Sunday, 19 September 2010

Friends Like These

When it comes to friends I have to say that I have always been blessed with plenty. Some people collect stamps, coins, key rings, fridge magnets etc., but I have been told that I collect people. I have friends from primary school, secondary school, college, uni, people I have met whilst abroad; friends I have met through work, random people I have met through other friends, ex-boyfriends who are now friends and I even have a really good friend that I met at a bus stop about 11 years ago.

I am not sure what makes me such a collector of friends I think is because I have a natural interest in people, love getting to know everything about somebody and until proved otherwise I see the good in everybody and never give up on people I care about, even if I don’t see them for ages (if I like you on instinct I’ll probably like you forever) also I am a hoarder of everything and I now realise this includes people.

I have noticed over time that although no person is ever just one thing that there are mates you call on for different things (I have not included names to protect the identities of those with respectable jobs, good husbands etc.), but friends seem to fall into categories such as:

The Wild One

This is the friend you call on when the shit has really hit the fan, you’re fed up of analysing, you’re fed up of crying you just want to go and get well and truly lashed. This friend knows all the hot spots, all the key people, what’s going on about town and most of all she knows how to have fun. When this friend gets in touch and says she wants to plan a night out you can almost hear your liver scream before you’ve even had a sniff of a glass of rose. This friend is all about fun and hedonism and will probably be the cause of the biggest hangovers, crazy situations and general bad behaviour ever, but damn it’s good to be bad.

The Sensible One

On the flip side of the wild one is the sensible one. This friend is always on hand with good advice (even when you don’t want to hear it). She knows best, never drinks too much and can be prone to looking and sounding astounded by tales of your life. If you want a sophisticated, sedate evening the sensible friend is the one you go with, fine food, good wine (in moderation) and ensuring things don’t get out of hand are all her forte. You can always rely on the sensible friend in times of crisis to be there with a shoulder to cry on, wise words and to tell you all the good things about you. She may not be as crazy as some but she’s definitely one in a million.

The Male Friend

This one is quite a new thing for me as I have never really had any proper male friends, but in the past year I have acquired quite a few and I love them. Male friends are quite simple compared to women and that’s why I like them. You can tell them anything and they don’t appear to judge, they make great drinking partners and they are great at giving advice on men without all the analysis, example “boo hoo why hasn’t he called me?” “He’s obviously not that interested Beck, do you want another drink?” I love it.

The Rebound Friend

On paper this friend doesn’t sound too great, but once you accept that this is just how she is and it’s no reflection on you then they can be great fun. This friend comes and goes and it always seems to coincide with what’s going on with their love life. This is the friend that once there is a man on the scene you don’t see or hear from them (you can actually begin to wonder whether they’re even still alive), when you do hear from them the text (as there are no more phone conversations) always say things like “we must meet up soon” as long as you are aware this probably isn’t going to happen it’s fine. The next time you hear from them there will have been a break up or a relationship problem, and that’s when the fun begins, you may have been neglected but when they come back on the scene you are reminded of everything you love about them, but do be aware all nights out are only vehicles for meeting the next “the one”.

The All Rounder
The all-rounders are usually your best friends, the ones you call in times of trouble. All your other friends like them; they know what to say and when to say it. They can offer great advice (usually because they know you better than you know yourself) and they’re fun to be around. The all-rounder is the friend that whatever happens babies, marriages, break-ups, bereavements they're always there. They make you laugh, wipe away your tears, get you ridiculously drunk on school nights. You know with this one that no matter where you are (holidaying in the Caribbean or staying in together on a Saturday night) a good time will be had by all. The all-rounder in my opinion is also the only person who can say “get a grip Beck” and not insight the rage. You can see them every weekend for a few months and then not get to see each other for months, but when you do nothing has changed.

As I said at the start no person is any one thing. To some people I or you might be the wild one, to others the sensible one and so on and our roles flex and change due to time and circumstance. The friend you spent every day with when you’re 15 may become somebody you see twice a year, but the importance of that friendship doesn’t change. The one thing I can say is that whatever the role, each friend is unique, has played a significant part in my life and no matter how many new friends I collect along the way all my friends will be people that I treasure forever.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

No More Drama....Oh go on then

I have finally realised why I haven’t been totally lucky in love and what it is I am looking for. It turns out the blame lies solely with my love of literature, Sex and the City, rom coms and dramas.

You may be puzzled and wonder how this can be the case, but, it only dawned on me whilst watching the last episode of Mistresses that I just love my romantic life to be a drama. I loved it when Siobhan and Dom finally got together, what I loved more was that it hadn’t been easy. They had an affair (much of which appeared to take place in a stationary cupboard) whilst she was married, she got pregnant with Doms child, her husband left, Dom married somebody else and then finally, finally when I could barely take anymore they realised they should be together. Now that to me is how a romance should be, heady, dramatic, and fraught.

Look at all the great loves. For example, Cinderella, no just meeting at a party and getting together for her and Prince Charming, no there had to be a ball, a lost shoe and the ugly sisters to contend with. Romeo and Juliet, fair enough it’s a bit extreme that you have to end up dead for love, but a great romance never the less. One of my all time favourite romantic pairings Cathy and Heathcliffe (again she died), but the bit I think is great about the story is that Heathcliffe is so traumatised by this he never gets over it. Again, I’m not saying that when I meet the one that if I die I want him to dig my body up, but it’s the passion and all consuming love that I like the idea of.

It was whilst reflecting on this that I realised that for all my protesting that I’m not a romantic, I obviously am. All the great romances in my life have never run smoothly and as much as I sometimes think I want a quiet life, a simple romance, meet, get on great, fall in love, live happily ever after. The end. In reality when I meet people who fit that bill I start wondering why there isn’t any drama and to my shame, and very often to my detriment then cause some drama.

I think my point is proven that to date the most all consuming love of my life has been with a man who was emotionally unstable, had a temper that would compete with Gordon Ramsey’s and felt that regularly screaming at each other was a normal way to resolve things. Now I won’t say that this relationship was easy, and I’ll admit I spent a lot of it upset, but as exhausting as it was it was far more exciting than spending every night sitting on the sofa watching Eastenders.

Since those days I have calmed down a bit and don’t think I could cope with a relationship of such bi-polar highs and lows, but I have also come to accept the fact that I like drama, a man with a little fire in his belly (even if it does sometimes result in arguments of proportions not seen since the days of Angie and Den Watts in Eastenders).

So, now I have accepted my love of drama and passion. I am going to stop trying to date stable men and keep waiting for the man who gives me butterflies in my belly, the one who makes me say (and I quote The Wedding Date) “I’d rather fight with you, than make love with anybody else” and accept that as Carrie Bradshaw (she of possibly the most turbulent on/off romantic tale of modern times) says “Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with." See I am a romantic really.