Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Love (Page 2 of 4)

ILB’s posts about love, crushes, limerence and suchlike

It’s my name and you can’t have it!

I wonder if there is a checklist somewhere, or a flow chart, that parents have to work their way down when one of their children gets married. Of course, one of those is the egregious “why aren’t you going to have children?” discourse (GOTN has an excellent post about this) – as if that’s the default, or something. I, of course, have already given my family my reasons for this.

In fact, I’m not sure any of the five left in my generation want to have children. The family continues with my one niece and nephew!

So they moved onto the next box.

“Have you talked about what to do with your names yet?”

Strangely enough, it’s not the sort of light conversation that I had thought of having, at least not midway through our cute honeymoon in Stockholm.

I have thought about it, though.

When I was 16, I had started to envision what married life would be like if I ever managed to marry my current crush. (I even built up a sitcom-style introductory sequence in my head, complete with theme tune.) At that point, I was dead set on taking her last name, rather than having her take mine. I quite liked the way it sounded, and if you add the fact that her father (for whom I used to work) did the same thing, it kind of made sense to continue the tradition.

I’m not overly keen on my surname anyway. It’s difficult to spell – since it’s a homophone for another word that already exists and people keep spelling it that way – people have had issues pronouncing it, too. In fact, I have the same first, middle, and surnames of my great-great-grandfather… and his father… and his father… and, you’ll never guess what… his father.

And they were all butchers, apart from Grandad, who made weapons.

I am so pleased my dad became an actor.

I feel, as you may understand, very little connection to this family who were founded on principles which I believe to be ethically wrong, and our coat of arms is particularly stupid (it’s a red cock on a shield and there’s nothing else). My immediate family is very important to me, sure, but historically? No. I don’t really need my surname.

But then of course there’s the issue of my wife’s name, one which is also impossible to spell and pronounce, plus it’s their dad’s surname, and they never had a particularly good relationship with their dad. Their assumed Internet name of “Sleight” suits her much better, and I’ve ever started thinking of them as “Jill Sleight” in my head.

But back to me. I’m keeping my own name for the simple reason that the legal hoops I’d have to jump through would be a massive headache. I’d need to change bank details, passport, work details, qualifications, student loan accounts, Government documents… I’ve claimed benefits for a while so that would be changed, too. Not to mention the subscriptions I have for Nintendo, Cineworld, and Green Party membership. Oh, and my trade union membership and probably about a million other things that I’ve forgotten to list here.

And people refer to me by my last name at work, so I’d need to deal with that somehow.

I’d need to pay to change it, as well.

Just thinking about this makes my head hurt, and I wouldn’t wish to foist this extra amount of stress onto my wife. I’m fairly sure neither of us want to burden the other with a surname which carries an amount of baggage, and seeing as how only one of the married couples I know (Robinson and Lovely) have taken that step (and it took her years, as well), I can very much see the rational behind it.

But then it hit me that I’m married now. I did it. It’s done. We have a life to lead, and as to what my wife’s name is, I genuinely don’t care.

It’s their decision and I’ll go along with whatever they decide, because it really shouldn’t be an issue.

My family can move on to the “so are you going to buy a house?” question whenever they want. I’ll give them time for that one.

View from the Same Side


Maybe a few bits were missing.

There was a bit where our minister announced us as “Mr. and Mrs.” [my surname] when we’re not sure if that’s what’s going to be the done thing (plus, Jill is a Mx.!)

The Mario-themed table signs I made, which took me an hour and a half at work (for which I made an excuse), were missing. My mother may have left them at home on the day itself, which made the table names and themed tablecloth covers confusing.

Perhaps the speech I made was the worst of the four. Maybe I was out of tune when singing Zendaya is Meechee at the end of it (as Robinson’s dad pointed out), even if I’d spent the entire year worrying about doing so.

Our first dance might not have been the choreographed spectacular I had been envisioning.

Gold wedding ring on blue tablecloth. Ooh, the contrast.
Hey, at least my ring was gold.

Maybe not everyone was really into it. Our bridesmaids were and our groomsmen certainly were. I was, too. Both my nephews, however, probably weren’t, judging by how one screamed all the way through the service and the other had his iPod in.

Perhaps the fact that our final song was SHUM by Go_A was seen as an “unconventional” choice contributed to it having a less enthusiastic reaction than Sit Down, which had been played just beforehand.

And, yes, my suit was light blue. For our entire engagement, up until just over a week beforehand, I’d been envisioning me wearing something in violet.

But that’s all okay.

Because it was my wedding. Our wedding, even. And we’ll remember every minute for the rest of our lives.

And that’s all I ever needed, really.

Stag Snapshots

“I think I may have broken my neck,” I wince as I gingerly haul myself out of the Kiddi Koaster car. Ahead of me, the rest of Adventure Island makes for an impressive vista, but it doesn’t take away the pain in my neck, which was – I’m sure – not designed for such a small coaster with jerky stops and starts. I’ve been on all the other coasters, except for the big one H and 47 went on, on which they both felt they would die.

The view from the top of the Ferris wheel in Southend.
View from the other side.

It isn’t the same Adventure Island as the one Robinson and I used to go and routinely rescue from a wide array of villains every playtime in Year 5… and yet Robinson is still here with me, and he has managed to not hurt his neck at all.

Because he’s short, probably.


We have less than five minutes to go if we can manage to escape the escape room. The other group – Mane, Mane Jr., H and my friend-who-is-a-teacher – have already escaped from theirs. We can hear the laughter, so we know.

The wizard prison theme goes completely out of the window as we finally unearth Thanos’ glove from somewhere. 47 places it on a sensor by the back door and we are out. Everyone collapses into laughter and I decide it best not to mention that I noticed the door we came in through wasn’t locked.


Everyone’s several drinks in when I suggest we play a game of I Have Never. The usual ones are rolled out – everyone else drinks when Einstein leads with “never have I ever had a crush on a co-worker” – and then 47 hits on the idea of doing ones specifically designed for me.

“Never have I ever written and published reviews of porn,” he says. I drink.
“Never have I ever written and published reviews of sex toys,” says Mane. I drink.
“Never have I ever had anal sex,” says Mane Jr. I drink.

“Never have I ever had sex with someone whose gender identity is the same as mine,” I say carefully.
“What’s that?” someone asks. “What’s wrong with the term ‘gay sex’?”
“Nothing at all,” I shrug. “Gay is great. I’ve just also had sex with an enby, so I can’t in all honestly say I’ve only ever had straight sex.”
I’m not sure I’ve explained it right. But a couple of people drink anyway.

I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve imbibed a lot of sugar. I’m relatively high when we decide to go to a pub for more drinks.

I still want to play this with sex bloggers.


“I don’t like Mr. Brightside,” I yell over the guy in the corner who’s singing it while banging out the chords on his guitar.
“You’re not having it at your wedding?”
“No! I don’t like it!”
“But it’s played at every wedding!”
“And it shouldn’t be! It’s about being cheated on! It’s not an appropriate song for a celebration of true love!”


“I hadn’t considered that…”


It’s after midnight and we’ve found a bus stop to drop H off at. It’s quite eerie, what with the neon lights of the bus station and the midnight silence, but at least I know it, and I know it’ll take her where she needs to go. There is a moment of calm when Robinson, 47 and I were the only ones left in the car.

“Right!” he says, revving the gas pedal. “Where to now? Stag stag stag!”

And then I realise what I should have known all along. That’s what love is.

Tap tap tap

The last time I wore an engagement ring, I couldn’t stop tapping it against things.

I’ve still no idea what it was made of (white gold, I am assuming) or how much it cost (although, given what I’ve found out since, it was probably about £69 – nice.), or even where it is now (Rebecca kept both when she ended it all), but I loved it, and I loved wearing it… and it made a short, sharp, metallic tap when it hit a surface.

Okay, let’s give this some context. The last time I was engaged I was seventeen and in the sixth form. I’d managed to go from “completely undateable” to “betrothed, intended, affianced” in the space of about two months, and I was having sex, which surprised everyone, since I’m not particularly shaggable either. The sixth form block was a very modern one, too – a new build with plenty of metal bannisters, plateglass windows and toughened plastic surfaces.

And I had a nervous twitch.

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. It heralded my arrival if I was coming up a flight of stairs, trailing my left hand along the metal and bouncing my ring finger every half second.

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. It reverberated through the classroom during quiet study time as I would carelessly drum my hand against the veneer surface.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap… tap… tap-tap-tap-tap. In a little rhythm while humming the theme tune I’d written for Stephen King’s IT. Accompanied by a pleasant flump (om the book) when we were all giggling at the appearance of a clown in Othello who has to inform musicians that Othello is in no mood for levity.

Tap tap-tap-tap-tap, tap! tap! to the tune of “Shave and a Haircut” whenever someone said something witty. Tap tap tap tap tap rapidly when everyone else in the room applauded. A sharp rap! if my IBS had stopped me from talking and I needed to get someone’s attention. Rhythmic taps to accompany myself if I was singing.

Bell rang? Tap.
Door opened? Tap.
Laughter? Tap.

And then, when I got bored, I’d take my ring off and fiddle with it. A tiny golden fidget toy, for the engaged boy in your life.

I’ve been wearing my current engagement ring for over a year now. It’s much simpler – an unembellished band of silver which shines less, costs less, and (this is the important bit) looks exactly the same as the one my fiancée is wearing. I don’t even wear it all the time – it comes off when I get home, and then back on when I go out…

…but it’s only just now that I’ve realised I don’t really tap it against things.

I fiddle with it, of course, and I play with it – threading it through my fingers and all. But that’s more of a sensory thing. Any small noises made by my ring are unintentional – a clink against a coffee cup; a thap as I place it down and it comes to rest on top of my passport. Drudd if it comes into contact with cardboard, an almost inaudible shh as it slides onto (and off) my finger), tip if it comes into contact with the little Doxy keyring I have in my pocket.

But I never tap.

Except for the day before yesterday. It was the end of my first week at my shiny new job and I was, and this is the technical term, BORK’D. On my grateful way out, I used both hands to heave the gate open and make my way out onto the street.

My ring came into contact with the handle.


And I felt more powerful than ever as I started home.

Dream Stuff

“I had a sex dream about you last night,” I said through the haze of sleep early this morning, “but I can’t remember much of it. Still, it was a sex dream about you, and that was nice…”

I had bigger things on my mind. This morning we were supposed to be going to the council to register our intent to marry this summer. The appointment’s been booked for months, and it was unceremoniously cancelled with no prior warning an hour and a half before it was meant to have happened.

Neither of us would have got up so early if we’d known, but then again, this council has always been incompetent. Maybe the local elections in May will elect a new one. That’s very unlikely, though.

It was important, whatever we were doing (or, as it turns out, not doing) this morning, to tell them that I’d had a sex dream about them.

I will admit that there were some bits that I had to miss out. The fact that the dream also involved walking down the long corridor in the YHA I stayed in at age 17. Or that it barely involved them at all and the sex bit was the only bit with them in it (it was, however, the best bit!). Or the position we did it in (probably an impossible one), how long it lasted (not very long), or why it had to end so quickly (my mouth inexplicably filled with water during sex and I had to run to the bathroom to spit it out).

I missed all those bits out, although in my head I was already planning a tweet about it.

In hasn’t, in all honesty, been the best of days.

But I had a sex dream about them.

Which was nice.

Should’ve gone to Specsavers

It was a very sleepy Monday. For reasons unrelated to each other (but I suspect “it’s the middle of the term and there aren’t any holidays in sight” was probably a big factor), none of us had had a restful weekend. Nobody wanted to be in school, and you could tell that the staff felt largely the same way. Nevertheless, I tried to make the best of it.

“Hi, Ant.”
“GET YOUR EYES TESTED!” shouted Ant at maximum volume, and he stormed off.

Tuesday was a little better, although the weather was proving to be muggy and uncomfortable. I spent most of my breaks in the library, anyway, but it was still a relief to get inside. Ant came by at one point, and I raised a hand in friendly greeting.

“I TOLD YOU TO GET YOUR EYES TESTED!” he yelled in my face before walking off in a huff.

On Wednesday, I was sitting with my friends in the dining hall when Ant came up to me from behind.

“HAVE YOU HAD YOUR EYES TESTED YET?” he caterwauled into an ear that hadn’t worked properly ever since.
“I have, but my astigmatism is very mild,” I replied pleasantly while he stood there giving me a frown so hard it was very clear he wished me nothing but a slow and painful death. “Am I ever going to find out what this is about, or have you just started this and don’t know where you’re going with it?”

[NB: This last statement was used as the basis for ABC’s Lost, a few years later.]

“It’s because you can’t see,” hissed Ant – which I can’t fault him for; that’s the usual reason you should get an eye test.
“I thought I could, unless I’m actually dreaming and this is all an illusion…?”
“No, I mean you can’t see. Ugliness. You can’t see that she’s ugly.”

This was a genuine question on my part. He could have been referring to Ann Widdecombe and wouldn’t have been wrong, either.

“You know who I’m referring to. That girl… the one you sit opposite in Science.”

‘That girl’ had a name, which everyone knew, including Ant, who had been in the same classes as her for five years.

“Oh,” I said softly. “But I don’t think she’s ugly.”
“Well, you need to get your eyes tested, then,” said Ant. “Because she is. And I heard you fancy her, so you need to…”
“…get my eyes tested,” I supplied. “But your information is wrong. I don’t fancy her. I just want to have sex with her.”

Okay, maybe I didn’t say that last bit. But it wasn’t false. I didn’t fancy this girl and I never had, but we had been friends for a long time and I really, really, really wanted to have sex with her. I’d been having dreams about the subject since year 7.

Sure you don’t,” retorted Ant sardonically. “I heard otherwise. You’ve had dreams about kissing her.”

My dreams were more about how well my penis might fit into her vagina, but I wasn’t going to say that either.

“I have,” I admitted, “but you always dream about crazy stuff. I’ve had two dreams in which I found out I was Jesus. In the first of those, I used my divine powers to turn into a dinosaur.”
“You what?”
“And in any case,” I ploughed on, “you’ve had strange dreams yourself. You told me about that one you had about Britney…”
“I HAVE MANLY NEEDS!” Ant screamed like a banshee, and without another word, he turned and steamrollered off, right into a wall that had been there since we started and you may think he might have noticed.

There was a pause.

“What was all that about?” asked Einstein as we carried on with our lunch.
“I’m not sure,” I shrugged. “Maybe he needs his eyes tested.”

You, I Love

As much as I’d like to say so, I can’t – and never have been able to – hate Valentine’s Day. I never quite got the vibe as a single teenager (or single young adult, if you are counting 18-23 as being anything else), in particular seeing websites and magazines continuously saying it was the perfect day to pull, but never being able to pull myself.

I’ve never managed to pull. I don’t even know how to attempt it.

Since I was a very young person, though, I’ve been fond of the phrase “I love you”. It’s very simple, three syllables, but it carries so much weight. I like to use it as much as I can, and even when I was five, I wrote a song based on what I’d heard on Top of the Pops:

Ooh, I love you, baby
But only when you’re singin’ true (ooh-ooh-ooh)
Singin’ true
Is just for me and you…

“singin’ true”, 1990

As a single teenager, I said it a lot as well. Usually choked out through a veil of tears in paroxysms of grief, but I said it. At one point I stood at the edge of an echoey valley and shouted it at maximum volume with the idea that the girl I was saying it to would hear somehow.

Sometimes, with the pretence that I was writing artful poetry an an excuse, I’d write it. I was a fairly angsty poet, for sure, but I very much liked to make a declaration of love:

You are agony,
Yet the agony you bring I have to endure.
If I’ve decided that I love you
Then I have to face the consequences.

“The Pleasure of Agony” (1999)

My first girlfriend didn’t like to say it. She was of the opinion that it was “a bit overdone”, whereas I was always fond of saying it to her. If American sitcoms are to be believed, some couples don’t say it at all, and I made a point of doing so. And in my second, and third, relationships, it was always something I’d say – first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.

When I was single, I used to say it every Valentine’s anyway. Me being me, I would have had a crush on at least one person on every occasion, and they’d be who I said it to. Not out loud, of course, but by myself in a corner somewhere. I felt it a little cathartic to say “I love you”, even if they’d never know or care.

Having someone to tell you love them makes it all somewhat different.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t tell my fiancée I love them enough. I say it a lot – sometimes it’s a simple text; sometimes it’s every other sentence – but I can’t get enough of saying it. I feel love for them, I do love them, but I can’t ever feel like I say it enough. I could say it times, but it still wouldn’t quite express how much I want to say it.

So today I kept a tally.

Today, I have told them that I love them eighteen times, and every time I meant it. By the end of the day, it will probably reach about twenty or twenty-five (I’ll update this post when I reach a final total!). But I’ll keep saying it. I like saying it. I can’t tell them enough. And, of course, I like to hear it back.

[UPDATE: 27! More than I had predicted, helped a lot by us ending up batting the word “love” back and forth just before bed.]

And, gentle reader, I love you too.


[11:00 pm.]

ILB: “Huh. Huh. Huh. Huh. Huuuu…”
JS: (off, from bedroom) “Are you okay?”
ILB: (from sofa) “Yesss…”
JS: “Are you sure you’re okay?”
ILB: “Yes, I’m sure, I’m…”

[Pause. ILB orgasms violently, a string of cum shooting from the tip of his throbbing penis. It lands on his supine body, leaving a continuous trail from his shoulder down to his belly.]

ILB: “Uh…”
JS: “Are you okay?!”
ILB: “Yes, I’m good!”

[ILB hauls himself from his position and gropes for the tissues. There is a lot to clean up. He starts wiping, both impressed and appalled by how much there is.]

JS: “You’re good?”
ILB: “I’m good!”

[Quiet. JS has gone to sleep. ILB crawls under the heavy duvet he has brought to the sofa. He gives a soft, satisfied sigh, upon which the CURTAIN falls.]

The Mystery Crush

A few months into our relationship, my ex indicated to me that she had a crush on someone else.

“She doesn’t want to say this, and she isn’t going to mention it again, or act on it,” said Oxford (although his voice sounded a lot like the Seamstress’ own), “but… there is someone else.”

My eyes, already filled with tears, started to leak. As they rolled down my cheeks, he carried on.

“As for you,” he said to the Seamstress, “what do you think you are doing, hurting this beautiful boy? You don’t want to upset anyone, and Lady Pandorah would be very upset with you, so there.

“Right,” I whispered through a veil of tears. “Thanks, Oxford.” And I curled up to cry as the Seamstress awkwardly – but sweetly – stroked the hair of the boy she hurt.


A few months after our relationship ended, I asked the question that I’d been aching to ask since that moment.

“You know how you said, a few months in, that you had a crush on someone else? Who was that?”
“Oh… no-one.”

That didn’t make sense. It couldn’t have been no-one. She wouldn’t have said there was otherwise.

“No, I really need to know. It doesn’t matter who it was. Really.”
“Oh. No-one.”

This time, there was a finality to her voice. The conversation ended, as they tend to do, and neither of us ever mentioned it again. In fact, I don’t think I have heard her voice since.

But I still wonder who it was. It can’t have really been no-one, or she wouldn’t have indicated otherwise.

It was more than a decade ago… but it still keeps me up at nights.


For the fourth time that day, I regretted not bringing a hat to Chessington. Although the continuous beat of the sun had proven quite effective in baking off the water I was covered in from Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks, it was still feeling quite oppressive as we stood patiently in the queue for Seastorm.

Lightsinthesky had left us a while ago, accusing us of living in “pencil-land” when we both refused to go on Rameses’ Revenge. Einstein and I were enjoying ourselves, however.

What neither of them knew was that I had had A Moment™ earlier that day. As usual, nobody had wanted to sit next to me on the bus, so I had a double seat to myself – most of the rowdy boys opposite me were more concerned with making V-signs at lorry drivers than haranguing me, so I had a quiet journey. As we pulled into Chessington, however, the radio blasted an Elton John track the instant the second bus came into view.

The first person I saw through the window was Zebra, the girl I had a crush on. Granted, she was the only one I’d been looking for, but the combination of the music’s swell and her long, dark hair (and beautiful toothy smile) had a profound effect on me. At that moment, all I felt was love, love, love, and the dark and difficult year I’d just had seemed to simply melt away.

As Einstein and I clambered onto Seastorm, she hovered into view again (and I mean that – her feet never seemed to touch the ground), accompanied by her short, cheeky friend and two tall, white girls with glasses. Eventually, I’d end up with a crush on all of them. But, at the time, I only had eyes for her.

“Look, there’s…” I started, but I never got to finish my sentence, as she faded into a blur when Seastorm started moving. I held on, let out a few whoops every now and again, and thought to myself, this is all right. Everything’s all right.

For the rest of the day, I kept an eye out for her, although the milieu of warm bodies throughout the park was too dense to make out her shape. I went on as many rides as I could, for sure, but I never did see her after Seastorm.

As it grew darker, the teachers corralled us and we were duly shepherded back onto our respective buses. I sat in the same seat, the multitudes prepared their V-sign fingers, and I trained my eyes on the window I’d seen Zebra sitting at that morning. As I’d hoped, she materialised in exactly the same place, smile fixed to her face, looking straight forwards.

She wouldn’t see me unless she turned to the right.

So I stared…

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