Tag Archives: Ash O’Toole

Don’t Fancy Yours Much…

Now I don’t want to seem like I’m moaning (ok, who am I kidding), but I feel I must reiterate my point (*see previous blog* ‘You’ve Gotta Think She’s Hot, Right?‘). After yet another conversation with a friend, who told me I was SHALLOW because I apparently concentrate too much on outer beauty than what’s inside.

This all started after a date I’d recently been on, and me uttering the words “she was hot though”. The very words which sparked my ‘shallowness’ attack.

I mean in my defence, firstly, she was blonde. Blondes are never usually my ‘type’. So there’s one un-shallow point to me, surely? Right?

However, she was absolutely stunning. With the most beautiful eyes and gorgeous smile. She stepped out of her car that night and I nearly fell over. Seriously. I mean we’re talking everything I am relentlessly known for lusting after; the hair, make-up, heels, nails etc.

So we met up and actually she was a genuinely lovely girl, something I obviously only got to know when we went out! And I was slightly gutted when this ever so short but beautifully sweet dating experience came to a sudden end.

But life goes on. As do the brunettes.

Ok, so, I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that jazz. I’m not saying what one person doesn’t find attractive another person won’t either. I’m just saying, whatever your definition of ‘hot’ is, surely you’ve gotta be making sure you find that?

And I actually really feel the need to say it, that not one of us goes out on a Friday night, spots someone over the bar and thinks ‘damn, she looks like she’s got a lovely personality’.

Oh what utter pithering rubbish.

What’s actually circling your head is ‘DAMN, she’s hot!’. And that’s the point! It’s a very important starting block!!

She may well end up being one of the most selfish people you’ve ever met; and I’ve met a few! But you will find that out! What attracts you to them first and foremost is what they look like!!

I want partner who is kind, who is honest, intelligent, loving and respectful. Of course I do.

I also want them to be fucking gorgeous! Else, how am I meant to get into bed with someone I don’t fancy?! Unless I’m drunk. All the time. Trust me. This. Has. Happened.

And so in conclusion, by all means, you go all for personality, and I shall continue to be ‘shallow’. I hope it works out mighty fine for you! It probably will. You will probably be married before long and buy your house, and matching wellies and Regatta jackets… and get a cat… and over time you will merge…

…and that’s ok…

Don’t forget to turn the lights out.

Lesbian Dating Apps (sigh) – The Best and the Worst. 

Disclaimer: In the interest of anyone who may be interested I have managed successful relationships without the use of dating websites.


So! The app to beat all other lesbian dating apps arrived. Welcome ‘Scissr’. It has promised to be the lesbian version of ‘Grindr’. So far, I’m in two minds…

Yes, the app itself is smart, easy to use, and it’s great to be able to see more accurate distances between you and other users, and online times.

It also requires you to connect through Facebook, filtering out many fakes who can’t be bothered to create alternative Facebook profiles I’m sure.

However, the closest person to me currently sits at 2.5 miles. Ok, it’s only just getting going, but it takes only 12 people down the list and we jump to 32.8 miles. And I live in Birmingham. It’s a pretty big place.

So possibly it hasn’t been advertised enough yet in order to attract more users. Or maybe it is more U.S based. I’m guessing, it has been out about three weeks now- I would have thought that’s quite a while in the dating app world? Correct me if I’m wrong.

First downside to this app; you have to actually go into your messages to see if you have any new ones; unlike other apps such as POF, which will give you a notification on screen.

Second downside is that you can’t see your sent messages. There isn’t that option.


On a plus side to that, if you can’t remember if you’ve sent someone a message (and I don’t send THAT many), when you hit the message button to contact them it will show what you have already sent. Maybe this is how Grindr works too.

I used Grindr once… Hold up… Myself and a good guy friend of mine had a competition to see who could get more messages within one hour. And yes. I won. I also felt so guilty at some of the guys messaging me that I had to reply and confess I was a woman on a dare mission.

If only that many messages came through per hour from women! One can dream.

‘Crushes’ and ‘Crushed on me’ – this is great, but, one user who has ‘crushed on me’ recently, I already sent a message to two days previous. Has she seen it? Possibly not if there aren’t notifications to let her know she has messages waiting in her inbox, and I’m not going to message twice. Or, she could have just hit the wrong button!

You also have coloured lines around people’s profiles on the main screen; green to show that they are online or very recently online, yellow to show they have been online in the past 24 hours, and red to show 1 day or over.

Unfortunately, all I am seeing right now is a lot of red…

Current rating: 5/10.

I hope it can and will improve with a bit more time. I’m confident it will be better than some others…


Terrible lesbian dating app. Terrible. And not just because it doesn’t rate highly for successful interaction.

I must have used this a very long time ago then deleted it (because it was shit). I then downloaded the app to my phone once again a few months ago however received a message on screen to say I had been blocked from using this app.


Well, I am definitely over 18, and I definitely do not send or post sexual or abusive content. When I sent an email to ask why my profile had been blocked, I received no reply. Soooo… I guess I’m still blocked.

Rating: 2/10. 


Badoo (And I just knew I shouldn’t have bothered). Another awful dating site, not just for the simple fact you can’t see who ‘likes’ you and the whole app requires a level of concentration you simply cannot be bothered with; But for the fact they clearly don’t understand the entire population aren’t a straight Ken & Barbie:

I received a message from Badoo to say my photos didn’t match my gender therefore my account had been stopped, or something to that effect. Excuse me? What? If you could have possibly insulted me more, I probably could have sued you under something I’m sure.

So I sent a very unpleasant email expressing my anger and to who the fuckwits were deciding on MY gender. To which I did receive a ‘sincere’ apology.


However, was a bit late for an apology, no matter how sincere, and I swiftly deleted my profile and the app. Unless I’ve been walking round with my eyes closed for near 32 years, I am fully confident of my own gender. Take note. Thank you.

Rating: 0/10. Yes. Just for that.


Gaydargirls. This followed on from gay.com for me. If anyone remembers gay.com, it was way back when we still used dial-up connection; when it was guaranteed you’d start talking to a really cool girl in a chat room and you’d get disconnected.

I left Gaydargirls back in 2005, and only rejoined in 2014. I don’t use it on my phone, I only log in when using my laptop and I don’t think I have bothered logging in for about 3 months now.

Unfortunately for Gaydargirls, it doesn’t seem to have moved on so much from years ago, and I think what used to maybe be quite a popular and modern site, possibly the number of active users has decreased somewhat. And it looks exactly the same. It needs a revamp.

Rating back when: 7/10. Rating now…. Probably a 2.


Tinder is actually ok although it isn’t a “gay” dating app. I haven’t been registered on it I’d say any more than 4-5 months, and I’ve not met anyone off of it. However, I think Tinder has quite a good thing going on. It’s simple, it works on users profile photos that you swipe left for no and right for yes. You have to have both said yes in order to speak to each other.

I think it could be a lot better, but the idea itself is a good one. The downside to that though is I fear there are probably many people who will swipe yes to EVERYONE just to get more matches.

Not only that but there is no option for sexuality- it’s simply show only men, only women or both. So there’s a hint for Tinder on how it could instantly be better!

I’d say out of every 20 ‘matches’, I only engage in conversation with two. And unless I think someone really looks as though they might have something about them, I’m unlikely to make the first move.

Rating: 6/10

Plenty of Fish

I have to say my best score for a dating app would have to go to POF (Plenty of Fish). It’s always been easy to use and I have the most interaction and meets from there, and there seem to be a lot more genuine people using this app.

You can filter your search results by age, area and relationship intent. You have onscreen notifications to tell you when you’ve received a message. You can see who has viewed your profile and who you have viewed. You can see who is online. It also stores a substantial amount of past messages.

The only one thing I would complain about is that they have changed their “meet me” set up (which is kinda like a Tinder swiping system), so you have to upgrade the app (which means paying) to view who would like to meet you.

Saying that, it’s not a huge issue as when you receive an email to say “User123 wants to meet you!” you can still go to your search facility and type in the username of that person to view their profile. It’s just a bit more long winded than before.


Rating: 8/10

While dating sites used to be something we were embarrassed about admitting we used, they now seem to have become a normal part of the single person’s life. It would be interesting to hear other’s experiences with these sites and others.

Don’t Think You’re Ever Doing It Wrong

So did you make any New Years resolutions? I made one. A general one. To keep being me.

I mean how often do we hear these…

“This year I’m going to lose weight”

Oh, but the Ben & Jerry’s was on offer, right?!

“This year I’m going to quit smoking”

Yes we all try. All year, every year.

“I’m going to go dry for January”

I give you until the 9th. Then it’s Friday.

“I’m going to do more for others”

And when the fuck did you turn into mother Teresa?!

“I’m going to save £3000”

The woman’s gone mad. Get her a drink.

You probably, most likely, aren’t going to do any of these things because this year is going to be exactly the same as the last; only with a different girlfriend and a new wardrobe. And possibly a new hair cut.

I haven’t had a different hair cut for about 8 years. I don’t intend to start now.

If you wanna do something special with 2015; treat people better. Be kinder to others. Don’t be a headfuck. Don’t mess other people around. You may think you’re the worlds best player; you’re not, you’re a twat. I know. I tried it out for a while. And what happens now? The first question out of a friends mouth when I mention a girl…

“Is she married?”.

Reputation. Label. Stuck.

Hence the bio. It’s a bit of a piss-take.

But seriously; It may be a cliche, but treat people how you would want to be treated. Resurrect chivalry. Honesty. Loyalty. Do it for yourself not for anyone else. In the long run it gains you more respect, more people like you for it.

Don’t judge others because they may have flaws, disabilities, learning difficulties or non “trendy” clothing…. Heck you’re only following the crowd anyhow.

Be true to you. Be true to your heart- follow your heart, not your head. Yeah it may get you hurt now and again, or others. It may change your life’s direction, it may throw you off the path you’re ‘meant to take’. But it learns you life’s best lessons.

Everything you do, makes you that little more savvy, a little more wise, a little stronger and a little more knowledgable.

Buy a house. Lose a house. Go from the best paid job that you absolutely HATE getting out of bed for, to the worst paid that you LOVE. I did. I mean I may be slightly unhinged, but I’m happy with that 🙂

Don’t worry about where you ‘should be’. Don’t worry about what you ‘should have’.

Your life is an adventure. Do with it and live it as you choose. There isn’t a right of wrong.

Don’t listen too much to other people who ‘think’ they are giving you good advice. Don’t be scared to end a relationship if it isn’t right in your heart. Equally don’t be scared to love completely if it is right in your heart, but you think it isn’t in your head. We all get hurt. Always listen to your heart. In love. In work. In everything.

Be individual. Make your own path. Do it your way. That’s the only resolution I’m making.

Love and Christmas. Or the lack of love at Christmas.

This Christmas has been very much a quiet one for me; each year for the past three years now I’ve gone through a break up by the time it gets to October and see each Christmas in single.

I’ve gotta say it’s getting rather boring! There would be nothing more I’d love than to wake up on Christmas morning with someone that I love. I miss buying presents for someone special. I miss not being able to spoil that one person and in a way I guess I miss being spoilt a little too!

It was a long build up this year of attempting to make myself feel Christmassy. I went to London a few weeks ago to watch Michael McIntyre’s Very Christmassy Christmas Show being recorded for BBC1, which aired on Christmas Day. I forced myself to get the Christmas tree down from the loft early. I even dressed myself as an elf for work one night.

But alas, nothing was working.

I walked round with a face like thunder, tutting and grimacing at those couples sickeningly happy in love, did a last minute dash around the shops on Christmas Eve eve, to buy presents for family, which resulted in more gift cards than gifts. I bought Christmas cards for nobody, and even wrapped my mums presents in her own wrapping paper.

Next year I will do better. Really.

And even when it came to Christmas Day, the ONLY day, that one day of the year when it is acceptable to pour an alcoholic drink at 10.30am and nobody bats an eyelid… No, I couldn’t even be bothered to take advantage of that.

Bah humbug.

So I went out with friends on Christmas Day night, and by 1am I have to say I was feeling much more Christmassy, probably due to the alcohol. I even wore a shirt. I bought a drink for a girl at the end of the bar who didn’t even glance in my direction, although she may have, but I think sambuca was involved by that point, so I couldn’t honestly tell you. Maybe I shouldn’t have worn the shirt.

And so I toddled off home rather merry and crashed out. The end.

So now Christmas is over, I’m genuinely looking forward to the new year! Well, apart from the part where I have to work on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Standard.

Career wise, 2015 is looking as though it may shape up quite nicely. There are lots of little projects in the pipeline and I’m open to where they may take me.

I would love to (and need to) quit the cigarettes! Something I’m finding rather a challenge after 17 years, as I also now find walking up a steep hill!

Working on my back fat. Love handles. Whatever you wish to call them.

And of course, if I could find someone to see next Christmas through with, that would be a bonus! And potentially help with the love handles.

Alcohol Abuse and the LGBT Community

I wanted to touch on something a little more serious this week. Coming up to Christmas when everyone is likely to drink the most of course being the perfect time!

I wanted to talk about alcohol abuse in general and how addiction to alcohol can creep up and take a hold leaving you thinking “fuck, where did that come from?!”.

I also want to mention about alcohol abuse being higher within the LGBT Community and touch on why it might be higher, possibly opening up discussion about whether it could or can change.

I work in a bar, so I see it happening every day. But I also know it first hand, because it happened to me.

In May 2012, something changed very drastically where an evening at work came to the point of me almost passing out.

After speaking with doctors over the next few days or so, my fear was confirmed; My body had gone into alcohol withdrawal. I was alcohol dependant. I had just turned 29.

This wasn’t a deliberate thing. I had always been a regular social drinker, but my lifestyle and social circle, accompanied by a break up and losing my home, meant my drinking became heavier and on a daily basis.

And when you no longer experience hangovers (because of your tolerance), you don’t think about the damage it’s doing that you can’t see.

But what happened from that night I can only describe as possibly the worst 12-18 months of my life.

The first thing I was told was to NOT under any circumstances stop drinking. This can put you at risk of hallucinations, seizures, even death. I was drinking approximately 150-180 units per week. If you’re unsure what that looks like, it’s between 65 – 80 pints of lager. Per week.

At the initial point of withdrawal I was just under 9 stone in weight. My average weight a few months prior to this and what I am again now is 10.5 stone. My skin looked almost grey.

They say the physical withdrawal symptoms from alcohol are worse and more dangerous than those of heroin, and they’re probably correct. My symptoms in all honesty were probably relatively mild compared to some. Here are those I did experience:

I would feel as though I was walking on air. I had jelly legs. I would feel faint and lightheaded constantly, like I could pass out at any moment.

I was uncoordinated. I would drop things and bump into things.

I would shake. I would sweat. I’d have hot and cold flashes.

I became extra sensitive to loud noises and more easily startled.

I couldn’t eat proper meals because they just took so much effort to chew, made me feel nauseous, in the first couple of months I struggled just to eat a bowl of cereal.

When I woke up of a morning I would be unable to focus my eyes properly for a good 30 minutes. Quite a scary feeling for someone who has always had pretty much 100% vision.

Sleep. Alcohol can cause damage to the brain in various ways. My whole life I had been the lightest sleeper. Since I became dependant, I would sleep for 9, 10, 11 hours solid. A hurricane wouldn’t wake me. Yet I still feel the need for taking afternoon naps, and never feel refreshed or like I’ve had a decent nights sleep, and am constantly exhausted. Something I still suffer with.

During my worst point of dependency, I also experienced sleep walking, which can obviously be very dangerous in itself. Touch wood, I don’t think I’ve been for a midnight stroll for a while!

In some respects, I am glad alcohol withdrawal happened to me and at the age that it did. Don’t get me wrong, clearly for it to never happen would be much preferred! But I would hate to have kept going the way I was for it to happen twenty years further down the line, when I would be a lot more likely to have done more damage to my body and probably find it a lot more difficult to come off of it.

Of course, if you’re unaware of what it is to be alcohol dependant or alcoholic (and I do see these as two very different things), you won’t know that there isn’t a magic pill, there isn’t anything you can do or take to make these symptoms of withdrawal any less uncomfortable, apart from, having an alcoholic drink. Yes. That is your medicine. The very thing that makes you bad is unfortunately the only thing that makes you better.

And trust me, when you’re opening a can of lager at 11am to help relieve your symptoms, it really does feel like medicine. To the point it makes you gag. It’s vile.

I genuinely don’t remember much of the following 12 months. It is very much a blur. I can remember bits, and I can remember people, but I couldn’t tell you much of what happened in that year. I didn’t have a life. I just had a routine.

Unfortunately alcohol dependency also caused me to suffer severe anxiety, something very common in people withdrawing from alcohol. It also caused the whole alcohol withdrawal process to take a lot longer to recover from, as the symptoms of withdrawal and anxiety can be very similar, therefore making you unsure which you’re actually experiencing.

Although I am pleased to say I am no longer alcohol dependant, I still suffer with anxiety. I’m not sure it is something that will ever fully leave me now, and it makes sometimes the simplest things a challenge; I don’t like crowds, I don’t like queues, I don’t like public transport, I don’t like busy restaurants; all of those things or tasks that used to be so simple, so normal, now bring back those feelings of light headedness, over-heating, generally feeling weak and short of breath. But, it’s one of those battles I work at each day.

Throughout the whole experience, barr three or four days, I still got myself to work every day and pushed myself through each shift and each difficult situation.

They call it ‘Fight or Flight’. And you have to fight.

Now after all that, I don’t want to sound like a bore! I’ve not in any way become part of the anti-alcohol brigade. I still enjoy a drink. Hell, I’m only 31! Yes, I am a lot more careful than I used to be, and yes, sometimes, it is inevitable that we will and can all “fall off the wagon”, but I won’t be beating myself up over it.

I know my limits now. I am very careful with my intake of alcohol and I count every unit.

When you work in a bar and your social life and friends revolve around bars, it takes a lot of strength to give yourself those limits and make yourself stop when everyone else is carrying on; not because the alcohol is tempting you, more just because you don’t want to leave the party. And I guess it joins in to this:

Research done by Birmingham LGBT and HGL showed that between 2002-2008, half of gay men and a third of gay women drank more than the recommended daily allowance.

It showed that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are twice as likely than the heterosexual population to become alcohol dependant.

Why? I don’t know what the answer is. What I do see is our lifestyles from an early age (I came out at 16), revolve around bar life and drinking.

It’s where we meet other gay people. It’s where we search for a partner. It’s where we find ourselves being comfortable and part of a community.

It’s where we take advantage of the £1.50 Monday night drinks. Cheap student night Thursdays. Then of course we have Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

To the younger community, it’s a whole new world of fun, cabaret, karaoke and bright flashing lights. It can be addictive.

Because it becomes habit and because it becomes the norm, it’s a very difficult cycle to break out from, especially when all your friends are doing the same.

And one the biggest things I guess is that while our “straight” friends are moving on, getting married and having families, we are obviously still a lot further behind from this becoming our ‘norm’. So our lifestyles stay the same and can do for years and years.

I wanted to tell my story about alcohol addiction in the simplest way to help people understand just how easily it can happen to anyone. I want to be able to make someone, anyone, if just that one person take a step back and look at their drinking habits and take note. Going through alcohol withdrawal was one of the most horrific experiences of my life, to the point some days I’d have preferred not to be here at all, I felt that poorly.

In a way I was quite worried about putting this out in the public domain for everyone to see. Knowing I cannot take it back. I guess for fear of being judged or having people’s opinions of me change. It’s quite frightening knowing somebody is reading this and possibly judging me right now.

But strangely, since I have started being more comfortable in speaking about it, less ashamed and less embarrassed, I have discovered many other people, friends also, who have had issues with alcohol at some point in their lives, which in an odd way is quite comforting. So I guess I’m speaking for them also.

If it’s something you’re worried about, or something that is affecting you now, speak to someone. Discuss it with a doctor, someone, anyone, and make sure you get the support that is available.