A gay indie boy living in suburban South West London recounts his trials and tribulations dealing with sex, sexuality, growing up and getting older

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Warning: Moody Bitch Alert!

Just like women have a menstrual cycle, I believe that once in a while, every man also goes on the rampage (except without the bleeding). Women blame hormones... I wish men could blame something. Perhaps it is hormonal. Who knows?

Well, I had a birthday box full of surprises, really. Like all the loose ends of my love life turning up to one party and throwing in a stick of dynamite (with a healthy dose of alcohol). It started off well; the presents were coming, the drink was flowing (and I wasn't paying), and there was laughing and joking. Then the ex turned up. You know, THE Ex. The one who proposed to me and said we would run away to Denmark and get married (Civil Partnerships weren't even an idea here 6 years ago!). The Ex who you acrimoniously broke up with, but only because it was so painful, but then tried to scrape a friendship back with afterwards. The Ex who, at various times, you wondered if things would be the same if you got back together, then realised you were two different people and were sad for it.

That Ex. We all have one, I'm sure.

He gave me a present, wished me happy birthday, bought me a drink and sat down and started chatting to all those friends he hadn't seen for a while. You know, myfriends. The ones who were obliged to lay their loyalties to me after the break up. Then of course, there were those new friends that he didn't know, and that didn't know him. One of those friends happened to be an old colleague of mine I had a crush on but decided it would never work out.

And then they exchanged numbers.

And then I flipped.

"You could have been a bit more discreet," I snapped at The Ex.

"We swapped for work purposes; we're both graphic designers."

What a cheap excuse.

"How dare you," he continued, trying to re-direct the blame onto me. I should have seen this routine coming; when we were going out and we had arguments he was always the martyr, and me... Of course, I was always the irrational one who got het up for no reason.

"If you feel so offended then go. I don't want you here," I said, seething in a jealous rage

"Fine," he said putting his drink down, "I will."

I sat there pouting, knowing that I was drunk and may have over-reacted slightly. Upset that even after all that time had passed, and I'm talking years, that the green eyed monster could rear it's head. After two minutes of silence, and my friends frantically asking what was wrong, I said, "Everyone has to leave... NOW!"

And I stood up from the table, grabbed my things, and left.

Yes.... I know; but I would openly admit that I'm a drama queen. Besides, it was my birthday. MY birthday. And it had been ruined. By me.

As I sighed and went home, I got a call from a person I hadn't heard from in a long time. A guy I dated who, on paper, should have been the perfect guy, but wasn't.

"Happy Birthday," he said in his Russian accent. He had remembered, and now I felt even worse that so many people who cared about me would make the effort on my birthday.

"Hi," I said "How have you been? Where are you?"

And as we chatted on the train home, probably very loudly and drunkenly, I remembered why we were first together. He travels a lot, and was in Lisbon when he called. I don't expect to see him any time soon, but it was enough that he remembered and wasn't afraid to call me. As he struggled to find the words (he speaks about 10 languages, and English is somewhere behind Russian and Portuguese), he said to me "If someone is in your heart, you will always think about them wherever you are."

So maybe The Ex was thinking the same thing. It didn't matter. I texted him the next day and told him I was stupid to believe we could ever be civil, or to build a friendship. I would always and irrationally be jealous of anyone who he was interested in. I guess I have to accept that it doesn't matter how enlightened you are, you have to remember that you're only human, and that humans are irrational.

I spent the rest of the weekend trying to put off thinking about it, and visiting an old friend, but somehow it just seemed to manifest itself in other ways; drinking too much, being snappy, telling friends all the things they've done that have irritated me over the past couple of months, trying to decide whether moving out of London was a good idea or not, considering throwing my mobile in the bin and ditching all my friends, or perhaps faking my own death and becoming 'someone else'. But why is it that none of these ideas would actually work? Running away from your problems doesn't work (or so I'm told... I've never tried it myself), trying to lose contact with everyone isn't fair on anyone at all and besides, they'd all end up figuring out where you were anyway and God forbid the police getting involved.

Right now I'm at work (I use the word "work" loosely), I have a cold, and I want to go home. And all I'm left wondering is what happened to the person I was last week?

I hate it when life tricks you like this. One minute you're fine. The next you're picking the bits of pavement out of your teeth when life ground your face right into it.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

To Move Forward, You Have To Go Back

I think Carrie from Sex And The City was talking shit when she said "The worst reviews are the ones we give ourselves"

As my 24th birthday looms (it's only 8 days away; buy me something nice), nicotine withdrawals suck the rationality from my veins and the promise of romance snatched away as easily as it was offered in the first place, I'm forced to reflect on the year gone by in a most brutal and confrontational manner.

I met a friend of mine for lunch today, and having embarrassed ourselves on one of those dance machines in an arcade (why do they always put them by a window? Everyone looks in and puts you off! I feel like turning round and saying "I did contemporary dance once!"), I decided to take her to a bar I hadn't been to in ages.

The barmaid looked at me and lifted her head with resentment as if to say "What do you want?"

Hmmm... I thought. I had been going to that bar for 5 years and they knew my face.

"2 diet cokes please" (yeah, yeah... I know. Usually I would drink normal coke, but apparently changing your habits are good when you're quitting smoking) and as I turned my head I noticed a mistake.

It was a mistake that was slightly older, with long brown hair, a deep voice and an eccentric demeanour. It was a mistake that frequented that particular bar quite regularly, and knew the staff quite well... One might go so far as to say he was friends with them. And me? I was just lowly clientele.

"Shit." I thought to myself.

Now, believe it or not, I wasn't always this perfect (stop laughing at the back!). Roughly a year ago, in said bar, when my friend used to work there. I was DJing one night, and I threw myself at this long haired love in the middle of one of my sets (I cringe at myself sometimes), then went home with him. Long story short: Second date wasn't even worth mentioning, and an embarrassing incident occurred where coincidentally I was on a job at work and upon telephoning a point of contact, who else should answer the phone?

The embarrassment and shame caused me to make a fool out of myself twice more in front of him.

I thought it best after trying to be nice to him to just ignore him, or have as little contact as possible.

Unfortunately, about a week later, I walked into the bar and my friend said "(Insert name) is here".

And I said "Who?" and upon looking around, I went, "Ohhhh him! He was really shit in bed, you know"

And there we are; that phrase damned me as it spread round the pub like wildfire and right back to him. I am ashamed of myself for even saying it (no matter how much truth is in the statement!). So to bring it back, there I was having to face an embarrassing episode and, worse still, being made to feel ashamed about it by Ms. "I'm going to give you as little customer service as possible" as she thrust a crappy £5 note into my hand that she took out the till on purpose (you know; the kind that won't be accepted at any other shop) and Mr. Long Hair.

As I skulked to a corner of the bar, I wanted to move cities. Remembering all this past seemed too much to bear, and the fact that my reputation (and yes, it would appear I have one) preceded me made me think that my name may have been irrevocably tarred. Was it worth staying in a city where all I was known for was being a blabbermouth, possibly even a drunken fool and a promiscuous weirdo?

But then I thought if I was that barmaid, I wouldn't really care all that much. She has a job to do at the end of the day. And then I thought if I was Mr. Long Hair, I would be a damn sight nicer than he's ever been to me when I've coincidentally bumped into him.

But then again, I know I'm good in bed. :p

So it seems life has not snatched away chances from me of late, but has been trying to teach me a lesson perhaps.

Lesson number one; don't be a doormat. I think the whole episode with the guy from the wedding showed me that I have become stronger and more able to pick out the flaws in potential dates, rather than being impulsive and reckless with my emotions. Yeah... I didn't know him that well, admittedly. And also I may have over-reacted a little, but I stand by my decision which also shows I know myself even better.

Lesson number two; forgive yourself. So you made a lot of mistakes and.... So what? We could sit there and pick fault with everyone and everything all day. As long as you can face up to what you've done and recognise that even though a situation may be your fault, it can often be circumstances that conspire against you as well especially if you were acting 'out of character' at the time. So what else can you do but let go? Or face up to it and say "Yeah, I was a shit, but at least I know it. A thousand other guys wouldn't have admitted their mistake." Hence Mr. Long Hair acting like a wounded puppy when really he was an alcoholic underacheiver.

Lesson number three; who cares? Over the past couple of weeks, I really couldn't care less anymore. My final 'shyness' barrier with men has completely dropped. I was thinking today that I remember a guy checking me out at a bus stop when I was 22, and even though I was intrigued and followed him on to his bus, I ended up running away because I was too nervous. I always regretted that. Only a couple of days ago, I smiled at a guy on the street and I finally had the guts to do that without fear of whether or not the smile would be reciprocated, or even if he was interested. It was a guess, and it paid off (even if I didn't give him my number!).

So I think I'm going to really like it this year. With this new found confidence, I feel as though I have shed the last skin of the young me, and finally become the person I always wanted to be.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Game Over

To fill you in, he text me on Sunday a few hours before the date and said:-

"Is there any chance I can see you tomorrow? I have things to do and the weather is really bad"

Bad weather? "Stuff"? I'm not rearranging my schedule for some unsubstantiated 'stuff'. I've been waiting all fucking week for 'stuff'.

I replied "Put off by some bad weather? It's a shame. If you saw the potential I did, you wouldn't have cancelled. A real shame"

I was willing to leave it at that. Then my phone beeped...

"Mate", it said, making me instantly want to punch him. I picked the wrong week to quit smoking, "I have shit (I mean what does this 'shit' and 'stuff' mean? Is he smoking crack?) to do. Plus it's raining (Yeah, it's raining... Didn't we establish this before?)

"I didn't mean to make you pissy, I'm just being honest," I said trying to stay calm, "This just reeks of 'I can't be bothered, and if you're like this now, what am I to expect in future?"

I thought it was perfectly reasonable.

"Woah, you need to clam down," he said. Oh, here we go.... Playing the psychobitch card because you got rejected? "I was going to rearrange but now I don't think I'll bother"

What? Hello? Did I not just make it perfectly clear in my last two texts that I wasn't interested in seeing some loser who cancels because his hair might get wet? He's the kind of person that says "You can't fire me because I quit" right after their boss has handed them the pink slip.

"Look, I've just been honest. I'm not mad at you at all. I hope we can be civil when we next see each other," I said, trying frantically to say "For fuck's sake, I don't give a shit. You blew it, mister!"

He asked me to post him back his cufflinks. I'm thinking of sending an umbrella along with them and a note saying "Just in case next time you arrange to meet someone and rains, you'll be well prepared..."

I'm evil. I know.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Game, The Rules and The Clause

I remember someone once saying to me "I lost 'The Game'".

And I thought, "What is The Game?"

Then I realised that The Game is actually the intricate game of cat and mouse chasing when starting a relationship with someone. Texting, not texting, calling, not calling, not letting them know you like them, but giving them just enough to lead them on. And of course, with every game, there are The Rules. The Rules seem to be along the lines of this:-

Rule 1) THE GOLDEN RULE- Never reply to a text message that doesn't require an answer or can't be replied to in 3 days time

Rule 2) In the intervening time it is important to either not care, or pretend not to care

Rule 3) Never, ever pay them a compliment or let them know you like them

Rule 4) Live your life like you're chained to your diary, constantly unavailable and ever elusive

Well, I say fuck The Game. Fuck The Rules. If I want to text someone, I will text them. If I want to think about someone, I will and if I like someone, then why not go out there and get them. A man who can't take you for what you are is not worth your time at all, and no matter how gorgeous, talented or rich they are, remember that someone somewhere is already sick of them.

I have a date tomorrow and The Game is being played. I'm sick of The Game; too old. The problem with The Game is that it doesn't make someone interested, it actually makes them lose interest in you because if you're never available, never contact someone and never let them know you're interested, then why would any self respecting person bother to continue in a relationship like that?

So fuck The Game; it's time to go out there and grab what you want.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Here Come The Pink Squishies...

Awful term, isn't it? I'll explain. Once my friend turned round to me and sighed heavily and I said "What's wrong?" and she said "I've got the pink squishies." I laughed and I said "What?"

And she said, "There's a guy I really like, and I hate it. I really, really like him and I hate it."

Like all embittered fags, being single is really, really easy for me to cope with. Making snide comments at couples, other people's relationships, how untrustworthy men are... They're safe, and what's more it's a defence mechanism. I'm open and self-aware enough to know that it's all in self defence.

And now I have the pink squishies. And I hate it.

So bad are these ones that I broke the horrible golden rule and called him twice in one day. And suddenly you start to empathise with all those guys that never stopped hassling you, or that you may have branded a stalker. It's not an act of desperation, it's the fact that this feeling sends you so nuts and you behave so out of character that you wonder what the hell you're doing. Rationality is thrown out of the window for an impulsive high.

The worst thing is, he still wants to go out on a date with me, which means I haven't scared him off. Which also means there's a chance that he might really like me too.

So I'm sat here with love-sickness and absolutely hating myself for it. Ever the true Gemini, part of me is allowing myself to fall, and the other half just wants everything to go back to normal again. Half of me is airy-fairy and romantic, the other half is wanting to laugh at myself.

Because the worst thing is we all know that the pink squishies are a prelude to a heartbreak.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Life Is Not a TV Show

Stating the obvious, isn't it?

Talking to a friend the other day about 'culture' (I know, it's deliciously pretentious. I can't help myself sometimes), the main question was why are people so averse to contemporary art, or fringe theatre? And from fringe theatre, we started talking about the next logical progression; the Jeremy Kyle Show. I actually can't watch this show because it makes me feel like I'm squeezing cotton wool whilst having to listen to someone scrape their fingernails down a chalkboard. There are two problems I have with this show:-

1) If I'd done something so despicably bad like gotten pregnant (granted, chances are low) by another man, or conned my partner into thinking we were in much less debt than we actually were, or was having an affair, there is no way in hell I'd parade my misery publicly for the entertainment of the British masses.

2) The guests are chavvy, the audience is quite chavvy, the viewers at home are probably quite chavvy, and Jeremy Kyle is such a self-righteous bastard that I wonder if he will ever get a date again (except with a chav) because of his smug sense of patronising self-satisfaction that his 'tough love' stance always works. Just imagine him having an argument with his wife; he'd never admit he was wrong, but probably bombard her with platitudes until she finally submitted and decided that leaving the petrol tank half empty wasn't worth him harping on for hours about how hard done by he was and how he managed to pull himself out of it.

Poor woman. By the way he's been divorced; I would probably have to say enough is enough at some point as well.

Anyway, the cringe-worthingly poor display of daytime television seeps from TV into the real lives of people. I hope it's not just me, but don't you always have that one friend who always has a drama in their life? A drama that seems so utterly simple to sort out (because, usually, it's by their own blundering fault they've got into the mess), and yet it merits harping on for half an hour about how confused they are?

Of course, as friends, we lend an ear and give them our honest (sometimes sugar coated, sometimes giving Jeremy Kyle a run for his money) opinion and hope they learn. Pat them on the shoulder and send them fresh, back to their dilemma. The only fault with this is that people are obsessed by drama and scandal.

I honestly wonder what happened to the days of the good, old British 'stiff upper lip'; where everything was kept in dignified silence. This, of course, excludes times of real dilemma and emotion. I'm not vindicating bottling everything up forevermore. But since the emergence of soaps and daytime chat shows, people seek excitement by getting themselves into messy predicaments.

Anyway, you can hardly blame them sometimes. Life can be so utterly dull that creating stress can add a bit of zing to what was an otherwise boring lifestyle. But I cannot, in fact I refuse, to believe that with the amount of cheating that goes on is solely a development of modern society. In fact, I also refuse to believe that those people who have cheated were so 'deeply in love' with their partners in the first place.

There are always exceptions, and I think it's important to note. Like sleeping with someone drunkenly; we can all make a mistake. Or perhaps it takes someone to make someone realise that they weren't in love with their partner in the first place.

I think it points towards a depressing ideal perpetuated by shows such as Sex and the City and Ally McBeal; we need someone to be someone. Without someone, you're no-one. So people often 'settle', claim they're 'in love' and then someone who really knocks them off their feet and they think 'Boy, how wrong was I?'. And how often have you told someone you're single and they look at you like a leper? Or your friends try and fix you up so you can be 'just as happy as they are'?

Also, people are under the misguided notion that they will be saved from themselves eventually.

"Oh, it doesn't matter if I smoke this crack; someone's bound to save me from myself eventually"

"Oh, it doesn't matter if I put this one thing on my credit card; someone's bound to save me from myself eventually"

Just like in the Hollywood films, right?


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