Part 136: You’re Not Marilyn Monroe, Babe

Maz 1

There’s this tragic mistake that newly single people (and when I say ‘people’ I mean, of course, women – newly single men get straight out there and start recruiting lovers without first wallowing in misguided public displays of self-worth) make when they split up with their partner and are at home all miserable, in that panicky first flush of aloneness. It’ll probably be familiar to you. They post pictures of Marilyn Monroe all over their social networks, usually accompanied by some kick-ass declaration apocryphally attributed to the woman herself.

The internet is awash with hazy black and white pictures of Maz looking smoking, with ‘if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best’ printed over her beautiful face in a cursive font. They’re always posted by single women. And I want to take this opportunity to say to those single women, stop it. Stop it now. Please. You’re giving us all a bad name.

I know what you’re trying to imply with this move, my single darlings. You’re trying to convey that you are just like Marilyn: lovely and vulnerable, smart and tough beneath the soft bruising of your recent hurt. It’s how we all feel when we’ve been rejected. You want to tell the bloke who dumped you, or who ran off with another girl too quickly after you dumped him, that he’s missing out. Look at me! You want to say. I’m curvaceous and sassy and I don’t give a shit.

maz

But you need to know it isn’t fooling anyone. You do give a shit. And what’s more, you are not Marilyn. Marilyn was an exceptionally fine-looking, uniquely charismatic woman. And I’m sorry, but you aren’t. Neither am I. If we were, we’d be starring in movies, flying by private jet, dining on yachts with caddish elderly men, coming up with our own kick-ass declarations of self-worth and dying of barbiturate poisoning before we’d reached our full potential.

You’re nothing like Marilyn, thank God. This was a woman who died of a drugs overdose while she was still young and lovely, either at her own hand because of some arsehole or at the hand of some arsehole himself. Not only does posting her words as though they have anything to do with you make you look desperate and deluded, it also reveals your terrible taste in role models.

I don’t know what you’re up to right now, but it’s three o’clock in the afternoon and I’m dressed in pyjamas, eating cold potato dauphinoise with my hands. I keep running my garlicky fingers through my hair. I haven’t got a bra on. The curtains are closed and, just as I was typing that last sentence, I found a chicken bone tangled up in my duvet. This is the fate of single women, and it’s really rather wonderful, although, I admit, it wouldn’t look that good in soft focus, captioned in cursive font. And it isn’t likely to make any of my ex-lovers regret my departure from their lives. But then again, I don’t suppose posting images of a woman far better looking than I’ll ever be will make them regret losing me much either.

Listen, single people, to the most important advice I’ll ever give: you can’t be concerned with getting back at your ex. That is rule number one of the single-lady bible. Your ex does not give shit about you anymore, if he ever did. Get used to it.

Move on.

Be happy.

And before you know it, your ex will be emailing to tell you he’s sad and lonely and still masturbates over pictures of you, even though he’s married with a baby on the way. And you’ll just laugh, eat your potato dauphinoise, and suck the fat off that chicken bone. Who needs Marilyn?

Part 135: Yoga

yoga

I’m not getting laid enough. It’s a real problem (if you don’t compare it to Ebola), and there’s no obvious solution. Especially now that I’ve decided one-night-stands are for losers, and stopped shagging my ex-boyfriend and all his mates due to spurious moral reasons such as the fact they’ve all got married and impregnated their wives.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but not having sex has serious physical and emotional side effects, such as frustration, insomnia and – as I was once reliably informed, by an obese Russian facialist – adult acne. You know when you see grown-ups with great cystic boils on their jaw line (such as, for example, me)? They’re not getting any. I can only conclude that acne is nature’s way of encouraging procreational activities, such as fucking, as if she hadn’t caused enough havoc with Earthquakes and droughts and hurricanes, the bitch.

But what’s one supposed to do? Tinder’s populated by a revolting pile of misfits and arseholes, I’m not paying £32 per month to meet progressive marathon runners on Guardian Soulmates and nobody approaches hot strangers in the material world anymore – in case you hadn’t noticed, this is not 2006. It’s 2015, give or take a few months, and we’re digital now; we’ve more or less completely transitioned to cyborg, particularly when it comes to romance.

So, instead of copulation, I’m spending a great deal of time in downward facing dog. Folded over with my spine rolled open, my pelvis tilted upwards and my heels stretching towards the floor; doing my ujjayi breath, in through the nose, out through the nose, my throat constricted so that I sound like the ocean. Alright, it’s not sex, but it is rather satisfying.

There are loads of things I love about yoga. That hour or so of total freedom, the calm, the escape from the tyranny of the internet, my banging body after six weeks of daily Ashtanga practice (I figure since I’m not actually having sex at the moment, I ought at least to look like someone you’d fantasise about doing it with).

But the main thing I love about yoga is yoga teachers. I love their stringy arms, their chiselled cheekbones and their benign, soothing, voices. ‘Everything’s gonna be alright’, they suggest, before flipping into a handstand so that their T-shirt slips down to reveal rock-hard abs. I love how they only expect you to do what you can do, and how their hands softly guide you to let go of the trauma you hold, in a tightly coiled wire of resentment, just below your shoulders.

Still, despite the practiced tranquillity they vibe, I’ve never yet met a yoga teacher who didn’t give the impression that they’re but a hair’s breadth away from the edge. These are people who have suffered terrible damage, massive emotional fallouts; they have only managed to claw their way back into civilised society by virtue of carbon-strength willpower and wholesale appropriation of Eastern mysticism. It’s a method I’m familiar with, due to currently implementing it myself.

Yoga teachers are proof that there is no better way to keep on keeping on through tough times than yoga. And that’s why I recommend it to you, single people – because I know that as winter draws in we’ll have a harder time keeping on that most. I mean, we’re fucking excellent copers, obviously. But the world is conspiring against us – releasing rom-coms, inviting us to weddings without a plus one, offering only 25% council tax reductions, despite the fact we are 50% fewer people than a couple. And sooner or later, it’s going to snow.

Yoga is just about the only thing we can rely on. Which is depressing, yes – but at least yoga is something substantial, which is more than can be said for sex, and indeed, for almost all the people, in this digital age.

Namaste.

*Image is “Yoga Pose Shows Relaxing Spirituality And Calm” by Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net.

Part 134: Frozen

Mind-the-Gap

They say that when you’re about to die, your life explodes before your eyes in a series of pictures – like scrolling through a photo album on Google Glass. Or else you’re visited by a long-deceased relative, who appears as a comforting apparition, smoky and translucent, reaching towards you with desperate, vaporous fingers. And I’ve also heard that you get to look at yourself from above, as if you were a bird or an angel, before traversing a great glowing cylindrical corridor, with a pinprick of oblivion flashing at its centre.

Terrifying stuff, which, I’ve discovered, is utter bollocks.

I had a near-death experience last week at Stratford station, and it was nothing like what they tell you.

There I was, boarding the tube, with a banana in my gob and an iPhone between my fingers, replying to a text message, when out of nowhere I slipped down the gap between the platform and the train.

Fucking gah!

I had matter of seconds to wrench myself out of the gap before the train pulled away and tore me to my death.

I stared the grim reaper right in the eye, paralysed with the banal absurdity of my finale – but there was no side-show of memories, no benevolent ghostly relatives, no bird’s-eye-view of London to ease me into the darkness. Awareness of my imminent death simply gave way to a pang of regret, and a single precise thought, that rang with the clarity Prophets claim they hear in the voice of God: ‘Fuck this!’ My thought went, ‘you haven’t seen Frozen yet.’

And because I didn’t want to die with that kind of regret looming over me, I was seized by a surge of super-human energy, which propelled me out of the gap and back onto the platform; back into the land of the living.

It was surprise that I was this shallow, of course. But then isn’t near-death designed to teach us important things about ourselves and others? That’s why deathbeds are fertile grounds for scandal. For example, my great-grandmother – a stern, sullen, tree of a woman who said little but always had a fag hanging from the corner of her mouth, with a long tapering build-up of ash threatening to fall off into her lap – sat up on hers and looked into the middle distance, ‘Freddie! At last!’ She rasped, ‘We’ll take our secret to the grave!’ And then she dropped dead; leaving us all to ponder who Freddie was, and whether that secret involved incest.

There’ll be no such revelations on my deathbed – and not just because I’ve shared all my secrets here, on the internet, with strangers like you. It turns out my waters don’t run deep enough for terrible secrets. They stop at Disney movies and swearing.

Frozen, it turns out, has a pretty baffling plot revolving around a princess, Elsa (later the Queen), who, for reasons to which we are not privy, has magical powers that allow her to freeze stuff and conjure up humorous, fat little snowmen. Although her magic is great fun at first, she soon becomes careless, accidentally freezes her sister’s brain during a late night snow-jam and becomes so terrified of her great and terrible powers that she locks herself inside her room, alone, for many years.

I won’t ruin the ending, but suffice to say there’s bare massive drama, before she comes out of hiding, saves the day and all is well by the time the closing credits roll.

The movie is a fable about embracing your quirks and learning to love and be loved in spite of them. I could relate to that message, and to many of Elsa’s less admirable personality traits. I have been known, for example, to spend long periods of time in my bedroom, and I once nearly killed my brother with my own divine powers (spite and reckless curiosity).

Do you see where I’m going with this? (Bonus points if you do, babe, because I’m not 100% sure yet).

My sudden urge to watch the movie, as I flayed, trapped against the tube-train and the hard, unyielding platform, might have been a divine intervention from God. ‘Let it go,’ God was possibly saying, ‘you can’t hate all the people for the rest of your life. You can’t isolate yourself from the world and the good men who live in it. You have to get a grip and learn to love again, despite the fact you’ve got problems.’

But if that was God’s Divine Plan, then He has proper screwed up. Because the princess was far more interesting when she was locked away in her castle, dismissing friendly advances from strangers and family members, than she was when she came home and started caring.

There is a reason why the most iconic scene of that movie involves Queen Elsa summoning a raging storm and telling everyone to go fuck themselves. Solitude with an undercurrent of anger is the hero’s way. Romance, as the Queen’s drippy little sister demonstrates, is for losers.

So sorry, God. Sorry Divine Powers who spoke to me as I straddled the precipice between this life and the next. You can’t change my mind with Disney Movies. The cold never bothered me anyway.

(Boom!)

*I stole the image, above, off the internet. Don’t bother suing, TFL – you’ve caused me enough stress, as you’ll hopefully have gleaned from the above.

Part 133: Other People

people

Have you met any people recently? New ones you aren’t obliged to tolerate for a salary? What a fucking nightmare – especially when you consider their voices, their body hair and their alarming propensity to cause disappointment, upset and embarrassment. No. Seriously. When they aren’t out-and-arseholes hiding beneath a thin veneer of charm and generosity, other people are wearing fancy dress, or posting #tbt Instagram pics of themselves in novelty Christmas jumpers, or banging their empty glass on the bar to attract the bartender’s attention.

And on the rare occasions when they’re neither scumbags nor absolute dorks on whom you must use your most neutral body language in order to avoid inciting sex, they only serve to enable your own terrible personality flaws. Consider: if it wasn’t for other people I would never have thrown up over that old man’s legs, or punched my aunty in the face, or been rejected by my mate Rob, that time I told him I was in love with him, after I crashed his date with another girl.

I’m done with all the people and their neuroses and addictions and ceaseless adherence to troubling and oppressive conventions such as marriage and property investment and not telling each other to go fuck themselves more often. I’m done with pretending I understand about baffling cultural products such as Shakespeare and the Simpsons and Reggae Reggae Sauce.

Solitude is well under-rated. I cannot think of any activity which isn’t more pleasant alone, in your house, with a bowl of lukewarm spaghetti and the X-factor playing at a low volume in the background – and all the people far, far away where you can love them, without having their proximity interfere with the relationship. (Loving people from a distance is easy; it’s up close that’s difficult – when they’re right there where you can’t smudge out the bad bits. Right there with their breath and their chewed up fingernails and their faces that won’t stop getting older.)

Of course, I realise that other people are essential for providing things such as healthcare, good company and table service, and thus I tolerate them to a point. But they’re everywhere, all these people, scuttling sideways like hard-shelled crabs, implicating you in their tragic decisions left and right, telling you about their respect for humanity and how much they love their mum and then cheating on their girlfriend with a prostitute. I am too old now to put up with any bullshit whatsoever. And so I’m slowly weeding out the worst of the people I already know, in order to cultivate a manageable friendship garden pollinated by flowers I don’t want to rip out of the ground and stamp into a fragrant pulp.

It’s very liberating, by the way, to sort friends, acquaintances and one time love interests into metaphorical heaps and decide which you’ll carry with you, and which you’ll leave behind, to fend for themselves, in the bleak years to come. In fact, it’s a very similar feeling to the one I got earlier this year, when I moved back to London and threw away almost all of my possessions in a mad fit of ‘fuck it, life’s too short and this crap is weighing me down.’

I’m light now. Lighter than air on a cloud. And, of course, I’m still on the market, if you’re interested. Tell your brothers, lock up your sons and, you know, for fuck sake, call me. Because solitude, like all things that aren’t yoga, is best practiced in moderation.

*Image from freedigitalphotos.net, as per.

Part 132: Post-Holiday Blues

post holiday

All good things come to an end. One minute, you’re in a speedboat, cocktail cruising – sipping champagne on a remote lake in deepest New England, with no phone or internet reception to ruin the vibes; the next you’re squeezing spots on the Piccadilly line, sobbing at the Great British Bake Off and blocking twitter profiles your ex-boyfriend has set up in his baffling, ceaseless attempt to solicit communication. Or else you’re swiping left on Tinder, eating anchovies from the jar and wondering out-loud whether a Moon Cup would make your periods a more or less pleasant experience. Real life is fucking exhausting, and it only stops for death, or, occasionally (but only if you’re very lucky indeed), brief vacations to international beauty spots.

I’m back and I’ve had it with my real life, especially now the summer’s just about over, which means no more exotic electric storms at 3 am, no more sleeping until midday (because only losers work from May-September), no more titillating retired neighbours with my garden-ready bikini body. We now return to work; to coats, scarves, biker boots and to freezing sideways rain until next summer, which will come around soon enough, although the inevitable breakout of World War Three will no doubt put a right dampener on bikini-wearing come 2015.

I am not coping well, post-holiday.

I am no good at endings. As I well know from the horrific break-up that led, in a round-about way, to the creation of this blog.

How long does it take normal people to get over things? It’s more than two weeks since I got back from holiday and I’m still blue; it’s almost twelve years since I laid eyes on my first proper boyfriend and I still occasionally dream about him, sexually. And my last proper boyfriend – that was a long time ago now, too. I am not going to tell you how long because it’ll freak me out, but if you were watching a documentary and a woman of my age, with my pert breasts and big blue eyeballs, told you that she’d been single for as long as I have, and that her heart was still broken – with a hairline crack, just visible, right down the middle – you’d tweet about it, and mention it to colleagues in hushed, incredulous tones, instead of filling in important spread sheets, or filing important reports, or whatever it is you do, the next day at work.

‘It’s time to move on, Kate’, I tell myself, about the holidays and the men and the frenemies I keep shedding. ‘Maybe if you left the house today you’d meet the love of your life.’ And then I roll over and fall sleep with my mouth open and little bit of dribble oozing onto the pillow. Or I put on another episode of Dance Moms and congratulate myself because at least if I never have children, I’ll never put them through that. Or I do leave the house, but only for dreadful social obligations held in venues where the love of my life would not be seen dead.

Yes, some people are capable of getting over holidays ending; the same people who get over heartbreak and rejection at Olympic speed. These people are able to look at an ultrasound of their ex-boyfriend’s soon-to-be-born baby without it causing actual physical pain, just below the sternum – they bounce from lover to lover as if none of it meant anything in the first place. And maybe they’re right. Maybe other people are just there to provide a conveyor belt of regular sex, targeted resentment and financial support. You return from holiday, you book another. You lose a lover, you find a lover. It’s almost beautiful in its simplicity.

But not for me. For me, it’s complicated, and ugly. My tan hasn’t faded, my heart hasn’t healed and I know from experience that embarking on anything means misery, somewhere down the line. It’s better not to bother, I’ve started to believe, than to enter into situations (holidays, relationships, dinners in restaurants where main courses are priced above £30) which will inevitably serve only to highlight how depressing your real life is. Why would I want to spend two weeks in five-star luxury, with housekeeping and fresh-cut flowers I don’t have to water, when the other 50 weeks involve mouldering bedside crockery and dirty knickers at the bottom of my handbag? Why would I want to lie curved into my lover with the covers thrown off, when that lover is bound to fuck off with a better behaved girl and get her pregnant sooner or later; leaving me to die all alone, with images of his unborn child burned onto my retinas?

I wouldn’t.

And that’s why I’m still single. In case you were wondering.

* Image is “Sunset Over Mountain And Sea” by samuiblue at freedigitalphotos.net.

Holiday. Celebrate.

bikini

Dahlinks. That picture, above, that’s MY passport and MY bikini. I’m off on holiday, where there will be cocktails, fresh water to bathe in and at least one good-looking man who doesn’t want to have sex with me. I can’t fucking wait.

My holiday does, of course, mean that I shan’t be posting here for a couple of weeks, which I’m sorry about – but not that sorry. If you find yourself missing me you might like to browse my archives for posts from last summer, or else, listen to Dizzie Rascal’s Holiday, which is my tune of the moment.

I’ll try to bring back hilarious anecdotes with which to thrill and arouse you, but I’m promising nothing.

Ciao for now.x