Saturday, 20 December 2014

Kittencat is having a snack

My person, the one I made from string and paper and glue, is eating a snack before bed, and moaning about how things aren't the way she wants them to be, while simultaneously telling me about stuff she likes.

I am reminded of quite how much I love her. My heart saw fit to explode into an infinite shower of overwhelming shiny when I first saw her, and I've never quite been the same since. Frustrating, exasperating creature. The source of infinite joy.

If I were one to do New Years Eve

I would go to this at Islington Mill. Alas, even before the child, I was never one to go out on New Years. I broke the rule once, and it was terrifying. New Years Eve is a lovely night for an early night with a good book or a molestable chap in your bed. This year I'm eyeing up this.

Hey all you ladies (and gents) who worry about your skin and spots and all that shit

Apparently aging is bad. And we aren't supposed to to it. We aren't supposed to get spots either. People spend fuckloads of money on creams to stop these things happening, cleanse, tone moisturise those blemishes away. Creams with sciency sounding ingredients. Creams with sciency ingredients that if you happen to be sensitive to them, they will give you chemical burns - as I found one unfortunate Christmas when my brother bought me a fancy £100 sciency face cream (that he bought from the staff shop when he worked at Proctor and Gamble, so thankfully he paid much less). Turns out (for me at least) fancy sciency facecreams take all the skin off your face within a day and they burn. Much money, much risk.

Over the years when I was susceptible to all this miracle marketing, none of these products made much difference. But here's a lovely thing that does. 1) Eat good food, with lots of fat. 2) Put olive oil/other oil of choice on your face, wipe off (cleanse), then add a tiny bit more oil/shea butter to your face. Your skin will be good, your pores will be clear. Your skin is only a reflection of your health, so if your skin is bad, that means you aren't well enough. So. Eat better. And cover yourself in oil. Job done.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

As ever, I am procrastinating

But it is time to stop. I have work due in tomorrow, and I have left it late enough before I start that I finally have the level of calm focus that can only exist in the face of certain doom.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A further moan about those who can't drive around corners properly

You are even more of a nuisance when you are giving someone a tow. You're lucky nothing was behind me and I was able to reverse. Otherwise your tow dude would have smacked right into my car, and it would have been no ones fault but yours.

Friday, 12 December 2014

This year I am being horribly antisocial, and I don't like it

It's not really a choice, more a condition of circumstance. Kittencat's nursery fees increased significantly this year, my income did not. Being a student with a small child basically means being poor. And being poor is no fun. I never accounted for a significant proportion of my income to be disposable for the marvelous fripperies of going to gigs, seeing friends, but, for the time being, there just isn't a way to budget for a social life. Arse.

Dear drivers of cars, please will you learn how to take a fucking corner

Every single fucking morning, as I attempt to turn right onto the main road from the top of my road, I am thwarted over and over and over and over again by a series of wankers who, when turning right into my road, sweep the corner so as to stop me being able to pull out at the same time. The diagram below demonstrates my morning. I am the red car. The green car represents oncoming traffic. The black car represents the mythical, considerate taker of corners, who actually drives properly, whilst the blue car represents the unwholesome bastard reality of the selfish fuckers who have no perception that a gap in traffic can be used by more than one vehicle at once. So yeah. If you are one of those drivers that sweeps around corners like that, I fucking hate you from the deepest darkest corners of my soul. Because you are a fucker.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Its that time of the year again

Deadline season (aka Christmas) alsways seems to be a time for watching way, way more television than usual, and for the last year or two that's meant a fuck load of old Joss Whedon and reminding myself, aside from the impeccable timing, casting, everything else, what a delicious way with words he has. This time round, we're having a proper, old school, Buffy-athon.

You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood, blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A peculiarity

Of late, I have noticed the world smiling at me. Over the past year or so, I have regained much of the joy I used to feel in being part of the world, but I until recently was still separate to it. Lately, the world smiles back. I like this, yet when the smiles come with interested looking looks, I am more cautious, mostly because of the kind of attraction I was once used to receiving. Rarely those free from baggage, rather instead the emotionally, or relationally, unavailable. Those who wanted me were often in relationships - I remember once being followed for over an hour round Preston by one of my married, middle aged employers as he attempted to persuade me that I should accompany him to his hotel - or recently bereft of them, seeking something, someone to fill a void, briefly imagining me to be more interesting a distraction than I am before realising that they're still emotionally broken. Sometimes they are those I like, but not like that. Sometimes they are those I used to like, reciprocating only after the emotion has gone. Historically, there has been something in the way attraction has worked that has meant that I've only been attractive when I've been somehow unattainable, which I find peculiar in the extreme. And so, while it's nice to suddenly notice that I'm being noticed, it's a little disconcerting given past precedent. Still. I am older, wiser, and still as sure that everyone approaches these things guilelessly and honestly as I ever was.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A side effect of the child being ill

Is that I'm nearly all caught up with the washing and the housework in advance of the weekend. Although I've missed out on spending a morning in the clinic, and a swim, and the loss of time significantly reduces the likelihood of a swim tomorrow in a bid to recoup lost time in the clinic. But, if she's better and I manage to keep up to date in the evenings with the work I'm missing in the day time, there is the distinct possibility of finding time for a decent walk this weekend. Kittencat is quite a lot better today, and I suspect she'll be absolutely fine tomorrow - she thinks differently, and tells me she ought not to go back to nursery until Monday. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The child

The child is ill today. She looks tiny when she's ill. Tiny and pale. Nonetheless, she has been mostly cheerful all day, played CBeebies games and sung along to frozen whilst wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa, before falling asleep somewhat prematurely, face down on the rug in the living room.

She is my most important person. I do not like it when my person is ill.

Monday, 13 October 2014

I need all the gin

Bring me all the gin. And some for yourself. And some decent tonic, or vermouth. Ice either way, limes if you bring tonic.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

When a bad day has been had

The presence of another human being would be nice. Not any old human being. Any old human being would probably make it worse. The kind of human being that just gives you a hug when you have a restless night. The kind of human being that it feels more natural to touch than not.

Instead, I have a mountain of ironing.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Dear ladies and gents, I have to share something with you

It's about relationships. And sex. And about how sometimes an absence in such things is nothing to do with your relationship, and sometimes is everything to do with it.

(DISCLAIMER: There is going to be an awful lot of honesty on this page. Not all of it solely mine, but it is not included unless I know it to be extremely common experience. Any that is not mine will be clearly indicated by phrases like "people who", rather than "I have". There is going to be no detailed saucy graphicness, though we definitely will be talking about sex, shagging, fucking, and making love. And at times I may be brutally, anatomically blunt. All of that. Just so you know.)

Firstly, let me start by addressing the reasons for writing this post. There are two main reasons. The first is an increasing frustration with articles (mainly in the Guardian) addressed to men lamenting the lack of sex in their marriages, and the misguided advice that women's desire for sex naturally wanes, and to just be patient with their wives, accept that their wives still love them and cherish what they have. This is not true. Women are just as sexual as men. Some women, as some men, are more sexual than others, but there is not a natural inevitable decline in our sexuality. The second is the abhorrent advice I (and doubtless many others) received after having a baby. There are many other reasons, but for simplicity, lets break it down into two categories, couples who have had babies within the last four (give or take) years, and couples who have not.

I’ll be writing this post from the perspective of why (heterosexual) women don’t want to, as that is what I am, and so cannot frankly, or at least honestly, write this from another perspective. However, post pregnancy ladies aside, many conversations I’ve had over the years lead me to suspect that these experiences/feelings/reasons are not gender specific, so insert your own he’s and she’s as appropriate. And with all that framing in place, let’s begin exploring the question

“Why doesn’t she want to sleep with you?”

Part 1: Your partner has given birth to a baby (or a pterodactyl) in the last four years (give or take)

Reason 1: Because she’s had a baby. Contrary to the opinion of birthing manuals that state there’s no reason not to start having sex again the moment everything’s healed, there are really quite a few reasons. Let me explain having a baby. For nine months, she has a parasite growing inside her that takes priority on all nutritional requirements, leaches the calcium from her teeth to build itself bones, pushes her internal organs out of the way into any old space it finds the most entertaining to give itself room to dance on her sciatic nerve, before stretching her vagina beyond the point of no return and emerging into the world, looking all cute and shit. Birth is not a dignified thing to be seen doing either, and men are allowed to watch you do that these days. Chances are that unless she’s like me and downed that castor oil like it was whisky, she’ll have done a very ladylike shit during the birthing process, in front of you. So she’s feeling all pretty functional right now, it’s the way to deal with all of the indignity of it all. And the damage. Again, I was pretty lucky on that side of things, but even without a cut or a tear to be considered, there is a lot of damage. (And if there is a lot of damage, consider how quickly you would want to start having sex with someone if your penis had been ripped in two, sewn back up, and some nurse said, yeah, you’ll be able to use that in two or three weeks? Yeah, thought not.) Even without a lot of damage, a very strange transformation has occurred to your partner. It probably won’t even occur to her to tell you, but she doesn’t have any sexual feeling in her vagina, or, indeed, any muscle memory of sex at all. It’s truly the closest you’ll ever get to being a born again virgin, because it truly feels like you’ve never had sex. This will become a reason in its own right shortly enough. Weird? Yes, equally weird is the fact that she won’t be able to feel herself piss for a few days either, so incontinence is likely. For some women this is an elongated period. For months and months and years it’s likely that her organs will feel in the wrong place, sensation will be lacking in the places that tend to drive such urges, and… The physical side and the mental side of birth take some time to heal, so we’ll crack on to the optional second reason

Reason 2: She’s currently or has recently been breastfeeding a baby. Breastfeeding is like a weird superpower in some respects, and it’s fucking awful in others. Her parasite is continuing to drain all the best nutrition from her body, calcium from her teeth, and because she’s only got time to make toast, she’s becoming increasingly malnourished because her body is using the vitamins and minerals stored in her bones and muscle to create the best possible milk for her baby. You may not understand why she doesn’t have time, because she’s at home all day, but trust me, she barely has time to get a cup of tea between being puked on, and wee’d on, and prodded by health visitors and getting her boobs out and getting the baby to sleep just long enough that she can have a wash, and laundering all the vomit covered baby clothes and cleaning up all the baby shit, and cleaning milk mis-spurts of the sofa (because breast milk is messy, and spurts out of boobs without waiting for the receiving baby to obligingly latch on). But onto the superpower of breastfeeding, and what happens when it stops. While she’s breastfeeding, she probably won’t get colds, or gain too much weight, or feel too crappy, despite the rubbish but highly convenient food she’s likely to be eating, and she may even have this weird magical bond where she’ll wake up in the night knowing her parasite is about to wake up because it’s too hot/cold, and she’ll adjust blankets accordingly, and lie back down and listen to it breathe. She’ll barely sleep for the entire time (however many months that is) she’s breastfeeding, because for all the advice says to sleep when the baby is sleeping, when the baby is sleeping is the only practical time she has for doing laundry, or cooking, or cleaning, and she feels horribly dependent on you even if she gets maternity pay, and so she feels that she should try and get all that stuff done while you’re at work , and then feels horribly inadequate when you get home and she’s still in her pyjamas from the morning. Everything is horribly depressing, aside from the beautiful, cute as fuck little parasite that cries even when you put it down to go for a wee, and she has no time to herself, no dignity as her boobs are permanently on show, and on the rare occasions she sees friends, she can’t have a conversation with the majority of her friends, who, having never experienced such indignities, can only stutter through sentences unable to determine where to look, and after a while she ceases to bother at all. And then, breastfeeding stops. Her immune system stops suppressing itself, she gets all the illnesses under the sun, and because her body is malnourished, they’ll hit her hard. She’ll likely gain weight – health visitors will tell you that this is due to not having re-adjusted to eating only for herself. This is a lie, it is also part of the protective response of a malnourished body to protect itself. Her social sphere will have become you, her mother, possibly your mother, and a bunch of women she hates who she met at a baby massage group. Basically, she feels relieved to no longer be breastfeeding, but in all other respects, she may well feel like shit.

Reason 3: The mystery of the post birth vagina. It’s kind of like… Someone rips off your vagina, puts a load of anaesthetic on it, glues on another one, and then it takes a while to heal, a while longer to feel like it might belong to her, and even longer for it to develop any kind of urges. It’s a bit like going through puberty again, except much more embarrassing.

Reason 4: I’ve mentioned several times now, malnourishment. During her pregnancy was she eating lots of high nutrient based foods? Is she now? If a lot of her diet is based around low fat, particularly low in saturated fat, change this right now. Take charge of the cooking for a week or so. Lots of vegetables, saturated fat, eggs, and meat. Feed her real food. Comfort food is a misnomer for food that keeps you sick, lacking in energy, and anything but comfortable.

Reason 5: You. Your behaviour during pregnancy and post pregnancy does have a part to play in whether she wants to sleep with you. Controversial, I know. And some of the topics I’m going to go into in Part 2 of this post will definitely go into a bit more depth regarding this area. And I’m sure you’ve been great, and helped her out with the housework, and the baby, and all of that shit. But you’re both tired, and it’s easy to let the everyday affection slip. Let’s be honest, how affectionate are you when you aren’t trying to get a shag? If she needs a hug, if it lasts longer than a minute, are you going straight for a boob grope or hand up skirt? Does she feel like you even like her when you’re trying to slip her one? I’m probably using slightly crass language here, but it’s partially to express a point. She’s tired, and drained, and more emotional than physical right now. When was the last time you just leant against each other and watched a film? When was the last time you just held her and kissed her in bed, without immediate wandering hands? When you feel like shit, you don’t feel like even trying sexually with someone who makes you feel like they don’t like you except when they’re trying to fuck you. When I had my daughter, the advice passed on to me about not wanting to was to just do it and eventually you’ll get used to it/start wanting to again. Thankfully both Cattenberg and I thought that sounded a little too much like consensual rape to ever want to try it. But if you do make her feel wanted, cared for as more than just the mother of your child, when the urges do come back they’re more likely to be directed your way.

Reason 6: Time. All of the things I’ve just talked about take time. How old is your kid? Is it even sleeping through the night? Chill. Be nice to her. Fuck fucking. It will come back in good time. Just be nice. Remember she’s effectively experiencing puberty again. Remember how you used to approach these things when you weren’t knackered. Remember how spending time together is better foreplay than a series of recommended tactile manoeuvres (oral sex for 6 minutes, before stimulating the… YAWN). Remember how phoning someone on your lunchbreak for no reason other than wanting to talk to them is a nice thing to do. If you buy her flowers, buy some she actually likes, and because she’s time poor, put them in the vase yourself. And clear them away yourself when they wilt. When you get a babysitter, treat it as an excuse to spend time together like a normal couple, not a “right, we’ve got some privacy, let’s do this” moment. If it’s going to happen, it will. It always used to.

Reason 7: You don’t love her. Or she feels like you don’t. If you do, see reasons 5 and 6. If you don’t, why are you trying to sleep with her? Why are you even together?

Reason 8: She doesn’t love you. This is covered more fully in Part 2, but basically, see reasons 5, 6 and 7.

Part 2: Your partner has not given birth to anything in the last four years.

1: She’s tired/ill/stressed/other. Your sex drive is not a consistent thing, nor is hers. Think of it like a sine wave, with peaks and troughs depending on how she is feeling, what is going on in her life, all of that. Now when I say ill, I include short term illness, but also chronic illness and mental illness. Is she asthmatic? Diabetic? Does she have an autoimmune issue? Is she depressed? All of these things can have an impact on how you feel about sex. Does she have a tendency to get thrush? Can make sex a fucking unattractive prospect. There are things you can do. Probiotics. Diet. Look towards paleo based dietary advice, there has been a lot of success treating autoimmune issues with diets that look at inflammation etc. If she’s stressed, why? Is it something you can help with, or just be there?

2: Medication. Some medications lower your sexual inclinations. When with the Big Ex, I started talking the pill, within three days I didn’t want to do any such thing ever again, and that lasted for four months after I stopped taking it. Some medications have a long residual effect.

3: You have a genuine mismatch of levels of desire. I have been told that it is unreasonable to want to have sex three, seven, ten times a day by boys slightly incredulous that they were capable of that. And despite that they proudly repeat the tale of the day of X times as often as possible, it just isn’t who they are. More than once in a 24 hour period to some folk will elicit a groan and a feigned headache, and that’s fair enough. If they want to sleep with you, just considerably less often than you want to sleep with them, you have to weigh up. Do you love them, and is it good enough? If the answer is yes, stop whining, you’re still getting some.

4: Is she affectionate in physical though non-sexual ways? Does it feel more natural to touch each other than not? Do you still kiss, cuddle and hold each other, just not that? If so, see 1, 2, 3, 5, and possibly 7. If not, see 5, 6, 7 and 8.

5: Are you still attractive to her? It’s a fair one, though it maybe shouldn’t be. Folks say love is blind. Love may be, but lust, not so much. Since you met, have you paid less attention to your clothes, your hair, your ever redder drinker’s nose? Is your bosom starting to rival hers? If her affection for you is strong enough to want to be that close, great. If not, there are two questions. Can you make yourself more attractive to her again? And, do you want to?

6: Were you ever attractive to her? It’s a genuinely good question because of the possibility that…

7: You made a relationship out of just friends. This is the trickiest bastard thing. All my life people have tried to push me into going out with boys I loved as friends, with arguments such as “Friendships the most important thing” and “but you both want the same things” and “he’s such a nice bloke” etc. And, my lovely, lovely friends there have been times when one or other of you has made a move, and I’ve been in a lonely frame of mind, where I’ve contemplated letting the move occur. I can see the attraction. You live with your best mate, you have someone to do “couple’s things” with, let’s face it, going to the theatre or out for dinner on your own blows, and you’re attracted to them enough to be friends, surely sex is not such a stretch? And you’re a bit lonely right now, and you haven’t in a while, and the fact that they like you is making them look more attractive than normal… And you have sex. And it’s terrible. You just aren’t compatible together. But you can’t say, as you have this emotional connection because you’ve spent all this time getting to know them, and you do it again. And it’s not quite as bad, and they start to learn what makes you tick, and for a while the hormones of having sex makes everything enough. But after a while that calms down, and you stop wanting to have sex. Because sex has a tendency to amplify what you feel about someone. If you love someone a little bit that way, it makes you love them more. If you don’t love them at all that way, it makes you like them less the other way as well. And you don’t want to admit that, because you are attached. You do love them, because you spend all your time together, and you share all your feelings with them, and you bitch about so and so at work to them, and when you want to go to the theatre or out for a meal you just know you’d go with them. You do love them. Just not in that way. And you have a deep affection for them, and it would turn your whole world apart to admit that you were only housemates. – For some people this is enough, and so if you married your best mate who only had sex with you because she was feeling a bit lonely and desperate, and basically just wants to be mates again, the thing you have to ask is are you both happy and is it enough? If so, stop whining about the sex. If not, maybe it's time to be honest about what you are to each other. - Easier to spot when you have a baby together, incidentally, as without the fun couple things to do together, this kind of relationship does not hold up well.

8: Did you make a relationship out of just sex? Much easier to spot than the previous one. And much easier to leave. As previously stated, sex tends to amplify how you feel about someone, so for all you might shag like rabbits initially, without a desire for each other’s company outside of the bedsheets/back of the car/anywhere with an ounce of privacy, attraction wanes rather quickly. Contrary to popular opinion, foreplay is not a series of manoeuvres conducted on an uninclined body to make it suddenly switched on, it’s the conversations you have, the moments you share. And that’s why it’s easier to settle for 7 than for 8. It’s easy to persuade yourself that just friends is enough, particularly if you have memories of sex disjointed from all the affection of the friendship that exists in a relationship. But if you made a relationship out of sex, and both realised you fucking hate each other, why are you trying to sleep with her? Why are you even together?

9: You don’t love her. Or she feels like you don’t. If you don’t, why are you trying to sleep with her? Why are you even together?

10: She doesn’t love you. Nothing doing about it.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is I really hate the continually perpetuated myth that sex is something women allow men to do to us because we love them, or some such soppy crap. And the myth that women get less sexual over time. It's a big pile of shit. If we get less sexual, there are reasons why. Sometimes they are our own, personal reasons and they will resolve themselves, sometimes they are health based, and may not. And sometimes, we just don't want you, but our vaginas have realised this more quickly than our heads.