An Open Letter…

An Open Letter…

To all the men that never text back,

What is your deal? Seriously.

It’s been 70 hours and you still haven’t replied. You saw my message 10 minutes after I sent it, and you were online an hour ago, yet you still can’t be arsed to give me a moment of your time.

I am sick and tired of me and my friends constantly second guessing ourselves over your inability to  give us a response. If we were speaking face to face, would you stare at me when I asked a question and then just turn away? That’s what the equivalent of leaving us on ‘seen’ does. It’s rude. But do you know what’s even worse? Not even bothering to open the message, for days on end. You know that little number 1 is there…just staring at you, a little reminder that you’ve patched me for 3 days now. The worst part of all of this, is that with social media and messaging apps being so accessible, you are actively putting effort into not responding. You’ve seen my message and made a choice to ignore it or not bother replying. Any one that has ever been ghosted will tell you, that feeling really sucks!

I know you’re not busy, because I’ve seen your Instagram of you watching Netflix or playing FIFA on your own. You’ve looked at my Snapchat story and updated your Facebook status, but you still couldn’t find two seconds to reply to me? -and now I feel like a stalker for noticing all these things!

It’s not just me that feels this way, you’ve got my friends obsessing over it too…

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We are constantly texting our fellow ladies to seek reassurance that we aren’t crazy, and that we haven’t done anything wrong. We support each other and convince ourselves that we should just move on. We’re angry and decide we deserve better…until you eventually reply. Then it’s all ok again. We’ll never bring it up, at the risk of being branded ‘clingy’ or ‘psycho’, instead we just allow you to repeat this pattern, but today, I say: no more!

Whether we’re just starting to get to know each other, in the post-date stage or have been seeing each other for a while, I’d still like you to acknowledge my existence. Please and thanks!

If you’ve lost interest, don’t feel any chemistry, want to pursue things with someone else, or just have stuff going on in your life, tell me! I’m a big girl (figuratively speaking, obviously…I’m actually only 5’ 3”) Trust me, I can handle it.

For the most part I get it, you don’t want to hurt my feelings, or you might just genuinely be apathetic, but honestly I’d have a lot more respect for you, if you just said that. Do me a favour and save me hours/days/weeks of wondering what I did wrong, so I can move on. 

I find myself feeling two emotions: One, I’m sad, sad that you don’t want to give me a little bit of your attention and that you’re not interested in talking to me. Two, I feel angry. Not because you won’t reply, but because you’ve made me question my self-worth and I’m even more angry that it only takes a lack of response to make me feel this way. When did I become so needy?

Since WhatsApp and Messenger decided to ruin my life (tad dramatic?) by telling me when you were last ‘seen’, I’ve become obsessed with needing to know why you can’t be arsed to answer my question about drinks next week, or tell me how awesome the meme I sent you is. I come up with excuses in my head at first, and then I start to read too much in to it – You’re not interested in me anymore, I talked too much on our date didn’t I? I’m not pretty enough! The sex was bad wasn’t it? Did I do something weird? OH MY GOD – I’m bad at sex. Nobody is ever going to want me again – I’m going to die alone, no man will ever text me again, I may as well reside myself to a life of celibacy and spinsterhood.

Then I snap myself out of it.

You know what? I don’t care that you haven’t responded. It’s your loss, you can’t just pick me up and put me down whenever you want! How very dare you! I am a sassy, independent woman, I don’t need a text from you, I know I’m awesome. You snooze, you lose. In fact, I’m cutting you off. Forgetting you. Moving on to the next one. Wait…you responded, oh what? your phone died?! You’re really sorry you didn’t reply sooner? It’s fine! Don’t worry about it – yes I’d love to hang out next week.

Yours sincerely,

L

xxx

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Dale.

Dale.

When I went on my first date with Dale we both knew what the deal was. We’d talked at length how this would be a non-committal arrangement and almost certainly a one time thing. So thinking about it, a first date was more of a display of politeness than anything else. Nevertheless, he was charming, flirtatious, interesting and really fricking hot!

I was instantly attracted to Dale and it was clear he felt the same way. We chatted and exchanged pleasantries about our jobs and hobbies. It was all going very well as far as pre-sex-arrangement niceties go. Four pints later, he finished his drink, placed his glass calmly on the table and said four words; “Your place or mine?” I melted. I’d never had a man be so forward. It was all very exciting.

Well sh*t. We got back to my house and, oh-my-god. It was phenomenal. Dale took complete control of the situation. He wasn’t afraid to be a bit rougher with me and throw me around. He did all the things I love….I’ll leave at that for now…hey, you didn’t think I’d give you all the details did you? Additionally, I’m very conscious that I don’t want this to turn into some kind of E. L. James fan fiction *boke*. To put it bluntly, it was hands down, one of the best experiences I’ve ever had!

So..[after all that excitement]…my question is…does my preference to be submissive make me a bad feminist? Mary Beard talks a lot in her new book Women & Power about the history of women being silenced by men (if you haven’t read it yet, you really need to – stop reading this and go buy yourself a copy!)

It got me thinking, if women, like me, enjoy being choked/gagged/etc by men in the bedroom, are we subconsciously submitting to patriarchal standards and expectations? Women fought for years to not just ‘lie down and take it’ but here I am…literally doing just that, and even worse, enjoying it! I pride myself having the strength to feel confident in using my voice and speaking my mind; so why am I so willing to let a guy stop me from doing that [in the literal sense] in such an intimate setting?

My opinion? I might appear to give up all control to a man, but really, I say when, I say what is and isn’t ok. I allow him to take control. I always have the control tool of stopping. It’s an element of sharing and balance on both parts, I give my consent to be controlled (on my own terms) and he enjoys me fully submitting to him. Coming from a feminist view point they are both compatible surely?

I don’t think any of this actually makes me a bad feminist – or a bad person for that matter. I think it’s actually very liberating to know what I want and not be afraid to ask for it. Besides, playing around with power roles makes for much more interesting sex than a dull, missionary style, hump. AMIRITE? But I guess the deeper question I can’t help but wonder, is why? Why do so many women enjoy power play and enjoy being dominated? What is it that makes that idea so appealing?

So my fellow feministas, which is it? Is it that women are naturally engineered to enjoy being controlled and dominated by men? Or rather, is it that we create a safe, comfortable space in the bedroom in which we are willing to relinquish control? Answers on a postcard please!

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xxx

Daniel, Kieran & Scott.

Daniel, Kieran & Scott.

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you just need to listen to some angsty feminist music to remind you that you don’t need no man!

If you’ve done this within the last six months then you’ve probably listened to Dua Lipa – New Rules (it’s a belter of a tune). This week, I’ve decided to explore each of her ‘rules’ and share times that I’ve broken them – much to my own annoyance.

[apologies to those of you that saw three names and thought this post was about an orgy]

Firstly, let’s have a refresher of what Dua has to say…

One, don’t pick up the phone, You know he’s only calling ’cause he’s drunk and alone…

Daniel was a very good looking guy, in fact, he was a model, which is great until you realise he was a total ass-hat. Basically, Daniel’s main goal in life was to sleep with as many women as possible, and for a couple of months, ~I was one of those women. The thing was, he would always send the same message at like 3am (he worked at a local nightclub and would often swing by on the way home – classy right?) and looking back, I don’t know why I thought it was so charming…it wasn’t. It’s actually kind of insulting.

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The part of the story that gets funnier, is that Daniel didn’t just want to sleep with me, he wanted to sleep with my two best friends. One evening we’d been at the cinema to see Suffragette -so we were feeling extra empowered- anyway…all three of us checked our phones after the film and had the same “You busy?” message. We agreed that this guy needed bringing down a peg or two…

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Don’t mess with us.

Two, don’t let him in, you have to kick him out again…

Ok, this is less about letting someone in, more about the kicking him out part. Basically, I’d met Kieran on an night out, and for some reason I thought it was a good idea to bring him back to my house…needless to say, in the morning I rolled over and was filled with instant regret. The problem? He wouldn’t get out of my house!

Not to worry, I was fine. My flatmate at the time and I had a system. All it took was a single text. What followed was a perfectly executed routine that had taken hours of discussion. My flatmate was prepped and ready. She knocked on the door to my room and shouted through to the other side… “Lauren, your Dad just rang me, he said he couldn’t get hold of you, but he’s just off the motorway, he’ll be here in 15!”. Honestly, I’ve never see a guy move so fast. Ok, so it was a pretty cheap shot, but it got rid of him quickly. I’d seriously recommend this technique if you ever want to lose a guy in 10 seconds.

Three, don’t be his friend, you know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning.

So I get that this line is about being friends with an ex and how it never works…but for some reason my ex’s never seem to stay in touch, so I can’t really relate. I can however, relate to why sleeping with a friend never works. Scott was my best friend for a long time and I don’t really know how this happened, but we got in to a pattern of going home together on nights out. In the morning, we’d act like nothing had happened. When we were sober we’d hang out as  friends pals, but as soon as alcohol was involved, we’d just gravitate towards each other, probably because we knew it was an easy option.

Neither of us every really caught feelings, but it definitely spoiled our friendship because other people started to assume we were a couple. We distanced ourselves from each other so much that we eventually stopped talking. He worked in the Pizza Hut opposite my old flat for a while…which was really awkward. To go from being best friends with someone, to sleeping with them, to not speaking at all. It also means I panicked ordered a pizza one time out of awkwardness and ended up with pineapple on a pizza…so basically, sleeping with my best friend ruined my life, and my pizza.

Forgive me Dua, for I have sinned.

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xxx

Simon.

Simon.

For those of you that know me well, you will know that I have been single for almost 5 years now. In fact, it will be five years on Valentine’s Day (happy singleton anniversary to me).

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Today, I think it’s time a shared that story. To give you some context, I should probably regale you with the ups and downs of my only serious relationship (before I get to the part where we break up). So join me in grabbing a glass of wine and we shall journey together into my deep rooted relationship issues. Sounds fun right?

I met Simon when I was 18. We very quickly fell into a pattern of seeing each other, and eventually (after much stubbornness on his part) got into a relationship. I’d never been somebody’s “girlfriend” before, so I was always keen to do things to make him happy, and he obviously loved the attention. As the relationship progressed, we did the traditional things, meeting each others parents, spending birthdays together and going on holidays. I was infatuated. I essentially worshiped the ground that this guy walked on. It was pretty immature now I look back at it (and now I’ve grown qualities beyond that of a doormat) but I just wanted him to love me – I just threw up in my mouth a bit at that sentence.

Pretty early on, we had the ultimate test in any relationship, I moved 300 miles away to University. For a year, long distance was great – when I say great, I mean, I went home every two weeks to see him and spent the majority of my student loan on train fares. Things only really changed when I went in to my second year at university. I got a job in a coffee shop which meant I couldn’t go home all the time.

Simon hated it. He didn’t like my new friends and the tone of our relationship definitely changed. He did a bunch of things over the next two years to try and hurt me, I don’t really like to talk about it, but here’s the highlights (and yes, they’re all true):

  • Cheated on me multiple times
  • Read, responded to and deleted text messages from my friends
  • Stole money from me
  • Got another girl pregnant
  • Convinced me that I was emotionally unstable

I realise I’m very brief here, but five years later it’s still very difficult for me to openly discuss

Each time something like this happened, I went back to him. I’d been manipulated into thinking I needed him, and no matter how much my friends tried to tell me, I just didn’t listen.

The final straw came on Valentine’s Day 2013. I wasn’t spending it with Simon, as I had work the next day. I was sad, but we agreed we would meet the following weekend. He didn’t text me all day and then when he did, I could tell he was in a bad mood. He asked what my plans were, I said I was having a few drinks with my best friend Monica and then we were heading to a party at a friends house. Out of the blue, he lost it. Simon told me that under no circumstances was I to go to that party. I had to go home straight way and he would give me ten minutes to get home and call him.

I saw red, I wasn’t having it anymore. I would not let Simon ruin yet another night with my friends! I turned off my phone immediately and drank the best part of two bottles of wine to myself. Here’s where the story gets funny (and kinda sad), Monica had a packet of water balloons left over from summer, and I don’t know why my drunken brain thought this was a good idea, but I filled each one and took them over to the window.

I was drunk and angry, but most of all, I was jealous of everyone else in a relationship at that very moment. That’s when it happened (and I’m not proud of this) I began to hurl the water balloons out of the flat window at passing couples. Now I don’t remember the finer details of this, as my memory gets a bit hazy after that point, but apparently I screamed the words ‘LOVE IS A LIE’ as I threw the balloons. Like I said, not one of my finest moments.

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Basically, the story of my first relationship ends there. We tried to reconcile, but I realised I just wanted to be happy, and ultimately, that wasn’t with Simon. Because you know, he’s a massive b***end. I suppose there are two lessons here:

If someone tries to control you for a long time, there needs to come a day where you finally find the strength to say enough is enough.

Also, all the best friends will have a supply of wine and water balloons.

xxx

Noel

Noel

I like to think I’m pretty open minded, but sometimes there are things that even make me take a step back. Noel was one of those things.

Before I start, I should probably point out that I am by no means naive and I understand that everyone has their ‘thing’, but after my experience with Noel I think I might actually have some limits.

When I first met Noel, he was perfectly ordinary, in fact, I’d go as far to say he was a bit vanilla [I was so, so wrong]. We hit it off straight away. Lots in common, similar politics. I was thinking that this could be the start of something kinda cool.

And then it started….
Little references here and there were the first clue that Noel’s interests we’re slightly niche. It started when he told me he didn’t like it when people wore shoes indoors, which you know, isn’t that weird (I come from a shoes off household as well). Later that week we were texting, I mentioned I was painting my nails and then he said it…

“Are you painting your toes to match?”

I had to ask about it…I needed to know right now what I was getting in to…

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It wasn’t subtle at all Noel

It was time for me to be honest, and reveal my own weird thing…

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I was trying so, so hard not to freak out. Noel was such a nice guy, and I really liked him. Our date had been good, and I didn’t think it was fair to let one thing get to me so much.

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Maybe I couldn’t handle this after all

I was overthinking it. I should give this guy a chance! He was alot better than any other guy I’d dated, every time we met I’d have so much fun, but at the back of my mind, I was always aware that he was really in to something I hated. It didn’t help that my friends constantly berated me with foot/shoe/toe based jokes [I don’t blame them, I would have done the same – but this was happening to ME!].

I put it to the back on my mind and went on one more date with Noel, we went for coffee and then to his place. As soon as I walked inside I started to feel anxious, I knew what was coming. I’d been thinking about it for so long, I wasn’t ready, it was too big a step! He asked me if I wanted to…take my shoes off!

I couldn’t deal. So I spent the entire time, watching University Challenge in his flat, in front of a fire, drinking tea, with boots on. Why was my life so ridiculous? It was at that moment, I realised that things with Noel probably wouldn’t go any further. He was such a great guy, but anything to do with feet just makes my skin crawl.

I felt so guilty, I made my excuses and left…

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Sorry Noel 😦

There wouldn’t be a next time, which was a shame, but I think Noel would make a great boyfriend for someone, he’s kind and funny and will probably buy you a pedicure for Christmas.

Matt.

Matt.

Tinder has provided me with lots of different dating experiences, some good, most bad. People often say to me that they don’t understand how I can go out on dates as they would feel so awkward; I look at it like this: If we get along, amazing! If we don’t get along, then at least I probably have a good story to tell.

Here is one of those stories…and to tell you the truth it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. I feel mean just re-imagining what happened.

I met Matt earlier this year, he seemed funny and polite, something which never fails to charm me. After chatting for a couple of days we agreed to meet for a drink at a local bar. He turned up [late] and I could tell straight away he was nervous. He didn’t speak much and conversation was a real struggle.

Normally, initiating conversation isn’t a problem for me, but I could tell about 3 minutes into this date that I was in no way attracted to this guy. I felt bad. As he drank more and more (presumably to calm his nerves) he told me how nervous he had been to meet me. This sent me into a massive guilt trip so instead of just cutting the date short after one drink, I ended up going for 3 drinks, a meal and 2 more Gin and Tonics.

It was painful.

Matt wasn’t a bad guy, in fact, he was really nice! I could tell after a few drinks, he was starting to relax and feel more comfortable, but it was too little too late for me. I’d made up my mind and I wanted to get out of this situation ASAP.

As he drank more and more, Matt started to air some pretty strong views on politics and religion, he said:

‘I mean, anyone that believes in God is just kind of stupid, I hate religion, it’s the root of all evil. Christians are just deluded.’

Then it came to me….this was my chance. I couldn’t believe I was actually about to do it…

He asked if I wanted another Gin, I smiled and said; “No thanks,  I probably shouldn’t, I have to be up early in the morning.”

Puzzled, he looked at me and said “What would you have to be up early for on a Sunday?”

And that’s when I said it….the biggest lie I’ve ever told….”Oh, yeah, I have to go to church in the morning, like I do every Sunday.’

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Matt’s face turned a pale shade of grey. I stared at him, waiting for a response. I could tell he didn’t know what to say. Part of me felt guilty that I had lied to him…but another part of me, thought it was actually pretty funny.

Needless to say the date was cut short immediately after that. Matt walked me to the metro and told me he’d had a wonderful time and he’d love to see me again…before I could respond he said… “Oh, and the stuff I said about religion, just ignore that. I didn’t mean any of it!”

When I got off the metro and on to my street, I opened a text from Matt telling me he’d had a wonderful time and couldn’t wait to see me again and he hoped he hadn’t offended me.

I never replied.

And that, my friends, is the reason I am going to Hell….if it exists, I don’t know, I’m not religious.

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Nick.

Nick.

I am an argumentative person. I’m passionate and not shy to make my voice heard. I love politics and would describe myself as left leaning in my beliefs. 

I met Nick on Bumble, a dating app that encourages women to message first. He was charming and flirty. He seemed articulate and confident. We agreed to meet for a drink at a bar in the centre of Newcastle. We didn’t get off to the best start after I managed to drop a whole gin and tonic in his lap (are you cringing as well?). I should have just left at that point. 

Nick was a teacher at a challenging school and he explained that the children had a lot of behavioral problems. What he said next made me shudder…

“See, this is why we should just bring back the cane. I’d happily beat the s**t out of some of the little b*stards”

Wait. What?!

I couldn’t quite believe what had just come out of this guys mouth. He was supposed to be moulding the minds of the future…he sounded like the kind of teacher that makes school unbearable. Nick went on to talk about his own political beliefs and tell me why all mine were wrong. Highlights included:

  • Children are only badly behaved because of their parents, they should bring them up better
  • Foreign kids don’t belong in the school system
  • Prison doesn’t work, the government should bring back capital punishment
  • Feminists should just stop complaining because they have an easier life than men, women are just being overly sensitive. Men work harder anyways

While I disagreed with almost everything that came out of Nick’s mouth (he said he liked the gin I chose…so that was pleasant), I persevered. Just because I didn’t agree with his politics didn’t make him a bad human. 

The date continued to be very led by Nick. He told me that teaching wasn’t what he really wanted to do (shocker), he explained that he either wanted to open his own healthy eating take-away; or pursue a career as a rock star…I laughed…he wasn’t joking. It was awkward. 

It was very quickly becoming apparent that we did not get on. The final straw came when Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive came on and he didn’t know the song or the artist. By this point, I’d made up my mind.


We awkwardly said goodbye and mumbled something about having a nice time. My flatmate picked me up (I’d been keeping her updated at regular intervals), and we talked about how hard it is to be attracted to someone whose political views are so abhorrent to your own. 

It’s not Nick’s fault that we didn’t click, heck he can think what he wants…he should probably consider a different career because he clearly hates kids but that’s besides the point. I was frustrated with myself. Just because I didn’t agree with his beliefs, I became instantly un-attracted to Nick. 

I love being challenged, and debate is healthy for the most part but fundamentally, I find it hard to relate to someone that is my complete political-polar opposite. Maybe it’s something I should work on…


Maybe not. 

[In case you’re interested, Nick text me after the date saying that he didn’t think we meshed well but wished me the best of luck in my search for Mr Right…cheers mate]