Tag Archives: number six

Message from the Universe


It was the evening of The Date; the social institution whereby two complete strangers sit opposite each other and talk about themselves with the aim of deciding whether or not they are suitable for partnership.  When you think about it, dating is such an odd ritual and for me personally, well, I’ve never had a good ‘date’. Sure I’ve gone out for a drink with the guy I snogged at our work pub quiz (the snog that incidentally began the saga of Golf Boy) I’ve spent all day in the pub playing scrabble with my ‘friend’ (henceforth known as the saga of Number Six) and gone for dinner with Mr. Date- AKA Prince Charming  but as far as full blown never-really-spoken-to-you before dates go, they have all been pretty disastrous.

I did wonder as I groomed, plucked and preened why I was putting myself through it all over again and if I was even ready. But before I get to the crux of this tale let’s rewind two weeks… I need to tell you about The Wish.

It was the eve of my fateful breakup with E and Jess and I found ourselves in the very strange scenario of having both broken up with our boyfriends a the exact same time. I’m not even talking days… I’m talking MINUTES. Moments after E left mine I called up Jess to find her boyfriend of one year was… as we were speaking, gathering his belongings. It was probably a time for Ben & Jerry’s, crying and watching of the Notebook.. but we decided to break out  the champagne instead. Two glasses later and we were philosophising about the ridiculousness of monogamy, lifelong partnerships, everlasting love and how essentially we really only had our friends. We talked about how our parents f*cked us up and how I was eternally doomed to favour unavailable men while she would never settle for anything less than perfect.

Jess was distracting herself with an E-mail she had just received from  a renowned documentary filmmaker

“He has such amazing energy” she cooed. Jess’s celebrity penpal (let’s call him BP) had been courting her since she met him in Ibiza 6 years ago. He had been hinting for her to come back and visit him but had never actually given her an invitation. “And you know what?” she said… “You should totally try doing ‘The Wish'”

The what?

“So,” She began, “just last week I was thinking about how I want BP to properly invite me out there. I put all my positive thoughts into it and blew the wish out into the universe” it’s a bit happy clappy but we’ll let her off… she’s a yoga teacher. “Anyway… now look! He totally invited me to come out there and stay as long as I want! So… that’s what you should do! You should think about what you want and send it out into the universe”

Was it really that easy?

Fastforward two weeks and I’m face to chest with a tall cute Australian called Ryan. He was funny, well funny enough for me not to stay talking to him longer than a second which was pretty rare for a random encounter at a warehouse party where everyone looked about 18 and dressed like (post midlife crisis) Madonna. I gave him my number not expecting him to call after all, surfers who live in Marylebone and are also into classical music and modern ballet are too good to be true right? But then, I did make that wish.

The universe it seems, was listening, because that Wednesday I had a bona-fide date on my hands.

He’d picked an Italian wine bar on the corner of Portabello and Westbourne Grove after just the right amount of texts, so far so good. I should have been over the moon, but instead I found myself knotted in fear and nerves. I ran through the conversation over and over in my head… thought of all the clever things I could say and pictured how I would look when I swagger into the bar

“Heloooo. So this is a nice place.” “Hi again, so how ARE you?” or something more saucy “Well helloo stranger, how’s it hanging?” (how’s it hanging?!) It was no use, I was bound to get as drunk as possible and be at least 80% weird and awkward. I mean just in the last hour I’d missed my stop on the tube, ripped my last pair of tights trying to wash and blowdry them in the sink… cut a massive gash into my leg dry-shaving and was running around trying to tame my hair with a sanitary towel stuck to my calf because I didn’t have any plasters. Who was I kidding? The Ryans of this world didn’t date girls like me! How am I supposed to even handle the social complexity of a date? And where would I even start anyway? What part of myself will I be today? The broken self conscious me that cried in her therapist’s chair? the drunk confident me that picks up 21 year olds in Infernos in Clapham? or the serious academic me?

It was all just too confusing. Who came up with the concept of a date anyway? Who decided that sitting two strangers in front of each other and doing the whole “soooo now tell me about you….” was in any way conducive to actually getting to know someone?

A massive glass of rum downed, my leg suitably patched up and a slightly holey pair of tights donned, I was ready for my big ‘date’.

As soon as I walked into the bar confident me came out. Confident me is like one of those Rottweilers, it can smell fear on others and balancing on that barstool, Ryan looked even more nervous and awkward than I felt. It also probably helped that I was so taken aback by the pair of bright blue snakesin pointy shiny shoes that I could barely stop myself from laughing. What was before me, far from the perfect Ryan I’d envisaged was a slightly nervous overly muscular badly dressed guy with hair that was halfway Russell Brand.

Oh boy.

He told me he was a music lawyer spoke French and Italian, played piano and liked drawing. Our hobbies , he said, were like a venn diagram. It was probably at the point of him trying to explain what a venn diagram was that I completely lost interest. When he got all Italian ordering pancetta I wanted to hit him with the menu and when he got his phone out to show me where his Marylebone house was on Google maps I was really quite ready to leave.

For all his faults, he did pick up a pretty hefty tab of champagne and really good food, I gave him a peck on the lips before I jumped into the cab. As soon as the door was closed and the relief of leaving had time to subside, I felt a little annoyed with the world.

Why was the universe doing this to me? I’d wished for a smart, driven, caring, lovely guy and I got a sensitive wet cloth of a man with bad dress sense. Should I have been more specific? ‘Dear universe, can I have a sweet caring lovely man who would never wear shiny pointy snakeskin shoes, is generous but doesn’t show off, cares about such things as music and paining but not to the point where I’d question his sexuality. Also he really needs to  make me laugh and be attractive but I’m not into muscles per say. Goddit?’

I jumped out the cab, paying the £30 fare for an evening I could have happily done without and with my head full of bubbles stumbled up the stairs. My room. My attic. Alone. It actually wasn’t so bad.

Peeling off my makeup in the mirror I looked at myself, like really looked at myself. We were doing OK, me and I. I didn’t need Ryan, in fact, I didn’t need anyone. The me of yesteryear would have shoehorned the idea of the music lawyer into her head out of sheer desperation to be part of a pair. He was better than nothing right? Well, I guess I’ve changed.

Maybe the universe did send me what I needed after all.

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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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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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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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