Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Patriarchy: also to blame for Mondays

It was one of those days. One of those days when you walk into work and immediately have two people thrusting phones at you, both insisting that "you HAVE to take this call, RIGHT NOW". When your to-do list grows longer than your arm before you've even had a chance to put the kettle on. When you're on the phone taking a booking for the upcoming disability conference while tweeting about the highs and very low lows of abortion funding while surreptitiously slipping tiny slivers of breakfast into your mouth and hoping the person you're calling won't notice... when the other phone rings. The BatPhone.

And it's a woman who needs your help because she can't afford to pay for the abortion she should, by any moral or logical standard, be entitled to gratis on the NHS. You're lucky, this time - and so is she - it's the start of the month so the bank account's looking relatively healthy. You take her details and arrange to call her back when you get home.

The rest of the day carries on in the same vein - work work work, work while eating, work while tweeting, work while checking the abortion fund email account - and you think, brilliant, I have achieved many things today. Not too much to get done tonight - depilate your entire body (prior to the boyfriend's return), clean the flat (ditto), call a couple of women back about funding their trips to England to access safe and legal abortion, maybe have a nice hot bath.

"Ha ha," says the universe. "Haha. It's a nice quiet evening you want, is it? That sounds like a challenge..."

Just as you get in, your Straight Best Friend calls inviting you out for dinner. Hurrah, you say! What a lovely way to relax. ("Relax," says the universe. "Haha.") In the 45 minutes between him calling and him turning up at your door, you've heard from four more women, two of whom have been through the most horrifying experiences you've ever had related to you. (Obviously I'm not going to violate their privacy by relating their stories here, but let's just say it would take an exceptionally cruel and heartless anti-choicer not to shed a tear for these women.) So when SBF arrives, all "hey hey it's best-pizza-in-north-London time!", you let out a strange high-pitched groan and collapse, hyperventilating slightly, in his arms.

It gets better. You call a couple of women back, and catch up on the admin - logging their details, liaising with clinics - while he cooks you dinner. You decompress, ranting, sobbing, letting out an odd banshee wail or two, and you're feeling much better by the time he leaves. You've now got an hour to wax, shave and pluck virtually all hair south of your eyelashes from your long-suffering skin (let's be honest, the bath looks like a wombat's murder scene), disguise the worst of the mess that comes from living alone for 10 days, make tomorrow's sandwiches and get to bed.

Good luck sleeping, though! The universe has other plans!


Basically the next time someone raises a sceptical eyebrow at me and says, "But has 'the patriarchy' really affected your life at all?", I am going to tell them about this day. But first I will probably scream.

NB Having to clean the flat is not actually the result of the patriarchy. It's a result of me being an untrammelled slob.

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