It’s an age old classic. A tortoise challenges a cocky hare to a race, because nobody has anything better to do in Animal Word. The hare hops off as fast as his furry paws will take him! After a while, he assesses he’s made some solid headway and takes a nap (cough-performance-enhancing-drugs-cough). Meanwhile, the tortoise trudges along the racecourse at a consistent pace. He eventually overtakes the hare, wins the race and, with it, ETERNAL FLAME AND GLORY. Four for you Tortoise! You go Tortoise! The moral of the story: ‘Take your time, dude. Rushing things is for dinguses’. There are many situations this gem of advice should be taken on board, evidently when participating in sporting challenges against reptiles. But no time is it more relevant than when dating someone new.
Too often you see people who have known each other the entirety of two minutes and 34 seconds and BAM! They’re off faster than you can say ‘instant soul m8s’! Friends, hobbies, personal tastes and having a life outside each other fall to the wayside, collateral damage from the sheer intensity with which they’re going at it like bunnies. It’s only when they stop to take a breather and look around at their new strange relationship-y surroundings, disorientation sets in. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up. When did that happen?! Who am I?! WHO ARE YOU?!”. To avoid this unsettling confusion, the wiser approach is to take after the tortoise, especially at the beginning. Why show your new lady or gentleman friend all your tricks in one unimpressive swoop? Unravel your ninja dating moves one by one! Not only does this build the giddy excitement of new romance, it also gives you time to consider what you really want. Are you really ready to hang up your single dancing shoes and surrender your right to turbo-flirt with attractive strangers? Are their ninja moves really that impressive?
Granted, channelling your inner tortoise can be harder than trying to separate fingers you’ve accidentally super glued together, even after you’ve tried to take a deliberated approach initially. You’ve moved through the ‘Verifying You’re Not A Serial Killer’ and ‘So We’re Not Just Boning?’ stages and have decided you genuinely enjoy spending time with this Shiny New Person. To your utter delight, the feeling is mutual! Huzzah! Why play it cool? Your head is spinning to the point where texting “BABY WATCHA DOIN’ WANNA HANG LET’S HANG BABY’ four times an hour seems like a stroke of unadulterated genius. OH HELL NO. CONTROL YO SELF. The point of the whole relationship thing to spend many more weeks and months, perhaps even eons, in each other’s company. So why the rush? Enjoy each delicious, ‘honeymoon phase’ coated morsel of time slowly and delectably and at the end of it will lie A Solid Good Deal.
Savour the moment, my hard shelled friends and you too can cross the finish line as one happy little tortoise!
While being in a relationship is portrayed as hand holdy, sunset watchy, cuddly romantic bliss, the word single evokes images of frozen meals for one, drunkenly singing Celine Dion’s “All By Myself’ and multiple feline companions. In reality though, there are more types of singletons than the Bridget Jones mould. Here are some:
The ‘Fresh From A Break Up’ Single
The only time singledom will reflect the grim stereotype is when one is suddenly thrust into the Big Bad World of Being Single, after spending some time in The Land of the Loved Up. To help them navigate these new, murky waters, this singleton will turn to the help of their trusty friends Wine, Tequila and Vodka. Human friends are neglected in favour of sitting at home, listening to Adele and casually perusing their former lover’s Facebook page for hours. Fortunately for most, this level of pathetic is unsustainable for long periods of time.
The ‘On A Sex Rampage’ Single
Commonly referred to as the ‘player’, this singleton has their eyes on one destination: your pants. And then the pants of the person sitting next to you. Maybe they’re damaged, maybe they think they’re God’s gift to the world or maybe they just like to bone. In extreme cases, these species have even been known to send pictures of their genitals as part of the hunt. While some may refer to their behavior as ‘sleazy’ and ‘kind of gross’, one can’t help but admire the determined yet emotionally distant finesse they bring to the mating ritual.
The ‘Actually Taken’ Single
For all intents and purposes, the ‘Actually Taken’ Single is in a relationship but one that is yet to be ‘official’. They engage in shitty relationship behaviours, such as being surgically attached to their phone, blowing off friends in favour of their dude/lady friend and having that smug ‘I’ve found someone’ superiority. Yet when you’re out with them and ‘Single Ladies’ comes on, they’re up on the dance floor pretending like they don’t have someone who might want to put a ring on it. Oh hell no, I ain’t standin’ for that shit! Sit back down and pick a lane, buddy. You’re confusing everyone.
The ‘Pretending To Be Happy About It’ Single
This singleton seemingly has their life sorted, but underneath their self assured exterior lies an insecure soul who will only be truly complete when they find their ‘special someone’. Nights out are spent obsessively scouring the room for potential future lovers while loudly proclaiming that ‘Being single is so much fun!’. Yet when they go home to stare longingly at couples in romantic comedies, while pinning photos to their ‘My Dream Wedding’ board on Pinterest, it becomes apparent that they don’t think it’s much fun after all.
The ‘Genuinely Loving Life’ Single
The singleton is actually pretty chill about the single whole thing. Relationship schmelationship, they’ve got some solid mates, interesting hobbies and a generally positive future outlook. They’re open to the possibility of someone coming along but they need to be pretty freaking awesome. This singleton is so content with their freedom that they can often be found singing along to the musical genius of Jason Derulo- “I’m solo, I’m riding solo, I’m riding solo, I’m riding, solo, solo”.
It’s that time of the year again. Winter has finally pissed off, the sun has reappeared and the glorious summer holidays are on their way. Let the holiday planning begin!
Travel is on the cards for many, yet solo travel is often overlooked in favour of travelling with friends. Having a rocking good holiday with yourself sounds like a big risk. But, risk big, win big, baby! I, for one, am a passionate supporter of Team Solo-Travel-Is-Awesome.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Instant Street Cred
This is more of an added bonus than a bona fide reason. Doing things to sound cool is, in fact, lame. But tell someone you just spend a solid amount of time travelling by yourself and you’ll just ooze self confidence and cool without even trying. They’ll think ‘Look at you, you self assured thing! Let’s hang out, all the time’.
Travel is all about the experiences and they’re not always pretty. But, face uncomfortable situations on your own and you’ll develop a skin thicker than the White Pages. After you’ve dealt with looking for a hostel in monsoonal rain with everything you own on your back, or losing your last pair of shoes on a Thai beach at 3.34am, and done so without completely flipping out or anybody holding your hand, your self confidence jumps approximately one gazillion points. Even more simply, you’ll become a seasoned pro at spending time in your own company and hopefully get to the point where you realise that you’re actually rather excellent.
Being alone in a foreign place can be downright terrifying. What would happen if you were attacked by a mob of angry monkeys? Who would come to save you by luring those bastards away with ripe bananas?! The fear is genuine at the beginning. It subsides when you fully realise the incredible place you’re in and, more importantly, that you can do whatever the hell you like. Nobody is going to stop you. Travelling with other people involves compromise and often we’re dragged into doing things that are a little bit shitty. Solo travelling means you can be gloriously selfish. See what you want, do what you want, eat want you want, without anybody else getting in the way!
The truth about travelling alone is that you won’t be alone at all. You will become the proverbial flame and many an exotic, travelling moth will bask in your fiery presence. Having no friends is an incentive to make new ones, so you’ll make an effort with your new moth pals. Before you know it, you’ll be sharing an alcoholic beverage or ten, shaking your tail feather on a dance floor and soon after, you’ll be solid BFFLs. The locals are also drawn to the much less intimating solo traveller. A random Vietnamese woman once asked me to have lunch with her family. However, considering I hadn’t properly showered in a while when I met her, she may have just thought I was homeless.
Finding out who your friends are
The word ‘friend’ is becoming increasingly devalued, especially considering some people have thousands of them on Facebook. When you’re away from home on your own, you’ll realise who your real friends are because they’re the ones you’ll actually miss. You’ll also have concrete evidence that someone is important if you’re willing to eat cheap street food at the risk of sudden, violent diarrhoea, just so you can spend a bit extra on the perfect souvenir for them.
Finding out who you are
So much of who we think we are is tied to the people in our lives and embedded within the place we live. In our every day lives, we assume multiple roles (Australian, Melbournian, Monash Universty student, General Bad Ass) and our identity becomes a merging of these. When you’re moving from place to place, on your own, the characters you ordinarily play fade away. The only constant is you, and yet you feel more vibrantly alive. It becomes glaringly apparent that who you really are goes far beyond what you do, where you live, or who your family and friends are.
What’s that I hear you say? Travelling alone sounds like a great idea? Correct! I expect a thank you letter and a tacky souvenir when you get back from having the time of your life.
he glorious highs and devastating lows of love are well documented in music, literature and the Facebook statuses of the emotionally volatile. In contrast, love’s younger brother the Crush is often cast aside and trivialized. Despite being the neglected sibling of the family, the crush can be a sly bastard indeed. He may act as though he’s nonchalant and unimportant, but this guy has the power to mess with your mind. I’ve discovered this first hand. While I’m terrific at being a foxy, Single Lady (Put A Ring On It) and excellent at the hand hold-y couple thing, crushes make me lose. my. shit. When I have a crush on someone, the reasonable, level headed me pisses off and is replaced with a performing circus monkey.
I’ve made excuses for the bizarre behaviour that occurs when I like someone. One time in high school, I literally crawled out of class to meet up with my crush. I put this down to general teenage idiocy. Another time, I convinced my friend and her extended family to help me sing classic Backstreet Boys songs to serenade a boy. I put this one down to my love of the Von Trapp family singers. After my most recent exhibit of crazy though, I could no longer deny that I have a problem. I was having coffee with a friend when Facebook was kind enough to tell me ‘Crush’ had contacted me but cruel enough to not let it load. “Anika, I think you’re being a little bit obsessive …” said my friend, as I furiously tried to get shitty Monash wireless to work. “I’m not obsessive… STUPID PIECE OF SHIT PHONE WHY YOU NO LOAD STUPID FACEBOOK STUPIDSTUPIDSTUPID!!!” When I chucked my phone across Taste Baguette, hitting an unassuming waiter in the head*, it was clear that ‘me having a crush on someone’ and ‘not being bat-shit mental’ are mutually exclusive.
I’ve done some thinking as to why crushes have this effect. It comes down to the fact when we have a crush on someone, we generally don’t know them all that well. If you know another person inside out (their penchant for eating their toenails included) and still think they’re the bee’s knees, chances are you’re genuinely in love with them. Crushes, on the other hand, are almost entirely based on images created in our heads. First, consider how they present themselves to the world, note their striking personality traits and do some general ‘research’ (read: extensive Facebook stalking). Match this information to your own particular wants and voila! An imperfect human being has been moulded into The Best Person Ever.
And when you’re The Best Person Ever, can you blame me for losing my shit over you?
*No waiters were harmed in the making of this column.
My friend Alice is a master of ‘The Game’- a set of unwritten dating rules one should follow to ensure successful romantic pursuits. I can see merit in her approach by comparing her dating history (long term relationship with great dude) to mine (A Series of Unfortunate Events), but there are certain rules I am completely incapable of following. Here are the top 5.
Treat them mean, keep them keen
Essentially, don’t let the other person know how much you like them or they’ll lose interest. It makes some sense- when was the last time you fell for someone that was too available and obsessed with you? That would be, uh, never! But intuitively, this is the exact opposite of what I want to do when I like you. You are officially the Best Person Ever. Let me bake you banana cake and give you all my time!
The guy should always pay
I’m certain this ‘rule’ is a hangover from the Stone Age, when Caveman hunted food to impress Cavewoman. It baffles me that I should expect someone to spend their hard earned cash on me. It seems especially unfair if it’s the first date and they’re blissfully unaware of how mental I really am. Plus, how am I meant to sing along convincingly to ‘Independent Woman’ if a guy pays every time we go out? IT WOULD ALL BE LIES.
Wait a certain number of dates before having sex
I appreciate the value of creating suspense- sex is infinitely better when you’ve had to impatiently wait for it. I just don’t get setting an arbitrary figure to quantify exactly when genitals should come into play. Sometimes 3 hours of suspense is more than enough, thank you very much. Don’t tell me I should wait a few more dates! My libido will kill you!
Don’t have one night stands
Every time I read any kind of relationship column, there’s always a ‘one night stands will make you feel worthless and shitty’ line in there. Sure, they’re not everyone’s thing but this is definitely not universally true. After a Messy Break Up or a long dry spell or for no reason at all, excellent sex with an excellent looking stranger can make you feel rather excellent.
Marriage and babies are your ultimate goal
My biggest issue with The Game is that the end goal is a big wedding, cute babies and happy families. But what if this isn’t your idea of a happy ending? To me, commitment means buying matching bikes and maybe, MAYBE, adopting a tea cup pig. Someone teach me The Game to get there and this girl will happily be your padawan learner.
It is widely accepted fact that 98.74% of real life relationships do not play out the same way as relationships portrayed by Hollywood, mainly because they happen in real life. While you’re traveling though, real life ceases to exist. Reality becomes a magical dream land where every day is filled with adventure, booze is free flowing and if you’re somewhere beachy, ridiculously good looking people are wearing ridiculously little. This is the perfect climate to dabble in a casual romantic pursuit or two. But don’t let the word casual fool you! These affairs often become bona fide Hollywood style romances, complete with we-literally-just-met-but-I-think-I-love-you sequences, dramatic kisses in the middle of the warm ocean at 3am and glorious, bed breaking sex.
There are a couple of reasons a casual holiday fling can become such an intense affair. Time, or lack thereof, plays a critical role. You have to operate on a completely different time frame, as a matter of urgency. If you don’t, the opportunity will vanish right before your eyes. Normally wait three weeks before you sleep with someone? Make that three hours on holidays. THIS SHIT IS URGENT GODDAMIT! The gorgeous creature you just met is about to disappear from your life! You must kiss/bed them right now or you will beat yourself up about it for years to come! And really, is there any better aphrodisiac than knowing that the other person must have you this very second, or they will live to regret it for the rest of their lives?*
We can afford to act with such unbridled passion because while travelling, you become a completely new person. Gone is the old, highly strung obsessive you. You’re a citizen of the world now! A free spirit, roaming the earth, sharing the love! Gone too are the constraints of real life. Can’t take anyone home in Melbourne because the idea of your parents finding you with a naked person in your bed is enough to make you feel nauseous? Not an issue on holidays! Just take them back to your hotel room! Anything is possible in this magical dream land!
But the real reason holiday romances are the closest one can ever get to on-screen love is because they end before real life shit (busy schedules, third parties, flatulence problem) can get in the way. No complications, no hard feelings, you just both have to move on to your next destination. The drama doesn’t have to end here though! In your head, you can believe that the only thing keeping you apart is distance. And one day, you will be magically reunited and it will be the greatest love story of all time, worthy of a Nicholas Sparks novel better than The Notebook.
You never know, it could happen. But at the very least, it’ll give you something to think about in the entire semester of classes that lies ahead of you. Reality sucks.
Well well well, look at you Blog! Aren’t you just shiny and new and fresh? Like you’re just waiting to be loved and cherished and adorned with beautiful words. And boy, do I have words for you! Lots of them, in fact.
Bloggy, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.