Sunday, March 29, 2009

Up to my oxters in it.....

To update my armpit diatribe, someone shared with me their father's word for armpits. I give you 'oxters'. What a fantastic word! Her father is from Glasgow but the word comes from the Old English word for armpit 'oxta'. I can't wait until my hairs grow back so that I can ring the beauty salon to make an appointment to have my oxters waxed.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Knickers to panties!

What's in a name? A lot if you are a beautician it seems. I telephoned my local beauty salon yesterday to make an appointment to have my armpits waxed. Have you spotted my terrible error yet? I used the term 'armpits' when I should have used the more discreet word 'underarms'.

Let's face it 'armpits' is a word that positively reeks of BO and conjures up unpleasant images of, oh saints preserve us, hair! Underarms on the hand is a nice word, euphemistically dealing with the offending body area and majoring on the arms element and avoiding the less tasteful term 'pit'. Pits are nasty, pits aren't nice, pits aren't fragrant. They are dark, damp,smelly, unpredictable places where no one particularly wants to venture and if they do they need to wear a helmet. No one wants that under their, er, arms.

The truth is fussy, prissy euphemisms like 'underarms' get on my nerves. One of the most annoying has to be 'panties' Don't get me started on panties. No, actually do, I fancy a rant. Why has panties become the dainty person's word for knickers? Does the 'ies' ending make panties a less threatening word, redolent of diminutives and gentle words like babies rather than full of vulgar, hard consonants like the dreaded 'k' word. Annoyingly, panties has become the word of choice for any person too fastidiously prim to bring themselves to say knickers or for any potentially embarrassing situation. So we 'slip off our panties' at the doctors and can buy 'Panty Liners' not 'Knicker Pads'.

Anthea Turner has panties, she colour codes them in her panty organiser - nuff said! Knickers though are the bohemians of the underwear world, practising free love in your knicker drawer as they wrap themselves sensually around your tights. Knickers know how to live, they don't mess with colour coding and they're not frightened to be big and out there with capacious gussets (another no no word, perhaps the reason that thongs caught on. They may disappear up your bottom but at least they don't have a gusset or at least not one you'd notice)

No, I will not be bowed into using irritating diminutives for my undergarments by the squeamish. It's knickers all the way for me and panties to anyone who tries to stop me!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Demon Drink and Me

Why is it that I can't drink? It's no good, I have to live with the fact that where alcohol is concerned I am a lightweight, an ingenue, a total donkey. Other people can sit there with a glass of this or that and behave themselves. They drink away and manage to stay upright, compos mentis and dignified. Not so me! I fall down stairs, throw up, do 'sexy' dancing , snog people and generally make a total arse of myself and I haven't even mentioned the incessant talking and repeating myself.

I always plan to go out and watch the rest of the world make fools of themselves while I pretend to drink but you know what they say about the best laid plans . What I've noticed is there are some common elements that lead to my nights of debauchery and subsequent mortification. Usually I am tired, often I am nervous about the company sensing myself slightly inadequate or inferior, quite often I haven't eaten. The result, I drink far too much for me (given that I have the alcohol tolerance of a gnat that has taken the Pledge) and end up feeling 'ill' and picturing in my mind the dreadful and utterly embarrassing things I just have done (almost always nothing really dreadful, I am a nice, kind drunk if a silly and vomitous one).

The good news is that I rarely drink, perhaps the reason for my lack of aplomb in the quaffing department. It's not unusual for me to go a month or more without one alcoholic drink. This, combined with my lack of tolerance for alcohol, means that I am hardly in danger of becoming an alcoholic yet I would like to be able to drink with style.

This week I am curled up with embarrassment about a visit I made to a friend's house, well mor accurately room. Stressed from Flora's two weeks in hospital, tired from trying to hold down a job while the family crisis was going on, a bit nervous and with very little in my stomach, I was a sitting duck as I glugged down a few too many glasses of white wine. Added to this I felt like the most suburban, boring and uncool person in the room. The fact that inside I'm Andy Warhol, Studio 54, Oscar Wilde and Alison Goldfrapp all rolled into one doesn't matter, the demon of low self-esteem reared its ugly head and soon I was puking like a good 'un.

I will of course recover from my embarrassment, you always do, but for the moment I am reliving every moment in technicoloured mortification. I told a few people about my experience and very kindly they have furnished me with their own dreadful drinking stories. Throwing up in people's shoes, waking up and realising they've done a No 2 in the bed, insulting VIPs - they've done it all. Makes me feel quite normal in a sort of abnormal way.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Flowers for Maggie

Last year, a lovely lady I know lost her daughter Maggie to stillbirth at term, an experience we share.

She received a lot of support from friends across the UK and is now raising money in Maggie's memory for the maternity unit at her local hospital.

If this makes one person's experience better or makes one more person understand the devastating impact of stillbirth on a family then it's worth it.

To donate go to:

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why Flora's appendix made me appreciate home

This has been quite a week in the Purple Passages household. On Monday Flora complained of a tummy ache and I, being steeped in the Welsh work ethic, thought she might be swinging the lead but was eventually convinced that she needed a day off. The next day she was still complaining of tummy ache and this time was also vomiting up clear fluid and complaining of a pain on the right hand side of her abdomen. I was immediately taken back to my own eleventh year when I had appendicitis and decided to take her straight to the GP, who confirmed my suspicions and sent us to A and E.

By the time we reached A and E Flora was in severe pain and soon we were being admitted to the childrens' ward. And so began a three day holiday in a baking hot ward with nothing to do but log Flora's ever alarming symptoms, ending in her being taken to theatre yesterday to have her appendix removed.

Boredom was our greatest challenge and I tried to tackle this by purchasing a number of magazines. Having not been at home for a while and forced to sleep in my clothes, I looked none too spicy; the irony of reading magazines entitled 'Look' and 'Glamour' was not lost on me. Greeting a smartly dressed, super clever female consultant while looking like an albino version of the Wild Woman of Borneo is somewhat embarrassing and it takes a lot to stand up for oneself in such circumstances. I could only hope she'd realise I was a tired but devoted mother and not a bag lady who had accidentally found her way on to the ward.

Life on ward though presents a number of other more difficult challenges. First there is the heat which results in your skin drying out until you feel like you've been mummified. Then there's the proximity of other human beings. I like people, I really do, but having to live cheek by jowl with them, their habits, smells and noises was compromising to my much prized tolerance of my fellow man I really felt that it was time to go to Tesco's for a new carton of the milk of human kindness as I endured another night of people talking to loud, eating incredibly spicy food and snoring like walruses.

Then there is the wind! Being in such close proximity with people, not eating properly and being stressed all adds up one thing - flatulence. Add in the lack of opportunity to release said flatus and you're in for an uncomfortable few days. Last night I decided to throw caution to, er, the wind and let it go as I lay on my uncomfortable bed. I reckoned that while people shouted into their mobiles I might just be able to let go of a few of the more painful ones and the spicy food might disguise the awful smell. So I lay there farting all night long and hoping everyone would think it was Flora!

And so today we were discharged. What a joy! We are in our own house with our own special smells, noises and habits. Things that usually annoy the hell out of me are bliss today. I am at one with my family and my home - all is good. How long it will last goodness only knows but for now, at least, I am content and, oh ecstasy, can fart to my heart's content. Life really doesn't get much better!