Saturday, 31 December 2011

Goodbye, so long, and thank you 2011.

Can it be this time again already? Forgive the ever so indulgent review of one's year that I'm about to write. I did it last year and I fear I shall next. It's quite cathartic to think about the bad and the good of the experience of life, I find...

At the end of last year I felt sad and angry by a number of things. In truth, and though I made some close friends doing it, my year in Norwich left me rather unfulfilled and directionless, and I am very glad to have left in July. Though I spent half of this year there too, once I was past the hump of Christmas, the first six months of 2011 flew by. Thank GOD!

My summer was fantastic. Almost too good. I've set myself a benchmark which I doubt I'll be able to meet never mind surpass this coming year. Who knows? I haven't planned my summer at all yet so maybe I'll find a spare load of cash and go somewhere amazing!! But yes...back to this year. I spent a fattening, drunken, cultural, sunny and just wonderfully luxurious month-and-a-bit in the extraordinary city of Florence. It was a place with which I fell in love and I don't think I'll ever find somewhere so full of treasures and delights. And for an Oxonian to say that says something. The fact that I went with my best friend Eleanor made it all the more fabulous!

I did get some awful news during the holiday which slightly spoilt it for me at the end, and I don't think I'll ever understand quite how the mosquitos managed to enter my bedroom after I all but hermetically sealed it EVERY NIGHT, but I loved the whole experience of it and couldn't be more grateful to my family who made it possible for me to go.

The rest of summer was boring and dull, but in September I went up to York to start working at the Minster in the choir and then in October I started my degree at the university. And I'm ever so happy to report that I couldn't be enjoying either more. I was received so warmly by everyone in both communities and have never felt so at home so quickly within a place and within a family of people.

Family is the word, actually. I feel so welcomed by so many people there. I couldn't be happier about going there and feel so privileged to have met some wonderful friends - a few of whom I know, or at least hope with all my heart, I shall never lose from my life.

2011 has been wonderful for me, I think. You'll see how I skirted over all of it that I didn't particularly enjoy and I think that's a testament to how I shall remember it. In my mind's eye, 2011 shall be a momentous and happy year on which to look back. I can only hope that 2012 lives up to all the potential that it holds to me and so many people. Knowing that I have my amazing friends and family with which to experience it makes me think it probably will do.

I simply cannot wait.

I hope you all have a very happy new year!!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Do cupcakes make me insane?: My best first last date ever.

I went out a few weeks ago with this hot, funny Mediterranean guy. We'd met on twitter and after a few flirtatious DMs, the odd tweet here or there, a phone call (in which - and he still doesn't know this (until now) - I was butt naked going around watering plants in my house) and we'd arranged a date for the following weekend, before a party I was going to in the evening.

I dilly-dallied around with choosing a venue (why do I always do this? I know enough places by now to be able to say immediately "Let's go here" but I never do...) and eventually we settled on lunch in a restaurant in Soho that a friend recommended. I thought, if he's crazy, I can make it last an hour and never see each other again, if he's not then I have the whole afternoon to have fun.

When he arrived, I knew it was going to take considerably longer than an hour...

He literally stole the room. The waiters (I think all bar one were homos too) visibly pumped their over-tight crisp white shirts as he walked in looking truly, breathtakingly good looking. And we actually hit it off. Like, *really* hit off. We didn't order food for an hour. Not kidding. The waiters were bemused at our complete lack of concern for any kind of consumption of food. Of course, it was a date with ME so obviously there was wine there within minutes. Duh.

We laughed, we talked about exes (am I the only person for whom this has always happened on a first date, regardless of how forbidden it is in all dating rulebooks?), we talked about jobs/uni, we did everything you have to. But I found myself actually really liking him. He was suave, bubbly and funny. His smile lit up the room. He knew how good he looked, didn't care that everyone was jealous and I for one was incredibly glad it was me he was sitting opposite.

After our nearly four hour lunch, we went off shopping at a Paperchase - another good sign that we both enjoy a bit of over-priced stationery - for me to purchase a card for the party I was going to later, and him to get a couple of things he wanted. We pottered around, joked at some of the things they had on sale, and then wandered back up to the Hummingbird where we had cupcakes and squashed into a little corner where there wasn't really enough room, but neither of us cared that much.

All in all, it was a pretty magical afternoon. Certainly exceeded all expectations and in my limited experience of first dates, ranked very highly. He walked me back to where I was staying and as we parted ways I wish, I *wish*, I'd been ballsy enough to give him more than the slightly limp hug that he received.

I finished the day with the biggest smile on my face, and couldn't not tell the people I was with about the amazing guy I'd met.

We had date #2 arranged but he was forced to work late at the last minute and cancelled. Since I was already in London for it, I went to something else and said it was fine. Which it was. I knew he was going away a couple of days later for a week, so I just told myself to stay put and wait till he's back and then get to know him more and see if he really is someone I could actually date, after nearly a year and a half not doing so.

Unfortunately, it all sort of fell apart. There was someone else interested in him, and so I acted like a COMPLETE prick and spoiled everything. Which is just how it goes. We never went on the second date. It's a shame because he was lovely and even though my friends have, in their well-trained way, been extolling my virtues and saying what he's missing out on, in my head I know that it was entirely my fault that he got freaked out by me. It was completely justifiable. I got it into my head that I didn't stand a chance against this other guy and so acted out without ever giving the Mediterranean the chance to say he actually did quite want to see me again.

He's going out with someone new now and I'm happy for him. And jealous of the other guy.

But c'est la vie. New city. New place. New job. New term. I'm sure there's lots of new stuff to look forward to.

And by stuff, I mean boys obviously...

Twenty Thousand Leagues

Do I believe in leagues?

I used to, certainly. So many times have I seen a guy I liked, stopped breathing, run across a road to hide behind a car and hoped that my impending death from oxygen deprivation would happen before he saw me (inevitably it didn’t…). I remember when I was 12/13ish speaking to a boy a few years older than me whom I ADORED and literally freaking out, running away, crying and not leaving the bathroom for 3 hours.

As an emotional cutter, it was only logical that when it came time for boyfriends and sex and all that jazz I would immediately fancy the most attractive boys IN THE WORLD. I recently let out a picture of one of my exes and had 15 replies from twitter gays asking for his number/name/cock pics. He was (is) (was – he’s dead to me) hot. Jaw-dropping. But he was also a prick, who cheated on me.

It’s only recently that I’ve begun to understand how scarring both of my ex-boyfriends’, who I went out with for 8 and 10 months respectively, and who were both really quite spectacularly attractive, cheating on me actually was. I’ve spent nearly 18 months now convinced that every time I pick up my phone to text or ring someone I like, my interest in them is completely futile or absolutely unreciprocated.

I forgot that anyone might actually like me, because I forgot to like myself.

But then every so often I’m surprised. I’ll get a flirty message from a guy whom I like, or heaven forbid actually go on a date with someone who is “attractive”. I went out with a guy recently who was so my type – young, beautiful, funny (amAzing smile). He turned out to be a bit of a prick and I’m glad to have avoided him, but the principle sticks.

My problem now isn’t looks. I think I’ve reached a point where I know that some people like how I look. And if someone can’t see past the blemishes and tummy then they’re not worth my time. But I’ve recently taken to fancying boys who are incredible accomplished and talented, which means I don’t really appear on their radar. I have skills and talent, but in a fairly niche area. And, annoyingly, I very rarely fancy musicians.

I wish I were more of a slut. At least going home and shagging someone a few nights a week maintains a self-esteem. But I’m not – I’ve tried that. I just can’t do it without at least investing some kind of future in something. Even if on the strict understanding of being just ‘friends with benefits’.

Who knows. Maybe in the future I’ll have to put up with someone who loves me, even if I don’t always feel the same way? Or resign myself to forever fancying men who don’t fancy me? For the moment, I’m just going to continue picking up my phone, sending that text and seeing who bothers to say “yes”.