Part 178: Excitement

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My friend’s sister is getting married and we’re all just fucking sick about it. It’s not jealousy, for once — we really do think she is making a terrible, terrible mistake. I mean, she can’t be thinking straight. There must be some serious denial at play here. Certainly, there is evidence of recklessness — such as how she’s thrown caution to the wind by having his name tattooed on her body in several places, although they’ve not even been dating for a year. (In case you’re unclear, my stance on people getting the names of their lovers or children tattooed on their body is best summed up by a line my brother said to me last year, when I told him my new boyfriend had his son’s name tattooed on his hand: ‘Why, in case he forgets it?’ Although, I do know a woman who has her dead dog’s name tattooed on her forearm and I feel that tips over the precipice of mawkish into brilliant, so it’s a fine line.)

This guy, the friend’s sister’s fiancé, has all manner of warning signs flashing in neon colours all over his personality. He has spent his adult life in and out of prison, he is controlling and violent, he belongs to a polyamorous swingers circle*, he lives in the box room of his elderly mother’s terraced house (the bloke is in his fifties), he is not physically attractive, in either the conventional or unconventional sense. And while I am all for living differently, there is a point at which one must draw a line; a point at which someone’s disregard for social norms morphs into sociopathy. This guy, the fiancé, has reached that point.

‘What does she see in him?’ I asked my friend, when she told me about the impending marriage and her fears for how it would unfold. (Badly.)
‘I dunno,’ she shrugged. ‘She says he’s exciting.’

And I rolled my eyes, cracked a wry smile and thought: ‘Ah! That old chestnut.’

For which of us hasn’t been intoxicated by the ostensible excitement offered by a selfish cad, with regard only for his dick and his ego? Which of us hasn’t felt the sharp, twisted pang of maltreatment and mistaken it for longing? It is easy to confuse unkindness with excitement when your life is a grey series of snapshots: a montage in which you push a vacuum cleaner around the flat, buy discounted three-packs of sellotape from WH Smith and check the Facebook profiles of girls you went to school with, who always seem to be doing very well, thankyouverymuch, if Facebook profile pictures are reliable measures of wellbeing, which they very probably are not.

Excitement is the great big booby trap lying in wait for single women — and, let’s be honest, married women too. It snaps up around our ankles, ensnaring us in its grip. If we’re not careful we very soon end up ragged and strung out, chain-smoking by the river, stress lines criss-crossing deep grooves into our faces — and I’ll just remind you, if you’re still tempted, that the sex rarely holds up after the first month or so. So just beware of that darling, when you feel bad about yourself over Christmas.

It feels good to have finally relieved myself of the need for ‘excitement’, after many years being seduced by its pull.

Not that it’s all good news.

The big story I bring you this week, from the coal-face of dating, is that boring straightforward men can also be massively selfish, egotistical and disappointing. Just because they are a bit geeky and loserish and have fashioned a persona that foregrounds kindness, it does not mean they are truly kind, dynamic, selfless people in real life. In fact, the thing I have learned, lately, is that when people tell you they are kind they are usually only doing it so you won’t shout at them when they act like a prick. Kindness in this scenario acts as a kind of mudguard, in the same way indifference does with your common or garden variety arsehole.

‘So what do you like about him?’ My friend (the one the one whose sister is currently lost to the mists of excitement) asked me, when I described a recent lover, who I thought, perhaps, had the potential to father my children, if only he’d stop being so evasive and dull.
‘He’s gentle,’ I replied.
Now it was my friend’s turn to roll her eyes. ‘Gentle in bed, or gentle, like, picking up a hedgehog?’
‘Gentle with a hedgehog.’
‘Ah that’s nice babe,’ she said, ‘But he’s also boring and a liar. You don’t really want him. You’ll go off the idea.’

And she was right.

It turns out kindness is just as good a cover for sociopathy as excitement, in the kind of guy who didn’t lose his virginity until five or six years after most of his mates. Fuck. Now I remember why I went for the excitement, once upon a time.

Oh well, as Damien Marley once said: Life is a thing when you learn you learn you grow.

*I try not to judge, but can I just say: if you are so broken inside and frightened of intimacy that you cannot love another person without adding a third, forth or even a fifth party into the sexual mix, then you have no business being in relationships at all. Get some therapy. Join us when you’re whole again.

**Is it inappropriate to use a picture of a baby I found on google to illustrate a this blog? Have I mentioned that I want a baby very, very badly and it’s leading me to make some questionable choices? Can you save me from this hell? Can you? Babes, can you? Please?

Part 176: Henry the VIII

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I’ve been thinking about Henry the VIII a lot recently. I don’t know why, entirely. Certainly it’s been precipitated by a not insignificant amount of murderous rage towards my ex-lovers, which tends to surface during the onset of winter, when I realise I’ve got a barren few months ahead of me, sexless and alone (I mean, that was also true of the summer, as it turns out, but it’s a lot easier to convince yourself that sex is just around the corner when you can luxuriate in the caresses of the sunshine and wear tops that ‘accidentally’ reveal your nipple) and perhaps if they hadn’t been just such massive dickheads, all of them, for years on end, I might be not be such a neurotic mess now.

Instead of taking personal responsibility for my circumstances (and my choices, because, let’s face it, when you met him in the street at 1am, drinking from a can of supermarket brand cider, you knew he was unlikely to turn into Mr Darcy) I’ve found myself not entirely without sympathy for King Henry’s beheading model. Even though I abhor domestic violence it would just sometimes be very satisfying to see the heads of all the lovers who’ve ever hurt you roll off a guillotine, entirely separate from their bodies. You can’t deny that. Even if you’re really nice.

It would give one a certain amount of confidence, I think, and calm the mind, to know that if he stopped replying to your text messages and then hid from you in the street, you could order some minion to relieve the Earth of his presence, rather than having to awkwardly avoid eye contact the next time you saw him in Tesco. It would definitely be far easier than having to look at Facebook posts of the walking holiday he recently took with his girlfriend, who is his fiancée now, apparently, and, oh, guess what? They are both very pleased. There’s even a picture (she’s made it her profile shot babe, because that’s the type of woman he’s into now) where he is holding his hands in the shape of a heart, right at the base of her spine. Isn’t that just lovely? Doesn’t that image encapsulate the exact kind of romance you’d like to have in your life? Don’t you feel happy for them — and not at all like drinking half a bottle of ice-cold vodka and fucking some bloke you only just met?

(And can I just tell you about her cover picture? It’s a panorama: she is silhouetted atop a mountain, her face turned away from the camera, her hair snaking sexily down her back as she stares into the hazy distance. That’s a beautiful pic hun. It definitely makes me think she is spiritual, calm and connected to nature and not at all that she is a pretentious, insecure, self-absorbed nightmare behind whose back he’ll definitely be fucking other people, just as soon as she stops baking him vegan brownies.)

What has become increasingly obvious (to me, you probably already noticed) is that I have enough vindictive and controlling personality features to actually be Henry the VIII in my next life, if it turns out you can get reincarnated in the past (especially when you factor in my penchant for Catholicism, despite viciously opposing most of its basic tenets). The one surprising thing, actually — and the other reason I’ve been thinking about Henry the VIII more than the normal amount — is that I am fast catching up with him on the romantic partners-count too. I mean, it’s not wholly surprising, because I’ve got great big blue eyes, a banging body and am in every way more aesthetically appealing than an obese sadistic Tudor monarch with gout and a mouldering fur-lined cloak that he rocks out for ‘best’. But still. It’s come as something of a shock considering all I ever really wanted was monogamy — by which I mean a really sexy husband who likes my personality and wants to touch me a lot. (Although, I have been reliably informed by people with actual experience of marriage that the wanting to touch* eachother a lot abruptly ceases, the minute the ink dries on the certificate. So, maybe it would never have worked out for me anyway.)

*I don’t really mean touch. I mean sex. In case you’re not very adept at inference.

Part 123: Undercover Policemen

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If you are as alert and tapped into digital culture as I am, you’ll have noticed that the algorithms Facebook uses for targeted advertising are crap. Like, seriously – have you ever clicked on the cheap looking classifieds that make up your sidebar? Or those ads that pop up beneath the lie that your friend has ‘liked’ some corporation or another that, in reality, she would so never like? Of course you haven’t. No one has. It is a mystery to me that Facebook turns a profit. Or maybe it doesn’t, actually. I’ve never looked at its annual accounts, which might or might not be freely available online – although who’s got time to check between masturbating, sourcing recipes for coronation chicken and keeping up to date with the Oscar Pistorius trial?

The extent of Facebook’s advertising failure dawned on me the other day, as I stood at the kitchen counter, sucked the soft flesh from a clove of garlic I had roasted the night before and stroked my thumb over the screen of my iPhone with a cold, dead look in my eyes. A website called ‘Uniform Dating.com’ had targeted me, advertising itself with a montage of soldiers, some holding guns.

Facebook has me all wrong, and it should know better, considering that I spend approximately 85% of my waking life posting pictures of baby mammals and misguided status updates all over it – at least seventeen of which, over the years, have included my mantra ‘no actors, no army’. (Although, to be frank, I’m not that strict about the actors bit any more; lately, artists in all their guises are doing it for me, since I discovered some of them have massive penises.)

I’m not into uniforms. Unless they’re worn by members of sports teams (and even then, probably not – what with the tendency sportsmen have to shag better looking women behind your back and shoot you in the head when you go to the toilet at night). Men who wear uniforms are generally stupid, compliant or conventional; often, they are all three. And that’s not my thing, thank you very much – even though I have always nurtured a fantasy about giving birth to a hot, stupid man’s baby so that I can say ‘let’s hope she has Daddy’s looks and Mummy’s brains’, and make all my friends laugh.

I know what I want and what I want is not a man in service of the government. Before you accuse me of snobbery, I’ll point out that some of my best friends are police officers and I’ve almost certainly got off with more soldiers than you’ve had hot dinners – but that doesn’t mean I want to marry a man in uniform. Which is why the recent news about undercover police officers infiltrating activist groups, pretending to be anarchists and impregnating earnest, dowdy eco-warrior women terrified me.

Alright, I’m not likely to join an activist group in the near future – due to apathy and the fact they’re probably really strict about recycling. (I’m also not big into dreadlocks on white people.) And while I’m aware that undercover police officers don’t wear uniforms on a daily basis, I’m pretty sure they’re still required to wear them in emergency response situations and for ceremonial purposes. But either way, the whole undercover scandal just goes to show that even when you’re really careful about selecting a mate with shared political and hygiene values they might turn out to be lying scumbags, with a secret life involving a wife and children in the home counties.

I’m not sure it’s worth it, babe.

P.S: I’ve just remembered about firemen. I’ll make a concession for firemen because of the bravery and also because it’s more of a safety suit than a uniform, when you think about it.

*The bloke in this image – “Soldier With Gun In Hands” by imagerymajestic at freedigitalphotos.net – is hot, granted, but you can’t be swayed by that. After a point you’ve got to imagine the bullet in that gun tearing into a human being’s flesh – and then you’ve got to have a good long try at reconciling your libido with your morals. But maybe your morals are more right-wing than mine – in which case, go for it.

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:

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Xxxx

Part 64: Facebook

My education, as I might have mentioned before, has not been insignificant – despite being almost entirely state funded.

It’s equipped me with the life skills I’ve needed to set up this blog for a start.

And the ones I needed to read almost an entire chapter of Simone de Beauvior’s The Second Sex while pissed on whisky, that time my ex was horrid and I wanted a French person to give me stylish, intellectual reasons to hate men.

What my years of book-learning haven’t given me is the time, patience and fluency of foreign tongue that would allow me to read Dante’s Inferno in the original Italian.
I haven’t read it in English either, but that’s alright because there’s a decent enough synopsis on Wikipedia. That synopsis has familiarised me with the essential facts that will enable a metaphorical application of the epic work here (I apologise in advance if you came back for the kind of sexual stimulation I offered last week. That seemed popular. I’ll probably return to it once I’ve got this out of my system).

Dante’s version of hell, as you’ll perhaps know from popular cultural references, or from reading it yourself (yeah right), has nine circles. My fave are the circles Wikipedia dubs ‘lust’, ‘anger’ and ‘violence’. Not because these are the sins and vices I most frequently fall prey to myself, but because they’ll be filled with my peeps (I tend to be attracted to impulsive, unstable types – I’ve mentioned that before as well. Because it’s true. I might be a bore, but I’m no liar).

You know what they say about heaven for the weather and hell for the company?

Well, even though it’s very windy in that second circle I’d much rather blow about with Romeo, all intense and prone to spouting poetic declarations of adoration, than chillax with the type of people who are likely to be cloud bouncing up in heaven (I tried to think of some hilarious examples, but can only come up with the following dead humans who are definitely heaven dwelling: Jesus, Mary Whitehouse, Mother Teresa – what a party).

Because hell, as depicted by Dante, clearly isn’t vile enough to keep the charismatic away, God obviously needed to invent a tenth circle that would properly teach us sinners a lesson and improve the quality of company his end.

And thus, on the eleven-thousand-billionth day he created Facebook: where the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs would dwell, suspended in cyberspace, consumed with the bitter cyber-rage that comes from seeing digital snaps of an ex-lover’s sister marrying her long term beau and buying a spaniel puppy.

They know that nothing good can come from looking. And yet, each day they trawl her profile, retching bile as they spy her simpering status updates and photo captions (‘Pixie and Jeff having Sunday snuggles. XXX’) underneath smug pictures of weekend country walks, pictures of pup emerging from tartan chrysalis as a dog, of dog falling pregnant with an ikkle puppy litter, of puppy scan pics (‘my baby’s having babies! Awww.xxx’) – as the lives of the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs remain frozen.

Peter Pan-esque the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs upload their own smiling photos. They post links to ironic singles blogs they’ve written through jealous tears in cold, damp northern flats. Hoping that exchanging bile for cyber-lols will end their ceaseless suffering. But it never does.

Facebook is not a happy medium – despite the best efforts of its collective usership to pretend otherwise.

And, importantly for this blog, Facebook has just too much potential to cause relationship ruin for me to suggest that being in one while you’re an active user is sensible.

I mean: irrational jealousy sparked by an old pic of your boy snogging his comprehensive school sweetheart. Rational jealousy sparked by inbox messages evidencing your boy’s affair with his brother’s girlfriend. Ugly pictures of you passed out on a crate in The Venue, New Cross on New Year’s Eve 2008. Someone you’ve been sleeping with using ‘lol’ unironically, or tagging themselves in a photos wearing wigs to fancy dress parties, or attending fancy dress parties. Or ‘liking’ a photoshopped picture of an old couple holding hands in the sunset.

I have no idea how people manage relationships now that all the skeletons are out of the proverbial closet, poking your cousin with a sheep (yes, I know no one’s used that sheep throwing app since sometime in 2007, but still), which is one reason I’ve been single since I signed up to the social network.

I mean, I could deactivate – only then I’d probably never find out how many teeny spaniel pups Pixie gives birth to when she finally drops that litter.

And there’s always next year for functional relationship stuff. At least, there is in hell.