Part 61: Christmas Tingles

I know! I know! It’s still technically October (unless you’re reading this tomorrow, or the day after, or from the other side of the equator where it’s November already); what the fuck am I thinking of reminding you that before you’ve got used to four o’clock night time and sleeping with a hot water bottle to warm away the bitter chill, it’ll be snowy Christmas: season of pine trees, little tiny oranges, present buying obligations that cause your bank account to haemorrhage cash and obligatory family gatherings where you drink all the cheap champagne and call your mum a cunt over dry turkey dinner (or maybe that’s just me)?

So yes, I know what you’re thinking, but still I can’t help it.

The leaves are turning russet coloured and moulting from trees like the fur of a shaggy pup in summer. The hands of the clock of my life are whizzing forwards at a speed reminiscent of those late 80s time-travel movies. The festive season will be upon us soon.

But not that soon, which is all good.

Anticipation is the most fabulous part of scheduled pleasure, and there’s plenty of time for indulging in the anticipatory buzz that I like to call ‘Christmas Tingles’ before December arrives and you have to start shopping for tat under a fiver that won’t offend your friends enough to get you scratched off their Xmas card list in 2013.

Of course, if crazy people’s interpretations of Mayan fortune telling are to be believed there won’t be a Christmas 2013 anyway. Which is quite depressing if the thought of annihilation causes you anxiety (personally, I’m over that). To me, the alleged Mayan prediction of a 2012 apocalypse on 21st December is all the more reason to embrace the Christmas Tingles. After all, this might be the last chance you get.

If you’re having trouble getting excited about Christmas it’s for one of two reasons. Either you are a miserable jaded old scrooge, or you’re in a relationship. Whichever it is you need to remedy that right now.

If you fall into the scrooge camp my tips for remedy include purchasing booze that is only acceptable to drink at Christmas – such as sherry, baileys or cherry brandy – and giving yourself a little sip. Then put the booze inside a dark cupboard and allow yourself daily moments of fizzing glee when you remember that the festive season is pretty much the only annual period when you have carte blanche to get totally wasted on questionable spirits and fall asleep on the tube with sick in your lap.

If you fall into the latter camp: QUICK, DUMP YOUR OTHER HALF BEFORE YOU ARE FORCED TO EAT CHRISTMAS PUD WITH THEIR PERVY UNCLE STARING AT YOUR SEASONALLY ERECT NIPPLES!

Everybody knows that being in a relationship at Christmas is crap.

And not only because it forces you to engage with a family you find even more unbearable than your own. Nor because having a partner means you have to actually put thought into gifts (rather than buying everyone a book off Amazon) in order to avoid a row.

No, being coupled at Christmas also means that the really fun things about the festival i.e: the weeks and weeks of parties where you are allowed to drink all the alcohol, play pass the ice with attractive strangers and wake up naked and smelling pine fresh under a new cad’s Christmas tree, are off limits to you.

Sure you can attend the party, but you’ll have to leave at a reasonable hour to make sure you don’t miss the last bus, or eschew alcoholic beverages so that you can drive*. I don’t think I need to explain why such options are less than delightful.

Singletons, I urge you: embrace the Christmas Tingles for they are, like all things in life, a finite joy which will cease the moment you find your other half . And if you’re really struggling, then this might help.

*Yes, you could go to parties hosted by other coupled people, but that, I can attest, is more of a tedious nightmare than spending the Holiday with your lover’s parents. Although, before any of my coupled friends point it out, I admit that even at these parties I am usually the last to leave, being the funtime fabulous female that I am.

Part 60: Sex Boots

Every winter since I was a bespectacled teenage hot thing with a wad of disposable fivers earned serving barking toff artillery officers cheap wine at banquets, I’ve purchased a pair of boots.

For my international readers (yes, turns out there are some – who’d a thought it?) unacquainted with British seasonal climate change you should know, if you ever visit, that boots are a must have fashion accessory for UK wintertime, and tbh, much of spring, summer and autumn time as well. This is because of the rain (which I’ll get to in next week’s post should we have enough rainfall this week to cause me poetic inspiration). And the biting wind.

My winter boots search is very specific in its aims. I want a pair of boots that are all of these things: made from brown leather, stylish, chunky but sleek, versatile (to be worn with skirts and trousers, night and day), rain and snow resilient, calf or knee-length, fabulous in a totally unspecifiable way, and priced at under one hundred pounds.

As you can imagine, fulfilling the requirements of this list is no easy feat, and I’ll admit that over the years of boot consumerism I have regularly had to settle for less. Which is not ideal. But then again, they’re only boots. I have managed to get over it and soldier through wintrous seasons dressed in chunky black ankle ones, or biker-esque lesbian* ones complete with buckle.

This was all well and good, and I had pretty much accepted that I’d never find the pair that existed only as a vague smoky image somewhere in my brain foam. Settling for less than fabulous boots is acceptable. It’s not like settling for a violent man, or one that cheats on you. There’s none of that corrosive self-loathing, or the gnawing undercurrent of fear. Although, as you may well know, if you’re shallow and have ever purchased subpar footwear, your self-esteem is minorly affected. The you that you want to be – the you that lurks in that brain foam, dressed in amazing boots that you might once, in the 90s, maybe, have seen your friend Sarah’s sister wearing, does not really exist.

She is a figment of your deftly brilliant imagination where you are also an esteemed social commentator whose talent for both written and oral wit is notorious worldwide.

Life can be shit like that.

But life can be sublime too, and hit you in the face with things you thought would never happen.

I think you might see where I’m going with this, but just in case you don’t, really, I’ll tell you: last year the boots of my smoky mind haze appeared, in real true life, inside the Dr Martens shop, Leeds, in the sale priced at £82.50. I call them my sex boots.

They haven’t aroused many men who’ve seen them (well not so that I’ve noticed), but l that’s how they feel to me. Physically pleasurable. Like sex, except they’ll last longer. I know! Perhaps there is a God.

I’m not going to ramble on here with a description of the boots I purchased last winter. Mainly because that description exists already (see paragraph three, above). But also because what is more important than how they make me look is how the boots make me feel.

They make me feel fated, fierce. Like the me that the universe conceived of before I used free will to fuck it up. Glamorous, sexual, defiant, desirable, cunning, beautiful and sharp.

Putting them on, which I do regularly, is better for my sense of self than any number of hours of psychotherapy, sex or exercise. They are what I’ve been looking for my whole life – or at least the day or so of every year of my life that I’ve spent spent shopping for footwear since 1997.

My sex boots have made the need for a relationship obsolete. The pleasure I feel when I’m wearing them literally cannot be bettered. Anyway, I wouldn’t want it to be. In the same way that happily married people don’t want to meet the real love of their life and fuck up the good thing they’ve got going.

My sex boots are my other half, and I don’t even mean that metaphorically (except that I do). I recommend you start hunting for your sex boots single people. I can only modify a poem to communicate the passion you’ll feel once you find them: I’ll wear those boots like bones, like skin. They’ll be the goddamn boots they bury me in.

Best of British luck with your hunt.

Part 59: Heartbreak

Heartbreak* is the common metaphor that we in the English speaking world use to describe the intense feelings of desolation, grief, anger and physical pain that result from the termination of love affairs. As you will know, if you have had the kind of life experience that has led to you taking refuge in this blog, ‘heartbreak’ is not simply a handy hyperbolic imagery for use in literature, popular music and similar. No, heartbreak is a real thing. People have died of it, in novels.

In real life (if you can call what I am currently living ‘real life’- it often feels like a tame BBC sitcom that only tiresome people find amusing) I have yet to observe heartbreak directly snatch its victims into afterlife oblivion. But I have certainly witnessed it spiral a few into addictive drug use, obsessive mobile phone activity, violence and stomach destroying wine hangovers that last all week. Don’t worry. I have indulged in only the latter three psychotic behaviours on that list. Which makes me practically normal in heartbreak terms.

There is a popular proverb that you will have heard if you’ve ever been heartbroken and whinged to a friend more than twice about your pain. ‘The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else’.

As you will have probably realised, anyone who has ever offered you this wisdom is either emotionally retarded or wilfully deceiving you for their own gain. Listen single people, for unlike most of your friends and family I do actually have your best interests at heart, the best way to get over someone is not to get under someone else. The best way to get over someone is to have a hot bath, eat a steak, and undertake an intensive period of psychotherapy. Mini magnums are also v.good.

As you’ll know darlinks, I do usually like to keep it lighthearted on these pages (mainly because my maudlin heartbreak poetry is not something many people have shown an interest in reading), however, there are some hard facts that every human being needs to face up to if they are going to experience prolonged happiness in their day-to-day life. This is one of them: whether through death, deceit or drudgery your romantic relationship is guaranteed to end at some unspecified point in the future. Of course, just because something is definitely going to end that’s no reason not to enjoy it in the short term. Indeed most of life’s pleasures rely on some definitive ‘end’ to make them pleasurable in the first place (holidays, novels, meals, sex, phone calls to old friends, sleep). But it is utterly stupid to rush into a new love affair before you have found joy in being with your good old self. Being alone is one of life’s inevitabilities. No one is going to save you from it – so you might as well find pleasure in it. I’d advise you learn to enjoy being alone as a matter of urgency (there are many tips for doing so in my archives if the thought of your own company really freaks you out).

The other reason why heartbreak is a reason to be single is more obvious, but is often ignored by my own friends and ex lovers due to their selfishness. If you’re still heartbroken over your last love, you aren’t going to be able to commit to a new relationship in any meaningful way. And, though I’m loathe to offer any advice that might result in someone else having the kind of love that the universe has thus far denied me, meaningful relationships are really the only kind worth having. Luckily, most of my coupled acquaintances are currently nurturing heartbreak and seeking refuge in a bland relationsham that involves maniacally fulfilling milestones (mortgage, marriage, motherhood) and posting about them on Facebook. This means I can feel superior to them because I’m single, and secretly believe in true love at the same time. Which I like to see as something of a milestone in the healing of my own heartbreak. Result.

*In case you’re wondering, yes, I do realise that this week’s blog effort has the same theme as this week’s Xfactor. This was not intentional. However, I like to think of it as more than happy coincidence. Perhaps the universe is aligning with my brain in preparation for bestowing literary success upon me. Whatevs, after tuning into the big X, all I can say is: I do hope this blog entertains you fractionally more than the horrific MK1 entertained me last night. If that’s the X factor, then the moth that flew out of my wardrobe yesterday afternoon also has it.

Part 58: Eating Garlic

Unless you’re a vampire, my ex boyfriend or similar, you will know that garlic is the number one ingredient in terms of transforming bland, tasteless foodstuffs into a blissful harmony of delectable flavour that dances an orgasm across your tongue. It’s well tasty. And the texture! Tell me single people (you know I’m right) if a great big lump of boiled, tomatoey garlic melting on your tongue isn’t the next best thing to sex. By which I mean better than sex, of course – unless your partner is particularly skilled in the sex department (and let’s face it, most of them are not).

There are, I’ve found, very few savoury foodstuffs that garlic does not improve. In fact, I can’t actually name any off the top of my head. Garlic is to food what drugs and alcohol are to tedious company. This is why I always have at least two bulbs of garlic in my fridge, and any number of unpeeled cloves scattered across the kitchen worktop – so that I’m never more than an arm’s length away from a lump of the stuff when I’m cooking.

Reading those first two paragraphs back to myself, I realise that I risk coming across as a bit weirdly fanatical about what is, essentially, a pungent flavoured bulb pulled from the earth by farm workers and sold onto me at a profit. But then, people get fanatical about all sorts of shit. Crack for example. I’ve never seen the appeal myself, despite its relative affordability in relation to other intoxicants. Although, I have to say, it’s not so much the chaos it could cause in my life that scares me off as the fact that in terms of cash to length of buzz ratio, crack scores pretty low. Also, it’s not known for improving the flavour of anything – except maybe poverty, if you’re speaking metaphorically.

Like all of life’s greatest pleasures, garlic does have some drawbacks. The most obvious of these is its ability to transform one’s body from a fragrantly enticing love vessel into a repellent flesh mound, emitting vaguely disgusting aromas with every secretion. This is why it is problematic to indulge in garlic if you’re involved in a relationship where you still wish to touch your partner sexually on a fairly regular basis. No one wants to cause revulsion during sexy time, or answer questions that start with the words ‘what’s that weird smell?’ when moving into a sweaty embrace. Though it’s not so much the embarrassment as the inevitable curtailment of arousal which I see as garlic’s biggest drawback.

At this point, you might be ready to counter that relationships are about more than sex and sexual attraction. Okay, I am willing to concede this is potentially true for some people, in which case, go right ahead my darling, eat garlic, enjoy your sexless romance. However, I – and I’m sure most of my discerning readers – aren’t yet at the stage where we feel it necessary to prioritise companionship over lust, excitement, and the emotional car crash of a passionate love affair. What can I say? We’ve been overfed love stories by a lust crazed media, and our sub-par education has resulted in an inability to rationalise our life choices. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I’m too shallow to worry about that in any detail.

As far as I’m concerned, loads of garlic and the world of romance are incompatible, which leaves single people with a contemporary Sophie’s Choice. Indulge in garlic and eat food that will excite and delight your taste buds (but, admittedly, leave you smelling rather rank), or indulge in romance (which might provide temporary satisfaction, but which will also come with its fair share of dreary compromise), and dine at the banquet of the bland. I know which choice I’m making. I wish you good luck living with yours.