Up North we have a saying, “don’t be so nesh!”. It’s what my mum would say if I complained about being cold, or wet, or uncomfortable, or if something wasn’t very nice because it was a bit ‘ucky’ or I was being squeamish. Like a fear of spiders, “They can’t bloody hurt you! Stop being so nesh!” You’d be told to toughen up and ‘get on with it!’ so you did.

I used to hate that expression. I use it every day now… in my head.

When someone is being squeamish, or acting like a bit of a wet blanket, the word NESH flashes up in my brain. When someone pretends to dry heave because a baby is having its nappy changed, I roll my eyes like a ventriloquist’s dummy in a tumble dryer. “Have you never seen poo before?! What comes out of your arse- Ferrero Rocher?!!”

Watching ‘I’m a Celebrity’ can often give me so much eye strain I get a headache! “it’s just a bloody cockroach! Stop being so nesh!” “Fish Guts?! People eat that, for crying out loud!”

I eat meat, I’ve killed animals to eat them. So, when I see fellow meat eaters unable to ‘cope’ with slaughter, even the nice kind, it winds me right up. They’ll happily chow down on cows, chickens, pigs and sheep as long as they ‘don’t have to see its face’ because if they do they’ll have to set up a go-fund-me page to adopt it, instead of making it into fajitas.

‘Neshness’ is invading the world and it must stop.

I’m not advocating people just ‘putting up with’ all kinds of real crap, by the way, for fear of being labelled ‘nesh’. Discrimination, oppression, unfairness. There are an infinite number of genuine grievances that need to be addressed, and just saying, “don’t be so nesh” when a woman complains she hasn’t had a pay rise in ten years because she doesn’t ‘play off scratch’ and love tits, is just being a basic twat.

But, there are limits. There are areas where genuine grievance ebbs away and ‘neshness’ is born. The problem is that the benchmarks are also ebbing away. What was considered, ‘overly sensitive’ or even plain ridiculous once is now just normal. We are caving-in to the idiosyncrasies and frailties of a population brought up on having their every whim met with ‘support’ and understanding, where a little of Mum’s ‘get on with it!’ would have been more appropriate.

Nobody, at all, is allowed to lose at anything anymore. Nobody is allowed to be just stupid, or plain wrong. When somebody fails miserably, without even trying, they get applauded and told, “well done”. Why?

“Brilliant! Great effort!” They said to him as he returned, empty-handed, clean and dry from an un-attempted bushtucker trial. No, he didn’t! He was shit! He needs to know he’s a nesh bastard or he’ll never learn!

 “I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel ready to face this right now.” She said, staring through her tears at the latte she got when she’d ordered a mocha, and knowing that ‘bravery’ will be mentioned should she try a sip.

Pain and failure are very useful parts of life and, once you’ve changed a few nappies, your definition of ‘disgusting’ will never be the same again. If we never face the struggles of everyday life, we’ll never get a full idea of what’s involved. Some of my favourite foods are the things I hated as a kid because Mum made me ‘stop being so nesh and get them eaten’ and, today, I can’t thank her enough for making me do that.

So where will it all end?

Honestly? I don’t know. I’m an old fart now. At fifty, I focus more on what passes through my sphincter than what passes for acceptable, and I never imagined it would even get as far as it has, so the future is way beyond my imagination. Will we all end up like the boneless blobs in ‘Wall-e’? Floating about on hover chairs, sipping milkshakes and talking about ‘rain’ with the same horror and pity we talk about the great wars with today? Or will there be a backlash? Will the weak be incinerated and made into fertilizer for super-cow three-storey beef monsters that we hunter-gatherers kill with nukes and skin with our teeth? Let’s hope not.

Whatever happens I still feel I know ‘nesh’ when I see it. So if you’re refusing to step outside because it’s two degrees colder than you’re ready for, or you’re not happy with your workplace environment because it doesn’t cater for ‘Zen Veganism’ and your ‘chakras are just about at their fucking limit!’ then, if I’m about, you might just hear, “don’t be so nesh!” At least now, you’ll know what it means.