I have a super power. I’m not sure why but wherever I go, people tell me things. Deep and meaningful snippets of detail from their lives that I don’t ask for. I love it though – it makes me feel good to be trusted and it must mean I have an open face.
I think sometimes if you make eye contact with someone you tend to connect with them whether you like it or not. This can backfire in certain social situations, like on holiday when you want to be left alone or on the bus. On the plane to Copenhagen, which was delayed for 2.5 hours, I got talking to the American guy beside me and by the time I’d landed I knew his fiance’s name, how he proposed, their upcoming wedding date, where he worked in Chicago and his favourite film. Not to mention his political views and where he stood on religion.
For the most part I wouldn’t change a thing – I’d much rather be approachable than not. I’m giggling as I think about the handful of friends I have that would seriously disagree with me.
Anyway, I was going to write about my favourite witch films today but have decided to bump that post in favour of this one because I’m kind of buzzing about a conversation I had with the woman in the Co-op last week, and this morning.
Before I start, I should write a disclaimer to say that the Co-op seems to be the scene of a lot of these scenarios for me. Years ago I befriended a guy behind the counter who used to give me leftover flowers most mornings and then went off to have a tummy tuck. My friend Darren found it hilarious how much information I would be bombarded with while handing over money for my cheese & pickle sandwiches. And all while the queue backed up behind me considerably.
Now it’s a woman in town who’s a little bit younger than me. On Friday she was all over the place so I asked her if she was okay. She revealed that she was in a 17 year relationship that had gone off the boil and was now messaging someone else. While I didn’t ask, she was pretty willing to go in on the fact that her long-term boyfriend was taking her for granted and the new one was exciting and super-attentive (they always are at this stage, babe). I had to tell her I’d been there in the same situation because I have – and that she should seriously try to do what’s right for herself.
Well! This morning she greeted me with the biggest smile and told me she’d ended it over the weekend. Nothing about the new guy because it isn’t even about him. It’s about her. She said she was walking on air and that it went so much better than she’d anticipated. Now she has the rest of her life to look forward to – and won’t be turning 40 in a horrible relationship. And man, I FELT HER. I felt it all.
I have been there and I remember the absolute high of finally being free, the greatest feeling of all time. The fear, the anticipation, the realisation that all future decisions were my own, that I had a choice – and that I could change everything if I wanted to. She’s going to feel up and down for a while but over all, she’s going to feel on top of the goddamn world and it makes me so happy for her. You go for it, girl, enjoy every minute!
So people tell me things and I love it but I particularly love it when it’s a good story and one I can personally cheer for. She’s so nice this lady that I imagine we could be friends in IRL. And as for all the other secrets well they stay here with me, not to be blogged about. Ever.
“That’s why her hair is so big, it’s full of secrets.” ~ Damian, Mean Girls
Excuse the serious post prefacing all the fun Halloween fodder but I wanted to put this together following a conversation I had this morning with my husband.
He was telling me about a woman who went to prison for murdering her husband with a hammer. She’d been driven to breaking point by his behaviour and maybe then this behaviour didn’t have a name. It does now, a word bandied around a lot in the media at the moment: gaslighting.
It’s taken me a while to get my head around the definition of this word and now I have, it’s brought up a lot. In relation to the news story, a change in law to recognise gaslighting as a legit form of abuse has affected the sentence this poor woman has been serving. Turns out this man had been manipulating her and making her think she was crazy from the start. I hope they release her because she could so easily be me.
Just in case you’re not aware, a definition:
Gaslighting is the systematic attempt by one person to erode another person’s reality, by telling them that what they are experiencing isn’t so – and, the gradual giving up on the part of the other person. ~ Dr. Robin Stern, author of The Gaslight Effect
For me that statement rings so familiar, in particular the latter point. My greatest shame in life is how far down I fell as a result of a very bad relationship. Rock bottom. I woke up eventually on the ground, looking upwards thankfully but it would have been such a relief and so easy just to take that final step and just let go.
Of course my experience is in no way as extreme as the woman in this story but that’s the point. Control and manipulation can be so insidious, so commonplace within a relationship that you don’t even recognise it. It’s like a slow gas leak, pumping poison into your self-worth.
The man I lived with cheated but told me I was paranoid when I found nude photos on his phone. He’d emotionally blackmail me into doing things sexually that I definitely wasn’t comfortable with (pictures, public places). When we went to Barcelona he managed to get me to go topless on the beach by going on and on until I felt I had no choice (I cried secretly because I felt so bad about my body then and he knew it).
Often he’d remind me I was very lucky he didn’t hit women – that I needed psychiatric help, and my own mother agreed with him (my mother despised him and would never have entertained a conversation alone with him, yet still I believed him). He’d project every single one of his insecurities and fears onto me and that’s the crock – I believed him. I questioned myself. I lost the will to live and I stopped fighting.
What’s more I believed that I loved him, that no relationship was worthwhile if it wasn’t difficult. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and the thought of him now sickens me to the core. Much as I wish it wasn’t true I still bear the light scars of that relationship – but more than that: I still have work to do on forgiving myself.
I feel like a different person now and my strength probably comes from this experience but I’m glad there’s a term for it now. Or at least that I understand it. I don’t share this to be all woe is me. Many (too many) women will see themselves in these stories but we need to talk about our experiences when we can, to ensure that none of us feel alone in the things we’ve survived.
So when snobs get all high and mighty about a show like Love Island I tell them to shush because at least it’s educating the next generation on what to look out for. Maybe I’d have got out sooner or not gone in at all, if I’d know more about it then.
I had a One That Got Away for years. In my more retrospective moments, I would think about what had happened to him, and what life would have been like if we had acted on our desires and gotten it on (We both had partners, alas. Mine was a raging fuck head).
Luckily for me, fate decided to throw me a bone and we found each other again (thank you Facebook). Now I spend my days with the One Who Came Back and I couldn’t be happier. I think what I’m trying to get at is, sometimes love and happiness has everything to do with timing, and had we got together back then, I doubt we would have what we have now, which is Heaven in two and a half rooms (thank you Chicago).
This film is about love and loss and closure and second chances and very bad rapping onto cassettes. It’s not film noir, nor is it a Christmas movie. It is hopeful and sentimental though, with a leading lady you can’t take your eyes off, so I think this pick more than holds up the ideals of this month’s theme.
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past.
Jim (Duplass) and Amanda (Paulson) were childhood sweethearts. As with many relationships of this ilk (I never had one), the couple eventually grew up, grew apart and moved on with their lives separately. A chance meeting in a supermarket in their hometown, however, brings the former lovers back together and churns up all sorts of historic emotion.
Amanda, it seems, has it all together. She’s happily married now with two step sons and an idyllic life. Jim, not so much. He’s having a hard time as he explains to Amanda, once the initial awkwardness of their meeting has subsided. He’s just lost his mum and is between jobs and places. He’s considering moving back to their tiny Californian hometown, maybe moving into his Mum’s house once he’s renovated it.
The two stop for coffee, which leads to a mini-walk down memory lane. Which leads to something much deeper – a wistful look back at the memorabilia of their old life together. At songs they loved, long discarded love letters and recorded tapes containing all their desires and dreams, a hint at what could have been and what they let go of.
When Amanda opens up about her own woes and reveals her doubts about life, it evens the playing field a little, though who’s keeping count? The question here seems to be: Are the wounds of this lost love deeper than they (and we) originally thought? Can Jim and Amanda simply go back to their lives now or is there more to be said between them?
This might be the shortest review I’ve ever posted in the Collab series but that’s because I’m being respectful of the movie. I want you to watch it.
To say this is an action packed thrill-fest would be a blatant untruth. It’s beautiful looking and very much a ‘talking’ movie with nuanced performances from two of the most current and talented actors around.
Duplass is the King of Mumblecore let us not forget and wasn’t about to crack open anything out of the ordinary for this tale. That’s not a criticism, this is Duplass at his best. The dialogue is intimate and sweet, both characters are lovely. I can’t tell you how you’ll feel about them but I flip-flopped between wanting closure for them and wanting them (Amanda) to risk it all to get back together.
What does become apparent as the film progresses is that the grown up life the lovers pictured for themselves (as teenagers they loved to pretend to be old marrieds with kids in college) became too real, too quickly and neither were ready.
Love is hard, isn’t it? It’s difficult to still love somebody but know you have to walk away. Is there ever a good enough reason to give up on the one you’re in love with? I used to think the answer was no, but sometimes you have to put other things ahead of that, even yourself.
Sometimes you make mistakes, or the wrong decision. Sometimes you say things that can never be taken back, or fail to act in the only moment that matters.
Is it too late? In the end I feel like we’re left to make up our own minds about what happens next and I still don’t know what’s best for them. I just know what I want.
Ps. The last thing I saw Duplass in was Creep (for the second time), and I thought I might never be able to watch him in anything ever again. I was wrong, he’s adorable.
My Rating: 4.5/5. Dreamy. Sad though and it might make you think about past relationships (this is not a problem for me as I haven’t got any really great ones to ruminate upon, just car crashes). It will most likely also make you really want to be best friends with the smiliest woman on the planet, Ms Paulson. Seriously, she’s perfect.
What did Wifey think? Did she think it was as whack as Amanda’s white girl rhymes, or as lustrous as Jim’s beard? Find out here. ❤
I wasn’t planning on reviewing this film but then Lightle said she’d like to see me do it and I thought I might as well. (If she asked me to jump off a cliff, would I…? Perhaps.)
Forgive me for this probably rather fragmented post as I try to remember the subtle nuances of the storyline, performances and the head scratching final scene. I usually try to review right after I’ve seen a film while it’s fresh in my mind but it’s now been several weeks.
*If you haven’t seen this film and don’t want spoilers, I would skip this tbh. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.*
Also, there were bits I don’t think I understood so if you have any comments such as “Are you straight tripping’, Gurl? It obviously meant this…” then I am open to your thoughts and interpretations. We’re all about sharing and caring round these parts.
IMDB Synopsis:In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
The City has pretty tough rules about being single. If you are, even if you’re divorced or widowed, you’re required to go and stay at The Hotel, where you have 45 days to find a partner or you’ll be turned into an animal. (Harsh).
It’s not all bad though, I mean you get to choose your animal. I’d be a big cat or a wolf but when choosing it is advised that you’re careful not to aim for something that makes easy prey. Colin Farrell’s David wisely chooses the lobster, hence the title of this film.
David has just arrived at The Hotel after his wife leaves him. He is accompanied by his brother Bob, who is now a dog. Bob and David don’t talk much which actually bothered me a lot. (Timothy, if you were turn into an animal and I was your sole carer, I would talk to you all the time).
The Hotel has a string of rules including no masturbation (sexual stimulation without climax is mandatory and performed by a disinterested maid (Ariane Labed)).
All visitors must wear the uniforms provided (all men in identical suits/women in identical floral dresses) and they must also hunt ‘The Loners’ (who are escapees from The Hotel) if they want to extend their stays. For each captured escapee, a visitor earns an extra day.
David adapts quickly and makes two new friends, Man with Lisp (Reilly) and Limping Man (Whishaw). Man with Lisp gets caught wanking in his room and is publically punished by having his hand burnt in a toaster. (We’ve all been there, amirite?!)
During the days at The Hotel, the Hotel Manager (Colman) and her staff hold workshops about how much better everything is as a couple (no chance of rape, less chance of choking to death on your supper).
Limping Man fakes nosebleeds (by smashing his face on hard surfaces) when he meets Nosebleed Girl (Jessica Barden) and they get together. There’s a big thing running throughout the story about like attracting like, and this comes back tenfold in the ending so take note!
New couples btw are sent off to spend a trial month together so Limping Man goes off with his new beau. The Hotel tell them they can arrange a child for the couple if there is any sign of strain between them during this trial period. Limping Man and his partner are given a daughter.
Meanwhile, Biscuit Woman (Jensen) flirts with David quite blatantly but he’s not game. She gives him some butter biscuits to give to Bob the Dog and then she tells David that rather than be changed into an animal if she fails to find a partner, she will kill herself by jumping off the hotel.
David gets tired and decides to choose a partner strategically, so set his sights on Heartless Woman (Angeliki Papoulia). She is exactly as she is described and who can fucking blame her, I’d be numb to all this bullshit too.
While Heartless is sitting outside in the grounds, Biscuit Woman throws herself from one of the balconies but doesn’t die right away. She lies there screaming like a wounded animal and Heartless doesn’t react at all.
David tries to talk to her but their conversation is drowned out by Biscuit’s wailing. Later in the Jacuzzi, Heartless and David are talking and she begins to choke on an olive. David fails to react and as she recovers herself, Heartless tells him that they are well suited. They begin their trial life together.
I won’t spoil this particularly dark and horrible segment of the film but let’s just say building a life on a lie never works out.
David escapes The Hotel and joins The Loners. They too live by stringent rules, one of which is that romance is forbidden and punishable by varying degrees of mutilation. Pity then that David falls in love with Short Sighted Woman (Wiesz) (he is also short sighted) and they begin a secret relationship. All their communication is done via a super secret sign language code.
Despite the secrecy, the lovers are able to pretend to be together during short covert missions into The City which they enjoy immensely. Unfortunately, they take it one step too far (awks) and attract the suspicion of the Loner Leader (Seydoux). (She’s well mean).
The Loners bust into The Hotel and fuck shit up psychologically for some of the couples, including Nosebleed Girl and Limping Man, by telling her he’s been faking his nosebleeds all this time. They also mess with the Hotel Manager and her husband.
I think they just want to bring the whole house of cards down by planting doubt in the couples’ minds and I’m here for it because they’re all unpleasantly smug.
The Loner Leader then finds a journal written by Short Sighted Woman outlining a plan to escape with David. Again, I don’t want to spoil the ending because it is very much open to interpretation but let’s just say the Loner Leader alters Short Sighted Woman’s life forever and in turn places David at the foot of the biggest dilemma of his life.
What the fuck, man?
Will David make the ultimate sacrifice for the woman he loves? What will become of the couple? Why is it so important that everybody pairs off with their exact personality twin? Has nobody heard of opposites attract?
Why is everything so bleak? What animal would you be?
And more importantly, why don’t people just move to a different city? (Lol)
I actually like this film a whole lot more now I’ve thought about it again. It also makes way more sense the further away from it I am.
Whilst viewing it feels quite depressing and can be a little slow. Stylistically it sets a unique tone. The performances are wonderfully dead pan and I love the dynamic between the new friends.
The little scenes where the Hotel guests talk about themselves to the group is sweet and sad (we learn how Limping Man got his limp and it’s heart-wrenching). I also enjoy very much the mystery surrounding the room in which the ‘animal surgery’ takes place. It’s shrouded in intrigue and rumours abound about what exactly goes on in there but we never find out.
Incidentally, I don’t think I mentioned but most of the animals are sent off into the woods so during the scenes with The Loners, you’ll occasionally spy an exotic creature in the background. It’s subtle elements like this that give the film a dreamy fairy-tale quality and also make it very funny. Dark humour is the best and this makes very sharp observations about people and relationships.
The premise is totally bonkers but also cuts very close to the bone. Society on the whole does seem to reward couples while singletons are ripe for the picking, though the film’s take on the complexities of attraction and compatibility mean that even those who’ve paired off don’t get off scot-free.
It feels very much like two separate films which is great as through David we get a glimpse of both sides of the coin; single and paired up. Neither are plain-sailing and are peppered with hardship. (Tell me about it).
The final scene, which I will not share, will drive you mad but please you immensely if you prefer an ambiguous ending.
My Rating: 4/5. We need more films like this. For realz.
Have you seen this movie? Do you have anything to add? Have I missed anything? Let me know what you thought!
I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I may have mentioned it before.
In fact, I’ve spent a fair amount of this week whinging about how much I hate the commercialism, the pressure and the girl in the street who can’t even carry the huge bunch of red roses her boyfriend got her.
Evidence yet again that I’ve let Valentine’s get to me and I don’t know why I let it. I mean firstly, isn’t a whole day dedicated to sweet loving my very life blood? I freaking love LOVE, man.
And I am still in love, after all these years. Yet neither of us are VD celebrators (again, the holiday not the STD) so when I drop hints about things I don’t need or even want (flowers/jewellery/a basket full of kittens in pink neckties), my S.O. rightly ignores me.
He knows I’m being irrational, manipulated by a fat flying baby and we don’t have the money for big gifts anyway. Even if we did, wouldn’t we both prefer food? I’m happy and content as I am, Saint Fucking Valenpants, so back the hell off.
That said, I had a mini-huff a few evenings ago over our complete lack of romantic plans this weekend – only to be met a moment later with a new email notification. Ticket confirmation for Deadpool on Sunday. For 2, premier seats.
Burgers for lunch, gelato afterwards.
Proof romance is not dead, not even sleeping. Proof that love still has a pulse and doesn’t need its own day in the sun (but sometimes that can be nice, I guess). Valentine’s always does one thing I can’t deny: it serves to make me think about love in all its forms.
Big, flashy and completely O.T.T. versus Everyday loving.
Neither is the right way and they’re not mutually exclusive, obvs – you can chose any kind whenever you like. But I like the kind that sends the love of my life into town on a Saturday to pick up a package because he knows I hate crowds. When it’s raining.
The kind that delivers a cup of tea every now and again without asking. My favourite is the kind that orders Deadpool tickets and helps me sneak Burger King into the theatre too.
I’m going to stop being so down on the whole thing from now on because it’s not so bad. If I don’t like it, I can buy my own chocolates and jewellery.
Plus, Valentine’s spawned Woman Appreciation Day, AKA Galentine’s and that’s just the best. My princess Tatty bought me flowers and candy to cheer me up, and I sent cards to my local babes (and mum). Not going to lie that it feels good to spread love (and one day I might organise myself to go internationally).
Let’s face it, our girls are the important ones really. They’re the ones who listen to us moan 24/7, talk to us about contouring and help us sort ourselves out when we’re having yet another crisis of confidence.
Love is a broad thing, man. And this post is practically Belgian, so full of waffle it is.
What are your Valentine’s plans? Do you celebrate, do you hate it like I do or do you have your own cool tradition? ❤
Confession: I’d already seen this film a few weeks before Jillian picked it for our collaboration. Confession #2: I didn’t really get it the first time around. So I was quite pleased to get a second chance at it because it’s a very interesting look at modern relationships (with a sci-fi seasoning).
I’m really going to try not to bang on too much as I do recommend you watch this movie. My mum recently revealed that she’s been reading my reviews and sometimes I spoil plot lines for her by being revealing too much. So I will try to hold back a bit.
IMDB Synopsis: Struggling with a marriage on the brink of falling apart, a couple escapes for a weekend in pursuit of their better selves, only to discover an unusual dilemma that awaits them.
I keep wondering how to review this without giving too much away and also, how will I do its complex plot proper justice? However, now I’ve viewed it for a second time, I think I’ve got this. Here’s the set up:
Ethan and Sophie are in couples therapy, opening up their relationship woes to a silvery Ted Danson. Their problems seems to revolve around something Ethan did and although it is referred to as “What I did”, it is not made clear at this point. We can all sort of imagine. It’s worse than him leaving his crusty socks on the kitchen floor, put it that way (GLYNN).
The couple are trying to fan the flames of a love that took just half an hour to ignite the night they met. It’s not really working, which is weird, you’d think plinkety-plinking at the same time on a piano would fix them right up. Ted recommends that they visit a retreat he knows of, just the two of them. It comes with rave reviews, all the couples who have previously visited have come back “renewed”.
So off they pop.
On the first night in their new idyllic setting, Ethan and Soph enjoyed a languorous meal with wine and pot. Things are good. Sophie tells Ethan he looks hot without glasses (he looks hot every which way, girl, you nuts?). After dinner, while Ethan clears up, Soph explores the grounds and happens upon the guest house Ethan had previously told her about. She has a little poke about and plays with some Russian dolls.
Ethan comes to find her and they do it, after making a pact to try new things. Ethan persuades Sophie to stay in there overnight so she pops back to the main hour to get some pajamas. Back there, she wonders how Ethan got back home so quickly, as he’s napping on the couch when she gets there. She assumes he’s winding her up but gets pissed off when he ‘pretends’ to forget they had sex, minutes earlier. She does what any self-respecting wife would do and stomps off to bed.
Confuddled, Ethan wanders off to the guest house and goes to sleep on the sofa. Soon Sophie joins him and they fall asleep together, amidst mutual apologies. In the morning, Sophie is cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and seems brighter.
Ethan, however, gets even more confused that she seems to be totally over their argument the previous night. She thinks they should put it down to a wild night and forget about it. She’s also cooking bacon, which makes him suspicious, as it’s something she doesn’t like him eating.
It’s here that we start to work out what’s happening, though I have to say, if G started acting weird my immediate thought wouldn’t necessarily be PARALLEL UNIVERSE or COSMIC ABERRATION, but that’s me. Perhaps I’m not complex enough. Still, Ethan returns to the house where Sophie is and drags her to the guest cottage, telling her to go inside. Sophie is starting to get pissed off and scared, but she enters to find Ethan working out in the living room. This backs up his theory that there’s some “Twilight Zone shit” going down. The Ethan she’s just seen you see, can’t possibly be the same Ethan as he’s like, fitter and doesn’t wear glasses, you know?
The couple freak the fuck out, pack up and blow that popsicle stand as quickly as their legs can carry them. At the local diner, the couple discuss what this could all mean and whether they should just never talk about it again (I’m a great fan of this particular method of dealing). Yet, they can’t stop thinking about it and curiosity gets the better of them so they agree to return.
Ethan isn’t cool with the fact that Sophie has boffed another man, even though that man is technically another version of him (or is he?). So they come up with a plan that goes a little something like this: alternating shifts of approx. 15 minutes at a time with the ‘other’ partner, no intimacy, no sex – only honesty. Sophie pretty much breaks the intimacy rule within 45 seconds, accepting a massage from Ethan Mark II (who can blame her?).
This is where I back off a little. You get from the lead in that the guest cottage hosts a pair of Ethan/Sophie doppelgängers. The pair take their turns in the cottage, while Sophie seems more into the experience than Ethan. Eventually, somehow, Mark II Sophie and Ethan meet the originals and then things get confusing.
Who is real, what’s it all about and why did Ted Danson send them there? Basically, it’s all his fault and he’s nowhere to be found. TYPICAL.
To the multiple question portion of this review. What’s going to happen when it comes time for Sophie and Ethan to leave the retreat? Is Sophie still in love with Ethan or has she got stronger feelings for the 2.0 version? Can’t she just muss up original Ethan’s hair and remove his glasses, or are the issues deeper than that? Have I got the ingredients in my flat to make my own Mimosa (answer: OBVIOUSLY NOT)?
The ending is great and a very interesting view on relationships on the whole and what people want from a life partner. I think I would even go so far as to say that it will remain with you long after Netflix has booted you off.
If you’re down for something fresh and more cerebral than your average rom-com, then this could be the one for you.
I really liked it. I did have to go onto the internet to work out a few things but I think I’m comfortable with my view on what it all means. This is a film that doesn’t partonisingly lay it all out for you and once the credits have finished rolling it’s down to you to decide how you feel.
I didn’t feel disappointed with the ending and I liked how it left me slapping my forehead and saying “Wow” to myself. This wow took on the gradual shape of a “Woah” and then I had to make a cup of tea to process the rest. Which I would say is a pretty successful climax.
I also love the cast, of whom there are only really two, the couple themselves. However, Mr Danson takes on a sinister character via his elusiveness and you are left wondering what his involvement is really all about. Why does he facilitate this cray set up?
Elizabeth Moss is pretty damn adorable, isn’t she? I’ve seen her in little but I understand that she’s the beating heart of Mad Men (a show I am desperate to see but haven’t yet). She’s a fantastic actress and I really felt for her, particularly when discussing the very hurtful reasoning behind ‘What Ethan did’.
As for Mark Duplass, well he’s a dream. I’ve a real soft spot for his work both in front of and behind the camera on films such as Humpday (2009), Your Sister’s Sister (2011) and Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011). In fact, he’s pretty big shit all round the mumblecore scene. He’s great here as both versions of Ethan, one cautious and guilty, the other ‘beachy’ and open to new experiences. He makes you hope for a happy ending for the original couple, and also creeps you out when you learn the objective of Mark II.
So, I was very glad to see this a second time; to really concentrate and grasp it this time. I would highly recommend this trippy love story to anyone. Even G enjoyed it and that’s saying something since it’s got love and romance in it.
4.5/5 (aka. Pretty bloody good)
I also threatened last week to start looking at pod casting. I’m obviously not very good at all (yet) but I thought I’d give it a go for this review (my official introduction will come in a few days). I sing in this ‘companion cast’, sorry about that. I also forget to talk about why I liked the film, so that’s helpful. Next time I’ll write a list of things to talk about, like a teenage girl talking to the boy she likes on the phone.
Also, please excuse the siren going off in the background, it wasn’t for me.
What does my lovely film reviewing partner Jillian make of The One I Love? Find out here.
Back in the early noughties, back when I was still fresh, single and somewhat naive, my friends and I found a delightful source of entertainment called Love@Lycos.
It was the sister site of Lycos.co.uk the search engine and was solely designed for dating, hooking up and lurve.
Set up so you had your own page (sort of like Facebook looked when it first began), you had a visible bio, pictures if you were feeling brave and you could chat to your heart’s content, either privately or publicly (as I recall). Nothing that innovative thinking back but it was user friendly and like, the funnest thing ever!
Now, dating apps are ten a penny and people meet people everyday with no qualms at all. Which is great. But then, to us at least, this new gateway through which we could fearlessly talk to boys (or in my OBFF‘s case, chicks), was wondrous and exciting – we were obsessed.
The three of us, OBFF, B and I would all go to work as normal, Love@Lycos chat all day on the sly, then reconvene in the evenings to compare notes.
During this period in time I wasn’t all that experienced, had had just the one ‘boyfriend’ and a small series of silly liaisons. In fact, I recall (and this may make another full Stories post) having just been dumped by text when we moved to Brighton from our hometown. Text!
So I was snogging boys like crazy, from work and the like, but was definitely looking for love by now (hey, I’ve always been a romantic). Hence pinning my secret hope on the love part of Love@Lycos.
Alas it was not meant to be. I don’t remember any of the boys I talked to now except one, and only because he takes his place on my Map of Life as the Only Boy I Have Ever Met From The Internet/First & Last Blind Date. Which is pretty significant, I feel.
NB: I am using the term ‘boy’ and ‘boys’ throughout this post because that’s what they were then. And I definitely didn’t feel like a woman yet either.
Looking back I can’t believe I was so brave when it comes to meeting RunsWithScissors. He just seemed to be attuned to my sense of humour and seemed to like WondyWoman as much as she liked him (Wondy was my alias).
He ran a website that seemed sarcastic and bright, lived in London and was willing to come to Brighton for the day, I believe he had a sister here. So all systems were go after a few months of back and forth.
Our chatter was not sexual or particularly flirty (that I remember), so perhaps this is where the balls came from to go and meet him IRL. I don’t know.
All I know is that, one Saturday night, I somehow made it to Palace Pier by way of the corner shop, where I stopped to buy a tiny mini-bar sized bottle of Cointreau. As the sickly cough medicine kick of the orange liquid hit the back of my throat, I started to calm down. And with every step I felt better.
When I saw him, I was delighted. I can’t say how he felt when I rocked up, but he didn’t run away or stand me up so it felt positive enough. There was no attraction at all on either side though.
I should point out here that we hadn’t seen each other’s real photographs. This was a blind meet. Almost unheard of now!
He was very good-looking. Dark, piercing blue eyes with great chiseled bone structure. He was also charming and funny and exactly what it had said on the tin.
We spent all night laughing in the Hop Poles and then he came back to mine. When it came time for bed, I leaned in close and whispered minxily: “You can have my bed if you like, I’ll sleep on the sofa…”
And he let me! In the morning, we woke up early, had a cup of tea and then I drove him to his sister’s house.
No kiss, no romance, just a good fun night.
We stayed in touch for a little while longer, but like lots of things around this time, it fizzled out. I’m sure he did, and I hope he has had a lovely life as he was a lovely guy.
What I learned: This may have come around the same time I started to realise you could have male friends that you didn’t kiss. Sounds stupid now, but I used to look at every boy I saw as a potential love interest and that didn’t always make for a good time for either party.
Meeting and getting on well with, but not shagging/snogging the arse off every male I met (or imagining it, more likely) was a new and fruitful discovery. As soon as I got my head around this phenomenon, my life got infinitely better and easier.
So it was a good lesson and a good experience. I haven’t met anybody else off the internet since, except my husband, but I don’t count that as we had already met in the flesh. The Internet facilitated our long distance relationship, but it was not born of it.
I’m all for internet dating. It looks so fun and I love hearing stories about it. My friend recently signed up to Tinder and although, like most things, there is obviously a dark side to it, she finds it hilarious.
Do you have internet dating experience? What are your thoughts?
Today’s task: create a recurring blogging event on your site, and/or make plans to attend a conference. Via Blogging 201: Make the Most of Events (27th October 2014)
I have thought long and hard about the things I like to write about and how I can best turn them into a regular blog feature. What keeps coming up are relationships and the stories that have stemmed from them.
Since this is an organic process, it may evolve into something completely different, but I’ll kick off today with a tale from my dating past. I intend to see if I can get guest bloggers in to share their experiences and their own adventures. I would also like this to become a regular thing, I’ll be aiming for once a fortnight.
So which of the stories from my car crash past shall I start with?
I was 20 when I left home for the first time.
I stayed on a little extra at college to finish a secretarial course and an A Level in Film then decided the last thing I wanted was to continue my education in the classroom. Hardly the academic, I was done with awkward social encounters and eating my lunch in the back café where only the weirdos went. So I allowed myself to be talked into going travelling instead, with a friend I never really liked.
She was the kind of person who would say things like “Aw bless you, you do try” and make you feel like shit. But back then I just felt lucky to have someone willing to do something exotic with me so overlooked most of her heinous personality defects. Anyway, we saved for what felt like years for our trip to Australia and then suddenly we were on our way, 24 hours on a plane and a million light years from home (actually 10,552).
It didn’t take us long to settle in. Full of adventure, we spend good cash on a vintage Toyota Corolla to nip around in. Puke green and years past its sell-by date it ran like a dream. We were free to pursue any avenue we pleased and what pleased us then were boys.
I was on the path to vascular destruction and I didn’t even know it yet. It happened one night, in a pub in the sticks. A cross between the Mos Eisley Cantina and The Slaughtered Lamb, this wasn’t a pub for two bumbling teenagers but still it was where we found ourselves.
Sharon, my obnoxious travelling companion was designated driver and had already zoomed in on some company for the night but I was a shy girl. Spurning the advances of an enthusiastic and burly youth who promised to show me the back of his Ute, I was about to give up until I saw Him. Mine.
All I really remember about that first night was the rain. We’d arrived slap bang in the middle of Monsoon season and NSW was awash.
I had never seen anyone so beautiful. He told me I looked like Ginger Spice (it was the late 90’s) and when we retreated to the Corolla in the car park and he asked if he could kiss me, I let him.
What followed was the most confusing, heart wrenching, shameful, awakening year of my life.
It’s hard to describe how easily I went from being a barely kissed (but not longer virginal) teenager to a woman obsessed with a pretty but not very nice boy. After the romance of our first meeting, I fell hard and I guess my English accent made me just intriguing enough to keep around.
It didn’t encourage him to keep his dick in his pants though and many a night ended in (my) tears because he’d stayed out with someone else. One night he brought home another woman while I was there. In his bed.
This was my first experience of love and frankly, it wasn’t great. But I finally felt alive and thrived on the pain. This Small Town Girl was crazy in love and what did it matter if it felt bad 85% of the time? This was real.
Luckily, I have grown out of the notion that love and pain go hand in hand. For decades I believed that you had to work relentlessly to make all relationships work. I was wrong.
I sometimes count The Australian as my first love but of course I didn’t really find out what that was until much later on. This was my first experience of heartbreak though. If only I had a pound (or Australian dollar) for every tear I shed that year.
I found him on Facebook not long ago and the optimist in me hoped for a paunch, a bald head or no teeth; some light retribution for all the wrongdoing.
Sadly, I can confirm that time has been kind and he’s still flawless.
So that’s the tale of my first heartbreak. I have more stories, and love each and every one. They lead me here afterall.
What do you think of this feature? Could it work do you think? And would you like to contribute?
If you would like to tell us a tale, on anything from relationships to travels, email me: email@example.com.
* A regular blog feature in which I tell stories, sometimes about relationships.
Honestly, this is a hard note to write given that I know how sensitive you are. You’re still sensitive by the way and you cry a lot; happy, sad, angry (especially angry), you have excellently functioning tear ducts. Well done.
Where to start on this very important document though? First of all, let’s get the obvious one out the way: you aren’t even that fat. Over the next two decades, you will wonder what the hell you were even worried about. Right now, aged sixteen, you look pretty great.
When you get to my age you will have more confidence with less to be confident about. Which, when you consider it, is almost as good as having a flat stomach. When you get here you’ll understand.
I realise as I type away at this, that at my core I’m not that different to you. A little bit less insecure yes but still prone to moments of crippling self-doubt. And I still haven’t the first idea what the f**k I’m going to do with my life.
The only difference now is that I know that’s okay. That living a full and happy life is as important as setting the world on fire, although there is still time. There really is still time.
Keep writing though. Write often, write honestly – basically don’t just talk about it willy nilly; do it, okay?
36 year old you is still as hopeful as you are; still deeply faithful to the theory that everything is going to be okay in the end. Still a romantic twat, even after three years of marriage and over six tripping on shoes left in the kitchen (in front of the sink!). Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah… you get married.
I’ll give you a moment to process that. In fact, let’s just talk boys for a second.
Boys are great, as are the men they grow into. They are fun and funny and you’re not sure about them now but you will find this out for yourself. Some of your favourite friends will be and are, boys. At the moment, you are probably doing one of two things as you read this, or both: a) turning up your nose snottily as if to say ‘ew’ and b) thinking about boys again, for you think of them often.
In fact, it’s impossible for you to talk to one without forming a crush and then fantasising about them, like, all the time. You aren’t even particularly sexual by now so those daydreams are pretty tame.
I can’t remember if you’ve even seen a penis yet, let alone touched one. I think you might still be petrified of the idea of them (they’re not that bad).
You should be experimenting by the way, so I’m not going to lecture you on that. Enjoy the ride, for god’s sake. Actually, I’m not going to talk you out of doing any of the things you will do, except maybe one big one. The choices you make will make you into me. Plus, you’ll have stories for later. My friend told me I have the best dating stories the other night, and it made me proud.
So, carry on. Do everything exactly as you choose.
Do me one favour though. When, aged 24, you get your heart obliterated by a bad man (worth it) and you hit rock bottom with a thud, DO NOT accept the offer of dinner with the first person who asks you. This will not be a good scene and it will last six long years that you will never get back. Trust me on that. (You don’t even get dinner).
Although, didn’t I just say all these things will turn you into me? Maybe scrub the above paragraph. But take less shit and remember, when he says you need help, that you are crazy; he’s projecting.
So yeah. You’re a wife and it’s awesome and not at all as you would imagine. You’re not a mother. I don’t think you have any desire to be but just so you know, I’ve decided not to do that. You have a step son though, he’s nine.
You fancy your husband a lot and you like beards now.
There it is, kid. A recap, if you will: write lots, experiment a lot, penises are actually pretty okay, collect stories for later use and don’t let shitty relationships keep you down for long. Oh yeah, and travel, as much as you can afford to and as often as you can. You’re going to love Thailand.
You’re going to be okay, you know?
Ps. Your friends trick you into wearing shorts to school round about now. Don’t fall for it, it rains that day and they all bail on you.