Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

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!