Do you ever watch your classmates glide across the room looking all cool, as if they’ve never worried about tripping up and falling flat on their face on the floor? Or walking up the corridor with their skirt tucked in their knickers? Or introducing themselves to new people with bits of ham stuck in their teeth? Or standing up in front of the class and going BRIGHT TOMATO RED before they’ve even said a word?

Yes?

In that case, it turns out you might be just like me: a little bit shy and socially awkward.

And the good news is, there’s loads of us.

Yes, really! It’s not just you!

I spent a huge part of my early teens worrying about everything from whether I had loo roll stuck to my shoe to whether I walked weirdly. I still do, TBH. And it’s bloody exhausting.

But don’t worry. Because betty is here to help.

We believe in embracing our quirks. It’s ok to admit you get nervous. And that goes for celebrities too.

Yes, there’s a socially awkward revolution going on and our fave celebs are leading the way. (Thank you, J-Law, we love you.) Here they are, embracing their inner weird.

Jennifer Lawrence

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The queen of awks, Jennifer Lawrence has taught us that it’s okay to fall over, to talk about food when you’re expected to be all glam and just be yourself at awards shows, events and even in interviews. In fact, ALL the time. Not only has she taught us it’s ok, but that people often like you more for it because you seem happy to be you and you’re not trying to be anyone else.

Kendall Jenner

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The little Kardashian sister certainly doesn’t come across as shy when she’s on camera. But she’s the first to admit that she really struggled with shyness growing up, especially in new situations. “I only get shy if I’m around people who make me nervous, which I guess is normal,” she told People magazine.

Emma Blackery

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Emma Blackery may have 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube, but like most of us, she’s got herself into an awkward conversation. Or twenty. She’s even made a video about some of her most awkward moments, and we’re not gonna lie, some of them are pretty damn cringeworthy.

Lady Gaga

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On stage Lady Gaga has the most powerful, confident and super sparkly presence. She couldn’t be shy in real life, right? Wrong! Gaga has admitted to feeling nervous in certain situations — especially around big groups of people. It seems like Gaga has increased her confidence as she’s become more famous and got more comfortable in her own skin. Tell us your secret, Gaga!

Mark Zuckerberg

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He’s one of the most successful and smart men on the planet. He created Facebook for goodness sake! But he often comes across as a little bit awkward and shy in certain situations. “He is shy and introverted and he often does not seem very warm to people who don’t know him, but he is warm,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told the New York Times.

Lilly Singh

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Superwoman calls herself a “professional weirdo,” and we are totally in love with her. She has an awesome idea for ‘awkward situations we should all just accept’ and we’re totally with her. Say farewell to feeling awkward when you go in for a hug and someone else goes in for the handshake.

Britney Spears

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Even though she’s been famous for years, and seems REALLY confident on stage, Britney has admitted she gets really shy sometimes. In a recent interview she explained: “It’s weird because I think people think because of what I do I’m like, ‘Da-na’, but at heart, I’m very shy… When I’m in front of the camera I know what to do, but I get in a room, stuck with four guys, and I’m like the shyest girl in there.”

Kirsten Stewart

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The star of the Twilight movies is notoriously shy in interviews. She’s had a lot of stick on the internet for coming across a bit mean and cold when she talks about her roles. But it turns out she just gets really damn shy, just like us! She said in an interview: “In real life, I’m very shy. I feel uncomfortable during interviews because I need to talk about myself. But to talk about yourself, you have to know who you are.”

It all started with a cake. More specifically, a period cake. When we first saw BuzzFeed’s story about about the treat that 12-year-old Brooke Lee received to mark her first period, there were, er, mixed reactions.

“Brilliant,” piped Lauren. “Eurgggggh,” cringed Lily. And so the battle lines were drawn. With Lauren standing firmly in the ‘this is lovely camp’ and Lily committed to the idea that the whole thing is just plain weird.

Here are our best arguments for and against period cake. Let the best woman win.

Lauren says… period positivity? It’s a piece of cake! 

I’ll be honest – when I saw Brooke Lee’s viral period cake, my first thought was “mm, cake.”

I love cake. I do not love periods, but there’s very little you could ice in sugar on a nice hunk of carbs that wouldn’t have me reaching for knife and a napkin. So I am ultimately pro-cake, for almost any occasion, including the very first time your uterine lining decides to make a grand entrance.

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But once you scratch the buttercreamy surface and look at the idea beneath Brooke’s mom’s menses party buffet, I kind of love it even more. Sure, a period cake is a squirmingly public gesture that not everybody would be comfortable with – but isn’t that just because society still tells us periods are something to be whispered about behind closed bathroom doors rather than talked about at family parties? You have to wonder: if period cakes and period parties became a regular, run-of-the-mill thing, how long would it be before that stigma disappeared and we also felt more confident talking about our cycles, carrying tampons to the bathroom instead of stuffing them up our sleeves, and looking after ourselves when PMS hits instead of forcing ourselves to carry on as normal and then ending up a tired, mopey heap?

And it’s not just girls’ confidence levels. I also love, LOVE, the idea that period cakes and parties might encourage boys and men to get comfy talking about menstruation too, right from the off. We could even withhold their piece of the red velvet until they’re able to discuss the topic without cringing or wincing. “No fatherly advice, no slice!” – that could be the motto.

Some might think that the ‘hoorah!’ element of the period party is weird. You could argue that for something that affects 50% of the population, something that millions of women are just casually getting on with at any given time, making a big song and dance about it is patronising, or missing the whole point – it’s natural, not novel. And I get that, I do. But even if the balloons-out approach isn’t right for every girl or every family, we can’t deny it’s refreshingly positive. At betty, we’re all about find ways to make your period nicer. It’s our whole thing. So why not make a first period a lovely, exciting moment rather than a death sentence for your days of clean pants and stress-free swimming sessions? Wouldn’t we all feel a little less anxious about puberty if our parents’ reaction was celebration, not commiseration?

Besides, maybe if we embraced period parties for a few years, we might get to a point where everyone was so positive about periods that we didn’t feel we needed them anymore. It’s a personal choice – but a little fun and joy can’t hurt, right? Because when it comes to feeling confident about our bodies, we should be able to have our cake and eat it too.

Lily says… it’s not a party, it’s just a part of life 

On the surface, I should LOVE this idea. I love cake; I love chocolate cake and carrot cake and if it’s all that’s going, I’ll even take a bite of a fruit cake. And I love celebrations; I can get excited for almost any occasion, cat birthdays, regular human birthdays, 4- month anniversaries, you name it, I’m there in a party hat.

But I draw my line at a period cake. Not a cake made of actual period blood (though let’s be real, it’s probably a matter of time until that happens), but a cake designed exclusively to celebrate a girl’s first period. This is partly because of intelligent, well-reasoned arguments, and partly based on my own personal taste.

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Periods are a totally natural part of life. Like cutting your toenails or getting a pimple. These aren’t things that I love, but nor are they things I feel embarrassed to talk about – which, in my opinion, is all that periods need to be.

My period utopia world would simply be a place where women don’t slip tampons up their sleeves or men don’t clam up or say ‘that’s gross’ when someone mentions the word period. I want a world where tampons aren’t taxed as a luxury good and everyone has access to sanitary products. Where my brother is just as comfortable as I am buying tampons at the supermarket and my dad doesn’t use the phrase ‘women’s problems’. Periods are a totally natural and normal part of being a woman, so I think they should be treated with the same sort of semi-fascinated interest with which we treat our first pimple. This isn’t a party, it’s just a part of life. And I don’t think that requires cake.

Those are my sensible reasons. But, just a heads up, my argument is about to veer into “just because” territory. The first thing I thought when I saw the cake was: “If my mother invited my friends around for a party and had a cake made with ‘Congrats on your period’ written on it in red icing (!) I would have disowned her.”

I get that it’s thoughtful and sweet but your first period is a personal thing. I liked telling my friends when I was ready. I liked being able to get used to the concept that I now bled once a month in my own time, without everyone already knowing about it. I liked that my mum didn’t make a big deal of it, but rather handed me a tampon and reassured me that it was nothing to be afraid of.

By turning your first period to a party, I think you’re setting young women up to think that this is going to be a fun experience. But it’s not. In reality periods are a 2-9 day event where you often ruin a pair of your pants and you want to eat your body weight in chocolate. And that’s fine. That’s natural. And isn’t that what this whole thing is about?

What do YOU think? Period cakes, yay or noooo? Tweet us at @bettycollective, tell us on Facebook or comment on Instagram!  

Image: Twitter:@autumn1shea

“To err is human,” wrote Alexander Pope in his poem An Essay On Criticism. He was talking about the flawed frailty of the mortal condition, but let’s be honest – he may as well have been about getting your WhatsApp groups muddled. Or DM-ing something bitchy to the person it’s about. Or accidentally liking your crush’s Instagram from 78 weeks ago.

We can’t have been the only ones who got VERY excited at the recent news that we might soon be able to edit and delete WhatsApp messages after they’ve been sent (thank you, merciful social media gods!), or who’ve watched a whole friendship go up in flames because someone hit the ‘live’ button when they really, really shouldn’t have. But hey, let’s comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we’ve all done it (without Ed Balls tweeting his own name that one time in 2011, we wouldn’t have Ed Balls Day, your favourite national holiday after Christmas).

And once the initial burning humiliation fades, what you’re left with is a really, really good anecdote… Here are our faves.

“I tried to stalk someone I thought had deleted me on Facebook, but instead of searching their name I accidentally posted their name as my status. It was there for two whole days before I noticed.”

“Accidentally sent a picture reading ‘I LOVE YOU’ on FB messenger to someone I didn’t know very well.”

“In my first “proper” job I accidentally live tweeted my entire holiday to Japan from my work (GOVERNMENT!) Twitter account.”

“I received an unexpected Snapchat from my ex and in my mild (such an understatement) excitement I pulled a horrifying face that no one should really have to see, to send to my best friend proclaiming that he’d messaged. I sent it to him instead.”

“A friend was showing me an old FB message (from someone inappropriate who had been trying to pick her up), but sent them a massive thumbs-up emoji by accident.”

“Casual Sunday night stalking session on Instagram. I was new to iPhone and not used to the fact that iPhones don’t have the double tap to zoom on everything function… so I ended up liking a picture of the slightly less-than-sane girlfriend of someone I kind of know. Obvs I quickly unliked it, and she quickly made her profile private.”

“My BFF and I spent half an hour writing the perfect message to the guy she liked. After multiple drafts, we composed the *perfect* message; funny and flirty and totally easy breezy. In our excitement, we accidentally sent him one of the drafts and the final version. Easy breezy my arse.”

“Pulling a stupid face that really didn’t capture my best angles, which I meant to send to my bff but instead accidentally ended up adding to my Snapchat story.”

“A very nice boyfriend of mine who I was getting bored of sent me a v. long message lamenting that I’d been off with him for a while. I screenshotted the message and sent it to a friend saying “Oh no, he knows I want to dump him. What should I do?!”. But I sent it to the boyfriend by accident. Problem solved.”

“I once typed a long-winded excuse to cancel plans with someone later that day, but sent it instead of saving it – making my totally made-up excuse entirely implausible.”

“A boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend was stalking my Facebook and accidentally sent me a friend request. I asked him who she was, he asked her and THAT’S how she found out that she had sent the request. I assume she is dead from embarrassment now. Or living in a cave in the desert away from the internet forever.”

“In an exchange with a friend on Twitter I made a casual, bitchy reference to someone we went to school with years and years ago. Had no idea at all that she followed us both… until she replied to us both within five minutes. Ack.”

“I asked someone I really fancied about their recent trip to Wales. The only place they had mentioned the trip was in a long Twitter conversation with someone who I did not know at all. They looked confused, and I said ‘Oh, I think I’ve got you mixed up with someone else! Hahahahaha!’ BUT WE BOTH KNEW.”

“My boyfriend’s ex once followed me on Twitter – for three seconds. Sucks to be her.” 

“Messaged a friend saying ‘You can’t tell ANYONE… but Suzanne thinks she’s pregnant’. Then sent it (you guessed it) to Suzanne.”

 

 

We’ve all had moments in life when we’ve had to take ourselves aside for a quiet word, like an umpire at a rowdy netball match, and tell ourselves to get it together. You find a reflective surface, look yourself dead in the eye and say ‘it’s fine, don’t worry… BUT that life fail you just did probably could have been avoided, so it’s time to rewind and take a little look at where it all started to go wrong.’

For me, one of those reflective moments began at a buffet table in Slough.

I am not proud of this. A few years ago I was at a friend’s birthday party with the most glorious, beige buffet spread imaginable. I’m talking 12 crisp flavours and sticks with cubes of cheddar, not even bothering with the pineapple – these hosts knew what we all wanted. Needless to say, I had my fair share of white dip that evening. After the night died down, a few of us moved on to a party at another house down the road.

For an hour or so we danced, made friends with the adorable house dog and annoyed the neighbours by discovering the trampoline in the back garden. Then a couple of us wanted to call it a night, so the host (read: kid whose parents’ house we were staying at) said we could stay in her baby brother’s bedroom. Snuggled into the tiny human-sized Spongebob duvet, I’d just began to drift off when I realised I needed the loo.

That’s when it happened. Angry at how I’d just treated it, my body completely betrayed me and, locked in the family bathroom, I produced the biggest poo of my life.

My life, people. It was so big it didn’t even splash, because there was no water left in the loo – it had sort of plugged the hole at the bottom. Like a rock.

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First, I tried like a fool to flush, but obviously that just made water sit on top of The Rock and almost flood the bathroom.

Panicked, with members of the growing bathroom queue now banging on the door, I began my search for tools; shampoo, nail varnish remover, cotton wool… My hand even hovered over the collection of family toothbrushes (could I use them as tiny spades?!) until guilt got the better of me.

Then I spotted them: baby wipes. Diving across to the windowsill, sweating face glowing orange in the cul-de-sac street light, I created a glove out of the wipes, smothering my hand with them, holding the ends in place between my fingers.

After double checking for leakage holes, I plunged my hand into the loo and retrieved my poo. But this nightmare was far from over – how was I going to smuggle it out past the waiting crowd?

Obviously, I had to wrap it. With one baby wipe gloved hand cradling Rocky and the other wedged inside a roll of toilet paper, I whipped my hand round in circles until it was mummified. Then stuffed it inside my rucksack and fled the bathroom.

I darted into the Spongebob bedroom, shut the door and lent against it for a while to catch my breath. Was I done? Could I go back to my old life now? I thought I could. In the ultimate ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ moment, I put the rucksack containing my poo corpse in the corner of the room, slid back into bed and tried to nod off.

Obviously, it was no use. No one can sleep soundly with a giant poo in the room, it’s haunting. I opened my eyes a crack and the rucksack was staring right at me.

Fast forward 10 minutes and my best mate caught me trying to dig it a grave in the front garden. She then pointed to the wheelie bin right next to me, where we threw it in and pinky-promised to never speak of it again. She laughed, I died a little, and we retell the story every Christmas.

Pads are great. They’re comfy and easy to use and they even make great post-it notes if you’re desperate. But sometimes they slip to the back, or try and make a great escape down the side of your knickers. There have been a few instances when they’ve decide to go completely AWOL (like when Mexican singer Patricia Navidad was performing on a Mexican TV morning show and her pad exited her pants stage left).

Which begs the question: will your tampon ever get all commitment-phobic on you and decide to run off without so much as a ‘thanks for having me’..?

WELL, WILL IT?

Nope! The good news is tampons love commitment. If anything, they’re a bit needy.

Those babies won’t budge until they’re good and ready, unless you’re willing to wrestle them out of there.

So they’ll never leave me?

Your tampon is held in place by the walls of your vagina, so if you’ve inserted it correctly (i.e. pushed it all the way up) you can rest easy knowing it will never slip out as a surprise. If it ever feels too heavy or as though it might slip out, that probably means it’s time to change it for a fresh one.

However, if you’re on the loo doing a strenuous number two, you might notice that your tampon wiggles down a bit, or in some cases, joins the party that’s going on in the bowl. While it can be a bit of a shock, this is completely normal, so don’t panic.

If you’re not normally a flusher, we recommend making an exception in this case.

Ew. Is that all?

That’s all. So get up on stage and strut your stuff. Your period should never stop you from being your kickass self.

Image: Katie Edmunds