Wow, I never knew that….

I have had a thought. Another one.
I started my list of things we need to know, because, well, we need to know them.
And it occurred to me that while I know and have experienced a fair amount to do with the female body (or, at least, my female body!) I don’t know that much about men’s bits.

For instance, I didn’t know this:
When men sleep, the build-up of urine in the bladder puts pressure on the man’s prostate gland, resulting in an erection.
There was me thinking they just have better dreams than I do!

If anybody is better informed that I am on the subject (c’mon guys, you must’ve done something in that lesson when I got told about periods!) please let me know, and I shall spread the word!

It’s possible that people may actually read these, as one of the more recent ways that someone found my blog was by typing in “can I go swimming on my period” or words to that effect.

For the record, you can, you just need to be catching the blood internally – tampon, mooncup, seasponge etc – to avoid people thinking you’re fatally wounded!

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CUNT

Ha! See, I can say “naughty” words!

So naughty, in fact, that it is still written as “C**t” in that purveyor of UK womens’ soft porn stories, Scarlet. You would think, wouldn’t you, that in an erotic story involving a woman, and yes, very probably, her cunt, it would be quite sensible to have the word in its entire four letters. But apparently this would relegate it to the Top Shelf (or, in other words, the naughty corner) for using this most forbidden of all swear words. Which brings me to ask this –

Why is “cunt” the “worst” swear word ever?
While on holiday with my family, this was one of our discussions, not resolved in any conclusive way (although well done my mother, for accurately pointing out that it may well be about the way women are generally perceived in our society….. my father sat and looked bemused, but I suppose that’s his privilege, really, isn’t it?!)

We actually started ordering them, much to my amusement, and although I’m not going to repeat such a terrible, ear-curdling list (ahem!) I will say this:

The conclusion we drew was that words related to bodily functions (shit, crap, piss-take…) were the “softest”, causing no real offense, generally speaking.
After that – generic “embarrassing” body parts, and male body parts (arse, bollocks, cock-up…) followed by allusions to masturbation and thence to sex (wanker, buggered up, screwed, fucked…) and finally, to the worst of all, female body parts (twat, and of course, CUNT)

I once got into terrible trouble for calling my little sister a “twit”. I’d just read Roald Dahl’s The Twits, and couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about.
On a different note, there was much amusement from my history teacher when the phrase “The War Against Terror”, complete with acronym, was being used a few years back. It was quickly replaced with “The War On Terror”, which is much less funny.

The strange thing, as my sister rightly pointed out (I love that girl, even if she does believe what she reads in magazines!) is that my father’s worst swear word is “cunt”, which can be heard occasionally if he’s stressed while driving.

But it’s not the worst words he knows. He wouldn’t dare, even under his breath, use the word “nigger”, “paki”, “chinky” or any other derogatory racist words. It wouldn’t even cross his mind, the words are that bad.

So why does he feel it’s acceptable to use a word that is so very derogatory and sexist?
Even he couldn’t answer that one.

By the way – I found this on my travels. Isn’t the BBC wonderful?!

in 1230AD, both Oxford and London boasted districts called ‘Gropecunte Lane’, in reference to the prostitutes that worked there. The Oxford lane was later renamed the slightly less-contentious Magpie Lane, while London’s version retained a sense of euphemism when it was changed to ‘Threadneedle Street’. Records do not show whether it was a decision of intentional irony that eventually placed the Bank of England there.

And

There is a legend that the old name for the crime of rape was ‘Forced Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’, and part of the punishment was that an abbreviation of the crime would be branded on the perpetrators head. Hence, people with ‘F. U. C. K.’ on their head were known to be rapists.

Oh, please let’s do that! ‘Cos then you could call someone a fuckhead and it would be sooooo much worse!


… And 35.4% of statistics are made up on the spot

I’m having a big blog-reading session tonight. It’s not going well.
Or rather, it’s going too well. For Rachel is grumpy now. And when Rachel gets grumpy, bad things happen. And she starts referring to herself in the third person. (Until she gets angry, anyway, in which case she will be too busy yelling at you to be bothered with referring to herself, or until she gets livid, in which case she won’t talk at all, in case she spontaneously combusts)

Anyway, I came across a post about a study done about women who’d claimed to have their drinks spiked. You need to read this.
By the way, you might want to remember that the source is the Daily Mail.
Ugh. I feel I have sullied my blog. My grandmother reads it religiously (more religiously, in fact, than she reads the bible, although she is a fairly believing Christian) and when she still lived at home, she was afraid to leave it, or indeed to talk to anybody who wasn’t an obviously harmless young woman. Considering the number of scare articles about the way “yobs” are taking over the world, and specifically your street, right there, yes, twitch your curtains just to check, I’m not surprised.

Anyway, so we can ignore it on that basis. Or we can ignore it because the study seems to be pointless, self-satisfying and generally foolish.

But some of the stuff in that article scared me.

Like the implication that women are lying about feeling they have had their drink spiked.

Well, you know what? Just because they haven’t tested positive for the “date rape” drugs, that doesn’t mean their drinks haven’t been spiked.
The article commented that “although all the patients denied taking drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine, one fifth tested positive”. Well, you could leap to the conclusion that they were all lying druggies. Or you might say that while some may well have knowingly taken those drugs, others may have taken them unknowingly. Is that such a test of your logic? And besides, what is this, guilty until proven innocent?
And what if they’d just been given more alcohol? What if they’d been given doubles when they’d asked for singles? What then? Were they lying when they said they felt their drinks had been spiked?
When they felt that they just shouldn’t react that way to the amount of alcohol they thought they’d consumed?

I’m getting angry. I’m about to stop, before I start really growling.

But before I carry on my forray into blogland, I want to say two things.
One: I expect anybody who feels like commenting to respect that what I say next is very personal for me, and I feel very, very strongly about it. To be blunt – If you don’t like what I say, or if you don’t agree with it, you can just fuck off. I don’t give a crap about whether you understand, or whether you’ll never listen to another one of my arguments ever again, or you’ll laugh at my expense about this the next time you’re in the pub, or whatever. This post isn’t a place to start a discussion. If you want one, wait for the next post, where I may once again be willing to listen to you.

Two: one of the reasons I felt strongly enough about this old article in a paper I don’t respect to write about it is because it hit home.

Last year, St. Patrick’s night, I responded positively to a creepy guy. I had decided to go up to london, to see what was going on, wander about, have a drink or two – just revel in the fact that I could. This guy, who called himself Pari, was at the bus stop. He started talking to me, sat next to me on the bus, and for once I didn’t brush him off. I was bored. And it was a challenge, in a way – I kind of wanted to prove to myself that I could handle creepy guys.
So anyway, I went drinking with him. The first bar we went to, we only stayed for one drink. I don’t think he liked the fact that a fair few other men were trying to chat me up. That should have weirded me out, but hey, the night was young….
So we went to a second place, and I reckon I had four drinks all in. Vodka and coke. And he bought them all. Bear in mind, at the time, I was out every friday night at least, and drinking four or five doubles each time. I could hold my drink, reasonably convincingly.
But when we were walking back to the bus stop, I felt more unsteady on my feet than I think I ever have done while drinking.
And other ways I responded to the drink – it just wasn’t right. Not at all. And I was just about scared enough, and sensible enough, not to go back to his – where, he said, we could just carry on drinking, and oh, what a coincidence, he was sure he had both vodka and coke knocking about. I demanded his number on the grounds that he’d think I was interested, and walked a tortuously crazy route home so that he didn’t know where I lived. I was watching out for him following me, too.
What can I say?
At the time, I thought I’d just drunk too much. But since then, I’ve experienced getting to my limit with drink. And I don’t respond to it like that.
I didn’t feel nauseous. There wasn’t the same comedown that I get from alcohol.
What there was was a passiveness that I also never get from alcohol. A loss of muscle control. An inability to stay warm.
Besides, this year, at the Download festival, we had a girl in our camp whose drink we suspected to have been tampered with. Her pupils were all over the place, she was shivering violently and unable to get warm. She looked like I felt, over a year ago, sitting huddled in front of the fire, feeling exhausted but condemned to wakefulness until I could get rid of the numb, icy cold in my body.

I felt ashamed. For a long, long time I felt too ashamed to tell anyone about it. Not my best friends, not my sister, not my boyfriend, who I love and trust with my life, nobody. What you need to understand here is that there are gaps between the lines, so to speak. I haven’t explicitly said what bothered me most about that episode. Because – guess what?! I’m still ashamed.
When it comes to this, I revert to blaming myself. I ask myself why the hell did I even give that guy a chance. I ask why, why I accepted those drinks, when I didn’t see them being poured, when I couldn’t be sure what was in them. I ask why I didn’t get the hell away from him after that first drink. So many questions, because hindsight is a bastard.
But actually, I don’t think it was my fault. And I don’t think that I was mistaken. I simply should not have responded in that manner to the number of drinks I thought I’d had. In fact, I shouldn’t have responded like that no matter how many drinks I’d had, if they were just alcohol.

But I wonder, I really do, what that study would have thought of me.


Where the City Sleeps

And I’m the only one and I walk alone……

Do you know what I hate? Well…. many things. In fact, I intend to post a list of my pet hates fairly soon. Just so you know. But more than my pet hates, what I hate is this:

That every single time I talk about walking alone, I get asked questions about it, or told that that’s not such a good idea, or, blah, blah, blah.

Why don’t people just SAY it?

Don’t walk anywhere alone for you are a woman*! And we all know that if a woman walks anywhere on her own she immediately becomes prey for the myriad of stalkers, pimps, perverts and rapists who sneak through the night, waiting for their next foolish victim. And it isn’t their fault, poor things, because they have Teh Evil Menz Hormones, and can’t help but slake their lust on the first unprotected body with a pulse and the right number of holes that comes into their (evil-magically enhanced) field of vision……….

*
Blame Blackadder for the emphasis there!

HOW ABOUT….. NO!!!!!!!

Look, I’m a city girl born and raised. I know the bloody rules, ok?! Oh, and I also know the following….

1 – that most rapes are not, in fact, commited by that shadowy “random rapist” lurking in the street, but by men that the victim knows and/ or trusts. Statistically, my boyfriend is more likely to assault me than that guy over there, innocently walking his dog. [This is not to say that “random rapists” don’t exist; they do, and they rape, and I’m not trying to deny this.]

2 – that although as a woman, I am more likely to be raped, I am in an age bracket which means that my male peers (yes, you heard, the men my age) are much, much more likely to be mugged or assaulted in the street than I am. [And as circumstantial evidence, I cite my sister, who claims that every single one of her large collection of male friends has been in some kind of fight / standoff / form of assault with/ from a random stranger]

The rules, by the way, are things like:

– If you’re carrying a bag, wear it across your body, it makes it more difficult to steal
– Walk upright, not overly fast, not creeping. You will seem more confident and less of a target
– Walk as though you know where you’re going. Indecision can be confused for weakness
– If you need directions, try to get them from a shop assistant, not from somebody in the street
– Don’t use your phone unless you absolutely have to. It distracts you from your surroundings
– Ditto MP3 players / Ipods etc
– Walk against the flow of traffic (ie, on the right) . That way nobody can follow you with their car
– Walk in the centre of the pavement. That way it’s harder to pull you into a driveway / house
– If you pass somebody, try to keep to the outside of the pavement (towards the road).

I do these things. I take reasonable precautions. And, actually, I like walking. A lot. And I don’t like the way I’m treated for insisting on walking alone, when I’m not the vulnerable one. So when people react with horror to the fact that I’m not scared, I shall smile to myself, secure in the knowledge that I have assessed the risk and found that actually, I’d have much more to worry about if I looked like a Big Strong Man.

Ps – these are my statistics – just so everybody knows I’m not being a silly girl who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

1 – 82% of serious sexual assault and 83% of rapes are committed by someone who is known to the victim.

— “Seven per cent of women had suffered a serious sexual assault at least once in
their lifetime (five per cent of women had been raped and three per cent had
suffered another type of serious sexual assault involving penetration of the body).
Overall, 1.5 per cent of men had suffered a serious sexual assault at some point in
their lives with 0.9 per cent reporting rape. “

2 – “According to the 2004/05 BCS the risk of becoming a victim of violent crime is 3.6 per cent.
Young men aged 16 to 24 are most at risk; 14.6 per cent experienced some sort of violent
crime in the year prior to their BCS interview in 2004/05″

Have the link.


Aaaargh!! A Diet!!! Poke it with a stick!!!!!!!!!

A while ago, I wrote a post (in a now-extinct blog) about Crazy Ladies, some of which I feel I have to quote:
This is a description of one of my old regulars.

She comes to us roughly once a fortnight, give or take, flouncing her way in in an impressive collection of shawls and scents. Generally, she is polite, as these things go…. However, for the last couple of transactions, she has been irritable, indecisive, snappy, and generally unpleasant. Since she is a regular, and not a tourist, I calmly ride over this, in that manner that anybody who serves can achieve – the slightly aloof, you may have all the money but I have your food and I will ransom it kind of attitude. Towards the end of the second sale, I discover the reason for her bad behaviour. I’ve given her a couple of tasters by this point – slices that “just happen” to have gone wrong, and so on. Because, as my mother taught me, if somebody doesn’t seem right, feed them and see what happens. I fed her. Result: Lady x-x: “I’m so sorry I’ve been a little abrupt lately” understatement of the century, but no matter, it’s an apology “you see, I’m on a diet” and there it is “and there’s all this lovely food and I’m just so bored of fish…..” I point her in the direction of the expensive ham whose fat is reputedly “good for you” and steal more of her money. I tell her to look after herself, with genuine concern, as although she is irritating I don’t want her dead, and besides, she’ll stop giving me her money, and point out that we also have low sugar ice cream. She walks away laughing and I feel emotionally drained.
You see, this is why diets don’t work. And in my case…..
One: There was no discernable difference in her shape.
Two: She was a complete pain in the arse.

I can’t deal with people who diet. Well, I can, but I don’t want to. They’re just being silly. And ok, fair enough, if you feel like you’re a little bigger than you normally are and you realise that for the last month you’ve been eating crap and not moving, I can see how that old eating healthily and moving more thing might help. But otherwise? Er…. no!

So, when I was seventeen, not having proper meals, lounging around, hardly walking if I could avoid it, and then finally got myself a job, which involved a straight ten hours every sunday walking up and down stairs carrying baskets full of clean / dirty crockery, it’s no wonder my arse got firmer and less wobbly.
On the other hand, when my sister, who is now seventeen and eats well and dances and stuff, tries to diet, is it any wonder that it doesn’t work?

I’m a bit sad about that actually. Not the not-working bit.
She came to me the other day, bemoaning her “fat” state. She isn’t, of course. She just reads fashion magazines.

I now call upon the House to outlaw Glamour, Eve, Cosmopolitan, Red, She and any other stupid fucking drivel-purveyors to the masses.


Metal Vs. Pop

Oooooh….. tough call…..!!!!

Right, let’s ignore the music. Yes, yes, I can hear you all having heart attacks. Stave them off, ok? Ignore that tingling feeling in your left arm….

What about teh womenz?

So, you have Pop. Women are everywhere. And I mean everywhere. As lead singers, backing singers, in all-female bands, the works. But how many of them sing about anything other than a man? Or getting a man? Or singing to a man?*
Don’t get me started on the Pussycat Dolls.

Or, you have Metal. Women are thin on the ground. Mainly because one of the status symbols of a metaller is a beard the size of a small badger clutching to your chin. But when they are about – and this tends to be as lead singers, so their difference and rarity is further emphasised – they get to sing about death, and evil, and…. stuff…..
Things that aren’t men.
For example – Within Temptation’s song Mother Earth.

Would either pop or metal pass the Bechdel-Wallace test, as adapted for music — two or more women in a band, who sing about something other than a man?*

Hmmmm.

Continue the research.

And when I say “continue the research”, what I mean is I want lots of opinions please!

*Slightly worryingly, the Spice Girls pass the test, with various songs about ‘girl power’, and loving their mothers.


By the way: A Fallacy

Just a thought, quickly, before I go to bed and forget –

Situation M being worse than situation C does not make situation C good.

Or in other words, M being a darker grey than C does not make C white; it makes C a lighter grey than M. But C is still grey.

Or in other other words, situation M, being a manager, may be ‘worse’ than situation C, being a counter monkey (in terms of job flexibility, hours worked etc…), but that does not make being a counter monkey ‘good’. It just makes it less bad.

So when my manager told me to, in effect, count my blessings, because after all, she worked crappier hours than me and did I hear her complaining?
Well, that wasn’t really the point. If she doesn’t want to complain, that’s tough shit for her. But it doesn’t have any relevance to whether I should complain about my working hours. Because really, I know and she knows that having a late shift run into an early shift twice in one week is horrible. And it’s horrible if you’re a counter monkey and only have to deal with it that one week, and it’s also horrible if you’re a manager with an earlier start / later finish. The two ideas – that the working hours are inhumane for counter monkeys, and that they are inhumane for managers – those are not mutually exclusive. That is to say, they can both exist at the same time. You shoudn’t say “well, my situation’s wronger than yours, therefore yours isn’t important”.

On a good note, I only have two days of this job left to go. Woot.