Getting drunk and cheating

(posted by Martin)

martintagI didn’t think I’d have much to write about this week. I thought I’d be going ‘cool, so-and-so wrote a really great post, and in the mean time, here’s my shopping list’. But I’m getting increasingly screwed up as the week goes on, and I hope that you’re all enjoying it.

For a couple of days now, I’ve been seriously considering cheating on my boyfriend. Now, I know it’s not so much cheating when he’s actively endorsing it, but somewhere in my mind it’s cheating, and that’s part of the problem.

But there’s more to it than that – and thanks to Danny, I think I’ve put my finger on it. Random sexual encounters are awful. Be it retrieving your clothes from a stream of unwelcome liquid, fishing a coat-check ticket out of a pool of unspecified liquid, or finding that your new best friend has fallen asleep at an unfortunate moment, there is a lot of very, very bad sex out there.

This wasn’t a problem when I was out and about more often. I’d have a large number of encounters, and the good ones more than made up for the bad ones. And there were some very bad ones.

One in particular involved a member of the Lufthansa Cabin Crew. We met in a bar. He was on stopover, and he was charming, funny, and very attractive. We completely misread each other’s signals. I thought that we would go back to his hotel room, we’d “make out”, and there would be some fairly conventional activities involving erogenous zones. He thought I looked like a dominant bit of rough, and anticipated fun with ropes, and some activities that are best not performed outside on a sloping rock with your clothes folded neatly downstream.

As I say, not a good evening, although I got over my pee-shyness, much to my new best friend’s delight.

So anyway, I’m thinking about the best places to go if I’m going to have a random sexual encounter, in order to reduce the risks of this sort of thing happening. Bars are out, largely because they’re too public. The sauna’s a possibility, mainly because most of the guys you meet there are really, really grateful. But the last time I went there, I brought back a few unwanted friends. And these days, the internet is too scary. Everyone online is apparently between twenty and thirty, and everyone exaggerates at least one point about themselves. You know what I mean.

So I’m thinking about going to a bar in Glasgow instead. Meaning an overnight stay or a night bus home. I need to think about it a bit more.

Anyway, I’m still not sure I want to. I’m still not happy with the ‘open-ness’ that my relationship is suddenly facing. I’m not comfortable with the rules. Danny seems to have it sussed… have awful sex with strangers so that your boyfriend can dine out on it for years. I don’t think that’s me, though.

And if I do cheat on Hari, and it’s awful, should I give myself a second chance so I can get it right?

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We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves. -Lynn Hall

(posted by Venus)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a place far, far away (A five hour drive is pretty far, isn’t it?) there was a little vacation village by the name of Tulameen. And a very beautiful village it was. People drove in from all around the province to spend their time off at the cabins by the lake. There was a annual parade for these vacationers during the week of “Tulameen Days.” Motorboats growl on the lake towing waterskiers or tubers behind. The song of a child’s laughter floats along with the breeze.

And then it was invaded by a creature some call the “teenager.” As soon as darkness fell, they came in droves with keys to their parents’ cabins or just tents. They pitched camp in backyards, in the woods or on the beach. Wherever they was room. The locals are used to their strange behaviour. Loud, unfamiliar melodies drifted from the cabins and tents, the roads were full with pedestrians feeding off beer and chain smoking. In Tulameen, this was just a part of life. Some ended their day and went to sleep, awakening to the bright sunshine the next day.

But for that strange race, the day had just begun.

I was one of them, somewhat of a leader. My Tulameen was a town of darkness, friendship and community. Never have I seen so many cliques of people my age get along so wonderfully. In a life dictated by rules imposed by all the major players in our lives, this was our one taste of freedom. And it was sweet.

The town was ours. Wander to the lake and someone will be out swimming, possibly skinny dipping. Throughout the woods people were scattered, if you were lucky, you could find a game of “Capture the Flag” in progress. It was always fun to move the flags and mess up the game. It’s a given that there will be more than a few couples making noises in the tents. We had it all. Travel back to our cabin for another drink and people packed wall to wall. Someone was always wondering where their pillow went. Someone was always sick in the bathroom. And another unlucky stranger had been talked into taking shots of my friend’s dad’s moonshine. Good times, good times.

But then one day something strange happened. Everyone fell asleep. I was walking back to the cabin and stopped to light a cigarette. Wait. Something was very odd. I can’t hear any voices. Pushing open the cabin door, I froze. It was like being in an amusement park funhouse, but it was deserted. Quiet and desolate. Every little sound echoed causing somewhat of a microphonic effect. I found myself alone, my friends sleeping to restore their exhausted souls. What had happened?

I went to the bathroom and locked the door. There wasn’t even anyone crashed in the bathtub. This is like a twilight zone. At this moment in time, I felt lonelier than I ever had in my entire life. I wash my hands and glance in the mirror. Wait, who was that? Me, of course. But something’s different. The tears in my eyes turn them into a piercing green. I watched the tears trickle down my face and drop into the sink. I see something. I see something in my eyes I haven’t ever seen before. Immediately, I feel comforted yet continue to watch that girl in the reflection cry. I see her looking at me, deep into my eyes as I stare into hers. Nice to meet you, I think.

I awaken the next morning with a sore neck because I didn’t have a pillow. Where did it go? I look around at my friends. Talking, laughing, complaining about hangovers and I suddenly feel like I don’t belong. I never really did belong. For the first time in my life, I felt like I knew myself. I needed to get out of here.

That day I caught a ride with friends and slept the whole way home. I found out later that they watched my go, saying “That was the last time we’ll ever see her.” And it was true.

I am still friends with most, but that was the last time they ever saw that naive and careless girl with tears in her eyes. And they do still go to Tulameen. They take their children swimming in the lake and help them build a sandcastle. They go to the General Store (Restaurant / Gas Station / Drugstore / Grocery store) for breakfast and complain about the grumpy, scary looking teenagers with the bags under their eyes who look like they’ve been up all night. Where are their parents, anyway?

To this day I have never been back.

When the moon was young

(posted by asta)

My childhood had a soundtrack, which isn’t unusual in itself, except mine wasn’t made up of Fred Penner, or Raffi, or even (heaven forbid) Barney. Mine was Broadway musicals interspersed with bits of Rimsky Korsakov, Rachmaninoff and a little bit of Mozart and Strauss for levity. I was a prima ballerina for the classical bits- you should have seen my Sheherazade- but my heart belonged to the musicals.

My father was the audiophile. An engineer by profession, he spent his free time building record players, then stereo systems, tape machines and finally he wired the whole house for sound. His work demanded that he travel away from home for long periods of time, but the neighbours didn’t need to see the car in the yard to know when he returned, they could hear the music from our house. And the laughter. His return meant a relaxation of rules and softening of voices. Tall and ruggedly handsome, he carried a gentleness and spirit of bonhomie with him wherever he went. I adored him.

Almost anything seemed to make its way into his ever-expanding collection of LPs- jazz, opera, folk, classical, spoken-word- he loved it all.
The best day of the week was Sunday, after church, when he’d rush through the door ahead of us and put on a Broadway soundtrack. Then the two of us would dance around the living room, while my mother prepared lunch for whoever would be dropping by later. There were always guests, but for at least half an hour we had the music to ourselves, twirling and dipping, lost in the melodies. On the very best Sundays he’d play The Fantasticks- the original cast recording, because no other existed then. The one with Jerry Orbach as El Gallo. I wish I could play all of it for you, but if you go here, at least you can listen to the Overture, and a snippet of the September Song, sung by Jerry. His interpretation is definitive. All others reduce the song to a piece of rank cheese.

I thought life was as perfect as it could get until the summer the R___ Playhouse opened; the brainchild of my parents and some theatre friends from New York. I don’t know how it all came together, but our little town was suddenly a venue for summerstock for several years- aspiring young hopefuls from New York would spend the months of July and August performing established hits in the back of beyond. Since Daddy was doing all the sound and lighting, and Mom was doing all the administration, the theatre became my babysitter. Bliss. I never moved from the back row. I was riveted to rehearsals on the stage. I knew every line of dialogue and every song by heart. Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Carnival, My Fair Lady , …and of course The Fantasticks.
My mother tells me the director would sometimes shame forgetful actors by telling them, ” if a four -year-old can learn this, you should be able to”. It’s a wonder I wasn’t strangled before opening night, but at that age, precocious is cute. This cuteness has a short shelf life, but I worshipped the actors and they liked being worshipped.
. I wanted to be them.

But first I had to go to school. My first grade teacher, Miss C, was one of those rare breed that inspired every student she taught. She told us we were brilliant and all destined for great things. She spent extra time with those who took a little longer at mastering putting the letter A within the lines. She always had extra coins for those who ” forgot” their milk money. We all wanted to impress her-so when she asked the class one day if anyone knew any songs, my hand shot into the air. This was my moment to shine. But first Debbie had to sing ” Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and then Jean did a passable version of ” Ba Ba Black Sheep” before she called on me. Showtime!
I don’t know what I started with, but she kept asking for more. The rest of the class ceased to exist. I was on fire. When the bell rang for recess, she asked me to stay behind and sing for some of the other teachers. An adult audience! I may get to the stage before the Second Grade! But it was a little odd. She kept asking me to sing “that other song”, the one I sang before. I’d launch into the chorus of ” Plant a Radish” and she’d stop me, and I’d try again with something else. Why couldn’t she just tell me which song she wanted? Finally recess ended and I returned to my seat.

That night, at the dinner table, one of the rare times Dad was home during the week, my mother turned to me and said
” I understand you were singing today”
” Oh yes, I sang My Fair Lady, and Kiss Me Kate, and the Fantasticks and….” She cut me off and turned to my father.
” Dear, she sang the Rape Song from the Fantasticks.”
They thought it was hysterical. I didn’t get the joke.
” It’s my favourite song. Why is it funny?”
” Nevermind, asta, I’m sure you were wonderful.”

Today, I’ve little doubt social services would have been alerted, an inquiry launched and a team of psychologists deployed. My teacher and parents were wise enough to realise that it was just a bunch of words to me. And it was a different age.
Not familiar with the song? Its official title is It Depends on What you Pay. Sample lyric:

You can get the rape emphatic.
You can get the rape polite.
You can get the rape with Indians:
A very charming sight.
You can get the rape on horseback;
They all say it’s new and gay.
So you see the sort of rape
Depends on what you pay.
It depends on what you
Pay.

I still have the recording. It’s been years since I’ve listened to it. I put it away when I was 10, after Dad died in a plane crash and everything changed.

Two years in sentences.

(posted by Mike)

October 30 2001.

November 30 2001.

December 28 2001.

January 30 2002.

February 28 2002.

March 31 2002.

April 30 2002.

May 30 2002.

June 28 2002.

July 30 2002.

August 30 2002.

September 30 2002.

October 30 2002.

November 29 2002.

December 30 2002.

January 30 2003.

February 28 2003.

March 30 2003.

April 30 2003.

May 30 2003.

June 30 2003.

July 29 2003.

August 29 2003.

September 30 2003.

October 29 2003.

Troubled Diva is exactly TWO YEARS OLD tomorrow.

But I’ll be unable to blog tomorrow, so I’m doing this a day early. My thanks to everyone who stops by and reads this. I love maintaining this site, and there wouldn’t be any point doing it without you, and you, and you, and you. Troubled Diva kisses you all!

A naked bid for power.

(posted by Mike)

Over at Naked Blog, Peter has proposed me as a leadership candidate for the Conservative Party, along with Zed, Nigel and Quickos.

Let’s face it; any one of the four of us couldn’t possibly do a worse job than “Quiet man” IDS, Michael “Something of the night” Howard, David “Who?” Davies, Oliver “Aren’t common people ghastly?” Letwin, or any of the rest of that frightful shower.

If I were a Tory, and I genuinely wanted to scare Blair, then I’d currently be crawling back to Ken Clarke on my hands and knees, or else leaving IDS in place till the next election (already lost, so who cares?) and bringing back William Hague immediately afterwards (too young and green to be leader last time round, but if they really want someone who’s going to convert floating voters, then there’s no-one better.) Alternatively, as The Guardian suggests this morning, I’d be beating a path to cuddly old Boris Johnson’s door. (A mate of mine fancies Boris, you know. And you thought Danny was indiscriminate!)

However. Since none of the above are going to happen, it therefore falls to one of the four of us to lead the Tories on to (cough, splutter) victory (mwahahaha – collapses under desk in mirth).

Scarily enough, I’ve met quite a lot of Tories over the past year, so I think I might have gained some useful insights into the mindset. The Tories in question have all been liberal, knights-of-the-shires, one-nation, old-school types, rather than the swivel-eyed, on-yer-bike, if-it-moves-flog-it-off types, so that will be the initial “heartland” for my campaign.

Based on this recent experience, I can promise you two things. My leadership pledges…

1) Lovely manners, especially at table. Seating Plans for every British citizen!

2) No-one will ever be allowed to finish their sentences ever again. Because true Tories interrupt. Always. Let’s say goodbye to the unnecessary wastage of sentence endings! Forwards into a more interventionist Britain!

If elected, I will appoint Buni as my Shadow Education Secretary, on the strength of this wizard idea of his in Peter’s comments box:

As there will be so much table manners, we could have a voucher scheme, whereby every girl and boy who turns 18 can use their vouchers at Le Manoir. (*)

(*) Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Raymond Blanc’s Michelin-starred restaurant/hotel.

Now, that’s the sort of out-of-the-box thinking I want to encourage.

As for this week’s guest bloggers: naturally, Danny will be my spokesman for Foreign Affairs. Eminently qualified, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Gordon is an obvious choice for shadow Scottish secretary. As party chairman, Asta can use her newly (and painfully) acquired de-skunking knowledge to rid our party of the stench of conspiracy; I’ll be authorising her to turn her peroxide hoses on any scheming rodent who dares oppose me. Martin can be shadow Sports minister, with a special brief to pump some new life into our national rugby squads. And, as shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Venus gets the chance to deploy her full range of scientific calculators, in her quest to balance the nation’s books.

Vote Mike! I promise you nothing but national unity, world peace, racial and religious harmony, an end to poverty, and beautiful period-meets-contemporary furnishings in every home in the land!

Waiting for the man I love

(posted by Martin)

martintagSo I finally get to talk to Hari. Things are going well, and he reckons he’ll be back at the end of next week. I tell him about Cal and Michael in the next room going at it like a barn door flapping in the wind, and I hear Michael shouting that he wants it harder, which is nice. Hari can hear it over the phone, too, which is a nice, and he says it reminds him of the last time he was in Paris.

Now, the last time he was in Paris was with me – we went for my birthday. We did all the touristy things, saw the art, walked around the architecture, drank the coffee, did the shopping, and in homage to Quentin Tarantino, we enjoyed the earthly pleasures of a Royale with Cheese.

We also met a very pleasant gentleman from Algeria who introduced himself as “Saber”, and with whom we spent a very distracting evening in our hotel. I think it was possibly the loudest sex that I’ve ever had. Saber was about twenty, and in some dimensions he was the biggest man I’ve ever seen. Sweet, considerate, a great kisser, and incredible stamina. We woke the neighbours. Twice. And this is the part of the story that Hari is telling me, reminding me of how, when the nice young man from next door knocked on our door and asked us to keep the noise down, I answered the door in a dressing gown to preserve my dignity, while Hari and Saber were locked in each other on the bed, but clearly visible from the door. I’m apologising in my haltering French and meanwhile Hari and Saber are shouting at me, telling me to come back to bed so that we can get on with things.

Needless to say, Hari goes in to much more graphic detail than that. And by the end, as Michael and Cal reach a conclusion in the other room, Hari and I do much the same in our own way.

It’s not the same, though. I tell Hari that, and he acknowledges it. And he tells me that he loves me, and I tell him that I love him, and then he tells me once again that if I need to, or want to, I should have sex with someone. He tells me that he knows that I have… urges… and that as long as I’m not actually depriving him of the chance to satisfy them, he’s okay with it. Whether it’s because I’m tired or because I’m intoxicated by listening to his voice, or because I’m still pretty unsatisfied despite the act of self-pleasure we’ve just indulged in, he seems to make a lot of sense to me.

Damn, I don’t know where I’m going with this.

Anyway, this morning, Michael has gone before I get up, Cal is wandering around like the cat that got the cream. I’m in meetings with Michael all morning. I reckon it’s going to be awkward.

Everything you can imagine is real. -Pablo Picasso

(posted by Venus)

I feel like I’m just passing by in life. Like I’m sitting back waiting for something to happen. I know it will happen, it always does. Are the choices we make actually choices of an infinite nature? Or do our personalities restrict us to only certain paths? Maybe someone who has an unexplained phobia is given that phobia to aide them with a certain situation in the future. I guess that all leads back to fate. Do I believe in fate? I think I do. Granted, not all the small choices in life could be controlled by it. I don’t believe that it’s fate which allows you to have a chicken salad for lunch. That is too immaterial to even think about. Who cares why you eat what you eat. But what about the larger choices? Like where you live, what your home looks like, what country you reside in. One may have enough gusto to just pack a bag and move halfway around the world while another only dreams.

I wonder if a single event can change a life path and set it’s future direction. When we were thinking of buying a bigger apartment, I had this thought. If we get this place, my future is set out ahead of me. Live there, have one child, and one day own the firm I’m working at. Or, there’s another thought. If for some reason, neither of us can have kids, we will get a penthouse downtown and live a luxurious life. That would of course mean that I would work downtown. There I could fully use my abilities and see how far I could actually go in my career. Maybe I’d be a CFO of a huge corporation. Or maybe I’ll find myself alone in life in which case I’ll retreat to Thailand and teach english. How do I get to these conclusions? It’s very straight in my mind. If…then. If….then. I don’t understand how I get to the particular “then” in question, but once I see it, there is absolutely no other possible scenario. I don’t think everyone’s this rigid, are they?

Maybe I should just chill out. I’ve been told many times that my shoulders are too wide for someone my age. I carry the weight of the world on them. Now, if that were true, my darling, I wouldn’t have to do anymore shoulder shrugs at the gym, now, would I?

As I think about the events of this so far unfulfilled day, I look over at the blue bong sitting on the desk. What a mess. I need to get some new screens. Hash is great but the oil plugs up anything it’s smoked through. I empty the ashes directly on the desk. Later would be a better time to be neat and tidy. Not now. Never now. I pile a pinch of really dry shredded pot into the bowl, light it and inhale deeply. The weight of the world is lifting from my shoulders. Ahh. Ironically, now I can breathe. With each exhale I feel lighter. The phone rings for the third time in a row and I decide to answer the hubby’s call.

me: “How’s your day going?”
“Pretty good. Where were you this afternoon?”
“I went grocery shopping. There was a sale on meat, so I bought some. I also got a bunch of meats and cheeses for the psychic party tomorrow. So don’t eat it all.”
“I’ve been looking into the Philippines.”
“For what?”
“Apparently it’s super cheap, even cheaper than Thailand. And it’s a free stopover.”
“Tell me something I don’t know. That’s the idea you hated when I was first looking into flights. You are SO three months behind, sweetheart.”

Of course he has to think of it to make it a good idea. Men. Gotta love ’em (and I do).

Grocery Shopping. That reminds me, I have to put away the food. I walk lazily to the kitchen and start emptying the bags. Sausage, turkey slices, three kinds of cheeses. Mmm. Grapes and tomatoes, coffee and whipping cream. Eggs. And enough meat to last two weeks. What have I eaten today? A little can of tuna, the kind with the pull off lid. Goddamn cat food. Why did I even bother? I need something else. I grab a wing off the rotissery chicken and put it in the fridge. I used to love rotissery, but I think I overdid it when converted from a vegetarian back to a carnivore. It’s just not as good as it used to be. Oh, well. It’s still better than tofu.

Hee hee hee.