Sunday, 30 October 2011

Divorcees and Toy Boys

As I was getting ready to go out with my old school friend Helen last night, I couldn’t help noticing an article in the paper about Nancy Dell’Olio and her alleged new ‘Toy boy’ James Petrie. 

Articles of this nature are never written to be flattering of the women in question.  They hint at these women being ‘sad’, ‘desperate’, ‘attention seeking’ or in the middle of a full blown mid-life crisis.  It would seem that these ‘women of a certain age’ should just be grateful for the attention.  Think of it as a kind of “Help the Aged get a Sex Life” campaign.  No room is ever made for the idea that two people might have such a strong emotional and intellectual connection, that age just doesn’t matter.

I will be the first to admit that I have always wondered about the attraction women have to much younger men – so the evening turned out to be enlightening.

We were supposed to be going for a quick drink and catch up.  My friend, like me, is recently divorced and she just needed a night out.  I had decided to give my liver a night off, so I drove to my friends’ house and we wandered round to a local bar.

A short while after we arrived, Helen’s attention was drawn to two young men sitting outside, who teased her about listening to their conversation.  When we then went outside to get some fresh air for me and a cigarette for Helen (!) we got chatting.

It transpired that the two men, both 28, had split up from their girlfriend and fiancĂ© respectively.  I registered that they had enquired about our marital status fairly early on – which I guess wasn’t surprising, given that Helen and I are ‘mature’ women! 

I wholeheartedly admit that it is hugely flattering when a much younger man even notices you’re there.  But I don’t think it’s a one-way street.

Without a doubt, both of them were charming, well mannered, funny and interesting.  And as the conversation progressed, the chasm between our respective ages seemed to matter less and less.  Bearing in mind the volumes of alcohol being consumed by the other three (remember, I was giving my liver a rest!), the conversation was surprisingly philosophical and open.  One of them had had a series of events in his late teens, which was not dissimilar to my own.  But I never imagined I would find myself sitting outside a bar having a meaningful conversation with someone who was almost, but not quite, young enough to be my son. 

It made me feel irritable that society pigeonholes us into an age bracket, which suggests that different generations have completely different views, feelings and perspectives.  I totally related to how he felt and it closed the age gap between us.

The conversation progressed to social media and I was amused to hear that they thought it was a myth that their generation all understood and used it.  As the conversation flowed, I realised that my humble knowledge of Twitter exceeded theirs!

Suddenly if felt like all boundaries had come down.  Age really wasn’t an issue any more.  And what’s more, the two men were supposed to be at a Halloween party further down the road.

We were invited to join the party.  Helen was up for it.  Helen was also wearing the kind of boots that really weren’t designed to be walked in.  So stone cold sober Lara trudged behind as one of them kindly gave her a piggy back! 

If I’d had a few drinks, I would, without a doubt, have been laughing my socks off.  But in my sober state, I was just terrified the piggy back pair were going to fall under a car. 

The party was full of 20-somethings, yet I didn’t feel out of place or ‘sad’ – just sober!  Ironically, Helen and I spotted a middle aged man in the corner, desperately chatting up a much younger woman.  I have to confess, on the basis of her response to him, if anyone was out of place it was him!

And then it struck me, that amongst the young women in the room Helen and I stood out.  Not because we were older, but because we had a different dynamic.  We aren’t in the ‘mating game’.  We aren’t looking for a man to marry and father our children before we get stuck on the shelf. 

We’re older, wiser and we’ve been round the block.  And when I look at my friend Helen, who is so clever, funny, slender and beautiful, I don’t wonder that someone that evening took a bit of a shine to her.

So going back to my original point about Nancy Dell’Olio and her alledged ‘toy boy’.  What’s the big deal?  Why wouldn’t a younger man find an older woman an appealing prospect?  Why does society mock women so much?

All of a sudden, my own personal prejudice about getting involved with younger men has been challenged. 

As it stands, there are no younger men on the scene vying for my attention. But if any pop up, I will most certainly give it my consideration.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Revenge is a dish best served…. In a pub

Last night it was the night of the week when I have to spend hours in the car, sitting in traffic, dropping the kids at their Dad’s house, so he can spend a couple of hours with them before.  Always at my inconvenience and leaving me under considerable pressure to get the car back home, in rush hour traffic, if I have any social arrangements.

By the time I got home, Julian had arrived.  We were both a bit knackered.  So we decided a couple of drinks in the pub would be great, but nothing wild. 

During supper, the conversation came around to the ‘inappropriate’ man, who had offered me 'no strings sex' a week or so before.  We had a thoroughly entertaining time discussing what terrible act of revenge I could inflict on him, for his bad behaviour.  Supper finished and still giggling at some of the harsher punishments we had considered, we wandered off to the pub.

Having managed to get ourselves a table and a couple of drinks, the man himself walked in.  Julian and I couldn’t believe our luck.

He caught site of me and instantly recognised me.  He looked a bit embarrassed and clearly didn’t know what to do.  His friend, who had been with him on the fateful night, was clearly giving him a hard time.  All of a sudden, the ‘monster’ now just looked a bit embarrassed, sad and lost.  I actually started to feel a bit sorry for him. 

Don’t worry – I was not so sorry as to let him off the hook completely, but definitely sorry enough to stop short of maiming him.

After a further discussion with Julian about my plan of campaign, I decided to just be my ballsy self.  As I passed his table on the way to the bar, I stopped and said hello.

“You were very drunk last week.” I started.

“Yes, but so were you!”  he replied, as if my being drunk was some sort of defence.

“Yes, I was, which is unlike me.  But you were both drunk and inappropriate.  Very inappropriate.”

“Oh no.  Was it that bad?  I remember going outside for a cigarette, but after that…. I don’t really remember.”  Yeah!  Right!  What a selective memory!

“Well, if you don’t remember, I’m not going to embarrass you by telling you, but it was very inappropriate and I didn’t appreciate it.”

And then I came out with my killer line…

“Right.  Now we’ve sorted that one out, why don’t you and your friend come over and join us for a quick drink?”

Ah – I hadn’t told you about my tactic had I?  Kill ‘em with kindness!

The look on his face was a picture.  He didn’t know what to do or say.  So I turned to his friend, who was clearly enjoying Mr Inappropriate’s discomfort. 

“Come on, it would be lovely to meet you properly, and I can introduce you to my friend Julian.”

So Mr Inappropriate, who felt he had no choice, and his friend, who was thoroughly enjoying himself, came and joined our table.

It turned out that the friend was quite interesting and before I knew it, Julian and I were engrossed in conversation with him, whilst Mr I was completely ignored. He sat there quietly, with no one really talking to him, until finally he stood up to go home. 

Evening out with his friend, ruined; chastised; tail between his legs; very embarrassed; forced to spend his evening with the new thorn in his side (aka Lara Lakin); but unable to say that I had been anything less than polite and charming, Mr I slunk off home. 

As Julian walked me home, we agreed that it had turned into a surprisingly entertaining evening.

Forget tarring and feathering or any of the more severe forms of punishment.  Sometimes, being nice to someone who’s done us wrong is the best punishment ever.  

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Friendship, kebabs and gay cabaret

It was Wednesday night, the kids were with their Dad and as I had a busy day the following day, gay friend Julian and I decided to go out for a couple of drinks.  Nothing wild. Just a glass of wine or two…

…. Or three or four…

And yes, I’m sure you’ve already guessed… It turned into a late one! 

Why does this always happen when Julian and I get together?  What is the dynamic between us? 

We come from different generations and totally different backgrounds.  And we are very different in character.  But our shared sense of humour and values are very alike.  We can be alternately puerile and thoughtful.  And amazingly, he takes no offence and can tolerate my slightly quirky behaviour.

I’m sure I have many bad habits, but there is one in particular that I do without even realising I’m doing it.  I change subjects.  In the middle of a conversation about one thing, I’ll start talking about something completely different.  Then I look blankly at people, because I cannot fathom why they don’t seem to know what I’m talking about, when it seems perfectly obvious to me…!

But going back to the point about coming from different backgrounds, it never fails to amaze me how social attitudes are the glue of friendship.  Identifying that someone thinks the same way as you, negates the need for a friendship to stem from a similar life style.  In fact, I think it may even make a relationship stronger, because they don’t have to ‘fit in’.  They’re different.  That’s the point.

Apparently, when I change subject and Julian no longer has a clue what I’m talking about, I give him a very certain ‘look’.  Like I think he’s a moron for not keeping up.  And that’s mortifyingly embarrassing!  Because I really don’t mean to do it and that’s certainly not what I’m thinking.

“If I didn’t know you, I’d be really offended.” He told me yesterday.  “But I know it’s just what you’re like and that you don’t mean to be rude.”


[I hope you’ve noticed that I am jumping about in this post… in an endeavour to give you an idea of what I’m like in person!]

Well, going back to our night out…  The plan had been to go for a drink.  The bar we went to was just a few feet away from a gay club that Julian likes.  So off we went. 

"Apple-style-span" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif;">
But how wonderful and refreshing to have a friend who ‘gets’ me.  Who makes his own coffee, because I’ve offered three times but not quite done it!  Who takes no offence at my quirkiness, because he can see through it.  And who feels comfortable to let me in to another side of his life, which I have never before experienced.

 Julian.  You Rock!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Kids, morality and rites of passage..

Yesterday evening, my youngest came home from school and with a slightly nervous look on his face, confessed to me that, for the first time ever…  He’d been given detention!

“What did you do?” I enquired.

“Well, me and Luke were playing and he splashed me with water.  So I spat water back at him and one of the girls got some on her and she told the teacher and now we have to do detention.”  He gushed, in a single breath.

Then he looked at me and waited.  Was he going to be told off?  Was I going to be angry or maybe even laugh?   Was he going to get another punishment? 

I could see all the thoughts whirring through his head.  I stood there for a moment thinking about how best to tackle it.  I have always strongly believed that a punishment for bad behaviour at school should not be dragged out at home as well.  One crime.  One punishment.  And then it’s over.

And lets face it… He didn’t hurt anyone.  He didn’t break or steal anything.  He was just having a water fight with his friend.  Annoying and messy for the staff – but hardly the first foray into a life of crime…! 

I told him it wasn’t the end of the world.  I was glad that he hadn’t done anything terrible.  But what I really wanted to say was:

“Who was the girl who told on you?  What a little snitch!” 

And then, later on, I thought about it some more, because of the events of last week.  And I realised that I simply can’t blindly defend the appropriateness of teachers’ punishments.

Last week, I bought my kids some new pencils.  My eldest has terrible writing and I was advised to buy him the expensive pencils, which are triangular rather than octagonal.  I gave the little one three to take to school.  He decided to sharpen both ends of these pencils.  He’s a kid.  They do stuff like that, right?

Because they were sharpened at both ends, his teacher decided that they were dangerous.  She took all three from him and kept them herself.  When my son told me what had happened, I was really irritated.  He’d only had the pencils for a day and I had to make a special trip to get them.  Then he made the observation that as the teacher had kept them, surely that meant she’d stolen them.

And what could I say?  He was of course completely right.  Had the teacher returned his pencils to me at the end of the day, it would have been a completely different matter.  But she didn’t.  And he’s seen her using them. 

It reminded me of an incident I had as a child.  Having never been in any kind of trouble at school, I was punished for doing something I hadn’t done.  I was not allowed to defend myself or even speak, unless it was to confess.

That was the day I lost all respect for authority.  From that day forward, my respect has had to be earned. 

So here’s the minefield I have to cross.  My child’s eyes have been opened to the fact that figures of authority don’t always have our respect. 

And so this Friday, my son will have to do his detention, for doing nothing more than being a bit silly.  And whilst he does his time, his teacher will still be using the stolen pencils.  I could go into school and ask for them back – after all it’s not a matter of pencils, it’s a matter of principle.  But what parent wants to get a teacher off side over a pencil?

Unfortunately in life, for children and parents alike, we also have to learn that whether we have respect or not, sometimes we have to play the game…

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Getting hammered and offered “no strings sex”. Just your average night out for a divorcee...

Well here’s how it happened.

Having arranged to meet Sarah and some of her friends in our local pub, I got caught on the phone to a friend.  I found myself pouring a large glass of wine whilst we chatted.  When the conversation and wine were done with, I legged it round to the pub.

Whilst downing another couple of very large glasses of wine, I found myself chatting to a seemingly pleasant man, who had just lost his mother the week before.  Having been through a similar experience myself, I felt great sympathy for him.  He had nursed his mother through her final weeks, until she finally lost the battle against cancer.

Now, maybe I’m really missing something – or maybe it was the alcohol.  I really can’t say.  But somehow, somewhere along the line, this seemingly nice man decided that it would be appropriate to make a move.  First it was the arm and hand stroking.  I could handle that.  But then he grabbed the sides of my face and planted a huge smacker on my lips. 

I don’t know about you lot, but I’m kind of choosy about who gets to kiss me on the lips.  So I pushed him firmly away.

I’m not one for making a scene or slapping men round the face.  And as the man was obviously a bit drunk and emotional, I decided not to make a fuss. 

And then came the clanger. 

“How do you feel about just having a ‘fun time’ tonight?” he asked.

I stood there for a second, my brain fogged by alcohol, trying to work out exactly what he meant.   The penny dropped.

“You mean sex?  ‘No strings attached’?”


It was one of those rare moments in my life when I was really quite dumbfounded.  I have never been approached like that before and I hope I don’t again.

Lucky for him, I’m very cheerful when drunk!

“Errr.  Sorry.  I don’t do that kind of thing.  Ever!” was the only reply I could think of.

I stumbled back to the table where my friends were sitting.  Confessed that I was totally inebriated and staggered home.

Fortunately, I woke this morning without even a hint of a hangover – but the antics of last night have been whirring round my head all morning.

Last night I felt really angry and upset about it.  This morning, I find it faintly amusing.

I feel like I’ve been through a real mind change recently.  I’ve stopped getting offended by people I don’t know or care about.  I don’t know the man.  He is only an acquaintance of a friend.  Frankly, I would have to really care about him and have great respect for him before his behaviour offended me.

This one has to be put down to experience.  Next time, I’ll be more careful about how much I’m drinking.

And has I’m a ‘glass half full type’, I’ve got to say, at least it wasn’t a dull evening and it’s given me something to write about! 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Divorce may be devastating, but there are upsides too

I recently had a conversation with a friend about how my life was progressing post divorce.  I have two young children.  I would be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult.  But it was even harder to be married to someone who made me deeply unhappy.

As it got me thinking about the subject, I decided to jot down some of the upsides.  The thoughts that keep me going when I’m tired and stressed. 

I thought I’d share them…

  • When I get dressed up to go out, I can rely on my young son to tell me “Mummy, you look beautiful”.  To be beautiful in the eyes of my own child, negates the need for anyone else to think so.

  • I no longer have to watch someone smother the delicious meal I’ve lovingly made, with ketchup.

  • I can leave a party when I feel like it.  And if I misbehave and say something I shouldn’t have, I won’t be nagged all the way home, and all through the next day.

  • I get to watch what I want on the TV. 

  • I get every other weekend off….  And if I have a hangover, I can lie in peace on the sofa, with no one bothering me. 

  • My girlfriends are 10 times more interested in what I’m up to than they used to be!

  • No one wants to discuss home improvements with me.

  • I don’t have to spend time with my former parents in law.

  • I don’t have to do another adult’s laundry.

  • There are never bits of stubble or toothpaste in my bathroom sink.

  • I get to hang out with my gay friends and can make social arrangements without having to consult someone.

And last, but by no means least….

  • I am free to be myself, to express myself, indulge my smutty sense of humour, and reclaim some of my long lost self-confidence. 

Until recently, I hadn’t realised quite how much all of these changes had improved my life.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Days from Hell are spent with Alvin the Chipmonk

The last few days have been a bit of a challenge… the type of challenge only a parent can fully appreciate.

At the end of last week, I agreed to look after a friend’s dog.  I knew the kids would be thrilled, as they adore him.  What I hadn’t anticipated, was the chaos that was to follow…

After school I raced the kids back home, so that they could have a good run around the park with the dogs.  And that’s when it happened.  The dog jumped up at the eldest and caught him in the eye. 

Like most mothers, I am very tuned-in to my children, and as my eldest is prone to hysteria, his reaction did not surprise me. Sobbing and yelling, I dragged him into the house to have a look at his eye.  It was clearly very sore, but other than being a bit pink, I couldn’t see anything. 

He sobbed his way through supper and as my nervous system was feeling close to breaking point, I sent him to bed. 

That night, I had a ‘not so little’ visitor.  He crawled into bed, intermittently crying because his eye hurt, and wriggling like a sack of eels.  Having been tired to begin with, and despite my sympathy for him, I could feel myself really losing patience.

The following morning, I gave him the classic ‘play date’ ultimatum.  The one where you explain that they can’t have their play date if they don’t go to school…!

It works every time.  He went to school.  But I started to worry that the eye might need checking.  Alas, our optician was not around that day, and the lovely receptionist persuaded me that I should take him to the eye hospital to get it checked.

Having off-loaded the little one, I collected the big one and drove to the other side of the City to the eye hospital.  For reasons I can’t quite fathom, the paediatric A&E department didn’t have a doctor.  Luckily, after two hours hanging around, a doctor from another department saw him.  When I discovered that he had a bad scratch across his cornea, I was rather relieved that the ‘gung ho’ mother in me had been exorcised by the optician’s receptionist. 

Antibiotics and an eye patch later, we set off to collect the little one and managed, by some miracle, to make it to the play date. 

However, halfway there, I had a phone call from the hospital asking me to return on Monday morning for a review.  They had checked the big one’s Tetanus status, but were still concerned about infection.

Having spent four hours on a Friday afternoon on the first visit, I was not looking forward to a repeat performance.

Little did I know what I had in store…

Having dropped the little one at the school bus, I drove off across town to the eye hospital.  

All the way there, my eldest jibber jabbered next to me.  He’s one of those inquisitive kids for whom “sorry, I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer.  He will repeat a question in about three or four different ways to try and get the response he wants.  As much as I love him, I do find this irritating at 7.30 in the morning.

With the thought of an endless wait in A&E and heavy traffic to contend with, I could feel my stress levels slowly rising.

In total, the wait in A&E was three hours, despite having arrived half an hour before it opened. 

As my tolerance levels drained away, I was subjected to: the child from hell bashing every noisy toy he could find, whilst his parents looked on lovingly;  a father, with a voice like a fog horn, who felt the need to shout into his mobile phone; and having to watch the only doctor at the unit having a good chat with a colleague, whilst we all sat waiting. 

And then, the final straw.  Noisy Irritating Child decided he wanted a video.  The Incredibles was in the machine.  Great film and lovely distraction, I thought.  But Noisy Irritating Child wasn’t happy with it.  Oh, no!  Noisy Irritating Bloody Child only wanted Alvin and The Chipmonks

As the hideous child screamed and shrieked with excitement, my son took one look at me and grinned from ear to ear. 

“Why are you smiling, I thought you hated Alvin and the Chipmonks?” I enquired.

“I do.  But I know how much more you hate it!” came his evil retort!

For the first time that morning, as I threatened to rip my ears off and gouge my eyes out, to spare myself the torture that is Alvin, both my son and I really laughed. 

Two minutes later, the doctor finally saw us.  My son was banned for a week from all contact sports and swimming and told to go for a check-up with the optician in a week’s time.

By the time we got back to school, it was past lunch time, and the head teacher said he should just go home, as there was a sports lesson for most of the afternoon. 

My son, who was of course feeling back to himself again, was ecstatic!  I was drained and knackered – but nonetheless relieved that I had taken the trouble to get his eye checked.  It had been tiring and stressful and I managed to achieve absolutely nothing else on those days…

But heck, when my son dragged me onto his bed for a goodnight kiss and cuddle; said ‘thank you Mum’ for taking him to the hospital, letting him eat junk food and getting him a whole day off school; and told me he loves me; that was the moment that made the stress just disappear.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Gay men, sexual predators and other myths of our time…

In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve.  Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, Eve had a headache and Adam ran off with Steve.

And so Gay men were created!

Clearly, I’m being facetious, but having agreed with Julian that we would write this post together, and considering the complexities of the subject, it is hard to know where to start.

The subject of gay men, promiscuity, prejudice and misconceptions has become a serious topic of conversation.

Before I met Julian, I was never homophobic.  That said, I was as guilty as the next heterosexual person of having misconceived ideas about the gay community.

So when I heard about sites such as Grindr, I assumed that, as many single gay men are highly promiscuous, these sites were set up purely as a way of finding casual sex.  And I have been told by other gay men, who haven’t investigated these sites, that they have avoided doing so because they also have this mis-conception.

I was therefore fascinated to discover that, whilst undoubtedly it is used by some gay men for this purpose, there is a much bigger social side to it.

If a heterosexual man or woman goes out to a bar or club, chances are, if they see someone they like and have the confidence to approach, that person is going to be heterosexual too.  But if they’re not, they are unlikely to take offense.

Conversely, for a gay man, a regular kind of guy, who has no desire to hang out solely in gay bars, identifying someone they’re interested in, and having the confidence to make an approach is somewhat more complicated.  Even if he feels sure that the man he’s approaching is gay, there is no guarantee that he is ‘out’ and if he gets it wrong, the ramifications are serious.  Gay men still get beaten up for just walking down the street, let alone making an unwanted approach.

And this is where gay social networking sites have come in to play.  

The facts are, gay people do fall into different categories.  There will always be those whose social lives are totally focused on the gay scene.  In Julian’s experience, this group tends to be younger, have only recently come out and are trying to discover themselves.  As they get older and feel more comfortable within themselves, this can change significantly. 

Having moved to London four years ago, in a stable relationship, this was no longer an environment that Julian felt a need to be part of.  He wanted a ‘normal’ social life outside of the limits of the gay scene. 

However, had he moved to London as a single man, trying to find ‘like minded’ people in the local area would have been hard.  He no longer wants to spend his time hanging out with an entirely gay crowd (as it is, gay men account for only 30% of his social group).  So how would he have found other gay men to meet? 

Answer:  gay social networking sites.

In Julian’s reckoning, about 40% of men on the larger sites are just looking for someone to go and have a drink with, as stepping stone to dating.  Roughly 40% are looking for casual sex, with ‘no strings attached’, and the final 20% are looking to widen their social group.

I have to wonder how these figures compare to heterosexual dating sites.  I’ve never signed up to online dating, but women I know who have, have all told me that they have wasted time getting got know men only to discover that they are just after sex. 

With gay sites, it’s a lot more honest and open.  Subscriber profiles state whether the member is after “mates, dates, no strings attached, or relationships”.  I have to wonder whether the heterosexual online dating community could benefit from a bit of this honesty.

And whilst it never seems to get a mention, the fact remains that gay men have just the same emotional needs as everyone else.  But their portrayal as avid sexual predators completely by-passes this point. 

Having written 800 words already, I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface of this subject.  But I hope that I have been able to at least make you question any pre-conceived ideas you may have.

To me, the bottom line (if you’ll excuse the pun!) is that people want two things:  sex and relationships.  And whilst people’s methods of finding either sexual or life partners may vary, it is wrong to assume that gay social networking sites are very different to heterosexual online dating.

And on that note, I’ll leave you with this clip from Brokeback Mountain, which I just watched with Julian.  Oh, and we have decided we have different taste in men….  Just as well really, or it’d be handbags at dawn….

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

How do you like your eggs in the morning….?

OK – it’s a really crappy joke.  I heard it years ago, but for some strange reason, it still makes me laugh!  Here goes….

Q:  How do you like your eggs in the morning?
A:  Unfertilised!

Yes, I know it’s puerile.  But there’s a point to it.   A point that has been bothering me recently.

As I stand here today, I am very clear in my mind that I have the number of kids I have always wanted.  And I don’t want any more.

But if I am fortunate to meet someone in the future who doesn’t have kids, someone I really fall in love with and want to spend the rest of my foreseeable life with, what will I do if they want children?

Grrrr.  That’s a really tough question.   And strangely, a question several female friends have asked me recently.

Despite the fact that I’m late for everything (I don’t mean to be, I just am!), I am a very organised person.  I like to plan and arrange details in advance.  And this is how my kids came to be.  Planned and organised.  I wanted two, I got two.  Done.

But I have to confess, although I really hate having to admit this point, there is just a teeny tiny bit of me that “maybe”, “possibly”, “at a pinch”, could consider doing it again.

The facts are, I’m not a spring chicken any more. I found pregnancy hard, because I was quite unwell with it.  I don’t have family who can help. But what has really put me off, is the way my ex-husband behaved towards me after our second child was born. 

To begin with, it was a very traumatic birth.  The following day, he came to collect me from hospital, but there was a problem and we were made to stay a bit longer.  He was cross with me for “wasting his time” coming to the hospital, as we could no longer go home. 

A week later, I was throwing away dead flowers, which had been sent to us by kind friends.  I commented, in a gentle way (as opposed to my ‘irritated, pissed off wife’ way), that it would have been nice to have received flowers from him.  His response was snappy and aggressive.

“You’ve had loads of flowers.  You don’t need any more.”

I wasn’t asking for the crown jewels.  Just a bunch of flowers…!

This upset me enough, but in the ensuing days, I spoke to him about how traumatised I felt by our second child’s birth.  His response was aggressive:

“I don’t want to hear about it.  How do you think it felt for ME having to watch, unable to do anything, whilst you went through that.  It was far worse for me.”

I swore to myself that day that I would never, under any circumstances, have another child with him.

At that point in time, I never imagined myself being divorced from him.  So I had effectively sworn never to have another child at all. 

Maybe that’s the real issue:  I fear being treated the way I was before.  But maybe, just maybe, if I am fortunate enough to meet someone I want to be with for the rest of my life, I could, “maybe”, “possibly”, “at a pinch”, change my mind.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Everyone’s at it….

Yes, it was the first of October yesterday, and the sudden heat wave had everyone at it…

Barbecuing, that is…

And right on cue, I had a late call from my friend Sarah inviting me to go to her friends’ house.  I knew that I wouldn’t know anyone there, apart from Sarah, and I’m not one for gate crashing other people’s parties, but heck, it was a hot evening and I had no other plans.

Sarah picked me up in the car on the way past and as we raced round the corner to her friend Mark’s house, I anxiously clung on to her beautifully made cheesecake, convinced I was going to end up wearing it or dropping it.

The cheesecake arrived in once piece and we were greeted at the door by Mark himself, a charismatic, warm and friendly man, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words:

I’m not a gynaecologist, but I’ll have a look.

With my puerile sense of humour, I couldn’t help but laugh. 

A couple of drinks later, and Mark’s amazing paella was ready.  And for a moment, I had a weird feeling of displacement.  In the 20 years I was with my ex-husband, he never cooked for me.  Not even once.  And unfortunately, doing absolutely everything on a domestic level has become my comfort zone.  It made me very conscious that going forwards, I need to allow people to do things for me, even though I find it hard.

And then, I don’t know what came over me.  I had a funny ‘turn’ and came over all bold, brassy and frankly, quite smutty.  For reasons I can’t quite explain, I felt the need to ask the host, who was talking about cycling, if he wears ‘budgie smugglers’.   And from there the conversation progressed to mankinis.  What ever was I thinking?

But was that enough for Lara Lakin… Oh, no!

That’s when I had a dreadful attack of foot in mouth disease.  Having agreed with another guest, a lovely man who is a real Doctor, that Darwin had got it right, I opened my big mouth and put both feet in…  right in… up to the ankle.

“I’m not at all convinced that mankind is responsible for global warming!”  I exclaimed.

I heard the sound of stifled laughter and heads banging on the table behind me, as my host kindly explained that The Doctor had just spent 10 years researching the effects of global warming.  In fact, he’s just had a book published, based on his findings!

“Ah, you’re a denier are you?”  he replied calmly.
“Errrr, yes!  Oh, and I used to work for a GM Crops company!”  I replied.  I thought I may as well finish myself off with that last point!  But maybe what I should have just said was “No, I’m just a dumb blonde with a big mouth!”

Luckily I was spared further embarrassment by the arrival of Sarah’s amazing cheesecake. 

Alas, disaster struck, and my premonition that I would end up wearing the cheesecake came to fruition.  It slipped off the plate, onto my hair, down my back and splattered all over the floor. 

“Don’t worry” Mark’s wife said calmly.  “I washed the floor today, it’ll be fine!”  And so, the cheesecake was scraped up off the floor and eaten anyway!

Finally, after more raucous conversation, it was time to go home.  I’d had a great evening and been made to feel really welcome by complete strangers.  And I had felt able to ‘be myself’ although maybe, sometimes, I should rein it in a bit! 

And I hope my recovery from the global warming gaff was as successful as that of the cheesecake! Not looking quite so clever, but going down well anyway!

Facebook Like Button