Meeting the parents – second time round

I was starting to feel that my blog was leaning towards pessimism of late.  Did you get that vibe, lovely readers?   Twitter splits, breakup grief, rookie mistakes and fashion faux pas ….It was starting to sound a lot like a Cure album in their more sombre early 80s era.  So this week I was on the hunt for something a little more upbeat – bit more like the ‘Friday I’m in Love’ flavour of blog-topic.

The universe presented me with this via a very entertaining chat with one of my friends about an event, had you not become single in your 40s, you would have left in the archives of ’awkward stuff you do in your 20s’ She described, in colourful language, the joys of  a late-in-life meeting of the new BF’s  parents.

So it’s an upbeat story, in the sense that it demonstrates the clear possibility that you can  enter a relationship so meaningful that you are willing to schmooze up to a set of new potential in-laws.  Again.

Alas, I can’t recount the tale verbatim as it would clearly identify my confidante, so instead I pondered how best to present your credentials to some new elders, when you cross that line into coupledom in your mid 40s.  Here goes:

Fair degree of domestic ability

No student-housing squalor, no frat-house behaviour – at this stage in your life you are likely to understand that a vacuum cleaner bag does need to be emptied at some kind of interval, that a bathroom requires more than just a twice yearly North-Korean style nuking with Exit Mould and that vegetables left unattended in the fridge will indeed turn into a festy and unidentifiable liquid.

In my case, you even have the ability to turn this

shoe crazy

Into this

shoe tidy

in the time it takes to polish off a glass of sauv blanc and listen to a Rod Stewart song.

In addition, I have an ability to turn out a meal.  Even more importantly, I have been taught by maestro Jamie Oliver that ANYTHING you wish to churn out is made remarkable by the simple act of serving it on a wooden board.

food on a board

Life skills people.

No notable meltdowns

With a degree of common sense and a truckload of luck, you are likely to have avoided demonstrating any one of the following destructive behaviours.

An impulsive hairstyle choice and wilful vandalism.

brit

Naff hairband and a shoplifting conviction

ryder

A brush with too many sequins and some OTT competitive spirit.

nancy kerrigan

Or in my case your transgressions fail to attract any kind of public interest and remain off the record.

A rapport with the kiddies

Nothing will cause you to be the subject of a parent’s death stare and accompanying interrogation like the risk that you are not only whisking away their child, but are likely to subvert their grandchildren as well.

If, as in my case, you’ve had a life-long disinclination to spawn any miniature humans of your own, I suspect you will be in for double the drilling, as you lack any credentials whatsoever.  It would probably be preferable that you had an underachieving, substance-dabbling, likely to be perpetually-unemployable-as-an-adult, teen rather than be what was recently phrased in reference to our own prime minister as ‘deliberately barren’…

rant

Ahem.

If needed I would offer up my ability to entertain children all ages, starting with my considerable experience in amusement parks.   I bond with children of all ages – especially over topics such as the perils of trying to keep fairy floss out of one’s abundant hair.

fairy floss

I’m fabulous in any theme park environment…just present me with the kiddie that is content with this and we’ll rotate around in crockery until the cows come home.

teacups

Just not this

spinny ride

…since most of us understand the risk of impromptu and disturbing occurrences  of projectile gastrointestinal upset. On my part.

No ongoing addictions

Sure we’ve all had our brushes with the phrase ‘too many vinos’, sure we’ve all had an occasional table-dancing incident, but at our age we are likely to have unrivaled reflexes in deleting a facebook tagging of photographic evidence and a subsequent de-friending.

If FB doesn’t know…it didn’t happen.

When it comes to obsessive behaviour, my obsession with running is far outweighed by my fixation with carbs, so you won’t see me rock up to family Christmas looking like this either.

nicole richie

So if you do reach relationship nirvana and have to brave the ‘parents meet-n-greet’, take stock of your credentials and go in confidently with the air of someone accomplished and balanced.   Better still, toss down two glasses of red wine, email them your Linked-in profile in advance and do a self-google-stalk to check if you are in the clear.

If you are taking your online dating a little more seriously than this blog, check out this website for fabulously simple online dating advice.

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When Twitter knows you’ve split before you do…

It used to be a little simpler to pick up on the signs that your relationship was coming apart at the seams. A gradual drift apart, longer working hours at the office, a moving van appearing unexpectedly at the marital home….

In this era, it is entirely likely that social media is likely to register your impending relationship implosion before you do, and everything you needed to know about your couple-doom will be delivered by this chirpy little fellow.

twitter

For the uninitiated, prone to some new-age rookie mistakes, here are the five twitter clues that might indicate you are headed for #splitsville.

Early warning visuals

Body language is a funny thing, right? A reliable but subtle indicator that all is not well – and Twitter conveniently dishes this right up to you in photographic form. Take these examples….

kardashian body language

At the point you become more interested in holding your handbag with both hands rather than one of your boyfriend’s hands, disaster looms.

It is no defence to cite the fact that said handbag cost you more than a small luxury car.

Slightly further north on the scale of awkward body language is something like this.

body language

Death-ray stare from Katie, something between fear and sheepish from Tom and even the kiddie knows she doesn’t want to be there.

The warning signs need not be pictorial. Some of us have very predictable behaviour around a breakup. Daily infusion of Lindt almond chocolate anyone?

Despite her youth, no one demonstrates more entrenched breakup response behaviour than Taylor Swift. I give you:

  • ‘I knew you were trouble’
  •   ‘Better than revenge’, and
  •  if you were any doubt about potential reconciliation ‘We are NEVER. EVER. getting back together.

So if you were entangled with her and you saw this status

taylor swift-studio

you know its over and another #splitsvillesong is about to hit itunes.

Aberrant behaviour

Next step along from the early warning body language signs are the deliberately posted images of defiant behaviour.

A clear sign that perhaps you are not the same people as you were when you first coupled up is when you wake to a tweet that shows your significant other has morphed from this

hanna montana

To this

aberrant pic cyrus

…potentially in a bid to deliberately move away from the image they knew you fell in love with. If you hadn’t detected the subtle hair and wardrobe change, they are now visually bludgeoning you with it with all the subtlety of a Donatella Versace spray tan.

Alternatively it may come in the form of a reminder that they have joined a new crowd that you are no part of.

miley and the twerking kids

It could even be the simple donning of an outfit/coat of armour that screams I NEVER WANT YOU TO TOUCH ME AGAIN.

aberrant pics kardashian

Cryptic Tweets

Nothing says its over like not saying its over.

The twittersphere abounds with quotes from the vintage sayings of relationship gurus such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, to new age chaff that spews forth from the google relationship quote generator faster than you can brew a pot of tea.

obsucre tweets marilyn

obscure tweets - taylor

A touch of obscurity there. With any luck you may be less in the dark if you are on the receiving end of something more robustly obvious like Seal simply tweeting #theend.

Radio silence

There are risks in dating someone who needed to go through tabloid humiliation to learn that flirty texts to someone other than your partner are messy when made public. That said, you might feel that the risk is mitigated when he went on to reform himself into a bit more of a monogamist and moved onto twitter knowing that everything said was public. Hello Shane Warne

If you then proceed to play out your entire lovefest on twitter, the way you will recognise its demise as  this

*crickets*

Complete radio silence –thus proving that someone is obeying Mamma’s advice that if you have nothing nice to say……………

You are unfollowed

Unfollowing someone is the overt gesture that demonstrates that you don’t care to hear from them ever again, even digitally. (although there is nothing to stop you from routinely checking his twitter postings anonymously every hour thereafter. No evidence, and no stalker charges under ANYONE’S  jurisdiction)

If your twitter following is limited to your immediate clan only, it may equate to a number where you will probably notice you’ve lost one and can reciprocate immediately in the hope it gives an air of mutuality to the decision.

If you are Liam Hemsworth, with a following of 443,403, you won’t personally notice a decrement of one, but the entire world media will let you know.

_____________________________________________________________________

If all of this seems to be overwhelming and you feel you lack the savvy and commitment to apply these learnings to your twitter feed, close your account and go back to Facebook.

There’s no room for doubt the day you see this little icon pop up in your feed from your now-former flame.

compressed

Redemption of the male race

Once you’ve navigated the immediate aftermath of a breakup and  survived the four stages of breakup grief there will be a time when a glimmer of hope appears.

No matter how your relationship ended, at some point you will move to a milestone moment where you allow the male race as a whole to achieve some redemption in your eyes.

At this point, don’t try googling men and redemption, as I can tell you from personal experience that you’ll be swamped with religious references.  Mysteriously thereafter your facebook will start sending you sponsored suggestions that you take up learning Biblical Hebrew. Then you have a lot of frivolous googling of cake, vodka and cats-doing-cute-things to get your newsfeed back to normal.

Saving you ALL that, there is a simple way to have your faith in men restored and it comes the form of something we have spent a lifetime digesting easily.

Not carbs or sauv blanc, but chick flicks.

Before you can be prescribed a specific chick flick to re-warm your heart to the male race in general, you need to undertake a self-assessment of how catastrophically it was broken. Take a moment to see where you are on the spectrum of breakup catastrophe

The Demi and Bruce, “yes we’ve split but it’s terribly amicable for the sake of the kiddies” (hang on, one of those young ones isn’t one of the kiddies)

willis demi

The somewhat dignified, no-fault, never commented-upon (albeit bound by the Alcatraz of prenups and the threatened wrath of a thousand Scientologists) split of Nicole and Tom.

tom cruise

Katy being advised BY TEXT that Russell Brand was divorcing her and only being slightly mollified by watching him descend into an incredibly unwashed phase characterised by many pairs of bad harem pants.

russell brand combined

Maria Shriver’s marriage arrmageddon of finding out your husband has sired a child with the help. (although how she didn’t twig to who this kid’s babydaddy might have been is beyond me)

arnie

Having rated the level of damage you have sustained (and hey, do you like how fast we diagnosed this? No need to fund the swimming pool of your therapist or wear down your friends lamenting about how badly you were treated) choose from the following chick flicks as the healing salve to your open wounds. They are conveniently sequenced from something that is like a little Barbie-print band-aid through to the equivalent of major sutures of a kind not seen since you last had that chardonnay-induced crash through the sliding glass door.

One – Grease

Here the male redemption is confined to a mere change of image, from drag racing, leather-clad tough guy to track star wearing a Letterman jacket. He wins her heart through a simple wardrobe transformation to being one of her kind, proving definitively that you can change a man. The only downside is that she switched as well and falsely put forth a view that it was OK to wear leggings as pants, a myth that is still perpetuated today.

Two – Pretty Woman

Here Richard Gere – who just by turning up in a movie can repair a woman’s view of the entire male race – shows the depth of character to overlook Julia Robert’s character’s rather dubious choice of occupation and goes on to then shower her with gifts and defend her against his dodgy mates.

Three – the Notebook

Once you get beyond the sound of your own convulsive sobbing, the beauty of a man standing by you even though, due to dementia, you have no clue that he’s doing so, will warm your heart, even if you’ve been treated in a way that makes Maria Shriver’s experience look tame.

Four – PS I Love You.

Sends his love from beyond the grave. Enough said. If you are looking for something more tangible than a note, say in the form of some clay-based sculptural work, then Ghost will do the trick.

Five – Thor

I know, unlikely choice right? But stay with me here. This guy TRAVERSES THE UNIVERSE to find his lost love Jane. If the combination of Hemsworth biceps and the phrase ‘I gave you my word I would return’ (notwithstanding it takes him till the sequel to do so) doesn’t give you chills, then I can’t help you.

In which case continue seeking a path to forgiving all men. Just don’t use the word redemption in google, else next time you log on to facebook, you’ll have friend requests from one of these two.

bakker