Book Review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

so you've been publicly shamed

I discovered Jon Ronson earlier this year thanks to his very compassionate TED Talk “When online shaming goes too far“. I agreed with his ideas however unpopular they are in the modern world, where we’re okay with shaming people for a thing they’ve done or allegedly done wrong and then join the crowd in destroying their lives. Do you really think that shaming people online is harmless or perhaps that some people “deserve it”? Then read on…

In “You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” Ronson explores some of the most famous cases of shaming: the tweet of Justine Sacco, Jonah Lehrer’s books that included fabrications, Max Mosley’s sex party with allegedly Nazi uniforms and many others you have certainly heard about. The structure of the book is a bit chaotic so I’ll try to discuss briefly its most important points:

Is It Even True?

The first problem with shaming and particularly with online shaming that Ronson points out is that often what people are getting bent out of shape about is often just an interpretation. In a way the source of the outrage becomes irrelevant very quickly. People join in madness in the blink of an eye and no one tries to discover the real story. Those who disagree with the shaming crowd keep quiet, scared to be shamed as well.

Even If It Is True, Do They Deserve It? 

The first scenario when what you’ve said has been misinterpreted or presented in a bad light is even more tragic. However, even if the shamed person has done something wrong the question remains whether they deserve to get the treatment they get and have their lives ruined. We all make mistakes and some mistakes should be punished but is an eternal punishment not a bit too harsh?
People online say the worst stuff about those who are being shamed. Particularly women are often threatened and sent death and rape wishes. Both men and women are being called names. Sure, it’s not okay to do what they did but two wrongs don’t make it right.
Very often as a result of the outrage they end up losing their jobs whether the allegations are true or not because people don’t want to be associated with them.
When the madness subsides and someone else becomes the new victim of the crowd, the lives of people who have been shamed do not get back to normality. The magic of Google makes it possible for people to find your dirty little secret very quickly and no one wants to hire you for a very long time. Can you imagine dating after such an experience? You’re even in trouble if you just share the name with the person who’s been shamed.

Other Considerations

Ronson discusses many other things in the book that I won’t go into details of but that make it even more worth reading:

  • new laws in Europe making it possible for people to “whitelist” their names
  • the very pricey specialist who may help you “whitelist” your name
  • the history of shaming
  • other ways of modern shaming
  • Twitter bots used to create fake Twitter accounts
  • the best way to handle shaming if it happens to you

#zlotybaby’s Insight

The book is well written, if somewhat chaotic and it’s a very quick read. It’ll likely leave you a bit shaken, though. If you’ve ever participated in shaming you may start feeling very very bad about it now that you know what kind of consequences it has on a person. After all, whatever they’ve done, they’re still human. We LOVE being righteous and if someone is wrong it gives us a great opportunity to do so. However, isn’t shaming others a lame way to feel better about ourselves? Besides, who hasn’t said something stupid in their lives or something that could be misinterpreted?
I guess my main conclusion after reading this book is that we should try to be compassionate and not assume the worst of others. We should also remember that our actions matter and that with a mindless reshare can contribute to someone’s pain.

For those who think that we should pay forever for even the smallest mistakes, I’m leaving some food for thought with this video about a man, who actually used to do bad things but turned his life around. Watch the TED talk by Christian Picciolini here.

Have you ever participated in online shaming? Have you ever been shamed? Do you think that people deserve forgiveness or should they pay forever for their mistakes? I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

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The Green Eyed Monster – Can A Little Bit of Jealousy Be Healthy in Relationship?

jealousy

We live in an age where everyone and their dog is ‘living their best life’. Well, that’s the impression we’d get if we believed everything we saw on social media. As much as we’d like to say we are all comfortable in our skin and don’t compare ourselves to those around us, that really isn’t the case for most people. Everyone has their insecurities. And sometimes when you find yourself thrown into something as fragile and precious as a romantic relationship, these feelings of jealousy can be amplified. Considering how difficult it is these days to find someone you find attractive, see eye to eye with on important issues, genuinely click with and actually want to consider having a future with (and also feels the same about you!), it’s understandable that when you find such a thing you are desperate to hold onto it (and destroy anyone or anything that threatened to destabilise it). With that I’m mind , I will be looking at the potential impact that green-eyed monster can have on a relationship and whether a little bit of jealousy ever has the potential be healthy in terms of one’s romantic future?

Types of Jealousy… 

In an age where you see people on Tinder admitting to having a wife/husband and kid at home but looking for a bit of fun on the side, it would be a bit naive to put all your trust in a person from the get-go. Add to that the fact that most of us are likely to have experienced some form of cheating, either within our own romantic relations or witnessed it amongst those close to us. It’s understandable that we are bit wary.

Of course, if you are dating someone who is somewhat attractive and vaguely charismatic you are likely to experience some competition when it comes to securing their affections. There are some folk out there that would argue the ‘love’, as with most things in this world, is a free market and so basic survival of the fittest type things. They have a fair point, I suppose but relationships aren’t always so clear-cut.

Beyond this basic form of jealousy due to the threat other posed by other (potentially prettier, smarter and maybe even more compatible) specimens being after your beau, there are also other types of jealousy that come into play. For instance, when half of the relationship starts to blossom and the other person feels a little left behind. Perhaps, your love found this exciting new job that allows them to travel around the globe, or their gym membership finally started to pay off as those all important abs started to pop.

However, I think it both cases it boils down to the same thing – a fear that the object of affections will leave you- whether it be for another person or because they outgrow you, doesn’t make that much difference.

Which Both Have The Potential To Be Destructive

Jealousy, like many things, is a normal human emotion however I think if you don’t nip it in the bud it has the potential to get out of hand. Obviously, seeing your partner getting hit on by some floozy isn’t the nicest of experiences. But its one thing if you guys roll your eyes at one another and go home and laugh about it later and another if you call her a ho, throw a drink in her face and make a scene about it (or as was the case with one of my exes punch a guy in the face in front of his wife and kids because he was making pervy eyes at your chick). And that isn’t as bad as it can get. How about when jealousy leads to paranoia and you start blaming your boy/girlfriend for the issue?

Relationships should have a positive influence in your life. If you are in a healthy relationship, surely you should want to see the other one go. Of course, you’ll miss them if they have to spend a year abroad for a job but its important to remember life doesn’t just revolve around you.  It’s OK to feel sad but if one person starts laying down ultimatums or preventing the other from pursuing things that could better their life – then this doesn’t bode well for the future of the whole relationship really.

So Can Jealousy Ever Be A Good Thing?

Generally, I’d would say a straight up no. However, it is just an emotion and its how much we indulge the feeling. I don’t think its that jealousy is an intrinsically attractive quality at all. But if the green monster does rear its ugly head from time to time, its not necessarily the end of the world. Trust is built over time and sometimes its flattering to see someone get a little possessive (or is that just me?). It’s also good to be kept on your toes in a relationship – we shouldn’t ever become to complacent or too comfortable to such a point where we let ourselves go. Whether we like it or not, ‘love’ is a free market and everyone has options so we should work at keeping things interesting. I think pangs of jealousy are fine, as long as you are able to reason things out in your mind and figure out some way to do whats best for both parties concerned.

Ringers share your thoughts. I expect my opinions are a little unconventional so go wild and tell it as is. Have you ever had a jealous partner? Or are you the one that tends to get jealous. What are the best ways to deal with the little green monster? Talk to me in the comments below.

That One Time I Worked as a Sexter

sexter.jpegSeeing that #englishrosiee and I have been running this blog about dating, love and sexy things for over 4 years, I have no idea how it’s happened that I haven’t discussed this chapter of my life with you yet… So here it is: I have worked as a sexter and I have a few things to say about it.

How Did I Become a Sexter?

It may surprise you, but I didn’t spend my childhood dreaming about becoming a sexter one day. In fact, I always dreamt about becoming a writer and the fact that I’m 31 years old and I am yet to publish a novel is very disappointing to me. I have, however, written a novel, which is the first step and now I’m in the process of trying to publish it. Seeing that making my dreams come true was far away when I was 18, I needed to find other ways to make some money during a summer break.

I just matriculated and I had a few months left before the beginning of my university life. I considered waitressing or baby sitting but then a friend of mine, Z. found an ad in a local newspaper. We decided to give it a go. Just like her, I was a young person who “was over 18, wanted to earn GREAT money, typed fast and was available immediately”.
No red flags for the location in the city centre or the office itself but when a skinny man with greasy medium-length hair greeted us, I started to worry a bit. He didn’t beat around the bush and told us during a joint interview that our job would be to textwith clients about sex, send erotic pictures and make them think they can meet the person they were talking to. We were to take on various personas, depending on which of the “available” girls or boys the client chose from the ads placed in various magazines (something along the lines: “Hey! I’m Roxy. I’m a redhead and as they say when the roof is red, the basement is wet. Do you want to hang out?”). The only other rule was to never set up an actual meeting with a client or give them any personal details about ourselves. Of course, there were cautionary tales in the office about the girls who did and ended up in pieces in trash bags but of course, you never knew whether they were true or not.

I definitely went all red when I was listening to the job description. I did have some experience with men but I was still a virgin! Did it make me hesitate? Maybe for a second. The day pay was high and much higher than anything I could have earned from waitressing or any other job at 18 with almost no work experience. The night shift paid double that. I said “yes”. It wasn’t like I was going to actually have sex with these people, I thought.

Tricks of the Trade

I got a pseudonym and people called me “Monika”. It was supposed to make me feel like it wasn’t really me behind the screen (yeah, the screen, you don’t think we were typing on our phones, now, do you?) but made me see that the job was iffy instead. They don’t make you use a pseudonym when you’re a successful lawyer, you know?

My sexting skills weren’t impressive in the beginning. The first nights were tough as there were targets to meet and they wouldn’t keep you for long if you couldn’t do it. Of course, it was stressful for a virgin. All I knew about sex, came from “My First Time” columns in magazines for teenagers and my friends who often had little, no or just imagined experiences themselves. I was rather unprepared for chatting to men who wanted me to tell them how I would like to be “fucked” (what ways were there, anyway?), whether I liked “fisting” (I needed to Google the term) and would ask me to describe how wet my “shell” was (which turned out to be a term for “pussy”). 

I didn’t like the job but people in the office made it a bit better. Other employees were mostly students trying to pay their bills.
We would make fun of clients to hide the fact that we actually felt pretty shitty about ourselves. After all, these people were paying money not only for the chance of seeing “our” pictures and sexting with “us” but also for the possibility of eventually meeting the persona we created. We knew it was all a lie and felt particularly bad about the ones that were nice. We drank a lot after hours to kill the guilt pangs about them and forget about how disgusting the job really was. Also, because we were young and illegal drinking in public places in the middle of the night seemed like a lot of fun.

What made the job doable, seeing that at work you had to actually be sober, was that most of the clients weren’t nice at all. I’d say that 60% to 70% of men I dealt with were married and around half of the married ones had a pregnant wife. I had a boyfriend back then who I thought was different than these men but what I read in the text messages changed my perception of the opposite sex for a very long time. These guys, mind you, had no common denominator in terms of education, profession, income, age, the numbers of years they were married or anything else I could pick up. It was natural that I started to think that all men were like that.
It wasn’t just the fact that the were so keen to cheat and pay for some stupid sexts that was bothering me. It was also about their general attitude towards women. They would complain about their wives a lot in a vulgar way (doesn’t even move during sex, became a pig after the wedding etc etc) but also spoke to me (who was allegedly so much better than the wife) in a way that made me feel like a worthless object.
I just kept repeating to myself that it wasn’t really me but Monika who was chatting to them. It was particularly difficult to believe when they called me names after I postponed yet another meeting with them coming up with excuses.

As bad as I felt, however, I was getting a hang of it and as instructed by my coworkers I started to write sex templates to minimize my effort and maximise the return. Perhaps not surprisingly given that most clients were heterosexual males, men were much better at the job than women and they were the ones worth listening to.
Meanwhile, I got praised officially for my conversational skills on topics other than sex that made some of the few not pervy but just sad and lonely clients come back to me over and over again. I also quite enjoyed being the sexting dominatrix, even if initially I was shy about swearing at clients and coming up with BDSM scenarios (what do you think about my “I’m-opening-a-champagne-bottle-in-your-bum routine”?).

I’ve Had Better

After a full month of this work I was dreaming about sex all the time. Can you even imagine a 10 hour long shift of writing about sex? My dreams were full of people having orgies, ejaculating on my face and wearing latex. I was typing when I was sleeping too, often waking up when I hit something.
The night shifts were tough on me and so was the after-shift drinking. I was 18 and I had a strong body but with the emotional load of the job it was becoming too much.
My friends started to notice that I was changing as well. I was making overly sexual jokes and almost everything anyone said was making me think of sex.
I lost my virginity somewhere around there and it felt like the biggest disappointment ever. The only thing I wished for was that I had lost it to my boyfriend I had at 15, rather than waited for it so long. Perhaps it was partially so disappointing because I had written about it all and my partner couldn’t have made it better than what I’d imagined…

Even though I became much less shy and my sexual vocabulary was growing every day, my stats were not amazing. I felt a lot of guilt about the work I was doing and I often let go of a client when, according to my supervisor, I should have just kept lying. I just didn’t have a stomach for it and however skilfully I described the imaginary sex we could be having, the clients sooner or later wanted to meet.
My unwillingness to tell them certain things was affecting my performance. Eventually, my supervisor suggested I tried out fortune telling instead. The stats to meet were much lower and I was good at talking to people. As much as I couldn’t tell the future, the clients who contacted me mostly needed help that didn’t require a Tarot reading. A husband who was a drunkard wasn’t going to stop drinking, a student who didn’t study for an exam wasn’t going to pass it and a guy who left his lover for another woman 5 years before wasn’t going to come back… I ended up giving people love advice and my stats were finally looking good. I sexted less and less until I moved entirely to fortune telling. After a few months I quit the job to start my studies.

Final Thoughts?

It was definitely an interesting experience and one I bragged about for years. You know, a fun story to tell at a party! How many people, after all, have worked as sexters? If I am to be honest with myself, however, it was really not all shits and giggles. It was a somewhat traumatic experience that took away my innocence and romanticism before my boyfriend of that time taught me some realism by breaking my heart. For a long time after that, sex seemed to me only carnal and a rather disappointing affair. Who knows when I would have found a good relationship, if not for this experience that made me see men as generally untrustworthy and disgusting?
As always in life I have no regrets but I definitely had no idea what I was getting into and how strongly it was going to affect me. Just for the record, I am for legalisation of sex work and anyone above 18 should be allowed to become a sex worker, a stripper, a dominatrix, a sexter or anyone else in this line of work. However, that they should be able to, doesn’t mean that they actually should do it. It’s a decision everyone should make for themselves after long deliberation because the consequences of even the most sexless of sex jobs can be dire.

Would you allow your daughter/son to become a sexter? What do you think about sexting? Have you ever used similar services? Go crazy in the comments’ section.

 

 

Movie Review : The Bookshop

TBS-Intl-Poster-website

I’ve always thought there was something romantic about libraries and bookshops. Once upon a time I even dreamt of bumping into my Prince Charming in such a place. Well, that was until my innocent mind was ruined thanks to the Netflix series –  YOU (I really owe y’all a review on the one).  Anyway so its understandable why a film titled ‘The Bookshop’ would appeal to me. It also stars that Brit legend and silver fox, Bill Nighy, which added to the appeal. So I dragged #zlotybaby along to see said film on our last date night. And let’s just say I doubt she’ll be letting me make movie choices again anytime soon.

The protagonist of the story is Florence Green, played by Emily Mortimer. At first glance, she is a somewhat dowdy looking, wouldn’t say boo to a ghost type. Not quite a 30-something virgin but a bit of loner since her husband died in the war. Despite appearances, she does actually have some spirit because she is willing to go against the grain to pursue her dream of turning a decaying building into a bookshop in this butt-fuck nowhere village somewhere in Blighty. Anyway, she comes up against a lot of passive-aggressive opposition from other major players in the village.

One of her first customers is Mr Brundish (Bill Nighy), a slightly eccentric (he burns the book sleeves with the authors pictures on – strange) recluse whose major love is books (especially since his wife didn’t drown while out fetching blueberries to make a pie for him). At some point, the Mr Brundish and Florence strike up a ‘friendship’ and he is pretty much the only person willing to champion her cause and help her fight to keep the bookshop open.

To me, it’s not exactly clear why the villagers, led by some sour-faced old hag (played by Patricia Clarkson), are soooo against Florence’s bookshop. Even though most of them seem a bit backward, they obviously can read because they buy the books from Florence’s store. I guess, a part of it is to do with them being a bunch of conservative twats and not wanting a single woman running a business and corrupting their delicate minds with her dirty dirty books…

The movie got some awards and lots of smart, film buff types said good things about it but honestly… I don’t know why. The only thing I could take away from it was firstly, that it’s possible to meet the love of your life in a bookshop (because Flo did after all!) but then he may die and you are basically doomed without him. And secondly that the world really hasn’t changed that much since the 1950s, mainstream society really doesn’t have much love for born-again virgins (we worked out that it was unlikely that Florence got laid in about 16 years and for Mr Brundish it was probably about 55 years). Sure, they touched hands at some point in the movie but that was probably the most action that either of them (or perhaps that whole god-foresaken village) had seen in an awfully long time.

Perhaps I’m just a little too basic (or sex-obsessed) but I wouldn’t recommend you pay to see this movie. Actually, even if you get hold of a free version, I would say make sure you exhaust all options available on Netflix before wasting a few hours of your precious life. All in all, the movie was pretty underwhelming. Obviously, some people enjoy spending hours reading between the lines but I’m sure you can find better things to do such as munch on pasta and talk about anything and everything else like #zlotybaby and I did after this ordeal. So yep, give it a miss and rather do some swiping so you increase your chances of getting lucky rather than living a sexless existence like the main characters in this story.

Rinsers, Have you watched The Bookshop? What did you think? Also, can anyone provide any insight into why through the ages, societies continue hate upon and ostracize born-again virgins and other forms of social recluse? Answers in the comment section below. Please and thank you.    

 

 

Book Review : The Unexpected Joy of Being Single By Catherine Gray

book

As you all know by now, #englishrosiee recently took a much-needed sabbatical from the world of online dating.  As I found myself contemplating my Tinder hiatus, I stumbled across this book titled The Unexpected Joy of Being Single by Catherine Gray. To be completely honest, as much as I hated/hate the rigmarole of the dating game, I did find myself scoffing at this ludicrously titled book.  Although my initial thoughts were that this would be some silly Feminazi justification for spinsterhood, I knew better than to judge a book by its cover (quite literally) and seeing as the author is a Sunday Time’s Bestseller, I figured she probably had something worthwhile to say and there probably was no more appropriate time to read such a book than during a self-imposed period of singledom.

So, the book is part auto-biography, part self-help but with lots of factual insights into the realities of modern dating and being single. It starts by putting things into perspective – apparently more than half of Brits aged 25-44 are single. and increasing numbers of people are putting off marriage and babies till later in life (if they choose to pursue that at all). It’s reassuring to know, especially when you consider the stigma attached to being single. I mean, it’s normal for everyone and their dog to offer you dating advice and tell you not to fret because Prince Charming will fall from the sky when you least expect it. Ugh, not so long ago a Sri Lankan waitress in a Thai Restaurant offered to set me up with some dude from India (who can speak English – how lucky am I!!) because according to her my life would be OVER if I wasn’t married and knocked up by the age of 35. Sigh. Exactly.

I think there are probably single women in their 30s that will be able to resonate with the content. At first I literally felt the book was written for me and sent a friend a picture of one of the chapters titled something along the lines of A 33 Year Old Spinster (yup, there are days when I think that is me!).  The basic gist of the story is how the author goes from being a love addict (having desperate need to always be in a relationship for validation) to confidently embracing her single status.

The book also explore how, thanks to popular culture, we’ve been led to believe that single life is inferior to the traditional package of marriage, kids and happily ever after. It is also touches on some interesting economic perspectives as why people (may) feel more motivated into pursuing a relationship rather than remaining happily single. For example, single life tends to be more expensive. In many western metropolises, it is difficult for single people to get onto the property ladder. Its also more expensive to travel solo versus splitting the costs with a man-friend. But as she points out there are always ways around these thing.

In essence, the message behind the book is well intentioned and gives you a lot to think about. It is also reassuring to realise that you aren’t alone as 30-something singleton, and there is really nothing wrong with you (you really aren’t single because you are morbidly obese, ugly and dumb). However, I think it is mainly written from the perspective of a well educated, white, middle class woman in her mid/late 30s living in an affluent western city. In other cultures, it would be more difficult to have this ‘I am a strong liberated woman’ attitude when you factor in cultural, religious and various family pressures.  I think we are lucky in that while they can get irritating, most of the comments we get from family and friends are somewhat LOL-worthy and easy enough to fob off but I think in other societies the pressure would be more real.

So while I do agree with what Catherine Gray says about having to be a sorted single person before you can expect to be a functional part of a happy relationship and how people should try to date in moderation rather than out of desperation. There is a lot I don’t agree with. Of course its nice to believe that there are other forms of love – from your family, friends, dogs and various other sentient beings. But lets be real none of these compare to romantic love. Yeah, yeah I know what you are thinking. We live in an age where you can easily pay for sexy time if you have the cash money, hit up Anne Summers or use your trusty hand if you really are broke. But you already know my thoughts on the whole WISO way of thinking. Even beyond those basic animal instincts though, there are other elements of romantic relations that can’t be replicated elsewhere. So while periods of singledom are well and good, I don’t think this should ever be a permanent state of affairs.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve probably had both my happiest times and most heartbreaking times thanks to relationships. Having a fulfilling single life can certainly save you the emotional rollercoaster that comes from engaging in human relations. But to me its, just that a happy medium, a safe haven essentially. And I think we should always strive for more. So yup, the #tinderhiatus was a good thing on many levels and as much as being back in the game will get infuriating, I’ll keep tindering along while still finding time to all the other stuff that life requires till Prince Charming makes an appearance.

Rinsers. Give me your thoughts on single life. Is it something that should be embraced and seriously considered as an alternative to the happily ever after BS fed to us by the media? Do you think people these days are legitimately single out of choice, or because basically they are unwanted, fussy or lazy? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

TV Series Review: After Life

After LifeI’ve been lucky with TV shows for a while now. Another gem I’ve found on Netflix is called “After Life” and it’s a British comedy series starring Ricky Gervais. Just like “The Russian Doll” I reviewed for you last week it’s sweet and short. In other words, perfect for binging!

The main character of “After Life”, Tony, loses his wife to cancer. From the recordings she made for him it would seem that he used to be a rather cheerful chap before her death. However, what we see on the screen is not only a grief-stricken fellow but also an angry, mean guy who’s more than happy to end his life. He’s a terribly funny douchebag but still someone you’d never want to have around. His friends and family are more resilient than the audience but keep failing at cheering him. Will Tony stop being a sour puss or will he eventually kill himself? I won’t tell you, you’ll have to watch “After Life” to find out for yourself.

The biggest advantage of the series is, of course, the sense of humour. It’s British and it’s dark but most importantly, it’s hilarious. Ricky Gervais is very convincing as Tony who’s lost his will to live. There’s a number of other characters who are also pleasant enough but he’s an undeniable star of the show. The horrible comments he makes are really funny in this kind of way that makes you feel a bit bad about laughing at them. At the same time, the series manages to lighten things up a bit towards the end, which is not much of a spoiler because TV shows usually do. From a more subjective point of view I love the main character’s unapologetic atheism. (Pssst, you can find out more about why an atheist should not date a team-God member from our Short Guide to Dating and Religion.)

Perhaps more importantly, the series talks about grief after the loss of a loved one. I’m sure that anyone reading it who’s married or in a long-term committed relationship and actually cares about their partner, will be able to empathise with the main character. Of course,  your significant other should not be your everything because it’s just not healthy. However, at the end of the day they’re the person who matters to you the most and the mere thought of losing them can bring tears to your eyes. Watching a character going through such loss unavoidably makes you appreciate what you have more. It also shows you how much a person who’s lost their partner is going through and how unhelpful people who want you to “just snap out of it” are, even if they’re well-meaning.

If I was to criticise anything it’s the very quick ending. It feels almost like it’s been thrown at us when for a number of episodes we see one thing happening and then seemingly out of the blue everything changes… All in all, it’s a very good series. It makes you feel a bit happy and a bit sad, giving you just the right amount of both kinds of emotions. I will certainly give the season 2 a go.

Are you sold or not yet? Here’s the trailer to give you a sample of what to expect:

Have you seen the series? If yes, what do you think about it? If not, are you a fan of British humour? Does “After Life” sound like something you’d like to watch?

 

Lessons From #EnglishRosiee’s Tinder Hiatus

tinder hiatus

As our loyal Rinsers may already know, the latter half of 2018 was not the greatest period in #englishrosiee’s romantic life. Following the long-awaited break-up with the second major love of my life, I decided to get straight back onto the dating horse and fall onto faces at Mavericks (keeping it classy, right there!). The universe intervened and had me basically deported to my beloved Blighty. In hindsight, this was probably both good in terms of preventing my own social suicide/general self-destruction and also for the safety of the unsuspecting Tinder men of Cape Town. Of course, #englishrosiee being her unhinged self continued to keep things interesting with her failed intention of tindering up a storm in London Town. As fate would have it, the light and fluffy entertainment that she had hoped to find in her motherland didn’t materialise and instead she had quite the epic winter fling which ended as quickly as it began. Thankfully, before she had time to cause any more drama and bring shame on the family, she found herself on a flight back to Cape Town!

And breathe! After all that, as I’m sure you could imagine, it came time for me to take stock and call a time out on the whole dating business. Not only had all this drama made me bitter, twisted and hateful about dating but I found myself lacking the strength to engage in any meaningful conversations with humans in general. So, as I stood in long AF passport control at Cape Town International Airport, I decided I needed to take a proper break from all forms of dating paraphernalia and so there I stood deleting Tinder, Bumble and the like for the first time in +/- 3 years and with no handsome male specimen to fill the void that that those apps would leave behind.

Welcome to the Tinder Hiatus, my friends. An interesting social experiment, some might say. I’m not sure. Jury’s still out on that one. But it was certainly a introspective learning experience if nothing else and here are a few of my findings : 

Swiping Is A Time Killer…

Once upon a time #zlotybaby and I would laugh as we’d be out with friends and suddenly all take a break to swipe simultaneously. Of course, it seemed like a LOL at the time but the novelty quickly wears off. Swiping is time consuming. And it’s not just the swiping, it’s all the repetitive conversations you need to have. Most of which don’t lead to anything (soooo many TALKERS). Then if you eventually make it onto a date, factor the time spent getting ready for the date (I’m usually very minimal effort these days, but the first time I popped on a pair of heels, it worked in my favour), time travelling to the date (unless you become a pro and start suggesting the pub next door for happy hour drinks – it’s great for making a quick getaway), then the time spent on the date itself (yes, there have been magical first dates but let’s just say it’s a numbers game and the bad dates outnumber the butterfly-inducing ones quite dramatically!). So, all in all, modern forms of dating are time-consuming. Well done, #englishrosiee, for stating the obvious.

And You Can Achieve Great Things When You Remove ‘Swiping’ From Your To-Do List

So, the moment I stopped swiping I suddenly had a tonne of extra time on my hands. Add to this the fact that I took a break from booze (that friendly enabler that stopped me putting a gun to my head after many a bad date) and much of my social life went out the window. So yup, instead of living in a constant state of hungover and striving for a gold medal in the dating Olympics, I did lots of nice things. I inhaled lots of books (also scouted for boys at the bookshop, mind you!). I started planting vegetables (hopefully, they might survive longer than most of my relationships). Oh, and I did an infuriating 1000 piece puzzle. And also indulged in far too much Netflix. But follow my instabrag  (englishrosiee_rinsebeforeuse) to see more of the good things I did when I wasn’t swiping my life away.

Finding A Date Without The Internet is Hard

So when I decided to delete my dating apps I had no intention of not dating. I was just tired and bit disillusioned by all the groundwork. Of course, there are some guys that cut to the chase and after you’ve established they aren’t likely to be a serial killer you’ve got yourself a date within the next couple of days. But there are all those that need complete rundown of your life including what you favourite colour is and what your parents do for a living (no jokes). It got to the point when I just couldn’t deal with all this BS, but I was still up for a real-life connection.

Ha! But where to find such a thing? I initially had to romantic ideas of meeting the man of my dreams at a bookshop (well… until a friend had me watch the creepy Netflix series, You). All I did was spend money on books. I tried my old stomping ground aka the gym and as much as there is plenty of eye-candy, getting your flirt on when you can barely breathe and covered in sweat isn’t the easiest task in the world. Then of course you are told to try meeting someone through your friends. Most of my friends are a) smug married couples who just hang out with other smug married couples, and I don’t have the energy or inclination to be a home-wrecker or b) singletons themselves and too busy hustling to get lucky themselves that they have no time to concern themselves with the sad state of my romantic life. And with Cape Town being Cape Town, the one potential set-up that was on the cards has yet to materialize! So ho hum!

It really does baffle me how our ancestors managed to get by without modern technology to assist them on their path to happily ever after? I suppose back then they just had to settle for the boy next door, lie back and think of England.

There is a bit of FOMO

I’ll admit at first I only missed swiping when I was really bored having exhausted all the ‘fun’ apps on my phone and I just needed another distraction. But at some point, you do begin to wonder what you might be missing out on. Although, having now re-downloaded all these apps, I can honestly tell you that it’s not much. And Cape Town being the small world that it is, you’ll soon see guys you swiped/dated years ago are still doing the rounds.

But Eventually You Realise That You Are Doing Yourself No Favours By Being A Hater of Apps

So yes, while single life (read: not proactively dating but also not resigning yourself to life of sad spinsterhood) has its perks, and I can see it becoming increasingly comfortable and stress-free (I’ll write more about that in a follow-up post), its basically just a happy middle ground and nothing more. While it’s certainly OK to take a time out when you feel you are getting a bit disillusioned with the world of modern dating, I don’t think humans are meant to abstain from romantic relations for too long (because as my fave WISO always told me that is how you regain your virginity!). So…unless I missed the memo and someone out there knows of a more productive, organic way of finding happily ever after (or even just a bit of attention), it seems to me that dating apps are a necessary evil when it comes to modern romance. So must just accept it for what it is, take the good with the bad and continue plodding along.

So Rinsers. Have you ever taken a similar break from online dating? Did it do you any good? Do you agree that dating apps are a necessary evil when it comes to modern dating? Or do you have some alternative suggestions of ways to find #happilyeverafter? And how the hell did previous generations manage without such things? Pewk on the page in the comments section below. Please and thank you. 

 

 

Book Review : Everything I Know About Love By Dolly Alderton

Everythhing-I-Know-About-Love-By-Dolly-Alderton

Having recently reactivated my online dating profiles I made a rather scathing comment after being reminded of the limited type of men available to me in the Mother City. I’m afraid the comment is too un-PC, even for this blog (it involved some reference to Brit TV channel) so I’ll leave that to your imagination (and I’ll give you #zlotybaby’s famous 2 rand if you guess right). The friend I was bitching to LOL’d and commented that it was quite refreshing to see how my taste in men/romantic perspectives had changed so dramatically in the space of two years which subsequently made me think of a book I’d read earlier this year.

Following the abrupt end of a lovely winter fling just prior to Valentine’s Day (I have the BEST luck!) I picked up a copy of Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. It’s just the type of book you need if you’ve just been ceremoniously dumped, done something idiotic or simply don’t feel like you are where you should be in life or are feeling a bit sorry for yourself.  The book is an autobiographical account of how the author’s perspective on love changes as she grows up. I would also go as far as to say it is one of the best (non-intentional) self-help books I’ve ever read!

Basically it takes the reader from those embarrassing school girl crushes that we supposedly have in our teens (I was still acting like a teenager in my 20s – late bloomer and all!), through the madness of student life where you basically fall onto faces that you only have vague recollections of when your friends debrief you on the previous nights events (yep, we’ve all been there!), to your early 20s when you start to feel like you might be finding a purpose in life and getting things on the right track till BOOM the universe bitch slaps you with some god-awful life experiences!

It’s definitely a nice piece of chick-lit which will really have you LOL’ing. It’s an easy read but not in the usual trashy sense. In many ways, this book contains the sort of things many girls would have wished they’d known as a teen. I don’t know about y’all but I often find myself wanting to punch those older, influential people around me in the face for not telling certain things when I was growing up. To give you the most basic of examples, when I was a chubby (bordering on obese) kid growing up, I always thought I’d never get lucky because guys were only into those blond chicks with super model-esque figures. Not true. As I’ve grown up I’ve had first hand experience of how it really is a case of different strokes for different folks with ex-boyfriends feeding me doughnuts telling me they’d dump my skinny ass if I ever start looking like those yoga-bunny types I’ve always aspired to be (see kids, chubby-chasers are real!). Anyway, I’m sure you’ll also find lots of useful bits of information, you may know now but wish you’d known when you were younger!

It’s not all about romantic love, as the title may trick you into believing. It is also about the general ups and downs we experience growing up – partying hard, getting drunk, navigating the job market, learning to stand on your own two feet (and getting knocked down in the process), and having  a few good friends who are there by your side through it all. It’s basically a more real, less glamorous, more British account of Sex and the City. And I’ll pretty much say the same thing about it as said about the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…it’s funny, but it’s super funny if you are a Brit. I mean there are some references that you’ll pretty much only get if you grew up in Blighty!

So, all in all, it’s just a really lovely, generally hilarious (but sad in some parts) book about getting older and muddling through life. And I think the best thing about the book is that if your feeling like a bit of a dumb-ass whether it’s a case of falling in ‘love’ too quickly or falling down drunk and making a fool of yourself, it’ll make you realise you are not alone in your stupidity. All the idiotic things you’ve done have likely been done before, and as much of a numpty as you might feel about it now, you’ll likely come out the other side just fine. So if you or one of mates needs a bit of a boost or a little reassurance, Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love, is sure to provide just that. Go read!