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Two years.

Two years.

October is a bit of a funny month for me. It's home to a few major anniversaries and memories - some of which I'd like to forget. My childhood dog was put down in October, I've been dumped (twice!) in October, I was burgled, I've been made redundant, and (a good one this time) it's the month I moved to Glasgow. While I wouldn't consider myself to be a particularly paranoid person, I do feel like waving sage around my house when October comes around each year.

But there's another anniversary that makes me incredibly emotional - and in a good way.

And that's my outiversary.

While I might be unapologetically bisexual now: it was only two years ago, a month before my 27th birthday, that I stood in my kitchen one Friday night and decided I was done.

Last year, on #BiVisibilityDay, I wrote a blog post explaining why it took me so long to come out and I'm not planning to re-hash the entire story. What I'm going to focus on in this post is the coming out itself and how my life has changed since that night.

My coming out wasn't entirely out the blue and was a progression (or a reaction!) to another major decision. Somewhere in late summer 2017, a memory came up on my Facebook from many years ago. In the photo, were me and a frenemy who had been in my life since 2009. The person in question is a highly problematic individual and when I looked at the photo, I felt something switch in me. My awkward and shy face. Their creepy fucking smile. The timestamp that reminded me that I had put up with their shit for far too long.

While I had tried to distance myself a few times in the past, I had always ultimately chickened out. But something about the painfully awkward facial expression of my 19-year-old self made me snap. This time I was walking away from that person for good and anyone who enabled them.

Fast forward a few months later and I'm in my kitchen just minutes away from the moment where I'd snap about my sexuality.

You see, the weekend I came out was the same weekend as their birthday party. I wasn't going. I had been chased to go by mutual friends and I hadn't caved. I was really walking away. 

And within the adrenaline of all this, I found the strength to do something else: that night, I became an openly bisexual woman. The moment was so poignant to me that I remember that I was looking in my fridge when I made the decision. There's a running joke with my friends that I came out of the fridge rather than the closet.

My coming out was subtle and many people probably missed it. That night all I did was change my sexual orientation on my dating apps. And I only began to actually tell people when I began meeting girls off of Tinder. It would still take me another year to become the proudly in-your-face-bisexual that I am today.

The next four months of my life were some of the most emotional of my life. This is the time period where I began to come out socially. I mean, I count my outiversary as that moment in my kitchen but there was still some work to be done. I began dropping it into blog posts (the first time is here) and then told people as I began to go on dates. If you're one of the friends who I came out to directly (rather than just finding out from a blog post) I can remember exactly how it was done. Maybe you don't. But I remember where I was when I did it, and how the conversation got to that point. Those moments have never left me.

I also began seeing girls I knew on dating apps, so I guess the news was going to get out.

And while I'm at home with my story now there are still those moments where I look back - with an actual tear in my eye - and think: holy fuck I actually did it. 

For those of you who have never had to come out, the emotion I feel around this anniversary might be hard to understand.

But the impact coming out has had on my emotional and mental health has been profound. While, yeah, coming out might seem no more than a moment where I can go "woohoo, I get to date girls now" it was a lot more than that. In the year that followed that night, I felt like I was being reborn.

If you've known me for more than two years, you might recall how awkward a human I used to be. I never went to the GP so I'm hesitant to use the term and self-diagnose, but my younger self very likely suffered from social anxiety. The link between LGBTQ+ individuals and mental health problems are well documented. And for me, that manifested in struggling to connect with people, overthinking absolutely everything, being scared people were judging me for the tiniest of things, and struggling to make chit chat. I also suffered from arachnophobia (which, no, not officially diagnosed either but on more than one occasion I was left sobbing uncontrollably because a spider was in the house). I'm not a psychiatrist and have no idea if this medically adds up: but sometimes I think spiders were the physical manifestation of my anxiety. Either way, I don't have the phobia now (just a strong dislike).

Very recently I read Brave New Girl by Chloe Brotheridge. Chloe is a therapist who specialises in anxiety disorders and there was one tidbit in this incredible book that hit me right in the sweet spot: carrying a massive secret around can sometimes be the root cause of anxiety.


A lot makes sense now.

The thing is: after coming out I found confidence for the first time in my life. I began to move around the world with more ease, rather than shuffling around like I had done before. I looked people in the eye when they spoke to me. I could talk back if I needed to. I felt less weird having serious conversations. I could actually connect with people on a deep, emotional level.

Having the confidence to be honest about who I found attractive opened up the door for me to become honest about who I was in every sense of the word. I ditched hobbies that I only had a passive interest in and focused on my passions instead. My clothing choices became more consistent. I became confidently vegan rather than awkwardly pretending I wasn't hungry. I've also shared publicly that I would consider an open relationship. I applied to a university course last year that would have resulted in a change of career direction. I post things online that I know my family won't like, but I know now that I don't live for them.

I've become the most honest version of myself in every way possible. And, fuck, does it feel good.

And the thing is? Nothing bad came from coming out. All those years I was scared to be myself because I felt like I was too nerdy, too bisexual, too introverted, too awkward, or too vegan. Truth is: the only people I lost were the people I chose to walk away from in the summer of 2017. In the two years since I've come out, I've developed - for the first time in my life - a proper support system. Not just people to hang out with or people I talk to in a superficial way. But deep, emotional, and authentic relationships.

High school me would think you were lying if she was to be told that the 28-year-old version of her would say these words but...

....I'm popular now?

People like the real me. They really like her. Some people actually love her.

One of my friends Abbey - who I met about eight months after I came out of the fridge - told me that her favourite thing about me is that "Morag is just so Morag". I almost cried when she told me this as less than a year before I met her I was only just beginning to embrace the honest version of myself.

I've also received DMs from people thanking me for how open I am. And that shit always makes me cry happy tears. I want to hug the younger version of me and everyone who feels they have to hide from the world for something so trivial.

Coming out of the closet also helped clear up another issue that had followed me around for years: my inability to commit to someone romantically. I've only had two official relationships in my life, but these were both when I was a lot younger. I have spent the bulk of my twenties single. Which has been fine, as being single is not a bad thing. However, one reason I was hesitant to commit to anyone was that I wasn't being honest about who I was attracted to. Yes, I could have just married a man because, duh, I have always been genuinely attracted to those creatures. But I couldn't do so while knowing that I hadn't given myself to full opportunity to date all the genders that I really wanted to before picking that one special person. There was that nagging thought "do I really want to end up with a man, or would I prefer a girl?". If I end up with a man now, I'll confidently know that it's just how things worked out.

A few months after coming out I started dating a girl in the late spring of 2018. It ended a few months after it began, and after we parted ways the idea of a serious romantic partner to whom I was committed to was no longer scary. I no longer felt like I would be missing out on something that I secretly craved. Bisexuals don't have to have slept or dated a person of every gender to be valid but, for me, I didn't want to go to my grave having not done so.

Since then I've been fine with the idea of romantic commitment. I've not found anyone, but I have given random suitors a real chance. Not long after things ended with that girl, I began to develop my first big crush on someone in years. It was a man, and the idea of committing to him didn't seem scary. I mean, it didn't work out in my favour but it was nice to have a big crush on someone without being scared to do something about it (new Morag wasn't scared to pursue and did speak up!)

I've also given some thought as to how I would like to identify. I love that language has evolved to include new identities that explicitly describe someone's sexual attraction. I've chosen bisexual mostly because its the mainstream term and you don't need to explain it to people. Though the word bisexual does come with stigma, because when you get technical (and pedantic) about it: it means attracted to two genders. I do not believe there are only two genders and I am attracted to people across the gender spectrum. But I wouldn't say I'm gender blind, which is why I've always rejected the term pansexual. But there is a power in reclaiming words that have negative connotations and I would love to see the meaning of the word bisexual shift to reflect the modern world. But sometimes I worry that this is my cis-privilege showing (call me out if I need it).

However, two other identities I feel comfortable with are polysexual and fluid. Polysexual means attracted to many genders, but not all. Which does more closely sum up how I feel. But I have had to explain what it means to people - even people on queer dating apps! And fluid means that someone's sexual orientation can shift. My attraction has always been fluid, and I have no "fixed point" on how attracted I am to different genders. Months can pass by where I feel monosexual, but then I shift back into the centre.

Coming out about my sexual attraction also created an environment where I began to explore my romantic attraction and attitude towards relationships in general. I wrote about it in-depth earlier this year. When I began dating a girl in spring 2018, it was the first time where there was a big conversation about what we were, rather than just making assumptions based on labels. We were romantically and sexually involved, but we agreed that we were not life partners and were free to date other people (but be honest about it). To be fair, I had mentioned in passing before coming out that I felt curious about polyamory and open relationships (me and my first ever boyfriend talked about it!). Since we parted ways a year ago, I have tried to make a habit of talking openly to any sexual and romantic companions on how we show up on each other's life. This chat always goes down better with queer people. Even bisexual men are in tune with the idea that it's not okay to assume what you are to someone (straight men are still very bad at assuming).

Dating as bisexual woman has had a few pitfalls. I'm now a prime target for those pesky unicorn hunters. And while threesomes are a very valid sexual fantasy, the way these couples go about wooing bisexual women is so...odd. So odd, in fact, that I have a half-written guide in my drafts about how to do it ethically!

And then there's the Gold Star Lesbians who would never touch a bisexual girl. In fact, the bulk of girls I've flirted with online have been bisexual (or something similar). Very rarely do I have gay women in my DMs.

But here's my personal favourite: straight dudes who I've matched with asking what my preference is. One, it's a very personal question to ask someone who is no more than a Tinder match. And two, it stinks of the myth that bisexuals can't help themselves and will ultimately cheat on you with someone of another gender so, hey, let's check that she's more into men than girls so that I can trust her. Okay, I don't know their reasoning behind asking that question, but that's how it feels to be asked. Also: my preference doesn't stick for long (this week alone I've switched my Tinder back and forth between men and women).

Near the tail end of 2018, one of the mutual friends with the aforementioned frenemy popped up in my Messenger Inbox. We'd remained friendly-ish but she ultimately acted as if she expected me to change my mind and come running back (probably because I had in the past). I was invited to her NYE party, where I knew that person would be. I declined. Right after the new year, she messaged me pleading saying that she missed me and that she would ditch this person if it meant getting me back.

Ultimately, I didn't take her back (but hear me out).

A lot had changed since that night in my kitchen. She didn't miss me. At least she didn't miss the real me. She missed the super obedient, shy, and non-confrontational version of me that I used to be. She missed a girl that was similar to me, but ultimately wasn't me. Not true me, anyway. And our friendship had always been wooden because of that.

But also, I knew from my days in the closet that she doesn't believe bisexuals are real. As in, I've heard her say that word for word. That's the thing with spending a chunk of your adult life in the closet: you know who the secret bigots are. And she was one. You don't need to be a brain scientist to make the connection between my decision to walk away from that particular group of people and my decision to come out.

And when I turned her down, she stayed friends with the person who was stood with me in that photo - despite knowing how badly they had behaved over the years. She was never going to walk away from that person because it would have been the morally right thing to do - she was only offering to walk away if it meant salvaging a friendship that lacked any real depth (hi if you're reading).

These days I am loud and proud about my sexuality. And I know that annoys some people. There are the flat-out bigots who just want everyone to marry someone of the "opposite" sex and make babies (they probably believe women should be in the kitchen too). Then there are the "I'm not against it but why do we need Pride" types.

Quite frankly: fuck you.

I spent my teenage years terrified that someone would catch on to the fact that I fancied a girl two years above me. I tried to fight it for most of my early twenties. It caused me to have social anxiety. I became frightened of my own feelings. I've missed out on pursuing girls who I liked in a mushy way because I didn't want to admit that I liked girls in a mushy way.

I was scared to love. And no one should be scared to love.

Coming out is my proudest achievement, but it shouldn't be. What kind of world are we living in that someone's proudest achievement is learning to love themselves in a world that still tells them not to? Or overcoming the gaslighting from a society that tells us that bisexuals don't really exist?

Coming out is bullshit and shouldn't be a thing. It's easier now to come out of the closet than it was a decade ago. But not everyone can live life freely. Even though I'm a millennial and don't belong to a generation fuelled with hatred, it still took me over a decade to come out. I also live in a safe enough country, but it still took me over a decade to come out. Yes, society's changing attitude helped me slowly get there - but ultimately it was letting go of the wrong people.

But despite coming out on the internet, there are still situations where I choose to stay quiet.

I'm lucky enough to be out at work. It's the travel industry, an industry that is typically dominated by women and a lot of the men that do work in it are LGBT+ themselves. I also work in digital marketing, which is hardly the most corporate occupation ever. But I do sometimes fear the day when I move on and have to come out all over again (or choose not to!).

But I have also discovered bi-erasure first hand. Very recently I met a new person who, when I mentioned I was going on a date, immediately used male pronouns. On this occasion, I was going on a date with a man but I wasn't sure if I wanted to randomly start a conversation saying "hey, on this occasion, it is a man I'm going on a date with but just so you know...".

And then there are the people who know fine well I'm bisexual but still seem to forget.

I have made the decision, however, not to explicitly come out to my family. Since I'm loud about it online, I know a lot of them must know. It's not a secret; they are allowed to know. Largely the reason I've never told them is that the topic has never arisen. When I came out to my friends, it was when I began going on dates with girls and non-binary people. I didn't say anything until there was something to tell them. But because I've never had the kind of relationship with my family where they'd know about random flings and Tinder dates, the natural opportunity has never come up. They only know when I'm dating someone if the person I'm dating becomes an official partner - and that's why I've ultimately made the decision to only explicitly say "I like girls" if I meet a girl I want to commit to on a serious level.

And I know there might be an element of "bi-privilege" to this but: I might still end up with a guy anyway, and I'd rather not put myself through an awkward conversation with family members about liking girls only to never bring one home.

Saying that I am very grateful for the family members who have liked posts on Instagram and Facebook that acknowledge my sexuality. That's all I'm looking for. I don't really feel like having an in-depth chat about my sex life with family members, thank you very much. I chose to come out in a natural way, and I'd prefer for it to be acknowledged in a natural way.

Would my life be different if I had come out sooner? Yeah, probably. But given I was surrounded by biphobic assholes for years, I was never safe to. And I stand by that. Words can be weapons and having friends who denied the existence of bisexual people caused me to doubt my own sense of self. I've not forgiven the people who made me feel like I had to hide the real me - and probably never will.

There is nothing wrong with not being out. We all have different stories and varying levels of safety. I'm not even sure if I would come out sooner if I could do my life again. All I care about is that I am out now and sharing my story loudly so that fewer people have to feel the way I did for over a decade. If just one person accepts themselves after reading this 4,000-word ramble then I consider the multiple re-writes to be worth it.

When writing this post I chose to not hold back. Part of me did almost remove certain anecdotes (mainly the parts where I discuss family and ex-friends) but I wanted it to be the real story of how coming out changed my life. Not a wishy-washy version of the story where I'm like "yeah, everything's great now and I'm not angry at all".

But all things aside, the last two years of my life have been the happiest and most peaceful of my life. I'm finally sitting right in my own skin and I'm no longer frightened of everything. And all because I did something as simple as admitting to myself that I could fall in love with someone regardless of their gender or sex.

That night in my kitchen I never imagined that coming out would lead to the level of happiness I now feel. The idea that finally accepting the very thing that I had tried to run from for over a decade was the very thing that would set me free still seemed too bizarre. I was scared really fucking scared, but it turned out I had nothing to be scared about. Because that night was the night my life really began.

Anniversaries are always special, no matter what they celebrate or mourn. But some just hold a larger significance.

And for me, the most special anniversary of all is the one where I took a deep breath and gave myself permission to love. Not just permission to love people of all genders, but permission to love myself in all my bisexual reality.

13th October 2017.
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morag | mo adore
A Batgirl fangirl's guide to starting a comic book collection

A Batgirl fangirl's guide to starting a comic book collection

Society might tell you that comics are for children and emotionally stunted men who live in their mums' basements.

I am neither a child nor an emotionally stunted man, but I love comics. In fact, I collect Batgirl comics and it's one of my life goals to collect every single issue. Including the variant covers. I'm saving to buy my own flat right now and when I finally do have my own place I intend to display my collection in a way so that everyone who visits will be graced with Barbara Gordon's amazing wit and intellect. 

Maybe I am a nerd who needs to get out more. 

But if you thought this was a childhood obsession that got a bit out of hand once I was a grown-up with my own income, you would be wrong. I started reading comics at the age of 24. 

Yes, at the age of 24 I randomly decided that I wanted to become a comic reader. I didn't know specifically at that point that I'd end up collecting Batgirl comics but something about reading comics spoke to me. I had always been obsessed with pop culture and over the years began to gravitate towards superhero films and comics were a natural progression.

But it took me a long time to find out what comics appealed to me, and that I wanted to pursue a Batgirl collection. There are a lot of comic genres and creators out there, and even if you have a rough idea of what you want to read you still have to find out what issues to start on and where to buy said issues.

I have girls in my DMs every now and then asking for my advice on this very topic because it can be confusing knowing where to start. And a lot of the guides out there are male-centric. So I've pulled together my own guide to help anyone who might be struggling to find a starting point.

Know your comic book terms

First things first, know the lingo. Here's a fantastic reference sheet for you.

Start with graphic novels

Step away from the single issues! I only recommend you start collecting single issues when you've settled on a character or universe that you absolutely love (like me and Batgirl). Graphic novels are a great way to read a whole story run in one go and get to know different characters, universes, and locations. Many graphic novels are actually single issue comics brought together once a whole run has finished publication - it's like waiting to binge the entire box set rather than watching something episode by episode.

If it's DC you're looking to get into Batman: Year One, The Long Halloween, Batman: A Death in the Family, and Batman: The Killing Joke are generally considered the best of the best.

Look into the comics of your favourite film and TV shows

While I might be a big DC fangirl now, when I entered the world of comics I kept an open mind between DC and Marvel. I loved Rogue from X-Men and purchased a few graphic novels that focused on her, but then discovered that film Rogue and comic Rogue were very different. Batgirl hasn't been in that many film adaptations so I wasn't prepared for the idea that I'd fall in love with the character. But I've always loved Poison Ivy in the films, and I love her just as much in the comics.

While you might end up surprised by the differences between the source material and the Hollywood reincarnations, I'd still recommend picking up a graphic novel that focuses on a character that you're already familiar with.

Other films and TV shows that have comics as part of the shared universe includes Buffy, Transformers, Star Wars, Riverdale, Sabrina, and The Walking Dead.

Find characters that are similar to you

When I began dipping my toes into Marvel and DC I focused on the female characters. It's natural to favour characters who are similar to you and I know my fondness of Barabara Gordon is because I see parts of her in myself.

Here's a mini-guide the main DC ladies:
Poison Ivy - eco-warrior, sexy, redhead, scientist
Harley Quinn - giggly, gymnast, hyper
Catwoman - sexy, morally ambiguous
Batwoman - lesbian (since 2006 anyway) and strong as hell
Wonder Woman - a bit self-righteous, beautiful, strong
Black Canary - feisty but heart in the right place, and a rock chick

You don't need to start at Issue #1

Some comics and characters have been around for decades, so a few re-boots have been in order. Some characters have managed to die several times, then the whole thing is re-booted and they're back. Or they get paralysed, are in a wheelchair for years and become the brains of the organisation. Then the comic gets re-booted and they can walk again with no explanation. Just saying.

In the comic book world, series are called "runs" and what is more important is that you start at the beginning of run - but it doesn't matter which run that is. Here's a list of the 100 best runs to start your imagination.

Feel free to Wikipedia the character's backstory

I mean, if you insist on reading all of DC Comics from day one, be my guest. But if you start somewhere in the present day you can stop by Wikipedia to read up at some of the character canons.

Hobby Lark is also a great resource for filling in the blanks. As is Comicstorian.

Know which superheroes cross-over with each other

Even though X-Men comics and the Avengers are both Marvel, you won't find much cross over. In the world of DC, Batgirl is regularly joined by Black Canary, Dick Grayson, and Batman - but you probably won't find The Flash or Green Lantern popping up too often.

DC's publications, post-New 52 at least, are split up into the following 7 categories.

  • Justice League
  • Batman
  • Superman
  • Green Lantern
  • Young Justice
  • The Edge
  • The Dark

Personally, it's the Justice League and Batman categories that I read. Batman tends to focus on characters that are in the Bat-family (Batgirl, Robin, Alfred, etc ), their nemesis (Joker, Penguin etc) and other characters who canonically live in Gotham (e.g. Detective Jim Gordon). While The Justice League is made up of the big-name heroes who have shown up in the films, such as Aquaman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

Comic cons are great for picking up back issues

When you've read a few graphic novels and have decided on the characters and story arcs you'd like to focus on, then I recommend attending a comic fair or con. Generally speaking, comic shops sell graphic novels and new single issues, so if you're wanting to collect back issues then it's either online shopping or comic con.

A few shops that sell back-issues include Plan 9 Comics in Aberdeen, Forbidden Planet in Manchester, and a random one-man comic shop in the Afflecks Centre in Manchester.

Some comic book shops are better than others

There is a little bit of truth to some of the negative nerd stereotypes. Some comic shops do smell bad and are looked after by people with questionable people skills. There was a comic shop in Dundee that barely had any lighting, was dusty af, and was owned by a guy with the social skills of a rabid hyena. Then another comic shop was opened in Dundee by a woman who painted the walls light blue and actually looked after the damn place. I think you know which one I preferred (and which one no longer exists).

My favourite Scottish comic shop is Plan 9 in Aberdeen. They sell a good mix of back issues, new issues, and graphic novels - as well as geek memorabilia and board games. I always make a point of stopping by when I'm visiting my family.

Forbidden Planet is a chain and is usually new issues and graphic novels. Though the one in Manchester sells single back issues.

Digital Comics are half the price

I still love the feel of a physical book or comic in my hands, so I've never got into the e-book craze. But there are a lot of comics on offer in digital form, and usually for a fraction of the price. Comixology is one of the best places to start looking for digital comics.

Libraries sometimes have free comics

Many government-owned libraries have a graphic novel section. It's worth stopping by your local library to see what they have.

Borrow comics from your friends

Admittedly I wouldn't lend out my single issues, but if we're IRL friends I'm more than happy to lend you a graphic novel (or three).

Free Comic Book Day

Admittedly, I don't make use of this as I usually have a list of issues I want to buy and don't want to clutter up my room with comics I won't read. But I know some long-term nerds who always head out on this day. It usually falls in late spring and early summer and a lot of comic shops will hand out free single issues to customers.

Some more resources

My guide only scratches the surface of the world of comics - and, uh, mainly focuses on DC and Batgirl. There are several guides out there that cover the medium more widely from people have been into comics since childhood. Here are some of muy favourites:

Comic Book Herald
Patrick (H) Willems
Nerd Sync
How To Love Comics
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morag | mo adore
Yes, I put vegan on my Tinder and I swipe left on health nuts because food politics are important to me

Yes, I put vegan on my Tinder and I swipe left on health nuts because food politics are important to me

Sometimes I'm advised not to do it, but I do it anyway.

"You'll be seen as a preachy vegan type"

"People might be put off"

"You're revealing too much, try and have some mystery"

I'm talking about adding the word vegan to my online dating profile. It's not because I'm massively preachy or only date fellow vegans. Yeah, sure: if I could visit a shop and pick out my dream partner they'd be a vegan, but it's not a dealbreaker.

But I still put it in my bio for two reasons:

1. it means that other vegans can easily spot me, and
2. it means that anyone who is anti-vegan knows to fuck off immediately

At its most basic level, food is something we use to fuel our bodies. But, in reality, it is so much more than that. It's cultural, it's moral - and it is most definitely political. Food is brought up in parliament in relation to health policy, and Twitter has been awash the past few weeks with the news of the Amazon fires that were caused by aggressive animal agriculture. It's naive to brush food off as some neutral component of human life.

And because it is political, it means that it can become a dealbreaker in the world of dating.

While veganism might be brushed off as a personal choice or a phase someone goes through. For many of us, it is a political decision. Many vegans don't consume animal products because we believe it is wrong. And we believe it is wrong to the point where we consider it a dealbreaker when it comes to friendships and dating.

Personally, I don't have it written off as a dealbreaker and a meat-eater is welcome to court me. However, I'm not going to pretend that I wouldn't challenge the meat-eater to think about why they are eating a dead animal or remind them they are killing the planet.

And let's be honest: a lot of people would dump my ass for that kind of behaviour.

(Also, I also don't cook meat for people.)

While I don't consider veganism within itself to be a dealbreaker, I do consider politics to be a dealbreaker. I don't believe someone I'm dating has to agree on every issue under the sun, but I do want our political leanings to be similar-ish. Tories, Brexieters, pro-lifers, SWERFS and TERFs are five groups of people with political ideologies that I consider to be too polarising to my own to even consider a friendship, let alone a romantic partnership.

But under that political umbrella, there are some issues that I'm happy to disagree on (and by disagree I still mean challenge from time to time). One of those is veganism. I would prefer it if we agreed but I can live if we don't.

And I have known people who have gone veggie after falling in love with a veggie. It's not unheard of. Heck, most of my friends are veggie now but some of them weren't when I first met them.

To be honest though, people aren't particularly surprised to find any of this out. In fact, I'm regularly asked how I feel about dating a meat-eater when conversations turn to Tinder. But something that does catch people off guard is another area of food politics that is a dealbreaker to me.

And that's diet culture. 

Whenever I see "gym bunny", "I really take care of myself and don't ever eat bad" or - dear god - "raw vegan" I swipe left immediately. You can be handsome af in that cute nerd way that I like, write poetic morning texts, and own a library full of non-fiction books - and I'd still not bother with you if you insist on counting calories or won't go out for dinner because you're fasting.

Because, again, food is political. It can be more than a simple lifestyle choice.

My decision to not count calories and to prescribe to intuitive eating is a political one. In a world where eating disorders are rampant and there are industries out there that feed off of people's insecurities, deciding to nourish my body and accept its natural shape feels like a revolutionary act.

And it's a revolutionary act that I want my partner to share with me.

I fully believe that food should be enjoyed, and we should never encourage people to starve or go hungry in order to shrink themselves to a size that their body is not meant to be.

Truthfully, my aversion to dating people who count calories goes beyond politics and into mental health. While I might be all ~luv thyself~ now, it was a long journey. And it's still a journey as I am constantly surrounded by advertisements on a daily basis that don't want me to be happy in my own skin. It's a constant effort to keep myself above it. I became really skinny in my early 20s after an emotionally difficult time - and maintained my low food intake for some time after because I really liked the way skinny felt regardless of how unhealthy my behaviour was (I quit this nonsense after I was bed-bound with tonsillitis). And I don't surround myself with people who might encourage me to undo all of that hard work.

Which, obviously, includes romantic partners.

But it's more than just veganism and diet culture. These are just my own food-related dealbreakers.

Food can be a dealbreaker in many different ways.

My friend was speaking to a guy on a dating app, who was lovely enough. But he didn't drink. Which is obviously a perfectly acceptable lifestyle choice. However, my friend is a drinker and likes to actively seek out new bevvies. This wasn't what caused her to end it after two dates, but it was something she actively debated.

I've also met a handful of people who wouldn't want to date a fussy eater who only ever orders chicken nuggets.

And bad table manners.

Dealbreakers are deal-breakers. 

If you're someone with fairly mainstream eating habits, the idea that food could be a dealbreaker might not have ever occurred to you. It's similar to people who want marriage and children; they forget that some of us are child-free by choice.

And it doesn't matter whether someone finds out on a first date or a 10th date - if someone really isn't up for dating someone who is (or wants) x, y, and z then they'll end it. And that's why I think it's important to have a Tinder bio that shows off your personality - including anything that might act as a potential dealbreaker. You know that saying? Things that are for you won't go past you yadadada.

While I've not found a partner via online dating, I have met a lovely female friend on Bumble BFF. Both of us had very detailed bios - and we both double took when we saw each other for the first time. Heck, I even screenshotted her profile to send to my current friends because I was so excited! We could tell straight off the bat that we weren't going to be short of conversation topics! So while, yes, a detailed bio might mean you lose out on more right swipes - it means that people you are really suited for will definitely swipe right! Just like me and newest plantonic love affair.

So I put vegan in my bio. Saves everyone time.
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morag | mo adore
Is Final Destination 5 the best sequel ever made?

Is Final Destination 5 the best sequel ever made?

The Final Destination franchise - where every film starts with someone having a premonition, a bunch of teenagers escape death, but then death catches up and kills them in elaborate ways - has always sat on my "yeah I like it, but don't fangirl for it" film list.

I've always loved the concept of the films - that death has a design and no one can cheat it - and the kills are always brilliantly creative (if unlikely), but the annoying teenage characters grated on me. And, unlike many franchises, there wasn't a consistent final girl to root for or a villain to hate. What all the films have in common is the idea and concept, rather than a character, location, or backstory.

Currently, James A Janisse of Dead Meat YouTube fame (who is one of my favourite creators and every horror fan should be following him) is covering the Final Destination franchise on his Kill Count series. So far he has covered films 1-4, all of which I have seen and I pleasantly enjoyed James's snarky commentary. So in preparation for him covering Final Destination 5 next week, I decided to pop it on Netflix for some Friday night wild times. 

Since the fourth film, The Final Destination, was a hot piece of garbage (and just the low-standards that tend to plague sequels in general, let alone the 5th instalment) I went in there with really low expectations. 

But instead, 

I found, 


the world's 

greatest film sequel, 


I'm going to warn you now, that this blog post is not a review but instead a mind-dump of OHMYGODHOWFUCKINGCOOLWASTHAT? There's a massive twist at the end, which is foreshadowed throughout but I still didn't see it coming, and I will be revealing it in a few sentences. 

So, like, go watch it first and then come back and squee with me in the comments. 

You also need to very familiar with the franchise to appreciate the twist when it comes.

But those of you who know what happens, let's hyperventilate over everything Final Destination. 

Are your eyes away now?

The outdated cultural references felt out of place but I put it down to poor scriptwriting. Even when they talked about moving to Paris the whole fucking movie I didn't make the connection with the first film. When they got on the plane my initial reaction was "why are they doing a plane scene again? You did that in the first fucking film. Have we ran out of elaborate death ideas?". 

It wasn't until I saw Kerr Smith being dragged off the plane by security that I was like HOLY FUCKING BATMAN THIS WAS A PREQUEL THE ENTIRE TIME AND THEY ARE GOING TO FUCKING DIE ON THE PLANE CRASH FROM THE FIRST FILM. 

It hit me like a bus. 

LOL. I make myself laugh (if no one else).

The only clue in the film that really stood out to me, but I ultimately put it down to a scriptwriting choice, was that they never made reference to the other films. In the other sequels, the teenagers received guidance from news stories and commentary about Flight 180 - and in the second film, they even sought the consult of a survivor. As noticeable as this was to me, I just got annoyed about it rather than making the connection that this film was set before the events of the first film. My internal dialogue was wondering why the characters weren't Googling their way out of this situation - but duh: smartphones weren't a thing circa the millennium and most homes still had dial-up.

The only advice they received was from the Coronor who randomly walks up to them at a funeral.

The filmmakers also created a nice balance between sneaking in a few nods to early 00s culture and technology, while not going so overboard that you immediately realise that this film is set in the past. There was a flip cell phone at one point (which I didn't notice), and there was a Lisa Lobe reference (which I did notice, and was like "wasn't that the chick who had one big song in the 90s then...nothing" I was nine when the millennium passed, so I wasn't super culturally-aware yet).

But there was something about the decision to return to the first film that stood out to me culturally, but only after I realised what was happening. Both films are set in 2000, but the second film was actually released in 2009. And between 2000 and 2009, the world witnessed 9/11 which had a big impact on the entertainment industry.

The first Final Destination film is painfully pre-9/11. To clarify, the first Final Destination film, where an aeroplane blows up, was released 18 months prior to 9/11 - which is uncomfortably close. If someone who is old enough to remember 9/11 watches Final Destination, without knowing its release date and storyline, they might find it a bit jarring as clothing, actors, and technology give away that its an early 00s film and was culturally in the same time frame as 9/11.

Final Destination 3 did come under fire for referencing 9/11 in a photograph.

(We also know, that these days, someone screaming "the plane will crash" will probably be shot straight in the chest, even in films.).

But because 9/11 is too powerful an event to ignore, filmmakers tend to stay clear of blowing planes up. That's why the return to the first film took me a little by surprise. The first film was made in a pre-9/11 world, while the last was made in a post-9/11 world (even if it was set at the turn of the millennium). But they looped it right back. Don't get me wrong, I'm not offended by it and I don't think we should ban film producers from using planes as plot devices, but it was a reason why the decision stood out to me. 

However, it wasn't just the twist at the end that made Final Destination 5 such a great sequel.

Firstly, the opening sequence. Most of the opening premonitions in the Final Destination franchise play on our biggest fears: flying, car crashes, and rollercoasters (but weirdly the fourth film went for a race track blowing up?). The final film goes for a bridge falling apart. Now, I don't know about you, but bridges have always made me feel uneasy. I'm not afraid of them to the point where I'll plan my entire journey to avoid them. But when I'm on one, I am consciously aware of how far off the ground (or water) I am. That's why this opening sequence unnerved me more than the others.

Secondly, the characters are fleshed out. As mentioned at the start, the Final Destination films throw stereotypical teenagers together, then concentrates on creating gory deaths. That's cool. But it's also the reason I don't think I've ever been a massive fan. They spend a lot more time on character development in this film, where the characters all know each other already (through work). Especially Peter, who develops trauma off the back of his near-death experience where he then has to discover that death will catch up with him anyway! Once upon a time, we showed trauma survivors to be "strong" and ready to prove everyone wrong, but it's becoming more common to show characters with PTSD symptoms.

Then there was the extra mythology. Since these young adults, are (chronologically) the first people to cheat death in the franchise, they don't have previous experiences to rely on. So the writers had some fun with the advice given by the coroner. The new tweak to the formula? If you kill someone else you can take their place within the living, as death will accept their life instead. This is questionably not correct as Peter does take the detective's life and then Sam takes Peter's life - but Sam and Molly still die? But it was still an interesting take on how death works and adds an extra philosophical question to the theory of death's design.

Then finally: the elaborate deaths. Now, this has always been something that the Final Destination franchise has done well. But what I really liked about the deaths in Final Destination 5 is that they were in, some ways, more believable. I, for one, am creeped out by the concept of laser eye surgery (or things coming near my eye, full stop) so a death scene involving a burnt eye got right under my skin. Then there was a gymnastic routine gone wrong (though, I did burst out laughing) and there was a straight-up murder. Then the eventual plane crash that killed Sam and Molly wasn't overly far-fetched either (previous instalments have had people flattened by signs and bathtubs falling through ceilings). It taps into real fears, albeit in an elaborate way.

And oh, the final scene of Final Destination 5 is in sync with the plane crash from the first film:

Final Destination 5 wrapped up the franchise nicely, and I hope it gets left alone. A reboot in another decade could work. As would a tv, stage, or graphic novel adaption. But this timeline of events is one that has nicely tied up loose ends and it would be great to see it left the way it is. 
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morag | mo adore

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