Skip to content

An Open Letter To My Son


This picture really doesn’t add anything does it?

Every now and then there is a spate of open letters in the media and at the moment it seems if we’re not writing to Jeremy Hunt we’re writing to our kids. It’s not like Jeremy Hunt will ever read his, you can’t appeal to someone’s better side if they don’t have one, but as I’m not a junior doctor and I don’t really know any (unless you count a four-year-old in fancy dress), I’ve decided I’m going to pen one of the open letter to your kids sort, because I haven’t done one before and I think it’s what good mothers are meant to do nowadays. I’m a terrible mum, I don’t blog about my kids half as much as I used to. Sure, they are just in the other room, and I could just go through and speak to them, but I don’t want to cut out the middle man, especially if the middle man is hundreds of potential anonymous readers.

My inspiration is a couple of open letters to kids which have dominated social media recently. The first is the passive aggressive, ‘Letter to my 10-year-old son’, from a poor mum who probably just wanted to highlight how the role of mothers is often taken for granted, but ended up sounding like she just wanted her pelvic floor back. The second is Caitlin Moran’s funny, charming advice to her daughter in case she (Moran) dies prematurely. In both cases, but for different reasons, I do hope the kids in question don’t actually read their letters. So here we go, half heartfelt-advice and half passive-aggressive bitterness. Here’s a fun game- see if you can spot the difference.

Dear Son

  1. Care about other people – You don’t have to dedicate your life to charity work, or tirelessly campaign for the poor and weak. Just don’t throw litter, don’t cheat or lie, pay your taxes and try to do the decent thing. It matters if someone suffers from your actions even if that someone isn’t directly related to you.

  2. Tidy your room. Do you think I went through the pain of childbirth to pick up your socks?

  3. Don’t confuse manners with deference. Always try to be polite, but remember that regardless of how senior someone is, or what they’ve achieved, no one earns the right to be a twat.

  4. However when you forget to say thank you to me, remember that I surrendered my pert breasts and nice bras to suckle your ungrateful little face.

  5. Genuine facts are rare. If someone says to you ‘It’s a fact that….’ they are almost always going to follow it up with some subjective opinionated bullshit. And that’s a fact. Also if you turn out to be the sort of person who approaches conversations as competitions rather than experiences then stay away from social media, and also conversations.

  6. If you don’t want me to rip open my shirt and rub your face in my caesarean scar in front of all your friends, then answer me when I’m talking to you.

  7. Perfect is boring. Perfect is not a target.

  8. Given that I gave up my career to stay at home and take care of you, the least you can do is eat your f*cking peas.

  9. Grow Stuff – whether it’s an allotment or a window box. There’s some commitment and a bit of responsibility, but you’ll get far more out of it than you put in.

  10. Remember that every time you dump your dirty football kit on the floor, it just reminds me that stretch marks don’t wash out.

  11. Don’t risk your health or wellbeing to impress others. When mates encourage you to get so drunk you’re sick, drag you into a fight or harass you into accepting a dare they aren’t doing it to give you the opportunity to prove you’re a legend. They are doing it to show off that they can make this idiot do anything. Also girls who are attracted to bad boys are always an absolute nightmare. Be nice and happy and safe.

  12. The reason I nag you to do your homework is because I love you and I want you to do well. Otherwise all my hard work and sacrifice will have meant nothing and that will be your fault, AND my fault. But mostly your fault.

  13.  Don’t try to be a victim when you’re not. You are a white, middle class, male born in a first world country. 99% of the time, you’re fine.

Love Mum

Poor Tim Hunt – sort of

Miss Nellie A. Brown; L to R: Miss Lucia McCollock, Miss Mary K. Bryan, Miss Florence Hedges

Put down your test-tubes and give us a smile girls.

Brian Cox and Boris Johnson don’t have loads in common, other than the hair thing and the fact they have both jumped to the defence of Nobel winning scientist Tim Hunt. Professor Hunt got himself into a lot of trouble last week with his comments about ‘girls’ in labs and subsequently resigned from his positions at UCL and The Royal Society. Boris and Brian’s appeals for reason really highlight the differences between someone who understands science and the nature of evidence and someone who thinks girls go to university to find a husband.

Boris – not a scientist- Johnson, rather embarrassingly used evidence to prove that Professor Hunt was right about girls crying, because evidence shows that women do cry more than men. Boris doesn’t think it should be an offense to point out these gender differences, presumably making it also ok to point out how much more men commit violent crimes than women. Begging the question is there a problem with letting men into mixed gender workplaces because boys can get a bit rapey? Seriously, shush Boris, you’re not doing Tim any favours by being on his side, now get back into your basket you crazy albino.

Professor Brian -actual scientist- Cox, didn’t defend Tim Hunt’s comments, just said that he shouldn’t have lost his job over them, which seems fair enough. Hunt’s words and thoughts, while irritating and offensive, are just words and thoughts- not actions. There is no evidence that he has discriminated against women in the work place. To fire him because he has the potential to discriminate, or other people just don’t like him, is a bit too thought-police. I’m not going to stop sending my nana Christmas cards because she calls black people ‘darkies’ either.

Was Professor Hunt really ‘hounded out’ by social media? If so I missed it, all I saw was some fairly reasonable irritation and some rather excellent piss-taking. Twitter doing some good with the ensuing #distractinglysexy hashtag undoing the harm and promoting women in science, happily the only reported tears were from laughter.  People on Twitter are always calling for resignations, but since when did we take ‘people on Twitter’ so seriously? They say a lot of shit, you’ll notice they aren’t literally Laughing Out Loud either.
Still, The Royal Society and University College London lost their bottle and caved in to the pressure, not helped by Professor Hunt who apologised by saying his comments were intended as a joke, but that he meant what he said and he was just being honest, the second part seemingly contradicting the first.

Hunt gets the chop but Phillip Larkin gets honoured in Poet’s Corner and he said a lot worse- what’s the difference? Twitter? How much people love ‘This Be The Verse’? The fact that Larkin is dead and doesn’t have to give appraisals to besotted, sobbing employees? Or that Larkin owned his words, for the most part shunning honours whereas Hunt said something very stupid, and still expects everyone to think he’s clever.

I do feel sorry for Professor Hunt, I’m sure he is a very nice man and he should still have his job, but let’s not forget, his damaged reputation is his own fault. The professor is finding out what it’s like to have your career blighted by a single moment of human weakness. You work hard all your life to achieve a level of respect in your field then one stupid joke, one single tear and you’re branded a ‘sexist pig’ or a ‘crying girl’.

Thank Christ for Kate Moss.

Kate Moss

It’s like looking in a mirror.

Having just seen Virgins Sex Pistols inspired credit cards and dragging my eyes through and article about pop ‘rivals’ Katy Perry and Taylor Swift writing vaguely pissy songs at each other, Kate Moss has saved my laptop from being coated with vomit.

Thank you Kate for being the last vestige of rock and roll. Thank you for being gorgeous and a bit pissed on an aeroplane like all fabulously wealthy supermodels should. When celebrities get angry, they don’t swear or scream or throw things, they tell each other how they are feeling and then they cry. Which is what they also do when they are happy/sad /accepting an award/in the vicinity of Oprah Winfrey, horrible boring celebrities. Kate Moss isn’t a celebrity, she’s a genuine famous person with dimensions and flaws and perfections.

I’m not going to let the fact that the aeroplane incident really isn’t a story spoil my enjoyment. According to fellow passengers Ms Moss was no bother at all ‘she was not aggressive to anyone and was funny really’. The flight crew WERE actually behaving like a bunch of basic bitches and called the police who did nothing, because there was nothing to do. But of course we still got the headlines about a paralytic prima-donna being dragged off a plane, which may not be true, but still made my day.

The Daily Mail particularly seems to dislike Kate Moss, last week they ran a story about how she had the audacity to ask Andrew Marr if she could have his seat in a busy café as he’d clearly finished his coffee. What. A. Bitch. Of course I don’t always agree with everything Kate says and does, but that’s because one of us isn’t a global fashion icon so there are bound to be some different interpretations of reality. Anyone who thinks that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, clearly hasn’t got a whole box of Oreo ice creams in her freezer, for example.

There is undoubtedly more than a little bit of misogyny about how this non-incident has been reported. Suzanne Moore in the Guardian points out that Moss’ disruptive behaviour wasn’t actually disruptive, unlike many celebrity antics, but it has been exaggerated in certain parts of the media because: ‘There is nothing that disgusts these people more than a woman enjoying herself’.

Yes, she was drinking – the hussy- another example of press double-standards is the way they report alcoholism. Last month Jed Evans Killed his sister, mother and her partner, just a few days later the DM was suggesting that the mother’s alcoholism was to blame. The penalty for being a flawed mother is death apparently. Men who are alcoholics are tortured self-harmers deserving pity; women are selfish destroyers of other people’s lives deserving what they get. Notice how stories about drunken tourists are always illustrated with a picture of an inebriated woman, because that’s more disgraceful? President Obama has a beer for breakfast at the G7 and he’s respecting a cultural tradition, I pop open a can of Carling at toddler group and I have a ‘problem’.

So screw them Kate, stay supercool, and I’ll ride with you anytime (maybe not on EasyJet though).

It’s not enough to survive; now we have to give birth ‘properly’

Cesarian birth

‘Who the fuck are you guys?’

Defend your gussets ladies, birth is under attack again. A strange doctor has written a book telling us that we risk forgetting how to do it ‘properly’, and that woman who looks like Death from Horrible Histories has been gloating that she did it ‘properly’ and is therefore a ‘proper’ mum. Crazy Katie says that giving birth naturally without (lots of) drugs makes her ‘feel like a proper mum because I gave birth to my children without much fuss.’ saving the fuss for her radio show and several news articles. Sadly if the way she gave birth genuinely makes Katie Hopkins feel like a good mum, one can only presume it’s because little else does.

I’ve had a range of birth experiences, and for the record, I felt the same level of ‘mumness’ for each of them. My first was a straight forward NVD (Normal Vaginal Delivery), supported by gas and air and screaming profanities. The second was a tranquil birthing pool birth with midwives present, but not really doing anything. I even fished my new-born baby out of the water myself, lazy cows. The third birth was a full on medicalised, chemically induced labour followed by emergency caesarean.  I therefore feel fairly qualified to say that if you gave birth naturally without huge amounts of pain relief then you are not an exceptionally all-powerful ultra-mum; you are lucky, as it is generally a far better experience.

It is a myth that C-sections are the easy way out. Maybe if people stopped making birth a big test of motherhood and defining the experience by pain and endurance, perhaps women wouldn’t be scared into booking elective caesareans. So nice one Katie- good work, Moron.

Dr Michel Odent is a strange fish. Unlike Katie Hopkins he has some training on the subject so I tried to take him seriously. Sadly this didn’t last long as Dr Odent recommends that in order to calm a woman during labour, men should never be present and that midwives should be ‘knitting in the corner’. I doubt any women would feel especially calm, left alone with a crazy knitting woman. Although, I did once have a midwife break my waters with what looked suspiciously like a crochet-hook. At the time I thought it was a genuine medical instrument, now I’m wondering if there was a half-made beanie hat hanging off the end.

Dr Odent argues that medical intervention is causing women to lose the ability to give birth, but given the horrendous maternal death rates through history and in still in developing countries, you have to wonder if we were ever that good at it. I get that birth can be unnecessary medicalised sometimes, but I’d argue that having maternal death rates in the UK closer to 1 in 10,000 from 1 in 5 a few hundred years ago, is progress. Maybe I’m missing the point, perhaps it doesn’t matter who survives as long as it’s done ‘properly’ and someone gets a sweater.

There is no easy way to have a baby. The adoption process is sufficiently tough to make me seriously prefer having a baby ripped out of my nose. You should be proud of yourself for giving birth any way. If it genuinely makes you feel superior to other women because you had an easier, more straight-forward ride, then bare in mind what you’re basically saying is ‘My mucus plug popped out like a champagne cork and my cervix is like a waterslide. Fortunately I also have a very stretchy fanny, it’s exceptionally accommodating, usually I just use it for storage’. Still bragging?

Blood, sweat and tennis – the great period debate.

Woman playing tennis

‘Take that you bastard ball’ Woman on her period playing tennis.

Tennis player Heather Watson is now the poster girl for menstruation and sport. Bit embarrassing, but less so compared to the other famous tennis poster girl who doesn’t wear pants and scratches her arse. Besides, we don’t have to be embarrassed anymore about our *whispers* women’s issues, because now other female athletes are joining in to tell us of their favourite ‘when I was on the rag’ story which is quickly turning into a version of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch.

Radcliffe: When I was on my period I broke the world record at the Chicago marathon.

Pavey: That’s nothing, I’d just had a baby when I won Gold at the European Championships, I slung the umbilical cord over my shoulder and went for it, had no choice.

Grey-Thompson: In my day we couldn’t afford periods. I had eight one year and I thought myself lucky.

Croft: You lot don’t know you’re born. We weren’t allowed to have periods. I had to win three tournaments before I was allowed to ovulate, and then it was only for five minutes on a Sunday.

Now that we’re talking about them, here are some very important things everyone should know about periods:

  1. The idea that women should ‘take a break’ every month is due entirely to marketing, having a period each month seems more ‘natural’. This has become common wisdom, although doctors do now say that it’s fine to only have four breaks a year. Don’t know how they come up with this figure. It may be a massive conspiracy by the makers of sanitary products and the government because…..
  2. The government charges VAT on sanitary product because it is a luxury item. This is so wrong that all women should shun these ‘luxuries’ and bleed all over the place until they change the law, but every time I suggest this people look at me like I’m mad.
  3. Despite what teenage girls around the country tell their PE teachers it’s fine to go swimming when you’re on your period. Even if there’s a shark in the pool as they are attracted to sweat and other bodily fluids too so they are just as likely to attack your male classmates. Actually, probably best not to go swimming with a shark just in case.
  4. There are roughly 2 million euphemisms for menstruation, which seems like a lot, but if men had periods there would be 6 million.
  5. Just over a hundred years ago doctors were still discussing if menstruating women could turn bacon rancid. Just because you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you’re not a moron.
  6. In 2005 Gian Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation said that there were restrictions on the women’s sport on medical grounds- It’s like jumping down from, let’s say, about two metres on the ground about 1,000 times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view. He seems to be implying that it might break their wombs. The bacon thing suddenly seems a little bit less stupid in comparison.

Opening up a debate about periods would be great as long it doesn’t descend into questioning if should women be allowed to fly military jets, rule countries or handle pork products.

I know this is a nuisance, but the thing is that there are loads of us women. Not all periods are the same. Some women just have a day of cramps and are fairly regular. Others can come on at any minute and will stab you in the eye/ burst in to tears of you look at them funny. Generally though it’s probably true to say most of us manage to incorporate periods into our lives without huge effect. Sometimes they cause problems, making you more likely to snap at someone, ruin a white sofa or lose a major tennis tournament. We should all be grown up enough to be able to say, ‘Sorry about that, got the painters and decorators in’ and get on with our lives. It’s not an excuse, it’s just how it is sometimes.

I tell you what though, when it comes to physical limitations and sport, aren’t those blokes doing remarkably well? I’m not being sexist, but in all honesty with their most vulnerable area dangling front and centre, they are not really designed for sporting activity are they? With all the swinging, kicking and flaying about they could really hurt themselves and not be able to have babies and if they can’t have babies, what’s the point of them? However, those lovely chaps have largely managed to overcome this with cups and straps and a gentleman’s agreement to keep things ‘above the belt’. Good for you for overcoming your physical disadvantages, but do be careful now.

Why the biggest tits on show are the ones reporting the NoMorePage3 story.

Alice Kenny and Christabel Pankhurst

Look at those bloody women standing there making no difference.

Listening to a news report that The Sun appears to have dropped topless pics on Page 3 my joy was tempered slightly by the reporter’s closing sentiment. Rather than credit the #NoMorePage3 campaign for the change in policy, he said ‘changing public attitudes’ were the reason and even ended with ‘sexism is so 1970s’.

Is it? Are, we’re done with sexism then? Wow, that’s REALLY great news, to be honest if I was doing that news report, I’d have led with that.

No more sexism, that’s chuffing marvellous, although I suspect what’s the reporter was actually saying is, yes there’s no more pg 3, and it was all our idea. Feminists don’t go thinking you’re clever, you have achieved nothing, so there’s no point trying to change anything else.

This isn’t the first time that ‘changing public attitudes’ has been credited with social advancement instead of the work of campaigners. Take votes for women for example. That all happened because of ‘changing public attitudes’ after World War 1 (thanks WW1, *thumbs up, winks*) and practically nothing to do with the suffrage movement. In fact, if anything they held it back. If society hadn’t had to waste time force-feeding suffragettes in prison, the idea of giving women the vote probably would have occurred to the ruling elite much sooner.

A quick glance round the news sites this morning shows there’s a charming assumption that the work is done, and a bit of irritation at anyone who says ‘no more topless women is great, but replacing them with women in lingerie isn’t loads better’. The comments sections are hilarious in their ‘FFS what NOW?????’ outrage.

Maybe there were some people who thought the whole Rosa Parks thing was actually about seating arrangements on public transport. ‘Let the lady sit down, and we’ll say no more about it.’ Nobody seriously thinks that the civil rights movement in America had nothing to do with achieving greater racial equality, and it’s equally delusional to think that the patriarchy is going to shift its arse without all us feminists coughing loudly in its general direction.

I understand that the reporter was trying to be funny and light-hearted with his ‘sexism is so 1970s’ crack at the end (God forbid we actually take this stuff seriously), but perhaps it would have a more rounded piece if he’d looked at what the modern equivalent to page 3 is because page 3 is not about a bit of cheeky porn, it’s about keeping women in their place. I’m sorry to kill the joke and all, but a few lovely ladies had to endure daily rape threats and abuse to achieve this so they’ll be pleased to know that it’s got nothing to do with them.

It would seem that it takes about 30 years of relentless campaigning and the victimisation and abuse of those who spearhead change before rights are won with a churlish ‘we were going to do it anyway’. I however, am very grateful for the people who are making these changes happen and would like to say thanks to Lucy-Anne Holmes and everyone associated with #NoMorePage3. Well done.

More hair

Nigel Farage with a Hare on his shoulder

Hare on a nipple

Can talk about hairy nipples?

I’m exaggerating, actually A hair on A nipple.

I’ll start from the beginning, normally I don’t see the point of shaving legs in the colder months. After all that’s what trousers are for right? If you’re married, your husband shouldn’t be picky about what you look like naked in case you enact the ‘til death do us part’ of the contract. Anyway, if he knew how much waxing products/services cost he’ll wholeheartedly support keepin’ it real for the sake of the household finances. ‘Your bikini line will have to wait love, the TV licence is due’.

However I was thinking of wearing a dress in public, so I was in the bathroom applying the magic shower cream which makes hair disappear when I started contemplating whether it would be really cool to use a piping bag to write a message in my leg hair. It would be really powerful. Imagine a feminist message written in leg hair.

I’m totally doing this. ‘Screw the’ on the left shin, ‘patriarchy’ on the right. That’s when I noticed a black hair emerging out of my nippular region.

Shocked I grab a pair of scissors and trim the offending hair.

  1. Q) What’s worse than nipple hair?
  2. A) Nipple stubble.

Now I’m going to spend ages trying to grab the damn thing with a pair of tweezers. Rubbish tweezers too, I’m too cheap to by decent ones, I might as well be using chopsticks.

I try using chopsticks, at least if I’m caught doing this I can pretend that I’m just retrieving a noodle, I mean everyone eats Chinese food in the bathroom right? You know, there are worse things than nipple hair, like when I realised I have hair growing out of the mole on my face, that’s right readers, ON MY MOTHER LOVIN’ FACE.

I asked my friends why they didn’t tell me that I had hair growing out of the mole on my face. The replies were unsatisfactory: ‘Because you might have cursed me’ (cowardly), ‘Because I was focusing on my mother’s funeral at the time’ (selfish), ‘I was distracted by the chopsticks sticking out your bra’ (inattentive), and ‘You have mirrors right?’ (fair point).

Thing is that when I look into mirrors, I don’t really look, you know? I’m a busy person, so I just write my death threat in red lipstick and leave. I don’t examine my face in any detail. Unless I’ve sustained a facial injury, then I can’t help but look. In fact I take pictures and share them with all my friends and their acquaintances. My FB album looks like the story board for the Elephant Man.

I digress. I feel that now that it has hair, my mole should really be up graded to ‘wart’ and therefore I have earned the title ‘crone’ My new status makes me feel more comfortable about the nipple hair, I’m not an ugly old woman, I’m an excellent crone. Perspective – see?

Back to the nipple hair…Distracted, I go into the shower too soon and simply wash off the magic leg hair cream and the hair is still there. Great, my unwanted hair is impervious to chemical attack. In fact by exposing it to low-level chemicals without killing it, I have possibly made it stronger. Now my legs and armpits will turn green when I’m angry. Also they are still hairy.

This is not fair. I just wanted to shave my legs, but not only did I fail to do that, I’ve discovered two extra follicle sources. I went into the shower normal(ish), I have emerged as Captain Caveman.

Captain Cave man



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 332 other followers