Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Ghosts of Birthday Past

Recently I wrote a scathing and mean-spirited post on The 68th Annual Golden Globes Ceremony which went down about as well as Gervais' presenting methods. (Personally I found the awkward silences and horrified gasps of disbelief rather added to the satirical ingenuity of it - besides the Yanks are often too egotistical to appreciate British humour anyway so their balked disapproval didn't come as much of a surprise). But as it has often been pointed out to me, I'm a rather miserable and mean individual at the best of times. Everything annoys me or is overrated or I just find it plain boring and I have no qualms about rudely telling you so. (Suffice to say I'm a laugh riot at dinner parties and am available for children's birthdays).

However while I can indeed be unnecessarily harsh, I often find myself urging people to take what I say with a pinch of the proverbial. As even though I've become rather adept at ripping others to shreds for sport, I spare no mercy on myself either. I'm very naturally defensive, but equally self-deprecating and this is what frustrates me so when such palpable offense is taken to my words.

So in the spirit of self-deprecating humour, I've decided to cast a critical eye over my choice of self-centered celebratory outfits over the course of my last three birthdays.

My Twenty-first

As is customary when a camera is pointed at me in the throes of drunken behaviour I naturally draw attention to my cleavage. Although in the case of the photograph above I wish someone had pointed out the lock of hair nestled between my boobs, which I would like to clarify is from my scalp and is not a product of anything else. My hair was very long at that age, as I've mentioned before I have a mortal fear of hairdressers.

If you hadn't already guessed my costume was that of the Queen of Hearts. (I've always fancied myself as the antagonist as opposed to the hero of the story). Speaking of the protagonist, there she is now... all of her monkey thong splendor accompanied by a playing card and the caterpillar. And as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is my favourite book (mostly because it was written by a latent pedophile) I transformed my then student living room accordingly...

Which is really rather impressive considering for most of the year it looked like this...

If only I'd applied that same level of hard work and motivation to my studies. Of course the most gallant of my efforts was put into my alcohol dependency and suffice to say I finished up the evening in a rather compromising position which I wasn't keen to stray from...

Yes that is indeed a spanking paddle. And yes sadly I misplaced it somewhere that night. Which was and still is a dreadful shame. But the most controversial aspect of my outfit that evening wasn't my sex toy prop, but that of my fishnet tights. I discovered too late that I had inadvertently purchased a crotchless pair, which afforded me many hilarious photo opportunities...

And in regards to the kinky nature of my outfit, it's likened more to that of Andrew Sachs' niece of the Satanic Sluts than the Disney cartoon creation of the temper tantrum throwing villain. 

Seeing the resemblance comparatively in this fashion explains why I received a ten pound note from a complete stranger in Mcdonalds at the end of the night.

My Twenty-second

The inspiration here was derived from the Katy Perry video which featured her cavorting  around town in a trashy bride ensemble.

And trash I most certainly was. Along with cheap, bizarrely ghetto and as usual leaving very little to the imagination. As with a lot of girls I often wear next to nothing and use the fact that it's intended as fancy dress as a justification. Which it isn't. But ordinarily my relationship status is single and it's very effective in attracting attention. Although I wasn't single during this period and from what I remember didn't invite my then boyfriend to the party. (I was a regular nominee at the girlfriend of the year awards).

And so I ended the night in a backward sapphic position with no groom in sight. Such is life. Well, my life anyway.

My Twenty-third

Following on with the nakedness, last year I opted for a Circus themed event with myself as the ringmaster. Obviously. It seemed only logical since if things don't go my way I often use force...

...and rapping that whip across various surfaces was very addictive. In fact I did it so hard at one point a little piece of it snapped off. I think it was confiscated soon after that, presumably by one of this chirpy lot who know better than to leave me unattended with a weapon...

Clowns to the left of me jokers to the right...And a lion on my neck. Now, this is not what it looks like.

This is my friend Dave who immerses himself so much into the characters he's mimicking that he often finds it difficult to behave normally. He was dressed as a lion and so was adamant that he was going to bite me quite forcefully before I left. Which is exactly what he's doing here and I believe that's his girlfriends hand on the right who was very good-natured about the whole thing. This of course resulted in me sporting a rather sore hickey for about a week afterward and was a bittersweet parting gift from what I consider to be the best night out of the whole three.

As I'm writing this I'm still twenty-three and don't feel a day over nineteen. That was my favourite age and mentally I'm still very much there. But twenty-four is a good age too. This will be the year of unprecedented achievements I'm sure...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Playing Too Hard To Get - Part One

In my last post Can't Read My Poker Face Or Can You? I explored the relevance of game playing in the early stages of dating. And as is often the case with my blogging, I shamelessly probed my lovely Twitter followers for their insight and general ingenuity. One tweet I received was of particular interest to me:

Which has inspired what will become a series of posts on the notion that while game playing can inject a certain level of excitement and intrigue into a relationship, it's imperative that you don't overdo it. 

The act of nonchalance is very easy to do when you're genuinely not interested in someone's advances,  however when the feeling is forced it becomes more of a chore than a thrill. Still, I've begrudgingly become quite well versed in appearing frosty and uncaring, since for a time I genuinely believed it was the only way to deal with men. And the most common form of manipulation which most women employ in the early stages of communicating with a prospective date is unavailability.

According to 'The Rules' (a controversial self-help book for women with careful instructions on how to implement business strategies in finding a husband) becoming less available to a man is paramount in those crucial early stages.

When it comes to communication:

"You should never call him." 

 Don't send him that telegram

I can appreciate why you shouldn't initiate any contact with him, because obviously the first sign that he's somewhat interested is by his need to strike up a conversation with you. Of course with the advent of email, social networking and instant messaging it's important not to read too much into this. He could very well just be saying a friendly hello because he's bored or there's an advert on or he's after a naked photo of you (as is often the case). But this is a sensible rule and one which I mostly adhere to. 

Why you should follow it: It's so easy to talk to people these days (I often ring people by accident) that if he's not talking to you, the chances are it's because he's choosing not to. And if he can't be bothered to text/tweet/IM you imagine what else he won't be bothered about doing?

Why you should cheat it:  There's nothing to stop you from casually getting the ball rolling if you really want to and I say do it! But not at the expense of you doing all of the conversational legwork. If his replies are decidedly lackluster then don't set yourself up for continual rejection because it's really not worth it.

"You should rarely return his calls."

Not even if you wanted to

I understand the idea that absence can create anticipation and a sense of urgency but that doesn't warrant not replying at all. Although certainly wait a little while to reply. It's pretty standard for there to be a thirty minute interval between text messages. Of course the worst scenario is when you're waiting for a reply to a text message and the person in question is online - excruciating. If this ever occurs for me, I just send them to my offline list. The little green circle next to their name is a cruel joke, reminding you that they'd rather scroll through their inane newsfeed than reply to your witty innuendo. 

Why you should follow it: Not replying to every little thing he sends your way can work to your advantage because after all men are pitiful little creatures a lot of the time and tend to equate longing with love. And essentially by taking your time the theory is that you become a catch rather than a convenience.

Why you should cheat it: It's one thing to test the willingness of the pursuer, but it's quite another to appear completely uninterested. Reply. But don't ask a question. Go for a conversation killer like indeed or haha. That's a test: his willingness to start a new topic. 

When it comes to calling it a night:

"Always end phone calls and dates first."

Gently does it

Being an enigma has become rather difficult over the last few years due to our increasingly prevalent online accessibility to each other. Especially for someone like me who is a self-confessed social networking whore and an avid blogger whose identity is unashamedly exposed to the masses. Creature of mystery isn't exactly something I can pull off.

Anyway, abruptly ending a conversation with the intention of creating further interest seems to me like the equivalent to cutting the head off a flower which is still in full bloom - agonising and unnecessary. This coupled with the fact that despite anything else I might be doing I'll always be signed into some form of instant messaging in the background. So it's not as if I'm sat staring unblinkingly at the chat window, I just happen to be constantly online. And sometimes the conversation just goes on and on and on.

As for a date situation, I'm notoriously unable to call anything a night. Even if I'm not particularly having a great time, I'll just consume more alcohol and mysteriously it suddenly doesn't seem quite so bad. (I would hasten to add that I'm not an alcoholic. Yet, I'm sure it's in the post). But if you're having a really great time with someone, I can see the benefit of leaving in good grace instead of risking the point where you're starting to get on each others nerves.

Why you should follow it: While I'm not completely sold on the leaving them wanting more concept, I think it's important to assert that you actually have a life and don't put it on hold for anyone too easily. So when you do eventually make room for that special person they'll feel as though they've earned it as opposed to thinking you just do that for everyone. Also, being the first to bid good night on a date eliminates the chances of sleeping with him too early. (However I will be exploring how soon is too soon in my next post).

Why you should cheat it: Keeping the conversation flowing is a barometer for that initial attraction felt between two people. If you're constantly cutting it short, how are you going to decide if it could really be something? The danger of course is if it enters the realms of unnecessary subjects. Sex talk should be kept off the table, along with naughty pictures and abortion jokes. Let him cut it short sometimes.

While solitaire can be a laugh riot, two player games are equally as rewarding. 

Click here for Part Two or here for more posts on dating advice for women.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Can't Read My Poker Face...Or Can You?

 Aces high

I was recently accused of "revealing my cards too soon" in reference to my previous post about my search for the ultimate Sunday Boyfriend. The view held was that if any prospective dates were to read it they would have an unfair advantage in "knowing what makes Samantha Ellis tick". Personally I don't think that's such a bad thing in terms of that post in particular, as I was essentially specifying what I would want from a disposable boyfriend. I'm not exactly exposing my vulnerability in such a way that I would leave myself susceptible to heartbreak.

However it did present quite the conundrum in terms of approaches to dating and one which I've struggled with for years:

If you're to be successful in a relationship are there certain rules to follow ?

I touched upon this topic briefly a few months ago, where I discussed how for the longest time I had been Romance Intolerant and was of the opinion that games were the only option in securing someone's attention. However as I've gotten older, I've decided that knowing what you want and going after it is a far healthier approach to dating. But I admit, this method certainly isn't fool-proof and I've still lost out this way.

So should you go in guns blazing? Or is there something to be said for restraint?

Toying with our emotions

It's impossible to think about the concept of game playing without envisioning your first crush on the playground and the childish behaviour which ensued in order to gain their attention. Teasing, taunting, hair pulling, sulking. Not to mention throwing tin pencil cases and pushing each other over walls (I grew up in South Wales). Suffice to say it wasn't at all sophisticated and often had a decidedly negative effect on the relationship instead of reflecting the domesticity I'd lovingly portrayed with neon poster paint. 

But regardless of the outcome, the notion that you should behave negatively towards someone in order for them to reciprocate your feelings has become etched in our consciousness from a very young age. And while our romantic interactions with the opposite sex may have progressed from the bike sheds to the water cooler, confusion and immaturity still remain at its core. 

Time and again I've endured paper airplanes, footballs and balloons aimed at my head and been showered with pencil sharpenings, silly notes and amateurish drawings of penises. All encountered at my last office job no less. Who needs romance when you can be on the receiving end of continual childish pranks? Of course it's not regarded as a prank and instead this juvenile approach is justified by presenting itself as a predefined set of social rules, much like that of dinner table etiquette and queuing.

With the rules of the dating game being very clear: men thrive on the thrill of the chase. Which is a ritual within itself and has respective gender roles where the femme fatale is pursued by a suitor. (Never vice versa). While in order to successfully secure a man's attention and hold it, a woman must perfect the art of playing hard to get and keep him guessing at every opportunity by essentially curbing her feelings. 

 Curb your latent enthusiasm at all costs

Naturally every woman will go about this in her own individual way, but there are some fundamental rules of thumb when going to the painstaking effort of appearing nonchalant. 

And making it very clear that her life doesn't revolve around you is at the top of that list. Actually being confident and self-reliant just isn't enough because when it comes to men this has to be clarified. Whether it be turning down a date for her fitness class, having to leave early to work on her screenplay or simply having other plans which involve her and her equally successful friends drinking at a kitsch bar or dining at a classy restaurant. (When in reality what she's really doing is watching an exercise DVD with a glass of wine, writing her name over and over in Microsoft Word and spending quality time with her buddies via the screen of her laptop). But by conveying that she's not prepared to brush off her social agenda which existed before you, she's pertaining to that ideal of a modern independent woman who is highly sought after and not just by you. 

Paving the way for another classic tool which is commonly utilised by women in order to attract attention:  manipulating a man's competitive streak. Such as having him spectate while she casually chats to strange men at social events, working anecdotes about male friends into conversation and posting ambiguous photographs of nights out on social networks with no context around them. They're all subtle ways of spiking a little bit of healthy jealousy. With the basic strategy being if you're not prepared to treat her in the way that she deserves to be, she'll show you someone who will.

However the ultimate game is resisting the urge to have sex straight away and can be somewhat of a dilemma.Women want to portray themselves as selective about who they take their knickers off for, but are also juggling their own sexual needs as well as trying not to disillusion men by behaving like a tease. While giving it up on the first date is generally regarded as a rookie error, there is no hard or fast (no pun intended) rule for correct timing when it comes to erotic urges. A lot of dating guides I've read instruct you to let him fall for you first. Which is a catch-22 for many reasons:
  1. When is this breakthrough moment when you know a man is being genuine?
  2. How can you truly fall for someone without knowing what they're like between the sheets? (I'm not convinced).
It's mind boggling, not to mention exhausting. Being unavailable and alluring to a man is a full-time job which you're unsure will even pay off in the end. And if it does are there suitable avenues for a promotion? Is there a pension plan? In all seriousness though, while a woman may have succeeded in igniting the elusive spark, how long does it take before it's snuffed out by a man's waning attention span?

(Ladies, for more insight on playing too hard to get click here).


While women put hard work into their dating efforts it seems to me that men's attempts are decidedly lackluster. Chasing only appears to be challenging, when in actual fact it's a very lazy endeavor indeed. Clumsy attempts at uninterrupted online conversation, halfhearted compliments and people watching as opposed to a romantic date. I wouldn't call that a breathtaking chase. An aimlessly misguided stroll perhaps. And I don't wish to berate, but if men adore the thrill of it so much then why does it feel so deflated? Is it because leisurely trying to win a woman over is less hassle than an actual relationship?

If so (which I suspect it is) then I'm rather inclined to think that there are several simultaneous chases going on at any given time. Since a man's poor effort is often a direct result of juggling too many things at once. But at least it takes the pressure off, because if men don't succeed with one woman there's always the others to keep plugging away at.

It's clear to me that the only thing which is so perpetually intoxicating is the hunt itself. Men are always the hunter and never the hunted. Not knowing what the outcome will be is such an aphrodisiac to them. A man will home in on a woman with limited accessibility like a guided missile. Purely because she's a fantasy, an unattainable ideal. And what is the true measure of winning a woman over?

A lot of the time I don't even think it's about sex. It's more about having a woman reciprocate with something as small as a reply or a compliment designed for nothing more than an ego boost. And when this small victory has been achieved, she begins to lose her allure as the realisation sets in that she's not everything she's been built up to be. Well how could she be? It was never about her in the first place.

In a lot of respects, game playing is nothing more than the other person trying to assert that they have a life which doesn't always have time for you in it. And while you shouldn't let yourself be driven by desperation, being hounded by rules isn't much better. As for the chase, it's nothing more than an immature phase which will all but diminish once a man finds a woman he's willing to put the effort in for.

Although if it is only inevitable before some men get bored, I'd rather take the direct approach and be secure in the knowledge that they merely didn't want what was on offer, instead of being plagued by the notion of what if? While I'm certainly not one to jump to a man's attention, I'm not a fan of wasting opportunities either purely to appear aloof. Because contrary to popular belief going out on dates with someone you like are few and far between. Besides it's essential to be vulnerable sometimes, if only to learn a little humility in your errors.

So, have I revealed my cards too soon? I don't think so. If anything I've thrown the deck on the floor and if a  man has enough foresight he might pick up the right one.

Further reading on the candid opinions of dating rules can be found from fellow bloggers:

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

My Quest For the Sunday Boyfriend

 God breathes life into a single girls sensibility 

What started off as a joke between a single friend and I over the Christmas period, has fast become my New Year's Resolution of sorts (as I never officially make any) for 2011.

After a debaucherous festive night out on the town, we found ourselves the following morning in the living room having a laptop orgywhile devouring nutritiously processed meat and raucously laughing at our escapades. (A standard cliché which often proves to be very therapeutic when attempting to lift hungover spirits).

We mused over the failings of the men who we'd encountered the previous night, along with the audacity of those who we had casually slept with a handful of times proposing the idea of a threesome and the proclamation of having "night terrors" as a suitable excuse for rejecting the sexual proposition of a one-night stand. A typical exchange of mutual disappointments with our current flings and what equally unsatisfying and disillusioning experiences they can be.

But as single girls our conversation isn't just limited to our latent promiscuity and cackling over men's shortcomings in the bedroom or in life (as is often the case with the ones we tend to encounter). No, contrary to popular belief, we do in fact yearn for the intimacy and security of a romantic relationship with a special man whom we can share our inner-most desires and dreams with. But only on a Sunday. 

Or more accurately: on the Sabbath.


Generally the Sabbath day is considered a weekly day of rest and worship within the Abrahamic religions and other practices. With it typically being Sunday for most Christians, Saturday for Jews and Friday for Muslims. But the day itself which you consider to be the Sabbath is inconsequential as there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to differing beliefs. After all religion is a civil liberty. However our Western society has become increasingly secular and so our religious priorities have been replaced with that of the non-religious. And for most people a happy and fulfilling life now greatly outweighs the prospect of an eternally satisfying afterlife which we can't be sure exists at all. As the importance of an ecclesial being and its respective institution pales in comparison to the people who we choose to spend our lives with. 

So with that being said, I think it's safe to clarify that our relationships with people have become our top priority (along with good health and financial security). And in terms of the Sabbath in it's most limited definition: God is remembered weekly but isn't directly referred to in all other aspects of daily life. And as a non-practising Catholic, I don't choose to dedicate my Sunday to the remembrance of the resurrection but I would be prepared to utilise this weekly observance in terms of a relationship. 

Now I'm not suggesting that another person should become our sole fixation of worship - far from it. More the emotional intimacy of a union with another person would get my full attention for just one day and the rest of the week I could resume my normal life without having to worry about that other persons needs.

Hence my New Year's resolution: To find someone who is on the same page as me i.e. Someone who is willing to put just as much effort into a relationship as I am and expect the same amount out of it.

Mutual interest be with you 

Of course herein lies a problem. While I don't want to clearly define the relationship, I also don't want to leave it open to interpretation and have it become just a casual fling. I don't want to merely have sex with someone every Sunday. What I'm looking for also goes far beyond the realms of a conventional 'friendship with benefits'. (I don't want to ruin my relationship with someone I already consider to be a friend).

I want someone where there is a mutual attraction between us. We'd have stimulating conversations, a similar sense of humour and we'd enjoy spending time together which wasn't just physical. A boyfriend. But one whom I would have absolutely no contact with during the course of a six day period via any medium (phone, text, email, tweet, instant messaging or carrier pigeon) and would routinely spend a couple of hours or a whole day with on a weekly basis.

Imagine the amount of stress that would be relieved from the relationship? Where it wasn't mandatory to check in with each other every day and feel obligated to do things for one another which we didn't want to do. Gone would be the feelings of guilt and the excess baggage of another persons life. Instead, you could just eliminate the normal conventions of a relationship and spend time exclusively with each other for a couple of hours on a given day. And then part ways for the rest of the week, free to live as independently and selfishly as you had been doing without having to act like one half of a whole.

And the more I thought about it, the more realistic an expectation it became. I wonder how many people are actually in this type of relationship without even realising it? At least I'm actually acknowledging what I want: a relationship without the expectation of commitment. And not being strung along in the pretense that it's more than what it actually is. I want the attention and happy feelings that can sometimes only be achieved by having a special guy in your life. But I don't have the time or inclination to fully make room for him in it. 

Haziness can be clarifying

I suppose this sounds as though I'm against relationships, when really what all of this stems from is the fact that a never ending string of casual flings can be so intensely disappointing. I find that the guy is spending so much time trying to convey that he doesn't see me as a potential girlfriend that the fun just gets sucked right out of it. 

Case in point: A few months ago I was sleeping with someone on a regular basis, where we were always drunk and it was arranged on a completely spontaneous basis. I didn't mind this at all. It suited what I wanted from the relationship. But it got to the stage where we would be having sex and he wouldn't even look at me during, much less kiss me.  

That's not the least bit satisfying. I enjoy having sex with someone for the emotional connection as well as the physical one. And while detaching yourself from certain emotions is one thing, feeling like a giant hand is quite another. Hey buddy, did you know that connecting with someone in the moment is about more than just penetration? And just because a person maintains eye contact with someone while they're having sex does not mean they're envisioning the pair of you as little edible people adorning the top of a wedding cake? 

Because as he failed to ascertain, I actually enjoy the freedom which my single life affords me and wouldn't want to give it up. But on a Sunday, I'm usually feeling a little depressed, insecure, emotional and generally in want of affection. And having a man available who falls neatly between the confines of casual and who I want to spend the rest of my life with is a very appealing prospect indeed. 
I'm not looking for Mr. Right, I want Mr. 'In between'. Because he knows how to be more than casual. In that he'll take you to places other than the bedroom. He'll have intellectually stimulating conversation and the ability to make you laugh, as well as enjoying your humour too. He's assertive and in control of situations, particularly between the sheets - there's no room for faking it there. 

But he also knows how to not let it stray into the realms of seriousness. He won't pester you to meet his friends or family, similarly he won't be interested in yours either. The relationship would be just about the two of you, not the other people who become inextricably linked to your life. There won't be a hint of him on any of your social networks because that would complicate matters and begin the never-ending game of who's that? He wouldn't accost you with a barrage of phone calls or text messages on a night out with the girls and you wouldn't bother him with his dalliances with the boys, because the bottom line is you don't have to care if he's with someone else. As long as you get to spend  a few blissful hours together on a Sunday nothing else is of consequence.

It's a mutually satisfying relationship, lying partway between a casual fling and conventional exclusivity. Perfect.

Surely I'm not the only one on a quest for a boyfriend who I needn't concern myself with Monday through Saturday?