b3ta.com user ragged
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» My Biggest Disappointment

Oh yes, I know, everyone goes through hell. But most people come out of the other side.

Puberty came and went, and the expected changes happened. Voice deepened. Hair grew.

But one thing didn't.

And I realised, far too late, that I wasn't just 'a late developer', or a 'grower not a shower'.

I had a micropenis.

It's on wikipedia. Look it up, but it's pretty much what you'd imagine.

About 2.5 inches at most.

So there I am, despairing, when the AIDS thing comes along. The government puts out lots of leaflets and runs adverts about 'safer sex'. One of the main things it mentioned frequently was that "sex doesn't have to involve penetration - it can just as pleasurable for both partners with massage, touch, licking etc."

This gives me hope. Maybe things aren't so bad. Maybe I can still have relationships with women.

But there was one problem.

It was a lie.

I leave my shitty little boys school, and go to university. I start to meet women. Some of them like me.

I'm 19 the first time I go to bed with someone. I'm so lacking in confidence that I've avoided getting too involved before. But I like her - she seems relaxed and confident, and ready to take things slowly because I'm nervous.

I undress. She laughs. She leaves. I cry all night.

I try to put it down to experience. Maybe I misjudged her. Maybe other women will be OK. With other women, it will be OK. Please God it HAS to be OK.

I start relationships with other women. Most are sympathetic. "It's OK" they say, unconvincingly. "It's fine. We can do plenty of other things". And for a few weeks we do. But it's not fine. Eventually they all leave. Some make excuses. Some are honest - "it's just not enough for me". One or two find it funny to tell all their friends and snigger at me, waving their pinkies.

Each time I die a little inside. I realise I can't have relationships with women.

And I never have since. I have plenty of girl friends, but no girlfriends. And I have to turn some down when they want more. They think I don't like/fancy them or whatever. I lose a few friends over it.

As for me, I cope. I have a job, friends, a life. I know some of my friends think I'm gay because I never have a girlfriend. Sometimes they have conversations about 'coming out' while giving me meaningful looks. It's partly hilarious and partly tragic.

I cope. I have to. I have no choice. There's a Perry Bible Fellowship cartoon that sums up rather nicely how I feel most of the time:

The best way I can describe it is that I can imagine what it feels like to be illiterate. Lacking the ability to do something that is so common that it is deeply entwined with the way everyone lives their lives, yet having no visible 'disability'. And being deeply deeply ashamed.

I still feel the disappointment, the despair, the hopelessness of that moment of realisation when I was 16 - I still feel it 20 years later.

Apologies for lack of funny. I won't make a length joke either if it's all the same.
(Thu 26th Jun 2008, 19:00, More)

» Faking it

Feeding the Masses
After graduating with an arts degree in the mid 90s, the world was not exactly my oyster. I signed on, but it wasn't much fun. I decided I needed to work, if only to prevent me from killing my annoying stoner housemates.

The jobcentre directed me to a small, family-owned restaurant who had advertised for a kitchen assistant. I decided I could hack washing dishes and mopping floors. I'd seen other people do it. It didn't look too hard.

I arrived to be met by the wife half of the husband and wife who owned the place. She said her husband would interview me. So I sat waiting in the restaurant, quietly studying the menu, when a blazing argument started in the kitchen. I soon worked out that it was the husband and the chef arguing. I gathered that the chef had just quit, at short notice, and the restauranteur was wondering "what the fuck" he was going to do.

Eventually, the kitchen door burst open, and a red-faced man stomped out, took one look at me and barked:

"Worked in kitchens before?"

I nodded - well, my mum's counts, surely?

"Can you cook"

*tentative nod*

"Got your 706/1?" (City and Guilds Catering cert)

I didn't know what this was at the time, so nodded anyway. I don't like to say no to red-faced angry people.

"Start monday."

And that was it.

I spent the weekend reading cookbooks learning how to make all the stuff on the menu. I was chef at this place for 18 months, eventually having a junior chef and an assistant underneath me.

No-one ever asked to see my 706/1, and no-one ever questioned my ability. The customers were happy, I got many compliments, and they begged me to stay when I finally left.

Professional cooking - piece of piss. Stick your histrionics up your arse, Ramsay.
(Mon 14th Jul 2008, 17:21, More)

» Amazing displays of ignorance

No kangaroos.
The following are all replies to real, actual, honest questions that have been asked of me when I tell people where I live. They may not be breathtaking examples of ignorance, but they are certainly extensive.

No, I don't mean Australia.
No, it isn't in Germany.
No, it isn't in Switzerland either.
Well, I can sort of understand why you think it might be in Italy, as English uses the italian version of the name of the capital city. But, ffs, it is a major european country. Get some general knowledge, even if it is only to win beer in a pub quiz.

Yes, it snows in the winter.
No, I don't ski to work.
Yes, they have the Boys Choir and the dancing horses. No, I don't go to see them every day.

No, there isn't actually that much yodelling.
Or lederhosen, although some people do wear them for folkdancing.

No, the danube is neither beautiful nor blue, at least where I am.

Yes, they "have the internet" there. Other things that also exist here include, but are not limited to: trains, restaurants, television, bookshops and the same films you see in the cinema.

Yes, you can drink the water.
No, they don't have those biscuits. Well, actually they do, but they call them something else. Same with the sausages.

I have no idea whether we can get Sky.

Actually, they speak German. No, it still doesn't make it in Germany, any more than Jamaica is in England.

Yes, I can speak it. No, it wasn't that difficult. Monolingualism is not genetically encoded into the British.

Yes, there are mountains. No, they are not the Himalayas.
No, I don't live in a chalet. You're thinking of Switzerland again. In about 1880.

Yes, Hitler came from there. And Joseph Fritzl. No, you are thinking of Natascha Kampusch, not Natascha Kaplinsky - she reads the news on Channel 5. No, they are not "all like that", whatever that means.

No, "that bloke who started World War 1" was not shot there. If you are referring to Archduke Franz Ferdinand, he was shot in Sarajevo.
(Sun 21st Mar 2010, 19:47, More)

» Little Victories

Getting one over on Lloyds
Small victories against banks seem to be popular. Here's mine.

I moved out of the UK a few years ago. Before I left, I had an overdraft and a loan with Lloyds bank. The move came about because of losing my job. I had sod all money, and had to move quickly. I took a job in central Europe.

I hadn't managed to keep up my repayments during this time, but I wasn't trying to run away from the debt. When I had managed to secure somewhere to stay in my new country, I wrote to the bank, letting them know my new address, and asking if we could discuss clearing the debt.

In return, they sent a change of address form.

I duly filled this in, and enclosed another letter, asking how I could repay the money I owed them.

Their response was that the signature on the change of address form didn't match the one on record (it was my normal signature). They were not willing to accept the change of address form, as they could not be sure it was me. They insisted that I should get a notarized copy of my passport and a copy of my lease (translated into English).

I was pissed off by this. I had tried to be helpful, to take responsibility, and they were making it difficult for me. I decided just to ignore it.

About 3 months later I received a letter from them, asking how I was going to repay the money I owed them. I sent them a copy of their previous letter, stating

"I enclose a copy of previous correspondence in which you state that you cannot be sure that I am the person who owes you this money."

I haven't heard from them since.
(Fri 11th Feb 2011, 13:32, More)

» Pointless Experiments

Layin' Down Some Wikkid Beats
When I was very young, I had a record player. For younger readers, this was what we had before CDs - it consisted of a platter of vinyl with grooves in it, and a needle to pick up the sounds. No really, I am not making this up.

Anyway, as a four-year old I was fascinated by this thing. The record had grooves. A needle went round the grooves. Sound came out. Obvious logical conclusion - if I made my own grooves - perhaps with a nail - I could make my own records!

However, I didn't want to test my theory on one of my own records, so I took one of my dad's.

I was 10 before I got the record player back.
(Thu 24th Jul 2008, 12:50, More)
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