Wednesday 3 January 2007

nothing wrong, nothing right...

A little while ago, I was having a play around on google. Out of idle curiosity, I started tapping in the names of people I used to know. Amongst other things, I discovered that a former girlfriend of mine is now a lecturer in Defence Studies at a London University. She was studying the renaissance when I knew her, but she now appeared to be specialising in the First World War but, apart from that, I was quite impressed. We went out for about three months in our final year, although I had known her for the whole three years. She was a nice girl, albeit a tiny bit wet. I remember she used to love “Yes Minister” and had the complete scripts on the shelf above her bed.

I know this all sounds a bit “High Fidelity”, but that was as far as I took it. I had no interest in getting back in touch with this girl, and I don’t think we would have very much to talk about if I had. It was just interesting to see the path her life had taken since we parted at University. Actually, I was probably a touch envious, if the truth were told. I always thought that I would carry on to do a PhD and that perhaps I might drift on into academia somewhere. As things turned out, I had a fateful moment of clarity when sitting in the library studying the minutiae of Medieval government for my MA. I was poring over the nuts and bolts of how a law got passed – literally down to the level of who stamped or signed what – when I suddenly realised that I needed to get a job. I’d missed the traditional recruiting period, so once I had finished my masters, I had to bide my time working for HMV as I ground my way through the graduate recruitment treadmill. About a year after that moment of clarity, I was starting my mindless job in a soulless major corporation. There have been some changes since then, but that’s effectively where I still am today.

I wonder, if I had gone on to do that PhD, if I might be a professor of something somewhere. Who knows? The fact remains that I didn’t do that PhD, and here I am. I realised this week that the promotion that I have been promised that I am becoming increasingly resentful at not getting is a move to the same level that I might reasonably have expected to attain in about 1999/2000. That’s what they told me when I started on the graduate recruitment programme, anyway. A lot has happened since then, what with the various insources and outsources and so on… but I suppose you could say that I am currently about 7 years behind schedule.

Mind you, for all my professional frustrations, I don’t think I’ve ever really been happier personally. My job is an irritant, but it’s nothing more than a means to an end. It may not pay me what I think I’m worth, but it pays me relatively well and it’s close to home. I sleep in my own bed every night of the week. It’s also as a direct consequence of my job that I met my lovely fiancĂ©e in the first place.

I wasn’t quite done looking up old girlfriends just yet though. The next person I looked up was the girl that I went out with for three years, from the beginning of my Masters degree to a year or so after I had started work. We broke up in 1999, but as far as I knew, she still lived in Nottingham. Although I am absolutely convinced that I did the right thing in ending our relationship when I did, I don’t think she saw it coming and she was absolutely devastated. For the first time in my life, I felt as though I had caused real hurt to another human being, and I felt horrible about it. I sometimes wonder what I would do if I saw her in the street – I think I’d probably run away. I think she would probably react in the same way, which might explain why we never have bumped into each other.

Imagine how I felt when I saw this on Friends Reunited:

“Having reached the big 3-0 I am resisting the urge to settle down and have babies. I live in the Midlands … I work in HR ... And for those of you who remember me, I now have considerably less hair, having had it all chopped off in a temper after The Big Break-Up! “

That profile was written in 2004. The last time I saw her was probably in late 1999 and by then she’d already had her hair cut.

“The Big Break Up”?

I hope she’s joking and that she’s long since over me and is living the life of riley. In fact, it’s conceited of me to even think that she would really be that affected by our break-up… there is an exclamation mark, after all.

But that capitalisation kills me.


  1. I had a weird Friends Reunited experience with an ex-boyfriend a few years back. When we were together he was lead singer in a band, wore outrageous clothes, was a complete wild-child and actually thought he was Morrissey. I, of course, LOVED him, although he was a pretentious twit.

    It transpires he now works in an incredibly dull and responsible job, wears a suit to work every day and is married with kids. I just couldn't reconcile the two at all. Shows we all grow up some time, eh?

    (Flattering to think this girl still cites you as reason for an image change...)

  2. Doesn't surprise me a bit that she would be a bit broken up and bitter about losing you, my friend. But don't let it get to you. She is entirely responsible for how she handled the break up after it need for you to run in the opposite direction (although after reading her profile, that might be the best tactic afterall).

  3. She could be talking about another break-up entirely, of course. One other thing I noticed is that she has left the University where we met off her profile too. Everyone we met there will probably remember us as a pair as that's how they knew us - and actually I can understand that she might not want to speak to anyone from there. Hell, I'm not in touch with anyone from there either.

    But the last time I saw her, we were on good terms and I made sure she had my phone number and my email address. I wanted it to be up to her if she wanted to talk to me. That I've never heard from her speaks volumes, and that's fine as it's her choice, I think. I still occasionally see christmas cards from her at my mum and dad's actually. I think it speaks well of my parents that they are still in touch with her (and have never mentioned it to me).

    I just hope she's happy.


  4. I understand, I was devastated when I found out that you were engaged. I went right to the barber shop and cut off my hair as well, but then again, I do that every few weeks anyway.

  5. Don't be so conceited - it's not about you at all - she was clearly just upset that when she went on, she got Steve Davis and, although he potted as many balls as he could, as per Virgo's instruction, it wasn't good enough to win her that holiday-of-a-lifetime in Barbados... with Jim Davidson.

  6. I've just been googling but I don't think many of the ex's are that web literate as I couldn't find many traces of them. I did see that one has got married.

    If someone googled me they'd turn up all sorts as I leave a very big digital footprint.

  7. I recently turned up information on someone on google that now leaves me in something of a dilemma about whether to pass the information on to the person most directly involved with that someone. What I keep in mind is that most people google people they know.

  8. I think you should spill it all to us, Spinsterwitch, and let us decide.

  9. I think you're mistaken. She was clearly concerned about the increase in global warming.

  10. Significant others from my past either have very common names or, er... I can't really remember them! So, my googling activities are somewhat limited.

    About your job thing, the only way -apart from brown-nosing- to get promoted at anything like the rate you deserve is to change jobs quickly. Internal promotions are a nightmare to actually get on a regular basis. I've changed jobs every 2-3 years and not regretted a single change, my salary has doubled as a result too which is nice.