Tag Archives: dating

Everything’s gonna burn, we’ll all take turns

1. Imaginary boyfriend Marcus Parks is going to be devastated to learn that thanks to Tinder (thanks Tinder!) I’m now dating an actual real-life human male. Will wonders never cease. He’s from Essex, but I try not to hold that against him.

2. Since I’ve suddenly become a podcast person, I’ve become aware of the enormous range of podcasts on offer. Everyone has a podcast, although possibly not everyone should have a podcast. There’s a podcast where the hosts invite comedians to discuss scientific discoveries, because who better?? There’s a podcast entirely dedicated to masturbation. There’s a podcast where two guys who like wrestling try to convince another guy who doesn’t like wrestling that he should really like wrestling (I guess Guy 3 is going to have to hold out indefinitely, or it’ll just be three guys talking about how much they like wrestling, and that is a WHOLE DIFFERENT PODCAST).

Faced with this orgy of choice, I have expanded my listening repertoire somewhat, but it’s still at least 90% true crime. The best podcast in the world, though, is My Dad Wrote A Porno. It’s just what it sounds like. A dude’s dad has written an ‘erotic novel’ and he reads it out loud and takes this piss out of it with his friends. It is the best thing. The best thing.

3. The world is a goddamn dumpster fire right now. As bad as I imagined a Trump presidency would be, this is far, far worse. In all my life I have never hated another human being as much as I hate Donald Trump. I would pay up to five thousand pounds (I don’t have five thousand pounds but I would happily go into debt) for the chance to kick him once, really hard, in the nuts. I would train for that shit, too. There would be a full training montage where I practice my run-up in slow motion. And I’m pretty sure I still have some punk-rock steel-toed boots lying around. Oh man, I would kick that fucker so good.

4. On February 2nd, my Spanish colleague asked me “Today is Marmot Day, yes?” From now on it damn well is! Get Bill Murray on the phone!

5. On my walk to work I go through a major-ish junction where there’s a button you can push to activate the pedestrian crossing. Except that it doesn’t. The lights change and the walk signal comes on at exactly the same intervals whether you push the button or not. The button is a placebo. Is it even hooked up to anything? I don’t know. I guess it’s good of the traffic control engineer person to attempt to give me the illusion that I have some power to effect change. I’ll take that where I can get it right now.

6. I’ve been working on my graphic design CV (with a view to maybe one day getting a job where they pay me a living wage), and I think it looks pretty good. Fancy hiring me? I’m very reasonably priced.

Robin Camps CV 2017

Everybody knows the good guys lost

1. So if you play an album on Spotify, after the album ends, Spotify will carry on playing tracks from other artists that I guess it thinks are similar and you might like. And you know what? Most of the time I like them plenty. Apparently my musical taste can be predicted by an algorithm.

2. Remember the guy I kept having to say hi to on my way to and from work? This got so annoying that I actually started getting up earlier, and believe me, it takes a LOT to make me get up any earlier than I absolutely have to. I now arrive at and leave work ten minutes early just so I can avoid the uncomfortable half-hearted greeting twice a day. I guess social awkwardness trumps sleepiness on my personal Maslow pyramid of irritations.

3. My last two online dates have been especially fun. Date number one was a conspiracy theorist. And not a casual, what-if, weekend conspiracy theorist: no, a full-on, hardcore true believer. (I asked if he believed in lizard people, expecting him to say “No, of course not, that’s ridiculous” but he said “Well…the lizard thing is a metaphor to describe how ruthless they are.” Of course! That makes sense.) I put up the usual “three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead” arguments and basically sat there with one eyebrow raised throughout the conversation, trying (and often failing) not to laugh in his face. He said that he used to be as skeptical as I was, but that he’d seen an incredibly reasonable and well presented documentary with one particular piece of evidence that he said went through him like an electrical shock and made him start shaking. Of course I asked him what this irrefutable lynchpin of evidence was, but he refused to tell me on the grounds that it had messed with his head so much that he’d nearly had a breakdown, and he didn’t want to be responsible for the same thing happening to me. What a gentleman. I guess I’ll have to stay in the Matrix. No red pill for me.

Date number two was a nice enough guy, if a bit dull, but he had some sort of unfortunate patchy skin condition and a VERY lazy eye. I spent the evening trying to avoid making eye contact because I wasn’t sure which one was looking at me. I mean, I like to think I’m not shallow about looks, and poor guy, but maybe use some clear and accurate profile photos? This is not a few extra pounds. You are goddamn crosseyed as a Siamese cat.

I’m starting to feel like my whole online dating experience is an elaborate prank.

4. Jidenna is weapons-grade cool. And doesn’t he look like he smells good? I bet he smells good.

And man, what a tune. It gets a lot done with very little (ditto the video, actually).

5. I’ve read Wuthering Heights at least three times, and every time I’m freshly amazed at how brutal it is. If you haven’t read it, it is not a sweet love story. I’m astonished it even got published back then. Here’s some of the more fucked-up shit Heathcliff does in Wuthering Heights:

  • Kidnaps a sixteen-year-old girl while her father is dying and forces her to marry her cousin
  • Pins a dude down and bashes his head against a stone floor until he’s unconscious
  • Hangs a dog
  • Beats seven shades of shit out of his wife, including throwing a knife at her head
  • Digs up Catherine’s grave and crawls into her coffin

If you haven’t seen the 2011 film version of Wuthering Heights, do. It’s primal. It’s like the raw, scraped bones of the story. It got right into my head, to the point where I had messed-up dreams afterwards.

6. So. I guess I have to mention Trump. (Do I have to, though? Can’t I just pretend none of this is happening?) I have honestly never been so glad that I don’t have children. I’m worried enough about everyone else’s kids. The leader of the free world is stacking his government with LITERAL FUCKING NAZIS. I know that every generation since the stone age has been convinced that the end is nigh, but for real, the end is extremely fucking nigh.

There’s a party up there all the time

1. A few months ago I had a falling-out with my only proper ‘ring them up and go for a pint’ friend in the local area. This was very much for the best, believe me, but since then, for a combination of reasons, I haven’t been going out in town at all. I socialise virtually never, and I take a weird pride in the fact that this degree of self-inflicted solitude would very likely cause mental health problems in a normal person. It’s interesting to know this about myself. If I wasn’t so insistent on being able to walk to the shops, I could be one of those forest rangers whose whole job is to spend six months sitting at the top of a tower looking for fires. Or a biologist at a research station in Antarctica with only penguins to talk to. Or JD Salinger.

2. I do still go on the odd date, of course, mostly for comic relief. My last date involved a heated argument about whether institutionalised sexism exists. Basically this dude thought that women experience no overall disadvantages at a social level, and that any suffering endured by women due to pervasive unrealistic beauty standards is our own fault because a) it’s mostly women writing for fashion magazines and b) it’s up to every individual woman to just rise above and ignore this stuff. Nothing I said even made a dent (why wouldn’t he know better than me about the lived experience of women, right?). In retrospect I’m not sure why I didn’t just get up and leave, but I have this stupid residual built-in female desire (which I’ve obviously just made up in my silly little head) not to be perceived as hysterical and overreacting. I wonder whether he tells black people that racism doesn’t exist. Anyway. There will not be a second date, but maybe I’ll send him a singing telegram from Germaine Greer. Or a PUNCHING telegram! Do those exist? If not it will be necessary to invent them.

I actually did make it to a second date with one guy who was funny and cute and smart and nice and who had great taste in music, but he turned out to be the worst kisser in the whole wide world. (It’s true! I found him later in the Guinness Book of World Records.) It was so bad that it triggered my fight-or-flight reflex like AUUGHHH WHAT ARE YOU DOING GET OFF ME. Damn shame. I might keep that one as a friend, though, since I’ve got a vacancy in the friend department and a very empty social schedule.

3. I may have officially given up on my French pen pal. Writing to her really was helping to improve my French, but she was just so, so awful. After Brexit she sent me a horrible schlocky pop song that she said expressed how she felt (sad, apparently!). She never pointed out any of my French errors, even though I asked her to and that was like the whole point of writing to a French person. She never responded to anything I said about myself or my life. Most of her messages seemed to consist of copied and pasted Wikipedia articles about France or Alsace (where she lives) or places she’d been on holiday. She never, not even once, NOT EVEN ONE TIME, made anything resembling a joke. That’s always the final nail in the coffin for me: we may have different views on religion or politics or life in general, or you may believe in chemtrails or think the moon landing never happened or that 50 Shades of Grey is a good book, but I will nevertheless attempt to carry on a polite conversation with you; but if you don’t make even the slightest attempt to take the piss? That’s it. I cannot relate. Go bother someone else, you weirdo.

4. Here are a couple of sample yearbook covers I did at work. I had fun making these.

Yearbook cover - neon sign

Yearbook cover - motel sign

Life was easy when it was boring

1. The stuff I used to do as a kid amazes me now. I climbed things. I jumped off things. I auditioned for things. I signed up for clubs and lessons. I skied and swam and did gymnastics. These days you wouldn’t catch me dead doing anything involving any sort of public performance, and a brisk walk is about as physically active as I get. Where did that fearlessness and enthusiasm go? Woe is me, for I am so crotchety and embittered.

2. FYI, reading Raymond Carver short stories is a terrible idea when you’re undergoing a Series of Romantic Misadventures. Happiness is transient! Connection is illusory! Life is a series of small tragedies! Pass the whisky!

3. I’m watching a show called Mafiosa. It isn’t great, but it’s French, and it’s hard to find stuff to watch in French, so. It’s about a Corsican crime family that is taken over by (gasp!) a woman, and the description of the show on ITV’s website is “Godfather meets Sex and the City“. What? The show is like 100% explosions and guns and vendettas and undercover agents. Literally the only resemblance I can see to Sex and the City is the fact that there is a female central character who sometimes wears high heels. Dear ITV blurb writer: get fucked.

4. La Femme are the most interesting band I’ve come across all year, and I’m itching to force them on people. Sometimes they’re all frantic electroclash, sometimes they’re sort of coolly retro-futuristic like Stereolab, then there are elements of twangy spooky surfy carnival-psychobilly…and of course they’re French, so add an automatic fifty cool points right there. Go listen to Psycho Tropical Berlin. Go now. I’ll wait. It’s all on YouTube, so you have no excuse. Start with these, though:

5. So. Fucking “Brexit”. (The fact of it having such an annoying name makes it worse.) I’ve never felt relieved before that I have the option of leaving this country. I’m ashamed of the UK right now. They’ve had to send round a mass email at my work because some fuckers have started harassing the Eastern European employees since the referendum results. This is LOATHSOME.

This tweet made me laugh and cry, which is a big ask for 140 characters or fewer:

The bells are ringing themselves

1. So, a couple of Saturdays ago I did not have the best day. Well, most of it was pretty good – I met some friends in Cambridge and spent the evening listening to live music at the incomparable Flying Pig. I caught the last bus back to Huntingdon, which is always busy on a Saturday, and a fairly good-looking guy ended up sitting next to me. I was mildly pissed, and cute guys on the bus to Huntingdon are not an everyday occurrence, so I thought hell with it and struck up a conversation. We got on extremely well! He laughed! I laughed! And then we arrived at his stop and I asked if he wanted to exchange numbers and he made an awkward face and went “Uhhhhhhh…” and I died of embarrassment. I’m dead now. Goodbye.

So THEN I decided to go to my local to have one more drink and lick my wounds. The doors were locked but the lights were on, and there’s usually a lock-in on offer at weekends for the select few, so I knocked. There was no response, but I could see people moving around through the frosted glass window in the door, so I knocked again and leaned in to peer through the glass. Right then the landlady opened the door quite quickly (it sticks, so you have to shove it) and it bonked me in the face and broke my glasses across my nose. I guess that’s what you’d call adding injury to insult. I’m having to make do with an old pair of glasses until I can afford new ones. Most expensive lock-in ever!

2. Hell is Other People, part one million: in Subway the other day, the woman behind me in the queue was RIGHT up in my personal space. Like wayyyyy too close. My fight-or-flight was at Defcon One, or whichever the worst Defcon is. I pointedly shifted away and hoisted my bag on my shoulder a few times so that it bumped her, but she didn’t even seem to notice. Then when it was her turn to order, she kept tapping on the glass barrier with her fingernail to show what she wanted. Ugh. People are the worst.

3. I’m not too bothered by most silly TV conventions – every phone number starting with 555, nobody saying goodbye before hanging up (“Hello? HELLO?”), ‘private’ conversations taking place at normal volume five feet from everyone else in the room, people shouting “STAY WITH ME” instead of calling an ambulance – but for some reason, exaggerated sound effects irritate me. Everything has to make a noise! I’ve never stabbed anyone (YET), but if I did, I don’t think it would make a loud metallic “shhhhink”-cum-squelching sound. And you know that sort of rattling noise that guns always make on TV? My American friend (an expert of course) informs me that if your gun makes that sound, there is something wrong with your gun. I’m watching Arrow right now (I don’t know why – it’s terrible, but not terrible enough to be funny), and every time one of the eponymous arrows hits someone it makes that shhink/squelch sound, and this combined with the terrible writing and terrible dialogue (“I’m not afraid to die.” “No…you’re afraid to live.”) and the endless, tedious discussions about people’s FEEEEEEEEEELINGS are getting right on my nut. I should probably stop watching Arrow. (But I’ve started now!)

4. Good luck getting these out of your head!

Like battlefields where no one fights

1. So here is a thing that I have done several times. I have fruit and yoghurt for breakfast during the week. I buy frozen blueberries, because they’re cheaper. I put some frozen blueberries in my breakfast bowl (I own three bowls, and only one of them is the right size for breakfast. Yes, I am approaching forty and this is how I live) and put the bowl in in the microwave to defrost the berries. While the blueberries are defrosting, I chop up a banana. I then start searching around for my breakfast bowl to put the banana in, and search for an embarrassingly long time, getting more and more annoyed, before I realise that IT IS IN THE MICROWAVE, where I just put it less than a minute ago. Again: more than once, I have done this.

2. Dating is hell. I went on a date with a guy from Tinder recently. He seemed slightly pushy and odd in his messages, but I agreed to meet him because he was cute (will I never learn?). He was fairly charming in person, actually, and I kept in touch with him for a couple of days afterwards, during which he repeatedly asked me for naughty selfies and referred to his penis as “him”, so I gave him the brushoff. I told him that I was giving things another chance with someone I’d been seeing previously (possibly a slight exaggeration – I thought it would be nicer than saying “Your text messages make me want to bathe in bleach”). And WOO, BUTTHURT. It was a whole thing. He demanded to know if I’d contacted the guy first, and at one point he said he was “curious how a girl’s mind works”. I love having to point out that I am one female person and not necessarily representative of half the human race. When I reminded him of the fact that we had met ONE SINGLE TIME, he claimed he’d been “being ironic”. Hilarious! I said “Maybe you should work on your delivery,” and he said “Maybe you should work on your interpretation.” Will do! Bye-bye now!

3. Working on yearbooks is giving me retroactive school trip envy. Kids in England get to do things like go on educational visits to the Parthenon or go skiing in the French Alps. I did not get to do stuff like this. I did once go on a school trip to see the world’s largest Ukrainian Easter egg, though, and obviously that was pretty cool.

4. When Trump first announced that he was going to run for president, how I laughed! Ha ha ha! The man is a ludicrous windbag. I didn’t think there’d be a snowball’s chance in hell he’d get past the primaries. And now I have to face the fact that a huge chunk of America’s population wants this…creature to become one of the most powerful people on the planet.


Seriously, America: get your fucking shit together.

5. Here’s something I made: a vintage take on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. Blank greeting card available now on Zazzle.

I’m a reasonable man, get off my case

1. Robert Plant’s lyrics are so bad they actually affect my enjoyment of Led Zeppelin. I love the music very very much but can’t stop rolling my eyes whenever Robert opens his mouth (and that endless hair-flipping thing he does on stage drives me insane). The ‘baby baby baby’ stuff is bad enough but when he starts in about Vikings, dear God. PLEASE STOP. My favourite Zeppelin songs tend to be the ones with less Robert and more Jimmy.

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you
Mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me

Watch out, Lord Byron.

T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair
But Gollum and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her

Let me just clarify here – you’re picking up girls in Mordor? And getting cock-blocked by Gollum? That is…unfortunate.

I’d give the yellow section a bigger share of the pie, but this is otherwise 100% scientifically accurate.

2. I’ve been dating up a storm recently. I’ve met some lovely people (and a few oddballs – one guy suggested meeting at Wetherspoons – !!! – and right after arriving at the pub, excused himself to go wash his hands. No explanation was offered) but so far no one that I’ve desperately wanted to see with their top off. I’m getting pretty bored of dating, to tell the truth. I’m sick to death of hearing my own anecdotes. It does give me plenty of fodder for my Twitter feed, though.

3. Another major plus point of my new job is the position of my desk. I’m still in a big open-plan office (for an introvert, working an open-plan office is basically like being waterboarded all day), but instead of sitting in the centre of the room with people constantly walking right past me and talking to me and around me, I’m now tucked away in a quiet corner. My new boss tends to keep to herself, and on average, I probably spend only about five minutes a day actually speaking to anyone. It’s not as nice as working from home, but I can’t complain. I’ve got my back to the window, so there is some glare on my computer screen when the sun is shining; fortunately for me, however, I live in England.

4. I designed this gig poster for fun. It is a real gig that you can go to, if you want to. Not to brag, but I posted it on the band’s Facebook page, and they said it was, AND I QUOTE, “rad”.

gig poster

5. Tunes for you!

I like my sugar with coffee and cream

1. Congratulations to Canada on electing the world’s hottest prime minister. For real, has there ever been a national leader this hunky in the history of the world? No there has not. It’s nice to see Canada at the forefront of something besides zamboni technology.

Justin Trudeau

I’d vote for that.

2. My upstairs neighbour continues to be stompy, particularly during the hour after I go to bed and the hour before I get up. I wish misery and death upon him. I’ve started sleeping in my lounge on an air mattress (the lounge is downstairs and therefore the stompiness is less noticeable there). I feel ridiculous but at least I’m sleeping, mostly.

3. I can’t stop listening to CHVRCHES. They are suuuuuuper poppy but their tunes are anthemic and make me want to pump my fist in the air. Sometimes I do pump my fist in the air. Don’t judge me.

4. How excited am I about the new War & Peace miniseries? FUCKING VERY. Although I picture Bolkonsky differently, but let’s not start quibbling already.

5. I applied for a design position at my job. I didn’t get it, but they offered me a different design position that’s actually more complex and challenging, so yay me. I am officially a professional graphic designer.

6. I saw a patch of blue sky the other day. I’d forgotten it came in that colour. I’m not usually one to be affected by the whole SAD thing, but the endless, endless grey is starting to get to me. It’s not helping that I am having the WORST run of luck when it comes to dating. It’s like I’m generating a man-repelling force field. Do I smell or something? You guys would tell me, right? Sheesh.

Amour impossible et mélo

1. I have moved! Moving: accomplished. It was relatively painless in the end. I hired the same Men With Ven who did my last move, and this time I resisted the urge to help them. This is hard for me. I polled all my friends and they were all like “DO NOT HELP, ARE YOU INSANE” but it makes me uncomfortable to stand there arms folded and watch people work. Fortunately the dudes were an hour late because of traffic and so I told them I had to go over to the new place to wait for a delivery and just left them to it.

I unpacked everything on the same day in one extended burst of productivity and so was instantly settled in. The flat is lovely. There are no insects in my shower. Things work properly. It’s clean. The view is spectacular.

But. But. OH GOD BUT. You know how I essentially moved so that I could get away from all the noise and finally have a decent night’s sleep? And you know how I specifically asked someone in the building if they could hear their upstairs neighbours and she said no? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA yeah.

Someone above me gets up every single morning, weekends included, between 4 and 5 am and clomps around for a good hour. This starts again at 8 am. There is a squeaky floorboard directly above my bed. I haven’t managed to sleep through the night since I moved in.

I talked to my upstairs neighbour about the 4 am goings on and he swears it isn’t him (he’s either a sleepwalker or a liar), and his general comment about the noise was that he can’t help having squeaky floors. I’m back to trying various combinations of white noise, sleeping pills and earplugs. What’s it like not to be tired? I’ve forgotten.

2. Recent conversation with a colleague:

Him: If you could jack into the Matrix and teach yourself any skill, what would it be?
Me: The usual. Kung fu. That would be cool.
Him: But not very practical.
Me: Would you learn something practical? What, like accounting? Stop trying to audit me and audit me!

3. This is probably my favourite line from Jane Eyre:

As she grew up, a sound English education corrected in a great measure her French defects.

Ha ha ha! Nothing like a bit of good old-fashioned balls-out Victorian xenophobia.

4. On Tuesday, I’m meeting my parents in Paris for a week. I’m looking forward to being Gallically snooted at by waiters. Oui oui!

Someone shot nostalgia in the back

1. Having been extremely frugal, hard-working and well-behaved over the last six months or so, I’ve given myself a break recently, as my freelancing work has slowed down for the summer (I mostly proofread academic work). This has translated to going to the pub again, and last weekend I even drank two days in a row. This nearly killed me, but over the course of the second evening I somehow managed to attract a very nice-looking and elaborately tattooed 24-year-old. Even after seeing me in the cold, sober light of day, he keeps wanting to hang out and stuff. I feel a bit paedo-y (when I was graduating high school he was FIVE YEARS OLD), but hell, I ain’t gonna say no. STILL GOT IT.

2. It’s likely that when I look back at this time period, a distinct musical sound will emerge in retrospect. Right now though, it sounds to me like a lot of music is just copying or combining older genres, and man oh man, there sure is a lot of apologism for this fact going on in music reviews. This review starts with three full paragraphs of acrobatic rationalisation before basically saying, “Here is yet another album that will make you ask yourself what year it is already.”

3. I have been as excited as a little girl at Christmas about the new series of True Detective, and based on the first two episodes I am tentatively on board. Even Vince Vaughan is managing to not be overly fratty or annoying. Of course I know it can never be as good as the first series, because nothing will ever be as good as the first series. I want to have every single one of Rust Cohle’s lines tattooed on my body. I’m still not sure whether Cohle was meant to be read as a profoundly tragic character dealing with loss through nihilistic over-analysis. My reaction to the character was more like, “This is the sanest person in the world.”

4. I met some Americans recently who are proper Southerners and one of them admitted to having once blasted a washing machine with a sawed-off shotgun. When he told me this I clapped my hands in glee like a circus seal. I mean, guns are bad, m’kay? But still…that’s goddamn awesome. It’s like what a cartoon American would do!

In related events, it turns out the pub landlady has an air pistol, which she uses to get pigeons off the roof. She let me and buddy J have a go in the pub garden last night and we shot at an empty cider bottle and I hit it first go and it was BRILLIANT.

Next thing you know I will be shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die.