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

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.

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.

Wild Kingdom*

*(not that kind of wild, for that, I refer you back to Martin and Danny)

(posted by asta)

I was in such a state yesterday that I forgot to introduce myself. How rude. Then again, it may be my awkwardness with introductions that subconsciously had me skip mine. I never know what to say, since I feel anything I say will be inadequate, misleading, subject to misinterpretation, or a combination of all three. I am both greater and less than the sum of my self-descriptions.
Enough prevaricating.

I’m a female married anglo living in “la belle province” on the outskirts of Montreal. This is the second time in my life I’ve lived in Montreal and while I didn’t return willingly, I’m enjoying it more the second time around. Age mellows. Speaking of age, the calendar and statistics say I’m middle-aged. I don’t believe a word of it-although the bathroom mirror tells a different story. I’ve had two disparate careers, none of which I’m prepared to talk about here. It’s a small world.

Friends and acquaintances tell me that I am (among other things) the most pulled-together, organized, and unflappable person they know. I tell them they need to meet more people…..let me illustrate.

We own a Miniature Schnauzer named Spenser. He’s a great little buddy, and despite his advancing age and a heart murmur he’s a pretty happy guy. Except for thunder. I won’t go into why he’s terrified by it, since it’s all just supposition on my part anyway. He just is. He shakes and hyperventilates and doesn’t believe me when I tell him it’s nothing.
So for four hours he stayed glued to my side as the heavens roared.
Finally the storm passed. Time for bed. Plenty to do tomorrow. Since he hadn’t been outside for awhile I thought it best to let him make a visit to the tree in the yard before calling it a night.
There’s a lovely calm in the air right after a big storm, everything smells clean and fresh, right up until the moment he met his first skunk.
I didn’t even have time to sound the alarm. POOF.
My little guy stops dead in his tracks. He’s been gassed.
Now I’ve heard other people’s tales about this happening, but I’ve never had it happen to any of my dogs before. I’’m alone in the house. D’s away on a road trip. Lucky him. It’s too late to wake any of the neighbours and ask them for advice. All I remember is that tomato juice is an old wives tale.
So this is where I make my first mistake.
I pick up Spenser and bring him into the house.
Oh*My*Gawd!! As I’m running and gagging my way to the kitchen sink I’m already thinking that I’ll never get the smell out of the house.
Deposit freaked-out, half-blind dog in sink and turn on the water. Second mistake. I’m just spreading the smell around.
Pick dog up, run to the bathroom and deposit in bathtub. Remember to put towel under dog so he doesn’t slip. Wet shaking dog is now thoroughly traumatised. Leave dog in bathtub and run to computer room and turn on machine. Elapsed time- three minutes. Curse machine for taking another two minutes to boot up. Google search skunk spray. Jackpot on first try. All I need is a gallon of peroxide. Sure, I always have a gallon or two around the house. Run back to bathroom to see how much we do have. Looks like about two cups to me. No problem. He’s a small dog, we’ll just make this work. Run back to kitchen for baking soda and liquid soap. Gag. Make note that kitchen will need serious attention later. Mix up solution. Apply to dog. Rinse. Damn. Forgot to wait five minutes. Hard to tell if dog still reeks. Think olfactory nerves are fried. Reapply solution. Wait. No watch on. Hard not to notice that bathroom is small enclosed space and I still want to retch. Get up and turn on bathroom fan. Rinse dog. leave dog to find more old towels.
Check computer to see what it says about house smell and whether or not my clothes can be saved.
Discover just how big mistake number one was. Says nothing but time and ventilation will work. Clothes can be washed with high concentration of bleach. Probability of dark clothing surviving bleach- less than 20 per cent. Will pack in plastic bag and worry about later. Back to dog . Towel off. Smells…. better but I can still smell skunk. especially around snout. Put dog back in tub. Give face extra attention. Leave dog and hunt for more towels. Grab Lysol spray and frantically spray upper level of house. I’m kidding myself. Return to dog. Rinse. Okay. Not great, but much better. Towel off dog again. Let dog out of bathroom to run around and finish drying. Elapsed time 40 minutes.
Grab all the towels and head for laundry room. Put three cups of bleach in the wash and let it rip. Strip remaining clothes, bag them and head for the shower. Get out of shower. Dress and grab jug of bleach. Wash down front door, front landing, kitchen and bathroom. total elapsed time 1 hour 25 minutes.
The house stinks of skunk, bleach, Lysol, and bayberry room freshener(it was there,so I sprayed)…. but mostly skunk.
Dog is curled up in ball on his bed five feet away,sound asleep. Am considering slathering myself in teatree oil in hopes that I can smell something besides skunk before dawn.

Crazy things we type in to our computers

(posted by Martin)

martintagBloke A: Thwack!
Bloke B: Ouch

Repeat ad nauseam.

That’s what I watched happening today in a chat room. A public display of the most boring sexual activity on the planet, in front of an audience of about a dozen. There ought to be laws against this, and indeed there probably are.

Why is yawning contagious?

(posted by Gordon)

Well the most common answer is along the lines of… cavemen… alpha male… control of group… monkeys… showing largest canines… that type of thing. Grrrr, fecking alpha males, trying to control everyone as usual. I really don’t like them, strutting about like they own the place and using (whether they are aware of it or not) clever peer pressure tactics to maintain their popularity, something they perceive as superiority, even if that popularity is transient.

Hmmm hang on and I’ll backtrack a little.

I work in a male dominated industry. My office in particular is full of stereotypical alpha males. Strutting around, projecting their own form of authority like self-important peacocks. I hate it.

You know the type. The ones who enjoy the sound of their own voice far too much, who presume that because they have said something it MUST be right, and who, whilst they may ask for your opinion, only do so because they vaguely remember that they ‘should’ even if they are not sure why.

You come across these men all over the place, shouting into mobile phones, treating waiting staff like they are dirt, and generally walking around like their **** doesn’t stink.

In fact I find these characters so repulsive that they are fascinating, in the same way that you want to ‘just have another quick glance’ at that person with the disfigurement, I find myself watching them in action, trying to figure out just how insecure they are with themselves, and if they even realise that there is such a thing. Are they presuming that their arrogance and overbearing personality somehow makes them seem confident and assured? Do they understand that without integrity and compassion they will never be anything other than the class bully manifested in the adult world?

What makes these people (for it is not always a male trait) the way they are? Is it purely upbringing? Did they have an overbearing father to live up to? Or was it a lack of an authoritarian figure that lead them to become what they are?

Of course it’s always easy to look at others critically, make assumptions and proceed to erroneous conclusions. But dare we cast the same eye over ourselves?

I’m not an alpha male, mainly because my mother was the authoritative figure in our household, and I was following my fathers lead. Instantly that will make you think that my Mum ruled the roost and my Dad was hen-pecked. That, of course, isn’t the full story. My Dad is very laid-back, my Mum is the worrier. My Dad is happy to take things as they come, and likes to keep busy, pottering round the house. My Mum likes plans, lists, organisation, and ‘gets things done’ when needed.

Most of the conflict between child/teenager and parent in our house was between me and my Mum, in fact I’m pretty sure all of it was. Did this shape the adult I’ve become? As I wasn’t allowed to easily stamp my authority in those situations I guess it did. One vital thing I DID learn was that intelligence was a far bigger weapon than any physical attribute*. Brains not brawn is the way to go…

Now I know you are all thinking.. where the hell is he going with all this.

And you know what.. so am I….

* yes a deliberate OOERRR phrase, well I’ve got to try and keep up with my (clearly) over-sexed companions… (jealous? me?)

Fun Things To Do On Your Own

(posted by Martin)

martintagSo last night there’s sod all on television, so I watch EastEnders and then go through to the bedroom and fire up the laptop. I look at some racy pictures for a while, and they’re not really doing anything for me. My body is definitely turned on – but it has been all day. However, my mind is a million miles away, thinking about everything from the preparation of audit checklists to wondering why Cal’s working late.

I phone Hari, hoping for a conversation about which organ would be in which orifice if he was here, but he’s out, so I leave a message with his concierge.

I hear Cal coming in about nine, and hastily haul my trousers up before he’s got the door locked behind him.

– I’ve got to tell you something – he says. It’s a secret.

Okay… now I’m not so good with secrets. First off, I like to tell Hari pretty much everything, and I hate keeping secrets from him. And secondly, I don’t see why people tell anyone secrets. That stops them being secrets, doesn’t it? He blurts out his secret before I can ask him not to, though.

– I just had sex with Michael Gregg.

There is his secret. It takes a second for me to realise what he’s just said. Michael Gregg works with us. In particular, he works for me. He goes drinking with me and Hari most weeks. Hari and I have discussed whether or not he’s threesome material. And he most definitely is. Looks like he could play rugby for Scotland. Definitely looks like he’d be great in a scrum, and – being honest – in the showers afterwards. He is definitely shaggable, but – and this is important – he is a mate. So it’s never going to happen.

But now I have to picture him and Cal engaged in various forms of activity at the back of our office car park, which is apparently where they consummated this act. I get a blow by blow account, which is far more than I wanted, particularly as I’m finding the whole thing much more arousing than I want to. Cal is going in to pretty graphic detail, and I realise that I haven’t buttoned my fly and so my interest in his story is kind of obvious. Luckily, he doesn’t notice. He’s reliving the evening in technicolour in his head.

I make a barbed comment doubting how committed he is to getting custody of his children, then I go to the bathroom and lock myself in.

I sit on the toilet for a few minutes, looking down at “Little Martin”, who winks back up at me, reminding me that he has needs too. I try to think about unsexual things, like politicians, or Delia Smith, but I keep imagining what Michael’s face looks like at the moment of triumph, when he’s just scored a try and is about to go for the conversion. All too much. So I tell Cal I’m getting an early night, lock myself in my room, and go online again.

I paste pictures of some private movie star into my profile, pop in to a chat room, and within a few minutes I’m chatting to someone else who’s lying about every statistic in the book. We exchange small talk for a while, we lie to each other for a bit to feed each other’s fantasies, and after a while I get bored with the whole thing, and start playing minesweeper. My new friend seems to be satisfied, I tell him that he’s the best I’ve ever had, and I go to bed, hugging the pillow that smells of Hari.

Little by little, one travels far. -J. R. R. Tolkien

(posted by Venus)

Scottish / Canadian Sex week, is it? Oh, dear. Are you readers ready for it? Is the world ready for what may come out of our dirty little imaginations? On my part, I’m honoured to be here, even if this does feel like the Island Of Misfit Toys. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I guess I’ll start by saying I’m far from a writer. I picture a writer as a man or woman much older that me with disheveled clothing and a bad haircut. But I’m not far off. I’m an accountant. I have horrible eyesite, so sometimes I wear glasses. Although I don’t have a pocket protector, I do have an extensive collection of calculators. If you ever need a calculator, I’m your gal. I’ll hook you up. I got a call not too long ago from a friend of mine. I was just hanging out watching TV and the phone rings.

“Do you have a scientific calculator?”
“Who is this?!?”
“ME. Do you? Hurry up!”

First of all, ME doesn’t help, people. Secondly, the overwhelming need of this person for a calculator was beyond even my understanding. It turned out to be a friend who’s in university, was on a scavenger hunt and needed to know “pi” to six decimal places. And I came through for her. After digging through all my precious babies and their wonderful array of buttons, I found the scientific and saved the day. Yay for me!

Sometimes I do get out of the house and head out on the town. Getting all tarted up to go out dancing is one of my favorite things. Throw off the glasses and tear off the nylons. Here I come baby! I like to accessorize. Once I have chosen the very best makeup, shoes, purse etc. from my vast collection, it’s time to go meet the best accessory a girl can ever have: My harem of gay men.

Now, before you start jumping to conclusion, I must tell you that there are two types of f*g hags. (Is that a naughty word in the UK, too? I’ll asterix just in case. I could be referring to a cigarette I guess).

1. The sweet but unconfident, usually overweight female who constantly needs compliments and the only place she can find them is with her gay friends, with whom she eventually falls in love with, then cries her eyes out but pretends not to care when he ditches her for a pretty boy.

2. The sweet but overconfident, usually pristine female who is just along for a sassy time with a lot of beautiful men in gay-shape.

Please do not mistake me for #1. That said, it always gives me a rush walking down Davie Street in my newest sleek top and black pants, heels clicking on the sidewalk arm in arm with two handsome hotties and a few following. Yes, I’m a star. The price to pay though, is the vast overexposure of Kylie Minogue to my brain.

So, I’m a nerd by day and star by night. What about in between? That is the mystery I’m trying to figure out. A coworker of mine always said that you don’t really understand yourself until the age of 50. For her, it just clicked then and brought her to an greater understanding of life and what’s really important. I guess I’m just halfway there. Until then I’ll keep b*tching (<-rotton word? Maybe I’m being too cautious) about every single curve ball life throws out. It’s more fun that way.

Dealing with the Hydra Headed

(posted by asta)

A part, a large part, of traveling is an engagement of the ego v. the world…. The world is hydra headed, as old as the rocks and as changing as the sea, enmeshed inextricably in its ways. The ego wants to arrive at places safely and on time.”
Sybille Bedford

I never felt that way about traveling until this weekend.

Almost a year ago, I was adopted into the tight social circle of a group of much older women who have known each other for decades. I still don’t know why, since I have next to nothing in common with them. Maybe I’m the fresh blood, or an amusing novelty. I don’t see them that regularly, but I’ve enjoyed the dinners, parties and outings. It was at one of these events, deep in the evening after the number of empty Merlot bottles far exceeded the number of drinkers present that the leader of the group turned to me and said, ” You must come with us to Toronto in October to see ‘The Lion King”.

Right. Count me in. It’s that SARS deal, right? ( Don’t bother with the link if you already know what I’m referring to)

I promptly forgot about it until I started getting the phone calls about the logistics – paying for and getting all the tickets, selecting a hotel (The Royal York), selecting from the list of restaurants( given over to me to arrange since I’m the designated foodie) and getting there.

Ah yes. Well. I love to travel — have since I was three years old and my mother took me to New York and Washington where I danced at the Capitol and later met a famous wife. But that’s another story. Thing is, I’ve never traveled with a large group before, but have traveled enough to know that just because someone makes a wonderful dinner companion doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy schlepping bags and sharing a bathroom with them. Traveling with nine virtual unknowns seemed like a recipe for disaster. But I promised. So I gave myself an out, by informing the group I’d meet them at the hotel on Saturday- I’d be driving up alone on Friday to Oakville to visit with my god-daughters and their parents. If the weekend turned out to be a horrible mistake, at least I wouldn’t have to endure five hours of strained stilted conversations on the return journey.

Soooo here’s what happened.

– forgot that Oakville is west that’s WEST of Toronto, so got stuck in rush hour traffic on the 401 highway Friday evening making me late for dinner, which wouldn’t be so awful except parents had neglected to inform me that wife is barely able to rise from bed having been recently struck with a mysterious possible fatal kidney disease and that newly purchased monster house in undergoing major renovations set to begin at 8am Saturday ( how they got contractors to work on a weekend I’ll never know). They didn’t tell me because they were afraid I’d feel I was imposing and cancel. You think?

– I’m out the door as the builders arrive and headed for the train station. My brilliant plan to avoid the traffic and expense of downtown Toronto is to leave my car at the station, take the train into the city, pick up the car Sunday and speed off into the sunset. But now I’m going to arrive several hours before check-in and I don’t relish lugging the luggage about. Nevermind. It will all work out.

– see? This is going to be fine. They take pity on such a wisp of a thing having to carry such a heavy overnight bag. And good grief what does she have in there, bricks? Early check-in it is.

– I’ve got hours to kill, since the rest of the party doesn’t arrive until mid-afternoon. I’ve never had much desire to visit Toronto ( I’m sorry if you’re offended but I refer you to that mention of New York at age 3. That was followed by London, most of France, Switzerland and Italy at 13. Toronto? sorry) but I had heard some buzz about the recently opened Distillery District and I’ve wanted to visit the St. Lawrence Market for years. In fact I even make a habit of visiting grocery stores in every new place I visit to get a feel for the place. No really. I spend the next several hours having a marvelous time wandering the galleries at the Distillery. The market is heaven. Since I know there are plans for drinks in one of the rooms at 3 with the ladies I have a grand ol’ time picking up cheeses, sampling and selecting pates ( I’d put in the accent but I don’t know how) and chatting with the vendors.

– you see the problem developing? no? bear with me.

– I’m not so interested in the Lion King even though I have a long history with musicals (maybe I’ll explain sometime this week). For me, the highlight will be getting to the show at the ROM. I’ve promised to wait and go with one of the nine. No problem. Plenty of time before leaving Sunday.

– drinks at 3 goes well. They’ve just arrived. They’re excited – away from spouses and children and work. Who wouldn’t be feeling a tad euphoric? Some of the party is still missing, my roommate among them. Dinner reservation is for 5:30 so we can make the 8pm curtain. At 4:30 I excuse myself to shower and change. ” We’re ready”.

– 5:30 waiting in the lobby. Roommate has arrived but getting these women in the same place at the same time is a chore. Not my job, but I make a stab. “I’ll just head over to the restaurant to save our reservation, shall I?” “P will be here in just a sec. Let’s wait and go together” And this is where it starts. I hate being late for anything. I am going to spend the rest of the weekend being late or rushing so I won’t.

– lovely dinner, gobbled down mostly because “some” people can’t decide from a table d’hote that only has three entree choices to begin with.

– make it into theatre seat two minutes before show begins. Never got the Playbill so I can’t tell you who’s in the cast now, but the only one worth watching or listening to was Rafiki, the baboon witch doctor, who I think is still Phinda Mtya– can’t be sure since all my internet searching hasn’t turned up a current cast list. I’m not going to say much more about the show other than it is visually spectacular- the pieces by Lebo M and Mark Mancini far outstrip anything else Misters John and Rice contributed- in fact they should have not answered the phone when that call was made. But then we’re talking Disney.

– retired to hotel where a nightcap was definitely in order. Just for the h*ll of it I ordered a Dorothy Parker. Raspberry vodka, lime and soda. Entire group asks me “Who is Dorothy Parker?” They’re older than I am, for the love of *#@ on a bike. So I feel like a pretentious bit of fluff explaining and end with “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think”. Blank stares. I give up. All give up. We all retire. But it has been decided we will all meet for breakfast at 10. It was? Where was I? Well that’s the end of the ROM.

– due to time change I’m up at 7:30 and ravenous. I find a couple of places to breakfast for the group. I suspect they have no plan. I’m right. Locate yet another Starbucks, and spend about an hour exploring and window shopping. Nothing, aside from a few restaurants, is open before noon. World class mhfff.

– By the time everyone is up and fed, it’s time to check out. Noon. So I won’t get to the ROM, but I’ll get home at a decent hour.

– a tanker truck of hydrogen gas or some other nasty soup jack-knifes on the 401 Sunday morning, prompting a day-long highway closure east, just the way I’m headed. None of the radio stations mentions this. I know, since I started banging away on the scan button as soon as several thousand cars made an instant parking lot. This particularly detestable mass of pavement’s claim to fame is hosting more traffic than the Santa Monica Freeway. Do I need to mention I got home late. very late. ABOUT SIX $#@# HOURS LATE, if you really want to know. So that’s why I’m late posting today. It’s taken me this long to recover and I won’t begin to burden you with what I went through to get this much posted.

– Did you spot it? Okay here it is. I had the most fun all by myself. This comes as a bit of a shock since I’m usually quite social. Moral for me. Don’t travel with a group. Which is going to be a problem because they want me to guide them around New York next year.


(Posted by Gordon)

OK, seems like the polite thing to do is a quick introduction (I thought I was famous enough to not bother but it seems I am sadly mistaken, a common occurrence).

My name is Gordon McLean, and I’ve been online since 1996. In internet terms that makes me very very old, almost an antique. In reality I’m a typical 30 year old, who’s still not really sure what he is doing.

I must admit to being a tad nervous. Over the past three weeks there has been some wonderful writing, thought provoking posts and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m guessing I can’t resort to my usual get out of linking to ‘silly things’ or laughing at items from my referrer logs (the fall back of every good blogger).

I did toy with the idea of a pastiche or parody of a certain event that took place on this very blog last year… but I don’t have any designer shirts and I’m also guessing that posting about my shoes won’t quite capture the imagination in the same way.

So I’ll do my usual, warble on about this and that, never making much sense, and plagiarising as much as possible. Hell if you are really lucky I’ll spell check before I post!

(Ohh forgot to mention that I’ve been published… in the O’Reilly “Essential Blogging” book… on that self same “spell check” topic. See, I AM famous)

Right I’m off to research that phenomenon that occurs when someone nearby checks their watch. What makes you want to do it too? And why is yawning contagious?


(posted by Martin)

martintagSo I suppose I start with an introduction. When I started my own blog, back about a year ago, I didn’t start with an introduction, and just sort of launched straight in to things, which I figured was okay as I was going to be writing it, like, forever. Although I didn’t, and the reasons why I didn’t are another story, and the reasons why I volunteered to do this are a whole another story again.

So my name is Martin, I live in Edinburgh with my partner Hari. We’ve been together for about 9 months, which is like forever in gay terms, and being with him has made me face up to some crucial facts like how I’m actually far more gay than I ever was straight, and the whole bisexual thing was a phase for me (although I do appreciate that it’s a valid sexuality, I’m not one of those holier-than-thou types). We’ve also got Cal staying with us. Cal’s going through a nasty divorce, which isn’t made any easier by the fact that since he’s discovered how easy it is for him to pull guys, he’s been doing so with a crazy frequency. It helps that he’s a big boy in trouserland, but he’s frankly shite as a kisser. Unless he’s learned something from the guys he brings back.

Anyway, it’s just the two of us here at the moment – me and Cal – as Hari’s gone off to Paris to visit a cousin of his who isn’t well, and as most of the rest of Hari’s family are in India and Singapore, he’s the nearest thing that she has. So he’s taken a couple of weeks off work, and he’s spending it in the city of love, somewhere that has a lot of romantic memories for me, despite the fact that I didn’t sleep for more than half an hour the whole time we were there.

As I say, we’ve been together nine months, which more or less qualifies us for gay pensions and gay partnership rights, and a nice shiny gay badge. But we sat down for the first time on Saturday afternoon and discussed the open-ness or otherwise of our relationship.

You see, since we moved in together, I’ve not been with anyone else. Well, I have, really. But not without Hari being involved at the same time. Which makes a big difference. But at the same time, the longest I can remember going without sex for is forty-eight hours, and Hari knows that. So we discussed ground rules for opening up our relationship.

So technically, for the next two weeks –

  • I’m effectively single
  • I can have sex with anyone I like
  • But I have to tell Hari about it later
  • And I can’t have sex with anyone more than once
  • Although more than once is okay as long as I don’t get dressed between times
  • And I can’t do it in the flat

And he’s much the same. He’s said that he won’t sleep with anyone – he’s happy to have the freedom, but he won’t use it. Me, I’m sorely tempted. Apart from anything else, I’ve had Cal wandering through the flat in very little more than briefs this weekend, and the memory of his – frankly magnificent – organ has had me almost embarrassingly aroused. So far, I’ve had to resort to practicing on my own. It’s not the same.

Back to the introduction. You know pretty much everything now – everything that you need to know, anyway. There’s more detail at my blog, including some downright rude stuff, and a full blow by blow account of everything that went on between Cal and me. Pretty much, what you see is what you get. And in the spirit of honesty, I do like to tell people that I reckon that at least 10% of what I write is fiction – there just to disguise the real facts of who I am, who my employer is, and so on and so forth.

That’s me, for now. I’ll write some more later.

So this is blogging…

(posted by Danny)

That Michael, he’s such a whiner sometimes. “You never read my blog! Why don’t you read my blog?” OK OK, anything to shut you up. Troubled Diva? You don’t know the half of it.

“So what do people write about on these blogs?”

“Oh, anything they feel like…”

(I get the big speech here. How Blogs Are Changing Everything, or something like that. I zoned out a bit, to be honest. Lovely boy, but he does go on a bit. I think he said Empowerment a couple of times. Yeah, whatever.)

“Alright alright, so what DON’T people write about?”

Two things. Work – well yeah, I can see why not – and sex. Huh? Why’s that then?

That set him off again. Waffle waffle. I think he might have said Boundaries a few times, but I was too busy sniggering at the club photos in the back of Midlands Zone. (Rule One of the Birmingham scene: don’t get papped when you’re mashed. Snigger snigger. State of ‘er!)

So I started reading the blog, and before I knew it I was hooked. Archives, the 40 Days thing, the works. Even spotted Paul and myself in there a couple of times. Christ, he doesn’t use one word where ten will do, does he? As in life, so in blog. Oh, it’s all coming out now. The stories I could tell! What price my silence, Michael?

8:30 Monday morning, and already I’m sounding like one of the bitches in the bogs at The ‘Gale on a Saturday night. Can’t help it, Mister! I was stood by the dryer, fag in hand, dissing the Toilet Terrors (they mean well, but such easy prey), and then the wind changed and I stayed that way. Don’t end up like me, kids! Sour old hag of the parish! Step into the light while there’s still time!

Anyway, like the Diva says, I’m gonna be talking about ESS-EE-EX this week. Boundaries, schmoundaries! And no, of COURSE I’m not really called Danny, and of COURSE Paul’s not really called Paul, and I’ll be changing names and places and odd little details along the way, just in case. Because I may be new to blogging, but I’m not completely STUPID either.

Who’s this Martin then? Is he fit?

Danny x



Bee-doo bee-dee-doo!







Bee-doo bee-dee-doo, bee-dee-doo, bee-dee-doo,
bee-deebee-deebee doo doo doodoo doo!

That’s the only way to summarise the embarrassment of riches which constituted Guest Week Three. A week in which – as a flurry of occasionally quite anxious e-mails and phone calls confirmed – my esteemed contributors collectively pulled out all the stops, pushed themselves to the limits, and devoted extraordinary amounts of time, energy and commitment into producing some quite magnificent pieces of writing.

(Can I say that about content on my own site without sounding bumptious? Yes, I think I just about can.)

Buni spoke of being raised by Bunny Girls, of unrequited longings, and of new directions in his life. Fiona wondered what the world would be like if we all had tails, cruised strangers in traffic jams, and slavered over her shoe collection. Melodrama dicussed jute production with taxi drivers, met a dodgy guru on a train, and did the whole dutiful daughter bit for Diwali. Zena took us on a nightmarish white-knuckle ride of dope-induced paranoia, and yet was still able to draw positive and life-changing conclusions from her experience.

And then there was Mark, with his jaw-droppingly superb “Science Of…” series: elegant, droll and profound in equal measure, an utter delight to read, and (as Peter intimated) clearly of publishable quality. Respect, dude!

My heartiest congratulations and warmest gratitude to all concerned, for delivering a truly classic week.

On to Week Four, then. Our guests for the next seven days are:

Asta, a regular reader/commenter of well over a year’s standing, and the proud winner of last year’s epic Shirt Off My Back Project. Asta lives in Canada, in a city, by a lake, which may or may not be Toronto. (If my old PC was still working, then I’d be able to tell you exactly where she lived. How perfectly blush-making of me to have forgotten.)

Danny, an old mate of – what is it now? – some fifteen years’ standing, who lives in Birmingham with his partner Paul. Having finally submitted to my repeated cajolings to “read my bloody blog for once in my life, why don’t you?”, Danny now proposes to break something of a major blogging taboo. Yes, readers – he’s going to be talking about sex. Eek! Brace yourselves for some Adult Content…

Gordon McLean of Something, one of Scotland’s most popular weblogs. Gordon works in Technical Communications, and his no doubt honey-drenched tones have regularly soothed the sick and the suffering on his local hospital radio service.

Martin Gale, formerly of Embra Nights. Martin is 25; he lives in Edinburgh with his boyfriend; he has recently retired from blogging; and he works in the Internal Audit department of a financial company. And he writes a lot about sex. Martin – meet Danny. Danny – meet Martin. Hands on the top of the table where I can see them please, boys…

Venus Kensington of Something Sparkles – a blog which has only been running since the middle of last month. Venus lives with her husband in Vancouver, and we look forward to making her acquaintance.

So, to recap: that’s two Canadians, two Scots, and two filthy fruity sexpots. Yes, it’s Scottish-Canadian Sex Week on Troubled Diva! Guest Week Four starts…NOW.

8. Is That All There Is? (Peggy Lee, Cristina)

(Posted by Buni)

Now the drugs don’t work
They just make you worse
But I know I’ll see your face again

(Richard Ashcroft 1997)

My first outing to a nightclub, back in 1985, was a turning point in my life. I was 13 and had been going out with a guy, much older than myself, for a few months (he didn’t know my age). On this particular night, he took me to two clubs; Heaven, which at the time was owned by Richard Branson; and Propaganda, which was frequented by the likes of Boy George, Marilyn, Malcolm McLaren, and the rest of the 80’s London set. Also at this time, disco was changing its course and becoming a whole new animal. Those were heady days for me back then and I lapped it all up with pleasure and delight. I really couldn’t get enough of it.

As such, I kept on doing it for years. You name a year and I’ll tell you which club I was going to; 1985-87: Heaven / Propaganda / The Sound Factory; 1987-89: Triganomatria / Skipper’s / Mirage (all in Portugal); 1989-94: Heaven / RVT / Love Muscle – The Fridge / Trade; 1994-present: The Garage / The House / Deluxe / Essential / The Bomb / NG1. All those years defined by where I was clubbing at any given moment.

The moment of decline was back in about 1999-2000. I can even remember the moment; I had been out with friends and, as per usual, got totally plastered and well and truly off my face on all sorts of things. There I was, surrounded by friends, dancing away, smiling ‘the smile’ and having a great time. Though, I wasn’t having a great time. I slowed my dancing and had a really good look about me, looked at the people, listened to the music and everything around me. I started to think about what I was really doing there, why I was there? It had all become so standard, so uniform. It was the same thing every weekend. I was bored. I said good night to my friends, got my coat and walked out of the club. Never to return.

Instead, I focused my attention on the gay scene in Nottingham and getting a man in my life. NG1 club had just opened up and the old Admiral Duncan had just undergone a drastic refurbishment, from a right dirty little hole (that we all admit we loved) to a more contemporary designer bar. I was out now to have a few drinks, a few laughs and if I meet someone, all the merrier. However, things didn’t quite turn out that way and it wasn’t long before I was back to my old ways, just in a different club.

This takes us up to about 3 or 4 months ago, when I was diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolaemia. To be honest, I thought that something like this diagnosis might happen; my grandfather died of a heart attack at 56 and my father is just slightly younger than that and beginning to get palpitations and has had some 6 strokes now. The only difference is that my diet is the polar opposite to my father’s. He will eat all kinds of crap and I don’t. So for the last few months I’ve been making little tweeks to my life, like I’ve turned veggie, stopped smoking, curbed my drinking and up to about a month ago, I was calming down on the clubbing again.

Then I met ‘him’ and started to go out clubbing again. We’ve had an absolute ball, a real giggle and he’s been like a breath of fresh air to my life. I’d have liked it to go a step further but he’s not having it. I’m hurting. As such, I don’t really feel like going out now and doing the same things again. It’s been quite strange but this week, answering T.D’s questions, I’ve been forced to think about all these things and I’ve come to the conclusion that ……that’s it; that is all there is

As of this moment I officially retire from hardcore clubbing, here on Troubled Diva.com.

Most of you will probably be thinking, “What on earth is he on about?” I cannot underestimate the gravity of my conclusion. In Nottingham I am defined by my social being, it is who Bob is. But alas, no more. Knocking this on the head is just part of the subsequent changes I’ve made over the last few months as a result of my diagnosis. It’s up to me now to find new and wonderful things to do at weekends. I have a few ideas and I won’t be quiet for too long. I have a couple of book ideas that I might just play about with and I enjoyed my climb up Mount Snowdon so much that I might expand on that experience.

On another note, that is all there is of my guest week. It’s been a demanding week emotionally and mentally. I’m just going to crawl back to my little blog that nobody reads, that doesn’t link to anybody and few people link to.

Thanks to Mike for giving me the opportunity to rant like a mad man about these things, you’re a gem, a very brave gem at that. And finally, thanks to those who read (and commented on) those rants.

Apologies to the Welsh.

More travels with a God-man

(posted by Mike, in response to Melodrama)

Two posts below, Melodrama describes an encounter with a Hindu “God-man” (viewers of the popular Asian-British comedy series Goodness Gracious Me probably have some idea of the type of person she describes), and reminds me that I might once have met a Thai Buddhist equivalent.

We were changing planes at a smallish airport, on the way back from Koh Samui to Bangkok. The God-man entered the departure area with an entourage of maybe twenty or so acolytes, his entrance met by a general fluttering of awed recognition from all the other passengers and airport staff.

He was dressed in the orange robes of a Buddhist monk – except that these immaculately arranged robes were clearly of a far superior quality than the norm. I placed him in his mid-to-late forties – quite possibly a decade older, but carefully preserved. His hair was neatly groomed; his facial features were dark and pronounced, exquisitely chiselled, softly masculine, old-school matinee-idol handsome, and curiously untypical for a Thai. His one facial expression – a sort of beatific half-smile – never wavered for a second. His whole demeanour was one of calm, authoritative wisdom, of the sort that required no further outward manifestation; it was tacitly assumed. Without saying or doing anything, his whole being radiated the most extraordinary charisma. True star quality. I had no idea who he was, but I could feel it just as strongly as everyone else around me.

Oh-so-humbly, the God-man eschewed the dangerously materialistic luxuries of airport seating, placing himself instead on the floor, against a wall, facing out towards a large open section of the building. His acolytes immediately arranged themselves around him, in a semi-circular clump, all facing towards him. Gradually, more and more passengers added themselves to the outside of the group, which fanned itself further and further out into the hall. Nobody seemed to be doing anything much. They simply looked at him – or at the ground in front of him – in a suitably supplicating fashion, and he smiled back. This seemed to be enough for all concerned. To my secular European eyes, the scene was intriguing, mystifying, baffling. Who was this guy, anyway?

A year or two later, as I was browsing a copy of Esquire magazine (yeah, me neither), I came across a long article on a recent series of sex scandals involving various highly regarded Thai monks, who had been systematically abusing their power and influence over some of their female followers. Apparently, these discoveries were rocking the foundations of the religious establishment over there. (Does this sound at all familiar?) A lengthy mention was made of one particularly well-known tarnished guru, and his spectacular fall from grace. A small photo accompanied the relevant paragraphs.

It was him.

7. What does it take (to win your love?) (Junior Walker & the All Stars)

(Posted by Buni)

“I don’t ask for much in a man. He only has to be tall, rich, funny, sexy, single, strong, good-looking, smart, romantic, charming, warm, sweet, sensitive, athletic, warm, kind, generous, punctual, sincere, and of course he has to feed me ice-cream in bed every night for the rest of my life.”

As a younger man, I have to admit that the above was pretty much the case; I would have all these criteria about men and if they didn’t match those criteria then they were history, or didn’t even get a look in. There are young guys that I know at the moment and they are exactly the same, so idealised. They have their own criteria and standards, some are similar to the above and some are not, but there is the general gist of having this ideal man in their life that they think is going to bring eternal happiness. If they have found the above, good luck to them.

As I’ve become older, I’ve become more relaxed with myself as a person, I’ve noticed that I’m not such a fascist about these things. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my standards and high standards they are too, but the men who come into my life don’t have to have all of the above criteria.

There are many guys that I like a lot; guys that I’ve met over the years that I find are likeable, respected, admired, and having maturity and good judgement. As I said these are guys that I like a lot and where I’ve thought about taking things a step further. However, something has held me back. In my analysis of ‘taking things further’, I’ve thought to myself about attachment, “Would it be hard for me to get along without……..?”, a sense of caring for the other person, “Could I do almost anything for……?.”, and in my eyes, the most important aspect of a sense of trust, “Do I feel I can confide in >>place name here<< about virtually everything?”

I’ve been carrying on carrying on, doing my thing and getting on with life; not particularly looking about for anything serious where men are concerned. This has gone on for about 2 or 3 years (I’ve been single for 5) and I’ve recently, finally met a guy where I have found myself thinking long and hard about the attachment, sense of caring and trust and I have to admit that he has met all of the above criterion and standards, and more. I felt love again. However, the feelings are unrequited, it’s a shame but I’ll get over it. He is a cracking guy with a good head on his shoulders, and, he is likeable, respected, admired, mature and possesses good judgement. However, he’s a lot younger than me and so his criterion is that the guy he’d like would be tall, funny, sexy, single, strong, good-looking, smart, romantic, charming, warm, sweet, sensitive, athletic, warm, kind, generous, punctual, sincere, and of course they have to feed him ice-cream in bed every night for the rest of his life.”

Maybe it’s all down to timing or something? I have no idea. You just can’t win them all can you?

This entry may be revised in two or three years time.

Travels with a God-man

(Posted by Melodrama)

I’m posting from my parents’ home today. After working half-day, I rushed to the railway station and settled in my seat for a hopefully peaceful two hour ride to my parents’. Ten minutes after I settled in, I heard an announcement that all trains were delayed due to a minor derailment. How could I expect otherwise with my luck this week? When finally the train started, I looked around and noticed I had a God-man and a subdued looking fellow, apparently his disciple in the next seat.

I mostly ignore my co-passengers, and I buried my nose in the magazines I carry solely for the purpose of avoiding co-passengers. When the train finally started, the God-man started making conversation with everyone and I purposely tried my best to avoid conversation.

Finally, the God-man asked me where I was headed and I muttered something inaudible and looked away. The Gm (God Man) finally started making conversation with people sitting across the aisle and started lecturing about the virtues of Hinduism. Then he started a flirtatious conversation on his cellphone with someone. Well! Things were getting interesting. I don’t know whether any reader on this blog has ever seen an Indian Gm or not. Most dress in orange or white robes, have sandalwood paste smeared on their foreheads, wear loads of long rudraksha beads or gems and spout pseudo Hindu philosophy while subtly mentioning their ashrams anywhere outside India. This guy was pretty much like that and very curious about everyone else and flashy to boot.

If being a God-man is anything like what this fellow was, its not such a bad idea being a God-woman. I just need to work on getting some rich, decadent disciples first!

The science of mistaking

(Posted by Mark)

Whatever you think you know, however well you believe something corresponds to another, the promises or hearts you’ve broken, the games you’re playing, your timing, what you want or what you worry about, the gifts you give and the ideas and motivations you’ve been trying to second-guess, the one common thread through them all is that you will make mistakes.

We all make a mess of our lives from time to time,
It’s part of the process that you stumble as you climb.

We can’t help it because to err is human. With every intention of being accurate, honest, responsible, caring or diligent, we will nevertheless make mistakes because we are intrinsically imperfect creatures. It is how our mistakes are made, the consequences of them, their frequency and their nature which are the real issues rather than any debate over whether they are made. Because, and it’s really simple, we all make them.

Making mistakes
Mistakes are made for many different reasons. We may not know exactly what we are doing or what was expected of us in a particular job or function, we may be unwell or tired and thus less able to concentrate fully on the task set to us, we may have been attempting to do too much, resulting in many jobs done less well than a few tasks completed successfully, we may even have introduced deliberate mistakes in an attempt to test or discredit someone else. All these are recognised, if not exactly acceptable, ways of explaining why our mistakes have been made.

One of the most frustrating occasions is when you are challenged as to your mistakes with the question, “Well, why did you do that?”. If you explain that you are overworked or ill or unsure of your task and they accept this, then you can get on with correcting the error and all will be well, only in a slightly longer amount of time than anticipated. It is when the other person refuses to accept your explanation that matters get irritating. “I don’t want your excuses” has been a line used on me, which is guaranteed to annoy: asking why and then not listening or refusing the answer is a colossal waste of time which could be better used in remedying whatever is deficient. Suffice to say, I have tried to avoid doing work for that person ever again.

Other, more personal mistakes can be made because we have blinded ourselves as to what we want, where are heading in life, or simply because we don’t want to know what the real situation is. We make these mistakes in the belief that we are doing what is for the best or at least what we want to believe is the best, and then allow ourselves to be drawn deeper and deeper into confirming that mistake, which in turn deepens the hurt we feel and which we cause others.

Admitting mistakes
“I’m sorry, but you must be mistaken” is the polite way of telling someone that they are plain wrong. What they claim to know or have understood is somehow faulty. This can be accidental misunderstanding: a difficulty with an accent, two words which sound similar to each other, a bad telephone line, a concept not quite fully grasped; or it can be a deliberate misunderstanding, in order to be humorous, heighten tension, intentionally mislead or twist words and meanings to suit the respondent’s own purposes. This is the first mistake and leads most often to an immediate second mistake, which is denying that any such misunderstanding went on.

Some people really hate having to say they are sorry, don’t they? Admitting your mistake and acknowledging this to someone else is very, very easy but for some it seems to represent something far more serious like a character flaw or a signal that they have fallen slightly shorter than the Olympian ideals which they have set themselves. I don’t exempt myself or anyone else when I say that there are certain situations where we all hate to say we are sorry, because we hate to admit we are wrong. If there is a subject upon which you consider yourself the expert and you get a detail or fact wrong, when challenged by someone who claims to have superior knowledge, it can be difficult to admit your mistake. We like to feel that we have certain talents and gifts, and don’t necessarily like being contradicted or corrected. A slice of humble pie is often the dish of the day when we take our self-importance too far, and occasionally the odd person demonstrating that we are imperfect can do wonders.

One difficulty is the devaluation of the word ‘sorry’, which can be used for anything between accidentally detonating a nuclear device and having someone tread on your foot on an Underground train. While wailing “mea culpa” at the top of your voice and committing hari-kiri may seem an excessive way of apologising, so too does a mumbled “sorry, I ‘spose” seem a minimal and less-than-heartfelt was of expressing your regret. It is the sincerity of the apology and the promise that such a mistake will not be repeated which indicates the real force of meaning behind the word, and not simply the use of the word itself.

Forgiving mistakes
To continue the Alexander Pope quotation, “to err is human, to forgive, divine” but forgiveness can’t occur until that little two-syllable word has been uttered. The scale of the absolution correlates directly to the scale of the transgression. Minor mistakes and the ensuing apologies are easily waved away as their significance is little and the effect they have had on the other person is hardly important. More serious errors of commission or omission will be far harder to excuse as their direct consequence will be felt more keenly by those who have suffered.

The hurt – the real hurt felt can sometimes make you think that nothing could ever let it go, erase the memory of the distress, of the heart-sickening, stomach-aching distress which stays and stays and stays, lingering as though it’s a physical part of your body, your memory attaching the mistake committed against you to all the things you hear and see, despoiling what you love and have loved, crying dry tears and turning away from mirrors – may preclude forgiveness. God may be all-forgiving, but we are far from gods and our ability to forgive is more limited, bounded only by our capacity for love. Forgiveness can be the benchmark of love or its absence: do you love me enough to forgive me? Can you love me enough to forgive me? They are questions we should hope we never to need to ask.

Sing for absolution,
I will be singing and falling from your grace.

But if we are forgiven, then doesn’t that open up just a little ray of light? A tiny corner of a painted-out window to look through and see what we nearly missed, what we nearly threw away, what we nearly destroyed? Isn’t it the understanding that mistakes will be made, that they can and are regretted, that they are not inevitably to be repeated, and that lessons have been learned – isn’t that worth forgiveness? I believe so.

Shit Happens, I Know

(posted by Zena)

But I’m not sure I’m ever going to get over realising how superficial most (men) of the world is (are). People who have looked through me for years, suddenly want to go out with me. People offer me seats, parking spaces, all manner of fine things, and I know that I’m exactly the same now as when I was heavier. More, so, perhaps.

And what happens if I meet someone, and we get together, and then I get fat?