Fucking, foreplay, and heteronormativity

The other day I posted on my blog about fucking a 20 year old (guy), with the caveat that I had done it before, but only with two other people in my lifetime. A woman I slept with a few times at University commented ‘weren’t we 19 when we met?’ And it drew attention to the fact that I only count men in my ‘number’.

I have a list on my phone simply named as ‘fuck list’ – we all have a list, right? With a symbol next to the ones that were good? My list is only guys who have put their dick inside me. But what about women? Why don’t I count them? Perhaps because the word ‘fuck’ sounds a bit rough, or violent. It evokes the action of penetrating. It’s not a word you associate with going down on a woman. In fact I just found out that there’s a radical feminist movement on the internet who think that PIV / PinV (penis in vagina) is always rape because it’s a ‘violent’ act. I obviously don’t agree with the theory, but perhaps that’s a discussion for another time.

Anyway…if my list is only about penetration, then what about the fact I’ve fucked women with strap-ons, and vice versa, surely they should be on the list? But then a strap-on is not part of me, so is it not the same thing?

If I was going to start counting women, what do I count? Do I count fingering? Or do I only count it if we did oral? Or if we did it in a bed and there was a whole long experience? What do women who only sleep with women count? I’m guessing different people count differently. I know some gay men who do count oral sex as sex. And what if I had sex with a woman who had a penis – why would I count that, but not a woman who doesn’t have one? The implication of only counting it if a dick is in the equation is that you’re automatically inferior if you don’t have one. Ah the patriarchy.  

And it’s not even that I don’t count women, I only count PinV sex. There’s a guy I had sex with once, but he only fucked me in the arse (perhaps a story for another time), so he’s not on my list. I also don’t count a few guys who I only had inside me for a few seconds. 30 seconds or more at least. In the pussy. That’s my rule apparently. My list is very selective. 

If I start counting women, surely I need to also count all the men I did fingering/oral sex with? But I can’t remember…I can’t remember the names of all the men and women I gave oral to, but for some reason I’ve made a special effort to remember the names of every man who has fucked me with their dick.

Because heteronormative society views that as the height of sexual experience, and I am just as guilty of subscribing to it. I’m often eager to get to the penetrative sex, even though I don’t always enjoy it the most. Why is oral and fingering called foreplay? Because intercourse is supposed to be the fucking main event.

But sometimes ‘foreplay’ can be the ‘main event’. It was great to see Grey Worm giving Missandei cunnilingus in Game of Thrones – but that’s literally because he doesn’t have a dick. How often do you see that on TV? I think there may have been a Misfits episode where Simon does it to Alisha, but it doesn’t happen that often.

It also goes back to the social construct of ‘losing your virginity’. The fact that in straight terms it’s basically when a dick goes inside you. But what about gold star lesbians? Or gay men who don’t do penetration? Do they spend their whole lives as ‘virgins’?! Do they think of themselves as virgins?! I’m guessing not. Sometimes you gotta make your own definitions. 

Even the language is all wrong. Losing your virginity. Like it’s something to be held onto. Not an experience to be gained.

Maybe I don’t count everything, because once I’d, in theory, gone the furthest, I wasn’t interested in counting anything less than that. I did used to count how many people I’d kissed and all their names, but once I ‘lost my virginity’ that took over. Or maybe I don’t count all the experiences more than kissing, because then my number would probably to be closer to 100.

But why do we count anyway? Why does it matter what my number is? I guess numbers are a quick way to find out how sexually experienced someone is, but it doesn’t work if you’re not including all the information.

It’s probably just another way to shame women for being too ‘frigid’ or too ‘promiscuous’, and a way to shame men for being too ‘frigid’. (Since they don’t usually get shamed for promiscuity). Plus you could have had sex with lots of people, but only once, or sex with not as many people, but lots of times.

It’s really difficult to retrain yourself out of the heteronormative way of thinking, but I’m going to give it a go. From now on, I’m going to count all the experiences I have, whether there ends up being a D in my V or not. I will try and stop using the term ‘losing virginity’, and I’m going to edit my list to include all my previous sexual experiences (that I can remember) from both men and women. Just not those ones that lasted less than 30 seconds. Fuck. That.

 

What’s it like to fuck a 20 year old?

Ok so it’s not the first time I’ve fucked a 20 year old.

Other times this has happened:

  1. At 19, when I lost my virginity to a 20 year old. 
  2. At 28, I fucked a 20 year old who was very kinky – he choked me, stuck his fingers down my throat, and came all over my face. Then he had the cheek to ask me to lend him £20, as he’d lost his bank card, along with some headphones, so he could listen to some music on the way to Fabric. #youngpeople (To his credit I did get them both back).

But now I’m in my 30s.

So is 20 too young?

It was the Friday before Halloween, and I went to my friend’s warehouse party. Here is a picture I took while getting ready, before I put my  dress on.Carmen Ali Halloween PicIf that’s not a picture that says ‘I’m getting laid tonight’,  I don’t know what is.  (Although, of course it’s easy to say that in retrospect). 

After about an hour of being there, this boy came over to me. He said the party was ‘lit’. Apparently that’s a word young people are using a lot at the moment.

Me: How old are you?

Him: How young would you go?

Me: Um…18 maybe

Him: I’m 20

Me: Oh good

In my head: I’m glad he’s not 18

I did also check his id to make sure he was actually 20, because unlike Kevin Spacey, I like to practice challenge 25 when it comes to random guys I meet at parties.  (I did this in a half joking way, as I didn’t really think he was lying about his age).

And so it went on. He had all the cockiness of a 20 year old who knows that he is hot, but I kind of liked that. He seemed sure of the fact that he was coming home with me that night, and I felt he would be too, but wanted to make him work for it a bit. He was cute, blond, and skinny, and I was definitely attracted to him. His banter was a bit second rate, but he didn’t seem to mind me telling him his jokes were shit (as well as twisting his nipple pretty damn hard within about 2 minutes of meeting him). 

He said I was a ‘freak’ like him, which made me think of the Sugababes song. Ah early 2000s nostalgia. He asked me if I was into candle wax, so I told him about my candles designed specifically for wax play, and the night descended into flirting, kissing, and talking about what we were going to do to each other. He also asked me if I had any anal beads. (Do I look seem like the sort of woman who doesn’t have anal beads?!) I’d ran out of my wine pretty quickly, so it was also handy meeting him, as he kept giving me some of his rum and coke and I didn’t have to walk to the fucking shop. We hung out in his friend’s room and made out. We talked about having kinky sex, and he choked me, we slapped each other, and he sucked and bit on my nipples. 

Eventually we went back to mine,  and I asked him what kind of music he wanted to listen to – he said ‘Disclosure’ (no idea) so I found it on Spotify (seemed to be a mix of artists) and put on an album.

I sat on top of him on the bed, we were kissing, and I picked up a bottle of water and poured it all over him, soaking his white T-shirt, because let’s be honest, all white clothes look better when wet.

He looked initially annoyed, but then resisted when I tried to take his shirt off before tying him up, so perhaps he liked the feeling of the damp fabric stuck to his skin. I tied him to my bed with duct tape, which I haven’t used for a while, but didn’t feel sober enough to be able to find handcuff keys later. 

I pulled his t-shirt up to expose his nipples, lit a candle, and dripped wax all over them, and the rest of his chest. He writhed in a sexy ‘I’m in pain but I like this’ sort of way, and I thought I’m definitely enjoying my dominant side at the moment.

I remember untying him and him fingering me. It was okay, not the worst I’ve ever had, but my g-spot wasn’t exactly bursting with joy,  ready to write its own blog post about it. I started playing with his cock, but there were no signs of life. He had mentioned he’d taken a bit of cocaine earlier in the night, (but had stopped when he knew we were going back together) and he had drank a lot, but perhaps he was also intimidated by having sex with an older, kinky woman – even though at the party he had been the one desperate for all the kinky stuff to happen. 

Anyway, I sucked his dick diligently, and eventually it got just hard enough to put a condom on. We had sex for a bit with me on top, then it fell out, so we switched to doggy, and he put his thumb in my arsehole, which always feels oddly satisfying for me. I think men must know that it’s an instant way to improve mediocre sex. He spanked me a little, and we were getting into it for a while. But eventually I got a bit bored, so I stopped and I took my vibrator out, and even though it felt like my batteries were running out, I just about managed to cum. I thought it was funny that my ejaculate fluid on my bed made a dick shape. It was almost like my pussy was saying ‘ha ha I don’t need you’. 

He tried to wank over me, but he couldn’t cum, so we went to sleep. I think he felt a bit disappointed about not being able to fuck ‘all through the night to the early morn’ and said he was going to fuck me properly the next day.

At around 8am in the morning I caught him taking a photo – I had heard the clicking noise, so I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was taking a selfie, as his friend had asked him where he was. #20yearolds

He swiftly got dressed, left sheepishly, and I haven’t heard from him since. Ah a true one night stand.

So here are the lessons I have learnt (yes sometimes you gotta learn a lesson more than once)

  1. One bottle of wine is not enough for a party
  2. I should have used the anal beads on him while he was tied up
  3. I often enjoy flirting, kissing, and kinky foreplay more than actual penetration 
  4. I need to get some Viagra or similar, as this has happened way too many times for me not to have some on standby (although people have commented since saying it doesn’t go well with alcohol and coke, but apparently there’s a wine that has the same effect)
  5. That Sugababes video is weirder than I remember
  6. 20 probably is a bit too young

 

Hit the Road, Jack

I went back on OkCupid because in no particular order:

  1. I don’t learn my lessons. 2. Sex.

I started talking to a guy called Jack. I did say to him on our date I don’t tend to use real names on here. But it seemed relevant for the name of this blog. And since I’ll (probably) never see him again, we have no mutual friends, and I don’t even know his last name, I don’t think it matters too much.

We texted quite a lot before meeting, bonding over our mutual love of Peep Show, Venn diagrams, and roller-coasters. He asked me a lot of personal questions before we met (which I don’t mind answering if I get a good vibe from someone). Sometimes it’s quite hard to build flirtation before you meet someone, but he had a good mixture of being able to take the piss out of me, take it back, and be self-deprecating, so I thought we would have good chemistry. 

We met at Wood Green tube station (because I basically only go on dates near where I live) and I was super hungry so we went to Nandos. I did fancy him and within about 15 minutes he had already told me I wasn’t funny, which is probably the hottest thing someone could say to me. I did a podcast interview earlier this year where I talked about this. 

I ordered chicken wings, with two sides, plus halloumi, and avocado, but he’d already had dinner, so only got mango ice cream, and it tasted fucking weird. He agreed it was weird and left a bit. I told him he had to finish it all because I’d fucking paid for it and he did. Because power games are fun.

We were chatting so much that eventually someone came over and said ‘we closed 45 minutes ago’. So where else better to go than the craziness that is the Jolly Anglers pub?

This was a slightly bad decision on my part, as that’s where me and ice skating guy went a couple of times, including on our first date, and it forced to me think of him, and I got a little nostalgic. But it was probably good to get it over with, after all it’s my date place, not our place. I was conscious not to sit in any of the places we had sat together, but I couldn’t resist the urge to sing karaoke again.

I decided to sing Kate Nash Foundations because it’s a great song, and she’s the only person in the world I can do a good impression of. (No more Jennifer Paige, I’ve been burned before). This random drunk guy kept trying to dance with me while I was singing, which meant I spent most of the song trying not to laugh, but did manage to aptly point to him while singing the line ‘oh dear god I hope I’m not stuck with this one’.

Jack seemed to think it was funny and later told me he regretted not singing a song himself. (And that he would have sung Let me Entertain You by Robbie Williams, to which I replied that he also had a song called No Regrets).

We kissed in the pub, and talked a bit about kinky sex, and I remember being quite turned on. He asked to come home with me but I said ‘no’. So he walked me to my door, and after he left me we texted for a bit before going to sleep. On the way home he had mentioned something about going on other dates/dating lots of people, which I thought was a bit odd at the time (surely you don’t need to declare that on the first date). But now I know why he thought that was relevant.

A few days later he text me saying he enjoyed meeting me, but it just got ‘serious’ with someone he’s been dating for a while, so we couldn’t have our second date. I’m not sure why guys tend to use the word ‘serious’ when it comes to dating. What an unsexy word. 

He said he still wants to come to my pub quiz, and then I made an inappropriate shit joke about coming/cumming. We ended the conversation with him sending me pig emojis which was kinda sweet, because I told him before they were the only ones I really like.

🐽🐽🐽🐽

I wonder if he’ll ever come to my quiz (doubtful) or if I’ll get a text from him in the future when he’s single again (possible).

It’s a shame that I didn’t just fuck him that night, as I think it would have been a lot of fun, even if it was just a one off. I probably would have done it if he’d said ‘look I’m about to get into a monogamous relationship, this is your only fucking chance’. But hey, no regrets, right?

Featured road image by Teddy Kelley on Unsplash

 

It’s just a little crush

Crush

(noun)

A strong but temporary feeling of liking someone

(verb)

To upset or shock someone

To defeat someone completely

* * *

Our first date was the best date I’ve ever had.

We went ice skating at Ally Pally ice rink. We got there too early, so walked around the gardens first. I fancied him as soon as I saw him, and I could tell he fancied me too. We were flirting like schoolkids – playful, and teasing, and physical. We held hands on the ice, and at one point I fell onto my knees in front of him and told him I was ‘just practicing’ in a provocative way.

He kept trying to push me into the wall, and one of the times he decided to stop me from going too fast into it at the last second. That part of the wall turned out to be a door, so I would have fallen straight through it and out of the ice rink. He joked for the next few months about how the date would have been even better if only he’d actually pushed me through that door. I agree – it would have been hilarious (you know, as long as I didn’t have to go to A&E afterwards).

After ice skating we went to the Jolly Angler pub for drinks and there was karaoke on. We had our first kiss to someone’s bad version of ‘Hallelujah’ and I was happy to discover he was a great kisser. I decided to sing the classic 90s one hit wonder ‘Crush’ by Jennifer Paige and he took a video of me singing on his phone. I probably knew even then that singing it was ‘just a little crush’ was a case of the lady doth protest too much, that I would end up quite liking him, and that would be my downfall.

After karaoke, we got takeaway, and he came home with me, (we didn’t have sex), we just watched Peep Show and stayed up until 6am talking. It was exciting getting to know someone new.

He was funny, and smart, and sexually open minded, we got along well, and played chess (which he usually won), and I could be myself with him and I enjoyed us spending time together. He remembered which days I was doing certain things, like hosting my quiz, and would text me to ask how it was. We went for bagels on Brick Lane, he bought me presents for my birthday, we played pool, he poured milk on me in my shower in a kinky way, he came to watch my blog reading and my stand-up gig, and I fucked him with my strap-on. Great sex and awesome date activities. It was exactly what I wanted.

I waited for him for 6 weeks because he went travelling to Madagascar and then away to his sister’s prom.

On our next date, we went for dinner, and then had amazing sex where I tied him to my bed and dripped hot candle wax on him. (He said he’d never seen me look so happy). He had a very high pain threshold and I found that so sexy about him.

It’s so precarious at the beginning. I feel as though you are skating on thin ice, making sure they don’t think you like them too much because they’ll get scared and run away. My problem is I’m not very good at holding back or playing it cool. So when he started not texting me as much, instead of chilling out and letting him come to me, I started texting even more and went a bit overboard with it.

On our last date, we went to Ally Pally Summer Festival. I had a bit of a go at him for not texting me that much that week and he said he would text me more. Everything seemed fine and he introduced me to some of his friends. He text me later that night, but then after that went a bit AWOL again. I didn’t really understand what was happening, but we eventually met for lunch today and he explained.

That day, I’d asked him if he’d spoken to his ex-girlfriend recently, because I knew he’d been there with her the year before and it was on my mind, and he said that made him realise that we were getting ‘serious’ and he got scared. I suddenly realised when he told me this that he’s not totally over her, and maybe didn’t take enough time to process what happened between them before meeting me. It seems like he repressed those feelings and hasn’t dealt with them fully yet. I also think that sometimes even if a man likes you he can get freaked out if you come on too strong and/ or he’s not in the right head space for a relationship. 

Today was weird. It didn’t feel like a break up in the traditional sense because he was saying things you wouldn’t normally say like ‘I really like you’, and still being a bit flirty. He also said conflicting things. When I asked him what he wanted it sounded like he wants the same things I do (play chess, have sex, and go out sometimes). But he said he thinks I want something more, and he can’t give me that right now. Then the next minute he said he doesn’t know what he wants. Then he made a joke about meeting up in a year and going ice skating. Then he said he had a really fun day with me at the Summer Festival. WHAT A HEAD FUCK.

I wish I hadn’t been so needy, and put so much energy into wanting him to like me, and I wish I hadn’t asked him about his ex, but it’s hard to know whether it would have made a difference or not. Perhaps we just met at the wrong time. It’s so frustrating when you meet someone you have great chemistry with and so much fun with, and you can tell that they were really into you at the start, but now they don’t want to continue seeing you. I feel sad, and angry, and rejected, and deceived, and disappointed, and confused all at once. I could probably spend hours thinking about what I could have done differently but I’m going to try not to torture myself about it too much.

I wanted to say to him thank you for all the good times we had together, for the best first date ever, for coming to my shows with me, for the milk, and the candle wax, and of course, the pegging.

But I couldn’t find the words to say all this, so I just said bye and we hugged and I watched him walk away, turning round once to look back at me, like a fucking tease. Talk about mixed messages.

Towards the end of the conversation, I told him I’m going to give him some space for him to miss me, and perhaps we can text each other in a month or so and see where we’re at. Maybe I will have met someone else by then, maybe I’ll have forgotten about him, or maybe we’ll meet up again, and play chess and go ice skating, and I’ll push him through that door. I don’t know what the future holds, but for now I’ll just have to focus on being creative, and doing stuff for me, after I’ve listened to Jennifer Paige…

 

Dreams Can Come True

Until recently, the last time I received anal sex was in 2012. A one point I thought there was something wrong with my anus from having too much anal, so I stopped because of that (turns out it’s fine), but it was mainly because I started to realise the double standards around anal, and how some men were expecting us to be willing to be fucked in the arse, when some of them would freak out if you even tried to put a finger in there. So I made a rule not to let a guy fuck me in the anally, unless he was willing to let me fuck him anally. I still allowed fingers and thumbs (and some anal beads one time), but for 5 years no dick crossed the threshold.

I bought a strap on because it was my dream to peg a guy, but the only time it ever got used was when I had sex with women. One day in early 2014, a guy I had fucked a couple of times asked me to use it on him, but I wasn’t mentally prepared for it, and we hadn’t had sex for a while, so I said ‘just fuck me first and then maybe we can do that after’. Sadly that time he came really quickly, left, and I never saw him again. I regretted not doing it for ages. But maybe it wasn’t meant to be with him. After all, your first time is supposed to be special.

I’ve heard the line that a lot of straight men don’t want something in there because they think it’s a bit ‘gay’, but that’s bullshit. Also, have you ever heard a straight woman say they don’t want to receive oral sex because ‘that’s what lesbians do’?! No, of course not.  The irony of men wanting to fuck women in the arse and not wanting it in return is that men have actually got a g-spot up in there and WE DON’T. One of my female friends recently received anal for the first time from her male partner and afterwards when she said it was just ‘ok’ he said ‘but don’t you have a prostate up there?’ 

HEAD DESK.

I blame mainstream porn.

Anyway, I enforced my rule very well, until my crazy sex night in March, then in April I started dating a guy from Tinder. We had sex on the third date (I know I said I was going to wait to get to know someone more first, but I wanted to fuck him too much to wait any longer). He put his finger inside my arsehole,  and the next time I put my finger in his. I asked him whether he would let me fuck him with my strap-on, and he said ‘probably’, and I thought he might, because he seemed very sexually open minded, but I wasn’t totally sure. But on the 5th date, I was super horny, so I fucked the rules again, and told him he could do it to me.

I know some women, who have said that anal can feel quite good – perhaps their vaginal wall is quite thin, so it’s more easily stimulated, but some others do just find it uncomfortable. For me, I quite enjoy the fact that it hurts, and that it’s causing me pain while giving them pleasure. It was nice that he fingered me for a while first and used lots of lube though, which meant the pain wasn’t overwhelming, like it has been in the past sometimes when guys just stick it in.

On the 6th date, he came to one of my gigs (I did my anal sex joke about the double standards), and then when we got home I asked if he really was going to let me do it to him. He said ‘What now? Ok.’ and having learnt my lesson from my last missed opportunity, I did not waste any time in getting out some lube and starting to finger him.

I sucked his cock while putting my fingers inside and eventually worked my way up to four fingers. My strap-on is quite thick, so he definitely needed this. I had previously searched online for good positions for pegging, so decided to try some of these out. One of them was him lying face down (which I particularly enjoyed because I could pull his hair while doing this), and the other was me sitting on the edge of the bed while he backed onto me.

We did briefly try him lying on his back with me on top but he found it too painful, which is a shame, as I wanted to be able to look him in the eyes while fucking him. I didn’t do doggy style, as a man in that position doesn’t really appeal to me – I like my men to be submissive, but not that submissive. But I would have liked to try some other positions, maybe lying on our sides or standing up against a wall, or fucking him over a table while pushing his head into a container of water. You know, all the classics. 

I found it quite difficult to fuck him and stimulate his dick at the same time, and I definitely think he enjoyed the fingering and blow job more than the actual pegging, (enjoying the foreplay more than the penetration – welcome to our world), but obviously it was my first time doing it to a guy, so there is still lots to learn. The best thing about it was that he trusted me enough to let me do it to him, and was willing to let me live out a fantasy. 

Obviously the main difference between a woman fucking a guy with a strap-on and a man fucking a women’s arsehole, is that the strap on is not part of me, so I am not getting the same physical enjoyment. My strap-on can vibrate, but this was not close enough to my clit for me to feel the effect from it. So for me, fucking a guy like this is more of a mental turn onIt did make me feel powerful, and happy that even though I had let him do it first, technically I hadn’t broken my rule again.

In my joke, I say that it’s my dream to do it while listening to the Spice Girls, because that’s true Girl Power, then I say I’m only joking – I’d do it to Blurred Lines, as that would be more appropriate. But there wasn’t really a right moment to stop and open up Spotify to put on my pre-prepared Spice Girls/Blurred Lines playlist. I also think it would be fun to dress up while doing it, in heels and my dominatrix style dress. Maybe next time I can do all this. Hopefully I will get to do it again in the future, whether that’s with him or with someone else.

So in the words of Gabrielle, dreams can come true, and yes, it’s not always when or exactly how you expect them to, but I’m glad I have finally found a guy not constrained by gender norms and expectations, and not afraid to try something new…

 

 

 

 

Living in the moment

I’m addicted to my phone. I have it with me all the time. I check it probably hundreds of times a day. I spend hours messaging people and hours on social media. It runs my life. Phone addiction is a real thing, and I’m sure there are people reading this that have the same problem. It’s widely known now that when you check your phone and you have a notification, it increases your dopamine levels, and that’s why we keep doing it.

I feel more and more that smart phones have ruined my attention span and ability to focus. Sometimes I will be listening to a podcast or watching a TV show, and I will still check Twitter or be Whatsapping someone at the same time. It’s distracting, time wasting, and bad for your health. I often have days where I think what did I actually do today? And the answer is just play on my phone.

At the weekend I went away to Suffolk for a friend’s wedding. I didn’t know there was going to be a beach nearby so that was a nice surprise, as I fucking love beaches. (Not packing a bikini did not stop me, as I can swim just as mediocrely in a vest top and shorts). There was no signal at all on the beach, and it made my beach experience so much better.  I did take some pictures but that only took a few minutes.

DSC_0715

The rest of the time, I wrote my morning pages and then I swam for ages because there was literally nothing else for me to do. It was a great spontaneous artist’s date, that I could just enjoy for what it was without mindlessly scrolling my Facebook news feed.

On the walk back to the B&B I got signal, (this was handy to check I was walking in the right direction because I’d got a lift on the way there), but the walk took longer than it was meant to, as I kept checking my phone. I did have to send one message about arrangements for getting to the church later, but the others could have waited. I also accidentally sat on a stinging nettle when I stopped to do stuff on my phone, so I guess that was the universe’s way of telling me to get off my fucking phone. Having said that, I discovered that I actually quite like the feeling of stinging nettles, and could totally incorporate this into some kinky outdoor sex in the future.

Recently I have been trying to put my phone on flight mode when I want to get stuff done, but I still find that 5 minutes later I will just take the phone off flight mode. Today I really wanted to try and break this habit, so I intentionally went out without my phone for probably the first time in about 16 years.

And again, without being able to use my phone, I had an awesome time. I took some bags to the recycling centre, then walked to Ally Pally park. With no phone to distract me, I noticed my surroundings more. I looked at the clouds. I watched a bee pollinate every flower in sight, and enjoyed the feeling of the grass under my skin and bare feet.

It was a little frustrating not being able to take any photos, but I soon got over it. I wrote a few poems in my notebook and appreciated  just being in the park. I wished I’d taken my hula hoop, so maybe I will do that in future. I had no idea what time it was, because I haven’t worn a watch since circa 2004, but there was something really lovely about this. Eventually I realised I was going to get hungry soon and needed to get some dinner. So next time I will take food too.

Being in the shops was another challenge, as I didn’t have anything to occupy myself while queuing, but it was actually okay. I channelled my inner 90s gal and it worked. I feel like we were all so much more patient back then. Because you had to be. You had to wait for so long for everything. Music, TV Shows, Movies, Dial Up Internet.

You had to actually phone someone on a landline if you wanted to talk to them. And sometimes they weren’t in.  If you wanted to skip a song, you had to fast forward and then guess when to stop it. And then maybe sometimes you went too far and you had to rewind. When you stopped that cassette tape in just the right place, that was a satisfying moment. We don’t have moments like these anymore. Everything is at our fingertips, which is why we get so impatient if someone doesn’t text back straight away or our WiFi stops working. But maybe we should learn some of the patience we had back then.

When I got home, I resisted the urge to check my phone, and put my food in the fridge first. Then I went on my phone and immediately lost 10 minutes of my life to Twitter, so now it’s on flight mode, and has been for the last three hours. Go self control. I’m definitely going to try and go out without my phone more often, and hopefully this will train my brain not to check it all the time when I do have it with me. Because I don’t want to look back on my life and realise I wasted half of it staring at a little screen.

Smartphones are great, and social media is great –  I wouldn’t have so many people reading my blog without it. But like everything in life – they need to be consumed in moderation.

Stuck in the 90s

On Wednesday I turned 32. Which I always remember is the same age Brittany Murphy was when she died. Which makes me want to clean my shower properly, so I don’t get toxic mold poisoning. But I hate cleaning. Or do I? More on that later.

When I was a teenager I thought that 32 was super old. I couldn’t imagine being that old. Or if I could, I thought by 32 I would be ‘settled’, probably married with children. I guess because that’s what you assume when you are a kid. That’s the narrative you’re sold, especially as a girl, and especially when I was younger and we didn’t have Frozen to teach us that true love can come from your sister, not just from a man.

Although I didn’t have a sister, so that would probably have just pissed me off. I couldn’t understand as a kid why my mum couldn’t just give me a sister, because I didn’t know that some things do need to come from a man.

But anyway…anyone who knows me or follows me on any social media knows that I am obsessed with the 90s, which is ironic because we didn’t have social media in the 90s. I didn’t even have a hotmail account until 2001.

It confused me when I was younger why my mum was obsessed with the 60s and would still listen to The Beatles and The Supremes – I was like ‘ listen to some new music, mum!’ before slamming my door and putting on the Spice Girls.

But as we all are doomed to turn into our mothers, despite our best intentions (HEAD DESK), now I basically haven’t moved on since circa 1999. I still wear shag bands and chokers, watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on a regular basis, and recently sang Jennifer Paige’s song Crush at karaoke (while on a Tinder date which I realise is not very 90s).

So I thought, what better way to spend my birthday evening with my mum than to go and see ‘2 Become 1’. A 90s themed musical (with real 90s songs). It opens with one of the characters Jess sobbing into her landline after a break-up, and singing All Saints Never Ever (All Saints was the first concert I ever went to) before her 3 friends persuade her to go to a speed dating event.

It had everything I had hoped for and more – Shania Twain, butterfly clips, hilarious facial expressions, audience interaction, Titanic, 3 Spice Girls songs, dance routines, Britney, Gina G Ooh Ah Just a Little bit, and not one – but two Buffy References! They even managed to mix ‘I’m Horny’ and ‘Genie in a bottle’ together. It totally embodied the sense of fun that the 90s were all about. 

And there were free badges! I am now the proud owner of a badge that says ‘No Scrubs’ on it.

I loved that there were some references to the way some men see women (‘he wants you to suck his cock, but pretend like you’re doing it for the first time’), and the crap that we read in women’s magazines.  There was also some dramatic irony about how online dating will never catch on because it’s better to meet someone in real life, and the character Molly imagining a terrible world where we don’t have a Labour government and there are loads of cuts to the NHS, and the arts.

It was basically a wonderful trip down memory lane for me, even though it made me a bit sad that I never had a Tamagotchi. (Belated birthday present anyone?)

I do feel sometimes like the 90s was a better, more innocent time, sure we had lads mags, but there was something more tongue in cheek about it, plus we had Girl Power to balance it out. And I’m sure loads of bad stuff was still happening (I remember the war in Kosovo) but we didn’t hear about every bad thing all the time because no one had Twitter. The 90s was a time when a Union Jack dress was nothing to do with Brexit and a troll was a toy you would collect.

There was so much hope! (Before the ultimate disappointment when your cassette tape got tangled and even a pencil couldn’t save it). Especially with New Labour. I loved Tony Blair so much at one point that it was my dream to become a politician. Not even joking. Can you imagine? I mean I do have the legs for it.

Maybe 2017 can be the new 1997? The small optimistic part of me wants to believe that on the 9th of June we can tell Theresa May to talk to the hand ’cause the face ain’t listening. And if not I plan to get drunk and listen to Nirvana. Actually I will do that either way.

Although the 90s resonate with me and I love them, I don’t necessarily love who I was then. It’s easy to idealise the past, but I’ve changed so much  and I much prefer the person I am now. And yes I’m not where I thought I would be at 32. But I discovered that I don’t want a conventional 2.4 children life, and also more recently that sometimes I hold myself back because of self-fulfilling prophecies I have about myself.

I spent years telling myself I couldn’t be good with money, or tidy, or good at cleaning, or able to achieve certain things but that’s just me limiting myself when there should be No Limits, and now in the words of Ultra Nate, I’m free to be who I want to be.

I also think I’m starting to get the balance of simultaneously living for the present and planning for the future. As Buffy would say ‘seize the moment ’cause tomorrow you might be dead’.

So yes, I am stuck in the 90s, and I think that’s okay as long as it’s musically and fictionally, not mentally. I do have to accept that it’s not 1997 anymore, and that’s a good thing. Maybe I’ll even start listening to some up to date music. While I clean my shower. I just need some 90s nostalgia to Spice up my Life sometimes. 

P.s. If you’re reading this before Edinburgh Festival 2017, go and watch ‘2 Become 1’ before you regret it like I regret never seeing the Spice Girls live (which was going to be the band I hadn’t seen on my list of ten bands, except I don’t do bullshit Facebook fads like that).

2 Become 1, written by Natasha Granger and Kerri Thomason, was at King’s Head Theatre Islington, 12th April 2017 – 29th April 2017 and will be at The Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14) Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 – Tickets here