Friday, July 29, 2011

Online dating: The Dealbreaker Edition

– Have a kid from a one night stand several years ago? But it's 'OK because you never see him'?

– Still live at home or recently moved back in with your parents?

– Have to borrow money off me to take me out to dinner?

– Follow an obscure religion that allows you to eat chicken but not duck, because ducks 'have webbed feet'?

– An aspiring fantasy novelist?

– Ill-advised facial piercing/tattoo?

– Not a fan of punctuation? Or conventional spelling? Frequently confuse 'your' and 'you're'?
(a little grammar-nazi of me, I admit, but if you can't write at an 8th grade level, I cannot bring myself to respect you)

– Hungover every time I meet up with you, even on weekdays?

– Look like a gangster in your profile picture, complete with mutton-chop sideburns, shaved head and mirror sunglasses?

– Never returned the CDs that I lent you on our third date?*

Well those, my friend, are what we in the biz like to call DEALBREAKERS.

Good day sirs!

* still waiting.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Girls on Bikes (an intermittent series)

A fresh-faced Marilyn Monroe (and puppy).

The joys of being self-employed

Well, this particular experiment seems to be going better than hoped, thus far. I was hesitant to become self-employed, but ended up gradually being nudged across the line by a variety of events and I can honestly say I haven't looked back.

I've been thriving on the challenge, the freedom and newness of my situation. After many years in the same position at a large firm, it's so nice to be doing something different.

Here's what I've learnt so far:

1. It's all about relationships. I can't even think of that word without hearing my dad saying it in an OTT American accent. Sorry pops, but the yanks are right on this one - life is all about relationships. I work hard to keep up a good relationship with my clients and I can see the benefits.

What I am aiming for ultimately is having clients who are more like friends - how great would that be?

2. The internet rules. I have clients who I've never spoken to in person, y'all. They email me, I do the work and email it back, they transfer money to my bank account. It's fantastic. Without the internet, my job would be difficult limited impossible.

Thank you, computer nerds, for this most brilliant invention of my lifetime (after the ipod).

3. Anyone with a brain, a computer and a modicum of talent could do this. You don't have to be an entrepenuer. You don't have to be rich. You don't have to be ruthless and cut-throat. You don't even need to be particularly business-minded, you just have to be smart. If you're not good with numbers, you can get someone else to look after that for you. I'm doing everything myself right now, and it seems to be manageable so far. Then again, I haven't yet done my first tax return...

4. It is surprisingly satisfying to be able to do a load of washing in the middle of the day. I've spoken to several self-employed people and this always comes up as one of the main benefits of working from home. Likewise, wearing pyjamas/trackpants all day long. Also, feeling smug when you see all those suited commuters rushing for the train at peak hour.

We're a weird bunch.

5. I owe a debt of thanks to my old bosses. Without even realising it, I've absorbed so much from my previous bosses. They've all had a hand in shaping me, as an employee and a person. I was so lucky to have had a succession of nice, genuine, normal bosses. I've heard some horror stories.

6. I wish I'd done it sooner. Working for myself would have been unthinkable before now - too scary, too risky, too damn hard. Actually, the hardest thing was taking the mental leap.

Thank goodness circumstances conspired to push me into this. I really hope things continue in this vein.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Online Dating: The Stealth Version

The advice pretty much everyone gives me re: dating (those many happily settled friends of mine, that is) can be pretty much summed up as follows: "Forget online dating. Join a group." Hmm. I tend to bristle at this advice for several reasons:

1. The things I'm interested in doing in my spare time are inherently girly and do not tend to attract folks of the manly persuasion (baking, cycling my vintage pashley in a skirt, crochet, watercolours, zumba, reading, yoga). I know girls who have taken up rock-climbing/football/beer-tasting for the sole purpose of meeting a husband; but I just can't bring myself to do it. It just seems too much like... faking it.

2. Groups scare me.

Well that's it, which really isn't much of an argument now that it's laid out in print.

But the truth is, I have quietly been getting out there and meeting people through various online forums since I've been back. Just dipping a toe, in typical 'fraidy-cat fashion, into the waters of Socialising With Strangers. Just every so often when I've got nothing better to do on a quiet weekend. I've been to a couple of arthouse movie meetups, a group bike ride to a gallery, and I'm off to a (women only) book group this weekend. It's a little strange, and I'm still getting over the awkwardness factor, but it's also kind of interesting. People are generally interesting, don't you think? Everyone has some kind of story.

I've found I've met more interesting girls than guys - I'm in that age bracket now where there's a surplus of amazing, accomplished girls and a dearth of comparable guys, sadly - but you never know, I guess. And if I only meet great girls via this particular avenue, I'm fine with that.

I'm sort of treating my life like a giant science experiment at the moment; meddling with the ingredients, recoiling from spillage, agitating the mix, and trying not to set anything on fire.

Men of 30 Rock

Mmm. 30 Rock satisfies on so many levels.

30 rocks

If you overlaid Tina Fey's and my Chart of Hotness, you'd end up with an almost entirely overlapping Venn diagram. God bless you, Liz Lemon!

Oh, and sorry Kenneth.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reflections in a rain-spattered train window

Ever have one of those weekends that makes you so glad to live the life you live? It's weekends like these that make me regret ending my OneHappyMoment experiment. This weekend has been chockers with them.

I shared pizza with middle bro on Friday night (using a voucher I got from my estate agent), went for an epic bike-ride to Hiede Museum of Modern Art with a group of like-minded women and a couple of dapper gents on Saturday, and had a lovely lunch and vino with friends at the Shadowfax winery today, followed by a winding game of 'tag' with her little boy giggling hysterically the whole time.

Lately I've been thinking, if only I had a boyfriend, things would be perfect. Then I realised that actually, no they wouldn't. It would just make my currently reasonably balanced life way more complicated.

What is it with us girls? It's like we're conditioned to believe that without a man, we are nothing and none of our achievements amount to anything. I have a good life, I am enjoying my work more than I ever have now that I have a certain amount of autonomy, and I am surrounded by loving family and friends. My life is great. But still I feel like something major is missing. I can't tell whether it's society at large that is responsible for the pressure on women to settle down and procreate; whether it's biological; psychological; familial/tribal; or just innate.

I like to think that if I had a daughter, I would make sure she understood that the choice to be with someone or not is hers and hers alone. The choice to have children or not is hers alone, and no one has the right to judge her based on those choices. That her life is entirely her own to enjoy and experience. I like to think I would teach her to think for herself so that she could see beyond the social and cultural templates that offer women a limited number of roles.

So why can't I apply these beliefs I support so passionately to my own life?

I guess we all need love and intimacy. Sure, relationships are hard work at times, but there is nothing like that feeling of having someone on your side. It doesn't make any sense. But I still want it.

I guess that makes me a typical woman, huh?

Friday, July 01, 2011

365 days of Happy Moments

One Happy Moment Every Day, my year-long experiment in positivity, has come to an end!

I'm a little bit sad, but I hope the habit of noticing the small, good things will stay with me. Read more here.
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