Tag Archives: self-esteem

What’s so good about being called a ‘good girl’?

The first time he says it, he makes a face as he utters the words. Not in disgust, but definitely discomfort, as if he’s not used to saying them. The phrase might sound weird to his ears, but it’s wonderful to mine: good girl.


Comedy or tragedy? In which I fall for a stranger

The other day, I fell for a stranger. I choose my words here carefully. ‘Fell for’, not ‘fancied’ or ‘desired’. ‘Fell’, like you would if you slipped on a banana skin. Fall as in pratfall. But also fall as in ‘fail’. Perhaps this fall wasn’t a trip or a stumble (cue laughter track) but something more dismal, like a ‘fall’ off the edge of a cliff in a climactic episode of Eastenders. When I told this story to friends over WhatsApp, with a winky face and what I thought was a killer punchline, half of them reacted with sympathy. One asked if it was meant to be funny or sad. It was meant to be funny, but I guess if that isn’t obvious I should ponder why my friends are responding to the comedy of my life like it’s a tragedy. Maybe I should look a little closer. Let me tell you a story about falling for a man I’ve never met.


Not quite myself: me, guitars and weed

When I was growing up, there was always one dude in the group who would be known as The Stoner. Didn’t matter which group: there was always one guy who had this role. He would bring weed to parties and impress everyone by rolling neat spliffs that were perfectly packed. A skill born of plenty of practice, and many many many nights spent high.


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On fancying yourself

The vast, vast majority of the time, I am a loser. A lank-haired, jeans-wearing, slouching drunken loser. With a cider in my hand, a chip on my shoulder and a face like a bulldog chewing a whole hive of wasps.

I say this only to counter what’s coming next: right now I am hot.

I’m hot because I’ve had my hair cut – it swishes in that shiny way that some people achieve daily, but for me comes round only twice a year when I go for my biannual hack. I’m hot because I’ve spent the last week doing more exercise than I normally would and – although there’s no immediate visual difference – I feel stronger and livelier and readier to bounce around like a puppy on MDMA. I’m hot because I’m wearing knickers that cup my arse comfortably, and because I’ve been doing DIY in hot pants and getting dirty and sweaty and wet.

We need to deal with your high self-esteem issues

I’m British, of course, so writing the above paragraph was torture – it took me a good ten minutes to bash out just a few sentences without tagging something self-deprecating on to the end. I’ve been trained, through years of TV, magazines and friendly banter, that to talk about the things you actually like about yourself is a social crime. Like eating steak with the fish fork or passing a joint to the right.

Most of the time this makes sense. After all, we’d all be excruciating and insufferable if our conversations started not with “how are you?” but “how hot am I!?” We’d barely get beyond introductions before we were hurling into buckets at the appalling displays of self-love.

No, instead we must only ever speak of the bad stuff, while desperately hoping that other people notice the good. We’re trained to make the best of ourselves, so we spend hours primping and preening and picking out just the right kind of shoe only to shit on all that effort later on by replying “no, really, I look awful” when someone says something nice. It’s a reflex gesture, and one which makes sense most of the time. When the hard-earned compliments come, we bat them away with great force, because self-hate is a much more attractive quality than arrogance.

Start fancying yourself

I’ve got nothing wrong with light self-deprecation, and on an ordinary day I’m far more likely to make a tedious aside about my weight than to bounce into a room and shout “Look! Aren’t my tits brilliant?!”

But not today. Because, fuck it, I don’t always feel good. And on the rare occasions that I do, I want to start making the most of it. In fifty years time I’ll be yearning for the chance to wear this arse again, to sit in hot pants on a stepladder sugar-soaping walls and enjoying not just being me but looking like me too.

You should do it too – go on, do it. Fancy yourself a bit. There are bound to be bits of yourself that you’re not a fan of. But isn’t it bizarre that it’s these disliked bits that get all the attention? Hours in the gym toning a stomach that you hate. Days in front of the mirror shaping eyebrows or facial hair in some sort of damage limitation exercise. Weeks spent traipsing around shops that make clothes for people who always seem to be a different shape to you. All that time spent rectifying or changing or enhancing – how much time do you actually spend appreciating?

You don’t have to take pictures of yourself in sexy poses and pin them on the fridge, or give yourself cringeingly awkward motivational pep-talks about how beautiful you are. Just give yourself a bit of time to appreciate the things you fancy. The things that your partners will go primal for. Stand in front of a mirror if you like, touch yourself if you want to, put on or take off the clothes that make you feel best, and just revel in a bit of self-lust.

Because no one else can love you like you can.

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On new year’s resolutions

The first time I saw this picture I thought I had fat thighs. Then I realised that was mental, and no one gives a flying shit anyway. New Year is, apparently, a time for announcing to the world exactly what’s wrong with you.

You make resolutions so you can tell people “This year I’ll lose two stone/give up smoking/stop crywanking every Saturday night while watching films starring Jennifer Aniston.”

I wouldn’t mind that much, but there doesn’t seem to be anything to balance this out. We all know that there are some things that are wrong with us. Most of us are a bit fat, most of us have habits that are either bad for our health or irritating to our loved ones.

But we also all have certain qualities that are admirable, beautiful, or just plain cool.

Self-hatred ain’t sexy

During the first week of January, resolutions sweep through people I know like a wildfire of self-doubt. Friends who I have a very high opinion of will leap out of the woodwork and declare ‘hey, here’s my flaw – you might not have spotted it yet but it’s there.’

For the purposes of fuelling my rant, I’m going to use losing weight as an example.

Disclaimer: if you’re resolving to lose weight because your current weight causes you mobility/health problems, then not only do I 100% support you, but if you drop me an email I will give you some exciting tips on how to do it. OK, not necessarily exciting, they basically all consist of me saying ‘eat salad, then fuck vigorously’.

Most people are a bit fat, and I’ve spoken before about how guys who are a bit fat are pretty sexy. But above and beyond the aesthetic value of some hot jiggling, there’s something that comes even higher in the list of ‘things that are hot’ – not giving a shit about your weight.

Nothing is less sexy than someone moaning about their love handles. No one wants to listen to a partner telling them exactly how much weight they’ve put on, which bits of their body are the fattest, or exactly how many calories they’re limiting themselves to each day.

Feel free to make self-deprecating jokes about it, but as soon as you ‘resolve’ to ‘fix’ it, it becomes an issue. Something that your partners and friends feel they must notice, tiptoe-around, and pander to. Worst of all, it could even make them feel the need to ‘support’ you in your efforts by cooking you healthy food, or joining you in a run around the block.

A better new year’s resolution

Everyone’s got flaws – you might be a bit fat, need to ditch smoking, be an irritating cunt when drunk or, in my case, all of the above. But there are inevitably some things about you that are bloody great. You might be hilarious, generous in getting rounds in, in possession of a spectacular arse, or able to deep-throat people with aplomb.

So make new year’s resolutions if you like, but as a gesture towards the well-rounded and at-least-partially-brilliant person you inevitably are, why not pick one or two things that you definitely don’t want to change? Choose two things that are ace about you, and resolve, with all the willpower that your awesome mind can muster, to keep them exactly as they are.