100daysofgrievances #32 BEING A GIRL (Part 1)

I wouldn’t call myself a girly girl, but a couple of weekends ago I indulged in some activities that were most out-of-character for me (and stereotypically ‘girly’).   Firstly, I drank prosecco in my garden (I’m much more of a real ale or red wine in old men’s pubs kind of lass) and secondly, I went to a nail bar.  I blame the blondes. The blondes being the friends who arrived for an al fresco brunch chez moi brandishing bountiful bottles of fizz. Are blondes more likely to encourage the pre-prandial consumption of fizzy wine than acquaintances of any other hair colour?  Certainly in my circle of friends.  There’s a sociological study in there somewhere, methinks…

Before I’m accused of slandering blondes, I’ll carry on with my story.  So, having downed a couple of glasses of prosecco, my defences were also down and I somehow ended up sitting at a table in a nail bar with some sort of lamp device in front of me, perusing a chart in order to decide which particular shade I wanted my nails painted…

These nail bar places are crazy (and clearly popular; there are gazillions of them popping up in once-derelict shops all over town).  The services they offer are quite bizarre – seriously, who actually pays for toenail extensions? Despite my obvious intrigue, I opted not to get my toenails extended this time, and instead chose to have a gel colour painted on my fingernails instead. I found the whole experience really rather awkward; even with the prosecco swilling around inside me it was reminiscent of visiting the hairdresser (for me, majorly stressful).  But at least at the hairdresser, I know what to do.  https://caththebruce.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/12-hairdresser-hell/

It was only after the third coat of polish (out of about 27 different coats – think pre-pre-polish, pre-polish, polish x12, post-polish, shiny stuff, etc.) that I realised that I was meant to manoeuvre my hand until the light/heat thingy came on in the light/heat box thingy that I kept having to stick alternate hands into. The bottom few coats probably remained liquid for days underneath all the shiny stuff on top.

Despite my reservations, I have to admit it, my nails looked great; they were all pale green and shiny with no smudges resulting from me deciding to risk making myself a cuppa mid painting-session, and no duvet crease lines from me giving up waiting for the stupid stuff to dry and retiring to bed. They looked fantastic for all of about 48 hours…

It was on an ill- fated evening that I decided to make a vegetable curry (consisting of chickpeas, onion, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomato and  paneer, if you’re interested).  I love a proper homemade curry. Clearly it involves making a bespoke curry paste (never again to be accurately re-created) using copious quantities of every spice residing in the cupboard above the cooker. Even those ones in the slightly sticky unlabelled bags that have lived  there forever. I made a massive big pestle and mortar full (or is it mortar and pestle, I never know. I also don’t know which bit is the mortar and which is the pestle…). Anyways, I used a lot of turmeric. Lovers of curry will see where this is going… As tasty as turmeric is, it is also the permanent hair dye of the spice world… It dyes everything it comes into contact with… The pestle, the mortar, the work surface, the tiles it splashed into (I’m a somewhat messy cook), the tea towel and dish cloth, my socks where a wee bit jumped out onto the floor and I mopped it up with my foot, my lovely shiny new pale green nails. 

Earlier in the day, I had done my research  and discovered that this particular type of manicure can last up to 4 weeks. Clearly I intended to get every last penny of my money’s worth, even if this meant sporting green nails with a slight fluorescent tint for the remainder of the month. When I put on my obligatory walking-across-the-yard-at-work hi-viz jacket, my day-glo nails set off the outfit splendidly – I looked like I was on my way to a ’90s rave.

In a rather tenuous link-y kind of way, I shall continue on the food/hair dye theme. My friend (one of the prosecco-swilling blondes) has long been trying to convince me to dye my hair red. Last week, emboldened by my mostly-positive nail-painting experience, I almost succumbed when I found an unopened hair dye languishing in the box of lotions and potions in the bathroom. I can’t recall when I bought it, but it was almost certainly in excess of five years ago. I had pencilled a night in to do the dastardly deed (a night when the BF is out, giving me ample time to dye my hair, and then clean up the resulting mess, paint over the splashes on the walls, bleach the bits of grout it got to, etc.) but something made me change my mind…

So what changed my mind?  Well, I also happened to locate an aged bread mix in the back of a cupboard – I’ve no idea how we have all this old out-of-date stuff when we’ve only just moved house and the BF insisted I do a massive clear-out before the move – and I concluded that flour can’t actually go bad and the fact that it was ‘best before’ 2012 was neither here nor there. Well, I stand corrected! The bread was a disaster. It didn’t rise and the resulting loaf was about the size and density of a cricket ball. I took it as an omen and discarded the ancient hair dye along with the bread-ball and have no plans to buy any more.

And so, back to the nails…As much as couldn’t stop admiring my perfect fingertips (although alas, not any longer – I will get onto that in a bit) it does bug me immensely that as a female of the species, certain things are expected of us. Things involving primping and preening and squishing our feet into uncomfortable shoes on special occasions, things pertaining to hair removal and the like. In the words of Tammy Wynette, sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. 

There’s an element of sexism that prevails across every aspect of life.  Obviously, I’m blonde-ist but let’s move swiftly on from this little example of a double standard and allow me to illustrate with a few examples of some common prejudices:

  • Eating. This is one of my all-time favourite pastimes but the topic is not without its bugbears. If I eat out with the BF and I order a steak (the rarer the better) and he orders his usual fish dish, the hunk of meat is invariably placed in front of him. As, for that matter, is the bill. It’s not massively important, but it is hugely annoying. Continuing on the subject of eating-related inequalities, I recently got involved in an argument in the pub. Nothing new there, you may proclaim, but on this occasion, my nemesis attempted to persuade me that all men are naturally better chefs than women because most top chefs are men. I’m not even going to begin to pick apart this ridiculous logic. I will, however point out that this argument came from the man who was stinking out the entire place with his carrier bag of chicken-shop chicken…

  • Music. I love live music, especially music festivals. I have no problem with magazines and newspapers advising me which bands to look out for, or which tent to splurge on. What I do take great umbrage to is being told what to wear whilst I listen. Festival Looks, Festival Fashion, Festival Chic etc etc. Who cares what colour my sparkly wellies should be, or where best to buy fake flowers for my hair?! I want to listen to some music and dress for the weather, not for some imaginary catwalk!  Men aren’t deluged with this sexist idiocy.

  • Clothes. It’s not just festival attire; far more emphasis is placed generally on how women dress. Whether you are accused of being a lesbian for daring to find Doc Martens comfortable (for the record ‘lesbian’ isn’t an insult, you absolute troglodyte) or assumed to be ‘easy’ because your skirt is too short, complete and utter sexism prevails. There’s a whole other rant in this little sub-topic alone so I’m going to leave it there, lest I run out of rant ideas and wish to devote a full 1500 words to it one of these days…

  • D.I.Y. I like to think I’m pretty adept at getting stuck into a bit of DIY.  Okay, I do tend to improvise quite a bit, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using – for example – a rolling pin in lieu of a hammer. I get the job done, instead of talking about doing the job for months on end… Clearly I’m not going to leave myself open to another accusation of double-standards by stating that this is a predominantly Male Trait… Why is it so often assumed that simply because I’m female I’m assumed to be biologically inept at undertaking basic tasks such as changing a fuse or hanging a picture?

I have a most unsisterhoodly theory on that last one; I firmly believe there are women out there who simply don’t help the cause. You know the ones, they phone a male family member every time they need a lightbulb changed or a spider removing from the bath. I’d tell you to man up if it didn’t contradict everything I’ve just said! There are also women around who witter on about wanting to earn the same as men, not be treated as sex objects, be treated with respect, etc. (so far, so fair) but then expect men to buy all their drinks, pay for all their meals, open all the doors, etc. Therein lies feminism’s worst enemy (in my opinion).

The fact I’ve just got my claws out links very nicely back to my nails again! (It’s all about the rubbish linking of paragraphs today). So much for my ludicrously expensive manicure lasting a month! After a mere two weeks, the urge to pick it all off became too great to resist (added to my immense reluctance to venture back to the salon for some more awkward chat as the varnish was soaked off professionally). I subsequently went online to check this was okay as my nails were a wee bit rubbish-looking… One ‘manicurist blogger’ claimed it was ‘literally as bad as slamming all your fingers in a door’… Hmm. I chose to ignore that little pearl of wisdom just as I disregard any trip advisor reviewer who can’t distinguish between ‘there’ and ‘their’ or complains about the lack of Full English at the brekkie buffet of the Greek hotel in question. I carried on with my research and somehow managed to justify buying a UV lamp off Amazon so that I can DIY it at home  …(Cost the same as one and three quarter trips to the nail bar, no small talk necessary, I can watch Celebrity Masterchep whilst I manicure myself. Result!)

This week was all about the saving money. A few months ago, I signed up to a kick-boxing class. At first it was great – loads of kicking and punching pads as hard as I possibly could (sometimes even pretending they were individuals who claim men genetically make better chefs) – most therapeutic. After a few weeks, however, it became clear that in order to progress, I would have to develop a sense of coordination. Being devoid of coordination at an aerobics class is one thing, but at a class which requires you to continuously and swiftly move a pad in front of your face so that  your partner can whack it, is quite another. Add that to the fact that the weather is warmer now and the hall where the class is held has started smelling like a school gym, and kickboxing has lost a little of its initial appeal for me. I just wish I hadn’t over-enthusiastically signed up for a year’s membership…

So yeah, I’m most glad I’m saving all that money on manicures (never mind that I indulged in my first ever one less than a month ago)… And on that note, I’m going to finish here – the BF has promised to let me practise on his toenails!

My first effort – not bad if I do say so myself – I’ll be extending toenails before you know it!


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