Thursday, 4 June 2009

Affection, addiction, affliction, and other such painful emotions.

Coffee can be very inspirational. One sip of coffee and suddenly the sky is bluer, the grass is greener, your eyes start twitching with the excess work they’re doing filtering in the brighter colours…

This splendid, “medium, black Americano please” (“do you want milk with that?”) drew me to consider something that was brought up on twitter recently – men & women. Friends. Double acts; they always seem to be of the same gender. Morecambe & Wise, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, Fry & Laurie, French & Saunders, the two Ronnies; Ant and Dec might be the only exception to the rule. And even they both look like women. This thought got me wondering – why? Why, God, hasn’t Ant McPartlin taken a step towards the Antonia dream and had gender reassignment surgery?

Ant & Decla

Not really.

It got me wondering why, bar perhaps Phil & Fern (both happily married to other folk) and Richard & Judy, (married to each other, perhaps not happily) is it that a man/woman team just doesn’t seem to work out well? Is it that, as a general rule, such double acts can only reach the dizzy heights of day time TV? Or that perhaps somewhere down the line feelings might develop, things might change, and suddenly we’d all be tuning into Phil and a heartbroken Fern? Phil and an “I might carve my heart out with a blunt ruler if I have to look into your eyes during a link once more” Fern? Can a woman and a man be just friends? What about if the desired deforms their face in an act of rebellious vengeance against the damn feelings of lust separating them from one of the people they care most about in the world, but platonically? Would the desiree not desire as much anymore, and be willing to rekindle their friendship? More importantly, was the nineties’ singer Des'ree named after a person what does lots of desiring? So many unanswerable questions, yet not one person willing to test out my self-deformation theory. Foo’s. All of you.

Talking of the effects of coffee on my brain cell, the psychic barista at Costa Coffee struck up conversation today! Tomorrow, we’ll be best friends.

But forgetting caffeine for a moment, and the dangers of the testosterone/oestrogen combination, the Sun was shining at the weekend! I went to a family birthday party on Sunday and the kids managed to persuade some of us adults to play a game of girls v boys football. Why I agreed I’ll never know – I’m the front man of fairness, the ambassador of candour. Five blokes, most of whom are established at a Sunday league standard of football is no equal match against a set of girls who can count on their pinky how many games of football they’ve ever played and still have a finger left spare. One girl was about 8, didn’t have shoes on, and spent her time playing with a hula hoop while taking up her position as “striker”, marked by my dad, 6ft 3in, who shattered many of his teeth in an overzealous attempt at goal in the early nineties. You might say he hit the post, but in person. The goalie, who was the birthday girl, was far too busy listening out for the signal to go and blow out her candles to pay any attention. The rest of us, incapable as we were anyway, had to deal with two rampant teens who seemed intent on brutally murdering anyone who dared to approach them when they had the ball, two little kiddies, 5 and 6 respectively, who would cry if we succeeded in an attempt to tackle them, and their father, whose only objective was to set up his sons to get multiple hat-tricks, in preparation for their position as Man United’s newest and youngest sibling act within the next few years, definitely.

I ended up taking the position of striker while the young girl of 7, who had decided to stop playing without informing anybody, sat on the grass contemplating life, or something equally as important to a 7 year old. My newfound position was almost purely to hold my dad back – probably not the most important aim for a striker traditionally, although eventually literal in meaning when I found my only option was to clasp my arms round his body and jump on his back.

Even after we had recruited an ex-professional footballer (yes, he was a man, but we were running out of options, and I was having far too much fun explaining that “Uncle’s a girl!”) we still lost by about seven goals to two. That’s if the game finished. I’m not sure – I went inside for a coffee 20 minutes in.

I think I’m addicted to caffeine.

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