Archive for February, 2012

A Single Girl’s Valentine

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2012 by alisonadventures

So its approaching that time of year again…no matter what state or country you live in, weather its on snowy cobblestones or hot concrete pavement, all over the world couples are engaging in that wanton display of PDA known as Valentines day.
Chocolate, stuffed animals, and flora grace the office’s and university halls of besotted students and workers, hand holding and smooching in public triples, and wearing hot pink with scarlet red is suddenly exempt from being a fashion faux pas. And of course, every singleton wants nothing more than to hide under a duvet watching battle films with plenty of high tech artillery and explosives and wait for the day to just disappear.

For me, this valentines day marks the first one I will be spending not romantically involved (no, not even is a “seeing someone, playmate” way) since I first became legally allowed my first martini. I had always found the holiday quite an interesting experience, and the day seemed to run anywhere from being wined and dined and given beautiful hand-painted artwork, to taken to lush gardens and exploring nature, given gifts of jewellery, truffles, collars. And how can I ever forget that one year of being sick all over the Northern line, and being married before asked out properly at a notorious fetish club? (Don’t worry…turns out the ministers of Torture Gardens weren’t actually legally sanctioned. Shame.)
I am not against the holiday in any way, shape or form…I’m not one of those people who moan about it being “corporate, commercialized, a new way of milking the cash cow of consumerist society” or else saying “I refuse to celebrate a holiday that embraces love only one day a year…my partner should know I love them all the time, every day.” Bullshit. That’s a bit like saying “I refuse to celebrate my birthday   because I should be showered with gifts, adoration, and general ego-boosting all the time.” Hey, if it could be done, I’d be the first to sign up. But it just aint gonna happen.
Yes, of course your loved one should feel appreciated all of the time. But in a new information age filled with ever lengthening work hours, university coursework, and just a general lack of any personal, not to mention relationship, time for ourselves, what is so wrong about there being at least one day set aside solely for the purpose of romance? Treating one another to something truly spectacular that will create memories for years to come? The London eye with champagne at night, a stroll down the South bank after a concert or performance, titillation at a masked ball followed by utterly amazing sex? Even small presents or something hand written or crafted straight from the heart can often make the biggest impact.
As for the commercializing of it all, yes I completely agree that many big faceless operations will profit greatly from all those red roses and teddy bears. For gods sake look at all the deforestation contributing to mass global warming taking place every year as thousands of fir trees are chopped down for Christmas. Holidays are what you make of them…and what they mean to you. I personally celebrated xmas this year with my good friends over a nice big, fake tree. (In black, of course.) I myself would feel far more touched by a hand written sonnet, a song or handpicked wildflowers than anything that might be mass produced by Hallmark.
Saying that, those certain pair of stunning heels or gorgeous necklace or handbag would also be most welcomed…hey, just because Halloween leeches income off anyone with a fancy dress party to attend, doesn’t stop me from usually spending a small fortune on sultry Leg Avenue ensembles…that’s what my pay check is there for, after all. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with a little harmless consumerism, and any man who has disagreed usually thinks twice after seeing my special, limited-edition, valentines day super sheer/lacy/skimpy lingerie. Oh, the power of a heart shaped garter belt! How the morals melt.

No, I have nothing against the holiday as a whole. It’s the general attitude of either being miserable beyond belief, devouring Ben and Jerry’s to Bridget Jones and wondering if maybe your ex wasn’t that bad, ok he still lived at home and worked in the same dead-end job for five years, yeah he wanted to settle down and you wanted to travel around the world, and there was that tiny incident of him threatening to leave you if you wore body paint on New Years Eve and him always being the one to emotionally break down first and never talk things out after arguments. But he was someone to cuddle with, right? Someone to hold hands with and go to clubs with, someone to be there. Maybe he wasn’t so bad…maybe you shouldn’t have chucked him.
Or there’s the reverse…the getting massively pissed and pretending its just another Tuesday, just with the added addition of lots of extra alcohol. Why cant we as a society just accept it as simply another holiday we may or may not choose to partake in, and move on?
I think it has a lot to do with conditioning…as a high school student, our campus was flooded with hand delivered pink carnations, shiny red heart shaped balloons, oversized plush animals of every kind, enough candy to send you back into braces for another year. And I just remember thinking how utterly shite it felt to be the one person without the trinkets or arm candy, without someone to carry my books or hold my hand or kiss me in the corridors. It seems ironic saying this now, but the London glamour model of today used to be the quiet girl with frizzy hair in the back of the classroom absorbed in a book and dreaming of a better life.
Yet even when I changed continents and finally managed to leave my little slice of suburban hell as far away as humanly possible without having to make the full effort of learning a new language, that insecurity remained. No matter what crazy adventures I got up too, how well my course or job was progressing, or how many photo shoots I did, there still always had to be a guy in the picture. Now that the skin has cleared, the hair tamed and glasses swapped for contacts, all of a sudden I was getting all sorts of new and interesting attention (I think being American with a penchant for corsets probably also added to the intrigue.)
But was it the right kind of attention? I’m not quite sure how to answer that. There are some who might see the vintage lingerie, short skirts and stockings and heels sent off the wrong message, made me a slut or a sex object. But I’ve never felt that way…to me, the clothing I wear is much less revealing than the bikini tops and hot pants you see every day in Miami. After years of struggling with body issues and eating disorders, I have finally become comfortable in my own skin. I simply adore dressing up, and doing so in a seductive yet classy way. When I spend ages on my hair and make up, it is purely for the purpose of making ME feel beautiful, never for any man. Hearing about recent court cases of men saying women are “asking” to be raped for wearing miniskirts fills me with disgust. To me, the human body is a work of art, and we should be able to adorn it as we see fit. The fact that perverts and molesters see us as only victims to be taken advantage means that they are the criminals for such thoughts, not us for choosing to showcase our beauty.










Yet despite all of this, even while knowing I was at least reasonably attractive, educated and hopefully kind hearted, I still needed a man to make me feel complete. I don’t know if it was that old high school frustration of not having a prom date, or the intense pressure and drama of all those brief silly teenage romances, where your friends must know EVERYTHING about your new boyfriend, he must be hot/nice/funny/good body, and him not replying straight away to your texts signified the end of the “relationship”. Back when third base was still a big deal, before sex came into the picture and really screwed things up. When you were either with someone or else your friends were trying to set you up with any semi-attractive single guy in a 50 mile radius.
Oh, how things have changed! Since moving to London, I have gotten to experience city courtships in all of there varied and wonderous forms, some of them for the better, like discovering I was bisexual and at times, multi-orgasmic, or the worst, like sometimes the one person you don’t like at all as a person, somehow, your body responds to the best. Not to mention there is no such thing anymore as “dating”…in the city, you are “seeing someone” (usually more than one person at once), “friends with benefits/fuck buddies/playmates”, “in an open relationship”(more than you would think) and finally “in a relationship”.





It can get pretty complicated, to say the least. How do you know if the person you are seeing wants to see other people as well? How to bring this up without seeming like YOU want/don’t want to see other people? When is the right time? Do they even, actually like you, or is it just the scene/alcohol/substances taken?
Generally, the most common advise would be to just let things be and see what happens, although for an insomniac over-analyzer who is most likely at least borderline neurotic this can be rather difficult. Add the internet into it, and it’s a whole other ballgame (if the term “facebook official” isn’t in the new Miriam Webster, it bloody well should be for the sheer number of times I’ve heard it tossed around by friends in relation to a new partner.) Yet somehow, I have managed to sustain two long-term relationships, several couple-of-month flings, and yes, the obligatory one night stands to boot…although only a couple, and none were particularly memorable apart from a certain international ménage à trois.
I was even blessed with being able to remain friends with my two “proper” ex’s, the last one being oh so perfect in everyway but one. Of course that should have warned me…sometimes love can come at a bad time. When I’m truly with someone, I am with my whole heart. This is a kind of love that can only be gained through time, trust and deep mutual understanding. It’s not an overnight fling, a crazy moment, but something stronger. And I just wasn’t ready for that yet.
I believe everyone in a really committed relationship loses their independence, even just that little bit. The amount depends of course, as the couple as individuals, but generally couples tend to go out together. Sure, they might socialize, but generally not as much as a single person would, and they would likely leave together. This is not meant as a negative point at all, as relationships should  amount to equal give-and-take, its just a comment. But what if one of the partners doesn’t want to go out? What if they say they cant afford it, or are ill, but you should go out anyway? Then what? Do you pay for them the whole night but maybe secretly resent it? (Even if you don’t, there’s a pretty good chance they will feel guilty and do something daft like refuse to drink the whole night, so you feel awkward drinking, and then everyone is sober and miserable.) Or do you go out anyway, but feel really guilty in the knowledge that they are home and most likely waiting up for you? Either way, it puts a damper on the evening.
Another thing I don’t get about new relationships Is how they always expect to be put first…yes, if it is a long term relationship this goes without saying, but if I’ve only been seeing the person a couple of months and they get upset I’m spending Halloween with the girls who I’ve known for years and tickets had already been booked well in advance, its generally not a good sign of things to come. Or If the attractive, confident girl that they initially fell for suddenly becomes a threat to their share of the spotlight (a  definite warning.)
Something I hear quite a lot of is, “well maybe it’s the type of guys you go for”, and this is probably true. I personally like either pretty or masculine types with long hair, alternative interests or careers I actually find exciting (I’ve seen contortionists, fire dancers, angle grinders, musicians, alternative magicians, artists, although also an acupuncture student and a bartender). Call me shallow, but I’m also a sucker for blue eyes and toned arms…hey, you cant help who you fancy. Although of course I am sure there are guys who totally don’t match that description at all who could probably drive me wild…when it really comes down to it, personality and a sense of humour matters most.
And when it comes to girls…I don’t even think I have a particular type! There’s only been a couple I’ve ever really fancied, but it’s a side of me I’m really looking forward to exploring. I also have been looking into polyamory, which sounds like a beautiful path of forming connections with different people to satisfy your every need, in a totally open, loving way. Although I’m sure it has its problems and complications like every other form of relationship…I’m willing to give it a shot.

So after everything I just said, you would think I would embrace being single after my last relationship crashed and burned. But no…that old terror of being alone drove me into not one but two very short lived flings, both with people I had plenty of chemistry with but we just weren’t right for either other. And yet still, it hurt me. There’s a reason girls play hard to get and your always pursued by that one suitor you don’t fancy. Most men like a challenge, and you can never let on that you actually like them. Sounds easy enough, but I never was the sort to play mind games…I find the truth always comes out anyway and I’m rather like a bloke in that I tend to quite enjoy flirting and am very naturally sensual as well. But I’ve come to realize that the men who are only in it for the chase and cant be honest about their emotions really aren’t the ones I want in my life anyway.
So, a couple of months ago, I stopped trying. With my coursework piling up, paid work coming in to boot, and social events rapidly filling up every blank planner page, it dawned on me: even if I wanted one, I simply would have no time for a relationship! Being a naturally social creature by nature, I like being with people. And in the last few weeks of being single and free to go to any of the gigs, clubs and afterparties I wanted to, I’ve become so much closer to my friends and made many new friends in the process. Besides that, I’ve had so many more fun, crazy and interesting experiences than I did when I was with someone. Goodbye tests, manipulation, emotional blackmail, jealousy and insecurity. As long as you have awesome friends to crazy party and cuddle with and can come home whenever you like to a nice drink and some private time to recuperate, I’d take that over another drama-fest any day. And of course, as soon as I stopped thinking about it, I instantly had two people asking me out! Too late.
I’d rather hold out for someone I fancy like mad, is a man not a boy, fun but not completely insane, and isn’t afraid to show his (or her!) feelings. And I’d rather wait for that then settle for someone I’m not truly happy with. I think society tries to make us seem like lesser people for not being with someone…but in reality you are so much more. You have your full independence, your freedom and your choices are your own, without the guilt trips or any outside influence. So this valentines day I am proud to say…I am not single, I am COMPLETE. And damn right I’ll be spending this V Day frosting “love sucks” cupcakes and watching Tank Girl and Bitchslap! With my friends…but only for that lesbian wet tee shirt scene. 😉