I think I MAY have got out of bed on the wrong side this morning. You have been warned…
My Facebook timeline has been filled this morning with selfies of women with no makeup on, supposedly to ‘raise awareness of breast cancer’. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for raising awareness of breast cancer but I’m failing to see the connection here. To be honest, it all seems a bit Charity Wank to me. It seems a bit inappropriate and trivial too, because I’d guess most women affected by breast cancer probably end up spending more on makeup to compensate for how shit the treatment is making them feel and because of the pressure society puts on them to comply with the unrealistic models of beauty being force-fed them by the makeup and fashion industries on all the other days/weeks/months of the year when ‘no-makeup-to-raise-awareness-for-breast-cancer’ campaigns aren’t ‘trending’ (Christ, I hate that word).
If you’re going to ditch makeup, ladies, then can I suggest you ditch makeup to protest against those unrealistic demands and the industries perpetuating them and do it 365 days a year for the rest of your lives. Then give the money you usually spend on makeup to charities. Not just breast cancer, though, (I’ve heard some terrible things about the amount of people making a living from cancer charities these days) – there are absolutely HEAPS of other worthy causes that could benefit from those BILLIONS of pounds spent every year on mascara, lippy and anti-aging creams too. Go on, you know it makes sense. The world would be a better and, ironically, more beautiful place for it, and if all of you did it then ultimately you would just be levelling the playing field again. Okay, us blokes might not like it for a while but we’d get used to it, and isn’t it about time you stopped pandering to our demands anyway? I mean, ladies, if I’d thrown myself under the King’s racehorse a hundred or so years ago to help get you the vote and stuff I’d probably be spinning like a dervish in my grave today and screaming ‘what was the fucking point?’
All of that said, when I thought about it a little more I found myself wondering what a truly ‘natural’ woman would look like, and whether I or the world is ready for that again yet. Given the hours women spend shaving legs, plucking eyebrows, getting their beetle bonnets waxed, shoring up their tits and bums with spanx underwear and various other slings and hammocks, protecting the world from offensive odours emanating from their reproductive organs, and easing wheat induced winds from their bleached and epilated rectums it has to be assumed that unlike the male of the species they ceased to evolve around 400,000 years ago, and that without the help of cosmetics and other aids we’d be looking at something similar to the lady pictured above. Now that, in one fell swoop, might be advancing feminism a step too far. So softly softly, ladies, and please do appreciate that when it comes to those unrealistic models of beauty I mentioned earlier we blokes outside of the industries creating them are unwitting victims too…
Also regularly invading my timeline recently are adverts aimed at supposedly educated middle-class yummy mummies who are apparently so ignorant or blasé about the dietary requirements of their children that they are incapable of providing a packed lunch for their little Henry or Henrietta without outsourcing the task to a team of ‘professionals’. Now far be it from me to deride the entrepreneurial spirit driving such Emperor’s New Clothes marketing schemes, but it seems to me a symptom of a sick and divided society when the two growth areas within the food industry are food banks catering for the needs of those living in desperate poverty and packaging companies pandering to the desires of over-privileged and over-indulged brats and their equally over-indulged and over-privileged parents who are either too feckless or too lazy to knock up a sandwich and wash an apple.
Nope, to me it is sickening, and it seems insane that while huge numbers of children in this country are living on the breadline and being fed on free school lunches and food bank donations there are other children sitting around arguing every lunchtime over whose exorbitantly priced luxury-packaged ‘grazing platter’ is the most exclusive… If I was one of the poor (undoubtedly) minimum waged packers responsible for ‘hand picking and assembling’ the ‘nutritious balanced meals’ these finicky little Charlies and Charlottes are being offered I would be sorely tempted to gob in their vegetarian sushi and mix a handful of rabbit turds into their organic fruit granola squares…
And then I’d get a shotgun and kill their parents… … Did I mention I MAY have gotten out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?
Finally, on a lighter note, there was an interesting exchange on my timeline this morning about the rising cost of children’s ‘pocket money’ sweeties. It would have been easy to slip into a nostalgic rant about Wagon Wheels (‘it used to take two of you to carry one, you know…’) and Jamboree bags (a paper-bag based precursor of the Kinder Egg for those of you too young to remember), but instead I chose to focus on ‘penny chews’, which, despite the misleading name, actually over-delivered to the tune of four at that price break. Yes, four blackjacks or fruit salad (or two of each if you wanted a bit of variety) would cost you the princely sum of 1D, and would keep your jaws busy all day long.
I also commented on what IMO is the single most terrifying aspect of sweetie evolution over the past few decades: the rise of Haribo… In essence, I have never tasted a single Haribo ‘sweet’ that I liked – they all taste of glue and beeswax (their two main ingredients, I would guess) – and the experience of eating them is akin to chewing one of those dried pig’s ears they sell as dog treats in pet shops. I have no idea why our kids eat them, and can only assume that there is some ‘magic’ ingredient not mentioned (or heavily disguised) on the packaging that is as addictive for small children as crack cocaine or Guinness is reputed to be for many adults.
No, when all is said and done you knew where you were with Blackjacks – liquorice, a black tongue, a vile racist stereotype on the wrapper and the liquorice related squitts if you ate too many – and it seems to me a far better place than the one we inhabit now. No defence for the vile racist stereotype, of course, but that aside: Ah, those were the days 🙂
And finally finally: a bit of self-indulgent smuggery. About six months ago I took up jogging. When rain stopped play about four or five weeks ago and kept me from running my usual off-road circuit I switched to a local running club (Sarah’s Runners), where I usually run a 4 – 5 mile route a couple of times a week. While there this week I noticed a link on one of the group’s maps to www.mapometer.com , where I was able to check the distance of my off-road weekend run. Turns out, people, that rather than the five or so miles I thought I was running I’ve actually been doing around eight! That’s about thirteen kilometres for those of you who have gone metric. Okay, it’s no marathon and I’m sure there will be plenty of healthy types out there reading this and thinking ‘I’ve spat further than that’, but I’m feeling pretty bloody-well chuffed with myself. So there. Annoyingly it’s a running night tonight, and it’s blowing a gale and threatening rain. I will probably run anyway, but it won’t be half as much fun if it’s soggy, and once the rain gets past your ‘wicking’ it’s none too easy on the nipples either. Ouch!