So Long…And Thanks For All the Writing Material

July 16, 2012 at 8:13 am | Posted in Honesty, love, men, relationships, women | 3 Comments
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There were some poignant but funny reasons for ending a relationship in this Guardian Weekend article: not a recent piece, but one that has been waiting patiently, in the nook of my coffee table, to be discussed. They were taken from The Breakup Project, a truly democratic website which allows you not only to sever ties with that no longer ‘special someone’, but also with the rather more abstract concerns of death, God & fear of rejection. My favourite was this one:

We break up because communists always break up with me. We broke up because you are so busy being a communist, you forgot how to be a person, how to treat people. We broke up because there hasn’t been a revolution yet.

If I ever met this man or woman (but somehow, I think it’s the latter), I would ask her these two questions:

1) Just how many communists have you dated that you are able to utter the phrase, “because communists always break up with me”?

2) Are you going to stop dating communists now?

Karl Marx 1, matching Ikea bedside tables 0.

But I think the one to which I could relate most was this:

We broke up because you love the feeling of falling for a girl more than you loved me.

What touches me so much about that sentence is the way the tenses move from the present to the perfect. This is you now, this is the behaviour from which you can’t escape; that was you then and can only ever be you then.

Here are my most bizarre reasons for ending relationships:

We broke up because you were obsessed with World War Two, and I wasn’t.

We broke up because you wanted a civil partnership, and I had to break it to you that, being in a heterosexual relationship, we didn’t qualify for one of those.

We broke up because you ran away from the chavs in Coventry city centre. And then told me I was ‘just perfect’.

We broke up because you thought that aura photography was an actual career.

And the most bizarre of all:

We broke up because you had a vitamin D deficiency.

So come on, spill: what are the weirdest reasons for your relationships ending?

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Women are entitled to whatever title they choose

February 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Names, women | 1 Comment
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I was thrilled to discover, on reading this article in the Guardian yesterday, that French official forms will no longer require a woman to state whether she is a Mademoiselle or a Madame.

I’ve written on this topic before, and my views haven’t changed. A customer came in once, and when I asked her if she was ‘Miss, Mrs or Ms’, she replied, ‘My name is _______’. Well, good for her, I say. It’s about time (say, fifty years too late?) that a European country took a stand on the sexist requirements of bureaucrats.

You can just call me Amy Pirt, but Madame will do just fine also.

All the single ladies, all the single ladies….

January 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Posted in friends, love, men, relationships, singledom, women | Leave a comment
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Last night, I was talking to someone about the singledom stigma.  When you break up with someone or have been single a while, the old familiar clichés start to be recited: ‘You’ll find someone’; ‘Plenty more fish in the sea’; ‘It’ll happen when you’re not looking’; blah blah blah Botox.  It’s as if some people are so scared of being alone that they confuse the state of being alone with loneliness, and they project that fear onto you. It really doesn’t bother me being, to all intents and purposes, single. I would far rather be on my own than with someone for the sake of it. But sometimes, I wonder if I’m in the minority there. This article was the inspiration for this post: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/janiceturner/article3293424.ece

The Luddite relents….

January 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Posted in books, capitalism, film, men, women, work | 1 Comment
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Have you seen Metropolis? No? Well, what are you waiting for? It is one of the greatest cinematic achievements known to mankind; sadly, the version Fritz Lang wanted is lost, leaving us with only a fragment of his vision.

Anyway, Metropolis is a truly beautiful film which shows what happens when society becomes increasingly industrialised. There are two characters called Maria in the film: one is angelic and endeavours to save her fellow humans from the horrors of the Heart Machine, and the other is a devilish and sexy mechanical Maria, engineered to incite the workers to rebel, whilst encouraging them to remain at the mercy of their dangerous, industrial surroundings.  Well, my new IPhone has turned me into the latter, and to hell with it (gentlemen, I would never trust an angelic lady: cinematic studies have proven that they usually have teeth in unmentionable places. More on that subject later).  What I mean to say is, is that I am finally embracing technology and joining the twenty-first century. I will never ever own a Kindle and will continue to fight to preserve the book; I will never worship at the Apple shrine or give a toss about Facebook again (cue one giant collective sigh of relief). But I shall continue to develop a passion for computer shortcuts, and the quirks of the somewhat antiquated Phoenix system. I shall continue to enjoy the thrill of seeing just how quickly I can type an email or text. I may never be a technophile, but I’ll certainly never be a technophobe again.

Home is not so sad

January 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Posted in art, cooking, dreams, family, gardening, home, house, money, mortgage, women | 1 Comment
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It’s official – the owner of what will very soon be my new house has agreed to my offer!  I am absolutely thrilled. The house is beautiful, it’s in a road down which you only drive if you’re specifically going to that road, and it will blatantly sell for much more when the markets improve.  Not that I have any intention of selling it in the next ten, or even the next twenty, years.

Obviously, I feel extremely lucky.  How many people of my age own their place outright, let alone have mortgages?  It’s scary out there for people of my generation when it comes to home ownership.  Yes, I know that renting’s always an option, but I for one would rather have my own place which is mine and mine alone, thank you very much.  An Englishwoman’s home is her castle, as the saying (almost) goes.

I’m already envisioning the sheet music on the piano, the tomatoes I’ll grow in the greenhouse (once I’ve babyproofed the entrance with crime scene tape), my cookbooks, food-splattered, dominating all four corners of the kitchen.  The art I’ll put on the wall is my favourite fantasy; some years ago, I saw a painting of The Deal Beach Parlour and I would absolutely love to see that hanging on the wall.  it would make me a very happy lady indeed.

One is the loneliest number

June 8, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Posted in debate, family, motherhood, Uncategorized, women | 2 Comments
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Does this baby look lonely to you? Does he????

It’s a strange fact of parenthood that you exchange all ownership of your life for this strange beast called a baby (it doesn’t make sense initially that even your pregnancy will result in a baby, let alone the idea that that baby will be a child, and that child will be an adult…………..).  Bizarre that somehing so biologically related to you can seem like a hostile takeover of your single life at times of nostalgia.  But more on that topic later.

What I mean is, as soon as you are pregnant, everything you do will be judged in relation to how it affects your baby.  I kid you not, the foul look bestowed on me by one person when I dared to ask for a glass of wine haunts me still.  Others warned me not to stress myself out, because it might ‘affect the baby’.  Frankly, that had the same effect as ‘calm down’ usually does on me: to abbreviate for the sense of decency, FOAD was my mental response.  A lot of people have this hippy idea that every pregnant woman should mellow and ‘glow’ in preparation for her new earth mother persona.  Because becoming a mother means surrendering all traces of your former personality, right?  Hmmm………..

The latest I’ve experienced is the ‘When how are you having another?’ question.  Jeez, because being pregnant was such a blast that I want to do it again six months after giving birth?  Erm, no.  It seems that society expects you to fill this 2.4 child ideal, either out of some crazed old-fashioned Tory attempt to keep Britain traditional, or because the person in question has fulfilled their family quota and now expects you to go through the same ‘joy’. 

Let me explain the root of my ranting: as a quasi only child, my half brother and half sisters being eleven, twelve and sixteen years older than me, I spent quite a lot of time alone as a child.  Obviously I had friends, but I treasured the time I spent alone for the independence it taught me and opportunity to develop my imagination.  Not to mention the chance to cycle around the garages for ages with my parrot on the handlebars.  In no way did I ever feel I’d missed out; let’s face it, unless you live in the Gobi desert, you are going to go to school/brownies/ultimate frisbee and meet your peers.

So please: don’t think me selfish, or call me so, as some idiot man did last week.   I think it would be more selfish to have another child to satisfy other people’s opinions.

Rant over.  You can take out your earplugs now.

P.S. The title is an Aimee Mann song and yes, I’m being ironic.

Do I look like a girly girl to you?

May 13, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Posted in books, debate, men, Uncategorized, women | 6 Comments
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I didn't have an umbrella, alright?

I’ll start with a couple of disclaimers:  I never wear jeans, am incredibly vain and am obviously pregnant in the photo above.  So, we can conclude that not only am I a woman (sorry for being ridiculously obvious, but you know), I could also never be described as a tomboy.

Then again, I am convinced I am the man in my relationship (in no way do I mean this in a physical sense).  Asher bows down at the throne of Richard Curtis (he also loves war films and Bond, to give him credit), I crack up every single time Jenna and I watch ‘our’ film , ‘Misery’.  (Anyone who doesn’t laugh when Annie Wilkes says she’s going to put on her Liberace records needs a personality bypass.)  Asher bought me this card for Valentine’s Day:

whilst I bought him this:

You get my point?

So it really rather pissed me off when some foul man asked me recently whether or not I liked Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy, and, after I said yes, implied that he wouldn’t like them, because I’m a ‘girly’ (yes, he really said that).  Oh, I’m sorry: I didn’t realise that literature had become gender specific now.  Heaven forbid that both the female of the species and the greater sex enjoy the same book.  Christ, is that the time?  I better get back to my manicure and Mills and Boon bonkbuster.  (Exit in my pink Nissan Micra complete with pink furry dice, pink  headrest covers and pink steering wheel cover. )

I came, I saw, I decorated

May 3, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Posted in cake, family, motherhood, party, women | Leave a comment
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Last Wednesday, I started my niece’s 16th birthday cake.  I spent all of Thursday doing it, baked one of the cakes Friday morning and finished the icing Saturday morning before work.  This was the result:

I am not the world’s best icer; you are not going to walk in on me creating homemade tulips out of sugarpaste I’ve coloured myself anytime soon.  So what I would say to any of you women out there, mothers or not, who don’t exactly have time on your hands, is this: listen to the god of ready-to-roll.  Because making a cake doesn’t have to be a competitive sport.  It just has to look presentable when it comes to eating it.

I refuse to be a victim

April 28, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Posted in women | 2 Comments
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Prithee do not mock me, fellow internet user: the title is merely a quote from the self-help CD to which Carolyn Burnham listens in American Beauty.  The rain pours, she takes out a gun from the glove compartment……..or that’s how I remember it anyway.  Great film.

What I don’t want to be a victim of is (bad grammar, dahlings, sorry) not the inability to sit on my perfect ivory sofa for fear of soiling it, a la Carolyn, but rather what people choose to call me.  I’m talking about my title.  Women are afraid of being called feminists, but frankly, I don’t really give a toss if not wanting people to keep calling me ‘Mrs’ makes me the next Germaine Greer or not.  I just resent the fact that, from the day women are born, they are defined by their title.  ‘Miss’ can be seen as young and carefree on one hand and labelled immature and committment-phobic on the other.  ‘Mrs’ is grown-up and responsible – or is it old and boring?  Who knows?  Who cares?  The point is, is that men never need to make this choice.  They are always ‘Mr’, and there is never that awkward moment where you risk offending a woman if you get her title wrong.  No wonder women always feel the need to fight their corner – there are too many choices when it comes to female titles.

So I’ve got a suggestion.  Stop calling me ‘Mrs’, or ‘Miss’ or ‘Ms’ (I really can’t stand the latter), and just call me Amy Pirt.  That’s my name: don’t wear it out.

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