- Tell them to get a room at a hotel (one that allows children!)
- Tut loudly
- Do nothing (and plug my earphones in)… far too sensible, that one!
- Hit them. Lots.
- Start singing. Perhaps a song such as "it started with a kiss…" by Hot Chocolate. I wonder, is there a song called "f*** off and do that somewhere else before I strangle you with my scarf and bury you both in a plant pot!!"
- Find the nearest supermarket, buy a can of beans, scoff the lot and… well, you can probably guess the rest…
- Take photographs, threaten to tell their parents and then blackmail them for everything they've got (£2.43 in pocket money and half a packet of Chewits)
- mis-spelled words
- txt speak... E.G: "b4 u go out l8r dont 4get 2 put ur shoes on"
- words that have been changed by the 'predictive text' on the sender's phone
- Which womble would you be?
- What is your favourite allergy?
- Do you believe in hate at first sight?
- Have you ever pollenated a tomato plant using an electric toothbrush?
- What's in your freezer? (an exciting variation on the 'what's in your fridge' question from last time and an opportunity to catch out the psychopaths)
- Do you like my electronic tag - it's even got pretty, flashing lights on it…?
- So, what is your stance on cannibalism?
- Would you date a guy who lived in a tent?
- Why don't sheep shrink in the rain?
- Has anyone ever told you that you look like Bill Cosby? (no, I obviously wasn't intending to use that one)
- You pick up the first card, open it and find it has the perfect message:
I bought this Valentine's card at the store, in hope that, later, you'd be my whore.
Through all the things that came to pass, our love has grown... but so's your ass.
Our love will never become cold and hollow, unless, one day, you refuse to swallow!
Thinking, “wow, that was easy,” you make your way to pay.
- You pick up card after card, but can't find one that looks right or conveys the right message. What's more, every card seems to read like a miniature novel on how your love life should be, but isn't. If you plump for a card at random, you know fully well that she'll be thinking "he didn't really make an effort with this one, did he?" After two and a half hours of looking, with legs wobbling and brain rotting, you opt for the best one that you can find - a £20 gold-patterned card with a pig on it (let's hope she doesn't think you're calling her one).
- What is your dream job?
- Do you have any interesting collections?
- If you could wake up tomorrow with any ability, what would you choose?
- If you throw a cat out of a car window, does it become kitty litter?
- If a cow laughed, would milk come out of its nose?
- If someone with multiple personality disorder threatens suicide, is that considered a hostage situation?
- That's a lovely outfit… have you always been colour blind?
- You have a really interesting haircut… how much sponsorship money have you raised?
- So, how long have you been in the witness relocation programme?
- Are you a nun? Do you have any bad habits? (ok, that was a terrible joke)
- Have you given names to all of your head lice or just the special ones?
- Have you ever been on a date, but found that there was no spark? Well, you won't get that problem with me - I'm an arsonist!
- Is that piercing supposed to be there or has someone attacked you with a staple gun?
- So, how long have you owned your womble costume?
- I highly recommend colonic irrigation - have you ever tried it?
- Have you always had a moustache… I'm not sure it goes with that blouse?
- Why are you staring at me like that - haven't you ever seen a naked man before?
- Have you ever had the feeling you were being watched? No, good… (quickly change subject)
- Has anyone ever told you that when you laugh, you sound like the woman from the Krankies? Come to think of it, you don't look too dissimilar either…
- I've been trying to figure it out all night… are those breasts real?
- So, what do you think of my "I Shag On The First Date" t-shirt?
- Has anyone ever told you that you have very big hands for a lady… and is that an adams apple?
- Did I mention that I'm Gillian McKeith's younger brother? If you'd like to take a crap into this plastic box, I'll tell you what's wrong with your diet...
- Have you ever considered plastic surgery? I mean, they can do wonders with noses these days!
- Have you met my imaginary friend Phillip? Say hello, Phillip…
- Where would you like to go for our honeymoon - I was thinking Morocco…?
I chanced upon a website a few days ago called I Found Money Today. Owned by George Resch, the website is dedicated to his social experiment in anonymous giving. The premise is simple: he leaves small amounts of money in public places with the idea that someone will find the money. He has no control over who finds it or what they do with it. However, just by initiating this random act of kindness he makes a difference to the lives of other people - changing their mood, giving them a spike of emotion and maybe providing them with a sense that they’re not alone in the world. I think we can be sure that through his social experiments he has affected a number of people in a positive way, and who knows what might have happened as a result of that. It’s not just about George either, through his blog he has inspired other people to try it.
As part of my fabulous life (something I count myself as fortunate for having) I like to engage in random acts of kindness. From simple things like leaving a Creme Egg in a lift at Easter to giving away bunches of flowers to random strangers, these acts always give me a sense of belonging. Having visited George’s website, I decided that I wanted to have a go of my own at anonymously leaving some money. So I did…
I spent last night brainstorming my plan. Rather than leaving a note hanging to a tree or attached to a building, I wanted to try something a little different. So I built a boat. Do you want to see it? Of course you do. Here it is…
Lovely isn’t it? Even though I say so myself. On the side of the boat I wrote ‘soy tuya’ which, for those of you who don’t know Spanish, means “I’m yours.” I considered it a nicer message than “up yours.” Attached to the boat was a 100 Peso note (roughly about £5) and, for artistic effect, I crafted a sail out of a (non-used) cotton bud and some paper. So what was my plan for my little boat of money (HMS Ally)? Well my idea was to take it to the shopping village next door and place it in the water fountain in the middle of the main square. There it could be chanced upon by literally anyone. Although, saying that, the odds were slightly in favour of those people living in Mexico. It was highly unlikely that an eskimo would be finding it, for example.
This morning I set about constructing my boat. Everything went smoothly and as I finished attaching the sail I sat back to admire my creation. Just a quick photograph and I’d be ready to go… or so I thought…
I took the boat outside to photograph it next to the pool. The first photograph was good. But as I moved in to get another, a gust of wind hit the sail and sent the boat catapulting into the water in a scene slightly reminiscent of The Perfect Storm. It was a disaster. A maritime disaster.
After rescuing the money from the boat, and discarding the wet shipwreck into the bin, I grabbed another sheet of paper and began to build HMS Ally II. Once again I attached a sail and fastened my (now dry) note to the mast. All was good - my boat was in ship shape and ready to go. There was just time to get some photos by the pool, this time holding on to the boat. Here is the masterpiece…
and from the other side…
Boat in hand, I made my way to the shopping village with my friend Christian. Sitting down, we scoped out the location. As we did so, we noticed a security guard keeping a watchful gaze. Timing would be crucial in this attempt. As the security guard moved from his position, it was ‘go for launch.’ I went for it…
The attempt was successful. HMS Ally II was afloat. It was time to retreat and leave my little boat to float on until some unsuspecting passer by saw it and took their opportunity. As I looked back, only the sail was visible…
So who ended up with the money? Well who knows? My only hope is that whoever picked it out of the water ended up with a smile on their face as well as 100 Pesos in their pocket. One thing’s for sure - by George, it was fun.
I was using a supermarket self-checkout today, processing my items to the repetitive drone of “please place your item in the bagging area.” Next to me, an older couple were battling to put through their items of shopping, some (most) of which included bottles of alcohol. Most of you will be aware that when you buy alcohol at a self-checkout the attendant has to check your age. So, in this instance, their checkout light went red and a message popped up on their screen. Here is a transcript of the conversation that followed:
Lady: “Why is it telling us that we have to wait for assistance?” Attendant: “We have to check your age to ensure you aren’t underage” Lady: “Ah, ok. I suppose I should take it as a compliment, really? Ha ha ha…”
For some reason, I took umbrage at her stupid remark. I just about managed to hold back from vociferating in response:
“So, you think this piece of electronic equipment has a brain, do you? That’s mistake number one. Mistake number two is thinking that if it did have a brain, it would be stupid enough to think that you, a haggard old alcoholic woman who smells of musky piss and morning fresh, are actually a voluptuous 17-year-old woman with the face of an angel.”
“Oh, and, by the way, you should assume that the card payment machine thinks you’re trustworthy, that the supermarket’s automatic door likes you and that your trolley knows where your car is parked. Good luck!”
Today, I have decided to work from Costa; as a break from being at home. I’ve got my coffee, I’ve got my sandwich and I’ve got my berry muffin. Unfortunately for me, I’ve also “got” a teenage couple sitting on the table next to me. These two teenagers have clearly just discovered the delights of kissing (they’re sitting there sucking each other’s faces off). Now, anyone normal would find a corner somewhere to engage in this private and newly-exciting activity. But, no, they’re literally sitting right in the middle of Costa.
I could move all my stuff (laptop, jacket, bag, coffee, sandwich) onto another table nearby. But, instead, I’m going to sit here, moan lots and think up some mischievous ideas for what to do next. I could:
Maybe I’m just jealous. Do you think I’m jealous? When I was a teenager, I was just happy for a girl to notice me (usually followed by a face of disgust or a comment of “why are you standing outside the girls' changing rooms?"). I’m not bitter… ;)
Oh crap. I’ve just noticed. I’m looking around at the other tables in here and EVERYONE is a teenager. I’ve accidentally walked into the local puberty asylum. There’s only one thing for it, I’m going to have to put on some tracksuit bottoms, spray myself with 13 cans of Lynx deodorant and don a baseball cap.
You know what, I’m going to be a bit nicer to this couple. I mean, we were all young once. I haven’t eaten my muffin yet, so I could give them that… in small pieces… projected with velocity at their faces!! No, you know what, I’ll go and buy them a present… do they sell Chlamydia Test gift tokens in Boots? ;-)
Whether you love it or hate it, texting has become a major part of our daily lives. From keeping in touch with our friends to competitions and promotional offers on television and radio, these days we struggle to be away from our mobile phones for any length of time.
I saw a classic example of the promotional use of texting today whilst watching daytime television. A quiz was sponsored by a de-congestant and they were enticing people to find out more information by texting the word “mucus” to them. Lovely! What next?…
Latest offer: Win a pair of underpants. Simply text the words "I've soiled myself and my spare pair are in the washing machine" to 63352
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had numerous discussions with friends about frustrating text message conversations. Based upon those stories, I thought I’d write a post listing some typically frustrating types of text chat. You’ve probably been involved in some of the following types of conversation before:
Textual HarassmentThis label applies to those people who bombard us with text messages. I'm sure you've been in the situation before where you finish writing a text message, hit send and a reply arrives back on your phone before you've even had the chance to put it down and take a sip of your tea. By replying, you're signing a mini-contract to waste the best part of your day engaging the other person in pointless chatter. What a waste of bloody time!
Textual harrassers will, invariably, end up becoming stalkers and/or participants in late-night radio phone-ins.
Textual DysfunctionTexts arrive on your phone but don't make sense. Why? Because they are full of:
Beware of number 3. A casual phrase, such as this one describing your dinner preparations:
“I have topped off the plate with some peas”
can easily become:
“I have tossed off the slave with some pear”
Now, you’d think that people would read a message through before sending it. But, no. People suffering with textual dysfunction are busy using their single brain cell for another use (breathing, probably) and so have no available capacity do this. As a consequence, you spend half an hour deciphering the message. Text conversations with textual dysfunction sufferers are a constant frustration.
Premature Text EjaculationThis occurs when someone gets half way through writing a message and then accidentally pushes the send butt…
Textual FrustrationYou send an important text message requiring a quick response and stare longingly at your mobile phone - waiting for a reply to come back - for days on end. Nothing. Has the message arrived on the recipient's phone? Should you send it again? Perhaps they have replied, but it didn't send properly. One thing's for sure, you can't possibly pick up the phone and call them (that's far too sensible) so you'll have to just sit there and get frustrated until you end up throwing your phone at the wall (and missing, with your prized iPhone smashing straight through your 54 inch plasma television). Now you're even more cross...
Tosser... I'll never speak to him ag... ah, what's that bleeping sound coming from inside the television?
Those who engage in textual harassment tend to regularly suffer from textual frustration… usually within about 5 seconds of sending their message.
Rebound TextThis occurs when you dump your existing phone, after becoming bored with the features, and get a new model, with a new number. You must immediately send out the obligatory message to your entire contact list (3 people) to make them aware of your new number.
Textual DepravityThis label can be given to those people who regularly indulge in sending rude and tasteless jokes.
We all like a funny joke or two. However, there are some people who not only text jokes around to their entire address book, but also consider themselves to be the King/Queen of party entertainment. They pull their phone out of their pocket at gatherings and recite their entire list of jokes to everyone in the room. They chortle loudly at their own jokes, thinking they’re funny. However, everyone just thinks they’re a tosser.
Textual TensionThis label is for a text conversation where, due to the fact that text lacks emotion, something is misread and interpreted the wrong way, leading to a fight. Your sarcastic message to your other half telling him/her "thanks for cooking me dinner tonight, I wish I could say it was delicious..." may well receive the reply of "well, f*ck off then, you can cook next time..." This mistake is an expensive one, usually requiring flowers, chocolates and plenty of grovelling (in person and in text)...
To Conclude:Far from being joyous, texting can be an inconvenient and frustrating pain in the arse. It's time to take a good look at yourself. Do you fall into one of these categories? If so, keep it to your bloody self!!! ;)
On Friday evening I attended my second speed dating event. For those who haven’t read about the first action-packed speed dating adventure, you can read it here.
Now, I believe that it’s very important to make the right impression at these events. You should walk in with enthusiasm and a positive and happy attitude. First impressions are important - you need to demonstrate that you’re fun, confident and have a passion for life. Seemingly, no-one had mentioned all of that to the man who walked in, plonked himself on the sofa in the corner, fell asleep and started dribbling on his own shoulder. I felt very tempted to walk over and draw a Poirot moustache on him…
Friday’s speed dating event took place at the Oceana club in Brighton in one of their many themed rooms. We were in the ‘Parisian Boudoir.’ It is described as “intimate and plush” with velvet cushions and a seating area in the middle that resembles a four poster bed. In short, an ideal location for a detective murder mystery or a 19th century swingers party.
Before beginning the speed dating, I think it’s always important to have a quick scan of the competition (not just to check for electronic tags). Scanning the room, the other men looked as nervous and scared as a guide dog in a Korean takeaway. The two lovely hosts (bonus points for me when they read this), Emma and Casey, signed everyone in with the words “here’s your date sheet and your pen” - they should then have continued with “and here’s a complimentary . The emergency exits are here, here and here and we encourage you to relax, not to look like you’re about to shit yourself - this isn’t the bloody dentist!”
Have you ever been speed dating? Here’s a quick re-cap for those who haven’t. Ten women sit at numbered tables (or laying on plush beds), 10 men rotate around them and chat awkwardly for 5 minutes about nothing in particular whilst trying not to yawn, spit out bits of their dinner or discuss the current state of the economy. At the end of the allotted time, there’s a shake of hands, a tick of a box (‘date,’ ‘friend’ or ‘no thanks’) and a quick memo of “reminds me of Hercule Poirot and seems to have a strange stain on his shoulder” in the ‘notes’ section. Then it’s on to the next victim…
To aid my own conversations on Friday, I came up with another useful list of questions to ask. These included:
The event was fun and much hilarity was had. By the time we got to the end, even ‘Poirot’ looked like he was enjoying himself.
Following the event, a few of us got together to chat with a drink. One guy recounted the story of a previous speed date involving a disabled man who was speaking using a computer and voice synthesiser. That brought into my head the very humorous vision of Professor Stephen Hawking on a speed date…
A day or so after the speed dating, I was sitting in a cafe and received the email containing my results. Just as I was opening the email, a message which informed me that no-one had ticked my ‘date’ box (though 6 ticked ‘friend’), a Bee Gees song began playing in the background. The irony was not lost on me… “Tragedy… when the feeling’s gone and you can’t go on it’s a tragedy… it’s hard to bear, with no-one to love you you’re going nowhere…”
For those who haven’t read my last speed dating article, it is available here.
Do you have any funny speed dating experiences?
In preparation for the event, I scoured the Internet for some advice and tips and also some suggestions for questions that I could ask. The advice was useful, but the question suggestions were either boring or ones that I’d rather smash a pint glass over my head than ask. For example, “So, which character in friends do you most identify with?" Uh!
On the evening of the event, I arrived at the pub and was presented with a card on which there were a series of boxes. I was told to write the number and name of each lady in the left hand column boxes after I had sat down and made my introduction. Next to those were 3 smaller tick boxes - “date,” “friend” and “no thanks.” Notable by their absence were the options for “quick shag outside by the back wall,” “restraining order” and “call the police, I’ve seen this guy on Crimewatch.”
There was also a column on the sheet marked “notes”, in which we could write facts about the person in order to aid our memory in the time that followed the event. Such scribbles could include “psychopath,” “reminds me of Margaret Thatcher” and “DO NOT GIVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER TO THIS LADY EVEN IF YOU ARE COMPLETELY PISSED!” Obviously, we were told not to write the notes infront of the person whilst talking to them. E.G: “I notice you have a glass eye, spit when you talk and look like my best friend’s ugly aunt, I’ll just make a quick note of that on my sheet…”
Helpfully, on the reverse of the card there were some ideas listed for questions that we could ask if we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of an awkward silence (so, no need for me to use my emergency ‘Friends character’ question). Bizarrely, one of those questions was “what’s in your fridge?" It was so ridiculously random that I used it several times throughout the evening (phrased in a jokey manner). It did, however, backfire on me on one occasion, where the lady spent the following minute and a half listing everything in her fridge… I actually tried interrupting her in the middle, but she refused to stop until she had named everything. Perhaps a sign of OCD? (I used the time to jot that down on my ‘notes’ sheet whilst she was finishing her fridge items list). Definite traits of a Monica there (albeit a bit older).
We had a mammoth 7 minutes to talk to each lady, with 10 ladies in total. They stayed on the same sofa/chair/bar stool/hammock (no, not really) whilst the men rotated around the room looking like cows being led to the slaughter house. The 7 minutes seemed like a long time at first, but actually flew by on every occasion… with the exception of one. During that particular episode, the lady repeatedly answered my questions with one-word, nondescript answers - she was definitely a Phoebe!
There was a real mixture of women at the event and I got along well with all of them. Some were being very serious about the whole thing. E.G:
Lady: “I come to these regularly to find dates… what’s your star sign please?” Me: “I’m not sure, but I think it’s in the constellation with Uranus…” Lady: ………
Other ladies were taking things less seriously. With that being said, I was disappointed not to get an opportunity at any point to ask a question from my list of unusual questions, such as:
After all the 7 minute torture sessions where over, everyone headed to the bar to relax, and, in the case of a few people, get completely shit-faced. The results weren’t pretty - at one point one of the ladies pulled down the top of her trousers to show me her ‘Mr Tickle’…
Anyway, enough about tattoos of Mr Men characters (well, what else did you think I was talking about?). This speed dating event was fun. However, due to the fact that I had chosen an “over 30s” event, everyone there was older than me and most were over 40 (hey, I still got 3 phone numbers). It’ll be interesting to compare it with a speed dating event for a 26-39 age group (which I hope to attend in a couple of weeks time). I suspect they will be less fun, more serious and won’t be arriving by way of their free bus passes…
…I wonder what they’ll have in their fridge? Hey, come to think of it, what have you got in yours?
Why not read my latest speed dating article, speed dating in the boudoir?
Well, it was inevitable. Your partner bought you cake and chocolates for your birthday and now they’re showing on your waist. You looked in the mirror today and your self-esteem dropped through the floor. Thank goodness your home was built well, otherwise you might have plummeted through the floor with it. With the weather being so cold outside, the idea of a run seems about as enviable as a night in doing your tax return. There’s only one thing for it - you’re going to have to make a visit to the gym…
Prising yourself out of the warmth of your home, and wearing your most fashionable leotard, you head along to the local fitness centre - Waist Management.
After paying your entrance fee, you squeeze through the turnstiles and are greeted with a plethora of torture devices. It’s decision time; should you try the rowing machine, the cross-trainer or the treadmill?
As if things aren’t already uncomfortable enough for you, in your over-tight leotard, you’ve just spotted someone that you know and, inevitably, hate. It’s your work colleague, Hal (surname: Itosis), a man with a mouth so gargantuan that he could use a broom to brush his teeth. He enjoys winding you up with his sarcastic comments (whilst wafting a mixture of marmite and espresso breath past your nostrils). The annoying shit is leaning on the water machine trying to pretend he’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’ll no doubt take pleasure in watching you prance up and down on a cross-trainer looking like the back half of a pantomime cow.
Whilst thoughts of dread echo through your mind, one of the cross-trainers becomes free, as the man drags himself off and crawls away towards the water machine. He’s left behind a present for you - his sweat; all over the machine.
After dragging the entire contents of the paper towel dispenser across the room, tripping up several people in the process, you dry the cross-trainer, clamber on and start your exercising. You set the machine to level 1 difficulty so that you can move really fast and look far more impressively fit than you are. Instead of looking at you, everyone will be looking at the guy to your left, Jim, who is struggling on level 10 (whilst listening to ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ from the Rocky film). You’ve nicknamed him Jim because of his uncanny resemblance to Jimmy Saville.
A few minutes later…
After three minutes on the cross-trainer, you’re beginning to feel bored. No-one is sharing conversation (so much for the gym being a social thing). Instead, everyone around you is wearing earphones; plugged into their music mix of Lady GaGa, Bon Jovi and the Village People. In need of something to break the tedium, you stare at the television that sits bolted to the wall at the front of the room. It’s showing music videos. Well, they’re supposed to be music videos. They actually seem to be a mixture of nudity, sadomasochism and debauchery… with lyrics that you can’t actually hear.
Ten minutes more hard work go by…
You’re kicking up quite a sweat. The realisation then hits you that you’ve been in a trance for the last five minutes - unable to drag your eyes from the hypnotic movement of the female walrus on the running machine in front. Determined not to focus on her repetitive buttock movement (RBM), you look back up at the television screen. The music channel has taken a commercial break and the television is now taunting you with an advert for fish and chips. Wow, that looks good…
There must be some consolation for this continued torture - the exercise must be doing you good. You’ve probably burned off enough calories for…. fish and chips. You look down at your screen for some statistics and it’s only too willing to show you - you’ve been exercising for 15 minutes, you’ve burned off 100 calories and your heart rate is…. it’s not showing. It was showing a minute ago, but now it’s not. That’s it then - you’re dead. You decide to warn Jim on the machine next to you that he may need to call an ambulance. He’s still got his headphones in, so you’ll need to scribble it down…. “Dear Jim, please can you fix it for me to have an ambulance, as I think my heart has stopped?”
Life and death
Ten minutes further on and you’re still alive and kicking - it looks as if you won’t need that ambulance after all. The same can’t be said for poor Jim, who is laying face down on the floor. A brief, cruel smirk rises across your face as you remember that he was, ironically, listening to a song by Survivor ten minutes ago.
Looking around at the other people in the room, the walrus has finished on her running machine and is now fiddling with her briefs to try and extract them from her bottom. The gym instructor is looking frustrated at the immense pile of paper towel sitting on the floor next to your cross-trainer… you decide not to acknowledge him and hope that he doesn’t realise you were responsible. Wondering where Hal’s gone, you look behind you and realise that he’s been on the weight machines staring hypnotically at your bottom for the last 20 minutes. The shit - he’s going to have a field day with this one.
After finishing your workout, you stagger to the water machine. As you stand there, feeling tired but good, the paramedics carry Jim past you on a stretcher. The poor bugger.
Gym session over. Tomorrow you’re going to feel stiffer than a w*nker’s hanky. The question is: which will hurt more - the aching from your gym session or the sarcastic comments from Hal?
Right, time for fish and chips….
The guy (or woman - this isn’t a gender-specific annoyance) who walks into a cafe on a cold day and leaves the door open. It only takes 2 seconds to close the door and save everyone from a chilling blast of arctic cold up their jacksey.
Yet this idiot, wearing his super-thick winter coat, doesn’t think about that, does he?
So, what happens next?
You get up from your chair and walk across to ‘ferme la porte’, ensuring that you slam it hard enough that the noise resonates around the room and shakes all the pictures off the walls. Everyone looks up at you, except for the ignorant ‘merde’ who left it ajar in the first place. You then trudge back to your seat (although in your mind you’re walking up to the man, grabbing his head and bashing it onto the counter infront of him).
You sit down, feeling irritated, and continue with what you were doing (the crossword in the newspaper, in which, coincidentally, the answer to 4 across is ‘tosspot’ - well, it’s not really, but it does fit, so f*ck it!)
Just as your mood begins to return to somewhere near normality, the inevitable happens. The guy has ordered take-away and, having paid for his sandwich and coffee by emptying the entire collection of loose change from his wallet, bag and coat pockets into a heap on to the counter, he opens the door and goes to walk out. You’re waiting for him to either shut the door behind him or give you the motive for murder.
Instead, he taunts you by doing neither and begins a long goodbye speech to the cafe owner (with the door wide open). Well, that’s enough for you - you get up off your chair, spilling the unfinished crossword to the floor, and sprint across the room, slamming the door in his face and knocking him and his coffee half way down the street. That’ll teach the little ‘4 across!’
Update: To my delight, I've just found out that there's a 'Close The Door' campaign in the UK. Find out more about it here.
One wonders who hates Valentine’s Day more - the man trying to find something suitably romantic for his partner or the guy who receives nothing and ends the day unloved… and locked up for stalking.
So, for a man, how does a typical Valentine’s Day shopping trip turn out…
It’s February the 13th and you’ve left it late. It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and you’ve put the dreaded shopping trip off as long as you can. Your prayers for a nuclear holocaust have gone unanswered. What’s more, your clever scheme to coat the 2010 calendar in dog food didn’t work either. Your hungry dog, Charlie, ignored it and chewed through your favourite pair of slippers instead. There’s only one thing for it, you’re going to have to go out shopping.
So, what should you buy? You’re going to need one hell of a romantic gesture to beat last year’s effort. Spelling “I love you Catharine Elizabeth Alexandra Mackenzie” in your own blood, whilst bungee jumping from a crane, resulted in a month in the Intensive Care ward. You can only blame yourself… for choosing a partner with such a long name. On the plus side, the effort did win you immense respect (from other men).
Not only do you have to contend with bettering last year, but you also have to out-romance your partner’s best friend. A week hardly goes by without your partner’s friend bragging about the romantic gestures that her husband makes, and your partner thinks nothing of mentioning them to you in conversation. The cow (that’s aimed at the friend, obviously, not your partner!).
The Card Shop(the easiest part of the shopping expedition… supposedly)
So, what message should you look for in a Valentine’s Day card? If you’re in a relationship, you’re looking for a card that gives the message “I love you more than life itself," without going over the top. If you’re playing the field a bit, you’re looking for the card that says “you are the one and only," in a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer…
You walk into the card shop and are immediately greeted by a sea of red Valentine’s Cards, going on as far as the eye can see. The last time you saw this amount of red concentrated in one place was when you drunkenly knocked a bottle of Merlot on to your friend’s carpet (and proceeded to try and lick it up). Standing in front of the abundant rows of cards are lines of confused-looking men, scratching their heads, leaning to one side and dribbling from one side of the mouth. You walk over to join them. At this point one of two things happen:
Choosing a Present
Right, so, you’ve bought the card. Now you have to think about a present…
Flowers are a good option for your loved one for Valentine’s Day (and they represent your relationship well - after a while they wither and die). Now then, would she prefer red, yellow, white or pink and how much should you spend?
Ordinarily, chocolates would make a good present. But you know fully well that she’ll only scoff the lot and then ask you the question “do you think I look fat?” two days later.
A romantic idea. However, you’ll only get the wrong size and, besides, the last time you tried to buy lingerie you were thrown out for ogling the breasts of the sales girls.
You could take her out for dinner. But you’ve left it late and all the decent restaurants have been booked up already. So, it’s either a meal at the local greasy spoon or a take-away kebab.
There’s always the romantic thought of cooking her dinner. But last time you cooked beans on toast you accidentally destroyed her favourite saucepan and set fire to Charlie. She’d never forgive you if you did that again, and neither would Charlie (what’s left of him).
It looks pretty hopeless - you’d better find yourself a bungee cord and a crane (I suggest you just draw a heart this year and forget about her name!).
To help you, I’ve come up with a handy list of questions that you can ask your date, to get the conversation moving again.
Here's some good ones:
And here's some alternative ones:
This blog post features in the onlinedating.org 45 articles on questions to ask before the first date article.
You know what? Snow reminds me of a distant Auntie’s visit on Christmas Day. Everything seems very pleasant and enjoyable for the first 5 minutes and the children enjoy playing with her. But then you realise that she hasn’t really brought anything nice with her. She then overstays her welcome, irritates you to the point of hatred and gives you a frosty reception when you attempt to reshape her into a man.
Still, at least you can rely on teenagers to provide a smile in the snowy weather. I don’t know about you, but I feel positive that the future of our country will be safe in the hands of our young folk; particularly the ‘sensible ones’ who walk around in the bitter cold wearing t-shirts (or hoodies) and writing “amusing” messages on the front of parked cars. I watch them walk down the road, hoping that at some point they might slip over and impale themselves on a fence post. Should it happen, I intend to nip out and transcribe the word “twat!” in the pool of blood lying next to them. Hey, I may even draw a little picture.
Is Social Networking Breeding a New Culture Of Self-importance?
So, you’ve got 200 Facebook friends and 20 Twitter followers. You feel important - right up there, in celebrity status, alongside Tom Cruise, Pope Benedict XVI and… Susan Boyle. People seem to want to follow your every move - and you oblige by telling them when you eat breakfast, visit the toilet and wash your best pair of pants.
Then, one day, you go through your friends list and it hits you - 195 of your 200 Facebook friends are actually made up of the following:
1) Former classmates from school (who you didn’t really know because you were busy studying in the library or hiding in the janitor’s cupboard whilst they were fighting, smoking and having teenage sex behind the lockers)
2) Old work colleagues (who regularly taunted you for your unusual dress sense and over-large nose).
3) People you met once at a social occasion, but never really spoke to. You just remember their name and the fact that they like bird watching.
4) People who mistake you for someone else (well, you did put a picture of Scooby Doo as your profile photo) and then can’t be bothered to remove you when they realise you’re not who they thought you were.
Despite discovering all this, you still find yourself needing to log on to Facebook and Twitter at every available opportunity to check whether someone has written on your wall (technically, graffiti), posted a follow-up to your comment, or to see if someone has re-tweeted your earlier 140 character creation of genius. Later that day, your only real friend goes through your Twitter followers list and breaks some extra bad news to you: 18 of your 20 Twitter followers are actually just porn pedlars.
The Lives Of The Self-Important
So, why do social networking websites make people think that they must share everything with the world? Perhaps it is down to the questions that they ask: “what are you doing?” or “what’s happening?” (Twitter) or “what’s on your mind?” (Facebook). It’s a dream come true for people with over-inflated egos.
I’m amazed when people tweet that they’re sitting in traffic on the motorway, washing their hair or about to go out and buy a new pair of knickers. Now, if they were about to meet Pope Benedict XVI (or Susan Boyle, I don’t mind which) and present him (or her) with the fore-mentioned pair of knickers, I would be interested (and would probably even re-tweet it to my own tens of ‘interested’ followers). For me, these people put the “twit” into Twitter.
When out in public, the behaviour of the self-important is extraordinary to watch. I observed one such person on Friday night. I was in a busy cocktail bar and as it got towards the end of the night, I glanced to the side of the room to observe a rather inebriated man sit down at a computer screen and log in to Facebook. You could tell he was drunk - it was a real struggle for him to locate and type each letter of his username and password. If that wasn’t a complete giveaway to his drunken state, his next action certainly was, as he got up shouted out “I’ve got my lasagne” and then proceeded to pull a small plastic bag out of his pocket (containing said lasagne) and whirl it round and round his head in celebration…
Now then, at that point I could have considered it to be a monumental moment worth sharing with the Internet world, taken out my iPhone and tweeted ‘just stood in a cocktail bar and watched a man whirl lasagne around his head". Did I? No… damn, why didn’t I?
To conclude this rant, an idea: Perhaps Twitter should change its initial question to say: “so, what makes you think you’re so bloody interesting today?”
Maybe someone should also start a list of ‘self-important people’ (not to be confused with ‘self impotent’ people - that’s a different blog post altogether), gather them all in the same place, with their computers and mobile phones, and see what happens. Forget the Hadron Collider and the Maya 2012 predictions - this idea could really cause the destruction of mankind!