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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
CLINIC: Your syphilis test was negative (clear).
Hurrah! No plague for me! Best. Day. Ever!
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..?
JAKE: Cancel the f***ing bookings Scarlett, YOU ARE NOT MY PIMP! I’m not doing Hen Dos. EVER!
JAKE: And I’m back on FB. #ironic
JAKE: And I’ve unfriended you.
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!