His mother thought this photograph was a brilliant idea.
And it’s that love which we celebrate today.
Dear Miss Swift,
When we bumped into each other at last spring’s Village Jumble Sale, we didn’t really get a chance to talk so I do hope you don’t think I’m speaking out of turn here. However, as a fellow attractive and talented international mover-and-shaker, I feel I might be able to share some advice.
From what I understand through my preliminary research, you are a young country and western and/or pop singer. I myself don’t particularly care for that type of music—I tend to like songs that are pleasant to the ear—but that’s neither here nor there. I’m writing about the fact that, in recent times, you seem to be more in the news over the boys you are chasing, dating or hating.
Now I’ve been your age and I know the excitement of ‘putting it about a bit.’ If you want to fool around with a different man everyday, there’s nowt wrong with that as long as you make sure to wash and hydrate in between encounters. But I think what’s raising the red flag for a number of people, including myself, is that perhaps you’re not just looking for a means of sexual release in between gigs, but are actually hoping to find true love. Is this what you’re doing, Taylor? If so, I am begging you to cease and desist.
There’s a number of reasons why ‘serial dating’ is problematic. First of all, no one can find true love; if it’s going to happen, it will find you which it won’t because it doesn’t exist. So any attempt to actually seek it out is essentially an act of desperation, and desperation rarely looks good on anyone, especially those who are as thin and pale-skinned as your good self.
Secondly, I understand that many of your romances end up as references in your music. I suggest you don’t do this. Now if you are a frequent reader of Everyone Needs An Algonquin and I’ve no reason to assume you’re not, you’ll know that I have, on occasion, mentioned previous beaux in both positive and negative lights. However, there are a few differences to my style of kiss-and-tell: my motivations are purely to help others learn from my experiences, I offer plenty of entertainment through other means, and I generally wait years to discuss these matters to ensure that both my feelings and theirs have cooled and/or the men are dead.
Writing about a boy you are in love with is daft because when the relationship inevitably blows up in your pretty, little face, you won’t ever want to hear those reminders again. Yet as a professional recording artist, you’ll be forced to sing about how you knew this man was your one and only despite the fact that two days before you declared that your new man was actually your one and only and this time you really mean it. Songs like that only lead to your artistic integrity being questioned, and god knows that the twelve-year-old girls who make up your fan base hold artistic integrity in the highest of regards.
Writing about a boy you are no longer in love with is also not recommended, primarily because it closes all doors. Even if a guy’s been a shitty partner, you never know when you might get a craving for that special little thing he does with his tongue and you may be tempted to make a little booty call. No shame in that, unless of course you’ve already publicly claimed that you’re never, ever, getting back together. In that case, it won’t just be chafed thighs making that walk of shame uncomfortable.
The truth is, though, you can turn this around, and it’s easier than you might think. You need to stop dating. Simple as. Make 2013 the year of Taylor Swift’s music or her charitable acts or her CoverGirl/Keds/Diet Coke ad campaigns. Give them something else to talk about besides at whom you are making puppy dog eyes.
You don’t need a man to complete you, Taylor. No woman does. I know that our world doesn’t often teach that lesson, but please believe me. You make music that those with less refined tastes than my own genuinely seem to enjoy, and that’s got be some kind of gift. Cherish that and cherish yourself. I don’t, of course, but I don’t need to because I’ve got plenty of my own wonderfulness to keep me busy in the cherishing department. Stop looking for that perfect love from that perfect boy. You don’t need a man to tell you you’re wonderful, Taylor, and even if he does, it won’t matter until you believe it yourself. Trust me, you’re the best young American songstress I’ve ever pushed over when she tried to grab a used tea set I was interested in buying. I know that, but what really matters is that you know it.
I must be quiet as it’s rather late and poor Christopher has, I’m afraid, dropped off to sleep (whereas I was taught to sip rather than “down” champagne and have therefore not felt a single affect). Thanks to the generous young Portuguese man who stopped by last week and offered to work some magic on my box (for a small one-time fee), I was able to watch the festivities in Times Square on the television. Although I normally find it vulgar to be awake at this hour, I suppose I just wanted to relive some fond memories of old times. I imagine it must be similar to the feelings the older generation of Britons must have when they recall watching doodlebugs drop: a nostalgia for a time when we were younger and hope and pulse jet engines filled the air. Excuse my wistfulness: there’s a fine line between melancholy and maudlin, and I am aware of on which side of the line I must stay.
I’ve spent many a New Year’s Eve in Times Square, with some of the most charming friends I’ve ever known. Such shenanigans we got up to! We’d often start celebrating early in the evening at someone’s home (I will never forget the time Digby Whistler and I got locked in the attic of Mickey Rooney’s brownstone for nearly an hour!) and then head out to hop between the watering holes of the City. It seemed that wherever we went, we were greeted by the bars’ patrons as if we were all the oldest of friends. There’s something about New Yorkers that leads to such camaraderie (I think it might have been the bourbon). We’d then rush out at almost the last minute to grab a taxi to take us to the flagpole and watch the ball drop. One year, we went in our own car (this was at a time when drinking and driving was still safe) and, although we didn’t make it in time, I can remember Stefan tooting the horn at the strike of midnight to all the revelers and smut peddlers in the street. Even though that particular night ended in tears when I misplaced my great aunt’s beaded hair clip, I’ll never forget those frolics.
Oh, why do things have to change? Where has our youth gone? Why do we keep sending soldiers off to war? Whatever happened to Big Paul the Sailor? I can remember everything just like it was yesterday, including the things that happened yesterday, so I just ask why? Can’t we all just love each other? Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. I think of little puppies, they’re so soft and innocent. I never want to see one looking sad.
I’ve suddenly gone dreadfully sleepy. I think I might just rest my head for a moment before I write anymore.
Today is National Coming Out Day. It’s a little reminder that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people deserve some respect and celebration. It’s confusing to me that people still need reminding—surely as long as Stephen Fry and Pam St. Clement walk the earth, it should be blatantly obvious that non-heterosexuals are fabulous. However, there are still enough dumbasses around that it’s important to take a day to remember.
I personally don’t believe in labels: I like to keep all my options open as you never know just when you may feel that spark (Charlize Theron, if you’re reading this, call me). But just as there are those who insist they are heterosexual (despite that little fumbling incident at Boy Scout camp), there are those who feel confident calling themselves homosexual, and what’s wrong with that? As long as they don’t keep broken toys and other rubbish in their gardens (an act that is deserving of criticism), I say live and let live. When it comes to the bedroom department, I am in no position to judge anyone for their preferences (though I have published Agatha’s Annotated Kama Sutra, a text in which I judge various positions and list my preferences). Having a similar layout in their private areas should not restrict two adults who fancy a little sexy sex with each other. If you think it should, perhaps you should take a minute to ask yourself why you are so interested in other people’s sex lives. Are you some kind of pervert or something?
We supposedly live in enlightened times. When we hear about homosexuality being illegal, we see those laws as antiquated. We find ridiculous the anti-homosexual propaganda of the 1950s. We laugh at the coded language of the past that thinly veiled institutional homophobia: the actor forced to hide his true self and instead be labeled a “confirmed bachelor”; the athletic woman dismissed as a “tomboy”; the male hairdresser attacked simply because he “liked cock.” Pshaw! we say.
Yet are things all that different today? It’s sad that we still deny life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all—laws continue to restrict civil rights, hatred continues to breed violence and ignorance continues to thrive. It still takes a kind of bravery to come out publicly as L or G or B or T.
So let us celebrate that bravery. If you’re of the queer persuasion, hoorah for you! If you’re heterosexual but an ally of the gay community, hoorah for you as well! And if you’re Charlize Theron, seriously, consider joining me for dinner this weekend. I can definitely make it worth your while.
All children look up to their fathers; this is obvious as most men are at least a good two feet taller than your average five-year-old. I’m not sure I’d go as far as saying my father was my hero—by the time I met him, he had been somewhat beaten down by life (read: his wife). However, to this day, I admire his wisdom, patience and the way his hair flicks up over his left ear (but not his right). He’s a man of few words, but I’ve learned a lot from him. Here are a few of my favourite fatherly gems:
2. Never use your teeth to do anything but chew.
3. If you can’t be bothered to lace up your shoes, just buy loafers.
5. Any boy with a spitting habit should never be invited into the house.
6. Animals are better than most people.
8. Always return your library books on time.
9. Be kind.
10. Crime doesn’t pay (I’m not sure this one was originally his).
Of course, no man is perfect. He’s not a great dancer, occasionally wears trousers an inch too short, and married my mother. But I can only think of one or two other men who would have been preferable as a father figure so overall I feel quite lucky.
Happy Father’s Day.
I’m not one to fall for silly lines. I can’t count the times I’ve been told I was the “first” or the “only true” or the “most bendable” love a man has had, and I have always seen right through his strategy. Men are often confused by what they see as women’s unrelenting commitment to truth. Of course, truth is important to women, as it should be for all right-minded people regardless of the layout of their pubic areas.
But truth is a complicated concept, and a brief explanation of the nuances between the different kinds of truth is warranted.
THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
No one wants this. It’s too ugly. Although witnesses in court cases are threatened with a needle in the eye, neither the prosecuting nor defense table really wants anyone telling the whole truth. The last time you waterboarded someone, you probably asked them to tell you the whole truth. What if their truth was actually “I will say whatever you want me to say to get you to stop doing this”? You’d look a fool. Anyone with a lick of sense can see that this kind of truth isn’t helpful to any situation or military conflict.
Now obviously this route is neither correct nor seemly. We all know this: telling one lie leads to another lie and another and then it’s a pack of them. Not only is it horrible, but it’s also very difficult to keep track of. It’s one of the great lessons of childhood—remember the itsy bitsy spider who weaved the web of lies because she was practicing to deceive the old woman who swallowed the fly? Your grandmother didn’t tell you that story for nothing, you know.
THE FACTS BUT NOT THE DETAILS
Generally this is the appropriate level of truth for almost all situations. Details do one of two things: hurt another person or make you look like a twat. An appropriate fact would be “Yes, I saw the defendant hanging around the office building”; there’s no reason to add “so I invited him in and gave a passkey to the safe.” It’s a subtle balance, and you’ll often be pressed to give as many details as you can, but resist.
Let’s look at a couple typical scenarios men and women find themselves in where the “truth” often plays a key role.
Do I look fat in this?
Don’t say: “Yes, you look fatter than I’ve ever seen you. Take off the offending item immediately and hide your shame. You shall not be attending the ball with me tonight.”
Don’t say: “What on earth are you talking about? You look thinner than Angelina Jolie” (if she actually does, immediately get her to a medical professional).
Do say: “It shows off the real you, and that’s the you I love.”
Did you cheat on me with that woman?
Don’t say: “I did, and it was the most fantastic shag of my life, partly because of the illicit nature of the encounter and partly because she let me do that thing you said you’d die before letting me do again. Therefore I intend to keep seeing her, but I don’t see any reason to let my cheating change our relationship at all, so would you make me a sandwich, please?”
Don’t say: “I don’t know what you are talking about. Someone has clearly Photoshopped that picture of me having sex with her in my dental chair afterhours when I claimed I was away at an orthodontist convention.”
Do say: “I did because I am a small man in more ways than one. If you forgive me, I’ll be forever indebted, but I’ll also understand if you change your Facebook relationship status to single and get new locks on the house.”
Of course, the easiest way to deal with the truth is to take a little care in advance. If you’re about to do something that one day you may need to tell a lie about, the most sensible approach is just not to do it. Don’t take the money from the till. Don’t text a photo of your erection. Don’t marry a fat woman. It isn’t too difficult to understand.
But men are fallible creatures and seem to get themselves into troublesome situations at the drop of a hat. You’re welcome for my helpful advice.