Tag Archives: hygiene

Fifth Avenue

There was a smug grin on my face as I took my seat on the plane. My shopping trip to New York was going to be fabulous. A great end to a week which had thus far proved to be as enjoyable as eating your own shit.

Talking of shit, that was precisely why I was feeling so smug.

Not because I had just taken one but because I was sure that I wouldn’t have to. I was flying with Virgin Atlantic, which had to be a good thing. My friend had not been so lucky just a few weeks earlier. His last minute decision to travel had resulted in him flying with Air India. Following three curries and a distinctly dodgy samosa he was in serious shit, literally, by the time he reached the terminal at JFK.

Suffering a nightmare episode of Delhi belly, he was apprehended by customs officers at the airport because they thought he might have swallowed cocaine. His ordeal was soon over when it became obvious what had happened.

So there I was feeling suitably self-satisfied when an enormous fat fucker boarded and tried to sit next to me. The man was so vast that he couldn’t squeeze his unsightly arse into the seat. He planted his blubber onto the arm rests and I had his disgusting butt cheeks encroaching into my personal space.

The flight attendant’s visionary solution to the problem was to raise the arm rest between my seat and his. Stupid bitch. The wide bodied aircraft simply wasn’t wide enough. I spent 7 hours rammed into half a seat surrounded by a fugue of rancid body odour. What the fuck?

I know all about travelling at short notice, but surely people have time to wash.

At one point the attendant returned to ask if I needed anything. As it appeared that my neighbour’s flab hadn’t affected his hearing I couldn’t request a clothes peg for my nose. I was tempted to ask if the on board services included liposuction but I was fairly sure that this would only be available in first class. I also considered enquiring about a defibrillator as this guy was a heart attack waiting to happen. Then I realised that I didn’t care if he died as long as that meant he wouldn’t be sitting next to me. So I kept my mouth shut.

The fat twat even had the temerity to complain because he hadn’t been upgraded!

The plane eventually landed at JFK, a miracle up there with the second coming of Christ given the weight it had been carrying. My clothes now stunk like a refuse tip in Sao Paolo and there was an unpleasant damp patch on my trousers. For one ghastly moment I thought that I might have shit myself after all but it was just Mr Blobby’s stinky sweat.

When the plane’s door opened I charged off in the direction of immigration and was determined to put as much distance between myself and the great unwashed as I could. I needn’t have bothered because he was miles back dragging himself along like a beached walrus.

The environment in the terminal provided temporary relief. I stank like a skunk and so most people steered cleared of me. I was enjoying my new found freedom until the guy in front of me in the queue unleashed a massive fart. How I wished  I’d asked for that clothes peg.

After what seemed like an eternity I finally had my feet on the magic yellow line and would be next to be called forward for the obligatory interrogation. The immigration officers at JFK must do their training at Guantanamo. I wondered whether I was in for waterboarding, sexual assault or a mock execution. All this to drop a few quid on Fifth Avenue!

Just as I was about to step forward, every immigration official suddenly stood up and left. Christ, I thought, how bad do I smell? It turned out that I wasn’t the problem – the selfish fucks were on a work to rule. I was fed some bullshit about their working conditions and pay. Like I cared!  It was the end of their shift so they just left without waiting for their replacements. Never mind that I had travelled for 7 hours, had been queuing for 90 minutes and smelt like a bag lady.

I had an explosive event. No shit involved just a lot of expletives and the proffering of several uncharitable thoughts about New York. At about the moment that I said fuck for the eleventh time I was escorted to an official, had my passport stamped and was allowed to leave. Well when I say allowed, I mean dragged to the door and virtually thrown through it.

All I had to do now was take a taxi to my hotel. The taxi ride is always the crowning glory of any visit to New York. Most of the cab drivers don’t have the least idea where they’re going and on this occasion my driver’s arrival in the country had clearly only just preceded mine. Evidently the Holiday Inn was not, in fact, in New York, it was somewhere in New Jersey. At least that was where I was by the time I got out of the cab in disgust.  How could I possibly be in Hackensack? Fuck me! New York? You can stuff it up your arse. Next time it’s Lakeside.

The full ZZ Top

Shaving is a genuine pain in the neck.

I can get away with doing it every other day, but as I am the proud owner of a beard I have to maintain the beard on my jaw as well as deal with the stubble that surrounds it.

I’ve had a beard as long as I’ve been able to; having worked at McDonalds for four years during my college years, I had to be clean-shaven, as if some designer stubble was going to fall into a burger and affect the flavour or something. As soon as I left that job, I had the Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Craig David, the Ed Norton in American History X – variants on goatees that steadily morphed in to scruffy beards.

But in 2015 I don’t think designer stubble is even a thing any more – we now have designer beards. Everyone who didn’t have beards last year now has a thick, black beard. Watch an episode of Emmerdale, and you’ll note that hairy chins are no longer confined to tramps and lumberjacks – they refuse entry to The Woolpack if you aren’t packing the full ZZ Top. It’s a trend that’s taken over from sleeve tattoos and blokes getting both of their ears pierced (what the fuck was that all about?)

You know what started all of this off? Movember. Ever since some charity worker mis-spelt the eleventh month of the year and tried to convince us that “moustache” and “November” makes Movember, it’s become an annual event for bald-faced bell-ends. One that I can’t actually get involved with, because if I didn’t shave or trim my top lip over the course of 30 days, I’d look like Yosemite Sam.

And that’s the beauty of a beard – they give your face character, but also have character themselves. Some sections grow faster or thicker than others, some look lighter or have ginger patches. You can customise them, much more than you can with pubic hair.

And yet we’ve got men in their twenties dying their beards. There’s men putting gel and softener on their faces. What the fuck are they playing at? They want women to play with their beard like a fucking Yorkshire Terrier or something.

This is the reality of living with a beard. Have you ever used an electric trimmer and found you spend the rest of the morning picking bits of stubble out of your eyes? I have, and it’s twice as bad when you have contact lenses in. I find myself closing my eyes when trimming in an upwards direction, for fear of wasting a weekend plucking hair from my pupils. Being blind and hairy is the worst combination since fat and ugly.

Shaving in the bath, a technique commonly practised by ladies, is a fucking nightmare if you wear glasses. Spectacles and hot water just don’t complement each other – because of this I’ve had to give up reading in the shower. Your lenses get steamed up instantly, leaving you with worse vision than not wearing any at all. So unless you wear contacts in the bath (which is oddly frowned upon by opticians), shaving may as well take place with a potato peeler.

And yet, I still do it. Blindly dragging a Gillette across my neck just because I’ve always believed that steam and hot water “opens the pores”. It opens something, and something pours, but I’ve always felt that a neck full of razor bumps still feels smarter than scruffy stubble when working in an office, even when colleagues point out the blood on my collar like we’re in a scene from Shaun of the Dead.

I blame my dad. Growing up I sat through many a family dinner with my father bleeding profusely whilst we ate, patched up with tiny pieces of toilet paper. To be fair, my dad would buy the cheapest blades in the store – he would have shed less blood unscrewing and using a pencil sharpener blade. Now that I’m a father myself, I can only imagine the horror my daughter sees every time she dries her hands on a white towel.

My neck may look like the nozzle of a watering can, but at least it’s smooth. Until tomorrow that is.