The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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My Saturday as a patient in the Acute Medical Unit at Southend Hospital

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Well Saturday didn’t go quite as planned. I was woken up at around 4:45 by my body coughing and eventually I was able to hack out a blood-ball from my throat. Not pretty in prose let alone in reality. I have been battling what I thought was a throat infection for weeks, I first suffered it over Christmas but it cleared up but around three weeks ago it seemingly came back. This time I lost my voice and my throat was much more raw. Being a typical bloke though I ignored it all but the presence of coughing up blood for several weeks finally made me drag myself to the drop-in clinic at St. Luke’s on Saturday morning.

I’m not one for going to the doctors. Since leaving home I’ve been twice. Once was because I had blurred vision in one of my eyes and then on Saturday. I always think I’m just wasting people’s time. So anyway I get into see the doctor and after saying ‘I’ve been coughing up blood for weeks’ she was pretty much straight on to the phone to the hospital. She wanted me to have chest x-rays. Naively I thought I’d pop along, have a chest x-ray and be home in time for Liverpool v Arsenal. I got into hospital and found myself admitted on to the Acute Medical Unit. Guessing the doctor at the clinic was really quite concerned.

I sat around bored (my iPod battery had died earlier in the day and I decided not to wait to charge it back up – y’know the whole in/out thing I had planned meant I didn’t worry about it). The staff nurse did all the vitals, temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar, all of which I aced. Go me. However the blood sugar test sent my body into shock. It always does when I have needles stuck into me. So about two minutes later there was literally a pool of sweat on the floor under the chair. Lovely.

An hour or so later I saw a doctor. He had a good look around my throat but he was happy with all my answers to his questions. He decided a blood test and chest x-ray just to be on the safe side but he thought it was probably complications from Tonsillitis or Laryngitis but he didn’t want to take any chances. So he went and took my blood. Cue more epic sweating and I went off for an x-ray. I felt perfectly healthy the whole time and looking around I really felt as though I was wasting people’s time. The doctor came past to see another patient and gave me the thumbs up and said I’d probably be going home but he had to refer something past a senior doctor. Guessing there was a small issue with either my lungs or my blood.

Doctor and senior doctor came down around 5 o’clock and said I was an extremely healthy young man. The key thing was my lungs looked in perfect shape and the issue was with my blood. However it wasn’t an issue that concerned them too much, not enough to keep me in anyway. Basically they think my body is still battling whatever infection it started fighting three weeks ago but the body is still fighting it. They recommended I talk as little as possible until I stop coughing up any phlegm or blood. Apart from that they were happy to see me be on my way. They said they could prescribe antibiotics but the blood work looked like my body was still fighting so didn’t want to add antibiotics to the mixture.

They did say though that I was right to see a doctor and that she was right to refer me straight to hospital, which made me feel a little bit better. I did have some of the main symptoms of either a blood clot or lung cancer, both quite clearly very nasty diseases. As is stands though I probably just have a secondary infection or something either in my throat or in the vocal chords. I should get better in time but if it doesn’t clear up totally within a few weeks I need more thorough tests.

So all in all extremely good news. I have been battling this for a while and apart from a few days and certainly morning’s when my throat was extremely painful, I’ve been in no pain whatsoever. It has just lingered and if it wasn’t for the constant throwing up of blood I wouldn’t have troubled anyone.

One other thing I want to write about though is the staff. I have been involved in Hospital Radio for several years, so I see a window into what the staff have to deal with but on Saturday I was a patient and saw first hand for several hours everything thrown at them. I was treated thoroughly and both the doctor and the senior doctor were truly first rate. The nurse who admitted me and did all my initial tests was great as well and I didn’t really have any dealings with any other staff. However I did watch the HCA’s closely as they get a lot of stick in the press for not being nurse’s and this one young HCA didn’t sit down between the time I was admitted at around 11:45 to the time she went for her lunch at around 2ish. She genuinely did not sit down once, not even for a few seconds.

I was extremely impressed by her considering the job she was doing was certainly not glamorous in any way shape or form. It included helping people to pee and poo as well as then clean them up. I didn’t see her roll her eyes once. I thought that was a miracle in itself. I know if I had to face some of the issues she faced in those five or so hours that I watched then I’d not be able to take it at all. So for all those rubbishing HCA’s for not being nurses then I think they should go and watch an HCA for a shift and I firmly believe their opinions will change mightily quickly.

As for me, I’ll live. I’ll heed the advice to basically only do essential talking until I have been cough and phlegm free for a good week or so. This of course means going on hiatus from radio presenting but I think it is the right thing to do. I have noticed that over the past three weeks my throat was at its worse following commentating on Southend v Hull and the two Wednesday night radio shows, so clearly whatever I have is effected by overuse of my vocal chords. So basically I am shut down from any significant social interaction for a while, luckily I’m used to that!

I’m sure within two or three weeks I’ll be able to talk for an hour or so without feeling razor blades in my throat and turning my sink a nasty scarlet red colour. Graphic to the end. Thank you to all those who have sent along their best wishes. I’m fine and it seemingly isn’t any of the real nasty things it could easily have been. I did think the treatment and performance of the staff at Southend Hospital was truly exemplary, not only towards me but what I saw and heard with my own eyes and ears.

I didn’t even tell you about the girl who had dislocated her knee whilst taking her rollerblades off, yes not whilst rollerblading, but whilst taking them off. She said everyone laughed when she told them, even the doctor. Internally I was laughing but did well to keep a cool exterior. That was an amusing wait for the x-ray.

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Written by neilmonnery

February 10th, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Personal

Tagged with

On virginity…

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Well here we are. A few weeks short of being middle aged and writing a blog post about virginity and how I still have that label. How did this happen? Well let me tell you and let me also tell you why it is a label that shouldn’t be placed around someone’s neck but let me first tell you why today I am writing this blog post.

It all stems from yesterday when I was Googling to see how strong my blog post about being a 29 year-old virgin was doing on Google. Yes this is the type of thing I do. This might say a lot about me. Anyway I was Googling it because I get a steady stream of traffic from people searching for ‘I’m a 29 year-old virgin’ and variants there of. A couple of spots below my blog I read a post entitled ‘It happened to me: I ended up in bed with a 27 year-old virgin and my blood kinda boiled reading through the piece. If you don’t want to read it then here is the premise. Girl was just out of a long-term relationship, was dating, met a guy, liked him then when they went to sleep together he said he hadn’t done it before and this is her reaction…

Internally, I was screaming at myself to not laugh, not make a face, not judge. He definitely didn’t need that — and really, he should get points for honesty, right? But outwardly, I was ultra-calm.

I don’t think I can be the person you do this with. I’m not going to be your girlfriend, this isn’t going to be a relationship — and you probably should do this with someone who is,” I told him as placidly as possible. He just groaned.

I have bolded the bits that galled me the most.

Firstly why would anyone laugh, make a face or judge anyone who is a virgin? There are various reasons behind virginity and as a race we try not to judge on sex, on colour, on race, on sexual orientation and yet here is a seemingly well adjusted young women who is having to strain herself not to judge someone who hadn’t had sex for whatever reason. I genuinely despair but I have to say that whilst this story isn’t about me – it has actually happened to me in a similarish context.

I have never been about to have sex with someone and told them that I was a virgin and then they’ve stopped and said no. However I have had people stop talking to me and stop perusing romantic interests in me because they found out I was a virgin. I remember once someone Googling me and reading me talk openly about my virginity on this here very blog and sent me an e-mail saying basically ‘you seem like a nice guy but I have no interest in dating a boy but I’d really like to still be friends as apart from that you seem like a really great person’ only for her promptly to never speak to me again. Hilarity.

On to the next bit I bolded. Who is this woman to judge who this guy needs to lose his virginity to? He is a grown man and is surely capable of making his own decisions and knows his own mind. Just because said woman wasn’t journeying into sexual activity for the first time then does it mean she is the only one capable of making decisions on that front? It is a bit like when parents tell non-parents that they know nothing about children and never will until they have kids. One section of humanity telling the next that they are essentially inferior at making decisions just because they haven’t spread their oats and creating offspring. That is another of my bugbears.

The thing is there are two types of virgin when it comes to those that have made it through their teenage years without doing it. First of all you have the people that just want it over and done with for whatever reason and you have those who choose to not have sex until they feel it is the right person at the right time. I identify myself in the latter of these two categories. Even I have had plenty of offers in my years of circling the sun and lets be blunt here – none have even tempted me for one iota. I think that says a lot. Either I’m completely frigid or I’m strong willed and know what I want. I like to think I know the answer on that but heck you may have your own opinion.

I’m now going to tell you a story that I found sad – not sad as in ‘that’s so sad’ but as in ‘that is genuinely sad and a terrible indictment of our society’ type of sad. I used to work with someone who was a few years younger than me who was also a virgin and he got teased about it a lot. It made him depressed and feel like a second class man as it were so do you know what he did? He lost his virginity to an escort. See personally I find that sad that he felt he had to do that but I don’t know what was going on in his mind – he may have been very happy to just get it done and out of the way and has kicked on and is far happier now that perceived monkey is off his back.

See that is the point – society as a whole makes far bigger a thing about virginity and sex than they should. It seems strange that a virgin says such things but I firmly think that sex is a very personal thing and if people want to sleep around or choose not to sleep around then that is their own decision to make. It shouldn’t be societies. This is why I get annoyed at slut-shaming because if someone wants to sleep around and act like a slut then that is a decision they are fully entitled to make. Just like it is if someone chooses to be reserved when it comes to sexual activities.

In the situation linked to earlier the woman decided not to speak to the man again due solely to his virginity. She made a decision that the fact he had not yet had sex determine solely how she progressed in their relationship – basically it was something so appalling that she couldn’t bare to even know him any more. Now of course she was fully entitled to do this but I wonder how she would have reacted if the roles were different and she was the virgin looking to lose her v-card but the guy made a decision that he wasn’t the right person to take the v-card from her. Would she have thought that she was a grown woman who could make her own decisions? I’m pretty sure she would.

Also one other line from that piece. After he told her she said, ‘I went into caring stranger mode’ – why does someone being a virgin need someone to turn into caring stranger mode? He wasn’t ill. He hadn’t just lost a member of his family. He was a virgin. That was it. It really bugged me that she felt that was the correct default position to resort to.

Anyway back to me and my place in all of this. I write about this openly because I don’t think it is a stigma to be afraid of. I’m not saying I’m proud of it per se and wish to flaunt it all over the shop but it is part of who I am and I’m not going to pretend it isn’t. I like to think it is a footnote and is certainly not something that would appear on my epitaph should I curl up and die today. ‘Here lies Neil James Monnery. 29. Virgin.’ – Nah I just don’t see it and not just because I’ll be cremated.

Virginity and in turn their views on sex does not define a person – well it shouldn’t anyway. However I strongly feel that individuals are well adjusted enough when they reach adulthood to be able to make their own decisions on sex and what they want. No-one should feel that they need to make decisions for the other person in their best interests. If you know a virgin and they are happy then leave them be. If you know a slut who enjoys sleeping around then it is their decision and if they are happy then who is anyone to step in and tell them they are doing wrong?

Society dictates that women who sleep around are sluts but men who do the same are not. This again is totally wrong. Both men and women should be free to act as they please as long as they aren’t breaking the law and as far as I’m aware having multiple sexual partners or being in an open relationship is not against the law – neither for men nor women. So let people live their lives as they please do not feel sorry for me for being a virgin. I don’t and if I did I’d have lost it a long long long time ago.

Personally I am far more saddened by my inability to meet someone with whom I could share my life. There is no-one who I’ve felt I could have an ongoing emotional relationship with. Someone to share the good times and bad. Someone with whom I could create memories and a partner with whom I could share this journey that is called life with. That is far more disappointing than never having had sex and if at the end of my life I came to say that I never found anyone special to share my life with then that to me would be a far sadder state of affairs than my penis never having entered a vagina.

So if you are reading this and are in a similar position to me then don’t worry or fret. You are not alone. I know many people who are virgins and into their 20s and beyond. Some worry about it daily and some don’t. I would implore you not to worry about it and remember that you actually hold the cards in this situation. If you feel that for your own good being you need to just get it out of the way I’m sure you could find a hook up with a friend or an acquaintance. If you feel that you want to wait then remember that it is your decision and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that and if someone has a problem with it then it is their problem – not yours.

In those situations where people have dropped off all contact/romantic interest in me because of my virginity then I think it is their loss and move on. I don’t regret it for one instant. If someone else doesn’t have the mental capacity to get over being someone else’s first then it is their issue to deal with. Personally I could see some good parts to being someone’s first as you have a blank slate to play with and probably someone who is rather eager to please. A virgin won’t have developed any bad habits and is probably rather experimental but maybe I’m biased.

I did say in the introduction I’d write about how I got to this point. Well towards the end of the first year of university I realised that it wasn’t just a simple act of going to uni and then meeting someone and the sex would follow/be plentiful. So at that point I distinctly recall making a conscious decision that I would wait until it was the right time with someone whom I cared about and who cared about me. They were the three criteria. They have yet to be fulfilled and here we are.

When I meet someone and things get to a stage where I genuinely care for them and I believe similar the other way round then we’ll be there. I’m not talking love. I’m certainly not talking marriage but I decided that I didn’t want to have sex (not just losing virginity) with anyone just for the sake of it. That was (and is) my decision to make and one I’m comfortable with. When people say things like ‘come round here and I’ll fix you’ when hearing about my virginity then it reinforces my decision in my mind (yes this actually happened – those exact words).

So here I am. A few weeks shy of reaching middle age and I’m a virgin. Do I care? Not really and the important thing is neither should you. I’m sure that when the right person comes along they’ll deal with the situation appropriately and if they didn’t then you know what – they won’t be the right person. Simple as. However if someone awesome wants to walk into my life anytime soon then I would appreciate it…

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Written by neilmonnery

June 17th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Posted in Dating,Personal

Tagged with ,

The Nine Degrees of Neil James Monnery

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Neil James Monnery is what my parents named me.
Early life would not be easy because of a duff arm and a duff leg.
Incidents of falling over would be far too commonplace.
Labelled as ‘disabled’ is something my mum would not tolerate, something I would learn to appreciate as I struggled to be like every other kid.

Nippy is not a word you could use to describe me but I can walk and run, which wasn’t exactly a given at one point.
Early it was noted that I was a gifted child.
Intelligence is something I had but I fear I wasted.
Lamentable are my school grades, despite never ever failing an exam or test I didn’t excel as much as my brain allowed.

Negative traits I have a fair few.
Envy is one that rears its ugly head on too many occasions but dissipates quickly.
Irrelevant and Insignificant are two I constantly fear I am.
Lackadaisical though is one that can very easily stick.

Not everything though is a negative.
Earnest I am.
Imperturbable in a crisis.
Liberal in my views of the world and of the people therein.

Narrow-mindedness makes me sad.
Egotistical people too.
Intolerance of others is another bug-bear.
Let us not dwell on what crushes my spirit though.

Normal is vastly overrated ergo I am not normal.
Early mornings are something that I do not miss.
Inane is something I worry my life is becoming.
Lucid though is my mind.

Naive I have been called.
Eloquent at times.
Influential on rare occasions.
Lovely…well once or twice.

Now to round this all up in a nice little bow.
Easy, life is not.
It has ups and it has its downs.
Life though is a journey and one that I have have a long ways to go.

Nine degrees of Neil James Monnery.
Each verse made up of the letters of my first name, acrostic they call it.
I am immensely proud of this poem and to a significant degree the person that I have become.
Like me or not I always try to be a good and decent person, that is how I would like to be remembered when all is said and done hopefully on a day far away from today.

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Written by neilmonnery

May 13th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Personal

A Valentine Day Special – Reasons why I’m still single.

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Ah the 14th of February. The day when we are all meant to show our love for our significant other and if you don’t have a significant other you are shamed and feel depressed because society dictates that you should be. Well as you all know I like to rail against the way society says I should be so there won’t be any lamenting from me. I enjoy Valentine’s Day as I see all those who are ‘luvvy-duvvy’ show off about how happy they are and those who aren’t complain mercilessly about everything. Also the most fun bit is when someone complains that people are too ‘in your face’ regarding it when they aren’t in love but the next year if they are then they are just as ‘in your face’ – hilarity.

I thought this would be the perfect day to run down a list of why I’m single so folks – these are the reasons why I’m single:

Firstly I think we should look at my lifestyle. I live alone, I work from home and I don’t go out much. I don’t actually meet too many people! Every year I do the old Livejournal end of year meme and one of the questions is ‘who is the best new person you’ve met this year?’ and looking back at last year I’m not sure I met anyone (or in an online sense spoke to anyone) for the first time in 2012 who made any significant on my life. So going a whole year without anyone making an impact on your life – that is quite something and certainly a good starting point for this blog.

I am very selfish with one thing – my time. I have slowly become more introverted in the past few years and have in turn become very selfish with my time. I like spending time on my own. If it wasn’t for going out to get the newspaper every day I could easily go several days without seeing another human. The thing is it doesn’t bother me. So if I actually go out of my way to spend time with someone it is actually pretty significant!

Thirdly I seriously don’t like sharing a bed. I know it’s a small thing but boy I hate it. I never get a good nights sleep and therefore I’m grumpy the next day. I’m one of those people that needs a good nights sleep otherwise I just don’t function properly the next day. So when you are seeing someone you generally share a bed and it makes me narky.

Fourthly not asking anyone for a date in over a year probably doesn’t help…

Fifthly I actually don’t mind being single. In fact it is the opposite – I’m more than happy being so. A friend of mine has a friend who is in an absolutely terrible relationship but she is scared to leave him because she’s afraid of being alone. What is scary about being alone? I mean seriously what it scary about being alone? There is nothing scary at all about being alone. It means you have the freedom to do what you want, when you want. Freedom is very important to me. The moment I feel any level of having my freedom restricted in anyway whatsoever I quickly extradite myself from that situation because I love my freedom. Does that make me a commitment phobe? Maybe but if the right person wandered into my life then I think I could exchange some of that single freedom for love and comfort with another. I always ask myself the question, ‘would I go to an art gallery with someone – or watch a play with someone instead of sitting at home and watching a sporting event I wanted to watch live on TV?’ If the answer is yes then I think they are worth my time and to me that is significant, if the answer is no then it says a lot.

Sixthly (I know that isn’t a word but still…) I think in the immortal words of that great poet Michael Buble – ‘I just haven’t met you yet’ and that is how I see it. I think in my life I have met under five people to whom I thought I would seriously want to invest time in them for a potential romantic future. Two of them I am reasonably sure that had things just fallen the other way things could have worked out very differently.

To sum up my thoughts – I don’t get what is wrong with being single. I know many many people think life is better for two and it very well might be however it is better to be single and happy than in the wrong relationship that doesn’t lead to happiness. Until I find a person who thinks I can make them happy and vice versa I’ll continue along this single path and I am more than fine with that.

One day I’m sure I’ll blog about being happily loved up and they’ll be tonnes of photos on Facebook showing happy times with a partner but until that day you won’t find me moping about how unfair life is. I am very content with things as they stand but if the right person wants to walk into my life then please be my guest.

Until that happens though my Valentine’s Day evening will be made up of Chinese food and Crimewatch. Yeah I bet all you loved up couples are supremely jealous…

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Written by neilmonnery

February 14th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Personal

Tagged with

Have yourself a very Neil Christmas

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If you know me then you know one thing. I’m boring. No wait not that. If you know me then you know one thing. I use far too many full stops instead of commas. No not that either. Get a grip Monnery and get this blog under way. Ok if you know me then you’ll know one thing about me – I’m not Christmassy at all. In fact I’m extremely anti-Christmas. I have been for many years.

I just feel that Christmas just brings stress and you are expected to act in a certain way and I don’t like that. The thing I hate above all in life is the feeling of being expected to be happy when in fact I’m not. I keep my emotions under such a tight leash that I wonder who the last person to see me genuinely happy was. I don’t even recall a time where I was genuinely happy. Of course the flip side to this is I am also rarely genuinely sad although this year gave me around nine days of hell in the Spring.

So instead of going to my Mum’s today I stayed here and spent the day on my own like I spend the majority of my life. It was well and truly my choice so I don’t want any pity for being alone at Christmas. I’m 29 not a teenager but even now people look down on you with those eyes when you tell them that you’ll be alone at Christmas. Like Christmas is different to any other day in the world. If you are not religious then Christmas has no real significance and as much as I am a Chris Kamara fan I’m not going to celebrate his birthday.

So here is a look into my world today. I woke up late in the morning. Got up just before the India v Pakistan T20 international and watched that (which Pakistan thoroughly deserved to win I must say). I had leftover Indian from last night and then this evening I scrolled through my Sky Movies library and downloaded and watched The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo (English version) and here we are I’m writing this and the Boxing Day Test Match is about to start at the MCG. This is my life and this is what I’ve chosen.

It has been interesting to read Twitter and Facebook all day as people speak about what they’ve got with a mix of excitement and disappointment. I just haven’t done the whole present thing for many a year as I think so many things are bought and then not used and I (unsurprisingly) don’t like the expectation of the whole process. The only thing I actually like is the food but it’s essentially just an elaborate roast dinner and I love roast dinners.

I wonder if I’ll ever celebrate Christmas like the rest of the world ever again. If I had kids that would be different (but I’m not having kids) so yeah so that as they say is that. I wonder what things will look like come this day 2013. I wouldn’t be too shocked if things are very similar and the Boxing Day Test next year with be an Ashes Test. Christmas is a strange beast but for me it is just another day.

This time last year I was seeing someone and they told me they would force me to be more Christmassy next year. I told her that is would be an impossible task but she was adamant and that she was never wrong. Well she met someone else and promptly stopped talking to me. Looking around I think I can now prove that she was wrong and I was maybe even less Christmassy this year than last which is quite something.

Ok I’m hungry (and really fancy a roast dinner) but I don’t have anything for one. I’ll go find something to eat and leave to you it. I hope you all enjoyed the day whatever you did and if you didn’t have the ‘stereotypical’ Christmas then don’t worry – I know a considerable amount of people who didn’t and remember – it is just a day.

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Written by neilmonnery

December 25th, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Posted in Personal

Tagged with

The stigma of being ‘weird’ and ‘creepy’ that hovers like a spectre…

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Last night I was having a conversation with a nurse at the hospital (I wasn’t at the hospital – good old Facebook) and we were gossiping about another nurse and a situation that we are both looking forward to as and when the Hospital Radio is reopened and she was saying that I needed to be more spontaneous and maybe go around with mistletoe in the upcoming weeks when doing my ward rounds. I shuddered at the thought and it reignited something deep down inside.

We are all moulded by our life experiences. I think that is pretty evident to us all. My own life experiences with regards to the opposite sex have been somewhere between woeful and horrific. Now of course a lot of this is very much water under the bridge but it still lays dormant in my psyche.

You see at school I wasn’t a popular boy with members of the opposite sex. In fact I think I would go as far to say as I was rather unpopular. Even within my own social group I was without a shadow of a doubt the most unpopular male of the group amongst the females present. I knew this and at times I would question myself as to why and wonder what had I done. Now of course if you asked these people even to this day ‘who was the weirdest and creepiest boy you knew at school?’ I fully expect that I’d come out light years ahead of anyone else.

I look back on events like when one member of said social group said that the New Years Eve Party in 1999 would be so much better if I wasn’t going – and the moment I heard those words come out of her mouth there was no way I was going and I’d prefer to stay home alone. I wasn’t going to put another person’s nose out of joint. I distinctly remember things like this and they are not isolated incidents. If I thought anyone was uncomfortable in my presence then I would do (what I thought at the time) was the right thing to do – stay the hell out of the way.

Now I know that (or do I know – maybe believe?) that this may not have been the best course of action. That may be in fact have been even weirder and creepier to just stay the hell out of the way. Where I used to work a few years ago the girls there thought I was weird and creepy and yet I pretty much blanked them and didn’t really ever engage in conversation with them. Yet that was weird and creepy.

I think it all stems from that lack of self-confidence as a kid and once you have it then it is hard to overcome. Now I know some people are reading this and thinking I’m being defeatist and selling myself short but here’s the thing – I know that in the vast majority of cases people who actually get to know me and invest time in doing so like me – they like me a lot. People with whom I spend time and am relaxed around generally like me. The issue has always been people making snap judgements on me and obviously I must give off a bad ‘vibe’.

This is why I still would never do anything spontaneous with people whom I hardly knew because I know deep down that the majority of women in the first instance do not like me – and a significant percentage of them think I’m weird. Now it should be said here that most people that know me know I’m weird but also they know it’s not creepy weird so I could be far more spontaneous as it were with them.

The truth is I make a bad first impression. What I do or do not do I don’t know but apart from that blip last year that I have written about previous it has been six and a half years since I translated a first date into a second date. Now I’m not saying there have been 100s of dates in that time but I think we are certainly using both hands to count and maybe a foot as well.

Personally I think the major issue is I don’t have that bed of self-confidence as a rock underneath me. Instead I have a plethora of bad memories and being told that I’m a creep and a weirdo and hence why I take the step-back approach. I would be stunned if I ever became the forward-thinking and forward-acting person when it comes to relations with the opposite sex. I need a lot of positive body-language (and when I say a lot it needs to be overpowering) before I do anything. Maybe doing nothing is the creepy part. Maybe doing the wrong thing is the creepy part. Whatever I do I fail and do you know what? Deep down I am fine with that and have resigned myself to that.

For example I know that I cannot flirt. I would propose that I had more chance of nailing Heston Blumenthal’s signature dish snail porridge one my first go than I do of successfully flirting with somebody (and when you consider how awful I am at cooking then that says even more). Is this because I don’t have the mental capacity to flirt or is it to do with not having that rock of confidence underneath me? I think we all know the answer to that (the latter…).

So to round up I think my lack of self-confidence has evolved over the years. These days I believe in myself a lot more and I fully believe that most people would like me if they got to know me (which is significant progress on the Neil of a decade or so ago) but I also still know that my first impression is not great in a lot of instances and that I give away a creepy vibe despite being really not creepy. I mean the moment someone says I’m being a bit weird or creepy I done. I mean totally done. As I said before this might even be being more creepy but who knows.

All I know for sure is I’m moulded by my past experiences and my memory is not full of people saying I’m amazing but more people saying I’m a bit weird and that they are not comfortable around me. This is just how it is. This is why I stay very much in my shell until I have the confidence of knowing people don’t think bad of me and then I can flourish but until I have that belief in any situation I will always revert back to the knowledge that people will think I’m a bit weird and creepy when they first meet me and that as they say is that.

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Written by neilmonnery

November 22nd, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Personal

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The day the BBC approached me for a new TV show asking if I wanted to get ‘more manly’

with one comment

I could be a TV star. I’m terribly excited. When you get an e-mail entitled ‘BBC America’ it will grab my attention. When the e-mail is about being part of a new TV show then you think ‘yeah I could do that’ but then some details become clear and the TV show opportunity that has excitedly presented itself is a chance to be more manly. Yes folks I’ve been offered the chance to try-out for a new TV show called ‘Man Camp’ which is designed to make single guys like me who can’t get a girlfriend well you know…be manly and get a girlfriend. Rock on.

The thing is though is I have zero interest in taking part in a TV show like this. I don’t want to be more macho. I fixed my boiler once and that is enough for me. Just because I don’t go to bars and try to pick-up women it doesn’t mean that I want to be able to do that. Lord no I’d hate to be that type of guy. They are the types of guys I don’t look at with envy I look at with pity that whilst they are busy at bars having a good time playing the dating game I am at home in my underwear watching Match of the Day eating takeaway food. I know which situation I’d prefer to be in and it doesn’t involve booze and chat-up lines.

Here is the e-mail I received just now:

Dear Neil,

I hope that you’re well and don’t mind my getting in touch after reading the interesting blog on your website. I work for a TV casting company and I’m looking to cast people for a new TV series for BBC America and wanted to get in touch to see if it is something that may be of interest to you.

It’s a series called ‘Man Camp’ and we’re looking for a group of Brits who feel that in some way they would like to become more traditionally ‘macho’ and boost their confidence, whilst taking part in a fun, light-hearted TV competition to win a significant prize.

The group of men who wish to become more ‘manly’ in the traditional sense will be sent to America in the new year to take part in a range of American ‘macho’ activities such as hunting/DIY etc. to compete to learn new skills and prove that modern men can still be macho.

The show is meant to be good fun but we also want people who genuinely think they could have something to gain from taking part as well, and I know that your comments about lacking confidence in social situations is something that strikes home with a lot of people.

I don’t know if this is something that would appeal to you but if it would I’ve attached some more information for you to have a look and would be happy to talk about this further.

Either way thanks ever so much for you time.

Kind regards,

[redacted]

This is the attachment text he sent through:

Do you need to Man up?

Or do you know someone who just isn’t masculine enough?

We’re looking for men who are desperate to be more manly, to be a part of a new American TV series. You’ll be flown to America to be taught to be more macho by the nation that brought us Cowboys, Pick-up trucks and the Harley-Davidson.

Do you know someone, or are you…..

• Far too metrosexual for your own good
• Too old to be living at home…and still being looked after by your mum
• A computer geek with not enough friends or chat up skills
• Camp, but not gay
• Too in touch with your feminine side
• Unable to be one of the boys, talk about sport, or hang out with the lads

If this is you, or someone you know, we can help. This show will transform men who desperately feel that they are missing something that makes other men manly.

Filming will be in America in the New Year AND there will be a significant prize for the biggest transformation.

To apply please fill out this form and return it with a photo, your CV and if possible a 60second video clip (you can use your phone) of you telling us why you are right for this show, to [redacted]

If you want to e-mail the guy then I’ll pass on his details if you contact me.

Do I need to man up? Well it depends on what you mean by man up. Some may say yes but who wants to be overly macho anyway? I live on my own and look after myself easily enough. I’m certainly not metrosexual. I have friends (but few chat up skills) and I’m really not camp. I am in touch with my feminine side but there is nothing wrong with that but I love my sport but hate going out on the lash.

So all in all I really don’t fit in with this show and I’ll respond telling him that I am not really what he is looking for. However I absolutely loved getting the e-mail out of the blue and thought it was hilarious. These TV people are trawling the interwebs trying to find people for all these types of shows. It shows in this day and age we could all have our fifteen minutes but I’m waiting for a better opportunity.

Seriously imagine me trying to be manly and/or more macho. Oh the hilarity. Actually I think the real losers here will be the public not getting to be me try and shoot a gun or whatever. Watching me try to chat up a woman. Oh boy that would be cringeworthingly awesome TV. It is so bad in my mind’s eye that I even made up a word for it but people of the world I will not be appearing on ‘Man Camp’ for the BBC any time soon…

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Written by neilmonnery

September 24th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Media,Personal

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It is time to announce my retirement from the world of online dating

with 2 comments

I’m surprised I didn’t call a press conference and/or issue a press release on this but I have actually had a few people ask me what the latest was with my online dating adventures that I have blogged about previously. Well there is news but the retirement is not because of any great success. I have watched many people that I know have success in the online dating world and that has been heart-warming. I have seen these people say they are the happiest they have ever been thanks to online dating. However things have not exactly been the same for me and a few weeks ago I threw the white towel in mentally and this evening profiles were deleted.

Now this of course isn’t me throwing in the towel of ever being in a relationship. It is more a concession that maybe online dating isn’t for me. I am one of those people who is better in the flesh than I am online or in photographic form. I’m not exactly what you’d call full of the old self-confidence but heck I have been known to look in the mirror whilst cleaning my teeth or washing my hands or having a shave or whatever and think to myself ‘not bad, not bad…’ and I don’t think I have ever thought that after seeing a photograph of myself. I am not photogenic. Which is a problem in the online dating world.

As for describing myself and making me sound interesting. Yeah… I work from home, live alone, have a fruit and herb patio which I am super proud of. I do hospital radio, commentate on football, blog my life and thoughts pretty publicly and have a rather large interest in politics. I don’t drink and I don’t exactly go out much. Heck looking at me on paper I wouldn’t want to get to know me. So maybe it is no surprise that I’m not ticking boxes.

At this point I’d like to point out that on the flip-side I’m a guy who most people who get to know me quite like. Whether they fancy me is of course a very different kettle of fish but most think I’m a decent guy. At times apparently I fall down in my ‘manliness’ as I’m a beta male and let other people make decisions. I can make decisions about myself easy enough but when it comes to others I’m very laid back. A lot of women I have ‘met’ or should I say communicated with prefer a guy who makes decisions and takes charge, which is a surprise as I thought women didn’t want that any more but in my years of attempting to date it seems the opposite is true. I think relationships should be equal with both members leaning on each other to get the most out of things. This might not be the majority view.

Most of all though the reason why I have retired from this is because I don’t enjoy it. I do not enjoy the dating game and when you can’t even get dates then the dating game is even less fun. This year I have not had what you’d call a quote/unquote ‘first date’ and it showed no sign of changing. Since I moved into my apartment just over two years ago I have had a grand total of four proper first dates. An average of one every six months. It really isn’t worth the hassle.

So online dating is now in my rear view mirror. If something happens with someone then it’ll either be through someone I already know or someone I meet via a different medium than internet dating. Everyone has a different piece of advice as for whether you should put yourself out there and look or it’ll happen when you aren’t looking at all. I am sort of been in-between the two for a long long time but now I’m moving towards the latter of the two.

Deep down I have always hoped that a relationship would be a natural progression of a friendship I had with someone. I think being friends first is a good platform for a relationship. I know others may disagree but a friendship forms a bond that goes beyond physical attraction. I have always – and I do mean always – said that the most important thing for me in a potential partner is to enjoy spending time with them. As a self-proclaimed loner knowing that I’d like to spend time with someone over watching a plethora of live sport says a lot to me. Online dating doesn’t really create those opportunities as it is basically if you/them don’t fancy each other from the get go then you/them don’t want to know each other.

To round-up my online dating statistics. I think I have had seven or eight dates although to be honest that sounds low so I may be forgetting one or two. These numbers do not include people I have met/dated from IRC as that would add a few names to the list or from other websites that aren’t strictly ‘dating’ websites. Out of these only two did I have more than one date with. Not an awful ratio but nothing stellar either. One of those two it should be pointed out I had a second date with the day after she met another guy who subsequently she dated for four years so not sure if that really counts…

We’ll see what happens but I’m happy I have closed the book on my online dating attempts. Deep down I hoped to just meet people but you forget that most other people are seemingly looking for ‘the one’ and I don’t think I was. Maybe that is why things didn’t work. So now I look to see what happens. Whilst my hopes of leaving the single world aren’t what I’d call going on the backburner but I’m not going to worry about it and just let life take its course. No more forcing it. Forcing (or attempting to force it) wasn’t working and wasn’t making me happy. It just frustrated me. Just kicking back and seeing what happens is the way forward.

I think the only thing I’ll miss is good blogging material. Now that bit I did enjoy…

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Written by neilmonnery

August 28th, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Dating,Personal

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The problem with being a 29 year-old virgin and having a Facebook account for your sanity levels

with 6 comments

I don’t like labels but sometimes facts are facts. I am 29. I am single and my dangly bits between my legs have never done anything that would result in a woman being worried about missing their period. It doesn’t bother me too much although at times it grates and usually when someone shows an interest I either think that they are clinically insane and/or they become clingy and scare me off as I need my space. However in recent weeks this attitude of mine is being attacked – by proxy – by Facebook.

At the point of writing I have 329 Facebook friends. Just using my memory I can name over thirty of them who have either given birth, gotten pregnant, got engaged or tied the knot in the past year. Five. Yes five of them have gotten engaged in just the past seven days. That is quite a run and that doesn’t include someone who got engaged then de-friended me the other day. I mean can’t a 29 year-old single virgin even go on Facebook without feeling as though life is passing him by any more?

Of course people on Facebook rarely put up the bad times so you always thinks that your life is all sweetness and light. Social media is a strange place as you rarely show off the side of your life that is bad but always extoll the good parts. Now not for one moment am I suggesting that people shouldn’t put whatever they like on social media and to be blunt no-one should give a flying you know what if some people reading about their good times think ‘bloody hell yet another person having an important life moment whilst I sit here and wait for Masterchef Australia to return to our screens in September because that is something I’m looking forward to,’ but it is a phenomenon that I have noticed. I would only say one of my 329 Facebook friends puts all his/her bad times and bad feelings up for all to read and it is even more unnerving than reading about the good times in all honesty.

So what is my point?

The point is society paints a picture of what it expects you to do. If you live your life from a different script all that happens is people think you aren’t normal. I don’t drink alcohol and that has caused issues in the past as some people have struggled to understand how someone could choose not to drink alcohol. To quote one of my neighbours I am ‘the only person who doesn’t drink that he trusts or likes’ and that is a genuine quote. Society expects you to drink and if you don’t then people will always want to know why and won’t just accept it as a fact.

Another thing society expects is for people to have relationships. Whether it be m/f, m/m, f/f, m/f/m, f/m/f or whatever. Society is slowly accepting all kind of relationships as perfectly acceptable (when really society should have accepted it a long, long time ago) but society is still struggling with single people – certainly those who don’t take every offer of sexual intercourse that comes their way. Certainly those who have essentially been single for a significant amount of time and couple that with not wanting to go out on the town on Friday or Saturday nights and heads explode. There must be something wrong with me.

It is something I have struggled with for years but in the past two or three I have essentially just settled down and realised that I have chosen my path in life and have accepted that as I personally am content. As for whether I’m happy well that is not as easy to say but I’m content with my decisions in life.

I hate social situations. I just do. I don’t know how to talk to strangers in social situations whether it be men or women or whatever. I very much have to be in my ‘comfort zone’ before I open up. I think I am terrible socially and when I try to be social most of the time deep down I am longing to be in the safety of my apartment. I know this and have tailored my social activities to suit. There are very few people that I am comfortable to be sociable around. However on Saturday one of my neighbours said that they thought I had bundles of confidence. Maybe I fake it well or more likely I’ve known her for over a year.

It is a far cry from when I’m sitting behind a microphone or in front of a TV camera or the like. Then anyone that sees me would think I am totally an Alpha male. That doesn’t phase me one jot so why do I hate social events? I don’t know but looking back at when I was say at school I was always the one who found a mate who wasn’t really up for the party and just hung out with them. I didn’t drink until I was 18 as I didn’t like the taste (the same reason as I don’t drink now) and I knew then that all the women in our social group didn’t like me so there was little point attempting to talk to them as they knew who they wanted to enjoy their social gatherings with – and it was not me I can assure you of that.

At university I think my lack of exposure to the opposite sex i.e, I knew most of them didn’t like me didn’t exactly help. I will always remember one girl in my third year telling me ‘you aren’t like what everyone said – you are actually a really nice guy’ those words will always follow me about. I remember exactly when they were said and for what reason. It also sums up how my life in general has been. People don’t really like me unless they get to know me where upon quite a lot actually do think I’m ok and not the awful person they thought I was before they actually got to know me. That should give me confidence however it doesn’t really as I still meet very few people.

Therefore we get back to what I was typing earlier about how I hate social situations. So I won’t meet too many people. I live alone and I work from home. So no joy there. I have blogged extensively about internet dating and the ups and downs of that but my towel was thrown in on that front a while ago. The problem is I don’t exactly look great on paper (or in real life – zing) so I’m not exactly going to excite people on the virtual world and as I proved in one of my pieces – girls get a lot of messages and have a lot of options in the virtual world. Yes most of them will be dross but still dross has the wow factor over me.

So anyway I was talking about this on twitter a good friend tweeted me about it and hit the nail on the head when I said about not following the typical society path of relationships, ‘And it knocks your self esteem so much when you feel like the odd one out. Life has all just fallen into place due to the happen-stance of being in the right place at the right time and yet you’re made to feel like an oddity because it hadn’t all gone the same way.’ Bang. Nailed it.

To sum up this pointless ramble I’m comfortable with what life has thrown at me. I’m comfortable with who I am. Would I changes things? Maybe but the problem is if you change one thing then you don’t know the knock-on affect of it. Relationship wise a long time ago deep down I understood that I’m not the type of guy most women want. I understand that and have I suppose dealt with it in my own way. There will always be someone better than me. That is the way it has always been and whilst it might not be the way it always will be I don’t see me going down the society preferred route of actually being in a relationship. I’m just going to be single – for a long time – and that is just how it seemingly is meant to be.

I’ll keep watching Facebook for all those dramatic updates from around my social network but as for me expect updates about Masterchef Australia (come September) and other such pointless non life-altering issues. It doesn’t bother me but you do sometimes think ‘what if?’ but then you quickly remember that it is not. I like sticking it to society that I’m different and not doing what society expects me to but damnit society makes it hard not to at least flash the odd envious glance that way.

Lastly I’m only 11 years away from being a 40 year-old virgin. If I make it I will want to star in the sequel of that movie.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

August 20th, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Dating,Personal

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‘What day is today? It’s Neil’s birthday. What a day for a birthday, let’s all have some cake’

without comments

Well that headline is a lie because yesterday was my birthday but I have a tradition where I don’t talk about my birthday online on the actual day itself. I also wanted to use the birthday song from Futurama so I had to use the headline even though it was a lie. I also didn’t have any cake yesterday *sad face*

Well yes folks another circumnavigation of the sun completed and survival has been met which is the first thing I look at when reviewing that trip. I always like looking back and having a birthday in the middle of the year makes me it easy to do reviews on my birthday and at the end of the calendar year. So let’s look back at my 29th circumnavigation of the giant ball of fire that we orbit around.

Obviously there is only one place to start and that is the sad news that my dad didn’t complete his 71st trip around the sun. He passed away after a stroke earlier in the year and whilst it was extremely hard – what is harder – far harder is that his last resting place is still up in the air. He wanted his ashes spread in a certain place but for reasons that I’m not willing to go into in a public forum these wishes may not be carried out. That is hard and hopefully this can be overcome but I fear this will rumble on for many more months yet and that is painful.

Away from that sad note though my 29th trip around the sun was mainly a positive one. I achieved one of my biggest life goals by commenting on a live football match on radio. Something that I achieved in August 2011 by calling the Southend United v Leyton Orient Carling Cup match. I have subsequently done several more matches and I’m in line to takeover one of the commentary seats on all Southend home games whenever one of the commentators moves on (his house is up for sale and he’s moving out of the region to be nearer his kids/grandkids) so that will happen at some point soon. So that is something that I will be looking forward to going forward.

Last September in the wee small hours of a Friday morning I got a tweet asking me if I was going to Liberal Democrat Party Conference. I had no plans to but when it came out that I had the opportunity to interview Nick Clegg those plans quickly changed. I interviewed the Deputy Prime Minister and it was quite a surreal and interesting experience. Other notes from that weekend include losing four lbs in weight in just two days (didn’t exactly eat a lot and my hotel was a good two miles from the venue) and being accosted by a prostitute. Oh the hilarity. An interesting experience though.

Another interesting experience was running for local office. Seriously had you told me a couple of years back that I would be running for local office I’d have laughed. Laughed a lot. Laughed manically to myself and then been taken away by those nice men in white coats. However I did and despite finishing sixth out of six, it was an eye-opening experience and one that should stand me in good stead should I ever want to stand again (that decision is certainly up in the air).

Also in this trip around the sun I did what they all thought was impossible. Oh yes folks I only went and got myself a girlfriend (cue lots of whistling and hollering) but don’t worry folks it was not to last. After just a few weeks it was decided that the (un)lucky lady didn’t like me as much as she liked her ex-husband (or as it turned out – her still husband) and me in a few weeks hadn’t done enough compared to what he had in the best part of the decade. She kept comparing me to him and decided that the man who text her saying she wanted a divorce was a better man than I. Yeah the ego took a small hit on that one.

She said that it wasn’t me (*scoffs*) but it was her and she just had to sort herself out. Luckily for her she met someone else and suddenly she was fine. What a minute… and she is as far as I know very happy with her new man. Last time we saw each other she asked me if I would look after her cats whilst she went on holiday in August. We’ve not seen each other since. I suspect my cat-feeding services are no longer required and nor is my friendship. Ah well. Been there before and the old female not having single male friends (at least at the start of a new relationship) thing unless they are in the same social group rears itself again.

Of course there will be other people in my life in time. I have had a grand total of two offers of a date since but I said no to both. No wait actually three but the third was a blind date. I did actually have a couple of other dates late last year but one thought it was a booty call – yeah it really wasn’t and subsequently didn’t speak to me again and the other turned out to be my kryptonite in turns of women – clingy. Way too clingy. Clingy and Neil do not mix so that ended quick sharpish too.

I think one of my proudest achievements has been my new patio area that is now adorned with herbs and fruits. I am seriously chuffed about all this and every time a new fruit shows signs of growing I get a semblance of a smile across my face. I already have strawberries and peppers growing and I have gooseberries, winter squash, rhubarb, tomatoes and cucumber all in soil waiting their turn to make me happy. My herbs are also developing well and they are giving off a lovely smell out there although this new greenery has made my patio a new home for snails.

Lastly I have been approached to take on a couple of new writing jobs which is always nice. My ramblings here have been read by over 300,000 people in the past twelve months which I think is quite a staggering number and makes me happy. My radio stuff is still the same and is good fun with the football a huge added bonus.

Overall I’d say the past twelve months have been a success and I have made more progress towards being happy and diverse than I have in many years. In the final trip around the sun before I hit the big 3-0 I wonder what will come up but a lot of what happened in my 29th year wasn’t exactly on my radar this time last year. Also my first full day as a 29 year-old has started with a tax rebate from HMRC so maybe this will be a good one?

We’ll see and whatever happens no doubt it will be written up for all to see here…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 11th, 2012 at 10:07 am

Posted in Personal

Tagged with