Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Modern Dating III

Well, it’s a clear sign times are getting desperate when I’m writing a second sequel to an already self-indulgent and conceptually desultory series of blog posts. Yes, it’s time for recent tales of wearisome dating disasters and romantic remonstrations.

Despite the assertion in my last dating post (the critically panned Modern Dating II) that I had retired from the Internet dating scene, I have in fact done the complete opposite. There is only so much crying and masturbating (sometimes simultaneously) a guy can do before the siren-song of the dating profile lures him back.

Dehydration is no laughing matter

The return has given me the opportunity to realise how, even when competing in the arena of the sick and the lame, I cannot pick off even the sickliest antelope (a warning: there are many poorly thought-out metaphors ahead). There is too much competition. I have now spoken online to enough women to know that they are inundated with messages from guys. Approximately 60% of these are dick pictures; another 20% unwitting derogatory slurs; this still leaves the remaining 20% as actual guys trying to meet people. Guys like me. 

It is empirical fact that if there is competition for a girl I like, I will not win. Life has vividly affirmed this fact, ever since my very first crush. I engaged in my usual technique of hanging around her, playing it cool, the sort of thing that in movies results in final reel kissing but in reality bottoms out with accidental asphyxiation while suspended naked from the light fitting by underwear you stole from her bedroom. She promptly shagged my best friend at the time. At university I was wildly in love with a girl who, two days after I confessed this, pulled my best friend (a different one). About a year after that, another girl I was madly transfixed with, and who showed unequivocal signs of reciprocity, subsequently got with my other best friend.

It’s a cheery odyssey of success.

Online dating is a horrible intensification of this competition. For every girl, there are ten guys vying for her attention, like foxes trying to knock over a dustbin (I thought of at least five other similes but they all included the phrase ‘circle-jerk’). We all flaunt our exaggerated and often outright mendacious dating profiles like those monkeys with the hyperbolic technicolour butts.

This is why I'm single

And, if somehow my woefully unimpressive profile makes it through this bestial process unscathed, there’s the date itself. It has come to my attention that I have the personality of a perforated windsock. Even if prior communication goes terribly well, it will all judder to a halt the moment a girl meets me. Even if we seem to get on really well. Each and every time the messages stop dead or peter out, because the girl has lost interest and wandered into the embrace of a finer male with a more impressively engorged rump.

That's man code for 'someone with a bigger penis.'

It can prove altogether disheartening. Some instances, in hindsight, don’t bother me. But sometimes I develop a fondness for someone. It’s not that I expect instant love. I’m not the creepy sort of guy you find on your doorstep at midnight carving your initials into his arm with a ballpoint pen. I’d just like, for once, for that early promise to be fulfilled. And I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. 

See me whine more about dating! Read Modern Dating I and Modern Dating II!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Public Toilet Disasters

The vet stares down at my penis and pushes his glasses further up his nose. I’m still leaning over, both hands gripping the trousers bunched around my ankles. For a moment social convention fails us both. It’s impolite to stare. It’s unacceptable to bare your junk to men you hardly know. Our senses return at the same instant. I pull my trousers up around my waist. The vet makes a hasty retreat.

There are few places in everyday life less agreeable than a public toilet. They rank just above sexual humiliation dungeons, the showers in Wormwood Scrubs prison, or Essex; but these are places you can usually avoid.

Definitely avoid Essex

I won’t get into the issue of an increasing number of public toilets in London charging for the ordeal of using them, as this would quickly depreciate into a quivering abortion of apoplectic rage. Instead I’ll mention the inevitable macabre innards of such places: the stench of ammonia as if you’ve just penetrated Satan’s urethra; skid-marks so ingrained in the bowls as to predate Aboriginal cave paintings; men in long raincoats who don’t even pretend they’re in attendance for any other reason but to glimpse your testicles (this is particularly disturbing for women, for a number of reasons). 

The worst public toilets are on British trains, with doors purchased wholesale from a clear-out of the old Star Trek set.

Not pictured: space torpedoes launch button

A button-press slides the door open. Inside, another button-press slides it closed. In theory, this is functional for disabled users. In practice, it’s a source of never-ending embarrassment for most of us and illicit fetishistic pleasure for everyone else. While people search for the button that fires phasers at the Klingons, they forget to press the button that locks the door. 

This is why I found myself standing directly outside the toilet on a crowded train as the door slid open to reveal a middle-eastern man in mid-bowel movement. He lunged forward, swearing profusely, one hand vaguely covering his equipment, and slapped the Close button.

He still forgot to lock it.

When the door opened on him again two minutes later he stayed seated to launch a volley of abuse. The guy who had opened the door grabbed hold of it and tried to wrench it shut while screaming ‘sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry!’ I decided to find somewhere else to sit.

This'll do

My downfall came at work. I had returned to the toilet to complete the necessary paperwork after having previously been prematurely called away. The lock on the door was broken. I was facing the bowl, trousers and pants around my ankles, one arm behind me in mid-wipe, when the door opened.

I avoided the vet, an unremarkably stoic Swede, for the rest of the day, fretting wildly over what he might be telling his harem of attractive nurses. When I later encountered him, I was again just coming out of the toilet.

‘Don’t worry!’ he laughed. ‘I spend all day neutering dogs. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before.’

To this day, I wonder if this was a veiled comment about the nature of my penis.