January 28, 2004

I’m going to see my Alexander Technique teacher again tonight. Last week he told me he could give me an extra couple of inches.

He meant in height.

My osteopath recommended I learn the Alexander Technique to help with the tension in my shoulders and back. I was expecting some hirsute old hippy, but yet again my stereotype was way off the mark. Instead I was greeted by your regular Joe. Granted, he was barefoot, but don’t we all like the feeling of nylon under our soles?

I’m not sure what I make of it all. As far as I can tell, I’m paying thirty quid to spend an hour standing, sitting, lying and walking with some bloke I don’t know from Adam. When I ask questions such as,

“How will all this help my shoulder pain”, the only response I get is,

“You're already in the next moment. What about this one?”

Eh?????? I’m an open-minded girl, but what the fuck??? When I ask a question, I don’t want some enigmatic bullshit in reply, especially at thirty bob a go.


January 27, 2004

Yesterday, to Anthony’s horror, I compared the dating game to shopping for trousers. He envisioned a cold and calculating woman who approached men like a statistician approaches the lottery. But I was trying to offer another, less intimidating perspective. The act of asking someone out on a date isn’t the problem. It’s the fear of rejection that causes anxiety, and if you see rejection at face value then it becomes easier to deal with. I’m not going to go into it any more than this, because I covered it all in my previous post, but what I will do is give you an example from my personal archive:

A few years back I shared with a friend of mine. She took me out drinking with her colleagues one night and I met this guy she worked with called Pete. Pete is a good-looking geologist with a fit body, nice face and an intelligent demeanour. When we met back then he was also very quiet. One night he decided to ask me out. We met up a few days later, had a few drinks and then went for a romantic walk along the Thames.

The setting was perfect. It was a warm night, the moon was out and we were standing by the river holding hands. He looked at me, blushed and looked away. He did this a few times until I realised he was just too shy to make the first move. So I kissed him, and to be honest it wasn't the best kiss I've ever had. After we pulled apart he looked at me and told me that I was the first girl he had kissed in four years. Warning bells sounded in the back of my mind, but I ignored them, deciding to give it a chance.

It soon became clear that we were both very different. I once asked him what music he liked and he subsequently spent half an hour listing his CD collection in alphabetical order. We spent a day walking in the country and he proudly demonstrated how the pockets in his special walking trousers were exactly the right size to fit maps into.

“Wow”, I said, but “wow” wasn’t what I was thinking.

After a couple of weeks I came to the conclusion that we weren’t suited at all, but by this time he had taken quite a liking to me. I was the first girl he’d been involved with in four years and while I was conscious that I couldn’t lead him on, I really didn’t want to hurt his feelings. There was nothing I could do though, except be honest and tell him that it wasn’t working out. I remember that he took it pretty badly. I had crushed any confidence he’d built up through being involved with someone again.

We didn't see each other for about three years after that, until last March at my friend's birthday party. I had no idea he was going to be there until he walked in with his girlfriend. He was still the quiet type, but in a confidant way, and you could sense the depth of feeling between them. They had been going out for about eighteen months and were about to move in together.

Neither of us brought up what had happened between us. Instead, we all got into the party spirit, had a few too many Stellas and enjoyed ourselves. I don’t remember much about that night but one thing sticks in my mind:

As I was chatting away to his girlfriend, I looked down and noticed she was wearing walking trousers with map-sized pockets. I smiled and asked her what she did for a living.

“I’m a geologist” she replied.

Bingo, I thought!


January 26, 2004

The Great British Dating Dilemma

Thanks to Rick who drew attention to the great British dilemma: who should ask whom out on a date! I thought I’d say a few words about it.

First and foremost, there is nothing more flattering to a woman than a guy taking the initiative and asking her out. This is possibly the hugest ego boost any woman could get, even if she declines. The thing is that if she does say no, she’s likely to say to a mate, “fair play to him, he put himself out there, something a lot of blokes are too scared to do”. So my advice to any man who has his eye on a bit of crumpet is to just ask. What have you got to lose? If she says no, then so what? Remember that just because one person, or even three people, don’t fancy you, it doesn’t mean you’re not “fanciable”.

Dating in a way is like shopping for a pair of trousers. You’ll go into tens of shops and try on hundreds of pairs. Many of them won’t fit properly and some that do won’t suit you anyway. Of those that do, you may only like five of them and of those five there will always be one pair that you like over all the others, a pair that looks good, is comfortable, and long-lasting, and will go with most things in your wardrobe.

Unlike shopping, you need a bit of a thick skin for the dating game. Personally, I think it’s all a matter of confidence. If you are fundamentally happy with yourself then rejection is much easier to take. For example (and I hope I don’t sound like an egotistical arse here), while I’m by no means J-Lo or Kylie, I’m happy with my personality, brains and with how I look. I know that some men find me attractive and some don’t. The fact that not ALL men do is perfectly normal. If a man turned me down, of course my ego would bruise. But if your ego is vulnerable to start off with, it will bruise harder and for longer. If, like me, you’re basically comfortable with yourself, then these rejections will be easier to shake off.

Should women take the initiative and ask men out? Of course they should. This is the 21st century after all. But in general men don’t expect to be asked out, so women have to make an extra leap in their minds. Not only do they have to overcome the fear of rejection, they also have to deal with the fact that they are crossing some “social” line in the sand. A man is biologically programmed to woo his mate and women are programmed to be wooed. Just take a look at the animal kingdom for evidence of this. We’re talking about innate instincts and the great thing about human beings is that we are able to let our conscious minds overcome them.

Would I ask a man out? Well, yes I have and yes I would. But I want a strong man, backbone included, and there’s this little part of me that thinks that if a guy can’t pluck up the courage to make the first move, then what does that say about him? This is only my personal opinion but I feel that if I have to ask a guy out or make the first move myself, then I’ve been short-changed in some way.


January 21, 2004

Life is littered with completely incidental yet highly awkward moments. Take my journey to work this morning. I’m the kind of person that likes to get from A to B in the quickest time possible. As such I plot my course as I walk, looking for gaps in the pedestrian traffic to exploit in order to save a couple of precious seconds.

I got off the tube around ten to nine and joined the throng funnelling towards the escalators. A train pulled into the eastbound platform and started emptying out. If I didn’t act quickly I would be caught in a slow and frustrating shuffle up and out of the station. I upped the pace, weaving around those who take life more easily, and was coming up to the platform exit when disaster struck. A huge bloke moved in front of me and blocked my way through. I tried to squeeze round him on the left, but there was no room. I tried the right hand side. The same. The concourse was filling up with passengers pouring in from both sides. Suddenly I noticed that his left arm swung forward as he walked, leaving a gap just big enough for me to dart through.

Timing was crucial and so I moved in close. His left arm swung, the gap appeared, but I checked myself as he shifted slightly over. I got myself ready again, and decided to go for it the next time. The gap appeared. I moved alongside him and was about to squeeze all the way through when he shifted over again.

He hadn’t seen me and I couldn’t move forward or back. His left arm reached the most forward part of its swing and then started back on itself. As it dropped I tried desperately to get out of its way, but there was nothing I could do. As it began it’s backward swing, my crotch stopped it dead in its tracks.

His head spun round and our eyes met, his containing a look of horror and surprise, mine full of a deep and cringing shame. I contorted my face into an expression that I hoped would convey that it wasn’t his fault, that it was my crotch that had assaulted his hand and not the other way round. But he couldn’t see beyond the social mortification of having effectively copped a good feel of a woman’s privates on his commute to work.

I felt terrible. I had broken this man’s comfortable reverie in such an appalling way and had no idea how to make him feel better. So I shot him an apologetic look, slowed my pace and tried to melt into the crowd. The last I saw, he was rushing up the escalators two at a time, face burning, desperate to put as much distance as possible between himself and my crotch.


January 14, 2004

Tickety Boo

Don’t you just despise cheery people who use the term “Tickety Boo” when you ask how things are going? Tickety Boo! Tickety FUCKING Boo!!!! What the hell does that mean? Well luckily for you, I’ve been surfing the net to find out a little more and this is what I’ve come up with.

1. Apparently the term is common in Canada… those Canadians sure live life on the edge

2. It has been linked with the British Army in India, suggesting it comes from the Hindi phrase tikai babu, which is translated as “it’s all right, sir”… oh, how colonial

3. Tickety Boo was the name of a spaniel that won a Certificate of Merit at the Fermanagh Gundog Club’s Open Stake last year, according to the Spaniel Journal… does the RSPCA know about this? Some people just shouldn't be allowed to name dogs

4. Billy Connolly has launched a brand of tea called Tickety Boo, the proceeds of which go towards building orphanages in the Third World… how very benevolent. Shame it tastes like crap

5. Tickety Boo is the name of a pub in Dundee… you can imagine the types that drink in there!

6. Tickety Boo is the term for a hard core forged pedal with serviceable bearings that can be found on certain mountain bikes… my favourite...orgasmic

7. Kiki Dee performed for a record label called Tickety Boo… who gives a fuck anyway,

So, think twice before you use the term lest you end up on the list above.


January 13, 2004

Thankfully I’m in a much better mood today. Hormones are like that. One morning you leap out of bed, grateful for another day and the next you wake up feeling that existence is futile. That’s the real bitch about PMT… you just can’t pre-empt it. It creeps up on you like a fog and suddenly you can’t see a damn thing. The most positive and cheerful woman can be reduced to a brooding medusa, casting petrifying stares at all in her path.


January 12, 2004

I have a face like a wet weekend and I know it. The guys at work are giving me a wide berth since I mentioned that I may have PMT. How do I know I have PMT? Well, for example a farily inoffensive middle aged chap who sits next to me made a comment about the lunch I was eating at my desk. You know the kind... "ooh, that's a lot of pasta isn't it. Tut, tut, not watching the waistline this week?". Now, normally that kind of comment doesn't bother me at all, but today Tim is lucky he did not end up wearing my lunch.

What is it with guys and PMT anyway? One mention of it causes them to scrunch up their faces, stick their fingers in their ears and squeal "too much information" in unmanly high voices. Grown men are reduced to behaving like six-year-old girls when the boys in their class start digging up worms. If I had been talking about the in's and out's of my actual period, I could understand the reaction, but PMT is no more scary than stomach aches and mood swings. Pah! Men... pathetic creatures who whinge about blocked noses and paper cuts.

Same old, same old. Same old stereo waking me up at the same old time to the same old “Breakfast DJs” talking the same old shit. I have no idea why the breakfast slot is regarded by DJs as being the top job… can you imagine having to get up at 4am to go to a job where you have to be cheerful, rain or shine? Imagine being the one responsible for getting a nation out of bed each morning. It’s hard enough getting myself out.

I think I’ve figured out why I'm in a terrible mood until about half ten each morning. The timer on my central heating system has stopped working and doesn’t come on until I’ve physically dragged myself out of bed, shimmied across the kitchen to the boiler, and flicked the switched manually. I then dash back to bed, usually ripping the sole of my foot on one of the many nails I haven’t been bothered to hammer properly back into the floorboards. A rude awakening if ever there was one and certainly not one to make me bound, bambi-like, into the office.

And will the bastards come round and fix it? Of course fucking not. They’re too busy staring at page three of The Sun coz they’re too fucking ugly to attract any female to within a 5 mile radius. And I can’t wait until they do finally show up. My sister had a plumber round a month or two ago to service the boiler in the flat. Apparently his opening line was, “I’m not racist or anything, but black people don’t have as much respect for others as folk like you and me”. My sister didn’t quite know how to respond. Clearly, she wanted her boiler fixed, but she didn’t want to engage Neanderthal Man in any conversation that might reveal his links to Combat 18. And she certainly didn’t want to tell a six foot six skin-head that she found his attitude abhorrent, mainly because she couldn’t be bothered to explain what “abhorrent” means. I think she opted for “Well, I’m brewing up. Would you like a cuppa? I take it you have it white.”

More later


January 09, 2004

It's Friday and the sun shone over the US Embassy as I walked to work. Has anyone seen the US Embassy in London? It's a square, solid, brown building, drab and dirty, surrounded by fencing and huge blocks of reinforced concrete. Somehow, despite the naff seventies architecture, it still manages to look Stalin-esque... a glowering monolith exerting its authority over us rather polite English folk who already know where colonialism gets you. What can we do except walk past, stare at the machine guns and shrug our shoulders?

I'm not anti-American. Slagging off the US and its countrymen is a common sport among the brits, many of whom are jumping on a bandwagon they don't understand. But I have some good American friends so I'm aware that they are not all tarred with the Bush brush.

Here's a site I think everyone should visit. Michael Moore is a guy to pay attention too. EVERYONE, not just the citizens of the USA who should grasp the forthcoming opportunity to remove Bush from his fraudulent position. EVERYONE should worry about the hypocrisy emanating from Washington... and from its lapdog in Whitehall.

And now I read that British citizens will need a visa to visit the US. This isn't a problem in itself... we need visas for other places. But what is it the Metro wrote? "tourists must have new 'biometric' passports, containing a computer chip with digital photos, eye scans and fingerprints". That is a lesson we should all learn, how to open our arms and make people feel welcome to our country. Perhaps the US will be like a playground bully that everyone got sick of... bigger than everyone else maybe, but left to its own devices in the corner of the playground while all the other countries play nicely together. Unfortunatley this is an unlikely scenario. Instead, the US would march over to the sandpit and grab all the toys for itself.


January 08, 2004

Right. I can deal with the cold. I can deal with the wind. I can even deal with the rain. But, please, not all three together on a dark fucking january morning when I'm already struggling to find reasons to get out of bed. The icing on the cake was a text from my mate... "Been to the reef today to snorkel which was fab. Tomorrow we go to Brisbane where it was over 40 degrees yesterday so I hope it cools off!". Cruel and heartless friend.

The front page of the Independent covers news that over 1 million species of flora and fauna will become extinct over the next 50 years due to global warning. Usually, I'm sympathetic to this. I recycle whenever I can (if that counts for much). But the way I feel today, bring it on. Bring on global warming. The warmer this globe becomes, the better I'll feel.

A's just put it in a nutshell. He said "Even I'm having a problem giving a flying fuck today". Wonderfully and succinctly put I feel.


January 06, 2004

Ok, so interest rates are low, and all the major UK credit cards are coming out with 0% interest on all balance transfers... I thought "great, I'll stick my loan on one of them for six months, save myself a packet". Except they refused to give me a card. Wow, is my credit rating that bad? I own a flat for god's sake. I thought they'd be falling over themselves to help me get into more debt.

Finance... never been my strong point. I've always been good at burying my head in the sand when it comes to anything fiscal. My sister seems to be following in my footsteps with graduate loans, credit cards, overdrafts... and no job! Well that's what happens when you decide to become an actress... a lifetime of waiting tables. Actually, she's less of a stereotype than that. She's decided to do a painting and decorating course... she likes interior design, you see. An arty type.

Di and Dodi are back in the news six years on with the inquest into their deaths taking the front page of tabloids and broadsheets alike. Am I the only one who doesn't give a fuck about this? The fucking monarchy. We all know that if it wasn't for the money they bring in through tourism, they'd be binned in a second. Most Brits don't really give that much of a fuck (or at least the ones I know. I'm sure those that sit on the Daily Mail Express lap it up)... have never been to Bucks Palace and don't care what the queen has for brekkie, or whether she has it out of tupperware????!?!?!?! It's the tourists, those gullible creatures that swarm around the royal landmarks just so that can say to their friends back in Dallas that "hey, we did London".

Personal news... I'm feeling the pinch this month. They gave us our January pay check on 20th December and now we're all hunched over our desks watching the rain and coming to terms with that fact that we can't afford to get drunk to numb the pain.

Also, I got the standard email from mum... had a lovely christmas darling... you won't forget to thank Jacqueline for the towell she bought you, and remember about taking the rug to be treated for mothballs. Happy new year to you too.

Lastly, I've got the January depression... I hate my journey into work, I hate going home in the dark... I want my days back. I want to lie in and wake up to a glittering christmas tree. I want twinkling lights and I want to laugh at those garish houses that have been illuminated to the max with tacky statuettes of Papa Noel and rudolph. Most of all, I want to laugh at their electricity bills.

I'm twenty eight, a marketing manager, blonde, drink, smoke and I'm single. Do I sound like Bridget Jones? Possibly, I'll admit... Scratch the surface a little. There are lots of us about, but so many of us would hate to be associated too much with good old Bridge.

Bridget's a little older than me... in her 30's I believe. But while I think about it, we do live in similar parts of town... or we did until I bought a little one bedroom flat South East London... a part of town Bridge is unlikely to venture into.

I thought I'd keep a journal about what life is like for me in London. The Bridget Jones thing is just an aside... it would be good to know how I compare to her.

I've been living here since 1996 and have come a long way from the grimy flat I shared with my best mate B. years ago. Bed bugs and mice were par for the course there... I was mugged once and we had the misfortune of hearing a rape somewhere in the block we lived in... by the time the police came to check it out, there was no sign of anyone. Not a memory I relish, I assure you.

Now I own a flat and live by myself... doesn't sound that grand, or particularly interesting, but it's something I'm pretty proud of.

For those of you that don't know, property in London is really expensive!!! So, in order to buy a property, I had to buy a really run down one in an area that hasn't "come up" yet. "Come up" is the English term for an area that has prospered because people have resigned themselves to living in it. Once a number of people have stopped dreaming that they can afford Dulwich and have moved to where i live instead, and once nice bars and restaurants have opened to make them feel more at home, my area will have officially "come up". But for now, it remains definitely "down".

I bought the flat in September. Like I said, it needs extensive modernisation... that's how I'm hoping to make a little money on it. All of it needs gutting and renovation

To be honest, I had no idea what was involved. I thought I could walk in there, put up a few cupboards, buy a new fridge and voila!... 21st century kitchen. But my good, kind father managed to ground me (yet again) and I now have been enjoying the immense pleasures of planning a kitchen...

measurements, calculations, colour schemes (i mean who gives a fuck quite frankly). No doubt you'll hear more about this as time goes by. For now, i'd better do some work... i have website copy to write.


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