Football is all Cock and Balls

Men know nothing about football. They think they are the superior gender who know and understand all in the world of the Premiership. Unfortunately, this is a lie that they’ve conjured up together in some ‘girls are not allowed because they have vaginas’ meeting to ensure they have full ownership over the sport.

They believe that women know nothing about football. How could women possibly have any understanding of a ball and the back of a net? It’s as obscene as the idea of Djourou being an ex-Arsenal defender. However, I’m here to prove that we’re not all moaning at you to switch off Sky Sports One on a weekend; we’re moaning at you to hurry up and switch it on.

I’m an Arsenal fan and I have been since I was a ten year old shouting at the computer screen playing Championship Manager. Jumping up and down waiting for Aliadiere to score was all part of the fun although the waiting felt as long as it took Scholes to hang up his ginger boots and retire. It was at this age that I took my first trip to North London’s answer to Buckingham Palace, Highbury, where I met old Arsenal legends and where my love of the all-cock-and-balls- game began.

The issue is as soon as a male football fan hears a woman likes football, they have an image of what that woman is like. She must be the ‘sporty’ kind, the kind that prefers Bridget Jones’ style underwear to a lacy G-string and who would rather scoff a hot dog than delicately eat a salad. This is not the case. I’m a ‘girly girl’ who would never go to a match without a full face of make-up and a perfect hair-do but it doesn’t stop me from screaming ‘stand up if you hate Tottenham’ so loudly I almost lose my voice halfway through the game.

Some will accept that women go to matches but they’re going to ‘impress’ a man. This is a sad reality. I know a lot of women who make out they know everything about football in the hope that a man will be on bended knee hours later. They say things like ‘United won on Saturday’; no dear, it was Manchester City, there is a difference. Maybe it’s their inexcusable behaviour that leads men to cast us with the same you-don’t-know-who-Gerrard-is brush although I’m not into discussing Liverpool midfielders.

Others try to test us. They accept that we are football fans so they try to get us to take a nose-dive like an embarrassing Didier Drogba through some mastermind-style questions. They ask us to name as many football clubs as possible. My answer is ‘get real’. A chuckle ensues as they think of something ‘difficult’ to ask someone with breasts.

“Name five Arsenal players.”

I’ll name the entire squad; even the ones we’d like to forget like the lanky, goal-less Yaya Sanogo. I’m not including the Emirates Cup in this statement because it amounted to nothing much like Torres’ move to Chelsea.

“Name five England internationals.”

I’ll name the entire pointless squad called up for the World Cup 2014 although is there really any point in embarrassing Englishmen all over again?

It’s basic information. Women who are football fans know the years their team won the FA Cup, they know Bergkamp’s best goals, they know the rivalry between Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, they know that Wenger and Ferguson actually got on; they know just as much as your beer-swigging self. They could list the Champion’s League group draws for 2014, who scored the 1966 World Cup winning goal and how bad Rob Green is at international goalkeeping. It’s about time you swallowed your pride like Bendtner had to when he finally realised he couldn’t be classified as a ‘striker’ and allow us women to teach you a thing or two – maybe the offside rule?

(I know that most men really don’t feel this way; it’s all written tongue in cheek!)

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Marital Flatulence Saved My Life

I nearly died on the London Underground. Forget ‘don’t cross the yellow line’, I had my near-fatal experience once I’d stepped onto the train and hugged the safety that I thought had surrounded me.

It was the morning rush hour; prime time maniac mode for all those rushing to work with their flies undone. I should have known better than to risk everything for a trip to Krispy Kreme’s but I didn’t know what awaited me. I took a seat next to the door and settled down to a competitive game of Candy Crush thinking that I could get to the next level before someone sat on my lap. Unfortunately, a heavily ‘curvaceous’ woman decided it would be a treat to place half of her cellulite-ridden body parts onto my hip and half onto the buckling chair beside me. I wanted to scream out in pain and manoeuvre the sagging skin so it was no longer swallowing my bone structure but the looks from the I-have-an-office-job suit and ties in the corner silenced me.

I remained static; partially warmed by her body heat and partially cold as the blood drained from my body. As the train halted and opened its doors to that fateful passenger, I was concentrating on getting the conker to the bottom of the Candy Crush bucket. Forget the nineties; this really was on par with the menacing shapes of Tetris.

            Other people barely acknowledged his existence; he was just another contributor to the increasing stench of body odour that filled the carriage. He was middle-aged in a way that said he would be thankful for any female attention regardless of explosive acne or similar Adam’s apple styled necks. I looked at him for a few seconds purely so I knew he wouldn’t be able to see through my shirt with that predator-like x-ray vision.

It took five or so minutes for him to unleash it. It was a moment of panic for us all as we threw our heads back in horror and winced. We were wide-eyed and gasping for breath as though intoxicated by the fumes. I was willing for someone to pull the emergency lever just so I could escape and feed clean air into my system again. The oxygen was scarce and flooded with a vomit inducing quality that made me fixate on this dire excuse for a human being. He had a bewildered look on his face as though he’d been caught with an erection by his mother and if I had been his mother, I would have been ashamed.

It was the largest onion Cornish pasty I’d ever seen. He was cramming it into his mouth so hard that it was falling in great lumps down his shirt and onto the floor. Children were screaming, parents were cradling them with sympathetic noses, elderly women were woken by the avalanche of crumbling pastry and I sat there knowing that soon enough, there would be no oxygen left. It was a full frontal fight until the end; a classic game of old school survival of the fittest and I wasn’t going down without my Krispy Kreme doughnut.

This was the only time in the entirety of my life that I have wished for nasal hair. I would have loved to fashion a jungle of thick pubic-like hairs dangling from my nose so I could somehow fend of the fatality-factor of the pasty before it entered my system. I looked over at the smug sixty-something man opposite. He knew he had an advantage; sniffing away and enjoying only the gentle swishing of his greying forest nostrils.

The train stopped in a tunnel and my life flashed before my eyes. It was all the times I had breathed in so freely without thinking my lungs were crying inside. I saw beautifully clean walks along the beach where my mouth was parted and I tasted nothing but the salt of the British sea. I almost forgot myself and tasted the chunks of onions sweating with grease that had sat halfway onto his tongue and halfway onto his bottom lip, embarrassed to be seen.

Eventually, the train dragged into my station. I leapt up from my seat as though Usain Bolt had morphed into my twenty one year old self and hidden his penis. When the doors opened, it was like a rebirth; fresh out of the womb smelling life again for the first time. I stumbled off with relief and a newfound respect for life. I could have died on that train and if it wasn’t for my ability to hold my breath when my husband casually let out wind, I wouldn’t have made it through the ordeal. God bless marital flatulence.

 

 

A Couple of Married Twenty One Year Old’s

I’m twenty one and married to him. He’s twenty one and married to me. Before the inevitable flurry of ‘aren’t you too young?’ questions, I haven’t done a Kim Kardashian and married a gangster for a vagina-waving video that will be leaked to ensure my future millions. I am in love with a beautiful man and age is irrelevant.

At eighteen, we fell in love. At twenty, we got engaged. At twenty one, we said I do. Admittedly, I have never felt twenty one. Twenty one is meant to be the moment where you feel brave enough to try that forward roll that you couldn’t quite master back in PE lessons. It’s a time where you can wear a jumpsuit without walking around worrying about the camel attached to you. It’s being brave at its most envious. If asked what I’d choose as my mental age, I fear I’d be closer to the pensioner than to my twenty-one-year-old-skinny-dipping-in-a-mould-induced-pond-for-the-sake-of-it friends. So in that respect, I am somewhat of a cougar marrying this delicious twenty one year old toyboy.

The reality of it is that we’ve come up against a wall of negativity as though we’re claiming to be the next BNP leaders once we’re married. At one point, a Robin Hood style ambush nearly pushed us to elope somewhere in the Caribbean and skinny dip in those waters instead. But we didn’t. We made a choice to take life and love into, as our good old friend the cliché says, our hands. We decided that a small gathering at a pleasant registry office with five or six people would suffice for a long enough bedtime story for the future grandchildren.

When the day arrived, it wasn’t all fields of gold with Kool and the Gang giving some heartfelt rendition of ‘Celebration’. It was more like Rylan Clarke howling into my ear at it’s-too-early-o’clock.

                I woke furious for no other reason than the fact that morning had come and slapped me in the face too soon. I wanted a coma-like sleep where not even the smell of Johnny Depp’s dreadlocks could raise me from the bed. But on one occasion, a woman has to accept her bride duties and muster the effort to actually put on a dress and hide her dishevelled self beneath a white veil. Once I had, I felt like Cinderella albeit with a slightly transvestite-like tallness.

Arriving before the groom isn’t tradition but I wanted to sit down without sweating through the layers of netting that had stuck to my nipples. I wanted to be still without the worry that my hair would blow so far back in the open car windows that I’d eventually turn up bald. I wanted to throw myself in front of a mirror to ensure my fake eyelashes didn’t look like two slugs chasing each other on my eyelids. I arrived mere minutes before him and was ushered into an office whilst he gallivanted like some gladiator through the halls of the building.

I walked into the ceremony with my best friend of eleven years to Mariah Carey’s voice. Although, we had discussed how romantic it would be to play Kesha’s Timber and allow for a country dance down the aisle, we opted for the sensible choice.

                Once we were stood facing each other, we couldn’t help but laugh. The registrar silenced us and we began to say our vows to one another. It was when love pulled through and showed everyone that it really does conquer all even for those who can’t cook eggs properly.

With all the meaningless jokes pushed aside, it was as beautiful as the warm, orange sun setting on a summer’s evening. It was like all your favourite memories merged into one black and white film. It was like hearing all the angels sing together just for you. It was like our lives had stopped and a new one had started where we had new titles and new beginnings. It was, and still is, the best decision we’ve ever made, twenty one or pensioner.

 

Tip-ping Me Over the Edge

I refuse to tip in restaurants and I’m not sorry. Why is it after we’ve paid a David Cameron style wage on food that we really could have just microwaved at home, we’re supposed to hand over ‘loose change’ to someone who has barely acknowledged our existence for an hour? Hold me hostage and feed me meat-filled burgers until I pay up because otherwise my purse will stay firmly shut. It’s become this strange legal kind of mugging where they stand before you ready and waiting as though you’re drowning in money and they have to somehow relieve you.  

I can understand that waiters and waitresses have a difficult job; cleaning up some mutated spaghetti mess is hard for even the no-gag-reflexing individual. However, they’re not the only ones that ‘serve’ people. In retail, you don’t walk up to a till point and add a tip to the payment of a crop top, in fact you’d be completely outraged and stroll out with an air of ingratitude. So I’m struggling how after a quick Mr Muscle wipe of the table and a plate of chips I’m expected to hand over my flat keys as a substitute for my lack of tip just so I can escape through the side exit.

The worst part of the whole ‘dining out’ experience is the expectation at the end. It’s an Oliver Twist style moment where ‘more sir’ really wouldn’t be an exaggeration. We all want more money but by giving me a glass of coke and a toothy smile really isn’t the way to go about it. Here’s a prime example of exactly why I’m not willing to give up my week’s earnings on someone who probably chucks hangers on me when walking out of a high street fitting room.

When I was out for dinner the other evening, I requested a vegetarian meal. As abnormal as that is for a waitress to hear that vegetarians really do exist and they’re not just an urban myth, she asked me if I was ‘sure’ that is what I want. Pondering this for a whole second of my life, I proceeded to tell her that yes, after eleven years of Quorn and Tofu, I was extensively sure that my choice was one that I would not later regret. When she left, we waited for forty minutes without our drink order although I’d asked numerous times emphasising the ‘please’ in case I got the whole saliva-in-burger drama. When the dinner arrived, it was a chicken dish that smelt of farmyard manure and a breaded Chicken Run character. After huffing and puffing like an overheating, constipated fish, she eventually replaced it with a salad that I, once again, didn’t order.

            At the end of the meal, my Nan decided to tip six pounds for her ‘enthusiasm’. She had as much ‘enthusiasm’ as a funeral director in a labour room. I kicked up what can only be described as a ‘hormonal’ raucous until my Nan told me that ‘its rude not to tip’. I need this explained to me because for the love of all that is food, I was given a bird to eat.

Call me the wicked witch of the west but my point is true; service is service and it shouldn’t be one rule for one and one rule for another. Receiving great service is a joy but it isn’t one that deserves reward because at the end of the day, they’re getting paid. You may argue that it’s ‘stressful’ and ‘busy’ in restaurants but it is too, in a shop or in an underground station or on a bus. These people don’t play the puppy dog eyes and almost splutter into your soup when you give them nothing. It’s not about politeness because I will engage in conversation in the very typically English way where we evaluate the ‘awful weather’ and I will always say my please and my thank you. But I wonder, when did a heart-felt thank you become a metaphor for I’m-a-tight-fisted-pessimist? It’s about time we all admitted that it’s tipping us over the edge.

 

A Vow of Alcohol Celibacy

There is nothing worse than alcohol. I’ll be the first to admit it and I’ll probably be the last. Everyone talks about vodka-induced nights out as though they didn’t end with their hair dripping half way into a toilet but the reality is just that. It’s about time we all admitted that tequila is the leading cause in those dreaded wake-up-to-find-a-hairy-beast-of-a-man one night stands.  

The issue is that alcohol always starts as a good idea. No one thinks they’ll end the night half-naked at the bottom of their stairs because a striptease really did sound like a great idea. You believe that the world is, for the first time, your oyster. You can have anything you want regardless of expense or logic. If you want to dangle off the side of Ruby Blue’s balcony at half three on a nipple-decreasing Tuesday, you can do it. It’s only after drinking enough to sink the Titanic that you begin to understand that dribbling without knowing it is the least attractive thing since the mankini. It’s at this moment that you start to forget why tongues weren’t created for sordid kisses at the back of Yates and your friends despair at ever having known you.

In the process of drunkenness, we seem to lose all self-respect and do things that no human should ever do with or without a mature adult’s consent. I have unfortunately lost all dignity and bared my unshaven forest-like hairs on my thighs to an elderly gentleman on the ninety four bus. Others tend to scream their way into the Guinness World Records for being the most intoxicated person since Justin Beiber’s arrest.

I can’t deny that I have been one of these people. I have been all Bambi legs and Mr Bean dance moves whilst trying to chat up the Tottenham Hale bus driver post-Weatherspoons. I have been denied access from Leicester Square Burger King for being, in the burly security guard’s words, ‘drunk and disorderly’ and I have been known for the odd shot contest that ends with me hugging a chair and declaring my undying love for it. However, this happens once a year and for this, I am truly grateful.

For some people, hangovers are a myth. There’s no passing of the bucket or crying into the toilet bowl of shame; just a casual shower to soak away the memories of the night before.

For others, we wallow in self-pity and suffer in no silence. The day consists of head-pounding, toe-curling, vomit-inducing pains that make you want to give up life and surrender forever. It is a time when not even George Clooney’s naked self could bring you back to earth as you once knew it.

It is because of these reasons that I refuse to wear a vagina-skimming miniskirt and drown my tonsils in anything that has a percentage sign on the bottle. There will be no smudged mascara down my cheek and I refuse to sit on Santa Claus’ knee at the Christmas party. It’s all so mortifyingly embarrassing that someone has to take a vow of alcohol celibacy and declare themselves married to the joys of middle-aged hot drinks like Ovaltine and warm milk. I do take this vow.

 

 

Broken Homes, Broken Record

I’ve never met my Dad. He’s out there somewhere in this world not knowing my name, my age or my number. He doesn’t care and neither do I and that’s the harsh reality of it. Some men were born with the physical inability to grow a pair of at least average-sized testicles and feel paternal love. Some men give it in abundance.

I am not filled with hate or a sense of rejection. I am not waiting one day for a love-filled reunion where he can shower me in birthday presents, Christmas presents, graduation presents and I-wanted-you-aborted presents. In my head, I see a man that my imagination has allowed to grow as years have passed and the only constant is the disappointment in his eyes at having to look at the sperm he unleashed twenty one years ago.

There are some people who are either full of good faith or possibly suffer from our long term friend naivety that claim being a parent is just as hard as the presidency. They argue that to know your child’s first name is a step too far in the maturity level of manhood and that men simply have to perform a magic trick and disappear. I fear this is as true as going to the back of my wardrobe and stepping into a fairy tale land of Narnia.

Growing up, it was never a deep dark secret as to why the man that forgot to use a condom one day wasn’t there to play against the other fathers on sports day. It was out in the open like some sort of infectious disease that other dads could catch, become ill with and eventually abandon all involvement with their own children. I was told, in very simplistic terms so my four year old mind could understand them, that he ‘just didn’t want you.’ But to me, it didn’t matter because I had Bananas in Pyjamas on video and those trusty old friends always wanted me.

When you reach a certain age, you realise you’re part of something bigger like a revolution of the half-parented. There’s a school full of abandoned students daydreaming just that little bit longer in class. There’s a street full of children holding onto their mother’s hand just a little bit tighter. There’s a world full of people loving their partner just a little bit stronger.

You meet people and discover their broken-home status. You feel relieved that you’re not alone in knowing more about Leonardo Dicaprio than your own father. You don’t know his age or his hair colour or how his touch would feel. The relief is short-lived. There’s a look in people’s faces and it’s a look as though a part of them is lost somewhere in gravity and no force, no matter how strong or scientifically proven, can bring it back to them. This, however much it is denied, is unmistakable.

In most cases, children grow closer to the parent that chose to nurture them and who taught them that they weren’t going to die if they let go at the top of a really big slide. There tends to become an unbreakable bond that life, in all its many stages, cannot tarnish for that one love does conquer all.

For some of us, it doesn’t quite work out that way. The cracks were always there; no loving kisses goodnight or a hug before school. The years start to erode at the parental relationship until there is nothing but debris left and you wonder if there had ever been love at all. You wonder what having a mother would feel like and how there was such distance there that you may as well live in a foreign land. You try at length to build something, no Eiffel Tower of emotions but something that you could feel inside your chest when you couldn’t breathe. But sometimes, just sometimes, all is lost.

I think it’s a sad truth and statistic that broken homes are becoming more of a norm. If parents aren’t together but a child still knows the difference between Pat Butcher from Eastenders and who their mother is, life has pulled itself together. If not, us children that society tries to ignore or who they are slightly embarrassed of will be fine.

I read a quotation once in an English class back in secondary school and it is one that has stuck with me when delving into what my mind tells me not to – ‘smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.’ We are skilful and we are not alone, parents or no parents, we will know how it feels to be truly, heart-warmingly loved.

Soul-Filled Shame of the Ex-Factor

Exes are like a flaccid penis; laughable, embarrassing and hard to forget. Some generous people can be friends with their exes like they don’t have a vivid image of them naked on their mother’s sofa with a so-called sexy g-string on. I, for one, am not one of those people.

I struggle with the fact that there are men out there that have seen my au-naturel state at four am on a Saturday morning spluttering through a kiss with saliva dripping onto their pre-bearded chin. I think back to them stroking my hairy legs and telling me how beautiful I am when the sanest comment would be to compare me to the finally-found Big Foot monster. It’s almost unbearable to think of my seventeen year old self canoodling a hormonal boy that re-inacted a scene from the 40 Year Old Virgin and couldn’t quite get that trusty genital-raincoat on. Memories like this should be locked away with similar cringe-worthy I-hate-myself moments such as drunkenly fondling a middle-aged barman who was trying to keep my legs from behaving like Bambi.

Of course, back in the day I had some pleasant times with these exes. We shared a laugh or two. We watched a film or two. We broke a heart or two. But now the decade of my twenties has hit and I realise that their existence haunts my memory, why did I find the shaved Nike tick on the side of his nearly-bald head a turn on?

When I think back over my impressionable years as a teenager, I remember thinking that texting the word ‘babe’ was the ultimate flirting technique. If that was followed by the ever-anticipated ‘x’ kiss at the end, that was it; life as you knew it was over. Being single back then was like a race for the sexually-deprived; who can kiss someone’s peeling dry lips first?

Other memories include some images that could fill a sex-for-dummies book which, if it doesn’t already exist, may just have to be in the pipeline. One ex thought it was a marvellous idea to light some candles one fateful Valentine’s day and surprise me with a ‘night of pleasure’. Unfortunately, he ended up burning a certain area and was sat with a bag of ever-so-attractive frozen peas whilst I revelled in the pleasure of his grimacing. Another brave warrior of a nearly-man tried to seduce me with his cutlery skills in the kitchen and ended up buying me Kentucky Fried Chicken as a ‘surprise’; I’m a vegetarian.

The most embarrassing thing about remembering these men is how I behaved and I’m sure they’d probably all agree too. I was the dictionary definition of a joke; I wore socks with sandals. They were the times when I thought Westlife were the sexiest thing since the creation of man and I owned flared trousers. I am appalled. However, the main issue was that I had a heart that always sought after teenage love like it was going to be one giant orgasm for the rest of my life. It wasn’t, I have to add. I was always the one to jump on the romance wagon and declare my undying Romeo and Juliet lets-get-married-and-be-ridiculous together love for them when really the only thing we had in common was our choice in Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Sometimes, when I’m out and about in the bustle of London life I fear the ex-factor. They could stroll out from some unknown sidewalk and shout out how my virginal skills in the bedroom were somewhat unfortunate to the tourists ready with their cameras to ‘name and shame’.

When I see a figure of a man that looks like it could be one of those exes, my heart stops. Not from the thought of his hands all over my body and failing to ‘find the spot’ but from the sheer horror of having one of those awkward conversations. I’d rather dive head first into the Thames and be run over by one of those supposed ‘Cruise’ boats than have to indulge in an I-remember-how-your-nipples-looked kind of silence.

I have tried in the past to be all hugs and kisses how’s-the-family with exes but somehow it’s always ended with me feeling slightly repulsed when I try to tuck into a small vegetarian sausage shortly afterwards. I don’t wish any negativity onto them but I do wish that they could forget my sordid past of, brace yourself, denim on denim.

*This piece is meant as light-hearted fun and of no disrespect to anyone*