I have issues. Big ones

There’s only one person left in the whole world that still calls me ‘babe’.

And I have to pay him.

He’s the Big Issue vendor that stands outside the bank. Oh – and he looks a bit like this:

Now, obviously, he’s not a cat. That would be silly. Nor does he have a fly on his nose. He doesn’t need one. But you get the idea. In fact, it’s surprising, in a way, that he doesn’t call me ‘babes’.

Anyway, to me it’s £2 well spent. He gains, I gain. But today, when I pocketed my copy along with my sad pathetic ego boost, I got to thinking about the far off days when I was ‘babe’-d all over the place. I don’t think I appreciated it. In fact, I know I didn’t. I was all high-horseish, and sexist-crappish, and phallocratic-oligarchyish.

Hah. Supply and demand. When the ‘babe’s flowed free, I despised them. Now they’ve dried up, I see their value. I crave the ‘babe’s. So this is why I have 150 copies of The Big Issue on my desk. This is why I stump up every week to the visually challenged homeless man, instead of spreading my largesse more evenly between him, the man with all the badges on his hat and Yugoslavian John. (I know!)   Nothing to do with helping the homeless. It’s all about me.

What am I going to do, though, when even he realises that I’m very much post-babe? (Apart from singing Tina Turner songs at the top of my voice.) I suppose I could transfer my affections and my small change to the Salvation Army man outside the Halifax but, somehow, ‘God bless you’ doesn’t quite do it for me in the same way.

Someone should start up a business, selling anodyne compliments, free from any expectation of ironing, or lifts to the station, or sex, to middle-aged women. They’d clean up. To tell you the truth, this is a far better idea than my knitted uterus one. Dragons’ Den calls again …

Or maybe I should save my Big Issue money up until I’ve got enough for botox … because I’m worth it.

I am, aren’t I?


29 thoughts on “I have issues. Big ones

  1. I’m not sure about the ‘babe’ thing but, generally, I completely take your point. I’m not sure that I qualify as middle aged at 29 (however much I may feel like I am!) but I do think it might be nice, every once in a blue moon, to be regarded as something other than someone’s mum. So yes, I think I’d probably join the queue to have a random individual coo terms of endearment at me.

    Never has the phrase “Lie to me!” been more apt! 🙂

  2. I completely get this post, though I must interrupt this thought by telling LaQueSabe that no one is middle aged at 29. It’s not even close. 40 is the official departure from youth. That said, I miss the idea that no one (except my mother) will ever think of me as young again.

  3. I like this post, Babe.
    I told people that on my last birthday I turned 29, and some folks bought it–so that’s my compliment quota filled for a while.

  4. I would have gone off the idea of being called Babe at about the same time it became synonymous with a small talking pig. May I call you hotcakes instead?

  5. Shit, river girl, you’ve hit a nerve. With me, it’s builders whistling at you. When I was a twenty year old post modern feminist English student, the idea of a builder whistling was contemptible. Now I would pay one to whistle at me.

    Andrew Marvell had it right:

    But at my back I always hear
    Time’s winged chariot hurrying near;
    And yonder all before us lie
    Deserts of vast eternity.
    Thy beauty shall no more be found,
    Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
    My echoing song; then worms shall try
    That long preserv’d virginity,
    And your quaint honour turn to dust,
    And into ashes all my lust.
    The grave’s a fine and private place,
    But none I think do there embrace.

    Ah me, I read that at 20 without understanding… but my how it resonates now!!!

    love Janexxx

  6. Rivergirl, you are worth it, babe. But you don’t need botox or any other form of cosmetic readjustment – you are gorgeous just the way you are, always have been and ever it shall be thus.

    That’ll be £50, please. I accept Paypal.

  7. Oh I’ve always hated being called Babe. ‘Awwight Babe’? Bleargh (that’s me being sick in the nearest bucket).

    Mind you – I agree that I would pay for a builder (pref without builder’s crack) to whistle at me now. I breezed past a gaggle of them having a sandwich break in Moorgate last week and internally braced myself for a whistle – but no – nothing. I felt like an old hag. I made myself feel better by convincing myself that it must have been because I had sunglasses on and so they couldn’t establish eye contact. Yes – I know – dream on in your rose-tinted D&G’s Babe!

    I don’t know what you look like but I can assure you that you are more than worth it and do not need enhancement. xx

  8. um, £2?? really?


    see also not getting id’d in the pub any more, taxi drivers not calling you “love” and fourteen year old boys openly giggling at you at the public swimming pool.

    time’s winged chariot, indeed. except it’s more like a runaway train hurtling down a steep hill on fire. fucking thing.

  9. lqs i bet you get ‘babe’d all over the shop, you lovely young thing you!
    wordgirl my mother thinks i don’t have any wrinkles – until she puts her specs on. i hide them regularly.
    denguy i owe you two quid
    moobs you’ve made an old lady very happy. please call me hotcakes – costantly. (your cheque is in the post)
    jane i can always rely on you to raise the tone – is that ‘to his coy mistress’? love the metaphysicals – and so great so see that nothing really changes
    disgruntled i really think we might be – spooky!
    steve kane you’re bloody good value. can i have receipt?
    rocky i look like a brocolli floret, as you will have seen from munterspace. it was the d&g’s, deffo
    surly where are the brakes? i seem to be accelerating!
    jane hen takes me back – you’re not from glasgow, are you? i think, on balance, i’d sooner go to marbella

  10. Given that May marks the beginning of middle-age (physically anyway, the mental is still 2+ decades behind!), we sympathise, but would like to say:
    “Hello gorgeous!”

  11. Oh to have bouncers ask my date of birth at pubs, and then accuse me of falsifying my age as they used to when I was younger. It used to infuritate me then and I had to carry my passport around to prove my age, but now?

  12. It is indeed To His Coy Mistress. I love the cynicsim of the grave’s a fine and private place/but none I think do there embrace….

    Another favourite is this from the Earl of Rochester (oh what a naughty boy he was, and Johnny played him sooo well…)

    Of Love and Life a Song

    All my past life is mine no more,
    The flying hours are gone,
    Like transitory dreams given o’er,
    Whose images are kept in store
    By memory alone.

    What ever is to come is not,
    How can it then be mine?
    The present moment’s all my lot,
    And that as fast as it is got,
    Phyllis, is wholly thine.

    Then talk not of inconstancy,
    False hearts, and broken vows,
    If I, by miracle, can be,
    This live-long minute true to thee,
    ‘Tis all that heaven allows.

    That’s a chat up line and a half don’t you think.

    God I’m so sad.

    Not only am I in love with a time lord, but also with a long dead rakish earl….

    love Janexxx

  13. Rivergirlie, save even more money on gushing sycophancy with a subscription plan!

    Monthly, quarterly, six-monthly and annual rates available! Fawning ego-massage has never been so flexible or such value for money!

  14. So I’ve been having the hardest time posting on Word Press blogs. It keeps blocking me as spam apparently. I don’t look like Spam, do I? I’m not that pink & jiggly. Anywho, it seems to work as long as I don’t use my blogging name. Go figure. They don’t like attorneys I guess!

    I hate that most men I encounter call me ma’am. I look behind me for my mother!

  15. I’m a straight guy and sometimes I work with a gay guy who calls me things like Doll. There is nothing doll-like about me. As far as I can tell he doesn’t call the others Doll. I try to take it as a compliment, but it’s just odd.

  16. I can s-o-o relate to this! I genuinely do believe that age is mainly a state of mind. My parents insisted they were never middle-aged (meaningless term anyway). My dad’s 92 now and still gets mistaken for someone 20 years younger.

    When I hit 50 (shock horror) dad said ’50? You don’t know nuffink yet!’ – which definitely put it all into perspective.

  17. mr x that’s the kind of talk i like. please call again soon. and what spectacular plans do you have for you significant birthday, you hunk you?
    velcro sound like the rot has well and truly set in! but at least some of my gentleman correspondents here are kind enough to pretend it hasn’t with me, gawd bless’em. i recommend you add them to your blogroll at once.
    jane i really must read more of his stuff. they filmed loads of the libertine very close to here, at charlecote park, and mr depp stayed in chipping campden during the filming. sadly i didn’t manage to see him in the – er – flesh. (except in the film!) you have impeccable taste, btw.
    gcq i’m so envious of your ny trip. sound amazing! glad you can relate to the issues.
    steve you really are a bargain. all this and music too. please remember me when you’ve made your millions from this scheme.
    100 i’m sure you’ve earned all those monikers and more over your bday weekend! so disappointing that a gentleman never tells …
    surly i bet he’s blushing right now.
    pen how true! never underestimate the power of beergoggles.
    steph you don’t look remotely like spam. you look utterly delightful and a total babe. not a ma’am at all.
    spm worth every penny. i wonder if they teach that at waiter training school?
    quick nice to see you. doll – yes, that is a little odd. you must ask yerself, what would withnail do in that situation? (actually, probably better not)
    debi i do agree – in my lucid moments. but beergoggles (or a severe squint) does seem to influence the eye of the beholder. and that goes a long way to putting a spring in my step.

  18. I miss the Big Issue. Bought it often when I was visiting London for the first time in 2003. All we’ve got here in Seattle is ‘Real Change’ which is just not half as good, but then they probably don’t have nearly as much funding.

    You’re right about charging for compliments to middle-aged women. I’d pay.

  19. Great blog!

    Loved your piece (Sept 2006) about signing brats up for after school activities. I never did any of that – absolutely refused to spend my late afternoons/early evenings trundling around in a car.

    Football was fine because that was generally played at school and therefore not far.

    Most of my children’s peers had activities planned every day of the week – Mondays was ballet; Tuesdays was swimming etc.

    God I felt sorry for them.

  20. mel very belated response – i’m delving into my archives. i so agree about ‘gissue. i did a column in it recently with my co-author in the ‘king for a day’ strand. they sweetly changed it to ‘queens of a day’ just for us! can i recommend steve kane for the compliments – he’s gooood.
    noah erm
    sarnia we did a whole non-fiction book on that very subject – you may have see the the bbc2 show it accompanied? i was on it (but don’t tell anyone)

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