Girl solo travelling: the ultimate Valentine’s Day

Solo travelling is fabulousJess was in the City (the original and only one) this Valentine’s Day. Wow, the ultimate Valentine’s gift from a new boyfriend? Nope, Jess was in the City all by herself. And there, when she saw a heart-shaped balloon floating romantically over the New York skyline, her heart sunk…. aw….she realized…she does not miss a boyfriend at all.

This can actually be considered the ultimate way to spend the V-Day, Solo Travelling.

There are a number of advantages in being single, one being – being able to accept a last minute business trip to the Big Apple, without any explanation to be provided to anyone, or the risk of being grounded by a partner. So, it hadn’t exactly been planned as a Solo Valentine’s Trip, but it turned out to be an excellent way to celebrate loving myself.

Travelling can be a dreary or fabulous experience, much of it depends on the company. Now, I am a pretty awesome person. I am rather shy, but I am intelligent, practical and witty, an excellent travel companion. I get along with anyone, myself included. I have personally never found a person that was as companionable as I am. Solo travelling is an indulgent retreat for the inner self anyone should have the pleasure to experience, single or coupled ones. If you can’t stand your own and only company though, well, you are probably not as awesome as I am.

Are you now thinking I could never do that, does it mean I am not awesome?  Bad news, it does, but don’t despair, the essential skill of being alone can be learnt.

There are some processes you have to go through in order to discover the Art of Solitary XXX (be that travelling or anything else):

Overcome the fear of independence – Yes, my dears, independence. If you are afraid of feeling lonely when alone, the truth is you are scared of independence, of having to deal with everything on your own. Fear of the unknown? Fear of running out of things to do? Again, that is fear of independence. Let me tell you, you should try the thrill of independence. Travelling solo is an introspective journey, it’s great for the soul. For once you do not have to be sought after and included in activities by others to feel good. It’s you and your inner self, living a unique experience.

Overcome the fear of silence – Quiet is not scary per se, what is scary is the emphasis it puts on the small things that normally get lost in the daily hullabaloo, plus the emphasis it puts on your thought processes. Do your thoughts scare you? Nothing I can help you with, but you should remember that you are the master of your mind, use your thought processes to your advantage. Learn to deal with yourself, be your own entertainer (but don’t talk to yourself out loud, that is alarming!).

One of the downsides of solo travelling!

Deal with the social aspect of being alone – Contradictory as it may sound, when performing the Art of Solitary XXX (replace xxx with any kind of activity), you are not cast away from society. Surprisingly , aloneness makes people less closed off from others and more capable of empathy, in other words – better social animals*. How possible? It’s the power of solitariness, it strengthens your sense of identity (remember? I am awesome!) and frees you from the “group mind”, making you more open to socially engage with people, even those that are more distant from you. Once you reach solo contentment, you will emanate the attracting “constructive solitude” vibe. New social interactions will flow in naturally. And then, who knows, they may be even better than the ones you have been used to all your life.


* Read full article “The Power of Lonely” by Leon Neyfakh, The Boston Globe, March 6th 2011

What’s the worst place on earth to be single?

Or else, when one has to come to terms with their relocation choices.

It came out as joke on the internet – there are 7 billion people in the world, I am sorry you are still single – it made me laugh and then it made me think. True, I am single. So, what’s the story?

Just to check what my chances are, I decided to have a look at some demographics. Wikipedia says that there are 105 men for every 100 women in the world. Promising, at least there are enough blokes for all women. To assess my chances more closely, I have checked the most recent demographics for Ireland. According to the Census 2011, in Dublin there are  949 guys for every 1,000 girls, with an about even 1 male/1 female ratio, they say – well, not quite, we seem to be 51 blokes short, not considering the gay ones!

It may still seem a fair good chance to meet someone… well, then it must be that I am too picky, or there is true lack of dateable guys in Dublin (Tallafornia has started on TV while I was here all intent on statistics…).

It is probably my personal perception of Dublin guys by now, but statistics are on my side – or, actually, they support my theory, but they’re definitely against me. When women outnumber men, men show a tendency to lure women into multiple, short-term, uncommitted relationships. They don’t feel any pressure to settle down as women are plentiful (the proper term here is Taco Fest). This would explain why Dublin guys are stingy and don’t invite girls out. They also don’t seem to be much interested in conversation, like they have no incentive in making the effort, except after a few pints (and there the conversation flows…).

Given the male to female ratio, I should relocate to Smurf Village. Lucky Smurfette!

Smurfs

The proper term here is Sausage Fest.

COMMITMENT PHOBIA?

Whoever said that men are commitment phobic, well, they are wrong. In fact, men show commitment to many things.
In general they have a sincere commitment to football (be that Italy, or rugby, be that Ireland). They would choose their favourite team when they are just kids – or inherit it from their father and siblings -and stick to it for the rest of their life. They wouldn’t miss a single match, football is sacred. Every Sunday (and any other Championship day) is totally devoted to football. Now, that is commitment.

They can then show high levels of commitment to: the TV remote controller; brands of cars and motorbikes and other smaller machines, such as computers and mobile phones; magazines (sports and porn); dvds (just porn); booze; video games, playstation, X box and so on and so forth. They tend to be very proud of their collections of all the above mentioned.
They are also well committed to their mum. When they are 6, when they are 12, when they are 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, etc. They claim they are free spirits and need their freedom and space… for themselves and their mum to come along and cuddle them at any time – cook for them, iron for them, clean their mess, criticize their girlfriend, apply pressure on them to make decisions. They might not stand her at times, nevertheless she would always be allowed to stick around.

Men love commitment in relationships too. As long as the woman commits first and from the very first moment. As long as she quits her job, family, friends, hometown and career just to join them wherever they are and support them do whatever they want to do, they’re happy to commit. Or better, they feel relieved. They like it to have someone willing to share joys and sorrows with them, to take on responsibilities, duties and decisions. Just two are the conditions: they reserve the right to desire and seek sexual variety; they reserve the right not t to share profits and financial resources.

Women on their part commit from the very beginning, quitting job, family, friends, hometown and career, with no such conditions as men. At a certain point they just want their commitment to be officially recognized and possibly reciprocated. Marriage or official cohabitation is what women want, but both break the 2 rules set by men as a limit to their commitment. Ergo, the answer is no.

Does this mean women are destined to accept men’s commitment-limits forever? No, relax, there is still hope. Sooner or later men will pop the question. Maybe. Or maybe they won’t. Or maybe they will – marriage is just paperwork in the end.
Some of them might surprise you as they would have valid reasons not to marry you and then they would go on holiday and come back after a few days truly and totally committed to some exotic woman (breathe in deeply and repress your homicide instinct).

My dear single girlfriends, I am afraid there is no happy conclusion to this blog of mine. But we love men anyway. I can only advise all of you to learn from their own rules.
runawaygroom

I really tried to be positive and find a nice happy ending to this piece, but then I came across this: AskMen: Reasons Not To Get Married

The ‘prima ballerina’ friend

ColorspointeshoesgrishkoEvery corps de ballet would love to become a prima ballerina. Don’t ask me why French is used for the average dancer and Italian for the principal one, but I like it that Italian is used for the exceptional soloist (for the record, I am Italian..). The prima ballerina is prettier and more talented. She has the main role and all eyes are on her. What do you think the prima ballerina would do however, if one of the corps de ballet suddenly started to out-shine her? She would probably do away with her.

Many girls seem to have this ‘prima ballerina’ syndrome. They’re normally prettier than their fellow girls, they’re more popular and more talented – well, so they believe. If they ever felt threatened to be knocked off their pedestal by one of the ordinary girls, even for one second, they’d do away with them.

If it is true that prettiest girls are normally the envied ones, it is also true that being so pretty has a cost: insecurity, as everything depends on the looks, and the looks change, in you – they may fade, and in others – they may improve. It’s hardly ever the other way round if you start pretty.

Maintaining position number 1 in the beauty and brilliance contest is a hard job and it sometimes requires some tricks of the trade (aka: cheating). If a pack of girls is on a night out and the less beautiful girls are getting some attention while she isn’t, the place suddenly gets boring and the whole pack has to go somewhere else.  If there is a cute guy around, it’s a matter that falls under her unique competence. The idea that a cute guy may like one of the insignificant girls doesn’t even cross her mind, it’s unconceivable (he will probably look at her only, men are superficial pigs).  In the rare event of a cute guy actually throwing eyes at any of the ordinary girls, the prima ballerina would have to restore her prevailing role by gently discouraging the corp de ballet from taking any further step: he’s an idiot, he’s ridiculous, he’s a bad guy, have you not seen he’s gay? Just a piece of kind advice from a friend. She is normally so popular with guys that the corp de ballet would believe every word she says. Yet, if the cute guy persisted and anything romantic happened to the corp de ballet, well, it’s nothing really, what’s all this fuss about? It’s just a date. Uh, uh, boring.

On the occasion the newly formed couple are getting away for a romantic weekend, there is no way evidence can be ignored. Fighting her homicidal instinct, the prima ballerina knows she has to display some kind of happiness otherwise she will lose her entire ballet ensemble altogether. But how much happiness? The more the better, right? So let’s be very, very, very, very happy for you. I wish you two all the very bestest things in the world – may it rain all through the weekend.

If I can’t have it, then no one else should.

When love has an expiration date… agreed by both parties!

Do you think it is good or bad?tumblr_kverfypfTP1qzxzwwo1_500

Opinions may clash. The most romantic ones would certainly say that love is forever, or at least that you have to think it will last forever (at the very best stages of it). But someone else would say that when there is undeniable chemistry and the time together is limited, that is when love reaches its utmost intensity.

From A to B – this is how the inspiration source of this blog defined the whole concept (I care to point out that the person in question is a guy): you start a relationship knowing it will go from A to B, you know where it starts and you know where it ends. Both agree to it. This type of relationship with a deadline apparently lets your inhibitions go and your emotions spark. There is no worry about long term impact, no dramatic plans for the future, no expectations on the relationship or on the other. No strings attached, isn’t that what it is called? Once the inevitable moment comes, both parties go their own way and never look back. No long distance commitment. And no broken hearts.

It sounds cool (I have never tried this though). The awareness that this love will soon be over enhances the moments together. There is no room for jealousy, as the relationship is not destined to progress anyway. Does it matter if he throws his eyes at someone else’s booty? No, and you are free to check out what is on the market too (for when the goodbye moment comes).

You have nearly convinced me that dating with an expiration date is great. I am not a fan of long distance relationships – prince charming is not so that charming over the phone or through emails and chat. So I figure this is the best approach I should have with guys I meet here in Dublin (let’s face it, I am not going to spend the rest of my life in this weather and neither will the majority of guys that move here to work).

I mean, so far I have tried to carefully chose who to date and who not to date, but it’s true that you cannot help who you fall for or the timing of the fall. Even though every date is a potential mate, not all  dates are marriage material anyway, so why not? It sounds like I have plan: if any short-term relationship appears on my radar, I won’t try to outflank it (again), I will come to terms with it. Once decided where A and B are, we will be free to enjoy it while it lasts. This is a moment of triumphant discovery, I am picturing it all already: we meet, we like each other, we don’t have much time to spend together, we long to be together even more, we agree on our expiration date, we start our sparking relationship; we enjoy every minute, not a moment of jealousy, just love . And when the farewell moment arrives.. we will amicably terminate this relationship… won’t we?

…hold on young A-to-B fella, are you sure you can outsmart your heart?

“And they lived happily ever after”–another ordinary princess story

Every fairy tale worthy of the name ends the same way, Happily Ever After. I really wonder, though, if Cinderella, Snow-white, the Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel all really lived a happy marriage for the rest of their lives. We never get to know how they lived, what happened after they married Prince Charming.

Women are dreamers by nature. We dream and day-dream about our Prince Charming from a very early age. Fairy tales are the first visual (ah the power of Disney!) and metaphorical example of relationships children –dangerously – get in contact with. They provide the idea of the female role:  a victim who is in a sad and dangerous situation and can only be rescued by a handsome prince. He will even fight fire spewing dragons with his bare hands to save her and protect her, driven by the power of his love. It’s extreme love that makes you do the craziest things.

We seem to be dreaming of chivalric romance all the time, we don’t want any ordinary man, we want an adventurous and brave one, we want passion, a man that can do crazy things for us, make our heart beat fast. This is the message fairy tales, as well as tv, cinema, music and all other media provide.

Many women in their 20s, 30s and even 40s are still waiting for that Prince, puzzled he hasn’t yet shown up to rescue them, obsessing that he will show up eventually and make everything Happily Ever After.

As women of the second decade of the 21st century we should know that ‘Happily Ever After marriage’ does not exist. Even the healthiest relationships have ups and down. Nowadays far too many relationships end up like real nightmares. The one that saved you once, the one that did something crazy for you, may turn out to be paranoid, manipulative, controlling – often very subtly – and keep you captive in the relationship.  For some reason you feel it is your duty and your mission to obey and second him, thinking the power of Love will change him. But Happily Ever After will not come.

After wanting that Prince for so long, convinced he has finally come to the rescue, a lot of women are ready to forgive and endure frustration and humiliation, in the name of love. Insane acts seem to be part of the profile of Prince Charming after all. He is your hero, he knows,  and will often brag about how he saved you, what poor miserable thing you were before you met him. You not being miserable depends on being with him.

He’s charming – that’s one reason you fell in love with him, loves all eyes on him, he has followers and supporters (insecure and unhappy people that would love to be as narcissistic as he is); anything that happens that you don’t like, never happened or it is you being your usual stupid self; he re-writes history to tell it the way that pleases him and to make people believe the lies he is living.

Crazy love sounds like a great thing in words, but not when crazy means abusing and non-respectful, not when crazy acts offend, insult, humiliate and hurt. Not when they become insane beyond all parameters of imagination. Not when being with a Prince Charming means being held isolated and controlled. Not when you have to walk on egg shells not to upset him, when your dignity is crushed (even in public), when your needs and feelings are neglected and sabotaged.

“Cinder” by Dina Goldstein (caption added)

Emotional abuse*, unlike physical violence, can pass unnoticed for a very long time. It becomes part of the routine, it becomes part of normality. The abuser operates very subtly and in secret, slowly mining the self esteem of the other to make her feel the bad one, stupid, inadequate. It alters the victim’s sense of reality. It is hard for a victim of emotional abuse to recognize how serious the situation is (and accept the term ‘abuse’ as part of her life). It might take years for her to take conscience of what is really going on. Abusive acts might be so subtle that no one else will ever become aware of the on-going situation. Yet, the victim of emotional abuse is living a nightmare. Still the victim of emotional abuse keeps on justifying those same acts (justifying her reality). So low is the self esteem of the abused, that she will struggle to admit to herself that she is not responsible for such disrespectful behaviour. She is in such need for love and fears being abandoned (yes by her torturer) that she will endure the pain that goes with it. She has become numb to the violence.

Emotional abuse is a crime.

No fairy tale tells the story of how a princess managed to leave her abusing prince, despite the economic difficulties, despite the religious pressure and cultural believes, but you can write this story yourself: gain conscience of what love is and love isn’t (despite the apology and forgiveness that follow every attack, he feels no remorse); realize you have been abused and don’t deserve being abused; seek help, you are not supposed to do this alone; leave; get the abuser out of your head. Never go back to the victim role. It will finally be Happily Ever After.

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*Emotional Abuse is NOT a prerogative of men, I do apologize for depicting the male abuser scenario only. I have known both male and female narcissistic abusers in my life. This blogpost just came from deep in my heart and is dedicated to someone I love. It takes time to heal.

IMMIGRATION COUNSELLING REQUIRED: IRISH MEN (applicable to Anglo-Saxon Men in general..)

January 2012
This is definitely my most read blog-post! Thanks everyone for reading.  Many of my fellow (single) girl friends have confirmed that the below is applicable to Anglo-Saxon men in general, from both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, therefore I have decided to add it to the title. Enjoy!
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Women offer sex in order to have a relationship

The picture represents the Irish claddagh, symbol of Love, Friendship and Loyalty.It seems to be the Irish way. I was struck and shocked by this statement from an Irish (male) friend.

Apparently if you are Irish you grow up in a small community, where everyone knows everyone. Women know what they want, pick the man they desire and offer him sex in order to have a relationship.

If you’re Italian you also most likely grow up in a small community where everyone knows everyone. The Italian way is slightly different though: women choose the man they want to have a relationship with and try to seduce him; he will have to work hard in order to take her into the bed.

Great, now I’m confused. Being in Ireland I have to learn how to deal with men from scratch, as if it hadn’t been hard enough so far. If I don’t offer men sex I might end up on the shelf. If I offer sex but I don’t belong to any Irish community, will I get a relationship in return?

Where are you from?

This is the first thing they ask you when you meet them. Your first name comes second. They certainly act in a slightly different way with girls from other countries.

Irish men have proven to have a real taste for foreign women, especially exotic brunettes with deep dark eyes (which I am not). Fair enough, you are always attracted to what you have been less exposed to; however, it is as if they were adjusting a woman’s rating according to her nationality – if not just the colour of her hair, eyes and complexion. So if a woman would score a 6 by her looks, you can add and extra point if she is dark skinned, another 1.5 points if she’s South American. This is probably why Irish women keep complaining their guys don’t find them attractive any more. I should probably worry as everyone keeps asking me if I am Irish (grrr!).

Slow motion

Ireland is a very calm country. Life flows in a quiet habitual way here. Irish courting rituals are no exception. An Irish guy fleeting glances at you over the room or flirting with you is, in most cases, harmless. Even when they have true interest, they don’t make a move for a very, very long time. It’s official founding:almost one in four men think that it is appropriate to become intimate in a relationship after four months.* So ladies don’t panic, it’s not that he doesn’t like you or that he is gay, he just likes to do it traditionally (slow).

Just 4% felt it was appropriate to become intimate immediately. The percentage would certainly peak if men were surveyed on a Saturday night**.

We all have flaws

It requires a certain amount of Guinness for the Irish to find the tongue required to speak with a woman they are attracted to. Until there is enough flowing in the blood stream, they don’t even know what to do when their glances are reciprocated.

Yet, even when things are getting in the right direction, it seems that there is no such thing as “dating” in Ireland. The way to get past the glances and flirtations is to make-out.

Wait a minute. Does this have anything to do with what my friend was stating – that women offer sex in order to have a relationship? And isn’t this in contradiction with what men said when surveyed – that it is appropriate to get intimate in a relationship after four months?

Hard to believe, the two things coexist.

Two are the possible scenarios in Ireland: in the majority of cases you would meet a guy that expects you to make out straight away (if you don’t, don’t expect him to date you, not even if he asked for your number); or you meet a more decent guy that will keep you waiting for a while.

If you are lucky enough to meet a guy of the latest type, he might still end up vanishing out of thin air (you can read my Abracadabra blog post to find out more).

Thus said ladies, after nearly 3 years I still don’t have a clue how things work here in Ireland, but I just came to the conclusion that…

…there are assholes of all nationalities!

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*source: Sexual habits of Irish menhttp://www.irishhealth.com

**source: Binge drinking is ‘the norm’ in Irelandhttp://www.irishhealth.com

Do Irish women have waterproof hair?

Two drops of rain and my hair gets soaking wet. Them, they get out of the hair salon with pouring rain, no umbrella, hat or hood whatsoever and still they get to the pub with perfectly blow-dried hair.
Please Irish girls, tell me what your secret is, because I live here, I need to know to survive. Thank you.

The power of menstruation–aka: Women are crazy lunatics

“Are you having your period?” mood-swings1

Guys, do you really think that women can only freak out 5 days a month? Ah, ah, ah, you wish. It’s quite the opposite, your girlfriend can be her normal and loving self for about 5 days a month, the rest of the time she is a lunatic. It is called menstrual cycle for a reason: it is a cycle of 4 weeks (yep, if you can do the maths, 4 weeks makes a month); 4 long weeks when women are prey to hormonal changes.

First to come is the ovulatory phase. To help you guys, that is the first 2 weeks of the month (not to be confused with the calendar month or the lunar month). The ovulatory phase ends with the ovulation, the release of an egg. No, ovulating is not funny, why do you guys have to say that “you are ovulating!” when you are overexcited? That is when we are mostly emotional and irritable, we feel like crying, crying, crying. We cry for nothing, we freak out for nothing. Sound like fun for you? A little respect for the eggs we bear, please.

Then it is the turn of the menstrual phase, with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), preceding the so called ‘time of the month’ itself; they named it Syndrome, it’s a seriously and highly charged altered state. When a woman is in PMS mode, her hormones have a mind of their own and she is overwhelmed; it’s a roller coaster of emotions, irritability, anger, oversensitivity, sadness and mood swings. All accompanied by physical pain. We can blow up at anything. The worst symptoms of the egg-laying phase combine with the worst symptoms of the egg-expelling phase. Are you still thinking that your girlfriend can be cranky 5 days a month? We just go through different degrees of lunaticity. And it is not an excuse for every female to act like a witch with a capital B, as they say in AskMen.com; in fact you shouldn’t ask men, they don’t know what it feels like to be PMS-ing! Neither what it feels like to make eggs (or drop them). Sending a squadron in search of an egg is not quite as painful as making one.

‘Ovulation + PMS + period’ leave just a few days of freedom from hormones turmoil in the 4-week-cycle. A few days when we can be rational and placid. Unless you start drooling at some other girl’s @ss. In that case your girlfriend will fly off the handle and it’s just your fault.  She will start screaming at you and then she will start crying. You deny and that will make her even crazier. She will demand that you admit being guilty and that you apologize. Because for a moment you did think of sending your squadron in search of a new egg (and if you didn’t, you were about to anyway). It all comes back to the eggs in the end. It’s either our own eggs, or the other ones your squadrons are after. In either case, it’s the eggs that make us freak out!

Please call me ‘Your Highness!–tales of when I become a princess [pt 1]

Kate has proved it, commoners can become royals. You can count me in the princess crowd.

I am destined to a Prince, a real blue-blooded crown-headed prince. He will come along and we will have a wonderful wedding like William and Kate just had (with the exception of Pippa; no fine @ss to steal the show from me on my wedding day). This is no fairytale, these things really happen. Don’t think of the damsel in distress cliché, I am talking about real women that have the guts to face the fishbowl of royal life, the public eye and tabloids, and the unenviable duties that come with it (as well as the money and material wealth). Princess-hood is no piece of cake. I am indeed a natural born princess.Prince-Carl-Philip

Thus established, let’s find my prince. Browsing royal bachelors I have recognised him at first sight: Prince Carl Philip of Sweden (I mean, have you seen him? he is f**king hot! and the others are too young anyway…). Perfect, I have a prince, now let’s get ready for my royal future. It is necessary to work hard in order to reach the princess status (no, he doesn’t know yet, but he will find out soon, he will be struck at first sight, exactly like me).

I have recently taken on Swedish classes to prepare for my future as princess of Sweden (shame on him he is not the crown prince, I would have made a perfect queen). I am also practicing my hand waving, as being a royal involves a lot of waving to the crowds from the balcony. Arm doesn’t move, wrist swifts softly, hands waves princessly. I am practicing my walk too, as it has to look like I am floating, floating through the courtyard of my palace. I am also working to refine my ribbon cutting technique. What’s left? Oh yes, I suppose I will have to start to mingle in the right circles and be with the right people… well, I know some Swedes, that should be fine.

I am ready to be scrutinized and defeat all other princess-hood aspirants. Carl Philip, brace yourself, here I come!

[what’s the cheapest airline to fly to Sweden?]