You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2013.

Sometimes you end up counting only on yourself.

You know you can always rely on your parents for money but you can also rest assured they will keep asking the wrong questions about your life, just to quench their own curiosity, whenever you need it the least.

A night out with friends will always be the best cure for blues, but you will inevitably find yourself alone in your office at 9.30 am on Monday.

The people who move your soul and have the power to make you happy with one simple word will always disappear one second after you realise how much they mean to you.

Some days, you have a list of significant others and destiny’s pen keeps crossing out every item in it, until all is left is the Saxon genitive in the title: yourself.

When that yourself has a cold, PMS and hasn’t slept nearly enough – in months – things get tough. Plus, it’s cloudy, rainy and the heating got officially turned off, regardless of outside temperatures close to 10°C. And the Boss keeps his windows open as if it was Honolulu.

But it’s ok, it’s to be expected. It’s been a long while since my last down, considering it’s April 22nd, I’m in a state of bliss. Maybe it feels too much like winter today and when it’s cold I need to be warmed outside and inside.

My friend Stephen is a pro. He met this girl last summer in Iceland, she lives in another continent, but they’ve been together ever since. I congratulated him the other night. He’s the only person I know who believes in dreams so much to make it a way of life. We should all learn from him. Somehow he makes the magic happen. I’ve known him ever since high school and he’s always been like this. I should have learnt from him a long time ago. It’s not easy, but he is so not scared. Looking at him makes me believe Alex and I are possible. But then again, I am not Stephen and Alex is not Kelsey.

Managing all of these boys – just in my head, that is –  makes me feel alive, but it has wearied me out already. I need feelings right now, because it still feels like I have been forced into feelings by my head for so long, I’m just looking for some redemption. At the same time, I am somehow relieved to be free to give and take away as I please, instead of being locked into a relationship where you suddenly have obligations and responsibilities towards the other person’s feelings.

I am scared I have lost touch with my feelings. I am scared that they might disappear all of a sudden just as it happened last time, I am scared that they might not be true in the first place, I am scared not to be able to feel and love anymore – if I’ve ever been able to. But at the same time, I feel liberated by the fact that I am allowing myself to feel and dream as I please. Still, dreams scare me, because once you dream your dream you admit to yourself that making it come true is something you wish very badly and the idea that it may never come to pass is dreadful.

I feel stuck in between. I am happy to dream and be a feeling person more than I used to be, but at the same time I am so scared I wish I wouldn’t dream at all. I’m a dog on a leash. I am not caged and I can wander around to some extent but I am not really free to go anywhere either and I am just not gutsy enough to bite on the leash and go.

Maybe it was easier when it was all in my head, all contained in a bubble-like environment. All of my test subjects were meteors, it was me, them and the city, nobody else. Others people around me only got to imagine the deeds through my narrations. In a way, it wasn’t that different from fantasising. In my outside world, they didn’t exist, and if they touched by chance the rest of my world, efforts would be made for them to be deleted as fast as possible.

This is different. This is my hometown. This is my friend’s buddy. Someone who doesn’t live in my city, smokes, at the age of 30 still lives with his parents, has an improbable job and well… is not that cute, objectively speaking. Still, this happened.

This made me realise how stupid and pointless the whole online dating is. Not because it’s useless, not because it doesn’t work, but because it’s so limiting. I like this guy and apparently he likes me, still if I had seen his profile online I would have never contacted him for a long series of reasons and probably wouldn’t have even been bothered to answer back had he contacted me. And probably, it would have never clicked if we had met through an online dating service, because the first encounter would have been much more awkward, none of us would have felt free to just be who we are, I for one wouldn’t have felt free to drink two beers and a shot. And since we’ve already met and talked, if he acts like he’s interested now, it’s because he has seen the real me, not just a virtual image.

So I wonder where is the lesson in that. Should I just give up online dating? Should I give many more chances to all the e-guys I don’t like who contact me? Should I stop excluding profiles just because some of their characteristics don’t match my requirements?

It must be the spring. Let’s just blame the spring.

The week that just passed left me stressed, tired and wearied out. I had to deal with any kind of uninvited trouble, starting with a broken boiler, followed by organisational problems of any sort at the arena, trouble with the phone company, a very bad training fall which probably lead to a cracked rib, a whole week of news blackout from Alex, a major Campus reunion, my first attempt to enter the wonderful world of Adventures Worldwide… it was turbulent.

Campus reunion was weird. It was the first time in a very long while I attended one of these meetings alone. I met my ex husband at Campus. Still, there were a lot of people there, some of whom I hadn’t met since I left Campus, and one of them, Missy, didn’t even know who I had been with all this time. I told a few people that things had changed, that we are not together anymore, and while it’s still strange admitting this to people in general, these people were there with me before I even met my ex, it was like reconnecting to the past exactly where I left off. Many of them had a hard time recognising me; they were used to see me in my jeans and snickers, with long hair, no make up at all and well, it was 7 years ago… but all of them were pleasantly surprised. Spending time playing foosball with the boys just like I used to was bliss.

Talking to Marco again was strange. Talking to Lawrie again was stranger.

These are the people I was closest with when my relationship started. And for one reason or the other, I lost contact with both of them. Lawrie was starting a relationship in the same exact moment back then, one that would rip him of all his friends and make him a completely different person. Of course we couldn’t know beforehand, we see the results now. He’s been with this girl – a really stupid cow – a long time, and I found out just the other night that they had finally split up. But he hasn’t gone back to being the person he used to be anyway.

The manwhore… we used to be so close, once he came to me and told me “Hey, I’m graduating tomorrow, how about we get my mum’s new car and start a road trip the day after?”. So we went, drove for some 2000 miles and stayed away a week. He shot videos of the toilet door while I was inside, commenting the whole thing. I had just gotten together with my ex then. We’re complete strangers now, we hardly even talked to each other.

With Marco it was different. It was all as usual, his bulky presence, his filthy glasses, the nonsensical conversations. It was just where we left off, it felt strange thinking it had been indeed 4 years since the last time we saw each other. Still, everything is different now.

And then Sunday I spent the afternoon at Louise’s and Maurice’s, talking about the failures of my marriage. They are getting married in September and the news of my separation  shocked them to a point that they wanted to make sure they wouldn’t fall in the same pit, so we organised “the sermon”. Talking about it came naturally, just like talking about a book you’ve read dozens of times over. As I spilled everything, I noticed panick on Louise’s face every now and then whenever I pointed out peculiarities she could relate to, be it the fact that my ex used to think about work and work only, or that I used to have very few friends just like she does. And each time they got worried, I only thought they should not.

Under so many points of view they are different from the couple we used to be… starting from the fact that they actually wanted to try to understand what can go wrong in a marriage, to the fact that both have had at least one other long-term relationship and both stated that what they have now is not even remotely comparable to the other relationships. People say when you meet that special someone you finally understand why it never worked with anybody else… Then they told me how they met, and I almost started crying. They both used to write blogs and started commenting on each other’s pages until one day they decided to meet. They were very worried about revealing this details, I guess most people would think it’s disdainful and stupid. I couldn’t help thinking it’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.

I really hope I am the exception here, that it will work out perfectly for them and for all of the others left agape by my shocking story. They can’t see it, probably, but I like to think it worked out for me too.

 

I have to be honest. There has been a TS4, in the meantime, but my wisdom doesn’t feel that enriched by the encounter, so while I might end up with yet another lesson about him, right now I’d like to focus on the most common and detrimental mistakes men make while still online.

1) Pictures

Not everyone is blessed with beauty and perfection, and I guess whether we like it or not none of us would be using online dating services if we looked like Brangelina. Still, there is a margin.
First of all: do use pictures where one can actually see your face. With this I mean not only that it should be a technically good picture, but also that you should avoid sunglasses, masks, glasses of wine or any other stuff covering your face. But this should only be common sense. What I wish I could forbid to all of you are other delicacies:
DO NOT post pictures of you naked or half-naked. I don’t care how hot your six-pack looks, just don’t, unless there’s a very specific reason why you are shirtless (i.e. sunbathing, getting a tattoo, swimming). And mostly don’t you dare use pictures of you naked shot by yourself. That’s creepy. On second thought, even if there is a reason why you are naked, just don’t post it anyway.
DO NOT post pictures of you with your tongue out. I’m not your dentist. Yuk!
DO NOT post pictures where we can see your ex. I mean, seriously?!?
DO NOT post pictures taken by yourself in your room or directly in front of your computer. You’re single, do you want us to believe you have no friends either?
DO NOT post pictures taken by yourselves half-naked laying on your bed. That’s the trifecta…

2) Nicknames

Please guys, I’m begging you. You cannot do much about the way you look, but you can do something about how you introduce yourselves. When a girl is shopping on an online dating website, she (at least I do so) proceeds in levels. First comes the main picture, then comes the nickname, then the description you wrote about yourselves, then the list of attributes, then possibly other pictures in your profile. If a girl notices your picture, do not spoil this opportunity. Choose your nickname with wit or at least pick something harmless like your name followed by numbers. Please do avoid horrors such as slushy_teddybear83, mad_for_milfs, Juan_amor_de_tu_vida, beautyandbrain, pure_passion, solid_body, tinkerbell82 (yes, for a man)… I am serious, it’s insulting.

3) Descriptions

Some of you just don’t bother writing one. How do you suppose we can start a conversation if we know nothing about you?? But that would still be better than other examples, like WRITING YOUR WHOLE DESCRIPTION IN CAPITALS; what, you wanted people in Japan to hear you shouting it?
I may be hard to please, but I don’t like that much quotations either: what they say about you is “I lack imagination to such a  point that I cannot even put a sentence together”. But if you really really really HAVE to use a quotation, please don’t post love poems as if your beloved was reading. We are checking your profile, not proposing to you.
I don’t even want to spend a word about those who still believe they are writing a commercial on a magazine “tall, blond, never married looking for a woman 30 to 40”. Uh, no price tag?
One of the worst abominations are guys who like to point out how they just broke up after a long-term relationship. You may just as well write “I’m looking for a rebound”. Right, because our love for being used like tissues is widely known…
And then there are narcissists: those who state with the utmost confidence in the very first line of their presentation that they are handsome. You’re just sooo attractive… you definitely won’t mind keeping having sex with your own self!
Last but not least, the doubtful’s: “Where should I begin?”, “What could I say about myself?”, “I’m not very good at describing myself”. Honey, if you don’t know, how the hell should I?

4) E-mails and messages

Oh, well… a parallel universe of its own!
First things first: if I have made clear on my profile that I prefer e-mails to chats; why on Earth do you think it’s smart to contradict me and you chat me up anyway? And don’t go complaining that girls won’t consider you…
Secondly: I insisted on e-mails, ok, but that should tell you that simply writing “hi” may be just a little less than enough.
Thirdly: I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about something smart to write in my profile. Won’t you just do me a favour and acknowledge that? It’s nice when people comment on my profile. How comes you are writing me your own description, which I didn’t ask for since you came looking for me, and you don’t even show a little appreciation for erm… me?

5) Search criteria

Search criteria are there for a reason. Some of you deliberately ignore them.
I am starting to wonder if people expect something other than dating from a dating website. I look for people living nearby to potentially start a real-world relationship, not some penmanship with someone on the opposite side of the country. If I live in London, I must date someone who is in London too; why do you suppose I could be interested in knowing you, sweet boy from Inverness?
But the worst happens with age. I may have an excessive tendency to like younger boys, but in the hope of changing this habit my search criteria embrace the age category 28-38. Still, I constantly get… can I say harassed? by 50-year-olds and older. There are younger women attracted to older men, or just attracted by older men’s means, but I am not one of them. The website asked if I am one of them and I said no. Just go away!
Same goes for 20 year olds and younger. Younger boys yes, infants not quite.

6) The mute peekaboo

The websites that I commonly use have developed any sort of tricks to connect users. They include pop-ups of people who are checking out your profile, lists of people who added you to their favourites, sending of electronic gifts or tests to answer to as well as chats, e-mails… you name it.
However, the idea behind it is getting to know each other. Considering it could be premature and severely harmful to swap phone numbers from the very first contact, what’s left is writing.
Unfortunately, writing – meaning composing a text of varying length made up of sensible and grammatically correct sentences – is still an issue to many. That is not a good reason to become a mute peekaboo.A mute peekaboo is the typical user who never writes anything, he just clicks. He clicks on your profile and let you see he is online every single time you are online, he sends you virtual roses times but never says hi, he adds you to his favourites a hundred times a week. All that without a single “hi”. All that without ANY sign from the girl indicating that she appreciates. Clue: SHE DOESN’T. IT’S STALKING.

****

I admit I may be just a little bit unforgiving and extremely picky… but I am not going to cut you any slack anyway guys…

In my country, which for the sake of my anonimity won’t be disclosed, divorce is evidently still an issue.

My ex husband and I subscribed a mobile option a couple of years back, where both our lines were registered in his name, all in a single contract with the land line and internet services.

We have managed to split the contract so that the landline and internet services are now under my name, since I am the only one still living in the same house, whereas we were told the same wasn’t possible for mobiles because our contract wasn’t expired yet. That still sounded reasonable.

Now, the mobile contracts are expiring in a couple of weeks, so the company called me asking if I were interested in renewing the same contract. I accepted, since the offer was good, but after SEVERAL phone calls, I was told it was impossible to carry out the procedure.

The company cannot change the name of the subscriber in a contract under no circumstance. It cannot be changed, even if two or more phones are connected to the same contract, the payments must be issued by the same contract holder and even if up until 2 years ago, my number was registered under my name, now it cannot be disconnected from that contract in any way.

I have to let this contract expire and find another provider, unless I accept to change my phone number (which by the by I haven’t changed in over 15 years).

That would not be outrageous, per se, until you consider that I am currently customer to a company whose services I used to appreciate, which offered me a very advantageous deal, including a free smartphone, whereas any other provider offers me 25% higher monthly bills and requires a payment of at least 50£ for any smartphone.

I am embarking in this adventure because I need to well… separate my phone bills from my ex husband’s, since we are separated, which means the separation brought for both many extra expenses and a general increase in costs since we’re not splitting anymore. I could really use a good deal. Sure, I don’t need a smartphone to survive but still…

I wish I had the time, the money and the patience to get to the end of this, because I am pretty sure this goes against a few discrimination regulations.

Here’s the thing about “the list” – the one containing all of the attributes of your ideal man: I may have gotten it all wrong.

Until a few months ago, but maybe even just last week, in case I were asked what my perfect partner should be like, I would have begun my answer with “he’s got to be smart and well-educated”.

I think I have my reasons for “smart”. Not that any girl would ever want her man to be stupid and dumb, but with my twisted and convoluted brain, if he’s not 100% he’s never going to get me.

As for “educated”, this is already a bit more biased. I can’t stand people who can’t get their spelling straight and in terms of online dating this can turn into an extremely wide cut out. Plus, in my society whoever doesn’t own a college degree broadly equals to a high school drop out.

Both criteria are perfectly respectable as such, my problems stem from two basic misconceptions:

1) I have always put these criteria at the very top of my list, which brought me to never even consider people who don’t fully meet the requirements.

2) The combination smart+educated has often lead me to nerds, control freaks and hyper-rational men.

I know the latter type rather well: it’s the kind of guy I met at Campus. Perfect GPA, career oriented, smart, nerdy, technological… Every person is unique, but when the matrix is so similar, there is only so much that can actually vary. Generalisations are evil but in my experience pure scientists, economists and engineers will always go just so far in terms of irrationality, instinct and impulse. I know, I married one of the worst.

I have always been extremely flexible on looks. I may have noticed tendencies and preferences over the years, but in reality I have always liked any kind of colour or shape. I look at a person in their entirety and decide from the overall impression whether I like them or not. I should be doing the same for all of the invisible aspects as well. Otherwise, it’s just like saying “he has brown eyes, it’s impossible for me to like him”.

All of this revolves around a very simple question: love is a matter of the heart, why should I focus on brains?

Don’t get me wrong, brains are sexy, especially if opposed to shallowness and vanity, but it often reflects too much in the relationship with women. I’d need more the philosopher type than the engineer type right now. Actually given previous experiences with philosophers, I may be very wrong about this, let’s just say super-educated men aren’t always the solution.

Just because I am super-educated, it doesn’t mean I need someone like me; in fact I may need the exact opposite, since all of this brain-focus has been all but helpful. This is also the reason why I was so attracted to Hector: he perfectly fit the definition of nerd but at the same time he had a clearly developed spiritual and emotional side.

It’s all about fine-tuning the two, but I should probably give much more space to heart right now than to brain, in the hope of learning how to shush my brain when needed and let other organs drive.

The question remains whether it is something that can be learnt at all.