Katy Guest: PE? It's a lesson in bad feeling

You'll laugh, you'll seethe but you won't want to leave

Related Topics

The latest research from the University of the Bleeding Obvious has revealed that school PE lessons put girls off exercise. Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs. In my school reports, my PE teacher gave me C for effort and B for attainment (the injustice, among a sea of As!), always presuming that "Katy could do better next year if only she applies herself". I was tall – mortifyingly, prematurely tall – so I was supposed to be good at sports. What she missed was that I was trying my damnedest; I was just rubbish. All PE taught me was to stop trying.

You could, of course, say this about any lesson which teaches children that they are bad at it, but no other lesson teaches them this while they are standing in their underwear in front of bullies, which is a cast-iron way to make a bad feeling stick.

Some girls at school are cut out for public displays of their physical prowess and perfect flesh, but those few are the blessed, who will thrive whatever life throws at them. It would surely be kinder, and more helpful in the long term, to leave the rest alone to play chess or read a book while PE lessons are going on.

Wedding belle blues

As this season's most reluctant wedding bore (I got engaged in January), I am as pleased as anyone when a senior family court judge sets up a special foundation to save marriage. But something tells me that Sir Paul Coleridge has got it a bit back to front: I see what he means when he criticises the "Hello magazine" culture of divorce; I just don't think that "advocating" marriage is a very useful way to combat the problem. In fact, I believe that some of the biggest "advocates" of marriage are causing it.

There is a huge industry around getting married, which seems to exist to hide and distort all the important reasons for doing it. Every bride is pressured to be a selfish brat and think about "me me me". My friend was almost thrown out of a white frock shop when she insisted that her wedding day was not All About The Dress. And why must any venue with a wedding licence insist on fancy caterers who charge £50 a head for silver-service nonsense "because we want your day to be special"? What if "special" is just a bag of chips and getting married?

What also confuses me is how the institution of marriage would be undermined if everyone were allowed to do it. My marriage will not mean any less to me if my gay best man is allowed to marry his partner, too. Rather, it will mean less to me if society deems marriage so irrelevant that only people selected by popes are allowed to do it.

I'm all for counselling before marriage, but for that I'll look to my parents, who were married before all this palava was thought necessary, and not to a judge who says he goes on expensive holidays to keep his marriage alive. In the meantime, any couple who can survive all the wedding-industry meddling without falling out must be starting out with a good foundation.

Calling all bookworms...

I can't wait for the results of the Bookworm Survey just launched by Mslexia at dotsurvey.me/781918d2-fa4v374. It is questioning the readers of "the magazine for women who write" to find out about our attitude to books. Not what's in them, but the lovely, keepable, strokeable books themselves. It asks how many books people have kept from childhood, and whether they file them alphabetically, by genre, by colour, shape and size or "according to the Dewey Decimal system, of course". It asks about keeping, lending and looking after books. I just hope that it doesn't find a secret cohort of readers who turn page corners over and scribble on the books in ink.

Do dry up about the hosepipes

For all those angry people who keep asking why we still have hosepipe bans when it's pouring with rain, here's the really very simple answer. Drought conditions were announced because ground water levels are low – in places, lower than in 1976. The water we drink and bathe in comes from ground water. Rain needs to seep through the ground in order to top up ground-water levels significantly before we can call off the hosepipe ban. When the ground is hard after hot weather, or when the rain falls in summer, rather than winter, a lot of rain evaporates before it can seep through the ground. It will take many months of summer rain before the "drought" is over. Now, a question for you: if it's so bloomin' rainy where you are, why do you want to use a hosepipe anyway?

No sex please, dear Gwynnie

As opposed as I am to public snogging (if it's a sexual act you need to get a room, and if it's not then you're doing it wrong), even my bitter old heart melted at the sight of Posh and Becks giggling as they were encouraged to kiss at an LA basketball game. The kiss was demanded by the stadium's "KissCam" after it caught them whispering together – which is just about all right in public, as long as it's not accompanied by lascivious looks. But what does seem a bit gross is Gwyneth Paltrow telling Amanda de Cadenet on a new TV show about her favourite sexual position. OK, she was asked, but she didn't have to say! For the record, she's "down with all of them", as is Jane Fonda, who went into far more detail. Just as we don't want to see the Beckhams' tonsils, we don't want to picture celebrities on their knees.

Let's all toast this Jubilee!

Thank you, Helen Mirren, for giving the OK for "grumpy anti-monarchists" to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. "I didn't celebrate [the Silver Jubilee] and was appalled by the celebrations," she said. "In my idiocy I missed out." This time around she intends to raise a glass to Her Majesty, and what's good enough for Dame Helen is good enough for the rest of us, especially if we've just been invited to our first-ever street party.

Janet Street-Porter is away

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A wedding cake with statuettes of two men is seen during the demonstration  

Cakegate leaves a funny taste. Is this really the way for gay campaigners to fight for tolerance?

Janet Street-Porter
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside  

Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps

Howard Jacobson
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice