Tag Archives: ideal man

Valentine’s Day: Say no to romance at gunpoint

Thanks to the internet and snark becoming an acceptable way of life, moaning about Valentine’s Day and deriding everyone who gets involved in it is almost as big an institution as buying your beloved a bouquet on the day.

And it’s highly monetised, with cash changing hands for a billion think pieces on the death of romance.

We mock those who simply must book a romantic meal for two on February 14th, because either their partner will give them the silent treatment from the 15th until the end of March, or, more usually, because everyone else expects you to be doing something for it. And if you’re not doing something, they want to know why not. Welcome to the dictatorship that is Valentine’s Day.

I’m not bitter, though. I don’t care about commercialisation, tacky helium-filled balloons or bright red valentines imploring you to roger me senseless. I’m unmoved by special Valentine menus and badly  mixed ‘romantic’ cocktails named after cocks and tits. Lovers inspired by Fifty Shades Of Grey and throttling themselves with chicken wire? Up to you. No problem. All good.

What bothers me about Valentine’s Day is that it’s not a day for lovers to show how much they love each other. It’s actually a chance to show off, to not-so-humbly brag about how happy and in love you are. Like a really cheap annual wedding. If nobody else were watching, you’d be on the sofa scratching your arse and arguing over the takeaway menu like any other normal day.

My least favourite parts:

People getting flowers at work
If you have ever sent flowers to someone at their workplace: fuck off. Go on, just eff right off and don’t come back. You’re shameless.

It’s awful, beyond cliché, but people can’t help themselves. I know people (mainly women, I’m afraid) who have actively encouraged their beau to send a stonking great bouquet to their office. I can only imagine the devastation caused by Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, denying many 9-to-5ers their moment in the sun.

These floral deliveries serve as a massive “fuck you” to anyone with less considerate (or less easily manipulated) spouses, plus it has the added bonus of making all the single people – who we will come to later – feel even more fantastically inadequate, dreading the endless crowing about it all afternoon long.

The bouquets get bigger and more ostentatious every year, as everyone tries to outdo each other. We are probably about seven years away from someone just having done with it and Kew Gardens airlifted and delivered to Tracy on Reception. Continue reading Valentine’s Day: Say no to romance at gunpoint


Say no to searching for a soulmate

When you’re dating you hear a lot of talk about ‘soulmates’, ‘the one’ or the perfect match. Even the singles website where I met most of perfectly willing – but not always able – victims was called Soulmates, as if everybody on it were hopeless romantics staring at the sky with mooncalf eyes, waiting for Mr Right to swing off a star and drop into their arms.

Quizzes, algorithms and your own ridiculous preconceptions help you decide who this person is likely to be, this ‘other half’ of you, and anybody who doesn’t fit your narrow criteria is disposed of, thrown to the wayside.

But in search of this soulmate, aren’t we really just setting ourselves up for disappointment after disappointment, and banishing fun – and perhaps some really interesting, educational sex – to the back of the class for flinging spitballs?

He watches Hollyoaks – you think it’s Satan playing with his dollies. How could you possibly go out with somebody who didn’t match you perfectly?

For such a drearily romantic notion, hunting for a soulmate is a fairly clinical process. You think about the things you will need, whether it’s shared interests, a certain hair colour or the ability to put up shelves. You dismiss any suitor that doesn’t fit into your narrow field of requirements. He was a bit too fat, you tell yourself. He said he didn’t like Rufus Wainwright. He’s never listened to Radio 4. He watches Hollyoaks – you think it’s Satan playing with his dollies. How could you possibly go out with somebody who didn’t match you perfectly?

If there is one thing I realised, rejection after rejection, it’s that it is almost impossible for anyone to live up to their date’s idea of what they should be. Humans disillusion and surprise almost every minute we’re awake; we can’t really be programmed like a Sky+ box. If you approach dating like you’re shopping for a fitted kitchen, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

I never looked for a soulmate when I was dating, mainly because I could never really understand what one was supposed to be. A perfect 10 who instantly ‘gets’ you? A drongo in a matching cardigan who finishes your sentences? Someone you know so well, inside out, that you never have to spend any time working them out or discovering more about them? A hug from a mirror?

The problem with ‘the one’ is, well, there’s only one of them. How many times have we told ourselves at the beginning of a relationship that this guy or girl is the absolute, the very end, the first prize, that ‘ideal match’, only to find three years later that you’re shackled to someone who wears the same socks for five days straight – and with Crocs in summer?

In your next relationship, is this one the ‘the one’ one or should you have hung on to the last ‘the one’ one? Do you decide not to venture into another relationship lest the actual ‘the one’ one is out there looking for you somewhere? Confused? I know, right?

What if you are with someone for ten years, etching tattoos on your buttocks, making public declarations about soulmates, and then they sod off and have sex with somebody else? They were your soulmate, right? Does that mean you weren’t theirs? Isn’t it a two-way thing?

If soulmates do actually exist, and I am doubtful of this, they don’t just appear in front of you, having ticked off every box on your checklist. You grow into them. If you start off with Mr Perfect, where do you go next? Another 30 years of never being pushed or challenged, of agreeable comfort? Endless Valentine’s Days in the same restaurant?

The fastest way to working out what’s good for you is trying a little bit of the bad.

Clear all your filters, chuck out your checklist and widen those parameters. Take a risk. Never mind the perfect match, fuck the barista with a threadbare bank account – he might own the place one day. The fastest way to working out what’s good for you is trying a little bit of the bad. Who are you missing out on while waiting for that star to fall?

If you can find someone who’s a good kisser, smells nice, has an intelligent thought in his head and a sense of humour and – crucially – doesn’t make you want to kill, you’re already onto a winner.

Anyway, your soulmate probably doesn’t exist. Either that, or they’re married to someone else.

Image: Flickr

Five men you think you want to date (but actually really, really don’t)

Mr Neat And Tidy
Who is he? He’s never got a hair out of place and his flat is a monument to order and hygiene.

Why you think you want him: A man who cleans up after himself is the rarest of beasts; to find one is surely the holy grail of dating. Imagine all those gleaming surfaces you can have sex on!

Why you really don’t want him: If he’s that fastidious about himself and his environs, think how much control he’ll exert over you and yours. He’ll sneer at your ‘floordrobe’ and nag you about washing the dishes. While Mr Neat might look like the full package, in actual fact he’s a Cillit Bang-wielding housekeeping fascist who thinks it really is about time you did your laundry and oh my goodness is that a pizza box in your bed – what the hell is wrong with you?

Mr Puts You First
Who is he? Whatever you say goes. This eager to please puppy dog caters to your every whim, just to make you happy. If you don’t want to do it, neither does he.

Why you think you want him: Well, you get to do exactly as you please 24/7, and have your very own cheerleader at your side, making you feel special. This is all about you. All. For. You.

Why you really don’t want him: Doormattery is never sexy. It just isn’t. A guy who makes everything about you is heading for a fall in a big way. First of all, acquiescing to you day in, day out is bound to be a breeding ground for resentment when he realises he hasn’t done anything for himself in the last year. Also, when you start to tire of all this adoring emotional serfdom, your eyes are going to start dancing their way across the bar to rest upon the nearest hot nonchalant person who barely knows you’re alive.

Mr Best Dressed
Who is he? Clothes maketh the man, and this stylish trendgasm has it all going on, from his perfectly buffed boots to his expertly coiffed head.

Why you think you want him: He looks so good. People stare. He’s with you! Phwoar.

Why you really don’t want him: The problem with carrying a huge man-sized shiny bauble around with you is that it attracts attention. The wrong kind, from other men in search of decoration. Also, anyone who places such a huge importance on clothes is probably going to make you spend many an agonising hour shopping in some dreadful mall, stopping off for a glass of flat champagne at a soulless bar of cheap laminate and gold spray paint. He’ll also want to go out to show these clothes off. He’s not going to want to sit in front of reality TV on a Wednesday night when he’s got all these ‘threads’ to show off, is he?

Mr Mummy Likes Him
Who is he? You know as soon as you meet him that you can take him home to your mum. And when you do, he gets it right first time, with flowers, charm, and an ability to make one tepid cup of tea last an hour or two.

Why you think you want him: You’ve never been able to introduce a date to your mother before, given you spent the entire relationship drunk, covering for their kleptomania, or ashamed because they had a chest tattoo of an Amy Winehouse lyric.

Why you really don’t want him: The last thing you need for your fragile ego is a new ally for your family. As they pore conspiratorially over baby photos, your mother delighting in regaling your date with tales of you shitting yourself at nursery and the time she stumbled upon your internet history and it was full of amateur porn, they’re forming a dynamic duo whose only purpose is to make fun of you. Affectionately, of course. Right. And so it goes on, until your mother prefers him to you and then – when you inevitably break up with the toadying, Oedipal creep – she’ll mention him every time you turn up to a family event with your next, inappropriate squeeze.

Mr Popular
Who is he? He’s got oodles of friends and everybody knows his name. Going out with him is like being with a lesser celebrity, but without cameras following you round.

Why you think you want him: Congratulations, you’re a localised Kardashian! You’re suddenly part of a social whirl previously unavailable to you, with more connections than a train timetable and party invites than a publicist.

Why you really don’t want him: Popular guys are like cheap margarine: they don’t work so well when they’re spread too thinly. He’s got lots of friends, yes, but on the peripheries are hangers-on, and with a guy getting so much attention from his inner circle, is he going to have time for everybody? To make sure you get facetime with Mr Popular is going to take a lot of effort. Do you have it in you to be at his side come hell or high-water, at every shindig he attends, pretending you’re gripped by the small talk being foisted upon you by his simpering acolytes? Will he be having such a good time in the middle of it all that you slide out of view? Your taxi, as ever, is outside. He’ll catch you later, babes, yeah?