Don’t Dys My Body

Jan 5th

"Where did I put my slinky?"

My therapist (how American) issued me an ultimatum this morning: Either I do the homework and commit or I take a break. Story of my life. Why can’t I just float along like a fat baby in a basket?

I have Body Dysmorphia you see- this means I hate my neck and think that I am generally a freak. I’ve developed lots of ways to deal with this, such as:
1. asking for reassurance from Esther 50 times a day (does this coat look alright? What about if I have to undo it? What about with the hood up?)
2. getting drunk,
3. lying to myself that I need a wee so I can stare into the bathroom mirror at work.
4. Wearing clothes that cover up the parts I hate: shirts and scarves for my neck, hats for the 365 Bad Hair Days I have.

I’m having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is all about making you do the stuff you’ve spent years working out intricate rituals in order to avoid.

So, we wrote down all the unhealthy stuff I do to feel better, and we are going to do the opposite for each bad habit, one at a time.

First up is to walk to work 5 days a week without distracting myself (no ipod) and without doing anything that makes me feel comfortable (hiding my neck with a scarf, checking myself out in windows). It sounds easy to anyone who doesn’t do those things, but it’s really hard if you do them without thinking, and when you don’t do them, you feel hideously ugly.

So, I walk to work exposing my lanky giraffe neck and grimacing against the onslaught of buses and cars all rubbernecking at my rubber neck (or so it seems). By the time I get to work, I’m sweaty and knackered, and want to go home.

I was meant to be doing this for 5 days in a row, but I just can’t make myself. I want an easy life goddammit.

She my therapist is leaving me for another neurotic.

Altogether Now, sing these new lyrics to the chorus:

“Neurotic, Neurotic

Don’t put your hands anywhere near my body”


Dec 3rd
“You must never give a cockatoo an avocado. It kills them”. This is Lisa’s pearl of wisdom for the day.
Esther’s grandmother rang this morning to say she has had her shopping delivered. It seems to consist mainly of carrots and bags of salt. Apparently she asked all her neighbours for the same food just in case anyone couldn’t get it. They all got it for her.
“Devo was desperate for chocolate last night because I had a Gü™ mousse, and I looked up and he was frothing at the mouth in lust. I felt so bad I gave him a fingerful.” Lisa confesses. No it’s not a euphemism.
“Why is it that dogs like chocolate so much when it could kill them?” I say. “It’s just like our generation with drugs and booze. We love it but it’s lethal.” I add.
We are discussing the film we saw last night: She’s Outta My League. They had a rating system to measure looks out of 10. The hottie is “a hard 10” and the nottie is “a hard 5”. You can only jump up 2 points apparently. The nottie bags the hottie because he is a nice guy. Bullshit.

“I wanna be judged by them,” moans Lisa, after having picked her face red raw.

“No you wouldn’t” says Esther, “We’d be a hard 1.5”

“No” whines Lisa, “I’d be a sexy older woman
“That’s exactly what I don’t want to be: older and sexy and a woman” Esther says. “Plop” she adds.
End of conversation. Whenever she doesn’t know what to say, Esther says “Plop!” as many times as is necessary until the other person goes away. Once in this case.

"Don't go to the toilet, I need you..."

“I love you darling,” I say
“Get away from me you freak” Esther says. She reacts violently when she thinks I’m being clingy.It seems this is most of the time.


Dec 4th
I was walking past some shops the other day and I thought ‘wouldn’t it be weird if you got sucked into the head of each person you walk past and see the world through their eyes. Like this lonely asian man delivering takeaway, or the cheery chavvy woman who belatedly answers the door’. But then I realised, oh yeah that’s what empathy is.

"Look at them all laughing at us!"

I only went out with my first girlfriend because she looked like Isabel from Belle and Sebastian. Well you would, wouldn’t you. And because we were the only people left when the Leadmill lights came on at 2am. But like all fantasies (and vampires..hmm), she disappeared in daylight.

She slept in her knickers and it never occured to me to try to get into them. Well it did, but I was too much of a nice guy (girlspeak for ‘loser’. Too much of a clueless virgin is nearer the truth) to get hot and horny with her. I thought, if she wants it, she will let me know. High five, Germaine Greer.

"Nice One"

It was only relatively recently that I realised rape fantasy (Note to Self: tread carefully), or at least enjoying the muscly advances of alpha males, is a crucial part of a typical woman’s sexual fantasy. That I didn’t try to have sex with her just told her I was a brother not a lover.
Once, we were walking down the road holding hands and she said “Look, over there! Those firemen are laughing at us”. I searched the landscape for emergency service hilarity and came up blank. She was a mess. I spot people laughing at me all the time, but they are actually there. I think.
Anyway, we met up after she had been away for the weekend. I had been thinking of her longingly every other second. It turns out that she hadn’t. As my hand brushed her back, it stiffened, like an arachnophobe feeling the tickly feather feet of a family of spiders.

“I went to my parents and I didn’t thinkabout you once the whole time I was there”.

Marvellous. Back to the barren world of the undesirable singleton. Oh joy. Another 6 months till someone takes pity on me.
Was it all a dream- would I wake up, dribbling onto Isabel’s lovely photo-face as I clutched ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’ to my skinny, lovelorn chest? Was it fuck.

Quick Rant about Sex, Death and Whipping

Sex and Death are the two moral compasses by which politics, ethics and aesthetics habitually find direction. The cultural traumas we have inherited from the past cause us to feel guilty about not feeling guilty, and to perceive pain and suffering as the essence of reality. The over-saturation of words like poignant and haunting in the critical reception of art, films and music constructs a trauma oneupmanship whereby the most harrowing experiences are synonymous with the most authentic and worthwhile. This masochism reiterates the old modernist diatribe against the duping opiate of mass media which kills us slowly in the name of entertainment. After each World War, all meaningful representation was charged with carrying the burden of history. Thus popular culture and high art went their separate ways, serving as they did different classes their respective meat (hot superficiality to one and cold profundity to the other). The post modern trend for a blurring of boundaries between the sentimental and the austere has helped to dispel some of this attitude but self-flagellation seems to be inherent in the bourgeois self image.