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Delighted to hear your sad news

November 13, 2011

God, it’s lovely when friends split up with their partners, isn’t it? I can’t be alone in finding it joyful. Whenever it happens, despite sympathising with the pain they’re going through, my heart secretly lifts. It feels like a homecoming, a welcoming back into the fold.

It’s not schadenfraude. It’s just a blissful feeling of things going back to normal, back to how they should be. Partners always feel a bit like interlopers to me. Distractions. They’re always butting in to conversations or whisking my mates away to posh hotels for sex and champagne in bed, when really I’d far prefer them to be hanging out with me, playing Wii all day and ordering pizza. What? Yes, I’d deny my friends sex and posh weekends away, in a heartbeat, if it meant we could hang out.

I’ve never seen any of my friends beaming with pride at their partners as they struggle to pronounce a difficult word, or wipe their own bum.

I don’t feel like this about friends’ children, but that’s only because having children myself has made me like them*. I enjoy spending time with friends’ kids, as they’re like mini, uncensored versions of my friends. Plus, my friends light up around their children, they look happy. I’ve never seen any of my friends beaming with pride at their partners as they struggle to pronounce a difficult word, or wipe their own bum.

As you can guess, tonight I heard that a friend has split up from his long-term partner and is now MINE ALL MINE AGAI… er, back on the shelf. I’m happily budging along to make room. I’m envisioning long weekends of PS3 and extra pepperoni, parties, uninterrupted telephone conversations, and dinners together that revolve more around finding stuff to put on toast when drunk than trying out a witty little suggestion by Heston. Maybe this is why I prefer my friends single: they all turn into such idiots when they’re in couples.

* If I were childless, I’d probably secretly slip contraceptive pills into their cocktails every time I saw them.

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No new balls, please

December 10, 2009

Stop all the cocks, cut off the telephone (not that it was ringing, to be fair)
Prevent this bitch from going barking about wanting a bone
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Let me finally relax about the size of my bum.

Yup, that’s it, folks – I’m off men. I’ve given up. I’ve resigned. I am hopeless at them, I choose awful ones, I’ve had enough. I’m full.

I realised last week that the past 12 years of my life has been defined by men. Who I fancied, who I dated, who I bonked, who I didn’t bonk, who I married. During this period, Earth has undergone some of its worst ever tragedies (the Tsunami, 9/11, Big Brother) and what have I been doing? Reading Mars and Venus.

I’m not going to pretend I can park anymore, or wear stockings, or buy Stella. If I need any jobs doing round the house, I’ll just sell it and move somewhere else.

Well, no more. No more will I care about what men think about me. No longer will I do my make-up before I go to the supermarket just in case a man might see me. Never, ever again will I ask friends, my Mum or PsychicInteractive “What did [man name] mean when he said that?” From now on, I don’t care.

From now on, I will fill my life with my things. Nice, happy, womanly things, like Vogue, cake-decorating equipment, watercolour lessons, one of those JML blankets with sleeves in a burgundy shade, air-freshening candles, Muller Lite, slippers, Dairylea (always), synchronised swimming (maybe), lager and lime, and Cadbury Flakes. I might even buy a calendar with puppies on. Or firemen. Or ideally, puppies and firemen.

I’m not going to pretend I can park anymore, or wear stockings, or buy Stella. If I need any jobs doing round the house, I’ll just sell it and move somewhere else.

I just can’t be doing with the amount of mental headspace that men take up in my life. So I’m flying solo from now on.

And yes, the fact that tihs is precisely the best attitude with which to attract a new man hasn’t escaped me. So shut it.

Flirty something

December 1, 2009

I don’t think I’d notice flirting any more if a man whacked me in the face with his penis

I think my neighbour flirted with me today. He’s a builder, and came round offering to fix the visible hole in my roof (this is not the flirty bit, the possibility of this being the flirty bit ended when he said it’d cost me £50).

The flirty bit was when he made a point of telling me that he was single. “Me waaaf left me eigh’ maaaaaanfs ago,” was how he put it. Is that flirting? To point out that you’re single? I don’t think I’d notice flirting any more if a man whacked me in the face with his erect penis, to be honest.

Since that encounter, I’ve been trying to imagine what sex would be like with my neighbour. I’ve approached this in the time-honoured, time-no-object manner of the Pros and Cons list.

PRO: He has that hot builder’s body.
CON: …But that confused, wary look of the very thick, like he’s terrified I’m suddenly going to start using long words or talking about percentages.

PRO: He lives just three doors away.
CON: He lives just three doors away.

PRO: My still-local DH would probably hear of it, and feel jealous.
CON: My DH would probably actually hear it, and feel complacent if he recognises the squelching noises and what they refer to, which he obviously didn’t like very much, seeing as how he left them.

I don’t know what to do. I might just stagger round there one night, pissed, holding a fag and wearing a nightie, and see what happens. At best, he’ll see to my leaky hole. At worst, he’ll just fix my roof.

The Silence of the Lads

December 1, 2009

Email, text messages, multimedia messages, faxes, voicemail, Royal Mail, FedEx, CityLink, Interflora, FaceBook, LinkedIn, MySpace…

There are now more ways than ever before for a man not to contact you.

I miss the old days. At least then I could have just convinced myself that the pigeon died.

Bring back hanging

November 30, 2009

After five seconds, I put down DH’s old hammer and finally admitted it out loud: “I miss you.” I was talking to the nail.

I’ve finally found my single-life Nememis. After coping brilliantly for almost two months as a Woman Without a Man, I’ve found the one thing I need DH for. And no, it’s not what you’re thinking – although it does involve banging.

Pictures! I can’t hang pictures. I thought it’d be simple. Picture, nail, hammer, sorted. Yes? No. DH used to get all “Woman, know your place” about DIY chores, and I’d roll my eyes and quote Feminist sayings at him while he wafted round self-importantly with a tape-measure and a spirit-level. If I even looked like I was heading towards the toolbox, he’d leap up and stand in front of it with his arms out like a Policeman guarding a crime scene.

So I was quite excited when I grasped his large, bulbous-headed tool in my hands for the first time since he left and smashed it against the wall, singing “R-E-S-P-E-C-T!”

After five seconds, I put down the hammer and finally admitted it: “I miss you.” I was talking to the nail.

I need my home to look like I’ve been living an arty, creative life for the past 38 years, not just wanking about on my PC all day, eating Dairylea

My vision for my house was an arty, creative space. Pictures hanging everywhere, all collected in scintillating little groups, like cliques at an amazing Jay Jopling party. Illustrations over there, all jewel-coloured and glowing. Framed articles I’ve written over here, all smug and syndicated. Book covers, photographs, poems…

I was trying to achieve this lifelong art collection in two days, as I hope to start inviting men back to the house soon and need it to look like I’ve been living an arty, creative life for the past 38 years, not just wanking about on my PC all day, eating Dairylea.

So I grabbed a handful of glossy magazines and colour supplements out of the recycling bin and tore out my favourite pictures. (This is better than you’d expect – I got a lot of nice things.) I printed out a favourite Shel Silverstein poem onto watercolour paper and did a rapid sketch. I found some lovely photos of the boys and an Observer feature all about me! (I blurred the date so you can’t tell it’s from 2002), and then I shoved the whole lot into frames.

Leaning against the walls, they looked awesome. But then, I tried to hang them up.

Rather than witty groupings of illustrations, I’ve got morbid clusters of bloody thumbprints

I’ve had to rapidly revise my vision for this house. Now it’s not so much “arty collections” of pictures, but “lethal landslides of suicidal frames which will hurl themselves down from walls if next-door’s mouse so much as farts”. Rather than witty groupings of illustrations, I’ve got morbid clusters of bloody thumbprints. The frames aren’t hung where they catch the eye, they’re flung where they hide the brutally exposed plasterboard.

So, great job! Now can I not only never invite any sighted men back here for fear of terrifying and/or decapitating them, I can’t ever let DH back in either. He will take one look at this motley gallery and realise that there is a massive hole in my life, and my walls, since he buggered off. He’ll think that actually, I needed him more than I’d ever have admitted.

And you know what? He’ll have nailed it.

I do not want a set of matching baggage

November 28, 2009

You know how tedious other people’s kids can be? I’ve just learned that their parents can be worse

I thought I wanted to date a single Dad. I just had my first ever date with a single Dad. I don’t want to date a single Dad anymore.

You know how tedious other people’s kids can be? I’ve just learned that their parents can be worse. This man was nice, good-looking, interesting and well-travelled. Not funny (note to self: Next time you read an online-dating ad that begins, “I’m a bit reserved when people first meet me”, translate to, “You will spend the first 15 minutes of our date counting the toothpicks and dreaming of stabbing them in your eyes to stay awake”), but not adverse to laughing at a female’s jokes like some men are. but ugh, when he started talking about his kids!

“Sarah is nine. She’s a lovely girl, but a bit bad at getting to sleep.”

“Fiona’s 11. She has hair your colour. [Ginga.] she got teased at school so we let her dye it brown now.”

“Juliette is 17…” No, no wait. let’s go back to Sarah and Fiona for a minute. Sarah is nine and won’t go to sleep? Hmroo? Nine? What do you do when she won’t sleep? Eh? You “lay next to her on the bed and stroke her hair??” Great! so if I ever came over to your place on a Saturday night, I’d be downstairs on my own watching Strictly Come Dancing until midnight while you’re upstairs playing Strictly Come Hair-Stroking? Just shove a story-CD in and tell her she’s on her own. My boys are six and 18-months. They sleep. I do not stroke hair. They sleep.

And while we’re on the subject of hair, you let an 11-year-old dye hers, just to avoid being bullied? Hello! How is that character-building? How will that help develop her self-confidence, feistiness or capacity for sassy come-backs? There’s a reason that redheads have a reputation for having red-tempers, you know, and it starts in the playground.

The rest of the date passed in a blur of bitten-back remarks and mental back-chat. By the end of the evening, my mouth was bulging with everything I hadn’t felt able to express. I worried that he’d try to kiss me and drown on a tsunami of opinions.

So it’s a good job that he didn’t even try, isn’t it. Isn’t it?

A Shallow End

November 25, 2009

When I’m out on dates with other men, shouldn’t I be nipping off to the loos to sob every five minutes and comparing every man unfavourably to DH? In reality, I have a whale of a time and my deepest thought is, “Ooh, Sticky Toffee Pudding!”

I do wonder if I’m taking this split seriously enough. Aren’t people usually devastated when their marriage ends? I know they hadn’t been married to DH, but still…

I’m getting a bit tired of worrying about how upset, or not, I look. For example, last night I chatted to a friend over FaceBook. She is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met in real life, has an adorable seven year-old daughter, and a great career. She was also married to a successful, handsome man who memorably whispered to me, while watching Friend dancing at their wedding, “I’m going to climb inside her dress later and do revoltingthings to that woman.” At the time I thought that was endearing. Now, it might explain why Friend calls him a “cross-dressing sociopath”.

Anyway, last night, when I told Friend I’d split from DH, she immediately said, “Oh, you poor, poor thing.” I was all, “No, no, I’m fine.” Then, “Really, I’m not being stoic, I’m honestly fine.” Then, “It’s not a brave face! I am so, so, so fine.”

Am I protesting too much, or am I actually fine? I’d expected a bit more misery, to be honest. For example, when I’m out on dates with other men, shouldn’t I be nipping off to the loos to sob every five minutes and comparing every man unfavourably to DH? In reality, I have a whale of a time and my deepest thought is, “Ooh, Sticky Toffee Pudding!”

It seems a bit strange. Maybe I don’t have a true capacity to love anyone? If I can brush aside my marriage in under six weeks and flirt with firemen online, does that mean I’m narcississtic, shallow, or blissfully free? Will this all come and hit me like a sledgehammer in 10 years’ time? Am I in denial? Should I stop ordering Sticky Toffee Puddings and go for fruit salad?

Help.