“Sexy Beast” or Just “Beast”?

Couldn’t not reference this pun. Source linked. It’s a t-shirt!

I was going to begin with a Miriam-Webster definition of attractiveness, but that’s not terribly helpful, is it? I guess the truth is, I want to vent about my self-image frustrations.

The thing is, I’ve never been all that attractive. Back in the days of being 20 stone (300 pounds/136 kilos) I look an awful lot better, but I’m never going to be Brad Pitt, however much I work. See the picture at the bottom for a comparison.Even with all this in mind, I’m hurt when a woman says that my body is not her favourite thing about me.

Let me give you a for instance. At a party I met an absolutely beautiful woman with whom I began to talk, flirt and mock. We fooled around and I bullied her a little about a guy who was following her around like a puppy.

Weeks pass and we chat occasionally on Facebook. One time while drunk-messaging, she lets slip that she’s had a crush on me since the party. I utterly disbelieve her and CCQ her about three times before I’m willing to allow for the possibility and agree to a date. The date was wonderful – she was clearly really attracted to me, and wanted to pursue the relationship further. Nonetheless, my body image issue got in the way later and could have seriously messed things up had she not had experience dealing with the crazies.

Unfortunately, my mind seems to see attractiveness (with relation to me, anyway) in a very binary kind of way. Either you think I look good or you don’t. There’s no grey area. Of course, that’s not how I’m attracted to people. I can be attracted to this element and not that, and come to an overall “yes please” conclusion without the bad things being the be all and end all.

I think I need to find some sort of middle ground. I know I’ll never be a swaggering, self-confident fat guy like James Cordon or Gnarles Barkley (yes, random. They’re the two that came to mind, okay?). I also don’t have to believe that I have the looks of a cathedral grotesque. There has to be a middle ground and I need to find it. I need to come to terms with the idea that someone can be attracted to me despite rather than because of my body. I need to come to terms with the idea that that’s a good thing.

Before, after and "as if"

Before, after and “as if”.


30 Days Challenge: Day 29: Future plans/goals

I find myself in the mood to whine and winge at be generally depressive at you. Instead, I’m going to do the next 30 Day question, which is much more cheerful.


Professionally, I want to continue to teach – particularly adults or small groups of children. I’ve become rather jaded towards school teaching and I don’t think it’s really my wheelhouse. Teaching adults and business English, on the other hand, is really something I can see myself doing for the rest of my working life. I’m not a perfect teacher; I have a lot of personal development and growth to do, but that is something I really want to put my time and attention into. Long-term, I see myself going into academic management and/or teacher training.

Career 2

I want to publish a book. I’m about halfway through some British urban fantasy (being that I’m British and I like urban fantasy). Even if it’s not this attempt or the next or the next, I’d like to see a book with my name on it in a mainstream bookstore (assuming they still exist in twenty years’ time, of course). This is a goal I’ve held unwaveringly since I first held J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit at around age 9. Maybe earlier. It won’t change until it happens.


This is the big question, I suppose. I have no great desire to return to England permanently, and as I begin to lose family members, that need or want will grow less and less. I also have a strong desire to live in  more countries before (and if) I decide to set down permanent roots somewhere. Unless something significant happens in the next nine months or so, I think this will be my last year in Mexico.


Well, I guess that’s kind of affected by the previous paragraph. I want to be in love again*, but I also know that it makes me make lots of stupid mistakes. It might make me stay in Mexico longer, but not forever. I want to see the world. Whoever I found would have to be okay with that as part of what they’re getting when they say ‘yes’ to getting me.

So far as marriage and kids go, I think they’re things I want in the future, but I’m not there yet. Marriage I could take or leave, but I’d love to have kids one day. I’d love to have polyglot kids one day. The romance thing has to come first, though. And last.

Anyway, those are my plans for the future. I’d also like to further my Spanish and at least one other language. I want to be the kind of man with the kind of life that 12 year old Andy could be proud of becoming.



*On some days I want it a little too much.

Insomnia: SMM

Sucks. It really does. I’m not sure what sadistic mental motherfuckery makes it appropriate for the psychological inland revenue to come poking around 4 hours before I have to drag my ass across town and be a teacher, but it really fucking sucks.

Ah. That’s a little better actually. Sometimes you need to use phrases like “sadistic mental motherfuckery” at 1am to really know you’re alive.

There’s nothing on my mind that affects my present – just a recent out-of-character shitty action and its consequences that I keep thinking about. Yeah, I know. Karma. It’s not going to make my class any better in a few hours, though, is it?

All that having been said, if anyone wants to buy me a t-shirt or five with “sadistic mental motherfuckery” on the chest, I would readily accept them.

30 Days Challengs: Day 14: Something you love about yourself

So, yeah, I skipped over the “hate” one. It just didn’t seem like a productive or helpful thing for me to do.

This, on the other hand, is a decent CBT exercise. And to be honest, it’s a thing that’s never changed about me. I like that I’m a friendly person – that I have the instinct to stop and help someone because they have a lost expression on their face, and that it’s easy for me to just say “hello” to someone new and start a conversation.

I’m aware that when I’m interested in someone, this vivaciousness mixed with my terminal honesty can come off as creepy. That’s a shame, but to be honest, for all the people I’m sure I’ve creeped out over the years, I’ve developed some wonderful friendships. I’ve helped people, been helped in return and had some great times.

So, yeah. I love that I’m so damn friendly. 😀

30 Days Challenge: Day 9: Your definition of love

I was going to skip this as ‘trite’ with a sarcastic comment, then I saw an angle to go at it from, so I’m actually going to talk about this.

Firstly, I’m not going to talk about the love for family or friends. Much as both have supported me through so much that I may not be here today without certain members of either group, I think it’s an easier question to answer, much as it is often far more important than romantic love in certain points in one’s life.

Anyway, I think the route to everlasting love goes through two stages. First, you have the douchy-analytical cum optimistic phase, followed later by what I’m going to call the You Did What?! phase.

First, you find someone attractive in one (or more) of three ways: aesthetic appeal, sexual appeal and social appeal.

A lot of people might say that “aesthetic appeal” and “sexual appeal” are the same thing. I disagree. Have you never found someone attractive whom you didn’t want to sleep with? To most people, the answer is yes. To the rest of you, I think you should consider either your standards or your honesty with yourself.

The example I often use for aesthetic appeal is Kiera Knightly. She has an appealing look and a friendly face. I really enjoy watching her in movies and listening to her accent1. That said, I’m not sexually attracted to her. My personal taste runs to women with more womanly curves. A friend once joked that there’d be “nothing to play with” once you had a slender girl like Ms. Knightley in bed. I’d still happily watch her in any movie she popped up in.

Love love love her storyline in Love Actually.

Secondly is sexual attraction. Everyone has their type, interests, turn-ons or whatever else you want to call that spark that makes you Want someone with a capital W. Most people understand that on an instinctive level, so I won’t bother going into here.

Lastly is what I called “social appeal”. It’s not a perfect label, but it represents your desire to talk to someone and to be around them. It’s your desire to be their friend. For some people it’s cinematic, musical, political or comedic compatibility. Whatever it is, it’s that thing that makes friends into best friends and fuck buddies into partners.

This is the clincher, I think, when it comes to love. If you have the last with at least one other type of appeal, you’ve really got something. It’s at this point that many people say the L word. Sometimes it’s a door to pass through to get to the real stuff, other times it’s just new relationship energy given control of the mouth, and in others still it’s a verbalisation of proto-love – the stuff that inevitably leads there, but before the You Did What?! stage.

The You Did What?! stage is the most important one for longevity, I think It’s knowing all the worst, shittiest things about each other and still wanting to curl up together to watch bad TV. If you can survive the worst of your past, then with just a little work, you can survive anything as a team. This stage also involves coming to terms with anything they are or do every day. Perhaps not easy, but if it’s right it’s right. If there’s something you know you can’t live with forever, then you’re just treading water.

Okay, that did turn out a little trite, and you mileage may of course vary. This is my opinion based on a number of needlessly complicated relationships. But basically, love is facing shit as a team, rather than a pair of singles players2.

1I think I’ve spoken on this blog of my love of accents before. Therefore it shall go undiscussed now.
2Ew, sports metaphor! Get it off, get it off!

On love, sex, karma and parallel universes

Hello, imaginary reader. Yes, I know I owe you a couple of “challenge” posts. They’re coming. Don’t be so impatient.

Being the attractive man that I am (see figure 1), I get the opportunity to think about love and relationships quite a lot. Either that, or because I’m a drama-magnet. One of the two.

Figure 1

Anyway, I was thinking about that well-known expression “the one that got away”. Conventional knowledge suggests that everyone has one of these – at least. But what about the one that keeps getting away. You know the one – you really click but the timing is never right. Either he/she has a partner or you do, or you’re sitting typing in a Mexican Jewish school while she’s in the UK with her husband… that kind of thing.

At the same time, I was thinking about karma. Now, I’m taking baby-steps into a more spiritual pagan path. Dangerous steps for a vehement athiest. Nonetheless, the idea of karma appeals to me – either in a literal, spiritual sense; as a coping method when faeces hits the air conditioning; or as a psychosomatic effect of having fucked up and knowing it.

It appeals to me in a literal sense in part because of this quote (0:38)

The idea of “what goes around comes around” is so much more elegent than having a self-richeous giant with a beard dictate the rules. But then you have to assume that all starving, HIV-positive babies in wartorn countries were high-ranking SS officiers in a past life. Dubious, no?

As a coping method I can kind of get it, too. “I can get over this, because it’ll balance out when I downloaded a movie illegally and would be destined to firey hell in certain Southern US states” for example.

As far as pyschosomatics goes, (don’t worry, I’m coming back to love, sex and parallel universes -stick with me) the idea that we allow ourselves to enter into difficult situations or incite certain concequences upon ourselves without consciously knowing it is the kind of crap our Western civilisation does all the time. Just look at 9 out of 10 diet plans on sale in your local bookshop – “one cake and five hail-marys” kind of stuff. The need to redeem ourselves through flagellation (self- or otherwise) has roots in the history of many big, angry organised religions.

So, I’ve started to look at it like this – all those missed opportunities and mistakes and karmic just deserts are there to help us avoid a much less positive parallel universe. Think about it: what would you have missed if you had married your high school sweetheart. What would you have failed to learn if you hadn’t dated that weird girl in college. Would you have ever tried tofu if not to spite the guy with a pathological hatred of vegans?

Back to my original example, what if you stayed in the UK with that girl with whom the timing is never right, and never met the cool Welsh teacher in Mexico City?

If you try to look at karma, at those that got away and all the shit life throws at us as the universe trying to keep us from a grim alternative timeline, it has a way of making life look a little more positive. It also allows me to post this poster:

So there you go. Some ham-fisted philosophy written over two busy days.

30 Days Challenge: Day 3: About your friends

Okay, shut up. I missed a day. You know what? I left my room at 6am yesterday and didn’t return until 9pm. So 😛

Anyway, this “day” is an interesting one, most of the friends I can really count on when I need them are women I used to date. They knew me, or rather older versions of me, better than anyone else, so I always think it’s a shame to throw that away completely. Occasionally those ladies don’t share my opinion. But there you go.

Beyond that are friends in whose ‘friendzones’ I lived in for a while or people who tolerated me through phases where I was much less appealing individual.

Regarding friendzones and exes, I’m not nearly drunk enough to go into detail, so you’ll have to take these summaries and elisions as they are, and buy me a drink at a later date. 😛

My second girlfriend, who I dated for 6 years back when I was young, pretentious and massively fat, is Sarah. I think I’ve changed to the point where we don’t really work as friends any more, but I think we maintain the friendship out of habit, and she’s always there if I want someone to talk to. These days I never have drama that falls into her areas of expertise. Nonetheless, it’s good to know she’s there to remind me where I come from and when I’ve moved too far from centre.

I have a group of male friends including another Andy, Dom, Ken, Kev and others. I met them in a Doctor Who fangroup in Preston, Lancashire that met in person rather than online. They’re all men 10 or more years older than I am, and who I fell in with at first out of shared interest and an openness I’d never seen in people so much older than I am.

Ems is one of my closest friends. I met her through roller derby (Rainy City Roller Girls), and despite her angry Viking ways, when I’m depressed she always knows whether I need sympathy or snapping out of it. As previously discussed, this is an awesome thing to have in a friend for me. Ems is easy to believe in and rely on, and is worth ten lesser friends.

And this week I’ve made lots of lovely new friends, too! I won’t list them all – partly because they’re numerous and partly because I’ve almost met the entire population of this city in the week and a half I’ve been here. That said, roller girls (at present the Mexico City Roller Girls) and randomly travelling teachers* are the friendliest people you’d ever hope to meet. More often than not. 😀

Okay, okay, I’ll try to get “day 4” up before midnight, so I’m up to date. God, imaginary reader, you’re such a whiner!



*In my experience, teachers tend to be the horniest people on the planet, too. That is, however, completely besides the point.