Thursday, 19 February 2009

Tea Post #1 (of many to come!)


Post #1

Tea: Taylors Of Harrogate: English Breakfast
Type: Black tea (blend)
Grade: GBOP (Golden Broken Orange Pekoe)
Cost: £4.70 / 250g

So. As promised to Indyeah, here is the first post, of many to come, chronicling my love affair with the most mighty of all beverages, true perfection in a cup: Tea, Camellia sinensis, 茶.

And where to start with such a huge topic? Many terms will be unfamiliar for the non tea cognoscenti, but I'll slowly cover everything and it will become clear in time, for those that wish to join me on my journey. Tea and Philosophy. Is there ever a more natural combination?

Lets start simple. What is a cup of tea for most people?

It depends on where you live. A typical cup of tea in China is likely to be either a Green or Black tea, probably served without milk, perhaps (hopefully) still made from loose leaf tea. In Japan it is extremely likely to be Green, unless it is Bancha, which is a toasted and darker brewing tea. Bancha is made by lightly dry toasting Sencha, which is their normal grade green tea. In India it could well be Chai, a form of milk tea heavily infused - of course, given their mastery of multifaceted flavours - with a complex variety of spices. In the US, tea is just as likely to be in the form of something called "Iced Tea", such as under the Lipton brand, which is a rather unpleasant very sweet cordial with a hint of "tea" flavour to it. Fortunately, it does seem that at least times are changing, and a few people across the world are waking up to the true world of tea. Tea is a drink that can more than hold its own against any other: it is easily a match for wine, in terms of the sheer complexity and variety of types.

Meanwhile, here in Britain, of course, we as a nation are a notorious for our tea drinking obsession. We even built an empire on it. So what is tea for us?

For most people it is a very strong, dark brew, from a tea bag, tempered with milk and quite often sugar ('Army issue tea': "strong tea with 2 sugars, sir!"). As a nation we consume a rather phenomenal amount per head (although, I should add, that this particular head probably very significantly outstrips the national average in overall consumption!), but also, disappointingly, of a staggering poor quality.

Most people's conception of tea is based upon the extremely strong, almost black brew that you get from a very fast infusing tea bag from all the mainstream brands such as PG Tips, Tetleys, Liptons, etc...

First note. All tea, as a general rather than absolute rule, that goes into tea bags, is of poor quality and constitutes the lower grades of leaf available. In the case of typical British tea bags, the actual technical term for such a grade as is contained in them, is, in fact, Dust (D).

The extremely fine, broken up, very, literally, dusty grade of what is effectively almost a leaf powder has a very large surface area and therefore correspondingly generates a very rapid and very strong infusion.

Such an infusion is of course very bitter, which is why it generally needs to be balanced by milk, and for some people, sugar. Personally I think that sugar in tea is a great evil, much as with coffee, as it simply masks the actual flavour of the beverage and replaces it with a generic nondescript sweetness. The infusion is also characterised by a rather "flat", "wet" taste, lacking any real depth of flavour and also having a somewhat acidic and tannic finish.

Fortunately, this is not what a proper cup of tea is about.

So, for this first post, it was almost a necessity to start off with an exceptional tea, and in Taylors Of Harrogate's English Breakfast we have just that.

English Breakfast is of course probably the most famous blend, and derives it name, rather obviously, from the fact that it generally denotes a strong flavoured tea with a powerful caffeine kick, perfect for the morning with breakfast, to wake you up.

Or in my case, pretty much perfect all day long and all night long....

So, when people have their cup of "tea", they generally are not just having tea leaves from one estate, but more usually a blend of leaves from numerous estates in different parts of the world.

The different characteristics of the estate teas are blended to offer an excellent balance of flavour.

English Breakfast tea is certainly what most people associate with what a cup of tea in Britain is about. Now, if the mainstream tea bags in supermarkets represent the lowest and poorest attempt at it... then in this particular blend, we have the best of the best, an outstanding blend.

TOH English Breakfast blend is made from a combination of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and African teas. Ceylon teas are renowned for their crisp, clean, almost metallic flavour, African teas for their rich dark body. Combine high quality grades and types of the two, with care... and you have something superb.

Opening the tin it is immediately obvious we are dealing with a very superior class of tea. The leaves are Golden Broken Orange Pekoe grade: BOP is a grade of leaf used to denote a black, fermented tea, where, self explanatorily, the leaves have been processed sufficiently until they start to break up. Orange Pekoe is simply the term for a whole leaf grade. The Golden denotes the presence of a significant number of "tips", which are the light "golden" coloured tips from the top of the tea bush, which are rightly prized for their exceptional and delicate flavour. They are the most precious and treasured part of the tea harvest.

A BOP tea will generate a strong, dark brew, whilst still retaining a rich and complex flavour. So, a GBOP grade denotes one of the highest quality. In other words, what we have, is a strong tea, rich in flavour, that will balance beautifully with milk.

TOH only use the Traditional or Orthodox method, which basically means not using the CTC (crush, tear, curl) industrial machines which rather savagely process a lot of the life out of the tea (and is what is used to create the very strong infusing tea bag tea), and instead much more gently and slowly heat and roll the leaves to ferment and develop them.

Brew quantity: 3 tea measures / 500ml water
Brew time: 5 minutes
Water temperature: 100C (rolling boil direct from kettle)
Optimum brewing vessel: Pre-heated Porcelain/China tea pot

TOH English Breakfast is a truly outstanding cup of tea. Balanced appropriately with milk, its character reveals itself to have a strong, almost woody, dark body, from the African tea content in the blend; this is accompanied by an initial, fractionally astrigent start, and a beautifully clean, rather copper like finish, from the Ceylon tea content. It reveals itself to be an absolute first class tea by virtue of the depth of flavour with continues to linger on the palate long after your cup is finished, and the wonderfully dry, and outstandingly "clean", almost polished finish. Above all, it has an incredible smoothness, which makes most other English Breakfast (i.e. typical tea bag tea) teas taste bitty, mucky, bitter, flat, wet, drab and almost unbearably rancid by comparison.

The art of a first class English Breakfast is to obtain strength and potency without losing richness of flavour, becoming to tannic, or simply just too bitter.

This tea is without doubt one of the finest of this variety, and one I can come back to time and time again.

When I wake up in the morning, and need a strong fine tea to start to day, or when I sit down in the evening after a long day at work, and need a tea to perk me up... well, I can't think of a finer or better choice than Taylors Of Harrogates superb blend.


Side note: Yes, when it comes to typical "English" tea, I don't do small - certainly not when I'm making proper tea at home. I only drink it by - at least - a half litre at a time! :-)

Monday, 16 February 2009

Banner change #1 to #2

Time for a new banner. I'll try to create a new one every couple of months to keep things fresh.

Old banner (#1):

@Traveller: This image is not actually from Iceland, which I presume is what you were alluding to. I took this one in Snowdonia, in North Wales, up in the Carnedd mountains.

I would dearly love to go to Iceland though, yes, as you can probably easily deduce.

New banner (#2):

I took this photo on the beach near Lindisfarne, in Northumbria.

Close by is a priory, that was famously sacked in 793 by a Viking invasion fleet.

Of course, in the interests of historical balance, prior to Northumberland being Christianised, it was a heathen kingdom, and it was quite probably a site of worship for the Pagans due to the very special quality of its location.

Lindisfarne is a section of coastline that gets turned into an island on a daily basis as the low lying land bridge gets covered when the tide rolls in. So residents there are only able to connect with the mainland at certain times of the day!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Running through an endless night

Well, predictably, my upbeat mood was never going to last, and so I have descended back down, and find myself in a bleak, black mood.

I went for a run tonight. It was a run, that in many ways, was a metaphor for my life over the last couple of years.

I tend to go running on random routes, and this time I found myself following the main road down into the Walker area of Newcastle. For virtually the whole run, practically a single soul was not to be seen: empty streets, with parked cars everywhere, innumerable houses. A few rooms were lit. It was a run past areas full of empty, closed factories and outhouses; past a deserted dockland; down an empty cycle path. Past Segendum, a Roman fort, the last outpost of the world famous Hadrian's wall, which traditionally divided England and Scotland. It was actually just a few piles of ruined brickwork, strewn with discarded litter and right next to a unattractive council estate.

Down and along bland road networks, a retail park, traffic lights. On the way back, I saw another, single, solitary runner. Normally, there is an unwritten code between runners - you expect to exchange some eye contact, perhaps a smile, a gesture, or even a greeting; possibly even an "How are you?". Some sort of acknowledgement, no matter how small. I looked across and he ran past me as if I wasn't there, as if he'd never even seen me at all. As if I was a ghost.

So, just like life, I come to ask myself, do I even exist? Or am I just a mere apparition.

My path through life just seems to be a constant struggle on, with no particular change in sight, just a random walk alone. Profoundly alone.

I try to reach out; I get ignored. I make a call; they don't answer. I send a message; I get no reply. I sent a txt; it disappears without a reply.

I didn't think I'd grow up, and find my years passing by in such a joyless, mundane, existence.

Unsurprisingly, since scientific research has shown that your dreams are often more literal than we realise, when I do have dreams I remember, they are often of the same character. A feeling of fruitlessness, a feeling of being lost, a feeling of never getting anywhere. Quite often they will involve me travelling to some destination, but almost invariably, I will never ever get there; what should have been a straightforward journey suddenly becomes endless; I'm travelling by train, I change to get a connection, it never arrives; I travel by train, and it comes to a junction with countless sets of rails, and gets stuck; I travel by aeroplane, and I get permanently stuck in the departure lounge. What makes it worse, of course, is at the destination was something usualy quite exciting or wonderful. But I never see it, I never get there.

The other night, one of my dreams was more poignant. I often drift off to sleep wishing to dream of love and sex, to be quite frank, since at least, even it is but a dream, it has some "reality", at least for a few hours. Rarely, however, does it actually happen, and I normally wake up with no recollection of any dreams whatsoever.

This one I did meet some wonderful girl. I think we were on a set of stairs, or perhaps in a room in her apartment. It was rather old fashioned, with an old world feel to it. Sunlight was gleaming through the skylight. She was smiling, we were talking. She was very pretty. There was a bookshelf full of interesting books. Perhaps we were talking about books. I don't know. She wrapped her arm around mine; we felt close. It was actually someone I could talk to; we understood each other perfectly. I think she might have kissed me. Then there was something she had to do, somewhere she had to go. I'm not sure. She disappeared out the door, and I knew that I would never see her again, and at that very moment, I woke up, feeling disorientated for a few seconds.

This was a rarity. Meeting imaginary women, even for just a conversation, in dreams, has now become increasingly rare. I take the fact that there is now a total absence of any more intimate sexual content to my dreams to reflect that fact that even in my intuitive mind, my pscyhe, it no longer believes it a possibility that will ever actually occur. It parallels my recurring dreams of travelling without ever actually getting anywhere.

I simply go in circles.

Even in my dreams, my dreams themselves have become but mere dreams. They have in fact, become bland and grey; just perplexingly, confusingly, and sometimes bizarrely so.

But usually I wake up remembering nothing.

That, is perhaps worst of all.

@Louise: Valentine's day has become extremely depressing, and this year was no different. I lost track of the number of couples of all ages, plenty similar in age to me, who walked into the shop, bedecked with flowers. Or men (and a few women) by themselves but with flowers in hand, presumably ready for a special someone. I've got no one to give any [romantic] love to: the female species seems to have made it abundantly clear that none of them actually want anything I have to offer.

The fact of the matter is that as life goes on like this, without even a flicker of interest from anyone at all, without anyone to share anything much at all with, one's confidence slowly erodes away. You feel yourself slowly eroding away. Nothing builds a person's confidence like some sort of success; nothing eats it away like a continual lack of any.

I escape into my own little world of books and music. So, tonight, I will listen to some Satie, then drift off the sleep, and sleep long, since I don't have to get up early tomorrow, as I have it off work.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Aren's Pointless Pontificating Potential Partner Questionnaire

I'm feeling rather light-hearted today, so thought I'd make up a quiz.

Since clearly I am totally unable to ever actually bump into the "right" girl in real life - does she even exist?! - and since women's magazines are usually filled with endless quizzes purportedly helping them find what they are looking for, I thought I'd reverse the trend and as a bloke set my own standards. Time for the other sex to do the looking!


It should be completely obvious, but sadly there are people of rather judgemental and narrow minded character that choose to get offended wherever the chance allows, that this is quiz is just me having fun. Hopefully it will generate a few titters. The views implied below from my graded answers reflect my own guesstimates based on a projected compatibility, and, particularly in the case of religion, and not intended to be construed as deliberately derogatory towards those beliefs. They simply reflect the likelihood in my eyes that we'd "get along". Each of us is free to hold whatever opinion we each have, to paraphrase Voltaire, I might disagree but I defend your right to freely express your own opinion...

2nd Disclaimer: Life has persistently taught me that everything is always how you not expect it to be. So, therefore, it would, paradoxically enough, not ultimately surprise me if the sort of
person who got the lowest possible score was the perfect match, as extremely unlikely as I imagine such an eventuality to be.

Religion/Spirituality & Beliefs

1. In terms of religious/spiritual views, I consider myself to be a follower of, primarily:

a) Christianity
b) Judaism
c) Islam
d) Jainism
e) Hinduism
f) Buddhism
g) Daoism
h) Sikhism
i) European Heathenism
j) Non-European Indigenous Paganism (e.g. Shintoism)
k) Neo-Pagan, Wiccan, or New-Age
l) Atheism
m) Agnosticism
n) Scientology
o) Other specific organised religion
p) My own syncretistic pick n' mix spirituality

2. In terms of my own approach to my beliefs, I

a) Always try to abide literally to my specific sacred text(s)
b) Try to interpret any scriptures according to a modern context, with room for reasonable latitude of interpretation
c) Hold nothing as particularly sacred. Do whatever I want, whenever I want
d) Recognise the value and possibility of higher standards, but try to always find my own path, drawing inspiration from wherever I recognise quality and truthfulness

3. In terms of modern society,

a) Church/religious institution and state should always be kept separate
b) State should have a sponsored and official religion

Environment, Naturalism & Green Issues

4. In terms of technology, the environment, and progress

a) Everything should continue unabated, with the uninterrupted pursuit of technological advancement the highest goal
b) We should all become hard-line Eco-warriors, and the development of technology and industry should be severely restricted
c) We significantly need to alter the balance and recognise that our consumption of resources needs to be more moderated, that the environment is precious, and that we will all be required to make some sacrifices if we wish to preserve the natural beauty of the world

5. In terms of getting out into Nature

a) Nature is beautiful beyond comparison, and I like nothing more than getting outside into the wilderness as much as possible
b) The countryside is boring. I'll stick to my city apartment.
c) I like a pretty view, but from the window of my luxury cruise liner

6. In terms of my mobile phone, laptop, or other portable modern technology

a) The thought of being disconnected from the modern world for a few days fills me with horror! I'll take my phone with me everywhere.
b) I'll specifically switch off or leave behind my phone so that I can enjoy being out in nature, completely uninterrupted
c) Pointless modern dependencies. I don't need any such technological contrivances.

Love & Sexuality

7. If I am with someone whom I love

a) I'll let them know frequently
b) I'll let them know only on special occasions
c) Don't be soppy! They should know how I feel

8. If a man gives me flowers, I'll

a) Be deeply flattered and delighted
b) Think he is feeling guilty about something
c) Think he is soft and should probably go and toughen up

9. In terms of libido and sexual drive

a) Sex is pleasurable, rather like a bar of chocolate
b) Sex is one of the greatest gifts of life. It delivers a level of pleasure and fulfilment rarely found elsewhere in life
c) Sex is completely overrated. I can quite happily go without.

10. In terms of sexual frequency

a) As often and intensely as possible! Life is too short!
b) Save it up for special occasions only
c) Once in a blue moon is sufficient

11. In terms of sexual variation

a) Missionary position only for me!
b) I'll try a few different moves
c) The Kama Sutra is my bible. I'll certainly give anything a try if I can contort my body into position!

12. In terms of kinkiness

a) I prefer it plain Jane and simple.
b) I'm willing to accommodate a little bit of teasing and games playing
c) So who's going to tie the other up first? And where did you put those shackles, sometimes my knots aren't that good!

13. In terms of attitudes towards sex

a) Casual sex is fine, as long as both people have a clear understanding
b) Sex should only occur after marriage
c) Feel free to sleep around as much as you wish! Who cares!

14. In terms of sexual context

a) Sex in a loving stable relationship is, ultimately, best
b) Random casual sex is more fulfilling

15. In terms of openness

a) A lot of sexual acts are rather dirty and sinful
b) Within a few limits, I'm more than happy to try to accommodate
anything that will make my partner sexually fulfilled. Just ask!
c) I don't see the point in doing anything that doesn't directly give me pleasure.

16. In terms of a relationship, the one I truly love

a) Would be the most important aspect of my life. I'll try to move heaven and earth for them!
b) An important component, but they'll have to fit in around my career and lifestyle
c) There for me when I need them, but not integral to my life

17. In terms of a relationship, all decisions

a) Should be made on an equal basis. That is healthy.
b) The man should take control and show that he can be a man!
c) I'll decide, as men are too impulsive
d) We'll see what works for us


18. In terms of political views

a) I support Marxism
b) I support National Socialism
c) I support liberal democracy
d) I support Radical Traditionalism
e) I am primarily apolitical. All systems are ultimately a rather unsatisfying compromise.

19. On capitalism

a) Free markets should be allowed with no restrictions whatsoever
b) Certain limits should be in place
c) A necessary evil

Arts & Mind

20. In terms of film, if I had to choose, I mostly favour

a) A light hearted comedy or easy going film
b) Pure action, or typical big-screen Hollywood film
c) Bizarre, unusual, surreal art-house cinema

21. In terms of books and magazines, if I had to choose, I mostly favour

a) Mainstream fiction and glossy mags
b) Challenging, complex, and unusual materials

22. In terms of broadcast television

a) I love soaps! There is always something on I'd like to watch
b) Big Brother is my religion
c) Most television is so entirely lacking in any redeeming qualities
that I usually switch it straight off in disgust. Give me a good book
d) I'll usually spend my evenings curled up in front of the telly

23. In terms of conversations

a) Lets just have plenty of drinks and get drunk and have a laugh
b) Lets sit down over a coffee and have a truly meaningful and deep conversation
c) Just be polite and keep everyone happy

24. Beethoven or Mozart?

a) Come on. Clearly Beethoven by a significant degree.
b) Mozart is prettier.
c) Who are they? Wouldn't listen to either!

25. In terms of cultural relativism,

a) It is absolutely absurd to even begin to compare the latest Spice Girls single with, say, Beethoven's 9th Symphony. The 9th is so many orders of magnitude superior in every dimension that such a comparison is pointless.
b) Everything is equally good
c) It depends entirely on context. On some levels the latest pop singles are just as good.

26. In terms of range of tastes, and ability to accommodate alternative forms of expression

a) I am willing to accommodate a very wide range of artistic expressions. I listen very widely, read very widely, watch very widely, and do not get easily offended.
b) Plenty of things are rather offensive and should be either banned or severely controlled
c) There is no reason to ever offend anyone with anything that deserves to be called art

27. In terms of alcohol

a) Why not get hammered every Friday! You only live once
b) Many people use alcohol to mask emptiness elsewhere in there life. Enjoying yourself and letting yourself go is one thing, seeing all social occasions primarily as a drinking opportunity is a waste.
c) I am tee-total and believe that alcohol is a dangerous addiction just like many other things, such as pornography


28. When there is a commercial break on during a program I am watching on TV, I will

a) Sit there and watch in boredom
b) Specifically mute the television and go and make a cup of tea/coffee
c) Sit there and watch with interest

29. Tea or coffee?

a) Don't be daft, clearly Tea!
b) Tea is bland. Give me coffee.
c) You dare insult me with that question? How could anything compare, even to one billionth of a millionth of a degree, with the ultimate mightyness and true divinity of that most perfect of beverages, that most grand of plants, that most mighty of experiences, namely, the most high and holy, Tea! I salute thee, Tea! I forever recognise thy primordial and protean greatness!
d) I am a heretic and do not drink either tea or coffee.
e) You mean tea doesn't just come in packets of tea bags?

30. The person who constructed this irreverant quiz, is either

a) Completely and utterly bonkers and off his trolly
b) Of a fine mind, if a little eccentric
c) Really should have better things to do
d) Delightful, and since I am a fine young single women aged 18-35 I shall be enquiring after his e-mail address
e) Clearly desperate and lost beyond all hope

Answer grid

Now, go through your answers and tot up your total points accordingly.
There are both positive and negative marks to some questions:

Q1. a = -1 ; b = -2; c = -3; d = -2; e = +1; f = +2; g = +3; h = -1; i = +4; j = +4; k = +1; l = 0; m = +2; n = -10; o = 0; p = +2;
Q2. a = -2; b = +1; c = -3; d = +2;
Q3. a = +1; b = -1;
Q4. a = -1; b = 0; c = +1;
Q5. a = +2; b = -2; c = 0;
Q6. a = 0; b = +2; c = +1;
Q7. a = +1; b = 0; c = -1;
Q8. a = +1; b = -1; c = 0;
Q9. a = +1; b = +3; c = -1;
Q10. a = +2; b = +1; c = 0;
Q11. a = -1; b = +1; c = +2;
Q12. a = 0; b = +1; c = +3;
Q13. a = +1; b = -2; c = -1;
Q14. a = +1; b = 0;
Q15. a = -3; b = +3; c = 0;
Q16. a = +3; b = 0; c = -1;
Q17. a = +2; b = 0; c = 0; d = +1;
Q18. a = -25; b = -5; c = +2; d = +3; e = +2;
Q19. a = 0; b = +1; c = +1;
Q20. a = 0; b = 0; c = +2;
Q21. a = 0; b = +2;
Q22. a = -2; b = -2500; c = +3; d = -1;
Q23. a = 0; b = +2; c = -1;
Q24. a = +2; b = 0; c = -1;
Q25. a = +3; b = -3; c = -1;
Q26. a +2; b = -1; c = -1;
Q27. a = 0; b = +1; c = -1;
Q28. a = 0; b = +1; c = -1;
Q29. a = +1; b = 0; c = +1 (plus an additional 5000 special rare gold Aren stars after your name! :-) ); d = 0 (plus an additional 5000 lines to write, which go, "I will see the error of my ways and starting drinking tea. I will see the error of my ways and starting drinking tea, before the God of Tea cometh down upon me and makes me repent for my sins"); e = -1;
Q30. a = +2; b = +2; c = +1; d = +10; e = +1;

Maximum total is 67.
Minimum total is -2560.

Suffice to say if you're a fundamentalist Scientologist politically active Marxist who hates sex and doesn't like to go out, lives off a diet of Big Brother and, obviously worst of all, doesn't drink tea, then we'll probably not get along ;-)

Or following the logic of life, we'll probably be perfect for each other...

Anyone who scores 67/67 and is 18-35 should immediately get in touch.

Anyone that scores 67/67 and also has 5000 gold stars had better find an underground bunker as it will be my mission in life to scour the planet to find you! :-D

So come on then. Who's going to be brave and/or silly enough to post their total up?

Meanwhile, if anyone is bored, feel free to take this and make your own quiz up for your own blog. It is quite a fun activity...

12/02/09 Edit: Corrected answer for Q3, which I'd accidentally put the wrong way round.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Falkenbach: Donar's Oak

- Donar's Oak

(Taken from their album "Ok Nefna Tysvar Ty", 2003).

"Branches as high as a vigilant eye could see,
magic runes, once scratched into this tree.
An old man sat down at this mighty oak,
every morning, day by day...
And he closed his eyes
while a gasp blew through its leaves...
and he began to speak...

Land er heilact, er ec liggia sé
ásom oc álfom nær;
enn í Þrúðheimi scal þórr vera,
unz um riúfaz regin.

Ydalir heita, þar er Ullr hefir
sér um gorva sali;
Álfheim Frey gáfo í árdaga
tívar at tannfé.

Roots as deep as the very depths of heart,
source for those who know what's still to come...
Man of wisdom and knowledge great,
with hair as white as snow...
The young amongst them in a circle sat
and listened to his voice.
...while he began to speak...

Land er heilact, er ec liggia sé
ásom oc álfom nær;
enn í Þrúðheimi scal þórr vera,
unz um riúfaz regin.

Ydalir heita, þar er Ullr hefir
sér um gorva sali;
Álfheim Frey gáfo í árdaga
tívar at tannfé."


Donar's (Thor) Oak, was a sacred tree of the Germanic Heathen Chatti. The spiritual power of trees in general, is inestimable.

Unfortunately I don't have a translation for the Icelandic lyrics...

Friday, 6 February 2009


Do you have to be completely happy in the first place to find someone?

If so, then I guess I will never find anyone till the day I die.

I think it is perfectly natural and normal to have a desire to be with someone. This is itself does not signify desperation - simply a perfectly commonplace human behaviour, both on an emotional and physical level. If this desire is unfulfilled, then it is quite likely you won't be completely content.

What is desperation and why is it so unattractive?

Desperation is the persistent inability to have any peace with yourself. Desperation is the death (or lack of birth) of any sense of individual self. Desperation results in the individual inversely projecting all their fears, guilts, and neurosis onto the opposite individual, who then becomes a completely perfect "saint" and espouses strength in precisely those very areas they lack. Or alternatively, desperation seeks common ground by finding someone with exactly the same fears, with the vision that you can you collectively build up your own fortress between you and the world together. 

In both cases, the underlying implication is that the "desperate" person sees not the actual character of the person they are interested in, but simply see what they wish to see. The desperate person lacks the integrity of an open and authentic response to the person of their desire. In fact, the truly desperate person will simply wish to be with virtually anyone at all, just as long as they will have them. That is, taken to its logical conclusion, they wish to possess them.

The person who is the subject of such an interest naturally pushes them away because they recognise that not only are they attempting to build something on an unhealthy basis, but also the fact that they recognise that as soon as the desperate individual sees the true reality of who they are, things will naturally start to fall apart. The desperate person will also be emotionally suffocating because their own lack of self will result in them becoming overwhelmingly attached, and seek to live their life purely through the eyes of the other person. Rather than contribute, they will drain.

Being unhappy with your current life, and also wishing to have someone to share it with, is not, however, equivalent to desperation.

One of the hardest aspects of being single for a elongated length of time is that it is very hard not to lose confidence. Success breeds confidence - this is one of the greatest ironies, and a Catch 22 of life in general.

Someone who merely lacks confidence, and is unhappy with how things are panning out, is still qualitatively different from a desperate person. Unlike a desperate person, if "success" should arrive, their whole character and disposition can radically change overnight.

Much as a set of dark storm clouds can be very quickly blown away to reveal an awesome sunrise with a blue sky, so can such a person be uplifted and radically blossom in the world. What was there all along, had just become temporarily veiled.

The thing is, it requires that someone gives them a chance. Just a chance.

The person who is desperate has much more work to do. They have a journey of self-discovery. We must all undertake this journey continuously, as an act of self-development, regardless of how happy or mentally stable we are, but someone who is desperate has lost all sense of their bearings; the light has gone out on their candle in amongst the deepest of cave systems. They have to relight their candle and then commit to familiarising themselves with an entirely unknown space again.

Me? I am often gloomy and things are frequently hard. But I'm definitely not desperate. I know the sort of qualities I'm looking for in a person and I do have a good sense as to the sort of person I am. I'm prepared to wait for as long as it takes for the right person, and don't simply wish to be with someone just for the sake of being with someone. I don't pretend to have everything figured out, nor is life necessarily particularly brilliant. But I do embrace the desire to enrich mine - and hopefully her - existence by finding someone - the right person - and seeing where it goes.

In lonely times, yes, it can be tempting just to have someone where someone is anyone. This is a weakness we all have, at moments of crisis. Such a desire is not inherently wrong; it is simply reflective of the human desire to connect.

But the overwhelming majority of the time, I know - in rough terms; for life is always surprising - the sort of qualities I look for.

I'm just conscious of the fact that my own tendency for outright honesty is often off putting, as perhaps I come across as desperate when I am honest in admitting that life is far from everything I wish it to be. I don't have all the answers. I'm just trying to always find them as best I can. I don't expect or require anything more than that from anyone else.

I just know, however, that having someone to share the wonderfully small things in life would make life so much more delightful, bring back a light-hearted joy to my existence, and allow me to give to her as much as she gives to me.

Until that time, no, I won't be completely content. What is wrong with that? Surely nothing.

Whilst I am fully aware that one must be careful not to look outside for a contentment and joy, that, in principle, were always there, available all along, inside... nevertheless there is a more prosaic material level to existence, and external changes need to mirror internal changes. You make the internal changes and then hopefully the external changes manifest themselves. Internal changes can be hard to sustain, and sometimes can collapse; but quietly, you work with fortitude, and slowly but surely, things can change. In other words, "two steps forward, one back" is usually the more likely method of progress.

I am a young man who wants love, companionship, and sex - with the right person! And fun! I believe it will happen naturally when I find her, whoever she is. (Naturally doesn't mean automatic, however!) These are fundamental parts of the human existence I desire to lead.

Some people are happy as hermits. Some people are happy finding seclusion and celibacy as a monk in a religious retreat. Some people are happy living life moment to moment, with a random mix of new people each week. Some people are happy with a stable one person whom they live with for countless years till they die. Some people are happier to be permanently single, free to choose and do as they wish whenever they want.

Some people - and probably the majority - find true contentment when they find someone to share their path through life with. Some of these people - perhaps many - were pretty happy individuals prior to meeting the other person. Some, were not, but soon become so after meeting the other person.

No one is a panacea, and meeting someone doesn't mean your life automatically becomes wonderful, or that things are never hard. They frequently are and will be. But it is highly likely your life will be more fulfilling and existentially richer if you maintain the same spirit of openness that hopefully you originally met with.

The point is, one cannot generalise, and one must be careful. Careful not just in proceeding with things with anyone, but also equally careful in drawing inaccurate conclusions about someone too early.

Sometimes someone just needs a confidence boost!

No one ever became a great artist without some encouragement from somewhere.
Communicate. Be honest. Be direct. Share. If they really are desperate, ultimately this process will help them. If they aren't, then it will become clear.

If you do consider yourself desperate: Communicate. Be honest. Be direct. Share. You'll find yourself.

A lot of people who perhaps might seem desperate, aren't. A lot of people who seem perfectly happy and not at all desperate, may in fact be so. People can become quite proficient at putting masks on. I hate masks but this is sometimes to my detriment, as I probably am pretty full-on most of the time. We all have to take a great deal of care before making a hasty conclusion.

And lest I sound like I'm either randomly sermonising or bemoaning to the world, I should add that I nearly got this grossly wrong myself. So I speak from experience as someone who judged completely incorrectly. I jumped to an incorrect and hasty conclusion about someone. I thought she was desperate and nearly completely pushed her away, prematurely.

At the last moment though, we communicated. We were honest. She was just, as it were, a bit nervous and shy. I hadn't made the effort to properly discuss things with her.

We ended up being together for 6 years, the majority of which, despite ups and downs and the hardships of life, were generally very good years. Though we may not be together any more, I now consider her family and I am confident we shall remain close friends for the rest of our lives.

There was certainly nothing desperate about her once I got to know her, and our relationship was probably defined as much by an easy relaxed lack of any possessiveness. Neither of us were the type to get jealous, and were happy to let the other have their own space.

Am I desperate?


Do I come across as desperate?

Hopefully not. But perhaps I do.