Summer Lovin' had me a blaaaaaahhhh-st

I sat down the other night and deemed it a good idea to read over every single post I’d conjured up since I started this blog (although the term blog does make me flinch a little), the first few being written by a very young, extremely naive and somewhat desperate 19 year old. Admittedly I had to ‘hide’ the first few due to sheer embarrassment of my own nineteen year old hopelessness and fickleness. (Although not much has changed.)

Nevertheless, as I mocked and patronised  my 19 year old past self: ‘you had so much to learn,’, ‘what were you thinking?,’ and although I’d like to think now that I have learned  an overwhelming amount over the last 8 years - I am still learning and forecast that it’s likely in 8 years time, I will point the finger at 26 year old me and say ‘what the hell were you on even then you little twat?’

So why did I delve deep into the dark heartbroken past of my own self on a Sunday evening, herbal tea to the left of me and the renowned ‘men are from mars’ book lying abandoned to my right? Well, whatever it was that was going on following my last couple of posts has now come. To. An. End.

Yes that’s it, the one-time-we-went-for-dinner, once-a-week-netflix-and-literal-chill, that-one-time-occasion-he-cooked-for-me, no-mobile-numbers-exchanged, Cameron-Diaz-is-hotter-than-you, why-hasn’t-he-messaged-me-back-I-can-see-he’s-seen-it, roots-music-infused five month fling is now over. Finito.

Again?! What’s wrong with this girl hey? Why can’t she hold down a relationship, or something similar of the kind for longer than 6 months? (That’s me being generous to myself, the limit really is only 3-4, so this one was a record.) What is so wrong with this 26 year old female that she can’t entice a man for long enough for it to be Facebook official? (You know damn well that’s what makes it official these days, one of the many reasons I can't stand the website but struggle to tear myself away from it.)

And what did I expect really, this undeniably and rather ridiculously young handsome chap, in all his post university prime was not going to settle down anytime soon. He has countries to visit, solid to smoke, other girls to make up his mind about.

I will tell you the full story of my most recent temporary fling in an attempt to answer some of these non-rhetorics (as I typed in synonyms in to google, it recognised my common search for ‘synonyms for short lived, I quite like fugacious.) But whilst reading through my many renditions of these dalliances - I can say that I seem to learn a life lesson each time. Each time, more meaningful than those perhaps gone before. Maybe?

I feel like I have been plunged into a self-psychoanalysis that concludes that I really should stop getting really intense crushes on really emotionally unavailable men. No one can change them, I certainly can’t and  I’m beginning to believe that they are unable to change themselves. And, not saying here that they should, they are victims of this mixed up generation just as much I am, and perhaps when we are a little older and wiser, and sick of being/getting screwed around/by one another, we might just be ready to take a plunge into whatever this thing called Love is.

19 year old me may have idealistically envisioned that by 25 I would know what the hell love is (perhaps even be married with a child or two, but I am happy this isn't the case for me right now) but I don’t. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

My experience of relationships growing up was never really ideal. Ma and Pa drove each other both nuts and to drink. Dad packed up and moved to Spain to live alone and get funny about which shelf the butter goes on in the fridge. My dear mother has been strung by a string of men not worthy of her beautiful, angelic soul. This, along with the witnessing of other broken relationships, not to mention being born into a world where no one is satisfied with what they already have, be it due to extreme narcissism or ‘grass is greener syndrome,’ or another more recent self proclaimed theory of ‘Apple lets me have a shinier new model every 6 months, I want a shiny new model partner too,’(I will discuss this theory in a later post), have all lead me to a somewhat dangerous revelationwhere I think, no bloody wonder.

But, I do not blame my parents, or this fast paced, ever changing, over-expecting generation. I know the problem lies deep within me, more ardent than any Adele song I ever did sing.

I guess I keep setting myself up for failure because I’ve never really known / witnessed much else (as with everything I say there are exceptions.) Perhaps my man-related insecurities mean I feel like I need justification of my self worth by proving to myself that I can make an emotionally unavailable chap available. I couldn’t do this at 19, I can’t do this now and to be frank it’s not a goal I wish to set myself for the future either.

So here’s what happened. My previous post left myself and perhaps some readers fairly optimistic (who am I kidding?) as I signed off the post with the intention to have a grown up chat with the very chap that crushed on Cameron Diaz more than he did me. His Australian adventure was looming and I was feeling more anxious about our weekly, his-terms-only, meetups than the time I put too much makeup on to meet him for dinner five months prior.

I put this off for a couple of weeks, admittedly ‘cause I knew what outcome would be. But, one Autumn Sunday, I found myself in a bad mood because I’d bought ingredients for a roast dinner to make us, but he did a no show. I STILL didn’t have his number and in a response to my polite, quite 'chill' message to see what time he fancied coming over, I was let down by a very harsh but honest message saying he was too hungover and ‘couldn’t be fucked’ to move.

Quite frankly, ‘I couldn’t be fucked’ to make a roast dinner, BUT THERE I WAS BUTTERING UP PARSNIPS!!!

I decided to call things off via his preferred contact outlet, messaging him that I was ‘unsure’ (oh I was sure) that it was safe for us to continue our weekly rendezvous as he was off travelling soon and I feared everything was all on his terms. I chucked a bit of light heartedness in there, stating I was probably looking for a bit more, perhaps even a phone number.

The response wasn’t exactly one I had expected, the part about him not being able to commit I could have read with my eyes closed, but the 11 digit phone number (always a bonus as in the past I have been given the wrong amount) shone up at me like a winning lottery ticket rather than a pontzy iPhone screen. My eyes widened as though I had hit the jackpot as I read ‘you’re supposed to give your number at the beginning of a relationship, I didn’t even realise!’

A RELATIONSHIP!? He called it a relationship?! And just like that, I reverted back to 19 year old me, completely disregarding the words that preceded of ‘I’m sorry I can’t commit,’ and the fib he told of not realising that the number exchange never happened.

After an hour, likely much more, sat on my living room floor with my best friend asking how I should respond to this paradoxical inbox message and after a lot of to’ing and fro’ing, mocking my own hysteria-esque tendencies, we kept reverting back to a response of ‘AS WE WERE THEN SQUIRE!’

I should have really just said that, it would have been more honest at least. I disregarded my crap attempt at calling the shots and regressed back to teenage naivety:  ‘Well it’s up to you I mean you’re not going for a while and I know it must be hard for you with work and stuff and travelling arrangements,’ I could make us dinner tomorrow night if you like?’

Pathetic I know. One final meet up with an intent to force something that conceivably never really was or ever could be. I made us salmon linguine, I got tipsy on the left over wine and he drank beer and secured himself on his regular seat on my sofa.  He put the Inbetweeners on and laughed a hell of a lot more than I did. I think this was a very pivotal moment for both of us, realising that maybe we weren’t really suited, even for netflix and bloody chill. He also made a passing comment when my a dyson advert came on (unbeknownst to him he didn’t know it was my favourite dyson advert,) that a few months ago would have made me all giddy and girlish and ‘ooooh we have SUCH good banter!’ Instead it made me feel a little angry. ‘There’s one for you, Chelsea.’

And suddenly my internal monologue was going crazy like: ‘Ohhh well maybe some of us revel in the thought of investing in a good home appliance instead of going to Australia to do everything you do here but just on exotic beaches around exotic people and I’m sorrrryyy I don’t look like Cameron Diaz but she is far too old for you anyway and probably doesn’t even know what a dyson is because she’s never had to hoover in her LIFE!!!.’

The habitual Facebook message came after a few days of non body or social media contact. I had his number on my phone but felt silly using it after so long. He told me I was probably right before about us not carrying on but thank you for this that and the other and he hoped I got the job I really wanted that I’d applied for recently and blah blah blah.

I didn’t get the job I really wanted, but someone else did and it would have made their day and it wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t get the guy I thought I wanted either but someone else may and it might make their day and it wasn’t meant to be for me.

Henceforth to a brief moment of melancholy, the traditional  deletion of all message history, the untouched mobile number, anything that could make me feel strange or sad about another brief encounter (and also to prevent me from ‘drunk dialling,’ him on a Saturday night after a few too many vinos and a few less payments of attention.) I only had to delete the one picture I had of us, we were at a music event and I kissed him on the cheek and his face screwed up real cute. I look quite content (if a little pale.) I never showed it to anyone, not even him. I didn’t even instagram the shit out of it because I knew he wasn’t going to be around for long, and I didn’t need the recognition or the likes from followers. ‘Who’s that then Chelsea? *Face with hearts as eyes emoji* ’ ‘Oh, him? Oh yeah, he can’t commit.’ ’

A few weeks passed and I didn’t know whether to include our final meeting in this post. Neither of us knew we were going to see each other that night. I didn’t even plan to go out as it was December, baltic and my bank balance was just as reluctant as I was to spend during the month life becomes very expensive. Me and two of my lovely friends had sipped on a few whiskey and cokes after an unsuccessful Christmas shopping trip. The whiskey infusion made us feel like we should spend the money we didn’t spend for Christmas presents, on ourselves in our favourite bar.

‘‘I just have a feeling he is going to be there,’ I hesitated.
Lovely friend assured me:  Don’t be so paranoid, he’s never at this bar and he’s going to Australia soon, stop worrying about it.’

It didn’t take much convincing as we checked what sort of event was going on that night, it was right up our street. We danced A LOT in the over crowded bar and when I turned around for a quick toilet trip and lipstick application, I SAW HIM, in the crowd looking down at his drink like it held all the answers. I turned straight back around again and walked up to the front. ‘I knew it, he is here, I’ve just seen him!’ My consoling friend was used to my manic man related behavior.‘‘I’ll take a walk and see if he’s here, be right back.’ She did the rounds, checked the smoking area and the bar, and said he was nowhere to be seen.

Maybe he saw me, thought ‘oh fuck, here we go,’ and did a runner. Surely not?  My mind was playing tricks on me. It does that often. But ordering at the bar shortly after, we caught each others eyes. He came over to me and hugged me like college friends do, the awkward we-are-in-this-shit-situation-together, we may as well hug it out kinda embrace. We spoke for a while and I said I needed to go to the loo (I could have been cooler and said I was going out for a smoke or something.) He asked if I was coming back and I smiled at him and said yes.

When I returned I went to where the girls were, and he creeped up beside me and said ‘you look really hot tonight.’ During my Christmas shopping trip prior, it was if my subconscious knew I’d have to get changed out of a hoodie and leggings, I picked up a little grey top from the sale at H and M and changed into it before I left. He also said that my smile was nice and I was always happy, (PAH) and while we danced together with his hand placed committedly around my waist, he told me I ‘had rhythm.’ In the months that I had known him, I really don’t think I’d ever seen him so drunk. This made his compliments more seedy and less real. ‘I forgot what it was like to hold you.’ It’s almost a bit cringey looking back at it now but at the time I thought ‘ya damn right ya did, you ain’t gettin none of dis!’

We went back to a friends house post pub close where I asked if he was looking forward to going travelling. He responded with, ‘yes, I am looking forward to going to Australia for TWO MONTHS.’ TWO BLOODY MONTHS?!’

Queue confused stream of consciousness:

‘If he’s only going for two months why can’t he commit? Why has he told me this now?’ What is the conversion from two months into hours? Am I gross?’

He crashed out on the sofa after pulling me down with him, where I lay uncomfortable as ever, my feet still touching the floor, the angle I lay at just as awkward as the whole bloody shebang.  I wanted and needed to go home, so I carefully slipped away from his grip and left him to sleep off the booze. Getting into a taxi in the early hours just as I always do, pissed off at men and feeling rather sorry for myself.

The following day, I stupidly stupidly stupidly sent him a message wishing him fun and safety on his travels (if you can call ‘em that said bitter me) ‘it was really nice to see you last night’ (really nice being what I said, confusing, frustrating somewhat bewildering being what I thought.) Of course the response was lacking and somewhat ignorant:
‘How did we get back to (mutual friends) house last night? Yeah, was gd to see you too from what I can remember.’
He is now in Australia and here I am writing another *flinch* blog.

Now, I am not here to put this guy down or make him out to be some arse that treats women poorly. He was honest from the start, it was me that wished to continue something I knew wasn’t particularly right. And here is my revelation.

Some relationships are only meant for a moment (does one night count?)  some for the summer, maybe a winter, and some for a lifetime. This one lasted the Summer and admittedly, despite the aforementioned, I had a nice time.  We are all guilty of jumping to the future when we start seeing, texting, (dancing?) with someone before we even know if they are right for us, and I mean, his second name didn’t quite complement my first. Yeah we all go that far ;) and you know it.

In fact I had a great time, we shared a passion for the same genre of music, we showed each other lots of things and perhaps learnt a thing or two about ourselves. We went to see Toots and the Maytals which will stay with me forever. (Best concert ever!)

I had a lovely summer romance (for want of a more contemporary word that doesn't include Netflix or chill) and wish him all the best. And that is all I can do. I know I don't always abide by my own self proclaimed rules or goals, but I certainly get better at being me and accepting that this is just what seems to happen, not just to me but all of us as I described earlier. I may not have the psychoanalysis correct and I could sit here for days trying to figure out why I go for these guys - or why they go for me for a short while.

I knew I was stronger than ever before because I didn't actually sob for that long. I didn’t bother listening to Adele, I didn’t talk about it (too much) with my girls.  I also didn’t feel the need to seek reassurance through the book that suggests men and women are from different planets. (Because  if we were the same / or from the same planet as the metaphor suggests - that would be pretty boring right?)

I skyped my mother after our last exchange of facebook messages and she gave me the maternal, empathetic look and asked if I was ok.’ '
'Yeah mum, I'm actually fine?'
'Are you sure?'
'I know I had to ask myself that too, but yeah, I’ll be fine,I always am.’
‘You always are.’

Why Cameron Diaz can fuck RIGHT off....

What do you do then?

You've been seeing a guy for a few months now, (3 months and 4 days to be exact, not that you're counting) and things seem to be going well purely because:

1) He hasn't gone back to his ex-girlfriend
2) He hasn't yet mentioned that 'place' where we all go to at some stage in our lives, that unbeknownst place, that place that can either deem us ready or not ready for a relationship. That damn place.

There are probably a few more to mention here but these are the most common occurrences on your ever growing dating timeline.

You don't talk about your relationship much because well, what defines being in a relationship these days? A once a week Netflix and chill? (But like a genuine Netflix and chill not the sordid kind that makes you miss all the important bits of Stranger Things and Peaky blinders, i.e. Tommy Shelby.) Or is it the already preempted drunk dial late Saturday night to inquire of their whereabouts and if they fancy stopping over? Because it certainly seems these days (and as with everything I write about there are exceptions and god bless those exceptions) that flowers, chivalry and being wined and dined have been replaced with budget booze, booty calls in the form of Facebook messages (booty inbox messages doesn't have quite the same ring to it) and the awkward splitting of the just eat food bill. But nonetheless, you've been enjoying getting to know each other, slowly but surely by means of a literal Netflix and chill, fuzzy Facebook messages and split card payments in Wagamamas.

So, weeks in to this undeniably strange bond you've formed with someone who can only be described as a very, very handsome and chilled closed book, he messages you on Facebook (because you STILL don't have his mobile number and you're not sure whether that's a big deal or not because Facebook Messenger is just as apt as a text message, but it's just a little odd more so annoying that you can't save his number in your phone and perhaps put a little cutesie monkey emoji next to it.) He asks if you are free Friday as it's 'about time' he cooks for you. About time because he's witnessed your flustered and clumsy tendencies in the kitchen on several occasions as you try to remember the BBC good food recipes you've hopelessly memorised before his arrival. You want to make it seem as thought you always  have the fresh herbs and chill's required to just chuck a seafood linguine together. Him cooking will also mean that you can avoid the the uncomfortable moment of opening the oven to a waft of dangerously high heat that melts both the makeup off your face and your dignity all at the same time.

As if you haven't already polished off half a bottle of wine in order to calm your weekly nerves, he shows up, in all his glory (even his hair is better than yours, thicker and longer) and places his beautifully manly man arms around your waist, bottle of wine in hand and his overnight bag slung over his prefect shoulders. And you love his overnight bag because well, it does what it says on the tin.

You watch him in the kitchen, sipping on the wine he just bought you. (You've hidden the remaining half a bottle you polished off earlier under your bed.)  The wine he's bought for you tastes much better than any wine because it's the wine he bought for you. It could be Lambrini for all you care. 

You talk about each others weeks (it has been about that length of time since you last saw each other) and he talks you through the Italian dish he is preparing and you laugh and joke as he mimics a TV chef. It's perfect, you're acting like a real couple here, you're probably a little more drunk than you expected yourself to be at 6pm, but you're happy and he seems pretty content as he lists the different ways to prevent onion tears.

The food was delicious, the wine is still flowing and you're now cuddled up on the sofa leaving his free arm in charge of the Netflix selection. You're full with wine, pasta and sheer content, so you're not paying much attention to his film choice. You're too busy focusing on an angle to drape across him where he cant see that you're a little bloated. 

'How about this? I've watched this with my parents before, its hilarious.' 
You're still not taking much in to account here as your mind wanders and pictures him and his more than likely handsome parents (you haven't met them of course, but have a mental image of them in your head from the time you rather hastily imagined the very event) all laughing and smiling at one another over some family friendly film about a talking rescue dog or something.

Oh, but wait, it looks like an action movie starring Tom Cruise. Well you're happy to try your best to at least  pretend to enjoy the selection, you're feeling a little tired anyway from all the wine so perhaps you can just fall asleep to rise and fall of his chest as he breathes...aaahhhh.

BUT THEN she appears. The fresh faced, blonde and beautifully figured, carved-by-angels Cameron Diaz. Perfect long blonde hair on her perfect little head, flowing past her perfect bloody shoulders right down to her perfect arsing arse. And you know, you know immediately why he remembers this film, not because he had a laugh with his parents over her bimbo-esque character but because she is smoking bloody hot. Prancing about in in her sexy black heels with a gun, making better sex noises than a porn star whilst pathetically attacking criminals and submissively pining after Cruise.

I mean all this stuff didn't reaaally bother you at first. Yeah, it is slightly niggling to share his attention with a successful actress while you sit their all tipsy in your housemate pre-approved loungewear while she models little pink bikinis and slip dresses. So you start trying to pick out faults in this camel-toe less, cellulite-less, bra-less, bloat-less and everything-less of what you critisice yourself about - being (short-hairless, knobbly-knee-less etc.) 

And as you firmly assure your insecure irrational thoughts that it's best to leave Cameron Diaz alone because she's not done anything to you, you hear a groan (a foreign groan to the muffled ones you think you may have heard but have never been sure cause you 're always too busy trying to make sex look sexy.) A groan that abruptly interrupts the rise and fall of his chest as he becomes enticed by Cammy D running along the beach so perfectly and so savagely sensuously that even you  became a little flustered:

'Uhhhh, she is SO hot.'

And there was a huge emphasis on the word SO, and suddenly the wine he bought you tastes like PISS. He may as well of shouted it through a bloody megaphone, she is SOOOOOO HOT! He may as well just have had a wank over the blonde goddess right there on the sofa, right in front of you.

You don't move, or say anything. Instead you go in to your own head for a while (as if you hadn't already been) and become pissed off that she is acting alongside Tom Cruise who you can't even pretend to find attractive, (sorry Tom, I think it's the whole Scientology thing.)  Then you go even deeper in to your head and question what it is you're doing on a Friday night, laying terribly uncomfortably on a chaps chest, trying not to leave traces of makeup on his t-shirt or breath too loudly. 

So thanks Ms Diaz, I bet I'm not the only desperate fool to have been thrown off by your sheer deliciousness.

Now you may be querying why I have written  this post in third person when it clearly relates to myself and my current man situation, well truth is, I'm not sure. But if I wish to go all psycho-analytical on myself, I may say that it's because I'm in slight denial of having got myself into another silly man-related predicament.  And if I was to list a third important reason as to why things seem to be going well between me and the very handsome, chilled closed book, I would have listed:

3)Will not be soon jetting off to Australia for a year where the girls surf and have CAMERON DIAZ BIKINI BODIES

But the latter, is actually happening, in December. Damn

And perhaps it may seem very insecure and silly of myself to get so worked up over a passing comment about an actress, I'm sure if one of my sleb crushes was on screen I'd utter something similar (perhaps less enthusiastic though, it honestly sounded like he came.) The truth is, because of this chaps impending travels, I feel as though I cannot truly relax or be 100% myself in his company. And in an attempt to relax (pah) and just 'see what happens,' I have lost a sense of what it is I am really looking for.

I think it's time to talk - and I also think I know what is going to happen next but I will sure as hell be able to fight it better than Cameron Diaz ever will. Silly little bimbo.

It's Britney Bitch

I recently was invited out for dinner with a chap that I met on a night out. On a night out being key here, I was shocked at the suggestion after he witnessed me over enthusiastically dancing to Britney's 'Work Bitch' after a few too many ciders at a mutual friends house the preceding Saturday.  He'd definitely already seen me at my worst (sweaty, cider sodden, dancing and singing poorly declaring none other than 'It's Britney Bitch!') and yet there I stood hating the inanimate object that is my mirror, faffing over what to wear and how to wear my hair. The hatred didn't stop there, I'd also developed two stubborn teenage spots on the side of my face that no amount of mineral powder could even start to try and disguise. It's like they knew.

He recommended a pizza restaurant close to where he lives (pizza restaurant for a pizza face, it's like he knew.) It was one of those Hipster places that you're allowed to call Hipster (although I don't like to generalise), they were selling all different types of beers and ales with names like Hip Hoppy and Ale Assault. Already I knew I was in over my head when he laughed at me as  I pretended to review the selection written on the blackboard, only to choose a Thatchers and black.

We sat down in a corner window seat, surrounded by a few other pairs who seemed a lot more comfortable in their choice of both attire and company. I began the conversation with an apology for my cocky and overconfident behavior he was accustomed to the previous Saturday. He smiled and said 'it's fine, you were funny.'

He said I was funny. And there I sat, stone baked pizza sober, only two sips into a cider and black panicking that I now had to be funny. But there were no friends to show off in front of and no Britney Spears to encourage me, I immediately felt the pressure to try and be funny and immediately became very aware of  the  awkward mannerism I possess when in the company of those I don't know all to well. And that is when I make jokes, I mumble them. Now, this may be because I don't want everyone to hear because it may not be laugh-worthy, but in this case the immense pressure I put on myself to be funny at that particular moment, made my already quiet voice quieter.

After a the third 'sorry one more time, I missed that again,' I gave up all hope and smiled a desperately apologetic smile as I told him not to worry about it because it wasn't really that funny. We both then turned our heads to gaze out the window, envying passersby who weren't experiencing the first date clumsiness  that we were. Something in common I suppose...

We ordered our Pizza which thankfully came out quite quickly, the attention could now shift on to the food rather than how unfunny I was on a weeknight.

Again because I am bad at paying attention to things when in my own head, I let him choose the pizza. I soon realised this error as the pizza was placed in front of us - the devil re-spawned as food - decorating the pizza pallet like hell fire - jalepenos. 

And the blurry conversation was replayed in to my head as I noticed them, dotted around the pizza like mines ready to explode in my mouth. I. don't. do. spicy. foods.

'Do you like spicy food?'

What I should have said:

'No way. I like all foods and I am always keen to try something new but I really can't handle anything spicy, jalepenos for instance, I just can't stand them.'

What I did say:

' Oh sureeee!'

After an awkward exchange of glances with the guy, I  suddenly became very wary of the way I chewed. Especially as I tried to avoid chewing the jalapenos so much that hell would be released from the roof of my mouth. Not only this, it's common for the childhood memory to haunt me when on dinner dates as I reminisce upon the time I was told by a sibling that I resemble that of camel when I when trying to break down food in my mouth. (That sort of comment stays with you for life.) 

When my date-ee asked what I did for a living post mouth-full, I began nodding my head as if to say, I'll answer that after I've finished this super hot and spicy jalapeno infested mouthful,  rolling my eyes as if this and the head nodding would speed up the chewing process, only to give a very thoughtless and empty answer: 'admin,' after chewing like a fucking camel for what felt like half an hour.

'What about you?'

He responded with a very confident and long winded account of his plans for after University, to help out with his Dads company, his previous job roles, his recent job offering to work for the University and perhaps go travelling later on in the year. I was too busy focusing on trying to chew beautifully and not wiping the cement off the two new houses that had built themselves on the side of my face with my napkin to really take in the travelling remark (why does everyone have to go travelling on their own these days?)

I carried on pretending to enjoy the food as he continued the conversation and made my one worded and one syllable answer more and more pathetic. I was beginning to feel a little more relaxed as he took charge of the conversation like a new gen hero but realised this was probably because I'd guzzled down most of my pint in order to wash down the peppers.

Conversation is hard between mouthfuls isn't it? It's fine if you've known the person for a while -they are your partner, they've seen you at your worst, dribbling on a pillow and making questionable noises during sleep, they've seen you eat multiple times before. But when a stranger watches you eat, it's like you forget all the dinner-table courtesy drummed into you as a kid by your parents and grand parents:

'Don't talk with your mouthful...'

 I certainly forgot this when asked a questions by my opposition - answering his obligatory interrogative first date questions, with a mouth full of food and a mind full of anxiety.
And in reverse, I didn't want to ask him questions while he was eating, and I was unsure if it counted as an awkward silence when we were both chewing at the same time?

Pizza was eaten, drinks were drunk, post pizza and pint of thatchers bloat was incoming. So I went to the toilet to top up on mineral powder and reassurance that it wasn't the worst date I 'd been on.

came up stairs, my lips looking less natural than before after a quick tint of Rimmel lipstick. We talked a little more and decided it was time for the bill. Now, if you've ever seen First Dates, you will be familiar that this part is when the dates seal the deal; if you split the bill, you probably won't see each-other again. If one pays, it is known that the couple go to see each other again.

We split the bill, and then we split. I got on a bus and he walked thirty seconds up the road to his house. We didn't speak to each other for a few days and I thought it was probably going to be another fleeting man meeting. But to my surprise, he asked if we could hang out again, this time at a music event we were both interested in as mentioned between mouthfuls on our first date.

So my latest conclusion is, perhaps it's not a great idea to date someone you impressed by being blind Britney drunk one Saturday night, and maybe it is safer to save the dinner dates for when you know the other person a bit better and they know you well enough to understand that you would fib about liking spicy foods just to be polite. (Even better, well enough to know you didn't like spicy foods.)

And also not to abide by the bill splitting rule just because it's something seen on Channel 4. We must remember that we are in the New Gen and it's not necessarily the same as what it is in the movies....or on Channel 4. 

  I met him the following Sunday, we bought each other drinks and danced side by side, enjoying the music and exchanging subtle smiles and content smirks as the music played in the background Occasionally we popped to the smoking area to converse rather than smoke, and it flowed as did the music, and the thatchers. I had a GREAT TIME. 

There - a blog with a more promising ending. That felt good!


I had a wine infused conversation with my older brother the other day following his recent break up with a girlfriend.  It’s not often I have confidence in whatever it is I say about love (perhaps it was the wine) because as you have most probably gathered by reading my posts, I don’t have a bloody clue. But this time, I felt like I may have hit the nail on the head a little, perhaps at a slightly dodgy angle - but what I said made sense to myself and my dear brother.  In fact it must have made sense to him as he later went on to relay my theory to my best friend.  Cheeky little so and so stealing my wine infused, slightly inaccurate theories about love.

In the months that my brother and his now ex were together, I observed him spend most of his time with someone that didn’t make him very happy, who didn’t give him the love he deserved. Whenever I asked if everything was going well, his two syllable responses consisting of ‘yeah, fine!,’ ‘not bad,’ and ‘all good,’ made me feel a maternal weariness that something wasn’t quite right. For a couple who should have been in that silly period deemed ‘honeymoon,’ (a silly term really, as that’s a little holiday people take post marriage,) it was more as though they had been married for fifty years and became so used to one another's company that they had forgotten how to talk to each other.

They were opposites. My brother loves going out with his friends, adores both his friends and family and will do anything for them, enjoys his own space and leads a pretty non-judgmental and somewhat spiritually enhanced life. She preferred to stay in, didn’t have a very loving relationship with her parents or siblings, wasn’t really into socialising that much and hated sleeping alone.
Now, they say opposites attract, but they also say those that are similar and share the same interests make a successful relationship. They talk about love at first site, but they also say love can develop by spending a lot of time with someone. They say they turn up when you least expect it, but they also say if you want something so much you will get it. So no wonder our views on love are a little fucked up and all over the place I mean geez!
My brother couldn’t do it any more, he has so much love to give but it was being given to someone who didn’t know how to receive or reciprocate it. The break up was fairly mutual -  I think she mainly just liked the male companionship and was one of those ‘I don't want to be aloners’ I so meticulously labelled in a previous blog post.
Both my brothers and I are very similar in the fact that we got for those we shouldn't. The worst thing is, is that we go for people we know we shouldn't. We ignore the warning signs and the red flags, and rely on the paradoxical and contradictory theories about love and meeting ‘the one’ to see us through. Shame on us Branches! My older brother goes for the somewhat judgemental, slightly snooty, materialistic girls that draw him in with their long hair and prettiness, maybe even their control over him. My younger brother pines after the straight men he develops strong bonds with, some of them have even confused his lovely mind by crossing the boundaries of a platonic relationship, only to leave him feeling a bit shit. As he doesn’t possess or have interest in any campness or flamboyance, his type is the ‘straight man,’ and as you can imagine, he hasn’t quite found his match yet.

I love my brothers more than I can say, they are my heros and my best friends. We can talk to each other about absolutely everything, we have grown up gracefully together, always hanging out in the same friendship groups, even working for the same companies. We recently all moved to Bristol together and are each other's mentors in living our lives to the full. As everyone in this life has, we have had some god awful times in the past, but we have stuck by one another and have witnessed each other's strength, persona and happiness develop over the years.
My sister too, an amazing inspiration who has remained with the love of her life since she was sixteen. My sister and her partner (the funniest man I know) have created the most witty and intelligent being I have ever met. I can guarantee an unbiased stance here, as despite being my nephew, my beautiful nephew, his persona and energy is like no other little boys. He knew the meaning of eternity at four years old (‘a very very very very long time,’) and his beautiful parents will be together for just this.

There is a whole lot of love in our family, and I sadly don’t see it in everyone's. My brothers ex-girlfriend found it peculiar that we were all so close, especially with our parents. My parents are no longer together, but are still very good friends (most of the time) and recently when Pops was visiting from Spain, Mum came up to stay also. We all went to out to the Bristol bars, drinking and laughing together and Mum was rolling us cigarettes all night. My brothers ex couldn’t believe how we ‘behaved,’ and told my brother she didn’t want him to drink at the weekends, in fear that he  ended up like our parents. Nice.

This questionable view most likely stems from the fact that her parents did not exchange ‘love you's’ or reassurances that she was loved. Her relationship with her older brother consisted of her dropping him off and picking him up at the weekends to his nightclubs of choice, in exchange for cash. Now this to me, is odd.

I appreciate my life in Bristol so very much, but I yearn to be closer to my Mum, sister and nephew. Thanking technology for granting us fantastic advancements such as Skype and Facetime, we keep in touch and each and every one of us will accommodate the difficult goodbyes with a warm ‘love you’s.’

I know how much my family love me and this is without a doubt the best feeling in the world. And  I am satisfied and grateful to be able to give all my love back to them.

The conversation with my brother went something along the lines of: ‘Maybe we love too easily because we know what it is to be loved.‘ Of course, family relationships are very different to the relationships we have with a boyfriend or girlfriend, but the love on an emotional level is the same. In our family along with the friendships we have developed with those outside of our family (like my best friendship with my roommate who I absolutely adore and can’t put into words how much I love,) we support one another, we listen to each other, we hug each other and tell each other it’s going to be okay, we tell them when they look well, we look after them when they are poorly, we stick by them through the many difficulties that come their way. We tell eachother how much we love one another. That to me, is true love. (Gooey I know but it is  so true, and also really sweet and Mum’s gonna love reading this, hey mum xx)

After this conversation, to which my brother agreed in total comprehension, I went home and watched ‘Maleficent,’ after a long winded seep through of Netflix's options. *Spolier alert* if you haven't watched Maleficent, then do - its really very good, but don’t read this next part if you intend to do so. The film that night coincidentally (and you know I love my coincidences) emphasised a similar premise that it’s not ‘true love's first kiss’ from Prince Charming or what have you, that will save you  it’s the true love from another human. In this story it was Maleficent, who watched sleeping beauty grow (post-curse),  developing a fondness for her so pure, that it was only her who was able to rescue her. Maleficent so desperately tried to find a Prince (as we all do) in order to save sleeping beauty, but it wasn’t him that could wake her, it was Maleficent. Magnificent.

And very similar to ‘Frozen,’ (which I was so very reluctant to watch being a bit of a cynic over adults watching kids films) which emphasises the same idea.I would place another *spoiler alert* tag here but I know you’ve all seen it JUST ADMIT IT YOU LIKED IT! It’s not the kiss from a chap that can save our female protagonist here, it’s the affection and love from her older sister that de-ices her. And I think this is a very important message to give to the kids of this generation and the next. We have always been plummeted with the idea that is a partner, a prince charming that can rescue us - but this really isn’t necessarily the case. Perhaps why Frozen was such a huge hit, it was a more real, more contemporary and true about love.

So when the thought next enters our head about finding ‘the one,’ or when we feel unhappy that ‘the one’ we have is not proving to be the one we thought, take a look around you and notice the love that already exists, between you and your friends and family. It is there and it is truer than most of the love being messed about with out there. And perhaps we will know who ‘the one’ is when we experience the same love and affection exchanged between you and the people around you, who have stuck by you since you first met...

This is by far the soppiest, cheesiest blog post I have ever written and with its mention of two kids films I may have to go and take a shower. But I dedicate this post to my beautiful and wonderful family and friends, who give me all the love I need! I love you! xxx

New Year Same Me - Part Two

Why, of course there is a part two.

When I told this story to my dear Mother on Facetime,I  didn't know whether I was laughing or crying. And neither did she. I think it was a mixture between the two and if I’m honest, quite a foreign and looking back, humorous noise I was making. I think I was laughing because I couldn't believe I was crying over such a trivial matter and crying because at the same time I didn’t really feel as though it was funny at all.  I asked mama through my girlish sobs; 'am I being pathetic? Is this ridiculous behaviour mum?' She reassured me that it wasn't and comforted me through understanding of how I felt, and I believed her -  despite the fact I couldn't quite come to terms with the emotions myself. My nostrils kept flaring every time I let out a sob which made me giggle/weep even more.

So a few blog posts ago I told you about that handsome, charismatic ginger chap who paid for my taxi after my desperate attempt to find the debit card in my bag THAT WAS THERE ALL ALONG. I did find it post-cancellation, in one of the many compartments of my bag that I have never used before. When I found it a week or so later, after that night that I naively believed was ridden with fate, I was glad I couldn’t at the time  because else I wouldn’t have met him  or had a cup of tea with him because it was meant to be blah blah bloody blah.

His name was Shannon. It came to me when I was searching Facebook for every Shannon and Sharron in Bristol after googling whether either were actually boys names or he was just ‘avin me on. I found him. I won’t tell you how long it took me (four days.) Turns out we do have a mutual friend of a friend (of course) but no one mutual enough to find out if he was the type of chap to leave insufficient mobile digits to a fickle little idealist who'd as a one off, mixed red wine and red stripe on new years eve. What a keeper.  

Now you may think of this as some seriously stalkerish behaviour. well I hold my stalkerish hands up I admit it okay! I stalked, I stalked the very depths of Facebook, high and low to find this gentleman. I swiped high and low like I was on some sort of new gen quest, embarked upon from the very comfort of my sofa, sofa searching and sofa scrolling through social media sites: 'Shannon, male, Bristol, slightly ginger.'   I wanted desperately to find him and pay him back for his good nature by means of a beverage or marriage. Kidding. Maybe.

I was about to call off the one woman search party until so suddenly, there he was, in all his strawberry blonde glory, his left nostril modelling a nose ring, his head fashioning a skater-esque flat cap, wearing the t-shirt I met him in on new years ('fate') and his profile picture was of him and his beautiful little boy that he told me about, who had inherited his hair colour and fashion sense. 

I messaged him something similar to the above, minus the marriage part - and I waited for the response. I waited for the response. I waited and waited, I waited some more. I kept waiting for that response. Maybe he hadn't seen it? Had he seen it? He can't of seen it...I even exhausted Google, asking it to teach me which each of the little ticky symbols meant on Facebook messenger. And I know I am not the only one to do this - because there were plenty of people to ask the same question.  I concluded, he didn’t use Facebook, it hadn't told me the day and time it was 'seen' so perhaps it went into the 'others' folder where all the spam goes from seedy Turkish men telling you 'you beautiful.' (Maybe not so much for him.) He hadn’t seen it. He would have replied else? I mean we had a lovely time together really, so he can't have seen it.

So, I found his instagram (stalker hands re-raised.) He seemed to be an avid user of the picture uploading site (instagram tells you when the last photo was uploaded, and his was full of recent snaps,  his and his little boys face decorating his insta-album.

There was another face that popped up quite a bit too. An old school emo looking chick, with a full fringe, dimples and a little nose. She must have been a good mate because they seemed quite matey and did matey things together like go on walks, hang out by the harbourside drinking beer, and watching films on a projector screen from his bed I presume. Oh there she is on the loo, he took a picture of her going for a wee...friends these days. Hey there’s a sweet one of them holding hands, snoggi...waaaait a minute.

He had a fucking girlfriend - OF COURSE HE HAD A FUCKING GIRLFRIEND!

I ruddy asked him! I asked him when he sat on MY RUDDY SOFA, drinking MY SHIT TEA, his arms tangled around my body, lulling me in with all his ginger glory, face centimetres away from mine...I drew back and I ruddy asked him:

‘You don’t have a girlfriend do you?’ 

‘I wouldn’t be here if I did.’
I wouldn't be here if i did
I wouldn't be here if i did
I wouldn't be here if i did

He didn't say it that many times, I'm just trying to create that echo-ey affect they do in films where a statement which is quite pivotal to the story repeats itself in a characters head.
He lied to me! And why wouldn’t he? He didn't know me, he didn't owe me anything, (if anything I owed him a tenner) I was just some drunken ditz who lost her card in her own bag late one New Year's morning. He followed me home perhaps thinking he would get more than what he bargained for (£10 to be precise) which I stress here he certainly did not. We talked and kissed on my sofa and he left, he left me and he left the wrong number.
In my na├»ve, fairy-tale, it-must-be-destiny mind patterns, I was adamant the wrong number thing was a mistake - it NEVER crossed my mind that it would have been left on purpose. He seemed far too lovely for that, and we had far too much of a lovely time for that. Plus that's never happened to me, it only ever happens in movies right? Right? 

Part two doesn't stop here though.

The best part, well the most unbelievably incomprehensible part, is the recent revelation that his girlfriend, and not even a slight exaggeration here, (I do have the tendency to do so) lives 10 doors down from me!!! Yes, we are practically neighbours. 10 doors down on the corner of a street corner parallel to my house. I remember feeling worried for the phoney when he left:
‘Are you sure you know where you’re going?’
‘Yeah, nice to meet you Chelsea,’ he replied, shutting the door behind him. I wonder if he was to walk 100 yards down the road to greet his girlfriend with New year's wishes. Leaving me with a scribbled digit too short mobile number. He isn’t the hero I made out in my last post but he's tactful, I’ll give him that. But I am keeping that tenner.

And I did wonder you know, why was this chap not with his girly on New Years? Perhaps they had had a bit of barney, he walked out and bumped in to little miss lose everything, and got a little ahead of himself. But I shouldn't waste my time thinking up  multiple scenarios in my head, the irony of me sharing a street with the girl made my head hurt enough. I think I learnt that fate and destiny are not necessarily a good thing.
How did I know we shared the same street you may wonder? Why the devil reincarnated as a social image sharing site of course. Instagram! More like Spinstagram I say. The way I’m going anyway. I swiped through the pictures on both his and hers. There was a house party that took place a few weekends after I’d met the little git and he had passed out in a wooden chair on the front patio. And I recognised that patio, and the window behind it. A house I have been walking passed for over a year on the way to work that I have always been slightly drawn to pre-Shannon. Perhaps because of the singer sewing machine in the window, the overfilled recycling bin (full of beer the happy couple probably drunk together) and also the inflatable snowman that I used to judge for still being inflated and on show way after Christmas 2014.

Since I uncovered such  revelation I have crossed paths with emo chick a few times, her having absolutely no idea who I am, just some strange girl who Skype's her mum while she walks and looks quite nervous. Emo chick is cute, in an old school emo way and I am quite bitter about how her fringe falls so perfectly above her eyebrows. I haven't seen him, thank cupid, but I am sure I will cross pavements with them soon, in the big but also very small city of Bristol.

I had a little sob/snigger to my mum in disbelief, but then thought - well he clearly isn’t the hero I thought he was if he’s accepting invites from drunken fools back to their place, after paying for their taxi and telling them they look like Florence from Florence and the machine (which I still cant work out as a compliment or not.)

I won’t ever know what went on in his mind - I have realised that too much went on in mind for a silly little drunken early morning fling. My stalkerish behaviour has lead me to uncover some quite questionable truths (DAMN SOCIAL MEDIA AND OVERACTIVE MINDS.) But at least I know now and I can throw away the little bit of paper with an almost illegible 1 digit short mobile number, knowing that, the chap was not ‘the one.’ Another man related lesson, in my continuous new gen men schooling, don't take everything as 'fate' and destiny,' rather a lesson to stop presuming every chap that is nice to you could be 'the one.'

New year, same me, but slightly wiser me....we will see.