The Sourest of Lemons

Making something vaguely like lemonade out of the sourest of lemons since 1988

Please start from the bottom bee and work your way up through the bees to enjoy this blog as intended.

TRIGGER WARNING: This blog contains highly adult content which some readers may find offensive.

Instagram: @thesourestlemons

Lamb Kofta

In my opinion, the Lamb Kofta incident of 2015 is, without doubt, the single most humiliating thing that has ever happened to me. ‘Worse than the sanitary towel incident?’ I hear you muse. Yes – way worse. ‘Worse than the seagull opening it’s bowels into your mouth?’ Yep…so, so much worse. Even worse than the time you used an empty nail polish remover bottle as a douche!? You betcha! You’ll need a cast-iron stomach and a good sense of humour for this one!

As you know, in 2015 I was mid-Wasteman Wes saga. He had already slung his ejaculatory matter up Kerry’s fleshy viaduct and I harboured a great deal of hatred towards him but also a strange desire to revel in the attentions he gave me as he tried every weapon in his arsenal to get me back. He was no longer living with me and I was hustling like The Artful Dodger to claw back the finances he had frittered away so frivolously during our relationship. I look back now at the weak little human I had become and wonder why I strung him along thinking he had a chance of getting back with me for so long. The only conclusion I can draw is that I enjoyed the mental torture I put him through as I drew him in and released him away again at my whim. He certainly had a hold over me I will never understand but my small acts of revenge during this to-and-fro time were a victory I rejoiced in. One such act of retribution was Lamb Kofta.

On ‘Lamb Kofta’ night I slumbered peacefully; the unbroken dozing of a single woman comfortable in the knowledge that she has no man out cheating on her, stealing from her and making her look a fool.

At 4am, however, something roused me from my sleep. A sheepish tap, tap, tapping at the window next to my head interrupted my dreams and I immediately, unequivocally knew it would be that little parasite of an ex-boyfriend of mine, brandishing his ginger dreadlocks and the freckled face I had once found so delightful. He had scaled the fence of my back garden and infiltrated the minimal security of the ground floor maisonette we had shared to harangue me in his inebriated and cocaine-fuelled state. I contemplated ignoring his knuckled mating call but Wes was a tenacious little flea, especially when under the influence, and would continue pressing at the flesh of my life with his bloodsucking pincers ready to slurp up any positivity I could muster and glean for myself. I could have called the police, of course. But with his dangerous behaviour I believed that would just make matters worse. So I pulled back the duvet, pressed my warmed size 3s to the cold, laminate floor and pattered to the back door.

I could tell just by looking in his vacant eyes that he was really, really high. He had brown stains in the corners of his mouth which he surreptitiously wiped with his thumb and index finger and flicked at with his lizard-like tongue of lies. While I assessed the state he was in, he talked at me in an endless onslaught of trash he thought was interesting but I most certainly did not. How he had been to a rave, I’d have loved it, I should have been there, all his friends were asking where I was, he hadn’t been able to tell them yet what he had done, he felt so ashamed, he just wanted me back, Kerry was the worst mistake of his life. On and on it went, drivel and tripe hammered at me while I stood, arms folded, watching him with disgust in the artificial kitchen light.

After I had made him a drink and something to eat I instructed him to sleep on the sofa, pulled him out some blankets and returned to my bed. Mentally counting down the moments before I would hear him approach my room like a small child trying to sneak into their parents’ bed in the midst of the night, less than a minute later my door handle squealed slowly open beneath his hands and he wondered nonchalantly into the room. Naked.

Arguing was fruitless; he was either coming to cuddle me, to have sex with me or to murder me. I felt powerless to stop any of those scenarios and so drew on the training my step-father had taught me all those years before. I numbed my mind to whatever his intentions were, squared myself to the realisation that I was going to loathe what followed regardless of what it was and decided letting it happen would be the safest and easiest thing for me to do.

Crawling in next to me silently, Wes began to poke his erection against me, stabbing in the dark like a trainee fencer. He had never been a fan of foreplay and always assumed that his general aura would be enough of an aphrodisiac to have any vagina dripping in his presence. He was woefully misguided. Sex with him was therefore usually unpleasant and painful – imagine trying to shove a rubber ball up a pipe marginally too small for it. Not good!

A few minutes into sex I decided I had had enough and got on all fours – a tried and tested method to finish him off. Unfortunately, in my eagerness to get the sex over with I had not taken into account how ballsy (pun intended) cocaine can make a man. Wes was always a sexual deviant on cocaine anyway but now he clearly thought arrogant confidence when driving his penis into me would be the best way to win back my affections. Without warning or lubrication he shoved his surprisingly girthy member into my arsehole.

‘Wrong hole! Wrong hole!’ I breathed, trying to crawl away and sink myself toward the mattress like a cat cowering away to avoid being touched. As I said previously though, Wes was a determined little pest and he continued to propel himself into me with shocking fervour in the pre-dawn light.

It lasted seconds only, but it felt like I was having the longest, biggest poo of my life. I could feel myself tearing and ripping around his penis as he tried to reach his climax. I’m quite sure anal is endurable when all necessary precautions around discomfort are taken but this was like shoving a metal rod into pinhole without greasing it up adequately.

‘Let me fuck you now!’ he growled, pulling himself out of my crevice. Sweet relief washed over me as he removed that demonic pole from my unsuspecting cavity. I don’t know why he thought he was now going to bury himself back into my vaginal flute after it being in my shitter but that was an argument I was willing to have with him once I’d nursed my poor, damaged bumhole back to some semblance of normality. I imagined I must be haemorrhaging anally, surely?

In the greyish light that precedes the day he sat, perched against the pillows, panting and smiling as if he were about to laugh.

‘Where are you going? Get back on!’ he demanded.

I turned to look at him, assessing his putrid rancidity with repugnance emitting from my very pores.

‘Absolutely fucking not, mate.’

But he seemed not to hear me. In the split seconds since he had made his cold command, sneering with the smirk of a beast, he was now looking down towards his erection, head bent forward and arms held in the position of the ‘I don’t know’ emoji at his sides. He seemed to be sniffing the air like prey seeking out safety in the great unknown of an open field.

‘Is that…Is that shit..!?’

My eyes travelled reluctantly to where his downturned head was pointed and as the absolute carnage of the situation struck me I gagged and giggled involuntarily.

There, between his legs, his penis was steered upward to the heavens and it was absolutely swathed in my crap. Not small smears like Branston Pickle, no skid marks up and down the surface like the track of Brands Hatch, no pebbledash discharge lightly covering the shaft. What I had left on him was like a mini-milk ice lolly. It was a perfect casing of thick, brown turd that, had it been on a wall surface, a Plasterer would have been proud. From root to tip it was even in both smooth, russet texture and viscosity. Stodgy swathes of excrement concealed the shape of his helmet and the gentle folds of his foreskin.

‘Don’t look, don’t look!’ I cried as I ran from the room, frantically searching for wet wipes and cloths so I could rid him of most of the damage before he truly took in the faecal massacre now permeating his pubic region.

I cleaned him like a mother cleans a newborn babe that has blasted crap all over itself. Wipe after wipe fell victim to the beef-coloured emission I had oozed all over Wes. He lay there, still hard, looking out of the window in mock-interest at the nature that awoke outside while I mopped away the detritus.

Finally, I was satisfied. No stain remained, not even the speckle of last night’s dinner resided on that cock. Wes tried to convince me we could continue with sex after this monstrosity of an endeavour had taken place; I ordered him to go and have a shower and return to the sofa where he belonged. He could finish himself off into a sock for all I cared, as long as that poo-brandishing tool came nowhere near me.

Alone once more, I remade my bed and opened the window, cold air wafting in to remove the odour of unwanted fornication and faeces from the room. I ruminated on what had just occurred and felt a strange sense of victory; he deserved to get shit on. I wish the shit had been metaphorical and therefore could have been more public but this was what guys like him earned. He had been seeking ejaculation and instead his penis had been covered in a far less pleasurable liquid – my stodgy, fibrous leftovers.

Triumphant, I moved away from the window. But as I turned I felt a strange, wet sensation on my coccyx when the cool breeze hit me. What on earth could that be?

Well, I’ll tell you what ‘that’ was, dear readers.

In my utter humiliation at having dropped my guts all over Wasteman Wes I had momentarily forgotten about my own wellbeing. When I reached around to discover what the moisture on my spine was I inspected the fingers I had rubbed into the wetness to find with sheer horror that it was in fact my own shit. When Wes had pulled out of my sphincter the contents of my rectum had somehow managed to spray up my back. Nuggets and pellets of poo covered me from the crack of my bum to the middle of my vertebrae.

The shower I had in the seconds after this gruesome unearthing was amongst the most scolding I have ever endured.

In the years that have passed my friends and I have coined this story ‘Lamb Kofta’ and I have to say when I see one of those cylindrical meaty delights basking in the chilled section of the supermarket it takes me back to that terrible, terrible night. On the bright side, Lamb Kofta was the final blow for Wes and I. I ceased toying with him from this point and confessed there was simply no chance of rekindling the love that I had once felt for him. Once you have burst your anal seams all over someone there really is very little that can be said to resurrect the feelings of desire that had been there. The small act of vengeance – which I had no control over – was thanks to my body, particularly my sphincter, for secreting upon Wes the brown payback he utterly deserved, even if it simultaneously resulted in the single worst moment of my life.

So the moral of the story is this: If someone is generally just shitty in bed and shitty as a person, don’t disrespect your vagina by letting them take up lodgings there. They will perceive your submission as a green flag to do with your body as they please with no regard for your pleasure or pain. Your body will take control of the situation in no uncertain terms and metaphorically, or physically, shit all over that state of affairs! Sphincters are our comrades; save yourselves the time, the energy and the wet wipes!

Tiger Mask

At the latter end of last year I went to visit a psychic. I’m normally sceptical with these sorts of things but Luke wanted to go and see this White Witch because he had heard fabulous reviews and so I acquiesced and attended as his plus one. I’m on the fence on whether the reading was good or not – at first I waxed lyrical to anyone who would listen about the omens but as time has passed and her signs and admonitions seem to have been disproven the experience has somewhat tarnished for me.

There were, though, a few uncanny items mentioned that hooked me in like a thread on the tapestry of fortune she wove – such as the fact I had an item of clothing at my house that belonged to an ex (which I did) and I needed to return this as soon as I was able and forget about him (which I dutifully and swiftly did). Or the unsavoury detail that the spirit of my step-dad likes to brush my hair from beyond the grave as he was known to do while living; I don’t think she noted the look of utter dismay on my face when she delivered this snippet but she later advised the spirit was giving her a ‘bad taste in [her] mouth.’ That made two of us! She told me I have a penchant for arrogant men and I had an arrogant man around me called ‘Joe’ or ‘Jack’ whom she didn’t dislike but he wasn’t right for me at that moment – that he would be in the future; the first part was probably true but I’m still waiting on part two while casually dusting away the cobwebs from my inner thighs.

One thing the psychic divulged with pure confidence was that in the next six weeks I was going to be asked on a date. My initial reaction would be to say no to this date because I would find him boring but she was insistent, her voice laced with conviction, that I absolutely must go. She said it would be a ‘slow burner’ and I would be gaining a best friend, just one I was sleeping with. It wasn’t clear whether Mr Boring and Mr Joe/Jack Arrogant were one and the same but I didn’t think boredom and arrogance went hand-in-hand.

I relayed the premonitions and other-worldly encounter to my friends and work colleagues who all seemed most excited by the news I would soon be asked on a date. I am the tragic singleton of both groups so they like to live vicariously through me – it’s a wretched wasteland of disappointments and anti-climaxes though which they have sadly learned over time. We all commenced a watchful wait, scrutinising every possible suitor whom I found boring, unattractive or unlikely to rock the world of my fallopian tubes in the slim hope that they may be compelled by the energies of the universe to ask me out. The weeks sailed by and there seemed to be no hint of a penis bearer on the horizon, wanted or otherwise.

…And then came the WhatsApp voice note from Helen (yes, another failed set up by Helen – God loves a trier!)…

‘So I was at lunch with T- and S- and I was telling them how unlucky you are with men! And they looked at each other with pure joy and said “Ralph!” Ralph is the brother of T-‘s sister’s husband and he lives in the annexe at the bottom of T-‘s garden! I’ve done all the background checks and he sounds perfect for you! He’s a little bit older, I’ve said you’re not up for playing games and they said he’s not like that, he’s got his own business and he’s apparently a really nice guy! What do you think?’

I didn’t immediately connect the dots between the psychic’s forewarning and this new offer of a match make because we were precariously close to the ‘Mr Boring’ six week deadline and her premonitions had sunk from the upper echelons of my mind into the oblivion of irrelevant memories waiting to be plucked from obscurity. I was torn over whether to assent to the date because Helen’s cupid-like tendencies have not always been successful, as she freely admits, but I was mindful my ovums were depleting rapidly.  I decided there was absolutely no harm in letting Helen pass on my number and seeing what Ralph had to say for himself. I was happy on my own and very busy all the time but, you know, I could always take a little moment to assess Ralph’s witty badinage – if he had any.

Ralph’s first message came through like Miley on a wrecking ball on a Friday night in early November:

This was immediately copied into the girl’s group chat for deep dissection. We deemed the approach ballsy, positive but presumptuous.  Firstly, he had neither seen nor spoken with me so it struck us as being a little odd that he would go right for the jugular with a date request. However, it was pointed out that this may indicate a man who was more comfortable cutting out the time wastage implied with a textual relationship which was, surely, a promising thing. Ultimately we thought he came across as a little desperate but potentially sweet because of the follow-up secondary message. I responded allowing myself a week to get to know him and establish whether he was ultimately someone I wanted to spend my valuable, rare free time with.

Ralph appeared to be an absolutely lovely guy…just very, very keen. It’s a strange thing…because when you genuinely like someone, all the texting and speaking in the world never seems like quite enough. But when you’re on the fence about someone, or else teetering over into the garden of ‘The Ick’ family that lives next door, keen beans are off putting. However the words of the psychic were, by now, meandering around in my mind like a slow-draining plughole. She did say I would be asked on a date by someone who I didn’t feel I particularly wanted to go with but pushing through to the meeting phase would be worth it.

‘Remember, the psychic said you had to go on this date!’

This is all everyone kept repeating to me on loop. My friends, the girls at work, the cosmic energies of the ethereal universe – basically everyone from far and wide ordered me to endure the gut reaction that was telling me Ralph was just not the guy for me because there was a very real chance that Ralph was the guy for me.

Ralph was a bit of a picture message kind of texter. Nothing wrong with that; I love a gif of a Doberman trying unsuccessfully to mate with a sausage dog as much as the next gal when the timing is right. But mere days into messaging? It felt jarring and over-familiar. And then it got really weird…

On day two Ralph randomly told me that earlier that day his beloved nieces had been playing games on his phone and somehow accessed his camera roll. He proceeded to send me the image his nieces had opened before explaining the anecdote surrounding it. On aforementioned camera roll was a nude (which he alleged had automatically saved via WhatsApp – we’ve all been there) of a woman, legs akimbo and fake breasts beneath her armpits, sporting the largest splayed labia minora I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t sure why he felt the compunction to send me the image – or, more to the point, why that scenario was relevant to me in any way, shape or form. I brushed off the incident with a half-hearted ‘Haha’ and left it at that. I considered that I was being a bitch feeling this way about someone who had been sold to me as such a great guy, and clearly was a great guy, so I kept the event and the unshakable skirmish-feels in my perineum to myself. He was trying a little too hard but at least that meant he wasn’t arrogant, right?

Later on a message popped up on my lock screen with a teeny-tiny thumbnail indicating Ralph had sent me another image. Scanning my fingerprint, I prayed to God it wasn’t a second pornographic depiction of a vaginally modified blonde. But when my eyes locked on what had been sent I found myself wishing it had been blue waffle that had greeted my peepers. Right there on the message thread was a selfie. Ralph had, during a lull in conversation, taken the ropiest selfie I’ve ever encountered.

For a start, he was in work attire so looked like a dishevelled mess (and I like a grubby workman so for me to be turned-off by the look was really saying something). However, what was most striking about the terrible selfie was the look on Ralph’s face; it reeked of pure reluctance. It was like I had begged him for a photo and he had grudgingly taken one; but I’d actually been longing out my responses to him based on the labia image from hours before. His eyebrows were arched upwards in the middle as if doubting himself and his smile made me think he was conscious of his teeth; he had pulled his chin inwards towards his neck and his thin, pink lips looked as though they were struggling to hide bucked-teeth that needed a bit of a scrub if truth be told. It was such a contradiction; a voluntary selfie from a guy who looked like shit and moreover, looked like he felt like shit about sending the selfie I had never even asked for.

Even more strangely, the images I had originally been sent by Helen of him before agreeing to go on the date were like rocking horse shit to acquire because he had been so guarded and controlling over which pictures I got to access. It was all very odd and the more I looked at the unwanted selfie, the more I wondered what on earth had been going through his mind when he presumably found good lighting and a pose he was happy enough with to hit ‘snap and send’ despite the clear averseness on his face and the scruffy clobber he sported.

The following day, Ralph asked me whether I was ‘afraid to love’. I’m not a sensitive, sentimental person and I certainly don’t like talking about my feelings that openly with a perfect stranger after approximately three days of messaging – it made me cringe. However, I reminded myself that the psychic had told me this was most likely to be my Mr Right (for now, at least) so I pushed through my discomfort and answered his question as honestly as I could while also trying to make the situation lighter and more playful.

I spoke to Helen about my apprehensions and she was in agreement – he was doing himself no favours pummelling my phone morning, noon and night with utter tripe, irrelevant picture messages and cringe-worthy expressions of excitement over meeting me. She said she would speak to S- and T- and see if she could get one of them to encourage him to rein it in just a little, without making me sound like the bad guy. This was all perfectly acceptable in the planning phases…except…with this story being one of mine…you know the cookie just did not crumble that way.

If anything, Ralph’s cringe factor and over-keenness tripled. I can’t even fairly say it simply doubled; it launched like a rocket from the base level of mild over-eagerness to a cacophony of frantic desperation located somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. He was still such a lovely person and evidently dedicated to proving to me he was no game player but in his bursting impatience to woo me he had, in fact, cemented my flute closed. It would be more improbable for him to clamber inside my parted lips at this point than for Matrix trench coats to come back into fashion.

Every morning that week I debriefed with Helen on my drive to work on the smorgasbord of wince-worthy messages from the evening before while squirming as we ploughed through the reassuring knowledge that this must be the guy the psychic was telling me about because I couldn’t imagine anything worse than being subjected to an evening spent in Ralph’s company right now and therefore all would turn out OK – the universe had said so through the supernatural mutterings of the Medium. Helen admitted she too would have pulled the plug on this holy show a long time ago but the words of the psychic rang crystal clear like a death knell in her mind. He could be ‘Mr Boring’ and we needed to see this through to Friday night. I reluctantly agreed with her…until later that day when the tapping of those nails in the coffin of our dwindling dalliance turned to unavoidable thuds sounding out failure with each new clunk.

Fatal Blow 1 – The ‘Bobbies’ Fiasco:

So, let’s take a moment to deconstruct this message sent at 11:39 in the morning. Firstly, this came out of nowhere – we were talking about my tea-and-biscuit breakfast splendour when that little gem dropped into my inbox. Secondly… ‘bobbies’… Fucking BOBBIES!? Obviously I knew he meant ‘boobies’ and my issues with that are threefold:

If you’re going to send an inappropriate message about las tetitas to someone you’ve been texting for four days, make sure you spell it right

Who the fuck calls them ‘boobies’ and expects to be taken seriously as a lover and an adult male?

No, I don’t – they’re a 32A at best so I hope you enjoy disappointment, Ralph

In response I asked if T- had taken his phone and sent that message on his behalf (T- was totally the kind of guy who would send that message but, somehow, he would pull it off. Ralph was not so fortunate) and he advised that is indeed what had happened. This clearly was untrue based on his follow-up messages but I pretended to believe him. I ignored the question entirely and grassed him up to the group chat who absolutely ripped him to shreds with face-palm emojis galore.

Fatal Blow 2 – The Countdown

That evening, still reeling from The Bobbies Fiasco of 11:29am I received my closing message of the night from Ralph. I must admit, I had started to look forward to this final message because it meant I got a break from the mind-numbing energy zap of constant messaging. His message simply said ‘3 more sleeps x.’ Phlegm and bile immediately rose in my throat – I made up my mind that the following morning I was going to terminate proceedings. This wasn’t for me; messages from a penis bearer that make your legs slam shut on receipt is never a good sign, even if a psychic tells you to hang in there. Had we met a few times before and he was counting down the sleeps to see me I would have thought that was sweet – but counting down the sleeps until our first blind date was just too much.

The Death Blow – Tiger Mask

Mulling over how best to break Ralph’s heart and call off our date the next day I was absent mindedly scrolling through my phone when the little black box of joys and horrors rolled down the top of the screen. It revealed Ralph had sent an image to me.

Prepare yourselves, readers, for what I am about to tell you.

The image was a selfie – a selfie I absolutely did not want or ask for, of our guy Ralph posing sheepishly in a North Face coat zipped up to the chin, discoloured pegs of greyish-cream framed by little pink lips and a child’s foam tiger mask across the upper percentile of his face. He looked like an orange, striped Zoro. Worse than that, the caption he had gone with to really coin the mood of his imagery: ‘Your lil tiger.’ I’m not going to rip into his contracting of the adjective ‘little’ because there is just too much to say on why that is completely unacceptable. The submission of his manly being into my possession and then the general ambience of sweet sexual deviancy he was trying to convey sickened me to my very core.

As we are like to do when we have no interest, I waited three hours then responded with three laughing-cry-face emojis. What other choice was there? To have ghosted completely would have been wrong on the match makers who so dedicatedly tried to find me a good guy, but anything more than emojical ambivalence would have set a precedent that I wanted to receive such monstrous fodder. I decided it was best to lay the foundations of ghosting the poor, lost laddie and then let him down with an affirmative cancellation the next day so he could not link it back to the odious tiger visuals he had felt obligated to forward to my unenthusiastic inbox. He must have sensed my apathy and intention to conclude events because later that day I received the following:

I’d like to affirm that those messages were all unanswered – between the 16:18 fraught cloy for my attention and 18:53 when the emotional onslaught commenced I was, of course, mid-ghost procedure. Ralph clearly assumed I was working hard (I was also working hard at this time) and therefore anxiously sent me the barrage of WhatsApps you see before you to claw back (tiger pun intended) some respect when I was at last able to read his messages. I felt like a really terrible human ignoring him when he was clearly fretful, humiliated and uneasy about the whole situation, plus this provided me with the perfect opportunity to let him down gently but in a kindly manner.

In the conversation that followed he sent me a video his brother and sister-in-law had filmed and sent to him, Peggy Lee busting out Fever as the backing tune of a tiger-mask wearing sketch performed by his sister-in-law in ridicule of the ‘Your lil tiger’ debacle mere hours before. This made me laugh and endeared me to him more than anything else he had done in the entirety of the time we had been talking. It was too little, too late obviously but by addressing the shitshow of a choice he had made in taking the predatory snapshot and keenly forwarding it he at least showed he could see his error and was happy to open himself to mockery in good humour.

Safe to say, I let Ralph down gently the following day. It was like shooting a three-legged puppy but it had to be done. He took it well then cried to T- and S- afterwards but I genuinely hope they used that moment as a much needed opportunity to clue him up on what not to do during the initial phases of speaking to a woman. From start to end his behaviour, though really sweet, was massively off-putting and if he was my ‘Mr Boring’ I’m actually OK with missing out on that budding romance that was always destined to perish like the little runt of the tiger litter.

The moral of the story is therefore this: Do not hang in there in the hope a psychic was right when she told you to ignore what your head and vagina were screaming at you. If you find someone boring, unattractive or just a general creep, walk away and save yourself the hassle of having to bat away the attentions of a potential suitor who thinks it is charming to forward a photograph of himself wearing facial appendages. It’s never charming to see a grown man sporting a foam gimp mask.

**TRIGGER WARNING**

Dad – Part 2

Before I commence the next part of this story (and it doesn’t get much better if I’m being totally honest) I would like to reflect on a quotation from Sex Education, a truly hilarious series which I urge you to watch – probably after reading this for some bloody light relief!

‘If you grew up knowing that the people who were meant to help you survive just left you, that leaves a lot of scars. But those scars make you special.’

When I knew I was going to write this blog and I would have to expose the part you are about to read, this quote seemed timely and hit me as being particularly poignant. I’m not quite so cock-sure as to describe myself as anything extra ‘special’ because I know and fully accept I am a damaged person, but I think it was the failures of those around me in those times of hardship that left me with the deepest of my emotional scars. The abuse I can tuck away and not think about – I’ve squared myself to what happened and rationalised why I think it did. But each and every family member who knew of the true connection between Dad and I aided my parents in sweeping the truth under the rug and watched from the side-lines as I was forced to carry on with life as if nothing was wrong and the heavy burden of the trauma was crushing down upon me. The saddest part? I don’t think it occurred to a single one of them that I wasn’t OK.

It makes sense to pick up where I left off with the last incident with Dad and what followed thereafter. However, I need to provide you with some background information before the story commences:

About two months before Daniel witnessed his father raping me, Mum walked downstairs in the middle of the night to catch Dad masturbating to pornography on TV. A deafening argument launched between them which woke both myself and Daniel from our sleep. Dad was once again thrown out with immediate effect. Mum was appalled by what she had observed; she telephoned all our relatives and all his relatives to let them know what a disgusting human being he was, doing such a depraved thing with his wife and children asleep upstairs. Daniel and I were told our father had been ‘playing with himself’ and that we wouldn’t be seeing him again but we had overhead her audible conversations with anyone who would listen about what a perverted individual her husband was so we already knew what had happened. We took her protestations to be hyperbole – he’d be back within a week. However two weeks passed…and then three…and then four. Six weeks he was out of our lives and I was liberated, enjoying a bath time without the predatory attentions of my father’s penis harassing me for the first time I could remember.

Until one day we came home from school and there he was, back once more to cast a shadow over our childhood. We had always known the longevity of familial bliss without him would be short-lived; Daniel and I counted ourselves lucky he had been gone longer this time than any time before.

Two weeks later Dad was going through the usual motions of our bath time routine. By then he had branched out into changing position during the ordeal and was, at the moment when Daniel walked in, lying on top of me. My skinny legs were crushed uncomfortably between the sides of the bath and his wet, adult body. There was a moment frozen in time as the bathroom door blasted open and Daniel took in what was going on in the bath right ahead of him: his father laying atop his sister looking decidedly like he had been caught out doing something he shouldn’t be, which was entirely the basis of the scene. I cannot remember whether Dad told him to leave, or whether he walked away of his own volition, but Daniel left the room and closed the door behind him. I mentally willed him to save me from what was happening but I acknowledge that was a stretch too far for an eight year old boy who was petrified of his father. Inconceivably, when the door had shut, Dad continued as if nothing had happened.

A sense of hopelessness descended over me in that moment as I came to the realisation that nobody was going to help me. My only chance (other than confessing what was happening) was that someone walked in, witnessed my suffering and took control of the situation when I seemed incapable of doing so. However, the very thing I had been wishing for had just happened and yet here I remained trapped beneath my step-father.

When it was over I sorted myself out and tucked the bath scenario away in the back of my mind until next Wednesday when it would replay all over again. Daniel came in from playing outside. We ate dinner. We watched TV. Mum came home from work. Mum was pissed off, as usual. Dad was nonchalant as ever. Daniel was as mischievous as always but was remiss in acknowledging the scene he had entered into just hours before. I became convinced he had either refused to believe what his own eyes had seen or else was practising under the assumption that he beheld something different to what was actually happening in the bathroom, he was eight after all. We went to bed. The evening passed just as ordinarily as any other Wednesday evening in that house of secrecy and lies.

Except, at that time, I was having my bedroom redecorated and by a sheer miraculous stroke of good fortune, my mattress had been placed on the floor of Daniel’s room while the high-gloss skirting dried. The lights were off in the bedroom and all was quiet except for the muffled sound of the television downstairs. Mum and Dad would either have been arguing or having sex, possibly both – who could tell with those two deviants?

‘Why was Dad on top of you in the bath?’ Daniel blurted out, suddenly.

And out the whole story poured.

I told my eight year old brother the things I had been yearning to say for many years of angst and anguish. I do not know whether I would have made any confession at all, perhaps I would still be keeping the secret to this very day, were it not for the fortuitous circumstance of being in my brother’s room that night.

When I had finished my tale Daniel simply said, ‘You have to tell Mum.’ Neither of us realised this was a sad, sickeningly common thing that was happening in every corner of every country of the world. We hadn’t comprehended the stigma around paedophilia…I doubt either of us would even have known such a noun existed and we certainly wouldn’t have attributed it to our father’s actions. There was no doubt in my mind that Mum would believe me; I absolutely knew she would. We made a plan that we would tell her in the morning – Dad always left the house before any of us awoke so we would be free to speak.

The next morning Daniel and I sat our mother down and I began my confession. I started to tell her that Dad was getting in the bath with me and made me touch him. I knew Mum to be perpetually riddled with jealousy of everyone and everything and I needed her to understand that this attention was in no way welcomed by me. I felt that if I eased the story in gently, beginning with the early phases of the abuse before detailing just how awful it had become this might make for an easier experience for Mum. However, her reaction to the story scuppered these plans and it all went awry. I was telling her how Dad had coined the phrase ‘exercising his willy,’ when a look of absolute defeat and knowledge seemed to invade her entire face. She stood up frantically and paced the living room. I stopped the story to allow her time to let what I had told her sink in – I understood this was news no mother, no wife, wanted to hear.

She was asking so many questions, throwing them at me in her maternal hunt for detail. ‘How many times did this happen?’ I told her I didn’t know for sure. ‘Was it always on Wednesday nights?’ I confirmed it was. ‘What kinds of things were happening?’ I paused to consider. I had clearly just told her about him laying on top of me on their bed and the touching in the bath and she had already reacted so badly…it felt like telling her the gruesome, gratuitous details would push her into a frenzy I wouldn’t be able to control. I repeated he had made me exercise his willy and that he touched me with his fingers and his penis and pushed himself against me, simulating sex. She grew quiet, and she asked me in a most reluctant voice, ‘He didn’t ever put his willy inside you, did he?’ I instinctively knew the answer she wanted to hear, I could tell from the way she had asked the question. I felt in that moment that I needed to protect her from the reality of what had really been going on. So with Daniel watching on, I lied to her and told her he had not put himself inside me.  She seemed to visibly relax at this falsehood, comforted to know that her husband might be a paedophile but at least he was not a rapist. I sensed I had done the right thing in saving her from the facts.

As Daniel and I dressed for school that morning we could hear Mum making frantic phone calls to my Nan and Grandad, my Aunt Karen and my step father’s brothers and sister. Of note, nobody ever asked me if I was lying – and I could understand if they had done; children make claims that are false an awful lot and this was an atrocious allegation to be made against a man nobody considered to be a threat to children. Dad’s own brother, when Mum began to relay my story, had said ‘Oh no, not my niece!’ before she had even mentioned who had made the accusation. I perceive these details as a clear indication that on some level, everybody knew what my father was, or what he might be capable of at the very least. I would caveat that, however, by saying I do not think for a moment that a single person suspected the abuse that was happening and if they had done, they would have acted to prevent it. I hope. Though time would perhaps suggest otherwise.

I had grown skilled in being able to switch the tap pouring the turmoil of my home life off when I was outside the house so that day at school was like any other. When I arrived home that evening it was like Dad had never existed. He had been erased from our lives without prejudice. Every item belonging to him or evidencing his being was scrubbed from the tapestry of our lifespan. Coming home to that felt almost womb-like in the safety of its nature. Mum was being kind to me and Dad could be bleached out of my memory with ease if there were no reminders of him.

That evening, Mum called me into the bathroom while she was having a bath. It may sound odd or even wrong, her calling me to the room which was the venue for all those unspeakable crimes. But on the occasions where we were getting along I would often sit on the loo seat while Mum was in the bath and we would chat like friends. It didn’t feel uncomfortable in the slightest talking to her there, though I knew what she would want to talk about.

She wanted to tell me what had happened that day after Daniel and I had left for school. By all accounts, she had telephoned her work to notify them she would not be in and from there, all hell had broken loose. My Auntie and Uncle had presumably followed suit and called in sick to work on the premise they would sit at our house to ensure Mum didn’t stab Dad through the facial cavities when he entered the hearth – she said there were points throughout the day when she had planned to. When Dad had arrived to what he must have assumed would be an empty home, he was shocked to find not only his wife there, but her sister and brother-in-law. If memory serves, my Aunt and Uncle were left downstairs, chaperoning the confrontation from a distance. Mum said she asked him what he had been doing to me and he projectile vomited right where he stood (she must have freaked out at not being able to go and sit in the garden pretending to be scared while he emptied the contents of his stomach all over the room). I imagine this reaction was the physical realisation of all his deepest fears coming true and the knowledge that now his secret was out, the punishment would be unthinkable. He needn’t have worried.

She told me he did not try to deny a thing and had admitted to touching me when she was out at work. He had, apparently, known the truth would come out after Daniel had interrupted the night before. I noted that when he had shockingly continued the rape it must have been as his final hurrah before punishment came knocking on the door and he was forced to cease his carnal pleasures.

I felt relieved that he had at least admitted what had been happening and had not tried to battle against me in a quest for the truth. However, my feelings of release were short-lived as she followed up his disclosure with the news that he had informed her the instances of abuse had occurred just a handful of times, only in the most recent weeks and only ever in the bathroom. As I write this I wonder why these details of where it happened and how much were of such importance to Mum – the fact it happened even one time, even the limited amount she knew, should have been enough surely? He had also alleged that he had never had sex with me and that what happened involved touching only. She ended by telling me I was very ‘lucky’ because he could have made me put his penis in my mouth. She sat in the bath, hot water dripping from her little upturned, nipples and her top lip sweating in the steam, daring me to dispute these details. I told her it had happened more times than a handful and that he had made me follow him to my bedroom a couple of times but I knew there was very little point in arguing the toss over how many times it had happened and how long I’d had to endure it; the matter was closed as far as she was concerned. I was a little insulted at her comment that I was ‘lucky’ I’d never had to give him a blow-job and I knew intuitively that it would have been a very terrible thing to confess the full extent of all that had happened; she could not handle the realities imbibed in the rapes that had taken place. I decided that she knew enough to be empowered to get rid of the man staining our lives with perversion and disrepute without knowing those most intimate of details and I recognised her inability to truly handle the minutiae of what had taken place.

In truth, our lives were a delight in the weeks after the semi-truth emerged, just the three of us clubbing together in a little team against the rest of the world. My Mum’s family made it clear they were devastated I had not made what was happening known to any of them; my grandmother seemed personally offended that I had not felt close enough to her to tell her what Dad was doing but I believe that came from a place of love and concern. Daniel, Mum and I got into a routine and even Mum seemed happier and better for it. The horrible, rotting secret moulding at the core of our utopia was not discussed any further; we simply pretended that the abuse and perpetrator did not exist and that was fine by me. I had become adept at blocking it all out so it came easily to me to convince everyone, including myself, that I was a normal girl.

In years gone by, friends have asked me why the police were not called, why I was not taken to a doctor to be checked over and why social services were not involved. I have to answer all three questions as honestly as I can. I have no idea why nobody called the police the day everything came out; if I were a parent I know I would have done. The simple fact is that nobody did. It might sound strange but there is a part of me that, even now, wouldn’t have wanted that outcome anyway – I wasn’t asked whether I did at the time; I had no say whatsoever in what punishment was given to Dad – but I believe that to know what happens to men like him in prison was happening to Dad would have simultaneously brought me feelings of satisfaction and guilt. I absolutely understand that feelings of guilt are the furthest thing I should feel for being responsible for sending such a monster to rot in a penitentiary for the remainder of his miserable days but perhaps the grooming is so deep rooted that I still have an instinct to protect him. The second question is easier to answer; I wasn’t taken to the GP because my Mother was irresponsible and because she didn’t (and still does not) know the full extent of the abuse. It would be extremely naïve of her not to have figured it out though; as time has passed I have divulged enough for her to know the timeframe around what happened and if she thinks he was satisfied with heavy petting on a weekly basis for three or four years then she is not as astute as I give her credit to be. However, in truth, I have never verbalised what happened and therefore she believes I was a fully intact little girl when I began my revelation that morning. I am sure that, as a mother, it is more of a comforting thought to think your daughter was not violated in the most brutal and aggressive manner. It has only been in the last two or three years that I have told anybody that I was raped; I had made the decision in those tender years to bury the desecration deep down within myself and never talk or think about it again. However, I found people around whom I was comfortable enough to share my heavy load eventually and it feels good to talk about it in a strange kind of way.

With reference to social services being notified, I believe that ties in with the most difficult pill to swallow of them all: even then, Mum knew she did not want to split with him permanently and that her actions in removing him from our home were more about saving face than about protecting her children (let’s not forget Dad was unpleasant to Daniel also). Maybe my family were with her on this, or maybe at that point they stood behind me…the jury is still out on that one.

She started to bring Dad up in conversation around a fortnight after he had left. She told us that she had spoken with him and he was doing well at his sister’s. She mentioned he was very apologetic towards me for what he had done and ashamed of himself. I made very little response; Mum was still a prickly character after all and I was the face of the reason she no longer had a husband. I knew it was coming and sure enough after week three, she could contain herself no longer. She called me in to the bathroom for another heart-to-heart.

‘How would you feel about Dad coming home?’ she queried seriously.

How would I feel? How on earth did she think I would feel? I had been desperate for them to break up for years; the thought of him coming back into this lovely, innocent life we had begun to rebuild was absolutely devastating. It dawned upon me that when it came down to a choice between her children and herself, Mum would never fail to prioritise her own needs and wants even in the most dire of circumstances. To argue with her or protest would have been fruitless and to admit the full extent of all I had endured would now seem like a lie used to convince her to keep that man away. In my 12 year old mind I was convinced that if I conceded I did not want Dad to come back she would argue that I had endured the abuse for many years, why now could I not put up with it any longer?

‘If you want him back, that’s fine.’ I thought that was a happy medium; I wasn’t saying no…but the decision was very firmly placed on her. I found it difficult to grasp how she could remove him from our domestic life for six weeks after catching him having a wank to free porn but touching her daughter earned him only a three week stint in the doghouse.

She got the answer she had been looking for. ‘OK, that’s a very grown up decision. Your Dad has agreed to go to counselling to discuss his thoughts and I will never, ever leave you alone with him.’ I didn’t believe either would come to fruition and I was absolutely right on both counts. The agreement to go to a counsellor was a total fabrication – it was a lie told to me to make his moving back home more palatable. Perhaps they were even lying to themselves and fully intended to go to a counsellor at that point but I now know they never visited anyone. In any event, he allegedly attended a single session and they dropped the façade – he’d paid lip service to appease any concerns and that was the end of it. A counsellor of my own later told me that even divulging he had experienced inappropriate thoughts regarding his infant step-daughter would have been cause enough for a medical professional to report him.

Family members questioned whether I was absolutely sure I was fine with Dad coming home and I assured them that I was. I even laughed off their continued faux-concern. At the end of the day, if they were truly bothered about whether I was alright with the decision they wouldn’t have asked me in the first place. No child, having been abused by their father, would happily welcome him back into a home that felt like heaven when he wasn’t there. Everyone knew what he was and everyone knew parts of what he had done but they turned away and sought my permission to allow him back into our lives because they didn’t want the weight of such a poor choice on their own conscience. By letting it be my decision to welcome him into the family once more it negated any feelings of responsibility or guilt on their part. In truth, they simply must have preferred him to me – what other explanation is there for wilfully putting a young girl in such danger?

When Dad returned it was all very awkward for a long time. Dad was, of course, on his best behaviour but I still found myself leaving any room I was in when he arrived. One such awkward incident stands out more than any other.

I had a beautiful yellow nightie made from linen with strawberries all over the body and little straps – it was perfect for the balmy summer nights we were in the midst of. I wore my little nightie one evening shortly after Dad arrived home and when I descended the stairs and entered the living room Mum eyed me up and down scathingly and exclaimed ‘I hardly think that’s fair on your father, is it?’ It is difficult to say who was more mortified by her words, him or I. I changed into something that showed off my 12 year old body less and made a mental note that I was not to wear clothes or nightwear that might arouse my father anymore.

Despite her loyalties to him when it came to his attractions towards his adopted daughter, the ferocious arguments between Mum and Dad continued and were worse than they had ever been. She now had a case Dad could never defend himself against and could never have grounds to fight back on. She dragged up what he had done to me time and time again – little did she know Dad and I were reluctantly bonded in a down-playing lie that would blow apart the semblance of a life she had pieced back together if it ever came out. She ordered me to join her in her verbal attacks and when I refused she would regurgitate thoughts I had definitely had but never uttered: how I hated him, how I resented his presence, how afraid of his sexual attentions I remained. Of course, I hid myself away in my room and refused to be dragged into the maelstrom she fashioned but these squabbles were valuable in proving to me that Mum recognised my abhorrence towards Dad and was therefore actively choosing to ignore it. Another piece of me turned to stone in these moments as I hardened myself against the warfare under that roof.

By Christmas that year, Dad had begun to grow unwell. He was snappy yet vacant within himself (which we put down to the stresses of trying to cure himself of paedophilia and make his marriage to such a psychopath as my mother work) but also taking days and weeks at a time off work with sickness bugs that would wrack his body into submission. On Boxing Day, Mum called the emergency doctor out to our house and by New Year the excess fluid the GP found behind his left eye was diagnosed as a Grade 4 malignant brain tumour the size of a man’s fist. I felt absolutely nothing when I received the news of this cancerous lump growing in his head but the rest of my family were behaving as if his impending death would be some great loss to the world. I was not sad, I was not happy – I was perfectly ambivalent.

Unhelpfully, at the hospital just before his surgery his brain surgeon made a flippant, off-hand remark to my Mother that any changes in behaviour could be put down to the presence of the malignancy. It was the salvation they had all been desperate for. Justification enough to both his family and my own that it was the brain tumour that had instigated his attractions toward me and not a deep-rooted mental sickness at all. It felt as if this was their reason to finally be rid of the awfulness that had plagued us since I inconveniently told the truth back in the summer – the chapter was closed. It was made very clear to me, if it hadn’t been already, that all was forgiven and I simply needed to move on from what had happened to me. My revulsion towards him was inconsequential; the ugly truth flew the minds of everyone but me like pollen in the wind.

Dad’s decline into death was painstakingly slow. I never felt emotions toward him in that time; of course I pretended I was upset when the news was bad and I feigned concern before hospital appointments…but I felt almost nothing. The air was pregnant around me with animosity towards both my parents for various obvious reasons and I occasionally felt something close to pity for Dad when Mum harangued him for his hair loss and criticised him when he went out in public without a cap on. But on the whole, I was totally numb to it all. I had been abandoned by everybody and worse, they were rallying around this absorbent sponge of a creature in his final days when I was silently watching on, screaming out for somebody to notice my heart had turned to ice and flint against them all.

At some point during these years Mum divorced Dad, too embarrassed by the strange hairline his radiotherapy had given him to remain in a lifeless relationship any longer. However, they ended up back together and engaged again before she finally realised he was of no use to her in his broken, dying, bloated state. He could no longer work as he was constantly having epileptic fits or staying in the hospice for weeks on end and he therefore contributed nothing financially. He had lost the good looks she had once enjoyed and he had no personality whatsoever, the brain tumour stealing any measure of the man, good or bad, that had once been. These years are blurry for me and I find it hard to place a timeline on the events. I know I was crushed when Mum told me she was getting married to Dad again after I thought we were finally rid of him, but I couldn’t tell you how far into the battle against cancer that was. All I know is that from the age of 13 when the tumour was diagnosed, to the age of 17 when he finally gave up and gave in to that cankerous scourge sent to wipe him from the planet like dogshit smeared on the shoe of my life, I was unhappy and I was struggling within myself. No one would ever have known – my school teachers loved me, Mum thought I was a teenage demon and my friends never noticed a difference. But I knew there was a hatred gnawing in my mind, growing stronger and more resentful with every day Dad continued breathing and every moment Mum set about being more putrid to me than the moment before.

Fate was, however, to throw one final spanner in the works before Dad’s ever-dimming light petered out for good. And for once, fortune favoured me.

As mentioned in Part One of the story, when growing up Dad had a number of ‘Housekeepers’ who were brought in by his father to Nanny the brood of children he had sired before his wife passed away. These Housekeepers seemed to habitually become the partners of his father; one such Housekeeper/Nanny had a very young child of her own – Francesca. When Francesca grew up, she confided in a boyfriend that she had been abused as a very young child by the older son of her mother’s boyfriend. She divulged the abuse always happened in the bathroom of the house and only ever when she and the son were left alone together. The son was, at that time, 15 and she was too young to remember how old she actually was. Francesca was pressed to tell her Mother all that had happened and, upon doing so, Francesca’s mother felt compelled to let Dad’s sister know the horrible truth that the perpetrator had been her brother, my Dad.

Naturally I felt sheer horror that such a thing had happened to another girl but, at the same time, I felt vindicated. Now, finally, everyone had to accept what happened had been nothing to do with the brain tumour and admit this had been a cop-out excuse to comfort no one but themselves. Even if they didn’t come right out and say it, they had to know this. It was also a relief to be able to talk about it again – I had gone so long pretending those years had not happened it felt good to be able to acknowledge that they did.

My Aunt felt compelled to confront Dad, despite him being almost ready to knock on the doors of hell and ask to be allowed entrance. Apparently Dad was less than receptive to her accusations and implored her to ‘drop it,’ asking what the point was in dragging all this up now. This is surely not surprising to anyone, that he would wish to deflect back onto his malignancy the grim reality that everyone now had to face – he was, and always had been a paedophile.

As if he knew his vile ways were about to be exposed, mere days later Dad breathed his last mortal breath. He lay in a hospice bed with his feet turned black as death crept up on him, finally ready to drag him down to the depths of oblivion after tormenting him in a slow deterioration for years upon years. At his side was the baby beaker he now had to drink from, a catheter draining the last fluids from his spent and wasted body. He had lost the ability to speak, to wash himself, to feed himself or even swallow. He had regressed back into nothing more than an oversized baby. I looked down on his soon-to-be-corpse and felt he had suffered enough for what he had done to me, and the other girls. It was time to let it go.

At his funeral I watched as his coffin sank into the cold, hard ground. I took a handful of dirt, threw it down on the lid of the box and heard the finality of the grainy thump with gratification. He had melted into the abyss in the most unflattering and torturous of ends. He would never harm another child and his death was his final gift to me.

So, to bring us back in cyclical structure to where I started, this was a case of those I loved and shielded to the detriment of myself failing in every single way to protect me back. I kept the full story secret because I didn’t want to cause additional pain to a family already blown apart by my revelations and yet it pains me to say that my Mum, my Nan, my Grandad, my Aunties and my Uncles were all in a position to do something, to act out against what had happened but they left me to fend for myself. They seemed to unite against one common enemy, and that enemy wasn’t Dad – it was me. It did leave me with scars and a reluctance to ever put my trust in humanity again. However, in times when I allow myself to wallow in how truly shit that whole situation was, I remind myself that I am fucking great despite of, and because of, what took place throughout my childhood. I am grateful to be the black sheep of that family – I originated from a broken world of sin but I have raised myself on pure will-power to be the woman I am today. I’m a damaged little soul, but I’m actually totally fine with that. I wear my scars with no shame because I’ve walked on a path of broken glass and taught myself how to glide along with grace.

TRIGGER WARNING – Highly amusing but cringe-worthy explicit content

LPB

My love for Mr E-A died a very definite death at the Beyoncé concert, but he ignited an attraction in me for men of a similar ilk for a short while thereafter. I would find myself eyeing up these little, weedy men with dark eyes and exotic features because they very slightly reminded me of him. One such man was a plastic surgeon whom shall henceforth be known as LPB [Loser Prem Boy] for reasons which will become clear if they have not done so already.

LPB was the poor man’s Mr E-A, make no mistake about this. On the cringe-scale he was a straight 10/10; the kind of person where the ‘ick’ doesn’t develop…it’s a permanent state of being. However, in my defence, my ego had taken a significant hit from Mr E-A and I needed the confidence boost.

Unbeknownst to me, LPB had been watching me from the wings for a while like a little malnourished raven that waits to pick at a flattened carcass when the seagulls and buzzards have taken their fill. My metaphorical shell had been laid out for Mr E-A to feast upon for such a long time I had quite forgotten other men existed so I didn’t notice LPB lurking lecherously to peck at me voraciously when I finally realised Mr E-A wasn’t hungry for my flesh.

Waltzing out of work one day a few months after the Bloody Sunday of Bey-Day I felt a strange presence lolloping behind me. Turning, I spied LPB bringing up the rear, heavy khaki shoulder bag dangling from his dipped left shoulder, pulling his very expensive black suit akimbo as he picked up his limping pace to catch me up. I wondered why he was leaving work using the staff exit – the consultant automobiles were parked in a much more secure area and his black Audi TTS must surely be intimately nestled amongst the Porsche Cayennes and the Aston Martin DB9s that frequented that prestigious area?

Catching up eagerly, he greeted me in a sickeningly sweet salutation; I noted his voice was nasal and his faux-affluent accent made me cringe as he put on airs and graces unnecessary for a girl such as I was. I assumed he was going to ask me to be his Personal Assistant (I was often asked by the surgeons to support them with their administrative duties – Mr E-A being the prime example) and I mentally flitted through the various excuses I could use on the spot if the sum he named was not worth my while. So imagine my surprise when he handed me his business card with a hand scribed ‘call me’ written in black scrawled ink.

Was it a bit desperate? For sure. Was the ‘call me’ on the business card a little bit 80s and sex worker-esque in its approach? 100%. But it made me laugh – he cringed me out to the point I thought he was entertaining. I thanked him for the gesture and made a flirtatious remark about the inevitability that if I texted him he would then have my number, to which he responded, ‘That’s my intention.’ He was totally deadpan when he delivered this and I wondered whether he might be void of a sense of humour…but this just made me find him even funnier with his little satchel and his buttoned up blazer and his gelled hair styled like Ross Gellar. I pondered on the drive home whether he looked a bit like Mr E-A…I felt he did. Did that warrant an initiating message from me thanking him for his business card? I thought not. But the gutsy approach, his enviable status as a plastic surgeon and, most importantly, the fact I had no other male attention at that time were all contributory factors in convincing me to ignore what my eyes and ears told me.

A textual relationship ensued over the following days and I was heartened to learn, when I asked, that he was married but separated and he had no children. This was an extreme rarity for a surgeon of 38 and I fleetingly wondered why no one had pinned such a lucrative and useful gentleman down. I couldn’t say I enjoyed his banter or droll verbal jousting because really, there was none. But he made his intentions towards me quite clear and he was full of compliments which resurrected my flattened self-esteem. I began to feel excited at the prospect of seeing him during his next clinic and made sure I was looking my best for the afternoon session.

Mid-way through the shift there had been multiple occasions where he had brought patients directly to me to assist with their issues and follow up events purely so he could speak to me and this allowed me the advantage of assessing him with a newfound keen interest. He walked with his head at an upward angle as if he was trying to keep his nose as far away from the ground as he possibly could. His posture was rigidly exemplary but he walked as though he had a rope pulling him forth from the naval, giving him a determined march like a Sargent Major. His smile seemed more like a sneer and his voice was a little stomach-churning in its sickly-sweetness BUT I continued to remind myself that he was a plastic surgeon and therefore highly intelligent, skilled and absolutely minted. He did remain, though, a funny little man.

My phone vibrated and lit up from within the embrace of my Fiorelli handbag and I smirked to see a message pop up from LPB. (As an aside, isn’t it a wonderful feeling when you know all the power lay in your hands!?) When I opened it, my eyeballs nearly fell like golf balls from their widened sockets:

‘You make me quiver. Are you hot between your legs?’

I mean…was he trying to engage in sexting with me? Because I didn’t have a problem with that per-sé but I couldn’t verbalise the number of things wrong with this specific approach. Firstly, who uses the verb ‘quiver’ to convey their sexual excitement? Secondly, was he envisioning me sitting there with a steaming pothole between my thighs? What an absolutely hideous message to receive; I sympathised wholeheartedly with my poor eyeballs for copping the initial heat of that wording before my brain could fumble together the capacity to ascertain the direst intentions.

Still, I looked around the room and saw a number of attractive young women waiting for a slice of LPB’s pie. This guy was single, he looked passably like Mr E-A and he was a fucking plastic surgeon; ‘Get a grip on yourself and get over the vomit balling itself in your diaphragm,’ I told myself. I couldn’t bring myself to text back to his squalid advances so I just left that particular thread to die the death it deserved.

As the days went on, LPB’s momentum increased noticeably. He was now offering to take me to London to a range of lovely restaurants I’d never heard of and then stay at The Sanderson afterwards. He made me laugh with how cringey he was but he still visually repulsed me so I was in quite a predicament on whether I took him up on the offer. I decided to meet him one evening locally for a date so I could make my mind up on whether it would be a waste of my time and his money to go into London.

We timed the date so it could commence when we finished work. He asked me to follow him to his venue of choice, which I found a little odd because I didn’t see the harm in leaving my car at work and sharing a lift. Perhaps he was just private about his personal life though – which I could understand; the gossiping Admin girls on Main Reception watching me totter over to his sleek Audi would have made for quite the lunchtime babble the next day. So I agreed to meet him a little further down the road and followed him as he drove to whatever place he had chosen for us. I was feeling slightly nervous about spending time in-person with him and I was also anxious that he might try to touch me before I was entirely sure I wanted that from a man who walked like he was sniffing the ceiling.

But around five minutes in, LPB started indicating to turn right into a large lay-by. While I’m typing this I have to question what the FUCK I was doing following this man into what was, essentially, a quarry for Windsorian doggers. At the time I was furrow-browed at the strange choice to take a driving break there but queried whether he might suggest I leave my car so we could continue our journey in the throaty confines of his sports car from this point.

Pulling in behind him, I pulled up and awkwardly fumbled around in my car, pretending to be busy until he advised what on earth he was doing. I peeked over to his car and he gestured for me to join him in his TT. So I had been right; we were going to be travelling more stylishly than my Kia Picanto. Climbing into his German Whip, I noted the black leather interior and the embossed seats with his company emblem in matt leather on the headrests. What an arrogant prick, I thought. I admired it.

‘I thought we might have a chat before…’ he uttered, leaving the closing part of the sentence hanging unspoken in the clammy air. Oh God…before what, LPB!? He surely knew I wasn’t putting out on the first date? I didn’t even reply to his question about my molten undercarriage, I wasn’t allowing P-in-the-V.

‘Before dinner?’ I questioned, finishing his sentence hopefully.

‘Quite!’ I didn’t feel like this was a solid enough answer to be reassuring but I was also very aware of the fact that the entire time I had been in his car I had not actually looked at him. I now allowed my eyes to glance over at him, languishing in the driver’s seat with his sneering grin and his cerise pink tie a little off centre. I couldn’t be certain, but I thought I caught a glimpse of a tiny pokey protruding within his suit trousers before he shuffled on the leather seats, squeaking and creaking against the unforgiving material beneath his buttocks.

We chatted through the mundanities of life and it became clear there was never any plan to go out for dinner. He just wanted to sit in his car with me and chew the cud. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he wanted to move in for a kiss but didn’t have the gumption to actually do it – I certainly was not encouraging that. The longer I spent in his presence, the more I felt certain this was not a man I wanted to be around. He was totally harmless – totally, but he was vulgar in a repellent, civilised kind of way.

I found myself bored rigid in his company and yearning for my usual place on the sofa, cat on my lap and reality TV on the box. I began to curtail the jollities swiftly by providing monosyllabic answers to his pressing questions and assessing the landscape with false interest as a means of distracting myself from the continuous swell of chat he was oozing. He finally took the hint and released me from the grips of his company.

As I left his car, I heard his door slam behind me. Please, Dear God, tell me he wasn’t getting out of the car. I reluctantly turned, already knowing from the tell-tale sound of gravel under brogues that he was indeed lurching around, head held high, to embrace me before we parted. I lingered where I was awkwardly, waiting for the clinch I knew would come. He reached his arms out, one high and one low, blazer swinging open invitingly, and clasped me to himself aggressively. In my awkwardness, I turned my head the wrong way and found we were right cheek to left cheek, both heads turned to the same side – oh the humanity! He followed this up immediately by rubbing his face along my own until his lips slithered down over mine and he pressed me backwards into the TT. The kiss was one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. His tongue was circling round mine, licking my teeth and my lips as he dribbled down my chin, savouring any part of my face he could lay his mouth muscles on – to say he had no aim would be an understatement….that tongue was flopping around wherever it wanted with a lack of control characteristic of the thirteen year old me who had goldfished Darren’s face all those years before. It was as if his tonsils had picked up his tongue and were just throwing it around willy-nilly, like a slug being thrashed on the pavement by an angry marmoset. He also kept growling as if he was enjoying it which I felt sure he could not have been. He was going at my face like a maniacal predator, opening and closing his mouth and running his tongue in huge circles on a wet-spin that left me concerned about the neck line of my dress; he must have dripped his saliva onto it with all this moisture funnelling into my face!

When we broke off he looked at me with the same milk-drunk face a baby has. I wiped my chin frantically, smiled a closed-mouth grimace of disgust and skedaddled home.

It should have stopped there. I knew in my head, my heart and my labia minora that this guy was an inexperienced creep with very few redeeming features. He had tricked me into going to a dogging site with him so he could assault my face and drown me in his spittle by promising me we were going to a restaurant for a date.

However…I was young and foolish and the thrill of being the bit of fluff on the arm of a top plastic surgeon made me give him a second chance. It’s no excuse but that’s the reason I allowed him to ‘make it up to me’ as he put it. He had chased me for weeks after our liaison in the dogging quarry and I had batted off his every move as if I was impervious to his intentions. It took a significant amount of apologising and double-texting before I would entertain him once again and only when he assured me he would like to take me a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant did I relent.

To cut a long and disappointing story short, I ended up going back to his hotel room with him after sushi. I’d like to say that at this point that I had been brought there on the pretence that this was a Five-Star-Luxury Hotel in London (which it was) and I would never have a chance in my poverty stricken life to see such a decadent and opulent residence again (which, again, is probably true). I was overwhelmed by the splendour and beauty of the room and he seemed attracted by my innocence as I wandered around, lapping up the sheer extravagance. These were not the days where you walked around, phone in hand, capturing every moment for the hate-likes of your insta followers; the room exists in my memory as a place of worship to wealth only.

One thing led to another (mostly I felt awkward about the moment where I would have to tell him he wasn’t going to be thrashing that slug-tongue on my little bean despite paying for my sushi) and we began kissing again. I say ‘we,’…I allowed him to go at my face like a rabid dog chewing a jumbo-sausage while I lay there permitting my thoughts to lead me away on a wave of distraction like flotsam and jetsam in a gentle current. The rest all happened so quickly…

We were laying on the bed, goose feathers crunching in my ears, when he removed my trousers. I accepted this because, well, we’d been kissing for a while and I didn’t really know how to say I didn’t want him to. I can’t even say I didn’t want him to…I was just ambivalent; I didn’t mind if he did but I equally didn’t mind if he didn’t. I think I was more distracted by not drowning in his drool. Clumsily, he started fumbling around my lace thong and walked his fingers reticently towards my unbothered vulva. He gun-fingered me for a maximum of 6 seconds, leaving me deliberating how a 38 year old man could be so completely clueless around the female body; a body he chops up as a job and enhances! I had not even had time to reach downwards to feel what lay beneath the quarantine of his suit trousers before he was clambering atop me and unzipping his flies. He was looking right into my eyes, holding uncomfortable eye contact as he crawled onto me, snarling in his ‘I’m so sexy’ voice which made my cervix evaporate into the nether regions of my body. He actually made my sphincter clench with how much of a cringer he was. I lay there, palpating in confusion over why the fuck I was here and what the fuck he thought he was doing. Had he never entered a woman before!?

He pulled my pants to one side, growling in my face as a small warthog might roar over grubs, and tried to thumb himself inside me. I was a little creeped out to note he was already wearing a condom which was presumptuous although sensible. I was, unsurprisingly, less lubricated than I would have liked, being double-digit fingered for five quick thrusts doesn’t really get a girl’s juices flowing and I suspect my vagina was thinking more clearly than I was as it clamped itself against his malingering, sickeningly warm helmet. Were it not for the pre-lubrication of the condom, I doubt he would have even got his poking little corona in. Alas, after an uncomfortable amount of fumbling, he pushed a very fractional centimetre or two into my reluctant flute and I felt him tense on top of me as he tried to enter himself more deeply. He just froze there rigid with his mouth open. I looked up awkwardly, spotting a couple of fillings on those back molars he exposed as he posed atop me, statuesque. I panicked. I assumed I had clamped up, dry as a bone, against his little penis and it had somehow cut off the circulation to his brain.

He rolled over, slamming down into the pillows beside me with his eyes shut. Oh my god, what was he going to say? Was my vag some kind of fortress that refused to let him inside (if so, I would thank her later with a masturbatory session worthy of Sex and the City’s Samantha)? Had he peeped his teeny head inside just enough to know it was an inhospitable environment up there? Was my flute vile, voluminous and verminous?

‘That was more snug than I expected.’

Sorry…what the actual fuck? I turned to look at him, incredulous, as he lay there with his eyes shut and a sneer of cold consummation on his face. I sat bolt upright thinking maybe the rush of blood to my head would help me fathom what the shit had just gone down. Snug!? What did he expect? I was a young woman with a flappy little goblet that had been unclaimed for many years – it was hardly likely I was going to be sporting a flume you could ride a yaught down!

‘Have you come!?’ I demanded. And then I saw it. His little flaccid penis was hanging out of his fly, enveloped in the cling-film wrapping of a pearlescent condom and there, in the apex of the packaging, was a collection of white juice. I was flabbergasted. Worse than that, I was mortified for this guy. It must be a real low moment for him; he had barely even touched me and had squirted his load. Poor little man…poor, sad little man with his condom already on and his nose perpetually pointed skywards.

‘Yes!’ he breathed. Did I detect pride in his voice? Surely not! He must be trying to front this out; act like it wasn’t a big deal. Fine – I’ll play along and pretend it’s not the most humiliating thing that has ever happened to him.

I got up and pretended to go to the toilet – I needed some space to compose myself and get away from his proud/shame dichotomy. I mean, part of me wanted to congratulate myself on being that hot and that good in bed that I had made a plastic surgeon come in a nanosecond but I knew I couldn’t legitimately take much credit for that; this was an inexperienced loser of the highest accord. I wanted to go home now. He needed to pull himself together, wipe his helmet and drive me back to Windsor. I mustered up my most assertive self, unlocked the bathroom door and sauntered out, locating my trousers but not establishing LPB’s whereabouts. He was most likely hiding behind the curtains in disgrace.

Fumbling around to pick my jeans up from the foot of the bed, I didn’t notice him sneaking up behind me until it was too late. The touch of his hot, clammy hand on my shoulder made my skin crawl as he reached around my neck and pulled my jaw backwards and up towards his own face. I sensed he was now naked as he began licking my cheeks. I’m not exaggerating; he was licking me like a cat cleaning itself. I think he may have been trying to probe his tongue into my mouth but he was woefully off-piste.

‘Ready for Round Two?’ he whispered excitedly.

‘Not in any way, shape or form.’ I responded.

He chuckled a little and carried on licking my cheek and ear. I stiffened my neck to move away from his lippy assault and pulled my head awayto face forwards, bending over and stepping one foot into my jeans. As I did so, my thonged bum very slightly brushed against his pelvis and I felt the wiry spikes of his pubes against my buttock. He suddenly made a strange noise and grabbed hold of my hips intensely. I tried to ignore he was even there, continuing determinedly to pull my trousers back on while he squeezed the fat on my hips harder and harder…was he shaking? Could I hear teeth grinding…?

It was only when I felt the warm, moist head of his semi sliding down the back of my thigh as it flopped to its downward degradation and hot liquid dribbling down my hip, bum cheek and leg that I realised he had just prematurely ejaculated all over me in thin, white globules that splattered to the floor. Was he serious? Once wasn’t really excusable even if I liked/fancied the man. But twice…within minutes? Total loser! Chancing a glance at the mahogany floor below, it looked a little like ectoplasm – the ghostly residue of any shred of humility that man had left. I did not actually see him from that point on; he had pelted to the bathroom as soon as his legs stopped ‘quivering’ with the inertia of spraying his little LPBs all over me and locked himself in. I heard him turn on the shower and watched in mortification as steam began wafting from beneath the door. I swiftly dressed myself, ordered a taxi, and left him there with his shame, his spray and his semen.

By chance, a nurse LPB worked closely with was moaning about him audibly the following week, saying he had been very rude to her. As women are like to do when slighted, they go in extra hard on the offence spectrum. Amongst the smorgasbord of insults, some fair and some not, I heard her mention ‘how his wife puts up with him.’ I snapped to attention immediately.

‘Wife…? I thought he was separated?’ I was dumbfounded but feigned innocent interest; I had told no one of our spermy séance in the hotel in the preceding week and, thankfully, had not had the misfortune of bumping into him since. I was disgusted by how he had been from start to end and felt no pride in confessing to having allowed that man to slip his digits into my knickers. The only momento of his ejaculatory moment was a cursory ‘You’ve left…?’ text from LPB ten minutes into my taxi journey home that went unanswered and the remnants of a white smear on the inside of my jeans (which I proceeded to boil wash).

‘Oh God no, love! He’s married like the rest of them…he’s got two lovely daughters as well.’

Firstly, I was horrified and sickened at myself for unknowingly, naively, being party to a husband cheating on his wife and potentially breaking up his family. I was furious that he had lied to me, and even more furious that I had fallen for his sinister trickery. But most of all, I felt deepest pity and commiserations for his wife. I wondered whether she knew she was married to a man who tricked girls young enough to be his daughter into compromising positions, while being wedded to her, and felt it was justifiable to prematurely ejaculate twice, defending himself by saying your vagina was tighter than he expected. Surely no one would knowingly nuptially tie themselves to such a sick little loser.

The possible confrontations all scrolled through my mind as I brooded on the shattering information. I contemplated texting him to tell him I knew his dirty little secret, but I didn’t want to open a dialogue with him again. I thought about challenging him the next time he had a clinic but the idea of facing him after he had watched himself come all over my leg like a rutting dog made me want to stab myself in the jugular to forget the trauma. There was nothing for it but to ride the proverbial wave, ignore his existence and any advances he made and chalk this one up to experience.

I’m genuinely still surprised to tell you that he never ever seemed to feel embarrassed for prematurely ejaculating not once, but twice, on me. Every now and again he will still rear his upward pointing head in the industry I work though he knows better than to try to speak to me. I don’t think about him ever, except when I see a uncooked egg-white and I fleetingly wonder whether his wife has divorced him and taken his LPB ass to the cleaners. I certainly hope so.

LPB – total fetid stain of a married man, you will forever be known as the loser who can create ‘Designer Vaginas’ but doesn’t have the first idea about the inner workings of a woman. So the moral of the story is this: you can tell a lot about a man by the way he kisses you. If he goes at your face like a caveman who has never before felt the feminine touch, DO NOT let that man anywhere near your clitoris. At best, he will need significant training because he won’t know your labia from your lobes. At worst, as I can testify, he will enjoy your ‘snugness’ so much he won’t be able to contain himself and then he will pour the entire contents of his testicles down the backs of your knees.

Honey to the Bee

My most recent dalliance with a fuckboy happened in the Summer of 2019. It was a very short-lived romance but it had quite a significant impact on me for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, it was the first time in many years that I’ve allowed myself to be duped by the male species-I’m normally far more wary when it comes to penis bearers. Secondly, I permitted myself to inadvertently be made a complete fool of and thirdly (more importantly than the former two) I had my first man-made orgasm, a feat of nature I thought unavailable to me.
The tale starts in July when my friends and I attended a Regatta. Attired in our best and lubricated to the eyeballs with Helen’s homemade Frosé (frozen rosé with strawberries that gets you absolutely shit-faced) we stumbled across grassy hillocks in our wedged platforms, rubbing shoulders with Berkshire’s wealthiest and most fabulous. We were absolutely not there for the rowing, that much I can allow.
Some hours into the day and copious amounts of alcohol later, our beautiful friend, Selena, began conversing with a boy she had gone to school with, Ross. By all accounts Ross had been a total prick to her at school when he was a cool kid and she was not. But now Selena was tall, glamorous and stunning with long, dark-blonde hair and a personality to match her beauty, Ross found himself apologising for being a total pale, ginger twat to her in their middle school days – at one point he even got down on one lily-white knee to display the deep nature of his remorse. It was like something from a 90s rom-com; the geek at school turned glamazonian queen and the popular knob-head being made to eat his words from a position of total submission.
In the staple post-party de-brief during the enebriated taxi journey home us girls were discussing the events of the night and this small section of the day came up in conversation. Helen was telling Selena that she was wrong to harbour her deep-rooted feelings of contempt for Ross, that he was now a self-made success story with a great business, good morals and a sensible head on his shoulders. I hadn’t known Ross when we were all at school so I couldn’t formulate an opinion either way, but the boy I had encountered seemed friendly, polite and eye-catchingly tall. He wasn’t amazingly good-looking but there was an alluring charisma about him. I tried to persuade Selena that he seemed like a great catch based on the information Helen was providing. Selena, however, did not want to know. ‘Once an arsehole, always an arsehole!’ was her mantra…oh how right she was!
But Helen’s words had resonated with me. I’d been single for over three years, Wasteman Wes damaging me so badly I never wanted to entertain being with another man as long as I lived. You’d need a Davy lamp, a canary and a pick-axe to get into my vagina. Like the solitary bear, I had hidden myself away on my own to avoid being hurt again, concentrating on work to pay back the debt Wes had left me in and whittling myself out a life as a strong, independent Sass-Queen who most certainly did not want or need a man. That life was comfortable and I was happy and safe insisting a partner was the very last thing on my mind. Besides, I was far too busy with work to be thinking about a man. However, in trying to convince Selena about what a wonderful person Ross was, Helen was painting a picture of the exact man I would hypothetically write out on paper as everything I wanted.
A few days after the Regatta, Selena forwarded a screen-shot of a message Ross had sent to her into our group chat which she fully intended to ignore. I told her I thought she was crazy to ghost him and that the message was actually quite nice for a guy with a history of being a rotting fungal infection; it wasn’t a ground breaking initial approach but it was totally passable. I sent Helen a separate message saying pretty much the same thing; that I couldn’t fathom how or why Selena would pass up an opportunity with such a great sounding guy. Helen, fancying herself yet again as the Cupid of our group, put two and two together and laid out the foundations of her match making plans between Ross and I. Sure enough, a week later I got a delightful little message popping up on my screen from our guy, Ross.
Of course, he pretended he had remembered me from the Regatta which I knew to be totally untrue and of course, he was throwing complements down the gauntlet like Frisbees but I thought this was all very sweet. Still relatively guarded, I relied on my witty repartee to beguile him as we steadily sped on our collision course to date number one. He invited me to his place to watch Love Island which I would normally have said no to – everyone knows what happens on a first date if it is spent in the home environment – but my intuition told me this would be absolutely fine.
I was impressed to find that when I arrived at his he had picked up every single snack imaginable and each thing I had told him I liked was neatly arranged on the kitchen counter. The conversation flowed easily and he was ticking every box; he didn’t do drugs, he had his own money and it seemed like he was moving in the same direction as me. All we did was kiss and cuddle on his sofa and I realised how nice it could be to just be held while you watch a good film in the company of someone you liked. At six foot four he towered over me which I found really masculine and attractive…except for the part where he lifted me up to say goodbye and I split my ripped jeans from the knee right the way up to the waist line. Obviously I laughed this off in his company and then died 1000 deaths in my car on the journey home at the sheer mortification. Fucking ripped Topshop jeans.
For weeks Ross and I powered forward on a passage I began to feel sure was going somewhere positive. He was doing all the right things. Most strikingly surprising to me: I felt more comfortable being close to him and being touched by him than I had ever been with anyone else. I can’t explain why this was; he just made me feel at ease. I had always been conscious of not enjoying being touched by anyone, from the most innocent of hugs to the sexual contact of ex partners. But there was something I enjoyed about being near to Ross despite how early on things were between us. I think he reassured me, unconsciously, that I was not weird and frigid – that I could enjoy the touch of a man.
He was also saying things, making these pledges that had me completely hooked. He told me he was going to take me on a date to Nobu because I’d always wanted to go there but, of course, it was far too expensive for Wasteman Wes to take me to and nobody else had ever cared enough about me to know the places I’d want to be taken. He told me he would buy me an expensive pair of earrings I said I wanted to treat myself to; he told me we would go on a Christmas Day walk together because, as someone who is estranged from her family, Christmas can be both a lovely and depressing time for a voluntary orphan such as myself (Christmas was also a long way away which indicated he fully expected to still be speaking to me months down the line!). So you can see why, after only a few weeks I thought we were progressing to something really good.
But more than the pleasure I took in his touch and the fact I found hope in the things he was saying and doing, Ross really seemed to want to look after me. He expressed genuine concerns about the rough area I lived in, saying he wanted me to be safe and suggesting ways he might improve my security. There was always a risk that Wasteman Wes was going to rear his ugly head and this looked like it concerned Ross. He seemed to have my back and that, above all things, is the only thing I really want in a man. It comes from a place where independence has been thrust upon me and I just had to go with it or perish. The thought of someone looking out for me, being protective, carrying my heavy bags, sorting out my problems and making me feel safe was the biggest attraction. Ross was proving himself to be this wonderful person and I could feel any walls I had up being knocked down with ease. I let go of any cynicism and threw my sensibility and caution away…everything I knew about love-bombing or dream salesmen from the experiences of my friends was tucked firmly into bed-this guy wasn’t too good to be true, he was what I deserved after the pile of shit I’d been dealt.
The Nobu date was, without doubt, my favourite date of all time. We had pre-drinks in Hakkasan, Nobu served up the best things I’ve ever had in my mouth (pun intended) and then he took me to a casino afterwards, assuring me that he had never taken a date to the Casino before but that he loved being there with me. When the night came to an end we went back to his flat and the sex was unreal. Maybe I had gotten carried away with how great the night was, maybe he was just really good at sex or maybe I finally felt completely able to let myself go but for whatever the reason, I had my first ever human-induced orgasm. For most girls this is totally not a big deal, but for me with my history and at 30 years of age, I had genuinely believed for many years that I simply was not capable of being relaxed enough around any sexual partner to enjoy it so much I could come.
We were now seeing each other every couple of days and speaking all day, every day on the phone or by text. I was conscious that the summer was almost over and I would soon be going back to working flat-out. A residual habit of my time funding Wes’ lifestyle, I had two jobs and between September and June my second job meant I was busy every single evening and both days of the weekend – the call of money is just too attractive to me. For the majority of the year I don’t have time to see my friends and I certainly don’t have time to nourish the seedling of a relationship thus I wanted to give Ross as much time as I could spare so that when I inevitably got rammed with work, he would like me enough to put up with never seeing me. Plus, I just liked being around him and I hadn’t had that feeling since the early days with Wes. Was it such a crime to like maximising my time with this man? I didn’t think so – although in hindsight I made myself far too easily available to him.
We were also sleeping together every time I saw him-I wasn’t about to pass up the new found delight of multiple orgasms if it was offered. Helen and Kat had convinced me that if this was to continue, I needed to clarify with him whether I was the only person he was doing this with (we were all certain I was) and whether I should consider a more reliable form of contraception than the pull-out method (we were all certain I did). After all, the vagina is a really wonderful thing that asks very little of us women, just that we keep her nice and healthy – it was the least I could do for my flappy gal.
‘So…am I the only person you’re doing this with? Because I was thinking I need to look after myself and maybe think about going on the pill or something if we’re going to carry on doing this…’ I tried to sound as nonchalant about the whole thing as I possibly could; like I wasn’t going to rip his little blue eyeballs out and smear the juices all over his freckled face if I wasn’t the only one.
‘Yep – you’re the only one. I’ve got no reason to lie to you, I was seeing someone a while ago but…she’s a dick so…’ He left the statement hanging in the air but I had got what I came for. I casually lifted myself off of him as he lay beneath me and turned over for a little spoon before the post-coital slumber of a woman happy in the knowledge she’s on a one-way journey to the initial categorisation of ‘seeing someone.’ Surely this was the next step? I was mentally dialling my GP for an appointment to talk about the medical differences between Microgynon and Cerazette.
That weekend, both Ross and I were busy. He told me we would see each other Sunday evening which worked well for me. But Sunday came and I hadn’t heard from him which was…kind of weird…but maybe not. Like, he’d been out the night before. He was just hungover…maybe? So I shouldn’t send a text! That would look too needy. He’d definitely text me. Eventually.


16:15: But…he still hasn’t text me. And I’m meant to be seeing him in a bit…do I start getting ready or…? Maybe I’ll have a shower, shave the necessaries and by the time I get out of the shower he will definitely have text me.


17:05: Still no text…I’m too old to play games so I’ll just text him and see how his night went. Let’s be grown-ups here, girl!


17:40: OK I have turned on my ‘Last Seen’ on WhatsApp and I can see he’s been online today which pisses me off because his fingers are therefore definitely still attached to his big old hands so there’s no reason not to have text me. However, I’m being crazy so I’m turning my ‘Last Seen’ off and I’m going to wait it out.


17:55: Is he for fucking real? He’s been on WhatsApp, which means he’s seen my message, but he’s not text me back. Wanker. I’m putting my phone on charge-IN THE NEXT ROOM-and not checking it again. He can fuck off.


18:10: Ah he’s text me back! All is good with the world and I’m happy again. But he still made me wait ages for a message so he can sweat it out for a reply for a bit.


18:32: that’s long enough – because I’m actually only texting back so I can check whether I’m seeing him today or not. It’s totally fine if I’m not, totally fine (said in Ross Gellar’s squeaky ‘I’m so not fine’ voice), but I just need to know.


18:50: So he’s seen that message and still not text back but he is clearly messaging someone else off the hook! Right, even if he wants to see me now he can piss the fuck right off.


19:20: He’s been online loads but not replied to me…now I’m livid. I’ve put on my make up to distract myself from how wound up I’m getting – obviously I’m absolutely NOT seeing him, even if he asks now, but he still hasn’t even replied.


20:15: Half arsed message received saying he’s hungover and going back to bed…he reckons he hasn’t lifted his head off the pillow all day. In my gut I know this is total bollocks but at the same time it makes me feel better to think he’s dying of a hangover. Good. Prick. I hope he feels like his big head is being squeezed inside a vice! Also, I come to the realisation that I’ve turned into one of those girls who goes out of their way to check online statuses and ‘recently seen’ updates-who was I!?I’ll send a super chill message back saying I hope he feels better soon but he’s only getting one ‘X’ and he can just suck on that. Arsewipe. I pushed him and the fact he was potentially digits deep in someone else’s vulva to the back of my mind, put Pretty Woman on and resumed my evening.


The next day, I woke up with thrush. Why, Mother Nature? Why curse me vaginally with this cottage-cheese visiting when I’ve finally learnt how to enjoy sex? I needed to sort that out, STAT. A good-old pessary with the oral pill would knock that shit right out of me so I could get back to my orgasm education.
Overnight I’d had a word with myself and calmed down-he had been drunk and therefore hungover, he wasn’t my boyfriend and this was not a big deal, regardless. He had text me first thing to apologise for his poor performance and promised to make it up to me by taking me out that evening for dinner. Obviously, I couldn’t have sex with him while I was leaking mucus from my vagina but, do you know what, he deserved a little bit of abstinence after leaving me hanging all day Sunday.
The meal with Ross was…weird. Nothing I could put my finger on but he felt different. He was being shifty, looking around pensively giving off serious paranoia vibes. But then, I had to question, was I the paranoid one? Was I reading too much into his behaviour because of the previous day? It was more than likely, I had established I was clearly a psycho the day before – overthinking and reading too much into insignificant things because I liked this guy. So I put the strange feeling to the back of my mind and carried on with dinner.
When we got back to Ross’s he said he was tired and we could go watch a film in his bedroom. I wandered through while he finished up in the living room. I was mulling over how best to broach the subject of my thrushy situation with him. We’d been pretty open and honest to that point; did I come right out with it? Or did I let him get so far on the assumption he was crushing labs tonight just to leave him hanging as a punishment for last night? As I climbed into the bed, lost in my vaginal thoughts, I spotted a single false lash on the mirrored bedside table beside my head. It was extra long and I could see the little bud of black glue that would affix it to the owner’s natural lash. Unmistakable. Irrefutable. I tried to be reasonable. I tried not to freak out, I honestly did. I had a word with myself; maybe his cleaner, while cleaning around the bed, found it and put it on the bedside table? Because everyone knows fallen cheap eyelashes are recyclable, right!?  Or perhaps when I climbed into the bed it puffed out from the fibres of the mattress like a feather on the breeze, the owner could have lost it months – years – ago! But that small, traitorous voice in my head told me he had been with someone else the day before. Ockham’s Razor – the most likely explanation is usually right.
No! Chill out – it’s one fucking eyelash, sister. Pull yourself together…but…wait…that girl’s deodorant can on the chest of drawers – it’s moved, hasn’t it? When I asked why he had a girls deodorant in his room weeks before he said he just picks up whatever deodorant he lays his hands on first in the shop. We had laughed about it, about how he smelled like a girl. And that was all good. Until the bottle suddenly moved position after being in the same place for the entire time I’d known him. Was that just a coincidence, an unfortunate quirk in timing that he had knocked that into a new place at the same time an eyelash had spontaneously worked its way onto his bedside table? But this guy was so nice, so great…and he was now saying he was going to take me to his Dad’s villa in Portugal. Why would he do that if he was sleeping with someone else? I lay back onto the pillow. Be casual, I told myself. Be cool, girl!
Ross joined me in the bedroom, laying his head between my legs and cuddling my left leg as he fell asleep. I could hear his rhythmic breathing as he journeyed deeper into the Land of Nod, but every now and again he’d wake and kiss me on my jeaned thigh before dozing off again. He was so lovely laying there like a…BIG FAT EYELASH SHAGGER. I glanced over at that arrogant lash, laying there rubbernecking at me on the mirrored furniture, reflecting back to me my own face, anxious and annoyed, with that fucking eyelash sitting smack-bang in the middle of the reflection. I needed to stop this – I was being ridiculous. It’s an eyelash, I told myself, get a grip on yourself. But…the deodorant can had moved too – there was no doubt in my mind!
Ross was actually sending my leg to sleep and I had to make a choice between staying there with a numb leg or moving slightly and getting the ticklies; his heavy ginger head laying on me sleeping off all that energy he’d clearly been exerting the day before pummelling puss. But look at him; peacefully resting there! How could this guy who assured me I was the only one he was doing all this with really have slept with someone else? There was no proof! Except…waaaaait just one damn minute…was that a long hair on his pillow!? Did one of my own hairs fall out when I got in the bed? It was dark so it could be mine. But my hair was shorter than that. Oh my God…the third nail in the coffin…and now that I thought about it, he hadn’t even tried to have sex with me. He’d gone straight to sleep using my crotch as a pillow. I was melting what looked like candle wax secretions from my vulva– I knew that…but he didn’t! Did I kick him in the head ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ and get the hell out of there or did I lay and let him continue to use my pelvic bone as a pillow? I made my exit. I needed to run this one past the girls – they’d slap some sense into me and tell me I was being silly, 100%.
Except they didn’t. The group chat agreed with me – something was amiss. They did nothing to curb my paranoia but we were all in agreement, to confront him would be stooping too low. I’d have to wait it out, see if an opportunity arose to ask the question.
As the next few days came I could actively feel myself checking out. I was still seeing him, though slightly less, and I was still speaking to him, though whole days would now pass with no contact. Where I was making effort with hair and make up and tan and ensemble before, I now didn’t care so much. I also hadn’t slept with him since the thrushy night but the thrush had long since vanished and my cervix was once again open for business. However, I was reluctant to let things go because this guy, just a week or so before, had been everything I could see myself with. It was all hot and heavy and definitely destined for big things…I couldn’t help but wonder if I was letting my guard and paranoia fuck this up and all he was guilty of was an unsociable hangover.
On a couple of occasions, I handed Ross the opportunity to let me down gently. He told me he had been busy – as I stared him right in his wide, blue eyes, looking for any hint of mistruth– he told me he wanted to carry on seeing and speaking to me, just things had been crazy. Then both times he leaned in and kissed me, and held my hand and it all felt so reassuring I was lulled once again into this false sense of security. I must admit though, this reassurance did coincide with me being able to do him a favour through my work so I now question whether he strung it out for the perks of private healthcare.
Finally, eventually, I found out the truth. Through friends of friends, Helen had been able to elicit enough information to confirm what my gut had been telling me all along. But the truth was more shocking than anything I could have made up in the corners of my mistrustful little mind:
Ross had, in fact, been sleeping with not one other girl (the ‘dick’ he had alluded to so many weeks before) but two girls. I was appalled to learn that in one week he had slept with all three of us. And the night he was strange at our meal? That wasn’t me being paranoid – one of the girls he was simultaneously sleeping with had friends in the same restaurant who were filming us throughout the meal. The girl he labelled ‘a dick’ saw the videos and was ringing him on loop; it now makes me smile to think how much he must have been shitting himself that she was going to turn up and cause a scene. Obviously I cringe more for myself sitting there being filmed without knowing – fucking tweenagers are such a nightmare.
I was really quite gutted to find all this out. Naturally, I was relieved, and I mentally made a note to never ignore my intuition again, but Ross had fooled me into liking him way more than I should have let myself and I felt like a total idiot. I was also really sad that he wasn’t the person I thought he was, and he would never reach the potential I thought he had. However, I knew he was someone I definitely wanted in my life, even if it was just as friends. I felt like he would have my back and look out for me and, as someone who had never had that before, I wanted to keep it. So I decided to send him a message which basically told him I wasn’t prepared to continue sleeping with him when I knew there were other girls on the scene, but keeping it nice and friendly enough that we could retain a friendship. I respected myself enough to know without question that I should be the only person a man I’m giving my time and energy to is sleeping with but I was also sensible enough to know that if he was already sleeping with two other girls alongside me, Ross was not someone I should be investing anything more than friendship in.
I crafted the message carefully, running it past friends to make sure the tone and desired effect were all right and then I hit the send button. I’m not sure what I expected back; I felt I’d been more than reasonable even wishing to retain a friendship with someone who had held my feelings in such little regard so I guess I was looking for a minimum of an apology and an admission before an agreement to salvage a friendship. What I got back really, truly surprised me…and I’m very rarely surprised by humanity.
He never text me back. No acknowledgement. No admission. No apology. Not even defensiveness. Total arial silence. It was unfathomable; we had gone from talking too much to having no connection at all. I had clearly overestimated how mature he was and done him a major disservice in making an assumption that he would at least message me back. As a grown woman, I couldn’t leave such a message unanswered but I was shocked to realise Ross was a boy disguised in the clothing of a successful man. I knew, instinctively, I would hear from him again at some point down the line but I could not believe he had just not bothered to respond to my ever-so-lovely-and-mature ‘thanks for the orgasms but you’re shagging other people so I’m sacking you off’ message.
Unbelievably, weeks later I got a ‘Hope you’ve had a lovely birthday. I miss you x’ message…at 21:30 on the evening of my almost-over birthday. I ignored the initial temptation to message him back with the middle finger emoji, deleted both the message and his number, and moved on.
Except that, a week to the day after this message was received, I fell down the stairs in a fluke accident while taking out my recycling. In a glamorous turn of events, I actually fell directly onto the recycling bag which simultaneously broke my fall and eight of my ribs – four of which were already weakened by Wasteman Wes. I also had a corker of a black eye from where I tried to salvage the bag of plastic from spilling during my tumble and inadvertently hit myself in the eye socket. This turned deepest purple-yellow within hours of the fall. In the weeks that followed I was feeling really, really sorry for myself. I could barely do a thing and, living on my own, that poses some serious problems. Friends and colleagues suspected Wasteman Wes was involved in the injury because of my black eye which made me feel embarrassed and I hid myself away, secretive as an oyster. If the pain from the first break was agonising, it was nothing compared to this second blow and I lay there in my solitude and pain night after night, thinking about how things might be if I had someone to care about me, or if I were still seeing Ross. He’d maybe have come over and looked after me, he would possibly care when I had no family around and all my friends were understandably busy with their own lives. In a rare, weak moment following an evening drowning the ache in my ribs with some Valpolicella, which was obviously ill-advised while nursing a significant injury caused by sheer clumsiness, I felt sad for my poor broken self and I sent Ross a ‘I miss you too,’ message (obviously I had kept his number written down when I deleted it for just such a stupid occasion). I regret it utterly and did from the moment I hit send. Not just because he ignored me once again but because I found out he had immediately screenshotted that message and sent it into his family group chat for a good laugh and to show off about the fact that, even though I had kicked his top-shagger arse to the curb, he’d somehow managed to claw back a way to save face.
So, in summary, Ross was a short-lived, bitter sweet summer romance that never really was. He sold me a dream for those few weeks, and I bought it. He totally fooled me into thinking there was someone out there who genuinely would have my back and he disappointed me more than any other man because I simply didn’t expect it. However, Ross was a really positive experience for a multitude of reasons. The first is that I learned to always listen to my gut – it indicated to me every moment where I needed to have my guard up but I let cheap words override that. The second is that I learned not to put my cynicism away so easily until someone has proved themselves to me and to be unavailable even when I know future availability will be limited. The third, final and best blessing of my romance with Ross – I can come through sex…and when I decide to do it again I’ll be safe in the knowledge that not only can I show a man a really good time, but I can use him to bring me to climax for my own enjoyment. So thanks, Ross, hun – for that wonderful, wonderful gift.

Take a Ticket, Get in Line, Waste of Time

As mentioned in the Wasteman Wes blog, I know first-hand the torturous, monstrous, hellish ordeal that is unrequited love. Unrequited love is almost always an affliction of ‘the nice guys,’ (Kerry is exempt from this generalisation). It is for us poor, stupid idiots who are unfortunate enough to bestow our feelings of high regard upon someone who, being brutally honest, just doesn’t want us in return. Perhaps we have given them ‘the ick.’ Perhaps we’re just not their type. Perhaps they are feeling the same thing we feel for them but for someone else. For whatever reason, unrequited love is the most hideous suffering of being completely in love with someone who does not, and will not, love you back.

Such an affliction fell upon me once some years ago when I met the incredibly charismatic surgeon, Mr E-A. Robert and I were working when I first spotted him; Robert made an off-hand comment that he looked a little bit like Cesc Fabregas and, having worked with him before, felt he was one of the nicer doctors (these are few and far between as most people in the healthcare industry will confirm). From the moment I lay eyes upon him, I was totally hooked. If I was an emoji, I’d have been the heart-eyes and drool face combined. I did absolutely everything in my power to get Mr E-A to notice me. I got up half an hour earlier on the days he was in so I could make sure my hair and make-up were dazzling (I wasted a lot of good make up on that guy). I spent money I definitely could have used on more sensible things buying the tightest dresses imaginable and I started taking an active interest in his area of clinical expertise. Eventually my efforts paid off and he hired me to work for him part-time alongside my full-time job.

The things I loved most about Mr E-A were his hands. I’m not a weirdo with a hand fetish, I swear (although I will say there’s nothing wrong with a bit of attention on the toes in the bedroom). He just had these long, thin fingers and he pressed his fingertips together in the apex of a triangle when he was deep in thought; I felt this revealed a high intellect. In reality, he was actually very skinny and short with acne and a perpetually sweaty top lip but I didn’t care at the time because I felt he was the most delightful little man to have ever walked the earth.

At the start of our working relationship, Mr E-A bought me an iPad so I could support him better. He felt, as a young surgeon burgeoning into the medical field just a little green around the gills, it would make him look pioneering and modern to have a little floozy running around worshipping him and brandishing a hand held computer with which to run his practice. I asked Daniel to help me set up the iPad because I was probably doing something much more important like talking to my friends about what Mr E-A (AKA ‘McDreamy’) had said that day to make me think he was interested in crushing my gushing pussy or writing some new leaflet on the latest advancements in his field in a desperate attempt to make him fall in love with me through the power of my written word. Whatever the reason, Daniel sorted out the iPad and handed it back the night before work, ready to go.

That Saturday, in our first clinic-avec-tablet, Mr E-A asked to have a look at the shiny, new device so he could download some software to it. I willingly handed it over, eager to take credit for Daniel’s digital know-how. Apple was a relatively new brand in terms of popularity back then and I had only owned my personal iPhone a short period of time so I was a beginner when it came to navigating round the equipment. What you need to know at this point is that I had been texting Jenny just moments before I went into Mr E-A’s consulting room about what I was wearing and my latest plan to seduce McDreamy.

As his deep, delicious brown eyes roved, impressed, over the technology it made a bleeping noise. I thought absolutely nothing of this – the device was making all kinds of noises as it settled into its new life with a digital nincompoop such as myself and I ignored each and every one of them. Had I not ignored it, I’d have known that Daniel had synchronised the iPad to my personal phone, so every message I received scrolled down from the top of the iPad, emblazoned in BIG, BOLD LETTERS for the viewing pleasure of whomsoever was eyeballing the screen. To make things worse, Mr E-A was holding the thing landscape to make the preview message longer and larger.

Mr E-A’s eyes rolled from the iPad display to my own hazel peepers. ‘Something about a dream…?’ He questioned. It felt like my entire stomach had fallen out of my anal cavity. I knew instantaneously – instinctively – that Jenny had just text me back and the inappropriate message had flashed up on the screen. I dived for the tablet, clumsy in my haste and knocking his Mont Blanc fountain pen into his suited lap. Frantically my fingers clawed for the iPad – the damage had been done, of course, but I had to get it into my own hands before the follow up message I was certain would contain a penile quip came through. It would speak volumes about the sordid imaginings I had shared with my friends on what my sex life with Mr E-A would be in the minutest of detail.

He must have put two and two together, the penny clanging to a drop in his scholarly mind. He handed back the device with a fleeting ‘you can turn those notifications off, you know.’ I made up some falsification about not sleeping the night before which neither of us believed and I made my shameful, red-faced exit.

You may be cringing for me right now – believe me, that is the tip of the most gruesome iceberg of humiliation and embarrassment. But the worst, the absolute worst, is the Mrs Carter Tour fiasco of 2013:

Mr E-A had an Audi R8 which he revved up as he drove to and from work, synchronising the acceleration with the flutters in my vulva as he waved those long, lovely fingers at me. I often stood there, balancing precariously on 6 inch heels pondering how he didn’t know I was in love with him. It was so blatantly, preposterously obvious. But whatever the reason, from where I was standing, my existence in Mr E-A’s eyes seemed a fluid and irrelevant thing. And yet my world painfully revolved around him in his camel coat and his pinstriped suits and the waft of Oud that seemed to follow him always.

My flourishing love for Mr E-A was rising in correlation with the world domination of Beyoncé Knowles. She had just announced her ‘The Mrs Carter Tour’ and her UK dates included a stint at the O2 Arena. Tickets went on sale on Saturday morning and my friends tasked me with being the one to sit online and try my hardest to procure four. I had nothing better to do other than adore Mr E-A from afar while he reclined deeper into a late-running clinic so I accepted the challenge and prepared to take my place in the queue for tickets at 09:00. In passing, I mentioned to Mr E-A that I would be sitting in my consulting room, waiting for the tickets to become available online (shamelessly using the work equipment he had purchased for me as my accessing tool).

‘I’ll get you tickets. Don’t worry about waiting online or anything like that.’ Oh my god – did that mean he loved me? He was getting me tickets for a concert where tickets were as easy to acquire as rocking-horse shit. He was actually going out of his way to contact an acquaintance to get me four tickets…to stop me from having to wait online with the common people. He definitely loved me.

‘If you don’t mind, that would be great.’ I casually replied as I slinked out of the room.

Obviously, the ticket-promise occurred months before the concert date. Mr E-A assured me on a multitude of occasions that these tickets were ‘in the bag,’ and I’d get them closer to the time. I did not want to appear too keen or border on annoying so I didn’t chase them up as often as my distrustful friends would have liked – I felt certain this demi-God wouldn’t- couldn’t­ – let me down. But as the April Bank Holiday weekend approached upon which the concert was scheduled, the tickets seemed as unlikely to come to fruition as Mr E-A was to confess his reciprocated undying love for me. One member of my concert party, Luke, could rival Romeo Montague with his flair for the melodramatics and he was all over me like a wet flannel to get his grubby mitts on those tickets. He forced my hand and I was persuaded to send a text message containing what can only be described as a closed question surrounding this damned concert.

‘When are you getting us the Beyoncé tickets?’ I cringed and simultaneously died as my thumb hit the send button. I was preparing to launch a tirade of abuse at Luke in my angst when an insanely fast reply landed in my inbox.

‘I’ve got your tickets. There was an issue where two are for the Friday night and two are for BH Sunday – I hope that’s not a problem.’ Problem? Oh Mr E-A, my sweetest love, how could there be a problem when you have come through on that promise made so many months ago? My friends, those Doubting Thomas’s, were surprisingly OK with being split into pairs; Luke and his cousin decided to take the Friday night tickets; I took the Sunday tickets for myself and our friend, Laura – it was all working out perfectly.

A follow up text then came through (I noted with glee that he had double-texted…he clearly wanted me – it must be thanks to the flash of suspenders I’d ‘accidentally’ revealed last time I saw him). ‘Can you ask Luke to come to Harley Street on Friday to collect his tickets from me? I’ll bring yours to clinic on Saturday.’ This sounded inconvenient for Luke but it made life easy for me – see, he was making my journey easier.

On Friday night, Luke sent me a message to tell me that the tickets were incredible. He was in a VIP booth to the side of the stage and he could practically see the stitching on Bey’s weave and smell the sweat on her top lip as he was so close to her. There were free drinks, food and service on tap. He was super impressed and also slightly in love with Mr E-A. The next day at work I dutifully thanked Mr E-A on Luke’s behalf, describing in detail how flabbergasted Luke had been by the VIP treatment Mr E-A had sorted out for us as a surprise. In my eagerness to thank (and seduce) him, it barely registered with me that he seemed ever-so-slightly startled by the splendour of the night Luke had enjoyed.

‘I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night now – we can’t wait for some VIP treatment!’ I closed on this, my passive-aggressive hint that he should put the golden tickets in my fake-tan encrusted palm.

‘Ah, yes…I actually didn’t bring your tickets with me today but Charlotte and I were deciding if we were going to go as well so I can meet you tomorrow in London with your tickets.’

OK, first of all – who the fuck is Charlotte!? This is the first I’ve heard of any significant other…and why are you taking her to see Beyoncé? I felt an oesophageal spasm coming on as my little heart of stone crumbled to powder. Secondly, where are my goddamn tickets? At this point, on reflection, I realised I’d rather have waited in the Ticketmaster queue like the normal paupers and lost out altogether than go through this stress and agony. I plastered equilibrium on my face and pretended that was absolutely not a problem, and I would see him – and my tickets – and Charlotte – tomorrow. I hope he didn’t think I was standing, rocking out to ‘End of Time’ with his girlfriend frolicking around me killing my vibe.

The sun rose on that fateful Bank Holiday Sunday like any other day. It was ambient, I’d planned my outfit (more for the benefit of Mr E-A than Bey) and I was going to be getting VIP tickets to the concert of the millennium in a few hours. Mr E-A had arranged to meet us at a Café near Fortnum and Mason. I knew he always ran late but I wanted to appear cool, indifferent and apathetic in my Sunday best so I made sure we got there ahead of time; the last thing I wanted was to be pink-cheeked and fuzzy haired, especially not if I was potentially going to be standing near this Charlotte-the-future-husband-stealer, whoever the hell she was.

The allotted meet-and-greet time glided by – no surprise that Mr E-A was a no-show. He text me to say he was on his way so we stayed put, my eyes glued to the road outside scanning like an expert marksman for an R8 skidding down the street. But an hour later, still no sign. Every now and again I’d get a ‘2 mins’ message but then nothing. If I’m honest, he was starting to really piss me off but I had to remind myself that he was bringing me free VIP tickets to Beyoncé and he was the man I fully intended to procreate with so I needed to swallow my boiling rage and chill the fuck out.

To cut what is already a very long story short, after hours of waiting around and being told to go to a smorgasbord of different destinations for ticket collection, Mr E-A finally text to say he wasn’t going to make it and we should just meet him at the O2. Near boiling point now, my anger was bubbling away, smoking toxic fumes to choke everyone around and threatening to erupt, scorching us all with the hellfire of my vicious sulk. The thing is, when I lose my temper, I can be very nasty; I try to manage my mood as best I can by plateauing consistently on kindness and happiness even in the face of adversity. But I grew up around my mother and so, when I eventually lose it, my words are hurtful, vicious and vile. I could feel Laura’s nerves filtering off her in waves – she was stuck between my imminent tantrum and this surgeon who was doing us a huge favour but making us jump through hoops of fire before he came up with the goods. She persuaded me to go to him, playing on my feelings for him and serenading me with ‘End of Time’ which she knew would get me in the heartstrings.

To give you some idea of timing, Laura and I drove from Fortnum and Mason to the O2 Arena. We parked; we queued outside TGI Friday; we went into TGI Friday and ordered cocktails while we waited for a table; we were served our cocktails and we were seated before that sexy, sweaty lipped little bastard flounced in. His dark, curly hair bounced in freshly washed zest and I noted with disgust he was wearing camel coloured chinos held up by a thin, patent black belt and brown shoes – not tan; BROWN. I couldn’t even look him in the eye, such was my fury. Still, I was wearing a tight bodysuit and high-waisted jeans that showed off my slim figure so I maximised the angles but I boiled under the surface with tumescent wrath. Who did he think he was, strutting in six hours late looking like an extra from The IT Crowd?

‘So I’ve got good news and bad news.’

That’s genuinely how he started the conversation. No ‘Hello!’ or ‘I’m sorry I’m late!’ or ‘Ladies, I’ve been a grotty little shit-bag making you drive here, there and everywhere for these tickets,’ but ‘there’s good news and bad news.’ What could possibly come next!? Well, readers, I’ll tell you what fucking next!

‘Good news, I’ve got your tickets,’ he looked optimistically between Laura and I, hoping for some encouragement. He was met with the iciest of resolve. ‘…The bad news is they’re not together. But I’ve heard it’s a great show so you’ll enjoy it!’ Laura burst into tears – then and there – she had finally succumbed to the emotional events of the day. I’m not as much of a pussy as her so I just stared him down in sheer repugnance. I couldn’t trust myself to say another word to him so I took the tickets from those long, luscious fingers and met his eye for the briefest of moments, turning each corner of my lips into the smallest of smiles. Any love I held in my heart perished like a ship in a storm on the high seas as he awkwardly turned to walk away, muttering, ‘Let me know you if get in OK?!’ His sensible shoes squelched along the rubber floor as he made his shameful exit and I realised they reminded me of the shoes people wear when they have one leg shorter than the other. I was too distracted by the monstrosities on his metatarsals to take heed of the ‘let me know if you get in OK,’ comment… Had I noted that, I would have had some sense of foreshadowing of the horror that was about to develop.

‘This can’t get any worse,’ Laura whispered as we stared down at the mismatched tickets. One was a paper print out, the other was a proper card ticket. A quick Google told us the tickets couldn’t be further away either from each other or the stage if he had tried.

‘This is not the crisis scenario you’re imagining, Laur, pull yourself together!’ Resilience seeing me through as always, I came up with a plan that we tell the stewards that Laura was pregnant and we needed to be seated closer to one another, even if the seats were worse than what each of us had – which seemed highly unlikely since my seat would have had me rubbing shoulders with Saint Peter and Laura’s seat was situated somewhere near Peckham. She seemed satisfied by this and, as long as I did the talking, she was happy to go along with the plan. It turns out the security team at the O2 were not so happy with this plan…

19:45:15

Having finished our meal, we decide to go to the entrance of the concert a little early so we can maximise the emotive tale I am about to weave for the O2 stewards as we beg them to take pity on us. My love for Mr E-A is teetering precariously close to hatred as I note a text from him imploring us to ‘Enjoy the show! X’ Even the presence of a ‘X’ could do nothing to assuage my ire.

19:47:04

I push Laura through the turnstiles ahead of me, convinced that if either ticket is going to be troublesome, it will be the paper print out he gave to her-she can withstand the shame, she’s already been crying in public.

19:47:09

Laura thrusts through the turnstiles. I breathe a sigh of relief as I push the barcode of my own ticket into the crimson, Spirograph light. At least the tickets work!

19:47:15

Why won’t my ticket work? I’ve tried scanning it twice now in the neon lights. A cursory glance at Laura reveals she is having her bag checked by torchlight with a particularly large security steward wearing a beanie hat – you can never trust a man who wears a beanie.

19:47:21

My cheeks are flushing brightest rouge and my luxury foundation is doing nothing to conceal it. There’s a build-up of people behind me, impatient to get in and see Bey’s support act, Frank Ocean (I think – because I didn’t see him) who is due on stage in 13 minutes.

19:47:32

Security pull me off to the side-lines. I feel a vibration in my handbag but am now palpitating with embarrassment as I am taken through the turnstiles to a special desk. I can only assume I’m being guided to the place where concert-goers are strip searched, forced to bend over and cough. Laura is nervously laughing as she is led over to meet me. Everyone is gaping at me like I’m a fraudulent piece of scum and this is not helped by Laura’s tearstained, beetroot red face staring emphatically at me with her bloody legitimate paper ticket in her stout hand. I am dying inside.

19:48:01

‘Where did you get this ticket? Who gave it to you?’ The beanie-sporting Security Man is eyeing me up and down as if he’s caught me eating from the carcass of a deceased rat I found in the bin.

In my panic, I blurt out ‘My boss gave it to me.’

‘Who is your boss? What’s his name?’ This is legitimately like an episode of Ross Kemp on Gangs – his tone is unnecessarily aggressive and I note his assumption that my boss was male. I was definitely going to prison – this was overkill for a dodgy ticket, surely? Meanwhile my phone is going crazy in my handbag.

‘I’m not telling you his name!’ Why was I protecting him? And also, thinking back on those moments now, why did I automatically assume this was punishable with a prison sentence?

19:48:45

The beanie guy realises this is fruitless – I’m an information vault, locked down, not giving up Mr E-A over this crooked ticket. I’d take whatever punishment came. If that meant spending life in a prison cell being molested with a sharpened toothbrush by my cellmate, sobeit.

19:49:55

After some confusion and in-house chat with beanie guy and his mandem, Laura and I are left standing alone while they go off to converse regarding my fraudulent ticket in the confines of the curtained kiosk nearby.

19:51:10

‘Pick it up; he has to sort this out for us!’ Laura begs me.

‘We’re fucking leaving. Now! I have nothing to say to this arsehole.’ My voice is quite literally juddering; I am seething and I know if I speak to Mr E-A at this moment the mania will erupt from my soul with a viciousness I cannot hold back.

19:55:30

Still lingering there waiting for destiny in a beanie hat to return with our verdict, we remain. Having 30+ missed calls from Mr E-A, I have relented in the storm and thunder of my indignation and allowed Laura to speak to him. She has one pudgy finger in her free earhole and the other is holding my phone firmly to her chubby, puce cheek. She has walked away from me – I think she knows I’m likely to grab the phone and tell him to shove his fraudulent tickets up his skinny little arse and she is still gripping on to the hope that we may get in to see Beyoncé yet. A pessimist by nature, I’ve already mentally got my handcuffs on and I’m the back of the riot van with a spit hood covering my face.

19:57:25

We have now left the security team like escaped felons. As gas disperses in the breeze, their interest in us had evaporated away. Mr E-A has instructed us to ‘chill out, grab a drink,’ and he will be there to sort this out. After some frank words between Laura and me, I have agreed (against my better judgement) that he must be given the opportunity to rectify this misdemeanour. Laura feels that he can, and should, make amends for this. I have told her she has fallen for his charms like an absolute sucker and he is, in reality, as useful as a knob-flavoured lollipop – that we would be better off salvaging what is left of a wasted Sunday and pick up a McDonalds on the drive home. The repertoire of Frank Ocean (possibly?) blasts out from the other side of a wall that separates us from our dashed hopes and lost dreams. 

20:29:00

We’ve set up camp in an empty Slug and Lettuce. Laura has purchased me an Archers and Lemonade to calm my nerves. I sip, livid, becoming more and more agitated as the seconds roll by. The rose tinted glasses with which I once looked upon Mr E-A, the geek in orthopaedic shoes, have now been removed.

‘If he is not here in 5 minutes, we are going!’ I make the statement to no one in particular. Laura says nothing, placing the straw of her own beverage between her super-thin, pursed lips. I have to raise my voice over the raucous sound of partying to the support act going on mere metres away.

20:36:00

My phone starts vibrating across the high-table. I snatch it up as ‘Mr E-A’ flashes up momentarily on my screen. ‘Where are you?’ I don’t even try to hide my fury anymore, niceties are as dead as my vaginal reactions to him.

‘I’ve got your tickets, don’t worry. Calm down. Where are you?’ Is he actually telling me to calm down after this holy show of a catastrophe?

I gave him our location. He said he’d be there shortly.

20:47:00

Still no sign of Mr E-A but frequent phone calls and texts to say he is on his way keep us lingering. Laura’s thinking ‘we’ve come this far, we may as well see what he comes up with!’ whereas I am toeing a more ‘Fuck this cunt!’ line. My detestation for that cretinous man has reached its crescendo. I can no longer remember what I loved about him.

OK, so I know you are probably now reading this thinking, ‘Why the fuck didn’t they just leave earlier?’ Believe me, if I could have dragged Laura away, I would have done. At one point I even threatened to go and leave her there. I was mortified – the horrors of months of effort and energy wasted on getting this man to love me flashed before my eyes as the bubbles in my beverage flattened to mirror our hopes for the day. But I had to remind myself that this was my friend and she had been looking forward to this for months. My personal feelings around being let down by the man I harboured significant love for must be put aside – we had come this far, I needed to see it through – to prove to her and myself that this little weasel wasn’t worth shit!

We’ve moved to the outside of the pub and agreed that if him and his utilitarian shoes do not come clomping round that corner by the time Beyoncé comes on stage we will leave.

21:02:45

FINALLY, he shows up…but wait…who on earth is that with him? He is accompanied by a troop of reprobates. It was such an odd sight; him in his check shirt and his light brown chinos finished off perfectly by the most functional shoes ever to grace the foot of mankind leading forth a multicultural, mixed gendered pack of teenagers brandishing their abdominals in sportswear and TN caps.

I can barely look at him. He corrals us to walk with him and makes the meekest of conversations with Laura while I storm alongside some girl who has broken away from the clique, her beautiful long ringlets cascading down to her low-rise white jeans. Is this Charlotte? I regard her up and down ferociously.

21:06:00

Is that ‘End of Time’ I can hear? We are still walking, where to, I have no idea – we assume we’re heading towards the backstage area based on the distance we’ve walked from the entrance. It is now completely silent amongst the gang and one of the most awkward moments of my life – and I shit on Wasteman Wes so that’s really saying something! Laura’s palpitations are visible as her shoulders tense ahead of me.

Where the fuck is he leading us? This Bratz crew seem to know their way around…it is all just a massive cringe and I wish I was anywhere but here.

21:10:00

We are led, predominantly by the cool posse, to a random entrance. I can feel the music beating in my chest. A tall, attractive young man fumbles a wristband on me. This entire time I have not spoken a word. Mr E-A and Laura have conversed politely but a million thoughts are running round my mind, each one ending with the visual of me punching Mr E-A right in his curved little nose. As Laura is being fitted with her wristband, finally able to relax in the knowledge that we are surely about to be escorted to an exclusive section of the Arena I turn to Mr E-A to confront him on this absolute shit-show.

He is waiting for me to catch his eye. He stands, awkward and clearly embarrassed. I can’t think of a single nice thing to say – I am determined I will not thank him for the torment and anguish of an entire day. So, what cutting remark do I find to leave him on? Perhaps: ‘Well let’s hope we salvage a decent night with what’s left.’ Maybe I could go with: ‘I’ve missed my favourite song but I’m sure whatever you’ve sorted will make up for it.’ Nope… instead I casually ask:

‘So is that your girlfriend!?’ pointing at the girl with the ringlets. Oh my god – what the hell was I doing? Of all the opportunities in the world to tear him to shreds for this, I came up with that!

He sniggers a little. ‘Oh no, Charlotte’s already in there.’ Ah right, cool – that bitch is up there ramming vol-au-vants in her privileged, VIP enjoying face and we’re down here with a crew of ticket touting miscreants and a man whose fashion inspo is Grandad from Only Fools and Horses. He must gauge from my face this is totally the wrong thing to say. ‘Anyway, safe!’ and he tries to fist bump me. FIST-BUMP ME!! I mean, for a start he cannot pull off ‘safe’ as a means of curtailing a conversation at any time, least of all when wearing shoes fit for someone addressing issues with their foot arches. And to top it off he insults me with a fist bump. I physically cringe in his face and leave him hanging, standing there brandishing a closed fist into the empty air.

21:11:00

Oh, fucking wonderful! To top it all off, we’ve emerged through a black curtain to…the concrete floor. We’re standing. So all this time, walking round the O2 Arena to get where we can only assume is backstage and we’re actually being led to standing availability. 15 minutes late so we’re right at the back. And I’m five foot – wearing flats.

So, what can I say about this fuckboy story? Firstly, Mr E-A very clearly took the tickets he had procured for Laura and I when he found out how good they were and left us at the mercy of ticket touts – twice. He thought he could bank on my crush to ensure I wouldn’t have a problem with being downgraded. Secondly, in hindsight Mr E-A was absolutely aware of how I felt about him right from the start and he capitalised on that by taking advantage. I know this because in the years that have passed, he still asks colleagues about me but pretends he can’t remember my name. He calls me ‘our little friend,’ and I know he remembers my name – you do not forget the name of the hottest employee you’ve ever had! For this reason, he can 100% be defined as a fuckboy – because a good guy would have revelled in the crush of an attractive younger woman and left it there. By exploiting that woman’s feelings, especially when he has a ‘Charlotte’ at home, he is absolutely a fuckboy! It does not make me any less of a mug, but he is most definitely a fuckboy.

He text me the following day to ask whether we enjoyed the concert and I took my opportunity then to take him out verbally; I saw red when he stated, ‘You must have seen her fly over the crowd!’ after I told him I couldn’t see anything from the standing position he’d so generously cobbled together for us. Why, yes I did see that, Mr E-A – because being five foot tall I’m very skilled at being able to look up. I sent Mr E-A a huge bill for all the extra work I was doing for him that I had not been charging him for, I retained the iPad in the divorce and I never worked for, or spoke to, him again.

The moral of the story: If they don’t see how wonderful you are, they’re not right for you. So accept it, no matter how hard, and don’t let your visions of a wedding that is never going to happen manifest in your mind. But even more importantly, don’t waste the money you worked your butt off earning on expensive cosmetics, clothes and lingerie for some fugly little man with appalling taste in footwear who thinks he can pull off a fist-bump and the word ‘safe’ while bordering 40 years of age.

Wasteman Wes

There are lots of stories I can (and will) tell you about Wes, the greatest love and worst mistake of my life, but for #fuckboyfebruary I had to delve into the abyss to find something truly abhorrent.

Wes is mental; documentary-style unhinged. I maintain that if I’m found strangled to death it will be that little dreadlocked psychopath who killed me. Our relationship was toxic; I loved him too much and I loved him too quickly. That is the simple fact of the matter. So for the introductory story to Wes, the #fuckboyfebruary behaviour had to be the time when he shattered my already-cellotaped-together heart into smithereens. The day I finally found the proof that he had been poking his way through Slough’s smorgasbord of beaver I got my motivation to escape his clutches (give or take a couple of obligatory relapses).

Wes was the stereotypical wasteman – he and I went through a monthly fiscal cycle. I got paid, he asked me to ‘lend’ him money. I was always promised that money would return to my outstretched, desperate grasp by Friday at the latest. At first this was not a problem. I have always been a hustler and I’d saved myself up a tidy sum of money. I worked hard and I wanted to help him. The problem with this borrowing burrow for Wes and me was that Wes had a knack for numbers and a nasty little Machiavellian streak right down to his soul stemming from the environment of manipulation and poverty from whence he spawned. I, on the other hand, have always been a literary girl. He calculatingly began to bamboozle and confuse me, paying me a percentage of what he owed me and then asking to retain the rest until the following week. But the next week he added to his debt and, if I’m honest, I hadn’t really been counting what he owed me so I lost track of where I was. The warning flags were titillated by a light breeze but I was in love for the first time so I put my blinkers on and continued running to keep up. I was therefore left scratching my head as miniscule numbers of bank notes would be returned to me in recognition of a debt that was wider than the growing gap between me and my self-respect.

I was besotted by him and the little home we shared – I felt like the unhappiness and the loneliness I had always known was the price I had to pay for this incandescent happiness I now consumed. However, as weeks turned into months it dawned on me that I was covering the rent, the bills, Wes’ drug habits and social life plus, on occasion, the habits and social lives of his wastemen friends. I had nothing left for my own life but you get what you tolerate; I’d made my poverty stricken bed and now I had to lie in it. I had never used drugs so couldn’t formulate a fair opinion but I loathed them deeply, blaming the weed Wes smoked and the cocaine he snorted for ruining our former bliss.

Months slid into years and I found myself existing on my nerves. Our relationship was tempestuous and Wes was the archetypal bully. He came at me so hard and furiously in the beginning of an argument to assert his dominance that I backed down straight away –at five foot and growing up with my Mother believe me when I say, I’m pretty feisty by nature but he simply wore me down. If I asked him not to do cocaine and stay out all night with his friends I’d be met with him blaring out ‘who are you talking to? Who the FUCK are you speaking to like that!?’ When my childhood pet had to be put down he allowed me to be upset for the briefest of moments before asserting ‘alright, shut the fuck up now – it was a fucking dog, mate.’ And if I dared to ask him where he had been all night, or why he had what was clearly a love bite on his chest, or when he was going to give me all that money back his reaction was to grab me round the throat so hard and so fast that the air was choked out of me instantaneously. ‘I will punch you to your jaw!’ or ‘Do you want me to chop you to the neck?’ To this day I cannot fathom what a ‘chop to the neck’ actually entails – I imagine Wes would be channelling his inner Ninja as he repeatedly struck my outspread neck. But, through borrowing and stealing, Wes had taken every penny I had – he owed me thousands and I knew I didn’t have a hope of getting that back, especially not if we terminated proceedings.

Wes’s social life was like a never-ending turntable of raves, drugs and after parties from which he would return, eyes bulging out of his little round face and brown stains on the corner of his lips from surreptitious nervous licks. After one such night out, Wes came home with his snotty crustacean of a friend, Kirk. They decided to continue snorting cocaine off DVD cases in the pre-dawn light of the living room until they got a phone call inviting them to an after-party at Wes’s friend, Kerry’s. I awoke to Wes and Kirk leaving our home around 4am; two stooges who had about three brain cells between them imagining themselves sneaking away into the night like grandiose cat-burglars but the execution was more the ilk of Horace and Jasper in 101 Dalmatians.

I had been introduced to Kerry as ‘Fat Kerry’ as this is what people called her, though I didn’t know if she accepted this name or if her so-called friends called her this behind her back (I did not, and would not, nickname a fellow woman like that). I won’t go into the details as to why she had this nickname – I think I can probably leave it to my readers to draw their own conclusions. What I will say is that it was evident throughout my relationship with Wes that Kerry had feelings for him; I wasn’t threatened by this because Wes would talk about her with complete disregard and disrespect and, comparatively, we were polar opposites in both manner and in body. But I was concerned for her because I knew from my own experiences that unrequited love is the shittest of all the loves to feel. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

I gave him the silent treatment for the entire day after his eventual return from her party, partially because it was respite from the usual shit he spouted on a come down and partly because I was punishing him for the additional crime of preferring to spend his time with Kerry and her crew of unwashed miscreants than me. The following day he took me out for mediocre food as an apology – imagine my disbelief when that apology was actually funded by Wes…I should have known something was amiss. That evening the weekend’s ventures caught up with him; he languished naked (he was always naked for some ungodly reason) on my crushed velvet sofas, sweating out his exertion and the class A’s onto the luxurious material cradling his epidermis. I changed into my pyjamas and reclined with a book on my own sofa.

From time to time I threw a glance his way over the top of my much-loved copy of ‘Pride and Prejudice’. I watched him there with his squat, muscular body cocooned into the crevice of the silvery splendour beneath. His floppy little penis was stuck with body heat to his empty ball sack like a prawn on a wrinkly bed and his pot-belly was rising and falling as he gulped in the fumes of clean, crisp air that must have been so alien to his drug addled body. He breathed deeply, clearly in the post-coitus slumber of a well spent male, not a care in the world. And then my eyes fell upon something. His phone.

‘Don’t be that girl!’ I told myself. I couldn’t go through his phone…

…Could I!?

If he woke up and caught me I was frightened his punishment would be swift and decisive. Plus it was obviously a breach of his privacy but that was a mere afterthought. My internal monologue continued for some time until Wes broke through the profundities of my dilemma by squeezing out uproarious flatulence. I’m surprised this wasn’t followed by a cloud of weed-smoke and cocaine puffing from his sphincter, desperate to be clear of the toxicity imprisoned within his anal tract.  He turned deeper into the sofa, away from his phone and returned to his coma. It felt like a sign. I snapped up that little rectangle treasure trove and I punched in the liberating pin.

Any girl who has gone through their man’s phone will know the frantic passion with which the search commences. You have limited time – he may wake up or come back to the room at any second. You are also in a quagmire where you are determined to find something, but reluctant to know what dirty little secrets reside inside the digital fortress that lay in your eager palm.

Firstly, his text messages. I thoroughly investigated, opening and scrolling with frenzied fervour but I found nothing incriminating. Impressed at his ability to cover his tracks, I moved on to Facebook Messenger. He was always getting Facebook messages so it made sense to me that this was the net he cast to catch his little floozies. Alas, nothing to be explored in the archives of his Facebook portfolio either. There must be something, surely!? Finally, WhatsApp. His group chat was always pinging off – there must be something convicting buried there amongst the bestiality videos and pornography he and his chums found so entertaining (the male group chat is a world of sin we wish to know nothing about, believe me). My heart was pumping like Elton John’s fingers on the ivories. I could hear my dozing partner’s rhythmic breathing to my left so I knew he remained lifeless but the anxiety of this act was almost too much for me to bear. Almost…

I rested hesitantly on that name. ‘Kerry.’ I tapped into it, not expecting to find anything of any interest but wondering if the two had ever conversed over me. There, right there in front of me, was the following:

The reason I still have those screenshots? As proof of the single, greatest feat of infiltration ever achieved in the history of being a slighted girlfriend – that’s why! I was so impressed at my quick thinking and duplicitous guile in the moments that resulted from this that I fully expected Russia to call and recruit me as a spy. Detective Fiction should be written with me starring as the protagonist. There could be nothing else they were discussing other than the evident fact that they had fused their greasy, rotten genitals. I knew it – the words were there before my eyes but in my gut, I knew it.

Obviously, I was devastated to read those messages. For the most part I felt betrayed and humiliated. Not only had he clearly slept with Kerry, but he was completely taking the piss out of me over it too. ‘A brat!?’ Seriously!? I’m unsurprised that his grasp of the English dictionary extended far enough for the meekest of monosyllabic insults at my expense but ‘a brat?’ It wasn’t even accurate. Also, I noted the ‘bit bad’ on me element to the message – thanks for throwing me that bone, Wes. Finally, I can tell you apart from brillo-padding up the financial gains of other people there wasn’t much he was ‘good at’. But the sensation of sweet relief also trickled over me like warm water as I realised I had finally found my excuse to unceremoniously remove that leach from my life.

I sat for some time mulling over how to proceed; I was nestled between the slumbering cheater and the freedom of the front door. I should have got right up and left – of course, I know that now. But if I left this flat and him lying there in his pit of sin and iniquity I’d have no hope of ever getting him out. He would turn it into a squalid meat market of pussy, prison-fodder and pills. Plus the flat was in my name, paid for entirely though unintentionally by me, so to leave him there opened me up to all kinds of legal and financial issues. I had to get my head in the game and think smart, not emotionally.

Probing further into the trail it didn’t seem like they had slept together before but I was realistic enough to work out that after two years, a cheater does not commence his disloyalty with somebody like Kerry who had clearly wafted the nectars of her cavernous penis shack at many a wasteman; she was at the end of a slippery slope of girls. My enquiries yielded a useful fruit though – I noted at one time she had screenshotted him a trail of messages between them and I made note of her background image for the WhatsApp screen. It was picture of her and a friend, frolicking and laughing with matching bright red lipstick. The picture reminded me of Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge from James and the Giant Peach.

This image gave me the germ of an idea. Thrilled with my deviousness, I feverishly embarked upon screenshotting the evidence, including the image of her own message trail. I sent them to myself and then deleted the images from Wes’ camera roll. How I was level headed enough to do this when my world was crumbling into the void around me, I don’t know. I was ready for the capacious drama that was about to ensue. I took a deep breath, locked and returned his phone to its usual position and walked to the end of the sofa, taking a cushion with me.

With no restraint, I hammered him with that pillow with all my might. The soft thuds of silk on skin were punctuated by my heavy, furious breathing as I lifted my arm again and again, raining blows down on his perspiring carcass. He awoke from the safety of sleep into the middle of his comfortable world ending. Yelling out in shock and panic, he lifted his leg defensively and exposed his penis from a new and unappealing angle while still lying, dazed, on his back. I continued to pelt him with the cushion, over and over until he came to his senses. I repeatedly cried ‘You slept with Kerry!’ until tears began to sting my eyes and burn at my cheeks. I’m not sure how or why I eventually stopped but ultimately I flailed and the pillow of passion was released.

‘What the fuck are you going on about?’ he demanded.

Quick as a flash, I hit him with my evidence. ‘I just got a text from an unknown number with all these screenshots!’ I turned my phone screen to face him with the image of Kerry’s WhatsApp background exposed – he greedily took in as much as he could before I snatched it back and flicked across the shots I had taken from his own screen, reading them out word for word including the typing errors he had made for some extra nastiness. Take that, bitch! I let him think I was reading from the screen I had just shown him. Really, what a total idiot.

‘I don’t know where you got those from or who sent them but I never said any of that!’ He protested. I could hear from his voice he was now becoming angry, reaching for that go-to place of intimidation he knew worked so well on me.

‘Show me your phone then!’ I demanded. He knew he was caught between a rock and a hard place and a fraction of me watched his internal struggle with glee. I half expected a tiny nugget of faeces to spring from his little muscular rectum.

One thing about Wes though, he never stammered and he never stuttered. That was why he was so convincing as he wove the web of lies he had ensnared me within. He surprised me by vehemently coming out with all guns blazing. ‘I can’t talk to you about Kerry because you’re so fucking nuts. If I could have done, I would have told you the reason for those messages but I can’t remember even what they’re about. Fuck off!’ he growled maliciously.

I was incredulous. There was the proof staring him right in his horrible little face and he still wouldn’t admit it. He started to dress himself, pulling his socks ferociously onto his feet and walking from room to room to find the clothes he had strewn around the place earlier. His penis puckered around with each stride, bobbing to and fro like a little chicken head. I mentally noted his admission that he had, at least, sent those messages though clearly this was not up for further discussion.

‘You’ve clearly slept with her. Just admit it. Why else would someone have sent me these messages?’ I still clung to the lie that I had been sent the images and so far, he had not put two and two together and realised my crime.

‘Fuck off!’ He spat it at me, disgust lacing his voice. He pushed me out of his way and I bumped into the wall. We went on like this for the entirety of his endeavour to clothe himself; me trying to remain calm as I asserted my conviction that he had eaten from Kerry’s gaping goblet, him gunning out insults and defensive commands imploring me to get out of his face. He pushed me over and into things, grabbing my arms and throwing me around to move me out of his path. Still I rose up and carried on beating him with my metaphorical stick of truth.

Finally, he sat himself on the sofa to put his trainers on. At last it dawned on me that he intended to leave. But I wanted him to say it; I felt that if he just admitted it, rather than making me look crazy or like I was mistaken or I’d been tricked by some third party we both knew didn’t exist, I could walk away.

I decided attacking him was not the right approach anymore so I sat down beside him in an attempt to feign calm. Reacting to this defensively, I got a hardy helping of his bruised ego; he told me I had never been good enough for him, that he could get a million better girls than me because I was ‘ten a-penny’ and he would never sink even lower than me to sleep with someone like Kerry so I’d better stop accusing him or I’d get punched to the jaw. When he had finished tearing untruthful strips off me, in an explosion of pure rage, he grabbed my wrist tightly in his fist and, with his other hand, pushed me as hard as he could away from him. I fell off the sofa and collided with the table in the middle of the room. I knew immediately I had really hurt myself (as it happened, I’d actually smashed four ribs which was later confirmed by X-Ray – the same ribs that I would break a second time more recently taking the recycling out) but hitting the left side of my chest on the table had coincided with Wes getting up and collecting his keys from the arm of the sofa so I was momentarily distracted. Where did he think he was going when I needed a confession?

 ‘I’m going to my mum’s you fucking spastic!’ He appraised me with a sickened look on his face as I sat on the floor, cradling my left side. With that, he squeaked his Nike TNs to the front door, opened it and left. It took me bloody ages to crawl my way across the floor like a demon in a horror film, sliding on my side to the sofa to get myself up. I was also making those weird, winded, demonic sounds just to add to the general effect.

Eventually, Wes did concede he had, in fact, slept with Kerry. He said it was the biggest mistake of his life – he had never cheated before and never would again. I didn’t believe him. The fact is that even if he was telling the truth (which he definitely wasn’t) I would never believe it anyway. Add to that the fact he only admitted it because Kerry plastered passive aggressive statuses all over her social media that made it quite clear she had ridden him like a donkey rutting itself against a fencepost.

Now I am a bit older and I feel like more of a woman I can see Kerry is a person to be pitied, not hated. It’s taken me a long time to get to that point but I can only imagine how unhappy it must be to be the person even your closest friends refer to as ‘Fat Kerry.’ She was forced to wait in the wings like a wasteman wheelbarrow, hoovering up the sludge and slime I didn’t realise I never wanted in the first place.

Unfortunately, that was not the last of Wes, but it was the beginning of the end. I did get my vengeance though; firstly, he has to live his life knowing he lost the best, most lucrative thing that ever happened to him – he hasn’t a hope of getting a woman like me again. Secondly, I shit all over him in one of my relapse sex sessions with him which was mortifying for me but did leave me able to cheerfully imagine him wiping away diarrhoea from his foreskin and little purple helmet. Karma’s a bitch.

**TRIGGER WARNING**
***ALSO – Just Fucking Gross***

The Comings and Goings of Mum

Mum became promiscuous during my late teen years. Like, really promiscuous. I’m not into slut-shaming; to each his own, live and let live and all that. But she threw herself at anything – and I mean anything – with a penis. Daniel suffered more than I on the spectrum of humiliation as it is seemingly shameful to a son when their mother can be heard audibly shagging a Polish guy she met THAT DAY while he’s in the garden playing kick about with his friends. Dareg could not speak English so I have no idea how he even ended up at our house! She continued to sleep with him for a few weeks, aided by the translation of one of his flatmates. The whole situation was all a bit weird and dodgy – think about the episode of Friends where Phoebe is with the Russian guy and his translator has to be there for all the dates…it was like that – but with a 40 year old woman who had two teenagers patiently waiting downstairs turning the TV up louder and louder to cover their sounds of mutual climax.

Trying to hold mature discussions with her about her increasingly worsening behaviour and my concerns around the men she was regularly bringing in and out of her reproductive organs was fruitless. She became defensive in the first instance and we would end up rowing. Or worse, she would lie to appease me while secretly continuing to see whatever lowlife was frequenting her bed at that time; this created a chasm between us where I never believed a word she said and she felt permanently judged by her teenage daughter.

Around this time she became friends with 25 year old Andy, whom she met through work. Andy was rotund, grotesque and offensively unattractive; I wouldn’t be so mean ordinarily (THR excluded) but he was a total perverted creep. I questioned the friendship Mum had with Andy because it was definitely platonic and yet Mum did not have platonic friendships with men; she slept with them until something better came along. Andy somehow infiltrated her inner circle and would come to our house after work, huge sweat patches staining his Nickelson T-Shirt.

For my part, I remained in my bedroom whenever he came over. I had developed an acute intuition for identifying when men wanted me, especially the ones who repulsed me, and I actively avoided being confronted by such situations. He was the kind of man who made my skin crawl and the thought of being in a confined space with him made me panic – I still get like that now with certain men although it happens less often these days. It actually happened to me last night with some hook-nosed 14 year old kid in a parka coat who sidled up too close to me while I was at the till in Boots. I wanted to tell him to back the fuck off but his Mum looked like she could pummel my arse so I just shuffled awkwardly into the racking to my right offering face-wipes at £1. I should caveat that former statement by acknowledging this is not always the fault of the man; he may be perfectly pleasant (although he’s usually not). But something about him gives me the ‘ick’. (For definitions of ‘the ick’ see @lalalaletmeexplain – she’s an all round guru on matters of the heart and vagina)

One day, after an evening out with Andy, Mum came home waxing lyrical about Andy’s friend, James. She said James was the ‘hottest guy’ she had ever seen (she liked to use youthful vernacular as her way of asserting to the young men she preyed on that she still had her finger on the pulse of adolescence) and that he was clearly into a cougar such as herself. She had a penchant for younger men by this point – I think she felt every time a boy twenty years her junior entered her it was the equivalent to suckling from the milky teat of eternal youth. I didn’t doubt for a moment that she would sleep with him because she slept with them all. She would often regale me with elicit tales of her sexual exploits, not imagining for a moment that this was inappropriate, that I didn’t want to hear about the dalliances of her cervix and that I was not her sister, counsellor or friend but in fact her daughter.

Predatory and voracious, she became obsessed with James. Talking about him incessantly, making moves around the chessboard of life to bring him closer to her. At 22 years old I almost pity the boy because she was rapacious in her efforts and he was a mere hare caught in the lens of her mating weaponry. I made a mental note to myself to never be like her when it came to men; if I had to chase them then I should leave well alone.

The day came when Andy brought James to our house for an evening of fun with Mum. I was used to her bringing reprobates and degenerates into our home; boys not much older than Daniel and I who drove VW Golfs and wore Armani emblazoned chinos and used her to raise their body count. It was actually really sad to see how Daniel would become so attached to them, too young to realise they weren’t looking to replace the Dad he had lost. I normally slept with a chair under my door handle when she brought them round; not because I thought they were going to sneak into my room and rape me in the night but because, well, they could. She once commented that she wished she had taken my bedroom when we moved in to our house instead of the largest bedroom because mine was closer to the loo and she ‘wouldn’t have to drip along the landing to the bathroom.’ A savoury thought.

I suppose what I’m saying here is that despite Mum’s protestations, my expectations of ‘James the Sex-God’ were gutter level. So, imagine my surprise as I peered out of the landing window at Andy’s black Renault Clio pulling across the dropped curb when I discovered James was in fact no degenerate or ne’er-do-well. James was hot. There’s no other word for it – he was seriously hot. Average height, slim but muscular, hair all spiked up (it was fashionable at the time) and these dark brown eyes that were like looking into pools of glistening, melted chocolate. I actually stopped breathing, then and there on the landing; it was only when my chest started making this weird humming noise that I remembered I needed to gasp some air into my empty lungs. They made their way to the front door and I saw him momentarily glance upwards at the house. I dropped to the floor like a panicking sack of potatoes – I couldn’t be that weirdo who just twitched the curtains at people constantly – even though I genuinely was that weirdo who twitched the curtains at people constantly. I crawled along the landing to my bedroom, still in a state of shock. Half way there, I turned around (remaining on all fours) and crawled back toward the stairs – I wanted to meet this Adonis. But then, considering how strange and creepy the sight of a seventeen year old crawling down the stairs blushing furiously would seem, I turned again and picked up the track to my room. It must have been like watching an ant aimlessly running around a paving slab.

After clawing back some semblance of tranquillity and wiping down the knee marks in my jogging bottoms, I descended the stairs to meet our new guest, feigning aloofness. I was 17, learning to drive, and a complete loser. Upon meeting James I found he was a remarkably nice guy – what was he doing hanging around with Mum and Andy, the sex pests? I didn’t get it.

Mum let us all chat for around five minutes. James asked me questions about Sixth Form and driving and he seemed genuinely interested in my life, although that may have been me wishful thinking. I realised he was really quite dense but still very beautiful so I made a mental note that he wasn’t the guy for me (even if he’d wanted me, which he definitely didn’t with my fuzzball Screech hair and skinny little Mowgli-body) but I was conflicted with the knowledge that he seemed nice and I didn’t want him polluted by Mum.

I appraised her for clarification on what it was he might like about her; standing there in her Birkenstocks with her olive, petite body and her brunette bob. Was she that pretty? I didn’t think so – not really. She looked much prettier without make up but she slathered that on like war paint, layer upon layer of umber tones concealing the youthful freckles that lay hidden beneath. She tittered at everything he said which only served to cringe me out. I caught her eye as I reviewed her competitively and she slowly, purposefully raised her eyes to the ceiling; a definite hint that she was signalling for me to leave the room and make myself scarce. So she wanted to be alone with the chubster and the hottie? Fine – enjoy being spit-roasted, Mum!

That night I brooded in my bedroom while she undoubtedly made an absolute twat of herself in front of Andy, who yearned for her, and James, who probably knew he could smash her anytime he wanted and was just putting in a bit of ground work on the assumption that she wouldn’t make it easy for him; which was a misplaced supposition.

James and Andy became regulars in our lives. They came over weeknights and weekends to hang out with Mum. I would be allowed to join for the briefest of moments and then swiftly signalled to fuck off when Mum wanted them to herself. By now I had accepted the pair for the weirdos they obviously were – who the fuck hangs out with a 40 year old woman at 22 and 25? What had initially endeared me to James was now an annoyance but their presence did mean the endless train of men ceased from passing through our home.

After I had passed my driving test, Mum asked me one day that Summer if I might drive her, James and Andy back to Andy’s house for the remainder of the afternoon. I had an evening and weekend job at a local hairdressers that paid £40 per week and I had saved up and bought myself a little white Suzuki Alto GL; four gears and a choke I didn’t have the first idea how to use. I called her ‘Suki’ and I loved her because she was all mine.

I had nothing better to do for the chosen hour of their departure so I shoved a bookmark in my copy of The Chrysalids and agreed. I caught Mum in the hallway while Andy and James were putting their shoes on and asked her to make sure she sat next to me in the front seat; she knew my issues around being close to men I didn’t like and she knew Andy was one such man so I thought she would understand the request. Instead she told me to, ‘get a fucking grip. Andy isn’t going to touch you!’ I considered telling her to shove her lift up her perfectly bleached little arsehole then but I didn’t because I preferred to have the house to myself for the remainder of the day.

We piled into the car and I pressed myself over to the right as far as I possibly could while being able to drive but I could still feel the body heat exuding off Andy, wafting towards me in upsurges of rigor and desperation. Mum was perched innocently next to James on the brown tartan back seats, absolutely in her element. I made a succession of cursory glances in the rear view mirror during the journey; all seemed very quiet back there but they both sat poised, upright and belted safely in to the chintzy seats. Mum had her handbag on her lap and James’ eyes were fixed ahead. Yet something felt…wrong. I was left to hold the conversation with Andy which really annoyed me because he mainly liked to discuss how his work simply could not function without him. I put the negative feeling about the rear seats to the back of my mind, blaming it on my discomfort at being in a confined space with Andy the mouth-breather while Mum watched on, knowing how I’d be feeling and doing nothing to be of any help.

Mum did not come home that night. I wasn’t worried about her; she often left us in to fend for ourselves so I made my 13 year old brother some dinner and we settled down to a charming evening uninterrupted by the rhythmic banging of our Mum being pounded above our heads.

When Mum eventually called me to pick her up from Andy’s the following day the conversation was like speaking to a teenager. It was then it dawned on me that our dynamic had shifted; I had become the mother, parenting both her and my little brother. She had regressed into a sub-adult with wrinkles round her eyes but a vagina rejuvenated with the newfound fervour of life. She was continually giggling, ‘Stop it James!’ and ‘….sorry…I didn’t hear you, I’m being distracted!’ This pissed me right off – she was making a buffoon of herself and it was cringing me out. I remained silent on the line and she could obviously sense my judgement as her next words were ‘Oh stop being so uptight and judgemental! Just because you can’t find a man, doesn’t mean we all have to die a spinster. I’ll see you in a minute – ring me when you’re outside.’ She was showing off for her penis endowed audience and doing it at my expense. And just like that, she hung up on me for one last round of coitus with James.

The journey home was frosty – from my end. She was like information vomit spouting chunk after chunk of uncensored detail in my face as I chauffeured her home.

‘So, we had sex on his little sister’s trampoline. If you’ve never done that, it’s a must!’ Of course I haven’t done that, Mother – I haven’t allowed anyone to touch me in years, I’m certainly not bouncing my flaps off elasticated plastic with some ignoramus who thinks it’s appropriate to copulate with a pensioner on a minor’s toys. I only said this in my head, though – I wouldn’t dare say it aloud or the lash of her evil tongue would smite me hard and fast. Her hurtful words were of no consequence to me; what concerned me was my own retaliation because, when it came, it would be venomous, smoking and ripping with malevolence and revulsion spawned from a lifetime of feeling hard done-by.

‘…And you might want to valet your back seats. James fingered me yesterday while you were driving us.’ It took a minute for the words to sink in. Sorry, what the actual fuck? I slid my eyes reluctantly toward her, sitting there smugly to my left in yesterday’s clothes with a wry smile on her thin lips; obnoxious, immoral and disgusting. To top it off, she genuinely thought I’d be impressed…or maybe jealous. Either way, she got the guiding emotional reaction I felt woefully wrong – I was horrified. How could she possibly think that was something to be proud of?

She has done many things over the years to chip away at any respect I have for her but that knocked down a significant amount in one swoop. I felt really betrayed. It was such a small thing to her but it made me feel like a chump – I was ferrying her around at her whim and she thought it was suitable and moral to allow some guy to sneak his digits into her cotton-blend pants and pleasure her while they both feigned total innocence. She made me feel sick but I somehow remained silent; I didn’t know what to say to her and I worried if I opened my mouth I’d projectile vomit all over poor, innocent Suki. Unfortunately, Mum knew me well enough to know I turned my nose up at her sexual divulgences and I think, just maybe, she felt a pang of embarrassment because I hadn’t congratulated her on having her clitoris indexed so she followed the confession quickly with her typical defensive drivel.

‘You’re such a prude! Lighten up – I’m a woman with needs. If you stay this frigid and cold, looking down your nose on everyone, no one will ever want you. One day I’d love to see you with a James or someone lovely like that but if you carry on the way you’re going you’ll be alone with a dried up fanny for the rest of your days.’ Cool, Mum. Nice. Classy!

I doubt she remembers any of this even happened – she would remember James for certain. But the fingering in the car, the fucking on the trampoline, the associated rebuke of her daughter…that will have slipped her memory like grease off a pan – this conveniently happens with Mum when she makes decisions that others would deem detrimental to the safety or mental health of her dependents. The incident solidified further my resentment towards her and stood as testimony to the sad fact that while I understood my psyche and acted to protect myself, she actively put me in the line of fire without second thought. I suddenly felt really alone in the world. True to form, the scenario didn’t knock me down for too long as I knew the tables would soon turn and she would end up discarded and forsaken by this new Lothario. Sure enough, not so long after the Suzuki finger-blast, James stopped coming over, stopped texting her and dried up all contact. Gleeful, I buried my nose into the depths of Wuthering Heights and let Hurricane Mum blow over. Broken-hearted for the umpteenth time, she went on the Special K diet and threw herself back into concentrating on her core skill – being the dog-shit on the shoe of my life.

Ripe That Smile Off Your Face

A holiday to Turkey in my early twenties changed me. Before getting on that flight with my friend, Jenny, I lived like a ghost, except I wasn’t a ghost. That holiday breathed life into me. There are many, many things that transpired in Turkey to contribute to this personality overhaul from a serious, bookish girl who did not know how to have fun to the much looser (not vaginally – well, maybe vaginally too) person I am today. Those are stories I will treat you to with relish in due course. However, I feel the post-Turkey aftermath is structurally a good place to turn to following the distressing memoir you’ve just read.

So as I said, Turkey left me feeling self-assured, confident and care-free. I was high voltage; I felt supersonic. I had suddenly realised I was masking myself with shades of grey to make other people feel less shit about themselves and it was finally time to remove the dour act and let the inner peacock ruffle his tail feathers. You know in those Vampire films when they finally succumb to the blood lust and it totally consumes their being for a time? That was me in my mid-twenties discovering that life wasn’t all about work and OCD and doing what made my imposing family happy. I ditched the 10mgs of Citalopram and I was totally ready to hit the fairground of life hard.

On our return to UK soil Jenny kept harping on and on about this gym she had joined. She said the trainer, Tom, was so hot you needed to wear sunglasses lest his beauty melt your cornea and, even better than that (according to her – I never saw evidence of this) he was also a genuinely decent guy who cared about body confidence. Pre-Turkey you would not have seen me in a gym – I’d have needed to research the etiquette, the machinery, the hygiene regimen. But now, in my newfound zeal, I reasoned ‘why not?’ I was young and everything looked better with a tan so what was the harm in making that further step toward self-improvement?

Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed the gym. I say ‘surprisingly’ because I loathe, detest and abhor anything like physical exertions so I had cemented my heart against working out in the long-gone days of Cross Country. However, here I now was, bronzed Goddess thinking I was something out of Mean Girls waltzing between the machinery like a Lycra wearing Head Cheerleader, Jenny working her curves at my side. We were sick – super sick.

The idea behind this gym was that it should feel more like having a personal trainer for a small group work-out. It was essentially a circuit training set up so exercisers worked round from one torturous machine to another while the baby blues of Tom luxuriated over us. Obviously, I was mainly there to show off my tan and my petite body so I put in minimal effort but the others really gave it some elbow grease. There was one guy perpetually present who stood under a fanlight window during a session and his head would quite literally steam into the sky above like smog from a boiling saucepan. I applauded his dedication, of course, but I never wanted to follow him round the circuits because his sweat splattered in great splodges over the equipment and floor; I hadn’t signed up to get my hands dirty.

Tom loved boxing, so the punch bags were a major part of any gym class. For that part of the circuit, we were instructed to wear boxing gloves. I purchased my own pair of gloves because the notion of putting my bleach-washed hands into spare gloves harbouring the body juices of Lord knows how many other gym-goers was barbaric. I would pose at the bags, knowing my upper body was next-to non-existent, and pretend I was pummelling with all my might when really I was just tapping them lightly enough to make my bum jiggle. I was convinced Tom would be transfixed as he watched me working it like a lava lamp on MDMA.

To provide you with an adequate mental image of THAT terrible, terrible day (that’s not hyperbole) I should now describe to you the circumstances in which Number Two of the most humiliating moments of my life occurred:

The gym was a relatively small, long room with black, rubber flooring. On entry, scaffolding towered intimidatingly above you, four punch bags suspended dominantly from the corners of the construction. Further into the room were rowing machines and a rope-pulley where the exerciser basically attempted to ‘climb-the-rigging’ while seated – I was absolute dog shit at this machine because you couldn’t pretend to be working harder than you were – there was a traitorous snitch of a little dial stating your efforts and outputs. Battle ropes extended like constrictors down the midsection of the entire room, halving it perfectly. At the back was an exercise bike and two power plates which you squatted on or did press ups over while it vibrated you into oblivion. The wall by the entrance was mirrored so you could watch yourself with mortification as you progressed around the circuit, cheeks transcending from pink to purple with worrying speed.

That day was hot – heatwave hot. To make the idea of a gym session even less palatable, at work earlier that day I’d had the misfortune of unexpectedly coming on my period. I have a heavy-flow at the best of times and this particular period was Mother Nature’s way of putting me back in my box. I’d grown too bold, too arrogant. My ego had to take a hit. She hit me in the womb and, by Jove, I paid the price.

By the time I got to the gym to meet Jenny that evening I was sweating pellets thanks to the heatwave and the period and I had bled through my last ‘just in case’ tampon. Unperturbed, I changed into my teeny-tiny gym shorts and rummaged around in my bag for that one spare tampon girls always have laying forgotten, covered in a myriad of fluff, pencil shavings (for some unknown reason as I hadn’t sharpened a pencil since Year 4) and other unspeakable Pseudomonas in the graveyard of their handbag.

No tampon…but there was an ancient sanitary towel. How long had it been in there? Who knew! But it was my lifeline. I unpeeled the dilapidated turquoise plastic blanket it was cocooned within and pulled down my shorts and pants – only to remember that I was wearing a thong that day! Still, I was a strong, independent woman and I could be resourceful here. I stuck as much of the unwinged sanitary towel as I could to the scant material available and fleetingly noted that it wasn’t all that sticky, especially when gluing it to the crusty brownish-red stains on the undercarriage of the pants that had so surprised me at work earlier. I folded the flaps of the towel that overhung my knickers in on themselves, creating a thong-shaped liner and hoiked those pants so far between my bum cheeks my sphincter felt like it was having a cotton hug. Mission complete, I picked up my boxing gloves and swaggered into the gym, resplendent in my ingenious creativity.

Some way through the work out the small room had begun to feel like a sauna as we perspired and sweltered through the session. The mirror had completely steamed up and condensation ran down the walls. Luckily, my tan was on point so I reassured myself that my rosy cheeks and moist glean were still attractive. Tom instructed me to move to the punch bags. I took a swig of water, secured my boxing gloves with their Velcro strapping and made my way over to the bag dangling closest to the door.

I began punching the bag with a renewed energy, focusing on the same spot to plant my frail thumps with rapidity and agility. When, all of a sudden…

SPLAT!

That is the exact, onomatopoeic sound of it. It cut through the house music and the clouting of the bags and the grunting of the other workers to assault my ears. I knew what had made that noise but I couldn’t bear the thought -nay, the horror – of looking down to visually capture what now lay between my legs. I was statuesque. A million thoughts raced across the Serengeti of my traumatised mind.

Painfully slowly I lowered my head. Eyes travelled down the Everlast punch bag, declining further to the dark floor. There it was, languishing there like a rolled out white sock exposing me for the arrogant fool that I had been. The sanitary towel, sunny side down. The weight of the womb-lining sponged within it had caused it to spin and flip over in the air as it bungeed to the rubber mat below. I could see the fibres of my knickers in a tell-tale V shape running through the middle, the bottom sides beginning to arch themselves inwards towards each other in a lovers embrace, muscle memory from the time they had spent swaddled between my glutes.

Sweet Jesus. Did anyone see that? I didn’t think so…it felt like it had been hours since the sanitary towel and I had been locked in a death stare. No one had come over; no one had stopped what they were doing to gawp. I was now morbidly aware of a delightful breeze cooling my throbbing lips (the period throb, not the sexy throb), a breeze that had been allowed forth when the sanitary towel had unstuck itself from my vulva and made a bid for freedom. And now my haemorrhaging vagina was protected by the thinnest layer of material and nothing else.

Instinct began to take over. I had to get out of there. Now! I had about 30 seconds, maximum, before the circuits moved again and Trisha from Staines came over to expose me for the bleeding wreck I was. I had no time… I was wearing boxing gloves; biting off the Velcro locks ensnaring my hands would take too long. But my hands inside the gloves were positioned like an arthritic old lady’s so there was no way I could grip the towel. There was only one option open to me.

I drew my arm back and punched that sanitary towel so hard I felt Hulk-like in my adrenaline-induced strength. I swiped the glove across the floor, ensuring the remaining gum on the underside of the liner had affixed itself to my right boxing glove. And then I ran.

I left my drink, my work clothes…everything. In my haste, brandishing the bloodied sanitary towel bonded with my boxing glove ahead of me, I didn’t have time for such frivolities as collecting all my worldly goods or checking for visible blood smears on the floor. I disposed immediately of the liner and the gloves in a waiting dustbin outside. Retrieving my car keys from the wheel of my waiting steed, I turned the key in the ignition and I vamoosed home.

After cleaning leaked blood off my car seat I text Jenny to find out if anyone had seen the depths of my humiliation. She confirmed they had not, but she had told Tom I had shit myself and had to leave because poo was running down my leg. Not sure that was any better, to be honest. I never returned to the gym.

Moral of the story – no matter how ballsy a holiday makes you, don’t think balling up a sanitary towel and hoping the strength of your arse cheeks will keep it in position is EVER a good idea.

**TRIGGER WARNING**

Dad – Part 1

There is no way, as I said before, to make this particular chapter of my life funny. Dealing with it has made me one of the strongest people I know and I am secure in the knowledge that no matter what, I will get up, dust myself off and carry on – this has been my life mantra. I don’t cry, I find it hard to verbalise my emotions, I can’t bear to be touched by anyone but those very close to me, I have employed every coping mechanism under the sun and I have only ever achieved an orgasm with one man (last year, actually) but I am also intelligent, resilient and funny. I promised myself I would write this blog for my own therapy because counselling has never worked for me (I don’t want to negate from the invaluable impact counselling has on anyone who needs support, it’s just not for me). I’m going to plunge backwards into those years as honestly and openly as I can. There are things to say that I have never spoken of and haven’t allowed myself to think about but it’s important to be totally honest for the first time about exactly what happened.

I don’t remember much of my life before Dad was in it. In more recent years I like to verbally distance myself from him by calling him my ‘Step-Dad’ but growing up, he was always just Dad. He was a hero in my eyes, and those of everyone in my family because he took on the excess baggage my mother had saddled herself with – a two year old: me.

As mentioned when discussing the depraved chasms of the inner workings of my mother, she stole him unceremoniously from his first nuclear family. I suppose when you review his situation up to that point objectively all the red flags were there to be seen but in an early 1990s setting it would be fair to say a firm grasp on the key elements of a paedophile’s behaviours were not in place.

His mother died when he was on the cusp of his teen years and his father was a particularly cruel, harsh man. Bereft of a loving matriarch, Dad and his sister were shunned from the familial embrace and turned out into the coldness of independence very young, but not before their father had introduced them over and over again to women who were welcomed into their home as ‘Nannies’ but who inevitably always ended up in his bed.

He had a relationship with the 14 year old best friend of his sister when he was 21. This in itself would be an arrestable offence in 2020 but in the 1980s I imagine people just saw the 14 year old as a lucky young lady to have enticed the attentions of the local farmhand. And to be candid, he was not an unattractive man. The way I remember him is as a monster with half a head of hair, bloated from cancer treatments prowling round the house like an emasculated pest. But I recently found a photograph of him and me which would have been taken in the midst of the abuse and he was a much nicer looking man than I had remembered. That fact is irrelevant, I know…but it somehow makes his paedophilic nature more shocking.

His first wife was just 17 when she fell pregnant. He had achieved the nightmarish feat of impregnating her the first time they had sex, simultaneously filling her with fertilised seed and also taking her virginity. I don’t know much else about his history prior to that but I assume it is littered with many borderline cases of immorality.

The conclusion I have come to is that it was more likely to have been my mother who pursued him when they met at work. She was a single mother in her mid-twenties; pretty, very youthful in appearance and petite. I know the desperation and tenacity she employs when she goes after a man; he would have been feeble against the strength of her ferocious forces even if he had wanted to resist. An affair followed and he ended up leaving his wife and two daughters (one older than me, one younger) for my mother. I don’t think the thought ever occurred to anyone that a man who was willing to walk out on his wife and children for a psychopath and her illegitimate offspring was lacking in a moral compass pointing Due North.

Mum fell pregnant once again, this time with her much adored son, and they ran off to get married not long after his birth. Dad had always wanted a son so he was happy, and Mum found a human to devote the only scraps of kindness she held within her heart to. We were a desperately unhappy family. Nothing was ever enough for Mum and, try as hard as he might, Dad could not meet her outlandish expectations. He didn’t earn enough to fund her obsession with keeping up with our next door neighbours and he lacked the strength and excitement to enthral or control her; she was a woman who needed a level of reigning in. I can’t tell you whether there was ever truly any love in that house; their marriage and our lives in entirety were as hollow and empty as a bell jar. Dad and I lived constantly on our nerves knowing another of her furious tempers could hit either one of us, most likely him, at any moment. In the early days I think we found allies in each other. She berated him, belittled him and bullied him at every opportunity, overpowering him with her screeching and running ten steps ahead of him in their mental warfare. If she couldn’t get him, I was the consolation. Watching this from the earliest of ages, I believe that the reason I put up with being abused by him for so long was out of pity over the way Mum treated him. I can’t deny he used this fact to his advantage, maintaining my status as his sexual object for maximal time, but I didn’t understand that until I was much older.

One year bled into the next and Dad’s jealousy of my brother took a firm grasp on our family life. He harboured resentment towards Daniel founded upon the obvious preferential treatment Mum showed him in all things. While Dad could barely butter bread without Mum kicking him out for getting crumbs in the pot, Daniel was placed upon a pedestal. So Dad started to punish him. He was violent towards him, giving him a firm hand where he felt Daniel had strayed outside the confines of his increasingly shrinking circle of acceptable behaviour. He and Mum would argue about how heavy-handed Dad was with him, Dad would be kicked out for a few days and then Mum would invite him home. It seemed she couldn’t bear to live with him, but she couldn’t make do without him either. I don’t wish to dwell on her mental state because I will never understand it but the reason for his consistent return to her was completely down to her. He seemed to repulse her; she detested him – at times more than I did. But sure enough, she would hunt down an excuse to be rid of him and he would return like clockwork at her whim soon after.

Dad would lift Daniel up by the sides of his head and shout in his face. He would smack him so hard the hand print would be left there for days. He would push him and pull him with jarring speed, knocking the wind out of him. But more concerning and cruel than that were the vicious mind games he would play. Mum worked a late shift on Wednesday evenings and we would be left with Dad looking after us. I always found these evenings perfectly acceptable, pleasant even, (before I became the focus of his sexual advances) because Dad was delightful toward me. Daniel dreaded them and would stay outside with his friends as long and as late as he could to avoid the bullying that would follow his journey indoors. If we asked for a drink, I would be given a large glass filled with coke while Daniel would be handed a small tumbler half-filled with tap water. If Daniel dared to make himself a drink or grab himself some food, Dad would snatch it away and gulp it down right in front of him. Nothing Daniel could do would go without negative critique by our father. Those small victories seemed to mean such a lot to him.

Mum and Dad argued constantly and furiously about three things; money, Daniel and sex. The symphony of our childhood was inappropriate battles between them over finances, parenting and their sexual life, or lack thereof. When the arguing abated, neither was particularly prudish when it came to having make-up sex in a place where their children could walk in at any moment, which we did all the time. We were desensitised to sex very early on. One particular incident comes to mind where Daniel and I were in the kitchen playing while mum and dad were upstairs having a quick two-minute amends (the time he lasted with her was one of the weapons Mum consistently threw at Dad in the heat of their relentless, vociferous arguments, retaliating to his contention that she never wanted him). Dad emerged in the doorway of the kitchen naked from the waist down, except for his socks, with an erection and he was bleeding from his penis. He stared at me as he walked past to go to the sink and sniggered at my shock at his nakedness, his erection and the blood. I am certain the abuse had not started at this point because I would not have been dazed at the sight of an erection from the age of nine.

Life slithered onwards like this for many miserable years. Mum treated Dad abysmally. Dad, in turn, asserted his dominance over Daniel. I remained on the periphery for the early years, never quite fitting in and turning to books and the solace of learning to escape the grief of home life. I viewed my parents as polar opposites; Mum was dramatic, spiteful and jealous and Dad was weak, patient and quiet. I find it inexplicable now but I simply adored him because he was the antithesis of Mum. I hadn’t worked out that he was always so wonderful to me because I was being groomed. My experience of our life at that time was that he looked out for me, I looked out for him.

I suppose with all tales of abuse, it begins with grooming. But when did this grooming start? I can’t, in all honesty, be sure. Sometimes I see Dad as a calculating monster who was enticed into my family by Mum, who could easily pass for a much younger girl, and then he hit the jackpot when he found she had a daughter of an impressionable age who could be sculpted into a means of gratification however he wished. Other days I see him as an opportunist who started to feel urges he could not control and finally, unable to suppress his impulses, he was compelled to act upon them. Mostly I see him as a weak individual who yearned for control and dominance and was unable to oppress the compunction to assert this over a vulnerable child. It does not particularly matter what the reason was because he is now dead and can never be held to account for what he did. The only reason it matters, on the very rare occasion I allow myself to think about it, is because it helps me to feel better about it all if I understand why.

I can’t pinpoint a moment where my childhood commenced its decline; perhaps there wasn’t one. Moments like the bleeding erection in the kitchen scream unfathomable indecency but I can’t find an exact action, or word or time that heralds the start of the horror. My timeline seems to be spattered more with particularly appalling moments where things periodically escalated from bad to worse.

What I do remember vividly from very early on is that I started to feel a deep-rooted instinct that something did not feel right on the Wednesday evenings when Mum worked late. I know I was in Primary School at this time because I recall reflecting on Dad’s behaviour in the Lunch Hall. Windsor has a three-tier education system so at the very oldest I would have been eight or nine. 

I was very, very small – the smallest in my year. But I had an abundance of thick, wavy, long hair. Wednesday nights were one of my scheduled bath and hair wash nights; most likely dictated by Mum who knew she would be working so wouldn’t have to deal with me herself. It became of critical importance to Dad that my hair was thoroughly washed and, even more importantly, the shampoo was eradicated from my hair in totality. He therefore took the responsibility of washing my hair away from me, deeming himself the only one capable of doing a decent job of cleansing my bushy follicles. He stood over me, scrubbing at my head as the suds lathered up and we would play a game where he would spike it up like a punk or a unicorn. He would then take painstaking effort to rinse off the shampoo, leaving me with a mop of soaking wet hair. This became a tradition which was as ingrained in our lives as eating or breathing. However, after a while it became a concern for him that my hair remained wet and would often still be damp in the morning after a full night’s sleep. A new tradition was therefore introduced whereby following on from the cleaning protocols, I would be carried upstairs in my towel to the bedroom he shared with Mum, and I would sit at her dressing table while he devotedly blow-dried every inch of my hair.

Things started to become intense and the feeling in my gut that things were bad grew when he began to ask me for a cuddle after he had dried my hair. He would lie back on the double bed and hold his arms out wide, inviting me in to his clasp. It didn’t occur to me at first to mind and I willingly climbed onto the bed for a cuddle with my Dad. However, the ritualistic nature of this new regime felt uncomfortable. Especially when, after a few weeks of insisting we cuddle after he dried my hair, he initiated a new procedure where he would roll on top of me and hold me there in his grip beneath him. Slowly, he inaugurated pelvic thrusts into the routine a few weeks after that. I knew this was innately wrong, but he was my Dad outside of this one thing he did to me on the bed so, when the cuddle was over, I would be released and the remainder of my week would roll on as usual.

One particular Wednesday, Dad was lying on top of me, grinding his hips against me and he turned his head into my ear and whispered ‘Let’s have sex.’ Even writing that now makes my skin feel as if it has fleas writhing all over it. I lay there, submissive and panicking. In those moments you learn a lot about yourself and I learned then and there that in the battle between Fight and Flight, I was a Freeze kind of girl. I finally accepted that Dad wasn’t the person I thought he was and something emotional within me solidified itself defensively against him. He was now a predator in my eyes and I, the prey, had to be on my guard.

The next significant moment I recollect was when he started joining me in the bath. Rather than washing my hair from the outside, he would wait for me to get in and then undress himself and climb in with me. The space felt so confined, even with my tiny body; his man-sized legs encircled me as I sat cross-legged, arms protectively folded around me, between them. He would always have an erection before he got into the bath and in the moments when I flashback to those times I can see his penis floating in the water right in front of my eyes, excited and always ready to advance. He was so tentative and unhurried in the developmental stages of the abuse that I can’t help but conclude the planning on his part at this stage must have been meticulous. He had long since dropped the hair washing, blow-drying and bed-cuddle routine as he escalated his intentions into the bathroom and concentrated them there.

At first, the bath ceremony simply consisted of him accompanying me into the water and being in the bath with me until it got cold. I could no longer ignore or rationalise away the unavoidable reality that he was weird and liked to have secret baths with me. Could I be such a terrible daughter to him that I would tell on him for this though? Of course not. That would bring down the fury of Mum and I still felt compelled to protect him from that, even if it meant I sacrificed my own happiness to do so. He would tell me this was our secret, and that Mum would make his life hell if she knew – a fact I believed to be true. I never doubted for a moment that she wouldn’t believe me if I told her, I instinctively knew she would. But I didn’t want my weak Dad to have to go through another barrage of abuse because of me. So I let him sit in those baths with me, believing that this was the very worst it would get and I could deal with that.

Quite quickly into this new bath time routine he initiated the touching phase – I always had to touch him, never the other way around. He would call it ‘exercising his willy.’ At such a young age I had completely misinterpreted what I had heard of sex and I believed sperm was some kind of a gas which emitted from a penis (I’m currently resisting the urge to make a humorous quip about that, to be honest). I never made the connection that ‘exercising his willy’ was essentially giving him a hand job until he came. The creamy liquid would then float around us while he lay there, basking in post-ejaculatory glory and soaking up the remainder of warm water. Only when he was too cold to remain there, naked, with me shivering and begging to be allowed to leave, did he allow me to go upstairs and get into my pyjamas. His sperm would often settle in the child hairs on my legs or in the tendril ends of my hair and I would occasionally discover it the next day at school, a crusty reminder of the evening before.

Naively, I became obsessive over formulating plans of how I could make him forget about my responsibility to help him with his carnal exercises. I would wait for him to climb, hard, into the bath and chatter at him about anything I could think of, believing his desire for me would slip his mind and I would be free for another week if I could distract him with conversation. It never worked. He obviously had one thing on his mind and that was evident from the fact he was always visibly turned on before he even removed his clothes. Of course to my nine-year-old mind, this was not sex and he could be befuddled into forgetting to ask me to touch him. But in his mind, he waited for those Wednesday evenings every bit as much as I dreaded them.

His intentions escalated with swiftness following the establishment of intimate touching. Possibly, he was now confident that I was not going to mention Wednesday bath times to Mum and he was in a position of power where he knew he could do whatever he liked to me without fear of discovery. Perhaps hand jobs were no longer enough to satisfy him. Maybe he felt he could rely on my shame over what was happening to hold my tongue. Our baths had taken a sinister turn; he was once again insisting on cuddles with me but this time we were not clothed, I was trapped with him in the confines of a tiny bath and I was forced to wedge myself between his wet body and the side of the tub against my will. At first he would feign it was accidental when he rolled me beneath him and lay on top of me, pleasuring himself between my legs while I endured the ordeal silently. But the pretence must have become tiresome to him or he stopped caring whether I thought he was a monster or not as time swelled on because, before too long, he just put me through the motions as if I was his tiny, fleshy, emotionless receptacle. He would press his penis on me, simulating sex (but not entering me) until he came. This pacified his needs for a while, but clearly he felt the excitement stagnating so he moved on to asking me to get on all fours while he simulated sex, touching me, but holding himself back from pushing so hard he proceeded inside me. I would stare numbly at the plug-hole, praying for the moment when he finished and moved away from me. He pushed himself harder and harder against my body, clearly tempted to take his intentions to the final step but also keenly aware of the physical evidence that would be visible on my miniature body if he did. I vividly recollect the first time I was raped by him.

Eventually and inevitably, the temptation overwhelmed him. Of course it was painful and of course I was absolutely devastated by the encounter. I had known for a long time now that this was his ultimate goal but it had always seemed so far away. Afterwards, I went upstairs to my bedroom and I cried for a few moments, wrapped in my towel, allowing myself to hate him and feel sorry for myself. I was shivering from the tepid bath water and I had wedged the towel between my thighs to staunch the bleeding. Then I stopped crying because, really, what good was that doing? And I dried myself off and I fixed myself up, putting on a dark pair of knickers and hiding the bloody towel in my wardrobe. I mentally put that night away into a box and got on with my life. Until the next week.

Life, for me, became a game of two halves. I lived my life from Thursday morning to Tuesday evenings in relative peace. Wednesdays would come around and I would be consumed with schemes of how I might escape his attention. If I could go to my Grandparent’s house, I would go there. If I could go to an after school club, I’d do that. But there were those nights where I simply could not avoid the repulsion in the bathroom.

Many times I sat opposite my family on a Sunday afternoon as we devoured a roast dinner and I considered just blurting it out. ‘Dad touches me and makes me touch him the bath, Mum.’ ‘When you two argue about sex, is it because Dad prefers having sex with me?’ Something always held me back. Guilt. Pity. Responsibility. I didn’t understand why I felt such a great need to protect this man who had let me down in the worst possible way. I loathed him with every fibre of my being. He repulsed me; the feel of his wet lips on my shoulder in the bath, the sound of the bath squeaking under his weight as he descended down on top of me. The recall of those semantics make me shudder to this very moment, but try as I might, I just couldn’t make those words come out.

The abuse happened in the bathroom almost every time. I think this was another calculated move on his part to keep the evidence to a minimum. However, one of my many attempts to evade the sexual torture I was now enduring on a weekly basis was that I stated (in front of Mum) one Tuesday night, that I didn’t need a bath the following day. I was incredulous to find that this worked. I was encouraged; thinking – or hoping – it would work every time. Switching up the routine! It was so simple and obvious. Dad, however, was not one to be easily outsmarted when it came to his indulgences. The following Tuesday I did the same thing and so, the next day I reclined around the house like a child with no worries and no concerns, confident in the knowledge that he couldn’t make me do those awful things tonight. Daniel happened to be in the house and we were both in the living room. I actually felt smug, sitting in safety and comfort congratulating myself for outwitting Dad. He couldn’t touch me now – I bathed when Mum was in the house and that was it.

‘Have you got a minute?’ I turned my head to the doorway to see Dad standing there, framed by the woodwork, with a towel in his hand. I thought nothing of this as I gave Daniel the remote control and followed the footsteps he had taken up the stairs. I sensed he had gone into my bedroom so I followed him in there.

In all my life, I have never again felt the same creeping sense of realisation and dread simultaneously wash over me. He was perched on the end of my bed, fully clothed, with the towel draped across his thigh. ‘Cuddle?’ he asked, rhetorically. I knew it wasn’t a request and I knew this was going to be really, really bad. Twice it happened in my bedroom on my bedroom floor. Until writing this I never rationalised why he did it on the floor and not on the bed; of course, the floor can be wiped. I was still very young and very petite – perhaps 11 or 12. The trauma of what he did to me would still make me bleed and I found it painful every single time, despite his entreaties that I should ‘relax.’ After these two times, we returned to the bathroom for all subsequent processions.

I withstood the abuse until the summer I was 12 when my brother walked in to the bathroom unexpectedly the final time to catch Dad on top of me in the bath. That is a story for another time, and a much more positive story in many ways. In cyclical summary though, I’d like to return to the beginning of this story and remind you that I am OK. As a woman who has borne abuse from a young age I can tell you that I have emotional scars, of course. But I’m the strongest person I know; I’m irrepressible and I’m fiercely independent and I like to pull myself through the hard times by laughing. Everyone’s problems are relative; what happened to me has messed me up and damaged me irrevocably but there are things that have happened to people on a much less stereotypically traumatic scale that have affected them in more devastating ways. So to leave this harrowing story on a high note, don’t feel too sad for me because I got to throw dirt on that piece of shit’s coffin.

THR

Helen is probably the greatest friend I ever had. She is a really good mixture of being super fun and therefore has a wealth of life experiences to draw from in her advice and she is also brutally honest which, I think, everyone needs in their life. She’ll never let you go out looking like a piece of shit so when she says something looks good you know it genuinely does. This is the best kind of friend.

In a recent discussion around a woefully misguided choice I made (involving yet another arsehole of the greatest magnitude) we were debating the intricacies of me having failed in taking her advice. Another friend in our group, Kat, was present. The three of us always have very frank, unapologetic conversations. We seem to be on the same page and understand that a hardy helping of the truth is always said with love, even if it is not always delivered kindly.

During this particular discussion Helen stated ‘I really feel sorry for people who aren’t friends with me.’ Kat and I, of course, immediately berated her for the arrogance of the statement but, you know what? She was absolutely right. I feel sorry for people who don’t have a Helen. She’s honest because she cares and listening to her has never seen me far wrong…except for this one time…

Helen fervently believes that there is a man out there perfect for me. I must admit, I am starting to lose the faith with this as the onslaught of utter tripe I have involved myself with leave much to be desired. My friends have encouraged me on dating apps multiple times but these always feel so inorganic. And don’t get me started on the amount of times I have heard ‘Just give him a chance!’ Do you know where giving men a chance has got me? Fucking nowhere – that’s where.

I have also been set up on blind dates a few times, mainly by Helen as she reaches down to the bottom of that very deep barrel and digs out the dregs of society that no other self-respecting female wanted. Predictably, these usually end horribly. The ultimate example of these terrible, terrible set ups is The Hand Rapist. He will never be known as anything other than this; it’s become his single story, his only identity.

Helen lined up the initial set-up well. She said she had a friend who she’d known for years who was ‘absolutely lovely.’ I know this is said a million times when friends are setting you up but this was Helen, so I knew it was true. However, on reflection I can see that he wasn’t so ‘absolutely lovely’ that she chose to retain him for her own personal use.

‘I don’t think you’ll want to rip his clothes off but he’s a really nice guy and I think, as long as you think he’s attractive, that side of things could come.’ As sage women in our thirties we are at a point where we understood fancying the pants off a guy often leads to a short-term saga and the longevity is actually found in the growers, not the showers.

I agreed to the set up on the basis of a picture I was sent. The picture was black and white and the man staring back at me had a friendly, kind face. He seemed like the kind of person who wasn’t going to break your heart and I had made it my mission to at least try not to saddle myself with another abusive prick. Occupationally, he was in mortgages (I find the minutia of the detail around this boring so I don’t actually know what he did but I know it was mortgage related). Helen passed my number to THR and I must admit, from the moment he started messaging me, I had high hopes.

THR was witty, intelligent and gentlemanly. He seemed to know lots about literature and he was making an effort to get to know me. There were no sexual undertones to any of his messages and I was really looking forward to our first date; my only concern was that I wouldn’t fancy him. Helen agreed, saying she thought we would get on well but she knew there was a possibility I wouldn’t find him attractive and that would be an understandable end to proceedings.

Date night came around and we agreed to meet in the same place I had met Steve (Windsor is a pretty limiting location for the après work tipple and romantic rendezvous). I arrived first so I waited at the bar and ordered a glass of wine to steady my nerves. The butterflies in my belly were manageable – mostly because I knew there was a very real chance I wasn’t going to fancy him and that felt oddly liberating. I was donned in my date-night best though, just in case I did have the socks knocked off me by this guy.

I’m poised, red wine cupped in my little bejewelled hand, waiting expectantly for my potential future husband to walk into my life. There suddenly appears from around the corner, swaggering past the pianist belly first, a very jolly looking gentleman of circa 40 years old, woolly jumper pulled tightly over a protruding gunt and sandy hair billowing in the breeze. I tried to hold my face in some semblance of welcome but I actually felt my vagina shrink inwards like a concave raisin. In that split second I knew he had no hope of being anywhere near my labia.

Don’t get me wrong, he was good company; he had compelling conversation and he was very sweet. We went for dinner (a tell-tale sign I wasn’t interested in him) and he ordered a bottle of nice red wine. In fairness, I realised I was enjoying his company. Yet the sight of him did absolutely nothing for me. He was like a personality Mount Vesuvius but with an appearance of a galactic black hole. It was quite the dichotomy and, let’s be honest with ourselves, no one wants to wrestle with their libido midway through dinner on date one.

The date rolled on and I found myself cruising further and further into inebriation as I gulped my way through the unending hours. What had begun as a pleasant evening spent in good – ugly – company, was very quickly becoming dull and painstaking. It was becoming clear his affection for me was deepening as he began telling terrible jokes that would have offended a Christmas cracker. Sensing my lack of appreciation, he pressed on.

‘So I think we should finish up here and head into Windsor for a clubbing sesh,’ he hopefully suggested. I hate the word ‘sesh’ – always have, always will. Say ‘session’ you uneducated fool – the extra syllable costs nothing! I also hate ‘cheeky’.

Too drunk by now to hide my boredom I casually responded ‘Sorry, I’m working tomorrow so I need to go home.’ It was a Friday night – no work tomorrow.

‘OK, fair enough. Well, I live relatively close to you. Why don’t I order us an Uber?’ It was so innocently posed by THR, as if he was doing me a favour. I’m ashamed to say the prospect of not having to pay for a taxi home hit me in the heart strings and I eagerly accepted the offer. I let him pay for the food and wine and happily gave away my postcode as I mentally ran through the awkward drop-off moment when I closed the taxi door in his hopeful little face, turned my back and walked away from him forever.

As we got into the taxi I suddenly remembered my inherent aversion to being in a taxi when drunk. It makes me want to throw up with immediate effect (probably a throwback to that taxi journey when I was 16 and opened the door mid-motorway). I was also very aware of THR beginning to encroach on my personal space which did nothing for the nausea. I pulled my hair over the sides of my face – perhaps if I covered my peripheral vision the gentleman to my left might spontaneously disappear…? No such luck.

The Uber careened around a particularly precarious corner and I put my left hand down on the pleather seats to stop myself from sliding across into THR’s loving embrace. Drunk, I found comfort in the feel of the cool leather on my now sweating palms. I repeated the mantra in my head ‘Just get me home. Just get me home!’ This was partially because I didn’t want to chunder like a loser in the back of the taxi but mostly because I was in a confined space with someone who now made my skin crawl. I would like to add here that he was such a lovely guy and this review is doing him a total disservice…his only crime at this point was that I didn’t actually fancy him.

In the turmoil of my desperate, drunken inner monologue I didn’t notice THR’s little white hand spidering its way like a creepy-crawly across the shadowy wasteland of the central reservation. Determinedly focusing on the views from my window, I unexpectedly felt the hideous sensation of his cold, moist little finger begin snaking it’s way over the top of my own. I froze up, eyes widening in horror as he laced his five digits across my hand. Tentative at first and then weaving with confidence, he entrapped my little left hand, ensnaring it in a vice-like grip. Unsure what to do, I let my hand lay there within his, limp. This was the start of The Hand Rape experience.

Encouraged by my silence, he began to stroke the side of my thumb with his own, and then brought my hand to his waiting, saliva damped lips for a kiss that sent shivers down my spine. Still looking out of my own window, I had not acknowledged any of this action – it was as if I was a mannequin, rigid except for the floppy arm being claimed by THR.

I heard the tell-tale click of seat belt being dislodged and the sliding of jeans on PVC. He was now infiltrating my battle space. I felt his hot breath blowing tendrils of my own hair into my horrified face as he whispered into my ear, ‘I don’t want the night to end here.’

I turned to him, giving him the side-eye as full frontal was too dangerous, at a total loss for words. I smiled meekly into the darkness of his puffy face. ‘What do I have to do to get an invitation in?’ He probed.

‘Not be a fucking cringey creep!’ was what I wanted to reply. But all I could muster was a vague ‘It’s the first date. Not tonight.’ I swallowed back a sick-burp. I didn’t want to upset the guy and I was aware that he was friends with Helen and came highly recommended.

‘Do people even worry about that anymore?’ he persisted. I might add that my flaccid hand was still imprisoned in his at this point.

‘I do.’ I retorted. I was getting annoyed now. How dare he think I would put out on the first date? I mean, I would totally want to if I didn’t feel violently sick at the very aspect of his existence, but I never would!

‘But we’ve had such a good time. Do you want it to end now?’ The violation on my left hand was indecent. Yes, Dear God! End it now! End it all, now!

‘Helen would kill me if I let you come inside my flat tonight.’ It was a feeble argument but I thought the reminder of a mutual friend might make him feel some form a shame at this haranguing.

‘She doesn’t need to know.’ I swear to God, he was trying to be seductive. It dawned on me that he thought I was being coy. He thought I was playing hard to get. I needed to make it clear that I was most certainly NOT being either coy or playing hard to get.

‘Not tonight.’ My tone was forceful enough that we spent the remainder of the journey in silence. However, my hand was sacrificed in the battle and remained a prisoner in his palm.

Mercifully, we pulled up outside my flat a few minutes after this lovers tryst. He was still definitely in my personal space, still thumbing away at my lefty. Guilt washed over me, and awkwardness, and desperation to be as far away as possible. I knew he would want to say a few words as the night came to a close just as much as I wanted to be back in the hearty hearth of my home, scrubbing my hand with bleach. I decided, in my drunken state, that the only way to close this up swiftly was to give him a peck on the lips, give a brief précis of what a great time I’d had and then hot tail it up the driveway post-haste. THR had other ideas.

I turned my head to his, smiling sweetly. My lips were immediately set about by his own as he fumbled his tongue into my mouth for a concluding snog. Years of training told me compliance would see me through so I waited for him to terminate the transaction, numbing my mind to the raid. As he pulled away he slowly opened his eyes, expectant – jubilant even – that he had rocked my world so skilfully on the journey home. I clambered awkwardly from the taxi, never looking back as I escaped and made a mental note to never ever speak to this man again.

The next morning I awoke to a barrage of messages asking me to please confirm I had made it to my house safely. He had dropped me literally to my front door, but now seemed concerned I had not managed to make it further than that point. I confirmed I was alive lest he think the decent and romantic thing to do would be to return in search of my presumably rotting corpse. I proceeded to ghost him like I had never ghosted anyone before.

Fly-By Shooting

In my first job before leaving school I worked with Robert. I can spot a bad guy from 1000 miles away – I know this because I’m hopelessly attracted to them. For this reason, I can also spot a truly good guy from 1000 miles away – and I metaphorically run as fast and hard as I can in the opposite direction. That is why, alongside the fact we never actually fancied each other, it would never have worked romantically between us. That being said, Robert will always be one of the very best friends I ever had.

I felt fiercely protective of Robert; he was hilariously funny and our chemistry – on a platonic level – was better than any person I’ve ever met. He would rip me to shreds for his own entertainment which I found really endearing and I adored spending my time with him. Even though we have lost touch over the years, I would still count him as one of the best men I know. That is praise indeed from a self-professed man-hater. When we first met he had a girlfriend who I never liked the sound of very much and I think, eventually, she cheated on him…the details are sketchy but what I do remember is that while I didn’t want him for myself, I certainly wanted him to be with someone who knew how lucky she was. I’ve done the leg work with the bad ones so when a girl is stupid enough to take a good guy for granted it really pisses me off.

We both left for University but kept in contact a little. My mother harboured a persistent hope that there was something romantic between us. For once, this train of thought was not singular to mum…my friends and colleagues also saw how close we were and how well we got on and were really willing us to get together. It was never going to happen though – except for one time when he pretended he was asleep while he tried to finger his way beneath my pyjama waistband, we repulsed each other on a physical level.

Four years, an English Literature degree and one PGCE later, I was delighted to learn that the girlfriend I had instinctively disliked had been unceremoniously kicked to the curb and Robert was now single and mingling hard on Tinder. This was good for him because he was always one of life’s hopeless romantics; when he said he wanted to treat a woman right and be respectful, he actually meant it. He once told me he didn’t like the way I always got treated like shit by the guys I was involved with and that really meant a lot to me; Robert’s opinion on things always meant a great deal to me. I think he restored my faith in men and I really admired him for it.

We both had dogs and would often take them for medium length hikes together. I once estimated we had walked around ten miles and Robert almost broke his back bending backwards to howl with laughter at my hyperbolic guess; he felt it was closer to two miles. Our walks meant I could escape the unhappiness of my home where my mother was undoubtedly mounting her newest conquest and Robert had prime opportunity to take the piss out of me for hours on end – mutually beneficial. I’m going to tell you what I would class as one of the Top Three most embarrassing moments of life, witnessed by Robert:

The day prior to this particular dog walk, he and I had gone into London to frequent the markets and meet up with his friends. As I was perusing the pleasantries, hot dog steaming away in hand, I happened upon a stall selling the softest faux fur headbands (the sort that models in Vogue wear for winter shoots teamed with a glacial bikini and make look amazing but us normal girls wear in the depths of winter, making us look like total knobs without the protection of warmth as some solace). I decided that the light grey fur ‘muff’ as it would forever be known (pun intended) had to be mine and I purchased it with immediate effect.

The following day, on aforementioned dog walk, I felt the muff should be taken out for the world to see – the climate was cold and it just felt right. Robert ridiculed me, naturally, but I felt it was worthwhile. In Lenny-esque fashion I felt myself drawn to the softness of the muff, reaching up at intervals to just pat down the faux fur and enjoy that silky feeling on my fingers. I did this when Robert couldn’t see, though, because I knew he would stoop to the base level of telling me to stop fingering my muff or something equally as low brow and I didn’t need that when I was channelling my inner-Russian model while tugging my zesty orange mongrel dog along the frosty fields of Windsor.

Robert and I were deep in banterous chat. My wellington boots were squelching through the great chasms of mud and bog as we trundled our way along our usual route. Distracted by the victimisation I was undoubtedly being subjected to, I wandered into what can only be described as a sudden and merciless lake in the middle of the path. Robert would tell you it was a semi-deep puddle and nothing more… but when you’re five foot even the shallowest of puddles can be life threatening. Worse still, my wellington boots were being suckered downwards into the depths of the hellish sludge and the more I struggled, squidging and squelching with unfeminine grace to free myself without falling into the dirt, the worse the situation seemed to get. Robert watched on gleefully as I emerged like a creature from the deep, staggering and pink-cheeked (muff, mercifully, unsullied).

‘Fucking hell, you peasant,’ he began his tirade of piss-taking, ‘you looked like a fucking mid-transition Hulk trying to get out of that puddle.’ He was now bent double, hardly able to contain his hilarity as his Tin-Tin quiff bounced in the February gusts. Laughing at him laughing at me, I began to giggle at the thought of how I must have looked. He started to impersonate me, making noises like the T-Rex when it eats the cow in Jurassic Park to fully convey the depths of pathetic I had just stooped to. He was now laughing so much that he had taken on the form of a mostly-opened tin. His mouth was so wide open it gave the impression that the entire top of his head from the upper mandible was precariously close to just dropping off backwards onto the sludge below.

This was now all too much and I threw my muff-endowed head back in a fit of hilarity, holding my belly as I laughed with him. It was, therefore, unfortunate that at that exact moment a troop of seagulls swarmed overhead. One such gull felt that was the perfect moment to open hatches and drop its brown missiles straight downward. Mid guffaw and unaware of the impending wet bomb about to hit me, I was still having the time of my life, head back, mouth open.

The wet turd made impact firstly with my muff with secondary shrapnel pattering on my nose. I lurched forward instinctively but in-so-doing, achieved the gravitational feat of moving the poo downwards into my mouth before I had time to close it. Robert was now in a frenzy – the demented laughter that had soliloquized my drowning experience was nothing compared to this. His laughter went ultra-sonic, hitting highs only our dogs could hear while I experienced paralysis, not knowing what to do for the best. Moving would mean more of the faecal matter sliding down my face but I was also very aware of the excrement infiltrating my mouth, beaded like a small slug on the end of my tongue.

First things first, I had to address the poo-in-mouth situation. I spat with the ferocity of a blue whale emitting water from it’s blow-hole. I rubbed my tongue frantically along my teeth to scrape off any discharge that had been left nestled amongst my buds and spat any residue that ensued. I resisted the urge to wade back into the murky depths of the puddle from whence I had come to fill my gloved hand with stagnant mud water and use as a palette cleanser. I used a poo-bag to rub the gull dung from the end of my nose and lips. The muff I removed, reluctantly, and folded lovingly into the cosy embrace of my Barbour coat. Heartbroken, I feared the worst.

The muff was salvagable, praise be! I still have it, and I can occasionally be found sporting it in the coldest of weathers, wry smile on my face as I remember with a cold heart that dreadful day when a bird crapped in my mouth. Any shred of respect Robert had for me, though, would forever be marred by the image of me gargling seagull shit.

Now for some light relief…

You Can Steve Your Hat On…

In my twenties I was an absolute car crash of a girl. I think it’s important to state here that I was definitely not a woman yet; I look back on that decade now (as a 31 year old in some semblance of togetherness) and wonder what the hell that person was doing with herself. I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted or what I liked – in any aspect of life. I meandered along on auto-pilot for the most part, not really knowing how I felt about very much at all.

So, mid-twenties I’m bumbling through life, minding my own business, and I meet Steve. Steve was definitely the most attractive man to have shown any interest in me up to that point and I was certainly appreciative of that.

Steve and I met at a party, got talking, and I think the attraction between us was mutual. Steve was all Indie and arty but stereotypically good looking at the same time. He was fair haired and was wearing a Lyle and Scott jumper which, at the time, was what any self-respecting man was donning despite the balmy spring weather and the definite chafing and sweating that was going on beneath that navy lamb’s wool encasing. I could tell he had the same jumper in multiple colours – he looked the type – but to me that didn’t expose a lack of fashion individuality. Oh no! It told me he fit snugly into the ‘socially acceptable’ box which was another pro to continuing on to the dating stage with our guy, Steve-o.

The texting stage was every bit as wonderful as it usually is. Breaking the normality of sleeping patterns to converse into the small hours and smiling when you wake up to the first ‘Good morning, sorry I fell asleep!’ text. That’s my favourite bit; before any of the touching and attachment begins. The touching part I dislike because I generally just don’t like being touched. The attachment part is because I get attached easily if I like them – blame it on my innate Daddy issues. At the point of any first date I usually become a psychological hunter, poised at the ready to find even the slightest reason to be put off so I can bail out of the situation before I form aforementioned attachments. I know I am going to find something – anything – to put me off, I expect it. So I allow myself to enjoy the feeling of being wanted safely from across the waves of 4G. Steve had great banter, he was intellectual and he was an artist, like me-but better. He asked me out the following Friday and I, of course, willingly accepted.

I had that awful ‘I don’t want to go’ feeling getting ready but Helen had agreed to drop me off; I knew she would get me excited for the date on the journey there with her talk of pulsing vaginas and such. We agreed to meet in Windsor and, as we approached like sleuths on a drive-by stake out to catch a glimpse of him waiting outside the bar for me, I had visual confirmation that my assumption about the buffet of Lyle and Scott lamb’s wool owned by Steve had been quite correct; grey marl for our date – a good, safe choice. I fancied him even more than I remembered and I was pleasantly surprised to note that nothing he could do or say was giving me my freedom card to cut ties and ghost. He was saying things about meeting his friends, about how he knew my friend Emma (whose party we met at) and what he felt about the pending break-up between her and his friend, John. Like a perfect gentleman, when the date was over he offered to drive me home to Mum’s house (in hindsight, I now realise he was totally drink-driving but this didn’t occur to me in my Pepe-La-Pu love-sickness at the time).

Naturally, I didn’t want the night to end there so I invited him in. I had absolutely no intention of sleeping with him and I made that quite clear. But a cup of tea and a bit of Family Guy on the sofa wouldn’t hurt, surely? He felt the same – shock – so we proceeded to the parlour.

To set the scene of the horror that is about to ensue, I should give you an idea of the backdrop. Mum and her new fiancé, Paul, were in the depths of slumber upstairs and had kindly left a couple of lamps on downstairs for me. Steve and I walked into the hallway and turned left into the Living Room (layout is crucial to this memoir); I left the hall lamp on for a bit of romantic ambience and closed the living room door so as not to wake the parentals. It was one of those gridded glass doors with eight square panes in rows down the length of it, the glass bumpy and wavy so you couldn’t see much through it, just shapes on the other side – perfect to allow that soft hall lighting through. I was going to nail this setting – but not nail Steve, obv…

Clearly, Steve had taken my ‘I’m not sleeping with you,’ with a pinch of salt and we began kissing early into the venture. For once, the touch of man did not repulse me and I was encouraged by this. His long, artistic fingers were in my hair and lightly sliding along my jaw bone as he coaxed me closer to his body and I voluntarily melted toward him. His hand moved down to my neck, shoulders and back and, fingers splayed as if he was desperate to touch every part of me, he gently took control of the upper half of my body. I was utterly powerless to stop him even if I wanted to. This was the first time a man had seduced me and I felt the pulsing in my knickers that Helen kept telling me about, incredulous that I had never felt it.

I felt like I wanted more of him (though I was determined there was going to be no P-in-the-V) so I willingly clambered onto his lap and as we kissed a natural rhythm of dry humping commenced. I LOVE LOVE LOVE dry humping – it’s my favourite sexual act – probably because of the heavy barrier of clothing between genitals. I was more than happy to set up camp and stay there. So, picture the scene: I’m on top fully clothed, loving life, grinding away. I feel his erection combined with my Jamie Topshop jeans seam simultaneously helping out those flutters when he suddenly stops kissing me and looks deeply into my eyes. I genuinely thought ‘he’s going to tell me to stop before he gets carried away,’ but, to my surprise, he glanced downwards towards where our groins were mashing.

I can’t convey in words my absolute amazement at seeing the skinny pink helmet of his penis poking out from the waist of jeans. Let me tell you, how he had managed to work it loose was a feat of pure skill and genius. To this day, I cannot fathom how Steve, without the use of his hands, had worked himself loose of boxers, a belt and a tight waist band of some pretty skinny jeans. But there it was, slim, hard and popping out at me like a little turtle head coyly emerging from its shell.

There I am, straddling this guy I’m thinking is the whole package, thinking he’s a gentleman and I’m being seduced to within an inch of my life when, the whole time, this was a distraction so his penis could tunnel itself to freedom like an anatomical Steve McQueen. I wanted to be appalled and tell him I wasn’t that sort of girl. I could have just been polite and said it was too soon. But, pink cheeked and throbbing vaginally, I decided to take Steve’s dick in my hand and wank him off – at the time I rationalised that act retained enough dignity and self-respect to walk away with my head held high. It didn’t take long for Steve to reach his climax and he squirted his little swimmers all over his Lyle and Scott jumper, which he swiftly removed to reveal a little white All Saints T-Shirt beneath (of course). He actually left that jumper at my house – I washed it on a forty and inevitably shrank it so had to buy him a new one and pretend it was the same jumper. I guess he was grateful for the swift relief as he kissed me appreciatively while his penis limply retracted back into the confines of its denim container, spent and flaccid.

It was at this moment movement caught my eye to our left.

The mother had clearly awoken and, half asleep, wondered down the stairs to switch off the lights. Potentially she had heard me come home and assumed I hadn’t turned off the lights. Whatever the reason, she had come downstairs to turn off the lights…naked.

Steve turned to see what I was looking at. It all happened so fast. There was Mum’s naked white body shining in the romantic lamplight, distorted but clearly naked in the wobbly glass doors. Worse still, she was now bending over to turn out the hall lamp. Mortified (and still with Steve between my legs) I exclaimed ‘MUM!’ Jumping, she turned on her heel, bare soles squeaking on the laminate flooring, caught by surprise by my nightmarish squeal of humiliation. For some reason, she threw her arms into the air, bent at the elbows (as if she was being put under arrest) and revealed her nakedness front-on. I was momentarily reminded of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus as her white skin glowed like a beacon in the mottled doorway. Time stood still.

She made for the stairs, legs pumping fast in the moonlight like a razorlight Catherine Wheel rolling uphill. I was left, staring at the empty space where her nude form had just been, not daring to turn and look at poor, semen stained Steve. Shame engulfed me as I realised that man would never be between my legs again.

Surprisingly, I saw Steve for another two dates after that and I actually slept with him on both occasions (mediocre but at the time I thought it was the best thing ever). Both times we went back to his, of course, and never spoke of my naked mother and the whisper of dark pubes on the lily-white silhouette in the doorway again.

Just Add Egg

The first thing you need to know before this story starts is that my mother has a complete aversion to vomit. Secondly, she’s so far on the melodramatic spectrum she could give any drag queen a run for her money but, with mum, nothing is done in jest.

I was never a sickly child (yet another of my ignored attributes) but my brother could pick up a sickness bug while wearing a WW2 gas mask reinforced by a space suit. The kid is a proper pussy, there’s no other word for it. And when that kid was sick we allllllll knew about it; the household, the neighbours, the street down the road. The volume at which he wretches is Pavarotti-esque. Guttural, deep heaves that bring up chunks upon chunks of turkey dinosaurs and the like. And in these regular times when he was unwell, I was left to deal with it because mum would remove herself from the house and sit in the garden making it all about her. I don’t think she actually did have a phobia of vomit, I think she just wanted it to be her ‘thing,’ a bit like Pam in Gavin and Stacey with the fake vegetarianism.

Luckily for me, I have always found people being sick really, really funny so it didn’t bother me. I was born with no sense of smell and therefore, aside from the sight of regurgitated food there really isn’t anything offensive about puke for me. Plus at that time I thought a lot of my little brother so I didn’t mind looking after him.

Fast forward a few years to 2008 and 16 year old me is hanging out in the local park with some of my ‘not-so-cool but going through a slutty phase’ friends. I had been persuaded in the infancy of the week to join the girls ‘down the park’ which was, of course, the place to be. These girls were the ones that hung around with local traveller boys which was totally alien to me; boys with double-barrelled names who carried knuckle dusters sprang immediately to mind and this was way outside my suburban comfort zone. As an aside, when I actually met the boys in question they were perfectly decent young men on mopeds with Nike TN caps and Reebok Classics – just like the middle class young dandies on the streets at that time. I was somewhat of a hermit in these days because boys scared the shit out of me. I didn’t know how to be around them and I’d been publically mortified by Dickhead Darren multiple times to the point I’m pretty sure I had PTSD and I’d rather have spent the night indoors watching Eastenders and reading A Child called It (ironically). However, excuses had all been used up and I had no alternative but to get my little butt to the park.

I can’t even fathom how I had it, certainly I couldn’t have purchased it, but I had in my possession some kind of alcohol – I can only assume Lambrini. I literally looked like an 11 year old so there’s no way I purchased it from a reputable salesman. This was the first drop of alcohol I had ever had in my life and, unsurprisingly, I got absolutely wasted. Like, blackout wasted. On the way home I opened the taxi door while it was moving on a dual carriage way to be sick and the taxi driver (after he had calmed down) offered me an extra-strong Trebor because ‘I stank.’ I can’t blame him – I have barely any memory of this but I know it wasn’t one of my most sophisticated moments.

Somehow, I made it home. It took me approximately 11 minutes to get the key successfully into the door. I couldn’t tell you what the time was. It felt like it was the small hours of the dawn but it was probably 9pm. As I pushed open the creaking wood, barely able to hold myself upright, who should be waiting for me in the hall? With gorgon-like rage my mother stood with her arms folded across her crimson towelling dressing gown. Was she angry because I had endangered myself by drinking recklessly while underage? Was she frantic with worry about the miscreants I’d be hanging around with? No, she didn’t want me vomiting on the cream carpet!

‘You’re drunk.’ It wasn’t a question and it certainly didn’t need an answer. I didn’t have the time or the inclination to be conversing with her on how likely it was on a scale of 1 to 10 that I was going to be sick – that horse had already bolted on the carriageway. I tried to move past her but I was like Bambi on ice so I affirmed her statement. ‘You absolute heathen!’ Her face was wrinkled with disgust as she used her body weight to try to knock me over. In hindsight I’m impressed by her use of the English language to throw down that particular insult. I knew if I started to argue back the poison that would secrete from my Lambrini-freed mouth would cut deep so I tried to rein it in.

‘Oh fuck off Mum!’ was the best I could muster.

We had made our way, I know not how, to the kitchen. Sitting on the side, basking in its own greasy glory, was the frying pan mum had used to fry eggs earlier that evening. She liked to leave the pans to soak in fairy liquid over night as she felt that lifted the vegetable oil off before the dishwasher gave it that tough love it needed. Lightning fast, she seized the handle of the saucepan and swung it at me like Anthony Joshua would throw a side-punch. It collided with my skull and made the unmistakable ‘din’ of metal staving in someone’s head. Miraculously, probably because of the copious amount of alcohol I’d consumed, I was unharmed. I fell to the floor in a puddle of grease, egg residue and fairy liquid and I rubbed my head where the pan had made the hit. My tartan pleated mini-skirt would be ruined but I couldn’t worry about that now – I had to be more concerned with how the fuck I was going to get yolk out of my bushy locks.

‘Didn’t hurt.’ I managed. I wanted to annoy her, even in my drunken state I knew it was important to make sure she didn’t emerge from this victorious. The story would inevitably be twisted when she repeated it to anyone who would listen until I staggered home like Phil Mitchell looking for a punch-up while she cowered, innocently, in the corner.

Had she not slipped over in the grease-water while trying to lurch for me there on the floor I don’t know if I’d have made it out of there alive. As I staggered away to sleep off the alcohol and wait for the huge lump on my head to rise she was screaming expletives at me that would put a sailor to shame. Moral of the story – don’t go home drunk! That night I vomited into an old pair of jeans and had to throw them out of the window into the neighbour’s front garden the next morning.

Biting My Pip

It’s about 2002 and I’m admiring myself in the passenger side wing mirror as I tap my Mackenzie trainers to Blazin’ Squad’s new banger, Cross Roads, I don’t notice mum’s judgement billowing over me in typhoon waves from the other side of the Corsa. My frizzy, mouse brown hair is sprayed back into a sleek bun and my cerise Mackenzie hoodie is zipped up to between my 28AAs, revealing the apex of a Tammy Girl ‘99% angel’ T underneath. I am the absolute epitome of coolness and I damn well know it. Then, out of absolutely nowhere, mum sticks a pin in that good mood.

‘Is the reason you have no confidence because I’m prettier than you?’

She looks totally innocent, satsuma orange face slightly turned toward me but green eyes on the road. The light shines through the window, catching the baby hair all over her face and I am reminded of an overly fluffy peach in both hue and texture. I focus on her hooked nose, the one weakness in her attraction arsenal. Unsure how to answer without offending her I kept my rollerball-glossed lips pursed. She continues, undaunted by my silence.

 ‘Because if that’s why you are refusing to get a boyfriend then that’s really silly. Yes, I’m prettier than you, but you’re clever and sometimes that’s better. I get the good looking ones, sure. All the boys at your brother’s school make comments about me and not you…but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.’ She genuinely believes this. Firstly, mother darling, you never get the good looking ones. Secondly, the boys at school fancy the mums with massive tits, not your Dairy-Lea triangles and thirdly I’m actually not that insecure for a 14 year old girl. Like seriously, I know a girl who self-harms with her own door-knob! That’s insecurity.

‘No I’m fine. I just don’t want a boyfriend,’ I try to be glib so she doesn’t embarrass herself further thinking I am bothered. My cheeks have begun to glow rosy at her misplaced opinion of herself.

I blame Gordon for this new obsession she has with me getting a boyfriend. Gordon is Helen’s dad and he’s the most absolutely wonderful Scotsman you’ve ever met. Helen was a couple of years above me at school so, of course, we never socialised during the school era or she would have known to warn her father off encouraging any man-trap tendencies when liaising with mum. Alas, Gordon has not been forewarned and so, upon hearing that my behaviour is demonic and she is at her wits end, Gordon informs her that Helen was just the same when he split with her mother and she went off the rails until she met her boyfriend. Now she’s a different girl and back on the straight and narrow. (Helen was actually skiving off school, getting in detentions and being suspended all the time so Gordon’s ‘she was off the rails’ was justifiable while my mission at the time was to get through the Harry Potter series again before the newest book was published) Like a Venus Fly Trap, mum grabs this information with both hands and believes me getting a boyfriend will solve every problem in our entire lives, maybe even the world’s problems could be solved if I’d find myself a beau.

‘You’re gay aren’t you? Because if you are it’s fine. We’ll deal with it. But you are, aren’t you?’ She’s trying to be conciliatory but it feels too aggressive to be mollification.

‘No mum, for the last time, I’m not gay. I go to an all-girls school; I don’t know any boys and I don’t want a boyfriend.’ The subtext to this is that I can’t bear to be touched by anyone and I am washing my hands up to nine times per wash with bleach just because I’d begun to believe bad things will happen if I don’t. Not the basis for a strong childhood sweetheart relationship.

‘You’re letting him win by refusing to move past it, you know that don’t you?’ Oh wow, she’s really dipping into basement level desperation now and pulling out the big guns. She is alluding to the years of abuse I suffered at the hands of my step dad…the same step dad she forgave after just three weeks of finding out about this abuse and invited back into our home only to kick him out again a year or so later because he had radiotherapy hair.

‘Mum. I’m not gay. I like men. I just don’t like the men round here.’ Why am I trying to assuage her? This is all about her ego…what she really wants me to say is ‘yes mum, you’re so heart-stoppingly beautiful I find it intimidating as a fellow female knowing I’ll never match up,’ but I would never give her the satisfaction even if that were true…which it’s totally not – I swear! She’s a straight up 6/10 at best…inching into a 7 as a young woman.

‘You liked Darren,’ she presses on.  ‘I never understood why that didn’t work out.’ Darren is the English middle-school version of a high-school jock except he is shit at PE because he is too cool to break a sweat and prefers doing stupid stuff like drawing penises on the Science desks in Tippex. The reason it didn’t work out is because we kissed at Sophie Bishop’s 13th birthday party and I literally went at his face like a guppy for a strong 30 seconds (it was my first kiss), surrounded by my entire year group. He didn’t want to kiss me again, accusations were thrown and we ended up hating each other. Well, I hated him and he forgot about my existence excluding the time where he threw chewing gum in my hair at an under-17s Liquid night.

‘I would smile over Darren’s rotting corpse, mum. I literally hate him.’ My retort isn’t my best work but she’s not clever enough to realise that.

‘He was too good looking for you anyway. You’ve got that plain-pretty thing; it takes a long time for people to take a good look at you and realise you’re not an ugly duckling.’ Unashamed and unabashed she continues to rip me to shreds and I know if I come for her, both arms swinging (metaphorically, obv!) it will be a vicious tirade of insults from which there will be no return. She takes my silence as an admission that I am ugly and seems satisfied she has won this particular battle I didn’t know I was fighting. I zip my Mackenzie hoodie up to the neck as I’m no longer feeling 99% angelic and imagine digging my nails into her freckled face and ripping it straight off her skeleton. The next time she speaks, the subject is changed and her tone is lighter and I am relieved she’s not talking about Darren anymore.

As an aside, years later I found out that she had in fact telephoned Darren’s mother at the time of our Year 7 break up, unbeknownst to me, and begged his mother to persuade him to take me back. She refused, he called me a ‘munter,’ which was a savage insult at the time and I never knew a thing about it. The cringe factor literally makes me pinch the bridge of nose in embarrassment.

Making a Peel with the Devil – The Mother

First off, The Mother. A more psychotic, jealous, toxic mess of a woman you could not hope to meet. I find my step-father an easy person to understand…well…easier. Mother died when he was young, father neglected him, formed unhealthy relationships with various temporary women his father brought in and out with the frequency of an alley cat rutting his way through the entire puss collection on offer…you can totally see where the emasculation and need for dominance and power over a vulnerable target came from. Doesn’t make it right, but it does make it something you can get your head around. I’ll never be able to fathom how he acted upon his urges and how he cared not a jot for the onslaught of trauma that he would cause to his victims but the urges I can make sense of.

Her though. She will never ever make sense to me.

Mum was brought up in a very happy, stable environment to two completely normal parents. My Grandfather was the nicest, quietest person you’d ever meet and my Grandmother is a sassy, cantankerous old matriarch with a viper tongue and a heart of gold. Mum has a sister, Karen, who is relatively normal (slutty adulterous tendencies aside) but my mother is enigmatic at best. If you cut her in half a rotting, steaming green slime would seep out of her corpse. And yet there’s a side to me that feels compelled to defend her. When she’s not being utterly rotten, pregnant with soul-destroying jealousy and self-obsessed she’s actually a sweet person who would give a person (well, men) her last penny if she thought it would make them like her.

Much like many girls who are just naturally unhinged, she is one of those clowns who acts like a raging bull when it comes to red flags – never taking heed of the warning signs, just running head first into that man…or boy. As modernity has made this behaviour even easier to indulge in she has spiralled out of all control, or she had the last time I heard anything about her. At the tender age of 21 this was channelled into the genius plan of falling pregnant in an attempt to trap my biological father, Harry. My understanding of the situation, having reflected on the utter tripe I have been fed from both sides, is that Harry was the original fuckboy and Mum was pretty much the definition of a bunny-boiler. I come down more severely on Harry for this as I believe general fuckboyishness turns even the most resilient of women to total cretins, myself included. Mum, not being sound of mind, obviously went hell-for-leather into the realms of craziness. Predictably, the relationship floundered pretty quickly after mum refused the second abortion and I squeezed my cranium out of her expanded cervix into the late 1980s. After 40 stitches and a boyfriend who couldn’t keep his penis out of her friends, I can understand where the resentment towards this new, fleshy burden around her neck began to take shape.

She met my stepfather about two years later. Knowing mum as I do I have no doubt in my mind she oozed her desperation outwards towards him, wafting her vaginal juices forth in an archaic mating ritual. Sadly for her, being mostly into young girls, he was only too happy to leave his wife and baby daughters for this 4ft11 desperado and her female bastard. A couple of short years later, I was adopted and being groomed to within an inch of my life. My brother had bounced into the world and become the apple of my mother’s eye and a wedge had been driven between my step-dad and his ex-family of such magnitude neither the CSA nor his ex-wife had any hope of even the frostiest of reconciliations.

As the years rolled on the resentment emitting from my mother towards me grew and grew. It is now my belief that she naturally hates me – no rhyme or reason to it of any note, just a build-up of things. She dislikes me intensely and I don’t think it helped that my step-father would rather spend his naked moments with nine year old me than her but even prior to that she always found me to be an irritant. I have seen what a doting mother she can be in the way she idolises my brother. But me…she detests with the passion of 1000 burning suns and always has. I can’t say it truly bothered me because I didn’t much care for her either but now I have cut all ties from her it does annoy me that I can’t work out where the hatred specifically came from or is aimed.

As teenagers go, I would say I was pretty delightful. I hadn’t flown off the handle and lost my shit after years of sexual abuse and I was coping well with my step-father’s speedy decline into a tumour-induced death despite not really knowing how to feel about the whole thing. Mum was slutting it up all about town which I endured without too much trouble, though I did actively detest every male she brought into our familial home (dad didn’t live with us after his Radiotherapy caused him to have a hairline mum found to be humiliating). I channelled my energies into my education and school was my escape from the horrors at home. I took my studies seriously and learning came naturally to me. I was a prefect, a senior prefect and I ran for Head Girl but the honour was stolen from me by some hairy knob head who used too much fake tan resulting in wotsit toes. I was pretty much a people-pleaser and a geek but I was funny with it so the cool girls saw my value as the ‘clever one’ and I therefore had an element of popularity. All in all, school was a good time for me.

Now, if you were to listen to my mother’s account of what I was like during this time you would genuinely think I was an angsty teenage horror. Like, seriously, the way she tells it my bedroom was a festering pit (I’m a true Virgoan so I can tell you this is poppycock) and I was a stone’s throw away from injecting heroin into my eyeballs. Once I heard her on the phone actually telling someone I had slapped her round the face and kicked her…I had been at Art Club at the time the alleged incident took place. I wasn’t an angel and we fought verbally like cat and dog. My old neighbour, Helen (who is one of my best friends) can attest to that, but I’d never sully my hand by assaulting her! So I’m going to give you few little highlights from my pocket book of bitterness and you can make your own mind’s up on this one.

Getting to the Fruit of the Problem

It makes sense to get the really horrible stuff out of the way early, from both a timeframe point of view and also starting big and siphoning down into gutter level smut later on. You’re probably not going to get those belly laughs in anytime soon so if you’re reading this part of the thread thinking you’re going to get memoirs that make you feel less awful about gagging on the stench of unwashed balls or something equally as heinous, this part isn’t for you.

So, where do I start? Psychologists and Psychiatrists (what even is the difference between the two?) will be salivating through this heap of emotional turmoil knowing that whatever senseless ridiculousness ensues from this point will all be, in some way, linked to the reeking cess-pit of a childhood I endured. They’d be utterly correct too. Before I go on I ask you not to view me as a two-dimensional person who was abused as a child and that is my single identity to you. Admittedly, what follows on from the childhood is a very broken person trying to muddle their way through life but please do not feel sorry for me – I have carved myself out a life other people envy as a strong, independent woman living in relative abundance and happiness with her two cats. My past is a part of me, but so is the fact I punched a used sanitary towel with a boxing glove at the gym!


Fruit for Thought

As an A Level student winging my way through the first of two unchallenging years in the Windsorian education system I came across the poetry of Philip Larkin. I don’t much care for his work; I find his indulgence in misery really off-putting (and that comes from a girl who spent her childhood being molested by her step-father and then having her mother envy her for it). However, there was one line that really stood out to me from This be the Verse (the literary ‘know-it-alls’ wrinkle their lip as they foresee what’s coming):

‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad.’

Because My God! – they really, really do. Now in the specific example of my parents it was taken to the extreme I grant you, but there’s an element of ‘fucked up-ness’ in us all stemming from the transference of parental issues inflicted upon unsuspecting off-spring. Dickens was right; we are empty vessels to be filled with knowledge but, unfortunately, this knowledge is often tainted with the disappointments, grudges and negative experiences of our makers. I read on Google that we are at our most impressionable between the age of 0-5 so we are totally at the mercy of our parents and it seems to be at that time they are muddling their way through life, adulting in the best way they can and we are just there, sponging it all up like brillo pads.

I would like to put in a small disclaimer here that not all parents are terrible, especially not as bad as mine were. Similarly, not every child is psychologically scarred by the efforts of their elders. This blog is for me to work my way through a smorgasbord of issues through the medium of comedy and writing; it’s not a critique on parenting and it’s not meant to be taken as a ‘one size fits all’ deal.

Now, that being said, while I judge my mother and father…and step-father, for the issues they felt compelled to disease me with, I also feel a weird sense of gratitude. Thank the Lord they messed me up just enough to make me a comedy genius. Because being funny really has seen me through some pretty horrendous times. Never were truer words spoken than the old adage ‘if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?’ Don’t get me wrong, there’s no way to make the abuse of a nine year old funny – it’s completely not a laughing matter…but that’s a really tiny part of an otherwise highly comedic life and in a roundabout way, life is comedic because those early experiences have given me a warped sense of realism. So, if you find yourself chuckling with equal measure at the story where I shit all over my monstrous ex-boyfriend’s peen and my psychotic mother knocking me out with an oil-filled frying pan, it’s all good. Life has handed me the sourest of lemons, and while I use my oven for storage so the thought of making lemonade is inexplicable to me, I’ve made some pretty amusing juice out of it nevertheless.

Stay tuned. You’ll laugh, you’ll maybe cry and you’ll definitely know someone a little like some of the featured peeps you’re about to meet.

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