Is The Decision To Procreate Just Selfish?

 

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Women in their 30s are constantly being reminded about that ticking biological clock. It’s almost as if you haven’t popped something out by a certain point in your life you are less of a woman. It bugs me that we’ve all been a bit brainwashed into congrats’ing people for having kids. Really, is spreading your legs (or getting acquainted with a turkey baster) really such a great achievement? By all means, congratulate women on fighting oppression and making it to the top of their profession, high five them when they run marathon (there are far fewer people that cross the finish line than those that manage to get knocked up. Just saying!) but don’t glorify an activity that for many is just like breathing.

Anyway, I’m sure there are lots of baby mamas out there who are wanting to smash me up and say I will never understand anything till I have given the gift of life (let me go pewk in my mouth). Anyway,  since everyone has me down as a hater of little people (there some truth to it – there are maybe a handful I can tolerate and sure I will love my own hypothetical children if they should appear but generally I am way more broody about puppies), I’m gonna take things up a level by talking about how the decision to procreate is ultimately selfish decision.

Let me start by not taking any credit for this genius idea. I was actually inspired by this article which was sent to me by a dear friend of mine. You should read it to get a more highbrow account of the issue. I don’t consider myself qualified to go into the deep philosophical arguments here so let me just dumb things down a bit and draw on some of my real life observations.  So, let’s break things down a bit and look at some of the motivations for discarding contraception and letting the flow of life operate as god intended.

To ensure the survival of the human race and generally make the world a better place

So, some of the haters of my post about Me-ternity Leave said the reason why governments/companies in certain countries offer such great perks for those that choose to procreate because their are worried about population decline. Well, I have news for you, there is this wonderful thing called immigration. Let’s just even things out a little and import in a bit of labor from the third world. Surely, it’s not rocket science.

People may justify their decision to bring life into the world by claiming that they are doing a service to humanity by producing a little human that will go on to do great things and make a substantial contribution to society . Maybe it will be the one to discover a cure for cancer? But perhaps it’ll become a paedo or a drug dealer? There are no guarantees. It’s honestly doesn’t matter if you are the best parent in the world children don’t grow up inside a bubble . Even if your child doesn’t become a felon, it’ll still do more damage in terms of its carbon foot print than it is likely to do anything amazingly good.

YOU’re broody and it’s just the right time in life

I honestly believe that most of us (except maybe IVF babies but that’s pretty much a new fangled thing) were ‘mistakes’. In some instances, people man-up and take care of their kids and in other cases they dump them outside a church (or liquor store).  But sure, there are obviously cases that differ, where two people (or one with the help of a sperm donor) consciously make a decision to bring create life.  Apparently once you are married/in your 30s apparently some magical switch gets flicked and you feel the need to create a mini-me, so I am told. I think I missed the memo but fair enough if you are one of the ‘normal’ people who feel the need to give into your broodiness go forth. Just don’t be under any illusion that giving into your natural urges makes you a better person/more of women. You do it for yourself, not for anyone else.

YOU want to leave a legacy

What is the purpose of life if we are all going to end up as dust (or glitter in the case of fabulous unicorn people!)? We want to know that we are not simply spending our whole lives working simply to make ends meet. Everyone would like to be remembered, I guess. The truth is most of us won’t be immortalized for doing something spectacular. Most of us aren’t going to save a small African village or become a rock star. One way of leaving a bit of yourself behind is by carrying on the family line.  Again, not necessarily doing anyone but yourSELF any favours here.

What about adopting orphans?

So I pre-empted this one and used the word PROCREATE in the title of the post rather than ‘have’ because I believe e there is one exception to my sweeping statement about baby people being intrinsically selfish – those are the people that choose to adopt. Unlike, people who choose to put pressure on the earth’s natural resources by popping out kids all over the place, there are truly selfless people out there that go out of their way to do a service to humanity by taking on a kid they themselves did not manufacture  and is therefore actually not their problem at all.

That said, not everyone is cut out for adoption. I wouldn’t do it. There really is no reason you need to take on a problem somebody else created. You won’t necessarily get a clean slate with an adopted child. And if some day I do need to tolerate a child of my own, the narcissist in me wants a real little mini-me (i.e. a cute little chubby kid who quietly sits in the corner and reads books all day). I don’t think it’s a crime to want a biological child that shares your genes, but just admit you are doing it for selfish reasons.

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So, You see what I’m getting at here. I’m not telling people to stop having children. There really is no reason why the baby making types would listen anyway. Plus, it’s their life to do with what they wish. It’s OK to want to be a parent and give into your natural urges. It’s even understandable that you’d still want a biological child despite the fact that there are lots of orphans in the world that need a home. I’m sure having children brings lots of joy (and stress) into people’s lives (just remember dogs are less likely to break your heart). However, people who opt to procreate aren’t doing the world any favours and they certainly don’t occupy the moral high ground here. The reasons for procreating are selfish but it’s not criminal because so are the motivations for a lot of the things we do.

I believe that there needs to be a shift in society’s attitude towards the people that choose not to have kids. Those that opt to avoid parenthood should not be branded as selfish narcissists who put their own lives of fabulous holidays and Jimmy Choo shoes ahead of some social and biological duty to reproduce. Because in actual fact, these are the people who are mature enough to buck social trends and choose the path that is actually better for themselves, their non-existant children and the world’s population as a whole.

Alrighty, dear Rinsers. Do you think people who have children just need to come to terms with the fact that their decision is selfish? Why does the world always hate on those that choose contraception over a screaming rugrats infiltrating their lives? Can you think of any go unselfish reasons for bringing a child into a world bossed by the likes of Donald Trump? Unleash your hate in the comments below. Please and thank you.   

 

 

 

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Is Confidence the Key to Dating Successfully?

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After yet another unsuccessful romantic encounter I’m sure I’m not the only one to have questioned myself as to the reasons for my failure in this all important area of life. Is it because I’m an ugly troll? Morbidly obese? Or maybe it’s the fact that I do not possess a PhD? Or am not the CEO of a Fortune 500 company? Whatever. This type of questioning really holds no value. All this tormenting of one’s mind shows is a lack of confidence. It’s understandable that knock backs, romantic or otherwise, are sure to dent a person’s confidence and over-analyzing things by going around in circles really does no good either.

They say confidence is sexy. And I don’t think I’m the first girl to ever be lured in by the witty banter of a not-all-that guy. Of course, we can’t all be those extroverts that always want to take centre stage and ooze confidence. But you see, real confidence is a bit more complicated than this basic superficiality. Building it up is certainly important and requires some soul-searching and lot of tireless work. So, if having confidence is more than just being loud and proud and being able to hold a conversation with someone of the opposite sex without acting like a bumbling buffoon, we need to start figuring out what exactly it entails. This is where all the trouble starts.

Confidence isn’t tangible. In high school, the ‘ugly’ chicks, would often sit around and admire the super-model-esque, popular types and assume that such people would be confident in the knowledge they could get whoever they wanted because they had the looks we’d kill for. But the truth is if it were all about such externalities, why were so many of these chicks having the same concerns, considering cosmetic surgery and pewking up their diet dinners in a hope of being skinnier and prettier? The same thing applies when it comes to intelligence. There are lots of people out there with superb academic records that pitch up to an interview without a clue about how to sell themselves as the best person for the job.

But we can all work on building our confidence, right? Well, yes to some extent but it depends on the way you go about it. ‘Morbidly obese’ people may believe that the solution to all their problems will be losing the puppy fat. And while it may certainly help lower the risk of them dying of a heart attack, if it still turns out that they are not sure of themselves after the transformation chances are they aren’t going to get all that lucky when it comes to meeting the right person (although they may attract more attention from some superficial ones!). In a similar vein, you’d think that those getting more sex would surely feel attractive but not necessarily. Deep down most people are looking for real intimacy and it seems the relationship people beat the players in that game!

You could say confidence is a state of mind. I’d sort of agree with that. Being sure of yourself and knowing your strengths are important. But it’s equally important to be realistic and acknowledge that we all have weaknesses (without dwelling on it too much). There are people out there that a ‘confident’ to the point that they are actually delusional (and probably belong in Valkenberg). Let’s be real. Getting straight As or having a tertiary education isn’t going to guarantee a person success in life. But every Tom, Dick or Harry that tells you he is an ‘entrepreneur’ really isn’t going to turn to be SA’s answer to Richard Branson. Similarly, while body positivity is all well and good, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to allow yourself to eat hot chips everyday because you know you are comfortable in your own skin blah blah blah.

Anyway to conclude this rant of mine, confidence is important (and sexy) when it comes to getting what you want in the world of dating and relationships. However, its not always just about the superficial things like looking good and being in possession of those desirable attributes such as money and academic accolades. I would say it’s more about understanding that we all lack certain things and learning to strike the balance of striving to get those things but also being OK with the the potential for failure in our endeavors.  There are still people out there that are unwilling to try their hand (or swiping finger) at online dating. Personally, I don’t blame them for running a mile after hearing my horror stories. That said, I do think getting out their and actively dating (instead of complaining and being lazy AF) gives you practice and despite the knock backs helps increase ones confidence so when the right person does come along you are able to present yourself in the best possible way. Sure, you’ll have to deal with rejection but as time goes on your learn to handle the negative aspects of these interactions and become less afraid about failure.

Alright Rinsers, how important do you think the role of confidence is when it comes to dating? What is confidence really? What do you think differentiates real confidence from the facade? Do you think actively getting out there, meeting people and facing the fear of rejection helps build confidence? Share your views in the comments below.

Mismatched Couples : Dating Out of Your League

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Once upon a time I had my little heart smashed to pieces by a guy that no-one could deny was good looker. For a long time I convinced myself that the reason the relationship was doomed for failure from the get go (slight exaggeration here) was because I was shooting way way way our of my league. How the hell did a chubby book-ish girl with a crooked nose and wild hair ever think she could hold down a hottie with a six pack and eyes that could hypnotize any hot blooded female. Well, turns out she and did and that things can actually fall apart for more complex reasons. Regardless of the facts, reeling from the aftermath of an epic break-up I vowed never to date a pretty boy ever again, my weak mind’s strange logic told me that the only way to ever succeed in finding happily ever after was to play it safe – basically stick to the ugly ones! And you guessed it, this led to a whole host of other issues. Let’s put it this way , if love was really governed by such a simple formula well we’d see so many more people winning at it!

Whether or not you relate to my personal anecdote, we’ve probably all had some experience with this notion of ‘leagues’ in dating. How many times have you heard someone comment that a girl is only dating an old guy for his money? Or question why a clever chick with everything going for her is dating ( read:financially and emotionally supporting) a deadbeat mummy’s boy who considers himself an ‘artist’ (sure, an expert in the art of sitting on his fat ass more like) ? . To some extent, we are all part of this somewhat high-school-esque system that ranks people according to a bunch of random criteria such as looks, academic achievements, money, social status, etc. And despite this there are so many of us that end up smashing the hierarchy and dating out of our league anyway.

Much of the time these so-called ‘leagues’ that we choose to shoot out of are socially manufactured concepts that somehow manage to infiltrate our little heads from the moment we start to notice the opposite sex, or maybe even before that.  These dating/social leagues are very subjective and just like sports leagues they are open to change. At some point in time, those that were once at the top of their game are bound to get replaced by someone prettier/cleverer/richer or with bigger muscles. You may find that that sometimes a strange life event can force even the best of people to be relegated into lower division. Just like that the tables can turn. Overnight an ugly duckling can turn into a swan/flamingo or a pauper could win big on the lotto.

And as much as these ‘leagues’ that the world forces us to place ourselves and others in are artificially engineered, the fact that we choose to fixate on such superficial things probably says more about our own issues and insecurities than anything else. The thought of asking the stunning chick with the perfect hair out on a date may make that geeky guy pewk in his mouth a little, but the fact is you never know a persons back story. Maybe she’s had a hard time in life and only ever dated horrible men that have taken advantage of her and the only thing she wants is a nice guy who won’t screw around. Perhaps being approached by the dude with a six pack leaves Miss Piggy (who is usually pretty eloquent) lost for words and wondering whether all the steroids have made him lose his mind. But maybe the reality is that despite the beautiful exterior he is in fact not that much of a prized commodity and even if he is maybe all the women throwing themselves at him just didn’t offer him the right kind of sparkles. Remember Mr Darcy was beautiful, posh, over-achiever and he still went for Bridget Jones. So, go figure.

Different people value and want different things. You may be the brightest, most beautiful girl in the world and guy may not want you because you just can’t quote the bible on cue. Everyone has their own deal breakers. Sure, in many ways the dating scene is a bit of a market place and we do need to take certain steps to make ourselves a viable option for a person. I mean turning up to a date dressed in rags or having nothing to talk about probably won’t get you very far. But this idiotic thing that many of us do in boxing ourselves into leagues and determining people’s values according to certain criteria probably does our prospects of finding our Prince/Princess Charming much good either.

So it maybe easier said than done but don’t let society’s opinion (or worse, your own opinion) another person being out of your league stop you from taking a risk and smashing up those social barriers. Some of the most solid couples in the world are probably totally mismatched. And perhaps it is in fact that very mismatch that makes them such a formidable team. So yep, when it comes comes to dating out of your league as it were, I’d always say take the chance (honestly, sticking to the ‘ugly’ ones will only made me miserable!). Maybe fighting the system won’t always reap rewards but it’s guaranteed to provide you with an epic adventure, something that playing safe certainly won’t do. And just maybe that hottie or that brainiac that you are totally in awe of sees something in you that the fucktards that went before were too dense to realise. So, throw caution to the wind and always aim high.

Open-Mindedness in Dating : Could it be a Bad Thing?

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It has been almost 3 years since I started the whole ‘modern dating thing’. When I say ‘modern dating’, I mean using tools like Tinder and OKC, which were previously reserved for the world’s biggest losers, to meet guys, rather than waiting around for your potential Prince Charming to appear organically you while you are sweating it out at the gym (well, yes they do say it’ll happen when you least expect it but they never warned you that you may look like a sweat infested troll). Anyway, so back to those 3 ish years; in that time I’d like to think I’ve kept an open mind about the type of people I dated (beggars can’t be choosers and all!). In fact, I’d go as far as to say, that I openly despise people that only date people who are in certain social circles, went to the right schools, practice a particular religion or belong to a certain ethnic/racial groupethnic/racial group (yes, I do pride myself on having dated the United Colours of Benetton).

Ha! But you see the truth is my judgement of these bigoted fools hasn’t got me very far. Sure, I’ve had some fantastic experiences but at the end of the day it seems like it’s those close-minded people that seem to be walking down the aisle while that nice chick who dates anything with a pulse is always the one twirling alone at the wedding (although she does have a 100% success rate at catching the bouquet!). So, for today’s post, I want to question whether having an open-mind about who you date is necessarily such a good thing? Or are you more likely to be successful in finding your happily-ever-after/settling down if you match with someone you share certain similarities with?

First things first, I’d definitely say that dating with an open-mind and giving everyone a fair shot provides for better experiences. Let’s be honest, the type of girl who sticks to what she knows would never have the experience of a lifetime moving across the world because she bumped someone she clicked with on a night out on Long Street. Nope, she’d probably avoid the risk and stay put in her happy little village in the sticks. And even when you don’t find an epic romance, the fact that you are willing to date weird and wonderful folk certainly provides good LOL stories. Remember, the Indian Prince. Dating people who are different to you means you are exposed to new cultures and ways of life. Keeping an open-mind will be a good learning experience if nothing else.

But not everyone in the world wants to try everything at the buffet. Some just prefer to stick to the Sweet and Sour chicken that they know and love. Come on, we all know this type. The girls that only date guys that studied at Ivy League universities or went to particular posh schools. I guess it has it advantages, the chances are you have a lot of mutual friends and you can pretty much guarantee he’ll know how to conduct himself around your social circles (unlike the fool without a Matric certificate who’ll have a phat brag about how he pee’d on someone because of the colour of their skin!). Then there are those that prefer to date people from the same ethnic background as them. I’d be tempted to call them out for being slightly racist but maybe they just don’t want to deal with the challenges of being in a inter-racial relationship. Life is full of obstacles, would removing one of those be such a crime?

I usually jump at any opportunity to hate of #teamgod. But actually I think religion is one area where it actually may make most sense to stick to your tribe. Unlike, race and the school you attended, religion isn’t completely arbitrary. Sure, your parents may have forced it on you as a child but there should come a point when you grow a brain and decide whether the mumbo jumbo truly resonates with you or it’s just complete nonsense. Our religious beliefs are like political views in that they are something we choose to subscribe to and it’s totally in our control to follow (or not) a certain system. So yes, if religion is going to shape every aspect of your life, then perhaps it makes sense to find a partner who buys into the same way of thinking.  I mean, you wouldn’t expect a marriage between a Lefty and a Tory Jerk very long would you? Wouldn’t the same apply to a union between a guy who loved Church and chick who would barricade the doors to stop her kids from going anywhere near a house of god because she thinks all priests are a bunch of dirty paedos?

So now I bet your wondering why #englishrosiee doesn’t just subscribe to the whole arranged marriage farce if she suddenly understands why some people prefer to stick to their own? Firstly, do you really want to see me palmed of onto the first guy that provides my Dad with a gelato and my Mother with a Louis Vuitton Handbag? Next, marrying the male version of myself would be nightmarish and they’d probably file for divorce within 24 hours. And finally, I’ve spend over three decades allowing Disney to pollute my fragile mind, the chances of me ever clicking with the match that’s right on paper are very slim. That said, in my old age, I get why matching with someone who shares a religion, social class or culture with you does work for some people. Also, I think people have the right (and duty) to be unapologeticunapologetic about what they want because it saves everyone time (and the heartache) in the long run. So being open minded obviously means that your dating pool is larger and chances are you are going to be exposed to a more diverse range of people, but diversity also means differences which can cause issues when it comes to dating. Tissues and issues though, who cares? There is nothing to say that the guy from your village, country or religious institution isn’t going to break your heart. So, I’ll keep chasing the interesting ones, the ones that give you stories and keep life interesting.

OK.What are your thoughts on open-mindedness in dating? Is it just for good experiences? Is there something to be said for the archaic way of doing things where people stuck to their own tribe/race/religion/village, etc? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Competing with Ex-Appeal : Why You Need To Stop Comparing Yourself To Their Past

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Perhaps I sound like broken record but if there is one thing that my experiments with the Tinderverse has taught me it’s that most people (at least, those you may contemplate dating because you know I just can’t deal when it comes to 30-something virgins) come with a past (an in turn, the associated baggage!). Often, a major (and potentially thorny) part of a person’s past concerns their exes (or past conquests, if you prefer!). Let’s be honest. Whether it’s through an ‘innocent’ facebook stalk (aka essential ‘research’) or because you live in a hopeless little town where everybody knows everybody it’s only a matter of time before the subject of your partner’s ex pops up.

And when this roadblock in your relationship does happen , it’s only natural that you find yourself wondering comparing yourself to the past. Is she prettier than me? Did he have a better job than I do? Is she smart? What did she ever see in this dude…does he have bigger guns than I do? The list is endless and once you get started, you’ll find yourself falling rapidly down a never ending rabbit hole. While it’s only human to have these thoughts, it can easily get out of hand, become somewhat torturous and potentially have negative impacts upon your relationship.

So here are a few reasons why we need to accept that everyone has history and stop competing with so called ex-appeal if there is any hope for a functional relationship that isn’t haunted by the ghosts of boyfriends (and girlfriends) past

It’s a pointless activity

Start by asking yourself what you hope to achieve by comparing yourself to girl/boyfriends past and whether exhausting so much energy thinking about your partner’s past is going to do your budding new relationship any good?

Sure, there are perhaps there somethings we can learn from past failures but weigh it up and your likely to find that focusing on history will do more damage overall. Firstly, the comparisons are probably just going to bring up your own insecurities. If you then start vocalising these fears/concerns, they’ll probably serve to do nothing more than be a source of irritation for your partner. However much a person is over their ex, being constantly reminded of your past isn’t going to give you good feelings.

Remember for one reason or another reason those relationships broke. They weren’t meant to be. Of course, all of our exes had some good qualities and we may even have fond memories of them but at the fact of the matter is that the bad things outweighed the good otherwise things would have likely panned out better.

 

It makes you (look) UNHINGED

Once you start digging into a person’s past, you’ll end up falling down a never ending rabbit hole and eventually all the questions polluting your weak mind will start to make you insane. Who knows? You might even become so obsessed with the past that you end up going all SWF (Single White Female) on the poor dude and become replica of exactly what he has trying to get away. Pretty much a recipe for disaster

So before you go down that path. Just don’t. Choose to preserve your sanity and let it go.

 

Another place, another life

If you look hard enough you’ll find purpose in every past relationship in your life. Even those horrible, sexless affairs have something to teach us about life, what we want/don’t in a partner and probably most importantly about ourselves and how we deal with other humans.

People change. Sometimes that happens within the confines of a relationship. That 23 year free spirit exploring deepest darkest Africa (aka Long Street) won’t necessarily have the same priorities as a 30-something who has learnt that real life isn’t a Disney animation. They may have been the perfect trophy couple in their teens but maybe life took them along diverging pasts.

So get this, comparing yourself to an ex is just a waste of time. You are two different people operating under two completely different sets of circumstances.

 

You can’t rewrite history (so just focus on the future!)

Even if they refer to the person as the love of their lives or the one that got away, nothing any of us can do will ever change the past. Clearly, some shit had to go down for things to end. And yes, sometimes even in real life we have these wonderful epic romances that are the stuff of fairytales but don’t end up in happily ever after with the poofy white dress and horse drawn carriage. As we get older, maybe people just calm down or perhaps they become more pragmatic and look for a partner that can give them what the want/need in a longer-term sense rather than going for those somewhat more superficial relationships.

Even if there are exes where things could have potentially worked out better, you analyse things and see that they ticked all the boxes, the fact is that they didn’t so stop trying to rewrite history and poke holes in the past. Instead focus on the here and now and building a future.

To tie up today’s rant… While it’s human to be curious about a partner’s past don’t let the comparisons overwhelm you. Everyone we meet comes with a bit of history. But hopefully, it’s just that – history. Even if there are those  relationships that we look back upon nostalgically, people grow up and circumstances change and however amazing a person we dated back in the day was the truth is that for whatever reason that relationship failed and we’ve now found ourselves of on the cusp of something that looks far more hopeful. So working on creating a happy future rather than trying to play historian and unraveling the matters of yesterday – it’ll only drive you crazy and destroy this good thing you’ve got going.

So, Rinsers. Have you ever compared yourself to a S.O’s ex? Did all the stress serve any positive purpose? Why do we do it to ourselves? Pop your thoughts on the matter in a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a Break vs. Breaking Up – Can some breathing space be good for a relationship?

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Relationships are a very necessary element of life (I’ve already made my thoughts on haters and 30-something virgins clear in previous posts). That said, relationships (even the seemingly perfect ones) are inevitably difficult. Even if two people share a lot of commonalities, there’s bound to come a time where both parties won’t see eye to eye on an issue or predicament. Add to that the general obstacles that life throws into the mix and it’s no wonder there are times you feel like pulling your hair out. Naturally, in any good relationship things will be peachy most of the time and with a little bit of work two mature adults can probably iron out issues and come to some sort of understanding on their differences. However, there are also some life problems that can drag on and may not be even within the control of the two parties themselves.

Of course, there are quitters that run at the first sign of trouble. And maybe, for them, that’s a good thing. But there are others who try to find ways to fix things. When you hit a rocky patch in a relationship, and it carries on a little too long the easiest option may be to cut your losses and call time on the union. However, things aren’t always so clear cut or ‘fixable’.  In some instances, while you may feel like a tortoise running in peanut butter when it comes to relationship issues a break up may not be an option in your mind because your feelings for your partner are just too strong. So, you may reason that ‘taking a break’ and spending some time apart may give the much-needed breathing space necessary to reevaluate the situation.

Of course, there are some people that ‘a break’ is nothing more than cowardly precursor to an actual break up. But we’ve also all seen those couples that are constantly breaking up and making up which is nothing more than annoying drama queen behavior. So perhaps taking a step back is the most mature way to deal with things when your getting close to breaking point and feeling that the pressure could force you to make a bad decisions. That said, what the hell is ‘a break’, anyway? The term can mean different things to different people so it’s good to set some parameters when it comes to any sort of trial separation. Here a few things worth considering before making the move…

 

What are the reasons behind the ‘break’?

Pressing the pause button on your relationship certainly shouldn’t be the first line of action when it comes to your problems. Ask yourself whether you’ve sufficiently communicated with your partner about the issues. Simply taking some time apart to stare mindlessly into space isn’t going to solve anything unless you’ve addressed the issues and had some sort of discussion about it beforehand. Remember no one is a mind reader so make sure you are both on the same page before embarking along this path.

 

Is it just a way to avoid the inevitable?

As I said before, some people believe that taking a break is a bad sign and means doom for the relationship. Maybe? Maybe not? Again, look at the nature of the problem you guys are trying to solve. Is it something that can possibly be overcome? Or is it something bigger than the two of you? Be honest with yourselves. It’s tempting to want to try to wean yourself off someone you are attached to rather than calling it quits one time but if deep down you know your aren’t meant to be then perhaps you should simply rip off that band-aid and get things over with?

 

What are the ‘break’ rules?

Remember when in Friends when Ross and Rachel took a break and he cheated but thought it was OK because they weren’t technically together at the time. Yeah, that’s exactly why people need to lay some ground rules. You are taking a break because you’ve got problems, try not to exacerbate things by leaving things open to interpretation.

I think it’s important to state how ‘open’ you want your relationship to be over the break period. Firstly, establish whether you want to sleep with/date other people when  you are apart or whether this is solely a period for actual alone time to reflect on the relationship at hand. (Personally, I’m not a fan of the whole open relationship thing and think that bringing new people into the mix will only really serve to complicate matters).

Secondly, set a time limit for the break. You can’t stay apart forever (unless things do escalate into a full blown break up) but you also need to give yourselves real time to work through things (the last time I tried a break it last all of 48 hours where we talked constantly anyway!). This leads me to the next point, set some rules about communication…do you still plan on checking in on each other or does a break really mean a break on all fronts?

 

Will absence really make the heart grow fonder?

Well, that is the million dollar question. Of course, in an ideal world absence would make the heart grow fonder and the time/distance you’ve given yourselves will refuel your love and longing for one another and you’ll both return to the relationship re-energised and ready to take on whatever the world throws at you. But things aren’t always so. Be aware that the break may also have negative implications on the relationship. One or both parties may realise that in fact they hardly miss each other and single life is far more fun. So while it is OK into the break hoping for the best, you should probably also prepare yourself for the worst.

So all in all, making the decision to take a break from a relationship shouldn’t be seen as an easy option. If you truly want the best outcome (remember the best outcome could in fact be a break up!) it’s important to be talk things through and be clear of what you want and what is expected. Life really isn’t all hearts and flowers and the path to happily ever after isn’t always linear. In some cases, the breathing space offered by a break from the relationship may offer the clarity needed to overcome certain issues. In other instances, it may just prove that some problems truly are insurmountable. Ultimately, I think taking a well-thought out break can be a sign of a mature relationship as opposed to a childish one where people make spontaneous rash decisions without thinking about the repercussions. And at the end of the day, even if the outcome of the break is that it marks the end of a relationship, at least you can both walk away knowing that you gave things a fair shot.

 

Alright Rinsers, time for your thoughts. Have you ever taken a break in a relationship? Did it work out well for you or did it simply mark the beginning of the end? Do you think taking a break is a sign of weakness or a mature course of action? Share your experiences in the comments below.

The Mayim Bialik Op-Ed – Are There Some Perks To Being The ‘Ugly’ Kid ?

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In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and #Metoo campaign, stories about sexual assault and harassment have been dominating both the media and social media feeds.  Generally speaking, there has been a consensus condemning the men behaving badly and in support of the women who’ve been compelled to take a stand. And then there was Mayim Bialik’s Op-Ed piece in the New York Times.

In her article, Bialik talked about her experiences in Hollywood as ‘a prominent-nosed, awkward Jewish 11-year old’ and how not matching up to the industry standards of beauty teamed with her ‘conservative decisions’ afforded her certain advantages. To cut to the chase of why the article caused so much drama here is a quote : ‘And yet I have also experienced the upside of not being a “perfect ten.” As a proud feminist with little desire to diet, get plastic surgery or hire a personal trainer, I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms. Those of us in Hollywood who don’t represent an impossible standard of beauty have the “luxury” of being overlooked and, in many cases, ignored by men in power unless we can make them money.’

It’s easy to understand why people were enraged by what they saw as victim blaming and she was pretty much forced to apologise for her opinion. And as much as what she said wasn’t all that clever considering the current sentiment around the issues when I first read the article I did resonate with parts of what she said.  I certainly don’t think being ‘ugly’ or ‘awkward-looking’ is any sort of protection from being raped, assaulted or cat-called in the streets. Perverts don’t necessarily adhere to Hollywood beauty standards when it comes to finding victims.

On the flipside though, I think if you read between the lines there is perhaps some value in what she is saying. So let’s just move away from the heavy topic of sexual assault for a moment and towards something more light and fluffy…the perks of  being the ‘ugly friend’. For most girls, somewhere along the line when you’re growing you develop this idea that you need to look a certain way to get the boys to like you or show you even just a little bit of attention. Being ‘ugly’, having wild curly hair, looking horsey and generally being one of those socially-awkward kids is never much fun and at the time your only wish in the whole entire world is to look ‘normal’ like one of the popular girls. Yes, everything is a lot more dramatic  when you’re a teenager but looking back now maybe being chubby, brace-faced loser with a crooked nose and a lazy eye wasn’t all that bad and here is why:

1. You get to fall under the radar

So what if you are not part of the cool popular crowd? Well, nobody really cares what you get up to. If you are lucky enough to date someone and things come to an abrupt end it goes unnoticed. You are not worth gossiping about. And when you are the kind of person that rather hide that brace face behind a book than deal with people, maybe living your ‘ugly years’ away from the limelight wasn’t such a bad thing after all?

2. You are forced to develop other aspects of your personality

The world is a superficial place and as much as you may not agree with the system you can’t live in isolation forever. At some point you need to make friends. This is arguably easier if you look and dress a certain way (did you notice how groups of friends back in high school were almost carbon copies of another) but if you can’t attract people with sparkling good looks you’ve got to find alternatives. Perhaps by being super nice to people or by embracing your quirks and being the funny girl. Either way you had to work on it.

3. You learn to laugh things off more easily (and develop a thick skin)

Maybe self-deprecating humour is just a Brit thing? But when you are not a popular kid then being able to laugh at yourself every time you do something idiotic like walk into a glass door is key to social survival. I mean if you can’t laugh at this kind of thing, then you’ll end up crying (and that’s not good). Sometimes being awkward, ugly, fat, etc leaves you open to mean remarks but overtime you develop a thick skin and learn to bounce back. This type of resilience serves you well later in life.

4.You become friends with the weird and wonderful (and that exposes you to lots of new perspectives)

They say beggars can’t be choosers. When you aren’t ‘pretty’ and popular you have to be nice to the people that are nice to you. This makes you open to forming friendships with an eclectic bunch of people. Some of the best friendships I have today aren’t conventional (and sometimes I even struggle to understand why they exist) but at least they keep life interesting.

5. By default you are a late bloomer (and being a kid for a little longer isn’t the worst thing in the world)

It’s hard when you are 15 and it seems like everyone and their one-eyed dog has a boyfriend. But seriously, relationships are tough – so why the rush to get coupled up? Of course, there are some people who marry their high-school sweetheart but not having a high-school sweetheart/crush/fuck-buddy is OK as well. Being a late bloomer gives you some figure out what makes you tick – read lots of books, travel the world, etc. I’m not saying people should never bloom (you know my views on 30-something virgins) but eventually you do catch up and realise you weren’t really missing all that much.

So, let’s end by going back to the beginning. Sure, Mayim Bialik’s NY Time’s piece was pretty poorly timed but I think there are somethings (very much unrelated to serious issues like sexual harassment and assault) that many of us awkward kids who grew up watching Blossom can relate to. When you are there, being what society doesn’t regard as pretty, life can be pretty bleak but once the dust settles (maybe a few decades down the line) I think your realise the hardships of those formative years weren’t all that bad. Being pretty and popular comes with it’s own set of issues. I think that’s what Bialik was getting at was that being that unpopular, unattractive, geeky kid isn’t the end of the world.

Rinsers, what did you think of Mayim Bialik’s piece? Were you the ‘ugly’ girl back in the day? Do you look back and think not being part of the ‘popular’ crowd was actually a bit of a blessing in disguise? Comment below. Please and thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review : Table 19 – The Movie That Tried To Cover Everything and Failed Miserably

 

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Have you ever been to a wedding where you basically know you aren’t wanted? Maybe you are  the bride’s socially awkward cousin and although you haven’t seen each other since you were 12 she was just forced into inviting you because her Olds are footing the bill for this whole charade? Or perhaps you are the business contact of the groom’s father and he has just invited you along in attempt to hook up his broke-ass loser of a son with a job at your firm? You could be one of those singletons who really would have rather spent your Saturday night at home with a DVD, glass of wine and a tube of Ben and Jerry’s but your Mum insisted you go witness a random family friend’s nuptials in the hopes that you might meet an eligible bachelor? Just face it! You are a reject! Nothing more than a B-List loser! And this is what the movie Table 19 is all about.

It’s the story of those rejects – 6 people ‘invited’ to a wedding where the bride and groom only reluctantly sent out the invites in the hopes that these people would either RSVP no or the postman would somehow conveniently lose those all-important bits of expensive paper. First there is Eloise, the main character, who it turns out was actually first in line to be Maid of Honour but was then forced to ‘drop out’ after being dumped by the bride’s brother. Then there is a couple who were Facebook friends with the groom’s father – they only seem to have come along to air their own marital issues out in public. Then you have Jo, the bride’s childhood nanny, the random kid whose parents forced him to come along thinking that after a few drinks perhaps some cougar may help their son lose his v-card. Finally there is Walter, some distant relative who is out on parole and invited along because he did some dodgy dealings and took the flack for the bride’s father.

So from that little run down of the oddballs sharing the reject table you’d be inclined to think that this make’s for a great RomCom, right? Wrong! While it could have potentially been a great little story it failed because it tried to literally cover every relationship/life issue – everything from choosing whether or not to have a baby, contemplating life when you’ve been diagnosed with the Big C, married couples having affairs (and getting back together because better the devil you know and all) to advice on picking up girls and why people always end up hooking up at weddings.  There is a little side story about a very hot wedding crasher who turns out to be …. the groom from another wedding being held in the building (plot twist!).

There are some funny moments in the movie, one which involves a cake being smashed but in the end because it tries to cover so much the audience fails to connect with any of the characters and all in all it’s a bit of a disappointing movie. It’s a shame because if they’d kept things simple it could have been something that a lot of people related to. I mean everyone who’s organised a wedding will probably know all about the fine art of perfecting a guest list and table plan. And I’m sure most of us have been to at least one wedding where we’ve felt like we should have known better than to pitch. Anyway, don’t bother watching it. Honestly, there are better things to do with your life.

So Rinsers, have you ever been to a wedding where you should have known better than to attend? Were you able to make the best out of your time at the reject table or was the experience one you’d rather forget? Share your stories in the comments below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Pull A Pig’ Prank – Why You Need a Thick Skin to Play the Dating Game

 

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We live in a cruel cruel world. It seems the Age of Tinder people are becoming more and more superficial by the day. Lets be honest…how much can you tell about a person a couple of profile pictures? What’s to say that smoking hot guy with the six pack isn’t a serial killer? Nothing. Yet, he’s more likely to be swiped right than the chubby dude with a pleasant smile, standing in front of a fancy BMW (that’s most likely not his!). See, superficial. I told you! None of us is above all this fakery. Who can honestly tell me that they haven’t spent considerable time perfecting their selfie face to get that angle just right to catch the attention of some computer geek trawling an internet dating site (or in the case of those no longer playing the dating game just a few more likes on Instagram).

All things considered, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise then when you hear sad stories about mean things that people do to one another under the guise of ‘dating’. The latest tale to hide the headlines and go viral  is that of the ‘pull a pig’ prank. For those of you don’t know this is the (MAJOR NATIONAL NEWS) story of 24 year old girl, Sophie Stevenson, who met a Dutch dude, Jesse Mateman, while on holiday in Barcelona. According to the chick, they had an intense holiday romance (he on the other hand describes it as a one night stand) and carried on communicating when they returned to their respective countries. After a bit of back and forth, they arranged for Sophie to travel to Amsterdam for a romantic reunion. But it wasn’t to be. When she arrived there was no sign of Jesse. Turns out she had been stood up and after a few hours received a text (displayed above) saying she’d ‘been pigged’. Basically, it was all an elaborate joke whereby guys challenge each other to get a date with a woman they see as overweight or unattractive simply to ridicule her and get some kudos from their mates.

Naturally, feeling humiliated by the whole stunt Sophie decided to take action and took to the media (well, one of those rubbish UK morning TV shows that only unemployed people without a life get to watch) to share her ordeal with the world  and hold Jesse accountable. Not taking these accusations lightly, the Dutchman sought legal assistance and plans to hold Sophie liable for any damages he suffers a result of her accusations. Furthermore, a crowd funding page has also been set up to help the girl recover the funds she’d spent travelling to Amsterdam. Oh my!

Dear god! Is it just me or have things just got totally out of hand? I mean, sure, I feel sorry for the girl. Being called a fat pig is never nice but seriously aren’t there bigger problems in the world. I was called morbidly obese but you don’t see me doing TV interviews about it! The truth is the world can be a mean and horrible place. People are ‘braver’ than ever before when it comes to telling you what they really think. People feel free to lose their filter when they are hiding behind a smartphone or computer screen. Believe me, I’ve had guys comment on my gummy smile, my wild curly hair and even accuse me of misleading them by putting up pretty pictures on dating profile which wasn’t a true representation of myself. Of course, it’s normal to feel offended by such comments but I don’t believe we need to dwell on it and blow things out of all proportion (the dude is no better here – getting lawyers involved, really?)

But this story is not unique and quite frankly didn’t need to go viral.  The world is a horrid place and while there is no doubt bullying and name calling is wrong but do we really need to go such lengths for ‘justice’ or in some cases is it better just to brush it off and carry on with our lives.  There is a time and place to stick up for yourself and times to look pitifully at the guy who called you names and remind yourself that he’ll probably never amount to much. Chalk it up to experience and move on. Alternatively, turn the scenario on its head and make the best out of a bad situation. She was left stranded in Amsterdam not a South African township surely you could take the opportunity to explore a great European city (or sample THOSE brownies!).

Either way, I don’t think there is any need to publicize what was essentially a private interaction between people. While calling people pigs is certainly not nice, it isn’t a criminal act either. If you ask me, this is just an example of the Jeremy Kyle effect (if you haven’t heard of the show it’s like a UK version of Jerry Springer – a reminder of everything bad about Britain and a big part of why I left my homeland). Why the hell do people need to shout about their divorce, cheating spouse or the fact that don’t know who their baby daddy is on TV? And what’s more why is the public so fascinated by this trash? It’s hardly news worthy (the BBC really need to up it’s game!).

Anyway, let me stop my middle class rant just there. Look, I’m not saying people shouldn’t stand up for themselves. But the truth is that anyone that interacts with other humans is bound to have their feelings hurt at one point or another. Whether it’s in the school play ground or while you are roaming the Tinderverse not everyone you cross paths with will be a sweetheart. You need to develop a thick skin and pick your battles (imagine taking action against every guy that ever offended you). Calling someone morbidly obese isn’t cool but maybe instead of feeling like a victim you should just ask the lad if they have what it takes (matric certificate would be a start) to become a professional dietitian and tell you such a thing legitimately. Not everything needs to go to court (or trash TV). Sometimes it really just a case of sticks and stones.  It is also important to be self-reflective and see what you could have done differently – perhaps next time get the guy to do the travelling or have him pay for half the ticket? I have limited sympathy for people who do silly things like send nudes and sexts and then start crying when those things are plastered all over the internet.  Yes, relationships are about trust but you shouldn’t need to drop your standards and be totally naive about human nature either. We’ve all been humiliated by mean guys/girls it’s part of the sad reality of life. And on the flipside, most of us have probably done some not-so-nice things in our day too (e.g. trying to prolong an encounter with a mummy’s boy just so you could potentially have a date for a wedding!) but we all live and learn. With time hopefully we all get more mature and stop with such childish activities.

Ugh maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh. I guess there are some realizations which just come with age and experience. So over to you dear Rinsers, do you think this chick was right to go on TV and shame the Dutch prankster? Or do you think this school yard mudslinging gone to far? Is she nothing more than a woman scorned? And are there times when we have to take accountability for being too naive and falling for the wrong people? Do you think you need to have a thick skin to date these days and has anything similar happened to you? Share in the comments below.