The 10 Women-to-women Commandments

We had a BIG focus on our relationships with men last week. You might not have noticed it as it was pretty low key – International Women’s Day? Haha.. of course you did ūüėČ

It goes without saying that days like this are really important and need to happen. I haven’t known one to date that was quite so noisy and full of ferocious feminism.

But it made me think that, while¬†a lot of things still need to be evened out in the men vs. women battle, there are other relationships that need just as much care.¬†When we finally hit that equal pay mark, or agree on what¬†anyone should and shouldn’t be told what to wear to work, we’ll still have our precious relationships with other women to watch. These relationships – some of¬†which rival relatives in terms of closeness, and others which are volatile and unpredictable but just right when you need each other – have just as much of an impact on us every day.

So, in honour of our complex female friendships, here are ten women-to-women commandments that we should all live by:

Thou shalt¬†not… express opinions on her boyfriend

The moment you express a stronger than average opinion on a friend’s significant other, you’re into hot-hot-hot danger territory. We all know this – she’ll love your foul-mouthed rant about what a loser he is and how you’ve always thought his bum/voice/facial hair¬†questionable when she’s fresh from a blazing row with him. But wait for it… … … wait for a call to say they’re back together. #FACEPALM. All of a sudden, you’re the bad guy, despite your good intentions. By all means, express opinions, but keep them to things he has done, rather than insulting him personally. Vague words like ‘may’, ‘seems like’ and ‘perhaps’ will also soften even the harshest insults you throw in the heat of the moment, giving you a little feminine wiggle room when he’s been (temporarily) forgiven for his sins.

Thou shalt¬†not… buy the same top

match dress
Pic: pasteldress.com

There are two levels with this one. If it’s a flimsy ¬£20 crop top that will go to shit the first time¬†it’s washed, it’s probably OK. But only if you point out in all photos for at least a month that your fabulous top was inspired by your right, honourable friend. And whoever had it first gets all the custody rights. You copy, and you’re the one sending the ‘what are you wearing?’ texts to avoid a twin situation. However, copy the expensive coat, boots or generally coveted, expensive item, and you’re treading on toes.


Thou shalt¬†not…
flaunt snacks during diet season
Whatever the time of year – #dechox, pre-holiday season, the day before you usually bump into the fit postman – there will always be someone on a diet. Male or female, show a bit of restraint and make it a bit easier for them. They will sense the second you walk in the room that you have a chocolate bar, they’ll be listening to the rustle of the packaging and they know how good it tastes.. but they don’t need your moans and gasps to tip them over the edge.

Thou shalt¬†not… bail on a gym class

BJBefore you even reach the worst part of this scenario – sweating it alone and turning into a shiny, purple mutant incapable of speech – there is the huge risk of saving gym equipment for your gym buddy. Like any good friend, you get your own space or mat, save one for your partner in crime, and stand guard. Ten minutes later,¬†after you’ve told 14 people that¬†this is your friend’s mat, actually, with a glare, and you’re left doing your workout alone, you become the dedicated class lunatic. There’s no going back from this. Smash your walkouts and plank for days, but your rep is down the drain.

Thou shalt¬†not… blank frazzled female drivers
Call me sexist, but I’ve never seen a man lose it at the wheel. I’ve seen them angry and aggressive but never emotional. I, on the other hand, have my moments of hand waving or angry pouting¬†if I’m under pressure and no-one in the world will help me out. This situation becomes instantly and significantly worse if the driver refusing to let you in is female and blatantly ignores you in your moment of need. Roads are dangerous and rage makes¬†them worse – back off and help a girl out.

Thou shalt not… ignore a make-up disaster
browsI’m not talking about the blatant, can’t-look-away-from-them eyebrow disasters on the Mail Online. There’s no excuse for these and the offenders should not need to be told what’s what. However, innocent women caught up in an early start, or suffering from lack of make-up application space on the train should always be told if foundation or eyeliner has gone rogue. The same goes for stray pen, spinach in teeth and bogies. I’m quite bad at this (telling people, not bogies), in that I’ll notice it and look at it but not think to actually mention it?! I’m due some bad karma at some point in life. But the long and short of it is, you’d want to be told, so go forth and break the news.

Thou shalt¬†not… share awful photos on Facebook
As long as you’re still open to the idea of¬†mixing beer, porn star martinis and Prosecco in one night – or in fact, an innocent but lengthy bottomless brunch – you’re at risk of questionable photos. The severity of the photos almost certainly improves with age – anyone under the age of 25 will do anything with a lamp post for a good shot – but merely blinking while eating a salad can have catastrophic results when captured on camera. Standard protocol seems to be removing the truly awful shots and uploading the rest without tagging the offenders. Anyone who tags and laughs is going down.

Thou shalt¬†not…steal her baby name

OUCH. This is of course going to be controversial. If she has a name in mind for her future children, the chances are, they have featured in every romantic dream sequence of her adult life. Take away that name and the dream sequences are gone forever. Mix in some strong female emotions, a hint of drama queen and some sort of flailing girl fight in the street, and you’ve basically ruined her life. HOME WRECKER.

Thou shalt¬†not… reveal the big secrets
gossip
Pic: Brainjet.com

We’ve all sworn to keep a secret, only to then get swept away in the drama of it all – a la Trevor McDonald – and let it all come spilling out five minutes later. I think as a girl, you learn what kind of top secret info will make it round the rest of the group by lunchtime, and which info has a chance of staying between the two of you. The dodgy crush or a snippet of work gossip can probably get out without too much hassle, but let the biggies slip through the net and you lose your confidante status.

Thou shalt not…bring a gal down
On the average day, we’ve got enough on our plates. Work, relationships, lifting weights, avoiding carbs, period pain. The last thing anyone needs is a real-life scene from Mean Girls. This is where we (sorry) can probably learn from the boys, as they help us onto a level playing field. They’re experts at having a chat, having a row, generally hitting each other a bit, until whatever issue is sorted out. We, on the other hand, like to turn things into a mystery novel. Not always that helpful ūüėČ
So, over to you. What would you note down in your list of women-to-women commendments?

14th February: The plan

I’m going to say it.

VALENTINE’S DAY.

Are you feeling that funny slash hopeful slash ‘am I bovvered?’ feeling yet?

We are all the same. Single or coupled up, half of us KNOWS that the cards and teddies are a huge money-making scam, yet the other half secretly hopes for a bunch of one hundred roses, delivered¬†in a very¬†public place by swan…

If you don’t want to go down this route, here’s a selection of¬†activities for Tuesday, 14th February – SHOULD YOU WISH TO DO SOMETHING –¬†that don’t have to involve scratchy fancy underwear or awkward end-of-date kisses.

Drink
If any sort of enforced romance, or the lack of it,¬†makes you reach for the alcohol, make it a formal thing. Leeds’ Lazy Lounge holds wine and gin tasting sessions every Tuesday. Grab your partner or your partners in crime and you’ll get an introduction to wine, a taste of seven varieties, and a selection of¬†well-matched nibbles to bring out the flavours.

Wine tasting £20pp, gin tasting £25pp, from 6:30pm at Lazy Lounge, Unit D, Westpoint, Wellington Street, LS1 4JY. (Photo credit: godine.co.uk)

lazy

Haters
As a nation, we are excellent at moaning, so it was only a matter of time before someone mixed our skills into a¬†dating app. Sign yourself up to¬†Hater and you’ll be matched with people who hate the same things, including tuna, the word ‘moist’, weed¬†and Taylor Swift. It’s only available in beta form on iOS at the moment, but there are plans in the pipeline for Android.

Churros
I love a good binge at Cielo Blanco, but when it’s rounded off with churros, one can look a little bloaty once home and in the nude. Not ideal if you have plans for a night of passion.¬†This year though, you can try a number of new superfood mains, including¬†superfood tacos, a warm kale and broccoli salad with toasted nuts and a poached egg, and¬†avocado¬†and black quinoa toastadas. You’ll also get a free bottomless superjuice with superfood dishes, to give you a glow regardless of your relationship status.

cielo

Queerology
This year marks the 50th anniversary of homosexuality being decriminalised in England.¬†Now that’s romantic. Queerology showcases all sorts of artwork¬†by LGBT and Queer artists in and around Leeds.

Queerology at Aire Place Studios, Units 2c, Aire Place Mills, Kirkstall Road, LS3 1JL. Open 12 – 5pm until Monday 27th February.

queer

Culture
Take a seat (and snacks) to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, for a “radical” take on Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw in 1913. It’s the story of professor of phonetics, Henry Higgins, who makes a bet that he can train Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess, starting with impeccable speech. This new version brings in more video and sound technology and asks questions about today’s class identity and social behaviour.
Pygmalion at West Yorkshire Playhouse, 14th February. Tickets £13.50 Р£30.

pyg

Skate
You can approach Leeds’ Ice Cube¬†rink with two mindsets. For romance, cling onto each other and¬†complement your pink cheeks with a cute bobble hat, or rejoice in falling over and bruising most of your limbs while showing no sympathy as your fella or friends hit the deck. The rink, its Snowslide, Starflyer and Glacier Run Simulator, plus the new Ice Jet, is open ’til 19th February.

Go ghost hunting
If you really want to go anti-romance, go on one of York’s famed ghost walks. The Original Ghost Walk of York starts every night outside The King’s Arms Pub, and will combine the city’s history with gruesome stories of its past.

The King’s Arms Pub (Ouse Bridge), at 8pm. ¬£5 for adults, ¬£3 for children, students and concessions. (Photo credit: imgarcade.com)

york

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Doing anything different?

How to be this couple when cohabiting..

We all want to be the couple on the left when it comes to living together, yes?
cohabiting

It’s generally acknowledged and accepted that – as with¬†most things in life¬†– there is a honeymoon period for cohabiting couples.

What starts as a fart-free, dinner-at-the-table, sex on tap and pillow fight prone household will eventually succumb to life pressures. Pillow fights will ruin the posh pillows, as you upgrade, sex will lose out to sleep, and farts, well, they always find a way out.

Of course this is all entirely normal. Just as you might put more effort into make up or make more romantic gestures when you are in the early stages of dating, you put a bit of a gloss on living together and keep out the bad habits.

What’s key is keeping an eye on the important bits, like closeness and quality time,¬†that could impact on your relationship as a whole.

Based on the three years during which I have lived with A Boy (a prospect that TERRIFIED me until we were about two weeks in), here’s what I think is key:

Celebrate the good times
You’re not going to feel refreshed, look ravishing and forget all your troubles/deadlines every day of your life. So when you do, and you’re together, remember it. Take and display photos of those great days. It doesn’t have to be a ball at The Ritz – just nights out, walks and holidays that remind you of the great times.

Sex
Have it. Find out how to up-sex your bedroom here.

Eat together
We SO have this down. But it’s usually on the sofa while watching TV. Together time =¬†0.¬†Make an occasion of meal times. Whether you have a huge oak table or a little bistro set, cook together, sit your asses down and talk about your day.

Sleep together
There’s been loads¬†in the news¬†about couples who sleep in separate beds/rooms in the last few years. I think we can all see where these people are coming from – you probably get a much better night’s sleep without someone else fidgeting and the inevitable unforgiveable duvet hog. But, don’t you just deal with it? Many psychotherapists, including Dr Barton Goldsmith, believe that sleeping next to each other and the physical closeness that comes with it, can strengthen emotional bonds and therefore your relationship.

Make the effort
This can apply to most things you’ll encounter when living together. Emptying the dishwasher so they don’t have to, taking the bins out if they’re that tiny bit more tired than you. It just shows that you care. Similarly, don’t forget that goodnight kiss, a sneaky massage, and to snuggle up if you’re going to watch TV. They’re tiny things, but without them, you might as well be flatmates.

Count the numbers
It sounds horrible and scientific, but just as you might do at work, keep a track of the good and not so good things you’re doing at home. If you find your body contact waning, or start to feel a bit ‘samey’, set yourself a target!¬†It doesn’t need a spreadsheet (unless you like a spreadsheet..)¬†Mentally tick off those daily kisses, cuddles, nice things, and set yourself a target if you’re not getting through the list. No-one’s going to complain that you’re kissing them too much.

Take time out
Most people I know like a bit of time alone every so often. Whether it’s to get things done, sit and watch rubbish films (that’s me) or just sit and pick your nose, the urge doesn’t go away when you move in with your other half. Don’t be afraid to spend the odd weekend apart, go out with separate groups of friends or go off and do your own thing upstairs while he’s downstairs. You’ll get the reflection/quiet time you need (and can also pluck unsightly facial hairs etc on the sly…) WIN.