Dos and Don’ts of Dating

I’ve been single for a very long time now, but I have a vague idea of what does and doesn’t work in the dating world. My dating experiences were over ten years ago, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some methods simply aren’t going to win a woman (or a man!). Just because I’m not dating, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been meeting people and making friends. I have a vague idea of how it works.

Bitching to my face about my friends, including ones they’ve never met, as subtle as they think they’re being, is not the way to melt my heart. It makes me think “wow, he’s so sweet, looking out for me” … “STFU you twat.” All I see is a jealous, immature wombat with no sense of what they’re talking about… I get drunk? My friends aren’t forcing alcohol down my neck. I fall down on a walk? My friend didn’t push me over. My friend didn’t come to my aid with the antiseptic and the plasters? She’s my friend, not my nurse maid and guardian. If they can’t say anything nice about my friends, they shouldn’t talk to me at all. Shh now.

Judging the way I live is not a desirable trait that I want in a man. All I’m doing is looking at the clock, wondering when you’re going to get out of my house. I’m also making little hints like “I really must cook my dinner” and “I’ve got to wash my hair” and “I’m so bored of your company right now, I want to put pins in my eyes”. So what if I have a day’s washing up in my sink? So what if I have laundry on the airer in my kitchen? So what if I have a mountain of cow dung in my living room? It’s my house. It’s not as though I’m serving them dinner on a plate that has just been used to culture gas gangrene causing bacteria. How I live is my business, no one else’s. Hence, I live alone.

Instructing me on how to drive is more likely to leave them stranded on the side of the road (while I laugh my head off), rather than me looking at them though dewy eyes. I have been driving for a number of years now. Unless you’re my father, or you’re life is in danger, if you’re in my car you shut up. I only let my father keep his instructor hat on so I don’t get put out for adoption; I’m 30 now, what if no one wants me?! I don’t need to be told “you can go now” – I am familiar with how quick the cars are approaching the roundabout. I don’t need to hear “just remember there’s a tree right in front of you” when I’m parked in the supermarket car park. And, I really don’t need to hear “it’s a national speed limit, you can do 60” when I’m doing less than 30 mph along a single lane, twisty, windy road where I can’t see what’s coming at me and I have a tractor in front of me. I don’t need a narrative from said passenger on what other drivers do that annoy them (as a passenger) while I’m driving (when I’m not doing these things) while they conclude with “that’s why I always do the driving”. There are a lot of places that I travel to that aren’t even on a bus route.

Complaining about my ‘hospitality’ isn’t going to fill me with desires of  being their wife. If I provide someone with clean bedding on the spare bed, and if I have teabags, cereal, bread and milk in the house (Claire – I always have eggs 😉 ), then I think my guests are living the live of luxury. If they want a cooked breakfast, they can provide the ingredients and cook it themselves. If they want coffee, they can walk down to the local shop and buy a jar (if I have forgotten to buy something I don’t drink). If I don’t have almond milk in the house, then don’t scoff at my ground almond alternative. And, if my pillow cases don’t match the duvet set – who cares? They’re sleeping in the bed, not parading it at an exhibit. It baffles me, because I receive no payment for letting them stay the night yet they expect to be waited on hand, foot and finger as though they’re in a 5* hotel…

I don’t get turned on by people who look down their noses at me. I have plans. Perhaps my plans aren’t as grandiose as their plans, but I have plans. Perhaps my garden is only very little, but it’s good enough for me. Maybe I don’t have a drive-in, drive-out driveway, but I feel that my car is somewhat secure in the parking areas around my house. The park doesn’t represent a low-income area, the park represents a place for children to play. Vans don’t represent an area of rogues, vans represent an area of grafters. My peeling border that runs along my walls don’t represent that I have no pride in my home, it represents that I moved in less than a year ago and still haven’t decided on a decor scheme. My yale lock on the back gate doesn’t indicate a high-crime neighbourhood, but that I can’t be bothered to fix my shed door and I have to keep my bike safe to keep my insurance valid. My dreams of having stairs into my loft doesn’t represent that I can’t afford a bigger house, it just simply means that I dislike ladders and have an entire level of my house I can’t really use until that is remedied.

Sexism doesn’t really get me hot under the collar, either. My blown light bulbs aren’t because I’m a woman and I can’t change them – they’re because I haven’t been to B&Q to buy new ones (and yes, I know which ones to buy). I don’t need a man to offer to check my levels on my car “while I’m visiting” – I know where everything is, and what I have to do; I don’t think my refusal warrants a follow-up question of “when did you last check your levels?”. Only my father and my grandfather are permitted to ask those questions. I don’t need to be assigned the cooking and cleaning roles while receiving “help” on “manly” tasks – I can use a hammer (and smash it into their skull) and I know how a screwdriver works. I can even use a drill. If I ask for help, I ask for help. My requests for help aren’t “please come and do it for me”. If that’s what I wanted, I would have stated it in the first place!

Victimising isn’t on the wish list, either. Yes, I’m going through a difficult time, but that isn’t an open invitation for them to decide what is best for me and what isn’t. It isn’t an open invitation for them to decide that I need looking after. I’m an adult – I have been for 12 years – I can make these decisions for myself. I don’t need wrapping up in cotton wool. I’m not broken.

Belittling my interests doesn’t give me butterflies in my stomach. Yes, I use Facebook. Yes, I use Twitter. Yes, I have a blog. Yes, I take a lot of photos. Yes, I own a television. Just because they adopt a social media free life without pictures and nothing to watch in the back ground doesn’t mean that they’re better (or worse) than I am. If I am “plain” or “boring” for using social media and “dull” for watching my television and “common” for taking pictures, than so be it. While they’re judging me on my interests, I’m also judging myself on why I’m friends with them in the first place.

Changing tastes

I used to scoff at people who told me that my tastes would change. What I like today, I might not necessary like tomorrow. What I disliked yesterday, I might like today. But I always wondered how I would know that I now like something when until that time I haven’t.

Take, for example, my attitude towards vegetables. When I was living at home, I ate vegetables because Nanna served them. I’d take the bare minimum on offer, and I never really enjoyed them. I much preferred to eat my vegetables disguised in stews and soups. Just like salads have never appealed to me. 

Now I’m doing my own shopping, I could be forgiven for not buying foods that I dislike. Now I’m cooking for myself, I could be forgiven for not cooking foods that I dislike. But, they’re ok when hidden in the depths of a stew or combined with other foods that I do like.

So, how have I discovered that my tastes are changing?

It started at Christmas. I was at a Christmas meal with colleagues, and I had a single Brussels Sprout. I just had one. I dipped it in gravy, I put it in my gob, I chewed it and I realised that there was something different about it. The expected taste of sour ear wax didn’t come. The anticipated taste of disgustfulness didn’t arrive. 

I won’t go so far as saying that I particularly enjoyed my annual Brussels Sprout, but it was more pleasurable than previous years. 

My experience got me thinking: what else might taste better? I’ve been trying “new” foods and have discovered that actually, a lot of vegetables and melons aren’t as yucky as I have previously analysed them as being.

  • Cider isn’t as yeasty as I previously thought it was – flat cider is still rank though…
  • Wine can still be bitter but I have produced a short list of my favourites.
  • Cauliflower isn’t as bitter as it was before – but unless I’m turning it into soup, I don’t like the taste when it’s too soft. It tastes nicer raw.
  • Courgettes have quite a nice taste when cooked in butter and black pepper.

However, peppers and lamb and mashed potato are still quite gross…

It doesn’t just apply to food. I’ve discovered that my TV habits are changing. I now find myself watching reconstructions of murders in relationships, house buying programmes, programmes about history and Columbo. I’m also finding myself browsing the home furnishing, DIY and furniture departments in shops with interest rather than boredom and tuning into Radio Two…

December’s snowballing along

It’s nearly exam day. We’re currently ten days into December and it feels like everything is next week away. I feel that December is disappearing too quickly.

I have an exam in four days time and I feel completely unprepared for it. No matter how hard I try, the revision is not going well. I thought I had made some progress, but it turns out that although I know the key points, I’m struggling to get them into a coherent narrative – which is what I need to be able to do, seeing as I’m sitting a written exam. It’s not multiple choice – which I’m glad about. With MCQs I have too many options available to me that I start double guessing myself and wind up with stupidly low grades on those.

I kind of lose a ‘day’ of revision due to sleeping. I have a 2-10:30 am shift on Saturday so I must sleep for part of tomorrow, and when I get home on Saturday. That gives me Sunday to do more revision, and also Monday morning to cram in any other extra’s I find myself panicking about. I suppose that my saving grace is that my exam isn’t until 5:30 in the evening.

I also have only two weeks left until Christmas and a ton of night shifts coming up, so I’m wondering when I’ll get to finish my Christmas shopping. I’m trying not to do it online as I find myself spending too much when I do that.

I really am starting to panic a little bit. Although, with my record cards, I feel that if I can absorb the important points, I just need to make sure they’re in the right order in my exam paper, and then hope I pick up points somehow. I’d much rather have a load of essays and coursework to submit instead.

Complaining over for today…