Good God, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I swear I’d been intending these to be a weekly affair, and it’s been nigh on two months already. Yikes. What do I go with, reasons or excuses? Reasons include job hunting like a fiend (boooo) and acquiring a lovely lady(bear*) (yaaaayy!). Excuses include ‘Oh, God, what? Look, I was ill and I’ve fallen behind with stuff, alright? Is that ok with you, Captain Prolific? Who even asked you? Jee-sus…’ I prefer the excuses, but the reasons might be more… reasonable.
* This is a Twitter reference. I’m not on Twitter and I’m not going to be. But she is, with 140 character bells on.
Bon. On y va. Job hunting – what a perfect shit. I thought it was hard when I first moved to London, but currently it’s insane – there’s at least ten times the number of people going for stuff I should be able to walk into. Not career jobs, mind you (and I use the ‘C-word’ sparingly) – whatevs jobs. The jobs that serve as classic insulation between ‘proper’ jobs (for heaven’s sake…) and negotiating the JSA bête noir (look I’m feeling Gallic today, d’accord?). In short: temp hell. Which I can’t even get into. In November I signed on for the first time since the nineties – WT actual F? I’m all for testing the theory that I was paying national insurance half my life for some sort of reason, but that’s not funny. I’m in proper Yosser Hughes ‘giz a job’ territory. The jobs your parents’ generation tells you to swallow your pride on whilst haranguing you about how you ‘think you’re too good to do that’ you cannot even access. Bugger…
I don’t know when the last time you filled in a job application was, but I’ve recently been reminded, quite convincingly, that I still suck at them (thankfully new GF is really rather good and knows how to spin shit, but more on her later). The problem I have when poring over job applications is that I’m appalled, and then I switch off, in that order. I find it condescending in the extreme that a given company asks people why they want to work for them when it is clearly a role which wouldn’t be a labour of love for anyone but the clinically insane. ‘Briefly explain why you are applying to work for us’. ‘Shits and giggles, fuckface – I need a job! We live in a capitalist society – I will die without money, d’you understand this? Exactly how new are you? ‘The fear of physical, literal death’ – that is why I am applying to you. I think we both know I wouldn’t otherwise. See the homeless dude out there? Yeah – that’s what I don’t want to be. And to this end, I am applying to fuckin’ you…’
That’s the first stage in my not really being cut out for this. Next comes the job description/ person specification in all its soporific glory. As far as I can tell the correct human response to these things can only possibly be one of narcolepsy. I’ve had some doozies lately; the kind that, when their effects are reported in the news, contain the words ‘before turning the gun on himself’. If you could only have seen the document I was supposed to be wading through the other day. I needed a syringe full of adrenaline next to me and a sign round my neck saying ‘If found slumped in chair, you’ve all seen Pulp Fiction and I don’t think medical qualifications really come into this… Aim for the heart, do your best – much obliged.’ I want to see more honest lines of questioning available on job application forms for when the people putting the thing together are turning into tosspots and need telling. The opportunity to provide them with accurate feedback would be invaluable (and easier than the afore-mentioned resuscitation). Just a little something at intervals to punctuate the ordeal along the lines of: ‘So on a scale of one to ten, how disconcerting is filling this palaver out for you? With one being stress-free and ten being Ant and Dec’s continued employment.’
And so from JSA-hugging unemployable wretch to the strange phenomenon that is ‘I’m currently not single’. Turns out I didn’t need internet dating (four years ago I spent a frustrating three months on… let’s call them ‘Catch. Mom’ (Oedipal complex not withstanding), where I have never felt more bereft of my own time or freewill in my life. There was more than a little bit of a flashback to school for me, too… ‘Look, ladies, I acknowledge I’m not one of the popular kids, but I still wholeheartedly believe that more than none of you should be interested in me…’) – no, it turns out I just needed a quality independent bookshop. To hang out in and find a like-minded soul. (Thanks, Tim and Simon). And not before time, either – how long had it been? A while… Without going into detail on my monk-like credentials, let’s just say I have a fairly thorough working knowledge of the internet… (Ah, the internet – or to give it its full title: ‘The Internet – an abundance of free porn and thank goodness, because some of us were about to kill again’). My litmus test here is when you find yourself remembering sex how other people remember a fun day out: ‘Oh, yeah, I remember that… No, no – it was good. Was good… Had a lovely time… Would love to go back next year…’
There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one will always be because I don’t exactly have ‘game’. My ability to chat a woman up doesn’t extend much further than ‘Hello. I like you.’ Which, done right, is sweet; done wrong – is just creepy. ‘Hello, I like you.’ ‘Daaaaa! Take my money!’ Also, ‘Hello, I like you’ is *that far* from having a ‘help’ on the end of it. ‘Hello, I like you – heeeeelllpp!’ Like a wounded animal howling; just ‘Heeellp! I’m in quite a bad way; please take pity on me..!’ This behaviour isn’t dissimilar to how dogs act in an animal sanctuary when they know prospective owners are coming round; it’s the same ‘Please like me! Please just like me..!’ (On the other hand, she and I have quickly acquired the running joke of me deliberately doing the worst chat-up lines I can produce in a given situation, i.e. (fumbling around the TV) ‘Where do I find the remote that turns you on?!’ And my favourite so far: ‘I don’t want to be on the sex offenders’ register unless you’re calling the names!’ Note, for both of these examples I’m basically giving it the full ‘Buddy Christ’ point and wink. Thank God we have the same sense of humour…)
So we’re doing well, thanks for asking. Nearly didn’t happen though. Last summer she laid it on quite thick that ‘nothing was going to happen’ between us and hoped I was ok with ‘being just friends’. Here’s the thing: if you’re a female who wants to be ‘just friends’ with me, that role has been grossly over-subscribed since, well, the nineties, really. Demand has massively out-stripped supply and in that regard, it’s incredibly similar to trying to get tickets for the London 2012 Olympics. And like London 2012 Olympics tickets, I am seriously considering capping the number made available. ‘What, you’d like to be ‘just friends’ with me? Oh, that is a shame… If only you’d been here in ’98… Yeah, you might have got a place… No, not now, you silly! I’m afraid it’s going to be inane pleasantries followed by an unspoken ‘We will never see each other again’. ‘K – bye. Bye.’ Which is why I responded to her with ‘Yeah, sure – of course I’m ok with that! Why wouldn’t I be…’ (Yes, this made for an interesting juxtaposition with my inner monologue that was busily bleating ‘Shitshitshit – abort! Abort! Pull out of there, goddammit!’) Harrumph…
Not surprising, though; women have always found me to be infinitely expendable. Well, you tell me. The times I’ve found myself in a new relationship, things seem to be going great; you’re convinced that she likes you as much as you like her; you’re putting the effort in, spending money you don’t have, and quicker than you can say ‘Hello, darkness, my old friend’, you’ve been dumped by shitting text. Once, years ago, I had a girl I was in (predictably unrequited) love with say to me: ‘Well I’d recommend you to all my friends…’ I’m not a timeshare in the Maldives, dammit! What, ‘you’re not in to me, but you might know someone with presumably lower standards who is’?! Oh – you condescending harpy – can you find it in your heart to fuck off…? Before I pull my hair out and stuff your family with it, in a process the police are already referring to as ‘guerrilla taxidermy’.
This one’s a bit of a good ‘un, though. How to describe her? One of the first things she did was lend me her copy of Alan Moore’s ‘Lost Girls’. I can’t think of any girlfriend I’ve ever had who would even know what Alan Moore’s ‘Lost Girls’ was, much less lend me her copy. For those of you unfamiliar with it, ‘Lost Girls’ is a forty quid hardback of the most wonderful erudite filth. Bless her. If that isn’t the yardstick for ‘soul mate’…
She gets my jokes (hallelujah… ‘One girlfriend per decade who gets your jokes, I’m afraid; that’s your quota and rules is rules…’) although this does cut both ways – she’s switched on enough to be on the same wavelength as me, but also switched on enough for it to have taken her about five seconds to clock my tendency to laugh at my own jokes. I’ll have said something funny and we’ll laugh at it. Then four minutes later I’ll be giggling again. ‘You’re laughing at your own ‘joke’, aren’t you?’ ‘Hee heee – yes! Yes, I am!’ (Incidentally, that is the self-same propensity-to-rest-on-past-glories attitude that has taken me straight to the top of ‘inbetween jobs’…)
She likes poundshops. I’d never been in one before (could you be any more of a clichéd bloody middle class nightmare?) and with hindsight, the Wood Green branch of Poundland in the run-up to Christmas probably wasn’t the best place to pop my poundshop cherry. But what the hey… We’re in the kitchen bits aisle (it’s not an aisle. More of a cache…) and she’s pawing at something that is ostensibly electrical goods when she caught my look of bourgeoisie disdain. Which she countered with ‘It’s alright; it’s got a kite mark’. Well – it’s got a kite scrape… But that is not a mark. I mean you go ahead and buy it, but I will do scissors, paper, stone with you to see which of us has to go first at plugging it in. And if it’s you, I will be in the other room with my fingers in my ears, bracing for impact and getting ready to dial 999 whilst mouthing ‘I told you so’. (I haven’t been back in there since, buuuu-ut, I did pick up the first two Leftfield albums for a quid a piece. Alright, ‘Release the Pressure’ skips a bit, which is on the unforgivable side of pre-owned, (don’t you fuck with my nostalgia, Poundland, that’s my sodding youth…) but – it’s a quid a pop. And how churlish would you have to be, y’know…?)
Nothing blew up. And I’m aware that sounded almost disappointed. It’s like when you try googling google to see if anything actually explodes (It doesn’t, by the way; there’s not even smoke – ‘s a complete let down…) What I’m saying is it’s the same morbid curiosity present. That a potential partner would have to humour. It dawned on me the other day that the amount of stuff I say which, out of context, just sounds bad is really quite a bit. And she doesn’t just tolerate it in the way that most women would (have to…) – she finds it as funny as I do. Recent gems include: ‘Your bum’s better than ninety per cent of hand dryers’ and the frankly dumped-worthy ‘You’re like a camel – but for piss’. I think we’re going to be ok…
Bien, alors – those are the reasonable reasons for blog tardy. I will be trying very hard to ensure it doesn’t happen again (I nearly wrote ‘promise’ then thought better of it). And not just because I’m quite the fan of WordPress enthusing at you with a litany of progressively bouncy superlatives when you post something new (‘That’s fantastic!!!’) Like a dentist bribing children with lollipops, aren’t you, WordPress? In any case, relax. You had me at ‘cowabunga’.