Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ten Things You Don't Know About Me

Following @rebeccaebrown and @mruku, and in the manner of the petulant child who cries "Me too! Me too!", here are ten things you didn't know about me.

1. I am a notorious pedant. Oh, you knew that already? Misuse of language and ignorance of punctuation and grammar rile me intensely. I have been known to correct friends and family to their faces when they've committed a malapropism or other error. Come to think of it, it's rather miraculous that I actually still have any friends...

2. However, because I am complex, I also love malapropisms, mispronunciations and examples of redundant apostrophe 's! I delight in them in a horrible, "more grammatical than thou" way. Sometimes I save them and use them over and over again; thus, after more than twenty years, I still call Ferrero Rocher "Ferrickity Rockers" (overheard in a shop) and envelopes will always be "enveolopleves". (Yes, I did see that written down, exactly like that.)

3. I don't get music. Seriously. If there's such a things as musical dyslexia, then I have it. I cannot tell one note from another, nor can I distinguish between the sounds of different musical instruments. When I was in secondary school music was obligatory for the first year. I spent most of that year outside the door of the music room, because the music teacher was convinced that I was taking the piss, and that no-one could be such a complete musical ignoramus. Well, I wasn't and I am. I still don't really do music; I can listen to it for short bursts on a car journey, but at no other time. This is a source of great regret/bewildered bemusement to my very musically inclined, ukulele-playing husband.

4. I can't sing. At all. Probably related to No. 3. When I was five, I took part in a Tops of the Town-type thing, during which I was chosen to be the very special little girl who stood on stage pointing at the star during "Twinkle Twinkle", but who most definitely was not to actually sing. Thankfully, my daughter has a beautiful singing voice. So I'm told.

5. I also can't/don't/won't dance. Seeing a pattern?

6. I am an army brat. I lived in Israel for two years with my family, during a time of considerable unrest and shelling of Israel by the PLO. Being kids, my friends and I were largely oblivious. When a shell landed on the beach, 50 metres from a friend of mine who was launched into the air by the blast but was unhurt, we all thought it was cool. Once, my mother had to leave me at home, sick, while she ran to the shops. She got caught in some shelling and was forced by soldiers to take shelter. When she finally got home some hours later, she was nearly frantic, bursting into the bedroom to see if I was alright, or if I had been terrified. I was buried in a book and hadn't even noticed that she'd been gone.

7. Hmm. Running out of stuff to say. I was the one to propose to my now husband, will that do? At Dun Aonghus, on Inishmore (island off the west of Ireland, stunning cliffs), looking out over the Atlantic on a glorious day. He was silent for a few moments, gazing pensively over the waves; then turned to me and said, "I do." Poor sap. He still doesn't know what hit him.

8. I am a rabid, strident, card-carrying atheist. Oh, you knew that about me too? Don't care, still leaving it as number 8, cos I can't think of another one!

9. I have a Master's degree in Film Studies. The subject of my thesis was male-to-female cross-dressing in Hollywood comedies. I argued that men parodying "femininity" was actually a feminist act, by demonstrating what a contrived construct "femininity" actually is. Fascinating, huh? Got first class honours for it, too. As you can see, it has led me to make my fortune. Not.

10. I am socially phobic. Yes, really. I was formally diagnosed about four years ago. I know, you're all astounded, what with me being so outgoing and amusing and all. However, for years just leaving the house was a massive undertaking; getting on a bus or entering a building full of people caused anxiety attacks. Being able to put a name to my problem has been a massive help and has enabled me to figure out lots of coping mechanisms. That being said, I genuinely love people and am fond of a good natter; but it has to be on my terms or I just won't show up. You have been warned.

Right, there you go; the above is the mixed bag that is me. I'm probably going to regret this...


  1. Male to female cross-dressing? Maybe I ask if "Connie and Carla" featured in your thesis as an amazing female-male-female crossdressing comedy? Dang, I love that movie!

  2. If you like Mispronounciations, you should meet my Mother.
    We still call The Galapagos Islands, The Gallopagoos.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Ciara! I should have mentioned that my Master's thesis was written in 1993... a few years before Connie and Carla, sadly.

    Mr Uku - terrific! Is that pronounced Gallop a Goose? More, please!

  4. Jane, i loved this post, u much more interesting than any jane austen character, would never have guessed about social phobia, you so outgoing and witty in cyber world, bet if david tennant offered you a slow dance while singing together, you'd be there, my fav mispronunciation (more mis naming) is my aunts, vendetta for vienetta ice cream, we all still call it that, much better name, brigid

  5. Vendetta for Viennetta, love it! We should do this in the twitterverse too. Thanks for the comment, Brigid.

  6. That was fascinating, I loved reading that.

    RE the mispronunciations , I have a couple from my mother in law. Ibiza = Eye-biza (this just winds me up, prob my own personal bugbear); and icing = ice-ning, Iced = icened, etc. Anyhoo...

    Also, the social thing is very like me - I don't think I'm as bad as you but I have real trouble with other people in real life but on, eg, Twitter I love to natter. Hmmm.

    Anyway, great post, well done!

  7. Would never have guessed #10 either. Or #9, which sounds quite nifty.

  8. Excellent post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Some of the points surprised me. Funny how you start to get to know a friend on Twitter.

    My daughter was in Israel and almost caught by bombs falling while she was standing at a bus stop. Needless to say I was frantically listening to every news bulletin here at home but she hardly thought twice about it.

    And I can identify with No. 10. I think there are a lot of people around with those sorts of feelings and it does help to talk about it.

  9. Socially phobic! I never would have guessed that one, having encountered your good self on many a coffee morning. We are complete opposites, you like people while I have no problems going into a crowd, I just don't want to:=). On the mispronounciations, my mother in law's favourite actor is Al Pakino and she makes lots of sangviches. I also know of a guy who ordered the meringoo for desert...

  10. What an interesting list. The social phobia thing, I also was diagnosed in 2006 and you are right, that is a huge first step that really helps. Though I think social anxiety disorder probably needs a better acronym!

  11. It's utterly bizarre how you can fear something and not even realise that you fear it! I spent years thinking I was agoraphobic, cos I'd never even heard of social phobia. I went to a CBT psychologist with anxiety issues, she ran a battery of psych tests on me and made the diagnosis. I was flabbergasted, to say the least, but such is the power of a name - when you can name something you can control it.

    But isn't it funny how many social phobics I've connected with on Twitter?

  12. Have flitted over from Twitter and enjoyed getting to know you through this entertaining post. But as it is my first visit I feel all strange now, like a narrator is spying on me and has given me a dose of exposition.