Sex without intimacy is just masturbation.
I said this on twitter recently, it was retweeted by 24 people and criticised by one. Yet I found myself stewing on that criticism for a number of days – I was accused of being smug, because I was openly happy. I get accused of all manner of things by all manner of people; I can brush off accusations of brashness and arrogance easily because I’ve come to peace with the fact that I can be both those things, and no longer try to defend them, but try to temper them with a little modesty and self-deprecation. The sentence that I opened with was certainly arrogant and brash. But smugness was a new one to me, so I just want to say the following.
I have a job that I love, that I look forward to when I go to sleep, that I like to think I’m good at. I work for a company I respect, a company that has treated me well and continues to do so, which despite its detractors operates with more moral sympathy than you might expect if you’re on the outside looking in. The chairman of this company is a humble and brilliant man despite his wealth, and if you met him and gave him a chance, he might win you over too. He’s a man effortlessly worthy of respect and, for me at least, admiration.
I work in a department full of people I would happily describe as friends. We work hard and laugh a lot. I look forward to seeing them on Monday mornings so we can poke fun at each other, and I think about them over the weekend. I notice when they dye their hair or change their perfume, and they notice when I’m not myself, for whatever reason.
I have the happiest, most in love parents you can possibly imagine, and throughout my life they’ve made good, considerate, selfless decisions. They are stable, hardworking, beautiful and fun, and my dad is genuinely a perfect role model for me. I’ve said before that if I can be half the man he is, I’ll still be more of a man than most of my peers.
I have the most fabulous, beautiful, hilarious, intelligent, insightful, sweet, generous girlfriend. She’s the best company, and the best all-round human being I’ve ever met. She’s the rarest of things: a genuinely good person. I love her obsessively, and I’m a better person just for being with her. No one has ever made me so happy, she’s my best friend and tomorrow, I get to live with her. This evening feels like Christmas Eve.
I regularly get to meet some of the most fascinating, funny and beautiful people, and I enjoy being stunned by just how creative and articulate so many of you reading this are. Every weekend is different, filled with different faces and different life stories, and I’m made richer just by knowing so many of you.
I was born into the most exciting time I could have possibly hoped to be alive. Everything is changing right now, all around us, all the time. This moment in history crackles with life and electricity, the telescoping nature and tempo of scientific and social development is reaching a crescendo, and you were right here with me, right at the start of things, right at the moment we started to become the best that we can be.
So perhaps I am smug. But if smugness is a by-product of happiness, it’s one I’m happy to tolerate, and one that I’ll accept as warmly as the feeling of excitement that happiness also offers. Forgive me if you think I come across as smug, because I don’t take any of the great things in my life for granted.
I’d like to dedicate this post to two people. One is my partner, Annie Player, without whom I would almost certainly be living under a bridge somewhere sharing a tin of Pedigree Chum with my dog.
The other is Yidrishka, a wonderful and thoughtful friend who sent Annie and I a moving in present all the way from Russia, purely and simply because she’s another one of those rare things: a good person. Thank you.
Thank you Yidrishka. It means a lot.