Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Tag: wedding chat

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.

TMI Tuesday: Doin’ it on the line

On LiveJournal, LiveJournal
Makin’ fun of your friends behind their back
LiveJournal, LiveJournal
Chronicle your gerbil’s heart attack on LiveJournal

Oh boy, oh boy, oh (innocent lover)boy. This has been a really busy week so far and it’s only going to get busier. Bashing out a few blog posts was something on the back of my mind – say, one every day leading up to my wedding and one the day afterwards – but that may not be the most realisable thing. We shall see.

Anyway, here’s the meme I’m using in lieu of writing any real content. Today’s TMI Tuesday is almost entirely about online dating.

LiveJournal: Because you can't masturbate all the time.
My first
started here!

I’ll point out here that I haven’t actually done a lot of online dating. It is true that I have met all four girlfriends online, and even then it’s been via blogging rather than dating sites – LiveJournal, Blogger and WordPress are my dating sites. In a few days’ time I’m marrying someone I nominally met on Twitter.

But I have set up profiles on dating sites – mostly adult ones. I’ve also had a stab at some of the more conventional ones. Were I single now, I’d almost certainly be trying one of the hookup apps… but then, I’m not single, am I?

1. What is your go-to question to ask in online dating?

This is difficult, because I don’t like asking questions; I’m much better at answering them. That’s not just an excuse to talk about me, it’s just something I’m more comfortable doing!

I like popular culture, so sometimes I’ll ask a question in that direction. The French au pair I once met on a dating site wasn’t very forthcoming with conversation until I asked her if she had seen The King’s Speech. She hadn’t, but she liked Natalie Portman and wanted to see Black Swan.

In the end I went to see Black Swan on my own. She moved back to France shortly after this.

2. How old is the picture you use for your online dating profile?

Since I don’t have an active profile, I can’t really answer that fairly.

Here’s something fun. When I was about 25, I got a picture taken of me in which I looked perhaps my best ever. It wasn’t truly representative of what I actually look like, but I did look pretty good in it, so for a while I used it for everything – Facebook profile picture, MySpace avatar, LiveJournal icon, and, yes, dating site image.

On my about page is a digital recreation of that very picture – it’s the one I sent to Boots for reference. I even once tried to use that as my profile picture on (but they weren’t happy about that!).

So, yes, that was my dating site image.

3. What is your biggest dating pet peeve?

Ghosting. I can’t stand it.

I’ve been ghosted many, many times – by people I’m talking to online, people who I’ve arranged to meet and haven’t turned up, and of course I’ve been a jobseeker, so I’m used to potential leads just vanishing into the ether.

It probably isn’t too difficult to say something like, “I’m sorry, but I’ve found someone / I’m not interested / I’m too busy / You are about as attractive as a buffalo’s bum,” or maybe that is difficult (I’ve never turned someone down so I wouldn’t know!), but it’s much politer than to just leave someone hanging.

I tend to invest a lot in romance, and I put a lot of effort into this sort of thing, so to be casually cast aside without being told I was cast aside did a massive number on my self-confidence.

At one point in my life I was responsible for hiring. I wrote back to every single applicant, even if they were applying on-spec when there weren’t any vacancies. I felt like I should be able to do for them what I wish had been done for me.

4. What are your goals with online dating?



On the few times I set up online dating profiles, I was really just looking for sex. Anything else would have been a bonus.

This was, once, relatively successful. The… whatever I had… with Alicia was the result of flirting on an adult dating site. We had great sex and shared good company with nice food. It was never going to be a long-term thing, but for what it was, this was a brief success story for me.

It also broke my years-long dry spell, so I was grateful to find that I still had the knack.

5. Have you ever slid into a stranger’s DMs? Did they respond?

“Slid” sounds wrong. I’m aware that “slid” is both the simple past and past participle of the verb “to slide”, but it sounds wrong. Mind you, so do “slad” and “slud”.

What was this question about again?

Oh, yes. I’ve never sent a DM to a stranger with some sort of ulterior motive, and never really to flirt, If I want to talk to someone I know on social media, I’ll follow them first, at least. If I’ve got a lot to say, e-mail is there for that purpose!

mIRC logo, complete with Pac-Man-lookin' smiley face thing
I didn’t use this to date. But to flirt, sure…

When I used to spent a lot of time on sexchat, I got a lot of unsolicited DMs (known as “PMs” or “queries” on IRC), mostly from angry, horny men who didn’t realise that I wasn’t a lady, since I had a fairly gender-neutral IRC handle and was both chatty and smart in the channels, which was usually a sign of someone not being a dude looking for cyber.

These I mainly ignored.

Bonus: Do you think a couple’s finances should be together or separate?

This question came up recently. I was aghast at the assumption that my fiancée and I had a joint account.

I’ve actually got three: my current account (which is always overdrawn), my savings account (empty), and a third account to pay rent and bills with (which is – as of today – also empty). My other half has two, although I’m not sure how much is in either of those.

We’re going to need money for our honeymoon. I’ll puzzle that one out later.

I genuinely don’t see the point of going through the rigmarole of setting up a shared bank account for two people earning different amounts of money at different times. Having separate accounts, where one of us bails the other out, has saved our lives at a few points.

Plus, I don’t think I’ll ever do it. My sister did it with her ex, and they broke up shortly afterwards. She lost a lot of money from that.

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.


On Monday of this week, I picked up a message on Facebook from my hairy friend, who – since we last saw him – has taken part in such activities as “get a hot girlfriend”, “marry her”, “move to America” and “fatherhood”. He was apologetic for not being able to come to my wedding this summer, and even more so for not being able to attend my stag.

While I was able to understand the first bit, the second was a little more mystifying. As far as I’m aware, I don’t even have a stag planned.

And then I got the message from 47.

All set for Saturday?

Next Saturday, sure. We’re going up to Manchester to see James – that’s been planned for months. Unless, of course, I have that wrong and it’s this Saturday.

Not talking about James.

And now I’m confused.

So I hit up my groomsmen group chat on WhatsApp (yes, I have WhatsApp; yes, I use group chats; yes, I have groomsmen. I am painfully middle-class and aware of it, thank you.) and asked if there is, indeed, something happening this weekend, as I’d been getting hints but nothing concrete.

My answer came from Mane Jr.

Who let slip about the concrete?

Which didn’t really tell me much.

I got back to 47 and was reminded to keep Saturday free and also have a clear sofa tomorrow night (I mean, I don’t, but I can arrange one). But there was still something relatively unexplained. In the end – and I should have done this earlier – I decided to ask Robinson, who a few months ago I asked to arrange a stag. I wasn’t even sure if he was doing so.

Instructions to follow.

And I’ve had nothing from him in the three days since.

So here I am.

Awaiting instructions.

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.

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