Here is my Facebook, so add me maybe, baby!

No thank you, I don’t wish to add random people on my Facebook. Actually, hold that thought; yes I might add you just to see what you really are like beneath all that sleaze, ahem I mean charm. Too many selfies warrants some sort of an arrest, because 436 selfies later surely there is someone in your delusional universe that could be coerced into making a guest appearance into one of those 436 Lone Ranger-esque pictures. Where is Tonto?

Precise number, I know. What can I say I painstakingly analyse each one of those pictures for no other reason than for the greater good of humanity. You can thank me later, presumably when they catch the sociopath in question. And yes, once such social analysis is over, I delete the sociopath(s) and block them too. Depending on my disposition at the time they might even be reported; don’t ask me what I’m reporting them for though. The mind is a fickle!!

For all the ills people proclaim that Facebook bestowed on humanity, one thing is for sure that the dating charade is never quite going to be the same, thanks to Zuckerberg and Co. Like the saying goes it is how you utilise things that can either make it a bad or good thing. I am of the camp that Facebook is a positive addition to our otherwise mundane lives. Of course there is always going to be few culprits out there that abuse this social medium and ruin it for the rest of us nosey folks.

Prior to Facebook, you were unable to pre-empt any potential dating disasters. You weren’t able to suss out sleaze bags lurking in the periphery waiting for that opportune moment to strike and before you know it you are coerced into thinking that you are dating an Adonis of sorts, and you go through the traditional method of wasting time and energy dating this person only to find out 18months down the line that he is anything but. Thankfully Facebook has put an end to such callous bureaucracy.  With few clicks you can ascertain everything about your potential date.

Going out on a first date with someone isn’t a pre-requisite these days. Hearing people utter words like “oh how about I take you out for dinner at 8pm to my favourite restaurant and we can get to know each other” is far and few in between and sure as hell you won’t be hearing a potential date say to you “oh where do you live so I can come and pick you up”.  I blame part Facebook part Google Earth for the latter. Curiosity is dead, buried in chambers embellished with conveyor belts of selfies and second by second status updates.

Side note: a friend of mine once stumbled on her boyfriend’s ex girlfriend’s Facebook page (bit of a mouthful). Somehow after scouring few of the femme fatale’s illustrious pictures she felt so threatened by this entity that no longer existed but in her mind.  Needless to say the boyfriend wasn’t aware of how Facebook turned his girlfriend into a nocturnal detective. In fact he even instructed her from the onset of their relationship that they are not to add each other on Facebook as this will ruin their relationship.

An eyebrow raiser of a statement I know… but amidst all the narcissism that reeks out of that last sentence, perhaps there might have been a point to his instructions that my friend so carelessly ignored. In the months that followed my friend’s discovery, she lived in an irrational fear of not being good enough for her boyfriend based on his ex-girlfriend’s pictures (nothing kinky by way of clarification just aesthetics we are dealing with here folks).

Armoured with her newly discovered inferiority complex, my friend ended the relationship to her boyfriend’s dismay. The guilt of dating whom she thought was above her station was too much to take in. This set precedent for many more break ups and make ups that followed over the course of the years. Even when they were back together, she was of the realisation that her boyfriend was an unscrupulous seducer; who was destined to run away with anything with a pulse that wasn’t her because to quote her “he was easy on the eye”. I couldn’t help but think in that moment that perhaps my friend could do with having a cataract operation thirty years too soon! But let’s not get into that now. That is a side note for anther blog post(s).

Facebook allows us to eliminate the weak from the absolute. The dating game is a cut-throat business. There are no leeway’s to be given. Survival of the fittest and what have you (who makes these rules anyways…). Some people love to air out their dirty (always unpressed, sometimes wet, occasionally clean) laundry on social networking sites for all and Sundry to see. Men in particular have a thing for still keeping incriminating evidence from their past. There is no sane reason as to why you would have less than decent snap shots of  you and your ex still plastered on your Facebook wall when that relationship has dissolved; often captioned with soppy  commentary. Is it an emblem of your acquisitions, hmm?

Word of advice for men; you might want to keep your Facebook on private so poor unsuspecting feeble women such as the antagonist of my side note don’t have to contend with the likes of your ex-girlfriends. Women are complex creatures, even if I say so myself. Actually on a second thought DON’T, I quite enjoy scouring your pages, all in the name of research of course.

At The Touch Of Commercialism, Everyone Becomes A Lover!

Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine?

Before the Christmas decorations have gone down to gather dust until they are called upon for another year and before the festive cheer had a chance to pave way for January blues, the shop windows and displays had us reminded that Valentine’s Day was fast approaching.

The roboticism of it all renders the very act it is denoting unromantic. Not long ago I was engaged in a conversation with a friend in an attempt to get a male perspective on the issue. To paraphrase, he didn’t like partaking in the whole Valentine’s Day shenanigans because he didn’t believe in celebrating what was essentially another man’s day for declaring his love. Male ego aside, how apt I thought. I am sure that wasn’t what poor old St. Valentine had in mind but I too don’t like being dictated to or told what to do. I don’t want to be part of a commercial construction of love and romance.

As a recovering chocoholic, I am sympathetic to a bit of chocolate 365 days of the year with the sprinkling of love and romance on top. Flowers..? Yes please, any day. Lilies are a favourite of mine, if you are taking note. Why limit all that goodness to just one day! Don’t be so cruel to yourself.

At the very least Valentine’s Day stifles individualism. Some confectionery, a card, a bouquet of sorts and a pair of kinky lingerie should win your loved one over! Hooray! And if you really want to push the boat out why not cook her/him a three course meal. And hey presto you are one heck of a lover.

For those of us who still regard love as a private conduct between two consenting adults (and I am not implying extracurricular conduct) and don’t see the need to showcase personal displays of affection, the whole day is somewhat gimmicky and full of sap. So is this reality or parody one may ask? Whilst the act may be a noble one however, Valentine’s Day musings depict a romantic ideal of being swept off your feet, so to speak. It is an ideal nonetheless that each one of us should be striving for all year round come rain or shine.

Personally I think many dire relationships would have had shorter course of life had it not been for the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day. With a little help from clever marketing from shops and restaurants in order to boost their profit, Valentine’s Day quickly puts out any burning flames of wanting to quit a relationship and turns such desires into ashes for another year; the illusion of romance successfully instilled in all party concerned.

The singletons aren’t safe from this romantic PR stunt either. They too get struck with the dread disease of being alone on the day. So to avoid such calamity they go out on the hunt for a culprit that could be coerced into a dating parody. It embeds a positive illusion of romance, consequently seeing imperfect partners in a new idealised form.

We truly live in a nanny state. As it is in all the other areas of life why not have this little old thing called love dictated to us too; why not let commercialism baby the populace in how to conduct itself in all things love and romance? Now that the logistics of love has been taken care of; the how when and why of it all sketched, what is left is for us to take centre stage in this puppetry dubbed Valentine’s Day and feign love!


Don’t mind my cynicism, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Contemplating: Career Crossroads, Callings and Chide Choices

Weekly Writing Challenge: Contemplating

Today is the first time you stepped a foot into your old University Campus. It has been six years since you were here last. Judging by the edifice of the building so much has changed but then again so have you. There is an aura of eeriness to this terracotta painted Georgian building. The pilgrims of students rushing in and out of the building distract you and then your eyes transfix on few students in their graduation gear. You stand still in that position, application forms dangling from your left hand and you begin contemplating.
Before you knew it, your thoughts have gone back in time; to your own graduation day.

The nostalgia is quite palpable.

November 18th 2008:

Your whole life has been building up to this moment. You are bursting with pride and so is everyone within a square meter. November 18th 2008 was a special day, in fact a very special day when measured against the scale of the past 21 years of your life.

It was your graduation day; a day laden with superlatives. It was easily the best day of your life to date. The kind that fill you with warm fuzzy feelings which when you are so lost in the moment give you the false hope that the world is indeed your oyster. Ahh you were so full of youth, promises, hopes, naivety and who could blame you then for having so many hopes for the future. How were you to know that life wasn’t quite going to pan out as you hoped it would, as you planned it would. You were always full of positivity, and maybe your innate ability to forever see the glass as half full has been your downfall.

You arrived extra early on the day to give yourself plenty of time for any mishaps. The local City Hall, a grade II listed building was the University’s chosen venue for the ceremony. The weather wasn’t particularly great on that faithful Thursday afternoon so you made your way into the building past the giant portico and through to the changing chambers; an area dedicated to graduates to retrieve their gowns. You remember walking briskly towards the chirpy man at the counter. “Olright love” he said to you in his friendly northern accent. “What can I do you for”, he asked before you even had the chance to acknowledge his initial greeting. On a normal day you would have sniggered at his illusive question and replied back with an equally subliminal satire along the lines of “dunno mate! What do you have on offer?

But not today, his pun on words has no purport; you quickly attribute it to harmless foolery and it is thus safely ignored. Upon verifying the correct details he presented you with a black calf length gown, a maroon and grey sash placed neatly at the front of it in a V-shape. He observed you as you adorned your graduation gown and cap, a gift from your parents who took on the expenses of hiring the gown for the day.

Getting you into a six digit worth of student debt wasn’t seemingly enough but they want to squeeze every last penny out of you so you are well and truly a “skint student”. Fulfilling prophecy and all that! Once you signed the declaration forms to confirm the retrieval of your gown the man began studying you in that gown or rather your aesthetics (to date you still can’t quite tell if it was the former or the latter) and remarked “you look lovely flower”. You politely offered your gratitude and walked out of the room to the promise of something great lying in the auditorium next door.

As you made your way to the auditorium you are met by a young rep who tells you where your seating is. Upon entering the hall you made your way towards the back where aisle 7 was and began inspecting the decor of the hall or the lack of it. But you were not too fussed by that, rather more appreciative that your surname began with the letter ‘G’ and sighed a silent prayer of gratitude to God and great granddad (times how many necessary numbers to take you to whichever granddad it was that gifted you with such a surname). To say that you were relieved to know that you didn’t have a name beginning with the first letter of the alphabet and consequently seated in the first aisle was an understatement.

You took your seat in aisle 7 and watched in silence as the rest of your peers took their respective seats, waving and smiling frantically as you spot familiar faces. Everything was working to a military precision. Within minutes the Dean of the University took to the stage and started addressing the crowd. His speech was euphoric.

Once the Dean was done with his speech you and the rest of the graduates began your solemn procession towards the stage and one by one you all retrieved your certificates and made your way out to the foyer. Once in the foyer, you were all frivolous and snapped away at each other in an attempt to capture this important day. Of course you all couldn’t help but partake in the decades old tradition of throwing your mortar boards (and your inhibitions) in the air; symbolising the end of an era and the beginning of an uncertain one.

A female voice coming from a distance brings you back to here and now. “How can I help you, love”, she says to you. Her question brings your nostalgia to a halt. You take a moment or so before you answer her question; “hi, I am here to see the postgraduate officer”. You follow the friendly female’s instructions and walk down the corridor past the jubilant graduates. Your excitement is flagrant too. When you reach the bottom of the corridor you turn right, up a flight of stairs and into yet another corridor, this time occupied by various offices on either side. When you reach your destination, you pause, inhale deeply and then knock on the door. You can’t help but hope that in three years’ time you too will be celebrating.