Posted in Uncategorized, tagged dating, friends, friendship, love, men, platonic, school, twenty, women on November 25, 2011 |
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Is it possible that mixed- sex- friendships are restricted to being made during our school or university days? Post-education, it seems to me that it has become increasingly hard to meet someone with a view to pursue a friendship, rather than a love affair. And I’ve learnt recently (the hard way) that male/female friendships made in your twenties are actually rather few and far between-something I’ve grown to resent.
I understand that when socialising, most are on the hunt for a sexual partner. I get it, balls and boobs are heading south and you’re panicking. But shouldn’t we just slow down when we meet someone and get to know whether they prefer jam or marmalade on their toast first? After all, some of the best sexual relationships are based upon friendship. And some of the best relationships are simply just friendship. I’m always up for meeting new people but I’m also very aware that when my company for the night is a member of the male variety, sex is always on someone’s mind.
Maybe I’m too presumptuous and assume that guys are always after one thing? But as of late, it has been proved that, in fact, the majority of the time, they are: and my assumptions have been confirmed. When asking my guy mates about this issue, I’ve been labelled “naive” to think that an invitation to have coffee could be strictly platonic. They themselves also suggested that men don’t tend to read signals; instead they read your chest. So when it comes to finding friends of the opposite sex, I must hold my hands up and admit that I’m hopeless at it. Maybe I’ll just leave it and stick to the guy mates I already have who pick their noses and tell me I look like shit, when I really do, look like shit. But even with my male mates from way-back-when, there’s normally a point in our friendship where we’ve asked ourselves whether we fancy one another, or whether something could potentially happen… and have even enjoyed the odd vodka-induced-snog. It seems as though it’s quite difficult to remain platonic rather than playmates.
Personally I’m not shy and don’t mind letting someone know that the most they’re getting is a pint bought for them but why is it that “I only like you as a friend” is such an insult? It seems as though spitting in one’s face is likely to be far more pleasant-being fancied is apparently more important than being funny, charismatic or interesting these days. People search for ‘the one’ for years, by-passing potential friendships and pushing them to one side because they don’t pass the marriage test. Think about how many people you’ve got along with and disposed of because you didn’t fancy them-you’ve missed out on having both a wingman, another insight into the male/female mind and someone new to quite simply have a laugh with.
I’m starting to think that maybe it’s impossible to be friends with the opposite sex. Take the world’s favourite TV show. It might be entitled ‘Friends’, but how many of them actually are just friends? It might be fiction but take a look at your own “friendship group” and count how many people around you have dated, fumbled or dabbled.
I rest my case.
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The first picture you might paint of the modern man is some skinny-jean wearing, guy-liner-loving, heel tapper of a specimen, when in fact, this new breed of man is all around us, disguised as your average Joe.
Visually, they look like normal blokes. They maintain their rugged good looks, don’t know the meaning of the word moisturiser and grimace at the thought of wearing makeup. But inside, something has changed. All around me I’m seeing men carrying women’s jackets for them, on the tube, suits have started giving up their seats for women and doors have been held open for me on a daily basis. But the very fact that I have noticed these changes signifies to me that there has been a recent shift in dynamic, and men have not always been this chivalrous. As of late, they are in fact so charming that I feel as if I’m starring as an extra in Casablanca or something and I’m certainly not complaining about it.
Personally, I’m in love with this modern man. These guys will do the washing up, have a crack at the cooking and run you a bath after a long day spent in the highest of heels. These men understand women more than ever and I think the emancipation of this wonderful man-type stems from the fact that they, like women, are growing to understand themselves a little better. I’m not saying that men should be the domesticated hounds that women were back in the 1950s. We ask for equivalency rather than regression. But I enjoy the fact that men have become totally unafraid of picking up our magazines, flicking through the celebrity gossip and learning about the Top 20 ways to make a woman orgasm (thank you Cosmo). But are these men really what we want? Is there such a thing as a man being too in tune with a woman? I think men and women are attracted to each other for our differences and the capacity to learn from our differing habits, thoughts and views. So for better or for worse, dating the modern man is a little like dating your best mate. And at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I wonder whether it has perhaps become somewhat predictable?
Nevertheless, this new acceptance of gender (or perhaps loss of it) has resulted in relationships becoming less about power and more about the person. For instance, I love a man who knows that by donning a pair of marigolds, he is simply being kind, not kept. And I love a woman who watches rugby on a Sunday afternoon to say thanks.
So here’s to the modern man! He looks, smells and listens better than ever: but don’t treat him too kindly. Do we want a man who suggests that we first take a look when there’s a spooky noise downstairs? Absolutely not. There are some gender rules that should never be messed with.
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Last week, I met with a friend on the infamous Brick Lane. I used to enjoy the eclectic nature of this part of the city, heading there after school for a halloumi burger and giant wedges, but now I’m just not too sure.
One of my favourite things to do is people watch so a mish mash of market stall holders, quirky outfits and self-confessed attention seekers made for a great day out. But as I travelled from West to East, I felt a little overwhelmed, or perhaps maybe even a little underwhelmed. Having lived in London my whole life, loving every second of it, I have to say I felt somewhat unwelcome. It was almost as if, if you weren’t wearing a tatty woolly jumper and some form of ankle boot, you weren’t cool enough to shop in this part of town; something I didn’t appreciate.
On the other hand, the street food smelt and tasted as amazing as usual and the general vibe was comparable to a mini Notting Hill carnival with loud speakers and people dancing for no real reason, something I wish the streets of West London embraced more than once a year. I even managed to spot one particular lady in an all-in-one leopard print leotard which made for an excellent post-Halloween costume (although I’m pretty sure this wasn’t her intention). You have to wonder though, are these people truly expressing their eccentricities or are they just posing for the East? Or is it a hedonistic playground for those who wear suits all week long? Either way, it is undeniably entertaining.
When my neck of the woods used to resemble a Jack Wills catalogue, I was embarrassed to say that I favoured West over East London, now I’m proud to say that I do. Our independent coffee shops are just as great and we have an individual style of our own too. People say that it can be a little pretentious around here but when looking at the new generation of Hoxton hotties, I think there’s a little inverted snobbery being bandied about, only it’s disguised behind an effortless attitude. I don’t want us to break out into guerrilla warfare over different lifestyle choices however. As always, I love when us Londoners come together and it’s the strange and wonderful flavours of human that dwell in the city that make it so perfect. I think I’d just like us westerners to embrace a little more of the freedom you get in the East and I’d like those edgy easterners to not shy away from a stroll through Portobello every so often; you might be pleasantly surprised. Variety is the spice of life and we’ve got the opportunity to embrace it in the capital. So use that oyster, hop on a tube and discover some hidden gems at least half an hour from your natural habitat.
I’m not entirely sure what the Pet Shop Boys were getting at but I’m going to go with the notion that East end boys love West end girls. And you know what? I don’t blame them. We wear bloody great shoes.
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So last month I didn’t stop banging on about boobs. This month, I’ll be nattering about balls.
Girls, be prepared to encounter some rather grizzly smackers for the next few weeks as Movember kicks into action. While October was exhumed in a female-friendly pink colour which I hope will continue beyond Halloween, this month men across the country get a little hairy (above the neck) in aid of Testicular Cancer Awareness. Just like most things man-related, it’s one of those topics that is avoided by most and worried about by many. Men will readily admit to finding it far more difficult to talk about their feelings than women. Ladies can run up and hug each other when times are tough, but for men, a comical caterpillar that sits above their lip for four weeks, speaks volumes.
Although they are arguably one of the funniest looking body parts, those two balls that hang off your man (or yourself) ultimately create life. And with 2,000 men diagnosed with testicular cancer in the UK each year, I think we should all start thinking about them a little more. So whether they are hairy, huge or rather non-descript, check them out regularly rather than just scratch them in public. It’s important.
But listen, I’d love to say and chat but I really moustache.
Have a great Movember and get involved. It really is a wonderful cause.
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