Thereís nothing worse, on the intimate off-record (at least it feels intimate and off-record) lounge-bar natter of the weblog, than talking about love. Neurosis comes across as beautifully human. Sexual frustration a point for empathy. But a bleeding heart screams creepy. So what? Itís everything and nothing. I sit down to write seriously about affairs of the heart but see Ricky Martin rotating on MTV, offering softcore emotional quotient from the Little Book of Sincere - "I think Iím maturing as a person as well as an artist, finding out whatís really important. Iíd love to settle down, come home and trip over a toy." Pictures of Rick twitching helplessly at the foot of coal-cellar steps, a Chad Valley fire-engine coming to rest against his nose as irrevocable paralysis sets in from his eyebrows down, should send waves of delight through any sensible person. No schmaltz or permissionless kiss-and-type right now.

Akin, it would appear, to many People With Websites, I am unchaperoned. Go spin, I need a sabbatical - I mutter, half-relieved, as I pick up my guitar and fire up the Dreamweaver. But mid-break Iím beginning to remember what Iím missing and forget what I was trying to forget all about. Sometimes at night I snivel around on my pillow yearning to feel plugged into the national grid of sexuality. I donk my forehead on Northern Line glass as an interesting missy skips past. My hankering eyes drift into the maze of saucy buzzwords on Soulmates pages. At some point, I know, I am going to have to leave HMS Indiekid, admit that the handsome bastard in the mirror is now a m-m-(say the word, damn it) man, and plant a foot firmly onto the frosty continent of the bright young professional. Embrace Ice Station Big Three Zero. Who are the wild-eyed homies we see sharing bodily warmth in there? More importantly, do they do love? I believe they have recourse to a ritual they call Ďdatingí but for this I need guidance. Craftily, this monthís Marie Claire disappeared from my flatmateís antechambre and found itself being flicked pink by my grubby mitts. With preliminary etchings of the Sex And The City generationís sexual and emotional landscape waiting back in my flat, Iíll have mastered the patter that gets modern hearts in a flutter and can double-bluff my way onto the loveshuttle. Yum.


"One of the women is led into the stadium and thrown to the ground. A Taliban man places a gun to her head and fires it." Sheesh - the dating game really has changed. Whoops - itís a serious piece about the lives, or lack of lives, of women in Taliban Afghanistan. The executed had the audacity to put it about a bit. Fertility control-freakery, resource management, misogyny. These pieces are admirable and no place for net-japes. Any Taliban men in the audience tonight? Tie a knot in it. A great big Hand of Fatima across the backs of your legs. Bad start. ..flick flick flick..

"Are men better treated than women?" "Girls talk to each other when theyíre trying on clothes, they smile and tell each other they look nice. Men donít say a word in the changing room." Lies all lies, we often remark on one others penises. I know I do. I had hoped Marie Claire would avoid this stuff, Girls Versus Boys speculation. Back in the schoolyard, I recall this spar and joust belonged only to embittered squares whilst those individual, cool, interesting, smart or different lads and lassies hung together with parity. ..must.. be.. embittered.. square..

Style pages. How to achive that look. An Armani goatskin jacket! Flavourless, feature-free identikit models. Not to give pornography undeserved credit, but the top shelves, at least, feature a multitude of female body shapes. Pearshaped, plump, svelte or pencil thin. Endo, ecto - so long as your ankles are lodged behind your ears youíre lulling a nation of millions off to handjob heaven. How your Valentino trouser suit is hanging is of no concern to the sexual street male, you canít pin the-occasional-brunch-chundering catwalk whippet on anything but couturiers and the camera, I guess. Fullblown eating disorders, amateur or pro, are beyond my experience and comprehension. I used to think it was a desire to stay pre-teen and non-sexual. Or self-centric violence. Body specifics work many ways in Girls Versus Boys territory. For every tit-man or bubble-butt-nut there are plenty of minimum-height-requirement-females. Fairs fair. Grrr - these models, without exception, look like they will all slip smoothly and with modest resolution through their lives while the rest of us grit our teeth defensively and capitulate reluctantly and feel pain and cause pain and end up carrying a deadweight of hurt and guilt and doubts and tincans and banana skins around behind us.

Itís time I emptied my sack, so to speak. Get half-tanked and spit off-record juice up here. Ms Esler. Nearly killed me. Ms Kane, I killed that girl. Work backwards from this sabbatical with itís two years of meaningless Friday night nowhere-sex. Iím nipping out to the cashpoint. Iíll come with you. Come on then. Up against the Woolwich on Rathbone Place, tongues revolving into one another. The faint tang of a Boots Shapers sandwich lingering since lunchtime. Dragged by the ass up the clammy stairs of the Troy on Hanway Street for afterhours snogs and double measures and groping upper bum through the smell of Lancomeís Miracle sweating off a Jigsaw cotton vest. The Monday towel-thwacking chaps deconstruction. Sheís a lovely girl but.. Nothing happened? Are you frikkin nuts? You got some bint just popped outta Baywatch bouncing on all fours shouting Címon and youíre biting your lip for Stephen Hawking in a boob tube?

What keeps people solo after, oh, twenty eight is a certain twisted snobbery, a pile of emotional rucksacks fit to bustiní with bad experiences and more refined expectations courtesy of the great and the good but gone. Or possessing a face like a bag of spanners. And from I-have-so-much-love-to-give street bleeding to the no-mess cyberdate cell-dwellers, we all know that someone looking for A Boyfriend or A Girlfriend, the role proceeding the person, is profoundly unattractive. Why avoid any opportunity to tuck meaninglessly inwards and upwards like a healthy young buck? Someday youíll regret it, I say to myself. Time was when I would pull back the duvet several shenanigans down the line and ponder aloud that I hoped no implication was being made by the fluids currently intermingling that might get mislabelled as lifelong betrothal. Now I refuse to contemplate first base without checking first for a heart of pure titanium. Maybe this dating business is a way to ensure that love is objective number one.

What else nestles in the folds of Marie Claire? Frida Kahlo, dear to manys a fem celeb/collector. From a long line of female artists almost politically me-centric. Their art is where they tell us about Themselves as Women. Female (hetero)sexuality had a me-centricity last time I checked, straight males mostly you-centric and fantasists. But then, right, the Diet Coke Break came along and it went, like, barmy. Now they whistle at us like cheap chops on a sidewalk salver. Well listen, grrls, weíve had enough of your belchy, leery chat-ups and thinking one ratty toot of chang entitles you to seven hours of ballistic cowgirl. The least you could do is try to make us feel a mite special as you scoop us off the dancefloor like Diesel-clad fuckdozers. And for Jesusí sake start off slowly, with the tenderness for which you were once renouned, before you go at it like broken pistons on a runaway slack-wagon. And plenty of Lurpack. And when we say no thatís what we mean. And not tonight weíre exfoliating, scruffing and engineering our Skin Mechanics and doing our trunks-lines.

Trying to talk about love on this page. How can it be reduced to commentary? Meet Augustís bachelor, Piers Sanderson. Owner of two bar/restaurants, who describes himself as an Ďawkward sodí. A-ha! The date page. Screw him (Move Closer by Phyllis Nelson) letís check the lucky girl chosen by the outgoing Man Of The Month. Cute Chris Chatwin chose the lovely Kerry Power. They spent an evening at Livebait restaurant before heading to Soho for cocktails. Kerryís lived and worked abroad and has a strong and confident character. "I normally go for bigger, rougher-looking blokes." Bop her one, Chris. "I think we liked one another equally in the same way. I think weíll just remain friends." Chris, you lightweight, stop being such a drippy role-strangled King Of Obedience. Donít bop anyone either. You have nothing this woman needs, so just go home, pop on your much-treasured copy of Muff Diving Miss Daisy 5, and burst out crying as you catch your own reflection spanking at the screen.


Mystic Barbara of the Major Arcana, who has a suite upstairs at the Chalk Farm end of Camden Market on Fridays and Saturdays, once gave me a terrifying Tarot reading. Iíve dabbled enough to call the odd quack or chancer's bluff, but bubblesome biker chick Babz was so watertight about the here and now that I wandered back up N19 with the feeling that her psychic invasion had gone far too far and her predictions for the future were as good as in the bag.

What about love, Babz? Her hand hovered over The Devil. You will soon meet one serious dude, with the power to turn your dreams into a reality or crush them like so many daft grapes in a repugnant iron fist. Coool. What about love, Babz? Creative and financial success are so close now you can almost bring them to your nose like freshly laundered bundies. Marvellous. What about love, Babz? Barbara paused and sighed and looked around the draw. There is someone suggested here. Who, where? People won't understand what you see in her. I can handle that - what else, Babz? It won't last. Oh. After that? Nothing. Nothing?

The womanís a fool. Being a solvent recluse is only mildy more attractive than, um, solvent abuse. And what we mean when we say Ďsomeone specialí is beyond my paint stripper and white spirit-addled brain right now. Further typing pains my ceiling-roller-shaped palms. Itís hot in the city. Too hot to move. Never mind move move. Roll on autumn, better dating weather perhaps. Some interesting missy currently skipping the London streets is in for a resounding treat. So if this website is suddenly replaced by nothing but a pleasant animation of pastel-shaded, somersaulting bunnies and birdies - youíll know Iíve told her I have a website but am suddenly concerned that laying eyes on off-record lounge-bar natter and radical edge artweb will send her shrieking into the hills. But, if Babz is accurate, normal service should be resumed quickly enough.