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

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Food Production / Operations Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a large and well ...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Accounts Assistant is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Executive / Account Manager

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is a small, growing...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

£12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A leading online retailer in the Home Im...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson (left) with party leader Nigel Farage  

Hey, Nigel Farage and Kerry Smith – my family are East Enders too and never use that word

Victoria Richards
A screenshot from the trailer for Hatred  

I love violent video games, but you'll never catch me playing Hatred

Alex White
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas