Why you can’t be friends on Facebook

So many conundrums exist today that didn’t exist when you were last single that you are going to spend a certain amount of time, tears and tequila navigating rookie mistakes.

Amongst those myriad questions … at what point in your fledgling relationship do you become friends on Facebook?

If it were me, I’d only be handing over the keys to the Zuckerberg kingdom of my digital history after the prenup was inked, the formalities executed and we are tootling off into the sunset with the tin cans and shaving cream indicating we’ve successfully navigated the  nuptials.

i.e.  once its too late.

Why?

So many perils, friends.

Your history

Open up your profile to your new flame and you give them access the national gallery of your recent history. Unlike your friends, who have gradually negotiated your many transitions in facebook from:

Some key anniversary with mandatory hashtag #soblessed (just so few consonants away from #sobfest)

Some obscure saying about letting go to find love

let go meme

Some term about the joys of unhindered single life

laptop

Something spiritual that tries to give the impression you are now a grounded, non-intervention-order-requiring individual able to function in regular society.

Seeing it unfold in one hit could be unnerving.

Beware – Just as the vague feelings of embarrassment and instinct-to-apologise fade after a big night out (in about the same timespan as the accompanying hangover) you will forget that there was ever evidence posted by you and your friends on FB. If you do not have a robust policy of reviewing and archiving your weekend’s boozy adventures, you need to bear in mind that they are STILL OUT THERE.

So unless you are going to create an entirely fake FB profile that reads like Gwyneth Paltrow’s insanely organically balanced blog, complete with a convincing number of fake FB friends, you do not want someone trawling your entire history. Especially not the one male who was game enough to move on from your carefully chosen online dating pics, handcrafted profile and witty online repartee and thinks you are an extraordinarily grounded and accomplished female. They’ll figure out that you are human eventually, no need to reveal it in one click.

His history

Although you will, as soon as digitally possible, have stalked to the ends of the interwebs your new squeeze, there are certain things that even the most thorough digital exhumation of publicly available information will not reveal. From the entry-level view presented by Linked-in right through the depths of your trawl through the first 25 pages of google search results, you are unlikely to reveal anything near as illuminating as the chardonnay-fuelled scan of the first five albums you have access to if you two become facebook buds.

Things like

  • a predilection for posting pics of tattoo models that indicates an obsession with something to which you have no insight, having never approached artificial coloring anything more permanent than having your eyelashes tinted.
  •  an ex that has either arms/abs/cheekbones/ankles so perfect that you feel obliged to bury your head under a pillow and sob at your poor form by comparison
  •   a collection of mates that indicates he is part of a rebel outlaw motorcycle gang the subject of a current police crackdown

A new and unnerving source of paranoia

As sure as the fact that Lindsay Lohan will again make a mugshot appearance is the fact that once you become FB buddies, you will monitor every new female friend addition with microscopic scrutiny,

If he dare go on a work trip and run into a second cousin, cementing the family reunion via a FB pairing with the noble intent of bringing lost family connections together, you will note this on your daily scan. Following this you will secretly subject her name to CSI style internet forensics to determine WHO ON EARTH IS THIS NEW FEMALE. This will continue to the point you will be executing a drive by of every location evidenced by her blatantly unprotected FB check-ins before your partner even has his car out of the airport car park.

The conunudrum of declaring your relationship on FB

From the moment you link up, you’ll hear a ticking that sounds like low chime of the doomsday bell. Its not your biological clock or throb of the vein on your left ring finger yearning for a Kardashian style rock to crush it into silence.

No.

It’s the heartbeat of facebook waiting for this first of the two of you to falter in the gigantic game of chicken that is updating your relationship status on FB.

I’ve never done this, so I don’t know if someone goes first in saying xxx is in a relationship with yyy and if there is any element of consensus required as there is in the friend request step (or in fact in your generally accepted marriage proposal process).

Perhaps it is a matter of the most digitally-adventurous going first with the declaration and the absence of any objection by the other being accepted as a ‘yerr, alright’

But if you do this, its there forever, until such time as you FBily disentangle yourself and restore yourself to single. Although this is less expensive and requires far less paperwork and judicial intervention than a divorce, it does place a gigantic heartbreak symbol update in the newsfeed of yours and every one of your friends.

single fb

FB is democratic in this scenario, caring not which party created the digital disconnection and therefore never knowing whether you feel heartrbroken or not. This will cause all your friends to offer you pitying comments, the unedifying digital version of the cheezels, wine and DVDs that real friends brought over last time your heart was in jeopardy.

It also allows your less charitable acquaintances to pore over your history and declare that they saw the seeds of doom were sown from the beginning and be infuriatingly smug – but in this case at least you can unfriend them

.

In short, your FB friendship is gold, don’t just give it up.

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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If Facebook wrote your Online Dating profile

Some days my ability to procrastinate knows no bounds and social media neatly steps in as an enabler of my worst habits of self-distraction.  My current obsession? Trying to understand the recommended advertisements that Facebook happily puts forth for me each day  The amount of times I’ve hit refresh to see new ones reeks of a poker-machine addiction in a previous life.

chemist

That clever little chap that sits in the Zuckerberg backroom crunching out little offerings for me has FINALLY got the message that I am not going to take up the offer to learn Biblical Hebrew and has started to proffer selections that are getting uncannily closer to my actual personality.

As is becoming the trend when I stare overwhelmed at my work email at the start of every day, a new and fabulous time-saving opportunity popped into my head.

WHAT IF FACEBOOK COULD AUTOMATICALLY POPULATE AN ONLINE DATING PROFILE?

Writing an online dating profile is, by definition, done at a time when you are feeling rock-bottom single and unable to describe your personality strengths in any kind of positive fashion.  This simple task is all that stands in the way of you standing out like a beacon to all the single desirables that are poised online to sweep you off your feet

chemist

….because naturally they are out there on the interwebs as they ARE NOT ANYWHERE ROUND HERE ARE THEY?

Shrill.  But moving right along….

As Facebook has started to grasp a lot about our personality and habits, why not save the couch and chardonnay time spent staring blankly at the profile screen and let FB take over for you?

Here’s what FB would write for me based on its latest recommended ads :

 Online dating topic: Drinking habits

Facebook recommendation: Belevedere Red Vodka

Interpretation: 40s chick is a social drinker –  white spirits and never anything that has Johnny, Jack or Jim in its name.

Nailed it.

Online dating profile topic: Body Shape

Facebook recommendation: One piece swimsuits on sale

 Interpretation: 40s chick is long past the age where she can pull off a bikini and is in fact one almond-croissant away from Kardashian.

Yes.  Just add sarong.

Online dating profile topic: Hobbies

Facebook recommendation: Leatherette dancing shoes

Interpretation:  Latin and ballroom dancing

No,  Facebook, No.   One hundred times, NO.  For one thing, my obsession with Street Latin dancing was sooo last year.  In fact it was about as long lived as my dalliance with triathlons (it only took me two to realise that I sucked at swimming and didn’t like cycling which narrowed down the triathlon to a light Sunday jog)    In the case of Latin dancing it was doomed at the point where my instructor asked ‘and which foot goes there?’ to which I replied ‘the middle one’.  Instructor fled and refunded pre-paid lessons.

chemist

Secondly, unless I am struck down by an screaming case of veganism that is so blindingly strict as to even extend itself to footwear, my feet will never experience fake-leather.  Leatherette even SOUNDS tacky.  Start down that path and you are one unnatural-fabric-clad tiptoe away from slipping into a pair of Crocs.

chemist

Just, No.

Online dating profile topic: Music interests

Facebook recommendation: Promo from National Country Music Awards

Interpretation:  Country and Western

 Facebook has hacked my ITunes to try to out me.  There MAY BE a LITTLE Johnny Cash in there but doesn’t everyone have a bit of that after the movie ‘Walk the Line?’  Don’t we all have a little hankering for the last time Joaquin Phoenix seemed a bit normal?

What about the 700 titles in there from Robbie Williams?  Bit off track.

Online dating profile topic: Children

Facebook recommendation: Become a Foster Carer

Interpretation:  Don’t want any but yours are OK.

 FB must have detected the distinct lack of kiddie pics, and dearth of statuses describing tremendously overachieving miniature humans, but decided that there’s still a chance that I could raise someone else’s offspring.  FB – that’s about as optimistic as the current Aussie team thinking they can win back the Ashes.

Better yet, FB has even suggested a couple of over 40s online dating websites for me to try.  Happy days!  It has even cut out the need to hit the search key by popping up a photos of potential suitors.

Never mind that the FB gods have offered up

chemist

Someone whose own photos are presumably so heinous that he’s swapped them out for outback murderer Bradley Murdoch
chemist

A nerd that didn’t make to Beauty and the Geek as even the most skilful makeover would have been for nought.

Facebook – you keep trying, and I’ll keep hitting the refresh key till we hit the jackpot.

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

Festive season dating #fail

My chemist has gone early.  I’m not talking about a lax approach to closing time or his untimely passing, but that even though we have all barely moved on from October, he’s started with the Christmas wrap.

chemist

As joyful, jolly and goodwill-to-all-men as that might be, every currently-single person knows that nothing good can come of the festive season

If nothing has pried you off the couch thus far, the concept of spending ANOTHER new years eve at risk of a sob into your champagne or another Jan 1 resolution-triggered lash at online dating certainly will.

Get one of these family Christmas greeting cards complete with gushing account of a year full of wondrous adventures and a procession of successes from over-achieving kiddies and you are going to end up on a quest to ensure that this time next year you will have some loved-up coupley soft focus offering of your own.

family

However, December is not the time to kick off a new relationship.  Here’s why

It’s an edgy time

The festive season is rather unfortunately placed at the end of a working year, and if you are anything like me you are barely staggering over the line.  If accumulated fatigue doesn’t make you as ratty as a red-cordial-fuelled three year old then the horror of shopping for the ever increasing list of kids that your siblings are busting out certainly will.  As the TV stations start churning out ‘the year that was’ offal in the non-ratings season, you may find that this year’s set of natural disasters offer an uncanny parallel to your love life and the recounting of achievements in cinema, science and medicine only serve to make you feel you have contributed about as much to society as Miley Cyrus.

miley

This accumulates in an insidious fashion until the next thing you know you are shouting at the checkout attendant for having the scanner beep switched up too loud.

Not conducive to offering up a sedate and chilled vibe to a new partner.

Tis the season for fashion fails

If you attempt to hose down your inner Grinch by throwing yourself wholeheartedly into the season at hand, amongst the persusal of gingerbread houses and Griswold-esque inflatable decorations you will find you are sliding down that slippery slope of festive fashion.

The first sign is Christmas jewellery

usual suspects

Nothing resembling a biscuit should ever be worn as jewellery.  Start there and you are one Christmas carol chorus away from something like this.

dress

If you are a little on the short side you might get whisked off by Santa to join the toy-packing crew for next year but no other red-blooded man is going to find that attractive.

Unless they are prone to a few festive fashion fails of their own.

fashion

It’s a high risk environment

The festive season involves two of the natural enemies of a fledgling relationship – booze and families.  Strike up a relationship in the first breath of December and there are some inherent hurdles. Alcohol always features in the festive season night-out and you may negotiate many of these with tremendous grace and poise, but you can guarantee that the only one where you invite your new fella is the one where you throw back one too many mojitos and rock a bad santa impression.

santa

If you negotiate this wrinkle and get past the mid-month, then choosing to participate in your respective family Christmas gatherings is about as safe as betting on the new Karshashian kiddie growing up humble.

frank

Gift selection becomes perilous

When you attempt gift selection at a point in your relationship where you can barely recall the colour of his eyes or how he takes his coffee, you are going to freak yourself sideways:

a)      trying to choose something and

b)      agonising over whether the two of you have gift-value parity

Don’t believe me?  An entire Big Bang Theory episode was dedicating to exploring the latter  – google the ‘Bath Item Gift Hypothesis’ if you aren’t sure. Note: at this point you’ve followed every kind of crackpot dating advice so surely taking cues from a fictional, socially-inept physicist will feel quite sane.

But hey, this year could be different, and there’s always the festive staple of mistletoe ready to trigger some smooching.

O’ come all ye faithful.   And fast!

Time to Train up!

Lets face it readers, meeting someone special is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN if you remain on your couch at home.  Even if you try, one of your besties will eventually parade past your couch, scooping up the guilt-inducing remnants of your Noodle Box carb-fest, clinking together the empties of your single-handed tour through the Marlborough wine region and take it as a personal mission to GET YOU OUT THERE.

If you want control your own destiny, this is to be avoided at all costs.  If you can summon up the teeniest level of proactivity and arise from your heartbreak-induced languor and do this before they swoop in, there is much to be gained.

But where?

Start with sports.

Here are five options to unlock a hidden pool of activity that will prise you off that couch, get you out in the air and mingling with the eligibles, complete with a  tip or two on how to get started and a couple of rookie mistakes to avoid.

Golf

 Watching golf on TV is something only slightly less tedious than alphabetically re-organising the spice cupboard and a sport where you could depart the lounge-room for a three course meal and still not have seen a change in the leader board.

Take in some live golf however and you open up a range of possibilities.  Firstly, if you are following this guide sequentially, this will be your first foray outdoors since the breakup and you will:

  • Allow sunshine on skin that has grown as pasty and delicate as that of an 80-year-old shut-in
  • Start to burn off that Ben and Jerry’s calorie surplus that you’ve accumulated via  golf-spectator walking, reaping all the aerobic advantages of a golf game without the frustration of trying to do something productive with that stupid white ball
  • Note that the vast majority of spectators are men.  If you are able to forgive an over-abundance of baseball cap-wearing you are well placed to scoop one up.

Just not this one.

tiger

The Olympics

The Olympics bring  a dazzling array of sporting prowess, a tremendous arrangement of live entertainment and a tribe of terribly earnest volunteers (and lets face it, we do love someone in a lanyard).

Tips:

  •  I lack statistical evidence, but suggest you are unlikely to locate your life-partner in the stands at the Greco-Roman Wrestling or the male synchronised diving events
  • Lurk around the exits of the blue-ribbon events such as 100m finals and swimming, paying particular attention to those who emerge from the corporate function boxes

Case in point

mary

Tasmanian wannabe-real-estate agent becomes PRINCESS as a result of chance meeting at the Sydney Olympics.

Throughbred Racing

High stakes, hats, style, celebrities who know nothing about horse-racing, branded marquees and you have all the glamour of the Milan Fashion Festival with only the teeniest whiff of portaloo and horse-effluent.

Take a few stiletto totters inside the front gates of the racecourse and if your single-radar still has a bleep left in it you will latch onto the fact that the ratio is vastly in your favour.

You have the perfect excuse to frock up, get your hair done (or if that fails, squeeze it into a hat that costs you about the same as your next three haircuts) and float about the lawn in a frothy dress.  Trust me, two glasses of bubbles and you will find a way to extract your stilettos from a grassy lawn with the ease of an ice-dancer.  Then simply glide from one bucks party to the next, avoiding any cluster of men in onesies, fluorescent suits or superhero costumes.

We might be all a bit jaded with the antics of Liz Hurley and Shane Warne, but lets take note that they met at a race meeting and appear to be still going strong at Ascot three years later

warne

Just don’t go near this sort of display.

cup day

Footy

I’m being outrageously Melbourne-biased (but hey, its my blog) but AFL footy does have its unique advantages when it comes to re-entering the male domain.

Tips:

  •  Treat the Great Southern stand as you would the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan and only venture into the shadows of the light-towers of the MCG if you have a sponsor that can ticket you into the hallowed halls of the MCC members.
  • You may find that you don’t actually venture into daylight and your viewing of the actual game may be the same as what you’d see if confined on your couch since you might not emerge from the Bullring bar but remember that its called the BULL ring bar and is entirely male dominated (else it would be called the Daisy the Dairy Cow Domain.  And that will never happen)

Just don’t try to match the blokes drink for drink and end up in this situation

streaker

Grand Prix Motor Racing

I have my suspicions that there is actually no discernable difference between the molecular composition of testosterone and that of high-octane racecar fuel.  Both have the ability to drive men to incredible feats.

Being at the car races you have the best of both worlds:

  • In the corporate tent – those that will challenge you from a career ambition and intellectual perspective (although likely with an accompanying ego that is never going to be able to cheerlead you on your journey through the glass ceiling)
  • In the outer – someone that will always have the strength to flip the top of your Crownie, change a washer in your bathroom tap and have the ability to indulge that latent curiosity you have about men in tradie shorts.

Just stay at the GP, and don’t think that it bears any resemblance to the Bathurst 1000 where you will find something like this:

bathurst

In summary – find your sport and train up!

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

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.