I’m giving writing a book a go…because why not eh?
Hello lovely blog readers!
The saying goes that everyone has a book inside them, and so over the past 6 months or so I’ve been attempting to give writing one a bit of a stab. As is common with all creative endeavours, I’ve hit somewhat of a rut, a stubborn writer’s block that I’m having trouble shifting, so thought I’d bung down a rough version of one chunk of it on here in the hope of receiving any constructive feedback or criticism that may help tackle or inspire!
It’s very rough, and also quite rude. Just FYI.
Any comments happily received.
Thanks you lot!
“It’s a grizzly Wednesday morning, and I’m at the GUM clinic, staring at a picture of a giant cock. No seriously, in a noble attempt to make this centre of regrettable sexual promiscuity less grim, the designers have plastered the walls with murals of giant cats and male chickens. Pussies and cocks- GET IT?! God that would really make a great tweet, I think to myself, reaching to pull out my battered and shattered iPhone out of my pocket. But then HANG ON my brain screams at me. If you tweet this, everyone will know you have been at the Clap Clinic. The desire to make people laugh vs my desire that no-one knows I potentially have herpes from sleeping with a 22 year old with a beard and a man-bun who called me ‘mate’ and high-fived me during sex is a dilemma. Upon reflection, I’d rather people didn’t know about my latest sexual endeavour, so instead I snap a picture of the innuendo murals to whatsapp to my best mates later.
Shoving my phone back into my trusty old rucksack I take stock of the rest of the clientele. Good grief this place is awkward. The twenty other people in here who’ve walked in for an impromptu sexual health screening are all trying not to make eye contact with each other, tapping away on their phones whilst the world’s most dull radio station, Beige FM, cranks out a never-ending catalogue of bland Easy Listening hits. Pipe down Dido, I’m trying to concentrate on my forthcoming cervix scrape! Although, it’s kind of weird how many of the people here are really hot. Actually, logically maybe it’s not. Buff people bang other buff people I guess. Hey, wait, maybe if I’m here it means I’m buff too! Does this mean I’m buff?! My eyes then catch sight of the profoundly rotund chap sitting to my left in top to toe orange hi-vis, a tattoo of a skeleton shagging a lady leprechaun (who weirdly, still has a beard. Maybe she has PCOS.) on his bicep, a few greasy blonde straggles scraped back with an alice band and a bull-ring through his septum. I suddenly feel a warm kindred to him in this room full of hot (potentially syphilius ridden) sluts, given that in my short (ish) time on the planet I’ve done pretty much every diet going under then sun. My inner camaraderie towards Hi-Vis Harold is quickly shattered as he shifts in his seat and treats me to a gust of the worst breath on the planet. It takes all of my strength not to lean forward and offer him a Trebor.
GOD THIS IS TAKING A LONG TIME. I have been waiting so long that I think I’m going to have to move into this Clap Clinic. Actually, that would solve my current housing drama. After living in a beautiful North London flat that a friend of mine inexplicably owns (she has a real grown-up job. Me? I bum about trying to carve out a pitiful career in the arts.) it’s in the process of being sold, which means I’m very soon to be homeless. So the hunt is on for a new London dwelling. The problem is of course is that it’s really, really hard to find anywhere in London that is a) vaguely pleasant and b) vaguely safe that isn’t going to bankrupt you. All housing adverts in London might as well read:
“One-bedroom grotty hole in crime-ridden arse-end of nowhere: £10000000000000000000000000000000000 PCM.”
So yes, the housing trauma is something that is currently being carried around with me like a big old black cloud hanging over my head. But I digress. Right now the real trauma is that I have been waiting three hours to find out whether I have herpes or not and Hi-Vis Harold keeps breathing his death wheeze on me. Just as I decide to go and ask the sulky receptionist if they have any idea how much longer it will be I’m called through. Never have I been so excited to have my vagina scraped out, but to be honest, anything is better than sitting with Hi-Vis Harold for one moment more.
Answering questions about your sexual health to a doctor is always a bit awkward isn’t it? I can’t help but get really nervous and say things I regret. Here’s how today’s conversation went down.
“Hello there, and what can I help you with today?” said the kindly yet expressionless doctor, tapping into her computer. I shift in my seat and audibly gulp.
“Well, god this is jolly embarrassing but, um, well, I have like, a little painful lump…um…in a less than ideal area…”
Doc looks up. “Your vagina?”
“No, on my arm. HA HA HA NO OF COURSE ON MY VAGINA WHY ELSE WOULD I BE HERE I’D JUST GO TO THE NORMAL DOCTOR IF IT WAS ANYWHERE ELSE. Not that you’re not normal I mean…” I tail off weakly. Doc merely adjusts her glasses and looks back to her screen.
“Okay and are you having regular sex?”
Instantly bursting into unsightly guffaws I splutter, “HA HA HA GOD NO CHANCE WOULD BE A FINE THING!”
Unperturbed, Doc carries on the interview. “…And when was the last time you had sex?”
“And was that with a regular or casual partner?”
“And what kind of sex did you have?”
I pause for a second. This is a question I am not quite equipped for. “What? Oh well, um, God, well, I mean it was quite…rough I suppose. He was very enthusiastic if not overly skilled.”
Doc looks up again. “No, I mean what kind of sex? Oral?”
Pennies are dropping in a million places in my tiny brain. “OH! I get you. Really? You count oral as a whole other category of sex? Not just like as an aperitif?”
“Well you know, it’s just not actual SEX if you get me.”
Doc now looks like I am trying her patience a bit and turns her swivelly chair towards me a bit to look at me properly. “Did you have oral sex?”
“Yeah, yeah, there was some oral sex.” She nods, then types.
“Yes.” Type type type.
“No way. Well, actually, not for want of him trying.” (Side note- guys please stop trying to do that. Do not think we will ever be fooled by you saying “Sorry, got the wrong hole.” It’s the worst excuse ever.)
Finally the sexual Spanish inquisition comes to an end and I’m quickly stripped and stirruped up.
“Okay, just let your legs drop to the side and open up for me,” she says, as she adjusts her seat so she is at prime labia-level.
“Sure thing, just brush away the cobwebs HA HA HA!” She ignores me and lubes up a speculum. Oh goody.
“Is that comfortable?” she enquires. No babe, you’ve just rammed a plastic ducks bill up my growler and cranked me open like a Black and Decker bench vice. It’s not very comfortable, no.
“Yeah absolutely fine.” I wince.
“When did you have your last period?”
“Erm…I finished on Monday?”
“Yes, there’s a bit of old blood up there I can see.” Ooh, I’ve never felt sexier. After a bit more poking, prodding, swabbing and scraping, we’re all done and I turn my face in eager anticipation to hear whether I’ve got herpes or not.
“The lump is nothing to worry about. It looks to me just like a small boil- like a spot. It’ll come to a head soon.” Oh no wait…NOW I’ve never felt sexier. “They’re very common and nothing to worry about. You can bathe it in hot water to help ease the pain.” I am instantly greeted with visions of me spread-eagled over the bath trying to dunk my nethers in. I can already tell by these images in my head that it’s not a massively good look for me.
“Okay, well good, that’s great!” I’m not sure having a BOIL in my vagina is that great, but at least I don’t have to tell Man-Bun McBeard that he gave me herpes. PHEW. Kind yet expressionless Doctor tells me to wait in the waiting room whilst she checks out my swabs under the microscope.
So, up knickers go and I’m back staring at the giant cock. As I’m gazing around trying to avoid Hi-Vis Harold’s pungent pant, the automatic doors pulse open and yet another buff vision of promiscuity strolls through. And to my utter horror it is Ben. Ben as in Ben who spent the best part of three months of 2012 inside me then fucked off without so much as a SEE YA SALLY (though quite why he’d say that given that my name is Poppy I’m not entirely sure but anyway). I do not want to see Ben at the best of times. And I can safely say that being the second-to-last fittest person (Sorry Hi-Vis Harold but you are hideous at best) in the waiting room of an STI clinic when I’m slightly woozy from the blood tests is not my best. I attempt to melt into my oversized scarlet scarf (New Look £8.99) a la the witch in all time greatest movie ever made The Wizard of Oz but I must still be goggling at him, because his eyes automatically land on mine. And what a treat for him to behold, as my peepers bulge out of my head in sheer disbelief. He gives a little half wave.
“Er, hiya.” It’s a strong opener from him to be fair.
SAY SOMETHING COOL. “Hiya! You alright?” That will do under the circumstances.
Of course, the whole waiting room is now looking at us. The eyes of twenty hot sluts (and Hi-Vis Harold) are now watching this awkward reunion, assuming that we banged. Which we didn’t. Well, I mean we did, but not since 2012. God the sex was good with Ben. I realise I’m doing that thing where you’re trying to have a nice normal conversation with an ex-lover to show them how chilled and breezy and better than them you are, but all your brain insists on doing is scream “OH MY GOD YOUR COCK HAS BEEN IN MY MOUTH” and suddenly I realise Ben has asked me a question that I haven’t heard (what with being too busy reliving the moment where he mounted my face) and I’m so worried about breaking the awkward silence that is now ensuing, that I blurt out the following sentence:
“No, once she got down there to have a look the nurse said it’s just a boil.”
To see the face of someone who has been inside you look at you with such revulsion is really something super special. I CANNOT BELIEVE I JUST SAID THAT. I decide then that my best hope of saving the situation is to give Ben a thumbs up, stick out my arm with the little circle of freshly bloodied elastoplast and say, “Still, looks like I don’t have HIV, so you know, swings and roundabouts!”
And then, what with having got up too quickly and the blood, and Ben’s beautiful, repulsed face, I fainted.”