Review : 50 Shades of Fairytales @ The Alexander Upstairs

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While things may be a bit different nowadays when it comes to children’s entertainment with Disney becoming all PC and ensuring that their stories aren’t as whitewashed as they once were and contain some sort of feminist undertone, I’m old enough to be of that generation brought up on the traditional notion of a fairytale. You know those feel-good stories where Prince Charming is an alpha male with BIG MAN muscles who is capable of destroying all the bad people in order to ‘save’ the damsel in distress and give her the happily-ever-after she deserves …. blah blah blah. Sigh. Unfortunately, as we are all by now well aware. Disney LIED. Alpha males, very much like unicorns, only exist in La La land and when it comes to slaying dragons and dealing with bad people, well us chicks are probably better off dealing with all that stuff ourselves because Prince Charming it seems is getting delayed.
’50 Shades of Fairytales’ is a one-women show which deals with exactly that. It tells the story of two women (played by Titilayo Adedokun) who share their personal experiences of relationships and the associated challenges through a string of songs. Covering everything from little girls fantasizing about the arrival of their Prince Charming and the excitement of planning one’s dream wedding to coming to terms with the reality of dating one deadbeat after another, being trapped in an unhappy codependent relationship with someone you want to kill.
Sure, it sounds a bit cynical. But I think most 20,30, 40-somethings can definitely identify with the characters’ struggles. Especially that of trying to remain hopeful despite all the knocks. Although the show is ultimately focuses on women chasing fairytales, the way that modern dating operates these days I think even the guys will find that they can relate. And even though there are parts that come down pretty hard on the male-species, the humour and sing-song of it all helps to tone down the raging-feminist vibe, which makes it more digestible for the men in the audience and those of us who aren’t quite yet complete haters of men.
The show is also provides a nice reality check for anyone who is feeling that the whole world is against them. It’s a nice reminder that nobody’s story is all that ‘original’. All you have to do is talk to five randoms on a bus to find that you aren’t the first woman to be blind-sided by a philandering jerk, to have dated a broke-ass loser, or fallen in madly in love in a sociopath. But in this world of Facebook reality we only ever get insights into the sugarcoated version of other people’s lives which tricks us into believing we are thee ultimate failure in life.
While there are anecdotes throughout the show which will pretty much resonate with anyone who didn’t simply marry their first love, it’s not all doom and gloom. And as much as it isn’t ‘cool’ to be into musicals these days, the whimsical show tunes here keep things light and fluffy, allowing the audience to leave lol’ing and skipping their way into the night rather than feeling depressed and hopeless. The lyrics are well-written and thought provoking and Titilayo Adedokun just has an amazing stage presence with a voice so incredible that it is almost too big for such a intimate venue. Furthermore, the fact that all the stage paraphernalia and costume changes are kept to a minimum also mean that you can focus more on the songs without being overly distracted.
All in all, 50 Shades of Fairytales is a lovely, uncomplicated little bit of entertainment that tackles the somewhat painful issues associated with modern romance in a fun and quirky way. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is currently feeling a bit hateful towards the opposite sex and world at large.  It’s on at the Alex for till the end of September and tickets are reasonably priced at just R120 (online), so catch it while you can. You really won’t be disappointed!

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The 5 Types of Friend That Emerge In The Aftermath of a Break-Up

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Some fool once told me that a break-up was probably the worst thing that had ever happened in my somewhat ‘privileged’ life.  And to be honest with you, the idiot had a point. That said, I don’t think we should really minimize the impact the end of a significant relationship can have on person’s life. Break-ups are traumatic. Sometimes they legitimately warrant a mental-health day, or heart-break leave as they call it Japan.I mean if people take sabbatical for the death of their pet goldfish, I think it’s fair to indulge in a bit of self-care when a part of your heart has been brutally ripped out.

As important as some me-time is, I also believe it’s important to have a solid support network. Spending too much time alone following such an upheaval can a) give you too much time to overthink everything resulting in even more mental torture and b) result in you seeking solace from the loneliness in the arms of someone familiar. And the whole story of letting an ex escalate into a FWB is a story for another post entirely. So, yes back to that support network who are basically required to become babysitters/therapists in a post-break up period. As there is such a lot to address in the aftermath of a epic break-up, you often find that each person reacts differently to the task at hand. Everyone brings their own unique perspective to the mix and serves their own (not necessarily equally important) purpose in your life.  Here is a basic breakdown of the different type of friend you’ll encounter following a break-up.

The I-Told-You-So Friend

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight. It’s nothing special. Having people who tell you after a decade long relationship that they knew you were doomed from the start isn’t really helpful. In some instances, they may even remind of a specific occasion in the early days where they called it and warned you of the risks and what was to come. While these folks aren’t necessarily all bad, they just seem to want to use your tough time  to make themselves feel like a smart and what they have to say isn’t particularly nice or useful. Listen to them if you want (maybe they have some insights into your patterns) but take everything they say with a pinch of salt. Remember that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be able to stand somewhat removed from another person’s romantic relationships and offer a critical eye. Furthermore, remind them that they you’ll only ever truly regret the risks you never took (and they good sex you never had!).

The Realist

Sigh. These are the friends you probably have a love/hate relationship with at times. These are the people that don’t beat around the bush. They call you out on shit. They won’t indulge your stupidity. They are basically your eyes when you’ve be blinded by  love.  They’ll SHOUT at you if they have to – online and even sometimes in public places. If you are weak human (like myself) they are likely to make you cry.  You might find yourself having to be on the defensive with them at times and finding new genius ways to justify your actions to them (not that they’ll fall for it). There are also probably going to be times when you question why you are friends with such a mean-spirited person. But once the dust settles, you’ll come to understand that the tough-love they dished out was just what was needed to make you see the error of your ways and that they actually always had your best interests at heart.

The Virgin Inactive/Hater of Men

An interesting one. And one which strangely happens to find its way into my life in a post-break up period. They may fight your corner but they do it in their own unique way. They’ll hate on your ex or screw that, they’ll hate on the male species entirely. Sometimes this ranting and raving about ALL men being lazy, dysfunctional, broke-ass cheaters may be tonic but it gets a bit tiring. Eventually, you’ll realise that they’ve had such bad experiences with relationships (or such little experience in the case of the 30-something virgins) that they’ve given up on happily-ever-after (and sex!). But that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a sexless existence. I personally find that these people are a reminder to get back on that horse a keep tinderingand  believing that Prince Charming (or at least some good experiences) are still on the cards ,and that a life void of amazing bedroom acrobatics doesn’t even bear thinking about! So with these ones, ignore their advice/hateful comments and enjoy the distraction they provide, and be glad you haven’t been out of the game as long as they have.

The Wing Woman

Now here is a fun one. Mine buggered off to Butt Fuck Nowhere and truly left a void in my life. The wing woman/man has no time for self-pity or over-analysis. They won’t necessarily give you a shoulder to cry on. But they’ll bring the wine, the gin and the PARTY. This is the person who tells you to snap out of it, put on your hottest dress because you guys are hitting the town. This is the buddy who shows you that no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself you’ll never get back to that happy place without YOUR person, there are in fact plenty of fish in sea.

The Cheerleader/Feeder

So, I saved the best till last. These people are your biggest fans. They’ll drop everything to be there for you in the immediate aftermath –  to pick up the pieces, debrief, cry and drink copious amounts of gin with you. They’ll also be there to reassure you that the whole relationship was not a farce but that you also did the right thing. Even if you relapse, and go back and forth with that SO forever and day, they won’t judge (well, they’ll at least try to conceal their judgement). They understand that we are all human and at times this requires us to do illogically insane things. Regardless, they’ll put aside their own agenda and do whatever if required to help you deal (which includes asking if you’ve eaten yet and ensuring that you are kept well fed and hydrated even when you think your entire universe is caving in).

There you have it. My little sentimental moment. Don’t stress – I’ll be back to my old bitching and moaning ways soon. Clearly, folks will approach a break-up differently depending on their own experiences and perspectives. Some will bitch and moan, others will hate on your ex and get angry on your behalf, some will scream at you until you get your thick skull around some basic facts, while others will assist you in finding your next conquest. Whatever the case, each babysitter will do their shift and serve their purpose and together somehow all these different approaches come together and things eventually start to make sense.

P.S. Boxing people is very bad and it is possible for a person to be in more that one of the above categories. 

So Rinsers, tell me is there a type of friend who assists you on the road to recovery after a break-up that I’ve missed? Do you think some perspectives that are most useful than others? Or do they all have a part to play. Holler in the comments below.

 

Sad Spinsters vs. Bachelorettes – Why Can’t ‘Cool’ Women End Up Forever Single?

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Recently there have been some half-hearted attempts at creating ‘feminist’ fairytales where the focus of the story isn’t about the prince and princess ending up together and living happily ever after. Sure, we should give Disney some credit for trying to show the world there can be more to life than finding your prince/princess, getting married, moving to the ‘burbs, getting a puppy, and procreating….you know how it goes. But honestly I think it’s going to be a long time before society really deems it ‘cool’ to end up single and actually accept that this fate a legitimate choice, especially for a woman. Let’s break look at this issue in a little more detail…

Does anyone with options ever really choose to be single?

I’ll admit I’m a bit old fashioned but I honestly don’t believe that humans are meant to end up alone – no man is an island and all. I understand people who’ve had a bit of experience and encountered their fair share of fuckwit humans may justify staying single to save themselves the heartache and stress in the future.

I’ve met plenty of people who have criticised my somewhat unconventional relationships and overuse of Tinder while loudly declaring how they happy they are to save themselves the drama and resign themselves to a life of singledom. Still, I always seem to sense some undertones of bitterness right there.

We all know THAT Aunty! 

Ok so maybe she isn’t your actual aunt. But we all know one of those women. The ones who never got married and had kids or did the conventional thing. Do you have any you actually look up to? Hmm…maybe you do? But I just find that people pity them and question whoever is going to look after them in their old age. God knows?! Perhaps one of the weird and wonderful gold diggers of Obs will go in for the kill and inherit an R2 million house in the process. #truestory!

Why isn’t there a male version of a sad spinster?

I’m not saying society doesn’t frown upon a man who is still playing the field in his 50s. But he still gets way more kudos if he is a Hugh Hefner type than his female equivalent. For me, the connotations associated with a bachelor are somewhat associated with a (sad) spinster. While the eternally single man is always pictured hitting the club, probably being a bit of a perve and plying pretty young girls with drinks while the sad spinster is almost sitting a home in her dowdy nightgown with nothing but a dog (and a jar of peanut butter) for the company. Why do we never hear about an actual female equivalent of a bachelor (a bachelorette if you want to call it that) – an eternally single woman who despite some commitment issues is out having fun rather than being the object of public pity?

So, maybe I just have an old-fashioned mindset but I still think that it’s sad when people give up on (human) love/companionship/whatever floats your boat. I guess for some they just get caught up with other more important things like work and education and by the time they get round to thinking about settling down it’s a too little too late and all the good specimens are already taken. Not everyone is lucky enough to meet their soulmate organically walking down the road, in the library or at the gym. The reality is that most people nowadays are actively looking for love. I do hope one day there will be single old ladies that make it somewhat cool/ok to end up alone but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. And although, being an old bachelor may not seem as dire as spinsterhood I think the prospect of growing old and dying alone isn’t particularly desirable regardless of gender. As #zlotybaby once reminded me when I was busy crushing on an elderly troll/eternal bachelor he is only looking for a young(ish) chick so he can have someone to wipe his ass when he is old and incapable.

Finally, it’s over to you dearest rinsers! Am I just being old-fashioned? Why is it is less cool for a woman to end up forever single? Do you know any female equivalents of a bachelor? And finally does the idea of becoming a spinster/bachelor stop you from giving up on love entirely? Answers in the comments below. Please and thank you!

 

 

 

#FatGirlProblems : Is Fat-Shaming Yourself Wrong?

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived in a world that didn’t have much love for fat people. Yes, there are still places in the world where carrying a bit of extra weight is considered attractive but I think most people I know would opt for a 6 pack and inner thigh gap over a bit of muffin top any day.  More recently though there has been some change thanks to the body positive people telling everyone to accept their flaws and be proud of their wobbly bits. Ugh, I know they mean well but I’m not that sure I buy into it. As a girl, who like Bridget Jones, ‘will always be just a little bit fat’, I’ve always felt I had a right to be a self-proclaimed fattist the same way gangster rappers seem to be OK throwing the N-word around. It’s not like I go around shouting FATTY FATTY MORBIDLY OBESE FATTY whenever I see a chubby person scoffing down on a bit of KFC (although I may cringe a little or make a bitchy comment to #zlotybaby). That said, I honestly don’t think that anyone is in a position to fat shame another person into losing weight or getting healthy. But looking at the whole issue from a different angle I’d like to question whether we have the right to fat shame ourselves?

Let me start by giving you a bit of the back story. OK, so for as long as I can remember I’ve been on some diet or another hoping that one day in my wildest dreams that I would become the skinny chick that I aspired to be. After almost giving up hope and almost resigning myself to life as a glutton some sort of miracle occurred. Thanks to some wise (?!) dating decisions (and subsequently learning there is a better form of cardio that doesn’t require running marathons) I somehow managed to shed a few tonnes. As is customary nowadays, I decided to declare my achievement on social media with a #transformationtuesday picture. I also took it a step further by adding a pig emoji next to the ‘before’ picture and using one of my favourite hashtags – #fatgirlproblems.

While most people showered my attempt to be humourous about something I think people take too seriously with lots of LOLs, likes and loves, my un-PC way of doing things didn’t go down so well with everyone. One person in particular sent me a private rant saying that posting pig emojis next to fat people (NB – the fat person was ME!) was immature, unnecessary and basically wittering on about why fat shaming anyone, including yourself is wrong. Although, as I said before, I don’t know why people can’t find better things to do than offer unwanted opinions (like the one just expressed above) on the state of another person’s body, perhaps it’s the Brit in me, but I don’t see any harm in a bit of self-deprecating humour. So for all the hard-core body positivists out there here are some of the reasons I don’t think fat shaming yourself is wrong.

It’s MY body

All around me I hear people going on about how they own their bodies and can flaunt them in whichever way they see fit. I am in total agreement. But by the same token, I don’t think criticizing your own body or wanting to change something about it is wrong either. Perhaps you are just over being the ‘fat friend’ or having insecure ‘men’ call you morbidly obese. If getting a revenge body (and associated public declarations about it) makes you even temporarily more happy or confident, then fat shame yourself to your heart’s content I say!

FAT is not a life sentence (it really doesn’t need to be embraced)

There are certain things in life, such as one’s skin colour or gender, which can’t be changed without a lot of difficulty. While these things can certainly be regarded as disadvantageous or unfavourable depending on how you see things, the trouble you’d need to go to in terms of skin bleaching or a sex change are probably too much hassle for most people. In such cases, I think it’s better to embrace and move along with your life. However, when it comes to your body composition, I don’t believe anything is a life sentence. If you have an issue with being fat, it can be changed with the right mix of food, exercise and willpower. So just do it.

Fat-ism isn’t all that superficial 

Some may argue that all this talk of weight loss and revenge bodies is superficial. To some extent, sure there may be some fakery involved. But surely losing weight by making some good lifestyle changes that have benefits for your health can’t be all bad? Exercise and eating well have positive effects on your health and outlook on life and even if you need to fat shame yourself on social media into getting started isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Don’t we all have a responsibility to promote positive body image? And where do we draw the line?

If you ask me it’s a matter of perspective. Yes, it is possible to be fat and fit. If my millions of miles of running have taught me anything it is not to judge a book by its cover. There have been many times when I’ve felt like a tortoise crawling in peanut butter as someone who was four times my size overtook me without breaking a sweat (and on the flipside I can’t say I don’t feel like high fiving myself everytime my chubby ass passes one of those gym bunnies with the perfect hair!). Basically, I think a positive body image is whatever you want it to be. If you are morbidly obese and happily running marathons then as far as I’m concerned it’s better than being a naturally skinny person who sits around eating pizza and playing computer games all day (the pizza bit is fine, it’s the gaming I object too!).  There are people who are happy, healthy and just a little bit chubby but if you aren’t it’s OK to want to change things and maybe those #transformationtuesday images are just good inspiration for you.

Maybe it’s a case of those who can’t, only criticize 

The truth is we’ve all got things we’d like to change and we’re all on our own mission. Whatever it is you are trying to do with your life you experience hurdles as well as turning points. Sometimes the path isn’t linear and as hard as you are working you don’t always see results. So I find there is this tendency to be critical of someone else’s approach to things.

#zlotybaby put things into perspective by giving the following example. Imagine you were earning R5000 per month and had to listen to your friend who earned R10,000 per month bitching and moaning about how broke ass they were the whole time. Sure, it would be annoying. I get that seeing someone fat shaming themselves all the time may be a bit irritating, but I think if it really gets to you then you should just stop following them rather than offering your moral judgement.

People need to stop taking life so seriously (and pigs are super cool!)

The PC police take life way too seriously.  Bringing a bit of sarcasm and humour into a world full of drama and misery really isn’t the worst thing a person can do. If you can’t laugh at yourself and the things that people say about you, you are really going to have a tough time in life by making a battle of everything.

And, why exactly are there so many negative associations when it comes to pigs? They are actually super clever and amazing.

So, the point of all of this. I don’t think fat shaming oneself should be frowned upon. If you don’t like someone else’s self-image and feel their use of pig emojis is so irresponsible then maybe just disassociate yourself. Everyone should be left to fight their own battles without any judgement. Being a little self-critical is a good thing, it means we are working on ourselves. So basically, if someone wants to fat shame themselves into being fabulous let them and go fight some other battle.

Alright Rinsers it’s your turn. Is fat shaming yourself wrong? Does everyone have a responsibility to be PC and promote a positive body image? Do you think people have the right to call you out for fat shaming yourself or is that just another form of policing people? Answer in the comments below. 

 

 

 

Preemptive Strikes and What Ifs

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Rarely are relationships and other such romantic encounters ever smooth sailing. Sometimes things get off to a rocky start and you find yourself questioning whether this drama from the get-go is a sign of things to come. But even in the instances where things begin blissfully, there eventually comes a time when the honeymoon period comes to an end and you experience some sort of bump in the road that makes you wonder if this thing is really worth the stress. But no matter how much of over-thinker you and however good you are at spotting your patterns (and those of others) how easy is it walk away at the first sign of trouble, essentially launching a preemptive strike on the relationship and breaking it before it can break you? And if somehow you do have the willpower to learn from past mistakes and run away from potential drama, does that necessarily mean you are guaranteed happiness? Or will you just be left wondering what if?

20/20 hindsight is a wonderfully torturous thing. After a disastrous relationship ends and the dust has settled, it’s pretty easy to rewind your mind and spot all the warning signs that you had chosen to ignore. Perhaps it was the fact that on your very first date gut instinct told you that he reminded you of your ex? Maybe it was that your friends that tried to gently tell you that this guy wasn’t quite as into you as he should’ve been?  Or it could just be that it falls in line with your patterns from the past and no matter how much you beg the universe to send you a boring AF accountant type that could potentially bring some stability in your life, it always always sends you a smoking hot lothario? The fact is you’ll easy find a million and one different ways you could’ve done something better the moment you start your little historic analysis.

However, that over-analyzing always seems to forget that when it comes to matters of the heart, more-often-that-not logic goes out of the window and even the most intelligent of human beings find it hard to listen to their own clever minds. We forget sometimes that the heart (and the hormones) also have an important role to play when it comes to the relationships we want to pursue. It’s not necessarily that you are stupid or a glutton for punishment when it comes to the types of people you date but maybe that you are drawn to the one’s that keep you on your toes and give you those infamous butterflies. And the intangible aspects that make it difficult for some of us to change our ways.

Ugh but then again, maybe it’s just me. So let’s take a look at the flipside. What would happen if every time you saw a red flag you ran a mile? If every guy that shared a similarity with an ex of yours was ruled out at the get go ? Well, I personally don’t think you’d get all that far in life. I’ve met a handful of people that claim to have ‘learnt’ from their mistakes to such an extent that they’d never let history repeat itself. I once met a guy who constantly blew hot and cold…one minute telling me he was falling for and then frantically calling an uber the moment things started to heat up! I later learnt that this poor guy had ‘heart cancer’. No not a disease. But some sort of mental blockage caused by having his heart broken and being too frightened to get close to anyone in case they did the same thing. No offense taken. But I have to say it’s sad to see nice people constantly alone because they are scared to take risks and opt to focus on the potential negatives.

Where does this sort of cautious approach to love get you? From the experiences of those around me (I can’t speak from my own experience because to my own detriment I always follow the butterflies) I can tell you that launching preemptive strikes on potential budding romances doesn’t lead to much more than a sexless existence (true storiES!). And sure, you could say that sex doesn’t make the world go round (hmmm, I’d like to see you live through your own sex drought first!) but from what I’ve seen the mindset which involves erring on the side of caution and inevitably closing yourself of to the possibility of love also results in loneliness/bitterness. The other problem with walking away from something too soon is that, if you are anything like me, you’ll probably sit around wondering ‘what if’ for months/years to come.

At the end of the day, every relationship is going to have some stumbling blocks – some which cause the relationship to fail and others which can reasonably be overcome. It’s important to know when to admit defeat but its equally important to give things a fair shot. It’s not everyday that you meet someone who sparkles so when you do I personally think you need to see things through and that way if it does end miserably you won’t spend the rest of your life wondering ‘what if?’, knowing that you put in your best efforts. If you opt to launch that preemptive strike and end things prematurely just to save yourself the heartache in the long-run, you’ll probably still end up a little bit heartbroken anyway because of the regrets.

Over to you do Rinsers. Have you ever launched a preemptive strike and ended a potential romance before it really got off the ground? Would you say such actions can save you from heartbreak or just leave you with a whole bunch of regrets? Share your stories in the comments below. 

Swift Justice – Why We Should All Follow Suit and Speak Out Against Dirty Perves

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Sure, her music may not be to everyone’s taste but Taylor Swift’s popularity sky-rocketed following her recent performance in the courtroom. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock let me enlighten you. It all started in 2013 when Taylor swift alleged that (the now ex) DJ David Mueller groped her during an event. In 2015, the man with wandering hands filed a lawsuit against the singer claiming that her false allegations had resulted in him losing his job. He attempted to sue her for $3 million (what a rinser!) as compensation for the damage she had done to his reputation and career. Instead of simply going to court and defending her side of the story, the absolute LEGEND that is Taylor Swift took things one step further and decided to counter sue this imbecile for $1. Clearly for her being an EMPLOYED millionaire it wasn’t about the money but as about being “an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”  In the end, the jury ruled in favour of Taylor Swift and found the DJ guilty of assault. As momentous as Taylor Swift’s court victory may be however one does have to wonder how much of a real impact it will have on the lives of everyday women or whether it is purely symbolic and something that’ll be forgotten a year from now?

There is no doubt that Taylor Swift did the right thing. Firstly, in not just brushing off the incident as ‘harmless butt grab’ and secondly for not letting him get away with having the audacity to take her to court over it (seriously, this guy was a shameless dumbass of note to think he even stood a chance when there was even photographic evidence of the moment!). However, the sad reality is that her experience really wasn’t all that unique. Most women have probably lost count of the time they’ve had a guys grope them in a club or cat call them in the street. While we all no full well that these guys have no right to say/do these things we do tend to somehow dismiss their actions as innocent or harmless.  It’s understandable that women get to a stage where these sorts of occurences happen so often that they just don’t have the energy to call the perpetrator out on it each and every time.  In addition, most of us don’t have the means, the time or the influence to a) get someone fired or b) fight expensive legal battles. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t have an important impact or that we should stay silent and let men think they can get away with such behavior.

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, a friend and I were out for a pleasant evening run on Sea Point Promenade. We were innocently watching a stunning sunset and getting our daily dose of cardio when we suddenly had our vision VIOLATED by a local WANKER (literally) giving him self some self pleasure whilst runners happily bouncing along in their active wear. We were horrified to say the least. Normally, in such situations I would have displayed a bit of a shocked reaction and promptly carried on running (probably at a record breaking pace) while trying to erase the vulgar image from my weak mind. However, on this occasion, my (slightly unhinged) running buddy decided to take action – she stopped and started pointing at the perve and SCREAMING:   ‘Ewww! Dirty Wanker! Dirty Wanker!’. Egg’d on by her outburst I decided to join in and started chastising the guy, telling him that there were children around and yelling at him to do his dirty work in the comfort of his own home with the aid of his porn collection. Eventually, we had drawn so much attention to the situation that other people came by to see what the hell was going on. The WANKER went bright red with embarrassment  and frantically tried to cover up his precious man bits while his audience looked on in fits of laughter. Yes, it is in essence nothing more than funny story and I honestly don’t know whether it resulted in the dude changing his behaviour but there is part of me that would like to believe that he’d think twice before whipping out his little friend in public again! Of course, he could have just found another spot for his activities but think about how his embarrassment (and that of other perves) could be multiplied if people made a scene every time they saw something inappropriate happening?

The thing is this sort of reaction is rare (that chick really was a nutter). In most situations, we do just brush it off and move on without making a big deal of it. A guy grabs our ass in a club most girls will just give him a dirty look and move to the other side of the dance floor (where no doubt she’ll get hit on by another idiot!). Just last week I was walking down the road at lunchtime when a prisoner in a police vehicle tried to get my attention by telling me he wanted to have a one night stand with me. I did pause for a second and consider walking up to the van and telling this rancid fool that even if I had a penchant for FELONS I didn’t see how he logistically plan on getting lucky in his current incarcerated state. But alas, the moment passed and carried on walking (remember it was lunchtime and I was hungry!).

The fact is we rarely put people in their place when they say or do anything that violates our sensibilities or our personal space. We live in a society that tells us to turn the other cheek and if we called out every geezer that said/did something inappropriate we get dubbed as ‘drama queens’. In a weird way, this kind of mentality has made women feel embarrassed like somehow they are the problem and not the guy whose parents failed to teach him basic manners. And sure, the situation for relatively middle class women living in western societies is probably better than for those living elsewhere. For example, women in India recently took to posting selfies of themselves out partying past midnight with the hashtag #aintnocinderella after a government official  said that a woman chased in her car late at night by kidnappers should not have stayed out so late. But there is a similar principle at play here. If we stay keep turning the other cheek and letting minor indiscretions like cat-calling, gentle ass grabbing and wankers wanking go unnoticed we are basically legitimizing these things and saying that women who complain shouldn’t be walking on the street, going to the club or doing their daily cardio on Sea Point prom.

To conclude this ridiculously long rant, I’m not saying it’s easy to make a scene (be it in a courtroom or just by screaming in the street) and call guys out when they do something wrong but I do think we all need to take accountability. Yes, we can bitch and moan about not having the same resources to hand as the Taylor Swift’s of the world but she too made a bold move. There are plenty of other pretty celebrities who probably get groped by z-list guys but don’t make the effort to stand up for themselves because they don’t want the negative attention/embarrassment or don’t believe it’ll really make a difference. At the end of the day, it’s probably too soon to know whether the impact of Taylor Swift’s court victory will have an positive lasting effects but if even just a few women feel inspired not to let the ‘little’ things slide I do think collectively we can have a real impact on changing society’s attitudes on what is deemed acceptable behavior.

OK Rinsers, go wild in the comments below! Do you think Taylor Swift’s victory in the courtroom will have a positive impact for women in the long-term? How much do you think calling a guy out on his bad behaviour has an impact? Have you taken action against someone who has violated your space by saying/doing something inappropriate? Share your stories with us. 

 

 

 

Matchmaking – Can it Work These Days?

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Back in the days a lot of parents used services of matchmakers to find a spouse for their children. They were mostly interested in the future husband’s financial status (how many cows and chickens does he have), the dowry (how many cows and chickens can her parents pay him and his family) and whether the bride was pretty. Love was something that happened to the lucky ones but wasn’t considered important in marriage. This sort of matchmaking is still used in some parts of the world but most kids these days listen to their heart and choose their partners themselves. Could a matchmaker still help them with the choice?

Certainly thanks to dating apps and online dating services there’s much less shame associated with looking for a partner. Tinder may be considered a more chilled and fun thing to do, but many aren’t ashamed to say they’re looking for something serious (or are ashamed but tick the right boxes on their profiles anyway). Online dating apps and websites widen our options but the computer generated matches have their limitations and we still have to put a lot of effort into the search. Now imagine someone does that for you. Instead of you going through hundreds of profiles someone you paid will look for the matches. They’d filter their database for your deal breakers and the treats you desire, hopefully coming up with someone worth your time. Sounds like a sweet deal but at the same time seems a little bit impersonal. Using dating apps at least you end up talking to a person you’ll go on a date with and very superficially you can get a “feel” of them by their looks. Your matchmaker will send you on a date with a complete stranger. Additionally, using such professionals limits the choice of people to those willing to pay a lot for such a service. It can be a plus for people with high status or gold diggers, but maybe average mortals prefer a more personalized approach with a wider number of options. Last but not least, going on dates is a good experience in terms of deciding on you preferences and building your social skills. To minimize the dates can be therefore counterproductive.

We’ve discussed the professional services, but what about the more traditional matchmaking? I’m not talking here about elderly ladies in your community but your family. Surely you experience this or that relative trying to set you up on a date because you’re not getting any younger? I’m afraid your aunt worried about your spinster/bachelor status may be to eager to set you up on a date with anyone. “I know a nice boy/girl” usually means “I know someone who’s single and you shouldn’t be too picky”. We have a saying in Polish which translates into “He can have one eye as long as it happens this year” and I find it very relevant in this scenario. Because of the desperation factor chances of a success are quite slim and you don’t want to be dealing with a family member forever reminding you how “nice” Jeremy or Gillian were and how they don’t get why nothing happened. Rather avoid such set-ups. “Helpful” parents can be even worse aiming at the types with high paying jobs, regardless of how dull they are. Don’t forget that very often our family (especially extended) doesn’t know us too well so don’t get into the trap of giving it a chance. You surely will be better off doing the search yourself.

Last but not least, there are friends. Are their matchmaking skills worth anything? Your friends are likely to know you better than your family or this lady from a paid matchmaking service. I think of the three here’s your biggest chance of success. Of course some may just want to set you up with anyone because “you deserve to be with someone” and secretly they just want to double date with you. Such forced dates can be super awkward and the matches not much better than your aunt’s choices. Most of your friends, however, will genuinely keep their eyes open and if they meet someone they think would click with you, they can arrange a meet up. An introduction at a party is less awkward than a double date sort of vibe but the latter gives you an opportunity to learn more about the person. Of course it doesn’t have to work but I think if you’re on the lookout it’s worth a shot. I’ve matchmaked people (both couples broke up, though), seen people happily matchmaked and even know one married couple, who met in this way. The only disadvantage is that, in case of an unsuccessful date, you may end up seeing such a person a lot due to a mutual circle of friends. It’s not too bad, if you just remember to postpone the panty dropping time till you know it’s worth it.

To conclude, matchmaking can certainly work. Nevertheless, the professional services limit our range of options. Family just doesn’t seem to be a good dating database as they tend to oppose your singledom a bit desperately. Friends are probably your best bet in terms of successful modern matchmaking.

So, Dear Rinsers, what do you think about matchmaking? Have you ever been set up with anyone? Perhaps you played a matchmaker yourself?

The Clean Break (Up)

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I’m a self-confessed hoarder. Whether it’s antique tupperware, vintage dresses, worn out running shoes or ex-boyfriends. I’m a collector of stuff (and people). In my mind, something/someone has to be really really repulsive before I’m willing to part ways because you never know when old things might come in handy. Maybe in a few decades time your future kids might have a fancy dress event which requires them to wear some vulgar outfit from the early 1990s. Or you never know when you might just need one of those ex-Tinder guys to fix your bike, some heavy lifting or chauffeur you to the airport.

Things are pretty simple when it comes to hoarding material objects – all you end up with is a spare room full of junk from the past that continues to gather dust everyday till perhaps the time comes for you to move house. Then in a rage you decide to discard it all because the physical and financial implications of transporting this junk to another place are just too much. Plus, there is something poetic about starting afresh with minimal reminders of the past to clutter your new chapter. However, when it comes to human relationships, be it romantic encounters or platonic friendships, is it always best of have a clean break (up) or are the ways to downgrade things and keep them in the picture despite your history?

There is this amazing breed of people, that admittedly I am a little envious of but honestly can’t relate to. As soon as they break up with someone they pack up that person’s stuff, hand over the box, remove all traces of them from their facebook profile (sometimes going back years and year and years!) and deleting/blocking their number thereby reducing the chance of any future contact/relapse. Obviously, simply burning all the pictures of an ex doesn’t mean you’ll automatically forget them. You’ll find triggers in the strangest of places and no matter what lengths you go to make a clear break from an ex (even try hypnosis or moving overseas if you must) you’ll likely see mirages of them all over the place for a few months post-break up. But still, making those somewhat dramatic but necessary attempts to cut all ties with the past are probably a step in the right direction when it comes to moving on.

Then there is the other type of person (and yes, I fall into this category). As proficient as I am in the art of swiping and moving on quickly when a potential suitor doesn’t quite make the mark, there are those rare occasions where you meet someone that gets under your skin and it’s when those encounters don’t quite work out that it becomes difficult to simply cut ties. Well, maybe it’s the historian in me that appreciates old things and believes that no matter how far away you run you can never travel back in time and rewrite history (yes, this is what I tell myself to feel better about my bad behaviour). The relationship/friendship happened. Destroying your Facebook account or even chucking your computer out of the window won’t change that. So with this logic in mind this second type of person attempts to do the ‘mature’ thing when it comes to their fellow humans. Even a few years after the fact, you’ll still find them bantering with the one that got away. In fact, they are probably Facebook friends with most of the past Tinder guys. Ugh and while we are it, why don’t we keep them around for sleepovers too. Hmmm….so much for moving on, hey?

On reflection, obviously when a relationship or a friendship no longer serves you in any sort of positive way the best thing to do would be to create some space but cutting all ties is easier said than done. Most long-term relationships/friendships were good once upon a time and even when things do turn sour at the end, it’s not always easy to forget the good times and that person’s good quality. I mean even when someone goes all SWF, you can’t forget all the good LOLs you had once. The geezer you were once in a crew with who since discarded you for his ‘happily ever after’, it’s hard to forget he was there to put things into perspective when some douche screwed you over. I’m certainly not one to talk but I guess if you can’t do the whole black/white, chuck all their shit out of the window approach to breaks ups, then I suggest perhaps the best thing to do is try to wean yourself off the person and work on downgrading rather than going cold turkey. Because as I’ve said before there is always room for the odd ‘coffee friend’.

Rinsers. It’s your turn. Is a clean break (up) always best? Or are there more ‘mature’ ways to handle things? What is modus operandi when it comes to dealing with break ups or friendships that come to an end? Do you let things go easily or try to downgrade? How successful has this mean when it comes to moving on? Share your views in comments below. 

Unapologetic

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We all understand that there is an appropriate time and place to voice our personal, somewhat un-PC, opinions. Revealing you are a raging racist at your workplace won’t go down so well for most people. In fact, unless you are the President of the U.S of A, you’ll probably end up being fired for making such discriminatory comment on a public forum. However, there are also instances where I feel people not only have a right but, a duty, to be unapologetically honest about their feelings on important issues. One such place where we should feel free to say it as it is without fear of the repercussions (although inevitably there will be) is in our PERSONAL love lives.

Let me start with a little story for you. So after nearly 2 years roaming the tinderverse (and some wise words from #zlotybaby) I’ve attempted to take my own dating deal breakers more seriously. No longer do these important non-negotiable simply exist in the archives of my mind where they can conveniently sidelined when the next smoking hot member of #teamgod walks into my life. I finally decided to take accountability by putting pen to paper and declaring my deal breakers to the outside world on MY dating profile.

Sure, I understand there is a risk I may miss out some great experiences by openly ruling out any interaction with men over 30 who live at home with their mums, those with children and right wing bigots but this is a risk I am willing to take. Time is precious, especially for 30 something girl who is constantly being reminded of that ticking biological clock. In fact, I think everyone’s time is precious and I don’t intend of wasting years stuck in unsatisfactory relationships to find out somewhere down the line that the guy I’ve fallen for never intends on doing a job in his life because he is only after finding himself an Alpha Female or that he wants his children to go church every Sunday!

Sadly, not everyone appreciates my new honest approach to my deal breakers. For example, there was this one douche bag who started a conversation with me. It was going fairly well (well, anything that doesn’t begin with DTF is good these days) until he asked whether I would consider backtracking on one of my deal breakers. In hindsight, I should simply responded with a NO! But my slightly softer, more reasonable side asked him which one. He then went on to tell me about these kids he had spawned his reckless youth. Ugh. I eventually told him (what was already clearly written on my profile) that I was too young to play the evil step mum. He subsequently lost it with me saying that with my gummy smile (#gumsforday was the actual hashtag he used) it was no wonder I was still single. Talk about being a sore loser!

The thing I find is that people often want to make you feel guilty for having strong opinions whether it is about charitable giving or dating baby daddies. The thing is I don’t hate little people (well, maybe some of them!) and I have friends with children who I totally love for their cuddles (and the fact that I can pass them back to mummy when they start crying) and sure one day I might even pop out little brats of my own. But I also have the right to say I don’t want to take on the burden of somebody else’s progeny. Of course, there are those that will judge me and say I’m selfish but I’d rather that than fast forward 10 years and be dealing with a stroppy teenager reminding me they don’t have to listen to anything I say because I’m not their biological mother and such.

At the end of the day we each need to pick our battles. I’m not saying I’ll never compromise on a deal breaker ever but by now I certainly have enough experience with bad relationships and heartbreak to know that it is easier to dismiss people that don’t meet your requirements at the early stages of dating rather than trying to fit square pegs into round holes only to eventually realise it’s not going to happen. Experience has taught me that trying to ignore deal breakers and finding excuses to convince yourself that one day everything will fall into place just leads to more heartache in the long run. Before you know it you’ve lost a decade of your life to something that was at best a bit of a learning curve.

So I think it’s high time that we were all clear about what we want/don’t want out of a relationship from the get go. That way no one wastes their precious time. As much as I am repulsed at the ‘DTF’ guys I have to admit I can’t hate them because nobody can claim not to know what they were after. Of course, nobody wants to be judged or branded a bad person but can anyone truly hate on a person for being clear about they want and saving innocent people heartbreak in the long term? I think not!

Rinsers what are your thoughts on the matter. Do you think people should be more open about their deal breakers from the outset instead of wasting time dating those they are incompatible with? Do you fear being judged for having opinions that aren’t PC and don’t correlate with those of the majority? Tell us about your approach to your deal breakers in the comments below.

Burning Bridges – Is It Possible To Remain Friends With An Ex ?

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Regardless of whether it was a long-term thing, the one that got away or just a fleeting experience which despite some signs of great potential failed to get off the ground, break-ups are never easy. It’s easy for outsiders to preach and tell you that it is simply a case of deleting that person’s number, unfollowing them on social media and burning all the photos ever taken of the two of you. But in reality cutting all ties with an ex is far more complex. What happens if you’ve been together long enough to share friends? Just because he was a philandering scumbag should you cease contact with his family members who treated you so well? Or maybe the break-up itself wasn’t all the dramatic – you still think she is a lovely girl, just not YOUR lovely girl. This brings me to the topic of this weeks post. Does there come a point after a break-up when you need to sever all ties with the ex and completely start life over? Or is it possible for some ex couples to remain friends?

In the immediate aftermath of an epic break-up, I think it’s quite natural to maintain some sort of connection with your ex (although letting it slip into a boomerang relationship should be avoided). If it was a serious thing it is likely that your day-to-day affairs are somewhat intertwined. Despite that fact that these seem simple in theory, practical things – like moving house, settling outstanding bills or simply dividing up things the two of you purchased together or returning all those books you nicked from his collection – all take time. Obviously, as civilised human beings we will try to deal with these matters as quickly and painlessly as possible – after all once upon a time we did love this person. Beyond the bureaucracy, I think it’s fair to say that many of us are guilty of holding onto an emotional connection to an ex. Having spent a significant amount it is likely that your ex knows you pretty well and it’s easy to look for comfort in the familiar when you’ve simply had a bad day and need cheering up.

Naturally, if the relationship (and you weren’t just a dirty little secret) was at all healthy the two of you would be likely to have some common connections and similar social circles. This is where things get complicated.  With friends do you divide them up fairly? Is it OK to be immature and force people to choose between the two of you (in some cases this will happen organically anyway)? Or do you try to be mature adults and accept that there will be occasions when your paths are bound to cross? Perhaps at a mutual friend’s birthday party or a wedding? Of course in an ideal world, we’d all be emotionally strong enough to handle such things but the reality is different. I mean, how many of us can honestly say we could maintain our composure after being told by mutual friends that the ex has moved on? Hmm.

When it comes to family, you’d expect things to be more clear cut. His family is HIS and her’s is HER’s. Well in cases where you didn’t get on with you ex’s family and he spent the whole time trying to turn you into a younger version of his mother the solution is straightforward – it’s easy to cut the ties. But what about if you actually got on your ex’s tribe and actually formed solid relationships with them over time? And consider how you’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot and your mother was drinking tea with the ex or your brother and him went out sarging for chicks together?  I guess when it comes to both family and friends you have to deal with things on a case by case basis. You have to decide which relationships are worth maintaining and which ones are nice but not necessarily good for you in the long run. And sometimes you will have to burn bridges, cut all ties and simply whats best for yourself and accept that other people may feel somewhat hurt or judge you for being immature.

So to conclude, I would say having any sort of relationship with an ex, be it platonic or not so much, will likely make it more difficult for you to get on with your life. In more fickle cases where things between the two of you never really got started, it’s totally possible to be friends somewhere down the line but things are a little messier when real feelings for one another are involved. Honestly speaking, I’d say that any good romantic relationship should be based on a solid friendship and obviously over time our significant others get to know us in ways that other people in lives don’t (get your mind out of the gutter!!). Therefore I guess it would only be human to want to prolong the friendship even after romantic relations have long ended. However, whether it’s possible, or more importantly healthy, depends on the individuals involved, their emotional capacity and the nature of the situation. Of course, there are cases where people make things work but for most us staying friends with an ex is a recipe for disaster. So while keeping things civilised is always good remember that if you do choose to burn bridges for the sake of your own sanity it isn’t a crime so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise. Because sometimes you just have to say screw everyone else and just do what’s best for No.1.

What do you think Rinsers? Can you maintain a healthy friendship with an ex? Are you proof that it is possible? Or do you think it’s best to sever all ties with the past and start afresh if one truly wants to move on with their lives? Answers in the comment section below.