Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Sassy's Dating Dictionary

I'm currently sitting on my bed, wearing ugg boots & a hoodie, eating my third donut & watching Dawson's Creek - so maybe I'm the last person who should be writing about dating, but here I am anyway.

I'm not the most experienced dater. I was in a long term relationship that had its beginnings in high school. I rebounded from that into a relationship in university that ended violently. Physically violently. Back to the high school boyfriend and, other than a few hiccups, off periods and frogs along the way, I was with him until 2010. We even bought a house together. Since that long term relationship ended, I've only called one other person my boyfriend.

Now that I am dating, I have found myself stumbling through a veritable minefield of mistakes that a single girl can make. These vary from making assumptions about the guy's intentions, failing to define things and not knowing how to extricate myself from situations that are probably my own unwitting doing. And boy, have I had some adventures! The simple truth is, I have no idea what I'm doing!

Have you heard the saying "You don't know what you don't know"? That's very true. I didn't know that I didn't know how to date until I tried to do it. But the thing is, I'm not sure anyone actually does! Because there are certain words that apply when you are dating - terms that you will use throughout the course of your budding relationship - and nobody knows what the hell they actually mean! The meanings people can apply to the same words is so ambiguous. Two people can mutually agree on a term, and that's fine, but more often than not, their interpretation of that term is not even in the same sport, let alone ballpark. So I am going to define them, here and now. And this will be the universal truth that these terms actually mean.

From single to boyfriend / girlfriend

Single: This means you do not have a boyfriend or girlfriend. You may or may not be open to the idea of potentially having one, but you will be upfront about this. Every person who may be interested in having you as a boyfriend / girlfriend will be aware of your feelings on this subject as you will have been clear with them. But if you are not content to be in this state, do not proceed to the next one! This is very important!

A date: 'A first date' shall be defined as the initial scheduled meeting of two people who are basically auditioning each other to be a steady sexual partner with emotional investments; and a view to carry out said arrangement on a permanent basis and potentially co-habit and maybe even procreate while sharing a surname.

There will be certain indicators that you are on a date. Most, if not all, of these will apply.

  • You will have paid careful attention to what you are wearing, what you smell like, how smooth your legs are / face is and will specifically avoid talking about topics such as exes, crazy penchants and weird medical histories.
  • You will be nervous about who pays for what on this occasion and it will inevitably lead to a bit of a debate. You will judge the other person based on the viewpoints shared and eventual outcome of this debate.
  • You will make a huge effort to be engaging, witty and delightful in the presence of the other person.
  • You will be hoping the other person kisses you.
  • You will be eager to tell someone (probably a member of the same sex) about whatever transpires. Depending on your gender, there will probably be either giggling or high fives. Maybe even both. Who am I to judge?
  • If it goes well, you will want to do it all over again. Note: If you do repeat this with the same person, it will be called 'a second date'.

If you find yourself scheduling something that looks like this, stop looking like a tool or a complete try-hard and call it by its correct name! It's a date. Suck it up. If it's not a date, do not expect anything that even remotely resembles sex to ever eventuate. You lost that privilege when you refused the term 'date'.

Dating: After going on more than three 'dates', you will be deemed to be dating. Counting the dates out loud after this point is a bit weird, but note that you still need to mentally keep a tally of the dates.

'Dating' means you have an unspoken agreement that you will go on another 'date' and usually comes into play after the third date is mutually agreed to have been pleasant for both parties. Spending time together is becoming less nerve-wracking and you are starting to settle into being yourself but you are still considering your options. You may be dating more than one person at this time - but this is the last chance to do so if you are to progress further with this person.

Seeing someone: That mental tally of dates you have been keeping but not really talking about anymore? When that number has reached eight, you stop saying 'dating' and now refer to 'seeing someone'. If you have lost count, use this cheat: If your first date was over two months ago but you have seen each other regularly in the interim, you should now be using the term 'seeing someone'.

The term 'seeing someone' can be broken down rather simply. You are 'seeing', as in regularly viewing (perhaps in varying states of undress), one person. Note the 'one'? As in singular? You should only reach this benchmark with one person at a time. Note: If you do not wish to proceed to the 'seeing someone' stage, stop the 'seeing' part. This will avoid confusion for both parties.

Relationship: There will come a point during the period of 'seeing someone' that you decide that you have been exponentially satisfied with the previous months. This one person has started to spend time at your house and vice versa, rather than always on neutral ground such as a cinema or a restaurant. It's not awkward if they stay overnight. You've met some of their friends. There are starting to be expectations born from precedents set out over the last few months. If you don't have specific plans on a Saturday night, it is assumed you will spend it together. If they come over yours in the evening, you now expect that they will stay the night. And things would probably be easier if you could leave a spare toothbrush on their bathroom sink.

You are now about to be in a 'relationship' and should soon start using this term. If more than four months have passed since that 'first date', you need to immediately have a discussion with the other person. Especially if you are the guy. This is like the probationary period at a new job. You were expected to carry out your duties and showed up to work on time. But an evaluation still needs to be conducted with a manager before you become a fully-fledged employee. Your individual reviews and expectations will be laid out and a decision whether or not the arrangement is mutually beneficial will be agreed upon. If the outcome is in the affirmative, you have reached the level of 'relationship'.

Anecdote: I haven't had many official boyfriends - and hardly any in my adult life - but my favourite beginning of an official would have to be my most recent ex. I was driving to his house from his friend's. He was in the passenger seat and suddenly said, "If we were officially in a relationship, other than our relationship status on Facebook, would anything really change?" I thought for a moment before replying, "No, not really." "Cool," he said. "Let's do that then." See? It doesn't have to be a giant stress.

Boyfriend / girlfriend: Now that you are in a relationship, you can finally use the terms 'boyfriend and / or girlfriend'. You may only have one of these at a time! I cannot stress this enough. This is the holy grail of the dating experience. By this point, if you both aren't happy to use these terms, get out now! You are wasting the time of the other person and that is absolutely not fair. Other than that, it is like playing Monopoly but all the properties have been bought. Everything else is either by negotiation or just runs its course. And who knows how or when it will end?

Miscellaneous terms

Going out: This means you are 15. And in high school. You have never actually gone out anywhere at all but you are free to use the term boyfriend and girlfriend. You will also have written their name all over your student diary surrounded by love-hearts. And this will be in whiteout since it's the only way to see anything written over the permanent marker you used to scribble out the name of the last person you were 'going out' with.

Catch up: I use the term 'catch up' a lot. I live overseas and with a huge time difference, it is so hard to keep up to date with the people I love the most. I'll text my girlfriend, "OMG! haven't chatted to you in ages! We need to catch up!" Because 'catch up' means to run over everything that has happened since I last saw / spoke to someone. So why have guys (And I definitively use the plural) texted me suggesting we should catch up?

This outburst was prompted by an arrangement of what should have been called "a first date": 
Well 15 hours later he texted me and we arranged to "catch up" tonight - my first available night thanks to working all the time. But what does that even mean, "Catch up"? Catch up on what? Everything that happened since last Wednesday? Or maybe the last 27 years when we hadn't known the other existed? "I was born in 1985, on a warm Spring morning..." What a stupid thing to say.
From now on, if a guy asks to "catch up" I'm going to assume he has gossip for me and subsequently has no interest in me as a female.

So there you have my no-nonsense dating dictionary. Now if we can all agree to stick to these definitions, it would make life easier for everybody involved!

Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • Do you agree with my definitions?
  • What dating terms do you need defined?
  • Has the ambiguity of dating terms ever caused you confusion or heartache?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Making time to be bored

Note: I am still working on Part 2 of 'Disneyland & this semi-charmed kind of life...'

When was the last time you were bored? I mean mind-numbingly, kick-the-dirt, nothing-to-do bored?

I am so bored right now...
I can't exactly remember my last time, but I know it was in 2009. This is because I got my first iPhone in August of 2009 and I haven't truly been bored since. With constant internet access, there is always something to do - even if it is just refreshing my Twitter timeline. "Bored" has now taken on a new meaning. I will do something pointless just to avoid feeling bored - even though the "something pointless" is boring! I just feel better that I am doing any menial task. In fact, I clearly remember waiting in line at Subway sometime in 2010 and thinking to myself that I needed to follow more people on Twitter because my timeline wasn't updating quick enough. I also once spent late nights trawling through interesting hashtags to find cool people in England or America to follow so that they would be tweeting while the rest of my Australian Twitter feed was sleeping and my timeline got slow. I not only actively avoided being bored, I took precautions to ensure I would not be bored in the future.

Lately, I've decided that I need to stop being entertained 24/7. I just don't need it. Instead of seeking entertainment, I think. Remember thinking? Just letting your thoughts run? Sometimes I word text messages to people that I will never send. Sometimes I sing lyrics. Sometimes I replay conversations. Sometimes I ponder my life.

Yes, it is often boring and being bored is not something people normally actively seek. That is the point. But it can also be liberating. Do you know how many times I have had epiphanies while bored? The time spent thinking when you're bored is different to that time just before you fall asleep. Your mind is clearer, your inner voice a lot more audible and your logic a little more attuned. It is when I am bored that I come to conclusions such as, "In all actuality, he didn't text me once between when he asked me on a date and when he texted on the day to confirm. But I never doubted how much he liked me back then. Nothing has changed. He just doesn't text that much." This was a nagging thought that had bothered me for days and in a moment of being utterly bored, the answer suddenly came to me. It has [sadly] reduced my stress levels!

In a life where we are so connected, I have decided that there are moments when I can just turn off and de-stress. I plan to take advantage of this. Relish it, even. Of course, it is a sign of the times that this doesn't ever mean being uncontactable. For me, that would be counter-productive as I would stress more - imagining crazy, elaborate emergency scenarios in which lives would be lost because I didn't answer a call or read a text message. My phone even sits on the sink while I shower. But I am going to continue to withdraw myself from constant entertainment, and this is how.

* I used to have a TV & DVD player in my bathroom. I would watch episodes of Buffy in the bath. Before that, I would always read a book in the bath. Even in a shower, I would play music and dance. It's fun, but you miss out on being bored. So I am now having showers and baths sans-music or without placing my laptop on the floor.

* When I walk somewhere, I am no longer taking my iPod as a default. It is reserved for long periods only. The 45 minute journey to meet my friend on the other side of London meets my requirements. My 15 minute walk to work does not. Instead, I walk and let the sounds of traffic and birds blend into a melodic hum - the soundtrack of life. Real life. While music may not be as much of a boredom-killer as screwing around on an iPhone, it can detract from thoughts. "Should I look for a new job? What do I want out of life? Maybe I could... Oh my God! I love this song! This is my jam!"

* When I am waiting for something like an appointment or a friend, I try not to check my iPhone constantly anymore. With Twitter and Facebook in my pocket, I can always find someone online to talk to - something else to think about - a news story or blog post to read. But I don't need to. At least, I shouldn't need to. Today, my friend was running late. Having my iPhone allowed me to get the text message telling me as much and that was great. So I sat in a coffee shop to wait. But after sending two or three tweets and posting a redundant picture to Instagram (nobody cares what my hot chocolate and piece of carrot cake looked like!), I decided to just sit. I put my phone on the table in front of me and I just stared vacantly out of the window. Thinking. I thought about the last time my friend and I hung out. I thought about what we would do today. I thought about some things I hadn't told him and would bring up in conversation through the day. And when he did arrive, I was in such a good mood and so happy to see him. All because I was bored.

I am ok just to sit and do nothing...
With all these life / mindset changing epiphanies and mood enhancements, I am actually starting to rather enjoy being bored. Perhaps you should give it a try next time you reach for your smart phone just because you're "bored".

Miss SAMawdsley xx


  • When was the last time you were truly bored?
  • What do you do to actively alleviate boredom?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Disneyland & this semi-charmed kind of life... Part 1

"Ok, kids. What do you want to do tomorrow?" Dad would ask.
"Go to Disneyland!" I'd shout.
Everyone laughed, knowing that it would never happen. But it was always fun to dream. And we'd end up going to the pool, or a car event. But as the self-proclaimed "Happiest place on Earth", it was my dream (and the dream of every kid on the planet, I imagine) to go to Disneyland.

My younger cousins have been going on almost annual trips to America for years. Of course, this always includes Disneyland in California (or Disney World in Florida). I love them to pieces but words cannot adequately express my jealousy. It ached deep inside of me. It highlighted everything that sucked about growing up in a financially poor, single parent family.

My Dad worked hard and my brother and I never went without. In fact, we were discussing last weekend how Dad did everything he could for us, including paying for flying lessons for my brother to help him achieve his dream of joining the Air Force. He also saved up for me to have SCUBA diving lessons to achieve my (never realised) dream of becoming a marine biologist, even though the plan never eventuated when I instead failed the dive medical and ended up enduring months of hospital visits. All this when, in all actuality, anything beyond food on the table, a roof above our heads, clothes on our backs and fuel in the car, were pretty much luxuries.

But there was still a part of me that felt a sharp sting of jealousy whenever I saw photos of my cousins' trips to Disneyland. I think as a child, and then a teenager, it was only natural. There were so many framed photos on their walls and their faces, so happy, yet unaffected by the sheer fortune of their situation, smiled at me. The Disney characters all kids can name hugged them tightly. I asked them questions about Disneyland and they told me stories of breakfasts with Disney stars, wild rides with crazy special effects and breath-taking shows. They showed me their signature books and I read off the names of Disney royalty whose pens had scrawled so beautifully across the pages. They showed me their pin collections and I learned about Disney pin trading. To think people did this as a hobby was astounding. They brought me back my own souvenirs and I marvelled that they were from Disneyland - really from Disneyland! Funnily enough, they never got me my own pair of Mickey ears. As I got older, the sparkle and fantasy started to wear off. A new jealousy struck me. I would never... never... experience Disneyland through the eyes of a child like they had - like so many other children had. But as is my way, a childlike spark in me never gave up on the pure wonderment and magic that is Disneyland and I continued to view it as the "Happiest place on Earth" - not just for children, but for me too!

For me, Disneyland was a pair of personalised Mickey Mouse ears perched on your head. It was a half an hour wait to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. It was posing with Alice and asking her to sign your autograph book. It was eating cupcakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse. It was finding the hidden Mickey on every ride. It was staring up at Cinderella's Castle and imagining being a real princess. It was laughing at the ridiculous face you pulled when you looked at the photo taken somewhere in the darkness on Space Mountain. It was staring in wide-eyed amazement at thrilling stage shows, breath-taking light and water spectaculars and seemingly impromptu entertainment on every street corner. It was waving at every Disney princess as she passed by in the Disney parade. It was hugging Mickey Mouse. It was wondering through aisles of merchandise and picking the few items you simply could not live without. It was hugging the people near you because they were there, you were happy and one day, they might not be there. It was taking silly photos, candid photos, posed photos. It was days spent smiling - where nobody argued or bickered. It was... magical.

Sometimes it scares me how charmed my life is. There are moments that the cataclysmic scale of coincidence, luck and fortune collide to alter my world in such a way that it takes my breath away and has even, at times, reduced me to tears. I am blessed and I know it. The day in November last year when my Dad said "Can you get time off in early December?" was one of them. I asked why, as I was in London and had only recently started a new job. I was confused as I knew Dad would be in America with my uncle, aunty and cousins and couldn't understand what I could need time off for. His response floored me.

"I thought you might like to come meet us in California and come to Disneyland with us..?"

“Here is the world of imagination, hopes, and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn - and fairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicated to the young-in-heart, to those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.”
-Walt Disney

To be continued...

Miss SAMawdsley xx