Archive for December, 2012

Dating Games: A Good Girl’s Response to Rob Mills

Musical theatre singer/actor Rob Mills recently posted on Mia Freedman’s Mamamia site about the dating games that girls are playing on the “good guys of Australia”.

Well…I had a little something to say about that, so I wrote a response letter. The site couldn’t publish it (they don’t publish responses), so here it is instead.

PLEASE NOTE: My letter will only make sense if you read Rob’s blog first. Otherwise, you may as well watch the last Harry Potter film and none of the others…


“Dearest Robert,

Would you sit with me in a darkened room while we listen to sad Klezmer clarinet?

Because I share the pain of which you write. Honestly, I do. The game-playing dating world is brutal.

BUT…I’m a little offended.

Actually, when I read your article, I felt anger. I was ready to put rage to the page. Then I remembered something. Can you think of a group of people who attract more hate mail than angry female journalists? Aside from Facebook’s privacy department?

No? So Rob, I address you with compassion.

I’m sorry to hear about your friend John Smith whose girlfriend wants to hold hands on weekend IKEA expeditions yet dismisses him at work. Firstly, is he sure her hand-holding is a romantic gesture, not a survival tactic? Because it’s easy to get lost in that place, Rob. I don’t care HOW big the floor arrows are.

But seriously, poor John. Here he is, making himself vulnerable to this girl he adores (let’s call her Pocahontas) and she’s running hot and cold.

A psychologist once described this scenario to me as “Push-Pull”. Pocahontas is handing out tidbits of affection and attention, then when John responds in kind, Pocahontas pulls away. It’s not an equal partnership. She’s controlling the situation. And it’s likely to leave John in a heightened state of anxiety.

So good on you Rob for defending John in your cape and undies.

However, you write about the games girls play as though it’s ALL of us manipulating your humble male heads and not the other way around.

Well, Rob, I’m standing up for the good girls who ARE honest about their feelings and DO want to stay calm and DO want to talk ON THE PHONE LIKE MATURE ADULTS!

Except some guys are TURNED OFF BY THIS!

*Breathe in, breathe out*

You mention contradictions. Let’s talk about contradictions, shall we?! It’s nearly 2013, and humans have come a long way. Heck, we can now surf the internet while flying! As for women – our lives look very different even from the lives of our mothers. We’re in the workplace together with men and are expected to show just as much courage, ambition and initiative. This “seize the day” philosophy isn’t just present at work – it’s also thrust upon us by advertising and anyone wearing lycra.

But as I’m discovering, “carpe diem” doesn’t seem apply to dating. I thought that when a guy contacted me, he would appreciate my zippy response and my tech-savvy on all Macs, PCs and mobile devices.

Not so. It’s caveman days here. Society is telling me that guys still prefer to be able to chase girls. To call her when HE is ready. So we must wait.

The book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus teaches us that men fear being controlled by women and we must let them disappear to their “man caves” so they can restore their strength to be able to talk to us again.

Female friends have told me I need to wait two days before responding to a guy so that I don’t freak him out.

Even a male friend’s admitted to dumping a girl for being too clingy and ringing him too often.

Yes Rob, remember that bit where you said “I am imploring you ladies to pick up the phone and talk to the person you like”? We’ve done that. It makes things worse!

Take for example, a guy I’d love to circumnavigate IKEA with. A game player.

He was the initiator – admitting he liked me, asking me out – and he probably got to feel like the chaser because I started out so painfully shy. But as I opened up, he became less communicative.

I’d heartbreakingly accept that he was “just not that into me”. Then he’d magically pop up again. Then disappear. Rinse and repeat.

But he encouraged phone calls. “Call me anytime you want!” he’d say. “Call me so that it becomes too much!”

Well, Rob, do you know what happened when I tried to have an honest, mature phone conversation with this guy? He found ways to avoid it for THREE WEEKS. When he finally decided HE was ready to talk, his reasoning was, “I’m busy at work and don’t always feel like having a heavy conversation afterwards”. This has happened again and again.

I told him I respected his work and said if he needed space, sure! He just needed to tell me. But no. I’d always get “Let’s talk tomorrow!”.

To quote you, Rob: “Could. Not. Be. More. Frustrating.”

So please, tell me what us good girls are meant to do. Because we don’t like games either.

And frankly, I couldn’t be more confused and emotionally exhausted than if I’d gotten lost in IKEA.”

IKEA floor arrow


Pleasure: I’ve found a new type and it needs a name

The English language needs another word.

“Another?” you ask, in an intimidating tone that would freak out any kid called Oliver.

Yes, another. I’ve identified a particular type of pleasure for which I can’t find an accurate, all-encompassing English word. This breed of delight is like the less-evil, younger sister of “Schadenfreude”. It’s a bit like the hippy best friend of “symbiosis”. And it hangs out with the cheeky cousin of “opportunism”. But none of these do it justice.

And no, this isn’t another opinion-piece inspired by 50 Shades of Grey.

Like most lightbulb moments, I had discovered this nameless brand of joy whilst riding on public transport. It goes a little something like this.

You know how on the floor of a bus, there’s that raised section to accommodate the height of the wheels? (Just say yes). Well, in my city, the local buses have two seats above these higher-floored sections, which means that anyone who sits there will have their legs pushed up, resulting in a more acute angle below the knee and a more obtuse angle below the thigh of the passenger. Confused? Well, it’d be like sitting on a bus in platform shoes – think The Spice Girls on a road trip. Anyway, everyone finds those seats awkward so they avoid them.

Everyone except ME!

I LOVE those seats! I find them so comfortable! And I haven’t a clue why, because I don’t think my leg proportions are too different from anyone else’s. And since I’m not a fan of the standard chair-to-floor ratio that society has dictated, those wheel seats suit me to a tee.

And this is what I’m talking about.

The fact that no-one else likes them means they’re always available. I don’t have to compete for them. I don’t have to sit next to anyone. Thanks to the misfortune of others (them finding my Spice-Girl-Platform Seats to be confining), I always get what I want. So I gloat. I feel like a maverick. I feel like a smug sheepdog in a flock of sheep. But I feel gratitude too and strangely, a sense of belonging. By filling those seats, I’m maintaining the delicate ecosystem of the bus. I give those seats a reason to live.

And I believe this mixture of feelings needs a name.

But it doesn’t just apply to buses. It could also apply to, say…Neapolitan ice-cream.

Imagine you live in a house with four other people. They covet the chocolate and vanilla stripes, but balk at the strawberry. It’s the one always left over, but luckily for you, the strawberry is your absolute favorite.

So, not only do you…

1.Get the delight of eating your ideal flavor of ice-cream, and

2.Feel victorious that you don’t have to have a freezer-side Sumo contest with your housemates for it; but also,

3.You get the satisfaction of knowing you have made a positive contribution to this world. Thanks to you, the strawberry ice-cream has found a home in your belly. You, my friend, are the clownfish to the sea anemone, protecting it from those anemone-eating fish while it in turn protects you from your predators.

See, don’t you think we need a word for this? A word which encompasses all these thoughts and feelings? Because when it happens, it’s really fun. It’s like having your head inserted into a miniature floating disco for three seconds.

“Schadenfreude” (the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune) isn’t sufficient. It’s too Hitler-ish in meaning.

Instead, this “Pleasure X” (again, I haven’t read 50 Shades) could be better described as:

“The pleasure felt by Person A which is derived from Person B’s slight dislike of an object, situation, or dairy product, the result of which is that Person A gets to enjoy, and feels grateful that they get to enjoy, their optimum scenario without confines or the opposition of Person B, while simultaneously feeling a delusional level of satisfaction that they have played a successful part in a symbiotic relationship, thus contributing to the continuation of the universe.”

Simple, huh?

And this is why we need a word for it.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? And what would you call it?

The raised-floor-bus-seat. My favourite!


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