My head is swirling with thoughts right now - thoughts about relationships, friendships, myself and how I perceive and am perceived by people in my life. I simply have to get this down on paper. I've never been the best at trying to express how I feel in conversation, but the beauty of the written word, where I can flow, unencumbered by social inhibition, that's where I can, and always have been able to fly as free as a bird.
I'm in a November low, full of self-doubt and esteem issues, so those of you coming here for a bit of classic Aero "banter" will be disappointed today. As will anyone reading when this may well turn out to be a moribund, self-pitying monologue. Or quite possibly the best piece of writing I have ever done. Depends how you feel about me.
You see, I know how people feel about me, and I know what people think of me. I am the least thick-skinned person you could ever meet. And I am incredibly perceptive. I always have been, nature played its part, but enhanced massively by being caught between two social classes - the class battle of my teens where I was juxtaposed between the village people with whom I was raised and those with the plums in the mouths of the private school, all rugby and blazers. Add in a psychology A level and 15 years analysing data for the biggest research company in the world and rest assured, there's not a lot I don't pick up on.
I can't help myself - every word, look, reply I analyse, and years of (sadly often bitter) experience have gifted me a sixth sense that tell me what people think of me. The good, the bad, and the downright ugly. AndI also sense how those perceptions change over time. How those who once thought nothing of me allow my personality to grow on them. And then those, sadly that drift the other way.
I am under no illusions about myself whatsoever. People say "don't put yourself down". Well I don't. I just say what's true. So here goes. I am overweight and I am not attractive to women in any classical (or I prefer to think shallow) way whatsoever. I never have been and never will be. Straightaway, this has instantly ruled me out for my entire life to date of any possibility of romance/ sexual dalliance with by my estimate at least 80% of the female population. Not only that it held back my career at Nielsen. It is, and always will be the good looking ones that get promoted.
Before I go any further I would just like to point out that there are no sour grapes here - I am just stating the facts as they are, I am perfectly happy with things as they stand. Also as I am going to be talking about sexual attraction a fair bit, probably best to put myself in a position as of five years ago, as I'm quite happily married now - but that doesn't change the basic premise on which this blog is based.
NB: Just so as not to worry you the blog title does not refer to the ultimate "American Wank" sitcom Friends.
Like I said, if you are not one of the "beautiful people" you're instantly ruled out as a sexual partner by people of the opposite sex, even those who are no oil paintings themselves. Sadly the worst thing you can do is reveal to someone that you like them when they don't like you - as if they are out for what they can get - they will exploit this for what they can get - in my younger years I was foolish enough to be drawn in by this a number of times.
I marvel at times how thick-skinned some other people are though. They sail along in their own little world (in which they are king or queen and what they think is the only way anyone should think) with absolutely no inkling of the low opinion that many hold of them. And this is largely due to their complete failure as so called "friends" to in fact be anything of the sort. Totally interested in themselves and oblivious to others thoughts and feelings.
Me - I'm incredibly sensitive and every word, every reaction to anything I say or do I pick up on. And I notice also how things change over time. Friendships wax and wane, some are very strong for just a year or two, others slow-burn for decades, and others fall by the wayside. Sometimes people you once thought the world of can fall from their pedestal, or leave you behind, maybe you needed them, but as their lives burned more brightly,, your candle, once held so precious by their own eyes flickered and faded from view.
I'm under no illusions, before we go on, here's some examples from the past.
The 80s - move from village school to all boys private school. Former village friends - I'm now "stuck-up" and "gay". New schoolmates - "country bumpkin"
The 90s - Nielsen. Highest ever score on entry tests - and yes, I will show off here, one of the best number crunchers the company ever had. Got nowhere fast due to poor fashion sense, being fat, drinking in pubs in Bicester rather than hanging out with the beatiful people in wine bars in Oxford, overly nasal voice (not my fault, blame sleep aponea), wrong haircut, need I go on...?
00s - when single - just wanted to find someone to click with, or OK, I'm only human, so some sex, find that the aforenentioned 80% more interested in a fit body for a night's fun even if it's with someone who's got about six women on the go and has about as much respect for them as a discarded fag end. As an aside, funnily enough this still goes on. I know for a fact there's a bloke I know who is sleeping with at least 3 different women I know and each one them thinks he is their boyfriend. It makes me laugh when I see their comments on facebook. How sad. And going on a little more - there are plenty of other women I know who are single mothers, in many cases their children never even knew their fathers who have been "victims" and are "unlucky with men". I am thinking of one in particular now who I asked out many years ago (when I was a bit desperate) but turned me down because obviously I was too fat and ugly to go out with, before getting up the duff twice by two different idiots.
Anyway, now I am 3 years married and settled with 2 lovely children. And I am glad that Claire & I chose each other as we did. She was happy to look beyond the surface and realise my potential as a partner and a father. So I am no longer bothered, clearly about attracting members of the opposite sex. Yet I still need them for friendships, especially due to my lifestyle, where I am in contact with a high percentage of females through both school and my work (many more girls than boys at the karaoke nights).
And I am so painfully aware of how I am perceived by people. I have made one friend really since the start of term, a lovely lady called Laura who has moved to Bicester recently (so is refreshingly uncluttered with any local baggage) and her son Lewis and Ollie are best pals at school. There's are two others called Cordelia and Claire who I also get on with, but I'm really unsure how the others feel about me,my gut feelings are they don't think a lot of me. If they even notice me.
Socially - as I said, friendships wax and wane. With me, I feel I seem to build the strongest friendships with those similarly vulnerable and troubled such as myself - but so kind and caring underneath. Others, I am not so sure about as I once was - I think sometimes people maybe grow tired of me, and who once needed me and found my little jokes and innuendoes funny, have now found the joke has worn thin.
Then there are others that genuinely surprise me - say someone I've been friends with on and off for 15 years, we let things drift for a few months than we bump into each other, sit up at the bar, have a drink together and just have the best laugh ever.
You see, I can just tell. I know who has in the past or the present, liked me, fancied me, thought I was twat, despised me, took the piss out of me, loved me, hated me, thinks I'm too big for my boots, or thick, or naive, etc etc etc. I also know how that's changed over time. Believe me, if you are reading this, and I know now that there are a fair few who do, be sure I do know what you think of me, we probably never discuss it or if we do I stumble nervously over my words but I do know!
But very few of you could I really really open up to now. Wavelength Jason is a very narrow band to be on, as I tend to find over time. People I may have thought were on it, once I get to know them it seems have completely different interests and values to me. All too often in the past sadly it seems a strong sexual attraction will blind me to these things. As I found to my cost with someone I was with in the late 90s where an amazing pair of legs, and a voracious sexual appetite blinded me (for well over a year) to the truth that everyone else could see.
I have a new 2nd best friend. She does not know she is my 2nd best friend yet, but she's been fantastic and a huge support to me, probably without even realising it. She's married, I'm married, and I can confidently say our friendship is and never will be a threat to that.
Lynda - you are just amazing and I have been so lucky to find you.
Who's your best friend, they cry? Step forward Claire, I cannot imagine sharing my life with anyone other than you x x
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