The Unimportance Of Being Serious

It might surprise you to learn, that, more often than not, whilst I’m swiping and bumbling away, I do spend a second or two to take in the blurbs that accompany the face I’m looking at. Sometimes it is actually fun reading, even if it’s just to screenshot the spelling mistakes and forward them with rolley eyes to my lovely Nat (she’s a teacher, she shares my cringes on that one).

There is one sentence though that keeps popping up and the more often (Dear Lord please let this be grammatically correct) I read it, the less I like it. ‘I’m not taking life too seriously’ or the fairly similar ‘I’m not taking myself too seriously’. Now at first you think, okay cool, this person must be fun and easy-going. Nice company and good for a laugh. But does it really say that? I really don’t believe it does. Not once you give it some thought. I’m sure, I’m pretty cool to hang out with. I can laugh about myself, goof around with friends and be fun. But I would hesitate to call that not taking myself seriously. More so, and maybe given my own struggles with depression and the darkness that comes with that, I feel uncomfortable and actually a little unhappy to think someone doesn’t take life too seriously.

Normally when we use the words ‘ not serious’, we try to diminish or devalue something that’s going on. Someone cut their finger chopping carrots? Ah don’t worry about it, it was nothing serious. This guy didn’t call again after a couple of dates? Never mind, you weren’t serious yet anyway. You had to go to the doctors? Oh God, nothing serious at all. You get my drift. Of course on the other hand, if something is indeed serious, it bears an air of gravitas, of bad and sombre. Funnily enough, ‘not serious’ does not strike me as something ‘good’.

So if someone doesn’t take themselves seriously, it does make me wonder what they are trying to say. Or how they see themselves. It kind of strikes me as a lack of self worth even though I am sure they would very much beg to differ. But then why phrase it like that? Just imagine you would say this about yourself in an interview. I am winning to bet money you won’t get the job. Because your selling yourself short. And you should never, ever do that. Have a good sense of humour, in a self defeating style if you must. That sounds a lot nicer. At least in my opinion.

And this whole thing about not taking life too seriously. You always, always should. It’s the most precious gift you have been given. Every minute of it counts and there are plenty of people who have theirs cut short through no fault of their own and they would give anything to have more time. That does not mean you have to be serious all the time, not at all. Live with a light heart. Have a sunny disposition. Peep through the keyholes, pull the curtains back and climb over the walls. But don’t diminish the value of your life by not taking too seriously.

Research Of The Stalking Kind

I’m old enough to remember the good old days when you had to pull yourself together and ask someone face to face if they wanted a drink with you/ would give you their number/ wanted to go on a date. It was nerve wrecking but you knew where you were at right away. No one could hide behind a keyboard or filter their photos to look like James Dean or use some that were taken ten years ago. The good thing about that is you immediately get an idea of someone’s personality; how they talk, what their voice sounds like, the way they interact with you and others. Today, we swipe, text and chat but all those apps don’t actually tell us who this person is, just who they want us to think they are.

So when I’ve been on a date with someone and I think I am going to see them again, I tend to google them. Have a look what comes up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you name it. Don’t pretend you would never think about doing that, it’s internet dating after all and we have no idea who this person we just spend a few pleasant hours with actually is.

Now, one of the best dates I had was with a guy I was really taken by. I mean really, really taken. So I did what I do and I googled him. And a couple of things popped up that made me doubt the fact he was actually telling me the truth about being single. I looked a bit closer, and what I saw did really not match with what he told me. Everything I looked at is public information available to anyone, it does not cost me any money and hardly any time to find either.

I eventually decided to ask him about what I had found and to my surprise he went absolutely mental that I was snooping on him. Yes, his reaction did surprise me because if someone told me they had checked up on me, it wouldn’t particularly bother me, after all I have nothing to hide. Okay, maybe not a lot, but I bury my bodies deep. I asked a couple of my male friends what they thought about it and they agreed that a) being googled wasn’t really a big deal if you have nothing to worry about and b) he was probably only pissed off that he had been found out.

He absolutely denied my suspicions had any grounds and other than actually knocking on someone’s door, I had no way of finding out if there was anything to it. And that would have been stalking and not something I would have done, just imagine I was right. That would have made for a pretty awkward moment and I really don’t want to be the one telling some poor girl her husband/partner/definitely not better half was looking to dip his wick elsewhere.

Did it bring about the demise of the relationship? It most definitely played a decisive part. Was I in the wrong? I don’t believe I was and the doubts I had were not squashed by his denial. I just couldn’t trust this guy and that in itself made it impossible to have a future with him. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Because ultimately, we don’t know who we encounter on the internet. And it’s not just my own safety I have to be concerned about. While we never should assume the worst and paint everything black, we should also listen to our gut instincts and get some reassurance. It’s just a few clicks away.

Karma Clothes And Other Stuff

I absolutely believe in Karma clothes. And other things that have either a blessing or a curse attached to them. The blessed jumper, the doomed dress, the get lucky shoes – you name it, I have worn them and they either brought me luck or made me throw up on a guy (True story). That particular dress is currently sitting in a large plastic bag because I will never ever wear again. It’s a shame because it is absolutely gorgeous but it has bad Karma. I wore it on the puke date. And on the second date with the married guy in an attempt to redeem it and that went down the pan too, although one could argue it has nothing to do with the dress that he turned out to be married. Yes it could be third time lucky but I’m not chancing that. Unless I go out with someone I’m not too bothered about, then maybe. But the likelihood of that happening is very, very slim especially consider it is destined for the charity shop this afternoon.

The same goes for the jumper I wore on my first date with the text dumper. And the bottle of Poison he brought me back from a trip to Abu Dhabi. This I am pretty gutted about because I used to love this perfume but now it’s forever spoilt because I associate it with him. Oh and the fact he told me it reminds him of his mom. Thanks for that dude. Anyway, the jumper went out with the trash already – I pulled a thread on a night out so that made it easier to part with it – and the perfume made a friend of mine very happy so it wasn’t all for nothing. Still mildly annoying though because I liked both a lot really. Jumper and perfume, not text dumper and friend. Them as well actually. Oh, you know what I mean. On a side note, TD bought me Flowerbomb on our refresher and I am not letting this one go. But that is because I think it keeps the guys away for a bit now and maybe that is what I need.

Another thing I can’t bring myself to wear again are hoopy earrings. My first husband loved me wearing them. I still can’t work out if I wore them because he liked them or because I did. I even bought a pair again recently but they are just sitting on my dresser looking at me. Slightly accusing because I think they know they are destined to go eventually. Sorry guys, I tried. Maybe another time.

You could argue this is a pretty expensive way to look at stuff, but I honestly think some things are just doomed and cursed. And they ooze doomdom onto everything around them. And they hold unpleasant memories. Every time I look at them I remember things I’d rather banish into oblivion. So to make me feel better, I get rid of them. I mull over things enough as it is, I don’t need constant reminders dotted around the house. Spring cleaning of a the mind so to speak in an attempt to achieve inner peace.

Gypsies, Cowboys And Thieves

I normally try not to hold grudges, but I’m pretty certain the Cowboy is never going to qualify for any level of forgiveness on my part so this is going to be very personal. I actually wish everyone who knows this guy is going to come across this at some point just so they know what a great human being he is. Not. If you followed my blog, you will know him and me have had an ongoing thing for quite some time. A couple of years to be precise. Not a brief encounter by any standards.

It had become very clear over the last few weeks, this just wasn’t working out and I realised it had to end and stay like that. He always made a huge thing about his boundaries and keeping our lives separate and I hadn’t given it too much thought until a while ago, but now I wanted us to be more serious, he kept promising we would be and it just never happened. So I started pushing. About his family, about his friends. His one friend in particular. His reaction was a little surprising. He blew his lid, got absolutely outraged and then we split up again. He still gave me the I love you, it’s not you it’s me routine. This just had to stop. But as I said, I was weak when it came to him. I would have gotten back in touch, he would have mellowed and the whole game would have started all over again until the next row.

There was one way to ensure this would not happen. He was so protective of his personal life, he would never forgive me for reaching out to one of his friends. So I did. I send a message to the female friend he had been on holiday with when we split up for a couple of months earlier in the year. Carefully worded, I didn’t want to accuse him of anything or seem bitter, just express my regret things hadn’t worked out and ask her to look out for him. I was pretty sure she wouldn’t even read it, just tell him some weirdo send her some message. But it meant the definite end to this and that was what I needed.

I was not prepared for what happened next. I was getting ready for work when all of a sudden the Cowboy started calling me. And she replied to my message. Because she was his girlfriend of seven years. EVERYTHING just made sense now. I did not talk to him. But I did talk to her. And I still am. This whole thing is still unraveling. What we have pieced together so far is not pretty.

He cheated on her the whole time they were together (I wasn’t the first one who contacted her). He even went as far as rekindling things with his previous girlfriend about a year into their relationship, dating both of them for several months. He hooked up with girls on his trips to the States. He was and probably is on every dating site going. The crowning glory was him, after our trip to Edinburgh, taking her there five weeks later walking round the same places pretending he had never been. What. A. Total. Dick. That same evening, she got one phone call, some more drunken lies, complete denial and was told he didn’t want to see her anymore.

Now, I’m so pissed with this dick, I wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire. But, granted I lost a significant part of my life to him and his bullshit, it’s pretty minor in comparison to what he did to her. I didn’t want a ring on my finger or live with him or have anymore kids. But for her, that was the future she was living towards. To just take seven years away from such a lovely person, that takes quite something.

This guy, and he does not deserve to be called a man, is an utter coward. A narcissist psycho. With utter disregard for other human beings. No doubt he is already on to the next victims. So ladies, if you come across a Cowboy or a Kettlethief on your dating travels, who happens to work in banking in London and is in his late 30s, take a moment to check in with me. I might be able to save you a lot of time.

Meeting Mrs Bucket

I used to think people like Mrs Bucket were an absolutely ridiculous figment of someone’s imagination, after all, keeping up appearances is just a saying. Or is it? I’m not the most diplomatic or strategic person in the world, so if I don’t like you or something or someone else, I make damn well sure you will know about it. I don’t always know when it is better to keep my mouth firmly shut – I’ve never been a fan of gold – and more often then not speak before I think. That this has landed me in the deep end more than once or twice goes without saying.

I have two divorces under my belt and three kids by two dads. I like to go out with my friends. I love to throw a party. I used to love a drink (not anymore). But I’m also reliable and steady, a – hopefully! – great mum and a friend who is loyal to the death. I try to do my best every day. Some days that might not be as good as on others, but I always try. Unless I don’t like you. Then I probably just pretend I do.

So why is it, that some people feel this constant need for playing moral police and one upmanship, despite the fact they are supposedly your friends? Yes, I admit, some days it makes me feel better that there are bigger losers in the world than myself but that’s normally temporarily and applies to strangers on Jeremy Kyle, when it comes to those close to me I genuinely have their best interests at heart. I chose my friends for their character and personality, not the size of their house, their car or where they can afford to go on holiday. And I’m sure overall that is working a lot better than trying to keep up with the fake friends who are nowhere to be seen when things don’t go that great anymore. Who are nice as pie to your face and then bitch about you in the school playground.

Since I split up with my second husband, my social circle has changed a lot. There are hardly, if any, couples left in it. People I thought the world of, have entirely faded away, some quietly, others leaving a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Invites to happenings have stopped and you have turned into passing ships in the night whenever your paths cross. Thankfully, there are still those who turn out to be invaluable with their support and encouragement, listening, giving advice – sometimes critical, often sympathetic, but always honest (and that is how it should be) – helping out and simply being there. Those are the ones whose opinions now matter to me. Who make me rethink about the consequences of my actions and maybe pause a moment before I open my mouth. Who taught me to choose my battles a little more wisely and let a lot of the waves simply wash over me, because when you thing about what you can change and what is not up to you, it becomes quite clear what is worth fighting for and what not.

37 Going On Keith Richards …

It’s Sunday afternoon and the sun has entirely abandoned us. I’m a bit bored. Oh, I have enough to do, I just can’t be bothered to even try attempt anything that’s on my never ending lists and without anything else meaningful to pass my time (saving baby dolphins or the like), I am going to swipe a little bit. Just five minutes or so, you know, to keep on top of the game.

 I should know by now that this really isn’t good for my blood pressure. I like my guys a little bit younger than myself. Not too much but a few years don’t hurt, I can get away with pretending I’m still in my thirties and I behave like a teenager anyway. Both my husbands were younger than me, so was the text dumper and the married guy.

So I’m swiping away, and I know my age range (35 – 43 if you must know) and 99.99999% of guys that come up just look ….Old. And not in the interesting way. In the worst sense of the word. Like they partied it away with Keith Richards and stayed for one last drink once he left. Or two or three. Seriously, what is going on?!? I’m all for having lived a little but my dad’s friends look better than a lot of these guys and they are very close to the big 7 0.

I promise you my expectations aren’t too high, I’d say all guys I’ve been out with are reasonably attractive but not someone you would stare at across a bar because they are so breathtakingly handsome you can’t take your eyes off them – does that make me sound like a mean cow? You know what I mean though. But at the moment, I find it really difficult to find someone attractive. If anything, I just get utterly frustrated that that’s all left on the shelf for me. I still don’t look to bad myself, do I really have to settle for some Donald Trump lookalike? Are there no reasonably handsome men in their late thirties or mid forties? Surely there must be one or two still available…..

And another thing I don’t get – you do want to make a girl say, oh my god, I really want to go out with this guy, so who came up with the idea that posing with a giant fish makes us weak in the knees? Or with all your mates where I have no idea which one you are because on the other one you are a blurry dot in the distance I can hardly make out. So I might as well play Where’s Wally? But hey you are blurry in front of the Taj Mahal – or at Machu Picchu. Erm, no.

I have a great idea though. If you have time to go fishing or traveling, how about spending ten minutes on a little trip to Boots – you can use a map if that makes it more exciting for you – get some moisturiser and slap that on every day from now? Just so you look a bit more your age and not like a mummy? For me, please. It will make my Sunday afternoons so much more fun swiping. Thank you so much.

The Name Game

Most dates I have been on are the result of me swiping one way or the other. I don’t swipe that often, normally when I’m totally bored or I let friends swipe for me – with shall we say interesting results at times. I hate the bee swiping, the time limit you get really hacks me off. I do like it though that the guys have to wait for us to make the first move. Not that that improves the quality of replies you get unfortunately, a lot of them still seem to just want one thing but hey, at least the concept is a good one.

But I digress. Names. Wether we like to or not, we all have certain associations with some names. Good ones. Bad ones. REALLY bad ones. If a guy happens to share the name of one of my ex-husbands (this does make me sound a little like a Liz Taylor apprentice), he’s out. There is no saving grace, the bad vibes are just oozing out for me. I’m getting better with the text dumper one’s but in the first few weeks after our break-up, I would not have touched another dude having that name with a barge pole. Now the pics swing it. If he’s really cute, it’s a yay. All others are still out. They would be anyway.

Another odd one are kids’ names. I do face quite a dilemma with this one because not only do I have three boys, they also have fairly common names and that really sucks sometimes. I would just find it so weird dating someone when I feel like I’m telling them off every time I use their name. Also, my older two are on my WhatApp so what if I accidentally texted them something you know, not quite intended for them? Don’t laugh about that one because a) you know I am capable of puking over a guy on a date and b) I am capable of random shit full stop. So if I happen to start talking to someone sharing either of their names and there have been two or three, they get a code name. Like Pizza Guy. Just to be on the safe side.

And then some names are just too strange. I know we can’t help what our parents decided we should walk through life as, but seriously. You know when you run scenarios through your head and come to introducing this new guy to your friends and you have to go, this is so and so and you just know they gonna look at you like are you for real. I can’t do it. Maybe because I know my friends are a bit like me and not the most diplomatic people in the world but then my kids aren’t much better. I wonder where they got that from……