Archive for October, 2010

Technology is a killer. If it hadn’t somehow become an extension of me, I would take my new Kurt Gieger stiletto and drive it through the screen of my blackberry. I deleted Facebook once when it became the cause of a break-up, but eventually I went crawling back. I am a social networking junkie and I’m not afraid to admit it.

I’ve found over time that a lot of people are sarcastically challenged and getting across tone in a text message is a killer. Consider: “I can tell you miss me” and “I can tell you miss me”. One said in a jokey and playful manner, one said in arrogant and patronising one. And I doubt you can tell which is which any more than I can.

The moral of this story? Things get lost in translation, and it doesn’t take much to go from playful conversation to ‘I sent that text three hours ago why hasn’t he replied?!’

The problem is, once the ‘send’ button has been pressed, it’s game over. You can’t take your comment back, you just have to wait and hope his three brain cells manage to conduct a little power and decipher your message was a joke.

And then you sit there, desperately staring at your phone, urging it to buzz, checking to make sure you hadn’t spontaneously lost your hearing and missed the beep-beeping of a text. Looking to see if you have signal, turning your wi-fi on and off and then the ultimate desperation: calling your house phone to double check your phone hasn’t just become faulty.

Then you get annoyed with yourself, you’re a self-sufficient sophisticated woman, if he can’t tell that what you just said was a joke, then perhaps you don’t need him in your life. The self-empowerment mode never lasts long however and you shortly begin contemplating the ‘double-text’. Perhaps you should send a follow up text, to clarify you were joking. Surely that wouldn’t be such a bad idea, would it?

How can I put this mildly? Yes. Yes it bloody is. Worst idea you’ve even had.

Has it come to anyone else’s attention that you can go four days without receiving a single text from a friend or family member and then upon entering a stage of near paranoid-schizophrenia caused by phone watching, the whole world decides to call? You get through seven messages from t-mobile wanting to discuss the changes in your new price plan, beep-beep a message from your mother asking you to pick up milk and a notification from Facebook a Mr Gerald Fitzherbert (no mutual friends) wants to be your friend.

Anyways, he texts eventually, cool, calm and completely oblivious the fact you’ve been waiting by your phone for the last ten hours. And you’re so irrationally relieved that he didn’t reject you for not properly thinking out the content of your text that you forget to hate him like you intended to.

And if only the occasional in-comprehensive text was our biggest worry.

To be completely happy in a relationship, I’ve always believed you have to hold onto the lies. A little bit of delusion never did anyone any harm. If he tells you that when he went out, got drunk with his friends and came home at 6am he was actually thinking of you the whole night, why can’t we just be allowed to hold onto that?

We know that the scenario he presented us with was a complete fabrication, and he probably spent half the night buying drinks for a table of blonde Russian belly dancers. And while I’ve always been enough of a realist to live by the ‘look but don’t touch’ rule in relationships; that doesn’t mean however that I want to see 200-tagged photos of him on Facebook with Alena, Sveta and Vanya the next day.

I envy the people who lived in the pre-technology days, where people’s laptops weren’t ruining their love lives and mobile phones weren’t the cause of minor mental breakdowns.

You know it’s true what they say (and while I have no clue who exactly ‘they’ is) whoever it was who decided ‘ignorance is bliss’ deserves a beer on me, because boy was he onto something.

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“There’s no such thing as a funny girl”. What. “Girls aren’t funny”. Come again. “They try to be funny but it never works”. Stop now.

All these years I’ve been reassuring myself that I can compensate for all the areas in life which I am lacking, with my good sense of humour. My friends have made no effort to correct my life long belief system that my ability to make people laugh will balance out the fact I am vertically challenged (okay short) and opinionated (mouthy).

Mankind has however decided it is time to put me in my place. Well, actually, just a singular man, but he assures me he is a designated mouthpiece for the male species in general. And the news he has to bear? “Comedy should be left to us men”. That’s right.

And us ladies? We should stick to the areas our intellects can handle…perfecting our polite laugh and mastering a good meatloaf. Now don’t get me wrong, as a Greek girl I understand the importance of managing to look sexy in an apron and being able to make the perfect halloumi sandwich. I just didn’t realise that was all we were meant to do.

The problem now is, I’m going to have to find myself a new niche. Something to help me stand out from the crowd: aside from my apparently piss-poor jokes and curly hair. One of my friends for example can do the chest flex: not impressed? What if I tell you she’s a girl? Now that’s pretty cool, and that right there, is a niche.

So I asked him, this friend of mine, who told me there’s no such thing as a funny girl (and even if there was, no one would want to date her). I asked him what would be a more desirable female quality. After all, I don’t want to make the effort to develop a new talent, only to be told it is also obsolete.

Cooking? Probably not right? That’s what a guy has his mum for. Being champion of Mario Cart’s Rainbow road? Sure, if you want to be one of the lads. Guess that rules out competitive eating too. Which is a shame really, growing up in a family where Sunday lunch consisted of 30 people, the eat-or-have-it-eaten-for-you mentality means I can eat anyone under the table. Quantity and speed.

And then he told me the secret to being desirable, and asked me to pass it on to female-kind.

“The sexiest thing a girl can do, is laugh at my jokes”.

“What if they’re not funny?” I had to ask because, bless his soul, generally they’re not.

“Laugh anyways”. Just like that. The answer to love and all its problems summed up in two simple words.

I’ll get right on that, as soon as I find somewhere to store my dignity for a while. Though, maybe, until I find a big yellow storage for my soul I’ll stick to my average jokes and unladylike sarcasm.

And as for my friend, (and in fact all men that that like the silent-cooking types) perhaps you should invest in a bread-maker and forgo the trouble of a real relationship. I promise, you’re going to save yourself a fortune in texts.

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Do Not Resuscitate.

You never know when something is the right decision, until you do it, and then you learn that it’s not.

Sometimes I wish I could hire someone to make all my decision for me, and then when it all goes wrong, at least I’ll have someone other than myself to blame. Other times I think a partial lobotomy would be perfect; if it was possible to erase all memory of my romantic past, then I wouldn’t have to tolerate the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘should I haves’.

The problem with refusing to let yourself be a victim to all those foolish hormones, which apparently imitate love, is that sometimes it happens without you noticing. Every now and then a guy will come along who will, for no apparent reason, get under your skin. And as my good friend sod would have it, you probably won’t realise till its over.

Ladies I warn you, a point will come, sometimes six days down the line, sometimes six months – when you wonder if you made a mistake. You wonder if you gave up too easily. You’ll start to ramble about the good old days when people used to fight for love. And you consider resuscitation.

This is the point when you need to find your most honest friend. The one who would happily tell you that your new £60 dress makes you look like a butch lesbian, not because she’s mean but because she cares. I’m lucky enough to have two such specimens. One is a tiny little thing, which compensates in volume what she lacks in height, and the other is so pale sometimes we’d invite her to sleepovers to save money on nightlights. Both are enviably beautiful, and equally harsh.

In 90% of cases, once a relationship is over, you need to slap a huge DNR on it, and move on. The problem is, a few months down the line, four or five bad dates later, you forget why it ended, and all you seem to recall is laughing together because you wrote all over him in a sharpie pen while he was asleep or him leaving cute notes all around your room to make you smile.

This, my friends, is when you need an intervention.

Most of the time, it’s not so much the specific person that you miss, more the feeling of being with someone. Also, I’ll admit not having to worry that you’ll die alone in a house full of shoes and empty vodka bottles, is also nice.

Take it from someone who refuses to buy a novel without reading the last page first: not knowing can be scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Running back into the arms of someone who probably doesn’t like you all that much. I’m wrong am I? Then why did he let you go in the first place?

I’ll admit, heartbreak can make us all a little delusional. So I suggest, we write it off as indigestion, take a nap, and forgo the drama. Sitting in bed for four hours, mascara about 6 inches lower than where it was originally applied and surrounded by soggy tissues is unlikely to get you very far.

You can type out ten different potential texts, save them all in your drafts and ponder which one he might reply to, or you could gain a little self-respect and stop being so pathetic. I feel having been in this very situation: plus one pink fluffy bathrobe, minus one dose of reality, I can be forgiven for the harshness. Criticism never seems rude when the target audience also encompasses you.

Perhaps what we need is a little pop-quiz to send out to all possible candidates who wish to be instated as lovers. Not so we can whittle down our options to the ones who brush and floss thrice a day, but so we can be clear as to how high our hopes are allowed to go.

1. Do you plan to marry me: yes, no, maybe. 2. Are you just here because you heard I’m amazing in bed: yes, no, maybe. 3. Are you likely to ever try it on with my any of friends: yes, no, maybe.

A little blunt I’ll admit, but I feel in the long run, this plan’s a definite winner.

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Inspired by blogger Simon Francis and his one-man attempt to cut spending, I have decided we could all do with a little life minimisation. Did I need my £1.55 hazelnut cappuccino this morning? I’m going to say no.

I have taken it upon myself, in the midst of this crisis to play the role of teacher, and guide you through this wallet-draining time.

If the government can cut their spending by 40% then so can we.

Consider your house is your own individual country, with it’s own population and necessary expenses. To this country: ‘You-topia’, you are the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and also John Smith, the hardworking civilian in fear of his livelihood.

You-topian cuts to Housing:
Antibacterial wipes, scented candles, air freshener, comfort, dishwasher tablets – forget about it. Allow me to introduce you to soap and water: acquaint yourselves; they are your new money-saving best friends.

You-topian cuts to food:
Stand up, walk to your fridge, pull out your loaf of Hovis (which as of your next week you will be replacing with Asda’s own brand), grab a jar of peanut butter, and spread spread spread. Now, allow me to introduce you to your lunch.

You-topian cuts to pensions:
Money now over money later: you know how you frivolously saved all your pennies in a large cola-shaped moneybox for a rainy day? Well winter’s here and you need a new umbrella. Stop hoarding your money; this is now your weekly supermarket fund. No point saving for the future, if you can’t financially survive the present.

You-topian cuts to Child benefits:
Durex, Trojan, LifeStyles, PleasurePlus: Safe sex is cheaper than buying a pram.

You-topian cuts to Public Spending:
Ladies: I understand the importance of a Cosmopolitan on a Friday night, but the current economy has no room for this kind of spending. Instead I propose you invest in a low cut top.

If America buys England a space shuttle, it won’t effect English spending, right? Well in this case, America is a wealthy businessman, and the space shuttle is a dirty martini.

Gentlemen: Remember the days where your inability to cook was easily compensated with three course meal at your local Chinese? Well they’re not over yet. Look down at your resent call log, Tom, Dick, Harry: your friend’s are now your meal ticket. Dinnertime is always the perfect hour for a casual visit.

As a once poor and hungry student, I can assure you this feeding-method has been personally trailed and marked a success. Statistically, 9/10 they’ll be setting you a place at the table and piling the Korma on your plate. Hunger averted.

Within one month of You-topian policies being implemented, financial situation of your country should be at a point of improvement. If suggested cuts fail to improve long-term economic situation, drastic measures must be taken into consideration and deportation of your countries residents should be given serious thought.

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Gentleman’s Tip.

The first date paying war is what deciphers the boys from the men. My theory is pretty basic: you ask a girl out to dinner, you pay. You ask her out again: you pay. Third date: again you pay. After that all bets are off.

Don’t get me wrong, this is the twenty-first century and the clutch bags that were once filled with Audrey Hepburn type cigarette filters and breath mints now also home a family of girls true best friends… gold, platinum, visa, debit credit. And if at the end of each date the girl doesn’t pull out a few twenties and insist on paying her half, next time leave her at the kerb. I’m not saying she’s not the kind of girl you’ll ever marry; I’m just saying she’ll be walking down the aisle to Kanye West’s Gold-Digger.

The truth of the matter is, whilst us ladies like to pretend we are products of a modern society in which we are your equals, when it comes down to it, we want to feel special. I’m not talking about lavish spending sprees in Gucci; let me be clear, I’m talking about popcorn buying here. Don’t like it… then accept you’ll always be known as Mr. Nice-but-cheap. And when it doesn’t work out, that is how you will forever be remembered.

Despite my apparently blunt delivery of the truth (or at least, what I believe to be the truth) I understand that if you’re not a middle-aged businessman sometimes money can be a bit of an issue. So I’m going to let you in on a little secret. As long as the company’s good we don’t really care where you take us.

This isn’t a green light to take your lady of choice for a spin around McDonald’s drive through and end the night with a happy meal.

All I’m saying is, if a girl winds up at a beautiful restaurant having a lavish three-course meal with a man whose only conversational topic is golf, then the chances are she’ll contemplate accidentally impaling herself on the steak knife just to have an excuse to leave. The date in Starbuck’s involving a £4.99 coffee and muffin with the guy who makes her laugh is a much more likely winner.

Of course every woman is different, and the occasional ultra-feminist will probably find your bid to pay patronizing as opposed to gentlemanly. Though before this frightens you into leaving your wallet at home, I have some comforting news. I have never heard of a woman refusing a second date because the guy tried to pay for her white-wine-spritzer. Don’t offer and I guarantee that it will go straight to your ‘cons’ column, which she’s been constructing in her head all night.

Be it the next day, or two more dates later, either way I guarantee you will eventually be receiving a very awkward message about being busy with work and unable to find time for a relationship. Don’t believe me? Give it a go.

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I’m think I’m being stalked by a little man who lives in my computer. He keeps sending me emails and throwing me pops up that are just a little bit too coincidental.

“Bored of being single?” (How did he know?!)

“Backless, bodycon Asos dress, buy it now” (Funny, I was looking at that yesterday)

“Need cash fast” (Hell yes I do… but no, I’m not doing that!)

“Dull, lifeless hair? Try L’Oreal Nutrisse” (Okay, I get the hint, I need to colour my hair. In the mean time I wish people would have a little common courtesy and pretend they hadn’t noticed the two-inch roots).

“Jeans feeling a little tight…” (That’s it. My laptop’s stalking me).

Either my computer is trying to tease me, or it has cleverly regurgitated all the information I’ve input into it this last month and is now trying to tell me I’m stuck in a rut. Denial has always been a beautiful coping mechanism for me. Bottling up all my emotions for a year or so then snapping one day in KFC when the man behind the counter forgets to give me my gravy.

Since, however even my Dell is sending me subliminal messages to get my life in order, I’ve decided to do something rare: listen.

I say it’s rare not because I think I know it all (which coincidentally, I do), but because I’m stubborn by nature. And I love to blame this on the whole Greek thing. It’s always nice to be a little culturally different, because it serves well as an excuse for… well pretty much everything. When my friends point out that I eat faster than anyone else they know I just say: “I’m Greek, family dinner on Sunday consists of 30 people… I’ve learnt to eat fast, or have it eaten for me”.

Anyways, these past few weeks I’ve realised that life is a lot like being on a train. Every day you get from A to B, but not a lot happens in the process. You sit there, sometimes you sleep a little, you fix your makeup between stops, you read the paper, eat a banana. And after a while the days blend into one, and eventually even your laptop starts to pity you.

Then, yesterday, like every day, I got on the Piccadilly line. Hadn’t so much as bothered to wash my hair because, lets face it – who do I have to impress? I stood by the door, holding onto the rail, but making no real effort to stop the train from throwing me about a little. At Caledonian Road, a boy came on. Or a man? I’m never really sure at what age they stop being one and start being the other. My mum says never, though that may be her cynicism talking.

He was tanned, wore a name badge, his name was Eren, tall. He was no Mark Salling but he was attractive enough. He looked at me and I pretended not to notice. I turned away from him and quickly applied some lip-gloss, who cares about subtlety; I needed quick compensation for my messy hair. Why-oh-why had I not sprayed myself with the usual Jean Paul Gaultier that morning, and no eyeliner… what was I thinking?

The thing is, I had made the classic error and forgotten that while life can be a little repetitive, and a little bland, you never know when someone interesting is going to step into your carriage. I had gotten it all wrong, life is like a train ride: not a pointless journey, but a random collaboration of people. Sometimes you’ll go days without anything more interesting than a little shoulder knocking and then other times you come into collision with someone who reminds you what it’s all about.

He stayed on all the way to Oakwood. We got off at the same time; both took out our Blackberry’s (his a black curve, mine a while bold) to call our parents for a lift. We walked out the station, unintentionally side by side, then walked off in completely the opposite direction.

I went home and immediately coloured my hair. Black: a bold move. I hate to say it but my computer had a point. I was being ridiculous. And you know what, I will buy that bodycon dress. It was time for a change.

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Dear Idiot Man

Dear idiot man,

I write to you, and hope that you in turn pass this information on to future idiot men. Consider me the fire starter, and once I light your torch, I can only suggest that you pass on my flame. Now, allow me to be brief and explain this problem in terms you may understand.

Personally I like to think I’m an Audi R8: not quite as fast as the Veyron, not quite as cool as the Enzo, and definitely not as beautiful as the DB9. Calling myself an Audi, I’ll admit is possibly a little optimistic, but if you don’t think highly of yourself, believe me no one else will, so that’s my claim and I’m sticking to it.

Now, being a single woman in London feels a lot like being a Y-reg Vauxwagen Lupo. The kind with stiff gears and squeaky windscreen wipers – the poor mans choice. Men seem to be making the assumption that if a car hasn’t been driven for a while, it will be thrilled by the first offer to go for a ride.

You see where I’m going with this? While my friends in relationships are getting regularly serviced, the surrounding mechanics think that a little Lupo like myself would be happy with an ‘oil change’ every once in a while. Well it doesn’t quite work like that.

Don’t get me wrong; some girls will call for a little roadside assistance every now and then. Others of us however are quite happy to wait in the garage until the right scart lead comes along to jump start our battery. So remember, your key may fit the ignition, but don’t buy the car mats just yet, it doesn’t always mean the ride is yours.

Before you write Alan Day a large cheque for a new car, you’re going to want to take it for a test drive, right? Well to us girls, a date is a lot like a test drive. If I’m not happy with my trial, there’s no way I’m taking it home. So what if it looks good, if it seems healthy under the bonnet, if I turn on the sound system and Your So Vain is blaring out the speakers, you may as well forget it.

It seem like we’re asking for a lot, so on behalf of woman kind, I add that most of us just want a guy who knows how to change gears without crunching. And if this all seems a little too much for you, then perhaps you should stick to an automatic for now. I guess it’s all a matter of preference.

Yours Sincerely,
-A woman, who probably thinks she knows more about men and cars than she actually does.

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