The Slow Burn

Slow Burn

We live in an age of instant gratification where we express a desire and expect it to be satisfied within seconds. Busy people don’t have time to waste – everything must be efficient and serve a purpose. Whenever we can multi-task (or double park) we will! When we get bored of our current play thing we just upgrade to a newer model …sorted! This is never more true than in the dating world where Tinder-style dating apps have made it easy for us to accept that belief that there are plenty more fish in the sea and if Mr X doesn’t satisfy our every desire then Mr Y and Z are just a swipe away!

I’m not knocking it. I’m a product of my time and I am well aware that I probably put an unhealthy emphasis on butterflies, foot-popping kisses and the kind of lightning bolt ‘love’ that makes one lose their mind. However, in my old age I am beginning to question whether my approach to finding Prince Charming is really all that effective.

I certainly won’t deny that an initial spark and basic level of attraction is necessary but in our rush to NEXT the dud candidates do we dismiss potential suitors who may have hidden attributes that aren’t necessarily apparent within the first 15 minutes of a date? In the good old days, before the advent of internet dating, (decent) people spent more time getting to know one another. Maybe it started off as a friendship which then blossomed into a beautiful romance…

I guess this old-school ‘slow burn’ approach to dating whereby you meet someone that you acknowledge is half-decent and invest sometime getting to know them before embarking on a relationship has its advantages. For starters, time should reveal a person’s true character and may also give you greater insight into any skeletons they may have hiding in the closet. Thus, if you do decide to get involved with the person you do so with your eyes wide open (maybe not fully but at least somewhat aware of their flaws).

Good things do come to those that wait, as they say. And maybe a long build up is a good thing. Have you ever found that those relationship that start off with electric chemistry tend to deteriorate quite quickly (usually after the novelty of having ended a sex drought has wears off!)? Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always chased after crazy fireworks but maybe there is something to be said for having had to work for something. All that anticipation probably accounts for epic levels of sexual tension if/when things do eventually progress.

To conclude, we’ve seen a regression to an older, ‘slower’ way of doing things now in many aspects of our life. For example, the popularity of organic, home-grown food and craft beer as opposed to greasy low-quality fast food. We are starting to see that it’s not all about quantity and that quality can’t be rushed. So maybe it’s time to apply some of this type of thinking to our relationships – slow things down and stop dismissing potential future husbands/wives outright because they simply fail to meet one of your arbitrary deal breakers. This way maybe we can move beyond these no doubt extremely fun but somewhat superficial relationships (usually with bad boys which have a habit of ending in disaster) and opt for investing some time in something more meaningful.  I know constant reminders from our families, friends and society in general about our declining fertility and such don’t help but try to remember that there is life is more than a race to find happily ever after.

OK Rinsers it’s over to you. What are your thoughts on the slow burn relationship? Do you think we are have become too obsessed with butterflies and fireworks? Do we risk missing out on a good thing because we are in a rush to find ‘perfection’?  Answers and stories in the comments section below.

Skeletons in the Closet

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Most of us in our late twenties and early thirties have a reasonable number of love and lust experiences. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and even the worst things that happened to us made us people who we are today. However, sometimes we’re not so proud of something we’ve done and even though our closest and dearest know about these things we don’t like to be reminded about them. Today, Dear Rinsers, I’ll tell you about the skeletons in the closet.

Cape Town is a small place. Especially if you’re one of the expats you tend to hang out with certain groups of people. The fact that everyone knows everyone can be a positive thing but if you happened to be single in this environment at some point it’s more of a curse than a blessing. One of the most awkward situations is bumping into your exes (that’s assuming you’re like yours truly, meaning NOT Mature and Best Friends with all of them). You’re having time of your life at a party when suddenly you start feeling uneasy on your stomach. Someone’s staring at you, you can tell. You look around and you can see him pretending he’s looking in another direction. Say hi and make sure that he saw your engagement ring? Ignore and pretend you didn’t see him before if he approaches? Options are many but from my experience such encounters are often awkward, unpleasant and a bit sad. With or without your new partner at your side it’s never nice to encounter the failed project of yours.

As bad as meeting your ex can be, meeting your partners ex isn’t much better. Sometimes they’re actually nice people and then you feel bad for disliking them because of the space in your partner’s heart they used to occupy and the inexplicable jealousy for the unknown life they shared together. It’s obviously worse when they’re just bitchy to you and hate you by default. In an understandable self-defense mechanism they need to make you inferior to them in their minds. Even if you look like Miss Universe, have a PhD from Cambridge and have a successful company, you’ve lost this competition. You can’t win in their eyes. Very few specimen will understand that you guys are neither better nor worse than them, just a more compatible match with the guy. Most will badmouth you with or without meeting you and be prepared for encountering randoms who’ll give you a stink eye just because they’re their besties. We’ve all been in their position at least once in our lifetime so whatever the reaction to us we shouldn’t take it personally.

Last but not least, there are the skeletons that have to do with some embarrassing events of the past: a break-up over whats-app, being the sponge in a relationship, excessive drinking,  offending someone, random making-out partner you met in the bar when you were sad and said “see you in next life” to… We all have things we regret and we’re not proud of but the truth is if they were singular actions and they don’t usually speak of a person we are or were but the person we were being. In other words, we’re not what our worst actions would say about us (not what the best would say either). Some people just like to cause a stir, others don’t do anything but their mere presence reminds us about things that makes us feel like we don’t want to be ourselves anymore. The funniest part is that we’re our harshest critics and usually when things surface they’re a source of a laughter, compassion and sometimes even indifference.

To sum up, you have a past and I have a past – we all have a past. Treat others like you’d like to be treated and if something was confided in you in secret, keep it as such.

Are you eager to share some of your skeletons, Dear Rinsers? Any embarrassing stories you care to share? Maybe you were the evil one and spread the gossip that caused some chaos?

 

An Ugly Heart – Does Bitterness Effect Your Attractiveness?

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“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

― Roald Dahl, The Twits

Life is hard. Whether it’s unemployment, lack of job satisfaction, loneliness or being unhappy in a relationship – we all have problems. These things can take their toll on a person. And sure some people certainly have it worse than others. But it’s often the way people deal with their problems that is important. Some people understand that life is unfair but they choose to look at the positives and try to find ways to overcome their issues and then there are some that constantly complain, feel that the world is plotting against them and say everyone else has it easy. At the end of the day, it’s all about having a positive mental attitude.

Anyway, getting back to the point of my post. Have you ever noticed how a person’s attitude has a direct impact upon their looks/attractiveness? Sure, the definition of what is ‘pretty’ varies depending a number of things such as where you are in the world, the point in history and your social grouping. Regardless of how we define beauty – can a person who is bitter and constantly complaining ever be really attractive to a member of the opposite sex? Well, maybe if they too are miserable, they’d get along perfectly whinging about the world for evermore and living miserably ever after. But who really wants that?

Let me draw on some of my own real life experiences here. I once had this ‘friend’ who had a tough start in life and a handful of bad relationships which resulted in a distrust of people and the male variety in particular. Fine, you could say each to their own. Everyone has a right to dislike whoever they want. But you see, this ‘ugly heart’ attitude doesn’t stop there. I find that it permeates through into every aspect of the person’s life – they are constantly critical of everyone around them, when they see a person fail they like to say ‘I told you so’. At the end of the day, despite having nice clothes, lovely hair and great skin, the negative attitude simply served to alienate everybody, especially the group she despised most – MEN!

On the flipside, I’ve also know (NB still know) people who despite not being what society would define as ‘pretty’ continually to manage to attract nice people and have happy, healthy relationships.  Because these people have good self-esteem and are comfortable in their own skin they seem to exude unprecedented amounts of happiness (despite all the bad things life throws at them) and because of their good energy EVERYONE wants to be their friend. While the Tindeverse may swipe left of these folk because of their wonky noses, chubby cheeks and crooked smile in the real world (the place that really matters) everyone just sees sunbeams and thinks they are lovely.

To conclude, I know the world isn’t so black and white and even the ‘happy hearts’ have bad times but you get my point. If one chooses to focus on the negative aspects of their life and wallow in self-pity this bitterness eventually infiltrates their heart essentially making them not just unattractive but overwhelmingly unloveable (to everyone except perhaps the dog – and as #zlotybaby once said ‘of course these sentient beings will love anyone who gives them food!’). As for myself, let’s just say I’m working on it – thankfully my experiences with ‘Ugly Hearts’ has taught me that no amount of heartbreak should make me a hater of men, and although some of the blokes I’ve met on my adventures have made me roll my eyes, for now I’ll just laugh it off and keep on swiping because ultimately it’s a choice between happily ever after or life as a sad spinster.

Dear Rinsers – Have you ever met, or dated, a person with a pretty face but an ugly heart or vice-versa? Do you think that a person’s attitude to life and relationships has a direct impact on their attractiveness? Answers and stories in the comments below.

Sacrifice in Love and the Martyr Mentality

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Today I’m going to tell you about something I really dislike in the way that people think and what I used to strongly believe in before I experienced a Romantic Enlightment, namely about the mentality of martyrdom and sacrifice. Many believe that the idea of good and evil applies to dating and one can just “score better” in being good or decent (both relative terms) which will make him or her get rewarded and achieve what they want. It’s a strong conviction and quite a natural one. People desperately try to make sense of life and find a link between good actions and rewards and bad actions and punishment, which makes them label relationship behaviors. Sacrifice and martyrdom both seem to score very high in popular belief as a good deed, while in fact they can be harmful and in terms of reward are often futile.

Lets say that there’s a guy in our life and he hasn’t committed to us. We’ve been seeing him for a month or two but he sees us once a week and only texts every few days. Many people feel that if they steer clear from other gentlemen, we’ll be rewarded for our sacrifice and the guy will eventually commit. Even if he does, however, it won’t have to do with our “fidelity”. What’s more in most cases a guy after such time knows he’s not that into us and the contact will eventually seize. He isn’t to blame for this as he’s been quite consistent in his behavior of treating us as a backpocket girl. It was our assumption that our karmic brownie points will get us a guy that was being silly. What could have got us a guy was playing the field instead of wasting our time on someone who didn’t deserve our attention.

Another scenario in which the martyrdom technique is often used is a dying relationship. It’s just not working and we probably knew for a while that the man and us are not meant to be. Instead of letting it go when logic would suggest we keep kicking this dying horse hoping it’ll run. We make ourselves available, we clench our teeth when we’re upset to avoid fights and even when we really can’t do it anymore we still give the person a nice break-up reason. Because of this emotional protection with which we treated our partner he remains immature and we see him few months later in a new relationship that seems like a copy of ours. The reward for all the pain we suffered to save the relationship won’t come. Instead we’ll find ourselves emotionally drained and not ready for a relationship for longer than our former partner who didn’t invest himself so much into saving the sinking ship.

Last but not least, there’s just the everyday love entitlement. “I suffer therefore I deserve” seems to be a widely held belief. Girls who change partners without long periods of being single are judged harshly by these who first don’t let a relationship die and then dwell on a person when others have long forgotten that we dated them. Having it easy in love life is judged harshly as it “should not be this way”. We suffer, we cry, we struggle and we get nothing in return. It seems so unfair to see others leave relations seemingly painlessly and with ease entering a new one. One thing is that we only see the tip of an iceberg so our impression is probably not entirely fair. Even if it was, however, it shouldn’t bother us. Yet it does as the approach towards love as something that should be enjoyed isn’t popular. You’ll get much more supporters if you struggle. Don’t forget, however, that some people in a perverse way like to be unhappy and they will gladly see you in the same situation.

To conclude, sacrifice and martyrdom in love will take us nowhere. Relationships are supposed to be a source of happiness and not pain. If were drawn to the latter we may be a woman who loves too much. If our tears could fill a pool and our high moral horse made us remain a virgin till 30, it makes us less not more equipped for a healthy partnership.

What do you think, Dear Rinsers about the topic? Do people often glorify suffering? Do they believe it’ll bring them rewards? Does it ever? Share your thought in the comments section.

Does Living with the Olds = The Death of Romantic Relations?

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By now, we have come to terms with the fact that the old-school Alpha male is no more and that the dating world is full of mummy’s boys. Look, it’s one thing for a man to have a healthy relationship with his mother but how about when he is still living under mummy’s roof at in his 30s? The sad truth is it’s not just the guys. These days a growing number of people (us chicks included) in their late 20s/30s/40s/50s that still live with the Olds. In today’s post I’d like to establish the impact of this trend of living in close quarters with Mummy and Daddy has on our romantic development (or lack thereof).

Let’s start by drawing on some real life inspiration. Recently I went on a date with someone who forewarned me that the night could not go on beyond 8pm as he had to be home for dinner because Mummy was preparing his favourite! (How sweet – NOT!) Naturally, I only went along with the date for research purposes….but it was rather dull as he spent the ‘evening’ telling me how he enjoyed watching conspiracy documentaries with his Dad. Hmm…let’s just say I had to decline his offer of a second where he suggested he stay over at mine and tell the folks he was visiting an old school buddy for the night. And there I was thinking that the lame excuses and sneaking around ended after our teenage years.

As I said before, its not just the guys…. there are actually fewer ‘independent’ women out there than we’d like to believe. When I’ve gently questioned some such people as to their reasons for remaining at home well into their adult years most put it down to purely economic reasons.  I understand that in many places, like London and New York (CT is apparently going the same way), where property/rental prices are ludicrous many people my age justify their decision to live at home well into their 30s/40s/50s on financial grounds – saving rent money while having your laundry done makes sense – right?. However doesn’t there come a point when one needs to question whether this arguably sensible financial decision is stunting the progression of your romantic life?

So the economics justifications make sense – it’s a sad reality of the world we live in. But how about when someone tells you : ‘My parents aren’t like most people’s. They are super cool. I can drink wine and party with them. It’s no different from having a house mate!’. Ha di Ha Ha! I beg to differ on this one. I too, have a great relationship with my olds (and they could probably drink me and all my friends under the table) but I believe there comes a time (I’d say in your late teens/early 20s) when we all need to flee the nest.

To exemplify my point further- have you ever noticed how people you are dating quick to establish what your living arrangements are? On many occasions, even before meeting a guy, he has asked if I live alone or have a housemate. They may think they are being subtle but really they couldn’t be more transparent if they just came out and said : ‘At some point I envisage us engaging in sexual relations and I’d like to figure out whether this is logistically possible ’. Bumping into a random who is around about your age as you try to sneak out the morning after isn’t so bad. You’ll both probably just laugh about it. But the embarrassment is multiplied by 100000 if instead of a housemate you have to deal with that person’s folks.

Sure, its rather presumptuous to pry about a persons living arrangements but I also think it’s quite understandable. Let’s be honest… does anyone want to date a girl who goes clubbing with her mum? No matter how liberal some parents may seem the thought of your significant other’s father being in the next room while you guys are at it is sure to be kill anyone’s libido!  And we haven’t even begun to address the constant interference/’advice’ parents insist on offering? It’s bad enough when you live a million miles away imagine how much more insight they’d have if they had you living under their roof! Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch (or laundry service!).

To conclude, does living with Olds mean the death of romantic relations? I would most certainly say it has a detrimental impact on your chances of getting lucky romantically. Moving back home for a short stint while finding your feet in the world is fine but living with the Olds for an extended period with no end date in sight definitely creates a negative impression for potential suitors and has detrimental effects on one’s future romantic development.

Now, over to you dear Rinsers. Do you think that living with Mum and Dad ruins your chances of having healthy romantic relations? Would you date someone who was still living at home as an adult? Should it be a dating deal breaker? Is the trend of prolonging fleeing the nest just a reality that we are going to have to deal with in the future? Or are you an adult still living at home? Have your living arrangements effected your dating life negatively or do you have the best of both worlds? 

Fix me, please!

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Are you suffering from emotional problems? Do you fear rejection? Do you struggle to express your feelings and are horrible to people you care about the most? Or maybe you feel like you’re not complete and that a very big part of you is missing? Don’t worry, Prince Charming will come to your life and fix ALL your problems! All you need to do is wait. Right? WRONG!

I remember in school I thought my biggest problem in life was not having the man in my life. I thought once that was sorted everything else would miraculously sort itself out as well. I wasn’t the only one to think so. My friends and I would discuss guys and complain about them. This one was too shy to express his feelings, the other one too blind to see that we’re just perfect for him. We all had our little patterns and ourselves to keep reassuring each other that we’re amazing and they aren’t. In all that we forgot about two simple facts: 1) you attract what you are and what complements your issues and 2) you choose your love interests. In other words instead of blaming the world one should take responsibility for their own well-being. They say that if you change the world you look at the world change, the world itself changes and it’s very true.

The need for self-reliance and lack of self-pity have been discussed in my posts before. What I’m going focus on today is the fact that we should realize that we have no right to expect others to fix us. If we’re unhappy or bitter we should work on that before we decide to invite someone into our lives. It doesn’t work this way. Unhappiness and negativity are contagious and there’s nothing weird with the fact that people don’t want to be around it.

The above seems logical and yet when a girl goes on a few dates with a guy she starts to think that he owes her. He owes her to give her a chance, to be understanding, to see deeper than what is shown to him. If he doesn’t do it in the discourse of her and her female friends he becomes an asshole. How dare he not to deal with the sourpuss you and see whether there are maybe other people out there who are just more fun to be around.  Especially in the beginning of dating people want to be around people they like and not people that could possibly have the potential to be liked. If a woman displays number of issues but not many positive qualities, in the name of what is the man supposed to keep seeing her (applies to the reversed gender scenario too)?

It all seems very reasonable but we expect him to stay regardless of our issues. Only that it’s not a healthy relationship when one person is not emotionally stable and expect the other one to fix them. Not that it’s even possible, even if they really wanted to. Clinginess and dependency are a recipe for a disaster and not for a fairy tale.

To sum up, if you have issues you can be upset that you were brought up in the house that gave them to you. You have the right to feel bitter that others have it less difficult and that as much as you try some stuff resurfaces. That’s all understandable. However, regardless of how deep your emotional shortcomings are, the responsibility to get rid of them lies with you. Fix yourself.

So Dear Rinsers, do you think that society makes us rely on others to solve our issues? Do you think people take to little responsibility for their own mental well-being?

The 5 Elements of a Flirtationship

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In last weeks post I talked about those times when in our pursuit of love we occasionally engage in forms of human interaction, be it a little harmless banter or more of a FWB arrangement, with someone we clearly know we have no future with simply for the purpose of boosting our fragile egos. While most people admitted to having been involved in something of the sort there was a consensus that engaging in such ego boosting activities was wrong and would ultimately end in disaster.

Today, I want to talk about the grey area known as the Flirtationship; a space where, I’d argue, ego boosting activities can take place somewhat more legitimately. To put it simply,  this is a social situation which consists of something that is more than a simple platonic friendships, but never quite a full blown relationship.

How does one know they are in a Flirtationship? Well here are the 5 elements which I think are tell tale signs…

High School-ish Behaviour

Despite the fact that you are both adults, in fact he may even be an elder, you find yourself regressing back to your childhood. For example, poking and kicking each other and generally acting like five year olds.

Excellent Banter

I have to say the best thing about being in a Flirtationship is the banter. You clearly get each other, so the banter flows perfectly. And while it may occasionally  border on inappropriate, it is never dull. Actually, there may even be some in-jokes between the two of you that confuse everyone except maybe your inner most circle of trust.

Downplaying 

You both know full well that this Flirtationship can/should never be anything more than a guilty pleasure so you insist on downplaying things (mainly for the benefit of others). Maybe you try to make light of things by referring to him as ‘Your Bro from Another Ho’ or the ‘Office Hubby’. Or maybe you spend you time publicly pointing out their faults and laughing at his rubbish dating strategy.

Just don’t kid yourself into believing that everyone thinks the two of you hate each other. Your friends know you better than that.

Agony Person/Dating Advice Guru

Now this is where things get tricky. You both know your are not in a relationship so you really are free to date other people. In fact, you MUST! So, you feel totally comfortable bitching about those failed tinder dates with them or dishing out advice on where they should be sarging if they want to find the ‘One’!

However, life is never that simple, is it? Imagine accidentally stumbling upon your flirt buddy in the middle of a date – can you put your hand on your heart and say you’d never experience even the slighest pangs of jealousy? How about if he hears on the gossipvine that you’ve just gone and got yourself a FWB? Speaking from experience, just watch him up his game and tell you that you can do better!

It’s perfect the way it is…

Sure, the flirt buddy is a lot of fun to be around. His stupid text messages make you smile. And the party only gets fun after he arrives. But deep down, you know that this Flirtationship you’ve got going is never going to be anything more. Maybe there are practical reasons – he is a bible bashing nutter or your olds have an arranged marriage lined up for you? Nevertheless to allow this to progress to anything more serious would be a death wish and maybe even social suicide.

So when things start to heat up, you realize there is no other option but to RUN AWAY! That way he’ll still be around the morning after (on Whatsapp I mean and not in your bed!).

At the end of the day, the Flirtationship is perfect the way it is. It’s the ego boost you need but maybe with a little more substance than a souless FWB relationship. Even in those drunken moments, when tumbling under the covers may seem like a good idea, you know better and you value the Flirtationship too much to throw it away simply to scratch that temporary itch.

Oke dokes Rinsers. Have you ever been in a Flirtationship? Do you think it’s as close to a innocent ego boost that you can get? Have you ever let a Flirtationship get out of hand? How did that end – happily ever after or not so much? Share your views and stories in the comments below.  

 

The Coupleverse – No Country for Single (Wo)men

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I know they say that opposites attract but my experience taught me that it’s not true. When you’re single you have mostly single friends and it doesn’t change immediately after you start to date someone. You need to reach a medium (6 months to a year) to long term (a year and above) relationship status in order to enter the Couples Universe, in short Coupleverse.

As you know, Dear Rinsers, I’m now officially Engaged and therefore the Coupleverse has been a land I visit quite often. Let’s focus on its perks first. When you’re a member of the Coupleverse social life becomes much easier in terms of admin. Instead of sending messages to four people you only have to send one to the couple representative (usually female). Your partner is in, of course, so when the other couple agrees you can hang out and it’s not lame even on a Friday or a Saturday night because it’s four of you (a small crowd!). Dinners, drinks, weekends away, cinema, theatre, hikes and other Healthy Activities – the Coupleverse is full of possibilities! Because there’s more people the events are less likely to be boring and you have to make an effort only every second time because the couples know the rule – it’s an invite for an invite to keep the game going.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages. The members of Coupleverse are usually quite advanced in adulting. When you’re single you’re planning your Friday night on a Thursday (best case scenario) or even on the same day. In Coupleverse you plan an event at least a week ahead (although I must confess we have events in our SHARED calendar that are happening only in a month or two). This is all very practical but sometimes I do miss more spontaneous meet-ups because one feels so and not because it’s been scheduled. Cancelling is also a big no-no unless a REAL reason for it appears unexpectedly. After all if you’re not going your partner won’t go either and if the plan was just two couples that’s just being a party pooper. There’s also a part of adulting which takes over conversations and that’s all the mundane stuff that has to do with advantages of Pick’n’Pay over Woolies and the other way round, retirement, medical aid, prenups and the most pressurizing topic CHILDREN and pregnancy.

To sum up, the Coupleverse is a more organized and less spontaneous place than the Single World (Singlord?) but it comes with many perks, of which the biggest one is stability with reliable partner that you love. I guess that there’s also a difference in being tied in your early twenties (when it’s fine not to know all the answers) and being in a relationship in your late twenties or early thirties when people expect you to have your next 10 years lined up. I think the best way to deal with this Adult Land is to keep believing what you think is true and not let everyone’s fear about the Future govern your behaviors. Also, from time to time it’s okay to spend excessive amount of money on a hairdresser who damages your hair and makes them brown with blond highlights and not purple as you wanted or to eat a whole pack of 25 rand cottage cheese for breakfast without feeling guilty because you’re not thinking enough about how this amount could have contributed to your honeymoon/trip to Poland/marriage related admin and the unforeseeable plagues that can happen.

Now to you, Dear Rinsers! Have you ever entered the Coupleverse? Have you had any (mid)adventures there? Tell us all your secrets in the comment section.

The Ego Boost – A Necessary Evil or A Recipe for Disaster?

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Success in the dating arena has a lot to do with confidence. Sure, looks are important but at the end of the day a pretty face will only get a person so far. Once you make it to the first date it’s your personality and the ability to have a good conversation that will win you the second, third and tenth date. But self-confidence and a shining personality isn’t something we are all just blessed with, it’s a work in progress. Add to this the rejection everyone has to face at some point in their dating lives and you’ll find that there are probably more wounded egos out there than you ever expected.

There are many ways in which to fix our dented ego. Sometimes there are little things that can make you fell a million dollars – a new dress or a snazzy hairdo. In other instances our ego requires human interaction for that additional boost. Receiving compliments and attention certainly plays a significant role in raising a person’s self-confidence. However, if you ask me, this human desire for social validation requires playing a dangerous game where hearts can potentially be shattered.

From my experience, things generally start off fairly innocently. You meet a guy, he is nothing super special but maybe the banter is OK, so you allow him to remain in the picture but as nothing more than a flirt buddy. Basically, someone whose sole purpose is to tell you you’re pretty, make you feel desirable and boost your ego so that when a more suitable guy comes a long you’ve built up enough confidence and don’t shy away or turn into a bumbling buffoon.

I wish things were that straightforward but sadly they never are. Sure, you think you are both on the same page. But don’t forget that jealousy always has a way of rearing its ugly head. For example, how about when your flirt buddy finds out there is competition and suddenly feels the need to mark his territory. Perhaps he was holding out for more? In the best case scenarios you guys come to an understanding and your flirt buddy will know his place (i.e. to give you the required attention to make you feel good) but these things to have a habit of unravelling and eventually one party is going to want more.

And how about when things go on beyond the flirt buddy level? Say for instance, you’ve been suffering from a sex drought. We all have needs that have to be met. While for some the Rampant Rabbit might do the trick, others might require some non-battery operated loving to stop them feeling like a born-again virgin.  Maybe it’ll be a simple one night thing or maybe it’ll escalate into a FWB arrangement, either way you wake up feeling like quite the young stud! But again, it’s rarely that simple. Chances are someone ends up feeling a disposable sex object, maybe not from the get go but certainly at some point along the track.

So to sum up, it’s not criminal to want to engage in human interaction in order to boost one’s ego without necessarily wanting anything long term. However, I think if we do choose to get involved in using another person to make ourselves feel good we need to be fully aware of the potential consequences. We may kid ourselves into thinking harmless flirting and casual sexcapades are just a little bit of innocent fun, but we should be willing to admit that they rarely are. Even if you think you have the upper hand in such an arrangement understand that at any moment the tables may turn and you might find yourself developing feelings for this person who was only meant to serve as a temporary ego booster. If you must engage in these ego boosting arrangements (let’s not pretend any of us is above it) then my best advice is to keep it short and sweet because the longer these things drag on, the higher the risk of someone getting burnt.

It’s over to you Rinsers. Have you ever had a ‘relationship’ that has simply served to inflate your ego and help mend some of the confidence that was lost as a result of past rejections? Do you think people can ever really be on the same page when it comes to such ‘mutually beneficial’ arrangements or are these ego boosting activities destined to end in disaster?

 

Review: The Wedding Countdown – Ruth Saberton : Idealising Arranged Marriage?

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When faced with the prospect of 23 hours’ worth of flight time on a plane with no entertainment system, you can’t blame a girl for turning to trashy chick lit for comfort. That is exactly what I did on my recent travels. The Wedding Countdown is trashy, pretty poorly written ‘romance’ novel littered with factual inaccuracies (Canary Wharf is apparently on the Central Line: P). And although I could tell from the get go that this wasn’t going to be intellectually stimulating literature, I ploughed through it because the subject matter is something I thought would be worth discussing on Rinse.

The story centres around Amelia ‘Mills’ Ali, a modern educated Muslim girl who basically wants it all a fast-paced career, an active social life and of course LOVE and happily ever after. Unfortunately, she also wants to please her somewhat more traditional parents who come from a world where Mum and Dad always know what’s best for their daughter and in this case this means marrying an eligible young man from Pakistan!

Having already delayed the inevitable by going to university, Mills asks her parents to put off marriage plans for another year in order to allow her to pursue an internship in London, after which she’ll settle down with a man of their choosing (and move to Pakistan for her happily ever after!). Mills also decides to use her time in London to capitalise on a loop-hole in this whole arranged marriage system. She is on a mission to find a good, respectable Muslim who respects her values and won’t hold her back but also most importantly her parents will also approve of. As any single girl searching for love finding a bloke you can tolerate is hard enough without bringing the olds into it.

While the story touched on a whole lot of important issues like the challenges of being in interracial/intercultural relationships, chasing bad boys, being jilted at the alter and generally learning how to do deal with pervy guys and cheaters, I do think the author sugar-coated the realities of arranged marriages. I’m not going to give the game away here but let’s just say the happy clappy account doesn’t match up with the stories you read in the newspaper. It’s all a little bit far-fetched.

From my arguably Western, overly Disneyfied outlook on love the whole idea of having your folks choose a bloke for you and only meeting him a few days before you say those all-important vows seems rather grim. And having no idea about one another’s skills in the bedroom…let’s not even go there! I don’t know the reality of it all to be honest with you. Maybe arranged marriage works for some people. I guess if you are failing at dating (like a lot of us avid Tinderers) having Mummy and Daddy intervene before your resigned to life on the shelf doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world. Hmmm…Still, I’m not convinced.

Despite my negative review of the book, it’s not all bad. There are a few good LOLs in the story and does introduce people to an subject matter that most of us have no experience with. And if you need some light entertainment during a long journey you could do worse (although in terms of shoddy writing it gives 50 shades a run for its money). Regardless, the book still got lots of good reviews on Amazon and its super cheap on Kindle, so that’s something.

Alrighty Rinsers – Share your views on arranged marriages in the comments below. Is it just an archaic form of family interference that needs to be abolished? Or do you think there is something to be said for getting Mum and Dad to do all the hard work on your behalf? Looking forward to hearing what y’all have to say…