Part 148: Fox Sex

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At the bottom of my garden lives an extended family of foxes. I’m not sure how many there are down there exactly, but at the end of last summer – as I fell out of a taxi one balmy September dawn – I counted nine of the brutes roaming about the street, casually tearing into dustbins, discarded kebabs and small household pets. I tripped over the pavement and scrabbled for door keys at the bottom of my handbag, and they stopped momentarily to appraise me, before turning back, unbothered, to their scavenged feasts.

The foxes that live in my garden are not the fat, healthy, wholesome creatures of Disney movie, Attenborough documentary and Animals of Farthing Wood fame. They are rangy and skeletal, with matted, patchy fur, missing teeth and filmy, glaucomic eyes. They are often unsteady on their feet; injured and bloody, dragging a lame leg behind them as though they have just lost a bar-fight and downed couple of whiskies to take the edge off. Although they are nominally nocturnal, I have, on occasion, spotted them stumbling above ground to sleep off a hangover in a shaft of mid-morning sunlight. I get the feeling that if I lit up a crafty Mayfair and offered to twos them, the foxes at the end of my garden would be well pleased, and accept without delay.

Whenever there is an intermittent media panic about the explosion of the urban fox population – when one is rumoured to have savaged a baby or left a stinky, disease-riddled deposit on a suburban doorstep – I am, without question, on the foxes’ side. I am quite happy to live cheek by jowl with these sly, debauched beasties who remind me of a better, wilder version of myself.

Except for the sex.

Have I not mentioned the sex?

They have loads of it. All the time. Furious, uninhibited love-making that climaxes in a screaming, orgasmic intensity that I haven’t known since that friend of a friend back in 2008 – who might have been excellent in bed, but who was also evasive and tedious and has recently grown a beard and impregnated an office worker, thereby solidifying his position as a man who nobody hot will ever fuck again. More’s the pity.

I try not to envy the sex lives of my foxy neighbours, on the grounds that jealousy directed at feral, flea-bitten animals, routinely slaughtered by home-made traps and posh people on horseback, is potentially a mental health issue. But it’s hard. Because despite their myriad difficulties, there are perils of modern dating that foxes just don’t have to contend with – which is why they have hot sex with such abandon so often. (Unlike, for example, me.)

Foxes do not have to deal with man buns, beards hosting visible breadcrumbs, Tinder, misjudged teenage tattoos spoiling an otherwise flawless physique, dick-pics, jokes that might have been racist but you weren’t really listening so you can’t quite tell, amateur rappers, finding yourself without contact-lens solution on a one-night-stand, whatsapp, the half-my-age-plus-seven rule, pubic hair grooming, grandparents who just want you to find a nice bloke and settle down, hyper-masculinity, fractured Freudian dreams, sex-toys, the institution of marriage, condoms, six weeks of radio silence and then a text that says ‘hey. How’s things?’, Valentines’ Day, Match.com, Calvin Harris tweeting pictures of Taylor Swift in hot-pants, the morning after pill, being invited to weddings without a plus one, Nando’s.

When you think about it, you can hardly blame them. Foxes have it sorted. Even if they do keep me up all night with their carnal indulgences, so that I sleep through my alarm with frightening frequency (fox sex is not, by the way, a valid excuse when you’re late for work). After all, who wouldn’t be shagging left, right and centre if you removed the social and psychological torture of romantic relations and kept it all about the orgasms and bodily fluids?

What I’m saying then, is that, in the next life (God if you’re listening, now’s the time to pay close attention), I’ll be an urban fox please. Although, let’s get real: I already am.

*The image that accompanies this article is from badtaxidermy.com. It’s called ‘deranged fox’. Which is a pretty excellent title. I might use it, if I ever write an autobiography.

Part 147: Social Mobility

Like most British people with time on their hands and no sexual partners to waste it with, I spend a lot of my life thinking about class identity. Because I speak like an EastEnders regular – all glottal stops, dropped aitches and harsh, unforgiving character assassinations – everyone assumes I’m working class. And, to be fair, there are certainly indications that I might be. I lost my virginity on a council estate, I call my grandmother ‘Nan’, I’ve eaten tinned rollmops, and there were at least three girls called Charlene in every class at my school.

But people move on, things change, and nowadays describing myself as ‘working class’ feels a bit disingenuous. After all, I work at a Russell Group university, have friends who went to Harrow, and sometimes, at meetings, I start sentences with a passive-aggressive, ‘I think you’ll find’ – rather than smashing up the board-room and directly telling my colleagues that they are wrong, and also, possibly, morons.

It’s been a long hard slog – from a sink estate in Thamesmead to the hallowed halls of a 1950s red-brick. I’ve stumbled over the class barrier and, mostly, I fit right in. I air my dirty laundry in a sex blog, stave off alcoholism with occasional periods of abstinence, and send thank-you notes to minor acquaintances at every opportunity. There are still occasions when I stand around baffled – unsure whether I’m being insulted or complimented by strangers who tell me my outfit is ‘fun’. But the food is better at parties, I know more people called Dominic and I groom my body hair far less often.

The only real drawback to social mobility, so far as I can tell, is the men. There is a crisis of masculinity, and it has reached its peak with middle class millennials, who just won’t let you know whether they want to fuck you until your eyes bleed, or leave promptly and swiftly erase your number from their phone – or perhaps, kind of, both. They aren’t quite sure – could they maybe think about it and get back to you next week, or in a couple of months, when they’ve talked it over with their sister and possibly, their Dad?

The middle class is exclusively populated by men who cycle around on fixie-bikes, with tight trousers and over-sized beards, like an archetypal butch from a 1970s gay porn movie. Or else ones who leave the house dressed in un-ironed combats and ancient converse, wearing a faded t-shirt with a 90s cartoon character printed on the back.

For fuck’s sake, aspirational 1980s parents. What were you doing to your boys?

I’m not saying that there aren’t cunts among the working classes. I’ve definitely had my fill of the unreconstructed South East London lager lout – with his gym fixation, close personal relationship with his mother and an ounce of skunk hidden in the glove compartment. But at least they’ve always got quick wit and predilection for danger, and – so long as you aren’t married to them – will let you know outright when they’ve expended their sexual interest in you, and wish to move onto pastures new.

There is nothing less sexy than middle-class British politeness. Which is why the heterosexual middle classes are mostly joyless and ambitious – with haggard young women attending luncheons in beige two-pieces and portly, blustering husbands ‘working late’ over dinner with a perma-tanned escort.

For those of us who grew up in Woolwich, showing our nipples to potential love interests for drinks, romantic subtlety is not a thing that can learned by mere exposure. It doesn’t matter how many times you try, we do not get when understated flattery is an indication of supressed lust, and when it is a glib, insincere utterance borne of an awkward conversational lull, which indicates your questionable breeding.

We just want you to ask us out, or to stop talking. Just stop talking. And fuck us. Please. Because in less than a decade’s time our wombs will have dried up like crispy autumn leaves in a heat-wave, and there will be no babies. And we’ll have to have sex for pleasure rather than procreation, like plebs – which would defeat the object of transcending the working class in the first place.

ANNA: A (Short) Movie

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I’ve got this friend called Tom, who is 6’2 with piercing blue eyes and a caramel-smooth English accent, which hasn’t even a twang of the US, despite the fact he has lived in LA for near enough a decade. He spends most of his time drinking mojitos and basking in the Californian sunshine. (The dickhead.) But don’t hate him too much, because he has also been working very hard, writing movies in between Skyping to offer advice on my tragic love life.

It is no surprise, what with my influence, that Tom’s latest short film, ANNA, is all about a relationship that goes terribly wrong. He has put an incredible team together and it is going to be amazing.

Tom is currently crowd-funding for ANNA, and because he has been such a brilliant friend to me (what with the romantic advice and the trips to LA and the lakeside holidays and the Bloody Marys and that time he played me La Roux’s Bulletproof to stop me crying about my ex again) I said I would write about it on my blog and ask readers to donate, pretty please, if you have any spare cash and like the concept. (And it’s the least you can do, what with having milked the fruits of my creative labour for free these past three years.)

If you’d like to check out Tom’s campaign and maybe pledge some money to help get the film made, you can find it by clicking here.

Peace out.

Part 146: Having it All

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I used to have this friend who would always, without fail, begin our conversations by asking whether I had ‘met a man yet’. She didn’t want to know about one-night stands, or unwise trysts with moronic ex-boyfriends or drunken text messages I might or might not have sent my sister’s old housemate. Those were things she thoroughly disapproved of. She would shake news of them from her consciousness with a judgemental wince, and turn to more wholesome matters, such as the baby she hoped one day to have, and the other baby, that she wanted me to have concurrently.

She wasn’t really bothered about my brilliant progress at work, or my fabulous holiday on the lake, or the Peruvian restaurant I had recently discovered in deepest, darkest Shoreditch, which, by the way, makes the most perfect pisco sours. (Although, to be fair, she was always willing to compliment even the most unflattering haircut.)

My friend only wanted to know whether I had met ‘the one’, by which she meant the ideal romantic partner, whom I could love and marry and breed with, in the manner of an uncomplicated, heteronormative nightmare.

The answer was always, ‘no’. And the response was always stoical pity. She’d smile bracingly and tilt her head, as though I were bravely relaying news of a terminal cancer diagnosis. Which really fucking pissed me off seeing as how her life was hardly a thing to envy, what with the job she hated and the retinue of needy, vacuous friends, and the ongoing health problems.

Not that I’m bitter.

The thing my friend always failed to realise was that a relationship is just one panel in life’s complicated tapestry. And no matter how fortunate you are, there will always be at least one panel that looks as though it has been stitched by a vengeful, drunken madman.

If you have happened upon a hot, straightforward husband with a massive penis and a jawline to slice cured meats with, that is excellent news. No doubt you will place your love life at the centre of your existence – because come on, who the fuck wouldn’t. But some of us will have better breasts than you, or bigger houses, or mothers who love us, and we will place those at the centre, and they will look just as lovely. You can’t have it all, so you just have to enjoy the bits that are working out, and face the bits that aren’t with good humour and well-mixed cocktails.

And if you are lucky enough that your work and your family, your health and your love life, your friends and your finances and your holiday plans are all in order (in which case, what are you doing here babe?) – be humble, and grateful too. Because the one thing I can guarantee is that there will always be something unexpected, lurking around the corner, waiting to fuck it all up. You might, for example, emigrate to China with your long-term boyfriend, and your mutual friends might congratulate you for ‘following your dream hun’. But when you get there he might spend the entire adventure sending secret, sexually charged, increasingly deranged missives to his ex-girlfriend – who he’s probably still in love with, although what it would take for him to admit it is anybody’s guess. Then again, maybe he’s just a cunt. Either way you’ll both die twisted and unfulfilled, if it carries on like this. For example.

The good news, of course, is that even though we can’t have it all – even though there will inevitably be a looming shit-storm waiting to capsize your entire ship, there is also bound to be a silver lining. An expertly crafted centimetre of the tapestry that was likely sewn by God, on one of his benevolent days. You might not have a faithful boyfriend, or a baby, or any money in the bank. But at the very least you’ll have a bottle of super-strength cider and cold, hard slab of pavement where you can lay your tired bones. Which is something. And any something is worth holding on to in a world that is more or less indifferent to your suffering.

As ever I’m advising that you, like me, look on the bright side. (Yesterday for instance, I was told by an inebriated homeless man that my jumper looked ‘wicked’. And this made my day, what with the homeless rarely bestowing sartorial compliments on passersby). And, as ever, I’m asking that the single among you consider asking me out, because I’ve just read back over this post and I definitely need to get laid.

*Image is from freedigitalphotos.net, it’s “Building And Car With Stitch Style On Fabric Background” by basketman. Or as I like to call it, ‘life’s tapestry’, you get me?

Part 145: This Blog

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Birthdays are alarming events. They exist only to smash you in the face with life’s brevity. For reasons I’ve yet to care enough about to google, we have ritualised an annual reminder that, guess what, we’re getting old and will definitely die one day. Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, you might want to think about how you’re the only one of your secondary school peers still to procreate. No really. Those girls you used to drink Bacardi Breezers with, even though you secretly hated them – the ones who had bigger hips and better looking faces and more satisfying sex lives than you (which is to say, sex lives) – are mothers to teenage offspring now. That’s biologically possible.

I don’t have offspring. No babies, just a blog. And, on Friday, this blog will turn three. (Three! Can you believe it? Where the fuck has the time gone?! Doesn’t it look just like its mummy now?) If it were a baby, instead of a blog, with fat biteable cheeks and dinky hors d’oeuvre hands, I could post an album on Facebook charting its development. I could caption a series of Instagram pics with saccharine but sincere declarations about how it has changed my life. But it’s not a baby. It’s a blog, and I’m wondering where we go from here.

‘But why are you still single?’ Several people (most of them men wanting casual sex) have asked me recently. ‘You’re gorgeous, funny, intelligent, self-sufficient and excellent company. And you have incredible boobs. It doesn’t make any sense,’ they tell me. As if I didn’t know that already.

And of course, part of the answer is: because I want to be. There is freedom that comes with independence. With doing it for yourself instead of hanging onto the oversized beard of some arsehole just because you’re scared of being all alone.

Though of course, I’m a human. A grown woman at her sexual peak who wouldn’t mind meeting a man she can trust and making one of those fat little babies. Especially since last week, when I watched a David Attenborough documentary in which he told me that having babies is the actual meaning of life. So, another answer to the perennial ‘but why are you single?’ is that this blog is potentially to blame.

I mean, would you want to date someone if you knew that, with any wrong move, you might be exposed as a loser to literally dozens of people? I would not. And psychologically, I am not certain that writing about how I love being all alone is that brilliant for me any more. I’ve got myself convinced, which means I am totally unavailable and aloof. Distantly alluring, but cold and unattainable, like the archetypal ice-queen.

It was great at first, when I needed to get over a relationship that hurt me and my frenemies were all telling me that I’d have to ‘get under someone else’ to do so. But now that I’m over it (and have dumped the judgemental friends into the bargain): not so much.

Which is all a round-about way of telling you that I’m going to take a break for a bit. Just until the end of May. Just to let the blossoms bloom on the branches of the trees. Just to give my mind a rest and my heart a minute to open up – and then I’ll be back, in June, at the start of summer, with my breasts out and my disdain for all things in tact, but softened maybe. Healed but visible, like a scar.

Until then, my loves.x

*Image is “Birthday Cake” by tiverylucky at freedigitalphotos.net

Part 144: Alcoholism

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Does an alcoholic drink every day? Is that the measure? Or not? Are there ones who – just to pluck a random example right out of the air that I, of course, have no first-hand experience of – don’t touch the stuff all weekend but are unable to drink a couple of Pisco sours over dinner with friends on a Monday night without coming home and doing half a bottle of whisky (on the rocks) while watching Seinfeld?

Is an alcoholic someone who always drinks a lot of alcohol, or someone who just wants to? For example, if you think about alcohol all the time, about the cold, sharp twang of a good white wine, about the tart, salty sting of a well-mixed margarita, about that heady, oblivion-like aliveness you feel only after a bottle and half of Prosecco, are you an alcoholic, or are you, simply, human?

If one is unable to drink a single gin and tonic without wanting to finish off the entire drinks cabinet, is one an alcoholic, or is one, simply, good fun?

It seems to me, after many years on the social scene, that there are only two types of people it is worth spending time with: those who drink fucking shit loads, and those who don’t drink anything. You need to swing definitively one way or the other. There is nothing more tedious than an adult so in control of an evening that they are able to drink a pint and a half of lager and catch the last train home, without offending anybody at all.

Have you ever been to a party where the host had a couple of glasses, but stayed more or less sober and expected everybody to leave by 11pm? I have, and it was shit.

Why would one want the company of a person so well-behaved, so entirely lacking in spontaneity, that they have not spent an entire Saturday vomiting into the porcelain toilet-bowl of a near-stranger since their teens? Who can say they’ve lived a life worthy of note if they’ve never woken in unfamiliar surroundings, sans contact lenses, unable to spot other living beings, or, indeed, the door?

The well-behaved, the nice polite folks who practice only sober pre-dawn partying have nothing whatsoever to teach us. Unless they are abstaining for religious reasons, or in possession of such self-control that they’ve given up and never since touched a drop.

We all know by now that alcoholics can write novels, hold down marriages and pursue high-powered executive jobs. They can raise emotionally damaged children as well as your average responsible drinker. But, what I want to know, is whether there are there alcoholics who can go a couple of weeks drinking moderately – just a glass or two of Merlot, a tequila chaser here or there, and in bed by midnight – but then have a blowout of seven, or maybe ten, after all who’s counting, martinis with twist, before collapsing on the pavement outside Soho House?

I only ask because, despite the benefits of spending your leisure time completely off your face, you probably still don’t really want to be an alcoholic, or date one. After all, there are a significant proportion of them who suffer serious health problems and die prematurely in horrific circumstances. Which isn’t ideal. But then again, life’s about compromise – and if I know one thing, I know this: you’ll need a drink to get you through.

*Image is Download “Drunken” by Naypong at freedigitalphotos.net.