Finding love (or carbs) in a self-help book

I’m at a health retreat, (and no, its not rehab) Health-retreat characteristics abound

  • the superbendy yoga instructor who completely lost her zen trying to wrangle my runner’s hamstrings into something beyond perpendicular and sustained a kick to the forehead
  • the chef who, in a nanosecond in the cooking demonstration, whipped up something resembling a rum-ball but with only coconut, lime and dates (and the only time those three things could go well together would be speed-dating over summer cocktails)
  • that fragrance wafting from my pores that switched from an early-days tincture of vodka-and-potato-chip-sweat and eventually became redolent of asparagus and minted pea
  • the diet that eliminates so many of life’s little toxins that you feel a bit guilty when applying your sticky strawberry lip gloss.

And no, this is not going to be a blog about how to meet a man at health retreat, as from my periodic stints I have observed that the male clientele is comprised of male-male couples and forlorn husbands who have enticed here on the promise of the relationship-renewal that occurs during the shared extreme carb-deprivation. Alternatively it’s the false hope that they’d escape the compound and get a round in at the tantalisingly placed golf course next door. Yes, I’ve seen them pressed up against the chain link fence, trying to flag down a golf cart for so long that the fence creates a faux-6-pack imprint on their stomach….. (if only they had the social-media savvy to instagram it as a little bit of merry retreat-pic-fakery like these pranksters)


What the retreat lacks in available male talent, it makes up for with a dizzying array of self-help books to assist you to snag / keep one. I was trying to prise myself away from the bath-bomb selection in the gift shop (given its not healthy to look so longingly at a bath product purely because it looks like moulded fairy floss and comes in flavours like chocolate and coconut ice) when I stumbled (and yes it was a proper too-much-running –before-breakfast stumble) upon the book selection.

This caused me to ponder and rate the relationship self-help books on offer.

One – He’s just not that into you.

A useful collection which became that bit more consumable in the movie version thanks to the concept of a assembling a stellar ensemble cast – first trialled in ‘Love Actually’. Fabulous by-product in that it got The Cure onto a sound track.

Points for that chilling lesson: that when he says ‘I’m not really into relationships’ he actually means ‘I’m not really into relationships’ which is exactly what those of us with an ‘I’ll change him’ gene needed to hear.

Two – The Secret

Leads with the tag ‘Everything is possible. Nothing is impossible’ I’m there with the theory that we create our lives with every thought of every day. However every thought of every day was not strong enough to manifest Ryan Gosling in a Santa suit bearing a chilled margarita and a chick flick last year and I’ve got very little hope that he’s going to appear this year either.

Ironically, I firmly believe that the mantra chanting may have been just enough to result in his breakup TODAY from Eva Mendes,which I don’t think means he’ll be boarding the first flight to Australia to get here in time for some mistletoe action but will simply serve in making him available to date other Hollywood starlets.  Law of unintended consequences.

Ryan and Eva take time apart

Three – Eat Pray Love

Whilst I’m not even sure this qualifies as a self-help book, the carb-fiend in me is happy to recommend it to anyone who is looking for a reason to hang out in Italy and repeatedly take on a skinful of pasta. Always happy to think, talk and read about carbohydrates, or in fact any other simple sugars. (right now, in my mid-retreat-week food hallucinations I swear I’d snort bath salts if I thought it would elevate my insulin levels)

I’d skip the India bit and move right along to the love part – hopefully sans Bali Belly and the obligatory Australian hooligans getting their Bintang-bogan on.


Four – Dr Phil’s ‘Love Smart – Find the one you want, fix the one you got’


Don’t even start me with the poor grammar in that tag line, and while we are on tag lines, what is about self-help books that require epic titles?     ‘I Need Your Love – Is That True? How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval and Appreciation And Start Finding Them Instead’ Even reading the cover is exhausting.

I already feel I know a lot about Dr Phil’s take on relationships via his TV programs ie

On online dating – ‘An Online Impersonator Faked Her Death and Sent Me Ashes’

On unhealthy obsessions – ‘Dr Phil Confronts My Stalker’

On relationship misunderstandings – ‘I Did Not Try To Blind My Wife’

…and his all-time classic documentary-esque examination of a healthy marriage and how to bring up well-adjusted children (who can rock a mugshot) ‘The Lohans’


Save your Dr Phil time for pure entertainment around Beauty Queens Gone Bad and Baby Mama Dramas.

In reality? If I bought any of these they will join their brethren (7 Habits of Highly Effective People and You Can Heal Your Life) and serve their greatest purpose as a replacement for the dodgy leg of the chest of drawers that dislodged itself some time back.

Sticking with my mum’s sage advice that practice makes perfect is probably relevant for all in the dating scene. In the meantime, I swear I’d fall for the first person to bring me a pastry.


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

The Dating Downside of the Billionaire and the Supermodel

The Aussie trash mags were agog this week with the unqualified rumour / dead-set certainty that Miranda Kerr and James Packer were an item, nay, truly in love.

Miranda – Aussie model made good by being blessed with the revered Victoria’s Secret Angel wings who shortly cemented her celeb-status by marrying and bearing an heir to Orlando Bloom, only to have her marriage undergo dignified disintegration two years later.

James – spawn of famous yet aesthetically challenged Packer media-mogul family, he of a procession of brunette wives, an OTT superyacht and the taint of scientology via his friendship with Tom Cruise.

Associated hashtags trended up in the down-under realm of the twittersphere. Given the unnerving timing of Miranda’s split from Orlando and James’s de-merger from his third wife Erica Packer AND the fact they all already knew each other, there was an element of alleged chronological impropriety. Hose that down all you like and you are still left with


As anyone who has tried to get back on the horse, so to speak, after even the most anonymous split, where there was no divvying up of superyachts, harbour-houses and LA-pads, will tell you that the first relationship post marital implosion is fraught. Even if all you are quibbling over is the meagre pickings of a couple of superannuation funds, a cream-brick house with an outdated kitchen and 1997 Holden Astra, the first relationship you dabble in after signing the documents is as likely to be successful as Lindsay Lohan’s next rehab stint.

Take a model and a billionaire and the rebound relationship has platinum status #firstworldproblems

Here’s how the difficulties of model- billionaire rebound relationship differ from your own.

One – the relationship nickname might not work.

My first recollection of this was Bennifer – the ill-fated pairing of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, who in my opinion deserved to go down in flames after the production of the execrable Gigli which took 121 minutes out of my life that I will never get back.

The Oscar-winners of the super-couple nickname stakes undoubtedly go to Brangelina who after similarly dubious relationship timing vis-à-vis Brad’s marriage to Jennifer Aniston (#teamJen) managed a nicely multi-syllabic melodic combo that has precisely the number of consonants as the number of children they have.

Miranda and James? I’ve got nothing.

Jamiran – sounds like Jamiroqai’s unloved stepbrother

Packerr – entirely lacking in imagination and, depending on which way you look at it, reduces a Victoria’s Secret Angel to a single letter.

Miracker – which is their best hope but means they will go down in history as a misspelt Spanish percussion instrument.

Two – the tabloids know about your relationship one millisecond after you do

In your average suburban relationship, you can keep knowledge of your new relationship to only your besties and those who happened to be on FB in the 3 minutes where you drunkenly posted a premature couple pic (before the grown-up in you kicked that #nofilter pic to the kerb given the sense you had that it might not last until the next change of season)

If you are a model/billionaire coupling, you have less than a single heartbeat before your digitally welded picture is splashed on a mag cover, especially if its in an off-week for the Kardashians.


Three – everything that’s gone before is public

With your average suburban soccer dad, even your best online-stalking efforts will likely turn up nothing worse than some ill-advised lycra in a cycling/triathlon phase, or a litany of boring-sounding administrative jobs on Linked-in.

Google James Packer and you have everything from a period of overindulgence in pretty much everything that is high-calorific in life before he went through his recent body transformation,


a lifetime where he has not nailed a decent hairstyle,


and a hint of what might be instore in the unlikely event you grow old together – in the form of his father Kerry Packer.


Four – you become part of a cliché.

James is now known as serial modeliser, having dated

  • Model Jennifer Flavin who had been ditched by Sylvester Stallone
  • Model Jodie Meares who learned so much career-wise from their time together that she progressed from swimsuit model to swimsuit designer and her spiritual progression dictated that she reinvent herself from eastern-suburban Jodie to Himalayan-meditation-retreat-dwelling Jodhi.
  • Model Erica Baxter who hailed from the same teeny country town as Miranda. Did both of them rate in the year-book as ‘most likely to snag a billionaire’?

Not on the same scale as Leonardio De Caprio, but unless Miranda is about to become a honey-blonde, there’s no danger of being enticed into his world.


So listeners, much as you might be balancing the edgy thrill of a rebound relationship with the ennui of kindy-drop-off, the weekly grocery run and the unenviable challenge of just trying to keep up a summer-sandal-worthy pedicure, bear in mind it could be worse.

You could be reading about your new relationship in media more permanent than an ill-advised instagram pic viewed through a suburban cut-price-vodka-hangover.


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