The Joys Of Late-Night Conversations

Last night, J said something so mind-bogglingly mad that I immediately retorted, “I’m blogging that!”

Unfortunately, my memory is shite, and I can’t for the life of me work out what he might have said. It was probably about the female reproductive system, since I’m on my period and grumpy with it, but more than that, I cannot say.

This, sadly, means that the only thing I have to entertain you with is the exchange that shows me in a pretty foolish light:

Me: *tells half of a story I’d read about a tampon getting lost*

J: *goes off on tangent*

Me: Shit, I’ve completely lost my thread, damn you…

J: *laughs hysterically*

Me: *glares over the phone, tries not to laugh*

On a somewhat related note, I keep trying to get J blogging. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just want to live online vicariously through him, because my offerings at the altar of Blogland have been distinctly fluffy of late. In my defense, not only am I posting at least twice a week for the Sheffield Fems, but ordinary life leaves me with precious little time, and the stress of ordinary life leaves me with precious little inclination to put my feminist glasses on. It all just gets too depressing, and gives me headaches. Or bouts of murderous rage. Still, at least my weekend news-surfing means I do have some inclination of what is going on in the country. This is probably a good thing.

Grump Over

Apologies for the grumpiness yesterday. I have slept and eaten and now feel more positive.

So far, there’s 1 coursework and 1 homework done, 2 courseworks and 1 homework still to do. Things could be worse.

Also, I get tea and cake for a birthday present today. This is a good thing.

It’s not actually my birthday today though. As usual, my birthday celebrations are long and drawn out, mainly because I don’t really like big celebrations, and instead go for smaller, more half-arsed events, where other people get more excited than I do, and give me food. This year, they started at the beginning of the month, and will not end until the 8th of March. Somewhere in that time frame, I turn 21.

The Cold War Continues…

… In my flat, of course.

I’m meant to be doing my coursework but I’ve been trying to finish the last question, without success, for the last hour, and I’m grumpy twice over now.

So I thought I would share my grumpiness with the world.

Evil Flatmate is still trying to pretend that she can’t hear me, which makes life difficult when I address comments specifically to her. She seems to have decided that the best way to deal with it is to grunt. I know she can say real words. That’s how the problems began – by me asking her to please consider the words she was saying, in order to be less racist and horrible. Anyway.

Because this has been rumbling on for so long, things that seem trivial become the most annoying things in the world.

Like the way everybody but me plays Bin Jenga, that exciting pasttime where rubbish is balanced precariously on top of an already-full bin, and the person who has to clear it up loses. Unfortunately, the “cleaning rota” – designed by Her Royal Evilness – had me down to empty the bin. So I’m the only loser. I say “cleaning rota” because it wasn’t a rota, and it didn’t really keep the place clean. I’ve thrown it away now, because it’s stupid and pointless and I swear nobody but me ever followed it properly. In her crazy alternative universe, the sides only needed wiping once a week. Consider the fact that a different flatmate (her Evil Sidekick) puts her condiment-smeared knives down on the sides, and doesn’t clear up the mess and, if you have any sense of cleanliness, you’ll soon be as twitchy as I am.

So, there was that. And then there was the colonisation of the draining boards. There are six of us. It’s a small kitchen. Bear in mind that we don’t share anything – not food, not crockery, nothing – so if you don’t put things away quickly, you clog up the place. The Evil Ones don’t put any of their crockery away. And they leave dirty plates about for days at a time. On the breakfast bar, which is a peice of worksurface at right-angles to the sink, and functions as our only table.

I took to wiping the sides, removing everything clean and dry from the draining boards and leaving them stacked on the side so that I could wash up. Then it occurred to me that this might just be seen as passive-aggression, and it was pretty obvious that it was me doing it. So when I found the Evil Ones together in the kitchen tonight when I came to wash up, and the drainers were full of their (clean, dry) crockery, I thought I’d try to talk to them about it.

And oh, how well it went. Evil Sidekick, being less infected with evil, moved her things when requested. Queen Evil decided that grunting was an acceptable response, and didn’t move, though lots of the things were clearly hers. I explained that I wasn’t moving their crockery specifically to be annoying, but that I wanted to be able to use the draining boards too. This, rather amazingly, provoked an actual verbal response from Queen Evil – but only to ask me why I didn’t just dry my things up straight away, if it bothered me. When I told her that a) I prefer to air-dry my crockery, b) my tea-towels – all two of them – are often not clean, c) I didn’t want to run the risk of breaking anything and d) the draining board was for everybody’s use, not just mine and not just hers, she returned to grunting. Perhaps she felt safer that way. In a kind of, “if all else fails, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through” kind of  a way.

I reiterated that I wasn’t doing it to be annoying, they left the kitchen.

I moved all of her pots, stacked them neatly and washed up my things.

I wish I’d just broken her pots. Then I wouldn’t have this problem.

The Invisible Woman

… That would be me, probably. At least for the next week or so.

This semester, most of my modules don’t assess us with continuous homework handed in each week. Instead, they give us 3-4 peices of coursework, which make up 15-20% of the final mark.

I’d hoped this would mean feeling like there was less work. But no.

I got an email yesterday that gave me one peice of coursework, and then two of my lecturers this morning gave me coursework as well.

The other lecturer this morning reminded us that the work we were doing in his tutorial yesterday is due in at the start of his (morning) lecture tomorrow. I haven’t finished it yet.

I am now formally running away from the internet until my work is done.*

*Although talking to / seeing people in real life that I’ve made plans with is, of course, a perfectly valid distraction, and should not harm my marks!

The Orgasm Gap

Through Fourth Wave Feminism, I found this article, which leads with the question, “why are men still twice as likely to climax as women?”

Well, there are several things I could say.

I could say something insufferably smug, because I’m a feminist, and we all know that feminists have better sex.

I could point out that, as long as women masturbating is seen as somehow dirty or wrong, and men masturbating is seen as normal and healthy, it would not be surprising to discover that the number of women who don’t know how to have orgasms by themselves is less than the number of men who don’t know, and that, as a corollary, it would also not be surprising if those women did not orgasm through sex.

I could say something about the way porn has invaded every aspect of daily life, and go on to say something about the complete lack of any realistic female sexual pleasure within mainstream porn.

I could say that sex education, at least as I knew it, had fuck all to say on the subject of female orgasm. Male, yes, because how else would you make babiez?!11!!eleventy!1!! But female orgasms? Well, they don’t have an obvious procreative function, so clearly they don’t matter.

I could say all of that in a longer and perhaps more coherent way.

But the thing that I want most to say is this: that I could not read past the first few comments on that article, because they were just that fucking stupid. The third comment down says – in all seriousness – “who wants fair sex? Boring, repressed people.”

I’m not even going to start ripping into that. On a level of total stupidity, it rivals that guy I found out about via Crimitism, who wanted to Be A MAN!!! and move to Siberia from America to show the Brilliant Not Feminst At All, Knowing Their Place Type Ladiez just how much of a Big Manly Man he was. He failed, because his parents wouldn’t let him.

(I’m not linking to that guy’s site, on the grounds that he’s an idiot, but Richie – 4th in comments – gives the address.)

In other news, the student bar is hosting a traffic-light themed Valentines’ Day evening. Wear red, you’re “taken” (and oh, how I hate that phrase), yellow and you’re terminally non-commital, green and you fancy a fuck. Charming. As you might expect, I’m giving that one a miss. Still, on the plus side, they’re not making anybody wear pink for any reason.

Vagina Monologues: Part Two

Now that was a good use of my evening.

I cackled for so long that Lee glanced over in concern, thinking I’d broken myself. No doubt Sam and Emma would recall our trip to TVM, which left me laughing hysterically after one of the monologues ranted about thong underwear. While it was indeed the same monologue that left me in fits of giggles, it was not the thong underwear part – which is scripted – but instead, Jenny Eclair’s ad-libbing.

Roughly, it went something like this:

“Do something nice for vaginas! Let’s make a big pair of comfy cotton knickers – double gusset for extra support – and build in a nice vibrator! Women would be so happy … ‘Delays on the Northern line? I don’t give a fuck!'”

How I wish I’d had those comfy knickers when I lived in London!

A good portion of the evening had a distinctly Northern feel; many of the monologues were recited in a variety of Northern accents, including the elderly lady who in the American original was scripted as having a Jewish accent – and whose boyfriend Andy Lefkov became Andy Lewis, who drove a Morris Minor rather than a Chevy BelAir. It was a nice touch.

Of course, possibly one of the most amusing one-liners of the whole evening has to be the somewhat startling revalation that “we’re reliably informed that here in Sheffield, you call it a ‘spunk satchel’!” And I always thought Sheffield was such a polite place! This closely followed by another ad-lib, this time by Jennifer Ellison, who, in the middle of the ‘hair’ monologue (a tale of a cheating husband who liked women to shave) said indignantly, “I looked like a little girl… He loved it. Fucking perv!”

You know, the Vagina Monologues is so good, and so open to new interpretations, I could go and see it every evening for a week without getting bored. And if only I had all the money in the world, and if only it hadn’t been on for one night only, I probably would!

Vagina Monologues: So Much More Exciting Than Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day: raises money for Clinton Cards and jewellery companies.

Vagina Monologues: raises money for women’s organisations. Spawned the V-Day movement.

Which is why I’ve persuaded Lee that we needed to get tickets to see Jenny Eclair et al shouting “cunt”, having orgasms and generally pissing about. Yay for friends that you can go to the theatre with! Especially now that the Fems isn’t a weekly thing for him anymore.

I shall of course report in later, probably with a somewhat garbled account involving frequent mentions of the name “Bob”. This will be the second time I’ve seen it. And Sam, who was with me the first time, bought me the script for my birthday. One day, maybe I shall perform it, astounding my old drama teacher, who told me – harshly but fairly – that although I could possibly be a director in a group of my choosing, I was not a good actor. Of course, that was back in the days when a group of sixth-formers performed The Vagina Monologues, which students in our all-girls school were banned from going to if they were under sixteen. Now I’ve seen it, I understand that some of the monologues could be pretty unnerving for a sheltered middle-class thirteen year-old. But at the time, I remember being very indignant, on the grounds that I had a vagina, so why the hell couldn’t I see a play about it?!

Perhaps it is this kind of thing that makes me so enthusiastic about a) decent sex education and b) The Vagina Monologues!

It’s The Thought That Counts

One of the downsides about being engaged to a man who sells jewellery is that sometimes he forgets how much I’m not interested in it. This is not to say that I don’t like colourful or twinkly things – that would be silly! – just that I don’t really care what it’s made from, as long as it doesn’t irritate my skin. Bear in mind, my skin can be irritated by aqueous cream and E45, two products specifically designed for sensitive skin. So the irritation thing is a reasonable concern. The relative shininess of platinum as compared to silver really isn’t.

Now, J and I both wear engagement rings. Which is to say, anybody who sees his left hand assumes that he’s already married, because in the eyes of the patriarchy, it is always and only the woman who should carry the symbol of ownership – formerly wedding rings, and now, since mens’ wedding rings have become common, engagement rings.

The other day, wedding rings came up in conversation. Since one of the things that irritates J is me quoting his own arguments at him verbatim, I try to make a point of doing so every so often, and this provided me with the perfect opportunity:

J: Lots of the men I speak to at work get that look. The one that says, “I’m paying silly money for my girlfriend’s ring, and she’s not paying for anything for me”. And then I speak to them about watches. And their faces light up.

Me: The joys of equality – now everybody has to give you their money!

J: Well… I was thinking… Everybody thinks that this [points at his ring] is a wedding band, and I’d only have to move it to my right hand. So maybe you just shouldn’t buy me a wedding band.

Me: Hmm. Well, I was thinking, everybody thinks that this [points at my ring] is a wedding ring, and I’d only have to move it to my right hand. So maybe you just shouldn’t buy me a wedding ring either.

J: *looks disappointed*

Me: *light dawns* Oh! You wanted a new watch, didn’t you?! You thought that you could buy me another ring I don’t need and I could buy you another watch that you don’t need!

J: *looks shifty*

Me: How much?

J:…. £1,000… ish…

Me: *laughs hysterically*

J: No wedding rings, then?

I would like to point out here that my life is made considerably more entertaining by J’s presence. In a good way. And I’m very relieved, to be honest, that we won’t be thinking about any more pointless jewellery. Being many things, but mainly an impoverished maths student, I can’t help but note that the money that would have bought the watch J wanted would have paid for 40 week’s worth of food for me – an academic year’s worth, in other words. That kind of thing makes me want to gibber in a corner.

(J now has his own blog, which he has promised will not make him sound like a whinging emo git. I checked this. He told me it was “delicately put”.)

Dear Maintainance Men

When there are at least 5 of you in a flat, and a lone woman is the only occupant present, telling her that “you have ways of getting in” to rooms is not appropriate.

Lucky for you that I knew you were joking, and even luckier that you weren’t giving off active creepy guy vibes.

I keep knives in my room.

And I spent a year dismembering pigs’ legs. Believe me, their skin was tougher than yours.

I Have An Answer!

Not a very good one, admittedly, but I do at least have one.

So, you know how there’s that bingo-worthy saying, “I don’t see colour”?

And you know how there’s a trend for advertising towards men to use all of the shades of the black/grey/white/silver spectrum?

Maybe it’s true!

Maybe, the reason that advertisers don’t use actual colours to advertise to men is because they are advertising primarily towards white men who are likely to say “I don’t see colour“! The advertisers are therefore targeting a more specific demographic than it would first appear: the demographic of racist, mindless, male douchebags!

For example, Lynx. They have a white man surrounded by white women to sum up the brand on their website. I think my assumptions are reasonable.

I am a genius.

In other news, because I am a maths geek, it turns out that any numeric palindrome of the form ABBA – like 1331 –  is divisible by 11. This pleases me, because it was worth 4 marks in my exam. And also because it makes 11 a more useful number.