My neighbour sexually harasses me.

Today, like most days, I had to go out to run some errands. When I left my house, I locked the door, and walked down the path to get to where my car is parked. The layout of where I live is very quaint: there are five houses down our lane; we live in the 3rd and this guy lives with his wife in the 4th. Our lane is so narrow we can’t drive down it.

Anyway, today, my neighbour was sat in his porch, as usual, pretending to do work. As I turned to head up the path, he wolf-whistled at me. I rolled my eyes, and carried on walking. When I ignored him, he did it louder, and yelled out, “alright my love?” I felt awkward and uncomfortable, so I just waved and smiled at him before hurrying up the path. When I came back, I stuck my head round the corner to see where he was, and as quick as I could, ran down the lane and unlocked the front door.

I think you can tell, that this was not an isolated incident. I have never shown any interest in him at all, except the odd polite hello when I see him and his wife. When I had my friends over on our last day, he kept hanging out by the garden fence, asking us for a drink and making comments about how my female friends and I were dressed. NOT OK. One of my friends already has issues with men because her father’s an asshole, how could he be so rude?

But he has always been like that to my sister and I. I first remember him making comments about my in my school uniform when I was four. I now realise that is absolutely disgusting. My sister and I discuss it sometimes, and she feels the same way as me. We just don’t know how to react. My parents think he’s just joking. Yesterday when he did it, he was chatting to someone in the porch, who just laughed as I walked away. We have tried discussing it with our parents, but they say he’s only having a laugh. But sexually harassing someone isn’t something to laugh about.

Some people may think I’m being over-sensitive, but this has had a really big effect on my life. Sometimes when I go out I feel awkward and uncomfortable, to the extent that on a really bad day, I feel like people are staring at me, and I have this massive urge to run home as fast as I can. I won’t let people touch me unless they ask me and I tell them it’s ok. This even goes for my parents, who act hurt when I shake off their hugs. It makes me nervous to leave the house, which makes me feel socially anxious.

It is important to note he has never actually touched me, but since doing some research, I have learnt that verbal sexual harassment is dealt with the same severity as physical sexual harassment, and is classified by the UN as:

  • Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe, or honey. – While not written here, I’m sure “my love” also counts as well.
  • Whistling someone, cat calls. – This is definitely the most frequent.
  • Making sexual comments about a person’s body. – I am not the most body-confident person in the world, so I hate this the most.
  • Making sexual comments and innuendos. – Also check.
  • Turning work discussions into sexual comments. – He hasn’t done this one.
  • Telling sexual jokes or stories. – This was all he did at his wedding anniversary party. Seriously. With his wife in the same room.
  • Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history. – He makes a big show if he hears I’ve brought a guy home.
  • Asking personal questions about social or sexual life. – He asks if my friends are seeing anyone.
  • Making kissing sounds. – All. The. Time.
  • Making sexual comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy, or looks. – Also really uncomfortable.
  • Repeatedly asking a person out who is not interested. – He does this “as a joke”, but is still really annoying.
  • Telling lies or spreading rumours about a person’s personal sex life. – He hasn’t done this one.

Having checked all but two of these criteria shows how unacceptable this is. But does anyone listen? Apparently not. I just hope he doesn’t start harassing the little girls who live at the end of our lane, because then he will have a serious problem to deal with. No one should have to put up with this on a daily basis.


Drinking: How to pace yourself, girl!

Before you read this post, I ought to cover my back to make sure you aren’t:

  1. Underage drinking (lol)
  2. Driving and/or operating heavy machinery.

On Friday, I finished school. Finally! This was, of course, a cause for celebration. And when you’re 18, celebration=booze. We were partying the night before, and about to do it all over again.

We must have started drinking that day at about 12.30. The AS-level students were cooking us a BBQ, and we were drinking cider. I had one pint, drank it slowly and mingled. It was VERY hot, and didn’t want to feel nasty too quickly, or make a fool of myself (a common side-effect of mine on alcohol) around the teachers. About an hour later, my friends and I made our way to the pub for our afternoon party, a fifteen minute walk away. Getting some fresh air was good for keeping well.

At the pub, I started off on perry (pear cider) which was very sweet and had a reasonably low alcohol percentage. With cider and beer, the percentage tends to be between 3-5.5%. The higher the percentage, the quicker you are going to get drunk. I tend to go with something 4.5% or lower, as I can enjoy my tipsy state for longer. I had a couple of pints of perry, before someone suggested I try a cider called Ashton Press. It was really nice, and again not to strong. It was probably not a bad idea to stay on that, because the people who were drinking Desperados (beer with tequila) were pretty wrecked VERY quickly.

Clockwise from bottom left: Kacey, Steve, Tom, Eddy, Cerian, Mary, Lewis, Emma, and me, as the cat.

After the pub, my friends and I went to Tesco’s to buy booze before going back to mine. We bought Sourz Fusions, Pina Colada, Everyday Value Vodka (70cl for £8!) and cider for the boys. We came back to mine, where we ate pizza and pasta bake. Stodgy food is a good foundation for booze as it stops you getting sick. We drank A LOT then, and got pretty silly. We played a few games, danced a bit, and then got ready for the final part of the day: the club.

The club our leavers’ party was at was called Capones, a pretty cheesy place with a zebra print ceiling. I had a lot of fun dancing, had some Smirnoff Ice, danced some more, then went outside with a few people to tell them how much I “appreciated” them. According to my friends, when I’m drunk, appreciating someone=sticking my tongue down their throat (whether they want it there or not) and sitting on their lap. Woops. Oh well, at least I wasn’t ill.

The two Matts, clubbin’ it up!

I could tell I’d had enough of Capones when my feet were starting to become unbearably sore in my fabulous ’90s-style platform sandals. My mum picked me up (I don’t know what time it was, but it was definitely after 4) and I had a couple of pints of water before going to bed. Waking up the next day, my feet were sore, my legs were sore, but my head wasn’t. I was tired, but definitely not ill.

And that is how you pace yourself! Remember guys, drink responsibly!

Why you shouldn’t call someone a “slut”, and other words.

Slut/whore/skank/slag, these words get thrown around a lot. I hear them all the time where I live. They are just banded about in normal conversation. But let me tell you, these words should not be so commonly used in general conversation. But why? Why shouldn’t we judge someone for wearing next to nothing?

Because, ladies and gentlemen, one shouldn’t be judged on what one likes to wear or one’s general appearance. This is what is wrong with today’s rape culture. Too many people think wearing a teeny-tiny miniskirt with 6 inch heels = gagging for sex. This is far from the truth. Too many rapists claim that a woman is “asking for it” as soon as they show some skin on their legs or their chests, or put a little make up on. This is wrong. Let me tell you the definition of rape: rape is when a man has penetrative sex with anyone (man or woman) without their consent. No one asks to be raped.

We shouldn’t judge people by what they choose to wear. If a girl is wearing a short skirt with 6 inch heels she is not saying: “Come and get me, boys, I can be overpowered,” she is saying: “Yes, I’m proud of my body. I work hard to get it to look this good, and I’m doing this for me.” Girls: we should always dress for ourselves, not for anyone else. Feminism is all about choice; what we want to do with our bodies, our relationships, our lives is up to us. If you want to stay at home to look after your children, that’s fine. If you want to work in a strip club, that’s fine too, because as long as you aren’t personally intending to hurt someone else, that’s ok. While we no longer have to stay at home 24/7 and not get taken seriously, men have found other ways to oppress us, by making us look bad for making independent choices in our lives, and interfering with what we can and can’t do with our bodies.

So, to conclude: it’s okay to call someone a slut. If you’re an uneducated sack of sh*t.
Cute Graphics, Cute Quotes, Cute Images

Tips for starting a new school

This is always a daunting prospect, whether it’s secondary school, college, high school or university. Here are some tips for making that first day so much easier:

  1. If you’re in to music, wear a band T-shirt on your first day. Someone may come up to you to compliment your good taste! If not, go up to someone yourself and compliment their good taste.
  2. Join a club. You’re bound to meet loads of people there!
  3. See a group of people having a good time? Don’t be shy, go up and talk to them! Just ask them politely if you can join in. If they say no, don’t try to force yourself on them, try someone else.
  4. Get your teachers’ or lecturers’ e-mail addresses. That way if you have a problem with the work set or in class,  you can ask them quickly and easily.
  5. Do some baking! Make some fairy cakes or some cookies to hand out. When people ask for one, ask for their name!
  6. Prepare the night before as much as you can. Put out your outfit, your books, maybe even your make-up. Changeable weather where you are? Put out two outfits!
  7. Dress smartly. It makes a good impression on potential friends, and on your teachers, too. A tea dress and some flats? A perfectly presentable outfit. Uggs and jogging bottoms? A definite no.
  8. Have to walk across a big campus? Wear sensible shoes. Obviously not hiking boots or anything, but shoes you know you’re comfortable in. No one wants to talk to the weird hobbly girl.
  9. Don’t look so miserable. Yes, you have to return to the grind after having a wonderful time off, but someone who smiles is a lot more approachable than someone who moans.
  10. Wear a quirky accessory. Or bring quirky stationary. They’re great conversation starters. Try a character pencil case, or a a fun hair bow.

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