I jest, of course, but isn’t this review simply lovely?
The reason for this is primarily that I do not trust the concept of romance that it forces upon us. Think of the men you see professing their love in adverts that are shown this time of year: bringing a woman flowers, buying her jewellery, actually listening to her when she’s speaking—all because they’re just so much “in love.” It’s baloney.
Now I’ve known a few men in my time and I’ve certainly seen many who claim to be in love. Back in the States, a gentleman in my intimate circle would often go doolally when he first met a new woman, professing to everyone he could find that he was madly in love. We all knew that when he uttered those words what he really meant was “I have met a new woman whose soul I can destroy,” for shortly after the “honeymoon” period of his new romance, he began systematically draining the life out of her, all the while complaining that she was no longer the girl he fell in love with. After witnessing him play this scene out with at least thirty-three women over the period of two years, I finally suggested he look into becoming a cowboy because that’s a lifestyle where breaking the spirit of another creature is a talent that is truly appreciated, but he claimed the chaps chafed him. I’ve no doubt that whatever filly he is romancing this February 14th will find herself crumpled in the corner of her room crying “What did I do to deserve this?” within a few months.
Now before you worry that this is a tirade against men, get it very clear in your head that it is not: the problem is so-called romance, not men. Despite the fact that statistically men are more likely to be the ones who ruin relationships (which has certainly been the case in every single one of mine), I’ve not got a word to say against them as a gender. Some of my best friends have been men. I don’t doubt some women can be mean and cruel as well.
Before you get yourself dolled up to the nines for your Valentine’s dinner, I beg you to pause for just a moment and consider your true feelings about your alleged paramour. When you look into his or her face, what is it that you really feel?
Do you feel grateful for all they have given you?
If so, that’s called being a whore. It’s a viable career choice for many, but don’t confuse it with real love.
Do you feel a flutter in your chest?
These are palpitations and can be an early symptom of coronary artery disease. Instead of seeing a date movie, you should be at your GP surgery, getting a cardiac catheterisation.
Do you feel safe and/or comfortable?
If so, please be aware that, according to the American Psychological Association, 74% of all murder-suicides involve intimate partners. Make sure you have an escape route planned is all I’m saying.
If you have answered the question honestly and are still one hundred percent convinced that what you feel when you look at your partner’s face is honest-to-god true love, then go ahead and go out to your romantic dinner. You’re clearly living in a state of denial, but who am I to judge?
My dear friend Alice Wintergreen seems to have gotten herself in a pickle again. She really does have a knack at that, which is both charming and maddening as her pickles always seem to correspond with needing something from me at a time when I just don’t have much energy left to give (yes, dear readers, I am not perfect). However, once again I came to her rescue, despite the fact it meant that I was unable to listen to a radio programme to which I was looking forward all week. Why must I always be the good friend? I suppose it’s my curse.
Alice spends each Thursday afternoon at our local library. She calls it her “me time” and claims that she uses the hours to look at the newspapers, read aloud to the children’s group, and peruse the biography section. However, Christopher (who, on occasion, has witnessed Alice in action) tells me that what she is actually doing is what his mates call “cruising.”
Now, as you know, I’m not one to sit in judgment of anyone’s choices, and certainly not the choices of a dear friend whose poor taste in lovers has left her bereft of gentlemanly company. More power to her, I say. However, participating in this kind of activity can have its consequences and had led to the pickle in which Alice now finds herself within.
What it boils down to is this: she has caught the favour of a certain man about whom she says she would rather kill herself than sleep with. Apparently this man is a nice enough sort, and she doesn’t wish to hurt his feelings in any way. But she definitely does not want to sleep with him (nor does she want to kill herself), and it is over this that she has been crying at my kitchen table for the past few hours.
Per usual, my advice was thoughtful, correct and succinct: shut the fucker down.
So many of us are taught that other people’s feelings matter and far be it from me to suggest that they don’t (but they don’t). The truth is that when we try to “spare another’s feelings,” we rarely do so. Instead, we drag it out, making things better for neither party. When we delay being honest in an effort to be kind, we risk one of two things: being weaseled into doing something we don’t want to do – or – hurting the other party even more
Let’s examine those two options more closely. When I was younger, I briefly went through a stage, as most teenagers do, when I thought “Sod my parents’ millions, I want to make it on my own.” I therefore sought employ with a telemarketing agency (I had a seductive telephone voice even as a youth). The first rule we learned was keep them talking. The longer we could keep a person talking, no matter how politely they were rejecting our sales pitch, the easier it would be to finally reel them in. If Alice were to sit down with this man and try to soften her rejection with a drawn out explanation, I don’t doubt her evening would end with the dreaded walk of shame. Sadly, I say this out of personal experience. Even clever people like my good self can be talked into changing our minds after a while. If only I had heeded my own advice, I could have avoided that Maryland jail time for Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practices. I guess sometimes we’ve got to learn the very hard way.
However, the other possible consequence of “trying to be nice” is making it a thousand times worse for the other person. How many times does anyone need to be told “I would rather eat glass than go to bed with you” before they finally just step in front of the #3808 at Trenton Transit Center? The answer is surprisingly few, I found out to my dismay (rest in peace, Homeless Tim). Sugarcoating a rejection is like sugarcoating cyanide: they’re equally destructive but at least cyanide kills within seconds. Injuries from being hit by a train may lead a person to linger at death’s door for weeks.
If we’ve learned nothing from the Jerry Springer Show, we’ve learned that putting one’s hand up to someone’s face and simply saying no is the cleanest way to break off a relationship. Yes, there may be some shouting and a few chairs broken over the audience’s heads, but it is still the quickest and most morally correct way to deal with the situation.
An Open Letter to Taylor Swift (Which Is Really About Self-Esteem And Only Uses Said Songstress As A Means of Attracting Her Young Female Fans Who Are In Reality Its Intended Target Audience)2 Mar
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.