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Posts Tagged ‘FAIL’

Make mine a yes

I was on holiday in New York recently (ooh, get me, lahdeedah!) and it was fucking fantastic. I was there once before three years ago and then I loved it for its architecture, atmosphere, yellow cabs and cultures. This time I loved it for the ridiculous, mind-bending, giggle-making, eye-popping experiences it gave me.

I did things that if told about beforehand, I admit I would have said no to. With a heady mix of peer pressure and ignorance pummelling my brain, I said yes. And yes was good.

After a year in which, being bravely and exposingly honest for a moment, I’ve suffered and overcome the worst health of my life, this trip was a beautifully-timed lesson in remembering to step outside my norm, be more willing, cut the negatory – in short, do more.

But here’s the rub: I’m in the middle of an experiment which essentially involves me doing less – less looking, less ogling, less flirting, less eye-contacting, less chasing, less chatting, less enjoying. It’s all about saying no when all I really want to do is say yes. (Not to everything, mind. You know, in case someone on the interfuck wants to film me re-enacting some of Catherine the Great’s legendary manoeuvres in an isolated hut that once housed the Unabomber. Or something.)

Catherine the Great

Old Cath: She's got a Shetland pony under that frock.


I don’t want to be checking my behaviour every five minutes as the not-looking rules make me do. I want to say yes to all the good things, see where they take me, try out some world, do shizz. Jesus! I’m in danger of turning into Danny bloody Wallace but without the monobrow and meeja specs. (Not that I’d sniff at his book deals.)

Reaction to the announcement that I was thinking of stopping not-looking has been mostly of the lovely and pride-making “Oh, but I really enjoy reading your blog” kind. A couple of people have mocked how little of the full year I actually sustained it for. Well, here’s a revelation for you – I knew I’d never keep this gig up for 12 months. The writing, yes, I could easily do that; that wasn’t going to be the problem. But the not-looking? Hmmn…

I’d thought what would prevent me gestating my not-looking baby to full term was going to be the length of time it would take me to stop looking. I’d imagined it taking so many months to wean myself off the desire to look at men that I’d simply be defeated by the task. Shockingly – for me far more than for anyone else – I managed to stop within a matter of weeks. Hurray, right? No, not hurray. Not by a long chalk.

Very very very interesting chalk. Hugely interesting. Aren't you interested in it?

A long chalk. Sorry, this post didn't lend itself to images but I didn't want you to get bored.


The ‘achievement’ of not-looking has made me realise several things about me and my situation: I don’t like telling myself no; I don’t like restricting my movements; I don’t like keeping to stupid sodding rules; I don’t like holding back on learning about people because I can’t look at them, ask about them, have a little giggle-flirt with them; I don’t like preventing myself pushing the odd button and boundary; I don’t like staying in because I can’t be bothered; I don’t like wondering what might be; I don’t like missing out.

For the perspective not-looking has given me, I am absolutely, categorically, undeniably pleased I started out on this whole venture. But at this tranquil point at the end of a tremulous year, I think it’s time to stop doing things I don’t like and start doing things I do. Not-looking feels like a negative and I want a positive.

With that in mind, I’ll not leave you bereft. Soon I shall unveil a new plan. I hope you’ll like it. It shares a common idea but has a different way of looking at it. Intrigued? Good. Just not too much; it’s a lot of pressure for a little person.

You’ll have to wait while I get it all sorted out before I tell you what it is, though. Plus I really need to put some washing on. And clean my flat. Seriously, it’s a wreck. Embarrassing almost. Crumbs everywhere. Dust you can write your name in. It’s highly likely I’ll be out a lot more in the near future and it’s best I get it ship-shape while I can.

So until next time, if you see me looking I’m allowed now, ok? Yes.

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Vital statistics: p/e 07.03.10

For all those both of you that asked, here’s a geeky Excel-generated graph plotting my first week’s FAILs. Don’t tell me I’m not good to you.

FAILs graph

Is that a green graph or a ski slope at the Vancouver Olympics?


I’ve not used that function since I waved a two-fingered goodbye to the audit nearly 18 months ago. I just hope you understand how dirty I feel now. And not a good kind of dirty, like the kind of dirty I feel eyeing up fit men. Now that I miss. I’ll never miss inventing 314 different ticks in 3 colours of biro or nodding “Yes, that’s fine” at the client’s 14th version of the same fucking balance sheet.

But anyway, time I got on with that post about bending refining my rules. Enjoy, stats fans!

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Day One down and I can exclusively reveal that I didn’t fail in my task. Until 10.45. That’s AM. It’s even less impressive when you consider I didn’t leave my flat until 10.35. And the only two people I crossed paths with in that 10-minute interlude were well above pensionable age.

Situation Report Day One: FAIL.
In fact, Situation Report Day One: multiple FAILs.

First there was Mr 10.45am. He walked through the door of the doctor’s surgery [oh, nothing serious, but thanks for asking] just after me. Out of the corner of my eye I spied his height and build, and my internal computertron logged him under “just my type”. Confirmation of that status required a scan of his face. I looked up towards it. It looked back at me. And… eye contact initiated. Rule 1 broken. FAIL.

Doctor seen, time to head to the office. I knew my first Tube ride under the new regime would take an iron will and a steady gaze. I lacked both. Two more Rule 1 breakages in the six stops (a mere 12 minutes) between home station and work. FAIL and FAIL. Three fails and I’ve been roaming amongst civilisation for less than an hour. If this performance goes towards my naughty-or-nice quotient this year, I’ll be fondling an empty stocking on Christmas morning.

After an abysmal early showing, I was determined to be Santa’s good girl on the walk between station and office. All five minutes of it. And you know what? I did it. Not one look. Go me! In fact, not looking even made the stroll more pleasant because I didn’t have to avoid appearing patronising or cold-hearted as I passed the Big Issue seller without purchase. I just ignored him, looked straight ahead, el blanko, not so much as a “No, thanks”. How good am I?!

Now, into the office. As any of my female colleagues would attest, where I work you can pretty much guarantee my head will easily go for an entire month without being turned, never mind 10 minutes. I thought I’d be ok. I thought I’d be safe. I thought wrong. Noone had prepared me for the challenge that was… New IT Boy. (Yeah, so, I like me a bit of geek. I’m not alone.)

As I innocently filled my teacup at the drinks machine, he moved into my peripheral vision. The right sort of height. The right sort of build (well, if I fed him a couple of pies). The internal computertron fizzed to life. I looked him up. I looked him down. He didn’t look at me but BLAM! I was rumbled mid-meerkat by my workmate. An outright breach of Rule 4. FAIL.

In total, I notched up another two fails on the Tube home – one meerkat, one brazen eye-contact-triple-toe-loop; and one fail at the supermarket – our (now) old friend eye contact. I knew this would be hard, I just didn’t realise how hard; or rather, I just didn’t realise I was such a dirty old woman. Call me gawpface-lechmonger, why don’t you.

However, I’m going to let myself off. Not because that’s the easy route or I promise to start again tomorrow or I’ll try harder next time or it’ll make me feel better about my unstoppable inclination to give chaps the visual once-over. I’m letting myself off because I’m in this for the long haul; like a smackhead coming off crack, like a fattie coming off biscuits, like Gordon Brown coming off bullying.

It would be too much to expect a sudden change of behaviour, to suffocate my apparently hard-wired lechery with a dollop of cold turkey. But I promise to improve and, as such, I will be keeping a regular tally of my fail rates. There won’t be nun-like miracles but there will be a noticeable, downward trend. Even if you don’t understand, I know Gordon would – it’s like that with his popularity.

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