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Feeling selfie-conscious

By April 28, 2016 87 Comments

I’m being more disagreeable than usual. But I’m pregnant. I blame the baby, or as I call him, ‘the excuse’. I was in the green room the other night and had an argument about Brexit even though I was voting the same way as the man I was arguing with. Then a comic expressed his disgust at Adam Johnson’s punishment for getting it on with the fifteen-year-old. Not the severity of the punishment, the fact of there being any punishment at all. ‘Did you see her?’ he asked aghast. But it wasn’t a mistake. Johnson didn’t accidentally whip his dick out thinking she was 25. ‘He knew she was 15. He knew it was illegal. He checked that online. He did it anyway. If you think it’s ok to shag a 13-year-old* why don’t you campaign to get the law changed?’ I quipped. Of course hormonal teenagers fancy adults. But now I’m in my thirties (stage age 29) it seems pretty gnarly pulling someone who spent their day in a playground trying to look legal. What would I know? Little boys clearly aren’t wearing enough make up to tempt me.

I moved on to safer ground. It’s been great gigging while pregnant. It seems to be amusing in and of itself. I was wolf whistled onto stage the other night, which was genuinely funny. Only this comic didn’t think it was funny, he thought it was a thing: pregnancy porn. That wasn’t where I’d been heading with my anecdote. ‘Pretty niche’ I managed. ‘Oh no, it’s a really big thing pregnancy porn. Because a pregnant woman’s nipples get darker.’ Pregnancy chat often naturally morphs into an, ‘oh yes, my ankles are swollen too’, but I had nothing to report back to this strange little man about nipple discolouration. I invoked the linea negra. A black line that can apparently appear down the centre of the stomach, and whose name has the virtue of being in Latin, which I am confident must make it niche masturbation material. Small talk, eh?

Another day, another dollar. Up the Creek has had a refurb and the new toilets are sublime. It used to be that you would return home after a night out and be grateful to use your own bathroom. Public amenities were something to be dreaded. They offered a moment to reflect on the diseases you might catch if your knees weren’t strong enough. Not anymore. Now they’re an opportunity to take a photograph of the stonewashed tiles you’ve always aspired to. I’m grateful, especially as I’ve never needed to pee so often in my life, but I’m disconcerted. There is more room for a sense of inadequacy in the average pub toilet these days than there is on all types of social media combined. These loos are more impressive than instagram snaps posted from a yacht. Because they’re just toilets and they’re decorated better.

Talking of snaps there’s nothing bleaker than seeing people pose for selfies. Especially young people who really know what they’re doing and will ardently pose for hours to capture an effortless image. What would I know? I’m older. Although time has its own advantages that I noticed at the airport recently. I was at an oyster bar with my water while my other half enjoyed a glass of wine. Alongside us a single woman slurped oysters and sipped champagne. Things have changed. I lived abroad on my own for years and got used to eating by myself. But then I couldn’t afford smart places so there was little risk of being mistaken for a high-end prostitute. (And what’s wrong with them? Many people have made happy second marriages from such encounters). I felt really happy that this woman looked so great and independent at this bar. I willed her to order another oyster platter like a gluttonous king. Instead she took out her phone and started taking shots of each oyster slithering from its shell into her carefully pouting mouth. This might work on a Testino shoot but everything looked repulsive at the airport including the oyster. Over and over she tried, like Sisyphus, to achieve the unachievable. You can’t take a picture of yourself looking like you don’t realise how great you look, because you’re taking a picture of yourself. So there it is. The camera and its phone makes us feel connected and at ease, but make us look as uncomfortable and out of place as we did when we weren’t supposed to leave the house without a chaperone. Maybe by the time Adam Johnson’s ‘seducer’ grows up, technology will be so advanced we’ll be able simply to blink and capture the idea of how we hope we look. Until then, it’s a fail.

*did I mention I’m pregnant?

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