Ched Evans: A mirror of our society?

 

 

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Regardless of what’s been said about the controversial Ched Evans case, it does hold a mirror up to all of us and it ain’t pretty.

We’ve all seen very drunk people on the streets after a night out, even been one of them ourselves. I have to admit, that at times, I’ve looked at drunks falling over, vomiting or pissing in shop doorways, with something like disdain. Have you?

This disdain turns into something uglier when young women are the drunks. There’s a residue in society mindset that still thinks it’s somehow shameful. What’s worrying is that’s endemic even amongst those younger than I.

We have to ask what happened to us? Why does a drunk/drugged and vulnerable person, over-ride what should be our natural, human, instinct to help them?

It’s as if a drunk becomes less than human and if they fall under a bus, lie in a gutter choking on their own vomit, or are sexually taken advantage of, it is somehow ALL THEIR OWN STUPID FAULT. We absolve ourselves of our empathy or responsibility to help someone vulnerable, male or female.

If the vulnerable drunk was your friend, your sister, your partner; would you feel differently? Haven’t you ever scraped a friend off the pavement, taken them home in a taxi and made sure that they came to no harm? Did you judge them? Were they suddenly sub-human for having a drink too many?

I didn’t think so.

Let’s imagine we are observing the girl in the Ched Evans case.  She was considerably drunk. She was in her teens. Witnesses said she fell over several times, in the middle of a crowded Kebab shop, in the street and she squatted and urinated in a shop doorway.

I can’t help wondering why no-one had the humanity to help someone in such a state, someone who was so obviously vulnerable. Is it that disdain, again? Who are we to judge? What would we do in that situation?

Unfortunately, she ran into a predatory man. Rather than help, he saw an opportunity. He took her, in a taxi, to a hotel room booked by his friend Ched Evans. She left her bag in the taxi and he had to go back for it. We’ve seen her unsteady on her feet in the hotel lobby CCTV.

Tellingly, the man texted his friend, very simply: “I’ve got a bird”.

If we examine those words, it gets very disturbing. The girl is not seen as a person. She’s already a “thing” that has been “picked up” on a street. She is a “kill”, he’s the successful hunter.

She’s a flesh and blood wanksock that offers no resistance. She’s a slut, fair game.

The man takes full advantage, he says she was willing and enthusiastic. We don’t know. Whatever happened, he treated her with no empathy or respect. She was just an “easy fuck”, so out of it, she remembered nothing waking alone and naked in the morning.

During this sexual act, Ched Evans comes back. He lies to Reception to get a key and lets himself in. He knows his friend is there “with a bird”.

Two other friends attempt to film the sexual action on their mobiles, through the window.

Ched sees the woman just like his friend did, a hole to be fucked. He thinks he is entitled to “hop on” for “sloppy seconds”. She is not a human being. She’s a sex doll.

If she was seen as a person, he wouldn’t assume she was “fair game” being naked and in a sexual situation with his friend. He afforded them no privacy. He assumed the spoils of the “hunt” were to be shared.

Afterwards, he snuck out through the fire escape. His friend left her behind, too.

It’s a horrible, sordid, story.

Empathy, humanity and respect for another human being was conspicuously absent.

Terrifyingly, there are people who see this as a perfectly acceptable situation.

If we imagine the girl had met a different fate, if she had crossed paths with a decent, humane man, woman or group, she could have been put into a taxi and arrive home with nothing but a hangover.

When and why did we lose kindness and respect towards each-other? Are decent, kind people a species of human on the brink of extinction?

The rest of the story is even worse. The girl concerned has been bullied, threatened and publicly humiliated.  Presumably, the men and women expressing such vitriol towards her would find it acceptable if a similar fate awaited them, a member of their family or friends.

But that would be different, wouldn’t it?

 

Little thought, lazy content and a missed target

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My new earrings

 

Journalism – death by a thousand blogs

I’ve noticed some annoying trends on the type of websites keen young interns post articles on in a bid to land a ‘proper’ job in journalism.

One of these is “Thought Catalog” whose content, whilst trivial, links to invidious right-wing conservatism, the special kind portrayed in Fox News.

This sort of thing isn’t my usual reading material, I’ve gone way beyond “20 things not to say on a first date”, although it strikes me that an awful lot of these sites love, just love, “lists”.

Lists, lists and more lists

“Lists” are a lazy thing to write and brain pap to read. They tend to confirm the reader’s limited view of the world and the ‘writer” doesn’t do much “writing”. Unsurprising, then, that they are churned out like grisly bargain sausages, no meat and all gizzard; which brings me to the reason why I discovered “Thought Catalog”.

A young misogynist writes

One of my Twitter contacts posted : “13 Things a Woman Can Do To Be More Attractive to a Man” – renaming it “13 Ways To Attract A Misogynist” – which got my attention. So I read it. The link is here:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/john-smith/2014/06/13-things-a-woman-can-do-to-be-more-attractive-to-men/

Now that you’re back and, perhaps like me, are reeling a bit then trying to convince yourself it’s a clever piece of satire, I’m sorry to tell you that it’s not.

If you haven’t already, take a peek at the comments, you’ll find they are even worse. Yes, there are people who think like that roaming the earth in 2014 AD.

If we look at this from the point of view that it is developed under the shadow of an unholy conservative agenda, not only is it more sinister, but it also starts to make sense.

Who is John Smith?

I’ve tried to discover more about the “author” (I’m using that term as if it takes an “author” to write the safety warning on a bottle of toilet cleaner) and, it appears, that “John Smith” is a, not very original, pseudonym.

I can imagine a pen portrait if him very easily, though, as his type abound on the interweb posing as “journalists” as does his equally talent-free female counterpart.

He’s in his twenties. His mother works. She may even have a career. This has blighted little Johnnie, in so far that he fears that female attention is somewhat diffident, distracted and scarce. Life has since confirmed this.

Feminism has ruined a young boy’s life

Johnnie sees “Feminism” as this big bogey woman who has blighted his life.

“Feminism” allowed the girls at school to study with and outperform the boys.

Feminism created female confidence and independence which enabled the girls to be more selective about the men they dated.

It also allowed men to be their friends, on an equal basis. The girl’s could hold their own, so to speak.

Feminism educated these girls about their bodies and enabled them to express their sexuality, even allowing care-free or ‘predatory’ behaviour.

This all proved too much for little “Johnnie” and his ilk. They were the “beta boys” left behind. The wallflower wilting at the prom.

Subsequently, he has never forgiven womankind. Nor have men like him (see comments).

Johnnie is naive enough to think that all this female behaviour,that reinforces his deep-seated inadequacy, is a recent phenomenon.

He thinks it’s all down to that awful, unattractive, feminism.

Johnnie had a dream

He’s swallowed the myth that, in the cozy past, we were all like Doris Day, adding our “Womanly Touch” to our pastel coloured kitchens, whiling away the hours until the big, strong, hubby calls “Hello honey, I’m ho-ome”!

We’d fix him a drink, kneel to take off his shoes, hand him his slippers and a pipe and listen with admiration as he recounted the trials, tribulations and small victories of his bread-winning day.

Is it cruel to tell him this has never been true?

Johnnie’s dream is shattered

Johnnie, bless him, has NO idea what is in a woman’s mind.

That said, many men have been fearful of that since the Dawn of Mankind.

Every Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion has been very afraid of women, one would think that the entire litany has been designed to deal with that fear.

At least the old religions had Kali and the Triple Goddess to afford some sort of acknowledgement of female power. Even this has been perverted over the course of time.

So, it’s not “feminism” that is little Johnnie’s problem, it’s fear of women.

Johnnie wrote to the world about it

Fear is written all through his fantastical “13 Points” – let’s take them in turn:

1. Stay In Shape

Viewing a woman as an “object” is one pathetic way of trying to diminish her power.

If men can control her body, they feel a little less fear. If that body can be made less womanly, slimmer, hairless and more pre-pubescent, again, it’s less scary.

I love the pseudo commanding tone he uses, as if speaking for all men, it’s very “little Napoleon” and exposes his anxiety about female sexuality beautifully.

2. Lay Off The Body Modification

The last thing young Johnnie wants is a woman in charge of her body. A woman with the confidence to express herself in any way she chooses. A woman who has rejected the fearful male stereotype of controllable, acceptable, femininity and who has the temerity to make her own choices. See (1) it’s the same issue.

3. Make Your Own Money

He contradicts himself deliciously here. He fears his inadequacy to “keep a woman” (because he can’t achieve that he-man ideal for himself) and is very conflicted about her earning MORE (despite the gender pay gap, many of us do, these days) it’s OK as long as…wait for it…she “refrains from throwing it in his face like some form of one-upmanship”;or should that be one-upwomanship?

His Freudian slips are showing.

4. Be Feminine

“Men want to date WOMEN, not men with vaginas” Note he doesn’t explain what ‘femininity’ is, he doesn’t know, too scary. But he’s inadvertently let slip a phobia about transexuality. A common issue with those uneasy with their own sexuality. Bet he’s freaked by LGBT in general.

Also, is one to assume his “masculinity” has credence – one doubts the efficacy of such, given what’s gone so far?

5. Be submissive

“This kind of overlaps with being feminine” Ah – a clue!  We’re back to the fantasy Doris Day scene again. Shall we tell him, girls, that women are never ever “submissive” unless we choose to be and, what’s more, the entire point of the myth of femininity is that woman has, for millennia, controlled men by doing little girlish favours in order to obtain what SHE wants? “Oops, silly me, I’ve accidentally got pregnant/spent all your money/lost your car etc.”

6. Sex Life

He’s given up on the idea of the perpetual virgin, or so he says; but note the glaring admission that women are not to be sexually experienced, just a “little” experienced, in a monogamous relationship, but heaven forbid anything more adventurous. He uses the very quaint term “the town bicycle”!

It’s that fear again. The fear of being subsumed by a sexually voracious, ever-hungry vagina. Poor, sheltered, small town boy. Such sexual insecurity, bless his little cotton socks!

7. Be Intelligent

You must be able to “flex your mental muscles”, apparently. The thing is, any woman who hasn’t had a full frontal lobotomy wouldn’t WANT to have anything to do with him. Ah well, back to the fantasy…

8. Be Child-Free

The fear of fecundity! It has been said that the insecure man fears the power of a woman to give birth (or not) because it is something they have such little control over. Guys like this must be freaking out about donor sperm. Even Cleopatra put a pebble up her noo-noo to avoid a bun in the oven.

The other classic phobia is “cuckolding” which he inadvertently admits by saying it’s such a turn off to deal with another man’s child.

Cuckolding is as old as human/animal kind. When we lived in tribes, it didn’t matter too much, the point was to reproduce as often as possible. The “Alpha Male” may have fought for “first dibs” but, the presence of other spermatozoa  increased the chance of pregnancy and ensured continual gene pool improvements.

He’s scared of a lot of things, little Johnnie.

9. Be willing to cook at least three times a week

Again, our little friend has had to scale back his fantasy, just a little. Maybe it’s because his working “Mom” used to leave the pot-roast for him to heat up after school; or maybe she didn’t cook at all?

Poor little man craves the comfort of a surrogate mother SO MUCH, being “fed” by a woman must be a painful longing for him. Weaned too early, perhaps?

10. Put down your phone

Heaven forbid that you might have interests and other people apart from “Your MAN”! Remember the earlier scenario, when Doris patiently listens to hubby’s boring ramblings about his day, with what appears to be rapt attention? Johnnie is crying out for some of that.

Some poor girl must have made the mistake of dating him once, perhaps out of pity, perhaps unknowingly, but whatever the reason, she must have felt her brain shrivelling up with boredom as Johnnie droned on and who can blame her – she texted her mates to arrange her escape. Many of us have been in that unfortunate position.

Johnnie, if a girl is glued to her phone, she is NOT interested in you. Have we cleared that up? Good. Let’s move on…

11. Ease Up on the MakeUp

Johnnie has been looking at the women’s magazines on-line again! He’s seen “The celebrities that are unrecognisable without their make-up” articles!

He’s scared again. Scared that he’ll meet a woman who, when she gets home, takes off her hair, eyelashes, teeth, chicken fillets and cache sex and REMINDS HIM OF HIS MOTHER! Or father..whatever.

12. Stop Cussing!

Not long now, readers, I’m getting bored with Johnnie, too.

Here Johnnie shows his bible-belt upbringing. “Mama said ladies don’t cuss”

Fuck me. The bible is bereft of juicy Anglo-Saxon, but I reckon it got lost in translation around the time of King James, another milksop, so afraid of women that he toasted thousands as ‘witches’.

I like to think of Revelations as a big “Fuck you, you’re fucked”  – but, of course, I’d never call anyone a cunt in polite company. Well, not unless my ire was raised. I expect I’d call Johnnie a cunting wanker, though.

13. Stop Hoarding Guy Friends

Oh dear. Here’s that insecurity again. Johnnie is very worried that if he ever gets a girlfriend she’ll be shagging other men behind his back. You’re right, Johnnie, she will.

Finally, you’ve got to love the boy’s attempt at a pre-emptive strike at the criticism he knows is coming his way (because it has always, always, been so).

Bet he didn’t expect this though?

There endeth the lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In through the “poor door”, poor things.

imageThere’s been a lot of well-intentioned furore about the social segregation of rich and poor in the development of some upmarket inner city “luxury apartments” recently.

The problem seems to centre around 34% of “affordable housing” being included in a “luxury” development in Commercial Street, London and the fact that those residents are excluded from the 5 star hotel like lobby and the associated expensive concierge services, which cost several thousand a year.

The housing association, who run the “affordable” housing side of things, eschew the high service charges and charge low rents to people who need low cost housing and housing benefit due to their circumstances.

In an ideal world, we’d all have affordable housing, but with the sell off of social housing, an ongoing housing boom and an increasing earnings gap between rich and poor, it isn’t going to happen.

Ken Livingstone instigated the ruling that new developers in London had to ensure that part of their development allocated homes for local people either on low salaries or benefits, in order to ensure that rich ghettos were avoided. Great ideology of equality, but the reality hasn’t turned out quite as expected.

The wealthier residents have issues with the poorer residents and vice versa. It seems to rub both groups up the wrong way.

I was homeless at one time for a year and I lived in horrendous conditions without sanitation or power in a disused building with a transient group of others.

As time went by, the conditions worsened and it became a health hazard for all residents, including the need for fumigation and the building’s eventual demolition.

I applied to a housing association and was given a 6 month tenure on a very old 2 bedroom terraced house with another occupier.

It was semi derelict, with the downstairs area full of rubble, broken floor boards and vermin and the upstairs just about liveable, once some heavy cleaning, decoration and sealing up the damp areas were dealt with at our own cost.

It wasn’t the nicest of places to be and in an impoverished part of London with poor transport links. We never felt entirely safe.

I still thought I was lucky and having a fixed abode, I quickly found employment, even though it entailed an hour on the bus there and back. I could pay the low rent and all the bills and other charges associated with it.

Many years later, I lived in a so-called “luxury” block, paying a massive service charge and mortgage, to have fellow residents blank me if I said “Good morning” in the lift.

The worst of this was the one London block I lived in, when there was a major fire in the flat above mine and the other residents didn’t even bother to knock on people’s doors to alert them as they went past!

The endless quibbles about parking and use of the communal gardens were also a delight! I’ve never lived in proximity to such a vile, self-centered, unfriendly bunch.

Why would anyone want to share a tacky, blinging, marble lobby with people like that? And pay dearly for the “privilege”?

When I was homeless, If I had been offered a brand new flat in a central location, with a secure entrance, a lobby that was cleaned & maintained and secure postboxes and a serviced lift that didn’t smell of piss, I would have been delighted.

The housing association tenants of the property in the news (1 Commercial Street, London) are not, however. Why? Because they have to use their own side entrance, lobby and lift. They are claiming it’s “unfair”!

The residents who DO have the swanky lobby with a 24 hour concierge desk which offers everything from collecting dry cleaning to booking taxis, theatre tickets, letting tradesmen in while you are out and whatever else a concierge does – costs a whopping £5k a year. Those residents also get a parking space and a different place to put their bins – but pay upwards of £500k for a studio flat!

You have to ask who’s being ripped off here? It’s not the housing association tenants!

Every place in the world has its rich and poor and for millennia they have lived in different places according to what they can afford to pay.

To get the level of support the affordable housing tenants get is a quickly diminishing and civilised ‘luxury’ in this case – especially given how many people are forced to live in dilapidated and dangerous estates or cramped bed & breakfast accommodation.

So, having seen both sides of this personally, I feel that, in his case, those residents doth protest far too much.

An open letter on Men’s Rights

 

Circulated at Arizona University by Men's Rights Activists

Circulated at Arizona University by Men’s Rights Activists

Dear Men’s Rights chaps,

I’m writing this open letter to you because it’s clear than no-one has explained to you the benefits of a benign Matriarchy.

I’ll try to set out the key points so that you can come to your senses and see for yourselves how much your life could be improved.

You might get laid, for starters. With your newly defined status as sex objects, even if you are ‘plain’ by most standards, there will be a woman or women that wouldn’t mind “giving you one”; particularly if you take the care to pretty yourself up and wear clothing we find ‘provocative’.

You’d find a whole new range of careers, too. You could be the assistant to a glamorous business woman, a nanny to some challenging children, a nurse or primary school teacher – all delightful ways to put you in touch with your nurturing side. You won’t be paid or valued much, but think of the personal satisfaction!

If you are deemed conventionally attractive, you might find a role as a call boy, a model, an erotic dancer or a porn star – you WILL be well paid and have lots of opportunity for sex – wouldn’t that be nice?

If a wealthy woman takes a fancy to you, well, you’ll have a fantastic lifestyle. Imagine shopping with your friends all day and enjoying exotic holidays, while your looks last, of course. I’m afraid there won’t be any alimony, because we will have abolished that, but you’ll have some fabulous memories to think back on; once you are traded in for a younger model.

As for being ‘butch’, of course this will be encouraged. We still need you to do the sweaty, grunty stuff your genetics designed you for.

If, on the other hand, you are ‘good with computers’ as so many of you activists seem to be, there will be jobs for you, as well. You can take care of all the admin, while the women are out doing the important stuff.

We’re not sure that you are responsible enough to have a vote, because, after all, you made a mess of the world while you had the power; but don’t worry your pretty little heads about that.

You can learn to cook, clean and look after the kids and running of the household in addition to your full time job, it’s challenging, but you can have it all! Aren’t you lucky!

There will be education,of a kind, open to you, mainly focussing on your support skills, manual trades and homemaker training – you’ll be in the company of your fellow men, so you can indulge that tribal instinct of yours with breaks to run about and get sweaty with a ball.

You’ll have to make the most of it, though, because in twenty years or so, we’ll be making you redundant. Once we’ve milked the brightest, fittest, attractive and most compliant of you of your sperm reserves, you will, in fact, be obsolete and because so many of us will abort boy babies, your numbers will diminish, but no matter, enjoy it while you can!

You will, of course, be expected to live up to impossible ideas of physical beauty, but think of it as a hobby, that will last you all your life and utilise those hunting instincts of yours to find the best plastic surgeons and clothes designers to make you attractive to women. It’ll keep you pretty busy!

So, all in all, what’s not to like? So stop tweeting nonsense, or creating silly little websites and come to momma. You know you’ll love it, you dirty little bitches.

Yours patronisingly,

 

Madame Wilde

Scroungers, Strivers and Schadenfreude

imageI haven’t been able to watch more than a minute of Benefits Street. The reaction of those who refer to the people featured as “thieving scum” etc pushes me to a place that’s beyond anger; a sort of deep disappointment, hopelessness. I know they will never be convinced of another point of view, unless it happens to them.

I was homeless once. I had to queue in the dole office to get a benefits cheque as I was ‘of no fixed abode’. There wasn’t any drugs, drink, or mental illness involved – I had to get away from home due to my mother’s spiralling violence and abuse.

I was young, innocent, frightened and not streetwise, in the least. My story could have had a very bad ending. I was one step away from hopeless.

Some friends of friends had a squat in London, so at least I wasn’t out on the streets; but I remember the grinding cold, the continuous ache in my bones and hunger. After a while, my nutrition was really bad due to lack of funds. I bought spaghetti, oxo cubes, cheap bread. There were no food banks back then.

Strangely enough, I was safe. Safer than I had been at home. The guys in the squat were bikers, who had a strong moralistic code. They would even send me off to stay with their mothers or grandmothers if they had a party. They looked after me like a band of hairy, greasy, leather clad, big brothers.

I never begged, but strangers were still kind. The chip shop owner used to give me food. The people at the local pub allowed me to use their bathroom, the bakery used to slip me a loaf about to go stale. Sounds Dickensian, but this was only a couple of decades back.

We all got ill. With no heating or hot water, it’s an effort to keep clean (although I bathed the best I could with a basin of water every day). The cold air was the worst, it got into your lungs and carried any passing cold right into the trachea. I got asthma eventually, after a series of chest infections. It’s a weakness I still carry.

I looked like a waif in an army greatcoat far too big for me, woolen hats, Dr Martens and layers upon layers of clothing over my jeans. A long way from the immaculate beribboned child I once was or the flamboyant art student I was but a few months before. Fashion was long gone.

I got out when things changed. The population of a squat is a transient one. As my surrogate brothers moved on, new people took their place.They were mainly middle class rebels, with a bit of money, which was spent on drugs.

Soon I felt unsafe. I managed to get a decrepit, half derelict house in a rough part of London through a housing association. Downstairs was uninhabitable, dark, damp and full of rubble. I didn’t want to think about the rats. Upstairs was as bright and clean as I could make it, with donations from friends, skip diving and junk shops. It was an address, at least.

I finished my studies, got a job and everything changed. I was one of the lucky ones, well educated and with the will to turn my life around.

After a few years of working my way up, I was running a small company, turning over £4m a year, with a share of the profits. I had tens of thousands in the bank, which I spent.

I could buy anything I wanted to. A sports car. Luxury holidays. Dinner at the best restaurants. Cases of Champagne. Cocktails in the swankier bars. Designer clothes – a massive apartment, decorated to the highest specifications. Lending my friends large sums of money. Frequent weekends away for my friends. It was a manic circus around me.

It was all so meaningless. Just wrapping paper. All that money kept me distant from my friends in different jobs, the teachers, the care workers, the actors, the struggling designers.

I didn’t want to hang out with people like me, I didn’t like the middle class rich, all babies, property, school catchments and tennis clubs. I had nothing to say to them. I still don’t.

Maybe it’s because I have seen both sides of the story, I feel happiest somewhere in the middle. I decided to work part time a few years back, but 4 days a week quickly became 7 and, although I wasn’t earning anything like I used to, I was still highly paid compared to many of my peers and partners.

It burnt me in the end, all that ‘striving’. All I ended up with was a great deal of “stuff” and mental and physical exhaustion, which is a kind of living death.

Now all I need is enough to get by. I can live luxuriously enough on half my last salary. I know that there’s always a story behind hardship, most people aren’t feckless ‘scroungers’, they have got trapped. And it’s no fun, I can promise you that.

It only takes one turn of the wheel of fate and it could be you.

Maybe we should try sympathy instead of schadenfreude.

I am from Mars and you have a Penis

Why do men and women seem to worry so much about communicating with each other? I was in a bookshop today and couldn’t believe the amount of books on this subject – starting with the ubiquitous “Men are from Mars” … Continue reading

First Impressions

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If you were to see me at a bar, glass of wine in hand, getting more marble mouthed as the drink wore on, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m a middle class twonk.

I was flabbergasted when a boyfriend described me as ‘elegant’, a secretary in an office challenged me with the immortal phrase “You’re posh int ya?” and some automatically assume I’m always in designer clothes “WHO are you wearing?” *rolls eyes*

A boss once described me as “an iron fist in a velvet glove”, she referred to herself as just the iron fist. I think it meant that I got things done by being nice, which she slightly disapproved of.

People assume I am high maintenance, fussy, particular, that I will only settle for the best of everything or that I think I’m glamorous or theatrical and possibly up my own arse. Some of the young people at work have been immediately terrified by me on sight. When I heard that I was horrified.

Strangers also think they know me, or that I look like (insert the name of any blonde actress here), I’m particularly dense or a bimbo (not so much now I’m older). The simple reason is that I have a bland collection of features that some seem to project onto. Nothing I can do about it.

I’m not trying to be anything I’m not. Honestly. But it just goes to show that we cannot control what other people think if they don’t know us. I’ve stopped worrying about it so much as I’ve got older.

I come from a working class background. We struggled financially as a family. I had a pretty shitty childhood. My parents didn’t know how to take care of me. I learned very early on to fend for myself. It was violent, too, so I never felt very safe.

That’s why I have worked so hard to make sure I survived and could be independent of everyone, if I needed to be. It wasn’t ever about material gain. It was about making myself feel safe.  Sad, really.

I was lent out to my Dad’s middle class boss and his wife, who spoiled me with clothes, trips abroad, books and the like and gave me a taste of a wealthier life. Which was weird in itself.

I learned that attention and appreciation came from outside my family and, as for unconditional love, I missed out, but I still managed to keep hold of a big heart.

I went to a girl’s grammar school, which still had pretensions of turning out “young ladies”, so I had years of elocution and deportment training and very strict rules on immaculate grooming to contend with. And the ballet lessons.

What you see is not what you get.

I can ‘pass’ in the hooray set, or even with the real aristo types, but I don’t belong there.

I don’t fit in at the working man’s club, or a Yates Wine Lodge or Cinderella’s in Essex, but I’d have a laugh.

I’d be itchy and uncomfortable in the Boden set or with the North London meeja types. Simply because I find pretentious people fake.

I uneasily float between classes, a stranger in all. That’s what social mobility does for you. I often feel like an outsider.

Of course I have faults. Impatience is the worst. Because I’ve always been driven, I find it hard to slow down, I want to make quick decisions and get on with things.

That’s an area I’m trying to fix. It makes me seem pushy and doesn’t belong outside a deadline driven environment at work. I have to learn not to always lead from the front, especially in relationships.

The other thing that myself and female colleagues struggle with, is expressing our femininity and vulnerability.

After nearly twenty years in the hire and fire world of advertising, with enormous egos to cajole and calm, plus ridiculous deadlines and demands, you have to appear tough.

We are all highly capable and organised women that make the impossible happen, it’s a skill; but even in 2013, it’s amazing how many men find that deeply threatening or want you to be their big strong mummy.

I advise people getting to know me to be patient. I know how frustrating it is to deal with someone who isn’t how they seem. I afford them the same courtesy; but it’s incredible how quickly people categorise others on the most surface attributes and immediately put them in one box or the other.

Truth is that I’m an earthy sort. Straight down the line, emotionally steady, loyal to a fault and have a naughty sense of humour.

I’m certainly not high maintenance. I’m self maintaining and I view women that expect men to pay for everything with pity and disdain. I’ll definitely buy rounds and split bills, thank you. It’s only fair. If I really wanted a diamond bracelet, I’d buy one. Let’s stay up all night talking instead.

You can take me to a posh restaurant and I’ll know which fork to use and what the culinary French or the pretentious ingredients are, but I’d appreciate it far more if I was taken to somewhere simple that just served one good thing, whether it was a bacon butty wagon,a scruffy little dumpling shop in China town, or the bagel bake in the Old Kent Road at 4am in the morning.

Some of the most enjoyable meals I have ever had consisted of bread, cheese, ham and wine. Local to where I was at the time. Preferably eaten outdoors in the sun. On a rug.

I have stayed in places where rats crawled over me in the night, or scorpions kept me awake by scraping their claws against the walls and ridiculously expensive hotels with grovelling staff to cater for every whim (don’t like servility at all). I don’t care as long as I’m having a good time, with authentic people.

The luxurious looking fur coat cost me £15 at a boot sale, the rest of the outfit is likely to be a mix of charity shop, customised bargains or just good online buys. I’ll prefer natural fabrics and I like my towels soft, my sheets good quality and my perfume subtle, but that’s about as pretentious as it gets.

I know that the menacing bloke covered in tattoos is probably as soft and sensitive as a puppy and loves his mum, I’m not going to judge the swaggering teenager or the elderly woman, who seems to be the type you’d ignore. All of us are more complex and interesting than we may first appear.

I won’t, however, tolerate rudeness or a disregard for other people – I do judge and dislike people like that. I’ll drop a toxic person the minute I find out what they are like, (the ice maiden cometh) or have a word with rude people on the train. I don’t ever fear ‘showing myself up’. I can be formidable if fighting a cause or protecting someone I love.

But generally, if you care to look, I’m a direct and honest person. Quite simple in my tastes and insatiably curious about people of all kinds.

There’s nothing to be scared of, I try my best to be gentle and kind; I have a long fuse and if I do lose my temper (very rare) it’s over in 5 minutes and I never sulk, seek revenge or play mind games. I strive to be a decent sort. I expect most people are the same. I start out with that assumption. Despite everything, I remain optimistic.

When I burnt out from over-work, my medical insurance afforded me so much bloody therapy, that I have exorcised every demon and examined my own navel intimately. I know myself only too well and, to be frank, am bored rigid at the thought of any further self examination.

We all deserve to be given a second look, a chance to show the real, many layered, person underneath the facade. Because if we always judge too fast, we’ll only meet people that appear to be just like us and never get to know them – how boring is that?

DATING ADVICE FOR MEN – Top 20 tips!

Dress down, don't hide your musky man scent by washing.

Dress down, don’t hide your musky man scent by washing.

1. DO prevaricate about setting up the date. Take your time. Change your mind. Drag your heels. She’ll love it.
2. DO wait until 30 minutes before date then text to cancel. The fact that she is dressed up & on her way, will earn you extra points.
3. DO make another date and repeat (2) above, up to three times to test if she likes you.
4. DON’T buy her a drink. She’ll like to get her own and yours.
5. DO have a moment of silence while you look her up and down, if you can manage a sneer, even better. Keeps her on her toes.
6. DO talk about other women you are dating or intend to date. Compare their attributes to hers, ensure she knows they are better than she and you’re only doing her a favour by being there. Will make her extra keen to try harder.
7. DO outline all the faults of all the women you have ever known in great detail. She needs to learn from their mistakes.
8. DON’T appear interested in anything she says. It will make you look cool and mysterious.
9. DO show your appreciation for other women in your surroundings. Make appreciative comments. She needs to know you are a real alpha male.
10. DO find a few things to criticise her for and do so, loudly and clearly. She needs to know you are a man of discernment.
11. DO tell her she looks considerably older and fatter than you thought she would. Keeping her guessing is very sexy.
12. DO suggest sex as soon as possible. The loo is a good place or around the back of the establishment by the bins. She’ll be putty in your hands.
13. DON’T smile or laugh at any point in the conversation. Maintain a haughty look of indifference.
14. DO invite a few friends in, preferably one of them being a woman with a crush on you, introduce them then ask them what they think of her. Flirt with the other girl, a lot. Your date needs to know you are in demand.
15. DO go back to hers if she has lasted this long. She has low self-esteem, which means she’s ideal.
16. DO dress and leave immediately after sex. If she is sleeping, leave a fiver on the bedside table.
17. DON’T contact her for at least two weeks, then call and ask if you can see her after a night out for a ‘BOOTY CALL’
18. DO ask if she has any prettier friends, if she turns you down at any point. Introductions like these are great for your Casanova reputation.
19. DO give her marks out of ten online for any sex acts you have indulged in. Photos are an added bonus.
20. DO date as many women as possible and openly flirt at all times, online and off. You’ll get luckier and luckier. Women love competing for a man!