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On #TweetYourTeenageSelf

Every now and then Twitter goes on a nostalgia trip – everyone starts using the hashtag #TweetYourTeenageSelf to dispense wisdom their real teenage self would never have listened to.

But I’d have liked it, I think. Even if I didn’t take the advice. We’ve all got wisdom we’ve love to impart to our younger, less knowledgeable selves. And I’d certainly pay big bucks now to hear from GOTN aged fifty, and find out what I should or shouldn’t do in the next twenty years to avoid being a spectacular fuck-up.

This post is a bit saccharine, bordering on the cheesy, but anyone who has read my book will know that although I come across as a sex-crazed harpy, there’s an emotional romantic underneath. She’s just quite deep underneath.

So, in no particular order, here are the top five things I wish I’d known as a teenager.

1. There’s no such thing as ‘good in bed’

Really. I used to believe that being ‘good in bed’ was like having decent hand-eye coordination: a skill that you either had or didn’t. The nervousness that accompanied my first few fumbling shags was made more terrifying by the knowledge that This Was It – the time when I would find out whether I was part of team Goodshag, or team OhChristThatWasShocking.

It turns out that’s not the case at all: one person’s Goddess is another’s Godawful, and there’s no one holding up scorecards when you’re lying in a postcoital sweat. Sex isn’t a skill that individuals have or don’t have: it’s a skill you learn together.

2. People you fancy rarely notice the things you hate about yourself

I say ‘rarely’ because there are some things – being overweight or excessively tall, for example – that have attracted the odd comment from guys I’m attracted to. But in general, the worries I have about my appearance are things that my loved ones only notice if I point them out myself. For instance, I’ve got a slightly dodgy tooth that prevents me from smiling too often, but people are far more likely to notice that I’m not smiling than the reason for my grumpy face.

So, I’d tell teenage me: there’s basically nothing wrong with you, because there’s something different about everyone.

3. Your cunt is actually something straight guys like looking at

Ah, youth. That period of time when all the things about your body that are usually hidden under clothes suddenly become fixations for your own self-disgust. I remember being quite unnaturally scared of what my cunt looked like when I was younger. It looked a bit like the cunts in porn, but not exactly the same, even when I tried to shave it so I’d look more grown up.

The first time a guy went to go down on me I leapt away in terror, begging him to turn the lights off lest he see the actual lines and curves of it. I’d probably have enjoyed teenage sex more if I could glimpse the future: a future in which I’m lying on a bed in my own grown-up flat as a boy I love runs his hands over it and tells me, for the millionth time “you’ve got a pretty cunt.”

4. Those douchebags don’t actually care what you wear

Like most people I know, I had a fairly rough time in school. I was tall, broad, scruffy, and not very good at makeup. What I’d loved to have known is that the people who laughed at me for being a goth didn’t actually give a flying fuck what I wore. I could have come in dressed head to toe in designer gear, with hair dyed blonde and swishy, heels that rapped a sexy rhythm as I sashayed down the corridor – they’d still have said the same old shit.

Because real life is nothing like an American teen movie. No one changes their place in the hierarchy just by getting a makeover, because the cool kids’ disgust has nothing to do with what you wear or look like – those are just easy things to get bitchy about. Their opinions are actually founded on some arbitrary moment in the past where people were divided into cool and not-cool. These labels stuck

But don’t worry – your label will expire the second you leave the building.

5. There is more than one love of your life

That guy you’re head over heels for? He’ll go. Then there’ll be another, and he’ll go too. Then there’ll be more who – you guessed it – will go. And each and every time it’ll feel unjust and impossible. You’ll want to scream and cry and tear the world apart because you just loved them so much and you’ll never find someone like that again and oh God how can you survive this pain? This misery feels utterly unbearable.

But don’t worry: you’ll bear it.


  • riz says:

    Partially disagree with 1. Largely, in fact.

    Some people are creative, others not so. Some have a developed sense of how their physical actions (a dirty look, a moan in a certain tone, a bite in the thigh at a certain time of cunnilingus (what a deliciously professional term for something so base)) can provoke guttural lust deep down in the stomach of their partner, while others just don’t think like that. Some people realise that something unexpected at a key moment can be the difference between getting her off and getting her to see colours.

    I completely agree that chemistry is critical and that is often a chance thing, something physiological in some cases. But some people are good, regardless.

    • Alex says:

      A good point, some people will be more in tune with cues from their partners and others will be less sensitive to this. As with physical beauty, it’s not. all in the eye of the beholder. We would all broadly agree on who is really good looking and who is really not. But we would never all have exactly the same opinion. This is what I think GOTN net means; a well placed bite on the thigh during oral sex will send you into raptures and it may do the same for a majority of women. However, there are women out there who would hate it and just want their pussy licked. And there are insensitive men who would never give ‘thigh biting’ a second thought to cater for them. Good sex is not about doing it with skilled operators but mixing your needs with another’s talents and vice verse. All pieces of a jigsaw are created equally but when you find the one that fits, it will bring you more pleasure than all the other pieces. And guess what? There are always new pieces that will fit as the jigsaw grows.
      So, I’ve reduced human sexuality to a two dimensional child’s game. It will probably be a picture of a great big cunt anyway, lmao.

  • Daisy says:

    Love this so much!

    I would #TweetMyYoungerSelf but 140 characters isn’t nearly enough -so here’s something I wrote about this time last year.

    Dear Daisy,

    Wow, aren’t you thin? Shush, you are. Size 16 is next to nothing, particularly when you compare it to almost size 30 which is what you’ll be by the time you’re my age.

    How old am I? Oh ancient. Almost 47. So yeah, practically dead as far as you’re concerned. You need to stop thinking that though, because the last 30 years have absolutely flown by for me as they will for you too.

    The most important thing I’m here to tell you is this – be who you are. There is no need to try and be anything or anybody different.

    It’s pointless me telling you this of course. You will continue to try to be all things to all people, drowning under the weight of your perception of their expectation, for at least the next ten years.

    Soon after that though, you will just wake up one morning and think “enough”. Amd almost overnight your life will change. I wish I could make you come to that realisation sooner, but I guess everything you have to go through before then is what has shaped me into who I am – and who you will be.

    It sounds trite to say “everything will turn out okay” – but it really will. You’re never going to be rich, or famous, or wildly successful, but you will always have just about enough – enough money, enough love, enough hope, but never quite enough time, so make the most of every minute.

    Pick your battles wisely, stand up for what you believe in. YOU really do only get one shot and this is not a rehearsal!

    I wish I could protect you from some of the hurt that is coming your way, but it’s enough to know that you are strong enough to deal with it.

    Stop beating yourself up about the way you look. All your friends might be thinner than you, but go and ask them if they are all 100% happy with their looks. If they say they are, just give them a knowing look. No one is. We all have the little things we would like to change. We just have to make the best of what we’ve got – honey, sooner rather than later, stop draping yourself in maternity clothes. You’re a teenager and you’re not pregnant! Celebrate your curves. A sofa covered in the biggest plainest throw you can find is still a sofa – it is not going to blend into the background just because it’s covered up.

    People ARE going to stare at your ass – give them something to stare at!

    If I was sensible, I would be sending you some lottery numbers that you would find pretty useful – but you and I both know that actually, neither of us are all that sensible and in my experience (and yours too as you will come to find out) – the best prizes are often the ones you weren’t expecting.

    Life has a funny way of dealing you a good hand every now and then – make sure you play your cards right.

    Lots of love (yeah, I do love me – I know YOU don’t right now, but you will)

    Daisy. xxx

  • Kitty says:

    What I’d tell my younger self:

    Girls like sex too. Ie, the whole pulling / dating / girlfriend rituals, stop panicking, they’re just as keen to find a partner as you are.

    Mostly, girls aren’t any more experienced than you are and have the same hang-ups. Get over yourself, no-one’s actually realistically expecting Brad / Angelina to walk into their life.

    Being funny is good. Being a geek is good. These qualities will serve you well. (Ok, they might not get you laid, but it’ll give you confidence.)

    You know what? You’re an alright guy. Stop being neurotic and enjoy being you.

    Your cock is a) normal and b) lovely.

  • Kitty says:


    I think you fancy Daisy.


  • Where we’re going, we don’t need names. says:

    These are all good things to tell a younger self.

    I’d tweak number one a little, myself. My version would be “There is no such thing as ‘good in bed’. There is only ‘good TOGETHER in bed’. Some combinations of people just work. Some just don’t. You’ll eventually get the hang of predicting which are which.”

  • ken says:

    A message to 16y/o me? 140 characters isn’t going to get it done.

    OK Dude *

    Stop worrying about when you’re going to lose your virginity and who with. Because if you don’t stop you’ll have those worries for ten more years (trust me on this) and consequential insecurities for at least ten more (the clock is still running on that one).

    Also, when Roslyn asks you out next year, say yes. It doesn’t matter if some of your friends will take the piss.. you actually really like her, and she has outstanding norks.

    Finally.. you’ll eventually figure out that people worth liking will like you more if you stop trying to be the guy you think that people you want to be liked by would like. The sooner the better on that one.

    Actually, there’s something else.. don’t get into ‘acid jazz’. It’s really shit.

    * I’d call myself ‘dude’ to reassure 16y/o-me that 36y/o me never did tire of casual ironic idiocy

  • Rory says:

    You’re not gonna get laid more than two or three times year over the average of your life, but you’re also not gonna care that much either.

    Is what I’d say.

    But somehow I think it’d just upset him even more.

  • Ash says:

    oh God. So many things I’d like to tell my teenage self. Here’s a few of them.

    – You see the hot girl at the bus stop? Yeah, she’s gonna get knocked up in a couple years and when you see her in the mall at 21 pushing a stroller with another kid beside her you’ll wonder what you’re on about. Meanwhile, see that girl a bit away from her? The fat one? Yeah, you’re gonna date her for three years, she’s gonna get skinny and hot during that time and you’ll both be happy as fuck.

    – Don’t smoke. You’ll pick up the habit and hate yourself for it when you have to skip taking said love out on a nice date because you bought smokes instead. Plus it really is bad for you.

    – All that stupid anarchist/punk crap you believe right now? You’ll outgrow it. So don’t let it get in the way of what matters. Don’t dump Tiana just coz her folks vote Liberal or get in a fight over trivial shit.

    – Above all, STAY THE FUCK OUT OF TROUBLE. You’ll run up a rap sheet in time and it WILL hurt you for real in the future when you can’t get a job cause you cant pass a police check.

    – One last thing – you do actually have a pretty big dick. That guy who always makes smart comments that people of your ethnicity can’t be packing? Tell him to ask his girlfriend after the Year 11 formal.

  • Ay None says:

    If I thought my teenage self would listen, I’d mostly just warn her about the abusive relationship that would eat a year and a half of her life. She’d be better off without that.

    It would be nice if she could manage to be less uptight about sex as well, otherwise by the time she finds someone who truly rocks her boat on that front it’ll be a decade too late. Sigh.

  • Hyacinth says:

    I love all your things and I also like how a couple of people modified your #1. I’d have to agree with them: it’s good in bed together, blah blah blah.

    I’d especially make sure to tell myself that no one notices that my lips are too thin or that I’m hairy. LOL

    God, the things we were tortured about makes me laugh. Of all the things to worry about! It’s embarrassing…

  • J says:

    Dear young J,

    The way television comedies portray relationships is very stereotyped and unrealistic. I know that being at a boys’ school might lead you to believe that boys and girls are totally different (why separate them otherwise?), but actually you’re living in a timewarp and you’ll discover that the most interesting thing about people is not their gender.

    Also, please drop that libertarian bullshit. You’re going to feel extremely silly about it once you’ve been out of public school a few years.


  • What I’d tell my teenage self: Girls are criticising you because you behave differently because of a learning difficulty. They are telling you you’re ugly because they can’t think of anything more constructive to say. You are not ugly. When you get older, some women will like you because of your looks. Some women. Neither are you stupid. Your intelligence is intact.

    Good blog post! Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. Strange how people can be carved by experiences from a short 5-year period.

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