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.

Part 143: Heterosexual Married Men

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I don’t want to imply that there’s no point whatsoever to heterosexual married men. That would be unfair. I’m sure some of them are quite good at their jobs, for example. And I’m willing to admit they are necessary – for impregnating wives, mowing the lawn, paying plumbers in cash, sustaining the golfing industry, getting the car washed, indulging in extra-marital affairs they will come to regret and so on. Socially speaking, however, they’re redundant. Certainly, they have no business whatsoever spending time in places where single heterosexual women hang out, and talking to us.

Let me make this quite clear to those married men who might be reading: when we’re all dolled up, out on the tiles with our cleavage packaged alluringly in satin, clutching an expensive cocktail in our newly manicured paws, we do not want to talk to you. When we’re at the supermarket, bulk-buying quavers, our leggings clinging to our peachy buttocks as we reach for the Tropicana, we do not want to talk to you. When we’re chatting up your mate, running our fingers over the lapel of his suit jacket, laughing giddily while looking him right in the eye, we do not want to talk to you. You are nothing to us; you are there, inevitably, but individually you are alike and forgettable, like dust particles, or pigeons.

It’s not that we’re bitches. Although it’s likely that we are. We’re more than happy to congratulate you on the birth of your firstborn or ask you about your weekend, over the water-cooler at work. In most circumstances we’ll be polite, friendly and accommodating. But don’t get it twisted. You should know that we don’t care about your jokes, your hobbies or your opinions on the economy. We might pretend that we do, because social conditioning means we’re programmed to act outwardly inferior to men who’ve had their confidence inflated by a woman making a public commitment to provide blow-jobs on tap. But we don’t. We have our regular retinue of female and homosexual male pals to offer hilarity, social commentary and networking opportunities. Heterosexual men are for flirting with in anticipation of sex. And if you’re married we are going to feel bad about doing that.

I’m not suggesting that marriage necessitates your becoming a recluse. By all means, head out with your boys to the gym or a ‘nightclub’ or a football match. By all means, invite your existing female friends to the pub and challenge them to game of pool in order to neutralise the bubbling sexual tension. By all means, take your wife out to dinner and make feeble witticisms at the waiting staff. But on absolutely no account whatsoever are you to approach a single woman when she is out in public and behave as if your charisma is reward enough. It is not – unless you are uniquely charismatic, like Jack Nicholson or Jesus. Which you aren’t.

It’s not that we single women want to sleep with everything that moves. Although some of us do. It’s more that we want our social relations to carry a frisson of possibility that it is simply not possible to create with a married person. We put up with our married female friends because we know there will be a time when our lives are back on a level playing-ground; they’ll get divorced or we’ll get married and we’ll find each-other’s company bearable once again. And sure, at that point, once we’re married ourselves, things will be different. Once I’m married you can invite me to dinner parties and we’ll argue about the merits of the public vs the private school system, until my husband takes me home because I’ve become shrill and obnoxious after too much port. I might grow to like you then, and regard you as a friend. But that’s the fictional future.

Right now, my life is hard enough, even though I spend seventy percent of it sleeping. I have no idea what I am supposed to talk about with heterosexual men who there is no possibility of my ever having sex with. There is no guidance for that in popular culture (unless they’re a manual worker doing labour at your house, in which case, offer them tea). I suppose you do get the odd one that’s into theatre or The Sopranos, but they tend to have that annoying habit of banging on about the factual minutiae of their interests as if you haven’t got a PhD.

Right now, the only concern I have with married men is meeting their eligible bachelor mates. Because how’s a girl supposed to write a sex blog if she never has sex?

*Image is “Young Couple Sitting On Sofa” by imagerymajestic at freedigitalphotos.net.

Part 142: Endless Endings

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I’m shit at break-ups. Like most people, I’m selfish, bitter, resentful and insecure – especially when some cad has fucked me over. Like most people, magnanimity is not my gut reaction to the violent severance of once-tender bonds. I’ve been known to indulge in weeks or months of self-pity, break-up sex and desperate drunken text messages that can only wield disaster. Just the usual. Move along please, nothing new to see here.

But it isn’t the initial distress that’s the worst thing about break-ups. The heartbreak and all that, that’s just part of life. We learn from it, we grow and we become something better than whatever it is we were before – something stronger, sharper, hotter.

The worst thing about break-ups is ex-partners who just won’t fuck off and leave us alone. Even when we’ve explicitly told them that that’s precisely what they should do. Ex-partners who can’t comprehend that it is far more romantic to let us miss them and wonder what might have been, than it is to stalk us, like the wild-eyed protagonist of some predictable thriller movie. Ex partners who, from the moment we try to excavate ourselves from their lives, cling to us, like barnacles to a slimy rock-face.

I’m talking a small but significant retinue of men – ex-boyfriends, blokes I had one night stands with, friends I snogged at a house party in 2008 – who contact me on a regular basis, years later, just for… I’m not sure what it is they want. To check I’m alive? To suss out whether sex might be on the cards, ever again, at some point in the future? To plug an emotional gap that their current/recently terminated relationships no longer fills?

Do they even know, these ghostly ex-lovers, emitting nonchalant, sexually charged platitudes, what they want, when they message me in the dead of night, their backs turned in the half-dark against wives and girlfriends and new-born children? Do they know what they want as they clutch at the gossamer wisps of the past via Facebook and whatsapp, Twitter and email, text messages and the comments section of this blog?

I don’t flatter myself that the break-up behaviour of my exes is any sign of my innate desirability. Years of singledom have stripped my ego bare in that department. The hot-backed boys I want to sleep with flock away like startled birds at the first flutter of my eyelashes. I do not get new romances very far off the ground before they crash and burn like a Virgin space mission. I have looked in the mirror and Cindy Crawford has not looked back (physically, I’d say I’m a cross between Kathy Burke, Audrey Hepburn and Bianca out of EastEnders). But it does appear I endure, after you’ve been there and seen it without make-up.

It’s well beyond your common or garden variety break-up insanity, this behaviour my exes exhibit. It is not the kind of crazy that stops somewhere between a week and a year after you part ways, depending on the depth and length of the romantic connection. It’s the other kind of break-up insanity – the kind that never ends. Ever. Probably not even after you’re both dead.

I find this terrifying.

Especially at night, when I can’t sleep. Especially when I attempt to soothe myself back to slumber by googling notorious murder cases. Will this be me one day – a Wikipedia entry, finally, but only because I’ve been hacked down or strangled by a rabid, snarling version of a man I once desired? Because isn’t that what they do, these men who won’t leave women alone, in the end?

Or maybe I do flatter myself. It could be that my mates are correct and I am, after all, a narcissistic drama queen. Perhaps it isn’t only me. Perhaps this is just how men behave now, once they’ve slept with you and eschewed long-term commitment. It is entirely possible that this is a technique they learn at some etiquette school for bastards. The endless reminder that, guess what, he’s still here, and you slept with him once.

Ostensibly benign text messages out of the blue, with no indication of the motivation behind them. And then, a sexually charged email, followed by abuse, followed by silence, ad nauseam, until the end of time.

This is not okay, men of the world. Life has moved on, my darlings, and we’re different people now, with longer pubic hair, full-time jobs and killer fingernails. You need emotional articulacy and clear motivations if you’re going to stay in our lives.

And so my answer to that perennial question, ‘but why are you single?’, has to be: ‘break-ups, babe. I can’t fucking handle ‘em.’

*Image is “Mussels And Barnacles” by Karen Shaw (see what I did there?) from freedigitalphotos.net

Part 141: Danish Sperm Donors

Sperm attack

Let’s face it, when I do eventually find a man who loves me back he’s not going to be hot like a Danish sperm donor. Have you seen them? All dreamy, creamy skin and fair hair and blue eyes that pierce you like a Californian sky. The descendants of Vikings. They’re wiry and muscular, or else built and outdoorsy; men who look like they could withstand a storm and erect a shelter from the debris after. And they’re so considerate as well; considered and considerate, articulate and kind. I think kindness is the main thing I want in a sperm donor, which is why no one I’ve slept with up until now has been in the running for father of my children.

Danish sperm donors, according to a programme I caught the tail-end of last week, are the last word in artificial insemination. Not only are they hotter than your average date, but the sperm comes cut-price, on ice and ready for insertion. It was all I could do to stop myself ordering several vials for immediate fertilisation purposes. Yes, there is every possibility I might end up with a child who has a few hundred siblings, and thus – what with the world getting smaller – a distinct possibility of one day having sex with his or her own brother. But that’s a small price to pay, and anyway I could warn my children of the dangers, or bring them up in a religion that advocates celibacy. Or one of those cults where they’re only permitted to shag the charismatic, elderly leader, who would at least have the advantage of definitely not being related to them by blood. I’ve thought it all through.

Not that I’m ethically down with sperm donation. We’re falling into the seas as it is. You can hardly move for bodies on the DLR in the morning. I watched a programme last night about the crowds at Victoria Coach Station and it was clear that we’re all fucked unless a lot of us die and even more of us stop breeding. But, like everyone, I don’t want to forfeit my life or my gene pool to save the world. I’m not going to top myself for ecological reasons. I’ll leave that to other suckers. And I’m not going to adopt an orphan either. The thought of a brand new baby that looks like me and hot bloke I’ll never meet is more appealing than the thought of a malnourished toddler who someone else has already fucked up. I want to damage my own children, ta very much, no matter the consequences for society, or, indeed, my children themselves.

So it looked like it was going to be Danish sperm, for a couple of days, until I thought about it properly and changed my mind. I know I have the outward appearance of a sensible, stable adult; a serious job, crows’ feet, shoes I can run for the bus in. I drink Martinis with a twist. I can cook a banging kleftiko lamb and I occasionally attend dinner parties hosted by enigmatic homosexuals in renovated townhouses. But that’s all an illusion. Behind closed doors I’m a mess. I live in my parent’s spare bedroom amongst wet towels and mouldering crockery. I still eat quavers. My phone bill is regularly more than £150, despite the fact I have unlimited minutes and a dwindling circle of friends. Last Friday I passed out drunk on the pavement next to Soho House. I may very well be unemployed come the end of the summer. Now is not the time to bring a child into the mix.

And that’s always the problem with life. Now is just never really the time to do anything that requires commitment to another person who might make you deal with your shit, or clean up theirs. Which is why I’m avoiding babies, and, of course, men. Unless you can find me a Danish one. They’re well fit.

*Image is “Sperm Attack” by jscreationzs at freedigitalphotos.net.