Tag Archives: partners

Modern Moscow Rules

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Hello there, lovely reader!  How has your week been?

As we all know (and occasionally grumble about), life is governed by rules.  Laws are in place to protect us, moral guidelines exist to shape our behaviour appropriately, and social etiquette is there to make awkward dinner parties more bearable.
During the Cold War, a (probably fictional) list of instructions called the Moscow Rules were developed, supposedly to be used as rules of thumb for spies and other shady characters.  There are various versions of the Moscow Rules in fiction and online, and although they are mainly for the use of espionage enthusiasts, I have decided to appropriate some of them for the benefit of the rest of us.  Here goes:

1) Assume nothing
Never assume that someone will definitely see your Facebook status, read your blog (ahem) or monitor your Twitter stream.  Then again, whatever you put on the internet is public, so never assume that you can get away with saying things like “omg I hate it when people are two-faced bitches, you know who you are!!!”  That kind of thing is just embarrassing for everyone.

2) Murphy is right
Murphy’s law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and is more commonly known these days as sod’s law.  I don’t think I even need to elaborate on this one, do I?

3) Never go against your gut
This can be explained for spying purposes as “if the circumstances of an operation feel wrong, they probably are.  Abort the mission.”  Despite the nebulous and unquantifiable nature of our gut feelings, we always feel a bit off when we go against them, don’t we?  Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.

4) Don’t look back; you are never completely alone
Again, in terms of espionage this means something a bit paranoid: essentially, the enemy and/or your superiors are never far away.  For those of us who are not trying to covertly execute a dead letter drop, what I think we can take away from this rule is comfort.  Don’t look back at your past because it has…er…passed, as it were, and there’s nothing we can do about that.  You are never completely alone because the best people from your past are still with you now.  Old friends, long-term partners, family members etc. have stuck around and are therefore worth paying attention to in the present.

5) Go with the flow, blend in
For the love of all that is good, pure, righteous and holy, stand on the right-hand side of tube escalators.

6) Don’t harass the opposition
Bitching, aggression, violence and snide remarks on social media are just not necessary.  Why waste your time digging at people you don’t like when you could be getting on with your life?

7) Everyone is potentially under opposition control
Good HEAVENS, Cold War spies were paranoid!  I suppose in some cases they were right to be, but really.  We are not living in an episode of The Demon Headmaster here.  The closest thing we have to ‘opposition control’ these days is the board of executives behind The X Factor.  What I think we could take from this rule is similar to the gist of rule 3: only you know exactly what is right for you in life.  Your friends and loved ones may mean well, but when it comes to drugs, fashion choices, watching reality television and the like, “everyone else is doing it” is not a good enough reason to fall into line.

8) Pick the time and place for action
Take control of your life.  Organise meetings, ask people out and get in touch with that friend who’s dropped off the radar.  Orchestrate your day so that everything works to your advantage as much as possible.  Don’t be afraid to say what you want.  Be prepared.  Tuck your shirt in, all that stuff.

9) Vary your pattern and stay within your cover
You can wear spots and stripes in the same outfit.  Always remember to take an umbrella.  (Yes, I know that that’s not at all what the original rule meant, but you’ve got to admit that the umbrella thing is very sound advice.)

10) Keep your options open
We are all under a lot of pressure to settle down into long-term careers, marriages and mortgages.  If you’re ready for any or indeed all of those things, then good for you.  If not, don’t worry.  We have no way of knowing what kind of opportunities, people and prospects we are going to come across from one day to the next, and it is no bad thing to keep your options open.

Have a spectacular weekend.

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Ah, L’amour…

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Hello, reader!  You’re looking very well today, I must say.  Loving the hair.

Tomorrow I am going on a mini-break to the capital city of romance: Paris.  I will be drinking wine, walking along the Seine and gazing in awe at the Eiffel Tower with the man in my life, and it will be beautiful.  Sounds like a typical jaunt for a lovey-dovey couple, doesn’t it?  Yep.  Shame I don’t have a boyfriend.

Actually, it’s not a shame at all.  I am rubbish at relationships.  What I am good at are friendships, and the man in my life who will be accompanying me to France is my best friend and Facebook husband.  There has never been less romantic potential between two people on this planet, and that makes him the best person to join me on this trip.

As you might have gathered from this blog post, I am a firm believer in the importance of all kinds of love (and cheese, obviously).  My aforementioned husband is a perfect example of how love can be irrational, uncontrollable and all-enduring.  We have loved each other through drunken tantrums, tragic misunderstandings and a year of separation while he was in San Diego.  We like completely different films, music, food and clothing.  Mario once spent upwards of thirty quid on a Jack Wills t-shirt; until that day I had been under the impression that Jack Wills was some guy in our wider social circle at uni that I hadn’t officially been introduced to yet.

We have worked together as directors, partied together as students and cooked together as people who think that feeding all of our friends in one sitting is perfectly normal (and possible with only three saucepans).  It is common knowledge among our friendship group that I am cheating on him by living with my beloved friend Ash, and that we have been behaving like an elderly married couple since we were eighteen.

I know that it amuses people, and I know that isn’t a real marriage, but it baffles me to think that anyone would think it a shame that we’re having to go to Paris with each other instead of with ‘proper’ partners.  I don’t feel sorry for us at all.  I feel sorry for people who don’t have someone like this in their lives.  I can’t tell you how amazing it is to be such close friends with someone that you can literally say anything to them, and that even after nearly seven years of friendship we still have so much to discover about each other.  How many people can say that their husband fascinates them?  Mine does.  He also likes Mariah Carey, but we try not to talk about that.

Smug?  Weirdly so, given that I’m not in a couple?  Yes, I am.  But I’m about to go on holiday with my best friend, so I think I can be excused a little smugosity.  By the way, this isn’t an attack on people who ARE married: marriage is awesome.  I’m very happy for people who are happily in love.  I’m just very happy for me, too.

Have a fantastic rest of your week, everyone: I will be without internet in Paris, so the next blog will probably be on Sunday.

à bientôt!