The Things Out of Our Control

beyondcontrolI may be stating the obvious by saying that Disney and the world of fiction in general set unrealistic expectations towards our love lives and our partners. Such expectations mean disappointment and pain. You can keep fighting with how life/people/guys are but it won’t change the reality and will just exhaust you. Working on oneself is a must but it has to do with the things in our control. Some, however, are out of it. Therefore, a good attitude towards life is the acceptance of such limitations, even if we don’t like them.

Firstly, we all have our natural tendencies we should be aware of. I often stress the importance of work on oneself but accepting what we cannot change is as important as working on our weaknesses and strengths. That also means that there are limits as to what we can do to change ourselves. We’re not born a white sheet of paper, as it was claimed once upon a time. Our genes that influence certain traits and so does our environment. The scientists have been fighting about what’s more important since forever but these days they seem to lean towards the idea that the division of importance between the two in the formation of human beings is fifty fifty. This means that we can only do so much with what we were given.

In our love lives we should grow awareness of the limitations of ourselves and of our partners. This doesn’t mean to settle! Certain things are non-negotiable. Respect, love or the fact that we can depend on each other, for instance. There are also treats that we truly want in a partner and we should keep looking till we find someone endowed with them. At the same time, we shouldn’t be expecting Mr Universe if we don’t look like Wonder Woman, to take the most superficial example. We should only want what we represent ourselves. If what we can get doesn’t satisfy us we have only three reasonable actions to take 1) better ourselves, 2) accept something as it’s beyond our control, 3)give up in self-improvement and lower our expectations .

The truth is there are some things we just cannot change. Other things cannot be repaired or improved beyond certain levels. If we missed out on some crucial things in our childhood, as adults we may do our best to work on our self-esteem, self-love and the like. At the same time we must remember we started our existence at level 1, while others commenced at level 100. This means we will most probably never catch up with them. It’s a similar situation like with “from rags to riches” success stories. They’re very very very rare. Most poor people end up having poor children. A realistic success is when each generation does a little bit better than the previous one. Don’t fool yourself with hopes of becoming a completely different person. All you can do is the best version of yourself with what you’ve been given.

This inevitably means our partners will have vices and most probably these vices will be the traits we saw and disliked in our parents. I don’t think one can erase certain tendencies. If your father was absent you most probably will end up with some sort of absent partner. What we can work on, is the degree to which it will be true. If your father was never there, perhaps with enough self-work you can end up with a partner who’s mostly around but you’re rather unlikely to fill the gap completely. If you hated how your mom did all the housework you may choose someone who wants to help at home but because you yourself keep doing everything, he’ll eventually settle for this model too. As long as we’re doing our best, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it. We should also appreciate what we have, instead of focusing what we don’t and possibly can’t have.

When we manage to be more healthy and set our deal breakers reasonably, we have a good chance of finding someone with whom we’re happy. This is what we can influence. At the same time, no matter how well we do certain things are just beyond our control, like the fact that our partners will have their bad sides. If we enter the relationship happily and consciously, we should always remember that there’s nothing in the world that’s flawless. That means that we should accept the good in our partner as well as the bad. We cannot control the latter but we can control our reactions to it. We can also come up with remedies to some behaviors. For instance if your partner is constantly late (like your dad used to be or whatever) you can get upset about it and feel that your partner doesn’t love you enough. Or you can be a big girl, realize this is how he is, that it has nothing to do with you and always give him the time of the events that’s half  an hour early.

There are things in our control and those outside of it. We should be aware of it and stop fighting the fights that are pointless. When you can’t change something accept it and then you can choose your course of the action, including your own reaction and reading of certain behaviors.

What do you think, Dear Rinsers? Is managing our expectations a big part of happiness? Do you believe we can change entirely?

 

Destructive Insecurity and Why It’s Important to Work on It

securityWe all have a certain level of insecurity. It’s much easier to feel comfortable in our own skin when life’s treating us well, but it things are a bit rough, little insecurities can grow into real problems. This is why we shouldn’t brush it off, when it currently doesn’t bother us. Otherwise eventually it can be a source of big problems in our life and relationships.

Problem no 1.

Jealousy and Possessiveness

Insecurity is the biggest factor in developing possessive and envious behaviors. We may feel jealous of someone we know, who’s dating a great person while we’re still single and just seeing losers. Sometimes, already in a relationship we may feel a temptation to limit our partner or feel not at ease when someone more attractive is around. Jealousy may also change our perception of what’s really happening (“I see how you were looking at her!”) and turn an innocent event into a fight. Such behaviors come from one’s own sense of not being good enough, which can be intensified by temporarily fragile state of mind. Something that usually is a passing thought a day after we screwed up at work or had a fight with someone, may grow to a size of a decent problem. Be aware of your own tendencies and work on them when they’re still crawling, because they much more difficult to fight once they stand on their two feet.

Problem no 2.

Bad Dating Choices

It’s one thing if you have a reliable and trustworthy partner and from time to time you feel a bit insecure. Nevertheless, many people are so limited by the diminished sense of self-worth that they don’t even get to that stage. They keep dating people who treat them in a bad way, simply because they think that this is what they deserve. Do you know the saying that we accept the love we think we deserve? It’s very true! In other words, there’s nothing that could make a person unlovable but if someone feels that way, they’ll keep finding partners who’ll prove them right in their conviction. Of course, a relationship that deepens one’s sense of unworthiness makes the person’s issues even worse and here we go again, soon enough their end up in the arms of another Don Juan who’ll break their heart. Active looking for a partner is one thing, but if you don’t work on the way you feel about yourself, you’ll never find the happy partnership you’re dreaming of.

Problem no 3.

Becoming a People Pleaser

The feeling of insecurity isn’t a nice one to deal with, which is why a lot of people try to kill it by making others like them. If they go to meet new people, for instance, they feel insecure. Will people like me? Will they accept me? – the person asks. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with it but the point of meeting new people is for us to enjoy the company of others, not the other way round. Sure, it’s sad when we really liked someone and they don’t want to follow up but in most cases but the need to be liked should never be stronger than the need to like. If we focus on the desire of being wanted, we are just a small step from changing one’s behavior in order to be liked. This in return leads to 1) not being ourselves and 2) being liked by people whose company we don’t really enjoy. Apply this to dating and you end up having people dating someone they don’t like that much just because the person likes them.

Problem no 4.

Insecurity Killers

Long term effort to increase someone’s self esteem is tedious. This is why a lot of people decide to rather than work on themselves find quick fixes for the way they feel. Of course the most socially accepted insecurity killer is alcohol. Who’s not getting more talkative and cheerful after two glasses of wine? The problem is that once we choose to kill the way in which we feel with a substance of a temporary effect, it isn’t easy to stop using it. First we go out socializing and have a glass, later we start having it at home after an anxiety provoking day. People these days drink A LOT and you really have to be not getting up to work in the mornings for anyone to even think you have a problem. And yet, regular alcohol intake does influence your system in a way that long term you end up filling more not less insecure (and therefore more likely to drink again). That everyone does something doesn’t make it right. Most people are not happy, so it’s up to you to decide whether you really want to be like them or do you rather aspire to be like the rare high-achievers.

Problem no 5.

Being a Walkover

If you feel insecure about yourself and the fact that you deserve to be respected, you easily become a walkover. After all, if you think you’re worthless why would you stand up to someone who offended you? How will you defend you life choice in the face of someone who’s criticizing you? How will you stand your ground at work and tell them that you don’t want to do free overtime and the fact that others do it doesn’t make it right? Most importantly what will you tell to an abusive partner who tells you, you should be grateful that he’s not cheating on you? Standing up for yourself requires for you to feel secure about your rights. Working on your insecurity is the only way for you t be able to have a life you want and not the one that happens to you.

The solution

There’s no quick fix for this one. If you started your life with a belief that you’re an ugly duckling, you may have turned into a swan years ago but your psyche didn’t necessarily catch up. There’s exercise and good diet that make you feel more wholesome and make you look better which can be a bit of a self-esteem booster. You can meditate to calm your mind and silence the inner critic that makes you feel worthless. Most importantly, you should just work on your core beliefs that make you feel inadequate and change them into the ones that are more true. You may try to use numerous self-help books for that purpose or get into therapy. We all deserve to be loved, liked and respected. The problem is that unless we feel that we do, we won’t get it. People don’t give you what you’re worth but what you think you’re worth.

The comments section is all yours, Rinsers! Have you ever struggled with insecurity? Do you know people who do? Any tips for how to deal with it?

 

“Funny Girl” at the Fugard Theatre

funny-girl-posterAnother theatre night for #englishrosiee and I meant watching a new musical at the Fugard Theatre “Funny Girl”. You probably heard of the film version of the story, which made Barbra Streisand famous (ja, it’s THAT old). I didn’t see it and didn’t really know anything about the play before we went to see it. Having said that, I expected the best from the Fugard, which after all rarely disappoints.

The plot is quite interesting and unfortunately still not outdated. Fanny (Ashleigh Harvey) is a girl with a beautiful voice and not so beautiful face. She dreams of a career in theatre but is discouraged to pursue it by her family. Her nearest and dearest are trying to convince her that the most important advantage of a woman is her beauty and this is what people go to see when paying for a performance. Despite discouragement Fanny keeps believing in herself and in her comedic skills. Her stubbornness gets her where she wants to be but that’s only the beginning of the story. Soon after her career takes off she meets a very handsome but rather unreliable man, Nick (Clyde Berning). Will Fanny be forced to choose between her two loves, Nick and the theatre? Will she be successful in her pursuit of happiness? You’ll certainly find out if you manage to catch the musical at the Fugard Theatre in the next two weeks. If you’re not in Cape Town you can always watch the movie.

The plot is certainly a big asset of the play as it’s very involving. The character of Fanny is amiable and we do want her to succeed in all imaginable ways. At the same time we’re all a bit suspicious of Nick and whether he’s any good for her. I’m sure that a lot of ladies in the audience caught themselves remembering the “dangerous” men in their own lives during the play. The actors are really well suited for their roles and there’s a good acting chemistry between them. As much as we know there’s perhaps a much better suitor for Fanny in her surrounding, we do want her and Nick to work out against our better judgment.

The acting of everyone in the show is remarkable, but even more importantly they sing and dance very well. Ms Harvey has a very strong voice which makes the walls tremble. She’s also very funny with her exaggerated facial expressions. Her partner’s voice is perhaps not as great as hers but more than enough for the role. I must say I enjoyed the sensual way in which he talks much more than his singing. This is not to say there’s anything to complain about the latter. The music is really good but the songs are not as catchy as in other musicals. I didn’t leave the theatre humming anything in particular.

The scenography was well prepared but not panty dropping. One should also mention the impressive costumes which are almost exact copies of what the stars wore in the movie (I checked a YouTube video after the show).

To sum up, everything in the musical gets from either 4 out of 5 or 5 stars with the average of 4,5/5. If you have the time to watch it and a spare 300 rand (some tickets are cheaper but that’s what you pay for an uninterrupted view) do yourself a favor and go have some fun watching “Funny Lady”.

Have you seen the movie, Dear Rinser? Perhaps you’re a Capetonian who has seen the play? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

5 Irritating Questions People Ask You After You Get Married

after_marriage

When you get married to the person you love you’re happy. However, during your happily ever after you encounter people who ask too many questions and you’re still happy, albeit occasionally irritated. Let me share 5 questions I’m often asked, which I find annoying.

1. Where is your husband?

Going to a networking event on your own? Or perhaps just having a dinner out with a friend? Be prepared to have someone ask you “Where is your husband?”. I did hear versions of this question before, when we were still boyfriend and girlfriend but I hear it more often since we got married. I could also bet then there’s a sprinkle of sexism in it and when my husband is out in similar circumstances no one asks him “Where is your wife?” I don’t know why people assume once you get married you spend 100% of your time together. It’s not healthy. What’s healthy is spending most of your time together, at the same time not neglecting your friends and your interests. A happy and healthy partner is a fulfilled individual not a person glued to their spouse.

2. When are you going to have children?

We visited my family in Poland recently and of course a lot of people inquired about our reproductive goals. Friends are usually more tactful but some acquaintances would also pry. There are numerous reasons why this question sucks. For starters: am I asking you about your sex life? NO. You should realize that a question about procreation is a question about someone’s sex life that doesn’t become all of a sudden public just because the person is married. Another fact is some people can’t have children and they consider it a personal tragedy. They probably don’t want to talk about it and by prying you may cause pain and discomfort. Last but not least, many people may just not want to have children yet. Others don’t want them at all and some don’t want to have biological offspring. I’d say that the rule is: if you don’t know the answer, you’re probably not close enough with the couple to know. What does it have to do with you anyway, when/whether they’ll have children?

3. How’s married life?

!!!!! How’s single life? How’s a life of a boyfriend and girlfriend? How’s a life of someone who clearly doesn’t know how to make small talk? Married life is like any other life. Yes, getting married is nice and if you marry the right person life’s awesome. Nevertheless, if you married the right person you relationship before marriage was great too (the reason why you got married, huh?). Perhaps it’s a conversation starter, but to be honest I have more to say to “How have you been?” because then I can talk about my work, our plans for the future and so on. What the hell are you supposed to answer to “How’s married life?”?

  • “Sex’s still great, thanks!”
  • “It’s true women DO pick up on weight after getting married!”
  • “Life is so much better after we no longer live in sin”

… It’s just a stupid question. Just don’t.

4. What’s your name now?

I did elaborate on the married name dilemma before. Legally you have three options: Keep your name, take your husband’s name, make it double trouble. Don’t assume a woman has to change her name or that not changing it means anything about the relationship. There are million of great reasons to keep your maiden name and the main of them is that it means less paperwork. Once you get married you’ll see for yourself. I don’t know many married women who have not regretted their decision of altering their surname. You can’t imagine how much paperwork, for instance, is involved in case of an international marriage. Changing your name on your social media profiles is the best way to avoid any questions about it (unless of course you’ve decided to keep your old name, then people will just keep prying).

5. Are things any different now?

Of all the questions enumerated this one irritates me the least. I’ve asked people about it myself and I understand it’s a genuine one. People are simply curious. Having said that, it’s just tiring to give everyone a reply to it so I’ll just write it here and will be asking people to visit the blog if they’d like to know my thoughts. I think that even today marriage is a commitment and it does mean something for people who decide to be together “for better and worse”. All the “we’re a team now” and “you can count on me” during a relationship of course mean a lot but when two people decide to make such promises publicly it’s a big deal. At the same time, just saying that gets you a lot of aggression on the side of those that are in a long-term relationships without marriage so I don’t really know a) where the aggression is coming from if marriage truly DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING and b) why they’re asking. Single girls or those still in short-term/medium-term relationships are usually nicer in such conversations.

What are your thoughts, Rinsers? Have you asked similar questions? Or perhaps you’ve been irritated by being asked yourself? Any additions to the list?

“Cushioning” and When to Delete Dating Apps

appsHave you heard about cushioning? Nihil novum sub sole (there is nothing new under the sun)! This “new” trend is nothing else but the old school keeping your options open. In this particular variation, a person is in a relationship but at the same time they keep using their dating apps, chatting and flirting with other people, just in case a break-up happens.

The trend has to do with online dating changing the way in which people commit. Back in the days it was pretty straightforward. You met someone, you stopped seeing other people and voilà, you were in a relationship! Some people would still keep seeing other people, regardless of their relationship status, but those would be call cheats. These days it’s more complicated than that. Would you call someone who keeps their dating app on their phone a cheat? Is it only wrong if they actually end up meeting up with someone in real life or is there something iffy about just checking out the app?

I guess I’ve always been rather prudish about these things. If you’re single do what you want, but if you’re in a relationship commit. Sure, it’s not the worst thing to get some experience but even so, you should give it an honest try. Otherwise, perhaps staying at home and reading a book or hanging out with your girlfriends are better ways to spend time. If you’re on the receiving end, I’d say that if a guys tells you “he’s still on Tinder and checks what’s happening there from time to time” you’re most probably a backpocket girl. Perhaps you call it a relationship but when people are halfheartedly involved, they won’t blink to leave you when something better comes their way or if you just become boring/annoying for them.

What it means for dating apps is: if you feel like you want to keep chatting to people on dating apps, you’re just wasting your time and the time of the other person. Especially once you established you’re dating, it isn’t fair to keep looking around. Swiping on Tinder or using okcupid, isn’t any different than flirting with someone at the bar or giving people your number when asked for it on the street. I’m not saying delete the app immediately but to cease using it is a good idea if you feel you like someone. It’s just an honest thing to do and surely you’d prefer the other person to treat you in the same way. Once you know where you’re standing and that you have a BF/GF you’re happy with, you can get rid of your profiles altogether and hopefully you’ll never have to set them up again.

What do you think, Rinsers? Is keeping your dating apps going as bad as real life flirting? Have you ever kept your options open in this way? What do you think about those that do?

Double Standards: Ageism in Dating

Macron

Perhaps you’re not too familiar with the world of politics. If that’s true, let me give you a quick update about the country of baguettes, cheese and wine (= France): they have a new president. Emmanuel Macron won the elections but he’s considered slightly controversial due to his marriage. His wife is 24 years his senior and used to teach at his school. I will not comment on the appropriateness or lack thereof of relationships between students and teachers. Perhaps she’s a bad apple among the educators, but it’s not the main source of controversy and mockery. The main reason is the new First Lady’s age.

Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine you should know because of the famous shooting that took place in the magazine’s headquarters. Recently published a cartoon of the new French president with his pregnant wife with a caption “He’ll do miracles”. It’s so funny, you see, because Macron’s wife is 64 years old and therefore most probably can’t get pregnant. That the cartoon is in poor taste is undeniable. However, it also brings our attention to a much bigger issue, which is double standards when it comes to an age difference between partners.

A 20 year age gap isn’t a novelty. We all know middle aged men going through a life crisis who decide to exchange their aging wife for a bimbo half of their age. We also know the women that are simply into older men. This is a worldwide phenomenon and so is the acceptance of the fact that it’s okay for a man to date someone who’s much younger than him. If the situation is reversed it causes outrage. Demi Moore’s relationship with Ashton Kutcher was criticized in a way, particular for her gender. After all she’s a cougar on a prowl, a female who deserves nothing but pity and contempt and don’t we all know that the boy didn’t love her anyway, but just wanted their money? At the same time no one used similar accusations against her ex husband Bruce Willis, who also dated a much younger woman.

This brings us to the underlying issue which is the fact that the qualities that are valued in men are different than those valued in women. Even in modern times a woman’s beauty, freshness and fertility are considered to be her biggest assets. These qualities fade with time which is the reason why women are believed to have an expiry date and those above the age of thirty are often referred to as being “over the hill”. This is because, unlike men, women have limited time to reproduce. Doctors started to move the “safe motherhood” boarder to 40 but it is arguable. Because of this reason especially the men who want to have children go for younger partners and as unfair as it may seen, it’s also understandable. The real problem is, however, putting females beauty above her other assets. A friend shared a cartoon on Facebook recently, saying that a reversed version of “Beauty and the Beast” would never happen, because no one tells a man to date a woman just because she’s nice. Unfortunately, this is true.

Perhaps aging is a process that treats men slightly better than women, but no one will tell me that they prefer 70 year old Harrisson Ford to the younger version of the same man. And yet, older men rarely have trouble with finding a second partner when children are no longer the case. Women do. This is because a man is cherished for his kindness, his wisdom and last but not least his financial situation and back in the days it was a male privilege coming with age. Women were therefore just getting older and less desirable. These days, however, with a woman’s age comes a career, financial security and wisdom. The problem is that the world didn’t catch up with this change and still values women for what was traditionally considered to be their assets.

If a young woman can be impressed by a father like qualities in a man, a man shouldn’t be judged for similar longings. Dating an older partner has its challenges, but men shouldn’t be in addition judged for their choice of an older partner. The women in such situations shouldn’t be judged either, after all who doesn’t like a young piece of meat? 😉

Tell me what you think, Rinsers! Set your keyboards on fire with how fast you type!

 

Fake tits and c*cks – do premarital customs have to be iffy?

bachelorSo you’re getting married, right? Well, done and welcome to the adult world where people prefer to go to bed before 10 PM, suffer from a hangover the next day after two glasses of wine and have a number of couple responsibilities (plus sex and cuddles on tap and a person in your life who doesn’t have a choice but to listen to ALL your complaints about life – let’s not forget about the advantages ;)). Before that happens you’re supposed to have the time of your life at your bachelor/bachelorette party… which brings me to the topic of today’s post. Do you really have to be sucking on a penis shaped ice lolly or visit a strip club? Nope! That’s your bloody party.

I have written before about conforming to the expectations of others. During you bachelor/bachelorette party it’s as important as ever, to make it about what you want. In other words, if the expectation of you as a man is to go to strip club and stare at fake tits you may decide you actually don’t find such objectification of a female body entertaining and you’re quite happy with the pair of boobs that’s soon to be yours happily ever after. In this case you should express such sentiment to you stag party organizers rather than just do whatever they want you too. Chances are, if you choose your friends in a way that actually matches your personality, you won’t even have to explain such things to them. If on the other hand, you have tons of insecurities and you have to prove to everyone that you’re a REAL man by staring at women who have no choice but to earn a living in this humiliating manner, then be my guest. Join everyone else I judge in my little black book called “Why Humans Make No Sense”.

Needless to say that expressing their preferences would be also advised for ladies. Somehow I doubt that all the ladies I’ve seen in my Facebook feed licking penis shaped objects was really having as much fun as the picture would suggest. Of course, we all have different ideas about fun and if you think that you pretending publicly you’re having sex with a chair is #bestmoment than I’m sure your bridesmaids can organize that. If not there’s a whole range of fun things you can do with your bridesmaids other than show your skills in giving blow jobs during the day that’s meant to be about female bonding (I think?). Alternatively, you may decide that the old school gender separation isn’t what you stand for and you want to have a mixed party for both of you. I had both – a separate hen/stag and a mixed party towards the end of the evening.

One thing one shouldn’t (and probably couldn’t) avoid in terms of being disgusting on a hen/stag night is drinking. Having far too many drinks will remind you why you strive for moderation in your everyday life and that you’re not 18 anymore (and if you are then run to the hills NOW, you have some life to experience before getting married!). Besides, there’s something about having too much alcohol with people you like and know that ends up with having fond memories about the event afterwards. That is, of course, after sobering up, puking and healing the post-alcohol pain of existence. Being silly and out of control is something we should do from time to time to shake up our routines.

To sum up, if you find rather disgusting bachelorette/bachelor party customs entertaining then indulge in them. However, if it’s not your vibe don’t force yourself to drink tequila shots of bartenders in Beefcakes or of strippers at Maverick’s. This night is about you and I do feel like showing people that you know what sex is about, before you get married, these days isn’t really necessary. Perhaps such customs come from the days when people (mostly women, let’s be honest) were still untouched. I’d google it but no one pays me for writing this blog so if you’re interested, just do it yourself.

So Dear Rinsers, what is your opinion about the modern premarital customs? Do people really enjoy all fake penises and breasts? Is it maybe just for show? Tell me what you think in the comments section. 

 

 

 

Review: “Scenes from an Execution” at the Baxter Theatre

Scenes-from-an-Execcution-700x400

The play “Scenes from an Execution” was a very pleasant surprise. Before going I only knew that it had Jennifer Steyn in it, whose remarkable performance in “The Inconvenience of Wings” was enough of an encouragement (Between you and I, Internet, the fact that I’m on The Baxter Theatre’s mailing list and was informed about the special price for the first few performances, didn’t hurt either). ANYWAY, let me tell you a few words about my impressions.

A Venetian artist Galactia is commissioned to paint a battle. The political agenda behind the existence of the piece of art is to uplift the citizens and the soldiers by an idealized representation of the triumph of Venice in Lepanto. Such vision of the war is in opposition to Galactia’s perception of it. She considers it to be ruthless, horrible and rather pointless. As a mature woman with numerous lovers, who rarely bites her tongue she’s been through a lot and does not seem to care about appearances. This time, however, her need to stay true to her own beliefs will put her in danger. I shall say no more about the plot, to avoid spoiling the experience for you.

I must say it was a very refreshing experience to see a strong female dominating the play. Steyn is convincing in her rendition of the character. The audience feels for Galactia’s even if his or her relationship with the protagonist is that of love and hate. She isn’t meant to be likeable. She does and says what she pleases with little consideration for the feelings of others. In as much as Galactia’s behavior is partially due to her need to stay true to herself, she clearly finds pleasure in being shocking and controversial. Even her close ones don’t seem to comprehend her and throughout the play we wonder whether she herself fully knows the motivation of her actions.

Galactia isn’t the only interesting character. Her young lover is an artist herself (and a married one!) which makes their affair and passionate fights interesting to watch. Similarly confused to his partner he creates and interesting character only seemingly lacking a moral spine. Other female characters are also strong and convincing, especially the critic played by Elizabeth Akudugu. Galactia’s daughters perhaps don’t have the biggest impact on the play but the actresses were given a chance of being other characters as well. Seeing females in male roles should remind us about the evolution of the theatre, in which back in the Shakespearean days women weren’t allowed to perform at all and even female parts were played by male actors. Speaking of which, I shouldn’t forget about the remarkable performances of other male actors involved, whom I would have mentioned by name, had the Baxter Theatre published the full cast with their roles. Call me a peasant but mentioning the actors by their names and surnames accompanied solely by the names of plays they were in, isn’t enough. Pics or didn’t happen, Baxter!

The play certainly touches upon important and timeless issues. What’s the artist’s accountability for his art, if any? What price should one be willing to pay to stay true to oneself? Where is the line between being us and respecting the needs and feelings of others? Last but not least, does greatness always have to be alienating?  Even though “Scenes from an Execution” are to a vast extent about serious matters, there’s a lot of humor in the play. At points it’s very funny, yet in a dark sarcastic way. The acting and the scale of the story make it one of the best play I’ve seen in Cape Town. I highly recommend it to anyone whose looking for a play that both entertains and encourages reflection.

 

Family Issues – a Lesson in Empathy

sad childIf your parents and family have always surrounded you with love, supported and shown interest in the person you are and want to be (and not the one they’d like you to be), that’s great. Nevertheless, you’re more than likely in the minority.

Family issues vary as each and every family has its own. Sometimes it’s a dirty secret which takes the form of the brother, who with all the opportunities he had, became a no-good sponge, forever dependent on the parents. Another time it’s religious disagreements between the parents wanting their child to follow a religion while he or she is an incorrigible atheist (or the other way round). Last but not least, there are the unspoken issues of the seemingly functional families that no one wants ever to surface (ask Norman Bates). The point is, we all have our dirty family secrets, our grudges and disagreements. And yet, it doesn’t seem like it teaches people any empathy regarding such issues.

Obviously there are expectations of how families should (appear to) be. You should be nice to your folks and co, you should keep in touch with them, you should be excited to see them when you didn’t for a long time. If for whatever reasons you don’t comply with the should’s, people start to question you and assume that there’s something wrong with you. Asking a deeper question and wondering whether maybe there’s something wrong with the other side isn’t rewarding for most. For how will you gossip about someone’s family you don’t know? It’s much easier to label the person you know as weird and spread the word. At the same time there may be plenty of reasons why someone doesn’t want to tell you the details of their familial relationships and gives you a blanket answer such as “we don’t get on well”. The first explanation is usually – you’re just not important enough in their life and don’t deserve to know more.

It’s not just about not telling those who don’t matter, however, but most of those who matter too. People often get uncomfortable with the truth. Tell them about a running drinking habit in the family and how you’re scared that you’ll develop it one day. Try to confide in someone years of psychological abuse. I’m not even talking here about those whose scars are so deep they’ll never recover after what’s been done to them. Others don’t want to know because it makes them uncomfortable but if someone’s issues make you uncomfortable, have you ever thought how uncomfortable they make the person who’s experiencing them feel?

The feeling of being uncomfortable and the urge of others to silence you is one thing but the lack of sensitivity is another. When you go through the difficult decision of confiding in someone, their answer is often dismissive. Your dad’s been emotionally and physically absent from your life? Bitch, please, think about all all these kids in India who have their limbs cut off so that they make better beggars! Functional alcoholism? What’s that? My other friend had her biological father hitting her and killing cigarettes on her, now, that’s a story! We forget that the same events can affect other people more than other. We also never remember that even though there’s always someone who’s worse off, it’s not a reason to deny someone else the right to share their own pain. We wouldn’t like the same to happen to us when talking about our problems, now, would we?

Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of relationships we have these days. We’re comfortable with nice and easy. Maybe we can handle a friend telling us about a break-up but only as long as they don’t dwell on it too much. Don’t tell me about your childhood traumas, though. Nobody has time for that! I’m not saying here that we should share our emotional depths with everyone because oversharing is oversharing but is there really such a thing as oversharing with friends? Last but not least, if we’re acquaintances can we maybe sometimes give people the benefit of the doubt and understand that we’re all like icebergs rather than judge them?

The comments section is all yours, Rinsers. Why are we so harsh towards others? Why can’t we listen to someone’s story and why do we want to silence the voices of suffering?

5 Bullshit Beliefs of a “Nice Guy”

fuck-you-bitch-im-a-nice-guy“I’m such a nice guy but girls just don’t like guys like me”. How many times have you heard this sentence? Let me quote Tywin Lannister from the Games of Thrones: Any man who must say, “I am the king” is no true king. In other words, a self-proclaimed “nice guy” is just an entitled person who thinks he “deserves” every woman he chooses because he claims to be “decent”. It’s  so fucked up I don’t even know where to start. I’ll try, however, with number 1 of the list of 5 bullshit beliefs of a “nice guy”

1. I’m a nice guy she SHOULD like me

Women shouldn’t do anything other than what they feel they want to do, including choosing a partner they like. There may be a million of reasons why one person doesn’t want to be with another person, even if the reason is that they prefer someone who treats them not in a nice way. A truly nice guy would respect a woman’s choice not to pursue a romantic relationship with him, even if it hurts him. Furthermore, if he really cares about the girl’s well-being he would actually be happy for her if she found someone who she truly clicks with. After all, not being you, doesn’t mean, being an asshole.

2. Girls are just after looks

Looks are important and so is attraction but we have a saying in Polish which roughly translates into “every monster will find his or her admirer”. If someone’s not attracted to you, they’re just not attracted to you. You making an issue out of it paradoxically makes you even less attractive. What is more, a lot of “nice guys” complain about women being into looks only while it’s actually often true for them. They want the good looking girls who take care of themselves but at the same time don’t think their beer belly and oily hair could be a problem. Life isn’t only about getting, gentlemen, but also about giving. Do you truly represent what you’re looking for in a partner?

3. I’ve always been there for her!

Ah yes! My favorite. You’re such a “nice” guy that you planned in cold blood that if you’re being helpful and supportive to a lady she will eventually want you for her life partner. Then when it doesn’t happen, you’re very upset. How exactly does that make you a nice guy and not a sociopath who does good deeds hoping to get something in return? That’s certainly not love. If you really feel someone is taking advantage of you and using you then it’s up to you to not let her. Being around doesn’t mean being into someone so don’t confuse being friendly with being interested. Just btw it’s usually rather clear if a girl likes you in the “let’s get married and have babies way”. If it’s not evident than most probably you’re trying to score in a competition you’re not even participating in.

4. But I’m REALLY nice

Cats are nice, dogs are nice, fluffy pillows are nice, most humans are nice too. You’d like a girl to date you because you’re like most things in the world? Being nice is non-negotiable. Now, what else do you have an offer? Can you support yourself and would be an equal partner financially? Do you take good care of your looks and health? Are you independent from your parents? Do you have a passion? Do you mostly enjoy your life and couldn’t be summarized as a negative person? Do you take responsibility for your life or are you entitled and blame everyone and their dog for your failures? And last but not least, do you even like yourself? Maybe there’s more to girls not choosing you than just them not liking “nice” guys. Just saying…

5. Girls NEVER choose me

Imagine there was a range of chocolate bars in a shop. Some of them have nice packaging but taste disgusting, others have nice packaging and taste great. We are all looking for the latter in our partner – he or she must both look good and “taste” good in our opinion. Now imagine this chocolate bar that is wrapped in toilet paper and tastes like poo. Would you like to eat it? Exactly. Maybe if ALL the girls reject you there’s something wrong with you and not with them. But, hey, the good news is that you can turn into a nice chocolate bar from the poopy one! You just need to stop blaming the world for your lack of success with women and take responsibility for who and how you are. Trust me, there will be plenty of women interested in the best version of you.

Dear Rinsers, have you encountered many passive aggressive “nice guys”? What do you think about their bullshit beliefs?