Tuesday 28 May 2019

Lipstick lover

What’s this – I haven’t blogged for weeks and then when I do it’s about lipstick?  We’re living in shitty times and I was so tempted to just post a picture of Nigel Farage with the title Oh Fuck today but I feel a strange, possibly slightly deranged, need to write about the waxy stubs I occasionally smear across my lips  instead.   Is it symptomatic perhaps?  The Bet Lynch form of therapy:  “There’s nowt a bit of lippy couldn’t solve”.  (Oh, if only.)

Anyway, I do like to pop on a little bit of lippy when I go out.  I’ve a nice orangey-red one right now.  I choose lipstick purely by the colours I think will suit me, like a pink that goes with my ears or a blood red that matches the veins in my eyes, that kind of thing. 

There’s no need to give each shade its own personal name as far as I’m concerned, that’s not a selling point.  I might vaguely see the labels on the rack when I’m buying them but they don't really register; they’re generally names derived from flowers or French words or fruits (strawberry, cherry, not so much kumquat).  Yesterday I realised that this orangey-red one I’m currently into could be called anything from Toxic Rust to Prickly Rash for all I know - so for some reason I decided to find out for sure and actually read the label.  I appreciate this isn't the mind-blowing info anyone else will be gagging to hear but if you've read this far then you may as well hang about for the answer....  

It's called Man Hunt!  I know, it's so 1972!

I am of course strictly anti-hunting for a start.... the only things I've ever hunted have been words and, in the past, some rare records and a house.  And as for the supposition that my quarry would be a man rather than any other variety of human...well, exactly - how very retro! (It would be, but one should never assume, should one?) 

Seems to me someone’s having a joyous time in whatever department it is that comes up with these less flowery names.  I want to work there.  Ah, imagine the whiteboards in the meetings.  It’s like those names they call house paints, especially from brands known for going beyond the realms of  Antique Cream with titles such as Elephant’s Breath, Arsenic, Earthworm, Sulking Room Pink, Down Pipe.   (Only one of those five isn't a real Farrow & Ball shade.  Can you guess which one?)

Whatever, I do rather like my lipstick’s non-politically-correct kitschy vibe, and I can’t help imagining an equally non-politically-correct 1970s advert for it featuring Valerie Leon and an E-type Jag - but  I just don’t think the manufacturer's intended market for a lipstick they call Man Hunt is women like me who are old enough to remember both...

Monday 6 May 2019

Abstract moment of the week #11

I was so tempted to call this post ‘Just Another Phallic Monday’… but that might have suggested it was going to be the start of a new series and I’m not sure if I could, erm, keep it up.  However I can’t resist mentioning this once because it's tickled me...

I had coffee with a friend the other day who is not long back from a fantastic trip to Bhutan.  I know very little about Bhutan, but it sounds like a fascinating, peaceful and unusual place. Talking to my friend is always an education when it comes to travel.  I enjoyed looking at his photos of the dramatic mountainous scenery, people in national costume, the beautiful wildlife, and then he explained how there was so much decorative art everywhere, intricate carvings and detailed embellishment in the architecture, etc.  – all the things you might perhaps expect from a remote kingdom deep in the Himalayas.

What I hadn't expected, though, was to hear about the proliferation of imagery of a particular fertility symbol which here in the West we tend only to see scrawled on public toilet walls and concrete underpasses by less accomplished artists before being hurriedly removed by the authorities….   In Bhutan, however, it is normal to have it painted with great skill and finesse on the outside of your house, without embarrassment or censure, to bring good luck and protection.

I have to say, I do rather like the way they embrace it!  But I don't think my local council would approve if I did the same.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Introversion therapy

I wanted to run.  I could feel myself searching for any chance to flee, sussing out the exit points, wondering desperately how and when I could make my move unnoticed.  To crouch down and make a sprint for the door, get outside, get out, get out, GET OUT, heart racing – then breathe in fresh air and freedom at last.   I so needed to escape this torture, this agony.

The ‘family get-together’.

Is it just me?  Is it my fault for finding it a struggle to maintain a frozen smile in the presence of people who are neither interested in me nor interest me?  The fact that they may be my mother’s sister’s ex-husband’s cousins doesn’t  give us an automatic connection.  Even some slightly more closely related, perfectly decent and really very nice people, are not in ‘my world’.   I admit ‘my world’ is probably an odd and boring one to all but a precious few – I don’t expect others to be fascinated by my own particular, peculiar fancies.   But I can’t keep on scrabbling around in the backwaters of my mind to dig up polite questions to ask about theirs.  Every time I hear myself laughing in that oh-so-gentle way at jokes that aren’t funny and feigning interest in topics that bore me senseless,  it’s as if a little part of me dies inside.  I am having to be so insincere it hurts.

My name is C and I’m an introvert. 

I found a great article online about what introverts need to be happy and I agree wholeheartedly.  In summary, it’s these twelve things:

- Meaningful conversation (something more than small talk! Proper, stimulating conversation is so attractive)
- Plenty of time to wind down and process (many social events can be truly exhausting, I often get a 'social hangover')
- Companionable silence (yep, it's ok to be doing your own thing and not talking constantly)
- Space to dive deep into hobbies and interests (getting fully immersed: fuck, yessss!)
- A quiet space that’s all yours
- Time to think (perhaps that's why writing is so appealing)
- People who understand when you don’t want to go to that party, networking event, etc. (no guilt-tripping!)
- A deeper purpose to one’s life and work
- Permission to remain quiet (having someone point out how quiet you are in a group situation really won’t help)
- Independence.  (I love this one. It says here: “Unique and fiercely independent, introverts are more inclined to let their own inner resources guide them than follow the crowd.  They do their best work and are happiest when they have the freedom to explore ideas, spend time alone, and be self-directed and independent.")
- The simple life.
- Friends and loved ones who value you despite your quirks (to those who do, thank you).

So that's that, yes, definitely an introvert.  And sometimes it's hard in an extrovert world.

Anyway that was what happened this time last year.  (I'm writing about it now as I just had an invitation to another one and I have turned it down...)  Not that I dived undercover and bolted for the door, unfortunately that wasn’t an option for various practical reasons.  Just that I felt that horrible wave of, almost, ‘panic’, because what was going on inside me, and what I was displaying on the outside, clashed so fervently.  I took refuge in the loo a few more times than is healthy just because it gave me those vital moments of space, of peace, of oneness with myself.   How desperate is that.  

It even struck me that maybe everyone was feeling the same way and everyone was pretending not to.  Maybe everyone was actually counting down the minutes to when they could finally break free as well.  Who knows?  At times like this are we all just going along with what we perceive is the 'done thing' and yet, if we were brutally honest about it, we'd far rather be at home? Or is it just me who's out of step?

Well - back to last May -when I finally got home after two and a half hours of travelling, socially exhausted, I drank a big, big glass of wine and went out into the garden to look out for hedgehogs and snails as the sun set.  There was a little local music festival going on down the road, and every year I get to hear the bands for free as their songs drift across over the hedges and open spaces from the venue  only a few minutes’ walk away.  That night I sat outside and heard Republica's performance and it was great.

Let me tell you - 'Ready to Go’ had never sounded so good!

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