Money diaries, ‘Boris’ and other pre-holiday petty annoyances

This article is more than 2 years old
Eva Wiseman

You know you need a holiday when the things that irritate are turning into a catalogue

Soap or lotion? ‘Hand cream terrorism’ is coming to a restaurant toilet near you.
Soap or lotion? ‘Hand cream terrorism’ is coming to a restaurant toilet near you. Photograph: Robert Przybysz/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Soap or lotion? ‘Hand cream terrorism’ is coming to a restaurant toilet near you. Photograph: Robert Przybysz/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Last modified on Wed 10 Jul 2019 05.39 EDT

That wonderful awful time of year, when a combination of good weather and out-of-office-email anxiety triggers a badness in me; my worst side. I see earwigs in the petals of dahlias, I hear an insult about my body in a compliment about a dress. This is what happens when September starts and I haven’t had a holiday.

There I sit, Clockwork Oranged in front of my tiny screen. Usually immune to the fabulous Instagram lives of others, now I take their swimming pools and broad forest vistas quite personally, as if uploaded specifically for the purpose of exposing my bad decision-making. The early twinges of RSI in my right arm, my roots growing out in minutes, these are the facts of my holiday-less life, and they help me only see the wrongs of the world. For example, some things that have annoyed me in the last 24 hours:

The now ubiquitous hand-lotion option above a restaurant sink, where its bottle is indistinguishable from that of the soap, resulting in hands that are lubed up to deliver-a-calf levels of moisture. This is hand-cream terrorism.

There is a reason why a majority group should not decide the terms of oppression for a group that’s marginalised. Yeah, that’s pissed me off.

Celebrity Big Brother returned, sponsored by the “girlie gambling site” that, in January, made a big dance about its relevance because the launch coincided with the anniversary of women getting the vote. It’s what Emmeline would have wanted.

I watched the new contestants enter the house (my favourite is kidnap victim Chloe Ayling, who I say deserves a break after being stuffed in a hold-all and told she was to become a sex slave) bookended by their bizarre pink princess adverts, which seem aimed at a certain kind of moneyed four-year-old rather than at bored female gambling addicts. The whole thing reeks of an advertising executive quickly Wikipedia-ing the word “woman” but getting distracted by a pop-up about hot girls in his area.

I hold the people who continue to call him “Boris” responsible for his actions. Ditto those that refer to Stephen Yaxley-Lennon not even by his stage name “Mr Robinson” but instead, “Tommy”.

The rotters that emerge, like Oscar the Grouch, from a trash can, to inform those suffering from cancer that they know someone who cured theirs by cutting out all “toxins” and drinking hot water with turmeric. In order to offer advice, whether on illness or how short a skirt should be, one should have to fill out at least three online forms.

I am bored of money diaries. Of news outlets (it started with Refinery29’s, then spiralled from there) employing anonymous millennials to document their spending habits. They typically consist of young professional women sharing their expenditures in order to be ridiculed, judged and then used as a pin to hold a number of ideas about race and privilege to a wall. It’s rarely the diarist who deserves readers’ anger, but the vastly unfair economy into which they’re born. Phew. OK, starting to feel a bit better. There is something of the day spa to writing all this down. What next?

The New York Times reported that Asia Argento (one of the leading voices behind the #MeToo movement) paid out $380,000 to an actor who accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was 17. Some dicks are trying to use this to undermine the activism of all the other women who risked their lives and careers to speak out about their abuse. In fact, wouldn’t this be news proof that #MeToo is working?

The summer holidays transform public transport into a spot-lit stage for a certain kind of performative parenting, of grand lessons in morals and conversations with two-year-olds about nutrition. Get a room.

There is a clip that’s gone viral of a robot walking slowly and purposefully towards the camera, that has inspired many people to look for ways to leave the planet as soon as possible. I’m not one of them – it reminds me of nothing more than a guy who has lost his stag party and will soon be joined by a kindly friend called Anthony who will guide him gently to their Holiday Inn and reassure him that everybody thinks he’s nice.

Deep breath. Thank you.

Email Eva at or follow her on Twitter @EvaWiseman

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