Category Archives: Dating

How Ryan Gosling Rescued My Sex Life:

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I’m seventeen and since my first time, I have had zero more times; I haven’t kissed another human and haven’t really had any crushes since then either. The ones I did have seem more like an attempt at paraphrasing another person in my peer group; agreeing that he was worthy of a crush after she enthusiastically revealed her unbidden, unrelenting passion for some dweeb who played guitar. I was at college and had made new friends, I had discovered writing about my passions and devoured William Blake and Jeffrey Chaucer like it all truly meant something to me. To this day, I cannot remember anything other than in The Bard’s Tale when the cuckold got his revenge by sticking a hot poker up someone’s arse, but at the time both that and Songs of Innocence and Experience resonated deep within me. I was very pretentious, but still also entirely unrealistic about everything life had to offer me… including literature, it seems.

I had received a laptop that Christmas and because I could use Google in the privacy of my own bedroom, I’d become quite the researcher. I’d come to terms with what had happened to me and since then, watched The Notebook religiously because I felt that Ryan Gosling wouldn’t let anything like that happen to me. I’d also discovered that rape happened to a lot of women and that everyone had their own ways of dealing with it and overcoming the feeling of worthlessness; I had simply chosen to bury it deep within my mind grapes and move on with life in my own way. I had discovered blogs and discovered a woman who wrote so casually about sex that it hardly seemed like the horror show I’d experienced, but something more, something pleasurable and freeing. I discovered dominatrices and the men they belittled, but who seemed to love it… I had my own sexual awakening through absorbing all of the knowledge that I was reading from the internet and putting it all into some kind of bizarre perspective; sex was okay and I should not spend my life refraining from it because I was afraid of what might happen. It was also during this time I discovered masturbating and pleasuring myself with my hands, which is something I’d never really thought of doing, but, upon having my first orgasm, realised it was something I’d been doing since I was very small in a game I used to play that caused my parents to shout at me and tell me to stop… Now I know why. I finally decided that sex wasn’t bad and that I should remove all bad thoughts from my mind and proceed with life like a true seventeen year old.

I had one crush at college. I had decided he looked like Chad Michael Murray and as someone who had never seen One Tree Hill but had seen A Cinderella Story, I decided that he was my romantic mecca and that eventually we would marry and I’d watch him play rugby on weekends. Nothing ever happened with this person, he spoke to me once and that was to thank me for opening a door and because I had truly entered my awkward phase and was still entirely uncertain what to do in situations that involved male humans, I simply turned and faced the wall behind me. That was the last time he spoke to me. I spoke to him once after at a college party. I was hammered and decided I was going to make my move. He was wearing a bowler hat and looked like a dick, but I couldn’t let one bad fashion choice ruin what could potentially be The Greatest Love of All. He was smoking a cigar and he tried to stub it out, but burned my hand instead and it was in that moment I decided that I wasn’t ready for a relationship where burning seemed an appropriate thing to do to a woman, accidentally or not.

It was back to the drawing board and, of course, Ryan Gosling helped me during this difficult time and my obsession grew. Realising that I couldn’t very well develop a non-existent relationship with a human very much out of my league and whom I would never have a chance with even if I did by some miracle end up a famous actress playing opposite him in a film that required the sensual removal of some nude stockings (what?!), who wouldn’t find me as attractive as I would him. Presumably because I’d be crying and drooling over his general magnificence/beard.  I used social media a lot to emphasise how ready I was for love by posting lyrics from angsty, indie bands and filling out online quizzes, taking particular care at how funny and girlfriend-material I was, even though I’d never been a girlfriend so I didn’t know. I didn’t manage to attract the attention of anyone at all, even though I happily Myspace friended everyone in the North East.

I did, however, hang out with a good friend of mine every Wednesday instead of going to English Language class (phonetics? No thank you!). He went to a nearby college and would pick me up so we could hang out at his house; we’d watch really old movies and occasionally share a joint, chatting a lot and then I’d leave, so I could get home in time to pretend I’d actually been at college learning all day and not sitting watching shit on tv and indulging in illegal activities with a very short human my mother didn’t much like. It was during one of these Wednesdays that I turned to my friend and said, quite simply:

“Would you like to have sex with me?”

Given that he knew what had happened to me and had known me rebuff every single one of his attempts at flirting since we met at the age of fifteen, he was undoubtedly shocked. But, at seventeen, I was quite adorable, my hips and breasts hadn’t quite exploded to the size they are now and wouldn’t for two years (puberty rather than obesity), but I had mousy brown hair and massive blue/green eyes and my glasses made me look geeky, but not so much that I became hideous. Naturally he said yes and I informed him that it was for research purposes only. We shook hands and made our way to his bedroom.

Sex was okay. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t horrible. I didn’t really enjoy having sex with this person, but would for a few weeks before dropping off the face of the earth in pursuit of someone else to explore my sexuality with. Foreplay was non-existent and I never came. Also once the condom got stuck inside of me and I had some kind of emotional breakdown that my skin would grow around the condom and eventually I would have to have it removed because the growth inside me got too big; I’d have to give birth to it and the doctor would frown and chastise me for being so careless with a condom. Anyway, it put me off condoms and this person quite grotesquely and that was that.

My sexual exploration also never really took off the ground as much as I would have liked it to and truth be told, I didn’t actually achieve orgasm with another human until I was twenty three, which seems really unfair, but also perhaps because my vagina eventually thought OH MY GOD, I am so sick of her prodding and poking, let’s just give her an orgasm and maybe she’ll stop! Which I can imagine her doing because she’s a bit of a bitch. I was using sex toys during this stint, which seemed to be the only way I could achieve orgasm for a very, very long time, which is probably why I hold them in such high esteem now.

In a way, Ryan Gosling did save my sex life and I think it’s probably because his beard is just too damn sexy to resist. The Notebook also acts as a kind of cathartic piece of cinema because it reminds me of being a young girl so desperate to fall in love and experience waking up with someone who looked at me as though I were the only girl in existence to evoke any form of passion in their heart, but then also that, after many, many, tearful afternoons of watching Gosling FINALLY get the woman that he wanted, that it was something that would eventually happen and as a result, I would have to stop fearing sex and embrace it.

I’m not trying to justify or defend what The Scumbag did, but in a way, it did shape who I am today and my sex life and how open I am about discussing it and how truly important I think it is, stems from that one horrible experience; it made me who I am today and even though it was a terrible experience, I have moved on from it and become the Doris we all know and love (and loathe) today!

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.

 A few months ago, I stopped blogging because the laptop I had was unfortunately murdered by being dropped cruelly down the stairs. Since then, I’ve been really lazy and also felt like I didn’t have much to say, but after obtaining a new laptop and realising that everything in my life has changed, I decided that I would start writing it all down again. To brighten your otherwise dreary lives with terribly dull and dreary stories about myself, to make your lives seem that bit better. I know, I’m selfless and you’re welcome.

So, what’s new?

When I first started blogging, I made an active decision that I would not find myself in a relationship in 2014. After spending five years in a terribly toxic relationship that made me a giant fat blob of human flesh, miserable as fuck and unhappy to the point where actual suicide seemed like a viable means of escape, I decided that what would be best for me would be to spend time alone; reflect and be happy, focusing entirely on myself. I didn’t want to be in a position where I was going to be hurt or be treated like crap. It was a really awesome plan and given my fat rolls, social awkwardness and ability to be visually repugnant just by not wearing make-up, I thought I was going to be really, really good at it. It was working. I spent weekends alone, drinking wine and flinging myself around my house to Phil Collins and I spent my week days writing and dreaming of Ryan Gosling (although, if I’m being honest, some things never change).  It was a really crap time, if I’m honest, because I was so miserable and shielding myself from the possibility of ending up an even fatter, more miserable version of myself didn’t seem like something I should be keeping up. Then, in May, I started a brand new job and my life changed entirely – I became the happiest version of myself that I, and my loved ones, had ever seen. It fucked my plans of being alone forever completely up, because I met someone who would fast become my favourite human and someone I could never imagine being without.

Dramatic, right? I know… Read on:

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you might have noticed me mention Brain a few times; he was a friend I met through said new job and when I was introduced to the tall, blue eyed Bob Dylan fan of the office, I was pretty much smitten. Fuck. We became pretty awesome friends and due to my extreme lack of self-confidence and ability to believe that a human could find me anything other than extremely annoying / a lifelong non sexual friend, I never thought anything would happen with Brain, so I just let all my insecurities go and he fast became the person I told everything to and who I was my complete self with. We spent all day at work chatting about music, films and everything in between, he would give me lifts home and we would talk non-stop until he dropped me off. It got to the point where I was actually sad when five o clock came and I wouldn’t see Brain for a few hours until the next morning – it was highly embarrassing.

It turned out that he felt the same way and after what could only be described as the most laid back, hilarious and fun date of my life, we have become inseperable over the last few months and I am positively squishy on the inside over this amazing human who happened to stumble into my life and knocked me for six. I am completely and utterly in love with Brain, which is really the opposite of my plans for this year. So, my plans for the rest of the year is to become really poor and morbidly obese. You hear that fate? Did you hear me request obesity and bankruptcy? Bring on the cash and bony hips! Get in.

I also moved house! My former landlord was always a bit of a dickhead. He’s a mackem, which, if you aren’t from the North East is something I’ll need to explain: He supports Sunderland football club, which means he has a huge chip on his shoulder because everyone in the North East think he’s a total waste of space. And it turns out that on top of that he was also a pedantic bully who made my life a bit of a shit hole, so I moved. I now live in an amazing flat and Brain hangs out with me all of the time and has been so awesome in helping me move. He got van and drove all of my stuff over here, did literally all of the heavy lifting because I am the most lazy person ever to exist and bought me some amazing housewarming gifts to make my new flat the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. I’ll probably show you some photos at some point, but I also might not because I like that my flat is now officially mine and I don’t want to share it with anyone. I have turned my life around completely and it feels really, really good.

So, what’s left for Doris? Does she continue blogging and harping on relentlessly about this human she’s totally in love with? Nah, don’t be so silly. I will still write openly and affectionately about tits and sex, I’ll write about the humiliating things that happen to me on a daily basis and my emotions and mind grapes are still totally fucked up, so you’ll probably read some horrendous stuff from time to time, so please, join me in a raising a glass to me, take a seat and just wait for the reams and reams of shite to splurt out of my mouth. Bye for now 🙂

I’m in the Business of Making Friends.

“Do it! You’ll enjoy it!”
“I don’t think so… I’m not really that kind of girl.”
“Oh, come on! What have you got to lose?”
“Nothing, I just…”
“Come on! I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.”
“… Okay, I guess… But don’t tell my parents, I’d die of shame.”

And that was how I was forced into prostitution.

No, that’s a complete lie, but it is how I was encouraged to download the app Tinder at the behest of a friend who enthused about it and said I would find it a bit of a lark. I did have my apprehensions because I have never had any desire to join on-line dating sites or anything like that, mostly because of my tendency to attract absolute weirdos; you know the type that dwell in the darkest, most bizarre areas of the internet and eventually crawl out when they see my giant eyes having a bit of a nose around. The whole ‘oh look, she’s weird and quite chubby; SHE WILL LOVE MY INCEST BANTER!’ (Never okay, guys), but also because I’m a lot more interesting on the internet and I always imagine when I meet people they look at me and visibly deflate in enthusiasm, especially when I trip over or walk into a door and they become horrifically disappointed in me for having absolutely no social skills whatsoever. Also because I’m terrified of being captured and forced into a sex ring a la Taken. My dad is not Liam Neeson, he’d probably just tell them to keep me.

I assumed Tinder would be different after reading the description. It’s a totally anonymous application, where if you reject someone it doesn’t come up with ‘this person rejected your face… let’s exact revenge!’ equally, if you click the like button on someone’s face and they don’t like you back, you’re none the wiser. The rejection part was generally the big pull for me, it allows me to reject humans without even having to speak to them, from the comfort of my bed when I have my hair scraped back and no make up on – it’s strangely empowering to a chubby, weird looking, presumably drunk girl like me. That does sound decidedly harsh, but I can only imagine that there are more than plenty of people who see my giant face appear on their screens and click the massive cross button that stamps my image with a big old ‘NOPE’ and I’m fine with that, because there is a definite sense of joy to be felt when clicking that big old button on images of men with their insanely honed abdominals threatening me with fitness, pants hanging ridiculously low on their beyond tanned and slender hips – I imagine these are the types of people who see me in real life and shudder with absolute disgust, not interested in knowing how hilarious and brilliant at everything I am, so it does feel quite empowering to be able to think ‘I don’t fancy you types of people at all, PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!’ and rejecting them happily. Although, part of me does want them to know that I find them horrendous, which is why I’m putting that on here – you’re all very unattractive, muscles are horrible, STOP OFFENDING ME WITH THEM!

I do have to admit that it’s not as hilarious as I thought I was going to be, because no interaction between the people you reject is actually not as fun as having someone valiantly try to chat you up for you to reject with a humorous anecdote in your comedy satchel for when you want to tell someone about your exploration into online photo appreciation, I guess. I’m quite annoyed by the whole thing if I’m being honest, because when I decided to take it seriously and started clicking the like button (I don’t swipe like everyone else, because I sometimes get my left and right mixed up and I’d smash my phone, screaming bloody murder if I ever rejected someone super interesting) I didn’t realise that people had, obviously, also been clicking buttons on my face and it came up with ‘It’s a match! Talk to this person!’ which is horrific and scary. I didn’t, because I’m a terrible person, but some of them do also chat to you and I’ve found that everyone I’ve spoken to has been really funny and interesting. Damn it all! I didn’t expect that. I’ve spoken to writers, avid readers, one particularly awesome Rolling Stone enthusiast and Chef, comic book nerds and people who have left me messages beginning with quotes from Goodfellas and they’ve all been able to hold pretty hilarious conversations. It has been refreshing, but also really bloody annoying, because my friend promised me I’d get some weirdos to interact with and I’ve only really had one, who I didn’t really interact with as much as I should have because I was drunk.

This guy looked normal and we did have a lot of mutual interests and a lot of his photos had him smiling with friends and wearing a dorky Christmas jumper and he had a really nice smile, with a kind face around it, so he didn’t look like he was going to be creep 101, in my defence. He’d already liked my face and then sent me a message, which was really normal, we said hello and asked one another how we were and what we did for a living etc and then, pretty much right after I told him I had a new job, he then asked me for my number so I could send him some nudes? What? Eh? No thanks, pal! I suppose that’s part of the deal when you download apps like this, but I didn’t expect full on perversion from a lanky dork in a shitty Christmas jumper. I told him no, because I’m a classy kinda gal and I’m also not a fan of giving my number to internet folk and he got really arsey about it.

“Why not?”
“Because I don’t want to.”
“Why, what’s wrong with you? Are you fat?”
“Excuse me? Because I don’t want to send nude pictures of myself to an absolute stranger, it must be because I’m fat? Not at all because I have self respect, high standards and decent morals?”
“Other girls do it”
“Well, you must not speak to many intelligent, self assured women, then.”
“You’re not intelligent.”
“You fucking what?”
“You can’t be, you’re on Tinder looking for a lad”
“Actually, I’m on Tinder so I can write about it on my blog. Took a screenshot of your picture as well, pal, so you’ll be on my blog by the end of the weekend… Enjoy!”

And I sent him a link. I didn’t screen shot his face, nor would I ever be so cruel to someone, but I did instil the fear of God into him for a little while, at least.

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Thanks for the Cock-Blocking, Parents!

When you’re a kid – especially when you’re a teenager – you always say to yourself that you’re never going to raise your children the way your parents raised you. Like when you begged to dye your hair bright pink and they said no because you’d look ridiculous: fuck you guys, my kids are going to have the BEST and most OUTLANDISH hair ever! Or when you were banned from going to parties because despite how many times you said you weren’t going to drink because it was entirely irresponsible and my liver hasn’t even properly formed yet, I don’t want to get cancer or anything, you guys! Look at how responsible I am! That kind of parental guidance that has you thinking about certain injustices way into your mid-twenties and makes you feel that their shitty (excellent) parenting led you to not experience things that you wanted to experience and, in the most idealistic and nonsensical way possible you blame your parents and their shitty (excellent) rules and boundaries that essentially, cock-blocked you throughout your teenaged years. Way to go, parents, thanks for loving me… Not!

All throughout Comprehensive School, I was madly in love with a boy (who shall remain nameless because I can’t think of a fake name that embodies just how cool this guy was. Like, even his name was cool) whose bright blue eyes and jet black hair made my heart flutter from the very first day I laid eyes on him, at the tender age of twelve. I wasn’t all that cool; I was too tall and my limbs seemed to grow at an alarming daily rate and I wore glasses that made twelve year old me look like I was constantly in wait to stand in for Daniel Radcliffe should he not be able to play Harry Potter any more, but I was pretty smitten with this guy from day one. And this love would continue until I was sixteen and then never saw him again because he wasn’t a super nerd like me. It was difficult to fancy someone who, to me, seemed entirely unobtainable. Like, even girls in my class would whisper when he walked by our tables and say things like “we’d never stand a chance with him, he’s so amazing!” and it made me feel a little bit like he was a celebrity and my adoration simply grew, despite not having a chance. As I said, I didn’t have much going for me in the looks department. And his on/off girlfriend (which always seemed a bit too adult for me at the age of twelve… Like what kind of problems could they really have?) was one of the cool girls.

The cool girls of my age actually looked like fully formed women; their tiny breasts were far larger than my non-existent ones and their school bags were like the kind of bags I take on nights out with me now. Their hair, usually blonde, were all worn in super thick high pony tails and their gym kits were always the en-vogue brand of the season. I was not that cool. I had no-brand PE trainers because my parents were smart and didn’t see the need to spend £50 on trainers that I was going to wear solely in the PE hall (I’m sure my dad’s argument would have been “you have expensive trainers for kicking about in, you don’t need expensive trainers for an hour of PE a week!” and my PE uniform was of the same vain. My parents’ financial responsibility and general logic was a burden to my desperate desire not to be the too tall Harry Potter look-a-like I was. My only saving grace was (and always has been) my sense of humour and my pretty excellent taste in music and I had that whole ‘lived in Holland for a while’ exoticness going on, which actually did grab my school-crush’s attention. Take that you big breasted bitches with your bouncy pony tails!

I should probably point out that he didn’t really know where Holland was and my music taste wasn’t really his kind of thing; he was way into that so called music that sounds like someone is performing an exorcism over a really loud and incessant beat and I was pretty heavily into the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Clash and I think at that point I was still pretty besotted with Good Charlotte and CKY, which prompted a lot of people to call me a GOTH, but I was always generally well liked because of my sense of humour and ability to use big words and throughout school, my crush and I bounced our sense of humour off one another and that was pretty much it as far as our romance went. In my head, he and I were going to get married, but in reality my parents’ shitty (and yes I’m still calling it shitty because THEY RUINED MY LOVE LIFE) parental skills stopped what could have been the Ben Affleck and J.LO relationship of 2001-2005. Thanks again, guys.

When we were thirteen, my best friend’s family were going away for the weekend and leaving her at home, under the illusion that she would have her best girl friends round for a weekend of film watching and general girly banter. Which of course, was the plan, however, she did also invite a bunch of boys round and managed to get her hands on a lot of booze (how did we ever manage this? I never had any money, but I was always drunk… Then again, I still am, I think it’s just a Geordie knack). I had never been to a party before, other than the parties we had when we were kids and I was guessing there would be no pin the tail on the donkey or, indeed, parental chaperones of any kind. However, with this lack of knowledge surrounding teenaged parties, I didn’t know what to expect and of course, like a total ding-bat, I told my parents the truth: That my friend was having a party because her parents were away for the weekend, there will be boys there, and can I go too? I was genuinely surprised by their resounding NO followed by a you must think I was born yesterday style lecture. What the fuck was their problem? It was a party not a satanic ritual followed by mass suicide. Anyway, I couldn’t go and I was pretty put out about the whole affair. I remember sitting on my bed all weekend receiving text messages from my best friend asking me where I was (I lied and said I was doing something way better, like sky diving or hanging out with my friend Mick Jagger) and weeping dramatically at the unknown, until they realised that I wasn’t coming and got on with their, what turned out to be, AMAZING party – a party people would actually talk about for years to comeSo, when Monday rolled around and I got to school, pushed slightly out of my friend group because I didn’t have the inside knowledge on the past weekend, I felt like a giant heap of steaming shit. That was, until my best friend grabbed me by the arm and said, “when he got to mine, he kept asking where you were, like literally all night!” and I swooned like I was in an old fashioned film and Etta James’ At Last began playing in my head (not really, but now when I think about how excited I was by this, I can totally imagine modern day me singing that song out loud and swinging round a lamppost). Monday was also the day we had music in the afternoons and music lessons were my absolute favourite because our music teacher could actually never be arsed to teach us and just sat us in front of keyboards, told us to learn a song with our headphones on and locked himself in his office, which meant that the majority of us didn’t play at all, but caused general mischief until our teacher came out and screamed at us. In hindsight, I probably should have paid more attention because I always wanted to learn how to play the piano, but at the same time, I also really wanted a first kiss and at the age of thirteen, that seemed way more important than musical talent (until at the age of fourteen, I discovered the boys who played guitar in the year above then I realised its importance). Anyway, I still remember this lesson as being the best lesson in the history of all lessons because he sat behind me and kept playing with my hair. I would turn round and we’d have a conversation, usually ending in fits of laughter and we’d just stare in each other’s eyes for what seemed like an eternity until one of us looked away, blushing. We seriously had the hots for each other.

The flirtation lasted, horrifically platonically, until we left school. Alas, it was never meant to be, because my parents obviously heard my ramblings of a teenager in love to everyone and anyone who would listen, and decided to put a stop to any of this boy behaviour before it grew wings and also out of control. But the reason I’m posting this blog post is because I saw him recently and he still made me blush and grin like an absolute maniac and I did exactly the same to him and it made me really angry that instead of having the most perfect first kiss with my most perfect and hilarious school crush, I kissed some ghoul human who shoved his tongue as far down my throat as he could get it, which, if you were watching, looked like he was the mama bird and I was the baby bird, which makes me feel a little sick. It also makes me wonder what if? And if I had gone to that party and let him touch my non-boobs and kiss me, would I have taken different routes in life? Instead of discovering those boys who played guitar and wanting to be the next Marianne Faithfull and kissing a boy who couldn’t even play guitar all that well (and he played bass guitar, which was always my least favourite) because he was there and I was fourteen and hadn’t had a proper kiss yet  and had drank a lot of Iron Bru flavoured WKD, if I’d gone to that party and kissed my school crush a year before and then began socialising with him outside of school with all of his strangely adult friends (they also took drugs, which was never my thing, but you know, Amy Winehouse was pretty well behaved before she met her crush) that my life would have turned out any differently. I can guarantee you I probably would be more tanned and a bit less chubby because when I saw him, I literally stopped breathing for about twenty seconds because dayum! He was a beauty and his arms were like the size of both my legs wrapped together in a neat little muscle bound parcel. I think I might have re-developed my school crush.

Any way, this is one of the many stories in my life where my parents have inadvertently ruined my life in the short term. I’m sure there are plenty more, but I was thinking about this today and got really angry about it, so there you have it. But there is a lesson to be learned, either for parents who have small children, or people who intend to procreate and not let your children make the same mistakes you did: Let them. My parents tried to shield me from the bad things in life as much as they could and whilst their parental guidance has always been for the benefit of me, it has also worked to my detriment too and saw me in situations that I should never have been forced into. Like, oh, let our daughter hang out with the game nerds and band geeks, they are pretty non-threatening because of all the Metallica songs they obsess over then when you’re locked in a room with the most predatory human ever, crying because he won’t let you out until you touch his cock and let him force himself onto you, then you think BAM my parenting could have been a bit better there and my fifteen year old daughter wouldn’t be terrified of being in rooms alone with men she doesn’t really know very well  ten years later. Not that that’s anyone’s fault other than the fuckwit who did that to me, but still, my school-crush would never have forced me to touch his man parts. So really, you should have let me go to that party when I was thirteen, mam and dad! GOD!

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“From Now on, I am Going to Live my Life According to Martin Scorsese Films.”

I often say things when I’m drunk and make a mental note to remember them, delving further into my mind grapes in order to make sense of the shit that comes out of my mouth after one too many glasses of merlot. In my mind’s eye, I am incredibly prophetic and I use my wine glass as a mouth piece, as a part of me in order to emphasise my point; I often imagine that I am like Catherine Zeta Jones in High Fidelity during the scene where John Cusak still thinks she is incredibly important and not at all empty and vapid, when really I am more like Tina Fey in 30 Rock sitting about in a slanky eating night cheese (which is so something every single girl living alone should do).

When I discussed this with my friend, who informed me I was also discussing Jack Nicholson in depth, I realised I was talking about The Departed and assumed it must be the quote that I always close my eyes and smile at when I hear it:

I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.

It’s one of those quotes where I like to interpret it to the point where it makes absolutely no sense in the movie, but has been warped into making perfect sense in my reality, therefore incredibly important and relevant to my blog post. However, I think this does, in some pointlessly convoluted way, actually make sense, which is both surprising and strangely healthy for me. Since breaking up with my ex, I have had a lot of people tell me that I am better off or, that they mean well, but what they’re about to say will offend me to my very core, causing my eyes to prickle with tears as I smile and tell them that no, actually, it’s totally fine, tell me exactly what’s on your mind and why the man I thought I was going to marry was ruining the very essence of me, it’s totally fine… what, these aren’t tears, it’s raining on my face. Some of it is really harsh, but I think it’s just my pride trying to defend and justify five years of simply existing, rather than living. And here is how I think that it is totally relatable and relevant to my Frank Costello quote. Here we go:

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my relationship. I liked waking up every day next to the same face and smiling, leaning over to kiss the person I love on his sleepy mouth, not at all embarrassed or disgusted by the mingling of our vile morning breaths. I loved our life together and I loved our house; the bickering over whose turn it was to get the drinks in, or how to cook a chilli:

“I’m a chef, Doris; I do this for a job, go sit down and drink your wine!”
“BUT YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!!”
“I am not doing it wrong, I’m just not doing it the way you do it!”
“Have you even PUT any red wine in it? Or any CHOCOLATE?!”
“No, because you’re drinking it all and already ate all the chocolate! Sit down and shut up!”

Turns out he knows how to make a mean chilli, but fuck it, I am high maintenance. I also loved even just having someone to hold my hand or a arm nook to curl into when I was crying hysterically over something pointless on the TV, or something I’d read on the internet. However, since breaking up with him I realised that we had hit a plateau; that our relationship was stuck because neither of us were willing to mould ourselves into the relationship expected of us – we lived very close to our families and his family in particular were in their early twenties and had children and engagements etc. We had become a product of our environment and I, in particular, felt pressured by that and felt that I shouldn’t be looking for a career that would allow me to save money to travel and live a life I’ve always dreamed of… I felt pressured into believing that my dreams and desires were entirely selfish; that I should be nesting and creating a home for the eventual pitter patter of tiny feet. Looking back, I know that he was incredibly uninterested in committing to me beyond living with me, even tidying up and respecting his home was a challenge and sometimes he wouldn’t even come home at all because he needed his ‘space’, which really isn’t all that hard to find in a three bedroom terrace with two bathrooms and a pool room (as in the lounge game, not the swimming)… I now realise by ‘space’ he meant ‘being single for a while’. Not necessarily cheating, but not having to think about anyone but himself. Which is fine, I guess, but you don’t move the fuck in with someone and then wander off pretending to be single for a night whilst she sits at home and cries, wondering how the fuck she became this person she hated.

Since becoming single, I’ve realised that I am now in the latter stages of that quote: that I am now making my environment a product of me. Not in the exact sense as Costello was talking about, but I think in my own wine-induced way, that’s also exactly what Costello was talking about. Probably. Again, I don’t want anyone to read this and think that I am chuffed to be rid of my ex boyfriend, that he was this weight on my existence forcing me downwards until I was a miserable middle aged twenty-something woman with resentments towards everyone around me. I loved him. I really did and I still look back and think ‘jeez, if only we hadn’t done this, or not let people influence us…’ the reasons are endless, because a relationship ending, regardless of how toxic you realise it was, is sad. And it is sad and I am still pretty sad about it, but I’m also glad it ended for the aforementioned reasons. I wasn’t ready to throw my life away for The Stanley Dream; pregnant by my early twenties, unemployed living off benefits, feeding my kids cheap, processed foods because it is far cheaper than buying organic (not that I buy organic, but still). I always had a grand ambition and I studied so hard to be the type of person that I wanted to be and only now, after five years of being head over heels (to the point of fault) in love with someone, unable to see their own faults, it’s only now that I am able to see that our relationship was a mistake. The whole thing. And that is because I am overly romantic and believed that love conquered all; that none of my dreams mattered because I had found someone who loved me in spite of all my flaws (like drinking too much or wandering into traffic).

It has only been a few months, but since then I have become an entirely different person. My parents tell me that I have become the old me, but with slightly better morals and more experience, thus more wise. Like an owl or Patrick Stewart in Star Trek Next Generation. I am also a hell of a lot happier… Like, even when I wake up alone and spend the day alone, drink wine alone and then fall asleep alone: I am SO happy doing that too. I have become a more rounded human being right down from losing over two stone in weight and starting this blog. I am also trying to establish myself in a proper career (not like in a call centre role where essentially, I am working for peanuts whilst a giant corporation hands out bonuses to arsehole board members with double chins and mistresses… a proper career) and have become a generally nicer person. I even do nice things for charity now. I know! And no, before you roll your eyes and pass me off as one of those people who took a #nomakeupselfie and didn’t even donate money, I do volunteer work for an old people charity, so shut your stupid judgmental faces and praise me like you should. My entire outlook on life is entirely different and my morals are back on track and being treated with the respect they deserve; I no longer let people walk all over me like I don’t matter and I no longer let people treat me like I don’t mean anything. I am very important and I am very nice and my environment, at least, is very much a product of me, which I think is the ultimate goal for anyone.

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I Kissed a Boy! And I Liked It!

I must reiterate, before I begin, that I have actually kissed boys before. Or men, rather, now I’m in my mid-twenties I should probably refer to them as men, lest people get confused and think I’m a pervert. I have also kissed women (not girls) and sometimes I will kiss my dog right on his mouth because we are best friends and that’s not weird at all. What I mean, however, is that I have actually gone out of my way to approach a boy (man) and put my mouth on his mouth. First! Without accidentally head butting him or totally misreading signals and have him laugh in my face (that’s happened). Admittedly, he was drunk, but fuck you guys, this is my moment! Hoorah!

Under the influence of a very heady mixture of merlot, gin and pinot grigio, I recently kissed a very tall, very muscly armed male with an excellent sense of style and generally nice stubble. I know this is probably the most uninteresting thing you have read in your entire lives, but for me – after kissing only one person for the past five years – kissing someone new is a HUGE deal, so you can all fuck off with your eye rolling and judging. Equally, in my twenty five years of existing, I have never been the type of girl who goes to clubs and kisses boys. Mostly because I very rarely go to clubs, but also because when I look around, I tend not to be looking at all the handsome men, but at all the girls who are far better looking than I am and assume that the males would much prefer to kiss them, so I just continue with tequila shots and dancing, thus alienating anyone who comes my way. I am also terrified of rejection – which is a weird thing to say considering at some point in their lives, everyone has dealt with rejection and handled it rather well, but I tend to avoid my feelings after having told two people in my life that I quite fancied them and had them both reject me and as much as I am not bothered about it now, it still makes me think ‘aah, but I was so embarrassed by those two insignificant moments in my life’s history LET’S NOT RELIVE IT, EH?!’ and again, reach for more tequila. However, I am pretty pleased that I ignored those feelings and simply went for it, because now I am really quite proud of myself. I’m like a Cheshire cat, or like a hostage negotiator, after a long day of negotiating over hostages, going home and having his lovely wife pour him a scotch and then regaling the children in the tale of how no one died on daddy’s watch during the big terrorist attack of the day because he is AWESOME at his job – it was that monumental.

Afterwards, I did the really mature and not at all trampy thing of just smiling at him and walking away, which seems utterly ridiculous, but I was actually that proud of myself that I felt I needed to do some kind of lap around the club, asking people to cheer at me and shouting LOOK WHAT I DID! Because I have never actually been that confident before, nor as bold or relatively enticing with my (terrible) dance moves and my pouty lips and ‘come fuck me’ eyes (I have those WHO KNEW?!) AND IT WORKED! The one thing that I have taken away from this experience (other than a lovely, cheeky kiss) is that I have regained my love for my single self. When I broke up with my ex, I was all over the place and I doubted everything from the way my face looked in the mornings to my choice of snack (usually cucumber, which could be offensive, I mean he did really hate vegetables); I had no faith in myself and lost even more of my spark than I had already lost in the past few years. Anyway, it made me remember just how much I love to flirt and how much I love first kisses, they might actually be my favourite kind. Although, I suppose ‘drunken smooch’ is a sub-category thereof and isn’t actually as fun as looking up into someone’s eyes, insides filled with butterflies, a small smile tracing your lips as you both lean in, full of hope and awesome expectations of WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN NEXT. Even so, it was a pretty good kiss, even if the sub-category isn’t the best kind.

I had also stopped believing in myself from a physical aspect. I mean, I’ve never been a big believer in people who tell me I look good or that I’m attractive; I’m always filled with self doubt that the people telling me this are liars and that eventually a camera crew will jump out and shout ‘WE TOLD YOU! HA HA HA WHAT A FUCKING IDIOT!’ Like in every teen movie I’ve ever watched.  When I’ve been told that people fancy me or that people think I’m sexy, I usually laugh in their faces or stop speaking to them until I am able to breathe without the aid of someone shouting ‘breathe, pet, just breathe, come on! You can do it!’ Like the runt of some puppy litter. Don’t get me wrong, I do think I’m pretty; my features are relatively symmetrical and not too goofy and I have pretty massive blue-ish eyes, which is nice, but I am, categorically, not the type of girl people would want to cross rooms to kiss or bend over the kitchen sink because I look fuckable in a pair of yellow marigolds.

I think of myself as a modern Doris Day, except I swear more and have a filthy sense of humour (which she would never have, she was the first feminist of Hollywood, after all!). In fact, not even Doris Day because she was really self assured and I’m not. I’m not sexy in the traditional sense of the word at all; I snort when I laugh and sometimes drinks come out of my nose when I hear something really funny and sometimes I smash glasses off the front of my teeth because I have absolutely no sense of self awareness and I wear glasses because without them I can’t see my hand in front of my face (and they have to be THINNED OUT because I am so blind that without doing so, they would be actually milk bottle lenses. It’s horrific and not at all sexy). I am either too approachable that people think we’re going to be best friends or stand offish because my resting face makes me look cruel. I’m not beautiful, by any means and I am not confident enough in my own skin to ooze sex appeal: I’m dependable and reliable, like a hazy eyed, elderly Labrador with legs that buckle when she tries to get up because she’s just that ancient, but when she manages, she’ll waddle over to you and put her head on your knee and look at you with massive eyes and say ‘hiya pet, do you fancy a cuppa, or maybe just a stroke of my head?’ You know, someone you adore, but don’t want to put your dick in. That kind of adoration.

So yeah, if I can take anything from this experience it’s that I enjoy kissing and I definitely enjoy being single again because I’m building all my old confidence back up. I think the next obstacles I am going to have to tackle are going to be ‘how to kiss a boy you actually like when sober’ and also ‘talking to and communicating with attractive people without your tongue swelling up, forcing you to run away and cry alone in a toilet cubicle’. I think it’s all just one day at a time type of stuff and until then, I’m quite happy living off the elation of my random smooch-a-thon for, you know, the rest of my life. Or until the next time. Whatever.

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What’s With All the Dick Pics?

For those of you who know me well, or for those of you who don’t, but have been following my blog in the past few weeks (thank you, by the way!) it is no real secret that I am single after half a decade (how awful does that sound? I realised this recently and have startled myself into complete denial with that discovery) and am now somewhat tentatively taking my first unsure, unconfident steps back into the world of single men and the ‘dating game’ (which isn’t really a game at all, guys. A game should make you laugh and there should ultimately be a winner and possibly a trophy. It should not include anyone, under any circumstances making shit conversation and spending an entire evening bragging about themselves and their accomplishments whilst you sit there wishing your drink would automatically refill itself with arsenic so you could put yourself out of the misery of being in that horrific situation. Or, where you get so bored you imagine stabbing yourself in the ears so that you never have to listen to some jumped up narcissist in bad shoes speak ever again. And you’d get a free bus pass. It’s more like torture. Social torture. Dating torture) and it’s only very recently I realised that the concept of dating etc has changed completely and I am now a confused and floundering fish on land, hopelessly gasping for my life and flapping my body off the floor until my eyes get glassy and I drift off into a peaceful fish death, confident that my last moments of abject agony and asphyxiation were far more enjoyable than being a single woman in 2014.

I have always been a pretty modern, liberal woman and having grown up in an age where technology is insistently rampant and ever changing, I never thought I would become intimidated or terrified of being a smart phone owning single female. However, since becoming single, that is exactly what I am. I have been inundated with men who aren’t at all interested in me as a person or being my friend, but more interested in and persistent in showing me their dick. Or, if not showing me their dick, talking about it constantly in both its aesthetics, and its ability to make women everywhere squirt out their entire collective body fluids until they resemble a very old, very dried up sponge with flaky bits coming off and a distinct ‘stale’ odour emanating from their once fluid filled bodies. There isn’t even a preamble to this horrific revelation, no build up or warning at all, just a full on picture of their dick, invading my phone like a tyrannical war lord. When this first happened to me, it was through the app Snapchat, which I had previously only used to show my friends just how horrific I can make my face look by simply showing them my double chin or maybe a picture of overweight women with their thongs hanging out of their see through Primark leggings like string wrapped around piles and piles of flesh coloured wool. I had never even considered that my friends weren’t sending pictures back because they couldn’t find anything more horrific than my face and fat women in thongs, but because they were all too busy sharing ten second snippets of their fanny flaps and ball sacks. Who knew? Certainly not me! I was gob smacked and not just because this person had actually dressed his cock up to look like a human face (oh yeah, you read that correctly), but because I barely even knew this person in any other context than simple Facebook friends with many, many mutual friends. He was someone whose statuses I found really funny, not someone whose cock I wanted to see first thing on a morning wearing glasses with a playful ‘you like? ;)’ caption (FYI, no, I didn’t).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude. I think my previous posts and general cavalier attitude towards sex makes that abundantly clear, but I just don’t want to receive pictures of someone’s cock before I’ve even had my morning cup of tea. If someone were to do that in real life and thrust their cock at me for ten seconds screaming ‘LOOK AT MY COCK! DO YOU LIKE IT?!’ I could prosecute and have them arrested for being fucking creeps, so why is this now seemingly part of the process when chatting to men all of a sudden? I’m not sure if I’ve been in a relationship for too long, that I missed the cursory email society sent around saying that it was now obligatory for us to show off our intimate bits to the opposite sex before embarking on any form of polite conversation, but I’m pretty horrified. Or maybe it’s just the type of people I attract. Maybe I’m like emanating this lonely desperation and longing for some kind of cock catalogue so I can flick through it on a night time before strumming my clit until I’m practically humming the National Anthem in ecstasy. I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that every male I have spoken to since breaking up with my ex has generally been uninterested in me in any way shape or form, other than in a sexual context. Even people who have added me on Twitter and sent me a ‘you’re hot’ message (Just out of curiosity, how are you supposed to reply to those and why do people send them? Surely a comedic quip and a dazzling of wit would be more appreciated? I mean, for me it definitely would be, because I just find my normal retort: ‘tepid, actually’ baffles them into thinking I must be thick, so they persist and tell me why they think a picture of my face equates to me being super hot and thin and smooth and fuckable) have immediately foregone any form of social graces and inundated me with terrible banter pertaining to my tits and how, because I’m single, I am of course gagging for cock (their cock to be precise) and I must want it in every possible orifice available. It’s not even subtle and there isn’t even any form of prelude through tantalising, flirty conversation or even a simple ‘what’s your favourite colour?’ type questions; it’s immediately sexual and as liberal and cavalier as my attitude tends to be… I just find it very off putting and infantile.

What happened, fellas? What happened to blossoming friendships and the uncertain potential involved with talking to a lady? Getting to know someone through staying up really late chatting passionately about books and films, instead of pushing your phallus right up to their faces, begging her to indulge your every fantasy with a sexting session? It just seems to me that no one seems to want to ‘court’ (old fashioned terminology, but it’s valid) any more – sex is put on the table almost immediately so that you’re pretty aware that the guy you’re talking to doesn’t find you interesting or funny and doesn’t care that you have a first class degree, you just have really nice tits and your face looks like it could do with a smattering of spunk (and yes, that line has been used on me before).

Of course, shit like this has been happening since the dawn of time and if Billy Crystal in When Harry met Sally is to be believed, men and women cannot be friends because the sex part ultimately gets in the way, but at least in those days there was at least the illusion of friendship, rather than Harry just whipping his dick out and asking Sally to suck him off. I mean, if you’re out in a club and you see an attractive person, then yeah, it’s understood that you are there to get off with them and have a bit of a feel, rather than standing in a corner having a passionate debate about this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. If you meet up in a club, it doesn’t really mean anything more than two people expressing their carnal desires whilst dancing to a terrible techno-y remix of a shit song. But, when you talk to someone over a social media platform, I just think that we should expect a sense of decorum; that it should be less blatantly sexual and more conversational, as though you’d sat down next to them in a coffee shop and asked them what they were reading or whatever. I don’t really want to open my messages from someone I’ve never met before telling me that he wants to bend me into awkward positions that might not actually be possible and fuck me until I am inside out and probably a bit broken. Call me old fashioned, I suppose!

I imagine that, ultimately, it’s because our phones are such massive parts of our lives now and regardless of where we are or what we’re doing, we are accessible twenty four hours a day. We’re constantly online and we can instantly message or chat to someone we find attractive and because we share our lives and opinions on the internet and are told to accept that this is ‘sociable’, it’s not really surprising to discover that some people will take it a little too seriously and use this as a method of meeting someone so they don’t have to go through the arduous process of meeting someone in real life. And, if they find you attractive, they can constantly see what you’re up to and who you’re with and because we can speak to them every day if we so choose, it’s easy to be duped into thinking that this is an escalated form of ‘dating’ or whatever and it’s also easy to be deluded into thinking that someone replying to your messages and liking your statuses means that your feelings of attraction are ‘reciprocated’ when really, they have no real clue as to who you are. I just feel, being newly single and all, people put too high a price on social media and it warps the whole experience into believing it’s something that it really isn’t.

I guess if there’s any knowledge I can impart onto any men who are reading this and have done or are considering sending a woman a picture of their dick: Just don’t do it, guys. We don’t really appreciate them as much as you think we do and we don’t want to pander to you in order to massage a fragile ego. Instead, maybe try to treat a girl online exactly the same way you would treat her if you met her in reality; you wouldn’t flap your dick around in her face in real life, so just don’t do it.

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Dating: Society’s Cruellest Trick.

I do not like dating. Like, at all. It’s not something I’ve ever really enthusiastically participated in and now that I have come out of a long term relationship, it’s not something that I want to participate in, in my future either. I am actually quite seriously contemplating a life of spinsterhood except instead of cats, I’m going to buy pugs and eventually I am going to move to a big farm in the middle of no where and become a pug farmer, because how cute does that sound? I won’t sell these pugs or earn any money from the farm land I am on. Instead I will simply live a meagre life, writing witty things online in trade of wine deliveries made by a rotund, bleary eyed gentleman named Bob, who will always come in for a cuppa by the fire and before he leaves he’ll turn to me and say “It amazes me that you’re single, Doris, you’re such a catch and so skinny!” and I will nod and tip my wine glass towards him and say “Oh, Bob, if only you were fifty years younger!” and he will chuckle and pat his belly before getting back into his van and driving off into the sunset. Okay, I’ve gone off point, but seriously, seriously this should happen. Back on point: Dating… I don’t like it. Okay, here we go.

Living alone allows for some very awesome things. Like watching Johnny Bravo back to back on Netflix and doing the monkey with him during the theme tune from the couch, stuffing biscuit after biscuit into my mouth and washing it down with beer at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon. Or never leaving bed for an entire weekend, but instead of having awesome sex with a really hot person, I’m reading and napping for hours on end. Or ordering loads of takeaways and hiding the evidence in case my parents visit unexpectedly. But it does also allow for some pretty shitty things, like not being bothered about cleaning up so I can’t invite people round in case they judge me for being slovenly and then I descend into partial madness as I struggle to find things to keep me occupied now that I’ve watched all the cartoons on Netflix. My most loathed part about living alone is allowing myself to think. Mostly because my brain is a cock and she makes me think about things that I don’t want to think about like responsibilities and the future. So, of course, fuelled by wine, I recently decided to take a trip down memory lane and think about all the men in my past. Healthy, right? Yeah, tell me about it.

Somewhere in my mind, I decided to try and remember a really good date that I’ve been on and of course, my mind actually drew a blank. Instead, terrible dates and faces I’ve tried to suppress in the deepest, darkest caves in my mind came flying at me like the most terrifying 80s montage experience you can think of, the Rocky theme tune playing on a loop as memory after memory accosted my thoughts and I began weeping profusely into my wine glass at the prospect of dating humans in the future and that I should just ask Google to find me a sparse farm land somewhere for my future pugs to run around on. It’s not that I have horrific taste in men, or that the males I’ve been out with have been unattractive or weird (at first). I might have really high expectations of dating, or it might all be in my head and actually, I’ve never been on a date or been in a relationship, I’m just that socially awkward and hermity that I make it up in my head and tell people how terrible dates were in order to at least appear totally normal and functional and that my impending life of spinsterhood isn’t as tragic as it might sound to normal, emotionally stable adults. Then, I had another terrible thought and decided that it must be me that has the problem, because who would take a really sexy, fully functioning adult on a really shit date and then just tell her all these ridiculous things and do stupid things to make her repress them all in such a wobbly manner? I’m like a drunken, English, chubby Taylor Swift, except instead of writing horrible songs about Harry Styles, I repress memories and cry into wine glasses.

There was this one guy I dated for about two weeks who I’d met online. We had mutual friends and he went to the college near where I went to college. He was studying to make films and (no this isn’t going to end up with me half naked in a warehouse somewhere having enormous cocks slapped in my face as I cry and wish for simpler times… Calm down) he asked me if I knew any dramatic types who’d like to be in a film, so I said yes and we all met up to discuss this venture thing that would eventually lead to me being super duper famous because, low and behold, I was a writer and I was going to write it. Turned out I didn’t write it and the whole thing was just this weird ploy to get me to go on a date with him. He was really lovely and he was funny, so I let him take me out a few times and when I didn’t see him, we’d chat on MSN like everyone did back in the olden days. He would tell me I was pretty and liked my eyes, then photo shopped every picture of myself and changed my eyes into a totally different colour to what they actually are (blue/green became sapphire blue) and then he told me I looked like Anne Hathaway and Ariel the Little Mermaid and I’d forget that he changed my appearance at all and be charmed into thinking I was adorable. I don’t really know what happened to him, but I think he’s married now, presumably to someone who doesn’t mind being photo shopped into a better, bluer eyed version of herself.

Not long after that, I decided to accept a date from another person that I knew vaguely through some other friends of mine. One of my friends told me he was a bit of a douche bag and I didn’t believe him, because that friend didn’t like any males I dated because he used to like to get stoned and have sex with me and if I was dating, we couldn’t do that. It’s okay; he’s one of my best friends, so it’s not as sordid as it sounds. Anyway, this guy I went on a date with was really nice, I thought. He bought me pizza and didn’t judge me when I ate the whole thing in super quick time, then picked at the leftover chips on his plate. He then asked me if I’d like to go for a walk, which I was less enthusiastic about. Mostly because I’d just eaten an entire pizza, but also because physical exertion isn’t really high up on my list of things to do unless I’m shopping or running away from zombies. (Side note: Why do people run away from zombies? Don’t zombies traditionally walk really slowly? When did they start running? Like World War Z they all ran and I’m pretty sure they did in 28 Days Later too, but I can’t remember and don’t want to Google it in case I scare myself. Also, In The Walking Dead in the first episode, a zombie actually tried to open a door and another tried to climb a ladder… Zombies don’t do that shit. Seriously, what’s wrong with people?!) So we went on this walk and we were getting along quite well and talking about films that we liked, which was really great. Then he stopped and turned towards me, actually took my face in his hands and kissed me. Just like out of a film! No one had actually grabbed any body part of mine when they kissed me, unless you count my arse or a tit grab in a club one time, so I was pretty impressed the first time he did it. Less so when he did it every few feet, in the same chaste way before smiling and sighing, then taking my hand and walking a bit further. I was confused and also a bit sick of the face grabbing. Like, seriously, why was he grabbing my face and trying to control the kissing situation? I didn’t like it at all. Then I realised that he was doing this under every single lamp post we got to. It was winter and it was dark and the lamp posts were casting an amber glow onto us and presumably bouncing off my face in a really appealing way, hence the sigh? I started to get a little scared and wondered if he asked me to go on a walk so he could take me somewhere really secluded and hack me to death, then peel my face off so he could add it to the collection of faces he’d already collected from other girls he kissed under lamp posts. Needless to say, I ended the situation pretty quickly and made him take me to my bus stop and back towards civilisation in case I went missing (witnesses, guys, do not underestimate witnesses if you think you’re going to be killed). He asked me out again and I put him off for a while, until he quite bluntly asked me why I didn’t want to go out with him again. So I told him that it was the weird kissing under lamp posts and asked him what his deal was and he said it seemed like something Tom Hanks would do and ladies tend to like Tom Hanks. Oh, okay then.

I decided from a young age that I hated dating, but people tell me that this is how people find their future husbands and stuff like that, so I am encouraged to do this by all my friends and my family, who I’m convinced secretly hate me and set me up with fucking idiots so that I get drunk and cry about how terrible my dating history has been. I have also watched far too many teen driven shows about upper middle class American people who take the girls they like on really awesome dates like booking out the entire mall and covering it with loads of balloons and hearts or taking her to see Kelly Clarkson and then having Kelly shout ‘CHAD LOVES YOU’ to the crowd of however many fans Kelly Clarkson has as he hands her a bouquet of the most awesome flowers that actually smell really nice and not actually like a waste of money. So suffice it to say I do have a really warped expectation of dates. But, overall I think I don’t like them because I think it’s weird that people actually go out and feign all these social interactions in order to determine to themselves whether or not they like the person enough to want to have sex with them without getting really, really drunk first. Does no one else think that’s really weird? Like, why not just say to the person: Look, you seem nice, emotionally stable, you’ve got great tits, and should we have sex and see where this goes? I think dates would be a lot more successful if people were more up front. Like, one time, I went on a date with a guy and he actually looked me up and down as though I was cattle being sold at a market, then when he reached my face told me that he didn’t usually like tall girls, but he’d make an exception because I had really nice tits. So I knew that once I’d eaten the most expensive thing on the menu and drank two bottles of wine, that I’d ‘go to the bathroom’ before the bill came and then run away. See, being up front cost this guy a lot of money, but because he was an arsehole. But if executed in a more respectful and kind way, it’d be pretty successful, I think. I said to my friend a few days ago that I would quite like men to come with a CV and a covering letter, to lay out his plans and expectations of a date, and then I could decide accordingly whether or not I’d like to go out with him. Then I realised, I’m pretty sure that’s what online dating is for, then started to consider it before I snapped out of it and realised I’d rather die alone than meet some half breed online, who only resorted to online dating because there was so much wrong with him that women in real life screamed in horror and ran away as though they’d seen a hoard of zombies sprinting towards them over his shoulder and decided that they’d rather see him die than socialise with him in any way, shape or form.

So, after all the wine was gone, I decided that I will simply refrain from accepting invitations anywhere from men of any sort just in case they turn out to be weird or behave like Tom Hanks. Instead, I am going to buy an Xbox and play online with all of the other single losers who have no interest in dating because their gamer score is so high. And maybe buy a pug.

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“I’m going to die alone, aren’t I, world?”

You hear that? A single person lamenting their relationship status! It must be Valentine’s! Joy!

I love this time of year. The first two weeks of February are filled with hearts, cupid’s arrows and Hallmark board members masturbating furiously to the sound of cash registers flying open and slamming shut, as people in relationships everywhere succumb to peer pressure and buy oversized cards professing eternal love for their sweetheart. Novelty teddies are stripped of their Christmas hats and Santa outfits, replaced with tiny bear t-shirts exclaiming to love someone ‘bear-y much’. Equally so, single people everywhere undergo existential crises surrounding the day and behave as though Valentine’s Day is some giant secret that people in relationships have; that they all get together in a big group and bask in each other’s love-y glows, sipping flutes of romantic champagne, before indulging in a mass orgy conducted exclusively on the very best, super soft red roses whilst listening to Bon Jovi’s Always. No one has ever had the heart to tell any of them that Valentine’s Day, for regular couples, is just another day.

Admittedly, when I spent my first Valentine’s with a partner, I went all out and bought red lingerie with really small lacy pants that were so fragile and lacy, when I put them on I stuck my finger through, made a massive finger shaped hole and never wore again. I bought wine, I planned a nice romantic meal with candles and even made a really romantic playlist to listen to, then, ultimately, have sex to (and yes, Bon Jovi’s Always was the first track). In reality, all that transpired was that I made this huge effort to have sex and get a card with ‘I love you’ written on, which truth be told, I was too embarrassed to display because it said I love you and I’d only been seeing the guy for a few weeks and since then, I didn’t go to any such extremes, but did promise that if he got me a card, I’d suck him off and let him play Xbox all the following day, if I was allowed to get drunk and watch Mamma Mia first.

Don’t get me wrong – I like the day as a whole. It’s nice to see couples walking around with that purposeful, smug look on their loved up faces, knowing that when they get home, they’re going to try a sex position they’ve never tried before – probably anal – and eventually, she’s going to wear edible underwear that will be sexily nibbled off (painful elastic slapping onto extremities and awkward crunching be damned!) and that the chocolate body paint she promised to lick off his cock doesn’t taste at all like Galaxy or Dairy Milk. The day itself is so full of promise and allure, which is ultimately, I suppose, why truly single people feel so left out and let their imaginations get the better of them.

Valentine’s Day is not as romantic as the cards and novelty gifts suggest; it is simply a day where idiot couples fall into a consumerist trap and come up with ridiculous romantic situations that involve edible underwear and chocolates shaped like sex organs, which will ultimately get shovelled into someone’s mouth in front of the TV in a not at all sexy manner, when there partner isn’t even home or they’ve broken up. All couples ultimately do on Valentine’s Day is eat food, get drunk and have anal sex to music to make the whole process seem somewhat less uncomfortable and awkward. And, as is the single person’s adage every time this non-holiday comes knocking: We can do that any day of the year. So why bother making all that fuss?

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Did my grandma really set me up with a gay guy?

Oh, she did. Excellent.

Since my granddad died twelve years ago, my grandmother has insisted she has been on her death bed ever since. Even though her social life is fuller than mine and this month alone she has been to the gym more often than I have been in my entire life and, you know, the fact that twelve years have passed and she still hasn’t died, she is still almost certain that she will pop off at any moment. So, when she discovered that I’d broken up with my boyfriend of five years, she became somewhat hysterical. Even more so than I did; where I chose acceptance and a desire to move on with my life, she chose to talk about it every time I saw her and, evidently, with anyone who would listen.

I would just like to point out before you all roll our eyes, reach for your mouse and click the back button on your computer screens, that I am an intelligent twenty five year old woman. I have a degree (with which I have done nothing, but still, it’s a degree) and I also live by myself in a really big terraced house that may or may not be messier than your average student halls. Generally, people think I’m quite attractive. I mean, not in a ‘she’s hot, I would like to have sex with her regularly over a long period of time’ kind of attractive, but I am by no means unattractive enough to solicit blind dates from the elderly. I am also of the sensible, independent mind frame that I don’t need to be in a relationship in order to fill some sense of unaccomplished validation from anyone, never mind an old lady.

Regardless, she persisted and eventually set me up with a ‘lovely’ guy who, despite his age (twenty eight) had never had a girlfriend, not even the premise of a girlfriend, not even a one night stand, as far as my grandma and her friends were aware. But, he had a good job, his own house and two very lovely dogs. The signs, admittedly, were all there. I mean, from a truly stereotypical perspective, naturally. Not that it would have mattered, she had made a promise to her friend and heaven forbid, she go back on a promise she made in the bingo hall. It was extreme coercion.

So, off I went on my date. I made an effort, obviously, because if he turned out to be a Ryan Gosling type character, I needed to look nice, but it was still casual enough for him not to think what you’re probably all thinking: How desperate is this girl to allow herself to be set up by her grandma? I decided I looked nice in a skater skirt and simple top, tucked in enough to show off my waist, but not so tight that he could see what I’d have for lunch. Admittedly, I was nervous. I am a bit of a social introvert and whilst I talk a lot, it’s usually inane topics involving fatal, hypothetical situations:

“What would you rather do: Suck a cat’s testicle or shave off all of your skin?!”

Anyway, when I saw him waiting for me in the bar, I knew that he was definitely gay, in a sense that he was comfortable enough with his sexuality not to hide it and maybe, like me, he was just being polite to his grandma by allowing her to force him into this ridiculously awkward social situation. We didn’t discuss it, of course, there’s nothing worse than people who obnoxiously scream in another person’s face ‘SO YOU’RE GAY THEN, ARE YOU?’ but the night itself was quite enjoyable. We had two drinks and bonded, but the polite handshake and chaste kiss at the end of the date indicated that I would not be requested to go to family events so that he could stay in the closet for a little longer. I think it was more a case of ‘don’t tell your gran, we’re not sure, but she might be just as homophobic as she is racist, so best leave it, son.’ Which, of course, was a relief; I think the only thing worse than being forced into a date by your grandmother is then perpetuating the lie by playing the part of a beard.

In hindsight, it definitely wasn’t the worst date I’ve been on, which I don’t think says a lot for my dating repertoire. I also highly doubt it will be my last, but rest assured that I will undoubtedly share them with the internet, because if I can’t share it with you guys, who else can I share it with?

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