My First Ever Graduate Assessment Centre! (BYOF)

I graduated in 2013 with a 1st class degree from Newcastle university and won two cash awards for my academic achievements. Although I was a high achiever, I always felt that ‘grad jobs’ were out of my league. I compared myself to others on my course who were mostly privately educated and oozed the confidence I definitely lacked.  They could be talking about how chocolate cake inspired post-structural theory and you’d be convinced they knew what they were talking about.

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Growing up as a child dependent on the welfare state receiving free school meals, frequent visits from social workers, and being brought up by a single mum addicted to prescription opiates – I felt that I didn’t belong amongst these self-assured, privileged people and so shied away from companies who attract graduate calibre types, fearing I wouldn’t be good enough.

However, a few weeks ago a conversation on Twitter with the CEO of one of the UK’s largest social and market research companies made me think that maybe I do have what it takes to compete in the graduate job market. Soon after I had followed the CEO on social media, he messaged me to tell me he liked my blog! And he even asked if I had applied for their graduate scheme. This gave me the confidence boost I craved and the next day I applied for my first ever graduate programme. I also made my cv available online, letting recruiters know I was looking for ‘grad jobs’.

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It wasn’t long before I received a call from a recruitment agency ‘Pareto Law’ who place graduates in business-to-business sales roles. I thought the job sounded incredibly uninspiring but the graduate manager assured me it was just what I was looking for. She invited me to their assessment day in Leeds, where they would assess whether I would cut the mustard for a b2b sales career.

As I arrived at the hotel where the day was held, the waiting area was full of nervous grads in business attire. I was hoping the room would also be filled with a continental breakfast buffet, but all I could see was a bowl of apples and I think they were just for display.

After all our names were ticked off the list, the day started by each of us standing up one by one to introduce ourselves and talk about our greatest non-academic achievement. It soon became clear that this was a room full of young people with broken dreams. There were the creative types, actors and musicians who were there because it was time to “grow up”. There was a man who was proud to have made it into the parachute regiment of the army but was discharged for medical reasons. There was another who had done great work supporting children in a care home.

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We were a diverse bunch but we all had something in common: desperation. I don’t imagine anyone gets themselves into huge amount of debt at uni to bag themselves a depressing job selling IT software or telecoms.

The man running the assessment day spoke about the kind of graduates they’re looking for – confident and money driven. Reading between the lines I could see that they wanted thick skinned, bordering on arrogant types who enjoy lad bantz far more than any meaningful conversation. After nearly crying listening to one grad talk about his work with troubled children, I knew I was in the wrong place.

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This was a graduate assessment centre but you were actively encouraged not to talk about your academic life. They asked for no proof if you actually attended university and they certainly didn’t care one bit which institution you graduated from. I wouldn’t be surprised if you told the recruitment consultant you graduated from the University of Unicorns with a degree in Glitter Sprinkling and they responded with “That’s fantastic! Get yourself to our next assessment centre asap!”.

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When I began my search for a career, I wanted the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge that I had learnt at university; critical thought, analysis, report writing. The roles Pareto Law recruit for offer none of these things, and of course they don’t – they are a sales company. I am baffled as to why they claim you need a degree to apply for one of their pseudo graduate jobs. The only reason I can see why they recruit graduates is because there are so many of us, and I don’t want to work for a company just because I went to university. I want them to value my education and help me to use it in a way that will be beneficial to the company and for my own personal development.

I also want to work for an organisation who respect their employees and I think assessment centres are a good way to test this. Before we attended the Pareto Law assessment day we all received an email saying lunch would be provided so there was no need to bring our own. At around 3pm we were allowed a 15 minute break but there was no food to be seen. A few people brought up the email but the recruiters laughed it off with a very disingenuous “sorry about that”. Some of us had travelled over 100 miles to be there and had spent a fortune on parking. I don’t think providing a small amount to eat would have been much to ask but then again, they’re all about profits.

If your grad job search has been futile so far and you value money making over wholesome work, then I would definitely recommend Pareto Law to get you started. You can progress quickly and be making 200k after two years, apparently. I’m sure the prospect of this financial success outweighs the negatives for some but alas, it seems I am not the money driven candidate they are looking for.  Pareto Law may have been the beginning of my graduate jobs quest but it certainly isn’t the end.

I replaced Facebook on my phone with a language learning app – here’s my verdict

After watching a video about everything that’s wrong with millennials, mainly their addiction to mobile phones and social media (which I ironically watched on Facebook), I decided to take the drastic measure of deleting the app from my phone.

I quickly discovered that Facebook was a boredom elevation tool and wondered if I could replace it with something more meaningful. Social media used to be my go-to whenever I had time to kill, but what if I could get into the habit of using an app that could help me learn a new skill?

I substituted Facebook for an app called Duolingo, which helps you to learn a second language – I chose Spanish. Sacrificing the opportunity to ‘like’ Dave’s newest one-liner for Spanish lessons might not sound appealing but it’s way more fun than you think! The sessions only last a few minutes at a time so there’s no pressure, and they feature cute little cartoons with different activities to test your knowledge. Sometimes they’re even funny, although I don’t think the creators intentionally mean for them to be humorous.

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This lady identifies as a horse. There isn’t currently an appropriate tick box on passport forms but in the future she’ll have the rights she deserves.

I’d be lying if I said I’ve stopped using Facebook. I still allow myself to use it on my laptop and I don’t deny that you can discover great content on there, one of them being the video that led me to write this article. However it is no longer the first thing I check when I wake up and last thing I scroll through before bed – and I feel so much better for it!

Gracias por leer.

Los osos comen pescados.

Justin Bieber at the O2: An Existential Experience

7979226128 Justin Bieber’s music touches my soul. I just can’t help it. It would be nice to say that Wagner fills my music library and moves me in ways that make me feel like I’m floating in space but I’d be a big fat liar. As an (almost) 25-year-old woman having a favourite artist whose fan base “largely consists of early to mid-adolescent girls” (thanks Wikipedia), I feel that I should be a bit ashamed of loving his music. Arriving at the O2 arena on Wednesday evening, the place was awash with 14-year-old girls showing off their midriffs in small crop tops and wearing tutorial style makeup in an attempt to look sexually mature; presumably in case Bieber wanted to be their boyfriend “just for tonight”, as he said with conviction half way through his set. img_5071 Before the star of the show came on, they played a video of him looking and sounding super confident talking about his Calvin Kleins (yes I shamelessly purchased overpriced CK/Bieber merchandise). “I’m turned on right now” he said with a cheeky smile as the film ended. This was more than enough to hype up the pubescent audience (bit inappropriate) and when he took to the stage in a plastic box borrowed from David Blaine, the screaming was unbelievable. bieber-box On his second song he showed off his dance moves, which involved slowly running his hand down his chest, landing on er… his crotch. Pretty sure some girls stopped breathing at that point but I struggled to join in the fantasy, largely because I imagined him practising in a brightly lit studio with a middle aged, slightly over weight member of his management telling him which moves will bring in the most dollar.  Ding dong: Ching ching.

Despite part of my brain drawing attention to the fact that this concert is just a money making activity for Bieber who probably didn’t really want to be there (he looked tired and even bored at points), the music and atmosphere were enough to help me ignore Bieber’s lack of enjoyment.

When I feel myself despairing, JB’s music stops me from drowning. Experiencing this live was genuinely, deeply and cosmologically euphoric. Seeing the power Bieber had over the audience and comparing this to the insignificance of my own life, inspired irrepressible existential thought. As Justin sang ‘Life is Worth Living’ I was acutely aware of human mortality and susceptibility to suffering. These things are inevitable in everyone’s life no matter how rich or famous and I find this surprisingly comforting.  Enjoying the concert in the knowledge that like me, it won’t last was a feeling of ecstasy, not gloom.

Some people might think that finding pleasure in a Justin Bieber concert is a shallow form of happiness.  However I personally felt profound emotion that roused philosophical contemplation. If this is the effect mass culture has on us cultural dupes then count me in!

Should we accept our partners for who they are and not expect them to make changes?

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“Don’t change for anyone!” is a common phrase we say to our love troubled friends. But is this really the best advice we can offer to the ones we care about?

I always imagined that relationships were about accepting our partner for who they are, warts and all. If their flaws are just too much then you know where the door is, and make sure you leave it open for the knight-in-shining armour who should be arriving soon after your departure.

However, I’ve met people who think that it’s a partner’s responsibility to help their other half become the best version of themselves, even if this means encouraging them to make dramatic changes to their life choices and behaviours. My own boyfriend falls into this category and I have to admit that it’s taken me a long time to see this as a desired trait in someone whose job it is to be your biggest fan.

But if he were to sing my praises and even occasionally cheer my name in appreciation of his imagined perfection of me, then I wouldn’t be inclined to change behaviours that could be hindering not only to the relationship but also my personal wellbeing.

Here’s an example: I hate the gym. In an ideal world I would come home from work, put my feet up and enjoy an evening of TV whilst munching on biscuits. The only reason I drag myself to Body Pump three times a week is because I feel pressured by my partner to go. This might sound alarming to some; no man should make you do anything you don’t want to do! Sit on your bum and stuff your face with cake if that’s what makes you happy. If it weren’t for him though I wouldn’t be as fit and healthy. His disapproval of coach potatoness (here we go again with potatoes) actually means that I feel better about myself.

All of us can improve on some aspect of our character, even God needs to work on his temper. Thinking that our personalities are innate however can often prevent us from making these positive changes. “I was born this way” shouldn’t be a justification for being a c u next Tuesday. Is it really necessary for our self-identity to be a constant and therefore somewhat inflexible? I would argue that it isn’t but that’s a big existential debate that I’ll save that for another time.

You could have a girlfriend who wants you to be a bit tidier, a boyfriend who wants you to eat fewer takeaways, or mum who would prefer that you weren’t so quick to argue. Changing these things doesn’t mean that you’re not being true to yourself; it means that you’re accepting that you have flaws that can be worked on. Take this as an opportunity to be a more organised, healthy and amicable person and then use it as compassionate ammunition to get them to make changes that will make your life easier too!

If you feel different let me know in the comments below. 

The time I had a melt down over boiled potatoes – A little advice on handling criticism

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I don’t handle criticism well. Doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small it can send me into melt down. I once fell to the floor uncontrollably crying, contemplating life’s misery when my partner pointed out that I was over boiling the potatoes (ok, I was PMSing but still).

Is it really a catastrophe that my vigorous boiling of potatoes had resulted in a messy hob? The obvious answer is no, it’s not. But the reason why this turned into such a crisis was because I interpreted the criticism as an attack on the whole self and not just one action.

Here’s my thought process: If I can’t even boil a potato then obviously I am not capable of having a successful career and don’t have the skills to become a domestic goddess to my future husband and children and therefore my existence as a human being is futile.

Here’s what my thought process should have been: Oops I over boiled the potatoes, won’t do that next time. Shall I have water or coke with my meal?

This is a psycho-bitch reaction to a small incident but I think we’re all guilty of putting ourselves down because we expect to be perfect. We make mistakes all the time and that’s ok. We’re fallible by human nature. When someone recognises that we’ve done something wrong and criticises us for it, whether it is constructive or malicious – remember that the mistake you have made doesn’t define you and doesn’t make your amazing attributes any less amazing.

Being able to handle constructive criticism is so important to our personal growth and we should seek advice from others, not shy away from anything other than praise. Learning to work on our faults and accepting that we aren’t perfect, whilst recognising our qualities will help to make us the best version of ourselves.

So next time someone tells you you’ve done something wrong just see it as an opportunity to do a better job next time and wow them with your efficient potato boiling abilities!

ryan

Mid Twenties Career Crisis

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I’m turning 25 in a couple of months’ time and panic is beginning to set in – I have yet to choose a career path. “The world is still your oyster!” I hear older people cry. But when I see Jeremy Corbyn on the news I can feel myself hurtling towards his age bracket. I have to make my mind-set more positive if I am going to get out of this limbo.

Recently, I realised that I have let myself be far too influenced by other people’s negativity and discouragement and have allowed it to overshadow my achievements. Instead of blowing my own trumpet, I have been breathing down a straw.

It would be nice to think that all the people in your life are there to help you reach your potential but it’s inevitable that someone you know will rain on your parade when enthusiastically telling them about your aspirations. I find that the drizzle often just comes from one person but I have a habit of allowing it to drown my excitement. When someone condescendingly asks if I’m capable of the job, instead of responding with the tenacity of Ed Miliband and shouting “Hell yes!”, I agree that the job is out of my league and then go back to searching for minimum wage positions on Indeed.com.

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I find that people’s negativity comes in two forms. They are either benevolent comments that are designed to protect you from a career that they assume you would be miserable in, or their sole purpose is to knock your confidence because they want to see you fail.

An example of benevolent negativity comes from my well-meaning mother who once scuppered my idea of getting a part-time job at the pub due to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to pour a pint; it would be too heavy for my frail feminine bones, she explained. In that moment I should have picked the dog up to prove my strength; she was a pop-bellied cocker-spaniel who ate far too many chips and biscuits (God rest her soul) so I’m sure she was heavier than any pub drink.

I have also realised that I’ve let my education be devalued to the extent that I believed my first class degree from a Russell Group university was worthless. Comments from family members such as ‘Everyone has a degree nowadays’ and ‘Humanities subjects are a waste of time’ were taken to heart. I should have reminded myself that the people saying these things have second rate, or non-existent degrees and lack the self-discipline needed to be a high achiever at university.

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The problem doesn’t start with the haters though, it starts with ourselves. There are plenty of people in my life who have no doubt that I can be at the top of my game in my chosen career. However I have allowed critics to override their positivity. By learning to focus on the encouragement from family and friends and to stop putting myself down, I can nourish my self-belief and have the confidence to reach for dreams that were once thought of as unattainable.

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Notice that you put yourself down a lot?

Choose someone who is close to you and who you spend a lot of time with and ask them to point out when you make a negative comment about yourself. Every time you’re caught out you have to buy that person a small treat of their choice (e.g. a chocolate bar). You’ll quickly stop the habit to save the pennies!

Local Elections 2016 – Ain’t Nobody Got Time for it

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With the local elections taking place tomorrow I thought I should do a bit of research into the candidates and how these strangers plan to spend my money. First things first, I needed to figure out which electoral ward I belong to. This seems like a pretty straight forward task. However, after numerous google searches I was about as close to finding out my ward as I was to finding out my destiny; the internet just doesn’t tell you these things.

Knowing that the council would be able to assist me, I decided to give them a call. After the inevitable: “Sorry the system is being slow today”, I was eventually given an answer. “You will own a FTSE 100 company and have five babies”. This was good to know but I was trying to find out which electoral district I fall into.

Having learnt that I was in ‘East’ ward I knew that I could access the names of my local candidates and therefore I was confident that all essential information would now be easily accessible. I assumed that I would be able to read about their in-depth opinions on the economy and social issues, and maybe even find out how many cats they own. Disappointingly not only did I not find out about their cats or favourite colour, I also worryingly couldn’t find a single sentence about the candidates’ political values, economic perspective, opinions, beliefs, ethics or philosophy. In fact there was nothing more than their LinkedIn and Facebook pages. I ego surfed myself (for research purposes of course) and there were more results for me than for them. What is going on!?

Beginning to feel like I was starting to sound like a prank caller, I phoned the council back and asked where I could find information about the candidates. I was put through to a department who deal with ‘all election matters’. A grumpy lady, who sounded as though her clothes smelt of moth balls, answered my call and revealed that they couldn’t provide this information or assist in any way with my questions as this could risk their impartiality. Obviously they’re not allowed to inform voters on political matters, as demonstrated by the government spending £9.3 million on leaflets advising the electorate to stay in the EU.

Running out of options I thought it was time to contact the political parties. Surely they would know about their party members who are standing for local election. I called the local Conservative and Labour office and they both told me: “You should have received a leaflet through the post”. I explained that I live in a secure block of apartments, which canvassers can’t access. I therefore asked if I could find the leaflet online or if there was a website I would find useful; neither of these exist apparently. They did however kindly tell me the candidates’ full names, dates of birth and home address but as I’m not trying to commit identity fraud I found this rather useless.

Am I missing something here? The lengths I went to in order to find vital information about candidates seems extreme and I’m still none the wiser! It can’t be that difficult to get informed can it? Are you meant to pick a candidate based purely on their political affiliation and not be bothered about the decisions they plan to make as a councillor? Ok, so I know one candidate is Labour but are we talking Corbyn or Blair?  No wonder people don’t bother getting involved in the democratic process when it’s so complicated. Ain’t nobody got time for that! People simply don’t have the time to look into these matters in-depth, which often means they are willing to let people make decisions for them. Conclusion: democracy is a farce.

If someone could enlighten me about local elections, voting and the accessibility to information I would be very grateful!

 

 

Have a Propa’ Gander At Propaganda, Bury!

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Six months ago my partner and I moved to Bury, Greater Manchester. On our first sampling of the town’s nightlife my boyfriend was assaulted in an unprovoked attack, leaving him with permanent metal plates in his mouth after having to undergo emergency surgery. When my neighbour heard about the incident he said: “If I knew you were thinking of going for a night out in Bury then I would have said, DON’T DO IT!”. This is from a man who was born and bred here.

So it’s understandable that my boyfriend vowed never to go out in Bury again. That is until last weekend when my neighbour invited us for drinks at a new bar/restaurant called Propaganda, which is conveniently situated just across the road from our apartments. I was hoping it would be a rose amongst thorns in the nightlife scene.

Upon entering the bar, I was relieved that our shoes didn’t stick to an alcohol soaked carpet, nor was there an aroma of stale alcohol. Feeling optimistic we found a table and ordered some drinks. At first I was reluctant to venture outside of my comfort zone and so I ordered a strawberry daiquiri, which made me feel like I was on holiday, especially when the live music started and we drank to the chilled Ibiza vibe created by the saxophone/DJ collaboration.

After some Dutch courage it was time to delve into the unknown and risk trying a cocktail I’d never heard of before. This one was named ‘Limitless’, not after the film I doubt. If you want to access 100% of your brain, then it’s probably not advisable to be drinking liquid that can help you forget how to use a toaster. Limitless consists of elderflower liquor, Bacardi, mint, chilli sugar and lime, finished off with an actual chilli. The waiter advised me that the longer I left the chilli in, the hotter it would get so I tried the cocktail and decided it would be wise to remove it immediately. It had a kick that was just enough to excite the taste buds without needing to grab the fire hose.

A couple of drinks in, I tried the ‘Jam Doughnut’, which is made of raspberry vodka, Chambord, strawberries and cranberry. Oh, and don’t forget the mini doughnut placed on the side of the martini glass, accompanied by a shot of cream. When it arrived I received a disproving look from my boyfriend who had been drinking straight Grey Goose all night. He knows I love my food but eating a doughnut with my cocktail was just outrageous; worth the calories though! I had basically been making my way through a three course meal that night. I’d had a strawberry with my daiquiri, a chilli with my Limitless and a dessert fit for Homer with another. Not to mention nibbling my way through the popcorn placed on the table that is constantly refilled (free of charge!).

Before we left, I encouraged my other half to try a drink from the cocktail menu because I was enjoying myself so much and felt he was missing out. We ordered the ‘Illuminati’ featuring dry ice, a firework and mini bottles in a bucket encased in a glass pyramid. It’s sure to get the sparks flying if you’re on a date but maybe pretend you have something to celebrate to avoid looking over the top during casual Saturday night drinks.

It you want to find a bar/restaurant with a bit more sophistication than your Wetherspoon-esque venue then this is the place to be. It’s atmosphere is chilled but doesn’t fail to get you in the mood for dancing. Propaganda claims to bring a bit of Manchester to Bury and they’ve certainly made a good start. I can’t wait to try out the food there, from the actual food menu. Anyone want a burger?

These Little Things

This morning a video popped up on my timeline showing a prank featuring women spontaneously stripping off to clean a man’s car, wearing nothing but their underwear. I sent the video to my friend and asked her: ‘Who even does that?!’ I didn’t mean who strips off to clean a car. I meant who coordinates their bra and panties on a day to day basis? No one. I therefore came to the conclusion that the prank was a set up. Having a matching bra and knickers is for those times when you want to take Will Smith’s advice and get jiggy with it. But my wise friend said “It’s those little things that make you feel nice though” and so began the writing of this article.

She inspired me to start thinking about the little things in the here and now that make us feel nice and happy. It’s all too easy to go about your day wondering what you’ll eat tonight, or where you’ll go at the weekend, rendering the present redundant. I’ve had days at work where I can’t wait for work to be over, then I can’t wait for my gym session to finish, then I can’t wait to go to bed. Whole days have been wasted wishing for tomorrow to come. I want to start pausing and appreciating moments in my day and not wishing for the clock to tick towards my next holiday or next exciting event; ultimately that’s just wishing for death to edge ever closer.

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Making the most of life and doing things that make it just a little bit more special, rather than just trying to get through it, is something we should all be doing and if that means feeling great in a matching set of pink lace underwear then count me in! I’m so looking forward to lingerie shopping tomorrow (but I’m not going to let that take over the fun I’m having today!) I haven’t forgotten about my here and now mentality just yet.

In the coming weeks I’m going to be taking note of the little things that add the salt and pepper to my day. Please let me know what yours are and we can share in our appreciation of life’s seemingly insignificant but essential parts of our lives.

I Don’t Want To See That

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On Monday evening a neighbour asked to borrow my phone charger and that story ends with him showing me his erect penis.

It was 9pm and there was a knock on my door. I live in a block of apartments and don’t know many of my neighbours so looked through the peep hole before I answered. I saw it was the bloke who lives above me. I’d met him a couple of times and he seemed like a nice guy so I answered the door and he politely asked if he could borrow a phone charger. I handed him the charger and he said he only needed it for half an hour so he would be back soon. Three hours later, at midnight, he knocks at the door just wearing his robe (alarm bells should have rung here). We get chatting about his work and he said we might be keeping the neighbours awake, as we were talking in the hall, so he suggests that he comes in. I let him in and now realise that that was a naïve mistake.

He notices some of my homemade cards and asks if I can make one for his mum. I thought how lovely that he appreciates my arts and crafts skills and I smiled. Looking at my smile, he tells me that I look like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit. I love Wallace and Gromit and went on to tell him about what a big fan I am of them and told him about my trip to Bristol where I had seen lots of Gromit statues.

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I had zero sexual attraction to this guy, and thinking that he thought I looked like Wallace, I was confident that he didn’t either and felt comfortable in his presence. He already knew that I was in a long term relationship and live with my boyfriend so it didn’t cross my mind that he would try anything. He asked me where my boyfriend was and I told him that he’s away with work and comes home for the weekend. I added that this Sunday is our 6th anniversary. He looked shocked and said that that’s a long time to be in a relationship at the age of 24 and told me that my partner will be wanting some ‘fresh pussy’ and that he’s probably playing away during the week. It was at this point I started to feel uncomfortable and looked at the clock, telling him that it was late.

He sat looking at me and told me I have big lips and a small nose (thank you for describing my face), then, in a sudden dramatic change of atmosphere, he told me he thinks that I’m hot and finds me seductive. I was sat next to a picture of my boyfriend, in a big woolly jumper with no makeup on, my hair a mess and looking like Wallace. I was completely shocked that he made that comment and started to feel incredibly nervous; maybe I should have made myself an orange rocket to get outta there.

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Straight after letting me know that he finds me attractive he asked me if I was in the mood for spontaneity. I told him that he was being inappropriate and made it very clear that I didn’t want any sexual contact. He said “Be completely honest with me, are you not even a tiny bit interested?” I replied: “Do you want me to be completely, completely honest?… Not in the slightest!” I began thinking about how I was going to get him out of my apartment and, remembering that rapists like to feel power, I was careful not to show any sort of fear or freak out.

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He told me that he was feeling horny and opened his robe, revealing his erect penis. I broke out into a cold sweat and told him that I felt very uncomfortable and that I would like him to leave. He said ‘Seriously babe?! Chill out!’. He didn’t show any signs of being embarrassed and certainly wasn’t apologetic. I reiterated that I wanted him to leave and thankfully he did but he left me feeling vulnerable and even guilty.

I rang my partner and told him what had happened. He was angry that I had let the guy in and I felt as though he was blaming me for what happened. It was a seriously stupid mistake for me to trust the man but that is absolutely not an excuse for him to indecently expose himself to me.

It might sound naïve but it didn’t cross my mind that the man in my flat would find me attractive or want to have sex with me, yet alone actually say he did and show me his disgusting man piece. I have to assume now that every man is a potential rapist, otherwise if I am sexually harassed or sexually assaulted then I will be blamed for being stupid and not taking care.

My experience has made me think that the differences between male and female genitalia place women in an inferior position. Men are able to use their penises as weapons of intimidation, harassment and assault. Women cannot do the same with their vaginas and therefore are more vulnerable in a situation like the one I was in. I find it upsetting that I now have to categorise all men as potential sex offenders but at the same time I am incredibly grateful that the only thing harmed that night was my eyes.