Girls will be girls….or will they?

m&m

Girls will be girls….or will they?

This morning I read an article in thejournal.ie that listed 11 things that girls like. As a girl (and apart from the lazy journalism since these facts are all garnered from tweets) I found some of them ridiculous and others just dumb. For that extra dose of Wednesday madness, which ones do you think were said by a girl/woman or boy/man?

1) Having a bobby pin there right when you need it – not named after a random Bobby, but the bob hairstyle where it was used to keep the hair in place. They are rubbish, always fall out, never stay in the right place and poke you dagger-like on lying down when you forget they are there (as they usually fall out). Give me a hair tie any day. NEXT…

2) M&Ms – They’re chocolate, colourful, wear strange oversized white gloves and it’s cliched, but in most cases probably true, especially when at the cinema.

3) Fictional characters and celebrities twice their age – These two don’t seem to go together. Was this person somehow watching Snow White and suddenly George Clooney popped into their head? Did they experience a dream where Hugh Hefner’s visage was in place of Shrek’s face? Both statements may be true. Fiction is frequently more fun that reality and celebrities, well, they are well groomed, PR’d to the hilt and as you will never meet most of them are a fictitious character anyway. Ah, now I get the link!

4) When our bra and underwear match because it feels like we have our life together – I wish ‘having my life together’ was that easily accomplished. I wish when dressing in the morning that wearing all black, red, pink, etc. meant that the day and my life would run smoothly. There would be no meetings you would rather pull your teeth out than sit through or mad dash for the bus with a driver that pretends not to see you and shuts the door in your face. It’s all rainbows and ponies. But what happens when you run out of underwear matches? Is your world suddenly sent down a spiral of devastation and despair? Will your day just go from bad to worse? The risk is too great so I’ll stick to whatever comes to hand! Drivel….

5) They like to post a sh*t ton of photos of themselves and get 100+ likes on them on FB – I think this person is just angry. At the world, at social networks, at women. Steer clear…

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The Reluctant Ranter is thrilled (a rarity) to receive The Liebster Award!

Liebester blog award

I am delighted to be the recipient of a Liebster Award from Experienced Tutors.

On starting this blog two months ago I had no idea what would happen. It has been a head-scratching and exciting experience. Everytime I press the ‘publish’ button it is a mixture of exhilaration and fear. Will anyone read it? Will what I am saying resonate? Is the writing up to scratch? I guess it’s the same with anything new and unchartered, but it has been a great journey so far and this award is a a wonderful boost. I’m still finding my blog-legs, but am glad I seem to be doing something right!

According to the Liebster rules I have 11 questions to answer, 11 questions to ask other bloggers I pass the award onto and 11 random facts. I want to take my time to choose the blogs to pass the award onto so for the moment I will tackle 11 random facts.

11 things about me –

  • My idol is David Attenborough (I will not accept Brian Cox as his replacement, no matter what people say)
  • I have ten stitches in my head
  • I spent 10 weeks in a Bornean rainforest with orangutans
  • My first novel is sitting in a drawer screaming for its next unrecognisable draft
  • In another life I was a sloth
  • I am the eldest with 15 years between me and the youngest
  • I can balance a pint glass on the back of my aforementioned needle-cushion head
  • I walked past Jude Law once and fell into the bonnet of a car
  • Slugs and snails freak me out
  • I am working on a rhyming children’s book that features a beaver and alien
  • My feet hate shoes

I’m off to conquer those other 11’s now!

8 things that warrant a good old rant….

A number of things have irked me recently and I felt the need to put them into the digital ether for an airing! There is no real reason for 8, it just happened I ran out at that point or perhaps just got distracted by another irkable offence. As usual all comments are welcome, along with any rants that you are harbouring/would like to bring my attention to…

Irish weather

©Martin Parr

8 things that warrant a good old rant

1) The weather – Irish people are obsessed with the weather. It’s our favourite topic and often the first things addressed in a conversation. For small talk it is the perfect lubricant of ‘nice day out there’ if it just happens to not be raining or ‘Jesus it’s freezing’, which is the current favourite. Well I don’t want to talk about it anymore. It’s dark, cold, wet and the wind has picked up as if the Greek God Aeolus has realised that this small island does exist.

2) Buses – I seem to be either on one or waiting for one (due to cycling being unpleasant and dangerous due to the actions of point 1). Bus drivers are agitated over the new fares; feet are sprawled across seats and when they are moved leave a muddy or wet trace where you are expected to then sit on; people are smoking weed at the back so you end up stinking of it at work; real-time displays are conspiring so that the bus you think is coming is not, and the one you needed is missed as it wasn’t meant to be coming at all; and finally there’s music, played so loud the wearer has to be nearly deaf or so peed off with the world the screaming in their head is better.

3) The Pope – So he’s resigned. Get over it.

4) Cookery programmes – What has happened to TV? All that seems to be on is cookery shows. Every week a new one crops up. I mean how many ways can you cook a chicken? Even people who have nothing to do with cooking are getting in on the act – Gok who used to sew curtain rings into hats is now prancing around the kitchen with lemongrass and shitakes. And now they are growing into pseudo travel shows – in India looking at spices, road tripping in Italy sampling cheeses. I’m waiting for the seafood one that has a chef diving for its produce and cooking it underwater in a converted submarine. Now that I’d watch.

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It all blows up when you watch the IFTAS

explode

It all blows up when you watch the IFTAS

This weekend I learned just how traumatic staying over at someone else’s house can be.

It was meant to be a relaxing weekend, one full of sleep and creativity. Instead it somehow turned into copious amounts of wine, biting and a taunting blow up bed.

The aforementioned mayhem had that extra dimension due to the fact it all took place at my boyfriend’s house, a quagmire of potential faux pas and mishaps as it is. When I arrived it was obvious some drinking had taken place and I joined them in the pub. Due to a deadline for a family dinner, given with the sternest of warnings, we navigated our way our way out of there after one swift drink.

Once at dinner the wine glasses kept getting topped up. Gravy slopped and slipped, jokes shot out with boomerang efficiency and dessert time came. The sugar perked everyone up, particularly the younger contingent of nieces and nephews that along with a saccharine rush realised that in only 10 hours they would be on a plane with gadgets to enjoy and their parents in a confined space to torture. After a lot of jumping and goodbyes they left with a hassled looking mum with an encyclopedia of ‘things to do’ ahead of her.

Down to four we moved into the lounge and waited for the IFTAS. I usually avoid these award shows full of backslapping and overzealous praise, but as my boyfriend plans to be up for one of them next year I watched in the vein of support. Collectively we groaned; at the bad singing, stumbled introductions sped through like a nervous child rather than as an accomplished actor in a lead TV series and at the plethora of black dresses (this was mainly me really) that made me feel like I was watching a live funeral. It was a desperately awkward version of the Oscars with calipers and bottle-top thick glasses.

While all of this exuberant berating was going on we kept drinking. Bottles ran out and others appeared. Now I am not complaining about this fact. Wine is great, particularly as an accompaniment to giving out to the television, but some were drinking more than others. There was some indication of this throughout as I felt a pair of teeth biting me intermittently. No it wasn’t the dog, but my ‘getting drunker’ boyfriend who thought the pain infliction and impending ‘owww’ was hilarious.

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It’s a Numbers Game (the conclusion) – the drunken one!

heart

This is the final installment of a piece I wrote about online dating when I was single and neck deep in the process. On re-reading I realise what a depressing experience it was for me. The third installment was the arrogant one. Others who love the process may disagree (either way please feel free to share!)

On the last one I got drunk, wildly inappropriately drunk. First there was wine. I opted for red to drink it slowly with the pretence of more sophistication than I owned. The first bottle was emptied in under an hour, followed by a second. A return from the toilet revealed more glasses, tall ones full of ice and vodka, a can of Red Bull at the side. Between gulps we talked. Subjects jumped from one to the other shooting off in tangents starting at science fiction to end up at abortion; a dialogue of snakes and ladders.

We talked in spurts as if not able to get out words fast enough. We were putting the world to rights, offering suggestions, snippets picked up from newspapers, documentaries and overheard conversations. Second hand information that made us sound cleverer than we were, When the lights flickered we downed what was in front of us, gasping to make the most of last orders as if the world was running out of booze, like those laden trolleys pushed around supermarkets on the eve of a bank holiday weekend.

Swathed in laughter we stumbled into the night. A late bar was across the road, the perfect late night spot. I was high on alcohol and relief. This one was going well, held promise. Seated at the bar we kept on going. More drinking, more talking or shouting really as the music got louder and we got more incapable of understanding. Last ones out; we waded outside in an alcohol haze. Just like insects we were drawn to the yellow lights, ordered in their rows. He opened the taxi door and squashed in beside me.

“To the Cemetery, just past it please.”

The rest of my attention and air was on him. We fell into each other, lazy tongues flopping over each other in the same way sea lions move on land.

“Right at the next set of lights.”

He was mute. Tongue lolling to one side and eyes dull like a masticating cow. I pushed a note into the drivers hand and we fell out, poured onto concrete. The door code was engraved on my brain, one of many sets of digits to remember as if our lives now require permission from electronic devices to do anything. I mentioned this and he nodded.

“Terminator’s gonna happen!”

The key hunt followed. Always at the bottom of my bag stuck in a pocket or caught in the lining. In frustration I turned it upside down, allowed the contents of my life to spread onto carpet; lip-gloss, gloves, tissues, umbrella, phone and a stray tampon. He looked from the floor to me and back again, the dullness lifting.

“Is that yours?”

With a shaky finger he pointed at the tampon. I nodded. Of course it was mine, who else’s would it be?

“Not a chance.”

He turned without a word. I listened to the hollow slam of the first door and then the next.

************

All the recollection makes it worse, my montage of failures. It makes me angry, cheated even.

I challenge this idea that online dating is progress. That everyone is so busy this is what we are stuck with; an electronic middle man telling us what is best. Isn’t it all just an excuse? To stay indoors and fool ourselves the isolation is okay, because we are reaching out; talking to someone; keeping humanity intact.

It’s just a conduit, a tool I hear those successful pairs cry! You may be right. There are definitely enough tools subscribed.

Well I give in. Let me go back to flirtations at the bar, stolen glances across a room or phone numbers exchanged at bus stops. At least then you know what to be disappointed about, rejected by something with a beating heart.

I pray the one walking towards me now proves me wrong. He looks normal, promising even. Against all the odds maybe he has slipped through the needle’s eye to be my faith restorer, Cupid’s minion, Polyfilla for a fractured heart.

Unfortunately he didn’t, but one finally did and I’m keeping him!

The Valentine Grinch

Dripping heart graffiti

Photo taken by The Reluctant Ranter

As Valentine’s Day approaches and there are droves of couples spending lots of money on an array of love orientated objects, I wanted to put an anti-valentine poem of sorts into the mix. I hope you enjoy it!

The Valentine Grinch

Instead of hearts, I want a car

Instead of kisses, just give me cash

Instead of hugs, I’ll make do with gold

Instead of lingerie, buy me a gem

Instead of dinner, book me a cruise

Instead of a teddy, a leather suite

Instead of chocolates, an aquarium works

Instead of flowers, an iPhone 5

Instead of a card, a cheque will suffice

Instead of love, those things do just fine.

It’s a Numbers Game (part 3) the arrogant one

Heart and paint

This is the third installment of a piece I wrote about online dating when I was single and neck deep in the process. On re-reading I realise what a depressing experience it was for me. Last time it was the nervous one. Others who love the process may disagree (either way please feel free to share!)

We met during the day at the National Gallery. Cold and wet he was late. I wasn’t sure how long to wait, wondered where the scales tipped from patient to desperate. In my head I heard the music of Countdown, letters and numbers clambering over each other to get in the right order. Then across the road I saw him, or at least a larger, balder version of him. He hesitated at the entrance as if temporarily paralysed. Then he spoke, in deep tones. He oozed charm and confidence, jokes flying left and right.

Unfortunately none of it was directed at me. It was all for the person on my left, a bewildered security guard alternating between nods and turns waiting for the bombardment to stop. Impatience growing I called his name. He went quiet and turned, looked put out by the interruption. A limp hand sat in mine.

I suggested something to eat. “Yes” came out, but everything else went the other way. As I lingered over sandwiches he waited by the till and stared down. People questioned him, asked if he was in the queue. He waved them past with a grimace. I plucked a sandwich from the row and walked down. At my arrival he uttered “there you are” as if I had been somewhere else entirely.

“Together or separate?”

Before I had a chance to answer he jumped in.

“Together of course” and handed over a twenty euro note.

He leaned over, his breath hot at my ear.

“I know what you artist types are like.”

It was said like a compliment, as if bestowing a gift of generosity. Every mouthful stuck to my tongue as he watched me eat.

The rooms went on forever. Sculptures and paintings registered but didn’t sink in, as if pleasure was impossible in his company. I’ve no idea why I stayed, curiousity or maybe masochism.

“Modern art, what a load of rubbish. It’s just lines and shapes as far as I can see. A child could do it.”

I tried to run, move faster through the rooms.

“Picasso, now there’s an artist.”

Triangles of eyes and limbs crept over one another.

“Really, you like Picasso then?”

He launched into a synopsis, descriptions of colour and technique that belonged in a book. Across the room I pointed to a painting.

“What about that one?”

“Awful, so simplistic and dull. The colours even, they are just bland, no life to them.”

I let him go on; adjectives rolled out and formed a noose. We moved in closer and his eyes fell on the placard. He spluttered and went rigid. I left him there, sauntered through the arch alone. It was a tiny triumph, but delicious. An old Picasso ripped apart by someone who claimed his genius.

I walked on and left him there staring.

Next & last is the drunken one…