Part 140: Scented Tampons

rose

The last time I wrote about periods my mate Kaya texted to tell me that I had ruined her morning commute; the phrase ‘gooey fresh lady blood’ coupled with the sickly, sticky fragrance of her new body lotion had sent her over the edge. She’d launched herself from the top deck of the bus and onto the street to vomit. She wanted to let me know that this was an experience she did not wish to repeat.

I tell you the above story for two reasons. Firstly, because it serves as a warning to Kaya (you’re welcome), men and other similarly weak-stomached readers: you will not make it through this post unscathed. Secondly, because it recently came to my attention that someone, somewhere, has taken the stomach-churning experience my mate had on the top deck of that bus and turned it into a marketing opportunity.

There is now a ‘scented tampon’, and it is the most repulsive thing I have ever known.

It wasn’t my fault I ended up using them. I was cocooned in my bed, foetal, like a prawn, with my legs tucked up to my stomach and my head nuzzling my cleavage. I had the essentials: nurofen, hot water bottle and a big wodge of toilet paper stuffed down my knickers because, you know, I’d come on out of nowhere (or rather, I’d not paid sufficient heed to iperiod notifications) and I couldn’t be bothered to walk to the corner-shop. Fortunately, (or unfortunately as it turned out), my mother popped her head inside my bedroom, saw my plight and offered to fetch me some tampons from ASDA, and some more nurofen while she was at it.

Mum doesn’t have periods any more, due to the menopause, so she buys tampons like your boyfriend would, if you had one – blindly chucking any old sanitary product in the trolley, figuring this one is as good as the next. Which is most definitely not the case.

It must have been a bloke who invented the scented tampon, right? A woman would have known, in advance, that the meaty smell of sloughed off womb is in no way improved by a base-note of rosewater. It’s like if your Nan dropped potpourri in the beef stew, except worse because it’s located inside your genitals.

Had a woman thought of proposing the scented tampon at a meeting of fellow professionals, that little voice in her head, conditioned by years of rom-coms, women’s magazines and men never calling when they said they would – that voice that means she has to care what other people think of her – would have gone ‘no’. ‘That’s a shit idea’, it would have said, ‘and you’ll be embarrassing yourself if you suggest it’. The voice would have been correct.

So it must have been a man and it must have been a good-looking one, who has had success with the ladies and has therefore grown a titanium ego that repels criticism, even from the voices in his head.

And this is why, ladies, I often think we need to stop boosting men’s egos by having sex with them, marrying them and giving birth to their babies. The more I think about it the more I am convinced that a period (no pun intended) during which women boycott all men except gay ones would be really quite beneficial for human kind. I’ve been at it for the last decade or so and it has enhanced all parts of my life, unless you count the sex and emotional fulfilment ones.

Think: if we just fucked them off they wouldn’t be able to sell us dangerous and disgusting merchandise, or perform disappointing cunnilingus, and it would do wonders for population control. And then, once we let them back into our bedclothes they’d be so grateful and gagging for it that even the worst ones would try to be kind – and if they didn’t, ha! We would have got our shit together and fashioned a great big bonfire to thrown them on in case they got us pregnant and ran off with our best mate, or didn’t text us back, or invented any more terrible feminine hygiene products.

Which would serve them right.

*Image is “Pink Rose” by artur84 at freedigitalphotos.net

Part 139: Ordering the Crab

crab

In the spirit of fuck, I’m in my thirties how did that happen I better get a wriggle on if I want to have babies (which I do, possibly), I’ve been dating. I say ‘dating’, what I mean is that I’ve been exchanging messages with blokes on Tinder who a) offer graphic descriptions of their penis and what they’d like to do to me with it, b) ask if I’m ‘naughty’ and c) cease communication once I agree to meet in the flesh.

It’s shit, obviously. But I’m not taking it personally. You can’t. If you want to meet someone and have babies and if it has become clear that isn’t going to happen by conventional means (bar, club, friend, friend of a friend, brother of a friend, work, holiday romance etc.) then you need to approach the whole mating exercise in a calculated, clinical way. This is where I’ve been going wrong in the past: expecting that spontaneous attraction would yield results. Up until now I’d taken last-minute cancellations, ignored text messages and unfulfilled promises personally – I thought they were symptoms of my innate undesirability, rather than the behavioural traits of selfish emotionally stunted man-children who deserve to be ceremonially eliminated on a large, raging bonfire.

How things have changed. Can you tell how chill, laid-back and open-hearted I’ve become? I’ve dumped the unwieldy emotional baggage I’d been dragging behind me and I feel free, giddy and slightly reckless, like if one of those homeless men you see in LA, pulling along sixty shopping trolleys tied together with bungee cord and bits old rope, were to just let it go.

I say ‘dating’, I mean one date. And when I say ‘date’ I mean blind date, set up for a popular television programme, because it turns out that’s the only way single men will agree to meet me. But as I said, whatevs. I’m cool with that, because you learn something new from every experience* and what I learned from this experience was: don’t order the crab. Especially not on a blind date. Especially not when he orders the battered cod. Especially not when the date is being filmed by hundreds of Dalek-height cameras with rotating robot heads.

It was a whole crab, still in its shell – which I wasn’t expecting, obviously. I haven’t had a great deal of experience with undressed shellfish. I had whole soft-shelled lobster this summer and the proper method of breaking it open with dainty silver pliers and pulling out the flesh with a spear was patiently explained to me by hospitable Americans who don’t expect anyone to be cultured. But my memory of the technique is quite hazy because I was shown it after six Manhattans. Now, I was in a decent restaurant with white table cloths and po-faced Eastern-European waiting-staff in stiff black aprons, and the crab-shell was like rock, and every time I tried to break into it splinters of rock-shell kept flying off and landing on the floor and the surrounding tables and hitting my date in the face.

And all the while my hands were becoming sticky with crab-grease, which the luke-warm water in the finger-bowl was not satisfactorily removing. And every time I tried and failed to release any meat from the carcass my date gave me a sympathetic grimace and asked if I wanted a chip. Which I did, but I couldn’t say yes because you can’t order the crab and a salad and then eat all the chips off your date’s plate like some cliché of a famished anorexic movie star.

Fuck. This is why I don’t date.

I laughed it off, as you do, hahahahaha – and he was very gracious and didn’t turn it into a big deal, by which I mean even though I could see the glaze of horror settling over his eyeballs he did not make things awkward with a public display of revulsion. And it’s not as though I wanted to tear his clothes off with my teeth or bear his firstborn son or anything. But it remains that there is a bemused man on the loose in London, telling friends and acquaintances the story of how he went on a TV dating show and the woman ordered crab and didn’t even know how to eat it; he’ll tell them how she kept stabbing at the shell with the delicate silver pokey thing and that she ended up abandoning her meal, drinking mint tea and making feeble jokes about how she should have gone for the steak. And they’ll all laugh, hahahahaha. ‘Poor you,’ they’ll say, ‘sounds like you had a lucky escape’. And I’ll be at home, still sans baby, eating stilton out the fridge with my hands. This is what comes of dating.

Laterz.

*You don’t, of course, mostly you’re just reminded of things you already knew, such as that you probably don’t fancy kind, well-meaning community arts workers who wear hemp, and that 11am is no time to be dining in a restaurant that serves venison with a red-wine jus.

*Image is “Roasted Crab” by koratmember at freedigitalphotos.net.

Part 138: Insomnia

Insomnia

Yesterday, I was all ready to go with a post about how shit everything is. ‘It’s cold, and I’m tired and full of a perpetual cold and I just want to crawl inside a warm, cavernous space and sleep until springtime, like a grizzly bear,’ I wrote. ‘The serotonin levels are catastrophic, even though I’ve been eating chocolate and watching Russell Brand’s Trews and masturbating, often simultaneously. It is very hard to maintain perspective. I keep googling ‘painless suicides’ and then realising I’m not going to top myself and having a cup of tea and a biscuit and a little lie-down instead.’

And then I went all dramatic, ‘nothing good will ever happen again. Ever. That’s it for me. I’ve had my chance. My twenties are over. There’s a boil under my right breast. I’ve got piles. No more sex (def no anal). No more delicious all-nighters with hot backed boys I only just met. No more lingering kisses that make your tummy turn over. It’s just misery from here on in. Misery and cold and endless endless darkness. Even the concept of summer seems like a distant outlandish utopia, like a lie the government made up to keep us from revolting.’

But last night a miraculous event occurred. I felt sleepy. I climbed into bed. I shut my eyes. I slept all night long without waking because of the jagged, terrifying nightmares, the sudden urge to pee or the grinding, metallic noises that the pipes emit when a poltergeist is moving through them. And when I woke up this morning I felt positive and well-balanced. And while, alright, it was still cold and dark and really fucking miserable outside, inside my body it felt warm and settled and euphoric.

I haven’t slept through the night in, literally, years – unless you count all those times I’ve passed-out blind drunk, which I don’t because comatose from alcohol consumption is not sleep, according to my doctor. And, despite the fact that I’m tired all the time, that my friends have nicknamed me ‘dormouse’ because I’m always falling asleep under piles of coats at parties, I’ve never put two and two together before and realised that all my problems, all those insecurities about my face and my spreading waistline and my sexual desirability are caused by a lack of sleep.

No wonder I’ve been single for just about ever. I have been manic, nauseous and intermittently suicidal for well over half a decade, and it’s all because I’ve been knackered.

No wonder I’ve been a total bitch hell-bent on drawing attention to other people’s flaws. No wonder I’ve cried at multiple bus stops. No wonder I’ve wished death on all the telephonists who’ve ever called me about my outstanding debts. No one can function like a rational human being on three or four hours disrupted napping.

I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in about eight years and I’ve not even moaned about it, really – which, when you think about it, makes me the Mother Teresa of not sleeping through the night. Except that my not sleeping through the night has done nothing to enhance the well-being of others. Still, despite the fact that that was a terrible metaphor, you catch my drift. New parents are always bleating on about how they have to get up a couple of times a night to feed the baby. Even though feeding the baby means they get to squeeze a fat milky cherub thing they’re biologically programmed to love. And here I’ve been all these years, wide awake but exhausted, or tearing through horrific, disjointed dream-scapes before jolting awake and scrolling Twitter to make myself feel safe and connected to the world – even if that connection is virtual and, therefore imaginary. And I have had no sympathy whatsoever.

All these years, I’ve been alone. And not because, as I believed, other people were all cunts. But because the ceaseless fatigue had turned me into a monstrous, bitter, bloated, unlovable nightmare. I was the cunt.

Who’d have thought it?

But with one night’s sleep under my belt I feel human and full of the joys that don’t normally arrive until spring. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with this newfound humanity, but I thought I’d share it with you, my darling readers, because you’ve subscribed to read a blog about my life and, right now, this is as exciting as my life gets. I can even give you some advice, in case that’s what you’re after: you want to be a kinder, happier person who people will fancy and ask out on dates (even if only so you can turn them down and feel smug about that)? Get more sleep. That’s all there is to it.

*Image is “Thoughtful Insomniac Cartoon Lady” by debspoons at freedigitalphotos.net