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.