Is Confidence the Key to Dating Successfully?

Confidence

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.

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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.

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.

Review: Lovesick

lovesickYay, a Netflix comedy series about love! And a British one! Seeing that in my Netflix suggestions I immediately thought about Monty Python, Peepshow, Fawlty Towers… Unfortunately, “Lovesick” turned out to be a bitter disappointment.

Let’s have a look at the premise first. Dylan is a 20 something young and mostly single gentleman who learns that he has an STD. Now, he has to contact all his former sexual partners. The main narrative of the present is mixed with the recollections of the numerous women he slept with. In both the past and the present, he’s supported on his quest to find a true love by his two best friends and flat mates, Evie and Luke. Sounds like a reasonable idea, non?

Not quite. “Lovesick” is crap. I chuckled a few times when watching the first season but the series has a big disadvantage for a comedy: it’s not funny. It’s also not a good drama, even if it seems to make the audience emotional too. The characters are just not convincing. Luke is a woman eater with issues about which we learn nothing. Dylan and Evie has feelings for one another but handle them immaturely, choosing to jump into different relationships rather than discussing them. In general, it’s just this kind of series about a bunch of adults behaving like teenagers. I guess it’d be fine, if the series was meant to be purely comedic (after all, no one was taking the characters of “Peepshow” seriously). It’s fine to have cartoon like characters if the style of the show encourages that. You can’t, however, oversimplifies characters and then make them have “serious” problems. It does come off as fake.

I guess the series does address a few important issues. STDs are a threat in the modern, more sexually liberated world. The show doesn’t go on sending any message about responsible sex life, though. Everyone just keeps having sex in the circumstances suggesting that they didn’t use any protection. I mean if you’re a bad series you could at least teach people something about the magic of rubber? Then of course, there’s the quest for true love that Dylan is supposedly on, by sticking his penis without a condom into a lot of women. Last but not least, there’s a question of men and women being “just friends”. Don’t look for depth, though. The series is just bad. I’m not sure why people enjoyed it and why there’s season 2. What can I say, Brits are weird. They voted for Brexit, love their royals and call dessert pudding.

The big advantage of the series is that it consists of only a few 20 minute episodes. I don’t feel like I wasted too much of my lifetime watching it. Besides, anything to protect my Dear Rinsers from watching something that is just not worth it.

Have you watched the series, Dear Rinser? Do you like British comedies in general? Which one is your favorite?

What to Watch Out For When You Start Dating Someone

sea-sunset-beach-coupleYou’ve made it past date three and you’re already imagining yourself in a wedding dress or writing down a proposal script? Hold your horses! You should still be looking out for potential bad signs at this stage. It’s quite easy to pretend you’re a completely different person for a short period of time. I’m sure, you’ve had the experience when after a glass of wine or two you were behaving like a much more confident version of yourself? Early dating is a little bit like that. Putting your best foot forward is natural but it also can be quite deceptive.

First of all, you should make sure that the person you’re seeing is actually available to fully pursue a relationship with you. A friend of mine met a guy once. He lived in a different city and visited hers every second week for work. He was always at his best behavior when he was with her and kept in touch when he was away. One day on a weird hunch she Facebook stalked him and it turned out that he was friends with a married man and a father looking like his identical twin… Of course, it wasn’t a twin but her man was a cheating bastard. I’m not saying that you should ask people to provide you with a certificate of no impediment before you get involved but listen to your intuition. If he’s covering his phone, always having conversations away from you, blocking your access to his social media, something may be up. Another signs such as never meeting his friends or not being seen out with you, may be a sign of him being involved with someone else too. He doesn’t necessarily have to be married, it may be that he has a girlfriend, a number of back pocket girls waiting for him or is just a player and wants to keep his options open. Guys, times are changing, females can be sailors too!

The problem of unavailability isn’t limited to the marital status only. Commitment issues and other emotional issues can be a similar killer for your happily ever after. The bad signs for commitment issues are: making little to no effort, spending little time with you, making things about sex only, lack of affection, not communicating with you apart from when you’re meeting up, keeping you away from a personal life in all possible ways, openly flirting with other women, telling you about other women to make you jealous, talking a lot but not following up… The list is long but I think we’ve covered the basis. It is similarly problematic if someone is a walking disaster and doesn’t keep their shit together. If you’re just after a break-up and so is your love interest, chances are you’re bonding over a broken heart. You can have a rebound but emotional pain isn’t exactly a recommended recipe for mature, long-term love. Someone who’s telling you long teary stories about their ex-spouse or childhood traumas on the first few dates is oversharing. Think about it: doesn’t this person have friends to tell them about such issues? They don’t even know you yet! Don’t fool yourself, thinking that you have something special because of it. Clearly their problems are still very fresh and/or undealt with if they can’t stop themselves from talking about them when still trying to impress someone. Sharing builds intimacy, oversharing a dependency. Don’t forget about it.

You should keep your eyes open and follow-up also on the things that strike you as weird. One swallow doesn’t make a summer so don’t obsess about something that’s only been mentioned in passing. At the same time, if you hear about something repeatedly, it may be worth investigating. A good example is my ex mentioning his mother 21 times on date one that I conveniently ignored. The more someone mentions something, the more he or she is attached to it. People may be downplaying their tendencies to impress someone they like, especially if that person doesn’t share their views (pretending that someone is less religious than they are in reality is just one example). However, it’s usually easy to pick up on such things. In other words, it’s up to you to hear exactly what you hear, when someone tells you about how your Zodiac signs are compatible. On the receiving end, don’t minimize the issues you care about. Maybe your collection of healing crystals will freak someone out but isn’t it easier to deal with it early, rather than spend eternity hiding your treasures from your spouse? Instead just imagine how many crystals you could have with a partner who’s also into these things!

To sum up, in the early stages of dating you should look out for the signs of your partner not being able to commit to you, being an emotional mess and a needy person, as well as for any worrying anomalies in what they’re saying. Last tip: As sex can complicate things and cloud your judgment, rather keep your legs together/your pickle outside of the jar, till you make up your mind about someone.

What are the things you think people should watch out for in the early stages of dating? Any stories about how you ignored a worrying signal? The comments section is all yours!

 

 

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

 

SOPHIE-STEVENSON-1

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.

 

 

Review: Atypical

atypical

Yes, yes, I know it seems that I’m obsessed with Netflix. I just can’t help myself! They have all these great series available…

“Atypical” is a story of an 18 year old Sam (Keir Gilchrist) who’s a teenager with autism (not an autistic teenager, as you’ll learn). The time comes for both him and his highly athletic sister, Casey to enter the world of dating. Their parents aren’t particularly happy about their children growing up, as it’s usually the case. The situation is particularly difficult for the stay-at-home mom, Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who all of a sudden after years of taking excessive care of her son has to redefine herself.

The show is a nice mixture of comedy and drama. The characters are relatable and we do feel for most of them. I’m not a specialist in autism but I think the series does a good job at explaining the disorder. It’s also interesting to see how a family deals with such a difficult situation. The parents aren’t overly idealised. They do struggle with the upbringing of a child with autism and they occasionally forget that they have two kids and not one. The story is very convincing but there’s something off with the mother character. That she’s overprotective is understandable but I was less empathic towards her crazy control issues (constantly asking her daughter to keep her door open?) and narcissism. I really wanted to throw something at the TV numerous times because of her but my husband told me not to and I’m an obedient wife.

Fortunately, the focus of the series is on Sam. He’s in a normal school and is seemingly copin. That doesn’t mean that other teenagers don’t make fun of him. It is horrible to laugh at someone just because the way they are but it’s also what people in high school do. The stuff he does is sometimes funny by “normal” standards and people will laugh. We allegedly live in the world of diversity and acceptance but it’s just appearances. Whenever something is different from our immediate comfort zone we ask other the question “Why?”. “Atypical” makes us see that for Sam the why is his disorder that neither him nor his family completely understands. He certainly should have a shot at things every human being wants such as a relationship, a job or friends. At the same time the world won’t change for someone who’s atypical. Like every one of us he’ll have to find his way to navigate his life in the imperfect world.

I’m looking forward to the season two of the series! I really would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a bit of lighter entertainment. The series is very short as it consists only of 8 half an hour long episodes. Giving it a try isn’t much of a commitment and it’s really worth your time!

 

The Balancing Act: Rethinking Romanticism

rethinking romanticismI’ve recently experienced horrible responses offline to me expressing somewhat pragmatic views on dating. Perhaps it’s because romanticism is not only strongly incorporated in our culture but also traditionally opposed to reason. In other words, for many, you can be either a romantic or a cold, calculating person. As humans, however, we can rarely make a successful decision based on our heart’s desires or on reason only. The balancing act requires that we make decisions taking both into account.

Do you know this feeling when you meet someone and you just immediately feel this special connection? When you feel drawn to them and start to behave like a little girl around them, trying to impress them? Romanticism would have you believe that this is a feeling you should follow and even if it will put you in difficult situations, eventually it’ll lead you to this beautiful place called happily ever after. Well, no. The feeling I’ve described is attraction and has to do with lust. There’s nothing romantic in the fact that your body is urging you to have sex with someone. Attraction doesn’t care for your self-worth or well-being. It wants you to make babies. Sometimes it chooses people who are good for you, sometimes it doesn’t. This is precisely while following the “connection” on its own isn’t a good idea.

Now, if you actually follow this feeling you may end up in an even bigger trap set by your body, called being in love. Perhaps, it’s another mechanism that’s aimed for partners to be together for the first crucial years of the baby’s existence or to make you guys have a few babies. Maybe the reason why the initial feeling  disappears after 1 or 2 years is because the more babies we have with more partners, the better from the evolutionary point of view? Who knows. I really think, however, that there are  evolutionary reasons behind falling in love and it’s not only my theory. The author of “The Roads Less Travelled” shares similar views in his excellent chapter about the difference between being in love and actual love. The whole point is that as humans we can make better choices than basing such a big decision as a choice of a partner on an initial liking only. In fact, we should make better choices because we want more than just butterflies for a little bit and then misery with a partner who doesn’t understands us, who bores us or with whom we constantly fight (or all of the above). Yes, it’s sometimes difficult to say “no” when you’re feeling attracted to someone but be honest with yourself and stop glorifying it.

Of course, the romantics came with other ridiculous ideas to protect their promotion of following your “heart” = your loins (probably because of the consequences that often follow such choices). They’ll try to tell you that suffering is a virtue. This, yet again, is a harmful belief. Suffering is just something that happens to human beings, but sometimes we can avoid it and when we can, we should. No one is better, because they suffered more. Yes, there is something to say about using suffering to build resilience and learn that you will survive no matter what but that happens naturally when we’re teenagers. Causing yourself unnecessary suffering is silly. Where do you think the glorification of women who went or want to got through childbirth without epidural (with the consequent shaming of those who opt for it or even worse for a Cesarean section) is coming from? From the same way of thinking, trying to teach us that suffering is noble. According to these beliefs if you’re having a difficult start of a relationship it’s just a trial and you must persist through the difficulties to find a happy ending. How many romantic comedies having this pattern you can enumerate? Fiction is just fiction, though. Among other things, it’s also meant to make these dreams come true on the screen, which wouldn’t in real life.

Romanticism in its praise of strong feelings also promotes an idealized vision of dysfunctional relationships. It isn’t only about fair maidens being conquered by seemingly bad boys, who change the moment they meet the One. Following your heart is also supposed to mean crazy passion, mixed with even crazier fights. Break-ups and make-ups, alcohol, drugs. All of those are romanticized in mainstream cinema and books. Misfits can also be perfect matches, as if two broken people could actually create anything healthy and lasting. Being sensitive and emotional is one thing and not having your shit together is another. Praise of the latter was a great excuse for the exuberant hedonism of romantics such as Lord Byron, who had one love affair after another with representatives of both sexes. Of course, he was only following his heart! 😉 Modern romanticism just incorporated the old ideas and started to make blockbusters by reusing them.

Does this mean that we should ignore completely what our heart tells us? Of course not. Being in love is a great thing but it doesn’t mean that we have to follow it blindly. After the initial butterflies fly away, love can replace them. It’s love, however, that should be treated as a romantic thing that is. Commitment to one another, mutual support and stability are the things that should be valued as they are the ones that will lead people to the place, when at the age of 80, they still hold hands. Blindly following the in-love high will maybe also get you there but chances are you’re rather end up staying with someone you don’t like that much for eternity just because you had kids and you don’t want to put them through the trauma of divorce. Trust, safety and intellectual understanding are things that many people need and there’s nothing wrong with wanting them. If we’re in lust, I mean in love, with someone who we can’t count on and who’s in general unpredictable, eventually it will wear us off.

The reason why I always underline the need for certain pragmatism at the initial stages of dating is because it’s much easier to say “no” to a stoner broke ass wanna be rockstar on date one than to turn around when our pink glasses of in-loveness are already glorifying everything our partner does, not allowing constructive criticism. Even though it’s never too late to break up, some people, if they’ve gone too far, will decide to keep going. If you know you have such tendencies, use your reason too. When it shouts that you should run for the hills, do it. Don’t believe the mainstream culture that’s telling you that you have to go with the initial feeling of “connection”. We’re humans not animals, we can stop ourselves. We have brains and we can make better choices to to be in not only lusting but also lasting relationships.

Any words of wisdom, Dear Reader? Do you always follow your “heart”? Or do you add a little bit of reason to your dating choices?