Saturday, 30 March 2013

The best things about being single...

I've been single for so long I've actually become some kind of born again virgin/nun type person. It's been that long that I can't even remember what it's like to wake up in a bed with someone next to me. Or have to call someone to tell them what time I'll be home.

I can no longer quite fathom what's great about being linked to one person all the time. And not being able to move without being asked where you're going or what you're doing or when you'll be home or what shall we eat for dinner...

God. Supermarket trips with your other half. Is there anything more deadly fucking boring than working out what you want to eat for dinner for the next week? And ending up fighting about it. The mere thought of it brings on my commitment phobia.

I didn't used to be like this. I was in a relationship for most of my 20s. I lived with a man and everything. Slept in the same bed. Ate the same food. Did the shopping together. All of that stuff. He was - well, still is - 6 ft four, so he's all arms and legs. How did we ever sleep in the same bed? How? I have a double bed now all to myself and there is no room for anyone else, apart from Fatman. No room at all. What with my iPad, sometimes my laptop, my Kindle and the four or five books I have on the go, my two duvets, my comfort blanket (yeah, don't judge me) and my heated beanbag things, how the hell would I fit a bloke in there? And, more to the point, why would I want to?

I used to feel like a relationship was necessary to my life, that I was only half a viable thing without one. I felt left out of all the engagement parties, weddings and general normalcy of most of my friends. I felt sure that there must be something very very wrong with me to not have that, and to have had both my proper relationships end in cheating and horribleness.

But over the last few years, an appreciation for my freedom has crept up on me. For instance, I haven't shaved my legs for about three months now. I know, right? And I don't care. It's not a big deal because I seem to only grow baby hair anyway, but the point is, I haven't groomed myself in the way that you do when there's someone who's going to be wanting to stroke you, fiddle with you, poke you or sex you up at any given moment.

And sex on tap is brilliant. For the first few months of breathless, can't get enough of it passion. And then it becomes something else. In my past experience, and this is definitely to do with the quality of the relationship itself, it became a chore and a performance. Something to do to impress or to placate. Shudder.

Also, the bikini waxes. Seriously. My last ex very much preferred the hairless look (which I have to wonder about - am assuming it's something to do with an over saturation of porn rather than a predilection for pre-pubescence. Well let's hope so) and I basically lived to try and please him so every month I'd hie myself down to the beauty salon and spend £35 (yes, you read that right) for some Thai lady to make me wear paper knickers, crouch on all fours and endure her ripping out every hair I have 'down there', just because my boyfriend liked it better.

In fact, when we first started getting intimate, he expressed utter incredulity that I didn't have it like that all the time. That I had merely trimmed it. As if that was somehow disgusting. Now I don't want to go on a massive feminist rant here, and it's important to remember that he was a controlling, emotionally abusive mofo, so it's not like his opinion is the norm, but how the fuck does it disgust a man that a woman has pubic hair? I mean, really? Shouldn't it disgust them more if she doesn't? Because that would mean she hasn't actually reached puberty yet... and... well...

So that's sleeping on my own and only dealing with my hair on my body when I want to. Those are two pretty massive yays for being single. What else? Oh. Reading for eight hours straight. Just because I want to. And not going out on a Friday to the pub because otherwise I'm boring. Maybe I am boring. The important thing to remember is I don't give a fuck. If you measure your life by which rathole bar you're pissing your money away in of a Friday night then fair fucks to you. But it's not my bag anymore. I mean, I don't have anything against pubs per se. And I like going to them every now and again. It's just the pressure I've been under when in relationships to do stuff I don't want to do.

"We have to go out, it's FRIDAY"

"What are you? 12?"

"You're so boring."

"For fuck's sake."

I mean I know I am boring. Utterly boring. My favourite thing to do these days is sit in near silence and write and read. I fully understand why that's boring to some people, particularly to the kind of boyfriend who wants to be entertained all the time. But that's my point I guess. Having the freedom to do the things I want to do without feeling guilty is another yay for being single.

Also, having toast for dinner. Followed by pineapple chunks. Eaten out of the tin. Not having to give a shit about what's for dinner tonight. I have an unholy fear of having to plan meals. I don't even know why. It just seems so so so so dull. Like planning to go to the garden centre of a weekend. Or doing the 'weekly shop' on the same night at the same place. Arrrrrgh. The thought of it. It makes me think of the 1980s. And Sunday afternoons. And the cloying sameness of growing up.

There is such a lot of pressure for women to not be single. To catch a man. To get married and to have kids. We pretend that pressure isn't there because it's 2013 and everything. But it is. You can sense it in your friends, as they begin to get married and have kids. You begin to fit in even less. And then you're not invited to stuff anymore. Presumably because never being able to bring a plus one makes it all a bit awkward.

And there's such a lot of negativity about being single in itself. Like all single women cry into their cat every night and lament all the men they wish they could have. But actually, it's not like that. It's not like that at all. Being a single, properly independent woman is good. It's freedom. And it definitely cuts down on the cash spaffed on waxing treatments...

Friday, 29 March 2013

Skip to the end...

... if you don't like posts about death, bereavement, grieving and boring, uncheerful shit like that. There will be another post about men or something vaguely amusing at some point, so just wait for that maybe. Or, if you're hanging on for a cheery post about how ace life is, that will come along as well. Just as soon as I've shuffled off this mortal coil. People telling me I should write more cheerfully makes me want to go extra emo. That's how mature I am. 

A couple of weeks ago - 16 March - was the anniversary. THE ANNIVERSARY. Of my dad's death. And it's a weird one these days. 12 years on, I know that people think I'm flogging a dead horse - or a dead dad I suppose. After all, it was aggggges ago. And, besides, I must be getting over it by now. And people die every day, Debbie. An ex-employer said that to me when I was annoyed at being phoned while at my mum's new partner's funeral about a fucking internal communications pitch. Christ, it's hard to give a rat's ass about that stuff when you're not at the graveside of someone while watching your ma grieve all over again. 

And I must confess that even I feel like there's nothing else to say. He died. So what? It happens to a lot of people. Losing a parent I mean. Not death itself. Death happens to all of us. Apart from me. I'm a special snowflake.

Maybe I have finally moved into a new phase of grief. I went to a bereavement counsellor in the immediate aftermath. I don't remember much of what they said. But they definitely drew a diagram illustrating the stages of grief. I think I was stuck in denial for about three years, and am slowly coming to the end of anger (after a mere eight years - totally normal I'd say). Which brings me to what? Acceptance?

Well, I don't have much fucking choice do I? The worst thing about grief, the very very worst thing about it, in among the pain and the loneliness and the guilt and the horror is the powerlessness. It's one of the very few situations in your life where there is literally nothing you can do. Nothing. At all. Where there's life there's hope you see. Where someone is still breathing you can try to change whatever situation you're in with them. And even if you fall out with someone, or your lover leaves you or someone cheats on you or whatever emotional pain is happening... even if you never see that person again, you know they're still out there, breathing, somewhere. And there's always the chance that, one day, reconciliation will happen. But death. It's just so bloody final isn't it?

And I simultaneously love and hate the fact that I dream about dad so often. Hate it because it makes it extra difficult the next day. Love it because I get to see him. I dream about him so often - partly, I think, down to the drugs - that it doesn't seem like 12 years since I spoke to him. 

I'm coming up to the age when he had his first heart attack. Now there's a sobering thought. I'm almost 37. He was 39. No age at all. And that's when everything changed really. Nothing was ever secure again after that. And he must have felt like me - no age at all. It's hard to even absorb the fact that you're pushing 40, without your fucking heart giving up on you out of nowhere. 

During my recent short story class it became clear that everything I started to write was bound up with death, killing, futility, nihilism. All the fun stuff. I think maybe I need to get it all out of me in one big, FUN book and then I'll be able to write something else. 

I might get that lady who hates my uncheerful blog to give it a read over for me. See what she thinks. 

Yeah, there was no point to this post. Except, death is a fucking suckfest and it totally changes your life. Makes your emotions ricochet like a pinball machine and leaves everything looking relatively pointless. 

And nothing I can ever write would ever sum up how it feels to have lost my dad. He was an excellent, hilarious, kind, stroppy, loving, impatient person and I miss him every single day. And I don't care if my repeated tributes, mentions or moanings about it are boring. It was true 12 years ago. It's true today. And I daresay it'll be true until the day I join him. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Penis envy

The last couple of days have given me a bumper crop of penii to share, for OK Cupid has poured forth an abundance of revoltingly misogynistic freaks. I actually can't keep them to myself and feel compelled to share in order to break the compulsion I have to believe that all men everywhere are like this. For I know they are not.

Today, I had three messages from three different men. All offensive. All arrogant. All deeply, deeply weird. So, for your delectation.

The first one uses his penis as his face. Yes, that's right. Instead of having a picture of his face. He has a picture of his cock. Here it is:

He messaged me thus:

I hope you don't mind a younger man! 
I am 6ft4 british slim intelligent and i am in proportion where it counts. 
I am over from newyork for a week and am staying in york. 

Check me out and see what you think, I would love to hear back from you. 


Please note, the thing he was most concerned about. The thing he needed to flag up. Is that he is YOUNGER. Not that he has used his PENIS INSTEAD OF HIS FACE for his profile picture. Because obviously, the first thing I would think is: "Oh, look. What a lovely penis. But, gosh darn it, he's too flipping young for me."

I replied:

I don't mind a younger man. 

I do mind a man who has a picture of his dick as his profile picture.

 I have just returned home from my writing class and go online and he messages me again.

boo! how are you
sorry about the crotch shot
there is a normal photo
er, i'm sorry, i thought i said that i wasn't interested in someone who uses their penis as their profile picture
yes sorry but i thought id say hi
you have your PENIS as your profile picture?
ok sorry i wont. bye!
what is wrong with you?


This guy.

This guy. I have never spoken to, heard from, replied to, otherwise interacted with this guy. This morning he sends me this:

Hello sexy! Good to see that not all 35-40 yr olds look 50 on here... Your beautiful. 
I'm Chris, in Leeds, not new to any of this but starting to get a bit dissolutioned by the fakers and time wasters on here. Is it me or is it getting worse? 
Anyway, I may well be free this Saturday, I won't know until Friday at the latest, but I'd like to meet you, at yours if possible. I can't accommodate due to sharing a house. Or you can come to a party in Gateshead with me..? Swingers party. (Be brave)! 
Have a look at my profile and see what you think. 
Take it easy and have fun. 
If you have whatsapp or Skype add me 07XXXXXXXXX  
Chris x

I particularly like the bit that says: I'd like to meet, at yours if possible.

I think that shows a real confidence. A real sort of grrrrrrrr confidence. A real, oh hang on, I've just been copiously sick everywhere. Excuse me a moment.

I replied:

No. Just no.

I couldn't find any words. I actually couldn't. But if anyone's up for a Swingers party in Gateshead this weekend (probably, he won't know until Friday) hit Chris up. I'm sure he would love it.

[NB. Apols to anyone who did want to go with Chris. I've just removed his phone number as it felt like a dick move on my part. He is a shudderingly disgusting specimen of manhood it's true, but I probably shouldn't actually publish his number. If you do want it though, PM me. I hear Gateshead is THE place to be for a swinger's party...]

This one I bring you all the way from New York.

Take a good look at that face ladies. Because it'll be the last thing you see before he slices you into pieces, I'd warrant. 

This was our conversation:

hi there, interested in skyping with me? 


you sure, we could just chat if you like
    Yes. I am sure. I don't want to chat, skype, talk, anything with you. I am not interested. At all. How was my answer of 'no' not clear enough? NO.
    I see. One more question: Have you ever had any sex that wasn't forced? Sheesh what a fucking bitch

Guess I deserved that one, hey? Saying no to the creepy man leads to creepy man asserting that I can't get laid unless I'm raped. How, well, lovely

Saturday, 16 March 2013

What the fuck is it with me and houses?

What is it? Am I cursed? Is there some fucking reason why I'm not allowed to live in relative peace anywhere in fucking York ever?

After the nightmare of my last place, I find this one which is perfect. It even has hot water and heating. And a nice old couple who live next door who have the most beautiful garden.

And then after two weeks they move out and, what I can only describe as a group of absolute fucktards have moved in next door. There seem to be at least six of them and, even thought they've only been in a week, have managed to blast music and inane bullshit through the wall at me last night and tonight, well TONIGHT EVERYONE, it's one of their birthdays. And you know what that means? Everyone who lives next door to them has to live through it with them.

I went round earlier when the shit music and screeching started. Fifteen minutes of pounding on the door later and two pissed up girls end up slurring about how it's their birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay and they're going outtttttttttttttttttt anywayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, so don't even worry about it, yeah?

Three hours later it's louder and there's more people. I should explain, I have to go through their garden to get to my front door so this could definitely get awkward. At the same time, I am fucked if some selfish fuckwits are going to ruin my new house for me. I work hard to be able to pay for somewhere I love. I have no money whatsoever left over - like at ALL - when I've paid for rent and bills and I don't care, because I love my place and I love living on my own.

So, back round I go. This time, a dead eyed youngster, with the frozen facial expression of a scumbag chav is smoking a cigarette in the garden.

 - You tell them to turn it down or I will call the police (I won't, I'll actually call the Council, but police sounds better)

No answer.

- OK, I'll tell them.

The door is ajar presumably so ratboy can slink back in. They can't hear my knocking because of the music and thousands of people that now appear to be in the house. I contemplate bowling in and confronting them, but I've had a bad day, and my courage failed me.

- Dunno what your problem is.

- I'm sorry, are you talking to me?

- It's Sat'day night. Music int even tha loud man

- The music is amplified through my walls, as is the screaming. Which bit of this do you not understand?

- It's Sat'day night. Snot loud. Jus havin good time innit.

- Do you understand that other people live here and don't want to have to listen to this?

- It's Sat'day night.


- Dun call police. Jus wait. It's Sat'day night. Fink you got issues man.

By this time I'm already back in my house on the phone. I discover York City Council has some kind of SWAT team of noise control officers who come out and investigate things on Friday and Saturday nights.

They're on their way.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

I managed less than two weeks...

Back on the Book of Face for less than two weeks and, although thoroughly reacquainted with important things like Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub and various other cats, I ran into drama. Drama I can neither be bothered with nor want to pursue.

So I'm 'orf again like a dirty shirt. It bothers me a bit because I do like being a snarky beeatch about the current memes of the day, and making jokes that only really make me laugh and I do like to see what my friends are doing.

But am clearly not of sound mind enough to enjoy the general bonhomie and bullshit that passes for Facebook interaction.

The fakery and weirdness and the way people apparently are different on profiles to real life... it weirds me out, man. I know most people are just normal. But some, some aren't. Well, maybe they are and things just changed. I dunno.

I've spaffed on a lot about how friendships just change. Just like that. Without any kind of warning and sometimes with absolutely no input from you - I mean how does that even work?? You have some kind of relationship with someone and then, unbeknownst to you, it's apparently all different and you're supposed to understand why? How does that happen?

No one is perfect. I defy anyone to not have had a bad thought, done a bad thing, betrayed a friend even in an infinitesimal way - it's hard to be human and not do that at some point, in fact, it's impossible. But I do think that most things, like 99% of things, can be talked about between friends - actual, proper, adult friends.

Although maybe this is a thing where I just do that thing of romanticising all relationships. I always think that when you form a bond with someone then it's an almost tangible, unbreakable thing. And then, more often than not, it gets broken. And you can't even see what broke it. But it always feels uncomfortably like it might be your fault.

But then sometimes, when you look at it, after the dust has settled, you realise that the bond that you thought was there was no bond at all. It's painful and horrible and uncomfortable and strange. But if what you thought you had was never there in the first place, I guess it can't matter that much after all.

I'm clearly still not in the right head space for Facebook so, until I am, it's one month at a time cold turkey again. I have some rather amazing faces of people I want to spend time looking at in real life that don't make me feel all icky and weird. So I think I will do that for a bit. I do really like 99% of my Facebook chums though and the funnies.

And the lure of Chubbs the Wampug is always calling to me...

Sunday, 10 March 2013

This isn't the blog you are looking for...

During my time away from Facebook I didn't get to read the comments people wrote about my blog. 'Pon my return I had a little look.

Mostly the usual, some people like, some people don't, that's all fine and dandy.

And then I saw someone who said: "Very ranty. I got her point within three paragraphs." And then on the same blog from same lady: "I don't think I've ever seen a cheerful post from this girl!!!"

The blog these referred to? The one about Pistorious brutally murdering his girlfriend, with the addition of some horrendous every day sexism from Daybreak's Twitter feed (for those who missed it, they saw fit to post a tweet in among all their others about Justin Bieber and Loose Women along the lines of: should women who are drunk and flirty be blamed for being raped?).

Now, I dunno... I mean I could be mistaken but if I had written a post about Pistorious/disgusting and dangerous sexism in a CHIRPY and UPBEAT manner, perhaps with some <3's in it and lots of exclamation marks, perhaps cheery lady would have LIKED my blog. And it is, of course, about pleasing everyone. Particularly people who believe in fairies and rainbows and sprites and the goodness in the world!!!!!

I did think that calling my blog 'Hell is other people' on a domain name 'tu fui, ego eris' might just give a clue as to the kind of blog it is. I even included a small bio/description about how I'm a snarky lady who loves to rant. But perhaps Judgy Mcjudgerson MISSED this in her need to criticise me through snarking at my blog for not being 'cheerful'. Anyway, I write loads of cheerful posts, there's one about a graveyard that's a fucking joyfest.

It's weird. I don't actually mind criticism about the points I make, or how I argue something, or even about my writing style. I do mind someone pointing out the fucking obvious in a tone of patronising tweeness. There is a whole interweb out there dedicated to cupcakes, fairies and rainbows. Choose your reading material more carefully and, I dunno, try creating something of your own before you're too quick to jump on someone for not being how you think they should be.

Although I am in the middle of composing a properly chirpy one about Princess Di and how very annoying she was. You'll love that, CHEERFUL LADY.

"Are you really going out looking like THAT Debbie?"

"You are going to iron that aren't you Debbie?"

"You're not going out with your hair like that are you Debbie?"

"Pull your skirt down at the back Debbie."

"You do look like a ragbag Debbie."

"When are you going to stop dressing like a student Debbie?"

"Mind you don't trip on the stairs."

"Don't fall down the cellar stairs."

"Have you thought about how easy it would be for someone to break in?"

"You're not going to walk home alone after dark are you Debbie?"

"Well, it'll be very difficult to clean."

"Do you really go to work looking like that?"

"How can you go around without any shoes on?"

"When are you going to dress your age?"

"Don't swear Debbie. It's so ugly."

Yeah. Ma's in town. 

I'm 36 years old and nothing changes. Nothing. She's like one of those dolls with a string that you pull and a choice of a few set phrases come out. For the last 26 years.

Some things I know for sure include the fact that it's now likely she's never going to get over my refusal to buy clothes at Next, M&S and Whistles; that she is never going to get over my foul mouth; that neither of us can infuriate each other quite like any one else in the world can. But mostly that she loves me very much.

She may take issue with my hair, clothes and language but she has never, ever judged me on the fact that I'm always single, don't want kids, don't have a proper, defined career path, am frequently in trouble with authority figures and don't live life to the more normal path of a 36 year old. She has never once bleated at me about grandchildren, about how I should get a husband or anything of that ilk. Quite the opposite, in fact. She has always been very clear that she wants me to be happy and she is also very clear about the fact that catching a man and having children isn't my only choice in life.

She's phenomenally judgmental about small things I do (yeah, I don't brush my hair very often. what of it ma?) and yet extremely understanding about the big things. She's endlessly supportive when I go through crisis after crisis - she has helped me move house three times in less than a year. She is there every time I have to go to hospital to get some random organ removed, no matter how far away we live from each other. She find it difficult to talk about dad, but she listens when I do. She has endured tantrums, screaming and endless, endless relationship problem talk from me. "But whyyyyy doesn't he love me?" and has never said "Oh belt up and get over it."

When my daddy died, she immediately became a rock that I still marvel at today. If she had fallen apart I would have fallen apart. But she didn't. She kept going. And when her new partner died about six years later, she still kept going. She is a tiny lady with a steel core. She's 67 and works her arse off looking after my brother's kids, volunteering at some random shop place and being nice to old people.

And today may be an arbitrary nonsense day designed to sell cards, flowers and general tat but it's as good a day as any to dedicate a blog post to my living hero, my rock, my irritatingly-obsessed-with-cleaning, my kind-hearted and devoted ma. Happy mother's day. I hope y'all got as lucky as me when it came to the parental lottery.

Monday, 4 March 2013

12 months later...

It's pretty much 12 months since I left everything and everyone I knew and decided that, yeah, what a great idea it would be to move somewhere totally new. For a job I wasn't at all sure about. To a place I knew no-one. At all.

Leaving Leamington was a long time coming and I'm only just getting over the surprise that I actually did.

I think, and close friends would confirm this I'm sure, that various situations in said old town needed to be left behind. You can't spend 12 years in such a small town without certain, uh, mistakes ending up cropping up around every corner. And you can't spend 12 years in such a small town without knowing pretty much every inch of it. And you can't spend 12 years in such a small town without every new person you meet having some weird, pseudo-incestuous connection with everyone else you know, until you feel like you're living in some massive partner swapping orgy of a town. But in a sort of small, boring level.

I don't even want to know the actual degrees of separation between me and certain people in Leamington. Partly fuelled, it has to be said, by my notoriously awful taste in men and the men I choose invariably liking to spread it about a bit.

But it's not all about 'orrible males I wanted to escape. The reason I hadn't left years earlier was basically fear. I'm scared of pretty much everything. When I let my anxieties really take hold, I'm pretty much scared to leave the house. So moving anywhere new on my own really was the bravest thing I have ever chosen to do in my life.

And I'm not great with being brave.

Picking a house at random and finding out that the job I moved for was just awful possibly wasn't the best way to try and settle in to a new city. But I didn't know that until it happened. I can't even remember the first few months. I became so miserable sometime in the middle of last summer that I genuinely didn't know what the hell I was doing. I didn't know why I'd  made this huge (yes, yes, I know, some of you have lived all over the world. But for me, this was huge) move. I didn't know what I was going to do, where I was going to go and, mostly who the fuck I was going to talk to.

Friends that I thought would be in touch weren't. I didn't even know what to say to anyone anyway. I had  failed to settle in. I had failed to meet people I felt comfortable around. I had failed to enjoy anything York had to offer. I had... just... failed. And when I was so very nicely, and with such compassion, understanding and empathy, told that I "don't fit in" at my place of work and forced to leave, that was the cherry on the York shitcake.

But by then, things had changed so much back home that I knew I couldn't go back. So I could only keep going forward.

Having just moved into a new place a week before being sensitively and, I'd almost go so far as to say, lovingly told to fuck off from my place of employment, I was stuck with big rent and no money. Still, you do what you have to do, right? Turning tricks is an OK career choice in the 21st century I reckon.

And I was back in a bar. Working late, late shifts for minimum wage. Looking around and going: what the fuck just happened? But, as is often the case in life, good shit follows the crap. And being treated like a mug can be the lasting catalyst for change. As soon as I actually left the job, it became clear that it wasn't York that was making me miserable, and I hadn't lost the knack for making friends... I just needed to get out of a situation that was making me so sad that getting up and enduring it every day was literally all I could do with my life.

It was like being released from a cage made of misery. And, even though I proceeded to live in the Flat From Hell and haven't really been able to afford anything other than the basics since then, I started to meet people who have made me happy. Lovely, funny, loyal people to hang out with and to talk to and to write for and to work with.

So, 12 months on... do I have regrets? Nope. York is now my home. I have severed ties with everything in my old life that was making me sad, and kept all the bits that make me happy. I don't feel torn between two places and two lives anymore. I have my life. And it's here. And it's now.