Written by Various Artists



It’s Allergy Awareness Week, so we asked Standard Issue writers what makes them sneeze, snuffle and come out in a rash. Tarantula hair, semen, sunlight, artificial sand… our bunch of delightful weirdos didn’t disappoint.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Sooz Kempner

Juliette Burton
Onions and Elastoplast and milkshakes. Oh, and when I first started dating my current beau I got a horrific outbreak of spots on my neck and chin. I thought I was allergic to his beard. GP said it was my body getting used to having any form of a sex life.

Karen Campbell
Maltesers bring me out in a rash but I eat them anyway. #rebel

Juliet Meyers
Penicillin. And now it’s published here I won’t have to wear a bracelet saying it. You saved a life.

Laura Lexx
Matey bubble bath. Full disclosure: it’s not really been an issue since I was eight, but it is a bit sad.

Claire Goodwin
I can only wear gold jewellery, because cheap metal jewellery makes me itch (I still have loads of cheap jewellery that I wear). Also, being from the gritty end of Manchester, I had my ears pierced when I was about three. Mum took me to the doctor with a horrible reaction to the naff studs and the doctor told her it was tantamount to child abuse, piercing such small children’s ears. Women and gentlemen, that doctor was Harold Shipman.

Suze Kundu
I’m allergic to cheap jewellery, too. Eighteen-carat yellow gold minimum or nothing at all – my boyfriend thinks I make it up.

Alice Sanders
I’m allergic to sunlight and it’s a fucking nightmare.

Dotty Winters
I’m allergic to tarantula hair. I found this out the hard way. Tarantulas make my skin go bubbly, then kinda greenish, then fall off. Part zombie, part Aero mint. Even really nice tarantulas.

Liz Bower
I’m allergic to aloe vera which wasn’t a problem until they started PUTTING IT IN LOO ROLL.

Daisy Leverington
Ginger. The food, not the hair colour.

“Anyone ever put a riding helmet on for a hilarious impression only to have the joke TOTALLY backfire and leave you with a hilarious rash helmet?”

Kiri Pritchard-McLean
I’m allergic to booze. I have worked out a way around it though, because I’m a brave soldier who won’t let sunburn-like reactions ruin my fun.

Lili La Scala
I can’t swallow. It gives me a dicky tummy – no pun intended. Oh, and tuna. Less chuckle-worthy. Though not the tinned stuff, only delicious fresh tuna, which for me is a great way to drop several hundred pounds in a matter of minutes.

Hannah Dunleavy
I’m allergic to penicillin, but also to whatever chemical they put into industrial sand to make it safe for sandpits at schools and playgrounds. This wasn’t deemed a good enough reason not to do the long jump at school, so I used to have to do it in a roll-neck, gloves and long trousers. Because that didn’t make me stand out in any way.

Lucy Reynolds
Love Hearts sweets. I can eat them, but if I handle them for too long, I get a rash. A sad state of affairs.

Pippa Evans
I’m allergic to cinnamon flavouring used in American products. It is sad because my favourite flavour is American cinnamon products.

Lucy Trodd
Horses. Anyone ever put a riding helmet on for a hilarious impression only to have the joke TOTALLY backfire and leave you with a hilarious rash helmet? I’m also allergic to cats, but only if a cat owner with a beard gives me a catty kiss. Their beard kind of injects cat into my face.

Cariad Lloyd
I recently found out (on the No Such Thing As A Fish podcast) that being allergic to cats means I’m also allergic to lions, as it’s the same dander problem. I also have horses, and was told it’s the strongest animal allergy you can have. If they’re in fields nearby you’ll sneeze. Thanks horses. I’m also allergic to mould that comes out in September. September Mould. (Great album.)

“Tarantulas make my skin go bubbly, then kinda greenish, then fall off. Part zombie, part Aero mint.”

Ruth Bratt
Prawns, jewellery, face wipes and perfume. Hang on, maybe I’m allergic to the stereotypes of what women should like… apart from the prawns.

Jane Hill
Wool. Which is why I spend the winter wearing hideously unflattering fleeces. And, relatedly, lanolin – a wool byproduct that appears in many skin creams designed for the kind of rashes that my wool allergy causes.

Nadia Kamill
I was allergic to London when I first moved here. Everything (food, detergents, fabrics) gave me rashes and made various parts of my face swell up (eyelids, lips). About six months in, my body stopped fighting it and then I was fine.

Jess Fostekew
I’m freakishly UNallergic to anything airborne, and as a result I’ve given quite a lot of the inside of my nose away to medics studying cures for hay fever, for really small amounts of money. I only recently learned the nose bits never grow back. Oops.

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Written by Various Artists

Some of Standard Issue's brilliant women's carefully crafted words for your reading pleasure.