Tag Archives: relationships

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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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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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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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?

*

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

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

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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 – Part 2


Just like the addiction of the first date rush, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of doing something wrong.

I’ve known Alex for about seven years, on the surface, he’s everything a girl wants – good looking, smart, caring, funny with a dry sense home humour and ‘look after me eyes’. I had a crush on him for years, but a mild flirtation (which only ever went as far as a drunken kiss) turned into friendship and eventually, he dropped the pretence and let me into the world of Alex – a place where serial dating and masochistic binges are taken to a whole new level.

“I’m about to try and get off with a girl in front of her boyfriend! Help! ” he texted me last Friday night. I was out with my flatmate at the Dragonbar in Shoreditch. The drinks are cheap there and the bartenders uniformly HOT.

“You’re f*cking twisted.” I replied.

A second later my phone beeped “I’ve left. Your text did the trick. Where are you?”

Alex came to meet us at the bar, and shuffled in on the sofa with me stuck as a wedge between him and my flatmate.

“So… you left,” I said, gulping my drink. I don’t know what it is about Alex that makes him so magnetic to be around, I didn’t fancy him, I’d stopped liking him years ago but he still made me giddy. “What’s your deal anyway? Who was she?”

“Just a friend. Her boyfriend’s a real dick.” He has this slow way of speaking that’s really hypnotic. “So I just wanted to see if I could kiss her with him standing right there.”

“How, exactly?”

“Well, first I took her arm like this,” he demonstrated, “and then I pulled her closer like this.”

I unhooked myself and reached to grab my drink form the table. “So how’s your new girlfriend?”

“she’s good.”

I’d actually been joking. Alex had been seeing a girl for a while but he was a non- committal kind of guy. “Wow so you guys are serious!”

“Yeah.” He replied. “I love her.”

I snorted into my drink.  This was so typical Alex,  for him, it was wholly possible to exist in two realities, one where you are in love, and another where you try and kiss some guys girlfriend in a bar. The latter had nothing to do with love. It was about Ego.

As I stood outside the bar having a cigarette, I watched him swoop in on my flatmate, his arm sprawled across the back of the sofa, leaning in to fill the gap I’d left. I rolled my eyes, it’s not like I was worried, I’d already warned her about him, but there was still a small pang of irritation that made me smoke my cigarette faster and wedge my butt back on the sofa between them.

Alex left shortly after, whispering in my ear that he was about to ‘pull’ my flatmate and needed to take himself home.

I don’t think he even wanted to pull my flatmate, that’s not the way he operated, he did things to make himself feel powerful, and he’d obviously accomplished what he’d come for.

“It all stems from my innate need for attention.” I slurred at my friend last night, New Radicals were playing on the stereo and we shared a cigarette out the window. “My dad was never there so I’m, like constantly looking for a attention from guys to replace what I , like, missed out on…as a child”

“My issue is that I just can’t handle rejection.” She replied and looked painfully at her phone.

Perhaps the Massochism Mambo is less about the rush of doing something wrong and more about validation, an emotional poly-filler for parts of you that are missing.

………Jade texted me later that night to let me know she didn’t call her dead dog after all.

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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