The Betrayal

large (7)We’ve all done it.

Whether it’s about how much we weigh, how many drinks we’ve had or how old we are, lying is, unfortunately, a fact of life.

Pretending you’re ten years younger than you really are or being in denial about the effects of the latest fad diet on your thighs however, is not quite the same as lying about having slept with someone you shouldn’t have or kissing someone when you should be kissing someone else.

It seems to me as though most people wait until they’ve got a white dress, a three-tiered cake and a pair of neat brogues to even begin thinking about remaining faithful to each other. Surely this should come a little earlier and a little more naturally, being one of the fundamentals of a relationship?

I’m under no illusions that there are people who can’t even control themselves within the realms of matrimony. Married men cheat on their wives, women date ten guys at a time and friends have been known to sleep with their best mate’s other half. And I, although it’s probably hard to imagine, am not a saint either.

Relationships are hard, there’s no denying, but the question I’m asking is: when the fuck did morals go out of fashion?

At school we’re taught not to hit each other in the playground and to be nice to our friends. We’re told not to lie to the teacher and to choose our words wisely. Why then, isn’t there a time, perhaps in the latter half of one’s education, when teachers (or parents) get real and explain that cheating is inherently wrong? We’re getting pretty good at progressing from condoms, bananas and films from the 70’s to explain how our genitals work during intercourse, but we fail to explain to kids about when best to use them, perhaps because we’re still grappling with these issues as adults.

I understand very well that children learn best from making their own mistakes, but with some things, it causes more harm than good to let people figure it out for themselves. We don’t wait around for a child to kill someone before using it as an example to explain that it’s inherently wrong, so why don’t we do the same with cheating? Both cause pain and are irreversible, and both can be avoided.

If you think I’m being dramatic by comparing the two then it clearly hasn’t happened to you… yet.

Some people say I’ve had a ‘good run’, considering how common cheating actually is. 25 years it has taken me to join the Cuckold Club and only now that it has happened to me, do I feel like I can comment with conviction.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of finding messages on your partner’s phone, or even better, catching them in the act, then you should know that it’s probably one of the worst things to happen to a person. And the bigger the love, the worse it is. I could sit here and try and explain the feeling but I can’t; it’s indescribable how much it hurts. Forget a kick in the balls or an elbow to the boob the week before your period; this stuff hurts. A lot.

Excuses are void and can range from the desperate to the ludicrous. They’ll explain that they don’t know why they did it and, particularly the male variety, will tell you that they can have sex without it meaning a thing. (It’s at this stage that I’d like to point out that so can women and that doesn’t make it okay.) Another favourite of mine is the, ‘It wasn’t very good’ or ‘I didn’t even fancy him (or her)’. My response? Thank you so much for ensuring that you didn’t take pleasure from putting your penis into someone else’s vagina, maybe next time you’ll get lucky?

Cheaters of the world: whether you did it and enjoyed  it, knew him or just met him, whether she has crap hair and looks like a gnome or has the body of a Victoria’s Secrets model, we don’t care. You did it, it’s disgusting and we’re hurt, so let us move on, be it with you or without you.

In my younger, feistier and perhaps more naive years, I was so sure I would dump a cheater without a second thought. Watching my friends being cheated on by their boyfriends and seeing marriages fall apart, I thought it impossible to even contemplate going back there. But when you’ve actually invested in a future with someone yourself, it gets a little more complicated than the standard duvet day and Beyonce session to help you move on (although both are still completely valid and do still sort of help the situation).

It’s a fact that humans can revert to sex to try and make themselves feel better. We’re suckers for a coping mechanism, hence why we have alcoholics, sex addicts and all the rest and I have seen lots of couples make it through to the other side, changing them for the better. But why let it get to that point? I’m really not sure how many times I have to say this until people get the picture but if you treat people the way that you would like someone to treat your brother, sister or best friend, then the world would be a happier place. I genuinely believe that we have a social responsibility when it comes to people’s hearts and if we each did our own little bit then it could have a huge impact on people’s lives.

Whether you’re the person who is attached or the one who wants that guy with the girlfriend, take responsibility for your actions – gin sodden or sober – and be the better person and prove how strong you are by saying no. Cheating is always a choice, never an accident.

I enjoy rebelling as much as the next person and can completely understand how the temptation of doing something you shouldn’t can be very attractive, but my experience has changed the way I look at things. Will I get over it? I’m not sure yet. But what I am sure of is that relationships aren’t mandatory. There’s no law saying that you must commit and if you do want to go out there and be ‘free’, then do as you please, but simply stay single while you do so. That way, when you jump in a cab back to theirs, nobody gets hurt, except if they’re into S&M, but that’s their prerogative.

All that I’m asking of you is that you take a couple of seconds longer to think about any decisions you might make in the future and to only partake in the gift of giving this season if you’re ‘giving it’ to all the right people.

Just. Be. Good. It’s really not that hard.

The Something

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So I seem to fancy absolutely everybody, but thankfully don’t act upon my every thought. And I guess this makes me, what I call, a Silent Slut.

Although I do find most men (and women) handsome in one way or another, I am no hippy. I judge Olivia Palermo when she puts a rare foot wrong in the fashion stakes and am the first to question why on earth anyone would fancy “the hoff”, but I really do believe that everyone is attractive in their own right. And I think I first realised this when I clapped eyes on Phillip Schofield and automatically wanted to drop my pants.

From this point forward, I’ve never gone for someone because of their veneer smile or perfectly preened facial hair. Instead, I’ve always dated the unconventionally gorgeous rather than the Brad Pitts of the world. Perhaps that’s because I’m not one of the gobsmackingly beautiful Angelina’s of the world, or perhaps because I think with my lugs rather than my lust. If someone can quite literally stop me breathing from laughter, they’ll always win over those who catch my breath because they’re tonker than Thomas the Tank.

Although undoubtedly a horrible generalisation, I’m not too sure I could trust the hottest of totties for longer than a snog in a club. Perhaps that comes down to my own insecurities, or maybe it comes down to watching my friends fall in the face of fitties. Either way, I think many are missing out on the good stuff because they quite simply, judge a book by its cover.

Take the new romance that has sprung off the back of being a celebrity between the talented Pro Green and MIC’s Millie Mackintosh. I judged them when I first spotted them in a glossy magazine. One, because I “knew” that if she’d met him growing up in Hackney as opposed to now, a UK rapper hanging out in Mahiki, she’d wouldn’t have gone near him with a polo stick. Thinking back, I might’ve judged too quickly. Perhaps Stephen Manderson enjoys jam and crumpets? Perhaps Camilla enjoys a fag and a bottle of voddy behind the bike sheds? Who really knows? And who on earth am I to judge? They’ve obviously found a common ground and have decided to take a stroll.

So give that person who might not “fit the bill” a shot. After all, you never know what lies beneath. I always thought my “type” was a rather large, well spoken, rugby player. How wrong was I?

So although I’ve worked out that everyone on the planet is a catch, why do I still grapple with the issue of working out my own strengths? All I seem to see when I look in the mirror is a slightly dodgy nose, a spattering of freckles and an awkward walk. What I should see is another catch of the day. Someone smack me in the face please and remind me that I, like everyone else, has that something that someone’s looking for.

The only thing that doesn’t have that special something?

Marmite.

But that’s just common sense.

The Rules of Attraction

As soon as you share a glance across a room, you’re in the game. As soon as you’re introduced to each other at a friends bbq, you’re in the game. As soon as you fall for someone, you are most certainly in the game. And by game, I don’t mean The Gold Rush (which, by the way, no longer seems quite so bad). Instead, I am quite simply talking about The Dating Game.

Now, because there is no instruction manual, we all have to scuffle our way through those awkward teenage years in order to try to work out how to play. You have to side step braces, fumble with bra straps and attempt to act cool. All at the same time. I thought things could only get better, but now that I’m in my twenties and things are a little more serious, I’ve noticed that everyone adheres to different rules, making it all very complicated indeed. However I have noticed that when talking tactics, everyone follows the same method. We must always play hard to get.

I must say though, I have never really fully understood this approach. Yes it’s fun but it’s also a waste of time to be perfectly honest. If you fancy them, you know you’re going to let them have their cake and eat it anyway and if you don’t, you know they’ll be going home with a doggy bag, so why delay? Life is far too short in my opinion. I am not saying, under any circumstances, that one should sleep around, but I do recommend a little shop around. Let him (or her) take you out for that drink, have that conversation over dinner and I can guarantee that by the end of it, you will know whether it is a yay, or a nay. But do me a favour; once you have decided how you’re feeling, for god’s sake just say it!!! You are both clogging up opportunities for other singletons who might think that your date is The-arguably-Non-Existent-One and you’re wasting your own time acting coy and mysterious. So quit the quite exciting but completely pointless funny business and be honest with yourself. There are other players in this game don’t you know, and you wouldn’t want us pipping you to the finishing post now would you?

Don’t be afraid to be knocked back by telling someone you like them. Just keep it in the back of your mind that it is always their loss.

Happy dating!

The Freckle

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Aged nine, probably wearing tight pink cycling shorts and a Spice Girls tee, I strolled alongside mum in Marks & Spencer, looking for some potatoes. I wasn’t distracted at all by the lovely chocolates or the old school version of Percy Pigs. Instead, I was busy making my skin raw, after bringing a rubber along in an attempt to wipe off all my freckles by the time we arrived back home.

As a child, I hated them.

I want to now be able to say that I love them. That I find them empowering and really attractive. But to be perfectly honest, I cover them up with make up. If I had a few freckles sprinkled across my nose and cheeks, then fine. But I feel that I am more splattered than sprinkled with them, making the main focus of my day to day beauty regime, a way in which to disguise these little genetic defects which live upon my face. And arms. And legs. And back. And tummy. And toes.

I do find freckles intriguing because they are memories created by the sun. They are the times spent travelling in Mexico, family holidays to Europe, a sunny afternoon in the park after school, a week spent at the beach last term; the list is endless. Happy memories are mapped out for me on my body, for everyone to see. Although a deep tan is desired, freckles actually last longer on the skin. They’re signs of good times spent in the sun in a more original form than quickly fading bikini lines or that

Although a deep tan is desired, freckles actually last longer on the skin. They’re signs of good times spent in the sun in a more original form than quickly fading bikini lines or that post-holiday hangover.

I think its time for me to start to embrace my freckles, just as the leopard has had to embrace his spots.