DATE: 8/20/2003 09:32:00 am
Public Service Announcement for Regular Readers
Blogging is hereby suspended for up to the next 10 days until Blogger Rabbit, Pup and I have finished setting up my brand new MT blog etc. There'll be a lot of construction work going on with imports, exports and whatever-ports going on so on certain days, this blog might look a bit weird.
I now leave you with the following inspirational poem that I had quoted before on this blog when I was handling the disaster of last summer. I think that, given the fact that I am coping with big changes that are getting me all glum and viewing the world through bleak lenses, republishing the poem is timely:
by William Murray Angus
When things go wrong, As they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, But you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit Rest if you must,
But Don't You Quit!
Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up through the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup
And he learned too late when the night came down
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem the worst
That You Mustn't Quit!
Have a good rest of the week/10 days everybody and I hope to see you at the other side of the Blogging tunnel in my new digs.
DATE: 8/19/2003 03:28:00 pm
Yet another rejection letter from yet another Management Consultancy firm.
Funny how numb I'm feeling at the moment:
Just another rejection...
I had been rejected without interview by most of the small-to-medium Management Consultancy firms I've applied to.
Told by a few high-profile boutique firms and one last Major Management Consultancy player to reapply in September/October.
And now waiting for news from just one more consultancy firm--my one last chance of landing a September 2003 vacancy in management consultancy and probably, in landing a job for this year...
They say that miracles do happen. I'd like to see some proof of that!
Just had a very excited phonecall from Best Friend Girlfriend L:
She got a cushy entry-level job with Deloitte and Touche.
After only less than 10 job applications and interviews.
Congrats L! I'm so happy for you!
I just wish that I'd have the same luck.
Dang it--I am now officially feeling even more depressed about my Great Job Hunt.
Am I not employable?
Stupid work permit...
Honestly, I don't know why I even bothered taking the Rhodes scholarship. They obviously made the wrong choice when they picked me--must have been on crack or something...
If there is a God up there... (you know the drill)
DATE: 8/19/2003 02:26:00 pm
A Glovefox with Red Eyes Held Up by Toothpicks (well, it feels like it...)
Well, the spec letters--together with a sample of my cookbook slipped into each packet--have been sent off yesterday afternoon after a further couple of hours of tinkering. So that's done and will be followed up this Thursday to give the said Publishing Big Guns time to let it all sink in.
I hope they see what the people at Butler and Tanner see: new talent and plenty of potential in the cookery-book-editing scheme of things.
Yesterday and today have been terribly unproductive because for some reason, I have been feeling terribly tired and dozing off like during the day... for almost 2 hours at a time. There was no rhyme or reason for it on Monday--all I did was run some errands and stuff in the morning, figuring that I'd get it all out of the way and then after lunch, I was just out like a light... only to wake up sometime mid-afternoon to get my spec letters done and mailed off... then a friend who is staying in another friend's room upstairs turned up, then it was yoga class time, then I had to write some more of an article I'm writing that I had promised somebody--and which had been languishing for more than 2 weeks already so I thought that I'd get it out of the way--, and then, friend came back from dinner and we had a chat, then IMed with Greg and Ryan for a bit while finishing more of that article and then before I knew it, it was 2am and bedtime.
This morning, my phone went off like a pistol shot.
It was my MOTHER, full of news about the family etc.
Nice going, Mum.
Anyway, she finally rang off. I padded out of bed, checked email to make notes as to which ones needed replying, dashed upstairs to make blueberry muffins for breakfast for both me and my friend, packed up the remainder of the muffin batch for my friend to take back with her to the muffin-less teaching hospital where she's currently stationed--me being me, I didn't have the heart to condemn her to a continuation of the muffin-less existence she described to me--and then went back to get email sorted, do a bit of web-scouring for the black-and-white pics i might like to stick on my upcoming MT blog, and then had lunch and then fell asleep...
Just woke up now. Have about 2 hours of company research ahead of me. After that, it's Step Aerobics class and then dinner, then calling a contact, and then back to finishing up the long-overdue article plus updating my lists re job hunting and contacts and sending off a resume to yet another contact who has asked for it. Maybe sorting out more email before they languish too long. Probably going to end up yapping online to Ryan or Greg or perhaps, Karen, again.
Then hopefully, it'll be off to bed at a decent time.
Tomorrow's going to be yet another busy busy day as well.... and I'm going to have to push the pedal to the metal--or medal? Never really figured this one out but then I am still tired, dear Readers--from tomorrow onwards if I am going to fulfil my goal to have my first ever 40-hour job-hunting week.
DATE: 8/17/2003 01:10:00 pm
And because I'm stuck in Spec-Letter-Writing Hell...
I give you the following while I try to finish this spec letter to the Publishing Big Guns--funny how anxious I feel about it...
YOU ARE BASIL
What herb are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
At least, I am my favourite herb...
(Courtesy of Karen)
You are Storm of the X-men!
You are strong and sweet at the same time you have
self control and have a very nurturing nature
about you. You make friends easily but keep
your enemies even closer.
Which of the X-men do you resemble most?
brought to you by Quizilla
Yeah baby YEAH!
You are Chocolat...you believe in finding someone
from far away, from a different country perhaps
that has a totally different lifestyle. You are
a firm believer in living life to the fullest
What Sappy Romantic Movie Are You?? *pics*
brought to you by Quizilla
Spookily accurate... to a certain extent.
(Both quizzes courtesy of Dyana)
Hurrah! The spec letters to the Powers-that-Be at the two major publishing firms have been written--funny how long it takes to write a decent spec letter: this time, it took me well-nigh all weekend! Now, all I have to do tomorrow morning is print them out, package them with my updated resume and a sample of my cookbook each and send them off... and of course, PRAY VERY HARD.
You will pray for me, dear Readers, won't you?
DATE: 8/16/2003 01:09:00 pm
I really REALLY must get all motivated with my job hunt. I don't think that I'm putting enough effort into it simply because it's all so tedious. Remember me saying that I was going to make it a full-time job job-hunting? Well, this week, I didn't even get to the 30-hour mark!
That's it: I'm printing out and sticking up a sign--a BIG sign--on my wall saying:
"Get your Job-Hunting Ass moving, Sugah!... or you'll be REAL sorry come September."
But, the good thing is that I did get my application to Kraft, Inc done yesterday aside from calling my contact at Butler and Tanner (see previous post).
I had also tried calling Best Male Friend A's dad last night--he told me to call back then--but he wasn't in and I left a message. I will try again tonight. Yeah, yeah, I know it's gonna be Saturday night but hey, like I said, he told me to call him back yesterday and he wasn't in!
Spent hours trying to write the spec letter to the two contacts at the prominent publishing houses that my contact at Butler and Tanner gave to me--with a lot of encouragement and support, I might add!--but didn't get very far because:
a. It's a difficult cover letter to write for some reason. You know the score: trying to get a job with them but trying not to sound like you're wanting to get a job with them but only asking for advice and hopefully, pushing for an interview.
b. IM-ing with the inimitable Ryan McGee. Got into a bit of a foot-in-the-mouth situation there during which Yours Truly was reduced to sniffles and Ryan-dude was outraged at my presumptiousness... but all is forgiven (I think this may partly be due to the cookies-in-the-post that I offered him... with no nuts, as agreed *wink*)... well, I hope.
Managed to drag myself up and out to go swimming this morning--yessiree, I actually made it to the 8am-9am lengths session--came back, was supposed to start on said letters to said Big-Shots-At-Publishing-Houses but ended up:
a. Replying to some emails that have been languishing for days and some more recent ones too.
b. Showering for a good long stretch
d. Falling asleep again until Best Male Friend G called up and said that although he was supposed to come have lunch with me, he got into a bit of an accident and is now sorting it all out at a garage somewhere between Newbury in Berkshire and here.
Ah yes--lazy Saturdays, what would we do without them? Can't be lazy today though. Since yesterday was a slow day job-hunting-wise, I'm going to have to spend most of today and tomorrow making up for lost time in order to be ready to:
a. Send off the letters etc on Monday
b. Call more contacts on Monday
In the coming week, I'll be:
1. Sending off spec letters to companies on Monday and Tuesday.
2. Doing follow-up calls to companies and firms on Wednesday and Thursday.
3. Calling more contacts between Monday and Friday.
4. Awaiting some answers from a couple of strategy consultancies.
5. Sending off spec letters to language schools proffering my Mandarin skills.
6. Possibly having a very interesting fellow Blogger come visit.
7. Having coffee with a couple of friends.
8. Seeing the Citizens Advice Bureau about immigration stuff on Monday (if I can get a walk-in)
9. Getting some big bags and sorting out stuff to donate to the local charities so that I can lighten my load when it's moving time.
10. Returning library books to the different libraries.
11. Talking to college about possibly putting some of my stuff in storage with them if it came to that i.e. having to go back to Malaysia to get the Working Holidaymakers' Visa sorted.
12. Trying the Home Office AGAIN re visa woes.
13. Updating my contacts database--Best Male Friend G said that he's going to send me along to a couple of his contacts--and practising my Excel skills while I'm at it.
14. Updating my other job-hunting lists as well.
15. Registering with another recruitment agency.
So it's going to be a very busy week ahead, I think. GAH!!!
And finally, a fellow blogger actually emailed me to offer his voluntary services re helping me finish my move to Moveable Type! Everybody give a big hand to... BLOGGER RABBIT!!!! Bless his little cotton socks! So hopefully, my MT blog will be up and running and I can flee Blogger a.s.a.p.
God bless you, Blogger Rabbit!!!
And now, we return you to your normal programming--Glovefox's Great Job-Hunt (Episode 103984793: "It's a big drag!")
DATE: 8/15/2003 12:29:00 pm
And the Great Job Hunt Goes On
Some updates on the Great Job Hunt plus whatever Job-Hunt news I have left out over the past couple of days:
1. The headhunter for the smaller strategy consultancy firm that called me up out-of-the blue two Mondays ago finally called me on Wednesday afternoon. It would seem that decisions re the next round are still being made at this point and that she or the firm will be in contact next week to let me know what the verdict is on my case and whether I'll be called in for the next round, i.e. the face-to-face case study interview. I was told by a friend that this firm's interviews are especially tough but honey, at this point, I'm just going to be so grateful to have a shot at ANYTHING half-decent starting in September.
2. I called my contact at Butler and Tanner and had a good long chat with him just this lunchtime. We talked about how to approach the people whose names he had sent along to me. Apparently, he actually went and discussed the matter with the sales director and they both came up with these names and publishing houses for me to target because:
a. They felt that me writing to 20 publishing houses in general is a waste of time and that I needed some concrete areas to target.
b. The two people who they feel are my best bet are directly involved in food publishing, working for huge-ass publishing houses, pretty high up in their respective company hierarchies and most importantly, willing to listen and great at spotting talent (which my contact and his colleagues feel that I have bucket-loads of).
So my contact suggested that instead of calling first, that I send in a cover letter, my resume and a copy of my cookbook to each of them today, then follow up with a call on Tuesday or Wednesday. Thank goodness I have three sample copies otherwise it's another £10 a piece plus postage (since I have to send it by registered mail, it will DEFINITELY cost a bomb in terms of postage alone).
In some senses, targeting food publishing might be both a blessing and a curse--a blessing because it is a very specialised area of publishing that needs specialist knowledge to a certain extent; a curse also because it is a very specialised area of publishing that probably has a low chance of openings.
Hell, I'm getting to the point where it's all up in the air and it's all up for grabs or all bloody-out-of-reach anyway. Point is, things are still so fluid that it is terrifying trying to make decisions.
I'm just hoping that something can be done or had before August 25th when the British immigration authorities launch the revamped Working Holidaymakers' scheme. That's the date when I have to make a decision--or start the week-long process of making a decision culminating in a decision on Sept 1st.
In other news:
My dinner party went off splendidly last night. The temperatures were much cooler than normal and so there was big relief all round as we sat outside eating two types of lasagne, drinking copious amounts of iced juice--I put in two bottles of white wine to chill but hardly anyone touched any alcohol--, greek salad and for afters, deep lemon tart with creme fraiche.
A little story connected to the making of the deep lemon tart in question:
I was at the Wednesday market picking out lemons for the tart and of course, being a firm disciple of the Jaime Oliver and Delia Smith school of cooking which emphasises getting the best produce in order to make the best-tasting dishes, I was picking and choosing my lemons very carefully.
One middle-aged guy came up to me, started chucking lemons into his bag and said: "Madam is very choosy about her lemons."
And I said: "Madam is using these lemons to cook and madam likes to make good food from excellent produce. Therefore madam is choosy, yes." And I smiled and left it at that, much to the indulgent amusement of the other shoppers.
On further thought, I have also come to the conclusion that I need to take the same attitude to picking a man as I do with picking fresh produce. I should always say to myself:
"Madam is probably going to lavish a lot of time, energy, effort and possibly, my vast stores of untapped love--which is now currently directed to my teddy bear, Clorinda, and my family--on some insanely lucky chap and madam likes to have great chemistry and connection from an excellent candidate who is right for me. Therefore madam is choosy, yes."
Actually, come to think of it, I should really figure out a way of telling this to my grandmother who is ever anxious that I am going to become a spinster; to my uncle and aunt who tell me that it's no good to be too pretty because the wrong men will be chasing after me; and to my mother who keeps worrying that I'll end up settling on someone she disapproves of...
But in the meantime, it's high time I landed myself a job!
Ugh... just trying to work it all out and work it through makes my head spin...
DATE: 8/14/2003 03:35:00 pm
Check, Check, Check!
Letter to Oprah plus sample of cookbook done? Check!
Letter to ex-boss at Random House done? Check!
Resume and note sent off to old collegemate who wants to pass it along to his brother who works at Yahoo!? Check!
All three mailed off today? Check!
Bolognese sauce for lasagne cooked? Check!
Zucchini roasted in readiness for vegetarian lasagne? Check!
Last-minute shopping for stuff for tonight's al fresco dinner party? Check!
CV sent off to contact at Butler and Tanner? Check!
Response from Butler and Tanner contact re having a chat about prospects in the publishing industry? Check!
Afternoon nap? Check!
What's left for today:
Make the Deep Lemon Tart.
Make the lasagne.
Put wine in the fridge to chill.
Apply to Kraft, Inc after dinner party before going to bed.
I think today is going to be sorted soon.
On the cards tomorrow:
Research on PR/Advertising companies (have been saying that will do that but haven't even gone past 10 companies yet...)
Call contact at Butler and Tanner.
Call Best Male Friend A's dad re working in PR/Advertising industry.
Go to Careers Services to get names of contacts at different management consultancies that will be applying to come September.
That should keep me busy tomorrow!
DATE: 8/13/2003 12:31:00 pm
Getting Inspired and Getting Down to Tough Choices
Legally Blonde 2 was all that I expected--the same jokes and plot devices, the same candy fluff.
Unexpectedly though, this fluffy, girly, panned-by-critics-and-several-persons-who-shall-remained-unnamed's-mothers, acted as a shot in the arm for me. A confidence booster. A very pink-themed pep talk packaged into a summer movie format, if you will.
After watching Elle Woods battle her way to getting Bruiser's Bill Against Animal Testing signed and passed and listening to her sprout some very American ideals and overcome some frankly, incredible odds--yes, dear Readers, think about it: in real life, the entire situation in the movie and the way it resolved would have been seen as a triumph of the will despite the fluffy, airheaded froth that covers it--I came out feeling strangely rejuvenated and more determined than ever to win this fight against the UK immigration red tape.
I'm starting to believe that I do deserve to remain here in the UK.
I'm starting to think that I will be able to do so on my own terms.
I'm starting to take on the determined, one-track mentality of doing-whatever-it-takes-to-get-where-I-wanna go.
In other words, thanks to Elle Woods, her gay Chihuahua (Bruiser) and her screen sorority sisters (Valley Girls I'd probably run a mile from in real life), I'm starting to really get back into my own skin--my own self--again. I'm beginning to get back into being the spunky, can-do-anything pre-Oxford woman that I once was.
Today has been somewhat constructive so far. I've:
1. Went to an hour-and-a-half long meeting with the head of Careers Services who discussed my situation re the work permit etc with me. We worked out what my options are and where each option might lead to and now, it's up to me to get the final pieces of information to finish up the puzzle and to make my final decision.
Any way you look at it--and indeed, any option I choose--it's going to take a lot for me to get where I'm going--my time, effort and energy, my rainy-day savings, a lot of calculated risk.
Am I up to it?
I'm gearing up for it.
Inner Charlie's Angel: You are so up to it, my girl. Just find it in yourself to believe that you can do it and you will do it. Indomitable will--you've got it, girl. Didn't you lose almost 100lbs? Didn't you beat the odds to get the Rhodes scholarship?
And luck, sister--I need luck. Not just the luck of the Irish, but to have Lady Luck firmly on my side.
Inner Charlie's Angel: Just keep going at your job hunting. Luck will take care of itself. You've been deserted long enough by her Ladyship so it follows that she'll be back when you need her. Just you wait--didn't you always get what you needed when the occasion arose?
Yes, I suppose so. I've always gotten a scholarship or something to see me through whenever I came to a crossroads in my life.
Inner Charlie's Angel: You just need to believe in yourself again. Learn from the School of Hard Knocks, don't buckle under the curriculum. And remember: DON'T LET THE BASTARDS (AND BITCHES) GET YOU DOWN!
2. Finished redoing my resume and letter to send off to my old boss at Random House. All that remains to be done are last-minute checks on the documents and then it'll be popped into the post this afternoon.
Also on the agenda this afternoon: writing a letter more letters and emails to contacts; doing some research online re some advertising/PR companies and making notes. Maybe a swim? Definitely a nap--was up 'til almost 3am last night IM-ing with Greg--a fellow blogger who might be coming to visit me in the near future.
3. Did some marketing today at the Wednesday market and picked up some cheap and fresh lemons, cherries and tomatoes. Probably going to make lemon tart for the dinner party tomorrow. Also, while marketing, witnessed a catfight between two women that almost overturned the vegetable stand I was buying from. Something about fighting over a man. As the lady selling me the produce remarked: "It's the heat. It's this bloody heat."
When I left, there was still general pandemonium going on there that can be heard all through the marketplace.
So that's my spot of drama for today. Certainly makes things more interesting and diverting.
Right, it's back to the drawing board with job hunting tasks and listening to the Charlie's Angels I soundtrack. It's wonderful how inspiring Destiny Child's Independent Woman is to a single woman struggling against the odds.
Hmm... maybe I should make a compilation tape of strong female inspirational songs...
DATE: 8/12/2003 04:14:00 pm
Building Some Momentum
This new strategy of using contacts seems to be keeping my job hunt moving instead of static at the moment.
My contact in the printers I worked with on the Rhodes charity cookbook actually came back to me with a couple of names and details of vital contacts in the food publishing industry--including one lady who works with Delia Smith!--whom he is sure will be interested in me! He also agreed to have a look at my resume and is available to chat to me at any time about getting a job in the publishing industry. In fact, he said that he'd be happy to do anything he can to help with things!
Best Male Friend A called last night telling me that he had:
a. Been in touch with his friend who's working at Oxford University Press. Said friend was willing to help and said that he'd have a word with his immediate boss as to what might be available and if there are any names he can send me and perhaps, if I'm lucky, set up a meeting. He's also going to see if there are other ways in which something can be done given the fact that I need a work permit.
b. Been in touch with his dad--who is in PR/Advertising who said that he didn't know what he could do to help me but would be happy to talk to me about the industry etc.
c. Been talking to a couple of other people who all agree that my Mandarin--no matter how rusty I am--is the key to getting me a work permit to stay. Again, the idea of my teaching in language schools for a while is brought up. Hmm... have to really think about that.
d. Been doing a lot of thinking himself and suggested that I go see some law professors over at the law faculty to at least be able to figure out timeframes etc.
Sent off my application to the job that Best Male Friend P alerted me to yesterday. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I bungled the name of the post and had to sheepishly resend the cover letter again explaining why. UGH!
*Crossing my fingers*
STRIKE! AND YOU'RE OUT!!
So far, still no call from that headhunter from the strategy consultancy firm.
Ah well--their loss.
Looking forward to tonight since Best Male Friend E, Best Male Friend's Sister C and I are going to see Legally Blonde 2. It's a bit of fluff but hey, works for light summer entertainment. Dang cinemas keep putting up the price though! GAH!
Also looking forward to Thursday when I'll be giving a dinner party for some of my friends. We'll be having White Lasagne, plenty of Greek Salad, plenty of crusty Italian bread, plenty of ice-cold white wine. Haven't decided on a dessert yet though. Probably something light...
And now, back to writing that letter to my old boss up at Random House. Hopefully, he'll still be there and might be able to point me to some people...
p/s The heatwave is still on but not as ferociously burning as during this past weekend. And Pup: I've been lying on the floor in my underwear for the past few days too--it's too hot to breathe or sleep unless I try to get as much of my skin exposed to some air as possible... and I STILL have to take 4 showers a day. Gah!!!
DATE: 8/11/2003 04:53:00 pm
Things on the job front are starting to move along again thanks to the fact that I've begun working my contacts. Witness the following:
1. Called my old collegemate--Best Male Friend A--last night on a hazy memory that told me that his dad might very well be working in advertising and PR. BINGO! Not only is his dad in the business, but his uncle is too.
The bad news? The PR/Advertising industry is doing so badly now that many small firms are closing and many people are being laid off. However, Best Male Friend A is still going to arrange for his dad to have a chat with me and, at the very least, I hope that some further contact names and details can be had.
The good news? He knows someone working at Oxford University Press's marketing division who happened to mention some time ago that OUP's Hong Kong office is short-staffed. Anyway, he's going to talk to this friend to find out if something--a contact name etc--can be dug out of the connection.
2. One of my best friends from undergrad who lived with me in my final year happens to have just finished a stint of unpaid work experience with the BBC. So I asked her for contact names and to give me a call sometime this week. Hopefully, this will lead to something...
3. I've organised my links to websites of the companies I wish to target, organised the list of my contacts--which seem to be growing bigger as we speak--and sent off an email to an the account manager at the printers I worked with on the Rhodes centenary cookbook, asking him for advice etc on getting a job in food publishing. Hope he will respond and can help with at least furnishing some names.
4. Best Male Friend P--who came to visit me yesterday--called me out of the blue this afternoon and very excitedly forwarded me a job advert for an events organiser that's just up my alley... and for some reason, only advertised internally on their organisation's intranet. On paper, the job specs look tailored for me although the pay is horrendously LOW for London and the hours are long. But it looks like a marvellous job otherwise. Isn't that always the way--great job, low pay; horrid job, reasonably high pay?
Anyway, the deadline was supposed to be today but I called up, did a bit of pitching and mentioned that I know someone in the organisation who tipped me off. The lady was interested, said that she'd send me the full job specs today and said that a further 24 hours wouldn't matter so I have one extra day to do my application.
It's almost 6pm and she still hasn't emailed me with the stuff yet. Ack!
5. The headhunter from the Strategy Consultancy who called me last week out of the blue has not called today at all despite saying that she'd let me know how I stand today.
Looks like I didn't make it to the second round. I wish that she'd have the courtesy of calling me and letting me know though.
6. Going to finish my application to Kraft Foods Inc. tonight and sending it off. The major British supermarket chain that I applied to for getting on a retail/buying graduate training scheme rejected me so it's onwards with other stuff. In fact, I'm pushing onwards and onwards and trying to get some sort of job application/hunting rhythm/routine going.
Gah! The heat is still pretty much unbearable--the air is still and muggy and like a furnace. I think that I've permanently lost my appetite and so have not been eating regular meals or even snacking much. All I wanna do is lie in a darkened room and drink loads of ice water... which I have been endeavouring to do every few hours.
Heh--it would seem that The Big Kahuna is really hellbent of trying my patience.
Ah well, all I can do is try to roll with it.
DATE: 8/10/2003 01:11:00 pm
Holy Scorching Glovefox!
This has unquestionably been the HOTTEST week of my life in England. NEVER have I EVER experienced such a SCORCHER of an August in the UK. In fact, it's so hot that it's comparable to Italy at this time of the year (I was in Florence, Venice and Padua in summer 2000 and it was like this but with better cool-inducing outlets such as gorgeous gelato--Italian soft ice cream--and fountains to splash yourself in and loads of water everywhere--old-fashioned water pump in little nooks and crannies of side lanes, and of course, Venice was water central).
Today, Best Male Friend P was on his way to returning the car he borrowed from his brother--who happens to live in the nearest suburban commute to Oxford--so he kindly arrived in the morning to take me to the Tesco superstore to do a massive grocery shopping expedition during which I happily loaded up on dry goods for the next 6 weeks and some fresh produce for this coming week and ICE! Yes--ICE. TWO. BIG. BAGS. OF. IT. It's really a sign that it is really too hot in England when you pass the freezer with the bags of ice saying: "We'll come back later to get it last before we go back so that it won't melt on us" only to find that when you do make it back 45 minutes later, IT'S ALL GONE.
And you know the heat is getting to you when you freak out.
About the empty ice-cubes section.
In the middle of the supermarket aisle.
Thank god there was an assistant nearby who promptly went to get out a fresh box of packaged ice cubes only to be inundated by customers taking them from him as he tried to restock the ice cube section. We managed to get two big bags from him and Glovefox was a happy camper after that.
Update: Fancy that! The weather report said that today is a record-breaker--37.4 degrees celsius in London and Heathrow and set to go up to 40 degrees celsius or more (that's more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, for the Americans amongst you).
But at least I got my ice cubes, my elderflower cordial and my fizzy mineral water--three things that would magically transform a hot, sticky, sweaty and panting Glovefox into a cool-as-a-cucumber Jackie O-style summer lady that she normally is.
Gah! Looking at what I've just written, it would seem that I've been living in this country for waaaaaaay too long... Always a good thing.
In other news:
1. Building on the topic of heat above, I am somehow compelled to announce that Ryan McGee, upon requesting my photo and seeing my photo, has proclaimed me "a bonny lass" and "hot" to boot. And also mentioned something about getting my "cute little ass over to Boston".
The only other strange thing about this is that when I sent him a picture of myself with my fellow women Rhodes scholars--who are all beautiful women of the calibre that most men can only dream of (you can tell that I love my friends to bits!)--he exclaimed something along the lines of "Holy Mother of God! You KNOW T.S.?"
Turns out that he knew T.S. back during her Harvard theatre days and was--and still is--drooling over her.
The only appropriate response to this?:"Six degrees of separation, man--that principle never fails."
2. I've re-tooled my job-hunt strategy and am launching on a multi-pronged approached from tomorrow onwards: resumes sent out along with calls, follow-up calls, cold-calling to CEOs of companies I want to work for, extra EXTRA research on companies, getting a contacts list together and posting up my resume on the top five sites employers look at.
Many thanks for the prod towards making looking for a job a full-time job in itself to the two most invaluable books on job hunting that I've bought myself: What Colour is Your Parachute and Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions.
From Monday onwards, this job-hunt is going to be a forty-hour work week. A flexitime work week but nonetheless, a work week with overtime thrown in during the weekends.
The only thing that terrifies me about this?
Cold-calling potential employers.
Gonna have to force myself to do it though. Am getting quite distressed since my visa expiry date is coming up.
The good news is that a couple of consultancy firms who can't offer me an interview to start this year told me to resubmit my application in September/October to be considered for the following year.
In the meantime, I'm going to go take a nap--got back from a summer BBQ party at 4am last night (to cut a long story short, a guy who I met through Mr Flirtatious--who, dear Regular Readers, has left for Harvard Med School not knowing that he's botched up his chances with both ME and one of my best friends who... ok, long story and I'm not about to tell it at the moment because of the bloody HEAT!--who invited me to go with him after meeting me for a grand total of two times: first time about a couple of weeks ago at Mr Flirtatious' goodbye dinner and then was the only one to turn up to watch Pirates of the Carribean --which, by the way, I HIGHLY recommend--with me on Thursday past) and had to wake up at 9am to go shopping at Tesco's (all worth it though... especially for the ice)--, perhaps go for a swim later to cool myself down (if Best Male Friend P happens not to be able to make it to go for a cheap dinner).
Phew! That was one long sentence. Still, it reflects the fact that this heat is shutting my brain down and I'm thinking in slow island time which stretches everything out...
Oh the heat! The heat!
DATE: 8/07/2003 09:48:00 am
I Love My Friends
Just when my Cynic-meter is rocketing sky-high and my disillusionment is ominously spreading across my psyche in this interminable job hunt, messages like these keep me going:
Good Friend Gal Pal No. 1:
"Hope you are not too stressed over the job search. You know you will make it girl! Your brainchild sits at Mandela's coffeetable, Clinton's coffeetable etc i'm sure Tony Blair wants one too!! You are destined for big things."
Good Friend Female Mentor:
"I am so sorry that you didn't make the job in the States. I need to know your England address and then I can send you some signed copies of the reference. Of course if you need it tweaking or amending for a specific job just let me know... Don't give up I am sure you will find something suitable soon. If you need any help let me know."
Best Friend Gal Pal talking tough love:
"How can we know joy if we don't know pain, having if we've never lost? You're a step closer to being that much stronger and happier once you are through this. You have had so much in life! Oh you complain, and you have suffered abuse, but you never wanted for anything material (home, food, clothes) and you have a top-notch education of the kind most only dream of or believe they could never achieve. So now you have a bit of the hard times everyone goes through at some point. Situations are different, pain and frustration are the same. Yours is deep. You will survive this, of course! You will never be without food to eat or a roof over your head, so you don't have to worry about that. (And in case you are worried about it, pish posh - you have so many friends, any of them would be happy to take you in for a bit. A roof over your head doesn't mean it's in your name, but it Does mean that it's warm and dry and safe. =D ) All you have to worry about is getting that job..."
Fellow Rhodie corresponding with me in a typical Male Fix-It fashion:
Honestly, working for a consulting firm would have opened up doors, but it's not the world's most inspiring job. Look at the bright side: you may ultimately end up with a much more interesting opportunity precisely because these others did not work out. So bide your time patiently and just keep on sending out the applications and be more creative in terms of the types of opportunities you are seeking. I'm telling you China-related policy work (or Southeast asia -though that's a smaller niche) may be your strongest card. Do research on what's available in that in both London and the U.S. as it is a hot field. Sorry again about your news, but tough it out and soldier on.
So here I go, toughening up my hide and getting ready to have yet another slam at the brick wall.
Somehow, it feels so much better knowing that there are people in your corner...
DATE: 8/06/2003 09:28:00 am
If ANYONE can give me a hand with getting my archives visible again, I would very VERY much appreciate it.
If ANY ONE OF MY REGULAR/SEMI-REGULAR READERS would like to help me get my Moveable Type blog--which is stalled with only a couple of things to fix up--finished as Pup has no time to get on the case, please please PLEASE email me.
Am getting sick of Blogger but am clueless when it comes to Moveable Type...
DATE: 8/06/2003 09:17:00 am
Oh the Heat! The Heat!
England is in the grip of a heatwave--we're seeing record-breaking temperatures everyday now with one day being hotter than the last. Given that air-conditioning is nearly non-existent here and fans usually sell out--not to mention the fact that I can't buy one since I will be moving out (though I currently don't know where in samhell I'm going to be moving to) in about 6 weeks--I've been spending the last few days just taking care of job applications while taking naps and drinking gallons of ice water in between.
Given the urgency of my situation, this slow pace of life is a bit surreal, really.
But the heat--oh the heat!
Anyway, updates on the job hunt front:
A smaller Strategy Consultancy's headhunters have just called out of the blue a couple of days ago and I was given a first-round phone interview on the spot. I don't think I did too well because I had a shock and I think, mangled a lot of my answers or gave them the wrong ones--i.e. the ones that would cripple my chances. I suppose this is a shock-and-awe tactic of some sort designed to test how we think on our feet. Still, they said that they would call me back next Monday to let me know if I've made it to the second (and final) round and that they are recruiting for people to begin as soon as possible. I'm not optimistic though and will continue sending off job applications this week.
Thing is, I wasn't warned about this sort of tactic by any careers advisor or anybody else who had gone through the management consultancy selection grind so this must be quite rare (though I might be wrong). Anyway, the good thing is that I emailed a friend about it who wrote back saying:
"As a general rule, I would advise you don't answer your phone and just let it go on to an answering machine. That way you can have some time to think about what you want to say to the particular company and to get yourself ready for a possible phone interview."
Yes, now someone tells me. Oh well, at least I get to cut my losses now.
Other than that, I've been applying to a major British supermarket chain who--surprise surprise!--are willing to take on graduates who need a work permit. I'll be applying to get on their food-buying graduate training scheme which not only would train me to buy the best produce and food products, but cross-train me with business and human resource training. Granted, it doesn't sound as glamourous as Harvard, Yale, Princeton or some swanky management consultancy, but it would get me into the food industry which--as a friend who came to dinner yesterday pointed out--never go out of business or suffer a downturn precisely because everybody needs to eat.
Also, they still happen to be recruiting to begin this September.
So on to more applications today. If the temperatures soar to the heights they are supposed to soar to today, I might even go for a swim. Time to whip the ol' body back into shape after weeks of missing exercise class due to exams, mom visiting etc.
DATE: 8/02/2003 10:52:00 pm
So I've been thinking hard about alternative ways of getting to my destination (i.e. having a successful career that pays shitloads etc etc and with lots of job satisfaction etc etc).
Lately, a development in British immigration law has potentially opened another path towards getting my career in the working world started. Just this June, they've updated the Working Holiday-maker scheme for Commonwealth nationals which, amongst other things, lifts the tight working restrictions previously imposed as well as allow a small legal loophole whereby, after 12 months on the scheme, if you can qualify, they will switch you to a UK work permit if an employer is willing to sponsor you.
The only downside is that I will have to go back to Malaysia to get it. Which, of course, means that if complications arise and the visa application is refused, I am stuck there. So, of course, I am sending my family to go to the British High Commission to find out everything about it so that I will know how to proceed.
But let's say we'll look on the bright side and if this is a viable route for me--and my cousin in Wales and my sister--we'll all be shifting in together into a house in Oxford and my cousin and I especially, will be taking a break from academia on our way into the working world proper. I am actually excited about the prospect of using the year to stretch myself. That is, to perhaps work at a secretarial/admin job or shift work for 6 months--hey, gotta pay the bills and Oxford isn't exactly the cheapest place to live in--and then spend 6 months on an internship scheme (perhaps with the BBC or a gourmet restaurant or something). In the meantime, I will have the luxury of time to really apply and interview for jobs I really want once the main milkround begins in Oct through 'til Dec in Oxford Uni.
The only problem now is to make the decision whether to take the plunge into taking this "gap" year out or to take the offer of a PhD with funding--which needs to be supplemented by teaching/library work.
And if I do decide to take the gap year out, how to handle the PhD and funding offer so that they will agree to defer it for a year. This way, I'll have the option of going back into academia if I feel like it in September 2004. By that time, I'll also hopefully have a much stronger CV--even though it's extremely strong now--and have the luxury of choosing between different career openings as well as having some relevant work experience under my belt.
Of course, this all hinges on whether the application for the new Working Holiday-maker visa goes smoothly. On paper, I seem to qualify in all ways. It now remains to be seen if there are any hidden trip-ups.
My fingers are perpetually crossed these days.
Other than that, I've been having a week off job-hunting. Ever since I've got that nasty disappointment re the Big Consulting Firm and receiving this potentially good news about the Working Holiday-maker scheme, my mind has just been all in a tizzy. I've also been hanging out a lot with some friends who are going away to Harvard Medical School on Wednesday. It's been a fun few days that's taken my mind off things.
I hope things will turn out better than I hope.
As I said, fingers crossed.
DATE: 7/31/2003 09:38:00 am
Hello? Is there a God??!!
I didn't get the job. Just an email wittering on about how talented I am etc but oh, sorry--we don't want you.
Frankly, I am getting *thump* sick *thump* and *thump* tired *thump* of this *thump* rigmarole.
And I only have 2 months left of my visa to get a job and get working.
My letter to The Big Kahuna at this point would say:
Dear Big Kahuna,
Is this your idea of a practical joke? Dangling the carrot in front on me, making me work hard for it, and then yanking it away at the last minute? Particularly since that was a $60K-a-year-plus-bonus-plus-perks-plus-benefits-plus-business-training carrot?
I am truly disappointed. Yes, I'm disappointed by the fact that you are conspiring with your minions, Fate and Destiny about this.
I dread to think what else you lot have got in store for me. You've struck me down with chicken pox which ensured that I didn't get the grades to get into a DPhil while on my Rhodes funding, which snowballed into me not getting into an American graduate programme--also due to Homeland Security/INS restrictions after Sept 11th--which resulted in me scrabbling at the last minute for jobs while my fellow Rhodies go comfortably on to Harvard Medical School, Harvard Law School, all three of the Big Consultancy Firms and various PhDs where they are hailed as experts.
If you three think that you are teaching me that lesson of "Life isn't fair", I'm sorry, but that's rather redundant at the moment because you have been teaching me that from the moment I stepped into that Godawful Catholic Girls School that dad sent me to. Why can't you teach me that life is great and that nothing is ever as bad as it seems?
To cap it all off, mom just went to the fortune teller who told me that I will have a crap love life forever with all the "wolves" after me just for sex.
Thanks a lot, Big Kahuna, Fate and Destiny, thanks a lot.
And that was sarcasm, just in case you didn't realise.
Your disgruntled pawn,
DATE: 7/29/2003 12:41:00 pm
Cross Your Fingers... Cross Your Heart... Cross Your Toes too, Come to Think of it...
Ok, dear Readers.
Round 1 of the interviews with the Major Consulting Firm is over and they'll let me know in a few days since the London office is actually conducting this prelim round for the U.S. office.
The first interview went rather badly--I messed up when she asked me to form a hypothesis based on the raw analytical--read "math"--data she stuck in front of me.
Oh duh. I messed up royally with her going on about "how simple it was" and sounding more and more exasperated as the interview went by.
The second interview was ace. I had a really fun time doing the case study and discussing things with the guy. We ended up having a one-hour interview as opposed to a 45 min one. I actually couldn't help grinning all the way home--it was that fun, yes it was.
This is actually the short version of the long story but I've decided to keep it brief.
Anyway, everybody: Please say a prayer for me and send lots and lots of positive vibes my way. I would at least like to be able to have a shot at the second-and final-round of interviews in the States (they'll fly me there if I get through this round).
*Crosses her fingers*
DATE: 7/25/2003 05:35:00 pm
o/' Job Job Job Job, o/' Job Job Job Job, o/' Job Job... AAAAAARGH!!!!
Just sent off four job applications today. One for a PR position, one for a marketing position with a major multinational, one for another associate consultant position and one for an events planning/producing position.
All of which needed four completely different cover letters and CVs tweaked too.
And I also sent off two emails to two different organisations--including a prominent museum in London--for job application forms.
All of which took all day today. (And, I am sure, all the form-filling would take all day too when they arrive).
The only break I've had is stopping to make some hummus bi tahini from scratch. I'm bringing some with me when I visit Galia and her new baby boy tomorrow. I got my mom to take some money out of my bank account that's still open in Malaysia and buy a little gold anklet for the little guy--it's a traditional Chinese gift for a new little one.
Anyway, I think I'll go take a late swim tonight and then practise some interview techniques before bedtime.
I had better get through the first round of the interview on Monday...
Send lots of mojo my way, dear Readers--it's a US$60K-or-more per year type of job and probably the last such opportunity I'll have to get this sort of entry-level job.
Inner Charlie's Angel: You'll ace it this time, kiddo. Just keep cool, keep calm, show 'em what ya made of and prepare, prepare, prepare!
DATE: 7/24/2003 08:33:00 am
Blogger REALLY sucks!
As of now, it has been 3 months since I have had ANY archives despite all my efforts to remedy it.
Now, I'm waiting for Pup to get down to putting the finishing touches to my Moveable Type blog and then I'm outta here!
DATE: 7/23/2003 11:57:00 am
Joy and Sorrow
Well, dear Readers, my mother, my aunt and my uncle have finally gone home to Malaysia. The past 10 days have been extremely hectic, extremely stressful and largely enjoyable. It was wonderful to see my family again after 2 years, especially since it may well be another few years before I see them again. Since they were here for a short time only, we didn't get to go around sightseeing very much, given that they don't have as much energy as they used to. However, the important thing was spending time with them and that is what matters.
However, the happy times have been tempered by more sad news--one of my best friend's dad passed away from cancer, another good friend's grandma passed away from old age. That brings the number of deaths affecting those close to me up to 3 and I can't help but feel the pinch of mortality. It seems strange to have a cluster of deaths happen all at once. Perhaps it's because one doesn't see it or experience it every day... and it is unnerving.
The job hunt is resuming in earnest today, now that I've finished reading the latest Harry Potter book--I started late last night, read half, then woke up this morning and finished it by noon. I've got some visa issues to take care of--British Immigration is now apparently going to charge £250 to renew one's visa--and of course, some belated responses (all belated due to my family coming round, of course) to send out and more job applications to finish. Finally, I'll be going up to a friend's place to practise my case study interview techniques and then going out to see Whale Rider tonight with another few friends. So all in all, it's going to be a busy day.
DATE: 7/18/2003 01:25:00 pm
Dear Readers, I am saddened to find out that the award-winning poet, Reetika Vazirani, who taught me a lot of my poetry-writing craft while I was at Sweet Briar College for my exchange studentship during my undergrad studies, has committed suicide and killed her own toddler son in the process.
Reetika was a wonderful teacher and an extremely talented poet who, like me, is--was--an Asian lady in diaspora. She encouraged me to submit my poems for the Academy of American Poets' prize for students back in 1998/1999--a prize which I won and which indicated to me that I really do have the potential to be an accomplished writer and poet.
Reetika: the news story said that you were last seen seeming upset before the tragedy occured. I hope that whereever you are now, you at least have some peace of mind.
DATE: 7/18/2003 11:41:00 am
Due to my family visiting and a bunch of things to take care of, blogging is gonna be even lighter than it usually is for these past couple of months.
Updates on the job hunt front:
I've managed to get The-Firm-That-Did-The-U-Turn-and-Now-Wants-To-Interview-Me to push the interview date a week back so now, I'm going in for my first round interviews on Monday the 28th.
I've learned my lesson with the other firm that booted me out in the penultimate round--going into the interview stressed and tired is definite NOT the way to go. The last time, it was my exams, this time, it's taking care of my family and shepherding them around London.
Now, I've been emailing and calling friends who have been through the management consultancy interview grind and came through champs--either they have the job in the bag or they have worked for a management consultancy firm--with The Three Big Consultancy Firms. I'm getting them to help me practise interview techniques and to get tips from them.
This time, I am going in well-prepared, well-rested, and ready to take them on.
This time, they are going to see what Glovefox is made of.
In the meantime, before my family gets back from Wales--where they were attending a cousin's graduation--I have to get the laundry done and send off two more management consultancy applications: one to work in NYC, one to work in London. I've also got to figure out how to juggle the PhD offers so that they become my back-up option just in case the job hunt falls through... again...
But hell, let's think positive--I'm going to ace these interviews coming up and come Autumn, I'll be either moving to London or on my way back to the States with an exciting, challenging job awaiting me and lots of dosh about to hit my bank accounts.
Just pray that this will go right.
DATE: 7/16/2003 10:39:00 pm
There's been some interesting developments in The-Search-for-Something-to-Do-Post-Rhodes-Scholarship-in-September today:
1. E-mails from the two British universities--one of which is my undergraduate university--regarding their offers to do a doctorate with them. My undergraduate university is offering me a departmental scholarship which will probably need to be supplemented with teaching or library work to make ends meet. The other university asked if I would like to defer a year and reapply for funding in Spring.
2. I get an email from one of the Big Three Consultancy Firms two weeks after they sent me a rejection. Apparently, the Washington D.C. office reviewed my application documents and now they want to interview me (via the London office). Is that a dramatic U-turn or what? The interview date they suggested is Monday but at the moment I'm trying to figure out whether I can have it shifted to Wednesday because my mother is here and I need to take care of her and spend time with her.
3. One of the smaller consultancy firms have gotten back to me telling me that they will be in touch in late July/early August about how they wish to proceed re my application to start work as soon as possible. Said that they are interviewing in Sept/Oct for a January start.
So, it would be apparent, that the convergence point I am looking for--i.e. having offers and funding to do a doctorate as well as a selection of job offers--still has a chance of coming to fruition. Hopefully, it will all gel together in August. That's a month off the convergence point I was hoping for (July) but I'll just have to go along with it. Hopefully, something will come of this. Cross your fingers and toes, dear Readers...
In the meantime, I'll just keep on applying to jobs, going for careers counselling sessions, practising consulting interview techniques and taking care of my family who is over here visiting.
Methinks this is going to be a very VERY busy week... only made torturous by the fact that I have finally gotten a hold of my copy of the latest Harry Potter and I won't be able to dive into it until next week after everything has calmed down and life returns to being quiet.
DATE: 7/13/2003 10:57:00 am
End of a Dream
I received notice today that my last hope of securing funding for a doctorate has fallen through.
So, dear Readers, this means two things:
1. There couldn't be a clearer message from The Big Kahuna that I was not meant to do a doctorate or to go into academia in any way.
2. I have TWO-AND-A-HALF MONTHS to get a job in London. By all accounts, I am at the mercy of God's grace whether I like it or not.
In all honesty, it's hard to stop myself from thinking that, contrary to boosting my chances in the world, going to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship has crippled--not killed, but crippled--my dreams to stay and work here in England which I regard as my home country now.
It's harder than ever to believe my Inner Charlie's Angel . I had been given a stellar education and all the potential and chances to escape the country I was accidentally born into and I don't even know how I squandered those chances. I did all the right things, made what would seem to be all the right choices but it still isn't working for me the way it is for the other Rhodies.
I guess that I will just have to grit my teeth and get on with it.
Something's gotta come up for me. Something just has to. I just need ONE break and the rest will be history. I've just got to locate that break... and fast....
DATE: 7/12/2003 10:31:00 pm
From Inner Charlie's Angel to Glovefox
Yes, it's me--your Inner Charlie's Angel.
I'd just like you to know--to believe--that everything will turn out fine. You'll get your job in London and you'll land on your feet as you always do.
Remember last summer when you were scrabbling and stressing like crazy to get onto another relevant postgrad course? You got in right at the last minute when you thought you didn't.
Remember your senior year when you started panicking about your future? You got both the Rhodes and the Gates scholarships to choose from!
Remember how you always thought you'd never EVER survive all that bullying in high school? Well Sugar--you did and you did it in style.
Who cares if the Big Three consulting firms rejected you out of hand? Who cares if everyone else seems to be settled in their immediate future and are going to Harvard Medical School/one of the Big Three management consultancies/have a cushy job somewhere? You're going to get something infinitely better and something that is tailored just right for you as a springboard for greater heights.
I believe in you, Sugar--you were meant for great things and don't you ever forget that.
So stop procrastinating out of sheer panic and go get 'em! Charlie's Angels NEVER, EVER let things get them down and they come out fighting in style.
Inner Charlie's Angel
DATE: 7/10/2003 11:20:00 pm
Tonight I went to see Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and boy did it do me a world of good!
I had been applying for jobs over the last two weeks and with the other two major management consultancy firms getting back to me with rejections without even interviewing me, I had been in a despondent mood as the clock ticks away and the days slip by and my visa expiry date gets ever closer. Some days, I feel so paralysed that I can't even get one application finished and sent off.
But tonight, watching those Angels kick ass on screen, watching them live life on their own terms and be strong, sexy, powerful babes... well, it gave me the mental boost I needed to carry on with this job search. Now, I'm repeating to myself: "If the other Rhodies can do very well out of the scholarship, so can I and I will do! I'm going to pack the world a punch Glovefox-style cos I can!"
Inner Charlie's Angel: I've always told you that you can do anything you set your mind to. So on with your own brand of Angel Action, darling!
Gotta love my Inner Charlie's Angel...
DATE: 7/08/2003 10:38:00 pm
Saying Goodbye is Never Easy
Tonight, I've just said goodbye to the Head of Layout for the Rhodes cookbook and unlike the other goodbyes I've been saying over the past couple of weeks, I feel really sad.
I haven't known her for very long--perhaps a year or so--and certainly, we hadn't become good buddies until the last three months or so when we worked overtime together on the cookbook and overdosed on Tesco's American-style sugar-laden cookies for dinner. But I guess it's one of those friendships where you just click and you know it's one of the best friendships you can hope to come across.
So tonight, when we said our goodbyes and did the goodbye hug routine, we lingered on outside in the summer-breeze-cooled evening on Banbury Road where we were going our separate ways and just chatted for a little longer. Just a little longer.
She'll be flying home to L.A. for good now and Oxford is beginning to feel just a little emptier to me--I already miss her, or rather, the idea of her being just 20 minutes' walk away from me.
I really hope that we'll be able to keep up the friendship like I have with Puppyshine. Good friends are so hard to come across and I treasure the ones I do have. That's why tonight's goodbye is hitting me hard and I feel some unshed tears stuck in my eyes right now as I return to my room alone, without my friend coming along to talk and laugh about the Warden, men and work as she sometimes does.
People say breaking up is hard to do. But I say that saying goodbye to a really good friend and knowing that you won't see them for at least a couple of years is even harder.
DATE: 7/06/2003 09:45:00 am
I Hate Blogger
I have just written a very long and amusing post updating you on the state of my love life with three different men and one matchmaking mama running around in it during the past week of Rhodes centenary celebrations.
However, Blogger has eaten it and told me that it is a big post error.
So you will probably not be getting a full account of anything until I calm down from cussing mentally at the Blogger people who are under the impression that this new version is better.
Go mob them for me please, bash their collective heads against the wall and tell them it's from Glovefox mama.
Your ever affectionate...
p/s What on earth have you done to my archives which have gone AWOL for over a month?
I would really appreciate it, dear friend, if you really could finish helping me fix up my Moveable Type site so that I can move. Pronto.
Your loving friend,
DATE: 6/29/2003 07:33:00 pm
Conversations on Dating
So Daniel--my Ethiopian neighbour--and I are chatting in the kitchen as we cook. Daniel is the oldest in age of my neighbours--35 and single. We talk about our work, our daily lives, my botched interview and of course, with both of us being single, we talk about relationships, dating and men and women in general. Being that the latest debacle in my personal life is The Bastard Ex's annoying and disturbing persistence in trying to get me to talk to him each time he runs into me at a very public Rhodes event, the conversation naturally turns to dealing with him.
Me: (Scrubbing the potatoes furiously) I can't stand this--why can't he leave me alone? It really makes me so. Damned. Mad.
Daniel: Ya, but you know, you should pity him rather than be angry at him...
Daniel: Well, he's in that phase of a Man's life where we men all act stupid when it comes to women. We throw away perfectly good opportunities and relationships because we are so selfish. So you should pity him for his stupidity, not be angry at him.
Daniel: (Really getting into the topic) Ya. We men are so stupid. First, we like chasing women. Then when we have them, we take them for granted and dump them when we get bored. Then we start missing them. This is always the way. We don't know a good thing when we have it. We just like chasing after things we can't have and then when we have them, we waste them.
Daniel: (With utter conviction) Yes, really. So you should feel sorry for him because he is a loser both ways.
Then there's the dinner-time conversation with Good-friend Gal Pal 1 (GFGP1) and her boyfriend, John:
Me: Hey, if a guy tickles you and calls you "baby", that this mean he fancies you?
John: (Nodding his head wisely) Yes, he probably likes you, yup!
GFGP1: I second that. Tickling is a good sign...
Me: Hmm... when he walked me home the other night, he was tickling me and I was smacking his tummy and we were playing "Sissors, Stone Paper" and laughing like crazy.
John: He definitely fancies you!
GFGP1: The signs seem to be there. So, are you going to do anything about it? When is he leaving?
Me: He's leaving in August for Harvard Medical School.
GFGP1: Aww man!
Me: Uh-huh. Otherwise, I might consider it... might...
Afterwards, there was the midnight phone conversation with Good-friend Gal Pal 2 (GFGP2) who has just been dumped herself and seriously contemplating going back to marry her ex--it's a long story and not mine to tell although it would make a very VERY entertaining one--because she's tired of playing the field.
Me: Well, he walked me home, tickles me, calls me "baby", we do a little bit of play-wrestling when I want to bitch-slap him for something he said and he resists, he says that I am way out of TBex's league because I am beautiful, intelligent and helluva good cook... He also said to me the other night: "Man, I wish I met you earlier, you're waaaaaay cool!" GFGP1 says that that definitely translates into: "Man, I wish I met you earlier, I would've dated you." What do you think?
GFGP2: (Laughing) Oh definitely! Could it be anymore obvious? When is he leaving?
Me: This August--Harvard Medical School.
GFGP2: Oh boy!!! Bad bad BAD timing. I'm so sorry...
Me: Uh-huh. Maybe I'll just use him to practise flirting. After all, I am such an inept and bad flirt and I'm not doing too badly flirting with him.
GFGP2: Practise flirting? What? Are you out of your mind? That's horrible! (Laughs non-stop)
Me: Yeah, but practise makes perfect, right? Anyway, there's no way anything can start now...
GFGP2:... and if something does, it's just going to be a fling...
Me:... And I don't do flings. Can't handle 'em. So I'll just practise flirting with him.
GFGP2: *Laughing fit to wet her pants*
So, dear Readers--whatcha think? Does The Boy In Question fancy me? Is practising flirtation techniques ethical?
In the meantime, while I leave you to ponder this, I'll go paint my nails, spritz on that perfume, make The Boy In Question's favourite biscuits and whip him into a trembling carcass of desire.
I think I'm gonna like this. It looks like this few weeks--bar the job hunt woes--are going to be mighty interesting....
DATE: 6/26/2003 05:22:00 pm
Well, dear Readers, I got a call from the management consultancy firm and...
I didn't get the job.
Apparently, they were impressed by everything except by the fact that my expression of my logic was "jumbled".
My maths ability was fine (which is weird considering that I thought that that was my waterloo)
My personal side--i.e. my resume quiz--was impressive
But... my logic--or rather, as they put it, my communication of my logic--was "jumbled"
Jumbled, dear Readers. JUMBLED.
Ok, now I am seriously soooo pissed off that I'm crying. Why? Because, dammit--ANYONE who hadn't had 36 hours of sleep because they had to hand in a take-home exam the day before and then had to wake up at 5am the day immediately after the exam to get into London... well, wouldn't THEIR logical processes be jumbled?
I don't know who to hate: myself? The company for not realising this? Or my exams?
It's back on the job-hunting drudge track--and I have a little over three months to get a GREAT paying job and be able to stay on in the UK.
How's that for a tall order?
DATE: 6/26/2003 10:27:00 am
Fox on a Hot Tin Roof
So I finished my take-home exam on Tuesday after 36 hours of no sleep--again!--and had to get up at 5am yesterday to take a train in to London for my management consulting second-round interviews.
To cut a long story short:
I think I botched it.
ARGH! I made some blatant mistakes and bloopers during the interview and... well, as I said, I think I botched it.
They said that they are going to call me today to tell me whether I made it to the next and final round of the selection process.
They haven't called yet and I've just been sooooo jumpy with a queer feeling in my tummy all since yesterday... haven't stopped beating myself up--not literally, of course--for all the mistakes I made yesterday.
PRAY FOR ME, DEAR READERS!!! PRAY FOR ME!!! SEND MUCH MOJO MY WAY!!! PRAY AGAINST ALL HOPE THAT I HAVE ACTUALLY MADE IT THROUGH THIS ROUND...
*Sigh* It just feels hopeless... and it's awful not knowing either way...
Fox on a hot tin roof indeed...
DATE: 6/21/2003 02:09:00 pm
Busy, busy, busy and then some more busy...
This past week has been really busy, what with my translation exam on Monday, the Rhodes Going-Down Dinner--a very posh dinner for Rhodes scholars who are coming to the end of their scholarship tenure--, the start of my take-home exam--this time, for real!--and trying to find time to prepare for the next round of my job interview with that management consulting firm.
So here's what's been happening... in soundbites, Glovefox style:
1. My biggest smile this week has been elicited from an email from a fellow Rhodie almost-begging me for my Chocolate-Chip, Oatmeal and Coconut cookies which I served during the first day of the Rhodes cookbook sale. Needless to say, said email was sent to me because I did not include said recipe in the cookbook....
2. I got chatted up by a really cute Swedish guy when I went in to Exam Schools to hand in my attendance sheet. He was handing in his dissertation and kept glancing back at me (I was slightly behind him in the line) and (probably) upon hearing my cheerful exchange with the Clerk and a male friend of mine who happened to be handing in stuff as well, The Swedish Cute Guy (SCG) hurried into step with me as I left the Exam Schools and chatted with me as we walked along the High Street. Turns out he knows another Rhodie friend of mine and he was hurrying to explain why he looked so unshaven--dissertation comes before shaving. Anyhow, was a nice chat. Maybe I might even see SCG around town again...
3. Since it was my last ever formal black-tie at Oxford, I treated myself to a hairdressing session for the Going-Down Dinner wherein the hairdresser put up my hair like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's but with a twist--looks like it in front but at the back, the french chignon was covered in defined curls.
Downside was that I had to go in extra early to get my hair done as every other hairdresser was booked up but hey--she did extra hairspray on my hair and it didn't move... not even in the wind.
Upside was, of course, numerous--compliments a-plenty and also covetous glances from some male Rhodies a-plenty. One guy said, upon seeing The Bastard Ex (TBex)--who was also at the same dinner: "That your ex? Wow... how did he get you? You're seriously out of his league..."
Yes, I do sometimes wonder that myself...
All in all--the hair was worth every penny of that £35 I spent on it! (Oh yes, and the fact that it took two people to help me into my gown seeing as the stupid Hong Kong designer thinks that it's hip to NOT have a zip for the dress, plus the hour I took to doll myself up--all pink and gold shades and wicked dark wine-red lipstick)
1. Needless to say, top of the list is the fact that I have to do this friggin' take-home exam... which I haven't started writing yet because of the mountain of reading I've had to do in prep for it...
2. Watching my money run out of my bank like water--what with the Rhodes Centenary Celebration fee being £100, having to buy new heeled shoes and socks to go with my new business suit seeing as my mom bought the trousers waaaaay too long in anticipation of forcing me to be fashionable and wear heels again and not knowing that you DO NOT WEAR HEELS WHEN RUSHING AROUND LONDON. Needless to say, I bought a pair of masculine-looking, comfortable and long-lasting Hush Puppies that were mid-price with a high block heel supporting most of my foot--no elegant, sprained-ankle-waiting-to-happen type fashionable heels for me. Oh no.
3. Tummy has grown. Eep! Ok, either I've gotten fatter because of all the sitting-around-all-day-in-the-Bodleian-on-my-butt trying to get through all my work and exams while still eating whatever I want (and as much of it as I want) or I'm bloated because That Time Of The Month is coming again. Looking at the calender, I prefer to think that it's the latter.
Apparently, the £35 hair-do worked a little too well:
The same male friend who made the remark that I am way out of TBex's league told me--in between courses--that he's betting that TBex will come over and try to talk to me again.
Of course, I--thinking that TBex has gotten the message that I don't EVER want to talk to him again the last time I snubbed him at the Rhodes Ball back in May--said quite confidently that no, he wouldn't.
The male friend insisted that TBex would because one look at me--and TBex had been stealing looks at me all evening thus far--and TBex would not be thinking with his big brain but with his little one. *Ahem*!
So I go back to my table--where I was sitting with Lord So-and-So, one of the Rhodes trustees and Lady So-and-so, the wife of one of the Trustees--when they began serving the main course. I was sitting next to a mutual friend of TBex's and mine who's a very sweet guy. Halfway through the meal, the predicted but unthinkable happened--TBex sauntered over and made his opening gambit.
He said: "N, how come you always get to sit with the most beautiful women in the room?" (bear in mind that another good-looking Rhodes woman was sitting on the other side of N.)
Of course, everyone--including Lord So-and-So and Lady So-and-So--were thoroughly charmed and amused by this.
As you can imagine, dear Reader, I wasn't.
But I found enough humour in the situation--considering that what my male friend had predicted came true just 15 minutes after he said it--that I decided to get up and go tell him that. Of course, I had to walk past TBex who promptly tried to block and restrain me and called out his pet name for me.
He called me by my former pet name out loud.
In front of Lord So-and-So and Lady So-and-So.
And not to mention, dozens of other Rhodies.
I managed to get away and spent the rest of the time--while TBex was still schmoozing at my table--talking and laughing about how TBex was making a fool of himself with some friends at another table. Nevertheless, I found it deeply disturbing that TBex would act like that.
To my relief, he didn't approach me anymore for the rest of the evening although he was always there when I turned around or in my general vicinity as I made my way around the room talking to friends. And he kept asking other mutual friends whether they should go talk to me together.
Now I'm gearing up to deal with him and this harassment at the Centenary celebrations where it would truly be the last time he would ever since )or I him, PHEW!). If he does it again, he's going to have to deal with my friends blocking him and major avoidance tactics. I will NOT talk to him because that's what he wants--he wants a verbal acknowledgement of him. He wants us to be friends. He wants this... he wants that... and above all, I suspect--for mutual friends tell me that he's been doing a lot of thinking about our past relationship over the last few months--he wants closure through my forgiveness of him... that or he wants to get in my pants again.
Well, he's just going to live with his decision to dump me and he can go get his closure elsewhere because he doesn't deserve the sort of closure he wants.
He's just the same old selfish TBex.
Well, I've moved on with my life and things have really been heading in the right direction this year. I hope to God that he gets the idea that getting on with life is exactly what he needs to do... And if he doesn't and continues this embarassing and ridiculous behaviour every time he sees me, tough.
End of rant.
Other than the TBex fiasco and my take-home exam, life couldn't be better--I've got Farewell Dinners for different friends scheduled back-to-back every day from the 25th to the 28th next week and more coffees and teas etc to attend, not to mention my Mom coming to see me soon! So I'll do a silent toast to that and get on with my take-home exam now (Expect zero-to-spotty blogging over the next few days)...
DATE: 6/17/2003 09:28:00 am
40 Reasons Why It Is Great To Be A Single Woman
1. We don't have to fight for remote control ownership.
2. We don't have to wash their smelly socks and underwear.
3. There are no pairs of shoes left in the middle of the floor to trip over at six in the morning.
4. We can hog the shower for as long as we want.
5. We don't put a wash on and then find ten articles of clothing belonging to him lying in heap in the corner of the bedroom.
6. We don't have to fake an orgasm.
7. We don't have to shave and can turn into yetis if we want.
8. We don't have to buy and write our own Valentines/birthday/Mother's day cards.
9. We don't have anyone saying 'you're not going to wear that, are you?'
10. We don't have to suffer their cooked meals and then spend an hour trying to get the burnt, congealed mess of the bottom of our saucepans.
11. I love not being accountable to anyone - if I want to do something, I just do it!
12. I control my finances and if I screw up, it's my fault, not because my man has spent money we need down the pub, bookies, etc.
13. I enjoy sleeping in my double bed and having it all to myself.
14. I can be moody without anyone trying to find out if something's wrong! If I don't want to talk - I just won't!
15. I have FREEDOM to choose.
16. I love it now my pillows are a dribble free zone.
17. I love waking up and not hearing the sound of snoring.
18. I love going out and not having to say where I've been or what I've been doing and what time I should be back.
19. I love going shopping and not having to hide what I've bought in the wardrobe and pretend I've had it ages.
20. I love being able to have control over what I spend and where I spend it.
21. You can tell him what you really think instead of keeping the peace.
22. You can be rude to his family.
23. You can eat what YOU want.
24. You can join a gym because you want to.
25. You can be rude to his boss.
26. I can have my friends over to drink wine and behave outrageously WHENEVER I want (because he never liked those friends anyway!).
27. I can open the curtains when I get dressed instead of fumbling about in the dark trying to keep quiet.
28. I don't have to worry about what sort of food to buy because he never liked any of it anyway. Now I can eat whatever, whenever I choose.
29. I'm not made to feel like an idiot for sitting on the Internet - I can surf to my hearts content.
30. I can spend all night on the phone without having to justify it.
31. I go to bed when I please, not when he 'wants to'. I can read all night and have the radio on.
32. There's plenty of space in the wardrobe.
33. I don't have to appear interested in his job.
34. I no longer spend hours looking excited in computer stores or car showrooms, do not need to admire mobile phones, personal organisers, latest gadgets...
35. I don't have to write cards on his behalf for birthdays or Christmas.
36. I no longer have to excuse his behaviour - OR MINE!!!
37. You are entitled to an opinion!
38. You don't have to satisfy yourself while he's in the bath to make up for the fact he couldn't manage to give you an orgasm in the first place.
39. You don't have to take being called a 'man hater' just because you disagree with what he says (let's face it, they're usually always wrong anyway).
40. You don't have to listen to him hyperventilating every time a Kylie Minogue video appears on MTV.
Adapted from a list via iVillage.co.uk
DATE: 6/15/2003 03:50:00 pm
Another Random Thought In-Between Revision
I received one of the best and most unexpected compliments on an unexpected facet of myself this past week:
I was out on Thursday hurrying to return my books to the English library when I bumped into my ex-supervisor from Women's Studies. As is my usual style per summer outfits, I was dressed in a black wraparound shirt with three-quarter sleeves, a pair of stretchy denim pedal-pushers (i.e. three-quarter length trousers) with floral embroidery at the hems, slimline black sandals, Jackie-O sunglasses and my hair up in a chignon.
The first thing she said to me when she saw me--after the customary greeting--was:
"You look very Jackie O! Very stylish indeed!"
That, for me--a gal whose fashion icons include Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn and who routinely wears updated versions of fifties, sixties and seventies retro-wear whenever she can (usually in the summer, at balls and formals and cocktail parties etc)--, dear Readers, is the BIGGEST compliment on my personal style that anyone has ever (inadvertantly) uttered.
I couldn't stop grinning for the rest of the day. Or the week for that matter. After having one of my best friends confess that she found my sense of fashion "weird with strange retro-style dresses" and another best friend exclaiming impulsively that she can't see me becoming a fashion designer--we were chatting about how I might want to go into fashion design school at some point as a change in career--because I'm not fashionable at all, that was bloody refreshing!
DATE: 6/15/2003 11:53:00 am
Wishful Thinking (Hah!)
I would like my future husband/long-term life partner--whoever he is--to one day have this conversation with a friend (or stranger/acquaintance), say in 40 years' time:
Glovefox's Hubby's Friend/Acquaintance (GHF/A): Boy! Your wife/partner is great!
Glovefox's Hubby (GH): She is, isn't she?
GHF/A: Yeah. How do you guys stay together all these years?
GH: Simple--She's beautiful, inside and out. I'm the lucky one.
Inner Charlie's Angel: Of course, dear Readers, that's just Inner Domestic Goddess talking... and our collective hormones....
Inner Domestic Goddess: Oh behave!
Back to revision for tomorrow's exam...
DATE: 6/12/2003 03:16:00 pm
Got it! (or, 'The Tall Order')
The answer to Adam's question re what I would like in a man.
I would like a guy who:
--Looks like Orlando Bloom--maybe a little more rough-around-the-edges-not-quite-so-razor-cheekbone-perfect--but without the good-looking-guy testosterone-fuelled ego to match
--Would forever be generous and dote on me like The Bastard Ex did in the early days of our relationship
--Kisses like my German Playboy Ex
--Is able to talk and laugh with me about anything and everything like I do with Adam
--Is able to relax me (which is tall order, according to Adam, since I am a little ball of energy and Bridget-Jonesy neurosis)
--Is ambitious and hard-working (i.e. does something constructive with his life always)
--Can talk about periods and other icky things like my Almost-Boyfriend without batting an eyelid
--Would always be supportive of my career progress and aspirations
--Is emotionally stable, secure in himself and always be able to take life cold turkey without going bananas (and who can enjoy watching romantic comedies without thinking that it impinges on his manhood or something)
Now, where would I find such a guy who would also be interested in me?
I suspect... nowhere.
He probably doesn't exist.
But just in case he does, here's what he'll be getting in return:
--A smart cookie with the signed and sealed approval of various scholarship committees including the Rhodes scholarship
--A Neo-Feminist who loves children, cooking, artistic pursuits and skirts
--An Oriental babe with plenty of style who would be the most devoted partner in the world if she decides that he's her man
--An ambitious go-getter who is also a homebody
--Someone who is generous and kind to those she loves
DATE: 6/12/2003 10:58:00 am
Dear Readers, I've just received a call about the test I took yesterday at the management consultancy firm:
I ACED MY FIRST ROUND AND THEY ARE KEEN TO SEE ME FOR THE SECOND ROUND!!!!
So my second round--an extended case study interview--is on the 25th of June, the day after my take home exam is handed in.
I'm being interviewed for the London office--yes!
Cross your fingers, dear Readers-- send all your most potent prayers out to me: I really want this job and I really want to continue living in England and I can think of no groovier retro city to live in than London!
Suddenly, the £4.20 library fine isn't such a thorn in my side anymore...
DATE: 6/12/2003 07:02:00 am
Ugh! I woke up this morning, turned on my email and... got an overdue notice from the English library... ONE WEEK AFTER THE BOOKS WERE DUE.
Ok, dear Readers, usually, libraries in Oxford notify you that your library due date is the next day. Then, if you haven't brought it back on said day, they email you with an overdue notice the day after. Besides, in libraries apart from the English library, you can renew online or call them to get it renewed.
Not the English library. Oh no. First, they do NOT do online renewals or renew it for you over the phone. They MAKE YOU WALK/BIKE ALL THE FRIGGIN 3 MILES TO GET TO THEM TO RENEW IT EVERY WEEK.
Secondly, they do NOT email you with the warning that the due date is coming. Then, they wait ONE WEEK to email you that the books are overdue.
So now, I have to pay £4.20 total in library fines.
Grrrr... I can ill-afford this, what with increased transportation, postage and phone expenditure due to having to go for interviews and apply for jobs.
I am SOOOOOOO going to complain and ask them WHY do they NOT give you prior warning and WHY do they NOT notify you the day after. It's so important to get the notification--the other university/faculty libraries do it because they KNOW that--especially during exam term--people do forget in the midst of the dissertation/exam prep flurry.
ARGH!!! This is not helping with my already jumpy-as-a-cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof feeling waiting for the call regarding my management consultancy test results.
Well, the English library can bloody wait a few more hours today while I finish my translation homework and for that all-important phonecall.
DATE: 6/11/2003 06:12:00 pm
Today I went for the problem-solving test that was the first round of the selection process for the management consultancy job.
Suffice to say that my heart was sinking, sinking, sinking as I struggled with the questions and what's more, when I looked up from time to time, everyone else was ahead of me by a page or two. One guy even finished and was twiddling his thumbs as he waited for the rest of us to catch up.
Ten bucks says that he's an MBA person.
I did manage to finish the test within the time given, though. But that's with struggling through the first case study and then hurrying through the last case study.
Anyway, they told us that they'd let us know by phone either this afternoon or tomorrow--whether we've passed or failed, that is.
I rushed back from London--having forgotten to bring my mobile with me, I was anxious to be in my room when they called--and spent the afternoon on tenterhooks.
They didn't call.
There's always tomorrow but it's keeping me jumpy like a cat on a hot tin roof. I really hope to be able to get through this first round--though technically, I've sailed through the first round since my resume got my foot in the door--because I know that I'll be able to do much better when I get to the interviews. I've always been better able to express myself verbally in a discussion--socratic method--than writing an academic essay although my tutors would probably beg to differ.
PRAY FOR ME DEAR READERS!!! SEND LOTS OF MOJO--as Wil Wheaton calls it--WINGING MY WAY!!!!
I really need it.
Anyway, on the bright side, my trial take-home exam came back with mucho kudos from my tutor who said that it was a first class essay and that I'm permitted to use relevant chunks of it in my real exam. If that wasn't a hint as to what I can expect next week, I don't know what is.
So that's my day today. Technically, nothing bad happened to me. In fact, that praise from my tutor--who is a very stringent marker--should be sending me into high heaven after feeling like I was struggling like crazy to get it done last week.
Yet the darn waiting is making me all jumpy and stuff.
DATE: 6/10/2003 07:57:00 am
A Year Older
It's my actual birthday today--I'm now an honest-to-goodness year older than I was before.
I'm determined NOT to let this depress me:
I've had a kick-ass birthday BBQ party on Saturday
My cookbook has been published just in time for my birthday
I'm in the middle of a lull before my next batch of exams which don't really need swotting--although I need to spend quite a few hours this week finishing up my translation exercises that have been left by the wayside because of my dissertation crisis
I have a job interview tomorrow which may land me a really good entry-level job in management consultancy if I make the cut.
I was able to go to Yoga class for the first time in a couple of weeks yesterday.
And of course, being a year older probably means that I am somehow a year wiser as well (although I don't feel it).
But one cannot help feeling a minute twinge about getting older. Ah well--it's an excuse to figure out what I should treat myself to today...
DATE: 6/09/2003 10:27:00 pm
Conversations on the State of Singlehood
So it's been about 7 months since The Bastard Ex dumped me--7 months since I've dated anybody.
Now, Yours Truly's dating antenna is starting to perk up and I'm idly looking around again at all the likely candidates... at the worst possible time in my life--i.e. when I really should be concentrating on getting a good Masters degree this year and landing myself a good career-kickoff job.
You should hear the raging internal dialogue going on for the past few weeks:
Inner Domestic Goddess (IDG): Oooo... X is gorgeous! Did you see that? He's teasing me! And I like it!
Inner Charlie's Angel (ICA): Oh no... no, no, no, no, NO! Do NOT tell me that you are panting after some guy again! It's a bad idea!
IDG: C'mon! Admit it--X is gorgeous...
ICA: Yes, and so is Y and Z and...
IDG: *sniff* You're so mean to us--you're always going on about how "Career comes first!" and "We need to be practical about this..." and your favourite: "We have to sort our life out first..." You're no fun!
ICA: Oh but I'm bags of fun--WE'RE bags of fun when you listen to me. Life is so much easier to handle without men messing it up. Come on--buck up. Once we've got a cushy job with cash to burn, then we can start having fun with the blokes.
IDG: Well! You're always about delayed gratification. Bleargh!
ICA: And where would we be without me? We wouldn't be here in Oxford or running around acing interviews or giving guys a run for their bloody money!
IDG: *makes a face*
ICA: Just forget about X. There's hundreds of thousands of guys as gorgeous as X out there... which also means that there are hundreds of thousands of over-inflated testosterone-fueled egos out there...
IDG: Yeah, but...
And so the inner conversation rages on... as the conversations with friends about re-entering the dating arena comes back with a vengeance in between deadlines, parties, homework and other shenanigans that have been going on over the past few weeks.
Ok, so I think that this guy, X is cute. Have thought so for the past few weeks. However, the fact that I am not even close to dating him etc illustrates how inept I am about men and the whole dating thing. This is how it became a non-starter:
4 WEEKS AGO:
I realise that I really REALLY fancy X. So since I know which college he's at, I stealthily deploy girlfriends who are at the same college to find out if he's single etc. Of course, with the caution to do it so subtly that bobody knows. It's standard procedure.
Girlfriend 1 comes back from Potential-Date-Reconnaisance Mission to report the following: Yes, X is single... but relationship shy.
Discuss this with Girlfriend 2. Girlfriend 2 and Yours Truly agree that this could mean either one of two things: He's commitment-phobic (God forbid but I don't want to go through that nonsense again with another one of the male species); or he's very careful about committing himself. Same difference.
Begin vacillating about this Want-to-Date-X thing--is probably not a good idea?
Chat to neighbours about X. Neighbours all say: "Carpe diem--go for it! What are you waiting for?"
Do the customary squeaking in private to friends about how cute X is, how much I like it when X teases me and all the extravagant compliments X has given me at the ball etc...
... but do nothing about it.
Cue: homework crisis surfaces.
3 WEEKS AGO
Discuss this with Girlfriend 3 while doing a late-night blitz re the cookbook. Girlfriend 3 emphasises the need to be subtle about it all: "The moment he thinks you're chasing him, the whole thing will be over before it begins. Just casually invite him round for a cuppa tea or something."
Ok, fine. However, cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to do this.
Cue: another homework crisis and last-minute cookbook crisis comes up.
2 WEEKS AGO
Bump into X on the way back from exercise session. Have nice chat with X. Don't feel no I-Fancy-The-Pants-Off-You vibes coming from X at all.
Point all this out to neighbours while dissecting the encounter with X.
Neighbours point out that if I'm not giving off vibes, he won't know that I fancy him, so he won't give out any vibes whatsoever.
Point out to neighbours that am taking the subtle approach.
Neighbours--both of which are male--point out that subtle approach be damned and Yours Truly should ask X if he wants to grab some coffee or something.
Point out to neighbours that do not EVER make the first move. If guy likes moi, he can make the first move, thank you very much.
Neighbours point out that men are chicken.
Point taken, but also continue pointing out that will not sacrifice the Men-Should-Ask-Women-Out-First philosophy for the sake of X (who is bloody gorgeous and would not look too bad in a Speedo...) Have too much pride to do so.
Cue: Massive dissertation and take-home exam multiple deadline crisis.
LAST SATURDAY DURING BIRTHDAY PARTY
Girlfriend 1 comes to party and while we were both do dishes the following conversation ensues:
Me: I'm still trying to figure out how to handle this thing I have about X
Girlfriend 1: Umm... I think I should tell you that I noticed that X has started going out with J
Girlfriend 1: Yeah! And I honestly thought that he didn't date very much!!!
Girlfriend 1: Yeah. I know.
Me: (Recovering admirably) Yeah well, there's always 10-years-down-the-line and Life-is-ironic...
Girlfriend 1: *laugh*
Me: Oh well... might as well be philosophical about it...
Girlfriend 1: Plenty of other gorgeous ones out there... of course, he probably looks really good in Speedos...
Me: My thoughts exactly... ah well...
Then, last night, I called one of my best male friends, Adam, from back in college to catch up with things. This is the conversation we had about the general area of my love life:
Me: You know, when someone asked me what traits would be desirable in my ideal man, I really can't tell them what I like because I don't know what I like. I do know, however, what I don't like.
Adam: Oh that is pathetic! You're always so negative! Ok, humour me and answer this question: name me ONE thing that your ideal man must ABSOLUTELY have.
Adam: Come on, I'm waiting.
(I hmm and haw for a couple more minutes)
Me: This is hard.
Adam: Can't be that hard...
Me: Yes it is... ummm...
Adam: I'm waiting...
So Adam pretty much identified one major problem with my love life: I don't really know what I want in a man but I do know what I don't want. The whole I-know-what-I-don't-want thingy is great for eliminating Unsuitables. However, as Adam points out to me: "If you don't know what you want, how are you going to get it? How are you even going to recognise it even if it bit you in the arse?"
Later on, the conversations turns to the subject of soulmates as conversations about dating are wont to turn to:
Me: I don't believe in soulmates...
Adam: Actually, you don't really need your Other Half to be your soulmate. Some people's soulmates are their parents or their best friends or their dog. Thinking that your soulmate HAS to be your Other Half is putting a limit on the whole concept and also, it's valuing romantic love about every other type of love. Your soulmate can be someone else, you know.
Me: You know, I never really thought of it that way before...
Adam: Puts a whole new spin on things, eh?
Yes it does, Adam. Yes it does...
Anyway, as I ponder my state of Singledom as long as this irrational urge to go forth and date holds, I will leave you, dear Readers, with an idea for shutting up those Smug Marrieds, Sacred Grandparents and Nosey Parkers who always go on about your state of Singlehood--if you are one of us mid-20s to mid-30s up-and-comers who are deluged by remarks about why we aren't married etc. It came from my neighbour, Daniel who told me about what his friend did:
Daniel's friend was extremely irritated by the fact that every time he attended yet another wedding, his grandparents would nudge him and say: "So, you're next, hey?"
So when they attended a friend's funeral the other day, Daniel's friend leaned across to his grandparents and whispered: "So, you're next, hey?"
They never goaded him about getting married ever again.