Every Grey’s Anatomy character, ranked in order of how much I would like to be stuck in an elevator with them

First published here. 

We might have spent too much time thinking about this.

36. Ellis Grey

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Yep, she was sick, but even before she was ill she was a MEAN LADY. Do you want someone sitting on the floor next to you, heaving about how many surgeries she could have performed in the 7 minutes you’ve been stuck, telling you how ordinary you are? You do not.

35. Thatcher Grey

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He slaps when he’s stressed.

34. Callie Torres

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Just to be clear: Callie is boss. But 1. she whines a lot and 2. everything bad in the world happens to her. Everyone she looks at twice dies or loses a limb. We do not want to be included in this list.

33. Shane Ross

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SO ANNOYING ALL THE TIME; has weird and awkward reactions to difficult situations such as accidentally causing the death by electrocution of a colleague.

32. Erica Hahn

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Erica Hahn does not make friends easily, unless she wants to screw their brains out. We do not have time to get past her icy cold exterior, we would rather be playing cards.

31. Sloan Riley

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She would try and borrow money and there would be nowhere to escape to.

30. April Kepner

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She would insist on prayer as a means of escape. Also, last time she was in a life or death situation she got McDreamy shot, so we have no trust remaining for Kepner.

29. Stephanie Edwards

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Whiny.

28. Reed Adamson

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Mean, though possibly funny. Would not take up much room.

27. Charles Percy

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Eugh, can you imagine? He would tell awkward jokes and then lie diagonally across the lift taking up ALL THE ROOM so you were left SQUISHED in the corner by his BIG UGLY FEET and, eugh. Anyone Bailey doesn’t like, we don’t like.

26. Rebecca Pope

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She pees on things.

25. Adele Webber

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10 seconds of listening to that voice and we’d be willing the elevator car to plunge us to our silent, silent, peaceful doom.

24. Olivia Harper

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She would just want to talk about George all the time and also you could probably catch something from her by sitting so close to her.

23. Preston Burke

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Preston would refuse to do anything to try and escape the elevator for fear of damaging his long creepy spasm-y fingers and would instead just sit there trying to tell us what to do. No.

22. Maggie Pierce

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We don’t need a lecture on the History of Lifts, you annoying little Know It All.

21. Leah Murphy

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You had to think for a while to remember who she was, didn’t you? That’s how exciting she would be in a lift.

20. Richard Webber

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He has some good stories and we could find out what Ellis was like in bed.

19. Jo Wilson

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Jo oscillates between hugely endearing and intensely annoying 5 times a second and we don’t really need that kind of stress when plunging to our death is a real possibility BUT she is really cute and Alex would realise she was missing really fast and come and get us out. So there’s that.

18. Izzie Stevens

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What was ghost sex with Denny like, Izzie? We have many questions about the ghost sex.

17. Cristina Yang

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She would probably only be tolerable in this situation if incarcerated with Meredith or Owen, which is the only reason she’s this far down the list. We love Cristina. Long live Cristina. Cristina for President.

16. Arizona Robbins

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Could maybs lever open the door with her robot leg?

15. Teddy Altman

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She’s a soldier and soldiers are good in serious practical situations. Plus, we miss her. It’d be nice to spend some time with her. How have you BEEN, Teddy?

14. Addison Montgomery

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She has knowledge of Elevator Gods.

13. Derek Shepherd

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Depending on how long the lift was stuck we could probably persuade him to have sex with us. He gets randy in elevators.

12. George O’Malley

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He’s the Heart In The Elevator guy. We’d be safe.

11. Miranda Bailey

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If God listens to ANYONE, it’s Miranda Bailey. We’d be out in no time, but not before she’d given us excellent, useful, applicable advice on all our problems.

10. Alex Karev

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He’s nice to look at. Plus Jo would come looking for him. How cute is that couple, by the way?

9. Finn Dandridge

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We’re glad Meredith ended up with Derek, but Finn was just so NICE. And definitely a good kisser. Plus, if any random animals needed to be birthed whilst we were in there, all would be well.

8. Owen Hunt

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We would be out of the lift in 3.6 seconds. Dude knows his way around an emergency.

7. Meredith Grey

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Almost certainly has a stash of tequila in her purse.

6. Mark Sloan

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Sex.

5. Amelia Shepherd

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She is VERY entertaining and sassy and delightful. Time would fly.

4. Susan Grey

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Almost certainly has snacks in her purse.

3. Jackson Avery

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Now’s the time to persuade him to take his trousers off. To… conserve oxygen.

2. Denny Duquette

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ANY EXCUSE TO BRING DENNY BACK, RIGHT SHONDA?

1. Lexie Grey

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She’s funny, kind and nice and could tell us stories about being Prom Queen AND about the size of Mark Sloane’s bits. Plus, if it came down to one person living and the other dying, which it would because this is Grey’s Anatomy, she would sacrifice herself. We like that in an elevator companion.

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The 7 People Who Will Answer Your Roommate Wanted Ad

You want someone to live with. You’re not picky. You just want them to be clean and kind and quiet and respectful, not smell of tuna or of petrol and sometimes leave chocolate on the table for everyone to share. It’s not that difficult. People are generally nice.

But before you find the person who can pay the rent and wipe down the mirror and not slam the gate nine times at 4am on a Tuesday morning nor walk in on you when you’re wtaching Harry Potter in the bath-tub, this is who will answer your ad FIRST:

The Person Who Has Not Read Your Ad

Oh, you want someone to move in ASAP for a minimum 6 month lease? No worries, Sandra will ring you from Newfoundland, wondering if you she could have the room for one week, 6 weeks from now. She’ll pay £200. She’ll take her shoes off. NO FUCK OFF SANDRA.

The Person Who Wants To “Try London Out”

She’s 20 years old, she lives in Berkshire, she’s currently at make-up school and OMG, she is SOOOO sick of the commute. Living in London will be fun! We can be friends! I love to party! The rent’s negotiable, right?

The Person Who Is Actually Two People

The ad says no couples, because the room is only small enough to do one cartwheel at a time and that is the designated sizing for a ONE person room, but Eve, from Denmark, is actually two people who want to share one bed. They are not lesbians. They are friends. They are clean and tidy. This is exactly the room they’ve been looking for the whole time they’ve been looking, which is 35 minutes.

The Perfect Person, Who Then Disappears

She was chatty and well-dressed and enthusiastic. She drank a glass of wine with you and talked about how much she liked Great British Bake Off and how she could really feel the homey atmosphere of the place. She took photos, gave you a hug and promised to call. She never called. 

The Person Who Is Actually Interviewing YOU

It’s your house, and they’re your flatmates, but all of a sudden you’re the one in the police room with a glass of water in front of you and a single bulb glaring from the ceiling, being asked why you’re not a lawyer when you have a law degree. Being quizzed about quietude and veganism and laundry powder ratios. And you are, regretfully, not good enough to be their flatmate. Good day sir.

The Person Who Does Not Talk

They’re in, they’ve seen the room, they’re out with barely a hello. And they’re always the person with the deposit ready and the move in date sorted but WHO ARE THEY MAYBE A SERIAL KILLER WHY ARE THEY THE BEST OPTION SO FAR.

The Person Who Wants Their Parents To View The Flat For Them 

NO.

First published here. 

On being bullied and being the bully

As a thirteen year old, I wanted, desperately, to be good-looking and popular. What I was instead was smart. These days, a combination of alcohol and re-watching Gilmore Girls on repeat means people have caught up to me, and I can’t consider myself any smarter than most of the people I meet – but back then I could. I was quick and I was mean and I told jokes that hurt.

I did it because I wanted to be liked, obviously – because if someone with long blonde hair and long brown legs and round blue eyes, like Jessica Wakefield made flesh and blood, made a snide comment to me, I had to turn it back around – the focus, the social mirror, had to land not me because otherwise everyone else would see me, reflected again and again, boring and freckled and sharp nosed and ordinary, but on them.

It was easy, instead to point out that she was stupid. Because even if it wasn’t true exactly, she was certainly stupider than me.

But nobody saw that she was stupid and that I was clever; that she was boring and that I was the one worth talking to and laughing with.

What ended up happening to me, as an incredibly arrogant and unsure thirteen year old, who hid everything under hair-dye and eye-liner and faux bravado, was that I lost all my friends.

I can look back and say that I was bullied as a teenager, and it’s true. My group of friends, four or five girls who I knew to be thinner and cooler and more beautiful than myself, turned on me in a way only girls thinking as one can do. They left me sitting by myself in lessons, so that my Japanese teacher looked at me in a way that made me stony and so so sore. They talked about parties that I wasn’t invited to; they passed notes in front of me; they looked back on me from the front row as I cried in the middle of English, and laughed when the teacher picked someone else to read Titania because I was sobbing too hard to manage it.

They were bullies in the way that people who have a group can be, because you can afford to be awful when you have someone to back you up.

14 years later and I can still feel it in that knot at the bottom of my neck. But what I remember isn’t what they said, particularly, but one thing they did.

They found a magazine, Girlfriend or Dolly or something like that, which had done a feature on bullying, part of which was a breakdown of the names you could be called. One of them was “loser”, and that was the one they tore out and stuck to my desk, sealing it down with tape so it took me a good five minutes to pick free.

Here’s the kicker, though: it came with a note that read “Stop calling us this”.

Despite everything I thought, I was the bully.

I didn’t know it, and couldn’t have called it that. I was so busy, always, trying to make up for what I perceived as my short-comings that I didn’t even realise what I was doing was trying to drag them down to my own lows, rather than clambering up to where I thought they sat.

It doesn’t excuse them, and I still think teenage girls are the most dangerous, spiteful, clever, cruel, brilliant untapped source of power out there. But even at 13 years old I saw what I had done, and I did change it. Or I tried to. It didn’t come quickly, because I still hated what I saw in the mirror and tried to compensate for it by what came out of my mouth. I was still mean, and I still thought I was smarter than everyone else. But I did it more quietly.

It’s strange really – self-confidence, the real kind, came when I didn’t feel like the smartest anymore, because it came when I realized I wasn’t the ugliest, either. I failed an exam; I got a boyfriend. The one didn’t occur because of the other but the combination of the two made me a more balanced person. A better person – not the best, either inside my own head, or by anyone else’s reckoning – but better.

I’m a nicer person now because of the lesson they taught me then; and I’ve learned humility. And I’ve never, since learning harshly and quickly what it really felt like to lose, called anyone a loser ever again.

ON THE DEATH OF MY GRANDMOTHER AT THE AGE OF 101

First published here.

Death makes distance greater.

I have lived in London for nearly three years, nearly as far away from my home country of New Zealand as it is possible to be. Homesickness is an inevitability that comes with both good and bad moments; missing the familiar is most pronounced when something unfamiliar occurs. For the most part, I can recognize how lucky I am to live in the era of easy and immediate communications, and even if a week passes where my only contact with home is the constant game of Scrabble I have with my mother, then that’s OK. Time zones and thousands of miles don’t change the fact that they can still feel close.

Death does change it.

On the Death of my Grandmother

This week my grandmother died, my Irish grandmother who lived to 101 years old, whom I have been saying goodbye to every time I left her in the last 15 years. To me, she has always been old. Even when she was 80, smart, sarcastic and lucid, I was only 6 years old and incapable of seeing her as anyone other than the woman who brought me Marks and Spencer’s nail polish and spoke in that plummy, odd way.

My grandmother died and the grief, really, belongs to my mother and her brother, who idolised and adored her – their father died when they were young and they were raised by a woman utterly capable of dealing with that. Of moving them across countries and teaching them and supporting them. To them, she was everything.

To me, now, she is a collection of facts.

She was born before the first world war. She had three university degrees, one of which, earned in her 50’s, she studied for just because she “wanted to know more”. She taught soldiers to drive tanks; she taught herself computer programming. She was a poet, though nobody knew that until after she could no longer write. I know these things only through my mother, who loved her and who remembers her.

On the Death of my Grandmother

She moved to New Zealand at the age of 86 to be near to us, and to me she was Granny, whom we visited every Friday for dinner, who cooked mushrooms in butter and laughed at our ridiculousness and painted the seascape from her sunroom.

My grief is selfish because I grieve for the woman I didn’t know, rather than the one I did, because she lived a thousand lives before I grew old enough and selflessness enough to care about even one of them.

The last time I saw her was in the rest home a year ago, laid back in an easy chair in a patch of sunlight. We were all there – me, my sisters, my mum and dad – and we gathered around her chair and gave a camera to the nurse to capture the moment. She had a hard time doing it, simply because Granny, who barely spoke or ate, was turned away from the camera looking at her family crouched around her, blue eyes lit.

When I told people how old she was, the reaction is always awe and respect, but I don’t think she saw it that way. “There’s no future in being old” was the last line of one of her poems, and for that reason I’m glad I’ll never tell anyone that my Granny is 101 years old again. She was a writer and an artist and mathematician and a mother and one hundred other things and my grief is not for the fact that she isn’t those things anymore. She was ready to go and so I can’t be sorry that she’s gone.

But the fact that I can never again ask her about any of those things? That’s worth grieving for.

Marian Keyes Taught Me Everything I Needed to Know About Life

I was about 13 when I read my first Marian Keyes book – Sushi For Beginners, borrowed from my friend’s immaculate bookshelf during a sleepover. I took it home to finish it. To this day she has never received it back.

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Sorry Georgina.

What I found in Marian is hard to explain, but immy try because if I know anything about the author – and I like to think I know a fair bit, since I follow her on Twitter (if you don’t you really should) as well as having read both her collections of essays – it’s that she appreciates her readers. Because her readers appreciate her books and Marian is never very far away from her books. In fact she’s in every page, with her mannerisms and colloquialisms and, of course, her addictions.

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Marian Keyes suffers from depression, and it’s not something that she hides. It’s something that you might suspect from the themes and characters in her novels, but it’s not something she ever belies with her tone and spark. Marian Keyes is one of the very few authors I’ve ever read who can take something sincerely dark and unmitigatingly bad – death of a spouse, divorce, drug addiction, attachment issues – and make it not just funny, but hilarious. Her writing is energetic and passionate and alive and she sings from every single page, even if – possibly especially when – the character on that page is crying.

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I have no problem with the category or characterization of chick lit but I think it’s a sad world we live in if no man ever reads Marian. There’s more to learn from her than, I would argue, 10 of that dire, dank kind of modern novel that leaves you with a headache and the feeling of having chewed on an unlit cigarette for an hour. She deals with pain and sadness and death; feminism and body issues and loneliness – she deals with, in short, many of the things most of us will deal with, with a light touch.

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And I’ve been all of them her, characters, the Walsh sisters and otherwise.

I’ve been JoJo, powerful and confident and wiped out and diminished, suddenly and utterly, by the arrival of man.

I’ve been Lisa, in control of her life and certain, before one brick is taken away, and another, and another and the whole thing falls down. I’ve certainly been jealous Lisa, unable to be happy for a friend when that friend’s success outstripped my own.

I’ve been the ones I hate (you can’t hate any of Marian’s women, though, it’s not possible) – nasty Charlotte from Lucy Sullivan; cold Kat from Last Chance Saloon; addicted, lost Rachel from Rachel’s Holiday.

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And god, have I known the men.

I believe that I picked up Marian at exactly the right time – I picked her up when I was beginning. I picked her up as a weird little child in New Zealand who read more than she should and knew that the world was bigger than her, but not where any of it was.

And she taught me so bloody many things:

How to eat sushi (I was a beginner).

How to identify alcoholic tendencies in a partner.

How to approach the publishing industry.

The power of red lipstick and the perfect pair of black trousers.

The dangers of drugs and what a cocaine addict might look like and also how to snort cocaine.

The best way of standing up from an inflatable chair.

The addictive appeal of make up.

The best way to drink a martini (must be complicated).

What it means when a man sends flowers.

How to talk to your depressed friend.

What the phrase “licking the mackerel” means.

The value of friendship.

The fickleness of men.

“Throwing a hotdog down a hallway”.

Why not to drive a convertible in LA.

How to flatten out a weird fringe.

What a personal stylist actually does.

How an abusive man can cover his tracks.

To trust my mother.

To never trust a woman named Gilda.

If you’ve never read Marian Keyes, do. Start with Rachel’s Holiday. No, start with The Other Side of The Story. No, This Charming Man. Or Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married.

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Buy them all, lock yourself in a room and read them chronologically until you’re ready to come out. And you won’t be ready until you’re done.

THE 7 STAGES OF GROWING OUT YOUR FRINGE

Before I begin, let me just say that I have been be-fringed for the better part of 8 years.

The 7 Stages of Growing Out Your Fringe

And by fringe, I do not speak of whispy-side-bangs, or a wee spikey toothbrush affair. I’m talking one thick, heavy wall of hair from hairline to eye-lid. My eyebrows have been Fritzeled by my hair; they have not seen sunlight in years. My boyfriend and I have a code, by which I understand the phrase “the children are peeping out of the attic window” to mean that I have a gap in my fringe curtain (yes, really). One time, I biked around Ibiza for a whole day, and the breeze that accompanied my travels swept my hair off my forehead and I suffered from truly dire, blistering sunburn on that secret part of me that had seen fewer UV rays than my very sphincter.

The 7 Stages of Growing Out Your Fringe

One day, not long ago, I said “Enough”: I am tired.

Tired of straightening it into submission, tired of twice-monthly trims, tired of my entire word-view being 15% impeded at all times. I have now achieved FringeLessNess but it was not easy. It was not fast. And there were many stages to growing out your fringe.

The Decision Not To Trim: whereupon you pick up the scissors, look in the mirror and decideenough. Enough.

The 7 Stages of Growing Out Your Fringe

The Keeping Of The Decision Not To Trim: whereupon your vision becomes 30%, then 40% impeded, and it is not long enough to sweep behind your ears, and you are too accustomed to Flattering Fringing to pin back the errant strands, and so you live your life in partial darkness, with spiky vengeful ends of hair often in your eyes.

The 7 Stages of Growing Out Your Fringe

The Eyebrow Issue: whereupon you are forced to face the fact that neglecting to pluck your eyebrows for 8 years has resulted in something between barbed wire and the pubic region of a large chimp and you must do something, even if that involves borrowing the tweezers that your boyfriend purchased solely for use on his nostrils. Somewhat mitigated by the fact that Sperm Brows were the thing when you last your brows saw daylight, and Cara Delevingne Eyebrows have taken their place so you are in.

The Forehead Contemplation: whereupon you contemplate whether it has always been this big? And… shiny?

The First Outing: whereupon your over-long fringe parts neatly in the middle, and your pale, pale forehead peeps through like a virgin from a hairy bower and people say things like “You look different” and “You have changed your hair” but they do not say “You look nice” because you don’t say that to people who have their skirt caught in their knickers and are exposing their bare bottom, even if it is a very nice bare bottom.

The 7 Stages of Growing Out Your Fringe

The Drunken Scissor Battle: whereupon you arrive home, slightly tearful from an overlarge lot of gin, look at yourself in the mirror and Scorn Your Forehead. Your scissors are still in the bathroom from the last fringe trim and so you hold them, you stare, you poise for the chop – you stop. Because you have willpower and because Diagonal Bangs are Not In Fashion and because you just remembered that you bought a Big Mac and it is still in your handbag.

The Relearning of The Art Of The Hat: whereupon you realize that while no one really needed to teach you how to wear a hat in the first place (Step One: Put on head), you do in fact need to relearn the wearing of hats and beanies and hair accessories because the positioning is all different and now there are eyebrows and hairlines to consider and is this too hard maybe should grow your fringe back?!?!?!

The 7 Stages of Growing Out Your Fringe

The Arrival of Acceptance: whereupon you have embraced your forehead as a central part of anatomy and attractiveness and realise that the decision ever to cover this beautiful mass of smooth skin with hair was a terrible, awful mishap in your life and who am I kidding get me some fucking scissors.

The Best Products From Marks and Spencer To Eat Alone In Your Bed, Ranked In Order Of How Fucking Good They Are, Obviously

  1. Yoghurty Things with Compote

You have to get the black plum one and you have to be really careful to keep your allocation of yoghurt to compote STRICT, or your might have to eat one without the other, and that’s how people die.

  1. Poppadum Crisps

Because noshing on a poppadum as big as your head is inelegant and you might cut the sides of your mouth. Poppadum crisps are LIGHT and DELICIOUS and shatter in your mouth. Warning: buy two bags. Trust. They disappear like the promises made by your mother.

  1. Cashews with Chili and Coconut 

They’re sticky and spicy and they remind you that even if we are all going to die one day, at least our bodies might become fertilizer for the coconuts of the future, and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

  1. Jaffa Chocolate Cups

I do not know their real name but they come in packs of two and they are singularly the most chocolately, luxurious, ridiculously rich thing you have ever stuck your tongue into in your whole life.

  1. Single Serve Walnut Whips

They put them near the tills where you always feel loneliest and most vulnerable. A pack of three seems like too much, but one? It’s like you. Alone. You’re better together. Also, nuts are good for your hair, I read once somewhere not reputable at all.

  1. Ready Made Mashed Potato That Says It Serves Four But Actually Only Serves One

So creamy, so buttery and it forms such a comforting skin when you microwave it. You could eat it with a fork but I recommend eating it with two fingers, naked. It’s sensual and atmospheric and you’ll never feel sexier.

  1. Prawns with Cocktail Sauce 
I could not find an actual picture because we as a nation have lost our way, but picture this with no lemon, glass or class.

I could not find an actual picture because we as a nation have lost our way, but picture this with no lemon, glass or class.

I’m 27, I’ve seen enough of the world to know that there is magic in these prawns. In their little plastic container in Marylebone station, I know it must have been months since they’ve seen the sea. They’re probably older than me. But they taste delicious and they have the proper fresh prawn texture and the dipping sauce is the kind of sexy thing I’d like someone sexy to lick off my nipples and so I suspend my disbelief and eat them. Nearly everyday, or near enough. I’m eating them right now. They’re nearly 3 pounds a packet someone please send help.

What are your favourite M&S snacks? This list is obviously too short.