Saturday, September 17, 2005


OK, I am now officially PMS-ing. Yesterday’s gym experience proves that, unfortunately.

I didn’t remember to bring Blue Baby with me this time, but I did have my headphones, which meant I could listen to the sound on the cardio-machine TVs. So I ran along with Sky News, then cross-trained to “The Hits”, one of those presenterless music-video stations (I didn’t seem to be able to change channels to anything better).

Gwen Stefani – fine. Peter Kay doing “The Way to Amarillo” – cheesy to the point of gorgonzola, but cheerful, anyway. I was bouncing away and keeping up a good pace, feeling a little tired but OK.

Now the next song was James Blunt’s “Beautiful”. James Blunt is one of those silver-spoon English pop singers (I think he used to be in the Brigade of Guards or something, unless I’m thinking of someone else) and “Beautiful” is a sort of doleful slow ballad thing. However, I’d heard it several times on the radio without it making any particular impression on me.

I hadn’t seen the video before, though.

If you haven’t seen it either, it involves Blunt standing on what appears to be a tiled balcony or poolside, wearing jeans and a parka and looking a bit bedraggled. It’s snowing lightly. He sings about a girl that he saw, fell in love with, but isn’t going to ask out because she’s already with someone else.

During the course of the song, he slowly takes off his coat and T-shirt. At this point, I suddenly thought, “He’s going to kill himself.”

I am very easily upset by the thought of young men killing themselves, not just because it’s a gloomy subject, but because the D. B. was plagued by suicidal thoughts for some years, and during that time I worried constantly that he might do it. (He’s a lot better now, but has said that if not for me he might well not be here, which is quite a frightening thought, as I have no idea what exactly I did except what any girlfriend would do.) And when I am even vaguely hormonal, I cry at the drop of a hat. Anything even mildly sad will do it. So I had a lump in my throat already. On the other hand, my brain was already trying to salvage the situation with logic.

“Look, K. Taking off one’s T-shirt does not indicate imminent death. People do not kill themselves because someone won’t go out with them, and anyway, this isn’t real. It’s a pop video, for heaven’s sake. He’s not even really standing in the snow, he’s in a warm studio somewhere.” I pounded the pedals of the cross-trainer really hard, trying to work through it. But my eyes were tearing up. I blinked frantically.

Torso now bare (and not even the least bit goose-pimply) Blunt was now taking his shoes off. “Look. It’s a pop video. Anything could happen. The girl could run on and hug him. He could fly up into the clouds – listen, he’s singing about angels now. That automatically makes it a cheesy song, doesn’t it. You don’t even LIKE this song. ‘I saw your face in a crowded place’? What kind of lyric is that? And he has a funny high breathy voice.” However, by this stage, big fat salty tears were making their way down my cheeks. Consumed by embarrassment, I clung to the vague hope that nobody would notice. My face was wet with sweat by this point anyway, so I hoped the tears would kind of blend in. James Blunt was lining up his wallet and rings on the tile in front of him. No, James! Don’t do it! Over the sound from my headphones I could hear myself sniffing and gulping for breath a bit. Oh for heaven’s sake, if anyone could hear me they probably thought I was about to fall from the crosstrainer in a fit.

Blunt finished singing. He leapt from his balcony into the cold sea below, and the water closed over his head. The Black Eyed Peas wanted to know where the love was, but it barely made any difference to me; I was a wet mess, managing not to sob out loud but only just. The course came to an end and I jumped down, wiped my face with my hands and headed at a fast clip for the changing rooms. My eyes must have looked as if I’d been swimming in chloriney water. Alas, there’s no pool at this gym.

Fortunately there was only one other person there. I tried not to look in her direction, but she asked if I was OK.

“Oh, fine!” I said, with an artificial-ish laugh. “Just a bit tired, be glad to get home.” Goodness only knows what she made of that.

Once I’d had a shower and taken some deep breaths, it was hard even for me to believe that I’m quite so easily moved to tears. And today I’m absolutely fine – perfectly cheerful. I had a good time out on Wednesday evening and was glad I went, so there have been ups as well as downs.

I hate PMS. It’s a catch-22: either you admit that you have PMS, thus making it seem you are a slave to your hormones (as men are not); or you deny that you have PMS, making it seem that being illogical, maudlin and weepy are permanent character traits. Either way you come over as unreliable.

To his credit, the D. B. didn’t laugh when I told him about this little episode. I love that boy. And I’m going to see him today! Hooray!


Rosemary Grace said...

Yeah, PMS: damned if you mention it, crazy if you don't. The other day I was worrying about my sister having surgery on her leg, under genenral anasthetic, and I was crying while doing my lab work. Luckily nobody came in, and I didn't drop any tears into my samples. I felt very silly.

I do think that music videos etc. make a little too much use of imagary of horrible things like suicide. It cheapens depression, and I think it makes depression and/or suicidal urges harder for people to understand because they associate it with a melodramatic moment in a movie or something.

Sounds like you two have already weathered a lot of storms together, that's a good sign for getting through whatever else life throws at you!

Appleblossombeck said...

Personally, I feel about PMS like this: if guys are gonna stare at my breasts, then they can cut me some slack on the PMS because the same process created both. Besides, they supposedly can't go 10 seconds without thinking about sex, so I figure that makes them worse of then me. At least I get breaks!

Zara said...

Awww, I totally feel for you. It's tough when you find yourself in that situation. I learned a trick that's helped me - pain! I know it sounds weird, but if you pinch yourself just enough that it hurts or even bite on your tongue until it hurts, it helps keep the tears from spilling. I read it somewhere once and it actually works! Something about competing neural pathways where the pain wins out enough to distract your mind.

Not that I'm being much help now, huh? I think I would have done the same thing had I been in your situation. Those hormones seem to disable the flood gates that usually give some control over your tears. I know from personal experience! Can you tell? ;)

Have a nice time with D.B.! I can tell you love him a lot. :)

Shauny said...

awww... PMS! It turns us into crazy creatures eh? but your DB was so sweet :) :)

i saw that JB video for the first time on the weekend, and was actually going to post about it. his voice bugged the shit out of me for starters, but much worse they were the lamest lyrics EVER. he should be embarassed, really. and if he was actually meant to have killed himself in that video then he is DOUBLE LAME because if you kill yourself after falling in love with someone you saw for two seconds in a crowded place, then you are, frankly, an idiot.

hope you are feeling okay today! :) :)

A said...


I found your blog via the comments on RosemaryGrace's site. Did you study at the Shakespeare Institute, by any chance? I saw that you studied Shakespeare in Stratford (I did too), and wondered if we'd been at the same place!


K said...

A - yes I did! I'm swiftly coming to the conclusion that there is little point in trying to be anonymous, because blog-readers are such good detectives...

I was there in 2002-3. I have completely lost touch with everyone from the Inst because of stupid stuff that was going on in my head shortly after I left, and regret it very much. I keep meaning to phone up and ask if they still have contact details for the people I liked when I was there - don't know if they'd give them out, though.

So when were you there, and might I know you? Your profile is a little vague :)

Jeni said...

Hi K,

I've never seen that video, but I know what PMS can do, and I'm pretty sure I'd be in the same boat you were. Except I'd proabably dive head first into a tub of ice cream too.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop by and tell you I'd look really silly riding my bike all over town with hot pink and black goth arm warmers, but I think I just might do it to see the reaction. Huzzah!

A said...


We must have just missed each other! I did my MA from 2000-1, and left in early 2002 to return to the states to begin my PhD.

A said...

I imagine we knew some of the same folks, though, and visited many of the same haunts. I loved Stratford!