Searching for satisfaction…

VANESSA SMEETS

A look on the 5 type of guys to avoid and how to enjoy singledom…

singleness

LIVING COLOUR: Your colourful past, certainly makes way for a brighter future. PIC: Online

You’re in your late twenties or early thirties, everyone around you is either getting married or having kids.

The best thing about being single? Less questions on where you were.
The worst? More questions on where you’re going…

There’s a lot of pressure on women of today to, as well as having a fulfilling career, be romantically fulfilled as well. No matter how independent or well she’s been doing.

This leads to her falling desperately for the wrong type of men, starting with…

The Ex

Things ended because he moved away and you had to pursue a career or studies. You both still like each other and still secretly have virtual sex. Big mistake. The truth hits you when pictures of his new girlfriend show up on Facebook. Delete that chapter. Delete him. For good, this time…

This new chapter leads you to…

The Rebound

Why I'm single

The honest truth… PIC: Online

You meet him at a bar, share a few beers. The attraction is pretty insane. The sex turns out to be mind-blowing, but you have absolutely nothing else in common. Stop having sex, it’s preventing you from meeting someone more worthwhile.

However, your loneliness leads you to that elusive…

The One-Night Stand

Out of the blue, you meet someone incredibly smart and attractive. Problem is, you’re still not emotionally ready, so you come across as desperate and smothering. You end up liking him too soon, not knowing this is the type of guy to lose interest when things become too sexual. In a moment of passion, you end up sleeping together. The sex turns out to be average, but you’re kind of determined to find out where this could lead. He, however, is not:

“Listen, I’m not blown away by you. That was fun, but that’s all it’ll remain. Have a nice life.”

You feel like a dirty tramp and turn to…

single dilemma

The flying solo dilemma… PIC: Online

The Best Friend

He’s liked you for years, but you’ve kept your distance. After all, could there not just be one platonic male presence in your life, for goodness sake? After hours of crying on his shoulder for the umpteenth time, you look into his kind, genuine eyes and end up making out. The next time you see him, it’s really awkward, so you end up flirting with…

The Colleague

He’s the guy kind enough to offer you a lift to work or leave post-its while you’re out on a smoke break. Mixing business with pleasure has as many perks as risks. You two soon become office talk.

It’s time to break the vicious cycle many women find themselves in and rather embrace singledom.
In the words of Sex and the City:

“Some people are settling down, some people are settling for less and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.”

Things to embrace while you’re single:

men to avoid

  • Flirt shamelessly with strangers. It’s okay to practice… Practice makes perfect. Just avoid taking them home.
  • Explore the world. Finally you can go on that Contiki tour with your best friend! Do it!
  • Take up new and strange hobbies. Start pole-dancing, hip-hopping, silk painting… You’ll certainly be more interesting to the next lucky fish.
  • Become adventurous without inhibitions. Take up that job offer in South Korea! Go become a photographer on a cruise ship! Au pair while you still can! So many more stories to tell…
  • Focus on what you want, not what you need. Neediness is unattractive. Want is ambitious. Not keen on divorce? Don’t marry that average guy from the dentist’s office.
  • “Water” your friendships. The Sims illustrated this part of social life perfectly. Remember that girlfriend you stopped hearing about once she got hitched? You’ve become her, without the ring. Catch up with a cocktail party or ladies’ night. Liking their Facebook status is simply not enough, by the way.
  • Realize that marriage is more than just a piece of paper, it’s for life. Could you really marry that rebound guy that litters your place with dirty dishes?
  • Play safe. So your heart is broken, wait till you’re emotionally ready to take up something physical. Getting physical too soon means the next guy won’t have time to get to know you on an emotional scale.
  • Keep a diary of your weaknesses, as well as your achievements. Some guys are mean to girls in order to move on more easily, don’t take all their insults to heart. However, if all relationships ended because you were obsessed with your girlfriends or cat, it may be time to overthink some things.
  • Stop complaining, start living. Remember Carrie’s addiction…nagging on and on about Mr Big? So unattractive, even to your closest friends.
  • Find your inner child. He used to steal your lunch, now he’s stolen your dreams. He used to flirt with the teacher, now he flirts with your best friend. Move on. Mr Nice (yet Good-looking) Guy exists… Someone wise once wrote: “Nice guys always finish last, but isn’t that what women want in the end?”

How to scare away Mr Right, now!

VANESSA SMEETS

So you’re back in the dating game, ready to meet Mr Right or Mr Right Now, whichever one comes first. LOL… It’s a daunting feeling: back to gym, the hairdresser, the beauty salon.

Does one dare to colour and cut when you finally meet your blind date? Does one wax for a first date?

Movies like The Ugly Truth and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, as well as series like Sex & the City and books like He’s Just Not That Into You have paved the way for how to date effectively. Yet many women still find themselves making the same mistakes over and over again.

These are the worst things to do when you finally find him (thanks to my guy friends for sharing). Basically, it’s a compilation of “How to lose a guy in 10 minutes…” That easy!

good girls

  • Flirt with his mates and ignore him the whole evening. Some ladies think by being friendly to his mates, you’ll score points with him. There’s a fine line between friendliness and flirtiness, my dear.
  • Wear a wedding dress to a first date. Ummm, yeah… Too eager, perhaps? Wedding dress can refer to anything that hints at moving along too fast: showing bra-straps/ g-string, a garter…
  • Sms/ call him constantly. So, you like the dude? Let him do the chasing! How can he miss you if you never go away?
  • Fall for his best friend. They look alike. They hang out constantly. He’s bound to rub off on you too… Try to keep your distance.
  • Become a sexting slut. Funny enough when you meet the right guy, or what seems to be, you lose inhibition and carry on flirting like madly. Be careful of scaring him off with your tie and bondage fantasies. He may also expect them in real.
handsome

Courtesy: E-cards

  • Rearrange his stuff. So he’s finally allowed you to check out his place? Lucky girl! Don’t ruin it by doing his dishes or laundry; may get too cozy for comfort.
  • Insult his mother or sister. No matter how badly he may talk about them (even just once), never say anything bad about them!
    This is a test to see if you really want to be with a guy who can’t even respect his feminine ties and a test to see how sweet you really are…
  • Insist on knowing everything about his exes. “Did she touch you like that?” is as bad as saying “I love you” on a first date. Don’t go there!
  • Ask him to change his hairstyle/ wardrobe/ way of speaking. You fell for him the way he is, so why go and tempt fate by changing him… that includes his drinking or smoking habits.
  • Cyberstalk him. Declaring your undying love via Facebook will kill it solid! This includes insisting on becoming Facebook official (The worst kind: “In a relationship with… and it’s complicated.” Does everyone need to know you’re not having sex regularly?), liking each one of his profile pics, commenting on photos he’s just been tagged in (unless they’re with you) or dedicating a whole album to him.
  • Wait for him in his office. This may sound romantic at first, but may totally freak him out if it becomes a stalkerish habit. “Are you openly spying on me?” will be the first thought on his mind, no matter how sexy your little outfit under the trench-coat is.
  • Use him as a rebound. Transfer all your feelings about “your amazing ex” onto the new guy. So amazing he didn’t last… Don’t do it to this guy.
  • Tattoo his name on your ass or back. It’s called a tramp stamp for a reason, to every guy who gets to see it after your beloved. Look at what Johnny Depp had to do to his Winona Ryder tattoo… Wino forever!
keep her

Courtesy: E-cards

  • Wear something skanky to your first date… Do you really want to leave nothing to the imagination?

This includes…

  • Having sex on the first or second date. Some guys have admitted it turns them on when a girl rubs herself seductively against his crotch, some have complained these are the girls to avoid: the cockteasers. Even worst are the girls unable to close their legs. Sorry hun, whatever your excuses (It’s been months! He smells great! I was drunk!) are never good enough when realizing you’ve been played. As the old saying goes: “Why buy the cow, when the milk’s for free?”

Now, after all that, time to sit back, relax and enjoy!

Online Bait?

VANESSA SMEETS

blog falling in love

PIC: Online

I found myself joining one of South Africa’s most popular dating sites three weeks ago. Why? It was a mixture of dread, hope and curiosity: the dread of trying to get over ex flames, the hope of meeting new people and the biggest social experiment of my entire life.

At first, such dating sites feel a lot like a popularity contest: you are asked to put a head-shoulder pic of yourself (this already makes one feel scrutinized), asked to answer various questions (on your looks, occupation, income… quite personal, but luckily it comes in the form of multiple choice), then asked why people should get to know you (this is the tough one!) and describe your ideal match (where most people exaggerate or “feed” readers things they are expecting).

Risks with online dating:

–       You might be conned into giving away your credit card details (really?)

–       You risk wasting a lot of time (this is where speed dating out-does online dating)

–       If you’re the guy always paying, it gets expensive in the long run

–       Your details can be used on other dating sites as demographic experiments (e.g. if you say you’re Afrikaans, you may find yourself on liefie.co.za)

–       You may bump into someone from your past

BDSM description

Biggest risk? Meeting a bunch of freaks, like this guy trying to convince others BDSM is kosher… PIC: online

Rewards with online dating:

–       You get to chat to many strange and interesting people, whom you don’t have to date but can become activity partners with, e.g. in mountain climbing, martial arts, video games

–       His alias tends to warn you kind of guy he is. Do you really want to date someone called LittleBoyLost or MrHuge?

–       You meet people outside of your social circle (this for me was the most thrilling… even Facebook doesn’t cut it there)

–       You have tons of interesting stories to tell your friends (that’s if you’re brave enough)

Here are some of them…

Phase 1: “The Big Plunge”

By Day 2, I had 100 fans and my inbox was spammed, by being put on people’s favourites’ list.

By Day 3, I had been already offered a threesome by another “adventurous” blonde in Joburg. When I wrote adventurous on my profile, I didn’t mean promiscuous. She didn’t take my response too well and blocked me after first insulting me. Yip, dating sites are a great way for people to vent out all types of fantasies and frustrations.

By Day 4, I had been offered my second BDSM invitation and was starting to fear humanity.

BDSM invite

SAY WHAT?!? My second BDSM invite… not by the same guy. Strange and to the point. PIC: online

By Day 7, I had reached the most popular list and my email went haywire! Weirdos from all the over the world (including Austria and Israel) were asking me if I would relocate for them. Seriously?

By Day 10, I had been contacted by my 5th or 6th married man, looking for someone to make his sex life more exciting.

Those were the shockers, but I decided to persevere… Was there hope in mankind after all?

Phase 2: “Getting to know you*”

* These are not their real aliases on the site

By Day 14, I was brave enough to start chatting via WhatsApp to about 5 guys. The first one “Mr Charming” was the most interesting. He was clever and good-looking, but seemed a little too good to be true.

The second one “Candyman” was sweet and kind, but kept on insisting I write to him by paying for my subscription. It was a great way to continue with the experiment free of charge.

The third one “Smooth Lips” seemed kind and fun but became more pushy as time progressed.

The fourth one “Chatty Matt” would bug me with so many questions, I had no intention of meeting him in person (what would there be left to talk about?).

The fifth one “Gamer” decided to play the 21 questions game, which became tedious and too personal. The game involves asking your “opponent” questions that reflect at the same time a lot about you. The risk of exaggerating the truth becomes quite tempting in such a game, especially that your answer tends to lead to their next question.

Phase 3: Teasing

The trick with juggling so many guys and chats is the teasing. Every guy you meet will react to teasing differently.
Teasing comes in various forms:

  • not answering a question straight away (= I have a life apart from this site)
  • answering the question with another question (= I don’t like your question and have a brain of my own)
  • answering the question indirectly ( = I’m mischievous) and
  • not responding (I don’t find you that interesting or compatible)

Phase 4: Actual Dating

Dates are called DATEs for a reason: Dauntingly Awkward To Everyone. Especially the first one…
Before deciding what to wear, you have to decide what information you’re wishing to divulge. Maybe avoid anything too personal for now: exes, sex, religion and politics. Nice topics are hobbies, sport and places you’ve visited.

My first date with Smooth Lips was literally an anti-climax. After the awkward first hug, I realized I towered above him. He had sort of lied about his height:

“The height on my profile is my height! With shoes!”

Well, then I should technically be 1m90. He wouldn’t let the topic go, which bothered me more than his actual height. It showed me he could exaggerate any “tiny topic” and showed his insecurity and pushiness.

Candyman was just too sweet, which makes me wonder if he’s really sincere. Chatty Matt turned out to be quite cool, but I was a bit taken aback by his gift (a beautiful bracelet). First dates still have boundaries.

I’m not sure if I’ll make plans with Gamer. He seems to be a good manipulator, who remembers everything thoroughly. I have yet to meet Mr Charming; kind of scared things will fall apart once I do. But at least this futile quest may be over. Sigh…

 profile

Watch out for the guy who is too descriptive and whose life seems over the top… How could you ever top his endless list? 😀 PIC: online

Phase 5: Choosing

This phase is more frustrating than confusing. It’s better to choose from a handful of guys you’ve already met than to continue being on the site.
This short experience has taught me that the guys just get worse as time progresses, as your automatic compatibility (set up by the site) lessens. Also, things are more exciting and fresh in the beginning and it gets extremely tiring talking about your favourite movie for the 20th time.

Fish fast! Fish efficiently! Look at every aspect, especially his replies regarding children and religion. Does he avoid these questions? Seems like he’s not very serious on his background or future plans.

Rules for online dating:

  • Safety first: always meet in a public place. It doesn’t matter if this is a fourth date: psychopaths are psychopaths.
  •  Never give out your real name on the site (this could lead to major cyberstalking, especially with Facebook’s new timeline, not as full-proof as before)
  • Always tell your family/ close friends where you are going, as embarrassing as online dating may seem
  • Take care if you’re on WhatsApp rather than BBM (via Blackberry)… this means another freak may have your number rather than pin and may end up calling you randomly, all the time.

Playing a Player: The Big Bad Wolf

VANESSA SMEETS

 

Beast/ wolf-man

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Beneath the exterior of Mr Nice Guy, there's the beast who is able to steal your heart and eat your dreams. The band Duck Sauce has opened up a whole new debate: What if this beast is woman, not man? PIC: Online/ Wolf-man movie

The new Duck Sauce song “Big Bad Wolf” is bringing the notion of ‘player’ to a whole new level: that it can apply both to men and women.

The video is 18-rated for explicitly showing men on the prowl, hunting for hot girls. After finding the chosen targets in a bar, the ‘leader of the pack’ unzips his pants and you are horrified to find a head in the place of his “package.” The second guy follows suit and their heads howl in unison towards the ladies. They take them home and, shockingly, the women also have heads instead of their ‘delicate areas.’

Ah, the bitter-sweet wolf-whistle. Some girls thrive on its power to make you feel sexy, others hate it for demeaning women as pieces of meat. For many girls, the video shows the disturbing truth of being confronted by sex every day. You cannot wear cleavage, a short skirt or red lipstick without being stared at constantly. But, the video also shows another interesting dynamic: women who think more like men about sex. The girls in the video are just as keen to partake in making out and sleeping with the lustful heads.

But, is this the effect guys anticipate? A guy friend once told me:

“Girls don’t dress that way (short skirts, red lipstick) for guys. They wear that for each other. It’s a constant competition of who is hotter and who can keep your attention for longer.”

Duck Sauce wolf

MIND GAMES: Are men and women thinking more and more alike? The new song "Big Bad Wolf" argues yes. PIC: Online

What the other guys say:

“Dressing sexy may attract me. But personality is what keeps me.”

“Girls are thinking more like men. It’s all about: ‘I am hot. I need sex.’ While the men are thinking: Damn! My heart will be broken again.”

“The more skin I see, the more I lack respect. Come on, leave something to the imagination!”

“Girls must stop thinking I want to talk dirty constantly. Sometimes ‘How was your day?’ will just be as meaningful. Knowing you care about me is a massive turn on all on its own.”

“She broke up with me when I told her I needed a break from all the sex. Yeah, it hurts at times down there! She didn’t believe me, thought I had someone on the side…”

“I can’t take it when I’m in a club enjoying the music and some random girl rubs herself against my crotch. I’ve been slapped for not reacting. Sometimes I just wanna listen to the music!”
“I think Cosmo and programmes like Sex and the City are breeding the man-eater generation. She wants sex with Mr Right Now, not Mr Right.”

“I’m scared of those girls who plaster themselves in make-up and expect you to take them home. I just want the real deal, stop trying to give me America’s Next Top Model wannabe.”

“Women are the hunters these days, but I still wanna do the chasing. There’s no fun in it being the other way around. I’ll lose interest too quickly.”

“Girls these days keep asking me if I’m a T ‘n T (Tits or Toosh/ Ass) guy. They are horrified to find I’m a smile or eyes kind of guy. Those attributes keep me dreaming…”

The better to smell you with

This miscommunication between men and women may have been caused by the girl’s unfortunate meeting with “the Big Bad Wolf,” once upon a time. This is the guy who’s been emotionally present in a girl’s life for a few weeks, months or even years. He listens to her problems, comforts her with the right words and NEVER makes any comments on her physique.

She comes to believe that he is neutral; that, unlike other guys, he really cares about her. Indeed, he does. It boosts his ego to know how powerful he is to her. She makes the fatal mistake of idolising him.

wolf pack

MOB HYSTERIA: Are men or women more dangerous when they hunt in packs? Who does the chasing, after all? PIC: Online

The better to see you with

This was the case for Michelle. For two and a half years, she dated such a man. At first, their relationship was based on duty and role-play.

She had to clean his flat, massage him and give up her friends to make time for him. Slowly, their relationship transitioned into something romantic, only he would control her by never kissing her on the lips. He only kissed her when she was “well behaved” i.e. when she did exactly as she was told.

She didn’t realise she was just another girl and just another trophy. He never openly flirted with anyone, but his charm kept his popularity intact. She continued to believe they were a happy couple, when in fact it was the most torturous emotional prison. She soon lost her friends, identity and almost her life. After their twentieth break-up , she tried to commit suicide.

Beast

TRUE LOVE: Little girls are led to believe that true love can break any spell and Prince Charming will one day magically appear. PIC: Online/ Beauty and The Beast Disney movie

The better to eat you with

The Big Bad Wolf comes in various forms:

  • Mr Nice Guy: He listens diligently and has the kindest eyes. He also writes to you regularly. You come to believe he truly cares about you. But, one night, you spot him kissing someone else. He casually explains you guys were just friends anyway. You fall for those kind eyes again… until you see him kissing yet another girl the next week and the next.
  • Sweet Talker: He’s full of amazing compliments (mostly about your intelligence/ ambition/ ideals) and takes you for midnight rides in his Merc or BMW. You really believe you are special to him. One night, he kisses you passionately, then asks for your best friend’s number the next time you meet up.
  • Adonis: You meet him at gym. A few months later, he becomes your Personal Trainer after casual talks outside. One night, he asks you out for a glass of wine and takes you back to his place instead. He removes his shirt and casually says: “You can look, but don’t touch: I’ve been in a relationship for five years. But, G*d, you smell good…”
  • Prince Charming: He’s the geeky guy at work that helped fix your car, your computer and your bad back. What talented fingers! One night, you invite him out to thank him. He shows up with his boyfriend. Arghhh….
  • Night Knight: He’s your ex-flame who calls you up each time he’s in town. Each time you tell him no, he ends up sending you something sentimental: the clip of the first song you danced to, a bottle of the perfume you wore when you first met. His memory is excellent, but luckily so is yours…

Forbidden Fruit

VANESSA SMEETS

“There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable,”
Mark Twain

Forbidden fruit

TEMPTATION: Eve's undeniable hunger for the forbidden continues in modern women of today, through dangerous and flirtatious friendships and relationships. PIC: online

For years, he’s been your best friend.
You call him every time you’re sad, sick or have just broken up with someone.
For years, he’s called you to go for a beer, a movie or a spontaneous road-trip.
He makes you smile, laugh and feel like the most special girl in the room. That is until he starts dating that girl from work and is really serious about her.
“I think she may be the one…” he tells you a month later.

Another month later, they go on a two-week holiday. During that time, you can’t help but think of him constantly:
Is she worthy of him?
Will he still have time for us?
Do I need to see him less now?
Do I have to become her friend too?

The thinking turns into missing. He returns from his trip, but doesn’t call you immediately.
A few days later, he lets you know he’s back. You feel hurt. The difference has already begun.

The new happy couple invites you for supper. You suddenly realise how lonely you really are. They touch. They hug. They kiss. You feel terribly uncomfortable, but why?
What is this irritating nagging feeling that won’t go away… Is it jealousy?
What is this gaping hole that deepens with every silent passing day… Is it longing or, even more complex, love?

You try to concentrate on your other friends, but everyone can’t stop talking about the “amazing new girlfriend.” The label sticks for weeks, months, a year… and it hurts you more and more.
Why can’t I just be happy for him? Why do I find myself constantly thinking about our time together?
It finally hits you: I HAVE FALLEN FOR MY CLOSEST FRIEND!
Were we that… were we a couple without ever placing that damn label?
Did the innocent touch of his hand to reassure me after every heart-break mean something more?

“Of man’s first disobedience…the fruit of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
brought death into the world and all our woes,” John Milton, Paradise Lost

friendship?

MIND OVER HEART: Is it possible to just be friends with the opposite sex? Or does that hint of attraction make it even more seductive...? PIC: Online

You decide to find out and confront him.
“Shaun, I’m really worried about our friendship… I don’t see you as much.”
“Judy, I have a girlfriend now. It’s totally normal.”
“Yeah, but…umm…we only go for coffee once a week.”
“At least it’s once a week. What’s the big deal? You’ve been in the dating game in the 10 years of our friendship. Did I complain once?”
“I guess not. I’m just concerned. You’re acting differently towards me.”
“Listen, enough of this. Sally is pretty concerned about all the time we spend together. Once a week is quite enough.”
“Enough? We used to spend every day together.”
“That was in the past.”
“So… I can’t be part of your present…or future?”
“Why are you talking like this? What are you getting at?”
“I think… I know… I miss you…”
“I have to go. I’ll call you next week sometime.”

The week passes and it’s the longest week of your life. He never calls.
A few months later, you call him and it’s constantly engaged. Sh*t, HE’S ENGAGED!
He never bothered telling you. The invitation arrives: You are happily invited to bless Shaun and Sally on their new journey.
“Bless it? Is this what I’m supposed to do when I curse the day they met? Do I have to give my blessing every time they decide to have a baby?”

Your head spins. You decide to tell Sally how you feel.
“Sally, I need to know how you feel about Shaun.”
“I love him.”
“I know that, but how do you feel?”
“Happy. He makes me happy.”
“So, happiness is a good enough reason to rush into marriage?”
“We’ve been together for a year and a half.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve known him for 10 years.”
“What are you getting at, Judy?”
“Is Shaun happy? Is this what he wants?”
“You should ask him that. But, yes, I believe he is. He’s finally moved on.”
“Moved on?”
“You really hurt him in the past; how you compared ex after ex, when the man truly in love with you was standing right there.”
“He’s in love with me?”
“Was. He’s assured me it’s over.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Umm… I’m not sure if you still want to come to the wedding.”
“That’s probably not a good idea. I should escape, get away from all this.”
“We like you, Judy. Don’t do something that drastic. You still mean a lot to Shaun.”
“I can’t. I can’t…. Oh my G…”

“While forbidden fruit is said to taste sweeter, it usually spoils faster…” Abigail van Buren

You don’t go to the wedding. And, surely, nine months later Sally gives birth to a honeymoon baby.
Shaun calls you: “I want you to be the Godmother. Jayden will need you in his life the way I needed you. I know you’ll be there to comfort him, advise him, show him the magic in life.”
You accept. Your love for Shaun fades the more you see the three of them together.

Sally was right: he’s really happy. You focus all the love you had on Jayden now. Shaun remains forbidden fruit. His ripe season was simply not the same as yours. Seasons continue to come and go; yet he remains firmly attached to his family. You finally walk away from the person you shared the same fears and memories with. The first rays of summer dance upon your skin; it is harvest time elsewhere. 

forbidden_fruit body

DESIRABLE: The more innocent the touch, the more there is to explore. PIC: Online

Forbidden Fruit Situations:

  • You study together. Starting something while studying may seem like the perfect way to balance work and fun. It may also cause you to stop concentrating, fail or drop out if it ends sourly. If he’s messing with you, what’s stopping him from tasting the other girls in the class?
  • You work together. There are highs in mixing business with pleasure: a secret rendez-vouz in the photocopying room now and then, gentle kisses in the bathroom. But, there are even more extreme lows: disapproval and gossip by colleagues, complexity when breaking up or sexual harassment charges.
  • Different religions. As much as you may love each other, your in-laws may be at constant loggerheads about marriage, the home and raising the children.
  • He’s your boss. No! No! Someone wise once told me: “Don’t sh*t where you eat!”
  • You’re blood-family. Come on, seriously? Only Jerry Springer made a living out of this…
  • You live on different sides of the world. Some argue long-distance is romantic, adventurous and fun, it is also an extreme test on your energy levels of jealousy, trust and creativity. How much passion do you have to keep it all going?

The Clean Cut

VANESSA SMEETS

There are two types of break-ups: the awkward “Let’s still be friends on Facebook” kind or the “Get the hell out of my life” kind. Personally, I prefer the latter. Yes, yes, there are very slight exceptions.
But why still be ‘friends’ with someone who probably made you cry and stress twice as much as made you laugh, who broke down your self-esteem and who made you believe in inflated promises?

Yes, it’s fascinating to be able to ‘spy’ on them virtually, but what for? Is it to remind you that, yes, life does indeed go on; other girls or guys will come and go, just as you did. Is it perhaps to see how their receding hairline has now transformed into complete baldness or see that they have put on 20 kilograms in the last six months? I doubt it, as no sane person puts up such unflattering pictures.

What is the point of a break-up?

Exactly that: A POINT!

  • It sharpens your mind to what is better suited for you.
  • It pin-points your heart’s deepest desires and weaknesses.
  • It helps write over past break-ups through new anguish and questions.
  • It creates new dreams, new visions and new opportunities.

As my dad says: “No pain, no gain.”

Each break-up toughens your mental sword. You suddenly realize you are human and highly emotional, either through grief, anger or disappointment.

You also realize you are more equipped now than ever before: you are great at flirting, at making your friends laugh or at enjoying life like never before.

An incompatible person will always make you feel just that: INCOMPATIBLE. He/ She will make you believe you absolutely need to stop smoking, need to go to gym more or not spend as much time with your friends. Once you do as requested, he/ she will eventually get bored with you and find a new ‘flaw’ to focus on.

However, the compatible person will take the ‘flaws’ you have and be fascinated by them. The time with your friends will transform into endless conversations about what makes each friend special. The compatible person will look you in the eye and make you feel respected, loved and cherished. Yes, as corny as that.

Ironically, there is a lot to fear when this happens:

You suddenly fear you are not that ideal.
You suddenly fear you have to prove yourself.
You suddenly fear his/ her genuine love for you is a hoax.


This comes from failing in other relationships, where you thought of yourself as just another experiment.

Here, though, you should transform from experiment to experience: see your true worth, embrace it and immerse your partner in it too. True bliss comes from peace of mind and sure belief in one’s choices and one’s new relationship…

moving onFrom old to new:

  • Write the break-up letter with all your anger and read it out aloud the next day. You will realize all the toxic has been released. Then, get rid of it before it contaminates you further.
  • Erase him/ her from Facebook and other networking sites. Yes, that easy and yet that hard to do…
  • Erase old smses, emails and photos. There is a time and place for everything and that time has now passed. Grieve and move on.
  • Take up a new hobby and meet new people. All this extra time will help you create new memories, allowing the old ones to slowly fade away.
  • Go for Reiki. A psychologist or psychiatrist may analyse what you already know, but a Reiki therapist will give you the means to heal in your own time. You will discover a whole new you, without being overly confronted by the past.
  • Be disciplined enough to keep a diary… You will be thinking, analysing and philosophising a lot more than before. It makes for a great read in years to come.

Bad bad boys

VANESSA SMEETS

James Dean bad boy

SMOKING HOT: Yip, the ultimate "bad boy" makes you feel smoking hot, only to burn you in the end. PIC: online

At 25, I’ve witnessed dozens of heartbreaks: some my own, some my friends. It all begins in childhood with your “first love:”
At age 10, you suddenly realize you really like your best friend. You hang out all the time. You laugh at all his jokes, even the corny ones.
At age 13, you start wearing make-up in hope he’ll notice you.
At age 16, you have your first drink in hope you’ll lose all inhibitions and finally tell him how you feel. Too late. He ends up making out with one of your good friends and they date till varsity.
In the years apart, he hardly talks to you, as she feels threatened by your friendship. One day, he calls you in the middle of the night: “I made a mistake… I cheated on her.”
You give him the usual advice on honesty and love: “Don’t worry, be honest. Tell her what happened.” She breaks it off before he gets the chance. He calls you now, night after night, in a drunken stupor:

“You’re the only one that truly knows me. I…. I….”

gaspard Ulliel naked truth

NAKED TRUTH: Could you ever be happy with a bad boy as hot as Gaspard Ulliel? Maybe it's time to rethink the long-term effects of living on the edge: unnecessary stress, hassle and heartbreak. PIC: Online

The phone suddenly hangs up. He’s been in a terrible car accident. Luckily, he survives and for days you visit him relentlessly. Your heart breaks to see him so vulnerable and in so much pain.
His eyes open but he has no idea who you are anymore. Maybe he heard your crying or gentle words of love and comfort while he was in a coma.
Okay, this story seems a little over-the-top, yet isn’t this what most girls go through? For years, we try getting the attention of the one guy that made us feel special (even just once). You dote on his achievements, his girlfriends, and his mistakes, only to be told years later that it was all in vain.

At age 18, it’s your Matric Dance/ Prom and you sadly realize he’s going with “her” despite the promise you guys made to each other years ago… Instead, you go on a blind date with your dentist’s son or, God forbid, your distant cousin.
All night, you watch him in the arms of that other girl. That other girl who has no idea why he has a scar above his left eye or what music makes him laugh or tick. They kiss at midnight. You watch and lose yourself in the infatuation that one day it will be you.
At varsity, you finally let go and fall for the bad boy who never comes to class, but always asks for your notes.

“I really need a private tutor,” he tells you with a charming smile.

One guyYou stay late to help him out. Alone in the library, he tries to kiss you. What the hell… You go for it. The next time he finally turns up in class, but completely ignores you.
You go out with your girlfriends and swear you’ll never fall for someone again, yet you end up reminiscing on your childhood sweethearts most of the night. Some have gone bald. Some are fathers. Some have escaped the country in hope of something better.
“Escape,” such a beautiful word. Just as you wonder what happened to your childhood friend, he appears out of nowhere: “Hey beautiful! Remember me? Remember us?”
There’s a slight teasing in his voice that makes you feel uncomfortable. His friends join your friends, happily chatting away; but you two have absolutely nothing to say to each other.

In fact, all you want and need to say is FORBIDDEN TERRITORY:

“I loved you for years and never said a word. I watched you break a dozen hearts, including my own. And now all I have to say is I HATE YOU for wanting my heart, getting it and throwing it away over and over again.”

It’s a question that has bedazzled scientists, psychologists and Sex & the City junkies for years:

Why do women fall for the wrong type?

  • He’s exciting. Fantasizing about someone unattainable is as hot as a night out with a complete stranger. The fantasy out-does the reality no matter what.
  • He’s a natural high. You know you can’t have him, yet watching him and even slightly touching him gets you high.
  • He’s the perfect escape. You’ll always have something to talk about with your girlfriends: how cute he is, who’s his new flame, do you still have a chance…

Cartoon bad boysSorry, ladies, but this guy you claim to love and talk about is a complete waste of time. In the words of Marilyn Monroe: if he didn’t appreciate you in the worst of times, he certainly won’t appreciate you in the best of times.
You’ll just be that girl he can booty-call, have virtual sex with whenever he feels like it or turns to for obvious advice, but completely ignores in real life. Really now? What about that guy you’ve been teasing for years, always turn to and yet ignore when he gets too close? It sucks to be in his place, doesn’t it? Time to break your fantasy and finally unbreak your heart.

There’s no place for you when it comes to you and the bad bad boy’s ego.

The Brutal Truth: Men versus Women

VANESSA SMEETS

men vs women

BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Two completely different species? No, two completely different ways of thinking... PIC: online

There’s nothing like the muse of personal experience to inspire. This is what men say and what they really mean…

I think you’re special, but… >> You’re just not the one.

You’re so beautiful and intelligent, yet… >> I had my fun, it’s time to let go.

Look, it happened just once… >> It may just happen again.

Call me later when you’ve settled down. >> You’re annoying me.

I can’t see you this week or the next. >> I’m just not that into you.

I’ll call you sometime. >> If I remember your name, I’ll call you.

Why are you wearing that? >> It makes you look fat.

Your friend is cool. >> I think she’s hot.

Who’s your friend? >> Can I get her number?

Let’s be friends. >> Let’s pray you don’t take out some vicious revenge plot out on me!

Look, the sex was fun. >> That’s all it was to me.

I don’t know where this is going… >> We’re over. Whatever it was.

It’s not you, it’s me. >> It is you. I just don’t dig you that much…

You got to move on. >> Leave. Right now.

I don’t know what to say. >> Stop asking! I have really no idea what you want me to tell you.

Why are you upset? >> Oh gosh, here we go for another two hours…

I’m tired. >> Please stop talking to me.

Sorry, I only saw your message/ phone-call now. >> You’re not that important to me.

Stop calling me. >> Stop calling…. For good.

men vs women cartoon

Broken wings and puppet strings

VANESSA SMEETS

women abuse

QUIET PAIN: Domestic violence comes in three forms, emotional, physical and sexual. PIC: online

MEETING THE MONSTER

Jane* doesn’t really remember the first time she was struck by a man. She must have just been three years old when her dad hit her for the first time, for having her elbows on the table while eating.

As she grew up, she was attracted to men with short tempers. They fascinated her. At first, watching them shout at car-guards or beggars was entertaining. But then, it became frightening.
When she and her first love, Dylan, went clubbing one night, she realized she was in love with a monster. She told Dylan about the cleaner who had taken cash out of her bag while they were dancing. His piercing blue eyes turned red with anger. He almost beat the cleaner to a pulp, when he was pulled off by a bouncer.

Jane can’t talk at first when I ask her how it ended. She fidgets with the rims of her skirt.

“I told him I was pregnant. That’s when I saw hatred in his eyes. He stuffed the morning-after pill into my mouth. No water. Just his dry fingers reaching as far as possible into my throat. I bit him then and he slapped me across the face.”

That night, Dylan took her out for dinner. He was completely different. He treated her perfectly, paid her compliments and placed a beautiful necklace around her neck.

DECEPTION

It wasn’t the first time he had struck her for “inappropriate behaviour.” Four months into their dating, she went through his computer and found a list of girls he had slept with. There was a name after hers.

“I tried to hide it for two weeks, but the pain ate me up. I confronted him. At first, he pretended not to know what I was talking about. But then, I asked about each one, one by one. His voice changed. He became like a little boy filled with guilt. He hit me for invading his privacy. Then he apologised and even shed a few tears. I fell deeper for him then.”

The pattern of falling deeper for him the more he failed her continued for two and a half years. She stopped seeing her friends and stopped going to church.

PUPPET MASTER

She became his puppet. He told her how to dress, speak and act and she listened diligently.
“In a sick way, by losing my identity, I thought I was growing closer to him. He was untouchable. He was the most popular guy in our group and I, suddenly, was good enough to be his queen.”

alone

SOLE SOUL: Many abused women feel completely alone and embarrassed to talk about what they are going through. PIC: online

Her hands tremble now as I ask her about the night that changed her life.
“His mother was visiting from overseas. She prepared him and his brother supper, but they never thanked her or showed any affection. I caught her crying quietly and told her: ‘Don’t worry. They love you.’
He was furious: ‘Those are forbidden words in my family! Don’t you ever intervene! You have no business telling her that!’

It was so absurd. He had never spoken to me in that way. He locked me outside on his balcony for two hours. I cried. I screamed. To no avail. After two hours in the cold, he opened the door and yelled: ‘Are you sorry yet?’

‘Sorry for what?’ I whimpered back. His hands tightened around my wrists, which he now placed behind my back. ‘Why don’t you jump?’ he said, while laughing. His hands caressed my neck and back, slowly pushing me to the edge. Believe me, I was tempted to do it. I looked at my life and realized I had nothing left to give.

Rihanna abuse

RIRI: Domestic violence was brought to light again in 2009, when Pop singer Rihanna was assaulted by her boyfriend Chris Brown. PIC: online

A few months later, Jane was in a mental institution, diagnosed with Psychosis. Her brain couldn’t take any more abuse. Dylan came to visit her regularly with chocolates or flowers.
“You’re not very strong are you?” he hissed one night, as she lay sobbing on his chest. “I can’t be with someone who can’t get up again. Get up! I dare you!”

Jane was on so much medication that she couldn’t tell what was real or not anymore. She saw worms coming out of her veins. She saw animal faces upon everyone that visited her. She called Dylan to share her fears, but he stopped picking up. At times, he would just breathe into the phone.

suicide pills

TEMPTATION: Jane swallowed a cocktail mix of 22 pills on her 22nd birthday, for every year of what her boyfriend called her of "being a burden." PIC: Online

THE FINAL BLOW

Jane became more and more lost in her despair. She finally decided to commit suicide. She swallowed 22 pills on her 22nd birthday, for every year that she thought she was a burden.
Just in time, the doctors pumped her stomach. The white froth dried up around her lips was the only evidence she had gone to such desperate measures.
She never heard from Dylan again, until Valentine’s Day four months later.

“I’m sorry. I need you. I want you back.”

Instead of falling for the voice she had become so accustomed to, she heard him as the conniving man her soul had once feared, but was now ready to fight. She was finally free. Detectives tried to find him, but he had already left the country. After doing various investigations, they found out that a few of Dylan’s ex-girlfriends were in mental institutions and one had already committed suicide.

Jane stutters as she continues:

“I was lucky enough to make it out in time. Somehow, I got my life back on track. He haunted my dreams for a while, but I refuse to give him any more power. I hope he reads this some day. But, people like that don’t have a heart or conscience. I refuse to ever sacrifice mine again.”

*name has been changed

Signs you’re dealing with a Player Signs you’ve got a Keeper
– he checks your friends out all the time- he calls to say he misses the action- he makes you feel small and inadequate

– he buys you expensive gifts

– his phone is on voicemail when you call

– he talks about himself 24/7

– he speaks about his exes in derogatory terms

– he spends time getting to know your body, saying you’re his favourite

– he checks you out all the time- he calls to say he misses your voice- he makes you feel magical and special

– he makes you sentimental gifts

– he picks up even when he’s busy

– he talks about you 24/7

– he speaks about his exes briefly, with respect

– he spends time getting to know your favourite things


Just another girl…

VANESSA SMEETS

I keep on hearing Rihanna‘s “Only Girl” on the radio…

“Want you to make me feel like I’m the only girl in the world
Like I’m the only one that you’ll ever love
Like I’m the only one who knows your heart
Only girl in the world
Like I’m the only one that’s in command…”

Still inclined to believe in fairytales and living happily ever after, this is a dream for most girls. We dream about meeting someone on a plane with the same hopes and aspirations, who’ll set our soul aflight. We fantasize about being the most beautiful girl at the party. We cherish compliments and over-analyze situations in which we didn’t get any.

little lady

DESIRE: Our youngest dreams help built our greatest expectations. PIC: online

Little Lady

As little girls, our self-esteem depended on the words and actions of our parents. If your parents had a very passionate relationship and showed public affection, you tend to have a more outgoing personality and tend to be a die-hard hopeless romantic. You may, however, feel very frustrated if you don’t find someone as passionate as you.

If your parents were more reserved and hardly paid you compliments, you may make up for it by being overly flirtatious and in need of constant attention.

If your father was absent for most of your youth, you may have had more intense or abusive relationships, often with older men.

If you were Daddy’s little girl, you tend to comfortable with being single or will end up marrying your childhood sweetheart, for he reflects the inner child you still embrace.

fling

FALLING FAST: Do flings really end up into things? PIC: online

Fling into thing

In high school, our Guidance teacher preached:

“Girls give sex for love, boys give love for sex.”

I was only 15, so it didn’t mean much at the time. But the words stuck…

Take Jessica. Looking back on her past relationships, she realized most of them were flings that had turned into things. This may have come from her parents’ painful and unexpected divorce, where she attached herself to unrealistic and heart-wrenching relationships. The guys she dated often had a lot of baggage, which made her want to help them. But the heavier the baggage, the more draining it was on her soul and the emptier she felt after each break-up.

The biggest problem with turning a fling into a thing is that your partner may only view you in a physical way, and not yet emotionally. This often leads to a rollercoaster impression of fears, questions and little peace of mind.

You are often thrown into the deep end of giving a lot, with receiving very little in return. Also, if you break up, you have very little chance of remaining friends, as you keep asking yourself: “Did he ever really know me?” The question is: do you even know yourself? Are you the flirtatious vixen that can move on through one-night stands or are you still the vulnerable teen that yearned for the world to accept, let alone understand, her?

girl in command

CHASING DREAMS: Girls dream of being chased... but often end up chasing the dream. PIC: online

How not to be just another girl:

APPRECIATE YOURSELF: Take time to do the things you enjoy. Take up a new hobbie and meet a diverse group of people. This will break down the wall you’ve built up through distrust and heartache.

SOCIALIZE: Throw the best party in town. Invite your friends and their friends. Have a theme to make it even more memorable. Who doesn’t want to go to a masked ball or dress outrageously for one night? Also, it makes for great Facebook pics.

REPUTATION: You may like the thrill of a one-night stand, but wouldn’t it be awkward to bump into that guy at your regular supermarket or at your niece’s pre-school?

CLOSE THE DOOR: Often women tend to deal with their past by contacting the characters that featured. Weird thing is, the guy you dated then is not the one he is today. You may yearn for that familiar touch or his nickname for you, but he’s probably had a number of women ever since. Have enough dignity to walk away from your past for good and clean up your state of mind…
…Because, in the end, the only girl that knows your heart is the one looking at you from the mirror. She’s in command 😉