The noble How-to has been about since the dawn of time. Or at least since the dawn of writing. Or at least since the dawn of print. It's been around a long time now. It's lasted millennia/centuries because there is no end of things people need instruction on. Also the terrible revelation of your 30s (uh, so I hear) is that you realise nobody really knows quite what they're doing and having a definitive guide to ignore brings comfort and a warm glow. The How-to can range from how to make a cake, to how to put shelves up to how to be a human. YES. Our insecurity knows no bounds it seems and Country Life knows this. Hence the publications of its rules for men in the wake of its new Gentleman of the Year Award.
So this week we met Miley Cyrus's grown-up adult tongue. The former Disney star who captured our hearts (and had us all fooled - as I understand the format of the show to be?) as Hannah Montana knew it would take more than a pixie crop to show us she was 20 now. And so she trod that path many a Disney star has trodden in a bid to shed her Micky Mouse ears and did stuff on the VMA stage that Daisy Duck only does in private. The Mouseketeers started it, but we can't all snog Madonna on stage (stars, they're just like us!) to show we're grown-ups now. So, in sympathy with Miley et al's struggle we have come up with some ideas on how to shed your child star image...
Dude you got a window! Image: J Wynia
It has been a while since we had a How-to on Squeamish Bikini and, living nearby two universities, we note that students who have graduated or are on their summer break will probably be looking for something to put a dent in their ever increasing debt.
A summer job that you can do hungover (sorry, I am obliged to stereotype you student body - by all means bring me in for a stern word with your student rep) means waiting is out. Handling food, carrying trays of drinks, writing stuff down on a tiny notepad? No, that's not doable on any of the usual hangover symptoms of sickness, shakiness and headaches.
To the trusty call centre then? Well over the weekend The Guardian published a What I'm Really Thinking article from a call centre worker. Do you really want a employment with a job description like this: "Soaking up all this rage for a salary of 17,000." Didn't think so. You can work in a shop but all that standing hastens the development of varicose veins.
Lady in red Jessica Rabbit Image: Sylvar
You know, a little while back BBC show Woman's Hour, (32.20 minutes in) which is sadly not airing today, had a feature on wearing red. We weren't aware but apparently it's a notoriously tough colour to wear. According to the British Heart Foundation (which you can donate to here) a third of women "secretly wish they had the confidence to wear red." They worry it draws too much attention to them.
This, dear reader, is silly. Red is a wonderful colour that doesn't even say 'look at me' - here's lesson 1 about wearing colours, colours say nothing. Only the wearer gets to make utterances or statements, if people let their clothes speak for them nothing would get done. Or said.
Anyway, as it's midweek and Wednesday is always a wash out, we thought a How-to was in order. If you are still standing in front of your wardrobe (and probably incredibly late for work) wondering what to wear we are here to help zhoosh up your outfit with red...
Image: Dave the Grey
Do you use social media? Hey have you seen this?! Men in heels marching for safe streets! In Toronto men have gathered together to oppose violence against women in Walk a Mile in her Shoes Excellent, excellent, with this gesture some men have shown they really have the measure of being a lady! Sometimes (oh OK, all the time) I feel this is the same mentality that brings to the market pink tasers. Is this dismissive of me? I have written before about the importance of feminist intersectionality and inclusivity. So why do these gestures of support sit so badly with me?
Image: Megan McMillan
This week's Geek Girl's Guide on how to live long and prosper involves spread sheets, Microsoft Excel, various charts and maths. This is not just about getting healthy, this is about adding a skill to your CV.
There are good foods, and there are bad foods, although not in the context we're usually told. So yes, some foods that boost health can also be bad for you. Take red wine, for example. It's good for the heart; it contains tumour-reducing chemicals; it's good for the stomach. However, combining it with driving is inadvisable, and one can become addicted to it. The key is moderation. Alcohol contains 4cal/g and is of little nutritive value for its calorie count; therefore, it counts in the 20% 'because I need comfort food' allowance. [sigh - Squeamish team]
YEAH! Image: Venturist
Today we continue with our antidote to traditional slimming articles, instead Squeamish Bikini guest Bridget continues her guide on how to be healthy...
A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Okay, that's how to be thin. The secret was just hidden in a poem by A. A. Milne, and needed re-examining. I recently rode a bicycle the length of England, and can attest to the truth of Mr. Milne's statement. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and still managed to look less Winnie the Pooh-like by the end. The moral of the story being this: you can gorge yourself on almost anything, provided you exercise vigorously for around five hours per day. For those of you who don't have the time or energy to do that amount of exercise, let's continue with the Geek Girl's guide to being healthy.
Image: House of Frankenstein
Articles and How-to guides concerning dieting and weight loss always seem to be relevant. In spring it’s all about getting that bikini body in time for summer, come Autumn you’ve got to lose that ice lolly weight for the office Christmas party or no one will snog you by the photocopier. Come January we are supposed to start all over again because the survey says we’re all looking a little Christmas pudding-esque. Guest writer Bridget is fed up with this, and using her nutrition knowledge has put together a guide that, over the next few weeks, will focus simply on being healthy - whatever shape you are. This week Bridget explains the importance of sleep.
Can I start by saying that I hate 'How To Get Thin' articles. They're on the same list as 'Be His Dream Lover' articles, and 'How To Have It All' articles: the list that people should stop publishing.
Instead I would like to venture an attempt to create a guide for a healthy lifestyle, because so much of food advertising, labelling, and teaching are contrary to what science would recommend, and would make the nutrition lecturers at my alma mater shudder. (Bonus reading: Fat Is A Feminist Issue and The Real Me Is Thin.)
The man in the moon is concerned with your cycle. Image: Allier
Here's a quick word association game. Periods. Popular culture. Quick! What's the first thing that comes to your mind? Carrie? Yeah, me too. How old is that film anyway?
Plenty of women have sought to challenge this. I encountered the wonderful Adventures in Menstruation zine at a gig and loved it. Something in written form concerning menses and 'feminine hygiene' that sounded like the actual conversations I had with friends! No “do you ever...not feel so fresh – down there?” around here. (Not that we don't feel fresh, y'know, down there).
From my experiences I think that if you grew up gendered female and being told about menstruation, it's discussed as something that would then take up a significant portion of your life. Not to mention several conversations. Considering this the subject of periods is usually presented as a fact of life with very few options. If you take the pill continuously, have the injection, the coil or use another form of birth control you needn't even menstruate if you don't want to.
I have never been one for outdoorsy type events, especially if it entails sleeping in a tent. I remember attempting to spend a night in a tent in an Oxfordshire garden during the summer holidays circa 1992. I think I made it until about midnight before I dragged my cold and creeped out butt back into the warmth of central heated and electric lit shelter and more importantly to the controls of my best friend’s Mega Drive.
Now it’s 2012 and as I awkwardly ‘helped’ put up our plasticy flimsy makeshift home for the weekend of the 24th to the 27th of August, my mate cried out “We’re civilised, the Enlightenment happened, we don’t need to be outside anymore!”
On that first day of Doune the Rabbit Hole – a music festival hidden away in a fort in Carron Valley in Scotland – I agreed but by the end of it I knew how to take on the an outdoors and win! Here are my tips to festival survival and a wee look Doune the Rabbit Hole...