Sunday, January 16, 2005

Some dating emails

Hi I'm Lynne I live in East London. Thought you sounded like you had similar interests. P.S. My photo does not really look like me, in real life look a lot trendier and have curly hair.

Actually I just sent you a wink but upon re-examination of your profile I see that you are worth so much more. So....Kate.

Hi there, Just wanted to congratulate you on having one of the most amusing profiles. On the chuckle out loud factor, you scored very highly. Anyway over to you if you want to make contact. If not thanks for making me laugh. Best wishes Liz

Dont you find after trawling through a few pages of these things everyone begins to sound the same?... and then suddenly someone sounds very different...if you'd like to contact me that would be nice...but weither you do or dont I'd still like to congratulate you on writing a very funny, very personal and very entertaining profile...Saoirse

Hi, I actually laughed several times which is good, but now Im intrigued about the drunken welsh a menacing way? a ridiculous way? a get the fuck out of our homeland kind of way?

Hello, was definitely smiling at some of your bits, but probably still puzzling at why I haven't yet got an iPod. I work for a software company so the technology really isn't beyond me. Think I'm just too wedded to reading the crappy little vignettes in the Metro on my short journey to work to listen to music at the same time. Did you know that Gordon Brown has one glass eye? I read that in the paper and no one I knew could confirm or deny ...... Also go in phases where music is concerned after I bought a Manic Street Preachers album by mistake without fully appreciating it was pants and just bought the new Morcheeba album before realising that they'd changed singers. However, have turned a corner with U2 and no longer think Bono is a wanker. enough rambling Sarah

Hello, You seem to be one of the rare people who have actually listed what kind of music they like, as opposed to just tick boxes, which I like (as may be obvious from my "online moniker" and my profile, if you get that far. Would be interested to see the rest of your top 20 (was it 20?), which was sadly cut out... music-fan

Hi, Liked your profile, amusing and apparently honest. Although if you'd followed the example of other people on this site you might have jazzed it up a bit. Fluent in 15 languages, pilots licence and just waiting to hear about a Nobel Prize for some other amazing achievment, that sort of thing.
Anyway, would be nice if you got in touch. Jazzbabe, Oxford, Oxfordshire

My name is Marget i saw your profile and i love it. I think we can click please i will like you to email me back through my email address thus Awaiting to see your lovely reply soon. Marget, Lithuania

I liked your profile as I'm also in N.London, if you want to meet for a cuppa tea and a natter, drop me a line If not, best of luck with your search, Best wishes, Gemma

Hello there. Well we seem to have several things in common; the ubiquitous iPod and kind of silly usenames. The only time I tried horseriding, though, I thought that digging your heels in meant stop, so I could probably do with a few lessons... A

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Demographic Shift - 34

It is winter, it is cold and people are getting really stupid ideas. I'm wondering if the whole desire to downshift has all got out of hand.

My friends are exhibiting increasingly odd behaviour. The problem is that they're like kids, I swear as soon as one has done it they all want to. I thought for ages downshifting was just one of those fads that afflicted hippies and people working in the City with guilty consciences.

They are coming out with the same nonsensical hogwash about wanting to give something back, in the way people talk about returning a pair of ill-fitting trousers to the store. Worryingly most of the time they are quite sober, which is all the more disturbing.

You really don't expect friends who have real jobs working in the media to do it. I've blamestormed this and decided that it's all Susan's fault. I swear that girl is incorrigible.

Susan quit her job for a life of leisure, also known as going freelance, although freelancing seems to involve a lot of free and really not a great deal of lancing. What is lancing anyway? Susan is convinced it's the best thing she has ever done.

She keeps calling me and telling me I should quit as well. She's like one of those little devils that sit on your shoulder whispering for you to throw caution to the wind. Lucky I'm totally impervious to her insane advice.

"Are you mad? That's like fast tracking to instant poverty and never passing go again."

"You'll be fine. Look at me, no instant poverty."

"Yeah about that, my guess is that you're secretly working away like the clappers."

"Not true, I'm limiting myself to three days work a week. I'm using the rest of the time to explore myself."

"Explore yourself? Oh come on please, don't talk like that."

"I'm serious."

"Yeah and I'm worried, I can't do what you've done. I'd be too concerned that I'd start wearing sandals, telling people I want to explore myself and have my own expensive yoga mat."

"Gord, you have your own yoga mat."

"OK, but the rest of it."

"Gord you need to let go."

"Yeah, I'm planning to just as soon as I'm 50 old and ruined. Besides your advice is entirely unsound. Look at Adam?"

"Oh hardly my fault."

Sadly this is not true. It's totally her fault. It was Susan's advice that "helped" Adam to make up his mind and quit his communications director job and take a year out. This currently entails brushing up on his French in Paris and chasing around 20-something American girls who are "doing Europe". I'm not against this -- I've always firmly believed that someone should "do Europe". The place is getting out of hand.

Frankly, it's all getting a little 'Lost in Translation' He hasn't bought a yellow Porsche yet, but that's only because he's broke. He's been there a couple of months now and the only thing he seems to have worked out is that doing nothing but acquire hangovers is really a rather enjoyable way of spending time.

He seems to spend the rest of his time sitting in cafes drinking black coffee and reading great works of literature.

The spooky thing is he, and he's not the only one, has turned into one of those amnesiacs who seem to have forgotten that they wanted to do these exact same things when they were in their twenties. You know the type, they wore too much black, smoked too many cigarettes and basically tried to affect a "too cool for school" demeanour.

When I get the latest news on the phone he tells me he has even started smoking again.

"Don't you find it a little scary that you have totally reverted. And you're even smoking again, what's that about?"

"Smoking is cool, I enjoy it."

"You'll start writing bad poetry any day now and tell any girl who will listen to you that you're working on a great unfinished novel detailing the decline of European civilisation."

"That was you."

"Damn you're right, but still you're heading down that road and you're 35, it's got to stop."

"I'm having fun. I can't remember the last time I did this. I should have downshifted ages ago. What's your problem? Are you worried it's catching?"

You know I think that's what it is exactly. I am totally worried that it's catching. I mean think about it? No don't -- you'll be typing a resignation letter before the day is out.

What I am not jealous of is the others at the other end of the scale, who instead of opting for a holiday life have opted for something quite different. They have taken or are considering the downshifting route to misery.

One friend has sold his flat and become a motorcycle courier. He's gone all leathery and beardy but then his taste in music was always terribly eclectic. It's weird to see. Another, Marcus, is going further still and considering becoming a teacher. Could you think of anything worse? Motorcycle courier is one thing, but a teacher? OMG, that's just the height of insanity. I'm convinced I can save him by entering into a rational discussion, if not I plan to simply shout.

"Sorry, I think I misheard you, I thought you said you were thinking becoming a teacher, which would of course make no sense."

"I did."

"OMG, a teacher, are you insane?"

"No, I'm serious. I need to do something different. I'm tired of all this. I get nothing out of it. I want to do something where I give something back."

"Donate to charity. Take a holiday, chase women you are too young to date, or make a fool of yourself some other way. That way you will get over it, but teaching? That's the road to madness, well if not that at least alcoholism and depression, both of which are terribly unhip."

"I feel unfulfilled."

"And your problem is?" I shrugged my shoulders. "You get well paid."

"I know, but I always thought I'd be a good teacher," Marcus said, smiling kind of dreamily, the way insane or happy people do.

Do you see the problem? It's the same with all of them, they're overcome by this slightly dreamy view of life elsewhere. It doesn't seem to matter if you tell them the grass is no greener on the other side, that in fact it's more scorched earth with burning tyres, they just don't see it.

"A good teacher?" I nodded. I didn't what to be too critical, you know worried that I might tip him over the edge. "But have you thought about the kids? They'd try to deck you and generally make your life a misery -- that's their job, the parents would be worse."

"I'm pretty sure that's exaggerated. I'm looking for a creative exchange of ideas."

It was at this point that I had to scratch my head. I had to start to wonder if he had actually been to school, you know like ever, because from what he was saying it didn't really sound like he had. A creative exchange of ideas? I mean seriously whoever heard of it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Demographic Shift - 33

It is pretty much universally agreed that someone somewhere is having a better time than you. This is never more true than on New Year's Eve, particularly when they are phoning to tell you so.

Phoning, I mean seriously who does that? I'll tell you who, Susan. The phoning bit isn't even the bad part. The worst bit is that she was calling me from within the same house.

"I just snogged a 23-year-old guy."

"You what?"

"I just snogged..."

"Yeah, yeah, I got that, but why are you telling me this? Scratch that, why are you calling me at all. Where are you?"

"I'm in the kitchen."

Of course she was, except hang on a minute... I was in the kitchen and had been for hours. I had been in the kitchen and hardly moved. I was like the guy holding court but, you know, without the court bit. During which time I had not seen a trace of Susan. I had even considered calling that missing persons show although I couldn't remember if they did a New Year special.

"What are you talking about? I am in the kitchen and I haven't seen you in hours."

"Not that kitchen silly, the other kitchen, next to the garden."

Silly? Who says that? It seemed to be another sign of regression among my friends, part of that gentle thirty-something slip to an earlier age. Having said that, I was convinced also that calling people up and telling them you had just snogged someone was another sign of slippage.

"Oh good for you."

"Don't say it like that, I can't help that I'm having a better time than you, can I?"

Oh the cheek of it, how could she even say that to me on this, of all days of the year.

"Hey, you don't know that."

Susan snickered down the line.

"He he he, oh come off it Gord, we all know that you have been standing in the same spot for hours and haven't moved. That's one of your things."

"One of my things?! I don't have a thing."

"Oh you have several things, and really... about those things? If you haven't made a New Year's resolution yet, would you mind if I suggested that you resolve to lose those things in 2005."

"Hey! The guy you're with isn't tall and gangly and on drugs is he? Only I saw one of my cousins running around and well... I think he liked you. He said there was something about older women. He said that they were less choosy. Do you think that's really true? As, to be honest, that has not been my observation."

"Ha! No, this boy is sober."

"Seriously? He said that? Damn, that's my line."

"Gord, I hate to tell you, but you are such a bad loser. Oh, got to go, he wants to snog again."

With that, Susan hung up on me. Did I mention that that girl worships at the altar of the last word. I swear it's like some international female religion. Susan can be so harsh sometimes.

Adam asked me in a barely awake, barely able to raise attention levels kind of way who I had been yammering away on the phone to.

"You mean you can't guess?"

"Well I thought it was Susan, but considering she is actually at the same party, that didn't make any sense and after logically eliminating her I couldn't think who else it could possibly be."

Logical? What on earth was he talking about? I was standing there trying to work out in what crazy construct Adam was able to form a link between logic and women. Then it hit me, as we had been here since seven o'clock (what's that about?) and it was now gone midnight, Adam was drunk, which was the only way to explain his craziness.

"Think again. It was Susan, she is snogging some underage child out back and wanted to let everyone, and by everyone you know I mean us, know what a perfectly wonderful time she was having."

"Why is she having a better time than us?"

"It's the universal law that someone somewhere is having a better time than you. Come on, you know this stuff."

My personal feelings about New Year's Eve is that it is an invitation to your own personal disaster movie where you: A) say silly things ("I really like you"); and B) do even stupider things, which inevitably leads to the question "How on earth did I end up here?". Not so on this occasion, chiefly because despite drinking endless amount of Budweiser I was dreadfully sober. I know it says 5% on the bottle, but I think that that's just an imperialist American lie. I am pretty much sure that the truth is -5%.

Don't worry this is not going to be one of those post-New Year's Eve party rants. Who am I kidding -- that's a total lie, that's just what it is.

This year was a little different as my sister threw an engagement party for a hundred of her closest friends, with a sprinkling of relatives and family friends. In part, this meant every time I left the kitchen I would bump into another relative/family friend who would first ask after my marital status (I swear to god, I think my mother briefed them at some secret pre-party planning meeting) and would then (with a sigh) inform me that their daughter was single.

Mrs Fitch even offered to call her daughter up for me and drag her out of bed at 1.30 in the morning.

"She's only just gone to bed."

"Really? I think she'd probably rather stay there."

"But you two used to play so well together."

"Yeah, I take it she doesn't have the red bike any more?"

This is engagement number two for my sister, following the cancellation of the Hertfordshire wedding spectacular some time back that left my mother's organisational skills at something of a loose end. My mother is still in negotiations with my sister about the planning for wedding number two. At this stage, everything is up for grabs.

Still in the kitchen at around 2am, Adam was again blaming me entirely for his poor evening during which he refused point blank to let up in registering his utter disappointment.

"You promised me there would be single women here."

"I know. I promised everyone the same thing, it seemed only fair, although to be honest some people gave me a slightly funny look when I said that."

"But why would you do that?"

"Well, it's what my sister promised me."

"Great, what does that tell you?"

"Chiefly, that sibling promises are as worthless as those of internet retailers who promise that they will get you your gifts in time for Christmas."

"You know Susan is the only single girl here, don't you?"

"Well to be honest, there is a divorced friend of my mother's, she's 63 but really pretty game."


"Don't worry, I'm sure you will have better luck at the wedding."