“…as heads is tails / just call me Lucifer / ’cause I’m in need of some restraint”
‘Sympathy for the Devil’ (1968), The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones have courted controversy for their entire 60-year career. The British rock & roll band was marketed as the anti-establishment antidote to the saccharine Beatles — and they didn’t shy away from living up to that bad-boy image.
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
Michel de Montaigne might have written these words in the 16th century, but it’s still a sentiment that would resonate with introverts everywhere. In a world that places a lot of importance on life-long partners, and at an age when popular culture is screaming from all angles that you should have a huge, boisterous friendship group that does everything together and goes out every night, it’s an easy one to forget. Society is built for extroversion in many ways, and there’s a lot of good that comes from that — but at the end of the day, all you really have is yourself. And that deserves to be celebrated.
Sex therapists can be mysterious. Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard about them. Maybe Dr Jean Milburn in Sex Education is the first and the only sex therapist you know. Maybe your knowledge about them is based on assumptions, or even imagination.
It seemed like an odd thing to say to me at 15. With a curly bob and a generous spread of bulging pimples, I was in the low-risk category for an unplanned teenage pregnancy. But still, here I was watching my GP write me a script for Femme-Tab ED 20/100.That story was the same for my sister a few years later, who was also put on the pill to help with her skin. Then a friend. And then another. It seemed every second girl was on the pill before they left high school, and almost all of us had an alternative reason for being on it rather than preventing pregnancy.
I think it’s safe to say that we’d all be horrified if sex wasn’t a part of our futures. The thought that, at the ripe old age of 65, I might no longer be having sex, makes me shudder. We twentysomethings are expected to be crazed hornbags (sorry, I hate that expression too) and a lot of the time, we sure as hell live up to it. But do we really want to get shacked up, be intimate for mere procreation purposes, create a sex schedule (read: only Wednesday nights at 9pm) and then eventually just never have sex again? Dearest reader, I know our answers are both a firm no.
Much had changed when the world witnessed the closing of the early noughties. It was an era of anticipation for transformation. On the internet, in music, on television: the zeitgeist of the 2010s ushered in something different — something reminiscent of love, transformation and yearning for tolerance and acceptance. I saw it first on MTV. Gaga, in a bright blue swimsuit and a blond bob singing ‘Poker Face’. The theatrics of ‘Paparazzi’,and then came ‘The Fame’, in which she coins the famous line “obsessively opposed to the typical”. I saw the outlandish outfits, chiffon and latex, shades and long trains — how camp and how strange. I was thoroughly intrigued. With ‘Born This Way’, I began to realise my uniqueness and accept that it was in many ways, totally okay.
There are some things that are way more embarrassing than having an STI. Like shitting your pants twice. Thankfully, Azithromycin, a common antibiotic used to treat chlamydia, exists just to remind us how much worse it can get. Azithromycin causes side effects in about 1 in 100 people including diarrhoea, vomiting and thrush. And like Lady Gaga says, there could be 100 people in the room, but only one (me) will shit their pants after getting chlamydia.
The big titty committee. A term that I am all too familiar and have a bittersweet relationship with. Growing up, bra shopping was and still is an absolute nightmare for me. I try to put it off for as long as I can, to be honest. Just the idea of having to stand in the changing room, half naked while a slightly older woman wraps her measuring tape around all areas of my chest, gives me second-hand embarrassment. I know that this is just a fragment of my already-existing insecurities and that the bra lady literally does not care, but that whole ordeal makes me uncomfortable. By the time it’s over, I am directed to a tiny rack of nude or black bras tailored to my DDs, looking like they have come straight from my grandmother’s wardrobe. Comfortable, sure, but not sexy in the slightest.