That value. That number. That is the amount of money I live on.
This is fine, for the most part. My needs are few: my loved ones are charitable. But every now and then, when the elderly man behind me in the Lidl queue has to give me 10p so I can eat that day, or when the bus driver lets me on for free because my Oyster card has made that horrible "THERE'S NO MONEY ON THIS" sound, I feel something akin to... well, not shame. But something a bit like shame. It's more like an exhausted sense of awkwardness, something that goes off in my brain that says "Oh, that's just me again. Being shit."
This occasional ego tumble: you get it too, don't you? You get it when you notice some upper arm fat that had previously escaped your notice, or when your ex-boyfriend announces his engagement, or when your four year old looks you dead in the eye and says "I hate your fat arms." But it's ok, because there are actually tons of things in life that will make you feel like a total badass again.
10. Standing un-aided on public transport
Look at you. You're standing upright on a moving object. Handrail? What do you need a handrail for? What are you, some kind of woman? Your grace is so refined that you can last this whole journey by planting your feet slightly apart and glaring at fellow passengers.
9. Long coats
An incomplete list of people who wear long coats: Doctors, Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, every spy ever, Silent Bob, Angel, Rick Astley in the Never Gonna Give You Up Video.
Badasses, each and every single one.
8. Downing the rest of your drink, then slamming it on the table
Since I gave up smoking (an act so dull, romantic and miserable that it didn't even warrant a blog post) I've been struggling for ways to exert my badassery while partaking in night-time social activities. There is a thousand ways you can be a badass while smoking. You can stub out your cigarette emphatically when someone pisses you off, you can inhale deeply when you're thinking, you can exhale exhaustedly when someone is being dumb. Ahh, smoking.
|Smoking: you will always have my heart. Just maybe not my lung capacity?|
The best alternative I can offer is the art of finishing your drink. When you have half a whiskey left, and someone looks at their watch and says "Shit, we've gotta go." There is nothing for you to do but knock back your glass, slam it on the table and then put on your long coat. This may, some will argue, make you look masculine. I maintain it makes you look like a lady Clint Eastwood. (awesome)
7. Rap music
I exist outside the traditional demographic of rap music, in that I am a woman, and also white. It doesn't matter though, because when I'm listening to Childish Gambino (Donald Glover, of Community, and sexiness fame) say: Whiskey-sippin’, wanna drink the whole bottle / But these smart middle-class black kids need a role model in Not Going Back I might as well be a role model for smart middle-class black kids, because that is what cultural voyeurism is. When he says "I am running this bitch, you are just a dog-walker" on Freaks and Geeks I am endowed with an enormous sense of well-being. Like I can turn around to everyone I've ever met and say "Hey guys? I've got this."
I recommend listening to rap music while partaking in activities 4, 6 and10 for an optimal experience of each.
(This was kind of an excuse to talk about Donald Glover, but it still applies)
6. Running across a really busy road
Because saying "Screw you, cars." is effectively like saying to the world: "Get bent, death. Fuck off, sense of mortality. I DO WHAT I WANT."
5. Having your controversial opinion re-tweeted
Being re-tweeted is like the small, bite-size daily version of winning a Pulitzer. Aim for one a week.
4. Hurling yourself through a train door, moments before it closes
You're like the other story line in Sliding Doors. Y'know, the one where Gwyneth Paltrow gets home, discovers her boyfriend has been cheating on her, reinvents her life and goes out wiith John Hannah. And gets some wonderful new hair. Hurtling yourself through a train door is the secret to perfect hair.
Paltrow outside train:
Drab. Lifeless. Without edge. This is the person equivalent of a day-old M&S salad.
Paltrow post-train dive:
Savvy post-feminist woman of the world! Owner of black v-neck! Rester of head on hand! Serious woman, to be taken seriously.
3. Looking good in men's clothes
As I've said time and time again here, shopping for clothes bums me out. This isn't because I don't like looking good, but because I feel like the vast majority of clothing retailers have no interest in making me look good. In fact, the vast majority of clothing retailers feel that in order for the clothing industry to exist at all, 'fashion' has to be 'a thing'. This means that every three months, Topshop comes up with an arbitrary idea of what I'm supposed to want to look like. This will be based on some kind of cross-breed person they have invented, loosely based on Una Healy, Florence Welch and Fearne Cotton.
What the high street is failing to notice though is that I (and, I'm assuming, thousands of other women like me) don't want to look like any of these people. I just want to look like a cooler version of myself. And I want to be comfortable. And I don't want to worry about my floral print clashing with my zebra print, because I have real, less boring problems to worry about.
It turns out that men have been onto this FOR YEARS. These beliefs are essentially the cornerstones of male fashion. This is why, when I throw on a dude's pair of skinny jeans and a vest, I am almost outraged to discover that I look better in this then I do in my own clothes. I know that I will get more shit done today than I will any other day this week. I know that in Costa coffee I will be able to say, stridently and confidently "Actually, I asked for no foam." and maybe even add "Foam makes me gassy."
Because I look good in men's clothes, and you probably do too.
2. Shark t-shirts
If you do not own a shark t-shirt, I highly recommend picking one up. This one I got up for a pound.
Wear this during any of the listed activities, for an optimal experience of each.
1. Realizing, for any length of time, that you actually don't give a shit.
On Sunday morning of last week, I sat back from the hangover I was eating my way through and realized something, and it was that I was happy. I realized that even though I am a full stone above my 'dream' weight, and even though I have a soft little belly where, ideally, thinness should be and even though my fringe is still doing that thing and even though my skin has re-erupted from falling asleep in my make-up again - I realized that I'm actually happy with how I look. I rubbed my belly with the fondness one would offer a teacup pig: oh you sweet, hideous little thing. You are the physical manifestation of eating too much, drinking too much, and generally having fun. And that's actually fine.
|I don't know who this woman is.|
I resolved that today, I would not lie to myself and say "tomorrow, I'm going to go for a run." I would not attempt to forget to eat dinner, because I had a big lunch. Because, well, fuck that.
This lasted until the next day, where I promptly hated myself and my body again. Because nothing very good, or very bad, lasts very long.