I Am Not Raspberry Jam

I Am Not Raspberry Jam

Just because you get to know a person does not make them any less a person. And just because you like a person does not mean you use them for the things you like and leave the rest.

Too many people are treating the romantic interests in their life like their own personal stash of flavoured jams lined up on a shelf. Strawberry for Mondays. Grape on the weekends. Raspberry for special occasions. But putting people back on the shelf when you’ve had enough, and have a taste for something a bit different, and then picking them up when you remember how nice they were, is a pretty shit thing to do. Because while jam comes with a handy lid that maintains the status quo while your off on a multi flavoured jam frenzy, people do not.

I get it. They are all sweet, and colourful, and shiny in their own special way. And every time you open a new one they make that really satisfying, sucking, pop sound. But if you take a few bites off the top and set it back down again you are left with someone who feels a bit hollow and can’t help but wonder why you picked up the spoon in the first place.

So, you don’t like seeds. Or pulp. Fine, no problem. Pass it along to someone else. Don’t leave the jam on the shelf, missing all the good bits, until it’s lost all the appeal it ever had. It isn’t fair to the jam, or your new jam, or other jam lovers. Sure, life isn’t fair, but that is no excuse to go around buying up every flavour of jam you can find only to let it sit in the pantry until you are in the mood for it. I know you take a bite here and there to keep it shiny on top, and honestly that’s worse. Pass it along to someone who really really likes apricot. There are starving children in the world.

People are not meant to sit on shelves waiting for willing spoons. Don’t be that spoon. And don’t be that jam. You are not raspberry jam.

You Kiss Badly

There has been a thorough appreciation of amazing kissers on this blog (since it’s inception almost a year ago, Happy Birthday HillaryofTroy!!) but a willful ignorance of those who, by all accounts, are physically incapable of kissing someone in a manner that is enjoyable. This is about the bad kissers of the world, with a little indignant ranting about their introduction into my life.

I had no idea how lucky I was. Up until about a year ago every guy I’d kissed seemed to know what he was about and this came to be my expectation from anyone with the audacity to invade my personal space- and my mouth. Which I still consider to be reasonable. Sadly, there have been a few guys lately who have fallen far short, and it made me think that these sad specimens of masculinity may be in the majority, running rampant and ruining otherwise lovely evenings. It turns out everyone has encountered bad kissers and yet I had no idea what I was in for with guys who licked my cheek, bit my lip (like really hard- there was a bruise), and made a good try at suffocating me with their tongue. Why would anyone find that fun?

To be fair I can’t be upset that no one has told these people what a menace to romantically inclined social interaction they are because I didn’t say anything either. I was selfishly concerned with the welfare of my face. And yet, I still don’t understand how one makes it to their twenties thinking that this sort of behavior is acceptable. There can’t be anyone who puts up with this kind of thing more than once (I’m a big fan of the “never ever answer your calls” method), which I’d think might lead to a little self-reflection, but apparently not. So, for those persons, when in doubt, keep it simple. You’ve just met this girl. For whatever reason she has tolerated your company for some period of time without excessive trips to the bathroom and people across the room she needs to speak to. Then again, that could be assuming a lot, perhaps you’ve thrown the nearest female up against a handy flat surface, in which case, I have to say from experience, that you really ought to make it worth her while. Either way, your fancy tricks are unappreciated as you are executing them very very badly to the chagrin of all involved. Thanks for your interest, please move on. I hate to fall back on cliches without a good excuse, or to call any well meaning gentleman a frog, but if the slime fits…

My future paramours are probably not going to read this warning, but I can only hope that the tide of my romantic luck will change for the better. And wish the talented kissers of the world will find you, too.

Happy kissing xxxx

Scotland’s Best Bartender

MitreBarOne day, while living in London, I thought it would be fun to go to Scotland. So I did, the next day.  With only a couple of sketchy run-ins during my connection through Glasgow I made it to Edinburgh at 1am. Only one trip around the national gallery, alone, in the dark, later I found a cab that got me to my hotel. There, the exceptional night manager at the George Hotel made up for the evening’s adventures by upgrading my room to a king sized suite (thank you, Eric).

Then, in the process of a trip that included pretending the cannon ceremony in Edinburgh Castle for the Queen’s birthday was for my benefit, and aimlessly wandering the city in search of escapades and free booze I happened upon a pub. I had already stumbled on the tourist marvel that is the Scotch Whisky Experience- a thrill ride wherein you play the part of grain, that ends with many shots of the ‘water of life’ in the interest of flavor appreciation- and was quite a few sheets to the wind at this point. As such, food seemed like a reasonable idea, and the first pub I found wandering down the Royal Mile was as good a place as any. It turned out to be much better than that.

Looking oh-so-classy stumbling into the Mitre Bar at four in the afternoon, smelling like all of Scotland’s best distilleries simultaneously, I sat myself at the bar in front of Jamie the Hot Bartender. I picked the right pub.

“I would like some Scottish food please.”

“As opposed to what, lass?”

Before I continue some things need to be said about the Scottish accent. Namely, that hearing it will in all likelihood make you at least consider removing all of your clothes. Also, that my name with these intonations takes on a life all its own resulting in involuntary shivers down my spine.

With that understanding, and one that the April tourists on the Royal Mile are either elderly couples or travel weary honeymooners, what happened next makes a little (not a lot) more sense.

Jamie decided that the tourist trap I’d been through earlier in the day may have been successful in getting me sloshed, but failed horribly in providing me with any real education about whisky. And really who better to get a lesson from than a Scottish bartender? Whether that was the only thing I wanted to learn from him is completely irrelevant. Somewhere in between the shots that seemed to magically appear in front of me before I’d swallowed their predecessors I did eat some food. I don’t remember what it was, but I’m sure there was eating because there is no way I would have retained consciousness if there wasn’t. Jamie didn’t hesitate to put another shot in front of me- this one from Islay.

Now I didn’t know much about whisky, but I knew that there are those that slide down your throat into a cozy pool, and those that burn. And whatever they put in Islay whisky (I’m fairly certain it’s fire), it burns. So I refused- probably with more slurring and less courtesy than I normally possess. Jamie’s rather brilliant solution was to drink that one himself and give me a Speyside so deceptively strong that my vocal cords went numb.

“How’d you like that then?”

Couldn’t really respond what with the vocal incapacitation. But that didn’t seem to be the kind of response he was looking for anyway.

“Aye. I was hoping that’s what you’d say.”

And then Jamie leans over the bar and kisses me. Like really kisses me. Hand in my hair, eyes closed, just a little bit of tongue- all with a two foot bar and about twenty shot glasses between us. He let go as I swayed rather precariously on my bar stool. Honestly, I was all set to clear the bar and pull him on top of me right then, but I was having trouble remembering how to use my legs, so I settled for smiling.

There were other patrons in the bar and it was technically his job to serve them so the amber bottles and I would occasionally be left to our own devices. This made for really the most pleasant afternoon a girl could spend- interspersed with quick, intense kisses and Jamie saying my name just because he could tell I trembled down to my toes every time he did.

Eventually I had to leave and catch my train. I regained enough use of my legs to make it out the door and down the street, but not enough sense to realize that the process works better when you’re facing the direction you’re walking. I tripped over the threshold as I savored my last few seconds of eye contact with Jamie the Hot Bartender. Totally worth it.

Making Out with Strangers

subwaykissFirst of all, I just have to say that I am not the kind of girl that makes out with strangers. Whatever kind of girl that is.

On a Tuesday morning in late February I took this particular train to a job interview in Camden. And in black stilettos and a waistcoat that displayed my assets to best effect I also took the train back home. While waiting on the platform a tall, dark, and exceptionally well-dressed man stands next to me.

“Excuse me? I want to go to Green Park. Is this the right train?”

After fumbling with my iPod earphones and realizing that he is in fact speaking to me in his Spanish-British accent I tell him that Green Park is only two stops from where we are, obviously.

“So this is the train you’re getting on?”


“You’re American, aren’t you?”

The all but empty train pulls into the station and we get on, and stand facing one another on opposite sides of the car. I nod, but since I don’t really have any idea what’s going on, I wait for him to say something else, not that it’s really his words that I am paying any attention to.

“Well you don’t seem American.”

“What do I seem like?” Seeing as I can’t really hear him over the clattering of the tube down the rails, it seems best to go with short sentences. His solution is a little different. He comes over to my side and leans against the wall above me.

“You seem like sunshine.” It’s a really good thing I am not paying attention to what he’s saying at this point.

Then the announcement sounds: Next stop, Green Park.

And then there’s the moment. Eye contact and a sudden and perfect understanding of the fact that we will never see each other again, we probably won’t get another chance to take advantage of how good we look this morning, and the idea of it not happening is so ridiculous that it doesn’t even merit contemplation. And that’s when I made out with a complete stranger on the Piccadilly line. It couldn’t have been more than a few (extremely sensual, slow, hot, perfect) kisses when the train stopped. The doors opened, we smiled at one another, and he picked up his briefcase and went off to work. The bubble of perfection that had formed in that first moment of eye contact popped.

I was left with a mild case of whisker burn, glares from the elderly English matron across the aisle, and a smile.

Then I realized how crazy the moment was. Because contrary to the training of fairytales and grandmothers alike I did not want to know this guy’s name, would really prefer it if I never saw him again, and certainly would not be stalking the Piccadilly line at the same time everyday trying to find him and relive the fantasy. Because we had somehow just created the most perfect moment of attraction and indulgence to ever achieve reality, and to do anything other than let it exist would be to spoil it.

Being thoroughly visceral I have fully embraced the prospect and the perks of a relationship without an ounce of commitment or intimacy. Just a healthy dose of passion.