Let’s talk?

A friend dropped me an email and instantly we moved into a conversational ping-pong, catching up on each other’s lives (and everything that’s happened to us) since we were last in heavy contact four years ago.

Girlfriends (me), boyfriends (her), work (both of us), family (her), cats (me), and many other topics.

Oh, in the last four years we’ve had the odd interaction on FB, the odd ‘like’ on a photo, and a few words here or there, but nothing that really amounted to a conversation.

Or a good old natter.

And I do enjoy, at times, a good old natter with friends.

I do wonder, as a result of the way it presents information, if FB killing conversation? That’s an interesting thought.

But what is the peculiarity about me that I find it so easy to slip into an animated email conversation with a friend I haven’t really ‘spoken to’ for almost a handful of years, yet don’t do the same kind of email conversation with the person with whom I live?

Is it just me? Or is that a common behaviour?

Pigsty

I live with an untidy person.

Sometimes the house (and I mean the *whole* house) looks like a scene from the very worst C5 documentary. You know the type of thing, I’m sure.

Or you can probably imagine it.

Well, you’re not trying hard enough. Imagine far, far worse than you already are.

You’re probably close now, in a ‘close but no cigar’ kind of way.

Her untidyness has, on more than one occasion, been the cause of arguments.

Several times it has taken me to the edge of leaving the house and checking in to a hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Walking from the top of the stairs into the bathroom, and from the bathroom across the landing and into our bedroom and then into my side of the bed has been, oh so regularly, impossible without treading on things (clothing mostly) every single step of the way.

Our beautiful, one-year old kitchen that cost us so much money, is frequently turned into a battlefield-aftermath scene from Saving Private Ryan. But with fewer bodies.

With all of the mess, though.

I tidy.

Every night without fail, and some mornings, I attack the worst of the downstairs mess, while everyone else is upstairs, sleeping.

I wouldn’t have to tidy, if she would only tidy up after herself. But she can’t. She doesn’t know how.

She genuinely doesn’t know how to tidy up behind herself as she’s going along.

When I’m clearing the top of our lovely, large, 1″ thick oak-topped breakfast bar I will frequently find dirty cutlery, empty-but-leaking juices cat food sachets, under many layers of paperwork, tea-towels, school text-books, unopened letters, local newspapers, last month’s parish magazine, and dirty breakfast-bowls.

The mess is constant, indiscriminate, and spreading.

Spreading because her daughters are learning by watching.

She never cleans up whilst she’s doing things, and doesn’t ever clean up behind herself, so it should come as no surprise at all to learn that neither of her daughters even know how to clean up after themselves.

I’m not being forced to live in the mess of one untidy person, I’m living in the mess of three untidy people.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

There is a two-day music festival this weekend, down on the Cotswolds, in North Oxfordshire.

It’s not the kind of festival that would be graced by the local glitterati; it’s a free music festival.

Yes, that’s right. A free music festival!

I’ve been before; two or three times (five, actually).

I’ve even played guitar on a very inconsequential stage during a day-time slot. This sentence says more about the level of expertise of the band I played with at that time, than about anything else.

But that’s not what this thought-dump is about.

I would like to go to the aforementioned, two-day free music festival.

But there is me and there is her and there are her two girls.

It would mean, if we went for the two days, camping. In a field. Overnight. Actually, the distance between here and there is so great that it would, in all likelihood, mean staying out for the first night anyway.

And in the festival world, staying out overnight means camping.

Unless we don’t?

Another unless is ‘unless we don’t go’…

The weather forecast for the weekend is awesome.

The list of bands is brilliant, but Saturday night’s schedule has a couple of ‘must see’ names.

And I’d like to must see them all.

Money (that’s what I want)

Weirdest of things just happened.

I told you that five months ago I changed jobs?

Well I’ve gone freelance. I operate through my own limited company, but I’m just another self-employed person in the gig economy (sortov).

So I just had a text from my company bank. The text said:

A payment or load received for your account has exceeded your maximum balance limit. Call us immediately or it will be refunded to the payers account

Yes, that’s right. There is too much money in my limited company bank account, so if I don’t take some out pronto, they’re going to bounce back the £2k that was credited to the account today.

That’s messed up, right?

Anyway, I’ve taken £2.5k out which should stop today’s credit from being returned.

And I’ve launched an account application with another bank. One who doesn’t have such a rule.

Caught in a trap

I realise I’ve fallen in to a routine which goes something like this:

Be busy and don’t blog
Find a little time and reminisce
Indulge heavily in memories of past relationships
Blog about them

And rinse and repeat

So I need to break the cycle.

Me?

I’m still in the same relationship. Just. By the skin of my teeth

We’ve had a couple of nearly moments, where we nearly split up.

I’ve been a bit of an idiot, a couple of times. I haven’t ‘done’ anything. I’ve just been idiotic.

She’s been over-reacting.

And we had a couple of nearly times.

What else?

Umm.

Very little really.

Oh yes. I changed jobs.

My last job was killing me (actually killing me) and since I’ve changed, five months ago, I’m sleeping at night, I’m more relaxed, I’m more in tune with ‘me’, and I’m very happy.

I think that’s it really.

Her?

She’s still gorgeous-looking but prickly at times.

She’s lost a massive amount of weight (just over a stone!).

She doesn’t trust me (in terms of faithfulness only). Which is ridiculous because I have been scrupulously faithful.

And that’s really it really.

Stick around. I’ll try to be more frequent.

Fishing in the same old pool

The trouble with PoF is that it is not the deep end of the dating pool.

Yes, there might be Plenty of Fish, but if you are PoFing then you are dipping your hook pretty close to the surface of a murkily-shallow, weed-clogged pool of stagnant, smelly water.

I’ve had some interesting encounters via PoF, and had some lovely dates with very beautiful people.

But I’ve narrowly dodged some PoF people you just wouldn’t want to meet at a party at your best friend’s house.

No, I wouldn’t want to snog you, let along have a relationship with you, especially as being in the same room as you makes my skin itch.

That kind of people.

The trouble is the different classes of dating websites just give you different classes of fish (to keep the analogy going).

They’re the same. But different.

A better class of person you wouldn’t want to meet at a party at your best friend’s house.

That kind of thing.

I haven’t been fishing (or any other kind of date-searching) for five years.

But I hear my colleagues, and my friends talk to me about their experiences, and say ‘You’re so lucky, it wasn’t like this when you were last on the market’.

And they’re so wrong. It was like this.

It was also like this in the pre-internet days, when we’d spend our Friday or Saturday evenings in various wine bars, looking for the one.

The one!

That’s a conversation for another time.

But in the meantime I’ll just say that I’m glad I’m not fishing.

I do wonder what’s out there, in those pools.

But I’m glad I’m not fishing.

Zzzzzzz

It is the wee small hours. I am typing this on my phone, so there may be errors.

Fast forward a handful of years.

My SO is fast asleep next to me.

Snoring.

Snoring stupidly loudly.

This is the fourth time this week that I have been woken by heavy snoring activities.

I’ve been lying here trying to analyse what happens when I’m woken up by such awful noise.

I get frustrated.

I get annoyed.

I take it personally.

And finally, after an hour or so, I get really angry.

Say something, you may advise.

Wake up the snorer, you may think.

I do.

I have done both.

My SO gets defensive.

Assumes a mental posture that is borderline combative.

And says things that make me feel selfish.

Because I don’t want to be alone in the bed.

I don’t want them to flounce downstairs in to the cold, to sleep on the settee.

And I don’t want to feel bad about just mentioning that I got three hours sleep, on four different nights this week.

I’m exhausted.

But I don’t know what to do.

Friendly Fire from my own phone

I dropped my handset a few days ago, and broke the glass.

Annoying and expensive, as the phone is less than two months old.

So I took it off for an in-store repair which, to give Geek Squad credit for, they turned around in one working day.

Marvellous.

I had backed up all my data, contacts, emails, photos and all that jazz, but when I carefully unpacked the phone at home and put the old SIM card in, the Samsung genie who lives inside the handset asked if I wanted to do a full restore from two days ago?

I said ‘yes’.

And it did it.

It just did the whole thing by itself; restored the phone from Samsung’s cloud-based services, and I didn’t need to touch the backup I’d taken at home.

But the phone has also restored the entire history of text messages sent/received, going back to mid-2012.

And I’ve sent/received a lot of texts over the last five years!

Most of these texts are mundane.

Some are not.

Some are very… pointed.

In a ‘phew *fans self*’ kind of way.

Reading texts to two people in particular got me very hot under the collar, to use a physically inaccurate euphemism.

As I was sitting at home last night, I started thinking about them.

What are they doing now?

Do they still live in the same places?

Are the phone numbers I have for them still live?

And do they still look as drop dead gorgeous as they did a couple of years ago, when I was very active in the dating world?

I sort of hate myself for even wondering these things.

I’m not looking.

I’m in a relationship.

But I couldn’t stop myself.

Is this normal?

The queen of Hearts she had some…

I am not a tart.

I don’t even know where the line is that separates someone from being ‘experienced’ from someone being ‘a slut’.

In fact, I don’t even know what those two things mean.

They are just words I hear. Around.

Does the fact that I have only ever had one yes that’s right just one one-night stand make me promiscuous?

Or does the fact that I’ve had one one-night stand make me a slut?

I don’t think so – to either question.

The people (around) who talk about anyone who has had multiple sexual partners would, if I exposed the truth, call me promiscuous.

Probably.

Alright, I may have had (since I became sexually active (when I was 17 years old) 23 sexual partners, but all of those (with that one exception) were proper relationships.

Relationships that lasted months and, in a couple of instances, years.

There’s a lad at work, in his very early 30s, who has had 40 (FORTY!) sexual partners, and a significant amount of those were ‘encountered’ at ‘lads weekends’ on Ibiza, and Majorca, etc.

So they weren’t proper relationships or anything.

So is he a tart?

Or a slut?

Is he?

I just keep my numbers secret; nobody needs to know.

Do they?

Anyway.

When I looked at my LinkedIn contacts earlier and thought ‘Done that one, and that one, and that one, and ooh yeah done that one properly and so would do that one again and again, and that one’, and (eventually) ‘Oh My God I have had sex with way too many people I have met through work!’, then maybe it is time to review my dating strategy?

Not that I’m dating at the moment anyway.

Because I’m living with someone.

So that’s it, right?

Being single, being ‘out there’ (1)

Let’s not mince words.

I love(d) being single.

And not from the point of ‘I love having the freedom to play the field and to go to bed with anyone who finds me remotely attractive’.

‘Go to bed with’.

What a lovely euphemism.

Anyway, back to being single.

As a singleton I enjoyed having an uncluttered life where if I didn’t want to turn the TV on for a night, or even for a weekend, or a week, I just wouldn’t turn the TV on for a night, or a weekend, or for a week.

If I’m going to eat chicken and pasta for three evenings on the trot, while I put my feet up on the settee, and listen to music and read a book, then I’m going to do those things.

Sometimes it’s just about not having to speak to anyone else.

Sometimes it’s about being in bed by 7pm with a good book and the radio on and a mug of hot chocolate.

Or sometimes it’s about putting my feet up on the settee and binge-watching Netflix, or films on Amazon, or DVDs.

Just because.

But there are things I miss(ed), and sometimes being not single becomes an attractive state.

Having someone to talk to because sometimes I wanted to talk to someone.

Or having someone to go to the cinema with, and discuss the film over a drink afterwards.

I really miss that one, when I’m single.

Or having someone to come to a gig with, because the best new band in the world is on within a hundred miles and I really want to go and see them!

And then there’s the ‘going to bed’ thing.

Sexual gratification via masturbation is very acceptable, and easy to access, but although it is handy gratification in a scratching-an-itch kind of way, it isn’t real actual sex.

I enjoy the real actual sex.

I enjoy the actual masturbation too, because in my head I have a cast of thousands (!) and the only rules are the somewhat shady limits of my own imagination.

But I enjoy doing rude things with someone else just a little more.

So we go dating.

We (and I don’t really enjoy these words) ‘hook up’.

Tinder, Match/MatchAffinity, PoF, Elite Singles, eHarmony, Bumble, OKCupid, we know the names, right?

And we probably know the players, yeah?

The trouble is, just like a Princess has to kiss a lot of frogs before she finds her Prince, there are a lot of players out there, on the other end of those dating apps.

So when I have a few moment I’m going to share just some of the dating insights from the last time I was single.

Not cautionary tales, just actual tales.