At half ten at night while he was flicking through the pages of his girlfriend’s novel, a spike went through David Lyndhurst. Not a spike of pain, not a spike of inadequacy. A spike. The spike pierced him like a skewer through a kumquat at a middle class barbecue.
My legs swung forward from the hip. I was agile. I didn’t feel the familiar and expected groaning of my calves, instead I felt happily strong and capable. I flew across the landscape without tortured breath or heaviness and I felt free.
I crawled round the house in the semi-darkness, resting often from the labour. I sighed as I plugged back in.
Looking around with alert bright eyes, I clenched my fists as I looked over across the small settlement. I climbed down from my vantage point.
Shanty buildings with a shiny sheen greeted my eye. A cliché in a chequered dress swept up pointlessly outside the cartoonish inn doors. A wind passed through as if to better animate the scene for my benefit and it tousled the cliché’s hair and gently parted the doors to the saloon. A ridiculous tumble weed crept just past her feet and she looked up to give me an empty smile.
I looked around to see if any other characters populated the area. There were none, so I walked my ridiculous cowboy walk over to the chequered caricature. Before she or I could speak I unwillingly tipped my ridiculous hat.
The sun beat down on my dirty face and it was the first time I’d felt truly uncomfortable there, as I prepared myself for speech. I wished her a good afternoon without incident and she gave me a “Howdy stranger, welcome to The Slanted Gran” in return. The name of the place appeared in my view and I felt an endorphin boost as if I’d achieved something, simply by “discovering” this new territory. Her mouth shaped the words so distinctly, with such purpose. Her eyes remained dim. She smiled at me blankly while I chose what to say.
She didn’t seem to notice I was a woman in typically masculine attire, despite the apparent time period, she didn’t seem to notice a lot. She just goofily grinned at me, her windswept hair moving in unnatural, lagging fragments.
I just thought I’d share a post about some of the music I’ve been listening to lately, I tend to revolve in the same musical space for quite a while because I just get so happy existing there. Also, just a note, I write about two artists here, but I give them quite unequal word time, that’s for no real reason, other than the fact that I’m just quite unmeasured and if it flows for longer then I just let it 🙂 .
Listening to new artists, although exciting, is not always something I’m in the mood for. It’s a bit like starting a new TV series, having to get to know all new characters and story-lines etc. I like to find media I wash myself in to be of comfort, that’s why I like familiarity a lot of the time, or perhaps I’m a bit lazy in this department.
I have to be in a very particular mood to start listening to a new album for example.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Let’s go:
- Syd’s most recent album – Fin
I love Syd’s vocals, attitude and stage presence – she oozes sex appeal for me and makes music that I want to move to. Her music could so easily be the soundtrack to eye-fucking someone on the dance-floor, letting the darkness and the drink make you liquid.
I particularly like Dollar Bills, Know, Body and All About Me.
It’s such a smooth album, that really wraps you up in it.
- Ray Blk’s – Durt
I keep coming back to Ray Blk – I first heard her sing 5050 and it just made me look for more of her work. It just sounded like it might have been some old classic that I was failing to recognise and I was surprised to find it was an original song – I’m not sure what felt familiar about it, but the point is – I loved it.
I love her candour. And the emotion she conveys so gracefully in her voice, I find the content of a lot of her songs to be so touching and real.
My favourite songs from “Durt” are My Hood and Gone (which features Wretch 32) – Chill Out is also so listenable.
Talk To Me and 2am are also great tracks that I listen to on repeat.
Her voice is so expressive of pain and sometimes bleakness, but she combines it with touches of lightness and humour. Her references to pop-culture really make them real by setting the lyrics in time, the details paint such a vivid image for me.
The first verse of 2am shows that detail perfectly:
” […] no no, cartoons on the telly,
cold spaghetti in my belly.
I laugh loud, nobody can hear me,
Zoidberg, Carlsberg, I’m feeling merry”
I appreciate the rhymes and half-rhymes and the lonely picture she paints with humour. That clarity of bringing the scene to life, I think, is a real skill.
Also, I love it in Talk To Me when she says “Hope you hit it last, Kanye not Ray J” – I find it really beautiful and candid, by using this image – she expertly avoids cliche and to be honest, it kinda gets my heart a bit. On top of that, as in a lot of her songs, the pace of her deliverance propels things forward so pleasantly and with such great rhythm.
Candour, honesty and directness are things I admire and love to hear so much in music, the personas in her songs speak a kind of truth I find really emotive, she shows us so many things at once, her vulnerability, her sexuality and her drive, as well as her creativity in expressing those feelings.
I just love her story-telling basically and the effortlessly cool frame in which she places it, and now I’m gonna stop gushing, it’s feels a bit out of character, haha.
I just love hearing complex female voices in music and Ray Blk and Syd, I feel, give us just that.
This is just the introduction to the first listed thing in Experience: what I’ve learnt :).
I’ve been using dating apps for a couple of years now.
- OK Cupid
- Grazer (Basically Tinder for vegetarians and vegans)
- Plenty of Fish
And possibly some others that I can’t remember :).
The one I’ve stuck to most closely and have actually, wait for it, paid for is OK Cupid.
I find it’s generally reliable and I quite like how it’s all set up and it’s not too expensive (think it might be around £25 every six months for “A-list”, something along those lines).
It’s more than just a scrolling stream of photos with minimal bios like Tinder and Grazer, where I feel like I haven’t got enough information to decide whether I do or don’t like someone. Also if I’m feeling a bit indecisive, I often feel like I just have to end the application rather than make a decision about a person. And then, they can keep coming up every time I log back in and I still have no clue what to do – there’s no maybe pile.
You get to answer questions at any point, it’s all multiple choice, and from that, it assigns you with a range of qualities.
As an example, I’ll read you what it says on my current profile.
OKC describes me as :
- Less Ambitious
- More Compassionate
- Less Arrogant
- Less Sex-driven
- More Polite
- More Love-driven
than the average bisexual woman of my age on OKC.
(I must confess, I am less inclined to actually answer many of the sex-based questions on the app, mainly because I don’t want people who may want to creep me out to know any particulars of what I like or don’t like in the bedroom.
I don’t want to give certain people “ammunition” if you know what I mean – you can just imagine it …
OKC question: “Would you rather be tied up during sex or do the tying?”
OKC answers: “Be tied up; Do the tying; Neither thanks; I like both.”
Person A: Be tied up 🙂
Message from Person B > Person A: Oh you like being tied up do ya luv? *rubs knees*
You understand. I just like to keep some of the information to a minimum because I don’t trust everyone that could be witnessing this information to not use it to taunt or threaten or insult or shame me.
Therefore, perhaps OKC’s conception of me and my sex drive is slightly skewed. Although I don’t know I haven’t asked a sample group or anything.
Anyway, based on your answers to these questions, and what answer you’ll accept from a potential match, you are given a percentage match score to compare with every other member of the site.
Obviously, the match score can do little in terms of conveying how chemical you’ll feel in real life, but, I feel answering questions in this way does help get to know some basic things about a match.
For example, once I “liked” a match (gave him a little star) and he gave me one and we started chatting, he was a fellow vegan and from his profile and pictures, he seemed like a lovely smiley guy, bit of a free spirit.
We exchanged a couple of messages each, I complimented his pies (you can link to your instagram), and then I thought I’d have a quick look through how he’d answered some of his questions.
I found that he still seemed OK, we had quite a high match percentage maybe somewhere in the 80s or 90s.
And then, I got to the sex section…
One of the questions there was: “Would you ever film a sexual encounter without your partner knowing?”
And he’d answered yes.
So, basically, I feel for this sort of thing it can be really helpful, because if you have a few deal-breakers – you can weed them out without even having to actually chat. As much as I dislike the idea of commodifying one’s search for love or measuring the effort you may have to put in, if you’ve been on dating apps as long as I have you’ll know how difficult and time consuming it can be.
A couple of my friends and I who were all on it at once at one point, called it admin, because it often felt like a job – a risky, sometimes exciting, sometimes disappointing, but most often, extremely tedious job.
You often find yourself having quite similar conversations with strangers until one of you decides you’re not really fussed about talking anymore, or you meet, and then decide the same thing.
And then there’s the struggle of dealing with the titular awful people you can come into contact with, of whom there are different types. I’ll talk about some of these in more detail in the next section.
(Sorry there’s been quite a bit of convoluted describing of the landscape of the app here, I just felt I needed to give a bit of context and background info to start with and I’m not the most concise writer.)
Right, right, right.
I need to talk about this.
I’ve only recently started this blog, and since doing so, my confidence in sharing my content has grown.
I feel pleased when anyone takes the time to read what I’ve written and it still feels somewhat of a novelty to have anyone’s eyes on my work, other than my own.
When I started, I was very reluctant to tell anyone I knew about it, but over the past month, I’ve actually been surprised about how willing I am to send close friends the link.
And I’ve had some positive feedback, which is nice. It’s so lovely to do something I enjoy, that feels helpful to my well-being, and to have people respond to it in such a way.
So thank you if you’ve ever read any of my poems or pressed the little star on anything I’ve done – I appreciate it every time I have a little orange dot on the bell in the top corner.
It’s the 28th of April today and I actually started properly posting on about the 8th or somewhere around there, so it’s not been long.
Sorry, this post is a bit of a mish-mash – I’ve already gone on quite a tangent, from what I was originally posting. (Also, just to interject again – I really like really short paragraphs as a reader, so that’s why I do them as a writer, I find it just makes it more readable, I think my attention span’s got shorter in recent years, so short paragraphs are a blessing I find.)
Anywayy, when I scrawled the beginnings of this post in my notebook, the intention was to share with whoever may be reading this, some things I’ve learnt.
I don’t think my perspective’s incredibly important or anything, but I don’t think it’s not important either and this is my platform, right? So I have to stop apologising for sharing things.
(It’s a bit like when I was a teenager and I was deathly afraid of posting a picture of myself anywhere because I felt like it somehow wasn’t my place, or that people would think I was vain or self- involved or something. When really, no one really cares, so now, if I want to put a picture of myself on my social media – I bloody well will, and there’s no need for me to make any excuse other than “I wanted to”.)
Anyway (2nd anyway), moving on from my own discussion of my writing/ sharing self- confidence issues, I’m going to jump right into this short list of a few things I’ve learnt about life over the past few/5ish years/ as I’ve become an adult human. (I’m 23 now if that helps haha.) Just a few.
Here we go:
- A lot of people on dating apps are awful. Awful. (These people also exist in real life as well – but I come into contact with them more regularly through the window of my phone screen and some of them may be more brazen or heinous with that barrier of course.)
- It can be really difficult to exist in public, when people think you (or the people around you e.g. a partner or a friend) are anything other than cis and straight.
- I’ve noticed a strange, but regularly appearing thought pattern amongst people I’ve met concerning the boundaries between sex and other romantic intimacy – a sort of worryingly common notion that divides the two in a way I find, at best odd and at worst disturbing and even dangerous.
- A lot (a lot) of people have mental health issues and I am by no means alone.
- The meat and dairy industry is deeply bleak.
I want to explain these in more detail but I’m already around 556 words and I feel like each number deserves a post in itself – It could take me a while though, this feels like heavy stuff and I am not keen on heavy – not with these skinny arms.
I’m not sure if I should include facts and figures and do research, or if I should just tell you what I’ve personally experienced through anecdotes and potentially screenshots etc. (They’ll be particularly useful on the one about dating apps, as I’ll be able to provide examples of awfulness).
A bit of time might pass between now, and the next post on this thread but, please bear with. I’ll make it blatantly clear in the title and they’ll be in the prose category, in non-fiction.