Dirty Little Secrets in the Age of Social Media

 

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

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

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

 

It’s All About (Secret) Sex

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

 

Keeping The Options Open

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

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

 

They are leading a double life

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review : 50 Shades of Fairytales @ The Alexander Upstairs

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While things may be a bit different nowadays when it comes to children’s entertainment with Disney becoming all PC and ensuring that their stories aren’t as whitewashed as they once were and contain some sort of feminist undertone, I’m old enough to be of that generation brought up on the traditional notion of a fairytale. You know those feel-good stories where Prince Charming is an alpha male with BIG MAN muscles who is capable of destroying all the bad people in order to ‘save’ the damsel in distress and give her the happily-ever-after she deserves …. blah blah blah. Sigh. Unfortunately, as we are all by now well aware. Disney LIED. Alpha males, very much like unicorns, only exist in La La land and when it comes to slaying dragons and dealing with bad people, well us chicks are probably better off dealing with all that stuff ourselves because Prince Charming it seems is getting delayed.
’50 Shades of Fairytales’ is a one-women show which deals with exactly that. It tells the story of two women (played by Titilayo Adedokun) who share their personal experiences of relationships and the associated challenges through a string of songs. Covering everything from little girls fantasizing about the arrival of their Prince Charming and the excitement of planning one’s dream wedding to coming to terms with the reality of dating one deadbeat after another, being trapped in an unhappy codependent relationship with someone you want to kill.
Sure, it sounds a bit cynical. But I think most 20,30, 40-somethings can definitely identify with the characters’ struggles. Especially that of trying to remain hopeful despite all the knocks. Although the show is ultimately focuses on women chasing fairytales, the way that modern dating operates these days I think even the guys will find that they can relate. And even though there are parts that come down pretty hard on the male-species, the humour and sing-song of it all helps to tone down the raging-feminist vibe, which makes it more digestible for the men in the audience and those of us who aren’t quite yet complete haters of men.
The show is also provides a nice reality check for anyone who is feeling that the whole world is against them. It’s a nice reminder that nobody’s story is all that ‘original’. All you have to do is talk to five randoms on a bus to find that you aren’t the first woman to be blind-sided by a philandering jerk, to have dated a broke-ass loser, or fallen in madly in love in a sociopath. But in this world of Facebook reality we only ever get insights into the sugarcoated version of other people’s lives which tricks us into believing we are thee ultimate failure in life.
While there are anecdotes throughout the show which will pretty much resonate with anyone who didn’t simply marry their first love, it’s not all doom and gloom. And as much as it isn’t ‘cool’ to be into musicals these days, the whimsical show tunes here keep things light and fluffy, allowing the audience to leave lol’ing and skipping their way into the night rather than feeling depressed and hopeless. The lyrics are well-written and thought provoking and Titilayo Adedokun just has an amazing stage presence with a voice so incredible that it is almost too big for such a intimate venue. Furthermore, the fact that all the stage paraphernalia and costume changes are kept to a minimum also mean that you can focus more on the songs without being overly distracted.
All in all, 50 Shades of Fairytales is a lovely, uncomplicated little bit of entertainment that tackles the somewhat painful issues associated with modern romance in a fun and quirky way. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is currently feeling a bit hateful towards the opposite sex and world at large.  It’s on at the Alex for till the end of September and tickets are reasonably priced at just R120 (online), so catch it while you can. You really won’t be disappointed!

The 5 Types of Friend That Emerge In The Aftermath of a Break-Up

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Some fool once told me that a break-up was probably the worst thing that had ever happened in my somewhat ‘privileged’ life.  And to be honest with you, the idiot had a point. That said, I don’t think we should really minimize the impact the end of a significant relationship can have on person’s life. Break-ups are traumatic. Sometimes they legitimately warrant a mental-health day, or heart-break leave as they call it Japan.I mean if people take sabbatical for the death of their pet goldfish, I think it’s fair to indulge in a bit of self-care when a part of your heart has been brutally ripped out.

As important as some me-time is, I also believe it’s important to have a solid support network. Spending too much time alone following such an upheaval can a) give you too much time to overthink everything resulting in even more mental torture and b) result in you seeking solace from the loneliness in the arms of someone familiar. And the whole story of letting an ex escalate into a FWB is a story for another post entirely. So, yes back to that support network who are basically required to become babysitters/therapists in a post-break up period. As there is such a lot to address in the aftermath of a epic break-up, you often find that each person reacts differently to the task at hand. Everyone brings their own unique perspective to the mix and serves their own (not necessarily equally important) purpose in your life.  Here is a basic breakdown of the different type of friend you’ll encounter following a break-up.

The I-Told-You-So Friend

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight. It’s nothing special. Having people who tell you after a decade long relationship that they knew you were doomed from the start isn’t really helpful. In some instances, they may even remind of a specific occasion in the early days where they called it and warned you of the risks and what was to come. While these folks aren’t necessarily all bad, they just seem to want to use your tough time  to make themselves feel like a smart and what they have to say isn’t particularly nice or useful. Listen to them if you want (maybe they have some insights into your patterns) but take everything they say with a pinch of salt. Remember that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be able to stand somewhat removed from another person’s romantic relationships and offer a critical eye. Furthermore, remind them that they you’ll only ever truly regret the risks you never took (and they good sex you never had!).

The Realist

Sigh. These are the friends you probably have a love/hate relationship with at times. These are the people that don’t beat around the bush. They call you out on shit. They won’t indulge your stupidity. They are basically your eyes when you’ve be blinded by  love.  They’ll SHOUT at you if they have to – online and even sometimes in public places. If you are weak human (like myself) they are likely to make you cry.  You might find yourself having to be on the defensive with them at times and finding new genius ways to justify your actions to them (not that they’ll fall for it). There are also probably going to be times when you question why you are friends with such a mean-spirited person. But once the dust settles, you’ll come to understand that the tough-love they dished out was just what was needed to make you see the error of your ways and that they actually always had your best interests at heart.

The Virgin Inactive/Hater of Men

An interesting one. And one which strangely happens to find its way into my life in a post-break up period. They may fight your corner but they do it in their own unique way. They’ll hate on your ex or screw that, they’ll hate on the male species entirely. Sometimes this ranting and raving about ALL men being lazy, dysfunctional, broke-ass cheaters may be tonic but it gets a bit tiring. Eventually, you’ll realise that they’ve had such bad experiences with relationships (or such little experience in the case of the 30-something virgins) that they’ve given up on happily-ever-after (and sex!). But that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a sexless existence. I personally find that these people are a reminder to get back on that horse a keep tinderingand  believing that Prince Charming (or at least some good experiences) are still on the cards ,and that a life void of amazing bedroom acrobatics doesn’t even bear thinking about! So with these ones, ignore their advice/hateful comments and enjoy the distraction they provide, and be glad you haven’t been out of the game as long as they have.

The Wing Woman

Now here is a fun one. Mine buggered off to Butt Fuck Nowhere and truly left a void in my life. The wing woman/man has no time for self-pity or over-analysis. They won’t necessarily give you a shoulder to cry on. But they’ll bring the wine, the gin and the PARTY. This is the person who tells you to snap out of it, put on your hottest dress because you guys are hitting the town. This is the buddy who shows you that no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself you’ll never get back to that happy place without YOUR person, there are in fact plenty of fish in sea.

The Cheerleader/Feeder

So, I saved the best till last. These people are your biggest fans. They’ll drop everything to be there for you in the immediate aftermath –  to pick up the pieces, debrief, cry and drink copious amounts of gin with you. They’ll also be there to reassure you that the whole relationship was not a farce but that you also did the right thing. Even if you relapse, and go back and forth with that SO forever and day, they won’t judge (well, they’ll at least try to conceal their judgement). They understand that we are all human and at times this requires us to do illogically insane things. Regardless, they’ll put aside their own agenda and do whatever if required to help you deal (which includes asking if you’ve eaten yet and ensuring that you are kept well fed and hydrated even when you think your entire universe is caving in).

There you have it. My little sentimental moment. Don’t stress – I’ll be back to my old bitching and moaning ways soon. Clearly, folks will approach a break-up differently depending on their own experiences and perspectives. Some will bitch and moan, others will hate on your ex and get angry on your behalf, some will scream at you until you get your thick skull around some basic facts, while others will assist you in finding your next conquest. Whatever the case, each babysitter will do their shift and serve their purpose and together somehow all these different approaches come together and things eventually start to make sense.

P.S. Boxing people is very bad and it is possible for a person to be in more that one of the above categories. 

So Rinsers, tell me is there a type of friend who assists you on the road to recovery after a break-up that I’ve missed? Do you think some perspectives that are most useful than others? Or do they all have a part to play. Holler in the comments below.