Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Becoming domesticated, by Louise Emily Jones, aged 19 years minus a few days.

Turns out you can't live on beans and cheese.

Bit of a problem.

A quandry.

Such a good word.

Mum took me to Asda the other day and made me shop for myself, because I'm moving to Bournemouth in three weeks. I actually did alright in my A Levels (asterisks turned up out of the blue, uninvited. they couldn't stay away, couldn't fight it wait hold on) and UCAS said I could go to Oxbridge instead. I thought about it, but the only plus point I could conjure up was being on the rowing team, and therefore improving my chances of being in Rio 2016. Because I WILL be in Rio, 2016, winning Gold. Okay? OKAY? Good. As you were...oh right no I'm still talking. AS I WERE....

So I'm moving to Bournemouth and therefore need to learn how to be an autonomous individual, without frantically tweeting, "THE OVEN'S MAKING A NOISE HELP WHAT."

or, "AM I MEANT TO BE INSIDE THE DUVET COVER, OR IS THAT NOT PART OF THE PROCESS?"

or, "IT SAID 1-2 MINUTES BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS A TYPO AND PUT IT IN FOR 12 AND NOW EVERYONE'S DEAD AND OH DEAR." etc etc.

I would happily have bought just a week's worth of Quavers in my Asda shop, and maybe a banana, but mum said no. Then I suggested perhaps a Quavers multipack to vary the flavour. She said no. So I had to buy proper meat and put some broccoli in a bag. But I couldn't buy any meat, oh no. APPARENTLY some meat doesn't have a lot of meat in it so you have to check. .... .................... I don't get it either. So I wasn't allowed any chicken nuggets. Pff.

"You could buy a whole chicken and do a roast for your flat!!1!!!1" Yep or we can go to the Harvester. I think mum's really overestimating my culinary skills. After our shop, mum dropped the bombshell that as well as having a go at doing my own food shop, I in fact was also cooking ALL OF MY MEALS. All of them. Along with the washing, ironing, cleaning, LOVING, I had to do all my own cooking too from now on. Haha. Oh.

Oh.

No really, when I say I cannot do my own cooking, I really can't. This was meal 1...


and this was meal 2...


Mum's developing a very nasty rash that seems to intensify every evening at about 7pm (time depending on how hard I've tried to escape to a friend's for dinner). To clam her rash (can we just all agree to change 'calm' to 'clam', because my fingers really don't like putting the 'a' before the 'l', and it'll save so much hassle, thanks), my family came down from Birmingham and we ate out a lot. My mum told me to watch how the chefs present food (like really), but I was too busy watching my cousin. She's a vegan, and demolished a tomato so impressively that I was almost jealous. 'Almost' because I demolished a pollo mariano so impressively that I fell back in my chair going, "LIKE A PRO." when I finished. 

Cooking I will learn. The washing I can do. The only thing I have to get over with washing is feeling racist when I say, "I'M PUTTING A COLOURED WASH ON." I'm just too up for equality, y'know. LET WHITES AND COLOURS BE TOGETHER, MAN. No, no let's not let that happen, Louise. Stand down.

By 11am today I had put a load of light washing on, emptied the tumble dryer, hung out clothes on the line, sorted out my ironing, and cleaned up the kitchen after baking flapjacks and cookies, which varied in success. The cookies? I was so proud of them I did the cha cha slide, then I stopped doing the cha cha slide, sat down, and had a think. 


The flapjacks?


Well they look alright from this angle, if you want to eat them from this angle...eat them from this angle...

So baking I can do. Washing I can do. Ironing I can do. Look at me holding this iron with such vigour and determination. Like an Iron Warrior.


The putting stuff on the line bit WOULD have been successful, if this didn't happen (it was raining, okay, but the camera didn't catch the rain so i did this editing thing and LOOK IT LOOKS LIKE RAIN or something good okay).


I'll get there. Tonight I'm cooking lasagne. Nothing could go wrong. In the meantime, while I become a domestic goddess, let ME teach YOU something. FlatFace. You're oh so very welcome.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Getting Flack and other puns.



Looks like something from Mean Girls, doesn’t it? The Burn Book. Abusing, degrading, picking apart girls. Apart from this isn’t the Burn Book. Nor is it fiction. It’s from a magazine. A real life proper magazine. What’s more, it’s not from a women’s magazine, or a celebrity magazine, or a trashy 30p magazine. It’s from a magazine aimed at young impressionable girls. Not even teenagers, probably. Tween One Direction fanatics who will gladly lap up anything the media throws at them because, at that young age, they need direction (pun not intended) and influence.

It’s the US ‘fanzine’, Girl’s Guide To One Direction, published by Topix Media Lab LLC, who constructed probably the most spiteful, ridiculous, and idiotic piece I’ve ever seen. A ‘voodoo doll’ of Caroline Flack, host of The Xtra Factor, with pins sticking in her and notes picking apart her appearance, choices, and, quite frankly, her whole existence.

Let’s start with the less appalling features of this piece. It’s immature. “Caroline was born in 1979, which in China is the year of the goat. Big surprise – she looks like one!” What are you, five? She doesn’t look like a goat. Quite obviously. Flack’s gorgeous. More to the point, making fun of someone’s appearance? In a tween magazine? Not on. That’s going to encourage bullying (physical bullying, more worryingly, with a voodoo doll. That suggests damaging the doll like you would the person), and revert the whole message of “everyone’s beautiful “ and “image is not the most important factor in life”. These girls are going to think it’s an acceptable social norm for women to be judged purely on their looks. This magazine has a responsibility to abolish this notion and care for their readers’ perceptions, which it has completely ignored.

It’s picked apart and emphasised not just her main physical features, but things that don’t even exist on her body yet. Crow’s feet. Showing that she’s a “grandma”. Caroline Flack is 32 years old.  These girls now think you’re old as soon as you hit your 30s and GOD FORBID if you start showing signs of age. EURGH. WRINKLES. GET RID OF THEM. No. No, silly magazine. Shush.

“Date boys your age, not your shoe size!” That would make Harry Styles, what, six? He’s 18. All this article is doing is spouting jealousy from a vicious ‘writer’, who’s probably got everyone who’s come within ten miles of Styles on a dartboard in her room. It’s teaching young girls to be jealous of women who have what they want, and that age differences in relationships is wrong. By all means, have your own opinions on age differences, but for the love of fragile and growing young brains, don’t preach them viciously to young girls who can’t have even experienced full on relationships yet. “Zero engagement rings. Because nobody wants to be with her.” Marriage is the only proof of love, then? So now we have young girls who aren’t going to be happy in their own skin, will want plastic surgery once they hit 32, will only date people their shoe size (on average – a 7 year old, oh good), will be jealous of other women’s success instead of finding their own, will prioritise boys over other relationships with family/friends/themselves, and will believe they HAVE to get married to be considered worthy.

So, where is Harry Styles’ participation in this? Anyone? Anyone found him? Haarrryyyy…oh that’s right. He’s nowhere in this article. Because it’s all down to Caroline, right? A relationship between two consenting people, but only one gets the flack (pun intended, that was good). The woman gets the blame. Much like the affair between 22 year old actress Kristen Stewart and 41 year old director Rupert Sanders. He was married with children, but who gave a statement and got all the abuse? Stewart. Of course she did. Because the man always has the right to do whatever he likes. Silly women for getting involved with entitled men. When will they learn, eh?

It’s bullshit. The whole article is bullshit and I really, really hope that these girls who picked it up realised how awful it is.  I hope the magazine is taken down, and I hope that it’s the readers who do it. Because I’m sure these girls are smart and know their own mind. And if they don’t, because they’re young and growing, then I hope we can at least help them find it.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Because a little self-love is mandatory.

It was a risk, I'll admit. A reckless move. We hadn't known each other long but I thought, "Oh to hell with it. This could be something special." I'd seen that spark the first time we met and our conversation bounced off each other like a kangaroo on acid. We had something. And I had to follow it up.

Deep breaths.

"Mum, I'm going to London today."

"Okay. Who with?"

"Me."

"On your own? Why? Where are you going to go?"

"Wherever the wind takes me."

"But-"

"UGH, MUM. YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND. WE LOVE EACH OTHER, OKAY. SHE MAKES ME HAPPY AND-"

"What-"

"GOD. WHY ARE YOU BEING LIKE THIS."

"I'm not-"

"YOU CAN'T STOP US."

"Loui-"

"I'M GOING NOW."

"Okay."

I was going on a date with myself to London. I was going to take a book, little money, my best shirt, lipgloss and polos (just in case i got lucky), and 4 packets of Quavers to eat on Southbank a la Lady And The Tramp. It was going to be a beautiful day. I was nervous, of course. What if I didn't like me? What if there was some awkward arm touching and stolen glances that were just plain embarrassing? I had to stop myself on the train. Stop with the 'what if's and stop devouring the Quavers. I'd eaten a packet already. Good thing I had the polos, eh. I just had to be calm, collected, and remember to just be myself. If I'm myself, then me would see me as I am. Me.

Me surprised I with a cultural twist at our first stop. We started at the Tate Modern and ended up in the middle of Tino Sehgal's piece. It was magical. We didn't have to speak, but I could tell that me was thinking what I was thinking. We connected. Of that there is no doubt. It was like the art was speaking to us. Bringing us closer together and suggesting that what we had was something indeed. Children, taking part in the art, were whisked away by parents with shouts of, "No! I want to hear more stories!", and I worried I'd have the same outcry. But no. This was a me date. I could do whatever the fuck I liked. We stayed for 2 hours, engulfed in the atmosphere of LOVE and PASSIONandstuff, until me led I out for part 2. I was all a flutter. Me was good. Me was very good.

Me date so far: 10/10. 

But things took a drastic turn for the worse in Leicester Square. It had started to rain, and thankfully I had an umbrella. But there was only room for one under it, which made things quite awkward. I was dry, but me got wet. And we definitely weren't ready for that part of a relationship yet. To make matters worse, M&M World was a load of rubbish because they didn't give anything away for free and I had to buy my own lunch in McDonald's.

6/10.

We had 4 hours of this date left. What could me do to redeem myself of this date with I?

Disney store. That's what could salvage the frays of this date and brush up the fragments of my disappointed heart back into place.

ALL THE BRAVE THINGS.

We made our way to the bottom level of the store, and were greeted with such euphoria that Snow White's mirror next to us reflected my smile and I saw me staring right back at I. We were one. Me looked into my eyes and saw love, I know it. The Brave section was accompanied by a hallelujah chorus and Jesus light. Such beauty. And behind us? A cinema-like screen showing Brave trailers. The small children parted, like Moses and the river, and we sat amongst the throng, not caring that we were at least 6 times larger than them. They looked up at us, with Pixar lamps dancing in their eyes, and wished to be I and me when they were grown.

I wanted to buy Merida's archery set, and fashion it into Cupid's bow to strike into my heart. But after much thought, the perceived suicide would be too much of a kerfuffle. So instead I bought a Brave pencil case and 4 Brave chocolates. One for I, one for me, one for us, and one for the man who would marry us, because this date was storming and the sexual tension was becoming unbearable. I just wanted to kiss me, tbh. Too soon? Would I scare me off? Did me want it? I didn't know. Me was a mystery. But hot damn me needed solving.

11/10. 

It was getting late, and night had fallen. The sweet sound of the pollution filled waves of the Thames lapped against the poor excuse of a pebbled beach and I was ready to give my cardigan to me if me got cold. Dinner in Strada and walks along Southbank made the perfect end to a perfect day, and there was only one possible thing left. The Kiss. Was it time? Do I go in for the kill? Bite the bullet? Take the bull by the horns? We were nearing the station. This was my only chance. It's now or never. So I went for a it. I took me in my arms and gave me a right smacker. IT WAS A RESOUNDING SUCCESS. We went home together, as it just so happened we were getting the same trains, and I did a big sigh as I lay in bed and began to debate whether to call me first or wait for me to call I. Such is the life of a lover. We're definitely made for each other, I and me. We make a great pair and I'd love to see me again soon.

Alas, it was not meant to be. The morning after the night before brought illness comparable to The Plague, contracted through the kiss. Oh, me. You fucked it up. So I text me, quite simply, to end further encounters: "It's not me, it's me."

Shame, we got on so well.

                         No but seriously I did get a Brave pencil case.