Review: 13 Reasons Why, Season 2

13-Reasons-Why-season2Like many people who watched season 1 of 13 Reasons Why, I did not expect another installment. The narrative seemed exploited enough and the end lacked the regular baits allowing the makers to continue with the plot. It’s difficult to stop once you’re successful, I guess, and the decision has been made to give the audience more.

Was a continuation of the series a good idea? Season 1 gave us what it promised: 13 reasons why Hannah decided to kill herself. It was a good series for teenagers to feel they’re not alone and for those of us who are older, it was a reminder of how horrible high school can be. I’d lie if I said that “13 Reasons Why” wasn’t a bit trashy. Still, it was actually enjoyable. I can’t say the same about season 2.
There’s always something more to say about a story or a character but it doesn’t mean that it has to be said. It’s okay for the audience to have some questions, doubts and a sense that their appetite has not been completely satisfied. That’s exactly what makes people remember series, movies and books. The financially driven compulsion to continue doesn’t always serve the initial product. If the producers wanted to milk that cow a bit longer, perhaps a spin-off focusing on one of the characters was a better idea. Season 2 doesn’t really add anything valuable to Hannah’s story.

The premise is a mixture of the present day school life with a court case between Hannah’s parents and her high school. Clay is still the main focal point of the narrative but it’s more split among other kids than in the previous season. There’s also the ghost of Hannah that keeps following the poor boy (I know, right?). The plot is pushed in a way to awaken enough interest in us about other characters to watch season 3 and the end is this time very clearly open to tempt us into wanting more.
What we learn from the new installment about Hannah’s life makes us feel like she wasn’t as lonely and hopeless as it seemed in her tapes. The friendships she had now seem much more meaningful. Was she really as lonely as she described it? We learn more about betrayals she experienced as well but they feel more justified, seen from the point of view of other kids. All stuff that happened to Hannah is still horrible but somehow after this season she seems less not more relateable.

I also was quite disappointed in the didactic nature of this season. I understand the need to send the message to kids that they’re not alone but did they really have to include all the painfully scripted conversations that I never think would come out of the mouth of a real person? It just smells of propaganda. The wildly advertised additional resources are a place to go to look for help. Characters should behave the way the would in real life, even if it’s not always commendable.

To sum up, I was disappointed with season 2. “13 Reasons Why” didn’t need a sequel and certainly not the one it ended up receiving. If you enjoyed the series rather skip it to be able to retain good memories of it.

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Unpopular Views and Choices

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Having unpopular views and making unpopular choices may be glorified in film and literature but in reality, it doesn’t make anyone’s life’s easier. Long-term “living life on your own terms” can be annoying and occasionally even depressing. Te reality check often happens when you leave the bubble of your comfort zone and you deal with an outsider who has views so different to yours that he or she may seem like an alien from a different planet.

Let’s be honest, going with the herd is just what’s expected. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t believe in any gods, don’t want children, have 20 of them, dyed your hair pink or moved countries. Whenever you do something that most people don’t do and the effects of it are visible, the question you’ll get is “Why…?” and you’ll get it often.
I remember once hearing a father replying to his son’s question “Why does this lady dye her hair blue?” and him replying “Because that’s the colour she’s chosen for herself.”
It is, of course, possible to make yourself more open-minded. Unfortunately, a lot of people prefer to be surprised all the time, stare and ask. And hey, perhaps I’m a bit jealous. If it rocks your whole world every time you see glitter on someone who’s more than 5 than you truly have an exciting life!

Another thing I’ve noticed is that people’s tendencies grow with age. Those who were close-minded get even more into their shells and people who rocked the boat once are not shy to do it again. I think those who by some circumstances were pushed to do something out of ordinary develop a certain liking for it. I mean, it is liberating that you don’t have to do whatever people do and expect you to do but you can rather ask yourself whether it’s your preference.
Such an intrinsically motivated life can be definitely satisfying and sometimes when you’re on your own you can smile to yourself, feeling that you live a life you truly want. However, what people often leave out in their narratives of breaking the rules is the price that they have to pay for it. Sometimes they truly get so self-absorbed in the bubble they created that they forget that there’s a whole outside world out there who judges and disapproves.

Sometimes the meeting with this world is an Uber trip. The driver and I discussed charity. The conversation was full of mutual back-patting related to our amazing awareness of social issues. To improve the good impression the driver said that he’s a Muslim but that’s not why he helps others, it’s because he feels it’s needed. “What religion are you?” he said. Oh dear, I thought but “None,” I replied nonetheless. Then came the silence till I was dropped off and an Uber star rating that lowered my general score. Must be because of this baby I ate for breakfast.
Another time it was my husband’s drunk family member who cornered me in the bathroom at my own wedding, relentlessly trying to learn why my parents weren’t there. The reasons were complicated and none of them was something that I wanted to discuss or be reminded of. She wasn’t accepting any vague replies and eventually, I was saved by another wedding guest pressing bladder.
Yet another time it was actually a funny reminder. A post official misspelled my name and surname in a way that it started to look like a local one.
In any case, making unpopular choices is the easy part, it’s living with them that sometimes is difficult. All I’m saying is: let’s be real and just not forget in our “I’m such a unique snowflake and a rule breaker” narratives that sometimes it’s tough and annoying to be one. Especially, when like me, you struggle to bite your tongue.

Now, even though it can be difficult to express your unpopular views (be it in speech or behaviour), I still think it’s the only way to be. Therefore, what’s left is navigating through the difficulties. Here are certain techniques when people start being nosy and annoying, asking you the question you’ve been asked a zillion of times:

  • Sarcasm

You remember Bridget Jones, the role model of all 30ish singletons? (Btw Poland is so bad in stigmatising being single that I could relate to her in my early 20s!). She had the following exchange with someone at a party trying to publicly shame her:

“- Why are there so MANY unmarried women these days?

– It could be because beneath our clothes, our bodies are completely covered with scales?!?”

If someone is trying to publicly shame you or is asking you a nosy and rude question such as why don’t you have a boyfriend (or when will you have babies or why do you have an accent etc) make a sarcastic remark referring to the underlying cause of your situation this person is suggesting there is.

  • Reply with a question turning the tables

This is my favourite personal technique that unfortunately I often only use afterwards in my head after someone put me on the spot and I got emotional and hurt. Whatever someone’s asking, if you ask them “Why are you asking?” and start drilling, you allow them to embarrass themselves. Ideally, it goes something like that:

– So when are you planning to have children?

– Why are you asking?

A person either gets apologetic and says something like “No reason” or starts to express their actual views, which often end up being embarrassing in the eyes of everyone taking part in the exchange. You can also pull their tongue if they say something too vague with “So is what you’re saying…?” or “So do you think that…?” Expect fun results and blushing!

  • Get emotional and angry

I don’t like this technique but because of my personal characteristics, I use it most often. Many people will back off when you get visibly upset but they also get what they came for. You are, after all, insecure about your silly choice and there is some underlying issue there!

  • Be vulnerable

If you want to shut someone’s mouth forever, being vulnerable is a great option. Sometimes it can genuinely improve your relationship with the person, other times it will at least get them off your back. You can either truly tell them what you think about the issue or share the problems that are related to it. You may end up being accused of oversharing but in this case, it’s a means to an end.

Let me know in the comments section whether you have any more tips or thoughts on the matter! Also, enjoy this sort of related Monty Python clip because Monty Python is always good:

 

 

 

 

Review: I Feel Pretty

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Bless ladies nights made for watching chick flicks you’d never dare to watch on your own! “I Feel Pretty” has a 4.6 IMDB rating at the moment (29th of May) so as you’d expect, it’s not a great movie. Still, it’s actually an enjoyable watch after a long day/week at work when the last thing you want to do is think.

The star of “I Feel Pretty” is Amy Schumer so you immediately know that you should expect a comedy. Her character Renee is far from what the standards of beauty teach us about how to be. She is a bit chubby and her sense of style may be questionable. Most importantly, Renee is very insecure, which makes her unsuccessful in her dating and work life. One day she bumps her head at the gym and all of a sudden starts to think she ticks all the boxes the superficial society imposes on us. Can her own percerption of herself, however skewed, change her life?

The premise is, let’s be honest, quite uncomplicated an unrealistic. So what? It still creates lots of entartaining and cringeworthy moments for the main characters and others. Pehaps the strongest criticism of the movie is that it operates on the basis of very simplistic assumptions about inner and outer beauty, love and success. There will be no groundbreaking enlightments after watching it, unless just like the main character you are convinced that if only you were prettier life would have been completely different  and that its the lack of standard beauty that prevents you from making your dreams come true. Well, sorry for the spoiler but it’s really not all about the looks unless you’re a model (and probably not even then).
The oversimplification doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to say about criticising a society that’s so obsessed with not so much looking good as with perfection. The mainstream culture does promote certain standard of beauty and well being that is difficult to achieve. Perhaps the main character’s fixation of achieving it has more to do with the culture than with herself.

I’d not dare to overanalyze, though. It’s a simple, mildly entertaining comedy, which will keep you amused for most of the time. Towards the end it gets painfully predictable and intellectually offensive, to the point that watching it becomes a struggle. Apart from Amy Schumer who’s quite funny and doesn’t mind making fun of herself, the movie is worth watching for Michelle Williams. She’s really entertaining in the role of a seemingly perfect Avery LeClaire.

To sum up, watch the movie but with a bunch of girlfriends and don’t expect too much.

What Getting a Puppy Taught Me About Potentially Having Children

Laika cuteThere’s no doubt that having a child is a much bigger deal than having a puppy. I doubt I will ever join the ranks of those, who require to be wished “Happy Mother’s Day” on Mother’s Day just because they have a “fur baby”. A baby is a baby and a puppy is a puppy. I do feel it’s taking away from the actual motherhood to claim they’re the same or even closely comparable. Having said that, I have to admit that the plan of getting the puppy had something to do with me checking how I feel about taking on a much bigger responsibility in the foreseeable future. I’ve found out, not surprisingly, that I’m nowhere close to being ready for the following reasons:

1. It requires time

You’d think that puppies aren’t a big deal. You know, you give them their food, water and toys, walk them and play with them from time to time and they pretty much raise themselves. Well, no, or at least no, if you’re aspiring for your puppy not to become the hound of the Baskervilles. You have to spend time to train them not to steal your food so that you can sit down when eating a meal, not to bark at other dogs and humans, not to poo and pee whenever and wherever they feel like it, not to jump and scratch etc In other words, it takes up your free time. Of course, you can also just ignore your puppy and let it do whatever it wants, leaving it on its own in the house for the whole day…but then it’s cruel and why to get a puppy at all? Children definitely require this multiply by a zillion. At this stage of my life I’m not willing to give up any more free time than I already do for the doggo.

2. It’s all about priorities

When you have a child it becomes your priority and it’s understandable. When you get a puppy it’s okay for it not to be your priority. After almost 7 year spent in a foreign countries and millions of problems related to immigration I start to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel workwise. Regardless of what my father-in-law says about the state of my career, I am and always have been career oriented. I need to be happy where I am in life (= professionally) first in order to be a happy mother. At this point in my life having a child would cause me to resent it and that’s not something a child should live with. Thanks to the wonder of contraception we can now decide (if and) when we want to have children to give them the optimal experience of us (because let’s be honest, we’ll fuck them up a bit however hard we try).

3. I take everything seriously and 4. I like to be good at the things I do

My mom says I’ve never been much of a child and I guess it’s true. I’ve always been serious about life. As I commented before in my thoughts before turning 30 I have definitely realised that some things don’t work out and it’s almost never the end of the world. I’m certainly more chilled than I’ve ever been but… it still leaves me quite a serious person. I guess some people just ride life like surfers waves. When dealing with a topic like getting a puppy, they hear this or that from friends, listen to a vet or maybe not even that. In general are chilled and hoping for the best. Not me. I read books and articles for general advice and Google everything to double check. Do you know what kind of peanut butter is good for your puppy and what kind can potentially kill it? Do you know which fruit and vegetables are safe and which can cause potentially long term damage? How much puppy blood on a toy is okay and a sign of healthy teething? Just ask me, I know it ALL now. At the same time I’m not ready to enroll on the course baby101 because I don’t want to just finish it. I want 100% and then to get a Master’s Degree.

4. I struggle with anxiety (in life but also especially now in relation to the dog)

The truth is that since we got the puppy I’ve been spending a lot of time being afraid I will kill it due to my negligence or some terrible mistake. Did you know that it’s okay to give your puppy an apple but not the seeds as they contain cyanide? Yes, the same things that have been used in many terrible instances in human history to get rid of people. I also obsess about the smallest signs of something being wrong. If the dog limps for five minutes I fight with myself not to research 24h vets in the area just yet. When she gets really scared I wonder whether she can die because of it. I worry about her a lot and always think about the worst case scenario. I’m trying to rewire but it’s just like this mental trail that my mind always chooses. I’m really not ready to worry that I will somehow cause some harm to a little human, especially that avoiding all the harm is completely impossible. I either have to find a way to worry less (I’m already off booze and cigarettes, exercise regularly, cut down on caffeine and meditate so don’t recommend me any of that!) or give up and find someone who doesn’t mind giving me a lifetime supply of meds.

5. It’s a massive responsibility

Having a dog (let alone having a child) is a massive responsibility because it’s another being that depends on you. If you won’t feed it, it’ll be hungry and eventually die. Don’t show it enough love and affection and it’ll get sad and so on and so forth. All of a sudden making all your plans you have to take this being into account. Sure, you can leave a puppy alone but it’s rather upset when you disappear for too long. It doesn’t understand where you are and wonders whether you’ll ever come back. That leaves you with making plans for your longer outings: getting someone who’ll take care of it, dropping it somewhere where someone will take care of it or considering taking it with you. In any case, you always have to think about it. It’s a responsibility and a child is an even bigger one.

In short, the puppy is great (see the pic above) but I’m not ready for more. I see myself being ready maybe somewhere in 5 years or so. The fearmongers who worry about my biological clock: 1) I’m not planning to have biological children and seeing I’ve decided that around 15 I think I’m unlikely to change my mind and 2) should I decide to have biological children later in life: more and more women successfully do so, so please kindly worry about your own uterus. Oh and to those who think it’s selfish, kindly read #englishrosiee’s post about it.

 

 

 

 

How Often Does LOVE Actually Exist Behind Closed Doors ?

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#zlotybaby’s post on the #royalwedding shed some light on the human obsession with weddings. NB: Weddings. Not love. Not the marriage that comes after the wedding. But the event itself. And in some cases, it is a GBP 32 million event. Everyone and his dog seems to feel they should voice an opinion on such events. Whether it’s about Meghan’s hairdo or just a lowly pleb’s bad choice in caterers – I’m sure the ugly aunties, pervy uncles and even the next door neighbour’s cat will have something to say. Oh and don’t even get me started on what people are going to be saying if you aren’t in a rush to get down the aisle, pop out babies or follow the crowd. Breaking with convention (as we saw Harry and Meghan do on a number of levels) is certainly going to get you some backlash from those who did/are doing it RIGHT.

Anyways I’m getting ahead of myself here. This isn’t the post about where I bitch and moan about lavish weddings, I’ll save that one for a rainy day. Getting to the point, what I want to talk about today is how often ‘love’ (in the traditional sense – whatever that is) really exists behind the facade of all the ever-perfect relationships we are bombarded with today. Life these days (like weddings) has become nothing more than a big fat competition – who is the most successful? Who has the best relationship? Who has achieved all those big life goals by the arbitrary deadlines set by society? With that kind of pressure and all the requirements, people strive for in a potential partner  –  I really find it hard to believe that ‘love’ features that heavily in most people’s stories.

Call me a cynic all you want but I think often all the ‘perfection’ we see around us is a bit of an illusion and you only need to start looking beyond those lavish weddings and facebook declarations of love to see that things aren’t all that peachy. Let’s look at things a little more closely.

Long distance marriages

Long distance relationships. Been there, done that. And I can honestly say from experience that they are not much fun. The novelty of playing online battleships and falling asleep with your Skype camera on wears off pretty quickly when you only get to do the deed once every six months! But maybe, I’m just a needy little girl because there are some people that can make it ‘work’ for years and years. Take for instance long distance marriages which feature kids, pets and extravagant holidays but where the couple themselves only meet a couple of times a year. But don’t worry, he got her that Cartier bling she was after so it’s all good.

I get it if your financial situation requires you to take up a lucrative job offer in a butt fuck nowhere in order to support the fam but in some cases, it seems that it is the long-distance element that has allowed the relationship to stand the test of time. Perhaps there could be nothing worse than having to share a whole country with the dude you married. Let’s just say, I’ve probably spent more time with boyfriends from bad relationships that these couples have with the ones they said ‘I do’ to!

And if you can’t emigrate to avoid your spouse remember this is the age of Ashley Madison ….

Behind many of these real-life fairytales, lies a deep, dark and sinister subplot AKA the affair. Even though most people won’t admit it, monogamy is overrated in this age! All those perfect relationships you see happening around you, well, the stats say that 1 in 3 marriages feature some form of infidelity somewhere down the line. Even the Royals aren’t immune!

And the sad truth is that in most instances it won’t even end in divorce. People just carry on. Some choose to turn the other check while others go to couples therapy. And some just seek revenge in the arms of the gardener/maid/car-guard/stripper. What a time to be alive!

But surely noone wants to die alone. So just get a buddy and sleep in different beds …

While women feel the pressure to settle down thanks to that ticking biological clock, there comes a time when even the most eligible of bachelors has to come to terms with the fact that unless he puts a ring on it he is most likely to end up dying alone. It really is a scary thought.

It’s a reasonable motivation to settle down, I suppose. Love doesn’t necessarily have to feature. It’s about finding someone you can tolerate you enough to share their space with you to some extent. Of course, sex, snuggles and the like are going to become too much effort as we age anyway. So why not cut to the chase and set yourself up in separate beds from the go? #truestory!

Yup so, that wonderful thing called LOVE. Well, it is a nice idea and all…But the next time people make you feel sad about the state of your life and the fact that you might not be sticking to the convention just remember that as great as all those social media official relationships look, you just need to scratch the surface to see that things aren’t all that perfect. Love doesn’t always feature in these things and clearly lots of people don’t think it’s a requirement for a ‘functioning’ relationship. But sometimes I guess the facade of these things help because of deep down we are all different degrees of dysfunctional. What I’m saying is people should do whatever makes them happy – marry a pleb, marry a movie star, don’t get married – just live in sin, sleep in separate beds, live in different time zones, whatever. And if you are lucky you may just find a glimmer of love somewhere hidden behind the Facebook pictures, public glorification, etc and if not well just try not to die alone (and get eaten by Alsatians!) 😛

OK Rinsers. How prominently do you think love features in our relationship choices today? Is it all about the facade and reaching major milestones at the given deadline? Or are relationships more about companionship so we don’t need to die alone? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Royal Wedding AKA Hey, It’s Me Complaining About the Royalty Again

the wedding.jpg“Have you watched the Royal wedding?” People ask. “No,” I reply and politely don’t add “Why did you?/Should I?”. I expressed my views about the Royals on this blog before but let me quickly summarize them for you:

  1. I don’t think some people are better than others just because of the family in which they were born. The world makes it very unfair as it is for many people around the world who are born in all sorts of circumstances that make their life difficult. From zero to hero is a myth we like to believe and a statistical anomaly. Life is hard as it is. Archaic concepts such as monarchy make it even more unequal.
  2. Seeing that I don’t believe that the Royals are any better than commoners just because of who their parents are, I don’t understand the ado about them. Fair enough the Queen who has a job is salaried but the rest of them? I also don’t understand why British taxpayers pay for their lavish weddings (or why people need lavish weddings at all).

The core of my disinterest in the Royal Wedding lies my 1) dislike for people’s alleged superiority and a little bit 2) the trend of splurging on weddings in general.

Now, when it comes to watching weddings I’m not particularly interested in any apart from those of people close to my heart. I don’t know Meghan Markle and I don’t know Prince Harry (do you?). I’d perhaps be more interested in a wedding of someone famous who I admire for their achievements. Sure, I’ve indulged in reading some gossip about them. Markle has definitely won some affection from my side for being a rule breaker, ignoring the haters and getting what she wanted. I even Googled Markle’s dress because she’s gorgeous and I was curious how she would like on her wedding day. However, to spend a few hours of my precious lifetime to watch two absolute strangers tying the knot seems ludicrous. Of course, everyone is allowed to waste their time as they wish and I don’t feel in any way superior because I binged on the second season of “13 Reasons Why” instead. Still, apart from them being absolute strangers, they also represent something that in principle I’m opposed to. I’m actually curious why people do watch or care about this wedding at all? Especially people who are not even British? Perhaps those that do can tell me in the comments section.

On the top of all I’ve mentioned, there’s of course all the stuff that Markle can and can’t do now to be considered lady-like. Because, yes, this obsolete institution called Royalty is not only elitist but also sexist. The rules are pretty conservative for men, of course, but I don’t remember reading anywhere about the fact that men have to cover their cleavage, among other things. It does anger me when anyone tells a woman what to wear, even if that person is the Queen of England. If you really think about what being a princess means, I don’t think most women would like to be one. You can’t work, you can’t decide what you wear, you can’t even openly express yourself or own a social media account. Even your husband and children aren’t truly yours to enjoy in peace and your pain such as childbirth doesn’t get the much needed privacy. It seems like quite a big price to pay for a free wedding, even if it’s straight from a fairy tale. Anyway, I do wish the Royal couple all the best just like I’d wish any other couple after their big day.

 

‘You Can’t Sit With Us’ – The Pains of Being Socially Excluded as an Adult

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Anyone who grew up being a chubby, spotty, socially awkward kid who preferred books to people is was no stranger social exclusion. Whether it was that you were the only one in your class who didn’t get invited to Regina George’s fabulous unicorn party or if you were always last to be picked for the netball team, the memory of basically being told ‘you can’t sit with us’ still has a bit of a sting.Kids rarely have social filters. In fact, they can be brutal sometimes. But as we grow up things change. Social media demonstrates how ugly ducklings quite often turn into swans and those mean girls that laughed at the fatty in the corner well the chances are they became morbidly obese (after getting themselves knocked up by however many men) while little Miss Piggy, well maybe she shed that puppy fat and became #instafabulous! Sure, life experience batters everyone around a bit and teaches us to #stayhumble but how much do we really outgrow our childhood desire to belong to the right group and exclude the people that we don’t deem cool enough to sit with us.

Adult life isn’t the school yard and being a grown-up certainly has it’s advantages. Advances in technology make it easier for us to experience things beyond our immediate surroundings and find people who think more like we do. When the mean girls at school told you that you weren’t welcome at their table, even if you were the kind to go tell tales to Mummy, it’s highly unlikely that she’d let you move to a different school. So, you’d just have to suck it up. But things are different in our old age, we have more control and the power to change things up. People don’t invite you to their party, it’s no biggie I’m sure there’ll be something just as entertaining happening on Saturday night (and if you are typical Capetonian you’ll be keeping your options open and double parking in any case!). That said, come Monday morning when all the Facebook pictures of said event start popping up and all your friends are talking about the shit that went down at event you were excluded from, well… no matter how old you are it’s bound to result some familiar emotional pangs.

How to handle social exclusion as an adult … 

So when we were kids we’d probably get bleak, possibly cry and complain to Mum but that would be about it.  As adults, we aren’t necessarily immune to the sting of being socially excluded BUT there are a number of ways we can deal with such situations

a) Stay home and cry

You feel unloved. Buy yourself a couple of tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, order some junk from UberEats and stay at home watching sad movies. It’s human to feel a bit bleak but there really is no need to wallow in self-pity and make yourself fat in the process.

b) Get on with things, find your tribe and enjoy a better life

Moving on to my next point, instead of crying over spilt milk. If you are feeling isolated the worst thing you can possibly do is stay at home alone. Get out there and do something…anything! Find an alternative event, hit the gym, indulge in a bit of retail therapy.

An old perve once told me that if people focused on the things they loved then they’d be happier and attract the right people. He had a point. So don’t let any person or group pull the strings on your happiness levels. Get out there and make a better life for yourself.

c) Confrontation

I understand that not everyone thinks the same way I do. Having relocated to the other side of the world I know that while it’s not easy starting up in a new place, eventually you will meet your tribe. If people choose not to include me in their activities, I’d take the hint and move on. However, some people aren’t inclined to give up so easily.

Is it wise though to question the culprits as to why they won’t let you enter the circle of trust? Hmmm…I think you are asking for trouble here. Well, that and committing social suicide.  Actions speak louder than words and all that jazz. Do you really need to have things spelt out for you? Clearly, you are not wanted for whatever reason (I honestly don’t see the need to know the gory details) so hop along and don’t stay where you are not wanted.

d) Self Reflection

Sure, if it’s just the odd incident it’s easier to things brush off. But what if it keeps happening? What then? Maybe it’s time for a bit of self-reflection. Perhaps your personality rubs people up the wrong way? Or maybe it’s your constant negativity that kills the vibe of every party?

Think about it. Maybe you need to work yourself.

e) And finally …. realise it’s not all about you! 

Being mature adults I think there are some things worth bearing in mind when you do experience social exclusion and feel like you are somehow regressing back to those bad old days of the schoolyard.  Firstly, there are worse crimes than downgrading a friendship. Circumstances change and as a result so do friendship groups – it’s not ideal but life is not a fairytale, it has its chapters so just turn the page without becoming bitter about it realise that ‘coffee friends’ also have their purpose. Perhaps some forms of social exclusion are a blessing in disguise. As we grow up we realise there are different aspects of our personality and perhaps one’s slovenly little bestie from primary school wouldn’t fit in so well with your cross-fit obessed peeps or  those that you go tequila tasting with might just end up offending your 30-something virgin friend who’d much rather spend an evening talking about the Big G. Yes, social exclusion sucks no matter how old you get but as adults we have the tools to get over it more easily and the foresight to realise that sometimes it could be for own sanity.

OK, Rinsers. Do you find that social exclusion is such a big deal as an adult? Is it something you’ve had to deal with or are you just a sparkly social butterfly? What are the best ways to deal with those ‘you can’t sit with us’ situations? Share your views in the comments section below. 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting A Real Job – Can I Be Professional Air BnB Host When I Grow Up? Is it Possible To Be A Part Time Mother? And Other Career Related Questions…

Betty-Draper-Full-Time-Moms

One thing I’ve learnt recently through my insights into the world recruitment is that  people these days do not like working. I’m not quite sure if it’s a millennial thing or  just a Cape Town thing (I mean with Table Mountain and these beaches on our doorstep you can’t blame a person for not wanting to be confined to a desk job). That said, most of us don’t have access to a trust fund or a rich husband so we hustle and drag our asses out of bed each morning to pay our way through life and fund our doughnut habits!

Well, that’s what I thought. That was until I met ‘journalists’ that despite having not had an article published in a decade or so still refuse to work for less than R8,000 per month.  I encountered ‘poets’ who like to post lyrical Facebook status’ about how their only wish would be to have a house (blah blah blah!) in which to retire (Is it possible to retire when the only work you’ve ever engaged in is reading a bit of angry poetry? Answers on a postcard!).  Then the cherry on the cake…the ‘yogi’ who was lucky enough to be offered a job and after signing the contract asked whether her working hours could be changed to accommodate her favourite yoga classes. Let’s just say she lasted 3 days on the job before quitting in order to reassess her options in light of Cape Town’s water crisis. Seriously! Where do these entitled twats emerge from? Yes, the examples I’ve given you are at the extreme end of the spectrum but I’m trying to prove a point – basically people these days are averse to an honest day’s work.

The other thing that irks me is what people claim to be a legitimate job. I admit at times I have a tendency to be a bit of a degree/job snob (I learnt my lesson after hiring a fashion with questionable sense graduate to do a ‘scholarly’ writing job!) but it’s absolute madness what some people consider work. I’ve met a fair few professional Air BnB hosts in my time and I’m sorry but renting a room in the house is nothing more than a side project. Sure, it’s a good additional form of income generation but I hate to break it to you but you aren’t exactly a property tycoon darling! Then there is my ABSOLUTE worst (and the actual subject of this post). The people I want to strangle DEAD. The ones that casually drop into conversation how they are pursuing a career as FULL-TIME MOTHER !!!!!

Ugh. What a joke. Let me break this down.

Pray tell, what then is a part-time mother? 

It’s possible to a part-time accountant, a kid’s football coach on Saturdays, or moonlight ….but really is it possible to be a part-time parent? Take care of the screaming baba (with the number of breaks required by law 😛 ) from 9 to 5 and then hit the bar for after-work drinks? I don’t think so somehow.

Sure,  there are some parents who can’t afford to or possibly don’t even desire the required 7 years maternity leave deemed necessary by the experts on Facebook. But  returning to work doesn’t somehow make you part-time mother.

So let’s be brutally honest here, being a stay-at-home mother (which is actually what you are) means one of two things a) you don’t really care to go back to work as your baba provides you with all the intellectual stimulation you need or b) you bagged your self a rich guy who could fund you to play unicorns with the kids (well done you!).

Parenting isn’t a job

Wow, if the careers advisor at school had told me that spreading my legs and spawning a child was a legitimate career option, oh how different life could have been. Well I guess some people collect children the same way others accumulate PhDs so maybe it’s just a matter of perspective.

In my humble opinion, for something to be a considered a job, it should make you CASH MONEY. Call me a horrible capitalist biatch if you will. Let’s face facts. Sure, the green stuff may not be all the drives a person to do a job – for some their choice of a career path may be driven by a desire to follow their passion for drawing unicorns or a desire to help people. But honestly, even artists dream of making millions and surgeons aren’t saving people’s lives purely out of the goodness of their hearts. If you do something without getting paid it’s charity – volunteering if you will!

Unlike, real career choices, parenting does not pay the bills. Quite the opposite in fact – ugh having kids these days is sooooo expensive. Ok, some people do think of their children as a long-term investment. There are those that justify their desire to procreate by telling themselves that if they have lots of kids/invest in their children’s education now, they’ll look after them/financially support them in their old age. I’ll admit there is some logic to that way of thinking. But by the same token, your kid could turn out to be a felon who swindles you out of your precious pension fund. Just saying.

Is being a stay-at-home parent necessarily the best option?

Yes, I’ve met women whose ambition in life was to be a mother. The only reason they were at university was to meet the right kind of husband (read: sperm donor). Even those that were super clever and highly accomplished academically, swiftly dropped everything as soon as their dream of popping out a kid was realised. They then chose to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to motherhood.

For some people this really is the dream. Motherhood makes them complete. They call themselves a home-executive or whatever and that’s the end of that. Others soon quickly realise that as much as they love them, their kids don’t define them and they actually need to be gainfully employed (and perhaps more intellectually stimulated) to be a happy, functioning member of society (aka tax payer!).

At the end of the day. parenting is pretty much one of those things everyone messes up at some point. If you go to work you’ll be accused of neglect. Stay at home and it makes them feel smothered. You can’t win. That said,  doing a legit job, doesn’t make you less of a parent. I get that being with the kids 24/7 makes some people happy but it also makes others bored. Also from the kid’s point of view, seeing your parents going off to work isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They need to learn to survive without Mummy/Daddy to hold their hand. Also, kids should learn that for most people getting out of bed and going to work to earn money is a necessity. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Seeing parents having job that gives them purpose and fulfilment might also become a source of inspiration for kids. Who knows? All I’m saying that part-time parenting (as some people would call it) may not be such a bad thing.

To conclude this essay, we live in an age where people don’t really want to work. I agree there are more fun things to do than go to the office. But we also have responsibilities in life. To enjoy a nice lifestyle, you often need money and sadly most people aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths and may not necessarily acquire the required rinsing skills to bag ourselves a rich hubby/wife so we suck it up and go to work. If you don’t enjoy your job, I have a secret for you….most people don’t! But just admit you don’t like working and don’t use kids as an excuse not to go out to work. If you choose to stay at home with the babies and can afford to do so without relying on handouts from the state/society/random neighbours, good for you but please stop claiming that your kids are job. They aren’t. Not by any definition. And lastly, don’t assume that people who are gainfully employed are in anyway part-time parents. They aren’t. Perhaps they might even end up creating better adjusted little humans. Who knows? The juries still out on that one.

Share your thoughts little Rinsers. Do you think parenting can be considered a job? Or is it something ‘lazy’ people use to legitimise the fact that they can’t be bothered to go to work? Do we live in a world where people don’t really want to work and would rather follow their dreams than do an honest job? Is #englishrosiee nothing more than a horrible hater of children/job snob? It’s been a while so feel free to hate me in the comments below. 

Review : The Break by Marian Keyes

 

breakThere are times when your mind is filled with traumatic life issues and you need to find a trashy novel that doesn’t require too much mental capacity (maybe just a Matric certificate though!) to escape your reality and make you feel better about your sad little existence. This was one of those times.

The Break is the tale of Amy, a 40-something PR executive whose husband Hugh has decided to take ‘a break’ from their marriage (hence the title). Hugh emphasises that they are not breaking up and this is just a break. The parameters are set for a defined – he is taking 6 months to travel around South East Asia and after this time he’ll return a fixed man so they can pick up where they left off (oh, and he’ll possibly sleep with other women if he gets the chance). There is no room for negotiation. He is leaving – bags packed, tickets booked and those all-important announcements made of social media. Poor Amy doesn’t have much choice in the matter.  Although the feminazi types may demand she stand up for herself and refuse to let him dictate the rules, the truth is they are old(er), have 3 kids and financial assets together so throwing your toys out of the cot isn’t much of an option.

As much as she left with no other option but to accept the situation. There is a silver lining (kind of).  She is also free to do what she pleases during the 6 month break. Although to be fair it really isn’t a level playing field as he swans off to sow his wild oats in Thailand she has to schedule sexy time around balancing a job, her old parents and her three daughters. On top of that, the story reminds us as much as we may call for a break in a relationship it’s something that’s easier said than done especially in the age of social media where your life is no longer just your own but a form of entertainment for everyone around.

Ultimately, behind all the funny bits, the story supports the idea that in reality relationships don’t always conform to a given model. There is a lot of pressure for people of all ages to keep up appearances for the sake of those around them whether that means kids, parents, friends or just general society. But sometimes as unconventional as things are you have to just go with it and let life take it’s natural course. People are sure to judge you no matter what you do but the truth is as much as people may think they know your life as it is portrayed on social media nobody really sees what goes on behind closed doors. The elements that could be described as possibly the more mundane parts of a relationship – the friendship, understandings, familiarity, day to day division of labour and the in-jokes.

So, if your looking for an easy read and a little bit of reassurance that not everything has to fit into those parameters that society wants human relationships to conform to then this  is just what. It’s not highly intellectual reading but a pretty good reality check with some great LOL moments thrown in.

Rinsers, Have you read the book? What are your thoughts? Are you someone who’ll try different things in order to make a relationship work? Or do you think there is a set formula for relationship success? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

Defining Success in Relationships – Is a Break Up/Divorce Necessarily a Sign of Failure?

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“Marriage is about two things: sexual satisfaction and building generations. Nothing more. Only useless people are thinking about love. The result of a love marriage is never satisfactory. Divorce, arguments, affairs. These things don’t happen in arranged marriage. Arranged marriage is always successful. Love is for useless people. But if you’re going to feel love, at the very least, make sure it’s someone of a similar income level.” (Jaipur, India)

– Source : Humans of New York

So a few days ago the picture/quote above from Humans of New York (why the hell it features people from Jaipur now, I’ll never know) popped on my Facebook feed. I shared it for comedy value and it seems it got people thinking about our approach to marriage and relationships. Although I have become a little more realistic (read:cynical) as I’ve got older/had more horrific dating experiences, I think I am still, and probably always will a bit of a hopeless romantic aka USELESS PERSON (you can blame Disney!). So I basically took what these elders said as a bit of a giggle but is their any truth to their wisdom? Does arranged marriage have any benefits? Is the pursuit of love necessarily such a good thing? And most importantly how do we define success in terms of a relationship/marriage? Lets break it down in today’s post.

The importance of sexual satisfaction

You’ve got to give it to the oldies. I like that they’ve got their priorities in order. Regardless of whether you marry the person you love or its a set up sex is hugely (wink wink) important. The fact that people stay in loveless relationships because the sex is mind-blowing and that prostitution and porn are still such big business – speaks for itself. The oldies are right sexual satisfaction in a marriage/relationship is important (unless you are one of those strange religious nuts that believes you only have sex for procreation and not for pleasure! – Gawwwwd they don’t know what they are missing out on!).

Look, I don’t know the intricacies of arranged marriage systems so feel free to correct me here. But I was under the impression that the couple meet, decide that the the other person isn’t a complete troll and is a viable husband/wife and BOOM the wedding preparations begin. Now where does the sex factor in that? After the I Dos? If that’s the case then arranged marriage is a risky business if you ask me. Imagine marrying a guy and only learning on wedding night that he is in desperate need of the little blue pill. Ugh. Also, while the media may portray sexual satisfaction as something that happens just like that, I hate to break it to all the virgins in the room but it doesn’t quite work like that…as with a lot of things in life you have to be willing to work at it. Again, if you marry someone without having a clue about their sexual prowess how are you to know whether they are willing to make the effort to keep you happy in bed or if it’ll just be a case of wham ban thank you mam… and sleep!

Building generations 

Ugh the most talked about issue amongst the Baby Mafia. Making screaming little bundles of joy (read: stress!).  Is creating a mini-me really that important when it comes to who you marry/date? Yes and no. If your life-long dream has been to be a mother then sure you need to find someone who wants to be your baby daddy (and perhaps arranged marriage can assist you in making the correct decision – do fertility tests come as standard in these matters? #just saying!).

That said, it may come as a shock to some people but nowadays there are actually folk out there that don’t intend on making babies. I mean can you blame them? Imagine bringing a child into a world dominated by war, stupidity and water scarcity issues! Then there are also those that for whatever reason (pragmatic or philanthropic) don’t feel the need to have a biological child but instead plan to adopt one of the millions of babies that are in need of a good home.

Finally, this may also come as a surprise too but you don’t need to be in a relationship/marriage to get knocked up. For some it’s a case of spreading their legs one drunken night after the club and 9 months down the line – there is bubba with no baby daddy in sight. Or alternative paths such as – IVF, sperm donors, surrogates….thanks to advances in medical science we no longer really need a piece of paper/another person to make babies.

Oh, so a question for the arranged marriage supporters? What happens when you marry someone you don’t know all that well and it turns out they are firing blanks? Can you get your money back/file for divorce?

Arranged marriages vs. pragmatic dating choices – is it all that different?

From what I gather about arranged marriages is that it is first and foremost about finding someone who looks good on paper. Comes from a good family. TICK. Educated. TICK. Good genes. TICK. Can provide you with 10 cows. TICK. The list goes on.

Is it all that different to what we do these days when it comes to online dating. Think about all the filters you can set on OKCupid for instance. Ethnicity. Religion. Education Level. Political allegiance. Income level. Food preferences. I have to say I think the modern day system maybe more sophisticated here when it comes to getting rid of the deadwood.

Even if you think in terms of organic dating subconsciously we probably have our own little filters we use to reject those we have no real desire to end up with. I mean simply by looking at a guy with his wonky teeth and crooked nose one can write him off even before he speaks. Learning that a person has no matric certificate is enough to make someone run a mile without even considering that he may be street smart.

The Finances

Related to the point above. If you do pursue love how important is it that your partner is your financial equal? Hmmm….tricky one.  Of course in the fairytale world, they never discuss the cost of getting a bond, running a car, raising children, etc. But in real life those things do come into play. Having dated my fair share of broke asses I’ll be the first to tell you that money does matter. And you know what? Saying that doesn’t make me a gold digger. While money certainly makes life easier it won’t solve problems or fix  a relationship that is destined to fail. Even if your parents set you up with a millionaire whats to say he’ll be willing to share his fortune with you ? No such thing as a free lunch remember.

More important than cash money itself is a persons attitude towards it. I think for a relationship to succeed two people need to be on the same page when it comes to their finances. You have to understand the way your partner thinks when it comes to spending/saving. It’s no use having a guy who wants to splurge all your hard earned cash on holidays while you want to put something by to purchase your dream home.

Defining successful relationship

Finally, how do you even begin to define a successful relationship/marriage? The result of a love marriage is never satisfactory. Divorce, arguments, affairs. These things don’t happen in arranged marriage. Arranged marriage is always successful.

I beg to differ here. You think people in arranged marriages never argue or have affairs? Really? Things happen behind close doors and just because people are able to put on a front about being happy doesn’t mean that they actually are.  Just because a marriage doesn’t end in divorce doesn’t make it a success. Staying put and crying yourself to sleep every night isn’t success. It’s misery.  If divorce/breaking up means walking away from a situation that doesn’t serve you or positively enhance your life that isn’t failure. Remaining in an unhappy marriage for the sake or your children or because you fear being ostracized by society may be noble but it can’t really be considered a success.

All in all, depending on how you look at things arranged marriage may not be all that different from our modern dating practices. As much as people may deny it, most relationships these days are based on pragmatic decisions not necessarily just some abstract concept called love. That said, having babies and being sexually satisfied aren’t really the best basis for a solid relationship if you ask me. And finally whatever the case, the success of a relationship shouldn’t be defined by whether it ends in divorce/break up or has blips along the way. Its better to have a ‘failed’ relationship/marriage that you have somewhat fond memories of rather than end up dying stuck in a relationship where you despise your other half.

And breathe. OK Rinsers. Over to you. Do you think there are some advantages to arranged marriages? Do you think people who believe in love are USELESS? What elements do you think it is necessary to have a solid partnership? How would you define a successful relationships?