Sunday, 15 May 2011

High Standards?

I sometimes wonder if I’ll turn into one of those grumpy old men who sit around moaning on about the youth of today, discussing the good ol’ days and handing out Werther’s to anyone under the age of 30 in the vague hope they might help me across the road or clean my gutters. Or worse, become one of those toothless old men who sit in their recliner chairs ogling the lusty widow across the street, uttering the groan inducing “In my day...” or “When I were a lad...” at the beginning of every other sentence. If I do, then it’s probably time to have me committed. Either that or bump me off and inherit... well... whatever’s left to pay on my student loan and the various Premium Bonds that seemed like such a good idea at the time.
But then I got to wondering about who I’m going to share my latter years with? Who’ll be the Bonnie to my Clyde; the Kate to my Wills; and more importantly who’s going to be there to help me try out some of the stuff from Sex for the over 60s?
I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships recently; mainly the fact that I’m not in one and everybody else is. This was reinforced by the fact that I had to separate two thirteen year olds from exploring each other’s tonsils only to be greeted with, “But Sir, they’re in love.” Love? What do thirteen year olds know about love? The only love they know is for the latest emo pop princess, or the most recent incarnation of a sultry blood-sucker.
Fear not; I have a solution!
I have signed up to online dating, because let’s face it, if that doesn’t result in true love, then what will?
Now the first time I dipped my toe into the pool cesspit of internet dating, this was courtesy of the old housemate and her friend. I should have been suspicious that something was going on; after all there is only a certain amount of time two girls can stay quiet before a plan for world domination (or fixing up single friends) comes about.
“Have you checked your emails recently?” was the innocent tag to my imminent romantic humiliation. On opening my inbox I saw this message;
Re: Registration for My Single Friend
What?! Am I really so socially inept that even my friends realise that I’m not going to be able to meet someone without a) serious external influence of relationship veterans, or b) a page about me on what can only be described as an online cattle market!
“What is this?”
“Well you’re not exactly doing much to help yourself, are you?” was the response.
I would just like to point out at this stage that as a 24 year old male, I see nothing wrong with sitting in at 8 o’clock on a Saturday night, wearing my pyjamas, drinking hot Ribena (it was a cold night!) and watching X Factor (although it might be slightly unforgivable that I was actually quite enjoying it!) I mean what woman wouldn’t find that an attractive combination? Surely all I’m missing is a copy of Reader’s Digest and a snowflake print jumper and I’d be quite the catch!
Needless to say that after a few minutes of perusing the various talent (if that’s the right word) that Birmingham has to offer, and finding out that I actually had to pay £30.99 for the privilege of admitting that I couldn’t find love like a normal person, that I quickly put this idea to bed. But then I discovered...
Free Online Dating.
Score! What can possibly be wrong with that?
(Now did you want the full list or the abridged version?)
The first thing that should have started the alarm bells ringing was the fact that as well as the usual Are you looking for a relationship, dating, friends etc, there was a button that said intimate encounter. Let’s face it, it may as well have said, No strings fuck, can’t guarantee it will be great but if you are desperate enough to use this site what do you expect. STI included in the package. Needless to say I didn’t tick that box.
Anyway as luck would have it, soon after I signed up to this site I received notification that BubblyBunny176 (or one of her equally desperate friends) had sent me a message.
“Hey babez, yu luk cute. B wikid to hear from ya chick. Msg me bak. Xxx”
If anyone can translate what that actually means through the plethora of phonics and substitutions, then please enlighten me!
I should mention that on my profile I said that I was a Masters student and that I worked within the generic area of “Education”, so what on earth made BubblyBunny176 think that I would be attracted to poor spelling and appalling grammar? I mean seriously? I spend enough of my life correcting shoddy grammar and adding punctuation at work. I’ll tell you something love, nothing gets me going like a girl to can punctuate; use a semicolon correctly and I’m yours.
Let’s face it; I’m going to be single forever.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Everybody needs good neighbours...

When it comes to neighbours, I don’t seem to have much luck. As it happens I would like to think that I am a pretty awesome person to live next door to; I don’t throw loud parties or play loud music at random intervals throughout the night, granted you might hear some extremely questionable renditions of chat toppers when I’m in the shower, but other than that I’m pretty damn good. So why is it that everyone around me seems to think that they need to make up for this by pushing the boundaries or what is socially (and in some cases morally and psychologically) acceptable?
This story all starts with the eponymous “Lumber” and more to the point Lumber’s girlfriend. The illusive Lumber was a Computer Science student who lived in the room directly above me in halls. He was the sort of guy to whom the normal rules of social etiquette didn’t seem to apply and he existed singularly in a world dominated by a circle of online friends. He did however make rare appearances to wonder the halls, dirtying our toilets and (even more unforgivably) stealing that one slice of cold pizza left in the fridge that was meant to cure that throbbing Sunday morning hangover. Much to mine and my other housemates’ surprise, it turned out that Lumber did not live a completely solitary existence.
Enter the girlfriend.
Now as Lumber was the shy, retiring sort, I was expecting his girlfriend to be similar in her habits. Boy was I wrong. Enter the drama student with an afro nearing the size of her shapely derrière, and a booming voice to match. I guess opposites attract and all that. Unsurprisingly, Lumber secreted away the Girlfriend in his room and nothing more was heard of them.
(Much later on...)
“Jack”
Hmm? What? I’m sleeping!
“Jack!”
That’s not a voice I recognise?
Then it dawns on me; Lumber is also called Jack.
“Oh Jack!”
Holy Mother of Jesus, this is not happening!
As we all know it’s bad enough having to endure hearing other people having rampant sex, but hearing this interspersed with our shared name being shouted out and a sudden warped vision of the most dysfunctional shagging ever, is simply perverse. If my name is being shouted in relation to some sort of sexual activity, it’s only polite that I should be involved in some way! The fact that was emanating from a couple who most people would be cautious about putting together even if the survival of the human race depended on it, was just rubbing it in!
As luck would have it, (and I’m pretty sure that’s not the best way to describe what is coming next) both parties reached a very loud and excited orgasm quite quickly and I was finally able to get some sleep. Nonetheless, I discovered the next morning that their antics had escaped from the bedroom. I uncovered this fact much to my horror when I caught sight of a rather long and curly hair stuck to the wall tile; the afro was gaining its revenge. Now I’m one of those people who’s a bit OCD about cleanliness, especially in the bathroom. I actually got into trouble at uni for suggesting that the cleaner could leave some cleaning products so we could clean when she wasn’t there only to have to face her wrath as she took this to mean she wasn’t doing her job properly. (But now that I come to mention it, Vera dear if you’re reading, that brush like thing next to the loo is for cleaning it not for decoration; just so you know!) So imagine my horror when I discovered that the Girlfriend seemed to spontaneously shed her afro after sex. (Please God let it have been the afro!) Kind of reminds of that spider that sheds its skin then eats its partners... come to think of it I hadn’t seen Lumber for a while, but then again that was nothing unusual. Anyhow, it was when the little Afro Monster reared its head from the drain and decided to attach itself to my toe that I made a decision; I needed to live alone.
Now before I was able to achieve this I had to grapple with the following;
The Chinese with their smell
The historian with the panty-liners
And last but by no means least; the psychologist with the knife.
This all ends with the fact that now I’m all grown up and soon to be entering the world of the home-ownership, and wonder with much trepidation what the permanency of this will entail following on from my previous spate of bad luck? I’m just waiting to see what the Good Lord of Apartment Blocks has got in store for me, ‘cus let’s face it, I’ve had a bit of a raw deal recently!
I think it’s time to kiss goodbye to the dream of the blonde with the bikini and resign myself to the fact that it’s going to be the serial killer with the chainsaw.
Of course it is.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Now that's classy!

Oh Birmingham! I’ve only been gone two weeks and what’s happened to you?
I’ve always rather liked the fact you don’t have any airs and graces. I like that you don’t try too hard to be cool, and that you’ve got a bit of a funny accent. I like that on a Sunday morning you look like you’ve had a damn good time the night before judging by the amount of empty bottles and used condoms on the floor. Admittedly I’m not too keen on the unsavouries that hang around in your underpasses, armed with a house brick and ready to swap your new phone for a nice concussion, but everyone has their bad points.
So imagine my shock when I returned from two weeks in the ‘shire to find a certain Mr Jack Wills residing on your high street! What on earth is that doing there? Did it aim for Stratford and miss?
To prove that my eyes were not deceiving me, and under the pretence of needing a new pair of shorts, I decided that it was time for further investigation. Now much as it shames me to say so, I have graced the floors of one of Mr Wills’ shops before, (well when in Chester it is quite acceptable for one to pay a visit to a University Outfitters of such distinction), but was met with such fug of hedonism and chorus of yahs, daaaahlings and daddy-I-absolutely-must-have-this-pinstripe-blazer-immediately-or-I-will-simply-wither-and-die, that I became rather nauseous and left.  
Now before crossing to the dark side, I decided that I had better make some sort of effort not to look like the regular high street riff-raff, so made sure that my shirt collar was flicked up in a way that says I might be posh, but I’d trounce you in a game of slaps round the back of the boat house, and tried to look like I belonged there.
On arrival at this shop establishment, I was welcomed by one of those smug bastards who are paid to stand by the door and show you what you could aspire to should you choose to shop there.
“Good afternoon, how may we help you today,” he intoned with hugely elongated vowels that suggested his native Brummy accent had been subjected to years of elocution lessons. Nonetheless, the look that accompanied this sent a much stronger message; “Actually mate, Primark’s that way.” But no, I was not deterred. I would get to the bottom of this imposter that had sneaked its way in whilst I wasn’t looking.
Needless to say I wasn’t met with the same level of hedonism and vulgarity that its Chester counterpart demanded. Instead I was greeted by the sight of a couple of bemused looking kids who has obviously stumbled in, too illiterate to read that this was not actually a further branch of Jack Jones, and a couple of haughty looking girls asking if that gillet is available in sunflower? (Sorry luv, we’ve only got the body-warmers in yellah, will that do?) For fear of dirtying the upper floor of the shop with my critical gaze, I was swiftly directed to the gentleman’s department on the lower floor.
Anyhow, I figured whilst I was putting myself through this rather surreal experience that I would look for said pair of shorts that I entered the shop under the pretence of buying. After several minutes of perusing the casually cluttered shelves I spotted a pair that I thought would do the trick, all the time under the watchful eye of a shop assistant who obviously thought I was in no way capable of affording such fine fashion. Nonetheless I kept up the charade of browsing until I established that the shop assistant was indeed correct; I couldn’t afford the shorts (nor would I want to at nearly sixty quid!) so left whilst my dignity was still intact, because let’s face it, this probably would be a perfect time to stage the latest chapter of my idiocy.
“Come back soon,” the guy on the door said as I stalked out.
He may as well have told me to fuck off.
So anyway Birmingham, I didn’t think you were the kind of city to give in to peer pressure in order to fit in with the likes of Oxford and Cheltenham, but you do seem to be making an effort to reassure me that you’re still the place that I know and love. And just so you know, I thought it was a nice touch that one of your Big Issue men (you know the one; he sounds like he has had his voice box ripped out as he slurs Biiiiisssue outside the cathedral) actually sneezed on it before he offered it to me this time.
Now if that’s not classy, then I don’t know what is.