Halloween is like a Verucca; Painful and Ugly

I dread October. Let’s face it, Halloween is like a verruca; painful and ugly. Skeletons hanging from doorframes, dusty old cobwebs and Freddy Krueger’s hand aren’t exactly ‘fun’ unless you’re in the serial killing mood.

Halloween is an excuse for all the people out there that are concealing a psychopath alter-ego Dexter-style. They’re allowed to chase people along the road with a hook as a hand but remember, it’s all in the name of pure hilarity. I’m laughing off my seat. For some reason, it hasn’t been my lifelong dream to be killed by a pubescent boy in a Scream mask at eight o’clock on a Tuesday evening.

Walking around on Halloween night is like watching every horror film you’ve ever seen come to life. It’s 28 days later without the 28 days. It’s Saw without the doll pedalling past on its bicycle. It’s Hostel without the topless honey traps. Suddenly, the Purge is legal and you don’t even have David Arquette to save you.

I can see that the ‘fancy dress’ side of it may be appealing to some. Although, it is slightly concerning that people would prefer to invite Michael Myers and the whole family from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre for a ‘nibble’. It’s at their own expense if the latter guests take that a little too literally and end up biting their head off.

The idea of a Halloween ‘party’ almost makes me want the hillbillies in Wrong Turn to choke me until I vomit. I can picture the scene all too vividly. A Jägermeister –fuelled evening where my sober friends would be the two wicked witches of the west in the corner. We would sit sipping ‘the blood of a werewolf’ which in the terms of all knowledgeable drinkers out there means… cranberry juice. The three of us would feel quietly safe until a bed sheet turns up claiming to be a ghost.
The night would end with someone fornicating with Frankenstein, a punch up between Hannibal Lector and a drunken Chucky and me, most probably, being taken hostage by a man in the ‘elite hunting club’ that has paid to kill me with his nail clippers.

I can do ‘fun’ but not when my life is in danger. I can’t dance the night away with someone who asks me ‘what my favourite scary movie is’. And I definitely don’t want to be around when someone announces ‘let the game begin’. Maybe I’m the scrooge of Halloween but I’d rather have my eyeballs intact than have them put on a grill for dinner.

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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.

 

 

“What you saying BLUD?”

Have you ever been mid-conversation with someone and they casually drop a word and you have zero idea what they’re talking about? I don’t mean they’ve used a long word and you don’t have a spare dictionary to hand. I mean when someone says to you ‘What you saying blud?’ and you stand there silent. You wasn’t actually saying anything so what do they mean? When did ‘blud’ become an acceptable form of communication? I must have been hiding away in my small Kentish town to see the local youths knocking their knuckles together and saying ‘what is up’. And what is ‘blud’? I like to think it means a friend of some sort but then again, I’m not from London or where there is a …’hood’.

The issue is that I thought I could come to London and talk to people in the same way I had fifty miles back in the South East. I thought I could discuss the weather in the usual way that usual people did. I thought I’d understand every word that was said to me (I was proud to be on my English-based course at university). Yet, London is so diverse that it seems to have a completely different version of English than I’ve ever been taught. I don’t mean Cockney slang or anything that could make slight sense with some research but an actual different language.

I knew people my age in London before moving here so I had a few words translated already. I knew that ‘G’ means ‘gangster’, ‘jamming’ means ‘chilling’ and ‘yard’ means ‘house’. (Could I sound more like a pensioner right now?).

Yet when I was taken to a house party in Queen’s Park, I was greeted with words that weren’t in my mental dictionary. Here’s how the conversation went:

Man: “What you saying?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Man: “What you saying doe?”

Me: “Sorry, I didn’t say anything.”

The man looked at me as though I’d turned down his sexual advances and slapped him across the face. He stood all hurt and confused with his slit eyebrow raised. Slit eyebrows are clearly a razor malfunction and I’d certainly word a very strong letter to Wilkinson Sword for the error.

I smiled broadly, hoping to cover up the pit of awkwardness that we’d found ourselves in. The silence sat in the air and it gave me an opportunity to think of some wonderfully Kentish things to discuss with him but he turned away shaking his head. The rudeness of some people astounds me.

Later that evening, my friend (or ‘blud’ if I may) introduced me to some people from his university; I thought this was my opportunity to engage in full flow intellectual conversation and sweep all the confusion aside. We could talk in actual English and have a conversation where I felt socially experienced. Introductions over, the conversation was verging into that unknown territory again.

“So what you on?”

The man was waiting for me to answer. His face was full of hope; all bright eyes and smiles. My options were minimal so I opted for the weakest excuse imaginable; I pretended the music was too loud. I didn’t even know what the music was meant to be, it was talking of riding women and bicycles and the genital area.

I looked to the others in the group and nodded along; pretending to be involved in their conversation of some club or band or whatever called Vybz Kartel but the man persisted.

 “What you on b?”

This was the moment. Oh no. What on earth does ‘b’ mean? It could stand for so many different words and I was panicking. I thought back over all the phrases I’d had translated before but ‘b’ was never there. B?! I decided he didn’t mean to say it. How embarrassing for him. I kindly smiled and moved away; best not to make him feel bad.

When we left the party after I’d surprisingly spent a long time alone in the kitchen trying to work out what exactly a ‘weave’ was, my friend asked what had happened. I explained the story and said I’d let it go because it would be too embarrassing to correct him. He stopped mid-step and bowed his head. Was this the moment that he would say I was the kindest girl he’d ever met? Bless me, not to draw attention to such a mistake. No. This was the moment that he threw his head back and let out the loudest laugh I’d ever heard. It wasn’t a normal gentle laugh that someone would give after an anecdote or story; it was a huge howling laugh that seemed to echo down the street.

After much translation, nodding, questioning and research, I now know that I’d possibly been the most mortifying person since Tulisa’s boob slap on penis sex tape. ‘B’ wasn’t a random letter that he’d said without realising. It wasn’t a random letter of the alphabet that he thought he’d add to the question for effect. It actually means ‘babe’ or ‘baby’ or something.

These are the sort of socially awkward situations I’ve found myself in since submersing myself in London life. Luckily, I now have a ‘down with it’ boyfriend who helps me translate when someone shouts over a word that may as well be in Spanish or German to me. He seems to find it perfectly okay to switch between languages; he speaks to me in proper English and his friends in the ‘blud/fam/man’ language.  I seem to know a little more about it and if I’m ever in doubt, I’m quick to ask around for what I call a ‘London translation’. As for ‘what you on’ and ‘what you saying’, I’ve had it explained to me for the past three years and I still don’t get it. I’m not saying anything and I’m not on anything so clearly the whole concept is wrong. Why can’t we all just stick to the good Queen’s English and have a jolly old time?