Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Snap Happy

There’s an epidemic of irrational and unnecessary photography sweeping the internet since, well forever really and I’m no exception, (in fact I’ve just had the pleasure of being tagged in several photos of myself in various poses with a novelty moustache). So, I just wanted to shine a bit of hypocritical light on the absurd commonalities of online photo sharing.




The Myspace Pose


It’s become as ubiquitous as the site itself. And when the Myspacer’s eventually jumped from the sinking ship, (sorry Tom but it’s true), aboard more attractive social networks, they brought with them an unwelcome stowaway. Pointing a camera directly at a mirror while holding it from various angles can often give the illusion that you’re thinner and more attractive than you are. But that’s all it is: an illusion. You can’t hold a person in quite the same manner and make sure their eye line is viewing you at your best. You just can’t. They’re going to see you and your gut in all its conspicuous glory when they inevitably click on view more pictures. Why does this never occur to people? I personally like to have a mixed bag of good and not so good snap shots of me, so as to ensure if anyone ever met me in the flesh they wouldn’t be too disappointed and even dare I say it, pleasantly surprised.




Scenery


Holiday snaps. They’re very effective at elevating your smug sense of self-worth to the online community. They confirm that you do in fact leave the dreary location of home once in a while and are a very cultured member of society. (Not to mention own goal-ing yourself, by intensifying an already prevalent bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder). And I know being a tourist with a camera is likened to that of a junkie looking for their next fix, but the need to fill a memory card with shot after shot of landscapes, sunsets, animals and the bed in the hotel room remains a mystery to me. The moment can never be captured, because when you get home you’re just going to bypass the photos of the horizon in favour of the ones of you enjoying yourself. Which is why you went on holiday in the first place, right?




Food


When you’re hungry everything looks appetizing. I’m often hungry because I have a secret fat girl inside me. Many a time she’s seen strips of cardboard which resemble a succulent cut of sirloin. She’s mentally ill. The appeal is in her head. So listen carefully, just because it’s a meal that you’ve warmed up yourself, doesn’t mean it’s photo-worthy, in fact it’s mediocre at best and really quite forgettable. Your taste buds have momentarily taken control of your better judgment and convinced you that this dish wouldn’t look out of place in the likes of a pretentious yuppie establishment with a french sounding name. A picture of an “epic sandwich” isn’t timeless, it’s time consuming. Just eat it, experience a sense of self-loathing if you’ve just cheated your diet, be full, forget about it, be content for a few hours, then do it all again. And so the cycle of endless consumption continues.




Your Car

Immerse yourself in this knowledge: NO ONE CARES. That’s all I have to say in this category. No witticisms. No picture. No tolerance.




Kissing


A few months ago I blogged about the online presence of relationships and their public display of awareness. Which you can find here: http://bit.ly/c99299 Newsflash, you’re not on the cover of a gossip rag and neither is your relationship. No one cares that you’ve been photographed kissing, (the fact that our celebrity obsessed culture cares that anyone of fame and wealth is kissing, frankly frightens me, but that’s a separate issue). You’re a couple, it’s what couples do, we know. And believe me, no one is more thrilled than I am that you’ve found a life companion within this hostile world in which to exchange various diseases with, but, as a popular pop punk quintet would say, “save it for the bedroom”. And don’t leak a sex video to be passed among the local Smart phones either, because no one wants to see that. (That’s not a lyric in the song, but it really should be).




Gigs


Watching and enjoying a gig used to be the primary motives as an audience member. But as technology has soldiered on, so has our idea of a good time. I used to have my view obstructed by people’s heads and now, my vision is consistently accosted with rows of camera phones. You think you’re immortalising the moment, but what you’re going to end up with is, well arm ache, primarily. And an image that might have a silhouette of a figure, clutching what looks to be a threatening weapon, that has become an amalgamated part of them. Not to mention a ream of blurred images that resemble a child’s water painted interpretation of a rainbow.




Sabotage


Recognise her? No? Well, I do. It’s me. How refreshingly original. I’ve taken a regular word and manipulated it to fit a different context. A lewd context. I’m living proof that maturity isn’t acquired simply through age. Don’t do this. It will come back to haunt you, I guarantee it. This also goes for moronically grinning and pointing at an advertisement for a company which has the same name as you. Yes, the world exists outside of your own bubble. It’s mind boggling.

Romance Intolerant



I’m always listening to my friends divulge hilarious anecdotes about their trials and tribulations with the opposite sex and the elusive concept that is romance. It’s a tricky business. Human beings are a complex bag of emotions and a fickle one at that. And while their stories range from the cringe worthy to just plain bizarre, they’re always left with the same resounding echo of uncertainty. Just what went wrong?

I’ve been seriously mulling this over for most of my adult dating life and think I might just have solved it. When I was younger, I’m not ashamed to admit that I led a pretty promiscuous existence and knocking on the door of 24, not an awful lot has changed (most people develop a certain level of maturity and restraint with age, but I have yet to acquire so much as a hint of either of those things). But one thing that has changed is my method of approach.

I was always of the opinion that in order to get someone to like you it was imperative to stick to the rules. The most significant being: nonchalance. I’m not saying I mastered it with ease, but for the most part I managed to maintain a decidedly uninterested approach when engaging with potential dates. In that, I would refrain from contact for days on end, often be rude and abrupt and sometimes leave dates early to leave them wanting more. I lived by the idea that appearing interested reeked of desperation and was eager to maintain the mysterious and cool persona, because anything less than that was considered irrational and psychotic - like most girls. And I didn’t want to behave like most girls. Of course this approach got me nowhere. Because in my eagerness to not appear jealous or demanding, I would find myself engaging with people just to appear powerful and superior in not feeling anything for them.


And so when I reflect on those early single years now, I don’t think that I was necessarily unhappy. I certainly wasn’t the type to go out searching for a boyfriend, because the company I enjoy the most is that of my friends (not to mention my own). But the Ice Queen approach certainly wasn’t gratifying and I ended up not knowing a great deal about myself, which is paramount before getting to know someone else.

Now, I know myself only too well. And I’ve realised that the more you hold back the less you know. Putting yourself out there is almost as humiliating as using the turn of phrase itself, but I highly recommend that you do. It’s good to get knocked back once in a while. In the long-term of course, in the short-term rejection feels like a vast obstacle which you’ll never overcome. But you will. Because as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to relationships there are no rules. A one size fits all method just isn’t logical.

But my advice, if you care to hear it (and if you’ve read this far, I’m sure you do) would be to not try too hard. Everyone has an innate talent, don’t force it, just let it occur naturally. I tried far too hard for years to appear emotionless, when I wasn’t. I got nowhere. At the same time though, don’t force yourself to be too emotional if you’re not. It’s about striking a balance. Which isn’t easy and only comes with practice. And how can you practice if you’re not willing to take a risk?

A friend who I’ve suffered traumatic dating experiences with for years, recently said to me,“but you’re so strong and uncaring about the way men behave, I always think of you when I’m trying not to be upset.” And what I’ll say to that is, it’s very easy to come across as though you’re not phased when you don’t have any feelings for someone. When I do have feelings for someone I behave just as crazily and irrationally as the best of them. I once rang someone at 15 minute intervals until they answered. Thankfully that person and I are still friends and have managed to put the awkwardness behind us.

Here’s another cliché: be yourself. How long are you expecting to hold on to someone if they’re not seeing the real you? It has to come out eventually. Not all at once of course. Just make sure your crazy behaviour resonates in a residual and gradual manner. By no means am I instructing you to lump it on them all at once.


Let me give you an example:

I have a friend (who won’t mind my using this anecdote, though I will be posting it to her Facebook later) she’s a very attractive, articulate and intelligent girl. In short she’s a catch. Suffice to say she receives a hefty amount of male attention and was once conversing with a potential date online. This in itself is a perilous endeavor, but she’s very naturally witty (far more so than I am) and was following the guideline of her usual effortlessly charming approach. He was rather keen in his attempts to secure a date with her and taking advantage of this she felt comfortable enough to make a joke, which she considered to be zany and kooky.

She accompanied the joke with an image of an orthopedic shoe.

Yes, you’ve just read that correctly. I can’t remember the particulars of the message, but I remember receiving the conversation via email and couldn’t reply for days, such was the depth of my amusement.
He never replied. So, it doesn’t matter how much of a super human you are in every other area because if your actions appear too contrived, rejection is highly probable.

And I say this with much love intended:


People don’t want to envisage you trawling through image websites for god knows how long, trying to find a picture of a shoe for people who have issues with their feet, to back up a joke which wasn’t even relevant in the first place.

Show your interest, by all means, but still maintain that you have other interests as well. I’ve lovingly named this blunder Orth-Gate and have been and still am a frequent perpetrator. (I wouldn’t say I’m proud of it, but I’ve made my peace with it nonetheless).

And if they reject you, at least you have something funny to entertain people with. These are called experiences. So, go, do, share, reflect. You never know, you might learn something.

Cinderella, eat your heart out.

Serious Journalism

The first rule about the hidden photocopier paper cupboard is you don’t talk about the hidden photocopier paper cupboard.

I’ve decided that the Telegraph is the thinking persons Daily Mail. While it doesn’t have quite the same caliber of sensationalist headlines based on nothing even remotely factual, it does throw in utter ludicrous statements wedged between otherwise standard news story paragraphs.

Take this sentence from a political article about Topshop boss Philip Green and his investigation into public sector spending:


“It is understood he has identified numerous examples of public bodies paying well over the commercial price for photocopier paper and other office supplies.”

WELL OVER? How much well over? Which other office supplies? Don’t tell me the Bic pens could have been bought in bulk cheaply elsewhere? Careless Civil Servants. Haven’t they heard of price comparison websites? Honestly.

Is there a secret back room in every office where the luxurious photocopier paper is stacked high to the ceiling like a hidden treasure trove of wonders where the evil administrators go and roll around, cackling giddily, covered in paper cuts?

Probably not. But I’m intrigued now. It’s 10am on a Thursday morning and I'm idly daydreaming about elitist photocopier paper.

The Perils of Public Transport


The atmosphere on public transport and how people choose to behave on it, are endlessly fascinating to me. There is a heightened sense of unawareness prevalent throughout the journey which reflects just how self-centered a society we really are. People chattering away on the latest smart phone or to their commuter buddy having the most ridiculous conversations, completely oblivious to the fact that those around them are silently judging their latent stupidity.

Just recently I was making a short journey on a First Great Western train from Cardiff to Swansea, and found myself with an uncharged iPod, not a publication in sight and a replacement phone with no Wi-Fi access. How on earth was I to pass the listless minutes? Thankfully after the experience I have come to the conclusion that the setting is an untapped resource of inspiration. Accidental eavesdropping is people watching’s more affluent cousin; richer in all aspects of comedic value and witticism material by far.

In front of me were two young women, who throughout the entire duration of the 45 minute journey tackled the significant topic of wedding day etiquette. I’m not a person who has ever even contemplated what type of bride I’d be, so I was way out of my depth on this triviality. Apparently it’s not just about the ring or the dress or even the venue any more, it’s about the timing of the day’s events. Because apparently an hour and a half is too short in which to adequately fill your guests stomachs, but anything over two and a half hours is construed as just too arduous. The toasts should be condensed to just the immediate family, allowing perhaps one or two work colleagues/old friends. In typical female fashion there were no justifications offered for these opinions, (but I imagine it’s because really, once you’ve heard one conservative ice breaker from an elderly relative and a daring ice breaker from a cocky groomsman, found in a standard search engine, you’ve pretty much heard them all).

They went on and on and on. Honestly, they scrupulously analysed every typical wedding day activity, scheduling it into the most appropriate time slot. Because the key to a good wedding isn’t ensuring that you pace your alcohol intake, but more importantly it’s to ensure that you pace the itinerary of your guests like that of a carefully structured circuit race. The theme of the day is seamless not sentiment after all. And you know exactly who these women were. Early 30-slightly overweight-not a sniff of a boyfriend in 18+ months let alone a fiancee. An utterly preposterous conversation to be having, especially when they could be chattering about shoes, or cocktails or pink things. That’s what single women are limited to after all.

Then there was the young girl with an undecipherable accent sat adjacent to me, making an incessant racket on her mobile phone to someone she obviously wanted to impress. She haughtily expressed how her and her work colleagues had just ordered a round of alcoholic beverages and how crazy that fact was since it wasn’t yet 5pm. Except it wasn’t a fact. She made this phone call 20 minutes into the journey and the seat next to her had remained vacant throughout. And as for the beverages all she had in front of her was a half-empty fruit cup. I’ll concede that every one fabricates events once in a while to make themselves feel marginally better about their otherwise mundane existence. But in front of a carriage load of people who can see that you’re being grossly untruthful? I for one wouldn’t want my blatant lies echoing throughout rush hour. But that’s just me.

Since the experience I’ve been idly wondering if I’ve ever fallen victim to a sarcastic stranger delighting in my politically incorrect comments or ill-informed opinions while on some mode of public transport. And then I remembered that in terms of train etiquette, I was traditionally British; kept my eyes averted to anything other than someone elses eye line, while mentally assessing whether to get a taxi to my planned destination or to walk. I’m safe. Are you?

Abvs


So, my grammar post had a few minor mistakes of its own, which were lovingly pointed out to me, from which I learned the valuable lesson of proof reading. We’re all human, we make mistakes and we learn from them. Suffice to say I have replaced my delete button with a sharp point.

Anyway, next I wish to address typical online conversation and the abbreviated language it has spawned as a result. While it might be easier for people to type, it certainly isn’t easy to read.


Shortened Words
I think the object of shortened words is to save time when you’re typing them. The words on the list below don’t exceed six letters. Is it really worth it? I don’t think it’s worth it one bit. What are you actually going to do with the point whatever of a second that you’ve saved from missing out crucial vowels? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.


Ne1 - Anyone

Ur - Your

4get - Forget

Cnt - Can’t

Ther - There
Wot - What
Thn - Than
Ppl - People

I attempted to type the word ‘anyone’ as the abbreviated alternate shown above. I failed. I spent too much time saying the word in my head phonetically in order to work out which letter to type as opposed to the letter it actually begins with. And then there was the whole palaver of remembering to access the numerate keys, wrongly holding the shift button down to create an exclamation mark. In short it was a travesty. But I find I can type the correctly spelled ‘anyone’ in no time at all without so much as a hitch. Interesting.


Abbreviated sentences (often conversation killers)
It’s like a form of Newspeak, eradicating letters for convenience. But it’s not convenient, because I often have to ask someone what the abbreviation means and they end up having to type it in order to explain anyway. Which is senseless and time consuming, not convenient in the slightest.



Lol - I find that humourous.
Pmsl/Rofl/Lmao - I find that very humourous.
OMG - I find that shocking.
OBV - I find that glaringly apparent.
Brb - I find that, oh wait hang on.
STFU - (Shut the fuck up). Oddly this is one I get a lot. I’d have more respect for someone simply going offline and crying in a corner in response to whatever I’d insulted them with.

TBH - To be honest.
ATM - At the moment.


HAND - Have a nice day.
I’m undecided which comment bothers me the most. On the one hand, (no pun intended), it’s a random body part being thrown into the conversation for seemingly no reason. And on the other, someone is actually telling me to enjoy my day. Yes, definitely the latter. This must be an American one. We’re British, no one has nice days and we don’t even so much as look at each other on public transport let alone wish each other well.



Hearts
Hearts have a lot to answer for.


Just for reference, that is a human heart. It’s the size of a fist and not particularly attractive either.

I often see people using this online:
“I love you ♥” - I love you heart.

Why is that heart there? I love my heart. It’s done a lot for me. But using it for extra emphasis is annoying. The sentence implies that there is a lot of heart involved in what you’re trying to express. The fact that you also had to copy and paste that heart from somewhere reeks of desperation. I found mine from a particular person’s profile because I knew they were the type to use it, (one of their friends had actually written it), but you can tell a lot about a person by who they’re friends with, so I rest my case.

Also, using the noun, “heart” as a verb. You don’t heart anything, it’s not correct. People profess to heart the City they live in, when actually they simply experience varying degrees of enjoyment from cohabiting there. If I walked around with a t-shirt proclaiming the sentence, “I often enjoy living in Cardiff”, you’d think I was mentally ill, and you’d be right. I will concede that you can love something, of course you can. But the problem is you don’t even feel that way about it. I see things written like, “I heart this sandwich.” You don’t love it, you will marginally like it for a short period of time and then forget its existence entirely.

Like ex-boyfriends. LOLZ.

I Has A Grammar



Every day I use the internet. I open up my laptop and log in to the plethora of social networking sites I’ve lovingly crafted to exhibit my personality to the online community. It has become as imperative to my daily activities as my exhalation of carbon dioxide. If I didn’t do it, I would in effect cease to function.

And naturally the main offenders of are:

  • Facebook; A blessing that is often a curse. A constant flurry of insight into people of little or no interest, but you find yourself aimlessly scrolling through their recent activities anyway.
  • Twitter; Unstructured, random, seldom answered and mostly sentences spoken at rather than to each other. Conversation at its best.
  • Blogger; Blogging gives you such a tremendous sense of purpose and self-satisfaction. To me it’s the equivalent to eating olives.


I’m completely unashamed to admit that I log in to each and every one of these websites every single day. I have the applications for my Blackberry also. (Tweeting on the go is like a drug. Spontaneous, totally necessary at the time and an unyielding desire to share the experience with others around you there and then).

But it’s a love-hate relationship, because every day I log in and every day I am accosted by grammatical negligence. Tell me, are you unaware of your latent stupidity or are you simply careless?

Seriously, the question plagues me. And I don’t know which notion bothers me the most. If you’re unaware, then the fact that you have an average degree and/or are earning a modest salary infuriates me. And if you’re careless about how you portray your intellect to the world, then I know exactly what type of person you are. You are a fan of Katie Price and profess to not be able to read in answer to questions about literary interests.
Someone recently informed me that life isn’t an English lesson, via Formspring of course, no one would have the guts to say that to me in person. (Which also goes for the all of the other poisonous jabs on there).

And it got me thinking, how amusing it would be to put together a list of the most irritating grammatical faux pas. So, here they are...




PUNCTUATION

Apostrophes. They’re not that difficult to comprehend.


Your / You’re

Your is a possessive pronoun. As in, your house or your inability to grasp the basics of your native language.
You’re is a contraction of you are.
Example: You’re a moron for not knowing the difference between your and you’re.


Its / It’s

Same principle. It’s is a contraction of it is or it has.
Example: It’s been good to know you but not your illiteracy.


Its is a possessive pronoun, meaning of it or belonging to it.
Example: Your writing is known for its inability to make sense.


And if you’re still unsure just don’t use one. 






CONTEXTUALISATION 

This is the one that infuriates me more than any other. Using words in the wrong context. It’s great that you’re using that ‘Word of the Day’ toilet paper but the object will have been defeated if you use it incorrectly. 

Knowing the meaning is only half the battle when trying to use it in a sentence.


Their is a possessive word that shows ownership of something.
There is a word with many uses, indicating a place or position.
Example: Their braincells are less active than ours, as there was a lack of oxygen present when they were born.


Wary / Weary
These adjectives may sound similar, but their definitions are another story.
If you’re weary of someone, you’re tired or bored of them. If you’re wary, you’re cautious of them.
Example: Sam, I’m weary of this patronising post now, but I’m going to continue reading because I’m wary of you and what you’ll do if I don’t.


A/Effect
Affect is a verb. It acts upon something, someone or an emotion.
Effect is a noun. It is the result or consequence of something.

Example: The poor grammar affected me, the effect was rage.




MISSPELLING 
(Note the double s)

This is unforgivable. Why? I just typed the word unforgivable and mistakenly typed an e between the v and the a. It’s a common error. A red squiggly line appeared underneath it immediately after I hit the space key, alerting me that something was wrong. So I right clicked, (because I’m a Windows user and it’s unnatural not to have a right click button), and perused the suggested alternatives until I found the right one. Rocket science?

You feel wierd do you? Do you really? No, you don’t. You are weird though, for thinking the i comes before the e.

You loose. Excuse me? I loose? Now you’re making a conscious effort to look stupid by adding letters. I think you meant to say I lose. Looser. Oh, you recognised that was wrong did you? Jerk.

I don’t know weather I should be allowed to live because I’m clearly not talking about sunshine, or snow or typhoons or anything else in regards to the state of the atmosphere. Whether. You meant to say WHETHER. Also, it’s Wetherspoon. It is NOT Witherspoons/Weatherspoons/I can’t think of any others. Sometimes it’s ‘Spoons. But only if you’re under 35. Actually 30.


Alot. I’m sorry what’s that now? Why haven’t you used a space to separate those two separate words? A lot. See? Easy. You don’t say abatch/apack/apile do you? I hope not. So don’t say alot. Use a space. Space is good.







POPULAR FOREIGN PHRASES



I.E / E.G These Latin abbreviations come up frequently and are infrequently used correctly.


I.E is an abbreviation of id est. English translation: that is. It is used to make something more clear.
I’m going to do what I do best, i.e be sarcastic. There’s only one that thing that I claim to do best and by using i.e I’m telling you I’m about to specify it.


E.G is an abbreviation of exempli gratia. English translation: for example. This is used when you are not intending to list everything which is being discussed.
I have a lot of negative qualities, e.g sarcasm. Instead of listing them all, I’ve given you an example of the one which gets me into the most trouble.


En Route
This is a French phrase, which translates as, “on the way” or “along the way”.
It is NOT to be written as any of the following: en-route / En route / En-route or any other other spelling variation.

If you’re not sure, don’t write it! Or take the trouble to Google it at least. Honestly, that’s what Google is there for after all.

And that’s all you really need to do if in doubt. Just Google it. Majority influence rules.

Status Quo

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.” 
Lewis Carol, Alice in Wonderland.

I rarely plan things. My belongings are perpetually strewn across the floor or haphazardly adorning various surfaces. The parting of my hair is non-existent. I scribble important dates, numbers and details on the back of envelopes never to be seen again. I frivolously spend every penny and more with little or nothing to show for it. I often have tears in my tights, my shoes need re-heeling and I’ve been using my hairdryer without the appropriate nozzle for as long as I can remember.

My life tends to be in a constant state of disarray. Yet, I like it that way. I know this because I don’t covet anyone else's. I’ve often been accused of being stuck up. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a certain level of arrogance.

Everyone around me seems to be on some sort of track. And that frightens me more than anything. Past conversations with friends about their plans for the future continue to haunt me. I don’t want to ever feel as though I should be doing what is expected of me because I’m a certain age.

Sure, there are a lot of things I want to achieve eventually. I experience ambition in waves. There are things I need to change. And there are things that are probably always going to stay the same. But at least for the moment, I’m happy. I don’t think a lot of people can truly say that. I think they confuse happiness with contentment. And while being content isn’t a bad thing, it’s certainly not enough for me.

Take It Or Leave It


If I ever…

Make gravy, it will be for myself. To eat alone. With bread.

Take a needle and thread, it will be to raise the hem on my dress or skirt.

Coo over a baby, it will be because I’m faking it and not a wistful wish or hint.

Make a pot of Tea, it will be for my Editor; the only Boss of me.

Host a dinner party, it will be pre-drinks and nothing more.

Use my oven, it will be for storage.

Bake a cake, it will be from a packet.

Mop the floor, it will be because I dropped something.

Public Display of Awareness


I’ve always felt that outward shows of affection and ostentatious ‘romantic’ gestures have nothing to do with the intended recipient and everything to do with the other people viewing it.

Maybe I’m just being cynical. But then, what’s so wrong with being cynical about behaviour which to me is very suspicious? In fact, I don’t even believe in cynical, I believe in realism. I like to think I see things for what they are. Maybe not always straight away, but in the end I can be very clear on what something is and more importantly what it isn’t.

Outlandish public gestures are just an example of erratic behaviour fueled by a guilty conscience. The over indulgent flower arrangement sent to your office or the million kisses at the end of a Facebook wall post with one of those annoying heart symbols thrown in for good measure, is their way of trying to prove to everyone else that their indiscretions against the relationship are false rumours.

But, why else would they be lovingly exchanging sweet nothings so publicly if things weren’t all rosy? Because they’re not. And they know it. Guilty parties always return to the scene of the crime. And in this case the scene is the public sphere. Trying to convince everyone of your innocence is just another reason why you’re guilty. People don’t waste time defending themselves against accusations they know are false. But if there’s a shred of truth in there, it’ll be all they talk about in an attempt to eradicate any possible doubt.

I like to keep my romance behind closed doors. Partly because I don’t want people to know I’m human and actually enjoy that kind of thing. But mostly because what makes it special is the privacy. Surrounding yourself with little nostalgic nuances which only the two of you understand and appreciate is the test of true romance.
You don’t invite other people into your bed, (I should hope), so why put on a show in all other aspects of your relationship? If you do feel the need to do this, then I would question your motives. Are you most happy by doing the things you do in your relationship? Or are you happier with other people seeing the things you do in your relationship? It’s an honest question. And if you get offended by it, I can only assume your answer is the latter.

Death By Natural Causes




I recently had the unfortunate experience of having several close friendships severed irretrievably. The foundations failing and bringing the whole convoluted infrastructure down on itself in a fraction of the time it took to build. If a coroner was to cast a verdict on the limp corpse of philia that remains, the verdict would undoubtedly be: death from natural causes. Then, why does the very notion of an end to a friendship seem so decidedly unnatural?

I’m a child of divorce, there are several ongoing feuds and grudges within my family and I’ve experienced the heartbreak of two serious boyfriends falling out of love with me. I’m no stranger to the breakdown of relationships and often thought myself to be quite resilient. But friendship has always had an ethereal quality about it to me. It’s supposed to outlive everyone else, purely because friends are the people you turn to when there is no one else. It’s not designed to fold in on itself at the first hint of trouble.

When I began to think about it in greater depth, a question struck me: why should friends be considered more reliable than anyone else? They’re only people after all. But the resounding betrayal in that statement is so acute that I find it difficult to give it any credence.

 Personal relationships are often tumultuous and complex due to the innate fickleness of people. And while I’m never necessarily prepared for them to fall apart, I certainly accept it. How did I ever attach myself so deeply to the notion that friendship is immune to that? The simple fact is it isn’t. But why is it so much harder to come to terms with compared to the broken bonds of relatives and lovers?


Friendship is inexplicably embedded in popular culture. From the endless quotes emblazoned on fridge magnets: Two heads are better than one, Choose your friends wisely, Keep your friends close to the fictional depictions of the characters of Friends and Sex and the City. All heralding friendship as the the defining relationship of the age. The trials and tribulations of platonic love served up in an aurally appealing witty repertoire.

The area it doesn’t cover however is the unceremonious dumping of a friend. The phone calls not returned and unanswered emails left to languish. Or the fiery meltdown of a clash of personalities left miserably unresolved. Friendship can be a virtue and it can be a vice. Similarly, social networking can be a blessing and it can be a curse. If only making a clean break in the real world was as easy as the click of a button in the cyberworld. Memories aren’t as so easily eradicated as the de-tagging of an onscreen photograph.

I guess what it all boils down to though is choice. Plain and simple. You can’t choose your family, you can’t choose who you fall in love with but you can choose your friends. Maybe that’s why it’s so painful. After choosing to align your desires and pursuits to fellow like-minded individuals, the betrayal felt when this goes awry is deeper because it was your conscious decision to form the alliance. People change, they accept new responsibilities, they enter different stages of life, but the careful selection of their companionship should be flexible enough to withstand that. The simple fact is: a friendship dies when there is no longer a need for it.


“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
- C.S Lewis


We might never re-establish the friendships we’ve lost, but we can resolve to make our existing friendships better.

Stephenie Meyer




If this was Salem in the 17th century she would be burned. Publicly. Because she’s insane.
Think it was such a good idea to write these lengthy intellectually diluted romantic ramblings now bitch? That’s a hell of a lot of paper. BURN!

Twilight

This is what would happen if I were to attempt to critique the Twilight saga. (I’m not even going to go in to the fact that it’s called that, despite the fact that the first book is the only one to have that word in the title). It would be shooting fish in a barrel. Fish that are already dead. And arranged in such a fashion that I couldn’t possibly miss. And it would be equally as pointless. Because sadly, with the advent of best sellers being promoted and advertised to the point of saturation; the caliber of a book is based on consumer awareness rather than literary integrity.

This is what would happen if I were to attempt to critique the Twilight saga. (I’m not even going to go in to the fact that it’s called that, despite the fact that the first book is the only one to have that word in the title). It would be shooting fish in a barrel. Fish that are already dead. And arranged in such a fashion that I couldn’t possibly miss.

And it would be equally as pointless. Because sadly, with the advent of best sellers being promoted and advertised to the point of saturation; the caliber of a book is based on consumer awareness rather than literary integrity.

Feminism; As unfashionable as a Poncho


I was having a conversation recently with a like-minded individual, about words and how their definitions can often become misconstrued to the point where they lose their original meaning entirely. The opinions raised prompted me to consider a subject which I’ve always had reservations about and could never pinpoint why.
Feminism. To me it has always denoted connotations of rage stemming from individuals who are more concerned with generating hate than promoting equality. I’ve side stepped around it and never wanted to fully commit to the term, which I consider a label more than anything else.


“You don’t have to anti-man to be pro-woman.”

A ‘one size fits all’ label to be exact, much like a poncho. It can feel overpowering, constricting and often unnecessarily itchy, but at the same time can provide a source of comfort and a shield against vulnerability. It can be worn over your insecurities and your own better judgment. It’s draped over everything you attempt to do and taints others perception of you. It fits over any type of outfit but doesn’t compliment it. And when finally, at the end of the day you remove it, you feel clammy and relieved that you don’t have to keep up the uninformed pretense any longer. Isn’t that right feminists? Oh, just a minute, there’s a melee of enraged, ill-groomed , pungent smelling lesbians breaking down my door.


Now, I admit that last statement was unkind. But I’ve made a valid point. That image of unattractiveness and misguided anger is what is often conjured up when the topic of feminism arises. Do they deserve it? Well, I think so. Partly anyway. As it’s mostly their fault that this occurs, due to the people who represent it. Or misrepresent it as is often the case. And I’m not talking about the superficial representation or sexual orientation, that’s just the standard banter which accompanies the term. I genuinely believe nothing is exempt from being mocked and since this accompaniment isn’t exactly a new or original jeer, I’m surprised the feminists haven’t come up with any equally scathing comebacks. Some women just have shit banter. It’s unfortunate.

The problem is the term has been allowed to expand and mutate, moving beyond messages of “equality” to encompass anything that might be derogatory towards popular male pursuits or applauding the unprotected sex that resulted in you. Like the poncho, it has become so far removed from what that one innovative designer envisioned that it is now widely available in an array of synthetic fabrics and various shrieking colours. And advocating self-harm, (as one bizarre rambling instructed), simply because someone disagrees with you isn’t the most mature stance to take. It’s unfortunate that all feminists be tarred with the same enraged brush, as while these pseudo-feminists are intelligent, they’re certainly not wise in their approach. They’re angry. And when you’re angry, logic and coherence is left behind. You jump from one point to the next with little attempt at explaining yourself and often get confused as to why you started shouting in the first place.


“No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself.”

I know, the pot calling the kettle black right? But I like to think my hatred contains a healthy amount of jest and self-deprecation. And if I get a little exasperated with the topic at hand, I go walk it off and resume typing when the steam emitted from my ears has reached a level where I can ignore it, instead of it being so prevalent that it obstructs the screen.


While I’m no expert on the subject, I have some pretty well rounded knowledge of it, having read several texts by a few prominent feminist writers. (Which sounds incredibly pretentious, but I really have and rather enjoyed them). And personally I don’t think it’s necessarily correct to even call yourself a feminist as the term isn’t a unified philosophy.

 There are so many different strings, which vary in definition and then there are different waves according to generation. Pick one.

Are you a Marxist Feminist?
Then you’re probably a student whose finances aren’t even your own, yet your whinging about having no money. Don’t like Capitalism? Do you also drink Starbucks? You’re a walking hypocrite.

Are you an Eco-feminist?
Christ, a love of nature combined with womens studies. You might as well wear a t-shirt that declares, “I have a hairy ladygarden.”

Are you a Liberal feminist?
You Guardian reader. Enough said.

You’re probably a Third-Wave feminist.
Most young women of my generation would empathise mostly with this definition. If all you pseudos weren’t being such cunts about it that is.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s what the dictionary says:
[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.

Just kidding.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary illustrates two definitions of feminism;
1 : The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
2 : Organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.

There. It’s a theoretical argument. Open to interpretation and subject to criticism. The Suffragettes didn’t chain themselves on wrought iron fences to have silly little girls who found their opinons on a search engine dictate to the rest of us what we should and should not believe. How massively hypocritical. Free will is a civil liberty.


I believe in gender equality.
I am not a feminist.
I have a right to be alive.


Now you find a coherent and logical way to illustrate your beliefs. Go. Now.

Bite Me

It’s 5:52am as I’m writing this and I have no idea why I’m awake. I’ve got that groggy post-hangover feeling of over-exhaustion, I’m massively hankering for a cup of instant coffee and I badly need a shower. (It’s been over 2 days now, my personal hygiene really could be better). One of the reasons I cited recently for not being ready to have children. Speaking of which, there is no more effective form of contraception than that piercing perpetual shriek emitted from a small child’s mouth. Every time I go to slide my knickers off from now on I will channel that intolerable wail and hopefully it will evoke some self-restraint. Because the act of sex is special, it should occur between two people who love and respect each other and damn it, I thought I could get through the remainder of that sentence with a straight face, but to no avail. A sarcastic smirk is tugging at the corners of my lips as I silently mock particular people who uncontrollably spring to mind. Perhaps this is why I’m so disliked. My condescending sneer isn’t exactly a charming attribute, but I get far too much enjoyment out of it to ever cut down.
Yes, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that I am aware of my unpopularity and yet I continue to behave like a cunt. Which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you really. If I can’t be bothered to shower regularly, pretending to care about your banal conversation isn’t likely. ‘Let’s pretend’, was probably my most overused phrase as a child, it was my favourite game because pretending is so much easier than real life. As liking is easier than disliking. You don’t need a reason or an informed opinion to like something.
This is why disliking is so much more honest than liking. And while I don’t enjoy peoples dislike of me, I at least respect it. None of my friends first impressions of me are particularly favourable. In fact, most of them couldn’t stand me. (Maybe they still hold their original views and the friendship has been an elaborate ruse and will culminate in some kind of ritualistic wickerman-esque public burning). If that is the case they certainly won’t be short of helpful volunteers. And after my death, (or execution depending on how you look at it), if I had to choose between being lovingly thought of but eventually forgotten or hatefully remembered, I know what I’d choose. Because as an eloquent gay man once put it, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Single and Fickle


I feel saturated by the notion that being single is fantastic.

And empowering.

And thrilling.

And modern.

I’ve sifted through reams of online material dedicated to the single woman and concluded that she has the dubious honour of being one of the most reassured figure in today’s culture. Purporting to extol the joys of single-hood, statements such as, “It’s OK to be single”, and “Things to do before you get married”, only serve to demean rather than enlighten. The unified philosophy reads like, “It’s fine to be single, because you can indulge in shoe shopping and sip fancy cocktails and go about becoming every inch the Sex and the City cardboard cut out, but you’re only doing these things in the mean time before Mr. Right gives you a real sense of purpose by putting a rock on your finger.”

And thank you for the glaringly shocking pink background. Every. Single. Time.

These “permission-to-be-alone” guides undermine the single lifestyle, portraying it as a transient state to be endured and tolerated rather than experienced for what it is. Inevitable.

Being single is a sure occurrence for everyone at some point. In terms of relationship status, you’re either one or the other. If you’re single; you’re not in a relationship, and if you’re in a relationship; you’re not single. It’s really as simple as that.

I’m sick of hearing it rationalised and examined. It’s to be experienced. So, just live it already. Because really, the most important relationship you’ll ever have, is with yourself.