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Compliments. They can make your day. You never forget the good ones, and will always be grateful to those who give them to you. However, the art of giving and receiving them is a tricky one.  For something that’s so lovely, the potential for awkwardness is huge. So, without further ado, the etiquette for complimenting/being complimented is as follows:

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Please Don’t Already. Pretty Disgusting, Amirite? Politeness Dies Again. People Doing Allthesex.

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There’s something about train platforms, I’ve decided. Maybe it’s the cold, making us all feel just a smidge vulnerable. Maybe it’s the old-fashioned romance of taking an actual train as opposed to a tube. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m always on one at about 8:30 in the morning which is prime smooching time for the lovers out there…. Oh wait…..

So can somebody please explain to me how last week as I stumbled, bleary eyed from the wind, shoulders hunched awkwardly to bear the weight of my canvas-bag-o’-crap that I seem unable to leave the house without, on to the train platform at a time which, quite frankly, it offends me to even have to acknowledge exists, only to see love’s young dream canoodling on the bench right next to me. Oh but not just canoodling. Canoo-hoooo-dling. Now, I am not some sad, grumpy woman who hates to see displays of love. I love to see couples holding hands, nudging each other, smiling at shared jokes and even kissing goodbye. I do. I never let my boyfriend get away with saying hello or goodbye without an accompanying peck on the lips. What I object to is seeing a woman curled up on her boyfriend’s lap, arms wrapped around his neck, shoes inexplicably kicked off while her boyfriend strokes her feet (I so wish I was making this up) and kisses her ear. For at least 15 minutes (the train was delayed, what a shocker). I mean, I understand being lost in your own world but when your own world involves cradling your girlfriend like a baby whilst indulging your foot fetish, KEEP IT INDOORS!

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Feminism! Sisterhood! Girl power! Wooo! We all believe in these things, that’s a given by this point. (Isn’t it?!) Of course women should get equal pay, and be judged for their talents and hard work, not their looks. Of course women respect and admire other women. If women are still being kept down, it’s the men who are doing it. Damn patriarchy trying to keep us in our place. Hmph.

 But here comes the big Kardashian-esque but-  BUT, I am a woman and sometimes I feel that it’s not the always the patriarchy trying to hold us down. Read the rest of this entry »

Image“I thought I said SOYA milk”

 I get it. Life is stressful. It’s full of harsh realities like cyclists, hold music and people who burp in public. Everywhere you go people are there, getting in your way, getting the last seat on the tube, having gross feet, and ignoring you in favour of tweeting their current location.  There are a great many annoyances that we have to deal with on a daily basis. And I would be lying if I said that I didn’t sometimes struggle to maintain my zen. I have been known to go home and have little rant or two (or twelve) about the things that have irritated me that day. However, I remain completely shocked by the level of rage I see around me on a day to day basis. I’m not talking about “important” rage here. I do not live in a war-torn country, or an oppressive dictatorship. I live in London in 2013. It’s pretty pleasant. Of course there are still issues worth getting angry over: the pay gap, the terrible things that seem to keep happening in the world, rape jokes, “casual” racism etc. But they are not the things that seem to be inspiring the rage. And I’m not talking about random acts of violence either. They are borne out of a problem far beyond my comprehension. I’m talking about the anger I witness almost daily that is not to do with any of these things. The anger that is invariably about something that, were we to really stop and think before blowing up, we would realise is ridiculous.

I saw a woman tell a man to F off (minus the censorship) because he asked her to wait a moment while he let someone else by before letting her off the tube. Yes, he said it in a pretty condescending tone of voice and it was annoying, but the level of defensiveness and vitriol that she hurled at him with that insult and its accompanying glare were completely out of proportion to the matter at hand. She could have apologised and said that she hadn’t realised he was letting someone else off. She could have explained that she thought he hadn’t seen her and was anxious to get off the tube. It would have only taken an extra few seconds but it would have been polite and perhaps, in turn, he would have been more polite at his next human interaction. Instead they both huffed off, muttering and deepening their frown lines (rookie mistake). I have seen a man leap out of his van because someone cut him up accidentally and actually start beating the offending vehicle. How mad do you have to be to beat up a car? At a friendly football match, my brother asked a fellow fan if he could tone down the swearing as he was there with his 6 year old son, only to be told to shut up and not bring the child if he couldn’t handle the rude words. (I suspect my nephew being offended was the least of it, learning so many new forbidden words was probably the highlight of his day. But the point remains.) I have seen bottles thrown, waiters accused, KFC counters banged, chairs kicked and doors slammed usually over nothing more than a mild irritation. If I had a penny for every time I have seen well-dressed, sober men on the commute home storm to the front of a train to hurl abuse at the driver because there’s no more space on the train (and this is his fault how?), I would have, well at least 25p. Which is almost enough for a packet of Chipsticks. And I get it! I know how annoying it is to wait for a train only to have to watch it leave as you couldn’t even get one arm in. It’s infuriating. Completely maddening. So do what everyone does: sigh loudly, exchange ugh-how-much-does-this-suck-oh-well-what-can-you-do-at-least-we’re-all-in-the-same-boat glances with your fellow stranded passengers and either find another way home or carry on waiting. Yelling and swearing and hitting windows is not going to achieve anything, except show the world your childishness and complete lack of perspective. (I believe they have a phrase for this on twitter, something to do with first world problems?) Because the white hot fury that seems to erupt from people just navigating life’s little irritations is ridiculous. When did everyone become so angry? I can only assume that they are operating at a base level of anger to begin with and that is why such small things set them off. But really, does the rest of the world need to suffer because you can’t handle your emotions? We’re already suffering through the same annoyances as you, don’t make our day worse by adding “and then this dude who hadn’t paid for the bus refused to get off because he was in a hurry and yelled at the bus driver for 10 solid minutes while we all stood there wishing we were at home already” to our list.

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In honour of NaPoWriMo,

I thought I’d make this rhyme, yo

The problem with today’s “yoof”

Is that they don’t know how to act aloof

*

Coz the thing that really wrecks me

And I don’t mean to sound vexy

Nor do I aim to perplex, see

But desperation isn’t sexy

*

If you’re getting the twins out for pictures,

Which by now is a standard fixture,

Eventually no one will care

What is under your underwear

*

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Now, I personally don’t believe in lying to prospective gentlemen callers. (Or lady callers, depending on your preference.) It makes no sense to me at all. It seems to me that the right man for me ought to like me as I actually am, and if he doesn’t, someone else will. Having a man who wants a fake version of me is pointless. Nothing annoys me more than movies where we have to watch the heroine humiliate herself for hours pretending to like fishing/be a vegetarian/speak Finnish/have naturally curly hair /enjoy camping all for the grand prize of ending up with a guy who doesn’t actually like her.

 However, having said that, he does not need to know your entire life story/chequered romantic history/every thought you’ve ever had within the first five minutes of meeting you. And please don’t tell a man you’ve only met on Skype that you hate shaving your legs and put it off for as long as possible like one of my friends did once, complete with visual aids. There is a world of difference between lying, and keeping a little something to yourself.

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Today I want to talk about unwanted male attention and how to deal with it.

This is the solution:

MEN- if your attention isn’t wanted, GO AWAY.

Sorted.

Love,

The Etiq-

*Sigh* If only. So, as some menfolk out there seem perennially unable to take a hint, here are my hints as to how to get rid of them, quickly, safely and politely.

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