An Ode to Oxford

Apparently an ode is supposed to be a poem but I am afraid this will be no such thing. Sorry to disappoint but I wanted a somewhat catchy title.

This weeks dating bender has gone infinitely better than the last one. I haven’t cried once, I haven’t actually had any sort of negative feelings really. Perhaps it was well timed with me reading Ruby Wax’s incredible books about mindfulness and controlling our emotions?

Sunday started with a bit of an almost public transport disaster. I saw almost because in hindsight nothing was really that bad. I got the bus to Paddington but it was taking to long so I hopped onto the tube and we got stuck at red signals but I did still make it to the station on time! Perhaps now is a good time to say I was travelling to Paddington because my third and final date for the week was in Oxford!

I arrive at the station and Oh Horror, the train is cancelled. No worried there’s another one in ten minutes that goes straight to Oxford. *heads to train* Oh dear they’ve changed the service and it doesn’t go Oxford anymore. *heads to McDonalds* I do eventually find a route to get their and I only arrive 15 minutes late.

My date is really nice! Very handsome but kinda cute at the same time and we got on well I think. Easy to talk to and all that jazz. We started with a few drinks then as I’d never been to Oxford before he showed me around a few places. We visited some colleges where I felt more stupid than I have ever felt in my life (owing to all the posh boys around) and I got to see some places where they filmed Harry Potter which I loved! That was the highlight for me.

Then he lured me back to his place for another drink…you can see where this is going. But we didn’t have sex I am pleased to say. Just a little light fondling…

Again I am almost disappointed that I didn’t have a heart attack on the tube because i don’t have much to write about. We haven’t spoken much since so clearly the sparkler is sat in a bucket of water in the garden.

I’m still talking to date number two and there’s a few complications with two other guys that I may get round to writing about sometime. For now I am a single Pringle and ready to min…ready to eat Pringles. *goes to shop*

Bachelor Number Two: Take Two

So the first date went well but wasn’t meant to be. I listened to a few soppy songs on the way to the bus then thought ‘fuck it’ and started singing Hamilton whilst wandering through the City. One down, two to go!

My next date lived in Brighton but would be in London for work a few days so we decided to grab a drink one evening before he took the train home. He was better looking in person I thought and surprisingly the balding didn’t put me off! Great teeth.

Every now and then the conversation hit a lull but I will take responsibility for that as I am not the most confident when it comes to striking up conversation with new folks, especially dates. But throughout the night we found some really good common interests to talk about!

We could be a bit nerdy about Warhammer and talk about new tech and it was really nice that we had things in common to talk about instead of all the usual first date…how many siblings do you have? Where are you from? Although we did do that too. Turns out he went to Eton as well, a posh boy if ever there was one! But he absolutely didn’t come across as a nob so that’s always good!

I’m finding that dates that go well are harder to write about. Tragedy it seems makes for good reading not a few lines of oh it went well. Date number three is tonight so I’ll shortly be heading out to Oxford. Wish me luck!

Date-ja Vu

I read an article recently that said if you didn’t use dating apps in London then you were more likely to find yourself pregnant with twins than be able to get a date. Which is no mean feat seeing as I am definitely a boy! But after some time away from dating apps I decided I would re-download tinder and have a swipe!

I am very pleased to say that I am still Grindr free and have had no desire what so ever to return to that dark place. I’m also proud to say that after a few weeks back on tinder I was back in the game and arranging dates.

Here comes the deja vu. I have been off this week due to some ill timed uni work so I’ve bagged two weeks extra ‘holiday’. So I arranged a date…and another one…and another one. That’s right, three dates in …well not three days this time. I left myself time in between to recover.

The first date was with a beautiful lawyer who lives in East London so I made the long trip out there to have a drink with him and it was really nice! We talked easily and got to learn about each other and he managed to get me back to his place for a little cuddle and maybe a kiss or two.

Great! My first date and I’d found someone I liked. Alas it wasn’t meant to be and he decided the age gap of 10 years (he was 32) was too much. I never really think about age, if you like someone you like them. But he’d had bad experiences in the past dating younger guys so I completely understand. And I am very thankful he did it on the second date and not a month or two in or I would be sat here drowning in tears and writing.

He was very gentlemanly too and we had the discussion in person. Which is great and all but that’s £3 and a two hour round trip bus journey that I’ll never get back. Thanks.

Glastonbury

Last week I had the absolutely amazing pleasure of being at Glastonbury Festival. For one week you can forget about bills and flat hunting and just enjoy being out in the country doing whatever you want. Where else in the world can you enjoy a conversation about shoving tampons up your nose with a stranger in the queue for the most disgusting toilets ever created?

I’m going to sound like a typical whiny millennial for a while here but the freedom that comes with being at a festival for a week is the best thing. The daily grind of work and university back in London is some days unbearable and although I love being in the big city and I love my job it is so nice to get away and be free.

And it isn’t just about being in a place where there are A-list acts around every corner. My favourite days in the festival where the ones spent watching speakers talk about nuclear power or evolution or how climate change can affect human health. I was learning so much last week that I started talking notes!

So now when my lecturer complains about me missing one lesson that was a repeat of something I’ve already done anyway I can tell her I was at a very important lecture about sustainability within the NHS…followed by a Clean Bandit concert of course.

It isn’t even just about the freedom and the immense number of activities to do. Whilst I was there I met someone who was asking if there were any gay places to hang out. They only exist in reality because they were a safe haven for people but at Glastonbury there was no such need for a safe haven because equality permeated the site. Gays and straights drank tea in harmony and the lay people rubbed shoulders with the stars and we all managed to not get muddy together! (Thank you weather god for blessing us with sunshine)

I long for the day when my life and life around me feels just a little bit more like a festival. I want to wake up every day being excited and not quite knowing what I’ll learn or what to expect. I want to be able to talk to anyone, anywhere and not be met with a look of horror because talking on the tube isn’t the done thing. I want to walk down the street and find The Jacksons playing on a stage in the park….okay the last one I can do without.

But is it so bad that people want these freedoms? Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t but that may be a post for another day. For now it’s back to the daily grind. (But not the daily grindr, 27 days without!)

Until next time Glastonbury, Adios!

One Week Later

So it has officially been one week since I deleted Grindr and I haven’t yet felt any desire to cave. I started thinking more about that book I’d read about dating. I agreed with 99% of what was written but there was one thing, one huge statement that I have fought against ever since he first said it to me months ago.

He suggested that if someone wanted a boyfriend that much that they would have one. But that statement, whilst it may technically be true, doesn’t account for the people in the relationship actually wanting to be in it. I don’t deny it if I wanted a boyfriend enough, which I do, I could settle for someone who I don’t find attractive and who I have no connection to at all but that’s no way to live.

Yeah I would love to have a boyfriend but I want someone to love me and I want someone who I can love in return. That’s not too much to ask from a relationship I don’t think. The problem with trying to find someone who will stick around is that there is too much choice available. Sex as a Service has started to ruin our chances to find ‘true love’. Sure that might not exist and I’m glad to say I’m starting to realise Prince Charming isn’t going to fireman lift me to our wedding five minutes after we meet. But even getting the chance to date people is getting harder.

The last time I dated someone I wrote a post about it but I left out a crucial bit of information that I gleamed from our final conversation together. I’ll be honest he didn’t put it in so many worse but very heavily implied that if I’d have slept with him on the first date there probably wouldn’t have been a second. Is that all it was, a game to get laid?

People want to have sex, men and women, and as gay men have Grindr to find a man a couple of metres away who is waiting with his pants down, they don’t need to go through the effort of dating. I’ll take ‘Flynn’s’ word for it that maybe he was starting to have feelings for me but that’s only because I forced his hand and for some reason he stuck around once I’d refused sex. But he was still sleeping with other people, which is fine we weren’t any where near exclusive, it just shows how easy it is to come by.

I’m quite proud I’ve made it a week without re-downloading Grindr, which is crazy I know…one whole week. But if I stick to it, it’s the start of something good for me. It just means I need to find a new way to meet a man. I do want a boyfriend and I want one who is at least half decent! But where the hell am I supposed to look?

SaaS

In computing Software as a Service is a delivery model that is sometimes referred to as ‘on demand software’. Being a man who likes to indulge his nerdy side and being a raging homosexual I thought I’d borrow this acronym and apply it to life in the city looking for love. Keep with me and this will come up later I promise. 

A few months ago a friend of mine (the first man from my dating bender) asked if I would proofread a book he was writing and give him some feedback on it. I can’t say my feedback was very good but that’s because I honestly loved (nearly) every word of it. It was a book about finding happiness amongst the modern day hookup culture and it was aptly named Grindr Survivr. The book was enlightening and so educational that I deleted Grindr immediately! For a short while… 

I’ll admit to being a dick to my fair share of people online and I’ve been on the receiving end of idiots on apps like Grindr. Even after dating guys who leave me in tears I go back to it ready to try again and I never learn. It feels silly silly saying that an app like Grindr is addictive but anyone who had or has it will know that it really is. Because it offers sex…as a service. See what I did there?

Call me crazy and tell me I’m not doing it right but I honestly don’t even believe sex is that great. Sure it feels good and you get to orgasm but is it really worth it? Clearly it is because I rarely go more than a few weeks at a time without satisfying my desires with someone who isn’t my hand. But every time, afterwards I’m left thinking….meh. 

Sex is so much better when intimacy is involved, when feelings are involved. Sex with someone you love, now that is worth it. But the fact that services like Grindr make sex so easy to come by have ruined the chance to connect with people without caving in to our base instincts. 

For a while now I’ve been talking to guy whom I met on Grindr, we swapped numbers and chatted but it took weeks to finally arrange a meeting, then we saw each other 4 times within a week. It took till the fourth visit for anything romantic to happen between us. It had gotten to the point where I was thinking okay this guy obviously just wants to be friends. Which I was completely okay with, in fact I thought it was great! This meant Grindr wasn’t just for hookups, actual relationships and friendships could spring from it. 

Then of course we spent a day binging Will & Grace, as you do, and he stayed the night. We didn’t have sex, neither of us even ‘finished’ but there was plenty of making out so our intentions couldn’t be mistaken. He was a good kisser too, such a shame. 

This past week we’ve barely spoken. Before, we text every day and replies were swift and conversation meaningful. No such luck this week. I’m not upset, I’m not angry. Actually I’m just shocked that after a month of effort and going to concerts and talking, that one night in bed where we didn’t even sleep together is enough to end the relationship. I’ve not just lost a potential love interest but I’ve lost a friend. 

Fuck you SaaS. You’re being deleted again. For good this time. (That’s a lie). 

Let’s see how long I can keep it up for, I reckon a week tops.

Pray for me. 

#GrindrSurvivr

America #3 

I remember one of the earlier weeks at camp there was a boy in my cabin…let’s call him Trent. I think he must have been going through a rough patch at home but his dad and nana managed to get him to camp without too much fuss. But he was really homesick and struggled to settle into camp life. He was only booked in for one week so at least it would go quickly for him? 

Kids can be the cruelest people sometimes but this week showed me how amazing they can be as well. The entire cabin tried tirelessly to include Trent in all the activities and I think by then end of it he could call them very loyal friends. Trent still struggled though and most nights he’d be in bed crying. As one of his councillors I felt absolutely heartbroken that this child had been ‘abandoned’ at camp and wears hating it. Missing home every second. 

But a few weeks later Trent was back, what a surprise! And because I’d been his councillor the first time and apparently done such a good job they were putting me in his cabin again. I was so flattered. The fact that despite all his struggles he’d gone home and said he’d had an amazing time was so great to hear. And it was even nicer to hear that some of that joy came from me and that I could spend another week with him!

And that second week was like being with a completely different person. He didn’t get upset once, he made loads more friends and threw himself into the daily activities. And he told me all about his love of Minecraft. A passion we both shared!

After a few short, amazing weeks in the sun at camp I started to realise that this is what I wanted to be doing with my life. Living in the sun. Just kidding, I wanted to be helping people, making a small difference in a small way to peoples lives.

He who saves one life, saves the world entirely.