A Close Shave

The sudden realisation you are single is a severe blow to the psyche. Obviously, the worst part of any break up is the emotional stress. A break up roughly tosses you naked from the warm, insulate cocoon of a relationship onto the cold, concrete street of the Singleton. Casually dismissing the emotional turmoil of a break up, there are other superficial considerations that a Singleton is presented with; you have to give a shit about your appearance again.

Admittedly, it is grossly unfair to impute couples have given up on their appearance; there are many beautiful, well dressed couples, but I know that while in a relationship, I regularly opted to sit with a tube of Pringles in my pyjamas rather than join my friends for a night on the town. Perhaps, singledom encourages one to make more effort in their visual appeal for obvious reasons. Since my break-up, I’ve changed my hair, lost weight and had my teeth done. While I might have considered all this while in a relationship, I can’t say would have done anything about it.

When I turned single last year, the consensus of my friends was I should get back on the horse, firmly believing the best way to get over was by getting under. Well, in hindsight, they were all wrong. Wrong! The best way to get over a breakup is by locking yourself in a dark room, meditating for hours on end and unravelling each and every emotional issue on the list you spent weeks compiling. Only then, will you be exorcised of the demons from your previous relationship. However, back then I did not know this. I obsessed with finding a new horse.

“It has been a while since I was on the horse,” I told Brian one evening, walking through the after-work hubbub of O’Connell Street. “I misplaced my saddle.”

“Giddy up,” chortled Brian.

“I am a bit out of practice and there’s another matter I must address.”

“What is that?”

“Let’s just say, I am sporting a full bush.”

“Ah I see. Get yourself to Boots and buy a Philishave.”

A Philishave is a body grooming device found in the beauty-maintenance kits of most gay men and some straight men too, I presume. It is a shaver which grooms, trims, sculpts and tidies body hair. This process is referred to as “manscaping”. There are a number of advantages to manscaping. The main benefit of maintaining a tight shave in the pubic region is that it makes a penis appear larger. This factoid will encourage a flurry of men to visit Boots and purchase said body groomer. Another benefit to muscular men is that less hair causes muscles to seem larger and more defined. I’ve never had a discussion on manscaping with any of my gay, male friends, though I am interested in the frequency they do it and the areas of their body they attend to.

As necessary as it is, I hate manscaping. I have no patience for it. The stupid Philishave comes with a number of clip-on devices that allow you apply the blade to varying degrees of tightness. I guess one is meant to gradually apply the tighter blades until happy with the result. I never do this. I generally just go for it, regularly resulting in a sparse result. I often undertake a manscape at the most inopportune moments – an hour before I am due to meet friends or just before I embark on a date. My most comical incident was when the battery died about ten minutes before I was due to meet a guy. Let’s say, had the date gone well, there would have been an interesting topic of conversation later that night.

I went on a date last Thursday and in true form, decided to manscape before leaving the apartment. I took up the buzzing blade in my hand and without hesitation, ran it across my stomach. I examined my work. I had just left a clear hairless line across my stomach.

I screamed aloud. “Why do I always do this? Agggghhhhhhh”

From experience, the worst part of such a mistake is the follow through. You have to shave off all remaining hair or risk looking odd. I am now completely bare-chested. I stood in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, chewing my lip.

“Whoops. Fuck it anyway.”

The date went well and yes, he saw my bare chest. He laughed when I explained myself.

I dismiss the embarrassment of such a mistake, but what does fill me with horror is the likelihood of ingrown hairs, which I suffered from when I waxed my chest years ago. I am moisturising and exfoliating like a man possessed by chaetophobic demons.

You couples have it easy.

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I Must Have #2

Another jacket!

I have spent the last year desperately searching for a ‘reasonably priced’ trench coat. The Burberry brand is synonymous with macs and trenches, but at a cost of €1,200, such a high-end purchase is sure to sting.  A compromise comes in the form of this jacket by London based brand, Jaeger.

I am justifying this purchase with the following –

  • It is my birthday this month; my gift to me
  • I have exams in May. I will save money by not socialising
  • This is an investment piece;  simply timeless!
  • I don’t have a trench. I’ve wanted one for the last year.

Do I need more reasons?

How to Give a Good Nose Job

My favourite gay club night was Spice, when it was held in SPY night club, South William Street. The plush interior of SPY, three rooms of amazing music and the crème de la crème of the gay scene made these nights memorable. The hay day of Spice coincided with the time I broke up with my boyfriend of three years. I spent many a night at Spice, dancing energetically to nostalgic tunes, attempting to convince myself I was happy as a singleton. Denial aside, I did have fun. Spice will forever be my Studio 54.

Later the same year, Boyfriend and I reconciled. We made another go of it on the basis we attempt remedy the issues that caused us to break up. Both of us felt we needed to socialise more as a couple. We injected a healthy dose of “coupley” outings into our relationship. One such outing was a visit to my favourite club night. On this particular evening, we encountered some of Boyfriend’s friends he made during our six months apart. One friend, Mike, was what you might term a ‘celebrity’ gay; a Eurovision song writer with an on-off-even-more-celebrity-gay boyfriend. He was – and always is – groomed and well dressed. He sported an air of self-importance and a tight t-shirt, showing his fine arms and pecs. I should chat with him and make an effort, I thought. He and I stood side by side in the nightclub. Dance music pounded from the massive speakers under the DJ’s decks. Strobes flashed in time with the music. I leaned in to deliver some small talk. I spoke loudly over the music.

“I love Spice. I’ve had more fun here than I have in any other night club.”

“The music makes it. I love it,” he agreed, nodding energetically.

I withdrew from his ear. What could we talk about next? Still thinking, I turned to survey the room, checking out the eye candy. I can only say I intended to talk to him again; I turned my head right, while looking to my left, absorbing the visuals on offer. As my head pivoted, my peripheral vision detected my companion’s head was much closer to me than expected. He was clearly doing the same as I, turning his head towards me, with no knowledge of where I was. It’s hard to describe the exact dynamics, but our heads collided at such a warped angle, just as I was about to speak, that Mike’s nose entered my mouth. It did not just graze or slightly poke my mouth; it went right in, withdrawing a coating of saliva as it exited. I was mortified.

“Eh, I am so sorry.”

He wiped his nose dry. “Don’t worry about it.”

The small talk continued, Meanwhile, I awkwardly remained next to him, praying we would leave his company. My face was red with embarrassment. I just sucked this guy’s nose, was all I could think. I just sucked this guy’s nose!

Weeks later, Boyfriend invited me to attend dinner with his friends one Saturday night. He noted my hesitance to respond.

“You really don’t like them, do you?” His tone was accusatory.

“No, they’re OK,” I said. I looked down at the floor. “I am a little embarrassed about seeing Mike.”

“Why on Earth would you be embarrassed about seeing him? Mike specifically asked me to bring you.”

I told Boyfriend the story of sucking off Mike’s nose. I can’t recall him ever laughing so hard as he did.

I never made the dinner in the end but I did provide a topic for conversation; Boyfriend repeated the Nose Story to the ten or so people in attendance. Apparently, the gathering, including Mike who had no memory of the incident, burst into convulsions at the tale.

One Door Opens, Another Closes

Over Christmas, my one year old nephew was at my family home, doing his usual routine of exploring the kitchen under the watchful eye of his parents. He wobbled towards the kitchen door, placed his weight on it and wailed loudly; making it obvious he wished to leave our company. I followed him towards the door.

“Let me teach you something, Jack.”

I picked the little man up in my arms, placed his right hand on the door handle and pulled him downwards. I held onto him, stepped back, knowing well he would not let go of the door handle. The door swung open.

“And that, Jack, is how we open doors.”

Some time later, Jack again wanted to leave the room. He placed both hands on the door. I watched, expecting him to scream for us to open the door. He made no noise. He stood on his tip toes to grab the door handle. He pulled it down. The door popped open. My brother, Dáire, watched in disbelief.

“Did he just open the door? Did you see that? Did you teach him that, Stephen? Fuck ya!”

“This is my Christmas gift to you. Enjoy!” I roared with laughter. “I’ll be in Dublin if you need me.”

Three months on, Jack’s ability to open doors has developed into a recreation activity. If anyone enters the room, Jack is sure to close the door behind them. Jack passes lengthy durations of time opening and closing doors as he pleases. He leaves a room and closes the door behind him, regularly falling on his ass as he does. He toddles down the corridor towards the bedrooms, taking great enjoyment of the seven doors on his journey.

During my last visit home, Jack and his parents arrived at the house around mid afternoon on Saturday following an excursion. I welcomed them at the hall door.

“How was your day?”

“We went to the park to feed the ducks,” answered my brother. “We brought Jack to the playground.”

“Does he like the playground? Did you put him in the swing or bring him down the slide?”

“No, he didn’t really enjoy the playground so much …” Dáire shook his head. “But he did enjoy opening and closing the gate to the playground.”

The Olives of Wrath

Sitting in Café des Irlandais last weekend, Johanne and I sat over a shared starter of foie gras served with chocolate shavings and croissant. The dish was cohesive: the croissant complimented foie gras; the chocolate drew out the paté’s flavours. A number of olives were scattered on the plate. I avoided these. I eat olives, but they aren’t my favourite food.

I decided to brave an olive. I took a small piece of the croissant, patted the foie gras onto it and pricked the olive with a fork. The moistness of the olive added to the taste experience. The olives tasted sweet.

“These olives are delicious, Johanne. Try one!”

Johanne grimaced slightly. “I’m not a big fan of olives. I find them bitter.”

“These taste sweet, as if they were soaked in something.”

“I’ll try one.” Johanne leaned forward and pierced an olive with a fork. She bit into it and nodded her head. “Mmmm, you’re right, they are nice.”

“See, I told you.”

“I can see what you mean about them being sweet. But that’s not really a surprise since they are not olives. They’re grapes.”

He who shall remain “…”

I was dropping some pretty dodgy shapes on the dance floor on Friday night in the Dragon, when a a guy approached me from nowhere. He was about five eight or so and dark in complexion. He wore a red t-shirt with faded denim jeans, also indicative of origins from a foreign shore. I guessed he was Brazilian. So determined was his approach, I felt obliged to cease my dancing and engage him in chat.

He leaned in close.”Hi.” He said no more.

It was clearly my turn to respond. “Hello,” I replied.

“What is your name?”

I wasn’t interested in him and felt peeved by his bold interruption of my boogie. “My name? I am Nameless.”

He leaned in closer, claiming even more of my personal space. His face was strained. He spoke louder. “You are Nomless?” This name was exotic; strange to his foreign tongue.

“Nameless!” He failed to comprehend. “I have no name! I am nameless!”

It clicked. He wasn’t amused. “Ah, Nomless. Well enjoy your night, Nomless.”  He placed emphasis on my new name. He turned and was gone, consumed by the darkness, flashing lights and gyrating bodies of the  dance floor. I resumed my dancing.

Later that night, I stood with my coat on, chatting to Niall before I made for home. The Brazilian approached us in the same steely manner I had earlier witnessed. He ignored me and talked with Niall. It was obvious their exchange was lost in translation, since the Brazilian appeared frustrated  having to repeat himself. I failed to overhear. The Brazilian, satisfied with saying his piece, abruptly left our side. Niall appeared confused.

“Well, that was random …” Niall threw his eyes to heaven.

“What did he say to you?” I half expected he had insulted me.

“He said, ‘I see you are friends with Nomless’. I didn’t understand. “Who the Hell is Nomless?”

Sweet Nothings

Things I’ve said on dates –

“If you throw that snowball at me, I will will force feed you it!”

“With political views like that, you’d never make it in politics. No one would vote for you. In fact, you’d have to be a dictator to enact ridiculous policies like forcing unemployed people to do public service.”

“I showed your picture to my friend. She thought you were very handsome but had big ears.”

“You have a twin sister? Do you look alike?”

“The sauce in this banoffee is delicious. What is it?”

“Zsa Zsa Gabor had her leg amputated. I heard it on some celebrity gossip show … Wait, maybe I made that up.”

“Yeah, there’s nothing worse than coming across desperate. I’m not desperate. Well, eh … No, no, I am not desperate.”

I Wanna Know What Love Is!

This month, I am single a year. A year is a good amount of time. Ideally, my life should have moved along nicely. It seems many things around me have, yet I remain stationary, admiring the change around me. This clearly is not the case. I’m just impatient.

The biggest indicator for me that I am moving on from the Great Break Up would be to meet someone. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a boyfriend or a sex friend. What I would like is to go on date and actually have an interest in seeing the person again; a second date. I would appreciate meeting someone who won’t say something so stupid that I take them down a peg. Is that really a lot?

I’ve felt a little dead from the waist down for some time. It has been years since I fancied someone proper. It would be nice to remember the sensation of a crush. How does one describe a fancy? If this were a Disney movie, I’d burst into song.

“Boom bang-a-bang, boom bang-a-bang,

When you are near

Boom bang-a-bang, boom bang-a-bang

Loud in my ear

Pounding away, pounding away

Won’t you be mine?

Boom bang-a-bang-bang all the time

It’s such a lovely feeling

When I’m in your arms”

Or …

“He’s a one stop, gotcha hot, making all the panties drop

Sweet sugar candyman

He’s a one stop, got me hot, making my ugh pop

Sweet sugar candyman

He’s a one stop, get it while it’s hot, baby don’t stop

Sweet sugar”

Or …

“You’re the one that I want

You are the one I want

Oo-oo-oo, honey

The one that I want

You are the one I want

Oo-oo-oo, honey

The one that I want

You are the one I want

Oo-oo-oo, the one I need

Oh, yes indeed”

Following a qualitative analysis of the above information it would seem love is an intense emotion. It should make your heart go “boom bang-a-bang”. He should “make your panties drop”. He should make you declare “you are the one that I want oo-oo-oo honey”. These highly credible sources can perhaps be summarised by physiological response, lust and declaration of love.

I’m waiting … and humming.

The Fooleries of Fairview

When anyone asks how long I’ve lived in Dublin, I automatically respond, “six years”. I forget it’s actually ten.

I’ve lived mostly on the Northside of Dublin except in third year of college, when I lived in Crumlin, which let’s face it, may as well be the Northside.

A couple of weeks ago, Johanne collected me from the City Centre to drive me to her place for a chilled out evening. En route to her apartment in Clontarf we passed through Fairview. Fairview might not be the most pleasant place in Dublin, but I retain a fondness for it, having lived there for two years during my college years. I liked Fairview for the fact I could walk into town in twenty minutes. The rent was relatively cheaper than City Centre. As a student it suited me.

Despite the fact Best-Friend and I routinely swore/swear not to live together, we have shared (and continue to share) flats and apartments. Fairview was one such location for our shared home. Our first place in Fairview was miniscule; there wasn’t room to swing a kitten. Despite this, I have great memories of Best-Friend and I sitting up until the wee hours, chatting and watching music channels. We were happy in our hovel. During my car journey with Johanne, as her car took a de tour down memory lane, I experienced a flashback that reminded me of the splendorous flat in Fairview.

The story centres on a bar of chocolate. For some reason any time Best-Friend and I live together there is always an abundance of chocolate. Best-Friend tended to buy large bars of Lindt when he returned from his travels. It was a good relationship we had; he bought chocolate and I ate it.

One evening we happened to meet one another at the door to the flat. I returned from my evening shift at the cinema. He had just finished college. I went straight to my room to throw my coat and excess clothing on the floor in my usual haphazard manner. I entered the living room to find an irked Best-Friend.

“Why did you eat the chocolate? I was going to give that to Johanne.”

His sharpness caught me off guard. “I didn’t eat the chocolate.” Or did I? I thought. With two steps I was half way across the tiny living room, next to the table where he stood.

“Look at the corners of the chocolate,” he said, pointing to the large bar of Lindt.

The chocolate bar sat in the centre of the table, presented in a fashion that made it ready for the filming of an advertisement. However, the scene was not picture perfect. The foil at two corners of the bar was torn. Small chunks were removed. Crumbs were scattered around the crime scene.

I examined the scene. “So …,” I said, “you think if I were to eat your chocolate, I would chew on the corners of your bar and hope you didn’t notice?”

Best-Friend did not respond. He knew I was going somewhere.

“And if I were to chew on the corners of your bar, do you think I would leave small shits on the table too?”

“Shit? What are you talking about? There’s no shit! ” He was most dismissive of me.

“Look!” I pointed to the small black dots that happened not to be chocolate. “That is mouse shit. We have a mouse. That is unless you think I went to an elaborate plan to dupe you out of the corners of your chocolate and sprinkled mouse shit on the table.”

“Oh right. Sorry.”

Goals for 2011

Fuck resolutions. I don’t believe in them. Get yourself a pen and paper and set yourself some goals for the year. Goals are far more attainable and satisfactory since you can work through them and tick them off a list.

Here are some of mine:

  • Pass soddin’ exams!
    • I have been ‘doing’ my crappy tax exams for the last four years. ‘Doing’ entails sitting, failing, resitting, chickening out and passing. Enough! I am going to get them in 2011.
  • Sun holiday
    • Fuck culture! This year I am not doing cultural weekends away. I want to go on a sun holiday. I want to lie on a beach by day and kiss men by night. Sun, sea and sex awaits.
  • Have a passionate fling
    • I need to meet a man. I need to celebrate my youth and move on from the Great Break-Up of 2010. I don’t want a relationship. A fling, however, would be a treat.
  • Make a soufflé
    • The art of soufflé making has fascinated me. Is it really as difficult as people say? I want to master this skill and serve it to some friends.
  • Go on a second sun holiday
    • More sun, sea and sex, please.
  • Make more male friends
    • I love the many women in my life, but man if I have sit through one more conversation on detoxes, diets or weight gain/loss, I shall hit someone.
  • Stop biting my nails
    • It’s a disgusting habit. I want to stop. I shall try.
  • Acquire a hobby
    • Apart from blogging I don’t have a hobby as such. I need one. This one is vague for the moment.
  • Join a team
    • I’ve never been on a team of any kind. I think it would do me good. This again is vague. More research needed.
  • Have a fancy cocktail party
    • I am going to have a cocktail party in the apartment for my birthday. This is an easy one.
  • Do something creative using my hands
    • I want to learn carving or origami to stimulate the seldom used creative side of my brain.
  • Enroll in a Pilates instructor course
    • When I get my tax exams, I am going to become a Pilates instructor. ‘Nuff said.
  • Pay for braces
    • I am going to clear the balance of my braces by March 2011. No (expensive) clothes shopping or needless eating out for me until then.