Saturday, 31 July 2010

Like a virgin

A recent conversation, with a colleague and fellow blogger of mine, led me to question if it's better to save ourselves until we're married or if we should explore the crazy sexual world that's out there before we decide to commit.

Being a virgin is no longer seen as 'uncool' as it was when I was a teenager, when everyone couldn't wait to get their rocks off to anyone who'd give it to them. Losing your virginity to your husband is now seen as the ultimate way for a girl to say "I love you". Even if your new husband has slept with half of the city.

Perhaps it's just living in Dubai, but a large chunk of unmarried girls here are still virgins. They're waiting for that special someone, to live the fairytale where their Prince Charming will sweep them off their feet on their wedding day, carry them over the threshold and onto the four-poster bed where they'll make passionate love all night long.

Don't get me wrong, the notion is very sweet, if not a little naive. I know of very few women who had an enjoyable experience losing their virginity. In fact, I think I'm one of the few who had a pleasurable experience. Ok, so it wasn't the Prince charming fairytale, but it was a hell of a lot of fun and I don't regret it at all. In fact, I'm glad I did it when I did. I wasn't too young where I had no idea what I was doing, and I wasn't too old that I'd make up for lost time in the future. Losing my virginity opened my eyes to a whole new world, and I began to explore myself sexually.

However, many women who are sexually liberated are seen as insecure or lacking self-respect. I'm not sure I agree with that. Don't get me wrong, I don't think a woman needs to throw herself at every man that breathes, but exploring sex is healthy. How do you know what you like and what you don't like? Self-love is a great way to fantasise but it's just that, a fantasy - when you put them into practice, you might find they're not what you imagined. After all, we're one of only three species' designed to have sex for pleasure, along with chimpanzees and dolphins, so surely being sexually active outside of wedlock is no bad thing?

But what about those who do wait for that perfect guy? There are so many sexually deviant men out there, what happens when you find out your new husband wants to blindfold you, chain you up to the bed and... pee on you? No, it hasn't happened to anyone I know, it's just an example. After all, golden showers are just one of the very many outrageous sexual preferences out there. You only need to take a glimpse into the world of pornography to see how fucked up it can really be.

Whilst I'm all for trying something new, there are sexual acts, such as that of the golden shower, that I'm just not willing to participate in. The thought of being eternally bound to someone who might want me to do that is, well quite frankly, frightening. Then there are the guys who just can't get it up or suffer from premature ejaculation. And more often than not, guys are more than willing to put their fingers in their ears, stamp their feet and refuse to acknowledge they have a problem. But, once you're married, it's tough luck for you. If you're single, you put on your clothes and head back to your own apartment where you won't have to suffer the humiliation of someone peeing on you or ejaculating on your leg.

But what do guys think? Most Arab men won't marry a girl unless she's a virgin, yet most Western men would be far too scared to touch one. Who is the pressure on? Western women to lose their virginity too quickly or Arab women to not give into temptation? Surely if a man really loves you, it doesn't matter anyway? Without telling them the truth, how would they even know? There are so many myths about men being able to tell if you're a virgin or not - from bleeding the first time you have sex, to men being able to feel if your hymen is in tact or not and even to how active you are in the bedroom. It's all so 1950's.

So, whilst peer pressure and magazines such as Cosmopolitan might have encouraged me to go out and get laid in my teens, I'm so very grateful that they did. If I was a virgin and wound up married to a guy who was a freak in the bedroom, my problems would be so much worse than just sleeping with another man.

So, for all the virgins out there, I salute you for being so brave!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Good sex, bad sex

The dating world is quite often a cruel one, so when you reach the point where you’ve had a few dates and are ready to take your new relationship to the next level, it’s all such a thrill - that flirtatious touch on the arm, the first kiss and the throes of passion in the bedroom...

We all know the first time to fourth base can be a little bumpy, that’s natural, but what about when the chemistry between the sheets is almost non-existent? Can you tell the difference between the bumpy first time and when it’s just not working? And how can two people get on so well out of the bedroom, be attracted to each other, and yet have zilch going on in the sexual chemistry department?

Does sexual chemistry ever improve over time? And how important is it to a relationship?

Personally, I believe it’s just as important as being friends. There’s nothing worse than dreary sex in a relationship. Well, unless you’re dating a wife-beater, a megalomaniac, a workaholic, a liar, a cheater, a bore or an addict, and then dreary sex is the least of your worries!

I was once seeing a guy I was really into – he was tall, cute, funny and we were friends. Things between us were electric and I couldn’t wait to get him into the bedroom. The day I did was a sad day… Much to my disappointment, the sex was nothing more than dull. There was no spark, no passion and we didn’t really connect. It was a shame, because outside of the bedroom, we were the perfect couple. Needless to say, we didn’t wait to find out if our sexual chemistry would improve…

But then there are the guys you date where the sex is un-fucking-believable but they rip your heart out and trample all over it. J and I are the perfect example of this – amazing lovers but too non-committal to give our relationship a real go of it.

Little Miss LC and I were discussing this the other day, and we both found that in every relationship we’d ever endured, we either had great relationships and bad sex or great sex and bad relationships.

Is it that you can’t have both? And is that why we sometimes have to sacrifice one of the checked boxes on our list? Should we just settle or should we keep searching for that perfect chemistry?

I thought of asking all my (seemingly) happily married friends what their sex lives were like, but then they’d never admit they were having dull sex with their partners.

Perhaps it is just a bumpy ride the first time and we ought to give it a chance before we decide it’s not working. But how long do you give it before you’re stuck in a rut? My mother always tells me to stick with the honest guys that aren’t very exciting. Truth be told, I can’t resist a bad boy, where the sex is out of this world and our relationship is too complex to explain. Or too simple that it’s non-existent.

Perhaps when I’m older (and wiser) I’ll realise that mind-blowing sex isn’t necessary in a relationship and I’ll be happy with someone who’s just willing to be my friend. But in the meantime, I’m looking for the perfect combination, even if that means having my heart smashed into a million pieces in the process. If I find it, I’ll let you know…

Monday, 26 July 2010

Break-Up Etiquette

Usually, when things come to an end with a guy I’ve been dating, I tend get over it pretty quickly. I might be upset and cry for a night, but that’s not over him, that’s over me… I question myself - am I too forward? Too excitable? Too fat? However, it doesn’t last too long, I know I have a lot to give and, in return, will find someone who wants to give something back to me.

The only time I’ve ever really cried over a man was my first love. Shortly after I was over the break-up, I cursed myself for being so wet and I swore to myself I’d never let another guy have that kind of power over me again. And I didn’t... Until now.

All those hideous memories have come flooding back - the tears at night, the sad songs, the hunger strikes followed by the binge eating… My friends have had enough of my miserable Facebook status updates and constant whining about men. I feel like I’m slowly isolating myself, almost as though nobody else could possibly understand my pain. I’d built this relationship up in my head for the last seven years. I’d invested time, money and a lot of love into it. And now it had been ripped out from underneath me.

Suddenly I realised why some traders on the stock market go batty when they lose everything they ever worked for. I always thought it was ‘just money’, but it’s anything but. It’s the time, dedication and passion that’s also been lost. So how are you meant to deal with such a loss? There are stories of traders commiting embezzlement, killing their families (including pets) and then commiting suicide – none of which I really like the sound of.

After one week, I’ve exhausted my friends talking about my break up with J, but I'm still not over it. In Sex and the City, when Carrie broke up with Mr. Big for the first time, she talked about it so much that her friends referred her to a shrink.

So what’s the next stage for me? Do I lock myself in my bedroom, cry and chain smoke? Do I desperately find somebody to get under so I can get over J? Do I stop eating and over-exercise until I'm anorexic? Or do I bottle it all up inside and become some sort of man-hating super-bitch? Or is there some kind of post-break-up etiquette I should be abiding by?

I feel an enormous amount of pressure to be over J in such a short space of time. Everyone keeps telling me to pull myself together but I can’t. None of my friends knew J. None of them really saw us together. None of them know how I feel about him and none of them know how he feels about me. I know we weren’t in a traditional boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, but it was inevitable for us not to have deeper feelings. We just never admitted it.

What I’m trying to say is; I need time to get over this. Of course I'd rather I were over it sooner rather than later, but how do I speed up the process? Or is it just as Mariah Carey says; love takes time to heal when you're hurting so much? Help!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

All Good Things Come To An End

It's over. It's all officially over. And it breaks my heart.

After my phone call with J a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd be fine with just being friends, but truth be told, knowing it was never going to happen between us was just too much to bear.

After an all-day drinking binge last Friday, I lost it. All my pent up feelings to J were free-flowing, just as the Cosmopolitans had been an hour earlier. It wasn't intentional. I was writing out an emotional text message so I could push thoughts of J out of my mind for the rest of the evening and concentrate on finding someone who wasn't 3500 miles away and who wasn't expecting a child with another girl.

But, after a few too many drinks earlier in the day, my hand-to-eye co-ordination was a little off, and instead of pressing the cancel button, my super sensitive iPhone reacted to the soft touch I gave the send button. I tried pressing cancel over and over again, but as I saw the message being sent, my stomach felt like lead. I instantly realised what this meant...

I'd never confessed my feelings to J. I'd never even really admitted them to myself. But then I suppose you don't fly 3500 miles for two days to see someone you're not in-love with. And you don't book one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the City if it's just sex. And you don't continue seeing them for seven years...

As each day passes, I realise just how in-love with J I am. I think of all the times we spent together, all the phone calls and text messages. The things he said to me that made me wonder if we actually were more than just fuck buddies. The way I always thought of him whenever I slept with another man. The way he'd compliment the way I smelt, the way I looked and our chemistry in the bedroom. Even when I complained I was putting on weight, he assured me he loved my figure just the way it was. I missed him and if ever there was a reason for me to move back to London, it would have been J.

I know he loves me in a strange roundabout way, but never enough to actually admit it. Then there were the occasions where he'd treat me so badly, I'd wonder why on Earth I wanted to be with someone like him anyway. But then I think of his smile when we'd see each other after so long... That, the embrace and the long lingering kiss told a different story.

We were two kids playing it cool - he was the self-confessed commitment-phobe and I was the elusive girl that lived in a far away land. I was comfortable knowing that no other girl would ever have him the way I did. I was the closest thing to a relationship J would ever have.

Now our whole relationship is on its head. Every text message I send is screened by the mother of his child. He deleted his social networking accounts and stopped popping up on Skype. I had no way of reaching him anymore and the gut-wrenching realisation that it was all over hit me hard.

I wonder if I intended to send that text message subconsciously. After all, I had nothing to lose at this stage; there was so little contact between us that it's almost as though we never knew each other at all. J didn't text me back and I cringed at the thought of what I'd confessed to him. It had taken me seven years to admit to J that I loved him, that I couldn't live without him and that I'd always had feelings for him.

When I hadn't heard from J, I thought that was the end... until he called me three days later. As soon as I saw his name appear on the screen of my iPhone, I panicked. I put my phone on silent and flipped it onto its front so I couldn't see his name flashing. I couldn't face talking about my feelings to J. We'd never broached the subject before and it was the last conversation I wanted to have on a Monday afternoon.

But, clearly, it was high on J's agenda. Five missed calls later and he sent me a text saying he needed to talk to me. I pretended I was in a meeting and told him to call me later. An hour went by and J called again. This time I picked up.

I waited for him to rant at me, telling me how inappropriate I had been and how he'd always said he didn't want a relationship, but he didn't. He asked me if I remembered sending the message (to which I said I didn't) and that the mother of his child had read it and freaked out. I apologised and told him it wouldn't happen again... because I was deleting his number.

When he asked me if what I'd written in that text message was true, I told him that, from what I remember, it was. He responded by saying he had no idea I felt that way. And although he didn't tell me he didn't reciprocate those feelings, he didn't tell me he did either. What he did say was that he didn't want to lose contact with me. Was that J's way of telling me he felt more for me than he let on? Or had he just matured and realised that our friendship was worth salvaging?

J asked me to keep his number safe but I didn't want to. I needed to erase him from my life and I had to start by getting rid of his phone number. I told him I wouldn't be keeping it. Not on my phone and not anywhere else. J seemed a little taken aback, but said he'll call me. I had to do it, I had to bite the bullet. And so I did; I asked him not to call me and to delete my number.

Our call ended awkwardly. We always used to sign off with a "speak to you later" or a "chat soon, gorgeous". This time, there was an uncomfortable silence followed by a "take care". It was awful, so very, very awful but at the same time, I knew I had to let go.

Realistically, our relationship was never going to go anywhere if the mother of his child continued to screen my text messages, phone calls and emails. And it's not like I'll be seeing him when I fly home, as we both know too well where we'd end up.

I wish I knew how he felt and I wish I knew what he wanted from me because, right now, I don't know how I'm meant to feel. I can't push the thoughts of him out of my head. And I don't even know if I've done the right thing. All I know is that I miss him immensely and going back to London will never be the same.

Is it true that all good things come to an end? Was this a good thing, or was it something good that had gone bad? Will he think of me? Will he miss me? Is this really the end?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

In the past, if I was feeling a little freaky, I knew satisfying my urge wouldn't be too far away. But with J out of the picture for the time being, I'm left constantly wondering where and when I can get my next hit. I don't know if it's because I've become older and fatter, or if it's because I'm fussier, but I just can't seem to find it as easily as I used to.

I've reached the point where I'm actually counting the number of days I've been without it. Yes, ok, fine... It's been 194 days. Tomorrow will be 195. The sad thing is I've not even been close. Well, not really. I would have had it if it wasn't for my menstrual cycle being way out of sync. Although, in hindsight, it was probably a good thing...

It was about six weeks ago when I begged my friend RRB to find a guy to hook me up with. He did so without hesitation. He pulled up two guys at the bar and introduced me. Having begged him to do so, it would have been rude for me to turn my nose up at them. Initially I wasn't attracted to either, but as I was talking to them both, one of them suddenly ignited my fire. I can't pinpoint the moment, it's strange. In fact, the same thing has happened to me a few times recently.

Anyway, it was clear we got on well and he stayed to hang around with me and my friends. We also discovered we had mutual friends, which, in my book, is always an added bonus. After a bit of bar hopping, we were drunk as skunks. No, we were far more drunk than skunks. In the end, we settled on a karaoke bar and it was in there Red Shirt and I had a bit of a snog.

Reminding me how little action I'd had over the past few months, my body started to get a little overexcited. To the point I had to leave. Right then. And he had to come with me. We went back to his place and there was a bit of hanky panky, but nothing more as the painters were in, so to speak. Frustrating? Very!

Now, not that I'm one to be adverse towards the idea of being taken on a date, but Red Shirt did bring it up very abruptly. Does that make sense? To me, there's something terribly unnerving about a guy who is proposing overly romantic dates and weekend getaways the night you meet. I thought chivalry was dead? Well guess what, it is...

I didn't see Red Shirt for a while as I was busy trotting around the globe, but when I returned to the desert, we finally got round to going on that date. Although I use the term 'date' quite loosely. We met up in a local bar and had a few drinks. Perfectly normal date behaviour, right? Well, it would have been if he managed to look at me for more than five seconds the whole evening. To reassure himself he was on a date he even had to say "Sorry I keep looking away, but I am listening". Yeah, he was watching the tennis.

Now I'm all for being into Wimbledon, but if you want to watch it that badly, don't agree to go on a date with me that night. A few minutes of your attention would have been lovely. Usually, I'm quite chatty on dates; I'm an inquisitive person and I like to find out all about the person I'm with, but on this occasion, I found myself semi-blankly staring at the screen (admittedly I too had a mild interest in the tennis game going on).

About two minutes after the tennis match finished, Red Shirt ordered the bill. We went double dutch. Then we went to his place. It felt a bit wrong - he'd practically ignored me all evening and now I was off to his place. If I wasn't so desperate, I'd have given him the old heave-ho right there and then.

When we were back at his place, I realised we didn't quite fit. However, I went along with it, even though I knew I'd be getting no nookie on this particular evening. Menstrual cycle again! But I saw it as an investment; if he didn't get it tonight, he'd definitely want it when I was able to. Except, that wasn't the case at all.

Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen. That's what they say. Clearly by 'mean' they don't mean 'on'. Because the next day when I sent Red Shirt a text, inviting him to my place over the weekend, I didn't get a reply. It wouldn't have bothered me if he hadn't been so damn quick to respond to previous texts.

Anyway, that night, I went out with a girlfriend to another local bar and who do I bump into? Why, yes, Red Shirt himself. He caught my eye as he walked past and so I guess he felt guilt-tripped into saying hi to me. He needn't have bothered. He gave me a peck on the cheek and proceeded to tell me how he couldn't text back as he had no credit. Then he walked off. Yeah, walked off. No "how was your day?" or "Yes I'd love to come over" or even a "I can't make it, Uzbekistan are playing Papa New Guinea in the world cup". I mean, really, make some effort, even if you have no intention of seeing me again.

Instead of questioning why he didn't want me, I started questioning who in the bar did want me. And along came Billy. He was tall, cute and articulate. He had my attention before he even clapped eyes on me.

He stood at the bar alone, and I convinced my friend to come with me to chat to him, despite her initial protests. I think my friend could see I was quickly hooked and so she left after only one drink, leaving me in the company of Billy. We chatted for ages, until the lights in the bar came up actually.

Billy works in banking, is incredibly ambitious and has a cheeky smile to die for. We had one of those conversations that could go on forever. I definitely fancied him and now that I was ‘off’, I definitely intended to take him home.

As we were chatting a way, something in my mind clicked and I felt compelled to ask him if he was married. I dropped the question so casually into the conversation, I’m surprised Billy answered. Perhaps, subconciously, I didn’t wan’t him to answer. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. He looked at me, looked away and then took a sip of his Tiki-Pukka-Pukka. He nodded his head. There is goes again… that horrible sinking stomach feeling.

I wasn’t sure what to do; do I finish my drink and leave or continue chatting to him? I didn’t want him to think I was only speaking to him so I could lure him into bed. But I also didn’t want him to think it was acceptable for a married man to pick up women at the bar. Although, admittedly, it was me who started chatting to him. I decided I’d continue with our conversation. Hey, if this was the closest I was going to get to actually having any kind of romantic clinch, then I wasn’t going to let it slip through my fingers!

By the end of the night, Billy and I were in our own little zone, although he preferred to call it ‘the bubble’. For a while, it felt like I was Scarlett Johannsen and he was Bill Murray, sat at a bar in a foreign land, trying to resist temptation.

I’m a little hazy about how a decision was made, but we agreed we would leave together. I kind of knew it was wrong; he was married afterall, but I guess I couldn’t see beyond my own desires. Luckily for me, as we left the bar, his wife called. I don’t know if it was the call from his wife or if it was the humidity outside giving me a wake up call, but I suddenly felt a wave of guilt. I knew it’d be the wrong thing to do, and so when Billy ended the call with his wife I looked at him with raised eyebrows. He immediately knew what it meant and said “Yeah, I should probably do the right thing”.

Yes, Billy, you should…

Sunday, 11 July 2010

To be or not to be?

Well, 2010 hardly got off to the best start for me in terms of my lovelife. Which is why, by the way, I haven’t blogged in so long…

It’s been an arid six months in the desert. So much so, I arranged a little trip to see my friend J to help me get through the year. As I explained in a previous blog post, it’s a guaranteed with J – no games, no messing around, just pure explicit fun. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on him. After almost six months of torture, I was going to ravish him. All the pent up frustration was going to blow his mind and I was going to love every second of it. I could barely contain my excitement on the journey to see him; the thought of what was to come almost made me climax there and then.

I arrived at my destination a little too early to call J, and so I spent the morning with Little Miss LC. What could be better than shopping in the sunshine with your best friend you hadn’t seen in months, followed by an intense session with your FB of seven years? Nothing, that’s what. And it’d all so be worth the journey. After much catching up with the bestie, I decided it was time to call J to arrange where and when we were going to meet. Our call was as normal as any of our calls had been over the last seven years - flirtatious yet matter-of-fact.

The conclusion of our call was that J was going to call me back with a plan. I eagerly awaited his call…

Ten minutes passed and I received a text message from J. My heart skipped a beat with excitement. But it should have skipped a beat with disappointment, anger or sheer shock. It was the text message every girl dreads when she’s seeing a guy, and it went like this:

“Rims look I can’t do this! I thought I could but I can’t bring myself too (sic)! I’m seeing someone and we are having a baby! It wasn’t planned but I can’t jepordise anything! I wanted to tell you face to face but things are rough at the moment! Don’t text back I’ll call you on your Dubai number next week! I’m sorry! X”

I can’t explain how I felt at that moment. Seven years of my life had just been crushed and I had so many questions – Who? How? Where? When? Why? That was it, I couldn’t control myself; the tears came tumbling down. There I was, sat alone, on a busy high street, bawling my eyes out. I wanted to text him back, even though he’d told me not to, but I didn’t know what to say. I reread the message – once, twice, thrice. How could he? Especially as I’d flown half way round the world to spend the weekend with him. I wanted to hit him so hard but he wasn’t there. I had no outlet for my feelings.

As soon as Little Miss LC emerged from the shop she was in, I told her the bad news. She immediately took me for consolation Cosmopolitans at a nearby bar. She listened to me moan and question why, but there was one thing she couldn’t give me… answers. I needed to know. I needed to know how it happened, how he felt, why he hadn’t told me earlier. I know I probably shouldn’t have wanted to find out all these answers, but I did. Desperately.

I tried calling J but he didn’t pick up. He then called me straight back. I asked him if he was joking and he told me he wasn’t but he couldn’t talk. The call ended. I was totally deflated. How could he let me come all this way to see him and not tell me? Did all these years really mean nothing to him? How could he be this heartless? I sent him another message saying if we weren’t going to talk now, we were never going to talk. He responded by promising he’d call me next week and asking me not to use his number. I’d been using that number for the last seven years!!! I was fuming and so I decided the best way for me to calm down was to drown my sorrows.

Several Cosmos later, I left Little Miss LC to meet another friend in another bar across town. As I was early, I thought I’d get a couple in before hand. I chased vodka and lemonades with jagerbombs. How I wasn’t blind drunk by the time my friend arrived, I have no idea. As the day drew to a close, I was glad to get some rest and think about the situation rationally. I decided I’d give J the opportunity to explain himself and I’d wait until the end of the week to see if he’d call me as he promised. After all, I didn’t want it to end this way… if at all.

Back in Dubai, I wished the week away waiting for J’s call. Perhaps I was being na├»ve, but I really believed he’d call me. Surely he knew I’d be upset, and surely the last seven years meant something to him too. Clearly it didn’t. As the week went on, I realised he probably wasn’t going to call to explain. It really dawned on me when I was on a night out with friends and, out of nowhere, the waterworks began and my sobbing uncontrollable. It was then I realised I liked him far more than I'd ever let on.

The girls attempted to console me in the bathroom of the karaoke bar, but it was no use. No matter how many times they told me how gorgeous and amazing I was, J still didn’t care and he clearly didn’t share the same opinion of me as my girlfriends did. I was absolutely devastated.

Thursday night came and J still hadn’t called. I decided if he didn’t care then I shouldn’t either, and so I sent him a message telling him not to contact me ever again. Ten minutes later, he called. He told me he was in a difficult place right now but that he cared for me and always looked forward to seeing me. I told him that, after so long, it was inevitable that I had developed feelings for him, and he said he felt the same way. But, it was a case of too little too late. He’s to become a dad in two months time, and of course his son will be his focus, and I’ll be pushed even further down the list.

When the call ended, I felt a sense of relief. I was pleased that some things that had been left unsaid for so long were now out in the open. And I was pleased that it hadn’t ended with my harsh text message. J and I decided we’d remain friends and just see how things went. I don’t think it will ever be the same between us; it’ll all just fizzle out. Either that or we’ll end up together. Either way, a child is a huge commitment and it’s forever changed the dynamic of our relationship.

I know so many people will be reading this, telling me to kick him to the kerb, but you know what? I just can’t do it. I wish I could, but my fondness for J is far greater than I’ll ever admit. Even to myself. And if Carrie and Mr. Big can work through their issues and live happily ever after, then maybe there’s hope for me and J…