Situationships

Just keep on walking buddy, you’re not getting another run at this.

Every now and then a guy I’d completely forgotten about will resurface on my whatsapp or chat.

You know the type. The ones who send a mandatory maintenance text that outwardly says ‘sup’ but means ‘I haven’t forgot you, we could still hook up. These never ending situationships that went nowhere have started boomeranging back in the form of monosyllabic text reminders of the fuck ton of bad choices I once made, which now baffle me.

I appear to have dated an array of sexual opportunists and emotional parasites who have hoped the relationship door will be left ajar on the off chance they get locked out of a opportunity with a girl they actually like. Luckily, I can now identify a waste of time in under 10 characters, a tragic but necessary life skill, like being able to find your way home drunk.

It took me years to realise I had to stop responding. Screw being polite. I wasn’t bitter, or in my feelings, I just didn’t want to massage the ego of some guy who was clearly getting some relationship karma coming back his way.

These men had gotten all the time out of me that they were going to. If I was going to spend anymore of my time frivolously, I’d rather waste 20 pokeballs trying to catch an angry Seadra, than maintain intermittent contact with someone who lacks both common courtesy and the ability to send a witty text.

Despite this move in the right direction, I did not live happily ever after.

Much like the elusive bus that only appears when you light a cigarette, the minute you stop bothering with some guys they rematerialise with added emojis.sex-love-life-2014-10-text-from-ex-main

Really? You were thinking of me? If you want to get all nostalgic, try having a wank over your mum’s Mary Kay catalogue, or watch The Goonies. Don’t assume some type of emotional vigil is being held for you by an old flame. You’re getting in touch with a practical stranger who (if they’re me) will ask you to lose their number.

I refuse to assist any more guys in any delusion that I may be the one that got away, or that I’d spent years at a window, Jane Eyre style before wandering the moors to find them. I am not that girl. The only time I patiently wait by the window is when I have an ASOS delivery coming. This tends to be the standard response when you don’t talk to someone for 3 years after messing them around for months.

Case in point: The Colombian. He didn’t want to date me then disappeared online before he ghosted my texts. Yet years later, in his mind all it took was a simple ‘Hey’ to get us back on track. Here’s some free advice: if you plan to resurrect a relationship via text get a thesaurus. Only Jesus can get away with a casual ‘Hey’. and even that was only after three days. I hadn’t seen this guy in 2 years.

What followed was more monosyllabic inane small talk and thinly veiled enquiries about my relationship status which culminated in him asking me to fly out to see him in Colombia. The only response I could think of that fit was LOL. He did not take this well.He ranted on about how I obviously didn’t care and to forget he’d said anything.

Guess what? I didn’t care. He had texted me while I was happily eating Jaffa cakes in a dick free zone. His irritating wounded act ruined a perfectly lovely afternoon.

A month later I got another ‘Hey’ and a life update. Now he’d moved to Mexico and wanted to know whether there was a chance I’d be moving there, or was I still mad at him (because clearly it was my irrational female anger stopping me from uprooting my life to Mexico for a guy who was a dick). I’ve never found block and delete quicker in my life.

To the horrified male friends who have messaged to ask what the ‘poor guy’ had done wrong, allow me to clarify my position: I’ve got nothing against exes getting in touch. Just don’t do it if you were a douche who is now feeling sorry for himself. Definitely don’t interrupt a woman during biscuit time.

It’s a mobile phone, not a time machine. Move on.

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The Menstruation Myth

Period, period, period, period, period. Are you comfortable with it yet?

When I was 17 years old I tried to send my brother to the local pharmacy because I needed tampons. Before he could step out of the door I could hear a mumbled conversation and then a resounding WHAT, before he was loudly told to get upstairs and my father stormed into the living room to give me a piece of his mind.

 Little had I known that my insensitive request had nearly turned my brother gay, or worse, transgender.

I was astounded by the ignorance flowing out of the mouth of someone I respected. A well educated, well read individual, and one who had no problem discussing fashion and makeup with me, hardly the manliest of conversations.

The line was drawn at periods.

The attitude towards periods he had experienced growing up was one where they were treated as a curse, a sign of uncleanliness, a burden women had to endure as discreetly as possible without tainting any innocent men with it. In the later years we managed to educate my father away from the fears borne from menstrual ignorance; he no longer handles a box of tampons at arms length, nor washes his hands compulsively afterwards.

My mum remains quite sheltered on the topic, like many Indian women of her generation. It was something whispered behind closed doors. Uttering it too loudly may cause your uterus to explode. She was taught that it was something to be ashamed of, something women suffered.

Maybe it was a good thing that she wasn’t around to give me the talk. I had to rely on my sister and PSHE for my information. My dad’s only recognition of the event was adding sanitary towels to the shopping list and then promptly reminding me I had to help him buy them, else he be considered a pervert by the rest of London. By the time she came home, my dad was now privy to my cycle, and I was using tampons.

Revelations that garnered an “Oh lord, the shame!” and an afternoon of praying.

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“They attract bears”

The ignorance surrounding the menstrual cycle used to really anger me as a young woman. Periods make women ‘unclean’ in my culture. You are not meant to enter a holy place when menstruating, nor are you meant to touch a man about to pray, or give offerings to god, and a whole other list of things you can’t do because you are tainted by your own biology. The most embarrassing part when I was a young teen, was you would be asked whether you had your period. I could understand this from a doctor, but not when all I wanted to do was step into a building. My mother would discreetly inquire if I had my period and if I did I didn’t have to go to temple, or religious events, or partake in religious ceremonies.

Needless to say, I was always on my period during such occasions.

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Yeah, he’s not convinced

For some of the men I dated ‘that time of the month’ was a punchline and an inconvenience. Periods meant sex was now a hassle. Ignorant fears of fathering a brain damaged baby, or seeing tampax in the bathroom were too much for a minority. In fairness these comments were made by the Bricks of this world who believe periods opened them up to bear attacks.

Most men my age aren’t that ignorant.

But that isn’t to say they are well informed, or that they want to be. An ex once asked me how I was able to be in the swimming pool of our local gym if I was on my period. Confused, I replied tampons. He continued to look at me awaiting an explanation. Why would he know the difference between a sanitary towel or a tampon? Why would he care? The Bodyform woman’s roar was obviously a signal to put the kettle on for him. What he could do though was wipe the terrified look off his face and stop scanning the water for Sharks.

A uniquely female experience doesn’t have be seen as a curse, or unclean, or a negative.

 Man up. It’s just a little blood.

 

Biological Duty

Having a womb isn’t a good enough reason to have kids

I once dated a guy who informed me it was my biological duty to have children.

Yes. He said that.

Think of my uterus, if you would, as a bread maker that came with my ‘kitchen’.

The kitchen is great, but wouldn’t it be more of a kitchen if there was a rising heap of dough in that breadmaker? Wouldn’t that bread make me happier in the long run?

I mean you can’t have a breadmaker and not use it.

How am I still meeting people in this century who have this take on females and procreation?

I was never someone whose womb wrenched when she held a child, nor have I longed to feel life grow inside me. I’ve always been happy to hand a baby back, and get a burrito.

I’ve had the occasional flash panic, and stood in front of the freezer section in Sainsbury’s, frantically texting friends about embryo storage, whilst cooling my ovaries. But it was no bigger a panic than the undercut/no undercut dilemma of 2014.

I love the little humans.

Not because I have a uterus, but because I find them amazing. The incessant questioning, stubbornness, creativity and boundless energy is something I’m on board with.

We get on well.

As a result, I’m often told to have some of my own. Funny, because I’m also told I’m great with pets, but that ‘A puppy is for life, not just for Christmas’ campaign really did a job on folks. That’s something I should consider carefully.

I’m at that age where all my friends have had, or are having children. Some as I type. I am often told there is nothing like the joy of motherhood. That it’s the best thing I’ll ever do.

I think a more realistic description is that motherhood is a completely different kind of experience from those I have had to date. No one is making it look like ‘the best thing’ when they are wrestling a pound of ‘pick n mix’ out of a screaming child’s hand, handling a flooded bathroom, or being bitten.

My trip to Vegas measures up better.

That being said, the love my friends have for their children is contagious. Their relationships are rewarding. The way their children love them is moving. Good people are being raised in the world and it’s a beautiful thing to see.

But from a distance.

For me.

For now.

 

Menstruation Myth: Trump Edition

What bleeds for 5 days and doesn’t die? Your mum, you tool.

When I was 17 years old I tried to send my brother to the local pharmacy because I needed tampons. My brother, being the absolute sweetheart that he is, said sure and took the money off me and headed to the door. Within 5 minutes I could hear a mumbled conversation and then a loud resounding What?! before he was loudly told to get upstairs and my father stormed into the living room to give me a piece of his mind. Little had I known that my insensitive request had nearly turned my brother gay, or worse, transgender. I was astounded by the ignorance flowing out of the mouth of someone I respected as a well educated, well read individual, and one who had no problem discussing fashion and make up with me, hardly the manliest of conversations. However, the line was drawn at periods. The attitude towards periods he had experienced growing up was one where they were treated as a curse, a sign of uncleanliness, a burden women had to endure as discreetly as possible without tainting any innocent men with it.

In the later years we managed to educate my father away from the fears borne from menstrual ignorance; he no longer handles a box of tampons at arms length or washes his hands compulsively afterwards. My mother however remains, like many Indian women, quite sheltered on the topic. I remember as a child, watching her lead my older sister away secretly and giving her a bag of things and when I asked my sister what was happening, she gave me that annoying smile siblings do: “You’re too little to know. It’s a grown up conversation.” A few years later, when my mother was not around to share this important information, my sister looked a little less smug and a lot more panicked when she tried to explain to me how the whole thing worked. I was terrified, no wonder people only whispered about it and would stop talking when a man came into the room. My mum would be away the rest of the year and my dad’s only recognition of the event was when he had to add sanitary towels to the shopping list. He promptly reminded me I had to help him buy them, else he be considered a pervert by the rest of London. When my mum returned, the fact my dad was now privy to my cycle and I was now using tampons which was worthy of an “Oh lord, the shame!” and an afternoon of praying. She will never see it as a positive, as something life affirming. She was taught that it was something to be ashamed of, something women suffered. I’m not going to lie and say it’s a pleasant time of the month, but I never felt suffered, nor would I allowed myself to be shamed because of it.

Maybe it’s that attitude that explains the continued general ignorance regarding the menstrual cycle. Some of the men I dated were aware of periods, but only in terms of it being an inconvenience. To them. It meant that sex was now a hassle or had to be moved to a shower. They may get their bedsheets stained. Or worse: father a brain damaged baby. They may have to deal with an exorcist like being. One who put you at risk of a bear attack. Yeah, these are the same men who believed it was impossible to get a woman pregnant in the shower because the water would wash away all the annoying sperm. From her ovaries. Men who would glare at you if you said the word period loudly or forced them to enquire whether female members of their family might have any tampons.

To be fair, this kind of attitude is better attributed to men like Mr Trump, Ron Burgundy, or members of my father’s generation. Not all men think women are untouchable while menstruating. Some don’t oversimplify the hormones involved by claiming women turn into a demonised version of themselves, nor do they ascribe being impassioned, angered or aggressive to the fact that it was her time of the month.  Unlike Presidential candidate Trump, who implied as much with his recent asinine comments. Personally, I think his inability to answer Megyn Kelly’s questions intelligently was what he should have focused on. More time preparing, less time blaming her hormones for your inability to answer a tough question.

Luckily today, most men my age aren’t as ignorant or sexist as Trump is. That isn’t to say they are well informed though or that they want to be. A few months back, my boyfriend asked me how I was able to be in the swimming pool of our local gym if I was on my period. Confused, I replied tampons. He continued to look at me waiting for an explanation and it dawned on me: Why would a man know the difference between a sanitary towel or a tampon? Or how they worked Why would he care? My dad hadn’t known, hence why I was allowed to just buy them, much to the horror of my mum. There had been years of Bodyformadverts with sexy shapely females, roller blading carefree, and even the launch of sanitary line, Carefree, questioning why we should stop because our periods started. But men normally switched off at this point and went to make a cuppa. So did my boyfriend have to know how they worked? Not really. Did he want to know? Not really. But could he wipe the terrified look off his face and stop scanning the water for Sharks. If he knew what was good for him- yes.

The ignorance surrounding the menstrual cycle used to really anger me as a young woman. Periods are considered unclean in my culture. You are not meant to enter a holy place when menstruating nor are you meant to touch a man who about to pray or give offerings to god. Not being religious myself, the whole idea seemed ludicrous. It wasn’t my culture alone though. In some indigenous cultures they would send the women away from their village until their cycle was complete. There was actually a time of the month where we were better off not coming into contact with anything for fear of spiritual contamination- something I didn’t quite understand. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the real fear was from actual contamination, women having accidents and soiling holy terrain. Once again something that seemed really stupid to me. The most embarrassing part when I was a young teen, was you would be asked whether you had your period. I could understand this from a doctor, but not when all I wanted to do was step into a building. My mother would discreetly inquire if I had my period and if I did I didn’t have to go to temple, or religious events, or partake in religious ceremonies. Needless to say, I was always on my period during such occasions.

“What bleeds for five days but doesn’t die?” Yeah, funny. How some men have demonised women, and turned them into a supernatural other just because of a biological process we have and men don’t, is worrying. I think it might do some men well to remember that without the existence of the menstruation cycle they would not exist. The fact that men can’t really experience this and can only know of it from a scientific stance, might explain the ignorant attitudes possessed. A uniquely female experience doesn’t have be seen as a curse, or unclean, or a negative. It amuses me that these female experiences are often depicted as embarrassing, horrifying and something men should be grateful they don’t have to suffer.  Only we’re not suffering. We’re just different. Thankfully, plenty of men already get this and leave the archaic comments to the Trumps of this world.