Today – August the eighteenth, 2011 – is the day students across the United Kingdom receive their A-level results. Isn’t it exciting? Oh, that frisson of trepidation before opening the envelope! Did I get an A? Did I get a B? Will I get into the university I want to attend or will I be stuck in some podunk Plymouth polytechnic?
The moment arrives; the envelope is torn and – my god, it’s full of A-stars!
But I don’t care. Why? Because I’m old, that’s why.
A-Level students: I hate you all.
I’m thirty-two, and thirty-three’s eyeing me up from a couple months into the future. I have no interest in how well kids did in their exams; frankly, I think it’d be rather sinister if I did: a balding, snaggle-toothed old man watching a bunch of spring chickens open their results and leap around, bosoms a-jiggle, locks a-sway.
Yeah. Open it, baby. Open it all the way like the naughty whore you are.
At my age A-level results are as far away and as meaningless as campaigns to get Demi Lovato’s name trending on Twitter, and as Demi Lovato has me wondering if her troupe of tube-toppers are actually talking about Demi Moore so A-level results make me react like Clippy the paperclip: Did you mean ‘a level crossing’?
If you got your results today and are wondering whether to take a gap year, I DON’T CARE. Maybe it’s hypocritical from someone who spends so much time talking about where he went on holiday in 1987 (Hastings, maybe) but I don’t care what you think about that, either. Today, not a single person out of their teens is thinking “Ah, I remember opening my A-levels – it was the best day of my life” while loads of people – five at least – will read that imaginary Hastings post and think “Oh shit, I remember finding a Shinobi arcade cabinet with a credit already paid into it – that was the best day ever.”
Nobody cares about your A-level results. Today’s newspapers might as well feature headlines like: “Toddler takes first step” or “Baby’s first word is ‘Gurfle’, says Mum”. Getting your A-levels doesn’t make you special – lots of people have A-Levels, and those getting them today are only helping further water down their inherent worth. Now, if you just had the one guy in the country who was incredibly clever, and he’d beaten every other eighteen-year-old at various academic pursuits thus winning the only A-level awarded this year then that would be a news story. In fact why not incorporate A-levels into the Olympic Games and award them once every four years?
“Adam Radcliffe there, winning the A* for Great Britain, with Kenya’s Jirana Ababu and Chilemba Odumbe winning the A and B grade respectively. Brad Pearson, of course, flunking out with a U after he blew his nose on the paper; still, a proud day for all of Great Britain, as for the first time a British man beats all odds to win the 200 metres General Studies event.”
If you think the attention afforded to A-Levels by various news organisations today in some way proves me wrong then you sir, are a fool. Newspapers and breakfast news shows don’t care about the A-Levels themselves any more than they care about the envelopes holding them. No, the news coverage isn’t interested in what the envelopes hold as much as they are the students holding them – and not just any students, either.
Remember those jiggling, swaying schoolgirls from the start of this post? They’re interested in them.
It’s all a matter of sex appeal. Actually it’s all a matter of attractiveness, which is related to it even if it isn’t quite the same matter at hand. On BBC Breakfast news this morning one of the show’s reporters spent his time hanging around a sweetshop to report on how supermarkets and Internet commerce are impacting on small businesses. The shopkeeper he interviewed didn’t have anything particularly novel to say about it – he said pretty much everything you’d expect him to say – but in some ways his presence was superfluous to the magical realm of colours that bedazzled behind him.
Why did the outside broadcast team choose a sweet shop to film in as opposed to a bank, or an office, or anywhere else tangentially related to the subject they were covering? Human interest, you say? No, say I: human attention span.
You see, Morning Barry, up for work, watches TV while eating breakfast. He flips through the channels: Friends, some poorly-animated children’s thing on Channel 5, Dick and Dom on BBC Two and – ooh, sweeties! Barry likes sweeties. Transfixed by jellybeans Morning Barry masticates toasted Hovis and stays glued to BBC Breakfast. The sweet shop’s attracted him: the sweet shop is attractive.
Not in a sexual sense of course (unless you have a predilection for cramming bonbons up your bottom in lieu of anal beads, in which case oh my God, get out – I don’t want freaks like you reading my whimsical articles about 80s pop culture) but when people use the term ‘eye candy’, well, you can probably work that one out for yourself.
These bosomy young girls hugging each other are eye candy: they draw you in like flies, and as newspapers often do to flies your willpower is bludgeoned to death by them. Before you realise what’s happening, you buy the damned paper.
Isn’t there something life-affirming about fresh-faced maiden celebrating in such obvious joy? The flouncy cravats. The jeans tucked into boots. Those weird hats that look like stretched out cushion covers – that, though baggy, only cover the crown of the wearer, leaving a softly swept fringe to flirtatiously cover one eye.
You’re not perving: you’re looking at newspapers. And you think “Aww, they look so happy. What a wonderful day this must be for them, holding hands, smiling, jumping in the air, hugging their friends” while what the primal bop-on-head-drag-back-to-cave nodule at the back of your brain is thinking “Yeah, hug your friends some more – I like that. Now kiss. Kiss, you university-going whores.”
And maybe that’s not what you’re thinking at all, but it’s what newspapers think you’re thinking – why else would they fill their pages with so many nubile young fillies holding meaningless bits of paper?”
For that matter, where are the boys? I have it on good authority that male students take A-levels as well – not that you’d believe it from today’s pictures. Maybe they’re more restrained in their affectionate behaviour and after reading their grades they don’t leap in the air or hug each other cheek to cheek and just kiss a little, kiss for the camera you filthy student whores!
If you don’t believe me, sexyalevels.tumblr.com sums the matter up with this caption for the rarrst of photos, that of a boy reading his A-level results:
“Ever wondered what was behind The Times pay-wall? It’s a boy who’s got his A-level results! That’s what makes it special.”
I wouldn’t mind so much – I shouldn’t mind so much – but I’m old. I know this because where I feel I should be rubbing one out to the whorish lesbian A-level recipients they lack sexuality and look wrong to me now, like deer caught at an awkward age between looking cute and growing antlers. They’re the kind of people who might actually say “Demi Lovato? I love her!” and who cry over song lyrics. They speak too fast like cartoon chipmunks who’ve evolved beyond the need to breathe. They’re irritating junior mannequins about to embark on a quest to find their true selves. and it’ll be another seven years before they say ‘Fuck it’ and realise life is life, no matter how many gap years you take.
The most troubling thing for me is that where these lithe lovelies should be stirring something from my loins I now find TV mums more attractive than their daughters. Mums on adverts don’t wear carefully coutured shabby chic but dress sensibly, in sweaters and jeans, with low-maintenance haircuts and comfortable shoes.They delight in wet-wipes that come in convenient packaging and spend their time looking lovingly at children that are in no way related to them but have instead been loaned to advertising companies by parents too ugly to appear on television.
I’m totally won over by it. I know they’re models who’re a little past it; I know they’re paid to romp with toddlers that aren’t their own, but every time I see one of these ads I think “Aww, she looks so happy. What a wonderful day this must be for her, finger painting with her son, making Rice Krispie treats with her kids and all her friends.” while the animal part of my brain is thinking “Look at those breasts, snug beneath that pashmina. Look at her buttocks wriggling against her jeans, trying to force their way out as she’s on all-fours playing peekaboo with her baby. I bet she’s a goer – maybe she’s even taken it while on all-fours. Yeah, play with that Sodastream machine – use your magic finger. Rub that button you yumsy, mumsy whore.”
And you, kid who’s just got his A-levels – who didn’t even make it into a newspaper because he’s the wrong gender – you remember this post. You’re happy enough now – laughing, even jumping for joy – and you must think I’m a dinosaur from the wrong end of time but mark my words: this is your future. One day even you will find less erotic joy in flirty, giggling A-level students than in adverts for Asda price.
Be sure to enjoy your gap year while you can.