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The club of query trades - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
The club of query trades
It seems like everybody I know has done this heap-of-questions thing, so I'm joining the club (no, not that club).

Can you cook?

Yes. I can't improvise very inspiringly without the aid of a recipe, but I can cook a couple of dozen dishes (with minor variations) competently. My parents had a good solid repertoire of tasty and healthy food with which to feed a family, and I'm slowly learning to replicate most of those dishes (even the ones I didn't like as a kid). I'm much more make-that-stewing-steak-stretch-till-Saturday than drizzle-these-rocket-leaves-with-cranberry-jus, but that suits me fine.

"Can you cook?" is a funny question, though, isn't it. So few people are willing to just say "yes" unequivocally. It encapsulates whole realms of strange changed assumptions about food, about feeding yourself and your family, about necessity and leisure. I don't think anybody over the age of 21 should be able to say "I can't cook"; what really baffles me is when people seem to take a kind of pride in claiming that they can't cook. I suppose it's like keeping your skin soft and pale to prove that you don't have to do any manual labour, but, really.

What was your dream growing up?

To be a concert pianist; then (when I realised I was never going to be good enough, at least not without giving up all sorts of things that I didn't want to give up, and probably not even then) to be a poet. I wrote reams of poetry as a teenager; it started with all the usual emo outpourings, but then I started writing more deliberately, making myself write in set forms like sonnets and villanelles, seeing it as a craft I could learn. I wanted to be the first woman to turn down the laureateship -- so anti-establishment, yeah. Circled 'A's on the underpass pencil-case. I won a few 'youth' poetry competitions, but couldn't get anywhere with adult ones; I read the poems that won the competitions and found that they just didn't say anything to me. I thought I just couldn't write in what seemed to have become the modern idiom, but actually I probably just wasn't very good. By the time I graduated I'd more or less stopped writing poetry, and dreamed of being famous on the internet instead.

What talent do you wish you had?

I can't think of many talents I'd wish for which I couldn't just, you know, go and learn. I might not be very good at them, but at least I'd've tried. The problem is that there are so many things I'd like to be able to do that I can't focus on one of them for more than about 10 minutes before something else comes along. Maybe that's the talent I should wish for: the ability to focus. It's not about wishing, though, really, is it? It's about training your mental muscles. You have to stop waiting to be the sort of person who stops waiting, and just go and be the sort of person who is.

Conciseness, though, that's a talent I wish I had. The ability to stop deconstructing things (at least while I'm still standing on them).

Favourite place?

Val de Bagnes, Switzerland, in summer. Do a Google images search for "val de bagnes" and you'll get a good feel for what the area looks like. The mountains look like pictures of mountains, only more real, more-than-real. The air is clear, so clear that the mountains look nearer and the sun feels warmer and sounds carry for miles and it seems that every wild flower and every blade of grass is placed exactly where it's meant to be: not regimented, just right. You can pick wild strawberries and wood-sorrel from the side of the roads through the woods, and a river like green-grey ice runs along the bottom of the valley. There's a stillness and peace so perfectly-formed that you can hold it in your hands like a sun-warmed stone.

Favorite vegetable?

Avocado. No, wait, that's a fruit. Spinach, maybe, or broccoli; something solid and full of iron and able to stand its ground in a fight with meat. Mind you, potatoes are probably the most versatile, so maybe I should choose them... and mushrooms aren't far behind in the versatility stakes. And all raw vegetables are great, all that crunching and thirst-quenching. (Okay, mushrooms aren't crunchy or thirst-quenching, but they're not really a vegetable, are they?) Peas from the pod, actually: possibly the best snack food in the world. Yes, I think I'll choose them as my favourite, for now.

What was the last book you read?

I keep a record of this on my website, you know. I'm currently reading Grey Areas by Will Self, which so far isn't as funny as he thinks it is (though still smirkworthy), as well as re-reading Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet for about the millionth time (comfort reading, there).

What zodiac sign are you?

Taurus, Gemini rising. In Chinese astrology, I'm a Horse. I do find it interesting to see how people react to externally-assigned personality profiles, whether it's Zodiac signs or Myers-Briggs or gender stereotypes or "which Pokémon character are you?" quizzes.

Any Tattoos and/or Piercings?

Both ears pierced twice. I got the second set done because my parents told me not to get anything else pierced at university. Sigh.

Worst Habit?

Biting my fingers. But I realised the other day (while getting mildly irked by the whole giving-chocolate-up-for-Lent thing, for reasons which are both complicated and boring) that, you know, it was something I could just stop doing, because they're my fingers and it's my mouth and I've got a brain.

Do we know each other outside of lj?

I've seen various people do this quiz now and I think I know all of them outside of LJ. Though, given that LJ is the place where I most frequently spend time with most of the people I know (wherever I originally met them), it seems like a bit of an irrelevant question to ask. I get very annoyed when people attempt to divide my friends up into "real life" friends and "internet" friends: the internet is real life! It's as real as talking or writing letters or shopping or banking or, really, anything in 'culture' or 'society': it's all real, it's all virtual.

What is your favorite sport?

If martial arts count as a 'sport', then karate. Taking up karate was the first time I deliberately chose to do any kind of organised physical exercise as an adult -- I was still carrying around a perception of myself as "unfit" and "no good at sports" based on being a reluctant hockey player and a hopeless sprinter at secondary school. It was good to ditch that label.

Negative or Optimistic attitude?

I'm aiming for 'realistic'. A lot of the time, though, I think what I do is more important than whether I'm "pessimistic" or "optimistic"; that is, the sort of optimism I'm interested in is the sort that says "I'll give it a go" rather than the sort that says "don't worry, everything's going to be fine!"

What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?

Phone the elevator-fixing people, or press the 'this elevator is broken' button, or whatever. Then carry on talking. Actually, I probably wouldn't have stopped talking in the first place. Even being asleep doesn't make me stop talking.

Worst thing to ever happen to you?

I don't think there's any one thing I can single out, either by trying to apply some kind of objective scale of badness or trying to think what's made me the most unhappy. Splitting up with one particular boyfriend pushed me over the edge from depression into suicidal despair ... but in retrospect, it feels pretty stupid to have got so upset over a boy, and the whole sorry mess had a lot of good side-effects: it made me drop out of my course, re-assess what I was doing and why, and then get out of bed and get a job; it got me away from the church I was involved with at the time, which was a pretty poisonous social and spiritual environment. It also made me hit rock bottom, and you can only go up from there, really. I'm not proud of wasting everybody's time and resources by getting myself into such a state, but I can't undo it now, only use it to avoid making the same mistakes again.

I think I've made all the "worst things" into something useful, woven them into the pattern somehow. I'm not claiming I'd be able to do that with anything that happened to me, though, and maybe this just means nothing very bad has happened to me. On any kind of global scale, that's true: I've been very lucky in lots of ways.

Probably the worst single decision I ever made was going on the pill, and I didn't really make that decision by/for myself. I'd love to know what I might have done and how my life might have gone if I hadn't been so depressed, and I think a lot of the depression was due to hormonal imbalance -- when I stopped taking the pill I felt like I'd got a whole section of my brain back. But, again, you know, you have to start from where you are, and I can't go back and make that decision again.

Tell me one weird fact about you:

I was home-schooled for a while (about a term) when I was about 7 or 8. Not very weird, but it's something not everybody does, & something not everybody knows about me. I don't remember finding it better or worse than school, particularly, just different.

Do you have any pets?

No. I'd like to have cats, but only the sort of cats that don't scratch your furniture, don't bring dead birds in, don't cost a fortune to feed, etc. Other people's cats, in other words. Cats you can give back when you've finished playing with them.

Do you know how to do the macarena?

Yes, and I'll teach you if you want. I can do the "Saturday Night" dance as well. It's pretty good exercise, actually, doing the dance for the whole song: like a kind of gentle aerobics. I ended up doing both dances at my high school's 10 year reunion disco, as part of that whole 90s nostalgia kick; it was weird being the one who remembered all the moves rather than the gawky one who didn't fit in, though really, dances with set moves are an absolute godsend if you are the gawky one, because you just have to follow everybody else rather than worrying if you're dancing "right".

What time is it where you are now?

DINNER-TIME! I usually wait till 1pm to have lunch because it makes the afternoon go faster.

Do you think clowns are cute or scary?

No. I don't think I've ever seen a real live clown, actually; I've never been to the circus, and I didn't go to the sort of kids' parties that had professional entertainers. And this whole are-you-a-'clowns-are-scary'-person-or-a-'clowns-are-cute'-person nonsense is right up there with pirates in the overworked internet memes department.

If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?

"If"? I can change lots of things about how I look. Talking of which, I must re-henna my hair. Of course, on Second Life, I can change everything about how I look, which is fun, though I'm not particularly interested in looking like a teenaged goth ocelot. Having said that... I've often thought that I'd like to have wings, which is fairly predictable and teeny-goth. I try to justify it to myself, though: "But they'd be better wings! Not predictable teeny-goth wings!"

I used to want to be taller, but then I discovered a) platform shoes, and b) the internet (where nobody knows if you're only five foot one).

Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?

Crime partner! But only for the sort of crime that involves doing deeds of derring-do and confounding the ungodly. I'd be Patricia Holm to your Simon Templar.

What color eyes do you have?


Ever been arrested?

No. I've been giving a telling-off by the police for (accidentally) trespassing, but I got out of it by pretending to be a bit more ditzy and a bit more posh than I really am. The same tactic worked when I was caught fare-dodging (trying to use an uncancelled outward half of a return ticket), though I still had to pay a penalty fare. I'm mostly fairly law-abiding, really, though.

Bottle or Draft?

Depends on the beer. Draft, usually.

If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it?

Convert it to pounds sterling, and stick it in a savings account, with a view to using it towards the deposit on a house a few years down the line. It's quite scary how small an amount of money it seems once you start thinking about houses. (It's also less money than the total I owe the Student Loans Company, which is an even more gloomy thought.)

What kind of bubble gum do you prefer to chew?

I don't really chew gum any more: it annoys me so much to be sat next to somebody who's chewing away non-stop, I don't want to inflict that on other people. But if I was somewhere where it wasn't going to irritate people, then I'd go for Hubba Bubba, unless they've started putting aspartame in it, which they probably have. At 2p a sweet it was among the more expensive things you could buy from the corner shop, but much better value than the halfpenny sweets, because you could chew it forever. I can blow huge bubbles, too.

What's your favorite bar to hang at?

I am liking the newly-reopened Jam Factory, which has three varieties of Cotswold lager on tap, very nice food, an art gallery, comfy sofas with cushions, and shows films on Sundays. It's near the station, too, which is handy for getting the bus.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Not actively.

Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

At the moment, my instinctive response is "sleep", which is rather sad when there are so many other interesting things to be doing, but I'm just so tired all the time. Talking and reading are probably the things I spend most of my time doing, because they're fun and easy to do; but I'd like to spend more time doing different things, things which require a bit more effort to get started but are satisfying when I make that effort.

Do you swear a lot?

All the fucking time. Yes, I know, everybody's made that joke, but it still makes me laugh. I know swearing isn't big or clever, and usually I swear out of laziness or irritation (neither of which are particularly noble motives); but a well-placed curse with the right comic timing can be side-splittingly funny. I could theorise about why, but then it probably wouldn't be as funny.

Biggest pet peeve?

You may be surprised to hear that "people NOT THINKING" only comes in at number 2 in the peeve parade, but that's only because "people not thinking and refusing to even try thinking when challenged" is number 1.

In one word, how would you describe yourself?


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(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: March 14th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. I've never broken my jaw (and hope never to do so!), but glandular fever didn't stop me talking even when I only had a gap about 5mm wide between my hideously inflamed tonsils...

Trying to talk while half your mouth is anaesthetised is quite entertaining, too (I have had a total of 12 and a half teeth out). Brrrr, I can feel that horrid tingly fuzzy-lipped-ness just thinking about it.
rbarclay From: rbarclay Date: March 14th, 2007 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think anybody over the age of 21 should be able to say "I can't cook";

The sister of my es-SO, who lived with us for a couple months, once asked me, after I told her that she could damn well cook her own egg, "how do I tell if the water's boiling?". And that girl was over 20 by then!
j4 From: j4 Date: March 14th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aiee. That's scary. Had she never even boiled a kettle??

I used to say "if you can read, you can cook", but that was before realising just how many unspoken assumptions there are in recipes, and just how nervy people can be about doing something when they feel they don't have the underlying knowledge they need. Things like what "a low heat" means (how low? what happens if you have the heat too high or too low?), or what "diced" means (and why it might matter -- or not -- what size you cut things up into), or how to tell when different things are cooked. I think people underestimate how much they do already know, though, and how much they could work out by THINKING; e.g., if you've eaten pasta, then you know what cooked pasta looks/feels like, so you know how to tell when it's done -- there's no mystery, just observation.

I guess there's a big element of RTFM as well, now that most things have detailed instructions on the packaging, but eggs (surprisingly) seem to have escaped the text splurge. I can't remember not knowing how long it took to boil an egg, even before I was allowed to go anywhere near boiling water, it was just general knowledge; is that the sort of thing that people Just Don't Learn Any More? Mind you, nowadays you're probably not allowed to admit that "soft-boiled" is an option... [mutter, mutter, rant, ramble]
lnr From: lnr Date: March 14th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
We never had boiled eggs very often, and I make them so rarely myself, that I have trouble remembering. But I do know remember how long to cook rice and potatoes and pasta and carrots without looking it up. And I tend to have a good feel for which things I can do on observation and vague memories and which I'd better look the numbers up and set a timer.
katstevens From: katstevens Date: March 14th, 2007 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another annoying feature of recipes is that they assume your equipment is perfect - woe betide you if one half of your grill heats up quicker than the other, or your saucepan has a very thick bottom which retains enough heat after you've taken it off the hob that your onions still burn, or that your knife is sharp enough to actually cut through the onion in the first place.
rbarclay From: rbarclay Date: March 14th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aiee. That's scary. Had she never even boiled a kettle??

Based on my observations of this (and a vast number of other Utter Stupidities): probably not.

The thing with the assumptions in recipes and cooking books is all too true, which's why, when I left home, my father presented me with a very special cooking book, the Grundkochbuch</u> ("basic cooking book") - which as main feature has "absolutely no prior experience necessary" on the cover and stayys true to that all the way through. Even though I'd (forcibly) learned how to cook before, this has proven to be incredibly useful, esp. when I encounter recipes that use different words than what I'm used to for stuff.

I can't remember not knowing how long it took to boil an egg, even before I was allowed to go anywhere near boiling water, it was just general knowledge; is that the sort of thing that people Just Don't Learn Any More?

I've no idea, really. When I grew up it was just standard behaviour for parents to let their kids help with all the various household chores (and to dump some of them on the kids once they were old enough). It was a lot of fun, too, because of course one felt a bit more "adult" when allowed to help with grown-up stuff. But then again, that was a time when there was no TV before 5pm (broadcast time was only 9am-noon and 5pm-midnight), so the lure of just dumping the kids in front of the telly just wasn't even there.
imc From: imc Date: March 17th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I must admit that I don't actually know precisely how to boil an egg, although it hadn't occurred to me until now to JFGI (duh). So, while I had the value "3 minutes for soft-boiled" somewhere in the dark recesses of my memory, it's actually closer to 8 minutes if you're starting with hot water (which is about what I've discovered by trial and error).
julietk From: julietk Date: March 14th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Biting my fingers. But I realised the other day (while getting mildly irked by the whole giving-chocolate-up-for-Lent thing, for reasons which are both complicated and boring) that, you know, it was something I could just stop doing, because they're my fingers and it's my mouth and I've got a brain.

Habits are actually pretty interesting. Lots more of the brain & behaviour than we normally like to think is governed by automatic functions of various sorts; and they're very hard to override (because they start happening before the conscious thought level, basically; and in some cases never even reach the conscious thought level).

Which is not to say it's impossible; but the reason that we *have* this strong tendency to automaticity is to free up brain-power for things that really do need thinking about. So it's deliberately[0] hard to override that automaticity, otherwise it wouldn't do its job. The usual advice is to avoid the relevant cues (for a smoker, for example, having fags around counts as a cue, because see fags = automatic smoke-a-fag thing starts kicking in); unfortunately this is rather harder with things like biting one's fingers because you can't just not have them around. And gloves indoors looks a bit silly.

ANYWAY. Brains are interesting...

[0] "deliberate" not exactly the right word; I'm not suggesting that the brain has a deliberate structure blah watchmaker etc. YKWIM though, hopefully.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 14th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mm, I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm not underestimating the force of habit; but I do think it's important to remind oneself that it's possible.

The interesting thing I find is that sometimes when I catch myself biting my fingers I think "Biting fingers... no! Must stop!" and then carry on. It's like there's a total disconnect between thought and actions, like a wall. Sometimes it goes through several iterations of meta-reminder ("Must stop thinking 'must stop', must just *actually* stop!" to the power n) before I actually stop. That's crazy. If I can train my body to do one-handed cartwheels (surprisingly hard to 'remember' not to put the other hand down!), then I can damn well train my brain to get straight from "must stop" to actually stopping. I don't believe that brain chemistry means I'm doomed to bite my fingers forever. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm determined to try!

But that disconnect feels like the same type of thing as something I've been fighting, in various forms, for an awfully long time. I often used to hit that wall when I was at my most depressed: I'd be thinking "Must get up / go out / do work / eat" or whatever and just not be able to get from thinking it to doing it. Various things have helped, but no one thing has cured/solved it; it's still easy to get stuck in the mental mud. I have found that it gets easier to fight the mental block the more I do it, though, and these days it's very, very rare that I get into the kind of (metaphorical) paralysis that I used to get all the time, and if/when I do, it doesn't last for anywhere like as long.

Brains, there, yes. Fascinating! I should use mine more. :-)
k425 From: k425 Date: March 14th, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
The interesting thing I find is that sometimes when I catch myself biting my fingers I think

You're me, you are.

And yes, I'm also Taurus and a Horse.
julietk From: julietk Date: March 14th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am wondering if the thought/action disconnect is in part the same thing about automaticity - that the system controlling the automatic behaviour is sufficiently distinct from the one doing the thinking that it's even harder to stop the behaviour than average? (Hm, actually I think I'm suggesting that maybe in some people the separation is more than in others. Now I want to go design something to test this ;-) )

I think you're right about retraining your brain. And also about reminding oneself about possibleness. For me one of the useful things in knowing why certain things are hard is having more information to work around the hard-ness - knowing that behaviour X is probably cue-driven is helpful in working out where the cues might be & therefore how to avoid them. That sort of thing.

I have been using my brain ALL DAY due to being writing coursework essay. It now exists as a somewhat incoherent first draft, so well done me.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 14th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you do design something to test this, I'd be interested to hear the results!

For me one of the useful things in knowing why certain things are hard is having more information to work around the hard-ness - knowing that behaviour X is probably cue-driven is helpful in working out where the cues might be & therefore how to avoid them.

Definitely. I think the danger is that sometimes "this is down to brain chemistry" can get translated (by people/media/etc) into "therefore there's absolutely nothing you can do about it and there's no point in trying". There was an article in the Graun the other day (looks like it was a shorter version of this story) which basically said "teenagers are moody little shits because of their BRANE, therefore they can't help it". I don't think that "therefore" is true. I think it's useful to know the reason (or rather one of the reasons -- social factors surely play a part as well!), and to realise why these moods are so difficult to control, but, you know, I think people (even teenagers) can work towards controlling their moods, or at least controlling the outwards manifestation of them. That's the key, really; you may not be able to change the feeling inside, but you do have (or can learn to have) some control over what you do/say.

But there's so much emphasis on total emotional honesty these days that I think people tend to forget that "I feel shit" doesn't actually have to translate to "therefore I have a right to treat other people like shit". I'm not saying we should be repressing everything, or lying to ourselves, but I think it's possible to be honest with oneself and with others while still exercising self-control.

Pet rant over. ;)

I have been using my brain ALL DAY due to being writing coursework essay. It now exists as a somewhat incoherent first draft

Go you! :)
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 14th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I pretty much can't cook; how much of this is cause and how much is effect of a) living with someone who actively enjoys cooking and actively hates a whole pile of other household things of the cleaning nature which I am perfectly happy to do, and household job distribution falling into a pattern accordingly and b) living somewhere that eating out well is quite affordable a goodly chunk of the time except when we are on austerity months like the current, I do not know. Cooking with any regularity does seem a rather large commitment of time, and it's not as if I had much of that to spare from other things.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 14th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you really mean that you can't cook -- that if left on your own you wouldn't be able to put together edible things with which to feed yourself -- or just that (as it sounds from the above) you're not interested in cooking and would prefer not to do it?

If the former: what would you do if the people who normally cook for you were absent or incapacitated and you didn't have the money for takeout/restaurants? Okay, I suppose there's always ready-meals (which are no longer a luxury, & can be as cheap as cooking from raw ingredients if you shop carefully), but if you can put ready-meals in the oven, then you can cook; it's just a question of applying the principle (read and follow instructions) to things that aren't made of plastic/MSG. Cooking fresh fish is easier than microwaving ready-made curry!

If it's just "not interested", then, well, *shrug*. Cooking/preparing food is a time-commitment, but given that we need fuel to stay alive (and I can empathise with being frustrated at this limitation of the species) it's necessary for somebody to commit that time somewhere along the supply-chain: but if you choose to & can afford to pay somebody else to do it, then it makes sense to do so. Everybody chooses where to draw the line: I don't grow my own food (the absence of a garden is a factor here!) or kill my own meat; at the other end of the spectrum, some people probably have people to cut up their food for them.

I suppose (thinking out loud, here) it's just a risk assessment: if you don't think there's any real danger of ever needing to cook, then learning how is probably no more vital than learning to construct a bow and arrow out of the wreckage of your ship.

To be honest I strongly suspect that you could feed yourself just fine if required to do so, though, because you have the Clueful nature. Also, sashimi requires no cooking. ;)
j4 From: j4 Date: March 14th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Further thinking-out-loud: I have a sneaking suspicion that deep down I do believe (though I'd struggle to defend that belief) that there's some kind of moral value in being able to do things and/or willing to learn.

I hate it when beliefs sneak up on me like that. Must poke it with sticks to see whether it stands up to being poked with sticks.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 14th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
deep down I do believe (though I'd struggle to defend that belief) that there's some kind of moral value in being able to do things and/or willing to learn.

That's a pretty firm core value of mine, fwiw.

However, as a corollary to that, another pretty core moral value of mine is to be a force for good in the world as effectively as possible, and that translates in practice to thinking it more useful to focus my time on playing from my strengths, professionally and personally, and on doing the appropriate maintenance of self and sanity to keep myself able to do so and moderately happy. And given the choice between the investment of time it would take me to become able to cook so well as I would want to be able to so anything I set out to do, or spending the same amount of time doing things at which I am actually good and coming up with some other arrangement for the getting-food part of my life, it seems the bigger net plus is in the latter.

If I needed to learn to cook, I'd try, and modulo physical clumsiness, absent-mindedness, and being mildly phobic about boiling water, I'd probably do OK. Hard to envision an overly plausible situation that pushes me into needing that, though. [ If civilisation collapses, maybe, but in that case there'd be no more need for my professional skills either so the relative priorities aren't the same. If civilisation collapses I just hope people still want storytellers and backrubs. ]
katstevens From: katstevens Date: March 14th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
What about Basque pirates?
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 14th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Would that be in the sense of the nationality, or pirates who all wear the item of clothing ?

Only two and a half months to International Lingerie Day; I must push that harder this year, because lingerie is inherently so much cooler than going "Arrrr!"
1ngi From: 1ngi Date: March 14th, 2007 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
“but a well-placed curse...”

When I was at BCA, where we got paid to read books and then write about them (yes really - ah those pre-user-generated-content days) I sat in a room with eight other copywriters. Our conversations would range from the outrageously obscene to the predictably pedantic discussions about word use.

However on one occasion we managed to combine both. I must first explain that one of the writers there was Jules, very sweet, slightly prim, something of a Liz Hurley lookalike (but more refined - we used to nab her for photoshoots all the time) who had the plummiest-Stephen-Fry-but-female-version accent and was a committed born-again Christian. Anyway the conversation had somehow got onto the euphemisms that people use with their partners to describe going to bed. We went round the room and contributed. It went something like this:

Rupert: Well Kes and I have a shag
Brian: We just say ‘fancy a bit’
Colin: Bit boring ‘going to bed’
Milly: We call it having a rumple
All: ‘rumple’ that’s new
Dave: I think you should just call it sex
Jane: Getting up to something naughty
Ingrid: Yeah I say that too
Mahesh: ‘Actually Jill and I ‘make love’
All (Much laughter which turns into): Awww, bless. (Mahesh goes a little bit pink)

It goes quiet, no one is sure if this is one that Jules will join in with. Without looking up from her book:

Jules: Oh for heaven’s sake, Gregory and I just fuck!
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