Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Last Supper

If you were brought up in a staunch Catholic household as I was, you'll know all about the tedious ceremonials that occur over this so-called "holiday weekend". While most normal children were out and about enjoying Easter egg hunts and weekend getaways at Goudini, Roman Catholic kids were stuck in purgatory, fanning themselves in stuffy church aisles with weekly newsletters as they relive the biblical adventures of Jesus Christ. As if spending the past forty days and forty nights deprived of our vices wasn't bad enough, our ancestors felt the need to use this time as a period of reflection, a reminder that JC's dramatic exit was always part of God's plan to alleviate us of mortal sin.

Trust the Catholics to celebrate something as morbid as execution and immortality on a day that should be reserved for stuffing our faces with chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Creme's. Although my faith in fixed religion went up in smoke a long, long time ago, it didn't stop the story of JC's untimely death from being relevant to my own set of trials and tribulations. Love, betrayal, pain and deceit; the homoerotic subtext of twelve men breaking bread around an illustrious dinner table. I'll probably burn at the gates of hell for making such blasphemous inferences but if there is one thing I gathered from my sixteen years of Catholic existence (and dating), it's that we all have a cross to bear, especially when it comes to love and relationships.

Breaking up with someone you truly love is like fresh hell on earth and can easily be compared to JC's excruciating crucifixion. Hung up, exposed, emotionally wounded and scarred by all the pain and suffering. Tiresome and troubling until all you're left with is a tomb of solitary confinement, half packed boxes of memories and false hopes of resurrecting something that died a long time ago. While some break-ups cross straight over into the realm of rebound, there are others that feel drawn out and worn, like some prolonged act of contrition. The incessant quest for closure can be desperate and devastating, right up to the point where break-up sex seems to be the only form of salvation.

The final supper can be a real feast of sexual and emotional intimacy, driven by a passion so wild that not even God himself could tame it. The transfer of all those raw emotions from one body to the next can be outer-worldly not to mention hot, but at what point does it become damaging? Should all relationships have one final romp before calling it a day and if so, what were the motivations? Are we really doing it for closure, a final goodbye to end the relationship on a good note or are we doing it because we secretly want our exes back safely in our arms where they belong?

One night without Aiden might as well have been forty. It was the first time I slept in a bed alone in almost four years and the first time I felt separation anxiety. No good bye kisses or hugs of console, just an angry accusation based on insecurity and intuition. Were we seriously over this time or was this just another phase that could be fixed with break-up sex? It felt over but there was still an air of uncertainty. The hunger pains for his touch grow steadily with every hour, and I couldn’t help but wonder whether we’d ever share one final supper together? One thing was for sure, it sure as hell wasn’t going to be a Good Friday.

According to the messiah of sexpertology, break-up sex should only happen when both parties consent to the mutual outcome of their separation. It’s been often compared to the night before a big diet; one mammoth binge session before the starvation begins. Was I ready to wean myself off Aiden for good or did his absence only fuel a brighter fire of lust and desire? Would it confuse the situation and my supposed decision or would it bring our relationship closer to resurrection? Would it remedy all the problems we had before or was it a temporary fix to something that seemed destined to be? 

Trust. Appreciation. Respect. Once those elements are missing in a relationship, you might as well nail yourself to a cross. The road to salvation isn’t always a successful one and sometimes we just need to accept our decisions, trust that fucker called intuition and get on with it. While break-up sex can be a great source of uninhibited pleasure, it can also bring out a whole new set of wounds, wounds that might take even longer to heal. Time can only tell what will happen between Aiden and I but in the meantime, thank fuck for chocolate.

When it comes to the crucifixion of long-term relationships, what are the consequences of one final supper? 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Eeny -meeny-miny-ho!

Remember the story about that fearless little girl with the golden perm who braved the big bad world all on her own? Confident, cute and unashamed of overstaying her welcome, Goldilocks has got to be by far one of the greatest literary heroines of all time. Unlike Rapunzel and Red, whose need for instant validation from the first man that came knock, knock, knocking at their tower door, Goldie knew that good things came to those who wait. She wasn't afraid of taking time to explore her options, even if it meant getting lost along the way. While she hadn't a clue about most things in life (such as breaking and entering being punishable by law no matter how blonde and ditzy you are), one thing's for certain...whatever it was, it had to be just right.

Ever since the birth of modern-day feminism, women have earned a reputation for being too choosy, and they don't hide it either. Most women flaunt their picky-ness and wear it on their sleeves like a brand new fashion accessory. From the carbs they may or may not ingest to the expensive shoes they recently purchased on overdraft, right down to the men they date and subsequently marry. Every decision about love and life is calculated and weighed up against a checklist of impossible criteria; criteria that most men in this city fail to meet no matter how eligible they seem to be. This one's too small, that one's too big, that one wasn't quite right. Have we set the bar too high or are certain standards just way too unrealistic?

For the first time in history women are just as powerful and successful as men if not more so which regrettably means one one will ever be good enough. The expectations are sky-high and most men simply don't cut it these days. We've come a long way from good looking charmers on white horses now that we've become our own heroes and breadwinners. Have we shot ourselves in the foot with all this gender equality and girl power entitlement? Are women expected to lower their standards and expectations if they wish to find a suitable spouse and avoid a life of solitary confinement?

Fortunately for mankind, women have always had the ability to adapt and compromise in such troubling circumstances, unlike Goldie, a 30-something year old entrepreneur, who refused to crack under society's pressure. Like most single girls her age, she'd been in the dating game for more than 15 years and clearly longed for the stability of a loving relationship. The only problem is "she hadn't quite met him yet." Most of her friends had already given up on trying to fix her up, resigning themselves to the idea that little Miss Fuss Pot was going to remain single for the rest of her life. Perhaps her lack of compromise was a bit pig-headed but there's something admirable about a girl who refuses to settle for anything less than perfect...

"I have a very clear idea of what it is I want and I refuse to back down on that!" She did have a clear idea and she wasn't going to settle for anything less than a God-fearing athlete with deep pockets who'd respect and spoil her till her dying day. Her checklist seemed to be getting longer and longer as every year went by and started resembling a monthly shopping list. Although she had recently met a number of great eligible, single guys, Goldie had always managed to find fault in each and every one.

"There's definitely a connection there but I just don't feel the chemistry you know?" "I couldn't possibly be serious about a guy who earned less than I did." "He's wonderful but there's just no attraction." She was by definition infuriating. Instead of just settling down with a sensible, warm-blooded man with a stable income and average looks, Goldie had paved the way for a life of spinsterhood with her high standards and unrealistic expectations. Was she sabotaging her own life with these ridiculous hopes or did she really still have faith?

"Every morning I wake up and ask myself, 'is today the day I meet the guy of my dreams?' Clearly I haven't otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation. I've thought about lowering my standards but then I think about all my varsity friends who didn't and who are happily married to the most amazing husbands. Just because I'm single and thirty-several doesn't mean I'm desperate enough to settle for just anybody. I deserve greatness. It's hard trying to stay positive about the future with so many negative people around me telling me that I should give up on my notion of Mr. Right. I'm not OCD and I'm definitely not mental. If I end up dying alone then I'm cool with that too. I'd rather be single and alone than spend my golden years with someone that doesn't rock my world."

While the notion of pursuing Prince Charming in this day and age is about as realistic as Valeria Lukyanova's chest implants, there are certain standards that a woman should never compromise on, no matter how many toads she has to kiss along the way. Sometimes a little compromise can be surprising, and take us on journeys of self-discovery and futures we hadn't really imagined. Whether it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time, we'll never know. Fate and destiny have a funny way of playing out but it all eventually comes to light at the end.  

When it comes to Mr. Right and fairytale endings, should we wait it out or simply take what we can get?