Here’s a little but wise story from Nasruddin about this dance I’m doing;
Once there were two friends who would meet every New Year’s Eve and discuss their future plans.
The first one asked the second, “What are you going to do this year?”
“I’m going to find myself the perfect wife,” the first friend replied,
“Someone beautiful, cultured and kind.”
A year passed. The two friends met.
“Tell me, how did you get on?” asked the second friend.
“Not too well. I found a woman who was beautiful but had never read a book or played an instrument and we had nothing in common. Next year I’ll search further afield.”
Another year passed.
“How did you get on with finding your wife this year?”
“I searched even further and found a woman who was beautiful and well-read and I loved her for that but she was selfish – only ever thinking of herself.
Next year I’ll search even further afield.”
A third year passed.
“And how did you get on this year?” asked the second friend. “Did you find the perfect wife?”
“I did,” replied his friend. “I found someone beautiful, cultured and kind but there was a small problem. She was looking for the perfect husband.”
That made me smile and there’s a lot of truth in it, Rumi, another Persian thinker once said “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” and I’ve come to discover over the past few years that we nearly always are our own worse enemies, and knowing that, acknowledging that fact is half the battle.
In 2009 about five million people watched the ‘My Finale’ episode of Scrubs when John Dorian left Scared Heart Teaching Hospital. It was a hour long special and the last few minutes of the episode was taken up playing the above song. You can view the actual scene here.
This song has haunted me ever since then, I’ve heard it a few times, just snatches of it but missing the whole song, the radio never mentioned whom it was by and I wasn’t quick enough with SoundHound. It turns out it was a cover of ‘The Book of Love’, originally by Magnetic Fields but this version by Peter Gabriel. It’s strange how, if you have enough patience, everything comes to you eventually. I feel strangely sad and yet happy when I listen to it, it’s somehow very poignant, like it’s triggering something deep down inside me and I finally figured out what it is this evening.
Over the past few years I’ve been following various blogs, nearly all of them are about dating and misadventures but there’s been about ten blogs I’ve regularly dipped into and smiled and recognised the same mistakes, the same fuck-ups, the same embarrassing failures.
But here’s the thing. Over the years, one by one, each of these blogs have slowly disappeared. Last year one of my favourites disappeared but before she went off the air she told all her readers that at long last she had found someone special, someone she wanted to start a life with and she needed space to work on that relationship without everyone else knowing the daily ups and downs of her day, so she thanked the readers for all their support and a few weeks later it was lights out.
Part of me was sad, (some of the postings were hilarious!) but a larger part of me was happy, happy that eventually after all the mis-steps, all the weirdos, all the dishonesty, all the trying, all the let downs, all the longing and missed chances, that she was happy and in love.
And so that only left one blog remaining, Middle Aged Dating, I’ve enjoy reading Charmaine’s blog, a lot of it resonated with me but it seems there is news on that front too, she’s just got married and I’m enormously pleased for a couple of reasons. Firstly I’m pleased because she’s had a rough time and it’s nice to know she’s finally met a (Italian) man and found true love but secondly and more personal, it means it must be getting near my turn. I’ve watched all the dating blogs slowly disappear and now the last straggler is finally gone, so it gives me hope, hope that if one is patient enough, kind enough, open enough, true to oneself, generous of the heart and willing to keep at it, then eventually you will find the one soul you are meant to be with. My mother Doris agrees with me, everything comes to the man (or woman) with patience.
I got this in an email a few years ago, thought it was amusing (but still had a large element of truth) and added my own slant to it.
The Rest of the World
1) You spy a woman you’d like to sleep with and think of something witty to say.
2) You go up to her. You say something witty and unique (so you think). In her mind, it just sounds really corny but if you’re cute you’ve got a chance.
3) You buy her a drink and she thinks you’re cute (or she’s just desperate) and you exchange witty banter.
4) You exchange phone numbers and say you’ll give her a call sometime.
5) That sometime must be three days. Call too early you’re too desperate. Call too late she thinks you’re not interested.
6) Three days pass and you give her a call and ask her out to coffee. Coffee first because you don’t want to spend loads on her for dinner if she turns out to be a dudd.
7) You pick her up at her place. She checks out your car and the way you dress and sees if you brought her a token present, and if you open her car door. If she only gets 2 out of 4, then she’ll end the date at coffee.
8) Coffee becomes like a job interview. So what do you do? Where you originally from? What kind of movies do you like? What do you usually do on the weekends? What kind of food do you like? If guy likes girl then he’ll use the “What kind of food do you like?” to transition into the dinner date.
9) Dinner date. More of the date interview. At this juncture, she sizes you up by checking out how much you make by the type of restaurant you take her and how you treat wait staff.
10) Dinner is over and the bill comes. Girl does the wallet reach to test out if he’s a cheapskate. If he says don’t even think about footing for the bill, then he’s good to go. If he say, ok let’s go dutch, he’s toast.
11) You drop her home and say you had a nice time and wish her goodnight. What you do at this point will make or break a second date. Do you kiss her on the lips, forehead, cheek? Do you give her a big hug or a hug and a pat on the back? Or what? If the guy really likes her and wants her on the second date then he either kisses her on the cheek or gives her a great big hug. He wants to really get laid so he kisses her on the cheeks AND gives her a great big hug.
12) At this point she becomes smitten and anxiously awaits his call.
13) You call in a week. Guy wants to make like he has a life and has no time for her but despite his busy schedule has made time for her. She becomes even more smitten so he takes her to a movie.
15) After the movie, he tries the hand reach and tries to hold her hand. He does and she blushes.
16) He invites her for a drink at his house. She says it’s getting late and she is expecting him to kiss her on the lips. He kisses her on the lips.
17) Guy has a real good chance at getting laid. He sends her a text message and reminds her that he had a really great time last night. She’s smitten and showing the text message to her co-workers and friends.
18) You can’t wait so you call her the next day and set up another date ASAP.
19) You invite her over to your house for dinner. You cook her an elaborate meal.
20) Pop a bottle of wine and make-out in the living room and then you sleep with her. You bid her goodnight and tell her you will call.
21) She never hears from you again.
1) Get yourself drunk enough to get the balls to walk up to a woman and talk to her.
2) Buy her drinks and get her drunk and make her laugh a lot.
3) You both stumble drunk to her place and end up in bed.
4) Once you finally become sober, you both realise you’re married.
Today is the 29th of February and the one day every 1,460 days (aka four years) when I am a bit wary of unexpected surprises and watch my back. In this country at least it’s the one day when woman are meant to propose to their man, not like there’s anything stopping woman from proposing any other day of the year but it’s a tradition here in the UK and the media will be so full of it tonight and tomorrow.
Marriage proposals are a minefield, many many years ago, I was at watching my local rugby team play on a cold wet Saturday afternoon. At half time, the stadium announcer advised us that some idiot wished to propose to his beloved on the very muddy pitch. On they came and headed for the centre circle; meanwhile the stadium as one rose and serenaded the bride to be thus;
“Get your tits out
Get your tits out
Get your tits out ..for the lads…”
The romance of it all still brings a tear to my eye…
A friend proposed to his girlfriend at around 20,000 feet. They were going skydiving for her birthday and he asked her in the plane before they jumped. She said yes and he was overjoyed. It was short-lived as her chute never opened and she plummeted to her death. It’s fine though coz he has a new wife.
I don’t know of anyone who’s actually been proposed to on the 29th February and I can’t tell their story so here’s how not to do it everyone.. Now, if one of you ladies were mad enough to propose to me then I think a food court is not the right place, jetting me off to some tropical paradise would probably be OK but a food court… hmmm
If you are going to do it then you obviously need to do it in style, say fly over to Portugal and surprise her, I know this is fictional but this is my idea of how to do it ladies. I’ll even move to Portugal with enough hints.
Colin Firth proposal to Aurélia
And since this is a once in four years day then how about a little romance, this is a sweet video from one of my favourite movies and a smashing song too. Who says romance is dead..today of all days..
I was walking back home this evening at about 7pm and my path was blocked by a gang of blokes all gathered outside a shop.. I was slightly irritated because there’s never anyone around these streets at night and suddenly they were blocking my way…grrrrr. But then the penny dropped and I realised why they were all crowding around one particular shop – it was a florist…and it’s Valentines Day..
It was interesting watching them, by 7pm you can guarantee that, even in Tooting, every single red rose would have been sold out long ago and I could see the look of concern on their faces…what bunch of flowers would substitute for a dozen red roses, I could see them, weighing up the options and making a grab for a bouquet before one of the other guys did – been there, done that, have the scars to prove it.
I think this is a rite of passage, you see, all the blokes standing there making last minute grabs, they were all under 40, by the time every man’s got to 40 we have learnt (sometimes painfully) to get ourselves organised at least a few days before, we’ve put the orders in, we organised the dinner, the wine, the entertainment and we can sit back and indulge in some schadenfreude.. (or we should!)
I work with a lot of woman and I went around this afternoon asking everyone what their plans were, nearly all of them were staying in and cooking a meal for themselves and their boyfriends, one said that the deal was that they were going to watch his favourite DVD and then her favourite DVD, hmm how romantic…and I suppose I’ve been there myself as well, I have been out in Clapham on Valentines Night crammed into a restaurant and eating under par food cooked and served by harassed staff..
The thing is, I know Valentine’s Day is yet another opportunity for retailers to empty my wallet but the older I get the more soppy I become, (or is it sloppy)… I don’t know but romance is becoming more important to me, I don’t want to wine/dine/wham/bam/thankyou/ma’am, I want to romance someone, I want to do the flowers and silly poetry and love letters and silly texts and goofy jokes and sing songs and cook her favourite meal and public displays of affection and give unexpected presents and hold doors open and put on the inside of the pavement and share umbrellas and chat until dawn and lay on the grass counting stars and running around like a love struck puppy and stay in a four poster bed at the Red Lion in Salisbury or even better, spend a weekend at Ashford Castle..and I want someone to do the same for me too..romance me too..
50 years and counting.
That’s how long I have been stomping my size 11’s all over this planet. ALL that time and I’ve never heard of the word ‘singlehood’ before. It seems I am missing out on my education; I really need to start watching daytime tv more often.
So, ‘singlehood’ defined not as the favoured attire of hoodies, not as an unsubtle reference to the non-circumcised but according to the free online dictionary it’s ‘The state of being unmarried.’
I’m not sure who thought up that definition, there is so much more to singlehood, to me it means I can quite happily go to the flicks by myself and not have to take a friend (yup, done that), it means I can quite happily go off travelling the world by myself (yup, done that in spades) but most importantly it means an acceptance of being single and being happy with that state. Yes, of course if I come across someone that I fall in love with then sure by all means I can leave singlehood but I think singlehood is all about acceptance, contentment and being happy with your lot and even enjoying it..
…at the present time.
There seems to be some social stigma about being single and from my experience it seems to increase the older one gets, like it’s socially awkward, people are always trying to pair me up with someone, I go to dinner parties and social events and I’m constantly being introduced to other single woman – with a knowing smile from the introducee. I’ve chatted to married couples at parties asking why they do this and part of it is the genuine desire to match-make and have a ‘happy ending’, I think that’s just human nature but a few friends have said they do it because they think I must be unhappy being single and they want to help. And I’m a bit throw by that, why would you think I was unhappy because I’m single and they quote dubious research and tell you that if you are married then you live longer (which was old extremely flawed research that doesn’t hold water by today’s standards) and are healthier (and this was said to me by a bloke who’s belly was resting comfortable on his knees like a large blancmange).
The thing is, happiness isn’t really about being single or married, it’s a cliché but happiness is a state of mind, a choice. The Lifelines of Happiness Study, directed by Prof. Richard E. Lucas first reported findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “Looking at the quantified results, you can see how happy the participants were in the years before getting married, how happy they were in the early years of marriage, and how happy they were later on,” she said. “There was a little blip around the wedding and honeymoon, but overall it showed that people who were happy before getting married were happy afterwards and the people who weren’t happy before getting married aren’t happy now. Being happy has more to do with their individual personalities than whether or not they’re married.”
So being happy is compatible with being single (and ironically being married!), I keep telling my friends this. However – and just to throw a spanner in the works – this is the modern dilemma; I am of the opinion that whilst being single is fine, I think our natural instinct, our natural state, our natural condition, flow, our natural urge, is to be in a long term relationship. In a partnership there are benefits, some that are obvious and some that aren’t so obvious. The obvious ones are the financial ones, for example; nearly all insurance is cheaper if you are buying it with a partner, single hotel rooms are few and far between and you end up paying for doubles (my pet gripe when I go off on my wanders), living together as a couple is much cheaper than living as two separate houses and the word ‘discount’ seems to only apply to partners. But there are other benefits; tossing the coin to see who goes down the stairs to investigate that strange noise during the middle of the night (!), sharing jobs that need done around the house and looking after the brood is a lot easier if there are two adults in the house, and then of course there’s the company, the rumpy-pumpy and most of all, the love you have for each other and the anticipation, the expectation of building a life together and being together into old age.
So, I’m 50 and enjoying my singlehood and I think that’s just the type of person I am. However, I would like to leave singlehood one day, it’s fine and I’m comfortable with it and in full acceptance but I’m naturally gregarious, I like company, you see, I was born a twin and spent the first nine months of my life in the closest possible relationship with someone and that should tell you lots about me. I think that’s when I’m at my best, it’s when I do the most good, am most creative and fulfil my most potential and I want to do that, I want to ‘be used fully’ if that makes sense, I don’t want to waste my energy and resources just pussyfooting around pissing off the senior management at work, I want to do something I’m proud of and not just raise two brilliant kids but also be in a relationship and think to myself ‘yup, I did all right there, I made a few mistakes and owned up to them, I tried my best and really worked at it but overall I’m kind’a proud of what we achieved together..’ and I think this is where I’m meant to be, not in singlehood but in parenthood, familyhood, lovinghood.
But here’s the issue and it’s why I’m still resident in singlehood land, there is no magic marker on everybody, you can’t trawl the internet, the bars, the clubs, the dinner parties and find someone with a large neon light hovering above their head saying ‘THIS IS THE ONE’ so I have to play the game, play the field, nearly all residents of singlehood do this and I’ve watched friends over the years pair off and leave singlehood and I’m enormously pleased with them..
But they always say to me “why didn’t you go out with XYZ, she was nice.?” And the problem is yes, she was nice but she wasn’t the one and I get ‘but what was wrong with her?’ and it’s something that’s hard to quantify, I see my friends match up and I’m pleased and I’ve met some very very nice woman over the years and I could have settled down with a few of them but I would be settling for something less than I want. It seems to be a game, a balancing act everyone does, do we cut our losses and go for ‘reasonable OK with potential’ or do we continue to wait and hope that someone who just knocks your socks off comes along eventually. It’s like buying a house, when I was trying to buy a house in the 90’s I was being constantly gazumped, I kept losing out to higher bidders and eventually I got a house (in desperation) but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it ‘was nice, had potential’ but I bought it out of fear of never ever having a house, out of fear, and I don’t want to pick the woman I am going to settle down with out of fear, I want the reason for settling down with her to be solely out of love. I made a mistake before, in the choice of houses and partner and I think it’s important that I learn that lesson and this is what I say to my friends who are becoming increasingly exasperated with my reluctance to just settle for someone ‘nice looking with potential’.
My mother Doris waited until she was 81 before she left singlehood, I’m hoping…no, I’m confident that I won’t have to wait another 30 years before I hand in my keys to singlehood.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in ‘Blink’ that sometimes we make decisions just based on a hunch, on instinct and we can’t figure out why, we just have an intuitive sense of something being right or wrong. He goes on to propose that it’s our subconscious talking to us, picking up little clues that our conscious mind doesn’t notice and he starts off his book with the story of ‘The statue that didn’t look right’. The Paul Getty museum was offered a statue from the sixth century BC, it was an almost perfect specimen and the price was just short of $10,000,000. The museum got in experts from all over the world and even took a sample of marble from behind the knee and tested it under every sort of scope one could think of. It passed all tests and did indeed appear to be bona fide, they paid up and had a big four page spread in the New York Times about this new find.
However, when a member of the Trustee Board first looked at it she immediately thought it was a forgery, she couldn’t say exactly why but it just didn’t look right, and more and more experts felt the same way, one thought it looked ‘fresh’, not the first thought one should have upon looking upon a 2,500 yr old statue. The statue is now in the Getty catalogue as “Greek, about 530 B.C., or modern forgery.”
These experts were following their hunches, their instincts in calling the Kouros a fake, and we all develop our own set of hunches, instincts or ‘spiddy-sense’ if you are a fan of Spiderman. In Northern Ireland one could instinctively tell if the person taking to you was Catholic or Protestant, if the area you were walking though was Catholic or Protestant area and even the commentators on the radio/tv what religious tradition that had been brought up in, in a country where being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be a matter of life or death literally then one develops these survival instincts and tailors ones conversation to one’s audience.
But it’s not only in Northern Ireland that one develops these instincts, Bill Bryson wrote in ‘Neither Here Nor There’ that when he was in Belgium that really the country was divided in two, the northern Dutch speaking Flanders and the southern French speaking Wallonia. The Flemmings can’t stand the Walloons and vise versa and one day he was being shown around the city by a guide who would glance sideways at a couple sitting sipping coffee in an outdoor café and hiss ‘Dutch!’ to Bill. Bill said how can he tell and the guide was amazed that Bill couldn’t tell they were northern but of course to Bill they just looked like everyone else in Belgium. The guide had obviously become sensitive to the little tell-tale signs that makes one group different from another and when Bill asked him to explain how he knew they were northern Dutch the guide couldn’t say, he just knew because ‘it was so obvious’!
I know how the guide feels, I spent a large part of yesterday and today looking at cars for sale in Croydon, a satellite town south of London where I lived in for the first seven years of London life and my spidy-sense was on full alert. It’s not that hard to describe Croydon, when I lived there it was cheap, messy and quite rough but now it’s just a huge ginormous sprawling monster, like when I was there it was a troublesome teenager that one hoped would come good in the end but instead it’s metamorphosed in Jabba The Hutt.
Unlike the Belgium guide and Michael Gladwell, I know full well why my spider-sense was on full alert, there are certain characteristics that one judges an area with and whether it’s safe to walk the streets or if one’s going to be a target, you may use some of these without knowing it. If I see people sitting outside in a café sipping coffee and chatting away, generally that area is OK. I saw none of this in Croydon but I have a broad set of criteria before I damn a place, another thing I look out for is a bookshop, specifically a full bookshop, vandals and larger-louts tend not to frequent bookshops and I did indeed find one in Croydon but it was almost empty… strike two. The other thing connected with this is did I see anyone reading a book on the bus/tram down to Croydon, apart from myself there was no-one else reading on the bus, not even a Kindle…not a good sign. However, the most telling sign and one most Londoners aren’t aware of is – are there people on bicycles. You can tell an area is OK simply by the presence of people going about their business on bikes and the abundance of cycle lanes. Even Tooting’s got well used cycle lanes but in Croydon I saw not one person on a bike, I saw two adults on scooters blasting through the Christmas shoppers but no one on bikes and that’s very telling. There are bike lanes leaving Tooting and heading in the general direction of Croydon but they peter out the closer one gets to Croydon, it’s like the council knows there is no point in painting them on the road, they will never get used. The dystopian Los Angeles so brilliantly created by Ridley Scott in Blade Runner already exists just south of London. I’m glad I managed to escape alive.
However, there’s one more bit to this story that I need to mention and it’s got to do with relationships. I do the same thing with relationships, I judge them on factors I can’t really explain, it’s nothing to do with looks, height, weight, age, personality or even distance, I can’t explain it but I know instinctively if a relationship is going to be long term or short term and it greatly colours how I treat that person, and I don’t know what it is, some folk say it’s ‘chemistry’ and maybe our bodies detect the pheromones given off by each other but I’m not so sure, I think it’s even subtler than that but I can’t explain it, all I know is that if my guts tell me it isn’t going to be the love of my life then I pull back because ..well..because it doesn’t feel right to go against your guts, does it.. and it’s a bit of a bugger because I’ve missed out on a lot of kissing because of it but when I look back at least I’ve got a slightly cleaner conscience and that’s kind’a important, at least for the London Leprechaun
So, I’ve mentioned before that I’m glad I’m not a woman, after spending an evening feeling really bloated after a dodgy risotto I now know I can never get pregnant…yes, pathetic man I know, however, it’s come to my attention that there are other reasons to be grateful that I’m a man and one of them is that I’ve never actually had to have my bits waxed. I watched The 40 year Old Virgin and he had his chest waxed and stripped and I saw the look on his face and believe me, it wasn’t one of pleasure. Actually, I tell a lie, when I was 14 I had to go into Newtownards hospital to have my appendix removed and as I was still considered a child I was put in the children’s surgical ward. Before the op the Sister came along, inspected my abdomen and told me I would need to be shaved from ‘nipple to knee’, a common procedure in 1970’s Irish hospitals. She asked if I wanted a male or female nurse to shave me bits and as puberty was in full flood through my veins I thought it prudent to choose a male nurse as I didn’t want to disgrace myself in the sweet tender hands of some lovely female nurse.
I remember it being really itchy when it grew back.
My sister bought me my first electric razor when I was 15 and at that age I think I could rub my bum-fluff off my chin with a damp towel, however I went on a ski-ing holiday when 16 and Kurt Savage, one of my class mates mentioned to me half way through the holiday that he had borrowed the shaver the night before to shave the hair off his butt. I was grossed out because he choose to tell me as I was having a shave at the time, and yes, he was very hairy but you think he’d have his own shaver by then. This is what 16 yr old boys get up to, we try to grow up as soon as possible.
Now as a reasonably hairy 50 year old male I find the idea of getting all my short and curlies ripped out as somewhat unappetising, what modern woman go through is enough to bring tears to my eyes. I’ve had to go to the GP and have my prostate stroked, not as pleasurable as they say in the some less salubrious websites that umm a friend of mine visits but exposing my most intimate parts is kind’a ok in the doctors surgery because I know it’s to avoid prostate cancer. However, going to some salon and exposing your most intimate parts to a complete stranger, not for health reasons but for social/aesthetic reasons is something I’m keen going to avoid.
I was discussing this recently with a friend and she used an expression that not only made me snigger but also went some way to explaining the reasons for enduring this torture, she mentioned she didn’t want to look like a clown when wearing a bathing suit and it took me a few seconds to figure that one out. Pubic shaving actually originated in ancient Egypt and Greece when prostitutes had to shave for both hygienic reasons and as a clear sign of their profession. Although female body shaving was established as the norm between 1915 and 1945, pubic hair removal did not gain a strong foothold until the 1980s, part of the reason was because of the porn industry (umm.. so a friend informs me) but also because swimsuits tended to get more and more revealing and if you were very hairy then the danger of looking like Krusty the Clown down there increased greatly.
But it’s very very strange, female friends of mine go to salons, strip off, assume some very unlady like positions, have a total stranger discuss and inspect their private parts in detail, then paste molten wax on said parts and apply paper and rip it off… AND they get paid to do this torture?? I wonder about this, I’m going to assume it is always a woman who carries out this torture – ummm I mean treatment but are there any men doing this to woman, and is the salon called Helga’s House Of Pain..and is there an age limit, will woman continue to have their bits waxed when they are in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s? I try to go to the same hairdresser each time because whenever I go to another one I’m never happy with the haircut and I wonder if it’s the same with woman, do you try to go to the same ‘stripper’ each time..
And I recently learnt of another new term recently, ‘landing strip’, and I had to think about this too, I assume it’s called a landing strip because in some instances that’s where your man’s chin lands before feasting on the delights below. However, there seems to be a little cottage industry in landing strips and one can get them eventually in shapes that please, little hearts for the romantic, lighting bolts or you can even get it shaped into logos, the Gucci coochie as it’s referred to. Personally I think shaping your landing strip into the shape of an Irish three leaf clover would be fun, not for me of course but can you imagine telling your females friend’s you’ve done that in honour of your Irish boyfriend, I suspect they would roar with laughter…
And then if you dyed it green…
One of my friends tells me that it’s becoming more and more common for men to shave their bodies too and in fact go through much the same procedure, especially in the States, personally this is one trend I’m kind’a keen not to follow, I think I’m ok because wearing Speedos has gone out of fashion in the swimming pool these days and it’s too friggin cold in this country and one needs all the insulation nature kindly provides. One of my brother-in-laws is like a silver backed gorilla, he’s of Greek extraction and his wife says it’s like sleeping with a hairy dog, she refers to him occasionally as Scooby Doo, every time she curls up with him he tickles her just by being so hairy and she complains about the amount of hair left in the bed when it’s molting season, yes, apparently he molts in the Spring but like I said to her; surely you knew all this before you married him, surely like a new car you took him out for a trail run and sweetheart, you make your hairy bed and you lie in it. She says he’s got hairier as he’s got older and by the time he’s 60 in 15 years time he really will resemble a silver back gorilla. She’s asked him about waxing his back at least but being another pathetic man he says he’ll need a general anaesthetic each and every time.
I think I’m kind’a lucky being born when I did, my generation tend not to get shaved anywhere other than the chin but I think peer pressure (or female pressure) will make sure that the coming generation will find themselves visiting Helga’s House Of Pain just as frequently as their girlfriends.
Oh, found this little gem on a bone fide medical site “It is interesting to note that the lack of hair around the anus will make it impossible to pass gas silently.” Well, that does it for me, I’m definitely not getting me butt waxed.
I had to go pick beasties up last night from Tooting Bec and on the way there I passed Tooting Broadway tube station and saw a sight I haven’t seen for a while, it was blokes standing outside the tube awaiting their dates, each obviously made some effort and each looking up at the station entrance as someone emerged. It’s a scene I am somewhat familiar with as when I lived in Northern Ireland and didn’t drive it was always at the local bus station where you met your date, it was the same scene, one I’m sure is repeated the world all over, guys just hanging around, best shoes, coolest clothes (despite the cold rain) and freshly groomed..
..and the sense of anticipation..
A long time ago I was working as a manager of a large grocery store in Bangor, Northern Ireland and Caroline, a new girl started working in the canteen. She was nice and friendly and over the ensuing weeks myself and my bunch of reprobates got more and more friendly with her. One Saturday lunchtime I happened to mention that we were all going to catch the latest blockbuster movie at the local flea pit and perhaps she’d like to join us, it would be chaotic but fun. She said sure, why not and I arrived to meet her at the Bangor bus station along with a few others from the gang. So come seven pm and there’s about a dozen of us waiting at the bus station, a few of the gang get off various buses and we wait for everyone else – this is before mobiles – and then the Newtownards bus arrives and Caroline gets off. She spots us, waves, smiles and comes over and, astonishingly, gives me a little peck on the cheek and takes my hand as we start making our way to the picture house.
I was somewhat surprised, I should add pleasantly surprised for many reasons, I didn’t actually ask her there on a date, it was just as a part of our big group, I was as ugly as sin and there is no way she’d be interested in me but I managed to cover my surprise and act like I had asked her there for a date after all.
We went to the flicks and our gang messed around as usual rolling mint imperials all the way from the back row to the front of the cinema and chatting up members of the opposite sex sitting in front of us. At one point Caroline went to the loo and everyone in the gang took the opportunity to tell me what a dark horse I was, keeping a cracker like Caroline on the quiet! I of course played along and made out yes yes, I had been planning this all along but the reality was I was just as surprised as they were. My best friend Trevor later told me he was gutted as he had been planning to ask Caroline out the next week and I hadn’t mentioned my interest, I confessed to him that I was just as surprised as he was and he was even more gutted!
(High definition version here and info here courtesy of The Met)
The painting above by Jean-Léon Gérôme is one of my favourites, I was wandering around The Met in NYC (as one does) and came across this hanging unloved and un-admired in a dark corner. I guess some of you will be familiar with the story of how the sculptor Pygmalion fell in love with one of his statues, and how Aphrodite took pity on him and allowed the statue to come to life. There are many versions of this painting and you’d be amazed just how many storylines in plays and movies have been inspired by this theme.
I like this painting a lot because it chimes with feelings, emotions, yearnings, deep inside me and I suspect a lot of others. At times a part of me knows how Pygmalion felt, the search for someone special, someone to love seems endless and if I could then I would carve my own perfect match out of stone and pray to the gods to bring her to life. Mind you, knowing my artistic skills – or obvious lack of – I suspect I’d create Frankenstein’s monster and have to learn to love him ummmm.. her!.
The ancient Greeks have a myth that we were once literally bonded together with our perfect match. We were so happy the gods became jealous and cut us apart; and ever since, we each go in search of that perfect mate from whom we’ve been separated. The older I get the more credence I give to that myth, my mother Doris thinks the same and had to wait until she was 81 before she found the right soul for her and I’m beginning to suspect I’m going to follow in her footsteps. I know I’m going to miss out on lots of rumpy-pumpy but what choice does any one of us have, do we cut our losses and settle for someone just OK and hope we will fall in love with them eventually, is it better to have at least companionship than wander these shores alone for the rest of your life?. This was the biggest problem with my marriage and I am aware that those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. I have friends whom met someone reasonably suitable and got married and I look at them and wonder are they really happy, is it a deep deep love or just ok, convenient, easy..
Jackie Kennedy famously said the first time you marry for love, the second for money, and the third for companionship but I strongly disagree, she lived in a world very different from us mere muggles, (plus I wonder what Liz Taylor has to say on the subject), I think those are the three factors but she’s got them mixed up, I know money was not a factor for Doris and Bob and that companionship was a factor but I’m pretty sure in the end the only reason they married was for love. I’m wondering just how long I have to wait before Aphrodite takes pity on me.
Can’t buy me love, love Can’t buy me love I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright I’ll get you anything my friend if it makes you feel alright ‘Cause I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love
Credited to Lennon/McCartney
Paul McCartney stated that “The idea behind this song was that all these material possessions are all very well, but they won’t buy me what I really want.” but I wonder if that’s really true these days – or ever has been.
This is not an easy subject to blog about without causing some folk to get hot under the collar but I blogged a while back about my Speed Dating evening and how practically everyone there was only interested in my earning potential but not my loving potential. One of my friends says she doesn’t believe in true love and shooting stars, only in shoes and cars – which saves me having to figure out if she’s dating material..
When I worked in Northern Ireland I had a well paid job, house/car etc and it was interesting that the higher up I went in the food chain (literally as it was a massive supermarket) then the more attention I got from certain woman and I ponder on this quite a lot these days. I overheard a gaggle of my staff once describe me as ‘a good catch’ and I wasn’t standing anywhere near the Fish Dept at the time.
When I left the rat race and went into low paid Nursing then suddenly I became less desirable, my dance card emptied and I wonder how it goes, when I was senior management I had no problems getting a dance but once I went into nursing then that all stopped because of course all nurses suffer from white coat syndrome and will only date doctors. And when I started dating again a few years ago I was disappointed to met up with woman who made it obvious they were only going to date someone with lots of funds. And of course it works the other way around too, friends moan at me about men that will only date young fit woman and they don’t seem to be interested in the loving potential of someone 50+.
This is of course, all generalisations but I can only quote from personal experience, there ‘are’ woman out there in dating land that don’t give a shit about how much I earn but they tend to keep themselves well hidden, and I wonder does it all change as you get older and established, when I was in my 20 and 30’s it seemed to me that most partners were viewing me in a ‘will he provide for a family and make a good father’ attitude but now I’m 50 I wonder does any of that matter as most folk this age are sorted.. it was like love with conditions but when your cat/dog/kids love you they do it without conditions and I wonder how that change comes about…
Paul McCartney was to later comment: “It should have been ‘Can Buy Me Love’ ” when reflecting on the perks that money and fame had brought him, when “Can’t Buy Me Love” went to number one (4 April 1964), the entire top five of the Hot 100 was by the Beatles, the next positions being filled by “Twist and Shout”, “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me,” respectively. No other act has held the top five spots simultaneously. The expression we have at home is he’s well worth rubbing up against (think of a pussycat), and I know there are more than a few gold diggers out there happy to help Paul spend his money but I can see where he is coming from, money can buy you love it seems but just not the sort you might want, I can go buy a puppy and I’m pretty sure after a few weeks I’ll get all the puppy love anyone could ask for but what about non-canine love? (I know a few of you are thinking why on earth would I need any other sort of love).
A while back I blogged about Crystal Harris (aged 25) and her engagement to Hugh Hefner (aged 85) and their pending nuptials, I really wanted to ask Crystal the following question “what was it that first attracted you to the multi-millionaire Hugh Hefner?” but it seems that there is hope for me after all as Crystal broke off the engagement five days before the wedding. Not like I want to marry Crystal Harris but it’s good to see that even being a multi-millionaire can’t buy you love – or the illusion of it.
I wonder a lot about this these days for various reasons, I can see the change in attitudes from dates now I am 50, there is much less ‘sizing up’ these days and much more willingness to check out a man’s loving potential as opposed to his financial potential and I wonder will that get better and better as the years pass, my mother Doris waited until she was 81 before she settled on the man who was going to give her true love – unlike a previous suitor who was obviously only interested in her land but I’m kind’a keen to not wait until I’m 81 before finding true love.
Perhaps I ought to start doing the National Lottery 😉
You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
Alan, age 10
No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
Kristen, age 10
WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
Camille, age 10
HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
Derrick, age 8
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
Both don’t want any more kids.
Lori, age 8
WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
Lynnette, age 8
On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
Martin, age 10
WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?
I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
Craig, age 9
WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
When they’re rich.
Pam, age 7
The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
Curt, age 7
The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
Howard, age 8
IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
Anita, age 9 (bless you child)
HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T GET MARRIED?
There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?
Kelvin, age 8
And the #1 Favourite is……..
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.
Ricky, age 10
A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, “What does love mean?” The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”
Rebecca- age 8
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
Billy – age 4
“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
Karl – age 5
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”
Chrissy – age 6
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”
Terri – age 4
“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.”
Danny – age 7
“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss”
Emily – age 8
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)
“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,”
Nikka – age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)
“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.”
Noelle – age 7
“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”
Tommy – age 6
“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.”
Cindy – age 8
“My mommy loves me more than anybody.You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.”
Clare – age 6
“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.”
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.”
Chris – age 7
“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.”
Mary Ann – age 4
“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.”
Lauren – age 4
“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.”
Karen – age 7
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.”
Mark – age 6
“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”
Jessica – age 8
I’d like to find you in the shower
And chase the soap for half an hour.
I’d like to have you in my power and see your eyes dilate.
I’d like to have your back to scour
And other parts to lubricate.
I like the hair upon your shoulders,
Falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders, too: they are essential.
Your collar-bones have great potential
(I’d like all your particulars in folders marked Confidential).
I like your cheeks, I like your nose,
I like the way your lips disclose
The neat arrangement of your teeth
(Half above and half beneath) in rows.
I like your eyes, I like their fringes.
The way they focus on me gives me twinges.
Your upper arms drive me berserk.
I like the way your elbows work, on hinges.
I like your wrists, I like your glands,
I like the fingers on your hands.
I’d like to teach them how to count,
And certain things we might exchange,
Something familiar for something strange.
I’d like to give you just the right amount and get some change.
I like it when you tilt your cheek up.
I like the way you nod and hold a teacup.
I like your legs when you unwind them.
Even in trousers I don’t mind them.
I like each softly-moulded kneecap.
I like the little crease behind them.
I’d always know, without a recap, where to find them.
I like the sculpture of your ears.
I like the way your profile disappears
Whenever you decide to turn and face me.
I’d like to cross two hemispheres and have you chase me.
I’d like to smuggle you across frontiers
Or sail with you at night into Tangiers.
I’d like you to embrace me.
I’d like to see you ironing your skirt and cancelling other dates.
I’d like to button up your shirt.
I like the way your chest inflates.
I’d like to soothe you when you’re hurt
Or frightened senseless by invertebrates.
You are the end of self-abuse.
You are the eternal feminine.
I’d like to find a good excuse
To call on you and find you in.
I’d like to put my hand beneath your chin.
And see you grin.
I’d like to taste your Charlotte Russe,
I’d like to feel my lips upon your skin,
I’d like to make you reproduce.
I’d like you in my confidence.
I’d like to be your second look.
I’d like to let you try the French Defence
and mate you with my rook.
I’d like to be your preference and hence
I’d like to be around when you unhook.
I’d like to be your only audience,
The final name in your appointment book, your future tense.
I’m not sure how woman mark their transition from childhood into womanhood, I suspect some of it may be the development of boobs or the first menstrual cycle and I’m sure there are a hell of a lot of other markers that my sister would never think of sharing with me but for us men there is only one. You’re probably thinking it’s successfully asking someone out on a date (never happened!) or even losing our virginity (almost never happened!) but it’s neither of those, for us men it’s a much simpler marker, it’s finding your first pubic hair or your first chest hair.
I was reminded of this the other day when I was chatting to my two boys, 14 and 12, and remembered what it was like for me at that age. Until I went to Secondary School I was completely innocent and naive, sex was something adults didn’t talk about in the early 70’s in Northern Ireland – especially when children were within earshot – and because of the Watershed Rules sex was never mentioned on the telly before 9pm, well after my bedtime, so I started Secondary School knowing now’t about this rite of passage into manhood and never viewing naked mens bodies. And my innocence continued for the first few weeks at school until it was swimming lessons and we were all marched down to Pickie Pool for lessons.
Now, you need to understand a few things about Pickie Pool, it was at the time basically the freezing cold Irish Sea masquerading as a swimming pool, it was an ‘open air’ ( ie open sea) swimming pool, a thick wall stopped the worse of the sea pouring in but the sea just poured over the cold cement wall and we all froze our bits off trying to learn to swim whilst simultaneously getting our lily white backs sunburnt on the rare occasions when the sun shone, so the bottom half of our bodies were blue with cold and the top half red with sunburn, not a pretty sight.
About the only vid I can find of Pickie Pool is here and yes, girls in Bangor really do sound like this.. (still!)
Anyway, I digress, so we all pitched up at Pickie Pool and as we were an all-boys school we went into the communal changing area and stripped off and got our swimming trunks on. Now I’ve been told that, as a general rule, girls ‘tend’ to have separate changing rooms, one cubicle for each girl to preserve their modesty but we boys didn’t have that luxury and we all stripped off together and that was my first eye opener, you see, I was 12 and as I got changed and looked around me I was shocked to see that two or three of my school chums had pubic hair. And of course boys being boys, they were very proud of it and strutted around the changing room like prize silver back gorillas whilst all us other kids looked on enviously and desperately tried to hid our lack of pubes.
So that was a salutary lesson, my innocence was lost that day and of course for the next few years I (and I’m sure every single one of my pube-less classmates) searched frantically each evening for at least one pubic hair. And as the months passed into years and more and more of your classmates grew pubes the search became more frantic, examining your nuts each evening until at last you found one or two and breathed a sigh of relief, I was a man at last!
At age 13 I started to get hairy so of course I couldn’t wait until swimming lessons were I too could strut my funky stuff and be a man.
Trevor, my friend never developed any real pubes until well into Third Form and somewhat unsuccessfully begged to be excused swimming each fortnight with varying excuses like Leprosy and The Black Death but still had to endure the humiliation of being one of the few boys completely pube-less, a bit like the last turkey sitting on the supermarket shelf at Christmas time..
Of course now I am 50 it kind’a works against me, now I seem to be getting hairier and hairier as I get older and I can’t understand why Mother Nature thinks I need more nasal hairs and big bushy eyebrows, I mean, what sort of creature does Mother Nature think I am going to be attacked by at night and will be repelled by long nasal hair – apart from woman of course! ;(
So, royal wedding week is upon us and it seems I have to stop going Bah Humbug and pass even more comment on the happy nuptials. London, of course is experiencing Royal Wedding fever and I’m tempted to bugger off across the water – no, not to the States where it will be even worse – but back to Ireland where frankly we couldn’t really give a stuff.
However, I did pick up one bit of interesting news, namely that Prince William and Kate Middleton will be shacking up with Prince Harry after the wedding in Clarence House for a while.. Now is it just me or has this not got all the required ingredients of an excellent sitcom? Can we not just pay the BBC to put hidden cameras (and canned laughter) into each of the (many!) rooms and transmit this? It would be like an upper class version of Friends, we could call it Royal Friends, or The King and I and I’m sure it would be a hit across the water in the States because of course you lot over there lap up anything to do with the Royal family, the networks would go crazy over it. It would make millions!
Just think, we have two prince’s, one destined for the throne, the other simmering enviously in the background wishing he could be king one day instead. We have the completely loopy family, the tree hugging father who is STILL waiting to be King and harbours a dark secret in his past, the new stepmother that everyone dislikes, the grandmother clinging onto power and refusing to step down, the cantankerous grandfather who is becoming more right wing with each day, and of course they are just a normal average couple who have visitors like the Prime Minister, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury and just about every celebrity one can name, can you imagine it, if you are a celeb and you get an invite to Clarence House, of course you are not going to refuse them – so double ratings whammy, Royalty AND celebs, the BBC could sell advertising space and it would make the cost of advertising during Superbowl look like chickenfeed..
And then we have all the plots and sub-plots, Harry wanting to be king…he could place an electric heater in the bathroom and well… if it accidental fell into the bath whilst his brother was bathing, well..who would have thought it.. and of course dad getting more and more impatient with granny because he wants to have a go at sitting on the Royal Throne – and by Royal Throne I don’t mean a King sized toilet – and of course granny is determined that she is going to outlive him and that’s just driving him ever crazier.. and then there is the uncle ‘whom works with all the darlings in the theatre’ and the horsey Aunt who definitely wears the trousers in her relationship and likes to curse and swear like a trooper.. think of it as Friends meets The Golden Girls..
And I wonder what’s it going to be like, two Princes and a Princess living together, it gives a whole new meaning to simple things that you and I take for granted, for example when William and Harry play Monopoly and one buys Old Kent Road he probably actually does buy Old Kent Road, loose change to him I suppose, and playing Battleships and Cruisers, “you sank my Battleship!” might actually mean a real Battleship going down.. and war games, not played on a big table in the loft with plastic soldiers but in Hyde Park with the Household Cavalry on horses and the Blues and Royals Tank Regiment.. now even I’d pay to see that clash!
And another thing, I wonder, did Kate Middleton get the Princess and The Pea test the first night she stayed over with William, was the whole family outside the bedroom door waiting for her to complain about the lumpy bed?
We had a sitcom on during the 80’s called Yes Prime Minister, it was based on the daily goings on in Whitehall and Number 10 and was very popular, especially with the MP’s but the really funny thing was, the writers were always being told that the funny story lines they kept coming up with were actually much closer to the truth than they realised, so I wonder, I could write a few funny storylines and perhaps they’d actually be closer to the truth than anyone realised..
“One night has taught me how far your portrait falls short of yourself!” which is a nice thing to write, especially as most portrait artists would take liberties with the (fee paying) subjects beauty, something that can still be a problem even this day and age when it comes to dating online and recent photographs.
In my mind I tend to think of Napoleon as the first Internet Dater, OK, I’m sure there were other men doing this before Napoleon but his letters are available online so he gets the award. What’s interesting is that whilst he was focusing on invading countries and organising massive armies, his thoughts were equally focused on the loves of his life, yes, loves, because there were at least seven , and I think it must be true what they say about power being an aphrodisiac and attractive to the opposite sex (and if you are into shortish megalomaniacs with allusions to ruling the known world then all the better!)
So Napoleon knew how to write love letters and he had the advantage of having his own couriers to deliver his missives so they got back and forth reasonably quickly between lovers.
So, unlike me then, my experience differed slightly. When I was a teenager I had penpals all over the world, (okay, America and Australia aka the English speaking parts of the world as far as a 13yr old boy was concerned) and little did I know that it was a pattern that was going to repeat throughout my later years. However, delivery schedules were erratic to say the least, sometimes it would take a month or two for a letter to arrive at it’s destination and taking up a hobby like invading countries to bring them a decent postal service was not an option to a 13 year old..well, not a careers option at my school, despite being a borstal 🙂
But as Bob Dylan sang, The Times They Are a-Changin’ and they have, as a young man in Norn Iron I tended not to date outside my local town, transport was a limiting factor and taking a two hour bus journey to your girlfriends house was a bit of an annoyance but as I got older (and more importantly, a set of wheels) I was able to broaden my horizons and broaden the pool of woman available for dating.
However, when it comes to long distance dating it seems things are moving much faster than I anticipated, even in the last few years there has been big changes in the dating malarkey. When I first started dating on-line I had to swap emails either at work or on my home PC and if I was away at a conference or on a road trip then I wasn’t able to connect and read/send emails, I went under the radar as far as my online amour were concerned. Phone calls were hellish expensive, and texting too, so long distance dating tended to have a lot of hurdles that dating locally didn’t have. Skype had only really kicked off and the quality of the calls very horrendous and not worth the effort, plus in this country at least, there was a reluctance to use the Internet for dating, it was viewed as slightly seedy and ‘not the done thing’.
That was then, this is now.
A few years later and how times have indeed changed, talk about a shrinking world, now we get our emails on our iPhones where-ever we are (unless like me, your office happens to be in the center of the ground floor of a six story building that is practically nuclear bomb proof) so we get emails almost instantly, we have IM, we have ways of making very cheap landlines calls and texts though-out the world and we have decent Skype and the obstacles to long distance dating isn’t are as insurmountable as they were even a few years ago.
And now of course we have social networking; Facebook and Twitter, which all makes it a hell of a lot more easier to keep in contact with your Josephine’s and friends, ask Napoleon, he was the trail blazer and apparently still is;
Albert Einstein was one smart cookie, he came up with basis of The General Theory of Relatively when he was working in a patent office and obviously won the Nobel Prize for it in 1921. So mega-brain (I’m sure there is a movie out now with the same name) and he had a great sense of humour, I like that about him; Einstein and MLK are probably my two favourite dead people in this world.
Apparently this story is actually true. One day during a speaking tour, Albert Einstein’s driver, who often sat at the back of the hall during his lectures, remarked that he could probably give the lecture himself, having heard it so many times. Sure enough, at the next stop on the tour, Einstein and the driver switched places, with Einstein sitting at the back in his driver’s uniform.
Having delivered a flawless lecture, the driver was asked a difficult question by a member of the audience. “Well, the answer to that question is quite simple,” he casually replied. “I bet my driver, sitting up at the back there, could answer it!”
Well, I did say apparently, however, this quote from Einstein definitely was his, Albert Einstein was often asked to explain the general theory of relativity and he liked to use this example. “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour,” he once declared. “Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity!”
So, funny and smart but not infallible, especially when it came to matters of love, few people remember that the Nobel Prize winner married his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, after his first marriage dissolved in 1919. He stated that he was attracted to Elsa because she was well endowed. He postulated that if you are attracted to women with large breasts, the attraction is even stronger if there is a DNA connection This came to be known as Einstein’s Theory of Relative Titty.
So, serious hat on now, the following quote is attributed to Einstein, he said that ‘the definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results’ and there does seem a certain logic in that, especially when dealing with the physical world of atoms and electrons but in matters of love I have to pretty much disagree with this theory, I think one has to keep doing the same thing over and over again because eventually you will get a different result, you may have to do it a hundred times before you get a different result but the thing is, you have to keep trying doing the exact same thing and the proof that this actually works is my mother Doris, who found her true love, Bob, after many attempts, at age 81.
You see, I’m thinking like this because this is what I have been doing all my life, I have been opening myself up, exposing my heart, raw and vulnerable, and putting it out there time and time again, and it gets bashed pretty hard at times and now I think it’s wrapped up in a lot of bandages and quite tender but the thing is, I have absolutely no choice but to repeat the same behaviour all over again and expose my heart because how is the one for me going to recognise me unless I am doing exactly that, holding my heart out so she can see it and recognise it for what it is, and I recognise her too because she is doing the exact same thing.
I/we have no choice.
However, I reckon it must be near attempt number one hundred just about …..now!
So I have a friend who works in the same block as me and he’s not only very tall but also somewhat heavily built, erm let’s be honest here and call a spade a spade, he’s fat.
And over the years that I have known him he’s went through a whole string of girlfriends but every one I’ve met has been slim to skinny. I asked him about this – apparently being tactful is not my strong suite – and he says there are various practical reasons why he only dates slim woman.
First of all he doesn’t have a huge bed and when he did try dating someone more his own size they just felt cramped in the bed and like there wasn’t enough bed covers for both of them. Personally if I was Mrs Skinny Woman I’d be afraid of him rolling over during the night and crushing me! I also think that’s just an excuse, beds aren’t that expensive!
However, he did say something that made me laugh, when he was much younger he did date some woman who were his own size and you know what he said? He said that as he was (ahem) doing the dirty deed one – overwhelming thought crossed his mind and that was “Geez, I’m awfully high up here, I’d better watch out I don’t burn my backside on the ceiling light!”
I don’t know, I did laugh but then asked if he was in bunk (or boinking) beds and he laughed and said no but he did wonder if next time he should bring some mountaineering equipment and I’m wondering if that’s where the whole bondage fetish comes from..
There, I’m sure I’m going to get grief over this but hey, this is the sort of conversations we blokes have when no-one else is listening and I’m sure girls have much more interesting conversations 🙂
Despite being somewhat mischievous, I’ve lead a reasonably sheltered life – at least from a illegal activities point of view, I haven’t ever got a speeding ticket-although Wandsworth council seems to intent on sticking parking tickets on my car for no reason at all. So a few summers ago I met She Who Shall Not Be Named in Brighton, I was in my “no matter how completely barking mad”’ phase and was willing to risk it (yet again) so I pitched up at Brighton one evening in the summer.
I went into her kitchen and the first thing I noticed was I could hardly move for cannabis plants! Jesus Christ, everywhere I looked cannabis plants were growing, in the kitchen, the conservatory, the garden, the greenhouse… I thought shit I’d better get out of here before the cops raid the place and I get throw in jail…
I asked her what on earth was she doing with so many plants (doh!) and she said she sells them, it’s how she makes her living! Shit! I thought! I’ve entered some sort of suburban drug factory! She told me everything about them, how to force grow them, process them, and then she showed me her loft (that’s not an euphemism BTW) and it’s jam packed with weed drying out!
I asked what she does with so much weed and she explained how she picks them and puts them into little packets, then goes around the local gyms and sells it to her classes, she goes to all these over 60’s keep fit classes and sells the regulars dope..! Two thoughts occurred to me when she told me this; (a) I didn’t know Brighton was such a den of iniquity.. and (b) what friggin age was she really!
Now here’s the funny thing, her father lived with her amongst all the weed, you see, the house was divided up into upper and lower flats and he came wandering down for a chat and just lit up some weed in front of me… and he was about 90, I think! Then she starts lighting up, I’ve never tried any kind of drugs – I know I know, you are surprised but in Norn Iron it’s all controlled by the paramilitaries and all hard drugs and we weren’t the sort to try anything like that..so I sit there on her settee and try smoking this weed and cough cough cough cough so she shows me how to smoke it properly and about two joints later I’m starting to get the hang of it and feeling light headed..
Of course having never done anything like that it suddenly hits me and I think she’s expecting some ‘action’ but of course I fall into deep sleep, I vaguely remember her getting stroppy about me falling asleep and how she was really looking forward to some rumpy-pumpy but that was it – I was comatose and woke up fully dressed on the settee at 5am – thought WTF is going on and wasn’t really sure where I was as it was dark. So I crawled my way out past all the plants and found my way to Brighton train station and waited for the first train home. Just as a matter of interest, did you know that the first train to London on a Sunday morning from Brighton doesn’t actually leave Brighton station until around 8am… Yeah, nor did I but I do now..
I suppose if I was being evil I could tip off the police but live and let live is my motto.. The thing is, her loft was full of weed with strong lights, surely the police can just look at average electricity use in an area and spot the house with the high usage – and bright lights shining out of the sky-light.. or maybe she supplies the police too..
Occasionally folk ask me why I split up from my wife and I give the honest answer about arguing and fighting and not getting along but you know, there’s a bigger picture here that I didn’t realise at the time but I now have some insight into.
Life really is like a giant jigsaw puzzle and we are all trying to find the place where we fit.
I saw a space all those years ago and thought I might fit in there, It was a bit uncomfortable, I had to hammer myself in and even then I had to take some scissors and cut a few bits off me but eventually I got into that little hole.
However, as time passed, I started to miss those bits I had cut off and amazingly they started to grow back, eventually that little hole could no longer contain me and I popped out. That’s why we split up, because I was in the wrong hole. So here I am today, like most folk, looking looking looking for the one place where I belong, somewhere where I am comfortable, my little place in this giant jigsaw of life..
Hmmm here’s a tip, if you answer yes to any of the following then move along, there is nothing to see here.
You post pictures of your chest only.
You had a dream last night where God spoke to you and told you we were going to get married, have lots of rumpy-pumpy, loads of kids and live in a castle in Scotland..
You are strangely fascinated by fires/knives/pain/pick axe handles
You have absolutely no sense of humour.
You are on prescribed anti-psychotic meds.
You are currently seeing a shrink.
You are currently undergoing ECT.
You have OCD.
You think spandex is fashionable.
Your mother chooses your clothes.
Your mother dresses you.
You have never been further out of London than Croydon.
You have worked in the same job since you left school.
You want to have a threesome.
You weren’t born when the Berlin Wall fell.
You don’t know what the Berlin Wall even means.
You are electronically tagged.
You see a parole officer daily.
You dress like Dame Edna Everage or Camilla Parker Bowles
You live with your parents.
The only fours books you have in your home is the Good News Bible, The Illustrated Bible, The Big Text Bible and The Bible Guide.
You have never had sex voluntarily.
You claim to be a nubile 30yrs old but are in reality a kid in Nigeria trying to scam me.
There… that should sort the wheat from the chaff..Sadly these are (or were) some of the escaped lunatics who contacted me on OKC. I know my profile did seem a bit like the kettle calling the teapot black but really, mine was tongue in cheek.
I’m starting to think the following;
No-one believes in love any more
No-one believes in monogamous long term relationships any more
Years ago I used to be a closet Star Trek fan, yes, sad but true, I blame Patrick Stewart and his fine Shakespearean acting and his gravitas. Apparently he was – to to a large extent, still is, one sexy beast, I never really saw it being a bloke and all that but the girlfriend of the time wouldn’t miss an episode and through osmosis I developed a Star Trek habit, I never actually watched any episode but I was in the flat and I just absorbed what was happening. She told me one day that Patrick Stewart was sex on a stick. I was getting nowhere with her and wondered if I would have better luck if I shaved all my hair off and learnt to say ‘set phasers on stun’ with an English accent.
I went to see Patrick Stewart doing Julius Caesar a while back in London, he wore a Roman tunic and I sat near the front and let me tell you, everyone including all the ladies got a right eyeful up his tunic when he came to the front of the stage… I think he did it on purpose !
Apparently he’s still got it, at least that’s what my friend told me (once she put her glasses on)
“No, I’m from Belfast. I only work in outer space.”
When I was fifteen I came across this little expression from a book of quotations;
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi
I had no idea who Rumi was and as I was fifteen (and knew absolutely everything) I completely dismissed this expression as obviously opposite to the way I thought love was. It’s funny how you know so much at that age, I knew everything (about nothing) and as I approach my 50th birthday I realise I know nothing (about everything).
This expression from Rumi has been occurring and re-occurring through-out my entire life and it’s like the Universe has been trying to hammer the lesson home to me and slowly but surely I’ve started to see the truth of it, we do build barriers to love within ourselves and we also build barriers outside ourselves and some frigging big walls with watch towers at the end of with huge machine guns and barbed wire. And usually these barriers and walls are expressed with the term ‘but what if.?’.
The Germans have an expression; ‘but, is a fence which few people leap over’.
I’ve come to realise in my wise ‘old’ age that the terms ‘love’ and ‘doubt’ have never been on speaking terms and I’m pretty sure they never will and the best way to break down those walls and barriers is to have no doubt, to speak our truth and let the Universe realign itself to our will.