Full Coverage: To #Ad or Not #Ad?

This week, Full Coverge hosts, Harry and Lindsey, discuss all the issues with sponsorship and advertising in the beauty influencer industry as well as the drama that keeps blowing up in the YouTube community. As always, there’s heaps of New News, exciting product reviews and we fill you in on our current favourite products in Highlights of the Week.

New News
Colourpop No Filter Concealer
Colourpop.com – $6

Make
MakeBeauty.com

Ciaté London Glitter Flip Metallic Glitter Lip
CiateLondon.com – £17 / $19

Highlights of the Week
Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer
Sephora.com – $14

L’Oreal Revitalift Triple PowerTM Deep-Acting Moisturizer
Drugstores/Online – $24.99

Rouge Volupté Tint-in-Balm
yslbeautyus.com – $34
yslbeauty.co.uk – £28.00

Full Coverage is a podcast for beauty addicts, by beauty addicts. Join pro make-up artist, Harriet Hadfield and author, Lindsey Kelk as they discuss everything happening in the world of beauty.

Harriet Hadfield is a professional make-up artist, best known for her blog and YouTube channel, HarryMakesItUp.com and Lindsey Kelk is an internationally bestselling author, pro-wrestling enthusiast and amateur cat wrangler.

Join the Full Coverage conversation!
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All products are supplied free of charge by brands/PR agency for review unless otherwise stated.

 

 

 

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder… do I want a baby?

Oh, baby.

Since I was about sixteen, seventeen, I have been aware of the biological clock. Mine, yours, the girl sat across from me in German class – I’m from a very small village where these isn’t much to do and some people had an alarm set very, very early. Of course, I’ve never been much of an early riser, so when I couldn’t hear so much as a tick-tock, let alone a clanging cacophony of bells, I just assumed mine was set a little bit later. When I was little, I never played with baby dolls*, I never felt a strong urge to babysit and when people started getting sprogged up, my strongest emotion usually ran to fear of breaking them. And between you and me, I was also maybe kind of a little bit bored shitless of watching them do nothing, trying not to miss my friends and well, yeah, intense jealousy. Because I AM THE BABY.

See? I'm the baby.

See? I’m the baby.

Anyway, my twenties went on, I met my boyfriend, we moved in, we bought a house, we got a car, we adopted a cat and we both kept getting older. But still no baby alarm. By the time I was twenty-seven and he turned thirty, I came to the conclusion that my alarm must be broken. I just wasn’t a baby person. It wasn’t like I didn’t know what unconditional love was, like I said, I had a cat but there was zero maternal instinct. I did not want to pass my genes on to another human being, I wanted to buy handbags and go on nice holidays during term time. I wanted to be selfish, put on a face mask on a Thursday if I felt like it, paint my nails and get lots of sleep. Not a single part of me wanted a baby.

By and by, things with the BF got worse and by worse, I mean tedious, and eventually, we broke up. With my relationship blinkers stripped away, I started to see all kinds of things in the world that I hadn’t known I wanted before. Adventure, passion, travel, red hair, shoes that cost half a month’s rent. I was far more ambitious than I had known, considerably less bitchy and between you and I, I had the raging horn. It’s amazing what can happen to a gal when she gets out of the wrong relationship and on to the right man. So I took my opportunities where I found them, moved to New York, dated lots of different kinds of chaps, bought the shoes, coloured my hair, did what I dare, wore men’s shirts, short skirts, the whole Shania shebang. And man, I felt like a woman. But I still didn’t feel like I wanted a baby.

I'm not saying I don't understand unconditional love...

Does this count?

Today, I’m 32, going on 33 (or 16 going on 17, if you ask my mum) and I’m conflicted. I still can’t hand on heart say I definitely want kids. That said, I can’t hand on heart say I definitely don’t. This, my friends, puts me in a bit of a pickle. On the one hand, my biological clock might not be ticking but old father time keeps on marching on and as everyone and their mother, including my own, keeps telling me, getting pregnant is not going to get easier as I get older. Of course, it’s 2013 and there is a myriad of options available to me that weren’t around even a decade ago – I could freeze my eggs, I could get hormone tests to see how fertile I am, I could get knocked up by my gay best friend and pretend to be Madonna in that film. You know the one. But on the other, more sensible and financially viable hand, I know none of those things are right for me. Or my gay best friend. The idea of someone giving me a baby, waving their jazz hands and shouting ‘TA-DA’ scares me shitless. And yes, I know everyone out there with a baby will tell me that I will change my mind and that I will want to heave a living being out of my vagina one day but I also know there is another group of women who are thinking, ‘Eep, this freaks me out too. WHAT ARE WE TO DO, LINDSEY?’ Sadly, I only have a blog and my own Muppet, not answers.

My mum always told me that before she got pregnant with me, she woke up one morning and wanted a baby so badly, it was all she could think about until she was knocked up. Lucky Pa, YOU’RE WELCOME. Obviously this could be a) smoke being blown up my vain arse or b) a reaction to my older brother being just that, a brother, and not the baby girl my mother thought she had given birth to for the first two hours of his life but assuming it’s true, it’s something I can’t even begin to relate to and I can’t ignore that nagging feeling that something is wrong with me.

Sometimes, in my more maudlin moments or when I’ve been watching so much telly that Beaches has inevitably appeared on a random channel, I get little flashes of a future where I’m buttoning up the coat of an adorable little girl on the steps of a gorgeous Park Slope brownstone in which I do not currently live, waving while a gorgeous Park Slope husband who I am not currently married to takes her off to school. While I go back to bed. And on occasion, when things are going well with my Gentleman Caller, it occurs to me that our kids would be beautiful and clever and competitive, precocious little shits destined to spend many, many hours in therapy but also to win every spelling bee for miles around. But then he usually opens his mouth and says something about a strategy board game that he must get out of bed to finish and then life has killed the dream I dreamed.

I took this one to the pub. She was totally cool with it.

I took this one to the pub. She was totally cool with it.

So I don’t know. Right now, I suppose I have to say, I’m not ready. But once upon a time I would have told you I hated dogs and now, you should see my face when confronted with a puppy. And I know there are literally thousands out there screaming ‘a baby isn’t a puppy!’ and I know! You’re right!

It’s much harder to get hold of a puppy than it is to have a baby.

*for the record, I did have a baby doll called ‘First Love’ but after I’d dressed it, undressed it and made it pee once the thrill was sort of gone. So I went back to putting my Barbie dolls in worryingly distressing scenarios, like the time Ken’s condom broke and she didn’t know if she was pregnant or not. Funny story, that was also the time I had to explain what a condom was to my next door-but-one neighbour. I said it was a balloon for your willy but not as much fun as a proper balloon and I stand by that description.
How I knew that, however, is a mystery to all of us.

About A Book

Guys.

I owe you a very, very big thank you. Actually,  I owe you all a drink and some of you Percy Pigs and mini scotch eggs because ABOUT A GIRL CAME OUT AND IT’S DOING SO WELL AND YOU WERE ALL AWESOME AND LAST WEEK WAS THE BEST WEEK EVER.
And breathe.

Any book launch that beings with a super fun launch party that dissolves into debauched karaoke and ends in a cocktail lesson, hungover book banter brunch and amazing signing is OK with me. And that’s without even taking into consideration the awesome signings in Manchester and Sheffield! Which we must! Because they were dead good! And a nice lady gave me some rock! Seriously, if I were to go into detail as to exactly why it was so very, very wonderful, I would never get around to finishing I Heart Christmas and I don’t think you’d be into that AT ALL…

It was so brilliant to be able to meet so many of you, chat, eat Percy Pigs while looking serious but dancing a jig inside, discuss boys and books and all the different variations of gin. I spend an awful lot of time behind this computer, not talking to anyone, imagining no one is ever going to read this book but me, my agent and maybe two people at the publisher so when there are dark days – and if you follow me on Twitter (@lindseykelk) you’ll know that there are – remembering all the amazing things that you guys said will help. Because sometimes, it feels like it’s just me and this awful deadline and one hundred thousand words that have to be dragged out of my brain for no reason other than to punish me but then I meet you (or you, or you) and you say something like ‘your book inspired me to go traveling’ or ‘I read I Heart New York and thought, I deserve a nice handbag so I bought one’ or ‘I love your books because they make me laugh’ and I literally dissolve into a puddle of mush. Well, not literally but what I’m trying to say is, no matter how big a deal you might think it is for you to meet me, it’s a FAR bigger deal for me to meet you. Without you, there wouldn’t be any books. Without you, I’d still be that slightly off girl in the office with weird tattoos who wears shorts all year round. Without you, I wouldn’t be me.

So thank you.

Please do post any pictures on Facebook or Twitter or Instagam with the hashtag #AboutAGirl, I would LOVE to collect them all especially from any of the signings, brunch or Kelktails. Especially if they have the hot bartender or a cockwomble in them. Long story. In exchange, here are some of my outtakes from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Here I am, protecting the book from pirates at Disneyland. Honest.

Here I am, protecting the book from pirates at Disneyland. Honest.

Pub day! Booze! Flowers! I like being me on pub day.

Pub day! Booze! Flowers! I like being me on pub day.

Yes I stole this from the launch party, yes I took it to karaoke, no I don't feel bad about it.

Yes I stole this from the launch party, yes I took it to karaoke, no I don’t feel bad about it.

I got this at Twitter and I can't even begin to tell you how excited NERD KELK got when they handed it over...

I got this at Twitter and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited NERD KELK got when they handed it over…

This is the bottom of an attractive man on Great Titchfield Street. Well played, London.

This is the bottom of an attractive man on Great Titchfield Street. Well played, London.

And in case my head had got too big, this man was sat in my chair at WH Smiths Stratford, ready to bring me back down to earth with a disapproving grimace. Not a fan.

And in case my head had got too big, this man was sat in my chair at WH Smiths Stratford, ready to bring me back down to earth with a disapproving grimace. Not a fan.

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder… Were threesomes the new sexual frontier?

For those who don’t already know, I’m answering Carrie’s questions from every episode of Sex and the City (or at least most of them) to see how things have changed for a single thirty-something writer in New York City, ten years after the show ended. Ta-da!

———————————————————————————————

Hmm. I think the answer to this question is pretty simple. No, they’re not. At least not any more. When this episode aired, I was seventeen and thanks to the internet and a teenage girl’s unwavering ability to remember everything that ever happened to her ever, I had just lost my virginity. So yeah, I imagine at the time, I would have been scandalised by the idea of a threesomes. Just as I have been (and continue to be, thanks to Channel Four and HBO) scandalised by the terrible film of the same name.

Just... awful.

Now, as a thirty-two year old woman, I don’t think it’s such a big deal. For the record and so that I don’t have to begin another column by apologising to my mother, I have never had a threesome. I think I’m too selfish, too insecure and too polite. I’d probably end up popping out to make a cup of tea and sobbing quietly while my boyfriend boinked someone else in the bedroom while calling out to ask whether or not she took sugar. I have been asked (don’t look so shocked) but was forced to reply ‘I’m a youngest child with daddy issues, I don’t share my toys.’ He laughed, shut up and asked again two months later. He’s been quiet about it for a few months but I’m sure now the sun is shining, it’ll come up again. Sadly for both of us, he’s not James Bond, a thousand ‘no’s won’t magically turn into a yes.

Anyway, in general, threesomes = not a big deal. Once upon a time, a boy’s birthday was often known as steak and a blowjob day. Now, he’s just as likely to ask you to get another girl involved, people just aren’t scared of them anymore. And while I haven’t had one, I do know lots of people that have, from the ‘girl most likely to’ to the ‘boy least likely to even touch it in case God is watching’ and for the most part, people report good experiences. Whether that’s sexual bravado or not, I don’t know. What I do know is that any horror story I ever heard came from someone in a relationship. Not because she didn’t want to do it but because after it was done, she felt betrayed, like her BF had cheated on her while she was still in the room. Maybe that wasn’t fair but I totally understand it, like I said, I hate sharing my toys.

This actually is one of my toys and I would consider sharing it but you get the idea...

This actually is one of my toys and I would consider sharing it but you get the idea…

A gay friend of mine once explained the reason he felt he had to diet and work out all the time as ‘imagine you were going to get naked with someone who had all the same parts as you and was constantly comparing. I can’t distract with boobs! He’s just checking to see if I’m fat and whether or not mine is bigger than his!’ It made me think. Women can be nasty pieces of work and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to get into it if I was too busy worrying that I was getting a cellulite check at the same time as a shag.

But if threesomes aren’t the new sexual frontier, what is? Ladies (and gents) I think we all know. And I’m trying to think of a fun word to rhyme it to but I can’t. ‘Canal’ and ‘banal’ are both pronounced totally differently. Apparently anal* is the orange of the sex world – orange-schmorange, anal-schmanal. Seriously, there’s nothing more certain to make a table full of experienced, sophisticated ladies squee** faster or more loudly than anal banter. No one wants to talk about it, few people will admit to it and everyone’s still convinced there’s that one girl going around telling everyone she loved it and making it harder for the rest of us. Don’t tell me you don’t know that girl, we both know you do. One of the girls tells you she had a threeway and it’s all wide eyes and ‘ooh, she’s so adventurous and cool’ but if one of your besties tells you she and her BF have begun to practice the love that dare not speak it’s name and it’s eyes down, pretend she didn’t say it or, at best, someone will eventually ask ‘didn’t’t it hurt?’ I don’t know, I’m not pretending I have acted any more differently when it has come up in conversation but ladies, when you think about it, you know those gay guys you love so much? The ones with the cute hair and a quick quips and fantastic taste in Sunday night TV programmes? They’re totally doing it up the ass, all the time. And we don’t hate on them for it.

Ew.

Guys I’ve talked to about (not only my partners, my friends and friends of friends who decided they didn’t want to be my friend after this convo) have had varied thoughts on the matter. One was dead against it because he thought it was disrespectful, one wouldn’t even try because he thought his peen was ‘too big’ (bless), several who maintained every girl he’d done it with loved it and so, so many who thought ‘maybe if I just try this she won’t notice…’ As with any sexual activity that is consensual, I think it’s a case of each to his own but I can’t for the life of me work out why the stigma is still so intense. It can’t only be because Charlotte York once said ‘no one wanted to marry Mrs Up The Butt’. Is that the true legacy of Sex and the City? That girls are saving their anal virginity for marriage?

It'll take more than one martini to get Charl to give it up.

Since Fifty Shades brought BDSM out of the dungeon and into the daylight, maybe anal is all that’s left. Someone needs to call EL James and tell her society needs a sexy backdoor Hunger Games reimagining. There are so many sexual acts that are still divisive issues between women, whether it’s something perpetrated by the media, by society, religion or simply by the idea ‘good girls don’t’ and that’s really, really depressing. Now that most people engage in sex before marriage, is it just that we need to find another stick with which to beat each other? And of course, like all weapons we women use on each other, as soon as we’re done with it, we pass it over to the boys so they can knock us around with it as well. Oh, feminism, come back, we need you.

* I actually looked at the Babeland website for their advice on what to call it and they most often used the term ‘butt play’. I giggled. For about ten minutes. I am part of the problem.

** If you’ve got five minutes, I recommend a google image search for ‘women looking shocked’. It’s a hoot.

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder… Has monogamy become too much to expect?

For those who don’t already know, I’m answering Carrie’s questions from every episode of Sex and the City (or at least most of them) to see how things have changed for a single thirty-something writer in New York City, ten years after the show ended…

———————————————————————————————

Carrie wasn’t joking when she said New York has infinite possibilities. I am a terrible double booker, I love to hang out with my friends and meet new people and far too often, I agree to too many things in a single day. For example, this coming Friday, I have a lunch meeting, after-work drinks, a sample sale and then a Grease singalong prom to attend. And oh yeah, I’m writing a book. If you can’t decide what to eat, what bar to go to, which neighbourhood to live in, it’s not hard to see how people might consider monogamy impossible as well. It can take me and my friends an hour just to decide where to go for dinner because there’s so much choice – how are men supposed to decide which girl they want to date exclusively?

Ohhhh, Berger.

Ohhhh, Berger.

I was at brunch this Sunday with five of my favourite friends and terrifyingly, between the six of us, we don’t have one solid, official boyfriend. It beggars belief, it really does. But then, I tried to think about it as though I was choosing  dinner from my beloved GrubHub app. Did I fancy the super cute, petite blonde with a mind as sharp as that knife that cuts through cans? Or should I try the obscenely beautiful Venezuelan lawyer? Hmm, but that’s leaving out the hot brunette copywriter with a figure to die for, the sexy brunette with the ridiculous sense of humour and the be-beehived stunner who is smarter and funnier than almost any other woman you’ve ever met. Not to mention the quirky redhead (cough, cough) who I have it on good authority is adorable. It would be a tough choice.

Ensemble hotness

Ensemble hotness

Just by joining a single online dating site (the tactic of choice for most of NYC’s chaps) you can easily rack up three dates a week. And that’s if you’re being picky and a girl. Imagine being a guy, on three or more sites and making all of your choices exclusively with your penis? You’d never make it home. Well, not alone at least. Sadly for me, I don’t have a penis. And without a penis, my ability to compartmentalise my romantic liaisons is limited. As far as I can tell, most of the men I know sort their lives out into assorted boxes – a work box, a buddy box, a date box, a shag box, a love box – and mostly, they don’t seem to interfere with each other at all. As far as I can tell, I only really seem to have one box – my uterus – and it is the source of all of my problems. Because emotions and unrealistic attachments leak directly from the ovaries, right? That’s what periods are, isn’t it? Everything I have goes in one box (bear with me, this isn’t as weird as it sounds), all my thoughts, my feelings, my relationships, they all live side by side, rubbing each other up the wrong way and occasionally causing meltdowns that involve tequila and seven consecutive episodes of Law & Order: SVU. That’s how I get through my days, don’t judge me.

Life in New York is tough, we’ve been over that. We work so hard and we’re all pushed to the limit so often that the idea of going out on date after date after date actually breaks my heart a little bit. Surely after a bitch of a week at work, it’s better to cuddle up on the sofa with your sweetheart than tell a complete stranger where you grew up, what you do for a living and what episode you’re up to on Breaking Bad? It would seem the men of NYC have all got together and decided that getting everything we need from one person is a naïve and outdated idea. Someone I was seeing (actually someone I was in love with but I’m still not quite ready to talk about that if that’s OK) told me in exactly so many words that while he had feelings for me and especially enjoyed certain aspects of our relationship (you know it, I know it, don’t make me say it), he thought it would be a good idea for me to go and find a boyfriend who could give me the ‘emotional support’ and ‘companionship’ I needed. But keep sleeping with him. No, really. A grown man actually said that. And I swear to god, it blew my mind. Who did he think he was? Who did he think I was? And who did he think I would be dating? I just couldn’t work out how my online dating ad would read. ‘Sort of single girl, in love with total tosspot, seeks handsome doormat for fun times, birthdays, Christmases and all the boring bits when the other guy is too busy/lazy to come over and put it in her’ with a picture of me giving a double thumbs up?

How about it fellas?

How about it fellas?

In all honesty, I think he is kind of a one off, I do have a talent for seeking the romantically detached and emotionally unstable after all. I’m pretty sure most men, while very excited to be sampling a selection from across the lady menu, would rather their girlfriends/hookups/dates/whatever weren’t doing the same. Or at least they’d rather not know if they are. But are we missing out by failing to compartmentalise? Would life be so much sweeter if we could date one guy for his amazing sense of humour, another for his fabulous taste in sweater vests and another for his dong? I love those little perspex boxes from Muji. Perhaps they’ve considered making metaphorical ones for my poor, distracted brain.

For me it’s a no. I don’t know if it’s biological or what but I don’t have the time, energy or inclination to date five different fellas and keep all their names straight. And it’s not because I’m dying to put a little Lindsey in my baby box, it’s just that I believe in someone who loves and respects me and wants to share their life with me just like I love and respect them and want to make them happy every single day.
I know, I know, I am so old fashioned…

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder… How many of us are having great sex with people we’re ashamed to introduce to our friends?

For those who don’t already know, I’m answering Carrie’s questions from every episode of Sex and the City (or at least most of them) to see how things have changed for a single thirty-something writer in New York City, ten years after the show ended…

———————————————————————————————

On the show, Carrie’s secret sex question was spurred on by Big’s seeming reluctance to  introduce her to his friends and make her a part of his life, a fear reinforced by a chance encounter with an old friend who was hiding away his bonk buddy in a sketchy Chinese restaurant that he knew (or believed) none of his friends would ever frequent.

Firstly, can I just say, that man was a massive twat. He wasn’t anything special, right? And the cheese shop lady seemed lovely and she had access to unlimited quantities of cheese! That’s better than a man! Typical bloody Manhattan. A dodgy bloke who couldn’t tip a six on the scale won’t ‘settle’ for anything less than an eight in a woman. And they always get away with it! The bit of this episode that really pisses me off is that in reality, the cheese lady probably would have put up with it, carried on seeing him as and when he wanted until he either a) got bored and just stopped calling, b) got bored and dumped her for someone else or, worst case scenario c) got bored, winter turned up and dates were thin on the ground and he eventually made her his girlfriend. This is the worst case scenario because he’s set so much precedent for treating the girl like shit, it sets the tone for the entire relationship. This happens. Every day.

Patron saint of douchebags, Don Draper.

Patron saint of douchebags, Don Draper.

About two years ago, a newly single male friend of mine, 36, good job, all of his own hair but not terribly blessed in the boat race department (I’m sorry but it’s important that you have all the facts) started dating. We shall call him Byron because he would like that. Several of my girlfriends always add the qualifier ‘creepy’ before his name because he can be a little bit creepy. It’s harsh but I get it. Anyway, it was his first time diving into the New York dating pool and even though he was reluctant at first, within a couple of weeks, Byron was like a pig in shit. Mostly, he met his dates online but there was one, a girl he’d met at an old job and then seduced when she visited the city for a short holiday with her mother on her birthday who told him mid-assignation that he was a terrible man. You won’t be surprised to hear he was delighted by this assessment and never saw her again. Two or three months later, our mutual female friend asked how he was doing. His is reply? ‘I’m drowning in pussy.’

Altogether now: Ewwwwwww.

This went on for a few months until our gang sort of kind of became aware that he was seeing a girl we all knew and, again, brutal honesty, no one really liked. She was pretty inoffensive in general, a bit bland and overly enthusiastic but she had a reputation for being a touch cray and had pursued one of my best friend’s exes literally days after they broke up. Sisters before misters rule decreed, we would never be besties. So anyway, she moved through the group at a rate of knots and finally settled her sights on Byron. With full awareness and a thorough report of her craziness from my friend’s ex, he decided that because she was pretty and blonde and twelve years younger than him, he’d have a go on it anyway. This went on for months. He was still sleeping around, dating all over the city but once a week or so, he’d make arrangements to sleep with this girl. We were getting after work drinks one night when Byron asked if I would go to a party with him the next night. Full of cocktails and obnoxiousness, I asked why he wasn’t taking his girlfriend but instead of explaining, he laughed, said this party was going to be full of writers and smart people and there was no way he would take her to something like that. And then downed the rest of his pint and explained he had to run because she would be at his apartment at nine-thirty and he was going to be late.

Honest to Jebus, I was lost for words. And do you know what the best part of this story is? Two years on and now they’re still together. His refusal to actually make her his girlfriend went on for over six months. We even had a shouting row about it over Thanksgiving dinner. A quick survey of my friends were torn, those who knew both parties were pretty much of the opinion that they deserved each other. Everyone else was split into two camps – there were the women who thought Byron was reprehensible and ought to be castrated (if only for the ‘drowning in pussy’ line) and then there were those who considered this girl a champion. She had hung in there and waited him out until he broke. I remember one time he was super hungover from a big night of being a filthy bastard with an online random and tried to cancel on her but instead, she came over with homemade apple pie to make him feel better. Seriously. Eventually, summer turned into autumn, autumn turned into winter and Byron couldn’t be bothered to go out dating anymore. And let’s face it, hand delivered, homemade baked goods that come with a willing blow job do help keep you warm through the long cold nights.

So... back to mine? You have the baked goods, right?

So… back to mine? You have the baked goods, right?

It’s a difficult situation. I’ve definitely dated people who I’ve kept on the sidelines of my life until I’ve been sure about them. My friends are my family and introducing any man to them is a huge step. Until I know I want him around, I don’t want them to scare him away or, even worse, love him so much they prefer him to me. Stop laughing, this happened to one of my friends. It was the worst. I suppose this is especially relevant to me this week because one of my very, very best and most important friends will be face to face with the Gentleman Caller in less than 24 hours. I’m petrified. So far he’s only met one of my friends and generally speaking, aside from the fact she came home while we were, um, indisposed and she had to shake his hand with his shirt off (He was inordinately proud. She was appalled. I wanted to die.) it went pretty well. They seemed to get along and it wasn’t weird. I’m always terrified of seeing myself reflected in these situations – admit it, you know you’re a slightly different person with your loved than you are with your friends and imagining foul mouthed BFF Lindsey co-existing with flicky hair, femme fatale Lindsey (HA!) gave me the fear. There was no need.

Total sexbomb

Total sexbomb

Ultimately, if a relationship is going to work and be healthy, all of your selves are going to have to come together. Once I’m sure I’m head over heels, I wanted to show my boyfriend off like a prize pony. Seriously, I wanted to shine him up and trot him all over New York while shouting ‘this is mine!’ at complete strangers. Love is strange. If the man you’re sleeping with doesn’t want to do the same with you, it’s probably not a good sign. My advice? Make like the cheese lady and move on.

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder… Where’s the line between professional girlfriend and just plain “professional”?

For those who don’t already know, I’m answering Carrie’s questions from every episode of Sex and the City (or at least most of them) to see how things have changed for a single thirty-something writer in New York City, ten years after the show ended…

————————————————————————————————

I’ve noticed, just lately, my friends and I keep having the same conversation over and over and I can hardly believe that it’s an issue. Still. Apparently, in 2013, there remains an unspoken debate over who pays for what on dates. *Insert shocked gasp*

No. Really.

Now, I have always been a girl who believed in going dutch. I blame the 80s. I’m not going to knock a guy out if he insists on paying for dinner on a date, it’s a lovely gesture, but my comfort zone is he buys the cinema tickets, I buy the popcorn or vice versa. In the UK, I always felt like ‘you buy one, I buy one’ was the way to go and as far as I could tell it was readily accepted but here in New York, if you offer to pay for so much as a peanut, you might as well reach into their trousers, grab hold of their bits and pull them off. And not in the good way. General consensus amongst my American girlfriends, professional relationship experts and most importantly, gay best friends, is that you have to let the guy pay for everything or he will be offended and you are an emasculating psycho. Unfortunately, the best way to piss me off is to say ‘that’s the way it is and you can’t change it’. As soon as someone says I have to let someone buy my drinks, I immediately want to get a round in. I’m a bit of a twat that way. But it’s important for me that my dates know I’m not for sale, that I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself and that I’m with them because I want to be with them, not because I need someone else to pony up for my pizza. If a man can’t cope with me wanting to buy the second round, I very much doubt he’s going to cope with me in general… In a world where we women are wearing the trousers with heels and making them look good, do the mens really need to pay for things just to feel good about themselves? And should we women really have to let them?

A Williamsburg hot date

A Williamsburg hot date

I’ve dated men who can afford to pay for dinner for me and all my friends five times over and I’ve dated men who couldn’t afford to buy me a hot dog off the street but in general, I’ve got to say, it’s the ones who would struggle to rustle up enough cash for a packet of Monster Munch who seem to be the most determined to do so and get wildly offended when you put your hand in your pocket. My Gentleman Caller says this is because I’ve dated insecure boys who weren’t happy with themselves and therefore, being with me who is (relatively) secure in herself, shook them up. But then my Gentleman Caller says a lot of things and let’s be honest, I think he was more complimenting to himself than insulting my previous suitors. There’s every chance he’s just hoping I’m going to pay for dinner. Not that we go out for dinner. But that’s another story.

I know it isn’t really true, but I still feel like, if I let a guy pay for everything on a date, he’s going to have certain expectations at the end of it. For all the dating I’ve done, as we’ve previously establishedm I don’t put out on the regular. It takes more than a hot meal and a cold drink for me to drop my knickers and until I’m certain I want to spend more than half an hour or so with you, I’d rather split the tab. But, so I’m told, this makes me seem (quote unquote) ‘masculine, aggressive and uncompromising’ – I’m a romance writer! I wear dresses! I am adorable! But men want to feel like they’re looking after you and here in NYC, that’s best expressed via a credit card. Maybe it’s the lack of game to hunt, kill and drag home for dinner. I’d rather get a hug and a helping hand when I need to change my light bulbs.

If I get three sevens, I'm buying steak for everyone! (I didn't)

If I get three sevens, I’m buying steak for everyone!
(I didn’t)

My fears of dinner + drink =shag is made manifest by the worrying number of women who are openly available for purchase. I’ve met so many who won’t date guys who can’t pay for a nice dinner or a big ring or pay their rent. My step-dad would refer to these women as ‘a house and a load of coal’. Because we are of the north. To me, that’s worse than a legit pro, at least hookers are entirely honest in their charging schemes. You can see it for yourself, they’re on full display on shows like The Millionaire Matchmaker a program that a) delights me beyond all reasoning and b) horri fies me completely. Ugly man with tons of money gets the hot girl. Always. Without question. You can actually see the dollar signs in some of these women’s eyes. I know this isn’t news but it’s 2013 and this is hardly a feminist manifesto.

Once upon a time, I had been on a date with a man and he was insistent that he be allowed to pay for my cab home after an evening together. I refused and made some ridiculous quip about not wanting to have to itemize the evening on my tax return. My name is Lindsey, I diffuse uncomfortable situations with humour. Anyway, when relaying the story to my friends, they were entirely split. Half said I should have taken the cash and ended the night twenty dollars up, half agreed with me, that if I wanted to take a cab home, I could pay for it myself. In retrospect, I realise he thought he was being a gentleman and just wanted to make sure I got home safely and didn’t take the subway out. Because I was the one who had traveled for the date, he thought it was his responsibility to get me home. But at the time, I was almost genuinely offended. I thought he was treating me like a whore. Probably because I’d just put out. Sometimes my feminist hat slips over my eyes and I can’t quite see clearly, it wasn’t a power move, it was a Nice Thing.

Of course I’m not saying every woman who lets a man buy her dinner is a whore. I have taken my fair share of cobb salads (and fried chicken and tacos and steak and McDonalds) when a guy has insisted he be allowed to pay. In most situations, it’s probably just a nice girl dating a nice man who was raised well and wants to look after his gal and make sure she’s getting a proper feed. A lot of girls in New York look like they need a proper feed. Most people aren’t overthinking this stuff as much as I am. The thing that gets my goat is that it’s a factor at all – I hate men for judging me because I want to pay for my own drinks but I hate myself for judging the girls who let the men buy the drinks and I’m not terribly keen on the girls who judge the guys who can’t afford to buy the fancy dinner they demand. Life is hard.

There’s no getting around the fact that we absolutely live in a world where money equals power but I dream of a day when we live in a world where neither of those things are major factors in our relationships. I feel like that’s going to stay a dream for a very long time.

Beauty Bits

Maaaaaaaaaan, I stocked up on an awful lot of goodies when I was in the UK last week but nothing that would be news to anyone here. I’m obsessed with Rimmel Apocolips and the Kate Moss colours and I went a bit mental over Hylauron and Soap & Glory cosmetics in Boots. Good times, good times. Anyway, here are the new things I’ve been stocking up on while not in Boots. More interesting, I think. If you find face powders interesting. I do.nars

Powder is always something I struggle with. I’m super pale and err towards dry on the skin spectrum so it’s difficult to find something that looks good and doesn’t just end up making me look like I’ve a) borrowed my mum’s Collection 2000 bronzer from the 80s or b) dipped my face in baby powder. Nars have come to my rescue. The Light Reflective Loose Powder is a revelation to me. It finishes off my face beautifully, resists shine but doesn’t make anything overly matte. Plus, it makes my skin feel softer than a baby’s bum. Which is ironic because actual baby powder wouldn’t… And in my bag is the pressed version. I love this just as much and who doesn’t feel a shot of the happies at whipping out a Nars compact? My only complaint is that the applicator included is a bag of shite and the little pouch you HAVE to carry it in because the applicator doesn’t fit in the compact itself, is annoying. This is easily resolved so please work it out soon, Nars.

grown-facial-group

While in Australia, I went ever so slightly insane over the brand Grown. I got a sample of their hand cream on the flight over (well played, marketing department) and then basically bought out the rest of the range over the course of two weeks. My absolute favourites are the deep purifying facial masque with wheatgerm, gingko and cranberry. It reminds me of the old Jurlique Herbal Rescue mask before they created the gel formula and I love it. At the moment, I’m using it once a week after my Philosophy Micro Delivery Peel. It’s amazing. That is all. All the products in the Grown range smell bloody amazing. When I use the hand cream (vanilla and orange peel, yum) I want to eat my own paws and I’m safely assured that the mandarin and rosemary leaf body cream smells just as edible. But really, don’t nosh on it, you will vom.

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder… Is There a Secret Cold War Between Marrieds and Singles?

Hmm. Now this is a tough one. As a single woman, no matter how awkwardly embroiled in however many torrid affairs, pretty much anything you might say against ‘the marrieds’ will make you sound bitter and angry. And saying you’re not bitter or angry just makes it worse, it’s the sameas Monica telling the answering machine that she’s breezy – you can’t say you’re breezy! It negates the breeziness!

Anyway, I’m not bitter or angry. Honest. I’m terrified. As a child of divorce, I have a very healthy fear of tying the knot and until quite recently, it’s something I honestly never believed I would do. Not that I don’t think marriage is awesome – The idea that someone you love wakes up one day and is sat at work eating a sandwich and just suddenly, pow, he realises he can’t possibly live without you and wants to tell every other single person in the world that you’re his. I think that’s amazing. I also think it’s hard and, having seen the worst of divorce, I would want to get it right and have it be forever. I write romance novels. This is probably one of the reasons I’m not married. That and the fact that my recurringstress dream is me at the church, in a wedding dress, about to marry my ex. Except I haven’t done my hair or make up and I always pass out from a panic attack just before I’m about to walk downthe aisle. There’s a chance we shouldn’t have stayed together for seven years…

lindsey kelk wedding guest

Basically the best wedding and one of the best brides, ever.

But is it true that married people and single people are secretly at war? I won’t lie, there can be a tension. In my life, my married friends seem to fall into one of three camps – those desperately in love with their husbands and just happy to be wed, those who are relieved to have locked something down and no longer be dating and those who started out in the second camp and now spend an awful lot of time looking over the fence at their single friends and thinking that the grass is an awful lot greener over here. Of course, that’s natural. We’re all human, we all want what we don’t have and I would imagine, to my friends who juggle kids and a husband and family obligations and work, my life looks quite tempting. I live alone in a New York apartment, I travel all the time to exciting locations, I meet fascinating people and throw myself into ridiculous affairs and shoe purchases that are not options for them. But while lounging in my singleton sun lounger, I peep over the fence, usually hungover and nursing a Bloody Mary,  and see stability and commitment and support and love and sometimes, when I’m licking my romantic wounds, that looks awfully nice, no matter how many pairs of Louboutins, I’ve stockpiled.

For the most part, there are no tensions with my married friends. Three of my very best friends are married and I can’t say it’s changed them in the slightest. They’re amazing and I love them.  The ones who have altered are the ones who maybe weren’t such great friends after all. As soon as the ring hit the finger, they became someone else. All of a sudden, they’re not the same girl whose hair I was holding back in the street after one too many happy hour cocktails, they’re smiling beatifically and telling me I’ll understand when I meet ‘him’. I’m not sure who ‘he’ is. I assume they mean my future husband but I can’t help but think they’re really picturing the jeweller at the engagement ring store.

Ooh, shiny. But not enough.

Ooh, shiny. But not enough.

The other married vs singles drama comes with women you don’t know, especially here in New York. Marriage is a cut-throat business here in the Big Apple and if you think the girls are bitches in the office, you’d better believe they will fuck you up in the pursuit of a husband. Kind of like The Devil Wears Prada but with diamond solitaires and summer houses in the Hamptons at stake.

I’ve always been a girl that gets along with boys. I love football and wrestling and dinosaurs. I make inappropriate jokes when I’m uncomfortable. I like to make people laugh – apparently, to the women of New York, this means I’m after their men. It’s quite a strange feeling to realise you’re being shut out by a woman just because you’re making her husband laugh. Anyone who knows me, knows I would never, ever cheat on anyone – sisters before misters, ladyface – but I remember one party at a friends house, a party where I was the only single girl in attendance and therefore feeling incredibly awkward and cracking joke after joke after joke, and yes, it was January and yes, it was cold outside but even with the boiling hot Brooklyn heating system, I was frozen to the core by the icy bitches in attendance. They literally shut me down every time I opened my mouth. So I ate my dinner, made my excuses and abandoned them for a bar in Williamsburg with my other friends. My single friends. And that’s when I realised, I had become That Girl. I had become a threat by virtue of the fact I didn’t have a boyfriend, I had nice hair and I’m funny. That hardly makes me an Angelina Jolie-esque home wrecker but still, they had silently decided I wasn’t welcome.

Life partner or dream home? YOU DECIDE!

Life partner or dream home? YOU DECIDE!

It would be a lie to say there aren’t single girls out there who just want to get married. They don’t care to whom but they do care what he makes, how quickly they can quit work and how soon they can pop out a kid. And if that’s what makes them happy in this world, then more power to them. Seems kind of cynical to me. I think these women are naïve to think just getting a ring on your finger makes everything better. Rings come off. Sometimes they stay off. Perhaps they know that, maybe that’s why they’re so afraid of having perfectly nice single women (with lovely hair) around their husbands. If the foundation isn’t stable, it isn’t hard to break.

I have this worrying recurring daydream where a guy proposes and instead of saying yes, I say ‘why?’. That’s not how it goes, is it? Sadly, I can’t imagine me ever saying yes unless it’s overwhelming, blinding, heart pounding, can’t imagine waking up a single second without him, desperate to repopulate the world with his awful tiny babies, devastating love. Maybe I’m the naïve one. Like I said, I write romance novels. But on the upside, I do still believe that exists. Beyonce said, if you liked it they you should have put a ring on it.  Like isn’t going to be enough for me.

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder… Can Women Have Sex Like Men?

Not a week goes by when one of my friends, my rather fantastic, very attractive and wildly successful single friends, won’t lament the lack of decent men in New York City. It has often been noted that it would be easier to go back to the days of Downton when all such things were dealt with years earlier. But sadly we live in the age of online dating and casual sex rather than arranged marriages and nary an exposed ankle out on the town on a Saturday night. So when there’s a dearth of potential partners to take to the farmer’s market every Saturday and pay over the odds for organic kale, what is a girl to do when it comes to certain needs that must be fulfilled?

Pic by the lovely Bridget Fleming...

Pic by the lovely Bridget Fleming… Carry On style wink by yours truly

We officially have a problem. The generations that went before didn’t do what we have done. They married younger, they had families in their twenties and if the marriage ended in divorce, they either remarried relatively quickly or stayed single and presumably, somewhat frustrated. And while it might not seem like it, my generation has suffered. We suffered the luxury of choice. We had the choice to get married or not get married, to have kids or wait a while. All well and good but what happens when you’re 32, not in a long-term relationship and you want to get laid? All of my friends have, at some point, had serious relationships and I can’t imagine this is news to anyone but there isn’t a single virgin amongst us (unless someone is a big fibber and I very much doubt it), it’s not as if we don’t know what we’re missing. And in case that’s not clear enough, what we’re missing is a convenient  and reliable penis.

So what do you do? The dating game in New York is full of rules and politics when it comes to dropping trou. If you like a guy, you’re supposed to wait until the third date at the very least. Professional matchmakers and relationship experts like my friend, Amy Laurent, say eight weeks. Patti Stanger from Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, says no putting out until monogamy. It’s a grand plan and maybe it will help sort the shit hot wheat from the crappy chaff but dear god it’s hard sometimes. You’re on a date, you’re with a man, there is booze, there is kissing and is it so weird to want to get laid? Obviously it’s OK if you’re a man, actually it’s more than OK, it’s expected. You’re just sowing wild oats, being one of the boys. But when a woman wants to be one of the boys, for all our talk of sexual equality, it’s still frowned upon and not just by men, by other women too. That’s the heartbreaker for me. A grown woman with a successful career and $1000 handbag can still get called a slag by her girlfriends just because she wants to get some on a Friday night.

Between us, my friends and I have been through every scenario you can think of. Between us we’ve had friends with benefits, serial one night stands, sex with the ex and serial monogamy – because it’s not a one night stand if you convince yourself you’re in love every time right? I do know women who would be classified as a ‘Samantha’ and while they’re having sex on the regular, I can’t hand on heart say they’re any happier in their single status than anyone else. While having a warm body in your bed might be comforting for a moment, is it really anything more than a very elaborate wank? If Ann Summers could work out a way to combine an orgasmatron head massager with the Rabbit, would any of us bother with a one nighter? It’s hard to see why you’d risk any number of STDs (New York has a terrifying amount of herpes flying about and that shit’s for life) just to get a disappointing shag. Of course, for a lot of women there’s the hope or at least passing fancy that it could turn into something else. Stranger things have happened and it has happened to me so I can confirm it isn’t just an urban legend. It’s just rare. Personally, I’ve always been terrible at sex for sport. Call me an old romantic but I can’t separate the physical from the emotional, for better or for worse. And honestly, it mostly feels like it’s for the very, very worst. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t tried it. In the last couple of years, I’ve given one night stands the old college try, I really have. One resulted in a ridiculously messy and emotionally destructive transatlantic affair that still twists the knife when I think of what might have been. Another ended in me gently explaining to the chap that we probably weren’t going to get married while he threw up all over my bathroom floor. He asked me to brunch the next day, I politely declined.

IMG_0379

Sadly, this was one of my better dates…

My most spectacular failure came almost almost year ago and dear god, it was a corker. I always thought my biggest problem with in and out hook ups was that, if I liked someone enough to let them put it in me, I liked them enough to oh, I don’t know, go for coffee? So, fresh off the back of an impressively horrible and protracted break up, I decided to change my tactics. I hadn’t had sex in nearly four months and spring having sprung, that had to change before my vagina sealed over. Enter stage left, the very handsome, very clever, older, wiser, complete cad. Who I hated on sight. It really was impressive, I literally loathed him, couldn’t stand to be in the same room as him. And then, half-way through a glass (cough, bottle) of wine with my girlfriends, I realised it was because I was stupidly, insanely, break the bed in two attracted to him. So, once I sobered up, I put a plan into action and before I knew it, I had a date. And not just any date, a sex date. I was going to get on a train, travel an hour out of the city on a Saturday night to meet him for ‘a drink’. It was so innocent, I had a change of underwear and a toothbrush in my bag. My friends were by turns, shocked, appalled and delighted. The smart money was on me being home in my Brooklyn bed, alone, by midnight. The smart money was wrong.

Glossing over the actual antics, the plan was successful. Too successful. The sex was amazing, I still couldn’t bear him and when I got the train back to New York the next morning, I met my friends for brunch, toasted with celebratory margaritas and swore I would never speak of it again. Of course, it’s ten months later and I’ve just got of a flight to LA to visit the self-same cad. As Jenny Lewis sort of once said, ‘talking leads to touching and touching leads to sex.’ What she didn’t bother to mention was that sex leads to more sex leads to more sex leads to more talking leads to actually starting to give a shit leads to sort of accidentally falling completely in love with someone you can’t have. As you can see, I’m not very good at one night stands.

Best way to lure a man into your bed - Thanksgiving dinner and several thousand bottles of wine.

Best way to lure a man into your bed – Thanksgiving dinner and several thousand bottles of wine.

Without wanting to overshare (despite the fact that is the main point of this column) my number remains very low. Single numbers low. Only just but still. I always thought it was an active choice but just late, it’s become wildly apparent the only reason I’ve failed to maintain more bedpost than notch is because I can’t have sex like a man. I totally envy the girls who can eye a man across the bar and see multiple orgasms rather than the father of her future children but the idea of sleeping with someone then giving them a slap on the arse the next morning as you shut the door leaves me cold. And that’s just it, I’m not cold, I’m still warm. I’m still hopeful, still optimistic. I still believe. Honestly, never ever take up romance writing for a living…