Monday, April 30, 2012

So You've Decided To Become More Handsome

There are many wonderful things about being a man. I know this for a fact, as I know at least TEN MEN and every single one of them rates the experience highly. When you're a man, your life is filled with amazing experiences such as peeing standing up, and getting paid more money than a woman for doing the same job. Awesome! The one downside of being a man, however, is that unlike being a woman, you're basically stuck with what you've got. Are your eyes so small they look like two pissholes in snow? Well, that's too bad, because you're just going to have to learn to live with that.

You could try mascara and eyeliner, but this runs the risk of making you look like either a very masculine woman, or a very confused man. Call me old fashioned, but there's really no avoiding of this.

Unless you're Bill as The Bionic Woman, obviously. 


Because there are steps you can take to becoming more handsome, and it is up to ME, a humble WOMAN to show you how.


First of all, you need to buy a large plastic drum of protein with a picture of an arm on it.

Realise that your large plastic drum of protein does not have any spacial correlation to your home. Keep the large plastic drum of protein somewhere totally fucking dumb, like a doorway.

Mix the protein with water or milk.

Spit it out when you realise that the drum's promises of tasting like chocolate have been utterly misrepresented, and in actual fact, it tastes like the colour brown.

Next, take up an EXTREME SPORT that almost certainly did not exist in this country ten years ago.

Your choices consist of ULTIMATE FRISBEE or some kind of bullshit Mixed Martial Arts your local gym is currently flogging.

Tell everyone about your new mixed martial art!

Practice high kicks at the office!

Take a flask of protein to work with you.

Leave it to sit on your desk. Take a swig from it every three hours, wince accordingly.


OK, so realistically this post has been flawed from the outset, considering there is literally nothing a man can do to make himself facially more handsome. HOWEVER, on the plus side, if your main goal is to woo women, you can do this by being funny or charming. Generations of disappointment have taught women to lower their expectations from men, so this can be achieved easily.

Watch old movies for tips on how to be incredibly charming. Take notes on the behaviour of Humphrey Bogart.

Notice that Humphrey Bogart treats women like shit. Wonder also if you can get away with slapping women in the face.

You cannot get away with slapping women in the face.

Stop watching Humphrey Bogart movies.

Take notes on the behaviour of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.

Realise you don't own a motorcycle, or have had your face featured on a brand of salad dressing. Also, realise you hate old movies.

Take up smoking.

Because smoking is sexy, and it gives strangers something to talk about. Unfortunately, you realise that smoking is a lot like playing the violin, in that unless you take it up at a frighteningly young age, you'll never really be good at it. Keep a raggedy box of Silk Cut in your back pocket on nights out. Clammily produce it whenever women are around. Drop cigarette constantly, fumble with lighter.

Pick up the tab for women you barely know.

Feel weird about it constantly. Wonder aloud if this is nothing more then a long-term payment plan for an unreliable escort service.

Remember your old movies! Tell a woman she looks like an old-timey celebrity.

Women love old movies, because it makes them feel intelligent. Memorize a well known old-timey celebrity for each dominant hair colour. Make sure to keep it generic! Women love it when you're generic.

Blonde: Marilyn Monroe
Brown: Audrey Hepburn

Literally everything else: Lauren Bacall

Now you get to have Sex Forever.

If none of this is working, or you've made the rookie mistake of over-learning old movie star factoids and now the object of your affections thinks you're gay: never fear! You can always throw money at the situation until it fixes itself, or as it's popularly known, go clothes shopping.

Yes, clothes shopping! It's that thing that used to be for women but now it's for men, too!

First off:



T-shirts professing your love of drinking and your hatred of women.

Everything that celebrates what a lazy butthole you are

Everything that implies your involvement with an imaginary sports team. Especially if it's an imaginary Letterman's Jacket.








Friday, April 27, 2012

Old People Rock Harder Than You Ever Will

Let me be the first to throw up my hands and say, today was not the best day to know me. Today has been a day where I stopped being myself, Caroline O'Donoghue, the prized swine we've all come to know and accept, and transformed into a bitchy, whiny little piglet.

I woke up at six this morning, unable to swallow or talk without stabby-knife throat pain. Feeling immensely sorry for myself, I called in sick and then spent the rest of the day whining. I whined on Twitter, I whined on Facebook. I whined in text messages to my mother, my boyfriend, my sister and my friend. I whined when no GP would  see me because I had never bothered to register with a doctor, I whined when I was forced to go to a over-crowded, under-staffed NHS drop-in centre. I whined because I had to wait for two hours, I whined because the doctor refused to give me any decent prescription medication, and I whined because it rained the whole time I tried to get home afterwards.

You get the picture. Anyway, I get on the bus and sit next to a man who is anywhere between a well-preserved 80 or a hard-living 65. He's wearing a hat and an overcoat, and when he starts talking to me, the first thing I tell him is how cool I think his hat is. I'm telling the truth. It's one of those soft trilby numbers. Old men get away with hats in a way men under sixty could never hope to achieve. Hats are a serious item of clothing, and when a man who hasn't earned the right to be serious wears one, he looks like an utter bender.

This man wears his hat in a way that implies he knows when to take it off as the situation requires: like when a lady walks into a room, or when someone is playing bagpipes. We start to talk. Like all old English people, he is amused by the idea of my Irishness. "I know a Cork girl when I hear one!" he says, but what he's really saying is "We used to own you, you know! Troublesome lot, you!" I don't take this personally.

If you've read this blog for a while, or indeed, have spent any amount of time with me as a person, you'll know that I am a great believer in arbitrary, ferocious hatred. On this blog alone, I have professed  inexplicable hatred for babies, space, fashion designers, high-street retailers, Mad Men, hobbies and James Franco.

If you were to assume that old people fell underneath my umbrella of unbridled hatred, I wouldn't hold it against you. On the contrary though, I think old people are the bomb. Old people get to do whatever they want. Why? Because they've earned it. For example, my Grandad is in his nineties. He still drives, and lives by himself. His favourite thing to do is be surrounded by women, and to make somewhat insensitive comments about the weight of strangers. This is fine. Actually, it's better then fine, it's completely awesome. The advantage old people have over the rest of us is that they can get away with being totally reprehensible, and everyone loves them for it.

If you stride into a room full of your closest loved ones and tell them your sick of their bullshit, the likely result of this action is that your loved ones will ex-communicate you. This could last between two weeks and three years. If an old dude does the same thing, he's just being a character. A regular old sparkplug.

Anyway, back to the anecdote at hand. I'm sitting on the bus, talking to my new pal, Some Old Dude.

"Do you like Peckham?" he asks

For my readers who do not live in South London, know this: nobody likes Peckham. There are nice bits, sure, but it's the kind of place that Londoners italicise when they're talking about it. Example: Peckham? What are you going to Peckham for?

"It's ok." I say, polite, and neutral as Switzerland during the last ten minutes of The Sound of Music.

"I've lived here my whole life." he says proudly "Well, except for during the war years."

The war years. This is what's so great about English old people. Because Ireland never officially fought in a war (aside from The War of Independence, of course, which I think is recognised by the rest of the world as a strop on our part) all they have to talk about is some grizzly tales about being dicked around by the Brits.

Ask an Irish elderly person about their younger days, and you will almost certainly receive an anecdote that looks like this:



As an English old person about their life story, and you'll get something that looks a bit more like this:


Every old English person I talk to seems keen to tell me about the jolly time they had fighting Nazis in Snoopy's plane, and this dude is no exception. Then, suddenly.

"I spent three years in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp!"

A pause.

"I'm sorry, what?"

"After the war. Three years. I worked on the railroad. In Burma? You know the railroad? You heard of that?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"That was us. We helped build that."

Another long, terrible pause. At this point in the conversation, i notice that my stop is getting incredibly close, and if I want to get off, I'm going to have to stand up right now. I can't though, because that would mean asking a man who, at one point in his life, spent three years in a Japanese POW camp, to stop talking about it. In that moment, it seemed like the rudest thing I could possibly do.

"And.. how.. was.. that.. for you?"

My old friend shrugs. "Fine."

I can't believe this. I mean, obviously, I know these things happened. I know that people suffer through awful things during war, and I know that a lot of them live to tell the tale. But what I cannot get my head around is the idea that this nice old man riding the bus with me and the man who spent a chunk of his life being forced to build a railroad are the same person. And here he is, talking about it, like it ain't no thing. He is saying the words "I spent three years in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp." like people of my generation say "I died my hair red once."

To give you a visual, I look kind of like this:

And he kind of looks like this:

My stop has come and gone. I stay on the bus for ten more minutes, while we eat chocolate raisins and talk about the railroad. When I do finally get up, he kisses my hand in that exaggerated way people do when they know they won't ever see you again. I do not complain about being sick for at least another five hours.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sexual Harassment and You!

Here is a short true story.

On Thursday morning, I woke up at 6.45. I showered, I got dressed. I left the house. I got the train to the tube, and the tube to work. It was raining, and as is always the case when the weather is unpleasant, the train was jammed with damp commuters and mulched wet newspaper. I was tired. I held on to a handrail and closed my eyes.

This was the moment when a semi erect penis decided to make friends with my butt cheek.

At first I thought it was some kind of mistake. Whoops! said the penis, hereafter known as Renegade. It seems as though I have found my way to your pencil skirt. My bad! What a hilarious misunderstanding!

Look. I'm a reasonable woman. I realize that, for better or worse, men are slaves to their own boners. There is no straight logical correlation between a situation and a boner's origin, and I get that. From what I understand, men get between six and six hundred thousand erections a day. As far as a dick knows, a shovel standing upright in the snow is as arousing as a half-Asian bass player rocking out in a thong.

Figuring it to be nothing more then an awkward mistake, I move. Given the packed train, this is an effort in itself. I shuffle a couple of steps forward, giving Renegade adequate space to roam. My butt is once again free to enjoy its morning in the precious solitude it's grown accustomed to. Moments later however, I feel something familiar. My new friend Renegade is back, and he's relocated to the side of my thigh. It's somewhat firmer this time: what could have been mistaken for an accidental graze earlier in the journey now feels sickeningly intentional.

The reality of the situation suddenly occurs to me. This man isn't simply a victim of a crowded train and a fairly circumstantial morning boner. This man is taking advantage of a crowded train to sexually harass me and get away with it. And it's working.

At this point, I still haven't seen the man's face. The narrowness of the the carriage and the amount of people piled into it means it's almost impossible to get a 360 view, and I've become terrified of making eye contact with Renegade's owner. I don't know what I'm scared of exactly, but something in me - some leftover pre-feminist chromosome from generation's past - tells me to just remove myself from the situation as quietly and as casually as possible. Seeing his face would make it worse. I don't know how, but it would. I move again, in turn pressing myself into the woman standing in front of me. She looks at me, perturbed. Oh God, I think. I'm starting an endless conga line of commuter harassment. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Renegade follows. The train jolts as it stops. I feel the tips of the man's fingers press against my hip. I am being steadied.

This is my stop.

I whip around to fight my way to the door, and me and Renegade's owner meet face to face for the first time. He's about thirty one. He's wearing a suit. For some reason, I find this surprising. I guess I figured that the kinds of men who sexually harass women on trains are the kinds of men who stay on the train all day, looking for their next butt cheek to graze. Alien is the concept that they board the train, defile a woman, and then just get on with the rest of their day. I wonder if he's that guy at the office where he works. The one that everyone unanimously hates, but no-one can find a good enough reason to fire. He smiles at me with the side of his mouth

I leave the train with my face burning. I'm nauseous. I feel the sides of my throat get rapidly warmer, the way your body does when it's getting ready to vomit. Mostly though, I'm just angry. I'm ferociously, lividly angry. I'm angry at this.. this dude feeling like he can treat me like the punch-line to his penis's practical joke. What's even more irritating is not what he did, but what I didn't do. And moreover: what women, everywhere, don't do every day. In my resolve not to make a scene, in my absolute determination to just be cool about the whole thing, I ended up imitating the behaviour of a side-character in a Victorian novel, passively entertaining the perverted morning routine of a total stranger.


I'm not saying that what happened to me between 8.05 and 8.10 in the morning is life-altering or devastating or even worthy of a spot on Oprah's couch. In the grand scheme of crappy things that happen to women, it's way, way down the scale of controversial gravitas.

I'm not saying I'm special, or unique. I'm not saying that this kind of behaviour is indicative of how men feel about women, or that all men are secret train perverts.

This is just something that happened to me, and this is how I felt about it. What scares me is that we, as a society, are still putting up with this shit. The majority of the women reading this have had very similar incidents, and I'm also willing to bet my bottom dollar that when they talked about it, they didn't talk about how it upset them, or how it made them feel used, or worthless. I bet they probably joked about it, and shrugged it off, and laughed that they should take it as a compliment.

And that is why, if anyone ever tries to tell me again that women aren't funny, or that women can't take a joke: I am going to spaz out, shoot up a bank, and go live on a mountain forever.

Monday, April 16, 2012

So You've Decided to Become More Attractive

Congratulations! You've decided to become more attractive. This means that you have both a) admitted to having a problem and b) have endeavoured to do something about it. This is the can-do attitude existing attractive people appreciate, and as is well known, impressing them is half the battle. Before we begin your journey to becoming more attractive, perhaps it's best we outline the adequate preparation for such a venture.

Choose a theme

If you've ever started a project before, you'll know that choosing your theme is absolutely crucial. Your theme choices are Sexy, Cute and Vaguelly Intimidating. Don't be intimidated by your theme! These are interchangeable depending on how much lipstick, eyeliner and glasses you're wearing.

Decide that you need to lose weight

This is obviously the most important part about becoming more attractive. Even if you are otherwise irredeemably unnattractive, you can at least be comfortable in the quiet honour of being a Butter Face.

Decide on how you are going to lose all this damn weight

You basically have two choices here. You can eat less, or exercise more. Some experts recommend both, but screw that. If you over-extend yourself too early in the project, you'll run out of steam halfway through. This will lead your resolve to buckle, and it will end in you licking the inside of a Skips packet at half four in the morning. Eat less, or exercise more.

So you've decided to exercise more

Congratulations! Deciding to exercise more is the winners way out of this ugliness situation you've been dealing with. Go you, you worker bee.

Realise you have nothing to exercise in

What? How does someone get this far in life without owning a pair of running shoes? You're gross.

Endeavour to buy some work-out clothes

Imagine yourself as a vision in black spandex, ponytail bobbing as you jog wistfully along your local dog-walkery.

Maybe think about getting a dog?

Don't be silly. You do not have the time or enough capacity for love.

But if you had a dog that required walking, you would exercise more and then..

Stop thinking about getting a dog. A dog will not make you thin.

Actually buy the work-out clothes

Way less fun then buying regular clothes. Feel an exciting buzz of superiority when asking the salesgirl where the jogging pants are.

Go jogging

Tell everybody at work the next day about how you went jogging

Make a loose arrangement to go jogging with a girl from work

Make jokes about how you'll be jogging buddies!

Text girl from work about jogging

Receive no reply. Feel awkward around girl forever. Jog twice more, then stop.

So you've decided to eat less

Congratulations! Eating less is the modern woman's way out of this. Eating less is great because it is characterized by what you're not doing, rather then what you are doing. And not doing something is easy!

Throw away all your nice food

What, really?

Yes, really. Now, start a change jar. Put all your change in the change jar. Now that all of your change is in a jar, you will have less miscellaneous coins to spend on snacks

This means all your change. Even the brown bits at the end of your wallet. Tell yourself that the change jar is for something awesome. Do not feel bad when you dig into it for bus fare.

Tell everyone you work with about your decision to eat less

Listen to everyone tell you about how you do not need to eat less, and how you are perfect the way you are. Appreciate this for the lies and sabotage it so obviously is. Notice that jogging girl is eerily silent on the matter.

Skip breakfast. Pick grumpily at brown bread and tuna for lunch. Notice hunger pangs with masochistic determination. 

You're hungry! That means things are going well!

Feel malnourished, tired and sad. 

Decide this is no way to live.

So you've decided to get an awesome haircut

Stay up till 3.50 am researching the haircuts of celebrities you secretly think look like you

Because if it looks good on them, it will absolutely look amazing on you

Consider getting a pixie cut

Tell everyone you know about how you're thinking about getting a pixie cut. Eventually decide against it, citing your lack of bone structure.

Once you have decided on your awesome haircut, explain your choice to a nearby hairdresser. 

Become completely unnerved when he or she takes a length of your hair, holds it to your chin, and then says " this is how short you want it?"

Chicken out completely. Tell your hairdresser to forget everything you just said, and to just give you the usual.

Feel wounded when nobody notices your new haircut.

Watch a series of Anne Hathaway movies on Netflix. Fall asleep in your clothes listening to KT Tunstall. 

Wake-up with inexplicably nice hair, clear skin and happy looking breasts. 

Get whistled at on the way to work. 

Shelf plans of change until further notice.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What Your Favorite Childhood Cartoon Says About You

It's Easter Monday! Which means that if you're anything like me, you haven't been to work since Thursday. Thursday. That's practically a week of guilt-free time off. You didn't even have to call in sick for that. You didn't have to call your supervisor in your best stage-hoarse voice and have to begin sentences with the words 'must be' followed by the words 'something I ate' or 'going around at the moment'.

All this wonderful free time is free.

It's for you to spend some quality time with your old pal Jesus.

Unfortunately for your favorite lapsed Catholic, I did not spend this weekend with my old pal Jesus. I spent it camped out in Chris's house, getting drunk, watching movies and sunbathing. As an alternate form of worship, I cannot recommend it more. However, now it's Monday morning, and my brain has spent so much time at pasture that it's reverted back to the childlike mush of my seven year old self.

I am in bed, watching Pingu on my iPhone and eating the remains of whatever Easter chocolate is left in the house.

Pingu was always my favorite cartoon as a child, and the first thing I had a real obsession with. I don't know what it is about Pingu I responded to at the time, but it branched out into a love of penguins that dominated the majority of my childhood. Every gift I received was penguin related, and my most constant companions were three penguin stuffed toys named Pingu (boy) Pinguetta (girl) and Fat Boy (issues).

Watching Pingu again, approaching 22 and gainfully employed, and something about it just makes sense. Take this video, for example.

After watching this, I've realized that I didn't just like Pingu, I am Pingu. When Pingu's mother instructs him to babysit her egg, he is obsessed with notion of appearing to do an excellent job. When he neglects this duty in favor of partying and livin' it large in his igloo, he hides from his problems, and cries crocodile tears until eventually forgiven.

Let's take a character assessment of Pingu for a moment: hes well-meaning, good natured, but essentially pig-headed and selfish. He is, judging by his magazine and record player, a relentless hipster.
I don't t think there are any more parallels that need to be drawn here.

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles / Rescue Rangers / Duck Tales

Although ostensibly, these three cartoons occupied different time slots and drew different audiences, if any one of them was  your favorite cartoon growing up, it probably adds up to about the same thing.


There are three things in life that are important to you: your bros, your homies and your dudes. You are a man's man. You regularly barbeque. You have a longstanding poker night. You and your mate Stonesy once contemplated sharing a hooker in Thailand in the summer of 2009. You have, more than once, washed your penis in a sink.

Let's not be hasty here, you're not a total barbarian. You have female friends, and you even have smart friends. But they're not the people close to your heart, and they're not the people you immediately text after you've taken THE WORLD'S most oblong dump. The women in your life are soft, marvelous creatures, there to nurture you in times of need. Once a week, you call your woman or smart friend and you drink a bottle of wine in their house while watching the new Futurama. And it's nice. But in your heart of hearts, all you really want to do is pick a fight and take a dump. 

*If you're a girl, and these were your favorite cartoons growing up, I can't be arsed writing a character profile for you. You're probably great, regardless. 

Hey Arnold!/ Doug / As Told by Ginger

People are always surprised to find out you smoke. "But you don't seem like a smoker?" they say, inquisitive, squirrel-like curiosity aflame in their eyes. To this, you shrug. Smoking has given you something to do with your hands for many years now, and your hands have always been a problem for you. You take yourself out for coffee. You own a Moleskine notebook. You fear others find you pretentious. They probably do.

Things can be difficult for you. You marvel at others ability to breeze through life, unfazed by daily struggles that you're constantly encumbered by, such as "Does that barista like me, or is she just being nice?" and
"I need to find a new greeting."

Ren and Stimpy / Pinky and The Brain / CatDog

At least half of your friends are jealous of you. And why shouldn't they be? You've found the person you're going to be with forever, and you've been together further back then anyone can remember. Your partner knows you better than you know yourself, and this is something you proudly tell your mutual (all your friends are mutual) friends in the pub while slinging arms around one another. But later, as you finish brushing your teeth, you begin pawing your own face frantically in the bathroom mirror. She knows me, she knows me better then I know myself. 

Then you go and pick a fight about who burnt the bottom of the frying pan. It becomes a screaming row, and your other flatmates look at each other in awkward terror. You feel alive.

Animaniacs / Spongebob Squarepants / Earthworm Jim

Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was a fungi! You're a fun guy. Everybody loves you. Everybody loves you so much, they might as well call you Raymond. The thing people like about you, is that you are ON. You are on ALL. THE. TIME. With you, you don't just get a friend. You have jokes! Skits! Animated impressions of old teachers! You are an essential element of any, nay every, social group.

Sometimes you don't get invited places. It's no big deal, you'll get invited next time.


You spend an inordinate amount of time trying to befriend stray cats.