Pride and prejudice

A select dinner party in a middle class West London suburb.

Husband: “Seriously though, offices full of single girls in their early 30s. Fine, physical specimens… but they just can’t seem to hold down a chap.”

Wife: “Yes, why is it there are so many unmarried women in their 30s these days Bridget?”

Awkward pause

Bridget: “Oh I don’t know.. ‘spose it doesn’t help that underneath our clothes our entire bodies are covered in scales.”

‘Life’ so Oscar Wilde once said ‘imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life’, I watched that scene from the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary 13 years ago in a cinema in Ealing Broadway and I laughed my socks off, I was young, ambitious and living in the same London as Bridget but without her dating traumas, I was happily ensconced in a relationship.

Fast forward to Christchurch, New Zealand over a decade later and I am the modern day equivalent of Bridget (with the alcohol units, but without the cigarettes) and instead of a diary I have this blog. Personally I believe Helen Fielding’s observations are still a valid and truthful commentary on thirty or fortysomething single women today as they try to make sense of life, love and the way society reacts to solo females.

Point in case a recent Friday night out with three married couples or as Bridge would call them ‘Smug Marrieds’. Of the three I only knew one couple. Within minutes of sitting down they had established I was single and that I would like to one day be in a relationship. For married people who hold all the so called keys to getting life right this is like a red rag to a bull, the wives pounced first with one slurrily advising me to never give up and be ready to receive love and how it would crop up when I least expected it before telling me a long winded version of her love story. The other wife fuelled on Sauvignon, took it upon herself to fix my ‘situation’ by determinedly marching around the bar, interviewing potential suitors and dragging them back to the table for an awkward and downright humiliating chat with me, while his friends would take photos of the moment on their iPhones.

And their husbands…. well first they dribbled all over the table excitedly asking me among other things if I was bumping up my age, was I wearing stockings, did I have sex a lot and could they have their photo taken with me to show their mates on Monday? Then they began accosting any circling, young barman to ask if they liked Cougars and did they want a slice of this action – pointing at me.

I am not sure at what point it became acceptable to treat comparative strangers to an unrequested life intervention or why they thought they had all the answers to fix everything? And this I might add was a group of parents who were all buzzing out of their brains and behaving like a bunch of drunk teenagers. Yeah real mature!

All I know is my pride took a big knock that night and their prejudice about my ‘singledom’ was offensive and rude. Spending time in their company has made me embrace and cherish my status even more. I am not a side show or a loser, but a woman who chooses to wait for the right combination of magic to happen and not just settle for any passing barman.

And yet there are marrieds out there who’ve recognised their prejudice – I salute you Rebecca Sparrow, and I am proud and thankful to say I also have a lot of lovely, sane, healthy marrieds who are extremely supportive and love me, like Bridget, just as I am.

Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary

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Learning to smile again

Hello you, I’m sorry I’ve been away so long but you see I’ve been on an emergency hetox.

Yes, no men, no dating, no online, no nothing. Just me and a long, hard look in the mirror. It was really lonely and horrible to begin with and then it got easier and more normal and almost in the end dare I say it even enjoyable. I’ve got my mojo back.

I’m ashamed to admit I’ve had an unhealthy addiction to one particular guy this year. I laboured for 8 long months under the tortured impression that he loved me, that we were star crossed lovers, that our timing was wrong, that he was trying to find his way to me. I opened my heart and he never looked, I waited and he never came.

Bottom line? He’s just not that into me. When I finally faced this harsh fact it was sad but liberating. I don’t want to be anyone’s dirty little secret, a fancy on the side, I deserve to be celebrated and cherished.

So I’m proud to say this sister finally dug deep, found some good old fashioned gumption and went cold turkey. I broke the lovesick habit, and now I see what a waste of energy and love it’s been. Energy and love I need for myself.

Like attracts like and now that I’m centered again, fate has stepped in and surprised me. I found a truly nice, gentle, caring, sexy man. He’s been there all along but I couldn’t see him, his energy was blocked and overshadowed. But something magic happened and here we are. I am living in the moment again not in a fantasy in my head. He makes me feel happy and that today is a simple, precious gift.

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Raising the stakes

It’s been a draining few weeks between toughing it out on new online dates (unsuccessful) and limping through painful and fractured communication with a… well I was going to say an ex, flame or love interest but the truth is that he is none of these. We never even made it that far as you know. So let’s call him a could-have-been.

Last week I wandered into the Casino for an entertaining drink and a spot of people watching, as you do. It was buzzing with people from all walks of life in various stages of drunkenness.

The ones around the Poker and Blackjack tables were hard to read as you’d expect, all buttoned up and playing it cool, and the poor Pokie junkies had the desperate focus of someone who’s in need of a break, a really big break.

It occurred to me that life and love are much the same as gambling. We’re either in it for the long game, keeping our cards close to our chest ’till we can see what the other players intentions are or we’re all in win or lose whatever the consequence. No prizes for guessing what type of gambler I am! No doubt I’ve been wearing the same frantic expression of desperation. And that’s not to mention those agitated souls who sit poised with their hand on the one armed bandit, just waiting for all the stars to align in a row.

I may have lucky Jupiter as my ruling planet but my stars have been on a sabbatical and as I walked round the floor I realised looking at the sad and stressed punters that happiness is in pretty short supply at the Casino. So if love is like gambling, the house always wins right? Losers all round. It started me thinking, maybe instead of betting on my losing streak with these idiots who throw me in with their bad hand, I should raise my chip worth? It’s their loss and my gain.

So I fold. I’m removing myself from the table. Period, yet again. Next time I take a chance it’s going to be because someone has asked me to bet on them and not the other way around no matter how long it takes, because the truth is when I win I want to win big. Here’s to hoping that fate rolls a double and the stars come out to play.

marilyn

You Got Mail!

Yes it really is as simple as that. Three hours after reactivating my profile and I’m already treading in the shark infested waters, with an online inbox bulging with smiles, winks and messages. I’m the fresh meat on the block and it doesn’t take long for them to sniff me out…

So here I am 5 months on and right back where I started, full circle, chatting to anonymous people and trying to stay positive, bubbly and chatty just like my profile says (insert smiley face here). But this time I’ve got my armour on so I’ve already politely declined every man who has an ex-wife or kids… hey I’m not putting my hand in that fire again.

This time it’s different and yes maybe this old school, freeform romantic is finally shaping up a fussy ‘list’ after all?

meg

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Sugargirls

This is a shout out to all my ladies (D.J. Miss K in da house!), my sisters in arms who step with me shoulder to shoulder along my pathway to… well to whatever lies in store? I salute you and thank each and everyone of you beautiful troopers from the bottom of my misshapen heart.

When the chips are down, when I’m out for the count, when the tears are pouring they step in, unsummoned, with flowers, wine, tissues, chocolate, reassuring nods and unconditional support. I may be unlucky in love and pick the wrong guys but at least I scored the four leaf clover with my girlfriends.

They say you know who your friends are when the shit hits the fan, by God I’ve had so much shit hit the proverbial, my girls all wear jumpsuits and galoshes…pink of course! One particular lady, she knows who she is, is my Gibralta. Always there no matter what. Any time, day or night with a splash of the hard stuff, a warm and ready hug and some sage advice. She has a heart of pure gold and a generous spirit, my Maori-Manchester kaitiaki. I shelter under her strong umbrella, you mess with me you mess with my adopted big sister!

And it wouldn’t be right to give a nod to the sisterhood that props me up and keeps me marching through the daily grind of celibacy without standing to attention for the one who made it all possible. And yes, I know I should have listened from the start… and yes, I know you know best….. and yes, I know you wish you had a fairy wand…. but hey I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t test your limits – you are an inspirational warrior queen and I love you Mum.

As someone who was bullied at school and spent the best part of my teens and twenties trying to recover, I can tell you that the greatest gift actually is true friendship in all its many glorious shades, because even meeting your soul mate is just finding the best friend that you happen to love too.

So ladies… next time, let me toast you all with one for the road and hope like hell the highway has been recently tarmaced!

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Love tonic

As I said it has been one of the bleakest weeks in my romantic life, but I have to confess that I discovered someone on Friday who has single handedly reignited my faith in romance.

We’ve had a whirlwind weekend together and I even as I sit here in my kitchen typing and sipping flat champagne he’s here. We’ve had long walks, been to the supermarket, had dinner, had a romantic candlelit bath and even gone to bed together. Hussy that I am. We’ve hardly been apart all weekend long and even my best friend loves him.

He makes me feel good about myself, makes me skip along and do impromptu salsa dancing when I’m out walking the dogs, he makes my spirits soar and he let’s me believe that love is out there again for me.

Have I been too quick to replace my long lost beardie with this smooth skinned, sharp suited charmer? Probably, but then again he is the perfect man, he doesn’t answer back, calls me baby, tells me I’m beautiful and serenades me when I’m down. And I’m not selfish,  I can share…. his name is Michael Bublé and his new album is my iPhone ear candy.

Thanks Michael, I still believe xx

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The waiting game

Fast food, fast fashion, fast life, fast love, we want it all now don’t we? Our lives are go, go, go always wanting instant gratification without the delicious pain of anticipation.

Two years into my journey and I’m still horrifically impatient. I realise there’s no short cut to finding a mate, but it doesn’t stop the itch. Sadly no express shipping guarantees, no amount of tinkering will dial up the perfect person on cue. Ultimately it all comes down to timing, chance, fate, serendipity whatever you choose to call it. I call it Bloody Typical.

But even when that someone special does come meandering along with their head in the clouds and their eyes full of daydreams it’s still not a done deal. Because here’s the thing, the Universe doesn’t always bring two halves together at the perfect time, it’s like Sliding Doors the movie? How many times have opportunities passed you by within a hair’s breath because the timing was slightly off? You’ll never know and therein lies the nub.

Sometimes even when the two halves potentially fit, there’s an obstacle in the way, a challenge, a crowded space. Of course that’s what makes a great story right? The struggle and the trials, we want the passion, the sweet with the sour.

Which brings me to my point, I have stumbled on a yang to my yin, but the timing is terrible. It’s so off it’s not even remotely funny. And I could just walk away. I could just say I can’t be bothered or I don’t want to wait, I want it now or not at all. But that ain’t the truth, because I peeped through the sliding door and I liked the look of what I saw.  So much so that for once in my life I’m trying to rein in my impatience and embrace waiting. Yes, waiting, a novel concept for me, and I’ll be waiting more than a good few earth cycles to redress the balance.

And while things percolate and settle, we have stopped talking or more precisely communicating to create space and absence. So while I sit here in my silent waiting room, I’m contemplating this… that just like a slow cooked roast, do good things indeed come to those who wait?

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