Head Vs Heart

I spend a lot of time in the last two weeks thinking. Well, I would like to assume that I generally on any given day spend a lot of time thinking but this has been a different kind of thinking. After my weekend in Edinburgh with the Cowboy, where conversations were had, mutual goals got established and the ‘L’ word mentioned from both sides, I am now finding myself at the same point than before. Radio silence or narky snaps. I’d like to think I stuck to the concessions I made because it has become quite clear we are entirely different in character and those were needed to try and make this work but the way I see it, he has not at all tried to match my efforts.

Why that is, I honestly can’t say. What is becoming painfully clear to me though is that it just does not work like this and that is what it ultimately comes down to. No matter what promises you make, or even profess your love for one another, if you don’t put the smallest amount of effort in to accommodate each others needs, nothing of it is worth anything. I am trying my very best not to rise to it but it’s upsetting me. A lot to be honest. And I do not want to walk through life like this. Worried about possibly treading on another egg shell. Making excuses for someone who basically can’t apply the most basic rules of a relationship, be it romantic or platonic.

So where is the problem in this you might say? You know, this isn’t working for you, it makes you feel bad and ill and just unhappy. I know that. My head knows and if I write a list of pros and cons, the latter is pages long whilst the first comes up pretty thin. And still, I find it incredibly difficult to cut the rope and save myself from more hurt and upset. Impossible right now to be absolutely honest. Which makes this whole situation so much worse. I feel like a deer in the head lights, I don’t function properly, the solution is right in front of me and still I am incapable of doing something about it. Those who know me well would tell you that this isn’t me. This isn’t the person they have known for years who walked away from two poisonous marriages that were eating away at her soul. Yes it was hard both times don’t get me wrong but I still managed it and I came out at the end of it. Both of those relationships were significantly longer and more serious than this (obviously). So why can I not do the same now?

I can only come up with one possible explanation that somehow makes sense. At least a little. If I let go of this one, I inadvertently have to admit that yet again I have chosen the wrong person. Which means that pretty much my entire adult dating life has been a complete failure. And that’s a very bitter pill to swallow. Because I cannot help but think that there is only one constant in this and that is me. So if things never work out, surely that can only mean I’m the problem? Now I know the more romantically inclined might say ‘Oh you just haven’t met the right guy yet’ but really that is not it. After all, I am the one who chooses who I want to be with. How I behave in a relationship. How I act, what I say, what I do. Those are all my choices. And right now they all seem to have been just wrong. That is not just a pill anymore, that a whole damn cup of shit.

And the more I think about it, the more I have to admit that this is the only thing that makes sense. Somehow, I missed the brief on this. When the relationship manuals were handed out I wasn’t there. And now I’m trying to muddle my way through this but I get caught out every time. And you know something. It’s hopeless. I just can’t make this shit work. So, I’m done. I’m not trying anymore.

Interpretations Of The Written Word

I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with books. I am entirely incapable of walking past a bookshop – especially if it offers antiques or out of print books  – or the weird and wonderful treasure troves that is the charity shops dotted on our high streets and not look at what hidden gem might be hiding on the shelves. I almost never leave empty handed. If you ask my dad about me and books, he will probably turn bright red and grumble things along the lines of ‘never again’ , ‘moving’ , ‘effing books’, ‘should be burnt’.

I however adore my ever growing collection, with their slightly musky smell, slowly taking over every little bit of empty space in my house. I’m particularly fond of history – the more obscure the better. And I have so far resisted the purchase of a kindle. It’s just not the same.

Now it is one thing buying a book, but getting time to actually read it is an entirely different matter. As you might gather, I have rather a lot on and more often than not, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. And rather annoyingly I need a little bit of sleep every so often too. It’s not just books I hardly manage to read though. There is a pile of print editions of the Economist on my lounge table, looking at me accusingly and gathering more dust by the day. Really I should cancel my subscription but at least that way I get something other than bills in the post.

I do have the best intentions when it comes to reading. My bedside table is stashed with books I really want to have a go at. I want to try read a book a week. That’s my goal. Considering just how many there are I actually want to get through, it’s a ridiculously small number. One a day wouldn’t cover it. But even the modest one a week goal is near impossible. It’s not just finding the time, even though that alone can be a problem already. But when I finally sit down with a book and start reading, my mind wanders off. Random things, current things, things I put to the back of my head that suddenly decide to start resurfacing. It might be that the sudden quiet mind brings a chance for them to break free and they jump at it. It annoys me a little. I want to read. I finally want to know if Marie Antoinette really said let them eat cake. As mentioned before, I like history. I’m a little geek. I get off on biographies of people long dead. Or obscure catastrophic events in ancient times no one has ever heard of. Maybe I should switch to some lighter stuff. I read the girl on the train in two nights but it did confuse me a little as I saw the movie before I read the book and they are set in different countries. Although that has not necessarily any bearing I’m easily confused.

I’m not giving up on the reading thing though. It’s important to me. I have this theory that once I have sorted out the little things in life and with that reduce the possible distractions, it will become easier because my mind will be less preoccupied. And I changed my bedroom from general dumping ground and sleeping hole into a space of calm and recreation. Still a work in progress admittedly but it’s more there than here. In the meantime, I might cheat a little and bug Alexa for audiobooks. There are worse things than going to sleep to the sound of Stephen Fry’s voice.

Casper The Fucking Ghost

I’m pretty sure when cute little Casper was floating over our silver screens, the word ghosting didn’t exist. Or maybe it did, but it meant something completely different. I’m not entirely sure what though.

Today, if you hear from someone that they have been ghosted, you know right away what’s going on. Some arse has been behaving like a total ba***** or bi*** towards them. They cut them off cold turkey; mid-conversation, at any point of their relationship (this doesn’t have to be a boy/girl thing, it can be just as bad amongst friends). They turned Casper on them. And you have no idea why. No good bye, no explanation, just a huge empty space, full of questions. We are probably quite fond of the person this has happened to so we are fuming on their behalf. This isn’t just something a guy does to a girl by the way, it most definitely happens the other way round as well.

And it’s really, really horrible for the one who gets ghosted. You can be as confident and self- assured as you like, this is bound to make you start asking yourself some pretty painful questions, throw you in a pit of self-doubt and make you feel so sorry for yourself you want to take a bath in ice cream for a while. Because once we have ascertained that they haven’t been in an accident or lost their memory somehow, there is only one conclusion to reach. It’s us. There is something wrong with us. We have done something, said something – not that we have any idea what – that makes it impossible for them to even speak to us anymore, let alone find us appealing or loveable. We fucked up and they don’t want us anymore in their life. Pass the cat, we will be lonely forever.

At first, you re-read every single message you ever send searching for that elusive clue, that one sentence you can pin them turning into Casper on. Bloody difficult, how can you possibly know what’s going on in their head. Especially when there is actually nothing to find. But you keep looking anyway. There must be something. You run though the last time you met up, the conversations you had, just about everything. The likelihood is – even in best Holmes mode – you find nothing. Absolutely not a single thing.

And here is why: because there is nothing wrong with you. At all. You have done nothing wrong. You were being yourself. You were lovely and kind and funny and caring. You were simply awesome. There is only one person here with a problem, and that’s Casper. Casper either fundamentally lacks basic social skills – although you might have possibly noticed that before – or they are just a dick. And a massive one at that. They think it’s fine to be like that. And chances are you are not the first one to be at the receiving end of them being as dick and you won’t be the last one either. The truth is, Casper is actually pretty sad. And probably quite lonely.

But in all honesty, that shouldn’t be your problem. Because if you keep chasing a ghost, you might miss a very real person standing right in in front of you.

First Date Scrooges

Going on a date is a very nice thing indeed. And we all know, moving on from dating app to swapping numbers to finding a date and location that works for both of you and then actually really meeting up (in person!!), is a little bit like winning the lottery. Or falling into a snake pit. Similar odds I think and same possible outcomes. Not to mention the several days it takes to decide on the right balance of making an effort to looking desperate.

In this day and age of course we are all independent women and we don’t need a man in our life, we choose to have them in it. We pay for our own shit, we split the bills and we have our opinions and should be respected for doing so. We are in every way, a man’s equal. And so it should be. Well, 99.9999999999% of the time. However, there is one exception in my opinion.

When we go out with a guy on this first date, I really think it’s his job to pay. Why you ask? Because that’s how it should be. Dinner is on him. Likelihood is, he asked you out and he choose the place where you meet, so in my opinion this one is on him. We make sure we look the part, he provides us with edible material and lubrication. Don’t get me wrong, if you get on and move on to somewhere else afterwards please buy the guy a drink or two or three. Unless he is absolutely insistent you should not do so then don’t embarrass yourself arguing your point and just enjoy the treat. He is obviously trying to be nice. Don’t take the piss though or repeat my little party trick of throwing up over the poor man. Not a good move, I promise you.

I once went on a date with this guy and we met quite late, so dinner was not on the menu. Now bearing in mind I don’t drink he only had to buy me a Coke which he obligingly did at the first bar we went to. But then at the next place, he expected me to pay. And I’m sorry to say this really put me off. He then proceeded to add an order of numerous snacks to my bill and I hereby confess I went into absolute bitch mode and just paid for the drinks. Narrow minded you might think but I really didn’t appreciate the attitude. Needless to say the date ran into a wall very quickly after that, especially when he so blatantly tried to get a quick lay out of this, it left me shaking my head.

So whilst I think dinner on him is a must for a first date, if your relationship develops and you become a thing, it then goes without saying it becomes a give and take. It shows you’re comfortable with each other. And can be honest about yourself because everyone  has moments in life when things can get a bit tight and it takes guts to admit that. A bit like not putting make up on anymore before he wakes up. Which, for you guys out there, no woman has done, ever. Preposterous idea…..

 

Rude Boi Calling

As we have established by now, I am a user of dating apps. I like texting. Should be a blast, right? Actually, it’s bloody difficult. Tedious. Hair pulling. And sometimes it’s just downright ‘Dude are we seriously having this conversation right now? Excuse me while I bang my head into the wall.’ You get my drift.

Now the whole point of the initial texting lark is to make yourself appealing enough to a member of the opposite sex to eventually move on to an exchange of numbers and following that maybe, possibly the prospect and realisation of a date. So really, you should try to come across as a nice and lovely person who is mentally stable and of reasonably decent looks.

Apparently, not that easy. Now, I’m using this app where the girls have to text first. I normally send a generic blurb because I can’t be bothered to be creative. My profile clearly states I will do just that btw. So they are warned. So I say Hi, dude messages back. The distance is going to be a problem. What now? You matched me despite the distance and that’s your opening line? Check your settings my friend (my profile says that as well actually). So after that, I’m already in not really a chance mode but I have nothing else to do so the conversation continues a little longer.

Inevitably, we come to the question of what we are looking for. Well he asked. I never ask. To be perfectly honest, my initial assumption is that guys are just looking for a shag. You know, low expectations bring less potential for disappointment. And quite often not that wrong to assume either. So I say my usual. I’m not looking for anything. See where things go. I don’t need to be with someone for the sake of it. Which I think is a reasonable statement. And what else am I meant to say? I’m desperately looking for my knight in shining armour please come and save me? Even if that was the case, I would rather cut my tongue off than say so. Desperation is a sad thing.

You seem to be a bit of a tough cookie. I don’t find that very appealing. Okay. A bit harsh but if you say so. I was being honest and he replied in kind. Fair enough. But then I got this. ‘Before we unmatch, I just wanted to say the picture of you and your son seems to bring out the best in you, you should try be a bit more like that.’ What. The. Fuck. What are you trying to tell me with that?!? That I did not comply with the assumptions you made of me based on a ten minutes exchange of words, a sarcastic profile and a few pictures?

I am still a little pissed off about this. Don’t get me wrong I don’t expect everyone to like my attitude – or me for that matter (Just as a side note someone else told me around the same time he thought I’m really lovely so I am sure I am not doing everything wrong). I know I am not the most accommodating or easiest person to get on with. I can live with that, no problem. We all depend on others accepting our imperfectness on various aspects and do so in return. Those people are normally called friends. Family if you’re lucky. So some dude telling me how he thinks I should be, not on.

 

Yeah, But No, But Yeah, But ….

Despite its title, this is – for once – something a little more serious. I started thinking about this after what happened on my last date (which I do not want to write about as I want to leave that part of my blog lighthearted). It’s the issue of consent. We have all seen the ‘would you like a cup of tea’ thing. It’s great. It really is. But when you realise that the reality is a lot more difficult than the theory, as a – I’d like to believe – strong and independent woman like me, you struggle a little. When a stranger jumps you, there are clear lines. When you know the other person to a degree, the lines get blurred.

Let me tell you in a nutshell what happened that night. I had a date, we went for a drink (no booze), we started kissing. I’m not going to lie, I like kissing so I do that quite quickly, you can judge if you wish, I’m just being honest. We went for a romantic stroll on a beach in the city (yes, London can have beaches). We started kissing again. So far so going well right? Then the guy gets a little grabby, I say no, he stops what he’s doing but then starts again slightly different. This doesn’t feel good anymore so I get myself out of it. But I’m still not walking away. For some reason, my brain just isn’t working the way I think it should. I think about it afterwards, right now, the space between my ears is empty and useless. He tries to get me to come home with him. I say no. He keeps asking, I say no. It takes forever to get to a station – and it goes a lot quicker after I say I stay at his. Not that I intended to but for some reason, I’m incapable of taking out my phone and find my own way back. At the station – we need the same line as well – I tell him I changed my mind and make a quick exit. Thank you, night tube. I get home at 3am. I go to bed. I go to sleep.

It’s only when I wake up the next morning after precious little sleep because I should work that morning, it does hit me. The what ifs and why didn’t I. I call my friend – we work together and she used to work for the police. She is fuming. With the guy mainly, but also a little bit with me. She uses the words ‘sexual assault’. That makes me feel even worse. I know everything I should have done different and still I didn’t. I’m not a timid little girl. I know how to stay safe in foreign cities. And I fail at the home front. The guy texts me later that day, totally oblivious that we had different perceptions of how the evening went. He thinks we had fun.

It takes a while for me to stop feeling like shit. I hope I learnt a few lessons. I’m glad I didn’t have a drink that night too. Am I going to be more careful – or should I say aware – in future? I hope so. The thing is, I know everything I have to do to stay safe. I don’t think I am irresponsible. Or careless. And still, I didn’t follow what I know.

Compassionate First Date Leave

I am planning to have a date. With a very cute, very tall guy, very much my type, quite clever from what I can tell and nice enough to be talking to me for longer than an hour. Am I excited about it? No, not really. Not anymore at least. He’s in charge of where and when we meet – I can be generous with that for first dates (sometimes) but right now I hope he does what I do and sticks to the current radio silence and mutual ignoring. So I can get on with all the stuff I need to sort out or just get to chill for a change and don’t have to bother with all the getting ready, getting out of the house and making the effort for a date lark when it’s too hot anyway to do anything.

Oh TC why are you such a mean cow I hear you say. I promise you, I am really, really not. Hand on the block of ice in my chest. I’m kidding of course. It’s just one of those things. I’m busy. He’s busy. You start chatting, you genuinely do want to go on that first date but the first free time you can agree on is a 90 minute slot on the last Thursday of next month if so and so is doing xyz by then. So far ahead you can’t even see it and need to dot post-its round the house just so you won’t forget. Although you still might. the whole thing just looses its momentum and before you know it a month has gone past and everything fizzles out before it even begins.

I’m sure you agree that it is quite difficult to keep an enticing conversation alive by text over a prolonged period of time. You don’t really know each other and whereas a face to face meeting gives you all sorts of cues and inspiration, by text you run out of things to say quite quickly. I mean how often can you get excited about good morning? So that’s the point where I am with this guy right now. Two weeks ago, the idea of having a date with him excited me. Now it’s become a little bit of an inconvenience.

It’s not his fault, nor is it mine. I guess the older you get, the more set you are in your life. You have your work, your friends, your time to yourself, oh and you need more sleep. To carve time out for someone new is not that easy. I hardly have enough time to see all my friends as often as I’d like to. There is work and the kids and the more inconvenient things like housework, dentists or opticians, the MOT and this thing called beauty sleep to take care of and 24 hours doesn’t go a long way.

Maybe I should start a petition to introduce compassionate first date leave in our work contracts. A bit like holidays, time you can book off work and still get paid. The longer you’ve been single, the more days you are entitled to. And you get an allowance for the – shall we say one a month? I think that’s a decent, achievable average. The more I think about it, the more I like this idea. We all pay into workplace pensions, surely this is some kind of investment into our future too? So we don’t end up old and lonely and only partially dependent on our children for some company. Alternatively you could open a crazy cat lady/smelly dog man trust fund. As a back up.