Monday, 7 August 2017

So You Find Fat Women Sexy? So What!

Photo Credit: Women Magazine 
Now I don't want to say I told you so, but what kind of gloating narcissist would I be if I didn't write a blog post about how I am always right and everyone should listen to me more? Let me just pop my 'I knew it pants on' and lets begin. So, a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the body positive gang and how I just wasn't buying it. I felt like it was a huge ploy by mainstream media to sell more stuff to fat girls and wrap it up in a bow of 'self love' as long as your fat fell in the right places, of course. Well, this week, the mainstream media have been fawning over a 'body positive' husband and I am calling it what it is, bullshit.

It begins with an Instagram post (link here) by "wordsmith, public speaker and creative activist" Robbie Tripp. At first glance it seems like a perfectly sweet but generally benign public display of affection with him and his wife doing googly eyes at each other on a beach. But take a closer look and you will see a diatribe of ‘bopo’ inspired drivel written alongside this precious intimate moment. Robbie wants us to know that he likes his wife, even though she is a bit fat. Cue the crescendo of likes and the boy's a viral sensation, and it doesn't take long before the mainstream media are crawling all over Rob's 'love of big birds' and suggesting we should be 'swooning' over him. 

Well I am not swooning, my fanny is not even remotely fluttering, and here's why. 

Stop Fetishizing Fat Women's bodies  

Robbie starts his post by admitting that when he was younger he was "often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side..." Lets ignore the fact that Rob's friends sound like complete bell ends, and focus on young Robbie's penchant for the rotund rumpy pumpy. 

If you're a sexual being, then you have probably found things over your adult life that make your genitals gyrate. As we get older and we open ourselves up to new experiences, we are likely to find different things that make us more sexually attracted to the people we want to sleep with. Whether it's a plump boob, a little side roll or that little muscle which appears on their face when their jaw clenches due to holding back tears (Yes, Your Honour, I like my men crying and emotionally stunted), it is not uncommon to search out those things in a sexual partner. But just because you have found the thing that makes your todger tingle, it is not OK to whittle that person down to only the things you find sexually stimulating. 

Robbie dissects his (beautiful and conventionally attractive) wife right down to the things he thinks are sexy. All of these are physical attributes that he admits he fetishized as a young adult. He breaks her whole entirety down to what gets his knob nodding and then reminds other women not to worry because “There is a guy out there who is going to celebrate you for exactly who you are…” Really Robbie? You mean I can find myself a man who wants to spend time with me purely because he has found things attached to me that he can tug his tent house too. Phew, and to think I was getting desperate. 

Stop fetishising fat women. Stop fetishising all women. Whether it's our flab, feet or fannies, stop fawning over us like we're plastic sex dolls and realise women don't exist for your sexual gratification. 

Just Because You call it Feminism, Doesn't Mean That It Is. 

I love me some male feminists. They are my favourite feminists. Men, who are willing to accept that their gender is a privilege and who recognise that there are patriarchal structures that exclude women socially, economically legally and culturally? Yup, those men really float my boat. 

Robbie is not a feminist. He uses his wife for views, likes and personal one upmanship. He displays her like a fat trophy on all of his social media and then expects a slap on the back for doing so.  Robbie knows that millennial women quite like the idea of equality, and so Robster has thrown the ‘F’ word around and hopes that no one will notice that he does so whilst pointing out every one of his wife’s ‘flaws’. 

I am looking forward to his wife’s post where she points out his lack of jaw line, fashion sense, muscular definition, or body hair and suggests that despite Robbie not being in the least bit conventionally attractive or ever likely to grace the front page of GQ magazine, she still wants to bone him. Except that won’t happen will it, because women don’t comment on men’s bodies, men comment on women’s bodies, and that Ladies and Gentlemen is the mother fucking Patriarchy. 

 You're Not Doing Her a Favour 

Photo Credit: Women Magazine
Even though Robbie uses his wife (and her body) throughout his social media in order to build his business and media presence (his insta bio reads “Husband to a curvy goddess), the main message of his piece is that it is his wife who should be truly grateful for their union. Because despite her stretch marks, dimply butt and fat rolls, Robbie still finds her sexy. Can you hear that sigh of relief from the world’s female population, that men find stretch marks sexy? Imagine if our skin had only stretched to make room for puberty, babies and general growth and not for men’s sexual satiation. 

It bothers me that men like Robbie seem to think that accepting women, ‘flaws’ and all is somehow commendable. It perpetuates the myth that women’s self worth can only be affirmed through male attention and that without it we are just all the lonely fat girls on the benches at the school disco. Women don’t need men to get up and dance, and we are quite capable of doing our one-person solo to Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’ without a man’s intervention. If you like a woman physically, emotionally or mentally, then big whoop for you, but don’t expect her to be grateful for your attention. 

 So what I am really saying Mr Tripp is, it’s great you fancy your wife and every part of her. That’s fab. I fancy men with big hands, and broad shoulders. So as long as you’re OK with me rubbing my vagina up against them in clubs, catcalling them when their on their own and vulnerable and sending them explicit photos of my labia just because they are on a dating website, then I guess I can be OK with your post about how you fancy your ‘fat’ wife.  

What do you think, is Robbie's post a hit or is he a tit?

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Things that Love Island has taught me about life and love. 

British Summertime is here, and with it the smell of charcoaled sausages and burnt flesh lingers in the air. Your wardrobe is a mix of "vest tops that discreetly hides under boob sweatage" and "cardigans that can double up as an umbrellas". But alas, your hen do to Ibiza is still 6 weeks away and your social diary is as empty as your wallet before payday. So what better way to fill those muggy summer evenings than to spend each night in your pants, propped up next to a dozen fans, watching people (decidedly better looking than yourself) find ways to win fifty grand, I mean love. Ah the romance. Love Island is back for its second series (third if we're including the series where Callum Best dumped Rebecca Loos for farting) and I could not be happier. If you think for one moment that this is vacuous trash TV viewing then, my friend, you are terribly wrong. Love Island has things to teach us, and in three weeks I've learnt quite a bit already. 

There's a dating Santa and he takes requests "on paper"

I've been single for half a decade and during that time there isn't a dating website I haven't scoured in search of the ideal man. Different websites and applications have measured my personality and matched me with hundreds of men based on our 'chemistry' but alas my one true love evades me. Yet, little did I know, there is a solution to this. For on Love Island, all of the contestants have access to 'paper' where they can request their perfect match and he gets dispatched to your door like a pervy deliveroo. Amber, Olivia, Chris, Mike, they've all got access to this paper and the dirty Tinder Santa is dropping off hot love matches all over Magaluf. For the love of all that is holy, would someone give me access to this paper, as I'm filling out my request form and sending it recorded post asap. 

Eggs aren't just for breakfast or Easter. 

Chris has three eggs in Olivia's basket, Dom has put all of his eggs in a Jess shaped carrier and Chloe's eggs are splattered all over the floor as she threw them at Mike as he waltzed out the villa door. There is an abundance of eggs in the Love Island Villa and people are moving them around and in and out of each other's baskets like the Easter Bunny on crack. As in the real search for love, your egg sharing is your game strategy, and Love Island is full of love strategists. Like an elaborate game of Risk, you have to decide how you are going to manoeuvre your eggs around the love playing field and hope you don't end up with an empty basket at the end of it all. So which strategy are you using in your game of love? Do you do a "Dom' and pop all your eggs in one Tinder date's basket and hope she doesn't ghost you in preference for the boy with the blue eyes? Or do you do an Olivia and pop a few eggs in all the boy's baskets and hope you can take one of them to bed long enough to smash them and make an omelette? 

Being 'Not Bothered" is man for "I'm Fine"

One Christmas, many years ago, my boyfriend at the time and I sat by the twinkling lights of our fake plastic fir tree and exchanged gifts. I watched gleefully as he delved in and ripped the paper from his array of perfectly chosen presents I had spent months scouring the land (and Amazon) for. He held up the designer clothes, man moisturisers and the little gifts that inspired memories of the year we had spent together. Each perfectly chosen with him at the forefront of my mind. And then it was my turn, and he handed me over the plastic bag, and I gasped in anticipation as I pulled out a 'Top Gear' Annual. A 'Top Gear' Annual. I looked over at him quizzically and he gave a nervous laugh, and said "Well you know, because we both like Top Gear." 

And for the rest of the day, I was fine. I was fine over Christmas dinner, I was fine on Boxing Day, and the rest of the Christmas Break, and I was even fine on New Year's Eve. I was totally fine. Could not have been finer. Exactly like how Sam was totally not bothered when Olivia pied him for Chris. Or when Chris was not bothered when Olivia humped Mike like a rabid Jack Russell. They were not bothered; I was fine and we all developed haematomas from holding in our rage. The end. 

Feminism is dead, long live the Patriarchy.

In the first week, Camilla put a t-shirt on during a gym session and the men applauded and called her 'wifey' material. The following week, Jonny declared that feminism was irrelevant and Camilla dumped him because it's 2017 bitches. Twitter rejoiced. Girl Power! Then Jonny and Camilla went on a date, Jonny pulled out her chair and called her "Darling" and Twitter announced that 'Jamilla' was the best love story since Charles and Diana and demanded a wedding. So what if he thinks you're a hairy arm pitted, bra burning Feminazi Camilla, he's got cute hair and basic manners, give that boy a blowjob pronto. If Love Island teaches us anything this summer, it is that we should put all our values, morals and ideals to one side for a boy who looks good in a tank top. 

I think we can all agree, that Love Island is the most forward thinking psychological experiment of our time. Or it's just Tinder, vomiting in our laps in a glamorous villa in an area of Spain most Spanish people wouldn't dream of visiting. Either way I am addicted and if you like what you have read here you can read my commentary most weeknights over on my Twitter. Which life lesson have you gained since watching Love Island? And more importantly, which current islander would you couple up with?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Will the real 'Jon Drake' please stand up?

As someone who has lurked around a multitude of dating websites (POF, Tinder, Match, OKCupid, Bumble - God loves a trier right?) for near on half a decade, I consider myself pretty proficient at weeding out the porn bots, foot fetishists and fuck boys. If there is a category of dire human beings on the interweb, the likelihood is that I've probably dated them and learnt a tough lesson as a consequence. I have been ghosted so often in 2017 that I am beginning to think Casper 'the friendly  ghost' is a biographical movie of my life. It is no a great surprise to anyone then that my friends often describe my approach to dating as 'guarded' or 'suspicious'. On a night out, I strap on my 'don't even fucking think about it' perfume and pair it with my 'touch me and I'll get the pepper spray' handbag and I’m normally home in bed alone by 2am with a bag of cheesy chips for company. Last week, after another wine clouded conversation with a married friend about my loveless love life, she suggested I retired my broomstick and cauldron and attempted to become a more approachable, less resting bitch face internet dater. 

Please direct this "Jon' to my DM's
So the next day, I swallowed my positive pant pill and opened up my Tinder app and began swiping to my little shrivelled up heart’s content. I matched quite quickly with a beautiful specimen of a human being named ‘Jon’. Dark hair, brown sultry eyes and a jaw line I could shave parmesan cheese with. Yes please! He messaged me shortly afterwards, Shakespeare wasn't quivering in his boots, but he was pretty so I messaged him back. And then, nothing. So far - so standard. Then three days later a little message to say that he had been busy and an apology and then we chatted. The conversation flowed. He was witty, silly and funny and I felt the ice around my chest begin to thaw a little. Sure, there were moments when Negative Nora tried to interpret some of his messages, like the time he said he couldn't take a selfie because his "camera was broke" or the fact he seemed super keen to impress me, sending me videos of his 'man cave' and £90 bottles of vodka. But when Nora raised her head, I squished her down and thought, 'What would Cher from Clueless do?' as I twiddled my fluffy pen in my fingers and tied another glitter scrunchie in my hair. "I shall not be a bitter spinster, I shall not be a bitter spinster."

After four days of 1am texting and giggling like a frigid school girl, I began to think that my new attitude to dating was indeed working and it would not be long before I joined my married mates on coffee date, where we would talk about mortgages, throw cushions and the Next catalogue. And then during the day he sent me a photo. It was a random photo of some work he had been doing on this house he was apparently refurbishing (did I tell you he owned a building company?!).

"Hey!" I said, "Isn't your camera broke?"


"Well if your camera works, I definitely deserve a selfie"


Please direct this 'Jon' to my blocked list
And then a photo came through and I eagerly opened it. Wow, I thought, cute eyes. Then I scanned the rest of his face. It did not look like the pictures I had seen before. His jaw line seemed less defined, slimmer and perhaps a little obsolete. His lips, not so pouty, thinner, less cute. And then those eyes, those big brown eyes in the Tinder photos were now small, bright blue eyes. Positive Polly suggested it was a bad angle, a bad day, perhaps a very old photo. But Negative Nora knew the truth. I had been bloody catfished. Catfishing is the term used for people who use fake online profiles in order to persue someone, usually romantically. And on this occasion that someone was me.

Bizarely, he made me confront him about it. "You're not the same person" I noted. "Well he said, long story but..." He suggested he had broken his phone and was using a friend's Tinder to save his ex girlfriend's feelings, but he had enjoyed chatting to me and hoped I would continue talking to him even though he was a completely different person. It seemed irrelevant to him that he had been posing as a completely different person for 4 days, that his name, his job, his face had all been a lie. He seemed to that because we had gotten on whilst he was ‘Jon’ that I would somehow transfer those feelings to this ‘John Doe”. I called him a few names and then deleted and blocked him. Not without learning a whole new set of lessons about the dating world first. 

1) Never Trust Your Married Friends

Bless them and their rose tinted view on all things relationship. If your married friends' last experience of dating was back when Craig David could still make love from Wednesday to Saturday without a Viagra and a nap, then don't trust a single word of advice they utter. Their intentions are good, they are happy, they want everyone to be as blissfully in love and as happy as them, but they have absolutely no concept of the Jumanji style jungle you are surviving in every time you open your dating app. I mean if a member of the Russian mafia hasn't tried to blackmail you over your nude selfies, have you even internet dated?? 

2) Verify, Verify, Verify

Nice try mate...
The great thing about our generation being so connected is that there are endless ways in which we can confirm the identities of others without even leaving our sofas. As soon as someone hands over their phone number, you can access almost all of their social media sites and check out whether they are who say they are. Even the most hipster anti social media wanker will have an old BEBO or Myspace account you can check out their teenage goth stage out. Sure it's a bit stalkery, but better to do a five minutes of lurking than wasting 4 days on an old man with an iPhone.

Additionally, there are lots of ways of getting live verification from someone without needing to become Columbo. Snapchat, Kik, FaceTime and Skype are all ways in which you can verify someone is who they say there are in less than a second. If they aren't keen to do this, there is probably a reason why. 

Point to note: I did this with the Catfish and I found his Facebook page. 'Jon Drake' did exist, however the only photos he had on his FB profile were the same ones from his Tinder profile. He also only had one friend. One! It's almost laughable how desperate I was to ignore my gut feelings on this one. On that note...

3) Trust Your Gut

Excuse the spelling mistakes, I was raging. 
There is a reason why 'gut instinct' is a universal term for when something seems a bit fishy. Our bodies are sensitive sausages and they react instinctly to when we feel unsafe or in danger. It’s the reason why when we burn ourselves on the frying pan we don’t leave our arm in the fat and wait for our brain to reflect on what the emotional damage might be. Throughout my conversations with ‘Jon’ my gut was telling me there was something not right. For a handsome man, he seemed overtly keen for me to like him. Now I am not saying pretty people can’t be interesting, but normally, good-looking people don’t need to put much effort into getting people to like them.

However, Jon would send me photos of different things he owned, pictures he had painted and would try and keep me engaged in conversations long after I had told him I was going to bed. At the time, I thought it was weird that he was so keen but Positive Polly wasn’t having any of my naysayer attitude, in reality, Polly should have shut the fuck up. Long live Bitter Betty!

If It Seems Too Good To Be True – It Probably Is

Now that I’ve let Bitter Betty out of the closet, I want to ensure you that I do not say this as some old hag who wants you to doubt anything good can come into your life. However, this isn’t ’10 Things I Hate About You’ and Heath Ledger isn’t about to serenade you on the football pitch in front of the whole school. This is real life and people are flawed, faulty and sometimes idiotic beings. Of course we all pump up our statistics on the internet to make ourselves seems a little better (Hello Instagram!) and lying on a dating profile isn’t anything new. But if the guy you are talking to is a 6ft, Thor like creature, who is a top 100 CEO whilst also doing a bit of charity work on the weekends, yet is still swiping madly on a Tuesday afternoon, then he probably isn’t real mate.  

So after five years of internet dating, I experienced my first Catfish. It makes a change from the ghosting, at least these ones text you back. Have you ever been lied to on the internet? Any hot tips on how to avoid the Catfishes on Tinder? Let me know in the comments below, Bitter Betty could do with your help before she buys a cattery and a chastity belt.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Oh Hay, I am in the newspaper now. Like a famous. 

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, a little article was published about my binge eating disorder in Fabulous Magazine, in The Sun on Sunday. Have a little gander at it here

Monday, 1 May 2017

Can you be "Body Positive" when you hate your body? 

The clean eating fad of 2016 is well and truly dead. Step forward the latest trend in Instagram worthy posts - "Body Positivity". The avocados are out and the cheeseburgers and exposing your flesh is in and we are all supposed to feel mildly happy about this. No longer do we need to work out for 2 hours a day and gulp down spirulina smoothies like little radiant sun beams of health, for the world is ready to embrace us, whether fat, thin, bloated or lean. Brands are jumping on that 'Body Positivity' train as quick as they kicked the Hemsley sisters off it, and we are told it is time to embrace our scars, stretch marks and cellulite and feel positively grateful for their existence. Except, if you spend any time flicking through the body positive or 'bopo' tags on social media, what you will see is a lot of (predominately) white women, with luscious boobs, nipped in waists and back ends you could stack your groceries on. These women are beautiful, and polished and they make me feel anything but positive about my naked flesh. Even as the world begins to embrace the curvier female figure, what do you do, if even your plus size body doesn't fit the mould? 

I have always been aware of my body for as long as I can remember. I am a fully paid member to the flat bum, fat tum squad. There has never been any junk in the trunk, but gut in the gunt, I've got plenty. As I grew up, I became more conscious of what was wrong with my figure and less aware of what was right. I would diet, and exercise and dream of rock hard abs and quickly fell into this pattern of restricting and bingeing, before I fell face first into a fully-fledged eating disorder. As a mental health issue, eating disorders really do a number on your brain and your body. After a decade of starving and stuffing myself, my body was in dire straits. I was overweight, bloated and exhausted. I quickly began to isolate myself from my friends and family, conscious of what people would think about my escalating weight. My life became solely about the way I looked and there was nothing more important than that number on the weighing scales.  I gained degrees and masters, I was promoted and excelled in my career, I had relationships and fell in love, but nothing mattered more than how I looked in the mirror.

As I move into recovery, I am finding parts of my life have begun to come alive again, my friendships are blossoming, my social life is increasing and the importance of my weight slips and slides down the scale of relevance on a daily basis. However, I know how I look remains incredibly important to me. I know how much I weigh to the pound, I am conscious of what I put into my mouth and sometimes I still crawl in bed and envelope myself in my duvet because I can’t bear the world to see me. There are times when I stare at my body and I hate it. I hate its lumps and bumps, the way it moves and jiggles and blubbers about. I will lay on my bed and grab and pull at my belly and at the worst times think about how I would love to take a knife and slice away all the parts I really detest. The idea that I would find an ability to love these parts is such an alien concept to me that when I scroll through the body positive posts I want to scream at all the women at the top of my voice “HOW!?”

In the most part, the bopo movement is about finding acceptance in your self, and as a notion it isn’t the worst. Of course we would all love to wake up tomorrow and look at ourselves in the mirror and skip happily down the road in our bikinis singing “I’m pretty, Oh so pretty” at the top of our lungs. But is that even possible? Like with the clean eating movement, the issue I have with bopo (and in particular brands use of body positivity as a selling tool) is that it is a fad, a way of selling us a shiny glossy slice of a perfection most of us will never achieve. It trivializes our relationships with our body and societies views of our figures as one we can just overcome by sticking on a two-piece and a nice filter. As someone who has spent years hating my body, the bopo movement encapsulates all the pressures I feel to conform, just in this instance, rather than a svelte goddess with a smoothie bowl, we now need to be a curvy queen with a cupcake.

As the bopo movement skyrockets into the mainstream, is there a way in which we can embrace the values of body acceptance and loving ourselves, without the need to conform to the hourglass ideals that fill our timelines? One of the greatest tools I have gained through my recovery is to begin to realise that my body is more than just what it looks like. My body has kept me going throughout everything I put it through, and (minus a gall bladder) it’s coping quite well. My body is strong. I can’t run to save my life, but give me a bench press and I will lift weights until my hearts content. If I were born in pre-historic times, someone would have knocked me over the head with a club and dragged me to his cave years ago, because I would have saved our village during an avalanche. I can move those rocks! The fact is, my body is badass, it can move and jump and dance and it is more than just what it looks like on the outside. This thought process gets me out of bed, even on my worse days because I know I can do anything I want to do, if I let my body take the reigns rather than my brain. I am beginning to accept that I may never be 100% happy with how my body appears, and that there may well be days I lay on the floor surrounded by clothes, but with nothing to wear because I am having a ‘bad body’ day. And actually that’s ok. In the future I hope that by feeling more positive about what my body can do, rather than how it looks, those ‘bad body’ days may become less frequent and I can truly begin to accept who I am. For perhaps, body positivity isn’t about accepting what I hate but embracing what I love. 

Monday, 3 April 2017

When Depression came to stay. 

I have heard people describe depression as a black dog or a dark fog. For me, Depression was like the best friend of the best looking guy at the bar, who I spent all night flicking my hair at and then saw he copped off with the 18 year old bar back. So I downed ten tequilas and ended up snot crying and sharing my broken love story with Depression as he comforts me through salty teared kisses whilst I continue giving his best friend the side eye. The following day and I woke up feeling like Woody Woodpecker was making sweet love to my cerebrum and I looked over and saw Depression snoring beside me. I spent 20 minutes planning a James Bond style escape plan, before I realised that I was in my own bed, and I’d have to wait until he wakes up to shove him out the door. Except, Depression didn't get the hint and before I knew it, he was lounging around in my bed, getting crisp crumbs between the sheets and working his way through my Netflix account. 

At first I found Depression's presence irritating. I tried to encourage him out the front door; I would ignore his presence in my house and head out for hours at a time. But no matter how long I left it, on my return, he would be there, hanging around, waiting for me. Eventually I gave in. I lay in bed and felt the weight of him behind me as he pulled me deeper under the covers. It felt good to give myself up to him, to relent to his presence. Depression saw me. He saw the broken heart, the damage and the pain and he still stayed. In the morning, as my alarm echoed through the room, he snoozed it and enveloped me and I slept. Depression and I slept a lot. We slept through the winter, the spring and the summer. Life whizzed past my bedroom window, but inside, we hankered down beneath the duvet and enjoyed the numbness of our existence. The short periods of time we spent awake together, we would talk, and he would listen to every little secret I had held on to, every embarrassing tale that I had to tell. In the darkest of moments, he would lay beside me on the kitchen floor as I gasped great sobs and he would catch the heartbroken tears that fell from my face. At other times, we would lose ourselves in movies and time would gently pass between us and it was easy.

Soon, I began dreading days when I would have to leave Depression and venture out into the real world. I would leave him slumbering soundly as I pulled my clothes on from the floor and scrapped my hair back from my face. Throughout the day, I would be distracted by my thoughts of him and wonder desperately when I could return to him and slip quietly back into our bed. 

Depression became impatient at hanging around my room waiting for me, and before I knew it, he was present at every family gathering or girlie night out. My friends would glare at him over half filled glasses of Sauvignon as he made his presence felt. At first, Depression was happy just sitting beside me, a gentle hand across my back, reminding me he was there. Eventually the conversations would bore him and he would begin to whisper in my ear, drowning out my friend’s words until all I could hear was him. He would remind me of the silly things I had told him at 3am about the times I had been a terrible friend or danced drunkenly on a bar. I would feel the embarrassment of my humanity encroach on me and he would whisk me back to the safe cocoon that waited for us at home. My friends would phone and text and ask to see me alone, encouraging me to leave Depression at home. I mentioned this once to Depression and I could see his hurt as his anger spilled from within him. He placed a hand across my throat and squeezed the air from within my chest and reminded me of all the times he had been there when they had not. That night he would apologise and place his arms across my body and sooth the aching pain of heart break once again and I would forgive him in exchange for his comforting anesthesia. I became dependent on Depression in managing my pain, and without him I felt adrift.

I became attached to Depression like a dog collar, and if I tried to move from his side, I felt the grip of him around my neck as I struggled to breathe without him nearby. He began to control my every movement and I felt unable to leave his side. During one evening, after seeing a friend who had coerced us both from our cave, he spat bile in my ear and I struggled to speak as he pulled me further away from her. On the journey home, I gulped down silent tears as Depression criticized my friendship. The pain he had been suppressing for so long simmered under my ribs and for the first time in months I wanted to feel that, I wanted to pull away from him and fill my body with that pain. I looked at a nearby tree and thought about turning my wheel and allowing us to collide with it’s enormous braches, so I that could feel the crushing of my bones and the blood within my body. I did not want to feel numb anymore. I wanted to feel the pain; I wanted to feel alive again.

I drove home that night and left Depression sitting in the car and I found my Dad and I cried. I cried a lot. I felt every little piece of emotion that I had let Depression suppress and shared it with my Dad, and then I cried some more.

The following morning I went and visited my GP, and she gave me a pill. At first I shook my head, and told her I was not mental and she reassured me that the pill would just let me see clearly again. So I took it, I swallowed it and I saw. I saw what Depression had done. I saw my broken friendships, my bloated body and my empty life. I saw the times that I thought Depression had removed my pain when really he had just misplaced it.

Not long after this, Depression left my house and did not return. Occasionally he will send me postcards from distant places and remind me of what we had, and occasionally I might long for 48 hours in bed with him, for the numbness and the comfort. But then I normally call a friend and have a cup of tea with them alone, no invite open for him. 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Where have all the good men gone? 

There is something happening up and down the country and hardly anyone is talking about it. Men are disappearing. They are vanishing and no one is panicking, in fact people are super calm about it. I've spoken to multiple female friends who are aware of the men they know having disappeared off the face of the earth and their response is often a shrug, an eye roll and a "That's just what it is like these days". But I believe we cannot let this continue, we must take action now and I think I have a theory for where they have all gone.

I first became aware of these missing men in 2014. I had recently come out of a long-term relationship and was dabbling my toes into the online dating world for the first time. I met a gentleman online, he was good humoured and handsome and wanted to see my face in real life. We met, I drank too much wine, he had the politeness to laugh at my slurred jokes and awkward flirting and it was a pretty good date. We had a number of solid dates after this and seeing him became a regular part of my weekdays. However, after about 4 weeks of dating we were having a bit of a less good time together and it became clear that at some point one of us might have to brave it out and say we should stop seeing each other. But before we'd even got a chance to send a broken heart emoji on WhatsApp - he disappeared. Poof, Gone, Gonzo, he vanished quicker than the Cheshire Cat in a tree. We had arranged to meet for another date but he never confirmed a time. I texted him, I called him. But all my attempts at contact went unanswered. Initially I worried I had upset him, maybe that time I rolled my eyes at one of his jokes he had seen it and I'd hurt him. Then I worried it was me, it was my terrible personality, it was my phone. As time rolled onwards, I became pretty sure he was a spy and the government had sent him to Syria to negotiate with Isis. What if he had been hurt, or worse, what if he was dead? After a couple of weeks I assumed the worse, I hoped he had a well attended funeral and I laid a wreath at the local WW2 memorial. It was respectful. I moved on and life continued and then twelve months later I saw his name appear on all of my social media platforms. He added and messaged me and I almost fainted with shock and relief. He was alive. And yet, if he had not been murdered by terrorists, why had he not contacted me? When he texted me, he made no reference to that time he never messaged me back for a full calendar year. It was as if he had no memory of it.

Despite this I continued on the online dating path where I met more men and had other successful and not quite successful dates. And on almost every occasion, no matter the result of the actual date, the same pattern would emerge, one day we would be sending gifs of pizza and puppy dogs and then next day they were gone. On occasion they would return, sometimes after weeks, mostly after months and each time, there would be no mention or any glimpse of a memory of having disappeared into thin air. It was like their whole brain had been wiped. Then it occurred to me, when else do we know of people disappearing off the face of the earth only to return a few months later with their memories completely wiped? People! Single men in the United Kingdom are being abducted by aliens!

Now I know this is a wild theory and I am sure my critics will point out that perhaps I need to except that the men I have been dating are just not that into me. But answer me this, why would it be so difficult for so many men to have the courage to send a simple text to say they no longer wanted to date the women in their lives? Are we really suggesting that a whole swathe of men lack so little back bone that they could not cope to send a teeny tiny text? That we have created a generation of males who lack so little respect for women that after months of no contact and dodging any communication, that they think they can just send a "Hey, What up?" text and the women in their lives will be willing to strip of their onesies and leave their solo Netflix binges behind for the opportunity of one night with them? Nope, it's definitely Aliens.

Men across the country are being sucked into spaceships, probed, fondled and then their tiny, malleable minds are zapped and obliterated before they are returned to this little green earth with no memory of their six month absence. These poor, unfortunate souls then land bewildered back into their lives and clasp their phones in their hands and contact the last person they remember being close to. Instead of sending back sarky texts of derision and hostility, we should embrace these poor little pickles and their blank teeny brains and cling on close to them to ensure the next time the ship flies over, your Tinder date is not swept up again with them. So ladies, don those tin foil caps, erect that nuclear bunker and save our men from the biggest threat known to our generation, Aliens.