I Saw My Neighbour Naked

I saw my neighbour naked. There were nipples bobbling, a free fall of pubic hair and a hint of a vaginal lip. I didn’t know whether to scream, faint or declare myself blind forever. All I did know was that I had seen a forbidden forest and things were never going to be the same again.

My neighbours have always been an acquired taste. They’re the type to knock on your door just to say ‘hi’ which I’m sure hasn’t been legal since the 1960’s. They like to leave jigsaws by the front door in case anyone is feeling, in their words, ‘adventurous’. It’s as adventurous as discovering a verruca. They like to put the post in alphabetical order for all those that, I can only assume, can’t read their own name.

One such neighbour that lives directly below likes to announce what he’s eating as he’s eating it. I always get slightly concerned when the word ‘fish’ is screamed. Next to him lives a couple that seem to be able to set the fire alarm off using only two slices of bread and a piece of ham. At the bottom of the stairs are a group of souls that regard themselves as ‘hippies’ which I’m sure is a more politically correct term for having a gang bang. On ground floor, there’s a man that seems to dial an 0800 number for all those lonely nights and next to him is a woman that is more Sweeney Todd than Nigella Lawson in the cooking department. The house smells like dead people.

This is all part of living in a block of flats in an area where foxes are allowed to sit on your doorstep whilst your neighbours strum a guitar singing Kumbaya.

I, too, have my faults. I like to play Westlife at a night time to remember the glory days of the nineties. I can also hold my hands up and admit that I have cooked a fried egg or two at an inappropriate time on a Saturday morning however, no one has been scarred by the sight of my au naturel under parts.

I always knew she was one of those ‘open’ women who shared their deepest darkest secrets with the entire population from the moment she moved in.

“I just love watching Countryfile.” She said on introduction. I bowed my head in embarrassment, had she no shame?

After this came the washing machine incident. My clothes were in the middle of their weekly spin, enjoying themselves no doubt, when they were stopped by her. She wanted to know what was in the washing machine. It doesn’t exactly take a trip from the phantom of Einstein to reveal what was in the machine but she had to be sure. When I came down to see her fondling my sopping underwear, it became one of those socially awkward situations where there was nothing to say but ‘erm’.

“Lovely bras.” She said, smiling with her I’m-a-pervert style lips.

This could only mean one thing, she was either simply commenting on my fantastic taste in women’s lingerie or she was having a jolly old time with my smalls.

I decided to let that slide. After all, she hadn’t done the worst thing in the world and stolen my two pounds out of the machine door. But then came that fateful Sunday evening.

All was well in the house. I was enjoying a repeat of Golden Balls and everything was just as appropriate as a church sermon…until the screaming began. It was a high pitched scream as though she was in pain but enjoying the rollercoaster of life at the same time. I pondered whether to ensure her safety from what could possibly be an attack from the jigsaw maniac or ignore the rude interruption of my programme. Suddenly, without a thought for my own wellbeing, I hurtled across to her flat with my dressing gown floating in the distance. This was finally the moment that I could be a caped hero. What greeted me next was only for Hugh Hefner’s imagination. I saw things that fully grown men would weep at having come face to face with and I, for one, was ready to weep. As I squinted my eyes and slowly walked backwards, some Golden Balls that didn’t quite match what was on my television appeared.

After that, I remember nothing. It’s like a sordid cloud of smoky perversion sent me into a coma. When I woke, I knew I never wanted to see nipples darting towards me ever again. I knew I never wanted to help a neighbour in need ever again. But mostly, I knew I would never trust someone that liked Countryfile for as long as I live.


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.



A Big Heart-Shaped Slap in the Face

Valentine’s day. It’s one of those occasions that you either enjoy post-sex in the arms of your exhausted other half or hate with your fellow singletons slugging cheap wine from Aldi. I’ve experienced both over the years so I ponder what the big issue is with this rose-buying-chocolate-indulging-candle-lit-dining-day?

When you’re single, Valentine’s day is one big heart-shaped slap in the face. It’s everything you’ve tried to forget all shoved into one over-priced, sickly day with everyone pretending that their husband’s hairy carpet-like back is the most attractive thing since Dappy’s naked picture. It’s ready to spill into your day whether you want it to or not with people eating each other’s faces on the bus in the most unattractive of ways. It is a whole twenty four hours of tongue twisting, breast groping, wet lip kissing and public displays of fully clothed straddling.  Every shop you walk into is wishing you a ‘happy Valentine’s day’ when you’re convinced they know your Facebook relationship status has been static at ‘single’ for six months. When you get to work, some partially pretty only-just-old-enough girl announces her engagement and flashes a ring in your face. You restrain yourself from pouring your hate all over her for you know you’ll look like the Scrooge of Valentine’s day and the tear streak on her fake tan would nearly blind you. This is the moment that jealous thoughts strike and you think you’ve suddenly got Tourette’s; every woman has a flaw and you’re seeing them in the harsh light of Valentine’s pink. You wish the time away until you can meet your fellow single friends at home for a man-hating night. You’ll criticise every sexual experience you’ve ever had; his manhood, his moves, his very soul. You’ll declare that you’re happy; ecstatic even to be single whilst you watch a brutal horror film and picture the dying man with his guts hanging out as your ex-boyfriend. It’s the only time in the year when your phone is switched off in case one of those vomit-inducing pictures of a couple kissing finds itself onto your screen. As midnight approaches, you know you made it. You’ve had help from a bottle of Lambrini that has reached the pit of your stomach with a large Dominos settled on top. Your lipstick is smeared off your lips and stained your skin and your eyeliner has smudged underneath your eyes. It’s at this very moment that you’re glad there is no other half to see you in your post-Valentine state.

When you’re in a relationship, February 14th is a day where you feel like the world revolves around you and your partner; everything has aligned for you and your love. You open presents of red fluffy handcuffs courtesy of Poundland and some supposed raunchy card games that use the word ‘willy’ and ‘boob’ – this is not to be confused with Karma Sutra. He buys you half-dead roses with blackened petals but you don’t care even when you stab yourself with the thorns. After a cooked breakfast, you embrace in a Valentine’s-this-is-the-only-day-we-can-show-our-love way. Kisses are much more desperate with tongues lapping and lip gloss smearing. Hands seem to wander in a pubescent sexually charged way until you pull your jeans down to show Bridget-Jones style underwear but with the added details of little ducks floating along the vaginal area. This is excessively attractive. When you step outside and the sun is shining, it’s shining because it knows you’re together and no one ever found out you find is nasal hair a turn off. It’s a day that every argument is forgotten and the fact that he never washes up when he says he’s going to doesn’t matter. It’s a day where money is no object because a bank balance is nothing compared to love. You flutter money away on drinks and food and clubs where you dance with your other half until you both know its way past your bedtime. Your arse is aching in the body-con dress you’d bought to ‘accentuate your curves’ and his groin can’t take any more exaggerated grinding. The bus journey home provides perfect relaxing time where you can face opposite directions and stare out of the window at the world in silence. Eventually you get home, numb from the cold and furious as you say I love you. It’s time to settle in bed in your penguin pyjamas with a cup of tea and a plus one repeat of Big Brother until midnight strikes and Cinderella and Prince Charming vacate real life.

My point is Valentine’s day is just a day. It can be a beautiful day full of beautiful things and beautiful people but it’s not a day for anger or over-indulgence. There’s nowhere that states love is for those that are in a relationship; what about family or your friends or wherever else you find your love? This fairy tale idea of a relationship on February 14th is a fake. Our real loves are more of a fried egg sandwich on a Sunday morning or an unexpected episode of My Wife and Kids in bed. Everyone needs to remember that relationships are never always perfect because after all, who’s going to wash out the shower when he’s just shaved his pubes?