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Nice try

  Thu 21st January 2016

On Sunday night I was walking home at about 10pm when Wendy rang. We chatted as far as my door before she asked me if I had any wine in. I had -- so got the two bottles and took them round. Wendy is strikingly attractive, witty, and clever, and has excellent dress sense -- I mean generally, and literally, in that she almost always wears dresses, secondhand, close-fitting dresses. Her good-natured rebuttal of my advances came in the form of my Christmas card which depicted the front cover of a 60s novel.

"I'm not entirely sure where I stand with her," I told the taxi driver. "What do you think a woman means," he said, "when she invites you round at ten o'clock?" "Yes," I thought, "but not Wendy. It really is a friendly invite to take fully-clothed advantage of the fact that she's not at work for a few days."

We sat up until half past four, assisted by a couple of games of "Whose line is it anyway" and talking with uninhibited openness about everything except the one taboo subject: how I want her. She's got a gratefully affectionate dog, which she rescued, mid-pregnancy, from the streets of Blackburn, onto which she'd been abandoned by its previous owner in the middle of winter. It snuggled down on an old quilt in front of the gas fire. Wendy put a blanket over her, and after a bit of stroking, the dog started snoring.

Meanwhile, upstairs, things were more tense. As if sensing the repressed desire and cross-species domestic harmony going on downstairs, Wendy's nine-year-old daughter started crying. "She never does this," said Wendy. When Wendy came down she said that her daughter had been wailing, asking who she was talking to downstairs. No doubt her daughter's anxious over her Dad leaving.

At the end, Wendy left herself in my arms for a long time, I sloped my hands along her back and down onto her beautiful waist and back up; the ridge of her bra strap. Silently, I so wanted to fuck kiss her. It was a new year's resolution of mine to stop sending her the sex-tinged texts I've been wont to send, so all I sent at 5am was "Lovely evening Wendy. Please could you wear that dress again? That would be much appreciated." She replied "Night night petal. Yes I will x".

Me and Trina stayed in Southport for a couple of days whilst she was working nearby, a harmonious period of drinking, drugs and sex. We resided in my favourite sort of hotel -- creaky and scratched, the calm of the lounge broken only by the occasional clattering to the floor of those tick-tick metal sticks that announce a lopsided elderly person.

Back in Lancaster, I cooked us a tortilla. "Why are you chopping apples?" she asked, leaning over. They were red potatoes. We went upstairs and put some music on. Trina, for some reason, took her trousers and knickers off.

Whilst she danced about in this state -- a sense of distaste arising in me -- I was curious about the contents of a letter that had arrived in my absence. "What's that?" she asked. "I'm not sure. It could be Refreshers or Sherbet Dip." "You mean you don't know?" I have in the past ordered both, but I was confused by the foreign postmark, a land with which I have little commerce.

I poked about a bit on the internet, and eventually found out that they were Sherbet Dips. I haven't had them before but it is Try January. (I can't be bothered with footnotes, but Try January is a practical riposte to Dry January, the imaginary invalid's version of dieting -- ineffectually staying off what you fancy for a month, ostentatiously cutting la bella figura before the relief of recidivism on 1st February). "I am blessed with the lack of any desire for self-improvement," I told Wendy the other night.

She began to berate me for my ignorance. "So you're prepared to take something and you don't even know what it is?" "I'm clarifying that ambiguity now. Now stop nagging. It's like having my mother breathing down my neck." "I can't believe that you're so immature to take something so dangerous." "Trina, you've got a glass of one of the most dangerous drugs in the world in your hand right now."

This juvenile, chav-level argument went on for a while. I might have told her to shut up or fuck off. She went to sleep downstairs. In the morning she came back into my bed, stayed there for fifteen minutes, then did a stage whispered "Alright then, I'll go and get ignored somewhere else."

An hour later, she came back in with some coffee. "A peace offering," she said. I thanked her, drank it, and came down into the kitchen. I said I don't want to have any more nights like that. "It's beneath us both, and it happens over and over again."

She gathered up her things, handed me the front door key and said "Thanks, it's been a blast."

At 1640 she texted "...and tell Viv she was right all along. What was I doing with someone like you? And end of contact now please. Bye x"

At 2139 she was back. "Just to make it real this time I've told people (i.e., your friends) that it's the end of us. No going back this time. I'm really sad but I never want today to be repeated, as I know you don't either. Today was awful. Not needed on the journey. Thanks anyway.

2229: "It's going to be hard x", to which I replied "Well, not any more! :)"

0018: "Now I'm in a comfy bed it's actually OK, phew x"

0135: "It just wasn't quite enough, was it? Sending me flowers and forgiving me my failures and weaknesses was well on the way to learning how to care. But you couldn't quite break through your wall of self, could you? Such a shame. Music is your substitute for caring. Good luck. Be lucky. Be happy."

Tomorrow dinnertime, I'm going for a drink with Wendy.


I’ve been in those same situations. Sometimes, a girl just wants your company and that’s all she’s ever going to want from you. Best to make peace with it, least it drive you mad.

I got an stab of pity for her daughter. Poor girl. What a rough upbringing. Kids want stability more than anything else.

Not obsessing about bettering one’s self truly is a blessing. It’s the sound of one hand clapping.

Why is it necessary to break through your wall of self? For her benefit? Would you be happier for it? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you’ve heard from her already.

Thu 21st January 2016 @ 12:16
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

I see Santa again failed to bring Trina any self-respect for Christmas. Poor woman. Out of interest, do you know how she got on with her father?

Thu 21st January 2016 @ 12:26
Comment from: [Member]

Exile: Yes, it’s immensely frustrating sometimes. I know she catches me looking at her in *that* way when we’re talking, but I do enjoy her company. She’s sparky and pisstaking and uncomplicated.

Not heard from Trina yet but I doubt if it’ll be long.
Hello Homer, no afraid nothing like that came down the chimney. Her Dad was strict – too strict, and quite distant. He was very occupied with his career – a surgeon, who invented a new form of stent. They had plenty of money but they must have been very sheltered, given her naivety, even now.

Thu 21st January 2016 @ 12:28
Comment from: Kono [Visitor]

Well here i am now, i don’t read many of these blog things but this one is quite up my alley in more respects than one… now it’s just my opinion but you can file Trina in the “hit up when need to fuck” category, i’m guessing after a requisite amount of time, a cunning text at a weak moment and you’ll be back in, when finished i recommend a firm handshake, a slight smile, and then, “well that was nice, call you again sometime.” You’ll hear me cheering from across the pond.

Tue 26th January 2016 @ 00:15
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Kono – thank you for popping over! It’s a pleasure to see you here, and the asshat lounge will be affixed to the blogroll tomorrow (it’s a bit late here).

Trina needs to find some self-respect. Sometimes it’s like being with a 16-year-old, even though if you changed those digits around you’d get her actual age. She gets a far more interesting life with me, but I have always made it clear that she is not girlfriend material in my eyes. Unfortunately I have muddied the waters slightly by introducing sex. It’d really be better now if we stopped fucking. We’ll see.

Tue 26th January 2016 @ 01:41
Comment from: J-P [Visitor]

If anything, Wendy should be as messed up as Trina, given she’s going through a divorce. And I think you can tell that she’s just currently not letting on how tough things are. But I imagine an affectionately snoring old dog probably helps.

I can’t see Trina ever changing if she’s got this far: there’s no impetus for her to do so, is there? After all, people don’t seem to change their behaviour merely because it makes them miserable.

Wed 27th January 2016 @ 20:09
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

No, it’s not easy for Wendy at the moment and that’s partly why she’s throwing herself into enjoying the times she can get with Kitty and me and her other friends.

Trina I think is finally accepting that there’s no possibility for the kind of relationship that she was hoping for. I hope we might be able to salvage some of the good bits – the dancing and the drunken afternoons in the pub. It’s difficult to redefine the boundaries though once you’ve been lovers.

Thu 28th January 2016 @ 11:37

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 60 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

I hate the iPod; I hate the idea that music is such a personal thing that you can just stick some earplugs in your ears and have an experience with music. Music is a social phenomenon.
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La vie poetique has its pleasures, and readings--ideally a long way from home--are one of them. I can pretend to be George Szirtes.
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Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
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One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
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The Comfort of Strangers

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