I can write about most things with no problem but when it comes to perfume – or SCENT as we’re supposed to call it – I struggle. I just don’t know how to describe the smell and I don’t understand a smell as it’s described to me. Like trying to make sense of a sonogram picture of a foetus. “Sorry is that its… head??” Although in Sam’s sonogram we all quite clearly saw his bumcrack, balls and willy and there was an embarrassed silence before the sonographer said “… do you want to know the sex?” Anyway we all had a good laugh about it afterwards.
But scent, yes. I have had some described to me in magazines or whatever and thought it sounded like just the thing, gone tripping along to Selfridges and had a sniff and recoiled and gone “Oh my.. Jesus… fucking… WHAT IS THIS?”
So I don’t know what to say about Andiroba by Connock, other than it is a very nice… fresh?… scent. I suppose you can go a bit crackers and start describing it like a wine “Lovely wristy topnotes with a lamby undertone and a piano-key finish.”
I left with a small tester bottle from a press day having chatted to the drop-dead delightful lady in charge of it and then it sat on my desk as I spent the next 48 hours, (it’s still going on as I type), being trolled by an anonymous Instagram account with 30K followers and on Twitter, for something I wrote in Space NK magazine.
It’s not nice, being trolled. It’s not nice, the internet falling on your head.
I am careful not to be controversial for this very reason of troll-avoidance. I only ever want to tell jokes and be fun. I consider the Spike to be a supporter of women, but I do not call myself a feminist because otherwise people seek you out and tell you they are going to rape you and kill you and you spend so much time fending them off – or fending off other feminists who don’t think you’re the right sort of feminist – that you don’t get to do more important things, like talking pointedly and explicitly about how to ask for more money at work. Or talking about the best flat shoes.
I consider the Spike to be an open house to absolutely everyone, but I am not very obviously “woke” because a) in a white person I sort of feel like that protests too much (can’t we assume we’re not racist until it’s evident otherwise?) and b) again, that just attracts people saying “you faux-woke middle-class white saddo Elba-fantasist”.
I am delighted that readers of the Spike come from every income bracket – some of you struggle to pay the gas bill, others have several houses, actual Gucci clothes and go skiing twice a year. But I almost never mention class, status, income – because I find those sorts of rows circular, draining, tedious… it all gets in the way of the jokes.
I consider the Spike to be No Man’s Land on Christmas Day 1914 and we’re all having a kick-about.
The piece I wrote I barely considered to be controversial. I was trying to write a robust rhetoric for my new editor, Funmi Fetto, who works at Vogue when she is not managing the Space NK magazine. I didn’t want to write soppy bollocks, I wanted to be feisty and interesting and a little bit crazy; a big and full-on defence of expensive cosmetics. And a few people decided to deliberately mis-read it, (there was no “they don’t get it” element – they got it, they just saw a way of misreading it), and shit all over me from high up.
It doesn’t matter. I can take it. It’s happened before, I daresay it will happen again. But, man alive, it’s fucking irresponsible of those people. As it happens I have marvellous readers, clever friends, a good shrink, a devoted husband who is like my own personal honey badger and children who remind me every day what “real” means.
But what if I didn’t? What if I had been sitting about for the last few months, depressed and anxious feeling bleak and black and at times wanting very much to jerk the wheel of the Fiesta and plough into that tree or that lorry?
What if I felt like that? And then this happened? What if I felt like that and Space NK magazine had encouraged me to write more confidently about my point than I felt? (They didn’t, by the way – but it happens in newspapers and magazines all the time). What if they had edited it without asking me? (This also didn’t happen, but does) What if all had that had happened and I was in a vulnerable state and did not have the experience to know that you shut it all down when you see the shitstorm gathering, don’t look at it and just snack until it’s over. What then?
But I am 38 and old and grizzly; while I’m not so much of a psycho that I didn’t get a tickle of dread when I saw it was about to blow up – a fair way into it all and I’m on the verge of the giggles. If you’re not on my doorstep, on my email, on my phone or physically taking my children away, what can you do?
I tell you what I can do. I can pick up a bottle of scent, recall the lovely time I had sharing jokes and common human feeling with the lovely girl who gave it to me, give myself a glorious spritz and, whistling, go up the road for groceries.
Thank you for writing this so beautifully and honestly. Screw those sad losers with nothing better to do. You are truly fabulous.
I think what the twitter and instagram haters didn’t get about the article was the fact that one day your daughter might find that a sweep of bronzer and a dash of expensive mascara might one day give her the extra confidence boost she needs to go into a boardroom and say, get a multinational to change their policy on climate change which we all agree is a marvellous thing. As a non makeup wearer for much of my life to date I find now, post 40 putting on a moderate amount of make up and a pair of (comfortable) heels to go to work every day makes me feel good as I walk into the office.
Love the Spike and think you are utterly marvellous!!
Well done Esther. I enjoy your writing and your humour, very much. It’s a regular tonic for me.
Stuart James says
If you’re at all worried about the possibility of being so secret a racist that you haven’t even told yourself, you could try the tests at Project Implicit https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/ (spoiler alert: you’re not).
I confess I don’t always read the Spike, and nearly didn’t open this post – I’m here for the writing, not the girly shopping recommendations – but this one was spot-on. Keep it up.
as an American and therefore from the place where all the internet discourse comes from (I’m even from the US South) I’m never sure what that test is supposed to establish. There are about 20 different definitions of racist going about in any segment of the US and then US people try to slap those definitions onto other English-speaking countries and then you get translations – I know someone from Sweden who is regularly undone by it because in Sweden racism mostly means “a belief that races exist” so her earliest childhood influences say that we’re doing it all terribly wrong. Anyway there are only some definitions of racism where personal biases are even relevant and if you pick those ones in the wrong crowd some kid in year 3 of college at U of Illinois will email you until you give up about how you use words wrong.
Not that I think that this isn’t important. Obviously I do (I’m from the US South). Anyway you might interrogate your biases about what’s going to be behind a clickthrough about perfume while we’re all here doing this.
Stuart James says
😊 Tricky stuff indeed, language.
I found the tests because my employer was scared we might all be unconscious racists or sexists or genderists etc… They (employers) have a point – the bad situations that have come to light tend to have been that way for a long time, so nipping in the bud ought to be a good plan (my theory, untested).
I came out of the racism test where I expected: race is irrelevant to me most of the time. I did wonder whether a conscious racist would take it willingly, and whether an unconscious racist could do it honestly. And how would they find out? “Bad news, Mr James, I’m afraid you’re a racist.” “Gasp! Don’t tell my boyfriend!”
So maybe for us good people, they’re just a bit of self-reinforcement – which helps to counter the trolls’ undermining.
Stuart you make such a good point here: trolls can make you feel very mad, uncertain and unsure about everything. For someone to say, objectively: you are not a racist/bad person/chauvanist is key and vital to recovery.
What a horrid thing to happen. I am at a loss to understand the mindset of people who make it their business to be so foul. It makes me worry for my children, and their children, growing up in this world.
Esther, I love reading your pieces. Sometimes they’re relevant to me, and sometimes they’re not. But they always make me either think or laugh. Also, last Christmas Eve, you and I exchanged a few messages when I was feeling really low and you don’t know me from Adam, so I know you’re a lovely person.
Lots of love xxxx
Hilary, these are my thoughts exactly. Esther, you are so honest in your writing. I always find your words thought-provoking, even when they’re not about shopping (which is definitely a major love and preoccupation of mine.) Go you, forget the HATERZ, and nolite te bastardes carborundorum, obv.
Edit: oh and I am not a fan of ‘scent’ for perfume either. It makes me feel like I’m a badger secreting things from its glands.
Yes and when did we all have to be of the same mind on absolutely everything like a homogeneous lump? I read lots of things even – gasp – on here that I don’t necessarily agree with or hasn’t been my experience but I can enjoy it for what it is, or state an alternative opinion, or just sit on my hands and think about it and crystallize my own point of view in relation to it without being unkind.
Sue Cookson says
Go , girl, that’s the correct attitude. I agree that trolling is a foul thing to do and can destroy people’s lives, why do some people feel that it’s ok to do it?
My favourite perfume at the moment is Coach by Coach and it is kind of citrussy and I have it because my husband went to the effort of smelling lots of them in a shop instead of just grabbing a nice looking bottle with an evocative name that made him think of me. At least I hope that’s what happened as the bottle is quite squat and uninspiring and “Coach”? I mean I do yell a lot sometimes in what I think is a motivational way but I have stopped short of a whistle and a tracksuit. There was one I loved a few years ago by Valentino but I think it is discontinued as I’ve never found it again. Otherwise I don’t know very much about perfume. I am a scruffy bookish feminist makeup dodger but I do know that this place feels like it is on a special shelf to the left of the internet, it feels so safe to be a woman here talking shit and I love you very much x
Cindy I’m amazed your husband could smell *anything* in any beauty hall, it’s all such a carcrash of smells and lights and noise. Perhaps he is an undiscovered “super nose”?
He already thinks he’s a bit of a hero for venturing into a beauty hall, it was nothing short of a commando mission, like that episode of Father Ted where they have to escape from the lingerie department. He would take “supernose” and run with it in a heartbeat and I will get perfume forever more. He can’t process information through his ears very efficiently in my experience so maybe there’s a compensation there. They are migraine inducers. Beauty halls, not husbands. I think.
‘I do know that this place feels like it is on a special shelf to the left of the internet, it feels so safe to be a woman here talking shit and I love you very much x’
Exactly that Cindy. As someone who is reasonably private, I amazed myself by writing to Esther for spikerly advice because I feel safe here. Esther, you have created a really special community of people and you help people every day. Fuck the trolls. (As part of the new me, I’ve decided I’m going to start swearing.) xx
Really horrible for you and everyone who is on the receiving end of these trolls. I had a bit of a spat once with Ms Hughes on Twitter. She had a million followers so I had no chance. I turned my phone off for a good 48 hours.
Maria Chamberlain says
I’m a loyal Spike reader but a haphazard commenter, HOWEVER, i need to say that I’m absolutely FURIOUS on your behalf. It was a great article and clearly in jest. For all the pearl-clutchers worried about your kids (p.s. they couldn’t care less about your kids but how else to reach that moral high ground) I think Kitty (and Sam) are going to be just fine. Also, yeah, scent is nice too.
I think you’ve made a horrible, negative, bullying experience positive in the only possible way, and that’s to think at least it’s YOU they’re targeting and not someone who is less able to cope. Well done, as it still must be stomach churning. I love your writing, and how you come across (like someone I’d want to be friends with!) and that website just comes across as like ‘those’ girls at school, who were mean bullies and from whom we all kept our heads down xx.
Trolling should be a criminal offence, these people don’t have the courage to have a sensible conversation they just want to knock other people. They are obviously very insecure and unhappy individuals. Please don’t let them stop you from writing whatever you like. I am an original recipe rifle follower and I like the spike because it’s different to other blogs out there and is a real mix of different topics.
Dearest Esther, you write so eloquently and I can totally relate as something very similar happened to me and I made it worse by gently trying to explain my position. My advice is to ignore the haters, feel pity for them and move on. I can’t deny that my haters made me cry, led to many sleepless anxious nights, led me to doubt myself and my ability to do a career I’ve worked very hard at for many years (and been successful in). But I’m determined to not let that happen again in the future. You carry on doing what you do so brilliantly. Very best.
Sorry to hear you’ve been through the troll mill. I missed the whole thing on Insta- do you have a link to the article? (Just asking because it sounds like a fun read.) Not sure what sort of articles people expect to find in Space NK mag apart from articles in favour of buying expensive cosmetics, really- surely getting people to buy expensive cosmetics is the main point of the publication?
The trolling mentality is fascinating and terrifying. Have you read Jon Ronson’s book on internet shaming? I found it really eye-opening and frightening and can only imagine how horrible it must be to be the subject of it. I think people develop a real pack mentality which enables them to be cruel in ways which they wouldn’t dream of in ordinary life.
Anyway, I love your writing and your humour and find your blog a real tonic. On scent, I really struggle because all the ones I like get really appalling reviews and I worry that I’m merrily going round thinking I smell delicious while leaving people gagging in my wake. I also have a slight feeling that at age 42 I should no longer be trying random perfumes but instead have a signature scent which I wear every day and which everyone associates with me. (If I do have a signature scent it’s probably the smell of wet dog.) xx
I secretly really love “Lovely” by SJP. I have similar worries. The podcast Beauty Full lives with Rebecca Reid is very good on scent. Seems impossible to be fascinating about it, but she manages x
Ooh I will check it out- I love a good podcast. Also meant to ask- did that Elemis bath milk help at all with Sam?
Lizzie YES it has helped!!! Along with other general management, not many baths, lots of moisturiser, sparing use of steroid on the bad bits, we are holding it at bay! Thank you for reminding me I must write about it.
I can never understand why people get so worked up over nothing, there is some serious shit going on in the world, spend your energy on that instead people!!!
Before anyone comments in a nasty spirit on anything, they should first have to read Jon Ronson’s ‘so you’ve been publically shamed’, I doubt as many would then go on to abuse people in public forums.
God, I sound so angry, I am not really, just hate this ‘I’m sooooooooo offended by EVERYTHING!’ mentality. It’s boring.
Lesley Somerville says
I so agree with what you say – it’s boring and also lazy because those most easily offended just can’t be bothered to talk, debate, think….they just want to wallow in their assumed moral superiority. So Esther, your response is welcome because you’re thinking of the wider picture and how other, less fortunate people are affected. And also, it’s just so nasty and horrible to think the worst of people, especially people you don’t even know. I mean, I’m not a Tory by any means but I hate the very nasty and personal attacks on Theresa May and others. I don’t agree with their policies and I hate the way they gloss over major societal problems as if they’re all being dealt with, but I also believe in our common humanity and capacity for doing good. To characterise anyone as a monster, evil, heartless, sick, or whatever, is so dangerous and helps no one. Please can we all just do good in our own lives and resist the urge to judge everyone else. Because…….Christmas!!!!!!!! Baby Jesus. Angels. Whatever. Just be nice!!!!!!
I hope you find, as I do, that there are far more nice than nasty people. It must be totally miserable to have such an empty life that all they can do is attack anonymously – sad little envious trolls.
Sending love and all best wishes your way, Esther.
Sod the bastards !
I’m a member of a skincare group on FB, the USP of which is supposed to be that we are all (mostly women but some men too) supposed to be supportive and uplifting of each other. I had to comment yesterday that there’s nothing quite so horrific as when women turn on each other, I was agog at the vitriol I saw there about your piece. From people who I’ve seen asking about when they should use Acid toners on their kid’s skin! Anyway Esther, I know you, your kids and your family will be great, you will continue to write interesting and funny content and we will continue to read it in the tone it was written. You know it will pass. Much love. XX
I too, look forward to reading your articles and comments and think ,sadly ,this is the horridness of social media…beastly trolls….fuck them…that’s the only thing they know how to do..poor sods…anyway…I hope you are ok and wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas xx
Just wanted to add to the chorus of Spikers rallying to your defence – everything sensible has already been said and I echo it all. Basically, you’re fab, and we love your writing. Nolite, etc.
My favourite scent is Molecule. I wear it all the time but can’t smell it on myself, so in a way, it’s pointless. Perhaps I should spray my colleagues with in instead and enjoying smelling it off them – obviously from a distance!
Esther – keep on keeping on.
Lesley Somerville says
What a lovely song. Just downloaded it
Evelyn: Mine too. I can’t smell it on me, but others can and they think it’s beautiful, so I keep wearing it.
I love First Aid kit; you’ve just reminded me I own this album and should listen to it, thank you.
I love this song! Am going to buy it. Thanks so much Evelyn. x
What a truly horrible thing to have happened to you, Esther. I love your writing and get v excited to see a new Spike post. Keep on keeping on! xxx
I just can’t understand adults who can’t see this type of behaviour as toxic. First of all just makes you want to scream GROW THE FUCK UP. I am so sorry you have been subjected to it. There is literally no excuse for bullying and if they really wanted to have a conversation about what you had written why didn’t they actually talk to you??? Because they are dicks and that’s not as much fun as posting about how outraged they are. You know what if you have a problem with expensive makeup don’t fucking read a magazine from SPACE NK. Sorry about the swears it’s shitty behaviour from people who should know better.
Keep buggering on Esther, we love you and your humour. And I loved this brilliantly written piece, it really brought home the responsibility we all have to be decent human beings on the internet xx
I got massively trolled by some weirdos in the times comments section. My fault really, as I wrote about the fact that having children is a confusing deletion of everything you previously thought was important, I. E. All the status badges people have. They trade them for the new status of children,and I was trying to say that sometimes I wish my life was still simple enough to give a shit about stuff like getting promoted. Only I phrased it badly after no sleep, and wow….after I explained further that my children have complex and at one point devastating medical issues, I was told that I was a self pitying bitch who “can’t play the sympathy card now”.. .so yeah, lotta weirdos out there, chin up! Loved the times article on restaurants that you got trolled for, no idea what is wrong with people, did they totally miss the self deprecation??!
Sorry you’ve had to deal with this. When you describe your husband as a honey badger are you thinking of Stoffle specifically?
there is a YouTube video of a honey badger just going round being badass and fearless and taking down snakes and stuff… was thinking of that
I saw your Insta post about these trolls and was left feeling so pissed off on your behalf. To turn this around and also realise and have empathy for people who don’t have your support system is wonderful. It’s probably similar to being bullied in the playground, and as soon as the teacher turns up the bullies run away. We all know they are cowards and are probably already setting up somebody else in their sight. Poor them, who I imagine are very unhappy and bitter. Let’s give them our pity as they sorely need it. As for perfume … just a wish really. If you are popping out to the supermarket please refrain from pouring a bucket load of very sweet sicky perfume over your head. I had to leave as this woman polluted the whole shop. I still love my Chanel No. 5 although I can be persuaded to try others.
This is a wonderful, sane response. Very inspiring. Thanks for a fantastic blog, Esther. Please keep it up.
I have no idea what any of this is about either but sounds horrid and I too would find it scary. Cant you block them? This is what my teenagers do to me. These people are losers who probably never leave their homes so the chances of them abducting your children are slim. They will be very strange. Perhaps just check your burglar alarm is working. I too think of you as my internet friend Esther I know we would get on if we ever met. Sorry if that sounds creepy its meant to be reassuring X
Not creepy at all
I can only echo what other people have said above. The disingenuous outrage would almost be funny, were it not for that ‘tickle of dread’ that you rightly say could be the last straw for so many. A lot of people teeter near the edge in that regard, it’s incredibly dangerous to inflict that on a complete stranger. Grrr, fuckers.
Oh AND, the scent thing – my tastes are very unsophisticated. I know this because I’ve gone to have a smell of perfumes that I’ve read about and they were *quite* gross. But my friend once had a lovely perfume and it was the ACTUAL one Jennifer Aniston wears (because her husband worked on a film set with her once and asked her! Which sounds a bit weird on the retelling), and that was lovely. All outdoorsy and expensive just like you’d imagine, but I suppose also neutral and inoffensive (just like you’d, etc). It’s called Child and is really expensive but one day I’ll get some.
I like the sound of it, even though one of my insults for my husband is “stop being such a CHILD”
Jane Harrison says
Dear Esther, I thought it was a lovely piece, haven’t read the comments so not sure what people were objecting to. I love your posts, have bought a few of your suggestions & feel you keep a middle-aged empty-nester in the loop.
Feel very lucky to be able to read your stuff on a near daily basis. Keep whistling and keep writing.
The Spike is one of my fave reads and it’s all down to you, Esther. I really appreciate your wit, common sense and straight talking. Keep on doing your thing, haters gonna hate (which sounds glib, sorry – I don’t mean it to be. The idea of being the target of someone else’s self righteous clickbait makes me feel sick to my stomach and I think you are brave and dignified in the face of it all).
Hello Esther! Been reading since the beginning of your Recipe Rifle days, collected so many good recipes. Reading through your journey with kids felt like listening to a good friend, even though I don’t have any kids of my own. All that to say, I’ve never felt in any way insulted or that your blog wasn’t inclusive (and I’m a dreadful American). I really enjoy reading your snarky, sarcastic, funny, truthful style. This has been one of the few blogs I’ve continuously read through uni and into my working life.
As for perfumes and stuff I’m one of those weird people that enjoy colognes for kids like Tartine et Chocolat, but I’m forever in love with Dyptique Eau Duelle. Most anything else gives me terrible migraines.
Thank you Clara. I know what you mean about perfume and headaches x
You’re a f***ing legend. End of.
y thoughts exactly. Esther, keep at it … FULL BONGOS
MY thoughts exactly, dammit. FFS (Fat Finger Syndrome).
Esther, I like your writing very much and feel that the way you have been treated is unbelievable. They are adults, presumably, and they are behaving like children, piling in and adding in their two penn’orth. You are lucky to have your family and friends who will keep reminding you it is them, not you.
I ended up buying the REN mask thing… So there, haters!
Oh REN is really very good. Good choice x
A propos perfume (I can’t with ‘scent’ either), I used to wear most things from the Chanel stable, loving 5 and 22 especially, but some years ago they changed something in their formula, some base ingredient, and suddenly all my faves smelt terrible on me, and I haven’t worn anything since. Most other perfumes don’t smell nice on me, even the few I will actually try on. I did once catch a whiff of a lovely one in Santa Maria Novella, but have no idea which it was. Now my talisman is that one day my husband will whisk me into SMN, leave me there for an hour, come back and pick up me and the tab. Unfortunately we probably need a new boiler more than a bottle of perfume, so no time soon. Like Lizzie above, I shall stick to wet dog (though mine is wet, farting dog. Mmm mmm).
Why anyone would wilfully misconstrue your excellent & firmly tongue in cheek piece in a luxury brand magazine is baffling. Too much time on their hands. I admire your writing, spirit and attitude greatly. These online haters are truly ‘more to be pitied than scolded’.
I love the empathy you’re sharing for others who might struggle with being shamed. I’m a nerd so I read Brene Brown’s work on shame, and how she was treated so badly after her TED Talk that it motivated her to write a book called Rising Strong (I think it is called that). There’s always something people can go after. Women are not passive – really if you don’t like a playful article, read a different one with another opinion and tweet that one – the one you think is helpful – to your followers. Far more helpful if that’s what you think. Exploring what it means to be women isn’t meant to be about social control or group mind though.
I love your articles and your writing on mothering helped my friend (a psychologist) who so felt so worried about herself that an honest mother was a great relief. I think your work is great.
I’m so sorry this happened to you! A few years ago I was depressed and having a rough time (breakup, death of parent, career freak out) and reading The Bad Cook honestly played a huge part it getting me through, so honest about mental health and flailing in your twenties before anyone else AND fucking hysterical. Your writing always cheers me up and makes me laugh. It’s a shame others don’t get but the way you have dealt with it is so admirable.
Also been looking for a perfume I like for YEARS since L’occitane stopped doing a jasmine one I liked and I’m forever reading interesting descriptions then smelling the perfume and thinking ‘what the fuck…’
As my mum always says, if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all. I wish more people on the internet would use this!
Regarding perfume, my husband chose some for me at duty free on a business trip when he was feeling very sorry for me as I was suffering terribly from morning sickness. He did a really good job of choosing a beautiful scent, unfortunately I could never use it as it just reminded me of feeling nauseous and vomiting!
Also, I read the article and I wasn’t much of a fan especially if I wasn’t familiar with Esther’s peppily confrontational style – but then no one cares about what I think about skincare because I’m a bit of a Scary Lesbian, and not the kind everyone likes with the careful hair and smart accessorizing. I can understand that people felt a sting of being Called Out – and then they turned around and returned the favor.
I understand the pile-on if people think that they’re acting in defense of each others’ unmoisturized brow. But at that point it’s not remotely about Esther herself anymore anyway – it’s just Esther acting as a flash point for their fights with their own mothers who wish they’d wear a little rouge at least, or with their industries, with Society At Large. And I don’t quibble with people’s right to try to change Society At Large, but the internet has an enormous ability to act like if you can just shout at the person who said something publicly until they cry in their car then the next step is probably automatic post-sexist Utopia.
Anyway this idea that not dressing “your best” is rude seems to be a bit of a UK thing. Or at least the UK is certainly the international capital of makeover shows where they scrub the goth makeup off some poor bartender and strap her into a pink a-line shift so that she can look Normal. So it also may not be translating well cross-culturally and getting some momentum from that.
All that said the day I can find a decently moisturizing CC with SPF that doesn’t make me break out will be the day that everyone at work stops asking me if I’m tired and that will spare me about 15% of my daily aggravation. And I did go out and get a W3LL PEOPLE mascara immediately (US Birchbox had it for cheap) because sometimes I do public speaking and whether or not mascara will be involved in post-sexist Utopia, I certainly don’t want it to make my eyes water now.
oh and while I’m at it (though I’m getting caught in moderation – sorry Esther that you have to deal with all this) I think it’s also fair to say while I’m talking about cultural differences that UK-style piss-taking in general is not well understood in the US. Perhaps in some regions but generally the same country where Alice Waters will give you a knife and a peach for dinner does not understand mocking to show love very well. In the Southern sector of the US particularly we are much more about the backstabbing compliment that’s sweet to your face than the bit of vinegar that shows affection. It’s not that we’re perfectly sincere all the time we’re just more positive in a nastier way I suppose.
Anyway if you combine a huge portion of the English-speaking internet with a complete misunderstanding of what taking the piss is and then blend that with the fact that we’ve got the former judge of the Miss Universe pageant for president and have never had a woman in that position – your American tweeters are really set up to just burn the internet down over this sort of thing right now. I’m sorry that you’ve been caught in it as I have no suspicion that you’re actually monstrous. You seem lovely and like you care about your family a lot and as I said earlier I keep buying things because you’ve told me to.
I keep typing these long very sincere American essays on this thread and I’m sure in the UK it would already be a bit overshare but I will tell you what my favorite perfume is. It’s the discontinued Shiso by Mandy Aftel and it makes me absolutely furious that she decided to stop making it. It smells like crushed green leaves in this annoyingly indescribable way and because it’s very All Natural and made of plant essences and so forth most people don’t identify it as perfume they just wander past me going “something smells good, do you smell that?” which makes me very smug.
This is probably – no wait, definitely – one of my top five best ever comments I’ve ever read on this website. Thank you for taking the time to write such a wide-ranging, considered and thoughtful thing x
My husband and toddler have both come down with an undiagnosed infectious skin disease. I’m 27 weeks pregnant with constant heartburn and migraines, we’re both working full time (from home, as we’re quarantined) and no one is getting any sleep. This week has been one of the most challenging of parenthood, hands down, and when I really don’t think I can cope, I go back to Recipe Rifle and Bad Mother to remind myself I’m not alone. And it does get better.
My point? That you’ve helped and continue to help a lot of people with your writing and I know it’s easy to forget that when the trolls are out. Thank you for everything you do and your continued honesty. And for what it’s worth, it probably is a bit rude not to look your best for other people. Because it’s usually just laziness that makes us look sloppy, not any kind of feminist/anti patriarchy stand. Let’s be honest.
Mills this sounds absolutely horrendous and puts my week into perspective (not that that’s what you meant to do). Unfortunately that is what parenthood is – it’s almost like a re-set for the modern pampered world to remind you what hell life can be. When everyone bloody grows up a bit and stops being such a fucking nightmare (and the germs relent) it’s like you’ve been given a second chance at life. But you know that’s what I think because you’ve read me saying it already. But I mean it. My kids are 5 and 7 now and although I occasionally have to shout my fucking head off, it’s an absolute piece of cake compared with toddlers/pregnancy/infectious skin diseases. I don’t understand how people are expected to cope, really. It’s a miracle we don’t all go mad(der). xxx
Thank you for your lovely words. Thank FUCK someone speaks the truth about parenting, and has created a safe space for us to do that too.
I didn’t mean to provide perspective – how annoying – but I do genuinely mean what I say. Anyway, I’m off to shower, apply 3in of makeup to cover the dark circles and go with a fake it till you make it attitude. Keep up the good work, Esther! We need you!!
Mills, firstly sorry that you’re having such a shitty time and secondly your point at the end about laziness is spot-on. Whether we like it or not we’re ALL judged on our appearance all the time, so why not look as good as you possibly can? “Dress for where you’re going, not where you’ve been” (I’m not sure who actually said this first but it’s my motto). All the best to you, and to you too Esther – yours is the only blog I follow because the advice is sensible, the issues are so relatable and the clothes are wearable xxx