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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

How to be single

I often get asked about my single status, questions like "Do I get lonely?" "Am I on the look out for another man?" "Do I look at my coupled up friends and get jealous?" Readers of my blog, I hope, would get an idea of who I am from my posts, and realise that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding "No!".
I won't lie, it isn't always easy being a single woman, especially when you have come out of a painful break up which leaves scars. It can cut like a knife when you watch your peers pair off, get married and have babies. Especially if you were once even only slightly dreaming of making those plans yourself, and were sometimes found having chats about those dreams with said peers. To then watch them go on to fulfil thier dreams of the marriage and babies whilst your dreams lay in tatters around your feet? Well, then the cut can go just that little bit deeper can't it? But I do not resent my friends for this, nor do I feel like I no longer fit in with them. I am still a firm feature in thier lives, and they are very much a firm feature in mine. Yes my circumstances have changed, but I have long ago learned that if the people you have in your life are genuine, it shouldn't matter in the slightest what status you come under. Once I came away from my previous boyfriend, I decided that I would stay away from the relationship scene for the forseeable future, and my family and friends supported me every step of the way. I realised that it was more wise for me to keep my heart for myself rather than offer it to another, who would no doubt only go on to return it, broken and bruised, for me to fix again. I wanted to take the time to heal rather than have another man provide a band-aid that may fall off anyway. And in this journey I have discovered that there is no shame in being single, that it doesn't come with a courtesy leper sticker which magically attatches itself to your forehead. It doesn't make you a freak who is undesirable to others, and it isn't a fast track train to the land of 'Billy No Mates'. It is quite an adventure, and although the road is rocky at times, there are perks to being a solo rider, and I will take this opportunity to address them here.

Forget about Bridget Jones singing "All By Myself" whilst downing a bottle of wine, that's just a myth created from a different era, single women have it so much better these days. It is much more acceptable to be alone. Whilst you are single you can do whatever you want, whenever you want.
 Fancy flirting with the cute guy at the bar? Go for it my friend. End up wanting to do more than just flirt with the cute guy at the bar? Why on earth not!? Just be safe though, yes? Wake up the next morning and decide that the cute guy at the bar is yesterdays news, well, what the hell? I'd lay my bottom dollar down that he has done similar things himself on more than one occasion.
 You can meet up with your pals of either gender whenever you want, and are accountable to nobody for doing so. How many times have I heard friends (of both sexes) tell me that they are not happy with their spouse being friends with, or meeting up with that buddy from the other gender that they've been friends with for years. How many times have I heard friends (again of both sexes) say that they have banned thier spouse from being friends with, or meeting up with that buddy from the other gender that they've been friends with for years. Well guess what my fellow single comrades, that problem isn't ours! We don't have that worry on our minds at all. Liberating, isn't it?


And its not just the opposite sex I want to talk about here, no way! There is much more out there if you want it. The possibilities are endless if you want to embrace them. Work towards a promotion if thats what you want. Take a career u-turn and try something new if it tickles your fancy. Try a new hobby. Go out somewhere alone (again, be safe though please) and see who you meet. Do whatever you want, the world is yours for the taking.

If I hadn't made the decision to stay alone when things fell apart with my ex, I wouldn't be here right now, living in my own place, which is fulfilling a long-term dream that I once thought would never become a reality. This blog would never have been written. "Not your stereotypical thirtysomething woman" could have very well become someone elses creation, had I have gone on to seek solace in the arms of another man rather than go on my path of self discovery.
 I would never have learned so much stuff, good and bad, about myself, and I would never have realised who I really was, and then discovered that I quite liked the person I had become. I would never have met the people I have, or made the new friends that I now wouldn't be without.
 Trust me though, whilst I say this, I am not trying to say that this life is perfect, as life never is. I am also not saying it is a bed of roses, because it isn't. Standing on your own two feet is tough, for your heart and for your finances, but I think it is worth it, all of it, the rough and the smooth.
 My path is a single one for now, and though I am not saying that it will be forever, it will stay this way for the forseeable future. I want my path to entwine with a significant other who is the right one, as I, and all my other single comrades, deserve nothing less. And until that time comes, I will live my life the way I wish. I will not just wait for Mr Right to bring me what I want and need, I will get it for myself. I've not done badly so far, so will continue as I am for awhile longer.
 I will sign out now, whilst listening to Brian Adams "Summer of '69". Great song, brings back so many memories, but when he sings "Those were the best days of my life", I can't help but disagree with him, because these are the best days of my life, right here, right now!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

All solo living folk are pissheads!

I found an article which goes with the theory that living alone increases the risk of drinking yourself to death. I read it with an open mind, then posted it on my facebook page. Due to the article being written a few months ago I was unable to leave a comment expressing my opinion, so I will do it here instead.

I do not believe this article to be true at all. It is, in my mind, once again, a stereotype that has been thrust upon single people and solo living folk to squeeze us circle shaped pegs into square holes.
I mean, really, are we that lonely that we can only find solace in alcohol. Do we, deep down, believe that because we have not found a 'soul mate', or due to the fact that we are living alone and 'struggling to form social relationships', that this will go hand in hand with seeking refuge at the bottom of a bottle of vodka?

In my opinion, and in that of others I know (and trust me, there are a few of us in our block of studioflats) solo living is not a fast track train to loneliness. On the contrary, I find I usually don't have much time to myself, what with work, family, friends, housework etc etc and I know many other singletons who feel the same way.
Yes our bottle bank gets full in our recycling area, and it is the first one to fill up, bar the big black bins. But that is not because we are all sat there on our lonesome in our seperate studios, wiping the tears away whilst we finish yet another bottle of wine. Nine times out of ten we are warming up before going out, or have friends/family around for the evening.
 Admittedly, yes, I like a drink, and will sometimes polish off a glass (or more) of wine in an evening whilst watching Sex And The City. I do this because I enjoy it, not because I want to 'numb the pain' of being alone. I liked a drink when I lived with my mum, and I also liked a drink when I lived with my ex, so it goes without saying I like a drink now, in my current living situation. If a person likes a drink, or has a tendancy to drink, they will do it, regardless of their living arrangements!
Understandably articles like this will crop up from time to time, as a cautionary tale to warn us of the dangers of drinking too much, but I bet my bottom dollar that all these people that died in this publication had other issues, deeper routed problems, and that the living alone that arose in some of the cases? Well I bet that it wasn't the real issue at all. It saddens me that someone may read said atricle, who could be in an unhappy relationship or living situation, and they may think that they are better off staying where they are rather than getting out and seeing what else is on offer out there. And with living in this unhappy way? Well need I say more?

All Night Long?!?

I need an answer to a question, and I want reasons. Why do men think it is desirable to go at it all night long in the sack? And when I say all night long, I mean All... Night... Long!
Come on boys, Is that what you think a woman really wants, a marathon event that would require a pack of pro-plus and a litre bottle of red bull?
I am going to be truthful now and admit that I am not a tart, but frankly I am not an angel either. My number is not high, but my shiny halo is a ghost of its former self. And in my own personal experience I have found it a common thought that men believe a woman wants his manhood to go up as the sun goes down and then for the climax to occur as Mr sun pops up again. We allegedly want banging, we want the pounding, we want a million positions a night. Don't even try to just fob us off with a position of the fortnight! We want to look like we've been riding a horse all night, and we want to walk like ducks.
Well maybe I am a freak, and I must be behind the times or something, but I don't want this at all.
 I have seen that look on a partners face, you know, the look that says he is reciting his times tables, the concentrated frown as he thinks of all the names of the members of his favourite football team, the qwiver as he brings to mind his ugly workmate. All this to prolong the event and hold off his 'wham bam thankyou mam' and I am going to be honest, I wish he wouldn't!
I am going to be frank now, I am a working woman, with a hectic lifestyle, and seriously, after awhile all I want to do is sleep after a bit of the happy stuff. Surely he does too, right? Well in my experience no he does not, far from it! Sleep is the last thing that is on Mr All Night's mind.

Now, please, don't get me wrong here, I am not a prude or a bore, I like a bit of the horizontal sport like anyone else. But I compare it to chocolate. Lovely when you fancy it, and perfect when you just get the right amount. Too much in one go can make you feel sick, and it puts you off eating more for quite some time. Sex is the same (well to me) the right amount at the right time cannot be beaten. I always like to go with the flow in these situations. If the man thinks he is going to climax in five seconds flat, that isn't a problem, I would actually find it more of a turn on! At least I know he is having a good time, that the buttons I am pushing are the correct ones! I want to enjoy it, yes, but I want him to also, he wouldn't be in my bed, or I in his, if that wasn't the case here.

And I must ask, as we are here, Is prolonging the experience and holding off really enjoyable for a man? Truthfully? Honestly?  I can't imagine it always is. It must get painful after awhile when you hold off the climax. Wouldn't you worry that you would lose it, that the moment would be spoiled?

 All night sex makes me worry that I am doing something wrong, and as a result he can't reach the grande fenale. I'd be in a panic that he was bored and not enjoying the moment in hand, so to speak. I'd be laying there thinking that maybe my body looked weird in his eyes, or that he was silently grading me and that the result was poor. My throat would get sore with all the Meg Ryan style fakes I would perform to encourage him to let go and 'pop his cork' and my head would hurt from all the concentrating!
In truth I must confess I have pulled off performances like this, all whilst having the above thoughts go through my mind. It has been on more than one occasion, with more than one man (at seperate times obviously) and it's almost made me paranoid. I am not saying these experiences were not good, on the contrary, they were great, but that look would then cross his face and it would take all my efforts not to yell in frustration. In frankness, after awhile, things start to get uncomfortable and the head starts to swim, I've had the perfect amount and, surely, he has to, judging by the erm, sounds going on, but it seems that nope, he has not, or he believes I have not, so we get more, and more, and more. The birds start cheeping, the sun reappears, the alarm goes off and he finally gives in and lets go. Sounds fantastic in theory, yes, but in reality? It's tiring, and black bags under the eyes? Well that's not a womans best look really is it?
So the moral of my story is this boys, give up the myth that women want all night action, because nine times out of ten, we do not. Think if it as a big old chocolate fudge cake, and go with the flow, yes we are desperate to dive right in there, we are going to love it, we definately want it, but to eat the whole lot in one go?!

 I rest my case.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Feminist Movement

Now this is one of my favourite subjects! One that has caused much debate, can spark arguements and has caused strike action for the demand of equal rights! It's a disussion that I love to air with friends, male or female, and it is something that will always be very important to me.
I think that the stand our Mothers and Grandmothers took on the original issue plays a part in how we look at it ourselves. I wrote a history paper on the Suffragettes fighting for a womans right to vote when I was eleven, and my primary school teacher said she really enjoyed reading it, it made her feel she was right there, living the experience. It is a shame I no longer have this paper, but I remember writing it, and feeling very passionate about my work. I wrote about women marching and chaining themselves to the government railings to prove thier point and be heard, and I remember enjoying this project very much. It sparked my interest in The Feminst Movement that occured in the Sixties and it was the start of me hunting down research, reading stories and watching movies that were based on this. I look around my flat now, and I can see that my life choices and entertainment means are based on women who are strong and self sufficient.

There will always be lots of talk about what women did and fought for to enable us to have the rights we do these days. Not all that long ago it was always the norm for men to to go work, do all the driving, to be the main breadwinner, and to be the protecter whilst the women stayed at home being the housewife. Men were the superior sex who could go to university if they opted to, whilst women had no such choice. They had the worry of learning how to cook, getting dinner on the table on time, keeping house and raising the children, all whilst looking presentable and smiling like they were on a permanent toothpaste add. Men ruled the household, made all the major decisions, and most of the time women were expected just to obey.
But thankfully, women started fighting back, demanding the right to vote, to be given equal pay, and to be treated with respect. As it says in 'Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves' by Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin, women started stepping out of the kitchen and ringing their own bells, and it wasn't a moment too soon in coming either!
 I will always feel unspeakably proud of the women who decided they would take action, and its thanks to them that we have the rights we do these days! We still have a long way to go though, as it is still commonplace to hear about domestic violence, rape and discrimination in the work place, so our fight will always continue. We need to open those 'closed doors' that can be spoken about in these cases and take the stigma of shame away from those who have suffered.

The Feminist Movement has changed somewhat in the twenty first century though, and I think this is a good thing, but it's sad to see that a few people view the word 'Feminist' in a negative way, picturing GI Janes who hate men. This is not how I view the whole thing at all, on the contrary I see it as a very positive movement. Nowadays it is based on the right to choose and having equality whilst still being a woman. Being a Feminist does not mean not shaving your armpits or legs to prove a point, nor does it mean throwing your make up bag away. It is not mandatory to be butch to be a feminist, you can still be feminine whilst holding onto your beliefs. Let's be fair, bra burning would be a costly hobby if the negative attitudes were to be believed and it would be even worse if Primark didn't stock your size (as is the case with me).
It is good to see that wearing heels and flattering clothes is a choice that can be made purely for yourself, rather than a way to lure a husband and breadwinner, and making an effort with your appearance is for your own self esteem and benefit. Women with children now have the choice to return to work if they so wish, or they can stay at home and raise their baby if that is what they want and can afford. I think these choices and beliefs are liberating and it is good to see that it is the norm now rather than a distant dream. Our feminist foremothers fought hard for this, and although the outside appearance may have changed somewhat, the sentiment and belief is still the same.

But even today this subject can create interesting discussions. A lot of my younger counterparts think Feminism is dead now, due to it not affecting them and thier choices. The older generations can appear either side of the fence depending on how they felt when it all originally kicked off, and us born on the cusp of it all can sometimes feel torn by the old and the new. We can see the older generation sticking to 'the good old ways' whilst the younger go through life like a blazing cannon.
I have had many things said to me about being a "good girl" by numerous people from the more mature of age, at various work places etc, and it has always been expected of many a woman to "get on with it" "carry on regardless" and "not air the dirty laundry"  People of my generation, and there abouts, can get very confused, and exausted by it all!
I will give you an example of  the difference in attitudes, the other day a colleague and I were talking about a heavy bag of sand that needed moving, she said "Where is a man when you need one?". And my response to this? Well, I dont make a habit of swearing in front of the little ones, but it is a miracle that 'my little chops' (as I shall call him) did not add the word "Bollocks" to his vast growing vocabulary! I then picked up the bag of sand, moved it to where it needed to go, and washed my mouth out with soap. Luckily there have been no more bags of sand since, which means I have not had to watch, or wash my mouth! I will try to be more careful in future, not because I want to come across more ladylike, demure and charming, oh no! I am happy as I am thankyou very much. I will just instead be aware that tiny ears may just be listening! But I hope this proves that when it comes to being a feminist, I hold my flag high (and yes I have shaved!) I have no shame in voicing my beliefs, and I sincerely hope that there are many others who agree with me, male and female. Because lets be honest here, Its all about equal rights across the board, and surely thats a good thing?