Thank You, Captain Obvious

Cat wears paper hat with "cat" written on it. Caption reads "thank you, Captain Obvious".

The BBC informs us that the divorce rate in England and Wales is now the lowest it’s been for 29 years:

“Ayesha Vardag, a divorce lawyer involved in a landmark court win last year over a pre-nuptial agreement, said: “Our experience is that fewer couples are divorcing because fewer are marrying.””


Period Time

On a list of Things Which Are Not A Good Idea To Say:


Me: It’s strange, because it’s Monday now and I don’t have any signs of an impending period. And I normally get it on Tuesdays.

*pause*

Me: I shouldn’t have said that. That just means I’ll get the pain, the excess emotions and the blood, all at once.

*pause*

Me: Tomorrow is not going to be a good day.


Tuesday, of course, was yesterday. True to my prediction, I had everything, all at once, including ravenous hunger. Today is better, but this week is going to be pretty damned tiring.

In related news, I’ve been reading The Woman In The Body. It has some incredibly interesting things to say on the subject of periods, like the way that medical “wisdom” treats them as a form of “failed production”.

To paraphrase Emily Martin’s work, her point is that metaphors have been developed that treat the human body as a kind of factory system – the brain “sends signals” to other parts of the body, like a manager, and those other parts respond, as workers. In terms of the uterus, the “product” is seen to be a sucessful pregnancy, and periods are therefore seen as a failure to produce. She quotes from medical textbooks to underline this idea:

“Given this teleological interpretation of the increased amount of endometrial tissue, it should be no surprise that when a fertilized egg does not implant, these texts describe the next event in very negative terms. The fall in blood progesteron and estrogen “deprives” the “highly developed endometrial lining of its hormonal support,” “constriction” of blood vessels leads to a “diminished” supply of oxygen and nutrients, and finally, “disintegration starts, the entire lining begins to slough, and the menstrual flow begins”. Blood vessels in the endometrium “hemorrhage” and the menstrual flow “consists of this blood mixed with endometrial debris.””


Looking back over the descriptions – “deprive”, “constriction”, “diminish”, “disintegration”, “slough”, “hemorrhage”,”debris” – actually makes me angry.

Now, speaking personally, my period, frustrating though it is, is nevertheless a good thing, signifying as it does that I am not pregnant.

Actually, I’d go further, and say that even if every woman, at some point in her life, actively tried to get pregnant, she would be unlikely to do so for over half of her reproductive years, and therefore, it is likely that, for the most part, women in general will see the arrival of their period as a good thing.

So where is that, in medical descriptions?

Where is the idea that, far from being a “failure”, the occurence of a period is actually more likely, generally speaking, to be seen as a “sucess”?


I’ll admit, I didn’t expect to have my ideas about periods challenged in that way when I read the book.And I’m finding it quite hard now to wrap my head around the idea that what I have been led to believe to be objectively true, is in fact extremely negative and unhelpful.

But having been challenged, there’s only one description of a period that I think I now want to embrace, which is something that one of the women in the study said; asked to explain why women bleed, she replied, “to clean out your insides”.


Comment Moderation

It’s not something I do often, mainly because I’m not famous enough online to attract A-grade nutters.

However, I came back from my Christmas break to find a couple of comments waiting for me. To this commenter (since it does seem to be a real person), I’d like to say a few things.


1) What the fuck makes you think I’m remotely interested in your sexual preferences?

2) If I thought feminism was about prescribing who I could or could not have a sexual relationship with, for what length of time I could have said relationship, or what I chose to call it, I would never, never identify as feminist.

3) I was not aware that a “feminist dream” existed. Is that like the American Dream, only less capitalist? And how do you have this dream? Is it something to do with the Feminist Hive Mind (TM) ?

4) If you want your comments published, I suggest you read the comments policy. If you just want to get some hatred out of your system, I reccomend swearing at the mirror for a while.


What Girls Are Really Thinking (No, Honestly)

Ok, so I wasn’t going to blog, because I notice I’m posting a fair bit these days, trying to hide from my Statistics coursework.
But then I realised that somebody (I’m going to assume a man, and I’m going to call him… Ted. Hi Ted!) had got to my blog by typing “what are girls really thinking” into Google.

So, Ted, first things first.

When you say “girls”, do you actually mean “pre-pubescent”? Because if so, you’re in the wrong place. I am not a “girl”. Although I was, once. And I’m not going to talk about what girls are really thinking, because if you’re a man, you’ll either be very bored by that, or very creepy. If you’re creepy, please go away now. I don’t like creepy men.

And, if you didn’t mean “pre-pubescent”, can you tell me why the fuck you just referred to all women as “girls”? Honestly, it’s one of those things that just keeps on annoying me.

I am a woman. Have been for a while, whichever definition you choose to use. So this is about what women are thinking.

Now, I really would like to insist that you ignore this article. Yeah, yeah, I know what it says. I know how it panders to all those stereotypes that you just can’t help loving…. but, poor, naive Ted – it’s a lie. It’s all a lie. Cake is a lie too, probably.

I could give you links to various blogs by various women, because that shows you what women are thinking. Of course, I am biased and selective, so I would only link you to women that I, personally, find interesting or amusing.

Actually, you know what you could do? You could go and watch the Target Women series. It’s awesome. I love it. And it shows you, fairly easily, what women are asked to think, and what (some) women do think.

But I wasn’t meant to be linking you to things, really. Because you could go to my blogroll and check out what women are thinking from that, and it would be really easy and simple.

Anyway. It’s not difficult, Ted. And if I asked you what men were thinking…
Well, actually, since you had to google the phrase “what girls are really thinking”, you’d probably tell me that men were thinking of Teh Sexxx, you know, like they have no other function.

But I’ve actually thought about this (OMG! Thoughts!! From A Woman!!!) and so I can tell you that what women think about, is pretty much what men think about.

And that would be… Everything.

Yes, Ted, that’s right. Between us, we “girls” think about everything.
Some of us even think about God sometimes.

Seriously, if you ever need to type this kind of thing into a search engine again, I suggest that you start to wonder why men and women are held to be so different. And when you start to wonder, I suggest that you then go to this blog, where you may start to understand.

And don’t assume I’m thinking about how to make you like me.


Eviltude

My computer thinks that I am spyware. If I try to access blogger, I get this message:

We’re sorry…

… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.”

So, although – bizarrely – it will let me post, I can’t read what I’ve written, and nor can I see anybody else’s sites if they use Blogger.

Logical……!

Anyway, if I’m quiet for a bit, that’s why.

Bloody Google.


Money

Money can’t do everything. This much we know. There are many things that money can’t do:

  • buy unicorns, dragons, or other mythological beasts
  • buy love, happiness or other emotions, although it often leads to worry
  • make everything better. As everybody knows, only tea can do that.
  • buy style or poise, or indeed good fashion sense.

I have been thinking about money a lot recently, both in and out of work.

In work, because one of my bosses is trying to buy me new trousers.

I am resisting this for a variety of reasons. I work four days out of five kneeling on the dirty, dusty floor of the male changing room, sorting laundry. To buy me new (suit) trousers makes very little sense.
Instead, I have appropriated the trousers of a sacked porter. He won’t be needing them, they are sturdy and comfortable, and, rather usefully, they can be washed with our laundry company, so that I don’t have to take them home.
That’s the financial bit.
Of course, my other reason is that I don’t give a flying fuck how loose my stolen trousers are, or if they were designed to accomodate the girth of a really big cock. I don’t care if they aren’t bright black, because by the end of my sorting the laundry, the knees will be dirty and grey anyway. And I don’t care if the trousers don’t flatter me, because I come to work to work, not to seduce people. I spend most of my day on my own in the kitchen office, or in the kitchens themselves. It would be bloody stupid to walk around the kitchen in suit trousers, as anybody in the kitchen is always at risk of airborne food. Or spoons.
But with such good reasons not to buy me trousers, I can’t quite understand why he’d want to throw the money away like that. Surely his budget could be better used for other things?

Outside of work, I have been thinking about money because almost everybody I spend any time with tells me they don’t have any.
Which is bollocks, really.

When you don’t have any form of income, no proper job, no dole money, no gullible relatives or friends – THEN you have no money.
When I was unemployed one summer, relying on babysitting for cash to go looking for a proper job, having to make the decision to spend my last £20 on a Young Person’s Railcard that I then wouldn’t be able to use, not having any money to spend on a train ticket, but knowing it would save money in the long run, that was the closest I’ve got to having “no money”. And evidently I still had some. Just intermittently.

When you’re a student, you get loans. It might not be your money, and you might need to spend it on food to eat, but you still have money.

When you’re working, and getting a steady income, you have money. You might have bills, and things that you want to do, but you still have money.

For goodness’ sake, is it really so hard to budget?

Sit down and work out how much you earn each month.

If you work, look at your payslip, you fool. Somewhere on it will be something like “basic pay”.
Somewhere on it will be “tax” and “NI” or “National Insurance”, with a total.
Take the amount you’ve been taxed away from the basic pay, and you have a very conservative estimate of how much you earn each month (by which I mean, you won’t earn less than this, but you may earn more.)

If you’re a student, find the bit of paper that tells you how much of a loan you get each year. Divide this by 12, for the number of months in a year. That is your conservative estimate (because, if you’re any kind of sensible, you will get yourself a job, or gullible relatives, to supply yourself with extra money.).

Then think about what you actually need to spend. And when I say that, I mean money that is necessary to spend to live:

Rent, and any household bills as applicable.
Any loans, direct debits etc. that keep you alive (including phone bills)
Food (but only to keep you alive. I don’t mean that £50 you eat by sodding off to Pizza Express or wherever. If you were really poor, you’d be in McDonalds to eat out.)
Travel (but only the travel that gets you to work or uni. The money you spend going to see your friends, or a gig – well, if you were that poor, you wouldn’t have the gig ticket anyway, would you?)

When you work these out, make them generous. Round up to the nearest £10. Even if your phone bill’s always £21 – make it £30.

Then take all of that away from what you earn.

The money that’s left is yours. And if you can stick to using only that money for going out, you’ll have money left at the end of the month.

And then you’ve saved money, and you can put it in a savings account and know that it’s your money.

And then you won’t tell me that you have no money, ever again.

And we’ll all be happy.


The Vagina Monologues and other books

In the time that I’ve been out of blogland, my birthday happened. And it was a very nice birthday; I am now 20, and will not get funny looks for procreating.
Not that I intend to procreate just yet.

The nice thing was that my birthday entailed lots and lots of books. Lots.

So instead of writing, I’ve been reading:

1 – The Vagina Monologues – Eve Ensler.
Read this. Everybody should read this. I’m lending it to J because it contains some of those things that we need to know. Such as the fact that the clitoris has around twice as many nerve fibres as a penis – more than anywhere else in the body, male or female. Not only is that a useful thing to know, it’s also very nice!

2 – Bachelor Girl – Betty Israel.
I picked this up on my birthday holiday in a little sleepy town with a remarkably big bookshop. Wall to wall bookshelves on four levels, and half a shelf somewhere in the middle labeled Feminism. I was happy. And the book is one of those books that needs to be read quietly. It’s focussed on American women, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting or relevant. Just different.

3 – Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade – Guy Browning.
Because you’ve got to have some fun in life and laughing out loud on a train, scaring the man sitting opposite you always counts.

I have a few others still to go, which is nice. But I keep lending them to people – just as well really as my bookcase is small and I suspect that to accommodate my growing collection, if they were all there, I’d need to buy another one.

Also, I don’t like Reading.
It is Guildford, only squashed a bit flatter. And it’s Guildford – and therefore London – prices.
I’m not becoming a student for that.

So I rather suspect that I will be heading North in October.

Hopefully more regular posts now that life has settled down a bit, but with my sister stealing my laptop to ‘revise’ for her A-levels, using that ever popular medium of Facebook, who knows?