Thursday, 28 May 2015

Perfectionism vs Settling

I often wonder why so many attractive, charismatic and intelligent women are single. I used to spend more hours than I care to admit, wondering why I was single, after all, I didn't have a third eye or a mass of facial hair. I know many girls and women who have lots to offer, some who have children, some who don't, some who are happily single and some who aren't. In the midst of different jobs, different backgrounds, races and religions - the one common denominator is that they are all single. I can't wrap my brain around it, what is wrong with the men of the world? Why aren't they beating down their doors? ...Or are they actually doing that and we aren't answering?

I can't vouch for any of these women, I can only draw on my own first hand experiences, and the second hand experiences of many of my friends. But I think there is an element in me that meant I didn't want to settle for anything less than the best. I think this is common, and quite normal. Quite frankly who wants to settle for anything less than the best in a mate? We all want the scorching hot, good job, well mannered, parent-impressing mate, who'll be the answer to all of our problems. And why shouldn't we? We are intelligent, independent, feisty and gorgeous. Hell, we deserve the Prince Charming!

But what happens when we meet him and realise he's not perfect? Or he meets her and realises she isn't perfect? Does that count as 'settling'? Are we so in-built with the over-enthusiastic view of what the happy ending looks like, that we loose touch with reality? And the reality is that relationships are hard at times. They take work, blood, sweat and tears.

I don't believe you should 'settle' but I think there's a big difference between 'settling' and expecting someone to be perfect.

When you're browsing the isles of the singles market, you should have a heightened sense of perfectionism in mind. Don't start out thinking you should make allowances and date the guy who's work ethic conflicts with yours, or who doesn't want children (in the long run) when you do. If perfectionism is allowed at any point, it's the browsing stage. You should absolutely indulge your inner princess, and make sure your potential mate ticks all of your non-negotiable checkboxes.

When you first meet someone, it should be electric. When I met my ex, I had butterflies in my tummy every time he looked at me and every time he touched me, even if brushing past me, I would feel physical chemistry strike between us. Every text made me excited, I loved it and smiled at every single one. Before I met him, I'd dated other guys but not many had that affect, and so after the odd date, they were no-more. My ex changed all of that, and subconsciously he reminded me of what I had been waiting for in a guy. How he made me feel is the feeling we should be aiming for when we meet someone and thanks to him showing me this, I ended up meeting my current boyfriend who surpassed all of my expectations - but my ex taught me to wait for this. That's when you know it's worth it - whether it's for a 6 week fling, or a 60 year marriage.

We should all aim for perfect in the beginning, but without kidding ourselves that it will always be that way. Potential partners need to be perfect at causing electricity with you, but they won't be perfect overall, so don't have unrealistic hopes. If you do, ultimately it's only us who get hurt.

Things change when the relationship is solidified. When you're a few months in and nicely settled, and you've picked up on some of their bad habits. That's when you need to let your rose-tinted-perfection-seeking glasses slide a little - and when you need  to make allowances. I know that I can be quite demanding, and dare I say it, a little jealous at times. My boyfriend has his faults too. We're both human and this is normal. I make allowances for his faults, and I would like to think that he does the same. We have a good relationship, an amazing one, but not a perfect one. And I don't know anyone who does. If someone appears to - they're lying. I learnt long ago that perfect relationships don't exist, no matter what Nicholas sparks tells us. Has that been an easy lesson? No way! But I've learnt it and I'm very happy with it now. It's made me more easy-going and less high maintenance too. Poor bloke would have hated the old Lady Writes - she was far too demanding!

Now that I don't expect perfection, I don't try and give it either. I am who I am. In looking for perfect chemistry in the beginning, I found the guy who was worth not settling with anyone else for. And also the guy who was worth allowances when I began to fall past chemistry.

My thoughts are this - seek perfection in the beginning, but don't expect it in the long run. If you find the perfect chemistry with someone, hold on to it - for that is the person worth making allowances for throughout a relationship.


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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

How To Please Your Partner

I feel like it would help both the men and women of this world, to have an idiots guide to how you can impress your partner/make up after an argument/win their heart forever. So, after much thinking, here it is:

Ways To Impress/Make Up With/Win The Heart Of a Lady:
1. Buy her flowers.
Girls love them. We do. Turning up with a bunch to celebrate special occasions, to apologise, heck - even just once in a while, out of the blue will impress us. Massively. Those nice smelling things are a key to our hearts, mostly because it shows you've made an effort and thought about us. If you're prone to making mistakes, then it's best to take out shares at the local florist.

2. Offer us your last rolo.
Or sweet. Or shot. Whatever it is, offer it to us. We won't accept it, but offering it shows us you can be selfless. We applaud that. Well done,

3. Pay.
Not all the time, and not for everything. But once in a while, paying for dinner or coffee, or anything, shows us that you're being thoughtful, and generous - a gentleman. No-one likes a tight fisted guy.

4. Pay her compliments.
Want to melt our hearts? There's no quicker way to make us swoon than telling us how you feel about us. Think your partner is the most beautiful woman on the planet? (you should) Then tell her, compliment her when she looks great, tell her all the wonderful things us women want to hear our man say. If in doubt, watch a Nicholas Sparks film - you're bound to find some inspiration there.

5. Always smell good.
Aftershave. Aphrodisiac. 'Nuff said.

6. Show her off.
We don't want to feel owned or controlled, but we do want to feel like we're yours. This means we want you to introduce us as your girlfriend, we want you to tell people about us, we want you to put photo's on social media of us together - lovely dovey comments all the time is a bit much, but showing the world that you're proud we are yours - that's a sure fire winner.

7. Endure.
If we have to endure football, tennis, cricket etc. then you need to endure chick-flicks. Fair is fair after all.

8. Call and text her.
We love talking to you - we are talkative creatures, us femmes. We can multi-task and text while we work, we like to speak to you through the day. Not constantly, but knowing we're on your mind is always nice. Good morning and good night texts are another key to our hearts. How romantic to know we are the first and last thing you think of. Once in a while mix it up, call us to say good morning too - it's nice to make us smile.

9. Dress well.
No-one thinks socks and sandals looks good. That trend was never 'in' so it's always been out. Likewise looking like your mother still dresses you isn't attractive. Not everyone is gifted in the fashion sense, but it's not hard to find nice fitting jeans and t-shirts. Otherwise, let us pick for you - you won't fail that way.

10. Plan.
Make plans. Make dinner arrangements, make weekend plans. Pre-arrange a day out together, we don't want to always feel like we're dragging you through the relationship. This sort of effort goes a long way. Unprompted plans also mean that you will find yourself awarded major brownie points.

11. Be a gentleman.
Hold doors open, pour us more wine when the glass is empty, carry our bags if they're heavy, pull out our chair (not while we're sitting on it) - all that nice mannered, gentlemanly behaviour will score well.

12. Apologise.
When you've made a mistake, say the magic word and all will be forgiven...eventually. Denial and justification is the sure fire way to ensure you make us see red, and mean you're likely to sleep on the sofa.

13. Puff your chest.
We don't want you to go crazy green-eyed-monster on us every time our male work colleague speaks to us on a night out. But we do like you to be a little protective of us, puff that chest if someone's making a move on your Mrs. As long as you're not an idiot with it, we will love it.

14. Take an interest.
Listen when we tell you about our latest presentation at work, or about the way our neighbours keep doing this really annoying, and noisy thing...it might very well be the most boring information on the planet, but asking us about it a few days down the line shows you've listened. We like that, we appreciate it.

15. Invest time in her.
We don't want you to sack off your friends and make us the centre of your world. Because, we won't do that for you. But we do want to be your favourite person, the one you want to spend lots of time with. Make time for us, don't neglect us. Don't prioritise your time, so your friends come first and we come second, it's a balancing act admittedly, but don't go too long without making time for us.

16. Research.
Thinking about buying/renting a house together/a car/going on holiday/buying shares or even just going to a concert. Don't leave us to do all the research, show us you care too and spend some time looking at the things we're talking about. It's a nice thing to do. You'll get big brownie points too.

17. Do manly things.
Take the bins out, put up shelves, put a picture up, kill the spiders...do the stuff we can't/hate doing. We will love you even more for it. Also, if we're more handy round the house than you, that is not attractive.

18. Shopping.
We know you hate it. We know it's inbuilt into your mere being to despise shopping, but for the love of all things shiny, please man up and don't look so bored. We want to buy things you will like seeing us in (and taking off us) so suck it up, it's only once in a while anyway. If you want to pay the bill, even better!

19. Be experimental.
In the world of Mr Grey, vanilla is deemed boring. In reality, I think it's amazing but that's not the be-all-and-end-all. Don't say no to anything, unless it genuinely terrifies you. Mix it up a bit, it's fun.

20. Don't be a total lad.
We like manly men. We want you to do manly things. But we don't want you to be living like an 18 year old again. Going out drinking is fine, lets do it together and separately with our friends - hey, who doesn't like Tequila? But lets not revisit the uni years and party constantly. It's not attractive and eventually you'll be single, 40 and faced with misery. So when you find a nice girl, tone down the 5 nights a week. A bottle of vino, with friends and a film isn't that bad, right?

Ways To Impress/Make Up With/Win The Heart Of a Man:

1. Show up naked.

2. Bring beer.
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Friday, 22 May 2015

The Truth About Fairytales


Once upon a time, lived little girls everywhere who grew up listening to fairytales with a damsel in distress who was swept off her feet and rescued by her Knight in Shining Armour. As they began to hear about love - the likes of Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty became the hallmarks of childhood. These little girls played with 'perfect' looking Barbie dolls who came with their own perfectly matched Ken. As they grew up, these girls replaced fairytales with Nicholas Sparks and instead of dressing Barbies they became engrossed in dressing themselves in the most wonderful, fashionable creations. 

Some of these little girls grew up so infatuated with the 'happy ever after' that they missed the memo saying that sadly, those endings aren't real. These girls became hopeless romantics, heart-on-their-sleeve kind of girls, just waiting, wide eyed for their very own Ken, Prince Charming or Noah (The Notebook) to turn up and whisk them off into the sunset. At some point these girls faced reality, usually through heartbreak, in which their dreams were cruelly snatched away as they came face-to-face with the undeniable truth that romance isn't easy, carefree and wonderful all the time.

There is now another message that smoulders in the more modern fairytales (think Frozen, and Maleficent) one that teaches that girls don't need a man to rescue them, to complete them or to provide their 'happy ending'. The more modern versions now show independent, strong, female characters who can do it by themselves. And when I say "it" I mean, everything. Don't get me wrong, there's still a hunky, swoon-worthy guy around, but he's an addition to her happiness, not the cause of it. He doesn't provide the missing piece, because she's complete without him - he does garnish everything that's already there with a wonderful glow though. I repeat, he's an addition to her life, not the base of it.

The old fairytale morals include following your heart (and apparently it always leads to the door of your one true love) and being so incapable of anything remotely strenuous that even approaching a spinning wheel sees you prick your finger and sends you into a coma in which only a weirdo who likes to kiss sleeping people can wake you from... Overall, the old fairytales show us that we as a sex should be needy, incapable of doing anything for ourselves, and should spend our time running through fields of flowers singing pleasantly and talking to the birds and animals.

Reality? Well, I can't sing like a pop-star, if I talked to animals I would be sectioned (rightly so) and believe it or not I can put furniture up, although admittedly I can't change a tyre. Also, if anyone tried to kiss me awake from a deep sleep, then I'm likely to hit them in shock - I hate being woken up, so best to avoid that one.

I am however of the Maleficent and Ana (Frozen) mentality - sisterhood is key (see 'An Ode to Friendship') and as Beyonce says (or someone like her) I've got my own house, car etc and I don't need a man to give it to me, I've done it by myself thank you very much.

But deep down, underneath my happily independent woman routine, lies the heart of one of those little girls who grew up with fairytales in mind, and spent her teens (and still spends her twenties) secretly loving Nicholas Sparks. This heart gets excited by the prospect of 'Happily Ever After' but this mind is wise enough to know that 'Happily Ever After' has rows, has disagreements, takes hard work and is sometimes near impossible. Happily Ever After isn't riding off into the sunset and never having a problem, in reality Happy Ever After is about finding someone who knows you're not perfect but treats you like you're perfect for them, and even when they feel like you might not be so perfect for them because you drive them insane, Happily Ever After is about building a good relationship, taking time and using a lot of patience because Happy Ever After is really about two people who want to be together in face of the many hardships that will arise. 

Happily Ever After is messed up. What makes a Happily Ever After is if you still want to be there when things really suck. And the new, real fairytales prepare us for the crappy times too.

The real fairytales mean sisterhood is imperative, and Prince Charming is an addition to your life, not a foundation for it. The new fairytales are the ones where the main character can put up a shelf, and can go travelling alone if she wanted to and she can buy her own drinks. Does that mean occasionally it's not nice if Prince Charming brings flowers and wine and makes an amazing fuss of you? No, of course that's amazing, but in it's absence, the modern day fairytale damsel can buy her own flowers and wine if she needs or wants to.

Moral of the new fairytale? Men are great - want them, don't need them... that's when you're most likely to find your Prince Charming.

The End.

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

An Ode To Friendship

Friends.

The family that we choose for ourselves.

The one's who've seen us at our best and have celebrated with us there. And the one's who've seen us at our worst, when there's nowhere lower we can go. They hold our hands when we cry, buy us shots to numb the heartbreak, tell us if our bum really does look mahoosive in that new dress, and they stand by us, even when we moan constantly about men, work, family or money, (potentially at the same time) and they support us when we make decisions they already know will be crap, but we have yet to realise it.

Friends are our foundations, where our hearts have been exposed, broken, rebuilt and nurtured back to life. They are the ones who cry with us, who know exactly what 'that look' means, and who will always pick you up after you've fallen down, once they've stopped laughing anyway..

They're also the ones who would need a hitman hiring if you ever fall out, because they simply know too much..

I've learnt over the course of my life (all 27 years of it) that people come in and out of it. You might meet that really fashionable, admirable new work colleague, or get introduced to the girl with the fantastic sense of humour through a friend of a friend... I've learnt that we don't stop meeting new people, or making new friends. No, admittedly it happens far less as you get older, compared to when you're at school, especially as your existing friendship circle tends to decrease when you reach your twenties anyway, as you realise the value of having less friends, but making sure the ones you do have, are the ones who would take a bullet for you, and vice versa...a nerf bullet anyway.

As I was saying, you meet friends throughout your life, most are seasonal - whether we like it or not. A season may be a summer, or a period of time where you have something in common - like being single, having an addiction to black and white movies, or a bedroom full of One Direction memorabilia (yes i have a friend like this, no I don't share her passion. At all). That season may even last a few years, but eventually that friend may become less prominent. It's at this point when your true friendship circle is revealed. The inner circle, the ones who you count as your true friends. (And yes sometimes the seasonal friends become inner circle friends, which is great otherwise this would be a hideously depressing post!)

One thing that I've found has marked my true friendships - is singlehood. I truly believe that friends who go through singlehood together, stay together. As we all know, singlehood can be the hardest, most disappointing time of our lives, but it can also be filled with laughter, fun, girls nights out, and girls nights in. The roller coaster that singlehood rides on, means that the bonds of friendship are built as you grip the safety bar and hold on for dear life...sometimes not even able to look down.

Nothing will make you more protective of a friend than watching their heartbreak after their douchebag ex dumps/cheats on them. Your instincts to put a mouldy kebab through the douchebag's letter box is sometimes the most overwhelming desire to resist. How dare they make your friend hurt like this after all? Sarcasm aside, when you watch your friend crumble, and you realise it breaks your own heart too, that's when you know it's true friendship.

Experiencing singlehood trials together makes you value their strength, and want to protect their weakness. As you hold the hand of a friend who's making their way back up after a fall, you watch with awe as they start again, and wonder if you'd have the same level of integrity as they do. You join them for tequila on work nights to soften the blows, even when you know you're going to suffer the day after. You send them snapchats of outfits you just know would suit them, and you send them random pins on Pinterest of grossly embarrassing jokes, that anyone else would be offended by - but not her - she shares your humour...or at least, appreciates it.

You might speak every day. you might speak once a week, or sometimes you may find that a few weeks pass, and the pace of life means you've not had time to check-in properly. But the true friends are the ones who, even when separated by distance or time, are the ones who are always there, and pick up where you left off.

All I know is that the friends who've gone through break ups with me, who've sat on my sofa and cried with me, drowned their sorrows with me, and taken time to help rebuild me - they are the ones I couldn't be without. And I hope it's the other way round too.

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves. And some bonds are finalised through the fire of singlehood.

...an ode to all my friends, new and old, I love you all.


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