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On what men should wear on a first date…

Well people of the internet, it has been a while since I’ve written any dating advice and I mean in all seriousness, who wouldn’t want to read dating advice from a permanent (now 30+) resident of the single living? Well yes, I know, it doesn’t sound like I’m the type of person you’d go to in these situations but the theory, the theory I do well, it is just the practical I stink at.

A few months back I had a date and she wrote all about it and pretty much lambasted everything about me, from the fact I was too talkative, to the fact I had elderly neighbours, that I was, ‘so far away from Prince Charming’ and then on to the obvious fact that I was ugly. Some new ones in there for me (and one big whopper that is kinda par for the course and I’m still pissed off about the fact I have elderly neighbours is an issue to diss me, I mean come on…) but she also used a paragraph to disparage what I wore and that is what I’m going to address right now (he says whilst typing in PJ bottoms that have a giant hole where there really shouldn’t be a giant hole, this is why I’m single folks, well amongst many, many other reasons…)

Having read the review of our date, I shared the link with a few friends expecting to get resounding backing that I wasn’t as terrible as she described, alas the feedback was indeed mixed and the big bone of contention was my clothing. For those of you who knows me in real life, I’m not a shirt, tie, shoes or suit guy. I just don’t like them and feel stuffy in them. I’m lucky to have employment where I can dress how I see fit so this isn’t an issue in everyday life for me.

So when it comes to dates I have a couple of issues, even if I wanted to dress smartly, I don’t own any smart clothes, like none. I don’t have a suit, I may have a couple of shirts somewhere in the back of the wardrobe but I never wear them, I don’t own any formal trousers and whilst I do own a pair of shoes (£11) they are generally only used when I cba to do up the laces on my trainers and I’m only popping over the road to the local shop. Now all this is bad enough but here comes the whopper…I don’t even own a fecking coat. I own two university hoodies that I wear. Trust me in a date situation, when you are 31 and turning up in a hoodie, the likelihood of a second date has already decreased ten-fold (although in the interests of fairness, I have actually had two second dates on the back of a date where I was wearing a hoodie – amazing scenes!).

So word to the wise people of the internet – do not be stubborn like me if you actually want success on a date and potential second dates and so on.

They say, ‘dress to impress’ and in these scenarios they are right. As much as I hate the fact that clothing and first appearances are important, they indeed are. Now of course a first date going for a drink in a pub should induce different clothing to a first date at a restaurant, if you turn up to a pub all suited and booted then you’ll probably look a bit out of place (although taking off the tie and unbuttoning your collar will save you quick sharpish). Putting thought into what you wear will show your potential beau that you’ve thought about it and that you’ve put thought into it. If you show that you’ve put thought into these things then you’ll put thought into the relationship and so on, it is all a matter of bloody subconscious mind games.

If you turn up looking like you’ve just picked up the top thing off of your bedroom floor then again, not a good look. At this point I should throw in a caveat, some women would like to see a guy on a first date show off their personality, if they are a jeans and t-shirt guy then so be it, some though want to see a man make a special effort. My best advice here is to do one of two things, either try and work out the type of personality your date has before you go and roll with what she would be more impressed by/happiest seeing or do this instead, ask yourself, ‘what would Neil do?’ and do the exact opposite. In a 50/50 situation in a dating scenario, I’ll be wrong 90% of the time, which is statistically difficult to pull off but I’m special.

Also smell. Men are supposed to smell nice (well unless the woman prefers a ‘real man’ and they want him to smell that way) so aftershave, cologne, something that makes you pop when you greet them with a hug or that awkward kiss or that just general awkwardness. It won’t surprise any of you that know me that I own neither of these projects and never have, yet just another reason why I’m single. Smelling good though is surprisingly important. Not smelling bad is a prerequisite but smelling good is a huge tick in the box in your favour.

Time to recap this rambling tale of advice folks. Don’t turn up in ‘outrageous trainers’ because apparently that is a thing (oh my Nike Air Max 95s sunset limited edition I still love you and always will, despite what people say), don’t look like you’ve just picked whatever is top of the pile, maybe if you own an iron (I don’t) actually use it, wear something you feel comfortable in first and foremost but if you are going to a classy place and don’t feel comfortable in posh clothing then ask yourself, ‘why am I having a date here in the first place?’ Clearly in this situation you are trying to impress someone well back it up with your clothing numpty. If you are having a more relaxed drink/coffee date then the clothing rules are much less strict but still iron, no to the crazy trainers and smell good.

A good piece of advice is to get a female friend to take you out shopping and let her dress you up with three or four clothing choices for a variety of dates, something more formal and some more relaxed choices. They themselves have probably had many dates in their lives and they know a good and a bad first impression when they see one so this type of assistance is invaluable.

If you follow these rules then you’ll do better than me because I’m a stubborn prick that believes that my clothing choices and appearance shouldn’t dictate if someone likes me or not. The reality is of course completely different but what can I say? I’m a moron. Of course clothing and your appearance isn’t the be all and end all but you’d be surprised how much the first five minutes count for, after five minutes you could already be done no matter how witty or interesting you are so folks, follow my advice and don’t follow what I actually do. Following what I do in a dating setting is just stupid but read what I have written and take it to heart then you might not end up like me, sitting writing a blog post about dating whilst sitting in PJ bottoms that have a hole so big everything can flop out whilst looking at a desk with remnants of chocolate doughnuts spread out all over it (although the double chocolate doughnuts are so good…)

And with that I wish you good luck in your dating endeavours. I’m off to have the Neil special of pork, leek and mustard sausages in finger rolls with chilli sauce. I’m such a catch…

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Why I personally enjoy being single on Valentine’s Day

I haven’t written anything about dating in months. Either that means I am on the quiet doing exceptionally well on this front and have chosen not to write about it as not to jinx it or absolutely sod all is happening so there is nothing to write about, I’ll let you have a think about that for a minute.

Yeah it’s the latter of the two. I mean seriously…

Anyway tomorrow is the day for couples to feel pressurised into being romantic and for those with a secret crush on someone to kinda reveal themselves in a ‘well I’ll dip my toe in the water but will have plausible denial if it all goes tits up’ kind of way. So awesome.

I have quite brilliantly managed to go through my whole life without either being in a relationship on this day or trying to tell someone I was romantically interested in them. Impressive stuff. Although to be fair you could go through pretty much every day of the calendar and I would be able to fulfill both of those criteria.

The point of this post though isn’t to lament but to rejoice. Valentine’s Day is just a Hallmark holiday designed to split the Christmas and Easter markets. Surely people in love don’t need a special day dedicated to the notion that they are in love? Surely they would be in love all the time and therefore make a special effort on more than just one occasion a year when dictated to by the calendar?

I love and rejoice the fact that I’m single at this time of year. I imagine it must be a pretty stressful situation for a significant number of couples as they feel the need to be forced into having certain feeling amplified. I’m notoriously the type of person that goes against the grain, if someone tells me I should be feeling x then I’ll automatically veer to y. I have been like this for many years. I don’t like to be told how to feel and anyone telling or cajoling me into feeling a certain way will in all likelihood not find themselves successful.

I remember friends in the past lamenting being single on Valentine’s Day, like they had failed and they used to say how unfair it was when those who weren’t single publicly showed off how happy they were in a relationship. It annoys me that people feel like that thanks to this stupid holiday, thanks society. Fair enough you might think but when they got into a relationship then they would do just the same and it always made me laugh, then when they split up with their partner and were single the next year they would moan about it all over again. Hilarity.

It seems that Valentine’s Day is often not about being romantic with your partner and showing them how much you love them, but in these Social Media times it is more about showing off how happy you are to the world, certainly for the younger generation. Why do we as a race have that urge to show off how happy we are? Is it to show everyone one else or is it to show the one we are meant to love?

Answers on a postcard.

So here we are. For those who are single then than your lucky stars that you aren’t going to be under pressure to show how much you like your partner. One thing I’ve found in life is that pressure situations lead to heightened tensions and heightened situations that go well are terrific, heightened situations where things do not go well lead to sad times.

There is absolutely naff all wrong with being single. Naff all. Sure if the right person walked into my life I probably wouldn’t be shedding a tear but there is nothing to feel down about. It is just a day designed to make money. It shouldn’t influence your feelings or outlook. So for me tomorrow is just Friday, it’ll be the same as most other Friday’s (although I don’t need to do any food shopping so I might not walk to the supermarket), I shall wake up, I shall work, I shall eat, I shall drink, I shall shower, I’ll watch some TV and I’ll not care about how I’m not doing this with anyone or have any feelings for anyone and how no-one has these feelings for me, it just won’t even register on my radar.

What really gets my goat though is the advertising, I saw some greatest hits record being advertised earlier as the ‘perfect gift for Valentine’s Day’ – what horse expletive. I’m pretty sure the croonings of some singer is not the ideal way to tell someone that you love them. Seriously. God it annoys me so much. I hate the commercialisation of everything. Do advertisers not think we have our own minds?


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…and you thought I was bad with my dating blogging…

I have been known to write about dates, I was about to type both good and bad but that is a lie but you know what I mean. Still I at least keep names out of it and give at best vague descriptions of people I have had dates with but a young lady living in Washington DC doesn’t think that is enough. She thinks that people who decide not to date further after two dates deserve to be named and shamed but I think it is probably fair to say that it has backfired and this young lady has become a bit of a joke across Social Media.

Here is the full version of events (from her point of view) but the premise is basically this. This lady met a guy in a bar that she did not know. They had a couple of dates. He then texted her saying that he didn’t want a relationship but says that she is funny, smart and cool and that she’ll no doubt find a great guy and she thought it was so insulting that she blogged about it (which to be fair I do but without names/details) but not only that, she decided that his bosses needed to know all about it for some reason and instead of just saying ‘no worries, good luck in the future’ or just saying nothing she let rip.

Lets look at the screenshots…

quin woodward pu texts
Guys decides to let Quin down rather gently…

But then…

quin woodward pu texts
Quin decides that she was not amused at the ‘dumping’

I mean c’mon…

This has to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever read and I’d be so thankful if I was this guy that I had seen the light after just two dates and decided to get the hell out of there. Of course there is the cynic in me that makes me think this is just free publicity for the woman in question, on her own website she describes herself as an memoirist, communications consultant, and a connaisseusse of all things social. She currently lives in Washington, DC, where she is a social media and public relations pundit and I can see this as just social media spin to prove that she can create some buzz but that is all well and good. Doing that but getting her name out there as the type of woman that guys would back away from slowly (or just turn and run quite fast) is quite the price to pay just to create a name for yourself or create from buzz in the social media world.

Writing things like I am so mature, well-adjusted and above this kind of childish behavior and then proceeding to act exactly like she did is just a wee bit weird is not? Now I’ve been told (albeit usually just after one date) that someone doesn’t want to see me again and I have no qualms writing about it just like many others do but I don’t think I’m at this level.

What I don’t do is go off on them as to why they are awful and how great I am. Even if at times I’m confused as to why they’ve said ‘thanks but no thanks’ I would never go further than anonymous internet blogging. Maybe I’m wrong and the stuff I write is just as bad and maybe that is a warning sign for other people to steer clear of me (I grant that it is more than possible) but I certainly think that this young lady as put herself in a much harder place with regards to finding a new partner if they have Googling ability.

Here are a few of these young ladies words about herself:

Speaking about her sexual charm…

We had relatively good chemistry, but then, I kinda have chemistry with pretty much everyone, because I really like talking to people and winning over complete strangers.

On the guy in question

When we parted that day, I didn’t think much of anything. In fact, I actually headed out to a bar to meet up with a former lover from 2012, with whom I may or may not entertain a few exchanges here and there. #timesbeing.

All class eh folks?

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40 Days of Dating – a genuinely thought-provoking experiment by two New Yorkers…

When people ask me what I did with my afternoon of Tuesday 20th August 2013 I’ll tell them I read. I read a lot. As you all know I’ve not an avid reader of books but I love reading. It is just I struggle sitting with a fiction book as it isn’t real but anything that is real captivates me. Whether that is researching politics or news stories or whether, as in this instance it all about human interaction and dating then I’m all over it like the proverbial fat kid on a smartie.

This afternoon I was pointed to a BBC news story about dating and then to the website with the story – 40 Days of Dating. This is the story of two New York friends who have decided to undergo a rather unusual experiment. They are going to date but there are some ground rules. The ground rules are as follows:

We will see each other every day for forty days.
We will go on at least three dates a week.
We will see a couples therapist once a week.
We will go on one weekend trip together.
We will fill out the daily questionnaire and document everything.
We will not see, date, hookup, or have sex with anyone else.

What makes it interesting for us people who don’t know either of the two people involved is the bit about the questionnaire. They answer a set of questions every single day that has shown the ups and downs of the experiment but also shows how the two of them are truly feeling at every single point. They don’t seem to have pulled any punches and as I read on the more I got enthralled in the pair of them and what they are trying to do.

They are posting their story one day at a time so I caught up and they are currently on Day 36. So only a few days to go until we find out what happened next. Up to this point we’ve seen the two of them grow closer together and despite one of them quitting the experiment briefly it so far seems like a successful venture. When one of them quit it was in part because of what her friends thought would be best for her and that opened up some thoughts in that brain of mine.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t exactly open up to people about these things and prefer to carry my baggage internally and not pass it off on to others. However on the rare occasions I talk to people it isn’t with the goal of getting any advice, I’m possibly a bit too stubborn but I really do think it is my life to lead and my mistakes to make. This is certainly true when it comes to my private life. Friends tell me I should do this or I should do that and I learned pretty quickly that as humans we are all different so what works for one person will not work for another. We are just wired up differently. That is just how it is.

Also I have learned this about myself in that if someone says I should do something then I instinctively think I should do the opposite. I don’t know why this is, maybe it is because I think I can do things myself or maybe that I should do things myself, with no help from anyone else but it is part of me and something I have just dealt with throughout my life.

I made the decision to stop drinking despite most people thinking it is madness. I chose not to sleep with someone unless it felt right. I chose to exclude myself from certain social situations where I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable and wouldn’t enjoy myself. Maybe I do this as some kind of self-defence mechanism and I’m certainly not the type of person who generally puts things on the line until I’m all but certain I won’t get hurt. It’s not like I’ve ever really been hurt before so I don’t even know what it is like but still I don’t put things on the line whereas in all honesty I should but something holds me back.

Still that is one thing that made me think from this experiment. The next comes from Tim:

Some women wait their whole lives to find a “soulmate,” and then they just settle for a guy who’s got a good job, or a guy with a nice apartment, or the guy who will simply stay with them. Jessie is definitely still looking for her soulmate, and I worry about this.

It is something I think about a lot. Even though I’m a guy I see very little point in settling for something with someone who doesn’t really do it for me. I think that is in part a fault but also a solid strength of mine. Many of us are blinded by the ‘Hollywood’ idea of romance and relationships. That things are perfect and everything should be all sweetness and light. The thing is the practical part of my brain knows that relationships are not like that and they are in general hard work. So the question I often ask myself is at what point do I decide a person is worth putting in that time and hard work for?

Now as regular readers and people who know me in real life who attest my dating history is about as successful as a team with Michael Jordan as GM and/or owner. As I wrote yesterday I think in the past few years there has only been two occasions where I felt a date was probably worth time and investment but maybe that is the wrong attitude to have. Who knows what can happen in time and your opinions and feelings change the more you see them – both negatively and positively. These two people were essentially forced by the rules of their experiment to spend time with each other and that in itself is an interesting concept, having to see someone every single day for forty days would scare the living bejesus out of me even if they were my best friend.

Yet again the next thing I want to bring up comes from Tim:

There are girls you date, and there are girls you marry. Jessie is definitely a girl you marry. I think Jessie won’t date a guy she feels like is a waste of her time. There needs to be a real possibility for something more.

Again I’m like Jessie. I won’t waste time or energy on someone that I don’t see something productive coming from. Now whilst my views on marriage are somewhat negative I do certainly want – no yearn – for is something real and not fleeting. However whose to say that my first instincts are right? Maybe someone who I didn’t spark with initially is the right one for me. Last week I had a date that didn’t even last half an hour and in all honesty it was over without seconds and she instead was working out how quickly she could get away without seeming overly rude. Maybe this experiment between two New Yorkers has shown that feelings can develop and people can be more opened up to them in time.

I could go on but what I think I’m trying to write is that this has been a totally enthralling. I love to read about love and relationships in a real life capacity. This particular saga has been quite wonderful to read because the two people have been so forthcoming and open about the whole experience and how they felt every step along the way. I’m not sure how I want their adventure to end. I suppose I want what I always want – for both parties to be happy going forward, whether that is as a couple or not.

What I mostly enjoyed though was it was/is a story we can all use to think about ourselves. I like thinking. I like being challenged (mentally) and humans are just a fascinating species. I see much of myself in both these people and I suspect most of us can identify bits of Jessica and Tim in us. Whilst this was no doubt for both of them, this whole experience is one that I would implore anyone to read up on, certainly if they are single and struggling with that notion, or if they are just lovers of a good human interest story. It has been written up extremely well and would probably lend itself to a book should they want to go down that route.

As for me doing something similar…I wouldn’t want to put anyone through having to see my every day for forty days. I felt sorry enough for my housemates who had to live with me, let alone having to specifically go out of their way to see me for forty straight days. I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy.

As for Jessica and Tim. A heartfelt thank you from some guy in the UK. Your story was/is riveting and thought-provoking and that is just how I like my reading material.

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.

On virginity…

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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Do girls like nice guys? Yes they do but what exactly is a ‘nice guy’?

I’ve been inspired folks. Well I say inspired but more I read something today that made me think and do some light reading, which in turn turned into heavy reading and well here we are.

I read the following:

Is nice really enough? Logic states yes, but the heart may query. Fireworks burn fingers, but let’s face it – it’s fun.

This is the type of stuff you can read anywhere and not blink. However the source of this wasn’t random. It was written by a young lady after we’d had a date or two. I didn’t read it at the time but it has since been brought to my attention. When I say it was brought to my attention I literally just stumbled across it, Google is a bizarre thing at times. As an aside here a few weeks ago I was Googling for some advice and the top result was a blog I had written on the topic last year. So I read my own advice. It was brilliant (if I do say so myself).

So yes a young lady with whom I’d had a date or two was struggling to decide whether the fact I was a nice guy was enough for her or whether she wanted and needed someone more fun. As things turned out she would need someone more fun (or maybe just not me) and as far as I’m aware she is extremely happy with another guy so things worked out well for her. However this is not a story about my experience in this situation but more a look at the whole issue of being a ‘nice guy’ and what it really means.

The thing is there can be a distinct difference between genuinely decent people (men and women) and people who like to think of themselves as just that. Now I’m not going to sit here and type that I’m a nice guy – that isn’t for me to judge – but I will say that in the past some people have commented that I am (and in all fairness a not insignificant amount of others have said the polar opposite). I know my personality traits and I know my good and bad points.

When I was younger (and frankly more immature) I used to really lament the fact that others had partners and I did not. I thought it was unfair. I thought being a decent person was enough but then you look back and think ‘was I really a decent person?’ If I’m sitting there stewing about how unfair things are and how unfair it is that others to whom I deemed myself ‘better’ or ‘nicer’ were with great women then was I really being nice? Maybe not.

Now on my travels around the interwebs this afternoon I came across a quite startling and fascinating piece by a LiveJournal user called DivaLion which speaks about the differences between Nice Guys and nice guys. Boom. I saw bits of myself in that piece but more bits of myself from my past. I also saw bits of many people that I know in there. Many men (and to some degree women) complain about being ‘too nice’ or stuck in the friend-zone like it is one big travesty.

Well you know what. It isn’t. Just because someone to whom you had developed feelings doesn’t reciprocate them it doesn’t mean the world is unfair. It is what it is. Some guys that I know (myself included) have had women take interest in them but they didn’t have interest back. So these things work both ways. Just because you think you are a decent guy doesn’t mean everyone whom you are interested in should fall at your feet.

Personally speaking I have lost count of the amount of women who have said things like ‘you’d be an amazing boyfriend for someone’ but then they have shown no interest in me. In my head I hear ‘you’d be an amazing boyfriend but for someone else obviously – I’m not that desperate’ but that is totally unfair and my brain has had to learn that this isn’t what they are saying. Just because someone thinks that someone else would make a great partner doesn’t mean that they themselves think that a person would be a great partner for them.

We are indeed all different. That is what makes our species wonderful. We all look for different things in a partner and need different traits. Some people need sparks to fly early doors and some don’t. Some feelings burn bright from day one and others burn dimly before gathering strength in time.

Often the quote unquote ‘nice guy’ is quiet and shy. These people often become infatuated with someone and instead of doing the healthy thing and getting to know that person more by talking to them and spending time with them – or just plain asking them out. Instead of that they create this kind of fantasy world where they think that all these things could happen with said person they have become infatuated with and blaming everyone else and the world for that fantasy world not being reality. I know. I’ve been there.

This my friends is not healthy and is just flat out weird and creepy. What these people have to understand is how they would feel if the situations were reversed. If you would be weirded out and/or creeped out then really it is a no brainer. You are being weird and not acting in a way that could be described as genuinely nice and just flat out wrong.

So it is time for me to hand out some advice from someone who has in the past blamed the world and the female of the species for not being lucky in love. The thing is folks it isn’t the world’s fault, nor it is the female of the species fault. The only constant is me and whilst I’m not saying it is my fault, I am saying that I haven’t exactly been blameless in all this.

First things first. No-one owes you anything. If you like someone and they don’t like you back in that way then they are not to blame, no-one is. Just because you’ve given it your all (either in your fantasy world) or in reality and they don’t love you back then that is just the way it is. Just because you think you’d be a better partner than their current beau it doesn’t mean jack shit.

Secondly no-one owes you anything. Ok that is exactly the same as the first thing but it is so important I thought I’d say it twice (at this point I’d like to give a knowing nod to a recurring joke from the sixth season of Red Dwarf).

Thirdly many many women do actually like nice guys. Yes there are those who do genuinely have a thing for bad guys and love the thrill and unpredictability of it all and if you are infatuated with one of those women and you don’t have any of those personality traits then you know what – it might not be a great match. It should be noted here that some women can like the bad boy but in time their desires change and they’ll change the type of partner that they go for.

The fourth thing I want to say is that women aren’t bitches if they don’t love you. I haven’t exactly asked out a plethora of women in my time but I can’t recall one who turned me down doing it in any other way than extremely gently. Just because they don’t want to go out with you it doesn’t mean that you are awful or they are awful it just means that at the time of asking they do not want to go on a date with you. This could be because they are seeing someone else, they don’t find you attractive, they don’t believe that you are worth their time or whatever. The main point is the so called ‘nice guy’ doesn’t accept all offers of a date so why should anyone else? Why are we entitled to that? The fact is we aren’t.

Fifth thing is a biggie – do not live in a fucking creepy fantasy world. If you like someone then ask them out or if you are already close tell them about your feelings. At this point you’ll quickly find out where you stand and if things go well you can progress to another level and if not then at least you know and you can deal with it instead of living in this fantasy world where you think ‘if only this was different and this and this and this…’ Also there is no ideal time. There is never an ideal time so just bite the bullet and deal with it. You’d be surprised how many women even if they don’t find you attractive would find it sweet and nice and they would prefer that to knowing that you were lusting after them but in a creepy way behind their back.

There is no point moping about life being unfair and how you deserve happiness more than other people who you perceive (either correctly or incorrectly) as jerks. In my late teens and early twenties I was guilty of this. Looking back I can see that. I’d like to think I have moved on from this and don’t think anyone owes me anything. If I ask out a woman and they say no or I have a date and say they don’t want to see me again or that they only see me as a friend then I would hope (and do think) that I take that in my stride.

My best advice is clearly about biting the bullet and not taking rejection personally. We have all rejected people in life either romantically or even in general friendship senses. If we are allowed to reject others then surely others are allowed to reject us. Rejection is just part of life and when it happens there is little point blaming it on others or the world. Best thing to do is move on and if you genuinely care about someone who has rejected you then the best thing to do is respect their wishes – whether it is to leave them totally alone or take a step back or to remain as close friends. Whatever. The important thing is to respect the other person’s wishes because if you don’t then it is probably likely that you never genuinely care for them in the first place.

With that I shall wind this down. Life isn’t easy and relationships even less so but genuinely nice guys do not finish last. Genuinely nice guys often finish first. The problem is many people who identify themselves as nice are just not that nice or decent. On a personal level I like to think that I have gone through my creepy nice guy phase and that I am a relatively decent guy who doesn’t blame the world or blame a potential partner for rejecting my advances. I like to think I respect the wishes of people I care for but like I said earlier – that isn’t for me to judge. I just think in time a lot of people who blame everyone else for their woes will realise that at times things just happen – good and bad – and it is how we deal with them that shows our true colours. Also a bit of maturity and experience helps a wee bit and we all get that in time…

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Are flowers on a first date appropriate?

Well folks. I am straying back into dating blogging but before anyone gets any ideas – I don’t have any first dates lined up or on the horizon so just chill. This is more of a blog inspired actually whilst surfing the interweb and I saw the question, ‘What happened to the gesture of flowers on a date?’ and it actually got me thinking. So I thought I’d do some interweb surfing on this topic and the general consensus was pretty split. Some think it is a sweet move that shows that someone cares and some think it is creepy. Some think a single red rose is the way to go but others say that is too full on. Oh this dating lark is hard but anyway I thought I’d blog my thoughts on the subject.

I have never turned up at a date with a flower or flowers. In all honesty the thought had never even crossed my mind. Not even for a fleeting second. My thought is that would be a bit too creepy and full on for a first date but opinions seem divided. Something that I have slowly got my head around is the hardest part of the whole dating process is actually getting the date so if you ask a lady out and they agree to go on a date then that is actually the biggest hump overcome. Should you get over this hump then it all comes down to the date itself but there is at least some intrigue from the other person to give you some of their time.

At this point I think it is probably fair to say that internet dating and dating someone you’ve previously met are two different things. I would attest that to some degree there is a larger comfort level having a date with someone you’ve already met – no matter how briefly – than there is having a date with someone you’ve not actually met yet from the interweb. When meeting someone for the first time there are slightly more moving parts than having a date with someone you’ve actually physically seen. As we all know you can meet people from the interweb who don’t look like you believed and people that meet you might think you look decidedly worse in real life than via a photograph.

So with that in mind I’d say that flowers – or a single flower – and not a red rose – might actually be a rather sweet gesture at a first date if you have already met said date. If it is someone you’re having a date with from online then it is slightly more problematic. Rightly or wrongly we are all tuned into people on the interweb could turn out to be a right weirdo. Look I’m on the interweb right now and I’m a weirdo, whilst I’d say a harmless one others may disagree.

So a flower on a first date from online is to me a more dangerous first move as it puts a lot of pressure out there. You don’t know whether you’ll even get on (I know its the same when you have a first date from another source but there is less chance you’ll just not get on at all) and therefore the first thing on a first meeting being giving someone a flower is both sweet but also can be misconstrued as a bit creepy.

Now of course this is a Point of View from a guy with probably less than ten, no wait I’m not that pathetic, we’ll say less than 15 first dates under his belt. So my views my not exactly be right on the money and they may be influenced heavily by the years of low self-esteem that still scar me to this day but it is an honest opinion. Thoughtful gestures are certainly never a bad thing. Certainly if the lady has mentioned something in passing that you have remembered and showed that you listen but a flower might not be the way forward. Originality is key and remember every women is different.

So to round this off my advice as a single gentleman who can see middle age on the horizon is flowers are ok but you have to be careful. If you’ve met the person before then I’d say that a single flower is a sweet first sign and shows thought. If there is one thing I know about women (and lets be honest here – I only know a few things) but one thing I do know is women like thoughtful men and thoughtful gestures.

Look you might not get a second date but a thoughtful gesture will at least make the woman think something good about you in the future when they say things like ‘I had that date with (name) we didn’t hit it off but he was sweet and brought me a lilac, he’ll be a nice catch for someone’ or whatever. Same goes for online dating but I’d always recommend doing something more original. However all in all showing sweetness coupled with some thought is rarely a bad thing.

Happy first dating boys n girls 🙂

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Does ‘the one’ really exist?

A few weeks ago I was wistfully looking out of the choo-choo train and I asked myself the very question that is in the title. I wasn’t thinking about whether true love exists or whether it is possible to meet that person but it was more of a thought about how likely it was that you would meet them.

It was a thought about basic maths.

There are what just over seven billion people in the world so that is a hell of a lot of people. Now obviously not all those people want a person of the opposite sex but just for the sake of this blog lets say that they do. So everyone is looking for ‘the one’ out of 3.5billion people. The odds of winning the Euromillions jackpot are 116million/1 and not many people win that and yet many many more people believe they have found their kindred spirit and the one that they were meant to be with. If we only take say the people within 10 years of us older and younger that would still be around 900million/1.

For the point of this blog I am assuming ‘the one’ is the perfect soul-mate and that there is only one for each of us.

If you are around my age and loved Sabrina: The Teenage Witch then you’ll remember the final ever episode where Sabrina found out that the man she was due to marry wasn’t the perfect match for her. He was a very close fit but Harvey was the one she was meant for. All very sweet but also asks the question about both the likelihood of her ideal match – in the world of the human race – went to school with her and also why couldn’t she be happy with someone who was nearly her ideal match?

I know it is only a TV programme but still.

To me it seems as though ‘the one’ could in fact be ‘many ones’ as we don’t get to meet everyone in the world in our lifetime. We’ll only ever meet the tiniest fraction of people who could in theory be our supposed life partner. In this modern day era we are exposed to more people through things like the internet and social media but still in all honesty an insignificant number. So how are we meant to find the one we are meant to be with when the odds are stacked so heavily against us ever doing so?

So either ‘the one’ doesn’t exist and instead we all find people that we enjoy spending time with and enrich our lives or as a race many of us defy the odds every single day and find the person that we are ‘meant’ to be with. I know which I think is the more likely.

There are a few people who meet someone and know straightaway and they are ‘the one’ or at the very least that they are head over heels in love. However even in these situations it is often just one half of the couple who know it there and then with the other realising later. My brother-in-law knew that my sister was the one for him the moment he sat eyes on her – seriously – and at that time it seemed highly unlikely but heck they’ll be celebrating 23 years of marriage in the autumn. I was talking to a friend of mine today who celebrated 16 years of wedded bliss to his partner yesterday and when he first met her (and fell in love with her) she was married to someone else. He cursed his luck that he didn’t meet her earlier but things change and he got his chance a couple of years later after the marriage ended.

Now some could say that these are examples of ‘love conquering all’ but I just think things happen and for every feel good story like the two above I am positive there are hundreds where two people who would have been very happy together missed getting together because of them wasn’t available at the right time etc.

One question I often ask myself in bed or on the loo or on the choo-choo or wherever I’m doing some thinking is ‘I wonder if the person I end up with (assuming of course I do end up in love and with someone) is someone I’ve already met or not?’ Will someone from my past return into my life? Will someone I’m friends or acquaintances with blossom into something more? Or will someone walk into my life at some future point? Will I know straightaway? Will it be a slow burner? There are so many questions and so few answers.

People talk about a ‘spark’ and I think the evidence is there that a ‘spark’ is real but most certainly isn’t something that means a long and fruitful relationship. A spark is different for every single person. I have had that ‘spark’ with just one person in 29 years. In the end we didn’t even have a date as she had other guys interested in her and she decided to go down that road with someone else. I have had *thinks* dates with I think seven women in the six years since. Not once have I felt that spark with any of them (although a couple I certainly was interested in seeing them again).

My point is a spark isn’t something that happens at the start of every successful relationship. I know people who think sparks need to fly from the very first moment otherwise there is no point. I don’t subscribe to that view. Not every relationship is like the movies no matter how much we would all like it to be.

Feelings ebb and flow and can develop over time and finding the right person for us all will mean many different things. If/when I find the right person I’ll no doubt gush over her and it’ll be a fantastic feeling. What it probably won’t be is me finding the perfect person for me. That is statistically an extreme long shot. What is far more likely is that I’ll have found someone whose life I enrich and who enriches my life to go with being in love. You don’t need to be with your ideal person to be in love with them. It is all about finding your perfect imperfection and when all find that then we are on to something.

As for the antiquated notion that there is someone for everyone are ideal partners well that’s hogwash. The odds on that are just too extreme. If we can find someone who in our own minds are perfect imperfection then we are all on to something good – no – on to something great.

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Gone (Cat)fishin’ – The messages a ‘fit’ guy gets on online dating websites…

Ages ago I did a blog about being a girl on an online dating website. Well at the same time I set up a fake male profile as well but didn’t get around to blogging about it. I completely forgot about it until the other day and I logged into it. Suddenly logging into it has produced a spurt of mails. Yet again I refused to reply to any but was interested in the types of messages I would get. One of the most common things that I have seen on dating profiles is something along the lines of ‘don’t just message me and hey hi or ask how I’m doing’ so how do women message guys..well lets see…

1. If only they still sold Tab…

What am I meant to do with this? Ask her what she’d still do if they sold a short-lived clear coloured cola?

2. Excellent profile, made me laugh x

If I was going to reply I’d just say ‘Thank You’ – clearly she is putting it on me to get a conversation flowing.

3. Hi Mr Bombastic 🙂 you look cheeky (in the good way) 🙂

Well at least I could reply in an equally flirty way I suppose…

4. Is your pic taken at Harry potter studios? Xx

Well I could answer Yes or No. Great conversation!

5. Your profile made me giggle!!

People have been known to say similar about me 😉 xx

I’m not going to reveal what the profile stated but she is basically saying she is good at giving blow jobs and then winking…

6. I’m in the some think your handsome group 😉 x

Flirty but again putting it all on me to create some conversation.

7. hey hun, how u doing? x

Surely you can use capital letters and proper English?

8. naughty….but I did laugh out very loud reading your profile x

Ok and…?

9. Evening.

Your profile had me in stitches.

How are you?

{name redacted]


Now this one was interesting as it was from someone I had actually messaged – as me – months ago. She never replied. Capital letters, proper English, only person to actually tell me her name, ok it’s not the best opening message ever but it was the best I received. Shame she took one look at the real me and thought ‘Nah…’ and yet words that I had written had her in stitches. Oh internet dating you are a strange one…

10. Whatever happened to that drink Tabclear?? You have me thinking now 🙂

Well it kinda just died away (I made a reference to it in my profile(

11. Nice hair! 😉


12. 😉

Seriously is that it?

13. Are you terribly fantastic?

Yes. Yes I am…

14. are you being serious in your little description thingy???!!

Well I’m not as the person doesn’t exist but thanks for asking.

That profile had so many messages but they get deleted after 28 days and I forgot to copy & paste them into a file but basically all the messages are along the same lines. They are very short and punchy and mostly rather suggestive. I haven’t put them up here because they were a while back when I first created the account (but didn’t save the messages – d’oh) but there were more than a couple of people who basically said that they wanted to get busy…talk about being forward!

One of the girls who messaged ‘me’ had the following on her profile, ‘Wherever we go…I can guarantee you’ll end the night on a high xXx’ – maybe I just don’t understand the female of the species (actually that might well be very accurate). The profile I used in this instance said nothing about me at all – but was full of hot air – not describing my interests, what I look for in a partner, basically said nothing about me and yet messages flooded in. That didn’t surprise per se but the quality of messages really did.

As I noted in my previous piece women get way more messages than guys and they have a much harder job filtering them but on the other side of the ledger surely women should make some effort to engage if they are messaging a guy? The only date I went on last year came about from someone who had messaged me. I can’t remember the message exactly but it did pick up on a couple of things I said in my profile and asked me about them. That is all an opening message should be. A paragraph or two at most to show that you’ve read their profile and not just looked at the pictures and try and engage with the other person.

Now had I actually been that person in the fake profile then no doubt I could’ve gone out and had a rather good time with a lot of these women. The thing that gets me and annoys me somewhat though is a lot of them – the same people who basically just messaged me suggestively – stated on their profile that they wanted something real and not just a fling as they weren’t like that. Well apparently they are depending on the other person.

No wonder I found it all very confusing and demoralising. It seems many people have a public face that they want to portray but in fact are looking for something completely different. Oh online dating…I don’t miss you so.

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

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 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.