Read After Burnout.
It struck me yesterday (on my way to the forum), not a hard nipple but an idea. Or should I say the beginnings of an idea which was not really an idea but a thought. The thought was, would it be the right thing to do to have somebody with hardened nipples follow me on WordPress?
This question, taken over a number of decades during which I have trodden this earth, would have probably had two, possibly more answers. A younger me, let’s say three decades ago, would probably have embraced the idea. Indeed, I have little to stop me wondering if that younger self would have used the incident of the hard nipples to extend towards the readers (and listeners) a thesis upon which the very act of having hard nipples follow one is an act of liberation and defiance. I was young, ideological, and was Lawrence (esque).
Today’s Mike is a different beast. He has been surrounded by teachers, becoming middle-class, becoming a husband and father, and definitely ambushed by advancing years. Today’s Mike would think that if a woman wanted to get her kit off and parade what was underneath to one and all on WordPress (not WordPress not Breastpress), then it is her choice. But, perhaps said woman with breasts and hard nipples ought not to push them in my specific direction. I am, after all, not DH Lawrence.
So, the long and the short of it saw me delete the erotica categorised WordPresser from my followers. She was jettisoned into the outer-reaches of the digital wilderness to happen upon others of her ilk who prefer actions to words.
I know that me wife responds well to tea in the morning. We have become like clockwork twins, our mechanisations are truly in sync. So, I climb the stairs to the bedroom and see her recumbent form stretching out across both sides of the bed, as if attempting to hand on to her ground. It is an act of defiance – I defy thee morning! But morning has arrived and so have I with the elixir of morning life.
There are times not to talk. These are those moments when silence most certainly is the best option. I sensed the mood she would be in so I said nada, zip, zero; beyond, “Morning.” A similar reply crept from under the duvet.
“How long can I go on with not sleeping?”
It was a question not meant to be answered, but I answered it anyway.
“How long can anybody go without sleeping before they crack up?”
“I don’t really know. How long did I manage?”
There was a film made that used to be a staple for Christmas Day. It was one of those special treats from the BBC or ITV to their viewers. Such films included: Lawrence of Arabia, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Italian Job. The film I am thinking of is A Bridge Too Far.
For any one not in the know, A Bridge Too Far is about the Allied Forces attempts to stop the retreating Germans from blowing up important bridges as they fled back to their Motherland. The destruction of the bridges would cause the Allies to stop their rapid advance.
And as the advance was halted, the Germans ould take time to set up little ambushes, using machine-gun, mortar, and sniper-fire. This is what I was worried about when my responses appeared to start building bridges. In this conversation, I was both fleeing the Wermacht and simultaneously avoiding the restoration of bridges which could leave me seriously exposed and over-extended.
My wife is sometimes a sniper. machine-guns and mortars are not her thing. She sets traps, uses bait, and then waits.
What unholy thing was being born here?
“Giles Brandreth, what?”
“I read an article by him in The Eye, yesterday. You had already gone to bed.”
That was the first of her shots that flew past my ear.
“He must have suffered from depression at one point because he was writing about it.”
She then summarised the article written by this upper-middle-class fuckwit.
His subject was that people had to stop thinking about themselves so much if they wanted to live long and happy lives.
He used the Queen and Prince Philip (our hard-pressed Royalty) to illustrate his argument. Prince Philip had a really bad life when he was young, but now he is in his nineties because he only thought about others; not himself.
Upon waking (normally at least twice during the night and once for good in the morning), I took to the stairs, descended them, made cups of tea, spoke to my now awake wife, browsed the various pieces of news that had been deemed of importance by those in charge of the news agendas, checked who was (n’t) reading my blog, then turned to that old standard that is Facebook.
Strangely, there are things that can still be panned from the slowly flowing stream of digital dross.
A favourite guilty pleasure of ours is to read the oft’ published micro thoughts of a woman who used to be a much closer friend. She is a divorcee who plunders the singles sites for possible pleasure, pain, or prey. Then she announces her night’s work to all that have the stomach to read it.
She is a lonely person who thinks that frequent injections of male parts will somehow make her happier. Her relationships last between three hours (including meal and drinks) to several months; at which point all hell will break loose with open accusations of betrayal, being a poor partner in bed, having a secret desire for ladyboys, or just being a lying, cheating, uncaring sack of faeces. Last night she announced that her most recent date was so successful that she was home by ten, presumably at night and presumably on her own.
So with that pleasure to one side, I moved on to the unavoidable nonsense that is generated by my membership of a couple of writers’ groups.
I know why I joined these groups.
I know that my intentions were sound. I know that I wanted to team up with other decent writers and share ideas and contacts and a little bit of know-how. What I didn’t know was how much shit could be generated in a single sitting by some of my fellow writers. Or, to put it more bluntly, how many ordinary people wish to call themselves writers as quality assurance stamp even though they spend much of their time posting insanely about having sex with somebody else’s partner, whether or not anyone out there has ever lived through a nuclear holocaust (as I am currently writing a novel on this), suggestions for a character’s middle name, or simply suggestions of how to overcome writer’s block when only one chapter, or paragraph, into the process.
Relationship charity Relate is calling for people with a “crippling” addiction to sex to receive help on the NHS. Two sufferers speak about the impact it has had on their lives.
“At its worst, even having sex five times a day wasn’t enough.”
Mother-of-three Rebecca Barker said the compulsion took over her life in 2014 and ruined her relationship.
Rather than leading her to cheat, her addiction meant she was constantly asking her partner for sex.
“It was literally the first thing I thought about when I woke up, I just couldn’t get it off my mind,” said the 37-year-old, originally from Tadcaster in North Yorkshire.
“I felt like everything reminded me of it. I think it was linked to my depression and the lack of serotonin. I felt like my whole body was craving it.
“It was giving me the instant hit and five minutes later I wanted it again.
“I became a hermit, I stayed at home because I felt ashamed that it was all I could think about. Even though no-one could read my mind, it still felt very uncomfortable for me to be around other people.”
Ms Barker’s addiction eventually caused serious problems in her relationship. Though her partner enjoyed the attention at first, it became insurmountable for the couple.
“At first he was fine with it but towards the end he couldn’t understand it at all. After a few months he started to raise questions about why and where it was coming from.
“He accused me of having an affair – he thought I must have been feeling guilty about it and that’s why I wanted sex with him.”
In November 2014, Ms Barker “needed a break” from the relationship and went to stay with her mother.
“When I left, I told my partner I needed to get better. He let me go, then the relationship broke down very quickly after that.
“I was under the care of a psychiatrist at the time – she kept saying she would alter my medication but she never said there were any support groups or anything.”
Ms Barker had been diagnosed with depression in 2012 after the birth of her third child. She said it intensified during 2014 but she is now cured of both after splitting up with her partner, changing jobs and moving to France.
“I made many lifestyle changes in order to get over the depression and the addiction and for me that has worked,” she said.
Relate defines sexual addiction as any sexual activity that feels “out of control” and the World Health Organisation is expected to approve the inclusion of “compulsive sexual behaviour disorder” in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list in May 2019.
Graham, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said his compulsion led him to cheat on his wife with “hundreds” of sex workers, leaving him with “rip-roaring guilt”.
“When you are in full-blown addiction you are obsessed with thinking about it – from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.
“It was a horrible, gross experience – there is nothing sexy about it. When you wake up in the morning with a dose of chlamydia, it is not sexy.
“It is damaging and life-destroying.”
Graham, who is in his 60s, estimates he paid hundreds of pounds a month for sex over several years, even building relationships with some of the sex workers he saw.
“What started with one affair at work led to another – but unlike most office affairs which may stem from one partner being unhappily married, mine was an addiction which I had to feed each day.
“You have one affair and then you want another and another one.
“I soon realised that the quickest and most convenient way for me to feed my addiction was to pay for it. I would be seeing escorts, sex workers, three or four times per week.
“It is just like being an alcoholic, it’s a cycle that builds up in your mind – you feel a high from thinking about how it might happen and then you act it out in the way you planned.
“Then when it’s over you feel remorseful, you say you’re never going to do it again.”
Graham eventually stopped leading his “horrendous double life” when his wife found an email and confronted him.
He sought help from Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), which has 78 self-help groups around the UK, and said he has abstained from extra-marital sex for several years.
“When I was found out, I remember feeling ‘thank God – something might change’.
“I went to SAA which is an abstinence-based treatment. I call it going from shame to grace.
“It is such a relief to go to the meetings and find out there are other people who are just as miserable and sordid as you are.
“For people who are in this situation, I just want them to know that there is a way out and you can break the cycle.”
“That’s gout,” she said with a finality that was pretty final.
“Don’t be stupid. It’s not gout,” I responded weakly (rather than fortnightly). “I’m not rich or privileged enough to have gout. I don’t even drink port.”
I knew where this was going. She looked at me through Grand-Master eyes.
“They say that research has revealed that red wine is very bad for skin conditions.”
My petard was hoisted.
“You’re not putting that in you blog are you?”
I did not reply. She waited, but didn’t reply longer.
“The green bin needs to go out, anyway.”