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 ūüėČ

 

Advertisements

When Things Change

bloom-blossom-blur-162311Some people dread change, others almost pathologically follow it and then there’s this third group there’s somewhere in between. I’ve been a representative of all three groups at some points in my life. Regardless of what your attitude to change is, things do change so embracing it is just a part of life.

Of course, there are all these unpredictable horrible changes that happen to people. A dreadful disease, a death of a family member, a loss of job or a lover. Life’s full of surprises and many of them are far from pleasant. It’s often not easy to deal with something bad that has hit us unexpectedly, especially that we foolishly consider our lives comfortably predictable and safe. My general make up is more of an expectation of the worst so my relationship with this source of change is weird. It’s not like I’m not angry or sad it’s more like underneath all these feelings there’s a strong undertone of “Oh, hello, tragedy, I’ve been expecting you.” Now, to be honest (touch wood) I’ve been so far spared many of the worst life tragedies and I have had an objectively easy life. Being highly sensitive, however, means that I sometimes take blows that would mean almost nothing or little to other people very badly.

Anyway, let’s not talk about the bad stuff. Change can also be positive but even if it is, it can bring unexpected consequences. For instance, I remember when being a singleton I was the first one to criticize friends who get too comfy with their boyfriends or girlfriends and ditch their friends. Almost two years into being married I still believe that being a separate unit from your partner is crucial to your personal and couple happiness. Say “yes” to hobbies, friends and networking. Still, part of having a functional relationship is spending a lot of time together doing both fun and domestic things with your partner. Even though I used to be so eager to judge, today I must say that life just isn’t the same for a single person as for a person in a committed relationship. When you like spending time with your partner (and if you don’t why are you together?) and they’re your priority, your time for other things becomes more limited. Some things even have to go and honestly you’re quite happy to let them. Sure, it’s nice to have an extended date with your girlfriends from time to time but your preference for a weekend away will be most of the time to be with your partner and/or other members of the coupleverse.

So there’s a partner that will unavoidably change your world in some way. Then there are other things related to being an adult. For some people this means puppies and for other children. The point is, unless you’ve been in the situation yourself you don’t really understand to what extent such things change your life. Surely you’ve been telling people either directly or indirectly “Ah, but you used to be out all the time!”. Of course, when you’re on the receiving end and it’s your friend getting steady with someone or moving abroad or enrolling into a study program on the top of their full-time job you’re the one feeling the emptiness. Unavoidably, however, you’ll be at some point the one changing (and if you won’t is this really a good sign and are you developing at all?). It seems like the best thing to do is to try to get as comfortable with life changes as you can. Both yours and that of others because change is very often a sign of growth and what doesn’t grow is dead (even if just inside!). Also, there’s no point crying over spilt milk and all.

Last but not least, no one changes entirely. Big events in life usually just strengthen the features that people have already had. These moms that tell you they have no time whatsoever for exercise now that they have kids and you’ll understand that one day, in most cases didn’t use to be active before the kids either (just don’t point that out cause they’ll bite your head off!). Active parenthood is a thing and as challenging as it must be many active people fight to upkeep that lifestyle in some modified way.¬† The people that all of a sudden start to be crazy late after they get a promotion using their Responsible Job as an excuse, usually used to annoy the shit out of you with this characteristic before too. Those who can’t keep any arrangements after they found a new partner, become just more flakey than before. In other words, yeah life sometimes changes drastically but people are also full of shit and LOVE excuses. Am I right or am I right?

When things change and they change all the time, try to go with a flow. Sometimes change pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes your life even better than before. Other times it makes it worst.¬†Sure, it’s annoying when you had been happy about something and this something changed but it’s just life. Moan and complain a little bit and then move on!

Sad Spinsters vs. Bachelorettes – Why Can’t ‘Cool’ Women End Up Forever Single?

image

Recently there have been some half-hearted attempts at creating ‘feminist’ fairytales where the focus of the story isn’t about the prince and princess ending up together and living happily ever after. Sure, we should give Disney some credit for trying to show the world there can be more to life than finding your prince/princess, getting married, moving to the ‘burbs, getting a puppy, and procreating….you know how it goes. But honestly I think it’s going to be a long time before society really deems it ‘cool’ to end up single and actually accept that this fate a legitimate choice, especially for a woman. Let’s break look at this issue in a little more detail…

Does anyone with options ever really choose to be single?

I’ll admit I’m a bit old fashioned but I honestly don’t believe that humans are meant to end up alone – no man is an island and all. I understand people who’ve had a bit of experience and encountered their fair share of fuckwit humans may justify staying single to save themselves the heartache and stress in the future.

I’ve met plenty of people who have criticised my somewhat unconventional relationships and overuse of Tinder while loudly declaring how they happy they are to save themselves the drama and resign themselves to a life of singledom. Still, I always seem to sense some undertones of bitterness right there.

We all know THAT Aunty! 

Ok so maybe she isn’t your actual aunt. But we all know one of those women. The ones who never got married and had kids or did the conventional thing. Do you have any you actually look up to? Hmm…maybe you do? But I just find that people pity them and question whoever is going to look after them in their old age. God knows?! Perhaps one of the weird and wonderful gold diggers of Obs will go in for the kill and inherit an R2 million house in the process. #truestory!

Why isn’t there a male version of a sad spinster?

I’m not saying society doesn’t frown upon a man who is still playing the field in his 50s. But he still gets way more kudos if he is a Hugh Hefner type than his female equivalent. For me, the connotations associated with a bachelor are somewhat associated with a (sad) spinster. While the eternally single man is always pictured hitting the club, probably being a bit of a perve and plying pretty young girls with drinks while the sad spinster is almost sitting a home in her dowdy nightgown with nothing but a dog (and a jar of peanut butter) for the company. Why do we never hear about an actual female equivalent of a bachelor (a bachelorette if you want to call it that) – an eternally single woman who despite some commitment issues is out having fun rather than being the object of public pity?

So, maybe I just have an old-fashioned mindset but I still think that it’s sad when people give up on (human) love/companionship/whatever floats your boat. I guess for some they just get caught up with other more important things like work and education and by the time they get round to thinking about settling down it’s a too little too late and all the good specimens are already taken. Not everyone is lucky enough to meet their soulmate organically walking down the road, in the library or at the gym. The reality is that most people nowadays are actively looking for love. I do hope one day there will be single old ladies that make it somewhat cool/ok to end up alone but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. And although, being an old bachelor may not seem as dire as spinsterhood I think the prospect of growing old and dying alone isn’t particularly desirable regardless of gender. As #zlotybaby once reminded me when I was busy crushing on an elderly troll/eternal bachelor he is only looking for a young(ish) chick so he can have someone to wipe his ass when he is old and incapable.

Finally, it’s over to you dearest rinsers! Am I just being old-fashioned? Why is it is less cool for a woman to end up forever single? Do you know any female equivalents of a bachelor? And finally does the idea of becoming a spinster/bachelor stop you from giving up on love entirely? Answers in the comments below. Please and thank you!

 

 

 

Review: 13 Reasons Why, Season 2

13-Reasons-Why-season2Like many people who watched season 1 of 13 Reasons Why, I did not expect another installment. The narrative seemed exploited enough and the end lacked the regular baits allowing the makers to continue with the plot. It’s difficult to stop once you’re successful, I guess, and the decision has been made to give the audience more.

Was a continuation of the series a good idea? Season 1 gave us what it promised: 13 reasons why Hannah decided to kill herself. It was a good series for teenagers to feel they’re not alone and for those of us who are older, it was a reminder of how horrible high school can be. I’d lie if I said that “13 Reasons Why” wasn’t a bit trashy. Still, it was actually enjoyable. I can’t say the same about season 2.
There’s always something more to say about a story or a character but it doesn’t mean that it has to be said. It’s okay for the audience to have some questions, doubts and a sense that their appetite has not been completely satisfied. That’s exactly what makes people remember series, movies and books. The financially driven compulsion to continue doesn’t always serve the initial product. If the producers wanted to milk that cow a bit longer, perhaps a spin-off focusing on one of the characters was a better idea. Season 2 doesn’t really add anything valuable to Hannah’s story.

The premise is a mixture of the present day school life with a court case between Hannah’s parents and her high school. Clay is still the main focal point of the narrative but it’s more split among other kids than in the previous season. There’s also the ghost of Hannah that keeps following the poor boy (I know, right?). The plot is pushed in a way to awaken enough interest in us about other characters to watch season 3 and the end is this time very clearly open to tempt us into wanting more.
What we learn from the new installment about Hannah’s life makes us feel like she wasn’t as lonely and hopeless as it seemed in her tapes. The friendships she had now seem much more meaningful. Was she really as lonely as she described it? We learn more about betrayals she experienced as well but they feel more justified, seen from the point of view of other kids. All stuff that happened to Hannah is still horrible¬†but somehow after this season she seems less not more relateable.

I also was quite disappointed in the didactic nature of this season. I understand the need to send the message to kids that they’re not alone but did they really have to include all the painfully scripted conversations that I never think would come out of the mouth of a real person? It just smells of propaganda. The wildly advertised additional resources are a place to go to look for help. Characters should behave the way the would in real life, even if it’s not always commendable.

To sum up, I was disappointed with season 2. “13 Reasons Why” didn’t need a sequel and certainly not the one it ended up receiving. If you enjoyed the series rather skip it to be able to retain good memories of it.

Unpopular Views and Choices

solitude

Having unpopular views and making unpopular choices may be glorified in film and literature but in reality, it doesn’t make anyone’s life’s easier. Long-term “living life on your own terms” can be annoying and occasionally even depressing. Te reality check often happens when you leave the bubble of your comfort zone and you deal with an outsider who has views so different to yours that he or she may seem like an alien from a different planet.

Let’s be honest, going with the herd is just what’s expected. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t believe in any gods, don’t want children, have 20 of them, dyed your hair pink or moved countries. Whenever you do something that most people don’t do and the effects of it are visible, the question you’ll get is “Why…?” and you’ll get it often.
I remember once hearing a father replying to his son’s question “Why does this lady dye her hair blue?” and him replying “Because that’s the colour she’s chosen for herself.”
It is, of course, possible to make yourself more open-minded. Unfortunately, a lot of people prefer to be surprised all the time, stare and ask. And hey, perhaps I’m a bit jealous. If it rocks your whole world every time you see glitter on someone who’s more than 5 than you truly have an exciting life!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that people’s tendencies grow with age. Those who were close-minded get even more into their shells and people who rocked the boat once are not shy to do it again. I think those who by some circumstances were pushed to do something out of ordinary develop a certain liking for it.¬†I mean, it is liberating that you don’t have to do whatever people do and expect you to do but you can rather ask yourself whether it’s your preference.
Such an intrinsically motivated life can be definitely satisfying and sometimes when you’re on your own you can smile to yourself, feeling that you live a life you truly want. However, what people often leave out in their narratives of breaking the rules is the price that they have to pay for it. Sometimes they truly get so self-absorbed in the bubble they created that they forget that there’s a whole outside world out there who judges and disapproves.

Sometimes the meeting with this world is an Uber trip. The driver and I discussed charity. The conversation was full of mutual back-patting related to our amazing awareness of social issues. To improve the good impression the driver said that he’s a Muslim but that’s not why he helps others, it’s because he feels it’s needed. “What religion are you?” he said. Oh dear, I thought but “None,” I replied nonetheless. Then came the silence till I was dropped off and an Uber star rating that lowered my general score. Must be because of this baby I ate for breakfast.
Another time it was my husband’s drunk family member who cornered me in the bathroom at my own wedding, relentlessly trying to learn why my parents weren’t there. The reasons were complicated and none of them was something that I wanted to discuss or be reminded of. She wasn’t accepting any vague replies and eventually, I was saved by another wedding guest pressing bladder.
Yet another time it was actually a funny reminder. A post official misspelled my name and surname in a way that it started to look like a local one.
In any case, making unpopular choices is the easy part, it’s living with them that sometimes is difficult. All I’m saying is: let’s be real and just not forget in our “I’m such a unique snowflake and a rule breaker” narratives that sometimes it’s tough and annoying to be one. Especially, when like me, you struggle to bite your tongue.

Now, even though it can be difficult to express your unpopular views (be it in speech or behaviour), I still think it’s the only way to be. Therefore, what’s left is navigating through the difficulties. Here are certain techniques when people start being nosy and annoying, asking you the question you’ve been asked a zillion of times:

  • Sarcasm

You remember Bridget Jones, the role model of all 30ish singletons? (Btw Poland is so bad in stigmatising being single that I could relate to her in my early 20s!). She had the following exchange with someone at a party trying to publicly shame her:

“- Why are there so MANY unmarried women these days?

– It could be because beneath our clothes, our bodies are completely covered with scales?!?”

If someone is trying to publicly shame you or is asking you a nosy and rude question such as why don’t you have a boyfriend (or when will you have babies or why do you have an accent etc) make a sarcastic remark referring to the underlying cause of your situation this person is suggesting there is.

  • Reply with a question turning the tables

This is my favourite personal technique that unfortunately I often only use afterwards in my head after someone put me on the spot and I got emotional and hurt. Whatever someone’s asking, if you ask them “Why are you asking?” and start drilling, you allow them to embarrass themselves. Ideally, it goes something like that:

– So when are you planning to have children?

– Why are you asking?

A person either gets apologetic and says something like “No reason” or starts to express their actual views, which often end up being embarrassing in the eyes of everyone taking part in the exchange. You can also pull their tongue if they say something too vague with “So is what you’re saying…?” or “So do you think that…?” Expect fun results and blushing!

  • Get emotional and angry

I don’t like this technique but because of my personal characteristics, I use it most often. Many people will back off when you get visibly upset but they also get what they came for. You are, after all, insecure about your silly choice and there is some underlying issue there!

  • Be vulnerable

If you want to shut someone’s mouth forever, being vulnerable is a great option. Sometimes it can genuinely improve your relationship with the person, other times it will at least get them off your back. You can either truly tell them what you think about the issue or share the problems that are related to it. You may end up being accused of oversharing¬†but in this case, it’s a means to an end.

Let me know in the comments section whether you have any more tips or thoughts on the matter! Also, enjoy this sort of related Monty Python clip because Monty Python is always good:

 

 

 

 

Review: I Feel Pretty

I_feel_pretty

Bless ladies nights made for watching chick flicks you’d never dare to watch on your own! “I Feel Pretty” has a 4.6 IMDB rating at the moment (29th of May) so as you’d expect, it’s not a great movie. Still, it’s actually an enjoyable watch after a long day/week at work when the last thing you want to do is think.

The star of “I Feel Pretty” is Amy Schumer so you immediately know that you should expect a comedy. Her character Renee is far from what the standards of beauty teach us about how to be. She is a bit chubby and her sense of style may be questionable. Most importantly, Renee is very insecure, which makes her unsuccessful in her dating and work life. One day she bumps her head at the gym and all of a sudden starts to think she ticks all the boxes the superficial society imposes on us. Can her own percerption of herself, however skewed, change her life?

The premise is, let’s be honest, quite uncomplicated an unrealistic. So what? It still creates lots of entartaining and cringeworthy moments for the main characters and others.¬†Pehaps the strongest criticism of the movie is that it operates on the basis of very simplistic assumptions about inner and outer beauty, love and success. There will be no groundbreaking enlightments after watching it, unless just like the main character you are convinced that if only you were prettier life would have been completely different¬† and that its the lack of standard beauty that prevents you from making your dreams come true. Well, sorry for the spoiler but it’s really not all about the looks unless you’re a model (and probably not even then).
The oversimplification doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to say about criticising a society that’s so obsessed with not so much looking good as with perfection. The mainstream culture does promote certain standard of beauty and well being that is difficult to achieve. Perhaps the main character’s fixation of achieving it has more to do with the culture than with herself.

I’d not dare to overanalyze, though. It’s a simple, mildly entertaining comedy, which will keep you amused for most of the time. Towards the end it gets painfully predictable and intellectually offensive, to the point that watching it becomes a struggle. Apart from Amy Schumer who’s quite funny and doesn’t mind making fun of herself, the movie is worth watching for Michelle Williams. She’s really entertaining in the role of a seemingly perfect Avery LeClaire.

To sum up, watch the movie but with a bunch of girlfriends and don’t expect too much.

What Getting a Puppy Taught Me About Potentially Having Children

Laika cuteThere’s no doubt that having a child is a much bigger deal than having a puppy. I doubt I will ever join the ranks of those, who require to be wished “Happy Mother’s Day” on Mother’s Day just because they have a “fur baby”. A baby is a baby and a puppy is a puppy. I do feel it’s taking away from the actual motherhood to claim they’re the same or even closely comparable. Having said that, I have to admit that the plan of getting the puppy had something to do with me checking how I feel about taking on a much bigger responsibility in the foreseeable future. I’ve found out, not surprisingly, that I’m nowhere close to being ready for the following reasons:

1. It requires time

You’d think that puppies aren’t a big deal. You know, you give them their food, water and toys, walk them and play with them from time to time and they pretty much raise themselves. Well, no, or at least no, if you’re aspiring for your puppy not to become the hound of the Baskervilles. You have to spend time to train them not to steal your food so that you can sit down when eating a meal, not to bark at other dogs and humans, not to poo and pee whenever and wherever they feel like it, not to jump and scratch etc In other words, it takes up your free time. Of course, you can also just ignore your puppy and let it do whatever it wants, leaving it on its own in the house for the whole day…but then it’s cruel and why to get a puppy at all? Children definitely require this multiply by a zillion. At this stage of my life I’m not willing to give up any more free time than I already do for the doggo.

2. It’s all about priorities

When you have a child it becomes your priority and it’s understandable. When you get a puppy it’s okay for it not to be your priority. After almost 7 year spent in a foreign countries and millions of problems related to immigration I start to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel workwise. Regardless of what my father-in-law says about the state of my career, I am and always have been career oriented. I need to be happy where I am in life (= professionally) first in order to be a happy mother. At this point in my life having a child would cause me to resent it and that’s not something a child should live with. Thanks to the wonder of contraception we can now decide (if and) when we want to have children to give them the optimal experience of us (because let’s be honest, we’ll fuck them up a bit however hard we try).

3. I take everything seriously and 4. I like to be good at the things I do

My mom says I’ve never been much of a child and I guess it’s true. I’ve always been serious about life. As I commented before in my thoughts before turning 30 I have definitely realised that some things don’t work out and it’s almost never the end of the world. I’m certainly more chilled than I’ve ever been but… it still leaves me quite a serious person. I guess some people just ride life like surfers waves. When dealing with a topic like getting a puppy, they hear this or that from friends, listen to a vet or maybe not even that. In general are chilled and hoping for the best. Not me. I read books and articles for general advice and Google everything to double check. Do you know what kind of peanut butter is good for your puppy and what kind can potentially kill it? Do you know which fruit and vegetables are safe and which can cause potentially long term damage? How much puppy blood on a toy is okay and a sign of healthy teething? Just ask me, I know it ALL now. At the same time I’m not ready to enroll on the course baby101 because I don’t want to just finish it. I want 100% and then to get a Master’s Degree.

4. I struggle with anxiety (in life but also especially now in relation to the dog)

The truth is that since we got the puppy I’ve been spending a lot of time being afraid I will kill it due to my negligence or some terrible mistake. Did you know that it’s okay to give your puppy an apple but not the seeds as they contain cyanide? Yes, the same things that have been used in many terrible instances in human history to get rid of people. I also obsess about the smallest signs of something being wrong. If the dog limps for five minutes I fight with myself not to research 24h vets in the area just yet. When she gets really scared I wonder whether she can die because of it. I worry about her a lot and always think about the worst case scenario. I’m trying to rewire but it’s just like this mental trail that my mind always chooses. I’m really not ready to worry that I will somehow cause some harm to a little human, especially that avoiding all the harm is completely impossible. I either have to find a way to worry less (I’m already off booze and cigarettes, exercise regularly, cut down on caffeine and meditate so don’t recommend me any of that!) or give up and find someone who doesn’t mind giving me a lifetime supply of meds.

5. It’s a massive responsibility

Having a dog (let alone having a child) is a massive responsibility because it’s another being that depends on you. If you won’t feed it, it’ll be hungry and eventually die. Don’t show it enough love and affection and it’ll get sad and so on and so forth. All of a sudden making all your plans you have to take this being into account. Sure, you can leave a puppy alone but it’s rather upset when you disappear for too long. It doesn’t understand where you are and wonders whether you’ll ever come back. That leaves you with making plans for your longer outings: getting someone who’ll take care of it, dropping it somewhere where someone will take care of it or considering taking it with you. In any case, you always have to think about it. It’s a responsibility and a child is an even bigger one.

In short, the puppy is great (see the pic above) but I’m not ready for more. I see myself being ready maybe somewhere in 5 years or so. The fearmongers who worry about my biological clock: 1) I’m not planning to have biological children and seeing I’ve decided that around 15 I think I’m unlikely to change my mind and 2) should I decide to have biological children later in life: more and more women successfully do so, so please kindly worry about your own uterus. Oh and to those who think it’s selfish, kindly read #englishrosiee’s post about it.

 

 

 

 

How Often Does LOVE Actually Exist Behind Closed Doors ?

article-2360193-1AC402D5000005DC-759_634x456.jpg

#zlotybaby’s post on the #royalwedding shed some light on the human obsession with weddings. NB: Weddings. Not love. Not the marriage that comes after the wedding. But the event itself. And in some cases, it is a GBP 32 million event. Everyone and his dog seems to feel they should voice an opinion on such events. Whether it’s about Meghan’s hairdo or just a lowly pleb’s bad choice in caterers – I’m sure the ugly aunties, pervy uncles and even the next door neighbour’s cat will have something to say. Oh and don’t even get me started on what people are going to be saying if you aren’t in a rush to get down the aisle, pop out babies or follow the crowd.¬†Breaking with convention (as we saw Harry and Meghan do on a number of levels) is certainly going to get you some backlash from those who did/are doing it RIGHT.

Anyways I’m getting ahead of myself here. This isn’t the post about where I bitch and moan about lavish weddings, I’ll save that one for a rainy day. Getting to the point, what I want to talk about today is how often ‘love’ (in the traditional sense – whatever that is) really exists behind the facade of all the ever-perfect relationships we are bombarded with today. Life these days (like weddings) has¬†become nothing more than a big fat competition¬†– who is the most successful? Who has the best relationship? Who has achieved all those big life¬†goals by the arbitrary deadlines set by society? With that kind of pressure and all the¬†requirements, people strive for in a potential partner¬† –¬† I really find it hard to believe that ‘love’ features that heavily in most people’s stories.

Call me a cynic all you want but I think often all the ‘perfection’ we see around us is a bit of an illusion and you only need to start looking beyond those lavish weddings and facebook declarations of love to see that things aren’t all that peachy. Let’s look at things a little more closely.

Long distance marriages

Long distance relationships. Been there, done that. And I can honestly say from experience that they are not much fun. The novelty of playing online battleships and falling asleep with your Skype camera on wears off pretty quickly when you only get to do the deed once every six months!¬†But maybe, I’m just a needy little girl because there are some people that can make it ‘work’ for years and years. Take for instance long distance marriages which feature kids, pets and extravagant¬†holidays but where the couple themselves only meet a couple of times a year. But don’t worry, he got her that Cartier bling she was after so it’s all good.

I get it if your financial situation requires you to take up a lucrative job offer in a butt fuck nowhere in order to support the fam but in some cases, it seems that it is the long-distance element that has allowed the relationship to stand the test of time. Perhaps there could be nothing worse than having to share a whole country with the dude you married. Let’s just say, I’ve probably spent more time with boyfriends from bad relationships that these couples have with the ones they said ‘I do’ to!

And if you can’t emigrate to avoid your spouse remember this is the age of Ashley Madison ….

Behind many of these real-life fairytales, lies a deep, dark and sinister subplot AKA the affair. Even though most people won’t admit it, monogamy is overrated in this age! All those perfect relationships you see happening around you, well, the stats say that 1 in 3 marriages feature some form of infidelity somewhere down the line. Even the Royals aren’t immune!

And the sad truth is that in most instances it won’t even end in divorce. People just carry on. Some choose to turn the other check while others go to couples therapy. And some just seek revenge in the arms of the gardener/maid/car-guard/stripper. What a time to be alive!

But surely noone wants to die alone. So just get a buddy and sleep in different beds …

While women feel the pressure to settle down thanks to that ticking biological clock, there comes a time when even the most eligible of bachelors has to come to terms with the fact that unless he puts a ring on it he is most likely to end up dying alone. It really is a scary thought.

It’s a reasonable motivation to settle down, I suppose. Love doesn’t necessarily have to feature. It’s about finding someone you can tolerate you enough to share their space with you to some extent. Of course, sex, snuggles and the like are going to become too much effort as we age anyway. So why not cut to the chase and set yourself up in separate beds from the go? #truestory!

Yup so, that wonderful thing called LOVE. Well, it is a nice idea and all…But the next time people make you feel sad about the state of your life and the fact that you might not be sticking to the convention just remember that as great as all those social media official relationships look, you just need to scratch the surface to see that things aren’t all that perfect. Love doesn’t always feature in these things and clearly lots of people don’t think it’s a requirement for a ‘functioning’ relationship. But sometimes I guess the facade of these things help because of deep down we are all different degrees of dysfunctional. What I’m saying is people should do whatever makes them happy – marry a pleb, marry a movie star, don’t get married – just live in sin, sleep in separate beds, live in different time zones, whatever. And if you are lucky you may just find a glimmer of love somewhere hidden behind the Facebook pictures, public glorification, etc and if not well just try not to die alone (and get eaten by Alsatians!) ūüėõ

OK Rinsers. How prominently do you think love features in our relationship choices today? Is it all about the facade and reaching major milestones at the given deadline? Or are relationships more about companionship so we don’t need to die alone? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Royal Wedding AKA Hey, It’s Me Complaining About the Royalty Again

the wedding.jpg“Have you watched the Royal wedding?” People ask. “No,” I reply and politely don’t add “Why did you?/Should I?”. I expressed my views about the Royals on this blog before but let me quickly summarize them for you:

  1. I don’t think some people are better than others just because of the family in which they were born. The world makes it very unfair as it is for many people around the world who are born in all sorts of circumstances that make their life difficult. From zero to hero is a myth we like to believe and a statistical anomaly. Life is hard as it is. Archaic concepts such as monarchy make it even more unequal.
  2. Seeing that I don’t believe that the Royals are any better than commoners just because of who their parents are, I don’t understand the ado about them. Fair enough the Queen who has a job is salaried but the rest of them? I also don’t understand why British taxpayers pay for their lavish weddings (or why people need lavish weddings at all).

The core of my disinterest in the Royal Wedding lies my 1) dislike for people’s alleged superiority and a little bit 2) the trend of splurging on weddings in general.

Now, when it comes to watching weddings I’m not particularly interested in any apart from those of people close to my heart. I don’t know Meghan Markle and I don’t know Prince Harry (do you?). I’d perhaps be more interested in a wedding of someone famous who I admire for their achievements. Sure, I’ve indulged in reading some gossip about them. Markle has definitely won some affection from my side for being a rule breaker, ignoring the haters and getting what she wanted. I even Googled Markle’s dress because she’s gorgeous and I was curious how she would like on her wedding day. However, to spend a few hours of my precious lifetime to watch two absolute strangers tying the knot seems ludicrous. Of course, everyone is allowed to waste their time as they wish and I don’t feel in any way superior because I binged on the second season of “13 Reasons Why” instead. Still, apart from them being absolute strangers, they also represent something that in principle I’m opposed to. I’m actually curious why people do watch or care about this wedding at all? Especially people who are not even British? Perhaps those that do can tell me in the comments section.

On the top of all I’ve mentioned, there’s of course all the stuff that Markle can and can’t do now to be considered lady-like. Because, yes, this obsolete institution called Royalty is not only elitist but also sexist. The rules are pretty conservative for men, of course, but I don’t remember reading anywhere about the fact that men have to cover their cleavage, among other things. It does anger me when anyone tells a woman what to wear, even if that person is the Queen of England. If you really think about what being a princess means, I don’t think most women would like to be one. You can’t work, you can’t decide what you wear, you can’t even openly express yourself or own a social media account. Even your husband and children aren’t truly yours to enjoy in peace and your pain such as childbirth doesn’t get the much needed privacy. It seems like quite a big price to pay for a free wedding, even if it’s straight from a fairy tale. Anyway, I do wish the Royal couple all the best just like I’d wish any other couple after their big day.

 

‘You Can’t Sit With Us’ – The Pains of Being Socially Excluded as an Adult

o-EXCLUSION-facebook

Anyone who grew up being a chubby, spotty, socially awkward kid who preferred books to people is was no stranger social exclusion. Whether it was that you were the only one in your class who didn’t get invited to Regina George’s fabulous unicorn party or if you were always last to be picked for the netball team, the memory of basically being told ‘you can’t sit with us’ still has a bit of a sting.Kids rarely have social filters. In fact, they can be brutal sometimes. But as we grow up things change. Social media demonstrates how ugly ducklings quite often turn into swans and those mean girls that laughed at the fatty in the corner well the chances are they became morbidly obese (after getting themselves knocked up by however many men) while little Miss Piggy, well maybe she shed that puppy fat and became #instafabulous! Sure, life experience batters everyone around a bit and teaches us to #stayhumble but how much do we really outgrow our childhood desire to belong to the right group and exclude the people that we don’t deem cool enough to sit with us.

Adult life isn’t the school yard and being a grown-up certainly has it’s advantages. Advances in technology make it easier for us to experience things beyond our immediate surroundings and find people who think more like we do. When the mean girls at school told you that you weren’t welcome at their table, even if you were the kind to go tell tales to Mummy, it’s highly unlikely that she’d let you move to a different school. So, you’d just have to suck it up. But things are different in our old age, we have more control and the power to change things up. People don’t invite you to their party, it’s no biggie I’m sure there’ll be something just as entertaining happening on Saturday night (and if you are typical Capetonian you’ll be keeping your options open and double parking in any case!). That said, come Monday morning when all the Facebook pictures of said event start popping up and all your friends are talking about the shit that went down at event you were excluded from, well… no matter how old you are it’s bound to result some familiar emotional pangs.

How to handle social exclusion as an adult …¬†

So when we were kids we’d probably get bleak, possibly cry and complain to Mum but that would be about it.¬† As adults, we aren’t necessarily immune to the sting of being socially excluded BUT there are a number of ways we can deal with such situations

a) Stay home and cry

You feel unloved. Buy yourself a couple of tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, order some junk from UberEats and stay at home watching sad movies. It’s human to feel a bit bleak but there really is no need to wallow in self-pity and make yourself fat in the process.

b) Get on with things, find your tribe and enjoy a better life

Moving on to my next point, instead of crying over spilt milk. If you are feeling isolated the worst thing you can possibly do is stay at home alone. Get out there and do something…anything! Find an alternative event, hit the gym, indulge in a bit of retail therapy.

An old perve once told me that if people focused on the things they loved then they’d be happier and attract the right people. He had a point. So don’t let any person or group pull the strings on your happiness levels. Get out there and make a better life for yourself.

c) Confrontation

I understand that not everyone thinks the same way I do. Having relocated to the other side of the world I know that while it’s not easy starting up in a new place, eventually you will meet your tribe. If people choose not to include me in their activities, I’d take the hint and move on. However, some people aren’t inclined to give up so easily.

Is it wise though to question the culprits as to why they won’t let you enter the circle of trust? Hmmm…I think you are asking for trouble here. Well, that and committing social suicide.¬† Actions speak louder than words and all that jazz. Do you really need to have things spelt out for you? Clearly, you are not wanted for whatever reason (I honestly don’t see the need to know the gory details) so hop along and don’t stay where you are not wanted.

d) Self Reflection

Sure, if it’s just the odd incident it’s easier to things brush off. But what if it keeps happening? What then? Maybe it’s time for a bit of self-reflection. Perhaps your personality rubs people up the wrong way? Or maybe it’s your constant negativity that kills the vibe of every party?

Think about it. Maybe you need to work yourself.

e) And finally …. realise it’s not all about you!¬†

Being mature adults I think there are some things worth bearing in mind when you do experience social exclusion and feel like you¬†are somehow regressing back to those bad old days of the schoolyard.¬† Firstly, there are worse crimes than downgrading a friendship. Circumstances change and as a result so do friendship groups – it’s not ideal but life is not a fairytale, it has its chapters so just turn the page without becoming bitter about it realise that ‘coffee friends’ also have their purpose. Perhaps some forms of social exclusion are a blessing in disguise. As we grow up we realise there are different aspects of our personality and perhaps one’s slovenly little bestie from primary school wouldn’t fit in so well with your cross-fit obessed peeps or¬† those that you go tequila tasting with might just end up offending your 30-something virgin friend who’d much rather spend an evening talking about the Big G. Yes, social exclusion sucks no matter how old you get but as adults we have the tools to get over it more easily and the foresight to realise that sometimes it could be for own sanity.

OK, Rinsers. Do you find that social exclusion is such a big deal as an adult? Is it something you’ve had to deal with or are you just a sparkly social butterfly? What are the best ways to deal with those ‘you can’t sit with us’ situations? Share your views in the comments section below.¬†