Archive for May, 2012

It’s not often people get to see me with my shirt off.

It’s not that I’ve got anything to hide. It’s just that I suffer from benign British reserve.

It’s funny how these cultural things work. You grow up surrounded by certain values and assumptions and – it’s hardly surprising really – you adopt them as your own.

It’s not very British to blow your own trumpet or flaunt what you’ve got. At least it wasn’t during my impressionable teenage years. Maybe things have changed.

We’ve been influenced by America where hiding what you’ve got is practically a crime.

I was chatting to a German this week. He works for a Swiss company in New York and was over in London for a week. He told me the women in New York are very forthright. I kind of knew this already because I’ve seen every episode of Sex and the City at least three times. He said if you go into a bar in New York, women approach you for sex. But you have to pass certain tests. One is having a fat wallet and a lean body. The other is having a great job. The third is having the ambition to get an even better job.

If women are really like that in New York then, if I’d grown up there, I would probably still be a virgin.

Or would I?

It could be that I’d have become the chief executive of a global company and have the body of Jared Leto (see picture.) Because cultural expectations rub off.

On the way to meeting my German friend I was listening to some frenetic rock music in my car. (It’s because I got it free in a magazine.) I found myself jumping in my seat like a metalhead on crack. I even started to become a touch impatient with my fellow drivers.

Earlier in the day I was reading an article in my favourite British newspaper, The Guardian, about how we become like the characters in the novels we read.

By the way, the comments on that article, if you’ve time to read them, are typically British, like this one from timbo1211.

After reading Slaughterhouse 5 I developed a distrust of linear models of chronology. I say after reading Slaughterhouse 5, it was really before, during, and after.

This is glaringly obvious really. You don’t need to pay a psychology professor to work it out for you. Reading good books makes you a better person and reading bad ones turns you into a vampire.

I’d like eternal youth but I don’t want to suck anyone’s blood in order to enjoy it. Luckily, there’s an easier way. Matt Posner and Jess C. Scott have just written a brilliant new book called Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships.

I’m going to read it and I’m hoping to shed at least thirty-five years.


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