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My favourite books of 2018




Maybe it's a sign of getting older, or maybe its a sign of embracing my authentic introverted self: but 2018 was the year that I read more books than any other. And while I didn't love every single one I read, I certainly didn't read any that I considered to be truly awful (okay, perhaps my opinion on Hot Feminist is less than favourable).

However, I certainly enjoyed some books more than others. And because I want to share the gift of feminist non-fiction (aka, the only thing I ever read) with the rest of the world, here are my top rated books of 2018 that I really recommend everyone adds to their pile. 

The Anxiety Solution

The Anxiety Solution is a fabulous book anyway, but for me is came into my life at a time when I really needed some kind but powerful words. I was coming up to some painful anniversaries and was doubting my own judgment on some decisions I made a year ago. What made the Anxiety Solution to poignant though, was that it was more than just inspirational words. Chloe Brotheridge is a trained psychotherapist and nutritionist, and offers practical advice for beating negative emotions. If I had to list my top self-help books of all time, Anxiety Solution would certainly be in it.

Milk & Honey

I feel a little late to the party with this one but, if like me, you didn't read this book of poetry when it first came out - I highly recommend it. If, like me, you've ever been in an abusive, controlling, or downright unhealthy relationship - this will speak volumes to you (I ended up crying). It's been close to a decade since the experiences this book reminded me of happened; and in some ways it was bittersweet to remember how far I've come and that healing is possible. Be ready for some strong emotions.

Eat Up!

Eat Up! by Ruby Tandoh is, in a nut shell, a love letter to food. And if - in a world full of diets, an 'obesity epidemic', and fatphobia - you don't think a book that celebrates food is fucking important, then get the fuck out my club.

To add to its depth, Ruby also explores the intersection of food and gender, cultural appropriation, food ethics, fatphobia, queerness, and class issues/access to food. While still remaining accessible af. 100% recommend, especially if you're new to food politics.

Why I'm no Longer Talking to White People About Race

Fellows whites! If you're looking to understand race issues in the UK and become a better ally, then here is your beginner's guide. Articulate, easy to follow, and honest. Must read.

Inferior

Confession: I might be a social science nerd, but chemistry/biology/physics hurts my brain and I knew STEM wasn't for me after one week of high school. So Inferior was a breath of fresh air; taking me on a journey through science in a way that was accessible, and explained the way in which it has failed women. I actually won this as a Patreon prize from my favourite YouTuber Rowan Ellis - who is the queen of everything feminism.

Poverty Safari

Last but not least: it is Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey, which I am naming as my book of the year. Darren's writing is refreshing, accessible, and sharp; leaving me feeling woken, uncomfortable, and more conscious about checking my middle-class privilege. He grew up in a deprived area of Glasgow and doesn't hold back on explaining why Britain's underclass feel the way the feel - including giving it to us straight as to why so many working-class people voted for Brexit. I was called out multiple times in his book, and that's what makes it my book of the year, because if you're social justice work doesn't make you feel uncomfortable - then you're not doing it right.

What were your favourite books of 2018 that I should definitely put on this year's reading list? 


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It's my turn to lay into Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon (and I've including an anecdote on assault, because I like to entertain)





Despite my status as a bookworm, I've never written a full review of a book on my blog. I post them often on my Instagram and on my GoodReads account. But my blog? Nah. I usually only require two paragraphs to say what I need to say and to provide other bookworms an indication on whether that book is something they need in their life or not.

Then along came Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon. Boy, do I have some opinions that won't fit into a Instagram caption.

If you're not familiar with the title: it caused a big stir when it was released. The premise of the book is that women can give a shit about their appearance while still fighting the patriarchy (fair enough). Polly was accused of being a middle-class, white women who had her head in the clouds with no understanding of 'real' feminist issues (also: fair enough, but we'll get to that). She was then subjected to quite a bit of hate on Twitter (never ever fair enough, respected debate is welcome but vilifying someone for a book is not something I can get behind).

I was drawn to this book because I am a firm believer that feminine and feminist are not mutually exclusive. I for one will definitely be at the revolution, and I will be bringing my winged eyeliner and lipgloss with me. Saying that, feminine women do sit in a privileged position above, say, butches or tomboys. More masculine women challenge the status quo simply by existing. Femme women? Yeah, not as much. While we do face some unique problems (street harassment and, if you're a queer femme-woman like myself, erasure of an important part of your identity) liking make-up is hardly revolutionary act within itself (but women who like make-up can still be revolutionary in other ways).

I hoped Polly's book would expand on the ideas I briefly introduced above with research and anecdotes. Maybe interview a feminist scholar? Or a handful of femme women? Maybe even a femme women who identifies as queer? Or a trans woman?

Perhaps an analysis of marketing techniques wielded by the global beauty industry? Or a history of how lipstick came to be?

No, it was pretty much just a personal rant about not wanting her own personal experiences and definition of feminism challenged.

Here's the thing about social justice: it's not just about you. That's not how it works. Yes, you'll have your pet issues that are probably fuelled by personal hardship (like me banging on about bisexual issues, or how awful men are on Tinder). But in order to actually fucking change the world, you need to think bigger picture and actually give a shit about issues that have fuck all affect on you. Otherwise, your fight is for nothing. Or we only end up fixing issues that impact middle-class, white, feminine women.

I was once a feminist who couldn't see past her own experiences. I think most of us probably were at some point. It took me ages to get around the whole white-people-not-being-allowed-to-have-dreads thing. There are probably still a lot of other things I say and do that are oppressive as shit, but these days I do stop to listen to the experiences of others. And if I was going to write a book about feminism I'd sure as hell have some other people from different backgrounds look over it before I sent it off to bookshops. Or maybe I wouldn't write it; as we already have enough books written about the struggle of middle-class, white women.

Polly even ends up in cultural appropriation territory twice, and mis-uses the term OCD. Not encouraging people to view other cultures as fashion inspiration and not being a dick about mental health is Social Justice 101.

She also doesn't use trigger warnings.

But I do. So here is one big trigger warning for sexual assault and emotional abuse.

[TRIGGER WARNING]

Polly Vernon speaks openly about an assault made on her when she was a teenager and the way it impacted her. She also touches upon an emotionally abusive relationship. She doesn't go into detail about the second one, but that's okay because people shouldn't be forced to share their stories if they're not comfortable (or safe) doing so.

This chapter was fabulous and was one of the best discussions around sexual assault that I've read (even if it didn't start with a trigger warning).

The reason it was one of the best chapters in the book and entire fucking world was that it included all assault. No assault is worse than another. It hit me hard because it's one of the few times where I feel as though my experience of assault is included and accepted.

I've never spoken openly about my experience of sexual assault. But I'm a women, so you had probably guessed I must have had a story tucked away somewhere.

I've been subjected to the usual groping in nightclubs, been called a whore for not accepting a drink, and even had a male 'friend' make up rumours that we were getting close so other men would stay away from me (that was a fun time). I mean, if I won't love him then I'm not allowed to love anyone.

But I came out unscathed and had no lasting emotional wounds.

However, I do have an experience that still makes me skin crawl and has made me permanently more cautious on the dating market.

I'm not going to publish a moment-by-moment recount. Maybe I will one day, if I feel brave enough. But I'm going to touch upon it enough so that you understand why I normally don't feel included in the discussion or why pop culture doesn't ever portray sexual assault in a way that brings about flashbacks.

  • It wasn't violent
  • It was someone I was actively dating
  • It was someone I had been friends with first, and trusted
  • It wasn't an arrogant jock, but a nerd
  • He wasn't tall or muscular, I could have put up a physical fight
  • It was in my flat, I had the territorial control
  • I wasn't drunk or under the influence
  • I was conscious
  • I explicitly said no
  • But that explicit no was to an act within sex
  • Not only did we have an active sexual relationship, but we were having sex at the time
  • A sex act that is mainstream, and one that men get praised for when they do (you know what I'm talking about, surely). 
  • I just froze and my mind went blank
  • I even continued dating him
I spent the next year of my life living in skin that was constantly crawling. I was frustrated. Angry. I had negative emotions that I didn't know how to deal with. But I internalised it. I still thought that I should have repeated my no. Or punched him. Or not had sex at all that night. It took me a year to have my moment where I realised none of what happened had been my fault. That I froze up and couldn't make sense of what was happening (never mind muster up a comeback). All the blame lies with him. He ignored a verbal no. That is not grey area. That is not 'could have read between the lines better' or 'be less creepy in a nightclub'. That is assault.

But despite that, I still feel like my story doesn't count. That some people have it worse. That some people never heal. That some people never have sex again. That some people got asked what they were wearing or why they drank so much. That they were violently attacked by a man jumping out an alleyway.

It's probably because I've never watched a sexual assault story line that depicts what I experienced. I even ignore content and trigger warnings because I'm never impacted by assault on the telly. My assault was quite mundane, and probably wouldn't make good telly.

But Polly's writing did hit hard. Because it included my story. Okay, not my actual story because this is the first time I've publicly shared it, but it felt like if she was going to curate a book with sexual assault stories from various women, she would allow mine to be included.

[End Trigger Warning]

She also says intelligent things about how we end sexual assault and rape. It's not about tougher sentencing, or changing the law. It's hard to win a sexual assault case because it comes down to one person's experience versus another. Some people who have committed sexual assault don't even realise they've done so because society still can't make up its collective mind about what consent actually is.

Personally, I think consent should be this. Communicate with your partner, even if it's a super casual thing. Don't act like some sex acts are better than others, or even that some sex acts are 'feminist'. Respect that sexual pleasure is a very personal thing, and that your new partner might not like getting fucked exactly the same way your ex did. Learn to read between the lines and recognise when someone isn't moaning or screaming in pleasure. Check in with them. Know the difference between someone who has had one or two drinks, and someone who has had an entire bottle of wine. Don't bring anything new into the bedroom without having a discussion about it first, while fully clothed. Understand that women have been programmed socially to be people-pleasers and struggle with the word no, and that shit is hard to unlearn. Realise that sleeping people can't give consent. And that consent can be withdrawn at anytime. Don't coerce either, that is also bad.

Is that really too much to ask for?

So, do I recommend Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon? No, not really. While I'm happy to photocopy that one chapter and plaster it around town until we all agree on what assault is and isn't, I won't recommend wasting your breath on the rest of the book. Save yourself a headache.
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Clothes swapping my way out of a style rut





If you've been following me and my wee blog for a few years, you might have noticed that outfit posts used to be a thing. And then they weren't. In fact, my last outfit post was back in 2015.

That's because after I finished university in 2012 I fell into a massive style rut. That lasted for years.

I started working in an office full-time so my wardrobe now required blazers and sensible shoes. My new desk job caused me to put on weight and, while the weight gain itself was something I accepted, I could no longer fit into half my clothes and even the clothes I could fit into now didn't sit the same way. Adult life was busy, and I began to desire clothes that were practical and easy to style - but still cute (is that too much to ask?). It didn't help that blogging was maturing as an industry and fashion blogs (which had once been my primary source of fashion inspiration) had changed from girls taking snaps in their bedrooms of casual outfits, to now being on par with glitzy fashion magazines full of outfits that were (maybe I'm wrong) not honest representations of what these girls wore in day-to-day life.



I've never considered myself a natural fashionista. Which is why the dilemma over my wardrobe carried on for years. I didn't grow up in a house where looking great everyday was considered a must. My dad only invested in a fitted suit when my parents booked their first cruise five years ago, and my mum only has five lipsticks to her name.

I did develop a 'style' when I was 15 (hello MySpace phase) and then later in my final two years of university, but both had been heavily influenced by what other girls wore on the internet and in magazines. None of it had been some natural flair for knowing what shoes went with what bag or what colours complimented each other.

It was only in the past two years that I began to define a look that suited my new adult life. Skinny jeans. Skirts with tights (fishnets on a night out). Playsuits. Skater dresses. Floaty tops and blouses. Admitting once and for all that fitted t-shirts don't suit me. Jumper dresses. Chockers and understated jewellery. White Converse in summer. Black ankle boots in winter. Muted tones, and much more black than before. I'd say it falls under the 'indie Cindy' umbrella and if I had to choose a celebrity to emulate it would be Alexa Chung.

But then another challenge came my way: the ethical lifestyle journey that I started in 2012 had now expanded to include clothes, and I wanted to get the fuck away from fast fashion. It's hard enough shopping for clothes when you refuse to step foot in a Primark, but when you actively hate your entire wardrobe and need a re-vamp? Eek.



My solution came very recently in the form of clothes swap hosted by Edinburgh ethical fashion blogger Ruth MacGilp. Not only did I have clothes I couldn't fit into anymore but the past twelve months had been a turning point point for me (hello coming out) and I had the strong urge to once and for all rid my physical space of things that no longer served me. It was the perfect way to clear out my wardrobe and pick up some new threads that did tick my boxes (all without damaging the environment or funding slave labour).

On the day it was myself and Ruth, plus Alice of Twenty-Something City and Lucie of Call Me Dumpling. Between us we managed to fill three rails of clothing with varying styles. The clothes ranged from bold and beautiful, right through to structured and muted. Aside from the clothes, there were also jackets, bags, and shoes. Oh, and photographer Ellie Morag was there to take photos of the looks we had styled from each other's unwanted clothing.

I  remained restrained on the day and refused to replace my unwanted clothes with other pieces that would end up sitting in my wardrobe untouched for three years. No joke: these girls are style mavens and the temptation to grab everything that fitted was highly tempting. But in the end I opted for 7 new items, some of which I've already worn:

  • Black high-heeled ankle boots
  • Tartan scarf
  • Pippa Lynn t-shirt dress
  • A dark blue t-shirt dress
  • Red belt
  • Black French Connection dress
  • JS Millennium dark blue shirt with a red ballet dancer pattern

The silver boots you see me wearing? I know they're fabulous but I also know they wouldn't get worn ever again. Same to the red pumps. I left them.



When I arrived home and hung up my new threads, I found even more clothes and accessories I wanted to get rid of (the clothes that we didn't swap were donated to a charity shop). There's something cathartic about bringing home clothes that you will wear that gives you the confidence to become even stricter about donating the clothes that you know you never will wear again.

So I'm game again. If there's anyone in the Central Belt of Scotland looking to get rid of new clothes and pick up some new clothes for free - give me a holla.

Love Morag x
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Movie Review: Halloween 2018, proof that sequels are not always pointless money-grabs



Let's rewind to 1978: a time when neither myself, or most of the people read my blog, were born. It was an important year - at least if you're a big horror fan - as this was when Halloween was released and skyrocketed the slasher genre into mainstream consciousness.

Halloween is not my favourite horror film or franchise by any means (hello Scream) but it's hard to deny its influence. My apathy could probably be attributed to how dated it was by the time I got into horror films in the mid-00s - but it's more likely because the franchise as a whole got really out of hand.

Film franchises can get a bit wild if left unchecked, and Halloween was probably one of the worst examples of it. Spoiler alert if you haven't seen every film: but there have been (prior to the new one) 10 films with about three separate continuities. Laurie Strode has a daughter in one film but a son in another, and managed to get herself killed twice. There was a Rob Zombie re-boot. Plus a third film that had absolutely nothing to do with Michael Myers or Laurie Strode. And we can't forget about the one with Busta Rhymes doing kung-fu moves. I've seen them all, and I'm not recommending anyone follows my lead.

So when they announced they were making a new Halloween film set exactly 40 years after the original, I was a bit sceptical.

Until I saw the muthafuckin' trailer.



It looked fucking incredible. And the trailer clearly indicated - by mentioning that Laurie Strode is, in fact, not Michael Myers's sister - that the producers had decided to ignore those disorientated sequels and write the script as if none of the other films had ever been released.

Laurie Strode was only established as Michael Myers's much-younger sister in Halloween 2, so they were returning to the idea that Michael chose his original victims at random rather than as part of a revenge plot. The creators at the time of the trailer being released even said that the reason for this was because a murderer who had absolutely no personal reason for choosing his victims was a much more unsettling premise.

Now, I've always been able to take or leave Michael Myers as a villain. While I love the expressionless mask, the fact that we rarely see face, the muteness, his massive build, and the way he brazenly walks around with no fucks given - I usually prefer my villains a little bit more complex (or even morally ambiguous).

For me the real star of this franchise has always been Laurie Strode. While I have my issues with the Final Girl trope (get goods grades, don't have sex, or don't do drugs and you too will outsmart a serial killer! P.S. sluts die first) there's no denying that she is one of the best. Maybe it's because she has (almost) consistently been played by Jamie Lee Curtis, who could play a Teletubby and still hit it out the park.

And Laurie Strode did not disappoint in this film either. As is the case with a lot of films nowadays, she wasn't portrayed as someone who overcame her traumatic experience and went on to find peace with Michael safely behind bars. No. In the new film she is a crazy old lady who has been left severely impacted by her ordeal. In the trailer we can see that she has a Purge-esque house and mutters the words "Every night I pray he will escape so I can kill him". Because, in reality, it would be rare for someone to ever feel safe again after being stalked and almost killed by someone while they were just a teenager.

Plus, there are two new characters to add to the dynamic: Laurie Strode's daughter and granddaughter. Played by the fantastic Judy Greer and Andi Matichak, respectively.

But obviously, we all know that trailers can be misleading. So how did the actual film measure up?

When I visited my local cinema to watch it last Tuesday, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a film that found a sensible balance between paying homage to the original while still updating it enough that it wasn't the exact same film. Much like the Scream TV show (which I reviewed and raved about here) it kept the elements that made Halloween, well, Halloween. While Laurie had changed since the original, Michael Myers was the same hallow shell he had always been. He wore the same outfit, and we still don't see his face. His preferred victims still appear to be babysitters. There's a new psychiatrist who, like Dr Loomis, isn't that good at his job. Oh, and there's still the same iconic music and title card.

Honestly, for the first hour you're watching nearly the same film that came out in 1978, so for a while I was feeling a bit twitchy. But then came the final cat and mouse scene between Michael and Laurie, and it was everything I could have ever hoped it would be. I won't say exactly how it plays out but - while you see little homages here and there to the original - it isn't the same film. The closest showdown I can compare it to is Clarice Starling and Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.

Another thing I noticed is that the film is more visually appealing than the original. In 2013, Netflix released The Curse of Chucky (and in 2017 the Cult of Chucky) and created a slasher film that was actually, uh, artistic? I don't have the vocabulary to describe film effects or visual styles but even an untrained eye can spot that the directors sat down to develop a concrete look and feel (with a lot of white and a dream-like hospital environment). Watch all the Chucky films and you'll see what I mean.

The slasher genre has never been typically associated with arty film types, and has even been looked down on by film lovers who consider themselves to have a more refined taste. I've never wished for slasher films to develop a stricter aesthetic because - as it has been argued time and time again - part of what makes slasher films appealing is their simplicity. But I'm not against this emerging trend either and directors should do what feels right for their film.

In the Halloween 2018 trailer we are greeted with a red and white checker-board; a clear indication that this was another slasher movie that had mapped out its visual elements. And you know what? I liked it. Its visuals weren't as structured as Curse of Chucky, but it was definitely slicker than the 1978 Halloween.

In a world where it feels as though every film and its soundtrack is getting re-booted or planning an unnecessary sequel, it can be hard not to role your eyes. There are a lot of franchises out there that like to milk as much money out of fans as they can instead of bowing out gracefully or waiting until they have a solid storyline before proceeding with a sequel.

Halloween 2018 was not one of those films (even if many of the other films in the franchise were guilty of being ridiculous). The storyline followed on nicely from the original 40 years ago, and had a generous scattering of Easter eggs - but still enough changes that it didn't feel like the same film all over again.

And that, Hollywood, is how you do a sequel.

Morag x

P.S. I have chatted to a few people who didn't think much of it, but then I asked them how into horror films they are and if they have seen the original - and it was a no. Maybe this is a film where only the lovers of the original will enjoy it.
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10 things myself (and my friends) find cringey af on Tinder


Ahh, yes, Tinder.

The place where several of my favourite couples met - and also the place that causes severe eyeroll. If you're on Tinder, you'll know what I'm speaking about. Whenever me and single friends meet up we normally end up on the topic of online dating - and we almost always start with any cringe-worthy bios we've seen recently (which may, or may not, involve screenshots).

While I would not claim to know how to pen the perfect Tinder bio (I'm sure there must be someone out there who has stumbled upon my profile and thought "who the fuck is this vegan hippy bisexual lefty bitch?") I definitely have noticed similarities between my friends' pet peeves and my own. So without further-ado, here is Morag's Guide to Not Being an Awkward Fuck on Tinder...

1. No bio
You would think it would be a no-brainer that a good Tinder profile needs some kind of bio. I am a fan of the written word and, as a marketer by trade, creating a bio was something I probably took more seriously than your average person.

If the written word doesn't get you as excited as me, a simple bullet point list will do. Common things people mention in their bio include their job, height, hobbies, and what they're looking for. Doesn't need to be an essay (but do run it through a spell checker), just enough to let them know something about you beyond your physical appearance.

2. The same joke everyone else has
"I want to leave the singles market before the UK does" was hilarious. The first time I read it, anyway. Having now seen it on 54,5464 profiles, I'm a bit done. Jokes are great and can show what type of humour you like, but choose something that hasn't been used 200 times before.

3. I can't tell what you look like
Contrary to popular opinion, I like group and hobby photos on a Tinder bio. It's visual proof that you're not a loner who sits at home watching paint dry. But if I cannot for the life of me work out which one you are, then I am gone. Same goes for selfies that are too posed or filtered (or a Snapchat lens).  My favourite kind of bio is a mix of photos that show you at your Instagram best but also your relaxed candid self (plus points for including a full body shot).

4. Passive aggressiveness
This one might be a bit rich coming from a girl who has written a blog post about her Tinder pet hates. But I hate seeing people bitch about other people's Tinder profile on their Tinder profile. It just makes me wonder how passive aggressive you must be in real life if you can't even get through a fucking Tinder bio without slagging off other people's Tinder profiles. Mate, I hate when people match and don't talk too, but I'm levelheaded enough not to whine about it in my bio.

5. "The kid isn't mine"
I know where you're were going with this one. You want to convince potential girlfriends that you're father material (which I am sure you are!) while also not scaring them away by thinking that you already have a child. But still....no. Just don't have a child in your profile full stop. If you are a dotting uncle/aunt, feel free to mention it in your bio - but don't let potential matches slip past because they accidentally thought your were a parent. As someone who doesn't want kids, I'm likely to swipe left immediately at the mere sight of a child.

6. Is that your ex girlfriend? 
Hetero boys, listen up! Girls have long cottoned on to that thing you do where you try to make yourself look more in demand than you actual are. Over it. We see a picture of you with your arm around another girl and will assume you're with her - and should probably not be on Tinder (unless you mention that you are polyamorous in your bio).

7. "In Glasgow for the weekend"
And you definitely need to have sex at some point this weekend? Do you not have a work conference you need to attend, or some sightseeing to do? If I see someone who is desperate for a hook-up on a weekend away, I make the assumption that they have a wife and kids back in home in Wolverhampton.

8. Acting too cool for Tinder
It's 2018 and online dating is mainstream. To be honest, it's now weirder to be single and not on Tinder. So stop pretending "your friends made me do this" or "we can pretend we met at the pub". I don't care, and neither should you.

9. "Ask me what you need to know" instead of a bio
I need something to go on before I decide to swipe right and talk to you. Only get so many right swipes a day after all.

10. You look like a serial killer (or a fake profile)
Dating can be scary af for women as it is, don't make it scarier.

Are you on Tinder? What are your pet hates? 

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My first #BiVisibilityDay out the closet - a reflection on 10 years of denial and hiding



Today is Bisexual Visibility Day. A day where bisexuals (and other non-monosexual identities) gather together to shout loudly and proudly about their sexual orientation. Remind people that we exist. That it wasn't a phase. That we're #stillbisexual even if we're in a monogamous relationship. That we're just as queer as the L and the G part of the acronym.

However, 2018 is the first year I'll be celebrating. Because at this point last year I was still doing what I had been doing for many years prior: fondly looking over at the proudly out bisexuals who were sharing their experiences on Twitter while I still sat in my closet.

But little did I know, that 12 months ago I was just under a month from the day that I would be ready to come out. Somewhere in October 2017 I had the moment in my kitchen where my brain finally snapped and I decided that I was done hiding. That night I went back up to my room, opened my dating apps, and switched them all over to say bisexual (and have kept them that way ever since).

I still wasn't 'properly' out until a few months later when I would start dating a girl. I didn't want to do a big coming out - I wanted to do it in a way that felt natural, the way we would all come out in an ideal world, where we mention it in passing. I can count on the one hand the amount of people I made a point of officially telling. A month after that night I ranted on this very blog about why Joss Whedon shouldn't direct Batgirl - using his past biphobia in Buffy as a reason - and mentioned my sexual orientation in passing. It was the first time I publicly stated it, and it was casual af.

To make it clear: I have nothing against people coming out in a flamboyant manner. We're all different and have to make the choice that is right for ourselves. The problem lies with a society that puts non-heteros in a position where they have to think about how to come out in the fucking first place. I long for the day when we don't have to come out, when heterosexuality is no longer seen as the default.

My decision wasn't a snap one though, it had been a long time coming. I had known I wasn't hetero since the middle of high school, when a particular girl two years above me stood out. I can even remember the day I first encountered the word bisexual (it was in the pages of Sugar Magazine back in the very early 00s). The first place I was ever out was online, on a few message boards. I even occasionally switched the sexual orientation box on MySpace to say bisexual - but would change it back quickly after - just to see how it felt. I didn't even fill out my orientation on Facebook. I just left it blank (so, technically, I never lied about my sexuality).

Like almost everyone, I decided I would come out after school - but I chickened out. The reason why was biphobia and a lack of self-confidence. I knew about biphobia and the negative stereotypes that surrounded bisexuals - but I wasn't aware of how prevalent it was. It was prevalent in people I knew. One of my first university friends said "bisexuals are just greedy" and uni flatmate said "I think bisexuals are just straight girls looking for attention, or lesbians in denial".

But I did come out to one person within the year I left school: my first boyfriend. His reaction didn't help. Instead of responding with supportive phrases like "I'm glad you told me", "I'm here for you", "bisexuality is valid" or "do you want help coming out to other people?". I got met with gleaming wide-eyes as he put on a provocative voice and whispered "oooh, Morag likes girls - that's hot". He didn't register that I just came out to him, and instead put his penis at the centre of the conversation.

We even went long distance for a while, and spoke about an open relationship - but he only wanted me sleeping with girls. Clearly he didn't feel threatened by the odd lesbian fling. Men? Nah. Too much of a threat to the relationship. There was no way in hell I'd actually leave him for a women because, remember, bisexual women really just want men at the end of the day amiright? And when we eventually broke up he used male pronouns to describe potential future partners. The idea that I could fall in love and choose a woman as a life partner didn't occur to him.

Over the years that followed I came out to a few of the men of my past. Every single time it was the same. I was a sexually adventurous straight girl who might give them a threesome. Not a bisexual woman capable of deep romantic love for someone of the same sex.

And between all these shitty comments, I began to believe them. Maybe it was just a fantasy I needed to get out my system. Maybe I was just a slut. Maybe I'm not capable of loving a woman. At that point I'd never been romantically involved with a woman. But now I know that the reason I hadn't experienced an all-consuming crush on a woman was because I had never given it a chance.

Then within the past two years I began to accept it within myself again, just as I had once done as a teenager. Bisexuality was hitting the headlines. Cara Delevigne was a big turning point for me (and if you happen to be reading this Cara: call me, I fancy you to death). As was the bisexual character Sara Lance in the Arrowverse. And when Ingrid Nilson came out as gay, I realised that it wasn't too late and there's nothing wrong with coming out in your late 20s (which was a fear that had began to rise in me as the years ticked on). Plus, the book Ethical Slut (which is amazing and should be read by everyone) reminded me that all forms of bisexuality are valid and it's not always 50/50.

But my final breakthrough came in October 2017, in my kitchen. I had recently made the decision to clean up my friends group. The reason for this had nothing to do my sexuality and was a whole other separate reason. But as I flipped through the names of the people who I did want to keep in my life I realised that I had nothing to fear anymore. I knew 100% in my heart that these people would still love me, would not fetish me, would not roll their eyes, and would not ask if I was sure.

Prior to that clear-up, I wasn't friends with brash homophones. But there were guys who would perve over girls kissing in night clubs. Girls who treated gay men like shopping toys, rather than people. Or gay people who vowed to never date a bisexual. Or straights who would say "oh, a ladies man already" at a three-year-old boy who does nothing more than smile at a girl. No one was a far-right bigot who wanted to deny LGBT+ people basic human rights, but were lefties who discriminate in lesser ways (and are still part of the problem).

It is scary to be yourself in a world that is telling you not to be. But coming out taught me that it's less scary to do so when the people you love have your back. To the people I didn't clear out last October - and to those who have joined my life since then - I am eternally grateful for your open-mindedness, commitment to social justice, and having the emotional intelligence to know how to respond when someone comes out to you (especially when that person spent over a decade in the closet). I could never put my gratitude into words.

If you are either a guy I dated in the past who I came out to, or someone who got cleared out last October - I don't mean any of these words with hate. I know you're also part of a toxic heteronormative social dialogue, and not one of you ever meant to make me feel unsafe coming out or deny my true sexual orientation to myself. I know you support LGBT+ rights, but were never given the tools to do it properly. Treat this as a learning curve to do better. We could all be doing better, myself included.

So Happy Bisexual Visibility Day - and to one year of being out! Let's paint the town pink, purple and blue.

All my love,
Morag x

P.S. If you are still in the closet, take your time. Your confusion is valid. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be out by the end of 2017 and dating a girl by spring, I would have laughed. It took me a decade to get there, but I got there. You can too.
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Edinburgh Fringe Reviews, with five days left of the Fringe




You could probably argue that the first rule of writing reviews of live performances would probably be to write said review on opening night, or quickly after.

Evidently I didn't read the rule book (or didn't care enough to check).

I make a point of visiting the Edinburgh Fringe every year, but I never tend to make it a priority. And this year I only made it along on Sunday, just one whole week before the whole thing closes its doors for another year. So if you're Fringed out, this is probably a little late - but if you live in or around Edinburgh and have a few hours to kill this week, here are mini-reviews of everything I went to see (which I'm writing in chronological order, but this list also happens to end with my favourite).

Pricks
When I first seen this show's title, I thought "yes, a show that slags off penises". It was - somewhat unfortunately - not about that, but instead a personal memoir about living with Type 1 Diabetes. It's a solo show performed by Jade Byrne, but incorporates sound recordings from Jade's family and other diabetics who she interviewed for the performance.

Out of all the shows I seen, this one made me feel the most emotion. It made me laugh when she responded to silly questions ("can I catch it?"). Educated me when she explained how treatment has moved on over time. Gave me a sore throat as her mum's voice echoed round the room, worrying about who was going to look after Jade when her mum couldn't. Made me uncomfortable as she asked us to put on our blurry glasses as she attempted to illustrate what it felt like to go into hypo. Clenched my fist when she recounted a story when a barmaid refused to serve her Redbull during a hypo, believing her to be a regular drunk.

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker
I've always liked wine but have never been able to describe what flavours I like beyond "pinot grigio". Since most wine tours and articles come across as full on upperclass twaddle, so I've never really looked into it.

So a Fringe show that educates me on wine, but simultaneously acknowledges the wanker attitude of most wine journalists and copywriters? Sign me up.

Hosted by Anna Thomas, a native to South Australia who decided to pack up her corporate career and become a wine tour guide, talks us through six of her favourite wines and shares titbits of her life (content warning: she talks about her miscarriage; and financial warning: it costs extra to taste the wine). She confirms (what I've always known, to be honest) that most wine labels are marketing guff, and there's not a single wine that can honestly claim to have undertones of seven different berries. But out of everything she mentioned, my favorite was this: "the best wine in the world isn't the one that some wanky wine journalist tells you should like, it's the one that matches your palette and helps you unwind after a long week".

Plus it turns out Roussanne is the wine I never knew I needed in my life (it's savoury and nutty).

Sidewalk Smut
While exploring Edinburgh and the various Fringe hubs during my five hour break between shows, me and my friend came across a stall adventuring personalised erotica. As a sexology nerd I could not say no to whatever the hell this was.

Turns out, the women was a friendly, funny and feminist-friendly sex therapist and former sex phoneline operator named Cameryn Moore. Aside from her Fringe Show that rips apart society's shitty attitude to sex and re-builds it, she also offers a service called Sidewalk Smut where she interviews curious pedestrians about their sexual preferences, sends them away for about 15 minutes so she can crank out a personalised one-page piece of erotica on her typewriter.

And you can bet your ass I ordered one. While I'm not exactly going to scan and share it on the internet for everyone to see, from a short interview Cameryn managed to pin point exactly what I like in bed and I absolutely adore my short story. I'm keeping it forever.

Politics for Bitches
Potentially one of the most talked about shows at the Fringe, I'm not sure Politics for Bitches needs an introduction or even a review - but here is one anyway:

Fucking awesome.

Especially if you're a frustrated millennial. If you're a 60 year old Tory, you'll probably walk out.

So what do you recommend?
Sidewalk Smut and Politics for Bitches are my top choices - but the other two are definitely solid options (but probably appeal to a more niche audience).

Since the Fringe has already been on for three weeks, I suppose a good closing question is to ask what have your favourite shows been? 
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My favourite Glasgow restaurants for vegan and omni friends


(This is Nippon Kitchen)

One of the most common questions I get asked is: where in Glasgow can meat-eaters and vegan friends dine together?

Once upon a time this was a difficult question to answer, and I even struggled to pick places for my own group of friends. These days Glasgow offers a generous selection of vegan menus within its eclectic dining scene - and I have a pre-prepared list for lunch and dinner dates.

This list is by no means exhaustive (vegan menus are so common in Glasgow now that I can't even keep up) and I've decided to limit it to my five favourite restaurants - in no particular order.

Nippon Kitchen





If you were to ask me to choose a favourite restaurant from Glasgow's generous dining scene, it would be Nippon Kitchen. I first discovered Nippon Kitchen back in 2015 and have returned on many occasions since, singing it's praises every time. It's a Japanese place that has always been accommodating for vegans but about a year ago they launched a standalone vegan menu. It's not the cheapest of options, so I usually reserve it for when my parents are down or I'm looking for a nice date venue - but I couldn't rate it higher if I tried.

Pizza Punks



I'm yet to meet anyone who doesn't love Pizza Punks. For £10 you can build your own pizza from dozens of toppings (including veggie haggis, mac and cheese, and Irn Bru Pulled Pork), or you can order one of their pre-made options. There's also a vegan chocolate brownie freakshake.

Rose & Grants


If it's brunch you're looking for, then I recommend this place. Not only do they serve a tasty vegan breakfast - they also have lots of vegan goodies behind the counter (like cakes and Vegan Burd Chocolate bars). They even at one point sold limited addition Irn Bru ice-cream!

Tickled Trout




This is a very recent discovery of mine, which I recently reviewed for Vegan Connections. You'll find it on the outskirts of Milngavie - and it is well worth the car drive. The vegan menu is a very recent addition, but contains tasty and creative dishes such as tomato tart and panna cotta. They also have a generous drinks selection behind the bar (plus, it's next to a Dobbies Gardene Centre and that's never a bad thing).

Bread Meats Bread



With a word like meat in the title, you wouldn't think for a second that this place was vegetarian-friendly, let alone vegan. But words can deceive. Bread Meats Bread on St Vincent Street (where all the burger restaurants are) actually sells my all time favourite vegan burger. They also sell vegan poutine!


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July Linkables




So, uh, hi again. Remember me and my Linkables series? If you're new around these parts, Linkables is where I round up the best the internet has to offer. It used to be weekly, then it became monthly - and then it became whenever I could actually find the time (even though I do love putting them together, and I've been told people love them).

I would say I've had lots of exciting things going on in my life, but that would be a lie. I've just become a cliched adult who has a job to go to, a flat to run, and personal relationships to nourish. I've also been taking more time to myself and introverting self-care time has become a standard part of my life (at last).

But enough about me and my standard life. Links!

If you read one thing from this list, make it this article on how the mainstream chat on mental health is far too cutesy and really does fuck all for people with severe mental health problems.

Shan BOODY is a new (to me) sex and relationship YouTuber. Her work is sex-positive, inclusive, modern and covers topics not always covered by other sexperts. My favourite videos are Women Who Love Casual Sex, Working in Porn with Erica Lust, and The Importance of Sexual Intent





I've written before on men caring too much about their fandoms, and I found this great piece that explores a similar theme: The Problem With Not Caring About Pop Culture



I loved Daria as a teenager (much to my parents' dismay) and as an adult I know why I was drawn to her.



My Instagram Stories game is something I'm trying to improve in both my work and personal life, so this article is just as much for myself as it is for you

“People will come to you with their problems and imply that you’re the only one who can solve them. This is almost never true.” TRUTH!

What have you been reading this month? 




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What exactly is a casual relationship? Common questions answered.




Back in February I shared my experience on getting comfortable with long-term singlehood.

But I told a little white lie. Sort of. I mentioned that I hadn't been in an official relationship in seven years. Which is completely true. What I didn't mention is that I have been in what you would consider (or what I like to call) two casual relationships, both roughly lasting 18 months. Not only that...but I've been in a new casual relationship since March.

For the most part, when I have a casual relationship it tends not to be public knowledge. But when someone has found out I get a barrage of questions (and confused looks). Questions that I am going to answer today. Maybe you'll decide that a casual relationship is something you would like to explore. Or maybe you'll decide it sounds like the worse thing ever for you personally, but you'll go forward with a more open mind towards people who have chosen this style of dating.

So what exactly is a casual relationship? 

In a nutshell, it's somewhere between friends with benefits and a serious committed relationship.

Where exactly the line between casual relationship and serious relationship lies is up to the people involved. For me personally, I still go on cute dates, have sex, get to know the person really well, maybe even buy them a birthday present. What I don't do is introduce them to my parents, or take them to the office party, have much evidence of it on social media or - this is the important bit - plan a real future them.

Have a think, chat it out with the person you're seeing and decide what a casual relationship should look like for you.

Aren't you afraid that you'll miss out on someone real if you're messing around with someone casual for too long? 

First off, it's 2018 and we shouldn't be assuming that everyone's end game is marriage.

Secondly, this is the reason why I have limited record of my casual relationships on social media - so prospective partners don't mistake me as spoken for.

Thirdly, I identify as polyamorous and wouldn't consider a serious relationship unless the conversation of ethical non-monogamy was on the table (but more on that later).

Do you end a casual relationship after a certain amount of time or just let it run on? 

I personally let it run on for as long as both parties are happy for it to. Other people might choose to put a time limit on it from day one. It's everyone's own choice.

Aren't you just delaying an inevitable break-up? 

Since I identify as poly and I'm not overly fussed about finding myself a life partner, my current casual relationship might carry on for the rest of my life. Most people are surprised to hear that my previous two relationships lasted 18 months - but both my exes were not fussed about finding a serious relationship (though they didn't identify as poly).

But if you are someone who ultimately wants a serious monogamous relationship, you will need to accept that you'll be delaying an inevitable break-up. But if you're respectful and honest with your partner - and no one is in love - the break-up should be swift.

Do you break-up with a casual partner the same way a serious partner?

100%. My second casual relationship even bought me a break-up pizza.

Would you date or have sex with other people? 

While it is up to the individuals involved it's generally my advice that expecting commitment and monogamy from someone you're not serious with is possessive.

In both my previous casual relationships, I didn't actually sleep with anyone else but was still swiping through Tinder and went on one or two dates (that didn't lead anywhere). Both these previous relationships were slightly unhealthy in the sense that I felt a little bad about dating other people - and I recognise now that I should have had a serious conversation with them and potentially ended it if we weren't on the same page. Thankfully, in my current relationship we communicate about the other people we're seeing and get excited for each other.

Remember: if you are sleeping with multiple people it's really important to practise safe sex.

What would you do if you met someone serious?

As I mentioned earlier, I would never enter a relationship that would only ever be exclusively two people. My current casual partner feels the same way and we have already had the conversation where we've agreed that (assuming circumstances don't change) that if either of us did meet a life partner, we would continue to date and would become secondary partners.

Are you sure that you're not just a commitment-phobe? 

I had/have my reasons for not being official with any of my casual partners, and those reasons still stand. Being with them in a serious capacity didn't feel right and I don't regret letting them "get away".

Do you want a serious relationship or do you prefer casual relationships?

Sometimes I respond to this question with "none of your business" BUT if you're really interested...

...I'm not opposed to having a life partner however it's not something I actively look for. My first casual relationship was actually the least healthy relationship I've ever been in - I was aggressively set up with the person, they weren't honest for three months about only wanting something light, and I learnt more about what I didn't want more than what I did want. My second casual relationship had a few issues, but not nearly as many as the first and I was happy during the 18 months I was with them. My current casual relationship is the healthiest relationship I've been in, with a mature adult who wants the same thing as me and knows how to communicate their needs (and listen to mine).

As long as you listen to your gut, communicate with your partner, and don't string anyone along a casual relationship can be just as a fulfilling as a serious one.

If you're not hurting anyone, then you're not doing anything wrong.

P.S. I'm happy to answer any (respectful) questions! 
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Vegan menu at Vapiano, Glasgow



If there's a cuisine that boasts plenty of accidentally vegan food, it's Italian. While there's pepperoni pizza and meaty lasagnes, there's also arrabiata, pizza marinara, bruschetta and marinated olives (to name a few). So when I heard that Vapiano had added some vegan options to their menu I was slightly cynical about how exciting it would be.

If you're unfamiliar with Vapiano, it works a little differently from other restaurants. When I walked in I was greeted by a perky staff member in a pseudo-reception area who gave me my card and explained the self-service style of the place. Essentially you find a table, decide what you want from the menu and head up to the kitchen and they'll freshly prepare the dish right in front of you. Waiters came round the tables and took drinks orders. As you go, you swipe your card on a machine, which tallies everything up and you pay on the way out. It does make splitting the bill between friends a lot easier though I almost dropped my card a few times.



I did have a nosy at the menu before I visited, and it was your usual Italian-chain fare. The vegan options on the menu were:

  • Aglio e Olio
  • Arrabbiata 
  • Funghi Bolognese
  • Insalata Mista Piccola
  • Bruschetta
  • Lemon or Raspberry Sorbet 

I opted for the Funghi Bolognese, as it was the only thing that was a little different. It was also not until after I ordered that I noticed a vegan lasagne advertised in the restaurant itself (but not on the actual menu). I would have totally opted for this, as vegan lasagne is not something that is regularly available. Also...no vegan pizza despite the big pizza menu.



While you can probably sense my slight lack of disappoint at the creativity of the dishes, I was not let down by the quality. The Funghi Bolognese was flavoursome and the pasta was al dente. The chefs also have fresh herbs growing in the kitchen (there was also herb plants on the tables, but I can imagine children pouring Fanta in the soil). And while the sorbet I had for dessert was pre-packaged, it was creamy (instead of icy, which far too many sorbets are).

The drinks menu was impressive, though. There was a good selection of cocktails on the cheap, as well as a two page long wine list. If anything, I'd go back for the drinks alone.

While Vapiano certainly hadn't pushed out the boat in terms of imagination, it's not a bad effort. Would I recommend that the vegans of Glasgow rush out to try the menu? Not by any means, but it's great that another option exists of vegans trying to dine with non-vegan pals.

Have you been to Vapiano yet? What did you think of the vegan menu? 
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Dear Vegan Nice Guys, I'll date a meat eater if I damn well please




We all probably know about the Nice Guy.

He's the sort of guy who is normally a pleasant person. Until a girl he fancies goes home with a dominant alpha male and he starts ranting about "girls only dating jerks" and "nice guys finish last" and "these girls ignore guys like me and then cry when the jerks they do date cheat on them". 

You know the type.

But if you're actively involved in the vegetarian/vegan community you'll have probably met this archetypes half-brother: the vegan nice guy.

The Vegan Nice Guy is the guy who believes that because he's woke on the realities of the meat industry, that vegan woman should fall at his feet. When they don't - or, god forbid, decide to date a meat eater because of female sexual agency - the hissy fit ensues.

This is where you imagine me falling off my chair from severe eye roll.

Here's just an example if what I've seen in the past:

Post after post and meme after meme saying "you're not a true vegan if you date a meat-eater". 

There was one disheartening story from a vegan male about a Tinder date with a meat-eater, where the girl mocked him. He was respectful about her but in the comments came "dude, the ratio of female to male vegans is high, you could just have your pick of vegan girls". 


There was once (many moons ago) a meme shared that said something along the lines of "Girls say there's no vegan men, but here we are". 

Plus, my personal favourite: "a vegan dating a meat-eater is like a feminist dating a misogynist". 

Oh, and this Reddit.

This is where you imagine me screaming into the void.

So Vegan Nice Guys (and people of all genders who support them) let's break it down!

Your dating priorities might not be the same as everyone elses

I have a small checklist of requirements that categorically need to be checked off before I enter a relationship. It's the big things: also doesn't want children/doesn't want any more if they are already a parent, also open to the idea of non-monogamy, stable job (or legitimate reason not to), politically/socially progressive and has their shit together. Then I have my strong preferences: doesn't smoke, geek, is also a city person, and won't roll-eye at my boyband obsession.

As far as my preferences go, vegan is a preference but not a strong one. Since going vegetarian I have only dated meat-eaters and very rarely has it been an issue. While most of my preferences listed above are built around things that did become issues in past relationships.

But that's the thing about dating preferences - they are personal. I don't force my preferences on other people. So I use as hell don't like it when others push their preferences on me.

Even if vegan is a preference, it won't be there only preference

If a vegan categorically won't date someone who eats meat that is their choice. However, it won't be the only thing they look for in a partner. So cut out the crap that vegan men should automatically get vegan girls for no other reason.

We all have gaps in our ethics

I do try and live as ethical a lifestyle as I can, but I have blind spots. I still buy my work clothes from Primark, I still prefer paper books to e-books, and I'm guilty of only focusing on social justice issues that effect me.

It's important to me that a serious romantic partner (more on that definition later!) tries to make the world a better place. But I'm not going to get uppity if their priorities are different to mine and if they have blind spots - as I'd want the same respect in return.

Not everyone is vegan for the same reasons

I went vegan for the animals - with the reduction of greenhouse gases being an added benefit. But my reasons weren't everyone's reasons - and these vegan women might be vegan for a reason that differs from yours.

There's a difference between a life partner and someone I might have a fling with

The non-negotiables and preferences I mentioned earlier are only applicable for serious relationships. If I'm just looking for a fun fling, the only real requirement is chemistry. I've had flings in the past where I don't think me being vegan even came up...

Not all women are into men

Just a reminder, y'all.
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Men, we need to talk about feminine beauty regimes (because most of you need an education)



One of the earliest discrepancies being men and women I noticed was beauty standards.

I touched upon this a little bit in my post about pop culture and the negative lessons about love that it taught me. In films we see nerds with braces and acne chasing after the picture-perfect head cheerleader. Then bitching that these beautiful chicks only fancy good-looking jocks. Can't imagine why an athletic good-looking female would prefer an athletic good-looking guy...

This movie trope plays into real life too. At school and in my adult life I've witnessed men who don't take much interest in their appearance expect any woman they date to look like a supermodel.

But that's not where it stops. We also have to put up with men complaining when women wear too much make-up. Moaning that make-up "lies", and raise their voice in anger when they realise how different a woman can look without it (because they were somehow led to believe that women are born with red glossy lips?).

Women are told to find a balance between having everything concealed but not to cake it on. That make-up is a necessity but don't take more than 10 minutes applying it. They want a natural beauty, while not realise how rare natural beauties are.

I know why these perceptions persist. The women in the media are (almost) always groomed to perfection, while men aren't always. We see a wider variety of men in the public eye: for every David Beckham, we also have a goofy comedian like James Cordon. This creates a disorientation as to how women in real life look and what constitutes as natural. The men I'm writing about might genuinely not have a clue just how much effort Hollywood starlets put into their appearance.

So men - especially those who find themselves attracted to feminine women* - let's get an education. Because some of you certainly need it.

1. You do not get to simultaneously be attracted to feminine women while mocking their beauty cabinet
A few years ago I was dating someone who I had already known me for a few years. He knew I liked lipstick, owned a beauty blog and took longer to get ready than him. But when he seen my bedroom for the first time and witnessed the floor-to-ceiling beauty cupboard? He scoffed at it and whenever I couldn't afford something snapped at me "well if you didn't spend so much money on beauty products".

I was around 23 at this point and not as well-versed in feminism as I am now. If that was to happen to me today, I'd probably tell him that if he wants to continue enjoying my soft skin that he compliments so damn often, he better not roll his eyes and my body scrub and moisturiser collection.

2. Beauty products cost a lot
A man who likes feminine women but has never lived with one, probably doesn't know how much all these products cost. A few years ago I wrote a "how much does my face cost?" post, and it came to £92.90 (you can read the post here).

Just as you shouldn't scoff at the amount of products a feminine woman owns, you shouldn't scoff at the number at the checkout till. Especially if you are attracted to women who take care of their appearance.

3. And yes, it takes a lot of time 
I get up about an hour and a half before work, which isn't too strange - but I don't wear much make-up to work.

If I am going on a night out though, I start getting ready with three hours to spare. Three hours? Well between the shower, hair removal, eyebrow taming, blow-drying, hair straightening, make-up applying, nail painting and dressing - yeah three hours adds up.

That's not to mention taking time out to dye my hair once a month.

4. Even the natural look takes a lot of work
I'm not a massive make-up wearer, but I love skin and hair care. This throws guys off. They see my barely-there face and assume they've met their unicorn: a girl who doesn't cover her face in slap because she has naturally clear skin and eyebrows that grow in a perfect arch.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

My hair colour isn't natural. I rotate between four different shampoos to get the best results. I use hair mouse daily. I use a face mask weekly. I use hair oil over night (when I know I'll be washing my hair in the morning). I get my hair trimmed on the regular. I wax my eyebrows. I shave my underarms, legs and forearms. I use an exfoliate and moisturiser on a daily basis. I also cleanse, tone and moisturise on a twice daily basis. I have a separate moisturiser for my face, hands, feet and general body. I use eye cream. And night treatment.

My natural look still involves a lot of product and time.

5. YouTube tutorials are educational
I love YouTube tutorials. Long gone are the days trying to recreate a look from a magazine without really understanding what the writer means ("the brush goes where?"). With video tutorials I can literally sit and watch another girl do her make-up to learn exactly how she got her catflick so perfect.

If you're a dude who's reading this and thinking "I'd like to learn more about what goes into a female beauty regime" then YouTube tutorials can help you too. Like a certain make-up style on a girl? You can find out how long - and how much product - it took.

6. Don't expect even the highest maintenance woman to be well-groomed at all times
I like taking care of my appearance, but I've also got a lot more going on in my life. So sometimes it slides. Sometimes I won't shave my legs. Sometimes my nails are chipped. Sometimes I leave my hair for an extra day.

If you're going to pursue a relationship with a well-groomed women, you can't expect her to look perfect all the goddam time. I've dated men (usually those who have never had a serious girlfriend) who have made comments about body hair when it has grown back in. Did you not realise women grew hair on their legs? Did you think I was naturally smooth? Or did you think I never give my skin a break from a razor?

If you can't handle me at my lazy unshaven Sunday worst, you don't deserve me at my waxed and preened Friday night best (or something like that...).

7. Even a thorough male grooming regime doesn't come close
I have dated guys right across the spectrum of male beauty regimes. From teenage boyfriends who had questionable hygiene and bad facial hair, to a guy that used an exfoliate with gold in it. I've pretty much seen the whole thing.

But even a man who puts in a lot of time and effort to his beauty regime still puts in less effort than a feminine woman. Nail polish, blow drying long hair, full body hair removal, and make-up are all elements of a female beauty regime that a man typically won't engage in.

Honestly speaking, well-groomed men do seem to understand this and they deserve credit. A well-groomed man has never mocked my beauty cabinet or complained when I did leave my legs a day longer than I'd like. Or have a I just been lucky?

8. Don't fancy women who wear make-up? STFU 
On the other side of the coin you have men who proudly claim that they don't fancy women who wear make-up - and even actively discourage women from using it.

I know that some of these men mean well. They want to free women of oppressive beauty standards (and pat themselves on the back like the male saviour that they are). We don't make our choices within a vacuum and feminine women - myself included - do need to unpack why we spend so much effort and money to look 'better'.

But when you do this you are still effectively policing a woman's body. You're telling women that they should dress in a way that please you personally. We all have a type, yes, but only jackasses push they're type on others.

9. Ask yourself why you like feminine girls
If you're a guy who puts little effort into his own appearance and is exclusively attracted to well-groomed women you should probably unpack why that is. Do you know extremely little about female beauty regimes? Can you not tell the difference between a women who has a basic beauty regime and a women who spends £100 a week? Have you never lived with a woman who owns more than two hair products? Or do you (consciously or subconsciously) still think that women should put more effort into their appearance than men?

I know well-groomed women who are attracted to the manly scruffy look, so by all means I'm not saying you should change your type. But for each of these women, I've known five scruffy men who've thrown a bitch fit when a feminine woman doesn't fancy them. So just go have a word with yourself.

10. Finally, don't assume women wear make-up for male attention
Just because a woman is dressed to the nines and perfectly coiffed doesn't mean that she is looking for male attention. Make-up is also about self-expression. How someone dresses and styles themselves gives off non-verbal queues to the world about what kind of person they are. A perfectly pressed suit and fresh make-up implies powerful business woman. A sundress implies girly. Dark lipstick and teal hair implies alternative.

Or maybe they like how red lipstick makes them feel. Or they just like having soft skin. She might already be a monogamous relationship. Or maybe it's women they want to attract.

Women aren't as obsessed with bagging a guy as you would be led to believe.



In the grand scheme of equality and feminist issues, this issue might seem trivial. But I believe that micro-aggressions add up. And this kind of thinking contributes to bad body image when men don't fucking understand that women don't look perfectly coiffed naturally. As a teenager it hurt me too, when I didn't understand why I didn't look like the women in the media as I was yet to understand that these women have make-up artists, hairdressers and fitness instructors on hand.

And men, I'm not even trying to mock you with this. Admittedly the men who need to read this probably aren't going to - but a (feminine) girl can try, can't she?

Feminine make-up wearers - what do you which straight dudes understood about make-up? 
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morag | mo adore
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100 Questions



Ever wanted to know the name of my best friend or whether I prefer savoury or sweet foods? Well, now's your chance. Thanks to Gail for tagging me. 

Q1: What’s your name?

Morag Margaret Lee

Q2: Any nicknames or aliases?

I do get called Mo but it's a nickname rather than a shortened version of my full name, if that makes sense.

Q3: Your gender?

Woman

Q4: Your star sign?

Scorpio (and proud)

Q5: How old are you?


27

Q6: Your relationship status?

Bordering on spinster...

Q7: Any children?


Nope
Q8: Any pets?

Nope (might consider a pet one day)

Q9: Any tattoos or piercings?

I have my lobes, forward helix, helix, and rook pierced. I used to have my tragus and belly button but they didn't quite work out. I don't have any tattoos but I've had several ideas over the years and someone just needs to pin me down...

Q10: What do you like about yourself?
My resilience and morals.

Q11: What do you dislike about yourself?

I'm unassertive and put my head in the sand instead of dealing with issues straight on.

Q12: Righty or lefty?

Righty for my pen, lefty for my politics. 

LASTS

Q13: The last thing you drank?

Almond Milk

Q14: The last thing you ate?

Tomato and basil soup

Q15: Your last phone call?

Gail.

Q16: Your last text message?

02, I hate texting.

Q17: Your last email?

My bank statement from Nationwide.

Q18: The last song you listened to?

Britney Spears - Overprotected.

Q19: The last book you read?

Inferior by Angela Saini

Q20: The last time you cried?

I'm not much of a crier and I really can't remember.

Q21: The last blog you read?

Gail's newest blog that she wrote in French.

Q22: The last person you spoke to?

In person was Gail, but I'm chatting to my friend Rachele as I type.

Q23: The last place you visited?

I was in Firewater last night for the first time.

Q24: Your last holiday abroad?

Berlin last year.

HAVE YOU EVER?

Q25: Have you ever gotten back with an ex?

No

Q26: Have you ever been cheated on?

So, maybe. When I was 19 I was getting on to my then boyfriend about a girl who clearly liked him, and he wouldn't push her away. Even when he broke up with me he said "you don't trust me". They became a couple within days. I have no idea if I was physically cheated on though.

Q27: Have you ever cheated on someone?

No.

Q28: Have you ever lost someone special to you?

Yes.

Q29: Have you ever been so drunk you threw up?

Yes

Q30: Have you ever fallen out of love with someone?

Yes

Q31: Have you ever met someone who changed you?

Yes

Q32: Have you ever been in a situation where you found out who your real friends are?

Yes

Q33: Have you ever kissed someone you probably shouldn’t have?

No, not really. I've regretted kissing people but I've never kissed someone who I morally shouldn't have.

Q34: Have you ever found out people were talking about you behind your back?

Haven't we all?

Q35: Have you ever broken someone’s heart?
Yes

Q36: Have you ever kissed a stranger?

Yes

Q37: Have you ever had your own heart-broken?

Yes

Q38: Have you ever had sex on the first date?
Yes

Q39: Have you ever been arrested?


No

Q40: Have you ever been attracted to someone who isn’t the gender you usually find attractive?
No

Q41: Have you ever done something you regret?


I try not to regret anything, but yes I do regret some decisions.

Q42: Have you ever had a threesome?

No.

Q43: Have you ever embarrassed yourself in public?
Yeah, not for a long time now though.

Q44: Have you ever misjudged someone?

Tbh, I have really good intuition for reading people very quickly and my assumptions usually end up being correct.

YOUR BELIEFS AND OPINIONS

Q45: Do you believe in God?
No.

Q46: Do you believe in yourself?

Most of the time, but I have my down days like everyone else.

Q47: Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Not since I was 7....

Q48: Do you believe in ghosts?
No.

Q49: Do you believe in aliens?

Yes, because we can't be the only ones out there BUT not in the creepy green spaceship way.

Q50: Do you believe in miracles?

No.

Q51: Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?

Yes, but I also believe it has its limits.

Q52: Do you believe in love at first sight?

I do.

Q53: Can money make you happy?

Only because we live in a capitalist society.

Q54: Would you describe yourself as a feminist?

Have you met me/or read my blog? Of course!

Q55: Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

Pro-choice.

Q56: Do you have strong political beliefs?

Yes. I am a member for the Scottish Green Party.

Q57: Do you have strong religious beliefs?

No, I'm pretty apathetic.

Q58: What do you think the most important thing you can give a child is?

Freedom to choose their own path/respect them as an individual.

RIGHT NOW


Q59: Are you eating anything right now?
No.

Q60: Are you drinking anything right now?

No.

Q61: What are you listening to right now?

Nothing, I hate listening to music while I'm trying to write.

Q62: What are you thinking about right now?

If there's anything productive I need to do today.

Q63: What are you waiting for right now?

Nothing.

Q64: What are you most excited about right now?

I'm hungover so not much haha.

Q65:  What’s your pet hate right now?

Too many to mention...

Q66: What’s your favourite thing right now?

Cuddly pyjamas

Q67: If you weren’t answering these questions, what would you be doing right now?

Chilling.

FIRSTS

Q68: Your first best friend?

I'd say two girls on my street called Charlotte and Ashleigh.

Q69: Your first kiss?

A boy named Christopher when we were 4 and lived up the street hahahaha. (my next kiss would be a stranger at a party when I was 15 lol)

Q70: Your first celebrity crush?

The only celebrity crush I've ever had as a teenager was....Buy Burnett aka Craig Dean in Hollyaoks lol.

Q71: Your first holiday?

Lake District, but I don't remember it.

Q72: Your first pet?

Maggie who was a German Shepard/Collie mix. My parents already had her when I was born and she lived right up until I was almost 13.

Q73: Your first regret?

God knows.

Q74: Your first job?

Waitress at a local golf club.

Q75: Your first childhood memory?

My 4th birthday party was probably my first vivid memory. Nothing particularly exciting happened but I can remember bits and bobs.

WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Q76: Love or money?

Love.

Q77: Twitter or Facebook?

I use them for different purposes but if I had to choose, Facebook.

Q78: Hook up or relationship?

I'm not opposed to a hookup and as a long-term single lady I've had my fair share of them. But I'd ultimately say relationship.

Q:79: Dogs or cats?

Dogs, deffo.

Q80: Coffee or tea?

Tea.

Q81: Beer or wine?

I'd say wine, but I typically drink spirits.

Q82: Sweet or savoury?


Savoury, I never ate many sweets.

Q83: Introvert or extrovert?
Introvert, fo sho.

Q84: Vampires or werewolves?

Vampires. Werewolves are weird and ugly.

Q85: Seaside or countryside?


Seaside. I would love to live in a city that sits on a beach (but neither Aberdeen and Dundee did it for me).

Q86: Summer or winter?


Summer. Cold gives me the boke.

Q87: Books or movies?

I go through stages and right now I'm in a book stage.

Q88: Horror or comedy?

Had a passion for horror since I was a teenager.

A FEW RANDOM QUESTIONS TO FINISH ON

Q89: Do you wish you could change your past?

Parts of it, but I usually just try and learn from it.

Q90: What’s your dream job?

Professional sociologist.

Q91: What’s your guilty pleasure?


I don't believe in guilty pleasures. Be proud of what you like.

Q92: What are you afraid of?

Spiders, snakes, crabs, lizards...the usual icky stuff.

Q93: What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?
Palaeontologist!

Q94: If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Flight. Which is not very imaginative but I have recurring dreams where I can fly.

Q95: If you could change anything about your life what would it be?

There's not I would change right now tbh.

Q96: Would you want immortality?

No. My gran died over a year ago and she lived until 96. Watching her grow to that age and reach a point where she actually wanted to bow out put me off living for ages.

Q97: If you could interview anyone alive or dead who would you choose?
Christina Aguileria.

Q98: Would you say you are happy?
Mostly.

Q99: What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at age eighteen?

Don't rush adulthood and don't treat growing up as a checklist.

Q100: Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

I'll be 32 (eeek). In my own flat with a mortgage is my only permanent goal. Other than that I'll see where life takes me.
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