My Way or the High Way : Do Ultimatums in Relationships Ever Work?

 

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When you’ve been single for quite some time, it’s easy to forget that being in a relationship can, at times, be hard. I won’t lie, the thought of yet another bleak Tinder date where I have to tell some dude what I do for a living and listen to him blabbing on about his list of credentials and have a phat brag about where he went to school, fills me with dread and makes me want to pewk in my mouth a little. Sure, being a single girl in the age of internet dating can be pretty grim but is being in a relationship really that much easier?

Of course, being in a good relationship is probably better than being an dating aficionado but even the best relationships aren’t hearts and flowers one hundred percent of the time. All relationships have tough times where its no longer just about dealing with your own feelings and desires but also about handling another human’s issues on top of your own. Compromise is an important part of any successful relationship and it is certainly helpful when it comes to overcoming the inevitable disagreements which plague all couples. However, there may also come a point with certain arguments where diplomacy is no longer an option and one or both parties reach a breaking point. Today, Dear Rinsers, I’ll be questioning the value of dishing out ultimatums and when, if ever, they can be used successfully to resolve a quarrel or whether they are simply a symptom of being a stubborn, spoiled brat that isn’t getting their own way.

Naturally, the things we argue differ from one couple to the next. There are those simple things that can cause tension such as who does the washing up or takes out the trash. In most cases as long as the two parties are reasonable these sorts of trivial issues can be ironed out over time as people learn to accommodate one another. On the other end of the spectrum you have more contentious issues, the sorts of things that can probably make or break a relationship. These can be big practical matters such as financials or major ideological/religious differences.

When you hit such a relationship roadblock and you’ve pretty much reached your breaking point, it’s tempting to issue an ultimatum basically telling your partner to sort their shit out or the relationship is over. It’s normal to feel that threatening to quit the relationship is better than placing that one day wager in the hopes that you significant other will eventually come around to your way of thinking. Before launching in with such a bold all-or-nothing move it is, however, wise to weigh up your options and the consequences.

Firstly, it’s important for you to establish in your mind what exactly you desire the end result of your actions to be. Of course, you are hoping the ultimatum will result in some dramatic change in your partner but have you considered what you’ll do if they simply shrug their shoulders and move on? If this is your attempt to save the relationship there are probably less risky strategies.

Secondly, consider your reasons for making such demands. Is the change/compromise you are asking your partner really in their best interests or could it be purely for your own benefit? If you for example you force them to give up what you consider to be toxic friendships or their backwater religion before they are ready they may end up with regrets and resent you for it. Think about the long-term damage this could potentially do to your relationship.

Finally, if like many people, you are actually giving in an ultimatum without any intention of truly leaving such empty threats will only serve to help you lose your negotiating power in the future. On the flipside, if you truly are at a point where you have the strength to walk away then maybe using an ultimatum isn’t even really necessary. Perhaps deep down you have this gut feeling that things aren’t working and you are only going through the motions for final confirmation.

To conclude, the aim should be to avoid getting to a point in a relationship where you feel the need to issue an ultimatum. Rather keep the lines of communication open from the get go. Sure, it is easy to tell you to establish your deal breakers from the start and stick to those but people do change and sometimes issues only reveal them further down the line when you are far to emotionally invested to brush things off so easily. Regardless, do try and find out where any potential significant other stands on issues that are important to you as early as possible. And if despite your best efforts you do find yourself at breaking point try to have a deep and meaningful conversation about things and possibly seek advice from trustworthy sources before doing anything drastic.

Good luck!

OK, My Beloved Rinsers. Give us some food for thought in the comments section. Have you ever been forced to issue an ultimatium to get what you wanted in a relationship? Or have you been receiving end of such a threat? Did anything good come of the ultimatum and did it result in the desired outcome? Go wild…

 

 

 

Review : The Meddler – A Movie About People With Too Much Time on their Hands

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Do you ever have those days in your life when you feel the need to cry for no real reason as such? No? OK, It’s just me then! So, I was having one such day after being debilitated by a spider bite and having not much drive to do anything but veg in front on the TV. Someone recommended watching the Zoo Keeper’s Wife – apparently its a good trigger for making a person cry. Sadly, it wasn’t available so I got a movie called the Meddler instead. From the blurb (and the cover) it looked like a fairly run of the mill chick flick which wouldn’t require too much mental strength but like never judge a DVD by its cover.

Despite the initial impression that the Meddler would be light and fluffy (which it was in many ways) it turned out to have a little bit more depth than I expected and a lot that I could relate to with going-ons/interactions in my own sad little life (remember I was trying to cry!).  The story centres of Marnie, played by Susan Sarandon, who in the aftermath of her beloved husband’s death finds herself at a bit of loose end. With no real direction or purpose in life she relocates from New Jersey to LA to be closer to her daughter, Lori, a successful (but still single) career woman. As expected, the constant questions, invasion of privacy and tonnes of unsolicited advice on how to find a man, force Lori to establish certain boundaries with her mother (eventually she is forced to relocate to get away from her!). Marnie, however, being an eternal optimist, is fairly thick-skinned and takes this rejection from her daughter on the chin and finds other avenues (read: adopts some new ‘children’) for her energies.

Having inherited lots of money and being a friendly sort of lady, Marnie doesn’t struggle to attract the attentions of a few weird and wonderful ‘black sheep’ types (who no doubt were rejected by their own mothers). With so much time on her hands, she gets to work organising (read: footing the bill) for a big fat lesbian wedding and playing chauffeur (and nattering the ear off) a young guy who works at the Apple iStore. Thankfully, but somewhat unrealistically, the strangers that Marnie chooses to help are appreciative of her efforts and not solely out to rinse and generally take advantage of her in her vulnerable, lonely, recently widowed state.

It’s a good movie and beyond the LOLs and romantic subplots, it’s actually a story about a lady trying to make the way in the world without the love of her life who has clearly been the focus for so long. I think it’s a story that lots of people can identify with and one which is likely to become part of many of our life stories at some point in time.

As I touched upon, Marnie’s story is a little idealistic in many ways. Firstly, as annoying as Marnie is to her daughter, she is truly a well-meaning ‘meddler’ and her ‘adopted’ kids are also decent enough not to take too much advantage of that.  Sadly, this is the reality for real-life ‘meddler’ types. Most get taken advantage of by pragmatic entitled individuals who are too lazy to sort themselves out and feel that the world is to blame for all their problems. Secondly, while many ‘meddlers’ mean well there are also another breed – one which innocent, young people need to be wary off.  These are sad, old people that never amounted to much in their own lives (eg 80 something angry ‘poets’ and the like) therefore are not simply trying to live vicariously through you but are jealous of your happiness and intent on ‘meddling’ in a way that could potentially destroy you. Keep your eyes open and your wits about you with these ones.

So Rinsers, have you seen The Meddler? What did you think? Have you ever experienced a ‘Meddler’ in real life? Were they off the well-meaning variety or just a sad, judgmental old person who has become bitter and twisted because they have nothing to show for millions of years on the planet and are now at a point in their lives where they can’t even get laid? And finally, do you think that real life Marnie’s leave themselves open for manipulation by the lazy, entitled millenial folk of today? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

Stepping Stones – Just a Matter of Perspective?

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Have you ever felt that your the guy/girl everyone dates before they meet the ‘one’? Are you the girl that finds a guy who is at a tough spot in his life, invests your time and energy helping him get his life on track and as soon as he does you find him moving on to bigger and better things and leaving you in his tracks?  Today, dear Rinsers, I’ll be talking about stepping stones – the people used by others to build them up and help them reach their goals – merely to be discarded once they’ve served their purpose. I’ll also be questioning how justified our perception of being a stepping stone really is or whether it is just part of a person’s broader victim mentality.

Most of us don’t marry the first person we date and that’s a good thing. It’s important to experience a few different (good and bad) relationships to figure out what it is we actually need in a partner. And as easy as it is to say you wish you’d never laid eyes on an ex in the aftermath of break-up, I find that in many cases we can look back and draw something positive from the experience. Perhaps it was an ex that encouraged you to pursue your dreams or gave you a reason to take your first international flight. Or maybe it was something simple like them being there too look after you when you were sick.  Some relationships help us develop our character in a positive way by pushing us to get out of comfort zone, become more confident or just help us think about someone other than ourselves. Given a bit of time and space, I think most of us can look back at an old relationship and see that both parties took something valuable away from it.

Of course, if you do an ‘innocent’ Facebook stalk (we are all guilty of it!) and find that your past five ‘problem’ ex boyfriends married the next chick that came along, it’s natural to feel a bit hard done by. After all you spent all those long nights giving pep talks, massaging egos and driving their lazy asses to job interviews only to have the ‘new improved’ version of the dude snapped up by some other chick. It is a bit irritating if nothing else.

But enough of the self-pity! Let’s try to solve this problem. Firstly, if it really is the case that you date ‘problem’ people just to ‘fix’ them and hand them over to the next girl that comes along, then maybe it you need to be a bit self-reflective. There are some of us out there that like solving problems to the extent that we seek out such projects. Maybe this is your pattern and you need to make a change instead of feeling like a stepping stone once the problem is out of your life.  Secondly, sure you feel you wasted a lot of time helping your partner but ask yourself whether the arrangement was truly one-sided or did you also benefit from being with them. Chances are it worked both ways (come on, even if all you got was sex!!)…so you really weren’t that much of stepping stone after all.

At the end of the day, I think it is all about intentions. If the other party got involved with you knowing full well that they had no intention of pursuing a future with you but only saw value in what you could help them achieve then its fair to say they led you on and used you as a stepping stone to get somewhere (or to someone) better. But if you both entered into the partnership with hopes that something good would come of it and in the end of the day that didn’t materialise, it’s a little unfair and immature to keep tabs of who did more to help the other in a relationship. Of course, there are some horrible social climber type people in the world that are motivated solely by self-interest but I still have a little faith in human nature.

Yes, it’s natural to feel a bit used and abused when a problem child whose been fixed up moves on without you but try not to beat yourself up about it and thinking of how you could have done things better. Investing time, effort and little bit of love into a relationship isn’t a crime and not something you should regret, holding back on the other hand and constantly worrying about the worst case scenario of you potentially being used as nothing more than a stepping stone, well that attitude isn’t really going to help you find happily every after now is it?

OK Rinsers. Have you ever felt like you are nothing but a stepping stone? Do you have regrets about putting your all into a relationship only to have it thrown back in your face further down the line? Or do you think its just a matter of perspective? Are people who consider themselves stepping stones just wallowing in self pity? And should this whole potentially becoming a stepping stone thing even feature when one considers how much effort they put into a relationship?  Talk in the comments below.

 

 

Knowing Your Own Mind – A Post About Eggs

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How do you like your eggs? Scrambled? Sunny Side Up? Over-Easy? Truffle Infused? The options are endless. This dear rinsers is the million dollar question, not only for a girl (like poor me) who has been BANNED from every so much as looking lovingly at an egg smuggled into her house by a well meaning unicorn (yes, things are that bad!), but for us all.  Before you start thinking that the lack of eggs in my diet has caused me to lose my marbles let me get to the point. Today, I want to talk about the importance of knowing your own mind (and how you like your eggs) before getting involved in a relationship.

Let me start by providing some background. Seen the Runaway Bride? It’s a chick flick staring Julia Roberts. All in all, the movie is nothing revolutionary but there is this one scene that stands out. It’s where Julia Robert’s character, Maggie, decides to sample every kind of egg imaginable (a dream come true for me!). The reason behind this egg feast is because at some point she comes to this epic realisation that she doesn’t know how she likes her eggs because she has always just ordered whatever type of eggs her fiance at the time liked. Basically, what they are getting at with the whole egg thing is that Maggie doesn’t have her a mind of her own – she adapts herself (and her egg preference) according to whoever she dates.

Now lets look at real life. Surely, we all know someone who makes dramatic life changes whenever they start dating someone new. The party girl who decides to swap nights shimmying away at the club for Sunday mornings at Church because the Bible boy she’s dating has put the fear of god into her? Or the dude that suddenly stops making his hilarious un-PC jokes and dumps his somewhat eclectic friends because his new lady friend raises her eyebrows every time they go out together? The chubby girl who starts discovering a love for active wear since she started dating a triathlete? You catch my drift.

Of course, when you get into a relationship it’s natural for there to be some adjustments in your life. Its not as if two people can carry on living the singleton lifestyle and expect to have a healthy relationship. Taking an interest in the things that make your partner tick is a good thing and obviously some degree of compromise is always necessary to allow a relationship to function well. Good relationships require an element of understanding and a bit of give and take. But they key here is that compromise needs to come from both sides. If it is just one person making changes and sacrificing their own happiness for the sake of the relationship, it doesn’t do anyone any favours in the long run.

Getting into a relationship shouldn’t mean giving up the things/people that you love and make you who you are. Being open-minded and allowing a partner to introduce you to new things is great but it’s important to stay true to yourself. There will always be some change when you transition from the single life to being in a couple but if you are with the right person hopefully they’ll change you in a positive way, allowing you to develop in a way that enhances your quirks (which is probably what attracted them to you in the first place) rather than stifling your individuality.  E.g. It’s OK for a chick who eats 6 eggs a day to gently be told to reduce her egg consumption for the sake of her soaring cholesterol levels as long as she actually isn’t being banned (yes I was being a drama queen earlier) from them entirely by some sort of raging vegan!

Ultimately, I guess this is why it is so important to make use of your single time wisely; to develop your personality, build up your self-confidence, establish solid friendships and discover the things that make you happy. That way, when you do get into a relationship you’ll be in a stronger position to know your own limitations and the things you can reasonably negotiate on without completely losing your identity.

So dear Rinsers, Have you ever been in such a relationship where you’ve changed dramatically in order to impress your partner? Or have you been witness to this sort of thing with a friend? How important do you think it is to have a strong identity before getting into a relationship. Share your comments below…

P.S. More importantly – How do you like your eggs? Let the debate begin. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why The Pursuit of ‘Mr Big’ Just Ends in Tears

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Yes, I know SATC ended over a decade ago now. But hey, I am officially an elder who owns all six seasons plus two movies on DVD. Sure, the series was made in the days before Tinder and the like. And of course life would be so much better if writing blogs about dating could afford us a nice little apartment in Manhattan, we got to totter around in Jimmy Choos everyday looking fabulous and have mind-blowing sex the whole time. As unrealistic as SATC may have been it did not only provide years of entertainment and inspiration for millions of woman (and gay men!) but also influenced the way many view/shape our own dating lives.

One such aspect of the SATC phenomenon that has definitely infiltrated our sad little lives is what I’ll refer to as ‘The Pursuit of Mr Big’. I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself or seen friends chasing THAT guy that does more or less everything wrong but still somehow manages to get under your skin and keeps you going back for more. Almost every girl has their ‘Mr Big’ and some us even openly refer to them as such (guilty!). And of course, just like Carrie, us girls keep chasing after these emotionally-unavailable fucktards. But you see the thing is, while Mr Big types really do exist the chances of ever finding happily ever after with such a person is very unlikely. Even the brains behind SATC, author Candice Bushnell, recently said in an interview with the Guardian that in real life Carrie would never actually end up marrying Mr Big.

And as much as we all conjure up this idealistic image of our own ‘Mr Big’ and pine for him as we try to recover from yet another douchey thing he has done, there really is no logical reason why we could ever expect to find stability or real happiness with him. Here are some of the reasons why SATC was just wrong and why the pursuit of ‘Mr Big’ will end in disaster:

Commitment issues

Probably the biggest issue with this ‘Mr Big’ type guy is that they can’t commit. It’s like they want to keep their options open. Whether it’s about pursuing job opportunities in Paris or trying out other women in the hopes of perhaps finding a better fit (read: more subservient) they just have an inability to stick to anything.

Of course, in the series Mr Big finally ‘sees sense’ realises that the girl that waited around for him for so long was actually ‘the one’ and chases her down  and eventually marries her but lets be real we’ve all met real life commitment phobes and most of them remain single, still ‘playing the field’, well into their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Baggage

Of course, having a few divorces under one’s belt isn’t a deal breaker for everyone and the older we get the more baggage we all accumulate. And by the time her a woman hits her 30s it’s a bit like beggar’s can’t be chooser’s, right?

Well…take it on a case by case basis if you want but believing you will be the girl who’ll manage to hold down a guy with multiple divorces to his name might be a bit delusional. If there is a bit of a pattern I think it’s fair to say he is the common denominator?

Cheating Scumbag

Can a leopard ever really change his spots? Sure, people can change but there is a reason why people say ‘if he cheats with you, he’ll cheat on you’. It may have been a bit of fun and games being the Other Woman when Mr Big was married to Natasha. But a real life ‘Mr Big’ would have probably cheated on Carrie too! Would you really want to be looking over you should forever more?

Brings out the worst in you

Yes, I understand that there needs to be some compromise for any relationship to work. But neglecting the good things in your life and picking up bad habits – such as binge drinking, smoking and constantly flaking on your friends – because of a guy you want to impress…well we’ve all been there but it doesn’t usually lay a good foundation for happily ever after, does it now?

Surely, a healthy relationship isn’t simply about finding a person that keeps you on your toes but also about being someone who brings our the best in you and promotes a positive change in your life?

And at the end of the day ‘Mr Big’ is a somewhat overrated guy named JOHN and Carrie should have married Aiden!  

We’ve all had those ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ moments when we look back at our dating history.  Personally, I don’t think the ‘Mr Big’ characters in our lives are all bad. If nothing else, they teach us something about ourselves and what we want/don’t want from a relationship. They also often give us good stories. However this doesn’t mean we need to hold out in hope that one day this guy may get down on one knee and propose to us with a our own sparkly shoe.

And of course, some would argue that Aiden too boring and predictable. But think about it. Doesn’t there just come a point in your life when you are too busy to play games constantly trying to figure out what a person wants from you? Let’s be honest, Aiden may not have been quite as exciting as ‘Mr Big’ but he actually knew what he wanted and treated Carrie better than just a BackPocket Girl and in my old age I guess I see something nice in that.

Rinser, Do you have (or had) your version of ‘Mr Big’? Do you think it is possible to be truly happy with such a person? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

 

 

You’re So Vain. You Probably Think This Blog is About You!

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When #zlotybaby and I started this blog over 2 years ago we didn’t have any real concrete ideas about the direction it would take. It was born out of numerous conversations we were having with our friends about dating, love and romance. We felt that the stories we were hearing and the things we were experiencing/experienced ourselves were so sad/laughable in some instances that they’d be worthy of a blog. Furthermore, we knew from discussions with people around us that most of us were going through similar things in their dating/romantic lives and therefore would be able to relate to our posts.

While we always planned on drawing inspiration from our own sad/happy/weird and wonderful experiences, very rarely is anything we mention in this blog so unique that any given post could be based on a single experience with a SPECIAL person.  That said, if there was a particularly story or quote that was remarkable enough to receive a mention then I think we were always careful to protect the identity of the characters/tinder boys/dirty perves /sad spinsters; using pseudonyms only where they are absolutely necessary.

Despite our best efforts to keep things as light, fluffy and vague as possible there have still been a number of people who not only identify wholeheartedly with what we write but actually see themselves in our posts and take offence. In most cases, no offence was ever intended and those posts aren’t even about the person hurling abuse at us. Believe me, there is more than one mummy’s boy in the world. Think your the last racist standing here in SA? Think again! Sure, gymming maybe YOUR thing but seriously Richard Branson wouldn’t go bankrupt if you cancelled your membership at Virgin Active.

I’ve said it time and time again. Dating is a numbers game. As you are working your way through the deadwood of the Tinderverse, you are bound to realise that the guys and girls that you tend to date share lots of common characteristics. Perhaps this simply due to where you find all your victims – that stereotype about people on Tinder being somewhat superficial and most likely just after a hook up? Well, in most cases (not all) it’s true. Internet dating sites being populated with IT geeks – well, what do expect? They like computers! Duh!

Alternatively, it could be the fact that you, yourself, are to blame. Perhaps you simply have a ‘type’ that you are attracted to? The truth it most of us do. Whether it is that you keep chasing Silver Foxes in the hopes of finding your George Clooney or you always end up with that ditzy yoga chick that can’t stimulate intellectually (sure she sorts you out in other ways), there are likely to be certain common features among all the people you tend to crush on. Even in cases where you fight it and ask the universe to find you your male equivalent chances are the clumsy bookish girl will always somehow find herself falling (literally) into the nice arms of hottie!

Of course, there are people that come into our lives and have an impact for whatever reason. Maybe they’ll receive some vague reference in the blog now and again but honestly these aren’t the stories that give you the best LOLs or result in us receiving abusive comments. Often these are just some valuable lessons that have taught you something more meaningful about yourself and human relationships.

So let’s cut to the chase. What I am getting at here is to the people that secretly stalk their exes on facebook (sure, we all do that), reading into Whatsapp status’ or in this case blogs posts – PLEASE stop flattering yourself. Yes, maybe one statement that came out of your mouth was worth directly quoting but in most instances the people we’ve dated aren’t original enough that they deserve such glory.  Stop over analyzing everything (yes, I’ll try to take my own advice there) and realize in this fickle age of Tinderizing we are all simply one of many.  Of course, to that special someone (whenever you do eventually meet them) you’ll be one of a kind. But honestly, when that does happen I’m sure we’ll all be to busy living life to be bitching and moaning about things on WordPress.

Sore Loser Syndrome – When To Stop Bitching and Moaning

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Sure, I’m more guilty than most when it comes to bitching and moaning about the men I have dated. And I’ll admit I probably spend far too much time talking about my exes. Gosh, I even blog about it (well you have to forgive me because the writing saves me thousands of rands on the threapy I need after all the trauma I’ve had to deal with!). But the truth is the past is the past and at some point we all need to be reasonable, admit that it took two to destroy a ‘relationship’, and eventually move on and continue the search for happily ever after. Right? Well, not for some. Today, dear Rinsers, I want to talk about people who have succumbed to a sort of victim mentality aka Sore Loser Syndrome.

Unless you are a 30 something virgin or one of the lucky few that were content to marry their high school sweetheart, most of us have had our fair share of bad relationships/romantic encounters.  It is OK to have the odd bitch and moan/LOL session with your girlfriends, reminiscing about an a date’s terrible fashion sense or how utterly blinded you were to miss the ridiculously ignorant stuff (e.g how girls of a certain ethnicity should stick to  people of their own kind because getting involved with someone of a different race is purely an example of your low self-esteem and an attempt to climb the ladder of social class) an ex would witter on about.  But there does come a time when we need to draw a line and realise that this mindless chitter chatter doesn’t lead to anything productive.

Telling a girl that you just started dating that your ex wife was a FAT PIG only serves to show her how superficial you are. Alternatively, going on and on about how your ex cheated on you and broke your heart, isn’t going to change what happened. Sure, people feel sorry for you but eventually even your bestie will get tired of seeing you wallow in self-pity. What we need to acknowledge is that it’s rare for an old relationship to have ended beautifully but painting an ex as an evil, wife-beating, ogre and yourself as the innocent victim is really not that believable, however much we may wish to kid ourselves. The people we talk to have pasts as well and while they may nod sympathetically, they’ll still probably take your little nightmare-ish story with a pinch of salt.

Now for the flipside. What do you do when you meet someone who constantly bad mouths people from their past? Well, listen carefully to what they are saying.  Try to spot if there is a common thread running through their stories. Ask yourself why they are constantly being shafted by people? Why are they always the victim? Remember there are always two sides to the story.  Then as hard as it maybe try to picture a point somewhere in the future where maybe this little thing you’ve got going disintergrates and imagine what they’ll be saying about you. Just think, all those FAT PIGs they used to date, those MEAN girls, those chicks with low self-esteem, well all of them were probably once in your position – standing on the cusp of a budding romance and now? Well, they are nothing more than horrible, fat pigs that took advantage of this poor little soul.

The point I’m making here? Yes, it’s only human to vent about our exes and how they did us wrong. Just be selective about who you have the bitch fest with. And most importantly, know when to stop because there comes a point in all the whingeing and whining when you start to sound like a sore loser. Calling your ex a brain dead troll says more about you than it does about them. If they were so ugly and stupid, why were you dating them in the first place? Seems like you are the stupid one now doesn’t it? As hard as it sometimes, we all need to play nice. Although, it may not be easy to remember, we all must have had some fun with our exes once upon a time so just let go of all the negativity and move on. It’ll increase your chances of finding your happily ever after I promise!

 

Review : Renaissance @ The Alexander Upstairs

 

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Another date night with my darling #zlotybaby at one of our favourite venues the Alexander Upstairs…

Renaissance is the story of Leon, a socially awkward South African guy doing that typical expat stint in London. He is a failed actor who has ended up taking up a job as a security guard at the National Gallery in London. Leon is from one of those small backwater towns (probably somewhere in the Northern Suburbs :P) where it isn’t much fun growing up, especially as a young gay guy.

Like many of us at one stage in our lives, Leon leaves his homeland hoping that all his dreams will come true in the metropolis. As is usually the case, things don’t go according to plan. Not only does he find himself doing what is possibly the most boring job in the world ever but he also sees his five year relationship come to a miserable end.

However, things start to look up for the protagonist as he strikes up a little ‘romance’ with Yoram, a Syrian refugee who works in the gallery gift shop. Yoram gives Leon a bit of a masterclass in art appreciation and (through the protagonist’s eyes) we see the artworks coming to life during long night shifts at the gallery.  Each of the renaissance paintings has a story and Leon can draw parallels between them and things going on in his own life.

The play was quirky, clever and brilliantly un-PC, which we totally loved (although possibly not something you want to view with a Churchy Tinder date!). The acting from David Viviers who plays Leon as well as Jazzara Jaslyn and Len-Barry Simons was excellent and the jokes were on point. The play also touched on a lot of real-life issues – the challenges of being an expat in a foreign land, the highs and lows of inter-cultural dating, that gut-wrenching moment you cross paths with the ex you just wish had never existed and hopeless stage in our lives when you reach your mid 30s and realise you are not quite where you wanted to be.

The play covers a lot of ground in just over an hour and it’s definitely thought provoking (I mean how often to we get to hear Mother Mary’s opinion of all that went down in that Christmas story!). If you are looking for a bit of theatre that is slightly different from the norm then go see Renaissance.  The Alexander Upstairs is a pretty intimate venue and the opening night had a full house so I’d recommend booking your tickets ASAP.

 

Tough ‘Love’

 

toughlove

There comes a time in our sad little lives when we have to come to terms with the fact that the fairy tales told us lies and real life relationships are less about slaying evil witches, saving the damsel in distress (more likely to be a dude these days anyway) and eventually getting that elusive happily ever after.  Even the best relationships have their ups and downs. Spending a huge chunk of your time with anybody isn’t easy. While it’ll allow you to see the best of a person’s character, it’ll also inevitably give you some insight into your partner’s flaws, insecurities and generally less favorable attributes, some of which no doubt will irritate the hell out of you. Naturally, if we let such irritations build up things are likely to get out of hand and lead to tensions, arguments and maybe in a worst case scenario DIVORCE! Jokes aside, it would be advisable to address any concerns you have about your other half before things escalate to such a level. But how does tackle difficult issues in a relationship tactfully without causing offence? Today Rinsers , we’ll be talking  about Tough ‘Love’.

As much as some of us would like to believe (read: kid ourselves) we are not perfect. Sure, we may be lovable (possibly only in the eyes of our partners) but everyone has things they can work on. Maybe it’s that you are carrying a little bit of extra puppy fat, perhaps you are a burning yourself out by being a people-pleaser who doesn’t have the ability to say no or maybe your significant other has noticed you look for answers to your problems at the bottom of a vodka bottle. For some, these kind of issues could be potential deal breakers that send them running for the hills and for others they could just be minor problems that if addressed properly will be nothing more than a bump in the road.

When you are involved in a meaningful relationship there are tough (ish) times when you need to stand by your significant other and help them work through something, rather than giving up at the first sign of trouble. However, sometimes in order to help someone you care about you may also need to be willing unpopular and play the bad cop. This isn’t always easy though. Sometimes the truth hurts and the fear of a backlash from your special someone can make you shy away from telling them the truth. Thinking about the repercussions is scary as you might offend them and do irreversible damage to your relationship. On the other hand, you can stay quiet let your other half spiral out of control and suffer in silence as you watch these issues cause cracks in your relationship. It looks like it is pretty much a lose-lose situation.

Well, it doesn’t have to be. As long as you are just a little bit empathetic you should be able to express your concerns to your significant other in a suitably tactful manner. Start by asking yourself why you feel the issue is a problem and the extent to which rectifying it will improve your relationship. There is a distinct difference between someone who is concerned about their partner’s sudden weight gain and the impact this is having on their self esteem and a nasty bully who tries to bring a person down by telling them they are morbidly obese.

Dishing out tough love isn’t simply a case of being as bitchy and horrible as possible in the hopes that your nastiness will inspire a person to change. Of course, sometimes you just need to say it as it is but there is also a need to be constructive and offer practical assistance. For example, telling your unemployed bum of a boyfriend that he’ll never amount to much due to his lack of education isn’t really going to help matters but is likely to simply become more depressed about his situation. Instead perhaps encourage him to think outside the box when it comes to careers and help re-write his CV. That way you are still showing him that you aren’t happy with the situation but also that you are willing to help solve the problem – as should be the case in any healthy partnership.

At the end of the day, if your actions and advise come from a good place the hopefully one day once the issue is a thing of the past, your partner will realise that you had their best interests at heart. If on the hand, you are nothing more than a school yard bully that failed to grow up and find joy in manipulating other people’s weaknesses in order to make your self feel like a BIG MAN then perhaps it’s best not to be in any sort of human relationship and instead do a bit of self-reflection (that or seek professional help) and deal with your own problems instead of offering to help others under the disguise of tough ‘love’,

Rinsers, now your turn. Have you ever used tough love to get your significant other to sort out their life? Were you successful? Or have you had someone use this approach on you – did it work or were they nothing more than a big fat bully? Share your stories in the comments below.

Review : The Lover by Harold Pinter @ The Alexander Upstairs

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Last night #zlotybaby and I decided to be a bit a cultured for our #rinsebeforeuse date night and catch a show at The Alexander Upstairs. With a title like ‘The Lover’ we figured it was a show that would pique the interest of all our lovely Rinsers.

The Lover written by Harold Pinter tells the story of a standard middle class couple, Sarah and Richard, living a pretty ‘decent’ life in the suburbs.  At first glance, it looks like married life for these two has become pretty stale.  Richard is a respectable banker who spends his days dealing with balance sheets and entertaining overseas clients while Sarah is a typical desperate housewife – doing Pilates, flirting with the milk man and generally twiddling her thumbs all day. It seems her only real purpose in life is to have dinner on the table for her hubby when he gets home from a hard day in the office.

Clearly this couple recognise a need to spice up their relationship somewhat as they come to an agreement whereby Richard promises not to return home from work before 6pm allowing his wife to have mad, passionate sex with her lover who she entertains after lunch a few times a week. Meanwhile he visits his mistress/prostitute – so you know, all is even Stevens in this open relationship of theirs.

Well, that’s until their worlds collide as the couple discuss the four of them meet to indulge in more strange role playing games. Eventually conflict ensues…and I have to stop there because I don’t want to give away the twist in the tale.  So, if you want to get to the bottom you’ll have to take yourself out for the evening and visit the Alexander Upstairs this week.

The tickets are a steal at just R100 each but you’ll need to be speedy as they are selling fast and it’s only on till Thursday.  It’s a great performance and seeing as it is only an hour long it is even suitable for those with low attention spans (take those Tinder boys!). The acting by Sjaka S.Septembir and Caroline Midgley is excellent and the show contains quite a few good LOL moments so I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Beyond the giggles though, the story also raises some important questions about the monotony of married life, the ‘difficulties’ faced by kept women and the extent to which we need to be open-minded when it comes to keeping the spark alive in a long-term relationship.

OK, Dear Rinsers…If you’ve seen this version of The Lover let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Alternatively, feel free to share stories about your lovers, favourite prostitutes and the lengths you’d be willing to go to keep things interesting. We are all friends here and sharing is caring!