A cautionary tale

Let this be a lesson to every girl who ever loved more strongly than her object of affection. And let my woe be the wisdom which will be ignored by the thousands of girls who think their circumstances are ever so different. The words will go unheeded, of course. But that’s fine. It is another chapter in the loveless life of me.

We didn’t end up going to Cornwall because although the weather was sunny and fine, and the temperature in the 20s, Frenchie said he wasn’t feeling the surfing side of things. Fair enough, I was disappointed. But we made arrangements to visit Oxford for the day instead.

We had a lovely day. And all throughout I was trying to work out the best way to just ask him outright and say something to see what was what. The possibility of both outcomes were whirring about in my head, and also scenarios as to how I might deal with either. The deliciousness of it being reciprocated, and the finality of our friendship as it stands if not.

In the end, I waited until right at the very end of the day at about 10:30pm, when he was walking me to the tube station. The conversation went a little something like this – although you should read this and the ensuing conversation with lots of pauses and ums and ahs:

Me: So can I say something to you before we part? It’s serious though and you can’t say anything until I’ve finished ok?
Him: OK. It sounds serious. You’re scaring me. Should I be worried?
Me: No, no, it’s more a question, really and a dumb one too. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and wanted to say.
Him: OK
Me: Actually forget it, I’ll save it for next time.
Him: Alright.

We walk a few more metres and just chat about nonsense, until he’s about to kiss me goodbye, and I suddenly realise that I don’t have plans to see him alone for ages and if I don’t say something now, I’m just going to be pining for weeks and months in limbo. And if I am wrong about him, then that’s just such a long time to waste.

Me: Actually I’m just going to come out and say it, and then run away alright?
Him: Hang on, hang. You can’t just do that. If we need to talk about it, we need to talk about it. You can’t just run away.
Me: OK, fine I won’t run. (Big breatH) It’s just that lately we’ve been spending a lot of time together and I’ve been starting to like you (ha! starting!). I know you haven’t really given any indication you feel the same way, but really I wanted to say it, just in case there was anything. I know it’s stupid, and I’m probably just confused about my feelings because of the friendship. But..there.
Him: (I barely remember, but he was very sweet and quite matter of fact about the fact that he really values our friendship, but he doesn’t feel the same way.)
Me: OK, good keep going. I need to hear this because I knew it in my head but it’s good to hear it definitively from you. I mean, we’re so different and completely incompatible.
Him: Yeah exactly, it wouldn’t work. But we can be the type of friends who go out on a trip to Oxford and hang out and have a great time, or go to Cornwall and still just be friends right?
Me: Yep, great, absolutely. I’m just going to go home and cry now, but absolutely.
Him: Aw no, come on.
Me: I’m just joking. I’m fine, like I said I needed to hear it definitively. Night!

And so my tale of woe is recounted. From the beginning of it’s sorry start to the bitter sweet ending. And the lesson is that if a guy is interested he will make a move, regardless of whatever crap gets in the way. And a girl should never pursue a guy or give him more attention than he gives her.

But in the end, I am glad I have some sort of closure, because when you have one person in your head, when it’s an unrequited crush I mean, it’s hard to think objectively about anyone else who might be more appropriate. And so you end up wasting time and emotions and efforts. So while I would never advocate pining after someone who is not fighting for you, equally I think it’s better to get it out in the open and be clear where you are if you do.

Thus far I have asked three men in my entire life for their love and had none to ask me to love them back. Three for three. That is quite some achievement.

And although it makes for interesting reading, it makes for painful living and recounting. And so I think now is a good time to end this blog of my desperate attempt to get legitimately laid, and go and buy a pair of kittens.

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Regret, desire, guilt, dreams, anxiety, fear, hope, unquiet; oh for a chance, a chance!

The pressure from my mum has lately been piled on quite high. The emotional blackmail to leave my job and return home palpable. The tears, the hurt eyes, the soft strokes, the gentle cajoling.

She senses that I have become different and would like me to return to the girl I was. The one that wore a headscarf and didn’t live in London and didn’t shame or embarrass the family with my loose ways.

I have of course changed from the girl I was. I’m still trying to navigate exactly who I am. I am sick of living a life without making any mistakes. It makes me a cold and unfeeling person. It makes me a person devoid of life. Maybe I am supposed to live devoid of human experiences, such as love, lust, desire? Maybe this is what true submission is to God’s will.

But I know this is not true. Because we make mistakes in order to feel regret, and the doors of remorse are the favourite ones to enter into God’s grace. “Oh son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the skies, and you asked Me to forgive you I would forgive you and think nothing of it.”

But the mistakes/choices I make will inevitably hurt my family, and this hurts me. I have always been very good at feeling guilty.

My parents want me to get married. Now. They want me to safely shackled to a man and see their duty done. I must make sacrifices of my own intellect and being in order to submit to the dreams of a strange man. Because they’ve given me the freedom of four years to find my own dude and I haven’t managed to do so, after all.

My feelings are a complex mix of emotions right now, and I can’t seem to articulate them. In many ways I feel my French man would be a mistake, if anything did happen. Because we are so wildly different in many fundamental ways which would impact on our children, more than anything. But then I haven’t spoken to him about those, so am I just crossing him out before I even give him a chance to see how he feels about it?

So this weekend in Cornwall (again,, dependent on the weather), when I am likely to speak to him about things, what do I say? It seems daft to even think that far ahead in the future when things are pretty precarious and uncertain in terms of even starting. But I can’t help it. It’s how I’m built.

To think far in the future for the consequences. This is why I’ve been careful to not make mistakes in my life in the past, and it’s probably why I’ve failed so far in love at all.

Beep beep

I dialled things right down with Frenchie. Or rather, things seemed to dial down by themselves after that phone call about going away for the weekend together. I didn’t see him for weeks – months, really although we chatted over email a few times a week and there were a couple of phone calls. Which is why this has been silent.

I got pissed off that he never initiated any of them so I thought I should stop being a doofus and just move on. So I stopped calling/emailing him and within a week he asked me out to dinner. And then the week after he asked me out to lunch. I’ll come back to lunch in a bit.

A brief diversion first.
My parents have decided that I am getting too old and they are no longer precious about who I end up. Some relative had suggested a guy who was here on a student visa from “back home,” (so a Freshie) who was 30 and was interested in finding someone to marry. Yeah right. Sure he was. Interested in finding a visa more like.

Anyway, because things were going so badly with Frenchie I said yes to meeting him at a family wedding down in London. My dad came with my brother and his wife and they stayed in my flat. Before we drove to the venue, dad gave me a pep talk. This could be my only opportunity and it would be a fine thing is this guy and I gelled, since it was nearing the end of my chances. He could live with me, and we’d find him a job and I could have kids and everyone would be happy. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

I stayed silent for most of his spiel. At the wedding, dad was a bag of nerves as he tried to look for this guy and then when he found him, kept flitting from our table to his and asking loudly whether we should sit over there, or he should sit with us? Then the negotiations about how etc were arranged with my dad, brother and this relative in the middle. I felt like a piece of meat being put out for display for a potential buyer’s perusal. No agency, whatsoever. I felt utterly humiliated by the entire shenanigans of my father.

Anyway, after the dinner was over, my brother went to have a chat with him, and my dad came five minutes later to order me to sit at the table with him. We ended up being on opposite ends of the table. I decided I’d smile and go through it all graceful. If I’m going to eventually refuse him I may as well look as hot as hell before I do it.

Anyway, turns out the chap wasn’t too bad really. I say this based purely on the superficial only, given that I didn’t get to talk to him. My brother and he did all the to-and-fro’ing. I just listened. He wasn’t bad looking and his accent wasn’t awful. He seemed like a perfectly respectable chap with good manners and probably some good sense. Had I not been surrounded by half of my immediate family and about 200 of my extended family I might have found out that he was a good guy. Not marriageable, but by no means awful.
When we left, dad spoke on the phone to my mum who was still up north. He told her he thought it went really well, and that we hit it off. Apparently I liked him. I felt completely washed out that night and the following day too. I was bowed down with the expectation that my family liked him and so I would have to compromise and try and like him too.

A Return to the main story
The day before the meeting with the Freshie was lunch with the Frenchie. We only had two hours, but basically Cornwall is back on. We are due to go in two weeks (depending on the weather), but we haven’t figured out sleeping arrangements or anything yet. I guess that’s going to be the real decider. Anyway, he was joking about how we would see each other every weekend for the next four weeks, and was it too much? Maybe a little, I said, crinkling my nose and winking. He kissed me goodbye as usual, but the for first time squeezed me while doing it.

Now, I’m kind of clueless when it comes to bolts of electricity, but I think it only really comes when the feeling is mutual, and there was definitely a bolt of something in that touch.

I texted Frenchie about Freshie a couple of days after, saying that I’d had an awful weekend and that I hope he’d had a better one. He called me straight away and was all kinds of sympathetic. Then he said that I need to think about guys who are around me already that I like, maybe who aren’t Muslim.

So he seems to have stepped up his game and I would say has definitely made some fairly bold moves. Now I suspect it’s my turn. I just don’t quite know exactly how to play it.

I really hope the rain doesn’t kill our trip.

Whew boy

It’s Frenchie’s birthday today so yesterday I went along to his office to deliver a card and a gift voucher for a few hours tuition in surfing, since he’s been getting into that lately. It’s for a place in Cornwall. I dropped it off at reception and asked them to put it in the internal mail so he got it the next morning – even though I knew the chances were high that he was still at work that night (he often doesn’t leave until 1am) and could have hand delivered it. Wasn’t that sweet/psychotic of me?

He called me this morning when he got the card to say thanks and he loved the gift and would I like to go to Cornwall with him when he’s taking the lessons? We could make a long weekend of it, and drive down together and this time he wouldn’t make fun of my driving. Was I sure I wanted to spend another weekend with him when I’d just spent two weeks with him only a month or so ago? And when did I drop off the letter? That morning? Was I still around? Last night? “you should have called me!!!”

 

Not sure what to make of it. But if anything does come of it, then this blog will have to take a hiatus for a while, that’s for sure.

 

 

The bad

Argh I’m so annoyed.  I spent an hour writing the bad stuff and stupid wordpress has deleted it all. I’m going to sum up the bad stuff in four key points.

1. Frenchie really wanted to take me out dancing – but not so he could take me out dancing himself. Just so he could see me dance and have a good time, as he put it. When I asked if he would dance with me, he replied gravely and seriously “no.”

2. On the last night, the four of us were supposed to go and sample the night life of the city, but two of our company flaked on us because of tiredness. They suggested that he and I got out together to a club and he replied “that would be boring.”

3. A couple of days after we returned I sent him a message and a link to all the photos of him, and at the bottom wrote “tu me manques,” which is a lovely way of saying ” I miss you.” Nada. Not a peep of a reply.

4. I had managed to get some tickets to a show which fell on the night of his birthday next month and asked if he’d like them and if he thought he’d have the time off work. This always is problematic with him because he works in finance and does get home at about 2/3am on occasion. I offered him both tickets and implied he could take whoever he wanted. Nothing for THREE DAYS. He finally replies back today apologising and saying that he can’t make it, but if he could his “+1 top choice” for going to the show would be me, if he could. Still. THREE days. That’s just rude.

The other stuff was probably, in fairness, just stuff you might go through as friends or whatever. Little annoyances. But these are the biggest things. That and he never really touches me. I hear that boys who like you are big on physical contact.

Also, if he doesn’t call, “he’s just not that into you.” Maybe it’s daft, but that’s a mantra I’ve really taken to heart.

Mixed messages

So a comment in my last phone from this reader expressed an interest in the mixed messages I was supposedly getting from Frenchie. I mean, I said they were mixed messages – I also said I was probably just making them up in my head. But here’s a low down of some of the nice things:

1. He went on holiday with me for two weeks.

2. There were four of us, but he and I spent almost all of it talking to each other

3. The first day we took a super long walk, just the two of us, through the Rose Garden near the Parliament building and watched from a bridge as families played together. And he was really close and it was really nice and comfortable. There were a couple of times when he stood really close to me or had his hands close to mine but I was too shy to do anything. Also it was the first day and if I was mistaken – crikey, how awkward for the rest of the trip!

4. He teased me incessantly throughout the two weeks.

5. I’m not a particularly tactile person, at least in the beginning, and I don’t think he is either – I think he is a bit cautious about my whole attitude to that. But one night when we were strolling the city I was asking him about the shampoo in the hotel and whether it smelled any good. He bent his head down (he’s 6’4″) and stuck it in my face for me to smell (and a quick stroke, it has to be said).

6. This was shortly after I was practising my French on him, and telling him – in French – that I thought he was a super guy, generous and with an open heart and that I really respected him and I hoped that whoever he married appreciated that about him. He looked down at me and laughed and said (in French) “you’ve discovered this after travelling with me for a week, but I’ve known the same about you for three years.”

7. That was also the night he told me about his own relationship with his family and some of the issues he has with them. And he asked me a gazillion questions about my own. He also tried to frighten me by popping out of one of the side walls as a joke.

8. Throughout most of the trip, he and I spent a lot of time just smiling at each other, especially over dinner when it would be smiley eyes all around.

9. On one of our first evenings, three of us ended up having a deep and meaningful over shisha and he was talking about falling in love with a friend, and when you know it’s obvious and that you should just come out and say it because what’s the worst that could happen? We were then playfully just talking about the kind of girl I was, and I said “Well, I’m just perfect,” and he looked at me and said “yeah, do you have any sisters?” Which admittedly is weird but I’m going to chalk it down to shyness. But that night felt like a connection – a really strong one and I was this close to kissing him and would have if the third person wasn’t there. Hey ho.

10. I inadvertently got his back burnt by telling him he probably didn’t need to put sunscreen on. He said he’s going to tease me for the next ten years about it. He was also totally checking out my arse when I flopped down on the sofa stomach first, and then also my legs when I had them crossed but peeping out beneath my (long) skirt.

11. On our last night, it was he and I alone again walking through the city at about midnight and we got to a bar, had a drink and chatted until 2am. He told me then that I was unusual and not like the other British girls and that he liked me and my intelligence and my bluntness. On one of our excursions (a few days before) he also said I was “cute.”

12. On our last morning, the two of us were alone for breakfast again. We walked to the seafront and ate croissants and hot chocolate overlooking the ocean. We only had half an hour before we needed to move to catch the plane, but again it was just those short snatches of conversation that were so easy  – but more than easy. They were intimate. We talk about anything and everything and that morning we were talking about his hopes and fears for his career and life in general.

13. This isn’t really indicative of anything, but he asked me one night at dinner – when everyone had centred on me, asking about my failed dating history – how would a boy know if I was interested in him? Would I ever make the first move? What would it look like? He also lent me his sweater that night (so big and reassuring!), and the next morning when we went to watch the sunrise he was worried about my eyes so let me borrow his sunglasses (he had a spare pair).

 

Anyway, these are the positives. I’ll file a report next time with all the negatives (and boy, whoo, there are an awful lot of those)

 

Well

I didn’t go and kill myself out of frustration, in case anyone is wondering why the silence since my last rather pathetic post. 

I just got busy and bored of getting my hopes up, writing about it and then being shot down again. 

In the intervening time I went on a two week trip abroad with the Frenchie, and 2 other friends. Nothing happened, although it got confusing at some points for me. Mixed messages. Or maybe I just think it was mixed messages because I want it to be mixed messages. Maybe he’s just being friendly and normal, and I’m just over complicating things. 

 

Anyhoops, I don’t think he does feel anything like that for me, and actually now we’re back, the conversation is a little more stilted. Maybe he’s realised that I’m totally falling for him, and he’s trying to get me to back off. 

 

Probably not. Boys are so dim with this stuff. Still. Now I’M finding it hard to be normal around him, and now it’s going to end like how all my platonic relationships with boys that I like end. Badly. 

Why do people say falling in love is the maddest craziest thing you can do? No it’s not. It might lead to some fucked up things, but in the end most people I think would love to be in the throes of that process. At least it’s moving somewhere. But it’s the getting to that point which is seemingly impossible for some people.

It’s been about a year since I’ve cried at all about anything, but tonight I’m sobbing over the lack of anyone in my life.  I am so sick of being on my own. So tired of not being able to do what seems to come so effortlessly to some people.

I don’t understand  why I can’t manage to fulfil the only thing evolution has designed us for. And I know it’s because it’s stupid Valentine’s Day and so everyone is rubbing my effing face in it that I’m feeling it particularly today.

But still. I’m in serious amounts of pain from needing to be held by someone and in front of me is just this chasm of loneliness.

What a douche

That last post was such a douche-y post. Looking back on it, it sounds like I’m so confident of myself and the future. 

I do get days like that. But most of those are interspersed with self doubt and a nerve racking, debilitating fear. I know the real me is the quietly confident one, but actually a lot of that comes from validation from other people. I don’t mean I need a man to validate me as such – a friend, a colleague, a random stranger just being nice to me works, although hopefully a man would be like a long term solution to that – but that I haven’t quite got round to appreciating my own self worth as a thing that is separate from other people’s estimation of me. So although I have a lot of self confidence, paradoxically I have very low self esteem. 

I wish I could get to the stage where all I worried about was how I thought of myself. That  all that mattered was my relationship to God and how good a human being I am. 

Trouble is I tried that for about 10 years of my life, and it sort of makes you blind to reality. Or it made me blind anyway. It made me too self reliant to the exclusion of any human being sincerely necessary in my life, and that’s a sort of arrogance in itself. 

There is a saying that goes around every once in a while on my Muslim friends’ Facebook, that I truly despise. It goes like this “A women’s heart should be so lost in God that a man needs to seek Him in order to find her.” Bullshit.

I see from a quick search that it also does the round amongst Christian groups, and no doubt every other religion out there. Gawd, its so trite and shallow and unoriginal. I can’t even tell you how fanciful such a statement is.  It’s such complete balderdash, I can’t even articulate how much because it’s making me apoplectic just writing it.

Maybe I’ll go into it one day, but right now I can’t be bothered.

So where’s the balance? Between being content with just knowing that you’re a good person and knowing that you’re loved by someone, anyone? Because really, you can’t give yourself hugs and God might throw down a bone or two once in a while in terms of good things happening in your life, but ultimately humans need affection and physical contact.

I don’t have that. I live on my own, and even when I head up north to my parents, we’re Asian AND British and so don’t do any sort of physical intimacy at all. You have to be like that, it’s in the contract.

 

Right now I’m feeling fragile and wondering if I’ll ever stop feeling so impatient about something happening. And quite a large part of me is depressed and gloomy and thinking I’m going to die, alone never having quite experienced the fullness of love and therefore life. And even the two irons I’ve got in the fire are really just pipe dreams, will o’ wisps, a dream. Things I can reach out for once in a while, attempt to grasp, but in reality they are just mirages that will never be fully realised.

 

Today is a bad day.

 

 

 

A first love

The reason why you always remember your first love, or so they say, is probably because of a little bit of stockholm syndrome.

Also, you have no idea what a douchebag the person is, as there’s no one to compare them to. Because you’re so grateful that someone finally desires you and somehow that validates you, you forgive so much of what is wrong in the relationship. All the little warning signs that should make you take a step back and reassess what’s going on.

Also, you’re so filled with high expectations of what a relationship should be like, including all the rough bits. So you’ll make the effort and the compromises, you’ll ditch your comfort for theirs but in the end, they are sometimes broken people. And no matter how kind, loving and patient you are, they will break you too. And then for a long time after, perhaps years, you’ll still mope about the one that got away and if only the timing was better or they were in a better place it might have gone the distance.

Actually the truth is that if they’re a douchebag early on in the relationship, they’re liable to be douchebags for all of it and there shouldn’t be an attempt to rescue them.

I’ve been thinking of K a lot recently, because I got in touch with him over Facebook again to see how he was. Not to try and rekindle things, but just out of the remnants of my love for him and his wellbeing.  He was someone who needed saving badly and I wanted to be the one to do it. But I’ve realised the worst thing you can do as a girl is make a guy feel like he owes you one.

As usual he was intuitive and kind and gentle and polite. All these things. But he couldn’t see past himself and he was also superbly arrogant and his arrogance underpinned all of the above qualities. He was all of these things consciously. It was practiced. His intelligence blinding him to the fact that he was a straight up schmuck who broke my heart. Like a diner at a fancy restaurant, tasting the wine, swilling it around in his mouth and then, in a very considered (note: not considerate) way spitting it back out again.

Anyway, the reason why I bring him up now is because I watched a film with the Frenchie, T, today. Without being at all romantic, I realised that there goes one of life’s good guys. Genuinely sincere and witty and intelligent and just easy to talk to. Plus he smelled great. The film was a special matinee and we had breakfast before and I knew he had nothing going on after. I’ve never smelled cologne on him before so he’d put it on just for me. Or maybe I’d never noticed before?

Anyway, my point is, that with a bit of distance and time I can see that there are a lot of good men out there, and being with K somehow has made me  (eventually) more confident in myself. As in, I don’t need a relationship to validate me – at least, not at the cost of losing my self respect (I still think deep down we none of us feel complete unless there’s some one person to unload ourselves onto). I refuse to put up with shit from men, and I’m also more conscious of what good behaviour looks like. T’s respectful behaviour doesn’t necessarily have to translate into a relationship, but it’s important in maintaining my standards for others that might do.