One For The Ladies


It’s been pointed out to me that there’s too much blokey stuff on these pages. I’m told the girls don’t wanna read about sport, politics or lemons all the time. So I’ve found this little beauty. Sit back girls, indulge yourselves.

Oh, you might want to have a pen and paper at the ready.

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Use By End – See Lid


The ‘Best Before End’ date on the bottle of beer I’m drinking is Feb 2011. Now there’s a hypothetical date if I’ve ever heard one. I can’t remember ever going to the fridge with my customary thirst, only to be disappointed as the only beer there in is out of date. Ok then, smart-arse, have you ? I guess, if I’m really honest, that beer does eventually go off but I suspect not in my lifetime. If ever there was a waste of machinery, process and ink it’s that little line which tells you when your brew is best drunk by. I know I’m best drunk by 11 o’clock but, really, for how long do these guys reckon we keep beer in our fridges ? It’s mid-July now and if the rest of that case is still in the cool box by February next year then something has gone horribly wrong.

That case of champagne which they found at the bottom of the sea last week was dated 1789 and they reckon it’s still quaffable, so what’s the chances of a bottle of Grolsch going on the turn in the near future ? Slim, I suspect. I can only assume the printed date is all a cunning ruse to make us drink more and drink quicker. Shame on them, I suppose, but rules are rules and who am I to put the brewing industry out of business ? Millions of people rely on people like me to keep them in gainful employ and I’m not gonna be the one to put their livelihoods in jeopardy.

Long ago a mate of mine worked for a brewery and his job entailed driving a lorry laden with “out of date” or “damaged ” cans to the crusher to be disposed of. Sadly, sometimes he got lost. For one long wonderful summer everyone he knew (me included) had fridges, eskis and cupboards jam-packed with cans of Budweiser which were 4 weeks overdue and Fosters with slight dents on them They literally had fallen off a lorry, but we weren’t complaining. Neither brand is my weapon of choice but ,hey, who cares ? A lot of milk went off that summer – I didn’t have room for it in the fridge.

I’m off up north on Friday for a weekend’s cricket in the Wirral (that’s posh Liverpool to you and me) so I went through my ever-expanding medical bag to see what I’m gonna need to get me through this short tour. On first glance it doesn’t seem too bad at all. I have nice new tubes of Savlon (for cuts and grazes) and Voltarol (aches and pains), fresh packets of Crampex (muscle cramp) and Dioralyte (guess). The Imodium Plus (ditto) is only a year old, so they’re good to go (as it were). The ever-present loo-roll is in mint condition.

The tins of Deep Heat and Deep Freeze sprays have ‘use by’ dates or 2002 and 2004 respectively, but they’re both still half full and I’m buggered if I’m gonna buy replacements. The tube of E45 cream (marvellous for jock-rot) is so old that the date has faded to the point where I can’t even read it, but I’m sure I’ll squeeze another season out of it anyway. The packet of sticking plasters says to use them by 2008, but I am ignoring that as it’s just plain stupid. My main worry is the whacking great tube of Nurofen Gel which I use for anything that isn’t covered by the above. The ‘Use By’ date on that one is June 2014. I’ll never make it.

Best Before Oct 1994

Dan Dan the Lavatory Man


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One night last week a bloke talked to me in the pub toilet. Yes, exactly, that’s what I thought. He actually tried to hold a conversation with me while I was going about my business. Yes. He did.

Most of you reading this will fully understand the distress this caused me, but in case a woman has accidentally logged in, I shall explain: Blokes don’t talk to each other in the loo. Never. Never, ever, ever. It’s just not done. I could be standing there at the urinals with my best mate to my left, my dad to my right and my long-lost brother washing his hands at the sink behind me and no words would be exchanged until we left the Gents. Protocol is to have one hand (or in my case two hands) on your willy and stare straight ahead reading the graffiti or the very amusing adverts for online poker on the wall in front of you. But whatever happens KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, YOUR OPINIONS TO YOURSELF AND YOUR EYES FRONT !!!

A public lavatory is a place where we men feel at our most vulnerable. We’re not the greatest communicators at the best of times, so the chances of indulging in idle persiflage fly out of the window the minute we get our winkles out. Surely, ladies, you recognise that in your man? I put it to you (if you’ll excuse the image) that if he gets his thingy out in your presence he’s unlikely to want to talk to you about last night’s footy results, or the queue at Tescos. I hear tell that, while in the Ladies, the fairer sex do indeed partake in friendly chat and banter (of what nature, I know not) and they seem to get along just fine in there. Maybe it’s a little sanctuary, free from those arseholes outside, where girl can speak to girl without being interrupted or patronised by boy? Bless her pretty little head. No such conversation does, or rather should take place in a blokes’ khazi.

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So this bloke—let’s, for the sake of looking for another joke, call him Dan— so this bloke Dan spoke to me in the Gents. I have no idea what he said, I was in shock. All I know is that it wasn’t “Alright, mate?” or “Ooooooooh, that’s better”. No, it was in the form of an opening line of a conversation. I just heard noise, my brain couldn’t process the information. Virtually all of my body froze, though part of it went limp and shriveled. I zipped up, nodded politely (I’m British, after all) and left immediately and quickly, and what I had started in the urinal was left to dribble down the inside of my trouser leg as I fled.

So what was I afraid of? That the man was a homosexual? That he was about to “lend me a hand”? That he was the Barrymore of Blackheath and I’d end up emotionally and internally scarred for life? Don’t talk so much Tommy Rot! I have no leanings in that direction. I’ve always been a big hairy hetro (whatever I look like to you) and have no wish to catch the other bus. I don’t even know if this bloke IS gay. My Gaydar doesn’t work. He may just be very friendly, though a tad inappropriate. Having said that, I’ve never either been worried by or about gay men or women. I have several openly gay friends (yes, I know they all say that, but I actually do) and have never felt threatened by them or had the inkling that they were gonna goose me at any minute (their loss, actually). I like to think I view them with the same contempt as I do all my friends. It’s still your round at the bar, mate, even if you ARE a bit light on your loafers. You’re all the same in my eyes, as long as you do your bit in the office, laugh at my jokes and understand the lbw laws. It’s not as if you’re Welsh or anything.
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But maybe this is all a front? Maybe, deep down, I’m scared? A long time ago I spent the night round a mate’s flat after we’d gotten a bit squiffy that evening. I was woken up in the spare room the following morning by my pal delivering a cup of tea. Having placed the cup by the bed, he left the room saying, “There you go mate” says he “I’ll just go get myself sorted, then I’ll give you a shower”
“WHAT!!!!!!”— I’d sat bolt upright in the bed, my head thumping, back in spasm, legs shaking like leaves, willy recoiling into my body. Fortunately I’d misheard him. What he’d actually said was “I’ll give you a shout”. Phew! He’s a big bloke and could have quite easily showered me against my will.

It annoys me, my reaction to these situations. I’ve always considered myself a good Socialist, with a capital ‘S’ and a liberal with a small ‘l’, inside this beer-swilling, rugby-loving, pickled-egg eating oaf, there’s a kind, sensitive, modern man screaming to get out and mince about a bit. I remember getting severe stick from my city mates when I wore a red ribbon pin badge for world AIDS day, and got accused of being either a “faggot” or a “poof-lover”. Well, what would you expect from that lot? But I’m surely above that, aren’t I? I sure am. Perhaps it was just that on the two occasions above I was taken by surprise ? Or maybe it is just what we’ve discussed: that no man feels safe with his penis al fresco? I’ve been mulling over this all week, about how stupid my immediate reaction was, and how I shall make every effort to change.
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Dan was in the pub last night again (hiding behind three Mancunians). I didn’t spot him until he was standing right next next to me, when I turned to be almost nose-to-nose with him. “Hello mate, alright?” he asked.
I blushed “Yes mate…great… thanks”. I left for another pub. I have a new friend and I’m being an arse about it. What a wanker.

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