The End of Brangelina – Is it OK to LOL at the Other Women’s Misery?

jen

So just last week we saw the demise of yet another Hollywood couple. Divorce doesn’t come as much of a shock these days and it seems that in actual fact the public isn’t all that interested in what went down between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The media are far more concerned with the little subplot in this story and particularly what ex-wife Jennifer Aniston has to say on the matter, especially since Angelina Jolie was the Other Women that broke up that marriage.

Various media channels have been having lots of fun speculating about how Jennifer Aniston must be delighted right now. From the humorous headlines such as “Jennifer Aniston hospitalised after dangerously prolonged laughing fit”  and those British tabloids telling us that their ever-so-reliable sources inform them that she has said that the Brangelina split is ‘karma’ for what they did in the past to the millions of memes circulating social media  showing us how the nice girl gets the last laugh – it seems Jenny is once again going to be forced into making an appearance in the latest episode of this saga, whether she likes it or not.

Aside from the fact that there is no real evidence of Jennifer Aniston skipping through fields of daisies, singing happy songs or generally gloating at her ex hubby’s stupidity, this whole drama does make one question whether in such love triangl-ish situations we should be LOL’ing at another person’s misery? Is it really that wrong especially in cases where that person/people did us wrong?

I’m a little bit torn on the issue, to be honest. On one hand, I’m sure if I ever found myself in such a situation, I’d probably have a secret giggle (or maybe share the laughter with a few of my closest friends). Maybe a less mature version of myself would enjoy having a bit of a public gloat with a not-so-cryptic status update on social media. Say what you want about the silly memes on social media but I think they are simply a reflection of how people truly feel – we are all human after all.

On the other hand, having been victim to a philandering jerk’s behaviour in past there is no one better  placed to empathise with this Other Woman’s misery than the ex-wife. It’s easy for us outsiders to bombard the Other Woman with those classic ‘I told you so’ style lines such as ‘If he cheated with you, he’ll also cheat ON you’ but really what good does any of this do? Again, this story raises the question of why women overwhelmingly feel the need to hate on other women (not just the home-wrecking ones) and see them as competition? The world seems to have forgotten that Angelina too has not one, but two ex-hubby’s but we don’t see hilarious memes about them. Is this because there is some secret bro code which bans guys from celebrating one another’s misery?  I

To conclude, of course, we can’t tarnish the whole female species as a heartless breed of person that receives endless amounts of joy at seeing  our fellow chicks fail in life. That said, let’s be honest we probably are the bitchier sex. As for the Other Woman, there is no justifying that sort of skank behaviour- whatever the excuses (they were young and naive and the man tricked them into believing they were special – blah blah blah!) – they lack morals and decency. However, that’s not to say that they can’t learn from these experiences and change themselves. So while you can’t blame anyone who finds themselves in Jennifer Aniston’s position from having a good LOL at the homewreckers expense, it’s probably best to do it privately. In public (and most importantly on social media), we should maintain a mature facade and follow Jenny’s example of taking the high road and showing the world we are above this guttersnipe activity that our ex’s choose to be involved in.

Dear Rinsers what’s your take on Brangelina? Do you think it’s natural for the woman scorned to LOL when justice is served? What would you do in this situation? And do you think hating on each other and enjoying seeing others fail is just a chick thing? Do think this trend goes beyond the romantic realm into other spheres of our lives as well? Answers in the comments below.

Also featured on The Urban Dater

Advertisements

Film review: 45 years

image

“45 years” is a dramatic love story of a very long term marriage. Just before their 45 year anniversary  the body of the husband’s former partner is found after her death fifty years before. It turns out that he (Geoff) wasn’t entirely honest with his wife (Kate), who becomes increasingly jealous of her husband’s old flame she knew so little about. Will the skeleton in the closet change the way in which they look at each other?

The film is a very slow-paced drama. There’s not much happening as such, it focuses on the interactions and emotions between the main characters. Kate and Geoff seem happy together at first but the new situation creates (or possibly magnifies) tensions. The audience wonders whether there were pre-existing conflicts or whether the marriage was almost perfect but the late lover introduces the disagreements. We also have no way of knowing whether Kate questioned her relationship before or only after the mystery appeared in their life.

Charlotte Rampling was nominated for the Academy Award for her performance as Kate and it was a well-deserved nomination. With such minimalistic plot the actors have to be geniuses to make the movie interesting. I think many women can relate to Kate in the way she obsesses about the former partner. Each of us dated, at least once, someone who was pining for his ex and was wondering whether if she came back running he would have rather had her not us. Most relationships of that sort don’t survive but in the case of a dead partner, there technically should be nothing that worries us. And yet humans are jealous creatures. The thought that one’s partner would have rather spent their lifetime with someone else and that one was the second best choice must be rather unsettling for a person who spent her whole life in a committed relationship with someone.

I enjoyed the movie but to watch it, one should be prepared to focus. The meaning of the movie is hidden in the dialogues between character, in seemingly meaningless scenes and behaviours. It’s not what Hollywood and mainstream cinema has usually on offer. If you find emotions on the screen “lame” and you require constant action rather give this movie a pass. It’s a drama that may bore us a little bit but it certainly is thought-provoking. The acting is  very impressive and it’s nice to see someone who’s over 40 on the screen.

 

Review: The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

the-course-of-love

I was introduced to Alain de Botton’s writings by somebody I used to know <humming>. He mostly writes odd semi-philosophical books which are surprisingly popular given their random subject matter e.g “How Proust can change your life”. “The Course of Love” is his second novel and I felt compelled to read it as I highly admire his work in general.

Let me just start by saying that it’s a very atypical novel. As any love story would have it, there are two characters who fall in love with each other and get married. The main difference is that de Botton starts his story where fairy tales end and that he’s not trying to entertain/move the reader but provide him or her with an objective examination of a long-term romantic relationship. He’s being quite harsh and he doesn’t spare his audience any of the realism of all the little and big troubles a committed couple can experience. I appreciate the author’s effort to debunk the romantic myths many of us believe as we are fed with them by the mainstream culture. Unfortunately, the characters’ personalities and the story itself are lost in the process of ruthless application of this scientific approach to human relations.

The married characters are supposed to be typical representatives of the Western middle class. Rabih is meant to be an Everyman and Kirsten an Everywoman and that’s precisely what makes them no one at all. Their interactions are accompanied by  the author’s commentary reminding us of encyclopaedic entries. This narrative is certainly innovative and occasionally amusing. Unfortunately, it does get tedious over time. As much as we may be able to relate to the characters behaviours and logically understand them, we cannot relate to them as humans. In the attempt to make them typical, the author made them  insipid.

De Botton certainly makes many good points in the book. Love isn’t perfect and we shouldn’t expect our partners to be. There will be disagreements, fights and occasional temptations. The mainstream romanticised vision of love doesn’t allow us to be realistic and examine “they lived together happily ever after”. The mere attempt to do so is commendable. I appreciate de Botton’s intellectual effort and I think that if he had put his thoughts into a form of semi-scientific article it would have been a great read. However, it doesn’t work as a novel. It’s certainly thought-provoking but neither engaging nor gripping. The beauty of literature, art and love should, by all means, be scientifically analysed but some things about them are evasive and escape the cold measurements. Love is a particular relation between two people that are drawn to each other because of the bad and good in them but also by a number of small things that they themselves don’t fully realize. Each love is as unique as human beings that form it. There’s no algorithm for love not because there’s something wrong with applying science to it, but just because there’s too much data to analyze and we bound to be coming up with vast generalisations.

I would certainly recommend other books by the author. As for the novel, it’s short and different so you may give it a go. Nevertheless, the way in which it’s written makes it a rather boring pastime halfway through when we’ve already appreciated the author’s idea and style.

Friendshifts : From BFFs to Coffee Friends

vintage_paris_20s

Life is full of changes. While most of us may not be where we envisaged ourselves to be 10 years ago, I certainly hope that none of us is in the same place we were back then either. As we move forward with our lives – careers, travels, relationships, babies, etc – it is almost impossible to carry everything from your past with you (who wants all that baggage anyway?), including sadly some friendships. Maybe I’m a heartless little witch but in my post today I’m going to tell you why downgrading (or even completely letting go) of a friendship isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As we grow up and life takes us on its various adventures maintaining friendships becomes difficult, NOT impossible, just difficult. Sometimes  it’s simply a matter of distance as one of you moves to deepest darkest Africa while the other decides to spends the 20s/30s/40s living at home with their folks. Then there are those cases where your interests diverge with one of you joining a hectic religious cult while the other spends every spare moment training for a marathon. We all get busy and while technology has certainly made communication a lot easier, sometimes the effort of dedicating hours to skype calls, etc just becomes too much too handle.

Living a somewhat transient lifestyle has taught me that if you work on your personality making friends shouldn’t be too difficult wherever you go in the world. However, I must say that native Capetonians are a rather odd bunch in that they insist on maintaining historic friendships with people they’ve known since kindergarten but no longer have anything in common with. Quite frankly it seems a little silly to waste precious time investing in something that brings you minimal joy (they always bitch and moan about it after the fact) and is based on something as arbitrary as your parents being besties with one another or you being placed in the same class at school or living in the same suburb (all things you have no power over).

Look I’m certainly in no position to talk. I probably do a complete overhaul of my friendship group once or twice a year and to some that makes me fickle. But to be completely honest life is short and I’d rather spend time expanding my social circle and finding people who add value to my life rather than holding on to something that no longer serves a purpose. I not advocating completely disposing of old friendships (unless of course the irreconcilable differences – like them becoming a member of the Klu Klux Klan) but just downgrading from forcing yourself to see them every week to maybe a catch up twice a year, if that. Just because your lives have taken different paths doesn’t mean that they are a bad person and meeting for a pleasant coffee (hence the term coffee friend) or the odd glass of wine once in a while isn’t going to kill you.

Of course, there are some friendships that will stand the test of time but quality friendships aren’t always about the people you’ve known the longest. And while you shouldn’t forget the good times, now that you’ve moved on clinging onto something through obligation isn’t healthy. Nor is asking for all or nothing . Don’t hate on people for making new friends – that’ll only make you come across as bitter and jealous. If someone is drifting away just let them go. It really isn’t the end of the world.

To conclude, as we transition through each chapter of our lives we are bound to meet lots of weird and wonderful people. While some are there for the long haul others might only feature momentarily but leave you with some good memories. We are no longer in high school and there really doesn’t have to be a competition for the BFF badge. In fact, the coffee friend status will likely mean less stress in the long term anyway. The best thing though when it comes to friendship is that the concept is so flexible. In a romantic relationship when the two parties drift apart, cracks appear and chances are a break-up is in sight but with friends, if we are mature enough, it is possible to simply engineer a friendshift instead of completely terminating the arrangement.

So enough of my wittering Rinsers. What are your thoughts about the changing nature of friendships? Are you forever jumping from one squad to the next or do you believe in holding onto historic friendships at any cost? Share some of your stories in the comments below. 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridget Jones’s Baby – Worth the Wait?

bj

I’ve always been a fan of the Bridget Jones franchise. Although, I am not quite sure why. I was only 15 when the first movie came out in 2001. Maybe I just had a feeling then that a decade and half later I would probably identify with this ditsy chick who was always unlucky in love (the joys of being an ugly duckling I think).

Anyway, despite having not read either of the first two books I loved the movies but, as is usually the case, the sequel was somewhat disappointing. Don’t get me wrong Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason still features in my very minimal DVD collection (maybe the ex who bought me the DVD did it to curse me to a life of eternal spinsterhood!). In all honesty, the second movie wasn’t terrible (how can it be with Mr Darcy to perve on?) – there were still a lot of good LOLs but it was a bit repetitive when it came to the jokes.

After a decade long Bridget Jones hiatus, I rediscovered my love for the silly woman when I read Bridget Jones : All About The Boy a couple of years ago. The book was a nice easy read, nothing to taxing for my fragile mind and the new characters were fairly likeable. And after reading I felt ready to embrace the Bridget Jones threequel. But when it came time to see the latest instalment in the movie saga I was a little apprehensive. While I knew it would be at least be mildly entertaining I was still a little sceptical having learnt  that it wouldn’t actually be based on the third book.

On Saturday #zlotybaby and I took ourselves on a date to watch the much anticipated Bridget Jones Baby. Without giving away too much, I will say I was pleasantly surprised and might even go as far as to say that it was better than the original. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll probably know that in this movie Bridget is a 40-something (remember its been 12 years since she did her stint in Thai prison) cougar or, SPILF (cross between a spinster and a MILF) as she calls herself, who has somehow landed herself a high-powered job and got undergone quite a cosmetic transformation. Thankfully, she is still the same scatty and loveable character that everyone pities/finds endearing and now she is about to become a geriatric mother.  And the million dollar question around which the storyline centres on is : Who is BJ’s Baby Daddy? Some internet dating guru she hooks up with at a music festival or her old flame that somehow boomeranged back into her life?

Maybe I am just easily pleased but I thought Bridget Jones’s Baby was an excellent comeback and definitely worth waiting over a decade for.  Sure it received some criticism for not discussing abortion and birth control, but I’m a firm believer in there being a time and place for everything.  It was certainly unrealistic in parts (e.g. the lovers of family would be up in arms if people got fired for  making ‘pregnancy brain’ mistakes) but movies like this would soon lose their appeal if they had to be true to reality on everything and sensitively discuss all those BIG issues. So for what its worth, if you are in the mood for something fluffy and lighthearted that will make you laugh like a lunatic go and watch Bridget Jones Baby – just be ready to embrace all the slapstick moments (as well as the un-PC Hitler jokes). And you never know, this may just be the movie that you need to restore your faith in humanity and happily ever after in the miserable age of Tinder!

And I really hope we don’t have to wait another decade for the 4th one !

So  Rinsers – Have you  seen Bridget Jones’s Baby? Did you think it was a good LOL or just a mediocre chick flick? Thoughts in the comments below.

 

Thoughts on Pillow Talk

pillow-talk

Communication is key in all types of human relationship. Whether it’s a marriage or just a short-term FWB arrangement – being able to vocalise your thoughts and feelings with the other party contributes greatly to the success of the interaction. The inability to communicate well can lead to misunderstandings and arguments further down the line. Don’t worry I’m not planning on going all serious on you in this post and talking about all those grown-up forms of communication such as relationship counselling and the like, instead I’ll keep things light and fluffy as I discuss this thing called Pillow Talk.

While there is certainly no clear definition for what the term actually entails, most sources agree that it’s the intimate conversation you have with someone in bed. Whether or not it happens before or after copulation is unclear or even whether it has to involve the deed at all. But chances are it does involve minimal clothing. The movies tell us that Pillow Talk is where people lose all inhibitions (well they’ve already lost all their clothes so why not?) and reveal their innermost secrets.  But in an age where people hook up with a different person every other day is this Pillow Talk really such a big deal?

Of course, the situation for people in committed relationships/ happy marriages is very different where whispering sweet nothings to your partner may actually be of some significance. The moment could also strategically used to broach those contentious issues such as whose turn it is do the dishes or whether the time has come for the two of you to get a puppy 😉 (this is a very important conversation!). Just try to refrain from nagging on your partners head.

For the romantically less fortunate among us however, bearing all and making such honest disclosures could result in some major regrets on the morning after night before.  Lets just say be careful who trust, you may be tricked into thinking you are going to bed with the soul of discretion only to realise the next morning that you’ve woken up beside one of Cape Town’s biggest gossips (who perhaps even blogs about such experiences).

On the other hand, if you are the sort of person who is partial to a one night stand, I guess if the other party is willing to lend you their ear you could always use Pillow Talk as a form of therapy. Use the time wisely to bitch and moan about the pitfalls of modern romance, whinge about the one that got away or blame horrible mean lesbians for breaking your spirit . Alternatively, you could use those precious post-coital moments to discuss the weather, the state of global politics or the meaning of life. Whatever takes your fancy really.

Clearly, Pillow Talk has the potential to be a lot of things depending on the two (or more – if you are into swinging, threesomes, etc) parties involved. Regardless of whether it’s a loveless marriage where you have to schedule weekly bedroom activity sessions, a committed relationship, a trusty FWB arrangement, or a crazy hot one nighter, it is good to (pillow) talk. Communication is important and necessary if we are to establish successful relationships so try to use the opportunity strategically, be pragmatic and don’t be one of those people who does the deed then turns around to fall asleep. That’s just rude and your mother taught you better than that 😛

Alrighty Rinsers it’s time for you to share your thoughts of Pillow Talk. Is it important? Or just a waste of time? What are the best, worst and most random Pillow Talk conversations you’ve ever had? Share your stories in the comments section below.  

The Plus One ‘Conundrum’

plusone

As much as us singletons bitch and moan about our loveless lives and the pitfalls of modern dating, the fact is much of that drama is brought on ourselves and could be avoided if we stopped chasing trouble. Thankfully, in more progressive countries women can function perfectly well (if not better) without a man by their side. But there does come a time when sadly everyone, even those who claim to be happily single, are forced to partner up.

Formal events, particularly weddings, become regular features on our social calenders as we hit our 30s and such occasions often require you to have a plus one. For those that are married or in a committed relationship this requirement really doesn’t pose much of a problem (well, unless your significant other is a socially awkward recluse – but that’s a story for a separate post). But for a singleton receiving such an invite with dreaded words PLUS ONE poses a whole host of issues.

Firstly, it reminds you that you are hopelessly single. While it may seem like you are one of the few people that are excluded from that special club aka the coupleverse – you really aren’t so just stop being a drama queen/king! Sure if you are brave you can play the free agent card and go it alone but that’s not always going to be the case and sometimes you’ll just have to suck it up and convince someone to be your plus one.

Next, finding a suitable plus one that, a) won’t make a scene and embarrass you and b) won’t read too much into such an invite and see it as a opportunity to get their leg over, is easier that done.One’s outlook will definitely effect your approach to finding the right person for the job. Some may simply see it as a opportunity for an all expenses paid date. Other times you may need your plus one to put on his/her superhero cape and protect you from that frenemy or SWF you know will be on a mission to bask in the glory of seeing your sad and single. Then on the best occasions, the plus ones will just be there to laugh at your speech, booze with you and generally be good value. Whatever the case, it is important for the plus one to understand their role and for everyone’s expectations are managed properly.

Sometimes the pressure to find a plus one can really cause us to act stupidly. It’s actually quite crazy the lengths we’ll go to have someone hold our hand in a room full of pairs. I’ve heard stories of the lastminute.com types hitting up Tinder on the morning of an event and taking the first available match that comes along.  In theory it could fun, and of course it’ll be a cool story to tell if it works out in your favour but all I see is so so so much potential for disaster ! But this is not the worst act of stupidity that comes to mind, the thought of needing to fill a plus one quota could make a even a usually sensible girl consider prolonging an encounter with a racist mama’s boy due to to the fear of having to fly solo (thankfully, she did come to her senses in the end!).

To conclude, as wedding season approaches many of us will face the agony of finding a person that is socialised enough to be seen with at a public event. As hard as it may seem at times it is important that you don’t let your sad single status result in a complete mental breakdown. Always keep the bigger picture in mind – remember your choices could have wider social repercussions.Whatever you do choose wisely and carefully, try not to commit social suicide by pitching up with someone who acts raving lunatic that has been let out of Valkenberg for the evening and most importantly make sure your plus one is someone who doesn’t take life too seriously and knows how to have fun. Sometimes its just a case of thinking outside the box a little.

Rinsers – Have you ever agonized over finding a plus one for a function? Has the pressure ever caused you to do something stupid? Do you have any advice for any singletons looking to survive such occasions? Share you success/horror stories in the comments below.  

 

 

 

 

Swimsuit Season : Burkinis and Man Boobs

o-BURKINI-facebook.jpg

Today is officially the start of spring here in South Africa (and #zlotybaby’s bday!!!) and it won’t be long before people start stripping off the layers and starting to show off those hot bods they’ve been hiding all winter. It’s also a long time since fashion featured on #rinsebeforeuse so I thought it might be an appropriate time to talk swimwear, especially since it’s a topic that has been hitting the headlines recently with the somewhat unnecessary controversy over the burkini in France.  Today’s post looks at why there is this need to police what women wear and the impact that views on fashion have in dating, particularly with regards to the length some will go to please their significant other?

While we all probably expected more of France, a supposedly progressive country which is not only famous for being ahead of the times when it comes to fashion but also sees itself as a paragon of Western freedoms – it is certainly not the first or only place where fashion is being policed. Recently, India’s Tourism Minister ‘advised’ female tourists not to wear skirts for their own safety, basically insinuating that this Western ‘slutty’ style of dressing encourages dirty perves to commit dirty perverted acts. Obviously, there is more to all of this than burkinis and short skirts – for some, it seems that getting women to strip off is about liberating them from patriarchy and for others its have women to cover up to protect themselves from rapists and predators. Apparently, policing the way women dress is actually more to do with everyone’s fear of seeing their culture eroded in a more globalised world.

Blah blah blah. Whatever the reasoning, one factor which is minimised in these discussions on women’s fashion is the role played by MEN and the many ways the effect what women do/do not wear. Don’t worry I’ll try to avoid having a feminist rant here (I mean you can’t hate on them all when most of the world’s leading fashion designers are men). When police claim they are rescuing women from patriarchal systems, these are systems which benefit men and similarly would women really need to make fashion choices based on ‘protection’ if some horrible MEN (yes, despite the weirdos of Tinder I still believe there are a few nice ones left) weren’t out there trying to play power games.

And, if this was nothing to do with men then why does nobody feel the need to police what blokes wear? I don’t think we’d hear many complaints if the police arrested men for wearing socks and sandals or those vulgar cargo pants ?  And I wonder how those men running topless on Sea Point promenade flaunting their man boobs would feel if everyone called them a man-whore and told them to cover up? But luckily for them, the world doesn’t work that way.

Even on a more basic level when it comes to dating, much of what we wear is chosen to impress others, albeit subconsciously. I certainly don’t think taking pride in what you wear is a bad thing at all and everyone should be free to wear what they want. But if we really think about it? How much of what is on-trend in women’s fashion is defined by what is attractive to men? And sure, dressing up to make oneself feel good is always nice but I think the novelty of that would probably wear off if no-one (especially those that we like liked) noticed. Even though some chicks dress shabbily and claim they don’t care what other people/men think, the truth is that bucking the trend also requires effort and you’ll probably find they attract someone also embraces this shabby look.

So as much as I’ve ranted here, I don’t claim to be above this system where men basically infiltrate our weak little minds and have their say over women’s fashions. When it comes to dating however disillusioned I become after all these horrific encounters I still put some effort into the way I dress because even if he turns out to be a frog, you never know Prince Charming could be sitting at the very next table and no girl does herself any favours by looking like the Wicked Witch of the East. :D. And on a more serious note, of course we all need to employ a little bit of cultural sensitivity in certain places (like keeping the hot pants for the club rather than rocking them at a mosque or church) but summer is on the way and beaches are public places so if a chick wants to wear a burkini, a non-existent bikini or a unicorn costume the police need to leave her to it and busy themselves fighting the real criminals.

Rinsers – Please share your comments below. Do countries have the right to tell women what to wear? Why don’t they do the same for men? Do you agree that men have a major influence in defining what women wear?  How much do you think of what we wear is designed to make us more attractive? Does the same apply for guys and how they dress? And how do we balance expressing ourselves through fashion and mainlining an appropriate degree of cultural sensitivity?