Friday, November 29, 2013

I Forgot How To Child...

Sometimes I catch myself thinking that I have grown up too fast.

Since I was fifteen, I have been occupied full time. From 15-17 I was in high school and working in a local supermarket. From 17-19 I was in University as a full time law student, and I also worked in the supermarket and the local pub 7 days a week. From here, I moved to the UK and was a door-to-door salesperson for 13 months working 75 hour weeks. I skipped from this into recruitment, to media sales, to Australia, to Canada... never really breaking this stream of constant employment.

I went on vacation to New York when I was 20. I holidayed in Australia when I was 22. Neither of these lasted more than ten days. Any other travel has been done on the weekends.

I catch myself thinking, from time to time, that I never really let myself be young. I never had a casual job or part time employment which wasn't accompanied by a full time occupation. I've never really been unemployed for longer than a few weeks (mainly by choice). Some would say I'm lucky, but as the close of another year approaches I have to sit back and wonder: when over-working is a necessity in your life, is it really very lucky at all?

Living in a student city like I do, and have done in the past, I am surrounded by University Students who fill their time with the following: One or two classes a week; 4-15 hours of work a week; and approx. 148 hours of professional drinking, sleeping, and netflix-watching. Many students do not even need to work at all.

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to insinuate that students do not work hard. There are many who do. I am merely stating that in the world of student loans, scholarships, and over generous parents, it is increasingly difficult to actually spot a student who behaves like anything other than a 'student'. When does their week become a 50 hour work week? When do they learn to clean? And where the heck does all their money come from when they are a student?!?

I never took that time to be a student. I was in class or studying or working most of the time. Sometimes I managed to find time to sleep.

And you know what? I am jealous of that me because they still have more time than I do now.

Nowadays, I get really uneasy when someone asks me to go out and do something, because I have to think of an excuse other than "I'm tired". My muscles ache and I'm a little bit fat because I don't manage to make the time to go to the gym. Further to this, I have a bad back and have to pretty much schedule a stress-related illness once every month or so.

I am 23 years old. I work 50 hours a week, pay my bills early, and enjoy cleaning my house. I am really excited about Christmas, not because it's Christmas, but because I get close to two weeks off work. My New Years Resolution is to group up my annual leave into one nice long stretch so that I can catch up on 12 months of sleep deprivation.

Did I grow up too quickly? And when is it my turn to be irresponsible, blase, and relaxed?! If I took time off work now, I would never be able to get another job without facing mountains of questions about how and why I have been unemployed for longer than a few weeks. However, all I really want to do is get addicted to a video game and play it for a week straight; or binge watch an old TV show; or learn how to cook or speak another language... Sadly, I think I missed my chance. 

Oh well... only 40-something years to retirement...

- RH

I bitch about this and other things on my TWITTER

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Is It Just Me?

People who know me will also know that I have done a lot of travelling, I have lived in the UK, Australia, and Canada, and within England alone I had the pleasure of calling five different cities home. I have also worked a multitude of different jobs, all within highly social industries. This means that I am fortunate enough to have friends all over the globe.

Despite the fact that I could pretty much go anywhere and I'd be guaranteed to know somebody, I really really like doing things by myself. I will go to the cinema; restaurants; and even travelling absolutely bare balled alone. It gives me time to think, time to write, and time to plan my next adventure (because you know there will be one).

I have always noticed, though, that there is particular stigma against people who are going it alone (particularly young people). Last night I went into a restaurant and asked for a table for dinner. The waitress looked at me and asked "is it just you?" in an all too questioning manner. I got the impression that what she wanted to say was, 'where is your husband? Boyfriend? Best friend? Mother…?' She soon noticed her instinctual tone, though, and she almost winced and smiled at me. I gave her a reassuring look. "Yes. It's just me." 

A quick google search gives me 3.9 million hits on the term: "A Guide To Dining Alone".  Because heaven forbid if we do it wrong… Some of my favourite advice I found was "Ask for the cheque before you finish eating, that way you do not have to sit alone for too long". 
Why not just go to McDonalds if you're after fast food? That way, you don't even have to get out of the car, and nobody will actually know that those 24 McNuggets and 3 Cheeseburgers are all for you, YOU SAD CAT.

Back in the restaurant (which thankfully is far from my imagination) the waitress seated me, and the table next to me was occupied by a couple who looked to be in their early thirties, both dressed nicely as if they were on a date. Both of them were concentrating wistfully on their cell phones, and did not speak a word to each other. Years ago, this would have been considered the height of rudeness, but now I was the one being judged for dining solo?

Is being comfortable in your own company the new taboo?

And so what happens if, by my own choice or circumstance, I do not have a significant other in my life to dine with: am I supposed to sit at home and order a pizza while I watch 'He's Just Not That Into You' on repeat?

I mean, sure, there are times when I catch myself thinking, 'It would be great if there was someone here with me, because I'd really like to order a lobster dinner but I don't actually know how to eat it'. And it definitely would be handy to have someone in the passenger seat of the car to say: 'Rachel, you're on the wrong side of the road..' or, 'Honey! Eyes front and centre!', but this surely shouldn't define me as a person.

Yet, to these servers I am apparently the girl who dines alone. There is nothing else to me.

By the way, I have to share more advice from these 'Dining Alone Guides'. Obviously, one should always take work papers or a book with them, because it is just the worst thing in the world if you are to sit there without something to occupy your hands (It is not enough anymore to be occupied by your own thoughts and reflections on your day). Also, it is suggested that we do just order takeaway or have a sandwich in the park because then we can avoid the whole 'being alone' fiasco and we won't alarm other diners. 

Maybe one day I will go out to a lobster dinner with someone who actually knows how to eat the beast (and I will rip it to shreds) , and perhaps I will take a trip with someone who gets endless pleasure out of the fact that I keep confusing the driver and passenger sides of the car…

Until then, I'm pretty happy. Not only do I have amazing friends, but I am also not riddled with the self doubt that stops me from going out alone. I don't have to share these memories if I don't want to: I can keep them all to myself.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Yes, I've checked. 'Shit-tonne' is actually a standardized unit of measurement now. Thanks, Gen-Y. 
For real, though. It isn't even simply the fact that moving costs a lot of money (which it does), but it is that you don't even really know how to look after yourself in a new city. If, heaven forbid, you move to a different country, you will pretty much have to learn how to shop all over again. You will buy the wrong things, shop in the wrong places, and genuinely just waste money for at least a month or two until you learn the vital 'International Skimping' technique. Also, you will probably overspend on things like electric, cable, and everything else until you meet people who can teach you the basics.

This is so inevitable I can't even (...)
Here's the thing: We have all done it before. We have all invested time in the unreturned messages; the non existent phone calls; and the people who play a disappearing act for weeks on end (or until they like something that you post on some form of social media). And this isn't just guys. I think girls do it, too. 
But we have all sat around waiting for that person to get bored and text us for a 'hang out', even though we know that as soon as the hangout session is over, we will go back to feeling a little like a used bag of shit.
So why are we going to do this all over again after moving away? It's simple. This feeling (the chase) is so familiar and so concrete: it's almost like you will reach for the only steady thing there is. You will reach for that unreliable (yet gorgeous) person because there is a strange comfort in it. It's almost like they are your way of creating a link to this new place, and even though you deserve better, everything is so rocky that you will settle for it as it is. Don't worry: this too shall pass.

You will wonder if you did the right thing, for the right reasons.. and you will wonder where this decision will land you in the next five; ten; even twenty years. Is this going to change the way you view the world? Is this going to change every plan and idea you ever had for who you would be? Is this going to be the making of you?
Most likely, it will do all of those things.
No matter how many times you retrace the thought process that got you to where you are, you will realize that you made this decision for a reason, and that certainly can never be the wrong thing to do. I have always been a firm believer that anytime you are uncomfortable, you are growing into a better and stronger person.
Moving away will MAKE YOU.

So here is a little something about me.
At my parent's home in the Australian countryside, there is a large fence around the entire property. Our dog is like Houdini (or she likes to think she is), so we have to keep this huge metal gate closed at all times. Whenever you leave or arrive, you have to get out of the car, open the gate, get back in, drive through the gate, then close it again. Annoying, huh? And when it's a car full of people, someone always has to volunteer to be the person that gets out of the car and "gets the gate". 
This is the craziest thing.
Since moving away, I really miss that part of my day at 7.30pm when I would get home from work. In the winter it would already be dark, and I would climb out of my car, clutch foot aching from the two hour drive, and I would push the gate open and look at the house. Hot steam would be coming out of the chimney. The lights would be reflecting a dim hue out onto the front yard. And I knew there was a hot meal waiting for me inside, prepared by either one of my parents who would greet me: always eager to find out about my day.
That one moment of stopping the hustle and bustle of everyday life to open the gate, is one of the things I miss the most. And when you move away, it will most likely be something equally as random that sticks in your head as a moment of clarity.

What is a social insurance number?
What kind of insurance would I need to go to the dentist?
How do I file my P45?
How many superannuation, renumeration, and pension funds are in my name?

These are all questions that I have asked in the previous few years. Point is, a lot of these questions will be common knowledge to a resident of the country you have moved to. If you turned to a Canadian and said (as I have), "what is a social insurance number?" they will probably look at you like you're from another planet: not because they are mean, but because to them, your homeland IS another planet and they cannot believe you wouldn't have a social insurance system. You probably do, but it is called something different, be it National Insurance, or a Tax File Number (TFN). 
People will tell you how to do things, and assume that you will know the process behind it, even if this is something that is totally foreign to you. Just a few days ago, I was asked for proof of tenant insurance and I was shocked. What was this? And why did I need it? I had never heard of it in my life. Similarly, post dated cheques are something that I had never come across until moving to Canada. And what happened to Universal Healthcare?
Call me stupid all you want: I already feel like a bit of an idiot anyway. 
But its OK. I am learning.
Also, I can flip you off in six different languages.

SO, here's five.
But there are SO MANY MORE things, just waiting for you.

Hop to it.


By the way, don't forget to follow me on Twitter, HERE

Monday, July 8, 2013

To Men Of Past and Present..


All the things that you did for me were really nice. The fact that they were rehearsed and revised actions that had been undertaken time and time again is no longer of any relevance. At that moment, they were for me, and I wish I hadn't been so mad about it.
You taught me a lot about what it means to love somebody, and believe in them even if they are slightly ridiculous. You taught me that loving somebody isn't a choice. It happens, and just as it happens, it can go away again.

Damien. I am not sure if you still hate me for the way everything happened, or if you just can't look me in the eye anymore. The things that I did were all for good reason, and I think that you understand that now. I still don't like that you never gave yourself a voice. Thank you for giving me one.

Matthew. You have the nicest face. It isn't that it is stunning, it's that your eyes and your smile made me want to do things I would never even do. And I have done those things, because I wanted to do them with you. I wanted to be the person that could tell you, show you, and teach you everything. I wanted to know you. But I'm not sure you wanted to know me in the same way. I always wondered where you disappeared to. I never told you how I felt though, because I was too scared you would reject me. I was just too scared to lose what I didn't want in order to reach for what I needed. Perhaps I let us both down.

Luke. Maybe I was what you said I was. But the hardest part about being your friend is that you were never the same to me. I actually think I would have died if it wasn't for your consistent, fierce support which genuinely made me believe that barriers can be broken down and people can feel true and genuine love, without being *in love*. Sometimes I hate that you have moved past everything, but then I remember that I am the one who ran.

David. I always thought I would miss you when I went away. I never did. I only ever missed your best friend. I am sorry. 

Marcus. I think we went through something together that neither of us will really understand. There was nothing that ever happened, in any sense, however, I felt changed by you and I'm fairly sure you are the same. It is such a shame to me that when I think of you now, those thoughts are filled with contempt and exhaustion. It makes me think that everyone else must have given up on figuring you out, too.

*Names have been changed in this piece to protect myself, and only myself. Think one of these is about you? Ask me. This may or may not be a piece of fiction

- RH

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Poem...

On Making The Bold Decisions

I just want to put this out there: I think that young people today have it tough. Of course: people in their mid twenties these days have access to more opportunity that ever before. I'm not trying to deny that. We have countless gadgets and systems to make our life easier, and there is more knowledge in the world that is more readily available to anybody who wants to receive it. However, I think with all of that there comes great social responsibility, which, with many young people, leads to greater social anxiety. It is a constant pressure of 'Am I good enough?' 'Do I wear the right clothes?' 'Am I the ideal weight?' 'Have I got enough friends?'

It's a minefield.

Depression rates are up. Suicide rates are up. And it doesn't stop with young people. Just last week, a friend told me that her partner's Uncle had just committed suicide. He was fifty four.

Let me just put this out there. I moved to another country to work a night shift. I didn't really know anybody, and had no idea how I was going to adapt to such a rapid change in lifestyle. I had lived way from home before, however I had anticipated that this would be a little different.
It is.

Along with obvious physical tolls on my body from working such hours, there have been mental and emotional strains that have come with the transition. Trying to assist other people in their transition hasn't helped either. There is a distinct domino affect at play when people aren't happy and it spreads like disease.

So where am I going with this?

The thing is: we are not bound to anywhere, or tied to anything. The greatest thing about the world today is that we are given the freedom to design our own fate. Whatever it is that you're not happy with, there are ways to change it. 

Every day, make one positive effort to better your life.

I recently quit smoking (again) which is a habit that has come in and out of my life for longer that I would be willing to admit. Along with quitting smoking, I also decided to cut back on alcohol. I removed processed foods from my diet, cancelled out majority of my dairy intake, and hired a personal trainer.

Point of this? I have learned that you can never be completely happy emotionally, spiritually, or mentally unless your insides are happy, too.

And I didn't do this all at once. I took small steps to better myself. Even the most miniscule effort towards positive action is the first step in improving your life. Cutting out the dirt, and the things that were making me feel physically uncomfortable, has had a great impact on the way I approach everything else in my life.

Of course, there are still frustrations. There are 'dog days' when it seems that nothing will go right.

I will repeat what I said. We have the power to design our own fate.

Don't waste it.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hello, Ladies...

Last week I was walking home from a friend's house, when something bizarre happened to me. While driving past, a man yelled out  of a car window, "Wanna go splits in a baby?!"

Outraged, I gave the man two of my most beautiful fingers, and yelled something back at him which was oh-so-inappropriate. 

I continued my walk and inevitably I began to wonder where on earth chivalry had gotten to, and why it was that one cannot simply walk down the street anymore without being objectified. Then I got to thinking about my own response to this guy's proposition. 

I realised: chivalry isn't dead. It is out on a lunch date with the concept of being ladylike.

One of my good friends has developed quite a crush on a guy she slept with once.
Wait, let me back up on this one. I have to explain.

My good friend went on a date with a guy a few months ago. They really hit it off, and I remember her telling me afterwards that she really thought she could date this guy. Their second date, unfortunately, resulted in a drunken night of passion and a morning after of regret. Needless to say, she didn't hear from the guy again aside from the occasional drunk text.

She asked me a few weeks ago: had she not slept with him so soon, would things be different? Regrettably, I had to admit that they would be. She pushed further: was there anything she could do to rectify the situation and make herself seem date-able again? Unfortunate still, I had to say that there really wasn't anything that could be done. The impression had been made.

I haven't spoken to this friend in a while, but I am fairly sure that she still likes the guy, and he still doesn't care.

The horrible truth is that until a woman starts to act like a lady, she will be treated like a tramp.  When men watch Rihanna perform (read 'scantily-clad gyrate'), they don't want to take her out for dinner.

As much as there is probably somebody that all women would like to call up and say "I never behave like that, and I did genuinely want to date you", it simply isn't the way of the world anymore. 

Just like yelling out of your car window; the damage is done. Like it or not, we all stand to be judged. 

Perhaps I will start to comb my hair more often… and wear pantyhose.

- RH (full time lady)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

20 Things To Do Before You Hit 25...

It is a bucket list, of sorts... I have done all of these things and they have all changed my life in some way. I have come to believe that all of these things are somewhat essential in this whole 'growing up' thing.

1. Get on a bus or a train with no destination. Get off when your money runs out, or you reach the end of the line. You never know what you'll find

2. Work a service job. This will teach you the value of a dollar; a friendly hello; and a grateful goodbye

3. Open a savings account. Save a small amount every single week. This could be anything from $10 to $50 -- but refrain from taking money out of it. You never know when you're going to need it.

4. Read a book. At least one, each year. Make it something that challenges you.

5. Kiss a stranger. Don't get their name. Don't get their number. 

6. Learn to say 'no'.

7. Find something that makes you feel talented and unique, and do it ALL THE TIME.

8. Go to the cinema, to a restaurant, or to see your favourite band completely alone. 

9. Find a way to differentiate between the people who are in your life because you want them there, and people who are in your life because they never left. Get rid of the people who weigh you down: those who make you feel unworthy or undeserving. Realize that time spent alone is a hundred times better than time spent with those who make you want to hurl all down yourself.

10. Start taking yourself seriously. Your twenties are not the between time for 'figuring things out'. It's OK if you don't have things figured out yet (99% of people don't), but that doesn't mean that you're up for ten wasted years until you hit thirty and can reasonably have an existential crisis. 

11. Embrace the pain. Suffering is universal. You have to be open to the suffering to even give yourself even the slightest shot in hell at happiness: and most likely, you will never get one without some degree of the other.

12. Understand that travel is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer. That Louis Vuitton bag or Chanel lipstick are not going to enrich your life the way you imagine.

13. Own a pet. Or a plant. Take responsibility for something other than yourself.

14. Live alone, in your own apartment

15. Be unemployed - if only for a week

16. Party until the sun comes up: get breakfast on your way home. Also...

17. Go to a world famous party. Be it Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras, Carnaval, Ibiza… I don't care. Just go to one to understand the feeling of mass enthusiasm.

18. Learn how to cook. At least one thing.

19. Write someone a love letter with a pen and a piece of paper: not a keyboard and a gmail account.

20. On a similar note: Write yourself a letter to open in ten years time. Include your passions, goals, and expectations for the future: both for yourself personally, and the world around you. That way, you can still surprise yourself when you're pushing 40.

- RH

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Aren't We Living Our Dreams?

Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, and they will probably deliver you a clear and concise answer within 20 seconds.  Ask the same question of a teen and they will also deliver you a clear and concise idea of their dreams and aspirations of the future. The most inspiring thing will be the passion with which they tell you exactly what they want from their life.

Ask an adult what their dreams and goals are for the future, and you will inevitably be given a different response. In most cases, you will receive a watered down, filtered version of a fragment of everything they wanted to be ten years ago.

Why does this happen? For many of us, reality kicks in and the desires we once had seem to us to be delusions of grandeur and entirely unattainable. We somehow place our deepest desires in the 'too hard basket' and end up settling for some sort of comfortable alternative.

This has crossed my mind quite frequently lately. I wonder what happened to my own delusions of grandeur, and how the desires I harboured so closely have become somewhat distant memories.

I realised that the desire is still there. If I search for it, then it is actually stronger than ever.

But why aren't we going after our dreams? Is it, in this modern world, something that is just too difficult? Why are we being watered down by concerns about money, freedom, and personal comfort?

Sometimes I wonder and I ask myself what I would do if I wasn't afraid. How would my life be different if I wasn't worried about the financial side of things? Is it really money that is holding us back from our dreams, or is it deeper than that? Are we actually just afraid of the way we will be perceived if we throw away all levels of comfort and security on what people might perceive as a whim?

I seem to be asking a lot of questions, but don't really have the answers to any of them.

I take a lot of chances by moving countries, yet I am somehow moving from one safety net to another. My decisions are calculated and almost cold. When I really think about it, most of the decisions I have made have been purely financial. What decision will make me the most money, give me the most freedom, and ultimately benefit my comfortable life in the long term?

The truth is that money will look after itself. If it really comes down to it, then we will find a way to keep ourselves alive. It's instinctual. 

All it takes is the courage to take that first step. Those who support you are in your life for a reason. Those who judge you, don't have the right to do so anyway.

It sounds cliche, but I believe in the power of dreams. I believe that with enough hard work, anybody can achieve anything that they want to.

They only have to be brave enough to throw themselves into it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Open Letter To Nobody In Particular

Hey kid,

Crazy times, huh? It's 4am and I'm sitting starting to think about writing again. It seems that at times like these, the only coping mechanism is really to write it all down. If I don't I can't even really begin to dissect my own thoughts and understand why things happen the way they do.

See sometimes I stop and I think about the amount of time we spend wishing that things were different: like we spend our entire day whittling away over a petty little pursuit of something bigger, faster, better in some way. The truth is you will always miss someone or something, and probably always wish that even the smallest thing in your life was just a little bit different. The happiest people I've ever met are somewhat nonchalant and directionless.

Then I realize that I'm thinking about thinking and doing nothing at all.

If I'm going to be totally honest with you, things are looking slightly awry. It's the humanity of it all: the fact that all of us have to die in some sense or another in order to actually live. Whenever I disappoint the people I care about I die a little more inside. Toss it away: Be vicarious, victorious and brave! Triumph! And then laugh at the triviality of the fact that you spent so much time wondering and nothing ever came to be.

I woke up this morning with a pounding headache and I knew that the wine was to blame. I lay for a while in the dust thrown up by my own indecision and thought about the consequences of whatever it was that happened to me in the last 24 hours. I thought until my mind hurt and that's when I started to write. I know I've taken the long road with all of this, kid. You don't need to tell me twice. I always kinda figured I'd be the one to take the long road in pretty much anything. But what I've realized is you can try to do the best thing you can at every possible junction but people aren't going to care about the truth. They care about whatever validates their fucking existence in some little way. Give them something to be mad about, or something to laugh at. If they don't have that from somebody else then where could it possibly come from?!

I wouldn't bother with the truth much further. One day none of it will ever even matter.

So what is the takeaway from all of this? Perhaps as people we are all too consumed with our own loneliness and inner process that we refuse to see the external. Surely anything without too much analysis would be boring, huh?

The takeaway is; be honest with yourself and who you are. Don’t ever apologize for the way that someone perceives your action: they are ultimately only trying to understand their own projected expectation.  Be brave. Seek your own validation. Boldness will be rewarded.

And if it doesn’t, and if nothing of this is true…  at least we are closer to that one conscious thought.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Are Nice Guys Even In The Race?

"On why they finish last..."

It seems that wherever we go and whoever we surround ourselves with, conversation is always going to inevitably turn to love, lust, and relationships. This has never been a topic I have been extremely comfortable in discussing unless under the influence of enough alcohol to soften the brutal honesty with which I must approach this.

Admittedly, I am not the best mascot for love. I don't do romance, marriage, PDAs.. I barely even like holding hands (seriously?! You're sweating ON EACH OTHER)

When talking about love with male friends, I seem to be constantly bombarded with the question, 'What is wrong with you women? You all say you want a nice guy, and yet you date total assholes?!'
Gotta hand it to you, fellas. You're damn perceptive.

The truth is, it has taken me a really long time to try and form some sort of suitable answer to this. Whenever I get asked, I tend to just chuckle and shrug it off like I hadn't actually noticed, when in reality I spend most of my time fixating on morons and being completely oblivious to the advances of the genuinely nice guys who tend to lurk in the back of my mind. Don't get me wrong: I have been on dates with nice guys. I have let them take me to dinner, to the movies... And yet have always left the end of the night feeling like I just got smacked in the face by the politeness stick and feeling completely and utterly disinterested.

So what is it that switches off in a woman when she realizes that the guy she is going out with is nice? What is it that suddenly makes this man so unattractive, and somewhat un-dateable? And is this really a thing? Are nice guys done for?

Enough questions. It's time for some answers. Here are the ABCs of why nice guys appear to be finishing last.

1. The Availability clause.
I once went out on a date with a really nice guy. He was great on paper, had a good job, was good-looking, intelligent, and even made me laugh. Telling friends about him they thought I had hit the jackpot. After our date, which fell on a Thursday, he sent me a text message asking if he could see me again that Saturday. Playing it cool, I replied with a maybe. He later told me that he had made a reservation at a champagne bar down town, and he would meet me there at 8pm. Intrigued by his confidence, I went. He spent the night being himself, and generally doting on most things I said and did. The next morning, he texted me again asking if he could see me again soon. Instantly I knew I would never go out with him again.

Over time, it has become embedded in someone that something which is scarce and difficult to find has more value than something that is easily attainable. Diamonds, gold, mink... Things we see of higher value than something like wood. Truth is, wood is everywhere. Paper is everywhere. This is why we would rather the diamonds.
The same applies to men. If they are too available to us, they lose value. While playing it hot or cold is not great either, a man ideally has a subtle balance yet knows when to strike.

2. The Boss clause
Truth be told, a woman is an argumentative creature. We like to argue, and like to win. One of the reasons I went to law school was because I fancied my self a little too much as a defensive conversationalist.  And the great thing about the bad boy? They have the confidence to fight back.
Now, I’m not saying that women want to be argued with, dismissed, and told they are wrong consistently and to no avail. This is the ultimate turn-off. The nice guy, however, can have a tendency to be a little too agreeable around the female species. A guy once asked me out by saying, “I want to take you for a drink. If you don’t want to come with me, that’s fine. I’ll just ask you again tomorrow on the off chance you have come to your senses.”
The next day, he asked me again. On the third try I let him buy me a beer.

Mr Agreeable habitually asks a girl out once, gets rejected, and goes off to wallow in a corner about not even running the same race as the jerks, and never having a shot in hell. While the guy might have the confidence to ask once, he doesn’t believe fully in his ability to win the battle. The follow through is almost non-existent.  For women, this just ruins the game.

To tell a female secret; as much as we might pretend to hate the guys who play the game, we enjoy it just as much as they do. We LOVE the thrill of ‘why isn’t he texting me back straight away?’ and most of us harbour a secret desire to win the upper hand – to be chased. Saying yes on the first request ruins the chase: and guess what Mr Nice Guy? It ruins your chances too. Sorry!

3. The Chemistry clause
To put it simply: women quite often just aren’t attracted to nice guys. They don’t have any sexual chemistry with them. I’ve dated a few really sweet guys and have hated myself for having to tell them I’d rather be friends. Because, the truth is, I could only ever see myself being their friend. Yeah: they got LJBF’d.

Genetically (and this is going back a good few years) women were drawn to the hunter-gatherer: the man who could go out and provide for the family by any means necessary. The man was the predator: strong, rough, and ready. Not all women are looking for that these days (look at Liz Hurley! She’s dating Shane Warne!!) but there still has to be that element of ‘I don’t mind getting my hands dirty or my feet wet if needs be’. A strong, confident man will always let off an aroma of ‘don’t worry, I will look after you, and I know what I’m doing (in EVERY way)’ – the bad boy offers this (AND THEN SOME!!)

Besides, it doesn’t hurt to have a big ball of charm up your sleeve: and the bad boy always seems to know exactly what to say.

I am no expert (am I?)


I'd like to add a disclaimer here. I do believe the nice guy can get the girl, and I believe that more often than not, the nice guy deserves the girl a lot more than anything else. I am just trying to dissect social protocol.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Ode To Those Who Do Not Want Cake

"You cannot have your cake and eat it too"... 

According to very trustworthy sources, this old English proverb was initially coined to insinuate that one cannot (and should not) lust for more than they already have and deserve. Problematic, here, is the fact that what we want and deserve can be two very different things.

Nowadays, people tend to use this term to apply to the age old question: can anyone actually have it all?

One whimsical afternoon I had a very in depth conversation with an extremely wise friend. The friend was caught in some sort of transitional period in life and was in a consistent state of reminiscence: thinking about decisions which had been made in the past, and what could have been different. My friend wondered, "had I not chosen the path of marriage and children  would I have reached my artistic and creative climax by now?"

I was stuck for a response. The thought had crossed my mind.

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook, and might I add, a very wise woman. She did an amazing speech for Ted Talks on why the world has few too many women leaders, which I believe can be applied perfectly to this statement. She notes that: "A recent study in the US showed that, of all married senior managers, only two thirds of the married men had children and only one third of the married women had children."

So what is the big play here?

Can anybody really have it all? And even if we don't want it all, who is to say that what we want is cake?

Anybody who knows me is aware of the fact that I like to travel. Anybody who has ever asked me will know that I have no real desire to plant roots anywhere, and start a life in one particular country. I do not tend to define myself by where I am, however I consistently struggle with the definitions forced upon me by where I choose to be, and how long I choose to be there.

At the moment, life is pretty good. I like my job, I have a good home life, and I have plenty of money that I know I will never want for anything. I have tasted professional success to the point that I will soon be relocated to another country to live and work. Career wise this is an amazing opportunity for me; however it means leaving friends and family who are doing nothing but digging their heels in deeper: buying property, getting married, having children... 

It makes me wonder whether, somewhere along the line, the decision will become an inevitable 50/50 split. Will I have to choose between having a great career and a wealth of travel opportunity; and having family?

I spoke about this with another friend. She noted, somewhat non-nonchalantly, that she had relocated to Australia to be with her husband. The choice was hard, but she had wanted a family.

Being faced with angry accusations of "why are you leaving me?" on countless occasions over many years, I cannot help but start to wonder, "why aren't you coming too?"

Within the space of a year, I have lived in three different countries, four different homes, and spent 125 hours mid-air.  I have been on countless dates, and dealt with weddings, pregnancies, engagements, break ups, and breakdowns (only some of which are my own). Through all of this, I have never sat in front of somebody who hasn't questioned why I do what I do. Perhaps this is simply one's way of demonstrating sadness at my departure, but I can't help but be slightly concerned with the fact that it is somehow OK to question a person's decisions to travel, yet it has never been OK to ask someone why they are having a baby, or why they are marrying the guy they have been with since puberty.

What if I want cheese and fruit instead of cake? Should I be subjected to months of tyrannical questions about the validity of fruit, or where fruit will get me when everyone else is tucking into their delicious New York Cheesecake?

Perhaps my maternal instinct will never actually kick in.
Maybe I will die alone with a box of old photographs and travel tickets, and pictures of my pet cats.

But perhaps I will be really fucking happy about it, and all the people that ate the cake will be damn fat and miserable.