Tag Archives: relationships

Online communication: No substitute for the real thing

I remember about five years ago, I used to hang around with this guy. He was a neuroscientist who worked in the psychology faculty of Nottingham Trent University. One day he had some of his students doing an experiment and they hadn’t finished so he suggested I take a saunter around. That was when I saw the poster. It was offering an MA or MSc, I forget, in Cyberpsychology. It then occurred to me that our interaction with technology is changing the base of our psychological processes. I regret to say, by and large, it isn’t a positive change. I also notice that young people who have grown up with this technology have an entirely different thought process to anyone who didn’t grow up with this technology.

The ex-girlfriends

Last year, I was in an extremely abusive relationship with a girl. The bulk of our communication took place online. When we were together, I mean in each other’s company, it was really good, but then she’d go home and we just communicated online. I found it horrible, unbearable at times. It was impossible to have sound discussion with her. Don’t get me wrong, there were other factors, such as her schizophrenia, an unplanned pregnancy, my lifestyle at the time, etc etc that all contributed to the breakdown of the relationship but I noticed that none of those barriers could be overcome as there was a irretrievable breakdown of communication between us.

These problems prevented us from progressing the relationship. This is because relationships never run smoothly. Relationships are peppered with problems. The success or failure of any relationship doesn’t hinge on the what has gone right but more on the ability, or lack thereof, to deal with the problems.

The problems and traumatic situations that arose out of that relationship were best solved when we spent time together. Problems can’t be sorted out online because online communication is incoherent. We would periodically block each other on various social media platforms as a means of punishment. So rooted was our relationship in doing that I was frustrated that I couldn’t have a proper conversation and problems couldn’t be addressed (as an OCD sufferer I have to solve problems) that what would happen is that I would walk to where she lived (about seven miles from where I lived) and walk back, just for the sake of seeing her for fifteen minutes. It alleviated the stress, the anguish, the angst and the anxiety that communicating principally online brings about. A fifteen minute conversation in person had coherency, context, tone and sentiment.

Bizarrely, it mirrored the relationship previous to that one the year before. In that instance I was in a relationship with a girl who lived about 100 miles away in the Roman Spa town of Bath. All through the week we would speak to each other through a variety of social media platforms and conversations were disjointed and fractured. She would absolutely beg, or close to it, to phone me. Sometimes I simply wasn’t up to a phone conversation, but on reflection she garnered tone and a sense of calm from it, something which doesn’t come across in messages over web.

If we rewind to my last “serious” (though in hindsight I probably should have given it more gravity than I did) relationship before both of those, it was again, a long distance relationship. She lived in London and I lived in Nottingham. She would call me everyday, sometimes for upwards of an hour. I found it exhausting. Even though we spoke by telephone regularly, she would constantly relay her problems to me. It was frustrating knowing that I was miles away and in no position to help. It was crushing, emotionally.

The France Situation

I find myself in a situation at present that is not dissimilar but at the same time hugely different.

image

Me in France doing French people stuff.

I’m in another long distance relationship. This time it is with a French woman. Being the social creature that I am I have a new and emerging social circle in the city where I live. I don’t live there though, yet. I know my way around the city I live in and can successfully navigate Paris with some proficiency at street level. I was really enjoying France, not least because of the people I had around me. My partner, my friends, I wouldn’t go so far as to say my family, but my home life was good. My life is so good in fact that I’m thinking the next move may be a permanent one.

When I was over there, life was good, but some base in reality is always needed. I had to come back for work. As much as I missed all my friends in Plymouth, am missing people in France like crazy. The main form of communication that I use to communicate with people in France is what’s app. I notice, almost immediately that there is a disconnect there and I wonder about how changed and diverted things are from the essence of the relationship that was originally started given that now the relationship is principally a digital one.

The first example is with a friend. I’m not going to go into detail but one friend that I’ve spoken to since I got back, I said something to. There was an abundantly clear lack of context which led to a huge misunderstanding. Suffice to say that this misunderstanding would not have happened had we actually been face to face. When people communicate digitally, there is no context to what they are saying. It’s not that something can more easily be taken out of context, it is that it isn’t out into context in the first place.

The second example is a good one, and I can be a bit more specific here. One of, if not my closest friend in France, is also the person that speaks the best English. I try and speak French to her and she tells me to stop. Ironically, she has never been to England or an English speaking country. We can chat for hours. She was a real pillar to me in France. Now our messages don’t follow a linear path, there are always fractures and splinters. Think about it this way. She sends me a message which I pick up when I wake up, I respond. She picks that one up a bit later. Then I pick that one up when I’m about to start work, and so on. Can you imagine periodically returning to the same conversation, over the course of a busy day, every few hours and remain focused on the attention you’re supposed to give that person and your interaction? Of course not. It’s impossible. The conversation ends up fractured with no conclusion or end point, along with the lack of fluidity and the other things that one can take from a conversation either by phone or in person.

The third and final example is my partner. Aside from the obvious that one misses not being in her company, people often turn to their partners for support and reassurance. I am in another country, pondering a huge move to another country, and that really scares me. Sometimes I look too deeply into the messages she sends and when problems do arise, they are impossible to resolve and will be impossible to resolve until I return to France. There is also another thing. My partner doesn’t have the best command of the English language. My French isn’t perfect either, not by any stretch of the imagination. Our bodies have an unspoken communication with each other though. I’m not talking about anything sexual or even about body language. It’s really difficult to explain or describe. I think when two people don’t share a language fluency, they have to communicate in other ways. Say for instance when we are brushing our teeth before bed, we may be silent but more often than not there are a series of glances, small actions, I may reach for the mouthwash, she may turn off the tap I’ve left running and these things form a conversation. Sometimes when we’re doing something more, like playing pool or digging up vegatables on the farm, these small, almost insignificant actions make up a conversation. That’s why being away from her is unbearable. I suppose it is that that highlighted to me that while messages back and forth are ok, there really is no substitute for being together and in person.

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The most productive, and in my view the best, way to make an ex jealous

I have never had a relationship end well. There has always been some kind of drama. There are people out there who, upon ending a relationship say “Oh, it wasn’t working out so we decided to go our separate ways” and when I hear that it doesn’t seem to make sense to me. I suppose if they could let go of a relationship that easily then it probably wasn’t worth them being in it in the first place. In the aftermath of a bad break up, there is, at least in my experience, a desire by one or both of the partners to make the other one jealous. I would say that this is a completely normal reaction. The reason I say it is normal is because it is something that I have constantly found.

A long time ago now, maybe seven or eight years ago, I found the perfect way to make an ex-partner jealous.

Background

A couple of nights ago I went to the usual pub quiz with the boys. The night had ended but I still had a hankering for a pint. Plymouth being the way it is, I was still able to get a pint midweek at a bar. Allow me to explain. Plymouth has been a 24 hour city for a long time. If you want a pint at any time, night or day, there are always about four or five places open, any day of the week. I digress. I got chatting to a delightful young lady, and she, along with a couple of friends/colleagues of hers was discussing a choice of dress.

She asked me for my opinion of it. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t know what her frame looks like. I try not to visualise those things when speaking to a young lady. The dress was very revealing and highly sexualised. Anyone who knows me, knows that that sort of thing isn’t really my cup of tea. I passed thirty this year, I’m a Catholic, in some aspects I’m a feminist and while I have a specific opinion of what I would and wouldn’t find attractive on a woman, I wouldn’t dream of sharing that opinion. When a man makes any comment about what a woman is wearing, he really is playing Russian Roulette with five bullets in the cylinder. My mum always said “never make fun of a woman’s hair, clothes or menstrual cycle” and I would said that that is good advice but I wouldn’t know, because I’ve never been stupid enough to make fun of a woman’s hair, clothes or menstrual cycle.

When the girl in question showed me the dress. It looked hot. I could tell that someone like her, wearing a dress like that would draw the eye of all the men in the room. That goes without saying. I saw the photo’s of her wearing it and she did indeed look stunning.

Back to the point. She asked me a question, very frankly. She said “Do you think it will be enough to make my ex-boyfriend jealous?” I have to confess, I was a little shocked. My experience of this young lady was limited, granted, but I thought that her charm, demeanour and looks would be enough on their own to make any former partner of hers keenly aware of their loss. I resolved, but not before the day she wore it, to tell her how I always go about making my exes jealous without the need for such a dress.

Jealousy

Jealousy often drives us to do things that we regret, or moreover things that we will come to regret once the haze of jealousy and anger has subsided. I could indeed share many stories of ex-girlfriends whose actions, driven by jealousy, has caused the break-up of a relationship. Likewise one might think, “I will make my ex-jealous by kissing/flirting with/sleeping with this person.” This is a bad reason to make an emotional connection with someone as it is borne of hatred and not love. Because things done to instigate jealous feelings are usually exacerbated anger, they are almost universally negative. When an ex-partner has been violent with me because of their jealousy, when they have checked my phone or invaded my privacy or my past, I have always pitied them more than anything.

The reason why I haven’t judged them though is that I too have been guilty of those same offences. It’s not for me or anyone else for that matter to judge those who feel jealous. It happens. Don’t get me wrong, I have never raised my hand to a woman in anger, nor would I ever invade a partner’s privacy, but I have been jealous in the past and it has led my mind down those dark path’s but I wouldn’t begrudge another for feeling like that and acting accordingly.

I needed to find a way to channel that though, to focus on it, and soon I found a positive way to make an ex-girlfriend jealous.

The productive way to make an ex-girlfriend jealous

This came about around a decade ago. I was in a relationship with a young lady. By all accounts she was a nice girl but she certainly wasn’t the one for me. We were together for five years. We had a semi-detached three bedroom house in suburban Nottingham, all mod cons, she was a hairdresser, I was a local government administrator, life was good, or if not good, certainly not unpleasant. We even had a couple of cats. I did, however, grow frustrated. Frustrated with how things were. Frustrated and depressed. I constantly felt like I was playing a part in someone else’s life. The relationship, as one might expect, broke down. I’m not in the habit of berating people online, not least because the lawyer in me says they don’t have the opportunity to defend themselves, so let’s focus on where I was at the end of the relationship.

After a while in a relationship, things can get a little stale. I don’t use that as justification for my apathy, but it is difficult to inject passion and excitement into your life if you don’t get that from your relationship. I would idly spend my weekends on the sofa playing PlayStation games, occasionally switching it off for Simpsons or to go to the pub. The week had become a Monday to Friday nine to five affair that offered me no excitement. I had lost all the things I once desired in life. I no longer had any clue as to what I wanted. I’d built my entire life around my girlfriend to the point where I didn’t have any friends, at least not in Nottingham, no interests of my own, no life of my own and my life with my girlfriend has just become a painful laborious slog that I used to fill the time in between trips to Plymouth and an endless plethora of staycations that I used to glean a lot from but that a girl in her early twenties would have found mind numbing and boring to say the least. We were horribly mismatched and by the time I finished with her, I have to admit, I wasn’t much of a catch.

I tried the usual ways to make her jealous afterwards. The destructive ways. Going about with other ladies. Partying. Then about four months after the relationship finished I realised how I was going to handle things. It was a breakthrough, at least for me.

You see, she’d fallen in love with a unique, driven individual who enjoyed a modicum of success. Why not take that to a whole other level while at the same time living out my life as I want to? I knew the information would eventually filter back to her, as these things do.

Part one was to get myself a new job. I had been thinking about this for some time and I needed something that would challenge me and make me successful. Surely if my ex-girlfriend heard that I was doing an important new job, she’d be really jealous and I’d be happy. That’s precisely what I did. I got a job at a business data agency. I got my drive back. Soon the money was rolling in and I was off.

This was me in 2008, a few months after the break up, in my new job. I'd just been given a bottle of moderately priced, non-domestic champagne as a thank you for some recent work I'd done.

This was me in 2008, a few months after the break up, in my new job. I’d just been given a bottle of moderately priced, non-domestic champagne as a thank you for some recent work I’d done.

Of course that is only one part of it. The other is that when a relationship breaks up, the inevitable factionalisation happens. I have noticed this wherever I have been. When someone is in a couple, they both begin to isolate themselves from people they were great friends with when they were single. In addition when have couples friends. Friends that are also in a couple to do couples things with. My only friends independent from my girlfriend at the time were couples friends and without them, I had very little going on. So, I started to massively socialise. A far cry from the no hopers and hairdressers (my ex-girlfriend was a (very good) hairdresser, I grew to loathe them and to this day I will only get my hair cut in a men only barbers) that my ex-girlfriend used to knock about with. I used to do Capoeira, and constantly socialise with old friends of mine that I hadn’t spoken to for years. I consistently found myself in completely different surroundings with completely different people. My new partner lived in Bethnal Green and opened up my eyes to new worlds, new ideas, upcycling me from the rut I had once fallen into.

The constant travelling. The constant moving from place to place. My own home fell into a state of disrepair and I had to move on from that. I ended up in a posh flat. Soon it was Athens, Brussels, Luxemburg, the Runton’s, here there and every.

By the end of all of this, I wondered what the application of my jealousy and revenge was. I’d become a new person, a different person, with a hugely better life and one day, not long after, I was pondering about what her life must be like and how things must be now. I then realised that part way along my journey I had lost the desire to attempt to make her jealous. The changes that I’d made and the life that I’d led since those days in 2008 where I was was stagnant and complacent, those are things that I should’ve done. I shouldn’t have done them with a view to making her jealous, I should’ve done them for me.

This, therefore, is my advice: when you are thinking of making an ex-partner jealous, one way to do that is to give yourself away, show how sexually desirable you are, spread gossip about them and rumours about yourself, but all of that is completely unnecessary and usually negative. The best way to make an ex-partner jealous is to go out there and succeed in the world. Get the good job. Get the travelling under your belt. Meet the right people. To play the short game of jealousy boiling it down to attraction is one thing. To play the long game, to fully realise your potential and live your life the way that you want to live it is a a complete other. To have your ex-partners looking at you six months later or six years later and think “I backed the wrong horse” is not only a better feeling but a lot more productive, not least because you have the fruits of your labours to show for it.

I have a slight confession to make. While I broke off all contact with my ex-girlfriend shortly after the end of the relationship, I can’t really see her being jealous. The reason for this is that she had, at least in her view, moved on to better things, or so I am led to believe. It’s not a life I would have chosen, the settled down, married and kids one, at least not at my age, but she chose that and I believe, if I know her as well as I think I do was that that was what she wanted in her early twenties. Not my thing, but yeah. This is the piece of advice I will leave you on. That is the best way to make your ex-partner jealous. Even when I realised that I needn’t do these things for her, I saw that I needed every bit of self improvement, every bit of personal development, every minor victory and major accomplishment, not to make her jealous but for myself.

The best way to get over somebody, is to get under somebody.

This is a school of thought that I used to subscribe to, though following the events of last night, I don’t any more and never will again.

I have three female friends. For the sake of argument let’s call them Brittany, Jeanette and Eleanor, after the Chipettes, which were the female equivalent of the chipmunks for all you 90’s kids. I don’t know why they sprang to mind when I was thinking up fake names but they did.

Brittany lives in North Devon. I’ve been spending a lot of time with her recently. She came out of a relationship a few months ago and she’s had a void in her life she’s been desperate to fill. I am in exactly the same place. We were, in the early days, hurtling towards being each other’s rebound. Thankfully, before the fateful moment, we realised something. We really like each other, so we slammed on the brakes. We both started to open up about our previous relationships and both of them started intensely, really quickly and ended painfully. It dawned on us that we were so desperate to replace the love, that we realised we wanted it, but that desperation is a really bad premise for a relationship. I don’t know if I want to jump into bed with her, or be in a relationship with her, but I do know that we shouldn’t with the clouds of our previous relationships hanging over us. We recognise that if this grows into something more, it can only do so when both of us are “in the right place” and so we’re taking it at an absolute snail’s pace, and that seems to suit where we both are. This, and other lessons from my past relationship I have been learning over the last month or so. At first I didn’t want to open up to her as I find it tough to trust, but she said “The past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” Instantly, I knew she was quoting the Lion King, which made me smile.

I met up with my friend Eleanor. I don’t see her from one month to the next. Whenever she is back in Plymouth, it is only for a month, maybe two, and then she’s off again. Eleanor has a lot of stamina and integrity. She is very honest. She has utterly terrible judgement, and hasn’t made very good life choices, but as one would expect making a lot of mistakes has given her tremendous hindsight skills. She’s very good at reflecting on her mistakes, seeing where she went wrong, and not making those mistakes again. This is why, despite her faults, she’s very successful.

She has a bad habit of cropping up in my life when I have a lot of stuff going on. Our chats descend into my long whiny moans about what has been going wrong in my life. Why she still hits me up when we’re in the same place I don’t know. I told her of all the bad things my ex-girlfriend did. She asked me why the break up was so protracted and why I put up with it for so long. My reply was because I loved her and she loved me.

Eleanor came back and said quite brutally “She didn’t love you.” I was taken aback by that response. “Of course she did. You don’t understand.” Eleanor’s brutal fashion pressed the issue “If I don’t understand, explain it to me.” I said “She did bad things but sometimes she didn’t know that what she was doing was bad.” Eleanor said, “So she’d make a mistake, apologise, not do it again and try to make it up to you?”
“Well, no, not really, I mean…”
“Let me ask you,” she interrupted “Did she ever apologise?” I gave my downbeat response “No.” Eleanor then asked “Did she ever promise to make it up to you? Or say things like she loved you and didn’t want to lose you? That she’d do what it takes to keep you guys together?” Again my answer depressingly was no. Eleanor then went on “But she was clever enough not to make the same mistakes again, right?” My heart sank as the third response was a no. I then proceeded to tell her that it wasn’t her fault, that sometimes it was her family that was the problem or that sometimes it was things that her friends did. Eleanor then came back with “…and I suppose she stood up for you, and stood by you, all these times?” to which I had no response.

Eleanor then summed it up, “She didn’t love you. She did horrible things that, mistake or not, people who love someone don’t do, and if they do do them they try and make up for it, because that person is the most important person in the world to them and they don’t want to lose that person. Then when other people, her parents, her family, your former friends, ex-girlfriends did things, she stood by them. Again, that was never going to end well, and if she did love you she would have realised that and done something about it. She didn’t because she didn’t love you. Then she went out of her way to try and hurt you. You can’t answer for this. The only logical and reasoned conclusion that you can draw from this is that she didn’t love you. She was lying, constantly, and making you feel more for her than you should’ve done. She didn’t love you.” I wanted, and searched desperately to say something that meant that Eleanor didn’t know, something that would make her understand. That would invalidate what she said. I couldn’t. I then said “When I was in trouble a few weeks ago, she came to my rescue…”
Eleanor then said, “Guilty conscience. She deliberately tried to make you depressed so it would be easier for her to paint you as mentally ill. Again, not the actions of someone who wants to love and nurture you into the best person you can be instead of telling you that you’re ugly and she’s the best you’ll ever be able to do. That depression ruined your chances of getting work, utterly destroyed your home life, and left you penniless and without a roof over your head. Numerous friends would’ve stepped into the breach if she hadn’t. Had I been in Plymouth I would have sorted you out. She did it because she felt guilty about the situation that you were in that was largely of her making so of course she helped you. That doesn’t mean that she loved you. She just felt guilty. Nothing else. Has she been in touch since? Have you seen her since?” So I told her “Yes, once, I asked her and pleaded with her for us to make it work and she didn’t want to.”

Eleanor was looking very matter of fact at this point. She continued “She didn’t want to because she doesn’t love you and never did. She sounds like she doesn’t have the capacity for love, almost like a spoilt teenager [I’d made the same comparison myself independently] and you got caught in the crossfire of her immaturity. You showed her what adults do in an exciting relationship. She took that on board, but you were immaterial in that.” and then she delivered the knockout blow “She didn’t love you. As soon as you grasp that fact and let go of all the silly dreams that you had, then you’ll be ready to move on. You’ve been seeing the situation as you’ve wanted to see it, and not as it is. First you need to accept it. Then you need to heal, and then you should move on, and not before.” It was a bitter pill to swallow I needed to hear it.

Fast forward to last night. I was round at Jeanette’s. Jeanette is in a similar position and I will say nothing of her position apart from when discussing the break up I said “If I started a relationship now, I’d be starting a relationship to make Suzanne jealous and angry and to prove to her that I am a good catch, but these aren’t the right motivations to start a relationship. I need to figure out a few things about me before I jump into bed with someone.” I stood there and listened to myself say that. I was quite proud I’d come to that conclusion.

On the way home I stopped in a student bar for a quick drink. There was a young woman in there, out with friends. We got chatting, she seemed friendly enough. I looked at the time and said “phew! almost 2 o’clock, they’ll be kicking out soon.” She then asked me if I’d like to go back to hers for drinks. For the first time in my life, I said no*. I would be scoring her on the rebound, out of revenge, malice and spite. That’s not a good way forward. To get over someone, I need to make peace with myself, not give myself away to someone else.

* What I actually said was “I don’t think it’s a good idea, I need to work on myself right now and I don’t think… Well… Y’know.” Every time that has been said to me it has sounded like an excuse and it sounded like an excuse to this woman, which is why ten seconds later I was wearing her drink as she stormed off.

“Hello, my name is Pavlov” Speed hating at the Harley, Sheffield: A Review

Valentine’s Day always makes me feel a bit low. Yesterday I was contemplating going to the local pub, though rural Owlthorpe isn’t really a sort of place where people go to “pull” and even with my good looks and charisma. At the end of a challenging day, I decided to internalise my single-ness by looking for a date.

There are two things people need to bear in mind for what I’m about to say next. I don’t live in Sheffield. Despite it being where I had my first kiss (Dore) and my first cigarette (beside the cathedral) along with the first time I saw snow, I have only a small smattering of male friends in Sheffield. I decided it was time to take the step of Googling “Valentines events for singles in Sheffield” and I wasn’t disappointed.

A website called “Skiddle” popped up. There were three events on there. One was “Brief Encounter” showing a Showroom Cinema. That was more of an event for couples. One was for a restaurant and the other was curiously a Speed Dating Event at the Harley, on West Street.

I’d never been speed dating before and this had the “Speed Hating”, but, I decided to go. What was the worst that could happen? I could embarrass myself in front of a load of people that I’d never see again. What’s the best that could happen? I could come out of it having met so new people.

I didn't put that much effort into my appearance.

I swallowed my pride. It was the source of much amusement amount my friends. I told them I was going speed dating and people were waiting for the punchline. When I advised them there wasn’t one, the jokes kept on coming.

I got the tram to town. You know that feeling that you get when you’re drunk when you know you’re making a mistake, and you’re going to do something that when you are sober you’ll live to regret? That is the feeling that I had. This matter was further complicated by the fact that I was sober. I felt that by doing something like speed dating I had plunged to a new depth.

I got to the Harley and I thought, “Here goes nothing.” and walked in with confident vigour. I asked about the “Speed Hating event” and unfortunately it was sold out. I felt low. Speed Dating felt like a real life manifestation of my insecurities about my failures in finding a partner and the fact that that was now closed off to me made me feel exceptionally down.

I decided to reflect on the matter with a wisdom and insight that only comes from getting monumentally drunk. I retired to the Swim Inn. It’s a Wetherspoon’s but it carries itself with a degree of dignity that is hard to find in most pubs these days, so I harboured no issue with drinking there. Whilst there, I met a couple. They gave me company and I explained that a dilemma had arisen.

My dilemma was simple. Do I go back to the Harley for the after event to see how the event went or if there were similar events on, or do I go to maybe Forum or the Sheffield Tap for a more dignified drink in opulent and luxurious surroundings? Normally I would have opted for the luxury, however the couple I was with made a convincing argument for me to go back to the speed dating.

Their argument centred around the notion that when I am in South Yorkshire, I live far enough out of Sheffield to ignore the evening and not let it govern future behaviour for fear of embarrassment, the chances of seeing any of the people there in Nottingham were remote and were almost non-existent when I’m in Devon, and finally, if I did not go I would have wasted a journey and an evening. I returned to the Harley.

I went back to the Harley. The best way to describe the pub is the following. It’s your average student/rock pub. The building is magnificent and the staff are friendly. I forgot to pay for my drink and everyone was really good about it. It’s not a pub that one would make a special effort to go to. What I mean by that is that if one is in Nottingham, one makes a special effort to go to the Olde Tryp to Jerusalem, or the Canal House. Equally it’s not the sort of pub that one could maintain a lengthy drinking session in. However, if one went on a pub crawl in Sheffield, and the Harley was not on the list, their night would indeed be missing something. My suggestion would be to go there independently, and then you’ll realise why you’d have to include in future drinking schedules.

The woman that was organising it was stunning. I could see that it was well under way. I asked her if they do it regularly. She said that if I wanted to join in I was more than welcome to and that the next round was starting soon. I went outside to see the girl who was in charge of name tags. She asked what my name was. I said “Benjamin”. She then said “what’s your, y’know, stage name?” which is a question that confused me. I said “Can I not just be Benjamin?” and she said “No, you need a name that’s a little bit fun, a little bit weird, y’know?” and so I was scouring my mind for a fake name.

My name tag for the even, which clearly states that my name is "Pavlov"

God knows how the name “Pavlov” crept in there. Thus, for the remainder of the evening my name was Pavlov. I thought the concept was to hate the person opposite you. I’d got the wrong end of the stick. You’re supposed to find a mutual hate and moan about it. The tables had pieces of paper on them which suggested subjects which may peeve people, and so therefore we had enough to get going with.

I was quite at ease, the whole thing seemed well organised but not overly rigid. I’m not going to go into what was said. There were some hilarious comments, and some embarrassing/cringe worthy moments. I would thoroughly detest it if someone said things about me on the internet, judging me and such, and therefore I choose not to do the same to someone else.

One thing I will say is that there were a lot of attractive, young, focused women there. There seemed to be a lot of quality in it. This you might see as unimportant. I however see it as mightily important. You can tell a lot about a pub by the sort of people that it appeals to. The fact that it appealed to students and academics (which are not the same thing) showed me that the Harley is the sort of place that likes people to have fun when they go there.

I certainly had fun. After the speed dating drew to a close, I retired. I gave one girl my Twitter name. There was something embarrassing about that though. I made a bee line and decided to pass it out, but I felt wrong about giving my Twitter name to others in front of her. It just felt wrong. In future I’m going to see how things went.

One very important thing that I feel that was achieved was that several groups and individuals who didn’t know each other went to the even and got to know each other very well. The night was cohesive after that. The ice had been broken with everyone and that made for a friendly evening. I was able to chat afterwards and felt like hanging around. Time constraints however meant I had to seek out transport home.

The staff were friendly, the night was well put together and the people that went were brilliant. I would suggest they do more of it in future, I would certainly go. I was timid at first but the way it played out made me feel completely at ease.

If you’re in Sheffield and fancy a pint, it is located at 334, Glossop Road, which is “University of Sheffield” tram stop.

Valentines day? No thanks… but cheers for rubbing my loneliness in my face anyway!

I am painfully single and have been ever since my last “serious” relationship finished three years ago. I’ve had flings, relationships, friends with benefits and one night stands, but it often hits me in the face when I see people with fulfilled relationships.

I don’t think it’s wrong that people express their love, in fact, if anything, I condone it. Problematically though, I’m lonely, and it’s not nice. I think people don’t tend to think of those who are alone on Valentines’s Day when they are the one’s who suffer on days like today.

Imagine if there was a day that celebrated sight, and then imagine how a blind person would feel on that day. Imagine if there was a day that celebrated money and wealth, and then imagine how a poor person would feel on that day. Imagine if there was a day that celebrated children, and then imagine how a childless couple would feel on that day.

The same is true for Valentine’s day. Imagine there was a day that celebrated couples and relationships, and then imagine how a single person would feel on that day. Go one further, think of how someone who has been burnt, heartbroken, or suffered loss would feel on that day.

The point is that showing an aspect of spiritual fulfilment to someone who needs it, rubbing their face in it all day, is, along with how big business and the media build up the day to be, fundamentally wrong. So instead of making dinner for two, why not invite a single friend or lonely relative around? I promise it will make Valentine’s Day a lot more fulfilling if you do, and as for that extravagant romantic gesture, why not do it all year round?

Even if you don’t decide to do that, don’t go overboard, and if you have to, don’t rub it in people’s faces. You’re in a relationship, I get it. You’re getting some tonight, I’m not. You’re happy, I’m not. I know all of this, I let it go to the back of my mind, forget about it and try to get on with things. It’s not helpful if everyone around you is painfully bringing it to the fore.

Anyway, I’m off into town to approach tramps and ask if any of them can break a £50 note, and if there are any single girls reading this, here’s a video bio, if you like what you see, get in touch!

Online Dating: The last chance saloon

Did you ever do something that, while it’s not necessarily embarrassing, you still felt embarrassed doing it?

Well, this situation is the one that has occurred with me. After one thing and another I decided to sign up with a dating website.

How I got here

I’ve been not to have fleeting encounters with women. A few days here, a few days there and I’ve generally been happy with that. I’m not afraid of a relationship, nor am I desperate for one. I possess a happy mix. However, I’ve had a couple of health issues in the last year and, while none of them have ongoing ramifications, both would have been easier to deal with had I had someone special there with me.

Also, sometimes, relationships can seem pointless if there isn’t any sort of goal to it. I’m a very practical person and see the point of a relationship i.e. lifelong companionship and children, and without that end in sight. I don’t see the need to put effort into a relationship if there isn’t a productive outcome to it. That has also led to resentment and bad blood with some of the “flings” I have had.

A friend of mine recently turned to online dating and I thought I would give it a go. I’ve always thought of it as a bit of a desperate thing to do. I think it’s best to admit that I’ve signed up for such a site. See the thing with online dating is, it’s like picking one’s nose, or pleasuring one’s self. We all do it. We have all signed up to a dating site, and we all feel a bit embarrassed for having done so.

Still though, the why’s and wherefore’s of me signing up are inconsequential now, I’ve signed up so I move on to the second part of the plan.

Looking for women

So, yeah. Erm… if there is something that perusing a dating site has showed me, it’s that the most colourful fruit is (unsurprisingly) still on the shelf. See the poor thing about an in depth knowledge of psychology is that you can see the faulty ones a mile off. There are two types of girls that appear to be on there. I am not going to name and shame and say the site or links, because that wouldn’t be right. Even though these profiles are in the public domain, it wouldn’t be right to mock them in such a public way. The first example is the girl who has evidently had a train wreck of a time:

“Hi, My name is xxx and my idea of a brilliant first date is you getting to know me and my seven kids (insert names that you’ve never heard of and ages that don’t seem to add up here) My kids are my wwwooooorrrrrlllldddd. I’m still really close to the children’s dad, despite the messy break up. I want a decent and honest man who is going to treat me and my kids right. I like staying in and sometimes days out with my kids.”

I’ve worded that myself. They let me know far too much about the things I don’t want to know about, which makes me think they don’t want a partner, they want someone to take care of them, which is basically what the guy they were in a ten year relationship used to do. It seems like their intentions are a little jaded, and that they are trying to sell me something. It’s like, I don’t want to jump into your ex-husband’s/former partner’s life but it seems like that’s exactly what they want. Also, the fact that they’ve already built a life, failed at some aspects of it, and expect a single guy to march in and rectify it, seems a little expectant, with the potential to turn needy. I want to build a life, not to move in on someone who has already built one.

Then we move on to the other type of person. Now I love these profiles. The general demographic tends to be between 18-22. So naive, so precarious, and not understanding the ways of the world at all.  They usually tend to describe themselves as:

“I luv goin out wiv ma babycakez n havin a load of drinkz. I don’t want no playerz just man what knows how to treat a woman right. you want dis? hit me up.”

A statement usually followed by a Blackberry Messenger pin number. The only difference between this girl and the one above is a night of unprotected sex with some absolute deadbeat.

The Real Tragedy

 

The real horror of all of this is that I am looking at these girls as if they were a product to be sold. When I look at a dating site, I peruse the site in the same way that I’d buy a book or a DVD. Something about that doesn’t sit right with me. I was looking at these women and I was judging them using the same methods that I would to purchase a commodities, thus turning my perception of the girl into an item, and not a human being.

I suppose I’m being a little harsh, here is my profile, would love to know what you think.

Turning to online dating has also made a comic video that I did look horribly tragic.

 

My “Games Console” dating theory

I got chatting to some people at Nottingham Pride on Saturday and, given the nature of the event (a pride festival for the LGBT community) naturally things like love, sex and relationships came up, though, not necessarily in that order. I got chatting about my “selection process” and that I’m not content with one night stands, I find them fulfilling and I couldn’t generally build a relationship with someone on that basis (despite the fact that my most recent 2½ year relationship was built on that basis) and that I wouldn’t want to contribute time and resources to a one night stand. The people that I was chatting to couldn’t see my point. I know I am a bit blinkered and sometimes need “enlightening” but I’m sure when it comes to matters of the heart that my heart and head are in good balance, so after listening to others views and not quite seeing myself in their shoes I put it like this.

The one night stand or “Mega Drive” of relationships

So, in my opinion, having a one night stand is much like playing on a Mega Drive, or Master System. The reason why is that you play the game, and you spend a couple of hours playing it, and when you complete it, you’ve enjoyed playing it but when you turn it off it’s done with. You have no meaningful memory of that particular game to take forward with you, and while you can still play on the game whenever you want, it’s a pointless exercise because when you turn of the console, you have no memory of the game and the console has no memory of the game. It makes playing a thoughtless, meaningless, throw-away task with the only reward being the slight bit of pleasure that one derives from playing it. Sonic 3 for the Mega Drive is the best example of how this works.

The long relationship of “Playstation” of relationships

Right, so for this example Grand Theft Auto 3 is the best example of a long relationship. It takes you 12 months to complete, but by the time you’ve finished the game, you’ve contributed your time and effort towards it, you have an eternal memory of it, but it’s run its course and it’s time to move on. You have a sense of fulfilment. You don’t need to keep going over old ground, what’s done is done. You may have made mistakes along the way but the experience made it all worthwhile.

Grand Theft Auto 3 without a memory card

How I came to this conclusion is that I played Grand Theft Auto 3 without a memory card. When it came time to turn it off, I would always wonder what would have happened with that game, what scrapes I might’ve got into, what fun I might have had, if only I’d let the game run its course, but I had to switch the console off (because it’s not green to leave it on) and move on.

Am I alone on this? I would like to know if I am, it would also be comforting if I’m not…

Anyway, I’ve been trying my hand at editing, so, what do people think of my dating video. Don’t take it seriously, it’s not supposed to be taken seriously.