I’ve never really been a ‘joiner’, preferring to just freestyle my way through life, doing my own thing and not really caring two farts whether its popular or not. This is why I’ve never really understood the desire to join a social club, even ones with a purpose. Actually, scrap that…particularly ones with a purpose. Just because several people enjoy doing a thing doesn’t mean that they’re not Best in Show cunts at the same time. I guess it’s in part a throwback to being at school. If you were in a club you might as well have painted a target on your forehead. Teenagers can be the worst kind of arsehole.
That aside, I’m an incredible control freak (NO!?? I hear you cry) and it takes a certain kind of person to spend any prolonged period of time with me. I was in the Brownies once…it didn’t last long. I caused an uprising based entirely on the fact that I wanted to go to the fair in the field across the road. I don’t think shit-stirrers are built for group activities.
Equipped with this knowledge, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that when we recently discovered that a ‘new’ and ‘progressive’ branch of the Women’s Institute was opening in our area it was generally agreed that my signing up would be a Very Bad Idea. (Or more accurately and politely, I was told “No Marie, they’re just not ready for you”). That’s not to say that I wouldn’t meet some lovely, like-minded, sweet, kind and well-meaning women. I’m sure that anyone who joins is an inherently nice person, but as I emailed to a friend of mine this week I am ill-suited for the following reasons:
- Cake hates me.
- I pay for people to arrange my flowers, so I don’t have to train to be a florist.
- If the baby Jesus expected me to have a vast reserve of wholesome family recipes that I could just whip up out of the contents of the hoover bag, he wouldn’t have invented Waitrose Slow Cooked Pork Loin Rack Of Ribs With Red Eye BBQ Rub And Drizzle ( a SNIP at £5.99).
- The day I cross-stitch is the day I die.
- If guest speaker Angie Best patronised me and accused me of being lazy, I’d have used my bingo wings to suffocate her.
- There is something incredibly unhealthy about women who socialise wineless.
Reading this through, I am coming across as an aggressive, lazy dipsomaniac with a dairy allergy. I may also have just offended 212,000 women, but I can categorically say that I am absolutely and definitely not lazy. There is also a slight chance that I am about to redeem myself. At least I bloody hope so, lest the local WI turn up on my doorstep and garrotte me with the straps of their Mulberry Anthony Messenger bags.
Annually, The WI take on a campaign. A cause that the collected membership can get their teeth and weight behind. Their most recent campaign ‘More Midwives’ is so important that I would happily remove a limb and bludgeon to death anyone with the acute bastard stupidity to argue. They’ve also raised awareness for mental health issues, the international education of women and climate change. I think we can all agree that this is worth a serious high-fucking-five in anyone’s book. In the last month the WI took the decision to support a cause that I gob off about ad infinitum – focusing their campaigning this year on UK high streets.
Now I’m not suggesting in any way that the WI are going to change the face of UK town centres. If that was the case, all Mary ‘Bloody’ Portas (as she is widely known) would need to do is get old Gideon to chuck the £10m Portas Pilots fund at the WI and unleash them in all their baked goods and agenda-writing glory onto unsuspecting town centres with a vacancy rate over 10%. And as much as we all want to see thousands of apron-sporting Mary Poppins’ fall from the sky with the intent of spit-spotting Chelmsford into shape, it’s not exactly fucking realistic right? But what the WI are doing is making a commitment. They are pledging to shop locally. They are making an active and public decision to buy the good they need as locally as they possibly can. Taking five minutes to find out ‘can I buy this in my town?’.
It’s not just about buying shit:
It’s about changing the way we view our community and environment.
It’s about supporting businesses who employ local people.
It’s about ploughing money back into our local economy.
It’s about civic pride.
It’s about teaching our children to view see the people behind the stuff.
It’s about a sense of belonging.
You don’t have to be a club-joining kinda person to head into your own town and buy the things you need from someone else who lives in your own town. Just follow the lead of 212,000 knitters, bakers, mischief makers, grandmas, tea-drinkers, buggy-pushers, gardeners, dieters, professional procrastinators, burlesque-loving, photo-taking, rollerskating, head-scratching, child-wrestling, fundraising, walk taking, giggling, remote-control hogging, socially responsible, proud, busy and determined women. They’re kicking arse and doing so many things that can make a difference. Can you?