Review : 50 Shades of Fairytales @ The Alexander Upstairs

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While things may be a bit different nowadays when it comes to children’s entertainment with Disney becoming all PC and ensuring that their stories aren’t as whitewashed as they once were and contain some sort of feminist undertone, I’m old enough to be of that generation brought up on the traditional notion of a fairytale. You know those feel-good stories where Prince Charming is an alpha male with BIG MAN muscles who is capable of destroying all the bad people in order to ‘save’ the damsel in distress and give her the happily-ever-after she deserves …. blah blah blah. Sigh. Unfortunately, as we are all by now well aware. Disney LIED. Alpha males, very much like unicorns, only exist in La La land and when it comes to slaying dragons and dealing with bad people, well us chicks are probably better off dealing with all that stuff ourselves because Prince Charming it seems is getting delayed.
’50 Shades of Fairytales’ is a one-women show which deals with exactly that. It tells the story of two women (played by Titilayo Adedokun) who share their personal experiences of relationships and the associated challenges through a string of songs. Covering everything from little girls fantasizing about the arrival of their Prince Charming and the excitement of planning one’s dream wedding to coming to terms with the reality of dating one deadbeat after another, being trapped in an unhappy codependent relationship with someone you want to kill.
Sure, it sounds a bit cynical. But I think most 20,30, 40-somethings can definitely identify with the characters’ struggles. Especially that of trying to remain hopeful despite all the knocks. Although the show is ultimately focuses on women chasing fairytales, the way that modern dating operates these days I think even the guys will find that they can relate. And even though there are parts that come down pretty hard on the male-species, the humour and sing-song of it all helps to tone down the raging-feminist vibe, which makes it more digestible for the men in the audience and those of us who aren’t quite yet complete haters of men.
The show is also provides a nice reality check for anyone who is feeling that the whole world is against them. It’s a nice reminder that nobody’s story is all that ‘original’. All you have to do is talk to five randoms on a bus to find that you aren’t the first woman to be blind-sided by a philandering jerk, to have dated a broke-ass loser, or fallen in madly in love in a sociopath. But in this world of Facebook reality we only ever get insights into the sugarcoated version of other people’s lives which tricks us into believing we are thee ultimate failure in life.
While there are anecdotes throughout the show which will pretty much resonate with anyone who didn’t simply marry their first love, it’s not all doom and gloom. And as much as it isn’t ‘cool’ to be into musicals these days, the whimsical show tunes here keep things light and fluffy, allowing the audience to leave lol’ing and skipping their way into the night rather than feeling depressed and hopeless. The lyrics are well-written and thought provoking and Titilayo Adedokun just has an amazing stage presence with a voice so incredible that it is almost too big for such a intimate venue. Futhermore, the fact that all the stage paraphenalia and costume changes are kept to a minimum also mean that you can focus more on the songs without being overly distracted.
All in all, 50 Shades of Fairytales is a lovely, uncomplicated little bit of entertainment that tackles the somewhat painful issues associated with modern romance in a fun and quirky way. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is currently feeling a bit hateful towards the opposite sex and world at large.  It’s on at the Alex for till the end of September and tickets are reasonably priced at just R120 (online), so catch it while you can. You really won’t be disappointed!

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The 5 Types of Friend That Emerge In The Aftermath of a Break-Up

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Some fool once told me that a break-up was probably the worst thing that had ever happened in my somewhat ‘privileged’ life.  And to be honest with you, the idiot had a point. That said, I don’t think we should really minimize the impact the end of a significant relationship can have on person’s life. Break-ups are traumatic. Sometimes they legitimately warrant a mental-health day, or heart-break leave as they call it Japan.I mean if people take sabbatical for the death of their pet goldfish, I think it’s fair to indulge in a bit of self-care when a part of your heart has been brutally ripped out.

As important as some me-time is, I also believe it’s important to have a solid support network. Spending too much time alone following such an upheaval can a) give you too much time to overthink everything resulting in even more mental torture and b) result in you seeking solace from the loneliness in the arms of someone familiar. And the whole story of letting an ex escalate into a FWB is a story for another post entirely. So, yes back to that support network who are basically required to become babysitters/therapists in a post-break up period. As there is such a lot to address in the aftermath of a epic break-up, you often find that each person reacts differently to the task at hand. Everyone brings their own unique perspective to the mix and serves their own (not necessarily equally important) purpose in your life.  Here is a basic breakdown of the different type of friend you’ll encounter following a break-up.

The I-Told-You-So Friend

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight. It’s nothing special. Having people who tell you after a decade long relationship that they knew you were doomed from the start isn’t really helpful. In some instances, they may even remind of a specific occasion in the early days where they called it and warned you of the risks and what was to come. While these folks aren’t necessarily all bad, they just seem to want to use your tough time  to make themselves feel like a smart and what they have to say isn’t particularly nice or useful. Listen to them if you want (maybe they have some insights into your patterns) but take everything they say with a pinch of salt. Remember that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be able to stand somewhat removed from another person’s romantic relationships and offer a critical eye. Furthermore, remind them that they you’ll only ever truly regret the risks you never took (and they good sex you never had!).

The Realist

Sigh. These are the friends you probably have a love/hate relationship with at times. These are the people that don’t beat around the bush. They call you out on shit. They won’t indulge your stupidity. They are basically your eyes when you’ve be blinded by  love.  They’ll SHOUT at you if they have to – online and even sometimes in public places. If you are weak human (like myself) they are likely to make you cry.  You might find yourself having to be on the defensive with them at times and finding new genius ways to justify your actions to them (not that they’ll fall for it). There are also probably going to be times when you question why you are friends with such a mean-spirited person. But once the dust settles, you’ll come to understand that the tough-love they dished out was just what was needed to make you see the error of your ways and that they actually always had your best interests at heart.

The Virgin Inactive/Hater of Men

An interesting one. And one which strangely happens to find its way into my life in a post-break up period. They may fight your corner but they do it in their own unique way. They’ll hate on your ex or screw that, they’ll hate on the male species entirely. Sometimes this ranting and raving about ALL men being lazy, dysfunctional, broke-ass cheaters may be tonic but it gets a bit tiring. Eventually, you’ll realise that they’ve had such bad experiences with relationships (or such little experience in the case of the 30-something virgins) that they’ve given up on happily-ever-after (and sex!). But that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a sexless existence. I personally find that these people are a reminder to get back on that horse a keep tinderingand  believing that Prince Charming (or at least some good experiences) are still on the cards ,and that a life void of amazing bedroom acrobatics doesn’t even bear thinking about! So with these ones, ignore their advice/hateful comments and enjoy the distraction they provide, and be glad you haven’t been out of the game as long as they have.

The Wing Woman

Now here is a fun one. Mine buggered off to Butt Fuck Nowhere and truly left a void in my life. The wing woman/man has no time for self-pity or over-analysis. They won’t necessarily give you a shoulder to cry on. But they’ll bring the wine, the gin and the PARTY. This is the person who tells you to snap out of it, put on your hottest dress because you guys are hitting the town. This is the buddy who shows you that no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself you’ll never get back to that happy place without YOUR person, there are in fact plenty of fish in sea.

The Cheerleader/Feeder

So, I saved the best till last. These people are your biggest fans. They’ll drop everything to be there for you in the immediate aftermath –  to pick up the pieces, debrief, cry and drink copious amounts of gin with you. They’ll also be there to reassure you that the whole relationship was not a farce but that you also did the right thing. Even if you relapse, and go back and forth with that SO forever and day, they won’t judge (well, they’ll at least try to conceal their judgement). They understand that we are all human and at times this requires us to do illogically insane things. Regardless, they’ll put aside their own agenda and do whatever if required to help you deal (which includes asking if you’ve eaten yet and ensuring that you are kept well fed and hydrated even when you think your entire universe is caving in).

There you have it. My little sentimental moment. Don’t stress – I’ll be back to my old bitching and moaning ways soon. Clearly, folks will approach a break-up differently depending on their own experiences and perspectives. Some will bitch and moan, others will hate on your ex and get angry on your behalf, some will scream at you until you get your thick skull around some basic facts, while others will assist you in finding your next conquest. Whatever the case, each babysitter will do their shift and serve their purpose and together somehow all these different approaches come together and things eventually start to make sense.

P.S. Boxing people is very bad and it is possible for a person to be in more that one of the above categories. 

So Rinsers, tell me is there a type of friend who assists you on the road to recovery after a break-up that I’ve missed? Do you think some perspectives that are most useful than others? Or do they all have a part to play. Holler in the comments below.

 

Falling Out of Love ?!?

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Once upon a time, back in the days when I was young and naive someone told me that you should never say you’ve fallen in love with so-and-so but rather simply say you love them. His reasoning behind this…Well, if you could fall in love with a person then it made it possible to fall out of love with them. Whereas if you simply said you loved them then that statement had more longevity. Hmmm….I’ll admit it was a cute sentiment but even back then (before I became my cynical self) I had to question the logic.

And what triggered this little trip down memory lane? A news headline titled: Unhappy Marriage Not Grounds For Divorce, Supreme Court Rules.  To summarise, there was a court case where 60-something lady, Tini Owens, filed for divorce from her 80-something hubby (age-difference much?), Hugh. According to the press, there were no concrete grounds for divorce as such – no infidelity, no one suddenly discovered God and ran away to join a cult in the Himalayas, and she hadn’t even stumbled across his horrific porno collection (as yet). The only reason Tini gave for wanting to formally end her marriage of 40 years was that she was ‘unhappy’. Hugh refused. The Supreme Court took Hugh’s side. Hmmm….it seems being ‘unhappy’ is not reason enough to end a relationship, according to the LAW. Oh my!

So it seems this was a classic case of Tini simply ‘falling out of love’ with Hugh. Which brings me to the topic of this post: Is it really possible to fall out of love with someone? Is it a legitimate reason for ending a relationship/divorcing, someone? And in reference to the divorce proceedings, what right does a court/another person have to determine what a person can/can not do ensure their own happiness?

How much importance should be placed on ‘happiness’  in a relationship?   

So yup, our Tinder generation aka millennials are famous for our fickle nature when it comes to human relationships. When the going gets tough, well it seems we get SWIPING…it’S only a matter of time before we come across someone worth swiping right for! But the thing these golden oldies come from a bygone era when people really did stick things out and weren’t so quick to make rash decisions. Clearly, they spent 40 years together and seeing as they’ve been separated since 2015, I think Tini probably knows her own mind well enough to know whether or not her relationship was serving its purpose or not.

Clearly, ‘happiness’ is a relative term. Everyone’s definition will differ. For one person, their significant other’s cooking isn’t up to scratch so that makes their relationship an ‘unhappy’ one. On the other spectrum, you’ll find those that get beaten up every day and still claim their happy because their violent spouse still puts food on the table. Furthermore, while human relationships are certainly important, I think it’s quite dangerous to risk our personal happiness on these interactions. Sure, a partner should serve to enhance our lives and generally improve them but they shouldn’t be expected to be the sole source of our happiness. There are other aspects of our lives (which to be honest are probably easier to control) that should also play a role in giving a person a happy, fulfilling life – job, hobbies, etc, etc.

Regardless, I think it is really up to each individual to define ‘happiness’ for themselves and decide when they are ready to walk away from a friendship/relationship. Outside parties, including those great legal minds, are entitled to their opinion but it should be just that.

Is it possible to fall out of love with someone?

Moving away from all this happy, clappy chit-chat to the more pressing matter of whether it is possible to jump in and out of love. Hmmm… I suppose, like happiness, this whole concept of love is also interpretation. There are those ‘Ivy Women’ who jump from one relationship to the next without even a few hours of single time in between men and then there are those who  will happily marry their ‘first love’ (aka the first person to give them the time of day) without exploring the other options the world has to offer.

While I don’t think being forever alone or resigning yourself to life of sad spinsterhood or eternal bachelordom aren’t really good things, nor is continually going from one serious relationship to the next. Flings, FWBs, Dating up a Storm and Happily Single periods all serve their purpose – if only to allow the dust to settle from the last encounter and give you a little space for self-reflection. I don’t believe it is possible to be in a constant state of ‘love’ without taking some time out to deal with the heartbreak. (Is it really ‘love’ if you get over it so quickly??? The questions are endless!).

Anyhow, while I’ve always believed dating to be a bit of a numbers game (i.e. you date as many fools as you can till you eventually find one that is a little less foolish!), I don’t think love is. You can’t really put a number on it. Most of us probably only truly love a handful of people in our lifetimes. And maybe the lucky ones (or those with lower standards) end up marrying their first. Speaking from personal experience, I don’t believe we really fall in and out of love. And in reference to that conversation I mentioned at the beginning, I think there are people we date but never really love and when I look back on those encounters I’m happy for the life lessons and blah. blah but I’m pretty indifferent to the person themselves. I couldn’t care less what they are doing or whether they found happily ever after. On the other hand, there are people that I didn’t necessarily fall out of love with but grew apart from/were never truly compatible with but I’d still take a bullet for regardless and would only ever wish the best for.  Maybe you don’t love them anymore but some form of fondness remains.

OK….Rinsers. Clearly, #englishrosiee has more questions than she has answers on this one so shoot. Do you think its possible to fall out of love with a person? Is that a legit reason to end a relationship? And who has the right to an opinion on the state of someone’s relationship and whether or not they have the right to formally/legally end it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.  

 

 

 

Who Has The Best Sex? The WISOs vs The Relationship Girls

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So, this post is partly inspired by watching Chesil Beach, a movie that wanted to make me put a gun to my head as well as a conversation I had with a self-confessed WISO. For those of you who are new to the blog, WISO (a term coined by #zlotybaby) stands for Woman Interested in Sex Only. Just like a unicorn, a WISO is a rare creature – it’s debatable whether they actually exist. While the male versions can easily be found roaming the clubs, a true WISO is harder to find. You often think you’ve found her – the chick who seems to be a hit with all the guys, she may arrive at the party alone but will never leave empty-handed at the end of the night and oh, how she’ll brag about her fantastic sex-capades till you are a green with envy. But simply, scratch the surface and you’ll probably find that behind that behind that sexually-liberated exterior lies a little girl (perhaps with Daddy issues) who just wants to be loved. That said, who am I to judge what people actually want.

Anyway, back to my conversation with a WISO, it came as quite a surprise to hear her say that despite all her numerous rather wild sexual encounters in fact none of them had left her truly satisfied (sexually as well as emotionally probably!). Just to make it clear no experience was good enough for the WISO to go back for more Ho hum. That is not what I had expected to hear. You see, I always felt popular culture portrayed sexual liberation/promiscuity as something fun but probably requires a certain level of good looks and confidence to be able to maintain. But, I think the reality is a little less glamorous and a bit bleak, to be honest. Having watched my fair bit of trash TV, I can’t see it being much fun, when regardless of how hot or pretty you are, a guy from the Jersey Shore calls you an Uber as soon as the deed is done (maybe post-coital cuddles are overrated!).

On the flip side, I think those branded as somewhat prud-ish get a bit of a bad rap. No, I haven’t done a U-turn on my attitudes to being a 30-something virgin. But, you know what I mean, there is only so far one can go when it comes to glorifying sex between a run-of-the-mill monogamous couple (Although the 50 Shades Trilogy had a good go of it!). But just think about it. When it comes to sex, there can’t be much that beats it being in a happy, healthy relationship. Look at this way, unless you permanently live on different continents (remember I said happy and healthy) then you’ve got sex on tap…whenever and wherever you want (within reason – but you know lunchtime delights on the days you work from home aren’t too shabby!). This leads me to my next point, practice makes perfect. Unless you are weird like that odd couple in Chesil Beach a) they’ll be too much sexual tension to hold out on the deed till your wedding night and b) even if your first tussle is mind-blowing, you’ll give it a second shot (and a third, fourth and fifth….). And in turn, this means you can try out everything in the kamasutra (provided your relationship lasts that long) until you figure out what works for you. Finally, despite all the body positivity stuff that gets bandied about I don’t know many people that are so OK with their own naked bodies (or those of others) to actually want to strip off in front of a different person every other night without wanting to pewk in your mouth.

I’ve never been through my own WISO phase but to be completely honest it doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m sure there are still some people out there that’ll claim that WISOs have the best sex and its all about knowing your own body and blah blah. But I just don’t buy that. They’ll probably also tell you that relationship sex lacks the spontaneity that the WISO has….but that’s not strictly true. We’ve all heard of couples getting jiggy on the plane, in a field, on the roof of a church, etc…it doesn’t sound all bad.  After all, there have to be some benefits to stability and life with ole faithful 😛

Alright Rinsers, do you dare to share your stories in the comments below? What’s better relationship sex-capades with the one your love or no-strings-attached fun times? Or is there a time and place for both? Or … maybe not? Go, wild peeps….

Review: Book Club

BookClubPoster“Book Club” is a newly released chick flick with a number of great actresses and actors. It’s a story of four friends, now senior citizens, who’ve been meeting up monthly to discuss a book from their reading list. Their next read is “50 Shades of Grey”…

First of all, it’s nice to see a movie about older people. When Shonda Rhymes (the creator of “Grey’s Anatomy”) got an award for including diverse characters in her shows, she said that she’s not diversifying TV but she’s normalizing it. Inclusion of non-white people, sexual minorities and people older than 30 is just an actual representation of the society. It’s actually sad to have to say that it’s refreshing to see older people on screen, especially in the context of love and sex. It should be the norm but it isn’t. Series like “Grace and Frankie” about ladies in their 70s dealing with all sorts of life problems are still an exception to the rule. “Book Club” addresses partially why it is so. We think of older people as being fragile and not being able to take care of themselves. That may be true of some but times are changing. Seniors go to the gym, beat us dirty thirties on runs (so many of them beat me every time I take part in a race!), they study, start new careers and like everyone else want to have sex.

On the top of raising social awareness “Book Club” is just an enjoyable comedy to watch. You know the type: won’t change your life but is a pleasurable pastime that gives you a few laughs and will be forgotten in a week or two. A big advantage of this particular movie is that you can see some great Hollywood actors on screen, including Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Andy Garcia, just to enumerate some of them. As a typical romantic comedy it’s oversimplified and things go way too smoothly for the characters but that’s just a part of the genre. I think someone who has read “50 Shades of Grey” will appreciate the movie more (certainly get more jokes) than someone who hasn’t. Please don’t read the book if you haven’t, though ’cause it’s really trashy! I also don’t think reading it made as much impact on anyone as it did on the characters but exaggeration is oh well, yet again a part of the genre.

All in all, if you want some light entertainment, you’ll probably get exactly that out of “The Book Club”. If romcoms irritate you, rather skip this one.

 

Review: On Chesil Beach

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Let’s talk about sex, baby. “On Chesil Beach” for a movie about sex has very little of it happening on screen so don’t get too excited. This lyrical adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel (check out my review of his novel “Sweet Tooth” here) with the screenplay by the author has just debuted on South African screens. It’s worth a watch, especially if you’re a McEwan fan, but far from brilliant.

Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle) are in love but come from very different backgrounds. They can talk for hours, have fun together and his family loves her. But are they truly a match? They’ve never had sex or know much about it, which will make their wedding night truly unforgettable and not in the right way.
The narrative in the movie splits between the said wedding night and how the relationship had progressed leading to it. Sounds promising? Perhaps but something went wrong. Maybe it’s just that two hours for an adaptation of a very short novel (or should I say a novella? The Booker Prize Committee seemed confused too!) was just too much screen time, which is why it resulted in lengthy story telling?

The movie certainly addresses a number of interesting issues such as sexual (and general) compatibility, the importance of sex in a relationship, sexual frustration of well-behaved people. I can’t complain about the acting either. The performances by both actors are, in fact, very strong. Seeing that their relation is the focal point of the story, it adds a lot to the movie. You may remember Saoirse Ronan as a young girl from another adaptation of a McEwan novel, “Atonement”. Already there she was a remarkable actress and she doesn’t disappoint in “On Chesil Beach”. She’s detached, calm and perhaps slightly deprived of emotions, just like I imagined Florence when reading the book. Billy Howle as Edward is quite a straightforward guy, at the same time fierce and awkward. Other actors are somewhat peripheral but they do a good job too. I also really appreciate the music and beautiful scenery.
Unfortunately, it was just all not enough to keep my attention through the movie. I really like deep, well-constructed characters but this movie completely forgets that there needs to be some action. Watching the film felt a little bit like watching a couple’s therapy session.

To sum up, “On Chesil Beach” is an okay plus watch. I can see and appreciate what the director and the scriptwriter tried to do there but I’m not buying it as a product. Now to finish off I’ll share with you an amusing anecdote about the writing of the novel: Apparently, Ian McEwan has admitted to taking a few stones from Chesil Beach in a radio interview. He kept them at his desk when writing. This confession caused protests by Mother Nature lovers as that was apparently illegal, which the author hadn’t know about. He ended up paying a fine of 2000 pounds. Go figure, the Brits!

 

Review : Significant Other @ The Fugard Theatre

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So, this is a bit of a pointless review as Significant Other is only playing at the Fugard for a few more days but let’s chat about it regardless…

The storyline is a twist on that of a typical chick flick (so great for a girls night out). Jordan Berman, like much of the Tinderverse, is desperately looking for ‘The One’ and again like the majority of 20/30 somethings is failing miserably in that mission. Unfortunately for him, Jordan is at that age where are his friends are rapidly pairing off one by one. To make matters worse, all of his closest girlfriends keep getting hitched. Forcing him to deal with the following :

a) the associated expenses (bachelorettes, destination weddings, wedding gifts, etc)

b) the plus one conundrum 

c) and the fact is expected to support and be happy for his friends (most of whom he knows are just settling) while he is crying inside because his ‘social life’ (as his grandmother calls it) is basically non-existent.

d) Oh, and the fact that not only is he never the bride/groom but he doesn’t even get bridesmaid privledges. Boo hoo.

As any single girl knows while getting yourself a bit of casual sex isn’t all that hard, finding Mr Right is much easier said than done (let’s hop along and find a unicorn at the end of a rainbow instead!).

For what it’s worth, Significant Other is nice light-hearted bit of entertainment. While it’s not to high-brow or taxing on the brain, I think many will be able to relate to it. We’ve all been THAT single person before. There was some debate as to whether or not people liked the shows ending…and more generally whether or not a person needs to be ok enough with themselves to be single forever or whether they should always continue the search for Mr/Miss Right even if they become bitter in the process? Something for you to ponder in the comments below.

 

Review: Queer Eye

Queer Eye“Queer Eye” is a Netflix reboot of an American reality show, which ran for a few years and was cancelled in 2007. The premise of the old show and of the new one is simple: a number of gay men, known as the Fab Five performs a makeover. A typical formula of an episode is: the Fab Five changes a person’s clothes (Tan), hair and grooming habits (Jonathan), house (Bobby), teaches them something useful in social/cultural life (Karamo) and a tad about cooking (Antoni). I have just finished watching season 2 of the show and I’m happy to share some thoughts.

First of all, I love how “Queer Eye” plays with stereotypes (just look at the title!). Unfortunately, there’s a very limited general perception of gay men assuming they’re all the same in terms of behavior. Obviously, gay men as any other group are very diverse and can’t and shouldn’t be all put in one box. “Queer Eye” is spreading social awareness in that way, giving the audience five men who are gay and that’s pretty much the only thing they have in common. They have different backgrounds, personalities, sense of humor and tasks on the show. Fortunately, they all do get on well at least on screen (I assume off screen too as they demanded to all be paid the same), which makes the show really entertaining to watch.

The Fab Five is based in Atlanta and usually makes over a straight man. Season 1 was a bit too scripted for my liking with the men to be made over seemingly chosen by (an American) social issue to discuss. The chats with the participants aimed at “solving the issues” were at times painful to watch. Season 2 seemed to have been much more free-flowing.
Let’s be real here, I don’t think a makeover can change anyone’s life entirely but it’s definitely a first step in a good direction and it’s nice to watch people grow. Despite this artificiality, which is just a part of reality TV, “Queer Eye” is actually a very entertaining and heartwarming show. It’s really pleasant to see people being nice to one another, especially when they’re seemingly very different. It reminds the audience that at the end of the day, we always have something in common with others. Being bullied ad school (check out my review of “13 Reasons Why, Season 2”), not being accepted by one’s family or just a general struggle with being one’s true self are very widespread problems. Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we tried to relate a bit more to one another and focus on what we share rather than on what divides us?

Apart from the educational value of “Queer Eye” there’s a lot of guilty pleasure in watching it. It’s fun to see neglected houses turning into simple masterpieces and men with beards that hide the last two weeks of breakfast in them becoming their best looking selves.It’s a good reality show that you can watch with pleasure when the Cape Town dams are filling up with water due to the rainfalls, during your local winter or whenever you need a pick-me up. I’m really looking forward to season 3!

Why Are Relationships So Hard?

tough“Why are relationships so hard?” isn’t only a popular search term that brings people to our website but also a question people seem to ask often in real life. So here are some answers you may (or equally may not) find relevant to you:

  1. You’re with a wrong person

We could indulge in a philosophical conversation about how nothing truly is right or wrong and how things sometimes are right for that particular moment in a person’s life. We could but we won’t. Being with a person you’re not a match with is like trying to link two puzzles of not complimentary shapes together. It may be almost right or it can even look like it’s the right one for a while but soon it will become evident it isn’t the one you’ve been looking for.
A bad start  is a particularly good indicator of you and the person perhaps just being wrong for one another. I know that people love to romanticize martyrdom and sacrifice but love isn’t meant to be hard, especially not in the beginning. Your partner is supposed to be a source of strength, not someone who drains you.

2. Your expectations may be too high

A good relationship is exactly that… a good relationship. It is NOT a solution to all your life problems. If your life isn’t working otherwise, even the best relationship won’t do much for you. Besides, if your life is a mess you’re likely to end up dating someone who’s life is a mess and that just complicates things because now you not only have to sort your shit out but also encourage someone to sort their shit out and if you don’t manage, break up with them when you realise all they do is drag you down. It’s possible that the relationship isn’t hard but just everything in your life is and it feels that way. Also, don’t ever trust what you see on social media wishing you were like this or that couple. It ain’t real.

3.  Define “hard”

Life’s hard in general. If your complaint is that you encounter certain problems in your relationship and you don’t spend all your time with your partner lovingly staring in each other’s eyes while simultaneously shitting rainbows, well, that’s life. A fight from time to time is healthy and so is a bit of silence. You’ll never again have the intensity of the first few months either (not that you could actually live on that little sleep forever). It’s just science.
However, if your partner makes your life a living hell or you have serious issues with them it may be best to seek some professional help. That applies to a long-term relationships. If it’s not working right in the beginning, rather let it go (also read point 1 of this post).

4. Maybe you’re the problem

People love to blame things on other people and make swift generalizations. Whenever someone says something like “Men are just like that.” what they really mean is “Men have been like that in my experience because that’s the kind of men I’ve been choosing but change is difficult so I prefer to say something which sounds like a general rule so that I don’t feel bad about it.” After all, if something is just reality you’re being pragmatic, right? Wrong. Listen out for statements of this sort you make and analyze whether they’re actually true.
It may be that you keep repeating yourself that relationships are hard just to avoid the truth about your relationship or relationships being hard. Have you noticed the “you” part? That’s because you and your choice of partners is the problem. Now, if you want to know why is that invest in psychotherapy or other professional help who’ll help to discover the reasons because no one is paying me to discover that!

5. The why isn’t that important

Whether you have a low threshold for problems in life, you’ve chosen a wrong partner or you just like to say things like this to make yourself feel less responsible for your life, understanding the “why” behind the question “Why are relationships so hard” won’t help you. Sometimes there is no “why” like with why some people are born to poverty or children die of cancer. Things just are and if you prefer you can believe in supernatural being such as gods and their plans. Alternatively, you can accept that some things just are.
Brief, don’t ask “Why Are Relationships so Hard?” rather choose questions about things which you can change like “Why Is It 7th time in my life I’m asking myself “Why Are Relationships So Hard?”?” or “Why Do I Find Relationships so Hard?”.

 

 

Review: Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

mating in captivityEsther Perel is a renowned psychotherapist who has been working with couples like forever. One of her main interests are long-term relationships and more specifically domestic sexuality and infidelity. She’s also fluent in 9 languages and in general a very impressive smart thinker. During one of my book shopping splurges I bought a copy of her book “Mating in Captivity” and here’s what I think about it.

“Mating in Captivity” is an interesting read. Theoretical parts of the book are supported with Perel’s clients cases. It’s quite a comprehensive book in some aspects. I did feel, however, like it was written a bit too much on the basis of Perel’s work experience and thoughts and there was too little focus on other books/research on the topic.
The author makes some very important points. She underlines how a good couple is a union of independent beings and how dependence and lack of separation is a desire killer. This is counter-intuitive given our social and cultural programming (just think about the Jerry Maguire everyone’s favorite line to his love interest “You complete me.”). I also liked how she pointed out the importance of society in formation of our expectations and views regarding sexuality and domesticity. As a representative of any Western society, you can relate to most of what she’s talking about. Still, some of her points are very American culture oriented and fall flat with a non-American reader.
The society has a big impact on us but Perel couldn’t be a respectable psychotherapist without mentioning a thing or two about the impact of childhood and our relationship with parents on our sexuality. Last but not least, she discusses the complex reasons why children can be such sex life killers and no, just being tired isn’t anywhere close to the full explanation.

The book provides food for thought and reads well. I do have certain doubts about its use for a troubled couple, though. Let’s say someone, for instance, thinks that spending 100% of your time apart from work with your partner is the blueprint for happiness but after years of doing so is struggling with resentment and a non-existent sex life. I really doubt that pointing out that this isn’t the way to go, even if supported with an appropriate case study will encourage this person to change. In a way, as good as this book is, it does feel a little bit like preaching to the choir. Perhaps the genre of the book is a bit unclear? It has some traits of a self-help book as well as some of a more general “how human works” vibe. Anyway, thanks, Madame Perel for making me feel justified in my judgment of other couples 😉