Genre: M/F, Romance Comedy
It is said that the course of true love never runs smooth – even for us men. Yet it has never been easier to find love than in this modern digital era where the mighty computer has all but rendered Cupid redundant. Love is now to be found, quite literally, at your fingertips. Although love also seems to have changed with the times. This new love is deceitful and manipulative, cunning and untrustworthy. Love has gotten ugly. Thankfully, not all the answers to life’s mysteries are to be found in the computer and Cupid – battered and bruised as he may be – proves that he still has some game and a few tricks up his sleeve…
When first I met my now estranged wife during our Master’s year at university, I was seeing someone else too. In the main, this defines me as a “bastard”, although I preferred to think of myself as a “player”. Indeed I would argue that it falls under the guise of “sowing wild oats”. That’s the phrase that makes the practice somehow acceptable, and mothers the world over tell their sons that this is what they need to do before they settle down. The rite of passage into manhood as it were. At least, it’s what my mother told me. Women may argue this point – sorry, women will argue this point – but then they become mothers.
Naturally, they just don’t want those “wild oats” sown with their own daughters.
However, it is a fallacy to think that we men are completely heartless. I realised that I actually liked the girl that I eventually married so quickly ended all contact with the third party. In actual fact, she was a girl that I had been seeing first but only by a matter of a few weeks. I got the usual tirade of “bastard” texts, emails, and drunken voicemails. “I thought you were different” being the obligatory phrase that she just had to use during every one of these “opportunities”. In one particular instance, during which she also branded me a “coward”, I foolishly responded. I explained to her that I was merely being cruel to be kind as it was blatantly obvious to me that there we had no future together. Furthermore, after everything that had been said and done – more on her part now than mine – she would surely realise and accept that there was no going back as any trust and respect that had been built was now completely shattered.
I got the following reply:
“See, I knew you were different. That was lovely, you thinking of me and my feelings and us and our future. Why can’t we make this work? We can, you just have to trust yourself to trust me. Call me.”
It took another six weeks of ignoring and blocking her before she finally gave up. We had only been dating, if it could ever have been called that, for three weeks.
It takes true courage and bravery to finish any relationship. As my marital separation was only a week old, I understood that there may be some element of hope that we could fix it and move on. Yet I knew there was no way I could, or would, allow myself to stoop to such a level of indignity. My sense of pride has taken a pounding and is undoubtedly battered and bruised, but it is still there, standing tall and intact, however weakly. It is also getting stronger with every passing day.
All thanks to “Hope”.
“Hope” is a very strange feeling that displaces others such as “confidence”, “faith”, and “trust” and one that I have naturally gravitated towards my entire life. We are old friends, hope and I. Never have I dared to have “confidence” in my academic or sporting abilities, rather I always “hoped” that I would perform at my best as necessitated in any particular circumstance. When things had gone better than I had even dared “hope”, then I defaulted to the notion that is was merely my “good luck”, and vice versa. “Luck” has always provided me an excuse for all of life’s highs and lows and everything in between. Now I wanted to change all that. Now I wanted to control my existence.
Now I wanted to stir the stagnant pool that is my life proactively to feel like I am living again.
So that may well explain why I am now sat in only my boxer shorts in front of my computer, as the rain batters the window behind my curtains, and trying to focus on completing an online dating profile that includes a “personal statement” section. Apparently, its purpose is to allow me to describe myself in as broadly generic terms as possible in order to seem “normal” and “average” – and so maximising my appeal – whilst also trying to ensure that I am unique enough as to stand out. The logic of the concept is irrefutable and yet fantastically ridiculous.
It is also proving so challenging to the point of being quite impossible.
As a truck driver, I work most weekends and so this job commitment removes the more conventional ways of meeting women. Using a dating site makes far more sense in this new age of technology as it allows for an immediate connection without the need to wait for the weekend, or the demand of a decent chat up line. It cuts to the chase, so to speak. The site has posted a statistic that states over 28% of couples now “meet” online, so I am still happily in the minority. However, it is utterly galling to me that I should ever try to be “normal” or “average” to anyone as I have never considered myself as such.
It seems to me to be morally fraudulent.
Online dating. It really is quite an absurd concept yet totally in concert with the modern era where people are too busy with work and life to take the time and make the effort for actually dating. Yet where is the romance of it? You will never hear a love song that refers to such sites. Can you imagine Rod Stewart singing “The Algorithm of my Heart”, or some such like?
No? Me neither.
Nessa: Why did you become a writer?
Alexander: It was necessity more than anything, if truth be told. I always had the craving but never had the time to devote to exploring the darkest recesses of my own imagination.
Then fate intervened.
My wife is Canadian and I am Scottish. We had exhausted all our visa avenues for her to stay with me in the UK and so I followed her to Canada. In applying for Permanent Residency, I am not allowed to work so found myself with plenty of time on my hands and so “Greater Expectations” became a reality from a dream.
N: Do you have any siblings?
A: Yes, I have a brother and two sisters who I have prematurely aged with my hare-brained schemes and ideas. My imagination is, sadly for them, not merely restricted to fiction writing.
I believe they breathed a collective sigh of relief when my wife came on the scene. I am all but certain she cut their therapy bills!
N: If you could go any where in the world where would you go? Why?
A: I have been very fortunate in having travelled quite extensively and lived all over the globe, most notably China, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and now Canada. However, it only served to whet my appetite for further travel.
The only developed continent that I have yet to see is South America so that would be my preference.
Aside from the fact that I haven’t yet been there, I love history and South America is steeped in it. It also has some amazing wildlife and I would love to see that too.
N: If the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow would you be ready?
A: Probably not. I have no idea what that would look like nor what to expect and so that severely hinders my preparation!
I guess I would just hang out at home and wait for it to pass.
N: What is your favorite genre to read?
A: Thrillers and romantic comedies. I love a fast paced thriller with plenty of twists and turns. Steig Larsson and Dan Brown books were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I read the Millennium trilogy in a week.
I need a good romantic comedy every now and then as they renew my faith in love and fate. It’s also most enjoyable to get lost in someone else’s story for a while.
N: If you could meet anyone past, present or future, who would it be?
A: Oh, to pick just one person is impossible! I shall see if I can whittle it down through a process of elimination.
For obvious reasons, Jesus would have to be in the mix.
Mary Magdalene. I would love to hear her story.
As a Scotsman, Andrew Carnegie is a hero of mine so he would also need to be considered. The only person to have been born into poverty to become the world’s richest person – and then gave it all away! Yes, I’d love to meet him.
Robin Williams. A true comedy legend and such a vibrant man with obvious demons. I would love to have had just five minutes in his company.
N: Where do you see yourself three years from now?
A: It gives me great delight to say that I have absolutely no idea. I believe in the old adage, ‘How do you make God laugh? Tell Him your plans!’
N: Paper or plastic?
N: Home cooking or take out?
A: There is no real easy answer to this, it’s all in the mood.
N: What is the one thing your readers don’t know about you, but you wished to share?
A: That I am constantly looking for new challenges and so I am currently working on a sequel and that it is more of a thriller than a romantic comedy.
Watch this space….
My Review: 4/5 Stars
Going into this book I didn’t know what to expect, but what I found was funny and amazing.
Z takes you on his journey as he divorces his wife and embark on a new journey. It takes you through his prospective f breaking up. Although it was sad that he was getting a divorce, he still had a wicked sense of humor about it.
When he gets back on the dating scene, boy was that hilarious and when he did finally meet the woman he was talking to online, I was hoping that’s who it was. I hope this because a series, because its not always a bad thing to get a man’s perspective.
After graduating with a couple of useless degrees in law, I left my Scottish homeland and wandered nomadically around the globe to experience the rich diversity of culture that the world has to offer.
On my travels, I met my Canadian wife in New Zealand, we were married in Scotland and now live in Canada with our newborn son. Although we currently call Toronto home, this is not yet a permanent arrangement and, rather alarmingly, we are perfectly happy about that…
*** An ARC copy was given to me for a honest review.