Monday, 4 April 2011

A Hard Decision

Hmmm. I've learned just how difficult this can be. Not for me, but for the 'characters' in my 'play', all of which are real. I suppose on some level it's difficult for me, too, but more so for them. Did you ever wonder how 'Big' might have felt while dating someone on-and-off who quite literally published the ongoings of her love life in a tabloid newspaper?

Now, I found the programme incredibly educational, refreshing and comforting. I started watching it when I was 15 and on the verge of 'coming out'. I grew up with it and it was the next best thing I had to a Holy Book. There were disasters, there were tears, there was joy and there were shocking scenes and a lot of sex for a prime-time TV show. It was ground-breaking stuff with a lot of 'talking power' (I can't say the made-up word I want to here because it's a registered trade mark of a well-known PR agency I work with).

Still, when you relate it to our reality, I can't imagine being comfortable in being codenamed something provocative and being talked about in a very public manner about the remits of my ability to satisfy my partner. Maybe that's why the show had to end - the girl got the guy in the end and that's where it had to end. Who wants to constantly have a 'happy ending' rubbed in their faces?

This is an unexpectedly happy ending to the chapter of my life you've been reading about. I never gave up the hope that I'd find the right mix of physical fulfillment and emotional happiness with another person, but I have now and I'm scared, but I'm happy. I'm not the last single gay boy in London, as opposed to the 'last single girl in Manhattan.'

Thank you all for keeping up with me and for the continued support. I have a new blog on the way, but I'm not sure whether to disclose my identity on that one yet!

Monday, 21 March 2011

If I Knew You Were Coming...

If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake, baked a cake,
If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake,
How do you do?
How do you do?
How do you do?

If I knew you were coming I'd have hired a band, the biggest band in the land,
If I knew you were coming I'd have hired a band,
How do you do?
How do you do?
How do you do?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Fast Forward Is The Way Forward

It must be an illness. Maybe it's a form of OCD. Whatever it is, I can't seem to take my finger off the 'fast forward' button. I can't help but feel I'd simply get bored of experiencing life at 'normal' speed. If I take my finger off the button, it would be like taking my finger off the pulse, or taking my eye off the ball...

Is this circumstantial? Is it learned behaviour? Or is it the way forward? I'm increasingly leaning toward the latter and it's not an excuse or justification for an unorthodox way of doing things, it just makes sense to me: Why would you want to 'take things slowly' when you're most likely going to end up with the same result?

One could argue that the investment in time can yield better results - you're more likely to measure and weigh up the ingredients properly if you're not under pressure. However, that could be contested by the perfectly plausible argument that some people work best when they are under pressure. My argument is simply that I don't feel there is any pressure, it just suits me better to be constantly in fast forward mode because demons arise when I'm forced to slow down and reflect.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Time’s A Great Healer, If You’ve Got The Time...

If you ever have the time to sit and watch the world go by, try to see the parts and characters people play. It can be a wonderfully refreshing experience to unmask strangers from a distance; picking out the ones that wear their hearts on their sleeves from the ones that have an alter-ego act down to a ‘T’. Then try to figure out where you fit into the show – are you upstage, downstage, a passing spectator?

I don’t want to live forever, but when I’m happy I want to be immortalised. The trouble is that happiness is a variable, ever changing state of mind and I’d probably tire of the masquerade that life often becomes on this ‘stage’ we call Earth. It gets more interesting when you start analysing what emotions, actions or reactions the other characters in your play are trying to get out of you. Some people play a part beautifully well, but they are often the people that are always on the lookout for an audience and more reaction than just yours.

Like removing emotion from a complicated heart-felt issue, adopting this method of thinking has helped me no end in dealing with something deeply upsetting – rejection. There is no reason why I should be upset about a significant ex getting with someone else other than their desire to rub it in my face to get a reaction that makes them feel a tiny bit more self-worth. I would have been genuinely pleased and relieved to learn that he, too, had met someone else – if it had been done maturely, sensitively and hadn’t been turned into some twisted, insensitive competition about who’s ‘getting over who quicker’ and ‘under who easier’.

I held back saying anything until I was left with no choice. I was worried about how he’d feel; I didn’t want to upset him. Things just happened and I even tried to fight that, too, but it just seemed that everything I wanted in a partner was delivered at the most inconvenient time – a special delivery I had to sign for and take home, so I did – the chemistry was superb, the intellectual stimulation was a high scorer, the physics were faultless and I hadn’t laughed like that in a long time. I fell for him, but did I make a special effort to rub this in anyone’s face, least of all my freshest ex? No, I didn’t. I didn’t have the time or the abysmal lack of sensitivity and tact to go and rub salt into the wounds of someone I loved for 18 months.

Happiness is relative, subjective and difficult to quantify, but would someone who is genuinely happy do that? And yes, time is a healer, but if you don’t diagnose a problem properly it could turn out to be a killer. Watch out for the causes and the symptoms – negativity, selfishness, insecure people putting you and your efforts down all the time, people masked as friends and lovers who don’t genuinely want to see you happier than they are, those who are forever looking at their bank balance and material gains – and avoid them at all costs. 

Time doesn't wait and neither should you.Time is precious and 'allowing time to heal' should not be used as an excuse to delay you from taking another chance. We weren’t compatible enough in sufficient ways to make it work without it feeling like work. The  relationship was simply a play on a stage that was held together by just physical attraction and a slightly narcissistic ideal. I haven’t lost anything and have learned a great deal about myself.

I hope he’s found what he was looking for. I think I have.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Holier Than Thou

Its official - the heartbreaker’s heart has been broken.

So there I was, in love, feeling safe and elated, and being prompted to do the ‘right’ thing by my new boyfriend – to put the ex out of his misery by admitting I’d met someone else – and then, when I least expect it, the ex tells me he’s done exactly the same.

Actually, that wasn’t the hurtful aspect of it. The dagger started to penetrate when I noticed the joy in his voice as he proceeded to tell me that the one guy he had slept with since our break-up is now someone he is ‘seeing’, despite finding it really awkward having sex with someone other than me for the first time in 18 months.

“He’s this...” “He’s that”... “You should see the size of his legs...” The only reason I said I’d met someone else, too, was to fight back the pain he was inflicting on me. I am many things, I can easily say the wrong thing at the right time, but one thing I’m not is cruel. And I found that cruel – it’s shaken me to my absolute core and completely disabled me.

If this had happened yesterday it wouldn’t have had the same effect. If anything, I’d have welcomed it and felt relief from my guilt for being happy with someone else, but today things were different. I don’t really know what’s changed, mainly because it’s such a huge and significant change that I’m still trying to adjust. I'm subconsciously looking behind me on either side trying to find things that I recognise. It’s bizarre and this is how I can best describe it:

I was standing on the tube home today, it was fairly busy, mostly with people who’d had a late shift at the office, I’m fairly relaxed and the tube is moving fairly quickly, for a change. All the sudden, I find myself staring down the length of the carriage, unnaturally noticing the windows on both sides at the same in my peripheral vision. More unnaturally, I’m noticing what I’m traveling past. Then it dawned on me – I’m standing in a metal cylinder, on metal wheels, being dragged along a metal track through a tight tunnel at high velocity by the power of electricity – what could possibly go wrong?

I started to panic as though we were heading for a train crash – I could picture the disaster on tomorrow's evening news  – it was like waking up from a cosy day dream and asking yourself, “How the fuck did I just get here?” And I did; out loud! At the time I wondered if I’d live to write about this and eventually I rationalised the situation. Then I got home, picked up the incoming call from my ex and almost immediately crashed into the wall I feared my central line train was heading for.

There’s no rationalising this. Not yet. The only way I’ve managed to ease the pain has been by telling myself that I deserve it. The ‘holier than thou’ pride I’ve been fighting against has beaten me. It’s been a fair old game, really. I’ve just got to try to believe that  he really did feel like this when he found out that I’d slept with someone else, then inadvertently came across a very flattering photo of him in my phone; where his used to be.

For the latter part of the relationship we were practically metaphorically auctioning each other to each other, asking, “Come on then, how much am I worth to you?”, testing for how far we could push the negative boundaries further and further to the point of malice.

I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. I genuinely do feel that he did, though. I feel like he didn’t try nearly half as hard as I did to make it work, and now some sexy, successful, attractive guy is reaping the grain from the seeds I worked so hard to sow.

It’s ironic and cliché, but I knew this was going to happen. I knew that it was going to take a new love to take me away from the old one. I just didn’t think it would happen the other way around or that I'd be this devastated by it.

That'll learns me! That's another chapter of my life painfully closed and another lesson learned in what I don't want from a partner. Good luck to them. I just hope he's learned something, too.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

St Valentine - Mr Right or Mr Right Now?

This time of the western calendar can mean many things to many people. The obvious is what was always intended – an excuse to ‘anonymously’ declare your undying lust or emotional obsession to the object of your affection. For others it’s a commercial conspiracy for you to spend money on someone you no longer feel deserves it. And for a lucky few, it’s a time to get all loved-up and reignite (or throw petrol at) the fire that got them together in the first place.

I dread going past greetings card retailers in the run-up to St Valentine’s Day when I’m single – it’s depressing. This is probably the first time I’ve been single and unfazed by it. I am well aware we’re all too busy or become too complacent in our relationships for a daily dose of romance, but I genuinely think that in the perfect relationship, it should feel like St Valentine’s Day everyday.

Until Jane Austin brought us Pride and Prejudice in the mid 1800s we probably thought there were only two types of men. There was the respectable, well-to-do,  husband material type, and then there was the 'love rat' worthy of nothing more than a clandestine affair - a guilty pleasure. Austin merged these two characters to form the infamous Mr Darcy and has had men and women firmly place this fictional character as a benchmark in their love lives ever since.

Until recently, had I not known of the popular culture that Austin's work has become, I would have placed myself in the 'husband material' category. I'd like to think I'm also 'well-to-do', but unfortunately, riches is not something that features in my past or present. Now I see myself sitting firmly on the fence and drawn to others in the same category, having been categorically described as a 'guilty pleasure'. That hurt.

I've almost always been regarded as a 'trophy partner' until they realised I have a brain and an intelligent opinion. I was the type of boyfriend one wanted to introduce to the family and the wider social circle early on. The type of partner you feel proud of when he's centre of attention recounting a funny personal experience to your friends in an intimate social setting. But then I ended up representing the 'love rat', an awful heart-breaker that should be kept at arm's length or ignored altogether for all his sins.

Valentine's Day could be an excuse for a couple to attempt putting their troubles behind them and remember why they invested so much time and effort to each other in the first place. However, if you've tried that before on countless occasions, I would suggest you use the novelty to remind yourself of your self-worth, what you want and what you deserve from a partner. I used to think that high expectations heralded more disappointment, but who can deny that you're ultimately better off alone than unhappy? And why should any one's version of Mr Darcy be just a fictional, unattainable, unrealistic benchmark? Why is it not the standard expectation to aim for in a life-partner?

I've learned that if you get together with someone who you don't genuinely feel could easily be your best friend from the start, it'll be destined to fail; unless you're partial to a bit of S&M and you choose to take it outside the dungeon. I understand that not everyone wants a life partner or genuinely believes in 'till death do us part', that's fine, too - times have moved on and you have to be realistic - but whatever you want or desire from another, you should be honest enough with them and yourself to ensure you both get the most out of the experience and keep heartache to a minimum.

Jane Austin did us a monumental favour in changing our understanding of romance and sexual relationships. If nothing else, a relationship should be a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. We should not settle for society's expectations of us, but for our own. If you don't feel someone enriches your life and inspires you to do more with it, you are settling for second best. 

In conclusion, I don't think many people fall into just one of the aforementioned categories. We all have a romantic side, a naughty side and desires we're not keen to share or act-out with just anyone. I think most people fall into a fourth category - a Jekyll & Hyde type of character that cautiously tests how far they can push boundaries before laying their cards on the table.  

The upside to romance in this modern world we live in is that with every relationship we learn what we don't want in the next one and perfect it as we grow older. Occasionally, someone will come along when you least expect it who will inadvertently unleash the romantic beast within you - the one you thought would never get an airing - that's my idea of passion and true love.

It is unrealistic to expect a partner to lay on a surprise romantic meal, rose petals leading to a heavenly candle-lit bath, aromatic essential oils and fresh linen for a sensual massage, or mind-blowing sex every night of the week. It wouldn't be a surprise if you started expecting it, but there's no reason why you can't try to do it often...

...why wait for Valentine's Day? 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Good Boy Gone Bad

Could it be age? Could it be experience? Or could it just be my cynicism, overgrown like a giant weed in an unsightly garden? Whatever it is, I'm not the optimistic, naive twenty-something I used to be. I've gone from being a helpless romantic of husband material status to a harsh realist unable to control certain urges. I've gone from fearing the laws of attraction to holding a criminal record for heart-breaking. I'm a good boy gone bad.

It’s not something I'm proud of. The transition wasn't a steady one, there were highs and lows and this is a conclusion on reflection. At one point I also went from laughing at the idea of gay marriage to then proposing to a man I genuinely thought I would spend the rest of my life with. It seems that as one part of my mind thaws, a small part of my heart freezes further and I'm barely able to feel some emotions these days.