Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Bad Bromance

Somewhere beneath the realm of brotherly love lies a connection so deep that not even Megan Fox's pouty lips and bad-ass boodie could penetrate it. This phenomenon is called a "bromance"; a unique and purely platonic bond between two heterosexual males that forms over a variety of interests such as beer, porn, sport, Journey and other such recreational past times. It's the male version of Romy and Michelle and Thelma and Louise, the cast of Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias all rolled into one camaraderie of man-love at its best. He's your guy's best and most trusted ally, a confidant and loyal mate, the Robin to his Batman and the dude who you'll probably spend your entire relationship trying to live up to. 

As if beating off the bevvy of belt-wearing tartlets and desperate fishwives wasn't bad enough, along comes Bob, the bane of every girl's relationship. There are many things a girl can fake in a relationship but not liking your boyfriend's life partner is not one of them. Like balls, they come in a pair so you have to acknowledge them from time to time. Trying to sever them can cause some serious complications especially if your boyfriend regards his bestie as the best thing next to grilled cheese. To you on the other hand, he's nothing more than a pesky nuisance, a third wheel incapable of taking a hint, a bunion that keeps popping up at the worst of times and whose general presence seems to interfere with all your romantic efforts, retreats and weekend getaways.

Contrary to popular belief, girls are not as selfish as guys like to think. They understand that maintaining a quality bromance is just as important to guys as one-on-one Cosmo time is to girls, but what happens when the future best man in question starts becoming a major problem in your relationship? What happens when his best friend's lifestyle choices start becoming a potential threat to the man you are trying to mould into the perfect husband? Is it time to abandon the holy gift of grace and open up the can of extremely uncomfortable worms? And just how does a girl approach a sensitive issue such as this without coming across as a possessive bitch trying to sabotage the only link associated with his single life?

"Unless you have a single girlfriend to distract his bestie with, you don't." Henry, a 31-year old IT specialist had been in several long-term bromantic relationships and had managed to crack the code of this non-sexual boy crush phenomena. "The bromance is a sacred connection much like the sisterhood of ya-ya traveling pants. It's a safe place where guys have the option to open up and speak freely about things they're generally uncomfortable about such as feelings and emotions. It's not much different to girl world actually. A true bro knows how to keep his boy's secrets and defends him no matter what kind of douche you think he is. Don't forget...before you, it was only him. Neglecting your guy because of some relationship is the number one no-no on top of that list and can only paint you in a bad light. Would you ditch a girlfriend who was going through a break up because of something your boyfriend had planned or would you drop everything to be there right by her side?"

Yikes! Perhaps Mars wasn't that far from Venus after all? Did boys really experience the same kind of bond that girls did with their female companions? Was a bromantic encounter some form of social progression that allowed men to open up to each other in a non-threatening, non-homoerotic way? And if this was the case, why the hell are we giving them such a hard time about it? Surely we have the odd girlfriend or two that annoys the living shit out of our man and still, finds a way to tolerate them albeit from a healthy distance? Do girls need to adopt a more empathetic approach to bromantic relationships or pull the plug completely?

"I dare you to ask a guy to chose between you and his bro. It's your jealousy issue to get over and no one else's. You want to know what drives you mad? Bob is a guy who probably knows your boyfriend ten times better than you do and that kills you. Not only is he able to do guy things with him, most of which you find boring and neanderthal, but he is also able to open up to him on an emotional level. It almost feels as if your role is redundant, doesn't it? The other major problem is that most girls try to sledge the sidekick for not living up to your standards. So what if his friend still comes home pissed every night with a new chick that looks young enough to be his daughter. You're not dating his friend so why should it matter to you? If his bromance is worth the sweat, your guy will eventually come to realise that his friend's behaviour is unacceptable and have a talk with him but on his own time, not on yours." Well there you have it.

Sigh, they'll probably have more nicknames for each other than they do for you and sometimes it may feel like you're starring in a warped remake of Three's Company. I guess we just need to tolerate our lover's brother from another mother. I'm sure that they would probably hold hands and braid each others hair if that did not come across as gay but then again, the things we girls get up to during a slumber party are our own secrets to bear. He may seem like public enema number one for a very long, long time but accepting that your man's nasty best friend is here for the long run is just another bullet we girls have to bite especially if the guy we're with is totally worth it.

When it comes to metrosexual matrimony, I couldn't help but wonder, why is it always bros before ho's?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

And then there were three...

Having my baby, what a lovely way of saying...your life is about to change. While the majority of this wonderful journey may very well be altogether worthwhile (at least that's what every parent guarantees and swears upon) the first couple of months that come with being a new parent can take a serious toll on ones relationship. Friendships, partnerships, work and even those precious moments of you-time are sidelined and somehow dictated by the schedule of one tiny little bundle. Goodbye to the scent of designer perfume and welcome to the stench of baby puke and pear-flavoured aftermath. It's a limbo of emotions filled with equal amounts of happiness, stress, sleep deprivation and irreplaceable firsts, where tears come more easily and the strength of one's relationship is put to the ultimate test.   

Forget about the tips you picked up in What to Expect When You're Expecting or even the advice you received from some overzealous relative who's well on their way to baby number three. Welcoming a newborn baby into the fold can be quite an adjustment and the transition can have some serious side effects on both mom and dad. For starters, you are no longer just an ordinary couple with the unlimited luxury of freedom and time to do whatever you please. You have become a parent now which means sacrifice, constant prioritising and putting someone else's needs ahead of yours, at least for the next eighteen years of your life that is. As if pushing something the size of a watermelon out of something the size the opening of a lemon wasn't triumphant enough, along comes this formidable tornado of physical, emotional and mental evolution in a style that comes in both his and hers.

The Royal heir may have been the talk of the town this week, but closer to home, one of my dearest and nearest had just welcomed their own little peanut into the world. Tommy and Katie were the first in a long line of friends to experience the many so-called wonders of parenthood and had embraced it with open arms. They had read all the books, taken pre-parenting classes and even endured some of the wackiest old wives tales told by some of their loopier relatives. Although they had done as much research as they possibly could on raising a newborn, I couldn't help but wonder whether they'd actually read the chapter about the various challenges their relationship might face in light of a third party arrival?

It was a Sunday afternoon when I decided to visit TomKat at their Sea Point apartment. I brought flowers for mum and a cigar for dad although something tells me Preparation H would have been much more appreciated. There I was, a non-parent, bright eyed and bushy tailed in a newborn parents war zone, staring dead into the tired eyes of my darling friend Kate. Tom, bless his soul, had been reclining on the leather sofa where he had been counting sheep since putting little peanut to sleep. The kitchen was a total mess with dishes resembling Pisa and the wooden floors that had once acted as a dance floor several moons ago, was over run by soft blankets and cuddly toys. It was like a Michael Jackson paradise and I felt the sudden urge to clean. Did having a baby turn TomKat into slobs or were they merely depleted of energy, too tired to complete the simplest of household chores?   

"We're both beyond exhausted and highly irritable right now. We bicker about everything and barely have time to have any kind of adult conversation with one another or our friends for that matter. What I wouldn't give for a night out, and if you thought the hormones were bad during pregnancy, it's like they're on steroids now, and he gets the brunt of it. I'm constantly crying over everything and we both feel so guilty about not enjoying every single moment of this baby. We have not had sex in over four months because let's face it, I'm a blubbery whale. I feel so disgusted with my body right now. I'm lactating out of every orifice on my body and could really, really, really use a day at the gym. Anything to have a few hours to gather my thoughts and save my relationship."

Tea and sympathy. The only missing ingredient was cocktails. "My whole life feels like it's turned upside down. Going to the shops once used to take me 20 minutes and now takes up to an hour and a half. You have to have the baby stroller, the car seat, diapers and God forbid you forget the wipes! The family are forever popping in unannounced and uninvited to spend some time with the baby. Not us. The freaking baby. Never mind the fact that Tom and I are struggling to keep up and are both about ready to return baby to sender. I actually wonder sometimes whether the whole experience was worth it."

Tiny coo's had begun to emit from inside the cot and in an instinct Tom was up again. As he slowly peered over the baby cot to meet the eyes of his newborn daughter, she smiled a toothless grin before picking her up and bringing her over. It cried as all babies do when they meet me but at that moment, I understood how the anguish of sleepless nights and postnatal depression was nothing in comparison to the precious moments this couple would share for life. Like most trying times, the initial stages will make you wish that you'd thrown a stone at that stupid, fertile stork but if you can find a way of communicating with your partner throughout this period and acknowledge the fact that you are both just trying to do the best with the little you have, you may just find an even greater respect, love and appreciation for one another. 

When it comes to a life-changing event such as rock-a-bye baby, how do we baby proof our relationship?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Finger slip

Once upon a time, an enthusiastic assistant was instructed to type up a letter addressed to an organization called "Friends", a home that fostered children with learning disabilities as part of her company's 67 minutes of good will. She drafted the email and hit "send" before giving it a once-over, and patted herself on the back for what she thought was a brilliantly-crafted cover letter. She decided to reward herself with a cup of Earl Grey tea, but when she returned to her computer, she had noticed two new emails in her inbox; the one from her boss demanding an explanation for the prior, a livid response from the founder of "Friends" regarding her callous and insensitive remarks. She frantically scanned the email searching for any sign of disrespect she may have inferred. As she neared the bottom of her email, she was mortified to discover the faux pas in question: "We look forward to the visit next week. Kind retards, Anne."    

If a simple finger-slip could cost someone their reputation and internship, imagine what it could do to an orgasm. Whether you're engaging in light or heavy petting, technique is a crucial part of sexual relations, one that often involves a combination of skill, time, practice and communication. These days, most of us (especially men) seem to rush through sex as if it were a Comrades Marathon, a race to see who comes first. The need to blow their load into any hole willing enough to accommodate his throbbing manhood seems more important than discovery and mutual satisfaction which is sadly a loss for both parties. It's kind of like having an three-course gourmet meal; you can't really appreciate the main course without acknowledging the effort of the host's entree and starter... 

While oral stimulation seems to be first choice in most cases, most men seem to underestimate the simple yet sensual act of touch. A good fingering session requires skill and technique that you can only learn through communication. It has the power to fuel a woman's desire, especially when it's executed correctly. It's no mystery that women are far more giving and hospitable in general, especially if they are rubbed up the right way, so imagine the kind of mind-blowing sex that men could be having if they only learned to apply the basic pleasure principles to a woman's sexual needs. Are all men selfish and oblivious to such needs or are they just too timid to ask the one question every woman is dying to hear: how do you like it? 

Rose was a simple girl to please and did not require a lot of stimulation to get her off. She had become a major player in the big leagues and had noticed an alarming trend of men that failed to treat her Lady Labia with any kind of reverence. For Rose, there was nothing more off-putting than hooking up with a gorgeous guy who knew absolutely nothing about turning a woman on. She was both amazed and disturbed by the fact that the men she had been seeing of late were unwilling to give as good as they got and when they did, failed to perform even the simplest of tasks correctly.

"Do you know how many times I've had to fake an orgasm lately?" she said with that dead pan expression that only Rose could pull off. "I spend countless minutes sucking and bobbing, gagging and stroking, making sure that my teeth do not get in the way of his precious penis but when it comes to a little down time with my vagina, you'd swear it was Pandora's box." Rose had recently hooked up with a guy who was known for being a bit of a ladies man but whose reputation was far from being lived up to. They shacked up in a bathroom stall last weekend while she casually let his fingers do the walking through her yellow pages.

"My vagazzle has never felt more harassed in my life and I am quite sure that I am going to need a painkiller after this. It felt as if he had been excavating for diamonds or something, trying to shove his entire hand in as deeply and aggressively as possible. He completely misunderstood the assignment and my G-spot for that matter, and even though I tried to coach him through the process, which by the way, he did not take well, he was still doing it wrong!!! What is it with these guys because somebody seriously needs to set the record straight. The vagina is not that complicated to operate and when it comes to the ol' finger slip, less is most definitely more. No wonder he has multiple partners. They're probably all too scared to come back."    

You can't always rely on auto-correct to save the day especially when it comes to manual input. In order to master the sensual art of arousal you need to listen, communicate and tune into your partner's needs and desires. There's a big difference between good sex and great sex and while their are many different strokes for many different folks, taking the pace down a notch can earn you some serious brownie points in the boudoir. Props to the man who takes the time and initiative to give a little tit for tat but as for the rest, perhaps it's time that you stop, collaborate and listen.      

When it comes to second base, why do most men fail to hit a home run?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Smooth Operator

There's a certain kind of man that prowls our city streets in abundance. He's confident, charming and always has a twinge of a smile plastered around the corners of his face, just like the Cheshire cat who tormented poor Alice as she fell down that wretched rabbit-hole. He's self-assured, cocky and satisfied by the dirty thoughts running through his mind as he scans any given location for his latest conquest. Casanova, gigolo, eligible bachelor. There are a number of words used to describe a man of this calibre. He's a skillful slut loaded with swagger, armed with a one-track mind and a black belt in seduction. The guy that makes you feel like you're the only girl in the world when you're actually one in many, whose biggest fear is commitment itself and who probably spends most of his adult life perfecting the art of manipulation. 

It's amazing to see how the word "play" has changed over the past couple of decades. What was once an innocent term associated with the folly of youth has now become a dangerous liaison in which so many of us seem destined to lose. The games we played when we were young are quite different in comparison to the vicious blood-sport known as dating, a ferocious duel between man and woman to see whose heart carries the most resilience. The games may have changed but players remain the same, each intention crueler than the next, and with years of unprecedented practice behind them, how is a girl ever supposed to win?

Glamourised by idiotic franchise series such as American Pie and Van Wilder, the gigolo lifestyle is the ultimate status any heterosexual man can ever hope to achieve. The woman he scores at the end of the night is just another toy, a collector's item gleaming up on his mantlepiece of traumatised trophies, and even though the signs of a player are as clear as day, so many of us still allow ourselves to fall hard for these malicious idiots. Surely after years of dating the wrong kind of guy, we would've wised up to know when we are being played. Are we so desperate for love and attention that we'll believe anything these boys have to say or has the player simply upped his game?

Fortunately for Charlotte, she was no stranger to this particular kind of man. Although she fancied the occasional fiddle from time to time, a fool she was not. She had the gift of seeing right through their crystal charm and witty banter, and even managed to toy with them herself. She's the kind of heroine that lets them believe they have the upper hand and that they stand a chance of making her notch number 87 on their already overlapping belt. Did Charlotte possess some kind of super-power that most women wish they had or had she simply had enough and decided that it was time to play the player at his own game?    

"There's something about you and I simply can't put my finger on it," Jon smugly boasted as he flirted his way into the conversation. If Charlotte had a dollar for every time she heard that before then she wouldn't be working night shifts as a nurse cleaning bed pans and changing IV drips. Let me think...could it be Charlotte's massive breasts which she aptly named Coco and Chanel or was it the fact that she was young, sexy and the only other single girl at a 50th birthday party? Here was a guy who only minutes ago had introduced us to his girlfriend of 13 months, a fragile woman called Alice who had just been through a messy divorce only to find false hope in this schmoozy schmuck.  

Poor Alice would probably have to endure a relationship full of lies for the rest of her life. Behind that precarious smile and devil eyes lived a man who probably had more than one trick on the side, each one more oblivious to his actions than the next. You've got to hand it to them, these players certainly know how to multi-task, what with all the secrets and cover-ups, deception and lies, the simultaneous sexting and long conversations with their "buddies". Guys don't have long conversations with their buddies and if you believe that for one second then maybe you enjoy being played! It's an urban myth, a ruse to make you think he cares and has some sort of depth. True to form, Charlotte received the typical "I have to see you again" text only minutes after they had left the party. We all had a good laugh at his pathetic attempt to woo Charlotte who willingly scrolled down to hit "delete."

If only we could delete these players from our existence entirely, what a wonderful world it would be. Think of all the time we could save on real relationships worthy of our love and affection. Unfortunately, players exist and just like a cheetah rarely change their spots. With so many predatory men disguised as smooth talkers and slick sales execs, how are we ever supposed to tell the difference? As we pawn our way from one asshole to the next I couldn't help but wonder when we'd ever truly find the strength to protect the queen that lives inside us all. 

When it comes to the game of hearts, isn't it about time that the players got played?