I Can See Clearly Now…

About eighteen months ago, I blogged about how I’ve always been really insecure about wearing glasses.

The blog post was kind of whiny, self-indulgent and more than a little bit shallow, but it is one of those body-image hangups we’re all guilty of that I wanted to share, because it’s been hanging around in my brain for over half my life now.

After I wrote it, I felt better but I still didn’t wear glasses all that often, and never when I wanted to ‘look good’ (replace ‘good’ with ‘less like Professor Trelawney’ if you like. Meanies.)

Then, stuff happened. The uber-trendy (YEAH alright that’s Tinie Tempah, but he’s cool) have been wearing big old chunky frames for a good 3 years or so, but it started filtering down to everyone else, and I started hankering after a pair of specs the size of my face.

^ My delightful friend Carrie let me borrow hers while we were absolutely off our tits on free cocktails (marvellous evening, my love!) and that was it: I had to get my mitts on a pair of my own or I WOULD DIE.

So I mooched on down to Specsavers with my beau and we both tried on ridiculous glasses for about three hours until we realised we were actually there for a reason.

^The pair I eventually chose were by Gok Wan and made me feel very sexy indeed. SERIOUSLY: glasses that make me feel sexy. And I’m getting compliments all the time. It’s happened. I’m cured.

They make me want to wear glasses. I actually choose to wear them as part of an outfit. Like this one we chatted about on Twitter last week after I got inspiration from another Domestic Sluttery pal, Elizabeth (she’s rad):

Maybe you’re all thinking this isn’t exactly breaking news, and isn’t even blog-worthy, but for me, on a scale on one to pretty darn hoorayful, it’s up there.

Years of insecurity have gone up in smoke and now I’m going to frolic about in glasses and not give a monkeys whether I look like a geek or not. I’m a glasses girl and proud.

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Two Anniversaries & A Big Decision

Song: Here’s Where The Story Ends (“It’s that little souvenir of a terrible year which makes me smile inside…”)

Today marks the Second Anniversary of this blog springing to life, and it also marks the First Anniversary of my time at the cosy little cottage in the village with its flowery EVERYTHING, bunting, huge fireplace and tin of ornamental spam (don’t ask). And, for a third year running, this week has produced some huge changes in my life.

You see, this time last week I was planning a blog post about how the cottage has changed the course of my life in many ways but ultimately for the better. It has, from securing me my independence and making me act like a grownup, to giving me some of the best house parties ever and sending my social life into orbit. It has basically been a year of good times. I can vividly remember how things felt this time last year, and it was pretty fantastic, so this blog feels strange for me to write.

The big changes this week started when my housemate moved out (miss you already Clairey) – this was planned a while back, but it was still a massive change to my daily life. I knew I’d miss having Claire around, but I’d pretty much said yes to staying at the cottage until the end of February by myself, and looked on this in a “Ah, sweet freedom – my own little space” kind of way.

Except, that’s not quite how things go:

  1. SHIVERS.
    As well as being the week Claire moved out, it’s also been rather chilly for the first time in months. Our cottage is from a time before insulation, double glazing or not-having-holes-in-the-windows were invented. And, pretty sharpish, I’ve had to remember the lost art of sleeping in a woolly hat and gloves, and doing the ‘I can’t feel my arms or legs’ dance before I get out of bed each morning so I don’t fall over.
  2. SILVER.
    As Claire moved out, I had a little ‘let’s give myself a panic attack while I do my finances’ afternoon. All those parties have taken their toll, and it turns out I can’t afford to put the heating on this year. I’ll refer you back to point #1…
  3. SADFACE.
    I didn’t realise how much I was used to having company. The cottage loses all of its charm as soon as you’re there all by yourself for a whole evening. You start talking to spiders on the wall or – even weirder – tidying up, and that’s no way to live your life.
  4. SCRAWLING.
    This week, I was re-introduced to the lovely Chris, a fellow with whom I went to the same school for seven years and yet – despite both going on to do Englishy degrees with the aim to write for a living – apparently we both pretty much ignored each other for the duration. He’s now working in the same office as me for a few months, and I’ve discovered he’s a fellow blogger (check it out, he’s totally ace in a born-to-write way) and also dabbles in novels. He duly reminded me that November is NaNoWriMo month, and also reminded me that I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A WRITER BUT I DON’T WRITE ANYTHING ANY MORE.
  5. SEEKING & SCHEMING
    I also caught up with my lovely, travelling-the-world-and-improving-it-as-they-do-so friends Marianne, Guy and Ashleigh. They’ve been to amazing places, they’ve done extraordinary things, and then they’ve come back and made us all murderously jealous. Not intentionally, you understand, and more importantly they’ve inspired my friend Kelly and I to remember that we have our own travel/supercoolstuff dreams.

These five things, all conveniently beginning with ‘s’, combined and made me realise I’ve sort of been coasting for too long. I like the cottage, ergo I stay there. It’s very easy to be drawn in to creating your own little ‘way of life’, spending all your expendable income on bubblebath, shoes, nice restaurants and other ultimately useless ‘treats’, ensuring you continue to cruise from year to year in a happy but ultimately settled state of being.

Don’t get me wrong – that’s awesome, but I’m just not there yet. I don’t have a job in which I plan to stay forever, I don’t have a relationshippy reason to stay in one place, and I haven’t done all I want to do before I find both of those things either. Basically: I’m not ready for the settled lifestyle I’m living, I have other things left to do and the luxury of being in the right time in my life to do them.

My problem is: ‘other things’ are a scary prospect, and I’m not very good at scary prospects. It seems like since I graduated last year and ventured for the first time into a world with no plan, I’ve been trying desperately hard to pretend there is a plan and that plan is pretending I’m too old to have adventures. This week, I realised I’m not. I’m 23, I have no ties, and I have an awful lot I want to do. So here’s the part where I start doing it.

THE PLAN

  1.  At the end of November, I’m moving out of the cottage. I’ve spent too long being ashamed of the idea of moving back in with my parents, convinced it meant failure. My friends have shown me what it actually means is the freedom to do anything but fail. Until such times as I know where I actually want to live, I’m living with my family again.
  2. I’m bloody well doing NaNoWriMo. Chris, another friend Alex and I are all diving into the abyss of writing 50,000 words in a month, and we’re going to enjoy bullying each other into making it to the end.
  3. I’m going to travel. Next year, Kelly and I are doing Europe. We’re going to write about it as we go, and see what happens on the way.

It’s a three-point plan, but it basically boils down to something Steve Jobs said in his speech at Stanford University in 2005. The whole thing is inspiration in the extreme, but this extract really smacked me in the face:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

I know I’m perhaps taking his words a little out of context here, but this week has made me realise I’m simply not ready to settle just yet.

Stuff my Grandpa Gave Me

As probably my most loyal reader, I thought it was about time my Grandpa Vickers got a post all to himself. I keep telling him he should blog too (seriously, you’d love it) but this will have to do for now.

I’ve already mentioned him on here a few times, including when I shared the amazing Italian song he found for me: Papaveri e Papere. That is one of my favourite things I’ve ever discovered, but he’s shared so much more than that with me and continues to do so. So I thought I’d chronicle just a few of the ways he’s made my life awesome:

1. He taught me the piano.

One of my favourite photos from when I was tiny is my sister and I sat at his fantastic Roland piano while Grandpa teaches us a tune or two. And throughout my teens he taught me some of the best pieces I ever learned to play. I wish I’d kept practising – they were super fun. My favourite was a book of jazz duets – I always did the easy top part, and I could still never get the rhythms right, but we played them anyway and had a jolly good time.

2. Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent – I Wish I Were In Love Again

Our jazz LOLs weren’t restricted to the piano: oh no! I can remember when he used to pick me up from school sometimes, we’d listen to CDs in his car and one particular voice stood out: Stacey Kent. When she sang, it was so easy and so relaxing, it felt like being in a warm bath. Serious audio-nectar. She also sings in French – perfect, much?

3. He taught me French

Leading on nicely from Stacey Kent’s French tunes, my Grandpa is also responsible for several of my biggest moments of WIN during my school years. From Year 7 until Year 13 I learned French, and I was always one of the top of the class. In my Year 7 oral exam, my teacher gave me full marks and actually said “I can’t believe your accent when you’ve only been learning for a year!” I almost exploded with pride. This is all down to my Grandpa, who spent some time out in Paris before he was married and – unlike me and my shoddy piano loyalty – has kept practising and is still pretty much fluent today. He taught me pronunciation, he corrected my grammar, and most importantly, he chatted to me in French. It was awesome. It was also the reason I always got an A.

4. He made me a Book Thief

Just like Liesel Meminger in my favourite book, The Book Thief, I too have a series of volumes on my shelves that do not belong to me. Things like James Thurber’s short stories. Things like a collection called Other People’s Clerihews (if you don’t know what a Clerihew is you *have* to look them up, they’ll make you laugh all day). Things like a book about teaching yourself Russian. These books have been instrumental in making my life a better thing, and they’re all his. And I keep meaning to give them back, and then convincing myself I’ll read them one more time before I do. This is really a public apology, Grandpa. I should give you your stuff back!

These books also symbolise the fact that he has instilled in me my passion for English. He proofread all my essays, he shared his favourite authors and plays with me, and we still laugh about how when I was little and he asked me what I’d done at the weekend, if I said “Me and my mates went shopping” he wouldn’t let me continue unless I corrected myself, sheepishly rephrasing “Oh…my friends and I went shopping”. Yep, he made me a grammar geek. And I’m proud of that.

5. He Keeps This Blog Going

Sometimes, I feel I don’t have time to continue doing this – not know I’m getting paid for my writing, doing three jobs and trying to write another novel. But I always think of the great chats this blog produces with my Grandpa, and then I realise I have way too many brilliant things to show and tell him and I’d never remember to fit them all in our brief Sunday afternoon chats. And knowing he likes reading it encourages me to keep going, and to try and keep the content interesting and the writing as decent as possible.

He also corrects my bad habits – such as saying “I heart it” way way WAY too much, and writing too much in brackets (I’m always going off on a tangent – DAMN, I’m doing it again), and it’s refreshing because too many people are too scared to tell me where I’m getting slack, and this makes me a better writer! Plus, sometimes he’ll just give me some feedback that totally knocks me for six. Like yesterday, when he commented on a book review I’d written:

HOW AMAZING IS THAT? If that doesn’t inspire me, nothing will.

Lastly, he sends me the funniest stuff to put on here when I’m running low on ideas. Which is all the time. This blog post was originally just going to be me telling you about his latest send – super comedic pianist Slim Gaillard – but it sort of spiralled and then I realised that – much as Slim will knock your socks off – I was a whole lot more excited about telling you about Grandpa. This is also a nice way to link the end of my blog to the beginning – it’s been a long time since we’ve played his piano together, but I’m hoping Grandpa and I can have a giggle attempting to play a tune with the backs of our fingers like Slim some time soon:

So there you go. He’s ace. I don’t think I tell him often enough how hilarious, fascinating and wonderful he is. He’s like my very own Dumbledore, and I heart him big time (haha, sorry Grandpa, I couldn’t resist that. Or these brackets.)

Over The Top? Topman T-shirtgate.

Yesterday, Twitter erupted into debate, disgust and – quite frankly – douchebaggery in some cases, and the target this time was Topman, specifically two of the t-shirts it is selling.

In case you haven’t seen the story, or the offending designs, you can do so here. Yeah, basically, it’s a t-shirt that compares a girlfriend to an animal, as well as a t-shirt that lists what most people would consider unacceptable excuses to do something that seems to be implied as being violent or unreasonable, quite possibly towards a woman.

After an outcry that spread around Twitter more quickly and more surprisingly than the #replacebandnameswithpancakes hashtag, Topman issued a hasty statement confirming they would be withdrawing the offending items from sale, but re-iterating they were only meant to be comical.

My issue is: if they’re joke t-shirts (admittedly horrendous ones), why should they have withdrawn the t-shirts from sale? I thought freedom of speech was fully operational in the UK:  if Nazi-bumming twatheads like the BNP can do a Party Political Broadcast on the BBC in the run-up to the elections, then I’m pretty sure Topman can sell t-shirts designed to be worn predominantly by idiots.

“But they’re vile and unfunny!” Yeah, I know. I don’t like them either. I think if you wore either of them, you’d look a bit of a massive tit. But I also think the same thing about wet-look leggings, flat caps and crocks. Just because it’s what I reckon, it doesn’t mean they should be banned. That’s not how stuff works.

There’s a lot of things I find vile and unfunny – Jim Davidson, my ex-boyfriend and everything that’s ever appeared on Jackass, to name just a few – but I choose to eradicate them from my own life, rather than insisting they’re no longer in everybody else’s too.

Yes, the second t-shirt lists reasons most commonly given by rapists and wife-beaters to justify their actions. It doesn’t actually approve these reasons, nor does it even allude to what the t-shirt is trying to justify. To be fair, they could be apologising for eating all your biscuits or pissing in your wardrobe, for all we know. But even if they were alluding to something more serious, if it’s a joke then what’s the harm? No one wearing it would seriously be thinking “RIGHT, I’ve got the t-shirt on, now all I need is the rohypnol.”

Plenty of comics are renowned for joking about far worse things. “If you can’t beat ’em… what’s the point of having kids?” says Lee Mack.  In the ‘worst  person to be married to‘ category on Mock The Week, Frankie Boyle said: “When I said I was a positive person… I meant HIV!” And Louis CK talks at length about how he prefers being white: “Seriously if you’re not white, you’re missing out. This shit is thoroughly good.”

I happen to find all of the above funny, and yet somehow I don’t endorse child cruelty or racism, nor do I wish to belittle people with HIV. On the other hand, I don’t laugh at jokes about Michael Jackson being a paedophile, and I also hate Al Murray’s “all women are secretaries” thing. They’re not my kind of humour. But they’re jokes – albeit jokes about serious topics – and they’re entirely subjective, and if we start censoring them then we have a serious problem. I just choose not to listen to them, and not to laugh.

Besides, it’s not like these are the only t-shirts to make jokes about violence to the opposite sex. Jesus, if you think Topman are bad then David and Goliath must be shitting themselves: they built their name around the “Boys are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them” slogan, and more recently have been stocking a t-shirt  akin to the ‘What Breed Is She?’ Topman monstrosity, one with the slogan “Dogs Make Better Boyfriends“. Sexism works both ways, and although this is equally demeaning to men as the Topman ones are to women, we’re somehow less outraged.

Or how about this one from popular t-shirt site Zazzle? This isn’t about violence, it seems to be about murder; and good grief, at least the Topman one apologises. And yet somehow Zazzle, as well as David & Goliath, remain a lynch-mob free zone.

Of course they do. They’re jokes. Jokes on t-shirts. Some you’ll find funny, some you won’t. Buy the ones you do, if you like. Don’t buy the ones you don’t. Because if we are to justify getting rid of the Topman t-shirts, we need to get rid of any other t-shirt someone finds tasteless or offensive, otherwise Topman becomes some ridiculous scapegoat.

And just to clarify: I’m a feminist. I always have been. And this post isn’t decrying some nonexistent Hysterical Women Brigade as being wrong for being anti-domestic violence, or anti-sexism. The thing with subjectivity is we’re all entitled to be offended by these t-shirts. We’re entitled to think those that wear them look like massive tits. But I strongly defend those people’s right to be able to look like massive tits, whether we like it or not.

Whatever Keeps You Regular

“I get a little bit closer to feeling fine.”
Song: Every Day Is A Winding Road – Sheryl Crow.

It’s been almost a month since I wrote, and that’s sort of the reason why I’m writing now: I’m writing to say, basically, I don’t do things regularly.

It’s a curse of mine – one that I’ve always had, but that has grown and mutated to particularly monstrous levels over the past few months. Everything I should do regularly – from blogging, to slapping moisturiser on my face, to keeping in touch with the people in this world I can actually stand – I do well for a bit, and then something within me flicks a be-your-own-worst-enemy switch and it’s like I purposefully begin to avoid doing it, even though nothing in my life has changed to make doing it more difficult. I’m taking being a commitment-phobe to a whole new level.

So what is it? Laziness? Maybe, except I work about fifty hours a week as well as running my own house, writing novels, socialising (the one thing I definitely can do regularly…), and juggling about a dozen different, constantly-changing, mostly ridiculous hobbies (KNITTING, ANYONE?! Thought not.)

Maybe, therefore, it is in fact the opposite: I’m doing far too many things and subsequently literally do not have the hours in the day to do those things, therefore most of those things I’m supposedly doing don’t get done. If you get my drift.
So suddenly, my ‘nightly’ facial cleansing/toning/moisturising routine becomes more like a nightly routine of thinking ‘I must remember to do that’ and embarking on a search for cotton-pads, before giving up and being distracted by something shiny. And my supposed weekly blog becomes one of those ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ things thirty days in a row. Maybe if I had less things to do, I’d have more energy to get the important stuff done. Or at least more time to dedicate to finding reasons for not doing it…

I guess this perpetual inability to do anything regularly also comes from the fact that I don’t have a daily routine. I don’t have any kind of organisational structure to my life in general. In fact, I often don’t even have a plan for how or where I’m going to get food during the day. That sort of thing just doesn’t come naturally to me like it does to the Hermione Grangers and Hyacinth Buckets of this world (or, you know, people that actually exist), and I’m not even sure that’s entirely terrible: I like spontaneity and haphazardness, it reminds me that I’m the one in the driving-seat of my life and keeps the scenery from being too monotonous (yes, alright, end of driving metaphor.). Basically, what I’m trying to say is sometimes I should probably take a sandwich to work for lunch or something.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, things have got a lot worse recently. Life is spiralling out of all semblance of normality, to the point that I think it’s been two months since I actually went to a supermarket to do a food-shop. My lifestyle, friendships and ambitions are becoming as messy and unhealthy as the contents of my fridge. So this blog post is a way to say: this will stop. I mean, I’m not going to turn into my mother or anything, but I am going to try to creep back to where I was a few months ago. I’m going to at least try and keep on top of things.

So:
I will blog once a week, because that’s realistic.
I will go out and drink a bit less (I apologise in advance for failing at this), and
I will endeavour to do at least one thing each day that makes me think ‘So this is what being a grownup feels like.’ Like buying food, paying bills on time, and being a decent enough person to keep in regular contact with my friends.
Oh, and I’m going to buy more cotton pads.

Top Of The Mourning: Why Grief Isn’t A Contest

(Dionne Warwick – What The World Needs Now)

This week the world has had been rocked by wave upon wave of tragedy: parts of Somalia were declared to be in famine, an allegedly fundamentalist Christian bombed Oslo and shot 84 people dead at a youth camp in Norway, dozens of people died in China after two trains collided, and – yes, I’m going to put it in the same sentence for the sake of this blog – Amy Winehouse was found dead at her home, aged just 27, after losing her battle with drink and drugs.

All of these tragedies have been at the top of the headlines, with heads of state pledging help and support to the nations affected, and of course they have provoked widespread messages of shock and condolence on Twitter and Facebook. One of the reasons I love Social Networking so much is because you see so much humanity during the darkest hours: it is the united voice of these mediums that helped a little girl get her bucket list fulfilled a few weeks ago, and it was the united voice of these mediums that at least helped ensure the phone-hacking scandal has sparked some (hopefully) big changes to British Journalism. People reach out on Twitter and Facebook, do what they can, and if they can do nothing, they at least are a place for people to share messages of comfort and grief. That’s no bad thing, right?

Wrong. Apparently. Because, while the combined mourning of Norway, Somalia and China was of course permitted without question, as soon as Amy Winehouse’s death was announced Twitter and Facebook became a tasteless outlet for self-righteousness, ignorance and cynicism for anyone that didn’t care much for her, who then felt it was alright to judge and in some cases mock those who chose to voice their sadness at Amy’s passing.

In short, these people are idiots. But for clarity’s sake I’ll post their main beef with freedom of speech below:

  • “Forget Amy Winehouse – over 90 people just died in Oslo!”

Yes. We know. We can think of little else at the moment, and the horror of what that one disturbed individual committed is so vast I don’t think many people really know how to voice their sadness. We certainly can’t explain it, and most of us can’t even articulate condolences that even begin to cover the atrocity of what happened on Friday, and yet it was top of Twitter’s ‘trending topics’ for 24 hours after the attacks, so the suggestion that people weren’t talking about it as much as Amy Winehouse is fairly redundant anyway.

To suggest that people shouldn’t also mourn the death of Amy Winehouse in addition to the Norway massacre doesn’t even begin to make sense. There are still people fighting for their lives in Norway – if, heaven forbid, one of them doesn’t make it, bringing the death toll up by yet another life, and everyone tweeted condolences for them, would everyone rant about that, as if it somehow disregards all the previous murders that were committed on Friday? I’m pretty sure that’s a no. So why do the same when people take the time to pay their respects to Amy Winehouse?

It doesn’t mean those people have magically forgotten Norway, as @Rhodria pointed out:

I really fail to see how making this – in the words of @GarethAveyard – a “misery based pissing contest” is in any way helpful, or in any way comforts those still mourning what happened in Norway or any of the other global tragedies that occurred this week.

As to why, on Facebook at least, ‘RIP’ messages for Amy were so widespread in comparison to messages for those in Norway – that’s very simple. Facebook statuses are a very personal thing. People felt they had a personal connection to Amy through her music. Add this to the fact that people probably feel more qualified to remark upon Amy’s passing than they do to remark on the inexplicable massacre in Norway, and it’s not surprising. It doesn’t mean people care less.

  • “She deserved it – she was a junkie. Why should we care?”

Tell that to all the friends and relatives of anyone that’s ever died from their addiction. No really, do, because they’ll punch you in the face and quite frankly that’s just what you deserve.

To start with, yes, taking drugs is voluntary , but after that your body changes and you become physically dependent on them. As author and lifelong addict Hunter S Thompson describes it:

 “It makes you behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel… total loss of all basic motor skills: blurred vision, no balance, numb tongue- severance of all connection between the body and the brain. Which is interesting because you can actually watch yourself behaving in this terrible way, but you can’t control it.”
Even if you do manage to beat the addiction (something which takes amazing personal strength – not something Amy had a lot of judging by accounts of people who knew her), you’re never really clean. Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, describes this:
It was a stupidity and a weakness. I’ve not touched it for years, but it’s in your vocabulary. If something bad happens in your life, it’s always there in the background, waiting for you to trip up.
(Both quotations taken from here.)

Besides all of this, anyone that thinks a junkie deserves to die forgets that they are in fact talking not about a label or a statistic, but a human being. One with a family, friends, and in this case millions of fans, all of whom do not want to see their loved one die. How anyone can think it’s alright to mock or openly deride people who are sad about someone’s death is beyond me, irrespective of the circumstances.

The people who make the remarks I mentioned above entirely miss the point of… well, just about everything. They are ignorant of so many things: the nature of addiction, the nature of grief, and the nature of social media, among other things. They also seem to miss the entire concept of mourning:

a. It’s personal, so telling people who they should and shouldn’t mourn for is pointless.
b. It’s not all-consuming, and so you are capable of being really sad about more than one thing concurrently without having to list out everything you’re sad about just to prove you haven’t forgotten anything important.
And on the most basic level c. It’s SAD, so DON’T use it as an opportunity to spit ill-conceived bile at people you supposedly care about when they’re actually feeling pretty unhappy about someone dying.

The world is a sad enough place at the moment. So before people continue with this bizarre grief-snobbery, it would be really nice if they could ask themselves “By saying this, who am I actually helping?”
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the terrible events of the last few days.

For The Love Of Drama: Why Girls Demolish Perfectly Sound Relationships

Eliza Doolittle – Skinny Genes “Sometimes I fake that I hate you and make up so you wind up next to me.”

All girls are different. Every single one. Some of us are even ladies. This inevitable difference obviously includes our attitudes to relationships, but if I factored the ‘we’re all unique’ thing into each post then my every blog entry would essentially just say “…OH, NEVER MIND“, so I’m going to make some sweeping statements based on recent observations. Deal with it. It’s a woman’s prerogative.

Like many girls, I’m essentially an amalgamation of sequins, gin, poorly-executed Beyonce dance moves, mildly witty pyjama-top slogans (“I need my beauty sheep” and a picture of a lickle lamby – OH, OH, I GET IT AWWWWW)… and about four tons of pure unadulterated crazy.

Oh yes, as soon as we smell a hint of man from Mr. Right, or at least Mr. I Kinda Like Him But I Don’t Know If He’s The One, we ladies like to pretend we’re just bundles of bright ideas, hairspray and plucky free-spiritedness stacked one on top of the other atop the least practical shoes we can find, but that’s only because – as my friend Kat once put it – “You’ve just got to hide the crazy. For at least six months. Then he’ll have to see it, but by then it’s too late.”

Oh yes. Feminist or not, I have to admit we can be crafty bitches when it comes to hiding the crazy. But six months is a long time in a relationship these days. And that crazy – it’s there, and it’s hungry. It feeds off our infatuation and our insecurity, but most of all it feeds off our boredom.

You see, it has come to my attention that too many of the women I know decide at some point or other that a relationship is going just a bit too well. And we decide “Yeah, okay, he’s still complimenting me and not just in a ‘That’s a pretty dress, can I talk you out of it?’ way, yeah okay he’s still texting back faster than it takes me to think up a suitably will-make-him-think-I’m-irresistible reply, and yeah sure rather than flowers or chocolates he just bought me a vintage teacup after I mentioned once that I quite like vintage teacups, but WHY HASN’T THE SELFISH BASTARD LET ME STORM OFF SO I CAN SEE IF HE’LL CHASE ME YET?”

The answer to that is probably ‘because you don’t have a reason to, you bonkers pile of insecurity’, but that doesn’t appear to stop us. Recently, my friends have been saying things that are more ridiculous than all of the names of the Beckham children combined. Yes, THAT ridiculous.

>>> Things like “I finished with him after two weeks, and then asked for him to ask for me back, just so I could be sure he wants me, you know? And he just got mad and decided he didn’t think we should get back together. Can you BELIEVE that?!”

>>> Things like “It took him too long to reply to my text one day, so I sent him a really long angry email. Then I sent him another email telling him to ignore the angry email. And he DIDN’T IGNORE IT ENOUGH. So now I’m not talking to him.”

>>> Things like “He woke me up by calling to tell me he loved me while drunk. So I banned him from coming over to see me.” Then, two hours later, when she received a huge box of chocolates at her work, she was actually DISGRUNTLED that he hadn’t let her be outraged for long enough to make it really dramatic.

This is what explodes out of our heads when our relationship has the cheek to be too bloody sturdy. And it’s because all too often we just love the drama. We panic when our relationships aren’t like something out of The OC or Love, Actually, because we resent the fact that if they’re ordinary then we are cheated out of the great big romantic gesture that makes everyone envy how hopelessly into us our manfriend is. Or we feel like by being perfectly reasonable, the boy is selfishly getting the easy way out of proving he wants to be with you. This, menfolk, is girl-logic.

TV and films teach us that if we don’t get to have spark-filled apology kisses in the pouring rain with mood-lighting and at least some kind of landmark nearby (and it’s not ideal, but I suppose we can just imagine the sweepy crescendoing music in our heads), then he’s simply not working hard enough. Why can’t you just be a twat and make it up to me like everyone else’s boyfriend? Other people are so lucky to have partners who utterly fail them at regular intervals.

This love of drama – despite mostly being fuelled by some twattery or other we saw on a screen – does have relatively sound roots. We all want to be loved, but it’s not enough just to have a solid relationship: we constantly yearn for reassurance. Obviously, it’s a bit unreasonable to expect your boyfriend to staple himself to you or fashion some kind of harness that lets him suspend himself behind you and spoon you 24/7, so we decide to go down the completely fine and not a bit batshit mental route of creating some massive bust-up out of the way he didn’t actually weep because of how pretty you are, or the fact he only signed his text with two kisses, or how when he blinked just then he seemed to do it in a way that said “I probably disagree with something fundamentally important to you.”

Okay, so a little spark is good in a relationship, and some guys love the cat-and-mouse as much as the girl (the promise of amazing make-up sex probably helps), but too often I’ve seen relationships – my own included –  go into total shit + fan overdrive, all for the love of drama. The films don’t show you this part, but some men won’t stick around to get cried at for no reason whatsoever. I know. Shocker.

So, when you eventually push that person too far and it backfires on you so you lose them for good – you can look forward to eating entire multipacks of custard out of a tin, sitting in your witty sheep pyjamas watching endless DVDs of the fictional berks on the screen that got you into this mess in the first place, and you can have a nice laugh about how ironic your life is. (Ahem, or so I’ve heard.) After all, the films and TV shows tell us this part is quite fun too –  in a cathartic, endearing, keeping-Ben-and-Jerrys-in-business way that usually ends with an amusing montage where they make themselves all better again – and the films and TV shows never get it wrong.