Three Rules for App Daters – Part II

Hello and Happy Monday! Thanks for coming back, even after all this time, you shall be rewarded with finally finding out what happens when one encounters, wait for it, Potential Pitfall Number THREE!

What is Potential Pitfall Number Three I hear you cry (or just reluctantly mutter like a child forced to entertain their socially awkward uncle as he tries and fails to tell a knock knock joke) ???! Let me put it like this, I was meeting the guy who’s photographs are consistent. As in they’re consistently five years younger and thirty pounds lighter. Look I’m not a fattist or an ageist guys but I just want the Eddie from the Happn pictures! As advertised! This Eddie looks like he’s eaten Eddie, or by the way he’s stroking his portly gut he could be pregnant with Eddie. That readers, is the weird lingering thought I have when Eddie spies me and we salute with our beverages. This PP3 is tricky because it isn’t one you can predict and the only immediate cure is turning on your heel and leaving the bar, which of course I can’t do because not only has he seen me I also try really hard in day to day life not to be a dick. Although I think I could sue for false advertising if this an American tv show, which sadly it isn’t.

“Hi,” I say, trying not to look at his rather limp, much thinner looking hair, and double chin, rather instead focusing on his eyes. His beady little, deep set, lying eyes. Stop it Scarlett! The first thing Eddie says in a broad New Zealand accent whilst eyeing my large glass of sauvignon blanc is, “Ah sorted yourself out I see. If you’d have come over first I would have bought it for ya. Eddie’s dates don’t pay.” I don’t think it’s the fact that he’s talking about himself in the third person that bothers me most about that statement, I think it’s more that he’s referring to women as ‘dates’, and women plural that bothers me. I wonder if he listens to P.I.M.P when he’s getting ready. I bet he’s got a dance. There again, I’ve got a dance so it’s definitely a pot and kettle situation there. Chiding myself inwardly, I outwardly over compensate by saying, “Oh that’s okay, thanks, you can get the next round then haha!” Cocks. There’ll be another round. I’m not being funny but that stomach doesn’t look real, it looks more like he’s stuffed a balloon down his shirt.

(Incidentally, I tried to find a funny picture of a female pimp to place here but I just found real life female pimps that made me feel sad inside so here’s a picture of a kitten in a tiara instead).

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Right, back to the date. I’m currently trying to talk myself down from the ledge with the following thought. Maybe, just maybe this guy is amazing oh shallow fatty hating ageist Scarlett and you’re going to write him off for what? Trying to improve his chances of getting a lady in a room? And Scarlett, I say to myself, you’re not exactly Kate bloody Moss either! Stern inner monologue over, I decide to put my disappointment to one side and throw myself into this situation, by asking Eddie what he does for a living. I know right? First it was ‘Hi’ and now job questions? I am on a roll. It turns out he owns an I.T company, “Yeah, except I know absolutely fuck all about I.T. but I’m really charismatic so it doesn’t matter.” Oh my god this guy IS funny because he has to be joking, right? Right?? Yeah he’s joking. We both laugh and he carries on talking. And talking, which I find I don’t mind. He’s engaging enough and I’m afforded the time to really look at him. I notice the smile lines on the side of his eyes and the permanent jolly grin and I manage to convince myself that this person ain’t too bad afterall, when my eye is drawn back to his hand, which has started rubbing that paunch again like he can feel something kicking. Would it be inappropriate to ask if I can touch it? Yes Scarlett because Eddie isn’t actually pregnant.

I don’t even realise I’m staring at it until Eddie brings me out of my reverie by saying, “Ah yeah, you noticed the gut. Had a bit of a big year last year, ending in a seriously boozy festive season. I’m surprised I don’t have gout! I was going to try and lose it but frankly it keeps me warm in winter.” I laugh then I feel bad for looking so I mumble something like, “I wasn’t staring, or I didn’t mean to, I wasn’t.” “Nah it’s alright, you may have noticed I’m a bit thinner in my photos, probably got a bit more hair and less wrinkles too!” He laughs and winks at me like it’s an in-joke we have at which point he tells me he’s actually 41 not 35 AND on top of that he’s using 33 year old Eddie’s pictures! He must be fucking with me a bit, 41?! What am I doing here? What the hell is he doing?! And he seems very jolly about it too. By the way, I’ve never heard anyone describe a thin person as jolly, why is that? Christ, I feel like I’m in Punk’d. Instead of spluttering random words like false advertising I guzzle the rest of my wine instead whilst Eddie looks on. Fuck the second round am I a dick if I leave now? Can I leave?? Before I have time to make a decision on that Eddie’s up and on his way to the bar at which point he turns and shouts across the pub, “Wow I hope you don’t get too sloshed, don’t want you hammered when we’re making love later.”

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Did he actually just say that, I think to myself as my mouth falls to the floor and stays there long enough for Eddie to turn around and say, “I know you’re eager but save that for later.” This cannot be real. I’m absolutely being Punk’d because no one says these things on a first date, or you know, ever!!!

That does it, I can definitely leave except that he’s just paid for the next round. Oh cocking cocks, I should just throw in the towel and face the reality that I’ll have an awkward exit from this situation like a regular normal grown up person but I’m not a regular normal grown up person, I’m a bloody great coward so instead of leaving I nip into the toilet and call Trish. I won’t lie readers, I’m also kind of enthralled, what is Eddie going to do next? Who can say?! So I tell Trish all of the above but without the space between words. This is because I can’t bear the thought of Eddie making a loud joke about what I might be doing in here when I go back out there. This is Trish’s response:

Trish: “He’s fucking with you.”

Me: “So you think it’s a fat suit?”
Trish: “Couldn’t say without taking a look up close but the other stuff? Yeah he’s totally fucking with you. It’s probably a test to see how easily you can be fucked with and based on that assessment you’ll either get a second date or not. I do it all the time.”

Me: …

Trish: “Hello?”

Me: “That doesn’t make any sense. It’s kind of fucked up.”

Trish: “And that’s why you’re always the fuckee and not the fucker.”

Me: “I don’t want to be a fucker!”

Trish: “But would you rather be a fuckee?”

I think on this for a moment as I sneak a peak at Eddie through the toilet door window wondering if it is indeed a fat suit.

Me: “I don’t want to be a fuckee.”

Trish: “You’ve only got one choice.”

Me: “Leave?”

Trish cackles and hangs up. I wish my best friend wasn’t quite so insane and borderline sociopathic sometimes. Not sure of how I’m going to play this but knowing I’m not going to leave, I take a breath and go back out there.

Eddie thankfully doesn’t make any poo jokes thankfully but instead launches into the story of his family who are (in his words) ‘rich stock’ apparently. And they’re really old. As in the family line is really old, not Eddie’s whole family, like Cocoon or something. He carries on about his lineage and talks with great affection about his grandfather who by all accounts was a complete slag who systemically cheated on his wife throughout their marriage and fathered at least two illegitimate kids who according to Eddie, “Didn’t get shit.” I laugh and try out being a fucker, “Damn straight!” I think that went well because Eddie chinks my drink in agreement. He’s obviously a seasoned fucker. This is very funny I think to myself, I can see why Trish does this, because we’re all joking and it’s fine because we’re joking! Eddie pauses and looks at me considering something. Deciding he’s going to go for it he takes a deep breath and tells me he’s going to share with me his grandfather’s wisdom. When Eddie was a young lad his grandfather took him to one side and apparently he offered up this little nugget…

“So Eddie my boy, there’s a young bull and an old bull standing at the top of this mountain looking down on to a field of cows. The young bull says to the old bull, ‘Hey pop let’s run down and fuck a cow.’ To which the old bull replies, ‘No son. Let us walk down the mountain and fuck all the cows.’”

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Yes that is an impression of my current facial expression as told by a cow. Story told, Eddie smiles broadly and leans back in his chair, nodding. Recover your composure Scarlett! I need to up my game, I’m going to blow the fucking roof off this fucker fuckee business. Now Scarlett, it’s time to think of the most offensive diabolical thing you could say to this guy. A thought is forming, yes, it’s good, oh yeah, see what you think of this bomb Edward. I smile contentedly as if recalling a happy memory, “Well, that’s interesting, because the wisest thing my grandmother ever said to me was, ‘Never trust a Kiwi Scarlett, they’re all a bunch of sheep shaggers.’” I lean back in my chair with my own reflective triumphant grin, whilst Eddie’s seems to be fading fast.

“Well your grandmother sounds like a fucking racist. Pig ignorant too.” Racist pronounced ‘race-ust’ And pig pronounced ‘pug,’ which confuses me for a second as it dawns on me that Eddie actually hasn’t been a fucker this entire time but is simply a fucker all the time. And I have unwittingly become a fucker too or at least my fake race-ust grandmother has but fake or not I feel the need to defend her. “She isn’t a racist she’s just xenophobic!” That isn’t better. “And I was joking!” “Well it wasn’t very funny Scarlett, it’s just fucking offinsuve.” I should really leave but I’ll be damned if I’m the most offinsuve person in this room. “What about your joke?! I’m a bloody cow in that analogy!” “Who said anything about a joke? I was sharing an intimate moment I had with my grandfather.” “So I am a bloody cow am I?” “Uh-oh I think we’ve got a femunust on our hands! I hope you’re not this fiesty when we’re making love later!” Aaaand I’m done. What am I still doing here?! Flogging an old dead bull apparently! So I down the rest of my wine and stand up dramatically, trying not to burp. Confused he asks, “Where are you going?” Really? I actually need to say it? Apparently so. “Home. I’m going home Eddie.” Because ladies and gentlemen if my past history is to be factored in too, I’m also terrified that if I do have another drink with Eddie out of sheer cowardice I might end up getting pissed and having sex with him anyway just so I can tell Trish I shagged a pregnant guy. I leave the bar with Eddie’s impotent last words echoing behind me, “Well don’t expect me to walk you to the tube you bloody race-ust!”

Stepping out into the street I take a deep breath and let it out with an incredible sense of relief, and a tiny little burp.

I get home and take stock. I’ve been so caught up with attacking this dating game exactly like a game, based on winning and losing that I’ve lost the reasoning behind it. It’s not about a last race to get laid, or married for that matter although obviously I would like sex at some point before I’m eighty but I’m me and not Trish. I’m not a fucker and if that makes me a fuckee then that’s just fine with me. I make a cup of tea and curl up on the couch relishing being alone or at least not still with Eddie as I turn on my television. Hello Outlander. Hello Jamie’s knees. Oh the knees! I’m singing along to the opening titles of Series 2 Sex Extravaganza when my phone beeps. Oh God it can’t be, it can’t be Eddie. It’s Eddie.

Eddie: “So do you want to meet up again?”

Really? I mean he was there this evening right? REALLY?? So I reply politely.

Me: “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

I put my phone down hoping it’s done and press play on the telly when my phone beeps again. I groan and look at it hoping against hope for anyone else. Nope. It’s Eddie. Why do you smite me phone god?!

Eddie: “I’ll still have sex with you if you drop the racist stuff.”

Unbelievable. It’s at this point I decide to block Eddie. And I do, I delete our conversation and block Eddie from Whatsapp and Tinder. Harsh but honestly, I think it’s fair. Breathing my second sigh of relief for the evening I put my phone down and try to lose myself in Scottish accents and knees. My phone beeps again. How is he doing this?! Oh fuckity shit he’s still got my number! HE CAN STILL TEXT! WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY OPTIONS ON ONE DEVICE?! “Fuck off Eddie!!” I shout even as I’m picking it up to look. It isn’t Eddie! It ISN’T Eddie! I can’t believe it, it’s actually Ken! Oh beautiful sexy Ken! For those readers who don’t know who Ken is because they didn’t read part one or did so, so long ago that they can’t remember, Ken is actually called Sven but he looks like a Ken doll so I sent what I thought was a pithy message a couple of weeks ago asking him if he wanted to defy the Gods by going for a drink with me instead of Barbie. He did not reply. Silence can truly be deafening when a joke falls flat so I’m on tenterhooks as I read the following.

Ken: Hey Scarlett, sorry for the silence, I was waiting for Barbie’s divorce papers to come through. It’s official, you’re a home wrecker. When are you free?’

And then I smile that stupid giddy smile, eyes glazed over and idly think, with this expression maybe I could be a Barbie, or better still a Scarlett. And that’s when I block Eddie from my phone, just to be on the safe side.

Animal Smile Five SIZE

***Not a true rendering of Scarlett Tate because the above is a seal. Just to be clear.

 

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Three Rules For App Daters – Part I

**And friends of App daters who don’t read this blog.**

Hello readers happy belated 2016! Well let’s just say it’s been a rather slow start to the year all round for me. Unsurprisingly, not a lot of people are getting married in January/February so the hen do market has dried up a bit. However we have had a few commissions for single portraits for Jake as Valentine’s Day gifts believe it or not. I’m not talking about a girl buying their boyfriend the opportunity of having his self portrait done, I’m talking about the girl giving him her self portrait for Valentine’s Day. Except actually it’s mostly been dudes doing it for their other halves (girlfriends and boyfriends). Hey, I ain’t judging, horses for courses and all that but all I’m saying is I’d like to be a fly on the wall when the exchanging of gifts occurs…

Also, what terrible voodoo would happen to that portrait if they break up?! Not that I say this to them of course, BPA is advertising the most unique, personal Valentine’s gift EVER and it’s working! I’m not really working though so during this lull Trish, Jake and me have gone back to the blind curry tasting except now we’ve very excitingly widened the net to any tinned item we can find in the nearby Tesco Extra. Why I’m the only one who has to taste the contents and identify them blindfolded while Trish and Jake take bets I don’t know but it’s either that or Candy Crush Saga apparently and I got out voted.

Dating wise however, I have decided to go on the offensive. I’ve ditched Tinder (too game like) and replaced it with Happn! That’s not a spelling mistake. There is, for no reason I can see, no ‘e’ in the title and no one can tell me why. I mean it’s not even as if it’s an extra syllable, you still have to pronounce the ‘e’ part of the ‘n’ so I don’t get it. I even googled it. Nothing. It’s not like there’s a double meaning either. Why did misspelling words on purpose become the thing to do? What’s the point I ask?! Whilst I leave you to ponder that little conundrum I shall continue with Scarlett: Serial Dater.

For the uninitiated, Happn is effectively Tinder with a different interface and the added intrigue of showing you people you’ve physically crossed paths with rather than you choosing a radius within which to find potential mates. I think it’s supposed to make the connections seemingly more romantic or real(istic), or it’s just the latest hook-up app. I am of course going with romance, even when faced with Jed who’s pictures are simply half naked selfies finished off with a shot of his knob. Thanks Jed. Who the hell is called Jed anyway?! Moving on. When you like the look of someone, you can ‘Heart’ them (yes I too have experienced a moment of dry heaving when met with this concept for the first time – romance or no – but please stay with me guys). If they ‘Heart’ you back, you have a match or in the language of Happn, ‘It’s a crush!’ If you Heart someone and nothing happens you can also send them a ‘Charm’ which allows them to see that you’re interested. I haven’t worked out if that’s desperate or flattering yet so I’m just Charming everyone I Heart the look of and hoping for a Crush. Get it? Good. So why I am tackling this with such vigour? Because I haven’t had sex since I was a Responsible Adult and Trish told me it starts growing back after six months. I know that’s impossible but I don’t want to take any chances. Also I think it might be possible.

Date Number One (of Three in case you didn’t read the title)

My first Happn date of the year was with a graphic designer called Frankie and as a result of our one and only date I have begun to take note of certain pitfalls that lie in wait for the app dater. Potential Pitfall 1) Are all his photos consistent? As in do they all look like one person rather than three smoking hot angels, then one photo so grim it makes Sloth from the Goonies look like Brad Pitt. If this is the case and you’re not into Sloth types, don’t go there. Guaranteed readers, they will look like Sloth’s uglier sibling not Brad Pitt. Another classic is the ‘I’ve got more looks than Mike Myers’ photo selection. How can one person look like five completely different people?! It’s like they’re trying to bamboozle (great word to say out loud) you into submission! Take heed singletons, do not be bamboozled, there is one simple rule here: Always go for the ugliest picture and if that ain’t so bad you’re home free, but if we’re back into Sloth zone then you know what to do. Needless to say Frankie bamboozled me before I was aware of this particular pitfall. Ever hopeful, I was gunning for Beach Frankie or even Fancy Dress Frankie. I did not like the look Dalston Frankie with a ratty tash, who doesn’t look like he’s eaten since he was Beach Frankie, and who has also apparently forgotten to wear socks underneath his rolled up trousers. Of course I got Dalston Frankie who apparently doesn’t see the correlation between a lack of socks and feet so stinky I could smell them from under the table. I sent the ‘My ex has come back on the scene’ text, and Frankie was very understanding. Thanks and sorry Frankie. NB: More of let down texts later.

Date Number Two

I confess date two is a bit of a misnomer. It should be called The Non Date but Date Two works better for story purposes and clearly illustrates Potential Pitfall 2, which I’ll get to in a moment. Right Date Two, his name is Sven but I call him Ken and actually not just because it rhymes. Jake is to blame for Ken because when I showed Jake his photographs the response I got was genuine surprise that Malibu Barbie’s boyfriend was not only single but actually ‘Charmed’ me. Yeah read that again, he, Charmed, ME! And yes he absolutely looks like Ken, and that would be bad because…?! Jake’s response to that is, ‘Because it makes you a home wrecker. Ken doesn’t belong to you babe he belongs to Barbie. Ultimately he needs a Barbie or by looking at him, several Barbies, not a Scarlett. Don’t do it.’ Well I think that’s a bit of a negative nelly attitude, plus I’m sex starved so Jake can go eat a tin of Chipotle Tuna for all I care. Here is a picture of Chipotle Tuna so you don’t think I’m a big fat liar. And no, you shouldn’t eat it especially not in a blind tasting. I actually thought they were feeding me cat food. It was terrifying.

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NB: That is a chilli.

Back to Ken I mean Sven. I want to prove Jake wrong so I show him our texting history but even after he’s read our saga length witty banter, he isn’t convinced. In fact Jake now wonders whether or not Ken actually wants another Ken. I am shocked. Ken isn’t gay he’s mad into Barbie. We Google Ken.

 

Poor Barbie. Okay getting back to the real life Ken I MEAN SVEN, Jake explains that Sven wanting a Ken isn’t due to the nature of our witty banter, it’s due to its length. We have hit Potential Pitfall 2) Get into banterous chit chat for too long and you end up with a pen pal or a dick pic. We’re in the pen pal zone. We’ve made vague arrangements to meet but so far nothing and now it’s descending into ‘So how was your day?’ non-banter and massive silence between messages. I’m even losing interest so I start drafting a text:

So when are you free to go for that drink?

Jesus even that’s lack lustre. Delete. Draft Two:

Hey so are you one of those app robots who just wants to know what I like so your company can sell me stuff?

WTF Scarlett? W. T. F. Delete. Draft three:

My business partner thinks you look like a Ken doll and since I’m not a Barbie we should never meet as it would cause some terrible black hole to form in the universe or something. Do you mind helping me prove him wrong? I’ll buy the first round if you do.

Better Scarlett even if it is the length of a fucking short story. It’s also a bit of gamble if he doesn’t find Barbie funny. Unfortunately I’m now drunk so I send this one.

Yeah turns out he did not find Barbie funny. After a week of feigning nonchalance every time my phone beeps but in actuality grabbing it with both of my sweaty little hands palming at it like a maniac desperately wanting the confirmation Ken found it funny and me hilarious, none of my texts have been from Ken. This is maddening but I have finally come to the conclusion that Ken is gone. This is the thing about talking to someone online, somehow we’re not real to each other so if you don’t like someone you can just decide not to reply and they disappear. Except that we are all real and as mortified as I might be, I’d still rather receive, ‘Dude that isn’t funny.’ Or ‘Whatever man,  haters gonna hate and Ken is HOT!’ Or the one I used on Frankie, ‘Sorry I’ve gotten back with my ex.’ Which dear readers is nine times out of ten a lie particularly in my case. However what it is, is a polite version of ‘I’m not interested.’ And this is preferable to silence. Ever crazy making silence. I’ve also used the, ‘I’m leaving the country for a really long time to find myself/go to a full moon party etc’ line, which isn’t bad for those out there who have been using the ‘ex’ line and want to mix it up a bit. Just don’t say you’re a spy, that’s just patronising. The silence however IS THE WORST. So just don’t do it. The Internet God is always watching and Karma is a vicious if you believe in that, which I don’t. Oh God please don’t let it grow back.

With that in mind and my new thicker skin (apparently one of the pros to eating a huge amount of tuna – I recommend the sweet chilli) applied, I draw a stoic line under Ken (whilst not actually deleting Ken, because I’m an optimist who fears change). I ask myself what have I learned from PP2? This is what I’ve learned: Don’t chat too long or get into sexting before you’ve ever even met the person. I am now chatting to Crushes for a total of five to ten messages before dropping the ‘let’s meet in person with alcohol or coffee’ bomb because apparently a lot of guys online are scaredy cats and this way you’re saving them from finding some way of saying ‘Soooo wanna carry this chitchat on over a glass of wine/cocktail/beer etc?’ Because most of the time they’ll wait til they’re pissed and text you a bad joke about ‘your place or theirs’, Rohypnol, or they’ll send you the default dick pic. No offence guys, you’re as lost as we are, it’s just our boobs are way more photogenic. Fact. They’re also welcome unlike photographs of your knobs. Fact. Here we come to a secret subsection to PP2 – this goes both ways ladies and gents – don’t drunk text before you’ve met either (as I have learned from Ken). Or drunk selfie. Jed now has a photo of my boobs forever. Yeah you are welcome Jed. I’m kidding! I’m not kidding. Sorry Mum. Back to the let’s-meet-in-person bomb. If the recipient ums and ahs after you’ve sent the text or is messing you around over two times regarding meeting up, ditch em. That’s my new rule. I tell you why readers, apart from the potential dick pic/pen pal assault, you will never know if you’ve got a real attraction going on until you meet the person so why waste time chatting for weeks on end whilst eating a variety tinned goods and trying not to puke. Exactly. You totally get it.

Leaving Ken to his Barbies (so over it) I ‘Charm’ a jolly looking New Zealand guy called Eddie. He’s thirty six, with a round face but a rugby players bod – solid basically, and all of his pictures are consistent and outdoorsy. We have jumping – presumably for joy – fishing, and finally laughing with friends round a bonfire. Great. Better still, he Hearts me back and we get chatting. Employing my new rule, after three or four lines of banter I go in for the kill and we set up a date for the following week. BOOM! Date two of 2016 nailed! Okay so I may have been overly hopeful for the date or in Trish’s words overly desperate – she doesn’t agree with my Charm offensive (oh I’ve been dying to get that pun in there God I’m funny) – but hey, one has to get excited about these things otherwise you just don’t do them and instead you form deeply one sided relationships with fictional characters from the latest boxset you’re watching. Hello Outlander. Don’t judge me, at least it’s historically accurate Amazon Prime porn with very high production values!! They film it in Scotland, on location, with real actors and everything! Oh Jamie and your beautiful knees.

Date Number 3

It’s the day of my date with Eddie and he hasn’t cancelled hurray! We have a place and a time so off I go with butterflies in my stomach and high on first date hopes. I get to the bar and order a glass of wine whilst attempting a casual look around and there he is. I have not been stood up either, winning! However it’s at this point I realise I’ve fallen prey to the dreaded Potential Pitfall 3…

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Is that my face or his I hear you cry? What is Potential Pitfall 3 for Godssake??! Well you’ll have to wait until next Tuesday to find out! This is actually one of those enforced awkward cliff hangers as a result of personal research into the lengths of people’s attention spans (Youtube can wait one more second Mum!), and my inability to self edit but trust me, it’ll be worth the wait!!!

Probably. I mean I think it’s a great finale to some funny dating stories but I also LOLed at Charm offensive so, weigh that up too as you spend the next week on the edge of your seat wondering what PP3 could be!

Please come back. Now THAT is overly desperate.

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A Christmassage Miracle

First off, Merry Christmas everyone! That’s about as Christmassy as this edition of Scarlett is going to get BUT it is a story about a massage (eventually) and that word works really well when combined with Christmas, so in order to remind you that this is in fact a Christmassage miracle I’m going to drop in stills from some of my favourite Christmas movies throughout the essay for no other reason. You’re welcome. No, really you are very welcome.

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Just like this glorious picture of Will Ferrel as Elf in the movie ‘Elf’ eating spaghetti with maple syrup, I was off to a good start on Saturday morning. Body Part Art (still not a taxidermist) is finally starting to make a bit of cash and I am no longer on a diet of super noodles, nay I am eating all manner of tasty delights including fresh vegetables, and fresh meat for that matter. As long as I live I will never again try ‘own brand’ tinned chicken curry. Am I ashamed that I have? No. Am I ashamed that I set up a little blind taste test with Jake of five different own brand tinned chicken curries just for fun? Maybe. Am I ashamed that the blind taste test turned into ‘how quickly can Scarlett eat all five tins of curry blindfolded’? Yes. I wish hadn’t told you that. Moving on!

So I am a fully fledged Happy Saturday (Monday would have worked better but who has a hen do on a Monday? No one that’s who). I’ve found a seat on the tube, and I’m settling in ready to go Tazmanian devil on my Pret cinnamon swirl and skip to the ‘guilty pleasures’ section of yesterday’s Metro then hate myself. We’re about two stops in and the train begins to accelerate to the point that all the people standing up are leaning back slowly like a flash mime mob I’m absently aware of when suddenly the train breaks hard. The sudden movement of a woman stumbling catches my eye and I turn too quickly to see what’s happening. Just as she’s caught in the nick of time by a neighbouring gentleman, the pain in my neck explodes and I’m stuck! I can’t move my bloody neck more than half a centimetre either way. Oh God it hurts like an absolute mother f***er. This isn’t happening, not today,. We’ve got twenty hens from Bradford coming in and I look like I’m posing for a Classical Greek sculpture. Maybe it’ll be fine. These things loosen up right? I just need to keep the muscles mov- OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!! Okay too much, baby steps Scarlett. Baby steps. Damn me and my morbid curiosity, my rubber neck has been replaced with shitty broken wooden one. I miss my rubber neck!

Disastrous-National-Lampoon-Christmas-Vacation

Rubber necking? Get it? Disastrous and hilarious turkey scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?! Whatever. So I get to work and I spend the afternoon handing out glitter and glow-in-the-dark paint to a group of ladies who are, with every pop of another Prosecco cork, making the inevitable descent into drunken artistic anarchy. I feel like a primary school teacher doing rainy day activities with a bunch of four year olds hyped up on Haribo. Obviously I wouldn’t get the four year olds to paint knob shaped pottery, that would be considered inappropriate particularly without the obligatory fizz. Sorry, I’m disappearing down a self destructive hole of madness. Getting back to my actual job (thank goodness it isn’t teaching primary) I do actually enjoy hosting these parties normally but my neck is not letting up and the ladies have noticed. Someone’s put on Technologic by Daft Punk:

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtdWHFwmd2o)

and they are now doing robot impressions of me. I can’t help it! I can’t move my neck more than two millimeters either side (yes it’s gotten worse and no I’m not being a Drama Queen MUM) or bend down for fuck’s sake! I’ve been attempting to stretch it out ‘discreetly’ in pseudo yoga poses I’ve been getting off youtube for the last two hours. I smile gamely through the group’s hysterical laughter that makes me think of a David Attenborough documentary I saw once about the mating rites of the spotted hyena. Then something beautiful happens, all on their own, they actually decide to finally, finally leave but not before attaching a dildo shaped hair band to my head and playing a round of ring-a-pole.

Jake peeps his head round the door as I’m cleaning up Dresden and kindly offers to watch the shop so I can go to the local A & E. I’m so grateful I could weep but I don’t because I’m too busy trying to get to the hospital faster than the speed of light, which is difficult. Obviously. Anyway, by some miracle I’m seen within about half an hour of arriving- turns out 4pm on a Saturday is not prime time at an A & E, who’d have thunk it! The doctor, a small Indian man in his forties appears and ushers me into his office. I consider him for second and concur that he’s very attractive – think Asian Bradley Cooper, but a bit old and fat, kind of. I realise at this point the pain in my neck might be causing mild hallucinations. The standard knee jerk reaction occurs and I check for a wedding ring, because that’s what single people above the age of twenty six do, we can’t help it. As I say, knee jerk, and of course he’s got a wedding ring! Hey ho, I remind myself that I’m here for pain relief not sexual healing, put it away Scarlett!

He sits me down and I explain everything from the moment I took the first bite of my cinnamon swirl right up to the moment I whipped my head round to see a woman stumble and fall because I want to give a sense of place and dramatic tension. It’s obvious the Doctor is RAPT. Unless that’s actually impatience, so I stop when I realise he doesn’t need to hear about the dancing robot impressions that probably won’t scar me for life. He remains poker faced but with the slight frown of the ‘concerned MD’ and then before I know it he walks over and starts touching my neck, gently pressing certain areas asking where the pain is and so forth in a soft ingratiating, calming tone. I’m in heaven. He starts massaging the painful area and I close my eyes – I can’t help it, this is the first pain relief I’ve had all day! Okay fine, it’s not just that, it’s the first human contact I’ve had in a lot of weeks. I feel like I’ve been living in space all this time. I think I’m falling in love with this man. God this is dreams. And then in the same soft authoritative voice, he says, “Does that feel better?” I can just about manage a breathless, “Yes.” And just as if it really were a dream and I was waking, he immediately stops, goes back to his chair and says in much more matter of fact, “Right Ms Tate, I don’t think you need prescription pain killers, or a brace but I do recommend you take some ibuprofen to relieve the pain, keep moving your neck and consider getting a massage from a trained professional of course.” “A massage by a trained professional?” “Yes.” “Like, you?” Oh God, I probably shouldn’t try and sweeten the deal with a tip. “No, I’m a Doctor not a masseuse. We’re in London, there are a lot of places to choose from. So is there anything else?” I can’t look him in the eye. “No that’s everything, thanks.” Why am I so bright red? It’s not like I asked for a happy ending! I say thank you and shake his hand for absolutely no apparent reason then leave. This one’s for you Doc because Love, Actually, Is, All Around… Apparently…

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Determined to get a massage but also aware I’m supposed to be meeting Trish in China Town for dim sum at half six, I go to Soho with the hope of getting a massage at one of the little boutique parlours around there (no not that kind, thank you gutter thinkers) beforehand. I reckon I can get a half hour neck rub no problems and with enough Neurofen to sink a small battle ship, I’m off.

 

The Walk In Back Rub place I had my hopes pinned on is inexplicably closed. This is a word from me to shop managers everywhere – putting a smiley face at the end of note in the door saying ‘We’re closed today sorry!’ Just looks a little insincere frankly, more of a smug wince than an apologetic face, okay? Just something to think about when you’re letting me down.

I’m wandering the streets of Soho now getting more panicked by the minute. It’s 5:45 but by sheer luck of not knowing where the fuck I am I find myself on Rupert Street. And there it is, like the grail, a mani-pedi place that is also advertising fifteen minute massages. I look inside cautiously but it’s all good, the place is pristine. In fact it’s so white and sanitary it looks like something from Logan’s Run. There are rows of women getting their nails done by Oriental women in white tunics and plimsols, so I walk in, bathing in white light like a futuristic heaven, I’m Quantum fricking Leap! I’m brought out of my reverie by a small, old Chinese lady who suddenly shouts to me, “Manicure or Pedicure!” I smile happily and say, “I’d actually like a massage please.” Oh God. Suddenly I’m not in 2001 A Space Odyssey anymore, and have found myself – much like Quantum Leap – thrown into a different time space or rather genre that resembles a period called The Spaghetti Western. More specifically, the moment Clint Eastwood walks into the bar as the hero from out of town. The reassuring sound of ten women getting their nails filed stops. Hands are held frozen above the soaking solution, all ten heads simultaneously turn toward me, twenty including the beauticians holding the files. A great and terrible silence occurs, what have I done?!

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I don’t need to reference the above but yes that is Home Alone. And currently, I feel very alone. The old woman, who I shall now call Madam, pauses for a moment then nods sternly and gestures to a set of stairs I didn’t see before. I didn’t see them before because of course they’re hidden at the back of the shop and yes, of course they lead to the basement. I can’t believe what’s happening, and neither can everyone else in the joint but I’m too dumbstruck and polite to just walk out of the shop! I’m in a politeness void! I know I should leave but my neck is killing me guys so I try to walk with a knowledgeable grace but just as I’m getting to the stairs I nearly fall down them when Madam shouts, “You take your shoes off!” Pointing to a shoe rack, “You leave here!” I can’t help but notice there are only two other pairs of shoes, notably men’s. There is a wave of hushed whispers and the odd giggle as I descent the stairs wondering how the fuck it is I got here and how the fuck it is I’m going to get out.

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As you can see John MacClane would understand, as he’s also in a tight spot, in Die Hard. Naturally.

Madam ushers me down a rouge corridor until we get to a door ajar and she roughly points me through it. I find myself standing in the middle of a bright pink room, no I am actually not bullshitting you, it is bright pink, with one bedside lamp in the corner. The only reason I didn’t turn and walk away there and then apart from the afore mentioned politeness issue, is that there in the centre of the room is an actual massage table. I decide to ignore the single bed situated on the other side of the room as Madam says, “Okay you take off your top and bra now! Fifteen minute or half hour?” I shout back “Fifteen minute!” I say shout, it was more of a crying plea of I’ll do anything! She stands expectantly as I take of my jumper. Seemingly satisfied I’m not going to do a runner she says, “Bra as well!’ Before giving me another very professional (and by professional I mean commandant level authoritative) nod before shutting the door firmly behind her, leaving me alone in the pink room in my bra. Needless to say I am not feeling very relaxed at this point.

I take in the surroundings, so okay we’ve got a bed but we also have a massage table. We have a red coloured lamp but then we also have, wait, we also have a PVC sailor’s hat and matching jacket hung on a hook YET I AM STILL REMOVING MY BRA AND CUPPING MY TITS! This room smells of plastic, cheap scented candles, and sadness. At this point I hear a noise and realise I am not alone, that in fact there is another door to an anteroom. Before I can get my bra back on, an Oriental woman, who from now on will be referred to as Lady, comes out of said anteroom wearing a sailor dress and stiletto heels. When I say sailor dress I mean if you were watching a nautical pornographic Manga film and the lead character was a sailor’s mistress then this may well be what she’d be wearing. She gives me the biggest, warmest, strangely glamorous greeting, “Heeeeeello Dhhaaaaaarrrrlling, come lie on table yes yes lie on table” And I do because what the hell else can I do readers?! I’m in too deep and Lady’s telling me to. So I go with it, ignoring the fact that maybe for a masseuse she has inappropriately long nails. They’re not even nails anymore they’re talons. Immaculate, red, diamante studded talons are going to be in my neck.

“Are you a trained professional?” I ask, simultaneously realising what I’ve just said. Thank God she ignores me as she pours the oil on my back. “You so tense,” She says as she begins to move her thumbs up my spine. I laugh nervously, and then hysterically when she hits a knot. “I’m very ticklish,” I say, suddenly hoping she doesn’t think I’m flirting, but then she breathes, “You relax now.” And I let go because the room is so warm and the plastic smell is making me dizzy and Jesus this feels absolutely fucking amazing. She carries on moving her fingers delicately, and firmly all the way to my neck and I begin to float away as the pain ebbs and almost disappears altogether.

Barring a slightly awkward turn when she tried to pull my trousers down, which I firmly stopped, that was genuinely the greatest massage of my life. Fuck it, actually that was possibly the greatest fifteen minutes of my life. Alright maybe not but it definitely has to be in the top ten. It was akin to the after glow of an orgasm mixed with that heady second glass of mulled wine by a pub fire. I feel so relaxed and so grateful at this moment that I think maybe Lady isn’t a prostitute, maybe she’s a fucking wizard. I look at her dress as she walks to the table and you know what? Maybe this just the fashion, Soho Style – a short pleated dress with a reeeeaaalllyy low neck line that shows your bra a bit. Right? I don’t know! Then Lady bends over to adjust the massage table and I can see the whole of her arse. The whole of her bum clad in see-through black knickers. Wearing only my bra, I hug her anyway. Yep, you read it right, I’m so grateful and so unequipped to be in this situation that when I say thank you to Lady, I launch myself at her and we really hug, or rather I really hug. Knowing that I want her to come home with me and massage me forever, I whisper, “Merry Christmas,” just as Madam bursts in and shouts, “You pay extra for that!”

Merry Christmas and thank you loyal Scarlett fans old and new for reading and sharing my absolute nonsense! If you like this story please do share the Christmassage cheer, and thanks again in advance 🙂 Here is a still from my favourite Christmas film, which is so inappropriate now but I had to get a Happy Ending in here somehow…

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Posted in comedy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

RESPONSIBLE Adults Part II

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Re-Cap:

So my business is failing and my business partner slash artist has just found out I’ve booked a load of hen parties (behind his back) to do very silly, very low brow arty activities that could (by their very silly nature) involve him compromising his artistic integrity or something. Well, I mean if you’re going to be a big baby about it. Thing is, we do need to make some money otherwise we’ll be jobless and I’ll definitely be homeless. He’s now not speaking to me, refusing point blank to do any of the bookings, and is telling me flat out to cancel them. Aside from that I just got news from the sex clinic that I have Chlamydia like a big hoe. A big disease ridden hoe.

On to…

RESPONSIBLE Adults Part II!

I’ve decided to put on the London Grammar album ‘If You Wait’ because I figure if this were a film, ‘Strong’ might be the montage music to this particular section of my narrative i.e. the dramatic bit of the film about forty minutes in. It’s melancholic but also determined. Just. Like. Me? Question: Have you ever tried to sing along to ‘Strong’? Well, it starts off fine, the angelic Hannah Reid (seriously she probably glows), starts off on a pretty low key that most people can probably hit so I’m safe there as I look wistfully out of the window of my little flat wishing for a reality where I’m a successful business owner and not a walking disease factory.

Reference link for ‘Strong’ for the uninitiated:

So it starts with “Excuse me for a while, while I’m wide eyed and I’m so down, caught in the middle” etc. etc. Perfect for a thoughtful ‘I’m totally fucked’ montage involving more wistful gazing etc. I even manage a tear but then the song kicks into the next bit and there’s no way I can hit those notes. I give it my best shot of course:

‘And a lllaaaahhh-aaaaahhhh-aaaaahhhh-aaa-aaaaahhhhhnnnnn, a lllaaaahhh-aaaaahhhh-aaaaahhhh-aaa-aaaaahhhhhnnnnn roars would you not liiiissss-eeeehhnnnn? If a chaaaa-aaaahhh-aaaahhh-aaa-aaaahhhllldd, a chaaaa-aaaahhh-aaaahhh-aaa-aaaahhhllldd craawwwwwss would YYYOOOOOUUUU NNOOOOOTT FORRR–HHIIIIVEE THEEEHHHM?’

Literal translation: “And if a lion, a lion roars would you not listen? If a child, a child cries, would you not forgive them?”

I’m in a pitch zone only dogs hear and I’ve given myself a headache so I pause the song and pack up my bag ready to go back to the all-day disco sex clinic. The Pokemon are attacking and I am out-gunned and out-manned so I text Jake in the vain hope that my plight may give me a free pass on this hen-do business.

ME: I’ve got Chlamydia!!!! 😦 Going to clinic, be at work after. Sorry Jake but I’ve got chlamydia. 😦

Possibly a bit thick but fingers crossed. He replies immediately – good sign?

JAKE: Don’t try and make me feel bad for you. You f***ing pimped me out Scarlett! YOU ARE A PIMP! Sorry your cooch is diseased but I AM STILL FUMING!

I can’t believe he saw through my cunning ruse. Smart cookie.

I walk to the STD clinic with my poorly vagina and wait for yet another hour to see a nurse. Do not Google image STDs when you’ve been diagnosed with one I’m telling you. Don’t even do it now because one day you could be diagnosed with one and those pictures will be burned into your brain and they will come back to haunt you. Haunt you! You looked didn’t you? What did I just say? This is a cautionary tale people! Oh God, inflammation of the what now? Infertility?! Reactive arthritis??! Oh yeah, and don’t Google your STD’s symptoms either. I’m John Hurt all over again, and that Alien is going to burst right out of my chest any fucking minute. Or more likely I may just puke. Yeah that is definitely probably more likely. Jake’s wrong too, I’m not the pimp, I am a harlot. A fille de joie! She who shags a lot! Whorey McWhorebag. But I’ve only had three sexual partners since the last test (four if you count my vibrator LOOL). A bit of gallows humour there for you.

Then a new wave of angst dawns when I realise I’m going to have to call those three men. I am disgusting. I text Trish all the sordid details in the hope she can offer practical advise or at least a commiseratory emoji. After ten minutes this comes through and it is neither.

TRISH: Don’t sweat it, if you’re not showing symptoms you’re fine.

Um.

ME: That’s not what Google says.

TRISH: Fuck Google.

ME: No I checked on several sites. That’s not a thing.

TRISH: Huh. Really?

ME: Yep. Absolute rubbish.

TRISH: Want me to come over?

ME: No but thanks. We have clients BTW – 3 hen-dos.

TRISH: Really?! Don’t forget we need to work out my cut, since the dildos were my idea. And there’s something else I want to talk to you about.

ME: They’re technically not dildos. They’re more like plaster of Paris. Like a dirty version of paint your own Beatrix Potter figures.

TRISH: We need to talk shares. As in my share.

Is that how business works? Seems more like a Mafioso style take over to me. You let them do you a favour and you’re screwed basically, that’s what I’ve learned from The Sopranos and being friends with Trish for the last decade.

ME: There won’t be any shares to own if we can’t get Jake to do it. He’s refusing.

TRISH: Why?

ME: Because it’s not high brow enough.

TRISH: Why did he advertise it then?

ME: He didn’t.

TRISH: You went behind his back?

Um…

TRISH: Scarlett? I can see you’re still online you moron.

Damn you Whatsapp! The jig is up so I cut and paste Jake’s messages into the text. That’ll shut her up for a minute. Then I absently check my emails, and we’ve got two more potential bookings. I’m feeling less excited now and more panicked about having to cancel them. I lock my phone for some relief from the impending doom and then I remember where I am and why I’m here and what I have to do. I have to call three guys, one of which is an Austen obsessed arse, and the other two were just flash in the pan dalliances for Godssake. I have to call them and tell them I’ve got an STD. Oh God what are they going say?! And why should I care what people think? I shouldn’t. I know this but I do. I actually really do care about someone who is no longer in my life turning to his mate (who I’ve probably never even met and will never meet) saying ‘That girl is one dirty skank’ etc etc. Yeah I care because I feel like a dirty skank, and I’m currently wallowing in the dreaded zone of shame.

Okay, you know what? Let’s take a break from the shame zone and go back to the comforting thought of what symptoms I don’t want to have. Please don’t be infertile and please dearest vagina, don’t look like any of those Google plague images. I’ll still love you but I’ll masturbate in the dark, you know? The thought makes my face screw up into an ugly cry position, blinking back tears. I know I’m being a baby but I can’t help it. My world is imploding. A camp looking gentleman looks over at me trying to wipe my eyes discreetly. He cocks his head sympathetically and mouths ‘SYPHILIS?’ I shake my head and mouth CHLAMYDIA. He rolls his eyes as if to say, haven’t we all.

BEEP. Oh for fuckssake go away imploding world! Ah shit. The Mafioso’s back.

TRISH: I’ll deal with Jake.

ME: You’re not going to take him for a boat ride are you?

TRISH: What? No. Boy needs to understand that’s all.

ME: Understand what?! And will you be using any sharp implements to make him understand? Violence solves nothing Trish! Nothing!

TRISH: Have you been watching re-runs of the Sopranos again?

ME: No.

Yes. I just love the therapy sessions.

TRISH: Jake needs reassurance Scarlett.

ME: Reassurance of what? That you won’t break his fingers?

TRISH: Christ.

I feel like I’m missing something very fundamental here but the nurse has come out and called my name. I have to deal with one thing at a time. One thing at a time. So with that in mind, I ignore the niggling feeling that I’m missing something and furiously text Trish the following message as I shuffle up to the nurse’s office or what I like to call the Misery Emporium.

ME: The death knell has been sounded. Please don’t do anything with or TO Jake before I get back to work.

I shove my vibrating phone in my pocket as the nurse gestures for me to go in. Inside the Misery Emporium, it’s actually not quite as terrible as I thought although I do realise I’ve been holding my breath for a record breaking amount time when the nurse tells me the Chlamydia is only early stages and I let out a blimp’s worth of air in one great sigh. He tells me that I have to go on a seven day course of antibiotics and I can’t have sex for a while or something but that the meds should clear it up without any lasting damage. I’m not infertile, hurray! And my vagina doesn’t resemble the apocalypse, HURRAY! To be honest, I don’t really want to have sex for a while except with myself thank you very much. My vagina and me have some trust issues we need to work through. The nurse also tells me what I already know, what I’m dreading doing, he tells me I need to be a RESPONSIBLE adult and inform any sexual partners who I think might be affected by this. I feel like I need a shower, or ten.

I leave the pharmacy twenty minutes later with my little paper bag of pills and get my phone out to see if Trish replied. Of course she did.

TRISH: He needs reassurance he’s a good enough artist to do both the hen-do stuff and the larger scale pieces.

Oh. What? Jake is insecure? Is that really what this is about?!

ME: Really?

TRISH: Yeah he needs to be reassured that he’s brilliant and amazing and he’s above such paradigms.

ME: Where are you?

TRISH: At BPA.

ME: Is Jake there?

TRISH: Obvs.

ME: Are you saying he’s insecure?

TRISH: Yes Dummy. Why else would he turn down actual paid work? Hurry up and get here, we’ve got something we need to talk to you about.

Oh my God, it’s not Jake whose going on a boat ride it’s me! It’s bloody well me! Trish is swooping in and taking my business away! From me! This is not a good day. Well you know what Trish? I won’t give up without a fight. I walk up to the front door of the studio, take a deep breath and burst in like a mother fucking Weinstein brother. Yeah, a shaky, nauseous Weinstein brother.

ME: “Right. Trish! I built this shitty business and I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep it! You’re not Tony Soprano but I’m a mother fucking P.I.M.P according to Jake so don’t even think you can just waltz in here and take it away from my plague ridden hands that easily.”

Trish looks nonplussed and remains quiet for a moment with Jake who actually looks a little afraid (hurray!) before asking me if I’ve finished. When I nod in the affirmative she begins.

TRISH: “I don’t want to take your business, you’re my best mate, even if you are an absolute idiot. But I do want to invest, come in on this, as a three way split. You guys aren’t going to survive the next two months without a third party putting money into this. You need a bail out and I think this is a good business idea. I think with an outside objective viewpoint chiming in, it could grow.”

ME: “You mean you’d be like an overlord?”

TRISH: “No more like a quiet rather than silent partner. I don’t get involved with the day to day running but I’m involved in bigger picture stuff or if things are going tits up.”

ME: “Like a Mafioso.”

TRISH: “Yeah.”

ME: “Jake what do you think?”

JAKE: “I think it’s a good idea.”

ME: “Okay.”

JAKE: “Is that it?”

ME: “What do you mean? I’m not saying yes I’m just asking what you think.”

JAKE: “That’s a first.”

ME: “What do you want?!”

JAKE: “Er hello? Apology please?”

ME: “Sorry I mean I was going to get to that but I’m kind of blindsided here.”

JAKE: “You’re blindsided?! Think how I felt when I opened up our email inbox Scarlett PIMPernel.”

ME: “Do you even know who that is? Because it doesn’t really make any, whatever. Look I’m sorry, sorry. I am sorry. I know I shouldn’t have done what I did. I was desperate and you weren’t budging so-”

JAKE: “You thought you could go behind my back and I wouldn’t notice when a gaggle of screaming women walked in demanding their tits be painted?”

ME: “To be honest I did not think that far ahead. Does that mean you won’t do the hen parties?”

JAKE: “I didn’t say that. Trish has pointed out certain benefits and it might be quite fun so long as we don’t lose sight of the other shit.”

ME: “Which you’re also AMAZING at!”

JAKE: “Oh put it away Scarlett.”

I really wasn’t being insincere but I just sound sleazy when I give compliments! Anyway, Trish can deal with that from now on because whatever she said seemed to work. Jake is even talking about colour schemes for each party and together we talk through the packages. The packages! And obviously we talk some more about how this new arrangement with Don Trish is going to work and how much I would like to have snacks and booze in the fridge again. This business might actually stay afloat. It might even grow quite a bit. For the first time in a long time I feel I have a purpose, a mission and most importantly I feel supported like I’m not in this alone. I’m also reassured that Trish will not act like the parent to two squabbling children. I reiterate to her that Jake and I are RESPONSIBLE adults. It’s annoying that whilst I’m saying this Jake is trying to give me a wet willy but I manage not to retaliate so I still feel like a winner. Mum it’s not a sex thing – you lick your finger and stick it in someone’s ear and wriggle it around a bit. Yes I agree with you that it sounds like it could be a sex thing and yes, either way it’s still totally disgusting.

‘RESPONSIBLE adult’ reminds me then that I’m actually a loser who needs to phone the three men I slept with. Crap. Trish and Jake sit on either side of me with a bottle of craft beer – yes we’re celebrating with Trish’s company card – I mean technically it’s a business meeting so still claimable. Anyway, I take a breath, and make the first call, to Mr F***ing Wickham. Damn you Gideon. I bet it was you who gave me this in the first place. Because obviously that’s more likely than a casual drunken dalliance I had with a friend of a friend at a party a month ago? Yeah sure it is. His phone rings. Please go to voicemail. Please?? Nope he’s picked up. What have I done to anger you Lord of the Web??

MR WICKHAM: Look Scarlett I’m with Lydia now, you need to have a little more self respect. You and I don’t work and I think on some level somewhere you know that, you know?

Oh. My. God. I am so tempted NOT to tell him. I could just hang up. I look at Trish and Jake with the face of someone who’s seriously thinking of hanging up. They shake their heads at me. Oh Christ this is horrendous. Of all the people. Here goes.

ME: I don’t want to get back with you Gideon, frankly I’d rather date Norman Bates. I’m phoning because… Because there’s this thing and…

MR WICKHAM: What Scarlett?

ME: Well, the thing is…Because… Um…

MR WICKHAM: I’m hanging up now.

ME: I’ve got Chlamydia.

Silence.

MR WICKHAM: You what? You absolute fucking harlot! I should have known with a name like fucking Scarlett!

I hang my head and for a moment I leave it there listening to Gideon rattle on as if I cheated on him or murdered his cat or something. I realise that wallowing in the shame zone, I’ve actually been waiting for sweet, sweet judgement. I’ve been waiting for somebody to confirm what I have suspected since getting the test result, that I am a harlot. A hussy. I am gross. I want to cry again. But then somewhere half way into Gideon referring to me as a ‘modern table wench’ the words ‘responsible adult’ spring to mind once again. I am a sexually active RESPONSIBLE adult. I took myself to clinic to get checked, I’m going through the humiliating process of telling previous lovers about my problem so they can also be responsible adults, and frankly in this day in age if you are like me and you enjoy sex like me then there’s a chance you may catch something icky or awful even with protection. So yes, in future I will try and make sure that my sexy times partner has been checked too but I’m not Satan! I’m facing up to my responsibilities to girls like Lydia by talking to twats like Gideon. So I cut Gideon off, tell him to go fuck himself and promptly hang up the phone. I have an oasis of light relief, of triumph and then I remember one down, two to go… I take a deep breath, ready to call the next guy, ready for the next barrage of anger…

TRISH: “Maybe just send him a text.”

I look up at Trish and Jake hopefully. Jake smiles sympathetically and nods in agreement.

JAKE: “I think you’ve been through enough. It’s like watching a puppy get repeatedly slapped.”

ME: “You mean it?”

TRISH: “Yeah it really is.”

So I send a couple of guys a couple of awkward texts instead. Yes, I’m facing up to my responsibilities but I get to do it in the sweet, sweet forgiving age of near anonymity. Thank you mobile phones, thank you Lord of the Internet. Thank you friends for letting me off the hook. Cheers.

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RESPONSIBLE Adults Part I

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Hello thar! Welcome to another thrilling installment of the Life and Times of ME! In two parts this time!

This week I’m back to business. My failing business that is. Yes BPA (Body Part Art, no it’s still NOT taxidermy) is going to go under due to the severe lack of clients so I have decided that we’ll have to seriously look at advertising the boob prints for hen parties but we can keep that cheap and cheerful but still offer the full body masterpiece stuff that we’d then charge the big(ger) bucks for. I’m on the fence as to whether bespoke dildos and ornamental cocks should be a high-end service or another fun hen do activity like paint your own plaster of Paris penis etc. I think the clue as to whether we go high or low brow with this is in the term ‘ornamental cocks’ personally. Good, decision made, we have another string to our dirty art class bow! We could still serve tea in china cups and finger sandwiches to keep it a bit classy? Right?! Who am I kidding there’s nothing classy here. Classy got up, tutted and sighed, then fucked  off about a month ago when I first suggested this idea and we haven’t seen it since. You know what has entered the building? Silly, that’s what. Yeah it walked right in with its oversized shoes and a big pink nose that definitely squeaks and said, ‘Hey! Hey guys let’s have a party’ before jumping into a forward roll and springing right back up again. Well you know what? I like Silly. Silly can stay right where it is.

The difficulty is that Jake (the talent behind BPA) misses Classy. He would have compromised and taken Trendy but Silly definitely isn’t cutting it. The upshot is he doesn’t want to do hen dos because he says he’d feel compromised as an artist. I on the other hand no longer give a monkeys about integrity artistically or otherwise because I’m poor. Okay? Yes I am dirt poor and I am fed up of corner shop noodles that frankly give me the runs and own-brand lager. That’s right, and I think you know we’re not talking M&S here. Uh-uh, we’re talking Asda. Own. Brand. Lager. Like a tramp. No offence to tramps. I reckon this stuff could offend them though. I would move on to 3 litre bottles of cherry Lambrini or box wine but I worry I’ll stress drink it til it’s all gone and then I’ll feel wretched and horrified.

On top of this I have my standard STD and HIV test in a couple of days. The use of the word standard in this context feels comforting and grown up. I’m a sexually active RESPONSIBLE adult who is having a STANDARD check up test. See? Like a mantra I have to keep repeating along with the follow-up ‘so nothing to worry about.’ Don’t get me wrong, up until I booked the appointment I didn’t really think I had any of these diseases or viruses – it’s not like I have any symptoms – but now that I’ve booked the appointment it is at the forefront of my mind, along with my failing business and wasted savings. It’s only at this point that I worry myself into some gibbering wreck about possibly having syphilis or gonorrhea (probably my least favourite word). Actually, that’s not strictly speaking true – I didn’t even think you could still get syphilis until about a week ago when I booked the appointment. Now I’m worried about having syphilis. I mean syphilis?! I always put it in the same bracket as smallpox or bubonic plague but no, apparently it’s still knocking around and I might have it or gonorrhea (ugh) or the other two I’m getting checked for, that luckily I can’t remember the names of. Oh wait no it’s HIV and chlamydia. What if I have ALL of them?! Okay it’s highly unlikely I have any of them but rationale doesn’t come into this anymore. Rationale is probably having a  coffee with Classy and bitching behind my back.

Since booking the test I have also started having stress dreams – these are what grown ups call nightmares because if we actually said we’d had a nightmare last night our friends would laugh in our faces and make jokes about bed wetting. These “stress dreams” involve that weird yellow bunny Pikachu from Pokemon. He starts clinging on to me and although I try everything to get him off I can’t and then his freaky looking mates show up and they start sticking to me in some kind of massive trippy STD inspired cartoon bundle until I wake up hyperventilating at 5am.

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Maybe it has something to do with the tag line ‘Pokemon: You’ve got to catch them all’ I don’t want to catch any! The little green one is definitely gonorrhea. Or maybe it’s failing business related stress dream but then surely I’d just have a hundred Jakes sticking themselves to me screaming “What are we going to do?!?!?! But I’m not prepared to compromise!!!” And it’s at this moment, sitting in bed gulping air at 5am wondering fuzzily if I can feel any shooting pains up my left arm, I realise I can’t go on like this. Something has to give and its name is Jake’s ‘artist integrity’. What he has to realise is that Silly ideas can pay for us to invite Classy back in the fold. For instance we’ll be able to replace the plastic garden chairs that are currently passing as ‘minimalist’ furniture in the reception area with more expensive looking minimalist plastic furniture designed to look like garden chairs. You dig? We’ll be able to stock the fridges with Camden Hells lager and sparkling wine with a hand written label instead of the ‘edgy’ own-brand nonsense we don’t even have in there anymore because we drank it all.

As I get ready for my appointment I remind myself that I am the business side of this business and so therefore I’m totally allowed to override the artist like a Weinstein brother if necessary. Yeah like a mother f***ing Weinstein yo. As I think about this more and more I wonder what a Weinstein brother would do in this situation and this is what I come up with. A Weinstein brother would just walk right into that studio, stomping and swaggering his way up to Jake’s face, look him right in the eye and tell the little creative exactly what’s happening. No arguments, no questions asked, they’d probably say something like “Get on and paint those boobs creative monkey!” And before Jake could say anything they’d just scream in his face, “NOW!” So in that respect I’ve decided that I’m not going to emulate a Weinstein brother at all because I’d rather avoid confrontation at all costs. How am I going to do this instead? Well, by going ahead and advertising on every site I can without telling Jake. Yep, I’m making changes, and I will be doing them entirely behind my partner’s back. Just like any sexually active RESPONSIBLE adult would. Am I wondering what’s going to happen if we get a booking and Jake refuses to do it? Er no, I’ll do it if I have to! I wonder how that would pan out…

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Arriving at the clinic I expect it to be the usual NHS mood destroyer 70s pre-fab building but when I walk in I actually do a double take. Honestly it’s like a night club in here. I’m half expecting a waiter to rock up with a porn star martini welcome beverage. The other great thing about this place is the 24 hour turn around time. Yes, I’ll get my results tomorrow. It’s like being in the future, some sci-fi movie because after you’ve um, swabbed – eugh, swab, not a good word – yourself, you put the sw** in a canister and it shoots up into the ceiling and the next thing you get is a text about a day later telling you the results. I like to imagine there are lady robots in white coats and flashing lights carrying out the tests on a big retro production line. Sadly you can’t take your own blood yet so I’m still stuck with the nurse’s appointment but since I’ve been organised enough (bored enough) to book it I should be in and out in no time…

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If no time means at least forty-five minutes. The waiting room is full. I’m talking rush hour tube full, I might never get out of here. I look around at my fellow RESPONSIBLE adults, all trying not to make eye contact (you see? Just like the underground) and I ask the receptionist if my appointment’s on time, which is my second mistake of the day (the first being that I didn’t bring my own porn star martini). She gives me a look that is somewhere between pity and ‘are you f***ing serious’. I ask how long this is going to take and she frankly looks like she’s holding in some painful wind or trying squeeze it out I can’t decide, and then she sighs (squeezed it out) and tells me it could be an hour or it could be ten minutes. This, by the way, is code for ‘if you leave now you’re not getting back in.’ So no stamp policy either then. I find a seat and slump down dejectedly, wistfully wishing for the remote control alarms  some restaurants hand out to alert you when your table is free so you can go off and eat nachos and drink cocktails and laugh gaily rather than wait in line forever pretending to enjoy your partner’s company whilst silently getting hangry and trying not to chew the skin around your fingernails or murder the people in front of you.

(Hangry, for the uninitiated, is the term used for the very specific rage you get when you’re really hungry).

I actually decide to use this time productively to promote the new Facebook page rather than read old copies of Top Gear magazine. I send out what I always feel is a slightly desperate request for all my friends to ‘like’ the hen do page. Shit, that just included Jake. Luckily for me Jake doesn’t use FB, he only uses Instagram. He says it’s quicker and easier to read. Of course knowing my luck Jake would decide that today is the day he likes FB again because it’s ironic or some nonsense. I sound like a Mum but it doesn’t make it not true.

FB page done for the moment, I then go on Pinterest and promptly decide I don’t actually understand it, or what it’s for. Why is there a wall? Is it literally just of things you like? Just for your own personal enjoyment?? Is it supposed to be like a calming tool? Do you go on there if you’re feeling stressed and say, ‘Ah look at all the things I like. Ooh it’s a pug in a hat!’ I literally have no idea. I’m so bamboozled by this seemingly utterly pointless tool I leave the page and go on our actual website and add a new page. Okay so it does look a bit like Ann Summers just coughed up its entire spring collection on the page background but whatever, I like a bit of trash, all hail Silly! Then I remember, as I keep remembering every five minutes or so, that I still haven’t told Jake. He probably won’t even check the webpage and if he does it’s just a tiny little widget. Oh Ms Tate you are quite the sneak! I would twizzle my moustache and titter if I had a moustache and wasn’t in an STD clinic secretly wondering if the guy next to me has any diseases.

I basically spend the next half an hour effectively glitter bombing the internet with BPA pictures, prints, and paint your owns. And praying. Please God of the Internet, shine your benevolent light down upon me and my pervy little shop? Please?? I’ll sign every 38 Degrees petition that hits my email, I’ll re-join Netflix AND Amazon Prime, and I’ll stop trolling Justine Beiber or do you want me to carry on? I don’t know if you’re a vengeful god!!!! Either way, I promise, I’ll do all of it just please get me clients??

FINALLY I’m pulled out of my silent bargaining by the nurse calling my name, a mere hour after I arrived. Needles don’t bother me so getting the jab wasn’t too uncomfortable although talking to the Doctor about my sexual history since the last test was. Mainly because it’s not so much a history as three fairly underwhelming footnotes, one of which you’d definitely end up removing because it is so banal it would make the reader feel cheated and angry if they went to read it.

So now all I have to do is wait, which is fine actually, it’s totally fine, I just need distraction. Unfortunately since I don’t have any money and Trish is busy there will be no company credit card cocktails for me this evening. If I see Jake I’ll blurt out my crimes and I maybe too Pokemoned to date so I can’t even look at Tinder. All that is left for me to do is go through a series (downward spiral more like) of checks. Check the Hen Do FB page, check Twitter, Instragram, back to FB, then to the website to see how many visits we’ve had if any, then back to my email to see if we’ve got any interested parties, then back to FB and we start the cycle all over again. What happens when you’re caught in one of these distraction spirals – normally fueled by anxiety and/or boredom, nothing new happens on any of your pages, unless you’re Jennifer Lawrence i.e. celebrity scale popular. There’s never any new ‘likes’ or emails or retweets or followers. It’s like the universe is telling you to stop it. Just stop it. Put the phone down and learn once again to live in your own thoughts without having a panic attack. So I put the down the phone and put on The Great British Bake Off instead and pretend that Mel and Sue are my friends. And it works! Within twenty minutes, like a unwatched pot, my phone beeps!

I get an email.

It’s junk.

But lo another beep!

That’s junk too. No I don’t want a f*ckb*ddy. Jesus.

But then it finally happens, a beep to be excited about! Yes, it turns out to be the beep of a desperate maid of honour trying to out do every other maid of honour in the western world!

The booking isn’t til November. Balls. Still, a bookings a booking, thank you MoH Carol! Thank you God of the Internet!! This isn’t bad at all. For the first time in months I actually feel a little calmer. My heart isn’t trying to burst through my chest like I’m John Hurt in the first Alien film. I allow a smile, just for myself, while I sit on my couch re-reading Carol’s email and for the first time in a week I don’t feel like taking a sleeping pill.

Regretted THAT decision. I’m drowning in Pokemon again. Please vagina, please don’t have syphilis. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still love you whatever happens but I’d just rather you didn’t have anything at all. I finally drag myself out of bed around nine knowing there isn’t enough coffee in the world today. My phone beeps and it’s another email for a booking! I can’t believe it! It’s within the next month – eight for penis pottery painting! They’re also asking about party packages, I need to work out what our packages are. I need to tell Jake. Jake needs to help me with the packages! Stop saying package. I don’t need coffee I’m high on bookings!! I will speak to Jake today and explain that I didn’t tell him because this was an experiment and I wanted to make sure it was a viable option (yep viable) before telling him so that he wouldn’t have to carry the burden of stress on his shoulders. Yep I am a benevolent partner, just trying to carry his burden. I’m basically business Gandhi. Yeah that angle will totally work. Then my phone beeps again. It’s a text from the clinic.

Oh God. Just breathe and open it…

CLINIC: Your HIV test was negative (clear). You do not need treatment.

Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.

BEEP.

CLINIC: Your syphilis test was negative (clear).

Hurrah! No plague for me! Best. Day. Ever!

BEEP.

CLINIC: Your non-blood test for Gonorrhea was negative (clear).

No warts! And NO awkward conversation with EVERY sexual partner from here on in!

BEEP. It’s from Jake.

JAKE:  RU F***ING KIDDING ME?!?

Shit. Maybe he’s talking about something else. Maybe I didn’t flush the loo at the studio or something. Maybe I left the door open and all our garden furniture’s been nicked..?

BEEP.

JAKE: Cancel the f***ing bookings Scarlett, YOU ARE NOT MY PIMP! I’m not doing Hen Dos. EVER!

BEEP.

JAKE: And I’m back on FB. #ironic

BEEP.

JAKE: And I’ve unfriended you.

BEEP.

JAKE: Because you suck.

BEEP. I can’t bear anymore please Jake, no more! Oh, it’s from the Clinic.

CLINIC: Your non-blood test for Chlamydia was positive (you have contracted Chlamydia and you will need to come in for treatment.

…….

…….

I think I’m going to be sick.

Find out soon what happens to Scarlett in RESPONSIBLE Adults Part II!

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Lessons In A Little Facebook Friendly Cyberstalking

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The above meme is not of me. Just to be clear, it isn’t.

Online dating wisdom: Always be suspicious of someone who a) only has pictures of themselves in wide shots and b) never smiles with their teeth.

I happened to learn these wisdoms for online dating the hard way. His name was Dean, 30, and indeed most of his pictures were wide shots of him up an assortment of mountains, so I thought well, it’s probably pretty hard or pretty pointless taking a shot of yourself in close up when you’re up a mountain. Yes this was my logic, hence why I accepted three low angle wide shots of Dean’s (fully clothed) arse and one picture of him leaning against a tree smiling mouth closed with sunglasses on. My reasoning was that if he had any banter then maybe I won’t care that he potentially wears vampire shaped dentures or has a lazy eye. Dean and I get messaging after a few days and things are going well. This is going to sound snobby but he texts like English isn’t his first language, and I know that it is his first language because I asked him. However, what Dean lacks in the written word he makes up for in keenness. Within twenty four hours of chat we’ve moved from Tinder to Whatsapp and he’s invited me to one of the rock climbing walls for our first date. I didn’t even have to send him a naked picture of myself or anything! Kidding. I don’t do that because I’m terrified of opening a gate that involves the recipient sending me dick pics. I don’t want to see a picture of your penis. It doesn’t turn me on, I don’t have a cache of dicks I get out when I fancy a wank, it just isn’t a visa versa situation guys! I’m sure I could tell you there’s no need to send me one but even if you get over the fact that it’s not just pictures of your knob I find inherently funny but ALL knobs where are we left? We’re left with a one sided situation involving me sending you pictures that you’ll potentially have forever stored on your phone, that’s where. It’s enough of a power struggle as it is without that! Total mine field.

Back to the date, to begin with I’m pretty excited about this, I’ve never been climbing before and all I can think of is Tom Cruise scaling that mountain in Mission Impossible I or II or possibly III. Whichever it is he really loves that mountain.

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Unfortunately the day of the climb arrives as does my period and frankly it’s biblical down there. Every time I go to change my tampon (which is every five minutes) I can’t help but say “A plague a both your houses!” For no other reason than it has the word plague in it although I’m thinking of mixing it up a bit with ‘The Red Death is upon me!!!” So you get the idea. I’m moaning to Trish about this as she feeds me Ibuprofen like grapes while we wait for all of the non-customers to come in the BPA studio.

Trish: Don’t go rock climbing.

Me: I have to go.

Trish: You really don’t. You know Scarlett, there has to come a time when you don’t actually self-sabotage.

Me: I don’t cut myself! To be honest, sharp things make me feel a bit queasy, the thought of actually putting a knife to skin-

Trish: Self-sabotage not self-harm you pillock. Just think about it. Let’s say you go there all pumped up with painkillers. You still have to wear some spanks and leggings-

Me: Why can’t I just wear joggers?!

Trish: Because you’re on a date, not pretending to ‘work out’ at the gym. He’s going to be under you, you’ve got to give him something worth staring at right? Not an arse that bears a closer resemblance to a baggy sack filled with half set jelly.

Me: Why is he going to be below me??

Trish: Because he’s the experienced one. So like, he has to be the catcher.

Me: Catcher??

Trish: Yeah like if you drop your beeline or whatever.

Me: I don’t know if that’s how it works.

Trish: Of course it is, why do you think he asked you to go with him. He’s a sly one I’ll give him that.

Me: He can’t be below me. He really can’t.

Trish: Of course not. You look like you’re four months pregnant, and as a result you’re now in the high risk zone of actually farting in his face half way up a fake mountain. He could fall. He could actually fall and break something based on your inability to control wind. You’re not Storm from X-Men.

This is absolutely true. I am not Storm from X-Men, which is an internal sadness I have to endure everyday. On top of that, around the first day of my period I do indeed adopt the four month pregnant look, which may not appear to be too big a) to those who have actually been pregnant or b) to those who have just Googled ‘four months pregnant’ to see how big that is but trust me, for all of you who get periods or IBS, you guys know what I’m talking about. It ain’t pretty. It’s a matter of pic1 or pic2 and I think we all know where I’m at right now. More Mrs Brown than Lara Croft.

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Me: I can’t go.

Trish: Nope.

So I text Dean and tell him I’m not feeling well but that I’d very much like to reschedule to next week. A few minutes later he replies and for the first time, I notice that I can see Dean’s surname – Mason and the message is nice, in essence anyway.

Dean: Oh no sad for u!!! 😦 😦 😦 Feel better we do Wednesday nxt wk?! Cool? 🙂 🙂 🙂

It’s like talking to a Japanese infomercial but what the heck. Now of course, I also have his surname. This means I can do a little Google stalking or as I prefer to call it, ‘Scarlett Investigates’ (I have a theme tune natch) because who would rather be known as a stalker when they can live in denial as a private detective? Sadly the only picture of Dean is the one of him in his sunglasses but when I click to enlarge it I realise it’s his Facebook profile picture, hurrah! Oh don’t judge me, can you really say with absolute honesty you’ve never ‘investigated’ someone? Even a tiny bit? Okay Mum, the only reason you haven’t is because you don’t know what a search engine is and that isn’t the same! No it isn’t! No! It! Isn’t! She commandeered my Facebook once and stalked aunty Muriel and weird cousin Neil (who isn’t actually a cousin but some guy my Dad mentored way before I was even born) for an afternoon. Yes, I know, it is addictive. All those precious photos and status updates…

So Trish and I go on Dean’s Facebook page and this guy has nil privacy settings. None. So really readers, he kind of brought this on himself in a way? #itaintstalking? No? Whatever, we went through his photos and had a look on his feed and this is when I learned the lessons I mentioned at the top of this post. How can I put this nicely? Um, well, shall I say, all gums? Is all gums acceptable? I realise that I’m implying he doesn’t have teeth, which is wrong because he does have teeth, just about. Look I’m trying to paint a picture for you! Put it this way, I did have to look for them, like a magic eye, as in they weren’t exactly immediately visible? Oh fuck it, he had tiny little gappy milk teeth stuck on the end of enormous gums like a young child’s plasticine rendering of a hill person. I also learned another lesson c) If all of his pictures are selfies of him and his Mum accompanied with #bff now’s probably the time to call it quits. For the record Dean’s eyes were a very pretty light blue, but accompanied by the oral situation, he looked a bit mad, like someone who probably enjoys catching small animals and pinning them to a notice board above his bed, if that’s a thing? If it isn’t he probably just rock climbs and dreams about his death board but if it is real, he’s definitely the president of the we-like-murdering-voles-and-pinning-them-to-shit club.

Trish weakly suggests that I shouldn’t judge a person by his Facebook profile. I would like to point out that Facebook pages are there to advertise the best part of us. We don’t put images of ourselves looking cruddy or creepy unless they’re funny. We do however post the pictures of us with friends, laughing, pouting, sucking in our stomachs. Judging by my public Facebook persona I only eat delicious food in five star restaurants. Albeit not very often, namely on my birthday when somebody else is paying but while I post those pictures I don’t think to post pictures of me eating baked beans in my pants while I’m watching a Judge Judy marathon with a hashtag like livinthedream. (Although when I’m there in my pants I KNOW I’m living the dream.) Ergo, if this is the best side of Dean I am in trouble. I’m caught in a politeness trap. I’ve already cancelled on him once and rescheduled. Trish tells me to just block him outright. Oh what a brutal age we live in! Blocking is so cruel, so cowardly! I can’t do that, can I? I can’t tell him the truth that I don’t want to go out with the son of Leatherface, but I don’t want to behave like a arsehole either.

After a day’s worth of dillydallying, and one potential customer who turned out to be a lost tourist, I finally decide to message Dean with the following. I don’t feel good about this but before you think I’m jinxing anyone, she’s actually dead already so she’s safely beyond the power of the jinx:

Me: Hi Dean, I’m so sorry I’ve been called to go to Dublin because my grandma is gravely ill. She’s such a big part of my life, I need to be there you know? I don’t know how long I’ll be away but it could be a while. Sorry.

SEND. That didn’t feel great but at least I didn’t do The Block. And so I sit at my desk, swinging my legs absently off the side wishing I was a child again, blissfully ignorant to all this nonsense.

Dean: Oh noooo!!! So sorry for you Scarlett!! 😦 😦 😦

Sad emojis in the face of a dying grandparent, really???

Me: That’s okay. 😦

The emoji is obviously a language he appreciates. I’m going to hell.

Dean: My Nanna said once. It isnt weak to fand strengt in ppl around u.

Me: Wise words indeed.

I am actually satan.

Dean: v.wise. If u evr need some1 2talk2, I’m here. x

Christ. Is his grammar deteriorating?

Me: Thanks, I will.

DON’T SEND. CORRECT TO:

Me: Thanks. Bye. X

NO!

Me: Thanks. Bye.

SEND

Me to Trish: Fancy going rock climbing?

Trish: Nope.

Me: Rude.

Dean: Bye? Why bye? Let me b ur strong person if u wanted.

Okay that’s not a sentence. That can’t be a sentence. He can’t think that makes sense! What does it say about me that I can make sense of it?

Me: I just need to be with my family really.

Dean: Sure okay!! I just try to b nice!

Me: Maybe we can catch up when I get back

You giant coward Scarlett!

Me: In eighteen months

I think that was overkill or maybe not? Maybe I should have just gone for gold and said years? Too late now. Wow no reply. Shit. Oh well he’s got the message, of course he has, phew! Off the hook! So in celebration of getting off the hook I text Trish…

Me: Fancy going rock climbing?

Trish: Nope

Me: Rude.

So I lock up the studio and go rock climbing on my own instead. Yes, unbelievable as it sounds I thought you know what? Fuck it, makes a change from doing the ‘should I shouldn’t I’ booze dance. You know the one, open the fridge, close the fridge, look at the wine, don’t look at the wine, consider a wank instead, then buy cake instead of that or devour a vat of pasta swimming in an entire jar of Dolmio sauce? Oh sweet sweet heart burn. Just me?? Really??? Don’t lie Mum.

I actually enjoyed rock climbing so much I thought maybe I could take up rock climbing as an actual hobby that an actual person has and meet other rock climbers that have a regular gum to teeth ratio and marry one of them. Mission Impossible Tom Cruise but not a hobbit or insane. We could go rock climbing together, me and sane tall Mr Cruise who’s a also veterinarian! My thoughts turn to Dean. I wonder what he does for a living, maybe he’s a vet? I mean that’s more likely than pinning rodents to a board isn’t it? Maybe I’ve too harsh on the guy? I mean yes son of Leatherface crossed with an East Asian music video doesn’t sound great but maybe he’s nice in person. He was very understanding of my cancelling twice and fictitious dying Gran, and he rock climbs, which means we now have something in common just about. Okay, hear me out guys, in the age of dating whereby you’re judged purely on your photos, aren’t we missing the slow build of chemistry as you get to know someone and that someone becomes sexy because of who they are? I fantasise about my alternative rock climbing future all the way home whilst uploading my new profile picture of me not looking too pregnant in a harness, having made it to the top of the wall and everything. I even name it, ‘Cliffhanger! #nobrokenbones #winning.’

During a break in my post climbing, Judge Judy and beans marathon, I decide to go back on to Dean’s profile page, because I think hey, maybe I really was being way too harsh. Is he really that bad? And do you know what, yes, yes he totally is that bad. There is no chance of this going anywhere except (deep) south and this is when I notice we share a mutual friend. We. Share. A. Mutual. Friend. On. Facebook. Does Dean know this? For the uninitiated this means that if I can see Dean’s profile page, he can see mine. There’s no way he’d stalk me right? I’d better change my profile picture pronto. Of course the mutual friend is weird cousin Neil. Damn you Neil! Can I delete Neil without him noticing? I’m contemplating this conundrum when my phone beeps. It’s a message from Dean. Bugger.

Dean: Wot u up2 2night?

Me: Just packing, flying tomorrow

Dean: Really?

Me: Erm yes?

Then Dean sends me my profile picture with a frowning emoji. Cocks.

Dean: U just changed it and I know it’s not old.

Me: How do you know? Have you been stalking me or something?

Dean: No I not a stalkr!

Yeah right. I know an investigator when I see one! Has he got an alarm set for every time I update a picture? Oh my God maybe he has got an alarm set for every time I change my profile picture! No come on that’s just stupid. For the record investigating is definitely way more creepy when you’re the investigatee.

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Dean: Cant blieve u went rock climbin! Another hot date was it? 😦

Me: No! I went on my own!

That doesn’t sound great.

Dean: U’d rather b alone than go with rock climbin ace like me?

Rock climbing ace? This is a change in tack.

Dean: U shld no I’m ambitious, creative, interesting! All things!

EEEEEERRRRRRRRR. What? He’s trying to win me round??

Dean: My drawings fool ppl 4  photographs

I’ve never heard that one before, I wonder if they’re of dead things…

Dean: I’m an all round gd gu! And give a lot to charity! And help others les fortune than me Intimately!!!

Wowsers. This is better than Judge Judy. I wonder how long he can keep it going for.

Dean: 1 wld say u were doin well with me!

Dean: I cook food that will make ur vagina tingle!

I immediately go on to Facebook and delete weird cousin Neil. Sorry weird cousin Neil, I’m sure you won’t even notice, I’m sure I’m not even remotely on your radar even! To be fair I didn’t want to add you in the first place because let’s face it the clue is in the nickname!

Dean: U Del Neil? I tell Neil!

Please don’t tell Neil. Please don’t tell Neil. I don’t know Neil well enough to explain this madness.

Dean: I have gr8 ingredients for food let me cook 4 u. Pls?

What? Well at least he’s dropped the Neil threat. I stare at my phone, holding my breath, waiting for the next mad text but nothing happens. Maybe Dean’s run out of steam? Maybe even he’s realised the significance of deleting Neil? I finally put my phone down next to me and eat some more beans. Eventually (five or so minutes later, which is actually a long time when you’re alone and silent) I turn Judge Judy back on. Another ten minutes goes by and I finally relax, reasoning that Dean probably had a rethink and decided too that tingling genitalia is a bit desperate and he’s gone to stalk someone else. Hurrah!

And then comes the pièce de résistance. My phone beeps so loudly it pulls me out of my reverie in the small claims court and sends me into a bit of a spin. I catch my breath and look down. Dean has sent me an image. No, God no. Please! I look because I can’t not, why can’t I not look?! And there it is, a picture of his last ditch effort to get me to go out with him, all seven and a half inches of it. How do I know this, well because he’s holding a tape measure to it, obviously. And that is when I stopped resisting the voice of Trish and brutally  blocked Dean. I did it! I blocked someone and it feels great! I’m flooded with relief, it’s over, it’s really over!

I’m just getting back into Judge Judy when another text comes through. This can’t be possible! I blocked him on my phone! How is he doing this? Oh no wait, oh shit it’s from weird cousin Neil and I can see it begins with an expletive.

Lesson learned? This is the last time I ever blindly Tinder anyone who has a mutual friend on Facebook. Fact.

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Body Part Art Explained

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Hold your horses! Before you get all excited about there being an actual narrative here, this is merely a little background info piece for you and a chance for me to explain what it is I now do for a living. Like an MC at a comedy club this is to get you revved up for the main event (latest Scarlett instalment) coming some time this week (when I actually finish writing the darn thing).

There seems to be some confusion as to what Body Part Art (BPA) is exactly. I’ve been asked a lot of questions about taxidermy basically. So ‘Body Part Art,’ is the brainchild of artist friend Jake and myself after a few drinks and A LOT of bitching about how we hated our jobs – Jake was an assistant to some big artist, which nowadays means the artist (should be known as a project manager) draws a sketch of an idea and the assistant has to go and do all the work i.e. build it etc. Jake spent the last eighteen months before we started BPA making giant balls out of foam and putting glitter on them.  I could have mailed him to someone and ruined their life human glitter bomb that he was. Unfortunately for me he’d just come round mine and ruin my life instead. Eventually Jake and I found we were talking about BPA every time we met up. First it was a retirement plan, then it was part of a five year plan, and then we worked out the numbers and figured we could actually do this last year, so we did. We operate out of a little shipping container we call an office slash studio in an old industrial site near Hackney Wick and- wait. Sorry, I still haven’t explained what it is have I?

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Okay, so the idea is that first we find a person who wants a piece of self portraiture style art done so they can hang it in their house somewhere and point to it at dinner parties or maybe hang it at their place of work if they’re an exhibitionist. Right? Then Jake takes the exhibitionist and actually paints on them. Then he gets them to pose on a canvas like a live Rorschach. Still with me? The exhibitionist is then carefully peeled off and sent away to do things like buy a piece of reclaimed furniture and drink flat whites with wifi for a few days while the talented Jake takes the basic print of their body and paints on it some more. What you end up with is a besoke self portrait silhouette but it doesn’t look stuffy like those photo real oil paintings the aristocracy have nor is it as expensive. I know you’ll think I’m just saying this but they are really good. I’ve got over twenty. Yep I’m an exhibitionist and I do like drinking flat whites and wifi as it happens so there, but I draw the line at a pencil moustache. Get it, get it??! Anyway, Jake likes to experiment on me because he says my boobs are really malleable like sacks of pudding, so I’ve actually been able to make a feature wall in my bedroom of all mine.

Here’s the trick though, pricing art is a risky game because if you go too low customers might think your product is tacky but if you go too high they might not buy it because they think you’re a wanker without a clue. With that in mind but also desperately worrying about how to make any money, I’m looking at smaller scale portraiture – I think I mentioned the bespoke dildo service we’re discussing at the moment. Trish now wants a share in the company because it was technically her idea. Terrifying. To combat this I have also come up with the idea of applying silicon moulds and plaster of paris to other body parts. Feet. That’s good isn’t it? You could use them as door stops?! Put some metal sticks in there and you’ve got yourself an original jewellry stand! Ha! I don’t know how silicon boobs would turn out, oh my God, I’ll end up with another feature wall. That is a disturbing image. I am not happy about that. Finally, we’re also looking into Hen Dos. Every Hen gets a print of her boobs and the bride gets hers for free! I know I know it’s not exactly highbrow is it? We’ll pass round champagne. There. Incidentally and rather painfully, this guy in California does a similar form of art to Jake and gets paid an absolute fortune by celebrities while we’re scrabbling around in novelty cock ornaments and boob wallpaper for women wearing flashing knobs on their heads. Needs must readers, needs must. Stop crying Jake. There, there. Anyway, I hope that’s all cleared up now and for the last time we do not deal with taxidermy so get stuffed. Get it? GET IT?! Okay seriously stop crying Jake.

Next instalment of Scarlett to follow soon(ish)…

In the mean time here are some more funny pictures of taxidermy. You’re welcome.

4110953+_3329c630e74c2e2b69022a90c85fc7e2 I’m not actually sure what animal this is.

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