Due to the fact that I am currently unemployed (I did an English degree and no one wants to give me a job – madness) I have recently been considering my CV and the various claims that I make in it. The statements in it are all true, but also mostly a little dull. There’s a fair amount of travelling on there, but the majority of the fun activities I enjoyed have had to be tailored somewhat in order to be included. The copious amounts of drinking I did on my gap year has translated to “team building activities”; the last minute essay writing at university became “ability to work under pressure”; the hours spent watching episodes of Jersey Shore and The Bachelor during my study abroad year was in fact “successful interaction with an alternative culture”. Not to say that I don’t also possess these highly regarded skills, should any potential employers be reading. I do, and in copious amounts. I also have excellent customer service and seven years experience in the Literary Retail trade. Just in case anyone is interested. However, there are other skills which I am equally as proud of and yet am unable to put on my neatly composed curriculum vitae.
In order to celebrate them, I shall now present the best of the skills that I possess which, unfortunately, cannot be considered vital employee qualities. These are the 5 things I can do.The dingiest pubs sell the best quality ales in my experience, and I’ve been to enough festivals to be pretty non-fussy about where I pee. It simply requires a bit of expertise. Every girl I know has been in this position, where the only free cubicle has bodily fluids on the seat, an unidentifiable liquid on the floor, a broken lock and a lack of toilet roll. So, first you take the tissues out of your bag (see “ability to plan ahead” on the CV) and wedge the strap between your neck and shoulder. Then you have the delicate procedure of hovering delicately over the seat whilst holding the door closed with one foot and keeping your balance by bracing your elbows against the walls. Thighs of steel and the grace of a ballerina combined for toilet comfort.
Public Bathroom Acrobatics.
Public Bathroom Acrobatics.
And I mean proper balloon animals. Not just dogs, or mice, or giraffes (which anyone familiar with the world of balloon sculpture will know is the same thing with elongated torsos/necks/noses as appropriate) but works of truly beautiful balloon art. I have made bumblebees, bunches of flowers, lions and once even a guitar. I’ve also had a lot of balloons pop pretty painfully in my hands, but what self respecting artist can say they haven’t suffered for their masterpieces?
Pretend to have read a book.
Most people can say they’ve read a book and everyone who has completed an English Literature degree can say they’ve read a lot of books. However, the skill I have perfected over the years of being subjected to modules on Medieval literature and plays from the civil war and renaissance periods, is being able to sit in a room of educated people and have an in-depth discussion about something I have read half, a quarter, or none of. I really love reading, and for most modules I read everything, but when you only need five texts in the exam you can afford to miss out a book when you’re having a bad week. Also, Moll Flanders is around 500 pages long and all of those pages are depressingly awful.
Flip drinks coasters.
With my knuckles. And catch them. In stacks of ten. Pub skills are still skills.
Draw a decent arse.
And how on earth, you may ask, do I know that I can do this? When I was in Sixth Form myself and a friend took a life drawing class together. In the course of this class I learnt a whole load of things that I can’t do. I can’t draw feet, hands, faces, male genitalia (of which I saw an alarming amount during that particular school year) or heads. What I can draw, are arses. I drew them so well in fact, that my Mother has blu-tacked one particular charcoaled image (almost life size I might add) to our living room door. It’s very nice that she is so proud, but it also means that the question “Whose arse is that?” has been asked of me more than once in the comfort of my own front room.
They may seem childish, some may be a little disgusting, and, I agree, they are not technically marketable skills, but that does not mean that I’m not a pro at them.