24 reasons why a vibrator is better than a man (for me at the moment)

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For my birthday last month, two of my best friends conspired behind my “innocent” back to buy a vibrator for me.

While the thought of them giggling around a sex shop while asking numerous (and varied I’m sure) questions of the sales assistant was nearly as funny as the gift itself, the motivation behind the gesture was perhaps less so.

That night, after quite a few beers and with my dad, step-mum and numerous guests safely ensconced in the courtyard downstairs, they presented my new friend (which I guessed beforehand – in all fairness, it does have quite a recognisable shape) with the serious intonation that they bought it for me so I would stop sleeping with the wrong men. Roger that.

I think they meant one man in particular, whom I’ve only made scant reference to in this blog, and whom I haven’t slept with – let alone seen – for more than 100 days or so now anyway. Not that I’m counting or anything.

The reason I haven’t written more about him, and the mess that I temporarily became when our love affair abruptly obliterated after promises of a future that I know now he could never commit too, is because some days I love him still.

And other days, well, I wish and wish and wish for so many different things that writing about my schizophrenic feelings would likely make me seem more unhinged than usual.

So, the appearance of a vibrator, who was instantly christened Victor, was about much more than a potentially lonely vagina. It was about a potentially broken heart.

Of course, before anyone comes up with a list of reasons why a living, breathing man is better than Victor, the point is for me at this moment in my life, a vibrator is better than falling (again) for a broken dude who couldn’t love me – or anyone else.

But I do sometimes wonder if I’m a sadist or perhaps I just have a fetish for fractured human beings because they make me look more sane?

Whatever my deep-seated issues are, which no doubt have been lingering around since I was five, Victor’s entrance into my life has inspired me to come up with this helpful list so he knows why he’s so much better for me than men at this moment in time – not that he can read of course.

24 reasons why a vibrator is better than a man (for me at the moment)

  1. A vibrator always knows where your clitoris is – always.
  2. You don’t have to make small talk with a vibrator or compliment them on their appendage size (ditto, you’re never surprised by aforementioned appendage size the first time you get naked together).
  3. A vibrator never finishes before you do and then promptly falls asleep.
  4. You never have to watch sport with a vibrator.
  5. You never have to meet your vibrator’s mother.
  6. You don’t have to put up with a human jackhammer, racing to an orgasm finish-line of their own secret choosing, with a vibrator because the speed control is literally in your own hands.
  7. A vibrator will never try to come on your face, your boobs or literally anywhere at all.
  8. A vibrator will never “accidentally” confuse anal sex with dog-style.
  9. If you’re too tired for sex, a vibrator will never sulk around the house for days at a time.
  10. After you’re finished with your vibrator they don’t mind being coldly shut in the sock drawer – unlike most men I would presume.
  11. A vibrator is loyal and always finds you sexy, even if you’re wearing your ancient, holey, undies in bed.
  12. A vibrator never takes up most of the bed, hogs the blanket in winter, or tries to give you a Dutch Oven.
  13. You don’t care what your friends think of your vibrator.
  14. It would be supremely weird to introduce your vibrator to your parents – even if they were downstairs when you first met.
  15. If your vibrator gets a bit worn out, you just callously buy a new one and neither of them will care.
  16. A vibrator will never lie to you.
  17. A vibrator never gets performance anxiety.
  18. A vibrator never wants to come before you.
  19. A vibrator never complains that you’ve drunk too much.
  20. You never have to wonder where a vibrator is and whether they will call you because, well, it doesn’t have a phone or hands for that matter.
  21. A vibrator never gets too tired to finish the job – unless it runs out of batteries and then you just buy some more from down the corner shop.
  22. A vibrator never wants to sit around talking about their, or your, feelings.
  23. A vibrator will never spend every day of the best part of a month with you, tell you all their secrets, make promises, and then promptly disappear like it was     all some type of magical movie mirage.
  24. A vibrator will never ever break your heart.

Kiss goodbye to your darlings

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A famous quote from William Faulkner is “in writing, you must kill all your darlings”, which I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

Part of the reason is that I’m neck-deep in rewrite territory of my screenplay and I’ve cut out more than I’ve put back in, including a couple of scenes which (naturally) I thought were bloody brilliant and broke my heart to kiss goodbye too.

But as Faulkner continues to teach us, if a scene, a character or a “darling” doesn’t progress or add to the fictional story, then it or he or she must be “killed” in a literature, not a literal, sense.

Editing out the crap or superfluous pieces of a story, of course, makes it more seamless, coherent and exciting, which is why it’s called a story. It’s not real nor is it true. At best, stories that are based “on real events” can only ever be thus, because more exciting bits and pieces are usually added to pep up the story-line in places or to make the characters more interesting or “alive” – but perhaps not entirely real-life.

I’ve come to realise that some people practice this creative art-form in everyday life, too, but I’ve decided I have no desire to do so, even if it could helpfully vanquish some memories and experiences from my brain forever.

One of the many modern quandaries I struggle with daily, including using my television and my mobile phone, is how one should deal with Facebook after a breakup. I’ve had my personal profile for more than eight years now – which also means it has been around to witness two relationship ups and downs.

In the beginning I was probably guilty of over-sharing on it – although in the very early days not many of my friends were on Facebook as well so it was like I was transmitting my cougar joy and smugness to a relatively empty void.

After the relationship ended on mutually respectful terms, both of us left any shared posts or photos on our respective pages because it was our history. Many years on, we’re no longer friends on Facebook. I can’t remember why, but it was most probably me who unfriended him in a fit of temporary passive-aggressive ridiculousness when I no doubt struggled to see him moving on with his life with a new, much-younger-than-me love.

But I never deleted anything of our time together online and nor do I believe did he. I never kissed goodbye to my virtual ex-darling just because it might make my past seem more linear or neat.

The ragged course of my other relationship also still remains in my online and real-life history, even though I often wish I could white-wash a lot of it away to save myself the anguish.

But, again, while I might practice the art of story-telling for a living, it’s not in my psyche to try to misrepresent my past as more pleasant than it actually was or, in fact, pretend a relationship or a person didn’t exist in my days gone by.

But I know that not everyone thinks this way and some hit the delete button on every shared online memory that ever there was. Perhaps it’s their way of wiping the slate clean to start again but personally I think it’s borders on the creation of a fairy-tale – just like the stories we read in a fiction book or the movies we watch on a cinema screen.

But real life rarely has such Hollywood happy endings or smooth trajectories.

You see, a few days ago, I crossed paths with one of these two lovers but I don’t think he saw me. It had been five years since I’d seen his face and after so long rumbling around the same city without ever bumping into each other, seeing him so unexpectedly did temporarily knock me off my sanity axis.

He was with workmates, while I was meeting a couple of friends. As soon as I saw him, I rushed to the other side of the bar with my head spinning but stupidly ended up sitting right outside the men’s toilet. Good plan.

Over the course of the next hour or so, I tried to decide whether to say hello, while simultaneously quizzing my mates on whether they thought he’d seen me. In the end, however, I never did do anything about the two of us being at the same place at the very same time.

Since then, I’ve pondered why I acted that way. It’s not because I wasn’t happy to see him or that I’d deleted him from my memory (online or otherwise). Far from it. Perhaps it was because he still looked very good to me (which is not a bad thing I guess) but ultimately I hope it’s because he’s moved on with his life and so have I.

It is still strange to me, though, that you can spend a proportion of your life with someone and love them with everything you had, but still not feel comfortable saying hello when you bump into them down the pub. If there is a next time I hope that I’ll be more brave.

So, instead, I stared at his broad, powerful and loyal back – which six years ago he’d turned away from me at the same time as I’d turned away from him – and later that night I smiled at the memory of us, of what we gave each other, and of the many reminders of our history together that I can revisit and learn from whenever I want too.

I might have to kiss goodbye to my darlings on the pages that I create as a writer, but I’ll never do it in real life. I’ll take the light and shade of life experience any day – no matter how much it might sometimes confuse me.

Trouble in my town

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As I drove towards the place I’d fled, with a busted-up heart, some 12 years before, I wondered what I’d find there, and what I’d feel. And, even after all these years, I wondered whether I’d see him again.

I returned to the place that was the start of everything career-wise for me, but also the scene of my greatest heartbreak last weekend. I’d passed through once or twice for work in the past decade or so but generally kept my head down and scurried away before I even knew I was there.

This time, however, it was time to catch up with old friends to spin some yarns about the days when we were fresh-faced, uber-left journalists, who thought we’d change the world – one regional town at a time.

Times sure have changed since then, but mostly in our profession. We joked that night about having to resort to making dozens of phone calls “back in the day” just to find sources for our stories because, you know, we had no internet. Indeed, the old-school electoral roll was our best friend.

We grumbled about how “easy” journalism has become (if you’re lucky enough to have a job, that is) when the world, and story leads, are literally at your fingertips. In “the old days” we said in unison, we had to hunt down our news because stories weren’t handed to us on a digital plate via press releases and Twitter, which for some unbelievable reason has become a bona fide media resource.

And so we went on. It was cathartic to reminisce and remember the days when life wasn’t so heavy and we believed, body and soul, in what we were doing. How the years unfortunately wash away such earnestness. I wish it wasn’t so.

Not only are we older – and let’s admit it, a little fatter – but even the two-hour drive there was much altered in my perception. It wasn’t as if the roads had been improved – in fact, as I drove, I passed each landmark with a familiarity that genuinely surprised me. But unlike in the early 2000s, today I have a nice car, so the drive was more comfortable, you know with air-con, and not once did I worry about conking out on the side of the road with no mobile coverage.

I also had access to thousands of songs on my iPhone versus the three cassettes I had back then – tapes which I played on high rotation during my thousands of kilometres on those lonely country roads. They were P!nk’s 2003 Try This, John Butler Trio’s 2001 Three and, oddly, The Greatest Hits of Neil Diamond – I still know every word to every one of those songs, especially his duet with Barbra Streisand, the etheral You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore. 

Yet, last weekend, as I drove towards my destination, the memories that came flooding back were of the dozens of times I’d completed that journey during an era when I’d regularly escape back to the city searching for my sanity.

I remembered fleeing from that place when my relationship with a man – who sang to me (he was a musician) and told me he loved me but then pushed me away, and then repeated the process many times… and I let him – became too much for this huckleberry to bear. It wasn’t until many years later that I understood why he did that – and, unbeknownst to him, forgave him.

Back in those days, mum was a hands-on woman, so one particularly dark day when I arrived back on her door-step with tears in my eyes and fractures in my heart, she put on the CD of Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman and sang and danced with me around the kitchen. She then, randomly, took me to a mosaic class where I smashed up bits of glass (perhaps with a little too much gusto), which ultimately became a very ugly  “decorative” plate that thankfully has been lost to this world forever. She also told me that sometimes when we fall in love it makes us a little crazy. These things, I now know, saved me.

And yet there I was, all these years later, all grown up, successful and independent, hoping to see him – if the truth be told (and it is) – which freaked me out since I have as much interest in dating as I do in quantum mechanics. After the breakdown of our relationship, I limped on in that town for about six months, tried to love someone else and failed, all the while he was regularly (and anonymously to everyone but him) the fodder for my newspaper column. My “Mr Big” I suppose you could say. Then I split and tried not to look back.

We never did bump into him that night but a few days later I found myself for the first time (guiltily) looking him up on Facebook. There he was, still looking the same. Still taking my breath away, which was an epiphany I must admit. He’s a single dad with two kids these days, still sings and nobly works in disability. And it like looks life has thrown him a few curve balls, too – such is the way of things if we live long enough to bear witness to it.

And so I spent about five minutes “spying” on him, contemplated sending him a message (for what purpose I wondered?) but thankfully thought better of it. He looks happy and healthy and I know I am too. I realised I have no desire to fuck up my hard-fought serenity, even though my heart still soared like a trebuchet at the sight of him. To partly quote P!nk I’ve had enough bloody trouble in my town, even if people can and do change. So I closed his profile and, possibly, finally relegated that particular story to my past.