a disgrace to my gender?

I'm All For Girl Power!
I’m All For Girl Power!

I know that by posting something like this I am prone to open myself up for attack, but I am genuinely interested in hearing the ‘other side’ of my argument on this subject.

I don’t understand women-only groups.

I am quite loud online (I hate the word ‘prolific’ – I just think of myself as being noisy), I have met quite a lot of people in various circles.  Although I suffer from chronic shyness (ARGH! STRANGER DANGER!!), I have found that a swift couple of vodkas and a huge deep breath (and probably a little too much laughing) gets me through these initial meetings, and I then really enjoy myself, and love meeting such a wide variety of people.

Due to me spending so much time online, and often meeting people in ‘real’ life, I seem to be invited along to quite a lot of stuff.

Today is a case in point.  I received four email invites today.  One for a local group, one for a blogging group and two for general networking / ‘thought platform’ (??) opportunities.

And each one of these four was for a women-only group.  So, I wont be going to any of them.

I like women, I think they’re great.  I do think that in certain areas they seem to be over-shadowed by men or not taken quite as seriously, but I honestly believe that women-only groups in these situations serve not to empower women, but to prove that they ARE different to men.  They highlight the differences rather than proving the similarities.

I’m not saying that there should be no women-only groups at all – I can understand groups where women want to talk / act freely, especially for religious or cultural reasons, but for example one of the group meetings I was invited to today is supposedly to give women a stronger voice in media roles and has many ‘prolific’ women speakers.

Surely women already think that they need a stronger voice, so you’re kind of preaching to the converted.  Wouldn’t it be better all round if all of those women were just meeting with a group of people working within the media (apparently including bloggers I’m guessing, otherwise I have no idea why I was invited!) whether they are male or female?

If there is some kind of re-education about gender equality needed, then why aren’t the men being included in this?

Perhaps I am completely missing the point, but then I have never even seen the point of ‘girls nights in/out’ either.  As far as I’m concerned, if I fancy a party, I want to ask my friends along.  that may turn out to be all girls just due to circumstance, but I have never felt the need to seclude them from proceedings.

Come on – I would love it if someone could really tell me why I am so very very wrong on this matter.  I am totally for girl power (I’m in no way an anti-feminist) – but I’m all for boy power as well – if they’ve got what it takes!

a menace to society?

I will admit there are some similarities in the hair. I also had a black dog!

On Tuesday, I walked with The Girl from the station to my nan’s house for her funeral.  It was the first time we had gone there together by public transport, and the walk from the station round ‘the back way’ is rather convoluted down alleys and odd streets.

The Girl was wondering how I remembered the way, and I became rather poignant when I told her that I’d been making that journey on and off since I was tiny and I suddenly realised that it was a journey I probably would never make again.

I then told her some other childhood stories of the area, including that the post box outside my nan’s also held familial memories. Me and my two cousins always got told off for climbing on it with the local kids, as it was a position of authority to be able to sit, and (even better) stand on top of it.  And what’s more, my mum and her brother and sister had done exactly the same thing!

TG: How did you get up there?
Me: Duh! We climbed onto it – it was a knack
TG: And you got told off if you got caught
Me:  Yeah, and that always happened as it was outside nan’s living room window. it stupid of us all really now I think about it – we must’ve liked to live dangerously
TG: And did you get punished?
Me: Well, we were shouted at and sometimes called in
TG:  And did they tweak your ear?
Me: What?! Who?!
TG:  The grown-ups, when they caught you. Did they tweak your ear and drag you back inside?
Me: *look of disdain* I did NOT grow up in a Beano comic!!!!

*The Girl collapses into laughter*

right down to the toes

I was sitting down with The Girl, catching up on the week’s Got To Dance.  The Man goes to the pub every Saturday afternoon, and we often spend that time watching stuff he’d shout about if he was here because we ALL know that it’s really awful and that we shouldn’t be watching it.  But hey, I can’t watch gritty Scandiwegian dramas all the time, can I?

Anyway, she suddenlt said “how do they do that? I can’t even touch my toes!”  this, from my 13 year old, skinny-minnie, gangly-limbed daughter.

“You can’t touch your toes?!” I asked, “What do you mean you can’t touch your toes? you’re 13! you’re meant to be at your most flexible!  Even *I* can touch my toes no problem”

“Go on then!” she told me. so I immediately stood up, bent down, leg’s straight and touched my toes straight away. Easy-peasy!

“Oh My GOD!” she screamed “How did you DO that? At YOUR age? What kind of sorcery IS that?”

OK, so she was impressed – I don’t blame her, I AM over 40, but “At YOUR age?” Pah!

scritchy scratchy

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Look! I won a whole fiver! (The fact the card cost £5 is irrelevant)

As I rose from my seat on the Victoria Line this morning at Highbury & Islington, I closed the cover of my Kindle, and a scratchcard that I had shoved into my bag for safe-keeping fell from the cover where it had become jammed.

I stooped to pick it up, when glancing down, my commute neighbour kissed her teeth and quite audibly announced “SINNER!!”.

I assumed that she was referring to my obviously disgusting gambling ‘habit’, so I looked her straight in the eye, gave her a massive grin and said “Oh hunny, believe me, I sin a HELL of a lot more than THIS!!”

As I moved towards the door with my fellow alighters, i couldn’t quite work out whether the comical expression on her face was horror, disgust or shock that I had challnged her ideals 😉

Whichever it was, it was well worth it!

paragraph planet

As you probably know, in September I started going to a Creative Writing course at City Lit, which I enjoyed so much that I have signed up for a second term that started last week.

The tutor from last term happened to mention a flash fiction website called Paragraph Planet.  It is unpaid, features one story each day and will take submissions about anything – the only guidelines are that it has to be exactly 75 words long.

I decided to take the plunge last week and make a submission – during my first term I realised that flash fiction is kind of my ‘thing’.  Perhaps usually more than 75 words though!  However, I was very pleasantly surprised when my first submission was accepted, and it is actually today’s story!

I have already written a couple more that I may submit – I have found that my judgement of 75 words is uncanny.  Twice I have written exactly 75 words in my first draft!

I may never be published again, but today I can feel proud of myself 😉

gemma

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Gemma – if you recognise your mug, I’d love to hear from you!

For about 17 years, my nan’s had this mug.

Me and my two cousins have always laughed about it.  We know nobody called Gemma.  We have never known anyone called Gemma.  We are pretty sure that my nan has never known anyone called Gemma.  We have never known where / why the mug came into the house.

When we asked my nan, she was always a bit coy, and tried to make out it was a way bigger mystery than it was.  Things like, “That’s for me to know”. “That’s the big family secret.” and once I remember, “You’ll find out when I die.”

My uncle once told me and my cousin that Gemma was in fact my nan’s favourite grandchild, oh no, oops, pretend we never heard that…

On Wednesday, I asked my nan whether she’d heard from Gemma since she’d been ill. “Yeah, she was here last week”, my nan said.

I just drank from Gemma’s mug and smiled 🙂  I might ask my mum if I can have it now.

goodnight nanny

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I took this photo of my nanny on her last birthday less than 8 months ago
Wasn’t looking bad for 95, was she?

Tonight, the sweetest old lady in the entire world passed away, thankfully peacefully after a fitful day.

I will stand by the statement no matter what.

At the start of this week, she said that she didn’t want to die. Yesterday, she said she was ready. Today she said that a doctor had come and visited her and said that she’d better hurry up as she was meant to have gone on Thursday (this was actually a hallucination or dream).

This afternoon, she not only said goodbye to everyone, she then started singing “Sweet Goodbye”.

And THAT is why she was the sweetest, kindest, loveliest, funniest, most switched-on old lady in the entire world.  And why I am so sad that she has gone, but so happy that it was when she wanted to.

To some, it may seem strange for me to post this – for me it is a way to say it, and release.

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