Tumble dryers and Twitter: It’s the nonpandemic news from Britain

A university student near Hull got stuck in a tumble dryer that she’d climbed into on a dare. 

Why yes, she and everyone within three miles of her had been drinking. What made you ask?

Her housemates called the fire department and three firefighters worked her loose. Before they left they checked the washing machine. Just in case. To save themselves another trip. 

I was hoping to say that this is what students do when they’re in lockdown, but I don’t know that the University of Hull was in lockdown. What I can tell you is that the university webpage about keeping students safe while they’re on campus doesn’t mention either laundry or laundry-related hardware–an oversight that I’m sure they’ll remedy as soon as I bring this to their attention. I’d have called by now but I wanted to let you know first. 

The student herself admitted that she’d never done her own laundry before. That doesn’t strike me as entirely relevant, since everyone who washes clothes once did it for the first time. The first time I ever took that daring step, I don’t remember being overcome by an impulse to climb into the dryer. Admittedly, my mother talked me through it: See, she told me, this is the water. These are the dirty clothes. What you want to do is introduce one to the other in the presence of this detergent that’s all stuck together because the basement’s a little damp. Just chop some out with this measuring cup, trying not to spray it all over the floor.

But even so, I don’t remember for one second wanting to measure the dryer for size. In fact, thousands upon thousands of people do their own laundry for the first time every year without climbing into the dryer. 

Maybe we’re all repressing the impulse. If you repress it well enough, you can’t be sure it was ever there.


Irrelevant photo: a hellebore.

As long as we’re in the Hull area and visiting with firefighters, a nearby crematorium got carried away with its work and set itself on fire. It took eight hours to put out the blaze, which started just before a service, so someone just missed their chance to go out in a blaze of glory.

Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. It’s a genetic problem.


A tour group in Iceland lost a tour member and, when she didn’t show up after an hour, hit the panic button and set off a search involving mountain search teams and the rest of the tour party. 

At 3 a.m., a member of the tour realized that she was the person she was looking for. She’d gone back to the bus and changed her clothes, so the 5’2” Asian woman in dark clothes was now a 5’2” Asian woman in some other kind of clothes. 

Cue many headlines about going to Iceland to find yourself.


Gay men invaded the Twitter hashtag of the Proud Boys, a far right group (or neofascist, if we’re calling a fascist a fascist this week) that was mentioned approvingly by Donald Trump before Trump himself was mentioned approvingly by the Covid virus. 

The invasion consists of gay male couples posing proudly–with each other, with their kids, with a Canadian Army uniform and a partner.  

The claim that the Proud Boys changed their name to Leathermen to get away from the invasion is, sadly, a spoof, but funny enough that I was happy to believe it until someone challenged me. If you’re not familiar with leathermen, Twitter will introduce you to a bunch of muscular gay men looking very kinky. 

49 thoughts on “Tumble dryers and Twitter: It’s the nonpandemic news from Britain

  1. What the young woman meant to say was:

    This is England. Of course she’s never made the acquaintance of a machine whose sole function is the drying of clothes. HER mother always did it the proper way—hanging laundry from a line outdoors on the three days a year it doesn’t rain and draping soggy bits about the house the rest of the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed. Our friends are well acquainted with our underwear by now. If you visit, you have to be strong enough to brave the sight….

      It’s a good thing, though, that she didn’t use a line. They’d have found her clipped to it by the shoulder seams.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. When I read about the students who were having to self-isolate in student accommodation it made me think about my time in a student flat. Bizarrely, I tried to remember how we managed laundry and I couldn’t. We must have taken it to the launderette. I was well into my 20s before I saw a domestic tumble dryer. Even then, my curiosity didn’t overwhelm me enough to push me inside.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband was trying to tell me the story about the girls in the tumble drier…so much was lost in translation! He forgot to mention a) It was for a dare b) It was a drinking game c) she didnt actually fit in the tumble drier. Thank you for the clip, it makes much more sense now.

    Don Jnr’s comment about being part of the LGBTQ+ community are possibly making more sennse in light of the Proud Men/Leather Men thing (or maybe not)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the tenets of the militia group Proud Boys is, “Reverence for the housewife.” (Probably after reverence for guns.) Hooray for the gay men usurping the name of those dolts. Humor to the rescue! We need more of this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hold up. The Iceland incident happened in 2012. I thought we were getting the latest news from Britain. :-p
    Haven’t read up on the militia group yet but “boys” sounds about right. Indeed, a bunch of little boys playing out some fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have thoroughly enjoyed the takeover of the Proud Boys hashtags. It has been a lonely bright point in an otherwise onslaught of news that elicits despair. I so wanted the Leatherman joke to be true. My kids actually thought that the Wolverine Watchmen was another joking reference to the awful Michigan militia but that does seem to be the name of their group.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Young people hitting university with no domestic skills, over-indulging in both legal and illegal substances and doing things for a dare but somehow later emerging with a degree and a career? OMG who ever heard of such a thing! Oh, wait, apparently it’s been happening for the last millennium. Who knows; maybe the apprentices at the crematorium tried to see how many bodies they could get in the incinerator for a dare so they could all be proud boys..
    Finally, I can’t resist: You don’t have to be a Leatherman to know which way the wind blows. (Sorry, Bob)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Students in my area of the world like jumping between buildings. It isn’t that difficult when you realize the buildings were built very close to each other – an average of 3 feet (1 meter) between them. The only thing that makes it difficult is that the buildings don’t tend to be the same height. Well, that and the fact that the average college (university) student is drunk and about as bright as a burnt out light bulb.

    If the (far) right is always referred to as fascists, why aren’t the far left referred to as communists? From what I’ve seen of their goals they seem to line up with the communist agenda – a strong government that demands compliance and uniformity, controls certain aspects of industry (health, utilities, etc,), controls wages and wealth. Just an observation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The other problem with jumping between buildings is that their roofs have a habit of being high off the ground. I’ll do my three-foot jumps down here on the sidewalk, thanks.

      Actually, my knees would be grateful if I just walked.

      I’m not in the habit of calling everyone on the right–or even the far right–a fascist or neo-fascist. These guys, I think, genuinely are, with their unvarnished focus on both race and violence. I really do reserve the word for people I believe fit the definition, not as an all-purpose I-think-they’re-assholes kind of insult. If you spray the word around, it loses its meaning.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s the gays for you – can never resist a good photo-op.
    Leathermen – perfect moniker for the Proud Boys.
    As for the girl in the dryer, well, I’ve really got nothing. Perhaps she should revisit her alcohol intake.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Re the crematorium upset: my brother is a priest, and he says we’d all be surprised at the number of people who propose that the dear departed should, well, make their final departure to the tune of Blaze Away. Or Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

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