Chemistry vs. Compatability

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As we get older, we start to let go of these fairytale notions of bumping into our Prince as you both reach for the same book at the library… In the real world, we’d go for coffee with the guy and ask him a million questions about morality, his background, his job and education, etc before we’d even entertain the idea of pursuing something with him.

Even websites like OKC ask users to complete a tonne of questions and give you a match percentage with other users. The logic behind this approach to dating stems from the idea that there is no point wasting your time even meeting a guy who is a religious fundamentalist when you are a militant hater of God, no matter how good looking and well-educated he is.

I see the point and all but how about if we rewind back to the good old days before advent of complicated compatibility algorithms. Imagine a parallel universe where you bump into the aforementioned guy, while were just roaming around the Waterfront and you get chatting and the banter is good. While you don’t get into the serious stuff there is a good rapport and this magical thing called CHEMISTRY which results in the night ending in foot popping kisses.

It’s a pretty tricky situation. It can be argued that compatibility is more important when it comes to a relationship lasting in the long-term, however, can such an association get off the ground without a little bit of sparkle (aka chemistry). I’ve dated plenty of guys that look good on paper where they’ve ticked all the right boxes – decent photo, gainfully employed, educated, good morals, etc but when you go to meet them you just end up feeling blah. These are the guys that you are somewhat half-hearted about but you’ll push through the torment of a couple of dates because they literally do everything right – take you to wine estates, the theatre, gourmet restaurants, drive you around in a fancy car but at the end of the day you could take it or leave it. No biggie.

On the flipside, there are those guys you start by rolling your eyes at…it’ll never work you say to yourself. But the world has a way surprising you. Maybe it’s the banter that draws you in or maybe you convince yourself that you guys have an emotional connection as sit up till the early hours discussing your previous heartbreaks. Either way, these are the ones that manage to get under your skin and monopolise your thoughts. It becomes all about this intense emotional connection. Even if your friends point out the red flags you keep going back for more. That spark is like a drug and you can’t get enough.

But speaking from experience, these things that start with butterflies have a habit of ending in disaster. In the best cases, they’ll end quickly and the pain will be short and sharp. And then there are other times, where one will let this chemistry develop into something long-term. But is this little spark a good enough foundation on which to base a long-term relationship or does our real Prince Charming actually have to tick ALL those boxes?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Dear Rinsers, how important is chemistry? Should we stop focusing on the butterflies and instead look at the bigger picture? Or is there a middle ground – a dream guy that looks good on paper but can give us those all-important foot-popping kisses?  

The Five Year Engagement – A Realistic Reflection of Modern-Day Romance?

Five Yr Engagement.jpgI have a very limited movie collection…you know with having to schedule all my Tinder finding time to watch a movie at home is quite a luxury. One of the dozen or so DVDs I own is the 2012 romantic comedy – The Five Year Engagement. Those who have seen this film might only remember it for the LOLs but I think on closer reflection we can see that it actually sheds light on many aspects of the way we conduct modern-day romantic relationships.

The basic plot centres on Tom who is a chef at a fancy restaurant and Violet, an ambitious PhD student. Following a bit of a botched up proposa this happily engaged couple find themselves unable to progress with planning a wedding as a result of various unforeseen events such as Tom’s best friend getting Violet’s sister pregnant at the engagement party and subsequently having a shot-gun wedding and Violet getting an exciting job opportunity which forced the couple to move to Michigan.

Having moved across the country to let his woman follow her dream poor Tommy finds that his own career becomes stunted while hers continues to blossom (delaying wedding plans even more). Even though he should be happy for her he becomes increasingly bitter and disillusioned with life. Anyway as the years go by since the initial proposal, the couple’s grandparents start to die and the pressure to hurry the nuptials along intensifies. Then just before she is due to walk down the aisle Violet gets face-raped by her boss and after a whole slap-stick chase scene through the snow – the end up calling off the engagement.

Not going to ruin the ending for those of you who haven’t yet seen the movie. Although a little cheesy, it’s actually pretty good for one of those days when you are sick or lying in heap after drinking too much the night before. Also I do think it does raise some important questions about the challenges we face in relationships as well as about the nature of modern romance.

Is there too much pressure in this age of oversharing for people to have such spectacular weddings that they feel the need to keep putting it off until the time is right? Are relationships where one party is more career-driven/successful than the other doomed for failure? As women become more powerful and career-focused do we just end up emasculating all the men around us? Give us your thoughts about the movie in the comments below and whether you think behind all the comedy the film sheds some light on important trends in modern-day relationships.

The Emancipated Woman?

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My friend and colleague, #englishrosiee and I ended up spending an evening last week watching a new release called “The Suffragete”. The movie is about the women rights movement in Britain and in particular about the fight to grant women the right to vote. You should feel empowered as a woman after having watched this movie, right? After all the fight has been won and we’re equal… But are we really?

I remember when back in high school I used to have militant feminist views. I thought that women are not only equal but better than men and I thought that being strong means to hide that you have any feelings. I was young and cocky and I definitely grew wiser but my ideas came from somewhere.

They were quite strongly related to the fact that the world still sees women as creatures who have to choose between two bags. Bag number one has inside family, feelings, household chores and bag number two career, ideals and emotional desert. The society isn’t particularly helpful with the integration of these two bags. It is the mother after all who’ll take maternity leave as paternity leave is mostly a joke. Imagine how much easier a woman’s life would be if instead of taking six months off work she would take three and the other three would be taken by a partner. Only that no one takes such ideas seriously.

An emancipated woman has to do it all. She doesn’t want to say no to career but she wants a family too. So she performs two full-time jobs instead of one and her frustration grows. Partners are being more helpful these days at home but look around – who’s rushing to pick up children from crèche if they’re sick, who works from home if the children can’t attend kindergarden?

Let’s consider more trivial examples of inequality. Try to wear something nice you’ll be cat called, try not to respond you’ll be called names. Look at your earnings and look at these of similarly educated men around you. Try to have a business orientated or technical career. Attempt at being middle management (so much harder as a woman) and then try to reach for the highest stool (nearly impossible). Stop shaving your armpits and legs. Swear in public. Scratch your crotch when having a conversation. Have sex with numerous people and boast about it. Do all that and then seeing the reactions still say that we’re really equal. And please also remember that it’s only the Western world.

In India female fetuses are often being aborted as female offsprings are not desirable. Girls in some African countries are being mutilated in a crime called female circumsticion. In some Muslim countries women are not allowed to do anything without the consent of their male guardian. Is all that not a proof that we just leave in a little bubble and the road to proper worldwide equality is still long and rocky?

Share your thoughts Dear Rinsers.

 

‘Tinder without the Poor People’- Is Selective Dating the Answer?

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When it comes to dating it seems you can never win. If you are too picky you get branded a bitch and if you are ‘nice’ like yours truly then you just end up hating on dating. My approach to dating has always been to give anyone vaguely decent (i.e their opening line isn’t DTF ??? Which for the elders among us stands for Down To Fuck?) a chance. The justification behind this all-inclusive approach is that I really don’t expect to find my Prince Charming on the internet (this is NOT what fairytales are made of!) but I do think of it as a good way of extending my social circle and possibly having some fun along the way. And who knows maybe that socially-retarded guy that got beaten with a ugly stick has a hot brother he could introduce you too?

Sadly, by being a ‘nice’ girl and employing non-discriminatory dating practices has not really got me very far. Out of +/- 30 dates, I’ve probably met 3 or 4 guys that I’ve crushed on somewhat, but even then none of them were really compatible. Sure, going out on dates for the sake of it does help improve your social skills and I’m definitely more confident around blokes because of it. But eventually, after you’ve explained why you relocated to South Africa for about the millionth time, the novelty of free wine wears off and leaves you a bit disillusioned.

So what is the solution? Well apparently there are lots of people in the same boat as me – just fed up of dating and not being able to find any quality men out there.Does the problem lie in the fact that Tinder/OKC are open to everyone and their dog? Would employing a little bit of exclusivity make the issue of sifting through all the deadwood a little more manageable? Sure, these apps allow us to use filters to narrow down the search but this doesn’t actually prevent someone from lying about their vital stats online.

We are all busy people and we don’t have time to stress ourselves out analysing the minute details of any potential date we may embark on. Well, over in the First World it seems they have come up with a solution. Dating apps which keep out the ‘undesirables’. For example, The League is an app developed in U.S of A that vets all its members to ensure that they are all high-achievers. Anyone wanting to join needs to give the app access to their LinkedIn profile and even then apparently there are around 100,000 people on the waiting list. Crazy !!! In the UK, they have an app called Luxy which is dubbed ‘Tinder without the poor people’ where members have to have an income of GBP 100K per year. I know its incredibly un-PC but I have to say I do secretly love the idea. At least you know none of those guys are going to be taking you to McDs on a date!

I can’t honestly say how I feel about these more selective dating apps. I have to admit that while much of the LOLs I’ve had through dating has been thanks of the so-called ‘undesirables’ but there comes a point when the whole process of being ‘nice’ to lame mummy’s boys with no banter just becomes tedious. Perhaps it’s time to let someone else do the vetting?

OK, so over to you Rinsers. How to feel about these selective dating apps? Are they really any different from allowing us to filter our choices according to race, education, political leanings, etc? Or are these apps just exacerbating social class divisions and could they potentially stop us from ever meeting our Prince? Give me your views in the comments below.

The Lobster – Love in a Dystopian Future

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“The Lobster” is definitely an interesting movie and even if not perfect is a fresh breeze in the film world where love stories are dominated by sugar coated American productions. The feature takes place in a dystopian future, where everyone is forced to have a partner. If you lose one you have to move to the Hotel where you have 45 days to find your new mate. If you fail you’re turned into an animal of your choice. The main unnamed character, The Shortsighted Man (Colin Farrell) chooses to become a lobster if he fails, hence the title.

To say more about the plot would be to take away part of the pleasure from observing and understanding this alien world. Its customs and a rules are odd yet fascinating and one feels like an anthropologist studying a newly found trouble when watching the movie. Even though the setting is quite tragic, the film isn’t deprived of humor and there are quite a few moments when one can’t help but smile.

The acting is at the highest level. I was positively surprised by Colin Farrell whom I never considered to be a particularly gifted actor and who delivers a stunning performance. It’s also nice to see Rachel Weich who not only doesn’t age but also doesn’t get trapped in signature mannerism (a vice of many accomplished actors). Bond fans will be pleased to see his new girl from “Spectre”. She can be heard speaking French but not seen being drawn like one of the French girls (wink wink). Those who have an undying love for “Peep Show” also will be positively surprised by someone’s presence.

What is more, the movie is quite theatrical. The moment we start to truly relate to the characters, it is interrupted with a surreal scene often accompanied by music, which makes us realize that what we see isn’t meant to depict a reality but rather a fantasy. Due to this technique it keeps playing with the audience’s expectations.

The film is a curiosity, however, it gets slightly tedious. The novelty wears off somewhere half way down the movie and the second part which seems to be in contrast to the first seems lengthy. As we only see the part of the world that related to love and companionship the ideas are finite and it would be nice if the movie could undergo a director’s cut.

Having said all that it’s nice to see something different. The movie touches upon important issues such as what is love (baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more), is being in a relationship always better than being single and whether governments should be allowed to decide about private lives. It’s a good watch that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys cinema that explores new horizons.

Now to you, Dear Rinser… Is having a partner always better than not having one? What’s love based on and are there any rules of who with one falls in love?

 

To have or not to have… children

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Back in the days there was no choice. You got married and you gave birth, getting pregnant way too often taking into account the number of intercourses you had. Then a miraculous invention called efficient contraception changed the world and now we can ask ourselves whether we even want to have children.

First of all, I really think it should be a personal decision. Your mother may be dreaming to hear the noise of little feet again but if you don’t feel like you are ready for such a step yet or don’t think you’ll ever be ready for it, don’t let anyone pressure you. It’s your life that will change because of the kid, hers will be only minimally influenced by it. Similarly if you want kids and your partner doesn’t and you’re both quite stuck in your ways, maybe it’s a good idea to rethink your relationship. After all, you’re not getting any younger. Tick tock, tick tock.

I don’t really believe all these people that threaten you with dying on your own if you don’t have children. We all die on our own, even if surrounded by people. Modern children also care for their elders less. Maybe there’s something in letting parents spend time surrounded by their peers rather they trap them in a joint family household with unfulfilled expectations towards each other. Besides, even if it was true and a life without children meant a horrible, lonely death, I don’t think fear is ever a good motivation in life. People should rather be guided by their positive feelings, including self-love, in such big decisions.

When people should have children then? When and if THEY want them. As with any other desire sometimes our drive is stronger than reason. This is fine too because from my experience and observations if there’s a will, there’s a way. In other words all my friends who got baby crazy at some point, even if objectively the timing was far from perfect, managed to solve whatever problems they had. If you, however, let others make choices for you and get pregnant because others think it’s right, you’ll only have yourself to blame if you end up an unfulfilled mother of two constantly frustrated with her offspring that I believe should (mostly) be the source of joy. I don’t necessarily think that motherhood is for everyone as nothing ever makes everyone happy.

To sum up, I don’t think having children is generally good or bad. It’s a personal matter and it can be a brilliant choice for some and a constant ordeal for others. People should make their choices based on their personal beliefs and not let others pressurize them.

So Dear Rinsers, what do you think? Should one have children just because it is “the right thing to do”? Or should we be allowed to make our own choices and not be judged regardless of what we decide?

 

What does Netflix (and Chill) mean for the future of dating in South Africa?

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you couldn’t have missed the greatest (?!?) news in the world EVER… Netflix has finally arrived here in South Africa. This probably isn’t a big deal for our readers living in the First World but we are a little behind on the times here on the Southern tip of Africa).

Personally, I don’t get the hype. Between work, life, thinking about running marathons and those all important Tinder dates I hardly have time for TV and movies. However, it seems that I am in a minority as most people are excited about the arrival.of Netflix. In my humble opinion, it’s all rather sad. I mean we have a mountain, the sea and a whole bunch of wine estates on our doorstep but people are more interested about all the shows they can watch on Netflix. I have a feeling I will be losing a lot of friends to Netflix in coming months.

But that’s not all. As a single girl still on the search for her real life Mr Darcy (no, not the one I can perve on if I get a Netflix subscription) I have to consider the impact this little technological development will have on dating. As it is the situation is already pretty bleak. I mean it’s pretty safe to say there is a distinct lack of alpha males running around these days and chivalry is now a thing of the past. Add to this the option to ‘Netflix and Chill’ and BOOM the end of old fashioned dating as we know it!

What is this ‘Netflix and Chill’ nonsense you talk about? Well, for the not-so-cool kids amongst us who’d much rather be reading a good book, the Urban Dictionary describes this phenomenon as: ‘going over to your partner’s place to fuck (or make sweet love) with Netflix on in the background’

Wow. Say goodbye to old fashioned courtship South Africa! We are already aware of the prevalence of hookup culture in our society. But soon we will be crying for the days when guys sent ‘Hey. How R U?’ messages. Who needs to fork out for expensive cinema tickets when you can invite a chick over to ‘Netflix and Chill’ to her hearts content?

We already know people are becoming complacent when it comes to dating. Modern technology has made it easy for us to make excuses when it comes to making an effort. After all, if they don’t like what we have to offer, they can just get lost because we will all live to swipe another day, right?

Well it all just makes me sad. I think it’ll be sad if we stop making an effort to look good and impress people we are keen on. Just because we have options that make life simpler, doesn’t mean we should necessarily use them. Fine if you are in a long term relationship and you want to have lazy days watching series on the couch in your PJs or lingerie go for it. But as a singleton, I don’t think anyone should be letting themselves go.

Ok Rinsers have your say? What’s is your opinion on the ‘Netflix and Chill’ phenomenon. Is it just another example of how the days of old fashioned courtship are coming to an end? Does technology just encourage laziness in aspects of life such as dating? Is this just another excuse for men to be lazy mummy’s boys? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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Review : The Ladybird Book of Dating

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Adulting is scary. I think we can all agree on that. From paying off a mortgage and doing dangerous DIY projects to trying one’s hand at online dating, entering into the prison sentence known as marriage and subsequently procreating…in our old age we’ve probably all come to realise that life as grown-up is certainly no Cinderella story.

So once in a while when the big bad world becomes too much for us to handle it becomes necessary to revisit our childhood – a time when life was simpler and our little hearts were full of hope for a happily ever after. The Ladybird Book of Dating is one such opportunity. I’d heard a lot about this little spoof book from friends in the UK and on social media so when I received it as a belated Xmas gift from a loyal friend of mine it pretty much made my (Dry) January.

This is just one in a new series of books that are intended to help us ‘adults’ make sense of the world by taking us back to the days when we were learning to read using those Peter and Jane books.  We all remember Peter and Jane, right? Those wholesome kids who spent their days skipping through fields of daisies (or whatever it is kids got up to in the days before smartphones and iPads).

Lots of fully-grown adults can’t get their heads around the concept of dating. I know many sad spinsters who are unable to embrace the modern tools (Tinder, OKC, etc) that we have at our disposal and have resigned themselves to a life at home with their cats. If only someone could be so kind as to provide them with the Ladybird Book they would soon realise that dating  is nothing to be afraid of and is just ‘a fun way of meeting someone who is as terrified as dying alone as you are’.. It goes on to explain various aspects of dating/relationships that most of us are familiar with such as dating down, settling, blind dates dealing with people who have bad spelling/grammar and dating practices in foreign cultures.

I think the Lady Bird Book of Dating is essential reading for any singleton trying to brave the horrid world of dating. Beyond the fact that it is hilarious, contains pictures (when last did you get to read a book with illustrations in it?) and is written in massive font (great for people who are losing their sight in their old age :))  and it reminds us not to take life so seriously.

I’d recommend the Ladybird Book of Dating to anyone who feels like being a bit nostalgic while having a good giggle at the same time. I can’t wait to get my hands on some the other books in the series (according to the back of the book there are dedicated guides to Dumping, The Ex, Friends With Benefits and Tinder Hacking ).

Over to you darling Rinsers – Have you heard the hype about these Ladybird books ? Have you read any? Did they make your life? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

The “L” word – saying I love you for the first time

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Isn’t love an amazing feeling? It certainly is the moment we know it’s reciprocated. When we start to feel butterflies it can be difficult to start the conversation on the topic with a new partner, especially that we feel a  mixture of excitement, fear but also uncertainty of our own feelings.

Even in the modern gender equalized world many women still expect men to say it first. It gives you some level of comfort to know that you may feel it but you can safely wait till the other person puts themselves out there but at the same time it’s slightly limiting to wait for the man to do so, especially if we feel that he’s taking too long.

A woman who feels it and wants to know whether her partner does too, can of course just ask. The risks of emotional exposure are high so sometimes being able to hide between wanting it to go the traditional way with a man expressing his undying love first is just a safe option.

What are the risks? The main one is of course that of rejection. You say that you love someone and they don’t say anything back. Alternatively they say that they like you a lot but they don’t feel the same way. It’s a disappointment of course but it’s still gives you hope that things can change in the future. Nevertheless, there’s also an ultimate rejection when a person who hears the “L” word starts to wonder whether their not loving you right now isn’t the ultimate answer to the question of whether you two have a future together. In other words, a person who has to deal with you loving them may for the first time wonder whether they can ever love you back. If their answer is a no it’ll probably lead to the end of the relation. The sooner the better of course but a pain of a broken heart doesn’t disappear easily and it’s understandable why people are scared of saying “I love you” and hearing “Well, I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while…” back.

There are risks of course. They’re not all there is, though. There’s also a chance and a big one that a person will say the “L” word back. Then there’s nothing to fear anymore and life temporarily seems very satisfying. At the end of the day a relationship can’t really survive if there’s no mutual love for a prolonged period of time.

Maybe asking as scary as it is, isn’t such a bad thing after all. At least you will know whether it makes sense to be with that person and if they don’t love you back, the sooner you start to deal with it and heal, the sooner you’ll be in yourn next truly loving relation.

Tell me, Rinsers, do you think it’s the man’s job to say “I love you”? In your dating history did you usually say it first?