Thursday, 25 November 2010

Snob story.

Okay, confession time. My name’s Lisa and I am a snob. I want to cut straight to the chase here and tell you that when I say I’m a snob, what I really mean is that I’m a Mac snob… but frankly, it would be misleading of me to neglect to mention that I am, in fact, a snob about loads of other things, too. Ridiculous things, mind you. Like punctuation and magazines and pens and sleep masks and The Beatles and tea-brand preferences. I mean, really – own brand over PG? Have a word, will you?

Today’s confession, though, is that I’m a snob when it comes to Macs. Heck, even my nickname is Mac (though for reasons more maiden-name than Apple) so chiefly, I suppose, I'm Mac the snob: the Mac snob. And not, I’m afraid, a snob of the cutesy, oh-you-and-your-ways, tea-brand kind… Nope – I have to admit that, when it comes to anything with the Steve Jobs seal of approval, I’m a prissy, superior, condescending, ner-ner-my-gadgets-are-better-than-yours horror; an evil version of myself that should never be seen, like the Incredible Hulk or Dr Hyde or Hannah Montana.

As far as I’m concerned, Mac snobbery is innate – you either is, or you isn’t. I’ve often tried to pinpoint why I am this way – maybe it’s my name… maybe it’s the Apple-logo Beatles connection… maybe it’s just the shinyness... – but actually, I prefer to think that you’re just born one way or another, like being gay or straight. But with added turnability. Right now I’m working on converting four or five Mac-PC-curious friends. Mostly by a steadfast refusal to send emails to them from anything other than my iPhone or iPad so they’re always forced to read that default signature.

For argument’s sake, however, if it were nurture rather than nature that caused my Mac snobbery, you could argue that its my mate Jonze (@quarkmonkey, for those of you on Twitter) who brought me up. As one of the first people I met at uni, he encouraged me onto the student mag: a hallowed room filled with free CDs, sweet wrappers, endless fizzy drinks… and a shiny wall of iMacs. So, if Mac-love weren’t, indeed, inherent in me, it’d be almost exclusively his fault. (While we’re at it, I suppose, it’s also Jonze’s fault that I got into journalism. In fact, fuck it: ALL OF THIS IS HIS FAULT.) See, Mac-heads always find each other. Like Trekkies or football fans or religious groups or Marmite lovers or tweeters. We always welcome an opportunity to meet someone else to be snobby with. Or spoddy with. Or both. (Snoddery, anyone?) Hence, I’m hoping that at least a few fellow Mac-snobs will have found me here. As for everyone else? Well... shame on you. (Seriously, though, isn’t it difficult to be a PC snob right now anyway? Haven’t the ‘I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea’ adverts made that physically impossible? Surely the only message anyone’s taking away from that campaign is ‘I’m a PC and I’m a highly irritating fucknuckle.’)

I turned P into a burgeoning Mac snob before we got married – my twisted version of a pre-nup. Having only ever worked on PCs, I had his card marked from the moment we met, giving him my evangelical Mac-sermon at every opportunity until he finally agreed with my beliefs. (Read: gave in to my incessant preaching.) And the beauty of that status quo is that now, whenever a new Apple product is released, I know I’ve brainwashed P enough for us to be able to move past the tiresome months of will-we-won’t-we procrastination and – to quote Brian Clough – decide that I was right.

This let’s-skip-past-the-disagreement-and-just-admit-we’re-going-to-get-it schtick is always my defence with Apple products. Hell, ‘we both know I’m getting it’ is practically the Mac lovers’ motto. (Apple: we all know it’s going to happen.) Which is why those conversations we all have around the release of a new product are little more than a ludicrous charade.
‘So, are you getting an iPad, then?’ I asked of Andrew, my Mac-loving colleague-in-crime, earlier this year.
‘Well… yeah. I mean, I’m probably going to wait until the second batch comes out and I might see if I can hang on until any bugs are ironed out and…’ 
Translation: ‘Of course I’m fucking getting it. And so should you.’

I’ve had numerous different versions of that conversation this week – since the news broke that The Beatles’ records would now be available on iTunes (I know, right? Apple on Apple? I may yet spontaneously combust) – in particular on Twitter where, it seemed, I was one of the few people excited about it.
‘Here’s a challenge,’ read one tweet. ‘Find me one person who thinks that the Beatles appearing on iTunes is in any way significant.’
I retweeted it with a simple ‘me’.
‘£125 for music I already own? No ta,’ said another mate.
‘Well I’m buying it all again,’ I replied. ‘But you already knew that.’
‘You’re having a laugh, right?’ he said, running a dangerous risk of being beaten about the head with an iPad to the tune of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.
‘Duuuuuude! It’s the Beatlesssss! On Apple!’ I protested. Because a whiny repetition of the facts is a sure-fire way to win any argument, right?
‘Erm, excuse me, but have you run this by the budget-keeper?’ interjected P.
Babe,’ I patronised. ‘Its like the Apple TV. You know its gonna happen, so let’s cut straight past the discussion and get to the good stuff, yeah?’ (I later followed up my default line of reasoning with a defensive case of how often we listen to our copied-from-CD Beatles records in iTunes and how they’re always in our playlists and how the sound check is rubbish and… oh, he’s asleep.)

You see, to me, the Beatles finally being on iTunes was the embodiment of all my snoddery dreams come true…. and the key moment at which to invoke the ‘we all know it’s going to happen’ defence. I tried again with P during last week’s X-Factor Beatles week (which, with hindsight, might not have been my best strategy, since it turned out to be a bloodbath of a show that saw John Lennon murdered all over again), but not even a series of Chinese burns could elicit anything more than a ‘we’ll see’.
‘It’s like I said the other day, babe,’ I (un)reasoned. ‘We need it.’
‘Need it?! Why do we need it?’
‘Peeeeeee! It’s the Beatlesssss! On Apple! We have to; it’s cool!’

It kills me to admit it about a man who refuses to worship at the Church of Mac, but my brother Jamie called me on the cool-factor of my Apple-snobbery recently, while boasting about his decision not to get an iPhone (which, to me, is like boasting about ordering a salad in a steakhouse, but hey).
‘The thing is,’ he argued, ‘by having an iPhone, you’re just like everyone else.’
‘Erm, I think you’ll find, actually, that BlackBerry sells more than iPhone, actually,’ I quipped. ‘So if I wanted to be like everyone else I’d get one of them. Actually.’
‘Oh whatever, sis. Having an iPhone just means you’re desperately trying to be cool.’
‘What, like not having an iPhone means you’re definitely not cool?’
‘No,’ he objected, ‘It means I am cool because I’m not trying to be cool by getting a phone that people who are trying to be cool say is cool.’
‘What’s so amazing about them, anyway? What does it do that my phone doesn’t do?’
‘Everything! And better!’
‘Bollocks. Seriously, there’s no difference.’
‘Yes there is!’
‘What, then?’
‘Look, everything else is… is… it’s just shit, okay?’ I huffed, stomping away like Simon from the Inbetweeners.

What Jamie had dead right in that conversation – whether or not I wanted to admit it at the time – is that the currency of snobbery is coolness. Coolness and an unswerving belief that whatever it is you’re snobbish about is inherently better than any of its competitors. Jamie and I could have swapped places, substituted the word ‘iPhone’ for ‘Converse’ or ‘Friends box set’ or ‘Tabasco’ and had exactly the same conversation. And so, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a snob about vinyl or Twitter or sports cars or Dr Who or Marmite – if a new way/product/episode/release for you to assert your snob-story presents itself, well… we all know it’s going to happen.

So am I getting the Beatles back catalogue on iTunes? Well… I mean, I’m probably going to wait until it comes down in price and I might see if I can hang on til any additional bonus material is released and… ah, screw it. Of course I’m fucking getting it. And so should you.

Sent from my iPad

Monday, 15 November 2010

Broadcast yourself.

I’m not sure whether I’m speaking on behalf of all bloggers when I say this (though it’s certainly the case for me) but, whenever you post, there is a tendency to tell your readers an awful lot about yourself that you’d never ordinarily reveal in real life.

During the life of Alright Tit, I’ve blithely volunteered information about the state of my nipples, the regularity of my bowel movements and the frankly ridiculous names I call my cat – none of which I’d dream of bringing up at a dinner party, even with my closest mates. (I’m ignoring the fact that P is forced to hear about these things on a daily basis.) And yet the simpler, more obvious things about me – my career outside of this blog, my husband’s name, the stuff I spend time doing out of school hours (the ‘hobbies and interests’ part of my CV, if you will’) – remain largely unspoken… for various different reasons.

I had a chat with Psychologies magazine last week for a piece in their January issue about autobiography, and we spoke about how, when telling your own story, there’s a propensity to keep back a certain part of yourself (unless, of course, you’re Liz Jones), hamming up elements of your persona in exchange for the stuff you’d rather kept private. It’s something I’ve thought a lot about since that conversation, wondering whether I might be guilty of making myself seem more bolshy or goofy than I might actually be for the sake of a better blog. But then, when you consider that mere hours after that very conversation, I found myself getting drenched to the point of see-through tights in a torrential downpour, swearing in front of a huddle of laughing builders as my brolly blew inside out, then wobbling over on my heel as I stomped off before being pulled over by the police for looking at my map while driving, I realise that, actually, I might not be hamming up my idiocy even nearly enough.

When it comes to the portrayal of yourself in real life, though, the case is quite different. Take starting out at university as an example. When you’re a fresher faced with the prospect of finding the right mates to see you through the next few years, you are what you’re into. Hence you become the Derby County supporter, or the beer-mat collector, or the Star Wars fan, or the one with the stack of Razzles beside his bed. At that delicate stage of your life, you’re not just careful about how you come across, but positively paranoid about it. And actually, the thing you’re known for becomes less and less relevant, because – whatever it is that comes to define you in freshers’ week – the act of ‘being known’ somehow becomes more important than that which you were so careful to ram down everyone’s throats. (Or, in my case, Ram down everyone’s throats.)

In later life, though, I think we’re as wary of what we hide as what we volunteer. Because, as a recent conversation with P revealed, if you are what you’re into, then I’m a walking TV set.
‘What do you think I should write about this week?’ I asked him.
‘Telly,’ he said, his answer out of the starting blocks before I’d even fired the gun. ‘You should write about how obsessed you are with it.’
‘Wha?’ I gurned.
‘You are though, love.’
‘Obsessed?! Come on, babe, I don’t think I’m obsessed. Am I really obsessed?’ I asked, wondering how I’d manage the Strictly Come Dancing/X-Factor results clash when Wayne Rooney’s Street Striker was recording at the same time.
‘Maybe not obsessed, then,’ he conceded, ‘Though you’ve got to admit, you do love your telly. But you never write about it. Nobody knows that about you. They know all sorts of other weird shit, but not that.’

P’s right, of course. I do love my telly. Especially event telly; the kind of tomorrow’s-water-cooler-conversation stuff in which everyone is so involved that it’d be a crime to watch on playback; the kind that the immediate reactions on Twitter have, in many cases, made so much more entertaining than the programme itself. But is that the kind of thing you readily come clean about? It’s a strange thing to admit to, loving telly. It isn’t, for example, in the ‘hobbies and interests’ section of my CV. (Which, in case you’re interested, currently reads: ‘First and foremost, I am a music fan, but when I’m not plugged into an iPod or at a gig, I’m exhaustively reading magazines – anything from Grazia to All Out Cricket. As a lifelong Derby County supporter, I try to get to as many games as I am able, the result of which is a brilliant sense of humour.’ Still using the Rams as an inroad, then.) Though, let’s be honest, telly ought to come before any of that stuff. The problem with that kind of confession, though, is the inference that you don’t get out enough. Hence the only arena in which it’s acceptable to admit to loving telly is when you’re Grace Dent and write about it for a living… not when you’re Lisa Lynch and use it as your excuse for getting in the way of what you’re supposed to be doing for a living.

‘Why do people need to know that though?’ I asked of P.
‘Because it’s an honest blog,’ he said.
‘But I haven’t got anything to say about telly,’ I protested, after which he immediately reminded me of that day’s three-course lunch, completely hijacked by me and Mum on the conversation of who might get crushed by the tram in Corrie – or ‘Coro’ as it’s known in Derby, fact-fans. (But since we’re on the subject… Who I’d like to get crushed: Gail, Dev, Molly, John. Who I predict will get crushed: Ashley, Janice, Sian, Jim.)
‘Okay, fair point,’ I admitted.
‘Honestly though, babe,’ P went on, ‘If you’re serious about people knowing who you really are, they ought to know this stuff,’ he insisted, lifting up his left leg to back out a fart. (Ha. Two can play that game.)
‘But surely, whatever I write, it’s impossible for anyone to know who I really am,’ I said. ‘Only you can know who I really am.’
‘Probably a good job, eh?’ he said, gesturing towards my sleeping-mask-fashioned-into-an-Alice-band headwear.

I don’t want you to think by that conversation that I’ve been busy inventing a persona that’s not my own, or that the blogger you may (or may not) have been reading about isn’t, in fact, someone you thought you knew. (I mean, jeez, how much more of me could you know than the needless crap I’ve force-fed you already?) But I do think that anyone who blogs – however openly, however regularly, however honestly – has to admit that you can be as candid or explicit as you like in writing about your life, but the nature of autobiography is simply that there’ll always be stuff – be it important or inconsequential – that will never get told.

‘I do want what I write to be completely honest,’ I told Psychologies. ‘But yeah,’ I continued, turning away from a muted episode of To Buy Or Not To Buy to look down from the phone at my outfit of Ugg boots, checked pyjama shorts and a stripy t-shirt with balsamic vinegar spilled down the front, ‘I think it’s wise to keep certain elements of yourself hidden from view.’

Monday, 8 November 2010

Pet names.

For a cat with a name as daft as Sgt Pepper, it’ll come as no surprise that she’s a pet with all manner of monikers. To P’s Dad, she’s ‘The Serge’ (which, when you take into account his broad scouse accent, is more like ‘desarrrge’). To my pet-cagey brother Jamie she’s ‘The Thing’; to my Dad she’s ‘That Cat’ and to us… well, I can only go into that if you promise not to disown me out of shame.

It’s two years to the week that we got Sgt Pepper and, as any pet owner will know, the difference she’s made to our lives is utterly astonishing. I can almost see you nodding in agreement there, but hang on… because we may not be talking about the same thing. I mean, obviously, she’s made a difference to our lives in that she’s completely lovely to have around, makes putting our key in the door a hugely exciting event and we simply can’t imagine a world without her in it… but that’s not what I’m getting at. I mean the other kind of difference she’s made to our lives – the difference in which we used to be self-respecting people with a reputable grasp of language and now find ourselves emptying pouches of Whiskas with the words ‘Dinner’s up, Mrs Bittenchops!’

Allow me to explain. Everyone’s got nicknames, right? Mine’s Mac, P’s is Whacker, Jamie’s is Arseface… and Sgt Pepper’s is Bitten. It’s simple enough to explain (I hope): see, as a kitten, she was a snappy little sod, scratching and biting to convey any kind of emotion from contentment to annoyance – thus ‘bitten by the kitten’ became an oft-used phrase, and Bitten became a natural nickname. So far, so reasonable. But of course it doesn’t stop there. Because, when you live in close proximity with anyone – be they human or animal – you end up calling them all kind of names other than that which they were given. Hence Bitten became Bit-bot became Mrs Bittenchops became (personal favourite) Bitten’s Mittens; just as Sgt Pepper became The Serge became Sergey Peps became Peppercorn became Pepster. Actually, that’s no explanation at all, is it?

And if you think that’s bad, perhaps you’d better stop reading now. Because our cat-craziness doesn’t just extend to ridiculous names, but also song lyrics. So, in the last week alone, I’ve been grooving in my kitchen to such classics as The Temper Trap’s Sweet Little Bitten, XTC’s Sgt Pep is Going To Help Me and We Built This Kitty (On Rock n Roll) by Starship. Add that to the reworded lyrics to The Ting Tings’ That’s Not My Name (they call me Bitten / they call me Kitten / they call me Pepper / they call me Corn / that’s not my name… etc) and I expect you’re already half way to deleting me from your phonebook.

Despite my willingness to broadcast such unspeakables on my blog (you know me – less heart-on-my-sleeve as heart-tattooed-on-my-forehead), I haven’t sailed so far past self-awareness as to fail to be embarrassed by this stuff. Trust me, I can see its preposterousness in full technicolour. Because, don’t forget, up until two years ago, I was a pet-skeptic just like my brother (my brother whose eyes can’t fail to disguise that a little part of him has died since his sister became such a certifiable loon). I mean, heck, the last my family knew of me caring for an animal was Miss Ellie, the goldfish I used to stir around in its bowl with a wooden spoon when I was two. Watching me turn from pet-pessimist to cat owner left Jamie disappointed. Reading this post will have him considering sibling divorce. (Thank god I’ve got the cancer stuff to fall back on.)

I always imagined that people spoke to their pets the way they speak to children. You know, in that sing-song voice an octave higher than they’d normally employ, extending the final syllable so it lasts as long as the sentence preceding it. (‘Haven’t you growwwwwwn!’ ‘Aren’t you cleverrrrrrr!’) The thing is, though, I speak to kids the same way I speak to adults. I don’t reserve a special voice for them, I call them ‘mate’ and ‘dude’ and tell them how much their outfit compliments their hair colour. (Actually, that probably just raises the question of how appropriately I speak to adults.) So why the crazy baby-talk when it comes to Sgt Pepper?

I dare say that if there were a child in our household, they’d get the brunt of our idiocy, too. (I’m entertained by the way I’m continually using ‘our’ in this post, sharing the responsibility for my ridiculousness with a husband who has no right of pre-posting appeal.) Because, daft as it might look when written down in this way, I don’t think there’s any denying that pet names – provided they’re not of the fwuffy-bunny-wabbit kind – are just another way of showing familial affection. It’s a rare occasion when my family call each other by our real names, opting instead for anything from ‘doofus’, ‘stoopsticks’ and ‘shitface’ to Dave and Davetta (Mum and Dad) or Big Dave and Little Dave (Dad and Jamie). (NB, none of my family is called Dave.) And so I suppose it’s little surprise that a kid who grew up being called Lisa Mac Quack has ended up calling her cat Mrs Bittenchops.  

All that said, I still agree that it’s horrendous what cuteness can do to a person. Not least when they’ve had a drink. Because, of course, when there’s beer inside you, your self-check radar dwindles like a sparkler in the rain, as I discovered at the end of our fireworks party this weekend when I found myself telling my mates I was ‘just popping to check on Mittenface’. I s’pose I just ought to be thankful that I didn’t find myself referring to P as…  whoa, calm down! How mental do you think I am? Hell, Bitten’s Mittens is one thing – but even a loudmouth like me knows there are some things you should never admit…

Monday, 1 November 2010

Girl, you’ll be a woman… soon?

When I was writing the new welcome message (that thing on the right there) for my blog, I instinctively referred to myself as a ‘girl’. I can’t say I’d often considered whether or not that was an accurate description, but seeing it in black and white (okay, pink and white) – let alone in the same paragraph as the word ‘thirties’ – has had me questioning whether or not, in the current spirit of moving on, I should also step beyond that kind of terminology.

The first time I posed the question was a few months ago, watching a football match at The Temple (aka Pride Park, for the non-believers among you). Customary Bovril in hand, I was making my way down the row to my seat, checking out – as I always do – who was in the row of seats behind mine. This particular Saturday afternoon, it was a group of 11-year-old boys, giddy with the parent-freed excitement of coming to a match without a ‘responsible adult’ (whatever one of those is). And – again, as I always do – I smiled at the kid directly behind me. Because I’m polite and cheery like that. (Read: because I like to lessen my chances of children kicking the back of my seat.)

Having given my best hey-we’re-the-same-you-and-me smile to the lads behind, I got comfy in my seat, chuffed with my hip self for being so down with the kids, as the Rams ran out onto the pitch (to this; learn the lyrics or you’re not allowed back, right?). Behind me, the lads were having a who-can-shout-the-loudest contest, roaring ‘come on Derby’ into each others’ ears as I continued to plaster on my yeah-I’m-totally-cool-with-screaming-boys smile. Their shouting match soon turned into a joke-off, with one kid making a crack about Robbie Savage’s ponytail being more at home on Lily Savage (which I thought was pretty funny for a 11 year old). In approval of the gag, I looked over my right shoulder and chuckled my approval.

‘Heh. She laughed at your joke,’ said Funny Kid’s mate.
‘Who did?’
‘Her,’ he said, pointing at me. ‘That lady.’

‘Erm, what did you just call me?’ I screeched inside my head. ‘I’m gracious enough to smile and laugh along with your idiotic, puerile jokes and you call me a LADY? Jeez, just offer to help me down the stairs, why don’t you?’ I thought, breathing into my steaming-hot Bovril so it left a trickle of warm condensation on my nose. (And how many ‘ladies’ do that eh?) Suddenly, it seemed, I wasn’t quite so cool with their oh-so-funny playground puns or their childish chanting. And so I reached inside my pocket for my headphones, tuned my hand-held radio into the local commentary and grumbled along with the old whingers in the West Upper. That’d show ’em.

‘Did you hear that?’ I said to P at half time.
‘Hear what?’
‘That kid. Before the game. He called me a lady,’ I said, with the kind of appalled emphasis on ‘lady’ that one might normally reserve for ‘shit-muncher’.
‘Oh,’ said P.
‘Oh? OH? P, he called me a lady!’ I reiterated.
‘And what would you rather be called?’ he asked through a mouthful of Balti pie.

He had a point. I mean, it’s utterly preferable to ‘lady’, but I’ve got to admit that even ‘woman’ might’ve rankled a bit, coming from someone born in – ouch – 1999. (I mean, shit, what are they teaching them in school these days? Surely everyone knows that the rules state that it’s only acceptable to call someone a ‘lady’ when you are a) female; b) within 15 years in age of the ‘lady’ to whom you’re referring; or c) using it as a prefix for ‘cakes’, ‘lass’, ‘Gaga’ or – new favourite – ‘pants’.) Sheesh, even ‘bird’ would have been better than ‘lady’. ‘Lass’… ‘chick’… ‘her’, even. ‘Girl’, however, would have been just wonderful. But then a 10-year-old boy is never going to use the term ‘girl’ in reference to a 31-year-old lady woman female person… oh, I don’t know.

I’m well aware, of course, of many feminists’ beef with the term ‘girl’ when referring to someone who’s technically a ‘woman’, and the concerns that it’s somehow less empowering, tarring women with the impression that they are somehow less than they are. (For the record, though, I am a feminist woman who’s secure enough to call herself a girl.) But for me, at least, this isn’t so much a feminist issue as an age issue. Because, yes, I am a woman – but I don’t want some snot-nosed kid thinking I’m too old to be called a girl.

So what am I, then? Can’t I be both? It’s so hard to know. The trouble, I suspect, is that I just can’t help but feel like I missed the memo that forbade me from using the term ‘girl’ in relation to myself. Perhaps it got lost in the postal strike that was held over my 30th birthday. (Bloody postman – walking on my grass; turning up at 2pm; leaving my mail half-hanging out of the letterbox… I’ll catch him at it one day but I never seem to be peering round the net curtain at the right time.) Because, like I said in my welcome message, I fear calling yourself a ‘girl’ in your thirties is quarter-past acceptable. It’s like Julia Roberts once said: ‘I’m too tall to be a girl, I never had enough dresses to be a lady, I wouldn’t call myself a woman. I’d say I’m somewhere between a chick and a broad.’

Another problem, perhaps, is that I’ve always – no; I still – refer to my female friends as girls. (‘I’m seeing the girls tonight’; ‘The girls are going to need cava’; ‘Come on, girls, do you believe in love? Cos I got something to say about it.’ Etc.) But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that they’ve long since sailed past girlhood. They shop in Joseph, eat organic cheese from local delis and compare Bugaboos. Whereas I, on the other hand, shop in New Look, eat Dairylea Dunkers and, just the other day, almost nicked a Bugaboo. (Seriously. I thought I was being helpful by wheeling my friend’s pushchair out of a café, but ended up being accosted by an angry Dad wanting to know why I was messing with his brake handle. I didn’t even know it was a brake handle. I thought it was a place to hang my handbag.) My mates are growing up; I’m growing sideways. Which may, I suppose, have something to do with the Dairlylea Dunkers.

Perhaps, then, the time has come to finally make a call on the girl/woman debate (have you any idea how difficult it is to write this post without referring to the Br*tn*y Sp**rs song?); to make a call on it one way or the other, and stop being whichever I fancy whenever it suits me. Perhaps I need an audit. Right, here goes: I’m independent (woman). I’m daft (girl). I share a bed with my husband (woman) and a Piglet stuffed toy (girl). I listen to Women’s Hour (woman) and watch Jersey Shore (girl). I keep red-pepper humous in my fridge (woman) and Fab lollies in my freezer (girl). I query gas bills and send thank-you notes and use Crème de la Mer (woman) but make others ring for the takeaway, scout for hairbands in Claire’s Accessories and have a disturbing habit of bringing conversations around to the topic of ablutions (girl). I admonish kids for dropping litter (woman). I call people ‘dude’ (girl). I shout obscenities at referees (um, neither).

Oh, screw this. I’m both, dammit. Do I really have to squeeze my girl-shaped peg into a woman-shaped hole? Or my woman-shaped peg into a girl-shaped hole? Or, perhaps, a different analogy that doesn’t make me giggle like an 11-year-old boy?

And therein, I suppose, lies the problem. See, it’s just too difficult to commit to one camp when you’re a 31-year-old post-menopausal lass. One minute you’re having a hot flush; the next you’re cooling off with a strawberry Mini Milk. So, girl… woman… whatever. I’m cool with both. Because, as far as I’m concerned, a woman can flutter her Superdrug-bought eyelashes at a teenage waiter just as much as a girl can take her self-bought designer handbag to a meeting with her bank manager. (Yes, I've done both.) But what this womangirl definitely ain’t, however, is a lady – which you can tell that little shit-muncher at the match.