1. People who spit in public (and particularly those who spit chewing gum).
2. Turkey (the country, not the bird).
3. Television adverts for intimate feminine products.
The first one is reasonably self-explanatory, I hope. The second is perhaps less so, but I'm not keen to get into a serious political, ethical or geographical debate here. The third item, though, is the one that fired my imagination.
I'm sure it's not very enlightened of me, but I don't enjoy having my rare but pleasurable viewing hours interrupted by scenes of happy shiny tampon-inserting actresses. Consider the old Tampax advert. Actress inserts tampon, dons white clothing and rollerskates around town. What kind of freak is SHE? [Slight deviation as I'm reminded that I always loved the Victoria Wood sketch, where Celia Imrie is walking round an office saying things like "I want a towel that I can use as a mobile phone. I want a towel that stays dry no matter how many pictures of ink I point at". Sorry. On with the regular programming.] Next the TenaLady lady: she sits prim and smiling on a settee, clears her throat, and with a happy beam pronounces "Oh golly, I just wet myself, but I don't mind at all because I'm wearing one of these discreet stress incontinence pads in my panties", and proudly displays one of the objects, taken from a pile on the coffee table, where bemused guests often mistake them for novelty drinks coasters.
My main gripes with these adverts (and believe me, there isn't room on LiveJournal for me to include the smaller auxilliary gripes) are based on the lack of realism in the adverts. That rollerskating girl: she was a white-wearing, max-factored, sports-loving freak well before she inserted that tampon, and don't you try to pretend any different. Most of the advert is pretty much a Special K advert - use this product and you will become healthy, beautiful, fit and energetic. Yeah, right. Let's see some honesty in tampon adverts, please.
"TAMPONS. Won't make you feel any less crap, but at least they soak the glop up. Don't wear white, though."
Because I don't feel healthy, happy and glowing at the start of my period. I could stick a whole mixed-size multipack of tampons up there, and I would not want to go rollerskating. I feel crampy, bloated and dreadful, and I want to be buying a product that actually makes me feel better. Ibuprofen and beer have special powers. Tampons do not.
And the stress incontinence pads? I certainly applaud the attempt to reassure sufferers that this is a normal and not uncommon complaint, and that there are products available to make life easier. But it shouldn't sound so delightful, or it'll encourage people towards it, like the old adverts that said smoking was cool. TenaLady adverts should run more along the lines of:
"For the love of God, girls, do your pelvic floor exercises while you still can, or you'll be leaving suspect marks on the sofa by the time you're 40. If it's already too late, you can use these pads. Don't wear white, though."
I also think they should stop using attractive and healthy people in these adverts. I've been thinking of alternative castings for tampon adverts.
Tampon advert 1 : starring The Osbournes
[Jack and Ozzy sit on the edge of the bath, giggling in a school-boy manner over a box of Lil-lets that has just fallen out of the cupboard]
Ozzy: Nooooo, nooooo, put them back before she notices...
Jack: No way, man. These are cool.
[Ozzy examines one, musing]
Ozzy: Think we could use these as plugs for the f**king dogs, eh?
Jack: ew, you're sick.
Ozzy: just wondering...
Jack: hey, Dad...
Jack: you know the different colours of tampons... d'you reckon you can tell what size a girl's... you know.... thingummy... is by what colour she uses?
Ozzy: I dunno... Can't do, surely. Ugh.
Jack: Would be cool.
[Kelly enters the room]
Kelly: What are you doing? OH MY GOD! Put those down and get out. I hate you! MUM!
Tampon advert 2 : starring Stephen Fry
Stephen sits in a leather armchair, relaxed and elegant.
"These", he says, displaying one "are called tampons. Not to put too fine a point on it (and one shouldn't put too fine a point on it, because I believe that might hurt) these are for intimate use when a lady's monthly concerns intrude. I don't want to spell it out here, but they claim to be adequately absorbent for intended purpose, and are suitably shaped for their target location, wheresoever that might be. Ghastly and unpleasant, I know, and I'm sorry to bring such a delicate subject to your attention, but someone's got to do it, and you have to admit that it does rather improve on the old boiling-the-cotton-towels-in-the-copper situation."
Tampon advert 3, starring the Anchor spreadable cowbots was axed for being far too damnably silly.