I’ve Finally Found Love and Everything’s Going to be OK
When you spend the majority of your life single, lonely, miserable and guilty that you don’t have worse things to kill yourself over, your perspective becomes somewhat skewed. You become accustomed to the fact that a mutually loving relationship with another human being isn’t in fact an entitlement, but a total fallacy perpetuated by every TV programme ever made.
You resign yourself to a life of celibacy, and despite having it thrust upon you in the first instance, you behave as though it’s a lifestyle choice. Sex? With a person? With me? I don’t quite hate anyone enough to contemplate inflicting that nauseating experience on them, you say.
And you can live with that, for the most part. Casually resent everyone in the world who has found that special someone, but accept that they’re on a different planet. Where they breathe oxygen.
Meet beautiful women with winning personalities, but don’t for a second think you’re worth any more to them than a gay friend. Just wait until you’re drunk and tell them they’re great or something. That’s basically as much as you can get away with.
This, clearly, is no way to spend your life, but it’s an easy pattern to fall into when you’ve never had your wretched existence validated by another person. People always say you’ll find someone eventually but you know that’s not true because your lack of self esteem has warped you beyond anything remotely approachable, let alone fuckable.
But you know what? Those people are right. You will find someone eventually. How do I know this? Because I have. And if I can, with my many acres of self-loathing, you can too.
The other week I got talking to an attractive woman at the pub, of all places. The starting point was the fact that I have no interest in football and have no qualms with admitting this to drunken boneheads. I would sooner discuss EastEnders, even if it is terrible television, I said.
We hit it off discussing the ludicrous existence of Heather Trott. If you’re unfamiliar with this character, you’re likely to recognise her from Harry Hill’s TV Burp, where I believe she’s had more screen time than she ever did in Albert Square. Basically, she’s comically overweight, enjoys George Michael and never catches a break. And now she’s dead. Her epitaph is thus: Impregnated by Darren Miller (a child in a suit); murdered by Ben Mitchell (an abomination of acting, characterisation and bizarrely the focus of every major storyline for the last couple of years). Rest in peace.
As you can well imagine, this is the kind of discussion I excel at. But given I was talking to a nice lady, I was in the usual ‘just appreciate that strangers might think you’re together, even though you don’t have a chance in Hell’ mode. So I was taken aback when small talk was elevated to medium talk, and she expressed an interest in seeing me again.
I won’t bore you with the details but we have been out on a few dates since then - I know, date! - and have gotten to know each other exceptionally well in a brief space of time. I’m always brutally honest about my foibles because that’s basically all there is to me, and normally this is my downfall - but not this time. Turns out she’s a maze of insecurities too, deep down. But she makes it look good. And you know how every woman claims that a sense of humour and good personality is more important than physical attractiveness in a man, and it’s total bollocks? Well, she means it. She’d have to, because I look like a government experiment that went awry.
We’ve since entered a relationship and I realise how unhealthy my state of mind was before I met her. I can’t believe I was like that for so long. My only pleasures in life were things that would see me dead before 50. White wine spritzers and the like. But I don’t need any of that crap now that I’m with her. She makes me want to be the best I can be. Just being around her makes me a better person.
I’ve always thought I was a romantic deep, deep down and at long last that side of my personality is allowed to flourish without threat of a restraining order. She is everything to me and I couldn’t be happier. Love is a beautiful thing, my friends.
If you’re lonely and unhappy, hang in there. It will happen. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but there’s someone for everyone and miracles can happen.
Update (2/4/12): Just to confirm, this was an April Fool. At my own expense.
Mirrors Aren’t Your Friend
It happened on Monday. I had one of those terrible realisations: tomorrow’s a work day too.
Not only that, but I caught a look at myself in a mirror and discovered I was actually fat again. I knew I must be, having lived quite relentlessly like a celibate Henry VIII since late November, but I didn’t feel genuinely ashamed of myself until that moment.
Most people indulge at Christmas but generally snap out of it a few days into January and get on with their lives. Not I, said the pig. The extended gluttony reawakens old, revolting habits and they don’t die until I’m shocked into action by the reflection of an actual toad.
It also happened that the following day was Valentine’s Day, which is traditionally a time for unpleasant reflection anyway. So that worked out. I was going to write a poem about my day, but decided against it because I’m not mad at Valentine’s Day, I’m mad at me. Mad as a balloon.
For what it’s worth, this is as far as I got:
The toilet’s life flushed before its eyes.
The weight… over.
It could have been a masterpiece, obviously, but it wasn’t to be. See those double meanings? You’ve lost weight because the wait’s over now you’re not constipated. But you’re still overweight - the belly remains, despite releasing its final contents - its remains, you might say.
I’ve just talked myself into believing it’s a fine poem in its own right. Glad I left it at that and didn’t bring love into it.
What was I talking about again? Oh, the fat.
The problem was it had taken this long to realise. Why hadn’t my mirror revealed the truth to me sooner? Much as I try to avoid it, I see my reflection in it everyday.
In fact, it wasn’t my own mirror that told me. It was one I don’t see very often, at work. Have you noticed how the mirrors in brightmares like Boots are shockingly realistic and make you ashamed to be out in public? Those are the honest ones, and this was like that.
They’re the HD televisions of vanity. Every nook, cranny, blotch and sag of your dreadful visage is exposed. The mirror at home is too familiar and fuzzy. It lies to protect your feelings. It’s still got Teletext.
I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to avoid getting in this state again, I cannot rely on mirrors. They either pat you on the back and tell you everything’s fine, or slap you in the face when it’s too late. Mirrors aren’t friends.
Fortunately, a couple of years ago someone invented a thing called a camera and that’s going to be how I sort my life out. As of Valentine’s Day I’ve been taking a photo of my face everyday. I plan to do this for precisely three months. On May 14th I’ll compile all the photos into a video that tracks the transition. If all goes well the end product will resemble a defaced ball sack slowly deflating.
It’s not an original idea, but I think it’s a pretty good incentive to lose some weight. Unlike that swine the mirror, the camera never lies. Every time I have the urge to neck a Pot Noodle (at least twice a day) I’ll just think how it’ll look in tomorrow’s photo. Fool-proof.
To show I’m genuine, at least partially, here is the first photo. Here is me at what I hope will turn out to be my lowest ebb. Here is me blotched and bloated to buggery, wishing I was dead or at least that my eyes aligned properly. Here is me on the most romantic day of the year:
Sorry to put you through that. Suggest you keep a copy in your wallet and have a good hard look whenever your self-esteem is threatened.
See you in three months!