Be Careful What You Wish For : Why The Universe is The Biggest Joker

 

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With almost every single significant romantic encounter (and in some dramatic cases, even just the one-off dates), I’ve realised I discover another relationship deal breaker. A factor, that maybe this time round I had tried to dismiss as arbitrary and unimportant. but eventually accepted was a bigger deal that I’d first anticipated. And so it goes, the more experiences we have the more we learn about how much we can handle, what we are willing to compromise on and our general limitations. I know I sound like a broken record by now, but I can reiterate enough how strongly I feel about people sticking to their guns about their deal breakers no matter how ridiculous, arbitrary and un-PC the rest of society may deem these to be. If you don’t want to date a guy that is into heavy metal because you believe its the devils work then its OK say to so. Even if you have your heart set on marrying someone who hails from the very same village your ancestors came from and refuse to look at anyone from another race, tribe or town, that is alright too (at least you aren’t wasting anyone’s time).

On the other hand however, discovering more and more things we just can’t stand for makes dating ever-more difficult. Having very specific requirements narrows the dating pool which is gets smaller on its own as we age, in any case. So today, I’m going to backtrack somewhat and tell you that as much as I like deal breakers (implementing them in my own life is easier said than done), my experiences have taught me why it is necessary not to be to rash when establishing new deal breakers, especially in the aftermath of a break up. Sure, when a relationship ends its sensible to reflect on the past and try to figure out when things didn’t work in order to prevent yourself from making the same mistake twice. However, trying to do this too soon when you are still a little bit too angry, bitter and twisted just leads to disaster. From my experience, it usually means looking for someone who is almost the polar opposite of your ex in an attempt to minimise the risk of heartache. Sadly, as we all know by now, the world isn’t black and white and things are never quite that easy. Anyway let me give your some of my personal insights to make things clearer.

Smoking Hotties vs. Ugly Trolls

After what was probably the most horrific break up of my life, my basic little mind decided the reason I had had my heart ripped to shreads was because I dated someone who was well and truly out of my league (well on the superficial level of conventional ideas of beauty, in any case!). According to one of my friends he was the kind of guy ‘ any chick with functioning eyes would pack up and move to the other side of the world for’ and then I on the other hand was the somewhat pretty but chubby girlfriend that’d probably looked like a safe bet. So as it happens, following the demise of said relationship, I decided to be incredibly egalitarian in my dating decisions and give anyone a chance who seemed somewhat interested, relatively well spoken (written?) and basically showed little sign of being a serial killer.

Next thing you know, I find myself falling for a somewhat unfortunate looking chap with ‘wonky teeth, lazy eyes and horrific skin’ (not my description). Sure, beyond all the superficial things, the convo was decent and there was some weird attraction (although with hindsight it was probably more about the fact that logic told me that’d he’d never break my heart because clearly I was the catch this time round). Despite calls from my friends to aim higher I still went ahead crushing on the troll and as it turns out, the universe didn’t play fair. I wouldn’t say I got my heart broken as such but I certainly got an epic slap in the face when this unfortunate looking chap TOLD ME he couldn’t offer me anything serious and the very next week was Facebook Official with a pretty, little, conservative thing.

After this little blip in my dating history, it discovered in fact I do have type – the ‘beautiful’ type. So why fight it?

T-Totalers vs Alcoholics

Long gone are the days I knock back four bottles of wine but I can’t deny I love me the odd glass of wine now and again and I am a sucker of a bit of pink gin, a thirst-quenching cider on a sunny day, anyone for a porn star martini? Booze is an important part of my life, there is no denying it but I understand that its not for everyone. And as we grow up, I think most of us become a bit more selective about our indulgences (if only I gave up the bottle, I could legit be a athlete or a supermodel…jokes, but let a girl dream!). So, there was a time in my life where I’d never disregard a guy because he couldn’t handle/choose to abstain from liquor. Hmm…that was until I had the pleasure of dating an raging T-Totaler.

As first it started out OK. We tip-toed around the issue. He insisted I have a glass of wine. As things progressed however, so did the lectures. Constant YouTube clips about horrific drink driving accidents and articles illuminating the negative effects of alcohol. Sigh. Eventually, the comments started : ‘Have another glass, ALCOHOLIC! Have a shot while your at it !’ Ugh. That was that, I decided to choose wine over the man. After all, wine is the friend that never talks back. And with that I vowed never to date a T-Totaler EVER AGAIN! Alcoholic beverages were far too important in my life to have to deal with that sort of negativity.

But again, after a few months, the universe decided to have another major LOL at my expense. By handing my an ever-so-lovely guy, charming and beautiful in every way. And guess what…he loved liquor as much as I did. Yay!! And to be fair he could handle it way better that I could ever dream of. Every time I’d be DYING of a hangover, he’d be making me feel bad by pumping iron. Seems to good to be true? Well, it was. Turns out, having a ability to consume copious amount of hard liquor with it having no impact on your body whatsover, also comes with downsides. Especially, when the going gets tough, as it inevitably does, and instead of turning to your champagne-fabulous girlfriend you turn to the bottle, because we all know the answer to your problems can be found at the bottom of a litre of Smirnoff (knocking a back a bottle everynight and then starting your day with a nice gin! Sigh!).

Unemployed Bums vs. Workoholics

At the risk of sounding like a gold digger, I’m going to say that dating someone is financially stable is important. No, that doesn’t have to mean that they are rolling in it but that they realise the importance of hard work and that that they don’t expect everything to be handed to them. Entitlement just makes me sick – whether its a guy/girl who expects their spouse to slog away for a minimum wage while they sit on the fat ass playing computer games, or a professional poet or Air BnB post who expects an unsuspecting neighbor to continuously ‘loan’ them R20 for toilet roll…it just gets boring. If you want to live a life of luxury then work for it.

Having encountered a fair share of guys that don’t/can’t (be bothered) to work because you know the whole world and his dog is against them, a racist primary school teacher ruined their career prospects for evermore and because having to work a Saturday in hospitality is slave labor (Sigh!). So when you finally meet someone who is passionate about their work, can afford to pay their way and doesn’t blame others for their mistakes – BREAKTHROUGH!

But as is often the case, there is a downside to every good thing. Because its one thing to have a job that you are into, gives you joy and fulfillment and real job (I’d love to sit on my ass writing this blog everyday but honestly it won’t pay for my champagne habit!). But at the end of the day, a job is just that. And while job satisfaction is important, there needs to be a balance. A job should essentially allow you to fund a decent existence, it shouldn’t necessarily be your sole purpose in life (I personally don’t think any one thing should be). So yeah, in attempt to find someone who is financially stable and gainfully employed (which I know can be a rare thing) don’t go running into the arms of someone who is married to their job. You’ll find it hard to compete with the ching ching.

Ugh, maybe its just me who lives a life of extremes. All I am saying is that it is good to be self-reflective and try and figure out what worked, or more importantly, didn’t work in past relationships. However, making rash decisions and trying to find someone who is the polar opposite of the ex isn’t going to be the solution to all your problems. Stay calm, keep your wits about you and understand that everyone and everything comes with its own unique set of challenges. Sigh. Good luck to y’all!

Alright Rinsers… What is your take on all this? Any advice to the poor folk out there trying to navigate the dating world? Share your horror stories in the comments section below…

 

 

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‘Can I Kiss You?’ Making Moves in the Age of Consent

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Once upon a time (well, like 3 years ago!) an incredibly articulate gentleman asked me the million dollar question : ‘Can I kiss you ?’ (NB – He was the same guy, who, when I eventually ended things and told him we could be friends (out of politeness) replied with that classic line: ‘Friends or Friends of an intimate nature’ PEWK!). At that moment, I scoffed and offered him a glass of water. The next day, I debriefed the said encounter with a few girlfriends and oh, how we laughed! They also laughed at me for my terrible attempt at deflection. One friend even said : ‘If he had to ask the question then answer should have been obvious!’. However, since then, it seems things have changed. I guess that whole #metoo movement had something to do with it. But suddenly there is the whole ‘consent is sexy’ thing happening!

Call me old-fashioned, but even 3 years on, I’m sticking to my guns and PUBLICLY ridiculing any guy that asks me if he can kiss me (just FYI I laugh at men who ask girls out on coffee dates too – potential romantic encounters should never feel like an informal job interview). However, it does seem perhaps I am in the minority. Having asked around, it seems that its now protocol to ask before falling onto another’s humans face. Oh my!  Anyway, it was pointed to me that my initial reasons for turning my nose up at the ‘can I kiss you ?’ question were quite predictable. Fair enough. Although, this article, did force me to dig a little deeper, nothing has fundamentally changed. I still don’t think any significant relationship in my life will begin with such a question and here is why:

Alternative Ways To Get Consent

Nope I’m not talking about reading body language which is yet another grey area.  In any case it seems that literacy levels (in every sense) are pretty low these days. Some people are the brightest crayons and need everything spelled out for them. Sigh!

And yeah, I get it, the odds aren’t really in a guys favour these days. You never know if when you go in for a romantic smooth whether the raging feminist will lose her mind and start shouting ‘PERVERT! PERVERT!’. So, perhaps so verbal cues are necessary for a dude’s peace of mind.

And maybe its because I work with words all day or the Brit in me but a surely a simple matter of phrasing can make the whole situation a little less lame if you ask me. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but there have been a few instances where men have felt the need to do a Mr Darcy and ANNOUNCE their intention to kiss me before going in for the kill. Rather than asking you, they are tell you. Yes, we know some women are going to start ranting about equality, gender roles and blah blah but I don’t think assertiveness is necessarily a bad thing especially in an age where noone seems to know what they want in life. Furthermore, this way of doing things not only allows the guy to feel like a BIG MAN, it also gives the girl a certain amount of time to a) RUN away or b) mentally prepare herself for what could be the start of something wonderful. Win-Win!

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

I think a big part of why this whole thing irks me so much is that I think having to explicitly ask something so basic is that it seems we now live in a world where people (men, basically) are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to contact (physical and verbal) with the opposite sex.  I mean in some fields of work there are strict protocols on what one can say or do when dealing with humans. You see a colleague balling their eyes out because their dog died, you may instinctively want to hug them in an attempt to make it all better BUT you better think twice before initiating contact who knows 2 years down the line it may be held against you in a sexual harrassment trial. Of course, you may think I’m being a drama queen here but that’s not to say such a thing has never happened.

Look, I’ve experienced my fair share of perverts. Old ones, young ones, good looking ones and ones who should stay at home chained to their computers. Even the ‘Hunk on Wheels’ well he recently spotted me in passing (have I mentioned Cape Town is a small world!) and suggested that I sit on his lap (just ewww!). That said, I also know lots of guys that aren’t all that bad. I mean, questionable fashion choices aside, they are just nice, fairly normal people. And even those that have tried their luck tend to back down once you subtlety (or not so) put them in their place. I just think its a shame that good guys are going to have to question their every move because of the likes of Trump and Co.

When The Tables Are Turned….

I know the ‘Can I Kiss You?’ Rule is intended to everyone – guys kissing girls, girls kissing guys, guys kissing guys and so on. But is the situation really the same? Following, #metoo we saw lots of guys coming forward with incidents of sexual harassment at the hands of woman. Sure, its debatable how widespread it is but it does happen. But does society really react in the same?

Back in the days when I used to drink copious amounts of box wine, I remember literally having to chase a friend around in circles as she ran after a guy who she just planned on jumping. It was like a scene from a Tom and Jerry cartoon. But we’ve all probably be THAT drunk girl, who uses booze to get rid of all inhibitions and pluck up the courage to make a move on a guy. The move could be as innocent as a beautiful, public declaration of love through poetry, or more likely throwing oneself (in some cases down a flight of stairs) at the guy and desperately hoping he’ll kiss back.  You see we are not all that different.

‘Can I Kiss You?’ Is Still Not The Answer To The World’s Problems 

I’m not much of a touchy-feely person. The way I see it if you are not my Significant Other, I have no reason to touch you and you have no reason to touch me either. But we live in a social world and sometimes you have to awkwardly hug people (however much you’d rather just fist pump!). Should we be asking people ‘Can I hug you?’, ‘May I hold your hand?’…. Where do we draw the line?

And then there are words. I could argue that sometimes the things people are say are often more vulgar and intrusive than a simple kiss. Of course we don’t need to be idiots about it. Clearly, asking a girl to sit on your lap is far more offensive than telling her she is pretty. But people take offense at different things. Believe me these days, with the PC police out in full force you could get done for referring to another person as ‘baby’, ‘sweetheart’ or ‘darling’ (when in fact you are probably only having to use those terms because you are bad with names – jokes!).

Maybe you think I’m just taking things to far. But like with all things to do with human relationships – its a case of different strokes for different folks. People have different boundaries shaped by culture, personal experiences and whole of host of other factors. How is the rest of the world supposed to gauge what these are? Million dollar questions right there. In any case, there are no hard and fast rules here. Perhaps I’ve just gone and got a bee in my bonnet because ‘Can I Kiss You?’ is just another thing that destroys the fairytale image of romance that I grew up with (after all, I don’t recall Prince Charming requesting Cinderella’s permission before kissing her ?!). In any case if it works it works and for those that prefer to err of the side of caution, go for it. (Ugh, and while we are at lets start signing contracts before engaging in any form of sexual activity – Christian Grey style!). The people that are intent on asking ‘Can I Kiss You?’ will continue to do so and I  hope for their sake they’ll be out with the type of person that appreciates the gesture, as opposed to some chick from the dark ages who chokes on her chardonnay, trying not to LOL in their face!

OK Dear Rinsers. Destroy me in the comments below! Do you ask a potential conquest ‘Can I Kiss You ?’ Is such a question even necessary? Where do we draw the line? Have you ever asked or been asked this question? What was your reaction? Share your horror stories or fairytales with us. 

 

How Upfront Can We Be About Dating Deal Breakers in an Overly-PC World?

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When I think how I’ve spent almost three years of my life airing my somewhat old-fashioned views about dating, gender roles and lifestyle choices on this blog, I’m quite surprised that I’m still alive. Especially, considering how vigilant the PC police are nowadays. Single ladies are reminded everyday about their ticking biological clocks. And regardless, we are all busy people who have a limited time on this earth. We cannot afford to waste time going on dates with people we know we are incompatible with from the outset. Sure, it’s good to be exposed to people with different world views to your own but that doesn’t necessarily need to happen in the dating space, if you ask me.

I’ve already voiced my views about how I think it’s not only OK, but 110% necessary, to be unapologetic about your dating deal breakers. But I understand that not everyone thinks like me. The world we live in is overly PC. It seems that sometimes that people are striving for some sort of ideal where we are all equal, things are always fair and nothing sets us apart from others and we all live happily ever after. But let’s face facts, that is not so and is unlikely to ever be the case. The world isn’t perfect, everyone is different. Some differences are out of our control and others are a result of choices that we’ve actively made.

Anyway, back to the point of the post. What irks me most is that although we are all well aware that the world isn’t just and people have differences of opinion, yet this obsession with being PC sometimes makes it very difficult for people to be open and honest about things that are deeply important to them and this in turn has the potential to do untold damage to others around them, especially in the realm of dating and relationships.

Let me give you a examples through couple of recent incidents which provided the inspiration for this post. We all know how superficial Tinder is. To my detriment, I rarely waste my time reading a person’s full profile unless it’s a actual match. As in life, most initial decisions about a person are based on the image they portray in those first few moments. But I’ve learnt the hard way that this is probably not the best way to go about things.

A Hunk On Wheels 

So about the first encounter. I was chatting to some Tinder dude who seemed perfectly nice until one morning he questioned me about why I was awake at 5am. I told him that was happy hour at the gym to which he responded with a whole bunch of alternative places I could be instead. While rolling my eyes, I replied by saying : ‘I take it you aren’t into fitness and a healthy lifestyle ?’ (Remember it was 5am when I am really in no state for civilized conversation with anyone except maybe the treadmill!). Anyway, he ended up silencing me by firstly revealing he is actually confined to a wheelchair (awk!) and then referring to himself as ‘my hunk on wheels’ (cringe!). I did double check his Tinder pics and turns out you should never trust a profile which only includes headshots. #rookieerrror! After some deliberation, (un)helpful advice from my friends (someone told me to reiterate that being active is hugely important to me!)  and even a quick google search (you can ask the internet pretty much anything these days) I decided the best course of action here was to remain silent. In any case, I would be branded a nasty able-ist person and would be spending the rest of forever burning in hell for having such a deal breaker.

Drug Dealers vs. God Botherers

The second encounter involved a rather dashing guy who became rather cryptic when questioned about his career. He disclosed only that he ‘worked with people’. My first guess was a drug dealer. The second, a priest. Lets just say he stood more of chance had he followed the former career path. He tried to back track somewhat by saying he was actually a pastor and not a priest. Unfortunately, there is no room for god in any of my relationships.  Subtlety was never my forte so this little romance ended before it began with me telling him that ‘I’m not really into god.’. It was a real shame though as he had pretty nice biceps (probably from waving all those BIG MAN bibles around!). Sigh.

 

How Much Are We Obliged To Reveal from the Outset? 

Hmmm…Yes people are horrible. The world is full of nasty ISTS ….racists, sexists, able-ists, age-ists … the list goes on. As much as I don’t condone these attitudes, I do believe everyone has the right to have them (although perhaps like in my case, it might be best to keep silent about these things at times). Whether its through choice or by circumstance, we are who we are and there are certain things we cannot/should not have to change about ourselves. That said, I also think we have a duty to open and honest about certain things from the get-go.

I don’t think either ‘the pastor’ or the ‘hunk on wheels’ were the most evil people in the world but they simply wasted my time. And while I found it much easier to be dismissive of the pastor (partly because religion just tends to annoy me and I get great joy our of antagonizing god-botherers), I think in both cases they could have revealed the truth much earlier on. The disability issue is sensitive but being open about it from the start would have just saved some awkwardness in the long-term. Imagine the poor chicks who don’t cotton onto the fact before a date – should they have to sit through the date out of sympathy or because the PC-police would likely accuse them of being able-ist? No! And ‘testing’ people’s character is never a good way to start a relationship.

Of course, nothing is ever black and white when it comes to human relationships. Sometimes deal breakers that are clear as day get overlooked because we are sucked in by a person’s charisma and good looks. And there are some cases where you don’t realise a deal breakers is a deal breaker till you’ve had some experience of it. Relationships are a learning curve. And I suppose the more of them we have, the more we learn how much we are able to tolerate/handle.

That said, the other party also has some responsibilities. Most notably, not to waste another person’s time by strategically concealing the truth or prolonging something by giving a persons false hope. Just generally, people also need to feel less governed by political correctness. Nobody should have to feel bad about rejecting a potential suitor based on their ability to carry heavy weights or procreate, religion, race or sexuality. Of course, its sad that we have to live in a world where people have to hide their disabilities or their sexuality because they feel the need to conform to what society wants. But, Tinder is not the workplace and you will not (as yet) face a law suit for dismissing a person on the basis on some arbitrary factor. That said, what does hiding the truth ever really achieve. Whether its tricking a girl into going on a date with you by cleverly concealing the fact you have wheels or sleeping in her bed for 6 months of her precious child-bearing years when secretly you know you’d rather be snuggling with her brother, you are essentially doing nothing more than wasting somebody’s time as well as your own.

So I guess this whole deal breaker thing is more complicated than I initially anticipated. Rinsers, what are your thoughts?  Should political correctness really need to infiltrate the world of dating? Are some cases of dismissing people based on arbitrary factors more legit that others? Feel free to hate on me in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Dirty Little Secrets in the Age of Social Media

 

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Unless of course you can count yourself among that species almost as rare as the unicorn known as the 30-something virgin, then you’ll know that by the time we’ve reached a certain again we’ve all been burnt a few thousand times so it’s understandable that people these days aren’t always in a rush to go public with their romantic relationships. Human relationships are such fragile things so it’s natural for us worldly wise folk to be somewhat guarded about who we tell about our significant other, especially when you are lucky enough to have people who will scream I TOLD YOU SO when your little fairytale comes crashing to the ground.

However, the truth is that the ‘getting to know each other’ stage cannot go on forever, there does come a point in any story, where two people who spend significant amounts of time together should probably make their relationship known to the world. Add to that the fact that we all pretty much live out a parallel version of our lives on social media (censoring out the boring bits here and there) and its quite surprising that anyone manages to maintain anything close to a private life at the best of times.

But then why oh why, are there so many long-term-ish relationships happening behind closed doors?  It’s a contentious kinda grey-area I suppose and one that raises a lot of questions. Naturally, we all want to play it cool and one needs to be certain before they ask ‘What Are We?’ . On the other hand, how long can a relationship legitimately last if you only ever meet in the cosy, ever-so-romantic setting of your own homes? So, having been at both ends of this scenario here are some of my thoughts on the matter …

 

It’s All About (Secret) Sex

Well, let’s get something out of the way before we unpack this issue further. If your ‘beau’ only meets you late at night and in bed, the fact is it would be charitable to call you are ‘dirty little secret’ you are nothing more a Friend With Benefits. Sure, the pillow talk may be OK-ish so you convince yourself you are really getting to know each other. But let’s call a spade a spade here – the only thing you are getting to know intimately here is each others bodies. So don’t kid yourself.

 

Keeping The Options Open

We’ve all been there. Met that ‘nice’ person. They tick all the boxes. So you force yourself to break your usual patterns, be more open-minded and carry on ‘dating’ them in the hope that that elusive sparkle may suddenly appear. Hmm…But deep down you know that the fact you need to talk yourself into it is probably a bad sign. It may even be easy to keep them in the picture because they aren’t a complete troll and do provide some degree of entertainment.

But truth be told, although this maybe not be as sordid as a FWB situation, you cringing at the thought of bumping into a friend/acquaintance while out with said person is probably a sign that they are no more than a place holder for Prince Charming (or at least another mistake that makes your weak at the knees!).

 

They are leading a double life

Life is complicated enough. I can barely manage my own. Sure, double parking can be a giggle when your dating up a storm but having more than one serious relationship it really does take multi-tasking to another level. Unless I could legit clone myself I don’t see how one could wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to another person while trying to be in two places at once. Well, they never do really!

If you are dating someone who never wants to go on a proper date, seems scared whenever you are out in public together, introduces you as their ‘buddy’, never lets you set foot inside their house and only ever sees you at unsociable hours. Red flags galore. Face facts, you are nothing more than a side salad.

Ugh. Cannot deal. Clearly, anyone looking for a bit on the side is likely to have something more established (see how I didn’t say serious) waiting for them at home. That said, side chicks/guys fill are often used to fill a void and give them something they aren’t getting from their spouse, baby momma/daddy or ‘cougarlicious‘ sugar mummy/daddy.

As tempting as it may be don’t stoop to such a level, you deserve to be the main course so let the trash take itself out.

 

The tricky bit… they are ‘just not into social media’.

So, in all of the situations above things are pretty clear cut. Well, at least when you’ve stopped kidding yourself. But this is the age of social media where everyone and their dog are living their best lives online. Yeah but no but. As with all things popular, there are people that feel the need to boycott it – perhaps its because they are ‘old school’, they value their privacy or they simply feel the need to rebel against what the rest of society is doing.

But to be honest with you, I like a good old Facebook snoop myself.  What people choose to post (or not post) on their social media profiles says a lot about them and gives you some insights into their personality. I’m not going to lie. I’ve been known to do a little background check on a Tinder date before venturing out. And can you blame with all the potential serial killers in our midst?!

Anyway, the truth is most of us do have some sort of social media presence. And I’m not saying one should expect to be F.B.O with a someone from the get-go. But if someone is reluctant to even be your friend (remember there are all these limited profile settings available these days) then they’ve probably got something they’d like to hide. Or am I being cynical? You tell me.

Now, back to the point of today’s rant. It’s understandable that most of us don’t want to be out and proud about new relationships from the very beginning. You have to admit that those epic declarations of LOVE on social media are kinda cute despite the fact that they may make you pewk in your mouth a little bit.  Maybe we’ve been there in our younger days and have suffered third degree burns as a result so we know that its best to steer clear.  That said, I think we should all the aware that in any ‘good’ relationship where you need to stop ‘getting to know each other’ and admit that there is something real between y’all. And in most cases, this will involve taking your new relationship public at varying levels. Whether that means exposing your new conquest to your weird friends, archaic family or wider social network of weirdos. But nothing worthwhile should remain behind closed doors for too long.  On the flipside, if you find yourself with someone who is reluctant to show you off to the world after a couple of months of steady dating (or in some cases a decade of cohabitation) then I think it’s an indication of some sort of commitment issue and more importantly a clear sign for you to walk away.

Alrighty Rinsers, Go wild in the comments. How public do you think a serious relationship should be? Is it legit to keep things behind closed doors for the sake of the relationship itself? And finally, has social media simply served to complicate matters and make life more difficult for us over-thinkers as well as those that prefer to keep their private matters private?

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. Furthermore, the fact that all the stage paraphernalia 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!

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!