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

so you've been publicly shamed

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

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

Is It Even True?

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

Even If It Is True, Do They Deserve It? 

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

Other Considerations

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

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

#zlotybaby’s Insight

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

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

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

 

 

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The Fine Line Between a Broken Heart and Bruised Ego – And What Is Worse?

broken heart

In an age governed by all things instagrammable, the social image matters. As much as we may try to keep our romantic relations away from the public realm its always easier said than done. And even if we succeed, nobody likes to experience rejection and humiliation, even behind closed doors. Unless you are a inclined to be a social recluse who’d much rather remain in the confines of their cosy boudoir, we are all bound to encounter a few not-so-nice episodes when it comes to the pursuit of happily ever after. But then there is always that Facebook ‘friend’ who you know is going through some drama when you start seeing memes about how much they hate the opposite sex or inspirational quotes about being a strong, independent woman….bla bla bla. It gets tiring. Surely, noone can expect the public to sympathise when they seem to change boyfriends/husbands more often than the average person changes their socks. Hmmm..so pray tell. How. in an age governed by public image, do we differentiate actual heartbreak from a mere bruised ego? Here are some thoughts on the matter.

How much investment was in the relationship?

Millenials, they say, are a fickle generation. We upgrade our perfectly functional iPhones every year. We quit jobs after 3 days when it gainful employment no longer works around our yoga schedules. And when we hit a rough patch in our relationship we all know our next ‘love’ is just a swipe away.

However, as we get older and experience more and more failed relationships we learn that nobody is perfect and quitting isn’t always the best course of action. Those of us who don’t believe we are god’s gift to the rest of mankind will probably do some level of self-reflection and work on things we can do better. So hopefully, before we make any rash decisions sleep on things and give the situation some real thought.

That said, there are also times where you’ve tried your utmost to make some reasonable requests and some changes to the dynamics without losing your identity, and after crying yourself to sleep every night for what feels like an eternity, you bite the bullet, realise he isn’t going to leave his ‘wife’ as he has been saying for the past 2 years and call time on the relationship.

Of course, it’s not always about how long you’ve held on to things by a thread but generally speaking, there is a difference between a relationship that was all for the pleasure of your instagram followers come to an end and having to give up on something you worked so hard for. Sure, facing a certain degree of humiliation amongst your acquaintances and social networks is a bit of dent on the ol’ego but it doesn’t really equate to the crippling heartbreak associated with losing someone you actually planned on having a future with.

How ‘real’ were the reasons behind the termination of the encounter?

I’ve reiterated the importance of knowing your deal breakers time and time again. However, superficial or silly these non-negotiables may seem to the world at large. I believe as that as long as a person is open about their deal breakers from the get-go, as not to waste another person’s time (aka precious childbearing years for some!), then they are entitled to make certain demands to the universe about what they seek in a potential partner. Yes, when it comes to your personal dating life, a person can be as racist, sexist and able-ist as they want. It might not get them very far in life but they can do as they please.

That said, being rejected because you are unable to live up to a partner’s lofty ideals isn’t likely to be the most fun experience. Learning that someone just dated you for the sex, your money, or because they needed a bed for the night or a plus one for their best friends wedding will certainly be a knock to one’s self-confidence. In such cases, you eventually realize it was their loss, put it down to experience and move on to better things. Be thankful you dodged that bullet.

On the flipside, you have relationships where you’ve been through the wars and stuck together but still, manage to find some issue that you can’t compromise on. It’s all well an good setting your deal-breakers at the start, but the fact is we have relationships with human beings, not inanimate objects. Humans are open to change and so 1, 2 or 10 years down the line you might find that you are no longer dating that carefree young chick you met in a bar ever-so-long ago.  It’s when you’ve worked and worked on something and finally admitted defeat that things get sad. At some stage, you realise its no longer worth fighting this losing battle so you cut ties. You won’t necessarily hate the other person, in fact, you may still love them enough to take a bullet for them but you just come to terms with the heartbreaking reality that things weren’t meant to be.

And in the end, what’s worse? A broken heart or a bruised ego? 

Turns out the jury’s still out on this one. It would be easy to say that heartbreak being more entrenched is going to be worse. However, from experience, I find that sometimes the impact of a continuous knocks can not just bruise an ego but do more long term irreparable damage to a person’s confidence.

Think of it this way, when you experience real heartbreak its the result of having had a real relationship which involved real feelings. Sure, it’s sad when something that was once so good comes to an end. But at least you walk away with a few good memories. On the other hand, when your ego gets knocked around its often seems more superficial but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lasting impact.

Regardless, of whether the encounter last 1 month or 1 year, it was unlikely to be based on any solid foundations. Once you are at a stage where you can look back at things objectively (and if you find you can’t do this, find a friend to help you out!), you’ll likely see that any ‘good memories’ you thought you had weren’t all the ‘good’ after all. All those nice meals you guys used to have, well the food probably doesn’t taste so sweet when you remind yourself of how the nights ended with him calling you Fatty McFatty! And all those sweet nothings he used to whisper, well those aren’t so melodious when you realise he said what he needed to say to get his leg over. With these sort of ‘waste of time’ experiences, you are often left doubting your judgment and often hating the opposite sex. And this has the impact to tarnish future relationships.

I guess part it depends on the way your built though. As much as its easy to dish out platitudes like ‘time heals’ and ‘there are plenty more fish in the sea’. Both heartbreaks and bruised egos suck albeit in slightly different ways.  Hearts do mend and often after the dust settles you can have fond memories of those encounters. If there is something good you can take away from the experience, you can live somewhat hopefully that another more positive experience could potentially be just around the corner. Egos tend to be a bit more fragile.  Coming to terms that something ended because you weren’t pretty enough, smart enough , or simply too naive to see through his cunning ways… (all factors you don’t necessarily have any control over) well that can leave you scarred for life.

Anyway Rinsers,  as the title of this post state there is a fine line between a broken heart and brusied ago. Both suck. Both are part of life and the quest for happily ever after. So give me your thoughts. How do you spot the difference ? And which one is worse ? Go wild in the comments below.

 

 

 

Dirty Little Secrets in the Age of Social Media

 

secret-love-does-he-want-a-secret-relationship

Unless of course you can count yourself among that species almost as rare as the unicorn known as the 30-something virgin, then you’ll know that by the time we’ve reached a certain again we’ve all been burnt a few thousand times so it’s understandable that people these days aren’t always in a rush to go public with their romantic relationships. Human relationships are such fragile things so it’s natural for us worldly wise folk to be somewhat guarded about who we tell about our significant other, especially when you are lucky enough to have people who will scream I TOLD YOU SO when your little fairytale comes crashing to the ground.

However, the truth is that the ‘getting to know each other’ stage cannot go on forever, there does come a point in any story, where two people who spend significant amounts of time together should probably make their relationship known to the world. Add to that the fact that we all pretty much live out a parallel version of our lives on social media (censoring out the boring bits here and there) and its quite surprising that anyone manages to maintain anything close to a private life at the best of times.

But then why oh why, are there so many long-term-ish relationships happening behind closed doors?  It’s a contentious kinda grey-area I suppose and one that raises a lot of questions. Naturally, we all want to play it cool and one needs to be certain before they ask ‘What Are We?’ . On the other hand, how long can a relationship legitimately last if you only ever meet in the cosy, ever-so-romantic setting of your own homes? So, having been at both ends of this scenario here are some of my thoughts on the matter …

 

It’s All About (Secret) Sex

Well, let’s get something out of the way before we unpack this issue further. If your ‘beau’ only meets you late at night and in bed, the fact is it would be charitable to call you are ‘dirty little secret’ you are nothing more a Friend With Benefits. Sure, the pillow talk may be OK-ish so you convince yourself you are really getting to know each other. But let’s call a spade a spade here – the only thing you are getting to know intimately here is each others bodies. So don’t kid yourself.

 

Keeping The Options Open

We’ve all been there. Met that ‘nice’ person. They tick all the boxes. So you force yourself to break your usual patterns, be more open-minded and carry on ‘dating’ them in the hope that that elusive sparkle may suddenly appear. Hmm…But deep down you know that the fact you need to talk yourself into it is probably a bad sign. It may even be easy to keep them in the picture because they aren’t a complete troll and do provide some degree of entertainment.

But truth be told, although this maybe not be as sordid as a FWB situation, you cringing at the thought of bumping into a friend/acquaintance while out with said person is probably a sign that they are no more than a place holder for Prince Charming (or at least another mistake that makes your weak at the knees!).

 

They are leading a double life

Life is complicated enough. I can barely manage my own. Sure, double parking can be a giggle when your dating up a storm but having more than one serious relationship it really does take multi-tasking to another level. Unless I could legit clone myself I don’t see how one could wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to another person while trying to be in two places at once. Well, they never do really!

If you are dating someone who never wants to go on a proper date, seems scared whenever you are out in public together, introduces you as their ‘buddy’, never lets you set foot inside their house and only ever sees you at unsociable hours. Red flags galore. Face facts, you are nothing more than a side salad.

Ugh. Cannot deal. Clearly, anyone looking for a bit on the side is likely to have something more established (see how I didn’t say serious) waiting for them at home. That said, side chicks/guys fill are often used to fill a void and give them something they aren’t getting from their spouse, baby momma/daddy or ‘cougarlicious‘ sugar mummy/daddy.

As tempting as it may be don’t stoop to such a level, you deserve to be the main course so let the trash take itself out.

 

The tricky bit… they are ‘just not into social media’.

So, in all of the situations above things are pretty clear cut. Well, at least when you’ve stopped kidding yourself. But this is the age of social media where everyone and their dog are living their best lives online. Yeah but no but. As with all things popular, there are people that feel the need to boycott it – perhaps its because they are ‘old school’, they value their privacy or they simply feel the need to rebel against what the rest of society is doing.

But to be honest with you, I like a good old Facebook snoop myself.  What people choose to post (or not post) on their social media profiles says a lot about them and gives you some insights into their personality. I’m not going to lie. I’ve been known to do a little background check on a Tinder date before venturing out. And can you blame with all the potential serial killers in our midst?!

Anyway, the truth is most of us do have some sort of social media presence. And I’m not saying one should expect to be F.B.O with a someone from the get-go. But if someone is reluctant to even be your friend (remember there are all these limited profile settings available these days) then they’ve probably got something they’d like to hide. Or am I being cynical? You tell me.

Now, back to the point of today’s rant. It’s understandable that most of us don’t want to be out and proud about new relationships from the very beginning. You have to admit that those epic declarations of LOVE on social media are kinda cute despite the fact that they may make you pewk in your mouth a little bit.  Maybe we’ve been there in our younger days and have suffered third degree burns as a result so we know that its best to steer clear.  That said, I think we should all the aware that in any ‘good’ relationship where you need to stop ‘getting to know each other’ and admit that there is something real between y’all. And in most cases, this will involve taking your new relationship public at varying levels. Whether that means exposing your new conquest to your weird friends, archaic family or wider social network of weirdos. But nothing worthwhile should remain behind closed doors for too long.  On the flipside, if you find yourself with someone who is reluctant to show you off to the world after a couple of months of steady dating (or in some cases a decade of cohabitation) then I think it’s an indication of some sort of commitment issue and more importantly a clear sign for you to walk away.

Alrighty Rinsers, Go wild in the comments. How public do you think a serious relationship should be? Is it legit to keep things behind closed doors for the sake of the relationship itself? And finally, has social media simply served to complicate matters and make life more difficult for us over-thinkers as well as those that prefer to keep their private matters private?

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

OpenMin

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.

#MeToo: Sexual Harassment and Assault Awareness

quietYesterday I saw women all over my Facebook sharing #metoo. The idea was to raise awareness about sexual harassment and sexual assault in that way. Perhaps if all women in someone’s Facebook feed shared the hashtag, it would make people realize how widespread the problem is?

The problem is indeed massive. Of course, there are levels to which women are touched by it. However, the fact is that ALL women experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault. Rape, verbal or physical sexual coercion, unwanted touch, predatory looks, comments on your appearance, “jokes”, aggression because you rejected someone – all these are just elements of the world where women are objectified. When women aren’t treated like people but like sexual objects, men believe they can do whatever they want with them: comment on, evaluate, touch or use at will for their own sexual pleasure.

Most women experience a garden variety of sexual harassment. Catcalling is honestly just a daily experience to which I never know how to react. As I work from home for instance, I like to go for a cycle or a walk during lunch. The problem is that the nearby construction workers take their break then. I can’t go past one not to be catcalled and neither can any other woman who’s on her own. Why do men do it then? Probably because they can. It’s certainly not to actually get anything out of it:

Catcalling makes me a mixture of angry and ashamed. I want to react or do something but mostly I’m scared. Perhaps if I reacted to a guy who’s on his own I could get him to think about his behavior but a group would mock me or perhaps become aggressive towards me. I’ve gone out a few times preparing myself to say something next time I’m spoken to and I’ve always chickened out. Now, I try to go out before or after they’re gone. I’ve lost, I’ve altered my behavior. That’s just catcalling. Being a woman, however, means a lot of fear in general. You’re scared of being raped too. You may second guess a guy’s intentions when he invited you for a cup of coffee to his house. You walk faster when it’s late and men feel like a threat. Sometimes someone gives you a predatory look and you feel that if circumstances were different he would hurt you but after all it’s not like anything really bad has ever happened to you, right? Are we supposed to count ourselves lucky because we haven’t been raped, though? Men don’t count themselves lucky because no one chopped their arm off or they didn’t get murdered, do they? Of course, it’s much more probable for a woman to get raped than to any of this to happen to a man. The point is that every time a woman feels threatened, she feels like this not because she’s crazy but because something could happen.

Something should be done to make people understand the problem. Will #metoo do it? I doubt it. It feels like preaching to the choir. The women who shared the hashtag in my feed are all lefties and that’s who likes on my own status came from. I haven’t seen any negative reactions but I haven’t seen any positive reactions either from anyone outside of my circle of expectations. I’m sure some people thought about some women’s statuses “she should only be so lucky that someone harasses her” but in the age of social media finger pointing they knew better than to share such views on Facebook. Perhaps the hashtag is not so successful in achieving its goal but that doesn’t mean it has no use at all.

As much as people may not change their mind because of this social media campaign, it has become a voice of female solidarity. We are all ashamed of our experiences with sexual harassment and we often feel guilty. It’s something we don’t talk about because often if we looked for sympathy after we are harassed we just found more sexism, even in women. When I was slapped on my bum by a stranger in Paris a friend of mine who was walking with me replied to my outrage: “Chill, it’s not like he’s taken away your virginity or something”. When I was maybe 10 a drunk guest house manager stopped me on my way from the communal toilet back to my room. He started hugging me and making inappropriate advances. Then I saw a ray of hope walking down the stairs: a female friend. She ran away when she saw us, though. I eventually managed to escape and then was shaken and outraged that she didn’t help me. She just said it wouldn’t have happened if I was wearing long pajama pants like she did. These are of course just illustrative examples not the entirety of my experience. All women experience sexual harassment and certainly they all experiences negative reactions to trying to speak up. The bigger the trauma, the more shame there is associated with it and the more potential there is for a negative reaction for speaking up from both men and women. Yesterday, however, some women had the courage to talk about unimaginably horrible events such as rape when they were still children, gang rape or sexual abuse in family. It is sad and it is so depressing that such things happen but maybe by talking about it, we’re making even more people share their experiences. In taking the shame away from the victims, we can finally move to focus on the perpetrators. It’s NEVER the victim’s fault.

Today a new hashtag is trending: #iwill to express what will we do to help to improve the situation. Can we really do something? What do you do? Any thoughts on #metoo, Dear Reader? Do you think it can truly help spread awareness? Feel free to share your #metoo stories in the comments. 

Stepping Stones – Just a Matter of Perspective?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Vain

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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?

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. 

 

 

 

The Opinions That Matter (And Those You Can Take With A Pinch of Salt)

toomuchadvicefeat

In an age dominated by social media, where everyone is an award-winning journalist or YouTube sensation, it’s easy for people to convince themselves that their opinion matters and needs to be heard. But as I always say there is an appropriate time and place for everything. Sure, an informed opinion on the state of global politics should be welcomed even if it stands in opposition to our personal beliefs. There is nothing better than a good INTELLECTUAL debate. Then there are those issues that not everyone and his dog needs to have a say on. One such place is when it comes to another individual’s romantic life and general lifestyle choices. This brings me to the topic of today’s post, when we are inundated with advice on how we are conducting our personal lives, how does one differentiate between the opinions that matter and those which are a totally waste of time.

As a 30-something chick who hasn’t ever been married or knocked up, one gets used to comments including but not limited to the following : ‘ Still single? Are you a lesbian? ‘, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers. You aren’t getting any younger, you know !’, ‘ Maybe you’d get more attention if you lost a couple of pounds!’, ‘Ooooo have you heard so-so just got divorced so he’s on the market again! Shall I set up a meeting for you guys ?’. Whether it’s your best friend who just wants you coupled up so you can double date with her and her other half or THAT aunty who is no beauty queen herself but is ever so concerned about your BMI that she’d offer to pay for you to see a dietician if only her hubby hadn’t spent their pension fund on hookers, people these days really need to take a lesson in keeping their noses out of it.

As much as we may like to tell our friends, family members, neighbours and randoms on the bus where to stick their opinions on out love life, the truth is relationships don’t exist in a bubble. At some point couples need to surface from beneath the bed covers, face the light of day and interact with other members of the human species. And while we may not be able to stop people voicing their opinions, we certainly have the power to choose whose advice we take heed of and how we let these comments affect us and our subsequent relationship choices. Here are a few factors you may want to consider when deciding who to take seriously and who to ignore:

Who are they? How well do they know you?

We all have a tendency to be a bit blind when it comes to matters of the heart. Sometimes we want something to work out so badly that we ignore the glaring red flags. The people that know us well are probably going to have a good insight into what makes us tick and therefore do have some idea of who we’d be compatible with.

Being told that the smoking hot Adonis you are dating has nothing in common with you is likely to be a hard pill to swallow. However, it’s probably a message that is better coming from your BFF who knows you better than you know yourself rather than the cash cow that helps you pay off your bond each month!

What is their motivation?

Let’s admit we can all be selfish at times. So consider the motivation behind someone’s advice/opinion. What do they have to gain from sharing their pearls of wisdom? Is this friend being a Debbie Downer about your new beau because you are her only friend in the world so she is afraid of losing you? Or has she mopped up your tears enough in the past to spot your patterns and have the foresight to know that this will only end in disaster?

People who are unhappy about their own love lives (or lack thereof) are usually the first to pipe up about another person’s flaws. That witch who questions your relationship status everytime she sees you, well let’s be honest, her marriage is probably on the rocks and she just spotted her husband flirting with you from across the room so just shake if off.

Are they speaking from experience?

So, you think you’ve caught an STD? Whose expert opinion are you going to seek on the matter – that of a medically trained Doctor or your pet parrot? Exactly! People who offer advice should know what they are talking about.

Anyone who has had their heart horrifically broken would probably do just about anything to stop it happening to someone they care about. So, if in the past you’ve wasted half a decade of your life with a deadbeat that promised you that one day he’d make it big and contribute to helping you guys getting that house in the ‘burbs, when you see your bestie going to a similar track with some douche, you aren’t going to keep quiet about it now, are you?

Comments and advice from someone older (maybe) and wiser, who has been there and done that may save you a lot of heartache in the long run whereas listening to a sad spinster who last had a physical contact with the male species over a decade ago well, that’ll probably just lead to nothing more than a dry spell in the bedroom!

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The moral of the story here…we live in a world where everyone considers themselves to be an expert on life, so take everything you hear with a pinch of salt. Understand that everyone is shaped by their own experiences and situation so question the motivation behind a person’s words. The majority of what people tell you will be nothing more than unsubstantiated BS which just reflects their own unhappiness. But then there are also those people who are willing to take a risk and be unpopular because they have your best interests are heart. However harsh their words may seem and however much it is not what you want to hear, the fact is that the sentiment behind their advice comes from a good place.

Rinsers – share your thoughts on the matter. Are you tired of people interfering in your love life? Are there people you take more seriously than others? And how do you differentiate between advice/comments that are motivated by self-interest and that which is told with the best of intentions?