The fatberg could only materialise now. We have co-existed with masses of raw sewage since humans first stacked mud bricks, but the fatberg is uniquely modern, comprising a conglomeration of used condoms and tampons, wet wipes, disposable nappies, and septic sharps suspended in a concretion of cloying fat.
Since being told, at the age of fourteen, that I should expect to grow up to be a manic depressive schizophrenic, I have been hyperaware of the schism that can occur when expectations are placed on a person based on nothing more than preconceptions, stereotypes and assumptions – of how they stay with you for life.
Essex’s marshlands are a damp reminder of a break-up that the British are yet to come to terms with. Around 8,000 years ago, the landmass that connected the UK to the European mainland, was submerged under newly melted waters creating what is now the eighth largest island in the world.
My matchmaker is a man. A man in a crisp, white shirt and trousers. ‘Shouldn’t you be an old lady?’ I ask. He bridles. ‘That’s kind of a cliché.’ I’m two weeks into my first trip to China. As a kid living in pre-Handover Hong Kong, China was a terrifying, monolithic presence. Now, it is a place I long to understand.
The taking of the birds was something that none of us had seen coming. As far as political allegiance went, there was a time when it would hardly have occurred to us to wonder which side the birds were on, but if it had, or if we had been asked, the answer would have been obvious. What did we know in those days?
A person writes, “I’d be curious to see you discuss sex lives that can feel non-existent … how to feel comfortable with your sexuality when you’ve not been intimate with someone for well over a few years.” This month’s column is named after a poem by my friend Amy Key, Lousy with unfuckedness, I dream.
Really, I had no idea what becoming a mother would entail before my daughter was born. That my ‘Mom’ jeans would take on a literal sense was about the only sure bet I could make... After the birth, and the initial trimester of her life, I did not expect my identity to be ruptured still.
Every morning, as my ancient machine grunted into action, my reaction to that hourglass was the same: with each of its rotations, a sense of unease ratcheted up a notch or bloomed new petals or did whatever anxiety does with its horrible metaphors. The pinch-waisted graphic popped up in the centre of my desktop, cartwheeling, and with it, that same sick feeling.
The following question was posed to me: ‘I know all modern sex havers have to be GGG (good, giving, and game), but at what point [in a relationship] can one stop being GGG?’ ... I think, in general, one should accommodate a partner’s desires on occasion as a mark of generosity, which is what being GGG entails, above all.