Move on.

I sent this picture to a friend the other week, a friend who was having a tough time with something, someone.

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It’s spot on. Easier said than done, of course. I’m sure we’ve all been there. Toxic relationships, toxic friendships, maybe even toxic family or toxic work environment.

And sometimes, we cling on, even when we know we shouldn’t. Feeling bad, even though the brain tells us not to. Ending up not feeling good enough for someone, or understanding why something won’t go our way or someone won’t feel the way we want them to.

Relationships can be really fucking complicated. Or they can be easy. Or both. So many people stay in relationships that aren’t healthy, that are toxic. Relationships they really need to get out of. But yet they stay; for a variety of reasons. Scared to be on their own, scared they won’t find anyone else, children, financial reasons, sometimes abuse and control. Sometimes people don’t really realise they’re unhappy, but maybe they know they’re not happy but perhaps don’t feel it’s enough to do something about it. You know, sometimes people are looking for a reason to leave, and that if there’s not a big ‘thing’ that happens, then low level shit behaviour is not enough to leave or end a relationship/friendship etc.

Bollocks.

Just not being happy is enough of a reason. Of course it is. Yep, easier said than done, but also easier done than said sometimes. Short term pain, long term gain. If a relationship, friendship etc is making you unhappy, then you can do something about it. You don’t have to stay with that person. You don’t have to make a go of things, or make an effort.

Because that’s the ‘sunken costs fallacy’ that causes people to make poor relationship decisions. “I don’t want to throw away X years together” for example.

Are you basically saying to yourself that you’ve invested so much that you cannot notice your thoughts and feelings telling you to end this relationship? This divorces you from you inner thoughts and the quiet feelings that might guide you in your life and you can end up in a neglectful relationship with yourself. In other words, thinking about what already has been may prevent you from deciding what you want your life to be.

It’s a mistake to think that the amount of investment in a relationship automatically adds value to it. It doesn’t. The value of the relationship consists of what is happening in the present and in the future. The past is done. The past is useful in predicting the future, but the past by itself doesn’t actually add any value. The length of a relationship or the amount of effort put into a relationship doesn’t actually add value. If it’s clear that a relationship won’t serve you in the future, your previous investment in the relationship won’t change that and you’ll still be in the same position.

Yes, it’s hard, but don’t let the rest of your life be dictated by what has been. It doesn’t have to continue to be. What your future contains is down to you.

And so to my friend, I told them, yeah, I know you can’t just turn off feelings and all that, but you can try to look at things objectively, look at what’s been and what could come, think about your own integrity and self worth and realise you’re worth more, much more than that little crapbag who wasn’t the person you thought, who wasn’t the person you fell in love with. That person never existed. You don’t need someone else to validate you or make you happy. That comes from you. Other people just compliment that.

Go be a bourbon drinking dancing unicorn instead.

 

 

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Life after divorce.

Life after divorce (or a breakup). By the time you’re in your 30’s and having a relationship breakdown, marriage isn’t necessarily the default but chances are you’d got to a point in your relationship where you were the last ones in your friendship groups to tie the knot and both of you thought it was probably about time you spent thousands of ££ on a big party where you’d invite a load of people you probably won’t speak to 5 years on.

So, once you’ve paid out more thousands of ££ for solicitors to undo the bit that you signed before the big party, what do you do? Easy! Follow this guide* to getting through that breakup and starting life again (aka have a life crisis):

  1. Get your hair cut in a new and funky style by the junior stylist (because the divorce wiped you out and you cant afford the salon director any more). Exclaim “it’s fab! Just what I always wanted!” with hysterical gusto while crying silently inside and wondering what your head would look like shaved.
  2. Take up a sport. Doesn’t matter which one, just do something to help lose more weight in addition to the 3 stone you’ve already lost through stress and a diet of alcohol and biscuits.
  3. Shag someone at least 10 years younger than yourself. Just remember not to engage them in conversation. Unless of course you do actually care about Justin Bieber or Harry Styles’s hairdo.
  4. Go on Tinder and other online dating apps/websites. Spend a few days chatting to John from Peterborough because he’s the only person who has messaged you before you realise you don’t actually care about the steam engine show he went to at the weekend or how many cabbages he is growing. Realise you have lost all self respect and delete apps in a fit of self pity and loathing.
  5. Join an internet forum based on shared interests. Realise after a week you have not slept or showered or gone to work, but you do have thousands of new friends who ‘get you’.
  6. Wear short shorts. You’ve lost 3 stone through the breakup diet and realised you don’t give a fuck about anything any more.
  7. Do household chores without any resentment towards the lazy shit you used to live with. Realise you actually like housework. Skip around with the hoover like Mary Poppins! Get bored and fed up. Give up on housework and eat biscuits instead when you remember the mantra ‘fuck the fucking housework’.
  8. Eat pizza from the box. Because you can’t be arsed to wash a plate up and because your body is now craving carbs following the break up diet initial stages.
  9. Don’t get dressed for 2 days. No one will see you! No one will judge, not even Phil the Postman. And besides, he likes your onesie, he said so that time.
  10. Go to bed with your make up on. After all, you’ve given up dating after Peterborough John, so no one will see you in the morning. And besides, you’ve always admired the Absolutely Fabulous look.
  11. Go on a singles holiday. All your mates are still married or have kids so you have no friends left anyway, so why not join other desperate singles trying to appear like they’re just there for a holiday and not there to find someone else to marry to avoid being alone for the rest of their lives.
  12. Go on an activity holiday. You’ve given up on the singles holidays because Greg from Southampton mistook your ‘let’s have a nightcap’ drunken shout out in the bar for something completely different which then triggered an incident involving hotel security, a flannel, a bowler hat and some chocolate mousse. At least an activity holiday means you don’t have to pretend to be interested in Joanne’s stories from her time in the Accounting department at the local council because you’re too busy hanging off a rock the size of a pea on a cliff face while mentally chastising yourself for not making a will.
  13. Shag someone from work. If you really want to keep things amusing try either someone from your own department or your boss. Or your boss’s boss. This way meetings will be interesting as you’ll just be picturing them naked.
  14. Get a cat. Decide one cat isn’t enough. Get another one so they can occupy each other while you’re at work picturing your boss naked. Decide against getting another one because you realise you’re in danger of becoming crazy cat lady.
  15. Contemplate getting a dog because you read somewhere it’s a good way to meet people. Realise you probably can’t get a dog because you now have cats. Read about a cat cafe. Decide to visit one as an alternative way to meet people. End up just meeting lots of crazy cat women.
  16. Wonder how long your eggs have got left before they start shrivelling. Wonder about freezing them then realise how much that costs. Make a point of visiting friends with horrid children to put you off the idea of spawning.
  17. Rediscover (or discover) tequila slammers. Who knew how much fun some salt, a lemon and some incredibly foul tasting alcohol could be?
  18. Get hideously drunk at a wedding and behave inappropriately. Drink tequila slammers (because they’re fun, remember), fall over on the dance floor, fall off chairs, flash your knickers, kiss your friends uncle in front of the whole family including his children, leave your hand bag at the venue and make your friend homeless for the night, eat the whole cheeseboard even though you don’t like cheese and other things that you will never remember because you drank so much tequila. Just remember to mention you’re recently divorced/separated/single, because this may go some way to excusing your behaviour.
  19. Spunk £3000 on a bespoke, hand made in Italy, cream fabric sofa. Because your ex loved black leather.
  20. Spill red wine on sofa. Throw white wine on it. Clean it up as best you can. Realise it’s futile and that even if it cleaned up you’d probably just do it again. Go out and buy big cushions instead.
  21. Cry for 3 days solid. Realise you’re crying more over a sofa than your ex. Realise you’ve turned a corner.
  22. Try Zumba because Jill from Reception had a spare pass to the gym. Realise you have all the grace and finesse of a baby elephant but enjoy the hip wiggling and freestyle. Make friends with Claire and Sophie. Start going to fitness weekends at Butlins where you spend just as much time drinking Blossom Hill and dancing to 80’s tunes as you do going to Body Pump and Zumba.
  23. Eat bowls of broccoli for tea. Spice things up with a few chilli flakes every now and then. Pride yourself on this ‘quick’ tea that does not involve anything beige from a freezer. while overlooking the lack of other essential nutrients in this diet. Mention said meal to friends who then start inviting you round for dinner more in exchange for juicy gossip and scandal.
  24. Start to realise that life alone isn’t so bad. Ponder the thought that maybe you’ve had more fun in the last few months than you’ve had in a long time. Decide you’re in no hurry to get into another relationship, and that you and you alone are responsible for your own happiness.
  25. Book another activity holiday, this time with sky diving. Hope that Greg from Southampton is still banned from booking with the same travel company.

 

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*riseandshinepaps bears no responsibility to anyone following this (fictional, made up and completely tongue-in-cheek) guide and the characters above are completely fictional and bear no resemblance to anyone, living or dead (apart from 18. Yes, that was me. Oh, and 23.)

Day #45 14.02.16

I wasn’t sure what my photo a day was going to be today; probably a picture from a run because I’d planned on going for a long(ish) run because it was a beautiful day with the sun shining and birds singing. It certainly wasn’t going to be anything Valentine-related as I’m not into that and think it’s a crock of shit.

As it happens, circumstances took over and I ended up walking into a door, forehead first, pretty hard (the door jumped out at me, honest). Plans for a run went out the window as I didn’t think it would be the best idea, especially as my head started to feel a bit woozy. So I went to watch the rugby instead.

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I’ve ended up with a bit of a big bump which will probably turn into a big bruise but no major damage done as far as I can tell.

But, it did remind me of that phrase “I walked into a door” that is often used as an excuse if someone’s been used as a punch bag. Which then made me think of domestic abuse. Which then made me think about how ironic that was on Valentines Day. Which made me think about Valentines Day.

It’s hard to say anything about V Day when you’re single without people thinking you’re just bitter and jealous that you’re not in a relationship. As many times as I (and other single people) would say that’s not the case, people still won’t believe you. Well, think what you think, but it’s really not the case.

The thing that really gets me about February 14th is that it’s sold as the most romantic day of the year and that if you don’t do anything if you have a partner then you are an unromantic twat that should be strung up by your small and curlies. Commercialism at it’s worst.

It demands that you should do something romantic, which is generally send someone flowers and chocolates. Buy things! All the things! So is there any thought in that? Is it really so thoughtful to follow the masses and give a generic gift only because there is a day in the year that stipulates that you should? Then social media is full of gift receivers posting proud pictures of the gifts they have been given, adding further fuel to the massive keeping-up-with-the-Joneses fire that is raging within society today, and slotting on the life-is-perfect filter. Because you know, we all know that there’s often the hidden underneath. Underneath the “look, I have such an amazing partner because they got me this massive bunch of flowers” there’s the little fact that everyone knows the rest of the year they’re an absolute twat.

And don’t have pity for me because I’m single on this day of the year (I’m happy being single). Don’t tell me that my perfect man is ‘out there for me somewhere’ (I don’t believe in ‘The One’ etc.). Don’t tell me to go and have a drink to feel better (it’s patronising and arrogant). I don’t feel sad that I’m single. Chances are I’d rather be single forever than swap it with some of the relationships that I see out there.

Because you know, the other 364 days of the year are the ones that count. The little things that mean something. The little thoughtful gestures that people do in relationships just because you are you, not because some calendar celebration tells them to. The cup of tea they bring you in the morning. The meal they cook because you’ve had a long day at work and can’t face cooking. The flowers they get you because they are your favourite and they’re in season. The notes they leave in your lunch box if they make you sandwiches. The surprise present they get you for your birthday. The playlist they make you of your favourite songs. The card they give you that says they love you, just because they can. The film or sports game they sit through with you because they know it means a lot. Not cheating on you. Not name calling and putting you down. Not embarrassing you in front of other people and belittling you. Not raising a hand in violence. Not telling you that it’s your fault, that you provoked them.

Because that’s what relationships should be about. Love. People being thoughtful and kind and generous with their time and spirit. Not necessarily money, and not just on one day of the year. If you’re in a shit relationship, one bunch of roses and a box of milk tray isn’t going to solve it. Don’t gloss over the cracks, don’t be misled.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know as much as anyone that life can get in the way. Day to day life sometimes doesn’t make much time for a lot of that, and for a lot of people today is an excuse and a reminder to recognise what they have in a busy world, and isn’t just about buying a box of chocolates. I love seeing happy pictures and examples of love. But how about all year round? On that rainy Saturday in April or gloriously sunny day in July.

Everyone wants to love, and be loved. But that doesn’t have to always be by a partner. Family and friends do a good job you know. Most importantly though, start with yourself. How can you love someone else if you don’t love yourself?

Thinking about the whole reason I’m writing this post – the “walking into a door” analogy. Domestic abuse is a whole other ball game and a whole other blog post or two so I won’t write too much about it right now. But I wonder how much Valentines Day triggers instances of violence. Or a respite and period of remorse? How many people behave shockingly over the year but hope today will earn them points to save up and cash in.

Did you know 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes?* And on average about seven women and two men are killed by their current or former partner every month in England and Wales**. Pretty scary stuff – but sadly all too common. Don’t get caught up in the chocolates and roses. If the 364 are unhappy, don’t be swayed by the 1. Everyone deserves to be with someone that thinks they’re special and treats them with respect all year round, not a cold day in February once a year.

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And if you’ve ever been used as a punch bag and had to use the “I walked into a door” excuse, then please, please, please get help and get out of that relationship. It’s not healthy. Please don’t make excuses – it’s not normal. You deserve better. Speak to someone. It can be done. Get help:

 

*(Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013/14)

**bbc.co.uk article, 22.05.14

 

Sunday night ponderings.

I like Sundays. I know not everyone does. I often work from home on a Monday so I don’t quite have the same Sunday night blues as if I had to get up and drive to the office, although I have booked myself into spin tomorrow morning at 6.30am for some odd reason.

I also love living on my own. Today I have mainly been pottering around at home not really doing that much apart from my ironing and moving stuff around in a bid to convince myself that I am actually sorting things out and getting rid of stuff I no longer need (I’m not of course). I had a conversation with some friends last night about how spending time alone means that you think lots, or can mean you think too much and need distractions. I have realised that random things have been swirling around my brain tonight and so I thought I’d share them as I’ve been wanting to write for a few days now but didn’t really know what to write about so this seems as good as any to curb my itchy fingers for a bit. In no particular order:

  • Are cocktail sausages are an acceptable evening meal, and is eating a massive chunk of halloumi cheese in one go any way nutritionally beneficial? The excellent thing about living alone is that it actually doesn’t matter as there is no one else around to judge. Oh, and grilling halloumi smells like pancakes. Which is annoying as I now could eat a pancake with lemon and sugar.
  • Will I ever be able to watch a whole TV programme without doing something else at the same time again? Probably not. Stupid smartphones/internet and having the attention span of a gnat.
  • Why is the reason “I’m just not that happy” not enough for some people to change something? There doesn’t have to be a big thing, or a big reason. You can ignore the other excuses. You know, the “well, it’s mainly OK” or, “I can’t do XYZ because it will affect ABC”. Live your own life for yourself. If you’re just not happy, then that’s a perfectly valid reason to make a change.
  • I never used to like beetroot but the other month I was given some by Shelley and I realised it was actually pretty nice. I can’t stop eating it now. Perhaps I will turn purple. I’m pretty sure it’s classed as a superfood though, but I don’t want to google to check just in case it’s not and I’m actually eating my body weight in empty calories or something. I do that enough with alcohol and Maltesers.
  • DS Troy was the best sidekick to Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. The other two were OK but not quite the same. My boss at work, James, looks very much like DS Scott. This disturbs me a little bit and I still think of it every time I see him and sometimes send him screenshots of the TV if the programme is on. Ha.
  • Why are some people so obsessed with relationships? Either being in one if you’re not, about not being in one when you are, or in other people’s (or lack of). Some people find it hard to understand that I quite like being single and that I’m actively NOT looking for a relationship. Yes, still – I know it’s been a while now since I got divorced but hey, there’s no time limit. And don’t forget the 2 year ‘thing’ with The Marine, it’s not been that long since that finished, and he’s kinda hard for someone to follow. So please don’t tell me that I need a good bloke or that I must want company, I am actually telling the truth when I say I like my own company and I’m happy!
  • I AM going to do Dry February. Alcohol, even just a couple of drinks, can fuck with exercise and food plans, and sleep. If I’m going to get fitter (something I want to do over the next couple of months) then drinking isn’t going to help. And yeah, I know I probably should have some more refined ‘SMART’ goals about what ‘fitter’ actually is, but come on, this is me. That’s FAR too rigid. Let’s leave it fluffy and ambiguous.
  • Social media can be a twat sometimes. Or rather, people can be twats on social media. Same thing really, same outcome. Sometimes I hate it all and I realise that one of the things I loved and that did me good on my trip away was the break from it all. Ironic then, that I am writing this on social media. It’s a double edged sword. It can be so useful, great, educational, connecting and social. But also it’s a massive time, energy and attention zap, or I find myself being transported into different lives that look much more exciting than my own and it makes me start to think about what I want to do with my life. Or there’s so much going on I don’t know what to get involved with. So many things, not enough time. I find myself so conflicted thinking about how I want to live my life and the place of social media in that life. Sometimes living in a hut in the woods is so tempting, haha.
  • I want to get some pictures for my flat. I need two big ones, and I want one I want to be a painting that I commission. I wonder how you go about finding an artist?

There’s more but well, it’s all a bit dull isn’t it? Life can’t be all exciting all the time. Sometimes I love these lazy pottering days, they’re needed. Apart from the eating of the nutritionally shit food. That’s not needed. One day I’ll not be tempted to eat big blocks of halloumi. But man, it tastes so good….

If you’ve got something to say.

Then say it. Been a while since I’ve blogged. Been busy and not had much that I’ve wanted to write about, and BOOM, all of a sudden it’s July. I’ve got loads of half finished blog posts, but somehow I can’t finish them. I write whatever comes out of my head you see, so I have to be in the right mood for writing. Then it just flows. So what I want to say tonight is about saying what you feel and being honest.

Last week I finally had a conversation with someone that we probably should have had quite a while ago. It was good, as I/we finally got Closure. But it made me realise that we should have talked about certain stuff earlier. But, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to ask questions because I didn’t want to know the answers. I assumed some stuff, even though everyone else was telling me different. But I should have stopped assuming and asked the person in question.

Thing is, you never really know what’s going on in people’s heads. What they think or how they feel. OK, so I guess you can kind of tell by how they act, but I know that this isn’t always the case, for a variety of reasons. So asking a person, or talking to them about stuff is a better way to find out, the only way to know for sure. Unless they lie, or tell you something different but there’s not a lot you can do about that. And sometimes, if you don’t know, you project what you think they might be thinking or feeling onto them, and end up making things up in your own head.

Not sure of the exact point of this post. Maybe it’s that if I had had the earlier conversations then something might have been different now. Can’t think like that though. I don’t do What If’s. Generally think things are meant to be, and I know in this particular situation the way it’s turned out is right. But what I’ve learnt from this is that I’ll [try] to not assume things. And I WILL say things if I feel them or ask those questions. Because the other sad lesson I keep learning is that life is short. It can be very short. So, why hold off until tomorrow what you can do today? Because one day it might be too late. Why miss opportunities because you think there is all the time in the world? Especially if happiness is involved.

So even more so time now for me to think “fuck it, throw caution to the wind” and make opportunities, live life how I want and say how I feel. If I don’t like the answers, well that’s just tough. I’ll have to deal with them and move on.  After all life is:

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Follow the plan.

Or not. If you know me, you’ll know I hate to plan. Which is a bit surprising coming from someone who used to be a Project Manager. But, as Matt (my old boss) will agree, I didn’t really like to do it/wasn’t that good at it back then either. I’m not sure I ever produced a Gantt chart in 4 years, haha.

I just can’t get my head around having stuff planned in, months in advance. Having things in the diary for next year. Next year? Because my main thought is that I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year. Mainly, that I don’t know where I will be, as I’ve spent the last 4 years all over the world, it’s now weird for me to think that I’ll be in one place for any length of time. Itchy feet syndrome if you will.

I wasn’t always like this. In my previous life I did plan. I had stuff planned in for the next year, sometimes even two years ahead. Back then, I didn’t think that I’d be doing something different or living in a different place. In fact, I had my whole life planned out. I knew where I’d be living, who I’d be living with, what I’d be doing and how my life would pan out over the next 20 years at least. Which, well, it just wasn’t me as it turns out. I gave it a go, but eventually I just couldn’t do it. I remember saying to my mum when I was about 19 that I didn’t want to get a mortgage because it would tie me down, and I didn’t want to be tied down. I felt back then similar to how I feel now, but without so much wanderlust. 3 years after that conversation I had a mortgage. My feelings hadn’t changed but I’d got onto the this-is-what-you-do-in-life treadmill with someone who didn’t have the same wanderlust and events just took over.

Now, well, ha, it’s a different story. Can’t do it. You ask me to do something next year? Forget it. Ask me nearer the time.

I love not having everything planned in and laid out. I like spontaneity. Opportunity. The chance to try new stuff.

I’ve found out that things happen off the back of other stuff. One door leads to another (and other wanky sayings). But it’s true. Keep your mind open, be curious and it can take you anywhere. If you’ve got a diary full with stuff you already do then where’s the chance to do something different? To say yes to random shit that might pop up? To quote Henry Ford (or Mark Twain, both are attributed to this saying) “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got”. Which, if that’s what you want, then that’s fine. But it’s not what I want.

Someone mentioned it could be perceived as waiting to see if something better comes along. I thought about whether this was the case for me. But it’s not. For me it’s about running with the wind, following my heart. Doing what I feel like doing near the time, and not feeling obliged to do things. To do stuff on a whim or in a heartbeat. To be curious and see what’s round the next corner or over the hill. To never stop exploring and embrace the unknown.

I love, love, love the fact I have no idea what’s happening a few months down the line. Next year where will I be? No idea. It’s exciting.

People say to me, but don’t you like having stuff to look forward to? But I actually do, I tell them. I look forward to every day, because I spend my days doing shit I love to do (OK, so some days more than others but in general, every day is pretty groovy). Fuck spending your life doing stuff you don’t want to do. I don’t get it. Why spend 50 weeks of the year looking forward to 2 weeks (for example)?

And it’s not like I don’t have any plans. I’ve got loads of shit going on, all stuff that might lead to other stuff (irons in fires and all that) but all stuff that could take me down a few different paths. Because I’ve also learnt not to try to over analyse or narrow stuff down. So for example, if I want to do something in life I won’t have a specific goal in mind, more an area or an idea. And rather than having a narrow set of things to do to achieve it, I’ll just do lots of little things that might help me in that way. Because that way, I still keep options open but am still working towards going in the right direction. Because I also might change my mind. And that’s OK too.

I guess that’s why things with The Marine worked well, no commitment or expectation. And no long term plans. In fact I remember when he said in November about doing something in February and I was like “Woah, we don’t know where we’ll be then”. I guess it was inevitable it was the beginning of the end. I know my way of thinking isn’t for everyone, and I know it puts a lot of people off, as they’re after different things. It’s been the downfall of of a few potential relationships over the last couple of years. But it’s not to say I won’t commit to anyone, it’s just got to be right. And let’s face it, The Marine arrangement wouldn’t work with anyone else, it was a bit unique. One day I might meet someone that shares similar views. Or more importantly, doesn’t mind or actually embraces how I think or live. I’d like that. Just don’t ask me to live in a semi with a dog, spawn some kids and watch Eastenders with you.

It’s kind of trying to live for the moment too. Just enjoying the here and now and not looking forward or back too much. Easier said than done, I know. But, life is short and all that. So the small amount of plans I do have are all with some longer term ideas in mind. Some of them are written down, some of them are in my head. Some may happen, some won’t, and some might. It all depends on how I feel at the time, and which way the wind is blowing.

Right now I feel like shit with a cold, so the most I’m planning is to rest up and eat plenty of vegetables. That’ll do for now.

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Tinder trouble.

So I was persuaded to do a Tinder experiment this week by some mates and to report back in a blog post. Because when you’re single, people tend to start saying stuff like “why don’t you try internet dating, ooh try Tinder” blah blah blah. Some because they think I should be in a relationship, some because they think it would be fun for me and some because it would be fun for them to live vicariously through me. So I’ll start with the caveat that I’m not looking for a relationship, or even to date really. I’m quite perfectly happy being single and already know internet dating wouldn’t be for me anyway, even if I was looking. I just want to make new friends.

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So this will be a pretty heavily biased review as I’m not really the target audience for it, but I thought I’d be open minded and give it a go and see what happened. If anything, I like chatting to people and might end up making a new friend or two out of it. IT COULD BE FUN. If anything, hopefully it will provide you a laugh reading this.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Tinder is a phone app where you upload a few photos and a bit of blurb about yourself then either swipe left (no) or swipe right (yes) if you like the look of someone. Then they do the same. And if both people swipe right, you’re a match can message each other. Really simple, if not totally superficial. I suspect it’s predominately used for no strings fun and doubt it’s designed to meet your soulmate if you subscribe to that kind of thing.

So, I stuck a profile with some blurb about how I was new to Cheltenham, liked the outdoors, travel and anything sporty and wasn’t looking for just a hook up. Thought that might ward away any weirdos at the offset just wanting to get in my pants. But here was the first hurdle. What photos to put on? A lot of mine are instagrammed to shit. So they look alright but probably give a false impression. What if I actually meet these people? Will they be hugely disappointed when they meet me and realise I don’t actually look like that? No one wants THAT, even if I don’t actually give a shit. I want to put nice pictures, of course. No one wants no matches. THE PRESSURE. In the end I figured that I probably wouldn’t meet any of these people, it was just an experiment so it didn’t really matter anyway. (Ha! Rookie mistake.) Decided on a mix of decent pictures and a couple where I’m in the middle of a run or hike which obviously show my ‘sporty’ side. That would do. Helpful tip: the app defaults to your last 3 or 4 facebook photos but you can change them. Handy if one of your last couple of profile pictures is you in your underwear, that’s not going to help the no hookup message. Even if it is sportswear.

Verdict: Felt like I was putting myself up for sale in a catalogue or a competition prize “ooh, look what you could win”. Hmmm.

So, personal advert to the men of Cheltenham done, I set my search criteria (you can choose to view people by age, proximity etc.). Ruled out any real youngsters and oldies. Let’s keep it real people.

Now the fun could begin. And it was fun. For about half an hour. Then I got a bit bored. If you are someone who judges people on their looks then you’ll be alright I think. Lots of people to scrutinise. There’s a lot of people that hadn’t put much thought into what photos they were going to post. Or maybe they had, and they were being ironic. So I DID had a real giggle at what I was having to work with to make my swiping dilemmas. They kind of fell into a few camps, I saw the same kind of patterns. Here’s the kind of things that made me swipe left (no way Jose):

  • Anyone with pictures that weren’t them (cartoon characters, animals, landscapes). So do you actually look like Bart Simpson? Obviously not. And I don’t actually care enough to find out otherwise.
  • Bed selfies/half naked selfies. Now, I’m aware how hypocritical this is, I’m partial to both of these. But not on Tinder.
  • Shower selfies. Nah.
  • People without much/any blurb. I need some info people. You might look hot but if you’re into dog fighting or something. No.
  • Pictures where you’re holding up knives and guns. (Yes, really). OK they might be toys but still.
  • People with more than one photo where they look different in each one. Do you have a non-identical twin? Or just hardly any photos?
  • People who just post group pictures. WHICH ONE ARE YOU?
  • Pictures of penis’s (penii?). When is that EVER attractive?
  • Pictures of muscles. There’s a LOT of these in Cheltenham. Just like fancy cars, these don’t do it for me. Being fit, healthy and lean, yep. Triangle muscle men? Nah, not for me thanks.
  • Pictures of your achievements in the newspaper. Tell me about it instead.
  • Onesie pictures. Pretty sure a picture of me in my pyjamas wouldn’t be that interesting to you either.
  • Pictures not of your face. Specifically, the back of your head. Am sure no one ever met up with someone because the back of their head is nice. Although, if you’ve got a shaved head the shape of your head is important, so…. anyway. I digress.
  • Photos in fancy dress. I can’t see what you look like with half the face paint counter on. Although, clearly this shows you are up for a laugh and fun. Apart from the fact that you’re dressed as a serial killer.
  • Marine’s or Marine wannabees. Been there, done that. You won’t match up.
  • One picture, no blurb, the picture being you in a suit of armour. You’re probably going for ‘hey I’m funny, swipe to see and find out more’. But frankly, I can’t be fucking arsed.
  • Just one picture. I need to see more to see whether that was just a good picture. Or a shit picture. Because, well, it’s amazing how different people can be in photos at a different angle….
  • Pictures of you doing lots of activities like bungy jumping and sky diving. It’s good because I’d probably like you but I also can’t see what you look like.
  • People with catalogue photos and blurb saying you’re not single but after a good time. Err, no thanks buddy. Try imboredinmymarriage.com
  • Clearly photoshopped images. That 6 pack isn’t yours, is it love?
  • No picture at all – not sure you’ve grasped the concept of this…
  • Really pixelated photos. You know you can preview no?
  • People not smiling. Come on!
  • ALL your pictures are of your six pack. One OK, more than 1? Obsessive.
  • Pictures of cars. ARE YOU A CAR?
  • Picture of a beach. ARE YOU THE OCEAN?
  • A picture of a sandwich. White bread? No, no, no.
  • Blurb that includes gems such as “ I don’t bite….unless you want me to” and “willing to lie about how we met” and “good luck” (WTF!) or “not on here much” (what’s the point then?)
  • People that look like they’re from TOWIE or Made in Chelsea. Just not my cup of tea.
  • People that look like they spend more time the bathroom than I do. To be fair though, this is not actually that difficult, I’m not a preener.
  • Posts like they’re written by someone’s pet. Cooky or just weird?
  • Anyone that looks or sounds like my ex husband. Sorry, can’t do it.
  • Pictures of your feet. With shoes or not, I don’t have a foot fetish.
  • Photos of you naked sat on the toilet. REALLY?
  • Anyone with the name Dopeboy. No.
  • Staring intently into the camera lens. Like a serial killer.
  • Putting your mobile number in your blurb.
  • Photos all from one side of your face. What’s wrong with the other side?
  • Pictures of you in womens clothing. Hmm, not sure.
  • Putting your snapchat name in your blurb. You just want to send pictures of your dick and see pictures of my tits, don’t you?
  • A selfie clearly taken in bed with a girlfriend (now chopped out). You couldn’t take another one? Surely you own a phone?
  • A picture of you with 1D when they were about 12. Is that a good claim to fame for a 30 year old man? Swiped right for this one though.
  • Excessive use of exclamation marks. Every! Word! Should! Not! End! In! An! Exclamation! Mark!
  • When I fancied their mates in their pictures more than the person. Made me wonder if their mates were on Tinder too….

So that kind of ruled out A LOT of people. I didn’t swipe right that much. Mainly just for people that looked happy, smiley and that seemed to do similar stuff to me. Running pictures generally got a thumbs up, as did cycling or bungee jumping, or anything sporty. I figured if I’m going to make any friends, it might as well be with people I’ve got stuff in common with.

I still didn’t like it though. I felt like I was being hugely judgemental. Does that mean I should swipe right for everyone? No, I don’t think so. It means for me that I shouldn’t use shit like this. I’m not a judgemental person at all, and will talk to anyone and everyone. Prefer to do that in person though and not have to make a decision by swiping left or right.

And this was before any bloody messaging was going on.

So, if both people swipe right, then that’s a match. A match. Which brings with it fear and dread. And anticipation. Who should message first? Is it gentlemanly for them to start? What should you say? Is there tindering etiquette? How long should you wait? I don’t bloody know. Is there game playing and rules? Meh, bollocks to that if there is. I settled for a cheery hello, if I’d not already been messaged first. That’d do eh?

So, next there is chit chat over messages. Now there are even more important things to think about. Like how many smileys are too many? Will I sound like an alcoholic if I share drinking stories? Are typos acceptable? How do I say I’m only really looking to make friends? How long do you message before you meet up? Should you meet up? How do you know if you want to meet up? How many times can I type lol without sounding like a teenager? Should messages be flirty? How can messages be flirty? I’m shit at flirting. Or knowing when people are flirting.

After at least 30 seconds pondering all that, I decided to just be myself. No point in being anything else. If people don’t like my excessive use of smileys or lols, then I don’t want to be their friend. Lol. 😛

I’ve been told it’s pretty normal for people on tinder/internet dating etc. to be ‘chatting’ to many people at once. So it’s also normal for people to know when you are active, leading to cries of “but they haven’t replied to my message but they were active 10 minutes ago”. ‘Last seen’ and ‘Read’ are inventions of evil, according to my online dating friends. But this also means that it’s quite easy to drop people. Just stop messaging them. Apparently, after discussing this with people, it’s a harsh world out there. When people are behind your computer screen it seems some manners go out the window, under the pretence of efficiency and getting on with it. “Why waste time?” seems to be a general thought. Seems a bit harsh to me but I guess a lot of people are on a relationship-gaining mission and Nothing Will Come In Their Way. Especially as you get older, because society tells us that we must be odd and weird if we are Still Single in our 30’s and so some people start panicking.

One of them asked me what I did for a living and I told him. Haven’t heard from him since. Nada, Maybe he’s had a bad experience with a HR consultant at some point. Should I be offended? No idea. I’m not.

A couple of them I will meet, whether I actually wanted to or not, as they’re members of the running club I will join (when I actually have time). Obviously potential for awkward turtle there. Don’t think it will be though. They seem quite nice and chatty and friendly, and I’m out to meet new friends, so all is good.

I’m not on it any more; I lasted an evening of swiping and then a day or so of messaging. Then I’ve kept in touch with a couple of people I’ve been messaging with, will be meeting up with them I think, but not for dates, just to make a new friend really and go from there.

I suspect most people are on it to get a bit of sex, and then maybe something more. Some might be after a relationship but as the app’s very nature is based on physical attraction it’s possibly the minority.

Tinder’s not for me, I knew that before I started but gave it a go, and nope, it’s still not. Subconsciously I know that I’m unlikely to find the kind of person I’d be after through something like Tinder. But, it was fun to give it a go. And after my little experiment I might at least make some new friends.

I find it really off putting that people are looking at my photos and judging me. Looking and rating me on basically whether they would want to sleep with me. Do people do that in real life? Well, yeah, course they do. I don’t. Not really. OK I guess I notice whether I find someone attractive or not, but that’s probably as far as I go. I don’t start thinking about what they’d look like naked. Oh, OK, maybe sometimes I do actually. I definitely DON’T think about whether they would be a good husband or father to any potential children. I know some people do that. And I find it really odd. But then I don’t even look at people (even after I’ve met them) and start thinking about potential relationships. To me, I meet people, become friends and if I like their company then I see them again. Romantic stuff doesn’t usually enter my head unless the other person has made a reference to it or I find them particularly attractive. And even if I am seeing them “romantically”, relationships don’t always enter my head as an option unless someone spells it out (cases in point: The Marine or the other one, and we all know how they ended).

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personality makes people attractive. At least in my world. 

After all that, I definitely wouldn’t tell people not to go on Tinder. It CAN be quite fun. It just depends what you’re after. If you don’t expect anything serious, and fancy a bit of fun, then give it a go. And it also probably helps if you’re looking to meet/date people. But it does require a bit of effort and time. All that swiping and messaging and stuff. Jesus. Or I might just be a lazy bastard. Either way, perhaps you should give it a go yourself.

Oh, and if you’re the person telling someone they should try Tinder, all this is what you’d be letting loose on them. Do it at your peril.

Last supper.

OK, so it’s actually not. And a bit of a disclaimer; I’ve had wine. A few glasses. So apologies if this doesn’t make much sense; I’ll keep it brief.

Alex made tea. Lamb shanks. With veg (green stuff Donna. Well, green and yellow stuff actually).

It’s not our last meal together though, that’s likely to be later this week, unless one of us is out. But, it was a fab meal, we’re both at home (a phenomenon in itself) and we had all evening. So we drank wine, ate and chatted. About the future, the past and life. About London, and my travelling. About dreams, hopes and relationships.

The last 3 months that I’ve shared a flat with Alex has gone so quick. We haven’t done Hangover Saturday or Cake Day. Both of these things I was sure we’d do. Oh well. Maybe some day we will.

I will miss him. My little wife who makes me cups of tea, food and is there with advice and a hug when I need it. Who would have thought here’s where we would be when you had gammy eyes, was bored and came to cook me tea in November 2011 eh Alex?

photo (12)

Link

Interesting article

I read the above article today. It’s not that often I read an article that prompts me to do something with it. I want to share this one. I’m not sure exactly why. I certainly don’t think all men are emotional manipulators, or behave in the way that’s described. I think a lot of the time some of the examples in the article are done in jest with no malice behind it.

Maybe it’s because I thought the article was well written. I liked the way it was worded, the flow and it kept my attention. I enjoyed reading it. Which, given the content seems a little strange to say. Or, it might be because I related to some of the things that were written. The concept of gaslighting. Not necessarily in the ‘you’re a woman, you’re crazy/hormonal’ stance, but the ‘your opinion isn’t as worthwhile as mine’ or the ‘it’s/everything’s your fault’. Yep, I’ve experienced that. It’s pretty shit. I’m sure a lot of women, especially if the article is to be believed, have at some point. How (or whether) that has affected them will of course vary. With me, I knew it wasn’t [always] true and it actually made me a bit stubborn. And it’s made me sure as hell I won’t put up with it again. With others, it might have worn them down. Eroded their confidence. That’s not on.

Everyone (male or female) deserves respect. They deserve to be listened to and their opinions valued. Not undermined. Whether that’s at work, in a relationship or in any other scenario.

No one should stand for anything less.