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Pink is the new Grey

I'm a freelance writer, caffeine addict and cake whore. This is my blog, where I unleash my inner witch from her gingerbread latte cottage in the woods. Some people just can't play nicely online.

Month

January 2016

A Nasty Habit.

The other day a bloke in the Tesco cafe asked me quite curtly if I would mind taking my obnoxious, cancer-causing sandwich to a table further away from him, as he did not wish to be exposed to my disgusting habit whilst trying to enjoy his morning cigarette! Was he afraid that that I was going to blow bacon fumes into his face as I went past, or burn his sleeve with a stray blob of hot fat?

I’m joking. Smoking, of course, is not allowed in the cafe, or indeed anywhere inside the shop. My mind has a habit of wandering off if left unsupervised. I only took my eye off it for a few minutes, while I was savouring a late, much needed breakfast on my way into uni, and caught myself pondering whether, in past times, when the link between cigarettes and cancer was suspected but not yet proven, people scoffed at the ‘scaremongering’? Last week I scoffed at a report, widely headlined, which suggested that the consumption of processed meat products could increase your likelihood of developing cancer.

I wonder — in years to come will my children’s children be saying: ‘I can’t understand why anyone starts eating bacon in the first place, when the risks are so well known’?

Get-Real Barbie …

I must confess – I was a Sindy girl. I found it much easier to relate to a doll who looked like she’d just stepped out of the local Women’s Institute, than one who looked like the kind of girl who got found comatose in Hugh Heffner’s mansion.

Back to Barbie – like Dr. Who she has been regenerated many times over  the years: as an astronaut, a surgeon, and a businesswoman, to name but three. 

Bear Grylls Barbie
 
But with each new incarnation, one thing never changes: her appearance. She is always, always a long-legged, wasp-waisted, busty blonde with impossibly atrophied feet (that’s what you get for wearing stilettos in space); because, of course, no woman can expect to be truly successful unless she is good-looking.

Until now.

Mattel have announced that they are extending the Barbie range to include dolls with three new body shapes – curvy, tall, and petite, to reflect reality (she will also come with a range of skin tones and hair colours). 

The “Suing my hairdresser” Barbie

So, Barbie’s ‘getting real’ is she?This raises a few questions:

Will Curvy Barbie get sneered at, or bullied by Original (Smug) Barbie? (Imagine the little girl who unwraps a Curvy Barbie at her birthday party – “Are they saying I’m fat, Mummy?”) 

Will Tall Barbie only come with flat shoes?

Will they charge more for Petite Barbie clothes?

And will they be adding a ‘Fine Figure of a Man’ Ken, complete with beer-belly, a hairy back, and realistic fart sounds, who refuses to date “Who Ate All The Pies’ Barbie, ‘What’s The Weather Like Up There?’ Barbie, or ‘You Could Sit Her On Your Dick And Spin Her Round’ Barbie because they are ‘mingers’?

Barbie and Ken enjoy the perfect sex-life; no clapping fat or pubes between your teeth here.
 

MENSTRUAL CYCLING.

Saturday 5th September

Today, for the first time in twenty-two years, I managed to impress the father of my children. I put it down to the Bodyform Effect.
We were planning to hire bicycles and go for a spin at Carsington Water, in Derbyshire. We did the same once, about fifteen years ago, when our older children were small. The memory of it shines out of the murky, cobwebbed cellar of my mind as a small beacon of post-parenthood fun, so I insisted we try it again with The Little One. We’d had to book in advance because we needed to make sure that the Weehoo would be available for him.
Of course it was a Bad Idea. I knew that. This would be only the second single occasion in the last thirty-five years that I had been anywhere near a bike, and now I’m pushing fifty.
And I was on my period (yes, I still have them). I woke up to find that Mother Nature had decided to foist herself on me a few days early, and the cupboard was still bare after her last visit. I’m usually happy to use supermarket own brands, but today’s emergency trip to the corner shop bought me the privilege of paying twice as much for half as many, because Bodyform is the only brand they stock.
But thank goodness for that. Because without Bodyform I would never have been able to just hop on that bike (after all these years) and cycle eight miles (yes, EIGHT MILES) round a lake, all whilst on the rag and lugging around fifty around fifty years worth of wrinkles, flab, and threadbare cartilage.

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Honestly, I really did do that. Once I’d persuaded the boy in the cycle hire centre to give me the right size machine – it’s really no good insisting I have an adult’s bike because I am an adult when I’m only the same height as most 11/12 –year-old girls.
The upside of being a small, creaky cyclist on a small, squeaky bike if that there was no option but to fix the Weehoo to Daddy’s bigger, more expertly-handled cycle. I could hear The Little One putting him through his paces, urging him to slow down on the downhills, and go fast on the uphills. O.K – so I dismounted and pushed up the steepest hills (but I was far from the only one doing so). And in spite of that I think that Daddy was seriously impressed with how well I did (I was seriously impressed with myself. I would have considered just wobbling a few yards without falling off an achievement). Of course, he insisted that the reason he was so much more out of breath than me was because he had had to pedal twice the distance to make up for the fact that The Little One was pedalling backwards most of the way.
Afterwards we collapsed into the restaurant in a heap of slovenly parenting – giving the Little One my phone to play with while we downed half-a-pint of Pepsi each, followed by a large coffee. The Little One rejected his chicken fillet goujons on the grounds that he couldn’t possibly be expected to chew after all that exercise, but he happily sucked the fluffy innards out of his chips, after first dabbling them in bean juice.

Not bad, eh, for an old bird?
So, next time my doctor asks me: ‘do you still have periods, Mrs. F?’, instead of mourning the demise of the youth-and-femininity-defining question: ‘could you be pregnant?’, I will simply smile to myself and say: ‘yes, I do still cycle.’

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THE INVISIBLE WOMAN.

Today my character woke up and realised that she had become invisible. Her family know she is there because of the things she does, or does not do. But no one sees her anymore.
She had been twenty years in a dreamless sleep on the austere marriage bed of convention and pragmatism. It was not until she awoke that the dreams started: dreams of adventure; of getting to know her travelling companions on the way; of minds meeting in the exclusivity of shared experience; of midnight swims in a lake sequinned with stars, whose reflections are sliced by two bodies as they slip through the black silk water; of a campfire, stargazing that melts into lovemaking, unroofed, naked to the moon’s glare.
Lovemaking. She is 46 and has never made love. Her husband tells her that men do not make love, they fuck — a basic animal drive. This she has done, times without number in the five minutes that have passed between then (gymslip furtively pushed up over hips) and now (tummy control pants hastily pulled to one side). In the back of her mind she still believes in lovemaking, but wishes she did not — because in belief lies also the acknowledgement that it is an experience that only happens to other people.
In all directions she sees a horizon, a thin, red, cauterising line, sealing the limits of her existence. Her shadow is longer than her soul.
The question is not ‘will this character die?’: that is the ultimate end of every character’s story. The question is: ‘what can she do with the time that she has left? Is it worth even trying to acheive something new? Is it too late now to find adventure and love? Or should she learn to be content with the life she has?’
Today I woke up and realised.

Here’s to all the guys …

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