Category Archives: Dead Dogs

The Case of the Disappearing Dog


Out in the jungle of dating there exists a little known species known as the ‘disappearing dog’. Now you see him, now you don’t!  One day he’s there, hanging with your friends, making plans for holidays, mentioning the parents and then… *poof* gone without so much as an ‘it’s not you it’s me’ text. Where do they go? It’s a mystery, to doggie heaven perhaps!

Ladies beware, side-effects of the sting include all the usual marks of a Dog encounter (insomnia, depression, unusual attachment to Facebook) but this particular mutation can induce side effects ranging from mild hysteria to extreme obsession.

Yesterday I was sent a text conversation that was uploaded onto the internet entitled “this is what crazy looks like via text messaging” http://soundcloud.com/vaughan-1-1/this-is-what-crazy-looks-like . In a nut-shell (no pun intended) a girl called JJ goes gaga after her one night stand blows her out. Now while this is all very amusing and the girl in this case is clearly insane, I’m going to use this extreme case as evidence of the effect of the ‘disappearing dog’ phenomenon. When a guy just vanishes without any explanation, the need for closure, and answer, an explanation… anything! Can drive otherwise sane self- respecting women into fits of feverish text frenzies.

“I just wanted my stuff back!” Said my friend,  as she recounted the story of a guy she’d been seeing for several months.

“He told me he was going for a drink with an ex, texted me from the bar telling me how bored he was and how he can’t wait to see me later, then nothing! I texted once, tried calling and assumed he got back with the ex. He still had a lot of my stuff at his so I called his mobile from my friend’s phone and got as far as ‘oh hey it’s….’ When I heard him gasp and he slammed the phone down!”

My friend never did get her stuff back, and to this day she wonders what really happened that night.

When a dog just disappears, he leaves a great big question-mark that wouldn’t otherwise be there. With a question mark that big, the need to figure out why can become all-consuming; sending you spiraling off to Sherlock Holmes his Facebook for evidence of something (you’ll know what it is when you find it) or e-mailing his work account (just in case he lost his phone). One friend was so confused by a sudden disappearance that she texted the guy’s friend to see if he was still alive and OK. He was.

More-so than just closure, the reason why a disappearing dog has such an effect, is the utter non response to contact. It’s the digital equivalent of someone sticking their fingers in their ears and going “I CANT HEAR YOU!” Take JJ-loco above, the lack of reply from her Kevin was the catalyst to crazy-town. Could that really be any of us?

In the Ye Olde dating times you communicated on the phone or in person, but now it’s so easy to delete from Facebook, so simple to ignore a message that the need to actually step up and be honest is diminishing.

The recent launch of a website helping dumpees communicate with their dumpers has unsurprisingly been a success. Only two weeks after it launched, www.wotwentwrong.com received over 28,000 hits. That’s 28,000 people who would happily pay to have a site message their ex and have them fill out a questionnaire on why they ended the relationship. The figures smell suspiciously like disappearing dog. When a relationship ends, there is always ‘the chat’…right? Or is the phenomenon of the D-dog more widespread than any of us feared? Has the rise of digital communication created a monster?

I’m going to stray from the point a little and recount the events of last night, when my very own disappearing dog, non- other than Prince Charming (remember him?) wagged back into my life. I knew he would be at the club so it wasn’t a shock to see him there, all dazzling and chatting to some girl he’d no doubt just met. My phone vibrated and I had a moment of utter confusion when the name flashed up, because how he could be calling and standing in front of me at the same time? Then came the realisation that the guy busy charming every poor girl in the club was his identical twin.

Yes there are two of them. Two sets of chiseled cheekbones, two sets of piercing blue eyes, two heartless bastards. Could this be any more Dynasty? Apart from the whole warehouse in north west London, overflowing toilets and lack of toilet paper… so maybe more Dysentery than Dynasty but anyway, awkward encounter with Prince Charming’s equally evil twin averted, I turned my attention back to my phone where a message just appeared. PC wanted to know if I fancied coming round to his to ‘hook up’.

The reason for the story is this, first of all to exemplify the fact that if a dog disappears he’s probably not the kind of dog you’d have wanted around anyway, secondly that if there was no explanation given, perhaps instead of resorting to sending a questionnaire out (www.how-to-lose-your-dignity-in-one-easy-step.com) you can come to terms with the fact that finding out why, will not make the disappearance any easier. Had Prince Charming sat me down over a drink and explained that he didn’t actually want to go out with me because he only picks up girls for sport, maybe even elaborated that he has mother issues or a complex about being just a little bit fatter and shorter than his twin, would that have made any difference at all?

Back to the text, I was surprised at how keen he was to meet up especially considering the fact that every time I’d seen him previously he’d been quite happy to parade his gaggle of blondes right under my nose. Had things really got that bad? Or had he just slept with and not called every girl in Essex?

Even more curious was my realisation that not replying to him was actually getting a reaction! We’re not talking JJ-Loco but it was something!

“I give up!” he texted despondently. Then shortly after, “Kind of thought we were more grown up than this.”

I could have done one of two things. The first was to give him a taste of his own medicine, the guy stood me up twice, embarrassed me and hurt me he deserved to be ignored, but then would that be any better than a disappearing dog? It’s so easy to ignore a text message, to leave the words and the question dangling in space, forever echoing and never answered. I’m sure that it didn’t matter to him anyway whether I replied or didn’t, but in a world where common courtesy can so easily be forgotten, I decided to reply.

“I’m sorry… it’s just that that ship has sailed… and I’m not really the booty call type… Friends? Xx”

It was hardly a drink flung in his face, but to me it felt like closure, and that was antidote enough.

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Curse of the D’Urbervilles


The start of every relationships offers its fair share of trials and tribulations and it’s no secret that the start of my adventure with E had been a rocky one. I’ve failed to mention that when we’d first got together, I was living with his ex and he was living with mine. Mostly because the entire thing was like a bad episode of Eastenders.

There was the weekend when things went weird, just after we’d decided to make it official and the few days over Christmas when things went weird again, and I’d almost decided to call the entire thing off. All of this is very dull and boring and now quite irrelevant as the last few weeks have been, well, what the start if a relationship should be; like a bubble of frosted glass with just me and him in it. Goodbye world, I bid you adieu for now I am in love!

Was it 8pm already? Had we really spent all day in bed? Surely it can’t be Sunday…. Just another hour before leaving the door, just another kiss before I go, it never seemed to be enough. I floated to Stockwell tube on a small cloud and had I burst into sudden song I’m certain birds and small forest creatures would have followed me onto the tube and right into work.

Yup, there was no denying I was well and truly in over my head and it was around the moment I realised I really did love him, that a little secret began to nibble at my conscience. I ignored it at first, pushing it aside; some truths are best not spoken and everyone has skeletons in their closet, right? How I’d shouted at the TV when Tess of the D’Urbervilles confessed to Angel, No you silly girl! Of course he won’t forgive your bastard child, it’s the 1800’s! All this should have kept my tongue firmly still, but sitting opposite my E in an overpriced Japanese restaurant, watching him berate the waiter for there not being an adequate variety of noodles on the menu, I realised that if I loved a man this irritating, faults and all, then he really deserved to know the truth about me too.

“E…..” I said and noticed his expression change immediately as if he already knew what was coming.

“What is it sweetie?”

“I feel guilty.” I couldn’t look up from my knees and there was a long expectant silence. Finally, I pinched my eyes shut and blurted out; “I kissed a guy on New Years. It was horrible. I felt totally guilty immediately after and I love you, and I thought we were going to break up, and you were so mean to me over Christmas!”

“Just kissed? Nothing else?”

“Nothing else I promise.”

“Phew.” He said, sitting back. “I thought it was going to be a lot worse.”

He was taking it well. Surprisingly well. The waiter’s tray of cutlery beside us was jingling along to the alarm bells in my head.

I gulped. “Have you… ever, you know… with someone?”

“No!” he said, but his voice came out a little too high pitched and his eyes shot up to the right. Perhaps I knew him much better than I thought, or perhaps he was just a bad liar because something smelt fishier than the plate of uneaten sushi on the table.

“You’re lying.” I said, slowly. “I can tell.”

He bit his lip and shook his head in his hands, then sat back and ran his hand through his hair nervously. “Argh!” he said, “you’re going to make more of this than it is!”

“Just tell me!”

“It was that first weekend things were weird. It was some girl, it meant nothing.”

A week later a drunken chat and another bad attempt to lie to me revealed there were two girls, two kisses, both meant nothing. It was ‘fine’ of course,  I mean we’d barely been together two weeks, I’d pushed him into it and he wasn’t ready… and…

I listened to myself reel off excuses to my best friends Claude and Jess over E-mails on the Monday morning.

“But,” Claude said. “Aren’t you mad at him for not telling you? That you confessed but he didn’t?”

“No….. It’s fine! If he really wanted to lie he could have done it convincingly. No, what happened was that he actually WANTED to get found out.”

I knew it was bullshit, Claude knew it was bullshit and even E knew it was bullshit when he first suggested the ridiculous excuse.

Honesty, it appears, was overrated and with all the cards out on the table, all I could see was the joker.

A gloomy January morning greeted me from outside the window and without my fluffy cloud, I stumbled through a puddle, cursing as water splashed up my leg. I tried to forget the whole thing but the image of E, my E, running round some club sticking his tongue in any willing face refused to leave me alone.

I can think of 100 cliché lines with which to end this piece – love is blind, ignorance is bliss, blessed are the forgetful, but as much as it would be nice to turn back time to that night, if I had the chance, I’m not sure I would. The relationship may no longer feel like a fairy-tale, but without the mirrors and smokescreens I can see it for what it is. Why then, am I still here?

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I Love You. See? it’s easy!


Love. It really is a nice little word that rolls off the tongue, but to a girl dating a guy for a grand total of two months and two weeks it can stick, trapped somewhere between the teeth, stubbornly refusing to come out. You might easily tell him that you LOVE that meal he took you to, or that you LOVE his jumper. Casually telling him how you love spending time with him? Easy peas. But actually saying that you love him is, well, sometimes impossible.

Spoilt by a childhood of Disney films, teenage dreams of Dawson and an adulthood of Austen (and OK….I admit it Twilight,) the big declaration represents a moment of validation; you’ve made it to the finish line, you’ve won. Getting there becomes something like a challenge, and there is little to do but wait, because a girl has to wait for it. Right?

Even the most rules sceptic girl would agree that saying it first is never an option. It’s just not the done thing but more so, half the fun is the delivery and like reading the last page of a book, you risk missing out on the entire plot.

Still. If I felt it, if I really felt it, there should be no problem saying it. And therein lay the problem; how do I know if this is the real thing?

After the very first night I spent with Number Six, I marched into my best friend’s flat, threw my arms up and declared; “That’s it, I’m in Love.”

“You’re not in love.” She replied, rolling her eyes.
I have a habit of being ‘in love’ with anything; shoes, miso dishes, but more dangerously, men.  Let’s not forget the incident with Prince Charming; it took me a whole 48 hours of knowing him to go from mild interest to full blown passionate delusions.

Could it be that I was in love? So soon?

The Oxford Illustrated dictionary defines love as “A virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection; and “the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”.
I’m not sure I entirely agree.

If love is in essence a challenge, there has to be an element of selfishness; a need that leads to that hook, be it sexual or emotional dependence.

Anthropologically speaking, the study of ‘love’ is divided into categories – biological, psychological and evolutionary.  Within these, the general consensus is that love has three stages; (because as a rule of thumb academics feel the need to divide everything into three…)

• Biologist Helen E. Fisher, categorised love into lust, attraction and attachment
• Psychologist Robert Steinberg, came up with the ‘triangular theory of love’ which divides love into intimacy, commitment and passion

A linear timeline for falling in love which begins with animal chemistry and ends with a sibling- like dependence, implies that not only are the two mutually exclusive but that the term ‘love’ is valid for even the basest of animal magnetisms. Ergo qualifying my ‘love’ for Number Six, Robert Pattinson and the guy I had a crush on in year 7.

If falling in love is really that easy, when then is the right time to say ‘I love you’?
My first boyfriend told me he loved me by writing 143 on a piece of paper (something about the number of letters in the word ‘I love you’.) He did it about two weeks in, and I later discovered he’d declared his love in the exact same way to his ex.

Golf Boy waited an excruciatingly long amount of time. But when he said it, I felt the entire world fell away like a smashed snow globe leaving just us in the middle.

Number four (or the one I never really talk about) said it at just the right time, and I don’t remember feeling anything at all, but then, I never felt much for him anyway.

And then there was Number Six. I’ve been telling him I love him silently in my head for about a month. He told me he likes me, that he really likes me, that he really really likes me.  And then, it happened.

“I really like you.” He said.
“Me too.” I replied for the hundredth time
“No, I REALLY like you.” He said again
I smiled.
“I would even say, maybe falling in love with you?”
Say it you coward. Just say it.

Then he paused. “How…do you feel?”
Seriously? You’re making ME do it?! I’ve never been a very patient person, and it was clear it needed a nudge. I rolled my eyes “You know I love you, you idiot!” I replied.

I’ll admit it was a bit of an anti-climax. I was expecting him to have thought of the right time, the right place, I wasn’t expecting an epic Notebook style declaration, but I wanted to at least be sure he meant it. Now that it was said, now that it was out in the open, I felt the words sit uncomfortably on my lips.

“Well, I’m glad that’s out the way,” he said, sighing “It’s like a weight’s been lifted. Wow so we’ve gone through another relationship landmark.”

I suppose we had, but we rushed through it so quickly I didn’t have time to stop and enjoy the view. Maybe hearing the words ‘I love you’ isn’t about winning at all.

And so I carry my ‘love trophy’ awkwardly, and return the words with  embarrassment because it feels like we’d jumped the queue into a club where we didn’t quite belong… yet.

 

Please clich HERE to help drive traffic to the article on Huff Post xx Thanks!

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Night of the Living Dead Dogs


It was a cold night, the last days of summer marked by a distinctive bite to the air.  The shelves of my local supermarket were stocked with pumpkins, and orange and black sweets twinkled from the till. Halloween was near. Outside my window the leaves on the trees had turned orange, as if they too were preparing to celebrate old hallows eve, the night that the world of the past and the present collide.

But this year, that day came early.

It was a series of accidents that led to the resurrection of my past,  and dead dogs long laid to rest came back to haunt me.

The first dead dog came to me in a dream. It was the night before my big conference at work. Perhaps it was the stress of the event, or the detailed account Claude had given me of Paranormal Activity 2 (when I’d purposely sat out of watching it) but I woke up at 4am to a scratching noise behind my headboard. Springing from my bed, I flicked on the light and listened intently. No scratching.

I got back into bed and finally got back to sleep when I was woken again by a scratch scratch scuttle. I jumped up, now truly terrified. Not because of the mouse that was likely just frolicking in the wall but because I’d dreamt about Chris (AKA golf boy).

I couldn’t get back to sleep that night, and the next morning was filled with a dread that like that poor girl in Paranormal Activity, Chris was my very own poltergeist and would be haunting me forever

The second dead dog  came to me through a case of mistaken identity when outlook decided to auto-enter Prince Charming’s e mail into a forward I was sending to a client with the same first name. I bantered politely, a little excited every time my e-mail inbox pinged and a message from him popped up. He re-added me on facebook and of course I had to have a snoop. As I looked at his wall, a mixture of stupid status updates, passé anachronyms and cheesy grinning pictures with various thin blonde girls, I wondered what I ever saw in him anyway?

The third dead dog came to me by chance at a night out in Brixton Academy. Dressed in a white lace dress and pushing my way through the zombielike sweaty faces in the crowd, I bumped into the Swedish One. The same dead dog that asked me out for drinks twice and didn’t bother to follow up on it, the same dead dog that was positively cruel to me last summer. I must have been very drunk because somehow I found myself spending most the night with him. And last night, me and the Swedish one had our first actual date. It did take a lot of help from my friends vodka lime and soda, but we were actually having a good time. I mean, he did laugh a lot at everything I said, even things that weren’t really funny and he was a rather simple sort of guy,  but we did bond on a mutual love of Metalicca and 90’s power metal bands. He was really very pretty to look at, probably the prettiest man I’ve sat across from that I had no interest in whatsoever. The chemistry was non-existent and I ordered more and more drinks out of boredom. I had no interest in his memory stick that was worth near £3,000 or his laptop that cost £2,000 and as sweet as it was to see a slideshow of Sweden covered in snow, and various dishes his mother had cooked, there was a point where I wanted to suggest going back to mine to watch Entourage.

Two of my three dead dogs had walked in my present and were laid to rest in my past, there was no room for them in my world. Perhaps had they not acted so badly in the first place, the anacronyms or the pictures of Swedish fish would not have bothered me. But the thing about a dead dog, is that once dead, it cannot be resurrected. Your respect dies along with said dog and while the ghost dog might bark and run around like an ordinary dog, it will never really be one

Though two were gone back to their world behind the facebook screen, one remained.

Chris

The original dead dog. The king of dead dogs and the one whose memory won’t let go of me.

But maybe Chris was never meant to be a dead dog. I didn’t want to be with him, and as a boyfriend he was terrible but then, it wasn’t the memory of being with him that haunted me, it was just that I missed HIM. One thought kept returning to me; I didn’t want to lose him from my life, as a person, a friend.

I had to try and resurrect the friendship if nothing else.

Friday 14th Oct

Sad that we’re not friends after all the fun times.

Had to delete you from FB, it wouldn’t have been nice for either of us to see pictures… etc.

Know this is inappropriate for work e-mail but don’t even think have your phone number anymore….

Would be nice to go for a drink sometime, or just keep in touch.

Really hope you’re doing well 🙂  x

Like a spirit floating round in limbo, my e-mail remains unreturned and possibly unread. This should have brought some kind of rest to the last of my remaining haunts, but it hasn’t. Instead, it has made the ghost of Chris very much present and real.

Xx Amelia

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the Masochism Mambo


As my twitter-oos will know, my plan of a boy free three months resulted in a bout of binge texting.

The swede and GB were texted last night, the latter thankfully only resulting in minimal polite text banter which seemed to quench my need for attention and dulling the impact of the former who didn’t reply at all.

Not only did I binge text two people I care very little about and have only a very small interest in seeing but I decided to randomly message a guy I worked with almost five years ago in TV. Why ? who knows?

I know I’m not alone in this madness

I invited my friend Jade over tonight for dinner to cheer her up after her dog died.

(aside… the term dead dog originated when my friend Jessica, frustrated with the constant banter but no date invite from a guy she met, threw her phone down on the table and exclaimed- “I feel like I’m poking a dead dog with a stick” since, ‘dead dog’ had been coined for a boy that has, for some reason or another, turned out to be a loser. The activity of poking dead dogs is universally acknowledged to be pointless but at the time, a harmless bit of fun)

Jade’s dog hadn’t actually died of corse, she was merely grieving the loss of a something she thought had potential.

An entire bottle of vodka turned into a Karaoke session of singing into remote controls and jumping on the sofa to Flashdance soundtrack. I made the mistake of putting on Celine Dion when Jade slumped onto the sofa and declared that she wanted to poke her dead dog.

I knew how she felt.

If I still had Chris’s number in my phone I would have texted him in a second. If I still had PC on my Facebook I would have easily slipped into checking his profile.

You know it’s bad for you, you know no good can come of it but yet you just can’t help doing it!

But then, as I checked my facebook for the hundredth time (maybe the guy I messaged will message back after all….) I realised, there is a euphoria that’s so intertwined with doing something you KNOW is bad, that you just can’t help doing it.

Like maxing out your credit card on a last minute trip to Ibiza, or partying late on a Sunday. Have you noticed that watching Jeremy Kyle is really only ever fun if you’ve pulled a sickie?

“How have you been?” golden Boy texted me “it’s been a while.”

“Blah Blah Blah…. “ I responded, or something to that effect

“I’ve just moved to Clapham…..” he replied.

I’d stopped caring whether he replied or not. It wasn’t’ even fun anymore.

Thinking back over past relationships, not only have I always wanted what I couldn’t have, but I’ve always wanted things that were bad for me.

Is it fundamentally impossible to stop dancing the masochism mambo?

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Kicking the Habit


Hi everyone, my name is Amelia and I’m a Dataholic.

It’s been about three weeks since my last post and I’ve come to the conclusion that something isn’t quite right.

I can probably pinpoint my second of realisation to the moment I stood under the florescent lights of my work bathroom mirror.  A girl in the mirror opposite looked up  as I was frantically applying blusher and mascara. “Hot date?” she said.

“No.” I replied, “meeting a friend.”

She smiled back but I’d wished I DID have an actual date to tell her about.

There is a whole ritual attached to meeting guys that is so much more than the actual event itself.

First it’s will he call? Won’t he call? The endless dissecting of kisses in a text message the routine browse through his facebook pictures trying to guess who the ex is (don’t even try to deny you do it!)

The rush of excitement from meeting, dating, the first time he says he loves you, the time you meet his friends and his mother… all amount to a string of highs that will eventually come to an end, but if you’re single, present  endless  little fixes. They are a constant supply of adventures to tell your friends about (or blog as it happens), outfits to plan and futures to fantasise over.

It’s easy to develop a habit.

More worrying than this, is that it took a guy I knew for 48 hours to make me forget about Chris, something that all my holidays, work, fabulous friends, and writing couldn’t do.

So, I’ve decided to give it all up for three months.

No more eye contact over the bar (or as my friends like to call it ‘strawface’). No more snogging in clubs, contacting golden boy (or the Swede, or the French one) no more obsessing over lift guy at work (we’ve been saying hi to each other in the lift for six months and I don’t even know his name)

Done.

So, how will I get on? And what on earth will I have to write about?

Well, I’ve been four days sober and it’s not been easy.

Temptation is everywhere and I pretty much broke on the third day (yesterday). It really wasn’t my fault. Lift guy jumped into the lift just as the doors were closing and said “Hi.”

“Hey,” I replied as the doors closed and the lift was plunged into silence. He shoved his hands in his pockets, I looked at my phone, the doors opened and a girl got out. They closed and he shuffled a little closer making room for someone else. We made eye contact, he smiled, I smiled and cringed and looked at my phone again before the doors opened and I all but ran out of the lift.

Now this would have all been fine had I then not attempted a Sherlock Holmes campaign to find out who he was finding his exact seat and counting how many rows it was form the back of the room. It took several failed attempts of peering over abnormally high telesales desks like some kind of lost Meer cat before I gave up.

I’d cracked, slightly, but I was determined to get back on track.

That evening I was meeting my friend in Shoreditch. It only took one mojito for me to get halfway to drunk and start reminiscing over our time at my old work, Chris, and how funny last summer was. She was having boy problems and we dissected a text, sent another and analysed the entire situation between bouts of laughter and faces full of prawn crackers.

We moved onto another bar in Brick Lane, a homely little cove of tatty velvet furniture that looked like it had previously belonged to an eccentric granny, red lighting and movie posters form the 80’s.

It had been several vodka limes and I was trying really hard not to pull ‘strawface’ at two guys that had sat opposite us.

“He’s disgusting” My friend said.

He probably was, but I was drunk and there was something about his American smugness and Michael J Fox hair that was making me want to give up on the whole no men thing.

Thankfully, they left and after several more drinks and cheese bagels really could have done without, I was on my way home in a cab and trying my very best not to contact Golden Boy (now in my phone as booty-call Nick.)

That night I couldn’t sleep, and in my half drunken delirium couldn’t stop thinking about Chris.

Was it impossible to have a world without men or is it just me? Do I have an actual problem?

After a long day at work, I decided to take myself shopping and replace one vice with another. It’s amazing how much walking round a department store can cheer you up, (It’s amazing how shallow I feel even saying that)

Browsing from Ted Baker to Karen Millen, it occurred to me that picking up guys in bars, and shopping really aren’t so very different.  You see something you like, you have a closer look, pick it up and feel the fabric, maybe try it on for size then either discard it or buy it. Sometimes you find something amazing that fits perfectly and you have the exact same rush of excitement as when you’re in a cab home with someone you can’t wait to get into bed.

Suddenly I wasn’t even in the mood for shopping anymore.

I took the escalator to the lingerie department…. Just to say goodbye to the pretty things I really won’t be needing anymore. Among the frill and lace, in the corner of the department I saw a row of plain bras I’d never even looked at before. I decided If I was going to go without men, or sex then I was going to damn well get some comfy underwear.

I walked out of the store with two plain bras that were totally gross but fitted better than anything I had and couldn’t stop smiling all the way to the tube.

No more worrying about guys texting, no more itchy lace, no more disappointing nights in bars in Balham surrounded by idiots. Three whole months about me, and my writing and friends.

It could be worse!

So I guess this may be good bye for a little while! Wish me luck!

Xx Amelia

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One Thousand and One Nights


I’ve always loved Arabian nights; the story of Scheherazade and her never ending story. I remember being little and picturing the billowing drapes, the night slowly turning into day and Scheherazade weaving her magical storytelling threads captivating the sultan in her web and keeping him there, transfixed, always wanting more.  Serial killing sultan aside, it’s a beautiful story.

When I think back over the summer, it’s the ‘Arabian Nights’ moments I’ve loved the most…

A day I’d wished would never end, the last day I’d spent with Chris (AKA Golf Boy) we listened to Wathering Heights on audiotape, lying side by side with the corpse of our relationship between us, neither speaking. I’d put my head on his shoulder and smelt his scent, knowing it would probably be the last time I would see him.

Then there were the three nights with the artist, drinking vodka, chainsmoking cigarettes and talking until my eyelids drooped and my head fell onto the sofa.

There was a brief encounter with a French trader I’d met at a party in a carpark. A Sunday night in my kitchen eating Uncle Ben’s micro- rice with spinach while talking about Sartre until 1.30am. There was not the thought of work, or sleep or life beyond. There was just that moment and the way his boyish hair fell in his face.

I will always remember the night ‘Golden Boy’ came over at 2am after some party and we sat in our living room laughing at some guy who’d ended up back at the flat attempting to play the piano. GB whispered in my ear to go upstairs but we just lay on my bed laughing at how his middle toes were so much longer than the rest while listening to some beach boy band. I remember the way he’d looked solemnly at the wall and confided that his father recently passed away, It was the first time he’d told me anything about himself. I hadn’t known what to say.

If only the morning never had to come, if only those nights could go on for ever. There would never need to be the worry over him not texting back. I would never have to know that he posts ridiculous status updates on Facebook. He would never know I’m fundamentally neurotic.

Perhaps it’s true that “if you want a happy ending, it depends where you end the story” but what if the story never ended? If there was no morning but just 1001 nights. An Arabian night isn’t about sex, it’s about the minute you feel…  connected, and sometimes, when you look into each other’s eyes and the clock strikes 4am, you start to hope that day would never break the spell.

Romeo:

It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die. (Romeo and Juliet)

Every tale needs a prince charming, and I met mine last  bank holiday Sunday at a terrace party in Shoreditch. I didn’t immediately know it was him of course, I was distracted by the music, the MDMA and the drink in my hand. I remember liking the way he kept looking over and  though I can’t now remember what we’d talked about, I do remember he leant in and kissed me. It was love at first kiss.

The sun set and the day bled red into the night as we took a cab to another party, then there was just a jumble of kisses and music, and I barely remember how we ended up back at mine. Sleep wasn’t an option. Sleep would break the spell. I tried so hard not to fall asleep but when I opened my eyes I could see the sun falling through a chink in the curtain. Oh god. It was going to be the same nauseous feeling I have with Golden Boy when I look at him passed out and wish he would get the hell out my bed. The awkward conversation which always starts with “so… what are your plans today?” and ends with “I’d better go.”

I wondered if I had morning breath and if I’d remembered to even take off my makeup.

I turned sideways with dread.

The Prince was awake and in the shadow of daylight his eyes were the colour of the deep blue silk on my pillow.

“You fell asleep.” He said, kissing me.

“I did?”

The prince lay back and looked at the ceiling.  “I couldn’t sleep for ages last night,” he said. I thought those marks on your ceiling were ants, and they were racing to the finish line, I was taking bets on which would reach the finish line first.”

I laughed. “I think the left one. It looks faster.”

Though day had come and gone, everything was still the same.

I spent another long day and night with The Prince, so comfortable with someone I’d barely known 48 hours, so easily  lying on his shoulder as he watched sports on TV as if we’d been together five years.

As I fell asleep, he kissed the top of my head and for the first night in five months, I didn’t dream of Chris.

Over lunch the following Saturday I argued with my grandma over happy endings.

“Sad endings are easy to write… they’re endings are for lazy writers,” I argued. “A good happy ending is really special.”

If I end my story about The Prince and I where I did, it would be  a ‘happily ever after”  but, unfortunately unlike fiction, life goes on.

A week of panic over the date he hadn’t finalised turned into tears on my bathroom floor when he hadn’t called in days. There was the text he sent on the day cancelling last minute because he had to work late.

“Can we do Wednesday instead?” he texted.  “How about Thursday then?”

But It was too late. He wasn’t my prince anymore. He’s just a guy I met at the weekend. The spell had been broken, and the arrival of the day had nothing to do with it.

I hate sad endings, but I suppose…. Life does go on… and doesn’t end until it ends. So where does this leave me and the once formally known as ‘Prince?’

I’ll guess…. To be continued.

Then they returned to Scheherazade and displayed her in the second dress, a suit of surpassing goodliness, and veiled her face with her hair like a chin veil. Moreover, they let down her side locks, and she was even as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:

O hail to him whose locks his cheeks o’ershade,
Who slew my life by cruel hard despite.
Said I, “Hast veiled the morn in night?” He said,
“Nay I but veil moon in hue of night.”

Tagged

Valley of the Lost Boys


At some point in your life you will most certainly have crossed paths with a lost boy. Maybe it was the wayward kid at school who smoked weed at lunch and read William Blake. Maybe the struggling musician who couldn’t afford to pay his bills, but made your heart melt playing Simon & Garfunkel. When you meet a lost boy it’s unforgettable, they have this James Dean effect- a mix of self doubt, charisma and blind recklessness that makes you want to save them and lose yourself along with them.

I remember an episode of My So Called Life, where Claire Danes’ mother tells her that “It’s easy to lose yourself in someone who has lost their way”. Those words have rung true for my last decade of dating; my relationship resume reads like the yellow pages of lost boys. There was my first boyfriend who’d rescued his entire bedroom suite from various wheelie bins in Wandsworth. Then followed a string of aspiring musicians, artists, squatters, general bums and one guy that actually slept rough (he actually had a home but just thought living on the street was ‘avant-garde’)

What can I say? I’m a sucker for a bad boy, but a twenty seven I can’t ignore the signs that I should be growing up. There’s that grey hair my hairdresser has to wrench out unceremoniously at my 6 week trim, the small line at the crease of my lip that doesn’t quite bounce back and the fact that everyone around me seems to either be getting married or breeding. I guess you have to grow up some time, and at ‘my age’ can I risk another fruitless endeavour with a bad on paper-great in bed type?
Another Saturday, another night in Hoxton. We ended up at the Hoxton Pony- the China White of the East End where the drinks are £10 each, and the men (trying and failing to do the Hoxton look) replace their Ralph Lauren shirts with something plaid. It was the kind of place you would never find a lost boy, but might get chatted up by a banker who’d got lost on his way from the city.

I swigged the last of my St. George’s (a drink that isn’t half as patriotic as it sounds) and headed over to the bar to get another round when I noticed a cute (thought albeit plaid clad) guy smiling at me. I smiled back.

His name was Chris (I think) he worked in ‘development’ and lived in the East End. So far so good. I decided to give this guy a chance, he wasn’t my usual type but judging by my track record that was probably a good thing. I can’t remember what we talked about, but it must have gone well because I remember kissing him right there on the dance floor still clutching my empty glass. I remember that he had nice strong shoulders, and I remember him leaning in and whispering “do you want to get a cab back to mine?”

I pulled back.

Good on paper guy was a total creep. I mean, yes OK, I was two sheets to the wind and may have let him kiss me but still, aren’t good-on-paper guys supposed to be gentleman?

Apparently not.

Looking around the room, I noticed a girl in a white dress, drunk and swishing her head back to the music, her hips popping at odd angles. I noticed the swarm of chequered shirt guys around her like horny overgrown dwarves flocking to their snow white- clearly the drunkest girl in the room. I decided then that  perhaps this really wasn’t my scene.

The lights flashed at 2.30 kicking us out and so the three princesses, giggly from too many St. Georges wondered down curtain road looking for a cab to The Castle in Whitechapel (it must have been an ironic gesture on the part of the owners because it was easily the dingiest hole in the East End) . Somewhere between trying to flag down a cab, bumping into an old acquaintance and rambling something incoherent to a passerby, I saw him.

It was like one of those cheesy scenes in movies where the crowd parts, like in Romeo & Juliet where they see each other through the fish tank; only there was no crowd and no fish but the very night fell away and there he was. I didn’t know then that I’d inadvertently stumbled across a lost boy, but as we stood on the side of the road talking about the death of Feminism, he told me he was an artist and I realised what I’d found.

Determined to hold onto him, I dragged him along with us to The Castle and though I don’t remember what we talked about, I know it was very profound. Back at my friends house, we listened to the Doors and I remember him gazing at the ceiling pensively (in the way lost boys often do) and telling me that he didn’t believe in relationships, just ‘moments’.

I hoped that this was one of them.

I wished that the moment could have lasted forever, but sunlight crept closer and a grey misty dawn shone on the ashtray filled with cigarettes and the beer stains on the coffee table. Like the magic of darkness that vanishes with the day, the Lost Boy’s glamour dissipated in the morning light, leaving behind a somewhat confused and dishevelled boy with rings round his eyes and dirt under his nails.

Lost Boy spent the next day with my friends in the pub. I found out that as well as being an ‘artist’ he was also on the dole and his last serious job (a full six months ago) was managing a Blockbuster’s – of which he was endlessly proud. He listened wide eyes as I told him about my job in the city, and gulping two big sips of the double JD & coke I’d bought him, declared- “Wow, so you’re like, a proper person.”

At some point over the last ten years I had become a ‘proper person.’
When I said goodbye to him that evening, I almost wished I’d left him in the glow of the streetlights. He was like one of those stones you find on the beach that looks so pretty in the waves, but when you take it home its shine is gone, and it sits tarnished on your dresser nothing more than a plain old rock.

As the sky over Clapham darkened and the threat of Monday loomed dangerously near, my Peter Pan wondered back into the world to do whatever it is that lost boys do on a Sunday night (I guessed not get ready for work).

I knew I would probably never see him again. Lost boys generally don’t call. But, it was OK, I guess, maybe I was too old for children’s books after all.