You’d think we’d learn, innit? You can have too much of a good thing – even when that good thing is accomplished at sex and has a proper gorgeous chiselled jaw line that you can plunk softest kisses along. But, as evidenced by Channel 4’s decision to play Come Dine With Me back-to-back whenever there’s a gap in the schedule, we do not learn. We find a good a thing and then we just rinse it for all it’s worth, until what was once a pleasure becomes a painful reminder of life’s lengthy tedium and we are forced, once again, to turn to alcohol or narcotics to numb our senses against the horrifying blandness of the concrete existence we have created.
Nothing is worse for one’s popularity than overexposure. Except, perhaps, halitosis.
Take Emeli Sandé, who, when she appeared at the Olympic closing ceremony, was a revelation to me. I had absolutely no idea who she was. Actually, that’s a lie. I did have some idea who she was; as we gathered round the telly, like a proper family – even though a third of it are gay - I cooed ‘Oooh look – it’s Pink! I love Pink! I’d have sex with Pink; I love her hair – it’s just like mine!’ Until my brother shot me one of those glances you shoot men with a loudspeaker and a Bible and an insatiable need to tell you about Jesus and said, ‘that’s not Pink. Look at her. She’s black.’
He was right.
I was like: wow.
This was amazing. An English* version of Pink, with better vocals. Emeli was on her way to securing a fan.
And then she made herself a permanent fixture in my life; appearing everywhere like that friend of a friend who turns up at events you ‘forgot’ to invite her to. And I started to hate Emeli Sandé; more than a little bit.
I found myself longing for the time when I had no idea who Emeli Sandé was. She had become so ubiquitous that I actually started to wonder whether she was stalking me, via the mediums of radio and television, like some digital hot-lady version of that fat bloke who used to follow me home back in the day when I was a barmaid and wore skirts so short that old, fat men presumed I was gagging for it (I wasn’t. I was nineteen and boasted a wardrobe full of translucent t-shirts and a pert pair of D-cup boobies. I was fine for sex, thanks). And I still couldn’t tell you a single song she sings, or anything about her at all except that, like me, she has less than flawless skin and amazing hair (celebrities must rue the day our insatiable appetite for realism led to the invention of HD). Mind you, as I type these words, I realise that I haven’t seen Emeli for some weeks – her absence serves only to reveal the contrariness of the human condition: I have started to miss her.
In a relationship, particularly in a relationship where you are very very attracted to your partner, you are Emeli Sandé. At the start, you are a comely and intriguing character who probably reminds your lover of someone famous, or an acquaintance they’ve admired but been unable have sex with in the past, or an ex who dumped them, or – in rare but alarming cases – their mum. It will be very sexy and exciting, and you are likely to feel giggly and girlish and acquire a revived sense of the world’s wonder.
In a few short months though, you’ll morph into the relationship equivalent of the mould growing between the folds of the shower curtain in their bathroom. Your existence in their life will come to symbolise, not the enduring other-worldly love they hold for you, but their lack of motivation to engage in the effort necessary to scour unpleasant things from the household.
Relationships are the worst for over exposure. Which is why people in long term ones are so often either miserable or drunk or fat.
I know you don’t want to hear it babe, but the unfortunate fact of the matter is that you are very likely to become repulsive to your object of affection if they don’t first become repulsive to you.
One day the love of your life will wake up, stare at the slack, gormless expression on your sleeping face and decide enough is enough. Pastures new, even pastures fertilised with gonorrhea and sprouting small children, are preferable to the tedium you have created, by no fault of your own, just by loving them and being available and uncomplicated and nice.
At this point, they are likely to indulge in illict sex with someone else, and then hide it from you. And then, once you find out – especially if you’re sensible and remove yourself from their company as a result – they might totally fuck with your head by realising that they loved you all along.
This is one of the many reasons why I do not advocate niceness as a quality one should nurture.
Faced with the reality that I have offered above you have three realistic options. The first is to pursue romantic relationships regardless, and to deal with the inevitable heartbreak by anesthetising yourself with the alcohol and narcotics I mentioned in the opening paragraph. The second is to only pursue relationships with people you don’t really fancy, who will hand over the power by loving you more than you love them. The third is to stay single and pursue a hobby, which, when the inevitable tedium occurs, you will be able to trade for a more interesting option without causing or being subject to heartbreak.**
It should be obvious that I want you to select option three.
It’s literally common sense.
Although, before taking my advice and applying it to your life, you might want to bear in mind that I am potentially broken inside.
*I have since learned that she’s Scottish. But I had no way of knowing that at the time.
**There is, it occurs to me, a fourth option, which involves rejecting monogamy and embracing what is commonly referred to as an ‘open’ relationship. I am not liberal enough to offer this option in the main body of my argument, but I offer it as footnote – just in case you are liberal enough to feel like using it.