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The Typical Female...

The greatest length of time a woman has watched a film with her husband without asking a stupid plot-related question was achieved on October 28, 1990, when Mrs Ethel Brunswick sat down to watch the Ipcress File. She viewed in silence for a breathtaking 2 minutes and 40 seconds before asking: "Is he a goodie or a baddie, then, him in the glasses?" This broke her own record set in 1962 when sat through 2 minutes 38 seconds of 633 Squadron before asking: "Is this a war film?"

The longest time spent dithering in a shop was 12 days between August 21 and September 2, 1995, by Mrs Sandra Wilkes in the Birmingham Branch of Dorothy Perkins. Entering the shop on a Saturday morning, Mrs Wilkes could not choose between two near-identical dresses which were both in the sale. After one hour, her husband, sitting on a chair by the changing room with his head in his hands, told her to buy both. She eventually bought one for 12.99, only to return the next day and exchange it for the other, which, to date, she has yet to wear. Mrs Wilkes also holds the record for window shopping longevity, when, from September 12, 1995, she stood motionless gazing at a pair of shoes in Clinkard's window in Kidderminster for three weeks and two days before eventually going home empty handed.

The smallest curbside space successfully reversed into by a woman was one of 63ft 2in, equivalent to three standard parking spaces, by Mrs Elizabeth Simkins, driving an unmodified Vauxhall Nova Swing on October 12, 1993. She started the maneuver at 11.15am in Ropergate, Pontefract, and successfully parked within three feet of the pavement eight hours and 14 minutes later. There was slight damage to the bumpers and wings of her own and two adjoining cars, as well as a shop frontage and two lamp posts.

The longest journey completed with the handbrake on was one of 313 miles from Stranraer to Holyhead by Dr. Julie Thorn at the wheel of a Saab 900 on April 2, 1987. Dr. Thorn actually smelt burning 2 miles into the journey at Aird but pressed on to Holyhead with smoke billowing from the rear wheels. This journey also holds the records for the longest completed journey with the choke fully out and with the right hand indicator flashing. One hundred and ninety eight miles of the journey was via dual carriageways. Dr Thorn drove for 197 of those miles in the right hand lane. GB of R has been unable to confirm this as a record.

The longest period of time that a woman has delayed a queue at a shop check-out is 6 hours 47 minutes 28 seconds in a branch of Tesco, Leeds, on March 12, 1997. Jo Reynolds, a young mother, approached the check-out with her trolley laden with food and watched as the assistant rang all the items through the till. Only when the total was announced did she begin looking for her purse. Police divers, an SAS undercover unit and 12 security guards joined the search before the purse was found at the bottom of Miss Reynolds' handbag. She then discovered she had insufficient cash to pay for her purchases.

The longest spell spent oblivious to traffic lights while applying make-up was one hour 51 minutes and 38 seconds by Miss J Dobson at a road junction in the centre of Preston on Aug 1, 1975. Miss Dobson, a piano teacher, beautified herself through 212 cycles of the lights, creating a tailback of irate motorists stretching 28 miles towards the Lake District.

Mrs Mary Caterham and Mrs Marjorie Steele sat in a kitchen in Blackburn, Lancashire and talked about nothing whatsoever for four and a half months from May1 to August 7, 1978, pausing only for coffee, cakes and toilet visits. Throughout the whole time, no information was exchanged and neither woman gained any new knowledge of any kind.

The greatest number of old ladies to perish while fighting at a jumble sale is 98, at a Methodist Church Hall in Castleford, West Yorkshire, on February 12, 1991. When the doors opened at 10am, the initial scramble to get in cost 16 lives, a further 25 being killed in the crush at the first table. A seven-way skirmish then broke out over a pinafore dress costing 10p which escalated into a full-scale melee resulting in a further 18 lives being lost. A pitched battle over a headscarf ensued and quickly spread throughout the hall, claiming 39 old women. The jumble sale raised £5.28 for the Boy Scouts.

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