The Unrealistic Expectations set by Television

It has been a long time since I have written a blog, I have stared in front of a blank screen a few times, but nothing exciting seems to have happened in the past month and a half. I sleep (though it is never enough), I cook (on what seems to be a constant cycle of peeling, chopping and cleaning) and I go to work.

The more noteworthy incidents of the month of January included a man on the tube offering me a seat. And whilst I was decidedly offended he thought I was pregnant, I, for no apparent reason instinctively placed my hand protectively over my stomach. My anger at skinny people in the gym who walk around taking up space and simply staring at the equipment, whilst I red faced and suffering try to defeat my unmoving excess pounds. And my happiness on getting a new work phone!
In thinking over the month of January it made me release something very obvious, I have been ruined by television. When I write, I feel that every word must be infused with drama, laden with hidden secrets and worthy of four seasons starring a scarily beautiful cast. However, my life cannot compete with this level of intrigue. So instead of writing about my pleasant if, unexciting life I shall moan about the things that never ever happen in reality.

1) Excess

In Skins (for the four people who read this blog outside of the United Kingdom, this was a popular British television show), the characters, whilst sitting their a levels, engage in the most obscene, shocking and sordid behavior imaginable, evocative of the last days of Rome – these characters smoked, snorted, cavorted, inhaled, drank, stripped and flounced their way through year 12 and 13. Now, admittedly year 13 was exciting because I had a car, but the most noteworthy thing I did was get a ticket for driving in the bus lane and my rebellion was having a takeaway in said car (something my parents would never have approved of) and I still proudly have the hoi sin sauce stain as a fond memory. I also worked extremely hard in year 13, whilst juggling an early Sunday morning job in a local bakery and going to a smattering of house parties. And quite, frankly, I suspect my experience was similar to that of most of my peers- unlike the Bristolians in skins who made Pete Doherty look sober and Mick Jagger tame.

2) On/off relationships

My teenage years were punctuated by the on/off couples that invaded the TV screen- Ross and Rachel, Blair and Chuck, Seth and Summer, Meredith and McSteamy, Joey and Dawson- the list frankly is interminable. Eventually, you knew they would end up together, but the high drama, the intense arguments and complicated plot had you riveted. This is in no way reflective of real life. Of all my friends who have gone through heart breaking, earth shattering, painful breakups it was because one person no longer wanted to be with the other. This illusion of true love being strewn with thorns (I’m looking at you Shakespeare) is just not true. It’s neither romantic nor is it more authentic than couples who date, get engaged and then married without a hiccup analogous to hurricane Katrina tearing them apart.

3) I’m just naturally skinny/I lost weight without trying/I was too busy to eat

This is just not real life- the battle of the bulge is a daily struggle! I literally have one friend who can eat what she wants and not gain weight (the fact that I am still friends with her is a testament, frankly, to her character.) The rest of my skinny friends have a good figure due to hard work, determination and self control, they eat less and exercise more. Furthermore, no one loses weight because they are “too busy to eat” we do not live in a developing country. On my walk to the bus (which takes approximately five – ten minute minutes depending on if I am going with sensible dull shoes or wonderfully unwalkable heels) I pass no less than seven food outlets selling food in a variety of forms. We all know the actresses who play these characters are eating yoghurt for lunch and snacking on carrot sticks and air.

4) Eating out all the time

In TV shoes the characters all seem to congregate in a food establishment on a daily basis. Puh-lease. Are these people simply sitting on wads of unspent cash? Eating out is expensive, time consuming and a luxury. Why do I never see these characters stare into an empty fridge- shake their hands, insist to themselves they must be more prepared and then bung a potato in the oven, open a tin of tuna and shovel it into the mouth whilst reminiscing on the much tastier dinner they could be having had they only used their Sunday productively rather than watching back to back episodes of the West Wing.

5) meeting a guy in a coffee shop/book store/library/gym

I go to the library at least once a month, the gym three times a week (in theory at least) and I frequent a variety of coffee shops in a differing places (I travel a lot for work.) And I have yet to look up from my book, casually glance up and see Mr. right staring back. And whilst the girls in TV shows seem to be able to pick up guys in the time it takes me to write a blog post, this just doesn’t happen in real life. Though I do wonder if I looked like Blake Lively if my life wouldn’t contain a lot more of 1, a bit more of 2 and a dash extra of of 3…


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