Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Love is Not a Spectator Sport

"Kind of like an alcoholic Cagney and Lacey" - @MartynKelly

A few months ago @Oh_Merde (who is pictured above) inquired about how I cope with this "single and dating thing". Fairly fresh faced when it comes to singledom, she was hoping to obtain some insightful relief from let's be honest, a veteran. However at the time I was hardly feeling particularly wise. I had been applying hair removal cream on my upper lip and decided that a little dab of it on my sideburns wouldn't hurt. When I received the What'sApp message from her I was mortified and peering at what looked like the remains of a vacant patch of carpet next to my ear. So I absent-mindedly replied with, "I don't. This is why I've given up and am spending my Friday evening essentially shaving my face." (For the record, I now spend every second Saturday afternoon at House of Fraser, where a woman named Vera threads my face).

But I was reminded of her question today, while shackled to my desk during one of my wistful daydreams over unrequited situations of the past. And it led me to the realisation that I have a coping mechanism which I implement these days without even thinking about it. Pessimism. Or is it realism? I'm torn at the moment and a little worried that my past experiences of rejection have caused this irrevocably jaded outlook on my romantic life. Because the result is total and utter ambivalence towards relationships and men in general. Don't get me wrong, I go out on dates and spend a lot of time (OK all of my time) drinking raucously with friends at various watering holes. What I'm trying to assert here is that I could have sex (and more importantly a life outside of hair removal) if I desired it. 

But it's not that I don't have the opportunity for romantic endeavours to flourish, I just don't have the inclination to capitalise on them. Some people are starving for emotion, I on the other hand am fasting. All this time I thought I'd been dusting myself off, moving on and being better for it. But I appear to be simply repeating the same mistakes with different people. I don't cope, I just put distance between myself and whatever it is that has hurt me. Evidently this method of pushing negative emotions to the back of my mind and letting them quietly fester as a mental illness have manifested as a somber cloud over my love life. 

I've cast my mind back over the last twelve months and the highlights are more than a little comedic. There was the one-date wonder who revealed he had just being diagnosed with clinical depression, a guy who proceeded to have sex with a girl immediately after me while I remained a prisoner in his house, a younger one who commented that I hadn't taught him anything despite being an older woman and a wholly dysfunctional infatuation with someone I've never actually met. But what's really enlightened me is my reaction to these failed scenarios. Or the lack of a reaction more like. Except of course to derive humour from them. 

Which is my ultimate coping mechanism, otherwise known as my armour. If in doubt I go on the offensive with a joke. But I'm getting increasingly weary of the one-woman show and now I'm not so sure that it's been good for me. I've been of the opinion that it's detrimental to get upset and laughing through the pain of being unwanted was surely the best remedy. Some people are too frightened to experience new relationships because past pain acts as a deterrent. I've been too frightened to experience the pain at all. Which is exactly the problem. I've been under the false impression that I'm immune to being hurt. But just because germs are invisible doesn't mean they're not there. And ignoring them has led me to a bedridden state of romantic apathy. 

But there's a glimmer of hopeful light on the horizon. Last weekend I succumbed to revealing my feelings to someone. Well sort of, in my own little flirty digital way. It totally backfired on me however and I was thrown the ultimate curve ball: the revelation that he now has a girlfriend. Who is apparently completely perfect for him. And it hurt. But it's good. Because it affected me and I'm OK. The clarity of the situation is a relief actually. Uncertainty is acutely treacherous and the real detriment here, not pain. In fact, the experience has awakened a flicker of desire for intimacy with someone and I know that eventually someone will set it alight. Taking solace from that knowledge is keeping me warm and for the time being that's really all I need.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Blogger Meet-Up LDN - Tuesday 29th November

GUYS. I need your attention. Listening? Good. I've been very kindly invited to a blogger meet-up next Tuesday in London and I'm taking it upon myself to extend this invitation to all of my lovely fellow bloggers. It's a Fun 'n' Games party for bloggers, brought to you by the ultra-cool London Ping Pong Company on behalf of Badoo - the worlds largest social network. Yes, the largest. It boasts 120 million members - that's 300,000 users a day AND it's Facebook's fastest growing app. 

But wait, you've never heard of it? Don't worry, neither had I. It's huge overseas (no, really) and it's just exploding in the UK and US. So naturally, we all want to be at the promotional party for a chance to try out the network via a live demonstration (the basic version is free to use anyway) and provide feedback on the experience. And by feedback, I mean take advantage of the freebies

Oh, I've got your attention now have I? Yes, there will be pizza, beer, wine and sumptuous cocktails which you won't have to pick up the tab for. Not to mention a veritable array of gaming for those with a competitive streak, including Wii gaming, foosball and Encounters (Badoo's version of Hot or Not. Pre-Facebook it was the only site that mattered). 

But read on because there's more...

What is Badoo?

It's a meet-up service (like a dating site and social network combined) which connects users through profile photos and locations. You can state your intention through a handy little drop down box which lists ideas for what you want to do and who you want to do it with. So for example, if you fancy going to the cinema you can peruse nearby users who are also looking for a movie buddy. Or perhaps you want to make dinner for two or simply share jokes with someone. OR as one gentleman who just contacted me asked, to share a balloon ride with. Hmm, my head is in the clouds far too much as it is - but you see what I mean. And you can tailor your intention to suit the desired sex and age range of your prospective (ahem) friend. Of course it's available via the new mobile app also, which might just make it the guerrilla terrorist of forever alone.

(OK, so if you can look past the fact that my eyebrow looks scarily like a tadpole you will notice that I am super popular already. And I only registered half an hour ago. What are you waiting for?)

Where is it?

It's being held in the ultra-pretentious and hipster location of Shoreditch, East London. Where everyone is rich, middle-class, a snob and dresses straight out of the 1940s - basically I NEED to be among them. The venue, Queen of Hoxton is typically effortlessly amazing looking and you can check out photos of it in all its splendor here: the gallery of all that is uber pretentious and retro.

What do I need to do?

If you're interested in coming along to chat, socialise and/or flirt with like-minded bloggers and webheads then please RSVP by dropping @Chrissssmith a line on Twitter. I should hasten to add that due to high demand the list is very rapidly approaching capacity, so you will need to let him know ASAP!

In the meantime, talk to me @DirtyKnickers_. Got any questions? Want to tell me you're coming right now? I know you do. So, do it already.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Going On The Offensive

I'm always disappointed to discover that someone has interpreted a flippant comment I've made as a malicious jibe, when it was merely my intention to derive humour from a situation. And the person I'm the most disappointed in is myself. Because I actually expected people to have the ability to laugh at themselves. As someone who relies heavily on self-deprecation, I find it absurd that people can take themselves so seriously. I know that most functional people have a high opinion of themselves (yours truly can certainly vouch for that) and I admit that I can be incredibly defensive. But the difference is that I'm aware of it and I'm able to laugh when it's brought to my attention. 

Though it appears that our hyper-connected modern world has led some people's online notoriety to fill their heads with the notion that they're now important and their opinions are not just right, but statutory. Standing atop of their self-elected digital podiums, challenging the civil liberties of others and firing their opinion at people as though it's somehow mandatory for them to provide it. Of course if they had an interesting or different perspective on what was being discussed, I would more than welcome the debate. But all that's on their agenda is condemnation. They seek to vilify anyone who has the gall to commit the mass-terrorist of goodnatured ribbing: offence.

Offence. If there were awards for utterly pointless nouns, this would have my vote. Because it's completely subjective. Only the individual can determine who or what they're offended by, according to their own personal preferences. If you choose to be offended, you need to take personal responsibility because you alone are making that decision. You're letting yourself be affected by something which you could have easily brushed off as inconsequential. And if you're honest with yourself, you'll admit that it's often not the content of the joke which caused such palpable distaste, but the person who made it.

Putting a joke in context is paramount when understanding it. Nothing is exempt from being mocked. You have to first appreciate who is making the joke and more importantly, why they're making it. In my case, I do it to confront the elephant in the room. (And taking my past quips about Adele into consideration that phrase is incredibly apt). But my point is, we often let our dislike for someone cloud our judgement and we're besieged with self-righteousness lubricated with venom. It's not enough that you have been caused offence, that offence now has to be validated and supported. So you take to your online outlets and discuss your right to being offended with other deluded nobodies. 

Of course now I suppose everyone is thinking that I want people to stop being offended. And I don't. It's an endless source of entertainment for me, so please continue populating your cringe-worthy attempts at informed and coherent opinions. It makes me so feel so smug and intelligent. Particularly when I discover that people have been discussing whether or not something I've said should be considered racist. If you're going to have an opinion, have some conviction and declare it. Instead of analysing it publicly in an attempt to form a majority because you're too cowardly to remain a minority.

Now I'll leave you with some hilarious truth from Steve Hughes.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

People Puzzles

I do enjoy a good jigsaw

I've been licking my wounds of late, having experienced the callous sting of rejection. Of course it’s not nearly as bad as it could be, because he’s not entirely aware that he’s spurned me. Which sounds perfectly ridiculous, but you see, he doesn't know because nothing of consequence really ever occurred. Nothing concrete anyway, which I can pin on him and justify being upset about. No, on this occasion I’m being forced to take personal responsibility because I projected a fantasy onto him which didn't correlate to the events unfolding in real life. My dream world ran alongside us, just like a ghost who is oblivious to its previous demise. 

Romantic yearnings are like any competitive endeavour. When you’re in the moment you’re focused and your outlook is restricted to tunnel vision. But a spectator has an unbiased viewpoint and can analyse every wrong movement you make which contributes to your failure overall. It's laughably tragic how I reveled in those once precious moments, when seeing them from a fresh perspective reveals they were merely borne of his boredom. Something he knows little of now with his new girlfriend (or so I hear). 

But I'm not entirely bitter, from what I know of him he seems deserving of it. He just wasn't the right man for me. Or is it that I wasn't the right woman for him? I'm brash and offensive, my opinions are blase and my attitude is annoying. But it's just a fragment. Amplified for effect. Did he recognise that I can be more? And if he did, then surely it's worse because he chose to ignore it in favour of her. 

I've perused her. She's a low-key intellectual with edgy good looks, and her shy smile reveals a sweet disposition. She doesn't write about such silly and inconsequential things like relationships. And while it's not exactly worthy of The New Republic, the topic is a mutual interest of theirs and only further crystallizes a bond between them which I could never share. Although a nagging part of me wonders if the only legitimate advantage she has over me is down to the simple logistics of the situation. Doubtful. But I still choose to placate myself with it from time-to-time. 

Perhaps the problem was that I didn't really put myself out there. I shied away from his half-hearted and clumsy attempts at wooing me. Admittedly I found them endearing but I was too frightened to give them any real credence in case they hurt me. If I hadn't have carefully kept them at bay would they have blossomed into romantic fruition? Perhaps if my candour wasn't tinged with playfulness and I wasn't such an incorrigible flirt, I might have provoked faith instead of mirth. I should have taken hold of the situation and not left it all up to chance.

Ultimately though people will find away their way around an obstacle if they really want to. And very often they create them if they want to prevent what they can see on the horizon. He saw me. I was right at his fingertips. And while mine weren't completely outstretched, they were there to be grasped. I don't know whether to take solace in the fact that I didn't make enough of an effort to secure him or to reprimand myself for losing out on something which could have been, well, really something.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Self-doubt: the most effective virus

This morning I awoke to a DM from an esteemed Twitter follower, which informed me that an alleged 'bad blog' was circulating the internet about yours truly and inquired as to whether I was aware of it. Naively I ignored my better judgement and clicked the link, only to discover that it sent me back to the Twitter homepage. Ah, a virus. Naturally. I was then alerted to the fact that by clicking it, I had in turn passed the message on to all of my followers. Terrific.

If you've received this DM from me, I apologise. If you haven't clicked it and are one of the people who have replied to me warning that it's a scam - congratulations. You're a happy and secure person. However if you've succumbed to the paranoia (as I did) then you're going to have to change your Twitter login password immediately to prevent the virus hacking into your account. Apologies. I have self-esteem issues clearly.

Being an avid user of social networks, I routinely encounter scam attempts such as this on a regular basis. They're prevalent on both Twitter and Facebook, with a popular example being the sensationalist approach: OMG! Have you seen this? 

Like most sensible people I avoid these links and smugly mock those who give into their foolish curiosity. Usually by reprimanding them with a self-satisfied tweet dripping in condescension and derision. However now it seems I must eat my words, as for the first time I've fallen victim to one. Purely because I thought there was something negative written about me somewhere and I was desperate to know what it was. It's an effective method. Because even though the format of the scam is one which I've received countless times in my Twitter inbox, the phrasing of the question is clever because it taps into your insecurities.

I don't know why, but I always believe my worst reviews. I try to pretend it's part of my cool self-assured attitude and my need to view it is because I want to turn the criticism into something constructive. But all too often I fixate on the negativity and over-analyse it in my head. And what's worse is that sometimes I start to believe it. Being left alone with your thoughts can be both invigorating and perilous. While I implore you to recognise and respond to your inner-critic, I think it's important to note that you shouldn't spend too much time giving it credence.

You need to allow yourself just as much time to focus on the positives about yourself too and not feel arrogant about it. You deserve to bask in complimentary affirmations which you've given to yourself. I'm not advocating that you brag about your achievements, but by acknowledging them you'll naturally exude that inner-confidence which your critics don't have. Because no matter what you do in life there are always going to be people who won't like it and aren't shy about telling you so. But you can take solace in the fact that at least you're provoking a reaction. And besides 'haters gon' hate'. 

I'll leave you with a hilarious series of DM's which my unintentional spamming provoked this morning. If you think you're paranoid, you've got nothing on this guy. I don't know what Atlantic Bridge is, but if I'm killed to cover up an alleged Tory conspiracy at least my blog readers will know the truth.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Dirty Knickers Translates Womens Lies on Video!

It's been a long time coming but I've finally made my first little Vlog. It overly emphasises my spidery eyelashes and rather ominously has Thom Yorke lurking in the background. (Well, what did you expect?!)

In it I detail some of the classic lies women tell men in order to keep them parked in the friend zone. Let's face it, she's never going to regard you as that person who will be strong and take charge of a situation.  Sure, when she pulls that cute expression with those big innocent eyes, you'd swear butter wouldn't melt behind that perfectly formed pout. But she knows she can have you, and therefore doesn't want you. So, stop wasting your time fixated on winning over this girl, because that's exactly what it is: time wasted.

What do you think? Click the link below and share!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Sapphic Repercussions

About two months ago I wrote a post about a sexual fantasy I'd been harboring for a while and in typical dirty knickers fashion it featured some downright candid and unabashed opinions The fantasy in question was my desire for a same-sex encounter and in case you missed it the first time around you can read it here. On the whole it received some wonderfully empathetic comments and praise. But it also shocked and disgusted some people. Most notably because I'd posted the link to my Facebook wall (apparently casual lesbianism isn't ready to be accepted among my Facebook friends, but when it comes to casual racism no one so much as bats their culturally ignorant eyelid). Much to my amusement I was also excluded from social events with acquaintances which I would have ordinarily been invited to - had I not divulged my covert lesbian fantasies. I can only assume they now live in fear that I'm going to attempt to queen them at any given opportunity. In front of their boyfriend. In public. (Yes this sounds incredibly enjoyable).

I've always been of the opinion that by not justifying yourself to your critics you're having the last laugh. But I've decided to start writing a bi-monthly post which will address some of the backlash I receive for documenting my honesty on the internet. And before you start accusing me of wallowing in self-pity, I'm not going to write paragraph after paragraph moaning about how misunderstood I am. Instead I'm going to be frank about why I do the things I do and try to inject a bit of humour into the situation. (After all when gravity fails me funny will be all I have). It shall be commencing this weekend, so brace yourselves.

In the mean time if you're now in the mood for some talented lesbian musings, here are my recommendations:

"It’s utterly stupid and juvenile. I seem to thrive upon Unrequited Love, I could love you forever if only I could never have you. Maddened, titillated and passionate I’ll go to the ends of the earth and free fall off into the deepest depths of a never shared love. Poetry and prose run bountifully from my fingertips, Mumford & Sons and Bon Iver will play dutifully into the night… Until that irritating moment when you turn around and say; “Actually, you’re lovely. Do you want to go on a date?” and ruin my whole melancholy, broken artist in love look. I’ve never actually been on a date..."

Read More

"Everybody acts differently around different people, it’s Human nature, but how far can you go before it turns into a case of hiding who you are? Especially in the gay society we feel we have to – not so much hide but.. reserve our sexualities around certain people, whether it be out of respect, uncertainty or even fear. I’m not a person that is afraid to share my sexual preferences with anyone and everyone, educate, humiliate and fight my corner but even I sometimes feel the atmosphere thicken and think twice about my loud and confident approach when the topic rears it’s head. I’ve been paying extra close attention to my many different Lesbian personalities over the last week or so and I’ve noticed the following..."

Read More

"So, after spending plenty of time scraping the metaphorical barrel in my small town, for beautiful lesbiansexuals, I excitedly searched further afield. I ventured out to the next biggest town, with my token gay male friend, filled with the expectations and hopes so high I could have wee’d with the anxiety. I had not been in the dingy so-called Gay Bar an hour; and I had already been rejected by the only straight girl in there, almost punched in the face by a psychotic who was convinced I was trying to get with her girlfriend, oh and been shunned by someone else because they refused to believe I liked women..."

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Dual Identity

After careful deliberation on my one hour lunch at work, I decided to create a secondary Twitter account @DirtyKnicksBlog which will focus on my blog. The reason I'm calling it secondary and not separate is because it's still very heavily connected with my main account @DirtyKnickers_ and at the moment has most of the same followers. Then what's the point? Well I want people to choose to follow and receive the blog links I post. It's only fair. I'm all for self-promotion but bombarding people with information they don't want is the fastest way to disengage your audience and lose followers. And that can't happen. I'm all about the follower count.

It's been live for almost a fortnight now and I've been a little lazy when it comes to tweeting from it, instead opting to retweet links from my main account in an effort to get the ball rolling. But I've decided that I'm going to take the most popular topic I tweet about: Twitpicing my online dating escapades and only tweet them from this account (with the occasional RT) from my main account.

Of course you'll still be the recipient of the odd crazed candidness which dominates my main account @DirtyKnickers_ but I'll be posting more dating questions and musings about relationship scenarios on @DirtyKnicksBlog. Also I feel a lot less inhibited on my blog account. (Yes I have inhibitions). I would go into more detail but @GutterSmurf has succinctly summed up my intentions beautifully...

So FOLLOW @DirtyKnicksBlog and in the mean time I shall be promoting it the only way effective way I know how...

Of course Dirty Knickers can be found all over the vast landscape of cyberspace..

My new Facebook timeline has become another source of marketing. @MartynKelly hooked me up with it and I feel deliciously superior now. Of course I've also shared the technical know-how on my profile via @Aylott so don't hate me too much.

Feel free to ADORE me on my page also Dirty Knickers on Facebook and check me out here for the myriad of other online outlets I lovingly adorn.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cardiff Read - 'For polyamory not cashdollahmoney'

The most recent Cardiff Blogs meet up was themed around local projects which people commit themselves to purely out of the love and enjoyment which they get out of it and not for the money. (In hindsight, it would have been the icing on the cake to have Jessie J perform).  However I am skeptical about that idea, because even though the projects aren't benefiting fiscally, the endeavour isn't purely altruistic. Mainly because the person in question is receiving a lot of free self-promotion from it, which is just as crucial as the monetary rewards to a brands success. I don't make any money from my personal blog, but I hold my hands up and confess that I don't do it purely for love. I do love blogging yes, but I want people to read what I write and validate it. This is not love. This is an aspiration where I am the only beneficiary. It's selfish. And there's nothing wrong with being selfish in your ambitions. I would just rather not hide behind the veneer of Sainthood. 

But one local project, which I think comes the closest to the concept of  collective benefiting is Cardiff Readan informal book club who meet once a month in Canton. Jessica Best @JessicaBest87 started the group in March 2010 in order to meet fellow book worms in a relaxed atmosphere, which wasn't as regimented as other clubs she had experienced previously. At the first meeting she met Steve Dimmick @TheDimmick (who has since co-organised the club with her) and in just over a year they've successfully coordinated a consistent and vibrant meet-up of people who enjoy literature and a good chat over a glass (or two) of red. 

What I like most about Cardiff Read is that it's not essential to have read the entire book, or even a page. It can be just as invigorating to sit and listen to the discussion while meeting new people and then going away with a renewed motivation to read that month's book choice with an enriched foundation of eclectic opinions. Another important aspect of the club which makes it stand out, is the online interaction in the downtime between meetings. The discussion continues via the Twitter feed @CardiffRead where people can make observations while they're reading, contextualise with links to the authors/reviews and most recently people have been arranging to borrow copies of that months book if others were struggling to obtain theirs. 

They've also started asking the people who have chosen that months title to write a brief couple of paragraphs pertaining to why they picked it and then having another member review it with their (often conflicting) opinion. This is then featured on their Facebook pageYours truly took the reins for September's choice with Galt Niederhoffer's The Romantics. (Which if you continue to scroll you will find at the bottom of this post). In true Cardiff Read form, Caitlin Allen @CaitlinLA89 felt compelled to detail her response to the novel on her (very eloquently written) blog soon after: Your friends already know you're awful. Which only gives more credence to the online ripples Cardiff Read has been so successful in creating and maintaining. 

If you want to find out more about the club, Jessica was recently interviewed for a guest post on the @CdfBlogs community blog Cardiff Blogs - Guest Post Cardiff ReadOr you can read on for my flagrant disregard for pretentious literary opinions.

Choosing 'The Romantics'
(For more discussion on this topic request Cardiff Read as a friend and read it here)

"When Cardiff Read asked me to pen the reasoning behind my choice for last month’s book club, naturally I began to concoct a fictitious list of pretentious opinions which drew me to Galt Niederhoffer’s acerbic novel. (However as it turns out, fabricating literary insights is exhausting). So instead the simple and honest reason is that I caught the trailer for the film adaptation online and after discovering that it wasn’t yet released in the UK, I bought the book to bide my time. While I concede that a group of college friends reuniting at a wedding is hardly original, I was reeled in by the emotional torment of unrequited love. As a dating blogger it’s a concept which I examine frequently and I was particularly interested in the idea that friendship and rivalry often go hand in hand.

While reading the ‘The Romantics’, I found the authors insights into the group’s perceptions of each other to be both brutal and refreshing. It certainly isn’t a comfort to think that your friends harbour such candid opinions of you, but I’m of the belief that being honest about flaws is cathartic and it’s certainly essential in a friendship if you are to achieve unconditional love.  In fact my fickle response to the characters almost mirrored the real friendships I have, in that I was in a perpetual state of falling in and of love with them.

After reading the book I found myself giving the most credence to Lila’s character, particularly her view on unrequited love. “It’s the perfect romantic construct. It allows two cowardly people to act out a fantasy of love without having to face any real consequences.”  It truly is the measure of a good book for me when I’m confronted with a different perspective on a topic and I intend on exploring cowardliness in love for a future blog post. So to conclude, I was captivated by the prose, and style of Niederhoffer’s cynical satire, which some people will probably call an easy read. But as @Lizmrawlins would say, "the book doesn’t have to be War and Peace". 

The pursuit of reading is merely an escapist exercise after all."

So if you're looking for fellow literary fiends and a good old-fashioned chinwag then don't be shy - because we're not! Follow @CardiffRead and check out this months read

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Confessions of a Cyber Junkie

Oh my meme 
Right: @Oh_Merde

A friend recently commented that it would be a rather straightforward endeavour to stalk me if someone felt that way inclined. Of course they were not referring to my popularity or wholesome likability for that matter (people don't like me?) - but instead to my voracious appetite for online social networking. In fact, it's become a bit of a running joke with my less techno-prone chums as to how much I reveal about myself and the myriad details of my life across the seemingly vast landscape that we call cyberspace.

I began to argue that it was only as a result of my blog, when I looked down at the current geo-enabled app I had poised ready to check-in to wherever we were and realised that my love affair with the internet was by no means new. In fact, as soon as the facility had been first bestowed on me - I was hooked.

As a relatively fresh faced teenager I distinctly remember watching the little MSN people tantalizingly dance around each other via my sluggish AOL dial-up connection. Yearning to sign in and have virtual conversations with peers I'd sat opposite all day in a classroom.

In college it was all about kitsch layouts, suggestive bulletins and the freedom to assert your personal tastes and opinions in an unlimited profile which wasn't complete without that all important tune of the moment. Myspace. (Also quite a handy beginners crash course in HTML). 

Then communicating online with friends was taken to a whole new level in my coming of age fresher days. Facebook. I remember breathing life into mine when it was still limited to University usage. Back in 2005 when the profiles were far more limited (which I preferred) and not everyone was up to speed on keeping them private. Now of course it's a haven for the people of your past who you know but wish you didn't. Giving a voice to casual racism and the facility to share scanned photos of fetuses at every chavy whim. Casting a worried eye over your newsfeed sometimes makes you wonder if democratic free speech is really such a good thing after all.

Then about two years ago I created a Twitter account. And like most new users who had grown accustomed to the uncomplicated and comfortable familiarity of the Facebook bubble, it took a little getting used to. 

Retweets@mentions  and #HashTags were an alien vernacular to me. I was safely cocooned in a privacy protected environment which didn't allow me to stray too far out of the close knit circle of people who I knew in my everyday world.

And while I still have my friendships which transcend cyberspace and are successfully sustained without it (my best friend has never succumbed to Facebook) I've suddenly found myself connecting with a vast array of like-minded people through witty and concise conjectures.

Twitter has become my social pipeline to the world. As well as a support network, an endless tirade of banter and ultimately a very effective channel through which to plug my elongated filthy opinions (otherwise known as what you're reading right now). It's also a far more cathartic and cheaper alternative to therapy. With thousands of like-minded people available to validate your opinion faster than you can say tweet tweet.

Some people can't get enough of you.

While others tire easily.
(Note I favourited that).

The thing to remember with Twitter is that it's an incredibly informal network (far more so than Facebook) so when you're unfollowed you can't take it too personally. (Oh don't I sound rational?) It can also be a double edged sword at times, as you try and find the balance between tweeting too little and too excessively. Both can be detrimental to your follower count - particularly when you're constantly advertising links to content which some of your followers are simply not interested in. And yours truly has been wildly guilty of the latter lately. My Twitter used to be reserved for the occasional link to my personal blog, with the rest of my tweets dedicated to outlandish self-deprecation. But over the last few months, I allowed the business side of my life to overshadow my personality and received quite the backlash.

So in order to rectify this I have split myself in half and created a Twitter account solely for my blog @DirtyKnicksBlog. Some people have commented that I should use my current Twitter account for my blog and create a personal account. And I know this may sound stupid, but I don't think I can let go of being @DirtyKnickers_ in a personal capacity.

Besides, I can't just pull the magic switcharoo on my followers with no warning. Now you follow me, now you don't - and in fact follow my blog instead. I want people to choose to follow the blog links I post, instead of being bombarded with them every second of  the live long day. (I can only imagine how irritating it must have been. Especially if you don't follow a great deal of people - I dominated the timeline). I'd have unfollowed too. In fact I have done to people in the past.

But it's been a learning curve and I thought I might as well share a little handy hint which I've learned during my time in the Twittersphere. 

There are literally hundreds of Twitter apps out there to measure stats, flush out the inactive accounts, generate more followers and target similar users to you. All professing to enhance and benefit your Twitter experience. But if you only ever use one web based Twitter app, then I emphatically recommend:

It takes a snapshot of your list of followers and then catches unfollowers in real time. It sounds a little crazed (and yes it probably is) but there is a benefit: it can maintains your Twitter ratio between the people you're following and the people who are following you. In order to have a positive ratio and be considered worth following back, your follower count must be higher than the amount of people you're following.You don't want to continue following someone who has unfollowed you. The application  also tracks the accounts who don't return your follow. So after a couple of days you can unfollow them, thus preserving your ratio.

Of course, people will argue that it's more important to have quality over quantity when it comes to followers. And yes, this is true. I don't relish spam bots following me but it's exactly like throwing a party - in that you let the freaks stay until it livens up. Also, Twitter is an incredibly shallow network. People will decide whether to follow you back based on how many followers you have and then will try to ascertain why you have them. If you have 500 followers but you're following over 2000 people, you'll instantly be regarded as someone who has simply converted a small number of people to follow you back through the odds of mass following.

However your Twitter worth is also dependent on other factors. Such as your Retweet success and the amount of times you're listed. But I'll save that for another Twitter related post, as I am after all a cyber junkie.

So Skype me.

Personal Contentment

I can't quite put into words how happy I feel today. That's not to say that I often feel depressed - because I don't. In fact I mostly suppress my emotions a lot of the time and am naturally a very apathetic person in a lot of respects. But today I genuinely feel as though I'm going to burst with excitement.

I'm puzzled. This isn't even remotely situational. I'm at work. Sat in front of a computer doing the same mundane tasks which I do every day. And as I'm writing this one of my Twitter followers has just suggested that it's due to my romantic circumstances. (I micro-blogged my happiness a few moments ago obviously).

Well, it isn't. For those of who weren't already aware, I'm single (because I rarely make reference to it) and have no special man currently in my life. But I'm happy. Incredible isn't it? It's not because of love from another person. I've made myself happy. (Not like that, I'm at work remember). This is very invigorating because I've always given credence to the mantra that happiness depends upon ourselves. And now I'm at a place in my life where I can honestly say that I have achieved it.

I'm certainly not suggesting that people don't make themselves happy all on their own every single day - I'm sure they do. Neither am I knocking dependence on another person. If someone else is responsible for your happiness, that's quite an achievement also and certainly something which I desire for my future. I do want to have love in my life. Contrary to popular belief, I am open to it. I'm just not searching for it.

Love. The Greek language defines the concept beautifully. I hope to achieve agápe in my life with someone. Unconditional. A feeling which is evoked through philía (friendship) and enhanced by eros (passion). I want to be content with someone. That might not sound particularly awe-inspiring to some people, but if you think about it can people really say that they're content? I don't think that they can. I think they appear to be content. I see it all of the time. And while I don't know what love is, I can certainly tell you what it isn't.

It isn't infatuation and it isn't possessiveness. These feelings are intense and have the ability to consume you, yes. But too often they're confused for feelings of love.

Are you in love? Do you want the other person to be happy even if it isn't with you? Or are you experiencing one of the aforementioned selfish feelings which only concern yourself?

Go on. Be honest. If not with me, at least with yourself.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Singles Warehouse Launch Relationship Forum

I'm not so good with the advice can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?

On the Singles Warehouse dating blog we offer constructive advice and insightful opinions about all things dating on and offline. But what happens if our articles don't pinpoint your problem or you require a more detailed analysis of what's going wrong in your romantic endeavours?

Well, we've launched the Singles Warehouse relationship forum where you can now interact with our bloggers and like-minded people in order to address your relationship issues. 

Perhaps you're looking for online dating tips on exactly what to write in that first message? Are you going through a break-up and unsure whether to remove your ex from your social networks? Maybe you specifically need a man's perspective on what to do next when he's not listening to you or a woman's explanation for why she's behaving the way she is. 

Do you have a date disaster you'd like to vent about or an idea for a great date you'd like to share? Are you looking for singles events to attend or want to share your experiences from where you've attended? 

Well we've got all of that. And more notably it also has me. Here's a snippet...

You will always be able to rely on our community of writers to offer their collective objectivity on what works best and how to cope when it doesn't. Sign up and join the discussion today!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Running With Scissors

Over the course of an average day my mind is besieged by a torrent of wild and kinky sexual fantasies. They particularly occur during the obligatory mundane period of my day (at work) and are mostly to do with the fact that I am incredibly frustrated in that department at present. With my desires bubbling over so frantically that I’m managing to knock off three or sometimes four orgasms when I get home through a combination of my lurid imagination and online visual treats in the form of low-budget pornography. This always takes place under my bed covers (to the point where I almost have a seizure), which allows me to really indulge in the immediate self-loathing that comes on immediately after those few seconds of euphoric contentment.

My affair with pornography has never strayed too far out of the confines of vanilla sex. I’m a simple girl who knows what she likes and likes what she knows – no muss no fuss. And a common fixture among my illicit favourites has always been lesbian encounters. No other type of porn leaves me as erotically charged as watching two attractive women enjoying each other. This is mainly because they look and sound as though they’re doing it for the sexual benefit rather than the fiscal one. (And partly because women are so much prettier naked than men).

And as life so often imitates art, my fantasies have replaced the alluring strangers who linger on my screen with people who are more familiar. Women who I know and are acquainted with in everyday life have now taken up guest starring roles in vividly explicit scenes: ones that tantalisingly meander their way through convoluted plot lines of innocent beginnings, to the inevitable crescendo of us ripping each other’s clothes off.

The more I fantasise the more personal they become, and it’s dawned on me that this isn’t just an idle musing. I would like to experience having sex with another woman in a scenario that isn’t limited to the pictures in my head. While this may not be a particularly shocking or daring sexual act to some people, it most certainly is to me. 

Admitting a once obliviously repressed desire is really very cathartic. And as soon as I grew comfortable with the notion, I began dissecting exactly what was so gratifying to me about the thought of having sex with another woman.

For me the answer lies with my new found chastity. As a steadfastly single twenty four year old who has been having sex for seven years, I’ve had a veritable array of encounters. However over the course of the last few months I’ve become disillusioned with the concept of casual sexual. Of course herein lies a paradox. I’m at an age where I want to open myself up to new opportunities, but presently I’m unable to be turned on by men who I’m not emotionally attracted to. But a lesbian tryst would tie in perfectly, fulfilling my needs sexually while at the same time not exposing my vulnerable heart.

With another woman I could feel wanted and desired but I wouldn’t feel that romantic yearning which I crave with men. While I would need to establish a connection with the women I have sex with in order for it to be fulfilling, a profound meaning wouldn’t be at all applicable. Because for me a woman just couldn’t provide the security and protective role which I yearn for in a man. Certainly, the virtue of monogamy is something I envision only with a man. Experiencing encounters with women through this flirtatious phase wouldn’t expose my jealous streak either, because fidelity and commitment would not be required.

And by disentangling myself from the complexities of becoming emotionally attached to another person, I could finally achieve the benefits of a fulfilling sexual relationship: which isn’t robotic or lacking in passion, like so many of my one-night stands. Ultimately what I crave is sex with disposable intimacy as opposed to sex with no intimacy whatsoever.

There’s just something so starkly different to the way I imagine a woman’s skin will feel on my fingertips as opposed to a man’s, and indeed the intense sensuality of being touched by another woman in turn. Women have such subtle nuances of coquettishness. Their lust filled eyes, long hair cascading gently across the sensitive areas of their necks, breathy moans and lip quivering: all instilling frissons of intense excitement, so unlike that of a man. Not to mention the playful build up of accidental brushings of touch, the shy exchange of glances and the wry smiles which serve as very satisfying foreplay.

It’s a kink in me which I definitely want to explore and it will probably get ironed out in the future. Still a bi-curious nature is never something I thought I would discover about myself. The theme of the month here is Anything But Vanilla – but vanilla compared to whom? This is certainly the most lurid confession I’ve ever made and somehow I don’t think it’s going to stop there.

The image used was originally located here

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

How To Make Dating Online Work For You

A GUEST POST written by Elizabeth Marie

I used to online date like it was my J-O-B. Constantly updating my profile so it was the perfect combination of wit, intelligence and screamed “perfect sexy sweet girlfriend material.” Compulsively checking my inbox and responding to messages, winks and IM’s all day long.  Facebook stalking potential dates (you do it too), skyping, flirty phone conversations, constant texting...I’m exhausted just thinking about it. 

I couldn’t believe I was already sick of online dating before I’d even met these guys in person. Suffice to say, offline these men weren’t exactly worth all the time I’d wasted on them online.

I was burned out, annoyed and thinking about cancelling my accounts. But I’d already paid for a set amount of time in advance and I like to get my moneys worth.  I knew I was going about this all wrong, so I decided to make two simple changes in an attempt to free myself from the chains of online dating and start having fun again! 

Stop Being A Phone Whore!
I work on the computer all day, as I’m sure most of you do.  Coming home from the office only to deal with even more emails felt like yet more work and was drastically unappealing.  Texting, on the other hand was fine.  I started giving out my phone number to the guys I was emailing online so we could keep the conversation going, but I could shut down the computer. Win-win, right?  Wrong.  I started texting so many guys, I was getting confused and annoyed.  Each time my phone went off I resisted the urge to throw it out the window.  I was on the phone so much with virtual strangers I stopped having time to talk to my actual friends. These guys started calling at all hours of the day and most of our conversations felt forced and awkward.  New plan!  I decided to only give my phone number to guys as we were discussing plans to meet.  Everything else remained on email. 

Be Rude! 
During my first online dating stint, I felt guilty if I didn’t respond to every email or wink, even from guys I knew I had no interest in.  I didn’t want to be rude or hurt their delicate feelings. Even a quick "No thank you, but good luck” email takes 5-10 minutes to write, and that time can add up and drastically cut into my important trashy reality T.V watching schedule.  I started being selective with who got a response from me, plain and simple - but more importantly, I stopped feeling so damn guilty about it.  I figured if I wouldn’t talk to someone on the street, I wouldn’t talk to him online.

Like I said, this is all before I met anyone in person (that is another blog post in itself), and it saved me a lot of time and frustration.  Logging into my online dating site stopped feeling like a burden, and I met a lot of great guys, with a few nutjobs thrown in for good measure.  I mean, it is the Internet. 

We Love Dates is an online dating website & dating advice blog for singles in the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, South Africa & Australia.  Liz blogs (and vlogs!) about all things online dating, love, sex and relationships.  Follow We Love Dates on Twitter, and get friendly with us on Facebook.