Loose Women used to conjure up images of a good night out. I knew loose women in the daylight hours was never a good thing, but little did I realise the trauma it could cause a redundant worker.
One question I’ve often been asked about my redundancy is, aside from applying from jobs, how I fill my day. I could talk of DIY, domestic chore lists, taxi services and food shopping (yes, had all of those). I could also speak of the gym, swimming, and cycling, but that might stretch the truth.
To be fair, I am fitter than I was, but no lighter. My time in the gym is more than offset by the additional cake eating time. I worked it out. If I have eight cups of tea or coffee during the day, each with biscuits or something sweet, I’d probably need to be in the gym four hours a day to break even. Not good given my current totals.
Loose Women – first step to madness?
So I have to admit I have also been trying daytime TV to pass the time. I don’t tell many people that as they all roll their eyes and tell me I should be doing something more productive. However I tried productive and ran out of ideas. Now I find myself occasionally channel hopping during the day in the hope of finding something enlightening. And just to be clear, I don’t.
Let’s take Loose Women as an example. Now, I know it’s a show loved by many. I guess if it was on Sky Sports and the women were football pundits, I might find it more engaging, but they’re not. Having said that, I’m sure one of them could claim some premiership footballing past, as they all have at least a tenuous link to any subject raised. “Crochet? Oh yes, did that at part of my mental health retreat.”
Vaginas are not good lunchtime material
This week I was about to tuck into my ham and cheese sandwich when the opening of the Vagina Museum filled twenty minutes of Loose Women chat. Obviously being loose women, there was plenty of baudy discussion about vaginas, including shapes, usage, feelings, and issues (both in terms of problems and leakages). But is this really ham and cheese-time conversation? I think not. Admittedly the show isn’t really aimed at middle-aged blokes, but even so. I have spent many an hour discussing women’s issues as part of working in an equal opportunities employer, but this for me was a step too far.
Flipping to Bargain Hunt only slightly moved things forward. Two couples, battling it out over the value of a twenty pound teapot. “Can we knock it down a bit?” they all ask. Then they act surprised when the bright lights and TV camera get them a discount. No, not for me either.
Couples Come Dine With Me actually did work during cheese and ham-time. I think that’s because it was at least food related and I could relate to some of the dinner party embarrassment.
That said, I’m not sure in what world you let strangers rifle through your bedroom looking for topics of conversation. If that was my house they would be gingerly picking up clothes from the floordrobe, wrinkling their noses before hurriedly vacating the room. Hardly what I want my neighbours to watch.
The show would be OK if it wasn’t for the tactical voting. “I hated the texture of the filo pastry” they complain, “so I’m going to award his meal a 3.” That’s despite the other Michelin star quality items and a bottle of bubbly. What would they make of my Lidl ham and cheese lunch?
I tried quiz shows, but got frustrated at the time taken to reveal the answer. Tipping Point for example brought back many a happy hour spent in seaside amusement arcades, but cliff edge TV it is not. Even with the dramatic pauses, it is a frustratingly slow watch for me.
In all, daytime TV was pushing my blood pressure up. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t bring myself to slob and watch tat.
What does Daddy do?
So what do I do? When my kids were young there was a book called “What Does Daddy Do?” where he ends up being the hero for just being himself. I’d like to say that was me, but I’m not sure my kids would agree any more.
I think the bizarre thing about being off is that gradually your perception of time changes. Whereas I could do all the things I’ve discussed, and hold down a job, now I do some of the things. Full stop. I can’t actually articulate how I filled each hour, although judging by the mugs in the dishwasher tea making it high up on the list.
It’s banter, but not as I knew it
That’s not to say it’s as much fun as the workers think it is. I don’t have the office banter. Those silly conversations, teasing and laughter that come with working in the office is what’s missing for the unemployed stay at home. Thinking about it I realise that’s what Loose Women is about. It’s actually vicarious office banter for those people sat at home on their own.
On that basis I probably judged it harshly, so will now spend some time researching the Vagina Museum. There’s something for me to do all day. Maybe slightly more productive than playing on the Xbox.