Ode to a Missing Period

A summary of the past few weeks in my head:

Heck – why is my hair falling out? Best get to doctors.

Good lord why does it take so long to get an appointment with the NHS?

Ah. Alopecia. Well that’s lame.

What’s that doctor? You want to wait until my next period to do my blood tests? Okay, I’m sure I had one just before Christmas so it’ll be soon. I’ll book in when Flo shows up.

*three weeks later*

Blondie: ‘SO Ritzi, did you ever get those blood tests back?’

Ritzi: ‘Oh, no actually, I needed to wait for my period before I got them done.’

Wait…

Hang on…

*does maths*

Oh heck.

*does more maths going back 3 months*

Um…

ARGH!

Wait, what’s the legal cut-off date for sorting this kind of thing out?

I’m not even going to pretend there’s a moral dilemma here, sorry. #prochoice

*£10 and 2 pregnancy tests later*

Phew.

Audrey: ‘You know, Ritzi, sometimes those tests aren’t accurate’

Ritzi: ‘Shut up.’

Lalalalalalala.

Okay, a week on and STILL no Flo. Hellooooooo?

Apparently stress makes you miss your period sometimes.

Maybe I’ve missed my period because my hair’s falling out.

WAIT, IS ALOPECIA A SYMPTOM OF PREGNANCY?

Okay that’s it, I’m going to the walk in clinic. When can I go?

Damnit, Friday night is my only free evening. Oh for fuck’s sake am I going to have to deal with the *A* word on Valentine’s day?

Sorry guys, can’t drown my sorrows in the pub, have to go and sort my uterus out.

Bugger, late for lunch with The Guru.

*Nips to the loo on the way out of the office*

FLO! YOU WONDERFUL PAINFUL BITCH! HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU!

And end scene.

Happy Valentines Day folks, Ritzi is not up the duff. Thank FECK.

RitziCx

THE POWERFUL ONE

You might think the build up to Valentine’s D-Day is the absolute worst time to be single. Well, perhaps. Unless, of course, you’re a single sex blogger.

This time of year brings PRs out of the woodwork in a BIG way. I’ve seen people ranting on twitter about unwanted emails (don’t get me started on that one… we’re bloggers, basically we ask for it) flooding their inbox with suggestions of restaurants to visit with their ‘dates’, speed dating events (speed dating on Ice… enough said), Durex parties (of course I’m going) and the like. What an inconvenience…

AND THEN came the day that Ann Summers sent me a vibrator. Oh my good lord.

Now, I have long been a devotee of the Rampant Rabbit. I remember when I was sixteen (okay, fifteen…. okay, fourteen) and the Rabbit was king once Sex and the City introduced us to weirdly cute sex toys. I have a distinct memory of having to explain to my very sheltered high school friend that when Blonde Skank Number One giggled about buying Blonde Skank Number Two a Rabbit for her sixteenth birthday, she was not referring to the fluffy kind. But I digress.

I remember my first Rabbit; it was purple, and when you switched it on the ball bearings inside the translucent rubber shaft spun around like an oversexed dynamo. Then, in college, a disreputable type who shall remain nameless, miraculously acquired a shipment of the newly released ‘Thruster’… needless to say, I kicked the boring old ball bearing model to the curb in favour of the blue piston version.

My two best friends had one each as well, and I seem to remember we gave them names. One of them called hers Gertrude… she was going through an experimental phase.

When Ann Summers emailed me, they offered me a range of products to choose from. Did you know there are currently TEN KINDS of Rampant Rabbit on the market? Yes, TEN. There’s ‘The Expanding One’ for ‘girls who love girth’, or perhaps ‘The Little Shaking One’, for ‘girls who like small size but big power’ or even, wait for it… ‘The Three-way One’ for ‘adventurous Rabbit users’. I mean seriously, why is it we need men again?

Find the right Rabbit for you with this handy educational chart…

I, of course, went for ‘THE POWERFUL ONE’. Because it sounded hilarious.

I’m the kind of girl who plans her day hour by hour. You know I’m always moaning that I wouldn’t actually have time to fit a man in (dirty) if I managed to tie one down for longer than one disappointing date, so I have to say, the introduction of ‘THE POWERFUL ONE’ in my life has been a bit of a revelation. Frankly, this one should be labelled ‘the one for girls who don’t have time to waste on preamble’ or ‘zero to orgasm in 6 seconds’. I shan’t go into too much detail, but suffice to say, I may have been vibrated off the bed. Oh, and IT LIGHTS UP.

Rabbit

(This isn’t gross because this is a picture of it fresh out of the box)

I mean really, what more can a girl want? RitziCx

Treat ‘Em Mean

What to do what to do?

So, here’s the thing. I did something stupid a while back (you know what it was) and at the time though mortifying it was conveniently easy to avoid because the gentleman in question was not in London and therefore there was no chance of bumping into him at a social engagement or out and about in Covent Garden.

Now, he’s back. I saw him last week at birthday drinks and managed to keep my head down, greet him with pleasantries (because I really do find him amusing and fun to banter with) and duck out of the festivities early on account of my being sober and boring. A narrow escape, and no future plans for gatherings until booze in back on the menu. I also considered this to be pretty clear that considering any conversation we had was awkward as fuck, he got the message.

AND THEN, he sent me a text.

Hi Ritzi, great to see you the other night. Sorry we didn’t get to talk more, didn’t realise you were leaving. Want to get together for a coffee this week? Or a Sambuca? ;)

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

Honestly, whoever said ‘treat em mean, keep em keen’ wasn’t making that shizzle up.

HELP. What do I do? How to I let him down without completely breaking his well meaning little heart?

I bet the boys who’ve blown me off never had this moral dilemma. Fecksake.

RitziCx

Being Boring in January

It’s that time of year again… the dreaded detox of January. I think at the end of a detox my body releases those chemicals that normal women get after they give birth, you know, the ones that make you forget how truly horrendous it is so you feel like doing it again next year. Damn genetics.

I’ve made it through the first wave of 3pm caffeine withdrawal headaches, survived the pangs of wine-lust that kick in every time I get home and see the six unopened bottles sat in the veritable out of commission bar that is my kitchen, and resisted a Kit-kat Chunky. Frankly, the worst of it is over and it’s now just a slog to the end of the month.

HOWEVER – in previous Januarys I’ve managed to duck out of pretty much every social occasion with some excuse or other, but this year there are a few dates I unfortunately must make. Gah. Friends got married over Christmas, other friends’ marriages are falling apart and they require me to sit and nod and hate on their husbands and offer advice I am absolutely not qualified to give.

Last week, Irish left London (I’m still in denial, she’ll be over for Sunday dinner next week right? RIGHT?) and we all went for dodgy Indo-Chinese cuisine to wave her off. Thank feck Blondie was there and sober beside me for that one. Another evening was spent at Geordie’s birthday/just-got-out-of-a-relationship-so-now-I-want-to-party party, an event which coincided with my first run in with The Comedian since THAT INCIDENT. There is nothing more hideous than having to make small talk with a man you accidentally shagged who apparently would like to repeat the experience (which you have absolutely no intention of repeating), against a backdrop of excitable glammed up musical theatre types who haven’t been on their feet at a photoshoot since 8am, in Soho, utterly and completely SOBER. I mean, seriously.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m boring as fuck without a glass of wine in hand. I recall a few years back, I spent a dull and dreary evening at a birthday dinner for the Maestro in January (crap, that means I’ve missed/am about to miss his birthday, best check Facebook) making small talk with his drunken friends, and when I met them again almost a year later at a pre-Christmas Christmas dinner, one turned to me, bemused, and said;

‘You’re hilarious! I thought you were a bitch last time I met you, I don’t know why…’

I do dearie; I was sober.

Sober Ritzi drinks soda and lime and resents every second of it. She also has a very low tolerance level for idiots. People who would be mildly amusing to Lubricated Ritzi are downright unbearable to Sober Ritzi. In fact, it’s best if you just avoid her at all costs.

I know it IS possible to be fun and sober. When I first met Ferris, he was designated driver and a hoot to boot. My crazy friend Nora who lives on a boat and writes songs through the night is so much fun when sober that when she does have a drink she’s the kind of person who wakes up in another country. So what with upcoming press nights this week, dinner with Maxie’s fellow part-time French resident Nancy Drewe and at least three more birthdays, I need to figure out how to be fun and sober. Fast.

I’m pretty sure I could figure out this conundrum in seconds after half a bottle of Rioja but alas, that ain’t happening. SO I shall suck it up (figuratively) and face these weeks of social engagements, and maybe by the end I’ll have grown a sober personality. After all, I’ve got to survive one week per month like this for the REST OF 2014. Good lord. Roll on February.

RitziCx

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THE NEW YEAR’S POST

HOW are we at New Year’s resolution time already??? It seems like only yesterday that Irish and I sat in front of a roaring fire in the far off west of Ireland, burning our pros and cons of 2012 and scribbling our intentions for 2013, sending them off into the ether with a bottle of bubbles and a soundtrack of Irish folk music.

This year, Maxie G and I rang in the New Year at a house party in Amsterdam, downing Hendricks and champagne on the continent as only we can.

We didn’t quite make it to resolutions last night… it may have had something to do with Maxie having one too many goldfish bowl G&Ts on the wrong side of midnight, and passing out about ten minutes after we staggered through streets of exploding fireworks (seriously, I thought I’d fallen and hit my head and woken up in Beirut…) to a second epic houseparty the other side of town. Amateur.

Instead, we made them this morning (read: this afternoon) over some very strong coffee.

2013 was a bit of a weird year. I ended up coming out of it all ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ and whatnot, but actually when I looked back my list of good things was far greater than the bad things, which can be summed up pretty succinctly; in 2013, my work/life balance went off the scale in a bad way. I had a momentary relapse into Slutty Ritzi a couple of months back, and due to the aforementioned work/life dilemma, I fell off the gym bunny bandwagon around October and haven’t managed to heave myself back onto it yet. And (though these were not exactly factors I can attribute to myself and my actions) it was a year of losing far too many good people.

For the first time in a long time, I almost ran out of paper when scrawling out all the pros of the previous year in the life of Ritzi Cortez. 2013 was a ridiculously amazing year for stamps in the old passport – I’ve been ALL OVER the shop. I saw a whale – three, actually. I got a cleaner (seriously, revolutionised my life). I wangled a couple of decent pay rises and opened some fabulous shows. I had a BALL at the Olivier awards back in April. The first of my inner circle of girlies (Bridget) walked down the aisle in what was probably the most amazingly awesome wedding the world has ever seen. I completed my January detox as per, and until the blip of overwork hit in October, I managed an average of 5 days a week in the gym up until that point. I reconnected with some of my oldest and bestest friends, and remembered a little of the person I used to be before the West End took over my life. AND I didn’t fail horrendously at my resolutions this time round – I said I’d sort out the manuscript sat on my computer, and though it’s taken me all year, I’m almost there with it. I said I’d save money – which I’ve done… to a degree. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still spent my Christmas bonus on shoes… but I actually have a savings account now which is frankly an achievement. I question whether the ‘date better’ resolution has been achieved… I’ve not so much dated better as not really dated at all. But one thing my recent fuckup with the Comedian has taught me is that a shag for shag’s sake is really not worth it. Sorry to disappoint, filth fans…

And so we come to 2014′s resolutions. I’ve learned in recent years that less is more when it comes to these bad boys. Too many, and by June you’ve broken half of them and by the end of the year you’ve forgotten the rest.

1) As well as my regular January detox (which I think, considering the fact that Maxie and I are together until Sunday, might just have to start on Monday 6th this year) I’m going to do ONE WEEK of detox every month for the rest of the year. This means the works for one whole week each month – no booze, no coffee, no carbs, no chocolate biscuits. Ma Cortez is particularly relieved about this one… I swear she thinks my liver is on the verge of calcification.

2) Buy a house. This is a BIG SCARY one. It kind of relies on a lot of factors, but in theory this is totally doable in 2014.

3) Be happy with work. This year work has knackered me. I don’t quite know what the answer is yet, but I’ve got to get the balance right to allow myself the headspace to write and the time to switch off. This will be an interesting one to revisit in 2015.

And frankly, I think that’s plenty to be getting on with. I’m not giving writing or dating a spot this year, and maybe this time they’ll surprise me.

And so I shall leave y’all with some Cortez philosophy; for those of you who are glad to see the back of 2013, do try to take a moment to look back and find the good things - I promise you they’re there. And let’s wave off 2013 with a nod and a smile, no regrets.

Happy 2014 folks! Here’s to a cracking year.

RitziCx

 

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When The Rain Starts to Fall…

I’ve been quite the nostalgic little lady of late. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I’m SO STRESSED AND KNACKERED FROM WORK I MIGHT LEAP FROM THE CRUMBLING APOLLO ROOF AND SPLATTER MYSELF ON SHAFTESBURY AVENUE SOME DAY SOON but hey, I don’t like to make a fuss.

Back at the end of November, I packed a bag with sturdy boots and chunky knits and headed north of the Watford Gap for a week of damn good coffee, decent days of writing and wandering, and most importantly, a college reunion. It might sound like the basis for a wanky American made-for-ABC movie but believe me, it was necessary. This year’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of highs and lows around the world for me and mine, and a couple of months ago my age old college gang of misfits and vagabonds lost one of the best of us. I hadn’t seen her in years, not since we’d actually been locked in the education system, but you know, Facebook has this annoying way of keeping you connected to people and so when the news hit it sent a ripple of tragic crapness through the interweb to all of us, wherever we were in the world. If there’s one thing that will get a group of people who’ve been talking about a reunion for ever and a day, it’s the fear of another one of you popping your clogs before you actually get around to organising one, so with this in mind, Ferris and I masterminded a night of pub crawling, radio station crashing (don’t ask), muddy country lane walking in the pitch black night and drunken Rockband, with spectacular results.

Oh yes, I was one of those quirky theatre/media student types, once upon a time. And for one night only I shirked my blackberry and expense account and became one again. And it was AWESOME*.

Back to London for the rather trying month of December – you may recall December in Ritzi’s world essentially consists of WINE, press nights, office parties, boozy lunches, WINE, after work drinks, show Christmas parties, MULLED WINE, and, hang on, there’s something else… oh yeah… shedloads of work before everyone buggers off for the festive season – and by December 20th I was suitably frazzled to within an inch of my life. You can always gauge the level of my frazzledness by checking the barometer that is my hair.

Styled/straight/artfully curled – either a 1 on the frazzle scale OR a quick pre-press night blowdry has just occurred on a lunch break

Frizzy/interestingly kinky fringe – nearing the 5-7 mark on the scale. Get her a diet coke and/or large glass of red. Stat.

Topknot – mark 9… seriously, avoid her in corridors.

Topknot AND fringe pinned back – WARNING! WARNING! RITZI’S ABOUT TO THROW HER BLACKBERRY OUT THE WINDOW AND MOVE TO CORNWALL.

Nestled in December, amidst the organised/disorganised fun, is Irish’s birthday. This year the timing was particularly key, as Irish chose this moment to announce her imminent departure from London for the foreseeable future (I will not cry, I am in denial. I have lots of airmiles and will use them ALL to go to Dublin every other weekend and pretend absolutely nothing has changed), which Bridget countered with the news that she would also be buggering off on tour for the first quarter of 2014. Flora is to be wed, and we haven’t actually SEEN her since even to perve at the ring, so essentially, all my friends are leaving me and I need some new ones.

The whole idea of friendship is an odd thing, I think. What I love about my girls is that we’re usually annoyingly frank and honest with each other about most things. Irish’s birthday dinner/winefest got pretty deep around midnight, and we got onto the subject of friendships coming and going as we stumble through life. I’m not naïve enough to think that in ten years time the friends I have now will still be my inner circle, no exceptions. I could live in another town, or another country by then. The ones who are married may have kids, (or worse… move north of the river…) and then we’ll lose touch and only see each other when the parental ones can get a sitter and so on and so forth.

That said, Blondie made an observation that got me thinking. She remarked she was always impressed by how I managed to stay in touch with people, for instance, I’ll think; ‘Cripes, I haven’t seen so and so in about six months, we must arrange brunch’. Apparently, if Blondie has this thought, in her head it translates to ‘Cripes, I haven’t seen so and so in about six months, clearly we are no longer friends,’ and then they lose touch.

I’ve actually always thought I’m a bit crap at keeping in touch. The other day, when the aforementioned Apollo was falling down**, a few of my friends were working in there and I texted Nicole in a panic from another theatre across town to find out if she’d heard any news other than the terrifyingly overdramatic Guardian news article, to make sure our former ticket tearing buddies were safe. Seconds later I realised guiltily that I actually haven’t seen Nicole for about 5 months, which is frankly ridiculous, and so once we’d established that everyone was alive, we arranged brunch for January 2014. Job done.

The thing about friends – and I mean by this the people who, at one time or other, we have considered our very best mates – is that they are our friends in the first place for a reason. That reason may not be around forever, but once it was the most important thing in the world. Ten (ish) years ago, Ferris and my college boys were my whole life, and just because I don’t see them so often and I don’t necessarily need them physically beside me on a day to day basis to help me get through the way I used to, it doesn’t mean I don’t remember the time when I did and that I can’t enjoy the heck out of escaping down memory lane, back to the safe, fuzzy environment of nostalgia, when I get the chance.

We put too much focus on time. Just because we only see someone once in a blue moon, it doesn’t mean they mean any less to us than the ones we see every day. It’s easy to be friends with someone you see every day, the real test of friendship is fast-forwarding ten years into the future, dropping by for coffee (or, let’s face it… WINE) and still having a million and one things to talk about. Ferris wisely quoted to me the other day; ‘Friends are the family you choose for yourself’, which was quite profound for him so I had to google it and make sure he hadn’t nicked it from someone else. Turns out, every fucker on the internet claims to have made that shizzle up so I’m giving it to Ferris.

And so there you have it, it seems I did end up going down the wanky American schmaltz route after all. Who new I even had it in this bitter, stone cold Londoner’s heart? While we’re on this role I’m dedicating this rambly post to the gorgeous girl we lost this year – I should have dropped by for coffee when I still had the chance.

Until next time… next time likely being the New Year’s Post… cripes.

MUCH LOVE (I’ve had three glasses of vino),

RitziCx

*The hangover was not.

**It didn’t actually fall down. Some plaster fell off the ceiling and it was very scary and unpleasant for all involved but that doesn’t mean every theatre in London is unsafe for FECKSAKE.

The Comedian

Oh dear folks. It’s been a while since I did something so completely inadvisable that I felt the burning desire to share it with you lot and invite you into my shame spiral.

I was doing so well this year – I’ve been working my bootilicious arse off in London and globe trotting like a mother trucker, and generally keeping out of trouble. For the most part.

You knew it was too good to last, right? Quite.

The last few weeks, I’ve been facebook courted by a well meaning funny man. I’ve never been particularly physically attracted to him, but it’s been a dry year in the date stakes and considering I live with the most sickening pair of lovebirds ever to walk the Earth, eventually something’s gotta give. And it did. In a big way.

It started off so well, he did his research, took me to a fancy veggie restaurant, bought the drinks, kept the conversation flowing, and all was going swimmingly. I still didn’t fancy him, and was content to just have a nice evening and then go back to being casual acquaintances, but for some godforsaken reason instead I allowed myself to drink so much wine that I forgot my own name, thought it was a really good idea to do Sambuca shots when we ran into some mutual friends in a theatre bar, and genuinely do not remember getting home. I don’t understand how the cabbie managed to find my house, unless I have just forgotten that whole conversation, but all I do remember is waking up the next morning, rather naked, next to a person I don’t fancy, also rather naked, and thinking; OH MY FUCKING LORD NOT AGAIN RITZI.

As a result, I’ve spent most of the weekend wallowing in shame, hiding from the world, showering repeatedly.

Apparently I need to download my own make believe Cock-blocker app.

To give the poor boy some credit, he has been texting saying what a lovely time he had, and I shouldn’t feel bad because he acted just as slutty as I did. Well, this is little comfort, because if I was paralytically smashed off my tits, he must have been slightly less so, otherwise we would have woken up somewhere on the stoop of my office. I’m pretty sure I was disgustingly drunk, and that can’t have been pretty. Blondie has an eyeful burned into the back of her eyelids from Turkey that I’m sure will support that theory.

Oh, and that brings me to the hilarity of the aftermath. I bundled the boy into the shower, prattling on about my gym date that I just had to keep (note, definitely had a gym date, definitely didn’t keep it) and frantically bashed out a text to Blondie. Moments passed and the door to her boudoir opened. I raced down the hallway and shoved the pair of them back into the room before they could say anything, because OF COURSE Blondie doesn’t check her phone like ever when the PM’s around.

‘What’s going on?’ Blondie asks.

‘I may have shagged the Comedian last night and he might still be in the shower. YOU HAVE TO HIDE IN HERE UNTIL I GET RID OF HIM.’

True to form, the blissfully happy folk found this unfortunate situation hilarious.

Not too long after I get a text from Blondie: ‘PM needs a wee!’

Very discreetly, I whack out a text letting them know the coast is clear, and he best pee quickly, which (to his credit) he does. I wait until the boudoir door closes and then – and only then – do I usher the poor bloke out into the hallway, down the stairs and out into freezing cold Londinium.

I return to the flat, barge into Blondie’s room and wordlessly sound out my shame while burying my face in her duvet, much to their amusement. This goes on for quite some time.

Honest to Lucifer, what the flying fuck is wrong with me? And where have all the men gone who say things like; ‘No, we can’t do this, you’re too drunk, it wouldn’t be right.’ Have there ever actually been men like that or did Hollywood make them up?

And so here we are, Sunday evening, just about human again, ready to watch Downton and eat chilli and enter a week of full on work craziness, and right back in the world of making VERY BAD DATING DECISIONS.

Judge away people, judge away. I shall do nothing to defend myself, and accept my University of Life report card that reads ‘must do better’ with grace. Gah.

RitziCx