On we continue! Returning a little to the original base theme of this blog, I’d better check in after having researched and presented my pitch last week, the room practically bubbling with nerves and anticipation (happily everyone did more than a sterling job with their own, and clearly delighted in supporting one another). Whilst researching both the local and global culture of drinking/ partying/ drug stigma/ societal norms- I was left a little concerned / discombobulated to say the least. It was foolish of me to choose such a ridiculously vast and complex subject as this, when I’d have had a much easier time magnifying on local sexism (experienced and often observed), homelessness (tragically normalised around the city) or the strange and often comical life of a mature student (you are already enjoying these shenanigans). However, in its own convoluted and overpowering way, drug and alcohol abuse ties each of these strands together- it magnifies and enhances the disconnection (or indeed connection) between young men and women we see of any given evening out, is often blamed at least in part by the majority of people suffering in homelessness as a previous escape, it is the catalyst often to violent and regrettable behaviour on both sides of the gender pool, and as a mature student I see how it acted as a more than welcome distraction back during my days studying in Cambridge, and is playing an occasionally similar role in the lives of some of my younger colleagues. I continue to sit slap bang in the middle of the maelstrom of argument within my own head, not having decided to focus on the drinking/ partying culture here to either condemn or condone it. I think above all I’m always fascinated by the extremes of human behaviour, that I continue to be drawn to the arenas in which I will find it messily unfolding with no qualms over been watched.

Having said this, as I continue enjoying (for now) a relatively booze free existence, I’ve come up against yet another social hurdle needing to be addressed- that of dry dating. As I am gleefully, as my housemates call it ‘living like a health hippie’, there seemed to be no natural reason to turn down a young (surprise surprise, navy lieutenant) for a casual meet up this last week. As we continued to chat and plan, I asked where my suitor was planning to escort me in the evening… ‘For cocktails and food I think, at Sant Yago?’ Here enters my dilemma; do I break my winning streak and indulge in what is hailed to be some of Portsmouth’s finest tapas and cocktails? Or, do I risk coming across as a boring health nut and over health conscious harpy and order a cranberry juice when I sit down in that balmy cocktail bar? I’m vexed with indecision. As usual in life, I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll play it by ear and trust my feminine instincts… when the moods right we can feel it, but then we know when to say no… you know?

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