The Ethics of Dating

ethics of dating

Before the advent of the internet when cavemen/women didn’t have the likes of Tinder and OKCupid single gals, like myself, had no real reason to consider ethical questions surrounding the process of dating. In the dark ages Mummy and Daddy decided who was good enough (i.e. had lots money and status) for their little girl and had the association approved in the eyes of God, so there were no moral dilemmas to contend with. However, as a modern-day lady, searching for Prince Charming on her own steam, one has to make tough decisions with regards to their behaviour. Decisions that might result in frowns of disapproval from the audience.

Since I entered the big bad world of singledom, I have had my morals UNFAIRLY questioned by my friends. Let’s start by defining the term dating. For me right now, this means playing the field, going on dates to cool (preferably swanky) places with no strings attached. I am not promising anyone anything other than MY TIME. Take it or leave it. All I am agreeing to is a single date…NOT a second date, a fling, bedroom antics, a relationship or marriage. Nothing. Nada. Niente.

Now we’ve got that sorted, let’s discuss some of the things I’ve been called out on…

White Lies

There is this widespread belief that online dating services are full of unscrupulous individuals just trying to take advantage of earnest singletons naively looking for love. While I agree that there are some real dodge people out there, I don’t see any harm in a employing a little artistic licence.

I went on a date once where Mr Big Fat Greek decided to scrutinize my profile word for word. I was told that I was not ‘an open book’, in fact I wasn’t a book at all so why was I using such cryptic language to describe myself.  While I can bypass a person’s spotty face and general dullness, stupidity is not something I tolerate and as heart-breaking as it was I had to NEXT this one.

While I don’t think it’s OK to lie about your age, sexual orientation, academic qualifications or the wife and kids you have hidden at home, I don’t believe it’s a crime to exaggerate a little (although I am pretty fed up of people telling me they are MARATHON runners, when in reality they do the 5K Park Run).

Dating Frogs

Dating is a numbers game. But is it wrong to date boring/unattractive/elderly guys when we know there’s no future?

Never judge a book by its cover, isn’t that we were taught? He might look unattractive online but be far more dapper in the flesh (truth be told, it’s usually opposite).  Or maybe he just doesn’t have a way with words, but makes up for it in another department? You’ll never know unless you are willing to give it a try. Regardless, it is good dating practice for when a real catch comes along.

I think we should always give people a chance. Not the serial killer types, the ones that invite you to their flat for a first date and those who can’t string a sentence together, but the slightly dowdy ones – why not? After all, everyone has a right to be ‘loved’. And most of those poor guys have been rejected before – do I really want to be another biatch who broke their spirit? NO! So I’ll take one for the team, kiss the frog, boost his ego and do my service to humanity.

Buying Love

Rinsing can humorously be defined as ‘the traditional version of courting in which a man chases a woman before she decides to grace him with her full affection.’ In other words, making him PAY.

When it comes to paying the bill, I am a traditionalist who believes (at least at the dating stage) in old-fashioned gender stereotypes, where, while I might fake the ‘purse grab’, in reality it’s a basic requirement that any potential suitor is financially stable enough to buy me a drink.

Some may consider this a mild form of prostitution and argue that I should be liberated enough to pay my own way. But in the grand scheme of things, ladies we are not going to be equal to the men-folk anytime soon. After all we live in a world where there are more men named John running FTSE 100 companies than women.

Basically guys have had a few extra millenniums to get rich, so rinsing a few beers (or a sandwich toaster) is simply leveling the playing field. And beyond all the ethical arguments, I don’t see blokes (well maybe the broke-ass ones) crying about it, actually I think it makes them feel good, like BIG MEN.

Let me shut up now and wait for the onslaught of HATE in the comments below.  

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Short Guide to Dating and Religion

imageReligion and dating, a topic that didn’t exist back in the days when religion was as attached to your nationality as an alcoholic is attached to his liquor, is more than a valid discussion today (in the rotten Western world that is). Should we date someone of a different religion if we’re religious or of any religion at all if we’re Godless?

Let’s start with an example of a Godless person with no moral compass widely known as the Atheist (I’m putting to the same basket his ugly brother the Agnostic who can’t commit to an opinion about God and the ugliest of the siblings the Oblivious who didn’t even care to think about it all). The Atheist isn’t an easy person to date for any religious person. It’s difficult to have a healthy relationship when one person (the Atheist) thinks that the other person is an intellectual savage who believes in superstition and the other person (the Believer) thinks that their partner is a lost individual that will eventually find God and change his or her views to the right ones. The more serious the relationship gets the more one side tries to convince the other about their righteousness. The biggest problem appears when children are born. The Atheist wants to keep them far away from any specific religion for as long as possible while the Believer wants them to join the congregation ASAP. I’d say that Godless and Godful people should just spare themselves trouble and avoid dating each other. Compromise is possible, of course, but to compromise on something which requires giving up a quite important part of our beliefs may just not be the best idea.

Similarly, I think that it’s very difficult to make cross religious dating successful. Even though, unlike in the case of the Atheist and the Believer, representatives of different religions are all on Team God, the differences between them tend to lead to romantic conflicts. People can be very protective over their own rituals and as they believe that what they do is right they will want eventually to change their partner. We all know, that starting to date someone even with the most hidden idea in mind telling us that we can “change them” isn’t the right thing to do because it will most probably only be successful in one thing: wrecking our nerves.

I believe that when it comes to dating, people should be honest with themselves and agree on what they’re willing and not willing to accept. After all, there are degrees of commitment and militant/radical representatives of their religions or its lack are very different from its mild followers who actually don’t care at all. If you’re a Christian but you truly wouldn’t mind your child to be Muslim there’s truly no reason not to go for it, but let’s be honest, it’s a rare attitude.

Even though I wouldn’t like to tell my Dear Readers that in terms of religion and dating the more similar the views of the partners the better, I’m afraid I have to say exactly that. Obviously, there are differences in characters and some people really don’t mind converting, but as a general rule we shouldn’t count on it.

Life in the Friend Zone

Friend Zone

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I very much doubt I will be meeting my Prince Charming on Tinder or OKCupid. Maybe it’s because I’m a hopeless romantic who wants an epic love story that I can tell my grandchildren (not that one which starts ’Once upon a time I was walking down Long Street…’ is much better than a technologically savvy alternative). However, I continue to use internet dating sites and apps because I believe they serve a purpose. Namely, to widen your social circle (and possibly connect you with potential new wing person) which in turn could assist in creating the chance encounter whereby you meet The One.

However, in a single girl’s quest for love there is always bound to be some collateral damage. While there are guys that you’ll never want to see again (have I mentioned the serial killer?), from my experience there are many many more that you want to keep around, not for romantic reasons, but for various other tasks such as fixing cars (reoccurring theme I know), advice on DIY or  some light entertainment. And it is for this reason we have that weird area which exists somewhere between LOVE and a restraining order, the place known as the FRIEND ZONE.

Although it may sound like serendipitous place, in reality, life in the Friend Zone isn’t all that peachy. In some cases Friend Zoning a bloke is fairly straightforward. For instance, when you meet a guy the night before the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, who biked all the way from Blighty to Cape Town and it’s totally obvious to both of you that the only part of him that you are interested in is his bike.  Furthermore, the fact that he is only in town for a short while and you are just not that despo for a round of bedroom yoga (after all there’s that 47km cycle race the next day) seals the deal. He is locked in the Friends Zone and you are free to throw away the key.

Then there are those cases that are not so clear cut. The good Church guy (comes with a kid= baggage. Eww) who you meet every couple of months for a coffee and believes there is hope for a relationship because he can give you a sandwich toaster (he promised a washing machine) and spend ‘quality time’ with (read waiting for) you to arrive at Cape International Airport. Or the dude who ignores a blatant double parking stunt, continues to listen to all your relationship woes, tells you how he has worked his way through all the ethnicities in the rainbow nation and then still has the audacity to question when, where, how and why you Friend Zoned him.

Being on the receiving end of a Friend Zoning is not much fun either, I have to admit. Especially when, like me, you are into those silver foxes, old enough to be you father, thereby technically putting you in the Daughter Zone. I mean it’s pretty hard to figure out the answer to the million dollar question of ‘What are we?’, when one minute the guy is giving you butterflies and foot-popping kisses and the next he is stroking your head, telling you that he is a glad you are a good girl not like your slutty friends, offering advice on where to buy furniture and insisting on driving (with no epic declarations of love) to the airport, as one would expect from any good Dad.

Now rinsers/readers over to you. Please share you advice/experiences on Friend-Zoning.

What are we?

imageAccording to the stereotype, women want to know the answer to this question after date no 3 and men are reluctant to ever give it. The question “What are we?” is usually not that difficult to answer and often doesn’t even have to be asked if we just decide to be honest with ourselves. Let’s have a look at the options:

1) We’re friends

I like you and you like me a bit more, maybe we have a tad of chemistry but because we’ve been friends for quite a while and I respect our friendship I’m not willing to give us a shot. Don’t ask me how I feel about you, it will make things awkward. We both know we’re just friends and nothing else is going to happen between us.

2) We’re friends with benefits

We like each other somewhat but none of us really wants to commit. I’d like us to be a relationship but that’s because I’m a clingy female or an overly attached guy. In reality, I’m not that into you but sleeping with you is clouding my judgement.

3) We’re vibing

That’s what you say but I’m telling my friends that I’m dating someone and maybe even occasionally I called you my boyfriend. You don’t really like me that much but I choose to be blind and believe that you do and that you will commit eventually and stop seeing other people.

4) We’re nowhere

You see me once every two weeks at best and occasionally send me a message. We don’t really have a rapport but oh in my head we do! When asked about my relationship status I smile mysteriously and say that I have something “under construction”. You behave like a child who licks a cake just so that no one else can eat it. But I’m fine with it. Is it not what TRUE love is all about? Giving everything and getting nothing in return?

5) We’re in love and it’s happening (as in: not tragic stories eg he’s married and I’m too/my parents disapprove/he’s a Jehovah witness and I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster)

We’re happy together. We want it to last because it makes us feel good and are hoping for the best. Only time will show how strong the bond is.

6) We’re not in love but it’s happening anyway

We keep trying “this” out and “learning about each other”. We hope it’ll feel right, eventually. We’ll probably only survive till something better comes our  way unless we’re desperate and we lost hope for anything better.

So Dear Reader(es), what are you and your beau/belle?

Can a First Kiss Predict the Future ?

foot-popping kiss

“You know, in the old movies whenever a girl would get seriously kissed, her foot would just kind of… pop.”– The Princess Diaries (2001)

As cheesy as this movie is (I am not afraid to admit that I loved it), Princess Mia had a point. Even though foot-popping kisses might not always be practical (balancing on one foot with your eyes closed is not really advisable especially if you’re the type of girl who has a tendency to get drunk and tumble down stairs) the first kiss should be a pretty momentous event. While some people might argue that it’s Hollywood that’s given girls these misguided ideas, I speak from experience when I say that first kisses do lay the foundation for the future success (or lack thereof) of a relationship.

Unless you are one of those rare species that allows every kiss to progress to bedroom acrobatics, the nature of that first kiss can be used to indicate whether he’ll be getting lucky with you anytime soon.

The Inconvenient PDA

Everyone loves to announce their hatred of PDAs, but in reality this is just jealousy because people are either single (and just looking for someone to love them) or in some boring loveless relationship (where they sleep in separate beds and dream of the bad boy that got away). You have to admit that there is something nice about having a guy kiss you in public. The fact that he can’t keep his hands off you, usually means there is intense chemistry (or that he is one hell of a desperado that hasn’t had any action in a millennium). While they are often inconvenient (he might have to awkwardly drag you across a table or have you almost break your neck doing some sort of drunken yoga move), these kisses are the ones that give you butterflies and even if they don’t mark the beginning of an epic half-decade long love affair they’ll at least leave you grinning like a Cheshire cat.

The PG13 Kiss of Obligation

The date has been mediocre. He hasn’t done anything to offend you. In fact he might have actually been somewhat sweet for Afrikaaner Bible Boy – attempting to rescue you when your car broke down but just missing the opportunity to be your knight in shining armour because by the time he arrived you’d already fluttered your eyelashes and found another hottie to change the tyre. While you know this isn’t the fairytale ending (more PG13 than Christian Grey Mummy Porn) that you’d envisioned, when he leans for the kiss you let him have it because he is not a total troll and it’s not your place to break his spirit. But at the end of the day there’s no spark and you go home feeling like you can now relate to the ladies of the Red Light district (at least on some level).

The Face Rape/Kiss Dodge

Some might criticise the British man’s tendency to announce the fact that he is going to kiss a girl (it’s not only Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones that does this. It happens real life too) but there are times when a girl really does need some warning before a toad sticks his tongue down her neck. These are often the most unexpected of kisses that catch you off guard. In most instances, he is a bumbling buffoon who has spent the date offending you (or talking about God) and despite the five glasses of wine you’ve downed you still find him as vulgar as ever. On the occasions when one can pre-empt the predators move then the manoeuvre known as the kiss dodge can be used (something, as #zlotybaby will tell you, we’ve been mastering since childhood when trying to avoid physical interactions with those over-amorous aunties and pervy uncles of ours). However, there are going to be instances where face rape will occur completely out of the blue and the night will end with the girl feeling completely violated and giving serious consideration to the idea of joining a convent.

So the moral of the story is … first kisses are important in laying down foundations for the future so any potential love interest needs to be able to read the situation and act accordingly. Guys, don’t assume that by buying us a beer you’ll automatically be getting some tongue action. And ladies, as much as I always say we are going to have to kiss a few frogs before we find our Prince, don’t ever sell your soul to a complete toad and always continue chasing the kisses that give your butterflies.

Now rinsers/readers show us some love by sharing your stories about your first smooch experiences in comments below.

Meet the Parents

image Meeting your partner’s parents is an unavoidable part of dating. Dreaded by most people as a job interview but differs from the latter in the respect that it’s something quite impossible to prepare for. Making a good first impression is crucial, but let’s be honest, if we’re not supposed to gel with the parents and we’re not the sort of people they would like, the first impression will quite quickly wear off.

Why is it so difficult to impress the parents? Partially, because they come from a different world which is not our “natural” socializing environment. If you’re a regular person in your late twenties, you’re rather unlikely to be hanging out with 50 years old silver foxes and vixens (unless you have a soft spot for them like our friend #englishrosiee). Therefore the skills and qualities your friends and partners may find impressive, e.g. drinking everyone under the table, burping out the whole alphabet or clapping with insides of your over-straightend elbows (guilty as charged), may not be equally admirable according to our partner’s parents values. Playing it safe and only saying what’s polite and acceptable by everyone may also not be the best option because we may end up being described as nice (even if with the quantifier “very”) which truly translates into “I don’t know what you see in this insipid girl but I can’t find anything too obviously wrong with her, after all she does have a pair of hands and legs and only one head”.

What is the key to impressing the parents or at least making them not hate us immediately? Being yourself would seem to be the best bet. Even though we think that the stress may make us slur incomprehensibly without drinking (if you’re a foreigner you can always get away with it by blaming it on your accent) or for no apparent reason stick a chopstick into our eye instead of our mouth (a bit more difficult to explain) that’s probably not going to happen. At the end of the day, we’re not going to be dating the parents (hopefully, it would be quite awkward) and they should and in most cases do understand it. All they want is for their children to be happy and if they have some weird possessiveness over their children as often happens in the case of single parents, who keep criticizing their children’s partners for the most made up reasons, the best you can do is not to let their issues become yours.

In brief, be yourself, try to behave normal and if it doesn’t make them like you remember that it’s not you it’s them 😉

Winging It – Finding the Perfect Wing Woman

a good wingwoman

Winter is almost upon us here in the Mother City. It seems that most of my friends have suddenly coupled up and found their snuggle bunny (or a puppy) in order to keep warm during the season when the wonderful people of Cape Town lock themselves indoors with all the illegally downloaded episodes of the favourite series and copious amounts of chocolate.

Being a Brit however, I refuse to use the bad weather as an excuse to stop me from finding my Darcy (plus, he kissed Bridget Jones is the snow, so I think there is something romantic about winter too ). If I was still living in the UK and I let a little bit of rain prevent me from going on the prowl I would end up a 30 year old virgin (and yep I am sad to say I know a few of those).

Anyhow, the main problem with my loved up friends going to hibernation this winter is that I am left without a trusty wing woman to support me, both literally (when I am stumbling out of a bar drunk) and figuratively. Yes, I am self-centered and everything is about ME. To make matters worse, its not easy an easy position to fill. She really does have to be a jack of all trades and a master of everything.

So here are the main things I think a single girl like myself needs to consider when interviewing for potential candidates for Cape Town’s Next Top Wing Woman:

A good judge of character (but not judgmental)

A good wing woman needs to be able to tell you if you are going for a complete paedo or serial killer (yes, the one time I didn’t consult my friends was the time I ended up having to escape from a date with Hannibal Lector). But while she needs to have your back, you also need to feel comfortable to get your flirt on in her presence without being judged for your taste in granddad types, metro-sexual guys, ethnic fantasies, or whatever. In any case, one of those bitter twisted stay-at-home types who have sworn of men for life is never going to make it very far in the wing woman auditions.

 

She is willing to take one for the team

There are times when a wing woman is going to have to entertain your potential beau’s less attractive/boring friends while the man of the moment is busy removing your lipstick at the other end of the bar. I once had an epic wing women who actually found photographic evidence of how good a team player she was – a selfie of me and that night’s hottie, with her in the background fighting off the advances of one of Cape Town’s local pervs. I promised her she’d be bridesmaid at the wedding if I ever married that dude but that never happened (sorry chick!).

She has different taste in men

I am a firm believer that every woman (even your all time BFF) has the potential to be a frenemy. Why? The existence of MEN. As soon as you and your wingwoman start swooning over the same guy there is going to be trouble, even if she ‘lets you have him’ there is always going to be bit of animosity. The simplest way to avoid this problem is by finding a buddy who has the very different taste in blokes. So you can focus on those brooding hipsters and silver foxes while she plays Mrs Robinson to all the young boys of the Cape.

She may in fact be a HE

If we stop and think outside the box a little we might realise that our ideal wing woman is actually a wingMAN. There are lots of benefits to hanging out with your male bestie including but not limited to the following: a) he can give you an insight into the male psyche and tell you whether the dude across the bar really does fancy you, b) you probably won’t worry so much about him ending up chopped up into small pieces at a local shebeen in Gugs c) hopefully he won’t have eyes for the same guys as you (if he does, you might have a problem on your hands), and d) you can get you guy friends to play along and make the potential beau a bit green.

Now over to you rinsers. Show some love for your best wing people by telling us how they’ve helped you find love in a hopeless place (or at least get lucky).