Annoying Things that are Inevitable on any Shopping Trip

1). You will encounter slow walkers.
So, you are in a bit of a rush and want to get your shopping done as quickly as possible. In your head you are able to make a quick dash into a store, make a beeline straight for the items you need and pay for them at ninja speed. Straight in and straight back out again. Should be simple, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, people with more time on their hands than you have also decided to pay a visit to that particular shop, meaning that your shopping trip starts with a game of dodgems as you weave in and out of everyone milling around outside the store. You are already a few minutes behind schedule by the time you have made it through the entrance and you are then met with further delays as you find yourself stuck behind a couple taking a romantic stroll and stopping every minute or so to admire how well stocked the shelves are.
2). Queuing behind someone who is buying the entire contents of the shop.
Eventually, you manage to tick everything off your shopping list and make your way over to the check out. However, you then realise that, judging by the queues at the tills, every single person who lives within a two mile radius is also in that shop and trying to pay for their stuff. You find yourself under pressure with only a few seconds to decide which queue to join. You quickly weigh them up and join the shortest as rational thought tells you that this is the faster option. A few minutes tick by and you note with satisfaction that there is now only one person in front of you. A few more minutes roll by and you begin to wonder why you aren’t moving. You glance up and realise with horror that the person in front of you is still unloading their items as they are buying one of everything in the entire shop. Exasperated, you look around only to discover that someone who joined another queue after you is already paying for their things.
3). People will be unorganised.
Okay so you are getting closer, the cashier is scanning the last few items from the customer in front’s game of supermarket sweep and you are eagerly waiting, cash in hand, to pay for your stuff and get out of there. The items have all been bagged and the cashier is telling the person in front how much it has amounted to. You are feeling giddy with joy. However, it seems that rather than getting their money out in advance like any self respecting shopper would do, the person in front has been stood twiddling their thumbs for the last ten minutes and must now spend another five digging around in their huge oversized handbag looking for their money. Of course, when they do manage to find it they will start slowly counting out the exact amount in copper. Clearly they have all the time in the world and are completely oblivious to the steam that it probably coming out of your ears right now.
4). You will be asked if you need a bag.
Finally, you have made it to the front of the queue. You have had a quick run through of the usual niceties and the cashier is scanning your items. Then comes the inevitable question of, ‘do you need a bag?’ I realise that not wasting bags is hugely important to the environment and asking this question is most likely a requirement of their job. I also realise that if I have only bought a bottle of water and a lipstick then I could just chuck them in my handbag and be done with it. However, when someone has scanned 14 of my items and can blatantly see that I have nothing to put them in then it just becomes a stupid question. No bag for me thanks, I can just juggle everything out of the shop.
5). You will need more hands.
By this point, your spirit has been crushed and your feet probably hurt, however, you still have one last hurdle before your shopping experience is over. Some cashiers will kindly pop the receipt in one of your bags for you; however, other, more sadistic, cashiers will lay it out flat on their hand and pile your notes and coins on top of it in size order. They will then present this to you and watch as you try to quickly separate the coins from the notes and the notes from the receipts whilst simultaneously juggling all of your bags. As you don’t want to inconvenience anyone behind you, you will probably do this whilst shuffling away from the tills and will most likely end up dropping a few unruly coins as they make a bid for freedom and roll underneath something big and heavy.

This was recently published on http://www.laffalot.co.uk.

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Thoughts on Periods and Free-bleeding

Recently, a lot of stories have been cropping up about women who choose to free-bleed. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, it basically does what it says on the tin and refers to women who bleed freely whilst on their period.
The Urban Dictionary describes free-bleeding as ‘[w]hen a woman is menstruating and chooses not to wear a tampon because it’s made by men. This is done by extreme feminists who think this furthers their cause.’ This definition is false. Yes, some feminists may well choose to free-bleed because of this reason, however, this is not the only reason women choose to do so. In fact, a huge amount of women don’t even have the luxury of being able to ‘choose’ to free-bleed. They have no choice.
There are so many articles and comments circulating at the minute which kick up a fuss and brand Western women who free-bleed as disgusting and unclean feminists. However, I have to wonder where are the articles about the women who cannot afford to buy sanitary products? Where are the articles about the women who do not live in places that sell sanitary products, therefore cannot gain access to them? In our ‘forward thinking’ Western society that is so quick to judge others, we women are forgetting that we have it made. We are forgetting to be grateful that we have that £3 to spend on a box of regular scented tampax whenever our period hits. We are forgetting about the millions of women living in third world countries that struggle to access clean water, never mind frigging tampons.
There are some countries where women are ostracized when they are on their period. They aren’t allowed to enter temples to pray and they aren’t allowed to eat dinner with their family or even socialise with them. They are banished for one week each month because their culture believes that their period makes them impure. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, could you imagine believing that someone is disgusting and unclean simply because their body does something that they have no control of? Oh wait, we do.
Even in the UK, periods are viewed with the same stigma that surrounds most things involving the female body and its natural functions. Many people label the act of free-bleeding as ‘dirty’ or ‘unclean,’ however, I’m pretty sure that unless the blood actually got into an open wound then you wouldn’t be at risk of catching any diseases, therefore this argument is invalid. We need to realise that, actually, a period is just blood and the only difference between your monthly flow and say, a nosebleed, is where the blood comes from. To me, society’s incredibly negative reaction to free-bleeding only demonstrates how we have been conditioned to believe that the female body and its sexual organs are offensive.

Stupid Things People Say When They Find Out I Have a Girlfriend

Here is a list of stupid things that people have actually said to me when they’ve found out that I’m in a relationship with another woman:
1) “So are you, like, a lesbian?” This is regularly asked with both confusion and suspicion on their faces. They also tend to whisper the word ‘lesbian.’

2) “Are you sure?” Yeah I’m pretty certain; it was good of you to check though.

3) “When did you decide to be gay?” Well, when I was 18 I sneezed and nobody was around to say “bless you” so the devil seized his opportunity to climb up my nose and turn me into a lesbian. That’s the main reason that people turn gay, you know. Although, if you spend too much time with a gay person as a child or have gay parents then that usually makes you grow up gay as well.

4) “…but you could have so many boyfriends.” …or girlfriends? Get off your homophobic horse.

5) “Is it a phase?” Do they normally last 5 years?

6) “How do you know if a man is good looking, you’re a lesbian!” This is the response I typically get if I agree a man is good looking. I would just like to point out that I’m gay, not blind.

7) “I couldn’t do it.” Probably means you’re heterosexual then, doesn’t it? This is usually said with a wrinkled up face that hints my ‘lifestyle’ disgusts them. Excellent.

8) “How do you have sex?” This is the question that everyone seems to wants to know and tends to be swiftly followed up with another question about scissoring. Fml.

9) “Do you fancy me?” Um, no. You’re safe.

10) “What a waste.” This is offensive as it implies I am simply here for male pleasure.

11) “But you’re pretty” This is also offensive as it implies that women only enter relationships with other women because they are unattractive and no man will have them.

12) “That’s because you haven’t been with me.” Lol okay stud I’m sure it is.

13) “I could turn you.” What, my stomach? Done.

14) “You don’t look like a lesbian.” And you don’t look like an idiot.

You Call Me a Feminist Like it’s a Bad Thing.

You Call Me a Feminist Like it’s a Bad Thing.
A few years ago I was having a bit of a rant to a friend of mine, (this is not unusual for me), when she turned around and told me that I ‘sounded like a right feminist.’ Although I can’t remember what we were talking about, her comment has stuck in my mind ever since simply because she used the term ‘feminist’ as though it was an insult.
In modern day society it seems that it isn’t ‘cool’ to be a feminist. I frequently hear derogatory comments made towards those who do identify as feminists because the world has made accusations and assumptions about them. The real meaning of the term ‘feminist’ has become lost due to the vast amount of negative connotations that have been associated with it over the years. It would seem that these days, when most people think about feminism they imagine a group of angry, middle aged women with nothing better to do than complain. They imagine women who refuse to shave their armpits or wear a bra. They imagine women who must be either lesbians or spinsters because they hate men.
Firstly, I just want to quickly say that if someone chooses not to shave their armpits then it doesn’t mean they are a feminist, it just means that they realise their body is their own to do whatever they want with. Secondly, I cannot stress enough the fact that feminists do not hate men. Contrary to popular belief, feminists are actually capable of developing feelings for men and sometimes even form deep, lifelong relationships with them. It may also come as a surprise to learn that, even though they aren’t spinsters or lesbians, men can be feminisms too! You see, unlike the patriarchal society that we unfortunately live in, feminism does not discriminate against someone because of their biological sex! I know, hard to believe, right? The stereotypes that have been constructed portray an incredibly negative view of feminism and, unfortunately, the true meaning of what it means to be a feminist has gotten lost over the years. A feminist, in its truest definition, is simply someone who believes everybody is equal, and therefore believes they should be treated as such.

Society’s Size Struggle

For years we have been bombarded with the message that to be thin is to be beautiful. The media continuously shows us images of women who conform to society’s ideal of ‘beauty’ and we are led to believe that if we do not look like these women, then we cannot possibly be beautiful. The women that we are confronted with on a daily basis may differ slightly in terms of their skin or hair colour but I guarantee that they all have the same dazzling smile, pretty face and, most importantly, slim frame.
We have been repeatedly shown this image and conditioned to believe that it epitomises beauty. As a result of this, women all over the world have been left hating what they see when they look in the mirror. They continually diet in a bid to achieve the look they have been told is beautiful and are sometimes ‘fat-shamed’ if they are unsuccessful. They are sometimes mocked and bullied because of their size. At times they may have bounced between starving themselves and binging in an attempt to lose weight. They have bought into money making schemes where they live off shakes and juices instead of real food because they are desperate to be thin. They develop unhealthy relationships with food which have then escalated into eating disorders. They have hated themselves for longer than they care to admit because row upon row of smiling women on magazine covers have told them to.
With that in mind, it is no real surprise that there has recently been a backlash against the media’s depiction of the ‘perfect woman.’ We have seen a rise in anti-body-shaming campaigns which have paved the way for women to embrace their bodies and develop a positive body image. We have been encouraged to love our bodies instead of starving and abusing them. Models of all shapes and sizes have taken to the runways and have demonstrated that all women are beautiful, not just those who happen to be slim. This is a huge step for women everywhere as it means we are finally beginning to reclaim our bodies and step away from the patriarchal ideal of what a woman should look like. I applaud all involved for breaking this ideal and proving that, no matter what size you are, you can do anything you want even if society tells you that you can’t.
However, I am beginning to have some reservations about the extent of this backlash. I recently read an article about a size 22 model and it worries me that she is being hailed a ‘role model’ for women because of her size. I can’t help but feel as though the message that we should, quite rightly, stop starving ourselves has been misconstrued and it is now the message that we should stop caring about our health that is being broadcasted. Larger models may well be promoting body confidence and acceptance but they certainly are not promoting healthy lifestyles and bodies. I do not consider women who punish their bodies with a lack of food to be healthy role models, nor do I consider somebody who falls into the medical category of ‘clinically obese’ as such. As far as I am concerned, we have gone from one extreme to the other. Everyone should feel beautiful whether they are a size 4 or a size 26, however, I have concerns over the health implications of those at either end of this size spectrum. As much as I do not want young women to think that starving themselves in order to be thin is normal, I also do not want them to think that eating an excessive amount of calories and not exercising is normal either. We need to remember that we only get one body and we should at least try to look after it. It seems we are simply replacing one way of abusing our bodies with another.

Can You Afford to be Alive?

Over the years, we have seen a huge rise in the prices of even the smallest things. Let’s take the ‘Freddo’ chocolate bar for instance; I am sure these delightful bars of chocolatey goodness used to cost just 5 pence, whereas now they are rarely found in shops for less than 22 pence. If inflation has done this to chocolate, then you can imagine just how much the prices of larger items have been affected.
Our economy has inflated. I’m not going to bang on about how unfair this is, as inflation seems to be an unfortunate fact of life. However, I am going to point out how I find it interesting that pretty much everything has increased in price massively, with the exception of wages. The prices of houses and cars have more than doubled, yet the standard minimum wage has increased by mere pence. This means that everyone, particularly if they are on a low wage, has to work a lot more hours and endure a lot more stress simply to be able to afford to be alive. If that is not bad enough, a chunk of that hard earned money then gets deducted from peoples’ wages in tax.
This results in people spending their time through the week doing nothing but working. These people only have the weekend, assuming they don’t work these days, to actually enjoy their lives. If someone whose working week comprises of 50 hours Monday – Friday lives to be 80 years old then that means that almost 21,000 days out of the 29,200 they are alive will be spent at work. Although, some of these people do love their jobs and are happy to pour all their waking hours into it, these people are a minority. Unfortunately, the majority of people working these hours do so out of necessity and don’t actually like their jobs, meaning that they spend 21,000 days of their lives doing something that they don’t particularly enjoy. To me, that seems a massive shame.
I appreciate that money is a necessity of life and that earning more money must always be a priority, however, I think it is ridiculous that in a bid to earn money most people have to essentially sacrifice their lives. They simply look forward to weekends and annual leave as they exist within an office, they do not live.