Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category
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.
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…
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.
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.
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:
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.
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…
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…
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.
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…
Ok so I’m single. I’m 28. I work from home and don’t exactly hit the town hard at the weekends. I am prime what you’d call ‘online dating’ territory. I have flitted about on some of these over the years to a varying degree of success. Well when I say that what I basically mean is in general no success at all but it has led to the odd amusing moment.
Last week some American guy was in all the papers because he kept a spreadsheet of all the people had contacted via Match.com and a lot of people berated and belittled him for it. One of the girls though was contacted by the Daily Mail and she was far more annoyed at the person who exposed it. She deemed it as sensible. So what do I have to say about online dating?
Well firstly the world of online dating is a lot colder than the real world of dating. Online all people see is a photo. They don’t really see a personality as so few people actually read a profile. Also it is a lot easier to ignore someone online than it is in real life. If you walked up to someone in a club and started talking to them and you had no interest in them it is harder to getaway without hurting his feelings and you could spend the rest of the night seeing him look at you. Awkward. Online you can get an introductory message and you can ignore it and you’ll never have to see or hear from them again if you ignore it. Awesome.
I was laying in bed last night and was planning this blog in my head (yes that is the type of thing that I do in bed – possibly an indicator for why I’m single?) but anyway I was trying to work out how many dates I had been on via dating websites. I think I worked out it was eight. So lets have a look at how they all worked out and see how successful it has been:
Girl 1: Met via Faceparty (is Faceparty a dating website?) it kinda was back in the day but not strictly. I am however counting it for the sake of this. Met in Ryde in 2004. Didn’t go well. She didn’t speak to me again but a few days later was drunk and called up wanting a booty call. That was never going to happen.
Girl 2: Faceparty again. Met up on three occasions but I wouldn’t sleep with her on dates one and two. She decided I wasn’t for her. Between dates 2&3 she met someone else. She wouldn’t speak to me for four years until she split up with said guy and promptly started talking to me again.
Girl 3: Bit of a gap here. 2010 is where we are now. Met up in town and it was ok but I knew there was nothing there. We had a second date planned but she cancelled saying – and I quote she had ‘washing up to do’ yes folks – not even washing her hair – just plain washing up. Not sure I could ever in my life top that excuse.
Girl 4: Here we get to the first I really had some sort of connection with. We had communicated for months. Got on well but there was another guy in the picture and she led me on for a long time before she realised she actually wanted other guy. We are still friends.
Girl 5: Girl was really into me online. We met up for lunch. She never spoke to me again.
Girl 6: A bit like Girl 5 but this has a more hilarious finish. We met up for dinner my one and only ever dinner date – there will never ever be another – never) and by the time I had gotten home she had deleted me from Facebook. Guessing she didn’t exactly have a great time…?
Girl 7: Guessing she thought it was a booty call and not a date. When she found out it wasn’t she disappeared saying ‘I’ll call you’ and promptly never spoke to me again.
Girl 8: I actually dated someone for a few weeks. Then she realised that she wasn’t over her ex and didn’t want to lead me on thinking it was unfair on me. Fair enough really. We are still friends.
So overall not exactly a great success but then we get to the really fun stuff that I look back on and just laugh.
A few years ago I was talking to a girl who seemingly liked me. She added me to Facebook and she saw my other photos. She remarked that I used to have a shaved head (which I did) and that she didn’t like shaved heads on guys. I said well I don’t any more but that wasn’t enough. I was promptly removed from Facebook and never spoken to again.
Not that long ago I spoke to someone and I realised I had messaged her maybe a year ago and she didn’t reply then. This time she did and said she’d add me to Facebook and we’d chat. She did but she never appeared on Facebook chat. I sent her a message a couple of days later to say I hadn’t seen her online and she ignored it and then deleted me from Facebook. So basically she had looked around my other photos and decided I was a bit too ugly for her and that she didn’t want to know me.
So I thought I’d just check again the type of guys she wants. Answering the question ‘You should message me if…’ (I wonder how many of you know what dating website that is from) she said thus:
You give good hugs and can make me laugh until I laugh so much I can’t breathe properly. Laughter is the best medicine
Now I’m not sure if you can tell who gives good hugs from an internet dating profile or from pictures. Also can you really work out if someone is hilariously funny just from one of two short introductory messages? I would contend that you can’t. What you can do though is looking at all their photos and decide ‘nah…’
These days I don’t think I’ll meet anyone online (or in real life – cue violins) but in a way I like to think of it as a game. I scan the profiles for girls who say that they either a) just like to talk and meeting new people no matter if its for dating or just to be friends or b) they just want a nice guy because they have been jerked around a lot and complain that there are no decent guys out there or finally c) those (and these are the best) who say they reply to everyone and/or have a codeword in their profile that if you use it’ll show you’ve read their profile and they guarantee to reply to you.
I do this as a personal test to see if they are just liars and what they really want is just someone drop dead gorgeous. So people who are happy to chat to anyone, those who just want a nice guy (which I contend I am) or those who promise to reply to all messages or have a codeword that ensures a reply. I have done this off and on for ages so I can’t give full numbers but I can do it for the past month. 28 people contacted that fulfil at least one of the above criteria. Amount of replies is zero. Yes zero.
Six of them are people who say they’ll reply to everyone – all of them have looked at my profile but decided their guarantee wasn’t valid for such an unattractive person. Five of them are people who just want to chat to anyone. Again all of them did check out my profile. Of the remaining 17 who just wanted a nice guy – 15 had at least looked at my profile.
So there we have it. A small experiment into the behaviour of people on dating websites. It must be pointed out that I am not Brad Pitt nor am I George Clooney. However I don’t think I’m exactly The Elephant Man either. I’m sure most people would ‘rate me’ at around four or five out of ten. Still a lot of people don’t say they are looking for the most handsome guy in the world. So maybe it is my personality where I fall short. Not sure you can really garner someone’s personality from a profile or one message unless they are being totally sleazy and I can assure you that is something that I am not.
If people said ‘look – I only want to talk to Greek Gods’ then you’d say fair enough but to say you’ll talk to anyone or just want a down to earth decent guy and then it turns out that you won’t or don’t then that is a bit off.
There was a profile I have seen before which had a hilarious blurb at the top of it but she must’ve deleted her profile as I can’t find it today. It basically said ‘look I know this is online dating but stop messaging me ugly guys. If I wouldn’t talk to guys as ugly as you in public then why would I online?’ and I would look at that profile all the time just to shake my head and laugh at her. She wasn’t unattractive but boy she wasn’t a young Audrey Hepburn. She just came across as ugly inside and she reeked of it.
To sum up. Online dating is an interesting beast. If you are sensitive then it probably isn’t the best place for you. It is easy to rack up rejection after rejection. If you aren’t then it can be a good laugh. If you are attractive then you’ll do a lot better online than in real life comparing it to less attractive people physically. In real life you see both looks and personality straight away. Online it is primarily looks and if you haven’t got them then prepare for a whole world of pain.
Update: I found that profile I was looking for earlier. She had changed her username. Cheeky so n so…
It amazes me where people get their confidence from on here… come on we all know roughly where we stand in life- just because you’re online it doesn’t really mean you can suddenly start messaging people out of you’re league. I don’t mean to sound harsh but the amount of people punching well above their weight seizes to amaze me. I sound like a complete ****… I’m really not just sick of time wasters
Today I looked through my old diary to check a date of something. Instead of just finding the date that I was looking for (which I was about two months out on) I scan-read some of my old stuff. The old style of writing I had and I could see the development both of my style and latterly my outlook on life and how I perceive myself.
Looking at what I used to say both about myself and my outlook say when I was at university it is a different person to the one sitting here writing this. The difference is so marked it is hard to believe I used to think that way. Back then my insecurities would be so pronounced I’m surprised I had any friends whatsoever. These day I wouldn’t say my insecurities have evaporated but they aren’t a defining part of me. I think this is because I have become more comfortable in my own skin and care far less about what others think.
I was told many a time that until you loved yourself then it would be impossible for anybody to love you. Now whilst I don’t exactly love myself I would say that I am not repulsed by myself, which I think it is fair to say I was for so many years. I’m don’t have model good looks but you know what that isn’t exactly the be all and end all in life. Looking back at my past witterings from many a moon ago it seems as though that was a large part of how I thought.
Also my style of writing has changed over the years. I use far less commas than I used to. I prefer short sharp sentences or adjective strewn flowing lines. The commas has all but become defunct in the way I write. My penchant for the flowing adjective strewn sentence though has grown. I like the way it adds an extra dimension to what I write. It injects more personality and I like that.
The other thing I like about the old diary is whilst many of the entries makes me cringe and shudder at how I used to think and act, it also records a few memories that I had long since forgotten. Just reading a few words can bring back a smile and memories and times come flooding back. For example this:
A few days after my birthday (name removed) & I were walking through the park after work on the way to the pub and she turns to me and says ‘So then…you and (name removed)…’ and does the old double eyebrow thing,
I’d forgotten that incident but the moment I read it I remembered it all. If you knew me at the time you’ll know exactly who I was talking about but this isn’t the time or place for talking publicly about others. Another fact I learnt following other people reading my personal thoughts in a public setting. Consider myself burnt on that one and the lesson well and truly learnt. Anyway that is another matter entirely.
These days this blog doubles up as my diary. I open up a lot in it albeit certain things aren’t recorded. My feelings are but my personal life is not because like…y’know…it’s…personal. I wish I used my private diary a bit more as I haven’t written in it seemingly since April of last year. I need to do that more to record memories and feelings but for now I’m just looking back at how much I’ve grown and changed. So much less angst and worry in my life. I suppose this is why over the past couple of years I have been more content with life than I ever have been before.