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YANN DALL’AGLIO: LOVE – YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG

I thought I’d share this brilliant talk by Yann Dall’Aglio about the world of seduction…

The talk is cut short but he finishes with:

I believe that self-mockery
is one of the best means for the relationship to last.
There is a lot of beauty
and humanity in the fact of understanding
that I am too small, too mediocre
to confront the other and harm them, and vice versa.
In this regard, I would like to conclude this talk
letting you contemplate and meditate
on a sentence that you may already know,
but I believe it really deserves to be
rediscovered everyday:
“Us mere nothings should not be tearing
each other apart ”

Enjoy x

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DATING: GAME PLAYING

Image on front by Malika Favre

“That’s no way to get it on
Five seconds in your heart
Straight to the heart I can’t to your heart
I’m not trying to make you cry
I don’t believe in you
You don’t believe in me
So how could you make me cry” Twin Shadow

It was one of those evenings where irritability had gotten the better of me, and I decided to literally raid the penny jar to buy some snacks at the big supermarket next door. I’d already showered and gotten into bed but couldn’t sleep. So I pulled on a coat and some jeans and headed downstairs for a quick walk not really paying too much attention to my unbrushed hair. I had mentally planned that this short trip should take no longer than ten minutes. As I walked past one of the tills one of the lads shouted at me to attend his “Come to my till, come to my till” he called across the lanes.

A few days earlier I had been served by him and my card had embarrassingly enough been rejected. But we had laughed at the situation and made light of it… “that happened to me just the other day” he had smiled. But I couldn’t bare going to his till again so hurried past to self service making my excuses. Great plan! Self service! Whoever designed them is a genius I thought. And so I put all the coins in and BAM ERROR ERROR!!! the machine blinked. My attempt to run swiftly into the supermarket had been foiled as attention in the store was now turning on me. Five minutes passed. Another five minutes. “You only put 10p in!” the supermarket lady on duty declared as I tried to claim my money back… “Er I think you’ll find that I put a bit more in that that!” I began. The self service experience was becoming traumatic and the packet of biscuits an unworthy prize.

The next time I went into the store I found myself compelled to explain the situation to the guy on the till that I’d run past. “Give me your number lets go out for a coffee sometime” he answered. Er ok. That…was not.. the response… I was expecting. Erm. I shrugged, and so I wrote down my number. Which I had just changed and thought I had learnt. But obviously not. So when I next entered the supermarket I wasn’t too surprised to find out he’d tried to ring but not gotten through. “Oh shit! Sorry!” I exclaimed. “I think I got a digit wrong” I replied.

But then I realised, that the lack of knowledge in my phone number, had probably just worked in my favour. As now I just came across as… coolly aloof.

“Look if you didn’t want to give me your number you should have just said…” he went on… “No I didn’t know it… really” I persisted feeling a slight pang of guilt.

GAME PLAYING

“I don’t play games! There’s no point!” my friend burst out crying. She’d just been let down by a potential lover. “Well.. I can see your point…” I offered up… game playing, an irritating part of the dating experience. I do not think it is always a necessity in dating, but I think game playing helps sieve the most appropriate/interested/interesting suitors. And the first few months, are probably the hardest to cut as both parties are trying to figure each other out.

Is he/she desperate… Is he/she a player… is he/she a weirdo… he’s/she’s a bit too keen… he’s/she’s not keen enough… they’re probably a psychopath…etc etc etc.

But the accidental “I’m too busy to play games I just texted him back because I need to know what I’m doing at the weekend” however logical doesn’t necessarily work in dating I’m afraid. It works in friendships though.

Having grown up with three brothers I’ve seen them go through their fair share of girlfriends. “Why didn’t you like that girl?” I asked my youngest brother one day. “I’ll show you” he said… and he text her. BEEP BEEP was the instant reaction of his phone. He’d managed to conjure up an instant reply. Shit that was fast. The girl was playing no games. But she had not just shown she was interested. She had shown she was keen. And that had seemingly put him off. Interesting.

I guess don’t most people want to be liked for who they really are, not for how they present themselves at a glance. How can anyone be that interested in someone they’ve only just met?

Although I do believe, that when both parties are just really into each other, games and all that go out the window. But until then…have some fun and enjoy… the game of life. However irritating parts of it might be. Have fun.

BEEP BEEP..

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DATING DIARY: SHE LOVES ME.. SHE LOVES ME.. NOT.. ?

Dating Diary by another anonymous..

I’d recently gotten back in touch with Shane, an old friend from school, who had moved to the same town as me and invited me out for his birthday drinks. His plan was to go to a bar I really can’t stand with all his friends who I didn’t know. Unfortunately, all my good friends were already out in town for Johann’s birthday. Johann being one of my actual-proper-best-friends, my boys, my frères from un autre mère.

Surely that’s not a dilemma. You go out with your proper friends who’ve been there for you for years and who you talk to every day, right? You don’t go out with someone you barely know anymore, just on the off-chance he might have some single female friends, do you?

By the time Johann had tracked me down, I’d noticed that one of Shane’s friends was a cute, curvy brunette. Exactly the type of girl I go for and almost always fail to succeed with. This girl was exactly my type – a cool brunette bob, fantastic dress sense and a top which concealed but clearly hinted at what a more misogynistic writer might describe as ‘a rack to die for’.

Now, it’s either a reflection on what a social magnet I am or a sign of how incredibly indulgent my friends are that instead of telling me to do one or disowning me on the basis that I was thinking with my ‘crotch-brain’ again, they actually came to aforementioned shitty bar. Which by then had to pay to get into. Did I mention that they all hated it too? I love my friends.

Having successfully merged a group of people who had no desire to be where they were with a group of people who had no idea who the other group was or why they had suddenly joined them, I sat back with a cocktail and marvelled at my own handiwork. I am the Rupert Murdoch of socialising; if this town was a commercial enterprise, I’d be under investigation for anti-competitive practices.

It was around this time I noticed the object of my interest, who by this time was starting to look vaguely familiar, was chatting to my friend Ethan. Ethan is a very cool, very smart and very handsome guy. Thankfully for me, he only goes for smoking hot foreign-looking girls and lacks even the slightest ability to tell when a girl is interested in him so I knew this girl’s efforts were wasted. I was sat on a sofa opposite them, desperately trying to look for an in, when she turned to me and said

‘You know, you look really familiar.’

‘You too. You weren’t at our school, were you?’

Recognition flashed across her face as she asked,

‘I know your brother!’

Balls. Whilst my brother was very cool and had a lot of friends, he is also capable of being one of the biggest c*^&s you will ever meet in your life. Being recognised by association with him is something which has worked against me in the past, so this put me on guard.

‘…guilty. Whatever he did or said to you, I’m very sorry.’

‘Ha, no. I used to go out with his friend Jamie.’

BAM. It all fell into place. Of course! Belle looked quite different (don’t we all), and was significantly less annoying (aren’t we all).

Oh, wait. 

This is officially weird now? Think of all the people we know in common. 

Also, she went out with Jamie. 

Jamie was really cool. 

She is definitely too cool for me. 

Dude? Snap out of it. She’s still talking to you. 

As we chatted for the next hour or so, I was oblivious to anything happening around us. The group mingled properly and moved to a large table, so we relocated to ensure we were next to each other. She’d gone to Uni a year after me, achieved a first (of course), gone travelling, spent two years at a loose end and was now training to be a teacher. Like 90% of my other friends. Annoyingly though, her course meant she was currently living over a hundred miles away.

Wow, she’s really cool. And cute. And still talking to me. 

Did you just exchange numbers? I believe you did. 

Shit, they’re all leaving? What should I do now? 

I know. Definitely text her the second she leaves the bar. That should do the trick. 

That was March. Come August, she still hadn’t replied…

She hadn’t replied to the text message I sent in March, but she had accepted my Facebook friend request. Which was a start.  We’d been tagged in a photo together – obviously I added her, because that’s The Way Things Go when you’re me.

For the next couple of months, I did my best to keep her aware of my existence by leaving fucking awful posts like this on her wall:

‘Let me know if you’re ever back around these parts. And if I ever need anyone cool to go out in Oxbridge with… I’ll have to ask you if you know anyone 😉 x’

Smooth move, Ex Lax. Neil Strauss called. He says YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

A few weeks later, a big night out was being planned. I put up the standard ‘get involved’ status update on Facebook and headed out to a funky little bar with some of my best friends. I hate the word ‘funky’, but there really isn’t a better word to describe this establishment. It’s one of the few non-chain bars in our town, it’s about the size of a living room and decorated in a colourful, ‘ethnic’ style. It is funky!

Imagine my surprise when, as I tucked into my second JD, I received the following text message from Belle:

‘Hey, I’m out in town tonight with Shane. Are you around for a few drinks? x’

‘Hey! Indeed I am, a bunch of us are at Funky Little Bar. Come on down! x’

When Belle arrived, she looked different. Again. She’d had her hair cut into a much shorter, choppy style with an asymmetric fringe and she looked cuter than a sleeping kitten… but in a really sexy way. She just exuded confidence in a manner which previously would have intimidated me but which for some reason I found utterly magnetic in her. I didn’t want to appear desperate to talk to her, but I’ve heard that ignoring people can be seen as somewhat rude, so I introduced the two of them to my friends and sat next to her to catch up.

Shane can be something of a flake, particularly when he isn’t drinking so I didn’t anticipate he’d last long. After less than an hour, the inevitable occurred and he stood up to make his excuses. Expecting this to be Belle’s cue to make an exit, I must have invited her to stay out with us … and she agreed without even thinking about it.

It’s at this point that the psychology of the rejection-phobe kicks in, so pay attention. Let’s recap. A girl I met once and had a really good time chatting to has made a point of tracking me down on a night out, bringing along our mutual friend as an excuse/validation. She’s chatted to no-one but me since arriving and now that The Validator is leaving, she wants to stay out. All signs point to ‘interest’.

We got two things: more drinks, and along famously. At kicking-out time everyone was moving off to someone’s house for a post pub party; Belle and I picked up a bottle of vodka from the nearest off licence and she came back with me to my friend’s house, with all my friends she’d just met. This girl is absolutely ace.

So what did I do? Brilliantly, once we arrived at the party I basically started semi-ignoring her in favour of talking to my friends. Not because I didn’t want to talk to her but because I’d figured out by now that the socially acceptable thing to do would be to invite her back to mine. Or at least try and kiss her. And I was terrified. Heart racing, dry mouth, unable to relax. Standard issue rejection phobia, check.

In fact, the second time she followed me indoors to try and get me alone we found ourselves in the kitchen away from everyone else and…I went mental. Talking utter nonsense, uncomfortable silences, making excuses to go back outside. I was sending out mixed signals like some kind of catastrophically defective antenna. Eventually, it all got too much for her and she ordered a taxi to take her home as ‘I’m far too drunk to be around people I don’t know.’ she was actually holding her own impressively, given that no-one could quite figure out why she was there if I wasn’t interested in pulling her. Which I was. But was too paralysed with fear to do.

We shared a slightly awkward goodbye hug and she left. I was left to reflect on what the fuck was wrong with me, whilst playing it off to my friends that I was flattered by the attention but wasn’t really sure if I was interested. Of course.

On the walk home, Belle texted me.

‘Sorry about that, I didn’t want to be remembered as the girl nobody knew who showed up and got really drunk and annoyed everybody. Some other time, perhaps? x’

‘Sounds good. How about Friday night? x’

‘Friday it is. See you then 🙂 x’

Promising, right? That’s definitely a date, right? There’s no way, no way on Earth, that I could possibly screw this up.

Well.. when the big night rolled around, I’d managed to convince myself it wasn’t a date. Despite taking a poll of all of my colleagues who agreed that it definitely was (and I work in HR so most of my colleagues are female, before you start thinking it was some kind of high-riving LADfest)  by the time I arrived at the bar – late, of course – I’d decided that she was just interested in ‘catching up’ and that this definitely wasn’t a date. A convenient excuse which got me off the hook of having to, you know, make a move at any point.

So we shared cocktail after cocktail, laughing and joking the whole time. She was touching my arm, I was being hilarious and charming. It were just like the movies it were. The bar we were in was one of the more expensive ones in town so we soon moved across town back to The Oak. Second time lucky?

This was where things went rapidly downhill. We walked into the bar and the first person we saw was a girl I’d been vaguely involved with the previous Summer. I say ‘involved’ although I don’t think one date and a hand job really counts as a relationship but I’d not handled rejecting her too well and she’d taken said rejection even less well.

‘….Hi Siobhan’.

‘Oh. Hi.’ -GLARE’

‘Er..Siobhan, this is …my friend, Belle.’

Brilliant. So you’re out with a girl you fancy more than anyone you’ve met in your adult life, you’re not sure if it’s a date and you’ve decided to take the reins and declare that it isn’t. I’m leaving you, said my brain. I’m finding someone who’s got a clue. I got us some drinks and we sat down in a corner of bar, from which Belle made the mistake of pointing out a large group of my friends in the corner.

‘Would you like to join them?’ she asked.

‘No! I’m out on a date with you. It’s unfortunate that 80% of the people I know have decided to congregate in the same bar as us but fuck them, I want to get to know you better. Much better.’Is what I should have said. Before leaning in to kiss her.

‘Yeah, cool.’

Is what I actually said. Unsurprisingly, she went to leave soon after. As she stood by the taxi, its back door open, she turned back to me and looked me directly in the eye. I returned her gaze, leaned down to bring her in … for a hug, and sent her on her way with the one phrase no-one wants to hear at the end of an alleged date:

‘Stay in touch.’

The post-script to all this is that on her way home, she called me out on my flaky behaviour and told me outright that if I’d been more obviously keen we’d have been going home together. We met up the following day for lunch, which turned into drinks, which turned into an entire evening of the best sex I’d ever had in my life. We were together for almost three years after that.

So next time someone acts aloof with you, don’t assume they’re not interested. Assume that, like me, they’re a fucking idiot.

If you’d like to write a #datingdiary for #ohdearyme get in touch! beckiburrows@gmail.com

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GUEST BLOG: DATING DIARY ‘SHIPS PASSING’

This is a guest blog the writer of which has asked to remain anonymous.. artist pic by Isaiah Stephens

This story is not strictly about a date. I was out for celebration drinks with my female flatmate, who’d just closed a big deal at work, and our adventures continued from then.

The plan was to meet up in Camberwell with a crowd of political friends I’ve been getting to know. We were two hours late – the party had moved on. My flatmate and I shrugged and had one of those lovely pub chats where you share some of your deepest insecurities and assure each other things will be alright. Pretty therapeutic.

As it goes, I shared my fear that I am too straight-laced and haven’t let my hair down enough. My flatmate shared that she’s considering meeting up with her ex that she was with for three years and thought she was going to marry, before it all went pear-shaped.

The night progressed, we saw a huge queue for a club but decided the crowd wasn’t for us. As luck would have it, we heard some music emanating from a gig, and the funk-rock-rap was exactly the sort of music my flatmate loves. She started dancing away, happy as larry, getting chatted up by guys. I bumped into one good male acquaintance but the lack of other interesting convo meant my tiredness began to set in fast.

Looking after female friends is a strange duty. When a bloke looks at you like you’re the potential cock-block it’s unnervingly like a dog looking through a gate, all hope and sadness at once.

When this venue closed I was about to throw in the towel when we went in one more venue a few doors down with a dance floor and my flatmate bought us samba shots. It was that nice time of night where there are only twenty or so people left but those who were there were really smiley and going for it. Soon I’d found my second wind and was dancing wildly to Michael Jackson with a pretty and curvy girl (let’s call her PCG). “You have all the shapes!” she beamed. I thought she did too.

The venue closed and everyone was herded out but a small group of six of us who got chatting (me, my flatmate, PCG – a doctor, and three of PCG’s friends – a sweet doctor chap) still wanted to party. A sketchy promise of “fire and music” from a disarmingly smiley man hailing from the Dominican Republic led us off. “He’s wearing a fedora” we thought, “he’s nice!”

Where he tempted us to – eventually and with a lot of cajoling and stops to buy supplies – turned out to be a scary-as-fuck empty yard with no lighting. A fight had already broken out around the entrance as soon as we got there then quickly dissipated. Against our better judgment we’d gone in (we’d come this far…), quickly decided against it and split – but not before thinking for a terrifying thirty seconds that we’d been locked in!

What was this fedora guy’s game? Once we’d left he kept following us on his bicycle, all disorientating charm compared to the bleak yard we’d left, and eventually gave up, muttering “stupid facking people”. My Scottish flatmate said that if that party was in Glasgow someone would have been shot. (Apparently stabbing is small-league. I love Glaswegian grit.)

We decided to head back to ours, as we were twenty minutes’ walk away and the rest were planning a crash in Old St, which would be an hour on the bus. The stroll to ours took twice as long as it would have at a business-like pace. At one point the front half of the group lost the back half, so I ran back and found them to check my flatmate hadn’t got murdered. She was relaxed but lost. ‘It’s true’, I consoled her, ‘all these streets do look the same’.

We arrived at ours at around 5am. The six of us got to sharing YouTube-DJ duties at ours. Well, five – one dude sat on the sofa and fell immediately asleep.

Within an hour it became obvious that one of the party – a guy called Sam – was the most irritating man I’ve met for a long, long time. Nearly everything he uttered apparently demanded a high five or Fresh-Price handshake (“don’t leave me hanging… bro… BRO”), he spilled three drinks on the rug, demanded we play a loud rap song about a Bugatti at 6am when we’d just traded our favourite acoustic artists, put crisps in the sleeping dude’s mouth and was joke-but-hard punching him to wake up, and insisted on debating Syria with me. “Ok hear me out right… those chemical weapons… Yeah atrocities are fine but…”

“They’re not fine,” I replied incredulously. “They’re atrocities.” Who says there’s not humour in civil war?

He got the gist at some point “why don’t you like me man?” punched his poor friend awake and left.

All this time me and PCG were snuggling a bit on the sofa. Nearer 8am, we were lounging together on the sofa sensually twirling each other’s index finger.

We retired to my room, had a snuggle, then did more than snuggle.

“You were such a slow mover” she said the next day. That’s because I wasn’t hitting on her! I don’t know, I was relaxed, and the bell-end guy was using all my patience.

Noon we awoke, beautiful day, PCG did an elegant yoga pose in my decked garden. We both said we’d had fun, and she headed off.

My thanks to my flatmate for helping me let my hair down!

“Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

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DATING DIARY: RUCKSACKS

“Always keep your heart locked tight, don’t let your mind retire” Haim

He places his hand confidently on my arm. I’m aware of him moving in.. I’m in a bar. I’m not supposed to be in a bar. I’m meeting a friend. And I have a rucksack on. And whilst I cared about what I put on that morning I hadn’t thought about as it much as I could have done. I mean.. I wasn’t in a “bar” outfit.

“Who you waiting for?” the man asks me in a thick Scottish accent. He’s in town with his mates for the Scotland vs England game.

He then moves his hand from my arm and moves it on to my waist. Not around. Just comfortably on.

I am impressed by his boldness. A little surprised. And very conscious of his seemingly carefree attempt. This guy’s approach was pretty smooth.

Dressed up for a night out with the lads he starts to mock my childish rucksack wearing which I still have on my back. “You can’t wear that.. take that off! It looks awful!” he tells me laughing. Momentarily I feel I am back at high school. Where one was supposed to wear the rucksack over one shoulder out of coolness and not over both like how it was actually designed to be worn. But I had become a girl punk in my later years – and a rucksack worn the right way is now in my eyes a ok! Besides – putting fashion aside…I had a bit of a bad back.

He buys me a drink. Despite the rucksack. And he proceeds to show me his muscles.. he flexes his arms.. “feel that!” he says. I’m impressed or amused. Not sure which. I feel his arm to show him that I recognise he’s been working out. I offer mine out to show him that I’ve also been working out. He ignores the gesture. Perhaps he didn’t hear/see me. Then he grabs my waist again.

“That’s really interesting what you keep doing there…grabbing me like that… that’s a really confident move…where did you learn that?” I ask him. He looks at me a little shocked and grins.. “er..what this.. “ and again he grabs me. “You have to be careful though – might put a girl off – could come across as ‘player’ tactics…” I smile at him. He looks confused. “I’m writing a dating diary thing” I tell him laughing. “Oh right..” he says… “Well…I’m not a player! Me? No way! I’ve just come out of a relationship of seven years!” he insists in his thick accent. We discuss his last relationship. And I just start to feel increasingly sad that they ever broke up and become convinced that they should get back together. And then my friend arrives… I tighten my rucksack straps…and we leave. Because to be honest…  Scotland’s a bit far to travel for me… if you get what I’m trying to say…

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