I was rather amused by this phrase in an email from Ok Cupid:

Each week our computers handpick three great
matches specifically for you.

So… do computers have hands now?


Single and looking… for a book

It’s Monday night and I’m at home watching QI and writing blog posts. There should be no better indicator that I am indeed a single person. It has now been well over two years since I was in one of those things… I forget the word… they can be glorious emotional and physical enterprises, but at their worst can be a sort of terrible confinement, like prison but without the free food. What are they called? Phone boxes? No… nobody I know has been in a phone box (monogamous or otherwise) in many years. Ah, a relationship. This gives you some idea of how long it’s been: my last girlfriend has had a fairly long term relationship start, end and start all over again in the time since I dated her. Several of my friends have had children who are now in their teens. No no I must stop with the hyperbole lest I be threatened with sanctions by the UN.

It is odd how, despite the ever-increasing amount of cumulative life experience in the world (now that we can write things down, blog them and so forth) people seem to mature in the same ways. To put it another way, there is no website that assists people in skipping ahead to being mentally in their 20s or 30s while they are still teenagers (although there are plenty that can assist with anyone desirous of moving in the opposite direction). I suppose immaturity is imposed by the growing brain, and there are no possible shortcuts. It’s rather a distressing thought that all teenagers will still have to go through the agony of that period despite the great advances of our age. The point of this is that as a teenager, I remember being desperate to have a girlfriend. In fact, when I was about 15 (I think) I had an imaginary girlfriend (feel free to insert whatever joke you feel appropriate here). I don’t think I have shared that with many people (and I suppose I am still not doing so), but it was vaguely comforting at the time. I think her name was Celine, and she was French. I used to go on holiday to France with my family at least once a year, and so this was at least a little plausible. I think I claimed to have met her on the beach, which for anyone that knows me is rather more unlikely (me being on a beach and talking to a stranger).

To invent an entire person to have a relationship with is surely a sign of desperation, or perhaps merely a rather pathetic kind of loneliness. Many children have imaginary friends, but that seems rather more endearing than pathetic (as children are designed to). And in most cases they grow out of it. Eventually of course, I acquired a human girlfriend who existed and was real (with boobs and everything)[1]. From the time when I was 16 until a couple of years ago I never went more than a few months without a relationship and/or sex. That is not any kind of boast, merely a statement of fact (bear with me, it’s relevant). In fact, had I been denied either or both of these things for a longer period in my teens or twenties, I would probably have matured a good deal faster…

My first girlfriend was a sort of structural device (this sounds like some sort of odd joke about sex toys and semicolons, but it isn’t), in that having a girlfriend allowed me to attend social events without having to worry about what I was going to do or who I was going to talk to when I was there. If you’ve ever planned a party for a bunch of couples, you’ve probably thought about this phenomenon as well. A partner is a sort of pre-made conversational sounding board. Unless you have a wonderful relationship, they will likely have to stay around you for at least the beginning of a party, even if you’re talking absolute tosh. So you can warm up your conversation on them, and passers-by can intrude or listen as they choose. But when you add a single person to a bunch of couples, suddenly it gets a bit awkward, especially if they don’t know other people that well. It’s probably worse as a teenager, because you don’t have the same social or conversational skills. Being able to stand in the corner at a party holding hands with someone was, if not actually enjoyable, certainly less stressful than holding hands with nobody (which looks quite odd if you’ve ever tried it).

My second (or possibly third, I was never clear on how one counted relationships in the years pre-facebook [2]
) girlfriend was more of a psychological necessity. She prevented me from going absolutely insane when I was about 18, and I think moderated my tendencies to write poems about killing myself (all of which contained the word ‘black’ at least once, and none of which were very good) by being generally wonderful and exposing me to her equally wonderful and dysfunctional family.

Both of these relationships were fairly short-lived (months rather than years), but I think I approached both in the wrong way. I barely considered what I might be able to give to someone else, just that I needed someone to stabilize me through a difficult period of my life. A relationship was a necessity. I suppose it was what I relied on before I had medication.

By the time I hit my 20s, I was already married (although not to either of the girls mentioned above). I moved to Canada in 2001 and was married in December that year to a girl I had first met some 5 months previously. Ah the impetuosity of youth! I do have a tendency to approach life backwards, and I think there was some sort of thinking that being married through university would somehow help focus me. I was still mired in mental health troubles, lonely and unsure about the direction my life should take. I had bounced around from fling to fling over the past few years, including a hedonistic time in Israel over new year 2001, and I felt like some kind of structure was needed. Having a relationship was a way of reassuring myself that I was normal and could do normal things. See, I’m married, just like a normal person. I live in a house with my wife and we do normal things like having rubbish sex. Again though, I was really approaching things from the wrong way. A relationship was still something that I needed: I felt lonely, and I needed someone whose job it was to make me less lonely.

And it worked, after a fashion. I had few mental problems for about three or four years. I stopped writing completely, and instead started doing things like cooking, playing baseball outside with my nephews, and getting obscenely high marks in university (by virtue of the fact that I never went out with my classmates and spent every evening studying). But it couldn’t last. Something never felt quite right, and as I started to meet and talk to more people that seemed to be like me, it felt more and more wrong.

By the time I was 25, I was divorced (aren’t I precocious?). This was probably the first moment of real maturity in my relationship life. I had to break it to my then wife that I was not in love with her, and that I did not want to live together any more. It meant the end of a five year marriage, but for me it also meant putting myself, for the first time ever really, in a situation where I might be single for a while. Now if I’m honest, there was never really much risk of that. C, the girl I still love now, was there waiting for me, although neither of us were at that point prepared to admit that’s what we were doing. It led to one of the most confusing, painful, heartbreaking and unbearably joyful periods of my life. And it was a new development. For the first time, I felt like I was the strong one in a relationship. I was the one who was able to stand up and lead someone through the storm. I felt like I had something to offer. It was the first relationship I had where there was what I would call emotional equality. We were both fairly messed up, and we relied on each other. Progress!

I will not go through every relationship I have had since C and I were first together, partly because there have been a lot, and partly because I don’t remember them all (or, as I mentioned above, really know what constitutes a relationship). I have checked facebook and I don’t recall having a single relationship that was ‘facebook official’. But really, even my last relationship was still something that was emotionally necessary for me. To be honest, I have never before thought myself capable of facing the world alone, and therefore I have needed help at every step of the way.

But now, as I approach the final paragraph, things are different. For the first time I feel that I have made some progress in understanding myself. For the first time, I am ok with being single. A relationship is not something I need to maintain my own stability any longer. And I am increasingly concerned, when I think of relationships, with what I could potentially offer to the relationshippee (which is a real word). I think I am finally ready to contribute to a relationship, rather than simply ‘having’ one like a balloon or a hamster. And I know who I want to be in a relationship with. Even weirder, I am actually going to be patient about it. If she is not interested, I shall continue to grow, to think about myself and attempt (if possible) to strive for self-improvement while I wait. And in the meantime, I think I shall devote my time to finding more worthwhile books to read.

Incidentally, I have never been comfortable with the phrase ‘got a girlfriend/boyfriend’. It makes it sound as if you went to some sort of market or ordered them online… now I am being Stewart Lee and making you finish the joke for yourself.

If it has done nothing else (which I’m fairly sure is the case), Facebook has at least given people a way of officially declaring that they are in a relationship without having to go through the ridiculous process of getting engaged or married.

Editing poetry: Like poles repel

I wonder if all relationships should have their death poem, like the old haiku poets. There are references to four, count them four Radiohead songs here. I’ll list them to make it easier on you: Reckoner, Like Spinning Plates, Nude and Videotape.

we come apart
like poles repel
in chained words
hung paper on string
shiver like a trill
field lines
double-stitched seams
this lifeless rock
exchanged for experience

am i as simple
bluntly violent
as a hammer blow
dull slump
big ideas
did i shatter you
into glittering tiaras
like poles repel
as you once shattered me
all here in red,blue,green

we wove
a delicate balance
our unseamed fabric
laced tightly into each other
sunk into white noise
the stitches break quickly
when it comes apart
like ripples on a blank shore
like poles repel

via Editing poetry: Like poles repel.

Editing poetry: Heat haze/nude shimmer

I’m not sure what to say about this other than I have some good memories from this summer. It was 2009 and I had decided to start dating again after over a year being single…

the tires unroll
in a thin line to the
horizon like black vapour trails
you shimmer
like electric current
faster than the eye
in both places
you are here
an extension of my
and there
curled up inside your palm
blistering hot coal

wheels turn like a mantra
benign thought process
traces your path
to the place where things
that clinging shrug dress
bright exterior hiding
precise as a mirror

we melt
hot plastic
simple join your breath
frozen in the arch
the body wants to make
you shimmer
like electric current
rapid eye movement
delicate shiver

via Editing poetry: Heat haze/nude shimmer.

New woman… no more letters?

I went out on Friday to a goth/industrial music night, and met a woman there. I say woman rather than girl because this particular female is 41. I think there’s a point at which you have to stop referring to someone as a girl, and that point may be around 35. Ok so not strictly a girl, and I didn’t strictly meet her there. Well I did, but we planned to meet there. does that count? This is someone I met through Fetlife. Yikes! She is smoking hot, half Vietnamese, and a mistress (like the fetish kind of mistress).

Does this count as an online date? If it does, that makes 2 online dates I’ve got through Fetlife, and zero from POF. You suck POF! I would give her the letter M, but I already used that… so I will just refer to her as the insanely hot woman from Fetlife until I think of something else.

We spent the whole night talking and drinking, I don’t think I even noticed the music. It turns out she writes poetry too, also has had depression problems, and we have a lot of the same opinions on politics and other such things. She’s a meat eater but we’re both crazy about food, we may end up being restaurant buddies. Around 2am we decided to leave together and walk. We saw some of the typical bar people walking home, and she got so upset about the kind of people who don’t think and don’t observe life that she ended up crying. I know that sounds crazy, but I thought it was actually really touching. She said that she was too drunk to get home so I took her back to my place. We cuddled and slept in my bed, but there was no fooling around at all. Then in the morning we talked some more, and she thanked me for not trying to kiss her, as she’s not really in that sort of place right now. Then we kissed a few times and she left.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot, but unfortunately she’s super busy this week and I’m in Vancouver next week. I am going to try hard to see her the week I get back though.

Oh… did I mention her jobs? Yeah she has a couple of jobs. One is a stylist at a hair salon, but that doesn’t make money so she also works at a massage parlour. Not the kind where people get sex, but an erotic massage parlour. Now I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I’m guessing it means massage + handjob or something. Strangely I don’t care, which is odd given that I’m the jealous type. But I am kind of sad that someone as lovely and sensitive as her has to do that to make money.

More coming on my week in Vancouver!

My almost-relationship

B and I live 1094km away from each other, so it’s difficult to call what we have a relationship. Also she lives with her parents, who she can’t tell about me. This means I can’t call her or send her presents or randomly drop in (not that randomly dropping in over 1000km drive is an option)… any of the things that make me feel close to someone. Our relationship is largely secret from everyone she knows. She doesn’t think of me as her boyfriend, which is understandable. I’d be fine with thinking of her as my girlfriend, but I want her to want that too. She’s really too laid back to ask for that sort of thing, to ask for any kind of commitment, but I think I need that to feel that its something real.

Aside from a few little ‘young person things’ she does, she doesn’t really have any habits that annoy me. The only one that has been bugging me recently is not following through on things. This is my number one pet hate in people, and I have a really low tolerance for people who I feel have let me down. For our situation I feel like it’s important, because I need to feel like I’m getting attention, and one way to express that is to do little things for the other person. I don’t ask for those things, but if she suggests them, I feel like she should follow through. To be fair she’s better than many people I used to know, but it still bothers me.

She’s an absolute darling though, that much is true. She’s sweet to me and kind, and although she doesn’t think that she’s good at displaying affection, I’m sure she’d try if we were really together. She also happens to be gorgeous, which always helps. She has a lovely sense of style and likes pretty dresses, which I also adore on her. She’s extremely creative, and I love her art. She’s a painter, and I’ve always had a soft spot for painters. I always said that I could only seriously date someone who cared about my creative pursuits as well, and … I’m not sure if she’s quite there or not. But she has definitely tried to motivate me. Without her I wouldn’t have finished my book of poetry for sure.

Lately though, things haven’t been the same. Since we only really communicate via text, we’re at the whim of the telecom companies, and the last few months they haven’t been good to us. Texts are lost in transmission, never received, and I’ll often go most of a day without hearing from her (and maybe her from me too). Since she’s the only person I interact with on a daily basis, that’s a big gap. We haven’t had any sexting or sending each other sexy pictures in months either, which doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence that we’d have a lasting physical relationship. I suppose we’ve entered the infamous ‘friend zone’, from which there is no escape.

Overall I don’t think it will ever go anywhere, and perhaps we won’t even meet each other for real. It’s a sort of strange shared fantasy at the moment. But if she was a little older I think she’d be the closest thing to perfect for me that I’m likely to find. Sigh.

My recent sex life

Ok so here it is by almost-popular demand: details of my almost-sex life.

Remember in school when we had to ‘compare and contrast’? Let’s give that a try. Rewind to last summer. Here’s what I had going on all up in my stuff (or possibly up in other people’s stuff):

C (the green girl). My relationship with this girl was supposed to be secret, so no real names and no discussion of how we met or how we know each other. But she was fun. I cooked for her a lot and we got drunk many times. More than once we went through over a bottle of gin in one evening together. Yikes. Highlights of our summer include me giving her Ecstasy for the first time, GHB for the first time (with her consent of course) and spending three hours just touching her in a very PG way while she moaned (three separate events btw). So fun. She didn’t really have any exposure to BDSM and I am pretty kinky, so a little introductory pain was in order, which she really really enjoyed.

Apparently her regular boyfriend is very vanilla and unexciting in the bedroom. I was sort of into the idea of having sex with her, apparently she has a ‘magic vagina’ and most boys can usually only last a couple of minutes. I generally have the opposite problem (I often don’t get off at all), so I thought it would be an interesting experiment. But the only time it was really an option was one night when she was super drunk and I didn’t think that was a good idea (although she literally begged me, which was sort of flattering).

P (The sister). She’s the sister of someone that I almost-dated a few years ago. When she broke up with her husband, her sister suggested that seeing me could be fun. Yes, I got a sex recommendation from someone’s sister. I cannot quite get my head around that. I sort of felt like I should have a resume or something. Anyway I’d always liked her, so we hung out a few times and started sleeping together. She is probably the most sexually submissive person I’ve ever met, and she has an unbelievable pain tolerance. To the point where it’s a little scary. Highlights? Probably more weekends of drugs and sex and delicious food. I think Foxy may be my favourite sex drug. GHB is good for cuddles and relaxing, but Foxy is just… crazy.

J (The screamer). Sigh. My ex-girlfriend. I’m not sure if I miss her or if I miss having a girlfriend, or if it’s a little of both. We broke up at the beginning of 2011, but then got closer again during the year until we both thought we could be together again when she got back into Vancouver at the end of the summer. So I broke off my other attachments and we gave it a go. That relationship is worth at least one post by itself, but in sex terms we were a pretty fabulous match. She is into pain and things as well, and kinky like me, but in a fun way. I left her bruised almost every time we were together. She also makes a lot of noise. Like more noise than anyone I’ve ever been with. To the point where I spent most of my time when we were having sex with my roommates in the house trying to keep her quiet. It was a little distracting. Although sort of fun to have someone scream your name ridiculously loudly when the roommates are out.

B (the young one). If you’re reading this darling, I apologize for referring to you as the young one. Perhaps ‘the artist’ would be better. Anyway, B and I first connected last year on Tumblr, and immediately hit it off. We started texting each other every day, and I don’t think there’s been more than a few days since that we haven’t texted. We also had some amazing role-playing sext bouts. Yes that’s a confusing sentence. I mean that we were sexting each other and role-playing in our sexts! I won’t talk about my feelings for her here, because this is supposed to be a sex post. We haven’t done any sex things lately as we’ve both been pretty depressed, but she is cute as hell so I would be up for more of course ;). The only problem is that she’s young. Very young. Life is cruel sometimes, isn’t it?

So there is is. Nothing much since I moved in November, but add the above to my rave fun, and a couple of threesomes (I’ll write about those later if anyone’s interested) and it was a typically eventful summer.

Please comment if you want more details on anything 😉 . I may not supply them, but asking is the first step!