I like being a lady. Okay, it’s debatable whether I can accurately be called a lady but I’m definitely a woman *looks at boobs* yep, definitely. Sometimes though, I would like the comfort that comes with all things male. Here’s why:
1. Guys can have all the beardy goodness that a beard brings
I’m cold. I’m so cold that I’ve been writing this sentence for two days. Anything that could make me less cold right now would be great. A beard would just be lovely; but of course, I’d be captured by the first travelling circus and made kiss sexually-confused people. So count your blessings men, you have the option to grow a majestic face-blanket.
2. Guys can basically pee anywhere*
*Except on a roller coaster
I really hope you appreciate this one guys. I really do. There’s been many a time Jack and I have been enjoying a countryside drive when *boom* the bladder fairy decides to make a visit. (The bladder fairy is a real thing, with a wand and wings and a belt of Ocean Spray cranberry juice.)
When I am swaying from side to side and silently weeping at the lack of public toilets in Ireland, Jack will nonchalantly shrug. ‘Just go outside’, he will smugly suggest as I imagine life post-bladder explosion.
I can’t go outside. I just can’t. For us girls it involves careful positioning of clothing, perfect balance and worst of all…. SQUATTING. There is possibly nothing more shameful than squatting in a field with your bare ass being caressed by the cold breeze as you’re watched by inquisitive cows (this never happened to me. Ahem).
3. Guys can get ready for the day ahead in three/four easy steps:
In fact, guys could get ready for their own weddings this way. For us ladies, it’s different. Yes, some of us are pretty low maintenance but you could bet your bottom farthing that most of us spend quite a bit of time getting ready to face the world every morning; there’s shampooing, conditioning, blowdrying, straightening/curling, negotiating with mascara wands while making all manner of ridiculous facial expressions, etc.
You might say that this is unnecessary buuuuuuut…
4. Guys don’t have periods
Most of the time, I’m a nice girl. But once a month, when my Aunt Mary (I gave it a friendly name in the hope I would welcome it more, it didn’t work) comes to visit, I turn homicidal. Anything with testicles within a 100 metre radius is in imminent danger of death by scissors kick. I turn into an emotional mess, crying at TV adverts and getting angry at toilet paper being hung in improper overhand fashion.
5. Ageing is an easier process for men
There are some hot female celebrities out there who are sma-hoking (Helen Mirren, call me) and who haven’t felt the need to Botox themselves within an inch of their lives. Most women fear ageing like men fear a swift kick in the nuts. I’m going to blame a combination of the media and all those freakin Real Housewives who look like extras from House of Wax. Some women are now resorting to face-lifts and Botox in THEIR TWENTIES.
And men? Well, it seems the older they get, the more desirable they become. Think of the most desirable of all the silver foxes, George Clooney. He still has women of all ages throwing themselves at him (probably literally). Then there’s Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Junior (is it hot in here?)
My point is that Jack has grey hairs on his head and he looks gorgeous. I will no doubt look like this:
When I was a child, Santa Claus used to come to my local village hall complete with reindeer (whose coats are apparently made of felt, who knew?)
Anyway, the year was 1993. I stood in the long queue, excitedly hopping from one foot to the other, anticipating the conversation I would have with Santa. I had so many questions. Does Rudolph’s nose turn off or is it constantly on? And if so, is there a way to dim it for oncoming traffic? You know, all the questions a normal six year old would want to ask Santa.
When I finally reached the top of the queue, I was ushered over to ole St. Nicholas himself by an elf that was suspiciously tall and looked a lot like the lady who worked in our post office. I was perched on Santa’s knee.
‘And what’s your name?’ he asked jovially. Hmm, I thought, that voice is familiar. As I turned my face to his (in what is now a slow-motion cinematic memory) I clapped eyes on…..
Yes, Santa was my father. Or my father was Santa. In those seconds that felt like a lifetime of betrayal, I matured more than any six year old ever should. I realised it all: This is why I was never allowed in his shed. It was probably full of disgruntled elves. This is why he always refused to diet and why he had an aversion to sun-holidays. I sat in a stony silence. Any other six year old would have been jubilant to realise the she was the daughter of the world’s most popular fat guy, but the cold sting of betrayal hit me hard.
He repeated ‘and what’s your name?’ albeit a little more awkwardly this time.
Oh I’ll play along, I thought scornfully, but you won’t get away with this.
As I played the part of oblivious child and took my yoyo with grace, my friend came rushing up to me.
‘DID YOU SEE-’ she began, so excited she was positively giddy.
‘Yes. I know. My Dad is Santa Claus.’
‘You are so lucky. I can’t believe it. I would give anything for my dad to be Santa.’
I thought about this. Maybe it would have its benefits. I mean, surely I didn’t have to spend three hours negotiating my Santa letter anymore. I had a direct line. And maybe, just maybe, his union might order a ‘bring your daughter to work day’ which would be, let’s face it, AMAZING. I mean, sure, I’d have to behave my self a lot more, as it would now be much easier to find my self on the naughty list, but I was sure that the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks.
Years later, I still haven’t told him I know. When he tells me that he’s going to the pub on Christmas Eve, I know better. And when he stocks up on mince pies, I know it’s just fuel for a very long journey. And when he says that he doesn’t know what the capital of Denmark is when we watch quiz shows, I often murmur ‘sure you don’t know, it’s not like you’ve never been there before. Pfft.’
So, even though my childhood was built on lies, it’s pretty cool that I’m a member of the Santa dynasty. You could say we’re one of the most powerful families in the world but I don’t wanna brag. I just want to be normal. Although if I ever get access to one of his flying reindeer, I’m taking that SOB to Hawaii for sure.
Feeling the pressure from trying to find your lady friend the perfect Christmas present? Well, you can put down the novelty reindeer antlers and Chris de Burgh CD. I’ve got your back. Here are some ideas so great that I probably should charge you guys actual money to read this. But I won’t cause I’m cool like that.
1. For the philosophical lady
You know what would be so original? Ditching material possessions and instead giving her a big ole box of nothing.
Is the box half full or half empty? Actually, it’s all empty. You’re welcome.
What says ‘I love and value you’ more than a doll covered in questionably proportioned ginger hair? Exactly. NOTHING.
Anyone woman would be very very excited to receive one of these… A GENUINE DORA THE EXPLORER AQUAPET. For some reason, they were all sold out in my local store but I’m sure there’s plenty available online guys. Don’t panic.
4. For the lady who’s afraid to touch her pussy
Sometimes I don’t actually like touching mine. But alas, all my feline related woes have been solved by this genius invention. There shall be jubilant pussies the world over. Huzzah!
5. For the lady who just wants an intact banana, dammit!
I genuinely love this. Somehow I feel unworthy of such genius.
6. For the fashionista
Now when’s she’s doing all your ironing, she’ll be wearing an expression of barely concealed resentment AND this t-shirt. Sweet.
7. For the ‘cuddler’
Now she can complain that something else smells of stale cigarette smoke and disappointment.
8. For the multi-tasker
Guys, help a gal out. Now she can serve you dinner and clean the floor at the same time. Or clear your snow-filled driveway. This baby is versatile.
9. For the trend setter
If Sinead O’ Connor had worn one of these in her famous ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ video, I know I would have taken her more seriously. It comes with a hat *and* a hairpiece. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.
You want a cigarette, you’re wearing mittens. We’ve all been there. You can’t take off your mittens because your fingers will literally fall off. You have to have a cigarette because you will brutally murder all of your colleagues otherwise. ‘WHAT THE HELL DO I DO?’ you ask? Well firstly, put me down. And then take a look at these bad boys. First there was the wheel. Then there was electricity. And now there’s the smoker-friendly mittens. Beautiful.
So there are all my amazing ideas in all their ingenious glory. No, no, you don’t have to thank me. I live to serve you. In the words of Paul McCartney: ‘now go and get her’!
I love you. There, I said it. I bet you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I say I love you constantly; to members of my family, to my friends, to Jack and to my pets. They even say it back (no, not the pets, though I’m working on it).
When it comes to the early stages of a committed relationship, it’s probably one of the most common causes of panic. We plague ourselves with doubts: when is a suitable time to say it? Is it too soon? Does he/she feel the same? What if I say it and I realise I actually *love* Cherry Garcia and only “kinda like” my other half? It’s the stuff Taylor Swift diary entries are made of.
It’s only three words when you think about it, and when used in certain contexts, can be rendered meaningless. For example, I said “I love you” to a chicken wing after a particularly tough day at school, but I doubt Nicholas Sparks will be writing any novels about that anytime soon. We probably use the word “love” in a hyperbolic context too much. For example, you might have strong feelings for certain brands of snack foods. You also might have pretty strong feelings for your children. Are these feelings the same? (Hopefully you’re thinking ‘not exactly’ or you’ve got a problem, mister.) I’m guilty of overusing the word “love” when “really like” would probably suffice. I’m also guilty, according to Jack, of telling him that I love him too much. Yes, you read that right. But before you imagine me tied to a radiator and him throwing stale chicken wings at me, I actually agree with him. I started to say “I love you” as much as “change the cat litter please” or “why is our dog killing the postman?” Jack said something pretty meaningful:
“It’s not that I don’t like to hear it. It’s just that you say it so much, it’s become almost meaningless. It should be like a treat to hear. Or you could show me with actions, like sandwiches and pizza.”
Yes, that’s verbatim by the way. I actually agree with him (bar the sandwiches and pizza because HELLO cholesterol AMIRIGHT?) They’re just words. They’re easy to say. Showing that you actually mean them is harder.
So this prompts me to pose the question: what is love? (I’m allowing you ten seconds to sing *that* song but only ten seconds, mind you.) Now that you’re back, think about what you would define love as.
I think it’s different for everyone. To me, it’s realising that you actually are willing to put someone else’s happiness above your own, even if it means you won’t get any credit for it. That’s how I realised, only a few months into my relationship with Jack, that I loved him. I started to think about his happiness over my own. And I knew he loved me, because he endured a four hour bus journey to see me after a long day of work only to sleep on my couch. Ah, l’amour.
We didn’t make a big deal out of saying it. I’ve never really agreed with making a “thing” of the first “I love you.” Jack says I said it first, in a text (and they say romance is dead!) but I don’t remember. What I do remember is the first time I knew that I loved him. To me, that was the most important thing. (I mentioned briefly in a conversation that I liked Norah Jones and three months later her album arrived in the post. Jack was just a teen and had to save up but it was one of the sweetest things he’s ever done because he wasn’t going to see me for a while and I knew it was a purely selfless act. Look, I’m even gushing ten years later!)
So what I’m saying is, the words are important but the actions behind them are more important. There doesn’t have to be grand gestures or sweeping declarations, just selfless and thoughtful everyday actions that will make your other half feel valued and cherished.
Man, I hate Tuesdays. They’re like having a really amazing meal and then getting served fruit for dessert. Underwhelming.
Today, Ireland played against New Zealand in rugby in Dublin. To any non-rugby fan, New Zealand are the best team in the world and Ireland have never beaten them (in 27 meetings).
Last weekend, Ireland lost to Australia in what any fan would deem a pretty dismal performance. Things were not looking good for us.
And so people’s hopes weren’t exactly high for today’s match. New Zealand were hoping to end their season undefeated (the first team to do so in the professional era) and honestly, many Irish fans were just hoping not to lose by too wide a margin. With New Zealand, we are the interminable underdogs.
There was another reason a victory would have been celebrated like Mardi Gras. It was the last time our captain and one of the best centres in the world, Brian O’ Driscoll, would face the All Blacks. To the Irish, O’ Driscoll is a living legend. A hero. We wanted a victory for him more than for ourselves. He retires at the end of the season.
What was to follow, nobody could have predicted. The Irish performance was intense beyond description, passionate and dynamic. We were out-classing the New Zealanders at every level. I have waited all my life to watch us finally conquer the All Blacks, and after Ireland’s first half performance, it looked like Ireland would be celebrating one of the greatest achievements in their sporting history. At one stage, we led 19 points to zero.
But, alas, it wasn’t to be. We didn’t score in the second half and New Zealand creeped back into the game. We were ahead right to the very end. In the 80th minute, with the clock red (in rugby, the game doesn’t end until the ball goes out of play and at this stage, the time was up), New Zealand scored. I felt my heart break. I felt hearts around the nation break. To lose by a wide margin would have been easier, but to lose like this, with seconds on the clock, it was devastating. I cried. I cried like I haven’t cried in a long time.
I love rugby. It has long been my favourite sport: it is skillful, physical and exhilarating. It is so beautiful to watch. And this was a demonstration of exactly why it is such a dramatic sport. It is a cruel mistress. As tears streamed down my face, and I watched the pain and dejection on our players’ faces, I turned to Jack. He was pretty disappointed but just shrugged.
‘Pity’, he muttered.
I, on the other hand, was nowhere near as gracious. There was tears, expletives and plenty of gesturing. For a few hours (and admittedly, still) there was a horribly sick feeling in my stomach. I was (and still am) devastated at the loss. Jack started playing GTA.
So it has led me to realise I am a really bad loser. I just can’t take it. But is it understandable? I am passionate about the sport and the team. I have watched then since I was a small child perched on my dad’s knee, I have seen them play, I wear the jersey every game day. This could have been an historic day but it was lost in the most cruel of outcomes.
I did learn from Jack’s more placid reaction that, basically, THAT’S LIFE. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes we almost win. These heartbreaking moments just make the eventual victories all the more beautiful and well-deserved. We will triumph against the All Blacks some day, but that day was not today. I guess I’m saying I need to learn to handle losing a little better, and I need to learn the meaning of grace and dignity, rather than emotional swearing and bottle-throwing. I did provide Jack will a lot of entertaining aggression though, so there’s that.
Jack looks deep in thought.
Me: What are you thinking about?
Jack: That if we ever get a pet hawk, we could call him “Ethan”.
I don’t need to ask him everything he’s thinking.