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So I’m like a no make up – make up kinda chick. I like my make up to be the type of make up where girls whisper to their friends “Is she wearing make up?” “Nah girl, don’t think so, I heard she’s vegetarian, she probably just has really good skin..” (I don’t by the way),  when in fact I am wearing a well applied coating of Lancome’s Teint miracle foundation, bronzer, blush, lip gloss, mascara and eyebrow pencil. No shade to those who are full face make up kinda chicks. Actually, tell a lie, this whole post is probably gonna be shade (just a lil’).

I’m not a big fan of social media either. That might seem strange to my Facebook friends, Twitter compatriots and LinkedIn colleagues, but really, really, if you look closely, I have minimal pictures of myself on Facebook, regularly deactivate, and tweet possibly once every 2 days.  In fact, I actually want to unfriend my real friends from LinkedIn because I like to  compartmentalise my life, and having my real life friends on a professional social network is disconcerting for me.

Anyway, one of the things I do find fascinating about social media is the high levels of deception that women (and some men), have the opportunity to exercise. I’m kinda a new born babe in the make up universe. I mean I have dabbled, but was pretty much lightweight until recently. I bought my first liquid foundation this year, and have spent the whole year on a continual childish high of fascination at the various ways youtube has taught me to transform myself into a Kelly Rowland lookalike . Who knew that with a paintbox filled with a variety of shades of brown paint, with some reddish plum tones thrown in for good measure, you could go from Precious to Beyonce?

Instagram is now choc a bloc with make up idols, women who have reached Picasso like levels of talent, wielding nothing but a an eyebrow pencil and a palette of Sleek eyeshadow. It’s impressive, I tell you. It’s also slightly scary. I’ve watched youtube videos where I’ve literally screamed when I saw the woman wipe off her make up. Not because the woman was even particularly unattractive, but because it was like watching a scene from Animorphs. There she was, fully human, and with one fell swoop of a baby wipe an unrecognisable creature sat before me. The difference was THAT shocking. I’m all for self improvement as much as the next person, but I’m beginning to think that our modern obsession with physical perfection has really gone too far.

We no longer accept that only celebrities with teams of make up artists, stylists and nostril hair arrangers are going to look perfect all the time. Women who have full time regular jobs, children, and hungry husbands are now buying into the myth that it is possible to cartwheel through life on a grassy plain of immaculateness. And that if it’s not possible, they’re going to spend excessive amounts of time and money trying. That is super problematic, especially in an age where many women pride themselves on being independent, self sufficient and free from the shackles of patriarchy. Lets face it, a  lot of women (although they deny it) are fairly concerned with whether they’re attractive to the opposite sex. They know that the celebrities that most men find attractive are caked in make up, have weave longer than the Amazon river, and work out about once every 15 minutes to get the super amazing look that’s plastered on every billboard and magazine. Never mind the fact that most men wouldn’t really appreciate these women in real life.

Now don’t get me wrong, make up is fun. I think a lot of men think that women only wear make up to cover insecurities, and that’s simply not true. For a lot of us, it’s part of the way we make ourselves feel good in the morning, like doing our hair or putting on a nice outfit. I know plenty of women who are happy to not wear makeup – me for instance. if you took away my make up for a week, I wouldn’t cry or hide behind postboxes in public places. But there are some women who would practically wear a Lidl’s bag over their head than be caught dead going any where further than the corner shop without makeup.

I’m a big proponent of natural beauty, but I’m also a big proponent of women doing what makes them feel comfortable in terms of their appearance without being ‘judged’. Having said that, I think it’s really important that before we modify ourselves, we ask ourselves hard questions about WHY we do what we do?  Why are you uncomfortable with your naturally curly hair? Why do you feel like unshaved legs are gross, when 100 ago years women wouldn’t have batted an eyelid? Why do you have HD brows, when they clearly look ridiculous? (sorry, that was a judgement, couldn’t help myself). Why can’t you leave the house without makeup?

I think we’re all caught up in a strange cycle of being envious of what’s not even real. Imagine if all the women in the world, including celebrities, refused to wear makeup for a week and didn’t shave their legs? I think we would all breathe a collective sigh of relief in realising that we all have things we don’t like about ourselves – it’s ok to put on our best face, it’s even better to do it with the knowledge that our not so best face is ok too.

Peace and Love guys x

ImageI’ve always been somewhat baffled at the attraction some women apparently have to ‘bad boys’. There’s this rumour that’s been spreading for the past few hundred years, that women are attracted to men who might possibly have criminal record, have a low verging on shocking command of the English language, and who generally treat them like some kind of dog’s excrement. Erm, Is this really true? Do all women secretly want to date the super sleazy yuppy player, or the thug drug dealer they see hanging around on some back road?

I wanted to gain a consensus, so I asked 3 different women to give me their different opinions. I didn’t have time to ask the general public, well actually, I make up my blogs as I go along, so the idea of a survey didn’t occur to me until about 3.7 seconds ago. These 3 women are 3 different alter egos I’ve created, that I’ve named individually for the purposes of this post.

1) Felicity (Inner snob).

“Of course I don’t like bad boys. What could possibly be attractive about the fact that you are on first name basis with the majority of the local police force? I didn’t work through years of school and another 5 years of university, only to have to constantly refer to Urbandictionary.com in order to have some semblance of a meaningful conversation with you. Also, I’m not a sadomasochist, so the idea of you constantly treating me like the gum that you picked up on your shoe from your street corner activities, is not appealing. And don’t get me started on the corporate womanisers…I don’t care that you’re good looking, funnier than Eddie Murphy, have a great degree and that every woman within a 3 mile radius wants you – that doesn’t give you an excuse to play me like Xbox. Nope, not attractive – I just want a geeky guy called Eric who will bring me flowers and rub my feet, not Tupac with a degree. I don’t have a Messiah complex, and I don’t want to save you from your folly.”

2) Mary (Inner rebel)

“I don’t want some man crying with me every time we watch Aladdin! That packet of Kleenex is for me, and me only. What are you gonna do when we’re walking back from the train station and someone tries to steal my Iphone? Tell them that you have a degree in quantum physics? I want people to know your face, and know that they can’t mess with you. I want local gangsters to run to their Mum’s house every time you show up. I want KFC to give us free fries because they’re scared of what you’ll do if they don’t. I want to be that one woman who managed to tame you when every other women failed. Nice guys finish last, because nice guys are boring and pathetic”.

3) Shade (The real me)

“Most normal women don’t really like bad boys. I don’t want to be mortified when you meet my friends and they recognise you from Crime Watch. I don’t want to have to have cringy awkward conversations every time we bump into some woman that you slept with or mangled their fragile heart. Most women just want someone to be able to stick up for them when the time is right – if someone tries to mug us, have the good sense to distract them while we both make a run for it. I don’t want a wimp, neither do I want you to audition for the Mafia. The nice guys who claim to finish last are usually creepy, emotionally unstable,  and have an unhealthy and overactive relationship with their mother. Men kid themselves into thinking they’re a just nice guy when they’re really extremely socially awkward and a bit weird. Real nice guys get real nice girls in the end.”

Honesty, I think the media has fed into this idea, especially with the Hip Hop and Rock music culture. Marilyn Manson is clearly a slightly troubled man, with a penchant for Satanism (or maybe just has a clever marketing team), but somehow a substantial amount of teenage girls when I was 14 found him attractive. Lil Wayne clearly would be unable to get a job at any reputable institution with his current persona, but apparently teenage girls find him attractive as well. On a serious note, I think this is actually quite troubling and dangerous, because while these superstars are only talking about breaking the law, sleeping with multiple women, and taking illegal drugs etc, the young women who absorb this and take it more seriously than they should, begin to actively seek out men who actually do these things in real life. And then they realise that what looks cool in a rap video, in real life, leaves you with an STD and about £2.50 worth of child support, or a very expensive cocaine habit.

I think the women who actually do seek out bad boys are generally quite self destructive. It’s almost a form of self sabotage – I don’t deserve someone who will treat me well, or a challenge where they have some sort of Messiah complex.

What do you guys think? Do most women really like bad boys? Or is it a  small minority giving the rest of us a bad rep?

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I’m forever grateful to live in a city where the transport system is relatively good. I have Transport to London to thank for my lack of driving license, and also for the fact that BSM have received a substantial amount of money from me from 2 years of on- off, on-off driving lessons. The fact that I can get a night bus practically anywhere has lulled me into a false sense of security, and into an open relationship with my provisional license. Some months we see each other every week, some months I don’t see him at all.

Nevertheless, the price of public transport in London has reached astronomical proportions. I practically have to sell a kidney every time I want to go to Topshop on Oxford Street, and as such, I feel that I, and every other person who pays to use said transport, have the right to be subjected to a certain level of behaviour on buses, tubes, trains and DLR’s. As such, please do not violate these 5 things.

1) Clip your toe nails.

I wish I could say that this blog was fictional, or semi fictional. I wish I could enter this post for a short story competition. Unfortunately, I have had the immense pleasure of a full 10 minute nail clipping live show on the 53 bus. I’m not sure why this shameless member of the species they call human decided that this was appropriate, ingenious or entertaining, but maybe his thinking was on a higher plane than mine could ever reach. All I know is that for a full 10 minutes between Camberwell and some other depth of South East London, I sat in horror as fragment after fragment of off white toe nail decorated the seat opposite me. Gentleman that he was, he had the decorum to collect his clippings in a tidy pile. I can’t really remember what he did with them after that, I think I suffered from some sort of post-traumatic amnesia. Don’t do this. It’s never ok. And if you are going do this, at least have the common courtesy to moisturise your feet with some sort of emollient before revealing them to unsuspecting members of the public.

2) Play your music on loudspeaker.

If I wanted to listen to Drake’s latest album, I would find myself on Spotify. Clearly, I’m not on Spotify am I? There isn’t a chap with a Scottish accent asking me if I want Spotify Premium for the amazing price of 12.99, is there? No, there isn’t. Because we’re on a red double decker heading towards Canada Water. So I’m glad that this individual you call Drake started from the bottom and now he’s on top or whatever. But I don’t want to hear it. You don’t look cool, you look like the kind of person I want  to politely ask to turn off their music. But seeing as we’re in South East London and you might be concealing a weapon, I will just sit in my grotty bus seat and fume, and then go home and write a sarcastic blog post instead.

3) Stand on the left on the escalator.

Haven’t you seen the posters? Stand on the right. Stand on the right. You don’t need GCSE Geography to figure that out, you don’t even need to be able to read the posters. Just do what they told you on those road safety adverts when you were a kid – stop, look, and listen. Stop. I don’t know the appropriate tube protocol, so I’m going to stop and gather my senses. Look. What is everyone else doing? Oh yes, the people who are walking are walking on the left, the people who are standing are standing on the right. Listen. There is an angry Londoner behind me saying in a polite, but terse voice, “Can you stand to the right please?”.There you go, the rules are there so we can all get along.

4) Allow your child to clamber over people.

I love children as much as the next broody 23 year old, and I’ve done my paediatrics block and it was a hoot. I completely sympathise with the fact that they are hard work, and until I have my own I will never fully understand the trials and tribulations of motherhood. Having said that, if I wanted to have children crawling over my lap, kicking my ankles,  or smearing ketchup on my jacket, I would have got a summer job at a nursery. There, I would have been paid just above minimum wage to receive such treatment and gladly sat there as my overdraft dwindled and my stocks and shares in Vanish Oxy-Stain grew.  I’m not asking you to leash or muffle your darling offspring, but at least let them crawl over me with clean hands. Cheers.

5) Give an loud audiobook rendition of your autobiography on a crowded train.

Clive broke up with you did he? But you always knew he wasn’t the one, right? And now everyone on the Hayes train from Catford to Charing Cross knows Clive wasn’t the one, and that the mole on his left ear grossed you out, and that your Mum had a funny feeling about him the moment he told her he didn’t like shepherd’s pie, because who doesn’t like shepherd’s pie? Thank you for this epic tale, you might be a budding J K Rowling in our midst. I personally, would prefer to discover that when you publish the book. I have no problem with you chatting quietly on the train. I do it all the time. I talk loudly on empty trains. But if you are going to tell your best friend the inner workings of your love life, can you just pipe down a bit? If not for our comfort, for your own personal pride.

What are your pet public transport peeves guys? Am I just a miserable Londoner? 

Peace x

 

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Modern psychology has a lot to say about loving yourself. It’s all over Oprah, Loose Women and every other female geared talk show out there. People are making a whole lot of money out of teaching people to love themselves. The self help section in Waterstone’s is expanding almost at the rate of inflation, and if there’s one profession that’s recession proof, it’s definitely therapy. (As well as selling weave. It hurts my heart to say that). There’s almost an unhealthy obsession with self esteem to the point that the fact that I don’t have enough self esteem, is making my self esteem lower.  “Why don’t I love myself? Shouldn’t I love myself more? Oprah said I should. Everyone else loves themselves…So if I don’t love myself there must be something wrong with me..Aaarrghh I’m so unlovable that even myself doesn’t love me! I need to see a therapist!”. You get my point.

Perversely, our rates of depression over the last 50 years have sky rocketed, more and more people are presenting to their doctors requesting anti depressants, and self harm seems to be an increasing problem amongst young people. There are a number of hypotheses for this  – maybe we are more comfortable in modern society about admitting that we’re unhappy so the rates of depression are actually the same, maybe the pressures of modern society are causing us to be more unhappy, or maybe we’ve had an unhealthy attitude shift.

I think it’s a combination of all three.

I think loving yourself is one of the hardest things to do. I’ve always been a person who masked my insecurities with arrogance, to the outside world I can be confident, even cocky at the worst of times, but how do you love yourself, when there are things about yourself you don’t like? And not even mildly dislike, but things that you actually, categorically hate. Your crooked teeth. Or personality traits that you know are rubbish. Or the way you snort when you laugh. Or your oversized nostrils. Or a bad temper.

Every one knows about the Golden Rule.  Jesus puts it like this “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”.

Thy neighbour as thyself. There’s something pretty powerful about that. There’s something very challenging about that. My neighbour is the women who threaded my eyebrows today, and left one shorter than the other, and told me to pencil the remainder in, and I still paid her 4 pounds. (Yes, I’m still mad about that). My neighbour is the crack addict I see hanging around outside the Salvation Army shop at the bottom of my local high street. My neighbour is the girl who bullied me through primary school. My neighbour is the guy who opened the door for me and made my day (maybe chivalry is in resus, and not quite dead). My neighbour is my next door neighbour who told my Dad that he votes for UKIP because he thinks black people are lazy and should go back to their country. My neighbour is the guy who rejected me. My neighbour is my little brother.

I think we can love ourselves better when we love our neighbour, because our neighbour is imperfect. I think maybe God tells us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves because when we see our neighbours in their frail humanity and realise that we are the same as our neighbour, but we are still required to love them, then we can see that God still requires us to love ourselves even in our imperfections. He preludes this by telling us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. He’s hinting at something. You can only perfectly love what is is imperfect when you learn to love someone that is perfect. 

I don’t quite understand this myself, but I do know that the more I understand God’s perfection, the more forgiving I am of other people’s failures. Because I want to love as perfectly as he does, and I know that he loves imperfect me, and that empowers me to love my imperfect neighbour. I know it’s complicated, but I want to make it really simple.

I believe the secret to loving yourself is understanding that God doesn’t  ask anything of you that he has not offered himself –  He loves you with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. He requires you to love your neighbour as much as he loves you. And he requires you to love yourself as much as you love your neighbour. Knowing that, how can I have low self esteem?

 

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Erykah Badu is one of those singers who I would pre-order their new album without even listening to a single track, if only she would let go of the weird numerology stuff. I mean, I’m all for burning incense as much as the next chick with an afro, but add a couple of Egyptology symbols and references to ancestor worship and you’re left with me, rocking in a corner and crossing myself for protection. There’s one song of hers that I always like to sing as I’m hauling myself across Victoria station though… “Bag lady, you gon’ hurt your back, carrying all them bags like that..”. Now it’s supposed to be some kind of deep metaphor about emotional baggage, letting go of inner demons so you can be loved etc, but I’ve managed to reduce it to a literal cry for help. I hummed this softly a few months ago, as I practically crawled through crowds of rush hour yuppies, confused Chinese tourists and the general riff raff of London, hoping that at least one gentleman would see me with:

1)My extremely large suitcase

2)My tattered Primark overnight bag

3) My Sainsbury’s ‘oversized help the environment’ shopper

4) A Satchel

5) Another Sports Direct shopper…

And come to my aid. I hummed louder. I tried to look forlorn. I even tried imitating the ‘laboured breathing’ of the patients I had seen in the respiratory ward that week. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. In fact, I almost got knocked over by an rather overweight chap, who glowered at me as if to say “Get out of my way damsel in distress, can’t you see I’m in a rush?”.

As I struggled across the road to the bus stop, the wheel of my suitcase broke, but I bravely soldiered on, looking like an extra from D’jango, heavy laden and distraught. The one redeeming member of the male species was a tall, rather handsome man who helped me put my suitcase on the bus. Disarmed by his unexpected chivalry and good looks, I unwittingly dropped my Oyster card on the pavement and ended up paying £2.40. (I hate you Boris, I hate you).

I give you this rather long winded tale, to tell you that chivalry is dead. I don’t know who murdered it, but I have my suspects. Some feminist got overexcited burning her bra around 1964, and decided to throw chivalry into the fire as well. I want chivalry back, and I also want La Senza to start stocking my size. (Cheers, for the whole equal pay thing though ‘preciate that. No, seriously, my overdraft thanks you)

On a serious note, I feel like this lack of gentlemanly behaviour is simply a retaliation from men, a petulant act of defiance because they’ve been forced to start attempting (note ‘attempting’) to treat us equally. Just because you can no longer pay us in pints of milk and apron fabric for doing the same job as you, does not mean you can’t open a door. In fact, women are doing a lot of the things they were doing 50 years ago, they just now have a 9 to 5 job to add to the mix. Most of the women I know are still the primary cooks, cleaners, child carers etc for their household, and do this while working FULL time. Men complain that the feminist movement has ruined it for them, but actually I think they’ve profited quite nicely from it.

The institution of marriage has been belittled and pretty much destroyed to the point where men know they can get the milk for free without even putting a down payment on an udder, let alone the actual cow. A 21’st century woman will – cook for you, clean for you, sleep with you, and bear you children, with no guarantee of commitment apart from a vague inclination you gave over coffee a couple of weeks ago. Frankly, it’s ridiculous.

And the backlash to this is that men hold their hands up and say “Fine, if you’re so independent and can do everything a man can do, then I will leave a 5 ft 2 puny woman to struggle with enough luggage to start a plane line, across London by herself”.

Let me be honest. I have a right to vote. I have a right to be paid as much as any man. I have a right to have access to the same opportunities he does. But….If we’re going to go the whole way, let’s go the whole way! If men want to drop chivalry, then they should stop saying things like ‘I only want a woman who can cook’. If you don’t want to operate under traditional gender roles, then why should I? If you’re bringing home all the veggie bacon, I’m happy to cook all of it, but don’t bring home 30% and then expect me to cook 100%. I might choose to do that if I love you, but how have we got to this crazy situation where women are supposed to do all the things men have traditionally done without men adopting any of the traditional female responsibilities?

You can open a door for me, I can cook you a meal, and we can both get paid the same amount for doing the same job. Is that too much to ask? Is it too much to ask that someone who is a foot taller than me and almost 100 pounds heavier help me carry something? That doesn’t mean I’m inferior, it just means that there’s some things you can do, that I can’t do, and we both need each other.

P.s. And to that guy on the Piccadilly line who bumped me out of the way to get a seat. You only got that seat because I was caught off guard. You don’t know ’bout Pilates….my quadriceps are a force to be reckoned with.

What do you guys think? Is chivalry dead? Should we dance on it’s grave, or try to resurrect it?