Yesterday the sun was out so we sat outside the pub with a cider pretending to be warm. I noticed something I realised is one of my favourite things. There was a Dad riding a bicycle and his two kids were way out in front, he threw pointless shouts out ahead for them to slow the bloody hell down and I could hear the struggle in his voice – when you’re both going down the same steep hill on a bike there’s no catching up to someone, it’s gravity’s problem now, you’re pissing in the wind.
I remembered that feeling of caring about someone so much you make a spectacle out of yourself, like when we used to have to call out for my little sister called Maddie when she went missing in the supermarket. It was around about the time Madeleine McCann had gone missing and everyone gave us dodgy looks. So this post is sort of about protecting people, praising people and ruining people.
When I was born a little dry skinned thing with wild hair and lines under my eyes, I bet my mum wished she could wrap me up in pink feathers forever, safe from the confusion and din of the orchestra outside.
Growing up was like discovering Rhapsody in Blue, a steady induction into the noise of real life and it’s exciting. I was 9 when my teacher made us listen to George Gershwin. I wanted to thank him and impress him in some way and so I stole one of my mum’s dusty compilation jazz CDs and took it in the next day as a gift, that was in hindsight a bit inappropriate.
One day the same teacher told me I wasn’t allowed to get any more housepoints in class because the other children were getting jealous – I was a boffin of the highest order. I can’t work out whether it was even more inappropriate that the next time he conceded and did award me a housepoint – despite many many correct answers in the interim – was for looking ‘nice’ on dress down day. Maybe this was alright because it was an excuse to congratulate me that didn’t – at least – make the other children feel stupid, being a teacher must be hard work.
It’s funny that now I’m a woman I can see a generation of us who got used to getting housepoints for looking nice.
The internet gives us our housepoints now, appeal to the right audience and you could be raking them in. Pile your mahogany set of drawers with velvet vintage hats, artistically place your pot plants in a shaft of light – or just get your arse out, I’m not against that either.
It’s just sometimes it feels like that fleeting aesthetic appreciation is society’s way of saying “Here have a biscuit, you done good”, you can’t survive off of biscuits, I wish you could. Even if you stop getting any real appreciation from the thoughts in your head as opposed to your haircuts and skirts, don’t go out just to seek those cursory mufti day housepoints – I reckon.
I’m glad to be a part of the cacophony of the real world, out of the wooly cotton brains of infancy, I won’t waste my time here by merely dressing up in pink feathers.
I recently lost some weight and for the first time I’m actually worried people might only be interested in me for my figure – when in the past it was without a doubt my dazzling personality – here’s a sort of poem I wrote about objectification:
Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on My Hip Bones
Don’t you know these hip bones were designed by the gods?
One day a small me with dry skin and wild hair will sit astride them on the perch they make.
They’re grade 1 listed, they could house a human being who’ll one day be very old,
Maybe even important, my hip bones might get a blue plaque erected on their frontage.
Treat me like the Pantheon I am – please don’t boil me down to a ‘bikini bridge’.
The skin you see will shift like sands, I will bloat and shrink and scar.
But I’m not easy to break – I’m not a marble statue.
I’m the most complicated airfix model you ever made,
I’m that Thunderbird 2.