Part 119: Cereal

20140127-233003.jpg

Cooie! Hello again. How’s life? Sorry about those last few posts. Particularly that maudlin, January blues thing I subjected you to last week. That was a bit self-indulgent and attention seeking wasn’t it? And crassly predictable. The literary* equivalent of putting a sad face status on Facebook and waiting for my frenemies to inbox me going, ‘arr. Wot’s up Hun? You alright?’ (Which – as my frenemies know – is something I have, on occasion, done.)

Oh dear. I apologise. I went deranged for a few days there. Blame January, my menstrual cycle, and whoever it was that invented Internet dating.

I’m back on form now though. Feeling as perky as can be expected considering the looming PhD submission, empty fridge and 600 calls a week from debt collectors. Things are looking up. But not on the man front. Of course not on the man front. You will be pleased to hear I’m still failing in that department, what with the twisted dates that culminate in him serenading me with a brass instrument and my continued nurturing of international fantasy romances, which have limited scope for becoming reality – although, let’s look on the bright side, at least that means I won’t end up naked and distressed, sobbing into a towel in a hotel bathroom because what I thought was love, potentially, turned out to be just sex and emotional immaturity, again.

Where was I?

Oh, yes: I’m back, and I’m determined to give you what you came here for. Namely, amusing reasons to be single. So here goes:

I do often feel that the world, at large, is mistaken. That all of the people, all of the time do things that are foolish and disgusting and time-wasting. And I shake my elfin head, and I put on a leopard-print dress, a chiffon scarf and a pair of Doc Martens, and I feel superior. But then some daft cad fails to text me after a sub-par night of pseudo romance and I’m overcome with self-doubt. And I look to other people’s lives for guidance.

There are all sorts of things that other people do and tell you about – in conversation or in blogs or in newspaper columns or similar – which they appear to find pleasurable, but which you have thus far failed to enjoy. Things such as fellatio, The Simpsons and any film the Coen brothers have ever made. Once or twice a year you try them out – because they do seem to make all the other people happy – although you really should have the courage of your convictions by now.

In my life, the main one is cereal.

The existence of cereal as a twenty-first century foodstuff is baffling to me. It is literally grain, pulled from long grasses, processed and served in a bowl – just as it was served to medieval labourers, who only consented to consume the vile stuff because they couldn’t afford steak, sushi or water with which to boil vegetables. For the knackered, medieval farm worker, it was cereal or dirt scratched from the wet ground with gnarled, chapped fingertips.

There is nothing less glamorous than cereal. Even the woman I spotted at a car boot sale last year, sat in a cracked plastic child’s dining chair, with lank unwashed hair and a stained beige anorak, attempting to light one cigarette in the left corner of her mouth while she smoked a second cigarette in the right corner of her mouth, possessed more glamour than your average box of Kellogg’s. (Actually, that’s probably not a great analogy, because she was almost certainly the most fabulous thing I’ve ever seen.)

I do not want to feel like a poor person from a depressing period of history when I eat my breakfast. I want to feel dazzling. I want my taste buds to squirt forth fountains of sour saliva in anticipatory pleasure. I want my morning meal to make me feel as if the future holds promise, as though today is the day when the stars will align, when fate will deliver, when I’ll walk out the door with my head held high and the world will take notice, at last.

You know, pretty much exactly the way I want to feel in the first flush of a relationship.

I’d like to argue that my repulsion towards cereal, my annual consumption of it regardless and my lack of luck in love are connected. Which is why I started writing this post. But I’ll leave it to you to join the dots. Because, frankly, I’m clutching at straws here.

*yes, I do think of the words I write on this blog as literature. And what, haters?

*Image by Grant Cochrane at freedigitalphotos.net

Advertisements

Promotional Bollocks (I’m sorry, I’m bored and self-interested)

Facebook is the best thing that’s ever happened to me – other than being born and that time some bloke came out of the parade at Gay Pride in LA to tell me I was ‘channeling ten.’ (By which he meant I was hot and stylish. A ten out of ten – like other gay icons such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Pink and the Lion out of the Wizard of Oz – who, by the way, I once played, to public acclaim, in a school play.)

That’s not to say I don’t have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. You may even remember that I once wrote about that relationship, here on this very blog.

But, despite encouraging crazed stalking, Facebook is an excellent medium for re-connecting, sharing, flirting, and joking with both local and long distance friends. Plus there’s the not un-thrilling risk of sudden and sporadic heartache, when a photo of your current crush snuggling with a woman hotter than you appears, like a dagger to the neck, in your newsfeed.

Therefore I have decided to set up a ‘fan’ (sorry! I know! There isn’t another word!) page for this blog. So you can ‘like’ it. Which will hopefully serve to both promote the blog to those future fans who’ve yet to read it, and also to boost my ego (unless none of you ‘like’ it, in which case, suicide (just kidding! You know I would never! (Yes I know suicide is not a joking matter, but it’s a Saturday night and I’m in on my own eating cold pasta and drinking my housemate’s boyfriend’s beer, give me a break))).

If you wish to ‘like’ the fan page, then you can do so by clicking here, and pressing ‘like.’ You know how it goes.

Love you all.

Happy Weekend. I’ll be back with a proper post in a couple of days.

Oh, and, for your delight and pleasure, here is a picture of my foot:

20140125-205728.jpg

Xxxx

Self-Indulgence! Procrastination! Read This At Your Peril!

This is a little kitten I found on google images. Cute innit? I'll take it down though, if you own the copyright, and you ask me.

This is a tiny little kitten I found on Google Images. Cute innit? I’ll take it down though, if you own the copyright, and you ask me.

Quite often, I get asked to do these annoying chain questionnaire things, where other bloggers send me a list of questions and expect me to answer them and link back to their blog. I usually ignore these requests. I’ve got better things to do with my time, as you know.

Right now, however, I am procrastinating. My PhD thesis is staring at me accusingly from both my desk (hardcopy) and my computer screen (digital copy), going, ‘just fucking proof read me and hand me in you daft bint.’ And I’m ignoring it, using a variety of ingenious methods – like, for example, running my colleague David through the profile pictures of all my male Facebook friends – in the hope we’ll find one who he’d deem it acceptable for me to date, should they ask me (impossible), checking my mobile phone messages to see if I’m loved or desired by anyone other than my mother (I’m not) and just generally casting about for things to do that might waste half an hour or more of my life. And then, as if by magic, one of these questionnaire things appeared in my inbox, courtesy of someone called oscarpotterhead, who follows my blog (thanks darl), but who I don’t think I know personally.

So here are my answers:

1) Why is it that you blog? Sincerely speaking, are you one of those phoney, hipster bloggers who only do so because its “cool”??? Details, darling.

I started blogging because I had been single for six years and my ex-boyfriend, who I was still sleeping with, and with whom I foolishly hoped to one day reunite (maybe, but then again, whenever he said he might want that too I FREAKED OUT, I dunno, sometimes a girl just wants options), told me he was moving to China with his new lover. It was either write some of that shit out or go mental. I did both.

(I once wrote an extended version of this story over on Culture Vulture, this other website I write for, so, if you’re really fascinated as to the roots of my blogging you could read that, by clicking here. Or not. Whatever, it’s your life.)

BTW: I don’t think blogging is “cool”. I think it is the least cool thing I do (but then, I am fairly fabulous), and if it weren’t for the fact that the words I write here sometimes get me compliments, I wouldn’t tell anyone about it. Ever.

2)Name the one best and worst thing about the society you live in currently.

Best Thing: The Internet and air travel allowing me annual access to Baja fish tacos.

Worst Thing: Sexism, one night stands, emotional results of the two combined.

3)Tell me about that one incident from your childhood (Below the age of 9) that completely changed you as a person.

Not to put a downer on the proceedings, but realising I was going to die, one unspecified day in the future – that was pretty life altering and radical.

4)The one gross habit you have and are not really so bothered with, contrary to popular belief.

I drink cold tea that’s been on my desk or my bedside table for a couple of days. So long as there’s no mould, it’s all good.

5)The one food you would never be able to give up and the one that you would never even touch, let alone eat.

I always say that if there was a heaven they would have marinated artichoke hearts and ice-cold cans of full fat coca-cola on tap, just for me. But there probably isn’t a heaven so I do what I can to indulge in those pleasures while I’m here on earth.

Tripe is pretty gross, as a concept.

6) The one friend you have who has impacted your life more than anything or anyone else. Positive or Negative.

Ooh. Now. I cannot pick just the one. That would be unfair. I am grateful for all of my friends, who show me what it is to be loved. I’ve even got room in my heart for the bad ones – who I don’t see any more, because, well, life’s short, and you did not make me feel good about myself.

7)The one goal/aim/aspiration/dream that if you do not achieve, will rob you of the desire to live normally.

I just want to keep writing. It’s what I think about 68% of the time, when I’m not thinking about my PhD, or sex, or boys, or babies.

8) What do you think happens after you die?

I think we get to try again. Like in Kate Atkinson’s book Life After Life.

9) If you were writing a novel and were one of the characters, how would you describe yourself? (Try and keep it limited to one paragraph.)

Everything about her was tiny, when you first looked (apart from her breasts, and her eyes). But it was as if she didn’t know how small she was, so you forgot after a while too. She liked confrontation – but really, the fight was just a brittle shell covering something softer, underneath. Although there was probably also another, deeper, darker, viscous layer – like tar, or petrol. The thing was, she didn’t let you see that, at first.

10) What is the one situation you pray that your parents never, ever discover you in?

I hope they never see me very ill, or injured. Or really unhappy again.

*

Okay, now I have to nominate some bloggers and ask them questions. I don’t really know any bloggers though. So, I’ll just nominate the two that come immediately to mind:

1) Miss Porch Swing
2) Fiona

These are your questions:

1) Tell me about a vivid dream you had.
2) Why did you choose that dream? There must have been a better one, surely?
3) Tell me about some music I should listen to.
4) Why that music?
5) I want to know what you think of me.
6) Thanks. And, now, tell me about your best qualities. If you were to do a dating profile, what would it say?
7) What are the main qualities you think are important in a lover?
8) Five years time. Dream you. Go:
9) You have to give up one thing: writing or sex. Choose.
10) If you were writing a novel and were one of the characters, how would you describe yourself? (Try and keep it limited to one paragraph) (I know I copied that from my own list of questions but I enjoyed writing it.)

Part 118: As Good As It Gets

20140121-010652.jpg

I’m a right laugh here normally, aren’t I? Hilarious and witty and always on hand with a wry, unexpected observation to make you choke on your cereal, or morning croissant, or can of coke, or whatever it is you consume while you read me. I know my strengths, darlinks. I know why you come back, I can tell – just like I know when men only want me for my body, occasional sporadic passivity and excellent listening skills.

I do try to keep it cheerful, babes. I really do. I know that life is very difficult. That it’s not only me. We’re all in this together: struggling, working hard to mend our hearts and our self-esteem – which have been smashed into tiny sharp pieces by bad decisions, circumstance and the penises of a thousand careless scoundrels. I know that all any of us really wants is for the shards of our shattered hearts to jump back into place, piece by splintered piece, allowing us to love again – and properly this time, so no one gets broken.

The last thing you need is morose self-pity from me. You crave amusing metaphor, sex tales and crude blowjob stories. And, actually, I was privy to a very entertaining sex tale, told at a very awkward moment, just a few evenings ago. I cannot offer it to you right now, however, due to my having implemented a two-month embargo on sharing stories told by those who would probably prefer not to feature in this blog, if they knew about its existence. (I promise I’ll tell you once the embargo’s up though. It is just too good not to be immortalised in writing.)

There are only so many jokes I can make about drunken misadventures and eating cheese and crying into my Egyptian cotton pillows before it starts to sound desperate. So here is the truth: it’s January and I am blue. Blue, da-boo-dee da-boo-doo (remember that tune? It was shit, wasn’t it?). Blue, like the sky, or a smurf – only more depressing.

And I keep making it worse by embroiling myself in unwise romantic liaisons – mainly to stave off the growing panic of impending unemployment, poverty and the realisation that a recent spate of engagements mean I’m likely to spend the next two years attending weddings, alone – being forced to coo over newborn babies and answer questions about my single life (at least twenty-five of which are bound to be, ‘but what’s wrong with you?’, uttered with smug patronising concern and accompanied by the kind of head-tilting sympathy normally reserved for the terminally ill) without punching anyone in the face.

And just to rub salt in the – already fairly painful – wound, people keep giving me advice that makes me want to hang myself (if only metaphorically).

Like my aunty, for example – when I told her about the folly of a particular all-consuming crush I’ve been nurturing. As I described – in really quite moving detail – the delicious pain of yearning for that you’ll never have, she looked at me knowingly, as though I were a toddler who has yet to learn anything about the ways of the world.

‘Do you know what?’ My aunty said, with the weariness of the long-married, ‘just enjoy this bit. Because I’m telling you, this bit is as good as it gets.’

And I was like, ‘?!’

‘As good as it gets’, she repeated. ‘All that excitement and the uncertainty and the promise. That’s the best bit. Enjoy it.’

Of course, I didn’t remind my aunty of the fact that she is not (and has never been) a thirty-year-old single woman whose womb might or might not dry up before she completes the obstacle course of liars and wankers and actual, proper weirdos that the universe has placed in the way of her securing romantic love. Nor did I punch her in the face (I think she’s still reeling from the last time I did that).

Instead, I took a deep breath and pondered on the wisdom of her advice. If this is as good as it gets, then that is very tragic – because this is in no way enjoyable. But then again, what do I know?

Perhaps more than I’m giving myself credit for.

I’ve been writing a blog about how single life is endlessly fabulous for almost two years now. It seems I might have stumbled upon truth when all I was trying to do was make you laugh and take the edge off my own neuroses.

Gah!

Being single really is the thing. Maybe. Perhaps. If my aunty is right. Which I kind of hope she isn’t because the idea of love, of putting myself aside and making room to accommodate another, was starting to seem quite appealing.

But you learn all sorts about life don’t you? I suppose we just have to live it. The struggles and the moments of reprieve as well. Because if I know one thing, I know this: you get what you’re given.

And that really is as good as it gets.

*Image by digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net. Not quite what I was after, but you catch my drift.

Another Interlude: Advice for Men

advice

Today, I saw the above ‘meme’, posted by a caddish friend on Facebook. I was moved to offer him the following advice, which I share it here because, God knows, there are men who need it:

Fuck off. This is how to keep a woman happy: Call when you say you will, reply promptly to text messages, be consistent (no disappearing off the face of the Earth, or going cold and moody for no reason and then suddenly being all affectionate again), occasionally pay for shit, look respectable, serve her well sexually, don’t be a liar or a cunt and say nice things about her looks and her mother.

You’re welcome.

Part 117: Dating Disasters

20140112-192345.jpg

At the end of last year, just before Christmas, sat on the countertop in a friend’s kitchen, pre-party, dressed in a skin-tight LBD, glugging prosecco and kicking my killer patent heels like an ageing, down-market it-girl, I felt low.

‘I’m over being single’, I told Tom (who had also arrived pre-party, so I could unload on him about some romantic disappointment or other, the details of which evade me now), ‘I’ve had enough’.

‘Bad luck’, Tom laughed, topping up my glass and distractedly turning the stereo up to drown out my maudlin monologue. ‘Because single’s not over you’.

But I wasn’t having it. I cannot continue as though my life and its eventual outcome are things over which I have no control. There was no reason, I decided, as the prosecco sent fizzing bubbles of optimism to my brain, to be single now that being single has become tedious.

Yes, spending all one’s leisure time with homosexuals, and getting drunk and falling over and eating cheese on the sofa in one’s pyjamas is an underrated lifestyle choice – as I’ve expressed here in 116 different ways. Yet, there comes a time when one gets over one’s heartbreak and realises that all heterosexual men are not total scumbags. Some of them are kind, amusing and quite physically delicious. Often it coincides with the point at which one decides one definitely wants babies. And affection. And a pretty man to accompany one to the cinema on a Friday evening and have sex with one afterwards.

There is no reason I can’t have these things. I am a catch. I mean, look at me: five foot one, 32-26-32 – all wit, Mia Farrow hair, massive manga eyeballs and figure hugging day wear – I just need to start smiling and leaving the house (and remembering to wear make up when I do so). And I must also be realistic, and stop pursuing men who are – however incredible – unavailable to me and who, even if they were not, only want me for my brains, and who are therefore bound to end up disappointed.

Thus I have embarked on attempted romances (I know!).

Inevitably, it has not been going well. Like how, for example, almost every date I arrange ends with the male party cancelling mere hours before we are due to meet (is this just me? Do I have some kind of curse?). And how, even when I do manage to go on a first date, he turns out to be a drug dealer. Or he is perfectly lovely, but I don’t hear from him afterwards – and so I have to check the headlines in the local papers to reassure myself that it is definitely me; he did not die on the way home. Or else it goes very well, and then the second date results in me sending this text message to interested parties the morning after:

One can assume one has been the worst date ever – and thoroughly burned one’s bridges with the hot man who clearly found one attractive at the start of the evening – when one wakes up alone in one’s hallway, still wearing one’s coat, with no memory of how one got there. Red wine no dinner. Killer. FML.

It appears I still have lessons to learn about remaining dignified and not repulsing men with my personality too early in the proceedings.

I have to admit, I have found it hard to keep my self-esteem above water during this period. I don’t know what I’d do if it weren’t for liquid eyeliner. And, of course, the enduring support of my friends and family, who I have stitched inside the pocket of my heart, and who remind me, as it beats: I am loved, I am loved, I am loved.

And in the end, I suppose, that is all that matters.

*Image by digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net .net

Part 116: Expectations Exceeding Probable Outcome

pickled onions

‘My criteria:’ I typed, ‘not too ugly. Or too good-looking. No actors, no army (obvs). Not really laddish (i.e. pictures of self with football tattoos, boozy mates etc), but not too posh (i.e. pictures of self aboard yacht or on skiing holiday in Verbier etc). No mutual friends, no trendy beard, no one who has a selfie, no one with a shirtless pic. No one posed with a sedated tiger. No one in fancy dress. No one called Gareth. No one posed with a child, or a cat. No one whose main picture is of an obstetric sonogram (yes, really). No one wearing sunglasses in the dark.’

I was texting my mate Tom, who had persuaded me to download Tinder – that dating app I told you about last week – and who had casually enquired about my success with it thus far.

His reply was quick and curt.

‘My criteria:’ he wrote, ‘if it’s hot, it’s hot.’

And I felt a twinge of excitement. (Or it might have been the hangover clearing, sometimes it’s hard to tell.) Tom’s words offered me a glimpse into the possibilities life might afford, were I to cast aside the complex judgemental rationalisation that has resulted in my romantic solitude, and jump right in by fucking loads of hot guys – instead of rejecting them because they’re from the Midlands, or because they use ‘lol’ indiscriminately, or because of the cartoon cats printed on the lining of their flannel shirt.

So far, 2014 has been a revelation. In that, just four days in, it has included multiple moments providing nuggets of wisdom that might well result in me, one day, acting as an oracle for some forward thinking cult.

Let me tell you about yesterday, a second example. I ate the only vegetables that had passed my lips in over 78 hours: a handful of pickled onions, plucked from a jar in the parental fridge and eaten with both the fridge door and my dressing gown open – so that as the juice from the onions dripped onto my chest, the yellow light cast by the fridge illuminated my translucent flesh in what I can only describe as a singly erotic manner. (Yes, I went to bed alone last evening. Why do you ask?) As I bit down and waited for the particular sour/sweet tang that might well be specific to the British, as a source of pleasure, I experienced a revelatory self-awareness.

I’m 30. I am eating pickled onions, from my parents’ fridge, in the middle of the day, naked (but for a threadbare dressing gown). I haven’t had a date in, quite literally, years. I owe thousands of pounds to creditors whose calls I am studiously ignoring while I spend my money on luxuries such as food and trips to the cinema. And I’m soon to be jobless.

And yet…

I want much. Too much. From life. From men. From friends and family and my career. I want riches, and attention. I want wild romantic gestures from people I barely know. I want ever-lasting youth and beauty and commercial success and money. Loads of it.

In fact, I don’t only want these things, I expect them. I anticipate them, and – because these things are, currently, unlikely (particularly as I rarely leave the house) – I am continually heartbroken and disappointed. The secret to happiness, I realised, as I washed down the pickled onions with a lump of mature cheddar cheese and a swig of pineapple juice, straight from the carton, is simple: lower your expectations.

I must take decisive action in the expectations department, now.

Shit has to change if I want to be impregnated by the end of 2014, which I’m forty three percent sure I do.

So here are my New Year’s resolutions, should you care to know about them: I shall expect only disappointment, so that, like a Buddhist, I can take the inevitable on the chin while celebrating each triumph, which will feel like a joyous gift from the universe. I shall be less risk averse and judgemental. I shall adopt the phrase ‘if it’s hot, it’s hot’ as my own, personal dating mantra. I shall leave the house and, with any luck, I shall be either pregnant or published by the year’s end.

Wish me luck, darlinks.

*Image by artur84 at freedigitalphotos.net, my go to site for the perfect pic.