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I’m Ashamed To Admit This…

I have something I want to admit. I’m not proud of it. I don’t want to admit it, but I feel I need to.

I am shallow.

My vision of an attractive woman is strongly influenced by cultural norms of what is and isn’t attractive.

I dunno if it’s weird to admit that as if it’s a sin, as if it’s wrong. Maybe it’s just me. I mean, everyone knows it’s wrong to ‘judge a book by it’s cover’, but most people do it anyway, like it’s normal. Perhaps it is normal. I don’t think it should be normal, but then I subscribe to this hypocrisy too, so it is confusing.

Okay, maybe I should qualify this. It’s not a wholly unrealistic vision of women. I mean, sure, it’s of a thin-ish girl, but not anorexic or anything like that; a ‘rack of ribs’ is not an attractive thing on a woman. Of course, thin is sexy, but I wouldn’t say I’m attracted as such to that – I’m more thinking of a just normal-sized woman. You know, not thin, not large, but just normal, healthy. I say this because as I look on dating sites, as you would expect, you have every type of woman on there – from thin to ‘large’, and as much as I’m disgusted by myself, I’m not at all interested in any of the ‘larger’ women there.

I dunno, what do you guys think? Is it normal? Is it normal but shouldn’t be so? Please comment.

Principles & Taking Advantage

The other day the girlfriend of one of my best friends posted on fb that she was single. My first thought was, naturally, that it was a terrible shame – they’ve been together for 4 years or so, seem really happy together and are so cute together. Yet less than an hour later I’d had another thought about it; of how I’d kinda liked her a little and this could be an opportunity for me. I rather offended myself with that thought. I pride myself on being a ‘principled’ person and in my book, even if you do fancy your friend’s girlfriend or only-just-ex-girlfriend, then you should not act on it. To do so would not just make the friendship awkward but also be a violation of the manly code of conduct where you must be respectful of the man’s feelings when it comes to women. Okay, it may be an outdated concept and seem a little silly, but it simply makes sense. You wouldn’t want it have done to you, so you should not do it to others. In that way, everybody wins in the long run.

Relationship-Related Hoarding

Today I removed two cards I got from J-O over the past few months – a Christmas one and Valentines one – from beside my bed to inside my wardrobe, where I keep all my other correspondence from J-O. This got me thinking of how I hoard things centered around J-O, not just from when we were ‘together’ but also since we’ve been ‘just friends’. (I also thought it would be an interesting topic for here, especially given my lack of posts recently).

I have kept all the letters, cards and postcards she has ever sent me. Furthermore, I have kept the train, tube tickets and London bike hire receipts from whenever I have visited her (from both when we were ‘together’ and ‘just friends’). This hoarding has also extended digitally, where I have kept everything she has ever sent me online, from pictures of her, pictures of us, right down to random things she has sent me in general Skype conversation. I’ve even transferred our Skype message history (right from our first chat, more than 2 years ago now) to a more readable HTML file in case I lose my message history through Skype itself. I even have several word documents detailing exactly all my memories from our first few meets, in a much detail as I can remember (I wrote them as soon as I got home, because my memory is dire and I want to have something that can more easily trigger those memories in the future). I keep it all in one folder, which I don’t ever look at (it’s too painful, especially the pictures), but I back it up on my USB stick too, just like my uni work.

I’m not sure if this is a good idea, I’ll be honest. It’s probably a terrible idea. I see it this way, though: we had a good time together while it lasted and, although it’s too painful to look through at the moment, I will appreciate having the memories easily accessible in later life. This is especially important to me as my memory is terrible. It was my life for over a year (well, in some ways it’s part of my life even today, over 2 years since me and J-O first spoke, 6 months since we last did things that were ‘more than friendly’, if you see what I mean, even though I am trying for it not to be a part of my life).

Something I read last year reinforced this view for me. It was in the book The Last Tommy. Harry Patch talks about how his wife kept the ring from a man she was previously engaged to, that was killed in WWI, on the dressing table in their home, and how this did not bother him in the slightest. He doesn’t say why but I think it was for the same reason: he respected that she had somebody she had loved in the past, and to remember fondly something that was part of your life in the past, without wanting to return to it, is a perfectly natural, perfectly human desire.

I’m interested to know: what do you, readers, think?

An Incongruous Question

When I visited M the other weekend, she asked me a question. It was a question that puzzled me at the time but I’d forgotten to mention on here. It was question I did not want to answer, could not answer, and one she should not have asked.

She said to me: “J (her boyfriend and one of my best friends) said that he thought that you used to like me when I first came into the [friendship] group.” Then she asked me: “Is that true?”, quickly adding “you don’t have to answer if you don’t want, I’m just curious.”

Why would you ask such a question? Why would you expect an honest response to such a question?

I must confess that I did like her, actually for quite a long time, until the end of college (almost 2 years). I still kind of like her, actually. But at the same time I knew my place. J and M quickly got together, and I was happy for them. They were such a cute couple, and still are, and I think they will last a long time. I knew that I could not give in to my feelings, because it would be wrong to do so. I am not the type of person who would do that. I have quite a strong sense, especially for these times, of friendship, honor and chivalry. It forms a strong part of who I am. To not follow these ideals would give me no positives about myself to draw on. So, just like I could not show my feelings then, so I could not show my feelings now. I simply said to her “I can’t remember, it was so long ago”, and left it at that. She didn’t push it any further, and apologised for asking it.

Yet I still can’t understand why she would ask me this. For me to answer such a question does nobody any good. I have to keep my mouth shut, just like I had to keep those feelings shut up. No good can come of either.

This Morning

Okay, I don’t think I’ve fully recovered from Friday. I woke up this morning with a splitting headache at about 6:30 and started getting a bit upset, about the funeral and about J-O. About 7:30 I couldn’t take any more and I texted J-O that “I wish you weren’t ignoring me, I feel so lonely right now” (which you readers can probably tell from my latest post). If she continues ignoring me now I think I’ve had enough with the whole thing.

Yes you could argue that she’s trying to settle in to her new uni life. But when we last talked on Thursday she said she was getting to know her flatmates, and from what I can tell from facebook that’s only improved. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it seems like she’s only interested in me when she’s got a problem, she’s lonely, that she doesn’t seem to care about me at all, other than to be there when she needs comforting – the rest of the time she couldn’t care less about me.

I don’t know, maybe I’m still stressed out from recent events. But still, I can’t stand being ignored. It would be fine if she said she didn’t want to talk, because she didn’t feel like it or something, I would be understanding about that. It’s the not talking to me and not explaining why that I can’t stand. Funnily enough I felt better the moment I texted her, even though I knew I wouldn’t get a reply. At least I’m reminding her I exist, however rude that reminder may be.

Reflecting on Waiting

J-O phoned me 3 hours ago and we chatted about a minute before she said she’d have to go and she’ll call me back.
She still hasn’t phoned back, and I’m annoyed with myself because I can’t stop checking my phone and wondering why she hasn’t called. I’m doubly annoyed with myself because I should, instead of being anxious, be glad that it must presumably mean she’s having a good time with her new friends at uni.
I’m really trying to resist phoning her back because I don’t want to interrupt her doing whatever she’s doing. I know how annoying it is to be around somebody when they get a call from their boyfriend/girlfriend – I don’t want her to be negatively effected because of me. I’d rather she be happy with all of them than unhappy with me, obviously. Okay that didn’t come out quite how I meant it, because that’s just obvious, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
I think that if she doesn’t call back before I go to bed (which will be soon because I’m pretty tired) I’ll just send her a text saying have a nice day tomorrow. Yes, that sounds like a plan.

An Unfortunate Truth

Today I’ve decided to share with you one of the things I hate about J-O. Yes, you heard me, something I hate about her. It’s a strong feeling, to be sure, but once I’ve explained it you’ll understand why. You’ll also then understand why it’s something that doesn’t make me hate her, but rather makes me want to change it, and I believe I can change it.

She is racist. When I was chatting to her over Skype I got a few hints of it, but not anything to make me overly concerned. Yes, she asked if there “many black people” in Southampton, but I shrugged off the question and thought little of it afterwards. Yet both times we have met in real life, she has made racist remarks about how there are “too many black people” living in London, and at one point soon after I mentioned the tan I got while on holiday, she kissed my skin and said it was “nice and white”.

I did not say anything about it at the time, and for that I am ashamed, for to not condemn something bad is to condone it. Or, as Churchill said, “all that requires for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. However, in the future, when the subject comes up, I will make a stand.

To me, and to many others, racism is wrong. It has no scientific basis, despite what some might claim; it has no sociological basis either. It is unfounded fear of the unknown, no more. I also view it as part of the British national psyche. Yes, Britain has had it’s racist elements, it’s racist periods. Yes, many of the officers and officials of the British Empire were motivated by racial thinking. But equally, Britain has made many notable achievements in this field: it was the first to outlaw slavery in 1807 and in the British Empire (except India) in 1833, it did not have any immigration control until 1905. Although visiting US soldiers during WWII were allowed to import segregation in their bases, it was not the case elsewhere. Indeed, outside US bases, when US soldiers attempted to assert segregation, British people fought in support of the black soldiers. Furthermore, all Commonwealth citizens have, since 1945, had the right to live in the UK, and most British people are very tolerant of minorities (see the recent, and very relevant, backlash against Bulgarian fans’ racist chanting in the recent England vs Bulgaria football, or soccar, match).

Many may argue that I should not even be with her for this reason, but I don’t agree. I disagree not because she is the only girl I think will ever like me. I disagree because it is a racism that is not angry, not deeply embedded. It is something that has been impressed upon her by her society, both officially by the state and socially by relatives, friends and notable community figures. As in many countries, it is something borne from many centuries of being part of an empire, in this case the Ottoman. From this view, it is understandable how J-O thinks this way. But it can be changed, because it is something that is derived from society, it is benign, and benign views derived from society can be changed when people are still this young, when confronted with the reality, the truth, the facts.

I believe I can instigate that change. I believe that I must, and must succeed.

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