I remember having this article come up on my Faceflaps feed last year. ’24 truly disgusting things all women do but never admit to.’ Ooh, shit’s about to get real, I thought, clicking excitedly on the link.
- ‘Picking round then squeezing out freakishly-long ingrowing leg hairs’. Not all that gross but I imagine they’re just testing the water with this one before they move on to the hardcore stuff about desperate women warming up carrots in the microwave while telling themselves that they really must remember to buy a proper dildo someday.
- ‘Attacking random hair affronting your chin, eyebrow or belly button with the tweezers’. Uh, what? This is gross, how? I mean, if you’re plucking hairs out of your bumhole while simultaneously farting and you follow through a bit and then you’re sick all over your tits, then sure, super gross. But merely plucking a hair is no big deal.
- ‘Eating cheese straight from the packet. Grated if you’re feeling fancy’. You disgusting slags, how do you live with yourself?
I was expecting this article to make me feel a bit better about my own gross self, but it’s clearly directed at the Amish. The best it has to offer is: ‘Wadging loo roll into your pants as a make-shift emergency sanitary towel’. I really like ‘wadging’ (it rhymes with vadging). But what it doesn’t go on to mention is how afterwards you have to spend ten minutes sat on the toilet picking little balls of bloody paper out of your flaps because you’re too lazy to jump in the shower, or about that time the wadge fell out of your trouser leg and the dog had it, and you didn’t even try to stop her eating it because you couldn’t be arsed getting off the couch, and anyway, there’s probably loads of nutrients in period blood, it might make her coat extra glossy.
Inserting toilet paper in your gusset is not ideal, but is it ‘truly disgusting’?
I do loads of things for feminist reasons. When I say ‘cunt’ I am consciously reclaiming the word. I own my ‘bossyness’ and I celebrate flawed women on TV (which you can read about here). All these things for tha sisters.
Maybe I’m just a vulgar, arrogant attention-seeker using feminism as a convenient excuse, much in the same way I wear grubby clothes with holes in because I’m ‘a child of grunge’. Maybe. But I don’t like to think so. I’m no activist – sitting around bitching at the TV and scribbling a couple of jokey blogs are all I’ve really contributed to the cause – but so much of my reasoning is tinged by feminism. It lives in me. So if I feel that women aren’t allowed to be as gross as men, I’m going to get real gross.
Who needs to throw themselves in front of a horse these days when simply telling everyone about your massive shits will suffice?
Look – women have anuses (ani for plural?). We eat food and it gets pushed down our oesophagi via peristalsis and is attacked by various enzymes in the stomach, before moving slowly through the intestines as nutrients are extracted and ending up in the bowel. It then comes out of our ani in the form of stinking faeces. Let’s not even start on sweetcorn.
When we die our flesh putrefies.
And we hide our toilet paper under doilies?
It’s not that I have an argument with prudish folk. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying boundaries and maintaining a certain level of decorum, if that’s what you’re into. But if these boundaries are only put up around women, that’s just archaic. Tell you what – I’ll stop talking about snot when men start laying down their jackets on top of puddles for me and duelling for my honour.
I did say in an earlier entry that I was probably going to mention Charles Bukowski in almost every blog I write, and true to form, here I go again (I recently wrote my MPhil paper on him which meant me re-reading everything he’d ever written, as well as the criminally scant academic writing on him, so evidently I have Bukowski on the brain). In the novel, Ham on Rye, which explores his childhood and upbringing, Bukowski writes about holding his shits in all through the school day, too terrified to go in a public toilet. Which is interesting, because fifty years on, Bukowski is Grand High Lord of the Grotesque; always scratching his haemorrhoids and going on about his stinking beer shits. Granted, he writes through the lens of his alter ego, Hank, but admits frequently that his writing is mostly based on life.
How did he get from holding in his shit to telling everyone about his shit?
Same way I did. For I was once a shit-holder-inner. I could hold in shit for a week if I was away from home (my mother tells me she was the same and holds an impressive record of nine days while staying with relatives in Swansea). I just couldn’t bring myself to go in a public toilet, even an empty one, because there was always the chance someone would walk in mid-splash. I held in farts too; I got nasty stomach cramps if I was with friends all day. I’d finally get home and do one of those 60 second airy bagpipe farts.
And now? Well, at a parent and toddler playgroup a couple of months ago I farted during ‘Wheels on the Bus’. I felt embarrassed for a minute, tops, and then I got over it.
A decade ago, a public farting like this would literally have driven me to drink (I’m a grown-up so when I say ‘literally’ I mean ‘literally’). I would have bought an eight-pack of Orangeboom at ten in the morning, downed them and possibly self-harmed while listening to Tori Amos.
It is fortunate for my daughter that things have changed.
I think, like Bukowski, I have spent my adult life attacking my anally-retentive neuroses head-on in a bid to overcome them. Like a self-inflicted exposure therapy. Holding onto these bodily anxieties felt as damaging as holding in vegetarian farts. I did it mainly by talking about gross stuff (over-sharing, if you will). I basically admitted to owning digestive organs. Go me.
Where will I be in another ten years time?
Ways in Which I’m Gross
Time to put my money where my mouth is.
One night back in my student days, I went out, drank too much cider n black and ended up chucking up outside the Bristol Hippodrome. In the morning, looking in the mirror (‘Who is the fairest in the land?’), I noticed that my front dreadlocks on the left side were stained pink from the puke. I had been told, wrongly as it turns out, that you must never ever wash your dreads and who was I to ignore the sage advice of that crusty what shat herself at the Bierkeller that time (total ledge)?
People in uni would compliment me on the asymmetrical slash of pink dye. ‘I love how it’s so random!’ I never corrected them. I carried that vomit in my hair for three years.
I used to live in my grandmother’s attic room. A lodger had the rest of the floor and I wasn’t allowed to use his bathroom or kitchen, because he was a paying tenant and I was a freeloading relative. If I needed to use the toilet I’d have to go down two flights of stairs and across the house all the way to my nan’s bathroom, which was a nuisance in the middle of the night because it disrupted my sleep. So I used to pee in a pint glass and toss the pee out the window. This wouldn’t be so bad except, a) I was doing it in front of my then-girlfriend, who was just as gross as me, but still – squatting saggy-titted over a pint glass in front of one’s lover every night kind of prevents one from cultivating any feminine mystique, b) in the summer the heat would condense the thrown-out piss to pure ammonia and it stunk out the whole bedroom as well as my nan’s conservatory. And c) I was always tipping the glass over in the middle of the night and then having to get the stink of beer-piss out of my carpet for days afterwards.
Old people get the best blackheads – the kind you see on Youtube videos – and I used to work in a care home. But in the care sector, zit squeezing isn’t allowed for some ridiculous reason, so you’ve got these old ladies flaunting their ‘totally-asking-for-it’ blackheads and all the care workers are going round with a sort of dermatological blue balls.
One time I was in the small TV lounge with an old lady, let’s call her Morag, and my workmate, let’s call her Mitzy, who was massaging cream into Morag’s back. ‘You’ve got the biggest blackhead, hun,’ said Mitzy, who absolutely adores zits and would fart in front of the Pope without apology (a total ledge in other words).
‘Have I?’ said Morag. ‘Can you get rid of it please?’
‘Well, we’re not really supposed to,’ said Mitzy.
‘Oh go on, I won’t tell anyone if you won’t. I don’t like the idea of it being there.’
(Morag was super-cool by the way; she was 95 and had just finished reading the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy. Her review? ‘Very funny.’)
Mitzy and I exchanged a look. We both understood that she was being gifted most handsomely here. For my part, it would be an honour just to watch. Probably how the average man might feel when two lesbians start muffing each other out in front of him with the explicit instruction of look but don’t touch.
‘OK,’ said Mitzy, snapping on some gloves. I stopped what I was doing and went over to watch. Then the buzzer went. I ran to deal with it (a man, let’s call him Billy, wanted a pen for his crossword) and then I ran back to the lounge. I could hear Mitzy whooping and squealing. She showed me the puss on a piece of tissue – a teaspoons-worth of off-white cream. ‘Oh my God, that was fuckin’ lush,’ she whispered, eyes rolling.
‘You bitch,’ I whispered back.
The rest of that shift I thought about that zit with such forlorn longing, like a blanketed old man in an armchair fondly remembering ‘the one that got away’. I still think about it to this day.
Cheers, Billy. I hope you spelled a word wrong and it messed up the whole fucking crossword.
I have a friend who once told me that she’d written an 1000 word polemic dedicated to the subject of ‘mirror squirters’ (ledge). I have another couple of friends, two sisters, who told me that they once snuck up on two sunbathing men on a beach and squeezed all the zits on their backs as they napped (ledgi).
Never underestimate the power a good zit has over a lady.
Keep Up the Gross Work
OK, so it’s not that brave to confess ways in which I used to be gross, but I’m really not as gross as I once was. Being a mum I don’t have the time anymore to roll around drunk in my own shit. I could certainly do with showering and changing my sheets more and I will blow my nose on random socks I find on the floor of my bedroom, but that’s about it. I’m just a regular gross woman now who enjoys her own smells and picks her nose and sometimes resorts to the ‘wadge’.
It’s a sad state of affairs that acknowledging your own biology amounts to anarchic expression, but things are getting better. Here are a couple of improved ‘gross lists’ not written by self-hating Victorian women:
And here are 27 pretty-girls-making-ugly-faces just for fun.
Female characters on TV are getting grosser, female stand-up comediennes are getting grosser (there’s a good reason these women often joke about periods, as distasteful and predictable as it is to some men; because they’re not supposed to – the day it is perfectly acceptable for women to be as gross as men is the day we’ll stop finding it so funny and then maybe we’ll finally shut up about our clots), female characters in books are getting super-gross (read Wetlands by Charlotte Roche) and most impressive of all are our female politicians.