Social Distancing: Why I'm loving the Corona Virus

When I first heard about the Corona Virus some time in January, I had no idea it would turn out to be so serious. The name itself threw me off, after all, it was literally named after the friendliest beer. I mean, when you picture yourself soaking in the sun on some pristine beach in the Carribbean, you see yourself drinking a Corona, not a Schlenkeria (or some other German beer with way too many consonants). A few months down the line and here I am, barricaded in my house with my family, and yet, despite the gravity of the situation, there are many things I’m very thankful for about this pandemic. 

These days, I only venture out for groceries but when I’m there, if I feel a cough coming on, I panic and do everything to try to hold it in. And its not like holding in a fart, this is much tougher, especially as I’m allergic to dust and that’s pretty unavoidable. I’ve been in many awkward situations where my allergies get me death stares and eye ball judgement. Although it does wonders if you need to clear a path somewhere. Who needs to say ‘Excuse me’ when you can just cough. It’s almost like having a superpower.

I never thought I would see the day where coughing would raise more eyebrows and instill more fear than a weapon or good old fashioned indecent exposure. I think you could actually hold up a bank nowadays by just coughing your way to the safe and spitting sputum on the cashier clerks. I can see it now, a burglar enters a bank where everyone is wearing face masks, removes his and yells “All your money or I’ll sneeze!”

The social distancing aspect if by far the greatest bonus. For years and years I have been searching for an excuse to avoid some people like the plague, and lo and behold, the universe sends me an actual plague! There are a certain number of mouth-breathing, incessant talking, sewage breath folks that I’m delighted to never have to hug or mingle with again. It’s wonderful; now when I see these folks, I do my special “Corona Dance”; I throw my hands up in the air like I’m under arrest and I wiggle my ass backwards until said person blends into the horizon, singing “Sorry, have to be careful, I have asthma” as I disappear into the distance, forever. 

As Covid-19 began to really impact healthcare infrastructures and societies started shutting down, the gravity of this apocalypse hurtled at me with full force. In particular, the closing of schools was a shock to the system. I believe my exact words to my husband were “Shoot me in the ass because I’m sure that will hurt less”. Gone were the days of having my morning coffee after dropping my toddler at nursery by lazing on the couch and fantasizing about my pulitzer award. Now it was back to chug your coffee cold while you distract young demon with the theory of relativity, or a balloon. 

But as the first week passed, we both settled into the new reality and I am really loving the extra bonding time. Now we play, laugh and cry together and every day is a new opportunity to try and find new fun activities we can do at home and alone. Seriously, if anyone ever wanted to train their young ones to be successful serial killers, you won’t get another opportunity like this. 

There are many benefits to flattening the curve, and I’m not just referring to my shape. The planet is getting a much needed break from some fleas, families all over the globe are discovering that maybe they should have opted for condoms, and introvert alcoholics are finally venerated with a lifestyle most will condone. So take comfort and know that it’s ok; we’re all in this, alone. 

BeastFeeding: The Untold

No, that wasn’t a typo. I absolutely meant beast-feeding because for the first month or two your babe is pretty much that; a beast. And not just any run of the mill beast, but a boob connoisseur with poor latching skills and a temper to match Hannibal Lecter’s.

There are many things women don’t really talk about when it comes to making life. They don’t talk about stitches in, excuse the pun, unholy places, they don’t talk about the unbearable depression that reigns over you and they certainly don’t talk about the first month of hell that comes with breastfeeding.

The situation is so widespread that there are actual Lactation Consultants out there. The first time I heard of such a thing, I was on the floor. But my laughter quickly disappeared when my son arrived and I learned that he (and I) needed professional help for what seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

Many like to market the whole birthing and breastfeeding thing as so natural and intrinsic; they chime away with advice like “oh don’t worry, you’re body will know what to do.” Well what if your body is an idiot?

I had so many issues to deal with that seemed to completely go against nature. For one thing, I had very fast flow (yes, it’s a thing) meaning the poor little guy choked every time he tried to drink and ended up getting very frustrated. On the bright side though, now I’m sure he’ll do great at marathon beer chugging events in college.

I had heard from women that lactating boobies change size, but what I was unprepared for the sheer volume of swelling, engorgement and eventual sagging of the hoohas. So first they inflame to a supernatural size so that you look like you are wearing pool floaters all the time, which is dangerous if you decide to take a cruise because you will be passed up for a life vest.Then you have wonderful instances of ‘hard boob’ when you miss a feeding; which is literally the pressure from too much milk waiting to make its escape. And finally, as the journey nears the end, you notice that men don’t stare at your chest as much as your crotch anymore, because let’s face it, after your dairy production days thats where your gazongas end up. But hey at least now everything is at an even level, making it more convenient for hubby to service you.

Perhaps the worst thing about the early breastfeeding days is the Latch. You’d think only astronauts in space docking multi million dollar shuttles would have to worry about the exact science of the latch. But no, us weary, sleepless, sore and leaking mamas have to as well. It’s such a prominent issue that there is even a league of lactation consultants out there grouped by that name: La Leche League. Can you imagine if it was this difficult to lose your virginity? And there was a whole league of consultants out there called “Le Pop de Fleur”?

Most babies simply don’t know how to latch properly and this can lead to a myriad of problems including bleeding teets, cracked nipples and excruciating pain for mama and frustration for babe. It might sound horrible to many but the silver lining is that with professional help, it can be rectified and you and your spawn can enjoy many months of pain free and beautiful bonding through breastfeeding.

And ultimately, the hurdles are overcome, and the journey becomes a truly enjoyable one. So if you are one of those new mamas and are hating your life, fret not, it truly does get easier and you can enjoy a wonderful bond with your beast and sagging boobies.

Hair We Go Again

I dread this time.. when the grey starts to sneak out like a guilty teen, when the ends split wider than a porn star’s vagina, and when the frizz gets wilder than an addict at a festival.

What does it mean?

I have to make my way back to the dreaded chair: the HairMesser’s chair.

It’s more common than you think. For every time you see a pretty lady all dolled up with gorgeous locks, know that behind that success there were at least a dozen mishaps with hair dressers when she left the salon looking like raccoons tried to mate with her ideas.

There are just too many awkward facts about going to the hairdresser. Go to a venue once and if you exchange mild pleasantries with one hair dude, you are more bound to him than your husband in matrimony. Heaven forbid you ever dream of trying another guy he works with, whence you are met with the same judgement as trying to convince your husband to let you fuck his best friend.

You have the talkers, whom I just cant keep up with. I mean, when I get to that chair, I just wanna lay back and let the pampering begin. Instead, I’m often faced with a person who wants to talk about politics, the weather, the folly of married life, etc. and this is all fine and dandy, but come my twentieth visit, I have just as much fun faking the enjoyment as I do at 5 am.

The straight ones come with their own drama. You can’t be too friendly otherwise he’ll try to penetrate your ear when you are not paying attention, and contrary to what he might try to convince you of, this will not help with your migraines at all.

Now on to the actual hair. I don’t know what training they give these “artists” but its definitely not on hair. Its sad but most of them will completely forget about what your hair actually needs and try to push the most expensive treatment down your…scalp.

I have very dry hair- chalk it up to years of vacillating between Madonna blonde and Snow White black. Point is that what’s left of the locks are pretty damned fragile and instead of respecting that, every bozo with a hair blower tries to convince me that a 6 hour treatment with BOTOX or chemicals they use to preserve corpses will do wonders for my look. It’s as criminal as visiting your GP and having him recommend a kidney removal because you’ll drop that 0.3 KG that’s bugging you.

Women have to bear with a lot of bad hair before they find the right dresser or routine that will keep most threads on their heads. And while its nice to look at a well put together maiden with each strand in its respectable place, try to afford the poor specimen some sympathy if you spot a gal with way too much frizz and jungle fever going on. After all, she could have just been fending off ear-intercourse.

Ode to Idiot

There’s a lot to be said about your inner idiot. It’s a side we all have, and one that society needs, really. Let me differentiate off the bat; I’m referring to the fun loving, let-me-make-an-ass-of-me-self, yes I’ll have 18 more shots, sure I’ll squirt lemon in that lion’s eye-kind of idiot. I am resolutely not talking about the authentic Grade A idiots; the ones that believe everything on the internet, think that a plant in the desert can cure cancer, or the ones that think that their face massager is fooling anyone. Clear distinction. An easy way to tell off the bat is that real idiots don’t laugh at themselves, take themselves more seriously than science, and generally illicit a lot of gore and violence in us awesome folks.

Now getting back to the former kind of idiot, here’s why society needs this awesome guy. I’m sure most of us agree that what we do during the week does not represent who we truly are. We work hard. We smile at people we fantasize about stabbing with pens. We show respect to people we wouldn’t pee on if they were on fire. It’s a five day cycle of repression and spirit breaking. Well maybe not all days and all weeks are like that, but a big part of it is.

Luckily these cycles of hell are dotted with 2 day breaks where you can escape the asinine meetings and bad breath to escape to a world of friends, intoxication and expression through dance. While I don’t condone destroying your health every single weekend, there is something to be said for the therapeutic value of indulging in your idiotic roots every now and again. I recently celebrated in the desert and I absolutely let myself go. I distinctly remember the moment. I was surrounded by strangers, I was way too many shots in to care and the tension I had been nurturing from the office was making the muscles on my back cramp. And I said to myself “tonight, I let go. Tonight I don’t give a fuck. Hide your kids.”

As soon as the decision was made, I descended into the abyss of madness. It was glorious. I spoke of STDs, I ran amok with dogs, I made racially questionable statements, I harassed the innocent bystanders, I flooded my vicinity with screams and howls and I let it all hang out.

The next morning, when I regained consciousness, I felt a tangible difference in how relieved I was, physically, mentally and spiritually. Sure I lost my voice and my dignity, but I was reborn, rejuvenated and ready to face more clashes with the Grade A idiots that I was bound to encounter.

Returning back to society was discernibly easier; it was akin to bursting through the womb. I had to gasp to take my first breath but despite being covered in amniotic fluid, I was physically ready to climb the ladder of life. It made me realize; we all need to nurture our inner idiots once in a while, for our own and society’s sake. You can’t conform to a dysfunctional societal structure without breaking the norm sporadically and mooning strangers. So in the interest of humanity, the next time you encounter an idiot raving about, give them a hug, and hide your butt while you walk away.

inner idiot

I’d like a skinny bitch, please

I’m actually referring to the drink here; vodka and soda water. Yeah, it’s a thing. My husband, aka the long and lean noodle, has it almost exclusively. I, on the other hand, prefer shorter drinks that usually have traces of worm in them and leave you so confused and delirious by the end of the night that you end up having conversations about religion with plants. I’m absolutely fine with this state, what I’m not fine with is banning alcohol abuse from diets.

On my 4th week of a strict atoms-only meal plan, I began to miss my drunken escapades with society’s refugees. Diets are as varied as the people who need them, yet most of them explicitly ban most traces of good-times-booze. According to many new reports, alcohol is detrimental to weight loss because the minute it is in you, your body stops burning fat and switches to burning alcohol.

Yet it seems to me that these scientists need to differentiate between types of alcohol and how you consume them. If, like this author, you smoothly sashay into a club at ten with the intent of having “one or two glasses of wine”, only to stumble into the men’s toilet at midnight with traces of Jager, Tequila and vomit on your shirt, then banning alcohol is probably a safe bet that you will reach your weight loss goal.

On the other hand, if you can somehow commit to the oxymoron of “sensible drinking”, then you just might have a chance to escape your calorie deficient days with giggle filled evenings. The following list will help fellow dieters commit to a smaller waistline without skimping on good times:

1) Designate a Bar Vader, preferably a good friend otherwise this won’t work, who will shadow you throughout the evening and ensure that you stick to one type of the approved alcohol list. This is for those of us who have the resolve yet struggle with reality.

2) Pace yourself. In this race, the tortoise is the winner. If you have had a light dinner, you won’t need that much liquor anyway, and if you space out the drinks to one per hour, you should be fine.

3) Move! This is no time to sit and ponder the fate of humanity. If you are drinking your carbs, you should be moving, dancing or molesting some piece of furniture/security guard. At least give your body a chance to burn those empty calories instead of converting them into self-hating prophecies.

4) Avoid the sugary, mixed stuff. So long Pina Coladas, anything with an umbrella, or drinks that make your pancreas erect. Instead, befriend the straight up folks like tequila, vodka, gin and the like.

5) To beer, or not to beer. This is a tough one. I know some folks who drink this exclusively and are physically free of the Homer Simpson gut. Yet they are also quite active and drink nothing else. If you use beer as a chaser then it’s probably a good idea to cut it out, otherwise limit your intake.

6) This is probably the most important: Avoid the fast food in the aftermath! I don’t care if the McD’s vendor has promised you his first born, late night eating is a sin by normal standards, and late night junk food binging is an invitation for all sorts of snug trouble.

Thanks to these simple rules, I still make the rounds on the weekends. They have helped me maintain a balance between my night life and my daily commitment to health. For other sources that allow your inner lush to come out and play, try the following. In the meantime, I am enjoying the fruits of my starvation, while keeping my thirst in check.

 

alcohol

New Year, Old Me

I don’t know if it’s my age or not, but having celebrated 30-something New Yearseses, the event is really starting to lose its thunder for me. Even more deflating are the annual declarations we make called resolutions, which are ultimate assurances of failure. Come January first, all forms of communicable media is gushing with messages of how to improve, enhance or further yourself into that gleaming shining star buried deep within your flaws. Read here for 6 easy steps to tightening that neck. Click this for the secret to building muscles on your eyelids. Why are we so drawn into that lure of bettering ourselves? What could possibly be wrong with the way we are now?

Every New Year, I head out and join throngs of intoxicated homo sapiens to count down, drink, scream, and inhale in the new year. And surely enough, once the celebrations have died down and we have located our abodes and dignity; there is always that talk of resolutions. It’s really funny when you see people who in the span of 12 hours go from trying to inject tequila and sniff detergent to singing up for Tai Chi and yoga retreats.

There is a fine line between what our perception of ourselves is and what we actually are. If asked to describe ourselves on a sheet of paper, I’m sure many of us would use words like “kind, smart, creative, funny” where in the same instance, we wouldn’t dote these adjectives so freely on other people and might opt for more expressive terms such as “genetically challenged” or “religiously bound to idiocy”. Point is, even if we think we are better than we actually are, the project of improving yourself is tantalizingly exciting and too hard to pass up.

Unfortunately, the resolution system is inherently flawed. The sheer fact that you need to wait until a specific date to adopt better practices for your health and life carry the same risk of failure as “I’ll start my diet on Monday”. If you can’t say no to those 400 snicker bars now, chances are you’re not going to magically acquire the strength to stop licking butter bars on a certain date. It’s an old cliché but the “there’s no time like the present” has stood the test of time because of its veracity. If you decide on December 3 that you’re going to quit smoking on the first, this means you are going to spend the better part of the month over indulging in a bad habit; trying to suck up cancer through every hole in your body. And unless you’re one of a few talented females in Thailand, I don’t think you can pull off that trick smoothly. Nevertheless, not only will you smoke more, but you will also probably just hold up the resolutions for a matter of nano seconds, so you might as well have not made the damned resolution in the first place, and saved yourself a charred asshole.

While it might be fun to reinvent yourself come January, remember not to pour too many resources into a project with such a high failure rate. I mean, let’s face it, if you had kept all your resolutions, you would be God by the time you were 28. This year, the only thing I’m resolving is to stay as fabulously imperfect as I am. The only thing that will change is the date. I’m going to greet 2017 with the same love handles, renegade grey hairs and copious cursing that have colored my glorious days. There’s a good chance you will too so throw in the towel now and join me in my quest for un-resolving to change.

 

Get the nuggets out of my box

TV commercials; we all hate them, we are all forced to watch them sometimes. If you’re not quick enough to record a movie, you are stuck sitting through long minutes of asinine drivel about disgusting products you would never buy. At least, I’m referring to advertising here in the region. Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to have to watch a movie streamed live, and hence the clash with tortuous ads, 95% of which were trying to sell me fast food garbage.

The only time I’ll walk into a fast food mess is when I’m considerably inebriated, everything is spinning, and I feel the vomit churning in my tummy, wondering which exit route to take. That is the only time I will shove fast “food” down my throat, and clearly because by that point your body needs the insane amount of grease to reestablish your center of gravity.

It was really quite sad: out of 4 commercials, only one was nonfood related; it was about cleaning products and the script/acting/production were so bad I wanted to crawl into a corner and chew my own toes off one by one. The rest might as well have been advertisements for how to block your arteries quickly, or a vacation to the afterlife to meet your maker because surely regular consumption of this garbage would have you in a body bag in no time.

This was unbelievably frustrating. Why are there no ads for healthy food? Aren’t salads sexy enough? I would much rather watch a cabbage unfurl slowly than processed cheese ooze out of some deep fried crust of saw dust and rat droppings! And it’s not like we don’t have the products to advertise; the Abu Dhabi Farmer’s Market has really taken off and they have been producing great local produce. Ripe Markets in the UAE are bringing excellent organic products, and there are many places that boast healthy menus. So why don’t these entities have a voice in the ad slots?

It’s 2015. The cat is out of the bag; fast food is unbelievably bad for you and obesity levels are rising alarmingly in the Middle East. How are these chains still thriving? Even in the US, the source of this fat mess, the tide has started to take a turn (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/mcdonalds-to-close-more-stores-than-it-opens-in-us-for-first-time-in-40-years-10333642.html). Why are we allowing a rejected trend from its point of origin to proliferate in our backyard? And it’s replacing a healthy and balanced cuisine! It should be a criminal offence to replace Tabbouleh and grilled meat for a big mac and fries.

I would really like to meet the person who is in charge of regulating ads in our region. I would like to strap him in a chair for a week, and each time a fast food ad came on, I would force him to eat that product in its entirety. It’s not fair that only the poisonous shit gets ample representation on the idiot box. In the interest of democracy, I’m not advocating the complete ban of fast crap (although that would be pure bliss). Rather, I would like to see some hot salads, blushing fruits and slutty greens parade on the screen as well. I believe it’s high time for equal representation; bring out those polygamous broccolis!