A Recipe For Relationship Success

We all want to have our cake and eat it too and, as the old adage goes, if you’re going to bake a cake then you’re going to need to break some eggs.  You may be happy with a Coles-brand sponge or maybe you’re the kind of person that dreams of a multi-layered rainbow cake romance. Perhaps you’re a new-age paleo/vegan/ gluten-free  romantic and you need some kind of flourless carrot cake love. Whatever your hungry heart desires, like cake, a good relationship requires some methodical mixing of ingredients and a good pinch of patience.

We’ve all sat back and wondered why such a promising love was such a flop. You started out with a picture of a Women’s Weekly birthday cake and before you know it you’re elbows deep in a singe-crusted, oozy topping, food dyed disaster. You’re weeping on the floor of the kitchen, covered of course, in the main ingredient: flour. No relationship, no love, no cake. Just a big bloody mess and a torn up photo of a multi-layered, dinosaur cake with green butter icing and peppermint leaf spikes.  The white dust settled on every surface quietly transforms into gelatinous papier mache glue as it mingles with your cascading tears.

Such life events show us that it’s not a matter of following a simple recipe. Being human – all too human – we rush into things. We miss crucial steps, skip ahead, think we know best, ignore the oven timer and become completely distracted watching Family Feud, delivering a half-baked, lackluster love, droopy and distinctly lacking some key ingredient. So what are the essentials?

Obviously there’s got to be flour, you are trying to bake a cake after all.  I’ll call the flour (or almond meal if you’re that way inclined) love. . All you need is love, right? Love is all you need. That’s what I was told. Wrong. Whatever it is your heart desires from love, you’re going to need more than just flour. You’re also going to need a raising agent, a spark, a chemical reaction, something to turn a bowl of beige stodge into a fluffly delight. Without baking powder, you’ll end up making friendship crepes. Now, if you have flour and baking powder then you can have a crack at damper – you might even magic up some play-dough or a scone – but you’re still only half way to a relationship.

Holding the cake together is the eggs, the milk, the butter or the mashed bananas for my vegan friends. Key binders in a love cake might seem critically obvious, but they are often the most neglected component. Your eggless cake is the relationship your peers turn their nose up at. The foray that causes you to fall out with old friends. It’s trust, respect, communication, equality, understanding, acceptance, openness. Without a minimum of three of these components the partnerships skews towards ownership. Old eggs in your love meringue ruin your chances at that soft, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness, delivering instead a disappointing dish that really should go straight in the bin.

A cake should be sweet and it needs measures of kindness, caring, thoughtfulness; all that vom-worthy couple stuff. But there’s no level of garnish that can can uncook a catastrophy. No extravagant couple holiday, kissing selfie profile pic, overtly affectionate post or tacky couple tatt that can overcome a blundered base. There is no measure of silver cashews that can convincingly bedazzle a bland bundt cake. Some of us think we want a hot partner, nice dinners, holidays, presents. While a thick layer of icing can mask a dry cake, remember that the best chocolate brownie needs no extra decoration.

In truth, you can’t make a cake without flour. You also cannot call a bag of flour a cake. It’s not enough to fight for a relationship because you’re in love. If you are missing trust, respect, dignity, honesty and communication, it’s going to be a shitshow,  not a souffle . Too many times I hear vile, unhealthy and downright repulsive behaviour condoned and defended by love. So babe, what you’re telling me Neanderthal Neil can be excused for crushing you confidence, destroying your friendships and ruining your life? “…but, but you don’t understand, we’re in love.”

Mmm. Cool story. Neil is not a masterpiece, he’s got less personality of a bag of sugar and is not a healthy or balanced addition to your diet. You may as well throw fistfuls of flour at each other to show your love, it’s roughly the same result as your dysfunctional relationship. He makes everyone around you sick, most of all you, whilst you trip-out on some kind of delusional sugar high. “Ohhhh doctor I know I have type two diabetes…. But, but you don’t understand, Neil and I are in love. Neil doesn’t mean to destroy my health. I couldn’t possibly end it with Neil, Neil, love, Sugar, love blah blah blah”

*Self-destructs in a puff of sprinkles*

In the past we’ve all hoped for a bombe alaska and instead landed a cream pie to the face. In hindsight it’s generally safe to say the measurements were a bit off. Next time if you’re thinking of baking a cake with someone check your shopping basket first before you hit the check out.

The proof is in the pudding.

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“So, What Are We?” 5 Questions from the Grey Area

It’s a tale as old as time: boy and girl meet, boy and girl date, girl is too scared to clarify the nature of relationship, girl goes insane (see Gone Girl for further details). Grey-lationships, as I’ve coined them, can carry on for weeks, months or years, with sufferers meandering through love limbo, trying to play it cool but forever wondering “So, what are we?” Somewhere between a flirtationship, a fling and a relationship is a grey-lationship. It’s always one of two things, a transitory state or a holding pattern. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “what am I holding out for? And how long am I going to be kept hanging?” Here are a few common questions that plague punters, rest assured you’re not alone.

How do we respond to the public?

“Hey guys, this is my…. *awkward pause* ahffffriend (?!)” Then you endure curious looks from everyone there as they wonder how many of your ah-friends you are currently sleeping with. Noticing that friend was not a very suitable description you improve an already uncomfortable situation by clarifying exactly how many dates you’ve been on (six, if you include today) so that people don’t think you’re easy or desperate. Mmm, well, that was awkward for everyone involved! Now you smile meekly at each other and wonder with fierce curiosity what the other person is thinking as your date is continuously mistaken for your boyfriend.  You both nod politely and cringe internally, ignoring the elephant in the room.

What are the boundaries?

So let’s say a grey-lationship has been in full fling for a month or two. It’s hard to decide at what point you get to institute reasonable accountability. You’ve been trying to act like a cool girl, not reacting when he bails on plans and/or feigning amusement when you see a Snapchat of him licking whipped cream off a stripper; you wonder where to draw the line. Like de facto status is to marriage, it seems plausible that after a certain time you should be entitled to half their stuff and to tell them they are being an inconsiderate a-hole. I would say berating them on a late reply after three dates is a bit premature but disrespectful behaviour from a regular beau needs to be addressed, either directly or indirectly. Guerrilla Snapchat tactics are not advisable, as posting revenge videos of hot boys in your story is unlikely to help him realise the error of his ways.

In a grey-lationship, you walk a fine line between girlfriend and fling. Can I date other people? Is kissing someone else cheating? Is he seeing other girls?! Who are they?! Tell me, I know you know. Not setting boundaries leaves you in love limbo. If you take yourself off the market you might miss an opportunity but if you get caught out dating when he thought you were exclusive you might stuff up what could have been a great thing. You didn’t know if he was dating other people and whether you should be too, all because you guys never had the talk. As always with grey-lationships, you should proceed with caution. It’s good to have a few cards up your sleeve but don’t risk an ace for a number card.

Where do you stand?

If you don’t know where you stand, it’s pretty likely you’re not in control of the situation. When a relationship goes on for a long time in a thus-far undefined state it’s usually because one person, quite clearly, has the reins. Whether we like to admit it, we are either the one leading or the one following. If we are both on the same page, then the necessary conversations tend to happen quite naturally because you both have something to gain. When there’s inequality in an arrangement, our motivation to get clarification is low. Why don’t we ask the question we’re dying to know the answer to? Because we’re not ready to hear that the answer is no, or that the timing is wrong; that he’s not over his ex; or that dreaded “you’re so amazing but…” Any of these textbook platitudes can confirm your worst fear: he’s just not that into you. Instead, you ignore the obvious signs and cling to tiny actions or phrases that undeniably confirm he’s in love with you. Taking two days to reply, well, he’s just busy of course, but two emojis in that long awaited text message proves undeniable infatuation. 😉 ❤

Where is this going?

Start by asking yourself whether it’s realistically going anywhere – and if not, then why not? If you’re having fun with your hot neighbour boy but stalling every time he hints at meeting your friends and there’s no way in heck you want to meet his parents, are you leading him on? We all feel hard done by by fuckboys, but there are plenty of fuckgirls out there messing with innocent guys’ emotions because they want a Saturday night booty call (“come save me, I’m drunk”) or a Sunday snuggle (“bring me Chinese”). Does this sound like you?

Casual flings are only casual if there’s a consensus, and frankly it’s just mean to let someone think you really like them just because you like some of the benefits of their company. Yes, it’s nice to have someone pick you up from airport, but if they don’t mean more to you than an Uber driver then you really shouldn’t ask. Similarly, if your prospective bae lets you bake him brownies and iron his shirts but has neglected to invite you to his last three group dinners or family events then you better stop for a reality check on you way to the 24hour K-Mart where you were headed at 10:30pm because he forgot to pack work socks.

When do I give up?

“I’m going to talk to him,” and other famous last words escape your lips, just before you lose your nerve completely and the light drains from your eyes. All anger is replaced with fear and you start to bargain: “it’s fine, we basically are together anyway, right? Yeah, he buys me lunch, we’re having a physical relationship, I’ve met a few of his friends – we’re together. It’s the same thing, it just doesn’t have a label.” Yeah, well, that’s a nice thought but how can you know you’re the only one if you’ve never asked? How can you be sure he won’t cut off his own arm and run for the hills once he realises he’s cornered in enemy territory? If you’re having to justify and defend his half-hearted actions to your friends it might be time to call it a day. Being busy is just not a justifiable excuse anymore, we are all living below the time-poverty line.

 

Figuring out if your situation is a natural transitory state or a hostage situation of the heart is the turning point of most grey-lationships. Love is a gamble, its part strategy and part luck. You gotta, know when to walk away and when to run. No one wants to be the first to give the game away but showing some of your cards is the only way to work out whether to hold or fold. Enjoy the grey while you can but if you want to walk away a winner end you’ll have to take a risk or cut your losses. Happy gambling.

Handling Dating Fluctuations: Feast or Famine

Romance is a tropical island, subject to unpredictable weather and extreme conditions. The rainy season may be overwhelming at first, but what follows is plentiful feasting. As a single twenty-something I’ve observed two states of polarity in our romantic lives: lonely as a bottom dwelling hermaphrodite from a deep-sea abyss or popular as Harry Styles at a tween-ager convention. There is rarely a middle ground, so eat while the goings good. A feast can quickly become a famine.

One day out of the blue, it really does start raining men. God bless Mother Nature! It’s thrilling when out of the blue every Tom, Dick and Harry starts trying to hit you up; suspiciously you wonder if somebody has written your contact details on a bathroom stall: “Call for a good time.” But regardless of the cause, the sudden influx of boys blowing up your phone gives you a Ke$ha-like feeling of celebrity. “Yassssss, I am queeeeen,” you hiss as you skip merrily along, tossing your hair and giggling with delight while a pied-piper trail of men follow along behind you. The drought has passed – hallelujah, you’re saved! Line up in single file Bachelors, you get a rose, you get a rose, get a rose, you all get a rose.

Once you get a grip of your intoxicating ego trip you start to realise the logistical nightmare ahead of you. How should you prioritise your options? Do you pick the guy with the nice hair, or the one with the dog? What about the PT, or maybe the businessman? What on earth have they put in the water to send all these men shooting out of the ground where there was once only barren soil and optimistic exes? Now you’re wading through oceans of devotion and tossing up whether to dip a toe in the water or dive in head first, but the question is, at what stage does interviewing multiple candidates become unethical? Because if this was a reality TV show it would be okay to start dating all twenty as long as I slowly whittle down the numbers week by week. Maybe play it safe and start with five. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

Wining, dining, flirting, banter; everything is going so well, you can’t even remember what it was like to be trapped in the barren desolate wasteland of the drought days. It’s all fun and games for a few weeks then, suddenly, your show has been axed. You were basking on the beach of love until you saw your top three guys have mutual friends and they’ve all just checked in at the same event: game over. You thought in this modern age it was okay for girls to play the field? Well, apparently not. Due to your silver-tongued antics your popularity has significantly dropped and suddenly you’re alone and confused like an ousted Australian Prime Minister. Yesterday you were on top, now your swarm of suitors have disappeared, leaving you to wonder if it was ever really real or just a mirage.

You start to really regret throwing away your favourite volleyball, Wilson. Sure, he wasn’t great at conversation but he was good listener and they are getting hard to come by. It’s an all-too-familiar feeling when the sky stops raining men and all the dateable/mate-with-able guys seem to disappear from the planet. Now there’s only tumble weeds rolling across a grim social media feed. Your ovaries shudder in terror and your browser history is filled with cat memes and baby sloth videos. You’re back on that tropical island all alone, catching fish with your bare hands and washing your hair once a week – at the very most. You wonder if it was a bad idea to go on a  spree of saying “yes” and kissing babies like a sleazy politician when there was no way you were ever going to follow through.

You surrender back into your life on Single Island. This is where you live now. It seems this may be the end. Your dating show has been axed and this is the final curtain, the end of all love. Climb into your adult-sized onesie and nurse a bottle of moscato; make yourself comfortable as you settle in for a full Bridget Jones montage of sad, single moping. ‘Allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll by myself’ humming in the back of your head as you relentlessly check your phone for the buzz of a direct message or cheeky “like,” but there’s nothing except your friends tagging you in Instagram memes about insane single girls and binge drinking.

Moving further into single hysteria, you start uploading falsely glamourous Instagram selfies (#TBT to when I wasn’t a hot mess) and Snapchat stories (I’m cute, remember!?) to test the waters. But alas, the only bites come from three creepy guys who’ve messaged you sporadically over the past six years telling you (and probably 15 others), again, how beautiful you are. *Ugh* Thank you, Creepy Greg, but puh-lease, that selfie was not meant for you. Why not try again in another six weeks when my self-worth has plummeted just a little further?

“Pull yourself together woman,” a voice inside your head says. “You can stay here rehashing history and living in your pyjamas, leading a sad half-life consisting mainly of Grey’s Anatomy repeats, desperately scavenging social media affirmations of your worth, or you can fashion a raft out of drift wood and save your sorry self. You can’t sit around your whole life praying for rain because the only thing you can rely on is this: it won’t happen when you want it to. Remind yourself that being single is a situation, not a character flaw and get on with being a girl boss!”

You’re most attractive to the opposite sex when they are the last thing on your priority list. Whether you’ve devoted yourself to travel, your career, being a better friend/ relative/ human, or you’ve completely given up on Homo Sapiens and finally bought that puppy.  The only time you find what you once wanted is when you stop looking for it, and the less you want it, the more likely you are to find it. Like a dripping naked toddler that’s escaped from the bath that refuses to be clothed, the faster you run away the harder they will try to catch you. “Let me be free,” I scream, whilst they try to wrangle me into restrictive dating patterns. That’s when you realise that, actually, things were so much easier when it was just you and Wilson.

 

It’s good to be back in Arcadia, thanks for stopping by! Jump up to the menu box in the top right hand corner of the page to subscribe by email so you never miss a post!  Jules x

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Five Sure Signs You’ve Settled into Singledom

Single and ready to mingle is a thing of the past. Single and ready to get comfortable in my own company, pay for my own meals and by-pass the dating dilemmas is in for the foreseeable future. If you’ve found yourself using your time to pursue interests and activities instead of decoding pseudo-cryptic text messages or worrying more about the quality of your coffee than the cuteness of your barista then there’s a chance you’ve transcended into the comfort zone. This is a magical world where you’ve overcome the stigma of being “alone” and stopped searching for a Twilight-esque fictitious love, only ever uncovering creeps and never Edward Cullens. If you’ve put up a no vacancy sign in the window whilst you revel in your independence (and polar fleece track pants), there’s a good chance you have settled into singledom. Here are a few more signs you might be there or well on your way:

  1. Not taming the hairy beast:

Shaving your legs is a weekly or bi- weekly event. Often you inadvertently flash your yoga class your hairy armpits and are reminded to shave because of supportive pro-feminist remarks from the androgynous hippie up the back that smells like weed and incense. Who can blame you? It’s the middle of winter, razors don’t grow on trees and in all fairness a little extra insulation can’t be a bad thing.

  1. Sleeping like a (sloth) queen:

You do not think of your bed as a love haven or a work bench. It is a hibernation-zone-meets-pillow-fort designed to encapsulate you in complete isolation while you binge-watch Game of Thrones. These days, the most compelling reason you have to wash your sheets regularly is the smearing of fake tan that have turned them orangey brown; that and the crusty drool on your pillow case that accumulates when sprawling out like a starfish in an attempt to cover as much surface area as possible on your queen-sized bed. Bliss.

  1. Underwear? Just don’t care:

Your prime reason for choosing underwear is their function. Your colour co-ordinated, frilly, skimpy, bedazzled underwear is shoved to the back of you intimates drawer and is not likely to see the light of day any time soon. Your go to underwear are your mismatching, comfy boy-legs and that 3-year old bra with a tear in the lace because they are the most comfortable ones you own. Let’s face it, no-one’s going to see them anyway. Where’s the reward in wearing unsupportive shoe string straps, bralettes with sparse nipple coverage and enduring lacey g-strings riding up your butt all day? Bridget Jonesin’ it erry day. No regrets.

  1. (Unat)tending nest:

You used to clean your room every time you had a cute boy coming over, now you just clean your room when you’ve lost something of major importance like your Girls boxed set or your buy-10-get one-free ice-cream coupon. Your complex filing system has outgrown the designated storage areas in your room and evolved into a meticulously managed floordrobe. No pressure to overstuff cupboards to bursting point three times a week when boyfie comes around to maintain the illusion of orderliness. Your room is perfectly chaotic and free, just like you, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

  1. Sorry, I’m busy:

Your Tinder profile is gathering dust. Your Facebook inbox: crickets. Those “Hey how’ve you been?” texts are going unanswered and you’ve stopped searching through your Instagram likes for regular offenders. Long gone are the days that every half decent guy you meet sparks your imagination “(I wonder what suburb we would live in, I love that he’s passionate about his career. I wonder what kind of dog we should get? I think he would be great with children. Oh and he’s so tall.” Puke.) Far from the doe-eyed day dreamer you might have once been, you now use a strict allocation system where new males are automatically filtered into one of two buckets: f-wit or friend zone. Dating is fine for people who like that sort of thing but if you’re going to drink wine on a week night you’re going to miss Masterchef and spending your Saturday mornings at brunch is a non-neg girl bff commitment so there just really isn’t a convenient time, ever. Sorry.

If this sounds like you and the thought of having to regularly shave, dig out uncomfortable underwear and disassemble your pillow fort sounds like waaaaaaaaaay more effort than it’s worth then you’ve reached the ultimate comfort zone. Congratulations on being successfully single. Not everyone can do it. If your single status is making you feel uneasy, just remember the new Magic Mike movie is about to be released and Channing has enough love (and abs) for all of us to enjoy.

Thanks for reading. If you love Life in Arcadia why not follow us on Instagram to get you weekly lols at @lifeinarcadia and don’t forget to sign up for email notifications in the menu tab at the top right of the page. Love x</p

Love Maths: Inverse Relationships  

By Misha Saul

This post is in response to “Love maths: Equations and Probabilities” by Jules Reed posted on 11/03/15

Plenty of fish. Plenty. But how many?

I was a little flummoxed by the maths in Jules’s wonderful article. What an optimistic romantic she must be to count 25 loves in a lifetime. Or just a sucker for punishment. Thank god I count fewer. I mean, don’t get me wrong – it feels like I fall in love every time I walk down the street or swipe left accidentally (No! She was the one and now she’s lost to the Tinder-verse!). If a love lifetime is between the ages of 17 and 35, generously speaking, how many loves do we experience in a period of 18 years? Sure, I loved the girl at the desk beside me in grade 2, and I’m sure there’s a Humans of New York story about love at first sight at 60. But let’s be real here.

You meet someone new, you court, discard a runner up, magic carpet into the sky and flitter away some years on high, only to find yourself sliding down Mount Doom into a sea of consolatory brunches and faux fun drunk nights out. How long did that take? Call it 3 years? So Jules and I agree on that arithmetic. So let’s say you have the energy for 6 of those in your (generous) 18 year love lifetime. You’re a trooper – you haven’t let cynicism or bitter ice cream eat away at your Peter Pan complex. Realistically it’s probably more like 3 to 4. That’s 3 to 4 opportunities to find the partner with whom you’ve dreamt of spending the rest of your life. How many lads have you nixed so far?

But there are plenty of fish in the sea! There are. Don’t believe the One Soul Mate Showtime crap. Plenty of Sallys for every Harry out there and vice versa. Thousands of them. But you have 3 to 4 windows to get it right. You’re not an invincible fishing trawler on the high seas: you’re a crazed one-eyed whaler with a handful of harpoons.

And even that hides the real story. This is where the maths really kicks in, but let’s look at it in terms of market analysis. You’re a smart, beautiful, educated, professional woman. Who are you going for? Who you’ve always gone for: smarter, older, richer, attractive men. This isn’t a jibe at society’s shallowness blah blah – it’s an evolutionary reality, which is as obvious as it is understandable. Any dissent is wishful thinking with a dollop of self-deception. So what is happening to your preference pool? It’s diminishing. You’re getting only more successful… and older. Your pool of Prince Charming candidates is rapidly shrinking.

And here is where it really gets fun. What’s happening to that ever shrinking pool of desirable men? Their target market has never been larger. See, men are less fussy. They want an awesome girl, sure. But they’re more age and career agnostic. Their floor doesn’t rise. Yours does.

Ladies, you’re pricing yourselves out of the market. This isn’t a critique – kudos to you wonderful women. It just explains the plethora of miserable lawyers and accountants and marketeers complaining to their girlfriends that there just aren’t any good guys out there.

Remember those poor doleful pimply boys of yore? What a sticky, Tantalean hell they inhabited. Remember how you scorned them? And who wouldn’t – you were top of the world and they were…well, gross. You were gorgeous, fun, 21. Remember that 28 year old you dated? You loved a man in a suit, and he loved you. Probably flung him off in a fit of youthful exuberance. You could do better, life was an ocean and you a majestic trawler, breezing through fish by the tonne. Well maybe you could have done better. And still can. But the odds have narrowed. That 30 year old hunk you’re eyeing now is eyeing the 21 year old behind you with whom you now share your pond.

What does this mean? Plot the charts of the mating market in terms of how attractive one sex is to the other and the size of their target market: Men’s prospects start low and steadily rise through their twenties, peaking around their early thirties, to plateau and slowly decline but remain more or less marketable indefinitely (or say until 40 for all intents and purposes). Women peak in their early to mid-twenties and slowly decline until a rough and tumble slide after around thirty. It’s a more or less inverse relationship. And it’s unfair: careening into your happy-ever-after-cum-vicious-jungle unarmed and with the distinct taste of anti-climax.

On this one your country and early bird sisters have a point. Lock it down young at your peak. Hindsight’s a peach though isn’t it?

It’s a funny justice of sorts. But we men didn’t make the rules.

None of this is a secret. This is a conversation I’ve had in countless versions with single women in their late twenties – or early twenties if I’m playing a nasty Cassandra. There’s a moment when it hits, and it’s usually wrapped up with the kids thing. It prompts the pause, the decision, even if you decide to go it without the ankle biters. Certain options have an expiry date – it’s not a societal invention, it’s a biological reality. Working backwards with the number of kids you want, how long it takes to work through the love lifecycle and you realise you better get snapping…suddenly you look around and realise a bunch of the lads are taken, a bunch have degenerated to new and horrifying levels of ineligibility, and the rest…well, the rest have these big fat grins. Because they know. And you know. And the game is up. It’s maths.

Happy hunting whalers. There’s only a can of tuna at the end of this rainbow, better snap up your marlin now.

Click on the menu button to subscribe to Life in Arcadia and get notified of new posts view email, Jules x

Love Maths: Equations and Probabilities

It’s another girl. The timing is wrong. He’s just too busy with work; he’s been abducted by aliens or more likely than not he’s been recruited to the secret service and has had to cut ties with me for my own safety. Whatever the reason, it couldn’t have been my fault. If my calculations were correct we should’ve been holi-dating in Thailand by now and posting obnoxious couple selfies. Instead, the red carpet has been pulled out from under me and I’m left red-faced and licking my wounds after making a public spectacle of myself.  Someone must have fed me corrupted data.  How did this all go so horribly wrong? Holy shit Neo, there’s a glitch in the Matrix.

After falling flat on your face in front of a bemused crowd of onlookers, it can be hard to regain composure. In trying to make sense of our stumbles, we tend to blame everything under the sun except ourselves and get very hung up on the idea of closure. As if falling ass-over-tit for someone who doesn’t want you back isn’t embarrassing enough, people then want to pinpoint the exact moment things went astray. When people tell you not to worry because there’s plenty more fish it’s typically not very comforting. Oh wow really, what sea? What fish? Okay, there’s like 2 billion fish out there but they are probably all weird looking, undersized, bottom feeders. No thanks.  I want a Marlin, not a tin of tuna. I thought I’d hooked a big fish, if only I knew what went wrong. That would change everything, wouldn’t it?

The word itself – closure – indicates some kind of finality, as if knowing what the turning point was will make you feel instantly better and the whole saga will magically fade away into a distant memory. Keep dreaming. Of course it’s not that easy: since when could you blame one straw for paralysing a camel when there’s a whole bale underneath it? It’s never as simple or logical as “rise over run,” so analyse as long as you want but you are more likely to catch a unicorn then the mythical closure beast. Relationships don’t follow a logical, linear progression; the best you can hope for is to find some kind of trend in the chaos so you can manipulate future equations. Jules + Jerk Face = Sad Jules. Subtract the boy, carry the Jules, + gal pals x brunch = awesomeness2.

When you finally accept that you probably won’t ever be able to solve ‘x’ to uncover the exact reason for the relationship failure then you can start looking forward. Perhaps you forgot to carry the two, divide by 36 and move the decimal point; maybe you just weren’t his cup of tea and maybe he likes coffee. It doesn’t matter, post a passive aggressive quote on Instagram and move on. In fact, screw algebra. Thank you, high school maths teachers, for your years of hard work, but I don’t need a graphics calculator to tell me that love doesn’t bear resemblance to a text-book slope. It’s full of curves – positive and negative – and is generally much more of a white-knuckle roller coaster than a bell-shape or an exponential.

Don’t get so hung up on finding a logical answer for the one that got away. It’s nothing more than a necessary dot to your data set. So you put together a forecast based on an algorithm built with situational data and this time your prediction wasn’t even in the ball-park. You got it wrong… But that’s life. You’re not the first person to put all your eggs in one basket before elegantly face-planting right into them, crushing them to smithereens.  Wipe the yolk off your face, honey, and move on, because if you want to bake a cake you’re going to need to break some eggs and what’s that saying again? Oh yeah: “There are plenty more fish in the sea”…but how many exactly!? “Plenty more”’ isn’t a very compelling number– plenty more than what? Plenty more than none or plenty more than a New York City fish market?! Let’s crunch numbers.

By the time you’re in your early-to-mid twenties, it’s likely you’ve already caught a few fish. The newest guy/girl is the second, third – or in my case, 47th – love of your life. For the sake of the argument lets presume you’ve been casting lines into the dating pool for six years approximately. Now in that time you’ve met probably two life-changing loves, which averages out to one every three years (or every three months, if like me you fall in love like it’s going out of fashion). Therefore, conservatively, in a lifetime of dating that could be upto 25 people who could potentially turn your life into the blissful day-dream that is love. [Rough workings: 75 adult years/ 3 year love spells= 25 eligible candidates out there! Yiew!] Now, don’t give me crap about diminishing dating pools and declining probabilities, that’s not the point. I’m not a mathematician I am just a hopeless romantic trying to make an argument. So buck up, Chum, there actually are plenty more fish in the sea. Just keep on catching them and throwing them back until you find the one that’s right for you. And if nothing else, be comforted and a little grossed out by the fact that sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among the elderly… So you’ve got plenty more years of love to look forward to.

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Jules x

iLove you, iLove you not…. iDunno

Relationships and technology – two areas of my life where, despite all my best intentions, I have taken a few hits. I’ve probably spent roughly as much time in JB HI-FI processing warrantee claims as I’ve spent trying to sew back together my heart and my dignity. In a complex world where even smartphones have an opinion of their own, it can be very hard to back your own judgement. It’s hard to know whether to hold ‘em or fold ‘em, when everyone keeps promising the next big thing is right around the corner. Should I buy the iPhone I’ve been dreaming of for the past six months or do I wait and see what the next model will be like? What if I wait another two months only to find the next model is basically no different and $200 more expensive? I’m at a loss. So I ask my friends what they think I should do and they tell me to forget iPhones and go get a Samsung. The whole experience is utterly bewildering and I would rather give up and go live on an island. For me, dating is pretty much the same story.

What if we are so busy looking far off into the distance for the next innovation that we forget what’s really most important? Unperturbed by my past technological breakdowns I am still entirely optimistic that there is a model out there for me. I wonder though – is the whizz-bang HD, 3D, intuitive, line-around-the-block latest-release really what I’m looking for? Maybe what I actually want is someone solid; someone strong; someone who can handle a fall; can communicate with me, doesn’t complicate things unnecessarily and won’t start malfunctioning if I drop him in the kitchen sink. Hang on, wait — now I’m not sure if I’m talking about a man or a Nokia.  I think back to the days when the only important feature in a phone was Snake 2 and wish dating could be as simple.

Funnily enough, I’m an android user – I don’t know what that says about me as a person. Maybe I’m pragmatic and I want functionality over flash. You might just think it means I’m stingy; there could be some truth to that too. But if you want to debate the value of an iPhone vs a Samsung in rational terms, there is really no justification for the price discrepancy between the two, just like how Nike sportswear is made of the same stuff as New Balance but twice the price (hint as to where I buy my gym gear).  I don’t really buy into brands and I really don’t buy into iPhones. I don’t like the exclusive chargers, I don’t like the glass screen that crack if you sneeze on them and I don’t like the obligatory software. They are very pretty though.

What implications does this have for my dating life? Maybe my choice of android over iOS is because over my overwhelming fear of having my heart chewed up and spat out by iTunes. I’m scared of putting everything I care about into one lousy device that is not backed up properly. Something that has the propensity to heartlessly delete my entire existence in one foul swoop. Sounds a lot like a guy, right? Maybe that’s a reflection of my love life. Maybe I hold back all of my important data because I don’t want to leave my valuable content at the mercy of some heartless and unreliable male computer program.

So I’ve always thought Samsung is the safe bet, the smart bet, the reliable choice. I also like what they stand for – they are courageous, they are smart and best of all they are (or were) the underdog. Investing in the less obvious choice can really pay off. For instance I always loved people that were ugly ducklings, they are always the best value. It could be the fat kid, the guy with bad teeth, the girl with the awful hair. Being socially less desirable in your youth can force you to equip yourself with tools much stronger than your appearance. These are the kids who are funnier, smarter and stronger than the rest because they had to force their way up the school yard ranks, they couldn’t just rely on good looks.  Given those ducks five years though and their metabolisms have sped up, the braces are off and they’ve got an army of hair stylists. Bubye ugly duckling, hello beautiful swan and jealous gasps from past skeptics: “Holy shit, you got hotttttt!”

I always try to date swans. They’re more humble, they’ve got personality and they are bloody beautiful people. Take it from me, I was a fat kid and that’s why I’ve developed humour. The only looks-based competition I was winning was second prize in the Monopoly beauty pageant (Collect $10, thank you very much) so I needed to get people’s attention some other way. I guess I’ve always considered Android to be the ugly duckling and that resonates with me. Apart from the hours spent at work or sleeping, phones and relationships are probably my biggest time commitment. So I’ve always wanted to share that time with someone who understands me, whether that’s a person or an operating system.  Reflectively I’m probably just bitter about because the iPhone was born hot and popular but like Android I feel I’ve had to earn my stripes.

Where are we at? I think I’m trying to date an Android-based water fowl, so maybe it’s no surprise that I haven’t had much luck thus far. Unfortunately in my attempted to avoid the dreaded i-phenomenon I’ve actually had a pretty average run with both phones and men. Ironically, I can’t seem to make a phone or a relationship last for longer than a year. The lesson there might be that I really should take better care of my phones and my boyfriends. Or perhaps I should take a chance on the iWagon and see if I’m swept off my feet like the rest of the fanatics. Up until now I’ve been going through the same cycle over and over again and hoping for a different result. We all know that’s the definition of insanity. Like my phones, I tend to expect a lot out of my romances and they tend always end up over-heating and burning out way too soon. Until I work out what’s best for me I’m not committing to another contract.