Scratch and sniff

The boy revealed what aftershave he wears this week, and I have to admit, I was a tad disappointed. The way a guy smells is one of the things that draws me to him initially, and in this case, perhaps because we see each other so infrequently, it never loses its impact.

In this particular case, I’ve witnessed other girls mention it too, so I know I’m not the only one lured in by it. He smells amazing, but not of a fragrance I recognise, which kind of makes the whole thing more alluring – it’s specific to him, like an invisibility superpower or the ability to fly (ok, this analogy worked better in my head than it does in type.)

So finding out that, predictably, you could pick up a bottle of it in any good branch of Boots? Not gonna lie … it takes the shine off a bit.

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Sleaze, yes please (occasionally)

Another blog post hot on the heels of last night’s – partly to make it clear that I have no intention of this becoming a largely protected blog and also because this was the post I wanted to write last night but wasn’t thinking coherently enough to pull all the strands of together.

It started with reading Justine Elyot’s short story, Thames Link, which opens with this line:

” I sing the praise of the sleazy man.”

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No pen

Lunchtime. I nipped out, intending to grab a coffee and try and get my writing groove back (fiction writing, not blog writing) and then I remembered that I keep forgetting that someone stole my pen. It could be worse – I gave the pen up while drunk and almost gave up my credit card and ridiculously unfraudproof signature with it.

Still, no pen means no fiction, which means here’s a blog piece instead. It’s World Book Day, so I’m going to write about …

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Ode to missionary

There’s a small chance that if I post something tonight it’ll tip my blog hits over the 10,000 mark, and seeing as we all (well, me at least) love a bit of stats porn, it seemed as good a reason as any.

I was perusing Twitter a few days ago, when I saw this Tweet. And I was looking at it again just now and the comments, especially ‘never been bored on my back tbh’ made me LOL on the bus (it’s ok, I promise never to say that ever again). Because I totally agree. I love the missionary position, and not just because I’m all insecure about my body, but also because:

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Watching ‘The Undateables’ (kind of)

I should’ve known this was going to be a shit week. On Friday night, I left the office and promptly burst into tears because I’d missed a deadline and let the designer down (in my defence, the designer is *hot*). Then, I went to M&S and bought steak, which was the only thing I wanted for dinner – something which only happens when my body is screaming for iron. I got home and my period had started. Obviously.

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‘Being Thick Gets Dick’ – My Take – Part 2

So, on Monday, I wrote a post inspired by a piece over at My Potential One True Love, on whether girls who don’t play down their intelligence are less likely to get laid. I concluded that, personally, I don’t ever feel that I have to dumb down to attract guys, although sometimes I choose to. Before I wrote the post, I had a conversation on Twitter with Juniper from The Cut of my Jib about what is actually is that puts guys off intelligent girls, if it isn’t their brain power. With regard to me, at least, these are my conclusions:

I never shut up

I live on my own, and I love it. Seriously love it. But even though I obviously get to talk a normal amount when I’m in the office every day, as well as when I’m out with friends, it’s as if when I’m home alone, the words are just building up in my head, dying to escape, and so, when I find someone to bombard with them, I, well, do just that. My parents say that when I go and stay with them, I’m exhausting for the first couple of days while I’m offloading the backlog of conversation that’s built up in my head, and then, once I’ve got it out of the way, I go back to talking a normal amount. I think uni had an impact here, too – my Cambridge friends all believed that any subject was fair game for an argument/heated discussion, so now when someone says something that I feel strongly about, I can’t just let it go. 

I don’t think boys (and other people too, but this post is about boys) mind that per se, but I can see that it could get pretty tiring after a while. I’m always confused by those girls who drag their boyfriends round the shops on Saturdays – haven’t their boyfriends had enough of them by now, don’t they want a break from each other? – but maybe those girls are quieter and more restful to be around,  so the boyfriends don’t have to have time out just to replenish their conversational abilities, or, y’know, just to remember what quiet sounds like.

Juniper said she even talks during sex, although about sex, not about what she’s having for tea. I think I actually have been known to talk about what’s for tea during sex – in my defence, it was because I got jumped while I was in the process of trying to put tea in the oven.

I overthink everything

Ah, another Cambridge legacy, this one – although perhaps one that’s linked to the depression, as well. If something hurts me, angers me, upsets me, I can’t just let it go – I’m totally incapable of distracting myself by watching a film, or reading a book – I just keep turning it over and over in my mind, considering the various what ifs from all the different angles, and often, when it comes to relationships, settling on the version of events that is most harmful, most destructive, because I can’t bear the thought of getting hurt because I was naive, or because I turned a blind eye to something. It’s knackering inside my own head – I can’t imagine how tiring it is for someone else to try to follow my train of thought.

I don’t really fit in / like other people

You know that line about how you can feel loneliest of all when you’re surrounded by other people? Yep, that’s me. I’ve never quite felt that I fitted in – I’m absolutely shit at small talk and I feel on the fringes of both normal people and people with a disability. At eleven, my mum took me to NHS physio sessions with a load of other kids who had cerebral palsy. I was pretty sure I wasn’t as disabled as the other kids in the group, but how could I be certain? It’s like that thing where you put on weight, but you don’t notice it  when you see yourself in the mirror; only when someone shows you a photo of yourself. It was confusing, because I thought I was normal, and there was society telling me that I wasn’t.

Up to that point, I had a pretty big group of friends, but in the years that followed I found it much more preferable to have a handful of very close friends instead – people who understood and liked who I was, and who didn’t force me to step outside of my comfort zone. Meeting new people, which had never been my favourite thing in the world, became steadily even less appealing. I threw myself into my studies, told myself that boys would never be interested, and then set about proving myself right. And somewhere along the line, proving myself right, and disguising my vulnerability with an almighty temper, have become pretty much par for the course.

So yeah, I don’t think it’s my intelligence that puts guys off – I think it’s all this stuff: the fact that I’m a larger-than-life girl who’s capable of being much too intense, way too neurotic, and who won’t have watched any of the films you’ve watched, so won’t be able to have a casual discussion about those with you, either? I never, ever wish I was less intelligent, but I do often wish I could tone myself down a bit. Am I the only one that feels that way?

‘Being Thick Gets Dick’ – My Take – Part 1

The lovely Laurie at My Potential One True Love blogged a few days back about what she at one point in her post called BTGD (Being Thick Gets Dick). She’s uncertain whether this term is crude, so she didn’t title her post that – I think it probably is crude, but I don’t care. After all, my keyring says Cunt. 

Anyway, that’s beside the point. I think it’s an interesting topic. Judging from what she said in her blog post, she and I come from similar backgrounds – homes where education and intelligence are valued, and where your opinions are listened to. For me, the same was true when I went to uni. True, I did a French degree, so there were way more girls on my course than there were boys, but the boys I did know treated me as an intellectual equal, even if, when they declared Madame Bovary to be romantic, my response was: ‘No it’s not, it’s shit.’

In fact, all the boys who’ve played a major role in my life – the ones I’ve slept with, loved, had massive crushes on, my friends – have been pretty damn intelligent. Of the five guys I’ve slept with, three have been Oxbridge-educated, although that’s not, *ahem,* a condition for entry. They listen when I’m ranting on about my views and opinions and they give the impression, at least, of taking me seriously. What’s more, they’re capable of taking me seriously over a glass of wine and then fucking me senseless later in the evening. So far, so good – I’m getting my dick without having to pretend to be in the slightest bit thick.

But here’s the embarrassing bit. Sometimes I like to play the ditzy woman in the company of men. I don’t mean that I pretend not to know stuff that I do know, more that I’m er, guilty of steering the conversation in the direction of subjects that I’m much less knowledgable about. In her post, Laurie used this quote from the ITV show Take Me Out:

“So, like, you seem proper intelligent, yeah.  Like if I asked you, like a question, would you be able to answer it?  Like do you know what the capital of Germany is then?”

Why is it always bloody Germany? Let’s just clarify at this point that I do know what the capital of Germany is, but when people (sometimes boys, sometimes not) catch me out on geographical knowledge, it usually has something to do with Germany. My Granddad, who used to sit me on the rug in front of the fire and quiz me about world capitals, would turn in his grave if he could see some of the howlers I’ve committed with regard to German geography. I told my mum it was landlocked (she reminded me it has a Navy). The boy and I once had a conversation about the countries that border it. I was doing ok, and then I ran out of ideas. I think he said something like ‘You must know what the other one is. It’s pretty big,’ and I replied ‘Er, Russia?’

To be fair to me, this is not entirely wrong, it’s just very out of date. It turns out that it’s easy to forget about the existence of Poland in modern Europe. I can’t remember if he laughed so hard he shed actual tears, but I do have a distinct recollection of watching his shoulders shake. And truth be told, I liked it – making him laugh was worth bringing my intelligence into question for.

And so I’ve not stopped asking silly questions, or at least phrasing my questions in a way that makes it sound like I’m about to ask something really stupid. Lying in a hotel room with him, watching postcoital BBC World (the sexiness of my life knows no bounds), a report came on about the Central African Republic. I said ‘Can I ask a question about the Central African Republic?’ He smirked. ‘Are you going to ask where it is, because I’m going to give you five seconds to decide you don’t want to ask that question.’ That wasn’t what I was going to ask, and I could have protested that he doesn’t take me seriously, but really, where’s the fun in that? Far better to squeal in mock indignation at his meanness, because it’s true – that is the approach that’s far more likely to end in laughter, and ultimately, more sex.

But he’d fuck me either way, as, I’m sure, would other guys, so why do I do it? I could get laid and maintain some dignity. Well yeah, I could, but here’s my theory. Clever girls never get to be the class clown. They’re too busy sucking up to the teachers, making perfect revision notes that get photocopied for the rest of the class (yes, I really was that obnoxious) and, if I’m really honest, trying not to get bullied. It’s only by the time we’re in our twenties and thirties that we’re comfortable enough with ourselves, secure enough in who we are, to want to draw that much attention to ourselves. It’s not that we think that we have to play thick to get dick – it’s just that we’ve always wanted the opportunity to try it. Most girls did it at fifteen. Me? I’m doing it now.

OK, Cupid, we’re done

I was talking to a friend the other day about New Year’s Resolutions. Her theory was that you should save them for Spring, because the desire for change is greater when the weather’s warmer and the whole world feels like it’s renewing itself. It’s not a bad theory, but  I’m even more in favour of an even gentler approach: that we put too much pressure on ourselves generally and resolutions should be avoided at all times. Life is pretty damn hard: be kind to yourself.

With that conversation in mind, as well as this blog post which I wrote a few weeks back, I spoke to another friend. I told her that my plan is (eventually!) to stop focusing on my short term pleasure/happiness, and instead to dedicate myself to the long game. She assumed, unsurprisingly, that by ‘the long game’ I meant finding a guy to settle down and have children with. I didn’t, actually, or at least, not entirely, I more meant that I want to find a calmer, more steady sense of contentment than the one I have now. Quite a few people have commented on my post about babies, saying that yes, it probably is best to call it quits on friends-with-benefits type relationships, and work harder at finding something more meaningful if that’s what I want in the long term. I agree, with the first part, at least, and so 2014 will be the year I stop sleeping with the boy. Honest.

‘Great,’ she said, ‘I’m sure you’ll meet someone fantastic, there are loads of great guys online.’ 

‘I’m going to stop internet dating, too.’

There was a pause. A long pause. Then she said ‘Well, I can understand why you’d want a break, but I’m sure you’ll feel more like it if you have a month off.’

‘No,’ I said, ‘I mean it. I hate it, and I’m not doing it any more.’

We went back and forth like this for a while – her trying to persuade me that I’d feel better about it after some time off; me increasingly pissed off that she just didn’t seem to get what I was saying. Sure, OKCupid and Tinder can be fun; and can be flattering, but they also exhaust me and play havoc with my already fragile mental health.

Earlier this year, I had a few weeks of back and forth flirting with a guy on OKCupid. The conversation repeatedly came back to his desire that we should meet for drinks, and then get a hotel room and fuck each other senseless. The bit that made me wary was that we couldn’t just go back to his. When I mentioned it to a friend, she said ‘He’s married.’ And so I asked him outright. And sure enough, yes, he was. His wife though, apparently, was ‘fine with it,’ so I went along with it too, enjoying the flirting and the potential for some dirty, no-strings sex like I used to have. I was nervous, sure, but I had no intention of backing out. He, however, did – the night before we were supposed to meet.

That was my last serious interaction with anyone on the site. I still have an active profile, still reply to the odd message, but not really with the intention of it going anywhere – I genuinely hate the emotional ups and downs, as well as just how hard you have to work at the communication, all, it seems, with very little return. 

So, I plan to start 2014 by deleting both my OKCupid and Tinder profiles. Meeting someone is important to me, but feeling calm and emotionally stable is so much more so. I have much more to say about this blog post by Juniper, but suffice to say for the moment that the first few months of this year will be given over to rediscovering the state of solo contentment that she describes so beautifully. Maybe, eventually, I’ll rejoin one of what I consider to be the more serious dating sites – or the like, but for now, I’m giving myself a break from boys.