Monday, June 30, 2008

On being single

Most of my posts over the last few months have mainly been space-fillers and I've struggled to come up with anything that I feel is either creative or interesting. I'm sure there are many reasons behind this, chiefly it's because I've been running around working hard, enjoying myself and not really paying that much attention to my online activities. There's also another reason, a subject that I've been avoiding bringing up because I wasn't too sure how I felt about it.

I've been single now for a grand total of 26 years. Obviously I wasn't expected to start dating as soon as I'd been born but it's a figure that I use which reminds me that it's been a long time. My thoughts on the subject had been kept quiet for a number of years, churning over and over inside my head until I was finally ready to talk to anyone. Until about two weeks ago, only two people in the entire world had discussed it with me - both are good friends who I could trust to not laugh or just give me the "It'll be okay" line. Recently I'd decided to be far more open about the length of my single-ness. This of course has turned on the tap of other people’s opinions and I've been getting very mixed messages.

Here's my take:-
The majority of the time I'm not bothered with being on my own, I have free reign to be where I want, when I want and spend time with who I want. There's no-one to answer to, no-one to feel guilty about spending time away from and no-one for me to worry about. This enables me to live in a happy, care-free manner which many people find to be one of my appealing features. Whilst noting that my time as a single guy is getting longer and longer (and complaining about it occasionally) I'm not entirely convinced that I have a want or a need for a girlfriend - years of singledom have created a very independent Curly. I'm not a repulsive person, quite the opposite in fact. Despite spending most of my time around male friends, I obviously spend plenty of time with women too. It amuses me when people who have been browsing through my facebook profile have asked why there are so many girls writing on my wall, or appearing in pictures with me. It perhaps give the impression that I'm running around humping every single girl I know - which I can assure you isn't the case. I've actually been called a 'male slag' on more than a couple of occasions - which creases me up further as I've just passed the year mark since I last slept with anyone. The memory of the last girl that I kissed has faded into the distance too. I like to think of myself as decent guy and I don't lead girls on if I'm not interested (unless I'm very, very drunk, I'll admit that), I'm just worried that I'm getting a little too fussy and unwittingly distancing myself from any kind of attachment. I also suffer from some incredibly bad luck, such as falling for girls who live overseas (or are about to move), girls who already have boyfriends or just the plain old girls that aren't interested in me.

So, having brought it up a few times, I was expecting at least one or two people to have the same opinion. It turns out that I'm the only one that thinks like that. Only one male friend has piped up on the issue and he wants to keep me single because everyone else is calming down and spending all their time with their respective girlfriends, so the majority of the below quotes come from women:-

"You just make friends with girls rather than aim for anything else"

"You're far too blatant when chatting up girls"

"You talk to some really lovely, beautiful girls but you don't show any sign of interest in them" (This surprised me, considering the above comment)

"I've seen the instant you get bored with talking to a girl, you just make your excuses and walk off"

"You're too good for just anyone, you'll find someone I'm sure"

While I would expect encouraging comments from my friends (and I very much appreciate them), none of them have really given me any reason for why I'm still single. One friend has offered to 'coach' me in the art of chatting-up girls as opposed to chatting-to girls (at which I'm an expert). Whilst another has promised to get me a girlfriend within the next year. The first saw me talking to a pretty blonde on Friday evening, her only 'coaching' was a single sentence afterwards saying "You didn't have a chance" (Which I argued, because I was actually trying to get away and she kept talking to me), the second is just about to leave the country for three months. I was glad that my friends would look after me like that, but became deflated after each event. I'm not convinced that I need 'coaching' either, I'm of the opinion that if you like someone and they like you, then there's no need to talk them into anything. Perhaps this is a failing.

I suppose this is just an exercise in writing out my thought process, but it's occupying more and more of my thoughts and I feel as though I should be doing something to rectify the situation. I just don't really know how to do it. I now go out less frequently (believe it or not), so the opportunities to meet girls decrease - yet I feel as though I'm involved in the social circuit enough to avoid online dating (I signed up for that once and found two girls I knew from the local pub listed - I didn't like either of them and I bolted). The unfortunate effect of numerous people telling me how great I am is that I'm now wondering what else could be causing me to stay single if I'm so bloody great?

*Sigh*

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Exciting stories!!

I've just got back from my break in Sweden and I have a whole host of stories about viking hats, the frog dance, blonde girls, baltic islands, scamping on the high seas, vast consumption of goon wine and a Radiohead concert. No doubt you're all extremely curious about all of those, but rather than explain myself I'm going to go ahead and fill out one of those 'tagged' thingys instead (thanks to Léonie), you'll just have to come and listen to my stories in the pub one day. Also, if I write all the stories here, they'll remain the same forever. If you happen to see me out and about in a couple of months time, rubbish bits of the tales would have been forgotten and the better bits exaggerated, they'll be better stories as a result.

So, on with talking about myself...


1) WHAT WAS I DOING TEN YEARS AGO?

I was a sixteen year old in a small town in west Wales who had just finished his exams for the summer, we sat in our classes in school learning nothing other than how to kill time until the end of term in mid July. The teachers desperately tried to find us something to do but, they could only do so much before we started going home early, playing football all day in the sun or just not bothering to go into school at all. I often walked or hitched the seven miles back home at about 1pm, then I'd wind my parents up by complaining I was bored until it was time for them to go to bed. I had also just started my first job in the school swimming pool where I was given the title of 'Lifeguard'. I came nowhere near to guarding anyone's life as I just sat by the pool collecting entrance fees and chatting to anyone that came in for a swim whilst the swimming pool supervisor (and the only other member of staff) sneaked off to the pub.

2)WHAT ARE 5 THINGS ON LIST TO DO TODAY?
  • Find things to do in work until it's time to go home
  • Tell everyone (apart from the internets) about my hilarious trip to Sweden
  • Send a card to my friends in Calgary containing $1.50 in coins, which I couldn't exchange when I got home from Canada, they'll find it more useful.
  • I hadn't thought this far ahead, but masturbation will be a good substitute for anything productive I had planned.
  • I should really arrange somewhere to stay in London for Saturday night after we've celebrated Canada Day (in the Maple Leaf, Convent Garden - join in!) but I'll probably just repeat number four again.

3) THINGS I WOULD DO IF I WAS A BILLIONAIRE
  • The instant I found out I'd go and get drunk in the local pub, but still go for the £6 jug deals.
  • Fill up my rucksack with a load of clothes and heaps of 100ml shower gels (bloody airport restrictions) and jet off around the world. Starting with a return to Sweden.
  • Attempt to count to one billion.
  • Keep it a secret.

4) FIVE PLACES I HAVE LIVED
At the last count, I'd lived in countless places - here are five of the many;
  • Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
  • Bordon, Hampshire
  • The Hills, Carmarthenshire
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Cardiff, South Glamorgan

5) THREE OF MY BAD HABITS
  • I exaggerate, all the time. Just to entertain myself more than anything.
  • I get far too drunk when I'm out, just to entertain myself.
  • I constantly forget things. I forget to stop exaggerating and I forget to avoid getting drunk. This entertains others.
6) FIVE JOBS I HAVE HAD
  • Blow-jobs
  • Welder
  • Resource Manager
  • Roundabout Designer
  • "Lifeguard"
7) HOW DID YOU NAME YOUR BLOG
I really can't remember, there wasn't much of a thought process as I didn't think that anyone would actually read it. The fact that people still do surprises me.

8) NEED TO TAG 5 or 6 PEOPLE
I'm not sure I could do this - it'd reek of favouritism, and I love you all the same amount.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sverige

When I was growing up (Some would argue that I still am) I had always wanted to visit two particular countries in the world. Australia was the first, I have an uncle over there who would send us little pots of Vegemite (I don't think it ever lasted very long, my sister and I would eat it straight from the pot) and some pictures of various sights around Australia along with our Christmas presents, so I had a good idea of what the country looked (and tasted) like. I was 19 when I finally got myself together and headed over to the other side of the world, although still in awe of the place I wasn't wholly surprised when I saw kangaroos hopping around, interesting-shaped rocks, golden beaches stretching for miles, sharks eating surfers and people rubbing vegemite over themselves.

The second place I'd always dreamed of going was Sweden. In stark contrast to my reasonable knowledge of Australia, I knew absolutely nothing about the place. There were no relatives to send me packets of smörgåsbord, no-one to send me pictures of elk and I don't think I'd even met a Swedish person until I was 19 (In Australia funnily enough). In my head I pictured the whole of Sweden to be a large lagoon-type beach on the Baltic sea with blonde people sitting around it in the sun in the summer, and skiing around it in the winter. When my friend, Sud, invited me over in the summer of 2005 I jumped at the opportunity - It was summer, so I only needed to pack some swim-shorts for the lagoon. My illusion was of course shattered when we landed in Sweden... they had an AIRPORT!! I hadn't taken this into account when I was a child. From that point onwards, I was amazed at everything that the country had to offer. Trains, cities (very pretty ones), cars and all sorts - thankfully the blonde people were there, as was the Baltic coast.

In a week, I'll be making my third trip to the country - placing it second on my 'Countries I've visited the most' list, which I don't keep at all. I really, really like Sweden - each time I've visited I've had such a great time - I've found the Swedes to be very kind and chatty, despite that initial 'cold-shoulder' you seem to get when you first meet someone over there. Stockholm is a very pretty city and you'd do very well to try and see the sunrise when the streets are empty. Over the last year or so, I've been entertaining the idea of a move over there to start an Elk farm in the north - I'm no closer to that now than I was a year ago.

Last year we visited to celebrate Valborg, a festival held in the spring where bonfires are lit, fireworks are let off and alcohol is drunk in vast quantities. This time around, we're going to be celebrating Midsommarafton (Midsummer Evening) where bonfires are lit, fireworks are let off and alcohol is drunk in vast quantities, but about two months later than Valborg. We've made absolutely no plans, short of getting to the airport and back.... wish us luck!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sweet, sweet sunburn

Finally you've arrived!

I actually love feeling like I'm being slowly cooked as I lie in bed* at night.

I love wincing slightly as I put a t-shirt on in the morning.

I love people calling me Rudolf (not this year suckers, I put extra sun-cream on my nose)

I love my skin not being pale blue/white (It's now normal white with dashings of pink)

I love watching extra freckles appear almost every hour.

I love sunburn - because it means the summer's here - officially. Beer gardens (with beer), evenings lounging in the back yard, weekends on the beach, the smell of barbeques, winter clothing cast aside and best of all... surprise rain showers on cars with their roofs down!




* "Lie in bed" : that part of the sentence just caused an office-wide debate about whether you should be 'laying', 'lying' or just 'lied' in bed. I've never lied in bed - I genuinely did enjoy it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

In the city (In the disco)

After a hard month of non-drinking had fucked with my sleeping pattens, threatened to destroy friendships and almost changed my sexuality, I set sail (on a plane) for North America. Staying with friends (and bl*ggers.. and couchsurfers) meant that I was made to feel very welcome and got to see everywhere I wanted from a locals point of view - borrowing peoples friends and making new ones as I went. I may regale some tales from the trip, depending on how creative I'm feeling at the time.

I've just completed my second week back in the country after spending a slightly longer time away, and on the weekend I got well and truly stuck into my first big Cardiff night out since the end of March... and what a great night it was! It was one of those nights where I just seemed to know everyone wherever we went - Cardiff's a small city so bumping into people you know happens frequently*, but this was just out of control. We started with a couple of pints in the local, where I caught up with a couple of the bar staff and then we headed into a favourite club of mine, Clwb Ifor Bach. We went along to watch Space in the 50's but we were there in time (along with about twenty others, not a good sign) to catch Lt.Meat and Frommars - who were both great. By the time the 50's boys had finished their set, the place had filled up significantly and I was doing my fair share of hi-fiving, ass-slapping and hand-shaking as friends of mine started appearing.

Within half an hour of the end of the set, the bands had been cleared away and the 'downstairs disco' had fired up. My mood was significantly lifted when Elastica were blasted over the sound system and my foot started tapping as I stood chatting to a tall blonde, this caused my concentration to wane (not helped by my friends in the background attempting to make me laugh), they finally succeeded and I had to excuse myself and go to collect some more beers which were waiting for me. The music swiftly turned towards the Madonna end of the scale so I headed upstairs to the 3rd floor in search of some alternative tunes. To my delight, I discovered another group of friends hanging around the bar - after a few more hi-fives we did the natural thing and jumped around to the Smiths together. We were hit with great track after great track and despite our clothes beginning to soak through with sweat we just kept on dancing.

Finally it became too much so I decided to descend to the cooler climes of the 2nd floor. I quickly learnt that there was to be no respite - my housemates were strutting their stuff to some funk, I couldn't resist so I picked up another beer and hit the dancefloor once again. The rest of the night continued in a similar vein... the bands and friends got obliterated on the ground floor, my housemates got down to disco-funk on the 2nd floor, the indie kids on the 3rd floor turned into giant sweat buckets and I ran up and down the stairs and got a taste of it all - it was tremendous!

The next morning I made myself laugh by asking "Hey, do you remember those two Finnish rock chicks I was talking to?" - If the presence of Finnish rock chicks isn't the sure sign of a good night out, I don't know what is.







*Which reminds me of a funny conversation I had with my friend Tash. Tash and I were standing in a London pub waiting for Will's arrival on the evening of May 1st - the day I'd resumed alcohol consumption in earnest.

Curly : "Do you ever get the feeling that you're going to bump into someone you know?"
Tash : "Yeah, but I've lived in London for most of my life so I often see the same people"
Curly : "I've had that feeling since I got here about two hours ago, and I only know a handful of people in the whole city - but I keep looking around to see if I recognise anyone"
Tash : "That's odd, I wonder who you're expecting."
Curly: "Someone like Alex"
Tash : "What? Why Alex"
Curly : "Because he's right there...."

Tash spun round to see what I'd just spotted, a good friend of ours named Alex walked into the pub and almost fell over with his surprise at the sight of us both grinning back at him.