiling you’re ditzy. If you’re wearing a suit in the photo you must have delusions of grandeur, if you’re dressed casually you are prone to slovenliness, if you’re wearing a golfing sweater (Matt Piper from Crawley) you are a saddo and you will not impress the handicap-free Director. If you have an ‘Olan Mills’ style professional shot you are a mug, if it’s a passport photo you’re a cheapskate, and the list goes on…Your safest bet is to leave the photo out, unless of course you want to distract attention from the spelling mistakes or the fact that you’ve listed your favourite pastime as Morris Dancing….

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

phrase-ology

I love you is a teeny phrase with earth shattering impact. If it is allowed to escape the results can be life saving and life changing. It should always be handled with care, and not thrown recklessly into the air unless an extra specially perfect person is ready to return it or at least catch it, take care of it and get used to it until maybe they’re ready to share it with you. It’s a fantastical phrase as it can rescue relationships that are on the verge of toppling and can stop shouting and yelling and tantrums in their tracks… How can such a teeny phrase mean that I need you and that I want you and that I want to spend my life with you. How can it sum up so simply that you make my knees wobble and make me smile inside and that I can’t imagine life without you… It’s such a teeny phrase but it’s scary to say sometimes. I hope I can keep on saying it to you.

Monday, April 04, 2005

H&M? - Hit and Miss?...

Shopping at the Brighton branch of Hennes is a completely unique retail therapy experience… after a visit through it’s hallowed gates it is highly likely that you will actually require therapy but it can also potentially result in the reaping of great rewards… There are a few simple rules…Firstly you have to be correctly dressed: as few layers as possible for ease of undress and so that you don’t pass out from the heat and excitement… no handbag so you have both hands free for the most effective rummaging and a good set of underwear as the lighting in the fitting rooms is horrifically unflattering and whilst you shiver in front of the mirror, half naked at least the terrible image is not marred further by the presence of greying, saggy mis-matched granny style thermals. (phew) Secondly, you must be in the right frame of mind … not strapped for time, or even slightly irritable otherwise you can bet there will be a tug-of-war incident or two. You must be up-beat and keen to experiment and definitely not feeling picky or pernicikity as the quality standard issues you are bound to encounter could push you over the edge. Once you’ve made it in there, think of it as an upmarket jumble sale… scan each rail quickly in a ‘Terminator’ style, clocking anything sparkly, glittery or beaded. Then investigate said items speedily, discarding anything too scratchy, too ruffled or too eighties. Take the resulting armfuls of stuff to the changing room. Here you are destined to find that a couple of items are on the wrong hangers and are actually a size 6 and a size 20, a couple of items have snags, rips, holes lost buttons, only one sleeve or a sewn up head hole. A couple of items will look completely fabulous on the hanger, but once put on will be sooo tight around the boobs that you look like Marie Antoinette’s more busty sister, and sooo baggy and shapeless around the waist that you look eight and a half months pregnant. Alternatively the shoulder straps will be three times as long as they should be so you look like a pornographic wrestler. One top will look great but on closer inspection the washing instructions will be ‘ do not use water, do not dry clean, do not sponge clean, do not iron, wash only in fairies tears during a full moon whilst swinging a dead cat around your head’ so will be an absolute no-no. One garment will nearly make it over your head, until you notice that judging by the orange tide-marks and deodorant smears it has already been over 30 other people’s heads. Finally you will be left with the perfect item… it’s all worth it when that insignificant wisp of a vest top slides over your body, clings delicately to the right bits and skims over the bits that are just a bit wrong… It’s sooo worth it when you see the nine-pound price tag… it’s even worth queuing for two and a half hours to pay the smug sales girl. H &M? Hurrah and Mmmmm, Hip and Marvellous, Hhhhow long till I can go again? and Mmmmay I have an account card please?

Friday, April 01, 2005

Return of the Ex

Why don’t people realise that being repeatedly asked if you’re fine with something is the quickest way to make you feel completely and utterly not-fine with it? Take for example the moment when ‘him indoors’ happened to mention that a long lost ex-girlfriend had called him up out of the blue and as she was passing through Brighton, wanted to meet up with him for a drink. I cheerily replied ‘okay!’ completely unflustered and only bothered by the fact that I would have to organise a late-notice alternative drinking partner for that evening. He looked at me, almost aghast… ‘So that’s ok with you then is it?’
‘Yeah, of course’ I replied airily… ‘It’s not like you’re still in love with her and are planning to rekindle the old passion is it?’…(chuckling to myself)
‘Oh no, nothing like that… I think she just wants to catch up’ he says …slightly hysterically.
‘Er …doh, I was only joking’ (though I’m starting to feel a niggling concern now.)
‘But you wouldn’t mind if I went to see her for a bit then?’
‘Noooo…that’s what I just said, it’s absolutely fine’
‘Cos I can tell her no if you like….’
‘Do you actually want to see her?’
‘Er…I suppose I should’
‘So go, it’s fine’
‘But I don’t want you to get mad’
(getting mad) ‘It’s fine’ (through gritted teeth)
‘See, I’m worried it’s bothering you’
‘What I’m bothered about is the fact that you seem to think I should be bothered… is there something that is going to happen, which could be potentially bothersome?’
‘Er no, absolutely not’
‘Right then, off you go then’
So I spend the next couple of hours wondering about this conversation and imagining a horrible scenario of their lust, elopement, and my spinsterhood… and then he returns…The sheepish look is no longer on his face, and he swoops in for a big hug.
‘Good time?’ I ask
‘Crikey… she has ballooned…’ he says, and I realise that now the look on his face is relief so I hug him right back and smile…


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