Monday, 20 June 2011

V is for Vagina

There are certain things that you just shouldn’t talk about, and others that are best kept to yourself. Like when you’re out with your mates on a Monday night and you glance at your watch to realise, “Rubbish, I’m missing Glee! I mean... football... and porn... and Die Hard,” and then quickly down your pint and put your hand down your trousers to check that you haven’t in fact grown a vagina. Or that no matter what everyone else thinks, you reckon Susan Boyle would be wild in the bedroom and that you’ve actually added her to your freebie list. Stuff like that should be kept quiet, or maybe shared with a psychiatrist in a secure environment.
Now, during my lunch-break at work, my colleagues and I whittle away the hours discussing the various tribulations of the day, moaning about that particularly annoying child or two... or 47 to be more precise, and generally entering such a vegetative state in order to allow what remains of our sanity to be nursed back to health in time for the next tirade in a matter of minutes. God help any child brave enough to knock on the door and disrupt our moment of calm; trust me, it’s not worth it. As it happened, on that particular lunch time we were having an especially enthralling conversation about a rather impressive lunchbox sported by one of the members of staff (it had a built in ice pack; how cool is that?! Get it; cool? Well I’m laughing.)
Anyway, my usual semi-comatose lunchtime state was disturbed by the comfy middle aged lady who chaperones and mollifies the community’s old folks on their weekly visit to be entertained. Cheerfully called “Wednesday Club” this is an opportunity for us teachers to talk to the crumblies about things that are young, and fun, and alive in an although-this-is-optional-you-really-should-do-it-or-else, kind of way. I already spend twenty hours a week educating wayward youths so I think I’ll spend that hour polishing my halo thank you very much. So imagine how perturbed I was when I heard this gem pop out whilst I was tucking into my lunch:
“Well last week we had a rather fascinating talk about contraception. It did cause quite a stir you know; one of our most controversial sessions.”
Y’don’t say?
Whilst I am usually pretty happy to partake in conversations of a sexual nature and am quite open-minded, the thought of a group of over 70s putting condom’s on wilting bananas (make of that what you will) is enough to turn my stomach: definitely not a conversation to be having over lunch.
Nope. Nu-uh. Not happening.
But I was not going to escape that easily. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the woman glance around the check the coast was clear, then in a stage whisper (the sort that is favoured by my Nanna when asking whether we think the two nice men over there are life partners, and pretending to be ok with it although secretly cringing) she cheerfully announced:
“It was very informative, we learnt all about vaginal dams.”
Well that got people listening. In fact her razor sharp enunciation pretty much silenced the staff room. Almost. For it was at that exact moment that, quite overcome by this sudden announcement, I lost all ability to chew and my sandwich decided that my wind pipe was a pretty good place to take up residence. Way to play it cool Jack; one mention of a vagina in an unexpected context and I’m actually choking.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of the vaginal dam, this is a piece of later rubber used when administering oral sex in order to not have the taste the various juices secreted. Well that was the definition that I offered my various stunned colleagues. Apparently I’m a dark horse. Pah! I think it was probably for the best in that case that I chose to neglect to mention that these implements are also used when rimming. Yes that’s right. Rimming.
Thinking Hoping Praying this discourse is reaching its natural end (and if not thinking that it is probably time to commit conversational euthanasia) none of us were prepared for the final, earth shattering blow.
“They come in all sorts of flavours too, just so you can tell the difference between that and licking a piece of cling film. Strawberry, chocolate and lemon!”
As if standard minge flavour wasn’t acceptable? Or perhaps a more authentic fish flavour would be suitable? Just imagine the old dears sitting there with their knitting needles and a selection of contraception in those otherwise useless china dishes, turning into latex connoisseurs, lightly licking and commenting of the construction of the bouquet.
Did I go too far?
“Quite a selection, although the lemon one wasn’t too well received. Imagine the zing on your hoochie!” which was followed by the knowing look that Miss Marple gets when the final piece of the mystery has just dropped into place: Poor Mrs Wainwright, I did warn her that the lemon flavoured vaginal dam had a bit of a kick to it and look what came of it.
So now I leave you on this slightly disturbing thought; next time you are having afternoon tea with granny don’t be tempted to go rummaging through her draws, you never know what you might find. You can still learn a thing or two from the old folks; they’re the real dark horses!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The best laid plans...

Just over two years ago I gave up the graduate job that I had always wanted, hung up the suit, shredded the business cards and decided that I was going swap the board room for the classroom and become a teacher; a decision that actually rendered my then boss speechless for a number of seconds (which, I should add, was not an easy feat!)
But fear not, for I had a plan!
Before moving to Birmingham in September to start my training I would retreat to Shropshire to the sanctity of the family home to sort my life out, whittling away the months in a rural idyll; mowing the lawn, feeding the chickens and serving pints to the motley crew at my local pub. Perfect. (Blimey, I almost said lovely! Almost!)
Anyways, as luck (no, that’s not the right word) – fate would have it, my dad left his job to set up his own business at the same time so I would not be alone in my sabbatical. This meant that for my already overworked mum, the two men in her life would be spending a lot more time around the house, whilst she was out slaving away at a job she hated to support the her now housebound family. That’s fair, right?
So as it happened, my plan for a few months at home; saving money before heading back to the big city, didn’t quite work out as I had anticipated. After 3 years of working hard working for my degree, involving many hours of slaving over the books in the library and forcing umpteen pints of snakebite down my gullet (I believe that’s worthy of mention and should receive the necessary recognition!) had in fact rendered me completely unemployable. I was now confined to my parents’ house... which suddenly seemed very small and remote. After the initial fervour about which of us would do the cooking and cleaning, my dad quickly lost enthusiasm and I became what my friends hilariously dubbed a “house-child.”
Even though it turned out that I had a bit of a talent with the Dyson, this was not part of the plan!
After sending out my CV to as many places as possible, only to be told that I didn’t have the correct credentials, I took what was left of my self esteem to the job centre; the spiritual home of lost causes, alcoholics and serial baby makers; and signed on.
“How is your job search going at present?” the generic employee asked with the sort of enthusiasm that minimum wage buys.
“Well considering I used to work in recruitment, it’s pretty ironic that I can’t find myself a job.”
A panicked look passed across her face at the realisation that she wouldn’t be able to fob me off with the first job that comes along, for this lost cause knows his onions all right.
(Moment of frantic typing)
“Would you consider industrial cleaning?”
I honestly don’t think my eyebrows have ever reached such heights before.
It was now time for serious action and at times like this there is only one solution, and no I don’t mean turning to male prostitution, selling parts of my anatomy or working at McDonald's (listed in ascending order of the progressively horrific!) Google it is then! If that can’t solve it then nothing will! So tearing myself away from my busy schedule of, well... nothing, I made it my mission to find employment.
Google Search: Summer Jobs
Google Search: Summer Jobs Abroad
Now that’s more like it!
I mean I’m seriously lucky in having quite possibly the world’s most awesome parents, but after a couple of months of being stuck in 18th Century Shropshire with seemingly endless discussions of the dog’s toilet habits (“Bladder crystals, very nasty”), I needed to escape. And emigration (even temporarily) started looking like a pretty good option. Anyways I came across a website that was advertising for English tutors in Italy. You want to know the best part of it? The job description essentially asked for people who were loud, outgoing and not afraid to make a tit of themselves; a sure fire hit! Beware Italy; my idiocy is going international! And how hard can it be to teach Italian kids? Y’know, chow and all that? Pizza, Pasta, Pavarotti; I even had a Fiat! They were going to love me!
Where is this going I hear you ask? After an initial kink in the plan, I went to Italy. Twice in fact, and somewhere in there managed to get my teaching qualification to boot. This year in my absence I’ve sent my awesome and slightly madcap friend Hayley (the sort of friend who bullies me into walking 26 miles under the pretence of it being for a children’s charity, resulting in near hallucinogenic levels of blister pain and tiredness) off to learn about the joys of songs about jellyfish, finding out what a nickel and a dollar can buy, and teaching the most highly strung children known to man.
So now I’m sitting here, reminiscing about Italy and revelling in the irony that the first year I’m actually earning proper, real, grown-up money is the first year I can’t afford to go away. Sad face.
What was it they say about the best laid plans?
Fuck ‘em and move to Italy!