Posts Tagged ‘Sex’

I don’t buy magazines anymore. Not at all. Not even for the train. I prefer to read news sites, tweets, pompous novels, and the backs of cornflakes boxes; the only magazines you might find in my house are gaming bible Edge (which I nick from my other half because I’m far too cheap to procure it for myself) and Primary Times, which comes free in my daughter’s schoolbag every so often and chiefly functions as an advertising outlet for suburban activity centres. Nevertheless, I was, for the most part, raised by magazines. Magazines and my grandmother, who was far too busy baking brown bread and making eyes at Gay Byrne to teach me how to function as a modern girl-child. Everything I learned about love, life, career, and eyeshadow, I learned from the following periodicals.

I learned about boobs from The Sunday World.

Twinkle: Back in the 80s, girls were made from sugar and spice and all things nice, not from guts and determination and all these new-fangled ideas actual Spice Girls rode into town on. Twinkle was a pastel slice of placid imagination: business ambitions were channelled into teddy bear hospitals, relationship issues began and ended with naughty but adorable baby brothers. Twinkle didn’t teach me to be a hardass in shoulder pads, but it did make an army of friends out of my stuffed animals; because of Twinkle, I didn’t grow up the weirdo I might otherwise have been, with no one to keep me company but those cold portraits of Padre Pio and The Sacred Heart.

Bunty: One generally moved from Twinkle to Bunty in the late 80s, didn’t they? I remember there was a rival in the form of Mandy & Judy, which apparently was once two separate magazines, amalgamated like a papery Cerberus in order to challenge the preppy, blonde market-leader. I paid M&J very little attention. M&J didn’t have The Four Marys. Or The Comp. Or Luv, Lisa. Bunty taught me how to be a jolly decent little pre-teen, all about integrity and fellowship and lacrosse sticks. Incidentally, I only learned how to pronounce lacrosse the other day, when watching MTV’s If You Really Knew Me; a pretty blonde jock who was into the ould lacrosse learned to appreciate her older sister’s guidance, which was a lesson Bunty herself would have been happy to impart. Ah, the circle of life.

Horse & Pony: Too old for Bunty, too young for boys to start looking attractive (or even for them to be taller than me), I turned my attention instead to a magazine aimed at girls who wished and wished for their very own pony, but lacked the disrespect for the ISPCA to actually get one. Some of the boys and girls I knew had ponies and kept them on building sites, but after reading H&P cover to squee-ishly gorgeous cover for a year, I knew exactly what a horsey needed and that a building site was completely the wrong environment. Basically, I was a walking, useless, equine encyclopaedia. Luckily, puberty came along and saved me from many more years of crushing disappointme … oh, wait.

Smash Hits: My best friend, Caroline, bought pop magazine BIG, but I was that bit cooler and so I bought Smash Hits. It had longer interviews and an obsession with Britpop. Also, I was into, like, indie boys, and Smash Hits gave away stickers of Damon Albarn way more than it gave away stickers of Mark Owen or whoever it was Caroline was into at the time. Smash Hits taught me irreverence, a love for absurdity, and how to be extremely pedantic about song lyrics. And it once had a serialised interview with the godlike Ryan Giggs, a footballer. But that was Smash Hits. Always thinking outside the box.

Sugar: While some girls worried about tampons and bra sizes and The Willies Of Boys, myself and the aforementioned Caroline sailed through adolescence because Sugar had already taught us everything we needed to know. Well, outside of how to wire a plug, but I think that was covered in Junior Cert physics. Celebrity culture is all-pervading nowadays, but I don’t remember much gushing over celebrities in Sugar back in the mid-nineties – if there was, we had very little interest in it. Sugar was all about community, creating a shared experience out of the pubertal nightmare; it had so many problem pages, it is not a stretch to suggest that it was wholly dedicated to soothing the banal frettings of an entire generation. From Sugar, I leaned that sex is best when it’s with someone you’re completely comfortable with, that it’s never worth falling out with your friends over a boy, and that if your crush touches you when he talks to you, he’s probably looking to snog you to East 17’s Stay Another Day. God, they don’t make Christmas No. 1s like they used to. Nor magazines, for Sugar is set to cease publication this year. Woe!

More!: When dull and dreary became the perverted pages of Sugar – which dared to tell teenage girls that sex wasn’t automatically Wrong and Cheap – it was time to move on to More!, which was aimed at Uni-age girls who shopped and went on holidays and paid rent and Did It in armchairs if they bloody well wanted to. This was utterly enlightening for a while, though the armchairs thing never happened to me, as I shared my flat with four other girls, all of whom would have been most disconcerted had they arrived home from a lecture to find me and whatever Oh-Yeah-He’s-The-One I had at the time all akimbo in front of the afternoon’s Pokémon episode. More! magazine taught me how to tan, be sick in my handbag, apply for a credit card, and overspend in Penney’s. I realised shortly afterwards that I didn’t really want to know any of that.

Which is probably why More! was my last magazine, disregarding a brief dalliance with the ugliest kind of madness a few years later when I got sucked into the vortex of bridal publications, and barely escaped with my wedding budget still intact.

Anyone else with some lovely, glossy, print-media memories?

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Stop all this rampant casual pill-popping wanton humping, for God's sake...

In yesterday’s Irish Independent rambo-catholic David Quinn sought to portray himself as a martyr for free speech. Whilst he demonised women for seeking the morning after pill in Boots (preferring restraint or chastity!) Quinn also whined to high heaven about being the victim of repressive feminazis on Twitter. Poor Dave! Apparently some had the cheek to define his views on women’s control over their own bodies as ‘medieval’. He also claimed he’d been insulted and called a cunt. He scrambled about in the dark for 40 dazed seconds wondering ‘how we ever got to a point where there’s even a demand for a product like this’. The word demand here of course meaning a desire for sex outside of a committed relationship, such as a deluxe married one. There are no offers of stats accompanying this ancillary demand. Rather, he seems to have taken the product name: ‘Morning After Pill’ to heart, like Head & Shoulders shampoo could mean decapitation to a psycho. Availability of such a product will simply encourage the easily swayed fairer sex to indulge in quick-fix hot rampant park-n-ride humping at a moment’s notice.

The type of woman Dave sees wanting this pill: ‘Young, single women who were out on the tear over the weekend.’ Why don’t you just call them ‘slags’ and be done with it, someone snapped back on Twitter. Women scrambling for this €45 ‘abortifacient’ offering − in David’s comely eyes a kind of preemptive breakfast muffin termination − doesn’t seem to include 30 or 40-something women like me dealing with a burst condom scenario. Sorry Dave, but I do tend to like it a bit frantic and it’s happened twice, or a married woman worried her ordinary pill may not work after a bout of sickness/diarrhoea. And a myriad of other situations where emergency contraception is needed, including in cases of sexual assault. Imagine in the dark old days if such a service was available to women, especially young women who fell pregnant through incest, rape and abuse. And don’t say those scenarios were rare! If there was a morning after pill in 1983, for instance, maybe the young woman who died giving birth in that dreadful desolate place at Granard might never have been put in such a lethal position.

Instead, P for Pill in the Quinn context seems to spell PROMISCUITY to a congregation of tunnel visioners. He refers to pro-contraception folk as ‘moralising anti-moralisers’. It’s an inversion of the truth to portray those on the liberal side of the sexuality debate as the newfound ‘old right’. Such a dishonest move turns all logic and meaning on its head. ‘The problem with your thesis is that you want to legislate for an aspirational society that doesn’t, and may never, exist,’ another twitterer responded. Nor does he mention anywhere in his quickie-porridge-oats analysis, health concerns or issues surrounding the actual taking of the morning after pill. Even that would be a type of progress or perceptibility. He prefers to finger-wag at the female sexual gambol, citing that ‘demand can only be high where there is a high level of self-defeating, self-destructive behaviour’.

I seem to recall similar fears about the potential for mass-hysteria triggered divorces back in 1997 too. And God forbid if we should ever have abortion available in Ireland, we’ll be dashing out to get preggers just for the Nilfisk novelty of it all. While I’m all for the I Believe In Talking Snakes lobby having their divine say, it’s worth remembering that concrete church & state roadblocks obstructing liberalism began to crumble back in the late-1980s, when contraception became more freely available here in all its ambrosial forms. So the marauding tart tanked up on cheap booze and gagging for it without any prior contraception sorted, is tired nugatory nonsense. Coincidentally this change in our society arrived around the same time news broke in the international press of rampantly repressed Irish clergy brutally raping children on an industrial scale. Here’s hoping Boots launch a 2011 Here Cum The Girls campaign, with two for the price of one thrown in for good measure. In the meantime you can read Dave’s latest sermon here − I’m off out to buy some lube and jump on the first cock I see.

June Caldwell is a writer, who after 13 years of journalism, is finally writing a novel. She has a MA in Creative Writing and was winner of ‘Best Blog Post’ award at the 2011 Irish Blog Awards. You can read this post on her own blog here:

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Ronseal Pope: doing exactly what it says on the tin

Have a goo at this wonderful snippet (below) from Stephen Fry where he argues that the Catholic church is not – to put it at its mildest – a force of good in the world. It ain’t new but the topics he covers are timeless. He believes in the Enlightenment, in the eternal adventure of trying to discover moral truth at your own pace. By contrast he sees the church as a benighted outdated institution that’s causing a lot of pain. He also labels it as utterly sex obsessed:

“They say that we, with our permissive society and our rude jokes, are sex obsessed. But no! We have a healthy attitude. We like it. It’s fun, it’s jolly…because it’s a primary impulse, it can be dangerous and dark and difficult. It’s a bit like food in that respect only even more exciting. The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics or the morbidly obese. That, in erotic terms, is the Catholic church in a nutshell.”

Aside from discussing damnation, original sin, the ‘moral evil’ of homosexuality, the horrors of child rape, how The Ratzinger spread the absurd word that condoms actually help spread AIDS, he also makes reference to how religion has always been implacably opposed to women’s choice in their own bodies and destinies. Let me know what you think. It’s Sunday in the financially corrupt holy nub of Ireland after all…

Some questions I’ve asked myself & now ask you:

What is God? If we’re made in his image, how come we all look different?

Do you believe in talking snakes and women made from snapped-off ribs?

Have you ever had a genuine ‘religious’ experience that confounded you?

What would women priests bring to the Catholic religion if Rats & Co. gave the eminent go-ahead?

Is religion extinct as a dodo or salvageable/relevant?

Did the Holy Spirit turn up at your Confirmation?

What age were you before you found out Jesus had siblings?

Was the Billings Method ever explained to you in sex education?

Do you agree/disagree with Aristotle who said: The gods too are fond of a joke? 

June Caldwell is a writer, who after 13 years of journalism, is finally writing a novel. She has a MA in Creative Writing and was winner of ‘Best Blog Post’ award at the 2011 Irish Blog Awards. You can read this post on her own blog here:

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There never was a truer proverb than “ignorance is bliss”; certainly, the daily trawl through the news sites can take years off a life. It’s a topic I turn to constantly in late-night discussions – is knowledge an essential weapon, or a poisoned chalice? Are we better people for knowing the dank corners of a life gone awry, or is curiosity really the Achilles heel to an otherwise purring pussycat? Yes. Note that when I say “late-night”, I obviously mean so late the cows are heading out again, and when I say “discussion”,  I’m really referring to drunken flame wars with similarly battle-scarred snobs. Such is the pomposity of my posse.

Anyway, the point is that each day is made up of weighty and depressing events, so even the most analytical can be forgiven for turning to the gossip columns, the ents pages, the frothy stuff from time to time, just to take a load off. I do like to cast a narrowed eye over cavorting celebrities, now and then, even though I know it’s an empty pursuit, even though my time would be better spent giving myself an eyeball scraping or beading the guest bedroom curtains. Sometimes I enjoy an indulgent slither into stupidity. Sue me.

Which is why I know that this week there were much, much more depressing, crucial stories than Wayne Rooney’s cheating on wife Coleen with a blabbermouth call-girl. And yet this silly piece of celebrity goss really got to me. It dug its glossy little claws in and refused to let go. In truth, I care very little about what goes on in other people’s marriages; each couple has their own way of looking at their relationship and their place in the wider world, and all of the hand-wringing your claws can spin through won’t change that. What bothered me about this sorry tale was the details of the naughty succubus, a young woman called Jennifer Thompson, who went to the tabloids with the particulars of her business relationship with Rooney and, presumably, was paid well to spill the beans.

There’s no point rehashing the story again. The Daily Mail and The News Of The World and The Sun will tell you all you need to know. In summation, though, we have a spoilt young man with more money than he could possibly know what to do with, and a healthy, educated young woman with a supportive family, making absolute twats of themselves on a very public stage.

And I can see no advantage for either party here. In the past, girls n’ fellas who resorted to the kiss n’ tell got themselves a substantial cheque and a saucy two-page spread in the paper, which was as happy a boon as the fame-hungry but talentless could expect from temporarily relegating themselves to a mindless sex object in a fetching pair of kecks. In this instance, though, Jennifer Thompson has told the world that she’s not only a wannabe-WAG, but a prostitute, a revelation the majority of your peers will judge you for, whether or not they liked Billie Piper’s turn in Belle Du Jour. It’s like telling your neighbours you sell heroin, or get off on crushing porn (that’s “crushing” porn, not using your steely determination to bring down Hugh Hefner and all he stands for); people aren’t going to see it as one of your good points. And sure enough, the tabloids have now plundered Thompson’s Facebook page for her holiday snaps, photos of her and her mum, details of her friends, their photographs. She’s been painted as a desperate party-girl, happy to sell her body to fund her hedonistic lifestyle because she’s far too self-centred and lazy to get a real job. Thompson’s father has even made a public statement apologising to Coleen Rooney! Surely this could not have been what Thompson was after when she sold the story of her relationship with the famous footballer? Surely she didn’t expect and accept that she would be called a “£1,200-a-night vice girl”, that her beloved father would be headlined all over the country as “Hooker’s Dad, Hamish”. But if not … Jesus, what did she think would happen? The mind doesn’t just boggle, it separates, scrambles and serves itself up on toast.

It’s difficult to feel sorry for the girl; I’m not as altruistic as all that. I just cannot figure out how anyone would choose to put themselves through the gleeful condemnation of her country, and beyond, just for the price of a new car.

As for Rooney, it’s not so difficult to understand how he could have wedged himself into such a torrid little corner. He’s not going to be called a dirty slapper for engaging in threesomes with pretty prostitutes, and his fans care only for his prowess on the pitch. Having said that, he must be feeling the deep embarrassment he’s brought on his young wife, the mother of his baby son. So why, then, compromise his home life for the wannabe WAG, the party girl christened “Premier League Jenny” because of her taste in partners? What do these daft footballers think is going to happen when they cheat with fame-hungry hangers-on? I know they pay extra for it, but do they really expect discretion?

I’m no old crone, myself; I’m in my twenties too, so it’s not as if Thompson and Rooney’s generation is something wildly alien to me. Still, it depresses the stuffing out of me that we’ve become so celebrity-obsessed, so into the pursuit of fame, that we’ll trade it all for a night with a recommended call girl or a bone thrown from a tabloid newspaper.

Then, I am reading all of this crap from gossip websites, am I not? Oh, tis a vicious circle and no mistake, and not a clever one to loop into, after all.

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This morning my colleague P treated us to a glorious impression of his 15 year old son, slightly worse for wear and trying to pass off being mouldy sodden drunk as ‘I ate a bad curry, Dad’. Apparently the young offender had been out with friends and got their hands on some booze. P wasn’t impressed but knew there wasn’t a whole lot of point punishing him just then. Apart from anything else the lad was green, sweating and well on his way to a punishment far greater than his annoyed if slightly bemused father could ever contrive. Faced with his son slumped in an armchair and slightly slurring ‘I’m fiiiine, Da’ in the optimistic belief that he could actually pull this off, P decided to engage him in a full length conversation just to see him squirm; I’m told this is one of the perks of fatherhood.

After a while, the conversation took a turn in which P asked if there were girls down there drinking with them. His son gingerly admitted to their presence. P said something along the lines of ‘well would you please be careful and don’t do anything silly, because you’re too young to be a father and I’m way too young to be a grandfather’. His son muttered something back at him and P decided to pursue it. He asked the lad if he needed any condoms and was greeted with the spectacle of his son writhing about on the chair and trying to fold his own limbs into himself in an effort to escape this mortifying question. P persevered until the desperate boy suddenly rooted about in his pocket and produced a condom which he waved about for a moment and squirreled away again. His father was both shocked and relieved.

This scene met with a lot of amusement and curiosity in the office. “Aspirational condom, if ever there was one”, “Ya, check the sell-by-date – dead giveaway”. When asked if he’d followed through and inquired whether his son had actually ever had sex and if he’d used protection, P said ‘Jesus, no! I couldn’t believe I actually got that much out of him!’.

I have since wondered just how common these sideways, awkward facts-of-life conversations  between father and son actually are? I had ‘the talk’ with my Mam quite early on and didn’t really have a problem asking her to explain things I didn’t understand. I don’t recall a specific conversation about contraception with her, good Catholic girls having no need for such things etc, but I think had I enquired frankly I’d have been told frankly. I’ve since spoken to other men about how and from whom they learned the facts of life and the existence of contraception. Both said they learned nothing either at home or at school about contraception. Nothing. “Most of it was innuendo from the lads. Just sniggers and stuff we saw on tv”.

What were readers’ experiences, the whos and whens? Do you believe girls and boys are treated differently when it comes to communicating sexual matters?

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Oh, the core parent-of-a-teenager story. A friend of mine recently got a nasty shock when, provoked by the discovery of a sneaky packet of condoms, she found quite the accumulation of explicit text messages in her teenaged daughter’s phone. Her single teenaged daughter’s phone. Her single, fourteen-year-old daughter’s phone.

This is a core story because it’s not the first time I’ve heard it; more than a couple of friends and their more gossip-worthy relatives have been made aware of their teenaged child’s sexual awakening through devious divings into his or her text message history. If rites of passage have evolved at all, it’s to make room for a mortifying encounter with a livid, bawling parent with an unfortunate proficiency in modern sleuthing methods. In this particular case, my friend was terribly shaken – not just because her daughter was apparently sexually active, but because the nature of the messages were less “journey of sexual discovery” and more “let’s all have an orgy”. The result was a horrified, grounded, phoneless young wan, and a horrified, tearful, traumatised mother, who spent the next few weeks doubting her parental fitness, and wondering what the hell she was supposed to do next.

Beyond carefully-selected woe betides, it turned out, not a whole lot. Teenagers will march on towards adulthood, after all, and there’s not much to be said for the concept of a postemptive strike.

When I was a teenager – the mid-nineties, which as far as I’m concerned are still the very recent past – I thought that my mam would absolutely curdle if she knew what we got up to of a Saturday evening, though that would be a problem entirely her own, for we were doing nothing Wrong. No one was in danger. No one was compromised. It was just the generational gap and it was up to the oldies to bridge it. So is it that I’m an oldie now that I can’t get my head around the carry-on of kids today? Has an unwelcome fuddyduddyness infected my tolerance and common sense and wherewithal? Am I just pumped up on the fear of that which I just don’t, like, totally get?

Have I no good reason to be alarmed by the young and scantily-clad and surefooted?

Miley Cyrus has been all over the gossip sites of late; all of Miley, all over. The seventeen-year-old popstrel is keen to ditch Hannah Montana’s blonde wig, tweenie fans and wholesome blether for a more sophisticated image befitting her advancing years. For which read: less pants. Bigger hair. More simulated mutual masturbation with hawt leather-bound dancers. Singer and actress Taylor Momsen, a similarly pantsless chica who wants to be Chrissie Hynde from the waist up only, celebrates her seventeenth birthday later this month, yet is happy to tell us all that she’ll dress in t-shirts, suspenders and ripped stockings now because it would be inappropriate in her thirties. The world’s most extraneous wild child, Peaches Geldof, had, at seventeen, been photographed in more compromising positions than you could shake a paper cone at.

However, just because Ms. Cyrus wants to be seen as a fully-fledged sexual being in control of her own whims and intimate piercings doesn’t mean you should treat her as one – blogging nitwit Perez Hilton recently got a scalding when he posted an upskirt image of an apparently commando Miley getting out of a car. Distribution of child pornography! yowled his critics. Even if she’s dressed in killer heels and negligee and waving her crotch about in concert doesn’t mean you should be looking at it! Miley, in short, is old enough to court controversy for sales figures and column inches, but certainly not old enough to be held responsible for such marketing decisions. Likewise, Taylor Momsen remains stubbornly unable to understand any objection to the persistent flashing of an underage girl’s inner thighs. Peaches Geldof, now old enough to vote and know better, has her boyfriend call out the mothers of those who capture her posing, glassy-eyed, in manky, strange bedrooms. Give me the perks of adulthood so that I may taste, but get them consequences Out Of My Face. Disturbing? Absolutely, but mostly because the Age Of Accountability seems a long way off for each of these little madams. Am I climbing ever faster to the peaks of irrelevance if my jaw drops and my skin crawls? You tell me.

Are we destined – the generation in power, of child-bearing and wine-appreciation age – to wring our hands at the hyperbolic sexual statements of younger ladies? Perhaps it’s as simple as that; perhaps daring text messages are to be taken as nothing but Ye Olde Boundary Pushing, and the disregard of trousers in fashion ensembles equates to a modern day bra-burning. Despite our initial squawks and retchings, when I think about it, it’s unlikely my friend’s daughter was having a train run on her in the back bedroom of her best friend’s house. Most likely, it was just our paranoid, terrified adult minds pinning advanced sexual foibles to clumsy teenage fumbling. There is no doubt that today’s little women are coming of age in a more aggressively sexualised society, but just because you’re surrounded by pole-dancing hotties in music videos, blowjob tips in magazines, and glamour models empowering the shit out of everyone, doesn’t mean you have a wisp of a notion what to do with any of it.

Incidentally, my friend had a fancy-dress party recently, and as a treat, the fourteen-year-old was allowed to join in. As a Playboy bunny. Which she thought was sweet. I shit you not.

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Vaseline. Prized for thickening eyebrows, healing cuts and aiding shoehorns, but a rabid pest if lobbed into rookie hands. It was 1988 and I was emigrating to London in three days and thought it might be a good idea to have sex before I left. It was all a bit new to me, the sex thing, and Random Paul seemed like a grudgingly safe bet. “It really turns me on if The Girl pretends she’s blind,” he smirked, twisting open a giant jar of the finest petroleum jelly. An hour or so later I was stuck to the bed, jellied tripe, while Random Paul bungled off into the sunrise, never to see his faux-blind harlot again.

Last night in Temple Bar, five of us well-watered journos began fly fishing for stories of bad sex and general mortification. As my fellow beer flunkies winced and hemmed and hawed and strained and moaned (and sang Michael Jackson tunes) to avoid coughing up the goods, Generation Game conveyor belt music starting going off in my head. There it was: the toaster, the golf clubs, the cuddly toy, a whole line-up of crap sexual experiences, sliding by as a consumer job lot of lousy shags.

A year after the blind-fantasy-vaseline man I was in the throes of my first serious relationship in London and apparently I was terribly frigid. “You’re not like other Irish girls I met, they were really dirty!” he protested. It was, of course, the start of a long line of gobshite men. To spice things up, and only because he owned a scooter and my flatmate’s boyfriend also owned a scooter, I suggested we try having sex with helmets on our heads. I thought it might be fun. In truth I wasn’t experienced enough to know what ‘spicing up’ meant? There was always helmets in the hall, broken umbrellas in the sitting room and booze in the kitchen. At first it was just sheer hilarious, we had to open up the visors that were steamed-up from laughing. We looked a bit like giant humping flies. But after a while when we really got into it, things got a bit road-crash hectic. Our heads were smashing into each other in full missionary force, my neck auto-whiplashing and the heat inside the helmet made it extremely difficult to breathe. By the time we abandoned our efforts there was nothing left for it but to get pissed and never mention it again. We broke up a few months later.

The London Years (1988-1995) were loud with all kinds of carnal clatterings. The jazz singer with the half-moon penis that he inherited in a bus crash, the Clapham barman who tried to ‘dry ride’ me when I was asleep and got his Winkle caught in his jean’s zip with disastrous ‘bloody’ consequences; an ensuing trip to St. Thomas’s Hospital where I had to pretend to medical staff I was his wife. The manic-depressive whose post coitus musings included a desire to fling himself off a motorway bridge. A Sikh guy who used to put my hand down his trousers and say: “Sikh and you will find.” I was desperately, painfully, saturated in unrequited love for him. There was also an Italian IT expert who could only get turned on after watching National Geographic – stuff like wildebeest stampeding on  the plains and open woodlands of Africa. He’d smolder out his nostrils and demand we head to the bedroom for animatistic sex as the programme credits were rising. It was a miracle I made it back to Ireland intact.

So there I was in my early 30s in a pub in north inner city Dublin totally infatuated with a sooty-haired musician with a cheeky grin and those West of Ireland certifiable green eyes. For months I gave him crab-sideways libidinous stares, come-hither smiles and ‘look at me, aren’t I just the dog’s bollix?’ belly laughs. I also made sure he’d hear snippets of personal details and how great my career was progressing, when I was chatting to some of the local deadbeats. I’d lost four stone so amazingly men were glaring back for the first time in aeons and West of Ireland man became so brilliantly reciprocal I had no choice but to bite the bullet and ask him back to my plywood apartment. This was my first blatant seduction and I was sheer delighted with myself.

The next bit happened so fast and so non-passionately that by the time I could say: “Do you want a can of Miller?” he had his cock out in my purple sitting room, demanding to know what I thought. This is still very hard to describe, even now, but there was a foreskin problem of sorts, well most definitely…the full details proffered by him there on the spot. His Ma admitted that she should’ve got him circumcised when he was small but that she really couldn’t bear to “hurt her baby” and ever since he’d started “doing the business” years later, he had to manually fold it over, his nuclear mushroom cloud, and tuck it in like an overgrown pastry lid, before he could get it inside a lady. The entire thing was so shocking that I wish I’d had the guts or gall to utter that famous Wickerman line: “Oh, God! Oh, Jesus Christ! Oh, my God! Christ! No, no, dear God!”

If bad sex doesn’t lead to a good heart, it will certainly lead to a good sense of humour. Last night as the Anti-Room meetup came to a prudent close, five  diehards posed a question no-one with even a quarter of a reputation would ever want to answer: I kept my gob firmly shut. Some things are just better off left dead in the bed, world without end, Amen.

June Caldwell is a writer, who after 13 years of journalism, is finally writing a novel. She has a MA in Creative Writing and was winner of ‘Best Blog Post’ award at the 2011 Irish Blog Awards. You can read this post on her own blog: here:

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The stars of the film...lots of expensive designer items

By now, anyone who wanted to see it, has surely seen Sex And The City 2.

By now, anyone who cares (and a few who don’t) will have heard or read the mostly awful reviews of the film.

Back in the day, Sex And The City was the HBO television series that ran from 1998 until 2004, detailing the lives of four best friends and their dating adventures in Manhattan.

It is credited with revolutionising the way modern women perceived their own sexuality, attitudes to dating, sex, marriage and their friendships with women.

The show was enormously successful and came to a timely end, just as it was running out of steam.

I loved every single episode (although must admit if I watched too many in a row I quickly turned into a dissatisfied and demanding person who felt she deserved more).

While the film version lacked a lot of the TV series’ edge, it was a huge success (grossing $415million worldwide), so it’s no surprise they made a sequel.

I went along to see it on the opening night a few weeks ago. The story has moved on two years. Carrie and Big (or John as he’s called now) are settled in their luxury Fifth Avenue apartment, Charlotte is raising her two daughters, Miranda is happily living with Steve, her housekeeper Magda and son Brady, and Samantha, still single and on the prowl, and somewhat hampered by the side-effects of the onset of menopause.

After some gratuitous glitzy fun (which sees Liza Minelli do her version of ‘Put A Ring On It’), Samantha announces an all-expenses-paid trip to Abu Dhabi (which is really Morocco, as Abu Dhabi wasn’t keen on having a Sex And The City film made there). And so we’re whisked away from the fifth character of SATC – Manhattan.

The plot is light and fluffy and hard to find beneath the overwhelming amount of product placement. Essentially it amounts to Carrie grappling with married life and the fear that she and Big are becoming a boring old married couple (earth-shattering problem); Samantha is trying to maintain her legendary libido; Charlotte is still struggling to be perfect, in the face of two not-so-perfectly behaved children and a braless, hot nanny. (It’s hard to feel much sympathy for Charlotte, a full-time mother, with full-time help, who complains about coping then wonders aloud, ‘what must it be like for those moms who have no help?’ What, indeed?); Miranda gets the bum deal in the script, with very little function here except to drop the one-liners and offer advice.

These are all valid issues for lots of women, it’s just that they’re all dealt with in such trite fashion that they can’t really be taken seriously. The film is really just a giant excuse for advertising a long series of handbags, shoes, cars and hotels and nobody wants to pay for a big ad. If this was the case, Vogue would have have ditched their editorial a long time ago.

In the TV series, the shoes, dresses, clothes and lifestyle were always present, but they were never the main story. In the film, they are and that’s just vacuous.

For this viewer, it felt like the starting assumption was ‘women are stupid’ and we’re fed a series of heavy-handed messages about Abu Dhabi, a place where a girl can’t even have a snog without getting arrested and women are made to eat chips under their veils. And guess what, they also like to wear the latest Louis Vuitton collection under their Burkhas – just like you and me. It’s simplified and dumbed-down in the extreme.

One of the least enjoyable aspects of the film was what felt like a new undertone, a sarcastic, meaner edge to some of the representations of Samantha that made her look a little pathetic, seedy and desperate. Her character veered close to ridicule at many points and it just felt mean. And SATC was never mean to women in that way.

Perhaps one good thing to come out of the films is that they have given women an opportunity to get dressed up and go out together in an unashamedly girly, frivolous and flippant way, which they might otherwise not have the excuse to do.

Personally, I’d rather host an Ann Summers party.

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Vampires have been on my mind lately. Last week I gave myself the unparalleled luxury of taking in an early-evening screening of Twilight, the teen vamp movie based on Stephenie Mayer’s best-selling novel. The movie had all the elements of a great teen movie – major love interest and then major obstacle to that love (turns out Edward is a vampire and Bella is an irresistible-smelling human).

Broody broody

Broody broody


I love teen movies – the high school setting, the high drama of piffling problems, the general open warfare. But aside from this being a really good teen movie, it reminded me of how much I love vampire stories and how long it’s been since I’ve seen a really good vampire film.

As a child, I read Salem’s Lot, a bit too young if I’m honest, and I think it did lasting damage to my psyche. I know I did lasting damage to my bed (stop that!), having to take an enormous long jump from the light switch by my bedroom door to my bed most nights so no lurking vamps could drag me under the bed once I had hit the lights.  

I still love The Lost Boys to this day and regularly say ‘you’re eating WORMS, Michael’ to people who don’t seem to have the same set of pop culture reference points as me. Hmm. I even bought  it on DVD recently to go in my ever-expanding ‘to-watch-on-rainy-solo-Saturday afternoons’ pile .


Sookie and Bill do some more intense staring into each others' eyes

Sookie and Bill do some more intense staring into each others' eyes

Having had my vampire interest piqued by Twilight, I was delighted to stumble across True Blood, a new television series by Six Feet Under writer and director Alan Ball, which also takes vampires as its subject. I’ve been watching this ever since and think it is just fantastic, or should I say fang-tastic (mwahwahhaha!).


In the show, vampires have come out of the closet and are now living in the open, some trying to integrate with mainstream society, others keeping their own company at vampire-only bars like ‘Fang-tasia.’ Anna Paquin stars as Sookie, the telepathic waitress and she just took home the golden globe the other night for best actress in a television series. It’s true, she’s great in it. What do you expect from the girl who won an oscar as a child? Anyway, there’s a nice ‘will they-won’t they-or-even-can they?’ love story going on between Paquin’s character and local vamp, Bill Compton. It’s pretty steamy. 




Why are vampire love stories so H-O-T?

Or is that just me again?

There are a few steamy ‘love-that-can-never-be’ moments in Twilight too. ‘You’re impossibly fast…and strong,’ says Bella. Be still my heart!



Just remember though: ‘Vampires think about one thing, one thing only…drinking blood.’

p.s. As for questions regarding the recent whereabouts of Leigh and I, all I can say is we fell facedown into a Youtube feeding frenzy of Summer Heights High and True Blood. We’re sorry.

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I’m reading Jackie Collins’ latest novel Married Lovers and I don’t know what it is but I adore Jackie Collins. It’s hugely escapist fiction that is great fun to read, and there’s always plenty of sport guessing which Hollywood star she is describing, such as which 40-year-old actress is mixing Vicodin with Xanax and falling asleep at the dinner table? I wonder.

I haven’t finished reading yet, but I know I’m going to enjoy this book as much as I’ve enjoyed all the other Jackie Collins books I’ve read. This woman knows how to tell a story and once you pick up one of her books it’s hard to put it back down, not least because of all the wonderful sex everyone seems to be having on the sly.

Knowing all of this, I still had to fight the urge to conceal the book cover on the bus to work this morning. When I realised what I was doing, I was a little ashamed. Why would I try to hide a Jackie Collins book? Because people I don’t know might make a snap judgement? Why would I even care what people think of my book choices? I know I get as much enjoyment from Dostoevsky and Camus and Kafka and Austen and the rest as I do from Jackie Collins so what does it matter?

We’ve had crushes of shame, so now it’s time for books of shame. What are your literary guilty pleasures? And have you ever been guilty of hiding your book cover, or worse, judging someone on their reading material? I saw a guy reading David Sedaris on the Dart the other day and was instantly intrigued. But he might have been a big arsehole too. Shrug.


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