Category Archives: Number six

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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It was a scene the teenage me would have had in a nightmare; my boyfriend sprawled out on the sofa watching football, me frantically juggling crushing garlic in the kitchen behind him simultaneously timing a roasting butternut squash and cleaning tomato juice off the printed recipe page.

Shuffling over, E (AKA Number Six) seemed to consider helping me out but instead offered me an olive, picked at the salad and proceeded to f*rt loudly.

I slapped his hand away and kicked him out before pausing for a moment, knife in one hand, and some sort of herb in the other before stopping and looking around at the scene of domestic hell  before me.

What was I doing?!

Somehow, I’d swapped my devil-may-care singledom and become, I would say, a domestic goddess, if not for the counter-full of confused looking ingredients. Left to my own devices, dinner consisted of Uncle Ben’s microwave rice, cleaning was left to the cleaner and laundry, well, let’s just say I stay away from buying anything white or delicate.

But I had a boyfriend now, and as weekly dates turned into consecutive visits, keeping up appearances was becoming increasingly difficult. To make matters worse, E was something of a traditionalist; a man’s man. He likes his  (usually blonde and dainty) girls  in heels and skirts, refused to entertain the idea that women do their ‘business’ just like men and had even stopped one girl he dated from drinking pints around him.

“What was that?” He would reply to her requests for cider “I’ll get you a Smirnoff Ice.”

Having been his ‘mate’ for five years, I was well aware of the fact I wasn’t his type. I didn’t possess that ‘feminine mystique’ that made men open doors and stand up on the tube and now that I was on the receiving end, his eccentric ‘notions’, far from amusing were becoming a benchmark I wasn’t sure I measured up to.

Wincing at my badly out of tune rendition of “living On a Prayer” he remarked that it was really unattractive when girls couldn’t sing.

“Sorry,” I snapped back, “I didn’t realise it was 1812.” But I was hurt, I didn’t want him to find me unattractive. I realised that if I wanted to be up on a pedestal with the other pretty girls, I was going to have to learn to climb.

That was pretty much how I ended up groomed to perfection and cooking dinner while my boyfriend broke wind on the couch. The feminist inside me might have been screaming; “What the hell are you doing?!” But there was a part of me that was proud of my trickery and so, disguised by makeup, nail-varnish and the aroma of cooking veg, the tomboy was supressed.

.

“I like that you have table manners,” He said to me over the weekend as I daintily sipped my soup the way I’d seen Emma do in the BBC adaptation, by dipping the spoon into the middle so it fills up instead of shovelling the still dripping utensil into my mouth.

“Oh really?” I replied; making sure I didn’t slouch and that my elbows were off the table. It was another win, but the charade was exhausting, and it was only a matter of time before my carefully positioned mask of female perfection was stripped and the real me would be revealed- messy, sloppy, grumpy me. The me he’d known and didn’t love.

Tired, I left the food in the oven and snuck off to redo my makeup before returning fresh faced into the living room and settling on the couch next to him. My flatmate had come back and was cooking his spag bol behind us. E turned to look at me and I smiled. I’d spent a good part of the evening pondering feminism, my identity and my feelings so when I mouthed a silent “I love you,” my face looked more serious than I’d intended, making the gesture appear comical. He chuckled, mimicking my serious expression and signalled “You complete me.”

I caught his Austin Powers reference and laughing, responded with a Dr Evil impression;

“Mini me, you complete me.”

“You know, Jerry Maguire?” he replied, also doing a Dr. Evil

“You had me at hello. ‘Tear.’”

He burst out laughing.

I fell back on the couch, snorting.

My flatmate rolled his eyes behind us.

Maybe I wasn’t E’s ‘type’. I wasn’t well groomed or polite, I said what I thought and sometimes after a big meal I might even burp, but I had something the other girls didn’t, I made him laugh.

“Er, is that your food in the oven?” My flatmate said, opening the oven door and filling the room with the smell of charred squash.

At the very least I could rest assured E wasn’t with me for my cooking.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/../../amelia-brightside/the-feminine-charade_b_1214443.html < Article on Huffington Post

The Feminine Charade

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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.

 

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A Date with Fate


I like the idea of fate, the notion that things are what they are, and turn out how they should not because of your choices, but because they were meant to happen. Being at the right place at the right time, or a ‘crazy coincidence’ just seems too… simple! There must be something that makes things happen as they do. Perhaps it is the element of relief in thinking there’s a ‘grand plan’ that makes it so appealing. As if fate were a cosmic policeman keeping everything in check; if you go down a wrong path, it throws something at you that knocks you back onto course.  Only the biggest sceptic won’t harbour some hope that there’s something watching over them; god, fate, spirit guide, a fairy godmother (all as ridiculous as each other really).

Anyway, enough hippy talk and back the point. An incident with Lift Boy last week reaffirmed my belief in fate.

Yes there was in incident. With lift boy. But before I go into detail, I need to tell you about another boy. Let’s call him; The one with the Porsche.

I met One With Porsche (I won’t lie it was quite hot) at my old work. Incidentally the same place I met Golf Boy. He had this scraggly long hair and a weird pointy face but there was something about the way he looked and spoke that I found utterly irresistible. He would flirt with anything which meant that half the office fancied him, but that didn’t stop me getting a little exited every time his highness condescended to speak to me. True to form I would respond with a torrent of utter drivel “oh look a kamikaze pigeon” was a classic I will never forget. Nothing ever happened with Porsche, I ended up with his good friend Golf Boy and Porsche…or my craziest work crush ever was forgotten.

Until Lift Boy.

I’ve been enjoying awkward hello’s with lift boy for a good six months now, which never materialised into actual conversation and as my relationship with my Number 6 progressed into something I really never expected, lift boy was forgotten. I turned my head away when he walked down the corridor, no longer interested in his tiresome ‘hello’. But as I walked towards the lift last week for my  3pm cigarette,  I looked up to see him walking directly towards me.  There was no getting away from it.

“Hi” I waved.

“Hi, how are you?” He responded.

“Great. Thanks”

This was as far as it usually ever went. We stood in the lift awkwardly as the numbers counted down.

“Oh cr*p” I said suddenly as I checked my pocket to find no pack of cigarettes and no lighter. “I forgot my ciggies.”

Very cliché, but I HAD actually forgotten them. Lift boy offered to roll me one of his disgusting tobacco things, which I didn’t really want but by now we were speaking, actually speaking and with Number Six pushed to the back of my mind, I was curious what my crush was actually like.

Well he was sweet, funny, and awkward. I love awkward men. He was scrawny in a way that reminded me of someone I couldn’t quite put my finger on and god could he flirt for England.

Having done a formal introduction I ran back to my desk and immediately Sherlock holmed our company Outlook. Only three with his name  in our office. One of which,  I gasped,  had a surname I recognised, then the scrawny look, the cute dimples and the oversize wooly jacket all made sense… but it couldn’t be. It would be too impossible.

It only took a minute on facebook to unearth the truth.

Lift boy and Porsche were BROTHERS!!!!!! I have no qualms over posting the following. Mostly because they have mutated themselves beyond recognition. But there you have it. Porsche…or Lift Boy ‘The Elder’ on the left and Lift Boy The Younger on the right. Brothers, at the Polo (how very laa dee da)

Being a loser that believes in fate and such things, my mind was reeling with the possible ramifications. Was I destined to be with Lift Boy The Elder? Was I destined to be with Lift Boy The Younger? Is there a significance to me being in a relationship when I finally ended up speaking to LBTY? What if I hadn’t forgotten my cigarettes that day? What if I hadn’t been in a relationship? Is it fate that we spoke or fate that we didn’t speak sooner?

Most of all, this.was.all.just too weird for it not to be significant in some way, right?

I pondered this last night as I cuddled up to my Number Six. He has these amazing big arms that make me feel so safe. We were watching show about a dwarf and laughing at a private joke we had. The rain was going crazy on the skylight, but inside the attic there was just the smell of my vanilla scented candle and my boyfriend who…. I love. I looked up at him.

“Don’t you think It’s odd how we got together?” I said.

“Um,” he thought for a moment. “Yeah I guess so.”

“I mean…” I continued. “I wasn’t even going out that night. I was going to stay home. It was a total fluke Claude called me up and convinced me to go out. What If I had stayed in? Would this have even happened?”

There was more to it than that, and it’s probably about time I shared the tale of how me and Six got together. It’s was a web spun by fate and implemented by a need to get totally wrecked.

There was a big part of me that went out that night because Prince Charming would be there (when he sees me he will remember how AMAZING I am! Thought I, timidly)

And had I not seen PC surrounded by a harem of eautiful blondes, had I not been totally slapped in the face with the reality of the guy i’d thought was perfect, I may have never set out to get totally wrecked, and I may have never drunkenly called number Six who I (refused to admit) I kinda had a little thing for to come and join us. Had his plans not fallen through that night, he may have never answered me in the first place and had my friends not gone to bed early leaving me and him alone in the living room and high on half a pill, we might never had ended up kissing.

But it gets weirder. Having decided nothing would happen with him he ended up back at my house (naturally) but I  went to bed alone.

Only by a twist of fate did my alarm for work not go off, only by fluke did my work think I had booked the day off and god only knows why Six was hadn’t himself left for work in the morning. But when I calmed down from my panic of waking up at midday on a Monday still drunk form the night before, I was quite glad I’d woken up only moments before he was about to leave, and that he took the day off too. It was obvious that the only logical thing to do as it was midday and we were on the verge of sobering up, was go to the pub.

The rest was a haze of bloody Marys and drunken scrabble. There were the four random people we befriended and the incident with the guy that tried to gargle his beer and ended up vomiting all over himself (that’s the thing about meeting randoms in a pub, it’s all fun and games until someone vomcanos).

It was a perfect day and in the midst of my rose coloured vodka & tomato coloured glasses, it seemed like the perfect time to invite him up.

Turns out it worked out OK.

Any number of things could have stopped us getting together.

Had lift boy introduced himself two months earlier, Had I stayed in that night, Had prince charming not been surrounded by tarts, had  Six’s plans not fallen through, had my friend not gone to bed early and had my alarm worked, we could still be only just friends.

I gave my Number Six a peck on the cheek. I love how soft his face is and he has this smell…. it’s so weird. How had I never noticed it before, when we were friends? I was happy. It was one of those rare moments when everything is totally perfect.

Maybe it was fate, maybe it was chance. Maybe it was two people finding each other that happen to be perfectly suited. Does it really matter in the end anyway? All that matters is that right now, I’m exactly where I should be.

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Darwinian Dating


My friend told me the other day that he approaches relationships with pessimism, when I asked him what he meant, his reply was: ‘How many relationships have you seen succeed? The odds are stacked for failure’. He didn’t put this half as clearly when he sat on my bed, topless and twiddling my hair… when I say my friend, I mean the guy I’m currently dating. It went from friend to boyfriend so quickly that I was spinning, and my usual ‘is this guy good boyfriend material’ stop-check never really happened. Let’s for a moment ignore the fact that this isn’t what a girl wants to hear from her boyfriend, and examine the point… because there is one. Do we learn and grow from each failed relationship? or learn and shrink?

I’ve often wondered whether the notion of growth is a comfort blanket with which we soothe ourselves into thinking that next time we will know to avoid Mr. Unavailable, Monsieur Immature or the little lost boy that never quite found himself.  But what if it is in fact the opposite? What if every time we say ‘next time he won’t have X’ or ‘next time he will be more Y’, we create a formula that’s impossible to crack? Perhaps Freud is right in his claim that the ‘archaic reaction has, so to speak, exhausted itself in the first object’. Ergo, ‘The One’ is synonymous with our ‘Number One’. If so, what does that mean for me and my ‘Number Six’?

The odds of this relationship succeeding were never great; he lives with my ex (Number Four incidentally) I live with his ex. Sometimes things just happen, and when they do, you go for it. But five weeks in, the doubts are already buzzing at the peripheries like those annoying barflies that zip about aimlessly and achieve absolutely nothing.

But when do you know if enough is enough? And are we giving up too fast?

An online survey of top reasons to dump a guy revealed some expected and some… not so much.

  • Cheating (like having an affair with her friend, or sleeping with her sister, or fooling around with every girl he meets)

 (Fair enough)

  • He doesn’t talk to her

(Silence, not always golden)

  • They eat all the food

(Could get annoying… especially in restaurants)

  • They think the TV is more important

(No one wants their relationship flatlined by their flatscreen!)

  • Porn

(???)

All very valid reasons, but sometimes it isn’t quite so black and white. The problem with my No.6, is that it isn’t really that obvious! In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter that he cracks stupid jokes when I’m in the middle of telling a story? Should I be worried that he seems to have very little ambition and his literary diversions extend as far as The Sun?

None of this mattered when we were just ‘mates’. Then, I loved how he’d use every opportunity to Face-hack our friends, that he’s a massive gossip and that he has a scatty way of bumbling about, getting distracted halfway through a sentence and laughing at something odd in a magazine. But my expectations suddenly morphed with the new title ‘girlfriend’. Now, everything he is, everything he does, is a reflection on me. After all, no one wants to be the ‘why on earth is she with him’ girl!

It was time for the checklist to make an appearance, compiled over a decade of dating and promising an impossible man-topia. It was everything I wanted in ‘The One’ and almost everything ‘The Sixth’ was lacking.

With an aching brain, I leant outside the skylight in my attic room and smoked a cigarette. The train to Waterloo rumbled on the tracks opposite and as the sky turned dark, I remembered the first night he came up to my room, we’d hung out of the skylight smoking at four in the morning. I’d leant so far out that there was just him in front of me, and the outside air behind. It had felt like that scene in Titanic, the really cheesy one… ‘I’m flying Jack’ sounds silly now, but at the time I guess I was, at the time there was just me and him in the world. There was no checklist, or pressure, just the excitement of something new. It was an innocent excitement, and one that seems to fade faster and faster the further you grow from those teenage years. I realised then, that perhaps I wasn’t ready to let it go away just yet.

Back went the checklist to the place from whence it came, tucked into the mental drawer labelled ‘mum’. I might be 28, but does that mean I can’t date like a sixteen year old for just a little bit longer?

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http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080507192728AAnGKP4

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrity/news/reasons-couples-break-up

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