Things to do before you turn 30: find ‘disposable’ Love?

[Disclaimer: Jess is a bitch who likes bitching, take it or leave it.]

No statistics have ever proven that Love should be found before the age of 30 – or 25 whatever the cultural environment dictates; nor that one should marry or have children before the age of 30. Yet people seem to obsess with settling down with someone before they turn a specific age, 30 being the most popular. It almost becomes a race between friends and acquaintances  – girls mostly, but guys too. She got engaged before I did; look at that rock on her finger; they got pregnant already!

What statistics seem to prove however is that each year half the number of people getting married, get divorced. There, I am also giving you the gilded version of the data, most sources would plainly say that 50% of marriages end in divorce each year. Not that by this interpretation this is any better, despite variation per country and per age group. This isn’t all: statistics also seem to demonstrate a higher divorce rate for those who marry in their twenties. All in all 10% of all marriages end in divorce within the first 5 years, with chances decreasing proportionally to the age of the bride and groom*.

Why is this so?

Quoting one of my best friends  with whom I often muse about what the future holds for spinsters like us: who says love should be found within the first third of your life? Love can come at any time in your life, it doesn’t necessarily materialize before you turn 30.

Now we may come across as women on the verge of desperation listening to their marriage clock ticking… It’s indeed not desperation. I would rather call it schadenfreude, the same that seem to show through when certain couples act like they know the secret of life an true love and don’t miss a chance to remind you – single woman – how you are ‘failing’ for not being a in relationship and preach you should find a  boyfriend to settle down and be happy with, like they are. Oh, and they hold hands and cuddle while they patronize you.

Only to realize short after that the flame of passion has extinguished and their perfect happy relationship isn’t so perfect after all. And on they go on a quest for the next disposable love. Short after could be a few weeks, or months, or even a few years of marriage (children included). No worries, I am in no hurry. When that day comes I’ll be the one looking at you with schadenfreude in my eyes.

Okay, forgive the hormonal driven spinster rant.

Why I am still single? The last thing I want to do is place the reason of my happiness on another person, lose my individual identity only to drown in an unhappy relationship solely for the sake of conforming to the rules of ‘normal’ society. Why are you in a relationship?

Thanks Sloane, exactly how I feel sometimes. Relax people, relax. _________________________________________________________________________________

[*no specific source, a result of a bit of googling]

Of crossing paths, chance encounters and missed connections

Imagine a path running across the earth surface for each of the 7 billion people that make up today’s world population. Isn’t it impressive? Paths overlap, run in parallel and intertwine; the earth surface lays covered by the cluster of crossing paths.

If you look at the million times paths cross, you will be struck at how easy it can be for people to cross paths at some stage in their lives, even if they live at the other side of the hemisphere. Paths may cross multiple times in a lifetime, cross and run close to each other afterwards or briefly pass through and then proceed their own ways.

Right – this means Mr Perfect, Mr Price Charming, Mr Right, Mr I am your Man and all their fellows cross my path at least a thousand times a year. Where the hell are you all hiding? It’s 2013, how can you possibly not have figured out how to track me down? In the era of the internet and social media, in the era of Love at first Profile Picture,  let me help you out: there are a number of online resources you can use to search for me, publications on newspapers, or you can simply go back to the place you noticed me at the same time of the day on the same weekday until I finally get back there. And we lived happily ever after.

I wish I had said  I wish I said Hello is a celebration of everyday poetics, a physical mapping of digital network, a commentary on the role of technology in human communication.

Easy, isn’t it? But I am still waiting. I have already tried different alternatives, looking for love in the workplace, on social media, at a high altitude, it is about time my beau came to find me! I am pinning all my hopes on re-encountering my missed connection(s) with my love(s).

Yet, I seem to have been cursed with a parade of Mr Wrong, Mr A$$hole and Mr Frog that’ll never turn into a Prince. Why? Why? Why?

They say Love at first sight is often cured by taking a second look.

Doh, that explains it. Bummer.

Take Me Out– Irish vs British

Jess has recently developed a bizarre fascination for the TV program Take Me Out – both the UK and Irish version. For those of you who want to pretend they haven’t seen the show – or secretly wished to be in it – here’s what it is about: Take Me Out is a dating game show where a single guy tries to impress 30 single girls and obtain a date with one of them. The girls all stand behind a luminous station which they can turn off if they are not interested in the bachelor in question. Through 3 rounds the guy can introduce himself, display a skill or play a pre-recorded video in which friends and family reveal more about him (not always the greatest of ideas). If at least one girl keeps her light on, the guy is going on a date with her. If more girls keep their light on, the guy gets to choose which girl to take out.

I have learnt a few things by watching the show, here they are:

British guys tend to be more good-looking than Irish guys. Or so me thinks.

British girls tend to be thinner than Irish girls. (at least the ones on the show).

Fair play to Ireland that celebrates beauty in all shapes. In fact, Irish girls have bigger boobs.

British guys are generally better groomed and have a better sense of style, although a bit too metrosexual. Yet, Irish guys, please get rid of that ugly checked shirt that you all love so much and those flare jeans completely worn at the heel…please.

Both British and Irish girls tend to have a showy kitsch sense of style (sorry girls, I am Italian… I am from a different fashion school).

Both British and Irish guys fall for the flashy girls that are inevitably out of their league.

Despite being really nice and fun and witty, some girls never get chosen because they are pretty, but not as brassily attractive as some other girls.

The Irish blokes are really reserved, slightly awkward when they have to talk to girls (and haven’t got booze flowing down their veins…). British guys however can be quite cheesy (with or without booze).

Girls from both side of the pond are very coquettish, uninhibited and allusive when trying to convince the guy to chose them for a date. I wonder what happened to the demure charm of good girls…I am old for thinking this way, aren’t I?

Way too many guys out there are too close and too dependant on their mother.

And you, what do you think about the show?


The illusion of a secret admirer…

.. lasted only a few seconds!

I was reading one of my favourite section of the Metro Herald this morning on my bus journey to work – ‘Mailbox’, where emails, texts, twitter and facebook messages from readers are published.

I casually started reading the messages under “Yeh Big Ride – Strangers on a train.. or bus”..

To the dishy brunette (I think you used to be blonde?)..

Ahahah.. this could be me!

.. who always wears the cutest hats..

Oh, this could really be me!

and gets the train from Sutton every morning.

It’s me, it’s me! I get the bus from Suffolk every morning! Oh, wait…I get the BUS from SuFFoLK every morning.. : ( Bummer!!


Facebook subliminal messages…

Ah Facebook!

As a single lady of about 30 I seem to be told that I need to find a boyfriend all the time, by my friends, family and even by Facebook.  Okay I am single, but no, I do not want to register into ANY online dating service. Any of them, really.  Meet Irish Sober Men sounds like a nice one, pretty tempting I must say, but I’d rather search hard offline. I am just not the online dating person and I am not clicking on any of these ads, would you not consider stop displaying them at all on my profile?

All this social network advertising can sometimes be quite annoying. They call it ‘targeting demographics’, which means they try to display ads that are supposed to be relevant to you, according to the personal details, statuses and interests loaded in your profile. The more they can get from you, the better they can advertise. Or so they think. Do you find these ‘personalised adverts’ interesting at all? Some people would say ‘Just ignore them’, but how can Facebook really thinks I am desperate!I ignore  Mature woman wanted (Facebook, did you really just call me ‘mature’?) or No more flabby arms?  I wonder if they have a software that analyses your pictures: new wrinkle, go with the ad for old spinsters; chubby cheeks, go with the ad for fat chicks. Right, my arms would benefit from a little toning (whose arms wouldn’t?), so what? Mind your own business Facebook!

In a nutshell here is what Facebook seems to be telling me: I am an old spinster (seriously Facebook, ‘mature’?), I should be married and have kids by now, so I urgently need to find a man and learn how to stay in a relationship (How to keep men hooked);  my biological clock is ticking (Trying for a baby? We are leaders in reproductive medicine) and I am probably still single because I have flabby arms and a double chin (oh, that Beautify your neck ad is so inviting!), but if I really want to keep on with my sad life I can Save 70% on Brownies (or get a cheap van insurance).

Have you ever had the impression that whatever you may mention on your wall or even in your private conversations won’t take long to re-appear as a topic in one of the ads on the right-hand side? If by chance that is exactly what you were looking for, this is very impactful advertising. If that is not the case though (and doesn’t seem to be so very often), it’s just creepy advertising. They also say Facebook can track your online activities outside Facebook (not joking, check this out here). Unplanned Pregnancy? is one advert that left me totally perplexed: what on earth can I have mentioned on my wall, notes or messages that could lead anyone – even a software –  to believe I would need counselling for an unexpected pregnancy? Whatever I might be doing online I don’t think there is any risk of getting pregnant. This adds perfectly to the miserable portrait Facebook seems to be depicting of me (sigh!). 

Unsolicited advice is never nice. Facebook says you can influence some of the ads you see, by updating the information used to personalise your ads, such as liking or removing pages or by removing things from your Facebook history that are no longer relevant for instance (all explained here). Too much work you say? Well, there are no ads on Google+

Compelled to Comment? Please share your thoughts.

P.S. I love Facebook and I have a sense of humour. :)

Of the so called Mid-Life Crisis


When did you have your mid-life crisis? If a mid-life crisis is a time of panic and self-doubt [my life sucks!], I would say it has hit me multiple times already. Also known as Quarter-Life Crisis, as it is nowadays happening a lot earlier than it used to in the past, everyone seems to be affected, particularly around the age of 30 [when the infirmities of old age make their appearance..].

Career, money, settling down, having a family, success and wealth are the topics people panic about most. It is about finding that something that will give your life more meaning. But what is this something? [The world is your oyster – they say – find what you want and make it happen! … please, cut the crap].

The grass is always greener of the other side of the fence.

As cliché as it may sound, most of the stress and feelings of inadequacy young people experience today, originate in the belief that someone else is doing better, accomplishing more and having a better time elsewhere. [People brag, people brag a lot]. We look at what the others have or do – friends, family, acquaintances or even strangers [a bunch of dumb heads, do you hate them as much as I do?] – and we can’t settle on what we already have and be satisfied because we’re always agonising about what else we could be doing. It’s an endless quest to find happiness. [My life sucks so bad! Where am I gonna end?]

What makes the age of 30 such a catalyst for mid-life crisis?

The decade is frightening. The 5-year period is scary too, as it gets us closer to the next decade. When you turn 10 you are a child, when you turn 20 you’re basically still a teenager, the age of 30 marks the completion of the first real decade of adulthood life [holy crap!]. Most people would set their goals to be achieved by the age of 30 [Things to do do before I die .. ehmm.. turn 30] if not 25 – and when life doesn’t turn out quite like expected, anxiety takes over. It feels like time is running out and we’re wasting it doing things that are not as great as we would wish, our life is not good enough.

A mid-life crisis can be a stimulus for change.

[Yay! let’s get married!] However, most people would discover that even after having made the leap to the side of the fence the grass seemed to be greener, happiness is still a mirage and the grass is greener elsewhere. It is an ocean of choices that never run out. [650 things to do before I turn 30: 1) get married; 2) get divorced; 3) fall in love for real; 4)…]. When there is so much to choose from… how can you choose?

A mid-life crisis can be a positive stimulus for change.

There are times in life when we feel ‘trapped’ in certain situations (a job, a relationship, the place we live in) and we start wondering about it. By exploring new possibilities closer to our interests, preferences, aspirations and values, a sense that change is possible will grow and give us the guts to separate from previous commitments and start a new journey. [Life ain’t that bad after all..].

Or – you can blow your money on something that will make you feel better (most likely a car if you are a dude, expensive shoes/bags/cosmetics/jewellery if you are a girl) [Epiphany: shopping is the solution!] and once the novelty of your new purchase wears off, just remind yourself of the good things in life and learn to appreciate life as it happens.

Until you realise that you are nearly 40 [HFS!] and your life still sucks.

The evolution of the “Demoiselle en Détresse” Complex

You will have to admit that the French makes it sound like something cool – Demoiselle en Détresse. Being a Damsel in Distress is all but cool, though. A damsel is normally a passive, whining woman from the Middle Age whose sole purpose in life is to be rescued by her dashing hero. Iconography suggests damsels in distress would often happen to be [voluntarily or involuntarily] caught up in treacherous conditions: trapped in towers,  threatened by dragons, cursed by magic, tied to rocks or railroad tracks – until, here comes the knight errant, performing the most daring deeds in the name of the defenceless lady.

The helpless maidens of the past have been replaced by the resilient, competent women of today, who can live their lives and pursue a career. Knights in shining armours are no longer required.

Still, this ‘being rescued’ thing appeals to women, it must be encoded in their DNA. Even the most emancipated and fulfilled women show a tendency to fall for caring [male] individuals, who heal and make them feel good – preferably if not the least interested or attracted to them.

The infatuation is normally triggered by any situation where the woman feels exposed and the man gives her care. The Gynaecologist Crush Complex is what it is called today (what better metaphor, women ‘exposed’ – literally!).

The Gynaecologist Crush Complex

All the elements to fall prey to the infatuation combine in one of the most vulnerable yet voluntary moments in a woman’s life: wearing a white coat (let’s not forget the charm of the armour) your gyno accesses your most intimate parts, views them with so much [professional] interest, while holding vaginal discourse; you can tell him things you would never tell anyone else, his voice is calm and his hands are firm and warm. Your heart flutters and you feel excited like a schoolgirl. You get all dolled and trimmed up before seeing him, with the desire of pushing the boundaries. 

There are 95% chances that if you are are female you will blush at reading this, for you have had a crush on your gynaecologist too! If it’s not your gynaecologist, it is your doctor, your therapist, your teacher, your personal trainer.  Caring, nurturing and appealing individuals. It seems like natural to develop a very comfortable relationship and “fall in love”.

Unlike the knights in shining armour who regarded the saving of demoiselles in need as essential part of their raison d’être (French sounds so very learned!), today’s saviours have a pure professional interest in their patient. The Truth is, women don’t even know if the gyno/doctor/teacher/personal trainer they’re in love with is …gay.

And you, have you ever had a crush on your doctor/gyno/teacher/personal trainer/etc? Did it remain platonic?

Premature Marriage Commitment

A message to self and to my fellow spinsters : we are 30ish and we are still saying “When I get married..”. It is not even “if I get married”, it’s “when”.

Let’s face it, most women only want to get married. However, finding Mr Right is an interminable quest, so many girls would just turn any good-enough date into the ‘right’ one – as fast as possible (seize the day!). In women’s mind it pretty much goes like this:

“Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but I am already picturing out our wedding day and life together”.

Premature Marriage Commitment is to women between 25 and 40 what Premature Ejaculation is to teenage boys.

According to Wikipedia Premature Ejaculation is that condition in which a man ejaculates earlier than his partner would like him to. Now, by that definition, women suffer from Premature Marriage Commitment, that condition in which a woman commits to a marriage-track relationship way earlier than her partner (date would be a more appropriate term at this stage of the relationship) would like her to. 

If men manage to slow down as they age, women’s rapidity to commit to marriage gets faster and faster as they get oldAre narrow marriage-minded women scary?.

What are the causes of Premature Marriage Commitment?

Hundreds of years of programming to fear spinsterhood that feminism and modern women emancipation have not been able to erase.

During the happy first five years in their twenties, women live in the belief that there will always be quality men they want to marry and that they can save marriage for after they launch their career, only to wake up one day at the magical age of 30 and realize that their dating market power is on the decline (Ouch!!).

What are the signs of Premature Marriage Commitment?

~ You barely know her and you are instantly in a Facebook Relationship (or even better, she has deleted your Facebook profile, to create one of you two);

~ You tell her that you will call her the day after a date and she calls you as soon as you walk in your house after the date;

~ She is obsessed with your family;

~ She has her wedding day planned already, down to the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses and flower arrangement.

How to prevent Premature Marriage Commitment?

You can’t. Any form of romantic attention is taken very seriously. Anything you say is translated into marriage-vocabulary in her mind, there is nothing you can say to her to make her think you don’t love her. Even if you stop being nice and amusing her, she will try even harder to prove how much you love her.

If you have met a narrow marriage-minded girl, you are trapped. Keep calm and say “I do”.

The number 1 reason why I hate Ryanair

It’s not even fair to say that I hate Ryanair, I am kinda getting used to travelling Ryanair. Let’s take the fact that Ryanair does not pre-assign seats to its passengers, for instance. Most people hate that you have to start queuing – standing (and pushing) – at the boarding gate, ages before the plane even lands from its previous flight. Once on the plane you have to fight for seats. Sounds detestable? To most people probably. I happen to be travelling on my own quite frequently and Ryanair’s non-assigned seating has become of interest to me. I know that I am destined to find my better half on a plane. How do I know? There aren’t many other options left, I have tried a few and didn’t work (you can check my previous posting).

Ryanair serves the purpose quite well: I usually am one of the first passengers to board the plane (but I am not among those who push, I swear, I am small and can sneak in); I carefully choose a seat, at the beginning or end of the plane. I sit alone, casually throwing glances at the people walking along the aisle, waiting for Mr Right to pass by – along the aisle, how odd – notice me and take the seat next to mine.  And they lived happily ever after.

Never happened, not a single time, not a single decent guy to take the seat next to mine and flirt with me. 

It’s not my plane lover’s fault, though, there is always an elderly couple that doesn’t leave him time to find me. What is it in me that attracts elderly couples? They just interfere with the plane love game. It is well-known how men play this game, the trick is either to play it safe and and choose the first potential date you see (either at the beginning or end of the plane depending on where you board from), or hold out for someone ‘better’, scanning all seats and ending to have to settle at the end of the aisle for waiting too long (or beginning, depending on where you board from).

This would work out perfectly, if it wasn’t for that elderly couple always choosing me as a travel companion! This is why I hate Ryanair: instead of being squeezed in a rendez-vous at a high altitude with a hot stranger, I always end up squeezed in next to loudly snoring elderlies!

this is what I should be getting when flying…Bradley Cooper on 'Valentine's Day'                                              


…this is what I normally get wPhotograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Imageshen flying!





[no offence for the elderlies who are lovely people!]

Loving 9 to 5–when romance strikes in the office

OpenForum_OfficeRomance_chart_v2Interoffice dating has always been taboo for me. Statistics, however, demonstrate that  office romance is far from being unusual. Figures vary from survey to survey, but I haven’t found one where the percentage of people who have dated a co-worker was lower than 40%.  They say that if it is not you, then the colleague sitting next to you has dated a co-worker. Check. The colleague sitting next to me is married to a co-worker. The population of my (multinational) company, seems to conform to the statistics (I assume we have no policy that forbids office dating). Quite a few employees are dating, have dated, have married and have had children with a co-worker. Given my spinsterhood status, I guess I will have to give it a try.  It sounds like a good alternative. What else is left anyway – internet dating? I still prefer meeting people in the flesh.

As we  live in an era where we spend more time in work than doing anything else, why not take Time Management to a whole new and personal level? Nothing makes your time management more efficient than dating someone from the office. It saves a whole lot of time, as you don’t have to search for a special someone by engaging in social activities outside office hours. Also, if you work together you both live within reasonable dating distance, which is gonna save you cash too, as you can bypass the early stages of conventional dating where it is all about going out to dinner etc. Once the relationship is established you will even be able to carpool.

The workplace is a breeding ground for flirtation. You lock eyes a few times, you chat nicely over a coffee or in the smoking area, you chat extra nicely at the company social event over  booze. The question is: who is date-worthy? For someone who has always considered dating a co-worker against their own ethics, identifying who could be worth the hassle, ain’t that easy.

Dating your manager – nah, not for me, not someone that controls your salary and compensation. It may be an advantage when it’s all a bed of roses (despite the gossip and the dangers of favouritism), but what if the relationship doesn’t end in fairy tale style? Better to stay within your hierarchy.

Dating a colleague from the same floor – sounds like the easiest option. You pretty much get the chance to “randomly” bump into each other at any time; you can lock eyes over the pc screen, there are a million work related excuses to have to go talk to each other face to face; there is the thrill of being close without the others knowing and being intimate when the others aren’t looking (ehmm.. remember the only thing you should get caught ‘making’ at work, is money for your company). You meet everyday, any time of the day… 40 hours per week…that will feel like an eternity when you break up or when he/she is flirting with other colleagues. Option flunked.

Dating a colleague from another department – sounds less dangerous. It may be harder to test the waters and understand if your chosen one has the hots for you too, but once the relationship takes off, you have the advantage of being close but not so close to be overwhelmed by the other’s presence. Being in constant contact can cause a relationship to fall apart just as quickly as it developed. The  moments spent together become precious and are filled with playful jokes, love notes, polite pecks (same rule as to what you should be caught making at work applies). Plus if you break up you don’t have to endure the pain of seeing each other all the time. Tempting option.

Dating a colleague from another site –  here you do not have the advantage of being within reasonable dating distance, but you certainly have the advantage of not having to care about morning after regrets. I personally can’t figure how this would be anything more than a fling, but if it ever survived for the long haul, I would recommend choosing the location carefully, as you may actually end up asking to be transferred and then live in said location. Option to be considered (remember the City is dull and rainy…).

I am still not convinced about office dating, but I certainly have options to consider (sunny place to move to? a sweatheart in some hidden corner of the building?). Now tell me, are you in favour or against office dating? Don’t have to leave your name, take the anonymous poll below. Feel free to add your insights on office dating in the comments below.