It is a momentous occasion. We are coming to the end of the noughties and I am nearly 27. So it is therefore with a heavy heart that I think it only right to write an open letter to my 16 year old self who will, obviously, never read it. Unless I'm actually Bladder McFly. And I don't know it yet. Which is possible. My Dad does look a bit like the Doc if he lets his hair grow out. Okay, so this renders the exercise slightly less pointless cos it is likely that I am actually a time traveller. Failing that I have been told on too many occasions that I look like Billie Piper (the higher profile the more I get it. Damn you Billie Piper for marrying Chris Evans and making me look like a pauper. And then donning a wig for that slut programme that looks a bit like my hair and then making me look like a prude. Damn you to Hell) so let's just go with I'm Rose out of Dr Who if I'm not the other one. With the Doc. And the car.
Okay. Let's start or I'll just end up writing very long paragraphs about time travel.
I think 16 was a hard year for you. Let's take it in stages shall we? You're a simpleton and it's probably best we don't confuse you.
1 - You're working up to doing your GCSEs. You think they are the most important exams of your life. They're not. But because the teachers are lying bastards you work your arse off under that misapprehension. I'll be honest - you either peak too soon or you realise that exams are massively underwhelming and quite, quite boring. The upshot of this is that you ace your exams and your parents say, "Well done". You're reeling. Actually reeling. You thought that life was like Clueless and that they'd buy you a car even though it's a whole year til you can even begin to take lessons. They don't. This starts you on an embittered road that you're still on when you're 26.
It also means that you never actually study to the best of your ability for an exam until your last year of university where you surprise yourself at what you can do if you concentrate.
2 - You're hanging out with a crowd that are called freaks. To be fair you probably do look a bit freakish. You're wearing jeans that could clothe an African nation. On the upside you don't listen to So Solid Crew and have quite good taste in music for a 16 year old, although in hindsight telling people that Limp Bizkit's interpretation of Faith is "wicked" is probably a mistake.
Which leads me to Reading Festival. Two of the mentalists that you hang around with go after your GCSE results come out. Your parents won't let you cos they're bastards and have the audacity to worry about you doing drugs, drinking alcohol and doing bad things with boys. Don't worry. You ultimately win because you get a tattoo a few months later. That's right, a permanent mark that means you are the victor and that they may have won the Reading battle but you won the angst teen war. As an aside, your sister will thank you for pushing the boundaries because she'll know exactly what she is and isn't allowed to do further down the line without fear of being thrown out. Oh yeah, your mum will threaten to cut up all your (massively baggy) clothes and throw you out. Your Dad will intervene because he's a loose canon and you're never sure if he is going to laugh at your antics or kill you. In the face.
You think you're a renegade. You're a fool. And you're doing what most 16 year olds before you did.
3 - And then you start going to the pub. The heady days of drinking vodka and coke too young will never leave you. The only thing of note here is when you did unsavoury things with a boy older than you who you told you were 18 and he then saw you and your friends "up town" in your uniform a few days later. His horrified face will always bring a little smile to your face. The rest is what I pronounce Textbook Teen. Get really drunk, do bad things, think you're cool when actually you're not.
4 - One of the mentalists gets a Proper Boyfriend who brings her to the cinema before he tries to have sex with her as opposed to just straight off tries to have sex with her. He has a badge maker (keep with me here, I know I have a tendency to wander from the point but this is actually important). She get's a badge saying she is his "top bitch" and the rest of us get badges just saying we are his "bitch". The most horrifying thing about this is that we all wear them. I can only assume that this is because we thought we were subverting a gender stereotype or some other such twaddle. The worst thing about it though is this: He's fucking pig ugly.
And then you turn 17. And nothing changes. Apart from you get a boyfriend who is better looking than all the mentalist's boyfriends. And you're extremely smug about this state of affairs.
Gros Bisous Cherie X