Part 126: Prince William’s Comb Over

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Remember when Prince William was young and hot and we all considered applying to read Art History at St Andrews so that proximity might make him want to fuck us? It was a very exciting time, when anybody could potentially have fallen pregnant with the illegitimate spawn of an heir to the throne, and been able to live in a palace on state handouts. Well, those days are well and truly over – as evidenced by recent pictures of William and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (I’ve decided to use her full title because, with those hats, the jowly smile and the balding, horsey husband, she’s really grown into it), who have been working tirelessly for our nation, touring Australia with their baby, stroking koala bears.

William is not hot any more. He now sports a comb over – for reasons which remain unclear, but which, I’m certain, are altruistic.

An expensive education and exposure to the fashion and cultural élite will have alerted William to the fact that the comb over is the least attractive of all the hairstyles. Even 1970s footballers abandoned the look eventually, presumably because their sex lives had stalled to the point of non-existence (second wave feminism was in full swing, remember, which means it’s more than likely that the few women who weren’t repelled by ubiquitous, badly covered bald patches, were distracted by political lesbianism, and therefore unavailable for WAG duties).

I move in illustrious circles – I used to know someone who knew William personally, and I sometimes spend New Year’s Eve with a bloke who drinks with Prince Harry, on skiing trips to Verbier. This gives me unprecedented insight into the motivations of the Royal family.

Thus, I have deduced that, being his mother’s son, our future king has adopted his current look in solidarity with us single people – the lepers of the 21st century. He knows what it’s like to be all alone, having read Bridget Jones and also from that period when him and the Duchess were on a break. He can remember how it feels to sit in one’s underwear on a Saturday evening, smoking a dry Marlboro Light one has found at the bottom of the bag one last used at an office Christmas party in late November, listening to Ashanti, with Ant and Dec’s Saturday night Takeaway on mute in the background. He knows that that can be very depressing, especially when one gets zero text messages from friends, or from members of the public one wishes to have sex with.

William is sensitive to the tendency single people have, in such desperate moments, to look at couples and think ‘they have it better’. Like how, this week, I have been excessively YouTube-ing interviews where Yasmin Le Bon, the willowy, toffee skinned supermodel from the 90s, discusses her husband, Simon, of Duran Duran (I am aware that the dated choice of celebrity couple might well be the saddest part of this story).

It is not possible that Yasmin Le Bon has a worse life than me. At 30, she was married to a rock-star, with three children, of model quality. She was tall and gorgeous and heads turned when she walked into the room. Most days, she didn’t leave her bed for less than $10,000.

I am 30 now. I am about to move from a mouldering flat in the least salubrious part of Leeds, to the spare bedroom of my parents house in the least salubrious part of south London. I am five foot two, and my best days are behind me, looks-wise. When I walk into the room, business continues as usual – or else people leave. Some days, I leave my bed to scrabble about the bottom drawer, where I keep burnt out lighters and overdue council tax bills, because I’m pretty sure I saw a pound in there, the last time I looked.

Thank God for William, then. Who wants to remind us that romance is not all Yasmin and Simon Le Bon. Most couples aren’t gorgeous sexy famous people with model-quality children and unlimited funds to spend on exotic holidays.

‘It’s not better’, William is telling us, subliminally, via his haircut, ‘to be in a relationship. Some relationships are shit from the beginning, and even if you get yourself into a half decent one with a partner you find sexy, his hair might start to fall out and he’ll fashion the remaining little wisps of it into a makeshift wig. And that’s not even the worst thing that could happen! He might develop an alcohol problem, or start a half-hearted affair with an old friend who is less attractive than you. Or he might not have an affair with anyone, but then he’ll go off sex altogether. Or decide to vote UKIP.’

And do you know what? When William’s right, he’s right.

I don’t know why I was ever opposed to the monarchy.

*Freedigitalphotos.net didn’t have any stock images of comb overs, unfortunately. It did, however, return multiple pictures of roosters for every ‘comb over’ search I made. This one, by Gualberto107, is my favourite.

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Part 125: Piglets Sucking Limes

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As a small child I was difficult to please. On my birthdays, gifted with a Polly Pocket, My Little Pony or a Sylvanian Frog Family, my excitement would wear off quickly as I noticed the inevitable flaws; a nick in the plastic, say, or minuscule, dark dot of uncertain matter, nestling in the joint between head and neck. My initial elation would give way to disappointment, melodramatic displays of frustration and the eventual discarding of longed-for objects inside a big red box. Because, once you looked closely, the things you really wanted almost always turned out to be crap.

I’d like to think I’ve grown out of this unattractive character trait – which boils down to wanting perfection, wanting exactly what I picture in my mind’s eye, even when I know it cannot exist – but I’m often accused of ‘expecting too much’, mainly by my mother (who is not a Buddhist – she’s too pragmatic and sharp around the edges to appropriate complex Eastern beliefs for her own comfort – but who does, nonetheless, lead the kind of honest, selfless, life without expectation that Siddhartha Gautama would have approved of). And then, a couple of weeks ago, I did the impossible. I expected too much of the internet.

It was a grey Tuesday evening in what had already been a long week. The rain was flying sideways in angry lines, smashing against the window of my Leeds flat, which, due to condensation problems, was mouldering in its frame. A baby was crying. Impending unemployment loomed like the solid, gunmetal clouds outside. There was a thick, heady, grassy odour coming from the stairwell – which could only mean that them downstairs had skunk-smoking company, who they had evicted to the public quarters of the building, so as to cause maximum irritation to the neighbours (i.e. me). I needed cheering up – and, in the absence of a lover with whom to engage in physical distractions, I turned to the internet for emotional support.

That is: I did what any 30-year-old professional would do in the throes of a mid-week funk. I used my iPhone to google ‘fluffy baby kittens’, and ‘dogs in hats’ and ‘tiny giraffes falling over’. It felt good – as looking at animals on the on the internet does – like the first sip of very sweet hot chocolate. And the hardness in my heart softened a bit, and I smiled and screen-grabbed the cutest kitten, so I could look at it again, without the aid of google, when times got hard.

But I soon grew bored of infant cats, and sausage dogs in Santa hats, and tiny baby giraffes with goofy, trusting faces. The cuteness was too predictable, and it made me weary. I wanted a different adorability buzz. What I wanted to see, I decided, was a little piglet – you know, those fat ones with mottled skin, covered in translucent white fluff – wincing, its snout pulled back at the sour shock, as it sucked on a lime. ‘Gah!’ I thought, as I clung to the precise appeal of that image as it appeared in my mind’s eye. ‘A piglet sucking on limes would be the cutest thing ever, and I need a picture of one in front of my face right now.’

It saddens me to tell you that google does not have any images of piglets sucking limes. At least, not on the first twenty pages of the search that I carried out, that lonely Tuesday in April.

I texted my friend David in alarm. ‘I need to see piglets sucking limes’, I typed at him, ‘and google doesn’t have them.’

His reply: ‘What? Babe, are you ok? That’s not even a thing.’

I had exhausted the internet.

I do expect too much. That’s why I’m alone at 30 and constantly rejecting blokes on Tinder because they’re called Gareth.

This whole sorry story serves as an important, watershed lesson. What you want will either not exist, or will be flawed to the point of crapness by the time you get it. Learning how to deal with this reality is an important life skill.

But let us look on the bright side. The next person googling ‘piglets sucking limes’ will find this blog. And they’ll know that they’re not alone, on this harsh, indifferent planet.

Darling, you’re welcome.

*The obvious picture with which to decorate this post doesn’t exist. So I’ve used ‘Cute Kitten’ by artemisphoto at freedigitalphotos.net

Part 124: Brass Instruments

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When I started this blog, I made a pact with myself; I promised I would never use it to tell embarrassing or mean stories about people I’d slept with, on the basis that doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is a sensible dictum by which to live your life – despite the fact it’s from the Bible (Luke 6:31). And I have pretty much adhered to the terms of that pact – although, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’ve been mean about my bad ex-boyfriend in almost every post I’ve written. Still, I don’t feel too awful about that because I know him well enough to know he’s flattered – not least because I always attempt to infuse my reminiscences with affection as well as bile. And, anyway, he should count himself fucking lucky. I could have been worse.

The thing is, I’ve decided that there’s not much point in writing a sex and relationships blog if, on the rare occasions I do let a man inside my bedclothes, I keep all the gossip to myself, and lie to you by writing about how I only watch QVC and eat cheese in my pyjamas. It’s not honest, frankly.

And also, I need an outside perspective.

Because the other thing is this:

Men keep playing brass instruments at me in sexual scenarios and I don’t know what to do about it.

I say keep playing. In truth it’s happened twice* – but that seems like an above average amount, especially considering that my sexual career has had more or less an eight year hiatus, due to – well, if I knew that babes, I wouldn’t be writing this.

The first time I was faced with a brass instrument in the bedroom, it was probably the most erotic thing that had ever happened to me. I was seventeen. I was naked. My (now ex) boyfriend (no, not that one) pulled a trumpet from under his bed and played it with his breath and his finger-tips – as though it were part of his body, or mine. It was beautiful, spontaneous and seamless. He was very excellent at the trumpet. I swooned and promptly submitted to all of his sexual advances. Of course, because I was utterly infatuated with him, and because it was the early 2000s and, like most of my generation, I was smoking an obscene amount of hydroponic weed, I might have misremembered this event.

Perhaps because it was some twelve years later, and I didn’t know the bloke that well, perhaps because he preceded it by telling the story of how he’d once pulled an unlikely artefact from a girlfriend’s vagina (and then, for reasons I don’t understand, he took her picture from a drawer, and showed it to me. It felt, from the manic look in her eyes as she grimaced into the camera lens, as though she were sending a warning, telepathically, from the past), or perhaps because he chose to play Baggy Trousers, the second time I was faced with a brass instrument in the bedroom it was not the most erotic thing that had ever happened to me. It was really, really weird. Was he trying to impress me, or was he – using a subtle, baffling form of ridicule – taking the piss? It didn’t help that this time the brass instrument was a tuba; a heavy, unwieldy, tuneless thing – as favoured by Harold off of Neighbours – almost the size of me.

It is testament to his good looks and the sedative power of a strong jaw line that I did not ask ‘what the fuck are you doing?’, and leave immediately.

Is it cruel, writing that? Am I an unspeakable bitch? I know I’m probably breaking all sorts of sex-related, unspoken trust rules – although if you are going to insist that women you don’t know behave impeccably after they sleep with you, it is probably best not to play the tuba and talk them through a wodge of hot ex-girlfriend photos, while they sit next to you in their underwear, wondering where the fuck it all went wrong, and whether, perhaps, their bad ex-boyfriend might consider a reconciliation, if they promise to get pregnant right away.

How is one supposed to respond in brass instrument related sexual encounters? I think this is an important contemporary question that needs answering, and I’d be grateful if you could concentrate your considerable intellectual powers upon it for the next hour or so.

I will be on the sofa, eating cheese and watching Diamonique Jewellery with Alison, patiently awaiting your response.

*I have just remembered a third brass instrument related sexual incident from way back in the day – when I was unwittingly present as my mate shagged a saxophonist called Malcolm. (He had a massive, black and white picture of the Twin Towers on his living room wall – and I recognised them, so it must have been some time just post-9/11.) This, however, is not my story to tell.

*Image by scottchan at freedigitalphotos.net