bookmark_borderThe Sixth Sense

Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore, or even Tooting

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

bookmark_borderThe Gucci Coochie

One is not pleased.

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.

bookmark_borderThe Accidental Girlfriend

Works for me!

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!

If only it was always so easy..

bookmark_borderLove, Money, Companionship. Choose One.

Yes, it's this easy to find love, if you start now you might make it by summertime 2012

(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.

bookmark_borderMoney versus love?

eee-me meeny miny mo..

You’re probably familiar with these lyrics;

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).

He probably has a large (pay) packet..

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 😉

Or perhaps not.

bookmark_borderHow To Decide Who You Should Marry (Written By Kids)

A word to the wise..

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.”
Elaine-age 5

“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

bookmark_borderI’d Like..


http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/valentine/

By John Fuller

 

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.

bookmark_borderThe mark of a man?

 

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.

I’m cold just looking at it!

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEDPDgEG8LI

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! ;(

Oh, I liked this poster!

Hint. The only acceptable answer is ‘c’, (despite the skirts!)

bookmark_borderThe Royal We?

SHE who smelt it - dealt it!

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..

Personally I canny wait for The Turkey Episode..