Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Crying into your Beer

Oh come on, like you wouldn't risk feeling this sad to look like
that whilst so doing!

For many many years, more than I'd like to admit, the days following Valentine's Day have always gone the same way. The numb realisation that nothing had changed, that there has been no card this year either, and the fact that other people did is just the icing on the cake. On days like those you just want to wallow in the self-pity and the shame, the failure to be like everyone else - sure, other people have no cards but that is not a permanent or forever thing.

My own history is littered with days like these, and not just on Valentine's Day either. So, for people who want to give up on the whole pressure of a commercialised mandated day of romantic liaisons; who wish they could be nonchalant and avant garde about it all, declare it gauche and thus beneath them; but who remain, nevertheless, slightly depressed (though they could never talk about that to anyone else in public or in private)... for those people, I present to you some beers to cry into based on my own experiences throughout the last three years.

Firstly, there is the mournful accusatory sort of feeling, the one that makes you think that it is everyone else's fault that you didn't get recognised. You know it's not really, and you start blaming yourself, but that depression and self-criticism gets turned outward in an attempt to ward off the encroaching depression and the solid wall of pain that comes from being passed over for attention, from anyone, yet again. Like the song, you feel you did your part in good faith and tried your level best but, once again, someone else got to experience the pleasure that you banked as, it turns out, you're just not what the object of your affection wants out of life. For days like these and feelings that crest on this sort of wave, there is the angry Molotov Cocktail. At 13% ABV this is the sort of ale that would do nicely fuelling the fire of rejection and the flames of jealousy. It also would have the lovely side-effect of rendering any action taken to feed these things utterly pointless and irrelevant. After a second one you would be rendered incapable of texting the object of your affection, or anyone else, with passive aggression and so this must count as a win. It's also a very nice ale that can be gained on all sides of the Pond so I can post it here without too much guilt. Now, the guilt of internally directed anger and hatred of other people but knowing that's unfair, well, at least the high ABV will mean that the evening is short.

Next there's the spiky sort of feeling whereby you sent the card, you know it was received and, maddeningly, the recipient doesn't really care who it was from. For one of two reasons: they got so many cards that they don't care about the ones that are anonymous or they decided that getting an anonymous card wasn't romantic but the work of a scary stalker. Either way, you kinda know that this one is out of your league and you also don't want to admit it. You'd really like it if they paid you any attention at all, but also know that you are so far beneath them it is highly unlikely. For these days of self-loathing and a real fear that you are turning into a stalker there is Mocha from Batemans that will allow you to fall back into the soft embrace of chocolate and coffee and a good malt. This 6% ABV brew will let you indulge, the beer equivalent of ice cream in the bath, and feel that maybe you are worth something after all, indeed, you have this sensuous and luxurious ale to prove it. If you are thus rejected then they have missed out and you must turn your attention elsewhere. We both know you won't, not this time, but time does heal this particular wound so don't get too sad about it all just yet. Still, the warm coffee feeling from this brew will dull the edge of this rather ragged and open wound that will leak the emotional equivalent of pus for a while yet. Especially if you're actually in a relationship already. I suspect that many people who share the list of issues that serve as tags on the side there have a relationship that could do with an infusion of Mocha - and this can be ordered directly from the brewery at the princely sum of £1.90 a bottle (minimum order is twelve though).

Then there are the feelings of self-flagellation. These come when you know that you have done nothing to make yourself known to the person that you wish attention from. You haven't actively avoided them and you haven't tried to make them miss you either, but fear and a combination of society and your own lack of self-confidence have conspired to ensure that you remain a completely unknown admirer. You will never send a card or make any move, nor will you magically gain attention from this person. You may, over time and through some chance, become friends but, even then, you know that this is doomed to the kind of long arc of failure you may have seen in a war film when a fighter pilot gets shot down and the canopy remains firmly glued down. It's not going to end well and you know it. For these days there is the warm recognition from Landlord, reminding you that though you are a regular at the loneliness bar there are other people sharing this time with you. Romance may not be a hot topic and you will be unlikely to strike up a relationship here but you can listen to tales of others and provide your own in the sure hope that a friendship may well be gained and shared. These are the friendships that, if handled correctly, become powerful and strong. And you will thank the 4.2% ABV ale that set them off. I'll be honest, I was thinking very much of the "I Live in a Sexless Marriage" board over at the Experience Project.

And, sometimes, there's no one at all. There are no objects of affection and all year you have worked hard and at all hours and alone. In these dark days you realise that you have put yourself out a little but mainly stuck to doing the basics. You have seen success and you have security. You know that you have enjoyed and used the freedom of being single and alone to its fullest and you know that some people in relationships cannot help but envy you but still there is gnawing feeling that you are missing something. And this time of year can be brutal and cruel to someone who is alone and who hasn't even seen a potential partner since the last year. To help at these moments one can turn to Late Red to try and ease oneself away from self-reflective destruction and into the sunlit uplands of creative expression. Maybe you have a poem or an appreciation for the colours in nature, maybe you have the ability to paint or make a mean power-point presentation. Whatever, it is an ale like this, with the smoke on the tips and the deep sense of autumn, the season of decay before winter clothed in rampant beauty, that can help you embrace the situation and set you free of convention so that you can become more desirable and wanted. Of course, most of us are already set free of convention and so I realise that it is a moot point. Still, it can sometimes help, I'm told, to tell people everything in advance and there is sufficient evidence out there that some women actually like cross-dressers and can love them that I can't ignore it. I do, however, believe that one has to move in the right circles to meet such women and I'm not at all certain that I do or that I ever could - my mad ex being a case in point.

Finally tonight, though by no means the final feeling that one can associate with this time of year, there is the one that is reserved for that time when you are in a relationship and yet there is a dysfunction or a glitch. That time when you get a gift that tells you "thanks for your time but I don't rate you that highly" or a card that, far from being romantic and loving is humorous and cheap - the one that says, "what? You need romance as well? Ha ha, very funny!" Those in relationships know this one and it can be just as cold as being left alone or being rejected. It is a form of rejection too, because you also know that the kind of relations you expect in a relationship have cooled so far you'd be hard pushed to pick them out from the ambient friendship radiation with infra-red goggles. In cases like these you need something uncomplicated and thrifty, the sort of ale that can stand repetition and be drunk as a sessionable ale so that you get good and drunk slowly. Indeed, you need a bitter of the working class type with no complications and just straight talking. You need Banks's Bitter for this ploy. 3.8% ABV of sessionable ale that can be knocked back or nursed depending on your style and thoughts for the evening. You will get angry with your partner and harbour dark thoughts but you will not act on any of them and you won't even bring it up because you got your partner something nice and heartfelt. When asked, your partner will say something like "but you don't want anything do you?" or "but you already know I love you, what difference does the day make?" And they will be right. And you'll need another of these ales to cover the tears.

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