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Merry Christmases and Round Robins

31 Dec

I suppose I should say it. Happy new year!

 

Ever since I was little, the days between Christmas and New Year have filled me with great impatience. Let’s face it, it’s a cheerless no-man’s land where we all complain about how rotund we’re feeling as our belt buckles snap and we gaze upon the futile twinkles of our presentless Christmas trees. There’s no more meat left for sandwiches and the return to reality that January heralds is creeping up behind you like a crap pantomime villain. It’s New Year’s Eve though… hooray! And we will all groan at the prospect of having to drink yet more alcohol, spend more money, and potentially have to shell out on an alternative outfit to accommodate for our new flabbier frames.

 

There is something about this time of year that makes us all go terribly existential. How many of us have already used some of our energy to consider what punishments (sorry, resolutions) we’re going to enforce upon our 2012 selves as soon as we switch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang off on New Year’s Day? Smokers, I know there will be a lot of you that have been seriously debating your relationship with your cigarettes. Unfit folk, I know you will have started to notice how knackered you feel after one flight of stairs with two medium sized bags of shopping. I am also considering opening a sweepstake on how many ‘Bring on 2012… It’s gonna be my year!!’ Facebook statuses will be flooding the old news feed. Come on, there’s enough year for everyone. Chill out, yeah?

 

If we’re not looking forward just yet, we’re certainly looking back. Reflection is a brilliant thing. Not only can it be a method to see if you’ve got something drawn on your face after passing out, it can also be in that figurative sense in which we can learn stuff and things. It can be an adventurous jaunt down memory lane in which we can revisit those highs, lows and ‘meh’ days. One traditional way in which these ponderings seem to find an outlet is through the ’round robin’.

Cute and cruel in equal measure.

 

It might sound like a bird that’s just put on a few pounds, but it’s quite often less comedic than that. Maybe they don’t plague everyone, but there seems to be an abundance of relatives and friends of my family that like to include a small essay in their Christmas cards detailing what they’ve done in the past year. Why they might assume others might want to read what they have to say is often a mystery (erm… yeah, blogging is different, right?) There have been letters which have made me want to whip out a red biro, correct the spelling mistakes with an ‘SP’ in the margin before posting it back to them. There are the ones that leave me reassessing my own subsistence through my lack of holidaying and employment successes. Yeah, Happy Christmas, fuckers.

 

My absolute favourite this year came courtesy of a distant cousin of my Mum’s whose existence I wasn’t fully aware of before. Not only was her round robin letter printed wrong- being double sided and losing it’s ending; it’s content was the verbal equivalent of tumbleweed. With a tone of one of those people who include too much unnecessary detail when recounting a tale, it was the persecution on a level of a maths class and holiday slideshow all in one. Within the eight or so paragraphs, she mentioned specifics of visiting around twelve different piers across the country. Each to their own and that, but… really?

 

So what have I done? I’ve left Manchester to get out working in a bar to find myself… working in a pub. I’ve worked four out of the last twelve months full time for free. I got asked out by mentalists on the train on two occasions. I went on dates with mentalists from the train on two occasions. I did a wee in my tent at Glastonbury. I helped drink a free Jager bar dry backstage at Hevy. I’ve started eating more cheese. I’ve giggled at the jokes of musicians I adore and admire like a massive girl. I dyed my hair pink. I dyed my hair orange. I’ve vowed to stop drinking at least three times. I’ve done a fair bit of fishing. I’ve made new friends. I’ve made new enemies. (I didn’t really make enemies… I don’t think.) I haven’t visited any piers.

 

It’s been a very fast year indeed and I hope it’s been a good one for all of you. For those of you going out tonight have a hideously good time. For those of you currently updating their Facebook with an ‘It’s gonna be my year!’ status, stop it. Now.

 

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Plentyoffish Hall of Shame: The Experiment

27 Dec

It is safe to say that my single life has been constantly punctuated by instances of frustration and confusion. Like many girls I know gathering dust on the shelf, I’m quite inclined to think that I’m actually quite a catch. None of this ‘why, God, WHY??’ thanks very much. I know so many intelligent, ambitious, confident females that seem to struggle finding themselves a man. What’s going on?

Things sort of come to a head when you realise that you even struggle when signed up to an internet dating site like Plentyoffish. Sometimes I wonder how a girl like me is perceived on there. I know I’m not like a lot of other girls. My blindingly garish hair, tattoos, piercings and eccentric approach to life may be too much for some. When my list of interests includes amongst others, ‘leaves bigger than my own face’, ‘pickled onion Monster Munch’ and ‘moderate moshing’… I know I’m certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t even like tea.

There have been those moments when I wonder what’s going on that I turn to male friends and see if I can get that different point of view through testosterone-tinted glasses. One word that seems to crop up quite a lot is ‘intimidating’. It was a strange revelation for someone who spends much of her life imitating cats, marvelling at shiny things and crying at Disney films. But the more I thought about it, maybe that’s true for a lot of us confident girls. I may be soft as a play doh kitten, but perhaps my strength of character splattered across my dating profile can be off putting to the male species.

I decided to conduct an experiment.

I’m remembering what I learnt in Mr Unsworth’s science class to detail what this experiment entailed. Coincidentally, I actually quite fancied him.

AIM:

I wish to put to the test the notion that opinionated girls with strong personalities ‘intimidate’ the male population. Furthermore, I want to see if ‘alternative’ looks and interests are less favoured than the ‘normal’. Basically, do I scare men off?

HYPOTHESIS:

I think that by making an internet dating profile that makes me sound like a more ‘normal’ character with generic interests, thoughts and feelings, I will be more favoured amongst the male populace. I think that by sounding like less strong a character, more men will try and talk to me. I will try my best to not cry as I implement abbreviations and use the word ‘lol’.

METHOD:

  1. Create new profile. To make it a fair experiment, I have used pictures of myself, the test subject. I just happen to be a couple of years younger, a more natural hair colour and have had my tattoos edited out.

    Fake Me

    I never said I was any good at Photoshop. My poor bare boobies.

  2. I exaggerated the colour of my eyes and did some light editing as so many females feel inclined to do in profile pictures.

    Wholesome

    I got a lot of 'are your eyes really that blue???' messages. I started to wish they were. I've fallen into the Photoshop trap. Wholesome though, right?

  3. I chose a suitably ‘dating profile’ standard user name and headline. I became ‘Sxigrrl’ who wanted to tell the world that ‘GiRlS jUsT wAnNa HaVe FuN!!!’
  4. In the main body of my profile, I told only the truth… but chose to project myself in a different way. I also threw in a selection of text-speak abbreviations and dating profile clichĆ©s for good measure:

‘I really don’t know what to put here but here goes…!!!!!!!!

I’m a bubbly, fun lovin girl… love life, love having a laugh with the girlies!
Erm… what else? I’m a propa girly girl realli, pink is my fave colour and I’m always out shoppin! My mates all say I’m a bit crazy and random but hey! I love nights out but also love nights in cuddled up on the sofa with that special sumone.

At the minute I’m a barmaid, it’s a right laugh. I’m not sure what I’m planning on doing in the future. What makes me unique…ermm….my DNA?? LOL I dunno!!

I like films, all sorts of music, TV and SHOES LOL

Anyways, I think that’s enough for now, wanna know anything else just ask šŸ˜‰ ‘

RESULTS:

The results were pretty incredible. In the first hour of it’s creation, ‘Sxigrrl’ got thirty-seven messages to my real profile’s two. This could be a trend that would continue throughout the experiment, with at least forty-plus messages with each log-in to Sxigrrl. Over Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Sxigrrl got one hundred and thirty-nine messages to real profile’s thirty-five.

In the two weeks of this experiment, my real profile got one hundred and seventy eight messages. I’m afraid I can’t tell you how many Sxigrrl got because they start to automatically delete messages when you’ve reached four hundred.

CONCLUSIONS:

Sweet and simple is more appealing to mankind. It would seem that it is a sad truth that girls that have a lot to say for themselves can be a bit off putting. Why, though? Maybe men think they’re too much like hard work. Perhaps they think that here’s a girl who will talk the hind legs off a donkey. Of course, my profile may make me look mentally unhinged.

But there were other interesting things to be learnt. Sxigrrl, despite her name, got less crude messages than real me. Do tattooed, ‘alt’ girls get judged in a different light? Are we automatically a ‘bad girl’? Thanks a lot Bowling For Soup.

Despite this, I also learnt something which I took great pride in. Despite having a measly amount of messages than my uncomplicated alter-ego, the ones I did receive were infinitely more interesting. Sxigrrl’s neverending inbox may have had a queue of suitors waiting to grab her attention, but if she’d managed to gain much from the generic compliments and ‘Hi, how’s u’ messages I would be most surprised.

So, what I conclude is this. Be yourself. So what if the road is long and your options are scarce. What we can put faith in is that when we do find that person we click with, they’re going to like you for you. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

So long, Sxigrrl. Okay, I might still be you for a bit longer… I grew to like the fan mail. There’s still 107 unread messages to get through.

(Published at Lovescene Magazine)