I bloody love the word fuming. It has been pointed out to me on multiple occasions that I use it excessively, and thus appear to be in a perpetual state of anger. Supervisor chose Monday 10 am for our weekly trash-Tallulah’s-essay sesh: fuming (and, usually, hungover). Sainsbury’s doesn’t have any Crunchie rocks in stock: fuming. Run out of body wash and only realising when I am soaking wet in the shower: fuming. Very low irritation threshold here, really.
But nothing makes me fume more than my mum talking about her time at university. We only ever fight about two things: fake tan and my generation. Since I’m definitely not jealous of her pale blue complexion, and she thinks I must have confused my Cambridge interview for a TOWIE audition, the serious bone of contention is the latter. When it comes to her youth, the big ol’ green-eyed monster washes over me, and I seethe with bitter resentment about how blinking good she had it!
Mum went to Oxford from 1987-90. She read English, but wishes she had studied History. She had a boyfriend per year, that she admits to… She got a Desmond. She graduated and, after a brief stint at a secretarial college to learn to type, she got a decent job in publishing which led to a great career as a writer. And she had no bloody idea how lucky she was.
Don’t get me wrong, my mum is my best friend, hands down. The woman is a saint whom I have worshipped my entire life, and who (since I was sixteen, when it became abundantly clear) is my ‘spirit animal’. It hurts how much I hate her on this particular issue.
Nevertheless, grab your tiny violins because this hashtag millennial is about to complain (only slightly tongue-in-cheek) about how much better it was in the Eighties.
Three words: fourth term Oxbridge. All the little blighters had to do was swan into their interviews, get the golden ticket of an offer, and sit back and relax until they rolled up to the dreaming spires in October. They had to achieve the minimal matriculation requirement of two E’s at A-Level, and I am assured, that’s exactly what some of the ‘cool’ kids did. Mum got 3 As – she’d hasten to add they didn’t have A*s then you know – such a loser. I, on the other hand, had to sit my A-Levels, not once, but twice. Interview for Cambridge, not once, but twice. And only then, get all A*s in order to make my offer. Outrageous. Snowflake alert.
Liz (feel like you’re on a first name basis with her by now) was in her college’s drinking soc (when that didn’t make you a social pariah!), and I am well-informed by her uni friends that she could nail a yard of ale. Do I have proof of it though? No! And that’s because she could crack on with her scandalous behaviour free from the gaze of a Snapchat story. Never once did she experience the nausea of the ‘x has tagged you in a photo’ notification the day after a dodgy evening in the cesspit that is Cindies. When she was running across the quad in the wee small hours with her dungarees inside out (long story…) no one snapped it to sit up in the ‘cloud’, whatever that is, for all eternity. We all know that Theresa May’s been a lot naughtier than running in a wheat field – you just don’t have a shoe collection like that if you weren’t a bit of a good time girl – but we won’t ever get to see it because they didn’t have the living hell that is social media documenting every move to contend with.
If a boy fancied my mum they did this absolutely crazy thing. Brace yourselves. They would walk up to her, and speak to her! Maybe even ask her out on a date. Woo her, be publicly affectionate towards her, and have a merry old time. Nope, not now. Now there’s swiping, which has caused an absolute epidemic of sexual fomo. The flick of a finger when you’re vaguely attracted to some pixels constituting what the individual in question purports themselves to be online, in the hopes of a quick shag with no text the next day, never to be heard from again. No ghosting. No bread-crumbing. No are we, aren’t we. Crikey, I hope this isn’t just me…
Just a list of things to consider (given my limited word count): tuition fees (cough, cough David Cameron), career prospects (don’t hear of golden hellos anymore, even the hello slightly hangs in the balance considering more people get Firsts than 2:2s these days), pensions, home ownership, and for Christ’s sake, they had pubic hair and we have anal bleaching (our generation bleach their anuses: are you actually kidding me!!!).
So, to conclude, at the very tail-end of the baby boomer generation, she really had it great. And I’m fuming I don’t have it as good. I guess I’ll find solace in online shopping next-day delivery and Deliveroo. Brilliant.