Miss Universe and the Stinky Dog Poo


I was sleeping soundly last night when I hear a knock on my bedroom door.

“Mu-uum! Can I come into YOUR bed! The dog’s done a big poo on my floor and it stinks and I can’t get to sleep!”

So I shove my two naked toyboys (they sleep on either side of me) off of the mattress and call out ‘Shore honeee!’ (no, sorry, that’s what I would have called out if I’d been American, actually I said ‘Yeah, alright’, and in she creeps.

After about half an hour I hear a muffled sniffling. Well, I know stinky dog poos are upsetting but I would’ve thought she was used to them by now so I say ‘What’s the matter? Are you CRYING??’

Turns out, part of ‘the matter’ is that 15 year old Ms M’s been lying awake thinking how ugly she is. She looks like a movie star. I’ve said ‘You’re gorgeous’ so often now there hardly seems any point any more, so I say ‘Well, I think you’re pretty, but, suppose you aren’t. So what? What does it matter? You’ve got so much going for you BESIDES looks.  You don’t have to be pretty for someone to love you, you know. Believe me, you don’t.’

Needless to say, that didn’t soothe the savage teenage breast.  Next day, yawning at work, I told my co-workers about this incident.

“Oh that’s just teenagers!” they all said. “Didn’t you feel like that when you were a teenager?”

Funnily enough, no. I remember standing in front of mum’s mirror thinking, WHERE are the queues?  Man look at this body! Someone should PAINT this perfect visage!

I’m not quite so vain now.  Anyway, what I want to know is, DOES everyone go through this stage? And what are you supposed to do about it? Book your daughter in for the next Miss Universe pageant?  Advice, please???


  1. I don’t have a teenage daughter but I remember the angst my sister got from *her* daughter (who is stunningly beautiful). I also thought I was ugly, and it’s only now when I look back at old photos that I realise just how attractive I was.

    Tell your daughter from me to appreciate one thing about her appearance a day until she’s convinced herself that she’s gorgeous. I wish I’d done that and enjoyed my youthful good looks while I had them x

  2. Thanks for this post 🙂 I am struggling with the cruel teenage years at the moment and I can relate to your daughter!
    Of course, the media plays a massive role in defining what we consider ‘beauty’ and there will always be others around you to compare yourself to…Media was always around doing it’s evil thing, but I think in today’s society it’s gotten even worse.
    I don’t know if everyone goes through a negative body image stage, but teenage years are never easy are they, for one reason or another? For myself,I know that I experience random highs of positivity in relation to my appearance, and then dramatic, wallowing lows. Just one of the joys of being a teenager I guess!
    PS. Haha love the song choice…

    1. Well, it’s interesting for me to hear from someone who’s actually going through that. Funnily enough, at 49, I experience the same thing – sort of. Mostly, I don’t think much about how I look, but I do go through days of ‘god I’m ugly! Where’s the cosmetic surgeon!’ and other days of ‘I’m really rather goodlooking huh!’ One thing I don’t do now, and that’s read Cosmo or other beauty mags. They’re interesting for a day, and after that they make you feel flat, cause you don’t look like you’re’supposed’ to look.

  3. Rose, Miss M is beautiful, and I think it is just a stage, reassurance is something that comes from others so get Miss M some more positive feedback about herself from people you know. Her spending time with your friends such as Mr S and others could help too. Miss M if you read this, you are lovely and chip of your mum’s block just waiting to burst into full flower, CS 🙂

    BTW, this is something I’ve always struggled with, being the runt of my family litter, I was always being compared to my to athletically over-achieving brothers, occasionally it knocked the stuffing out of me too…

    1. I don’t think there are many people in this world who are always confident in their own perfection! The best we can hope for is a state where we can just shrug and go ‘well stuff it, I’m alright really’. Ms M is beautiful – but no amount of reassurance will convince her, she says people only say that to be kind. Thank god she doesn’t think she’s fat!

  4. I recon most of them do. I certainly look back on photo’s as a teenager and think “what the hell were you thinking – if only I could get that body back now, I’d be strutting around like a princess).

  5. The first thing I thought was how nice it was that she shared her feelings with you and wanted your comfort…I’m sure she is very pretty…I mostly remember the teenage years as being a big comparison game (Yuck n Gag) and eventually realizing that it doesn’t matter what other people look like or have. (maybe one of her friends said something silly that hurt her feelings)

    1. Yeah, I think it’s a great privilege that she talks to me, too. The relationship I have with my daughter is something I highly prize and am very conscious of. When I was a teenager my family always used to say ‘you’re lovely’ and my school ‘friends’ ‘god you’re ugly!’. But one gets over these things, eventually. Maybe you’re right, someone said something unpleasant and it stuck.

  6. I have boys … neither of whom seems to have much self-doubt. If they do, they don’t share it with us. It helps that both of them have had girls interested in them from early on … I think that can go a long way in providing the confidence. Personally, I’ve spent most of my life in that phase.

    1. The ‘girls interested in you’ phase? or the other one? My boy doesn’t seem to have much self doubt but I think he’d probably like a girlfriend but is secretly too timid to approach one. God, I would be too, so rude as they can be these days! Meriel’s had ‘boyfriends’ and boys ARE interested in her (but she’s got braces, which she thinks are romance-limiting, and also she doesn’t think any of the boys at her school are mature or attractive enough). Once the braces come off, I imagine there’ll be a great deal of interest from boys – but she can still stick to her story and make SOME excuse ‘oh they’re just asking me out because no one else will go’ – that sort of thing.

      1. I’ve spent most of my life without the confidence in my appeal to the opposite sex. My boys have both been interested in girls and having girlfriends since the 5th or 6th grade. One has had a handful of long-term girlfriends ever since 5th grade. The other has had a series of girl friends who never last for very long. But, he keeps trying.

      2. Well, me too. I swing between under-confidence (why doesn’t anyone WANT me!) and over-confidence (god I’m HOT property!). Like everyone else, one’s kids are unique – they work it out in their own way, eventually.

  7. It depends on the World view developed in the teenage. I remembered that I was and still not keen to dress smart and look handsome. I just want to be myself…

    1. Yourself is enough. M doesn’t want to dress up either, it’s all good. I don’t put any pressure on her, I don’t think. Sometimes I think she overestimates my success, and judges herself accordingly, maybe just because she’s at that stage of (part-time) mother fixation. Obviously she’s far lovelier than I ever was (not that I ever was). It’ll pass.

  8. I’ve never felt like a beauty queen, that’s for sure, but I never remember focusing on it either. Maybe it was different for girls when I was younger. Now there’s so much pressure to be perfect. I was happy to be good at the things I was good at and leave the beauty to others. Here’s hoping some of your good self-esteem can transfer over to your daughter. 🙂

    1. I think maybe the pressure to be goodlooking has been getting worse for a long time. My mother said that when she was young there was very little focus on it (but then of course, maybe that’s just the mists of time in operation). In particular, the body wasn’t much of a focus in her day (the 1940s) as so much of it was covered up.

      1. I saved a couple of my “Seventeen” magazines from when I was young. It’s interesting to look at the normal body habitus displayed by the models. Very different from the air-brushed, super-toned, spray-tanned bodies of today.

        On a side note, I’m about 40% of the way into “A Warm Wind.” I really like it. Anthea is quite the character!

      2. Once again your comment ended up in my email instead of here on your post. I wonder why that happens. It’s happened with other bloggers, too. Must be a glitch when answering comments via email. Or maybe WordPress is just out to get me.

        And I do realize Anthea’s not you, but I find your writing honest and raw. Such an easy read, and yet it makes one think. I tried to put it in my Goodreads “currently reading” list, but I couldn’t find it on the site. I’ll leave an Amazon review when I’m done. Do you have any other books you’ve published? I like your writing style.

      3. No, not yet. And thanks again. I love it when people like what I write. I also like criticism, strangely, as it’s the only way I can get better. I’m writing a book about a mermaid, but that’s another half year away from being finished, and I think the style will be quite different. It’s funny about the comments going to your email – don’t know why either!

  9. God yes i went through this. My mother made sure i knew i was a fat, fucking ugly ducking, as many good moms do.

    I think you’re doing really well. Unfortunately, i decided to solve my problems by losing as much weight as possible in hopes of disappearing.

    That, i thought, would solve everything! SOOOO. YOU ARE WAY AHEAD OF THE GAME … and your gorgeous teen-angster will soon forget the INTENSE obsession with face and body and all the glitter, and start dating boys, and terrifying you with her selections. More things to look forward to.

    Seriously, though … make sure she eats and she KNOWS she’s got stuff inside of her!!!! xo

    1. Thanks for that. So many mothers seem to do what your mum did, I have a friend whose mother still, when she visits her, says, ‘you need to lose weight’ even though this woman is actually rather skinny! In our family, metabolisms tend to be fast, so M is skinny without trying. I don’t think she’s concerned about weight – I hope she never does become that way. She’s a very evolved, sensible person in many ways and I think I trust her to make good selections – better than mine, in fact. She just gets very anxious about things, which is odd, becAuse I’m not the least bit anxious about most things, but BOTH my kids are. Maybe they’re trying to compensate.

      1. Yes, families are a weird little (but wonderful) system. In my family, like many others, the generations sort of “trade off” habits, and personality traits. One generation worries like crazy (or drinks like fishies) … and the next generation may be laid back and not drink too much. Stuff like that … 😉

        M sounds quite lovely and normal. AND evolved. Giddy up !!!

        BTW, i like you’re American accent. I think it’s a Southern accent.

        We all talk rather slow, for sure. I can never understand Scots. OK, well bye!

      2. I think my family see saws too. My parents were dead keen on a university education for us, since they never had one – we all went to uni (college, as you call it I think). But then, so far most of our children have gone down other paths – become tradespeople or businesspeople or whatever. Ms M is a very enjoyable and lovely person, though you have to know her really well to fully appreciate her. If her teachers could see her joking and laughing with me, they wouldn’t worry that she’s depressed – but all they get to experience is her glumpy ‘in class’ face. Scots – neither can I. Och aye!

      3. Oh lord, school teachers!!! I could tell you stories. Don’t listen to them … listen to me … i’ll be back. TODAY in 15 minutes i trot down to the endodontist to have my teeth roots cleaned, aka Root Canal F I N A L L Y ! But i will be back to address the “Ineptness of Teachers” (don’t get made teachers) … with their “limited view of children”. They see teenage angst … they don’t see the whole picture! I think teachers are troopers, but they also can make mistakes with student interpretations! YES! ox

      4. This is the 4th appt. that has been canceled. This time the endodontist QUIT! No lie. I have ANOTHER consult on Friday. Not even the canal.

        Anyway … my experience (since i don’t have kids) was AS a kid.
        1. A teacher told my mother i needed to speak up more, so she made a spectacle of me in front of the class. I got great grades, but i Wrote, didn’t talk. Meantime, i started having anxiety issues then. Couldn’t go to school without fainting … thought i would stop breathing.
        2. When i was hospitalized for anorexia, several teachers came forward (after they watched me whither away) and said, “yes, we noticed there was something VERY wrong, but we didn’t want to say anything”. Well speak or don’t. Tell someone! GEESH!
        3. After my mom and dad gave me the boot from their house, my Principle in high school said, “So, you’re mom and dad couldn’t handle you anymore”. Fuck me once, shame on you, fuck me twice I’m just a kid, what’ll i do?

        AND SO … i would take their “input” as if it were dust! … POOF it’s gone.

        Your daughter sounds delightful … and CS thinks so too. I think she has the RIGHT people on her side. xo

      5. That’s awful. If you need a root canal, you really NEED a root canal! Is it public dental or something like that? Here, the waiting lists for that are very long, anyone who can afford to uses private. So, we’re not quite a perfect system. I hope your teeth aren’t painful – and that you can get an appointment to get the work done very soon! Re your parents and teachers, they sound as unwise as adults can often be. I guess we all need to be more careful and remember our kids are just that. That’s the trouble with people, we never can get stuff right and sometimes we get it SO wrong – and being a parent makes our mistakes resonate so much more. But – Ms M IS lovely and I love her more than the world and everything in it (likewise, of course, my beautiful Mr F).

      6. We all have our boo hoo’s … i just didn’t want you to be alarmed by what “outside” sources say! People don’t want to interfere … AND sometimes they stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong.

        Just trust yourself. I know you can do that. It’s good that you ask people to tell you their (in my case ‘weird’) stories, so you can make up your mind with bits of info. from all around, whilst knowing the REAL MS. M! That’s all.

        I am in awe of parents!! It is an incredibly huge, responsible job! xo

  10. My teenager is a middle-aged (middle-aged? ouch) mother now but I do not recall any self-image tragedies. I blame the media. My four year-old granddaughter can’t wait to be a teenager (almost acts the part already). I wish you luck. I’m sure it’s peer pressure but I believe this will pass. From 15 to 17 seems to be the most difficult time for teens.

  11. i’m still a teenager so i feel like i can say with 99% confidence that most people (girls, at least) do feel like that. i am well aware that there are much more important things than looks, but every so often that cloud of self-doubt swoops down on me and i feel horribly unattractive. personally i feel like it’s not purely because of the media, more that we see our own “faults” much more clearly than we see anyone else’s. my friends complain about the way they look and i think they’re crazy because they’re all beautiful, but then i suppose i do the exact same thing…

      1. compliments always help though, even if we claim it “doesn’t count” because it comes from someone related to us. then again, it’s completely irrational so i don’t know if there’s anything that can be said!

  12. I wish I’d been like you as a teenager! I have no advice and am grateful to have boys, because I wouldn’t know where to start with poor Ms. M. If it’s any consolation, I discovered at 41 that I was a totally hot sex goddess. She will realize her beauty at some point – hopefully sooner than I did 🙂

    1. At 41. That’s great! and hilarious at the same time. I love thinking of you as a totally hot sex goddess! That’s what I thought when I was 41 too (apart from those times when I looked in a nightclub mirror and thought, hmmm). The trick is, choose only flattering mirrors, and flattering men!

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