Chills, Thrills and Penis Pics 

Was one of your resolutions for 2017 to find love? Then you may be one of the thousands who signed up to Tinder in January. If you have no concept of Tinder, perhaps you’ve been living under a rock or recently released from a cult, here’s the deal; it’s the world’s simplest dating app. All you need is a Facebook account and a smartphone. You enter basic details of what you are seeking: gender, age range and distance from your location and Tinder will find singles in your area. It’s stunningly superficial, users have 500 characters and six pictures to sell themselves. You swipe through a series of profiles – right to say you are interested and left to say you are not. If you both “like” each other you have a match and true love can blossom 😂

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13/10/03

I never thought a date at the age of 21 would change the course of my entire life. And to think, I was 15 minutes away from cancelling. I was on a train en route to another city to meet a man for the first time who was already giving me butterflies. He seemed too good to be true – honest, funny, charming, intelligent – on paper he was perfect (if such a thing existed). By his own admission he wasn’t the best looking guy going but I’ve never been hung up on looks. I find a person can become more or less attractive based on their behaviour rather than whether they have a beard/specific haircut/body type. I was so nervous I felt sick. I hadn’t been on a date with someone new for three years. At the penultimate stop I hovered at the door, wondering if I should just turn back and go home.Read More »

Breaking the silence

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I apologised to my rapist. It took me five years to write that sentence and will take me many more years to understand why. What happened that night in August 2011 has haunted my dreams, damaged my friendships and obliterated my trust in men.

I relive that night and the aftermath frequently. I know my rapist. He was a close friend. He’s the husband of one of my best friends. Before today we were the only two people who know what happened that night.Read More »

Just a bit of banter…

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I’ll always remember the first time I encountered sexual harassment in the workplace. I was 17, new to a small company where I was the only female employee. I was encouraged by my boss to be “one of the boys” and join in with the office banter which seemed to revolve around critiquing the tits of the models in lads magazines. I shared an office with Peter, who was in his late 30’s and proudly displayed pictures of his wife and children next to his desk. Peter became really interested in finding out about my life and would quiz me on my breaks. Did I have a boyfriend? Had I had a lot of previous boyfriends? Where did I like to go out? Had I ever had plastic surgery? I felt uncomfortable with his questions, especially when I found out he was relaying my answers to the rest of the team when I wasn’t around.

Peter kept finding ways to come over to my desk, usually under the pretence of borrowing some stationery. He liked to put his hands on my shoulders and slyly look down my top or he’d reach past me and brush his hand against my chest. I started wearing high necks and baggy clothes to deter him. I told him I didn’t like having my personal space invaded but he didn’t listen. I was friendly, smiley and chatty with anyone who came into the office but when we had client meetings I’d often hear one of the guys say, “Watch out for her, she’s a maneater.” I’d blush with embarrassment and tell them to shut up but it just seemed to encourage them.Read More »

My Missing Mummy Gene

I am used to being the odd one out: first of my friends to leave school, get a job, leave home, get married, then divorced. At the age of 33, I am in the minority once again. I am the childless one. All but three of my close friends have children, and two of them are trying to get pregnant. I fall in love with their babies. I buy gifts, change nappies, listen to all the stories of sleepless nights and cracked nipples and I give the well-rehearsed smile when it’s suggested that :“You’ll be next”. But I won’t be. Having a child was never part of the plan.

I find it difficult to articulate why I don’t want kids to my friends; it’s hard to describe a deep-seated feeling that you’ve had for most of your life. Aged 19, I went to my GP and asked to be sterilised (he refused to even refer me to Gynaecology for at least ten years). If I do ever tell people I don’t want kids, I am told that one day I will grow out of the notion, the biological clock will start ticking and I’d better start making plans.Read More »

No Man Is An Island

When people ask me why I got divorced I give them the simplest answer – because I was cheated on. It’s the version of the story that paints me in the best light. If you asked my ex-husband the same question, the answer would be a little bit different. He would probably site fraud. He met and fell in love with a seemingly vibrant, happy 21 year old. He didn’t know that I was hiding a massive secret – I was suffering from severe depression. He wouldn’t find this out until 8 weeks after our wedding when he received a call from the local hospital to say I had been admitted following a suicide attempt.Read More »

More Harm Than Good

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If a friend confided they were in an abusive relationship I would tell them to run far away from danger, as quickly as possible. What do you say when the person they are most at risk from is themselves? Whether it’s self-mutilation with a sharp object, drinking to the point of unconsciousness or gorging to the point of sickness; self-harm comes in many forms. I am by no means a mental health expert but being an absolute cunt to yourself? I could have a PhD in that.Read More »