Musings and Writing of GG Alexander

Savage Writing: Munter

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Theme for this week was “colloqualism”. In the end there were only four of us and I was the only one on task, so unfortunately I didn’t get any of the Yorkshire-isms I was hoping for.

This is an amalgamation of many events when I was in high school. Teenagers are fucking cruel, even when they don’t mean to be.


 ‘Pure munter,’ Paul Deacon says in art class, second period, when I’ve got my headphones in but no music playing.

‘Aye,’ says Stewart McEachern, sitting by himself on the table next to us. There’s a thump as he briefly sets the front feet of his chair on the ground before swinging back again. I can feel him looking at me. ‘Munter.’

It’s not a word I hear often. My dad says it sometimes about contestants on X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, when my mum’s working in the evening and his pals are round and they’re having a few.

‘Like, ken how Shitey wance said Davey Tate looks like a white Jay-Z?’


‘Well ken ‘at black bird aff Eastenders wi’ the stupid hair?’

‘Stupid claithes an aw?’

‘Aye, her. She’s like the white wan o’ her.’

‘Wi’ two mair stone on her erse,’ Stewart adds with a laugh. There’s a pause and I feel Paul shift in his seat as he checks I’m not listening. I keep my eyes on my painting.

‘Boys,’ comes Mr McLeod’s voice, sterner than normal. ‘I don’t want to hear you two talk again.’

Paul shifts in his seat and turns back to his own painting, making a brown mess in the centre of the white paint block as he tries to mix up a new tertiary colour. I fumble for my mp3 player and put on the loudest rock song I have, but it still doesn’t drown out my thoughts.

Once class ends and I stand up, I pull my school jumper over my bum, then try to wrestle the front down equally low over my belly. Break time, and I find my pals in the usual spot by the picnic tables. We sit in a row on top of it, watching the rest go by.

‘God, see her,’ Jade says two minutes into the chat. Her eyes point to one of the girls the year above us, wearing high heeled boots that make her arse wiggle as she walks. I wonder if the bulldog Miss Cragg has had a go at her yet for being “not quite in school uniform”. The day Jade wore her belt-covered trousers – “bondage jeans” she called them – Miss Cragg was on her by the end of registration.

‘Boufin,’ Jade proclaims.

‘Pure boak,’ Kirsty agrees.

I wish I could pull off something like that. Even afford those kind of boots. My second-hand school jumper has got two huge holes by the wrists and I like to put my thumbs through them and pretend they’re fingerless gloves. Fingerless gloves are always cool.

Jade sticks her old chewing gum underneath the picnic table and puts another piece in her mouth. Lee Patterson made fun of her during Tech, first period, saying she looked like she’d put on her eyeliner with a felt-tip pen, and kept calling her a panda.

‘Do I look like I give a fuck?’ she’d said. ‘And I like pandas, you twat.’

The thick eyeliner looks good on her. I helped her dye her hair black last weekend and she looks well goth. No-one would ever call her a munter, not even Lee Patterson. He probably fancies her, is why he said anything.

‘Why wid you wear those tae school?’ she says, still looking at the back of that girl. Skinny as fuck, she is. Jade’s the same. You’re not allowed to be goth or emo or alternative or be an “I hate labels” person (like Jade) if you’re not skinny.

‘She looks like a right slut,’ says Kirsty, blunt as always. Kirsty isn’t pretty or anything, but she in’t fat and she’s got massive tits, so no boy would ever call her a munter either. They wouldn’t dare do anything to her, the amount of guys she’s gotten sent to the office for feeling her up in class.

‘Did youse see what Laura Davidson is wearing the day? It’s like, pass the sick bag!’

‘Oh God, I know. You shouldnae be allowed to wear short skirts when you’re that fat.’

‘I know, did you see, it’s like her thighs are spilling oot everywhere.’ Jade makes a large gesture and shudders. ‘If I was Miss Cragg I’d, like, confiscate it and burn it.’

They laugh. Kirsty reaches over and grabs a handful of crisps out of the packet I’m eating. I’m glad. Laura Davidson’s thinner than me, and she has a boyfriend. I feel like tossing the packet to Kirsty and telling her she can have them, but they taste too good to do that.

My thoughts are poisoning me from the inside out and I need to vent them in some way.

‘So like, have you ever noticed how many words we have for, like, boufin’ things?’ I ask.

‘I suppose we’ve got quite a few,’ Kirsty says.

‘Aye, we need ’em coz everyone in Scotland’s pure ugly,’ Jade says, flicking back the hair it took her fifteen minutes to straighten this morning.

‘Like what is there?’ Kirsty says, looking between us. ‘Boufin, mockit, hackit…’

‘Hackit’s my fave, I love it. It like so describes aw the girls in our year, like aw they wear, aw that Primark New Look shite, it’s soooo hackit.’

‘What about munter?’ I ask, before stuffing my face full of crisps.

‘Oh, munter’s really bad,’ Jade says. ‘Like I’d never call someone a munter, specially not to their face.’

‘Yeah, that’s like really ugly, like old dyke Miss Cragg,’ Kirsty adds.

I try to surreptitiously feel my face by pretending to rub it. My pouchy cheeks, my wonky nose, my weak jawline and double chin. The spots I’ve been trying to scrub away with stinging clearasil and toothpaste all week. I grab my jumper and pull it over my knees, but it rises up at the back and the wind brushes across my exposed tramp stamp area. An English person might call me a mess. Munter puts it more specifically.

Third period is English. We’re reading Jane Eyre – or rather, reading bits of it after having watched the film – and talking about Rochester’s wife.

‘Now,’ Mrs Walker asks, ‘can anyone tell me why Mr Rochester’s marriage to Bertha failed?’

‘Coz she was pure ugly!’ Davey Tate shouts out. Everyone laughs.

My head sinks down, and I wipe away the tears on my ruined sleeve cuffs.


Written by G.J.

01/05/2013 at 10:24 pm

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