Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dating Websites

One of the greatest examples of the idiom In Principle, viz: Dating websites are great, in principle. The principle in this case, is that if you're a sad, single misanthrope like me and you want to meet other sad, single misanthropes to share the bad times, go shopping with, and become as one in the most intimate, beautiful and intense physical expressions of love (which, let's face it, if you're single, that's pretty much the Olympic gold), then dating websites are fantastic.

In principle.

The truth is, they can make you feel more lonely than you were before signing up. There's a time arc here that begins with creating your profile, viewing lots of dateless people and thinking 'Fucking hell, this is an Aladdin's Cave of totty!' (this is the arc's zenith), until crucially, over time, you realise that you've been on the same site for years and all you can see are the same old faces. Then, particularly if you're me, you start to feel strange and reflective, pondering on why these people are still alone. Like you.

Although the principal of sticking all the single people in one place is very intriguing, there's something harsh about it too; spirit and personality gets sidelined for a description. Physical attraction is relegated to some holiday snaps or worse, the bespoke website pose. There's no room on a dating website for laughter. There is no actual conversation. There is no chemistry. To give you an example, I can be turned off by bad grammar, and that's just fucking stupid.

As I get older and more rational, I'm less inclined to believe in fate and destiny. That said, there's something beautiful about meeting The One (if she exists), in a random moment. There's always a story too; "I wasn't in the mood to go out, but..." or, "I decided to grab a coffee - which I never do - when..."

There's nothing romantic about "I was paying 30 quid a month to sift through nature's rejects when I happened upon 'Whizzkid76.'" Doesn't quite have the same zing, particularly when you're telling the grandchildren.

Don't get me wrong. I'm just being a miserable, cynical old twat. Perhaps dating websites are great. Perhaps that ridiculously attractive girl who wrote the following...

i am looking for a man who will give me true happiness,show me love and care humble yet very strong in his words and a very hardworking man


actually meant all that, and isn't just a fiction created by bored male teenagers or a Russian crime syndicate targeting the lovelorn and wealthy.

(There must be some explanation for that. After all, what woman on planet Earth would ever write the following gem: "I the lonely woman, wish to get acquainted with the man for serious relations. I live with mum. At present I work in a beauty salon...My hobbies also I like to prepare to eat, especially hot dishes or salads. I very much like to spend a free time on fresh air"
- That was another 'genuine' profile so again, I'd like to offer my Russian crime syndicate theory. I still think it's plausible.)

So that's my tuppence worth. Dating sites are great. They're just not much cop when it comes to dating.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bank Holiday/ Wedding #6

Monday night, an hour left of a three-day weekend and the perfect time to begin a post and consider tidying up my room. The weekend started off rather badly as my boss fled the office around 5-ish to collect his daughter from nursery. Under normal circumstances, I'd've left immediately but I had to sit there alone on a Friday night til 6.30pm to wait for a delivery that never came.

Saturday was a bit more interesting. I got a train from Victoria amid hellish bank holiday queues and arrived in Surrey where I cadged a lift from Luke to go up to East Anglia for a BBQ with friends. It was all rather pleasant; I tend to feel I haven't had a summer if I don't go to Ali and Vicky's yearly pissup. Time flew irritatingly quickly - in direct opposition to the slow crawl at work - and before long we were yelling out Blondie lyrics while I got blueberries thrown at me.
Luke threw up in the cab back.

The following day, Luke drove us back down to Surrey where I had an invite to my friend Danny's wedding to Neeta. I used to work with Danny at an inept examination board where we were temping several years ago and we'd kept in touch. As such, Danny is in a friends' group all of his own and I was the only person I knew there, barring the handful of chaps I'd met on his stag. Nonetheless, I was honoured to be invited, even if it was just for the evening do, so I was quite relaxed when Luke dropped me at the hotel and I sauntered into the reception with a hangover in blueberry-stained jeans lugging a huge rucksack on my back.

So imagine my surprise when I was confronted by the bride looking resplendent in a red sari and covered in jewels, her father holding onto her arm and surrounded by a small attractive Hindu entourage as they solemnly trudged towards a nearby hall.
'Uh, didn't you get married this morning?' I asked her, suddenly aware of how shit I looked and that I might be delaying her walking into her own wedding.
'No,' she said. 'It's now. And you're late.'

I closed my eyes and grimaced. I'd fucked up again, by choosing to read only the venue and time on the invitation and assuming I was there only for the end bit. I leant in for a hug but she yelled 'Don't touch my back!' so I waved at her forlornly and ran into the Gent's toilets where I frantically changed into a crap pair of trousers and a shirt. I didn't bring a suit, as I thought I was going to a reception, not an actual wedding. Thus my evening was complete; dressed like a Saturday night Chav on a night out at his local discotheque among immaculately well-turned out Indians and suited white people. I was too late to get a seat so I hung at the back looking like Security, where I recognised a couple of stag faces and nodded meekly. The chances of me pulling an Indian goddess had now violently diminished (not that they were that high to begin with).

I spent the next hour or so apologising to as many people as I could and trying to hide my stereotypical pint of lager (I wanted a gin and tonic, or something less white working-class, but decided that anything alcoholic would do), and ended up having an absolutely fantastic time. With no-one there who knew me, I was insulted a total of zero times, and found myself in the company of strangers who seemed to like my god-awful stories of woe.

The food was fantastic. I thoroughly recommend wedding curry, and it was interesting to be at a half-Indian, half-English wedding again. My last was Luke's wedding, the one where I was Best Man, and I was used to seeing spectacular women in saris. It was rather more baffling this time, as previously said Indians were Muslim so only the Brits were drinking. This time round the wedding was 50% Hindu, so I had to get accustomed to the frankly bizarre sight of Anglo-Indians facing American and Canadian Indians in a drinking competition. (It was a tie.)

Even more spectacularly, I got chatting to a cute Swiss girl who, dare I say it, seemed keen. There was also a striking blonde Polish lady there with the most spectacular body who also appeared to be single. (She did mention a boyfriend at one point but dismissed him just as quickly, a tactic I've heard before from women. It suggests that there's a certain someone in their lives but they could be relegated to a footnote if you're charming and delightful enough.)

Needless to say, I was very attracted to *Unpronounceable* and made a sterling effort not to stare at her overwhelmingly huge cleavage. I was also attracted to Swiss lady, and felt fairly sick to the pit of my stomach when she asked me if, like her, I was staying at the hotel.
'No,' I told her, 'I'm getting a cab home.'

Now here's where I'll get yelled at by any would-be commentators; I had arranged via email to share a cab with one of the groom's other guests. As luck would have it, he lives on the same road as me in West London, some 30-odd miles from the wedding venue. Now call me stupid, or cheap, or worse, but history has taught me that any Sure Thing always ends up with me crying and alone and masturbating furiously. Here were the facts: Definite cab home from Where-The-Hell-Am-I?, Surrey, versus potential fumblings with one of two ladies which was not guaranteed, plus possible hotel bill, plus socially awkward morning scenario, plus possible inability to raise the dead that is my penis, coupled with the fact that any lady would discover that I'm fatter than I look under my cheap Primark shirt.

I actually weighed all this up in my mind and decided that the cab was the safest option. It was a Win/ Win: zero humiliation, with my own bed at the end of it for me to cry alone in and masturbate furiously. I'm accustomed to no sex, you see.

Having said all that, there was a third lady I've yet to mention, a cute also-single guest who'd overheard my earlier cab discussion and asked if she could join in, opening up the delightful possibility of being invited in for coffee as I'd also picked up on possible keenness.

We left the hotel around 11.30pm after I said my goodbyes. Cab lady was busy gassing on the phone to a girlfriend, and when I made a playful comment about her not joining in with our conversation, she gave me a flirtatious scratch on my arm (twice). This was excellent. Something was definitely going to happen.

Then we approached West London and she mentioned that she actually lived in Manchester and was staying with friends. Something was now definitely not going to happen, as there are very few women in the history of their sex that will invite a complete stranger into a home that they don't live in. At least, not in my experience.

Thus, I found myself ten minutes away from my flat with a bloke called Chris and sudden desire to rip my head off with a can opener. I had met three lovely women I couldn't choose between who I slightly maybe potentially possibly could've done something with had I been one of those charming male slugs with a good line in schmoozing and who doesn't care where he puts his genitals and what the outcome is, providing they end up warm and wet.

I do worry about outcomes, plus I'm still of the opinion that I need women to say "I want to have sex with you" (which they generally don't), all of which meant I found myself spending my bank holiday Monday eating, and having a mammoth afternoon nap for three hours. I've regressed to the life of a fat baby, and quite frankly I deserve all the angry comments I'm about to receive.

I would be a lot more confident to dive into sex if I wasn't at my fattest right now. Perhaps I should allow this monumental night to spur me on to a fucking diet.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One Of The Best

Ok, enough of all this needless miserable introspection. Sticking up that N*E*R*D tune in my last post and getting replies along the lines of "Pffft" made me think I ought to redress the balance. Maybe. So here's my One Of The Bests of several of my favourite musical genres. Yay. And it's Friday. Woo.

ONE OF THE BEST
Boogie-Woogie stroke Music to set fire to your car to tunes....


ONE OF THE BEST
Classic House tunes. Ahh, the memories....


ONE OF THE BEST
Classical stroke Patriotic British flag-waving nonsense....


ONE OF THE BEST
Eighties One Hit Wonders....


ONE OF THE BEST
Positive-Rock tunes by an ageing rock god. Grrr....


ONE OF THE BEST
Frummers doing reggae....


ONE OF THE BEST
Samba tunes? I dunno what the genre is. It's just beautiful...


THE BEST
House Tune Of All Time, BT's Spirit of Grace remix of Not Over Yet by Grace. Sadly, this version starts a good couple of minutes into this 12 minute epic, but you'll hear enough to get the jist...


ONE OF THE BEST
Covers. Goldfrapp does her version of the above. The Klaxons can keep theirs...



I'd better stop. I could go on quite literally forever and make this my job.

Have good weekends, one and all, and please let me know your thoughts. I'm genuinely intrigued. I don't think I've ever mentioned my all-encompassing love of music, but anyway...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Babysteps

If I had a penny each time I attempt to Straighten My Life Out And Do Something With It For Once™, I'd have about four pounds. Now that doesn't sound like a lot, but 400 times is fairly substantial. That's roughly twice a month every month since I turned sixteen. In truth, I remember being a moody and introspective thirteen-year-old, so you can stick at least another quid on.

This morning, I cycled to work. I haven't cycled to work for about three weeks, and it felt like pure, unbridled Evangelical Christian Hell. This is bad. Normally when I Straighten My Life Out And Do Something With It For Once™, I'm at least slightly enthusiastic. As I wheeled my bike to the front door and wobbled on, I felt like a fraud, a sham, a guy who was pretending to be healthy and environmentally aware and keen.

In truth, I only managed to get out of the house on two wheels because I thought there was a tube strike on today. (It got cancelled).

I went for a swim before I did a day's work. Some of the old geezers there nodded almost imperceptibly at me this morning, a stoic British indicator that they hadn't seen me for a while, and "'Ello". Even the mad old Hungarian playfully punched my arm, actually punched it, in joy at seeing me. (This is in stark contrast to a few months ago when a full pool forced me to swim in the slow lane - his slow lane, apparently - whereupon he had me chucked out by the Polish teenage lifeguard for "overtaking" him.)

I didn't feel any healthier today. In fact, my lungs were a fucking mess. You've gotta really want this kind of lifestyle and, well, I dunno. Suffice to say this is all babysteps. If I can rectify everything in small doses by the end of the year, then if I'm not golden, I'm slightly yellow.

To finish, here's a little song I'm rather taken by. It's the new N*E*R*D single about a lady doing illegal substances in toilets. It's a grower, trust me. At least wait for the bridge - it's rather worthwhile. If you don't like the tune, then you can always play Spot the Lohan in the video. Oh, and the backing singers aren't being anti-Semitic, btw...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cracking Up

...and very much not in the laughter sense.

Regular readers may know that I have been trying to better myself these last few months. Namely, my Four Pillars of Hateism have been;
1) Writing, 2) Dieting, 3) Exercising, and 4) Not Smoking.

These are, and pretty much have always been constant desires throughout my unremarkable adult life, mere outlines to a richer tapestry of personal wishes and must-haves, viz: Acquiring a decent and well-paid job, one that doesn't have me crawling regretfully out of bed at 7am with tears of anguish pouring down my fat fucking cheeks and that might actually leave me with a fulfilling sense of purpose on this sodding planet; Having a firm, hard, and sexually alluring body with which I can a) have sex with lots of women or just one nice one please, if that's Not Too Much Trouble, b) look good naked, c) be able to jog up the two flights of stairs to my flat without it ending in me doubled over clutching my chest in oxygen-grasping, lung-fucked breaths while my left arm clings on to the wall for support.

Regrettably, I have been finding all my attempts at self-improvement rather difficult. Before anyone thinks, "Pshht, all you have to do is change jobs/ stop smoking/ eat a salad" (delete as applicable), I would first like you to imagine that you have a loaded gun pointed at a doe-eyed whimpering puppy with its head cocked to one side in cute confusion, and "All You Have To Do" is pull that trigger and blow its sweet little puppyface into the carpet.

It was the writing that was the first to stop. I wasn't really doing any novel (Ha!) writing since just before Sweden. I've certainly done nothing since my return. Then there was the exercise. I had convinced myself that 3 hours sleep meant it was too dangerous to cycle in to work so I'd tube it in (daily) to ogle the ladies instead. And in that time, I'd be eating pretty much whatever I wanted and, trust me on this, fruit and veg never came into it.

In fact, the only thing I'd continued to do was smoke as I couldn't right four wrongs all at once so I'd opted to concentrate on just three; three simple, life-changing things that, one by one, I quietly dropped like the hunt for Bin Laden.

And it doesn't help that I work next to a newsagents that do under-the-counter duty-free two-pound cheaper Marlboro Lights for £3.50 a pack. (Non-Smokers: Kindly don't bother pointing out that I could save myself £3.50 by not buying them at all. Lessons in Empathy #3,264: Think of something you couldn't live without. Then imagine living without it.)

So that's been my mini-nervous breakdown, my ocean of continual regrets ~ Wishing I'd never taken up smoking. Wishing I'd not eaten so much these last, oh, dozen or so years. Wishing I actually had a fucking plot for this fucking book I'm not fucking writing.

But there's more to my feeling like a South Ossettian when the Georgians had invaded. Last Friday week, I had left work to begin the weekend with my friend and his workmates as my work has no-one there but my boss and me. My last post mentions the cute young lady I'd talked to. My friend read it and wanted to know which one of his colleagues I fancied. I refused to tell him while he begged for clues. We exchanged a few emails, and met up on Wednesday where I continued to leave him dangling. Eventually, I got bored of turning a molehill into a mountain so I told him. He announced she was single. I quietly shed tears of joy. He offered to put in a good word for me, and I told him not to.

Then I got drunk and told him to go for it.

I met them all again this Friday, two days ago, and utterly humiliated myself. Things had changed. My friend now knew that I liked this girl. The girl knew too. Going by the grins and subtle glances of their colleagues, so did the entire room.

I shifted awkwardly as I sat down in front of her. My personality deserted me. I sweated - visibly sweated - and had to mop continually the torrent of perspiration that gushed down my face as if I were under a shower. I tried to act cool, but instead looked like a nervous fumbling teenager in front of a bemused and attractive woman.

Then I discovered that this long-term single woman is currently in the very, very early stages of 'seeing' someone and it could be going so well that it's only a matter of days before she rescinds her single status and becomes 50% of a couple.

Of course, I may never have stood a chance with her in the first place. For one thing, she's attractive and funny, and my guess is that a chainsmoking man with tits and a dull job who sweats like George Bush in a mosque and is incapable of self-improvement is unlikely to be considered Good Date Material by even the blindest and most forgiving of women.

Thus, two days ago, on Friday night, I'd realised with purity and total conviction that I have fucked up my entire life. I get this thought now and again, a mere fleeting reminder not to forget that I could've been someone yet wasn't but this weekend, those thoughts overwhelmed me totally.

I work in a small office staffed with five other men, four of whom only come in briefly. I was only meant to work there for a year until I got back on my feet.
Last week was my three year anniversary. Writing is my only way forward, but I can't fucking write.
I cannot talk to, socialise with, entertain, or (as if), engage in meaningful and deeply profound relationships with women, and having a job that doesn't even employ them is not helping me in the slightest. I am turning into an odder version of Barry George.

So I drank heavily this weekend. I've never been a vomiting, staggering, fight-provoking maniac, and in that respect my alcoholic descent was socially acceptable, almost imperceptible. But I did meet up with friends later on that Friday where I was clearly more inebriated, and loud, and annoying. I then went home to sink half a bottle of vodka, trawl Youtube for crap, smoke continually, and got to bed at 6am Saturday morning.

Later on yesterday, I met up with Abe and Ed and forgot that we were going to see Louis C.K. in standup. I was hungover and bitter all day. Louis proved to be a great tonic if you're bitter because he's even angrier, despite the fact that his career seems light years ahead of mine. But then the men who collect the rubbish outside my flat (sporadically) have better long-term prospects than I ever will.

So I went home and spent what remained of my Saturday night downing what remained of the vodka, necking a quarter bottle of rum, and trawling Youtube for crap while smoking continually. Things must be on the up though; I went to bed at 4am.

I've got a dinner meeting with my boss on Wednesday. I've got to watch what I say as I'm unhinged enough to resign properly - I last resigned from my job nine months ago whereupon we all forgot it had ever happened and never discussed it again.

I've got this urge to quit not just my job but my life and my family and my friends and run off around the world again, an aimless cry for help from a hotter country. Trouble is, I've done that before. It was great while it lasted but I had to come home eventually, where I found myself thinner, and happier, and confident.

Then four years on, I end up writing a post like this.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Road To Nowhere

It's taken me a couple of weeks to realise but I've stopped working on my shit book, mainly because having to think about characters and situations then writing about it scares me.

I'm smoking so much that I stripped my lungs bare at the weekend and hadn't felt the need to smoke at all today - until now, 8:30pm on a Monday night. It's all so terribly addictive, you see. Perhaps I need to get pregnant. So much for my 25-year-old self telling me I'll give up by my Thirtieth ~ I hit that skidmark four years ago.

I'm also snacking somewhat. I can't help it. There's something perfectly delicious about heaving your corpse to Friday then waltzing down to the local supermarket for a bottle of booze and a cheap bread disc covered in cheese and wrapped in plastic. I'd eat healthier, but it's so much harder, isn't it? Plus all this damn credit crunching and exorbitant food prices means it's only sensible to buy salt-saturated Buy-One-Get-One-Free bachelor chow.

When I've time on my hands, I'm Youtubing for Britain. I'm rediscovering Micky Disco from the Fast Show, and wondering if North Korea's only Internet-ready computer is in fact being used by some cunt in their government to flood us with lame propaganda. (Try it. Try a 'North Korea' search and marvel at the wealth of glorification to a twisted, evil, conscience-devoid murderous cult regime. Whilst not writing a book.)

I met a nice young lady on Friday. She works with a chum of mine who reads this blog and will probably wonder why I'm mentioning this. But it's the only interesting thing that's happened recently. Although I did give back massages to two more of his colleagues. I went home that night to browse Youtube til 5am and passed out for twelve hours.

There's nothing quite like waking up at five in the afternoon to make you feel really pointless.

Next week: Pills or Drowning; what's quicker?