Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Personal (Page 1 of 7)

ILB’s personal posts

Revelations: Body Count

[Post number 1,000 on this blog. I’m a chatty ILB.]

The new year, as ever, heralds the usual changes. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of putting a 3 rather than the extra 2 at the end of the year; January (the most depressing month) drags on, and the cold exacerbates a whole plethora or interesting viruses. I’ve no idea which one I have right now; it’s keeping me off work, which is certainly A Thing.

Memes have changed too. After thirteen years, Hedone has decided to close down her perennial meme TMI Tuesday, one of the things that kept me blogging throughout the last, difficult year. Thank you very much for keeping this one going, H. I appreciate it.

And so now we have Revelations, a new meme by Molly. It is, basically, a blogging prompt meme with a rather broad scope, but I couldn’t resist joining in with this one.

So… body count.

What’s a body count?

I’ve got a query about the term “body count”. I have always used this to refer to the number of deaths in a piece of media – from a few in Leprechaun to a round one hundred in Shoot ‘Em Up. Does Prince Harry’s 25 constitute, for example, a body count?

Sexually, what even is a body count? Does it have to be full penetrative sex to count? What about oral sex; what about kisses? Is there a special category for those whose name you don’t know, or whose body you have forgotten? Is the term useful, or a little objectifying?

What about cybersex? I’ve had a LOT of that. Do they count?

What other terms do you use? “Notches on your belt / bedpost”? Or do you simply keep a tally on the wall like Lavonia Shed in Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens?

I suppose, like with so much of sex and sexuality, this is one of the things in which you make your own rules. I’m going to sum it up like this.

ILB’s List of Lists

I have kissed twelve people. Of those twelve, I have had sex with eight of them. Four of those have been partners (ie. girlfriends, fiancées, wife). While this looks deliberate, my affiliation to the four-times table is not, despite four being my lucky number. It should please the maths nerds, however.

They are:

01. Rebecca (a girlfriend, then a fiancée)
02. Louise
03. Alicia
04. Lilly
05. snowdrop
06. The Oxford Seamstress (a girlfriend, then a fiancée, briefly)
07. Catherine (a girlfriend)
08. Jillian (a girlfriend, then a fiancée, now a wife)

[NB: The above are, of course, pseudonyms. I know all their names – both Christian name and surname – in all eight cases, although only a few I’ve ever really used!]

I’m of the opinion that, when talking with the sex-positive crowd (and I might bring this up if I can get a table at Eroticon), the number of people you’ve slept with is either going to be scarily high or scarily low – there are very few in between. But then, again, what is high and what is low? Magazines and websites will tell you things, but are they really true or just dead tree clickbait?

Is my eight high or low?

Impossible to tell. While this is a low number, I’ve definitely had a lot of sex. Bear in mind that, of these eight, only one was a once-off thing (everyone else was two or more), whereas four were long-term partners. I must have had sex hundreds, possibly even thousands, of times… even though, having not had sex for eight years or so, my memory of the act itself may be slightly hazy!

And then let’s think about my situation. For the longest time, like practically EVERY TEENAGER EVER, I was absolutely 100% sure that I’d never have sex. Nobody had been interested and I hadn’t even been kissed until I was 17! 17 itself was a very tumultuous year for me, with my first kiss, first sexual experience, first girlfriend and first sex all happening in the space of a few months!

The fact that anyone found me attractive enough to have sex with was certainly hard to believe… it still is two decades later! Looking at it now, after my first relationship catastrophically went wrong, the fact that SEVEN MORE PEOPLE ended up sleeping with me seems completely insane!

So what’s my body count?

Impossible to tell. Yeah, I’ve had sex with eight people and I do suspect that, to quite a lot of the sex blogging community, that isn’t the highest of numbers. But I’m very grateful for all the sex I’ve had, from the first experience with a janky branded condom, to sex on the studio floor while listening to Brian Patten, to trying to get my girlfriend off the ceiling in the Bristol hotel room.

Every sexual experience has helped to shape me, to inspire me, to beguile me. Yes, I do miss having sex, but the amount of sex I did have feels like a lot more than my single figure may suggest.

And to everyone reading this who I may have had sex with at some point…

…I’m sorry about that.

New Year Scramble

The start of a new year (calendar year, not academic year) has always been an odd feeling for me. Logical ILB knows that time is a construct, and that what we are celebrating is an incredibly arbitrary point. Resolutions are made because of a new year, but part of me would rather make them in spite of one.

But, in the past, the new year has always been interesting.

One year I saw a friend who I rarely managed to see on New Year’s Day – not because it was New Year’s Day, but just because he was available. One I did some work for my uncle, who paid me £60 for a few hours and bought me lunch. One year I was still coming down from the high of getting a kiss from a girl I fancied a few days prior. One I spent largely singing the numbers from Avenue Q while my GP tinkled the ivories in a friend’s back room.

Philip J. Fry from "Futurama" getting ready to count down to the millennium.
Here’s to another lousy millennium!

And then there are the bad ones. The ones in the late ’90s and early ’00s where I would spend my days in floods of tears. Ones where I would toast the new year convinced I wasn’t going to make it through another twelve months. The millennium celebration was the worst – it was cold, it was wet, it was outside, I was completely crushed by the girl I wanted at the time, and I lost my special pen for writing my diary.

[Most of my misery during those years was due to unrequited love. It was the same girl for several years… and then another for a few more. I even drew a diagram once, in Comic Sans.]

And, of course, I was dumped on New Year’s Day 2011. That still comes back to me in my darkest moments.

And then there are the sexy ones. The beginning of 2004 that I spent in a sleepy haze. The moments when I managed to both finish the old year and start the new one with my penis inside someone else (orgasms are a nice beginning). The one where I got a very drunken text from someone saying she wanted to fuck me. Every time I’ve managed to wake up next to someone and start the day, the week, the month and the year with a kiss and a cuddle.

I usually spend New Year with my friends. This year, that didn’t happen.

New Year was comfortable. I ate hot food, I quaffed some lemonade and I watched Jools Holland with my wife. There wasn’t any high emotion, nor was there any drama either (nor was there any sex). There was a hug in the middle of our living room, a lie-down and a bit of a sleep. Another year passed, and after the action-packed first half of 2022, everything seems like a bit of anticlimax.

But it was comfortable and quiet.

And that is what I needed.

And so forwards we go.

2022 #orgasmcount (aka: “ZOMG! Easy Content!!!!!1 🙂🙂🙂”)

Everyone I know appears to have had a bad year in 2022, except for me. I’m not going to pretend that all of it was brilliant, of course – I’m not a maniac – but I did, in fact, have a relatively positive year. For me, that’s a major thing.

My blog has been one of the constants in my life, again… although this year I’ve mostly been doing memes. Whether it’s TMI Tuesday, Five Things, or even the occasional Soft Porn Sunday, I’ve just found memes to be a handy content generator. I may have had an okay year, but it’s been a busy one. Memes have helped my blog grow, although my favourite posts have always been the funny ones about my past.

This year I even wrote a compilation thereof, so, er, you’re welcome?

The Year

I had quite a confusing Spring, what with constant periods of unemployment and a pending wedding that I wasn’t entirely sure I could pay for. I did, however, get a job I really wanted, so April through to July were good months for me – even during the heatwave. July gave me a stag party thingy which was an excellent day.

Summer consisted mostly of wedding shenanigans, honeymoon wandering and then a few weeks of lazy vegetation. Autumn was a bit of an anticlimax following the action-packed first eight months, and maybe I’m still sleeping them off, judging by how little I did over Christmas!

I’ve spent the last few days trying to get over my cold (…if it’s a cold!). That’s pretty much it, so maybe there’s something more interesting to talk about.

The Orgasms

This’ll do. In 2021 I has 131 orgasms (more than I had anticipated). This year I had long periods of not being able to touch myself, but also some periods where I had many days to myself, in which I did it every day. My sexual desire has been all over the place, so maybe my New Year’s resolution should be about centering myself and realising where my sexual energy is best focused.

Fortunately, in the lack of the ability to do this, I kept a record….

117– the number of orgasms I’ve had this year (as denoted by a ★ in my WHSmith mid-year diary)

That’s less than last year. I am still pleased that I cracked the hundred mark, though.

32.05% – the number of orgasms in a year, compared to the number of days in a year, expressed as a percentage

Slightly less than a third. That’s an awful lot of time with my dick in my hand… but still a little disappointing, for some reason!

And the rest?

Usually I’d do these in categories, but I’ve changed up what I’ve written so much this year that I thought it would be desperate fun to go through this…

! (11/1, 31/2, 16/3, 17/4, 26/4, 9/7, 11/7, 12/12) – these are the days on which I had particularly powerful orgasms, for whatever reason.

x2 (21/2, 1/3, 13/4, 27/7) – days on which I had more than one orgasm! In my early twenties, I’d have done this every day!

Leana! (5 occurrences, maybe more) – orgasms had while watching videos of porn starlet Leana Lovings. I’m not a big fan of hardcore, as you should know… but I do like Leana!

Nice. (16/3) – I remember this one! It was a very pleasant experience all the way through, and a relief I needed after a difficult day. The same could also be applied to Blissful! 🙂 (23/8), for similar reasons (although I was hyped up on anaesthetic from the dentist at this point, so maybe…!).

Plentiful! (26/4) and Quite a lot. (31/8) – You don’t need a hint for this… just use your imagination!

🙁 (24/10) – a disappointing orgasm: too much effort for too little reward (and, if memory serves me right, I didn’t even finish the orgasm; it just stopped randomly). Fortunately there was only one of those this year!

Boing! (9/7, 8/9, 13/12) – my favourite thing to write as, as has happened before, these orgasms involve cum jumping in a pleasant arc, my appreciation of the aesthetic necessitating a mention of this!

The Audacity of This Bitch

This marks post number 58 in 2021, which amounts to slightly more than one post per week (1.115, if my maths is right). I promise I’ve been making an effort, but I’ll do better next year!

I know I say that every year, but this year I will, mainly because I want Robyn to buy me cloudy lemonades. Join ILB again in 2023 for more sex, porn and seemingly random screaming into the sky. See you there.

Dick

I started coughing and spluttering the day before Christmas. Although I made it through singing carols at Mass, and the day itself (although everyone took a nap in the afternoon; it was an odd day), Boxing Day passed in a haze of sneezes and tissues.

The rest of the week has been similar – a miasma of struggling to move, foggy thoughts, Glee marathons on Disney+, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Beechams Flu Plus. I’m meant to be going back to work next week, and exciting as that may be, I’m really not feeling it.

When I’m this sick, it’s very hard to feel sexy. Yesterday I read through my diary in preparation for tomorrow’s #orgasmcount, and in the moment, it felt like something Herculean to even think about being hard, horny or anywhere close to ejaculation. Even if I tried, it’s hard to imagine my hand co-operating with my dick.*

[*But I’m still going to try.]

If I’m not having orgasms, then I usually end up having my awkward dreams about not quite getting to have sex. Or being naked in public. Or both. Or fiddling with my dick. All four, if you count the dream I had about masturbating on the local bus that goes to town from the corner of my road. Inevitably I wake up hard from having these, and more often than not a little frustrated (not that I ever get to have sex in the dreams; the fact that it could happen is what keeps them going!).

But that’s not been happening either. I’ve been lying in bed feeling sick, day and night, every now and again trying to muster the strength to sit anywhere else – even in my own computer chair. The struggle, dear reader, is real.

Late last night I had a dream about watching porn. I don’t remember which porn it was, or if it even exists. All I recall, really, was a dream about watching porn, in my chair, on my own. (That’s how I usually do so, which is probably what made it so realistic.) And that’s how, in the dream, I had one of the biggest, hardest, throbbing erections I’ve had in the past few years.

And then I woke up and realised it was a real one.

Which was nice.

TMI Tuesday: Yawn, More Christmas

I don’t want no socks for Christmas – all the clothes you choose are vile
Cartoon ties are only worn by simpletons and paedophiles
I don’t share your taste in music – why would I like JLS?
And I don’t want a fucking voucher – what the fuck is BHS?

I sense a theme here.

Since last week, I have become more Ready For Christmas, insofar as I have now got nearly all the presents I need (most of this is due to my wife’s ministrations, for which they deserve my prudent thanks).

I’m still not entirely sure I’m there yet. My mother, who I talked to the other day, feels exactly the same way. Nobody feels particularly ready this year.

I’ve no idea if this is just my family. If any of you feel the same way, let me know and we can all share in the collected nervous collapse.

Anyway, I’m doing this meme once more. This week’s TMI Tuesday is about Christmas. Again. Maybe it’s a commercial thing – we had great penetration last year with “Christmas II”.

1. Would you rather work on Christmas Day and earn 4 times your daily salary or spend the day with your family?

Strangely enough, I actually know someone who has done the first of these. He was The Oxford Seamstress’ younger brother, who had come back from university and managed to get a job in a company that stayed open on every day of the year, including Christmas. He decided to make bank and went in on that day.

I’d never do that sort of thing. With one exception, I’ve spent every Christmas of my life with my admittedly very large family. As I said last week, I usually find Christmas difficult, but it wouldn’t feel the same without the rest of them – 19 at this year’s count – and I’d choose the second every time.

Plus, it’s quite clear I don’t care about money. If you knew the industry I was in, you’d agree with me there…

2. Would you rather spend a snowy day outside playing winter games or sports or spend a snowy day inside with your most annoying relative?

I actually can’t physically play games or sports. My body doesn’t let me do too much without suffering incredible amounts of exhaustion (sex notwithstanding; I can do that for longer…), and besides, I don’t like sports and never have done.

My most annoying relative is probably my niece, and since I adore her, I’d be perfectly okay with the second option.

3. For the month of December, would you rather sing Jingle Bells really loud every time you enter a room or wear a Santa suit every day?

Vera said that?
The Batmobile lost its wheel and the Joker got away, hey!

The last time I went to hospital, one of the pieces of advice I was given was to sing more. I love singing – that’s something I can do without getting exhausted – and although I’m not fond of Jingle Bells, I’d rather do that. We have, in fact, been singing Jingle Bells at work, so it kind of fits.

Here’s an interesting thing, though. My dad has actually done the second one. He was Father Christmas at the Millennium Dome for the one year it was open in ’00! Every single day he’d go down to Greenwich, don the red suit and ho-ho-ho his way through long lines of children asking him for things he didn’t recognise.

I don’t know, though. Maybe my dad actually is Father Christmas. The guy who came into my bedroom when I was a kid and put presents into my stocking looked suspiciously like him.

4. Would you rather choose your presents or be surprised?

Choose them.

This is another family thing we do, enabled by Modern Technology™ – we put together a “Secret Santa” list and everyone pulls a name from the hat. It saves having to buy 18 different presents and we then use WhatsApp to send a list out.

I am notoriously difficult to buy for. I used to ask for Nintendo games every Christmas, but right now I’m playing five Nintendo games I have yet to finish, so I don’t really need any new ones. The things I need are too expensive for a Christmas gift, and the things I want are too frivolous.

When I was younger, I used to get famously upset at getting the wrong present – usually from someone who’d made a wild guess at things I would like – so it’s kinder to everyone to send out a list. Since we all do it, I don’t feel so demanding any more.

5. Would you rather be Scrooge before he meets the [Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come] or be the Grinch before becoming good?

Has anyone here ever actually read A Christmas Carol? Scrooge, although a wicked miser, is actually caustic and witty both before and after his transformation. I’d rather be him, in order to have that quickfire sense of humour.

Plus, I’d have all that money and everyone would love me eventually.

TMI Tuesday: ‘Tis The Season

You look at yourself, you’re an elf, and the shelf is just full of disappointing memories
Trends come and go, and your friends wanna know why you are just happy
Making crappy little gizmos
Every kid knows they’ll just throw this stuff away…

Stylised text reading "'Tis the Season"
Fa la la la la, fellatio!

I am in no way ready for Christmas. I’ve bought one present for one person, even though I calculated today that I should be having eight more. I’m not even sure what’s happening, with who, or when. Today’s TMI Tuesday is absolutely one hundred per cent mocking me for my lack of preparation.

Christmas has always been a difficult time for me, for a multitude of reasons. I almost always end up crying at Christmas – I’ve even got a song about it – hopefully this year will be better. But then again, I say that every year, and…

1. Would you rather have a cold December holiday season or a warm holiday season?

I discovered the answer to this today.

I don’t deal well with “cold”. Every year I suddenly seem to remember this around this point, but this year it seems to be even worse. It’s one of the chilliest Decembers we’ve had in a long time, my central heating only goes on for a couple of hours and only really appears to work effectively in the bathroom, and Peter the Heater – so my wife tells me – no longer works.

All of this adds up to a very cold ILB and he genuinely can’t take it. Even as I sit here typing, wearing three layers and in a room with closed windows and curtains drawn, I still feel like icicles are forming in my blood vessels.

I don’t like being too hot either, but at least you can combat that. Take off as many clothes as you want and eat some ice cream. I could deal with “warm”. Cold is genuinely beginning to hurt.

2. Would you rather help Father Christmas deliver presents or help Father Christmas in his workshop?

To really understand this question you have to have seen the film Arthur Christmas. It’s a good movie for many reasons, the main one being that it’s perhaps the only Christmas film with a viable explanation for how he does it all in one single night. I don’t have the physical strength to help out, but I’d very much like to stand on the deck of the ship and watch!

Hands aren’t my thing (my year 8 DT teacher told me so), so I’m fairly sure many, if not most, of the toys I made would be defective. While I do have fond memories of Raggy Dolls, I’m not entirely sure making my own version would be what I’m going for. It might be interesting, though!

3. Would you rather wear nice clothes all Christmas day or wear pyjamas?

My parents once bought me, quite unexpectedly, a Mario onesie. It was snuggly and warm, and I wore it on Christmas night and for most of the following morning. I even took it to 47’s house, in lieu of pyjamas, when I was staying there once.

Of course I’d prefer to wear something comfortable; that’s my preference. I also have no style or fashion sense, so putting on a Mario onesie is probably the closest you’ll get. However, there appears to be a trend within my family of buying me some variety of blue or grey jumper every year, so I have no excuse for not wearing something nice for Christmas…

All I got for Christmas was this Poundland Jumper, on a jumper.
I mean, look at it, just look!

Last week was “Christmas Jumper Day” at work and, in desperation, I went to Poundland and bought a jumper there. I’m not entirely sure what it’s made out of, but I might be a massive troll and wear that all day.

4. Would you rather eat fruit cake for two days straight or eat candy canes for two days straight?

I don’t like fruit cake, so I’ll go for candy canes.

My second girlfriend was surprised when I told her I don’t like fruit cake, and absolutely aghast to find out that I don’t like custard either. I once made her, on her request, a bowl of custard (and nothing else) to eat. She had a very “you’re going t eat it and you’re going to like it” attitude towards her family’s fruit cake recipe, but she never got around to making it and therefore I never had to eat it.

My family has a tradition of stirring the mixture for Christmas cake while making a wish. My uncle then brings the cake out on the day and lights it on fire.

No, I don’t understand either.

5. Right now would you rather eat gingerbread cookies or drink hot chocolate?

I’m cold, so I’ll go for hot chocolate. Hot chocolate reminds me of a couple of sex blogging friends, including Rose (for whom I once made some) and Bunny. Just to tie this post to the rest of the blog, y’know, since there hasn’t been a lot of sex in this.

Rose sat on my sister’s bed, drinking her hot chocolate, having just had a shower and wearing very little on her famously long legs…

Ahem. Anyway.

I recently bought some special hot chocolate which is allegedly salted caramel flavour. It doesn’t taste of salted caramel or hot chocolate, but it is a warm, milky drink, so I’ve found myself quaffing it in large quantities. It’s not quite as good as the hot chocolate my Dad used to make me every morning at breakfast, but…!

Toilet Cheat

A terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad thing has happened and I can no longer masturbate on the toilet.

Wait, come back! This post’s more interesting than that, I promise!

My very favourite place to wank is in my computer chair – it’s how I’ve always done it; the familiarity is helpful – but, as has happened in many circumstances, I find myself horny and unable to do anything about it where I am, so I go to the bathroom and masturbate there. Since the only available seat is the toilet, that seems the most viable option, right?

I’m not even sure if I can wank in the shower any more. I don’t really wish to try. I like orgasms, but there’s a limit!

Pleasuring myself on the loo is a skill all to itself. I’ll need to be in a comfortable enough position to wrap my finger and thumb around my shaft; balance is important so I don’t break the seat (or fall off; that’s happened a few times as well…); I need to be aware of my surroundings, where the tissue is, and if anyone else needs to use the facilities as well.

It also takes me a lot longer to come if I’m not in front of my computer. My imagination may well be fertile, but it’s a completely different experience without porn.

And then I also need to recline. The traditional image of a cis man hunched over like a kind of sexual Quasimodo is not at all how I masturbate. I like to have my back supported, so I can lean back a little, which gives me more space to work with and a larger surface area around my dick.

What?

My computer chair affords me this luxury. The toilet, alas, does not.

We have recently had a new toilet installed, after the old one decided that functioning properly was not within its remit. While I am very grateful for the whole “things work as they are meant to” concept, with it came a new seat, and therein lies the difficulty: whereas the seat itself is comfortable, the lid has hard rimmed edges (as opposed to being largely flat). If I recline, I jab myself in the back.

If I recline any further, I develop a painful ring-shaped indentation right in the middle of my back.

It’s very difficult to wank, I find, when you are suffering incredible physical pain.

So I can no longer masturbate on the toilet. As a result, this is severely cutting down the number of times I can, really, masturbate.

Which means that my orgasm today – my first in about a week and a half – was nothing short of comparable to a supernova.

Which was nice.

IMD: Everyday Automatic Activism

I usually try to do something for International Men’s Day. Occasionally it’s an essay; sometimes it’s a graphic. The same messages keep coming back, though: not all men (with or without the formerly-ubiquitous hashtag) are bad, and what good men need to do is call out any everyday sexism whenever and wherever they see it.

I’m not overly fond of this logo, though.
His left arm is a little too long.

I’ve also talked about how I have a problem with doing this, because I don’t ritualistically surround myself with misogynists, nor do I have a direct psychic link to every man in the world so I can’t just seek it out and deal with it. I’m also a little nervy about how people may react. I asked a man to stop following a lone woman the other day and, although he did, he gave me a very dangerous look afterwards.

I’ve never been that confident…

…but I’m being more brave about it as the years go by.

A couple of months ago I was in a training session at work. On screen we had a list of our most frequent clients, with as many details as the Data Protection Act would allow. I’m not sure about how much our company asks of our clients (although if I had my way everyone would give their pronoun choice on their first day with us), but this did include gender.

“So, as you can see here, most of these clients are male,” said the trainer, “but we have two female clients here: Q and R.”

Younger ILB might have been too scared to say anything.

“I’m not sure that’s accurate,” I said a little too loudly. “R isn’t female.”
“It says ‘female’ here,” someone said from the back. “There’s an F in that field, anyway.”
“But R isn’t,” I said patiently. “They identify as genderfluid. The boss sent out an e-mail about it the other day. Putting their gender down as female is a bit of an insult.”
“They were called [R’s deadname] last year,” said somebody else with a maddeningly patient air. “That’s a female name.” A few people nodded.
“That’s their DEADNAME!” I near-shouted, standing up. “You can’t call them that! We shouldn’t even be discussing this, because there’s nothing to discuss! You need to change that label, or if you don’t want to, give me access and I’ll do it!”

What really got me about all this wasn’t the mislabelling of our one openly NB client (which I was, sadly, expecting). It was more to do with the fact that nobody else in the room seemed to think that anything was wrong.

“Look,” said the trainer, clearly trying to take back control. “This system doesn’t have any other options. You have to choose M or F. We can’t enter data of any other kind, and that’s to do with the company who wrote the software.”
“Well, that’s their problem,” I said. “But we should have at least put a note in the ‘other’ field. I’ll write to the software company, too.”

And I angrily sat back down.

I never used to have a problem with being silently active. When the cadets came recruiting in our year 7 assembly I got up and walked out. I shouted at one of my favourite teachers once for killing an insect in class. I yelled “WRONG!” at a Christian youth event when the preacher said Harry Potter books were satanic. When another Christian event called for us to “attack and destroy the false religion of Islam” I walked out into the dark field behind the venue and called H because I needed to tell someone I didn’t agree.

I even once told a young boy what he was doing was sexism, and he laughed because I’d said “sex”.

But that was all a long time ago. In the more recent years I have developed a fear of fucking everything up. I was incredibly lucky to get this job and I really don’t want to do anything to risk my position.

However, in this situation I did it without thinking. It was automatic, and exactly what everyone should do; I saw an example of everyday sexism (or, more accurately, NB-phobia… is there a term for that? Or is ‘transphobia‘ more appropriate?) and confronted it. It may not have gone the way I wanted, exactly, but I did it.

Not because I thought I ought to, or even wanted to. I didn’t even think. I just did it.

To this day I don’t know how our client found out about it, but the big smile and nod to me the following time I saw them may not have been entirely unwarranted.

Every day we get a little better. Let’s keep working on it.

TMI Tuesday: All About Me

You know Madonna ain’t got nothin’ on me
Beyonce ain’t got nothin’ on me
Christina ain’t got nothin’ on me
Everybody knows that it’s all about me

I haven’t had the time to do this meme recently, so it’s worth making the time to revisit it when I can. That may as well be now.

Today’s TMI Tuesday doesn’t appear to have much of a theme, aside from the questions, which are all about the participant (aren’t they always?). I suppose, in some way, that makes the questions more open. On the other hand, there needs to be a fair amount of justification insofar as your answers are concerned. But maybe that’s the point of the meme?

I just took a sip of Mountain Dew for the first time ever. It tastes of absolutely nothing. This isn’t relevant to the meme; I just thought you ought to know. Mineral water has more taste.

1. Defend your splurge. Tell us why you bought that thing — we won’t judge.

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of money on soft porn.

Like a lot of sex-positive folk, I always try, if I can, to pay for my porn. Scenes I review for Soft Porn Sunday are almost all from films I legitimately own, and/or from individual sex scenes I’ve downloaded, rather than the entire flick. I have quite the memory for this stuff, hence the collection I have amassed.

Most of this I paid for. I even signed up for a couple of sites and bought credits for downloading scenes. I’ve got DVDs, VCDs and even VHSs on hand in my big red box.

One of the most ostentatious porn purchases I’ve made was the entire Emmanuelle Through Time series, direct from the director himself. Most of this is now behind the DVD rack because my wife got really angry and threw something onto it, knocking the DVDs backwards and into the void. £150+ of hard-to-find porn and I can’t now watch any of it!

2. What is one thing you always take from a hotel room?

Toiletries.

If you’ve used any of them, it’s unhygienic to leave them behind. I also appear to have a constant shortage of things to use in the shower, even if I do buy the stuff. It just… vanishes, and even if the little bottles you get in hotels are very little, they’re good for a couple of showers, saving me having to scrabble around for shower gel and shampoo I may not actually own.

Homer Simpson stealing a table from the free hotel!
“You’re stealing a table?”

That’s pretty much the only thing I take (although once I took a pen), but I know others who take a lot more. I once stayed in a hotel in Manchester with my first girlfriend, who took everything she could find, including a hotel dressing-gown! As Homer says, they expect you to take a few things!

3. What is one thing in your pantry you know you keep for too long?

I don’t really have a pantry (and I can only think of one person who ever has), but I do have kitchen cupboards, and the answer to this is simple: non-perishables that I am never, ever going to use.

I also can’t explain why they manage to follow me to every new location. Unopened black beans, dry rice, quinoa and freekee wheat. I know they’re all useful, but I’ve just never wanted to use them in any capacity… I use plenty of pasta, lentils and risotto rice, so why isn’t there more of that?

On a side note, there’s also quite a lot of peanut butter around. I keep thinking that I don’t have any and buying more, only to discover another jar in some cupboard somewhere. I really ought to look before I do this…

4. Which game show sums up your life?

Hmmm. The options for this one are:

a. Jeopardy!
b. Family Feud
c. The Price is Right
d. The Dating Game

I’m at a loss to what most of these are, although Brucie hosted The Price Is Right over here, I never watched a single episode. In all honesty, I’m only really vaguely aware of the concepts of all the others.

I’m very fond of Knightmare – it’s my favourite programme of all time – but I’m not entirely sure a fantasy game set in a completely unreal dungeon sums up my life (although probably my choice of fiction genre!).

Maybe it could be University Challenge? I’ve been to university and I’m constantly finding life a challenge.

5. When all is said and done, will you have said more than you have done?

Oh, I have an answer for this one!

Yes!

Starbucks

I have mixed feelings abut Starbucks, which (for those of you who have been living in a cave for the last few decades) is a ubiquitous coffee shop chain (actually, it probably exists in said cave). It’s everywhere, but until I was about 16 or so, there wasn’t one in my local town. Opening one was A Big Deal, and although I never actually went there – I tried to organise a trip for my birthday but nothing came of it – I was fascinated.

Strange? Maybe. I didn’t really drink a lot of coffee until I went to university (I’ve always been more of a tea drinker), but even then, the idea of going to a coffee shop kind of eluded me. Even if some of my sexual fantasies included going into Starbucks, I never actually managed to enter the shop…

…until I was 18, and applying for a job.

I still don’t know why I applied for a job at a place I’d never actually been to. I’d decided at this point that I liked coffee, which helps. But I was in the middle of my A-Levels, very nearly finished, spent pretty much every weekend travelling to Birmingham, and was going on to university in a few months. It wasn’t a good time to apply. Why I got an actual interview I’ll never know.

To my credit, though, the interview went relatively well – I’d have to tie my long, wild rockstar hair back (but that was fine) and cover up any tattoos (but I don’t have any!), and although I didn’t actually get the job in the end, the friendly manager assured me that it was purely because they were only looking for somebody full-time, and I didn’t quite fit the bill there.

Is what she said.

A week earlier, I had been sitting in Starbucks for the first time ever answering questions. It hadn’t been going badly and, although I’d never really had many job interviews, I had a good enough feeling so far.

“Can you tell me about a time you’ve used your initiative recently?” she finished with.

I mentally flicked through things I’d done at school and home and came up completely blank. I could, of course, have said something – mention jazz band or being a library monitor (I was a prefect; I could have said that!) – but I wanted something a little more interesting. It hit me like a ton of bricks…

…but how could I say it without rationalising why?

“Yes,” I said confidently. “Recently I booked a hotel room to find, when I got there, that they had forgotten my booking. After negotiating with the hôtelier, I got my reservation fee back and booked into the hotel next door. I got the room I wanted, rather than acquiescing and taking the only room the first one had available.”
“That’s impressive,” said the friendly manager, “for someone your age. Why didn’t you take the room in the first hotel?”
“Oh,” I said, before deciding to finish truthfully. “I wanted a double room. I had someone with me, you see. The first hotel only had twin rooms.”
“I see. Who was with you, if you don’t mine me asking?”
“My girlfriend. We wanted to escape life for a while.”

The friendly manager gave me a knowing smile and scribbled something like

wanted to have sex with girlfriend so changed hotels

on her notes.

“I think you’re going to enjoy working here,” she said primly, gently but firmly chivvying me out of the door. “You’ll hear back in a week.”

I didn’t get the job because they were looking for somebody full-time. That’s the reason and I’m very much sticking to that explanation.

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