"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." Greg Anderson
Easy for him to say! All he ever has to do is wash and shave. That's because he's a man.

My journey starts with the FIRST BLOG; you'll need coffee/tea and probably some chocolate digestives, or maybe some Cadbury's Fruit and Nut, or Green and Black's Organic if you've got more money than sense.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Au Revoir, Mes Chers Amis...

...for a few weeks. Here you go - open this on another page now and you won't be disappointed. Well, you probably will be, but it might take you old uns down Memory Lane for a moment. Done it? Don't it just make you wanna break plates? 

OK, guys! Time to hit the convent trail! I’m packed and all iPodded and Kindled up. The iPod is chocca with the likes of this, this and this, and there are equally weird combinations of literature going on in the Kindle; plenty of stuff en francais, of course, some gloriously free classics like Middlemarch along with what could turn out to be my favourite (hehe!) Rampant - very, very dodgy! It’ll keep me amused in the wee small hours… ;)

Stella, unlike me, has been busy on the dating front, very busy, so I shall at some point be posting her latest adventures, you’ll be glad to hear. She is, it has to be said, consistently more reckless crazy hopelessly romantic interesting than I am. Plus, she's willing to put in the (wo)man hours involved in achieving her goal; that's what I love about her - the relentless inability to learn optimism. So, in between 

Matins : the night office (2 am),
Lauds : the early morning service of divine office (5am)
Prime : The 6am service,
Terce : the second of the Little Hours of divine office (9 am),
Sext : the third of the Little Hours of divine office (12 pm),
Nones : the fourth of the Little Hours of the divine office (3 pm),
Vespers : the evening service of divine office (4 - 5pm),
Compline : the last of the day services of divine office (6pm),

I’ll try to sneak out my netbook and tell you what’s been going on in her life of late.

Lord, I’m gonna be knackered from all that praying, and it’s gonna play havoc with my knees, I can tell you, but there is also the merest possibility that I might be able to sneak out when the Sisters aren’t looking - you know, hide myself in a passing haycart or something - and if I get any, ahem, ‘action’ anywhere, you shall be the first to be informed. Don’t hold your breath – me and my luck, setra. 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

You're Ugly, You're Old And You're Bloody Irritating...

Geddit? You clicked in because you thought it was someone saying it to me, right? Nah! Or me saying it to someone else. Also nah. But...

Oh my word! Remember this, followed by this, culminating in this? Well, the emails kept on a-comin’ until I finally got heartily sick of 'em.

I am quite sure the initial ‘flick off’ was clear, elegant-ish, and, as far as I’m concerned, quite kind really. This was not enough. Either it’s a Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus moment, or else it goes way beyond that and he is, after all, mildly deranged, a psychopathic stalker a very needy person. Or, as someone more generous than I pointed out, he just fancies me. 

I told him that:
  • We really didn’t have enough in common for me to imagine a relationship
  • I could not envisage him in most of my life’s scenarios
  • While I enjoyed his company for a very long and arduous day, merely feeling OK in someone’s company was not in itself sufficient to make me want to seek more, particularly with the life I lead.  

OK, I phrased it all slightly better than that, but that was the gist.

He got back to me with the vast number of things we have in common. (Er… that’ll be two. Two things which I would be happy to do perhaps up to three times a year; I've since learned he does them week in week out.) He then told me (note TOLD me) that he knew exactly why I was putting him off: I was merely afraid of having a physical relationship with him and that I need not worry because he is a patient man. (Well, yes, good grief! He’d have to be very, very, very patient if he expected me to get into bed with him. When is Armageddon exactly? Let me just shake off that little spinal shiver there… woueghph!)  Oh yes, and that in fact he’d been in a similar situation before, and the lady in question (not boasting, he said, just the reality) ended up telling him he was a wonderful lover. Good for her! Then there was a pile of nonsensical stuff about my thinking my family and children might get in the way and that I should not sacrifice my happiness for theirs; I should follow my feelings. How I love these "Should Scenarios"...

What feelings would they be then? Because the only feeling I am aware of at this point is that I am right royally fromaged off with this whole business. Go away, you irritating little mouche!

Anyway, I think he has finally got the message now. I did it to the very best of my ability without actually saying the F word accompanied by an O and a further 2 Fs; I'm tellin' ya - it ain't easy. Diplomatic and proud! Sign me up for the Foreign Office! 

Fortunately, I'm going into prolonged seclusion shortly, back to the convent for a little downtime where the internet is only available intermittently and that’s only if I can smuggle in my laptop and keep it concealed under the wafer-thin mattress. I might be able to post the odd few words in the dead of night when Sisters Marie-Claude, Clothilde and Bernadette are busy whittling candles, but I can't promise - depends on their level of concentration during the process - ya know what I'm sayin'. The likelihood of an inspiring male turning up (except for the obvious one and that's, erm, kind of blasphemous...) is minimal; however, I can get reception on my phone there, so - with any luck - Stella might have something to tell me which I can pass on to her enormous fan club. 

Might just catch you before I go. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug and all that palaver. :) 

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Slave and Stella

Stella was contacted by a rather good-looking 31 year old. Not her usual fare, being over 10 years younger, but he was a great guy, wrote an articulate message and their initial chats were very chummy and normal. But time moved on. Several emails in, they started Instant Messaging, and then he said he had a secret that might be seen as weird by some people. Well, you know how nosy she is."Do go on," she said. 

(Just a mo’ - let me get my notebook out to see exactly what she reported. Ah, here it is...)

Him: Please don’t get offended. You look really gorgeous and I want to be your slave. I’m sure that sounds strange to you.
Her: Yes,it does.
Him: Don’t be scared or anything. I’m not talking about sex or anything like that, unless you want to that is. I’m not at all pervy.
Her: I see. I’m not sure I understand what you mean.
Him: It’s not something you can easily discuss with people. Be open about. I’ve just always wanted to be someone’s slave and do things for them.
Her: What kind of things?
Him: Just the usual.
Her (suspicious): What usual?
Him: You know hoovering, washing up, ironing.

Well! WELL! You can imagine how Stella perked up at this prospect! Someone to do the housework – how flippin’ marvellous! (I was already at "Where’s the dotted line? Sign me up!" at this point in her narrative.) 

Her: And what would I have to do?
Him: You? You don’t have to do anything. You can just come home and I’ll have dinner waiting for you, then I’ll run the bath for you, put candles round it. That sort of stuff. I’ll rub your feet if you want.
Her: Why would you want to do all that?
Him: Honestly? I don’t know. It’s just been my dream ever since I was a teenager.

So there you go. Nowt so queer as folk. Now assuming that he is a genuine person and this really is all he wants, what could be the root cause of such a fantasy? Of such a need? According to Stella, in all their correspondence he was charming (but not in a slimey way), decent, not one comma’s worth of lasciviousness. (Sorry if that word is too long for anyone ;)) Her words to me were, "He was a lovely guy, and while I’m giving you the story for the blog, you are on no account to make fun of him."

Well, I’m not and I won’t. It all comes down to this human frailty business again and the lottery of internal wiring. Is this something to do with his mother? Is this something to do with his sexuality? Is being under someone else’s control comfortingly familiar? I haven’t got a clue.

Stella ended the conversation by saying that she was flattered and thanked him for his offer, but she would have to decline. If she accepted, she said, the situation would make her become a mean person and she didn’t want to be that. Nonetheless, she wished him good luck in his search for someone who will let him express his desires.  

OK then. Story over. Let’s get down to business…

Roll up, roll up, roll up! 

It’s just the housework we’re talking about here, girls! You gotta be in it to win it…

Monday, 11 July 2011

Not So Mellow, Mega Yellow

Somebody give me a good slap!

Did I say I would extricate myself elegantly? Did I really, uberpeanut-brained as I am, imagine elegance is possible in these situations?

Let me describe what I’m up against. Since yesterday morning Martin has sent me:
  • Two messages on the website
  • Three emails
  • One request for IM
  • Eight texts of which four have been of the ‘Can I phone you now?’ followed shortly after by  ‘Can we have a chat now?’ variety. The answer has thus far been no because I’ve either had other people around me or have genuinely been otherwise seriously occupied with something else. You know the kind of stuff – about to get in the shower to get ready for work, driving, diagnosing friend’s nervous breakdown, putting my finger in the dike that’s holding back the pile of crap that’s about to engulf me etc.  
That’ll larn me! Bollocks! Not ‘appy, not ‘appy at all. If only I weren’t such a mealy, pathetic, cowardy, cowardy custard…

Anybody got a backbone they could spare?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Plus Ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Bleedin' Chose.

So, yeah, merci beaucoup, fellow countryman Jean- Baptiste Alphonse Karr. When did I last post anything on here? Hmm. It seems an age. This is because I have been on 3,290 dates. Well, OK, not quite that many. But it feels like it. That’s why I haven’t updated – too busy being miserable!

Here’s my new rule, and if you really love me - family member, friend, follower - please, please, please don’t let me waiver from it. If it’s not absolutely firework-explodingly magnificent on the first date, it is for sure, for sure, not worth revisiting, no siree!  Where might be the most suitable place on my body to have this tattooed?    

So, most recent dates - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, of which two nonsensical repeats. Why do I do to myself?

Do you remember the person I went out with last week, let’s call him, Martin, well, we had an ‘activity’ date – more like mooching round places than activity - but it wasn't merely coffee and/or dinner.

How shallow am I? I feel like such a schmuck telling you any of this  He was a perfect gentleman in all respects: he held the car door open for me, walked on the outside of the pavement, open all doors, bought me a little present (a book about a subject he knows I’m interested in), but… but… No!

The age thing only got worse because I noticed he has this annoying habit. You know when elderly people are reminiscing about something, and they come to the end of a sentence, and then they sort of inhale and exhale with a little groan-sigh, as if ruefully contemplating the magnitude of what they've just said. Well, he did that. All the bloody time.This would invariably be followed by a little shake of the head. It nearly drove me nuts! I remember my Grandpapa doing exactly the same thing when he used to sit at the kitchen table talking portentously about the War. Plus, Martin's voice grates – sort of lugubrious. Combine Eeyore, Clement Freud and Amy Turtle. (Haha! How ironic we should be talking about age – who the hell remembers Amy Turtle except me!) Anyway, you get my drift?

To go on this activity date, I had to ditch my car and get into his. Another new rule: never get into a car with a strange bloke. Yes, I know it’s obvious – but he was harmless except in one respect: he sort of kept me hostage. This has happened to me before; it’s a little unconscious manipulative ruse employed by lonely people to stave off the inevitable moment of coming face to face with no-one but themselves. (Or, if you want me to be a halfway decent human being about it, they like you and want to spend time with you.) So they metaphorically grab you by the wrist in a vice-like grip and won’t let go. Martin’s version of this was to prolong the date till 2017; lunch got later and later, then the walk in the park, then something else, and something else, then when we finally arrived back at my car where yet another coffee was required in a local hostelry. 

Guys! Here’s the thing. I have lived alone for a while now and, on the whole, I like it. The kids (when they are around for long periods) thankfully bugger off to their rooms to do time-wasting, self-removing things with Xboxes, books and computers; good mates and family get told to haul their ass off the sofa and go home when I’ve had enough of them; even that shining beacon of wonderfulness, Stella, gets thrown out after three hours!  You can see the problem, can’t you? I get People-Overload Syndrome. So what am I doing internet dating, right?

But anyway. Oh my God, what did I do after that? When Martin asked me for my email address, I gave it to him because I just couldn’t dissemble quickly enough.  Grrr. Why do people put me on the spot!? So, that’s another one I’m going to have to extricate myself from… elegantly. Sheesh... come on, Bette, muster up a sense of humour, woman. 

Two of the other dates were pretty much the same as this root vegetable scenario. Once again I tried to give them opportunities, leads, inroads into the fascinating subject of moi, but did they take them? Did they hell! One of the men had a moment of clarity (for him) when he suddenly registered he had been talking non-stop for half an hour about everything he had done that week. Out of the blue he said ‘And what about you?’ I was so glazed over by this time that I actually replied ‘What? Oh sorry. Did you say something? I was miles away.’ No, I did! Really I did! Can you imagine?! And I got a distinct feeling of deja vu, possibly blushing after I realised what I’d done. And because he caught me unawares, all I could muster was ‘Oh, you know. Work, friends, stuff.’ I failed to mention all the other mind-numbing dates. ;) Anyway, it appears that ‘Work, friends, stuff’ was more than adequate for him because he then blithely launched into Part Two! I gave it my best polite shot – an hour in total. Sainte Bette.  

Finally, one of the repeat dates (and actually I’ve never mentioned him on here because he became a friend after a minor hiccup) turned into a really pleasant soiree. We had a fun time, gossiped about nothing in particular, caught up with news about work, the kids, summer plans. I had to leave early because in order to get there on time I’d foregone the opportunity to get some petrol, and my tank was left with about two drops. And this is the 21st century in the UK in the sticks - no guarantee of petrol anywhere after 10 pm. Ridiculous. Anyway, bless him – he followed me around until I found a petrol station so that I wouldn’t be stranded in the middle of nowhere. Quel gentilhomme! And you know what… he’s good fun, articulate, smells nice, solvent, my family and my kids would like him, but why, oh why, oh why can’t I ever see myself under a duvet with him? Drat!

Stella is gob-smacked that I'm having such a run of bad luck. (She, by the way, is currently all loved up, wandering round being… erm… disgustingly unnatural. Still, keeping my fingers crossed for her...) So, in the spirit of true friendship and wanting to see me serviced happy, she’s come up with a new plan. Since I am clearly crap at choosing people, she’s going to sign into the site as me and choose suitable candidates on my behalf. Let’s face it, nobody could do a worse job than I’m doing. Watch this space… 

Oh yeah - and then there's her story from a couple weeks ago which I haven't yet reported. That's next. You won't believe it; it's one of those 'It could only happen to Stella' jobs. You know what's she's like...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Heeeeeeere's Johnny!


He messaged me; I looked at his profile before answering and saw there was something in it that could be une petite quelque chose we might be able to talk about - a mutual interest, let’s call it. The picture, on the other hand, was definitely more inclined to this. I should have been alerted further, however, by his job: a psychiatric nurse.

Anyway, I replied politely though succinctly so as not to overly encourage. Almost immediately he wrote back with what would have been around two pages of A4, and most of it, it has to be said, semi-drivel with hardly any punctuation, so it was totally unintelligible. I skip read it and resolved to do the decent thing and reply eventually... at some stage.

Three days later I managed to get round to it – just a few words in acknowledgement of the fact that he too is a (some kind of) human being kind of thing. 

Whoa! Oh dear! The man has clearly been a psychiatric nurse for far too long (if that’s the truth anyway) because as far as I can see he’s been infected by every mental disorder listed in the DSM. His message back to me was quite unnerving. He was quite miffed that I had taken so long to reply because he is already madly in love with me, is so besotted he can’t stop looking at my photos, immediately wants to 'bed' and 'shower me with pleasures unknown' and, to cap it all, I’m exactly the woman he wants to be his Mrs.


Our Father, who art in Internet Heaven, give me this day just one nice, normal, not too old, not too young, not too clever, not too stupid, solvent, educated, amusing guy, and if you could make him a minimum of four inches taller than me and prettier than Jack Nicholson in the Shining that would be a massive bonus. Amen. 

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Oh, Grow Up!

OK. So, here’s yesterday’s date. Pleasant man all in all. Quite gentlemanly. Interesting-ish.  Merely five years older than me and yet - so very, very ancient! Looks and outlook. Methuselah... only without the beard. What I'm conveniently forgetting (hehe!) - and this is because I put on 'happy' music to drive to dates, hence arrive there aged just 22 - is that women have the advantage of make-up, hair dye and 21st century corsetry.  

But anyway - why didn't I fit or gel with him? He was a proper bona fide grown-up. Am I really so juvenile? Don’t answer that!

And the minute he said something about cuddling up on the sofa with a good DVD, I was infested with scrambling ants in my pants. Stella says I've got to get over this aversion; it's not that I don't like draping myself over someone for a half hour of DVD - my kids let me do it on occasion with them - it's just not what I'd call an occupation. It's the absence of occupation, and I don't think I could do it more than once a week. So when men go on about it as if it's a life-style choice, into my head pops a vision of this happening through the upholstery with my already not unample derriere. 

Somewhere back at the beginning of these blogs, I revealed my misanthropic tendencies, and perhaps I claimed to revel in impending decrepitude. But, ya know, I was sort of lying. Because old age brings with it the inclination to denigrate anything fresh and new and to dwell on crap like ailments (remind me to never discuss my teeth ever again!), pontificate on how A levels were much tougher during Oliver Cromwell’s time, and recall the days when washing machines lasted for a full five hundred years before you had to call in an engineer. All of which, ultimately, makes you more of a drain than a radiator

(I think) I’m fortunate that I'm frequently in the company of young people, and frankly, on the whole, I like 'em. Even when they are bitching about something, they manage to do it with some level of humour. Ooh, hang on, corrigendum - only if they are at the end of their obnoxious teens, that is. Old people merely moan, whinge, groan and drone and make me want to insert earplugs or sign up to join this lot.  

So, when I am with old people i.e. some of my dates, there is a stifling atmosphere of...
I swear I sit there waiting for them to say something that's going to make my hackles stand to attention. Yesterday, for example, there was the mildest hint of racism, the merest smidge of homophobia, the teensiest tad of bigotry – all of which is usually more than enough to put me right off someone. Instantly. 

In fairness to him, these comments were not statements of opinion, just little throwaway lines that elbowed their way in among some self-deprecatory gems, but I have these well-hidden and rather annoying antennae which ping out when I’m assessing and evaluating. And while the shagability rating (in this case, erm, let’s face it, zip, nada, none) must be considered, the other criterion is 'Could I just drop this man into my life, my family, my friends?' With those views, if they are his views, I don’t think so.

Hmm. Anyway, I'm still going to go out with him a second time (probably whilst doing some kind of activity because I'm all coffeed, drinked and dinnered out)) for the following reasons:
  • We had a two-way conversation.
  • We covered lots of topics.
  • His work and hobbies were interesting, and I learned from him. 
  • As a result of his knowledge (an autodidact by the way, left school at an early age), I found some information on the internet that I'd been looking for for ages, and that's made me grateful and almost ecstatic. 
  • Since he insisted he pay for dinner (I couldn't be bothered to argue and let him), I'm going to have to repay the favour somehow.    
Not sure all of that is enough. What do you think? Maybe he'll grow on me? 

A little like, erm, mould?