Being a 32-year-old, unmarried, childless waste of a human life, I am often asked when I’m going to sort my shit out. I would like to take this opportunity to tell these people that I do have my shit sorted out, and said shit is divided up as follows:
Billy and I have been together for over 12 years with no intention of getting married. Like none at all. I have no interest in wedding dresses, flowers and colour coordinated fabric swatches all crammed into a room full of relatives who don’t particularly like each other. We already have the mortgage, the dog and the joint bank account, why would I want the piece of paper that gives Billy permission to take a shit with the door open? Now, this is not to say that we won’t ever get married. I’m sure once I’ve popped out a few kids and my vagina looks like the blown out remains of a Baghdad government building I will give in and accept my fate, but until then, I would rather spend wedding-money on things like this:
Plus, I quite like being someone’s girlfriend. It gives the somewhat exciting illusion that it could all come to an end at any minute* (*update: it did) and it also makes me feel like I have loads of time until I have to start breeding* (*update: I still don’t). We did get engaged about 7 years ago, but that was essentially just so people would stop asking us when we were going to get engaged and also in the hope that they would back the fuck off my uterus and stop making unrealistic demands of it. I wasn’t ready for kids then and, even though it won’t be long before my ovaries shrivel up and disappear in a little *puff* of dust, I still don’t know if I am. Not long ago, I was accused by a complete stranger in a bar of being “selfish” for having this attitude towards having kids. He said, and I quote:
“So you’re 32 and you don’t have any kids yet? So you’re selfish then? You’re a woman, it is your responsibility to have children. Every man does not necessarily have to have a child but, as a woman, you do. Right now, while you’re sitting here with your pint and your little job, you are depriving a child the right to human life. How does that make you feel?”
I proceeded to explain that I felt it was more selfish to sit in a 2 bedroom council flat with no job, pumping out 5 kids who will then be brought up in cramped and poverty-striken conditions, but he was too busy staring at his sister’s tits to pay attention to anything I was saying.
When it comes down to it, money is the issue here and I hate myself for even saying that. For the majority of our relationship, Billy and I have had no money. At one point we were living off £30 a week between us. In order to try to make the situation a bit better, we decided that I would go to University and Billy would take on a second job to pay the bills. I graduated in 2009 and Billy is now free to start his own business, something he has always wanted to do. It is only in the past year that we have bought a grown-up house and have money left in our bank account at the end of the month. Do you have any idea how fun that is? I’m still not over the novelty of being able to buy something I want for the simple reason that I can. I just bought this teapot. Don’t even need it:
All I want is a couple of years to enjoy this feeling before I spend all my free time being skint again and going to coffee mornings slightly drunk on wine and completely covered in shit-spew. I want a god-damn video game room before it gets turned into a nursery. I want to go on a grunge pilgrimage to Seattle. I like my boobs, my vagina is top-notch and I wouldn’t mind keeping it that way for a little while longer. On top of this, I love my job and, right now, cannot bear the thought of leaving it. I appreciate that there are people out there who can’t have kids, and I may live to regret putting it off for so long, but is having kids because other people can’t have them healthy motivation? Probably not.
Maybe that sheep-raping Yorkshire dickhead in the bar was right. Maybe I am selfish. So what do you do when your head is that of a 14-year-old boy but your body is that of a middle-aged female? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is, I would never forgive myself if I didn’t start a family and, let’s be honest, what the world needs in these hard times is a Jillian/Billy combo-human (or ‘Billian’, as they will be known). I am genuinely excited about one day having a baby, just let me buy a few more pieces of Lionel Ritchie crockery first.
Sadly, this article is not about the pros and cons of our reproductive organs, instead it is about magazines aimed at men and women and the vast chasm of banterless content that lies between them. Working on a rig, I very rarely do any work and as a result spend a lot of time reading the various lads mags that are strewn around the tea-shack with their pages suspiciously stuck together. The more I read, the more I realise that as a woman, I am getting a bit of a raw deal when it comes to my reading material in comparison to that of the men-folk. It’s gotten to the point now where on the odd occasion I will even risk looking like a rabid lesbian in Tesco Metro just to get my hands on a copy of Nuts Magazine because I find it a substantially better read than Cosmopolitan. In an attempt to investigate why there is such a huge difference between the two, I bought 2 men’s and 3 women’s magazines, read them all from cover to cover and have presented my findings below.
Straight away I can see a problem here.
Men get: Zoo and Nuts. Zoo is a fun word. It has a ‘Z’ in it and two ‘O’s which makes it a funny word to say over and over. Zoos are also fun places with lots of wild animals and ice-cream. Nuts is an equally appealing name, not only because it is a common term for testicles (which are always funny) but also because it can refer to mental illness which, depending on the nature of the mental illness (i.e. Tourette’s), can also be pretty funny.
Women get: Reveal, Best and More which are terrible names for a magazine. They invoke nothing. They sound like the names of cut-price ghetto whores. Those titles do not make me want to grab the magazines off the shelf and see what excitement they have in store for me, they make me want to shower and get tested for syphilis.
These first few pages are supposed to draw you in and prepare you for what’s to come. They are supposed to make you want to give the magazine an hour of your time.
Men get: “How Harry Redknapp’s bulldog could spend £189k” – Referring to the recent claim that Mr. Redknapp paid 189k into a secret account in the name of Rosie, one of his bulldogs. This short and topical article was accompanied by a series of photos depicting a v cute bulldog in a variety of situations which included getting a private dance in a strip-club and buying a pair of designer sunglasses. Which I loved.
Women get: “Yellow Fever Hits Town” – Fortunately not an article about the acute viral hemorrhagic disease responsible for wiping out entire communities in South America, but a reference to the complicated subject of the colour yellow in fashion. Apparently there are five main shades of yellow (canary, sherbet, mustard, neon and lemon) and it is imperative that I know the difference between them. I now wish they had written about the disease.
I love facts (for example, did you know that wombats shit cubes?) so I was delighted to discover that a few of these magazines provide a page of interesting facts to impress your friends with. It seems, however, that the media believe women speak a strange, alternate language in which “interesting” actually means “so boring I want to stab myself in the eye with a rusty fork”.
-The smallest human penis ever recorded was roughly 1cm long.
-Bees can recognise human faces.”
Women editors take note: THESE are the kind of facts that I want to share with my friends.
-10% of blokes wants to complete a 10k run in 2102.
-36% of blokes prefer brown bread to white.”
First of all, I don’t give a fuck. Secondly, “bloke” is a shit word.
I performed an experiment in the pub to see just which set of facts would generate the most interest from females. I started off with the brown bread fact and got hit in the face with a tumbleweed. The penis fact, however, had a much better reception and incited an animated conversation about whether by “roughly” they meant ‘approximately’ or if the guy had a 1cm penis with some sort dermatological affliction that gave it the texture of sandpaper. This then moved on to whether we would let a guy come near us with a tiny, abrasive 1cm penis. Incidentally, I was the only one that would……I was thinking of the exfoliation benefits.
Due to the anatomical and chemical differences between men and women, it was no surprise to me that the ‘Health Questions’ section of these magazines differed considerably. What did surprise me, however, was that the differences were often neither anatomical or chemical, but more forehead-slappingly stupid or hilariously embarrassing.
Men get: “I always, without fail, need to do a massive fart straight after I’ve had sex. It has caused me so many problems in the past that it has nearly put me off sex completely and I’m too embarrassed to go to the doctor. What should I do?”
Women get: “I’m bleeding in the middle of my cycle on my contraceptive pill. What should I do?”
Oh my God. Stop writing into magazines and go to the fucking doctor you reprobate. That’s like writing “I just got my arm ripped off by some farming machinery, it’s bleeding profusely. What should I do?” and then emailing it in to the magazine, sitting around waiting for it to be issued, dragging your weak body to the shop to buy it, trying to get the money out of your wallet with one hand and then dying on the pavement outside as you desperately flip through the pages trying to find where they printed the answer to your ridiculous question, which will inevitably be “Stop writing into magazines and go to the fucking hospital you weirdo”.
By featured articles I mean either the ones you see splashed all over the cover because they are the most informative, exclusive and interesting things that magazine has to offer you, or the ones that feature regularly in said magazine. Instead of sitting here for weeks describing each one, I will just provide a list of some of the titles of these featured articles. You can then decide for yourself which magazine you would prefer to read and which one you will take camping with you so you can wipe your arse with Kerry Katona’s face.
-Would you? (a picture of a hideously ugly girl with an amazing body)
-Don’t Look (pictures of gory injuries sent in by readers)
-Camera Phone Comedy (mostly pictures of sleeping, drunk people getting cocks drawn on their faces)
-Naff Tatts Corner (a weekly collection of shit tattoos)
-There are also entire pages dedicated to stealth-bumming and sex advice from a ‘fit lesbian’.
-Look Younger for Longer
-Eat Yourself Younger
-Which is the Healthiest Diet?
-We ask him: What Would Stop you Cheating on your Girlfriend?
-What his ‘I Love You’ Really Means
-How to Make him Want you Back
-There are also entire pages dedicated to eyebrow upkeep and lettuce. Now, I’m not for a second suggesting that eyebrows and lettuces are not engaging subjects worthy of intricate discussion, but would “pluck them” and “put it in a sandwich” not save you quite bit of paper? It is a recession.
When was the last time you said to someone “Do you want to hear a joke?” and they said “No thanks, I don’t like jokes”. Never – because everyone likes jokes. Bearing this in mind…
Men get: A penguin takes his car to the garage where the mechanic says it will take an hour or so to fix. As it is quite a hot day, the penguin decides to get an ice-cream but makes quite a mess eating it. An hour later he returns to the garage.
“What’s the problem?” the penguin asks.
“It looks like you’ve blown a seal mate” says the mechanic.
“Oh no” he replies “that’s just ice-cream.”
Women get: Fuck all. Not even a knock-knock joke.
HOT PIECES OF ASS
Men get: So much tits. Too much tits. The abundance of tits and football articles is literally the only down-side to men’s magazines. I generally flip past the naked women (especially when I’m pre-menstrual) but will admit that on the odd occasion when I am feeling up to it, I will skim over them just to get an idea of how mine are (literally) holding-up in comparison. This always proves to be a pointless exercise as boobs tend to get progressively worse over time, but although they may never suddenly become perkier than those of Kimberley, 18, from Liverpool, it can sometimes bring back good memories of the days when they were.
Women get: David Beckham. Every fucking week.
Why magazines still bother with this when we have the Internet is beyond me, but they do, and again they do it so very differently.
Men get: ‘The Simon Cowell’*
A dodgy drawing of Simon Cowell banging a girl from behind with “It’s a yes from me” captioned underneath. I think it is essentially doggy-style but with your thumbs up in the air.
*Billy: I’ll be home on Tuesday, get down to Primark and buy as many black v-neck sweaters as you can, pull your jeans up so high that I can see each individual testicle and then pick me up from the airport around 7.30pm. This is happening.
Women get: ‘A Sexy Bubble-Bath’
Not technically a position though, is it? It’s more like an activity. They have basically just told me to have sex in the bath. I figured that one out when I was 17.
On a side note, they have a little caption at the bottom which says “Want £50 to have sex with your man? Email us and you could be in the mag!”
Men get: Two pages. A couple of pairs of jeans, some t-shirts with retro video game logos on them, a few pairs of trainers and a jacket or two. Job done-o.
Women get: Well, obviously women’s magazines are going to pay more attention to fashion and that’s completely fine. I do have an interest in it and I enjoy looking at nice clothes and making fantasy lists in my head of the ones that I want, yet will never buy – but for the love of Christ, it does not have to take up two thirds of the entire fucking magazine. If I wanted to look at that many clothes I would have gone to TK Maxx with the rest of Poland and had a walk around. After four pages I’ve had enough. Add to this the fact that the price-tags on some of them are ridiculous to the point that literally no one I know would be able to afford them. Yes, alright I will give them their due, more and more magazines are featuring high street stores nowadays, but they will always throw in a Mulberry bag or pair of Louboutins just to remind you that you live in relative poverty and will forever smell of turnips and Baldrick’s ball-bag.
So with my research complete, let’s sum this up:
-Women are only interested in being thin, looking young and obsessing over their men. They have no concept of humour and will not stop until their dishes are “smear-free” and sparkling.
-Men are light-hearted and fun creatures with a love of tits, football and entertainment. They spend their time drinking beer, laughing and drawing genitals on each others faces.
I refuse to accept this.
We like apps! We like laughing! We like photos of people stealth-bumming each other! Why are we not allowed to have these things in our magazines? Now, I know that for a girl I am into slightly abnormal things like video games, gadgets and explicit photos of horrendous injuries, so I am aware that in its entirety, Zoo is probably not going to appeal to most women, but just having the choice would be nice. Men get to choose between Viz and GQ, two magazines with highly contrasting content, whereas women get to choose between Hello and OK, one of which has an extra picture of Kate Middleton. I once spoke to a male colleague about this dilemma and he explained rather simply that “There just isn’t a market for humour and immaturity when it comes to women’s light reading.” Is this true? I know I’m not the only one who would rather see a photo of a dog in a sleeping-bag playing an Xbox than see Rihanna dry-humping a surfboard in Hawaii for the one millionth time.
Sadly, it appears that until someone realises that having a vagina does not constitute page upon page of mundane and superficial bullshit, I will just to have to continue to steal Billy’s copy of Viz, peel apart the pages of Loaded magazine in the tea shack and hope that one day, my children’s children will not have to suffer this immense hardship.
Since it is only a matter of days until the release of Kinect, I thought I would attempt to be useful and share my thoughts on the new addition to the wallet-raping, user-friendly Microsoft family. Back in August, as part of my birthday treat, I got to attend the Xbox Kinect trials in London’s Covent Garden with Billy and my mum for 30 minutes of intimate alone time with what could potentially be my new lover.
We were greeted at the door by a campsite, I had no idea Kinect had such a huge gay following. A beautiful man with perfect hair and trousers so tight I could see what he had for breakfast approached us and introduced himself as Jonathan before grabbing my hand and skipping towards a stage. He was putting on a headset. Oh god, please don’t put on a headset. I don’t like participating in things that involve headsets. Turns out we were a ‘smidge’ early so “Wouldn’t it be great to kill ten minutes by trying out the Kinect on this here stage?”. I grudgingly agreed but it wasn’t until I was up there I realized that the fire exit doors onto Covent Garden were wide open and people were, in fact, paying attention to what was going on inside. Then it happened……..the intro to Poker Face by my nemesis, Lady Gaga, blasted out into the room and I panicked. I asked Jonathan what the hell was going on and he replied “Oh, it’s our new dance game called ‘Dance Central’ and it’s starting right about now…..and left and right, come on, jump and step….”. I wanted to die a little bit but I’m not gonna lie, by half way through you couldn’t get me off the stage. Until, that was, he said these words: “Okay, now here comes the freestyle bit, you just do whatever you want, I think it would look great if you did something a bit sexy, show me sexy girlfriend!”. I just looked at Billy like a rabbit in the headlights. He knows what happens when I try to do sexy. Thankfully right at that moment our private room was ready so I ran away from him. I don’t even think he noticed.
We arrived at our room which was (thankfully) much less eventful, and got stuck into three games: Kinect Joyride
You may notice that the titles of these games sound a bit familiar. Replace the word ‘Kinect’ with ‘Wii’ and you could be looking at a list of avatar games released by Nintendo. I wish that was where the similarities ended. Like the Wii, you are in control of an avatar but instead of using a wand you use your hand. Joyride is a driving game in which you hold an imaginary steering wheel to drive around. Adventures is a duck and jump type game with rapids and obstacle courses and Sports is……well you can guess; the usual bowling, hurdles etc. I was so confused! Surely they knew that we would notice? Could they just not be arsed?
Having only avatar games to choose from at the trials makes it hard for me to form a fair opinion on just how worthwhile a purchase the Kinect will be. Thankfully though there are other games in the Kinect collection that will be more suited to the controller-free selling point, and I think it will come into its own as a fitness aid. The ability to participate without having to hold a sweaty wand in your hand will probably ensure that the Kinect will be preferred by weirdo fitness freaks the world over. There is no need for a board or anything, you just do what the game tells you to and BAM, you’re thin. Unfortunately this also means that there will be a reduction in the amount of articles in The Sun discussing the latest child to get nailed in the face by a flying controller but you’ve got to take the good with the bad I suppose.
One thing that did surprise me was how well the sensors worked. I was prepared for frustration when it didn’t do the things I wanted it to, but there was none of that. The device works well and so allows you to focus entirely on the game instead of worrying about where that fucking Wii hand icon thing has gone. At one point I scratched my nose and my avatar did too! Yes, I am that easily impressed!
I don’t know how they are going to approach any RPG games that they may release. They could be great, and I hope they are, but I have a feeling that they probably won’t be. I really liked Zelda on the Wii so it can be done but I think, at least for the moment, keeping the focus on lifestyle games is probably a clever move. The DanceCentral game was shit-hot and has given me the GREATEST idea. Imagine, everyone buys the Kinect and practices the dance to Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison. You could turn up at a club, get the DJ to stick it on and voilà, the entire club is spontaneously performing the same routine. It would be like a scene from High School Musical except not shit! Let’s do it!
Looking back, I did enjoy the day but was disappointed at how little Microsoft had moved away from the Wii with their signature games. Fitness and dancing games aside, the fact that you don’t have a controller is not an original enough concept to stand on its own. There are quiet mumblings of 3D graphics being incorporated into the Kinect so I am going to view this as a kind of midway point between the Atari and a full on Holodeck. Slowly but surely we are getting there, and at the end of the day I am going buy one anyway, Lady Gaga and I have some unfinished business to attend to.
A respectable but slightly disappointing 3 fists from me:
For your viewing pleasure. A very flattering video of Billy and I participating in the Xbox Kinect trials in London:
The title of this post is somewhat misleading as it implies that co-op gaming with my boyfriend Billy is a predominantly joyful experience. In reality it consists of me trying to play Xbox with one hand, the other one clenched in a fist and lodged between my teeth in order to prevent myself from punching him in the fucking face. For example, our games always begin with Billy ‘testing his equipment’. This involves him shooting me in the face, I then mistakenly think I’m being attacked by an enemy and shit myself. Hilarious. Despite all this, we like to play co-op games quite a lot as it prevents arguments over who’s turn it is to play. It doesn’t, however, prevent arguments over literally everything else: weapons, money, armour, who’s driving the warthog, etc.
In terms of character, Billy will always pick the warrior. He likes to grab a shotgun and go wading in about enemies firing willy-nilly until they are all dead. I am always either a sniper or a Mage, capable of eye-wateringly accurate annihilation (as long as it is really, really far away, eye-wateringly accurate annihilation). This set-up all started with Balder’s Gate when Billy suggested I just “stand over there and help………….yeah further ………… further ……………. a bit further ……… that’s good, stay there”. When I pointed out that I was now in a different village and couldn’t actually see anything he responded with a distracted “Wow, yeah that’s great. Good for you!” and a couple of affectionate pats on the head.
There are times however, when I will be on a bridge/cliff in full view of Billy and his relentless heroism, watching him get a boner over a boss that he has just killed ‘on his own’. In reality I had my sniper at the ready and had launched at least five head shots and countless on-target grenades. I would even go so far as to say that I pretty much killed the boss ‘on my own’. When I try to share this information he usually responds with a distracted “Wow, yeah that’s great. Good for you!” and a couple of affectionate pats on the head.
The problem with being a distance fighter is that once everything that can be killed is dead, it takes a while for me to catch up to Billy. By the time I do he has managed to open every single chest, loot every body in sight and has hit the shops in order to sell all his new found merchandise, leaving me with no rewards. Once in a while he will miss a chest and I get hardcore over-excited. I take my time, open my inventory and have a little think about things. If my inventory is full then it becomes even more of a challenge because I have to drop my least profitable weapons to ensure that my backpack is full to its most valuable capacity. Once I have decided what to do, I come out of my inventory and…………….wait a fucking minute, the guns have gone……….the chest is fucking empty! I slowly turn my character around and there he is, nose to nose, saying something along the lines of “What? Well, you gotta learn Jillian, you snooze you lose” before shooting me in the face and skipping away in a fit of hysterical laughter. This is pretty much my breaking point and I get my game rage on, refusing to un-pause the game until he gives me something to sell or use. Usually a shitty revolver. Who even uses revolvers? The shopkeepers don’t even want them!
So you see, although co-operative gaming is an integral part of our relationship, it generally consists of me trying to think of ways to bring him down. And I will. I will destroy him. I will destroy him and his weapon thieving, head patting, smug skipping, face shooting, violence inducing ways. Right after I help him with the Nightfall level of Halo Reach. He’s stuck and he needs a sniper…………and I secretly love the banter. Go team!