Fetch the butt-plug Mr Cunterblast

WordPress just told me that I missed our anniversary. That means I’m even disappointing software now.

The 15th of January marked a year since I started writing this bullshit, and tradition dictates that I should have gone out and, in a fit of irony that would even trouble the descriptive powers of Alanis Morissette, bought some paper for my blog service.

Remember paper? Crikey, it all seems so long ago.

So in an effort to make WordPress forgive me, tonight I took my blog out for the evening instead. First I took it my ripped-off copy of Wurd to see how many words I’ve typed; and then off to a word-cloud generator to see what it’s been about. I now know that my blog is twice as long as the novel The Life of Pi, and that I’ve spent an unfeasibly long time talking about cancer, sex and Simon Cowell.

(I also know that I’m likely to get arrested by Microsoft for having a ripped off copy of Word, but I spelled it Wurd, which is bound to baffle even the greatest lawyer. And in my defence, practically everyone else on the planet has a ripped off copy of Word too).

As a result of my research into my own blog, I’ve come up with some findings, and have decided to adapt The Naked Mole Rat into a $100 million 3D Bollywood epic, in which I’m stuck in a boat with a CGI version of Simon Cowell and have to decide whether to have kinky sex with him, or give him an aggressive and painful cancer.

It’s a real conundrum.

Actually, it’s not much of a conundrum. Simon’s getting no sweet, sexy lurve from me, which leaves him with the choice of death or death. A nation grieves. But the reason he’s not getting sweet, sexy lurve from me is because at least one of us (OK, let’s face it, it’s exactly one of us) is a raging heterosexual. And because all my romance is being directed to the lady in my life, who repays it by manipulating my head, as can be seen in this graphic depiction of our relationship.

She's so manipulative.
She’s so manipulative.

I rarely speak about my private life in detail, but for once I’m going to spill my beans and tell you that our relationship is about to go to new places. Specifically, Scotland.

I’m very fond of Scotland, and of all the people from there who I’ve met. I can’t say it’s been a representative sample, or that they’ve liked me very much. But I liked them.

It’s unrepresentative because I tend to meet Stots when, in exchange for a stuffed sheep’s stomach and a night in their bothy, I give them with enough money to buy a small island up there (approximately £78). And that kind of transaction always brings out the best in people.

And it’s hard to say if they liked me because it’s often hard to understand a bloody word they’re saying.

But I still like them. I like their attitude. On a drive up in the highlands once, I stopped at one of the tiny all-purpose stores you often find in deeply remote areas. It was a post office, off license, petrol station, butcher, fishing supplies depot, lumber-merchant and record shop. (Not a greengrocer. It is Scotland after all, and if you want to eat greens they’ll contemptibly direct you to a tuft of thistle by the roadside). The shop had the obligatory wall dedicated to tartan and shortbread, and an entirely startling wall dedicated to Native American Dreamcatchers, which seemed unusual until you realise how many Americans visit Scotland, and how gullible they are.

The shop was miles from the nearest plumbing, and the only member of staff was a short, incomprehensible object of indeterminate sex, radioactively ginger, and with webbed fingers and an advanced case of athlete’s head. So I didn’t hold out much hope when I asked to use the bathroom. It was in a lean-to against the side of the shop, and I expected a wet hole in the floor, at best. But in fact it was a fully fitted bathroom and shower, with soaps and shampoos and fresh towels laid out for anybody who needed them, and, wonderfully, a small pile of socks beneath a sign saying “help yourself”.

The climate up there puts pressures on anyone daring enough to be caught outdoors, and a shower and warm, dry socks can turn a walker’s life around. I’m taking the piss out of Scots because I take the piss out of everybody: but the shower, towels and socks were provided with generosity, and I honestly have no expectation of anything less from people in the top half of the British Isles.

I hate to say it but that open, welcoming, selfless approach to life becomes more common the further north from Westminster you get. Actually, I didn’t hate to say it at all: I like it. I like the fact that true human nature emerges if you simply leave people alone to be people, rather than forcing them to be greedy brutes in a greedy, brutal capital city. Whereas in the wilds of Scotland they have a different attitude: if you don’t hang together you’ll probably hang separately. So be nice.

I’ve expressed this opinion to people in the South of England, and been told that I’m a mad socialist fuckwit who is living in the 70s, and that the Scots are all violent thugs and a drain on the poverty-stricken folks of Surrey. And I’ve reported those conversations to people in bars in Scotland, and been told that the Scots don’t actually hate the English: they just hate the southern English.

Not that I’m any more romantic about Scots than I am about my anniversary with WordPress or my forthcoming week up there with my girlfriend. We’re going to be there on Valentine’s Day, but that’s just an embarrassing scheduling error. We’d both forgotten Saint Valentine existed (because he didn’t – even the Pope who canonised him recognised that “nothing is known about his life”).

Anyway, this 14th Feb there will be no violins or flowers, and I’m not just saying that cos she’ll read this blog, and I want to lay a false trail. The best she can hope for is that I won’t tie the ropes too tight, and will clean the ball-gag before it’s applied. And the best I can hope for is that she’ll apply plenty of lube before she does that thing to me with the object that’s slightly bigger than it looked on LoveHoney.

Other than that, it’ll be the usual mixture of visceral abuse about my hairy back, six-hour fights about how the duvet is shared out, and vain attempts to make her murder look like a tragic accident. I’ll be as cheeky as a 6-foot six-year-old can be, and she’ll respond with a torrent of abuse and profanity, and many, many slaps about the head and neck. I just hope I can persuade her to save her filthy mouth and spanking until we get indoors and naked, where her vocabulary is rich, varied, and remarkably inventive. I flatter myself that I have a wide lexicon and a seedy mind, but she still manages to startle me rigid. It’s a rigidity which comes in handy, when it works.

Damn being old!

I’m not old old, not like the mad racist who lives upstairs and must be avoided at all costs. We popped round to ask if he needed anything from the shops during the recent snow, but after 3 hours all we’d learned was that black people are ruining this country. I’m not there yet, and you have my permission to throw me down a well if I do. But I’ve reached the point at which my body starts to disintegrate, and indeed I got a head-start with the cancer that kicked off this blog a year ago. I’m grateful to the doctors, but have decided to never see one again after accidentally catching an episode of House.

Hugh Laurie, House
No wonder he’s grumpy: he’s wrong almost all the time.

This week, a man went to see House with hiccups, and after getting his diagnosis wrong five times the so-called “best diagnostician in America” finally worked out that the man’s marriage was doomed, along with his liver. He did this in much the same way as the people in CSI solve crimes, and the people in Church work out how the universe was created: random guesswork and a lot of mumbo-jumbo. This week’s patient thought he had hiccups, but apparently he had something which, from memory, had 3000 syllibals and ended in “itis”, and which every actor on set looked proud to have memorised.

I don’t know why anyone goes to see House anyway. He diagnoses patients without even seeing them, is wrong 9 times out of 10, and it’s pretty much always cancer. So House’s oncologist mate could solve the problem anyway, if he wasn’t too busy being slightly cross-eyed and wetter than a turbot’s handbag. And when the guest-star disease isn’t cancer, it’s something you’ve never heard of; so it’s a bit like reaching the end of The Usual Suspects and being told the villain is a Mr Ted Cunterblast, a total stranger who wasn’t mentioned during the previous 2 hours.

Ted Cunterblast is mentioned by Hugh Laurie though, in his previous career as a purveyor of amusing japes and elaborate swearing with Stephen Fry. (If you’ve never seen their terrific sketch show, imagine Armstrong and Miller, but with Armstrong and Miller being replaced by somebody who can be arsed doing a different sketch every week).

My girlfriend could learn a lot from Fry and Laurie, and I fully expect her to call me Ted Cunterblast upon our next meeting. Although part of me hopes she saves her filthy mouth until we’re on our own in a bothy in Scotland, so there isn’t a repeat of that time she loudly called me a twat in the children’s section of Ikea. I don’t think the Scots are ready for her vocabulary.

Of course, it’s perfectly possible the Scots have learned how to swear by now. I seem to remember Frankie Boyle using a bad word once, and Billy Connolly too. Not as bad as the word I used about him today, when I read this article in the Guardian, in which he was given a free £5,000 holiday and then proceeded to bitch and moan about the whole thing. Well don’t fucking go then! Give the money to some poor kids from Glasgow.

The acquisition of large amounts of money seems to turn even the best person into an utter bastard. Take Sean Connery, a man who bestrides Scotland like a colossus… from his home in tax haven of The Bahamas, where he pays not a penny in tax to support the nation for whose independence he vigorously campaigns. Why do so many nationalists have such a strong objection to spending any money at all on the country they claim to love? The Tories are the same, wrapping themselves in the Union Flag and bellowing at Johnny Foreigner for having the temerity to introduce laws to protect British jobs. But ask that noble, blue-rinsed defender of the UK to pay a single penny more tax to fund his own country, and he’ll let his wife out of the kitchen long enough to fetch his shotgun and let the dogs out on you.

I do find it galling to have the Tories “protecting” Scotland from independence at the same time they insist on “protecting” Scotland from the support of Europe. The EU seems to have funded 90% of the bridges north of the border, and if I were a Scot I’d kick England out, get married to Europe, and stay happy. If they do, I’m going to campaign for Manchester to be officially recognised as a district of Dundee, cos I don’t want to be trapped here with David Cameron.

So there you have it: my 91st blog, and the end of my first year as a blogger. Next year it’s the cotton anniversary and I’m going to get WordPress some knickers, but the year after that it’s the leather anniversary. Stick with me, cos then the filthy sex will really start to get interesting!

Internet dating, and that time I kidnapped a woman

I’m here to threaten you. Watch out!

There. I’ve done it. Scared? You should be.

You should primarily be scared of Sebastian Pritchard-Jones, not scared of me. Or scared of most men. Most of us are fine, it’s just that rogue 43% that give us a bad name.

Just to clear it up straight away: I am not Sebastian Pritchard-Jones. I only share one name with him. And a nationality. And a beard. And glasses.

Hmm, I’m now starting to wonder if I am Sebastian Pritchard-Jones.

Sebastian Prichard-Jones, playing a trumpet that’s as real as he is.

If you’re single and are thinking about dating somebody via that there interweb, I recommend you read the story of Seb, and then drink a gallon of bromide and join a convent. He’s a charmer.

But I’m a bit of a charmer too, and earlier this year I started dating somebody who is so much better than me that she might actually be a different species. She’s smart and funny and silly and annoying and violent, and has an alarming habit of loudly calling me a twat in the children’s section of Ikea. We get looks.

We get looks a lot of the time actually. We’ve been together now for long enough for me to largely forget the vast chasm between our sizes, ages, looks and talents. But it must still startle strangers, and we’ve both heard comments. Sometimes straight to our faces: a stranger at the next table at our local pub quiz asked me straight out if I was rich or fantastic in bed. I had to tell him the answer: no and no. I’m just relying on the fact that my girlfriend hasn’t worked it out yet.

It never occurred to him that we’re together because we make each other laugh and are very happy. It must be something close to prostitution, in his mind. She must be with me for my deep pockets or fat cock. I think this is a telling comment about your average bloke: in his tiny mind, the only reason to select a girl is for her looks, and the only thing girls like about men are their money and their penises; so fellas get freaked out when a pretty girl is seeing a guy who looks like a bloated corpse, hasn’t been paid for 2 months, and has a cock like a grain of rice.

Not that that’s me. My cock is at least twice the size of a grain of rice. Unless it’s chilly.

Self portrait.

But I can kinda understand why we seem an odd couple. I occasionally catch glimpses of us in shop windows as we walk hand in hand around the Trafford Centre, and I’m reminded of that song lyric “Pretty women are walking with gorillas down my street”. Except in my case, it’s not a gorilla: it’s a blobfish.

She’s also far too young for me, far too posh for me, far too pretty for me, and if she’s reading this she’s going to be far too smug for me too. She’s fucking unbearable.

We met online. I know, it’s horrible. But neither of us was on a dating site, so it’s slightly less tragic than you may assume. I was convinced I’d be single for frikking years, which didn’t bother me one iota. I was quite happy fighting off next door’s psychotic cat, rearranging my books, and performing my twice-weekly routine of masturbation, self-loathing, comfort-eating and weeping – the favourite pastimes of the eternally single. I genuinely hadn’t made any attempt to meet somebody, and I even managed not to join Plenty of Fish, which appears to make me unique. From what I understand, about 50% of all married people are on there too.

And she wasn’t looking for a fella because she was in the middle of her finals at uni, so needed to concentrate and get work done. And she owns a rabbit, so frankly, who needs a man?

Both of us were on Twitter, just doing Twittery things. And we bumped into each other, and that was it. I had no idea how old she was, what she looked like, or where she lived. But it didn’t matter. Sparks. Who can predict this shit?

So I didn’t have to make a ghastly dating profile, or retouch my photos to remove most of my chins, or pretend to be warm and sensitive, or in any way be a manipulative sociopath like whoever Sebastian Prichard-Jones turns out to be.

But even so, I did slightly… well…

OK, I kidnapped her. Happy now? Jesus.

I only kidnapped her briefly, and only because I was too busy chatting on our first date, and didn’t realise the entire road layout had changed since I’d last been in that vicinity. But still, I ploughed straight past our destination and took her into Wales.

Me? I laughed, because I knew I wasn’t going to bludgeon her and shove her in the boot. (I would do now, because I know her well enough to know she’s bloody well asking for it, but at the time we were both on our best behaviour). However she didn’t laugh at all. Apparently she was geniunely terrified, and starting to wonder if a “leap and roll” exit from the car was survivable at 70 mph (answer: no).

But this is at the core of the relationship between men and women. Men can be manipulative sociopaths, and tend to be twice the size of women, strong, aggressive, determined and horny. It’s not a good combination, guys. So think hard about how your actions are interpreted.

It’s not the first time I’ve terrified a woman with threats of a remote, grisly death. My mate Jason and I worked together 20 years ago; and following our company’s Christmas do I was driving Jason home (having drawn the short, sober straw). I also offered a lift to a colleague, Usma, who lived along our route. As we got into the car, 2/3 of us pissed up and drunk on booze, and all of us giggly, I jokingly said to Jason: “Right – straight up to the moors for a bit of a murder”.

I know. It’s not funny at all. But Jason was hammered and I always laugh at my own awful gags, so we were far too busy laughing to notice Usma was quietly running for safety. I hadn’t noticed she wasn’t in the car until I’d gone half a mile. It took me until Easter before she’d forgive me.

So even without trying, men can be pretty terrifying to women. We tend not to think about the potential threat we pose; or at least, nice guys who pose no threat tend not to think about it. Not until later. It’s the ones who know perfectly well what threat they pose that you have to watch out for.

The problem is, nobody can tell which is which until it’s too late. I could be one. I probably am. This type of “hey, I’m nice really” blog is exactly the type of thing a manipulative sociopath would write, only maybe with fewer admissions of threatinging to kidnap and murder people. Or maybe not, who knows? Maybe this sounds enough like Sebastian to fool people who know him. Or who don’t know him. Whatever.

My girlfriend’s family are not happy with her going off on a date in the car of a strange old man who briefly kidnapped her. Not happy at all. And to be honest, I don’t blame them, even though I’d rather die than hurt her (I only wish she had the same policy – Jesus, the beatings she’s given me!).

However, my point is: be careful. I know, you’re all smart people, and it won’t happen to you. But it can. The Sebastian Pritchard-Jones’s of this world make it a dangerous place.

So watch out!

I’m only threatening you because I don’t want somebody else to do it.

High maintenance? I won’t fiddle with your knobs.

Thanks to Baggage Girl for asking the question: “Is high maintenance off-putting in a girl?”

When I was at school my friends and I would occasionally sneak out at lunchtime, buy a pie, and go to one of their homes for a cup of tea.

Well, I say “buy a pie”, but the truth is that my school had a tradition which might be unique: the meat and potato pie sandwich.

Is there are more gruesome description in the whole of gastronomy than non-specific “meat”? Even ignoring the horrors disguised by that blandishment, the meat and potato pie sandwich was a monstrosity. You bought a microwaved Holland’s pie, sprinkled Beef Monster Munch on top of it, drizzled it with brown sauce, and stuck the whole thing into an oven-bottom muffin. It was about 5 inches thick, and at least 3 inches of that was fat.

Well, the blood had been simply racing through our arteries, we had to take measures to slow it down.

One one occasion we scarfed down our heart-attack butty, and went to a friend’s house to watch the only Australian soap opera shown back then: The Flying Doctors. It was phantasmagorically weird: everybody was orange, the furniture was yellow, and the interiors of the aeroplanes appeared to be made out of Papiermâché and twice the size of the exterior. People wore far too many hats considering it was 1985, and hats had died out 30 years previously in the rest of the world. And it moved even slower than our blood after the pie sandwich. In fact, the scenery seemed to move more than the plot did.

The first time I saw it, it featured the following priceless dialogue.

Ocker child: Aw daad, can I go to the ball in long traaazers?

Ocker dad: Yer too yang son, yer too yang.

Ocker child: Aw daaaaad, can I? Can I?

Ocker dad: No son, yer too yang. Yer just too yang.

A month later I saw it again, and the same conversation was still going on. By the time the ball happened, I’m sure the child was asking his dad if he could go on his walking frame. Maybe my sense of humour is a bit Royal Tenenbaums, but I found the “stately” pace and non-plot incredibly funny.

Having said that, I don’t think I’m a natural soap opera fan. The Flying Doctors might not be the greatest example of a soap, but even the (supposedly) good ones make me want to pull my bottom lip over my face and suffocate on my own gums. It’s the “drama”. The endless, endless “drama”.

I should explain that there’s a difference between drama and “drama”. The former appears in quality programme such as The Wire, Mad Men or The Sopranos. Drama, without quote marks, indicates actual characters, realistic behaviour, and a sense that it’s telling you something important about the way we live today.

Whereas “drama” is just a lot of noise. It’s weddings on Christmas day. It’s transsexual farmers falling off the roof onto their own ex-wife, who should have known better than to be there, because the whole thing was previewed in the Daily Mirror. It’s a man with a head like a boiled sweet wheezing his way through a dalliance with homosexuality, and then “getting better” in time to marry his own long-lost sister, while negotiating for the purchase of the newsagent under which he buried his grandmother’s rapist after toppling a bookcase on him during one of Manchester’s many earthquakes and plane crashes.

It’s gibberish. It fills up your life with bullshit, which is religion’s job thank you very much. And I don’t want a life full of bullshit. I don’t like it. I don’t like it on my TV, and I certainly don’t like it in my life.

And that’s why I’m not a fan of high maintenance people. They’re like living with a soap opera. There’s so much “drama”, and it is, to quote the Bard, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I have a friend who loves high maintenance girls, and actively seeks out people who “generate sparks”. He likes it because it means they bang heads all the time, and constantly have scraps, and slam doors, and squabble, and live like they’re in a particularly ratings-chasing episode of EastEnders. He says it’s good because eventually they make up and have passionate, angry sex.

He’s been divorced 3 times. He hasn’t learned yet.

Me, I can drum up some passionate, angry sex without all the passion and anger. In fact, if there’s too much passion and anger outside of the bedroom, I just feel tired and a bit headachey in the bedroom, and I’d rather just go to sleep, thank you.

And if you are high maintenance, don’t expect somebody else to fix you.  The human body is what’s called a “homeostatic system”. This means that it attempts to revert to its proper state when you tinker with it. Cuts mend. Bruises heal.

If you have too much sugar, your body will try to gather it up, turn it into a soft brown soup, and try to make it slither down the back of your leg before you get to the toilet. If you rub caffeine-enhanced creams onto your face to fight off the sag, your body will hoover up that caffeine and throw it away so it can restore the natural chemical balance, and you will have wasted your money on more of Laboratoire Garnier’s exciting made-up science. (In fact as far as I know, caffeine can’t be ingested via the skin anyway, so you really are wasting your money).

Any attempt to change the chemical constituents of your body will be resisted. Because, as the name implies, a homeostatic system is static. It wants to remain as nature intended.

And it’s the same with your personality. If you need maintaining, don’t expect an outside agent to do it for you. Happiness can’t be found in another person, it can only be reflected. I can come along and twiddle with your knobs (so to speak), and improve your mood – but only temporarily. You’ll return to your own mood unless you make an effort to change it yourself. And that’s not easy, but is always worth the effort.

For a while I thought I had once managed to change. Like a lot of people I was pretty depressed during my teens, but one day I woke up, realised I was really annoying myself, and decided not to be sad any more. And that was it. I was totally cured.

For a long time I thought that was how to fix depression: just decide not to be depressed. But I was naive, and having lived with a sufferer I know now that depression is a lot more complex. My determination not to be sad probably coincided with my hormones balancing out, and my “just say no” theory is a load of blather.

But I earnestly believe you can change yourself from a high maintenance person. You just have to stop thinking about yourself so much, and think about somebody else instead. You can do this with a little practice, I’m sure of it. And when you do, you’ll be happier about yourself, and will find it easier to meet somebody who is happy with you.

If I care about you, and you care about me, that’s everyone covered, everyone loved, and nobody needs maintaining any more. I’m not Gandhi, but I think that’s a pretty good philosophy for life.

Getting inside you and burning some rubber

Once upon a time, in a country far far away… (well, actually, it was in this country, but with a functioning economy and a government who knew their arse from a hole in the ground)… I decided to buy a new car.

Remember those days? Well, I suppose if you’re a shareholder of The International Entirety Corporation or one of the other 4 companies than owns everything in a clusterfuck of monopolistic avarice, then those days are still here. And they’ll probably be here forever, or at least until the glorious revolution, when you’ll suddenly find your old-school tie is very tight around your neck, and that the short-cut to the top of industry has become a short-drop to the bottom of a scaffold.

This blog really is about dating, I’ll get to it. God, you’re so impatient!

But once upon a time, ordinary working class boys could work hard, go to a grammar school, get a job, and earn the kind of money that meant we had to decide whether to get the Audi or the BMW. That was me.

(Somebody wiser than me once said that the true poverty of the working class was the poverty of their ambition).

So I went to the Audi dealership, and took an A6 out for a test-drive. Nice. It had an understated class that I like, and when I took it back to the showroom I said to myself that I might like to drive one of those for the next 3 years. But before I committed, I went to try the BMW as well.

The BMW was good. If you drive one, or want one, I don’t think you’re wrong. But it wasn’t what I wanted, and I’d made a decision about my next car: the Audi.

This is the thing that didn’t happen. None of the following occurred.

I walked back into the Audi showroom, and the salesman called me a Vorsprung durch Twat. He spat on the floor in front of me, and shouted for his big brothers, Dennis and Charlie, who emerged from the shadows and chased me off with sticks. He found me on Facebook and daubed abuse on my wall. He ensured that I would never drive an Audi by slagging me off publicly in front of all other Audi dealers. I must not look at an Audi, or hang around car parks where Audis parked, or draw 4 circles in a row, or say “howdy” in a Sheffield accent. All those things were verboten, because I’d committed a cardinal sin: I’d gone for a spin in another car, because I wanted to find what’s best for me.

Those things didn’t happen. What actually happened was that the salesman welcomed me back, we had a “funny” (i.e. we both laughed politely and wished we were dead) conversation about BMW drivers, and I bought the car. It was nice. Well, it was OK. It was actually like driving a Belgian politician: it did just what I expected it to, but there wasn’t much to be excited about, and I could never spot it in a crowd. I preferred it when I drove an Avantime. God, that car was amazing. Why did I ever get rid of it? Why did they ever stop making it?

I digress.

As a metaphor for dating, buying a car isn’t ideal. For a kick-off, it assumes that in dating it’s all my decision, and the girl is just a shiny object I want to get inside of and burn some rubber. OK, I grant you, it had crossed my mind…

The truth is, for a man like me dating is at least 80% the girl’s decision. Dating is a power dynamic, and my power is low. Plus, I don’t know how to talk to women. Well, I do now, but it’s a relatively recent development. I have no sisters or female cousins. In my primary school, due to a statistical anomaly (or perhaps an industrial accident at the local Robertson’s Jam factory) there were only 2 girls in a class of 32, and one of them left before I was 8. I went to an all-boys grammar school. And I work in software, where the only female presence is Lara Croft and one unfortunate systems administrator with a chromosomal disorder which brought him perilously close to being a Thai ladyboy, except, you know, from Eccles.

Until I was 25, the only woman I knew was my mother, and she’s got something of a beard and swears at the TV while watching football, so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she’s a man too. Or at least a witch.

So I wasn’t exactly equipped to deal with “the women”. In my case it wasn’t so much the opposite sex, as the opposite of sex. I’m sure there are men who can click their fingers and women come running, but when I click my fingers I get – at best – an irritated waiter who will promptly piss in my clam chowder.

Most of the time, clicking my fingers just kills a child in Africa. I must stop doing that. Singing the theme to The Addams Family is an act of genocide.

I digress again. I keep doing that.

My point is, dating the way the British do it is a nonsense. Every time you meet somebody, it’s all-or-nothing. It’s a rare girl who will accept the man they’re drinking with on Friday will be drinking with somebody else on Saturday. And it’s not like women have the monopoly on monopolies – men are just as bad. If you even think about meeting another guy for drinks, you’re clearly a slut. No, not a slut: a bitch.

For those who don’t know the official definition: a slut sleeps with everyone, but a bitch sleeps with everyone except you.

Americans have a different tradition for dating. Over there, dating has a specific meaning which is very different from relationship. It means going for drinks, but seeing other people, and keeping your options open.

Over here dating means being utterly committed to one person who you don’t necessarily like, but who got there first. It’s basically the same as a relationship, but you haven’t changed your Facebook status.

Not that it matters to me. If I find myself dating one girl, that’s one girl more than I ever expect to be dating. But I’m not interested in dating anybody else, and even if I was I’d struggle with the guilt. If you look up “old fashioned” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of me. Not true: my dictionary doesn’t have pictures in it, what kind of idiot do you think I am?

Playing out of my league

A friend of mine on Twitter recently asked: Why do men always try to punch above their weight in the dating game?

I told her it it’s because men aren’t generally aware of their own weight, only of yours. And there’s some truth in that. But I’m not sure that’s all there is to it.

A woman spots a man: he’s 6’2″ of sinewy athleticism, with smouldering eyes and a killer smile. He has a rugged, outdoor virility and a thousand-yard stare. His trousers, though modest and loose, hint at something akin to a sea monster living down there. He’s driving an Aston Martin, for the love of God, an Aston Martin!

And then he opens his mouth… and the horror, the horror. A nasal, nasty Wolverhampton accent, talking about himself all the time, and his lips have the permanent wetness that causes stalagmites of saliva to form when he speaks. You pray he never has to utter a plosive, or you’ll be drenched. If you could persuade him to shut up and be a sex-toy for a few hours, fine. But as a relationship – never gonna happen. You have your pride!

Well here’s the news, sister: men have no such pride. Most men will overlook a multitude of sins if the body looks like it could sin really well. Stupid, charmless, brassy, temperamental and hot… all men hear is: “hot”.

But a woman will like a man for a range of reasons, and hotness – while certainly in demand – isn’t the key one. In fact, I don’t think there is a single key factor. Women are just more varied than men, in lots of ways.

If you look at a group of healthy men, they’ll all be within a couple of percent of each other in terms of ratio of shoulders, waist and hip. They’re like mass-produced wooden toys, with analogue functions: they’re built to do one thing, and they break if you try to make them do something else.

But women have a comparatively huge range of shapes and curves. There’s subtlety and sophistication and variety. You have a full set of physical options, whereas men are lumpen troglodytes, scratching their balls, pointing their knuckly digits at passing erogenous zones, and grunting.

And I think it’s the same with what women find attractive – you have the full set of sophisticated sensors, not just vagina-detecting device tucked down one trouser-leg; and as a result, you can be equally attracted to looks, humour, intelligence, money, creativity, athleticism, kindness, power, vulnerability, strength… the list is probably endless!

So men don’t immediately accept that women are out of their league, even if they self-evidently are. We give it a go anyway, because who knows: you may overlook my manifest physical failings, and fall for my ability with a butternut, or the surprising number of things I know about Rhinos. Women are weird that way, and even if men don’t understand them, we’re prepared to give it a go. Because most women don’t care what league you’re in, as long as the way you play the game makes them smile.

A contented cat

Dangerous things, words. They have so many meanings.

Here’s a prime example: the word theory. You know what it means: you have a theory that Google are in cahoots with your other half, because no matter how often you clear your browser history, they always seem to spot the porn you were looking at. There’s no proof about Google, it’s just a guess at an explanation. It’s not a fact. It’s a theory.

But you’re wrong. Theory doesn’t mean that at all. It means (and I quote):

a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct

So essentially, theory means a set of demonstrable facts. Google are innocent, you’re just inept at hiding your masturbatory habits.

(This is why I hate the gormless, flat-headed argument against the Theory of Evolution – that it’s “only a theory”. Gravity is “only a theory” too, so go jump off a cliff and see if you can pray your way into a soft landing.)

Words are dangerous because their meaning is slippery. They change, sometimes doing 180° turns.  When George Galloway won his recent election I watched in horror as his vast, unwieldy ego rampaged around the news like Godzilla on a charm offensive (more offensive than charm, I think). And then I realised I was wrong: George doesn’t have a big ego at all. The common meaning of “ego” is the polar opposite of what Freud defined as:

the part of the mind that… is responsible for reality and a sense of self

So let me be the first person in recorded history to say George Galloway has a tiny, tiny ego. He has absolutely no sense of reality.

But his powerful sense of self is still a problem. It’s a problem for all politicians, because most of them make laws based purely on personal considerations. Most of them have too narrow a personal experience to know the effect their idiotic decisions have on the rest of us. So they legislate in ways which only improve their own reality.

If they were bright, they would be able to abstract. This is a really good definition of intelligence: the ability to create abstract laws from real-world examples. Real world is “I found an apple under a tree”. Abstract is “apples grow on trees”.

Politicians need to be better at using personal experience to construct abstract rules which apply to us all. But they’re not bright people, really: they’re just fluent and good at maneuvering themselves into powerful positions.

You see, I like abstracts. I think they’re important. And that’s why I rarely mention anything about my private life. It’s too specific.

Q: What do you learn when I mention specific stuff about my sex life?
A: You learn about my sex life.

Q: How does that apply to you?
A: It doesn’t!

So when I do mention my private life, it’s just as a litany of failure for you to laugh at. Nobody wants to read about success. People succeeding makes for very poor comedy, and I like to make people laugh. So I’ll very quickly and quietly mention this…

I’ve met someone. I’m as surprised as you are. She’s very nice.

And that’s all you get.

But even if she was awful, and the whole experience had been a hysterical farce which could only lead to a classic comedy blog, I would still keep my mouth shut. I’ve made mistakes in the past, by mentioning things which I thought were sufficiently abstract, but which appeared to be recognisable. I can’t take it back. I wish I could, because it turns out it was hurtful. It’s never intended that way.

I’m really uncomfortable with blogs which tell all about dating, at least in specific ways. Drawing general conclusions is fine. Having 3 bad dates, identifying the common factors, and establishing rules and guides for avoiding it again – all fine. But telling the world about Date number 2’s terrible teeth – I just don’t know what anybody gains from that. Date number 2 feels awful. You gain no friends. Your readers learn nothing. It’s a hat-trick of own-goals.

And that’s why I may be very bad at a “relationship” blog. I hate to discuss others specifically, and when I try to be abstract it seems I fail – my abstractions are still too personal. Maybe this is why I’m not a politician: I’m no better than Galloway! But at least when I spend my time crawling around purring like a contented cat, I don’t do it in public.