Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To Don't List

Prompted by this letter to Dear Lover, I have a confession of my own to make. I keep lists of pros and cons for my objects of affection; the pros in my head and the cons on paper (as they are the ones I tend to need most reminding of). I have such an embarrassment of shortlived relationships and friendly encounters behind me at this stage that I'm considering opening a spreadsheet in Excel. Looking back at some of the written examples that I've kept, it seems that the only absolute dealbreaker occasionally listed among what I perceived as people's faults was that they didn't interest me. My willingness to put up with most else is no doubt unhealthy and a symptom of low-self esteem; I should probably stop billing it as tolerance. Some of the gripes listed are petty, some are not. Some are funny, some are unreasonable; I suspect a lot of them are all too common - I identify very much with the author of the Dear Lover post. Here's a selection of them, a meascán meidhreach of different times, different lovers and different Rosies in some cases (depending on whether or not I'd had breakfast that morning):
  • You smother me, and it gives me the creeps.
  • You're not affectionate enough.
  • Your cock is too small. Not just small, far too small.
  • You have nothing to talk to me about.
  • You never compliment me how I look.
  • You don't get my jokes but you laugh at everyone else's.
  • Your constant flattery absolutely mortifies me.
  • You make me feel stupid, and you do it on purpose.
  • You make me feel bad about being smart.
  • You're too short.
  • You're not interested in listening to me, just in having someone to listen to you.
  • You tell the same stories all the fucking time.
  • You're too lazy.
  • Your libido disappoints me and you make me feel guilty for it.
  • You start every text message with "ha ha" and finish most with a smiley face.
  • You put me in a headlock while you sleep. Always.
I'm not sure if it's a good or a bad habit, to be honest.


Billy said...

"You start every text message with "ha ha" and finish most with a smiley face."

That's the most annoying of the lot.

Tara said...

My friend J once dismissed a significant other because 'his shoes were too white.' After that she took up with Ronan in Boston (there were many Ronans in Boston so this is in no way an identifier) so we could use his apartment for cable TV and air conditioning. Our apartment had neither. He was kicked to the curb when the cable bill went 30 days past due and they shut it off. See now? Your list seems both pertinent and benign. x

prenderghast said...

ha ha. loved that. You're so funny. :-)

Annie said...

I'd say it was a dangerous habit. Where do you keep these bits of paper?

(also 'You put me in a headlock when you sleep' - was he a wrestler?)

Rosie said...

and he was by a long shot the sweetest of the lot of them too, Billy.

she sounds like quite a resourceful young lady, Tara. thank you, you'cve made me feel better.

as are you, Prender, as are you. he'd have spelled it "luvd dat" though [grits teeth]

thay're safe, Annie, and always penned after the fact, so it's not like any of them are likely to find them. as for the headlocker, no, he just liked to snuggle. a lot.

AJ said...

"Your cock is too small. Not just small, far too small."

So what's far too small ? According to emails I keep getting, mine is farrrr too small. Though apparrently "You Can Enlarge Your Penis By 3 inches. In 2 Weeks You Can See Surprising Results".

Leigh said...

I think we've been out with a lot of the same boys!

Thriftcriminal said...

Never bothered with lists. A simple "Does it still suit me to continue with this, yes/no" always was sufficient. Course now I'm married with kids, so lists would be a really really bad idea. I can see one I'd probably come out the worst of on your list anyway.

Anthony said...

haha 'You put me in a headlock when you sleep' :-)

nuttycow said...

Ooo, lists are dangerous. I just go along with the thought process of "can I see myself with you in a week/month/year's time" If the answer is yes then...

National Disgrace said...

My ears are burning

emordino said...

> You start every text message with "ha ha" and finish most with a smiley face.

Wrecks. My. Head.

I can relate to the dealbreaker, although I can never quite decide if I'm just bad at getting the most out of people or if they are indeed a bunch of boring illiterate fucktards.

Rosie said...

far too small (to me) is when i'm forced to admit that it has a significant impact on the sex.

sorry for your troubles, Leigh! nah, many if not most of these gentlemen had some very fine qualities. i just chose not to write those down.

care to share, Thrifty? do we want to know?

was that haha and :-) deliberate, Anthony? you're upsetting EM.

my answer to that is almost always "yes", Nutty.

you've not got a list yet, Digrace. (despite my persistent attempts to flirt with you, you're proving worryingly impervious to my charms.)

sounds like you're hanging with the wrong crowd, EM. or asking the wrong questions. one of those.

Paul Heron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RuArUa said...

Some of the contradictions would suggest that they're probably just flings that lasted too long. 'Different' is exciting until you wake up next to it and realise that its just plain 'being weird'

someone said 'fucktards' I love that word

red said...

Mental lists could possibly be a beter idea. But either way never settle for anything less than perfection.

Darragh Doyle said...

Hey Rosie, great post as per usual. Not sure how to comment really. Honestly I suppose.

Girls are a mystery and don't come with a manual. No surprise there, but how you deal with them (excuse the phrasing) really comes a lot from your background and experience. I mean, back in the days when there was no internet, when the only advice columns were in the back of the Sun or the Sunday World, when the only frame of reference were the PoverTV shows of Home and Away, Baywatch, 90201 and good old racy Glenroe, there wasn't much of an opportunity to learn, especially if you're a quiet, painfully shy and socially inept odd looking culchie from down the country.

Your frame of reference instead came from advice of your peers in the all boys secondary school, most of them as inexperienced as you were, except they had the added advantage of older brothers or sisters to base their advice on, or they went to a mixed primary school the whole way up to 6th class and so had female friends who could introduce them to other females. Your sex-ed was understandably for a very catholic school very basic (your career guidance was pick a college in Dublin - UCD or Trinity, cos "that's all that's good up there") and all you knew of girls really were the judgemental young ones on your bus, who laughed when the older/bigger boys thought it'd be funny to empty your schoolbag everywhere - again (for the 6th year running...) and thought you were a loser because you never talked, because you were far too shy. They just thought you were up yourself.

And the advice was pretty dire and put the girls into two basic categories - the girls who liked their boys to be macho men who would hold their hands in public - IF the boy chose to let them; they all loved a good shift and a feel and being allowed to drive your mother's ford fiesta to school when you were in 6th year guaranteed you to be going out with someone. Being on the football or hurling teams in the school (or being smart enough to hang around with the hurlers) was another great one. Either that or they were (a) a much bigger boy's sister who'd hammer you if you so much as looked at her or (b) frigid. That was it.

The TV shows had a lot to answer for too. They propagated this image that girls were these dependent, needy girls who swooned at romance, who liked their men to be distant, to be macho and to give them flowers and gifts and to look like Matt Brody from Baywatch or Shane from Summer Bay. They were happy to be treated like crap because it would all be okay in the end once they hugged and kissed and the sun would go down over the water and "You know we belong together" would play in the background.

As for sex, all we saw on TV was billowing curtains. When you eventually worked up the courage to rent one of those "filthy" films - probably Electric Blue - from the local video shop - all you saw were the girls desperate for a shag from A MAN, who would rip off their clothes (if they hadn't removed them already in the shower (with another female friend)) and proceed to do the deed. Unless you knew someone there was no such thing as hardcore down the country. Surely all it was was stick it in, take it out, shake it all about and finish on her face. Nothing about cuddling. Nothing about intimacy. I mean, Hollywood wouldn't lie to you, would it? Nor would page 3 of the Sun or anything, surely.

And then when you read the women's magazines like Company or Cosmo (which your older cousin had) all you saw were the tests: Is he romantic, does he buy you stuff, does he treat you well, does he know how do to the business etc. No advice for the guys other than don't fuck it up. Even in films you're told - open the doors, walk beside them, hold their hands and dance beside them, singing beside them and make them laugh. Bloody Fred Astaire has a lot to answer for.

So you go to college and a whole new world of girls open up to you. Jaysis there's millions of them. All pretty, all cool. But, eh, you're not. You don't know how to talk to them about anything other than college stuff, you're not invited along to the bar (if you know where it is) and you don't like to impose yourself, because you know they'd never be interested in you. And you see the couples forming, see the coupleyness and the going to the balls and the nightclubs and whatever but there you are on your county council college grant, trying to do your best with that and the few quid you make in some call centre part time and you're focussing on that piece of paper cos sure won't it all be worth it in the end?

And then the internet comes along, on a computer bigger than a commodore 64, and you get one from the ESB shop and pay it off on the phone bill and God help you trying to find advice there! Plenty of in-her-face porn though.

And you make friends with girls, who love your company, your listening ear and your sense of humour and who think you (and your college notes) are great and they tell you all about the problems they have with their boyfriends and how bad they are, how they don't look after them etc but they see you only as a friend and nothing more and worse than that they don't introduce you to their single friends :( But you keep in mind what the girls don't like guys to do.

And you get fed up seeing all the couples and seeing your mates off with girls so you say fuck it and you buy FHM for advice on how to dress and what cologne to wear and you save your money for the Calvin Klein boxers (£20 a pair, probably more expensive then your shoes) peeking up over the faux-Levis, the hairgel plastered on (cos Daddy never had to show you that one) and the sunglasses on all the time. Cos that will get you the girls you want - the FHM girls, the straight hair, shiny nails dressed up "girl you need on your arm to look cool" and you go the the loud dark smoke filled dumf-dumf-dumf music nightclub (fireworks) and after a few bruises from walking into the walls with your dark glasses you get a few drinks in and work up the courage to shout at some young one over the music, and she lets you buy her a bacardi and coke, and it's all going well (you think) until some guy comes over and leans in front of you, armani shirt open to show the chest hair and starts the conversation (he's much bigger than you so you're not going to start a row) and it ends up in him invitingher to his yacht in Malahide (butit's nowhere as big as the one off Cannes) and whoosh she's gone. And you're broke.

And then you get a job and finally meet a girl that likes you who you like and it all starts off great. Except for when it gets past the first sober kiss between you cos then you start panicking about what she'll want but you'll never ask her because that would be too needy or desperate. So you imagine what she wants. And all of the past advice and learnings and whatever comes into play. And you fuck it up. Badly.

It's not completely your fault, but you are a bit stupid. Cos you don't communicate or ask, you just assume. And maybe that's a bad thing. Because maybe you try to be affectionate and she thinks you only want her for her body. And you try to be unemotional for fear of being called soft and she thinks you're unfeeling. And you don't compliment her on how she looks and she thinks you think she's fat or you do comment on how she looks - honestly - and she thinks you're calling her fat and ugly. Or you don't think she'd want to hear your random thoughts of weirdness and she thinks you don't find her interesting or you want to show her you're secure in your relationship and so talk to other girls and she takes it as looking elsewhere (cos she's fat and ugly, remember?) and you're honest with her (always a challenge) about her family and she thinks you think it's a reflection on her (being fat or ugly) or you don't always ask her how she feels because you - well okay you forget to or whatever.

And in the bedroom it's even worse, especially if you're not as experienced as she is. Foreplay? What the hell is foreplay? What do you mean we have to wait till you're ready? But I'm ready now! And what? You're not satisfied? But I've put it in and taken it out, what more is there to do? What do you mean about cuddling, but we're done! And you never get that it's because she's happy to be with you and would like to lie there and talk and have you listen to her.

And so you break up. Either cos one of you cheats or you have a huge row or whatever. And it hurts, but you try again. And fail again. And again and again.

And then you meet the girl who does suit you, who does make you tingle (yes, fellas do apparently) and who you do really like. Are you too shy to approach her? Can you tell her how you feel? If you don't will you lose her. If you do will you freak her? What does she think about it all anyways? Are you backwards being forwards? Will it all happen again?

I suppose you give it a go and you hope for the best. You hope you can have fun.

Not much you can do about being short or having a small penis, but for God sake learn about the text messages!

(apologies for the waffle. Just an idea.)

problemchildbride said...

All I'd add is don't hang around with someone who tries to make you feel stupid or diminishes you in any way. Asshats like that won't change their ways. Nor will the super needy smotherers. They'll probably only get worse.

Relax, have fun - if you're just half as much fun in real life as you are on the blog, sooner or later someone great's going to come along for you. In the meantime, just keep careening along in your life, pursuing your interests and keeping true to yourself and what you need from a partner.

problemchildbride said...

All I'd add is don't hang around with someone who tries to make you feel stupid or diminishes you in any way. Asshats like that won't change their ways. Nor will the super needy smotherers. They'll probably only get worse. And if they DO get better, then you'll wonder why.

Relax, have fun - if you're just half as much fun in real life as you are on the blog, sooner or later someone great's going to come along for you. In the meantime, just keep careening along in your life, pursuing your interests and keeping true to yourself and what you need from a partner.

Thriftcriminal said...

Course not. It's dull.

Rosie said...

or not long enough, Rua.

you think perfection is really attainable, Red? i don't think most of us are that lucky.

solid advice, Sam. and of course i'm as much fun in real life! only with more conversational meanders and messier hair.

it's the haha and smiley faces, isn't it, Thrifty? for shame.

Darragh, that's some response. you'll work it out, much as the rest of us will.

Rosie said...

and Paul, i would but for the certainty that he'd say no. i wouldn't blame him either.

AJ said...

Ya.. what Daragh said...ah ah aha.

Rosie I think your list would be a hell of a lot shorter if you just were totally honest with guys. Like "hey fuckwit I don't like it when you put me in a headlock"...only said nicer :)

prenderghast said...

Rosie: You're It.


Sinéad said...

Oh yes, I've had the smotheration and fawning, it's worse than someone who isn't affectionate.

My own list from the past has (shamefully included)
- Your arms are too hairy
- You wear deck shoes a lot

Ah the shallowness of my youth...

Rosie said...

i'll get to it, Prender.

deck shoes wouldn't be a capital offense, Sinéad, but crocs are a different matter. the Leitrim Lady came home with a pair the other day and i've made her promise only to wear them around the house. friends don't let friends wear crocs.

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