Sunday 8 April 2012


Some television programmes have gained criticism before even being viewed, and The Undateables, on Channel 4, was no different. Apparently, it was tasteless, offensive, patronising, and crass. It wasn't, to my mind. I think it's easy for people to laugh at the title; I did, a little. The point of the programme was obvious to most people who watched it, I would like think: looking, behaving or sounding "different" doesn't mean you're not interested in love or sex, but "society" might sometimes assume it is so. Another point might be that there is sometimes a reason for some people behaving in a way that isn't expected by some other people. You can't know about someone or judge them with a righteous opinion if you don't know anything or very little about them.

The first episode in the three part series featured Richard, Penny, and - my favourite - a funny and handsome northerner called Luke. He has Tourette's, and the spectacularly-named and very pretty girl, Lucy, with whom he spent some time, laughed when he swore. And I did. And I know others did. Is that wrong? I don't know. The way he sort of answered his own sweary tics was golden - after talking about the kind of girl he'd like to meet, he said, "Wanker! ...but not a wanker" - or looked knowingly at the camera after ticking was so charming. Just like a "normal" person might be! Who'd've thought it? Not some people, it seems. When he swore randomly and I laughed, I wasn't laughing at him. It's hard (for me) to not at least chuckle when someone says, quite loudly, "WANKER!" at no-one in particular. I thought he was completely lovely, genuinely funny, and brilliantly self-deprecating. And beardy. Something of the Jimi Goodwin about him. And that can only be good.

It's a sad and, I think, embarrassing truth that some people do actually believe that someone who, for example, uses a wheelchair or who looks maybe just a little different to what they expect is not interested in or entitled to a love life. OR A SEX LIFE. Who'd have thought a human with a heart and a soul and a mind would want to be loved? Crazy thinking! But yes, some people, within their tiny brain peas that rattle about in those big old boneheads, believe people who use wheelchairs shouldn't be allowed to have children. A friend of mine, who uses a wheelchair, was told this. She should have been aborted or drowned at birth, according to some particularly charming erudites.

It goes without my having to say I wholeheartedly disagree with idiocy such as the above piffle, and not just because she is my friend. A dear friend. A friend so dear to me, whom I love so very much I can't find the words. Sometimes, she suffers so badly with such terrible pain that her independence disappears for a while, and she needs help with the most normal daily tasks.

I'm not an independent person because of my health troubles. When I was in my teens, I didn't have independence because of depression and nearly being sectioned all of 4 times in 3 different places. I had pitifully low self-confidence, and felt so frightened of talking to other people and making eye-contact. I'm just a little better at that now, but still feel shy at times. My online persona is the same as my offline persona, at least among those who know me in that real world place. The only difference might be that meeting new people can sometimes mean I'm not so talkative either one-to-one or in groups; I have trouble knowing what to say in conversations or just as small talk; I worry that I'm boring people or appearing to be a total knob in every way. I'm very sure - confident, actually - that there are some people who believe all that to be true, anyway.

I've never considered myself disabled because, erm... well, I'm not. Of course, people feel differently about many things, be it politics, love, spicy food or Danish police dramas. And I do wonder how people feel if they are told they're disabled, if they're given that label by others or themselves. Is it a label? Is it limiting? It is frustrating? Does it induce anger? Do people class themselves as disabled? Is it degrading? Is it helpful? Is it embarrassing? I suspect others may think it's something to be embarrassed about if they themselves are not disabled and don't understand or appreciate what it really means, regarding the effects on living. I think those same people might also think completely differently if something happened whereby they were to lose the ability to do what they usually do, or if that were to happen to someone they love.

If you've been reading this rambling blog a while, you'll know that my endometriosis affects me in such a way that, when I have a period and the pain is at its worst, I am unable to walk, talk and move without help from someone else, most often my Mum. In that respect, it disables me, so I am, therefore, temporarily disabled. And those kinds of words are used in the text relating to the benefits I receive: "If your illness or disability has a severe effect on your ability to work, you won't be expected to work." I don't consider myself ill with endometriosis or depression, at least not currently regarding the latter. My endometriosis-affected bits do look diseased, so sometimes I think of it as a disease. The photos in my medical file definitely aren't pretty. Endometriosis is certainly a condition. Disability, though? No. Not for me. Or is it...?

After and during watching The Undateables, it set my mind to thinking about my own situation, and about how I'm single and have a limited social life but for the wonders of the internet and my phone. And those postal letter things on paper things with ink stuff. I am the textbook case of the girl who really doesn't get out much. Am I to be consigned to the scrapheap of spinsters? Are my chances of companionship obliterated to sod all? Have I passed the age of absolute happiness? Probably not. My life has changed so much in the last 3 years alone because of endometriosis and, because of that, obviously I've changed, too. Aside from my increased confidence and weight, my expectations and hopes for my own life have altered because of the surgery and treatments I've had, because of the prospects of pain, and the limitations imposed on me because of the pain. Aw, poor me, and so on.

The people I consider friends whom I've met in real actual places and online through Facebook and Twitter have very often been wonderful. It's lovely, of course, when people say you're bound to find someone, because it implies they think you're kind, caring, worth being with, worth talking to, that you are, essentially, relationshipable. Hey, new word! Someone call the people at the OED. But how? How am I meant to find someone? I wonder what kind of partner I make now. Am I worth it, worth being with? (I'm not going to do a Brick at this point, don't worry. Unless I want to laugh hysterically for an hour.) I'm a stressy person to be around, I think. On my good days, or at the OK times, when I'm not crying in pain (endometriosis) and sobbing because of the way I'm affected by the pain (depression), I'm really rather fabulous and lovely and funny and wonderful. Oh. Damn. I did a Brick. SHIT.

If I'm to be loved - by anyone, family, friend, other - it has to be for the way I am, including the not-so-good times as, indeed, it should be for anyone. When I'm depressed, I do not care. I mean, I care for my closest family and friends, but not about me and things and routine and clothes and emailing and texting and talking - I. don't. care. When I'm ill with periods, I need looking after. Even though, with the new medication, the pains are slightly less intense but I still need to be almost literally carried from, say, the floor of the hall to the sofa in the living room.

As the divine Marilyn Monroe said, "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." And how brilliantly true, from a beautiful and wonderful woman who suffered horribly with endometriosis and depression.

Really, what kind of prospect is that for a man? For anyone? It's rubbish. I know it's about love, and if he's good and true and honest and kind and all that, none of that will matter. But. I can't help but feel that I'll just not be anyone's other, someone's wife, the soulmate of a man with a love for Art and Blackadder and Doctor Who and tea. Not necessarily all of those but really - no tea? GET OUT.

Of course I don't want to be alone. I'm not bothered about going out every night and, let's be honest, that's *AMERICANISM KLAXON ALERT* SO not going to happen. When I can, I want to go to Art galleries, museums, exhibitions, see the new Aardman film at the cinema, visit those big posh houses in the country, watch documentaries about Mitchell and Kenyon, and DVDs of A Bit of Fry and Laurie. I want to be able to sit in front of the telly, with it switched off, and instead listen to Radio 4, and knit or crochet and swear when I do it wrong and then laugh and look up to see "The Man" laughing, too. I want to do all those things with "The Man". I want to be WITH someone, laugh with, literally go out with. BE WITH. I've been on my own - i.e. single - for so bloody long and I'm SO bored with it! And, y'know, I'm sort of getting on a bit now.

I already have 2 walking sticks. And, I must make myself totally clear at this point to ensure that you know, you lovely reader, you, that I don't have it all set out in a plan and believe it ABSOLUTELY MUST BE THAT WAY ELSE I SHALL DIE ALONE, SURROUNDED BY MY 11 CATS WHEN I AM 74. Common interests, shared passions, that sort of thing has to be there. I think. For me. In my opinion. I think. Clearly, The Man has to be exceptionally understanding about this almost impossible life of mine. Otherwise, as with the tea, BUGGER OFF.

And I don't like the tag of "singleton", because it sounds like something from Sex and the City and I unequivocally can not stand that programme. "Looking for love" sounds desperate. And "looking for Mr./Mrs. Right" is just crap. But is it my time to see if online dating is for me? Should I see what might happen among friends? Or maybe I ought to just not bother after a heartbreak of a few years ago which still brings a tinge of sadness to my mind whenever I think about what on Earth I did wrong. Again, obviously (probably) he wasn't worth bothering with (although, I do still think of him, and I wonder if he thinks of me) but that's where the wonderful and slightly pointless-in-its-lateness retrospect becomes useful. Except for its lateness. You GIT.

Whatever the answer is, I know the time is right for one thing: Ovaltine. After all, I am wearing my slippers. I'm so hot, yo. Bring on the admirers! Or not...

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1 comment:

  1. Well sweet girl, this post was very touching and beautiful...I love that you did a bit of Brick and I thought at the end when you said the time is right for Ovaltine that you were going to say the time is right for mind has gone kerazeeeee!!! I'm not going to ply you with any of the usual crap, all I will say is that everyone told me I had to change myself to find a man "you're too confident, too loud, too scary" etc etc etc and I thought bugger that...I want a man who likes confident,loud and soon as that happened, he if by magic. Keep believing kiddo...alternatively as long as your house doesn't smell too much of cat piss, I might come and visit you and your 11 cats when you are 74...I said might!! :o) xxxxx


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