Inappropriate Singing vs. Whistling

I’m always singing at inappropriate times but I’ve never been able to whistle, I wonder if I could, would I whistle instead? I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and although singing or whistling aren’t weird things to do ipso facto, it comes down to context.

Generally, it’s fine to whistle in public but to sing in public is weird. I know this because when people are singing alone in public I think “that’s weird” and when I accidentally sing in public people look at me like I’m weird. This is grossly unfair because I physically cannot whistle so what am I supposed to do when I have a song in my heart? NB even if you don’t have a note in your head, you can have a song in your heart!

Here’s a list of situations and whether or not it’s okay to sing or whistle – basically whether or not I will assume you to be A Mad Person where you is a metaphor for me and I is a metaphor for the world.

Walking alone in the city: Whistling is fine, singing is weird. I dare you to try it if you disagree.

Walking alone in the country: Whistling almost mandatory, singing still a bit weird but it depends on who you are and how many of your cousins you have met so far.

Group of teenagers walking down the street or on a bus: For some reason, it would be strange and almost menacing if they were all whistling, but they are allowed to sing. By “allowed” I mean it is very annoying and antisocial but nobody will think they are weird.

In a shop: If you work there, it’s ok to sing along with the radio. If you are a customer, it’s okay to whistle but only to your own tune. If you whistle along to the same song the staff member is singing, you are sort of doing a duet and while that seems like a tumblr love story it’s actually creepy.

Bathroom: It’s okay to sing in the shower but nobody in movies is ever whistling on the toilet so that’s probably not a thing.

With a group: If you’re with another person/people and you sing a song that’s in your head, that’s fine but it should be at a conversational or lower level. Same with singing along with the radio in a public place. If it’s instrumental, you can air guitar/banjo/piano and if it’s classical or choral you can conduct. The enthusiasm and energy with which you do this depend on how many people you are with. The more friends around you, the more exaggerated your movements can be.

Exercising: I can’t imagine having breath for either.

Up in the club: Singing along is encouraged, whistling would be bizarre in this situation. UNLESS you are in the bathroom and want to signal there is someone in there before people start having sex or a row in the stall next to you.

So, these are the hard and fast rules for life.

Just kidding, do whatever you want. Really, if you have music in your soul you should just let it out!

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Pobody’s Nerfect

I haven’t published a blog post in about a month. I feel kind of bad about it, but I have done far worse things in my life. As penance for missing so many weeks, I offer my deep, dark secrets, the things about me that make people recoil in horror and doubt they can continue to be my friend. After my total lie about publishing a post weekly, here are further scandalous facts about Caoimhe that put me in candidacy for The Worst.

  1. I liked The Hobbit film trilogy. I mean, I REALLY liked it. I watched it several times. I love The Hobbit, it’s one of my favourite books, so don’t mistake me for a mere Peter Jackson-loving cinephile. I also loved the Lord of the Rings movies so I don’t just have horrible taste. I really don’t know why people hated it! I thought it was fun, the acting was good, it looked great, it was full of rides (Fili, Kili, Thorin, Bard the Bowman, hello!) and I loved the addition of Tauriel. The Hobbit has always been sparse. There are literally passages where Tolkien says “but we won’t talk about that now” and totally skips plotlines. Peter Jackson was like… let’s put those in! The people in charge gave him loads of money and he did what he wanted. It’s a fan-made film and I appreciate that. In fact, I would welcome a fourth one.
  2. I sometimes throw away coffee cups that aren’t empty. This is a real dick move, I do feel bad about it. I have been a person who empties bins and when there is a hole in the bag and someone has thrown liquid in there… Well, if you haven’t experienced it, you can imagine. I have caused that. Out of laziness and disregard for my fellow human. I’ll try to do better.
  3. I think Futurama is better than the Simpsons. It’s more consistent and it relies less on celebrity cameos. Obviously, the Simpson’s has been going for far longer and so it’s more at risk of going stale, and I’m not saying I don’t like the Simpsons, I just prefer Futurama. I like the characters better, the jokes are funnier and it’s always fresh. I really think they should stop making The Simpsons and make more Futurama instead.
  4. I wish that smoking in public was illegal altogether. Politically, sure, I think people can do what they want with their bodies and I know that tax-wise we would suffer or something. Anyway, I’m hardly the pinnacle of health (currently eating leftover Domino’s and an all-too-early chocolate bunny) so I’m in no place to be on a high horse about anyone’s health choices. But nothing annoys me more than walking behind someone who is smoking on a windy day. I live in Dublin, so it is always windy and the wind always blows in your face, no matter which direction you are facing. So, yeah, if I was all-powerful, I would just make it illegal to smoke in public. Though, I guess if I was ALL powerful, I could just make it illegal to smoke upwind of me.
  5. I love pigs and I would love to have a pet pig, but I also love pig meat and would not give up bacon or pork or whatever even while the pig was in the house, smelling the sizzling flesh of his family. (I say “his” because I would name him Neville.) I probably shouldn’t get one, though.
  6. I am totally eating that chocolate bunny and we are still in Lent. I can’t be tamed.

So, there you go. Six terrible, terrible secrets. Judge not, lest ye be judged. I’m off to eat rashers and watch An Unexpected Journey.

Things Nobody Does in Real Life Pt III (Love and Friendship)

I love t.v. but sometimes it is so far removed from reality, I have trouble equating the characters to actual functioning humans, vampire or rainicorn status notwithstanding. Here are some more tropes that would be classified as completely unreasonable or insane behaviour if they happened in real life.

Sometimes, casts need to change. Actors move on, plots get tired, someone says in an interview that they make up their own lines… So, characters have to go. If they haven’t been killed off, they need a good reason to leave. Enter the out-of-town dream job, university acceptance or long-distance-relationship-gone-good.

One of our remaining cast throws a plot-heavy going away party with plenty of last-minute reveals and a freeze-frame group shot if we’re lucky, they all bid a tearful goodbye and then LITERALLY NEVER SPEAK TO THEM AGAIN.

I mean, I get it. They’re not paying the actor anymore. It would probably be far too much admin to get them back just to say hi. But, story-wise, it seriously calls into question the legitimacy of the friendship in the first place. Everyone was so sad to see them go but now they don’t call, they don’t write, they don’t come back for major holidays or even for the wedding!

There is always a wedding.

In most cases, the abandonee is never even mentioned again. His or her only chance to exist again is if they were a love interest of the protagonist. In that case, they had better hope for a pivotal moment in the protagonist’s new romance – that is their only chance to return. And fuck. Shit. Up. That might just get them invited to the wedding.

One of the laziest ways to poke at sexual or romantic tension between two characters is the old “not my boyfriend/girlfriend” interaction. You know the one.

Character 1: Something something your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Character 2: He/she is not my boyfriend/girlfriend.

The ACTUAL significant other of a character would never be referred to as such because they have names. The whole bf/gf schtick is used as a way to create tension between two characters with romantic potential. It’s the lazy writers saying “Hey! Look at these two characters! They’re not a couple, but don’t you wish they were? Don’t THEY wish they were?!”

The reason that this is nonsense is not only that it’s clichéd beyond belief but because CHARACTER 1 SHOULD HAVE MORE GODDAMN SENSE! Nobody in their right mind would refer to someone as someone else’s significant other unless they were absolutely sure. If you are talking to people you don’t know, like in a customer service position – this one is a classic, how many t.v. waiters have made the bf/gf mistake? – you wouldn’t refer to a person in terms of the other person because you don’t give a shit if they’re romantically involved, related, employer/employee or if one had saved the other from drowning and they’re taking them out for ice cream or whatever to say thank you. Don’t. Give. A. Shit.

If you’re talking to people you do know, obviously you have the complete rundown of the present relationship status. There is no excuse for calling someone by the incorrect moniker if your friend has already told you they are just friends. Unless you are just a dick. That can’t be ruled out, I suppose.

Perhaps one of the most ridiculous and dangerous tropes afflicting modern television is the magical problem-solving proposal. Of course, I became almost numb to it while watching How I Met Your Mother. I’m no expert myself, but this plot point makes me question if any of the writers have ever been in a relationship.

So, the protagonist and their significant other of the moment have some sort of major argument, highlighting the underlying flaws that make them incompatible in a relationship. Another character says something like “maybe you’re not meant to be” or “good riddance to bad rubbish” and suddenly the protagonist realises that the only way to solve all their problems is… to get married! Or, at least to get engaged. For some reason, television writers rarely equate engagements to The Intention to Wed.

Two scenes after the I Hate You speech, someone is down on one knee in the rain. It’s spontaneous and romantic so they’ve never discussed their future together and there’s no ring or anything because one of them literally just decided that marriage was the right choice because we’re at that point in the season I mean life and the other one says yes. So now they’re spending the rest of their lives together.

The magical problem-solving proposal rarely leads to a happy marriage, though it sometimes leads to someone getting left at the altar, so that’s pretty good for ratings.

I would not base life choices on what people do on tv. It leads to broken marriages and terrible friendships. Always watch responsibly.

 

Women!

To celebrate International Women’s Day, here are three women I admire.

Lilith was Adam’s first wife, created as his equal. Basically, God created them from the same earth – what could be more equal than that? Despite this, Adam insists that he be on top during sex so that he can assert his dominance over her. Lilith refuses as she sees them as equals, which hurts Adam’s fragile male ego and they have a row. Sound familiar? More to piss Adam off than anything else, Lilith utters the INEFFABLE NAME OF THE LORD, meaning she says God’s name which was sort of like saying Voldemort. Uncool. Once she says this, she is punished… with the ability to fly! Seriously. So, she flies off and leaves Adam to his patriarchal bullshit.

Except, oh no! Adam wants her back. Because ever since she left the garden of Eden, she’s been wearing less and going out more… Or whatever. He sends some angels after her and the angels tell her if she doesn’t go back to Adam, 100 of her children will die every day. She refuses, making her a NASTY WOMAN who kills children.

In retaliation, Lilith starts killing newborns, claiming she was created to devour babies. There’s also some nonsense with an amulet. Lilith later goes on to be the bride of Satan and has 100 demon children per day (to replace the others, I guess?) and so is responsible for literally all the evil in the world. And James Joyce called her the patron saint of abortion! What a woman.

Miranda Hart is one of my all-time heroes. I love most women in comedy but Miranda has a special place in my funny bone. Her show (Miranda) always cheers me up and some of my worst days have been saved by curling up and watching her fall over. I’m normally not a fan of slapstick but she does physical humour with such charm it makes me giggle every time.

Miranda also thinks farts are funny and uses this to great effect, something most “grown-ups” avoid.

Miranda Hart’s humour is gentle and somehow NICE, rarely at anyone’s expense but her own. Still, it makes me belly laugh as much as any comic standing in front of a mic repeating swear words and telling sex stories. Miranda’s comedy seeks not to shock, but to tickle. It’s delightful. She is delightful.

Miranda also loves musical theatre and has asthma so, yeah, we’re basically twins.

Niamh Mc Nally is my friend. She’s not very famous or mythical, but she’s the hardest working person I know. It’s something I slag her about all the time but it is also something I respect. Deep down. Several hours after she’s been up. You have to be careful where you bring her, in fact, because even on her days off she has a tendency to jump behind counters and start working, increasing efficiency and improving profit margins.

It can be very embarrassing in places she has never been before.

Niamh is also warm and generous and her skin is flawless. She’s also So Chill about Everything. Except maybe board games. Do not cross her in Ticket to Ride.

Niamh studied science and had planned to go into astrophysics, pretty much as far away as she could get from her farming background. In fact, it’s space, so I guess it’s as far away as anyone can get from anything?

Life doesn’t always go according to plan and she didn’t end up studying… moons? Stars? Startrek? Whatever, she did hospitality management instead, which was the BEST THING TO HAPPEN. To the WORLD. Now, her long-term plan is to open a restaurant which is way more useful to me than discovering a new galaxy or some nonsense. That sounds sarcastic but, honestly, nothing is more important to me than free food.

Niamh is a constant reminder to me that the path to happiness and success doesn’t always look like you expect it to. So many of our generation were told to go to college, get a degree and then we’ll be fighting off job opportunities. L-O-fucking-L. There are so many ways to do things. Niamh is proof that you should follow your passions and don’t be too hard on yourself when your life plan has to change. You made the plan, idiot.

Also, you have to work hard. Like, for real. Don’t half-ass something you really want – be like Niamh, she whole-asses everything!

A Vagina Monologue

I recently read Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and I would recommend it to anyone interested in female liberation and, I suppose, anatomy. One of the most impressive features of the Vagina Monologues is its longevity. First performed in 1996, the Vagina Monologues has gone through many drafts and is still performed today. It has also spawned V-Day, a movement to raise awareness and fund organisations fighting to end violence against women.

There are definitely some problematic chapters in the play. “Good rape” story aside, The Vagina Monologues has been criticised for being a white feminist text and for its lesbian leanings. For me, it was very American. I started to imagine all Vaginas having “Valley Girl” accents. Still, I did feel that the overall message of the piece was that all vaginas are important, all vaginas deserve their day in the sun.

So, here are my responses to some of the questions and topics discussed in the text. These are not verbatim, just some of my thoughts while reading.

Favourite Word for Vagina

There is a long list of words for vagina in the opening pages, most of which I had never heard before as they are regional American terms that Ensler has collected from across her country. Fair enough, but I think she’s missing out by not taking her vagina across the pond. The UK and Ireland have some wonderful words for vagina – minge, clunge, fanny (in the US, that’s just your bum), muff, twat, gee, bush etc. I’m a fan of the word vagina itself, although my favourite term for the general area is probably Lady Garden, it’s prim yet fun, a line I like to walk vagina-wise. Like Caitlin Moran, I also love CUNT. It’s a powerful word for a powerful thing.

My least favourite term is definitely, definitely “beef curtains”. I don’t even like having it on this blog because I hate bringing it to anyone’s attention, but I guess this post is nothing if not honest.

I’m not sure where it started, but not long ago, many of my friends and I decided to name our genitals (either type) after the last film we saw. Luckily for me, I had just watched The Duchess. So, my vagina’s name is The Duchess. Prim yet fun, I think, though most films make excellent vagina names.

If your vagina could talk, what would it say?

“Thanks for your interest, nobody ever asks me!”

I asked several women this before I had actually read the play, as an interesting topic for discussion one night. Most answered quickly, but their vaginas seemed pretty shocked, most of them said something like “Whoa!” or “Oh my god!”. They are just not used to being consulted. Ensler says this is why the women she interviewed were so excited to talk about their vaginas, “because no-one’s ever asked them before.”

My First Period

I was in primary school, I think I was 11. I went to the bathroom and saw blood spots in my underwear.

“Oh right, I guess I’ve started my period.” I thought.

I had learned about MENSTRUATION in school and my mother had put panty liners and clean knickers in my washbag “just in case”. So, I stuck the pad in the pants and went about my day. When I got home, I got whispered congratulations from my female relatives and a box of chocolates. It’s definitely the most amount of praise for the least amount of work I’ve ever done.

Afterwards, reading Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret I thought Margaret and her friends were major saps for all the period drama they went through. I wish I was as chill now about anything as 11-year-old Caoimhe was about puberty.

It was only later, in my teenage years, that I was affected by cramps that would slay a troll, tampon terror and weepy mid-cycle moments. Periods are not as glamorous as they seem on tv, people.

While we’re on the subject, fun words for menstruation include Surfing the Crimson Wave (Clueless!), The Red Wedding, The Full Stop and my new favourite, MOON TIME!

Hair

It’s there.

This has been discussed at length by far sharper and more articulate feminists than me so all I’ll say is do what you want with your lady garden, my topiary is my own.

If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear? 

This question IS verbatim from the text. I think something stripey and these Dr Martens.

So, those are my reactions to The Vagina Monologues. I think the word “empowering” gets a lot of abuse from people trying to sell things to women, but I definitely found the text inspiring and I’m glad I had a response to it.

I hope you all enjoyed meeting The Duchess.

 

 

The Graceless Girl’s Guide to Eating Alone

Some people feel uncomfortable dining alone – the fear is called solomangarephobia – but it can be a wonderful experience. I have the advantage of enjoying eating and enjoying being alone, but even if you’re a social creature it can be nice to take yourself out for dinner once in a while.

Dining alone is a treat for you – you pick the restaurant, you decide the time and the longevity. Nobody will rush you out, nobody will hold you up. You don’t have to put up with anybody else’s gross eating habits or stinky food choices. It’s all about you and your dining experience.

Eating alone means you can eat whatever you want without anyone judging you. Baby animals, placenta, Findus crispy pancakes, all of the socially unacceptable food becomes available to you. It also means you can eat the WAY you want, with nobody asking “why are you cutting your pizza like that? This is not an ad for Dr Oetker” just because you cut it into a dainty triangle because you always liked the way it looked in the Dr Oetker ad.

If you’re very insecure about eating alone, you could always bring a laptop, or a notebook and pen, so you look like a super busy business person who can’t even take time off to eat. Just don’t let the wait staff see that you’re actually doodling pictures of them, or playing candy crush. That will ruin the illusion.

Eating and reading have always been my favourite combination of activities, so I get a lot of reading done while stuffing my face. It’s ideal because there wasn’t a situation when I was reading The Girl on the Train where it asked if I wanted a dessert in a way that suggested it did, but then when I said yeah, The Girl on the Train said “Oh, I’ll just get a tea” and I couldn’t change my mind because I didn’t want to look like I cared what The Girl on the Train thought, but inside I felt like a greedy cow…

The Girl on the Train just provided entertainment while I ate as much cake as I wanted. I mean, a normal amount.

I’m getting sidetracked by my own insecurities about how much I eat… But at least I don’t have to think about them while eating if I’m alone, it’s all about the experience. Going for dinner is not just a social event, it’s the much -lauded “me-time”. MEal time, if you will.

So, now you know your plans for the weekend. You’re welcome.

Mascara Ads

The world of advertisement is full of hyperbole. Every material item claims to have the power to transform our whole lives – whether it’s a razor, apple juice or rollerblades, we are told we need these things in order to be happy and fulfilled.

We are aware of the exaggeration involved in advertisements, so much so that we hardly even notice when a jar of pasta sauce stops a couple from getting a divorce or a new Hyundai saves 15 orphans from a burning building. Some adverts are subverting this trope, with tag lines like “we know it’s only butter, but isn’t it great all the same? Better than other butter, at least.” Still, most brands go for life-changing claims and superhuman feats achievable only through things and stuff.

The biggest culprit, I believe, is mascara. If you don’t know what mascara is it’s makeup for eyelashes that makes them darker and sometimes a bit curlier. Of course, if you had no idea what mascara was and had to infer it from an ad, you might think it was a DANGEROUSLY SEXY tube of LIFE ALTERING MAXIMUM IMPACT SUPER MAGIC EYE LAZER DRAGON POWER that turns ordinary people into supermodels. DANGEROUSLY SEXY supermodels. It’s not, though. It’s paint for the little hairs around your eyes.

Here is an ad for Too Faced (brand) Better Than Sex Waterproof mascara (mascara name). Let’s start with the name. The poor people over at Too Faced are having such terrible sex that they would rather have eyelash paint. This is a sad situation. I wonder if it’s the entire marketing department, are they all sleeping together and thinking “well, at least this mascara is better than this collective sex we’re having?” Or was it just one person, maybe the boss, who said “This mascara is better than sex! Better than sex with my terrible husband, at least…” and everyone else was too embarrassed to disagree? And “better than sex with Barbara’s terrible husband” didn’t fit on the tube? Anyway, this ad implies, HEAVILY, that this mascara is better than sex and it will turn you into a mermaid. Seriously, watch the video. She puts on the mascara and then she’s a mermaid. And the water is like, full of mascara, so I guess it’s multiplying… is this where the sex name comes from? Does Too Faced mascara reproduce sexually? What has that got to do with mermaids?

Urban Decay is one of my favourite makeup brands but it’s hard to take mascara seriously when it’s called “Perversion“. I strongly encourage you to read the product description, because a writer got paid for it. Here is the opening line;

For lashings of sex appeal and high voltage drama, introduce Perversion Mascara into your make up bag.”

LASHings of sex appeal, see what they did there? I’m concerned about “high voltage drama” though, do I need to plug this mascara in? Will it cause me to blow a fuse? Our electrics are old. Urban Decay also make an eyelash primer called “Subversion”.

Take your lashes to the next level with Subversion Eyelash Primer by Urban Decay.”

Take your lashes to the next level of WHAT?

Rimmel’s Scandaleyes Reloaded mascara is presented in this ad as some sort of weapon. Cara Delevigne plays… a spy? I think? She’s walking very fast, anyway. And looking dangerous. There are so many buzzwords in this ad it’s hard to work out what they’re claiming this mascara does, colour and extend one’s lashes, I suppose.

So, it’s Scandaleyes (killer pun, to be fair) and it’s reloaded which obviously means… something. It provides:

  1. DANGEROUSLY BOLD LASHES. You could take an eye out. Yours.
  2. MAX DENSITY BRUSH. I believe Max Density is Mr. Rimmel’s cousin. He’s not very bright but he is a mean brush designer.
  3. EXTREME VOLUME. This volume is jumping out of planes and all.
  4. UP TO 24 HOUR IMPACT. I dunno.
  5. EXTREME WEAR. The wear is also extreme! As well as the volume!
  6. EASY TO REMOVE WITH WARM WATER. I feel that this is all we needed to know.
  7. UNSTOPPABLE. Except with warm water.

These are just some examples, there are many mascaras out there. Most of them have very intimidating or sexual names, here are some examples:

  • Colossal
  • Colossal chaotic
  • Illegal Length
  • Babydoll (not scary)
  • Manga Eyes (ditto)
  • Push up Drama (boob joke)
  • They’re Real (boob joke!)
  • Bad Gal
  • Lash Architect (I like that one)
  • 2000 calorie (nonsense)

The list goes on in varying degrees of nonsense. Sexuality is a strong theme, although I’m not sure the last time anyone found eyelashes erotic. Like, what?

It really turns me on how your lashes protect your retinas from dust particles…” I mean, no judgement here, whatever you’re in to, but it seems like the brand should be going for more mass appeal.

There’s also a common theme of power and strength and I love for people to be empowered by all of their products but again, are eyelashes particularly intimidating?

WHOA, RUN AWAY, those are some COLOSSAL eyelashes, they should be ILLEGAL! Have they been RELOADED?!”

I understand that the marketing execs are doing their jobs, but I think we’ve reached a point of diminishing return on eyelash paint claims. I love cosmetics but there is only so much they can do, it’s all legal and none of it is extreme. Mascara makes the little hairs around your eyes a bit darker, a bit longer and a bit curlier. Without it, your eyes might look slightly smaller. Sometimes it comes in fun colours, like blue, but it rarely looks as good. That’s about all there is to it.

Lipgloss, on the other hand… Turns your lips into EXTREME SEXY SUPERHEROES WINNING THE WORLD ON CHRISTMAS IN DISNEYLAND WITH SEX AND CHOCOLATE AND JAMIE DORNAN, PROBABLY.

Caoimhe is available for copywriting if any cosmetics companies are interested 😉