17. Posts to become a Versatile Blogger!

Hats off to Rylee for doing what the rest of WP should have done months ago, and nominating me for a Versatile Blogger award!

Versatile Blogger Award

In all seriousness though I’m very flattered, and all the more so because I’m a big fan of The Lime. Her blog provides a full spectrum of reading entertainment through fiction, poetry, opinion pieces and bits of fitness banter. Ok, I guess I could say about 80% of blogs out there cover those topics, including this one, but she still has that extra something that sets her apart from the rest.

So then, this award. It isn’t too hard to come by, in fact all you need to do is be nominated and it’s yours, but I still think it’s a good way to get to know people you’re linked with and a nice way of showing other people you appreciate their writing.

The rules are:

  • Thank the award-givers and link back to them in your acceptance post.
  • Share seven (7) FACTS about yourself.
  • Award 15-20 other bloggers the versatility award.
  • Contact your nominees so they know you nominated them.
Sounds easy enough! Ok then, here we go. My facts…
1) As my nomination was from The Lime, my first fact will be fitness related. I’ve completed 5 cycling tours in Europe; one has crossed the continent from North to South and another from West to East. The North to South one was from Calais (very Northern France) through Belgium, Luxembourg, Alsace-Lorraine, Switzerland and Italy, ending in Chiasso/Lake Como (Swiss/Italian border). The West to East was from Paris to Budapest, going through France (obviously), Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary (obviously). I’ve been accredited in a book another cyclist wrote while travelling from Britain to Italy on a cycling trip for some advice I gave him for the journey.

Also, my best running time on the treadmill is 5km in 20minutes, which I first achieved about 9months ago. It had been my objective since I started running at 18, and I achieved it at 22! I can’t do that now though, I’ve put on too much weight, but I’m clawing it back :p

2) I fenced for two University teams, and my proudest moment was beating an epéeist who fenced for the Dutch junior squad (I believe that actually was at a match in St.Andrews as well Rylee 😉 )

3) One day I hope to be able to earn enough to make a standing donation to the Volunteer Development Poverty Children’s Association of Siem Reap, Cambodia. I went there twice in my gap year as a volunteer teacher and met the initial founder before he died in a traffic accident, and it made quite the impact on me.

4) As a general rule, if something is Freshly Pressed, I’m not going to like it.

5) I was attracted to Literature growing up because of the type of person it produces. I like people who aren’t sheep, which is why I can get a little turned off when I see people refer to “we” bloggers or “bloggers unite!” as if we’re all in the same boat. I like places like WordPress so I can get away from that kind of thinking!

6) I find creative writing very difficult, but at the same time find good books, film music and theatre hard to come by. When I do find these thing however, I am often bowled over. I’ve never written anything I’ve been completely happy with.

7) I thought the film “Monsters” was terrible, and felt betrayed by UK critics for making it out to be a viable indie alternative to Hollywood. I actually felt it was just the type of movie Hollywood would have produced had they been given only a $50,000 budget.

Ok, so then, for my nominees. I’ve no doubt that these people already have this award, but I like them so they’re getting it again! In no discernible order then:

Fantasy in Motion – Insightful posts from a would-be fantasy author explaining the mechanics behind his writing. Also has a good amount of fiction to read through, and has recently published an e-book!

Broken Doll Collective – Great bits of photography and writing from a clearly very creative and talented individual.

Comedy Confessions – Haven’t heard from her in a while, but then again I’m hardly one to talk. What she has written is funny stuff, so I hope she keeps this up. Maybe this will inspire you to keep going?

Kevin MacNeill – A fellow cyclist and writer? ’nuff said.

Reverend Gwyon – Interesting, fragmented and unusual poetry.

I Just Write Something – an author currently writing a novel online with frequent updates. A pleasure to read as and when they appear.

Word by Word – Frequent book reviews that can point you towards your next read.

I understand that I am supposed to send this to 15-20 people, but there actually aren’t very many people I follow! Thanks again to Rylee 🙂

5. Why Match.Com Fail At Romance

A scruffily dressed man armed with a small guitar stands across a station platform, gawping at an attractive blonde on the other side of the tracks reading her book. Before long our bard slaps out a few chords and breaks into an awkward freestyle, describing the girl’s smile, age, nice skin and hair. The girl, charmed by his admittedly nice voice, confidence and carefree attitude crosses to the other side of the station and we assume they’re off to Wigan, “the home of pies”, together. Sounds nice! The sound fades out, the Match.Com logo fades in, and we’re back to our scheduled programme.

What could I possibly have against this advert? The man showed initiative. In a too-often dreary world he made a young lady happy. His trendy wit and comfort in his own skin smashes old British stereotypes and ushers in a new era of romantics. This is great, right? This is beautiful in fact, we need more of this?

Well yes, OK then, that’s all fair enough, but this little still life does have some creepy undertones.

Firstly, why did this man have a guitar in the first place?

If we were generous, we could say he was part of a band, on his way to or from rehearsal. If we aren’t, this means he specifically took this guitar with him so he could woo young maidens. This lad isn’t anywhere near as innocent, or unique, as he looks: just like every other man out there he was on the lookout for a girl, any girl. For all we know he could have tried this stunt all day with several women and she was the first who fell for it.

If true then this doesn’t make him a terrible person, but this isn’t something that should warm our hearts – it’s no different to a guy in a bar hitting on every girl he sees and eventually getting lucky. All he’s done is read the zeitgeist well and, instead of giving her a chat up line, has just given her an equally generic rendition on a novelty-shop guitar and read out bland statements about her appearance. Ladies, how many times has a man said to you “you have nice eyes/skin/hair/hands”? It can be nice, sometimes, and sometimes people genuinely mean it too, but does that really count as romantic, or even anything particularly special? In a couple of weeks time everyone in Wigan might be walking around doing it,

“Pretty young brunette walking out the shop, and flipping me the bird. Says she’s going to the po-lice, if I don’t leave her alone, but “I like you” is all I heard.”

So what if he knew the girl he wanted, knew she’d be at the train station at that time, and bought his guitar specifically to win her over? That doesn’t make him an opportunistic lady thief. This is a girl he cares for. Well all I can say is that if he did, he knew terrifically little about her. Takes this for instance:

“Girl on the platform smiles. Comes here everyday, ’round about 9 for a while. She reads a C.S. Lewis book as she waits for her train. Tomorrow I’ll bring her new one, if she keeps back again.”

I know it isn’t great, but that to me is far more romantic. This is a girl he’s seen a few times and likes. One day he builds up the courage to do something he thinks she’ll enjoy and  goes for it. Instead, it’s just a guy who sees a pretty girl, stumbling through a few features about her that anyone could mention like a sleazy drunk.

To me, it would be romantic if he either happened to have his guitar with him for whatever reason, saw a girl he thought was beautiful and just couldn’t help himself but sing her a song. Or, this was a girl he’d seen before, and he’d bought the guitar as he intended to do some serenading. If however he was just walking around with his guitar singing to girls, then that’s lecherous. Most people however fail to consider this distinction, and don’t seem to care.

Alright, so why bother to mention this at all and smash something that may cheer a few people up. Well, people would eventually resort to a website like Match.Com because they behaved as naively as the girl in this video, when they feel they can identify more with a moment that feels cinematic than one that feels true. Eventually, when the cheeky boy has run out of songs or someone else comes along with a cooler xylophone, he’s gone, and we hop between relationships with no substance at all. One day, our man or woman decide they actually want someone who genuinely cares about them, that they connect with, and then they consider the dating site.

A couple of other ironic notes about the advert as well:

1) The people in the advert didn’t need the website at all. If people did behave like these two, we wouldn’t need dating agencies and so match.com would go bust (that’s assuming this guy wasn’t just a sleaze, which appears very unlikely), and;

2) Match.com is about pairing people based on things their personalities and forming connections. This guy doesn’t even know her age or natural hair colour; the encounter is about as shallow as it comes.