Things that have bugged me…

…this week, last week and if I’m honest, perpetually. I should probably stop letting things bug me quite so much, but I’m English, and whinging is fun.

 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”

No it isn’t. It is dark, cold, wet, windy and I’m starting to wonder if I’ve got Seasonal Affective Disorder. Then again, maybe I’m just a grumpy git. It isn’t the most wonderful time of the year, it’s one of the worst, that’s why we stick Christmas in the middle of it. I don’t mean that Jesus was conveniently born at a time when everyone in the northern hemisphere needed a bit of cheering up. I mean the old pagans knew that the time to celebrate was just after the shortest day, just at that point when you knew you were over the halfway mark and the days would ever so slowly start to get longer. Then the Christians nicked the festival in the hope that everyone would join in with them.

Because it really is a shit time of year. The sun just about crawls above the horizon some time after 8am, doesn’t bother going very far above it, knowing that it’s going to disappear again less than eight hours later. If you work full time, you’re just getting to work as it’s light and you leave again in the pitch black. Unless you’re as fair skinned as I am you run a serious risk of vitamin D deficiency and rickets. When you’re not flooded out, someone is warning that there will be a drought in the summer unless it rains between now and then. And it’s either unutterably bloody cold or so mild that people go around saying ‘ooo, there’ll be too many bugs around, I don’t like it when it’s mild at this time of year’. It’s all just black ice and tissues.

 People who boo the Strictly Come Dancing Judges for giving any mark below 10

Do you have to do that? Really? Why? It’s a dancing competition, not a pantomime. If Craig wants to give constructive criticism, let him. He does at least talk sense and the only way to reach a high standard in something like dancing is to look for the detail and strive to be the best. But of course the British don’t really like that. I mean god forbid you should be talented. No. Really you need to be like Chris Hollins – a nice enough bloke who seemed to try hard but he wasn’t actually very good. But give him a 10 anyway, because he’s unthreatening. And if you see a tall poppy, cut it down, whilst giving a nice pat on the back and a 10/10 to some also ran you feel sorry for.

 “Real women have curves”

I’d like to pretend I have no idea what this means, but I do. It’s generally said by women who are overweight as a defence mechanism against the frankly vile, misogynist claptrap peddled by the tabloid press in the UK. Heat, the Daily Mail and others of the same diseased ilk like to mock any woman who isn’t a toned size 6, with preternaturally huge boobs. If you don’t look like Katie Price, they will mock you. If you do look like Katie Price they will still mock you, whilst simultaneously saying that that is your ideal shape.

But my problem is that rather than counteracting the message put about by the tabloids that women should be a certain size, it actually feeds into it. First, it divides women into real and unreal, which, unless you’re dealing with blow up dolls, is offensive nonsense. No woman is any less real than another, whatever her shape, level of fame, or time spent on appearance. And second, it argues that women should be a certain shape – curvy. The reality is that some women are flat-chested and/ or slim hipped. They are no less female for all that. And certainly no less real.

 “How to cope at Christmas when you’re single”

Eharmony have sent me an email in which they apparently tell me how to do just that. No idea what it says as I didn’t bother reading it. I find it odd, as I intend to spend Christmas in my PJs, eating lots of food and watching telly. I’m not sure which bit of this they think I need to develop a coping mechanism for. Personally I found Christmas in a couple more stressful, as I ended up worrying if I would have to spend more than a microsecond alone in the company of his mother and also why he A. thought a packet of dried pineapple chunks constituted a present and B. wrapped them up. Though with the distance of time I can see that working out A might have helped with B.

For all I find mid-winter a generally depressing time of year, I have no idea why having a partner would make it any less so. The only way your partner could increase day length would be if the sun shone out of their arse. Since this isn’t generally the case, I’d rather be stress free and single.

 “Make do and mend”

Not the sentiment, I like the sentiment. No. This refers to a specific sign I noticed in a shop. I sign I could purchase, if I so desired, for £12.99. A nice, fresh painted sign made from nice new timber. I can think of quite a lot of things I could spend 12.99 on, but a painted sign telling me to make do and mend isn’t one of them. If I ever do want such a sign, I will find a piece of drift wood, or an old bit of fencing thrown on a tip. Then I’ll prep it, before painting it with some old paint found in the back of someone’s garage somewhere, total cost: a bit of time and effort.

The offending article was in one of those shiny trinket tat shops that sell things also advertised in the Guardian’s weekend supplement. It appeared to be full of shrieking people who were transported to Elysium by the sight of something rustic coated in glitter. I ran away and left them to it. Still, perhaps I should be grateful. Such shops are after all part of the private enterprise that will allegedly save us from slough and despond, whereas actually making a Make Do and Mend sign yourself won’t cause anyone to profit.

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