The Not-So-Easy Life of a Hockey WAG (Part II)

the no.1 fan

A year on from my World Cup adventures in The Hague, I’m getting ready for another fortnight of nerves and excitement in my capacity as a hockey WAG. This time around, I’m not able to travel over to watch in the stadium and to be quite honest, I’m not actually sure if this is better or worse. A few quiet days at home since the boys went to Belgium has given me some time to consider the pros and cons of cheering the boys on from here instead.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first…
It just doesn’t feel like I’m supporting properly if I’m not actually there. Having said that, I’ll be honest – I’m not really much of a cheerleader. I’ll probably make more noise watching in my own living room than I would in the stadium, so I don’t expect my vocal support will be overly missed.

I’ll miss the camaraderie of supporting alongside the parents and families of the lads… I’m sure I’ll be able to coerce a few friends and fellow WAGs into watching the games together on TV, but I’ll miss being part of the regular supporters gang and of course hanging around to see the boys after each game like a starstruck teenager at a pop concert. Don’t worry, the hero worship stops pretty abruptly when they start filtering out in dodgy-looking lycra recovery leggings (or worse, un-showered).

On the plus side…
I’ll save myself a bit of money. To be a fully paid up member of the travelling WAG club, you have to budget for planes, trains, beers and waffles (unavoidable refreshment choices when in Belgium – it’d be rude not to). Sitting on the sofa drinking multiple cups of tea – or something stronger if required to celebrate or commiserate – is cheaper and doesn’t require a pre-planned half time queuing strategy.

I won’t have to worry about wearing a raincoat and sensible shoes. I am at extremely low risk of sunburn or being soaked by a water cannon. If I want to, I can watch the boys play at 3pm on Sunday in my PJs and no one will judge me. I mean, I’ll obviously be wearing my GB shirt and waving a Union Jack throughout, I’m just saying I could…

 
In the end, I suppose it doesn’t really matter where I watch: if the boys do well, I’ll be just as delighted whichever side of the English Channel I’m sitting on. I’ve watched shootouts in the stadium and on TV and I can honestly say I was just as nervous (or spun in a more positive way, just as confident) both times. My role for the next couple of weeks is to be there in the background, supporting the team and letting the boy concentrate on his hockey safe in the knowledge that I’m watering the garden and keeping the cat alive. Behind every great hockey player is a… great WAG?

 

Good luck to the GB Hockey Boys!
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Road Rage on a Page

middle lane sign

This is a risky post for two reasons. Firstly, I’m leaving myself open to getting seriously criticised for my own driving should I break the rules I’m about to harp on about. Secondly, I’m probably going to generalise horribly and probably offend someone I know. Oh well. Stop middle lane driving… and I’ll stop moaning!

People who hog the middle lane
This causes traffic, encourages frustrated undertaking and is generally a quite simple rule of the road to obey. If you’re not overtaking, keep left. Not too complex is it? Seeing a lorry-shaped dot in the distance means you will have time to get back over to the overtaking lane when you need to, so stop using that as an excuse not to move over. You can now receive a £100 fine for hogging the middle lane and I’m all for this. Having said that, has anyone out there actually been fined yet?!


People who don’t indicate on roundabouts
There is little in life that requires less effort. Depending on your preferred steering wheel grip, you may even be able to indicate just by flicking out your little finger. There’s a quite dangerous roundabout near where I live and I’m sure the number of near-misses you see during rush hour could be dramatically reduced if drivers made the tiny effort required to point out where and when they plan to turn off. 

People who pull out when you haven’t let them
Indicating in itself doesn’t give you a divine right to change lanes or pull out from a junction. You still have to check if it’s safe. I’m looking at you sports car drivers and white van men.
 

People who don’t say thank you
We had a discussion about this at home, the opposing argument being that if someone isn’t very good at driving they may need to concentrate on that rather than gesturing to show their gratitude. However, I believe in manners. I don’t think a quick hand or thumbs up up in acknowledgment is too much to ask, particularly if I have sat waiting for an eternity you to finally drive past.
 

People who stick out unnecessarily at junctions
Being from Jersey, I know what kind of roads actually require you to get your nose out. Essentially, if you have to stick your bonnet out of a reasonably standard junction purely because you are driving a ridiculously big car, your choice of vehicle may need a rethink. I am realistic about the fact I may never advance beyond driving a hatchback for this very reason.


People who get into a lane at the last minute
I appreciate that being warned a couple of miles before a lane closure may not require you to get into the correct lane immediately. But it does make me chuckle when a few fellow drivers are clearly feeling the same irritation as I am at the road users who think it’s okay to overtake the whole queue and then scoot across 10m before their lane officially closes. I enjoy being part of a team effort to block their route back in.


Of course, it’s not just people in cars who can cause road rage. There are the motorcyclists who weave dangerously fast through traffic. There are ‘roadworks’ with a million cones and no actual ‘work’ to be seen. And there are those speed bumps that are impossible to drive a small car over – regardless of your total lack of speed. The stupid thing about this post is that I actually do enjoy driving. What I don’t like is a few of the habits of the other people out there doing it alongside me. I’ve got a five hour drive to Cornwall later today. With the heat wave and the start of the summer holidays, it’s bound to be a fun-filled journey. If I’m lucky, maybe a few fellow travellers will see this and stick to the left hand lane if they’re not overtaking…

Awkward Social Situations… Or is it just me?

(from dailyedge.ie)

(from dailyedge.ie)

When I was a kid, it’s fair to say that my tomboy clothes and short hair contributed to a few “Excuse me, do you know this is actually the girls’ toilets?” moments. As a 10 year old, my response usually turned the awkwardness around on whoever had asked pretty quickly, so it never bothered me too much. Having said that, I grew my hair out not long afterwards, partly because I suppose I didn’t really like the situations my ‘boy hair’ created. My hair continues to cause trouble though. My hairdresser is lovely, but a number of slightly awkward social situations tend to arise whenever I get a haircut.

It all begins with the hair washing. They normally ask you if the water temperature is okay. I don’t know what’s so difficult about being honest here, but I would only admit the water was too hot if there was a genuine risk that my scalp could set on fire. It’s probably partly because my mind is on something else: the head massage (easily my favourite bit of the whole appointment). Is it weird to have my eyes open for the shampoo and conditioner but to close them for the massage? It really is relaxing, but I don’t want to unwind so much I let out a sigh of contentment. You are then led to your chair and asked if you would like a magazine to read. As I have discussed previously, I don’t like women’s magazines. However, having said no, I have little to do but stare at myself in the mirror for half an hour, which is not an attractive alternative. I also struggle when my lovely hairdresser decides that a good time to strike up conversation is whilst blowdrying my hair. You can only make so many educated guesses and requests to repeat the question without sounding like an idiot.

There are of course other situations where it’s difficult to hold a conversation. I’ve spent enough hours lying face down on a physio bed to know it is physically impossible to converse normally whilst being sporadically prodded in the back and winded. A back massage should only be accompanied by questions that are viably answered by a grunt. The dentist should also know better than to expect you to be able to enunciate properly with your mouth open abnormally wide and whilst attempting to avoid dribbling everywhere. The dentist makes me feel quite pathetic in general really. I usually cry when the hygienist starts poking around in my gums with a dagger (at least I’m pretty sure that’s what she is using) and you’re always made to feel inadequate about your toothbrushing skills however hard you’ve tried. I don’t even think they trust me to answer truthfully about whether I’ve been using floss. It’s all very demoralising.

Although I wouldn’t say I am bezzie mates with the hairdresser or the dentist, I do at least know them a bit. Social situations with ‘real’ strangers can also be a bit awkward. For example, the social conventions around meeting new people can be quite confusing. Is a handshake or a kiss on the cheek more appropriate? This is even more puzzling in Holland, where there can be up to three kisses involved in a greeting. With people you know, sometimes they will confuse things still further by only kissing twice. You don’t want to be caught going in for that third kiss if the other party is pulling away: it’s hard to back out of an unreturned pout with your dignity still intact.

Then there are people we just share a fleeting awkward moment with. There is no widely accepted method of passing somebody on a pavement when your paths are about to clash. This means we are faced with the left-right-left-right shimmy. Obviously in Britain this is followed by repeated, embarrassed apologies by both parties. Playing a team sport for most of my life means I’m pretty used to getting changed in the presence of others. I’m not an exhibitionist – but I’m not one of those people who attempts to put my entire outfit on under a towel. But it can still be a bit awkward when you make eye contact with someone at the same time as undoing your bra.

Much as I like to think I don’t waste much time worrying about what others think of me, I suppose most of the awkwardness in the scenarios described above ultimately comes from minor concerns about social acceptance and wanting to be seen as normal. Luckily though, most of the time these situations don’t linger long in the memory… and presumably (by which I mean hopefully) I’m not the only person out there who dribbles at the dentist or occasionally shakes hands with a bemused new acquaintance who was expecting a peck on the cheek.

I Love the World Cup, But… (Part II)

I Love the World Cup, But... Part II

I think it’s become pretty clear in the last couple of days that there’s only going to be one winner for idiocy amongst the 736 players who have been in Brazil representing their countries at the World Cup. Luis Suarez just can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. In the last few days, the media has unsurprisingly been saturated with stories, discussion and the usual humorous responses to the Uruguayan vampire’s latest indiscretion (a selection of which you can find at the bottom of this post).

Meanwhile, there are lots of naughty – if marginally less criminal/disgraceful/unbelievable depending on your viewpoint – tactics used in most games by players, that I would like to see kicked out of the beautiful game. Some of these guys are footballing gods, but even some of the best players are amongst the worst for these annoying habits. 

Footballers are obviously well-known, and widely criticised, for diving and generally overdramatising things on the pitch. I won’t go on about it too much because we all know what I’m getting at. If I was a referee, any player who did any form of log roll would be yellow carded for melodrama. A social media statistician posted this on Twitter this week:

Click to view larger image

Click to view larger image

This suggests Brazil have been the biggest injury fakers so far, but Honduras have spent the most time rolling around on the floor (ironic given that their main strategy has seemed to be kicking the other team as much as possible).

In addition to the injury feigning, the number of handballs that go unpunished astounds me. It appears that players who decide they have been fouled have the right to grab hold of the football and stop play before the referee has blown his whistle. If you want to pick up the ball, play rugby (although you’ll have to toughen up a bit lads).

Then there’s the constant appealing. Every time the ball goes off the pitch, any player even vaguely close by immediately sticks their hand up in the air to claim it’s their ball. It wouldn’t surprise me to see someone boot the ball off the side of the pitch with nobody within ten yards of them and still attempt to claim the throw in. Whilst we are on the subject of ridiculous appeals, the “I got the ball” gesture is another irritating one. Firstly because the “ball” actually turns out to be another player’s leg most of the time. And secondly because just about poking the ball with your big toe two seconds after completely pole-axing an opponent does not mean it isn’t a foul.

Towards the end of games in particular, the amount of time-wasting is also quite amazing. The statutory 30 seconds of added time for goals and substitutions doesn’t get close to making up for the antics of many players during the final moments of a match. A player being substituted trudges off at 0.2mph, shaking hands with as many team mates as possible and of course detours to thank the referee – the guy he has spent most of the last 85 minutes swearing at. Given the rolling substitutions in hockey (which can occur over 60 times per match in international games), these shenanigans seem more than a little unnecessary. 

The goalkeepers also indulge in some silly time-wasting in the final minutes. Run of the mill catches suddenly start to be followed by a dramatic fall to the ground and a prolonged cuddle with the ball. Goalies get away with far too much in general if you ask me. Even the slightest contact with a keeper on a cross or corner is usually given as a foul against the attacking team. These would never be given as penalties if it was the other way around, so why are they so over-protected? That said, goalies can also provide the most excitement for any corner kick in the closing minutes of a game. You know a team is desperate to score when their goalkeeper legs it 90 yards to join in with the fun. I don’t think the historical ratios of goalkeepers scoring headers are probably that high, but it doesn’t half add to the excitement in a 0-0 draw you’ve stuck with for 89 minutes. 

As I said in my last entry, this World Cup has been brilliant. The goals have continued to flow, a few unexpected teams have progressed from the group stages and players like Messi, Neymar and Robben are shining on the greatest stage. The refereeing has also been extremely good so far. But these little tricks and bits of gamesmanship by top footballers are an irritation that niggles away at me. Let’s hope for more drama in Brazil, but with a little less of the melodramatics. 

A tasty selection of Suarez’s best bites (sorry)…

Suarez viral jokes

 

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Sporting Habits I’d Like to See Hit For Six

Ball boys bring towels to Nadal of Spain during his men's singles match against Klizan of Slovakia at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris

It’s been a few days since I have been able to write an entry, largely because I have been fortunate enough to spend a few days in Paris on a mother-daughter jolly. In addition to some sightseeing, I managed to get us tickets for a bit of French Open action at Roland Garros. As well as the excitement of seeing some Grand Slam tennis, this gave me the chance to do some firsthand research on the players themselves. I love tennis, but some of the players have a few rather irritating habits which crop up rather more than seems necessary.

First of all, there’s the grunting. This has been a matter of debate in recent years, with a number of the female players reaching quite astounding volumes and pitches in the yelps and screams that accompany their shots. If, for some strange reason, you want to remind yourself of this awful noise, click here. Annoyingly, my research did yield some videos of Sharapova, Azarenka and Serena screeching even during practice, but I’m absolutely convinced that there is no need for this assault on our eardrums. I have no doubt that hitting the ball hard under extreme fatigue requires considerable physical effort, but it seems to be too strange a coincidence that the screams get louder when there is more pressure on a point. Players should disrupt their opponents’ rhythm and win points through what they do with their racquets, not the amount of noise that they can make. As far as I’m concerned, “Quiet please” isn’t just a request that should be directed at the crowd.

Then there is the irritating towel request. I appreciate things can get sweaty out there. I understand that sometimes players use little routines to help refocus their minds after a point. But the ‘towel wiping face’ sign or simply a point towards the chair at the back of the court is a bit annoying. It can also cause fashion trouble: Pete Sampras regularly used to end up with bits of white fluff stuck in the stubble he had miraculously managed to grow in the space of one tennis match. In all honesty I’m not sure if towel provision and umbrella holding should fall within the ball-kids’ remit anyway. Before we know it Rafa will be asking the poor little kid throwing him balls to pop over and actually wipe his face for him too.

Is there any need to bounce the ball before a service in tennis? Novak Djokovic has been known to bounce the ball more than 20 times before hitting a serve. I’m sure at times he is doing it to catch his breath, but it has clearly become over the top. This is also one of those interesting routines that has been taken up by Joe Bloggs playing Tuesday league at his local tennis club. I bet that anyone reading this who plays tennis has picked up this habit from watching top-level players and bounces the ball at least three or four times before serving. I know I do. That’s the thing with all these habits – it’s very easy to pick them up, even if it’s subconscious. I remember when I used to do athletics as a kid, my Dad told me not to bother doing a unnecessary little footwork routine at the beginning of my long jump run up. All this could do is increase the margin of error for my run up. Of course, I’d only started doing it because I’d seen top jumpers do it on TV. Incidentally, I also used to rub a cricket ball on my trousers despite having no idea why ‘proper’ cricketers did this, and raise both of my arms before taking a corner in football when it definitely wasn’t a tactical signal for my teammates waiting in the box. If you are pretending to take a rugby penalty, can you do it without assuming the ‘Jonny Wilkinson’ pose? What about shouting out random numbers before throwing an American football? Sometimes our imitations of these habits are done tongue in cheek or for a bit of fun, but often we include them without thinking. Many habits started out for good reason, but it’s amazing how easily they are copied by others (both elite and amateur) and even become ingrained into the nuts and bolts of the action itself.

“HOWZAT!”… A catch is nearly always followed by the cricket ball being thrown up in the air. Basketball players and curlers hold their pose after shooting a free throw or releasing the stone. Golfers (and the fans watching them) shout vainly at the ball to “get up!”, “bite!” or “get in the hole!” long after it has been struck. I still don’t really get why synchronised swimmers and gymnasts are expected to smile at the end of their routines: to me, their apparent level of happiness should have no bearing on how their performances are judged. I can’t even smile that widely, never mind do the splits.

Strange habits and expectations have also influenced the physical actions and interactions of players (and officials) in sport. Usain Bolt has done amazing things for athletics, but for some reason every other male sprinter now feels that they must develop a pose for their fleeting moment in front of the cameras before the race. Meanwhile, before a football or hockey match, there is now an unprecedented number of handshakes required: The captains must shake hands with each other and all of the officials… the coin is tossed… all of the handshakes are then repeated. Batsmen in cricket seem to be physically incapable of having a tactical chat halfway up the wicket without touching gloves. Sportspeople simply can’t get enough of high fiving. In the tennis I watched at Roland Garros, I honestly don’t think any of the doubles pairs played two consecutive points without a high five (or a quick bum tap). The Bryan brothers have taken this to new levels by celebrating victories with a chest bump: Ridiculous.

Considering that even fully grown adults across the world who play sport for fun have integrated the idiosyncrasies of famous sports stars into their routines, it’s no surprise that kids do the same thing. Therefore, whilst most of the examples above are a bit of fun, there is a serious side to this too. Footballers diving and rolling around on the floor, feigning injury, are seen and probably subsequently imitated by millions of kids. This isn’t a good thing. Lots of sportspeople have habits that are probably irrelevant in terms of the execution of skills, but have somehow become a deeply ingrained part of their routines. I’m certain that some of them have surfaced as mild(ish) forms of gamesmanship. Other habits are genuinely unnecessary, irritating and even damaging, and I wouldn’t miss them if I never saw them again.

Finally, let’s return to tennis (weak pun, in case you didn’t spot it yourself). It is an unwritten rule that before serving, tennis players absolutely must inspect at least five balls before they choose which one to smack up to the other end of the court. These tennis balls are basically all the same. They are replaced every seven games. They are all a brighter yellow than any tennis ball I have ever played with. Just take two, put one in your pocket and get on with it. And by get on with it, I mean bounce the ball once if you absolutely must. Throw it up. Hit it.

Follow me on Twitter @inkingfeeling
Have I missed anything? Which sporting habits annoy you? Feel free to comment!

If You Grew Up as a 90s Kid…

If you grew up as a 90s kid

Or you’re the parent of someone who did

Then this poem may just resonate

‘cos life back then was really great

First day at school, January 1991

This rhyme started as a spark inside my brain

When I got a Panini sticker book once again

Remember football players, teams and shinies

In playgrounds and swap shops back in the 90s?

And what about the other crazes:

Yo-Yo’s, Pogs and Beanie Babies

Did you ever try to make sea monkeys grow,

Or ‘feed’ a Tamagotchi all those years ago?

90s crazes

Remember begging your folks for popper trousers?

And tying knots at the front of summer blouses?

Scrunchies and braids; the green and yellow Man U shirt,

Crop tops, cotton cycling shorts and my best denim skirt.

What about the shoes that we had on our feet:

Reebok Classics and Kickers, man they were sweet!

High tops and sneakers when they weren’t even cool

Jelly shoes were essential at the beach or the pool.

90s fashion

Now there might be a thousand channels to flick through on Sky

But in the 90s I don’t think we had Channel 5

‘The Playbus’ and ‘Andy in the Broom Cupboard’ on CBBC

Then ‘Fun House’ and ‘The Hurricanes’ on CITV

We were scared of the Child Catcher but we loved Power Rangers

Saw ads for Calgon, being Tango’ed and ‘stranger danger’

The theme tunes for the shows were classic as well –

Remember ‘Hang Time’, ‘Sabrina’ and ‘Saved By The Bell’?

90s kids tv

Weeknights meant ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Home and Away’

Then ‘Top of the Pops’ after tea on a Thursday

‘Live and Kicking’ was the start to a childhood weekend

But it was on Saturday night TV that we came to depend

Baywatch got things going, what a start to our night!

Gladiators next (to inspire our play fights)

Then Cilla, ‘our Graham’ and the fun of ‘Blind Date’

We finished with Casualty (BBC1, ten past eight)

90s saturday tv

If we were bored, we went outside to play

Swingball and hopscotch were the games of the day

We tried to hula hoop for as long as we could

I made my sis go in goal – she was younger, she should!

Six week summer holidays, the sun always shone

Ironically global warming seems to mean those days are now gone

But when not playing outside or watching TV,

We listened to music on a tape or CD

90s games

I remember when ‘Wannabe’ was number one

And arguing whether Mel C or Mel B was more fun

Eternal, Take That, Backstreet Boys and then Hanson

Mmmbop and Whigfield, they both got us dancing

The Macarena routine is stuck in my brain

We practised those moves again and again

The Fresh Prince rap is one we all know

Not to mention MC Hammer and of course Coolio

90s music 

We actually grew up alongside Harry Potter

Scared ourselves reading Goosebumps and later Point Horror

Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario arrived

We spent hours on Gameboy and keeping Lemmings alive

We welcomed email and the Internet age

But it took over a minute to load one single page

When you called up a friend, you used the house phone

And if no one was in: “Please leave a message after the tone.”

90s technology

Pick n Mix at the cinema was a big part of the trip

We all saw ‘The Lion King’, ‘Beethoven’ and ‘Free Willy’ doing the flip

When we left my Grandparents’ we got two jelly teddies as treats

Spent pocket money at the corner shop on penny sweets

If we were thirsty we had Panda Pops, UmBongo or Capri Sun

“Can you get your straw in? Me either! Help me Mum!”

We made ice-lollies with squash and ate Petit Filous

Fish fingers were yummy, potato waffles too

90s food and film

If you’re a 90s kid I hope you made sense of the rhyme

Just a few of my memories from back in time

Don’t stay in the past – we’re long out of school

But being a 90s kid… man, that was cool!

On the beach

 

re: The Trouble with Email

20140426-002633.jpg

Technology is brilliant. At the touch of a few buttons, I can send my furthest-away friends in New Zealand a message, picture or video that arrives just as quickly as if I send it to a person in the same room as me. Postman Pat has now largely been reduced to being a parcel delivery guy and with an astounding 182.9 billion emails sent and received per day in 2013 (See: http://bit.ly/1hyizk5) it’s not hard to see why. Whether for business or pleasure, email is just one aspect of modern communication that has completely changed our lives. But despite its brilliance, I have found a few problems, questions and unimportant things to have a bit of a moan about!

Firstly, it’s a five letter word that most of us say or hear multiple times a day. Is it Email? email? e-mail? I am a bit pedantic about spelling and believe me, if I make a mistake on here and realise later (or worse, have it pointed out to me) it troubles me more than it probably should. I would therefore like to know how the devil to write electronic mail in its correct shortened form. For the purposes of this entry, from now on I will stick with ’email’. It’s easier to type. I should warn you, I will be tapping into my inner pedant quite a bit here. Part of the beauty of modern communications is its speed, efficiency and convenience. I value these things. However, I also quite like proper English and the idea of some basic guidelines when we communicate through cyberspace.

In the modern world, it is a golden rule that you have to reply to an email straight away. The immediacy of modern communication technology and accessibility to our inboxes almost anytime, anywhere, means that our expectation levels regarding how promptly we get back to one another have been elevated to a slightly alarming level. I’m sure this is partly down to the business world where it seems if you don’t check your Blackberry for new messages every 15 seconds, you will probably go bankrupt. I’m not a business woman and yet I often catch my thumb hovering over the ‘check mail’ button far more than it needs to be. I’m making a stand. I should say here that I absolutely want to be polite, helpful and responsive. If I’ve missed a deadline or things are getting slower than snail mail then a little nudge is fair enough. But when I get an email reminding me to reply to another email that I have barely even had time to read, I just start to think the person on the other end of the broadband fibre needs to chill out a bit. I promise I’ll reply as soon as I can and that everything will work out. If you’re really, really panicking and even the little red ‘!’ isn’t conveying the urgency of your message, you can always regress to the 20th century and phone me instead.

The world of electronic communications has also led to the development of some strange jargon. We are asked to “ping back” replies. We hope we’ve typed someone’s address correctly so that our message doesn’t “bounce”. We all hate “spam”. The abbreviated ‘text speak’ that is used widely on text messages and social media has also made its way into the world of email, despite the fact we don’t have to fit our messages into a measly 160 characters. I’ve just done an experiment. “You” takes roughly 0.1 seconds longer to type than “u”. And it looks nicer. As for “c u l8r”, well… do I really need to say anything more?

Sometimes I have to write emails to people I don’t know and may never meet. The information I have is: their name, the thing I am emailing about, my name. I write the email. I then spend 15 minutes trying to figure out how to address whoever I am writing to and what to say when I sign off. Do you go for “Hi…” or “Dear…”? Do you use their first name or a full title? Sometimes when I’m emailing an organisation without knowing who will be reading my message at the other end I have no idea how to open proceedings and end up with a creepy / cheesy, “Hi there”. As for the sign off, I definitely spend too long deciding how I am trying to portray myself and my message. This will probably get me in all sorts of trouble with people I do send emails to at some point, but here are some examples:

Sign off What I really mean
Regards I don’t know you / I’ve been forced to email you / You’re annoying me
Kind regards I’m grateful for your help / I’m sucking up / I’m trying to sound sophisticated
Best wishes I like you / I feel our email exchange has reached its logical end
Thanks Please do whatever I have asked
Cheers I’m trying to sound breezy and relaxed / Whatever is “cool”

 

I’ll also mention inappropriate kisses at this point. If I don’t really know you, we are talking about something formal, making arrangements or having a ‘conversation’ over email, I won’t sign off xxx. I don’t expect you to either.

Considering email is supposed to make our communications easier, I do sometimes wonder whether people could try a bit harder to make things more efficient. For example, on a sports team, lots of emails tend to fly around a regular distribution list to organise fixtures, give or request information and so on. When people then use a previous email to get in touch with everybody without changing the email’s subject box, it all gets very confusing. For example: you receive 10 emails about next week’s game. Somebody then decides to invite everybody on the team to their birthday party. When you’re frantically searching for the details of said party, the email about “Next Saturday’s Game” is not the first place I tend to look.

A friend of mine who works in a government office (that’s right: I have friends in high places) told me that her pet hate is when somebody on the desk opposite emails her. Now obviously there are exceptions to this rule: sending a lot of data or providing information that needs to be read and recorded may have to be done via computer. But when somebody calls across the office to you from three metres away, “I’ve just emailed asking you to pop past my desk when you have a minute”, it does make you wonder about the efficiency of how things are done in some workplaces.

‘Reply alls’ can cause no end of hilarity in a sports team. Jokes, usually at the expense of somebody on the distribution list, whizz around cyberspace spreading laughter and joy. Unfortunately hitting ‘reply all’ by mistake can also lead to that really awkward moment where you share a detail or a story with many more people than you meant to. Alternatively, you send what you think is an hysterical response to everyone, only for it to be met with no reply from anyone: a techno-tumbleweed moment.

Finally, we come to the end of emails. I literally mean the end of emails. I don’t really understand the necessity for a disclaimer that is 30 times the length of the message you’ve received. I know this is probably down to the ridiculous lawsuits that are filed for some things. However, when my phone fails to download a one line email because the disclaimer beneath it is too big for it to cope with, the main person I feel like suing is whoever invented email disclaimers.

As I said at the beginning, I think our communications technology is great. It certainly makes life easier in many ways. Some people who have made it this far down are probably thinking I need to relax and not worry about whether the subject box has been correctly filled in; to them, I send my regards. To those of you who agree with me and think we can makes things better, I really do give you my best wishes.

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