Thursday, 14 November 2013

Number 31 - In Which A Sandwich Leads To Highlander.

"That was lovely darling, but I have to go and save the world."

Most of the time I enjoy being British. We are, for the most part, fiercely proud, yet rarely are we braggarts about what makes us proud. We can also be particularly haughty about some things, yet utterly ridiculous about others. For example:

The Daily Mail (and its proclivity to thrive despite its utter vileness).
We are overly P.C. (As in Politically Correct, not Computer PC. Though I wonder what the ratio of PC to Mac is in this country? Hmm.)
We dislike making a fuss when things are wrong.
Sex is a dirty word.

I could wax lyrical (rant) about the first three, and I may one day, but tonight I want to talk about sex. And sex fantasies.


I want to talk about something that the vast majority of us do, have done, or will do at some point in our lives.

It's OK, you can admit it. Don't be embarrassed.

I had a meeting yesterday with a business associate. Both being professionals, the meeting started out very business-like, as you would expect:

                                        bottom line.

There we were in Costa, discussing marketing and PR over overpriced lattes and disappointingly dry cake. Then the conversation segued into TV. We talked about how clever yet emotionally manipulative Christmas TV adverts were. (Bear, Hare, Snowman, Snowgirl, awww bless, etc.) Then we got talking about Sky TV in particular. And then things got really interesting. We went from Sky Premiere movies to hit US TV shows, then the handsome actors and gorgeous actresses in these shows. And then:

"You know what I'd really love for Christmas? A Strike Back Sandwich."

Coffee may have been spluttered at this point.

"A what?!"

"A Strike Back Sandwich. Come on, you must have seen Strike Back, on Sky One?"

There was a nod and a wary grin as realisation started to dawn.

"All I can think about, watching those two guys, is what it would be like to be in between them. You know. In bed."

This was met with fascination, a touch of embarrassment and furtive looks to make sure the other customers hadn't heard and weren't about to call the Obscenity Police. Because women do not admit this kind of thing out loud. Do they?

Well, maybe it's time we did.

When I got home later on, I pondered on this tantalising revelation a little bit more and I think I understand why the idea of a hot sweaty threesome with the Strike Back guys is such a turn on. (OK, maybe the threesome element is somewhat unique, but stay with me.)

They are both handsome.
They are both sexy.
They are both physically fit.
They are both Special Forces.
They get dirty a lot.
They get beat up a lot.
They save the day.

I think this sums up most of what is going on in a lot of women's heads - HEROES ARE HOT.  The same reason James Bond is so attractive. The same reason romantic literature always favours the bad boy with a heart of gold. As long as the end-game is ultimately for the greater good (and this bit is important - this does not include serial killers or wife beaters or anyone genuinely evil, there needs to be a goodness deep down), women LOVE bad men. We love our men to get dirty and sweaty and take charge. Bonnie Tyler knew; she sang about it. I sing along to 'I Need A Hero' whenever it comes on the radio but never really absorbed the lyrics until now.

Is it primal? Is it genetic? Does it hark back to our cavemen days where a stronger man was more likely to survive and provide? I read one of Jill Mansell's latest books the other day, called "Don't Want To Miss A Thing", which sees the female protagonist date a boring but good guy, whilst massively attracted to her devilishly handsome (yet womanising) neighbour who inadvertently gets guardianship of his niece after his sister dies. And, as with all chick lit, it's obvious who she ends up with. I knew what would happen, but I read it anyway. The same as the sexy SciFi book I read before that. And the Paranormal romance before that. And I love them all.

Then I looked back on my past long-term relationships, short flings and one-nighters. And found something interesting. In real life, I have never actually stayed with the bad men. I've had flings and one-nighters with bad boys that have been incredibly intense, erotic and emotionally exhausting, but ultimately I settled down with the long-term guys who were and are a bit… vanilla.

So how come we marry the safe ones, but fantasise about the ones that have us orgasming multiple times but may ultimately break our hearts? And is there a way to maybe combine the two?

Could our safe guys be prompted to take a walk on the wild side once in a while?

Or could the bad boys be tamed slightly so we can safely marry them?

I married a safe one. He doesn't really like to be dominant in the bedroom. Out of the bedroom, I manage the household's money, I plan the meals, I walk the dog and I discipline the teenager. I am the one who arranges for tradesmen to visit when required and am here when they do and listen when they tell me why the boiler/water tank/electrical appliance has exploded. I fix the gadgetry. But if I suggest that he maybe takes charge once in a while, maybe gets a bit more raunchy in the bedroom (and how about pulling my hair or slapping my ass?) he usually bolts like a frightened rabbit. Quite the turn off.

Shit. Hang on. Am I the bad one in this relationship? Do men like bad girls; girls who take charge and who wear the trousers? Are we all going round, searching for a hint of danger and dominance in our partners, but in any relationship there can be only one, a bit like in Highlander?

Bloody hell, am I Highlander?

I've asked a lot of questions here, I know. But, my little Highlander worry aside, my point is this. The Strike Back Sandwich fantasy is just as viable a sex fantasy as a man using a porn mag or film to jack off to. The very purpose of a fantasy is to excite, tantalise and arouse. It may happen, but more than likely it won't, but either way does it matter the form a fantasy takes?  I'm not ashamed of having fantasies and I think we should be more open and honest about sex. Let's talk about it more and stop being so frightfully British. If it weren't for sex, none of us would be here and I wouldn't be worried about being an Immortal Macleod right now.

So: men - I'd like it if, every once in a while, you could run around in a vest and combat trousers, thwart a villain, diffuse a bomb and then shag me thoroughly senseless, any and every which way, in a hotel room. Somewhere exotic where the voile panels at the window blow slightly in the hot summer wind. Then pick up the dog poo in the garden, fill the car with petrol, put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket and please could you fetch me a curry?

If you'll indulge me in my fantasy, I'll do the same for you. I'll wear that really uncomfortable peephole bra you like - the one with the matching split crotch knickers. And yes, I'll bend over for you and provocatively bite my finger. Or, if it floats your boat, you can wear the kinky lingerie and I'll thwart the villain, diffuse the bomb and shag you senseless in a hotel room somewhere. Because we all need a hero every now and then.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Number 30 - In Which I Say I'm Doing NaNoWriMo.

Closely resembles my office. Except on my desk, there's whisky.

My very good friend and sometimes colleague, Karen, thinks I should give up the day job and write the novels I have been banging on about for the last ten years. Well, what she actually said was; "oh for heaven's sake, if you want to write, bloody well do it, but stop moaning about it!"

I've had stories in my head since I first read Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree. At school, I'd rather sit by myself (in the woods behind the playing field) and read or imagine other worlds, than hang out with my friends. I suspect that's why a) I had no friends until I got to University, and b) I did so well in English Language and Literature.

As I've grown up, so too have the stories. The characters became more complex and the adventures became less innocent.

As it's November, and NaNoWriMo is a good focussing exercise, I thought I'd give it a go this year. My day job is quiet at this time of year so I'm lucky in that I have the time.

"Righto," I declared on 1st November. "Let's do this."

On 2nd November, it was the organised fireworks display in our town, so there was no way I'd be able to concentrate with all the bangs and flashes.

On the 3rd, I realised the kitchen was a bit messy. I gave it a good clean. Then I did the utility room, the downstairs shower room and had a sort through of all my cookbooks in the dining room. I have 106. (Possibly a few too many really.)

On the 4th November, I was feeling a bit under the weather so I ate a lot of comfort food and watched trashy telly until Husband complained. Husband is on annual leave, so when he isn't at work, I am expected to be off too. So no computer time for me. (Or trashy telly time either.)

On the 5th to the 9th, my mother was visiting. I got nowhere near the office but I introduced my mother to charity shopping. She bought two pairs of designer jeans for £7 and the first three Game of Thrones books for £5. She was delighted. (I have created a monster.)

The 10th was Remembrance Sunday. I had a church service and a procession to attend. I was surrounded by very handsome Army, RAF and Navy men.

In uniform.

(It felt wrong to have such lusty feelings in church. I'n fairly sure I'm going to hell.)

Yesterday was Armistice Day. I had a headache and Husband's Extended DVD Edition of The Hobbit arrived which he watched - all 14 hours of it. (My punishment for thinking impure thoughts in the House of God.)

And that brings us up to today. I made a concerted effort to get on with things today. I read an article about how to prepare yourself and your workspace for the writing process. I gave my desk a good fettle, by moving the pile of invoices from one part of the desk to the other. I was also inspired by Alexandra Brown's work area, as featured in this blog recently. So I went to Jo Malone and bought a candle to help with this process. It's a lovely Blackberry and Bay scented one. And they very kindly give you Jo Malone-branded matches too, which is cool because I hid all the matches in the house when Daughter was four. (Ten years later, I still can't find them.)

Smells delicious. It ought to for £39 sodding quid.

I lit the candle, blew out the match and threw it in my office bin. About 10 minutes later, I wasn't really smelling the candle, but there was a strong smell of burning. Turns out the spent match was still a bit hot and alive and had started to smoulder all the waste paper in my bin. Luckily I was a whole five minutes away from setting fire to the office.

The fire is out now. It is quite handy having a bathroom next to my office.

The candle is still burning. It smells lovely now. But I can't get to the stories or my characters, possibly due to almost burning down the building. I'll try again tomorrow.

Listening to: Guns N Roses - Use Your Illusion I 
Reading - A Fucked Up Life In Books - Anonymous

Monday, 4 November 2013

Number 29 - In Which You Say Potato, I Say Carbohydrate.

Give me a spoon.

I flipping love mashed potatoes. Something inside me is trigged by the clocks going back: I need stodge, I need carbohydrates, I need to hibernate. This time of year demands stews, steamed sponge puddings and piles and piles of mashed spuds.

So imagine my horror when Daughter announced today with a "meh," that she "doesn't like mash potatoes anymore. They are too creamy."

I'll give you a second to let that sink in.

TOO CREAMY? Clearly my child is ill. I needed to sit down.

I tried the Atkins diet about ten years ago and craved potatoes so badly, I once nicked a french fry off a lad in Burger King who was walking past me carrying a tray piled high with them. My hand snaked out, I grabbed one, and I stuffed it in my gob. He didn't see. I didn't care if he did or not.

So, for me carbs and cold weather go hand in hand. A doctor told me that the body craves food that it needs. Clearly my body needs carbohydrates. Who am I to argue?

So my dilemma tonight is what on earth to cook with our Monday Roast? (We have our Sunday dinner on a Monday, just to be really contrary.) It's roast beef tonight with roast potatoes, garlic green beans and the last of our carrots from the garden. Normally I'd do mash alongside, with a hint of garlic, topped with cheese. But Daughter and her "meh" ing is making me worried. I don't think it's about the potato per se, I get the sneaking feeling it's about Thigh Gap. It's the first day back to school today, she had PE third period and she's had a week of being idle. I caught her posing in her mirror last night and poking at her thighs and tummy. If she were overweight, then fair enough, but she isn't. She's a size 10 and is about 5 foot 5. 

So, Thigh Gap is the current thing with the kids online; ripping anyone apart, celebrity or not, about whether their thighs touch at the top. Apparently you are hideously fat and disgusting if your thighs do. And apparently it's not OK for me to log on to her Facebook account and tell all these girls what utter fucking morons they are for subscribing to this fatuous notion.

I worry about Daughter every day. I worry about what lies she is exposed to, by fashion magazines and media who should know better but don't care that they make teenaged girls feel that anorexia is cool. I worry about the pressure she is under at school to perform well in her GCSEs. I worry about pressure from her peers and celebrities to be much more sexualised than she should be. (I'm looking at you Miley Cyrus. Put some fucking clothes on and stop whoring about on a builder's yard.) And I worry that I, as her mother, want to act on her behalf; to wrap her up in cotton wool and prevent the world from ruining my little girl. But I know I can't, as she has to live in it too. So instead, I shall make dinner, make pudding and if she's worried about Thigh Gap, I'll go for a long walk with her at the weekend where we can burn some calories whilst we walk and talk. 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Number 28 - In Which I Watch The Leaves Turn Golden.

Not quite the view from my window, as there are kids in the park at the moment. I''m scared to post pictures with kids in. The internet is dark and full of terrors.

The view from my office window is one of myriad trees, bowing and shimmering in the wind, their leaves slowly turning from green to the colour of bonfires. I quite like this time of year. Whilst I adore a snowy winter, golden Autumn calls to mind Hallowe'en, toffee apples and standing around smoky bonfires, staring into the flames and feeling the heat on your face whilst getting lost in thought as the flames hypnotise. Besides, I like coming indoors and smelling of woodsmoke, it makes me feel tribal and at one with nature. (I have a ton of Wiccan literature on my shelves and it's about this time of year where I quite fancy flinging off my clothes and dancing around the aforementioned fires. But I get the feeling that the folks round here might still burn witches.)

Not our bonfire either. 

Living in this little parochial backwater means there is never an organised bonfire, possibly due to health and safety, but more likely that our Round Table are notoriously lazy. That said, the annual firework display that they put on is a corker and this year's was no exception, although I was a lazy tightwad this year and decided to watch them for free, from the relative warmth of our attic, in our pyjamas. Husband was away and Daughter had nothing to wear apparently, so I think I made the right call.

I have been in quite a reflective mood of late. Last week we had family staying with us, and it was fascinating watching other marriages at work, other kids being raised and other lives being lived. Both my parents are quite ill at the moment, so whilst my father escaped to Ireland (on the pretext of work, but really just drinking stout and carousing with the local ladies) my post-nervous breakdown mother came to stay with us. Then my sister and her ex husband and two kids. Then my In-Laws. At one point I was feeding so many people I felt like presenting them with bills at the end of their stays. (Service not Included, a 15% tip is suggested.)

Do you put on a show for other people? The "Look How Harmonious Our Family Is" show? I think people must. I know we did. Husband and I barely sniped at each other for a week, Daughter was almost never a brat and the Dog could have been performing at Crufts. And when they all left, the four of us sort of slumped in our respective spots and were too exhausted to do much other than order a takeaway curry, drink a shit ton of wine, lick our own privates or disappear upstairs to chat to imaginary friends on social media. (I'll leave you, dear reader, to figure out who did what.) But the Harmonious Show led us all into a false sense of security. Daughter thought she'd got away with lying about and ignoring her week's worth of homework until the last minute, Dog thought nobody would notice that he'd had a massive shit right in the middle of the vegetable patch at the top of the garden, I'd almost got away with not doing any work all week, and Husband thought I'd forgotten than I am really fucking furious with him for drinking so much he passed out on the new sofa, spilling red wine all over it and the new (light coloured) carpet, staining both beyond repair. With the careful application of rugs and throws, the stains may be hidden, but because they were left for hours, they have done their damage. Carpet and upholstery cleaner and the frantic consulting of my 101 HouseHold Tips book have helped, but not fully removed. I hate being such a ball-breaking bitch, but sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in this house with any sense. Then I go and do something utterly stupid like CUT MY OWN FRINGE, and realising that I actually did a better job of it the last time I cut it. When I was FIVE. Then I realise I'm not so shit-hot after all.