Part 65: Fag Hagging

The Urban Dictionary, which I’ve been dutifully browsing as ‘research’ for this post, has several definitions of the term ‘Fag Hag’. My favourite goes like this:

Also known as Fruit Fly and Queer Dear. This is a woman who prefers the company of gay men because she recognises their effervescence, incisive wit, and sheer brilliance regarding the human condition.


That’s totes not why I prefer the company of gay men (if anything I am the effervescent, witty, brilliant one – as I’m sure my many gay friends will reluctantly admit; if only to humour me).

The company of gay men, I hate to break it to you, is very much the same as the company of straight men – with one massive advantage. Gay men will not try to have sex with you, ever, even when they are really pissed and you’re showing so much cleavage that it’s effectively porn.

And they always remember to compliment your beauty, because, although they don’t want to have sex with women they do sometimes fantasise about them emerging from gorilla suits adorned in sparkling flapper dresses and dancing with a group of dwarves*.

Also, Gay Pride Los Angeles 2011: men (alright, a man, singular, but still) left the parade to have their picture taken with me because I looked ‘fierce’!

Since this event I’ve concluded that the gay community can do no wrong.

I like men. I like them a lot – and not just because of their descended genitals, Adam’s apples and other biological anomalies.

No, I love the socially conditioned differences too.

Their confidence, their conviction that they are always right (even when they’re not), their capacity to have a conversation that is not about relationship woes or triumphs, their ability to be genuinely pleased for you when you achieve something amazing, without harbouring a teeny bit of resentment, their innate selfishness and vanity.

It’s all good as far as I’m concerned (except when they decide they want to fuck you and the feeling’s not mutual and they turn into creeps). Of course, women have a place in my heart too, but sometimes a bit of masculinity is a necessary tonic to help one refresh one’s love for the sisterhood.

How I do love getting tarted up in leopard print – talons painted red and sharpened to a point, like claws. Sipping whisky-on-the-rocks and smoking Marlborough lights in the platonic company of a chiselled young hot thing, as though I’m a Hollywood starlet from yesteryear. It is the definition of fabulous.

And yet, deep down, I know that the Hollywood starlet suffered for her fabulous. She was sleazed all over by creeps, and often died in tragic circumstances. Or was forced to drink or swallow pills until her beauty was ravaged, which at least had the advantage of making the creeps crawl away. Although often, by that point, she had convinced herself she was in love with the creep and so was destined to live out her days in sadness or insanity.

I have no intention whatsoever of suffering for my fabulous. Which is why I recommend fag hagging if you’re really determined to enjoy being single – rather than treating it as an exercise in short-term promiscuity before settling into a life of domestic drudgery.

When you leave the house in the company of a gay man you’ll either be headed for a gay bar, where the sleazes won’t want you – or else everybody will assume you’re a couple. Which is great because, unless you happen upon a cad with the requisite charm and sex appeal, you can forget about copulation, avoid all the sleazes and get so drunk in the company of your gay man that you throw up in a shoe.

Life doesn’t get much better than that.

* At least, this is what I understand from the disturbing erotic footage I saw playing on large screens on the walls of a fairly hard-core gay club I was fortunate enough to visit some years ago. There were also blow jobs and a huge fluorescent light that depicted a penis becoming erect and spunking all over the walls. I’d recommend it; if only I could remember where it was.

Part 64: Facebook

My education, as I might have mentioned before, has not been insignificant – despite being almost entirely state funded.

It’s equipped me with the life skills I’ve needed to set up this blog for a start.

And the ones I needed to read almost an entire chapter of Simone de Beauvior’s The Second Sex while pissed on whisky, that time my ex was horrid and I wanted a French person to give me stylish, intellectual reasons to hate men.

What my years of book-learning haven’t given me is the time, patience and fluency of foreign tongue that would allow me to read Dante’s Inferno in the original Italian.
I haven’t read it in English either, but that’s alright because there’s a decent enough synopsis on Wikipedia. That synopsis has familiarised me with the essential facts that will enable a metaphorical application of the epic work here (I apologise in advance if you came back for the kind of sexual stimulation I offered last week. That seemed popular. I’ll probably return to it once I’ve got this out of my system).

Dante’s version of hell, as you’ll perhaps know from popular cultural references, or from reading it yourself (yeah right), has nine circles. My fave are the circles Wikipedia dubs ‘lust’, ‘anger’ and ‘violence’. Not because these are the sins and vices I most frequently fall prey to myself, but because they’ll be filled with my peeps (I tend to be attracted to impulsive, unstable types – I’ve mentioned that before as well. Because it’s true. I might be a bore, but I’m no liar).

You know what they say about heaven for the weather and hell for the company?

Well, even though it’s very windy in that second circle I’d much rather blow about with Romeo, all intense and prone to spouting poetic declarations of adoration, than chillax with the type of people who are likely to be cloud bouncing up in heaven (I tried to think of some hilarious examples, but can only come up with the following dead humans who are definitely heaven dwelling: Jesus, Mary Whitehouse, Mother Teresa – what a party).

Because hell, as depicted by Dante, clearly isn’t vile enough to keep the charismatic away, God obviously needed to invent a tenth circle that would properly teach us sinners a lesson and improve the quality of company his end.

And thus, on the eleven-thousand-billionth day he created Facebook: where the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs would dwell, suspended in cyberspace, consumed with the bitter cyber-rage that comes from seeing digital snaps of an ex-lover’s sister marrying her long term beau and buying a spaniel puppy.

They know that nothing good can come from looking. And yet, each day they trawl her profile, retching bile as they spy her simpering status updates and photo captions (‘Pixie and Jeff having Sunday snuggles. XXX’) underneath smug pictures of weekend country walks, pictures of pup emerging from tartan chrysalis as a dog, of dog falling pregnant with an ikkle puppy litter, of puppy scan pics (‘my baby’s having babies!’) – as the lives of the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs remain frozen.

Peter Pan-esque the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs upload their own smiling photos. They post links to ironic singles blogs they’ve written through jealous tears in cold, damp northern flats. Hoping that exchanging bile for cyber-lols will end their ceaseless suffering. But it never does.

Facebook is not a happy medium – despite the best efforts of its collective usership to pretend otherwise.

And, importantly for this blog, Facebook has just too much potential to cause relationship ruin for me to suggest that being in one while you’re an active user is sensible.

I mean: irrational jealousy sparked by an old pic of your boy snogging his comprehensive school sweetheart. Rational jealousy sparked by inbox messages evidencing your boy’s affair with his brother’s girlfriend. Ugly pictures of you passed out on a crate in The Venue, New Cross on New Year’s Eve 2008. Someone you’ve been sleeping with using ‘lol’ unironically, or tagging themselves in a photos wearing wigs to fancy dress parties, or attending fancy dress parties. Or ‘liking’ a photoshopped picture of an old couple holding hands in the sunset.

I have no idea how people manage relationships now that all the skeletons are out of the proverbial closet, poking your cousin with a sheep (yes, I know no one’s used that sheep throwing app since sometime in 2007, but still), which is one reason I’ve been single since I signed up to the social network.

I mean, I could deactivate – only then I’d probably never find out how many teeny spaniel pups Pixie gives birth to when she finally drops that litter.

And there’s always next year for functional relationship stuff. At least, there is in hell.

Part 63: Matching Underwear

The lights are low.

In front of the mirror I lean forwards and, angling my body to the side, examine my full length profile: juicy, muscular buttocks covered in rosy lace. The same lace cups my pert, youthful breasts. They resemble slightly overripe cooking apples, or firm nectarines held aloft – as if my chest, personified, were the madam of a particularly slutty brothel offering up flesh for passing customers to bite.

This is how I feel in that rosy lace underwear: like Cindy Crawford on a good day. And if you’re having trouble visualising what that might look like I urge you to click here.

You must think – should you believe the narrative of tales told in R&B videos and the words I just wrote above – that one glimpse of my toned silken flesh wrapped in matching underwear would be enough to spontaneously fell a decent man. Not even a decent one – on desperate days I’d be happy to fell that one I saw being sick outside the Wetherspoons at Leeds train station last week (don’t get me wrong, I do have standards – even through the vomit you could tell he would be a suitably caddish rogue in la bedroom).

But this is the lie of the bra and knicker twinset.

Like all of the most terrible lies it involves relationships and cuts like diamond sharpened glass once you unfold it.

Matching underwear is not capable of felling anybody.

There are three main reasons for that.

The first harsh underwear truth is this: a matching underwear set looks sexy only once – the first time you wear it, before that wash where it shrinks or you lose the bra or the elastic goes in the knickers or the lace starts to fray like the split ends of a home bleached barnet. If you disagree with this harsh truth it’ll be because you’re one of those women who washes their lingerie by hand, as recommended on the care label, in order to maintain its quality. In which case I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You don’t really fit in here. Perhaps you should try mumsnet instead.

Truth two is (obvs) that matching underwear cannot spontaneously fell a sexual partner, because you will not be spontaneously wearing it. As we all know, unless you have planned a sexual encounter in advance (in which case it’s likely to end in disaster before the underwear stage), you’ll be in one of your mum’s old sports bras and that greying thong you purchased in topshop circa 1999 with the slogan ‘he shoots, he scores’ barely visible under the faded image of a football.

Truth three is the most harsh. Particularly for anyone from the underwear advertising industry who might be reading. Men don’t care about matching underwear. Seriously. They’re well not bothered – unless they’re gay or 15 years old – even when it’s porn. As I probably don’t need to tell you (you’re undoubtedly more practised than me in all things carnal) if it’s got to the stage where you’ve let him see your underwear he’ll just want to get it off your body as quickly as he can.

Yes, alright, before you start, I know that I have a habit of selecting unrefined blokes, but I’m willing to bet fictional dollar that I’m not wrong to generalise here. People who want to have sex with women aren’t that bothered about the coordination of said woman’s undergarments.

I’m not sure from experience whether it’s the same for lesbian couples, but in the interests of inclusivity I just asked my lesbian sister whether she preferred matching underwear or old cotton briefs on a lady lover and she said, ‘I couldn’t give a flying fuck’. Which proves my point. Kind of.

But all is not lost. For us singles matching underwear can provide the kind of bliss it will never provide the coupled. This is because it is both tantalising to our own senses (see paragraph one), while promising that which it can never deliver in a way that won’t make us want to tear our beloved’s insensitive eyes out.

It’s like what Oscar Wilde said about a cigarette being the perfect type of the perfect pleasure – ‘exquisite yet it leaves one wanting for more, what more could one want?’

Wearing matching underwear when you’re single is exactly like that, I say, typing these words in my favourite black rose patterned undies and glancing sideways at my reflection between sentences – both appreciating my excellent underwear taste and longing for my flesh in a way that no man ever will. Yes, there are reasons to be single.

Part 62: Movember

Since, I dunno, a few years ago when someone in Australia decided that prostate cancer needed more attention than it was getting, men across the UK (and other regions of the globe) have spent the month of November growing moustaches (i.e. rows of neatly trimmed facial pubic hair* on their upper lips) in order to raise money and awareness for the prostate cancer cause. I’m a bit torn as to how I feel about this. On the one hand cancer of any type is a vile and life-destroying and every shade of hideous; surely anything that raises money for a cure or alerts folks to symptoms is a Good Thing (and if you think so, you can donate here). On the other hand: no.

And it’s not just because I find moustaches sexually repulsive that I’m writing this blog. I mean, I don’t have enough sex for that to be a problem, they can always be shaved off as part of a kinky foreplay ritual, and anyway, even I’m not that selfish. Plus, some stylish men (no, I can’t name any) are able to wear a moustache in a way that enhances their beauty. For me the whole thing is a problem for another set of reasons.

Movember, despite being an ostensibly light hearted, worthy event is an example to my mind of the worst kind of Britishness – despite the fact that it is a worldwide thing. The gusto with which the Brits have embraced the movement is characteristic of British eccentricity; our national flaw. Movember embodies the same kind of wallyish humour as fancy dress afro-wigs (which regular readers may recall I have previously expressed distaste for), and those plastic union jack hats people wore for the jubilee. I don’t know how you feel, but I personally take absolutely no pride in the fact that daft eccentricity is part of our international identity. Making yourself look unattractive for a short period, for charity, is not something I imagine people in serious countries, like, say, the Ukraine, would do with such fervour.

While you might well think me a humourless, heartless kill-joy I’m not going to apologise. I am going to make a contentious tongue-in-cheek conflation to illustrate my point instead. Very recently, our national habit of mindlessly embracing the eccentric who raises money for charity was revealed as potentially sinister when it we discovered that celebrity eccentric Sir Jimmy Savile had been molesting children and vulnerable women for the entirety of his career. Despite all the signs he gave us: incoherently repeating nonsensical phrases like ‘now then’, leering after pre-teens and wearing outlandish sportswear while puffing on a massive cigar – we turned a blind eye to Savile’s obvious sexism and blatant paedophilia, gave him a knighthood, and laid his body in state – as other counties might a great leader – because he’d raised a few million pounds for charity while simultaneously appearing as a total weirdo in public. I’m not saying the Movember lot are all creepy paedos; I’m just pointing out that raising dollar for good causes does not dismiss other flaws – like having no sense of humour or groping little children.

What has any of this got to do with being single? Well, I’m not saying I’d say no to a Movember man necessarily (my womb wants babies too badly, and I’m sure many of them are right lovely). I’m just pointing out that when you’re a bit put off by the whole idea of relationships anyway streets filled with thousands of men with moustaches and smug grins that suggest pride in their ability to be Good People, demonstrate their GSOH and raise money for charity do make you fairly pleased to be single. I am planning a tour of the serious countries of Eastern Europe next summer though, and I’m hoping that during my trip I’ll find a burly, witty, foreign intellectual who refuses to engage in humourless lols for street cred.

I’m not sure you’ll be wishing me luck.

*while I might be into letting genital pubic hair run free I am afraid that I’m not so liberal when it comes to pubic hair of the face. And this isn’t a sexist thing; I have a single black hair that grows out of my chin, like a kind of menstrual alarm clock, every month a couple of days before I’m due on. There is no way I would let this grow for charity. I use a sharpened pair of tweezers to pluck it from the follicle as soon as it appears in the hope that no one will ever realise I am a fully grown woman whose body experiences normal hormonal changes. Except on days like today when I forget, and have to spend office hours with my hand cupped over my chin, as though I am pondering important thoughts, so that people don’t notice The Big Black Hair.