George Michael at Christmas

A very messy Christmas to you all.

Yes, messy. It’s not a typo. It’s the same with orgies: the invitations should read “the more the messier“, not merrier. Messy is so much more fun. After all, who wants a clean orgy, or a clean Christmas? We may long for a white Christmas, but not a clean one – and we only want a white one so we can piss in the snow. I imagine some orgies end the same way.

I like my Christmas like I like my sex: we don’t have to get up too early in the morning, but as soon as we do let’s get on with the action: tear off the wrapping fast, get as messy as possible, laugh, shout, play with all the toys, and make sure the neighbours have reason to complain.

I probably won’t get that type of Christmas this year, because I’m suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome – and I don’t even have kids! I was hoping to spend Christmas drunkenly practicing the baby-making procedure in every room in my flat. Not too drunkenly, obviously. There’s a perfect amount of alcohol for sex: it should make you able to ignore the carpet burns for long enough to get the job done, but should not make Mr Happy become Mr Floppy. And it should definitely not make anybody accidentally sick into my mouth because they went on top.

That’s the amount of alcohol I had planned to consume – just the right amount to make everyone involved forget how they got those bruises the next day, but not enough to require a trip to hospital. And the moment I reached that perfect level of blood-alcohol, I was going to rip off my girlfriend’s knickers (because they’re really cutting into my hips) and make the beast with two backs.

Or at least the beast with one back and a front that’s bent over the kitchen table with a wooden spoon gritted between her teeth.

But it’s not going to happen because of somebody else’s empty nest syndrome, namely my wobbly old widow of a mother, who has inveigled her way into my flat for three days this Christmas, turning it from a sex den into a …. den. And I’m 42. What do I want with a den?

Actually, I very nearly made a den in the living room last week. The lady in my life has recently been pretty lifeless, and rather unladylike too. She’s had a cold, leading to a small tsunami of snot, a great deal of frustrated swearing, and some justifiable moping. And that’s just from me, cos I’ve had the horn and she’s been very much Out Of Bounds. The only way to make her feel her usual perky self has been to build a den out of the box my drums came in, or to put on a Harry Potter movie.

I did think about making a den, but the result would have been sitting in a small, warm box in my living room next to a plague carrier, waiting for her nose to explode all over me and make me sick during Christmas. So she can fuck off with her den: we’re watching Harry Potter.

I quite like Harry Potter. I’m far too old for it, but it served the same formative function in her adolescence that The Lord of the Rings and masturbation served in mine. You never get over that stuff, and to this day a quick wank over the mental image of Arwen and Galadriel lezzing up is enough to make me feel like a contented 12-year-old again. So although Harry Potter will never mean as much to me as it does to my girlfriend, I’m perfectly OK watching the last 6 movies. The first two… not so much. It says much that they’re amongst the worse things John Cleese has been in recently, and he was in the Liberal Democrats.

I even went with my girlfriend to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which was jolly good fun and rather exciting for a movie buff like me. I wandered around it, amazed by two things:

  1. The level of craftsmanship and imagination involved in making a movie like that (I’d argue the design imagination is at least the equal of JK herself)
  2. Rupert Grint

The mere fact of Grint still amazes me. If he wasn’t famous and I told you I knew a ginger boy called Rupert Grint, you’d say “oh, the poor sod”. It’s like me telling you that the manager of my local MFI store was called Finlay Gentleman (he is – I saw it on a receipt once). You’d wince and laugh, and then wonder why his parents hated him so much. Grint’s name alone is enough to make him extraordinary and dismal. He’s the only person in the movies who has a real name more outlandish than his character.

But beyond his name there’s his face, and his hair, and his voice, and his… there’s no other word for it than this… his talent. You can determine the level of Grint’s talent by measuring it against what his two child-star friends have achieved.

Daniel Radcliffe has appeared naked in a challenging play on the London stage. He’s been rather good in a rather successful horror movie. He made a pretty good fist of being on QI, and has sung a complicated Tom Lehrer song about chemicals on live television. And he achieved all of this in spite of looking like a man who is learning facial expressions from a book. Have you seen him smile? I imagine that’s what Gordon Brown looked like before somebody released the bulldog clip that kept his face tight.

Gordon Brown, aged 19
Gordon Brown, aged 19

Gordon Brown
Daniel Radcliffe, aged 106

Emma Watson went to a top American university where she managed to avoid being killed by an American for 3 years, something few people can do. She then returned to the screen in a moderately good adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in which she attempted a bold strategy for of shaking off her reputation for being every online pervert’s favourite teenager: she took off her sexy clothes off in a sexy dance while looking sexily at a sexy boy. And all of this despite being cursed with the vocal quality of a distressed and menstrual cookery teacher in the 1950s, and wild and irrational eyebrows that look like they’re attempting to escape her face and run amok across the moors of England.

Rupert Grint.
Milky Grint. Bad at snorting coke, or good at giving blowjobs? You tell me.

Rupert Grint, by contrast, is being paid to smile in an advert for Sky.

That’s all the Grint they want. Thank you. You can leave now.

He’s not invited to do any acting – God forbid! They just wanted to borrow his head for 3 seconds so they could use it to sell things, like a misshapen orange billboard. The Milk Marketing Board pulled the same trick a couple of years ago, leading to a spate of upchucking women as Grint-besmattered busses trundled by. To this day, the term “Milky Grint” can churn the stomach of the hardiest woman. Show your lady-friends this photo, and slowly whisper “Milky Grint” to them. I bet they shudder and make an expression. I bet they do. In fact, I’m off down to Ladbroke’s now to place that very bet.

Yet despite this, Grint’s net worth in 2012 is £24 million. You’d have to work for a thousand years to get that much money, and who has the time?

I’ll tell you who has the time: Grint has the time. After all, his diary is looking pretty empty. I suspect it always did, even during the Potter years…

Grint’s diary, from the set of “Harry Potter and the Ocelot of Disappointment”:

Tuesday: Said “Bloody hell, Harry”. Got paid £3 million. Did double maths. Hated self.

In truth, it’s a small miracle that any of them grew up to become even a moderate actor: they were between 9 and 11 years old when they began their movie careers, plucked from obscurity because they looked less gap-toothed than most of their contemporaries. Americans are, as we know, more terrified of gap-toothed people than they are of 200 million assault rifles, and the Potter movies would definitely have failed if the lead actors had standard British teeth.

But the kids had good teeth. It’s just the rest of Grint which was substandard. And when they started out they just looked like Cabbage Patch versions of themselves, which must be weird for them to look at now. You think it’s embarrassing when your mum shows your new partner photos of you aged 11? Imagine if you had a whole movie series, and every girl you ever meet thinks she knows exactly who you are, and what you can do with your “wand”. Engorgio!

In retrospect, £24 million seems like reasonable compensation for what fate has done to Grint. He can stop being Weasley, but will always be Grint. He will always be awful and look like he knows it.

Mind you, for the first few movies none of them looked comfortable in their own skin. Who is, at the age of 13? Your skin is your enemy at exactly the moment you most need a friend, and fame and fortune are no protection against the ravages of youth. I watched Romeo + Juliet recently, and Leo’s face seems to be undergoing a meteor shower. I think he spent half his salary on concealer. He looks like he’s been coated in Polyfilla in a few scenes, which I’m sure pleases a lot of blokes who were negatively compared with DiCaprio in their teens. Every generation throws up a pretty boy for the girls to idolise, and all the boys hate whoever it is. Right now it’s Beiber. Before that it was DiCaprio. My own nemesis was George Micheal.

In 1986 boys my age were considered cool and attractive if they wore a cross in one ear, strutted around in white jeans and cowboy boots, displayed several days of beard growth, and had bouffant hair with blonde highlights. Hard to believe people assumed it was the dress sense of a heterosexual man, but that’s what Gorgeous George wore, and he was very definitely a heterosexual man in 1986. He said so in Smash Hits, so it must be true.

My teenaged attempts at looking like George Michael weren't very successful.
My teenaged attempts at looking like George Michael weren’t very successful.

I don’t give a fuck about being fashionable now, as anybody who knows me will definitely confirm. But I can remember how ostracised I felt back then for being unable to grow sufficient stubble or persuade my mum to let me get my ear pierced. I want to seek out Darren Gilmore, my college’s number one George Michael lookalike, show him a photo of Wham! and shout “I told you so” into his unrealistically handsome face. Except by now his face is probably like mine: gradually sliding down his skull like a slow-motion avalanche. I can’t really blame him for being fooled by Wham! I was as fooled as anybody else, I just had my ambitions stymied by my mum and some terrible NHS glasses.

More than quarter of a century later, and my mum is still pissing on my chips. My Christmas will be polite, with only moderate consumption of wine, absolutely no spanking paddles or handcuffs; and then bed before midnight on my second-best lumpy mattress.

Thank you Jesus, you absolute twat!

I thought Pentecost was bad (I received the Gift of the Holy Spirit, but I don’t have the receipt, so can’t take it back and swap it for a cardigan). But Christmas is going to be a wash-out. So Jesus, I’m sorry to break the news, but your parties are always shit and I’m not coming to any more of them. I’ve given up on a rowdy Christmas, and all I can say is: roll on New Year. Because believe me, I’m definitely going to roll on someone at New Year.

Brace yourself dear.

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.

Guest post – Living with Dick: a survivor’s guide

The light of my life has decided she wants to explain what the hell she’s doing with me. I’m kind of interested in that myself, so here’s her guest post. Enjoy.

First of all: I exist. Honest.

There’s good reason to assume I don’t exist. I wouldn’t blame you, especially since Dick revealed his history of having an invisible pet dinosaur. His mum even told me that he left it tied to the railings outside nursery, and they had to go back to collect “Hubert”.

OK, he was 3 at the time, but he hasn’t developed a great deal since. He’s just chosen a better name that “Hubert” now, and his invisible friend is a Mole Rat.

I’ve been mentioned a couple of times in this blog, and as I follow Dick on Twitter I’ve noticed a few sniffy people who seem offended to discover he’s no longer single. Frankly, if you felt any distress at Dick being unavailable you need to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror… something I can barely do any more. The shame, the shame.

Calling you “sniffy” is a bit strong, to be honest. A few of you seem to have the impression that Dick is charming and funny and attractive, but I’ve seen him up-close, and I can assure you that his unavailability should make you about as “sniffy” as going to Aldi and discovering the strange tins of Polish something-or-other have suddenly been moved. You didn’t know what they were, they were cheap and disappointing… and now they’ve gone. Somehow I think you’ll get over it.

I, however, probably won’t. You see, I’m his girlfriend. It’s taken me some time to come to terms with the fact that I am romantically connected to this man, although I think “romance” might be a strong word too.

What do you imagine when you think of Romance? Maybe some of you will visualise a Hugh Grant character calling round with a bouquet of red roses, champagne and chocolates. He stands there gazing lovingly into your soul as he declares his adulation for you in rhyming couplets, and explains that he’s decided to whisk you away to be wined, dined and soixante-neufed in a Parisian hotel, while a bevy of penguin-suited violinists play Hearts and Flowers.

Or maybe you have in mind some of those small personal gestures of intimacy that make you know – absolutely know – that he’s thinking about you. I could describe some examples, but they’re all personal to me or to you. If you’ve experienced it, you’ll know what I mean.

But that’s not us. Oh no.

It’s not that our relationship is bereft of romance, it’s just that we measure it by different standards. His equivalent of handing me a dozen red roses is passing me the bog-roll when he’s “finished”. Well, he thinks it’s finished. It’s usually around the time I’m getting started.

I don’t want to make anybody chunder, so I won’t talk about our bedroom times in any great detail. But I want to assure you’re practicing safe sex. Not in the sense you think, not with condoms or (God forbid) femidoms – it’s not really necessary to check for infection when he’s being investigated by vast teams of doctors every couple of weeks. And at his age we don’t have to worry about pregnancy, because his little soldiers have all turned to dust, or retired to the Dunswimmin Retirement Village. His ejaculate reminds me of a lizard having a coughing fit in a talc factory.

No, what I mean by safe sex is that we take everything very, very… very… veeeery slowly. His dicky hip and sciatica mean we do things at a glacial pace, so there’s little danger of cardiac arrest. And just in case it all gets too much for him, I’ve got 999 on speed-dial, and we keep a gallon of Lucozade and a tin-foil blanket nearby in case he’s overwhelmed by the pressures of inhaling and moving at the same time.

Afterwards, if I’m not too traumatised by what just happened to me (the thing that he – but nobody else – refers to as “sex”), I entertain myself by counting his grey pubes. Actually, that’s a fib: I keep my eyes well and truly shut when I’m close to his gentleman’s area. Fortunately he can’t see over his belly, so he still assumes he’s getting a wet blowjob. It’s actually my tears, and sometimes a little bit of sick.

(He suggested that some dirty sex talk might spice things up, but now he’s complaining about it. Apparently “think of a happy place, think of a happy place” isn’t what he had in mind).

In his own special way, I guess he shows affection. It’s similar to how a gibbon would show affection to its keeper: a selection of grunts, snorts and hand-gestures (often of the two-fingered variety). And if he’s feeling particularly loving, or is just light-headed and forgetful, he’ll let me have a Hobnob.

My lovely car cake, complete with crushed front-end, dead pedestrian, and bloody aftermath. Nice.

Actually he did, thoughtfully, present me with a cake to celebrate me buying my first car. This is a photo of it. He’s a twat.

And here’s another example of what all you lucky ladies are missing. Once, in one of the rare post-coital moments when he wasn’t too sweaty to stay in the same room as, he did a little pillow talk. You might think he was whispering sweet nothings, but in actual fact he just bluntly asked how many of my fingers I could fit into one of his nostrils. The answer is two. Easily. His nose is huge. It’s got an echo. I think I heard somebody in there recently, calling for help.

All of this is very entertaining, and probably the only reason I’m still around. Because most of the time, he’s just annoying, and barely house-trained. If a dog repeatedly piddles on your lino, you’re supposed to rub its nose it it. But nobody did this with Dick, which is why he still dribbles on the tiles when he goes to the loo. I’ve banned him from having a stand-up wee, although surely it shouldn’t be necessary: he’s got a piss-tube (it’s not much good for anything else), so why doesn’t he just use it? I’m tempted to rub his nose in his mess so hard that the marble tiles break, but they’re such nice tiles.

His bodily functions are irritating, but his personality is downright infuriating. If you’ve read his blogs, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what he’s like: a filthy, dry sense of humour, good with words, and constantly argumentative.

A diagram of Dick’s brain, inside Dick’s head. I didn’t say “dickhead”. I didn’t need to.

And he knows everything, which is really annoying. I like to wind him up because I have a degree and he doesn’t: but then he watches University Challenge and casually gets 97% of the questions right, then sits there looking smug and waiting to be punched. There’s literally no end to the amount of pointless trivia he can store in his vast head.

And that, I think is the only reason I’m with him: he’s pretty much guaranteed to win a £30 drinks voucher every time we go to the pub quiz. Hey, something’s gotta pay my way through teacher training, and I’m not doing it sober!

Isn’t that typical of a…

Nothing in the world could convince me to become a famous person.

I can’t think of a worse torture than being a movie star, being looked at and talked about and admired. To me, the centre of attention is where Tom Cruise lives. It’s therefore something to be observed from a great distance, ideally through the scope of a high-powered rifle.

If you met me you’d probably never guess that I’m an introvert: it’s just that you’re unlikely to meet me in the first place, so it’s a moot point. Most people seem to live their lives hoping to be invited to parties, but I live my life grateful that I’m not. Being surrounded by people exhausts me, which is why I never take part in orgies, and why fame is a terrifying concept.

So it was strange to find out recently that people I don’t know had been talking about me. Well, its a kind of fame, I guess. I wasn’t exactly thrust into the spotlight, I was just told that 2 strangers who follow this blog had discussed me, and had decided I write like a girl, which was fine, and I wasn’t crying, I just had something in my eye. It’s actually the second time I’ve been told this, and I’m starting to wonder if there’s any truth in it. Being of a analytical and scientific bent I did some experimenting, and after pulling rhythmically on my penis for around 15-20 minutes I realised two things:

  1. That it was definitely firmly attached, and not a strap-on at all; and
  2. That I really should have fetched the tissues before I started my experiment: waddling into the kitchen with my pants round my ankles and one messy hand is undignified at my age.

So quod erat demonstrandum I’m not a girl, but apparently I write like one. And I’ve been trying to work out what “writes like a girl” actually means.

Perhaps it means that I gleefully admit to regular catastrophic failings, which is a singularly un-male thing to do. Most men are so busy competing with each other to crawl to the top of the sexual pile that they daren’t admit for a moment that the view from half-way up the pile is good enough, and that they’re actually quite tired and want a sit down.

But I’m not at the top, and from my disadvantage-point halfway down the pile I can look right up the noses of those who do get to the top, and can see how full of mucus their heads really are. Awful people. Constantly competing. It’s just misfiring synapse telling them to endlessly battle for sexual dominance, and to be “the best”. It’s what leads to David Cameron unless it’s nipped in the bud early on. Who wants to reach the top if you’re surrounded by people like him? The middle is fine. All the best comedies are about being trapped in the middle, and that’s where I am – in the middle, and laughing. Join me, and ignore those gobshites at the top, battling for sexual supremecy until everyone hates them too much to want to see them nekkid. I’d rather put a smile on your face than my balls.

OK, maybe a smile and then my balls.

Moving on… I think the “he writes like a girl” theory is probably right. I probably do. But I think it just means I’ve recognised there are some things a woman can say which a man can’t get away with. For example, if a girl blogs that size is really important, and that she can’t form a relationship with a man who doesn’t have a throbbing sea-beast living in his trousers, she’s considered a modern, go-getting woman who has standards and needs, and ensures they’re met.

But if a guy says he only wants to date women who have huge tits, he’s a troglodyte and needs to drag himself out of the 1970s and recognise that women are more than just a pair of breasts… exquisite breasts.

Experiment time again!

But not many guys actually say that sort of thing about tits. I’m sure more of them think it than say it, but I’m equally sure a lot of men don’t even think it. I don’t believe that men automatically think like men and women think like women: there’s a continuum, and we’re all somewhere along it.

Personally I don’t get pissed or punch people at weddings or do anything else celebrate my monkey heritage, other than read books by Richard Dawkins. I don’t shout “oi oi” at passing scrubbers, or even think women are scrubbers (except for cackling women who quaff Lambrusco in the back of a stretch Hummer, but that’s a perfectly fair assumption).

My next-door-neighbour, who has a Manchester City flag pinned above his front door, has no idea how to relate to me. The moment I moved in he asked which team I support, and when I told him I didn’t follow football he gave me a look as though I’d just announced I live on the blood of freshly killed goats, and travel everywhere by magic carpet. To him I am undoubtedly a “man who writes like a girl”, but I suspect he thinks anybody who writes (or reads, for that matter) has suspect masculinity.

But I couldn’t give a wobbly tartan fuck about his opinion. To you he may be a proper man, but to me he’s a proper chimp. For Christ’s sake, he stands in his garden with a beer and a fag, and watches City play through his front window, because he’s got a 72 inch wall-mounted TV in the living room. He should be shot. Twice.

Is that a man? Yes, by some standards. By my standards I’m a big northern bloke, who used to box, pronounces “scone” the wrong way, and has absolutely no fear of Salford. But I also have a healthy, if slightly cynical respect for women, enjoy recondite words like recondite, like to paint pretty pictures, and feel fine admitting that Amelie warms my cockles. I’m on the “male” continuum, I’m just in a different place from him.

And on the “female” continuum? Well, I’ve never met @katy_red (AKA Honey) but my guess is that she’s not a florid, flouncy girly-girl, who drives a yellow Beetle with a flower in the window and clads herself in more pink than Barbara Cartland’s clitoris. You could argue that makes her “less of a woman”, but what’s a woman anyway? And what’s a man? We can all take our clothes off and find out, but I don’t like orgies as I mentioned earlier, so I’ll just accept your word for what happens next. Write a blog about it, I don’t care if it’s a girly one as long as I get to (ahem) “experiment” again. Kleenex, please.

I’m tired of typical. Typical is so boring. Typical wears a shell-suit and gobs on the street. Typical beats his wife. Typical is down the pub when he should be reading to his kids and helping clean the house. Fuck typical. I’ll keep writing like a girl, screwing like a man, and confusing the neighbours.

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?

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.