Wednesday, September 05, 2007


My niece Ryannah started secondary (high) school today for the first time. She’s going to the same school I went to. The memories just came flooding back when I dropped her off at the school gates. She was quite nervous but I gave her a swig from my Jack Daniels hip flask and she calmed down.

I was pretty nervous when I started secondary school too. So much to learn; most of it outside the classroom. And that prompted me to put together this list for my niece of things I wish I’d been told before I started secondary school. It’s deep.

Periods are nothing to be ashamed of

I remember when I got my period for the first time. I proper freaked out; I had no idea what to do so settled for stuffing the equivalent of three forests’ worth of toilet paper in my knickers.

When I got home, my mum comforted me with one of her old bush remedies: have a hot drink and lie in the bath. Yeah, because lying in a pool of your own blood is really therapeutic. Thanks Mum.

For a good few years, I used them cheap 19p for a packet sanitary towels that were so thick, you could see their outline through JEANS! They didn’t even stick properly so you had to wrap toilet paper around them and your knickers for reinforcement. And they didn’t absorb fuck all either. Them pickneys are lucky they’ve got Always Ultra now.

But I wish I’d just used tampons from the start. It would have been so much easier. For me, tampons weren’t allowed…hands up if you got told that using them made you lose your virginity?!!! That it made you…A SLAG!!!

Unfortunately, although I got over that, my first foray into the world of tampons involved one of the non-applicator variety. Which meant that I didn’t know how to fit it properly and I walked around for three hours with the equivalent of carpet burns between my flaps before deciding that I’d go back to the old cheap bricks. Then I discovered tampons with applicators – HURRAH! – and now my life is fabulous. I roller-skate with white shorts on and all kinds of shit.

Learn how to shave properly

Ladies: hands up who’s got a lighter strip of flesh on their legs from when they hacked off three layers of skin trying to shave at the age of 13?

At some point, you will be brainwashed into thinking that hairy legs and armpits are unacceptable on a girl. Even if you’ve been raised by Emmeline Pankhurst herself, this kind of peer pressure is very nearly IMPOSSIBLE to overcome at school (well, in mine anyways). In the first year, you can just about get away with slicking down that leg hair with baby oil (nice), but your luck will run out pretty soon. So you’d better follow this advice:

Rule 1: DON’T NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO DRY-SHAVE!!!!! This is a fundamental rule. Go on, try and it and see if you don’t believe me. No, no…come back! Really. Just don’t do it.

Rule 2: Refer to rule 1. And again. And one more for the road. Got it?

Rule 3: Make sure you scrub your legs before you shave them. Just sprinkling them with water won’t do.

Rule 4: Lather them up with soap and shave GENTLY against the grain. Remember: you are shaving your legs, not peeling potatoes. There shouldn’t be any skin on the razor!!!

These rules will get you through that difficult period before you start asking yourself why the fuck women have to shave in the first place.

Smoking isn’t cool

End of.

Swearing doesn’t make you more mature

When I was a first year, I remember that one minute I’d be talking to my friends, all nice and innocent, and then, the second I spotted a boy I fancied a couple of years above, I’d start effing and blinding like a sailor. As if they’d be like ‘Wow, she curses a lot…so grown-up…I need to get me a piece of that!” It’s pretty pathetic I think you’ll agree.

I know I swear a lot now, but I’m not doing it to impress anyone. I’m doing it because sometimes the F word or, even better, the C word, is the only way you can describe certain people (check my ‘Cuntish Behaviours’ MySpace blog for more details).

Don’t be a screwface

Following on from that, screwing up your face 24/7 is not attractive. I wish someone had told me that. See, I thought if you were constantly screwing, people would think you were ‘bad’ (Michael Jackson ‘bad’…sort of) and fancy you. Totally flawed logic isn’t it? Because no-one likes a screwface paro bitch.

Incidentally, if you see me on road, you may think I’m still screwing but I’ve come to the conclusion that I am blessed with a natural screwface which has been cultivated by years of telling dirty old men to fuck off and stop trying to chirpse someone half their age. But say hello or tell me a joke and I’ll be skinning teeth like a motherfucker.

Fights ain’t what they used to be

Remember when you’d be in the playground and you’d hear ‘FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!” so then you’d all run over and stand in a big circle to watch someone getting a good thump-down? Or when you all agreed to head down to the local park after school to watch one of your friends fighting some sket from another school? It was all pretty innocent back then…the worst that would happen is that a few strands of weave would go AWOL. But it’s 2007 now and mans are packing knives and guns. Stay away from that shit…if you wanna see a real fight, watch Eastenders.

Don’t be flighty

Let me start by saying that I WASN’T FLIGHTY AT SCHOOL!!! I’m referring to them skets who give their number out to every single person that asks and travel halfway across the metropolis on a weekly basis to hunt out boys. You know, girls that will give it up for anybody or anything. And remember, just cos you’re pretty, doesn’t mean you ain’t a sket. Keep your schoolbooks open and your legs closed.

Manage the hair-combing transition period

So at primary school, mummy combs the hair and everything’s neat and tidy. Cornrows, ribbons, the works.

But at some point, you’ll think that you’re too old to get your hair combed by mummy. That’s when your school pictures start looking like this:

Don’t be a hero, the comb is a tool that requires much skill. If you can’t do a straight parting in three goes or less, then leave it alone.

Catch bare jokes

Secondary school was so much fun for me. I know not everyone agrees that school days are the best of your life, but for me they definitely were. No worries. High proportions of nice boys to drool over (what happened???). Mixtape swapping in the playground. Not having to worry about what to wear everyday (uniform is a blessing). Covering your books in Jungle Fever flyers. Doing athletics with your friends at the local track until dusk. Them sure were good times.

These days, they’re asking kids to think about their futures earlier and earlier. By all means, work hard, really work hard, but don’t stress out about careers and the like. Look at me. I’m 28 and I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow-up.

Josephine xxx


jazz said...

i luv it
completely true n hilarious lol

Sanjit said...

I absolutely LOVE IT!! Brilliant!!

SHAR WAH! said...

this is amazing! my hair was always picky at school i HATED having it combed..!! And to this day i still can't put in a non applictor tampon - who uses that shit!?

Mz.Matic said...

LOVE THIS - this is so on point haha!
I hated school, loved it, then despised it again!

josephine said...

non-applicator tampons are rank. fingering yourself while on your period is not fun.

if any of you guys have got your own snippets of advice for first years, feel free to add! x