Tagged: dating

Aug 19

How to be a lady in an unchivalrous age

It’s a common misconception that, in order to be a lady, you have to be posh. If you speak poshly, people will tend to assume that you are a lady, but accent doth not necessarily a lady make.  No, being a lady is something to which all women may aspire, regardless of background, class, schooling, and whether or not they attended an all-girls Catholic boarding school.  Just follow these simple steps to help guide you, in a ladylike fashion, through the world of dating’s unchivalrous waters.

Step One: Expressing One’s Opinions

Though being ladylike perhaps suggests a certain girlishness, this is unfounded and untrue. Being a lady is not the same thing as being a nitwit. Ladies have opinions, and plenty of them. They are proud of their opinions – varied, interesting, and likely to be vastly superior to all those around her.  What differentiates a lady from her common counterpart is the way in which she expresses them.

Ladies are assertive.  They are not aggressive and, this is of utmost important, ladies do not swear, nor do they replace rude words with silly euphemisms like fiddle-de-dee. No, though she may feel the urge to utter profanities rising inside her, she channels it into cutting remarks. With a vast array of topics to choose from, there is no need to resort to swear words. Ladies may cast aspersions on all manner of displeasing charactertistics and habits in a man: professional capabilities, sexual prowess, choice of alcoholic beverages, friends, spontaneous loss of sight and hearing at the mere mention of any remotely related to domestics. To save yourself from the temptation to roar expletives which will most likely have no effect whatsoever, compile your own list with put-downs for every little annoyance, no matter how minor it may seem, and keep it handy in your purse.

Nor do ladies shout. Unless you happen to have thrown all aspirations to ladylike behaviour out of the window, along with his belongings, in which case raising one’s voice is unavoidable, one must remember that it is the quality of one’s words and not the volume at which they are spoken that conveys one’s meaning.

Step Two: Style

Contrary to what you may think, if you happen to think it, being ladylike does not mean one is restricted in one’s choice of wardrobe.  It is not necessary to limit oneself to skirts below the knee and blouses that reveal nothing more than a mere hint of one’s decolletage.  The crucial element that every lady must remember is poise.  It is not about what you wear, but about how you wear it.  As a general rule, underwear is preferable, but if you can carry off the risk of exposing your lady bits in a dress slit up to here and down to there, with your posture perfect (a lady never slouches) and your head held high, you will give the impression of self-assurance, a trait indispensable to a lady.  Whether you feel it or not, people will sense a certain superiority about you, whether you are in a state of lusty déshabillée or divine in couture.

Step Three: Indulgence

The lady of yore never indulged more than a a nibble of a biscuit and sip of weak, milky tea with the vicar.  Today’s lady must keep up with the times and, though tea with the vicar may be the highlight of the season, nibbles and sips need not be the extent of her indulgence.  It is one’s manners when indulging, not what one indulges in, that are of importance.  It isn’t necessary to learn which fork is for the amuse-bouche and which spoon for the sorbet.  Unless you have a particular penchant for silverware, it merely takes up space in your head you could be filling with slightly more diverting matters.  All you need do, should you find yourself at table with, say, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, is to glance quickly at the other guests and follow their lead.  Be entirely surreptitious or make it look as though you are taking an interest in each member of the party – perhaps use it as an opportunity to introduce yourself to the strapping Lord beside you.  One never knows where such introductions may lead.

Strictly speaking, a lady is never seen to over-indulge, but it might make for a boring time if one adhered strictly to this requirement.  Fortunately, there are ways to preserve one’s ladylike appearance whilst drifting along in a haze of bombay schmint.  Being a lady is based, largely, on projection (of one’s image – crucially, not of one’s stomach contents), so should you wish to indulge till your eyes roll back in your head, you may do so on one proviso: you must, at all times, maintain your poise.  Sip your drink from a teacup if you’d like to conceal it (gin tea parties are, handily, quite in vogue), keep your smile soft and your back straight – wedge yourself between cushions or brace yourself against the side of the taxi, if necessary and, whatever you do, don’t allow your smile to spread into one of those ghastly rictus gapes so common amongst the inebriated.  You will frighten children and make your companion think you’re more interested in biting than bedding him, notions you do not wish to encourage.  If you feel yourself gaping, take a deep breath, close your mouth and give a discrete smile.  Dazzle him with your eyes – not your epiglottis.

Step Four: Going Dutch

In a word, don’t.  This is not a calamitous plunging back into the dark days of pre-feminism.  Au contraire, it is a means by which both to assert your independence and judge the likely generosity of your companion.  Always pay either all of the bill or none of it.  By paying the entire bill, you are demonstrating both your financial independence and your pride.  You are a confident woman of means who does not expect to be patronised or resented for being a burden.  It will also give you a brief glimpse into the ego of your companion: if he regards a woman paying for dinner as an insult to his masculinity, manhood, ego, and entire sense of self, just think how incapable he will be of providing you with the male company you deserve.  The last thing a woman needs – be she a lady or not – is a man likely to mope and whine at the merest pinprick to his ego.  As for paying none of the bill, should your companion be so lacking in generosity that he refuses to pay both your share and his, imagine how he is likely to perform in other areas of his life.  Nobody likes a boring bonk.

Step Five: The Kiss Goodnight

This is a tricky area for a lady to navigate because it is so steeped in social mores that it may feel it is out of one’s control.  At this point, you must remember the assertiveness of a lady – not pushy or arrogant, but sure of her own mind and unafraid to heed its wishes.  Never mind what your companion, the body politic or your mother thinks.  The only concern you should have is for your own wishes.  If you have all the patience of a three-year-old at Christmas, then instead of a chaste kiss on the cheek, open the door and zip upstairs, hopefully with your chap in tow.  If, on the other hand, you believe as some Frenchman once remarked, that the best part of the affair is when one is walking up the stairs to one’s lover’s boudoir, an opinion entirely dependent on whom one is likely to find once one arrives, then wait a little while.  Perhaps not so long that, by the time he may make his stealthy way up the stairs, you’ve had to instal a stair-lift.

I do hope these steps are of help.  They’re guidelines only and need not be adhered to, to the letter.  Feel free to make your own additions. Just remember poise, poise, poise.





Jun 09

The painful process of finding a mate

‘Darling, there will be gorgeous men aplenty,’ he said.  ‘We’ve invited all the lovely men we’ve ever met just for you.  There’s one I think you’ll really love.  He’s a composer, bit older, said most of his compositions are ‘atonal’.  Don’t know what the fuck that means, but I think you can make the word ‘anal’ out of it which might be a good thing, you know, or something.  Come, darling, it’ll be fun and you know how much I love you. You have to stop wishing you were with that Texan.  (I did, many months ago, though the spectre of him striding, like Action Man, towards me still looms in my dreams.)  We know you don’t eat meat so David’s made a seafood curry.   See you at seven.’

I should make the effort.  I really should.  James loves me.  He really does.  And what source can you trust more as a good judge of a possible mate than the recommendation of your best friend.

I did look at dating sites (see previous post, ‘Want a date?  Keep your cleavage in shot and your pets out’ for some statistics on just how to make yourself irresistible or put people off entirely), but contrary to what the enormous advertising campaigns promised, there weren’t thousands of ‘hot men’ who, with just a moment’s electronic matchmaking would display themselves (sometimes a great deal too much of themselves) to me with perfect compatibility on every level of my being.

While I’m on the subject of the advertising campaigns, just quite what the dating companies think people are interested in, I’m not sure.  For about a week one ran a tv ad exhorting men to sign up to meet the thousands of ‘hot women’ just waiting to be wooed – too many, in fact, for the men already signed up to cope with.   The women pictured were cartoons dressed like they were en route to a fetish fancy dress party – dominatrixes; nurses in uniforms so miniscule that, yes, they might be the stuff that bed-bath dreams are made of; cheerleaders; and bespectacled, cane-wielding teachers.  Then for weeks and weeks they ran a similar campaign pleading with women to sign up and get their fill of, if the cartoons were to be believed, muscled, dog-owning doctors and the occasional workie the likes of which I’ve never seen but wouldn’t mind doing so.

I signed up for a trial membership, entered a few details (don’t want kids or do god, but do like brunettes) and, week after week, was sent the profiles of men who met, say, 98% of my criteria.  All blonde, all god-loving/fearing, and all hell bent on having kids.  Quite what the glaring incompatibilities in the remaining 2% were, I don’t know.  ‘Knightinshiningarmour’, ‘justanicefella’, and ‘bigdownbelow’ – we shall never meet.

There are groups for like-minded people that meet regularly in my area.   There are the normal (too energetic, in the main) and there are the dominatrix vampire/zombie lovers.  It’s not a pretty prospect.

So, the party it is.  I might as well be prepared, I think, so to the beauty salon I go.  This is a place I used to love – something about the intimacy and chat.  There’s nothing a beautician hasn’t seen – there isn’t a place on the human body from which she hasn’t removed hair, no quantity of body fat she hasn’t muscled essential oils into, no manner of aesthetic neglect with which she isn’t familiar.  What she is possibly not so familiar with is tears.  She only got to do one side of my bikini line till I said I’d well exceeded the medically recommended number of painkillers in preparation for what might be a little sting, but – short of her wheeling out a morphine drip – I could take no more.  I limp home snivelling and, hobbling about the flat, tread on Minnie’s tail.

I check her tail for any signs of damage (none), press a cold flannel to my bruised, welted thigh, and slather it in rescue remedy cream.   The fact that I can only sort of lean on one leg when either standing or sitting without risk of blood loss through chafing rather limits what I can wear.  Winceyette pyjamas would be nice.  Anyway, I get there.

It’s a little late on so everyone’s drunk and all the food is gone.  James has his usual drink-induced Tourette’s – repeating the same phrase that wasn’t funny the first time over and over – and John is dry-humping David’s leg.  He lusts after David – secretly when sober and lustily when drunk.  Everyone lusts after David.  He used to be straight, but then gayness found him and now he and James are the coupliest of couples and I hate them both for finding each other.

‘Darling!  This is Robert!  The man I was telling you about.  Robert, this is Kate.’

There stands before me possibly the vilest man I have ever seen.  He waddles towards me, grabs my hand and kisses me on the cheek.  ‘I just have to go to the loo won’t be a sec and I’ll be back,’ I tell him.  I wash my hands four times and clean the side of my face twice.  When I come back, he tries to flog me a copy of his cd for a tenner which I decline, never having been a fan of atonal.   Then he sits at the piano and jerks about like he’s got some sort of involuntary muscle movement condition (for a moment I think maybe he does and try to feel a little sympathetic till he stands up and I see it’s all for effect), banging the keys with every ounce of strength in his upper body.  He’s no Beethoven.  But then no one is.  I’d bring Beethoven back from extinction along with Orson Welles, if I could.  He’s one of those creative types who mistake mess and banging crashing about for passion.  Or maybe I just don’t get it.  He stops, thank god, and starts telling me about his website.  I make some suggestions – talk on a bit about ideas while turning my head to the left every time I breathe in to avoid breathing the stinking air he exhales.  Wilfully techno-incompetent, it seems, he nods at my breasts as I try to time my breathing with his, roughly breathing out when he does, holding it and breathing in once the air might have cleared.  It doesn’t.  He goes back to assaulting the piano and I leave.

‘What the fuck were you thinking?  He’s vile and he smells and his music’s shit, James.’

‘Sorry, Kitty (my moniker ever since the boys met a still most manly transsexual called Kitty and decided it would be hilarious to call me after him-her – think he was mid-op so I’m not sure which pronoun to use).  I really thought you’d like him.  I know he’s not got any muscles or anything, but he’s a bit older and you like that, don’t you?’

‘He’s 5000 years old with no concept of personal hygiene.  Having lived so long, you’d think he’d have picked up on that.  I think I might just head off.  My thigh’s started to throb and itch.  Lovely party, darling.  I love you and thanks for trying even if whatever in all hell was going through your head when you thought I might fancy him is I don’t know what.’

I come home and lie on the sofa with the little ladies.   Minnie bruxes softly on my chest while Georgia plays in my hair.  When I stand up I find rat bedding and tissue in my hair (I was en route to being made into a nest, it seems) and shit down the back of my neck.  Minnie’s only little and hasn’t quite mastered the division between places to shit and places not to, but it’s fine.  We have our bedtime biscuit together, I settle them in their nests, and limp off.  I’ll be crazy rat lady spinster forevermore.  It’s lovely and what’s a little rat shit between friends.


Jun 09

Want a date? Keep your cleavage in shot and your pets out.

You know it’s been a while when you have to search out your passport for the date of entry stamp to see what year it was when you flew across the ocean to see the last man you had sex with.  It wasn’t quite long enough for my virginity to have grown back, but certainly long enough to show that I was making no effort whatsoever to find a man to bed down with.  I thought I ought to do something about it and looked to the most immediate of resources for those on the look-out for a mate – dating sites.

Handily, there was a statistical study in a weekend supplement.  From a slightly cobbled together newspaper report, I discovered that, in dating site shots, women with cats get 24% fewer hits and women showing cleavage get 43% more. Possibly, you can offset the crazy cat (or rat, in my case) lady image by getting your breasts out.

For men, get a dog and you’ll meet 50% more women. Show your muscles and you’ll meet 45% more. Don’t know if the numbers combine, but maybe sitting a dog on your rock-hard abs will get you 95% more hits than a skinny dogless guy could ever dream of.

It says that women doing something ‘interesting’ are 48% more likely to have an online conversation with a man who contacts them. If you really want your cat in shot, possibly, being pictured trying to wrangle him down your cleavage would count as interesting. I think so, but then I’m not a man so I don’t know how they’d interpret it.

Roughly half the men I know are frightened of rats, but I don’t know whether, if I joined a dating site and had Georgia and Minnie in my picture, I’d get 50% less hits.  (From the picture above, you can see they’re adorable and not at all terrifying or carriers of a bubonic plague.)  Possibly the way in which I described the part they play in my life would influence the statistics.  While they are of intelligent and appealing companionship to me, the only time they’ve ever been involved in an encounter with a man was when I set Georgia on a friend after he’d told me, if I weren’t ‘such a slut and a doormat’, I’d be with The Texan I’d lusted after forever and ever (wrong on all counts, but gin does give you the clarity to pronounce yourself judge, jury, and executioner on all matters of other people’s relationships, don’t you know).  Anyway, Georgia zipped along the sofa and onto his lap; he shrieked and hid in the bathroom until I assured him she was safely back in her cage.  He now calls in advance of any visits to make sure she’s not on the prowl, with nothing better to do but launch herself at his throat, draw and quarter him.

‘Online flirting’ (whatever the hell that is) gets you 7% more hits so maybe a bit of cleavage, fluttering my eyelashes and making Georgia and Minnie look especially fluffy would make me a less terrifying proposition.

If I test it, I’ll let you know.  Any tips on persuading rats to nestle snuggly in a Wonderbra while not obscuring my breasts would be gratefully received.